August 23, 2012

headed to heaven...

No, I'm not on my last leg here on earth.  But I am headed for heaven.  At least a tiny pocket that got left here on earth.  It's time to head to the hills near Yellowstone for my family camping trip.  I haven't gone since 2009, so I'm really excited.  Last year, we did the tourist thing and went through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons--it was wonderful.  But I'm ready to get back to the river. I'm ready for my hammock.  I'm ready to fish and relax. 

In other news, the 2012 Moot (the annual gathering of CleanPlacers) went off with nary a hitch.  It was a lovely time.  We were back at Bear Trap Ranch (which is truly home) and we had a great group. 

And to update you on my weight loss progress, I'm at 15.5 pounds lost!  And that was being "off plan" for the entire Moot!  I think my body is finally getting the hang of losing weight.  And I felt much better up at 11,000+ feet this year.  Being 15 pounds lighter and eating healthy food has some good results!

And now I'm going to go stare at the dryer until it finishes my last load, so I can put the few items I still need into my bag, throw it in the car, and then I can sleep!

August 21, 2012

top ten tuesday: ten top reads

Once again, you can find the blog that started it all @ Broke & Bookish.

This week, it's the top ten books you have read since starting your blog.  For the sake of not having to dredge up old blogs, I'm going with this particular blog, which means mid-2006.  And since I have detailed lists of books I have read starting in 2007, I think I can safely do this.  These will all be "new" books that I had not read prior to this blog, but may have read several times since discovering them.  These are in no particular order.

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher--yes, I know, it's a series. But it's a series I started reading after I started this blog.  And I love it.  Dresden is the perfect mix of attitude, male ego, a soft heart, magic and legend to keep me interested, even invested, in the stories.  And it's not just Dresden, there is a whole cast of characters that I love.  Totally worth the time I've invested in reading them!

2. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell--yep, this one.  Again.  It's amazing.  One of the top five books I have ever read.  And yes, it's about Jesuits in space.  And about languages, and about aliens, and about what makes us human.  Also one of the very best redemption stories ever told.  I laugh, I cry, and I find God every time I read it.  Amazing.

3. 100 Cupboards by N.D.Wilson--this one is a children's book, but don't let that fool you.  This guy might just be the next C.S. Lewis, and his world is pretty impressive (and he handles philosophy pretty well, too, as evident in his non-fic, Note From the Tilt-A-Whirl).  100 Cupboards is the start of three books that have an ordinary boy who finds that the many cupboards in his attic room lead to different worlds.  It's an adventure from there on out.

4. Theater of the Stars: A Novel of Physics and Memory by N.M. Kelby--wow, times three.  Kelby is one of those writers who blows me away every single time.  Plus, she's super nice.  She not only responded to my note on Goodreads, she emailed back and forth with me on all sorts of things.  This book, especially, blew me away.  This book is about a scientist who is the daughter of a scientist, and there is mystery about where she came from, her mother's role in developing the atom bomb,  and lots of interpersonal connections.  Hard to find, but worth the search.

5. Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D.Wilson--the only non-fiction that will show up on this list, but it well-earned the spot!  This is the only book that I can remember reading literally from front cover to back, then turning right back to the start and reading again.  It's philosophy, it's a prayer, it's finding God in all his handiwork, and seeing how that helps us on this carnival ride we call life.  Fantastic read.  Go buy it, you won't be sorry!

6. Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein--A delightfully heartbreaking work about a mother who lost a son, but is he really gone?  Or did the seal people steal him?  Stein weaves native myth from the Aleut people into an aching story of grief, loss, hope and growth.  The man made me like a dog in his other book, in this one, he pretty much stole my heart. 

7. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen--so, I discovered Allen since the start of this blog, and so far, I've enjoyed all her books.  This one makes the list because it really resounded in my soul.  The plot is well-woven, the characters are brilliantly done, and I connected with it on so many levels.  There's a lot of interpersonal relationship stuff here, enough, well, to fill a novel.  And what fantastic filling Allen does.  A great read, especially for those who enjoy a good book about the power of friendship between women.

8. Proof by Dick Francis--before you poo-poo Francis because he wrote tons of mysteries that are somewhat formulaic, read one.  Read THIS one.  Not many writers can make me tear up, even fewer make me openly weep.  This one got the tears perched and ready.  Francis was good at creating compelling characters.  In Proof, the main character is a young widower who happens to be a wine merchant.  And he gets caught up in a mystery that has to do with wine, race horses, and some shady characters.  I loved it. 

9.  Good Man Hunting by Lisa Landolt--totally did not expect much from this book. Was totally surprized.  I thought it would be a throw-away beach read, but it had heart and substance.  It's about a club of older, married women who "hunt" for mates for younger women.  They are a match-making society.  But their methods sometimes aren't the best, and when one young woman gets caught up in their hunt, she finds that sometimes doing things on your own is the best method. 

10.  Second Glance by Jodi Picoult--I first read Picoult just before this blog.  And for a while, I was very much a fan.  This is one of my favorites by her.  I'm a sucker for a good ghost story, and this one is one of the very best I've ever read.  A ghost, a haunting, a mystery, and a love story, all wrapped up in one.  Plus, this is Picoult when she wasn't too big for her britches, so she's in fine form! 

So there you have it, ten of the best books I have read since starting this blog!  Hope you enjoyed the list.