I'm sure you'll be quite relieved to know that my blog has been reinstated on the Family Times website, here.
The voting form is still where it was before, here.
I'm just loving The Christmas Album 2013 which I bought last week. It's the one which is a fundraiser for Starship Children's Hospital. Apart from the ho-hum rendering of Fairytale of New York (which isn't helped by the fact that I'm utterly over this depressing song), every song is a gem.
My absolute favourite, which I tend to replay repeatedly, is SOL3 MIO's cover of Have Yourself a Merry Christmas. It's just beautiful and I could listen to these boys sing forever. In fact, I'm going to go out later and look for their CD - even if it turns out to be a local Three Tenors type of thing.
I must tell you about two books I've been reading, both of which are set in China. The first is Jung Chang's Empress Dowage Cixi. It's a work of non-fiction, telling the story of how a young Manchurian woman made her way from being an emperor's low-ranked concubine to effectively China's ruler. If Jung Chang's research is to be believed, Cixi's intellect and cunning were astonishing. She's also forward-thinking and not at all the tyrant we know from history. It's not at all dry and probably the most difficult aspect is remembering who everyone is.
The other is Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement. I'm a Tan fan from way back, so even though I would not have touched this book if it were by any author, I bought it because it's by Amy Tan. Unfortunately even though it's well enough written, it is turning exactly as I'd feared. By which I mean that it's Memoirs of a Geisha with a Chinese setting and without the tiresome descriptions of kimonos. I will keep reading it, in case it gets better, but at this stage it doesn't feel like a keeper.