Saturday, March 19, 2011

Big Bend Family Vacation - Recap Day I

This past week was Spring Break here in Texas and even though I am not in school, I still had the joy of spending the week with my family in the Davis Mountains out in West Texas. We drove out on Saturday, arriving in Fort Davis in the late afternoon and out at Sproul Ranch with time to unload before we headed over to the Indian Lodge for dinner. (Funny thing is that it was an article about Indian Lodge that my folks read that led to us taking this whole trip.)

Sunday morning we all woke up, had breakfast at the cabin where my sister's family were all staying (it has a full kitchen, so we were able to have a very tasty hot breakfast).
We then all took a long walk out to a pond on the ranch.

While on the walk, a couple of horses decided that they were going to adopt my niece and nephew (and at one point my dad). I didn't get a picture of the horses following Kathleen (niece), but my sister has a great one where the horse is literally following her like a me when I say that I think that was one of her hi-lights of the trip.
After the walk we had a bite to eat and then took a jeep ride up through the Sproul Ranch. On the ride we had quite the view of the mountains, plants, and got quite a history lesson on the Sproul family. We also learned that my sister is truly a miracle as she has the ability to sleep anywhere, including dozing while strapped into a bumpy jeep ride.

Some of the scenery and flora along the jeep route:

Later that afternoon, after we got back from the jeep ride, Graham (BIL) and Colin (nephew) learned to do some skeet shooting while the rest of us relaxed and read or in my mom's case drew.

(This was a stance she was often in... Doesn't she make you think of Georgia O'Keefe?)

As the sun went down,

we cooked hamburgers out on the grill, stared up at the stars (which, by the way are amazing as the Fort Davis mountains is one of the darkest places in the Northern Hemisphere of the Americas...hence the prime location of the Observatory). We then all turned in as we were all pretty beat after a lazy/full day and we were getting up early for our trip to Big Bend the next morning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Book Five - The Devlin Diary

Also on my trip, I finished Christi Phillips book The Devlin Diary. Here is what the back of the book tells us:
London, 1672. A vicious killer stalks the court of Charles II, inscribing victims' bodies with mysterious markings. Are the murders the random acts of a madman? Or, the violent effects of a deeply hidden conspiracy?

Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan's dream come true - until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor's unsolved murder is the seventeenth-century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king's mistress. Through the arcane collections of Cambridge's most eminent libraries, Claire and fellow historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Hannah left behind, uncovering secrets of London's dark past and Cambridge's murky present and discovering that the events of three hundred years ago still have consequences today....
I read Christi Phillips previous book, The Rossetti Letter, a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. This book is a continuation of the same characters as found in that story....or at least in the modern portion of the book. It took me a while to get into this book, in fact I started this book a couple of weeks ago and would read a page or two each night in bed before falling asleep. It wasn't until I was able to sit out by the pool on vacation and really be able to focus my attention on the book (and stay awake) that I could really get sucked into the story-line. It wasn't as interesting to me as the first book, but it did grab me and reminded me of how much I like history and historical novels. After reading this book, it makes me want to go back to school and study again.... not that I will.

For some readers out there (like my Mom) I would recommend this book. It does have a sense of mystery about it, but it is definitely not the James Patterson kind of mystery. If you are a history buff, I would definitely recommend this book.

2011 Book Four - Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave has been showing up on my recommendations list for quite a while now, and the other day as I was stocking up for the trip, I wandered into the book aisle at Target (always a mistake for me to wander into ANY book aisle) and I finally decided to go ahead and pick this book up and read it while on my recent vacation (more details on that trip to come). Here is what the back of the book says:
We don't want to tell you what happens in this book.
It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.
Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:
This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there...
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.
This was a GREAT book. I read it in under two days and was floored by this book. As the back of the book requests, I don't want to tell you anything about what happens in this book, but I do have to say it is incredibly moving and definitely make you think kind of book.

To any of my female readers out there, I would recommend this book. Not that I want to alienate my male readers, but this (as many of the books I read) is most definitely a woman-centric book. I'd love to hear your thoughts.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's That Wednesday?

I need to come up with a standing graphic....Queen - Work on that for me.

I started this series last week with What Is... and have now changed the name officially to "What's That Wednesday?"

Today we are going to discus "corpuscles". Again, this came out of a conversation (or rather an IM discussion) with The Queen. Following is a re-enactment:

ABBA: How's your afternoon?
Queen: Good. I'm in a meeting...again.
ABBA: Do we have an ETD? {Because The Queen and ABBA carpool and ABBA is usually finished before The Queen since The Queen's team tends to want to start working and meeting at 4:30 in the afternoon....isn't that the END of the day?!?}
Queen: Soon. Things wrapping up. How's your afternoon?
ABBA: I think corpuscles are exploding in my head.
Queen: Huh?
ABBA: My head is killing me...
Queen: Ah...What's a corpuscle?

So, here is the Wikipedia information on what a corpuscle is:
Corpuscle may refer to: A small free floating biological cell, especially a blood cell, but not a fat cell.
I was a little off on what I initially thought it was. I thought a corpuscle was sorta like a capillary but in the opposite direction, you know how veins and arteries take the blood in opposite directions from the heart, I thought corpuscles were just smaller versions of these. But at least I was correct in knowing that they have something to do with blood.