Tuesday, December 12, 2006
It's a busy day here at Chez Petri. L has scarlet fever (basically strep gone bad - kid has a HIGH pain tolerance and doesn't know when he has strep) I have strep, M & A are going to the doctor this afternoon, cuz I'm thinking they have it too - I don't know how they swallow with those tonsils. Husband has doctor's appt this afternoon - he is not getting better either. (He had the real live flu a week and a half ago, went to Calif. for work for a week, came home with a double ear infection and a hacking cough. )
Soooo. I spent the morning with a bottle of spray Clorox cleaner. My house is spotless from about lightswitch height down. I need a bug bomb for strep...
I do know that I am lucky. My kids seem to get one huge illness about twice a year. I have friends whose kids are sick every week. And no one has asthma.
I really thought I'd be down & depressed, but it's so ridiculous it's funny. Although, everyone MUST get better soon - I'll never get anything together for Xmas or A's b-day (on Friday) if they aren't at school.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Well, it's been an interesting day. I don't know if I'll have any hair left next week. My husband leaves for San Jose tomorrow until the 8th, and M has been a holy terror today. She drew on her face (and other things) with red marker, that wasn't exactly permanent - but difficult to get off. (I tried alcohol, which got it off the couch, and the TV, and the carpet, but not her skin.) Then, while I was in the shower, she cut off half of her hair. (she doesn't have much to begin with.) My other two children NEVER cut their own hair (or anyone else's!) Then, this evening, she & A were in the big bathtub splashing around and my husband came running up yelling something about the water. Turns out, the water they had been splashing was dripping down the light fixture in the kitchen (right underneath the tub).
It doesn't help that my husband has the cold that I had two weeks ago (Hello! I cooked Thanksgiving dinner feeling JUST LIKE THAT) and he is a big fat baby about it. Ok, well not exactly a baby, but he is sleeping while all this other stuff is going on, and it makes me crabby. I have no patience for sick people. I am a very nurturing person at all other times in their lives, but when they are sick, I can't handle it. (awful, huh?)
I started a Yahoo!Groups for the middle school discussion, but no one is saying anything on it yet. (it's viamontessori) It'll happen eventually (both the discussion AND the middle school) - there is just a learning curve, and I have to invite more people, come up with something intriguing to say and then...
I'm still on the Sharon Shinn bender - I read more of the Samaria series, and a Twelfth House book. Verry nice. I put down the Jovah's Angel after my last post & can't find it. (Ack!) I read an awful T.A. Barron, but it was his first, so hopefully they get better. And L & I have been listening to Sabriel by Garth Nix. Something about the snow that makes me want to read that book again and again.
Well, I'm working on a paper discussion the various options for a Montessori Middle School, so I should get back to it. If it works well, I might post it. Everyone is asleep, so it's quiet here, except for the hum of the portable heater, drying under the bathtub.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
This picture is from the MSU Student Organic Farm in September.
We went to the Farm to pick up our CSA share today. They had just moved the chicken coop, so we went to look at the chickens. The rooster crowed while we were watching and it scared M at first. A was there, asking in his mile-a-minute-5-year-old-way about every aspect of chickendom. And the rooster kept crowing.
So on the way home, M kept saying “cock-a-doodle-doo” and “I’m a mommy rooster”. (we have some talking to do, still – but what do you expect when Disney puts out movies with boy cows?) At any rate, the conversation at the dinner table was also peppered with Cock-a-doodle-doo’s. C was explaining to M that other languages attribute different sounds to animals. In Japan a rooster says “eek-a-reek-a-ree”. A started asking about German, and Spanish, and Chinese and we had no idea. Does anyone else know?
I just finished reading Rescue from Domestic Perfection by Don Ho. It was WONDERFUL. He is the anti-Martha. There was an article last week in the NYTimes about him - he was a successful restauranteur (with all the trappings) and decided that it was too much. So now he's down to 55 possessions. Ok, so that's a bit extreme, but a girl can dream! It was a very persuasive book, and now my hallway is echo-y and beautiful, because I got rid of the stuff that had accumulated there. (OK, so not all of it is actually put away, but it is closer than it was!)
I've also been reading my magazines: Sunset, Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, Popular Science, and Brain Child (that one actually came last month, I just haven't gotten to it until now). I would like to order Ready Made, but I think I have enough for now.
Monday, October 23, 2006
We picked these apples on Friday the 13th. I made them into apple crisp this evening. Yum.
Late late late. I should be in bed. My husband is in California and I cannot get ANYTHING done when he isn't here. Funny, if he is here, he's not doing much for me. (That is NOT a slam, he is helpful, but it really shouldn't matter one way or the other if he's here, as far as me getting the brood out of the door, ya know?)
L was sick today (sore throat, headache) so he stayed home. We took A to school, went to the doctors to make sure it wasn't strep (it wasn't!) and then came home for lunch. I decided that I needed to go through the kids' clothes and winnow a bit. So I brought everyone's clothes down to the dining room, cleared off the table and started sorting. I was listening to a book on tape (Sabriel by Garth Nix - read by Tim Curry - 2nd time through - it is LOVELY) when L came in and said "Mom, it's 3:28." I thought he was joking. I am supposed to pick A up at 3 p.m. School is 15-20 minutes away if I fly under the radar. ACK! Luckily I have a great friend who lets her kids play in the woods near school. She took A and let him play with her boys until I got there.
Books read: Sharon Shinn's Archangel (LOVED it...) and Wrapt in Crystal (Also good...) and I'm in the middle of Jevoh's Angel . Yup, it's pretty much been a Sharon Shinn bender. I have 3 more novels by her waiting in the wings. I've been paging through Cover and Bake a Cook's Illustrated casserole book and L and I watched Nanny McPhee yesterday - I liked it! L stole a book off of my TBR (to be read) pile - East by Edith Pattou. He is currently reading Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer as well.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
This has been a week of extremes. It snowed today. The snow is sticking - covering the lawn, the leaves, the house. My son A was upset because I wouldn't get out the sleds. (Mean momma - I told him it had to snow 3 inches before I got the sleds out.) Monday it was beautiful, in the upper 60s. Sun shining. Who knew we'd get snow? Really, truly snow. It's OCTOBER. Last year on Halloween we had a neighborhood cookout at 10 p.m. - it was too warm for A to wear his Tigger costume.
My emotions have been extreme too. I was ebullient on Monday - excited about starting to gather information for the middle school, starting the online class (on Montessori Leadership), I had the laundry under control, menus planned, the first floor was almost clean. Today, laundry is NOT under control, we had fast food twice this week, I am depressed about how much work it will take to create a middle school, I haven't done any homework for my class. What's up with all that?
My son L is one of four boys in his class. Next year two of the boys will be going to other schools, and the third boy probably will be gone as well. So L will be the only 4th grade boy. I asked him if he wanted to go to the local school instead but he said no, he'd rather be in Montessori. The 3rd boy's mom said she was worried about the small class size, she felt that her son needed a larger group. So here I am again, wondering why that doesn't concern me. Am I missing an important Parenting gene?
And then, after posing the above dilemma to my husband, I have more questions. When will be the best time to move him? Can I have him in only one year of the three year cycle? Montessori works in 3 year cycles, so if I can't commit to the entire three years, I shouldn't really put him in one. I guess I'll have to go visit the local school and see what the options are. He won't be happy about it (my son, my husband will be happy). Switching L would be the best thing because then we can afford to put M in Montessori. I have HUGE guilt issues just for thinking about switching him. But then, I REALLY want M to go to Montessori school. It is just tough with the first kid, I guess, cuz he's got to do everything first.
OK, one more thing about that missing Parenting Gene. This week I told M to get dressed several times and she wouldn't. I finally said "fine, you'll go to school in what you're wearing." We were just going to pick up the boys. M looked at me and said "Yipee!" (She was just wearing a diaper.) So, I put her in the carseat, gave her a blanket and we left. (I did have clothes for her in the car.) When we got to school another mother said "is she naked?" and I told the story. The other mother was horrified - well, at least her expression was.
Books read over the past week: Sharon Shinn's Heart of Gold - yummy science fiction with a bit of race relations. I loved it. Meg Cabot's Size 12 is Not Fat. Also good, in a different way. Think Bridget Jones.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
It was fun for other reasons too - being able to be the student and have my kids be the teachers; spending time with them individually; actually exercising. I usually have M with me, so they don't get much of my undivided attention.
Life has been fun for the past few days. I've been working on the middle school plan, been joking with my husband, cleaning the house a bit. M and my friend Anne and I went to a thrift shop the other day and found some 100% wool sweaters - I'm going to felt them and make some bags. I've also started a scarf. I'm looking forward to the trunk show. I don't know if I'll have enough really, to sell, but we'll see.
I'm reading a Sharon Shinn book right now... The Safe-Keeper. It's good, really good. My son is into Charlie Bone series. He's cannot WAIT until the next Garth Nix book comes out...
Monday, September 18, 2006
Parenting is so hard, so continuous. Sometimes it is so NOT ME. I have a bad (yes Dad, a bad) attitude today. I guess its a bunch of stuff - I dislike my new haircut immensely. It'll grow, (soon I hope) and it's really not bad, it's just not me. None of my clothes fit. I'm feeling taken-for-granted by my children and husband. I am tired of whiny, crying, tired kids. I want to be working toward the school: doing something, not waiting. This is what they call Out-of-Sorts.
Today A chose to yell at me after everything I said to him. "Time to go home" was met with screams, "here is your water", "no, we're not going to the library" and "time for taekwondo", too. We went to taekwondo and he wouldn't go in. He sat outside and yelled. I was so embarrassed. I took him home and just lost it. My husband was great with A and talked to him about responsibility and promises and respect. I just couldn't get any words out. I was just worn to a raveling. I don't understand this behavior - I put him to bed at 7:45 tonight, hopefully that helps.
We had fun this weekend - went to a work party for C's work. (I'm in house-lust again... I had just started to like my house and then we go to this beautiful place with a mud room, and a HUGE kitchen, and lots of empty carpeting...) On Sunday we flew kites. My mom gave the kids a pirate ship kite. It only flies when there is a lot of wind. The wind was perfect! C tied the kite to one of the soccer goals and it flew on its own. Even M could fly a kite. We brought Buck to the field with us. He is such a dopey golden retriever. He ran and ran and then laid down in a puddle. A stinky, muddy puddle.
I just finished reading Lois McMaster Bujold's book The Curse of Chalion. So good. I love books that let me fall into them in the first page or two. This one was (like all of Bujold's) tremendous - lots of throne-room intrigue and planning, a little bit of magic, a little romance.
Now I'm reading a thriller-mystery called Fatal Tide by Iris Johansen. It's not horrible. (She's a NY Times Bestselling Author.) It's a little unbelievable, a little choppy. None of the magical language that is in the Bujold's. I want to read some of my other library books... We'll see - it's so difficult to find time to read - there's so much to do.
Maybe that's part of my problem today too - housework is so continuous. Parenting is continuous. Laundry is so continuous. I know, changing my perspective would help. I can finish the dishes tonight. Never mind that there is always another cup hiding behind the coffee maker, or in the living room. I can clean up the living room tonight. But I probably won't. I'll probably just sit here, cycling through Readerville or chatting with friends on Zoetrope or Googling random things or checking out other people's blogs.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
There was a time in my life when I had unlimited reserves of patience. I could re-direct until the cows came home. I could look at a screaming child and find some element of empathy, some softening of my heart. I could take deep breaths and let go of all thoughts that the tantrums were personal. This is not that time.
It would be so useful to me to have a Pause button. Forget those Easy buttons from the commercials - I just need a few minutes to compose myself; to calm my brain; to sort out all the information that is hurled at me from all quarters.
I decided tonight that I don't want to yell as much. I want to be more forgiving/understanding/flexible, but not a push over. (is that one word?)
Yesterday M's finger got pinched in a door. We spent the morning in the Emergency Room. She got 4 stitches in her pinky - what a trooper. She is a smiley kid by nature and by the time I decided she needed professional attention, she was smiling at the school secretary. As far as Emergency Room visits go, this was the best experience we could have had. Pleasant, smiling, calm people who explained everything as we went along. I love teaching hospitals.
My son A started full days of school. (he's in kindergarten at Montessori school) He's been awfully tired. Tired = Cranky. I wonder if he can hear me sometimes. He is a dramatic kid, so my evenings are filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth when things don't go the way he planned. I can't negotiate with him at all. He'll be screaming, crying, etc. and then suddenly he'll stop and ask for ice cream. (or to watch TV). That boy could live on TV or computers and apple juice and yogurt. On the bright side, he made a necklace for me today in school, and wrote his name on his paper.
My other son L ignores A often, but he's so good with M. L is in third grade and reading up a storm. He's working on fractions this week. Adding and subtracting. And telling jokes that only 3rd graders could love. Tomorrow he takes his last midterm before testing for 2nd degree black belt. (he's 1st degree now: there are 9 total)
I read a mystery the other day called Swallow the Hook by S.W. Hubbard about a small Adirondack town police officer. It was good - entertaining, not too obvious. I have trouble with the word Adirondack. I always want to pronounce it Aridondack and then it just sounds wrong.
Hmm. Painted part of the bathroom yesterday. I'm liking the Buxton Blue. I asked M and she said "It's too dark". But, she is just 2 1/2.
Still working on my struggle between minimalism and gross consumerism. It is just so easy to buy stuff. Then, when I find things that I want to make on my own, I still have to buy stuff to do it. I'm thinking about making X-mas gifts this year. It rarely gets beyond that tho'. I did make an awesome Monkey backpack for one of my nieces and she didn't even thank me. (I know she got it.) So part of me doesn't want to do anything like that again (it took me a year to knit!). Maybe just jewelry this year. It's easier to make. Of course, having that Pause button would be helpful for this part of my life, too!
Thursday, August 31, 2006
We only had 3 rules: be Reasonable, be Responsible, and be Respectful. It is amazing how much of daily life fits under that umbrella. When a student was making poor choices, we would just look at him/her and say: "was that Reasonable?" (or Responsible, or Respectful) and the discussion would continue from there.
I should start including those into my home life. They were extremely effective.
Our dean was a master at putting the responsibility of the behavior back on the kids, and of letting them have space to figure out what they did. He'd call a kid down to the office, say hello, and have them sit in his office for awhile while he went out, made a phone call or two, talked to a teacher, and then, eventually, he'd make his way back. By the time they had been in his office for an hour, most kids were in tears, apologizing through hiccups. The students felt bad about disappointing him. It was amazing.
We had the best spaghetti tonight. Organic tomato sauce, red peppers, basil and fresh green beans from the MSU Student Organic Farm. (www.msuorganicfarm.com), fresh French bread from the bakery in DeWitt. My tummy is happy.
The kids planted these Three Sister's Mounds at the Farm back in June. You make a mound of dirt and plant corn, beans, and squash seed in the mound. The beans climb up the corn and the squash plants keep the whole thing weeded. They were wildly successful. I think there are at least 10 spaghetti squashes on my 3 kids' plots. We harvested 2 squashes today, and 2 beans from M's bean plant. I'm still working on my camera/computer combo. Soon I'll figure out how to post photos.
L started school this week. I asked him what he did on the first day and he said "I already told dad, and I'm only telling one person a day. You'll have to ask him." He is NOT allowed to be a teenager yet. He is only 8 1/2.
M & A were screaming banshees today. We almost got kicked out of the hardware store. I even had to stop the car on the side of the road and refuse to go any further if they didn't be quiet. The problem with parenting books is that they always tell you what you shouldn't say and those are the only phrases I remember! I like to blame days like today on the moon. I should go see - I think it should be a full moon soon.
We were at the hardware picking up paint and wallpaper removal gunk. Our master bath toilet is broken right now (and not attached) so it is a perfect time to remove the wallpaper in there and paint. Of course, I hadn't decided on a color, and I don't really have time to do it without Little Miss M's help (she's only 2 1/2) or A's help (he's 5 1/2), but I went anyway. I am now the proud owner of a container of Dif, a sprayer, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore's Pottery Barn Buxton Blue . I really like the Phillipsburg Blue, but it is too dark in that closet. (there is a reason they were called Water Closets.)
Well, enough already! I'm off to cruise my favorite sites and then perhaps to watch TV. Maybe if I get control of the remote, I won't have to watch UFC Fight Night again.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Now to work on starting the school. Truthfully, I don't know where to begin. Actually, that's not true, I do have an idea... I'm going to talk to a few good friends who were instrumental in starting the school down in Jackson (da Vinci) next week. We'll see. I'm sure there's more I could do...
I read The Celtic Riddle by Lyn Hamilton yesterday. It was a good mystery. C was drinking the last of his Laphroig (scotch) whilst I was reading the end, which was appropriate to the story.
Today I started a book that L chose for me (he's only 8 and giving ME recommendations!) It's a young adult book - so far so good. I've been getting the bathroom ready to paint, and trying out colors on the other bathroom today, and figuring out how to fix my sewing machine table (that I got at the Surplus store for $10 yesterday!).so I haven't had much time to read. Now it's time to put kids down for naps, and then, maybe, I'll paint, or I'll read. Or I'll nap.
Oooh, all the windows are open - it's cool outside, and cloudy. A neighbor is working on his house, so every so often I hear a saw blade going. Such a summer sound to me...
Saturday, August 19, 2006
There is something magical when you are with a group of kindred spirits.
When I'm with the women in this group, I feel like materialism isn't an issue for me anymore. I want to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. I want to do yoga and climb trees with my kids and eat tofu. I can breathe and create and see possibilities. Why would I want to sell something that would increase someone's burden of materialistic things? When I want to simplify simplify simplify.
I have had this idea for a few years. There are so many talented women whose children go to our school. Many of these women don't work outside of the home. I've wanted to create a place called "The Office" where these women could go while their kids are in school. We'd rent a building, have a computer or two, a copier, a fax machine, a coffee maker, and lots of chairs. Somehow we'd do something to pay for that stuff and put a little in our pockets. Some would only be there an hour or two a day. Some would be there longer. I still don't know what we'd do... Ah well, another day.
I saw "What the Bleep" - major food for thought. (It seemed like the back story for The Matrix) I've started DogStar by Diana Wynn Jones - I'm a sucker for anything she writes. This too, is excellent, like everything else of hers I've read. I have Triangle by Katharine Weber next up - it's the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in the 1800s. (The fire was on the 9th floor - no fire exits, girls were jumping from the windows).
My mom was here for a few days (ok, the last week) and she went home yesterday. I MISS HER. It was so nice to have her here. M went with me to the airport to drop her off on Saturday. Today M asked "When do we pick up grandma again?"
Saturday I taught a class at the MSU Student Organic Farm (http://www.msuorganicfarm.com/) as part of a Skill Share. We made spool-knit bracelets. (I started the class by having them make their own spool-looms) I had about 6 students: 2 adults and 4 kids. 2 of the kids were a bit young, so they ended up just beading a bracelet.
Ok, time for bed.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
First, I'd love to have a job. Responsibilities outside of the home; a little something different for my brain to chew on; a little time where I am not mom; a little money that I've contributed. (I could go into the whole stay-at-home mom thing, and Yes, I do contribute to our family, just not monetarily. I know what I do at home is important and necessary, but I'd like time to myself, and I'd like it to be productive in some way and money is a very obvious way to prove that time for myself is valuable. hmmm - maybe I should chew on that a bit...)
On the other hand, my main job is to be at home; to care for my children, my husband, my house, our family. I do not want anything to interfere with that. In some ways I think having a job would help me do that part better, because my time would be more limited and I'd be forced to concentrate better. But that is a justification, not a reason. At some point, I'd like my kids to know that it's OK for the mom to have other interests and responsibilities outside of the family unit.
What I really want to do is start a school. (I like this one: http://www.eaglerockschool.org/about_us/index.asp) An alternative middle/high school. Well, a middle/high school that approaches education in a different way: more along the lines of Montessori, where children are responsible for themselves and their choices. Where they could be challenged and have fun and enjoy learning.
(I need to work on my spiel - maybe selling Arbonne could be a training course for me in sales.)
I don't know why I'm even considering it. I have so much to do here (at home) and for school (I'm on the board) .
Here at home I want to paint the walls, (all of them), put in new floors, a new deck, a new driveway, clean, organize, get rid of clutter, sort kids clothes.
For the school board I have to investigate middle school possibilities, look at a different parking lot configuration, figure out what next.
Sometimes I wish there would be an email or phone call from Whomever is in Charge Upstairs that would tell me What To Do. There are times when I really want to be a Kelly-Girl: mindless filing, punch the clock. I know I would get bored eventually, but...
Time for dinner...
What I've Read: Letters to Emily by Camron Wright. Good. Very Tuesdays with Morrie-ish. and Unsolicited by Julie Kaewert (a book-lovers mystery: set in England in a publishing company) I liked it.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I finished the Temeraire book. Darn, there's a fourth. And it's not written yet. I enjoyed the first two tremendously, the third was a bit slow and ponderous towards the end and it did not resolve, which ticks me off sometimes. I want the whole story, dammit!
I also read The Wind Singer by William Nicholson. Of course, it's another trilogy. One of those spin offs of 1984. Perfect society, rebel kids. I love it. Anytime a book promotes individual thinking...
Saturday, August 12, 2006
M & A & I took the dogs for a walk. Both of them. At the same time. M was in the stroller, A was riding behind, I was pushing the stroller with one hand, and holding both leashes in the other. We have been watching the-dog-whisperer-Ceasar-Millan semi-religiously, so I was bound and determined to force those dogs to mind. It took a few stops, a lot of muscle, but we got around the neighborhood across the street. I'm sure there were some people laughing their asses off behind their draperies. I had sweat dripping off of me by the time we were finished.
There is another parenting book I like: Helping Kids Help Themselves by E. Perry Good. It's based on the Control Theory/Reality Therapy proposed by William Glasser. (http://www.wglasser.com/) They propose that everyone needs love, power, fun, and freedom and all behaviours are done in order to meet the lack of those areas. My son A, for example, is often searching for some love/affection/acceptance or control (power). He is the middle kid, stuck between an intelligent older brother and a cute little sister. He will usually calm down if I address how much I love him first. "A, I love you. I do not love how you are behaving right now." As with most of my parenting books, it works so well if I follow the directions consistently.
I'm working on being consistent. This blog is one way to practice.
(I saved this as a draft, so here's Sunday's addition:)
I'm feeling virtuous today. I had 12 ears of cooked corn-on-the-cob from the other night. I cut it off the cob and put it in the freezer. The kitchen is fairly clean - I am in the midst of re-organizing the kitchen. It feels good. I cleaned up the guest room & bath today and re-organized the storage area down there too. I need to run to the store to stock up on essentials: bread, wine and beer. Oh, and decide what's for dinner. After dinner we'll go pick my mom up from the train. I'm excited. I wish she could stay longer than a week.
Off to see what's in the fridge. Ciao!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Omigosh - what is the moon doing right now? My kids have been the whiniest whiners. I was practicing the Love & Logic approach: "I'm sorry, I can't hear what you say when you use that voice." Repeat until they change their voice. BUT I CAN HEAR THEM. every whiny word. my back teeth are ground to nubbins. Well, they are finally in their beds now.
I've been trying to figure out what to write in that little box that describes me in 500 words or less. How do I do that when I don't really know who I am? That sounds so trite, so 1960's, but that's where I am right now. I am busy with a lot of things right now - 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 bird, 1 husband, 1 blog... I'm interested in a lot of things - education, books, knitting, nutrition, Napoleonic maritime strategy, books, taekwondo, cooking, books. Somewhere underneath all this mom-stuff there is Lysne. I don't know where she is, or really, how to define her. General Semantics (http://www.driveyourselfsane.com/) suggests not to define yourself as "a Mom" or "a teacher" because those titles limit who you could be. (Both in your mind and in the minds of others.) Instead say "I teach" or "I write" or "I mother" (which sounds wierd to me - I guess I need practice). I'm running out of verbs. AND I haven't practiced that enough, so that my mind is still stuck on being a Mom. I went to visit my best friend from college a few weeks ago - it was WONDERFUL - but it took me awhile to relax and not feel like I was missing something (like an arm) because I was there all by myself.
OK - well, if you're still here, you waded through all that. Thanks. It's been so long since I've written anything more than permission slips, it'll take me awhile to remember how to organize stuff.
I want to write down what I read too: Today I read a book by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes called Demon in my View. She wrote it when she was 15. It's pretty good for 15. I'm much happier with her other, newer series (The Kiesha'ra Trilogy). Demon is a vampire novel with some interesting bits. I have a few others of hers - I'll report back.
My favorite vampire books are the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries.
I'm also working on the third of the Temeraire trilogy by Naomi Novik. Very good. Sort of like Anne McCaffery meets Patrick O'Brien. Dragons, maritime stuff, a little romance.