Saturday, July 4, 2015

Good time at the river house


CONTENTS
PETS
TENNESSEE LIFE
CRAFTS
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PETS:
I must admit, I'm looking forward to Oscar being adopted. Then we can open up the whole house again, not worry about dog fights, not have a dog constantly under foot. While enjoying some outdoor office time, I had my laptop on the table and Oscar was next to me. Ryan decides he wants to play. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on Oscar's "mood". At this time it was a bad thing. A fight ensues, and I jump up to break it up, spilling my full glass of wine all over my laptop!!! Anyone that knows me, knows that I practically live on my computer. I do dog rescue work all day long. Losing my computer is a disaster. As soon as I saw that wine go over, I just knew...but the dogs's safety was more important and had to break up the fight.
Fight finished, all dogs ok and now separated. Back to my computer...blank screen. Just as I expected, but was hoping it somehow would survive. Scott? Honey?? Can you fix this??

Well, as you can see from the photo above, he opened it up, dried it out. My fan need replacing anyway, so this was an opportune time to do that. The good news? The hard drive is fine, so if I have to, I can plug it into Scott's laptop or computer and use it as an external hard drive. The bad news, the keyboard is shot. Will take a few days to get a new one. The good news, the computer is actually still working except for the keyboard.  Scott lent me his wireless keyboard until my new one arrives. All is well. New keyboard arrived, installed and computer is working normally. A week later, damn! My track ball/mouse isn't working. Again, Scott loans me his mouse until my new trackball arrives.
If you look closely at the dog, you'll see that he is muzzled. I've never had to muzzle a dog before in the house. Oscar is just not trustworthy with our dogs. He'll play for a bit and then he gets more excited and it turns into attacks. Poor Ryan, he's almost twice the weight of Oscar, but a bite is a bite, so Ryan wants to be close to us for protection. Oscar will be a great dog to his adopters, since he will be the only dog and get all the love and attention he wants. He's a great cuddler.
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TENNESSEE LIFE:
Starting to miss RV life again. Farm markets, new places, something to blog about, the simplicity of RV life. Living in our house in TN really isn't like the burden of living in a house in NJ. We don't have high property taxes, our house is new and better made. We are retired so yard and house maintenance isn't the chore it was trying to squeeze it in on our off days. I miss trying new restaurants. We only had two dogs and could crate them to go out together. I don't think we have gone out together since acquiring our 3 additional dogs.

I am now a "regular" at the Jackson Knitting Underground or as I call it "Jack Knit" get togethers every Thursday evening. As I said before, a great group of ladies and no one that "bugs" me as in a certain knitting group I was a part of in NJ. If any "What's The Scoop" knitting ladies still read this, it is none of you!
One of the girl's has an in-law that lets us use their River House getaway home a couple times a year. Ever since attending the knitting get togethers I've heard about how great the River House weekends are. I wondered if I was invited since I am still fairly new. Yep, invited and now feel a real part of the group.

And the weekend lived up to it's reputation. Just a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Although, I really don't have a hustle, bustling life. I brought my laptop (pre wine spill) to the River House and still kept up with my dog rescue duties.
Only 3 of us stayed overnight. Plenty of bedrooms and comfy mattresses to relax overnight in. We spent the evening knitting and watching TV with conversation that caused us not to really pay attention to TV.

We all bring something to contribute to our meals. For breakfast, there was all the makings for omelets. Yum!

More ladies arrived mid morning. More food, snacks, laughter and knitting.

For dinner, our host smoked two whole chickens. Yep, down here in the South, smoking is just like grilling in the North. No big deal.

This house sits right on the Tennessee River which has similar qualities as the Mississippi River.


They are both huge and long and are used to transport goods on barges. I've always been fascinated by the great Mississippi. Would have liked to find a home on that River. We were not disappointed by the Tennessee River though. She has her number of barges also.



The ladies got all excited when a barge would pass, especially after a few chocolate martinis!




I was told that we are supposed to flash the barge workers as they pass. Ya know, show 'em a good time. Hmmm, really? We are all over 40 and many over 50 years old. Do they really want to see our sagging boobies?




Here we go! One! Two! THREE!!!!
Chickens! Or maybe we all know better. We wouldn't want to distract the barge workers, now would we. All in all, we had good company, good food and lots of knitting time. Thanks to Amy and her in-laws for allowing us the use of their lovely home away from home.
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CRAFTS:
Well here's a change...I'm not going to show a knitting project. I signed up for a woodturning demo, taught by West Tennessee Woodturners. We made a pen! I think I could really enjoy woodturning and making bowls, table spindle legs, etc. But lathes are sooo expensive. I'm glad I attended the demo. I was able to experiment a little on the lathe and turned a long rectangle block of wood into a pen!



I made this!

Crunch Time!


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CONTENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
RV LIFE
PETS
CRAFTS
BROWSING THE WWW

TENNESSEE LIFE:
It's been yucky hot here lately. But it doesn't feel any different than in NJ. Except here I have a huge porch and view of our green yard & woods to look at instead of looking into our neighbor's yard hoping they don't talk to me. Now that the cicadas are gone, the flies are here. I'm told it is worse than most years. At least they don't bite, they are just annoying landing here and there on my skin.
I've never seen THIS in NJ!!! 

Our property tax rate is going DOWN! What??? Yes down! The board feels they have enough to work with. In NJ, it's always more, more MORE! It's for the children. The middle school HAS to have an Olympic sized swimming pool. How can we deprive the CHILDREN???? Yea, it would be nice, but let the parent's raise the money for the pool and maintenance. We never had children, so never used the school system, yet had to paid the ridiculous school taxes. I have to think of it as securing our future, since the children are our future, but they don't need the best of everything to make theirs and our future bright.
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RV LIFE:
No, we don't have an RV life right now. Our RV is a mess and I really need to take the time to clean it up in case we need to get up and go in a hurry. But...
we did have an RV friend visit! Our 1st and hopefully not last.
Mary Anne of  Not lost, Just Wandering blog came by for a visit for a couple of days. How we met and how things ended up is just part of the wonderful full-time RV lifestyle and a part that I dearly miss.
We met Mike and Mary Anne while staying at Port Hudson RV Park in Port Townsend, WA. They were parked right next to us and the sights were very close. They had two of those itty yappy type dogs, but their dogs weren't yappy! Yea! Mike is very outgoing and will talk with anyone that comes along his path. He happened upon someone that had just caught a load of crabs. His new friend gave him a whole bunch of them! In turn, Mike doing the neighborly thing, shared the crabs with us. Little did he know he could kill me with that gesture since I'm allergic to shellfish. But that didn't stop Scott from enjoying them! From there we got to talking and somehow we mentioned Hidden Valley Ranch in Deming, NM as a great place to winter. Sure enough, we spent 2 months at Hidden Valley during our last Winter on the road and Mike and Mary Anne were right next to us and staying for 3 months!

Sadly, Mike had a heart attack after they left Hidden Valley and passed. What did Mary Anne do? Move to Kansas City to be near her relatives? Nope! She knew where she wanted to be. She had their 5th wheel moved back to Hidden Valley Ranch and leased a permanent spot. If something happened to Scott, I would seriously consider the same plan. Hidden Valley Ranch is our favorite RV park as far as hospitality. NM is not our prime environment, but the wonderful owners and residents there make up for the desert environment.
Mary Anne bought a little R-Pod so she could still travel and it seems to all be working out well for this independent woman. She came East to visit some Civil War sights and since we were on the way, she stopped by for a couple of days. It was great having her here.

We have since received an unexpected, unnecessary, but much appreciated thank you gift from Mary Anne. A package from Harry & David came the other day. Triple Berry Jam and Raspberry Jam survived. Mary Anne took note that I have toast with PB & J almost every morning, so she knew the jam was the perfect gift. That's one of the things we miss about traveling. At local markets, we usually were able to pick up some interesting and tasty jams. I also mix a touch of jam in cottage cheese to add a bit of sweetness and flavor. Yum!
On a sad note...only two of the 3 jars survived. The packing list said the 3rd jar was "Tart Red Cherry", but the jar that broke was Peach. Maybe it committed suicide because of an identity crisis! The triple berry and raspberry survived. Scott said that packing was very bad.

Have you ever tried their hot and sweet pepper relish and mix it with cream cheese? Addicting!!!!
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PETS: 
Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! What is that sound? Hmm, it's coming from the living room. Ryan's probably just chomping on another stick. I better take it from him. We don't need any bowel obstructions.





Ewwwww!
Damn, that "toy" is really messed up! I don't remember a toy that makes a crunchy sound. Better make sure it's safe for our dogs.
Yeck! Yeck! Ohhhhh! Nooooo! It's a dead squirrel on our COUCH! Thank goodness we put old blankets on the couch to protect from our dirty dogs.
Scott was still asleep, so it was my job to clean up. Ewwww! Again, glad to have that old blanket on the couch. Off with the blanket and the squirrel inside. Open blanket over garbage and squirrel is gone. Thank your Ryan!

I am now admitting defeat. Between my hours on the computer doing dog rescue work and having 5 permanent dogs and 1 foster dog, I am overwhelmed.  Lesson finally learned...well, sort of.
Since I have 5 dogs and don't see that shrinking for a couple of years at least...I hope, I might as well continue to foster dogs. 2 dogs is perfect. 3 dogs is nice if you have a house. 4 dogs is still ok, but now getting to be a bit much. After 5, it doesn't matter because they are not going to get the attention and care needed anyway.
Setters need grooming. All but one of my dogs hate to be groomed, so it can only be done in small stages time 5 which means a lot of stages. One of our dogs has to be sedated to be groomed! So,  our Setters are not sleek, but fluffy, with spiked hair on their heads, flyaway hair on their sides, mats behinds their ears, and who knows what in the paws with all that hair to live in.

Training a foster? Difficult when there are 5 other dogs that want those yummy treats I'm using for incentive. I have to go off into one of our HOT garages to train and I hear my own dogs barking at the fence wondering why they were invited to the party.

I need a spreadsheet to keep track of who is due for the vet and for what. Heart worm pills must be given monthly and come in a 6 pack, so each month I practically use a whole pack at $50.00 a 6-pack. With a foster dog, I DO use the whole pack!
I'm not getting anything physical done. No woodworking, no preparing the RV for storage or traveling, no exercising, and on and on. I sit like a lump of lard (and look like it too) all day on the computer.

We currently have another foster dog. A 3 year old English Setter who is deaf. Deafness really isn't a big deal. Dogs learn sign language quickly. You just need to get them to look at you and you to give them a sign command and you cannot let them off leash in an unfenced area. Other than that...not a big deal. His name is Oscar and he's a sweet dog. He follows me wherever I go. But he's another dog that doesn't play nice with our dogs. So again, our house is split in two by an xpen to keep the dogs separate. Sigh. We've had him for about a month. He is getting adopted in about a week and moving to NY state.
Oscar
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CRAFTS:
I'm winding down on the Mystery Knit-a-longs I've been doing. I had two scheduled to begin in July. One was cancelled and the other I felt was too difficult for me to deal with right now with all the dogs and rescue work.
I finished a very boring MKAL called Alpine Scarf. Most MKAL are a challenge, whether a big challenge or small challenge, with a different pattern of knitting for each clue. There are usually at least 4 clues with usually more like 5-6 clues. This Alpine Scarf had 3 clues, but the 1st and last clue were the same. BORING!!! Then the long middle was the same pattern over and over. It's a nice scarf but I don't plan on joining this designers future MKAL's.
I have enough scarves. Anyone want this one? My gift to you for reading my blog. It's machine washable, made with 80% Acrylic, 10% Wool, 10% Mohair.
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BROWSING THE WWW:
Mom in back with 4 babies
I used to foster guinea pigs when we lived in NJ. We had a small house and 4 dogs already, so had no room for fostering dog. Me, being the rescue friendly person I am, found out about a rescue for guinea pigs! There is a rescue for just about any animal. I fostered piggies for about 4 yrs and had 2 litters born in my care. Guinea pigs do not eat their young and they are born fully formed. They look just like mini piggies!
Guinea pigs are great pets for children. Fairly easy care, rarely bite and usually just because they think it's food. Lives longer than hamsters/gerbils. More to cuddle with.Anyway, my reason for bringing this up under "browsing the www" is because there is a great you tube channel called "Talking Animals". This guy does quality work! There is no way you won't be laughing by the end of the video. I especially love the guinea pig videos, because they "talk" so fast! Here's a link to just one of his talking piggie videos. Laugh on! Just have to add another link. He got Ricky Gervais to help him with one. Check it out.

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BOOK REVIEWS:

The Color of the Season (The Color of Heaven Series #7)The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A romance and working through grief. I kept waiting for this to turn into a religious book for some reason, but it never came to that.
The book leaves you wondering as you did probably prior to reading the book, if the dead can communicate with the living. Do people that have "died" and been revived really see the other side and can they make a decision whether to go on or give up?

Bowling AvenueBowling Avenue by Ann Shayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Was going to rate this 4 stars, which of course is a very good rating, but as I neared the end, my emotions took over and I realized what a great "self-help" book this was, but told as a wonderful story.
The book is full of words of wisdom to think on.
"...not talking is a great way to not solve problems."
"Misery shared, is misery halved." or "Joy shared, is joy doubled."
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
"Attention is the rarest kind of generosity."

Multiple characters all with their own secrets, emotional immaturity or maybe better called severely controlled emotions. Instead of sharing with a friend or relative, things are held in so not to hurt another person. So things fester and impressions are made because of truths not spoken. I found the book very thought provoking as well as entertaining.

Being a knitter, I enjoyed the references to yarn & knitting also.

Carved in Bone (Body Farm #1)Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading medical mysteries. I enjoy learning from the medical staff's point of view.
I was excited to read this. Being a new resident of TN and a "fan" of the concept of the body farm, I thought this book would be a slam dunk for me.
10% in and I was ready to quit. Boring! Too much detail into the actual medical procedures, reasons, effect, etc of death on the human body. Interesting, but just too much info. I felt like I was back in school, reading a textbook.
I plodded on. 20% into the book, now it was getting a little more exciting and was getting my imagination warmed up to what may be ahead. Murder, rednecks, corrupt police, backwoods entrepreneurs, danger...
Seems by 70% into the book, the author is learning how to write. Seems like a totally different book. Quirky characters, some extra twists, who's good, who's bad, who's just weird. A little bit of Carl Hiaasen like.
Maybe there's hope since the author improved greatly within the span of one book.
I will probably try his next in the series, but don't expect much. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
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AUDIO BOOKS REVIEW:
The Longest RideThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eh...
Two separate storylines, that I expected to intermingle at one point. Back and forth between two couples. One couple has been together for 75 years, the other is just beginning. This was an audible book and although the narration was excellent, the story of the senior couple, Ira & Ruth was quite drawn out. I get it, Ruth was Ira's whole life, his one and only love. Let's move on.
The younger couple, Luke and Sophia was more interesting, but almost too sappy, predictable. I thought I was reading a harlequin type romance.
The ending is what made this book. How the two couple eventually connected. And yes, in typical Sparks tradition, it was very romantic, very sad, yet heartwarming...at the end. A lot of slow moving to get to a sweet ending.




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Longest word in TN

CONTENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
DESTINATION REVIEW
CRAFTS
BOOK REVIEWS
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TENNESSEE LIFE:
My knitting friends are trying to teach me "southern talk". I've been informed the longest word in the southern vocabulary is...shiiiiiiiiiiiyat.

DESTINATION REVIEW:
The Dixie -  Huntingdon, TN 
My rating 4 out of 5, depends on performance, but organization does a great service for the community.
Depending on the activity, some tickets are as low as $15. up to over $50.
The Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center
This is the town of Huntingdon's claim to fame I guess. Huntingdon is near where Dixie Carter grew up. Remember her from "Designing Women" in the 80's?
The Dixie, has many events, anywhere from concerts, to classes, to plays performed there. I've been asked a number of times if I'd like to volunteer to be an usher there. NO THANK YOU! With my great people skills (much sarcasm), they would not like this Yankee to represent them.

Mark Twain
My rating 5 out of 5
Performed by Hal Holbrook (Dixie's husband) was here last year, which I attended. An amazing performance! And made even more amazing since Mr. Holbrook was 89 at the time I saw his wonderful performance.

Big, the musical
My rating 2 out of 5
This was local theater performing the play, "Big, the Musical" at the Dixie. For the most part it was VERY amateur. Definitely "local yokels" performing. I wish I could give credit to the two very good and outstanding performers, but I saw this in February, and can't find the cast listing.
The performer who played the main character, Josh (Tom Hanks in the movie version) had an excellent voice. He didn't fit the physical image in my head of Josh. This young man was thin with long blond hair, quite different from Tom Hanks looks. But his voice was strong, clear and in key.
But the show stopper, what the performer who played, Billy. He was Josh's best friend. This actor stole the show. Seemed very comfortable on stage. Comedic timing was excellent. Very endearing. Great singing voice as well as projected "his" acting voice clearly. Loved, LOVED this performance of Billy. Billy wore a baseball cap throughout the whole play. In the end, we found out why! Bill was performed by a girl! She was amazing and pulled off a male part flawlessly. When they ended with their final bows, she took off her hat and her long pony tail fell forward. BRAVO!
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CRAFTS:
Finished another Mystery Knit-a-long. I really enjoy the mystery and the process but what do I do with all these damned shawls???

I hope to begin making more practical pieces. I have started a summer tee shirt made from cotton yarn. I hope to make a summer lace cardigan as well as a fall poncho. Hopefully, I will not be purchasing yarn for these. I must use from my stash, I must use from my stash. I must use from my stash!
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BOOK REVIEW:
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I should rate this 1 star since I couldn't finish it, but since I didn't give it much of a chance, I'll just rate it in the middle. I only got to 6%.
I was intrigued by what was going on, although quite depressing, it did make you wonder what is this woman's history. The author slowly gets to her history.
The author goes from 1900 to 1950 to 1915. Unless your are reading this book in a long sitting at a time, it is difficult to keep track of. Which characters were in what year and what were their ages, and then "present" day relating to 50 years ago. Because I was reading this in just short 15-30 minute sessions, I had a difficult time re-orientating as to who was who and when. Just too much jumping back and forth in time for me.

Murder Deja VuMurder Deja Vu by Polly Iyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book. Murder mystery with 4 or 5 possible suspects, or...will the author throw in an oddball? Or could there be two murderers? I had my suspicions, but still had my doubts. Throw in a nice romance, although their emotions moved too quickly ahead. I will read this author again.


My Nights With Kate (Jack Ryker #1)My Nights With Kate by M.T. Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating a 3 out of respect for author. My personal rating is 1 star, but I feel it is because of my age. Being a 58 yr old woman, I cannot fathom why a 49 yr old man would want a 22 yr old girl for anything other than arm candy and sex. The author has made Jack (the 49 yr old widower) sound like the perfect man. He's got money, maturity without being old, keeps in shape, kind, generous, wise, giving in bed. Yet, he goes for a 22 yr old. It just doesn't seem to fit Jack's personality. He knows better than that. Jack is looking for a relationship, not just sex and a 22 yr old from an on line "sugar daddy" site is not where to find a relationship.

I couldn't finish.
Kate and Jack are on their 1st "date" and end up in bed. Jack waited for HER to make the 1st move. Yea, right. He's just too nice.
In bed Kate asks "What do you like?" Jack's answer..."Honestly, what I like most is giving a woman multiple orgasms".
OH COME ON! Really? Stick a finger in my mouth and make me gag!
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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW:
Fractured (Will Trent, #2)Fractured by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Narration was good. I was disappointed in this book. I can't pinpoint why. My husband loved it and encouraged me to listen to it. I loved the 1st Will Trent book.
I wasn't able to really enjoy the characters. It was just a murder/kidnapping mystery and unremarkable.

How To Run With A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #3)How To Run With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Molly Harper is always good for a fun read. If you're looking for a serious vampire/werewolf adventure, this is not the book. Her books are light hearted & sarcastic. Always a romance. Always vampires or werewolves living, interacting and falling in love with a "normal" human.




Thursday, June 4, 2015

Transition almost complete

CONTENTS
Tennessee life/ Retirement life
Destination Review
Dogs (with dog treat review)
Crafts
Book Reviews
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TENNESSEE LIFE/RETIREMENT LIFE:
Although I do read a lot of vampire fiction, I have not gone over the edge and found my self transitioning from human to vampire. Nothing so dramatic. Transitioning from NJ "sticks & brick" life to RV life was easy. The purging was work, but not so difficult. But moving into the RV and living in a small space with with so little was surprisingly easy.

Moving from an RV  into a house was not difficult, BUT, moving to a stationary  lifestyle was VERY difficult. I do believe the transition is almost completed though. Oh yes, I still would like to travel. I miss meeting new friends. I miss the thought of meeting with fellow RV bloggers & dog rescue volunteers I only communicate with via email and phone. I miss the anticipation of new RV parks, new areas of the country, new foods and revisiting favorites we've been to in the past. I just saw on facebook, some photos of our Cedar Creek Club meeting together and acting their silly selves and we weren't there.

But in all honesty, I'm really happy to just stay put in our little "sweet asylum" in the South. I love our property. I love sitting outside. I love our dogs running free. I almost dread the thought of packing up and traveling. Yep, I think I've completed the transition and am no longer in the group called RV'rs. We still have a working RV and plan to use it in early fall, but I'm not sure I'm really looking forward to the journey. I'm looking forward to the destination though.

Scott also has really acclimated himself to this life. I have never experienced him as a non stressed husband in a house. When he was employed, he basically worked & slept. Throw in an occasional meal he would cook and a "honey do" that HAD to be completed and that was his life. He hated mowing our 100' x 80' property with a house in the middle. Now, he actually takes pride and enjoys mowing the lawn and doing chores!! He almost looks forward to doing just one project a day. He feels productive, yet not overwhelmed and he can enjoy the rest of his day doing anything he pleases. Retirement is wonderful.

Now that Winter is over, I have moved my office outside. I've set up a table, my extra monitor, my lap top in a corner of our porch. This enables me to do my dog rescue computer work, while enjoying our property, enjoying the company of my dogs and letting them get outside time. They sure do sleep well at night when they are outside all day. Plus being "stuck" doing dog rescue work on the computer, at least I'm outside.
The photo on right is not my outside office set up, but a more relaxing setup still doing volunteer computer work.

Along with Springtime comes Magnolia blossoms! We are lucky enough to have two Magnolia trees/bushes in our yard. Unfortunately, I'm not very impressed by the blooms. They are few and far between. I thought the tree would be loaded with them. But a flower is still a flower and I'll enjoy the view.

Another Springtime occurrence are the noisy cicadas! Supposedly 13-year, Brood IV are here. The noise goes on all day and the cicadas in the far distance almost sound like the hum of some kind of motor or spaceship (not that I've actually heard a spaceship, except on the show My Favorite Martian.
How long will they last? The typical answer is about 4 weeks of singing or less. They sing to meet a mate, and once they mate a few times, they run our of energy and die. Four weeks is the typical time, although this varies depending on weather. Cicadas are largely in 13 and 17 year spans. The early part of the 2020s will be interesting in TN as there will be broods emerging nearly every year between 2020-2025. Ugh.

Cicadas are edible if you're into those type of oddities. This may be the first time I'm thankful I'm allergic to shellfish! It is believed that the cicada's skeletal body is similar to shrimp and may cause the same anaphylactic shock because of the chitin in their skeleton.

Chitin is a dietary supplement made from a starch found in the skeleton of shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. It can also be referred to as 'chitosol' or 'chitosan.' It is not digested and passes through the intestines unabsorbed, thereby adding no calories. The chemical makeup makes it bind with fat thus preventing the fat from being absorbed, as well. It is currently undergoing evaluation as a weight loss supplement.

That's a cicada on the magnolia blossom. This photo was taken with our new Canon Power Shot camera I reviewed in an earlier post. This shot was probably about 200 feet away, so it zooms pretty nicely for a cheap camera.
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DESTINATION REVIEW:
Mutter Museum- Philadelphia, PA $16.00 admission
Our rating 5 out of 5
If I HAD to live in a city, Philly would be the one. It's rich in history. It is a well laid out city and fairly easy to navigate. I love the old stone buildings mixed with modern. Luckily, I have never had to live in a city and now I'm living in the country. Ahhh.
We visited Mutter Museum quite a few years ago while still living in NJ. It was just an easy hour's drive.
This is a super interesting museum. It is filled with medical science items. Some are models, such as a full size model of a man sliced open to see the roadway of muscles throughout the human body. Some are actual specimens preserved in bottles of liquid. From their website- "We have wet specimens from every part of the human body as well as parts that aren’t supposed to be there, such as cysts and tumors." Some things are gross, fascinating, heartbreaking. Then there is is the gigantic colon. I don't know if it is mummified, taxidermy type or a model, but either way, this poor guy needed a good "BM".
If you are ever visiting Philly, this is a "MUST SEE" destination.
Review of the biography of Dr. Mutter below in book review section.
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DOGS:
Dog treat review...
Cost FREE!!!!
What is plentiful in the Spring? Free? Dogs love em?
Cicadas, of course!
Our dogs love to hang under the Magnolias. Usually, it's because it has heavy foliage and birds love to nest in there. Since Setters are bird dogs, this keeps them entertained for hours.
But now that millions of cicadas are in the area, our dogs are under the Magnolias waiting for the dead to drop after a heavy mating encounter.
From the Cicada Mania website:
Don't I look delicious?
People want to know: “is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas”. The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas, however you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned Cicadas Dangerous to Pets.

Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.

Our Gordon Setter pup has certainly gorged on them. He has no "full meter" when it comes to food. And the evidence was on our porch steps. I'll spare you the graphic photo of black heads and wings regurgitated.
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CRAFTS:
Check out the link

You know I've been doing a lot of knitting when you see a lot of audiobook reviews. I knit and clean listening to audiobooks. My house is not spotless, so I must be doing a lot of knitting instead.

I am addicted to MKAL's (Mystery Knit-a-longs). I love learning new knitting skills and also not knowing what the pattern will look like finished. I DO have to know what I'm knitting though, meaning is it a scarf, shawl, sweater,cowl, etc. I have joined 8 Knit-a-longs in 2015 so far, some are mysteries and some are not.



I recently completed this mystery shawl, Paris in springtime
The graphic on the left is all we see prior to starting the knitting project. This particular MKAL had the option to buy a kit, which I did at Stunning String Studio.  The kit included the yarn, beads, floss, stitch markers and a special Eiffel tower stitch marker. The yarn was merino, nylon and a bit of sparkle.





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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW:
American SniperAmerican Sniper by Chris Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Don't expect this to be the book version of the movie. While this was interesting, the Navy Seal life of Chris Kyle, was narrated in a matter of fact tone. He was very dedicated to the US and fought hard and was a great service to us all. He made a great sniper because he could separate family from military. He could accept his kills were the enemy and not seem to take it as he killed a person with a family. It almost seems very very cold. BUT...it is kill or be killed and that's the reality.
Not an exciting book, but it does give us a glimpse of being and Navy Seal and right in the middle of active war. He missed out on his family life defending our country. He states he loves war. Oh how I hate it!

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love, Love, LOVE Bloody Jack and this book! What a smart young "boy". Life is not kind to him, but he is resourceful and not only intelligent, but also has common sense and street smarts. Follow his adventure from being a poor homeless orphan begging/stealing on the streets to working his way up in society. Also, growing from an adolescent into a teenager.
Excellent narrator also.
I had to go out and immediately get the the 2nd in this series.

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack, #2)Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady by L.A. Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly think Jacky Faber is my favorite character of ALL TIME! Just as the first book in this series, Jacky is full of energy. She jumps into to things before thinking, or even if she does think about the circumstances feels the experience or the need is greater than the punishment.
Again, the narrator truly makes this book.
The book is funny, endearing, uplifting, exciting, heartbreaking all in one. I never got bored and opted to listen to this audio book rather than watch TV.
Just thinking of Jacky Faber and the troubles she gets herself into makes me smile. This is a natural antidepressant.

Conversion (Conversion, #1)Conversion by S.C. Stephens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are so many vampire books out there now. Surprisingly, I have found most of them are quite entertaining and all have a slight twist to keep them interesting. This book is another fun, sweet, vampire/human love story.
I'll probably continue to read the series.


Dr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern MedicineDr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Medical History...fascinating. From operating before anesthesia to the discovery of germs.
This is the history of a medical teaching school in Philadelphia and the differences in the doctors' opinions about teaching, medical practices, medical beliefs. Within just a span of 20 years how far medicine advanced. Some doctors welcomed new techniques, others refused to accept and held back development, causing continued pain and death.
Dr. Mutter was open minded, had a true love of medicine BECAUSE it would benefit the lives of people.
We hear about the development of plastic surgery & thoughts on deformities.
I had visited the Mutter Museum in Philly years ago and would love to revisit after reading this book.

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BOOK REVIEW:
A Highlander's Passion (Highlander's Beloved, #2)A Highlander's Passion by Vonnie Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first book in the series "A Highlander's Obsession" but still a fun read. A couple of things that bothered me...
1. There is an evil character after someone who is under the protection of the clan. So what does she do? Go out by herself. Well duh! Of course Mr. Evil will find you!
2. Mr Evil is supposed to be oh so powerful, but yet there is little action as to finding him, eluding him, or killing him. His demise just seems to be so easy. Doesn't agree with his oh so powerful character.
Still fun to read and some more decent love scenes.

HooligansHooligans by William Diehl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
I really wanted to rated this only one star, but wanted to be fair to the author. The book isn't bad, it's just not my genre. Mafia and politics...bleck! Depressing. If you like this type of book, I think this is a good book. Characters well defined. A good mystery as to what's going on. Who is behind what. Who can be trusted. Just not for me.


Itsy Bitsy Spider (Emma Frost #1)Itsy Bitsy Spider by Willow Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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I couldn't stop reading. What should be a quaint small town community is really run by two faced religious fanatics.
The story goes back and forth between 40 yrs and keeps you guessing who is who from the past and the present. Why are these people being killed and what is their connection. Sick people and in the end, they deserved it in my opinion.

Lady Audley's SecretLady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
A pretty face can get you places. Lady Audley is beautiful, innocent looking, cunning and a great actress.
Written in the late 1800's, the style of writing was somewhat drawn out in the over abundance of descriptions. Walking through a garden, so much detail goes into the leaves, the light of the sky, the surroundings and on and on. Same with the description of their emotions...pages of describing how they feel. Just skip those parts after a while. After the first couple of sentences, you get what the author is saying. You don't need to read it described a dozen different ways.
But overall, the story is great. I kept guessing at Lady Audley's secret until it was fully revealed at the end.
A bit drawn out but a very good read.

Lash (Broken Angel, #1)Lash by L.G. Castillo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
3.5 stars. Couldn't quite give this 4 stars.
Archangels, fallen angels, Lucifer, etc. Some in human form, some can be seen by a few select humans.
When given an assignment you are to follow through without question. But Lash (angel), thinks he knows better.
That will be a long, difficult lesson learned.
Starts out slow and I felt my mind wandering and not really looking forward to reading, but eventually, things started to merge and make sense or at least get my curiosity up and my thinking cap on.
Enjoyed the characters and could definitely see easy opportunities for sequels.
This first book was a free download. I see the next is $3.99. Reasonable enough, but high enough to give me pause before purchasing. There are so many other series I REALLY enjoy & would pay that price for. But for this series? Hmm, maybe $1.99 would be a better price.

Love Lies and MurderLove Lies and Murder by Catherine Winchester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Murder mystery and historical romance in one. Nice.
A house full of relatives and dead 1st wife and the 2nd wife may be destined to the same fate.
Who did it? Who's doing it? So many to choose from.
Helen has a lot to deal with ...
a new husband she's only known a few days
trying to fit in as the step-mother
dealing with in-laws and ex in-laws living under one roof
a mother in-law who doesn't think you're good enough
your own step family to deal with
setting boundaries and establishing authority
All while trying to keep yourself safe and figure out who is trying to kill you.
Loved the book.

The MacKinnon's Bride (The Highland Brides, # 1)The MacKinnon's Bride by Tanya Anne Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
As Reagan W. said in her review..."Two Wounded People Looking for Love" That is the gist of the story.
I am becoming addicted to these Highland Romances. The big strong, fierce Scot, who is so loving, gentle, protective to the woman he loves and loves taking the time during lovemaking to give her pleasure before his own.
Ahhhh. Purest romantic fantasy. I crave it, gotta have it. Loved this book.
Definitely not for many. Not much action. More centered on 3 main very likeable characters and their growth to being a family.





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