Aug 31, 2017

Pascagoula River Audubon Center, March 2017 Part II

 OK, here is the owls I promised awhile back. I reposted so if anyone missed it they can read Part I

 This is a BabyOwl, they are pretty big now (there are two) and they can move around some from branch to branch and tree to tree although they aren't really flying yet.

 They are sort of hard to spot, Captain Benny pointed them out to me the first time.

 This is probably the best picture of them.

 I was really excited to get to see them in person as I had been following them on Facebook ever since they hatched

 I also got to see Mom Owl as I stuck around long enough to see her come feed them.

 This picture was taken through the telescope. 

 It started getting dark so the quality of the pictures started deteriorating.

This platform is where the Owl Nest was, the Ospreys are using it now. ~Alasandra

Pascagoula River Audubon Center - March 2017, Part 1

  The Moss Point Fine Art Gallery is located inside the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and showcases the work of local artist. When I visited in March 2017 the work of Ruth Kimbrough was being featured.

I love her work.

We had an unseasonably WARM WINTER, I don't think I wore a sweater all winter, so I win a ticket to Pascagoula River Audubon Center's  Birds and Brews in March and what happens it turns unseasonably COLD. If I hadn't won the ticket I would have stayed in but since I had a free ticket I put on my thermal underwear a heavy sweater and a heavy coat and braved the freezing temperatures in MARCH, I am so glad I did as I had a marvelous time. And Captain Benny McCoy supplied warm blankets for his passengers.

Captain McCoy is very knowledgeable about the local waterways and the local wildlife, I learned a lot from his tour.

And the Scenery was magnificent.

I love the older houses on the River

Really wish I had blogged about this sooner as my memory has faded but the marsh grass is an important part of the ecosystem. I wish I remembered more of what Captain McCoy told us about it.

I know that it's used as a nursery. It also makes for an interesting picture with the clouds reflected in the water.

Sure would be nice to have these lovely blue skies back. We are having an unseasonably WET SUMMER.

I took a picture of this sign so I would know where I was at, if we ever go kayaking here. Dr. Thomas Singley and some of his neighbors were nice enough to put signs in the maze of bayous in the lower Pascagoula River.

I saw this Egret as we were putting into shore, I think it may be a Great Egret but I am not certain.

I turned this picture into a pencil sketch as it was sort of blurry.

This is a Red Buckeye. I had gotten one from the Center a few years ago, but I don't think mine made it. If it ever stops raining I need to go look in the yard for it.

Hopefully I will be able to get another one as they have a Master Gardeners Program now.

The views are lovely. I will do a post about the Ospreys and Owls I saw soon. ~Alasandra

Aug 28, 2017

The Dragon and the Wolf

My favorite episode, Littlefinger FINALLY got what he deserved and in such a perfect way, the web he though he was spinning for Arya was actually trapping him in it's strands. And it was great to see the Stark siblings working together especially the two sisters. Four cheers for poetic justice.

Is she or isn't she? Speculation has been rift about Cersei's pregnancy: Is Baby Lannister just a way to keep Jaime tied to her? Seems like the baby was made use of again when she needed Tyrion to buy that she capitulated after walking out of the negations upon hearing that Jon Snow had pledged his house to Daenerys. And while the pregnancy real or fake may have worked to convince Tyrion they could trust her, it didn't work so well at keeping Jaime in line. Looks like he finally grew a pair when he discovered she was LYING about going North. Jaime The Oath Breaker & Kingslayer is determined to keep his word or die attempting it at least. Not sure if the TV show ever explained that Jaime broke his oath as a White Cloak and and killed the King (King Aerys II) he was sworn to protect.

We also discover that the reason for Robert's Rebellion was a lie and that Jon Snow is legitimate his real name is Aegon Targaryen. Just about the time Brandon Stark and Sam announce this revelation we see Jon and Daenerys cementing their relationship fully. Considering we have Jaime and Cersei (twin brother and sister) in bed with each other, it shouldn't be a shock to anyone that Aunt and Nephew will be involved. Their relationship actually works out well for cementing the Seven Kingdoms and unifying Westeros. As the Legitimate son of Rhaegar he is living proof that Robert's Rebellion was built on a LIE. And as the son of Lyanna Stark the North will be willing to follow him, heck when they thought he was a bastard they named him King of the North. All those who object to Daenerys because she was raised in foreign places can't object to home boy Jon/Aegon. And Daenerys has the Dragons, the Unsullied and the Dothraki so uniting Jon and Daenerys works out well for everyone. 

So while unifying Westeros seems to be coming together with or without Cersei, Cersei's plot to hire mercenaries to fight against whoever wins in the North might not work out so well especially if Jon/Daenerys are the victors as I seem to recall the leader of the mercenaries is a former lover of Daenerys and they parted on decent terms.

It was nice to see Jon forgive Theon, it shows WHY Jon is the right man to rule the Kingdom. It was also nice to know that Theon is going to rescue his sister Yara.  

Aug 26, 2017

GoT - Beyond the Wall

OK nothing much happened in this episode except for TWO HUGE things, the army of the dead now have their very own dragon and Jon called Daenerys his Queen, and this was AFTER she pledge to fight the undead with him no strings attached.

Jon with his band of merry men (they were having entirely too much fun) set out to bring a wight South in order to get Cersei to put aside her differences with everyone and join the battle between the living and the dead. Apparently the wights don't take to kindly to one of their number being captured because the band is pursued by wights Jon orders Gendry to run to the Wall and summon help from Daenerys. Meanwhile Jon and his band are soon surrounded Thoros had the bad luck to be the red shirt this episode (I think someone has died in every episode) and they dutifully burn his body to keep him from turning into a weight. Daenerys arrives with her 3 dragons and fire breathing dragons against weights seems to be a winning combo for the side of the living, until the Night King kills Viserion. Everybody but Jon is crowded on Drogon and Jon yells for Daenerys to GO, before Drogon can be killed he seems to have a hard time taking off weighted down with everyone so perhaps it's a good think he doesn't have Jon's extra weight and Daenerys watches helplessly as Jon is pulled beneath the ice.

Jon being one tough bastard pulls himself out of the freezing water, at first the weights seem to ignore him, he does appear more dead than alive but then they start to surround him when who should appear but Uncle Benjen to save the day, and send Jon fleeing to the wall on his horse. Some speculate that Benjen is killed by the weights, but considering what "Coldhands" is now I am not sure this was his demise. And unbelievably the weights that seemed to fear water had no problem fishing the dragon Viserion out of the water so the Night King could turn him into a weight.

Jon arrives at the wall and is put to bed on board a ship with Daenerys sitting by his side. When he comes too she swears to join him in his battle against the dead no strings attached and the Dummy bends the knee (metaphorically he is bedridden) and calls her his Queen. I don't think then men who named him KING OF THE NORTH are going to be pleased with that. But then maybe the two will decide to be co-regents after all Jon is Daenerys' nephew and has a stronger claim to the Iron Throne then she does.

Least we think this episode is all about Jon, Arya and Sansa face off when a noisy Sansa finds Arya's bag of faces. The faithless Sansa sends Brianna away so she can kill Arya without interference.  Really hope Jon gets back soon to put Sansa in her place.

Aug 25, 2017

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

BurntownBurntown by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With her books I either hate them or love them, this one I love. The book begins when Miles witnesses his Mother's murder by someone dressed in a Chicken Costume, the police imprison his Father for the murder even though Miles insist he isn't the man he saw, that he shot the Chicken Man with his arrow. His Father dies in prison and Miles is raised by his Aunt and Uncle but his Aunt has a letter for him from his Father with the schematics to Thomas Edison's Telephone to the Dead. Miles grows up and marries Lily who was raised by her brother Lloyd they eventually have a daughter Eva and Professor Miles teaches at the local university and has a famous book, where he tells about his Mother's murder.

Then everything changes one Halloween when Lily and Eva are out Trick-or-Treating. Miles has built the Telephone to the Dead and uses it to contact his Mother, she reveals the identity of her killer. Now all of a sudden Eva has an older brother (no mention of his arrival) but Big E (Errol) and Little E (Eva) are a close knit pair and enjoy an idyllic childhood until "The Flood" tears their family apart.

Eva now known as Necco and her Mother are homeless drifters until the day her Mother jumps off the bridge to her death. Necco doesn't believe her Mother's dire warning that the Chicken Man/Snake Eyes is after them as she has no memory of what happened the day of "The Flood". She falls in love with Hermes and they live in an abandoned car across from a Catholic School until the day Hermes (who happens to be the Governor's son Matthew) is murdered and Necco is framed for the murder. With help from her new friends and a PI that Matthew had hired to look into her past she begins to unravel what happened the day of "The Flood" and discovers that her Mother lied to her about almost everything. When she sees her brother Errol she foolishly trust him and walks into a trap laid by Snake Eyes

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Aug 23, 2017

The Painted Queen (Amelia Peabody, #20)

The Painted Queen (Amelia Peabody, #20)The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had mixed feelings about the book knowing that it is the last and that Joan Hess actually wrote it, as Elizabeth Peters passed away before writing it. That said Hess did an excellent job copying Elizabeth Peters style and speaking in Amelia Peabody's voice.

Frankly I spent a bit of time being annoyed due to the fact that Elizabeth Peters starting writing the books out of order. So we are supposed to forget that we know that Sethos is Emerson's half brother, we are suppose to forget that the baby Nefret miscarried was actually Ramses' and we are supposed to forget that Nefret and Ramses are married in a former book. And since it has been awhile since the last book I had trouble fitting this one into a time line. Especially as I was sure that the big reveal about Sethos relationship to the family occurred before Nefret married Geoffery Goodwin due to a misunderstanding with Ramses.

Mysteries men with monocles are trying to kill Amelia and Ramses. Nefret reveals that she thinks they are Geoffery Goodwin's relatives seeking revenge for his death. Their names are Judas, Cromwell, Absalom, Guy and Flitworthy (although Flitworthy actually changed his name). Needless to say none of them including their Mother meet with success in killing Amelia and Ramses and all meet with endings fitting with their names.

Sethos is kept busy rescuing Amelia from the assassins and helping Ramses and David retrieve the bust of Queen Nefertiti and the numerous copies a forger made of it. And Amelia unravels the cause of Herr Morgenstern's strange behavior and uncovers a plot to use the Coptic Christians in Egypt to foment rebellion.

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Aug 18, 2017

Dragonsworn (Dark-Hunter, #28)

Dragonsworn (Dark-Hunter, #28)Dragonsworn by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For the first time in a long time she didn't rehash everything that happened in previous books, but at points I felt lost as I felt I should remember something that I didn't. She really needs to find a happy medium between rehashing everything that happened and making vague references to things that she thinks we should know, we do seem to be moving the story line along some albeit at a snails pace.

It seems that the Chronicles of Nick will be tied into the main story line soon as references are made to things that happen in the CoN. First for the important stuff we learn. Noir is Falcyn's Father and his Mother is Lilith two Primary gods. This means Falcyn is extremely powerful, and is actually the War God Veles, Falcyn is a nickname his sister gave him. His brother Hadyn was a Simon Magi with the ability to take life and destroy souls. I kinda think that Hadyn may still be alive (Shadow maybe), he seems to powerful to kill. And that the Dragonstone Falcyn has is actually the Dragonsworn it can actually bring people back to life. Which is why Morgen wants it, she wants to bring her son Mordred back to life.

There also seems to be some question about WHO FATHERED Acheron. It seems that Archon tricked Apollymi (Braith) into marrying him by pretending to be the reincarnation of her dead lover Kissare. What we know about Kissare, he is a Sephiroth and he fathered the FIRST Malachai (THIS MEANS NICK AND ACHERON ARE RELATED). Archon said he wasn't Acheron's Father so the speculation is that Kissare has been reincarnated and that he actually fathered Acheron (My guess it may be Savitar).

Phoebe is alive, and Urian is more important than anyone suspected, he holds the blood of Apollymi, Bet, Set and Acheron and is the key to bringing them all down. The fate of the world is in the hands of Styxx's family not Acheron's. (For those who don't know Urian is the son of Styxx and Bethany).

OK now for the story, Falcyn learns that his son Maddor is alive as well as his sister Xyn and being held by Morgen Le Fey (the Lords of Avalon books also seem to be being tied in). Medea's family is being attacked by a plague sent by Apollo (her grandfather) and she comes to her brother Urian for help. Even though Urian hates Stryker (for killing Phoebe) he loves his brother Davyn and is willing to help. They need Falcyn's Dragonstone to cure Medea's people. But before they can ask Falcyn for it Morgen tries to get it and Falcyn, Blaise (Falcyn's grandson) Urian and Medea wind up in another realm. Falcyn is immediately attracted to Medea starts telling her stuff he NEVER tells anyone and when they get separated from the group have sex. Rather unbelievable even for a Kenyon book. They find Blaise's adopted Father Merlin dead and Nimue dying. Before she dies she tells Blaise to take Merlin's stone and go to Camelot and release the dragons. By this time Braise has hooked up with Brogan and rescued her from the Crom. Shadow (another mysterious character) helps them get to Camelot through the Shadowland although he is injured doing so. When they get to Camelot they get help from Brogan's brother Brandor. They find Maddor pinned in such a way that if they free the dragons Maddor will be killed. Brogan summons the Crom and gives him Morgen's name. Falcyn accidentally puts Maddor's soul in the Crom's body, as the Crom he can't harm Falcyn as Brogan hasn't given the Crom Falcyn's name. Maddor learns that Falcyn is his Father, Blaise is his son and that Falcyn loves him. The Crom breaks free, Simi arrives to help (apparently everyone is afraid of HER) Falcyn puts Maddor back in his own body. The Crom goes to kill Morgen, Maddor steals the dragonstone from Falcyn. Simi talks him into giving it back. Everyone escapes except Maddor who can't leave. Falcyn and Medea go back and rescue Maddor. Falcyn's cures Medea's family (fun fact Apollymi is his Aunt) and when Medea goes to check on Davyn she find Phoebe feeding on him. Urian accidentally turned her into an Anglekos when he fed her tainted souls. When she attacked the compound she was living in Stryker went got her and was keeping her imprisoned. He intended to tell Urian but he slit Urian's throat before he could (oops parental fail). With Falcyn beside her Medea tells Urian about Phoebe. Unfortunately Apollo controls Phoebe.

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Aug 17, 2017

Black Cats Tell All

In the interest of full disclosure my cat Yin's story is featured in the book, but even if she wasn't I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book. It gets 5 stars and then some. Some of the stories made me laugh, some of the stories made my cry but they all touched my heart and I fell in love with each and every one of the cats featured in the book, and the photographs were outstanding.

Black Cats Tell all is a "celebration" of all that is positive about black cats, with the hope of once-and-for-all reversing negative stereotypes that to this day are still far too prevalent.  In most cases the stories are narrated by the cats themselves.   A portion of the proceeds from this book will help Shelter Cats. I was shocked to learn that black cats got a bad rap June 13, 1233 when Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull proclaiming black cats were an incarnation of Satan. Leading to many black cats being killed.

This book aims to reverse the negative stereotypes that many people still hold about black cats. 

To learn how to get your copy visit  Cat Wisdom 101

 And be sure to check out Yin's story. ~Alasandra

Aug 15, 2017

Midnight at Marble Arch (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #28)

Midnight at Marble Arch (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #28)Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book begins with a young girl becoming hysterical at a party when Neville Forsbrook approaches her. She is the daughter of the Portuguese Ambassador, which gives Pitt an opening to investigate her death after she throws herself out a window at another party rather than be taunted by Neville. Pitt is convinced that Neville raped her, but Quixwood insist that Neville was with him at the time of the rape and couldn't have done it.

Meanwhile Narraway is investigating the rape and murder/suicide of Catherine Quixwood at the request of her husband who is a slight acquaintance. When the police arrest a young man, Hythe, that Catherine Quixwood was acquainted with for the crime Narraway doesn't buy it. In fact he believes Hythe's story that he was looking into financial transactions for Catherine Quixwood and that they never meet in private. His belief in Hythe is so strong he hires Symington to defend him.

Another young lady is raped and found dead leaving Pitt more determined than ever to capture the rapist. When another you lady is raped she names Neville as her rapist, but her Father refuses to press charges in order to safe guard his daughters reputation. Slowly Narraway and Pitt begin to suspect that Neville also raped Catherine Quixwood, but with a death sentence hanging over Hythe's head they are desperate to find proof that Quixwood himself was behind his wife's rape and murder.

And even finding the proof may not be enough as the quick thinking Quixwood intends to kill Neville in the act of raping Vespasia, who unfortunately won't live to tell the world that Quixwood was involved. Now Thomas and Victor must risk everything to save her.

Love the fact that Victor Narraway and Vespasia are getting closer.

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Aug 14, 2017

GoT - Eastwatch

Littlefinger is inciting unrest in House Stark and attempting to turn Sansa and Arya against one another. Hope Jon gets home soon, and hope Arya takes care of Little Finger once and for all.

Cersei tells Jamie she is pg and that she will tell everyone he is the Father to hell with what they think. Wonder how Euron Greyjoy will take that news. Really hate to see Jamie stuck with Cersei, if he could ever get away from the bitch he would be a halfway decent guy. He did at least listen to Tyrion. And while Tyrion was secretly meeting with Jamie, Davos was finding Gendry. Gendry and Jon seemed to like one another when they were introduced, Gendry is going with Jon to get one of the "Dead" to take to Cersei. They hope a little show and tell will inspire everyone to band together to fight the White Walkers and Cersei seems to be considering a temporary alliance considering that Daenerys killed off most of her army. Jon petted one of  Daenerys' Dragons and the Queen seems to be thawing she didn't suggest the King of the North bow once this episode.

Sam completely missed the importance of Gilly's prattling about Jon's Father getting an annulment and marrying Jon's Mother. Really you would of thought he would have paid more attention to the Royal line. And I am not sure why they felt compelled to depart from the book. In the books while Jon's parents were indeed married the Targaryens often had more than one wife, so no annulment.

Really not much accomplished this episode, I really don't see Gendry as a contender for the throne, but it's nice that Jon will have a side kick, his own age.

Sam has gotten feed up with life at the Citadel so I suppose he is either headed back to the Wall or to Winterfell. He hasn't been told that after his Father and brother refused to bend the knee Daenerys had her Dragon burn them alive. There is a lot of speculation about how Sam will feel about the woman who murdered his Father and brother. In the book I think he would thank her as his Father was awful to him and in fact tried to have him killed. And Sam was sent to the Wall so his younger more athletic brother could inherit and with the expectation that bookworm Sam would die at the Wall. Still they were family and the TV shows and book have departed from each other so much as to be unrecognizable so we will just have to wait and see. But I think Sam the pragmatist will accept that it was necessary due to his Father's actions.

Aug 13, 2017

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short StoriesNo Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reacher never disappoints this lady and Lee Child again hit a home run with these short stories. Some I had read before and some he used pieces of in full length novels but they were all enjoyable reads.

Too Much Time - Reacher realizes there is something hinky with a police sting when he is set up by the cops. He counts on an honest cop to help him catch the dirty FBI agent when he breaks out of jail

Second Son - Read before see my previous review

High Heat - Read before see my previous review

Deep Down - Read before see my previous review

Small Wars - I think this one would have been better if we hadn't known who the killer was from the beginning. Reacher's personal relationship with the killer allows him to solve a supposedly unsolvable case.

James Penney's New Identity - Reacher helps a veteran fleeing from an arson charge.

Everyone Talks - Uncharacteristically Reacher talks to much and helps a new cop stop a Protection racket. This one was actually told from the new female cops POV.

Not a Drill - Reacher helps find some missing hikers and discovers they aren't what they seemed to be.

Maybe They Have a Tradition - Reacher arrives at a posh estate in England in time to help rescue a doctor and a policeman who were on their way to the estate.

Guy Walks into a Bar - Reacher prevents a kidnapping once he figures out who the real victim is.

No Room at the Motel - Reacher gives up his room to a pg woman and her husband.

The Picture of the Lonely Dinner - Reacher stumbles into an attempt to capture/kill a spy.

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Aug 12, 2017

Scrapbook Pages

 Most of these pages I made for challenges. I find challenges a good way to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things.

 This was for the Vintage Style. I used a picture of my Mother and her cousin Mary Elizabeth at the beach when they were young girls.

 Being an only child I found the sisters challenge challenging but realized I have a sister she just has fur.

 I didn't make this for a challenge but made this for my parents anniversary out of a kit I put together.

And this is my rendition of Pond Life. Hope you enjoyed my pages. ~Alasandra