Monday, November 7, 2016

Book Love: The Nix:

Not my regular genre, but I absolutely loved The Nix: A novel by Nathan Hill.  I stumbled on it after seeing a tweet from author Stephen King saying how funny he had found the first fifty pages.  Given his background as a teacher I assume that he could definitely relate to Samuel Andresen-Anderson's opening predicament.

Meet Samuel Andresen-Anderson - stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically-motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain - she's facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel's help.

As Samuel begins to excavate his mother's - and his country's - history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during the Great Recession and the Occupy Wall Street movement, and back to the infamous riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Finally, the trail leads him to wartime Norway, home of the mysterious Nix that his mother told him about as a child, a spirit that can take the shape of a white horse, luring children to their deaths. And in these places, Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother - a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.

Well-drawn characters; I was rooting for some and really hoping others would get their just deserts.  Loved the insights, including the guys that play a fictional MMO called Elfscape.  The team leader spends five hours a day just in preparation for "having fun" later in the evening with his crew.  A cautionary tale for sure.

The plot kept me guessing and I ended up binge-reading to get to the conclusion.

Highly recommended!

Book Love: The Nix by  on 2016-11-07 Not my regular genre, but I absolutely loved The Nix!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Step by Step: Walking the Scottish Highlands

There's definitely an extra spring in my step as I set out to walk the Scottish Highlands Way.  This virtual journey will take me just over 200 miles, from Glasgow to Inverness, and I'm looking forward to seeing many interesting & beautiful sights along the way.  I'm also wondering if I'll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Nessy, the Loch Ness monster, as I make my around the shores of her home.

As someone who's already done a virtual Walk to Mordor stranger things have happened!

Now walking in the footsteps of Frodo & Sam was quite a bit of fun, especially at the start, but I found that as I neared Mount Doom my feet started to drag.  It turns out that the thought of entering such desolate wasteland wasn't exactly the best motivator to keep me walking.  Go figure!

I'm certain I won't be experiencing the same buzzkill on this adventure as the creative force behind Walking 4 Fun has done an amazing job re-creating the virtual trails and making the journey most enjoyable.   Encouragement abounds in the maps, pictures. badges & descriptions provided by the site and, as an added bonus, Fitbit fanatics like myself can have their mileage automatically logged.

Instead of worry about logging my steps for the day, I can just keep on daydreaming that I'm Claire Beauchamp from Outlander making my way back to Inverness.  Let's face it, Frodo Baggins has nothing on Jamie Fraser in the fantasy department.

The other lesson I learned from my previous virtual walking experience is that it's really a lot more fun sharing the experience with friends so if you're interested please give me a shout.

I'm a plodder (pushing myself to get 10k steps / 4 miles a day) so I expect to be walking for the next two months.  Feel free to contact me at any time and we can support each other along the way.  I'll be signing the Register as I go and as "walking friends" we can keep track of our respective whereabouts using the trail maps.

Now I'd better get up & get moving as I hope to be in Milngavie by sundown!

Check Out My Current Location:

Trail Location

See this Post's Comments for Related Walking Journal
Step by Step: Walking the Scottish Highlands by  on 2015-09-19 A virtual journey that will take me just over 200 miles, from Glasgow to Inverness.

Images: Original by Visit Scotland; Additional Graphics by Tatiana Dokuchic

Find Tatiana Dokuchic on Google+

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Potager or Ornamental Kitchen Garden

A Potager at Château de Villandry, France

Designed to feed both body and soul, the potager or ornamental kitchen garden is the ultimate combination of parterre and vegetable patch.

Fruits & vegetables, flowers & herbs, are artfully arranged in symmetrical garden beds that are surrounded by low clipped box hedges.  These individual plots, separated by sand or gravel paths,  are precisely placed to form striking geometric patterns.

Six of the Nine Villandry Potagers

Initially developed by French monks, the potager evolved through the French Renaissance styled garden to the more formal Garden à la française with an emphasis on beauty realized through the studied application of measure and proportion.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Embracing Canada's 30x30 Nature Challenge

Canada's 30x30 Nature Challenge 01 by Tatiana Dokuchic

Will I become happier & healthier by participating in Canada's 30x30 Nature Challenge?

Will my well-being be increased by adding a daily dose of nature to my routine?

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that all these good things will indeed be coming my way!

It's not that my crystal ball is extra shiny this spring, it's just that I'm already convinced of the restorative powers of nature. I believe that devoting thirty minutes a day for thirty days will give me a boost and so it will, even if only because of the placebo effect!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter Bunnies

I have bunnies on the brain this Easter
Vintage Bunnies
Chocolate Bunnies
Cartoon Bunnies
Beatrix Potter Bunnies