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I know, it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated. Strange how sometimes I have tons of ideas and find writing therapeutic, and other times there’s just nothing there. So they say the only cure for writer’s block is to write, so here’s a few updates on what’s going on.

The Kid

MB is doing great in Kindergarten. So far she’s gotten a star every day! She started Girl Scouts (Daisy Scouts) about a month ago, and she seems to enjoy it (at least she says she does), although she acts really shy while she’s there. She does seem to be opening up a little, though, so I’m hoping it will be a good way to get to know some different kids.

We’ve been doing less well at home. We moved her bedtime up, and that seems to be helping.

The Job

Well, not exactly, but I’m doing an Android development study group with some co-workers. We just started a couple of weeks ago, but I’m blaming that retroactively for sucking up quite a bit of my time. It’s fun, but a lot of reading, listening, and experimenting.


I finished watching Fringe season 4 on DVD, so I am now watching the fifth and final season along with the rest of the world, which is exciting. Strangely, though, I’m finding this season somewhat weaker than the previous ones. That deserves its own post, so I’ll try to get to that soon. Expect spoilers if you’re not caught up.

Hmmm, I just realized that my last post was about the time that I received the DVDs. I’m blaming my blogging hiatus on that, then.

However, since I’m no longer devouring Fringe like a crazy person, I’ve had to branch out to some other show. In particular, DH and I are both enjoying Last Resort, which is a minor miracle. I’m worried that they won’t be able to keep the premise going for long, but I also worried about the same thing with Lost, and that turned out fine (in my opinion!). We’ve also given Nashville a try, but I’m probably not going to make an effort to keep up with it. I’m not sure how DH feels about it, but I think it’s a little too soapy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch it if I happen to catch it, but I’m not going to make an effort to catch it, or to watch it later if I miss it. On Netflix, I have discovered Twin Peaks. I’ve heard so many good things about this show that I’ve wanted to give it a try, and I’m enjoying it and pretty much watching it straight through. There are only two short seasons, plus a movie, so it’s not a huge commitment, and I don’t feel too bad about taking a break from my other Netflix viewing.


Ah, books. I’m still reading as much as ever. I made a goal a couple of months ago to read one non-fiction book per month, and so far I’ve done it. My most recent read was When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, which was excellent, and I’ve started The Historian, which is turning out to be a great Halloween read. I’ve actually read quite a few pretty amazing books in the last few months that may make it into a future post. Stay tuned. Oh, and I’m still rocking along on the Outlander audio books – I’m almost finished with the third book, Voyager.

Well, I’m at almost 600 words, so it looks like I haven’t done too bad for not knowing what to write about! I’ll try to do better. I’m also wanting to start writing on my other blog, Marianne Plays With Computers, which I haven’t updated for over a year. (See how good you have it over here?) Till next time (hopefully sooner rather than later!).


Audible Love

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So I did buy the Outlander audio books – all seven of them – as I told you I thought I would. I’ve finished listening to Outlander, the first in the series. I’m catching up on some podcast listening before moving on to the next, but I am excited to start it.

The series is narrated by Davina Porter. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about her voice. It’s a bit low-pitched for a woman’s voice, and even a little rough. She has definitely grown on me, though. She does a wonderful job of providing different voices to the different characters, and her accents are amazing.

As for the story, well, you know how I feel about it. I love spending time with Claire, Jaime, and the rest. I loved them in print (well, on the Kindle), and I’m loving them again in audio.

One last thing to note is that I’m not typically an audio learner. That’s probably why I’ve been so reluctant to get into audio books thus far. I have really gotten into listening to podcasts in the last few years, though, especially while at work and in the car, so I thought maybe it was time to give audio books a go. All that to say that I think I’m particularly enjoying the experience because I had already read the books. I worry that if listening was my first experience with the books I wouldn’t catch as much as I did reading them. Maybe that will be my next audible adventure – listening to a new (at least to me) fiction book. It will be a while, though, since I have a couple hundred more hours of Outlander goodness to enjoy!

Outlander, Part 2

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I’ve been thinking about Outlander a lot lately. Part of me wants to reread it, but with seven huge books, that’s quite a commitment. And I’ve got so many other books that I want to read that it’s hard to decide what to read first. On the other hand, I think it would be good to reread them all before the next one comes out next year. But then again, I’m honestly not sure if I have enough time to do that without neglecting the other really worthy books that I also want to get to.

I think I already told you that Diana Gabaldon has a podcast, also on iTunes. I should say, had; she hasn’t put out a new one in several years. However, she has become quite active on Facebook, where she often posts excerpts of the next Outlander book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. She’s also doing an imaginary casting call for a hypothetical Outlander movie.

She also may have inadvertantly come up with a solution to my reread dilemma – audiobooks. is offering all seven unabridged audiobooks for just $7.49 each until May 1! You do need to be an member, but you do not have to sign up for a monthly plan in order to get this price. (You can sign up to be a member for free without committing to a plan.) It’s going to be a bit pricey to buy all of them at once, but with their regular prices ranging from $35 to $80, and with each clocking between 30 and 60 hours of entertainment, I think it’s a pretty hot deal. I think I probably will end up purchasing the set by Tuesday.

I’m really curious whether any of you have read these. I’d love to talk about the book in real life or on the blog! If you’re interested, leave me a comment!


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So I am finally caught up with the published Outlander books – I just finished An Echo in the Bone last weekend. Just in time, too, since school started for me this week.

Outlander is a series of books that form one epic story, so I can’t talk much about the plots of later books without spoiling you on what happens in the previous ones. The story starts with Outlander. (In the U.K., it’s called Cross Stitch). It’s primarily told from the first person point of view of Claire, a young, English newlywed trying to reconnect with her husband after being separated from him during World War II, where she was a nurse and he a soldier. The premise is that while they are enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland she is exploring a local stone circle (similar to Stonehenge) that somehow transfers her 200 years into the past. Alone and friendless in the eighteenth century, she falls in with a band of roguish Scots. I’m going to spoil you just a tiny bit to tell you that she ends up being forced to marry one of them in order to protect them both.

The series continues with Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and the latest, An Echo in the Bone. As you read the series, there are a few more comings and goings between the two times, although the journey is both unpleasant and dangerous, so it’s not something the characters do on a whim. Time travel is not necessarily limited to the main characters, either. The cast of characters expands greatly over the seven massive tomes, and the settings span two continents.

The author, Diana Gabaldon, has described the series as being in multiple genres, from romance to science fiction. If I had to pigeonhole it, I would call it simply historical fiction. Of course, it is also heavy on romance, has the time travel fantasy component, even military battles and strategy. If you’d like to hear the author herself talk about the series, she has (or had – it hasn’t been updated in two years) a podcast that you can find on iTunes or import directly from Random House (copy the link into your RSS reader or podcast manager). Careful, though; there are some minor spoilers for some of the later books. You can also follow her blog at I’ve heard that she also contributes often on the message boards at the fan site Ladies of Lallybroch.

If you enjoy Outlander, you may also want to check out Gabaldon’s Lord John series, which is about a minor character from the Outlander series. Some Outlander devotees are less than ardent fans of Lord John, though. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t read the Lord John books yet myself, and I’m not sure whether I will or not. In some of the later Outlander books, scenes are told from Lord John’s (also his son, William’s) perspective, and I tend to find many of these tedious. I was particularly annoyed when a plot point was injected into An Echo in the Bone that referred to previous events that I believe were written about in the Lord John series. Perhaps Lord John is more interesting when he is allowed to stand alone, though.

The author has stated on her blog that she hopes that the next installment will be published sometime in 2012. I think I told you before that I had heard that An Echo in the Bone ended on a cliffhanger. It kind of did. The story being told was wrapped up, but a side plot was introduced near the end and left completely hanging. I’m somewhat hopeful that this is next-to-last-book syndrome (see, for example Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Catching Fire). However, I’ve also heard that she intends to write Jamie and Claire up to about 1800, which is still a ways off since we left off in the middle of the American Revolution.

So I highly recommend that you check out Outlander. I must warn you that the first book starts off a little slow. I read entire the sample on my Kindle, which is supposed to be around 10% of the book, and Claire still hadn’t gone back in time. I thought that the book was too slow, deleted the sample, and forget about it. However, so many people just raved about it that when the price dropped to $1.75 on Kindle I grabbed it. I continued reading, and I’m glad I did. If you’re not sure whether you’ll like it and don’t want to purchase it, check it out from the library or something to give it a fair try. I’d say that if you aren’t drawn in and caring about the characters by the time Jamie and Claire get married, the series probably isn’t something you’ll enjoy.