Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Snaptshot

It's time for....
Saturday Snapshot!!
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken.   Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. 
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

When we last left our friends  (a few weeks ago for Saturday Snapshot)... April, Shelly and myself in Boise, ID),  they had just left the big Boise Library Book Sale.  
Well... we went to prison.
We toured the old Boise State Penitentiary! 

Because we were loafing!
In this area...
(those are my glasses on top of my head.  I did not have a big streak of gray hair/roots. At that time)

had dual crimes!
(she's like that---rebellious and, well... wild!)

It was a fun girls weekend.
Book store and prison! 

What follows -- for Saturday Snapshot--- are many (MANY!) photos of the old penitentiary.  It was creepy interesting.
There are a couple of pictures towards the end that are really sinister.
Death Row, etc.
It was actually very eerie  seeing the 'observation' room and all that.  Just knowing that people were waiting to be executed. 
But if you like history, you'd like to see this.

Spinach Apple Salad -- Friday Friend Recipe #54

Friday Friend Recipe #54Apple Spinach Salad

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #54

Debbie E's
Apple Spinach Salad

 It's salad time again!
And this one is perfect for summer time.
I loved it.

There were about 6 or 7 spinach type salads turned in for the Friday Friend Cookbook.   I think I like this the one best so far!  (the only other one was mine)
Fresh and crisp and --- eatin' on the patio kind of salad.

Deb E is a great cook. 
And she tries to do healthy dishes quite often.
This is the best!  I could eat it every day.

Apple Spinach Salad
Debbie Engstrom
Winnemucca, NV

2 red delicious apples
1/2 cup sliced radishes
2 T lemon juice
2 T sunflower seeds
1 lb fresh spinach
sliced cucumbers

Toss with 
Mint Dressing 

1/2 cup salad oil
2 T lemon juice
2 t chopped green onions
1/2 t dried mint flakes or 1 T fresh mint
1/2 t salt
1 t sugar
dash of pepper

If you remember from the last Friday Friend Cookbook post I did--(hahaha, like you remember all that)
I also featured a recipe by Debbie E.  (it happens sometimes,  2x in a row)
She was headed off to see grandbaby #5.

So my fun fact/story for today's Friday Friend, Debbie E is this:
She loves being a grandma.

Here she is with #'s  1,2,3,4 and 5!
(that's all for today, as she has many more recipes and 
I have many more stories)

Armchair BEA -- Goodbye and Giveaway

Armchair BEA is coming to a close.
But we tend to like things that go out with a bang!
So... today is "Give-a-way" day!
My give-a-way is different.
I mean, sure, who doesn't love an Amazon gift card?
Or a new book?
You can count me in for all those things!!
But I wanted to be different.
In my Book club  The Lit Wits,  we have a prize every year for different things (last year it was a book bingo thing and this year, it is for someone one who reads every single book), and this year our prize is:
Catalog Card socks!!!
Guess what?
You can have a chance to win the same thing!
Ta DA!!!
Ordered straight from Bas Bleu to you!
Who doesn't love a good pair of socks?
Who doesn't miss old card catalogs?
(oh yeah....all of you under 45!)
But still---  you want them.
I know you do.
How can you win them?
Just make a comment on this blog post.
With an email address so I can contact you. 
It's as simple as that.

This comment/contest thing will be open until June 4th. 
Midnight PST
And the winner will be chosen by a random drawing.

It's been fun Armchair BEA.
I've met some new friends.
Found some new blogs to follow.
And added lots of books to my list.

See you next year!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

From Goodreads:
 Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
From Me:
I had been wanting to read Neil Gaiman forever.
But... I just didn't get this book.
I listened to it on audio and it was narrated by  Gaiman.  I think he did a wonderful job reading his own story, and  while there were parts that kept me engrossed, there were many more parts that had me thinking....wha???
Maybe that was the whole point.
I will give Gaiman another try--I do own 'The Graveyard Book'-- he is so well respected and loved in the literary world--- and seriously, I can understand a clown in a sewer named Pennywise? Why not this one? -- I'm sure I can 'get' another of Gaiman's books.
It must have been my mood.
I hate when that happens.
3 stars.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Armchair BEA - Characters

Today's Topics
Character Chatter
It's time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now's your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who's your favorite couple? What are the components of a well written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?

I'm coming to the table late today!  So this will be quick.
I always say that I read series mysteries because of the setting, the love of place, and yes, I fall in love with different 'places' all the time.  (because the authors are so great in setting the scene)  But let's face it---I wouldn't come back to the 2nd or 3rd book in the series if I didn't also love the characters.
Most times, the characters are flawed, but deep and very interesting.   (except I do love  a good cozy once on a while,  Stephanie Plumb? I still  Love her, even if she has no depth--doesn't really grow. But ahhhh  I so want to be her!).  

These are some of my favorite characters:
Cork O' Conner from William Kent Krueger's  "Iron Lake" series
 Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his "former" status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago's South Side, there's not much that can shock him.

Sebastian St. Cyr from C.S Harris's  Sebastian St. Cyr series
  Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.

Deborah Knott (MY FAV) from  Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott Series
Deborah Knott, an attorney and the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. Known for her knowledge of the region's past and popular with the locals.

Clair Ferguson and Russ Van Alstyne fro Julia Spencer-Fleming series (another FAVORITE)
  Clare Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady," she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown.

Bess Crawford in Charles Todd's series
 The daughter of a distinguished soldier, Bess Crawford, follows in his footsteps and signs up to go overseas as a nurse during the Great War, helping to deal with the many wounded.

Tess Monaghan  in Laura Lippman's series
A former Star reporter who knows every inch of this town—from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill—now-unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan. (solves a mystery!)

Peter Decker and Rina Lazurus in Faye Kellerman's series 
 Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report.Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. One of the women was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed.
The crime was called in by Rina Lazarus, and Decker is relieved to discover that she is a calm and intelligent witness. She is also the only one in the sheltered community willing to speak of this unspeakable violation. As Rina tries to steer Decker through the maze of religious laws, the two grow closer. But before they get to the bottom of the horrendous crime, revelations come to light that are so shocking that they threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman with whom he has become irrevocably linked.

That's all I have time for now.. .I could go on and on about more great characters in more great novels/series/ mysteries, but no time left today.
We are off to see friends for dinner.



Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by 

Every Friday, she'll pose a question, submitted by a fellow book blogger.

(stop by her Blog to find out all the details)

This week's question is:
 Can you read in a room with noise or do you have to have total quiet? 
My answer is---sometimes I can read in a room with noise and sometimes I can't.  I'm not sure if it depends on how intense the book is or if it is my mood, or how much I like the book. Sometimes I  sit in the front/living room and read while the Handyman watches TV in the family room and sometimes I will sit with him and can read just fine.
I have no trouble reading in airports or in restaurants while things are going on around me tho. 
Good question! 

When Gods Die

From Goodreads:
 Brighton, England, 1811. The beautiful wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent. Draped around her neck lies an ancient necklace with mythic origins-and mysterious ties to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Haunted by his past, Sebastian investigates both the Marchioness's death and his own possible connection to it-and discovers a complex pattern of lies and subterfuge. With the aid of his lover, Kat Boleyn, and a former street urchin now under his protection, Sebastian edges closer to the killer. And when one murder follows another, he confronts a conspiracy that threatens his own identity...and imperils the monarchy itself.
From Me:
Why did this book call to me?
I used to read "Historical Romance" novels all the time, and I loved them.
Then, I stopped. 
I always felt that I grew out of them, but that's not a kind description, because whether you like them or not, Historical novels take a great deal of research to be true to their time  period and most are very well written and developed.
They can be fun, fast, suspenseful and emotional.
(after reading these first books I've found I've missed them!)
But, nevertheless, I stopped reading them, about 25 years ago.
Until...   The Quirky Bookworm wrote a post titled: 
Addicting Books:  8 Titles you won't be able to put down, 
and she said:
 I always devour the new entries in C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr series too (there are ten in the series so far, so you have a lot of great books to look forward to if you haven't read any!). It's not so much about the mysteries as it is about the relationships between the main characters.
and then...the rest is history!
It's about the relationships between the main characters.
She had me at that!!
This is the 2nd book I've read in the series and I really enjoyed it.
I do love to see character development, and Harris does a great job.
Not to mention their is a murder mystery plot to go along.
I know I'll enjoy this series.
3 stars from me.
*You probably already know this, but I just found out that 'Regency'
Historical novels (and that is what this is) are from 1811 to 1820, in the United Kingdom when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent.  In 1820  the Prince Regent became George IV   on the death of his father.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Armchair BEA Day 2 Social Media

Good morning.
Happy Thursday.
Happy Day #2 of Armchair BEA.

One of today's topics is: Social Media.

I suck at it.

Let me just blame it on being a tad bit over 50.
(except that's no excuse, because I know many bloggers over 50 who are very proficient in other forms of social media)

So....being over 50 (just a tad!) is not an excuse?
Too lazy to learn?
Too dumb to learn?
Too impatient to learn?

Let my just say  that I'm speaking specifically  of Twitter right now.
I do have a Twitter account
but I really don't get it, so once in a while I'll tweet out a random thought and then get really self-conscious about those random thoughts (although for Steve Martin they work very well...go figure?).
I do think Twitter does automatic Tweets for me on my Goodreads account and some of my blog posts.
I want to join in on Twitter conversations sometimes, but I don't know if I'm supposed to??!!  
Seriously, do i just POP IN?  
And Twitter parties?  Most times the timing is off for me on the West Coast.
I could probably make it work, but therein lies the 'too lazy' excuse.

Too lazy, but also too impatient. 
Yesterday, I tired to participate in the Instagram challenge, but I accidentally put the wrong hashtag on my photo.
I did this at Easter too.... took a photo of my grandchildren and #wastertime, instead of #eastertime.
You know I was not the ONLY ONE who did this.  There are tons of  Easter Instgram photos hash tagged with #waster.
But my (supposed to be) grown up sons would not let me live that down and started hashtagging everything #waster.

Instagram  = afridayfriend

I do realize that most of you today are writing about how to utilize and expand your blogging experience thru Social Media. 
While I am just writing about what a social media dork I am.

the Friday Friends does have a Facebook page
And I am on Goodreads (as Debbie Stone)
and those two I can handle without any faux-paux  for the most part.

Back to the social media dork...
it's okay.
Because, for me, this is just a hobby.
I don't review books,  I just 
and find out, thru  your blogs, what's good, what's trending and what I should read next!

I love your blogs!
I love your tweets  (even if I'm just a voyeur) 
I love your instagrams
Goodreads  suggestions/ratings.

And there are a few of you out there, whom I just really love... gotten to know thru emails etc.

Now....somebody explain Tumblr to me....

The other topic today is
Visual Expressions
There are so many ways to tell stories. Whether it's comic books, graphic novels, visual novels, webcomics, etc, there are quite a lot of other mediums to tell a story. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just words and use other ways to experience a story.

One silly fact about this 'tad-bit' over 50 blogger...
I love X-Men Comics.
I don't buy them --mostly because comic books are $5.00 and I can read them in 15 minutes.
But I raised 3 boys and they liked them, so...  I just kind of grew to love them.
But, as a rule, I don't read in graphic form.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sloppy Joes, Cookbook Countdown #80 and Cookbook Wednesday!

It's Cookbook Wednesday!
And this is  #80 for me!
As  I said the last time I posted a cookbook for the countdown,  
this isn't even making a dent in my collection.
And it's #80!
This will keep me busy until I die. (posting from each cookbook)
I'm so glad I have a purpose in life!  A goal!  I can never give up!

Then swing on over to Marjie  host of Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet to see other Cookbook enthusiasts. 
She's hosting for now, while Louise is on a break. (Hey Louise!)

For this week's countdown, I used this cookbook:

 From Goodreads:
 Fun, fellowship, and great food-these are the ingredients that make for a successful social gathering when supplied by people like you and the Taste of Home Test-Kitchen experts. Packed with 506 delicious, home-style recipes for bite-sized snacks, refreshing beverages, tasty appetizers, spectacular side dishes, hearty entrees, and delightful desserts-each recipe serving eight or more. You are sure to find a dish to suit any occasion-church breakfasts and suppers, potlucks, reunions, family gatherings, or any other event that draws a hungry crowd. Each recipe uses everyday ingredients and is designed to travel well.

And I really took my dish to a church supper!!
We had a potluck after church on  Sunday,
 I made Sloppy Joes!
 I didn't get any good 'food' photos.  
Just some photos at the church supper.

I made them at home in a frying pan,
then transferred to a slow-cooker

I usually just open a can of Manwich Sauce, but today I did Sloppy from Scratch.

and it was really good!

Before I knew it,  the slow-cooker was empty!

(and we thought we'd have leftovers for supper that night)

This little guy loved them so much that his mom asked me for the recipe.

Notice the Handyman?
His plate is empty.
(truth?  He hates potlucks, so he only ate my sloppy joes. Me?  I love a potluck.  He misses out on all the good stuff!) 


Church Supper Sloppy Joes

7 lbs lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 T mustard
6 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
2-3 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
hamburger buns

In a large skillet, brown beef, onion and celery. 
Cook in batches if necessary. Drain any fat.
Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese, cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in cheese, cook until melted.
Serve on buns.

Yield:  50 servings.

I will be making these again!
But probably cutting down the serving size.

It's a great cookbook.
Given to me by my friend Mitzi, who  really IS THE BEST COOK  I know!

Church Potluck!


Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...