Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where has the thyme gone?

Why, I transplanted it from garden bed to pot, along with some parsley, a fairly large rosemary shrub, and my oregano. We harvested all the carrots (promptly ate them in two days), and then I broke down my three raised beds behind the patio. After raking out the dirt, I planted some Turf Alive!®, raked a little more, and mulched with straw. Now what we have is a big mess of wet straw. But if you look very closely, you can see wee blades of grass--and some very healthy wild onion shoots--testing the air. It was the perfect project for this stretch of perfect weather, just the sort of feeling in the air that convinces you that your favorite season is now fall.

Which is why it's so hard to report that I'm ticked off today. Christiana Hospital, where my two children were born, has the largest, most comprehensive maternity ward in the state. And, according to a letter to the editor I read yesterday (and I called the hospital to confirm), THEY HAVE STARTED CHARGING $15 A POP TO CHECK YOUR CHILD SAFETY SEATS. I had N's seat checked weeks before he was born, then I had his rechecked along with A's right before she was born. Free. Free free free. Just schedule on their available days and times, and, well, free. Keeps kids alive, you know. Was staffed by volunteers, you know. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? If this new (and PROHIBITIVELY high) charge prevents a child from surviving a crash, I may have a breakdown.

And another thing, but not so important. Why does Disney insist on putting inappropriate video advertisements before KIDS' videos like Rolie Polie Olie? The preview I am speaking of is forDisney's House of Villains. YES, thank you, I want my 3yo and 18mo to watch Cruella scream, Meleficent boil, and whatever-the-hell-that-underwater-witch's-name-is turn into a fire-breathing demon. The freakin videotape is for preschoolers, for Jebus sake! Why scare the shit out of them before they've even gotten to the "feature"?

I'm now off my rant stump.

A note: I started a new blog at vox.com. Like I need that time sucker. I'm going to do all my writing about topics gustatory at--how originally titled, you will say--Eat and Drink. Hope you can pop in. And if you want an invite to make a vox blog, let me know. I think I have some to give away. I can't figure out a way to put in a hit tracker, so if you visit, please comment! I'd love to know who shows up.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Insomnia: A Small Price to Pay

Just needed to let everyone know that Anne Frasier is responsible for the dark circles under my eyes, the stoop in my shoulders. I haven't slept terribly well since I finished her newest novel PALE IMMORTAL. The images she conjured and the questions she left unanswered are yet rattling around in my head. I'm not sure I can wait another year for the sequel. (By the way, Anne, you'll want to ignore the title my husband suggested for the second installment: PALER, IMMORTALER.)

I would love to go back and reread the thing in a calmer state, but at the rate my eyes were tearing through the story, I unfortunately burned up the last half of the thing trying to get through the climax. Guess that means I'll have to buy some more copies. Hehe. The story is compelling, exciting, at times humorous, horrifying, and fascinating. A grand read.

I second Christa's pronouncement that atmosphere is Frasier's forte. I'm steering clear of Burlington, Iowa now that I know she used her hometown as the basis for Tuonela. No use getting myself mixed up in that mess, right?

Boys and girls, as the weather grows cooler and the days shorten toward Halloween, you'd be doing yourself a favor to brew a mug of tea, curl up under a wooly blanket, and crack a new copy of PALE IMMORTAL. But first, make sure you've stocked up on your sleep before you plunge into the darkness. It lingers long after the last page is turned.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

PALE IMMORTAL by Anne Frasier, on sale September 5

I highly recommend you buy Anne Frasier's newest novel, PALE IMMORTAL...today. I am halfway through it, but forced myself to put it down long enough to write this blog entry. And that was no small feat. Frasier has made the creepy world of this novel so utterly believable that broad daylight doesn't do much to lessen my goosebumps. I must keep reading to find out the answers--or do I really want to know those answers?? Here's the "official" synopsis:

Welcome to Tuonela, a sleepy Wisconsin town haunted by events of 100 years ago, when a man who may have been a vampire slaughtered the town's citizens and drank their blood. Now, another murderer is killing the most vulnerable...and draining their bodies of blood.

Evan Stroud lives in darkness. The pale prisoner of a strange disease that prevents him from ever seeing the light of day, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire." When troubled teenager Graham Stroud appears on Evan's doorstep, claiming to be his long-lost son, Evan's uneasy solitude is shattered.

Having escaped Tuonela's mysterious pull for several years, Rachel Burton is now back in town, filling in as coroner. Even as she seeks to identify the killer, and uncover the source of the evil that seems to pervade the town, she is drawn to Evan by a power she's helpless to understand or resist....

As Graham is pulled deeper and deeper into Tuonela's depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld, Rachel and Evan team up to save him. But the force they are fighting is both powerful and elusive...and willing to take them to the very mouth of hell.

Now get a load of the cool video for PALE IMMORTAL:

Kinda makes you want to RUN out and buy it, doesn't it? Then do it!

Need more? Go to the PALE IMMORTAL blog and listen to the soundtrack and MP3s, read the first two chapters, and learn much, much more.

Now, I'll be getting back to the book. With all the lights on, of course. And maybe the TV too. And the radio.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fall Follies

For academic geeks like me, every fall promises the beginning of a brilliant new year. Blank notebooks, earnest faces, new shoes, spotless chalkboards. However, because I am on teaching hiatus while at home with my 18mo and 3yo, my usual September yearnings are thus far unrequited. Quiet moments have lately found me reading and even--gasp--writing again, but this "semester," there are more pressing assignments I must complete.

  • We need a new roof. Yesterday.
  • The family room/powder room/study redo is underway. I've identified the flooring we will use and we've summoned the contractor. In the meantime, we're stripping wallpaper, painting, pulling up carpet and vinyl, cleaning and deodorizing floors, and finally resting our weary bones. We'll let the installer-dude do the rest of the job.
  • I'm kicking my roomie out. Little A has shacked up in her crib beside our bed for 18 months now--a stale arrangement, frankly, since I weaned her a couple months ago. So we've got to prepare the spare bedroom for N--who's been in the nursery too long--where he will move into his first adult-size twin bed. Then we will roll A into the nursery.
  • But first, my parents will be visiting next weekend.
  • Oh wait--Did I mention the gigantic branches that Ernesto brought down last night across our patio, garden, and fence? The branches themselves are the size of trees. We'll need to enlist some large muscles and a couple of chain saws to free one from where it's wedged in the lowest crotch of the tree. (Lowest being a relative term. It is an enormous maple tree.)

Wife, parent, homeowner. It's hard to fit in any other stuff at the moment. I think there's a handy calendar in my Trapper-Keeper, though. I'll try to pencil in some writing time for next week.