Friday, May 8, 2015

Miss Debbie


Happy Birthday Dad!
Figured I'd get a blog post out for his 81st birthday.
Sailor during Korean War
You know you live in a small town when the vet tech says she heard I went to driving school a week ago.
You know you live in the South when business acquaintances call me "Miss Debbie" and not "Ms. Buskirk".

Spring has sprung and I've come to realize that maybe I'm not a Winter Girl anymore. I do love snow. I used to love Winter days curled up on the couch under an afghan with a fire in the fireplace and just relaxing. But since going through Winter here in TN, I've realized that I'm now a 3-Season Girl. My love of curling up in front of the fire was because I used to work full time and a snow day was a total relaxation day. Now that I'm retired, I don't need that excuse to relax. I have this beautiful piece of property that I don't appreciate when it's cold outside and no leaves on the trees.

A few weeks back, our friend Petra from Massachusetts visited again. She is just like family. Scott and I can be totally be ourselves with her. We have such a great time with her. Hopefully, right after Labor Day, we'll try out the RV since moving back into a house and travel up for a visit.

Our foster Lucky mentioned in my last post, was successfully adopted. No sooner was he gone, that I got a phone call of another pup in need. This rarely happened in NJ. So off I went to pick up Gunner.
Gunner was a fun 5 month old pup. Supposedly, the child was allergic. Whatever...He was an easy adoption. Hubby was not too happy, because he knew our friend Petra was coming. I usually sleep in the guest room with the foster dogs, so we didn't know how this would work. Well, Petra being the dog lover she is, welcomed Gunner into her bed and enjoyed his cuddles. So it all worked out great. Petra also went along with me to drop him off for the volunteer transport to get him to his adopters all the way to Wisconsin!!!
A couple weeks have passed, and I just said to Scott how nice it is to have the  routine of just our own dogs. Well don't you know the very next day, I get a phone call of a dog in need in Nashville? Yes, I have another foster dog. I've named her GiGi meaning "G-G" for Good Girl. She was supposedly tied up to someone's house who has English Setters and left. This person kept her for a week, checked her for a microchip, checked local newspapers, craig's list, etc for a lost dog with no results. Unfortunately this pup kept escaping her chain link fenced yard. This family believe in keeping their dogs outside. Plus their two English Setters didn't really like having a new dog in their yard, so they decided to turn her over to rescue.

She is super SUPER sweet. She must have been a house dog at one point. She is housebroken and very easy care., She gets along great with our dogs. She is very skinny, but that is because she is not a good eater. We've had her just about 2 weeks and she's already spoken for and will be adopted to a couple in upstate NY.
Scott is now very accepting of fostering. I guess he doesn't have much of a choice.

Can you believe that guy in the chair is 58 years old????

Canon PowerShot A710 IS
5 out of 5 stars
We have had this camera for about 15 years. We really are just a point and shoot type of photographer and have been very happy with this camera. We were looking for a camera mainly to take good photos of a black dog. Many cameras just wash out the dog and you just see a black blob. But our Canon did a beautiful job of showing off the beautiful black coat of our Flat Coated Retriever,Chance.
See how you can see all the waves in his coat? You can also see the unique Flat Coated Retriever shape of his snout/head. That is not a lab snout.
Recently, it's been acting funny. Not reliably turning on. So we decided to buy newer version of the

Canon Power Shot.SX160
$150. on Amazon
Jury still out on rating.
I don't think this has the contract of the black like the older Power shot, but still need some experimenting. The controls are easier. One simple button to take movies. But on the other hand, there is not an automatic flash. You have to flip up to open the flash. Seems a little backwards. Also, there is no eye viewer, only the screen viewer. Being an older person, I grew up with the eye viewer, plus in the sun, you cannot see the screen. I think I will continue to use my old Power Shot until it really bites the dust.

Wildlife Camera
Browning Trail Camera - Dark Ops
$132.00 at Amazon
My rating 4 out of 5
Easy camera to set up.
Fairly inexpensive
Long battery life.
Infrared flash so it doesn't scare wild life
I wish we had this while RV'ing. I think it not only would have been fun, or maybe a little scary to see what was creeping around our RV at night, but also may be a good thing to have for security in case of a break in.
The picture quality isn't great, but I'm just looking to capture what's going on while we're not outside. So far, we've only captured a few squirrels and my butt while clearing some brush in the woods.


going insanegoing insane by Tim Kizer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I should have known better. I don't enjoy short stories.
Plus, the main characters are definitely INSANE, with no moral, no remorse, etc. Just too much killing, like dropping dominoes.
Going Out in StyleGoing Out in Style by Daniel Kelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should learn to NOT download short stories. I don't look forward to the beginning, story, ending in such a short amount of pages.
But, the 2nd story, "Bathtub Ripples", was disturbing, yet beautiful. I think I will always remember that story. So well described. I felt in a trance "listening" to this girl's story and how she ended up at the point she is.
I rate "Bathtub Ripples" 5 stars.

Deliver MeDeliver Me by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A nice light romance. I enjoyed the setting of New Orleans and the unique local flavor. Two Dr.'s trying to make a go of a relationship. One is lusted after by every female in the hospital, the other recently hurt in a relationship, yet she still takes a chance with Dr. "Hottie".
There is a sub-story included within the book that I really don't understand the purpose of, unless it is to establish characters for future books. The sub-story had nothing to do with the main story except for the fact that Dr. "Hottie" or "Super Doc" was their Dr. The sub-story only confused me in keeping track of development.
Not much depth to the story, but enjoyable. I don't think I'd buy the rest of the series unless they are free or under $1.99 downloads. The Holmes brothers are likeable characters and will make a pleasant series. The characters are mainly Black, but just normal people, almost not worth mentioning their race. No emphasis on race, just a couple of references so you know their ethnicity.

The StrangerThe Stranger by Harlan Coben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book keeps you on the edge the whole time. Multiple stories, each involving a secret, switching back and forth. Just as something happens, or is just about to be revealed, or a question asked, we are switched to another set of characters and story. Constant cliff hangers!
Adam & wife
Heidi & daughter
Dan & son
John & son
plus the "Stranger" & accomplices.

A Highlander's Obsession (Highlander's Beloved, #1)A Highlander's Obsession by Vonnie Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hunky men in kilts. Mmmmm. An easy read and VERY enjoyable. I could easily become obsessed with this series. Creighton is a woman's fantasy man/lover/protector/provider/friend and to ice the cake, he's got the Scottish accent and many times wears his kilt. This is a total escape book. While reading the love scenes, all my surroundings still and dissipate and I am wrapped in my little world of perfect lovemaking. Let me cool down and talk about the actual storyline...
Paranormal genre with heavy romance thrown in. Characters with special abilities and evil counterparts. She describes her characters so you either love them or hate them. Not too many characters to get confused. Effie, also known as "Gram" is a really fun quirky character. She's old, wise, loveable, strange, and "bawdy", speaking her mind about her "heavy hung" late husband. I want to be like Effie as I grow into my senior years.
I will definitely continue this series. Smart move to offer the 1st in the series as a free Kindle download.

Word of HonorWord of Honor by Nelson DeMille
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

May be better read that listened to. This just dragged on and on and on. I increased the speed of my audio just to get through the slowness. I jumped for joy when I started part two of the audiobook. 11 minutes left of part two and I knew it couldn't end that quickly. UGH! There was a part three. I did finish, simply because I DID want to know the verdict/outcome, but it sure took a long time getting there.
Interesting in that the story reveals a soldier's side of Vietnam, I assume since I wasn't there. And you do wonder throughout the book if he is guilty by action or "just" association or not at all.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having grown up with Judy Garland and the Wizard of Oz and seeing the movie many times over, I'm very familiar with the details of this story.
Listening to the book was so interesting. To hear how the original story was written and the differences from the book and the movie. I enjoyed both versions thoroughly!
Anne Hathaway does an excellent job narrating.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Where's the ball/s??



We went through a really bad cold spell under freezing for many days a couple of weeks ago. But just since those couple of weeks, the weather has blossomed as have the daffodils! Scott and I enjoyed some time outside on our porch, reading. Since we now have both front and back yards fenced, we can enjoy the company of our dogs on any section of our covered porch. Ahhh, the country life!
Scott has gotten into bird feeding and now bird watching. I cleaned out the bird houses and have them back up waiting for new residents.

I have thought about gardening, but just don't want to bother. I'm surprised by that. I was so excited to grow our own vegetables, but I admit, I've gotten quite "lazy" and just enjoy living the life of a senior citizen. I guess I'm a little young for that at 58, but this is what I like to do.

Speaking of lazy....
These are still sitting on our porch since we emptied our storage unit. These 3 boxes are things I THOUGHT I would put in the house. They are just a lot of knick knacks...mainly dog themed, but I have lost my need? want? for all these dust collectors. So I'm still purging even though we have the room now. "Things"/ "Stuff" just collects and makes more work...dusting. Our house is VERY dusty. I think it is from the 5-6 dogs and lack of grass through the Winter. We use the coffee machine every day and yet, even that gets a layer of dust on it! Do I really want to be moving and dusting all these cutesy dog figurines?? No!
FULL TIME living in an RV has changed my whole attitude about our possessions. I want things to be functional and better yet, mult-functional and even better, compact too.

We were informed that our the previous owner of our house committed suicide. This was to be her retirement home with her husband. He died of cancer. She kept the house for a year after, but decided to sell it to move closer to family. She shot herself on Valentine's Day. She was only about 50.
I found recently that our 5th wheel is not an RV, since it is not a vehicle. Oh well, it's still an RV to me. You all know what I mean. I'm not missing the RV as much as before. I think it's because I'm really enjoying the freedom the dogs have with our huge fenced yard. Also, I'm enjoying the convenience of a large refrigerator and regular sized kitchen, stove and sink!
Of course, having a washer/dryer just waiting to be used on a whim and not scheduled is really nice also.
We'll be giving her a good cleaning, some lubricants for the slides, etc. and close her up soon. Sigh.
Next post, I'll have a product review for something you RV'rs may be interested in purchasing. I wish we had this when we were on the road.

It's still a revolving door of dogs in our home. We are now fostering Lucky. He is about 5 years old and very sweet to people. He's a nervous dog and has to be separated from our dogs, because if they get too close, he attacks. He attacked our 11 yr old deaf dog, Lyla. She is a total sweetheart, but damn! She gave it right back to Lucky. We saw blood and thought it was from our sweetheart, but nope, she bit his ear!!! He didn't learn his lesson though. Thankfully, he is being adopted at the end of the month, by a single man with no other pets.

Now on to BALLS!

Our Gordon Setter is 7 months old and 67 pounds! He is definitely going to be a big boy! He has started to show signs that his testosterone is kicking in. He's starting to mark where the other dogs pee and once in a while, lifts his leg to pee. Well, we'll nip that in the bud!!! Cut em off! Yep, his balls are gone! Funny thing, we think he keeps looking for them. He has become balls obsessed! Ryan loves chasing tennis balls, to the point of obsession. It's a good bonding time for Scott and Ryan.

Fallen Palm (Jesse McDermitt, #1)Fallen Palm by Wayne Stinnett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea. Very detailed descriptions of the Florida keys, boats, etc. Too much for me. I want to get into the storyline. I'm sure others find the descriptive writing about the Florida Keys very interesting. Just not for me.
I may return to this book because the base story sounds interesting, but just couldn't get through all the details.

Freefall (Custom Culture, #1)Freefall by Tess Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As "Aura" stated in her review...
"Nix is totally best-book boyfriend-ever material. He's sweet enough to swoon for, Alpha enough to want to obey, and sexy enough to drop panties for. Then again, I have a soft spot for artists and good men with rough edges."
Add to that the damsel is not only in distress but has a handicap (mute).
Nix is a modern knight in shining armor.
The story can be somewhat slow, but I enjoyed the characters so much, I was interested in the little details of their lives.

Frenched (Frenched, #1)Frenched by Melanie Harlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main female character reminded me of myself. I am a constant list maker and like things to be planned. And in my younger days, I have very pleasant memories of "romance".
Nice story, predicable. Great girl book. Much of the book was hot, raw, but not raunchy sex scenes. Although I really enjoyed them and thought of my own past, it did get to the point where I just scanned over the sex to find out what happens next. I scanned the sex because, Lucas ALWAYS hits the sweet spot, they ALWAYS seem to have simultaneous orgasms. Only so much I could take. I'm very envious.

A Game of ProofA Game of Proof by Tim Vicary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detailed courtroom drama. At first I had a difficult time getting used to the English terms and English court system, but soon grew accustomed. Also, many abbreviations were used for detective, policemen, etc., which I didn't know what they stood for.
Excellent storyline. The barrister, Sarah is not a likeable character. She is driven to obsession with her career, claiming it is for her son to have a better life than she did, but at what sacrifice? Now he is grown and accused of murder.
She is having trouble dealing with not only her grown son, but also her teenage daughter and her loving husband. All seem to be put 2nd to her career and they lash out.
A possible serial murderer/rapist is in York. Or is it two guys working together? Or is it the guy Sarah just got cleared of rape charges, or is it her own son? Read on to find out.

A Gift of Ghosts (Tassamara, #1)A Gift of Ghosts by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute story about a community with "quirks" or special powers. The main character can communicate with ghosts. Sweet characters, a little danger, some romance. Most of the ghosts reminded me of young married couple that are ghosts in "Beetlejuice". Cute.

Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance, #2)Sycamore Row by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very good court drama about the legitimacy of 2 different wills. I kind of saw the ending ahead of time, but still held my interest. Typical Grisham courtroom...

Triptych (Will Trent, #1)Triptych by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My husband recommended this to me. He kept asking if I liked it as I'm reading. Yes, I did like it. The beginning was a good read (3 stars), but as you get further into it, and learn of everyone's past and how it has evolved into the present, the book got better.
Even though I pretty much could tell who the real villain was fairly early on, my interest held because I wanted to see the delicate dance between the accused, and the real killer, how the detectives investigate, etc.
Very, very good. Not quite 5 stars but a solid, 4.5 star read.
Narrator was good for the most part, but sometimes the southern accents just seemed to blend into one another.

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like Zombie books, this is the book for you. I'm a Vampire fan and did not like the characteristics of the Vampires depicted in this book. And no-Vampires don't have to be sexy, but I don't like them mindless which is how most of them are described here. To me, that is more Zombie behavior.
The beginning of the book was good. I was looking forward to the mystery evolving of the plane landing with unusual circumstances. The middle of the book was kind of boring (for non-zombie fans), then the ending was exciting.
The book definitely left a typical opening for continuing the series.
I'm really enjoying my Jackon Underground Knitting group. We eat at a great Japanese restaurant, laugh, do show and tell, etc.
I am thrilled with retirement life and being able to knit for hours if I want. Sometimes when I need a break from the dog rescue work, I just listen to an audio book and knit and knit and knit. My knitting friends think I'm a fast just have more time to knit than they do.
I'm still enjoying MKAL's (Mystery Knit A Longs). I've completed 5 so far in 3 months. Here's my latest called, The Lightning Thief
The top middle section of zig zags is supposed to look like lightning bolts. This has a lot of beads which can't be seen in this photo. I ran out of yarn for this. There wasn't supposed to be a different color border, but I like it a lot. I used leftover yarn from another finished project. The lighter yarn is silk from The Kangaroo Dyer and the darker yarn is silk/merino from Knit Picks called Gloss.

An earlier MKAL this year, called Triangle of Happiness. Mine does not look like a triangle because I did an extra wedge to make it larger.
This one is also beaded, but only a few. For this pattern, I was just using stash yarn given to me, Paton's Lace. This is mostly acrylic with some mohair and wool.

I still don't know what to do with all these finished items.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fulfilled life

I guess you can tell from all my book reviews, that retirement life is having loads of time to read. I love it!!!! We bought a house in July, that was live in ready. The kitchen could use some updating, but is in good shape and I'm not picky. So I get to enjoy just relaxing, and doing revisions as I want, not as I need to. No honey-do's for Scott...well, very little. Life is good. But, I do miss the RV life. Again, I'm wishing my life away. When I worked, I wished for retirement, just prior to retirement, I wished for the RV life. RV life evolved into country living and now country living is dreaming of RV travels again. Because we are in the country, there is not much to offer, well, except a nice quiet, country life. Which I truly am enjoying, but in the back of my mind, I miss traveling and trying new foods, and finding a really great RV park, and new friends, new culture, etc.
I am in no way wishing the demise of our dogs, but I can see since we have an 11 year old and two 8 year olds, that within 5-8 years, we'll be down to two dogs (presently 4 years old and under 1 year), and can RV again. RV'ing is never far from my mind. I was happy living in an RV although I wanted to experience having a home in the country, instead of crowded NJ.
I must admit, my life is pretty much complete.
In my 20's & 30's, I sowed my "wild oats" and had a blast during the disco era. I enjoyed the advantages of good looks, and a good figure (I had to work hard for the good figure).
I was smart and waited to get married and chose someone I get along with, and puts up with me.
I was lucky to have and tolerated a stable job with good benefits for 32 years.
My plan to retire at 55 year old did not happen. Nope, I was able to retire just 2 months shy of age 53!!!!
I chose not to have children. I was always fearful that in my old age, I would regret that decision. No regrets so far!
I fulfilled my RV full time dream.
I fulfilled my country living without struggling financially.
I've fulfilled enjoying my retirement and doing what I want to do.
Just two things I'm somewhat disappointed weight and my over commitment to dog rescue. But...I sure am enjoying eating what I want, and my volunteer work keeps me from thinking that I am not a useful part of the world.
Typical day.
I am enjoying the Jackson Underground Knitters that meet weekly at a Japanese restaurant.  We have a private area, good food, and nice ladies to socialize and knit with. So far, none of the ladies get on my nerves. Really fun group. Plus, I get to wear something I've made and they've never seen. Every week is show and tell for me.
I LOVE this hat I crocheted. The free pattern is Women's Peaked Cap. And with temps in the teens, I'm appreciating the warmth of this hat. Thanks to Shirley for the buttons.
Blue, named for her blue eyes, in her toy box.
Well, our little rescue puppy, Blue is on her way to NJ to her adopters. I have to admit, I do miss her even though a good night's sleep eluded me the whole time she was in our home. She is such a happy dog! She just makes us smile.
Blue on left, and our 7 month old on right.
Best Buds, play hard and rest, play hard and rest...
Stubb's Chili Fixins
Our rating 4 out of 5

Scott seems to do most of the grocery shopping. I mainly shop for the other items for the house, such as cleaning products. So when I do shop for food, I take my time, since I still haven't learned the layout of the small Walmart grocery section. So while strolling through the aisles, I saw this product. Scott really likes Stubb's BBQ rub and such, so when I saw a package for, just add meat chili, I had to check it out. It was only $2.50 and had a $1.00 off coupon on the package. Can't beat $1.50!
We added chop meat, onions and beans. Delicious!!!!! I don't know if the $2.50 is the regular price or not. I checked on line and it's much more expensive. I'll definitely buy up Walmart's stock of Stubb's Chili Fixins if it's still $2.50.

Broken (Broken, #1)Broken by Kelly Elliott
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

36% in and gave up.
This is probably an enjoyable book for an immature teen to early 20's audience. The "F bomb" flew throughout the book by all characters. Whitley is being helped by a handsome cowboy when her car breaks down. Would you start throwing the F word around when you first meet someone? How low class.
Then the continual bickering while trying to convince themselves they have "just friends" feelings, nothing more. Their hearts are too broken for love again WTF? I might as well join in the disgusting language.
It sure would NOT win my heart if a handsome, hunk of a cowboy started using that language around me.
A guy's looks can make me all hot, but when they disrespect me with that foul language, I'm outta here, but if I were using the same language, I guess low lives attract low lives.
Very sad example of our youth today.

Chasing Perfection: Vol. I (Chasing Perfection, #1)Chasing Perfection: Vol. I by M.S. Parker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Free kindle download...thank goodness.
DeVon is slime or very unhappy or angry and taking it out on women. No, he doesn't beat them, but he uses them sexually and throws them away. But I guess that's not saying much for the women either.
A couple of shocking sexual surprises. DeVon is not a likeable character, but the romantics out there will hope that he comes around and finds a woman he can respect and tame him. Well, I'll never know. The book ended at what should be just a chapter ending, not a book ending. In order to really complete the storyline, you need to read the next in the series, which I will not. Book just left us hanging and not in a good cliffhanger sense, just a tease like Devon the main handsome, sexy, jerk.

The Dead RoomThe Dead Room by Robert Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful journey into the thinking process of finding a murderer, possibly a serial murderer. And within that story are political secrets, corruption, and egotism.
Fast paced, murder mystery with a touch of romance. The development of the characters is excellent. Really enjoyed the book...hated the ending.

Dreams of Reality (The Dreams Trilogy)Dreams of Reality by Beth Bares
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really 3.5 more than a 4 star.
Paranormal, vampires, etc. romance/adventure. Very good story and characters. Another interesting take on the vampire rage.
Kept my interest the whole time. My only problem was being a woman in her 50's, the female characters, barely in their 20's were showing their immaturity with their giddiness, but other than that, I look forward to the next in the series.
Yes there were editorial errors, but nothing to deter from the story.
*Just checked Amazon. At $10.95 for Book #2, I do not think I'll be reading further. Just too steep for a just above average book.

Open and ShutOpen and Shut by David Rosenfelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I learned of this author because of his true life story "Dog Tripping". I gave his fiction a try because of his love of dogs.
Narrator was quite irritating at first, but then he grew into the main character, a wise ass lawyer, who seems to be a loser, but is actually quite efficient in the courtroom.
Murder mystery, courtroom drama, a lot of sarcasm.
I enjoyed the book, but thought it was just average.

Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #11)Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So disappointing!  I was sad when Anne Rice announced she would no longer be writing vampire novels. A few years later, lo and behold, Prince Lestat pops up! Yeah!!! Over two hours into the audio book and it is just creeping along. She seems to be trying to refresh our memories of characters past, which at time brings back fond memories of her previous books. But then it gets old. Too much detail into the previous covered characters with just a smidgen of new material. A teaser, I suppose of what is to come. But she took just too damned long.
I felt like I was listening to a history book. BORING! Plus the narrator was terrible! He made Lestat sound like the original vampire, Bella Lugosi. Very distracting. Lestat is supposed to be sexy and the narrator did not come across as sexy. Sigh.

Our Travels