Monthly Archives: September 2010

love letter to Monica Ferris

12 September 2010
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I was sad to read the last/latest Betsy Devonshire needlecraft mystery book by Monica Ferris. I found a slew of them at the Saukville Library and checked out the first 5 books for our Door County vacation. And I loved them. they were well-written, well-plotted, well-paced, nicely developed characters. As believable as any other cozy series (so not really, I mean who the hell would even want to be so close to so many murders. But I respect how Ms. Ferris has made Betsy uneasy about the same thing.)

I woke up on vacation, already with that strange sensation of where am I? and I wondered if I was in Excelsior. As much as it would pain the Door. Co. tourism bureau to hear, I wondered if I had ended up in Minnesota.  I have been craving needlecraft. The last time I sewed was Halloween costumes. And the last time I need any needlework, I was making Bella’s Christmas stocking. And now I wonder if maybe I should just give counted cross stitch another try. After all, Betsy improved. I like Betsy’s mind and her maturing as a character.  she would be fun to know. I want to hang out with Godwin, who skates a careful line of not just being your stereotypical gay best friend of pop lit, but is a fleshed out through and trough. Struth!

I was hooked. I scurried around. I checked out the other 8 or so books from three other libraries in our area. Annoying that Cedarburg had none of them. And I read them in order.

And tonight I finished the last one I have. I love how the secondary and tertiary characters slide in and out. Jill and Lars and I can picture Emma and Erik growing. Aww. And Doris went from being a small bit character (although didn’t she have a brother somewhere nearby?) and now she’s one of the gang. And Phil and Alice and Bersheda and Irene and Leona… And even Patricia, that daffy would be murderer who we get to see in redemption. I’ve read some series where all of the side-talking gets in the way of the plot. The mystery is either told as slight of hand and not clever deduction, all luck or random. And crossing my finger, Ms. Ferris has managed to keep the plots on target.

Now I just have to wait until the library gets the new release in December.  Find an independent needlecraft store and pick up a canvas and get to sewing. And stop seeing clever plots that Betsy could solve if there were a murder nearby.


just a thought

8 September 2010
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When we lived in Chicago, I was always impressed by the efficiency of Mr. Daley (and the stories of his father) as mayor of Chicago. I am not necessarily convinced those efficiencies were fair or kind or best. But things got done. I used to joke after we moved back to Milwaukee that we needed Mr. Daley to take a term up here, just get some things done.

And now I wonder if he was thinking the same thing. Tom Barrett wins the governorship, leaving open the mayoral position in Milwaukee. Rich Daley moves north, wins the mayoral election and we’ll have rail or water powered buses or bike trails or wrought iron fencing around every park by spring.  And nothing’s going to stop him.

EDITED TO ADD: And Now Mayor Daley suggests they re-reverse the river that flows to the Mississippi when it should flow to Lake Michigan. That doesn’t seem like an idea that would be very popular in Chicago. But it seems like one that would be heart warming in Milwaukee. Hmmm?

Lake Life

1 September 2010
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Today was the first day of shool. There were high anxieties but few tears. This is a good thing. And the 40 minutes we waited for the bus to bring them home made last week, with the lazy days on the shores of Lake Michigan, seem even farther away than they did yesterday.  We had a delightful week in Jacksonport in Door County. The cottage was so-so. I don’t think bunk beds are in our future. But the sandy beach and the lake, wow. Lake Michigan was warm, the sand got everywhere, the children even got sunburned. Miranda turned 9. She went zip-lining and let her parents tag along. We rode bikes. I read five novels (my love letter to Monica Ferris will follow soon). We played a three generation game of dominoes four nights in a row. I was the youngest player. We had to buy beer over and over. In other words, awesome. I am ready for a beachfront life. (Click on any photo to see a slideshow)