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text 2017-12-01 22:58
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 5: Advent

Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.) 

 

Bonus task:  make your own advent calendar and post it.

 

Technically, it's not my own Advent calendar, but MT's.  I make a beer advent calendar for him every year.  He gets one bottle of, hopefully, new-to-him craft beer each day.  I find it works wonders helping him find his Christmas spirit.

 

I say hopefully because this is year 3 and no, I'm not organised AT ALL about how I do this, so every year I'm at the shop, with, luckily, the same sales guy, and he and I go through the stock pulling beers off the shelves with comments like:  

 

What about this one?  No... I think he had that last year...what about this one?  Definitely not - he won't appreciate guava, sage and pineapple in his beer... Oh! this is a new one and he'll really like it!

 

There's also a lot of me pulling beers off the shelves because they have pretty labels or hilarious names and the Purvis guy (Purvis is the shop name) telling me I have the worst taste in beer, but great taste in marketing. 

 

I DID get organised in one respect this year:  instead of buying gobs of tissue paper to wrap the bottles in, I had the brainstorm of buying some fabric remnants, and wrapping the bottles in those instead, making them re-useable year to year.  I cut them into the proper size, and then added two grommets to feed a ribbon through, allowing me to easily tie the whole thing up.  I used all the bits of ribbon I've saved from previous years' holidays, so each is a bit different (and not always a good color combo, but oh well).

 

I also got proactive about the numbered labels:  I bought a set of craft paper swing tags, drew as nice a set of numbers on them as I could, added a grommet and they'll now be the permanent day numbers for future years.  Earlier this year, I bought a nice old wooden box to put the bottles in too, so future years, this SHOULD be a snap to pull together; maybe then I can start keeping track of which beer I buy from year to year.

 

So, the finished product:

Without tags or cat.

 

With tags.

 

 With tags *and* cat.

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text 2017-11-27 15:50
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 15 - Boxing Day


Tasks for St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day: Show us your boxes of books! –OR– If you have a cat, post a picture of your cat in a box.

 

The current feline denizen of my home -- Teddy -- won't be caught dead in anything enclosing him, but Holly loved boxes and was, consequently, in heaven whenever we were moving.  Here are a few impressions from the preparations of our "big" move from California to Germany:

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text 2017-11-26 23:20
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 4 - Thanksgiving

Tasks for Thanksgiving Day: List of 5 things you’re grateful for.

 

Three days late, but anyway, here we go:

 

1.) My mom.  Life wasn't always a bed of roses for her, but she brought me up never once letting me feel it.  Praise was always more lavish than criticism -- in fact, the mere absence of praise and a subdued showing of disappointment usually took the place of overt criticism, and that was all that was needed.  It was my mom who fostered my love of reading and travel -- even from my earliest years on, she took me abroad at least once a year -- and of every activity that expanded my scope of vision.  From my earliest days on, she was the closest friend I ever had.  Yet she never once challenged my decision to move to Berlin (a day's travel away by car or train then) after I had graduated from university, and later even to the U.S.  And after 20+ years of wanderings, I was happy to move back to Bonn, and close to her at last, so as to be able to be around when she needs me. She'll be 80 next year but doesn't look nearly that.  Our / her family tend to live very long lives -- I sure hope that's true and we'll be able to enjoy each other's company for a long time yet!

 

Traveling with mom to Spain, the Netherlands and the French Riviera (my mom took the picture, so she isn't in it), and at home, during an autumn walk and on my grandparents' balcony (they lived at walking distance from us).

 

2.) My cats.  All of them, beginning with Gypsy, who stole my heart almost 20 years ago at the end of my final term at Cornell and stayed with me until his body finally gave out on him after he'd reached a Methusalean age (I never knew what age exactly he'd reached; his last vet thought he was at least 19 or 20); continuing with Holly and Tiger, born in the wilds of Grand Canyon and a Los Angeles back alley garbage dump respectively, who found their homes with me after having been saved from certain death by guardian angels in 2000 and 2002; and now, finally, Teddy, who's been making his home with me since this past June, and is learning, for the first time in a life spent out on the street so far, that humans aren't all evil and can even (gasp -- what a notion!) be trusted, at least to a certain extent.

My two black boys, Gypsy (R.I.P. 2008) and Teddy -- and the two girls at play (left Holly, R.I.P. 2016, right Tiger, R.I.P. 2012).

 

3.) The fact that my office has survived the first year of its existence.  I left my former firm and set up an office of my own at the end of last year, and though I knew I wouldn't be starving, there's always a huge amount of uncertainty connected with such a step; not least because both clients and peers will perceive you differently once you're no longer connected with a powerful, well-established firm.  But this year has, overall, been better than I expected, and it looks very much like next year's intake is ensured as well.  Of course it can still all go down really fast, but so far, things are exceeding expectations, and that surely is something to be thankful for.

 

4.)  My books!  All of them, every book that I ever read -- even the bad ones.  I taught myself to read while most of the rest of my class was still stuck in the early stages of their ABC so as to finally be able to read the books that others (chiefly my mom) had, so far, been reading to me ... and I've never looked back.

 

5.)  My friends.  This community (as the recent site maintenance hickups very unnecessarily brought home yet again) and in real life, chiefly my BFF Gaby, who is one of the most courageous persons I've ever known -- and we've known each other ever since high school.  She's been born with a slew of handicaps, not all of them as visible as the fact that she requires crutches and a wheelchair to move any distances longer than a few 100 feet, but this doesn't stop her from living a fully realized life -- which on her job side, includes business trips to such places as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali or, more recently, the part of Turkey just on the other side of the border from the Iraqi civil war zone.  She is always ready to stand up for her own rights as well as those of others, always has an ear for other people's troubles, and is, all around, the most generous and loyal friend anybody could possibly wish for.

 

Mexico (December 1994 / January 1995) -- together at Teotihuacán, and Gaby climbing up the stairs of El Capitán, the big pyramid at Chichén-Itzá -- and Edinburgh (2006)

 

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text 2017-11-25 13:51
Hygge!

Tasks for Saint Lucia's Day: Get your Hygge on -- light a few candles if you’ve got them, pour yourself a glass of wine or hot chocolate/toddy, roast a marshmallow or toast a crumpet, and take a picture of your cosiest reading place.

 

The cat and I made a lovely comfortable evening of it last night:

 


("And what is so interesting about a cat eating his dinner, I'd like to know?!")


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review 2017-11-21 10:00
Release Day Review! Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3) by Suzanne Wright
Lure of Oblivion (Mercury Pack) - Suzanne Wright

 

 

Gwen Miller may be a human, but she has no problem taking a stand against her own kind. She’s going to testify against the teenage boy she saw viciously assault a lone shifter female—and no amount of pressure from the boy’s wealthy family will make her back down. But when the harassment turns violent, help comes in the form of a lean, toned wolf with winter-gray eyes.

As a guest at Gwen’s inn, shifter enforcer Zander Devlin can’t help but notice that the fierce and leggy brunette is in serious trouble. Since she’s putting herself at risk for one of his kind, keeping her safe is the least he can do. That’s not the only reason Zander wants her close. He desires her, even as the wolf inside him backs away from her. But his feral instincts are hard to keep down, and as they take shape, they’re harder for Gwen to resist. Then again, embracing them could be the only thing that could save her life.

 

 

The Mercury Pack is back in a fast paced thrilling romance that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Gwen and Zander are two wonderful characters that reached out and stole my heart with their vulnerable but fierce personalities. They both had tough exteriors that hid their tormented past and readers can certainly understand their views on life and empathize with the way they protected themselves. Gwen may be a human heroine but she has a loyal strong heart and attitude and she fits right in with both the Mercury Pack and the Phoenix Pack.

 

These characters easily captivate readers and ensure that they have to know the whole story, while the suspense builds throughout the story with lots of thrilling action and danger. The bad guys may be a bit typical with their hatred of anything or anyone different but they grab reader’s attention and hold tight because the reader wants to know what they will do next.  

 

I look forward to each and every visit to either the Mercury or Phoenix Packs, because Suzanne Wright brings the characters and the world to brilliant life with well written words that ensure I get caught up in what’s happening and fall in love with the characters and my visit to packs was just as exciting this time as ever and I can’t wait to visit them again unfortunately it looks like I will be waiting impatiently until summer 2018 for my next visit, but I am sure I will quite satisfied with that visit as well.  

 

 

 

 

Lure of Oblivion is the 3rd book in The Mercury Pack series which is interconnected to The Phoenix Pack series.

 

Lure of Oblivion is available in print or ebook at:

Amazon   B&N

 

Suzanne Wright can be found at:

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads    BookBub  

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