E is for Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Back Cover:   A panda walks into a cafe.  He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. 

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit.  The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "look it up." 

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda.  Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.  Eats, shoots and leaves." 

Are you a stickler for punctuation?  Do misspellings and bad grammar and misplaced commas drive you crazy?  Yeah, me too. After 25 some odd years working as an administrative assistant (glorified secretary) in which, every single document that passed through my hands had to be absolutely perfect before it went out, I'm a stickler for punctuation. So when I came across this book the other day, I just had to read it.  Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a witty, interesting, story filled guide to punctuation.  There are several chapters including

1)  Introduction - The Seventh Sense

Truss wittily explains how one misplaced comma can change the whole sense of a sentence.

"The reason it's worth standing up for punctuation is not that it's an arbitrary system of notation known only to an over-sensitive elite who have attacks of the vapours when they see it misapplied.   The reason to stand up for punctuation is that without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning." (pg 20)

2)  The Tractable Apostrophe.

The apostrophe seems to be the most misunderstood. She provides excellent examples for the correct ways to use the Apostrophe.  We've all experience the heart attack of the wrong use of its versus it's.  Let's not forget to mention your versus you're, there versus they're and proverbial possessive egg's versus the plural eggs.  

"The rule is:  the word "it's" (with apostrophe) stands for "it is" or "it has". If the word does not stand for "it is" or "it has" then what you require is "its".  (pg 42)  

She makes it sound remarkably simple, doesn't she.  And the feminist or hard working females of our species will heartily join in and agree

"In fact one might dare say that while the full stop is the lumpen male of the punctuation world (do one job at a time; do it well; forget about it instantly), the apostrophe is the frantically multi-tasking female, dotting hither and yon, and succumbing to burnout from all the thankless effort."  (pg 46)
3)  That'll Do, Comma

The comma, the place you pause, to breath, to emphasize a certain stop in the sentence.  One misplaced comma and you change the whole meaning.

"When it comes to improving the clarity of a sentence, you can nearly always argue that one should go in; you can nearly always argue that one should come out." pg 80

Comma's are quite busy little things as there are (not they're) commas for lists, for joining, filling gaps, before direct speech, setting off interjections and those that come in pairs.   Truss used one caveat when it comes to the comma

"The rule is:  don't use commas like a stupid person. I mean it. More than any other mark, the comma requires the writer to use intelligent discretion and to be simply alert to potential ambiguity." (pg 96)  

I love her. 

4) Airs and Graces

Ah, the endangered colon and semicolon that allows a sentence to run on and on.  Virginia Wolfe, Leo Tolstoy and George Bernard Shaw favored them both, allowing them to write wonderfully long, stream of consciousness sentences that by the time you reached the end, you forgotten where you began.  According to Truss, colons and semicolons give air and grace to our language.

5)  Cutting a Dash

The history and usage of exclamation points, question marks, italics, quote marks, brackets, etc.  They all help you make a point, ask a question, emphasize something or make sense of conversations or quote.

6) A Little Used Punctuation Mark

Hyphens - what are they good for?

7) Merely Conventional Signs 

Truss takes on the loss of grammar, emoticons and folks shortening, abbreviating, and leaving out the punctuation in emails and the curse of netspeak.   She totally had me there.  I've been know to refuse to do business with people who send me emails full of misspellings, poor grammar and punctuation. Seriously, if they can't get it right in an email, do I want to trust them with representing me in print?   I think people forget that even though it is an email, it still needs to be perfect.  It's a representation of them.

"If we value the way we have been trained to think by centuries of absorbing the culture of the printed word, we must not allow the language to return to the chaotic scriptio continua swamp from which it so bravely crawled less than two thousand years ago.  We have a language that is full of ambiguities; we have a way of expressing ourselves that is often complex and allusive, poetic and modulated; all our thoughts can be rendered with absolute clarity if we bother to put the right dots and squiggles between the words in the right places.  Proper punctuation is both the sign and the clause of clear thinking.  If it goes, the degree of intellectual impoverishment we face is unimaginable." (pg 202)

Amen, sister. Can I hear a hallelujah!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a few things along the way.  I highly recommend Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.  Now I just need to learn to not put two spaces after every period.  That my friends is a whole other story.

WIP Wednesday - getting in a groove

How long does it take to form a habit?  In my case, I'd have to say about 3 weeks.  I am now (drumroll please)  writing every single day.  The morning pages have helped tremendously in stopping me from getting on the computer during breakfast, then getting caught up the internet.  I'm also getting up a little bit earlier so on Monday and Thursday I have time to write before getting ready for work. Once breakfast is done, I work on my current WIP and it may only be half an hour a day and writing one to two pages, but it is progress.  The story is suspense with a bit of romance thrown in but hadn't been able to figure out the romance part. How to get my two main characters to really 'see' each other.  Found the solution, wrote the Aha moment and now the interest is there, so now have something to work with.

Between Better Writing Habits and The morning pages, it has also freed me up from having to create every single blog post from scratch sitting at the computer.  I now have several  notebooks dedicated to one subject: morning pages, blog, writing notes and Red Thief.  I'm finding it helps me use my time more judiciously on the internet, however there are still those days that I just have to veg.  And you know how sometimes you eat one too many of the same type of candy and after that you can't even look at them.  Discovered having one veg day on the computer, leads to the same effect. 

Happy to say I accomplished my goal of getting completely caught up with book reviews.  I decided to review the books I read for the A-Z challenge besides any books read for book tours.   

My goal for now - continue to work on Red Thief until it's done.  

How is everyone else doing:  Check out the blog hop

D: Delirious by Daniel Palmer - Plus autographed copy to giveaway!

Delirious by Daniel Palmer
Author Synopsis:  Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.

Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.

In a desperate struggle to save his life, Charlie races to uncover the truth, all the while realizing that nothing can be trusted—least of all his own fractured mind… 

Charlie Giles lived a perfect, meticulous life.  His start up company has been acquired by Solucent, a major electronics corporation.  His design, Invision "cell phone, satellite radio, an ipod, TiVo, a web browser, and a voice guided GPS all rolled into a package not much bigger than a deck of playing cards" is about to become standard issue in all automobiles.  Then things start to fall apart.  He finds notes he'd written, but doesn't remember. Hears  voices no one else can hear.  He meets a woman everyone else denies exists and he is being blamed for things he hasn't done.  Or did he!  Is he losing his mind, following in the footsteps of his father and brother, both diagnosed schizophrenics. Or is someone deliberately trying to frame him?    As his life spirals out of control, Charlie races to discover the truth and find out what part InVision has to play.  

Delirious is one heck of a psychological thriller that once you start reading, you won't want to put it down.  I know.  Once I started reading it, kept getting hooked by the twists and turns and the gotta read just one more pageittis.  Delirious is the debut novel of Daniel Palmer and is available TODAY!   

Check out the trailer

Daniel's Website and 

follow him on facebook.    

Check out Charlie's Invision Blog and watch his progress.

Thank you to Daniel for asking me to be part of his kick off campaign and providing me with not one, but two autographed copies of Delirious so I can give one away to one of my faithful readers.  One I'll be keeping for myself of course, to read again and again.  If you like techno thrillers, stories that twist left just when you think its going to twist right and keep you in suspense, then Delirious is just the book for you.   Leave your name along with your email address in the comments.  The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, no p.o. boxes and will close February 1st at 11:59 p.m. 

pages:  371
publisher: Kensington Books
released:  January 25, 2011

Other Thoughts:

"Delirious is fraught with intense moments, extraordinary characters and exceedingly brilliant and unexpected plot developments and twists along the way."

"The story line was so intense and fast paced that at times I felt I couldn't read fast enough."

"I spent the entire reading experience completely enthralled by what was happening and determined to read more so I could figure out where it could possibly be headed."

*FTC notice: I was not compensated for my review and opinions expressed herein are basely entirely upon my reading experience. 

Poor melvin broke his paw!

Thursday evening, Melvin came into the living room and he's favoring one leg, hopping on three.  We check out his leg and he has a deep cut on one paw.   We're thinking maybe he and one of the other cats got into something.  We hadn't heard anything so he could have been tussling with the persistent neighborhood cat who keeps coming in the yard.  Since he's not walking on it, decided to take him into the vet on Friday.   She said it's not a bite but looks like it got caught on something.  One of his toes could be broken, so decided to have x-rays done.  Turns out the bone behind his big toe is broken.   They splinted and wrapped it and now he's housebound for the next 6 weeks.  Poor Melvin!  He's our talkative cat so we've been getting an earful. 

C: Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Catch a Rising Star! 

Have you ever wondered what happens after the "they lived happily ever after" part in fairy tales. Do they live happily ever after?   Is life care free and simple without any problems or worries?   Michelle Davidson Argyle explores that in her debut novella which continues Cinderella's story in "Cinders"

Back cover:  "Cinderella's happily ever after isn't turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic."

When Cinderella married the prince, he saved her from her stepmother and stepsisters and a life of drudgery.  However, the glow of her new life soon begins to wear off.   She had gotten what she wanted, so why wasn't she happy.   She began to wonder...  Does he really love her?  Would he love her without the enchantment spell?  Does she love him even though all she can think about is another. Life in the castle isn't always pleasant. She is determined to break the spell, but when she does, can she live with the unexpected consequences?

Michelle does an excellent job of wrapping a spell around you as you read the story and stays with you long after you've finished it.   I ended up reading it in one sitting, mulling over it for a while, then going back and rereading the last few chapters. Cinderella's story leaves an impression and is actually a bit unsettling.  It makes you think and leaves you wanting more.

I also spotlighted Michelle on 52 Books in 52 Weeks for Week 4. Be sure to check it out.

Pages:  180
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing 
Genre: Fairy tale adaptation
Other Thoughts: 

"Argyle’s scene jumps and juxtapositions are cinematic in quality. Her powers of imagination convince the senses first and haul the mind along into a world that breeds dissatisfaction, disillusion, disappointment."

" But what struck me above everything else is Argyle’s use of imagery. So many passages echo after they’ve been read…not because of how they were written, but because of what they said."

" I was completely unprepared for the book's conclusion -- in the best way -- and I'm planning a reread soon. I want to savor the story all over again!"

B: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Back cover:   Fate can take many forms. For Henry, it arrives in an envelope from a stranger, containing a story by Flaubert, a play featuring two characters named Beatrice and Virgil, and a note signed "Henry" with an address in the same city.  From the moment, Henry finds the address and steps into the taxidermist's shop, a place unlike anywhere he has ever been, his life is changed.  In this extraordinary feat of storytelling, Yann Martel poses enduring questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity.  And just as in Life of Pi, Martel's wit, pathos, and probing humanity are sure to hold readers in thrall. 

I really don't know what to say about this one.  It's truly an odd story that captures your attention.  But as time goes on, you feel like you are walking down a garden path, that is slowly getting chocked by weeds, and you are getting pricked by thorns.  The story was just a bit too morbid for me.  Unlike Life of Pi, which I loved, all I can say is meh!.

Pinewood Derby 2011 - My guys did it again!!!!

2011 Pinewood Derby

My guys did it again. Father came in first in the Family and Friends race and his car kicked but.  James came in first in the Webelos race and second overall. It was so close.  River, a little Tiger cub, his car  came in at 2.542 and James at 2.543.  Woozer.   This year James made a Luigi car.  His car last year was Mario.  It was simply amazing.   He started chanting Luigi for his car to win and had all 9 kids who were in the final race started chanting for his car as well.  Father and I looked at each other - they were cheering for his car while racing him.  What a kid!

race track

Dad's best time - 2.478

The red racer

Proud but tired papa with the Old Timer's Award
Webelos Race

Doing a happy dance!

You did it, man!   Happy Webelos!
Overall race - So close - 2.542 to 2.543

Happy and Proud  - River 1st, James 2nd, David 3rd 

It'sa me - Luigi! 

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 
(first sentence)
Front Flap:  Anna Karenina has beauty, social position, wealth, a husband and an adored son, but her existence seems empty.  When she meets the dashing officer Count Vronsky she rejects her marriage and turns to him to fulfill her passionate nature-with devastating results.  Anna Karenina is both an immortal drama of personal conflict and and social scandal and a vivid, richly textured panorama of nineteenth century Russia.   Translation by Richard Peaver and Larisse Volokhonsky

I'll admit that before I read Anna Karenina, didn't have a clue what it was about. It was one of those, have it on the shelves, inherited books that everyone says is a must read.  Having read War and Peace, (link to review)  which I enjoyed immensely, I sort of expected it to be in the same vein.   Instead - drama, angst, introspection, jealousy, hatred, spite, love and death.  Oh, the angst of it all!  Imagine back of hand against forehead as I swoon.

At heart the story is all about Anna Karenina and her adulterous relationship with Count Alexei Vronsky.  It is also an in depth look into Russian society, life and death, faith and forgiveness, social class and mores, plus the struggle for change and agriculture.  

The story revolved around several characters beginning with Prince Stephan (stiva) Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (Anna's brother). His wife, Dolly, discovers he's been unfaithful (with the governess) and is threatening to leave him.  In the midst of the turmoil, his sister Anna arrives.  In addition, his childhood friend, Konstantin Levin also comes to moscow and plans to propose to Dolly's little sister Kitty who is being courted by Count Vronksy.  When Stiva goes to pick up Anna at the train station, Vronsky is there to pick up his mother.  Vronsky sees anna and is instantly attracted, totally forgetting about Kitty who had been expecting him to propose.  So when Levin proposes, she turns him down only to discover Vronsky's fallen in love with Anna, a married woman.  

Anna falls in love with Vronsky and once her husband discovers the affair, is willing to look the other way as long as she continue to be his wife and act proper in public.  Meanwhile, you have Levin, the philosophical farmer in which there are many discussions about farming and life, who eventually does win Kitty's hand in marriage.  Levin is a unique individual and Tolstoy gives the reader an inside view of Levin's thinking process.  Think stream of consciousness and interior monologueing.  He is amusing and sad at the same time. 

All in all, I'd have to say Anna Karenina is a fascinating look into Russian society.  The men find all sorts of justification for adultery while the women pay the price and are full of angst.  It is a completely different read from War and Peace, but well worth taking the time. By the time you are done reading it, your brain is completely saturated, but that is Leo Tolstoy for you.   You won't want to read anything else for a while.   It is one of those books you have to mull over and digest so it is best read in small chunks,  reading only a few chapters at a time. 

Pages: 864
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Genre:  Russian Literature 

WIP Wednesday: gaining momentum

I'm plugging away and trying something new.  I read about Morning Pages on Better Writing Habits and thought I'd give it a try.  The theory is you're supposed to have pen and notebook by your bed and upon waking up, write three stream of consciousness pages before starting your day.  That doesn't exactly work quite so well in my household.  Upon waking up, I have four cats demanding attention and to be fed. So instead, I feed the cats, fix my breakfast (and James if he happens to decide to get up with me) and write while eating, instead of reading my email.  Once breakfast and morning pages are completed, which is generally simultaneously, I curl up on my comfy couch in the living room to write and work on my current WIP.   My son quite happily does his thing on his computer, leaving me to write until hubby gets up.  I usually manage to get an half hour or so of writing in.

The stream of consciousness thing is interesting as I generally don't have a whole lot to complain about or at least try not to. Tapping into that part of my brain meets with a blank more often than not. I end up writing about whatever comes to mind and its random, disjointed, no eloquence to it at all. Bippity, Boppity Boo, sort of thing with my wondering  "Hello. Anybody home?"

Anyway, the benefits are clarity, focus, less negativity and complaining (perhaps I should get my hubby and son to do this), you'll start taking action, problem solving, increased creativity and hopefully unblocked.  

Is it working?  I guess so.  At least it's keeping me off the internet until writing is done for the morning, which is a good thing.  In fact, it's helped me to start writing a to do list in the mornings and once everything is done, then I'm free to browse and blog.  It's knocked my internet time down considerable. Hence I'm typing this at 5:00 in the afternoon before fixing dinner.  It's even got me writing my blog posts by hand.  I've acquired notebooks for several different things and just treated myself to a moleskine.  *grin*

I finally printed out and read the first part of Red Thief, marking it up with my trusty pen.  My next step is to make the changes that were driving me crazy.  Such as giving everyone full names.  But you know what  I noticed in Anna Karenina?  Full names!   First and last, the majority of the book, except when the characters were involved in conversation. Well, even then too in some parts.  Hmm! 

My goals for the next week are:

1) morning pages every morning
2) Complete name edit changes
3) Write one page a day 
4) Make time to type up handwritten pages.  
5) Write up blog post - review of Anna Karenina

 How are you doing with your goals?  Click here to see how everyone else is doing?

Random Ramblings and ruminations

Some days don't you feel like doing this?

Hello!  I'm still here.  Been a bit busy and stressed and crazy around here without much time to just sit and be.  This the first day I've had to just sit down and do nothing in the past week or so.  Last weekend we went to the funeral of one of our neighbor's.  She sadly passed away from cancer that she'd been battling for a year and a half.  We didn't think she was going to make through Christmas 2009, but she did. She quit chemo mid year and started feeling better for a while.  Then it hit hard again a month or so ago.  Everyone on our block attended the service.  We're all old timers and they've known hubby from his selfish, partying days as a college student til now as a happily married, hard working family man.   Chris loved photography and every year she made us a calendar with a current picture of James. 

We went from the funeral up to the bay area for a family party with hubby's side of the family.  Returned home on Sunday to find out my mom had a slight stroke and was in the hospital.  She's been in pain for a month with what everyone thought was a pinched nerve.  The pain drove her blood pressure up.  The high blood pressure caused the stroke.  She is currently in rehab to recover the use of her right arm and leg.  It could have been worse, so counting our blessings that she'll be around to enjoy for quite a few more years. They live in Arizona, so it's been difficult for me not being there. But my dad, brother and sister have all been with her and I finally got to talk to her last night.  She sounded quite chipper and is being well taken care of.  My stress level has now gone down, but Mom's stroke is a good warning to keep an eye on my blood pressure.  You never know.

I haven't gotten much writing done on Red Thief.  I did print out what I written so far and also wrote a couple more pages.  Still haven't gotten around to typing everything up.   I've been following the 31 days to Better Writing Habits and they've had some excellent suggestions which I'm going to follow.  More about that tomorrow.   Day # 14 was work on one writing project and divide it like you would a piece of pie.  Six to eight manageable pieces and pick one piece at a time to work on.   So that's what I'm going to do.   Part of the reason I haven't gotten much work done on Red Thief is my current assignment for my short story class.   The assignment is/was to write a sequel to one of the short story's we read, making sure to use the same point of view and style the author did.  Then submit it for review by classmates who will provide feedback, revise the draft according to the feedback.  I picked The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.    All I can so is thank God for Nano, because if it hadn't been for that and learning how to write fiction,  I would have been in serious trouble.  I had fun writing the sequel and it will interesting to find out what my classmates think. 

I just finished reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Oh, the angst, oh the sorrow, oh what drama.  I had no idea what was going to happen in the story and wasn't really surprised at the outcome.  Won't spoil it for those who haven't read yet.  I'm glad I finally read it, however my brain is so saturated and full, I can't even think of reading anything else at the moment.  

Have a happy, restful, wonderful Saturday and go hug your hubby, wife, significant other, child, or who ever you are with and let them know you love them.  *hugs*

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

WIP Wednesday - ROWing upstream against the current

Granted we are only 4 days into the new year, but I can already see the need to adjust my goals.  Monday Kait wrote this wonderful post about sustainable change and tweaking your goals as you go along and having regular measurable steps. Then I stumbled upon the 31 Day Better Writing Habits blog. It is co-founder by two authors: Jennifer of Procrastinating Writers and Suzannah of Write It Sideways and liked what they had to say, plus there are daily challenges. Things to think about and work on, so decided to do that as well.

The first change - I decided to quit rowing upstream. Realistically I don't have a whole lot of time to write in the morning on Monday and Thursdays since those are my days to work at the shop. I've been fighting that forever, trying to fit in writing on those days and it just doesn't work. It didn't work during Nano and I just made up for it the next day, which was a struggle keeping up with the word count. Monday night I sat down and stared at a page for 15 minutes and maybe wrote three sentences, so I knew that wasn't going to work. So I'm adjusting my goal to writing 5 days a week and will take myself out of the prize pool for the 90 day writing challenge. And if I do find the time to write on Monday and Thursdays, then that will just be a personal bonus for me.

I need to spend the next week or so reviewing Red Thief and doing some minor editing, plus type up all the pages I've written so far for Red Thief. I just haven't gotten there yet.  I keep writing but not typing. Stupidly, and I'll admit it, in order to get my 50k word count for nano, I used full names for everybody. I have to go through and fix that because it is really bugging me.

In an effort to create better writing habits I'll be journaling the answers to the daily questions and challenges:

Jan 1: What are your worst writing habits of 2010 - "Identify your worst writing habit to be overcome, and devise a game plan stating exactly what you will do to break that habit in 2011

Procrastination and not unplugging. I need to unplug and spend that time writing.

Jan 2: What writing goals are you going to achieve this year - "Go through your list of writing goals and evaluate them on the SMART scale. How do they measure up? And if you’re ready to publicly commit to making that SMART goal happen,comment or blog about it." 

Posted the smart scale in the side bar and I've set down my goals for Row 80.

Jan 3: Productivity and Focus - "Before you go to bed tonight, list one to three things you will focus on during your next writing session. Tomorrow, do nothing else until you have accomplished the items on your list." 

I'll be working on this every night.

Jan 4: How are you going to make time to write from this day forward:
"Begin to face the truth that you do actually have time to write. If you make time, that is. Today, make some time in your day and write." 

Yes Ma'am.

Jan 5: Is the writing space in your home inspiring -
"If you don’t have a dedicated writing space, decide on a spot in which you feel most inspired and comfortable for writing. Create a simple plan for how you will make that space your own, and how you will tailor it to your personal needs."  

We have a very small house. I write at our kitchen table surrounded by home school wall maps and books but it does have a lovely view of the garden. During the summer, I sit out on the patio. Think I'll replace the Eyewitness Great Scientist poster with a Great writers poster and an inspirational saying or too.

Grabbing a paddle and rowing. How about you?

Click here for the blog hop and other participants

About My Two Blessings

Welcome to My Two Blessings. I originally started this blog on March 21, 2007 as a means to communicate with family and friends and let them know about our journey through homeschooling and life in general. I discovered a whole new world of book bloggers, author blogs, writers blogs as well as home school and educational blogs. It has evolved or rather I have evolved since then and the blog has become a creative outlet for not only discussing homeschooling, but also my education, books and writing.

What is the history behind the name My Two Blessings. It all has to do with my family. My # 1 blessing is my husband. He is my soul mate, best friend, sounding board, massage therapist, can fix anything mechanical, wonder man. Do you think I love him just a little bit? He is master of the house and my sweet son calls him Father. So we will refer to him throughout as Father. My #2 blessing is my one and only son, James. It wasn't intended for him to be an only, but that's the way it worked out. God works in mysterious ways and we are quite a happy little family unit. I wouldn't want it any different.

And me: I am a 51 year old mother, housewife, home school teacher, co business owner of an audio and video electronic repair shop, aspiring writer and bibliophile.

We have our own successful electronic repair business. Father will be celebrating 22 years of ownership in April. I became involved in the business while we were dating and am officially the office manager/accountant. Lots of paperwork. Father also loves to design and manufacture amplifiers and is currently working on a Microphone preamplifier. After 17 years, I'm able to understand about 50% of his electronic jargon, and still learning every day.

I decided to go back to college a couple years ago and recently finished my Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. Back when I was in my 20's and pursuing that Bachelor's, I hooked a bachelor instead and fell off the wagon. Fortunately that didn't work out or I would never have meet Father. Completed it the new fangled way – distance learning through Excelsior college. I didn't have time to sit in a classroom anymore so it worked out for me. I also have an AS degree in Secretarial Science and a Paralegal Certificate.

We decided to home school (well I did) when James came along. At the tender age of 5, (sniff sniff) we decided to send dear son off to kindergarten at a private school. It didn't work out for him so we decided to home school. Father was skeptical at first, but after I taught James how to read and write, he was in 100%. We school year round and James is currently a 6th grader. So, you will get hear all about our successes and failures with curriculum, fun trips and whatnot.

I became a serious aspiring writer when I joined National Novel Write Month in 2007.  I had dabbled over the years, trying my hand at writing, and never finishing a thing. Then I heard about Nanowrimo in 2007 and decided it would be a great challenge. I loved it and completed a very rough first draft of a story called "Floating on the Surface" which I am totally rewriting and about 75% done.  I became a big fan of the challenge and joined in every year since then.  When 2008 Nano rolled around, I stepped up and challenged myself once again and started working on a romance murder mystery called "Winter's Illusion." For 2009 Nano I wrote "Eyes in the Ashes" and 2010, a suspense novel with a bit of romance thrown in called Red Thief. All are basically in the edit process. After 2011 Nano is over, I'll be choosing one of the stories to edit, beta reading and querying. 

Books! I'll admit it I'm a book-a-holic and addicted to reading and a speed reader. Ever since I learned how to read at the age of 6, I haven't stopped. Books are my one true vice and the overflowing bookshelves in our home are a testament to that fact. I love to read and started reviewing books during my first challenge, the Spring Reading Challenge hosted by another blogger. After I wrote that first review, I was hooked. During that challenge I also discovered an amazing number of book bloggers and learned much about books and reviewing. My reading tastes are rather eclectic and I'm enjoying discovering many new to me authors.

My Two Blessings has evolved over the years and will most likely continue to evolve as I do. I turned 50 in November 2009  which is a milestone marker year in anyone's life. I'm looking forward to it and what we can accomplish. Hope you enjoy the ride as well.