mstrust#4- Happy Summerween!

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mstrust#4- Happy Summerween!

Modificato: Giu 21, 1:17pm

An explanation: Summerween officially falls on June 22nd. Or the last Friday of June, it's a whole controversy. Then there's Half-O-Ween, which falls in July. Either way, you get to celebrate a time that is half scary, half tropical, and I'm all for it.
The term "Summerween" was invented in an episode of Gravity Falls around 2012. Set in a small forested town with lots of strange occurrences, the show is about the summer twins Dipper and Mabel are sent to stay with their Grunkle, a man who owns the Mystery Shack.

But this thread isn't about the show, it's about a mash-up between creepy and tiki. A blatant ploy to get more time with Halloween. Our summers are as hellish as can be, so of course I look forward to cooler Autumn.
Hi, I'm Jennifer and I live in Phoenix with my husband Mike and Coral the Clingy Boxer. We spend a lot of time in Vegas because my mom and our favorite bartender live there.
I've published a couple of books on Amazon, but I've spent the past year working on my maple opus, hopefully to be finished soon.
My threads are always politics-free, and sniff sniff, this one smells like pumpkin spice and tanning oil.

Modificato: Oggi, 11:56am

2021 Reads

1. Lady Windermere's Fan- 4 stars
2. The Riddle of the Third Mile- 4 stars
3. California Hotel and Casino- 3 stars
4. Ultimate Veg- 4 stars
5. Bowie's Bookshelf- 4 stars
6. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie- 5 stars
7. Britten and Brulightly- 4.2 stars
8. A Walk Around the Block- 4 stars
9. The Little Paris Kitchen- 4 stars
10. Action Park- 5 stars
11. Trick Yourself to Sleep- 2.5 stars
12. Come Home, Indio- 2.5 stars
13. Mystery, Inc.- 4 stars
14. Almost Sleighed- 4 stars
15. Vegas Tabloid- 2.5 stars
16. Essential Herbs- 4 stars
17. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag- 4.5 stars
18. My Life with Sherlock Holmes- 2.5 stars
19. Rez Metal- 3 stars
20. Hoodoo Harry- 5 stars
21. Bibliotheca Classica- 4.5 stars
22. Selected Poems of W.H. Auden- 3.5 stars
23. Confess- 4.5 stars
24. The Murder of Dr. Chapman- 4 stars
25. The Pretty Little Box- 4 stars
26. Fairytale Baking- 5 stars
27. Seven Years- 4 stars
28. The Golden Gate- 4.5 stars
29. Oh, The Places You'll Go!- 5 stars
30. A Likely Story- 2.5 stars
31. Animal Behavior: A Very Short Introduction- 4 stars
32. Grateful American- 3.5 stars
33. Haunted Nights- 4.5 stars
34. Miao Doa- 4 stars
35. Welcome to the United States of Anxiety- 3.5 stars
36. Skinwalkers- 4 stars
37. Miss Marple's Final Cases- 3 stars
38. The Factory Witches of Lowell- 2.8 stars
39. The Eyre Affair- 5 stars
40. And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks- 3.5 stars
41. Redshirts- 4.5 stars
42. Tiki Surf Witches Want Blood- 4 stars
43. Survivor Song- 2.8 stars
44. Not Taco Bell Material- 3 stars
45. Maigret Goes to School- 3.5 stars
46. Moby Dick- 4.5 stars
47. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered- 4 stars
48. The Beginner's Guide to Mushrooms- 4.5 stars
49. Elizabeth- 4 stars
50. High Tech and Hot Pot- 4 stars
51. The House on Mango Street- 3 stars
52. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake- 3.5 stars
53. Night of the Mannequins- 3 stars
54. Face It- 4.5 stars
55. England As You Like It- 3 stars
56. Middle Men: Stories- 4.2 stars
57. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont- 4.5 stars
58. Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii- 4 stars
59. Where The Sidewalk Ends- 5 stars
60. An Accidental Bookseller- 4 stars
61. The Giving Tree- 4 stars & The Empire of the Ants- 2.5 stars
62. Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple- 3.5 stars
63. Murder on Tap- 3.5 stars
64. The Sleep Tight Motel- 4 stars
65. I'd Rather Be Reading- 3.5 stars
66. Uncle Dysfunctional
67. Candy Coated Murder- 3.5 stars
68. Check These Out- 3.5 stars
69. Deadly Arms- 3 stars
70. I Work at a Public Library- 4 stars
71. Mr Monk Goes to the Firehouse- 4 stars
72. Murderously Sweet- 4 stars

Modificato: Giu 21, 1:13pm

Welcome! Grab a handful of candy and a daiquiri!

Giu 21, 1:47pm

Happy new one, Jennifer. What a great topper.

Giu 21, 2:07pm

Happy new thread, Jennifer.
Georgeous and tasty Pictures!

Giu 21, 2:13pm

>4 Ameise1: Thanks a lot, Barbara! Here's a special First Place Prize, a Summerween purse:

>5 SirThomas: Good to see you made it, Thomas! Go ahead and help yourself to some delicious shark mouth fruit.

Giu 21, 2:15pm

I've just checked out some Amazon Prime deals and bought myself a new Kindle Fire. Mine is at least ten years old and shows signs of breaking down. So the deal was $5 off. Apparently I don't need much incentive.

Giu 21, 2:43pm

Happy new thread, and happy summerween!! (I'm also a big fan of Decemberween...)

Giu 21, 2:45pm

>6 mstrust: Oh, thanks so much. I love it. 😍

Giu 21, 2:54pm

Happy new thread!

May you celebrate as you choose!

Giu 21, 2:57pm

>3 mstrust: Oooh...that looks very tempting.

Giu 21, 4:12pm

>8 scaifea: Thanks, Amber, Happy Summerween to you!
I've seen little bits of Decemberween here and there. It may be a small party now but it could get big. We Halloween people like a good gap-toothed celebration.

>9 Ameise1: Hooray!

>10 quondame: Thanks, glad you're here!
For now, I choose sand angels, and since Dracula can't be in the sun, the main monster for Summerween is The Creature.

>11 laytonwoman3rd: Doesn't it? I'm not sure if the glass is rimmed with roasted pineapple or human flesh, but I know it has orange and pineapple juice, so that's delicious.

Giu 21, 5:54pm

Happy new thread!

Giu 21, 6:29pm

Happy new one, Jennifer.

Giu 21, 7:09pm

>13 rabbitprincess: Hi and thanks!
>14 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Don't worry, I know you're excited on the inside.

Giu 21, 7:51pm

>15 mstrust: Maybe because I'm groggy from my AZ injection, but I didn't understand your comment, Jennifer?

Giu 22, 5:58am

Happy new thread, Jennifer!

I see you found good use for watermelons, I hope the pumpkins won't get jealous :-)

Giu 22, 9:46am

>16 PaulCranswick: I was riffing off your calm and collected greeting to indulge myself in a little smart assery. It didn't land, did it?
I'll apologize by handing you a Frozen Pumpkin Juice, as it seems quite Summerweenie and delicious. A shot of whiskey wouldn't spoil it.

Frozen Pumpkin Juice

7.5 tbs pumpkin puree
6 oz apple juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz honey
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
Whirl it all in an ice filled blender.

>17 FAMeulstee: Hello, Anita! Good to see you!
It's true that the watermelons and pumpkins have been at odds for a long time, but I see signs of willingness to put aside their differences and gang up on the carvers. It's a mutual enemy.

I went back to the Prime sale, like the sucker I am, and bought some lovely kitchen curtains that are covered in pineapples.

Giu 22, 10:30am

Happy new one!

Giu 22, 12:52pm

I'm in!

Giu 22, 12:55pm

Dropping in to wish you a Happy Summerween!

Giu 22, 2:03pm

>19 drneutron: Thank you, Jim! I'm glad you're here.

>20 SomeGuyInVirginia: Larry's here! Hooray!
*could someone hide the rum and wax vampire fangs?*

>21 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! Happy Summerween!

Giu 22, 2:47pm

>18 mstrust: Thanks for that, Jennifer, I will get SWMBO to produce it to your specifications on the morrow. xx

Giu 22, 6:06pm

Why would you want to hide the rum and wax vampire fangs. Don't be that guy Jennifer!

Giu 22, 6:26pm

>23 PaulCranswick: I hope you think it worth the effort. It's kind of a pumpkin smoothie.

>24 SomeGuyInVirginia:
I, uh, didn't see you standing there.

Giu 23, 8:33am

>18 mstrust: For what it's worth, I giggled at your smart-assery...

Modificato: Giu 23, 12:04pm

Heee! I'm giving you something just for encouraging me.

How's an Island Ghoul candle suit ya?

My new Kindle arrived last night, with four months of their Unlimited book club, so I loaded up last night and will continue hoarding them up today.
And it's my dad's birthday, so Mom is going out to the cemetery in Boulder City with flowers. I wanted to send a Grubhubbed dinner for her tonight but she doesn't want anything so I get to do nothing.
I woke up this morning to rain and 64F. Amazing. Mike happened to be hiking up the mountain at the preserve when it started but he said it was nice.

Giu 23, 4:58pm

58. Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii by Lee Goldberg. Unwilling to let his assistant Natalie get away to Hawaii for her best friend's wedding, which would leave him without anyone to drive him and hand him disinfectant wipes, Monk drugs himself up and gets on the plane to Hawaii. They're halfway through the flight before Natalie realizes he's onboard and that her vacation is ruined.
Monk also manages to ruin the wedding, drive the hotel staff up the wall, solve a string of burglaries and a murder, and is determined to expose a tv psychic as a fraud. He visits many famous Hawaiian spots and a luau too, all against his will.
This series of Monk novels, mostly written by Goldberg, are really fun, and since the author was also a writer for the show he voices the characters perfectly. 4 stars

Giu 24, 7:57am

>27 mstrust: Oooh, excellent! Thanks - I love it!

>28 mstrust: I. LOVE. Monk! I need to see if any of our streaming services have it...

Giu 24, 8:13am

>28 mstrust: Oooh, good recommendation. I just tagged an ebook copy from the lie-berry.

Giu 24, 10:14am

Happy Summerween! Happy New AC!

Giu 24, 10:47am

>29 scaifea: I'm so glad you're enjoying the scent of pineapple and palm tree...maybe I should get one for myself.
I watched the whole series on Prime but that was two or three years ago. If you get the Hallmark Mysteries channel, they play blocks of Monk.

>30 SomeGuyInVirginia: I hope you like it too. I think it's really well-written, like a lost episode. Monk's reaction to being taken to a roadside locals restaurant is priceless.

>31 PaperbackPirate: Happy Summerween! How'd you like our dark skies and high of 88 yesterday?

Modificato: Giu 24, 11:00am

59. Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. That's right, I'd never read this before even though it was around when I was a kid.
It's fantastic! Poems about a guy who refuses to bath, pirate captains, a boy with hair so long it sends him flying, a girl too sick to go to school until she's reminded that it's the weekend. Whimsical, clever and fun. 5 stars

Giu 24, 11:11pm

>32 mstrust: Of course we were out of town for the nice weather, and it even rained at our house - we saw it on our security camera. Lol. Luckily we were near Prescott at the time and it rained there for an hour, so at least we got to feel something other than frying weather.

Giu 25, 7:36am

>33 mstrust: Oh yay for Silverstein! I *loved* him when I was a kid.

Giu 25, 8:12am

>33 mstrust: Didn't he write The Phantom Tollbooth? I read that when I was a kid and I don't remember anything about the story, but I do remember that it left me feeling a sense of unease.

Giu 25, 10:16am

>34 PaperbackPirate: Well, at least you had proof on your camera that it happened. We lived in Prescott Valley for four years and they get some good hail and snow up there too. I haven't been up there in nearly ten years but Mike was there this week and said it's been so built-up that it's unrecognizable.

>35 scaifea: He's great, and I think he and Roald Dahl would have gotten along famously. They both saw children as capable of lying, being bad and stubborn.

>36 SomeGuyInVirginia: The Phantom Tollbooth was by Norton Juster, and that's another that I never read until just a few years ago. I recall it broke the fourth wall and I enjoyed that. Silverstein also wrote The Giving Tree, which I will be reading soon for the first time.
But seriously, what was going on in my house and school that there are all these books that were the cornerstone of everyone's childhoods and I've only heard about them as an adult? Both my parents were readers and they had books, but I think I had just a couple of children's books. I do recall that my mom bought The National Enquirer every week while I was in elementary school and I read every issue, so while I missed out on Silverstein at seven years old, I knew what was going on with the cast of "Charlie's Angels".
Have you been watching "Black Summer"?

Giu 25, 10:28am

Here's Friday's One New Thing.

The heaviest watermelon ever recorded was 350 lbs. The Guinness World Record holder is Chris Kent of Tennessee, who entered it at an Ohio pumpkin festival in October of 2013. There, how's that for a summer/Halloween mash-up?

Giu 25, 12:04pm

>37 mstrust: I grew up in Chino Valley (that's where I was when it rained) and I feel the same. All of the farm land is gone and almost all of the ranch land as well. Now it's all urban sprawl. It makes me sad to go home and see the development so I avoid it when possible.

>38 mstrust: Great mash up! 350 pounds of watermelon is kind of scary.

Giu 25, 2:31pm

O.k., we got to Chino Valley sometimes. It's hard to believe the area has been built up so much. Remember when Bucky's Casino was a big deal? And Mike and I would go to Mt Fuji's, the only Japanese restaurant in the area.

We Sold Our Souls arrived yesterday.

Modificato: Giu 25, 2:49pm

60. An Accidental Bookseller: A Personal Memoir of Foyles by Bill Samuel. Samuel is a Foyle on his mother's side, and he's the grandson of William Foyle, co-founder of the London bookstore company that is now over 100 years old. The title of this book comes from the fact that Samuel never had an interest in being in the family business, not because he didn't love books, but because when he reached adulthood Foyles was being run by his Aunt Christina and they mutually loathed each other.
Samuel became an accountant, but if the term "adventurer accountant" has ever been used, it was to describe this man who worked in advertising in Nairobi, owned a construction company in Portugal and became the Director of Tourism for Turks and Caicos. His memoir of finally joining the board of Foyles and working in the family business, after Christina's death, is also part autobiography of his world travels.
But what a juicy business memoir. He truly disliked his aunt and really slings some mud about what he found as the board member, and accountant, who dove into the non-existent record keeping, billings, and fraud that had been Christina's system. He gives specifics as to how employees were able to defraud the business for years, and he discusses the years of poor customer service and bad treatment of the employees that was allowed to ruin the shop's reputation. He also discusses the steps that were taken to rectify these things, like finally bringing in computers, once the rest of the family was able to step in. 4 stars

Giu 26, 1:51pm

>33 mstrust: Shel Silverstein was some kind of genius. He also wrote Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue", the Irish Rovers' classic "The Unicorn", and lots of other songs.

Giu 26, 6:12pm

Ermagerd! I have not watched Black Summer yet because I am waiting on my new 70-in television. It probably won't be here until around the 4th of July. I. Cannot. Wait.

Good review, I've been wanting to read An Accidental Bookseller for a while. Now I will.

Modificato: Giu 28, 5:46pm

>42 laytonwoman3rd: I didn't know that! I was a dj at a country music station years ago, and Cash's "Sue" from Folsom Prison was on heavy rotation on Saturday nights. It is a good one.

>43 SomeGuyInVirginia: I finished "Black Summer" on Friday. I'll wait until you've watched it to say anything.
I think you'll like An Accidental Bookseller, both because he went all over the world and because he really dishes on the mess the next generation inherited from Aunt Christina.

We got back from Vegas this morning. It was a quick trip, just 48 hours, but we did a lot. And we were very surprised to see the trading post in Wikieup that we liked stopping at had burned to the ground last month.
Mom is good and we took her to the The Ranch House for steaks on Saturday, and on Sunday to Tony's for her favorite meal ever, carnitas nachos. Mike and I hit Frankie's last night and picked up the matte green Frankenstein mug. We already had the glazed orange one, but we both agree the green is cooler.
Because I'm too lazy to take a picture and upload it myself, I grabbed this. It's the mug on the left:

From The Writer's Block downtown:
On the Wrong Track
Psychiatry: A Very Short Introduction

From the Summerlin library bookstore:
The Giver
Kon-Tiki a smaller copy than the one I have
Thames Valley Teashop Walks
Chocolate Wars

Gifts from Mom:
Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple
Two books of a series I'd never heard of, The Book of All Flesh and The Book of Final Flesh, It's a twenty year-old zombie anthology series. I flipped through and there are stories from Paul Trembley and Tim Waggoneer.

And in my mailbox was an order, Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins, one of my favorite non-fiction authors.

Modificato: Giu 28, 5:57pm

I'm lumping these two short ones together.

61. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Could this metaphor for motherhood be any sadder? This book is another that I'm reading for the first time. 4 stars

The Empire of the Ants by H.G. Wells. I'd wanted to read this one for a long time as I'm a fan of the 70's horror movie version with the actors fighting off huge animatronic ants. Love it. This story started out promising, with a new man aboard a boat in the jungle describing the infestation of aggressive ants that seem more organized than usual, but the ending was disappointing, as if Wells tired of the whole thing. 2.5 stars

Giu 29, 7:09am

Was Las Vegas fully open? Until I move to Lynchburg I was watching YouTube videos on the city, but back then most things were closed for restricted. I also got the sense that the people that were going were not your typical Las Vegas tourists and that they were just raising hell while they were there.

Wells's The Time Machine was one of the most depressing books I ever read.

Modificato: Giu 29, 9:04am

Yes, Vegas was open. Finally. But being slowed down with so, so much construction happening on the strip. The biggest casino on the strip, ResortWorld, has opened, and a new one called MSG Sphere (Madison Square Garden) is being built. They're doing roadwork too so they have it narrowed down to two lanes. But everything is open and our guy at Frankie's says they are filled most nights.
We got there Saturday morning and a guy was shot in a PT's Pub Casino that night. Then on Sunday someone was shot at the Sahara. So people are really getting out to the casinos, even to commit their murders.
I haven't read The Time Machine yet, but it's on the shelf.
Oh, and the big surprise was that my Aunt Carrie in Texas had sent a package containing booklets she'd made up for Mom, my sister and me, that were messages to each of us and an autobiography that my grandmother had written at the end of her life. She died nineteen years ago and before she was cold Uncle Ken, her only son of six kids, ran to the house and cleaned it of anything valuable, like her jewelry and stereo, and apparently all these letters she'd written to her kids and grandkids, just to keep them from his siblings. Nobody knew about them until he sent them to Carrie a few weeks ago.

Giu 29, 10:17am

I guess this book is so new that I'm the only one who owns it so far. I've entered as much info as I can.

62. Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple by Judith A. Pearce. A slim book of classic and original recipes along with instructions for making them alcohol-free. Nice color pics of each cocktail. And eight different sangria recipes. 3.5 stars

Lug 1, 11:55am

>47 mstrust: Holy cow, have you read your grandmother's autobiography?! That's amazing.

We had a similar situation when my grandmother died to what you described. My aunt Ruth, whose name was always followed by the phrase 'who would', ran to my grandmother's house as soon as she heard she had died. There was nothing of value in the house but there were sentimental objects and one family holy grail item- a journal that listed every item that my family owned, including people, written just before the civil war. So that went missing and only resurfaced a few years ago in a digitized format, and a pressed glass ambrosia dish that my grandmother always used and my dad wanted.

Why is there somebody really horrible in almost every family?

Modificato: Lug 2, 9:10am

She has it organized into sections, such as her family, education (just part-time in school until she was fourteen), being an actual riveter during WWII, and what it was like during the war with rations and her brother away fighting in Europe for nearly four years, and her cousin W.C., who was also her best friend, enlisting in the Marines at the start of the war at seventeen years old and dying in his first battle at eighteen. Her time at the TB hospital, and meeting both her husbands.
I had always thought my grandma was the oldest of eleven kids because she seemed to have been a second mother to her siblings, but she states that she was the fourth child and the second daughter. There's an older sister named Etna Lorene whom I've never heard of, maybe paragraphs like this should be a clue as to why:

I remember the time Lorene was playing with a live cartridge of dynamite Dad had brought home from a job he was on. Mother and Dad left Lorene with us smaller children while they were working. She kept tapping the cartridge on the hot stove and it would crackle, and sparks would fly from it. She didn't know how dangerous it was. She was twelve years old, and I was eight. The cartridge exploded and tore up two of her fingers on her left hand. Her thumb was also mangled. That was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. They took her to the hospital where her thumb and four fingers were removed in surgery. It was a very bad time for all of us. Lorene never seemed to do very well after that. I guess the shock of the blast was overwhelming. She had been left-handed 'til then.
Once, Lorene went to the well to get a bucket of water. She was drawing it up with a pulley and it fell on her head and cut it open. She never seemed quite the same after that.

So the explosion would have been in 1932.
I had expected this to be something I'd read once, then stick in the closet, but it's going on my shelf with my books.

Why is there somebody really horrible in almost every family?
There's always someone who is afraid they won't get their share, so they help themselves. Or, they just enjoy screwing other people over, including family. Some people just have greed in their blood. If we want to be generous of heart, we could say that these horrible people keep things exciting.

Modificato: Lug 2, 9:12am

63. Murder on Tap by Emily James. The fourth in the Maple Syrup Mysteries series, this one has new sugar shack owner Nicole discovering the body of her young photographer while leading a tour group through the sugarbush. Drew had been getting shots for the new tourism brochure when someone decided to tap him like a maple tree. Nicole is convinced that the killer was one of the tour group, maybe even Drew's annoying girlfriend.
Has some big leaps in logic, but still enjoyable. 3.5 stars

Lug 3, 8:01am

I'm over exciting. You know what I want? Mayberry.

Lug 4, 8:52am

Yes, sometimes I'd like to sit down and swap recipes with Carol Brady. But I'll bet she drinks instant coffee.

Lug 4, 8:57am

Happy 4th!

Lug 4, 9:10am

64. The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger. Maddie is in the middle of nowhere, driving an old beater that is about to breakdown. She's trying to outrun Erik, her scary boyfriend, who is maybe a day behind her but gaining fast and sending threatening text messages that tell her she can't escape him. As her gas tank is nearly empty and she's exhausted, Maddie pulls into the Sleep Tight Motel, a little place along the interstate run by Drew, a lonely man who couldn't be nicer. But between the two of them they can't figure out why Maddie keeps hearing screaming and scuffling in the empty room next door.
A kind of re-imagining of Psycho, but with a big twist at the end. I read this on Kindle, it's part of their Dark Corners collection. I don't know if this is considered a novella or a long short story. It's the first I've read by this author. 4 stars

Lug 5, 9:30am

65. I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. Bogel is best known as the host of the What Should I read Now podcast, so I heard her soothing voice as I read this.
In this book she discusses so many aspects of being a reader, from packing a stack of books for vacation to having an acquaintance, someone you hardly know, ask for book recommendations, to the danger of looking at a good friend's bookshelf and being surprised. She discusses the many ways a reader can track their reads, and she reminisces about the many years, as a young family, that she lived next door to a library and would drop in multiple times a day.
This book, with it's lack of a plot, just booky topics, would be a great palate cleanser between more intense reads. 3.5 stars

Lug 5, 9:34am

We we're out shopping yesterday and had the first Halloween sightings! Note it, 4th of July. At Home was putting up Autumn/Halloween, and JoAnn Fabrics had lots of Autumn/Halloween designs out. I bought some.

Lug 5, 10:22am

Oooh, I've been thinking that I want to make a trip to JoAnn Fabrics soon. I've decided I'd like to make some holiday placemats, and I assumed the Halloween fabric would be out soon...

Lug 5, 3:06pm

Yep, lots of Autumn and Halloween fabrics, really great designs. Makes me wish I could sew, but do I really need another hobby?

Lug 5, 6:02pm

I stopped trying to think of reasons for why I buy fabric when I was in Joanne Fabrics and saw a lime green faux fur animal print like Fred Flintstone wore (but green).

Lug 6, 9:59am

Oh, they have a whole selection of faux furs, any color you want. I tried to come up with a reason to buy the expensive pale pink tulle but restrained myself. And I wanted some of the fabric printed with the 60's logo of The Who. Mike kept asking me if I'd seen the fabric that had dogs all over it, he'd probably like bedsheets made out of that.
I really liked this Halloween print that had 60's cartoony monsters all over it. But a few years ago we bought Halloween fabric from JoAnn's, three different ones, and my MIL was nice enough to turn them into throw pillow cases and bed pillow cases for me. Can't ask her to do it all again.

Lug 6, 11:38am

Sure you can! You married her son and got him out of her house didn't you?

Have you seen Jeff Granito's tiki art at He's got some cool pillow covers.

Lug 6, 11:54am

Ha! I'm about 95% positive that her plan was to have Mike living with her until she died, so I actually spoiled her plans and until very recently she wasn't trying to hide her grudge. You think I'm kidding, but Mike's grandma and uncle did just that, so there's precedence in the family. I saved him!
Btw, have you seen the ads for American Horror Story: Stories and Surreal Estate on SYFY, both starting in a few weeks? They both will be great, I just know it.

Lug 7, 1:34pm

I just uncovered a book I brought home from Vegas last week, Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station.

Lug 7, 6:31pm

>64 mstrust: Hurray, Mrs. Pollifax!

Lug 8, 11:50am

You did indeed save him! Okay, that does it. I'm going to have to make a Halloween rounds of the city and see what's cool. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a large paper mache pedestal and skull from Ross years ago. It was all retro and sooooo cool.

I hadn't seen anything about AHSS or Surreal Estate, but I do subscribe to Hulu and I pretty sure both will land there.

We're going to have rain and thunderstorms every day for the next week. I like the rain, but it always makes me so very tired.

If you have prime video, have you watched Army of the Dead? I'm a fan of Zack Snyder since he gave us fast zombies and I've been looking forward to watching it, but it seems hard to set aside to uninterrupted hours. I can't wait. These are not only fast zombies, but fast and smart zombies.

Lug 8, 12:12pm

>65 rabbitprincess: You know, I've yet to read any Mrs. Pollifax yet, and I'm a big mystery reader. Just gotten past me so far.

>66 SomeGuyInVirginia: I need to check Spooky Little Halloween's Halloween store listing again. She has it divided up by month with the list of which stores begin their Halloween stocking that month. Very handy!
I love rain storms, except during the summer in Phoenix. Our monsoons make everything so muggy, like you're wearing a wet blanket.
I watched over an hour of Army of the Dead on Netflix when it first came out, and for some reason, I didn't get into it and didn't care to go on. I thought I'd really like it- zombies in Vegas- but it was dull. Too many effects, not enough of whatever made TWD so great the first seven seasons. But I happened to come home from Vegas with a copy of Las Vegas Weekly that has a cover story titled, "Aliens! Zombies! Radiation! Why does Hollywood keep destroying Las Vegas on film?"

Lug 8, 12:33pm

66. Uncle Dysfunctional: Uncompromising Answers to Life's Most Painful Problems by A.A. Gill. Gill had a column in British Esquire for several years answering questions from readers, and when he was bored, questions from himself. Often, the questions were of the most hilariously raunchy sort, and Gill, sharp-tongued and brilliant, would give his reply. Sometimes his advice was obscene, sometimes profound, such as speaking about the value of freedom or feminism, or the pain of being dumped.
I enjoyed the forward by Esquire's editor, who discusses working with Gill. I've liked everything I've read from him, he was often shockingly funny and fearless. 4 stars

Modificato: Lug 9, 9:28am

Today's One New Thing:

Summerween Shopping. Etsy has a whole Summerween category and it features very cool enamel pins, spooky tanks and fruit bat candles.

Lug 10, 6:41am

Summerween and the living is lazy.

I started watching Army of the Dead last night but stopped about 30 minutes in. I'll watch the rest of it, I just wasn't into it. And I was wondering the same thing that journalist did, about why so many apocalyptic movies wind up in Las Vegas.

Modificato: Lug 10, 1:20pm

The author's opinion is that Hollywood sees Vegas as a glitzy den of iniquity, a place where tourists can sin and be fleeced. Which is the pot calling the kettle black.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I bought both a Dean Martin and an Esquivel album while I was there. Just need Mike to set up the turntable.

Lug 10, 2:54pm

>71 mstrust: Hmmm....I don't have that one. I do have 2 or 3 Dean Martin vinyl albums from my teenage years, when I belonged to a "record club". There's a thing nobody under the age of 35 will remember, I bet. We bought a new turntable recently, and are in the process of listening to all the records we've collected over the years, keeping the ones we love, and culling the ones we don't. Confirms my judgment that vinyl in good condition sounds better than the digital versions, no matter how well they are produced. We have several things in both formats, so comparisons were inevitable.

Modificato: Lug 11, 9:39am

>71 mstrust: >72 laytonwoman3rd: I've never compared vinyl to streaming music or CDs, but I've heard from several others that vinyl is superior and I don't doubt it for a minute. The reason I readily believe it is because these 4K smart TVs all seem to have something called 'motion lag', where moving images blur. I never noticed it on my 55-in TV but it's very apparent on my new 70-in TV, especially on anything filmed in HDR. The older programs look ok. It shocks me, really, since TVs are now true home entertainment systems and get so much use, and cost so much. I would have thought that picture integrity would have been more valued by TV manufacturers than it seems to be. I stopped watching Army of the Dead because it was so bad. I did make a couple of adjustments in the settings and that helped. Plus I think that the director intentionally blurred a lot of the scenes? I bought a budget TV from Sam's Club and I understand that more expensive models and QLED models have much better pictures. I'll probably be swapping out for a better TV in the next couple of years.

Btw, the Kindle version of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is on sale today for $2.99. I read it earlier this year and enjoyed it. It's a moody atmospheric thriller that has actual ghosts and not a haunted and moody atmospheric thriller.

Lug 11, 10:52am

>72 laytonwoman3rd: My mom worked in the record club department for Capitol Records, when I was a baby. That's how a couple who liked Hank Williams and Johnny Cash ended up with animals from CCR, the Animals and Simon & Garfunkel. I ended up listening to those.
I remained in the vinyl camp for a really long time, long after CDs came out. Mike convinced me to switch to CD around the same time vinyl was disappearing for regular releases. I still have two boxes of records in the garage, stuff that would never have been made to CD or digital because they were just L.A. bands.

>73 SomeGuyInVirginia: CD and digital is perfect sound, while vinyl has a warmth. It sounds closer to a live performance for some reason. Maybe they clean up the singer's breathing from digital while it remains on vinyl.
I've never heard of "motion lag" but I'm wondering if that's why I sometimes see a slight choppiness to the picture. To me, it looks like the frames have been slowed down a bit. I told Mike months ago and he said he hadn't noticed anything, but then it happened again and I said, "There! Did you see that?" He had, so it's not just my fevered brain.
We started watching "Dexter" a few nights ago, as it's on Prime. I had seen just the first episode years ago and didn't continue for some reason, but I think it's very good and I'll continue now. And we continue with "The Good Place" and I started "Fear Street: 1994" on Netflix.

Modificato: Lug 11, 11:22am

67. Candy Coated Murder by Kathleen Suzette. Mia has moved home to Pumpkin Hollow, the Halloween town where she grew up and where her family has owned a candy store for generations. She hadn't planned on moving back in with her parents and working at the candy store, as she'd left ten years ago for college, where she earned several degrees but still came away with no idea of what she wants to do with herself.
Normally she wouldn't have dared to go up to next door neighbor Hazel's porch, but Mia was so surprised to see that Halloween hating Hazel had actually made a scarecrow and put it on the bench at her front door. This is so out of character, and when Mia takes a good look, she notices the scarecrow is wearing the same clothes Hazel had been wearing that day.

This is a good Halloween cozy. Pumpkin Hollow has Halloween themed stores and activities from Labor Day to November, and the climax of this murder mystery takes place with Mia dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She's a little annoying with her constantly being offended by the townspeople openly cheering for whoever killed Hazel, but I'll likely continue the series and maybe Mia will stop telling people they aren't very nice. 3.5 stars

I suspect that Suzette is also Emily James, author of the Maple Syrup Mysteries, as James is the only other author I've ever come across who uses the word "anymore" to mean "now" or "when".

Lug 11, 12:18pm

>74 mstrust: You're right on point with the "warmth" of vinyl recordings. We often comment that it sounds as though the performer is right in the room with us. But even strictly instrumental stuff sounds better to us on vinyl. We have a collection of Beethoven's piano sonatas that my husband's grandmother gave him as a college graduation gift; we've acquired at least three CD versions of that music, and one of the same performances. They are all missing "something".
And don't get me started on the HD TV thing. We were in Las Vegas at a trade show back in 2008 (I think) where a huge HD TV was being demonstrated (my husband was a broadcast engineer). I actually had to leave the room, because it was making me nauseated to watch it. Herky jerky, I believe was the term I used. Our largest home screen is 42", and I have no desire to get one any larger than that.

Modificato: Lug 11, 8:30pm

It's got to be that the little unintentional sounds, like an intake of breath, the finger drag on a guitar string, they add up to that "live" sound, which is imperfect but real. They remove these background noises in remasterings.
We have a 42" too. As much as I love tv, I have no desire to go bigger because when I look at one of the huge ones I hear Frasier Crane. Yes, I get the irony of being dissuaded from a tv by a tv character.

Lug 12, 12:02pm

We had a monsoon here Saturday night that included a bit of hail and gusting rain. It wasn't until later on Sunday that I looked into our backyard and found our bbq had been blown over and pieces broken off and the propane line bent. Not only was it under our porch, but with the propane tank attached it probably weighs 75 lbs.

Lug 12, 12:20pm

What happens to all that rain once it lands? Does everything turn into a lake, or is the land so dry that it's absorbed almost instantly?

Lug 12, 1:29pm

Areas like Queen Creek are notorious for flooding because they are in a more natural state with less paving and construction. But for us, the ground soaks it up. Which, combined with the heat, makes it feel like a sauna. Phoenix after a monsoon feels a lot like Florida.

Lug 13, 9:53am

Treasure (Hush Collection) by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Treasure lives in an exclusive neighborhood of Lagos and is on her way to being a real social influencer. She posts lots of pictures of herself in designer clothes, laughing and being happy, hashtagging "blessed" because it's important to be seen as down-to-earth. She will sometimes reply to her fans, just some superficial interaction, like thanking them for the money they send her. And then one day she posts a pic and, just for a few seconds, forgets to hide her location.
A short story from the author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, this is about obsession, a man obsessed with the image of a woman and the woman who is obsessed with herself. I'm not counting it as it's short enough to be read in less than an hour. 3 stars

Lug 14, 7:07pm

68. Check These Out by Gina Sheridan. A collection of Sheridan's favorites, organized in chapters such as high school reading, Southern, con artists. Sheridan is a librarian who has read across a vast range of genres, and while I wouldn't agree with many of her choices of the "best", she recommends Jim Thompson and I ended up with a long list of recommendations to track down, so I'm not complaining. 3.5 stars

Modificato: Lug 16, 12:07pm

A few Summerweenie things lately: I went to my post office a few days ago, which is inside a Hallmark, and they had the Halloween cards out. Just a couple of Halloween gifty things on the tables, but they were putting up the Christmas ornaments too.
And driving past the park half and hour ago we spotted a flock of Canadian geese, around fifty of them. That was weird, because even though it's raining, it's still going to be over 100 today. We usually see them in the fall.

Here's a Summerween mash-up, ice cream and R.L. Stine.
The full episode of "Catching Cold":

Lug 16, 12:16pm

Hey, Larry! Did you finish Black Summer?

Lug 16, 2:32pm

Ack! I have not! I've been watching little to no TV lately, I haven't even finished Army of the Dead yet. Part of the problem is that I subscribe to the BFI channel on Amazon Prime And they have a bunch of Brit movies I wanted to see for a long time but they either weren't available or they were ridiculously expensive to rent. I've been watching the first few Carry On films and have enjoyed them a great deal.

Is Black Summer that good? I watched the first episode and the first few minutes of the second episode and really liked them, but my God they are dark. Not that I mind that, all zombie apocalypse fiction is, well, apocalyptic.

With the rising prices, the ransomware, and store shortages I've decided to go ahead and put together a year's worth of food and water for Da Peeb and me. One thing I learned from the pandemic and the lockdown is that nobody is coming to save you.

Lug 16, 4:03pm

You'll get to it, and I can relate to wanting to watch the Brit comedies. I've only seen one Carry On but it was very funny.
I would say that I didn't enjoy this season's Black Summer as much as the first. For one thing, it's further on in the zombie apocalypse, so all the men have beards, making it pretty difficult to tell them apart in the fight scenes. I also found the "working backwards" style that was so interesting in the first season was much harder to follow this time round, because there were these huge battles, so you were seeing someone die and then trying to link them to which of the bearded men you saw alive later. Maybe just me. Spoiler Or maybe I was disappointed by seeing Lance killed in the first three minutes of the first episode. That was harsh.

Stocking up couldn't hurt. You'll use food and water either way, but we've learned to prepare for the worst in a way that Americans haven't seen since WWII.
Btw, I have an appointment for the book photo shoot on the 30th! I'm very excited and nervous. Getting other people involved is the point where you know you can't back out.

Lug 16, 5:18pm

Wait! Stop. You're having an author shot done for one of your books? Srsly?! Goddamn it Jennifer, have I really been that oblivious? Did I know this? I mean, this is a fame thing. This is the kind of thing that I generally know about. Did I miss it?

Whatever. Tell.

Lug 16, 6:29pm

No, I'm not having my pic taken. I'd like people to read the book, not scream and throw it from the window of a moving car.
The shoot is going to be for the maple products that various producers have sent to me, along with my cakes, cookies, cocktails, stuff like that. That's why I've been getting fabrics and props, and I got my giant blown-glass jack o'lantern out. The plan I'm working with right now is three different table settings, plus shots of the products grouped by maker. I'll end up with a shot for the front and back cover, plus chapter headings.

Lug 19, 9:26am

Wow, that is very very cool. How did you pull the deal together?

Lug 19, 2:04pm

I'll PM you.

We've been to the baking supply store this morning. Yesterday, lots of errands and lunch. One of the stops was at Half Price Books:
Cold Sassy
The Churchgoer
a Ray Charles cd for Mom
and for the upcoming Halloween reads, Goosebumps: Let's Get Invisible, and two GNs, Zombie Tales: This Bites and Tales From the Crypt.
And something very cool and unexpected was that we met tiki artist Doug Horne in the parking lot as we were both leaving the Staples on Camelback. I'd noticed the very tall (maybe 6'6") man buying a fully assembled chair ahead of us in line. As we walked past his car he noticed Mike's Frankie's Tiki Room t-shirt, we went over and started talking and he was mentioning people we know, and I asked who he was. Turns out we have one of his prints, the tiki Bride of Frankenstein. Really nice guy and we were so happy to have run into him.

Lug 20, 10:06am

69. Deadly Arms by Emily James. The fifth in the Maple Syrup Mysteries, this opens with Nicole, the lapsed lawyer and new owner of a Michigan sugarbush operation, being surprised by a visit from her mother. As her harshest critic, Nicole and her mom have never been close, but if there were plans to talk Nicole into coming back to DC they are derailed by a big pool of blood in the bathroom of the room next door to Nicole's mom. Because the majority of the police station is out sick, the investigation is headed by Officer Elise, who has never led a murder investigation, and Nicole and her mom, who have had some run-ins with murderers before. 3 stars

Lug 21, 10:32am

70. I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan. A collection of conversations Sheridan, a librarian in California, has had with patrons or overheard at her library. Most involve people who are strange, such as Cuckoo Carol, the belligerent regular who snaps at everyone but tells Sheridan to get a better attitude, or the man who demanded to know why the library didn't have typewriters for public use anymore. Some of the stories were about the children discovering a love of books or the gratitude patrons can show to their librarians. I think the funniest story was when she overheard two co-workers trying to figure out which of their older female regulars, all having exhibited very strange behavior, was Sheila.
This is a quick read. 4 stars

Lug 25, 11:26am

71. Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg. When the local firehouse dog is found murdered, Natalie's twelve year-old daughter is so upset that she asks Natalie's boss, San Francisco's consulting detective Adrian Monk, to investigate. There's no doubt the dog was murdered, and it happened while the entire crew was working on a house fire in which the resident died. Well, Monk just has to investigate that too, and learns that the whole street is overjoyed that the nosy old lady is dead, because she was the one keeping them from a huge payday. Which means there are lots of people with motives.
The first of the Monk novels, he's as funny and aggravating as you'd find in the tv series. 4 stars

Lug 25, 11:52am

>28 mstrust: >93 mstrust: ...and again new books that I really need to read - thank you Jennifer.
I wish you a wonderful Sunday.

Lug 25, 12:00pm

Ha, I was just posting on your thread!
Goldberg captures Monk's quirks and interactions with strangers perfectly. In this one, Monk encounters a man who is working on his car and wiping his hands off on his clothes. You can imagine.
Have a great Sunday!

Modificato: Lug 25, 2:00pm

How did your photo shoot go?! I am in awe.

On the East coast they're reporting monsoons in Arizona and other western states. Are you getting them? What's the effect on the local ecology? On the east they're reporting that the monsoons may relieve the drought the western states are going through.

Okay, I tried. I'm trying to do the extreme frugality challenge but there's some things that I just can't give up on, and one of those is cool air. I tried adjusting the thermostat up to 75 but it was simply uncomfortably warm, so it's back at 73. Which, in itself, is a compromise on the 67 that I was using before everything got so damn hot on the East Coast.

Regarding the extreme frugality challenge. I need lamps. In some cases, more badly than in others. I want to just go ahead and order the damn things but then I think, ... well I just start thinking and that's the whole problem. On Tuesday I'm going to hit the thrift shops and goodwills and Lynchburg and the surrounding towns and see if I can find anything.

Lug 25, 4:07pm

The shoot is happening this Friday. I'll be spending the week baking and panicking.
We've been raining on and off since Thursday night and it's brought the temps down as low as 73. It almost feels like Autumn, except that even then we don't usually get so many days in a row of rain. Our usual monsoons last a few hours, come with a lot of wind and leaves us sticky from the wet heat the next day. This has pretty much been hard rain interspersed with light drizzle, and it's rare to have this much of a cool down.

I'm very interested in seeing how you do with being frugal. I do see it as being a real challenge, especially with the book buying.
Second hand shops in your area will probably have some good stuff, and estate sales. Let's see how hard you can pinch a penny!

Lug 25, 4:10pm

And we were out running errands this morning, having lunch at Portillo's, and I wanted to pick up something at Barnes & Noble. We drove up and found it was permanently closed.

Ieri, 2:23pm

So far I've been doing pretty good on the frugality challenge. Chase Bank is probably going to call me to see if I've died.

I've gotten on some scammers list, and they're both tenacious and pretty sophisticated. They say that they're a collection agency for my old internet provider from Alexandria and that I owe two pieces of equipment. They call me at least once or twice a day and send me letters. I spoke with the internet provider and they said that they show it at zero balance and that they've never heard of this company before; they recommended that I just ignore them. Today I get a call from the scammers and I let the guy go on for a minute, then I just cut in and said 'Edward you're a goddamn liar and take me off your list.' He started squawking and I just hung up.

Ieri, 5:57pm

I've put myself on a no-buying challenge before, it's like going on a diet. Hopefully you have more restraint than I do, because I still have stacks of unread books and a big butt.
Good for you, yelling at that scammer! He deserved it. I think the punishment for internet scammers and thieves should be the same as if they'd robbed a house or pickpocketed a wallet. Theft is theft, but if they steal an identity it should be a longer sentence than stealing cash.
Here comes my rant!
Mike's credit card got hit again less than a week ago, which makes this maybe the ninth time his credit card has been used in an attempted internet purchase (not the same card). But he's been able to stop the sales from going through for a few years now because his phone pings whenever our cards are used, and that works better than LifeLock, which we used to have. So someone attempted to buy $460 on his credit card from Rock Auto, that auto parts place that has tv commercials. He's never bought anything from them, but they had attempted the purchase using his name too. So he stopped it from going through, notified the credit card company to halt that account, and then called the police to report it. We have less than 2000 police officers in a city of 5 million, so it's not a priority.
A couple of hours later Mike got a call at work from New Hampshire. This guy says, "Are you Mike?" And Mike says yes, and the guy asks, "Did you try to use my Rock Auto account this morning?" So the thief had used Mike's name and cc#, but this guy's account, because you have to sign up to buy stuff. And not only had the NH guy tracked down Mike, he'd gotten the address the thief had wanted the delivery sent, which was just a few blocks from Mike's work. So Mike was able to call the police back and give them all the info, and yes, he considered going to the apartment and having a conversation himself, but he's letting the police handle. This apartment complex that the thief lives in, the police are likely there daily anyway.

Oggi, 5:23am

>95 mstrust: Thank you, Jennifer - I have started to read and I am thrilled.
I wish you a stress free week and all the best for Friday.
>99 SomeGuyInVirginia: >100 mstrust: I hope that the scams will never succeed.

Oggi, 11:35am

I'm glad you were able to find it so quickly! I've checked a little and it looks like the Monk book series has continued on, as I found one that was published in 2015.
And thanks, I wish people would stop looking for alternatives to earning money.

Modificato: Oggi, 11:55am

72. Murderously Sweet by Kate Bell. The second book in the Pumpkin Hollow series.
Just months after finding her next door neighbor dead and dressed as a scarecrow, Mia and Ethan literally stumble upon a body in the corn maze. It's the mayor, a man who hated the town's Halloween theme and was working to end it. There's a long list of suspects from that angle, but his widow wasn't happy with him either.
Yes, lots of Halloween and candy talk, as Mia's family owns the candy store in the Halloween section of town, where they make homemade candy. 4 stars

Why am I reading Halloween books? My Unlimited Kindle keeps offering me interesting stuff and I have until October to read as fast as I can :-D

Oggi, 2:12pm

It was a good idea not to confront the guy. The best that could have happened was that he became overcome with guilt and ran out into oncoming traffic. That kind of thing rarely happens though at least without an intervention.

Crime has just gone kajagoogoo bananas in this area lately. There's about a murder a day, and often one shooting. Frankly, it's frightening. Even being wildly optimistic, Lynchburg is no more than a medium-sized or largish town.

I just got in from running a bunch of errands. I am too hot to take a shower.

Oggi, 2:51pm

More chores, I called 'dangerously overheated' and prescribed lounging on the couch for another 30 minutes.

Oggi, 3:41pm

I hope you're okay. Maybe a glass of sweet tea and a wet washcloth. Or a nap.
Our amazing respite from the heat seems to have ended. The rain stopped Sunday night and it's back to sunny and 100 today. It's been very strange to see other cities as having a higher temp than us.
I know, no good can come from Mike confronting the thief himself. It's frustrating to not know when or if the police will be able to get to it though. They have bigger crimes to take care of.