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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8





 

Monday: 02/28/05

Here ends February. I could have really used another day to recouperate but here I am at work. My cough is still present but I'm not coughing as often as I was last week and my throat doesn't hurt.

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Steps: 4000


Rain Again: 02/27/05

After breakfast I took Sean briefly to the park to "slide-swing." As rain was clearly threatening and because Sean and I aren't fully well yet, I drove us there. Sean played half-heartedly for about forty minutes and then was ready to move on. We went briefly to the Sulphur Creek nature center where we said hi to the owls and the eagle and the animals inside the museum. Sean knows all the bugs there: tarantula, wolf spider, black widow and kadydids. He even "lectured" a father and his two daughters on these creatures; poining out where the animals like to hide in their cages, what they're called, what colors they are, etc.

Shortly after we got home, ate lunch and Sean went down for his nap, it started to rain. It rained all through the night but we didn't have lightning this time.

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Steps: 4000


A Day to Sleep: 02/26/05

Ian took Sean to Chabot today to give me time to catch up on lost sleep. Unfortunately Sean is clearly not as up to snuff as he first appears because he quickly ran out of steam. They had bought a toy for Sean on the way home but Sean broke it on the way to the car, having thrown it during a temper tantrum. At least I got a couple hours to sleep but now I'm trying my best to teach Sean not to throw things when he's frustrated. It's very hard since I've been guilty of that very reaction many times myself.

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Steps: 3000


Friday! 02/25/05

Nine days and counting for this flu. I got about six fitful hours of sleep but my husband tells me that I spent most of that time talking in my sleep. The sleep that I got has reminded me of all the sleep I've missed out on this week and so I'm exhausted. As Sean noted this morning: "Mama's still broken and can't sing 'Old Mac Donald.'"

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Steps: 3000


Eight Days and Counting: 02/24/05

I've now had this flu for eight days. While I did manage a whopping total of about four hours of sleep last night I'm still very sore from coughing. This flu creates a phlem with SuperGlu like qualities. At least today I can actually breath through my nose and my throat isn't as raw. Instead it feels like I'm just about to choke on something from the congestion. Ugh!

Sean's even aware that I'm sick (or as he calls it "broken"). Normally he and I sing "Old Mac Donald Had Farm" together but the last bunch of nights I just haven't had the voice to sing. If my mouth is open, I'm probably coughing. On the way home last night Sean gave me a long explanation of the situation: "Mama can't sing 'Old Mac Donald.' Mama is sick. Mama's throat is broken. I have to sing 'Old Mac Donald.' Mama can't sing. She is coughing instead." Etc. I won't post the whole transcript but that's gist of Sean's explanation.

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Steps: 3000


So Sick of Santa Clara A: 02/23/05

It's been a week now of suffering through Santa Clara A flu. Sean and I are still losing sleep with our coughing, though I seem to be doing most of the coughing. My whole body hurts from a week of coughing. I want more than two hours of sleep a night. I want to hear again without having to listen through my stuffed sinuses. I want my sense of taste back.

Yes, I know, I'm being a big cry baby. Damn it!

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Steps: 3500


Back to Work and School: 02/22/05

I'm back to work and Sean is back to school. I'm not quite firing on all cylinders as coughing has kept me up for two nights running. I've gotten maybe four hours sleep over the last couple of nights. Hopefully I'll sleep better tonight. Sean seemed happy to return to school even if he was tired and not exactly ready to wake up this morning.

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Steps: 3500


Hail: 02/21/05

Sean and I are home today as it's President's Day. We had a brief time of blue skies when we were able to spend a leisurely couple of hours on our porch enjoying the view and the flowering plum tree. By lunch time though it has clouded over and just after I put Sean down for his nap it started to hail pea sized stones.

The hail woke Sean up. He jumped up in his bed which knocked his curtains askew. So he started calling for me to help: "Mama! Loud rain. Curtains broken. Mama!" Once I got the curtains fixed which he told me "Daddy does better" because he's taller, I put him back down for a nap. He didn't want to nap but did quickly fall asleep.

Shortly after that, Ian came back from where he had been studying because the storm was quite impressive (scary). I was glad to have him home! While it was windy, wet, and blustery, we had no damage and never lost power.

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Steps: 2000


Ghost in the Shell: 02/20/05

Years ago Richard and Ian watched Ghost in the Shell on laser disc shortly after the film came out. Or maybe it was on video recorded off of Richard's laser disc. Anyway, I had been doing homework (was still at UCLA) and didn't want to be distracted by having to read subtitles so I didn't watch the film. Recently Ian and I have been renting the Stand Alone Complex series DVDs ( Vol 1 | Vol 2 | Vol 3 | Vol 4 | Vol 5 ) and Ian wanted to see the original film to refresh his memory so we rented it and the sequel, Innocence.

While I enjoyed the two films (the second one more than the first), I prefer the alternate universe of the television series. The Major is a far more interesting and believable character in the television series than she is in the film. Actually all of the characters are more well rounded in the series. Plus there are the tachikomas which are both entertaining and thought provoking, working as the devil's advocate to the Major's situation.

Bad Film:

We also rented the Minority Report which suffers from the usual Spielberg problems. It's too long, it's too sentimental and too much an homage to Kubrick. There is too much time wasted by the chase scenes and the coda after John refuses to shoot the man posing as the child molester takes too long. Then there is the lame wrap up: John breaks out of jail, the real bad guy gets what he deserves, John and his wife reconcile, and the precogs get to live happily ever after. It was almost as bad as having to suffer through A.I. a second time.

Still Sick:

The three of us are still at home feeling the affects of the flu. Sean is the most well of us with Ian coming in second. While I'm not as feverish today, I'm still no where near feeling like my usual self.

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Steps: 2000


Poisonwood Bible: 02/19/05

Today I finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. While I did ultimately enjoy the book I didn't find it as captivating a book as the other books of hers I've read, namely, The Bean Trees and The Prodigal Summer. The switching between five narrators got on my nerves after a while and I finally decided to read each character's chapters in one go and then go back and reread the book from another character's point of view. It made for five short and concise stories, rather than one long mess of themes.

Read the reviews at: Dog Ear Diary, Secret of Life's Wisdom, Largabista.

No Trip to the Post Office:

I had planned to mail some bookcrossing books off today but the flu has hit me really hard. I've spent the whole day on the couch or in bed, shivering and feverish. Meanwhile outside it's pouring rain. When I'm not shivering or napping, I'm reading.

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Steps: 2000


Life on Mars Redux: 02/18/05

NASA is saying there is evidence that there could be microbial life under the surface of Mars. Life could be trapped in pockets of standing water which would explain the concentrations of methane found by the rovers.

Sean and Ian Home:

I think Sean would have been well enough to go to day care but the yongest son at day care is now sick so day care is closed today. Sean and Ian (who is still sick) are home watching Sean's favorite movies for the n-teenth time.

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Steps: 4500


All Three of Us Home: 02/17/05

I was supposed to just take a half day off work but things went pear shaped because Sean's fever returned at day care yesterday so he had to stay home. Ian planned to stay home in the morning while I ran my errand and then I would stay home the rest of the day with Sean. Then we both realized that we also have the flu. So after I got home, Ian went briefly to Berkeley to drop off his homework. Then he came home, feverish. Ugh.

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Steps: 4000


Sore Throat : 02/16/05

Sean's still sniffly and he didn't sleep well last night which means that we didn't sleep well. Meanwhile Ian and I both have sore throats now. Hopefully we're not coming down with what Sean has. I thought we had already had what he has. Anyway, Sean's at day care but he wasn't too pleased about it but so far they haven't telephone me to take him home.

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Steps: 3000


Sean Still at Home but on the Mend: 02/15/05

When I got home last night (after driving home through an unexpected rain shower), Sean was just up from a five hour nap and looked like a zombie. He joined us for dinner but spent most of the time staring blankly at the kitchen wall. When I felt his head he was clearly suffering through a high fever. We gave him some chewable Tylenol for his fever and he said it was "nap time" again at 7:30. We asked him if we could put him in his jammies and he agreed.

So Sean went to bed at 7:30 and Ian fell asleep on the couch by 7:35 leaving just the cat and me awake. By ten, I convinced Ian to go to bed where we watched CSI Miami in bed before turning out the light. Sean was still sleeping peacefully.

Ian decided to stay home with Sean today to give him another day to recover. Sean slept in until 8:30 when he was up and chipperly playing with his turkey stuffed animal. His apetite still isn't 100% but he's much better and happier than yesterday.

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Steps: 3000


Sean at Home: 02/14/05

Sean got about two hours of sleep last night because of his flu. The fever is broken but he's incredibly congested. Ian is staying home with him. I hope he sleeps well tonight.

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Steps: 3000


Santa Clara Flu Strikes Again: 02/13/05

After we had Judy and Charlie over for biscuits before they drove back home I noticed that Sean was looking rather peaked. I gave him the kiss on the forehead and sure enough, he was running a fever. I gave him a dose of Children's Motrin and told him we would have to stay home today. While he was clearly disapointed he didn't complain.

By 11:30 he said he wanted to play "Ah-ha" which usually means jumping on our bed (not a problem as it's a futon). Instead, I found him curled up under the covers on Ian's side of the bed, half asleep. At noon I made lunch (Mac and Cheese) and after eating a bowl and a half he said it was time to brush his teeth, get a diaper change and go to bed. He was tucked in by one and he slept until five. He then went back to bed at 7:30, an hour and a half early.

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Steps: 3000


A Walk to the Bay: 02/12/05

We took a nice walk with Judy and Charlie from the Hayward Bay Front Interpretative Center out to the edge of the bay. It about a 1 1/5 mile trip one way. Sean and Ian stopped at first mile because Sean's legs were tired and he wanted to throw rocks into the water. Ian volunteered to stay with Sean because he had brought a book along. The walk was lovely. We watched the tide go out and saw lots of birds: sea gulls, egrets, herons, sand pipers, swallows, Canada geese, and mallards.

The Grudge:

After Sean went to bed we watched The Grudge which is the U.S. remake of Ju-on. While Ian and his folks found it very scary I found it rather predictable and somewhat frustrating. At least in the Ring, the ghost was bound by the rules (or motifs) of her death and her deadly video tape. But in The Grudge there doesn't seem to be any boundaries to what the ghosts can do or how they operate. They didn't seem particularily bound to the house since they were going after anyone vaguely associated with it and were killing their victims outside of the bounds of the house. They were just there to be scary, bloody and carrying a grudge. Whatever.

Kudoos though for shooting the film in Japan. It's nice to see Sarah Michelle Geller and Jason Behr (yummy!) playing their own ages rather than high school students.

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Steps: 10000


But You Said...: 02/11/05

On the way to school we passed the playground on Santa Clara and Winton as we usually do. Sean asked if we could "swing-slide" tomorrow. I said yes and added that Grandma and Grandpa might like to go to the park with us. Sean got very angry and replied, "But you said 'Grandma, Grandpa after school!' I tried to explain to him that yes, we're still having dinner tonight and they would be with us all of tomorrow too. He wasn't buying it.

Pot Hole Be Gone:

Yesterday a team of street repairmen did an impromptu repair of the worst of the pot holes in the alley way where I park at work. There are still two other huge ones out there but they're still filled with rain water. I suppose they have to wait for the water to evaporate first.

Then by Sean's pre school there was a smaller but deeper pot hole that was a flat tire or broken tie rod waiting to happen. Fortunately another city works team took care of patching it yesterday.

Thank you to both teams!

Day One Day One

Sean has learned a new song at preschool called "Day One, Day One" which I had never heard before. As he only knows about a third of the lyrics or at least can only sing a third of them in any recognizable fashion it took some serious detective work via Google to find the lyrics. I finally found them tonight after Sean was able to sing some more of the song. He's rather bemused that Mama (who up to the this point has known everything) doesn't know something that he knows.

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Steps: 4600


Thursday Feels Like Friday: 02/10/05

All week long I've felt one day off. Part of that may be that at work I'm always working on "tomorrow's" updates which among other things means dating everything with tomorrow's date. Part of it is that I'm looking forward to dinner tomorrow with my in laws. Unfortunately that means today isn't Friday.

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Steps: 3500


Gung Hay Fat Choy: 02/09/05

Happy lunar new year everyone! The year of the rooster began last night at midnight. My late grandmother was a rooster.

Working Mothers:

Business Week (via Yahoo News) has an excellent story about working mothers who are lactating. Breast feeding is at an all time high and many breast feeding mothers are working women but many companies are too embarrassed to address a fundamental need — somewhere private to pump. A good pumping room (I know this from first hand experience) needs:

  • to be well lit to read the markings on the bottles
  • have a comfortable place to sit
  • have a power outlet for electric pumps
  • a place to wash pump parts
  • a lock for privacy
  • be reservable (and have a clearly posted reservation list)

The Business Week article suggests that building costs should be about $1000. I think for the plumbing it would be more like $2000 but it's still a drop in the bucket of the average corporation's budget.

Excited by Up Coming Visit:

This morning I reminded Sean that his paternal grandparents are visiting this Friday. He shouted an ethuisiastic: "Oh boy!" and then wanted me to explain what "day after tomorrow" means. I did my best but he responded, "I don't know time."

We have been trying to teach Sean the basics of telling time. He knows the concept of later and can tell me when five minutes have passed on the clock. He also knows all the numbers on the clock but that's about it. If we ask him what time it is, he always responds, "Eigh o'clock."

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Steps: 5200


More Sleep: 02/08/05

I got another good night's sleep although I didn't get to bed until midnight. At long last I feel human again.

Sean's Morning:

Yesterday morning Ian woke up Sean accidentally while he was trying to sneak out of the house early. Sean having heard Ian wanted to get up at 6 and watch Chicken Run but Ian told him no, explaining that it was a school day. Sean cried and Ian left.

Sean didn't cry very long. When I checked on him at 7, he was lying on his back with his hand behind his head (looking very much like Ian). He sat up and told me, "Daddy went to school. I'm still in my penguin jammies." Then he asked, "Owl-Eagle or go to school?" Owl-eagle is his name for the Sulphur Creek nature center down the street from us.

I told him it was a school day which is why Daddy had to go to school too. Then I told him he could wear his owl shirt. That made him very happy and he was soon dressed and we were on our way.

Sean's Evening:

When I picked Sean up from school he was wearing a silvery penguin sticker on his hand. He proudly showed it to me and said, "I have a sticker penguin just like my penguin jammies!" Then he pointed to his shirt and said, "And an owl shirt for Sean" and he pointed to my shirt, "And a fishy shirt for Mama!"

He's still getting his head around pronouns so when he's in doubt, he refers to himself by his name. One of his favorite phrases when he's in the pronoun test pattern is: "I'm a silly Sean. You're a silly Mama." or "You're a silly Daddy" if he's with Ian.

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Steps: 10800


Finally Some Sleep: 02/07/05

We got to bed early again and at long last I was able to get comfortable and go to sleep. Now of course I'm still feeling the previous two days of very little sleep so I'm not quite all here.

Raining Again:

Last night after Sean had gone to bed Ian and I were reading book in the living room and I heard pinging in the fire place flume. That sound means rain. I asked Ian if we were expecting rain. He said no because it was "dead clear" all day (which it had been). So I looked online first at yahoo and then at weather.com. Yahoo didn't show any rain on the doplar (they only have the 600 mile range, too low res). Weather.com has the 300 mile range doplar and it showed a small pocket of orthographic percipitation in our mountains and predicted that it would soon be raining everywhere in the Bay Area.

By this morning it was pouring in the Hayward Hills but then when we got to the bridge it had lightened some. So far though it is still coming down and doesn't show any signs of stopping soon.

The Accident:

Just before we were going to turn onto the 92 from Santa Clara we saw a white SUV take the left turn from Santa Clara (we were across the street hoping to turn right) to 92 too fast. It started to fish tail and over corrected, nearly hitting head first into the wall. If the driver had hit the gas and pointed the wheels back onto the freeway everything would have been fine (dramatic but fine). No. He stopped and he stayed stopped. The car behind him nearly hit him but managed to hit the brakes in time. That car too should have swerved around him and gone on its way. It didn't. The third car didn't stop and crashed into the second car (a white American sedan -- a Lincoln, maybe) and that car then hit the SUV. Then three more cars turning onto the 92 hit: bam. Bam. Bam. By then it was my turn to go, so I turned right onto the 92 and we were on our way.

So That's Why Everyone Here Has the Flu:

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that a new strain of type A flu has been classified. Apparently it started in Santa Clara and has started a local outbreak of flu in the last six weeks. In that time everyone here at work has been sick even though most of us had the flu back in December. This strain isn't covered by the current flu shots so the lucky ones who did get vaccinated won't get much added protection against the strain.

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Steps: 4000


No Sleep Again: 02/06/05

Again I went to bed early but I didn't sleep more than about two hours. Thankfully today I can take a nap when Ian leaves to do homework. I really need some sleep.

Light On; Light Off:

Sean didn't want us to turn off his lamp until 10:30 last night. He's so pleased by the lamp. He spent an hour and a half lying in bed admiring his lamp! Right now he doesn't have the dexterity or strength in his hands to turn the lamp on and off himself. I'm sure he'll figure it out soon enough.

Walk to the Park:

Sean and I took a walk to the park. He played for two hours. I hadn't realized how late it had gotten when we came home as I hadn't taken a watch or my cell phone with me. Ian was at home waiting for lunch before leaving to do homework. We kept him waiting until 1 PM!

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Steps: 5000


No Sleep: 02/05/05

I went to bed early last night but I did not sleep. I think I got about two hours of sleep and that was after Ian and Sean got up this morning. Ian let me sleep in while he made waffles. I hope I get some sleep tonight.

Light:

Ian got Sean's lamp wired. Unfortunately his wall switch doesn't do anything. We think that his overhead light power source was redirected to power the old bamboo garden and later the widescreen television. We can see the wires going down the wall through the floor and the living room is directly above Sean's room. Thankfully we did have the switches to put into to lamp wire so that's what Ian did. I'll take pictures now that Sean's room is done.

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Steps: 3000


Children of the Storm: 02/04/05

I'm reading another Amelia Peabody mystery. Like the last one I read, it has the various scenes divided up by which archive the memoir is supposed to be from but so far I'm finding these changes in voice less distracting. Now with Ramses as a married adult with chidlren, he's actually written as a believable and somewhat likeable character. He's also delightfully quiet! The series is back to pace of the first book except that it's at least twice as long.

Almost Well but Not Sean:

I thought the cold Sean had gotten over was the same thing I'm now nearly over. I had started to feel better late afternoon yesterday. This morning though, Sean woke up completely congested and understandably grumpy. I got him dressed, gave him some cold medicine and off we went to preschool.

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Steps: 4000


Perhaps the Flu: 02/03/05

I've been running a fever for the last couple of days so clearly this isn't just a cold. Since everyone at work has already had it or currently has the flu I'm at work. I went to bed early last night (and had nightmares all night long) and I feel a little better. I'm so looking forward to the weekend.

What's in My Pockets?

I tend to wear cardigans with pockets because most of my trousers don't have pockets. Over the course of a week I end up putting an odd assortment of things in my pockets. I currently have in my sweater pockets:

  • Ponytail scrunchy
  • Nail clippers
  • One of my son's socks
  • Three quarters
  • Tweezers
  • A new designed nickel
  • A dime
  • My key ring
  • Mint Chapstick
  • One Ricola

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Steps: 4000


Another Cold: 02/02/05

I either have another cold or the flu that's going around the office. I'm congested and feeling a little feverish but here I am at work. There's really no one to do my job if I were to go home sick as my boss is home in bed. It's not a particularily bad flu in comparisions to ones I've had in the past but I'm still not myself. Sean and Ian have already had it so I don't have to worry about getting them sick.

Jaunary Reading:

January was a great month for reading for me. I read 44 books! About a third of them were the books that Sean brings home for the "Raise a Reader" weekly reading program his preschool participates in. The rest of them were Book Crossing books. You can read through the January blogs to get an idea of what I read.

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Steps: 3000


Old MacDonald Had a Farm: 02/01/05

Old MacDonald Had a Farm is Sean's current favorite song and he's made up quite a few new things for the farmer to have. Here's a partial list (with the 'animal' and the 'sound':

  • Dinosaur: ROAR!
  • Raccoon: Wash
  • Crocodile: UM!
  • Pelican: Scoop
  • Sea Gull: Mine
  • Giraffe: Munch
  • Car: Vroom
  • Balloon: Thfffffp
  • Corn: Pop
  • Rice: Squish
  • Door: Open and close
  • Light: On and Off
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Steps: 4000