Thanks to a rather well read cousin I have ANOTHER book review to share! This the first in a new series with all the elements I personally look for in a cozy read – a strong female main character, small town feel, a good mystery, an interesting male in the picture… and MAGIC! The title is Pleating for Mercy and it is the first in the Dressmaker’s Mystery series by Melissa Bourbon.
The main character is a woman called Harlow Jane Cassidy who has returned home to Bliss, Texas from Manhattan and a career as a fashion designer. She is part of a long line of charmed women that are supposed to have descended from Butch Cassidy. She has opened a custom dress making boutique called Buttons & Bows. Each of the women in her family are supposed to have a special charm… which can be VERY useful or seem rather silly. You see the entire story through Harlow’s eyes and thoughts and she is a great narrator.
The rest of the people in town are a lovely patchwork of personalities… and I absolutely loved the pace of the story. There is no smack you in the face romance but potential is there… and the magic is fun and at times subtle. All in all a GREAT first in a new series… I cannot wait for the second one!
Now for the BIG excitement for the week… a trip to the CALGARY ZOO!!! You read that correctly… Kathy, myself and my girls at one of the best zoos in Canada. The last time we went here was when Emanuel was a tiny baby! A LOT has changed!! First off, 5.00 fee for parking! We parked in the Tiger lot! Trinity thought that was cool.
At the zoo
One of the amazing entrance statues
It took a little pre planning and organizing but we managed to get to the zoo when it opened at 10, pay our admission (ouch! even with a coupon) and get going. Apparently quite a few schools figured it was a good day for a trip to the zoo as well so it was a little busy. BUT we managed to see everything we wanted to and really enjoy a rather perfect day.
Ready to see and do...
We started with the penguins. That is, the ones you could see from outside the main exhibit. The wait when we got there and when we were leaving was well over 30 min and the penguins that were visible from right past the entrance of the zoo were exciting enough for our two little ones.
Of course we had to take pictures in front of the exhibit sign too… it was just too cute.
Me, my girls and the nifty penguin statues
We decided to bypass the North American exhibit (umm can see most of that ANY time) and the dinosaurs (new exhibit but lots of walking AND we had the wrong “e” named child with us for it). Instead we headed right over the bridge (what a high water level there is right now!) and onto the African exhibit… we needed to get in our lion time (though really all we got to see was a VERY well groomed head)…
The tortoise on a walk was much more rewarding!
Though the renegade peacock was more exciting…
And the visiting sparrow… we figure he was there for the same reason we were… a little zoo culture!
Let’s see what else was there? Of course Trinity had to pore over that map and choose the animal shapes that interested her the most!
Master map readers
Oh and lots and lots of flamingos, an unexpected find! And pink to boot…
Trinity and the flamingos
We had to stop for a hot dog along the way… just a snack to tide the girls until we got our lunch break. Of course that was coupled with a potty break.
We HAD TO see the elephants, Trinity was emphatic about that.
There was also the last remaining dinosaur from the original dinosaur exhibit to check out. Trinity was quite interested in what seemed to be a hole in its neck. Apparently it is a historical landmark now.
Trinity was very intrigued by the train that was NOT a real train… a part of the children’s area it ran out on the walkways without a rail. She was certain that that was NOT the way it should be!
Train that is not a train according to Trinity
We also saw the red panda… a favourite of Karyn and mine!
And a goat with the neatest curly horns!
Oh and I got a close up of a second roving peacock…
Lunch was a bit of a rushed affair with two slightly cranky kids but it was totally yummy and gave us enough energy to see our last exhibit. My favourite exhibit was the butterflies. It is way bigger than when I went as a child and still a lovely place. Though with all the children in from school trips the butterflies were not landing very often. Trinity had to check out the pond in the middle of course.
On the way out we had to take a picture on the pink light… All in all I think we spent around 4 hours out and by the end of it we were ALL ready for a nap… so… we did!!!
I got the boys each a pencil and we got a special postcard to share… and then each of the girls got a little kitty teddy… so we did really good with our shopping as well.
Now post nap we had ANOTHER exciting activity planned – dinner with Esther! At HER place! This was our first visit there AND our first dinner cooked by the lovely Esther. Both were wonderful. We caught up, hung out and generally spent some wonderful girly time together. Trinity even had her nails done AGAIN! Spoiled!
Esther in the kitchen
So that was one of our best days in the city… not only did we see some of our favourite critters but managed to corner the elusive Esther in her natural habitat. With a promise of a repeat visit! Seriously this week was an eye opener. I have missed these people.
Late night boardgame with Kathy and Neko
The most interesting fact we could find about hippos
I am so far behind it isn’t funny! Well, actually… maybe it is a little! Anyway, mid week on my week long vacation from boys and spouse… we all woke up on the wrong side of the bed on Wednesday… but not completely. After all, there was so much still to NOT do, and two adorable (when they weren’t pouting, whining or pitching a fit) girls to enjoy it with.
We started our morning with quiet time in the livingroom… thank goodness I got my iTouch back from its temporary home at Kathy’s cracked screen and all. I downloaded a couple new apps for Trinity (free versions of course) and let her go at it. A certain Dora and a friendly kitty topped the choices.
Breakfast is always entertaining when there is a deck being built! Gotta get in that sunshine. The activity going on right outside the window was an added bonus.
They actually made some awesome progress over the early portion of the day. With country music to boot!
Men at work
When watching the workers paled and Echo needed a nap TRINITY watered the flowers she and Kathy had planted before Kathy left for Ontario. She was adamant that it was HER job and I was only allowed to watch and take pictures.
Water the flowers
After lunch it was time to relax and wait for Kathy to get in from her flight. I think her kitties were VERY happy to get their mommy back and Trinity was excited to have someone new to explain what all we had been up to lately! We had further plans for the evening though. A cross stitching friend from yahoogroups and Facebook came by to finally meet in person! With her came some treats for the kids and some things for myself! It was a great visit. I hope we can do so again.
After we saw off our friend Terri it was time to prepare for our next visitor… and use one of the gifts – CHALK!!! Trinity was so excited to have a brand new box with a whole variety of colours. Echo had to get in some lines herself and the cats took the chance to explore the immediate front yard and check out the grass.
After dinner for the girls and bedtime it was GAMING time! With Bianca (a friend from my university years), nachos and a good boardgame. Seriously this has been one of the best weekends for visiting time!! So many friends and family!
Bianca and the boardgame
So Wednesday was not all that busy BUT we had fun… and got lots of sleep so that we could face the next day which also was… wait… check back in the next entry for all the excitement!!!