May 13, 2007

May 12 of 12

Luckily for you, today was a family fun day with Señor CC's employer. We traveled to Guadalquivir River to take a ferry to a National Park. This is way more interesting than most of our Saturdays. The writing is short for now; I am off to another small get-together to test my card-playing skills. As I have none, the test should be short and sweet...

If you want to see what everyone else did today, check out Chad's site later.

8:30; La Línea; Cádiz, Spain
We began early today in order to arrive at Señor CC's worksite by 8:30. There we met up with the bus-o-fun that would carry us to our grand water adventure.

11:03; Sanlúcar; Cádiz, Spain
There was a slight detour in/around/near Jerez, a brief stop for directions (A man! He stopped! He asked for directions! He was Spanish...), but we finally made it to Sanlúcar. We were greeted by this tall piece of metallic art.

11:09; Sanlúcar; Cádiz, Spain
Let the water adventure begin! We boarded this lovely specimen of aquatic manipulation and we were off!

11:40; Guadalquivir River; Cádiz, Spain
Many people were out enjoying the lovely weather today; this is only one of the groups we saw heading down the river.

12:22; Guadalquivir River; Cádiz,, Spain

Bonus Shot: Dreamscape
Had I read Chad's instructions more thorougly when he posted his warning, I might have known that this was the bonus picture...and I most likely would have come up with a better shot. As it is, I did not, and therefore you get the classic "Walk the plank, missy!" version. ARGH!

12:24; Guadalquivir River; Cádiz, Spain
The Doñana National Park used to be inhabited. People were allowed to fish, hunt, and live in the area before it was made a national park. Once declared as such, hunting and fishing were banned and many people had to leave the park area to relocate in order to provide for themselves and their families. This is one example of what they left behind.

12:58; Doñana National Park; Cádiz, Spain
We are not actually in the national park. We are across the river from the park in what is called a natural park. The rules are less strict here. I don't know the name of this park, so I am posting my location as Doñana . I know what you are thinking: What lovely marsh bushes!

13:00; Doñana National Park; Cádiz, Spain
Also: What lovely marsh...grass-ish...ground-cover. The ladybugs like it too - do you see it?

13:04; Doñana National Park; Cádiz, Spain
This fence outlines one of the viewing areas for the flamingos and other birds in the park. The white building at the top of the photograph is used in salt production. We are only a few kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean. The river water is still very salty and the park is used to mine the salt...many many tonnes of it.

13:07; Doñana National Park; Cádiz, Spain
A weed! Blooming! Pretty!

13:08; Doñana National Park; Cádiz, Spain
The old dock where we disembarked to check out the natural park. Neat-O.

13:37; Guadalquivir River; Cádiz, Spain
This is what happens when you give Señor CC the camera and ask him to take a photo so that you can prove that you were, in fact, on the ferry and therefore on the trip. That's right, people - he takes pictures of the bottom halves of bodies only. No negative comments please. Let's be positive: what lovely colors!

17:16; Venta Antonio; Cádiz, Spain
We were taken upon our return (and we DID all walk the plank) to this lovely Venta for a very typical and very filling Spanish lunch.

There was a playground for the young ones to play on and the restaurant even provided a children's table (with more appropriate for children food), so the ride home was quite quiet. Of course, it wasn't only the children who were resting their eyes - it was all of the young at heart. Indeed.

May 2, 2007

How do they stack up?


book binge
APRIL, 17th - 30th 2007

Due to the large numbers of non-residents residing in the land of Chompy Superb this past month (or two), I was only able to really get into the swing of things for the latter half of April. Perhaps I should rename my attempt:

BO BIN! Apr. '07

Regardless, here is the stack that has been slowly growing on the table:

More detail, in the order in which I read them:

1. Judge & Jury; James Patterson

This was the only book I read while guests were in the apartment. I think I read it around the 7th or 8th. I know it was a fast read; it took part of an afternoon. "Eh" is my verdict. It was way too unbelievable, in a Clive Cussler/Dirk Pitt kind of way. Too much happened over too long of a time-frame for the thriller/mystery/law drama book that it is. So: eh.

2. Jury of One; David Ellis

Another mystery, but much better than the previous. This book was also a fast read. The ending, although not too difficult to guess, was muddled up in the writing such that you weren't quite sure if what you thought was going to happen really would. I suppose that is good for suspense. This one was okey dokey.

3. Eliot's Banana; Heather Swain

Girl has family issues regarding a lost brother at a young age. Girl meets/loves/moves in with really great-for-her guy. Girl has what she needs/wants, but isn't sure and is scared, so she does what she can to ruin it (duh), and then there is a resolution which I shall not give away. I found the author interview (by herself) interesting because according to her, the novel was a mooshing of three different stories she had going, and they all worked together as one.

4. The Metaphysical Touch; Sylvia Brownrigg

After a devastation, a young woman, belonging neither here nor there, is missing her identity. She knows who she was, but now - who will she be? She soon discovers what many of us are highly aware of: the ability to define...and's self via online communication. Her experience with the Internet, at a time when it was brand new, helps her find herself, and the Hamlet to her Horatio, in the midst of struggle.

5. Heart of Texas, Vol. 1: Lonesome Cowboy & Texas Two-Step; Debbie Macomber

I encountered a distinct change of pace with this book. I almost stopped reading it because the beginning was way too 'Texas farm-town' stereotypical. I decided to read a couple more chapters, and discovered that I enjoyed the characters of the story. There are two stories in this volume. Aside from the s-l-o-w start, it was decent for a mindless enjoyable read. It would be great as a vacation or travel book.

6. The Intuitionist; Colson Whitehead

This is a story of human emotions, beliefs, hopes, dreams, and as always in life: disappointments. Life experiences unfold in an interesting metaphor utilizing - what else? Elevator Inspection. I would need to study this one to ever understand everything that is being said, and a re-read is necessary to grasp all of the lessons within.

7. A Murder, A Mystery and a Marriage; Mark Twain
Foreword and Afterword by Roy Blount, Jr.

Who doesn't enjoy a little Mark Twain? The humor and truth abound as always with his writing. The story is only about 50 pages in length; the remainder of the book is a study of his life around the time that he penned it. The information regarding when and, more importantly why, he wrote this silly little thing about the exaggerated circumstances of the nature of humans is far more interesting than the story itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

8. Spending; Mary Gordon

A painter and a muse - this time from the perspective of a female painter. A novel about how we 'use' each other and how we are 'spent' in our relationships. Other, more obvious meanings of spent are covered as they relate to, say, money and hanky-panky, but the deeper meaning is what drives the book. The author had a very different voice; I was, indeed, her closest friend, in whom she could (and did) confide all.

9. Pride, Prejudice & Jasmin Field; Melissa Nathan

Fun, funny, truthful and bright. A modern-day 'interpretation' of the original, if you will. This one was quick, amusing, and quite enjoyable.

10. The Guardian; Nicholas Sparks

The creepy one, he is creepy from the get-go...but not enough for anyone to be sure, including me. Love story containing a thriller. All the 'bad' guys this month seem to have names that begin with the letter R. What gives?

11. True at First Light; Ernest Hemingway
Edited with an introduction by Patrick Hemingway

The longer this one sits within me, the more I like it. The drama, the passion, the humor - it is all there. I had to adjust at first; it had been quite a while since I had read him, and he is a different kind of read, but very much worth the time. Life with lions, tribal hostilities, a young would-be second bride, and an enchanting Kenya landscape told as only Hemingway can.

12. Light on Snow; Anita Shreve

I wasn't sure about this one when I began reading it. A man and his daughter, frozen in a state of grief for their lost mother and baby daughter/sister happen upon a newborn left to die in the freezing snow of a forest. The circumstances surrounding the baby and its mother unravel their feelings so that they can finally move on. Easy, quick, another good travel or vacation book.

13. Light from Heaven; Jan Karon

Mitford is a place full of character and characters. I love them all. This final book of the series ends well with the right amount of love, sadness, hope and as always: laughter. It makes me want to read the entire lot of them again.

14. The Copper Beech; Maeve Binchy

I had not read a Maeve Binchy book prior to this one; I was pleasantly surprised. Once I got into the second chapter, which is to say the second life story, it was captivating. The copper beech tree provides shade for the school-yard, and therefore, the cast of characters. Each tells their story individually from childhood to adulthood and the reader comes to realize that even in a small town, everyone does indeed still have their secrets.

There you have it, my attempt at half a month's worth of binge reading. Check our Mary P.'s site to see what everyone else was reading this month!

May 1, 2007

What have I been up to?



book binge
APRIL, 2007

Everywhere might be a bit of an exaggeration, but let's go with it for now. I had guests here until the 17th of April. I read one book during that time.




Since then, I have been attempting to binge as best I can in the midst of everyday life. The weather has been fabulous of late, and I have been walking or running daily; Chompy is very happy about that.

The doors are open.

The sky is blue.

The sun, it is a-shinin'.

Tomorrow, as declared by Mary P. and her cohorts in written word, is the day for revealing what we have read. I hope my list stacks up; I have certainly tried my best!

As for today, I leave you with the following signs of spring: