Sunday Post: After the caucus

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little about my personal life


Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

We had a tiny bit more snow, but also a few sunny days above freezing. However, our north facing backyard is still filled with snow!

The last two weeks in pictures
Iowa Caucus

I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the Iowa Caucus and what a fiasco that was. It was my first caucus (we moved to Iowa three years ago) and I volunteered to help people sign-in. It was very interesting since it’s so different from just voting for a candidate, but it was also chaotic. We were in a middle school gymnasium and it was very loud. The precinct captain didn’t have a sound system so it was very hard to hear what anyone was saying.

After we finished caucusing we went home and that’s when we heard there was some kind of problem though on Monday night no one knew what the problem was. Now almost a week later and Iowa has provided numbers, but news organizations have found some inconsistencies and still don’t feel confident to call a winner. My takeaway from this is that maybe Iowa needs to just vote and do away with the caucus system!

Elf and Olaf

Elf and Olaf (Olie) are getting along better. Olaf was neutered this week. He’s five months old so I’m glad he hadn’t started spraying. He weighs almost nine pounds!

Other activities

Now that the caucuses are over life is getting back to a more normal level. We went out one evening to a cabaret performance. The singer was great. We also got away one evening and played dominoes at our local brewery. Lots of fun though my husband beat me even though (because) he drew 22 tiles and then was able to block me several times!

We had lunch at our botanical garden cafe. Again, lots of fun! The botanical garden dome is wonderful in the winter since it’s warm and all the plants are green and growing! Some are blooming and there’s even an area with cactus! On the way to the botanical gardens and along the Des Moines River is the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens with an Asian pavilion as the main feature. Ray was an Iowa governor (1969-1983) and the first public official anywhere in the United States to offer the Vietnamese “Boat People” a safe haven as well as sending food and medicine to Cambodia and helping keep the Tai Dam of Laos intact as a people and a culture by making it possible for them to resettle in Iowa.

Blog Life

In January I read 16 books–much higher than my average of 7 or 8! Several of the books were short so that factored in, but I also read some very good ones which I flew through. In February, I’ve already abandoned two books–one at 36% and the other at 25%–because I decided they just weren’t what I wanted to read right now. They were depressing me and I want to enjoy my reading.

Last two weeks
Next week
  • February 2020 books on my list
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
  • Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
What I read recently
  • Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
  • A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
  • Girls of the Dark by Katherine Pathak
  • House of Teeth by Dan Jolley
  • Blind Search by Paula Munier
  • The Island by Ragnar Jonasson
Books I got recently

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan (ebook, purchased)

Some of the Best from Edition by Elizabeth Bear, Siobhan Carroll, John Chu, Greg Egan,et al (ebook, purchased)

The World of Cork O’Connor by William Kent Kreuger (ebook, purchased)

Girls of the Dark by Katherine Pathak (KindleUnlimited)

Fashion Goes to the Dogs by Peggy Gaffney (KindleUnlimited)

The Body on the Beach by Anna Johannsen (KindleUnlimited)

A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris (ebook/library)

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (audiobook/library)

What have you been doing? What are your plans for next week? Are you planning anything for Valentine’s Day?

Sunday Post: Flowers are still blooming


Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.


Strange weather–one day this week it was 86 degrees and the next day only 55 degrees! We continue to get lots of rain and more rain is forecast for next week. The rivers are full.

A busy week

My son was here most of the week. He was working on a computer project and once that was finished he went to visit some of our family in Northern Wisconsin. He plans to travel into Canada then on to Maine, New York City and Washington, DC to visit family and friends. He’s got some money as well as some time before his new job begins the first part of next year so he plans to do some travelling.

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My husband and I went to the botanical gardens on Saturday and had a wonderful time. We walked around outside enjoying the cool day and viewed the pond as well the waterfall, plants and flowers. I was surprised there were still so many flowers blooming. But it’s also beginning to look like fall in the gardens. We had lunch at the cafe inside the gardens…yummy food!


I’m scheduling reviews and other posts as I try to get some posts done ahead. Fall is a very busy time of the year for me. I plan to work on scheduling ahead and getting caught up on answering comments and visiting blogs.

Last week
Next week
  • Review
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard
What I read last week
  • Emma: An Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen, Anna Lea (adaptation author)
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong
  • Close Enough by Shannon Baker
  • Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington
  • Head On by John Scalzi
Books I got this week

The Firemaker by Peter May

Between Shifts by W.R. Gingell

Putting Down Roots in Kinsey Falls by Gayle Leeson

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Mystic Falls by Vickie McKeehan

The Cukoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Audiobook)

White Silence by Jodi Taylor (Audiobook)

The Sideman by Caro Ramsey (library book)

Dog Dish of Doom by E.J. Copperman

What did you do last week? What are your plans for next week? 

Sunday Post: Lots of Family Fun


Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

More rain and cold temperatures some of the week. The crabapple trees are just about done blooming. It’s supposed to rain all weekend so we plan to do mostly indoor activities.

Lots of family fun

My son arrived this week for a short visit. So good to see him. We picked him up at the airport and left from there to drive to eastern Iowa to visit his grandpa and other family members. We came back the next day so a quick trip, but so fun to see family and friends.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had also gone there for a few days. They returned to our house for a few more days and left for home in Maine on Saturday morning. We all had a wonderful time.

They helped with the fence and bought some flowering plants and herbs which my sister-in-law planted in pots for me. She also helped me sort through clothes to give to Goodwill plus helped me pack away winter clothes and bring out spring clothes. Feels so good to get those chores done.

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We took them to two of our favorite places: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Raygun (an Iowa store which specializes in Midwest t-shirts and other Midwest themed products).

Outside activities

More work done on the fence. Just about all the posts are in. Work slowed down since we were gone two days this week plus it rained for a couple of days. One of the days it was only about 40 degrees all day so that was an indoor day, too! We’re also trying to clear some of the flowerbeds of the rocks and landscape cloth the previous owners used. It’s impossible to plant anything in the flowerbeds unless we remove both rocks and landscape cloth.


With the road trip and visitors all week not much blogging, commenting or reading done. I’m hoping to get some reviews written and scheduled–we’ll see how well I do with that.

Blog posts
Blog posts planned
  • WWW Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern

What I read

A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Some books I got recently

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern (NetGalley)

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen (NetGalley)

Blackfoot by W.R. Gingell (ebook)

Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus (ebook)

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (Audiobook)

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Audiobook)

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Interesting on the Internet

Sync is back! Every week until August 16 two young adult audiobooks are free to download. These books are young adult titles so if that’s your favorite genre check them out.

For the first week (April 27 – May 3):

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller!

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of five teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist. Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails.

And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

Oscar Wilde’s enduring masterpiece, this fable of innocence and corruption, purity and decay has become a true classic. The beautiful, narcissistic Dorian Gray, torn between the influence of cynical hedonist Lord Henry Wotton and tortured artist Basil Hallward, sells the beauty of his soul in exchange for external perfection. Ultimately, he cannot escape the disfigurement of sin. Wilde’s remarkable wit and memorable, epigrammatic lines dazzle in audiobook form!

Audiobooks available May 4 -10:

Feed by M.T. Anderson | Read by David Aaron Baker, a Full Cast

Published by Listening Library

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon—a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world—and a smart, savage satire that will captivate listeners with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

Published by Random House Audio

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!

What did you do last week? What did you read? What books did you collect? What are you planning?





Beyond the books–A look at my new town


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is a look at my new town.

I’ve been in Des Moines about two weeks now. I don’t have a tour of the town yet, but we’ve been a couple places since we moved here.

Note: I just got internet so I was able to complete this post! It will take a while before I catch up on my comments, but I’ll work at it.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The photos above are of the tropical plant part inside the geodesic-domed conservatory built in 1979. It is 80 feet tall and 150 feet wide with  plants, paths and seating areas.

There are also extensive outdoor gardens with plantings which will grow in this area. I’m looking forward to exploring the plantings to get ideas for our yard.

We visited and joined the botanical garden the first weekend we arrived here in Des Moines. And it’s wonderful! I know we will spend many wonderful hours here. They have classes, a wonderful garden shop (where I already bought some stuff), a cafe and at the beginning of May a plant sale I’m looking forward to going to.

Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge


A pedestrian bridge along Center Street renamed the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in 2013 to honor Iowa women who have made significant achievements to Iowa and around the world. Downtown Des Moines is on both sides of the river.

Chinese Cultural Center of America & Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens

This park is just south of the botanical gardens along the Des Moines River. There’s also a Riverwalk along both sides of the river which I’m going to enjoy exploring since there are parks, fountains, an ice skating rink in winter, gardens with sculptures and more.

Downtown Des Moines has experienced a resurgence in recent years with many new restaurants, parks and a wonderful multi-block farmers market. I’m going to have so much fun exploring my new town.

What about you? What do you love (or dislike) about your town?