Thursday, March 21, 2024

The Dark Wives by Ann Cleeves


When a young man's body is found outside a care home, Vera is concerned not just with the murder, but with the disappearance of a fourteen-year-old girl at the same time. Reading from the girl's journal, Vera resists the opinion that the girl is responsible, but knows that finding Chloe Spence is of utmost importance whether or not Chloe is guilty. Then another death escalates the suspense and confusion.

The team is undergoing a transition (and some guilt) after Holly's death, and Rosie Bell, the new team member has to find a way in. Rosie has a surprising empathy with families of victims which gives her a contrast with Holly. Her determination is evident, and I like her addition to the team.

Vera is much less curmudgeonly than in earlier novels, but she continues holding on to her opinions before sharing with her team, which is not always in everyone's best interest.

As always, Ann Cleeves draws the reader in with both great plotting and character development. I also appreciated the focus on care homes for profit at the expense of the young people who need help, which is a matter of concern in both the UK and the US.

The conclusion was... broader than expected and evidence of the author's ability to throw in the unanticipated. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

More catching up on 2023


The Bostons were for my daughters.  In Memoriam for MoJo and Jezza, their first Boston Terriers after leaving home.  I should have made one for Butch, our family Boston when they were growing up.  So much fun making these.

More of last year's experiments.

Max had a 1920's party last fall and mixed in a little Yorick for this photo.  Grandkids are so fascinating!

Erin and Mila.  Hard to believe first grandchild is twenty!

Amelia and Izzy.

And Bryce Eleanor at her favorite activity.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

I've been AWOL for...a long time

Last year for Mother's Day, Fee and I went to Amelia's for lunch.  Just after walking in the door, Erin appeared!  She'd flown in from Colorado to surprise me, and I was so stunned for a moment I couldn't even make sense of it.  Best surprise ever!

We had a wonderful lunch and admired all of Amelia's artistic decorations, including the weird and bizarre, because she does it all--from cool to creepy.   The creepy all goes in the spare bedroom.

We talked about Erin's projects, and she showed us pics of her recent carpentry additions to her home.  Give Erin the tools and she can build it. I can't find the other pics right now.

Fee went home that afternoon, but I stayed and spent the night with my girls.  It was lovely, and when the weekend was over, and Erin was on the plane back to Colorado, I came home inspired, and it has lasted, off and on for a nearly a year now!

That May and early summer, I started making Eccentrics again.  As usual, there are cycles of 2 or 3 months, then stalls, then another cycle and another stall.

I love using found objects and things from the yard.

And making heads that later may or may not end up with bodies and just playing with ideas.  It gets really messy.

 I continue reading, of course, but I don't know if I'll go back to my book blog.  For right now, I'm going to see if I can keep up with this one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Excuses, Excuses...or Oh, My Aching Back

I guess I've taken another sabbatical from posting.  Habits are strange things, and I some how got out of the habit of both posting and browsing.   I can blame the garden for part of the change.  Each year, I have a desire to change things, and each year, I also have to rework mistakes.  There are the bricks lining the beds that I'm digging up, adding sand, and then replacing.  Ugh.  These activities are harder than they used to be, and I'm slower at getting them done.

 When I drag my aching back in, books call me, and the prospect of relaxing and reading is too much to resist.  

I love the ferns, their texture, and the color of new growth and the unfurling of the spirals!

We've had a rainy spring, and on those days, I tend to catch up on mail.  


Monday, April 04, 2022


Outgoing Mail  


Recently finished French Braid.  Not much going on as far as action, but a tender look at a family from 1959 to the present.  Lots of mysteries that were just mediocre, but served to keep my mind occupied.

The following is one of my favorite poems.  

Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute   
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.


A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,   
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs.


A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean   
But be.
I'm currently doing one of those clean/organize days.  All of the usual chores, plus tackling the upstairs crafting chaos in five or ten minute increments.  Slow, but making progress in between laundry and general cleaning and laundry.  

Friday, April 01, 2022

April at Last

Erin was in town for a few days, but is now back in Colorado.  We had a late lunch at L'Italiano, just the two of us.  Didn't take pictures (duh!) of all of us out to eat one night with Erin and Amelia, Chris, and B.E.  It was a wonderful visit!

 I've been behind on almost everything lately.  I'm not sure why, one of those cycles I go through every once in a while.

Spring seems to finally be here.  For real this time.  The pollen is coating everything, and no sooner to you wipe things down than it begins it gradual layering and before you know it, everything is yellow again.   

 Last several weeks of outgoing mail.  Looks like a couple made more than one collage.  April is National Card and Letter Writing  Month (I'm doing all I can to keep up as it is so not even going to try) and National Poetry Month as well.   

My sleeve or the belt of my robe...

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Small Talk

Small talk is often the way we get a conversation started.  Although some of these are great conversational topics, you need a segue to get into them.  :)


Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Marching On

I'm glad I participated in InCoWriMo this year, but I'm also glad to relax a little!  Still a couple of letters that have come in that need replies, but the pressure is off.  If I participate next year, I'll be better prepared; this year, everything was a scramble.  


The Silence is a layered story told in alternating timelines that unfold gradually. Slow paced and character driven, the 1967 backstory reveals the human flaws in two families, flaws that are exacerbated by the situations in which they find themselves.

Reviewed here.

An audiobook.

And of course, lots of mysteries, thrillers, etc.  I read every day; during breaks each day and for hours each night as I don't watch television.  Cathy reminded me of the film The Rabbit-Proof Fence, which also covers the policy of taking aboriginal children from their homes in Australia (like the way Indian children were taken here in America and placed in boarding schools).  I remember hearing about the film, but never watched it.  It is now on my list--either the book or the film.  

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

And So It Goes

Winter one day, Spring the next.  Sometimes in the same day.  

Things are in flux everywhere and in every possible way.  I'm torn between wanting to be an ostrich with my head in the sand and wanting to keep up with the news and stay aware and concerned about what is happening.  

I just saw this quote on  Sharon Davidson Art.  It reminds me again about resilience.  There is so much we can't control: climate, political divisiveness, spreading anger about...everything, anything.  Let go.  Walk on.  "...go straight ahead with the movement of life."

“Whether we like it or not, change comes, and the greater the resistance, the greater the pain. Buddhism perceives the beauty of change, for life is like music in this: if any note or phrase is held for longer than its appointed time, the melody is lost.

Thus Buddhism may be summed up in two phrases: “Let go!” and “Walk on!” Drop the craving for self, for permanence, for particular circumstances, and go straight ahead with the movement of life.”

— Alan W. Watts


Always the mysteries and thrillers.  Finished the Stephen King Mr. Mercedes trilogy: Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch (although I read End of Watch several years ago, I had not read the previous books.  Also, I'd forgotten a great deal).  

Louisa Luna's 3rd Alice Vega installment Hideout.

Behind the Wire, the latest DI Declan Walsh book by Jack Gatland.

More in the Grimm Up North series by David J. Gatward.  I read these like candy. 

Currently reading Carville's Cure:  Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice by Pam Fessler.   I was curious about the leprosarium in Carville in Iberville Parish, but I did not expect this nonfiction account to be so fascinating.  I can imagine at least three movies and/or documentaries being made about Carville and some of its patients, doctors, and Daughters of Charity nurses.

Mail:  Keeping   up with InCoWriMo has been a bit of a struggle, but it has been fun finding more in the mailbox than usual!  

Recent outgoing mail:


Melissa Hughes 

Kristi Anderson
Penny Wilkes