Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Wednesday (today) about mid-day.

On the ninth day (Wednesday) after the bite, this morning I was able to start hobbling around unaided by bearing my weight on my heel. I've been mobile more or less since last Saturday when Marc ran down some crutches for me, but my leg and foot was still pretty swollen. Today, my leg from the knee up is feeling good, swelling down and skin no longer sensitive to the touch. From the knee down, the swelling is mostly gone and the skin sensitivity is mostly from mid-calf down. Ankle and foot still swollen but not nearly as bad. But it's all discolored. My calf is a sick shade of yellow green while my foot is an unhealthy shade of reddish brown with some weird red splotches that showed up several days ago.

Tuesday evening.

Of course, the snake bite sort of put the monkey wrench into our plans for getting the city house ready for our son and DIL who are scheduled to arrive on Saturday, so nothing more has been repaired floor, no second toilet, no repaired plumbing under the bathtub, no unstopped kitchen sink, no furniture moved around or boxes and left over stuff figured out what to do with.

Next week is going to be pretty stressful while we try to organize the house, get them unloaded, figure out what to do with all the crap we still have there at the city house, and get ready for a meeting next Wednesday with the people we have been negotiating with for the two 20' x 9' walls.

This will be our first face to face, meeting with 2 representatives from the international company whose building these will go in, the project manager, the graphic artist, and the lady I have been dealing with re the proposals and samples. They want to meet us, see the shop where the work will be done, work out design details, and generally assure them that we are competent to do the work. I have no idea when they will fund the projects though but I hope it's before the weather gets too unbearably hot as the shop we will be working in will not be air conditioned.

We will have a lot of preparation to do also to get the warehouse ready for us to work in that I've made arrangements about with my installer, a large space and men available to help move the panels around. We are considering building a temporary blast booth there as well so we don't have to truck the stenciled panels over to our shop for blasting, which means moving our large heavy air compressor over there. But since it will be the first decent job we have had in the last couple of years, we're not complaining.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


You might remember that I acquired a lot of poppy seeds via one of the members of the garden club last fall and scattered them around the old burn pile spot. They have been nothing short of spectacular for the last couple of weeks though my snake bite kept me indoors for the first three or four days after the 'incident'. Towards the end of last week Marc took me for a couple of joyrides in the antique wheelchair across the lawn so that I could enjoy them. Now armed with crutches, I can get out there by myself and do though I don't always pick the best time of day for pictures. Anyway, here's a little photo essay of the poppies.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

what I learned about copperheads

Copperheads are the least toxic of the venomous snakes and their bites are rarely fatal.  

Copperhead venom is not a neurotoxin but a hemotoxin which attacks the red blood cells and breaks them down to prevent clotting.

The anti-venom is extremely dangerous (which is why they would have had to put me in intensive care to administer it).

Unlike other snakes that display a body posture as a warning, a copperhead's warning is to strike.

Unless they are hunting, they control the amount of venom injected.   A copperhead has no intention of wasting valuable venom if it can scare away the menace with a minor bite.  (Lucky for me since even that small amount caused my entire leg to swell up about double normal and has been very painful.)

Effects of  a copperhead bite include intense pain, swelling, nausea, thirst, discoloration of the skin, weakness, low blood pressure, destruction of tissue. (I experienced most all of those except the low blood pressure and, I hope, the destruction of tissue.)

For a healthy human adult it takes about 10 - 14 days to fully recover from a copperhead bite.

Their main source of food is small rodents but they will eat other reptiles and amphibians.

Copperheads shed their skin 1 - 3 times a year.

Females reach sexual maturity after about 4 years and give live birth to 3 - 10 babies.  Young snakes are 8 - 10", adults are 20 - 40".  (My best estimate of the one that bit me is about 20".)

They winter over in dens sometimes with other snakes and are most aggressive in spring during mating season.

Copperheads and the common rat snake are very hard to tell apart by their coloring and markings.  The pupils of their eyes, however, are very different.  A copperhead has a slotted pupil like a cat.  A rat snake has a round pupil like a human.  Also, rat snakes don't have fangs, their bite is more like a human bite (so that sort of clinches it since the snake that bit me definitely had fangs).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

on being bit by a snake

The reason I've been AWOL this week is that Monday evening I got nailed by a copperhead out in the yard. Here's the rather long story.

A few days ago,  I was browsing someone's blog and saw pictures of amaryllis in bloom and remembered that mine had not, so far, bloomed.  I had delayed getting them in the ground last year after I dug them up from the city house last spring and what with the drought and all I wondered if they would bloom so I went out into the yard to check on them.  I had planted them in several locations to see where they might do best.

After checking on the ones I had planted near the new shop, which to my delight had bloom stalks just beginning to emerge, I walked to the back edge of the property where it adjoins the 13 Acre Field to admire the poppies and then over to the bed I put in of rocket larkspur around the peach tree that has reverted to its wild cousin root stock that grows next to the old shed at the back corner where the Wild Space begins, the 30' foot wide or so area of trash trees, underbrush, honeysuckle, trumpet flower and wild grape vines, and poison ivy that separates my neighbor's property from the field.

I was barefoot as is my wont and totally unconcerned as I walk around there quite often and Marc had just mowed the previous day, not that the growth had been high as it was mostly dead thatch back there.  I stepped about a foot away from the edge of the bed, my eye on the amaryllis there at the base of the peach tree when I felt this sudden intense burning stab of pain on my right foot.  

I think I shouted something like, 'Ow!  What the fuck was that!', thinking I must have brushed up against a nettle or something.  Or something.  Why I thought of nettle first thing is beyond me because I know there is none growing there, but that's what first popped into my head.

I had stepped back when I felt the pain and looked down and saw the snake coiled up in a series of compact S's making about a 6" diameter circle before my mind really processed what I was seeing.  I bent over and picked up a stick and poked the brown and tan bundle and it wasn't until then that my brain yelled 'snake!'.  And then, 'copperhead'.  At that point fear and panic took over and with my foot on fire I ran/limped back to the house and as soon as I hit the garage door I started yelling for Marc, 'I've been bit by a copperhead!'

I was hyperventilating by then but Marc got me to calm down somewhat.  My foot still looked unmarked and I could not even see any puncture marks but within a couple of minutes a lump about the size of a half dollar raised up and two little droplets of blood oozed out. 

So being a pair of modern living folks, the first thing we did was google copperheads to see what should be done. It was good news and bad news.  The good news was that copperhead bites are rarely fatal and then only in the very young and the very old or if there is a serious allergic reaction to the venom.  The bad news was that all the sites said it would take about 10 days to recover and to seek medical attention anyway.

Since I wasn't absolutely certain that it was a copperhead, as the common rat snake in these parts look just like a copperhead, and I hadn't had the presence of mind to look at its pupil whereby I could have definitely identified it and I didn't want to go to the emergency room if I didn't have to being uninsured as we are and the Internet said that snakes usually stay within 20 ' of where the bite takes place, I got it in my head that we should go back out there and try and find it.

So, armed with a one gallon bucket (me) and the heavy rake (Marc) don't ask, I have no idea what we thought we were going to do with a bucket and a heavy rake we headed back out into the yard.  My foot was still on fire and the pain was spreading and getting more intense but I could still walk though I was limping heavily.

Of course, there was no sign of the snake by the time we got out there and we really didn't feel like poking around in the nearby concealing underbrush so we gave it up and headed back to the house.  Only by now the pain was so bad I couldn't walk on that foot at all and Marc had to carry me piggy back to the house which was a hilarious sight all in its own as I was barely hanging on by the time we got there.

I was still dithering about going to the hospital even though my foot was becoming swollen and discolored.  Marc helped me into the bathroom so I could wash off the wound and put antibiotic ointment on it and then he made the decision so while he was getting keys and stuff, I crawled to the garage door and then hopped on one foot to the truck after making my two word post on FB.

Since there was nowhere to park at the emergency room door, Marc dropped me off so he could park.  As I was hopping to the entrance, someone inside saw me and rushed out and helped me inside.  No sooner had I sat down in the small waiting area than they had a wheelchair and were wheeling me back to a room where they examined me, drew blood, gave me an IV and started a fluid drip.  About that time I started having shivering episodes and my whole body was tensed.

By now the fiery pain was no longer centered on the bite and was being replaced by a deep throbbing with the burning moving with the swelling and my whole foot was hot to the touch.  The swelling had not even taking over my whole foot yet as my inside ankle was still clearly defined.  The doctor drew the outlines of of the swelling on my foot and ankle to help monitor it's progression, sort of like pushing a stick in the riverbank to see if the water was rising and how fast.

Then there was nothing to do but wait.  For 6 hours.  Flat on my back.  They'd come in and take my vitals now and then but mostly we passed the time with our books which Marc had gone back to fetch.  After an hour or so I asked for some pain medication which didn't do a damn thing for the pain in my foot but did allow me to relax and it stopped the shivering.

About 4 hours after the first blood draw, they came in to do another.  By that time the swelling had traveled about half way up my calf.  The doctor came in and checked my progress and told me that depending on the results of this second blood test one of three things would happen.  They would send me home or they would administer anti-venom and put me in intensive care or they would send me immediately to a bigger and better facility.

As it happened, my blood test showed no damage so they sent me home.  The swelling would continue to increase, he said, and I should be on the lookout for loss of circulation to my foot if the swelling got too bad but that everything looked good, I was to continue to stay flat on my back for a few days and it would take about two weeks to completely heal.

So here I am, camped out on the couch.  By Tuesday morning the swelling had advanced to just below my knee and by Tuesday night it had reached all the way up my leg to my crotch.  Yesterday (that would be Tuesday) I pretty much stayed doped up on pain pills and dozed off and on throughout the day.  Today (Wednesday) I'm feeling better.  The swelling had maxed out and this morning it had started to diminish.  I still can't walk but I can at least get to the bathroom by myself now by scooting along on the floor.

It is still painful, a deep throbbing ache, especially if I try to lower my leg like I might try to stand up and my skin is extremely sensitive to touch so I'm still taking the pain pills but I hope that will be better by tomorrow as the swelling continues to decrease.

Marc has been wonderful, attending to my needs, bringing me food and drinks, fetching me what ever I ask for, getting me to the bathroom and back on the rolling office chair.

Emma, the cat, has also been very attentive, camped out in the rolling chair beside me since I got home Monday night, not leaving my side except to eat and go out briefly to take care of her business and then returning immediately.  She's even climbed up in my lap a few times.  Very unusual behavior for a cat who's idea of affection is sitting in the same room as you.

next:  what I learned about copperheads

Monday, March 19, 2012

March notes

A week with the g'kids for spring break (they went home last Thursday), finally getting the garden turned and planted, and working in the store last Saturday left me feeling a bit sluggish Sunday. Stayed off the computer (mostly) and read, took a nap (something I rarely do), and went to bed early.

Today, I'm not feeling that much more energetic. It's extremely windy today, will be for the next couple of days. It's pushing everything around. We put cans around our tomatoes to keep them from being totally beat up by the wind but the peppers seem to be holding their own.

We expanded the garden this year and this will be the last time I try to turn the garden by hand. Oy. They were swollen, bruised, and every joint ached by the time I was done. But the garden is turned, the dirt crumbled, and it now measures 9' x 27'. So far we have put in tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, white squash, cucumbers, japanese eggplant, pole beans and bush beans. We still have some space in the big garden that I'm not sure what we are going to fill with. I want to put in another small garden or two out by the one. I was looking at some blackberry vines earlier. Not going to put in strawberries this year I don't guess. None of my plants made it through the summer.

The poppies have really come into bloom now with some of the doubles and pink ones starting to bloom. A yellow iris just appeared in one of the front flower beds that I didn't even know was there. I have never even seen the foliage before much less a flower. And in the same bed, a gerber daisy that has never bloomed before is now sporting a flower. Whatever else the long hot dry summer did, it sure seemed to jump start the gerbers. I have never seen them bloom as profusely as they are doing this late winter and spring.

I feel like I haven't accomplished anything this month and it's already almost over. Several days in the city doing home repair followed by a week with the g'kids and turning the garden and working in the store on Saturdays, well I guess you could say that's accomplishing a lot, but I have made no progress whatsoever on the new set of models, and I guess we'll be heading into the city again this week for more home repair.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The lady cardinal is taking her bath while she and her mate chirp at each other.

The turtle is on her sunning stone in the middle of her pond.

The wind gently blows the wind chime giving me a tune.

The garden is almost completely turned with shovel and hands.

The vegetables in their little cardboard tray wait to be planted.

The ginkgo tree is covered in little leaves and the red tip photinia has burst into bloom.

The red shouldered hawk soared over us and swooped low over the 13 acre field.

The small gray hawks are having territorial issues.

The grandkids have returned home and the boy already wants to come back.

The kitchen is a mess but the day is calling me outside.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

from the 'what will they think of next' dept...

Humans are entertained by the craziest things.

Last Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park featured camel and ostrich races...with jockeys.

Sorry for the ad at the beginning of this clip. Can't seem to avoid ads anywhere these days. Pretty soon, they'll have ads before you can use the bathroom.

I tried to embed this but blogger kept telling me the tag is broken so here's a link to the 29 second video:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the gallery as a viable economic model

You might remember that I was going to approach a gallery in California and I finally did and the good news is I got a very favorable reply. The bad news is, he's closing the gallery in LA and moving to Pasadena. The good news is, he is going to re-vamp the gallery's web site doing on-line exhibitions and is very interested in working with us.

This has been a subject of some discussion among some of us glass artists. 'This' being whether the 'gallery' is still a viable economic model. I've talked to more than one gallery owner who thinks about letting their physical space go and conducting business on-line and at the national and international art and fine craft venues, of which there are many throughout the year.

Maintaining a physical space is costly especially if you also travel to and carry work to the 3 SOFA shows or Art Basel Miami or Glass Collector's Weekend or any of the many other shows like them. And the buying habits of collectors are changing as well. They seem to be preferring these large shows (where they can view a greater amount of work in one place) and benefit auctions (where everybody gets a good deal and the artists get screwed) and even on-line acquisitions over patronizing the local gallery. All of which begs the question, if they do choose to give up their physical space, doing business on-line only, do galleries still deserve 50% of the retail price with no overhead and no staff?

Quite a few galleries have closed their doors in the last two years since, for the most part, when things get tight in the economy, art is the first thing people stop buying. An already iffy economic model for some galleries, two years of deep recession put the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

And it's not just the recession. The gallery owners are aging. All the gallery owners I know are my age or older and I'm no spring chicken. I wonder what's going to happen when they all finally close up shop. Will they be replaced by new galleries? The collectors are aging too and there has been much discussion among gallery owners as to whether or not younger people will collect art as they seem more interested in spending their money on state of the art electronics and gizmos.

All three of the galleries that show my work have survived so far but not by selling my work. It doesn't help, I'm sure, that I went two years without making anything new and another whole year to produce 5 finished pieces. Though I am more than half way through the planned botanica erotica work, none of them are finished and ready to be sent out.

It will be interesting to see what the next 5 years or so bring since the last 5 years or so has seen an explosion of on-line only galleries and sales venues for artists. These venues have their pros and cons as well especially when there are hundreds of artists and artworks available on one site. How does any one artist get noticed?

Most especially, how do I get noticed?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

red bud blooming

Here where I sit at my computer...

and why do we still call them computers? I compute nothing on this device. I communicate with this device, I compute with my little hand held calculator.

...with my drawing table on my left and my work table on my right...

well, they would be drawing and work tables if we had any work, now they are just horizontal surfaces and we all know what happens to those.

...I am facing a bank of windows which basically take up all the wall except for where the door to the little back yard is on the right. When I look out I see the old tallow tree across the small yard on the fence line and under a large long limb of the tallow, I can see the beautiful red bud tree that is in full bloom on the far edge of my neighbor's property. It's on the edge of the road across which is the agricultural field.

This is my view, well, part of it anyway. This is actually what I see out of the right half of the right-most window pane. I took this picture through the dirty window and screen on a rainy kind of day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

attempting resuscitation

Did I mention that my son and DIL are moving back to Texas? They decided that Portland was not the place for them. Their plan is to move back to Houston for several months while they reconnoiter Austin with the intent of settling there. Instead of moving cold like they did to Portland, they want to line things up beforehand so they asked if they could stay in the Houston house for a while.

Which is fine. No problem but you know, right, that we still use the city house when we have work, not that we've had that much work in the last two years but we are hoping that will change and soon. So we will still need to stay there when we have work.

The old house in the city sits vacant now that we don't live there and I don't call our days in when we have work, living there. We don't do housework, cleaning, or cook. And we don't do maintenance. A house as old as ours, and I would put it at between 110 and 115 years old but could be a little older, needs constant care and when no one is doing that, it tends to fall apart at a faster pace.

It's first and main problem is termites but short of tenting they can't really be dealt with and tenting for termites for a house we don't live in is way down on the priority list. The second big problem is the plumbing which was probably last tended to in a significant way back in the 50s and some of it could possibly be older. There are several major plumbing issues that need to be addressed before they move in.

And since we decided to wall off a little studio apartment for ourselves (the two smallest rooms in the house and a bathroom about the size of a postage stamp), the first order of the day was to get a functioning toilet in what would be our bathroom. It used to have a toilet but it broke and we never replaced it and ended up using the second bathroom as a storage closet for our camping and boating stuff.

So. That is what we did this week. We took the toilet out of the one bathroom and moved it over to our bathroom. You'd think that it would just be simpler to go buy a new toilet except that we had to take it out anyway because it had sprung a leak at the bottom and rotted out the floor underneath. It was like being on a rocking horse. So now we can repair the floor in the other bathroom and then put a new toilet in there.

I say we, Marc did it except for an occasional hand from me. He also repaired the pipe from the sink in what had been the laundry room and is now to become our little kitchenette (hot plate, coffee maker, and sink). It was rotted out and just drained under the house. Now it drains into the sewer line.

I wouldn't want you to think that I was just lolling around waiting to lend a hand, I was out clearing out the ditch in front of the house which had become overgrown, filled with leaves, and filling in with wild petunias. I do love the mexican wild petunias, they are kind of old fashioned and when they go through their bloom cycle they are gorgeous. But they get tall and reedy and they are highly invasive and you can't just cut them down. You have to pull or dig them up. So that is what I did. I cleaned out the ditch.

We still have plumbing issues beyond the bathrooms and the sink. The kitchen sink is completely stopped up (which is why we don't cook there) and if you turn on the cold water you won't be able to turn it off. You can see, we have, ostrich-like, been ignoring the ancient plumbing for a long time.

Another thing on the to-do list is to hang a door between the kitchen and the back hall. Then we can each be completely closed off and our comings and goings will be easier and they won't have to host their parents/in-laws for three or four days every week (it could happen when we're working).

They are arriving the end of this month so I hope we can get all the basics, at least, fixed before their arrival but next week is spring break and the grandkids will be here Sunday thru Thursday. So, we'll see. We may be in each other's pockets for a few days.

Monday, March 5, 2012

on the war of the religious right against the separation of church and state and it's current attacks on the rights of women

I don't really like to get involved in politics, at least not the way that politics are practiced in this country lately. I know this may come as a big surprise to those of you who also know me on FB, but I didn't fight for women's equality in the 70s and 80s just to let all that progress be erased by the christian religious right and their political puppets in the Republican party. We ignore these people at our own peril.

They are not satisfied with just outlawing abortion which they have not yet been able to do although they have managed to attach a lot of stringent, heinous, and invasive regulations to access in their attempt to legislate their particular religious views on the subject.

Not content to let their beliefs rule their lives, they want their beliefs to rule everyone's lives and if the recalcitrant won't accept their god, savior, or moral views as the one and only guiding light, then they will force that upon them by insinuating their religion into the laws of this land.

Only, the law of this land, the intent of the founders of this country, is based on the separation of church and state. While the ultra-religious would have you believe that this is a christian country it is, in fact, not. This is a country with a lot of christians but it is also a country with a lot of muslims, jews, buddhists, sikhs, hindus, wiccans, deists, agnostics, and atheists to name a few.

The religious right began their attack on our country in the mid-50s when they terrorized our citizens with their witch hunts for communists. 'God' was not mentioned in our national motto, our pledge of allegiance, or on our money until that time.

The christian religious right has been intent on subverting the will of the founders of this nation ever since and their current target is the women of this nation who have fought long and hard to equalize their standing in this country. They are doing everything they can to restrict women's access to contraception and preventive health care with their constant attacks on Planned Parenthood and their other proposed and passed legislation even to the point of redefining 'rape'. Their most recent attack in Wisconsin is legislation declaring single parenthood to be child abuse.

It is not for them to decide with whom, when, why, and how often women have sex. It is not for them to decide when or if a woman has children and what she does to prevent it. It is not for them to decide what medical care she needs and when she needs it. It is not for them to decide when life begins. It is not for them to decide any of that for anyone other than themselves. It is, frankly, none of their business, especially when their self-appointed authority comes from their religious scriptures of a mythical vengeful father god. They do not get to decide what is right and natural for human beings when their justification comes from these same 2,000 – 5,000 year old religious myths.

Make no mistake, they have no agenda against men. They are not trying to restrict men's access to birth control nor preventive health care for them and in fact have no problem with insurers covering medications that enable men to continue to have sex even after their bodies have naturally given up the effort. They are not trying to restrict men's activities in any way.

What they want is for women to be out of the work force, back in the home raising and home-schooling their children with a christian based curriculum, subservient to and totally dependent on their husbands, sending us back to the day when we had no choice but to have child after child until it killed us. They want their version of god and religion to be the litmus test for this country even to subverting the law of the land to their religious 'authority'. Sound familiar?

They do not want strong, healthy, independent, intelligent women who control their own destinies and when we fight back, when we defend ourselves against their constant attacks on our freedoms, and that includes our freedom to be free of their religion, then they cry foul. They accuse us of being immoral, of being anti-god, of denying them their rights to their religious freedom, of attacking christianity.

Religious freedom does not mean being able to or having the right to impose your beliefs on the rest of the population. Religious freedom means being able to live your life as your religious doctrine dictates. Your life.

The law of the land still trumps religious agendas and that includes providing health services they may be personally opposed to as long as they operate in the secular sphere. You cannot be free of prosecution for murder when you commit such because 'god' told you to. Neither can you refuse to provide legal medications through medical insurance policies in the secular sphere because your 'god' says it's wrong.

There is no war on religion, there are no attacks on christianity. There is only self defense against those who would define us as narrowly as possible, who would impose their version of god on us, who would marginalize and vilify every expression of humanity that they don't approve of and deny us our human and civil rights.

And so I will continue to speak out against these attacks on our freedom and I hope you do too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

winter reading

It's a short list this time but not short on pages. Mostly I slogged through the last four books of The Song Of Ice And Fire.

A Clash Of Kings by George R. R. Martin – book 2 of The Song Of Ice And Fire. The king is dead and five proclaimed kings battle for control of Westeros while another contender on another continent runs for her life with her hatchlings. Battle after battle, list of names after list of names and their colors and sigils, who fought for which king in which battle, people switching sides back and forth. Some characters continue, some die. My sister told me when I started reading these not to get too attached to any of the characters. I found this one to be a little tedious, too many battles and descriptions, the people of this land are cruel and brutal. I skipped over a lot of the lists of names, families and sigils. I enjoyed the sections where he actually progressed the story.

A Storm Of Swords by George R. R. Martin – book 3 of The Song Of Ice And Fire. Magic is returning to the world, the 10 year winter is coming, and the wildlings are pressing at the Wall, the northernmost border of the seven kingdoms. The game of thrones is still under way in Westeros with betrayal after betrayal while the last dragonking across the sea gathers her people and army.

A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin – book 4 of The Song Of Ice And Fire. Less focus on the battles as the wars are winding down, a lot of advancement of the story focused mostly on the southern half of Westeros and the struggles for supremacy and control, the 'game of thrones'. This world is populated with a cruel and violent people; a murderous, hacking, dismembering, raping, mutilating bunch, and they love to cut people's heads off and stick them on a pike. New characters are introduced. The ultra-religious rise and stir the pot. Some characters' story lines progress while others are seemingly forgotten. I stayed up late more than one night reading this one.

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin – finally finished the fifth book and he hasn't even begun to start to tie things up. Well, maybe started. New characters introduced, long standing characters killed off (wtf?), new characters introduced and killed off. And after five books, I find certain things describing every friggin' person's clothing every time they enter a room, like repeating an internal thought of a character over and over and over and over, like repeating the prayers of one of the religions every time they have a ritual. The dragon queen has gotten bogged down. It's almost like three separate stories that are only loosely related with a forth story line that I have yet to see how it is necessary since it hasn't really impacted any of the other three major ones. Well, I'm glad to be done with these and it's sort of a let down that after 5,000+ pages the story is still open and unending. And as near as I can tell, he isn't even writing the last 2 yet.

T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton – after all that heavy reading for most of the quarter, I thoroughly enjoyed this light thriller. Main character and private eye Kinsey Millhone is asked to do a background check on a caregiver for her elderly neighbor who fell and couldn't get up. The woman gets a clean referral but she's actually a predator using a stolen identity. Suspicions mount up as Kinsey strives to find out what's going on before her neighbor comes to a bad end.

Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe – a quick grab off the new acquisitions shelf at the library, I didn't want to spend a long time looking for something to read, it's the story of two black teenaged girls in Louisiana during WWII, one a preacher's daughter, the other the daughter of a whore. They become unlikely friends and this is the story of their friendship. They leave home at 15 and go to New Orleans to find their fortunes and husbands.