Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book review: Winston's War

Winston's War (Winston Churchill #1)Winston's War by Michael Dobbs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a surprisingly good read! I suppose I didn't expect much from this book, despite reading an interesting blurb on it, because Barnes & Noble was giving it away for free, as one of their Free Fridays offerings. Yes, I realize that such things are supposed to build interest in the author or in similar works. Still, many of the giveaways are worth what I pay for them. In this case, that view was in error.

Winston's War is an historical novel, focused on the run-up to World War II, as Neville Chamberlain was trying to buy peace from Hitler through appeasement, while Winston Churchill was certain that this policy would only incite a tyrant. Of course, we know how that turned out. What makes this book interesting is the interplay between the characters and the political maneuvering in this very rocky time.

A well-written historical novel requires a good grasp of history. Being a student of history myself, many authors lose me through their lack of real historical grounding. That's not the case here. Mr. Dobbs did an admirable job of maintaining historical believability while throwing in a backstory that holds up and adds to the reader's interest. Overall, this is an excellent book!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Well, that explains it

We spent this weekend in New England. There was a party in New Hampshire, in honor of our cousin's (my Dad's first cousin's) 70th birthday, so we made a weekend of it. On the drive up, we spotted some trees by the side of the road that were both flattened and twisted in various directions. Between my background as a big-time earth science geek and Marc's experience growing up in Kansas, we quickly came to the same conclusion: only one thing can make that happen... a tornado.

But this was near Sturbridge, Massachusetts. While there have been tornadoes in this part of the country, including some really deadly ones, tornadoes aren't a regular occurrence around here. But sure enough, a quick Google check revealed that there had been tornadoes in that area last year. In fact, I found a NASA shot of the tornado's track here.

Anyhow, the weekend was really nice, but that was an impressive sight. Seeing what nature can do really is quite a reminder of human puniness!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reasons to love rugby

As I'm sure you know, I'm a proud member of the Gotham Knights RFC (Rugby Football Club), and that's because of my love of the sport. There's no other reason. For example, new guy Daniel has nothing to do with it...

Okay, so maybe I find him a little attractive. But then there's that off-putting way he speaks. You know, those Australian accents can be such a distraction!


Okay, now I have to get back to editing rugby photos!

Yay! Rugby starts again today!

Today we truly start spring, even if the calendar says we have a few days of winter to go, for today our beloved Gotham Knights have their first match of the year! The camera is ready, and I head out in about an hour to join them. Even Dodger is cheering for rugby:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Our first baby, Bernice, the Energizer doggy!

When we adopted Bernice, we knew that we'd do our best by her but had to realize, as with all such things... well, you know. She's doing well for her age, but some days are hard for her at this point. We do our best to make every day as good as possible.

Still, the vet told us a while back that a dog of her type could be expected to live 10 to 12 years. I guess we've done okay, because she's now 14 years & 2 months old. And while she has her achy days, she has her good days, too. At the moment, she's sleeping by our feet.

So how's she looking at such an advanced age? Take a look at a shot of our pretty baby that I took earlier tonight as she relaxed on her new bed:

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Old dogs with new beds

We bought a new couch, after one last bit of dog damage finished the old one off. Since we intend to keep the dogs off the new one (or at least try to), we bought new dog beds for this room (as opposed to the dog beds they already have in the bedroom). We only bought two, since Dodger tends to avoid such things during the day, even when they're made available. I don't know why--Dodge moves in mysterious ways.

So we bought lovely new beds that have a center cushion that sits inside a cushioned ring, letting them sink into the cushy center and rest their heads on the side, a perfect arrangement for how they often like to sleep. So what was the first reaction to the beds? Take a look:

Lovely. *sigh*

And what did Mandy do? At first, she was truly ecstatic. She had her ears up and was grinning. But then she got around to "I have a better idea!"

Yes, she got herself under the cushion. Oy vey, these dogs!

Well, she's now on top of the pillow, so all is well with that. And Bernice is on the floor as I type this, but she's been using the bed, too:

It's not easy to keep old dogs comfy, especially poor Bernice who is beyond old for a dog of her size. But we're trying!