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Subject:Earth's Children Review aka Clan of the Cave Bear series
Time:02:25 am
About a week ago I finally finished the last book in Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series. Whew! This is going to be my review of the whole series, book by book and some reviews will be longer than others. Mostly because I want to get this out before I forget.

So without further ado, here we go!

*Clears throat*

Clan of the Cave Bear
This was the first book I read and it is by far still my favorite of the entire series (with Valley of Horses as a close second)
The descriptions are vivid, the plot is solid and captivating. I get very caught up in this book. The characters are believable, the culture of the Clan and the imagination that is put into so many of the aspects (and the actual historical research) makes this book a very interesting read.
I come back to it again and again, and it never gets old or boring.
The author really used her imagination on the aspects of this period in time and a people we will never really know how they lived, the rituals they performed, or the hierarchy of the society.
It's thrilling and captivating.

Valley of Horses
The second book in the series again is very detailed in both geographical and technological aspects,giving the story "meat" and realism. The back and forth stories between Ayla and Jondolar doesn't bother me too much and I think it gives the book some variety and keeps in line with the first book in that it's not all from Ayla's perspective.
The detail and good story telling are what keep this book fresh and interesting. I do enjoy this book very much.

Mammoth Hunters
This is sort of an on the fence book for me.
While I do enjoy the aspect of Ayla learning to come to terms with a culture completely alien to her, with expectations and traditions, with coming to a new understanding a way of living and perceiving things...this is where things start to become a bit "Mary Sue" for my tastes...but it's not awful.
I enjoy the drama and mysticism.
I love the culture of the Mammoth Hunters. It explores aspects. Again, i like the imagination and research that went into the book to make a solid story.

Plains of Passage
And this is where the series starts to go a bit downhill. While I understand this was supposed to be a journey-type story...this was WAY too long to get to the conflict. Once the book FINALLY got to it, it was good. There were many things that could have been cut and it still would have been a good book. (The repeated stops for sex, the long explanations of the terrain. . .May I please refer the author back to her first two books, while when discussing traveling some distance it didn't have to be a detailed account. It was enough to get a lay of the land and to show the progress of the traveler(s). We got the point.)
The first book covered several years in the space that this book took to cover one. That was one thing that bothered me. Second, I didn't enjoy the fact that *every* people they met (or re-met in Jondolar's case...would it have hurt to have them meet some new people along the way other than that one group?) wanted Ayla to stay because she was so amazing. (insert eye roll here).
To be honest, this book and the following book most likely could have been condensed into one book and it still would have held up fairly well, and may have even been better.

Shelters of Stone
Not awful...but it's started to get a bit repetitive. Yes, we get it...Ayla has an accent (of course she does.) Yes, people are intimidated by Wolf and the horses...saying this once maybe twice would have been enough. Or at least use some EDITING. You don't have to go into detail about how Wolf is introduced to new people every time it happens.
It took way too long to get to the Matrimonial, which by the time it was described..it was very anti-climatic. But okay.
I thought the Zelandoni were too easily convinced that the Clan were not animals. Comparing their reactions to Jondolar's initial reaction in the 2nd book is a bit unbelievable. But the fact not everyone was swayed and there were still people who kept those initial ideas was good.
I did enjoy The Mother's Song. I thought it was very poetic and beautiful.
I also enjoyed the further expansion of the Zelandoni culture and it's hierarchy.
But overall this book was a bit..meh.

Land of Painted Caves
Let it be stated I can't stand this book, and I only finished it because I didn't want to leave the series unfinished. If I had read this book first, I never would have wanted to read the other ones..that's how boring it was.
There's not much good to say about this book. I'm having trouble thinking of something good to say about it.

Once again...this needed to be edited in the worst way possible
Like Shelters there was too much repetition of introductions, comments on Ayla's accent, her ability with animals, Jondolar's good looks, the repeating of The Mother's Song, which while pretty and innovative in the previous book, it gets really old, really fast. I found myself skipping over the repeated Song because it didn't need to be there. Trust me, a line as simple as "(Insert character here) began to sing The Mother's Song" or something along those lines would have been enough.
Again and again Wolf is introduced to people (yes, yes, we know!)
Or there are long repetitions of what happened in the previous books (yes, we KNOW. One or two sentences would have been enough. Several paragraphs...not necessary.)

Ayla's Child is Perfect
No child is this good. Jonayla never seems to do more than a mild pout. I don't care what time period you come from. No 4 year old is that good or understanding all the time.

Lack of Imagination
What made the first two books so engaging was the imagination put into them. This book lacked imagination in the most important area...THE PAINTED CAVES THAT IS BOOK IS NAMED FOR! While the descriptions are very detailed (yay..I like that) would it have killed Ms. Auel to put some imagination into how/why the paintings were made? I was imagining ceremonies or rituals that showed the painting of the caves, or a reason why they were painted..to be told (repeatedly..and with more repetitions of The Mother's Song) that they "don't know" who or why the caves were painted. I almost threw the book in frustration. Come ON, You're a fiction writer...use your imagination. I was expecting so much more, instead we get chapter after chapter that sounds like something that belongs in a non-fiction book about the caves.

Repeating plot lines.
Oh look, there's no real drama until the 3rd part of the book...and it's basically repeating the drama-fest from Mammoth Hunters but in reverse. And to be honest, I did not understand Ayla's reaction to Jondolar coupling with Marona. She grew up with the Clan where it was understood that sexual release wasn't always tied to romantic feelings. Even with her own people it wasn't that way, and she knew that. There could have been so many other avenues to explore for drama's sake, for conflict's sake...not a rehash of an earlier plot three books ago.

After finishing the last book, I gave it back to Half-Price books. I could not keep it in my house because it's that bad. It overcame my desire to have the series as a whole. And that's saying a lot.
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Current Location:Fort Worth, Oakmont Trail, 6020-6104
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Subject:Been too long since I updated
Time:08:28 pm

Since I updated this (too long) I've changed jobs to something much better and much better paying.

 

The husband and I are doing well. Settled in to handfasted life quite nicely.

 

Been through some ups and downs. I was unemployed for about a month and that was no fun. I was very grateful to get another job.

 

I've worked on several crochet projects, rearranged my altar, and have really become invested in my spirituality.

 

I've also seriously began covering my hair (except at work, but I keep it braided or in a bun)

 

Life is good.

 

Altar and head covering pics!Collapse )

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Subject:Random internal mental exchange
Time:02:13 pm
"Why do you take so many pictures?" He'd ask.
"Because I want to keep a solid, physical, memory." I'd reply.
"But you have those memories in your head."
"Yes. But the pictures help. And though I have no picture of it, I will never forget how you looked at me that day."
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Subject:Getting ready for my handfasting ramblings with pictures!
Time:01:30 pm
So since living on my own I have learned to budget and even how to be thrifty.

And I found I like being thrifty and having DIY projects.

I've already made my lover a crochet scarf and I'm working on making him a matching hat.

But as far as our handfasting goes we are going to wear nice clothes that we already own, a friend of mine is going to officiate the handfasting as well.

And I have made all of the following myself for very little money (Pics below)

  • a ribbon headband with pearls and red rose buds

  • a fancy pearl headpiece

  • a pearl necklace with the triple moon

  • my bouquet

  • my lover's boutonniere

  • our handfasting cord

Pictures!Collapse )
We've also bought our handfasting rings (nice rings that were under $15) which I will have pictures of once we're 'officially' handfasted. And for my engagement ring we're using one of my grandmother's rings that my paw-paw gave her. Getting it sized was the most expensive part ($57). I'll be getting the ring back tomorrow.

Oddly enough I was supposed to have it back in the 25th of February. but when my lover and I went to pick up my engagement ring from the jeweler’s it turned out the sizing department misread the size.

Instead if sizing it down to 2.5 they sized it to 7.5 .
The manager put a rush on the resizing and said it would be ready that Friday with the correct sizing. But I got a call Thursday saying that they had some trouble sizing it down that far and it would be ready on Monday and apologized again for the delay and troubles.

I wasn't upset or anything. I let them know mistakes happen and as long as I get it back, I would be very happy.

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Current Location:My apartment
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Subject:Has it really been a year?
Time:05:32 pm
Current Mood:cheerfulcheerful
It's been a year since I've updated my livejournal and so much has happened.

Basically in a nutshell In July 2013 I left M and T and became a free woman.

In the 8 months I have been free, I have landed my own apartment (and NEVER been late on ANY of my bills), got both my own checking and savings account.

I've landed an office job working as a "Records and Archives Specialist" which is a fancy title meaning I'm a file clerk. But I get my own office and can listen to music all day.

I've found that freedom suits me and I'm enjoying every moment.

I love my apartment and being able to decorate how I want.

I've picked up new hobbies (cooking, baking, crochet) and plan on returning to horseback riding this summer.

I've also found joy in a friend of mine. He and I are getting handfasted for a year and a day on March 14th and then heading to Baton Rouge to visit my parents for the weekend.

I've connected more with my spiritual side and it's wonderful. I keep two altars in my apartment.

Life is indeed good.

I do plan on keeping this updated more.
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Current Music:the birds outside my window
Current Location:my bedroom
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Subject:update time. the barn, my life, personal ramblings
Time:01:57 pm
Current Mood:annoyedannoyed
i picked that icon because well, it just fits.

it's been about a month since i've updated and let's see if i can get all the important bits going. Let's start with

The Good Stuff:
[The Good Stuff]
1) This is probably my best piece of awesome news. Our friend A is moving out of his house into a new one. He has offered to let us rent his old house for the same price we pay for this apartment.
his house is a 3 bed/2bath/2 car garage with a backyard and a fireplace. And did i mention the kitchen is awesome?
He's also leaving us the appliances as well.
Yes, we will of course have a renter's agreement with him outlining all the details and so forth.
But he's already said we don't have to pay the rent in one lump sum, we can split it up however we see fit, as long as it gets paid, or even have the rent due date being anytime during the month where it's more workable for our finances.
We have a move in date of early April..hopefully the first week of April.


2) i managed to find the Earth Goddess statue for my altar that i wanted to get and i think she looks lovely! i will definitely be frequenting the local metaphysical shop more often.
Goddess statue (4) altar flowers (5)

3) i've been progressing really well with my horseback riding. Although i've only been able to have one lesson a week, because Saturdays are so packed that it's insanely crazy. i managed to get ONE Saturday lesson in and it was non-stop people and just overwhelming for me. i'm actually glad i can only go once a week. i was hoping to do the dressage show this coming weekend..but..more on that below.

4) For my birthday my parents have paid for 6 weeks of lessons. and they will be in town in 2 weeks to celebrate all the upcoming March birthdays..so yay! i get to see my mom and dad!

5) i've still got the office job that i love. And although they've changed my schedule twice, it's still a good job.

And now..for The Bad Stuff

[The Bad Stuff]1) Our apartment office managers are douche bags. Yesterday M went in to give them our rent (ON TIME)...and they told her they would not accept our rent because we owe $717.86 in late fees. They said that because our rent was late for two months in a row (usually only by a coupe of days) and that the money we paid for rent was not paid in full. We always paid our rent money in full. They said that the money we paid for rent, they took out the late fees we owed first and then applied the reminder of the money towards our rent..and so it was not paid in full...and now we owe the remainder of the past rents plus all the accumulated late fees for those incomplete rent payments. And while it is illegal in Texas for a landlord to take late fees from rent money, because our renter's agreement with the apartment states that they can apply the rent payment in anyway they see fit, we can't just refuse, even though we have proof of paying the rent money in full.
So...after much calculation..we figured we can have the rent paid plus the $717.86 plus the ADDED late fees for this month because they wouldn't take our rent on time...IF we don't pay our cable/internet bill this month, if i use all of my savings, M uses all of her savings, plus the first paycheck she is getting from one of her new teaching classes (so much for buying new furniture when we move) plus my paycheck next Thursday and don't buy any groceries next week and live off of ramen noodles...we'll be able to pay the office.

2) And because our apartment manager's are douche bags, the entry fee money that i had saved up to be in the dressage show this weekend..gone. i mean it was only $25 and yes there will be other dressage shows, but i had been working hard all winter to prepare for it. More practice time i guess?

3) At my work on Friday they laid off 12 people. At once. Fortunately i got to stay, but they are starting to chop heads fairly seriously, and i'm beginning to wonder if i will be next. And they changed my schedule, again. But at least i got a choice this time. Now i will still work 10 hour day
s, but with Thursdays off instead of Wednesdays off.
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Subject:bread and altars
Time:09:45 pm

Today, i made my first braided bread, from scratch.
It was delicious.
i’ve made home made bread before (and i use the oven and from scratch..no breadmachines)

This was really good.

Bread goodnessCollapse )

And then i put some on my altars...

Altar Collapse )

The top altar is to Hathor and the bottom is to The Earth/Mother Goddess.

And just because i've never posted a pic of my altars with the candles lit...

candle lit altars Collapse )

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Subject:Altar light bulb moment...
Time:05:04 pm

So today i was browsing through offering bowls, contemplating if i should buy a couple for my Hathor altar and Earth Mother altar...when i came across thi http://www.abaxion.com/earth2.htm hich i had seen before and had considered buying as an altar candle...and then like a light bulb going off in my head it hit me...

i don't need to use that as a candle holder, if i can have it and use it as both an offering bowl and a statue representing the Mother Earth Goddess.

It's both dual purpose and saves me a bit of money in the long run.

And it would make a wonderful altar set if i buy it with a couple of thes http://www.abaxion.com/zp31.htm s well.

i like them because The Mother Goddess has no face...these just show nature.

Yes, i still have plans on getting the Gia statue at some point..but the way money is tight right now...that statue has waited almost 13 years. i think it can wait some more.

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Subject:random dressage happiness.
Time:05:55 pm
Current Mood:calmcalm
Just wanting to update today.

i was FINALLY able to make it back to the stables after having to cancel my last two lessons from being sick.

and today was a group dressage lesson, once again on April, and i must say something's improved because April was down and round nd on the aids for about 50% of the one hour lesson..MUCH improved over the lessons i've had in the past where she just won't...or i wasn't signaling correctly.

i could tell when i was having enough pressure on the reins and when to use my leg.

But i still have trouble with the fact that April is a one or the other horse..there is no inbetween with her.

When she's down and round and i ask her to trot, she TROTS. like the fastest trot she can do without actually cantering. :/ when i try to pull her back but keep the trot, she walks. And i'm doing half halts while going "whoa whoa" and putting pressure with my leg..but she's an all or nothing horse. which i suppose we'll need to work on. i know she can do it..but she likes going fast. 

i'm also finding i'm having trouble keeping my left leg where it's supposed to be. The lower half likes to swing when i'm posting or cantering. and it's not supposed to do that. 
need to find exercises to strengthen it.

and because i don't think i've ever shared any pics of April on here...

April!Collapse )

And i heard Vanessa talking today about some mini show they'll be having in Feburary with show jumping.

Maybe i'll see if i feel up to doing it.

Jumping, while i love it, lately has been a great source of stress and anxiety for me.

i don't think group jumping lessons are my thing. i think jumping should be a private lesson thing for me. i feel too nervous in group jumping lessons. i always feel i'm in someone's way.
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Current Music:"Sakura Fabuki" from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
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Subject:update time, happy new year and more!
Time:01:20 am
Current Mood:sicksick
Oh where to start...

well i had a decent Winter Solstice. Not many presents..i did get the beautiful pendant tha harnessphoto ot for me. (Thank you by the way! It rarely comes off!) but the lack of presents doesn't matter because K came over and i was able to give him his present...i didn't get a video of him opening it (for which i could kick myself) but i did get a picture of him with it...i bought him an authentic drinking horn..which he says has not left his truck..and he uses it at bars.

Kevin with his present!Collapse )

After that we started to make breakfast for dinner...M made bacon, breakfast sausage and smoked sausage while i tried a new buttermilk pancake recipe.. which turned out delicious and i damn well want to make it again.

Originally it was only supposed to be M, T K and myself...however my friend April-chan and her bf didn't want to spend the day alone so they got invited over..and then my friend R called because his family was being a bag of dicks and he came over as well.

While eating we all sat around to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special..and K literally screamed "MOFFAT! NO!" at the end. We all laughed.

And then Dec 31st...i get sick. i was supposed to go to my friend Matt-kun's house for a NYE party but noooo. i had to come down with the worst head cold i've had in years.

i had hoped i would  be able to go into work but no. i had to call in sick on Wednesday..i tied to go into work Thursday..but only made it about 4 hours before i was told to go home and call in Friday so i could rest.

so i did.

and i'm still not completely over it, but i'm better than i was and by the end of this weekend i should be feeling much better.

my mom also sent me her home made fudge recipe..which i am dying to make..come on weather cooperate with me! i need a clear day with low humidity!

i also managed to reorganize my altar to Hathor so it doesn't look so cluttered anymore. i may post pictures of that later.

But speaking of altars, i have also put up and very minimal Earth Mother Goddess altar. i am still doing a lot of introspection on this one, but since close to the beginning of Winter Solstice i have felt i need to also shift some focus to the Mother/Earth Goddess as well. This is still going to take some introspection and, when i can breathe properly again, some meditation. But until then..here's what i have so far. i just used things i had in my apartment...but eventually i want something a little more elaborate if it's something that should be pursued.

i do know eventually i want one of the Millennial Gia statues..simply because i've had my eye on it since i was 19 years old. So..saving money..here i come!

Earth Mother altarCollapse )
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