Monthly Archives: February 2011

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

 I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment.  You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

   Last weeks winner:

Kristen from Bookworming In The 21st Century

Congratulations!  Please choose an item out of the PRIZE BOX and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!


Whew!  What a week!  I have been busy and well…. the usual.  😀  Pre posting and planning on the weekend does have its benefits 😉  Here is what this past week looked like:


Skipping A Beat by Sarah Pekkanen (Oh sooooooo good!) 

 Author Chat with Sarah Pekkanen – Author Of Skipping a Beat!    SQQQQQUUUEEEEEE 😛 


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Bonus Bookies read and food fest…. oh the food!)

The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia ( A deep read that I wish I would have had more time to dig into)

Water Wars by Cameron Stracher (Hmmmm…. great topic but didnt quite make it for me)

YUMMY The Last Days of A South Side Shorty (True story told in graphic novel style… wow!  This book won a Cybil award)

Certain Women By Madeleine L’Engle (Our Faith ‘n Fiction read)


All that – plus I finished another two books and two audios that I have yet to review.  (Driving 3+ hours to the cabin each way this weekend really gave me a little audio time 😀 )


As for this week…. looking at my schedule I do not have a lot of evening meetings this week which helps me plan out my reading…. so here is what I will have on the plan:



The true story of Courtney Miles’ rescue of over 300 people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While government officials posed for cameras, a boy from the projects with no driver’s license stepped up and showed what “drive” is all about. LAST BUS OUT tells how Courtney Miles stole a bus, charged past a police roadblock, and argued with a National Guardsman who threatened to lock him in the makeshift jail at the Greyhound Bus Station. Sick with worry about his missing grandmother, he drove his passengers to safety, then went back into the city at midnight to help others. His adventure would ultimately lead to starting his life over on the opposite end of the country, far away from the three women he loves – the mother who abused him, the grandmother who taught him to survive, and the girlfriend who would betray him. LAST BUT OUT chronicles Courtney’s life alone while his mother was repeatedly jailed for selling drugs. At seven he woke up on Christmas Eve with a gun in his face. At thirteen he witnessed the murder of a man three feet in front of him. As a high school junior he lived alone in an empty house without electricity or water. Courted by gangs who knew he was hungry, “Streets”, as he was nicknamed for his solitary life on the streets, lived apart and kept his record clean – until the day he risked his freedom to save his neighbors.



War has come to Melengar. To save her kingdom, Princess Arista runs a desperate gamble when she defies her brother and hires Royce and Hadrian for a dangerous mission. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own game. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers could change the future for all of Elan.


I received this series last year and totally dropped the ball on finishing it.  The series is good and with this third book I plan on doing all three reviews together. 

 As the reader is guided through the author’s libraryAhis “Magic Kingdom”Avarious books, manuscripts and mementos become the stimulus for meditations about Christian faith and about the people who have touched his life. We read at length about the folly of writing a novel about Jesus; to do so, the ordained minister writes, “would be to cheapen and somehow dishonor the bond between us.” We see the author’s fatherAwho committed suicide at the age of 38Anot only as a distant figure, alcoholic and adulterous (“the empty place at [the] center” of Buechner’s childhood), but as a charismatic Princeton alumnus who once seemed so full of promise. The memoir’s penultimate chapter is a tribute to the author’s beloved brother, Jamie, who died as Buechner was finishing the bookAhe had called and said he had “incurable cancer of virtually everything and didn’t intend to be around for more than two weeks if he could possibly help it.” Such a momentAa pitch-perfect blend of tenderness and sardonic lyricismAtypifies the poetic intensity of the memoir. Also of note is the second chapter, about Buechner’s friend, the late poet James Merrill, who appears in the author’s dreams: “and it is always goodbye that we are saying again as if to make up for never having had the chance to say it properly.”

I have a couple audios I am starting as well but this post has been a real “opportunity”.  First my lap top appears to have moved on to greener pastures.  Using my husband’s lap top tp put this post together in Internet Explorer has turned out to be an evening of formating and missing pictures…. and well…..  at this point I am just trying to get it posted.  😀

I am excited to see what you are reading so please remember to link up your “What Are You Reading” post below where it says “click here”.  😀


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YUMMY the last days of a southside shorty by Neri. Duburke

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was a real person.  He was born in 1983 and lived in the Roseland area of Chicago.  He received his nickname “yummy” because he loved his sweets.

Yummy, at just eleven years old, became a poster child for youth gang related violence.  A series of tragic events led to his appearance of the cover of TIME magazine in September 1994.


this same series of events…

also led to his death.



I am not a big reader of graphic novels, but occasionally one will catch my eye, much like this one did.  Based on the true story of Robert “Yummy’s” life, this story is told with a fictional character Roger, who tells the story through his eyes of how Yummy became initiated into a gang called the Black Disciples, how we killed a girl, and how eventually he was killed as well.

When I think of a story like this – I do not think of it as a graphic novel.  But it is.  And in this case, it works.  Following Yummy’s story through the pictures was much like there and illustrator Randy DeBurke creates emotion and feeling through his illustrations of Yummy as well as the extended family and the gang members. Author G. Neri writes with great feeling as well and together – this book won in the Cybils.

Yummy’s dad was in prison for drug possession.  Yummy’s mom was in and out of jail – 42 times on convictions for drug use and prostitution.  Yummy was left in the care of his grandmother who at times had up to twenty of her grandchildren staying with her.   It was easy for Yummy to sneak out to the troubled streets of Chicago for days at a time and not even be noticed as missing.

What is frightening about what I have just described is that this is a common occurrence in many areas of our world.  Kids looking for a play – for a way – to belong.  I have seen this when I have traveled to Honduras – the gangs are even greater and more dangerous now then when I went for the first time in 2004.  Currently they have 14 murders a day in the main city of Tegucigalpa.  But I am not taking only of a third world country problem…. no… this is all too common in the Unites States as well.  New York, California, Florida, and of course Chicago – Yummy’s area, just to name a few.

What I did not know is that the laws at the time of this book were that young criminals would go to Juvenile Facilities and then be out once they turned 21… this is why gangs liked to recruit young kids to do the crime, as if they were caught – it was not a life sentence.  The fact that the gangs found this “loop-hole” in the system floors me… who thinks this way?

What is apparent in this book is that Yummy is a kid that wants to belong.  Unfortunately he finds that acceptance through the gangs.  As you read through this book you will see Yummy as this tough mean-spirited kid trying to make an impression…. and at other times you can find him in front of the tv with his teddy bear.

Who was the real Yummy?  In and out of trouble for years, he was desensitized from authority.  What can be done about these gang crimes and especially saving the young ones like Yummy?

Photo out of Time Magazine

While this book was an emotional read, I am so glad I did read it.  I finished this book on Friday and have not been able to stop thinking about it.  When you look at all the circumstances that played into Yummy’s life… all the pieces that were missing in his life (love, family stability, a safe home, a positive adult influence, security…) Honestly?  It makes me want to hug my kids and tell them how much I love them.

Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You reading map has been updated to include YUMMY


I borrowed this book from my library

Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle

David Wheaton is on his death bed.  From his boat in the Pacific Ocean, he shares his life memories – hopes and regrets with his daughter Emma who has come to be with him these last days.  Having had 9 wives and eleven children, David has had quite a life.  As an actor, there is one role he had always hoped to play and now regrets deeply he never had the chance to do so – and that was the role of King David. Emma’s husband had struggled writing a play for David Wheaton to create the much coveted role for him.

While Emma works to gather the family for David’s final moments on earth,as readers we see the parallels between the two David’s – in some cases even hitting a little close to home for the Wheaton family.

Luke 24:22:  Certain women made us astonished

I read this book as our first read of 2011 with the Faith N Fiction group.   Madelaine L’ Engle is most known for her work with children’s books, probably mostly known for writing A Wrinkle In Time (a book I have never read).

I thought this would be a book I could read within a couple of days and be done in plenty of time for our discussion that started in early February.  This turned out not to be the case.   I spent much time getting to know the characters as tends to happen for me when a book is loaded with characters such as this.  I back track and try to capture who each person is as they are introduced.  That fact, as well as just a busy time of life caused me to pop in late to the discuss points of what was an interesting read.

A theme that was brought up that I personally enjoyed was how as David recalls his marriages (all eight of them!) as they often reflected the life and wives of the Biblical David.  You could almost hear the whispers of the Biblical David’s wives coming from between the lines.  Written with a witty and lyrical pen, I found L’Engle’s writing to be just what I would have expected from a family such as David’s who was deeply embedded in the arts of acting, producing, and such.

If anything, I found, as well as a few in our group discussion that the parallels between the two David’s became a bit much.  Not so much the parallel itself, but the fact that the author had a habit of pointing out that this was a parallel with things like “…. much like the David of the Bible….” I prefer to figure these things out for myself more than feeling like I am led by the hand through a read.

Another part of our group discussion was a heavier topic in the book that I do not wish to give away but unfortunately is a topic that is all to real for many of us.  Some felt it was tiring to constantly see this come up, while other found it as I mentioned here – something that is real.  (Hope I was not too cryptic here but trying  hard not to give anything away.) 😀

A well-rounded read that covered many topics.   David has really had the life and Certain Women, being told in a reflective manner is a brilliant way to write this particular story.

I found the book descriptive and while more work to read than I had planned for, I am glad I had the opportunity to read and discuss this book.

For me personally I recall the part where David (Wheaton) reflects on how badly he has screwed it all up and how he wishes he could change the way he handled many things in his life.  David in The Bible also lived with much regret, and this reminds me of how God used those of us who are broke, damaged, vessels and fills us up.  A reminder, that we all are human – we are going to screw this thing up, and God will still be able to use is if we only let Him.

Please stop by and see what the other Faith N Fiction Participants have to say:

Amy at My Friend Amy

Hannah at Wordlily

Heather at Book Addiction

Carrie at Books and Movie

Julie at Book Hooked Blog

Jennifer at Crazy for Books

Ronnica at Ignorant Historian

Nicole at Linus’s Blanket

Thomas at My Random Thoughts

Liz at Roving Reads

Sherry at Semicolon

Florinda at The 3 R’s Blog

Tina at Tina’s Book Reviews

Brooks at Victorious Cafe

I purchased my book from Amazon

Morning Meanderings… From The North Shore


First off brrrr….

I started my car this morning to drive into town from the cabin for internet service and it was -13.  That’s a negative.

But – I am here…

and that’s a positive.

Last time I was at the cabin was the first weekend of November when we had a girls baking and crafting weekend here.  I made it to the cabin yesterday around 3:00 pm…. got settled and watched a little tv. set up my paperwork, read a little…. and promptly fell asleep.  😯

Ok… so much for day one.

However today is a new day and I am excited to get started.  I am in a little cafe in Silver Bay Minnesota.  There is a table of 4 older men… and another table of a family.  I am the only one with a laptop…. much as it has been any time that I have come in here for internet.  Even the internet is mine… we have Verizon so I get internet wherever I have phone service.

There is a new sign in the cafe.  It reads:

“No Work Boots Allowed In This Dining Room!”

If I ever do write that fictional story in my head – that line above has to go in it somewhere.   😛

Today when I go back to the cabin I will be writing the day away.  I am ready.

Tomorrow morning I need to head back home early as it is our week serving the homeless and I have to help set up at noon.  I plan to be on the road about 7 am.

But – I still have today.  😀

For my picture today for Alice’s Saturday Snapshot I leave you with this:


Ahhhh….. the North Shore.  😉


Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Vera and her older brother Will live in a futuristic world where Water is the new money.  As the kids help their father take care of their ill mother the search for water is a daily task and forever on their minds.  Vera’s friend Kai and his dad have a rare wealth due to Kai’s dad being a  water driller.  When Kai fails to show up one day, Vera and Will discover that Kai has been abducted.

The search for their friend will take them beyond their republic of Illinowa and through the republic of Minnesota and Canada.  As they travel they are befriended by pirates and at one point even taken hostage by terrorists.  Eventually making their way to Bluewater, the area that has the monopoly on the water desalinization process.  This is where they find Kai and his father and a whole world of trouble beyond what they could have ever imagined.

Water Wars was a fast read of dystopian fiction that hits on a topic all too close to home.  With talks of real life water shortages in the world’s future I found this book to be a look into a possible reality which for me, hit real close to the scary mark.  I could picture the people fighting for water and the look of them from the lack of it.  I really had to take a long hard look at my own water waste in my life (Ie… running the water to hot before stepping into the shower… letting a faucet run while I grab the phone or take out the garbage…)

I have to talk cover:  Awesome awesomeness!!!  I love it!  Very eye catching.

Cameron Stracher writes a novel that I think will appeal to YA readers who don’t dive too deeply into the read and discover the lack of character development or the conflict details.  I felt as though this book left something to be desired in the middle but in the end pulls together a good finale.

Just because this book did not fit me, doesn’t mean it will not fit someone else.  I have an additional advanced copy of this book for someone who would like to give it a try.  Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in reading this book and I will choose one commenter at the end of the week using to mail this to.

Amazon Rating

I have updated the 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map to include Water Wars


I picked this book up from the publisher

Morning Meaderings: Adventures Beyond My Home and a winner!


FRIDAY!!!!!  Friday Friday Friday Friday!   YEAH!

Ok… one more…. Friday!  😛

I went to the 5:45 am Group Power Class with my friend Wendy.  At this point I am not sure which of us is crazier… she who is now on her way to work until 7 pm tonight, or me who needed to come home, get ready for a breakfast date at 9 am and packing to leave town right after a quick stop at the library after breakfast.

I am itchin’ for spring and for activity and I think I am finally starting to see things coming up that are exciting!  In three weeks (oh man… it may be less now) I am in for the Polar Plunge is Edina Minnesota for Special Olympics.  I have never done this before… but enjoy adventure.  Although today is currently -4 for a temp so really thinking more and more about that icy water.

Then – yesterday a group of my friends were planning a girls weekend that I thought at first I would not be able to attend as they had picked a weekend I had other commitments… and then – the email came and the date has changed and I am in!!!  IN!!!! AND we are seeing Rick Springfield in concert which is oh so 80’s of me… but that’s the way I roll.

Rick Springfield.... then and now

May 1 is the first Minnesota bike ride of the year and my friends Amy and Wendy are committed to doing this with me and I am super uber pumped to do this ride -and hopefully this year the weather is nice enough for us to do the 75 or 100 mile route instead of the 30 due to poor weather the last two years.

And the end of May – is BEA.

And from there – spring and summer means bike rides and a garden and apparently a run this year that still freaks me out a bit but…. I feel I need to do things now because some day I might not want to.  🙂


This weekend, well today actually I am going to our cabin up North for the first time since November.  I am taking time to get away and write.  I will be back on Sunday.  Posts will still go up as I should have internet when I go out for coffee at a cafe in Silver Bay.  A 3 hour drive each way means lots of audio time too… and I am thinking about a stop at Barnes and Noble in Duluth…. just because. 😀

Oh and yes, I have a winner from the Literary Blog Hop.  My winner using is:  Amy from The House Of Seven Tails.   She chose The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien.  Congratulations Amy!

Have a fabulous day!


The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

16th-century Prague, Wishnia’s outstanding debut convincingly transforms a Jewish sexton and his rabbinic mentor into a plausible pair of sleuths. Just before the start of Passover, the discovery of the bloody corpse of Gerta Janek, a blond girl, maybe seven years old, inside the store of Jacob Federn, a Jewish businessman, triggers the inevitable revival of the blood libel and threat of mass retribution against the entire Jewish community. Benyamin Ben-Akiva, the newly arrived shammes, has three days to prove that someone other than Federn is guilty of Gerta’s brutal murder. He faces opposition from his own people, but manages to win the respect and support of the legendary Rabbi Loew, who helps him gain access to the body so that a rudimentary examination can be done, though many Gentiles are offended by the very notion.


I love reading about different cultures and that is what initially drew me to this book.  That, a little historical fiction and I do love a good mystery.

Highly detailed and full of 16th century imagery – this part of the book I really enjoyed as author Kenneth Wishnia truly has a way with words.  And speaking of words… on the flip of that this is a book that would be a delight for those who love learning languages as the Hebrew, German, and Yiddish words are used throughout.  For me – it started to feel a bit like work to stop and roll the words through my mind, however I can see me going back and reading this book again when I have more time to really spend time in the language of it.  (*There is a glossary for the words in the back of the book).
The Fifth Servant opens up to many colorful characters and much of the book is seen through Benyamin Ben Akiva eyes and as such is a witness to the hideous murder.  This book reminds me strongly of another that I have read but for the life of me I can not seem to put my finger on that tile.

While maybe not so historically correct – I did like the way women were portrayed in the book as strong and capable.  That was refreshing for someone who like me enjoys reading about strong women.

There were parts that I did not enjoy – at times it felt like the religious/political aspect of the book became more important than the mystery itself and the plot felt lost for a time until suddenly the ending pulled me back into the story.

Final thoughts…  there was more to this book then I originally anticipated but still I found it to be a good read.  Due to my own procrastination I started this book later than I should have and feel I could have spent more time in it, working through some of the details.  This is one I will probably pick up again soon and spend a bit more time with it.

You can see Kenneth Wishnia’s website here

Amazon Rating

I received this book for review as part of the TLC Book Tour

Morning Meanderings… Wind Stealers and Other Random Stuff

Good morning.

I feel….


I have many things bouncing around my head … things I need to do, things I want to do, things I am considering… I work today – have breakfast with friends tomorrow morning and if (IF) all goes as planned I am heading out-of-town after that tomorrow to our cabin for a weekend of writing and just getting out of Dodge…. errr…. Brainerd.  😛

As wired up as I am right now… watch me forget something important like … my notes.

I have no idea why this is in my head right now…. but I am thinking of an episode of friends about a book they were ready.  For the record – I used to really love the Friends episodes.

(Yes…. sorry I guess you have to watch it on you tube)

Well.. for me all book discussions in sit coms are pretty funny…

Ok so I am off to start my day and while my plate if FULL FULL FULL… tomorrow…. is not.  Tomorrow kicks off to a weekend of….

possibilities.  😀

Have a super day everyone – don’t let anyone take your wind!  😀

(wow…. that was cheesy…. I really do need a break.  :shock:)


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout


Olive is a big woman… she is big boned, big faced… and a big presence in the lives that surrounds hers.   A retired math teacher in Crosby Maine… Olive bowls people over like a bowling ball heading for a strike.  She is abrupt, judgmental, and not the person you stop in announced for a chat or a cup of coffee.

Yet in this series of short stories by Elizabeth Strout, Olive plays a part in every one… sometimes large, and sometimes she is merely acknowledged by another character or by a hand wave…. and as the stories unfold around Olive’s home town…. we get a glimpse of who Olive may really be.

♦      ♦     ♦


Hmmmm…. I still find myself trying to sort out my thoughts about this book.  I am not a fan of short stories.  I prefer really digging in and getting to know characters and plot lines and the short snippets have never really done it for me.  Yet, as part of a reading project with my book club, I hand-picked this title out of a list of book options.


I believe I chose it because something about the synopsis, and yes even a series of stories around one character intrigued me.  It was like a puzzle I wanted to solve and envisioned that was what author Elizabeth Strout was going to do – create a series of story pieces that in the end were a whole.  I have always been a fan of unique tales, original writing styles… I prefer the breaking of the molds….

As I read this book I found myself at first confused.  The stories seemed choppy… little glimpses – but of what.  A bit of Olive here…. a bit of Olive there…. many characters were introduced and in times it was their story that held the chapter, their tale of – well, tragic life mostly…. and yet, somewhere there was still Olive.

It took me more than a few chapters to get the flow of the book and even then…. I am not sure if I truly did or I just became used to the way this book was put together.  What I felt we were seeing was not the whole story – and for that I give Elizabeth Strout much credit.  I dislike a book that spells it out for me, preferring to have something to figure out while I read.  I believe this was Elizabeth’s goal – to give the reader a glimpse – but left much to the imagination.  Who was Olive – really?  This complicated woman, this woman who for most of book I did not even really like…. but I did want to figure her out.

There are moments when Olive (with help from our author) speaks so beautifully – so deeply that I am left with words that I want to post somewhere as reminders…. one such phrase came out of the short story ‘Starving”:

When Olive is confronted with an anorexic girl, Nina, this conversation takes place:

Olive finished the donut, wiped the sugar from her fingers, sat back and said, “You’re starving.”

The girl didn’t move, only said, “Uh… duh.”

“I’m starving too,” Olive said.  “Why do you think I eat everything in sight?”

“You’re not starving,” Nina says with disgust.

“Sure I am.  We all are.”

“Wow,” Nina said, Heavy.”


Moments like that in the book caused me to see a bit behind their thin veil that covered the real Olive.

In the end… I can’t say I felt I really knew Olive Kitterling, but I think I had an idea.  Elizabeth Strout does write a compelling story and I give her a ton of credit as while at times I found this book difficult to read and follow, I can imagine that writing such a multi layered book, folding one chapter into another had to be pretty complicated in itself and Elizabeth Strout does a fine job doing so in a writing style that gave me pause – in a good, thought-provoking way.

*If you read this book – do make time to read the interview in the back of the book with Elizabeth Strout and Olive Kitteridge.  It is hilarious and I think it will give you some additional insight to Olive.


Amazon Rating


Bookies Review:

As I mentioned before – this was a bonus review for my book club and it was to be centered around the food that makes up this book.  Let me just say – if you are going to do a potluck around the food in a book – this one would be an excellent choice… the book is literally filled with food…  my group came up with:  Beef stew, hot bread, olive cheeseballs, funeral meatballs, seafood stuffed mushrooms (the ones Olive gets sick on in the book), homemade butterscotch sauce (where Olive winds up getting all over her towards the end of the book), carrot soup and a lovely red wine)

Our thoughts on the book were that Olive was a hard woman who seemed to keep a wall of protection around herself as some people tend to do when they don’t want people to see them too closely.   This led to a good discussion of people like that in our own lives and how we handle them.  We all felt that author Elizabeth Strout did a good job of giving us clues to Olive without spelling it out for us… we were left to come up with our own opinion of who this woman was.

Overall we came up with a slightly below average rating for the book.  We found this book to be more work than entertaining to read.  While we appreciated the good writing, we really never found a true connection to Olive.


For those that wish… I am posting a few of our recipes from last night that were wonderful compliments to the book:


Olive-Cheese Balls

Olive Cheese balls

– 2 cups (@ 8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1/2 cup margarine, melted
– 36-48 small pimento-stuffed green olives

Mix cheese and flour, add in margarine.  Work dough with hands, if necessary.  Mold @ 1 tsp dough around each olive, shape into ball.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake until set – 15-20 minutes.  Best served warm.





Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

– 1 large sweet onion, cleaned and chopped
– 1/4 cup margarine
– @ 1 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned and chopped
– 1 large white (russet) potato, cleaned and sliced
– 1 large sweet potato, cleaned and sliced
– 32 oz chicken broth
– ginger
– rosemary
– savory
– marjoram
– pepper
– chili powder
– garlic
– Emeril’s original Essence
– 12 oz V-8 juice
– 4 oz cream cheese, cubed
– 1 handful shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In Dutch oven on cook top, melt margarine, add onion.  Cook til tender (5 minutes or so).  Add carrots, potatoes, chicken broth, and spices.  (Use whatever spices appeal to you.)  Heat to boil, cook til vegetables are all tender (20 minutes or so).  Remove from heat.  Use immersion blender (or let cool some and use regular blender) to puree vegetables to desired consistency.  Return to heat, add V-8 juice and cheeses, stirring til well-blended.
Could serve now.  I had to juggle errands, so I put the soup in my crock pot and left it on low for a couple of hours.  This may have caused the flavors to blend more.



The couch comes into view again.  Kerry Monroe is drinking a tumbler of brown stuff- the whiskey she was offering earlier, Olive suspects- and while Kerry’s lipstick remains bright, her cheekbones and jawline still impressively proportioned, it’s as though inside her black clothes her joints have become loosened.  Her crossed leg swings, a foot bobs, some inner wobbliness is there.  “Nice service, Marlene,” Kerry says, leaning forward to pick up a meatball with a toothpick.  “Really nice service; you’ve done him proud.”  And Olive nods, because she would like Marlene to be comforted by this.

Marlene’s Funeral Meatballs

Funeral Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef

1 c. evaporated milk

2 c. bread crumbs

onion, minced to taste

1 tsp. seasoned salt


1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 Tbsp. catsup

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix hamburger, evaporated milk, bread crumbs, onion & seasoned salt.  Shape into meatballs.  Bake for 15 minutes or until browned.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees.  In a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; bring to a boil.  Pour over meatballs.  Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes more.

Downstairs she went, into the white basement.  Stepping into the little closet of a bathroom, she flicked on the light, and saw in the mirror that across her blue cotton blouse was a long and prominent strip of sticky dark butterscotch sauce.  A small feeling of distress took hold.  They had seen this and not told her.  She had become the old lady her Aunt Ora had been, when years ago she and Henry would take the old lady out for a drive, stopping some nights to get an ice cream, and Olive had watched as Aunt Ora had spilled melted ice cream down her front; she had felt repulsion at the sight of it.  In fact, she was glad when Ora died, and Olive didn’t have to continue to witness the pathetic sight.


Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch Sauce

1 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. half & half

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 Tbsp. butter

Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until boiling.  Simmer 3-4 minutes.  Let cool then serve over ice cream.







The 2011 WHERE Are YouReading Map has been updated to include Olive Kitteridge

I purchased this book from Amazon


Morning Meanderings….you just find Justin Cronin in the wierdest places

Good morning 🙂

I am going to make this quick as I just seen to be running behind today and I soooooooo hate that.

Last night we had a small book club group gathering.  This was a bonus review that we agreed to do this month and next.  We are reviewing a book around the food within it.  This was an optional read for our group and those who felt they would like to and were able to read the additional book as well as participate in the food bringing were invited to do so.

Really…. that’s the background story of shy I was straightening the front room to my home… it’s a small friendly room that I often refer to as the friendship room as it is brightly decorated and is comfy to sit in and chat with a few friends.  We usually do book club when it is at my house in the family room downstairs as that is bigger, but I did not need that much space last night and left the downstairs to Chance and Al to chill and watch tv while we met upstairs.

(Wow…. I digress today!  LOOK!!!  Something shiny!!!!)  😛

Ok…. my POINT is that while cleaning the room I was organizing a basket of books that I have next to a chair in the room.  That basket of books has been more decorative than anything and these books have not rotated out of this basket in years.  As I looked at what was in the basket I pulled out a book called The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin.  It surprised me as I do not recall having heard of Justin Cronin before The Passage came out this past year.  Yet, there in the basket was an earlier writing of his, and by the looks of it… a softer read as well.

(Really – this sounded much more interesting when I started typing it)

I know I picked this book up because of title… It really does have a gorgeous cover and now as The Passage is so deeply written and interwoven in this futuristic world of vampire (virals) like creatures… I am super curious what this one is about.

Have you ever done that?  read something by an author you believe you have not heard of before – only to find you own something by them already?  Or is that just me?  Crazy chick in Minnesota.  😛


Last nights book club was sooooooo awesome.  I need to get the review up today for Olive Kitteridge but currently have run out of time to do so and was too tired last night so we shall see if I can squeeze in some time to do this later this afternoon.  I should have been more organized – but honestly I unwound last night by watching Amish Grace on Netfix which is the true story of the Amish School shootings in 2006, the book I read recently about that was Think No Evil.


Oh and winner from yesterdays Sarah Pekkanen day using is:  Kavyen from Reading Between The Pages!

Have a super fab day 😀