Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday Thirteen

Today Christopher Tolkien, 95, passed away. He was the son of J.R.R. Tolkien and the keeper of the legends and the reason so much of the elder's Tolkien's work has found its way out into the world. Tolkien wrote volumes of historical notes and other stories that did not find publishers.

So in honor of both Tolkiens, here are words related to the Lord of the Rings.

1. The Black Land - the land of Mordor

2. elevenses - a mid-morning snack beloved by Hobbits

3. Eorlingas - the warriors of the lands of Rohan

4. gaffer - old man in Hobbit speak (generally Samwise Gamgee says this in reference to his father)

5. goblin - a race of creatures who live underground and fear daylight; kin to orcs and frequently mistaken as being the same as orcs

6. halfling - another word for Hobbit or Shire folk.

7. the Mark - another way to refer to the lands of Rohan

8. Nazgul - also known as the Nine; they are the most powerful servants of Sauron, Lord of Mordor.

9. palantir - one of 8 crystal balls that are linked to one another, allowing the visionary to see across great distances. Some of the balls are thought to have been lost, or at least, no one knows who may have them and be watching.

10. The Third Age - the time of this story, which began when Isildur took the One Ring from Sauron and instead of destroying it, kept it for his own. This age ends when the One Ring is destroyed.

11. Uruk-hai - special orcs created by the wizard Sauraman; they are able to travel by day, have human blood, and are especially large.

12. Warg - a large, intelligent evil wolf, used by Sauraman's scouts and spies.

13. Wraith - an undead person; a specter or phantom


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Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 639th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pictures of My Mother

At Thanksgiving, my aunt came to Virginia from Texas and brought with her the photos my grandmother had had of my mother. She thought I might like them.

Most of them I don't recall seeing. I scanned them, printed them out, and made an album of them and gave them to my brother for Christmas so he would have them, too. I have the originals but I wanted to put some of them here so they would be in my blog. I have my blog bound into a book every three or four months.

Mom hated to have her picture taken, so I doubt she would like to have these photos where everyone can see them, but she isn't around and I want them memorialized here.

So without further ado, photos of my mom:

Mom with her China doll that my grandfather gave her.

I am not sure, but I suspect Mom is pregnant in this picture.

My mother, my brother, my father, and me at the Grand Canyon in 1976.

My grandmother holding my mother when she was a baby.

Mom around age 6 or 7.

My grandfather holding his newborn daughter.

My mother in her Girl Scout uniform.

My mother and my father, taken in 1996, four years before my mother died.

Mom around age 10.

Mom in 1966, bringing home my brother.

Mom's high school photo.

As you can see, my mother had loads of freckles. She told me once that when she was young, someone told her that early morning dew could rid one of freckles. She spent a summer getting up very early, before everyone else, and going outside to rub her face in the grass in hopes of ridding herself of her freckles. Finally, my grandmother caught her and put a stop to it. As you can see, the folk remedy did not work, although the freckles became less apparent as my mother aged. She was very skilled with make-up.

Also, up until about 1993, my mother's hair was black. Then the gray started showing and she dyed it that burnt orange color you see in one photo. When I remember her, I always remember her with black hair.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Books: Daughter of Smoke & Bone series

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
By Laini Taylor
Copyright 2011
418 pages

Days of Blood & Starlight
By Laini Taylor
Copyright 2012
513 pages

Dreams of Gods & Monsters
By Laini Taylor
Copyright 2014
613 pages


This is a trilogy by Laini Taylor that I recently finished. I read the first one in September and I've read the last two since Christmas, as they were presents from a friend.

While these are long, fat books, they read quickly.

There may be spoilers in this, so don't read it if you don't want to know anything about the series.

Basic premise: a race of humanoids who are called angels and a race of chimera, also called demons, live on a planet named Ertz. At one time there were portals through to earth, but those were lost to time. However, the chimera found a way into Earth and went back and forth between the planets. The angels and chimera were constantly at war.

Our heroine is Karou, who initially starts out as a very far-out young woman who loves art and lives in Prague. She was raised by the chimera who live in Earth, and frequently runs errands for them. She has a bit of super strength, stealth, and speed, and has been trained in many types of fighting. Her main errand is to collect teeth and take them to Brimstone, who is described very much like the archetypical devil.

However, the ways in and out of the world that Brimstone has created have been found out by angels, and they are destroyed. Karou attempts to find Brimstone but instead is confronted by an angel, Akiva, who means to kill her but finds something about her reminds him of an old love.

For he had once been in love with a chimera, but she was killed.

As the story unfolds over the books, we learn that chimera are revived many, many times, brought back to life magically into new bodies and sent forth to fight. Angels are bred by one man with many concubines, so that they are all half-brothers and sisters trained only to fight. They aren't allowed to have a life or anything, just fight chimera.

It's a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing. Akiva realizes Karou is his love of 18 years ago, only she was remade as a baby and then raised up by Brimstone, instead of being instantly put back into a body to fight. This was to hide her from the head Chimera wolf-like dude, who wanted her for his mate.

Akiva and Karou feel like they have a destiny to stop this long, long war between angels and chimera. The story revolves around their efforts to accomplish this, although like any story, they go the long way around. Of course, it takes a lot of convincing to have angels and demons on the same side, I suppose.

And as with any romance, whether it's fantasy or main stream literature, the characters have trouble being together and finding their true love.

The last book was what I expected except the author brought in a MacGuffin character whom I could have done without. I thought that took away from the story and ultimately added nothing, really.

All in all, though, good reads and very helpful for recovering from my upper respiratory infection. I will look up this author again.

5 stars for books 1 & 2
4 stars for book 3





Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

Food meme Stolen from Book Mama, who stole it from Jenefur.  

Thanks to The Gal Herself for the suggestion!
 
Answers in BLUE.

01. CHEESE or CHOCOLATE
02. BLUEBERRIES or STRAWBERRIES?
03. COFFEE or TEA
04. CORN MUFFIN or ENGLISH MUFFIN?
05. PANCAKES or FRENCH TOAST?
06. YOGURT or CREAM CHEESE? 
07. RICE or PASTA?
08. CAKE or PIE?
09. GROUND BEEF or GROUND TURKEY?
10. HOT DOGS or HAMBURGERS?
11. JELLY or MARMALADE?
12. AMERICAN CHEESE or SWISS CHEESE?
13. DIET SODA or NO SODA?
14. LEMONADE or ICED TEA?
15. CHERRIES or GRAPES?
16. CHOCOLATE QUIK or STRAWBERRY QUIK?
17. WAFFLES or PANCAKES?
18. WHITE BREAD or WHOLE-GRAIN/WHEAT BREAD?
19. PEAS or CARROTS?
20. PUDDING or FRUIT-FLAVORED GELATIN?
21. COLD CEREAL or HOT CEREAL?
22. KETCHUP or MUSTARD?
23. MUSTARD or MAYONNAISE
24. MAYONNAISE or KETCHUP?
25. BLACK OLIVES or GREEN OLIVES? Neither.
26. ONION or GARLIC? Neither.
27. PLAIN BARBECUE or BARBECUE WITH SAUCE? Neither.
28. SCRAMBLED EGGS or FRIED EGGS?
29. EGGS or EGG REPLACEMENTS?
30. MEAT or VEGETABLES?
31. CHINESE TAKE-OUT or PIZZA?
32. SUSHI or DELI SANDWICH?
33. WHITE CLAM CHOWDER or RED CLAM CHOWDER? Neither.
34. KEY LIME PIE or LEMON MERANGUE PIE?
35. PIE & ICE CREAM or CAKE & ICE CREAM?
36. WHIPPED CREAM or CAKE FROSTING?
37. HONEY or MAPLE SYRUP?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday 9: Sultans of Swing

Saturday 9: Sultans of Swing (1978)

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

(Great song! One of my favorites.)
 
1) The song begins by mentioning how it feels to shiver on a rainy night. As you answer these questions, is it chilly ... or rainy ... or dark?

A. It is daybreak on Saturday morning. I can make out the dim outline of trees through dark and fog. I believe it is raining. However, I noticed the thermometer said 50 degrees, which is warm for this part of the nation at this time of year.

2) The lyrics describe a bar at closing time, when the owner announces, "Goodnight, now, it's time to go home." Can you recall a time when you lingered until you closed the joint?

A. I have not done this since I was a teenager.

3) This song was written years before it was recorded, back in the days before Dire Straits was a success. Composer/lead singer/lead guitarist Mark Knopfler recalls that, when he was working on "Sultans of Swing," he was worried about paying his gas bill. Is anything troubling you this Saturday?

A. My husband's ankle hurt him in the night. He's out of the cast but in a walking boot and he's supposed to be wearing compression stuff. His skin is flaking all over the house. I feel like I'm breathing him in with every breathe. I just had my cleaning help in earlier in the week, too. Sigh. Plus I am way behind on my bookkeeping for our various businesses and I need to get that done because of the taxes but I seem to be spending more time taking care of him - and trying to get over some upper respiratory crap myself - and the bookwork is not getting done.

4) When this song was popular, Sam often played it on the jukebox because, well, who doesn't like Dire Straits? 40 years later, both that  jukebox and the bar it was in are gone. Have you recently been in a restaurant or bar that has a jukebox?


A. No. I don't think I have seen a jukebox since the 1980s.

5) In 1978, the year "Sultans of Swing" topped the charts, Garfield first appeared in newspapers all around the United States. Over the years, it was revealed that the cartoon cat loved lasagna and hated raisins. What's a food you love? What's one that you hate?

A. I love chocolate. I strongly dislike coconut.

6) One of People magazine's top-selling issues of 1978 featured Carrie Fisher and Darth Vader on the cover. The article celebrated the theatrical re-release of Star Wars and announced that the cast was on board for a sequel. How many Star Wars movies have you seen?

A. I have seen 8 of them, I think. I haven't seen the one that is out now.

7) The most popular movie of 1978 was Grease. What's your favorite song from the Grease soundtrack?

A. Hopelessly Devoted To You

8) In 1978, Yves St. Laurent made fashion news by putting his female runway models in menswear-inspired suits, complete with neckties and pocket squares. Do you know how to tie a windsor knot? Can you fold a handkerchief into a pocket square?

A. No and no. I'm afraid fashion is something that is beyond me. I wear jeans and a nice t-shirt with white sneakers pretty much all the time.

9) Random question: You're visiting a friend. He graciously offers you the use of his super-expensive, brand-new luxury sedan for the duration of your stay. Do you take him up on it? Or do you rent a car instead?

A. Odds are I would have a rented car anyway, if I flew there. Otherwise I would be there in my own vehicle. I doubt I would take him up on it unless circumstances were such that it was my only choice.

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I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.