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Today in My History

2000:  Bottles of Chance
2001:  Confessions of a Klutz
2002:  Tool Time
2003:  Who Is Milton and Why Should I Care?
2004:  Portals of the Past
2005:  Cultural Icons
2006:   94 and Counting

2007:  Seventy
2008: Category 1
High Tech/Low Tech

42nd Stree

Books Read in 2010
Updated: 8/23
City of Bones"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10)


A Taste of Uncle Vito's from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

On You Tube

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Mitzi Gaynor said WHAT?

Spirit of '43
Ned's Video for Bri's 2nd birthday
No You Can't (John Boehner)
Jim Brochu closes NASDAQ
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Cousins Day, August 2010

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2 September 2010

It's a good thing Walt is in Santa Barbara at the moment.   It gives me free time to read.  I'm in the middle of four riveting books right now and I keep being drawn in one way or the other and unable to stop reading any of them.

The audio book in the car is Book four of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.  Claire and Jaime are in the 1700s in the Carolinas, having gone to America chasing Jaime's nephew / godson who was kidnapped by pirates.   I will admit that I wasn't liking this book as much as the previous three books, but it is a four-disk recording from Audible.com and I'm now into the 4th disk and somewhere in the middle of the third disk, it became impossible to put down.  So impossible that when I got home from Costco today, I used earphones to sit in a chair and listen to it more. 

But I can't listen to an audio book and sit still or I fall asleep, which I did.  And when you are listening to an audio book it's a pain in the patootie to find your place again after you wake up, so I decided I'd have to finish listening to it in the car.  Four hours to go!

Backside.jpg (17445 bytes)At the same time, I have two books going simultaneously on my iTouch Kindle app.  I was engrossed in my friend Alec Clayton's fourth book, "The Backside of Nowhere."  I have all four of Alec's book and am embarrassed to admit that I haven't read any of them.  But based on the comments I read on Facebook, I started this one and am kicking myself for not reading his previous books yet.

Alec is from the South and his books are filled with the same kind of rich imagery and colorful storytelling that you find with Pat Conroy ("Prince of Tides").  I am only just getting into the heart of the book, so I am not ready to write a review of it yet, but I'm enjoying it.

Then Char asked me if I had read a book called "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.

Racing.jpg (9979 bytes)"Racing in the Rain" is a story of a dog and his relationship with a man, told from the point of view of the dog (I can't imagine why Char thought I might like it!).  I couldn't ignore her one-sentence description of it:  "It is a pile of mawkish, sentimental claptrap, but I was weeping at the end of it."

Dog story? sentimental claptrap? the promise of tears at the end?   This is a book made for me, so I immediately ordered it, too, for my kindle.   I'm switching back and forth between it and Alec's book, depending on my mood at the time.

And then when I thought I'd reached my limit on simultaneously read books, my friend Toni Bernhard's book appeared on my doorstep today.  I had pre-ordered it when it was first published and today was the day it was sent by Amazon.

Bernhard.jpg (9641 bytes)Toni's daughter, Mara, was in the jazz choir with Tom and David and we were chaperones together on jazz choir trips.  Her husband, Tony, was the Yolo County Clerk / Recorder for many years.  He was the guy who ran elections in Yolo County, but he is now retired.  We haven't seen them in years.

I reconnected with Toni on Facebook and that was when I discovered why we hadn't seen them.  She and Tony went on a trip to France in 2001, their first trip to Paris.  The first day she became ill, something she attributed to jet lag.   But ultimately she became terribly ill.  After many, many tests, they now think she picked up some sort of virus on the flight over and it somehow mutated into what has become a chronic illness, which has been labeled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as a host of other possibilities.  She has been ill since 2001, with no hope of recovery.

She has written a beautiful account of how she has come to terms with her illness and a guide for those in similar circumstances, as well as for their caregivers, giving a perspective of what it is like to be the sick person.  I only got the book this afternoon, so I'm only about 1/4 of the way into it, but I've put aside the two kindle books until I've finished it.  I had only finished the first chapter when I came to the computer and ordered a copy to have sent to my cousin Kathy, who I hope will find some positive thoughts from reading Toni's experiences and her suggestions for how to deal with a chronic illness.

So this appears to be a book-heavy week.  I recommend all four of these books and will write reviews of them as I finish each one.


Gma97.jpg (156115 bytes)

Walt sent a cell phone picture of
Grandma Sykes' 97th birthday party



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