Gratitude Sunday – May 16, 2015

It’s funny how some weeks I seem to have no time urge to write and others, I just let ‘er rip!  I thank you all for your kind words for yesterday’s post.  I sometimes have my moments and just “blurt” it out onto the “page”.  I am touched by your kindness, dear Readers.

Gratitude List

  1. I must thank Julie for coming over and being my model for our Mary Kay “Glamour Night”, even thought the whole Mary Kay thing is NOT her thing!  You came for me, and I am touched. (I would have encouraged you to sneak out the back door but you beat me to it! 😉 )
  2. I created my MK website not three days ago and yesterday got a call for an order!
  3. Not only did I deliver the goods to my new customer today, I actually sold her the career.  Never saw that one coming.
  4. So happy my cousin Melanie reminded me that “Bessie” was playing so I could at least PVR it – would have forgotten otherwise and would have been so peeved (still haven’t watched it, so no spoilers, please!)
  5. This may sound funny but I’m so glad I took time to read.  Two fabulous books read, one after the other and now I’m trying to figure out which one is next!

(Anarette:  Please forgive me, I promised you Elvish (Elvian) stories for today but I forgot today was Sunday – I don’t like to post twice in one day (unless it is a reblog) so I promise you will get it tomorrow!)

The Year In Books: May 2015

Well this month is slightly better than last!  At least I’ll have a good twenty days to read this month’s book!

April’s choice was another Jodi Picoult novel.  Lone Wolf.  Not the best choice I could have made considering my past four months… Once I started reading it and realized it would touch on the issue of whether or not one should pull the plug on a patient who is brain-dead, I could have stopped.  I’ve always been a little bit of a masochist though!  In my case there was no opposition to the choice being made but I can only imagine how hard it would be if, as in the case of this book, two siblings have differing views.

As per usual, Picoult delves into a most difficult subject with much research, empathy and heart.  Once again the story is told in a multitude of voices:  The Lone Wolf himself, Luke Warren, who is the patient in question; his son, Edward; his daughter, Cara; his ex-wife, Georgie; the lawyer representing the son, Joe; and a couple of others.  Each chapter is a new voice which weaves the story together.   It was a fascinating read ~ Luke Warren studied wolves in great depth, including living with them in Quebec for a period of two years:  hunted with them, lived with them, participated in whatever rituals, etc. So very interesting.  His telling of his relationship with the wolves is woven into his relationships in the human world which also helps the reader understand his view of life.  As in most families, each member has their own image of other members of the family.  It is not always in synch with the others.  This is the case in this story, both the son and the daughter are convinced they know their dad best and that their choice is best.  I’ll leave it at that and let you enjoy it!

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This month I am going in a whole ‘nother direction!  I have been writing Friday Fictioneers for about a month or so now, and the hostess of this fun Friday activity is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  She just published a book and I thought why not encourage someone I am blogger friends with? So I pre-ordered the book and lo and behold, it arrived three days ago!  Perfect timing.  Please Say Kaddish For Me is the name of the book and is the story of a Jewish girl who, at the age of 16, escapes the brutal massacre by the Czarist tyranny that destroys her home and slaughters her family on a frigid November night in 1899.  It is the story of a time and place rarely spoken of, and romance and courage so profound as to be rarely experienced.

As a big fan of historical stories, I am looking forward to digging into this one!

 

The Year in Books – April 2015

Oh dear.  March came and went and no new book to add.  It took me forever to read American Gods ~ and not because I did not enjoy it.  I did.  I just couldn’t seem to read more than a page or three at a time.  And I don’t think this is the type of book that you should take long breaks reading!  There were times I got confused in the story and had to go back.  Once I got a rhythm going, I was better able to keep up with the many characters and storylines that popped up suddenly.  I found myself thinking:  What? a few times!  It was WEIRD.  But in a good way!  Would I recommend it to just anyone? No.   Am I glad my niece recommended it to me?  Absolutely.  I may even read it again at another time in my life where I can give it my full attention.   I actually understood more of it when I read others’ critiques of the book!  Not a good sign, I would think…  I didn’t fully grasp the war between the Old gods and the New gods until I read someone’s comment and a light bulb went on.  D’oh.  Again, I think it may have not been the best book for me at this time in my life.  I consider myself a rather intelligent woman and don’t enjoy the feeling of not quite being sure I “get” it.

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After reading something that required more than the attention I was willing/able to give, I am returning to a favourite author, Jodi Picoult.  This one was suggested by both of my sisters and a niece.  Lone Wolf would not necessarily have ended up in my hands otherwise.  Then again, it probably would have eventually as I am never disappointed by Ms Picoult’s offerings and figure I will read them all.  She does a lot of research on her subjects and has a way with telling both sides of a story that just draws me in every time.  Why else would I want to read a story of a man brought up by wolves?

 

 

Serendipity

serendipity

[ser-uh n-dip-i-tee] /ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ ti/
 
noun
  1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
  2. good fortune; luck:

    the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.

I used to think serendipity was just about luck.  It’s more than that, isn’t it?  Yes, there is definitely an element of luck but it also is luck that you’ve made possible.

Why am I going on about this pretty word; and it is pretty, don’t you think?  After two days of full-on cooking ~ I’m talking starting at 6:30 in the morning, finishing around 12:30 am (with breaks for delivery and dish-washing and feeding the boys. Oh wait, that entails cooking too!) on both days ~ I was tired and ached all over.
I had two options: take a nap or walk Zeke in the beautiful, warm sunshine.  OK, there was that third option of going to the gym that I signed up for last Tuesday and have not been to since.  But seriously, not in contention for today’s options!
The sun was too bright to ignore, not to mention Zeke’s imploring eyes.  The nap could wait.  Off we went into the sun’s warming rays.  Oh yes, my friends, after months of freezing our tushies off, I was outside.  In a spring-type jacket.  No gloves.  No tuque.  No scarf…   (Yes, Mom, I know.  Too early to take it all off!!)  I was, however, wearing some hiking boots that are waterproof as my winter boots are still wet from yesterday (and frankly, way too hot), my rubber boots (Wellies to you Brits) are in the trailer up north and my running shoes are not waterproof.  There were puddles to jump over and slushy snow to walk through.  Protection was necessary.

Now, which direction?  How far was I willing to walk on my aching feet?

Reflections on melting ice

Reflections on melting ice

I decided to see if I would be lucky enough to run into Lorna and Virginio, a lovely couple I met on a walk a few weeks ago.  Would serendipity come into play?  Yes, there is an element of luck involved, but there is more of a chance of running into them if I actually walk on their street, n’est-ce pas?

Zeke was confused because the direction we took was a totally different one.  Normally we walk on this street on our way back from going to “my” river.  There is no way I was walking that far.  As in may areas of Boucherville, there are many little and large parks with skating circles with or without separate hockey rinks.  The reflections in the melting ice caught my eye so I made my way to a bench and left  Zeke to his own devices.  Many trees to sniff, you know.

My little picture-taking session over, we hit he street.  Hmm, the car is there but the curtains are drawn.  Though the first time we met, an invitation was issued to drop by for a cappuccino by La Barista (V said L was the best!), now was not the time.  I mean, c’mon, I met them all but once!  So, we take a few more steps and lo and behold, I hear:  “Hey there Zeke!”

Serendipity.

Isn’t it wonderful how you can meet people and feel an instant rapport and be able to talk about movies, books, food, without feeling the slightest awkwardness?  V then totally made my day by telling me that he found I had a good aura about me.  What a fabulous thing to be told.  I have not been feeling at my most shiniest and brightest lately and these words were manna from heaven.  Grazie Virginio.  Lorna, I can see why you’ve kept him around for these 43 years!

We must have chatted in their driveway for a good half hour before I turned back for home with a list of movies to look out for (Midnight’s Children is serendipitously playing tomorrow morning!), a hankering to make risotto and the knowledge that I would be welcome for a cup of coffee and a chitchat ~ as long as I brought Zeke!  I will be kind to them and wait for much dryer weather because them-there paws were pretty gross!

The Year In Books – February 2015

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Already mid-February and only now am I posting my February read?  Sheesh…

I only read in bits and spurts last month so it took me forever to read a most enjoyable book.  Kind of sounds oxymoronic, doesn’t it?  Well, it is what it is!  I basically read before bed so a chapter or three per night does not make for a fast read, no matter how good a book is!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was suggested to me by my niece, Jennifer.  And a good suggestion it was!  As I was reading the story, the description of the circus and the people involved in its creation I could not help wishing it were a possibility in real life!

Imagine a circus that appears suddenly, is set up without your knowing it and is only open from sunset to sunrise.  The whole set-up is black and white: from the performers to the tents to the rest of the décor.  After a few nights (it is never really specified just how long it stays in one area), it disappears.  This circus is particularly magical as all the acts are real and not mere illusions.

Two magicians have each taken a student under their wing to teach them all they know.  What the students don’t realise is they are part of a challenge.  They don’t even know what it is nor who their opponent is until they fall in love with each other.

I shall not say more as to say too much is to ruin it for others!  I truly enjoyed it.

My February choice was also suggested (and the book supplied) by said niece.   We have been bonding lately (which is simply marvellous) and it’s nice to be able to discuss a book with a fellow reader.   We’ve yet to fully discuss The Night Circus but we will!  American Gods is my choice this month because for some reason, every where I look, I see the name Neil Gaiman!  He must be a “go-to” writer, lately.  A number of his books are on many of my Goodreads friends’ lists.  I see his name everywhere I turn.  I’ve no idea what it’s about and no one has told me a thing so let’s see where this takes me!

The Year in Books : January 2015

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A new year, a new slew of books!

Having had a most difficult December, it took me ages to read what should have taken a few days at most.  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler was a read that kept me interested despite the happenings.  And talk about increasing one’s vocabulary!  Thank goodness I was reading it on my iPad so that, at a touch of the screen, I could get the definition of some of them.  Stupid iPad, if the word was followed by a ~ stuck to it, I could not adjust, therefore, get no definition.  Drove me nuts and may just drive me towards a real Kindle…

I cannot properly describe this book without giving away very important information but let us just say that there is a sad story behind the, what seems at first, frivolous, beginning.  The phrase that struck me most was, when asked about her day, Rosemary is told to “start in the middle”.  She tells the story by starting from the middle, then goes to the end of the beginning, then the beginning of the end until we get all the pieces to the full story.   Thank you for suggesting it, Safia!  You were right, I truly did enjoy it!

My second read was supposed to be the Martha Beck one: Finding Your Way in a Wild New World and I will continue picking it up and reading a chapter here and there when the mood strikes.  It didn’t last month.

So, without further ado, this month’s choice was suggested to me by my niece, Jennifer, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  The circus arrives one day without any advance notice, opens only for one night after sundown and disappears the next day.  It is called “Le Cirque des Rêves”  (Circus of Dreams) and is a unique experience.  So looking forward to getting more into it!  So far, so good!

 

 

The Year In Books: December

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Wow… last month of the year already!  I would have liked to be able to say I read more books that I had planned this year but alas, time is just not on my side.  Or, rather, reading time was not given the respect it deserved!

I did, however, manage to read one book this month!  The late, lovely Maeve Binchy’s last novel:  A Week in Winter was, as expected, a joy to read.  I shall so miss Maeve (though I haven’t read everything she’s written yet so I still have some to look forward to!) and cannot believe she is no longer around to entertain us with the lives of people in and around her beloved Ireland.

I tried to take my time, to savour each moment, each chapter but as always happens, she draws you in to a world where you just feel like you could be one with the characters!  At the end I was sorry to not hear about the rest of the lives of Chicky, Orla, Rigger, Winnie, John, The Walls, Henry & Nicola, Anders, Freda and even the grumpy, old Miss Nell Howe!  Each of these people either worked in creating the inn known as Stone House, in the town of Stoneybridge, on the West side of Ireland; or were guests of the very first week it opened.

I so wish I had a room there for a week!  So, so, so enjoyable.

Now, what to choose for this month?  I mean, I’m still caught up in the goings on of Stoneybridge!  Oh well… one must, eventually, let go and move on to something else.

That something else is actually going to be two books.  One recommended by my new friend Safia Moore, (a lovely blogger I follow, originally from Northern Ireland, now living in the UAE) “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler.  Other than what the front cover says, I am completely in the dark about this one!  I like that.  I am basing my choice solely on another’s recommendation.  Will keep you posted!

My second choice is “Finding your Way In a Wild New World” by Martha Beck.  I have this habit of buying all sorts of self-empowerment books that just sit on shelves, collecting dust because “I’ll get to them eventually”.  Well, eventually has arrived.  I have decided to include one of these inspirational books per month as well as a novel.  I have many of them and must justify the expense! I remember going to a seminar once and the animator said that he insisted on reading not only novels and not only books on personal growth or other “teaching-type” books but at least one of each (usually at the same time!) per month.  Hmmm.  So I’m trying that.  I don’t usually have two books going at the same time… well not often anyway.

Are you a “serial” reader or do you have an “open” relationship with books?

 

My November Mantel

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Just four days left before December is upon us so I better share my November Mantel before it gets all gussied up for Christmas!

As mentioned in previous posts, I took a wonderful on-line photography class with Joy Sussman and one of the assignments was to create still lifes.  I got many compliments on my pomegranate and pinecones one and was told it would make a great centrepiece so… I’ve put it on the mantelpiece!  That way I get to enjoy it for a bit longer (until my son starts stealing the pomegranates and eating them…)

I’ve noticed there is a LOT of red this month!  Doesn’t help with the red walls either… will have to rethink my colour combos… not next month as it is Christmas and most of our village is red… sigh…

My teapot of the month is this winter scene that I can’t for the life of me remember where I got.  It came with a nice sugar bowl (in constant use) and creamer.  I want to say it was a gift but then I could not give the credit where it was due.  Will have to ask around (my bad…)

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Why on earth do I have all these Christmas books on the mantel?  Well, it is quite simple really.  It is time for me to create my baskets of goodies and I am inspired by various recipes found in one or the other.  As I am constantly going through them, better to have them all in one area, don’t you think?  Now that I look at the stack, I realize that I am missing my very important Victoria’s Magazines that I get my gingerbread and fruit cake from… Hmmm… Bet they are already on the counter in the kitchen!  Again, lots of red!!!

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I like to include one of my candle collection and this month is the very simple Costco purchase from, oh, 10-12 years ago I’m thinking.  Funny thing is, one of the glass containers broke and I use it even more now.  They do say that an even number of candle sticks or holders is bad luck so, just as well that one did break.. I now have nine holders instead of ten!

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I always purchase a poinsettia in November (or two or three) and this one was just purchased today!

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And, finally, because there was a need for a pop of colour!  (I am so funny, I kill me… ;p), here is my “Pomegranate Pinecone” centrepiece

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Next month is definitely all about Christmas so, we’ll enjoy this one for a little bit…

Is There a Book in Me Dying to Get Out?

Thursday, November 20

Do you have a book in you? Fact or fiction? Related to your blog or totally different?

book

I so absolutely do!  I’ve been thinking about it and re-thinking and wondering if I should and deciding I will and then worried I have no idea of what I’m doing and then telling myself to stop being such an ass and just do it…  But I am convinced there is one in me for sure!

The type of book however, now THAT is where I’m stuck!  See, I don’t have that much of an imagination and would have more of a tendency to want to write about what I know, have experienced and am willing to share.  I think they (the stories) would even be funny (see yesterday’s post!) because, well, that’s just who I am.  I’ve been telling some of them over and over for a time that I’d barely even have to think about what to write.  I’ve even been told that maybe I should write them down.

So, why haven’t I started yet, you may ask?  Well, in a sense, I have started.  That’s one of the reasons I write this blog.  I know I’ve mentioned it before but it’s still relevant to this particular post so I feel it necessary to repeat myself; I just wanted to see if I would be able to put words to paper (so to speak) and have anyone interested in reading them.  I think I can safely say that there would be an audience.

So look out world!  There will be a book by Dale Rogerson (me, not the computer guy that already has one out there…)

 

 

The Year In Books: November 2014

I am woefully behind in this post!  All caught up in the NaBloPloMo that my regular stuff was pushed aside…

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In October, I inadvertently chose books for children/adolescents/young adults.  That’s all good as I don’t snub any style!  I was (am) a fan of the Harry Potter series and was not afraid to show it!

Dandelion, The Extraordinary Life of a Misfit, by Sheelagh Mawe  was a wonderful little book, directed at 10-13-year-olds on how to learn to love who you are.  It is told in the voice of a horse!  Quick read for an adult and had some words of wisdom that we are never too old to hear.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger was an enjoyable read too.  This one, written in the voice of 14-year-old Holden Caulfield – a cynical, everyone sucks type of boy.  I wanted to read it because, well, everyone has read it!  I wanted to know what all the hoopla was about.  Well, if I had read it when I was 16, I would surely have had a different take on it than I do now at 50.  I cannot say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did.  I wonder how many times the word “damn” is used?  I could very easily imagine that a lot of what went on in Holden’s mind also goes through my boys’….

I actually finished my two books before the month of October ended.  Yes!  I actually did!  So I finally re-started the wonderful Timesmudger, by Gillian Smellie, a new FB friend and fellow-blogger who just so happens to have written this book that I very much enjoyed.

Let us just say that things never go smoothly when you time travel – there are always risks.  I didn’t see this one coming until the very end – and that’s a good thing!   Definitely worth a download even if it is in the teen/young adult category.

So now November is upon us and another book had to be chosen.  I was going nuts because I was positive I had a Maeve Binchy novel hanging around that I had yet to read.  Could not find it all!  Then went to my sister’s for Hallowe’en and lo and behold, there it was!  She had been looking for something to read at one time and I was in the midst of reading something else so I leant it to her.  Then forgot.  So…. yeah!  There is not a Maeve book that I’ve read that I haven’t completely fallen in love with.  She was (sadly, she is no longer with us) such a wonderful story teller.  Every single one of her novels take place at least partially in her beloved Ireland.  This one is no exception.

I am only a few pages in but just know that I will adore it.