Saturday Snapshot(s)

My youngest daughter, Kelly, and her BFF have the kind of effortless friendship that I always wished I would find as a kid, but never quite did.  They’ve known each other since they were babies and their time together is filled with laughter, inside jokes, imaginative ideas, and non stop conversation.  They make their own fun and don’t need to be entertained.  I love listening to them talk and laugh- they are hilarious. Last Saturday, as they played on the beach, I read Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister in between watching my daughter’s joy at being with her friend.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

The Sunday Salon: January 17, 2010

Good morning!  I hope it’s bright and sunny where you are!

In  Southern California we are bracing ourselves for a MAJOR WINTER STORM!  Take cover!  There may be some rain!  I might not be laughing about this a week from now, but when the weather forecasters cry wolf a few times, and the major storm ends up being a few sprinkles.. well, let’s say I’m a bit unimpressed with the warnings.  We’ll see.  Right now it’s sunny, the sky is a brilliant blue, and the only clouds I see are high and fluffy.  But they are moving pretty fast, so.. hmmm.

Today was supposed to be our parent/child book club meeting day, hosted by me, but my oldest has strep throat.  I almost made her go to school on Friday (another one who’s always crying wolf) but she seemed a little warm and listless and had a miserable attitude so I let her stay home.  Later I saw that her throat was inflamed so we went to the doctor.. he said it was viral and to go home and give her Motrin.  But then last night she spiked a high fever and her throat was bright red, so we ended up in the ER for several hours, and she got a shot of penicillin.  Now my husband has a sore throat.  Good times!

I’ve spent some time this morning going through our pictures for Sheri from A Novel Menagerie’s Beautiful Baby pet photo contest.  We have so many that it’s hard to decide what to submit.  She’s having consolation prizes for most humorous and best personality so I’m thinking of entering one of these, rather than the standard “beauty” shot.. tell me what you think:

Where is everybody? Who wants to play with me?

What's THIS? A new pet in the house?

Well, she smells pretty good. Maybe we can be friends.

As for reading, I’m about 2/3rds of the way through both U is for Undertow and American Rust.  I’m usually a one book at a time woman, but I’d left “U” in my car one night and didn’t feel like going out to get it, so I started American Rust and haven’t put it down since. Wish I had a team of people to raise my children, make my meals, do my laundry, clean my house, and shop for me so I could just read read read in my free time.  Wait..I need another me!  I need a wife!! Ha Ha.

What are you reading this weekend?  I hope you all have a wonderful day and a great week!  Thanks for stopping by Books On The Brain.

A (Thankful) Sunday Salon

I don’t know about you but I hate those posts where the blogger apologizes for not blogging because they are _________ (fill in the blank) busy, lazy, distracted, sick, tired, *whatever*.  So, I won’t do that.  Because really, nobody cares.

But from looking around I see it is time to dust off the cobwebs in the corners, water the plants, throw open the windows to air the place out and try to get rid of that smell of neglect.

Whew!  That’s better.  (Thank you, BOTB readers, for understanding, and for checking in with me.  I’m fine!  Just uninspired!)

At some point in recent weeks I all but stopped writing reviews.  I have all the usual excuses (busy, etc.) but mostly I’ve just not had the writing mojo.  I would sit down to write a review and the words wouldn’t come.  Now I have so many to write I may never catch up.  I’m thinking of clearing the slate and starting fresh, with the exception of books I agreed to review for others (thank you, authors and publishers, for your patience).  Has anyone else done this?  Just wiped the slate clean and moved on rather than trying to write reviews for books you read weeks ago?  (Thank you, blogging friends, for your advice in this area).

What happened to me?  There was a time when I reviewed everything I read, immediately upon finishing.  It’s much easier to write a review that way.  If enough time passes, the details get fuzzy, and nobody likes a fuzzy reviewer, right?

My aim in the new year:  fuzz-free reviews in a timely manner.

We’re looking forward to some quality family time this week.  The kids are off from school and I do not have to bust my butt cleaning my house and gearing up for company (yay!  YAY!) because Thanksgiving dinner will be somewhere else this year (thank you, Mom, for making dinner!).  All I’m required to do is show up with clean, well behaved children (ha!), a bottle of wine, and a casserole dish full of sweet potatoes (thank you, Tara, for the most excellent recipe!).   My holiday responsibilities end there.

The girls have NO HOMEWORK over the break (thank you, teachers!  I was expecting the worst!)  So we will be out carousing this week.. shopping, seeing movies, going roller skating, and just generally hanging out.  With no school projects to attend to, it will be a real break for them.  We are dying to see New Moon (even Mom’s looking forward to seeing werewolf  Taylor HOTner-all three of us are TEAM JACOB) and Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (thank you, Hollywood, for all the great movies this time of year!).  Daddy has to work (thank you, Dad, for being a great provider!), so it will be a whole lot of girl time. Hopefully there will be no drama and we will all get along.

I’m also looking forward to some reading time.  I’m reading How to Save Your Own Life by Michael Gates Gil, a super quick little guide to finding joy in unexpected places.  I need to finish Bold Spirit for a December book club discussion (thank you, book club friends, for enriching my life!).  And finally, I can’t wait to start Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini this week (thank you, Penguin Group, for sending the book!)

What are your plans this Thanksgiving?  What are you reading?

I’m thankful for YOU.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

Put three kids in a dinghy in Newport Harbor with a couple of stale hot dog buns, and every pelican, seagull, and duck within a 2 mile radius shows up!  Pretty soon the seals arrive too. 

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The Sunday Salon

This week I read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. Usually when I finish a book, I really enjoy the sense of completion from striking another title off my TBR list and moving on to the next. But turning the last page on this one was similar to having dinner at a beautiful restaurant with your closest friends and being forced to leave the warm happy atmosphere too soon.  I wasn’t ready.  I wanted to linger. 

Then, starting the next book- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- was like walking away from that beautiful restaurant in a contented little fog and distractedly stepping off the curb to cross the street, only to be hit by a car careening wildly- wait! make that a van, one that’s full of Spanish speaking illegals.  Where am I?  Who are these strangers and what are they talking about?  “Jarring” is the best way to describe it.  

Some English words on the first three pages of Oscar Wao that I probably should look up to be certain of the meaning: 

Colloquially

Syphilitic

Dique

Provenance

Hypeman

Veneration

 And some Spanish words on those same pages that I don’t know or can’t guess the meaning of from the context: 

Caudillo

Anciano sanmacorisano

Carajito

Jojote

Conazo

I’ve never read a book with a dictionary on my lap, much less an English-Spanish dictionary, but maybe I should use one this time.  Although now that I’m three or four chapters into it, the unfamiliar words are bothering me less and less.  I’m growing accustomed to the rhythm of the book.

What about you?  Do you look up words as you read, or do you skip over them?  Do a multitude of foreign words and place names bother you or do you get used to it?

Happy Sunday!  Enjoy the long weekend!  

Friday Fill-ins 1-9-09

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1. It’s January; hot chocolate time!

2. A night out is what I crave most right now.

3. Cork and wine go together like feet and fuzzy socks.

4. Time with friends is so nourishing.

5. Let us dare to be more spontaneous.

6. All are welcome in my home.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to an evening with my sister and nephew, tomorrow my plans include cleaning the house and Sunday, I want to host my book club meeting- without any drama, hopefully!

The Sunday Salon

If a Sunday Salon is written when it’s still Saturday, is it a Saturday Salon?  Hmmm.

If you’re reading this on Sunday morning, my family and I are en route to Catalina Island, 26 miles across the sea, off the coast of Southern California, where we’ll take a golf cart around Avalon, swim and snorkel, eat, rent bikes, and relax for the day.  The last time we went, when my 10 year old was just a baby, we saw a huge pod of dolphins just off the coast- it was crazy.  There were hundreds of them, leaping and playing and pirouetting into the air.  I hope we see some wildlife on this trip, too. 

So this was an interesting week, but not the best week for reading.  I read The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer, which was spectacular!  I finished it just last night, which unfortunately was several days late for the online book club at Every Day I Write the Book, but there are tons of comments over there about it, so many in fact that I don’t really have anything new to add to the discussion.  I’ve read so many opinions of the book now I’m not sure how to review it, aside from saying I loved it.  Have you ever read so many reviews of a book that you feel like you can’t come up with something fresh to say about it?  I think that’s what happened. 

I noticed that Dewey’s Weekly Geeks were doing something interesting last week.  If I understand correctly, the Geeks were to list books that they’d read but had not reviewed yet, and ask their readers to post questions about the books for them to answer.  So I’m going to borrow the Geeky idea and give you my list.  If anyone wants to ask me a question, go for it! 

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The Safety of Secrets by DeLaune Michel

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I started two other books this week- The Last Queen by CW Gortner- which just came out July 29th and is fascinating historical fiction, and Shrink Rap by Robin Altman- which is filled with short, hysterical essays on parenting and child psychiatry (it’s a hoot!).  I’ve got the hysterical one in my car for “waiting” times (swim class, gymnastics) and the historical one on my nightstand for evening reading.  

Oh, I forgot to say that CARE from Care’s Online Book Club was the winner of my Queen of the Road giveaway!  Your book is on it’s way, my dear!  Enjoy!  Everyone still has time to enter the The Safety of Secrets giveaway, which will run until August 8th.  

I hope you all have a beautiful summer Sunday!

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