Unraveled Wednesday, 4/7/21.


blue hat


The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. This is the third book of the Ellingham Academy trilogy. I felt compelled to read it because I had already read book one and two. This one seemed not as well-scripted as the other two, more like the author was just trying to tie up all loose ends. 3✭






Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman. Someone mentioned this series in their Unraveled post recently. When I looked it up on Goodreads and found that it was a murder mystery set in Minneapolis, I requested it from the library immediately. It was an enjoyable read, although I sometimes felt that the author was manipulating the geography to suit the plot line. If you enjoy police/private eye procedurals you will enjoy this one. 3✭




The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. This is book two in the Jack McEvoy series. I have now read all three. Connelly always writes good suspense/crime fiction, and this book is no exception. Setting is the LA Times, protagonist McEvoy is a reporter who just got his pink slip. He just started working on a story about a Black teenager who was arrested for murdering a white stripper when she came to the ‘hood to buy drugs. The original story ran on a Friday, but over the weekend he realizes that the kid didn’t do it. The rest of the book is his quest to figure out who did. Background issues are print newspapers scrambling to cut costs to survive, police willingness to find a Black kid to name as the killer, data security, FBI narrow-mindedness. 4✭


We Keep the Dead Close: a A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper. When I read the ending my thought was “that was a LOT of pages that never actually comes to a real conclusion/who-done-it.” The murder in the title happened in 1969; the author spent most of the 2000s researching it — digging into police records and old newspapers articles, interviewing people who knew the victim. The book is long, 426 pp, and detailed. I had trouble keeping some of the characters straight. It would have helped if the author referred to each by their surnames rather than their first names. That sounds nit-picky, but not remembering who Mary or Charles or Don were is annoying. Overall, this book was a waste of my reading time. 1✭

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. An unusual book for me; it is YA, which I generally find to be a little on the simple side, and copyright 1937(!). It is a little simple, but I think that is due to its somewhat antiquated writing rather than being YA.

Story is about three little girls who were adopted as babies by Great-Uncle Matthew (aka Gum), a fossil hunter. Happily, he has a large house, plenty big enough for himself, his great-niece Sylvia, her nanny (Sylvia is grown, but Nana still lingers), Cook, and a couple maids. Each of the little girls has a talent: Pauline’s is acting, Petrova’s is mechanics, and Posy is a natural ballerina.



Rake on Netflix. I chose this almost randomly while perusing the mystery/crime genre, and picked it because it ran for five seasons. Five seasons = it must have been popular. The series is set in Sydney, Australia; the protagonist, Cleave Greene, is a “renegade self-destructive” barrister. I would classify it as a comedic drama. Good escapism, also good for practicing your Australian accent. 3✭

We are still watching The X Files; halfway through season five.

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A couple small rants.

Rant the first.

Aaron Rogers is hosting Jeopardy! this week and next week. I have been waiting for this ever since it was announced back in December or January. Smokey and I happened to be watching in 2015 when Rogers was on Celebrity Jeopardy!, and we saw how smart and personable he was. I have been an Aaron Rogers fan ever since. But the Twin Cities TV station that carries Jeopardy! is broadcasting the Derek Chauvin trial live from 9:00am to 5:00 pm, which means that at 4:30pm my favorite show will not be on. WTF?

Rant the second.

The Instagram app on my iPad is now in Dutch (or maybe German)! The posts — things users type into IG — are in English, but all the text on the screen is in Dutch. The IG app on my iPhone works fine, so does the website on my laptop. Has this happened to anyone else? WTF!?!?

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Happy Easter!



Remember what Easter was like last year? Yeah, neither do I.


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Cobblestone links.

“Men only want one thing and it’s… a potato room.” (Click on the little arrow in the right side of the mansion photo.)

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‘Tis Peep season!

Getcher Peep humor here!

More Peep humor!

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Furry Friday. Also feathers.

It’s a speed race for dinner. Sound up.

Curious cats.

Birds vs. streetlights. In an unusual outcome, the birds win!


Ruffed grouse! Sound up.

And now, CROWS! (watch the 2nd video — it has sound)

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How to calculate fines in an ethical manner.

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Unraveled Wednesday, 3/31/21

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.


Yeah, it’s another blue hat.

Once again, I needed some car knitting, this time for the trip to Minneapolis for Smokey’s surgery. I think I like this blue hat the best of any; one inch stripes seem to satisfy my need for symmetry and order. I’ll finish this tonight, then it will be back to Boxy!


Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan. The writing was well-done, but the story is unsettling. A blue-collar family moves onto a nice suburban street in Garden City on Long Island. At first the residents — overwhelmingly of the professional class — are friendly, then they become hostile. A sinkhole opens up in the park across the street, gradually spreading bitumin — black tarry goo — across the lawns and threatening the houses. (Symbolism much?) A dog and a child perish in the hole, and murder finishes off what’s left. 3★

The Thunder Before the Storm by Clyde Bellecourt. Currently reading this one. The author grew up on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota; when kids there reached high school age, they went to my high school in Park Rapids or the one in Detroit Lakes (home of Adam Thielen, the Vikings wide receiver; what a small world). The writing is informal, much like the author and I were sitting having coffee. Bellecourt was a co-founder and leader in the American Indian Movement in the late 60s and early 70s. Through his work with AIM, Natives reclaimed some of what had been stolen from them over the centuries. Highly recommend. 5★

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News from The Kat©

Smokey had surgery last Wednesday to remove his cancerous prostate.

Multiple scans had confirmed that it had not spread to his lymph nodes or his bones, the two places that prostate cancer tends to metastasize. (Whew!)

He underwent robotic surgery.

Robotic surgery is less invasive and offers a shorter hospital stay (just one night), not to mention a quicker recovery in the days and weeks afterward. All went well during Smoke’s surgery and he came home the next day. Since then the only difference in him has been that he takes longer and more frequent naps, and I tend to be the one to get out of my chair to let the dogs in and out/answer the phone/get a can of something from the fridge.

He had only one surgeon at the console.

His father died of prostate cancer and his brother was diagnosed with several years ago; both had their prostate seeded with radioactive seeds. This treatment was successful for the brother, not for the father.

So, life goes on. Modern medical technology scores again!

Posted in Smokey | 7 Comments