Wish list

Trying a new meme from Book Chick City called On My Wishlist.
On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.
Alex and Me -


On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. His last words to his owner, Irene Pepperberg, were "You be good. I love you."

What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous - two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.

In The Sanctuary of Outcasts

About In The Sanctuary of Outcasts -

Neil White, a journalist and magazine publisher, wanted the best for those he loved-nice cars, beautiful homes, luxurious clothes. He loaned money to family and friends, gave generously to his church, and invested in his community-but his bank account couldn't keep up. Soon White began moving money from one account to another to avoid bouncing checks. His world fell apart when the FBI discovered his scheme and a judge sentenced him to serve eighteen months in a federal prison.

But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy. Hidden away for decades, this small circle of outcasts had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. It is here, in a place rich with history, where the Mississippi River briefly runs north, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, that White's strange and compelling journey begins. He finds a new best friend in Ella Bounds, an eighty-year-old African American double amputee who had contracted leprosy as a child. She and the other secret people, along with a wacky troop of inmates, help White rediscover the value of simplicity, friendship, and gratitude.

Funny and poignant, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is an uplifting memoir that reminds us all what matters most.

The Imperfectionists -

About The Imperfectionists

‘Off the record, who is it?’
He hesitates.
‘I don’t see why you need to know.’
But he does see, of course. ‘It’s my son.’
Their chuckles are audible over the speakerphone. ‘Are you serious?’

Lloyd Burko is having troubles with his sources, with his technology at the paper, and with his family. Deadline is closing in and he is falling apart. The Imperfectionists is a novel about the quirky, maddening, endearing people who write and read an international newspaper based in Rome: from the obituary reporter who will do anything to avoid work, to the young freelancer who is manipulated by an egocentric war correspondent, to the dog-obsessed publisher who seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer.

With war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the climate in meltdown and bin Laden still in hiding, the paper has plenty to fill its columns. But for its staff, the true front-page stories are their own private lives. As this imperfect bunch stumbles along, the era of high terror and high tech bears down, the characters collide, and the novel hurtles toward its climax...

So what's on your wish list?

The Dirty Life book review

I do not know how I happened upon this book, but I instantly fell in love with it. I read and reread the first section and was so excited I could barely sit still. I read it to Saint hoping to inspire him or get a reaction of, WOW we should buy good healthy food, instead he responded, "I am not really interested in other people's lives." Hm, well good thing I don't listen to him. Later in the book, I would text Saint and tell him we were going to buy a farm. He replied with the usual, No and Not gonna happen.

The way Kristin Kimball writes this account of her life moving from New York city girl to farm girl is absolutely amazing. I felt like I was there experiencing her tears, her elation and all the trials and tribulations in between.

I was so inspired by her. I love the way she would read books on things she knew it was inevitable that she would encounter, like the chickens. She found some other women who were planning to butcher their own chickens, she called them to ask if she could participate in terms of research. Here these women were pulling in the aura of mother earth and all the other worldly prayers saying things like, We thank you mother earth for your wonderful, bountiful addition to our table . . . meanwhile Kristin was praying that the chicken didn't experience pain.

I loved the way Kristin went through all the ups and downs of wondering if this was really right for her. It was simply awe inspiring to read all the stories of developing their farm from the ground up; acquiring the different animals - cows for milk, horses for work, chickens for eggs. It was amazing how she describes how they worked the farm without using an machines and what they did instead of them. I was truly heart warmed with the way the families and neighbors came together in sharing and helping with the work loads on visits. I loved the way she learned the difference between an animal resting and an animal who had passed. It was a true pleasure to read the transition of mud and run down land to a living, breathing, working farm.

I refuse to spoil the ending, but my favorite part was the ending. (not gonna say any more) Which it has been a little bit since I have read a book where the ending was just as good, if not better than the meat of the book.

Pick this one up. You will definitely want to read this!! And if you have an eReader, this is available as an electronic book.

Summary of the book:

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the "whole diet"—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

"As much as you transform the land by farming," she writes, "farming transforms you." In her old life, Kimball would stay out until four a.m., wear heels, and carry a handbag. Now she wakes up at four, wears Carhartts, and carries a pocket knife. At Essex Farm, she discovers the wrenching pleasures of physical work, learns that good food is at the center of a good life, falls deeply in love, and finally finds the engagement and commitment she craved in the form of a man, a small town, and a beautiful piece of land

I really enjoyed this article and the pictures by NPR on The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.

Wordless Wednesday - timeout

I have noticed that when I close the curtains in the bedroom, Tuesday tends to still face and look at the curtains. I haven't figured out what she is doing or why, listening maybe? I find this funny because it looks just like she has put herself in timeout.

Wordless Wednesday

Why I love thee, let me count the ways

In honor of Valentine's Day I have a post dedicated to why I love Saint -
It is so easy to be with you. We don't really do anything, but we do it well, together.

You are always on my side (even when there isn't a side to take) and it makes coming home from a tough day, that much easier.

You have my gift long before we decide not to exchange gifts.

Even after the eighteenth text - in one day - of I love you, you still return the text with you love me.

The relationship you have with my cat, Izabel, is strained at the very least, but knowing that she may not be happy in our new city, you agree to take her if necessary. You also choose to switch sides of the bed with me rather than sweep Izabel off your side of the bed.

You are willing to push aside the mushrooms and other miscellaneous veggies that I like to eat and cook with which you are not a fan of.

For Band Day, you lent me your Guns N Roses tee.

You are willing to be on "alien watch" even though we both know it is simply because the scientist in you must know what that damn noise is that keeps me awake at night.

I am reading a book about religion and send you a text that I would like to go visit and stay in an Amish Bed n Breakfast, even though initially you are against it, you resign because you know it will make me happy (and it will give you something else to make fun of).

With bad knees and a work time of 3am, you are still willing and able to don a pair of ice skates and hobble around the arena listening to Justin Bieber on Teen night with a bunch of swooning middle age school girls and my niece.
And these are just a few of the reasons why I am so lucky to have Saint in my life.

Happy Valentine's Day peeps!!