Reading Mysteries

I ran out of books I was willing to read this month in other genres, so I picked up several mystery novels at the library book sale.

I read a “Sister Mary Martha Mystery” by Sister Carol Anne O’Marie. I enjoyed it immensely. There were lots of quotes from plays and poetry. I did wonder at that though. Would a 70+ year old nun really have so many things memorized that she still remembered that wasn’t Bible? I would like to read more of this series and will be looking for it at the used book store this weekend.

In the same venue, probably purged from the same collection, were the “Father Dowling Mysteries” by Ralph McInery. I liked Father Dowling well enough, but I didn’t enjoy the books. In fact, I dropped them right back at the library in order for them to be re-sold in the sale.

Then I read Death at Bishop’s Keep: A Victorian Mystery by Robin Paige. And I read two others in the series as well. I liked these a lot. A “modern” woman keeps running into mysteries and attempting to solve them. Some of them she succeeds in solving on her own. In the series, she falls in love and gets married. The two of them are actually the detectives, but I like that it focuses on her more than on him.

Another cool thing about the Victorian Mystery books is that Robin Paige is actually the psuedonym of a couple. I like the idea of a married couple writing books together.

Another mystery, set in the same era as the Robin Paige books, is Death at Buckingham Palace: Her Majesty Investigates by C.C. Benison. I did not like it as well, though it was interesting. It certainly kept my attention, but not in a way that makes me want to read it again or go out and buy another book in the series.

One new author for me that I did want to go read another book, though I didn’t find that he/she had one is Terrie Curran. I read All Booked Up and enjoyed it. It was about books and the theft of books and murder, but the murders were really just about the books too, so… I enjoyed the discussions of the books. An additional interesting tidbit is that the “detectives” in this book are a husband-wife professor couple.

Then, at the same booksale, I picked up An Experiment in Treason: A Sir John Fielding Mystery by Bruce Alexander. I thought it looked interesting because it was in hardback, always a good thing with a book that is enjoyable, and it had Benjamin Franklin on the cover. I note that the paperback version I linked to does not, but my hardback cover does. This particular book is a discard from a public library. I don’t like that because that means there are marks on the cover and the inside covers, but I can deal with it. The book was quite good. I would like to read more of these as well.

The final mystery I’ve read, though not the last I’ve purchased was I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia: An Amanda Pepper Mystery by Gillian Roberts. I didn’t like this one as much as most of the others, though the main character is intriguing. Why didn’t I like it? There’s wife abuse investigated in the book, by the main character Amanda. But the police officer she is dating won’t touch it. I didn’t like that at all. Eventually all comes right and I did keep reading till the end when said p.o. redeems himself somewhat. But I don’t know that I’ll read another one. Not till I run out of others anyway.

I’m not one of those people who reads mysteries and can figure out immediately who did it. But I enjoy them. And I prefer having all the evidence the main character has being known.

I could use other author recommendations in this genre if you have any.

Seizures and Full Moon

My mom has always said more babies are born when the moon is full. As far as I know, no one has checked that out. (I haven’t, anyway.) But Reuters said that people with epilepsy (as opposed to epileptics, which may now be un-PC) experience more seizures during a full moon.

The different phases of the moon have long been associated with changes in human behavior, according to folklore, with some believing that the lunar phases can trigger epilepsy or psychiatric disturbances. Studies investigating the potential association have yielded conflicting results.

Seizures in epileptics may be triggered by various environment-related phenomena, the researchers add. Epileptics and many emergency room physicians and nurses believe that moon can influence a patient’s mental health status.

Memorial Day

I sent my students home this weekend, for a three day holiday. But I wanted them to remember WHY they have Monday off. So Monday reads: “Memorial Day holiday. Remember those who have died in this nation’s service in the last 230 years. Remember their families as well.”

I read it to them before they left and asked them to particularly remember those families who have recently lost loved ones in the War on Terror.

I am praying for you, if you are one of those families.

And for those of you who have your loved ones over there still, or who have welcomed them home, I thank you as well.


R and I, along with M, had to go to a school interview so that M can get math class tutoring. I was not happy about going, neither was anyone else. They know us. Why did they need to interview us? (Because they had some discipline problems last year.)

I got teary eyed once, and thought that I would feel stupid bolting out of the room crying. Thankfully I was able to contain myself.

The three of us left and each one of us had very different perspectives on what happened in the interview.

I’m glad it is over.

And now I am to bed.


I told someone I have no friends here now or yet. We’ve lived here almost 6 years. But I do have some and I have had some. Friends for a season, anyway. Michelle, Deb, and Jennie. They’ve moved away or moved on to other places in their lives. And I have some people who always speak with me when I see them and seem happy to do so. And I had lunch with one who is incredibly busy and we spoke as friends.

Perhaps I had made the bar too high. I don’t expect to talk to P regularly. (She’s opposed to the phone.) And yet I love her and count her one of my five closest girl friends in all the world. (My husband is closer than any of the five.) And AC, whom I also love, I speak with now once a year.

So, perhaps, I have been overly dependent on my friends. Perhaps Lori E was right and I have been “dependent,” literally.

If it was true, it is less so now, six years along into our life here. And I don’t have any close friends here. I don’t have a single person besides my husband that I speak with once a week… But I still count my life as good. I have been blessed and I know it.

So I’ll have to give over my too high expectations and remember that, even without close friends here, I enjoy my life and find it good.

Reasons to check your emergency supplies

1. Hurricane season is upon us, or will be in a week. Don’t forget Katrina and Rita from last year. If your house blows away having food won’t help you, but if it doesn’t, it might.

2. Human to human transmission of avian flu. 7 folks infected, 6 dead.

In an effort to find humor in grim places, I am not hanging out with anyone who looks like they might be dying unless they’re goth. Then I’ll just have to hope they only look that way and aren’t really about to kick the proverbial bucket.


E took his exams. He’s rated college level in reading, writing, and essays. He can take any math he wants up to sophomore level calculus based on his scores in math.

I’m not sure I want him to take a sophomore college class at the mint-new age of 15. (He’ll turn the week before school starts.)

If he were in a public school, he’d be a sophomore in high school.

Now I am wondering if I should get my younger son tested. He’s as advanced in writing and reading, though far behind his brother in math… It was suggested to me that I do that, rather than jump through the private school hoops we are doing to get him a math teacher.

We’ll have to talk about it.

oh my goodness

I have produced a poet and essayist of phenomenal abilitites. (I mean produced as in, he was born from me. I’m not sure I had much to do with his incredible expressiveness.)

I asked my son to write an essay for admission to math class. (It’s not my prerequisite. But where I am going to get him math requires it.) They not only require an essay, they give the topics you can write on.

So M had an hour to write this thing tonight and I am blown away. It is incredibly articulate, with poetry and metaphors embedded in the five paragraph, 591 word essay. It’s got teenage attitude in it too, which is not so great. But I am amazed.

I was going to post a piece of it and then I realized that the piece I chose would be the most likely to get “checked” for plagiarism and I don’t want the folks to find my website. (Much safer that way.)

Let me just say that you would be in awe if you could read it.

Maybe I’ll post it next week after the interview is over.

Homeschoolers Do it Better

I told my sons about plagiarizing in my college class last semester. My eldest son said the students were foolish.

“First off, you should plagiarize from books. That way you won’t get caught from the net.”

“Then, if you’d just move the words around in the sentence, so that they’re not in the same order, you won’t get caught either.”

(Quotes probably not exact. My memory is holey right now.)

Dual Credit

My eldest is in the process of applying to be able to take dual credit classes from the college. (They will count towards his college and his high school.)

I want him to take math. He needs a good math class and I know, literally, nothing in the level to which he has advanced. But I can get him a good math teacher. And that’s part of my job as a homeschooling mother, to know when I don’t know enough. (This time that was really easy.)

He can take another course as well. The college allows two classes per semester to be taken concurrently.

My question is, what should the other one be?

For several reasons, I was leaning towards a foreign language. I think a foreign language is good to know. He’d like to learn Japanese but that is not one of the courses offered at the school. My parents want him to take a foreign language, with the proviso that he can actually learn one. (My dad failed college Spanish. He could NOT get it.)

Then I read Confessions of a Community College Dean on requiring one year of language. He asks, “What’s the point?”

I took Spanish in elementary school (utterly useless except for counting), in junior high (okay), and in high school (exceptional because they let me opt out of the class with the tenured teacher and take the one who actually taught). I learned some. Then I took a year in college. I also took two years of Portuguese in college. Then I went to Switzerland, worked with a Spanish-speaking church for 18 months, and took courses in French. That’s a lot of language. You’d hope it would be worth something. In the last 20 years I’ve talked to a friend’s mother, a boyfriend’s mother, and passed my doctoral level reading language with Spanish. (Oh yeah, I also translated the ribald bits from Samuel Pepys with it.)

But I still think it’s important.

And I think, with the state of immigration right now, Spanish will become more important. I want my son to know what the people are singing, not to have to rely on the media for an actual translation.

So, I think, after vacillating back and forth, I want him to take Spanish. Now the question is, do I want him to take it this first year, when he could get two years of college Spanish while finishing up high school or do I want him to have an option on another class? I just don’t know.

I guess R and I will need to do some discussion on the subject.

Making a Knot

You know, “when you get to the end of your rope…”

Today I tried to get E in for the Compass test. K said all we needed was a $29 check. Had that. Arrived. They said he needed to be admitted. Went to get the paperwork. Must have a soc number. So we went home, got that, came back.

Got all approved. Waived the fee. Went to take the test. He must have an ID.

How do I get an ID? I could make a school ID. That would count. Can R do that tonight? Or I can find his birth certificate (if I have it) and his soc card (if I have it) and go to DPS and get an ID for $15, I think. They don’t answer their phones. They just have a recording.

I gave a quiz today. 40 questions. The average on the quiz was 20. That’s 50%. I think they think I’m doing this for fun. What, we’ll have a quiz over the lecture? I just thought the lecture was because you like to talk.

We have a test tomorrow. We’ll see how they do on that.

Grading. Grading. Grading. What was I thinking!?

The reason the whole rope isn’t frayed? The pot roast I am making smells wonderful. I’m reading a good book on King Arthur. And it is a very pretty day.


Well, Quick Weight Loss Center diet is still working.

But I’m exhausted again. I’m taking naps and sleeping twelve hours a night. In fact, I’m tired right now. And I can’t afford to be tired and in bad shape for the surgery. Even if I would weigh less.

The diet is also making both us grumpy. At least I hope it’s the diet.

I’ve lost 6 pounds. R’s lost 10.

Old Palm Tree

They’re calling it Methusaleh, because it was grown from a 2,000 year old seed in King Herod’s palace. Apparently the tree’s fruit is known as an aphrodisiac and a contraceptive. (Interesting dual purpose there.) You can read about it here.

The article doesn’t state whether the tree they have is male or female. Nor does it say how they will fertilize it without the other.

But it’s very interesting to read about it. Especially the part where invading armies would cut down the male plants, leaving the country scraping for food.


I’ve now had six doctors think I was silly for worrying about the possibility of being pregnant when I have my tubes tied. But they didn’t grow up in my family and they aren’t related to my mother, the original Fertile Mertyl of the universe.

My mother got pregnant on an IUD. My mother got pregnant on the pill. My mother got pregnant with her tubes tied.

So, despite the fact that doctors say it doesn’t happen, I know it does.

And R and I were a little disturbed that the doctor, during the preop, said she wasn’t going to do a pregnancy test. When R asked her why not, she said because I had already had my tubes tied. And on top of that I’m on birth control.

We didn’t say anything to each other at the time, but yesterday we both talked about how we were concerned. In addition, we were concerned that there might actually be a baby and the doctor would tell us after it had been killed.

We can’t really totally 100% know it isn’t going to happen, but I am planning on taking a pregnancy test two days before the surgery. (Not that even that will necessarily convince me. M was conceived, and then over the next three months I failed three pregnancy tests. I passed the fourth one.) We’ll just have to pray.

Pray against pregnancy and for peace of mind.

Dieting Still

Quick Weight Loss Center Diet.

It will be two weeks tomorrow. That means I’m on day 13 right now. That’s not good. I’ve lost 5.8 pounds, which isn’t bad, but I’m grumpy and grumpy and grumpy.

It’s not even because I hate fish. (Most of the protein options on this diet are fish. If they’re not, they’re turkey or chicken.)

I think I’m too low carbed to survive this much longer.

I really want to be healthy. I want to look good and feel good. But right now I just am zonked.

I hope this gets better soon. I hope this is just my body throwing a temper tantrum. And I hope it doesn’t last as long as most children’s terrible twos.