2009 New Years Resolutions


So...it's almost the new year and I've been thinking about what I want to do in the coming year.

1. Blog more. I'd like to say everyday, but I know that won't happen, but definitely lots more. I miss the sense of community that I used to have.

2. Stay in touch with friends more. I'm notorious for not emailing or calling. This includes family. I really should call my mom more often than a few times a year.

3. Keep track of books read. I was so incredibly bad at this this year.

4. Exercise more.

5. Play more. Wii Fit!!

Upcoming books I want to read.

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This one made the list because of the tag line: She's a librarian with a really long shelf life". How can I resist that? Molly Harper also has a blog.

Book CoverIt's Nalini Singh. Need I say more?

Book Cover Kresley Cole's newest IAD book. Again, no need to say more.

Book Cover Oooh...pretty cover. And it's Lara Adrian's newest.

Book Cover Looks interesting and I like to try debut fantasy authors. And she describes her writing as having a "Dumas twist." hmmm.....
Kari Sperring, you need a website.

Well, let's stop there for now.

Tux in the spotlight



Tux and toy

Gambit and his new toy

Here's the new toy I got the cats. It's called a Fling-ama-string and they both love it.

Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye

Okay, this is one for those who are complaining about the lack of straight contemporaries out there. I adored this book and am even thinking about rereading it. So, here's my impression of Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye.

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Rosalie Ronaldi doesn't have a domestic bone in her body ...

All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch ...

Nick Romeo is every woman's fantasy - tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean ...

He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he's cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog ...

So what's the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort ...

I really, really, really liked this book. It's cute and fun and really romantic. If I was reading a book for fantasy, this is what I would want. Nick's a wonderful guy and I liked how he can be caring and compassionate, yet still be very masculine. Hmmm...kinda reminds me of my husband, actually. Maybe that's why I liked the book so much.

For much of the book, Nick pretends to be a simple mechanic at the dealership that he actually owns. He does this because he's sick of being wanted for his money and thinks that he won't be seeing Rosalie for very long anyways. But she grows on him and he finds himself unable to bring himself to really tell her who he is. Of course, Rosalie has found out his identity fairly early on and deduces his reasoning for herself. I liked that this didn't end up being major conflict for the characters. Instead, it was their own fear of relationships that forms the main conflict and for these particular characters it rings true.

I also liked Rosalie. She's a workaholic and it's a true part of who she is and I liked how Nick brings her out of her shell. There's some conflict when it turns out she's working for a company that he's trying to take over and it was interesting to see how that was handled. I kept cringing, waiting for what I thought would be one or both of the characters doing something stupid, but they didn't. And like the blurb, there's corporate theft and juvenile detention, but it all works.

I hope I haven't missed anything or made anything confusing. Just ask and I shall try to explain better. Here's a link to an excerpt of the book: Romeo, Romeo excerpt

All in all, I adored this book and can't wait to read more in this Domestic Gods series.

Hint, hint to anyone reading this: My birthday is towards the beginning of May, when the next book, Too Hot to Handle comes out. Me wants. Badly.

Romancing the Stones by Catherine Berlin

Look, look! Another book post! This time up is Romancing the Stones by Catherine Berlin.

Okay, I admit that it was the title that first got me to look at this book. And then the blurb hooked me in. And the cover is pretty good too.


Blurb from Samhain:
Naked. Wet. Pointing a gun at your dream guy. What a way to start the day…

Archaeologist Charlotte “Charlie” Blair arrives home from a dig in Peru to find a dead body in her house—and herself suspected of murder. Sorting out the truth, that a serial killer has been using her place to stash his kills, proves easier than shaking off the detective who’s determined to protect her.

Detective Rob Vaiden’s first sight of Charlie is naked, wet, and pointing a Glock at his chest. Oh yeah, this is going to be a hell of a case. Something about the bombshell has attracted the attention of Orion, a killer Vaiden’s been pursuing since his days as a rookie cop. To catch Orion, he needs to be near Charlie. Trouble is, while she’s easy on the eyes, the maddeningly independent woman is determined she doesn’t need his help.

Vaiden gets on Charlie’s last nerve, but she’s got her own problems. The golden rod of Manco Copac, the greatest find in her career, has disappeared. In place of the gold phallus she finds a bag of mythical Ica stones. Stones for which Orion is willing to kill.

Charlie…the stones…Orion. What connects this deadly triangle? Vaiden and Charlie race to figure it out—before Orion chooses his next target.

I'm of two minds with this book. On one hand I liked it and found it very readable, but on the other, I was left with way too many questions about just what the story was about. It all just didn't make any sense.

And with that title and cover, I was expecting more of an exotic adventure. Yes, the blurb says nothing about that, but that's my personal feeling.

Anyways, I don't mind that I read the book, but it was kind of meh. So probably a C if I had to grade it. It's possible I'll read something else from the author as I did feel she had potential.


Okay, finally am really trying to get my LibraryThing account up to date. I've started adding books in tonight and hope to add more tomorrow. So if you are dying of curiosity to see what books I have, feel free to take a look. Kelley899

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

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Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Let's try something new and just get me to at least mention on here what I've read/been reading and how I liked it.

A modern girl’s comedic odyssey in a school filled with the descendants of Greek gods.

When Phoebe’s mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe’s plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uberexclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That’s right, they’re real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes—supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they’re on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.

This is a YA book that I grabbed from the library. I'm a sucker for books that incorporate mythology, so grabbing this one was a given. It was a quick, fun read. I liked how Childs used the Greek mythology and the idea of a school for the descendants of the gods was fun. Phoebe seemed pretty typical and I liked how her running was such a part of who she was and made the ending not seem so surprising. Even after finishing the book, I'm not so sure what I think of Blake, the love interest, but we'll see how I do when I read the next book in the series.

Anyways, cute, fun, and full of mythology. And teen angst, cliques, and IMing.

Mini review of Zappos and Onlineshoes

Okay, so now I've ordered both from Zappos and from Onlineshoes.



1. I order shoes, shoes get to my house sometimes as early as the next day. That's with free shipping! I ordered once after 8 p.m. one night and had the shoes the next morning.

2. Return policy: You have an entire year to return shoes and there's no restocking fee. They also provide the postage to return it, you just drop off the box at UPS.

3. Returns are credited to your card in approx. a week.

Okay, their website could be a bit less busy, but it gets the job done.

Okay, now for Onlineshoes:

1. I order shoes, free shipping, but it takes close to a week for my shoes to get here. Very annoying, especially after being used to Zappos' speedy service.

2. Return policy: 90 days for returns, if you don't do an exchange, they charge you $6.99 for the return.

3. Okay, just sent back my exchange, so don't know when my account will be credited, but it's supposed to be on par with Zappos.

Onlineshoes does have a 110% price guarantee, but honestly, the service and speed of Zappos beats that for me. But the prices seem to be fairly competitive between the places. I did order from Onlineshoes this last time because they were having a sale and they also have a deal with Discover that gives me a percentage back (wouldn't mind that, Zappos). But having to wait so long for my shoes after the fast service at Zappos really didn't endear them to me. I want my shoes and I want them now! I have very wide, rather short feet (or as I call it, duck feet), so I really can't find shoes by just walking into a store. The quick service allows me to order a few different kinds of shoes at once and know that I will get them quickly and be able to easily return them or exchange them without the process taking weeks.

So Zappos gets my vote. I'm always recommending them to friends. There was once a woman in Penney's who was complaining to her friends that she was sick of seeing ugly shoes for the wide widths in the stores. So I kinda butted in and told her about Zappos. And showed her my super-cute size 6.5WW Naturalizers (I told you they were duck feet). Hope she took my advice.

Chalice by Robin McKinley

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As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master’s Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?

I've always liked Robin McKinley's books, so when I saw that this one was available, I grabbed it. Unfortunately, it's not going to be a favorite. I enjoyed Mirasol quite a bit as she muddles through becoming the Chalice and trying to keep her land together.

One of the problems with Chalice is the writing style. It jumps back and forth in time and can honestly get quite confusing at times. And you never really get a feel for what the magic in the world really is and where this particular land and people fall in respect to the world as a whole. I also finished the book thinking, "this is it?". It's also an incredibly difficult book to sum up. Most of the action happens toward the end of the book and almost felt tacked on. It's like most of the book is slow and meandering and then rushes to end. Robin McKinley is a beautiful writer, but this is not the way to be introduced to her work. To be honest, I was disappointed. Not sorry I read the book as I did enjoy it, but it really didn't live up to my expectations.

Blogs I must visit every day

For lack of better things to say right now, here is a list of the blogs that I must visit every day. I have a ton of blogs on Sage, but these are the ones that always get clicked on.

In no particular order:
1. Karen Knows Best
2. Nice Mommy, Evil Editor
3. The Misadventures of Super Librarian
4. The Beauty Brains
5. The Whiny Librarian
6. Alison Kent
7. Lilith Saintcrow
8. HelenKay Dimon
9. Jill Shalvis
10. Megan Frampton
11. Meljean Brook
12. Dear Author
13. Smart Bitches
14. Moderncat

Bits and pieces and thoughts

Well, had to fast last night so I could get some blood drawn this morning. Ugh. But I did then remember that I needed a flu shot and they were nice enough to get me in right away for that. Except then that means I have to figure out how to work in an allergy shot around my schedule this week and I can't get that and any other injection on the same day. Hrm.

I did finally get a notebook mouse for this laptop. I don't really like to use the touchpad, but will if I have to. Got a bluetooth one this morning so I don't have to use up a usb port to connect it. It's so cute. Was a cinch to pair with my laptop. Also hit the UBS and scored some goodies. Got Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson that I'd special ordered and also scored Texas Splendor and Texas Glory by Lorraine Heath and The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh.
Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

It might get up to 77 here in Cedar Rapids and for Iowa in November, that'll be a record.

Unrelated (this post title is "Bits and pieces and thoughts" after all), but I've noticed that it's always the people who seem less-than-well-off who will take a plastic bag to put that one itty bitty item that they've bought at work rather than do the green things and forgo.

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I've been reading the Blood Lite anthology and oh is it a different feel and experience than the previous anthology I read, which was Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. In W&M, I loved almost all the stories and liked the rest. Here, there are plenty of stories that I just plain didn't like and some I just skipped over. Although the Mr. Bear story has stayed with me, in a disturbing sort of way.

Book CoverI also read Jill Shalvis' Feb. 09 release, Instant Attraction, and loved it. Jill has such a way with humor and romance. And her characters always seem so real. Not to mention her blog is absolutely fabulous and I'm always calling Nick over to read one of her posts. She always makes me smile.

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I'm always starting and putting down books, so while waiting for my flu shot, I started Amorous Liaisons by Sarah Mayberry. I vaguely remembered someone mentioning liking her. Maybe Jane? Don't know if I'll get back to it right away, but we'll see.

Crap, it's been awhile

Oops, haven't posted in awhile! Twitter and Myspace get addictive, I guess. And all this political stuff. So I'm online, just not here.

I have been reading, as usual.

Read Skinned by RObin Wasserman and was underwhelmed. It seemed to want to make a political message and what-ifs in kinda post-apocalyptic/major disaster world, but it left more questions than anything. And it also was about the nature of humans and the soul, etc. But I just wasn't feeling it. but maybe I'll read a sequel.

Books galore

So Sybil got me thinking about all the books in my house. And so, in a burst of crazy inspiration, I decided to snap photos of all of the piles and shelves of books. And so, here you are:

This is all the various piles of books around the house. I think I got them all.

For art and Harry Potter Fans

Starting on November 1st, there is going to be a Mary GrandPré exhibit at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. She's the artist for the Harry Potter books. She will also be there on Nov. 2 to sign books and do a gallery walk. Sounds cool.

Oooooh...I hate you Tor!!!

Book CoverSo, I read Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson earlier this week. Finished it last night, in fact. And looooved it. So of course I go looking for the ebook of the second book, Well of Ascension.
Book Cover

Oh, it's only available in one place, at BooksonBoard? And only in secure Mobipocket? And supposedly the ebook is $14 with discounts bringing it down to $7.99, which happens to be the price of the mass market paperback that it's available as?

I'm pretty frickin' mad right now. I got the first book as a freebie for Tor's new site and now you tell me I can't get an ebook of the second book? You suck, Tor.

Anyways, Mistborn, or rather The Final Empire as is supposedly the title (someone needs to tell the cover people that the series title gets the small print, not the actual book title), is really awesome.

New word of the day: Pilomatrixoma

The word of the day is: Pilomatrixoma.

otherwise known as what that strange lump on my leg was. No matter that kids are the ones who usually get them or that they're usually not on one's leg. Or that Wedmd didn't have ANYTHING on it. Yeesh. Oh well, it was benign. Yay.

I've got a nifty scar there now. The stitches came out yesterday and everything looks fine, though the doctor said there's a bit more puckering of the skin than she'd hoped for. Oh well. Doesn't bother me.

Spending time with Nick

Since Nick's been working so hard lately, he asked to take a half day today and spend the afternoon with me. It was a nice change to be able to see him on a weekday afternoon. We went to check out the Silver Spider in Mt. Vernon where I picked up a cute change purse (thanks Adriana). Then we headed out to Westdale for a bit and came home and just spent some relaxing time together. Nice and low-key.

I also got my allergy shots this morning and so my upper arms are not feeling so hot. The welting was a bit worse this time than the last couple times. No idea why as I think I'm on the same strength. Leg doesn't hurt when I walk now, but beware bumping it! That can be quite painful. So I still have to be careful of it, especially now that I'm not always thinking about it.

Made ham and potato soup for supper and added some artisan bread I grabbed at Hy-Vee. Very yummy and fitting for this rainy day.

Also checked out End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists by Ravi Zacharias from the library. Nick's reading it right now and says it isn't providing much of an argument. It's supposed to be a rebuttal to Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation (which I quite enjoyed). From the back cover: "Dr. Zacharias exposes “the utter bankruptcy of this worldview.”" Riiiiiiiight. I really am trying to get both sides of the issue here.

Now I'm off to make some peanut butter cookies and then watch the debate.

Very familiar.....

Amazon wishlist wishes

Why can't I search by date? Like give me a list of all the books on my list that are out this month? Or at the very least show me the damn date on the list. Hmph.

Religulous and stuff

Well, saw Religulous on Friday and loved it. But not really a movie that I can crow about too much as I'm sure it would offend a great number of people. I did like the end where it implored agnostics/atheist to stand up and make their voices heard.

My leg is better and I made it through work with not much trouble. I had a few twinges of pain. I can't believe these stitches have to stay in until the 16th. Good thing it's cooler out as I doubt this bandage would be much fun in heat. No oozing, which is good. I've actually never had stitches, so I find looking at it when changing bandages to be very cool. Apparently the divot that I will have there will eventually fill in. But no more lump, one would hope. I forgot to ask when the results of it will be in. If nothing else, I'll ask when I see the doc to have the stitches out.

Work went well today. Went by pretty fast. The new person seems to be getting the register quickly, thank goodness.

Went out to Fiesta del Sol with friends last night. Hadn't seen them since the Flood. It was great to chat with them and I really need to work on seeing them more often. Particularly Amy. I miss seeing her as much as I used to.

My leg hurts

My leg hurts
So I had my excision scheduled for this morning. Got a lump removed from my leg. It's been there awhile with no problems, but I just finally decided to get it removed.

Oh my goodness did the shots of Lidocaine (or whatever it was) hurt. I can handle pain quite well, but these hurt! At least I didn't feel them digging out whatever it is. it's being sent to a lab for analysis. The doctor really wasn't quite sure what it was other than it wasn't quite like a subcutaneous cyst. Blech. And now the stuff they shot into my leg for pain is wearing off and it's starting to hurt. Ouch. So my leg hurts lots. The stitches have to stay in for two weeks and remained covered for the first week. Ugh. It looks rather ugly at the moment. I will spare you pictures, but I really was tempted to take a post some. :-)

Also been meaning to sew a new cover for one of our chairs, but didn't get to it today. Just didn't feel like it. Did buy one of these for my laptop, though. I got it in the chocolate brown. It's nice.

Mine, all mine.

And it should be here by the end of the week. I've never had a laptop, so this is very cool for me. The LED screen delayed it, but it's still shipped earlier than they estimated. *happy dance*

Look at the pretty birdy

This bird feeder is in a tree that sits right outside our picture window in the living room. It's fun to see all the birds we get. The cardinals especially stand out, though obviously these are not those.

Personality quiz (otherwise known as "look at the cute kitty")

Personality Type Quiz
Intellectual Personality Type You’re really smart, obviously, but you’re more book smart, than street smart. You like reading, watch the news, and love discussing whatever is going on in the world. You enjoy being around people who challenge you intellectually.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Oh, I shamelessly stole this from Darla at Nichtzusagen.

The Chosen Sin

Seriously, how cool is that cover? So go enter at Anya Bast's blog.

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

Aww...the love I have for Tess Gerritsen mysteries knows no bounds.  So, I was in SuperTarget today to buy cereal (hey, Kashi cereal for 4 for $11 and a $5 gift card?  I'm there) and a few other things and headed to the book section like always.  And there was The Keepsake.  On sale for 30% off.  All nice and shiny.

And I didn't buy it.

Cuz earlier today I plunked down a rather large amount of money on a spiffy Dell XPS laptop.  It'll be my first laptop.  And unfortunately, because I wanted the LED screen, won't ship for another month. 

Anyways.  It's Tess Gerritsen.  And I remembered I had money in my Paypal account.  Booksonboard, I was there. 

I went.  I bought. I downloaded.  I read.  I luuuuuuuuuuurved. 

It's got Jane, Maura, archaeology, mummies, Egyptology, tons of mysteries, and more into the private lives of our favorite characters, yet still focused very much on the mystery.  Really, you don't need a summary.  You just need to buy the book and read it.  It's good.  Really good. 

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Lightning reviews!

Trial by Fire by Jo Davis
1st in the Firefighters of Station Five series

Dont get burned...

Lieutenant Howard “Six- Pack” Paxton loves three things: being a firefighter, riding his Harley, and his bachelorhood. That is, until the curvaceous Kat McKenna falls into his arms at the scene of a fire—and melts the six-foot-six tower of bronze muscle…

But just as passion ignites between them—and they explore new heights of ecstasy—a ruthless arsonist with a deadly secret and a thirst for vengeance becomes their worst nightmare.

This was a fun, quick read.  It has some suspense in it as an arsonist is targeting Howard for some mysterious reason.  Kat and Howard work well together and I liked that it wasn't all easy for them.  Howard has some baggage from his past that's rearing its head in the way of nightmares and those nightmares have seriously affected him.  But, like many men I'm sure we all know, he can give good advice, but doesn't always take it himself (to get help).  There are also some very interesting characters who I'm sure will be getting their own stories and I like that they aren't all stereotypical macho males who tend to beat their fists against their chests. At least that's what they seem like.  Anyways, I liked the story.  And I'll read the next book in the series whenever it comes out.  It's not a perfect story, but it's not bad.

Grade: C+ (yes, I know my grading is always different)

Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens
7th in HeartMates series

Wed to a wealthy older man when she was just a girl, Lahsin Yew runs away from her abusive home to find a new life. At seventeen, she’s about to enter her Second Passage, when her Flair—and perhaps her HeartMate—will be revealed.

Lahsin finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

Owens' HeartMates books are a definite comfort read for me.  I really enjoy the world she has created and the characters that inhabit it.  Heart Fate includes many of the characters that I've grown to really like, including the Turquoise House that many may remember from a previous book. 

I really enjoyed watching Lahsin heal from her marriage to an abusing husband.  Tinne also has to heal from his failed marriage.  Watching them become comfortable with each other is nice.  There isn't a whole lot of action, but I never felt like the book was slow.  Like I said, it's a comfort read. You know what to expect and it delivers.  It may by SF romance lite, but it's still quite filling.  It also reminds me a bit of JAK's Harmony series. 

*That guy's chest on the cover?  Scary.  And the way he looks at you?  Even scarier.

Grade: B

Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini SIngh
5th in Psy-Changeling series

Separated from her son and forced to create a neural
implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically
gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy--cool, calm,
emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a
desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the
PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the
lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.

sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he
lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard
lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing
darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been
on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he
discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...

Ahh...I love this series.  It's such a nice blend of SF/dark fantasy and romance.  I have to agree with many of the reviews that say the romance is a bit weaker here, but overall the story is really good.  I like that there's not a lot of black and white in this world.  I can't wait to see where this series goes next.  The over-arching plot is almost more exciting than the romance, which honestly, works just fine.  If you haven't read this series, you definitely should.  Just don't start with this book as I really think a person needs to start at the beginning to really appreciate it all.

Grade: B/B+

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
?th in the Dark-Hunter series (I never know how to order this series)

Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron became the sole defender of mankind.

Only it was never that simple. For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.

Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.

War has never been more deadly... or more fun.

This is a big book.  I'm not even really sure why I read it since I thought I'd given up on the series with Wren's book.  But I read this one and actually kinda liked it.  Yes, it's got a lot of filler and I didn't actually think there was a lot of new information that hadn't already been really hinted at in previous books, but it was interesting to see what Kenyon made of Acheron's past.  Although one would think after 11k years, one would have gotten over a few decades or so of abuse.  Anyways, I was really disappointed in the romance.  She's nothing special and her sole appeal seems to be that she doesn't care what happened umpteen years ago.  So what? 

Grade: C-

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Vacation pics *very late, lots of pictures*

Here's the walking bridge at Multnomah Falls

More of the Falls

This is a pic taken at the edge of the cliff at the resort we stayed at in Depoe Bay

More of the resort

Me at a beach (wish I could remember which one)

Sculpture thing at Howard Amon Park in Richland, WA

Sea gull on sign at resort

Foggy Oregon morning

Rocky Creek Bridge

And yes, all these are from May, but I figured a post was a post was a post, right?
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