"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, February 29, 2024

February Books


The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins -- When Camden gets an email from his cousin, he realizes he needs to return to the home he departed ten years ago when he fled all the baggage of family. His wife Jules is enthusiastic about her trip to see the famous (or infamous) Ashby House in the mountains of North Carolina. In between their sides of the story, we read publications about the McTavish family as well as letters written by Ruby McTavish, the heiress who adopted Cam when he was three. Pretty good.

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose -- Once again, a story about a maid and a murder featuring the lovable, quirky Molly. When a popular author reserves the hotel tea room for an important announcement - a secret he's kept - but falls over dead before he can spit it out, the police get involved. This book deals with that plus Molly's own childhood memories of working with her Gran in Mr.Grimthorpe's house.  Cute story.

The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams -- Emilia Withrop, one of the locals with a long family history in the area, is the help to the wealthy summer crowd.  Story of her and her friends Shep and Amory, and also nowadays as she lives with her sister Susana.  This is during the era when the US and Soviet Union were at odds. Pretty good.

The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor -- Olivia's book sales are struggling so when her agent approaches her about someone well-known wanting her to write a book for him, she takes a trip to Los Angeles to meet him.

Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane -- "the outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut."  This book was referenced in one of my favorite books last year about the first six women who were chosen to be astronauts in the US. They were in Mike's class, and the author of that book mentioned this one which I got for Christmas. Pretty interesting.

Wicked Redhead by Beatriz Williams -- I believe I would have enjoyed this one much more if I'd read the earlier book about Wicked City instead of starting with this one. Alas, I had this one on hand with no other library books, and decided to give it a go. Ginger is a redhead during the time of Prohibition.  She likes two brothers, one more than the other. In more current times, there is Ella who recently left her cheating husband. Meh... this one was OK.

The Outcast Girls by Shirley Dickson -- I remember reading a book or two by this author and adding a few of her other stories to my Amazon Wishlist. This is one I got for Christmas, and it's about Frieda, a German Jew who was brought to England during World War II. She meets an English girl, Sandra, who has lived a life of service. The two of them wind up on a farm helping the war effort. Pretty good.

The Lost Children by Shirley Dickson -- Twins Jacob and Molly are eight years old when their mom decides to send them to the countryside where they will be safe from Hitler's bombs. They are sent to the area I read about in the book before, and this book has some of the same characters so I'm glad to read these stories back-to-back. Another pretty good tale.

The Orphan's Secret by Shirley Dickson -- Lily leaves home to become a Lumberjill during World War II.  Her husband is serving in the war, and Lily wants to do her part. She meets Ethel, who grew up an orphan, and the two eventually become friends. When both of them realize they are expecting babies at the same time, and Ethel has nowhere to live, Lily invites Ethel to live with her until something can be decided. Pretty good story.

Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear -- I'm back to reading library books. This one is about sisters Ellen and Kristy, and mostly Ellen's hectic household and group of friends/acquaintances.

Black Out by Lisa Unger -- Annie keeps having flashbacks to when she was a teenager who moved with her mother from New York City to Florida so her mom could pursue a relationship with a man behind bars. Although this stuff is in her past, it keeps rearing its head and life is quite frightening! 

Random in Death by J.D. Robb -- If I'm so inclined I see that I have about sixty other "futuristic thrillers" available to read in this In Death series featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her fellow officers. In this book a couple of teenaged girls are jabbed with a needle full of a blend made to kill them within minutes. Lt. Dallas is in charge of identifying the suspect. Decent book, but I would know more about these characters if I'd read the other sixty books, no doubt. But, whew!  I did not like the teenage lingo throughout the book.

The Therapist by B.A. Paris -- When Leo suggests he and Alice move in together, he finds a house in London behind a gate where Alice believes she will be able to make quick friends. When she learns from a private investigator that something terrible happened at the house where she now lives, she decides to ask the neighbors in order to learn more about the therapist who lived at house #6 in The Circle. 

One Wrong Word by Hank Phillippi Ryan -- When your reputation is in ruins, Arden Ward is who you want working for you. Only, now she's been falsely accused and given the sack yet her boss wants her to do one last job for him. Cordelia hires Arden to clean up the image of her husband who was acquitted of running over someone yet the moms at school still give Cordelia the cold shoulder. Pretty good story.

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman -- A British actor comes to Los Angeles to audition for several roles. At one casting, she meets Emily who gives her her wallet and keys to top off the car meter, then disappears. While juggling reading scripts and auditioning, Mia wonders what happened to Emily and decides to search for her. Pretty good. 

The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh -- It's their third anniversary, and Craig is ready to leave his wife after a quick meal. He's got plans with another woman, yet Daisy surprises him by not being at home and instead giving him instructions to meet her at a cabin in upstate New York. He does, and instead of a quick meal and goodbye, Daisy tells him she's booked the place for a week and it's some kind of couples retreat... so weird.

The Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman -- Nell is a dean of the college she attended, and she's busy preparing for a big event complete with most of her friends from back then.  When a snowstorm traps most of her peers together, strange things happen including a murder or two. An OK book.

Keep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen -- While going through a separation from her husband, Mary is looking for housing, a preschool for her son Alex, and a job in a new area. One day she happens upon Willa, a friend she'd made who ghosted her. Only when she confronts Willa, she acts like Mary is a stranger. What is going on?  Pretty good.

The Woman from Lydia by Angela Hunt -- Book one in The Emissaries this told the story of Euodia, a supporter of Paul's ministry as he told the good news of Jesus Christ. In this book she and a couple servants travel to various cities along the Via Egnatia in search of a girl, Sabina. I rather like this quote at the front of the book:

"If a man gets lost in the mountains, hundreds will search and often two or three searchers are killed. But the next time somebody gets lost just as many volunteers turn out. Poor arithmetic, but very human. It runs through all our folklore, all human religions, all our literature - a racial conviction that when one human needs rescue, others should not count the price."  -- Robert A. Heinlein

Two Dead Wives by Adele Parks -- This was a sequel to an earlier book: I knew some of this sounded familiar, but I really didn't remember what all transpired in the first book. Still, in this book Kylie is missing presumed dead by her former BFF who pushed her over the cliff. What? Yeah, and Daan and Mark are out a wife since Kylie was married to them both. Kind of.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Itchy Boots Season 6 Notes Finished (Mexico to Alaska)


See the first part of Season 6, here

August 12, 2023

watched episodes 84-86 which take place in Mexico

Pretty mountain roads, tunnels under the streets and cool temples.

August 26

watched episodes 87-88 which take place in Mexico

Red dunes, the gorge, and mountains

September 4

watched episodes 89-90 which take place in Mexico

I love her reference to being too Dutch re: time when the parking lot is supposed to open at 8 in the morning, and she's still waiting several minutes later.

September 5

watched episodes 91-92 which take place in Mexico

Noraly visited people who lived in a cave, I laughed at the escape dog when she was trying to leave the guesthouse, and enjoyed learning about the zone of silence.

September 8

watched episodes 93-94 which take place in Mexico

Riding through Copper Canyon, cartel area, which had some lovely mountain views and friendly people in the towns.

September 23

watched episodes 95-97 which take place in Mexico

Ferry ride to Baja California and riding in the desert

October 7

watched episodes 98-99 which take place in Mexico

October 8

watched episodes 100-101 which take place in Mexico and USA

Border crossing and riding through the desert in California; I like that one of the border guards recognized her; he said his father in law watches [her] all the time!

October 20

watched episodes 102-104 which take place in USA (California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah)

It was funny seeing her riding with the train; she comments on the long trains, big cars and roads and portions; Noraly rode through Las Vegas; Later she was hurt on a steep hill so Ed from C90 adventures picked her and Alaska up and took them to his house in Moab, Utah, so she could recover for a few days.

November 7

watched episode 105-107 which take place in USA (Utah and Colorado)

She went in a side by side with Ed mostly in Moab while her ankle healed

November 16

watched episodes 108-110 which take place in USA (Colorado)

November 27

watched episodes 111-113 which take place in USA (Colorado and Wyoming)

She visited a town called Nederland where she found out about the Frozen Dead Guy Festival and told that story; she was surprised by a snow storm.  In Wyoming, she loved seeing bison.

December 5

watched episodes 114-116 which take place in the US (Wyoming and Montana)

Great look at the Tetons and part of Yellowstone

December 8

watched episodes 117-119 which take place in the US (Montana and Idaho)

Here Noraly met Roger with his chain saw

December 11

watched episodes 120-122 which take place in the US (Idaho) and Canada

Noraly crosses from the US into Canada (Creston) and sees the glaciers

December 12

watched episodes 123-124 which take place in Canada

Noraly visited some indigenous people and saw buildings dealing with the fur trade. She was also part of chicken and duck races - ha.

December 14

watched episodes 125-127 which take place in Canada

Noraly visited Haida Gwaii islands and did some beach hiking

December 18

watched episodes 128-129 which take place in Canada

Boat tour of Haida Gwaii islands: totems, sea creatures, hot springs.

December 19

watched episodes 130-131 which take place in Canada and the US (Alaska)

First Nations; Hyderized; ice sea and glacier


January 1

watched episodes 132-133 which take place in Canada

She went to a remote area of British Columbia with pretty views

January 5

watched episodes 134-136 which take place in Canada and the United States (Alaska)

Noraly visited the Red Onion brothel, took a ferry to Haines (I've read books from a lady who lives there), and she commented on motorhomes she saw along the way.

January 16

watched episodes 137-139 which take place in Canada

I enjoyed the silver trail museum, learning about the gold trail, Klondike River and Bonanza Creek. Meeting some of the people who work in that area including a family and a twenty-year old miner; even Noraly panned for gold. Whew, there are some huge mosquitos there!

January 19

watched episodes 140-141 which take place in Canada and the US

She followed a tradition of blowing up her panties, and found a British motorcycle gang who helped with a fork seal.

February 9

watched episodes 142-144 which take place in the US (Alaska)

Great tour of an abandoned copper mine and walk on a glacier. Met Bill the mechanic.

February 12

watched episodes 145-147 which take place in the US (Alaska)

Noraly stayed with Bill and wife, toured Cabela's and was amazed by all the stuffed animals and guns

February 20

watched episodes 148 and the first part of The Movie which take place in the US (Alaska) and recap her adventure

February 21

watched the rest of The Movie which is a recap of her adventure plus her plunge into Prudhoe Bay, Alaska ; great season!

A reminder about this journey to Alaska:

At the end of the movie, Noraly mentions that she started her journey on October 1, 2019 and ended it on August 11, 2022 when she reached the Arctic Ocean. (Remember that her journey was interrupted due to the covid-19 pandemic). She traveled 65,000 kilometers and went through 18 countries.

See more about my Itchy Boots watching, here.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Itchy Boots Season 7: Benin to the Central African Republic


Not terribly long after Noraly's break from Africa in which she traveled a bit more and managed to break a bone in her hand, she was back posting her twice-weekly videos. She started in Benin where her motorcycle Alaska had been waiting all these weeks. Noraly acknowledged that she'd left Alaska longer than she had wanted, and it wasn't a good idea to leave a bike that long. She showed where rust had formed on Alaska because the bike had been left in a humid climate. Thankfully she was able to get most of that off, and told us Alaska started immediately!  That bike took her through parts of South and Central America, and from Mexico up to Alaska before Noraly shipped her to Spain for this adventure in Africa. So, Alaska has been through a lot. In her recent (January 2024) newsletter/email Noraly said she was looking for a new bike for when she starts a new trip later this year.

In the meantime, Morocco and West Africa has morphed to Return to Africa on her YouTube channel. Here's the last couple of months!

December 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31

We watched episodes 61-69 which were in Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon

In these videos, she got a huge stack of money when she traded in her dollars and CFAs as the Nigerian money "is not doing well."  She started this return with a Live Chat with other subscribers (our first time joining a live chat). She noted few helmets were used in the part of Nigeria she was in which was strange since they had been required in Benin. Nigeria had so many checkpoints, many of which were sketchy so she didn't stop for them unless they seemed official, or it was just not possible to continue.  The locals used tree branches to block parts of the road.  In one episode she crossed the Niger River in a ferry. Nigerians on YouTube and Facebook said they use a bridge and didn't know you could ferry across. Also, some Nigerians wondered why she used these terrible roads instead of the main roads.  (She likes backroads usually so she might have chosen them instead of ones she thought were busier. Then again, her GPS might have taken her along these routes.)   One interesting thing to me (ep. 63) was seeing the locals dry the grain by placing it on the streets.

Noraly went to the capital Abuja to sort her visa to Cameroon. She seemed to really like this capital as she said it was laid-back, and not like those she's typically encountered. She also seemed to enjoy having running water and electricity. I think she stayed there a few days to do some work and rest up as she seemed better-rested when the videos resumed.

Episodes 65 and 66 were my favorite in Nigeria as the mountains were so pretty, the locals were friendly and she interacted with them more (or showed it more than some past videos where she just struggled to ride the bike on muddy roads.)   (Note: my mom grew up in Nigeria and her youngest brother was born there so my mom would point out things that were familiar to her. She said this mountainous region was similar to where she attended boarding school at Kent Academy.)

In episode 67 Noraly made it into Cameroon. She noted that she used this particular border crossing because other crossings were closed to foreigners due to rebel activity.  In Cameroon she has done more sightseeing which I enjoy. She admitted skipping this in Nigeria because of security issues in that country.  She visited a snake and spider museum and got instructed on how they make bronze statues.  She also visited a waterfall that was gushing water after many recent rains. We got tickled at the local who said the lake area directions. Something like "take this bad road, and the next bad road and then..."  And, yeah, there were some bad roads, but that lake area was gorgeous!


January 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31

We watched episodes 70-78 which were in Cameroon and the Central African Republic

Such muddy, horribly rutted roads! Noraly dropped her bike, lost a mirror and half her windshield in Cameroon, but met kind people who helped her along the way. I enjoyed seeing the sunset at the beach and her night-time turtle patrol (ep. 72.)

In episode 73, I loved the church ladies singing in the road and Noraly's time in the capital. Yay for pizza! Also notable was her search for petrol and those huge rain drops!

Loved her riding with the cattle and something notable were those toll detours (ep. 74).

I loved the military guys taking pictures with Alaska at the border of Cameroon and CAR. Yikes, a broken start button and quickly approaching nightfall: thank goodness she stopped and found shelter with the villagers. Really great episodes in CAR! (see #75-76)

Forest elephants at their mineral-rich watering hole. Noraly counted over 100 of them! So pretty! Then in the next video, we see western lowland gorillas in the wild - fascinating!  I love the people.  (ep. 77-78).

One of my favorites (paraphrased)... When Noraly was walking down the path to see the elephants, she noted footprints several times. 

She asked her guides: Do you ever see elephants when you are on the paths.

Uh, yeaaah...

What do you do?

Hide behind a tree.

Love that.