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Barbara Fritchman Thompson
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Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 2 August 2004

Latest Update: Sunday, 08 August 2004 14:38

Monday, 2 August 2004

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Tonight I should be able to finish a book I started this weekend, The Piano Teacher by Lynn York. I have no idea where I heard about it. I had it written down in my "book" I carry to the library and book stores to check for titles. It is sort of a mystery but more of a story about life in a small southern town. I hardly ever read southern fiction because I normally do not enjoy the plots, characters, etc. However, I am finding myself reading more southern fiction in the mystery genre. These authors tend to do a better job of making the setting southern but not over whelming the book with it. 

Miss Wilma is the small town piano teacher. Widowed for 15 years after her husband commits suicide, she comes home one day to find her estranged daughter, Sarah, and granddaughter sitting on her front porch. After he daughter ran off to New York with her soon to be husband who she "had" to marry they then relocated to Santa Fe, NM. Not long on Sarah heels is her husband, Harper. Wilma now has a house full of people including a "friend" of Sarah's, Jonah whom Harper gave a ride out from Santa Fe but had dropped him off just outside of town.

The setting is a fictional town about half an hour or so away from Winston. York features various towns and landmarks in the book including Pilot Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Wake Forest U., and R.J. Reynolds. Just after the arrival of Harper and Jonah, a local sheriff is shot down in cold blood just outside the town by his own gun. Jonah is picked up for the murder after being caught camping near where the body was found. After releasing him from jail without cause, he goes in search of Sarah at her mother's house. I don't like to give much of the story away but as the investigation into the murder unfolds Wilma learns some damaging evidence against a long time town rival. If you like small town, southern fiction, you will like this book. As the saying goes about movies, this book is definitely a "chick flick". 

And, speaking of talking about books. Last week I had e-mail from an author whose book I had discussed earlier in the week. He "googled" himself right to my journal page. We exchanged a couple of e-mails. I mentioned to him one of the reason I do my journal page is to share the books I read with others and to get suggestions from my readers about books. The other reason is to give some publicity to what is known as "mid-list authors". While Bob and I both read a few authors who are knows as best selling or big name authors, the majority of the mysteries we read are from mid-list authors. They get very little of the publicity pie and deserve much more. Very often their books are better then the mega authors getting all the publicity and advance pay checks because of their name.

Being married to an author, I know how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into the writing of any book that makes it to the store shelves. I am sure, like Bob, these authors don't get paid nearly per hour what they put out in effort but do it for the love of writing. The least I can do is discuss their book and hope others discover some of the authors I have come to  enjoy. 

Guess I better wrap this up. I have been to the gym for double step class. It was not too long ago I could not even do single step but am very proud of the fact I have finally caught on to the various patterns and can now do the double step class. 

Have a great week. 

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Tuesday, 3 August 2004

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Oh boy, did we get rain last night. Not long after I signed off here and went back out to the den the weather channel started running a crawler about a big thunderstorm that had developed just south west of us. They were predicting heavy rain and it was coming in our direction. We debated about taking the dogs real early, 8:10, but settled on waiting until the next radar update at 8:28. As we headed out the door at 8:30 it was thundering heavily but just sprinkling rain. 

Just as we got back in and settled down for the night the rain came in a deluge and lasted for well over an hour. While we had some loud thunder and bright lightning the rain coming down in buckets was the most impressive. Duncan snuggled up next to me on the bed but never did get too concerned. Malcolm barks at the thunder and sometimes whimpers but otherwise does not show much concern. It was a much needed drenching.

This morning when I took my mid-morning walk around the building it was still rather cool with a nice breeze. But it warmed up considerably this afternoon and turned humid. It was still a heat index of 92 when I walked the dogs at 5:30.

I pull out a review copy for Mystery Morgue for my next book, Last Lullaby by Denise Hamilton. Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond gets caught in a shootout a the Los Angeles airport while covering a story on U.S. Customs. Cross fires and mix-ups between Customs and the FBI tracking illegal smuggling leaves three people dead one of which is a young Asian woman carrying a sick child. The father vanishes in the melee and the child gets left behind in with Customs. 

Last Lullaby is the third book in the series by Hamilton. I have not read the other two. From the first few chapters it appears Eve will be focusing on why the little girl has been flying all over the world and why she was suddenly abandoned. It has the look and feel of a modern day thriller police procedural. Not one of my favorite types of mysteries but the writing seems good enough that I will stick with it to do the review.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2004

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It's getting late so I will keep it short this evening. Not really much in the way of news to report anyway. Standard day: work, dinner, Body Pump, mail check, and playtime with the dogs.

It was supposed to be very hot today but only got up to the low 90's. 

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Thursday, 5 August 2004

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Today I experimented with a new schedule but I don't like it. Rather than come home and fix and early dinner to make the 5:30 spin class I worked half an hour late then went straight to the gym. BLAH!

First it gave me too much between time at the gym from arriving to start of class, even for a brief warm up. Then, by the time I got out, picked up some takeout, and got home it was almost 7pm by the time we ate. Bob and I both like to eat early rather than late. Sooooo! I will not be doing that again. 

This morning while working away at my desk I reached up to adjust by glasses and the lens fell out. Normally when that happens the screw stays in place requiring the frame to be pushed back together and the screw retightened. When that happens at home I just grab my extra pair of glasses and fix it.

Being exceeding blind close up without my specs I took them around to a co-worker. She did not realize the screw would spring out if you are not careful in the way you handle the frames. The screw leaped out somewhere on her desk or the floor. She had a a spare screw but it did not fit.

Fortunately I am close the Baptist Hospital where I go to the eye clinic. Using my lunch break plus that spare 30 minutes I was going to use to take off early tomorrow by staying late today, I drove over and had them repaired. He put in the screw with some lock tight so perhaps it will not come out again for awhile. 

The cold front seems to be moving through even as I type. Tomorrow is to be in the high 70's with 20 mph winds. A very nice and unusual break for August around here.

 

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Friday, 6 August 2004

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No update.

 

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Saturday, 7 August 2004

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Last night we got some clear skies for a night of observing. The high yesterday was around 79 the low last night 58. It was in the low sixties at our observing site. I had to put on a sweatshirt once the sun went down. Also, I was sitting in the back of the truck out of the breeze getting my log sheets ready and going over my observing charts. We arrived before dark to get set up. The main problem with summer observing is not getting dark until late, 10pm. We stayed out until 11:30 having successfully bagged a number of deep sky objects. By the time we got packed up, home, played with and walked the dogs, it was 1am before we got to bed.

We slept in this morning until 8:45. I am cleaning house this morning while Bob does the laundry. After lunch I shall mow the lawn. The weather today is to be pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday.

Last night I finished up the Last Lullaby while I played hall ball with the dogs before we left. As I said earlier, although not my type of mystery it was very good especially the last half of the book. I did not want to stop reading it Thursday night but could not stay awake long enough to get the last 40 pages or so read. 

This afternoon after I finish up in the yard I need to get the review written up and sent off to Mystery Morgue. 

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Sunday, 8 August 2004

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It has been a gorgeous weekend of blue skies, low temperatures, and low humidity. Yesterday after around 3 Mimi called to see if the dogs could come down for some playtime. We stayed about 45 minutes while the dogs played with Emma and Shane, their little boy. He is just now walking and is not the least bit intimidated by my big dogs. Emma is a good sized golden herself but not nearly as fast due to some lingering health problems. My guys are really good around him for having not grown up with children.

The weather last night turned out to be too cloudy to do any decent observing. I started the third book in the Jane Austen mystery series.

Dad and I played golf this morning. Both of us played pretty well then went back to the house for lunch with mom. When I got home Bob wanted a haircut. 

Guess I will finish out the remainder of the afternoon reading the paper and watching the NASCAR race from Indianapolis.  

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