Friday Fill-ins

fridayfillin1. The world is changing.

2. “See you next summer” was the last thing I said.

3. I wonder how I will get through the next two weeks.

4. Clarity is at the end of all things.

5. There’s something to be said for a good night’s sleep.

6. Home is where I want to be.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to all my guests being gone, tomorrow my plans include a day trip to the local mountains and Sunday, I want to read!

Tuesday Teasers

tuesday-tMiz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

Grab your current read.  Let the book fall open to a random page.  Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
9780143113232lMy teaser comes from page 70 of  Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe, which my book club will be discussing in January.  It’s about a 43 year old woman- a great cook with no business experience- who opens up a tiny restaurant in Paris.  
“I launch into haphazard peeling and chopping, using an unorthodox technique which probably wastes a fair bit of time, but it suits me.  It consists in doing everything at once.”
Now if that isn’t the story of my life!!  Wasting time trying to do everything at once!
What are you reading this week?

7 Random Weird Things meme

7bookish-things-picYou know that meme that circulates over and over again where the blogger lists random stuff about themselves?  The one everyone and their blogging brother has already done?  I’ve been tagged for that repeatedly but have never done it.  I can’t tell you who tagged me because I generally ignore it.  Today I was catching up at JIll’s blog and she did the meme.  She didn’t tag me but since I’ve been procrastinating on the two book reviews I need to write, I’m going to borrow that meme today.  I always enjoy an opportunity to do some navel gazing, especially when I should be doing other things.  

I think it’s supposed to be a meme of 7 weird bookish things, but since I can’t come up with 7 of those, it’s just going to be 7 random weird things.  I’ll try to find a way to make them all about reading.  So here we go- let’s celebrate the weirdness of me!

1.  My eyesight hit a wall a couple years ago, yet I will go to great lengths not to be seen in my reading glasses. The first time I noticed it, I was trying to read the back of a Motrin box for the dosage to give my daughter, and I was angry that the Motrin makers had changed the print on the box from small to teeny tiny.  It never occurred to me that the problem was my eyes, not the box.  Then the menus at our favorite restaurant suddenly become unreadable, no matter how far away or how close I’d hold the menu to my face.  I was able to ignore that for a long time by always ordering the same thing and not looking at the menu. Then I found I couldn’t read in bed because the light from my nightstand lamp wasn’t strong enough. Finally I accepted the fact that I was half blind and went to the doctor.  Yep, my eyes are old.  Time for glasses.

2.  I work out 5 times a week during the school year.  I work out zero times a week during the summer.   I see people reading on the treadmills but I’d probably fall off the thing if I tried to do that.

3.  My husband doesn’t read.  He knows how, he just chooses not to.  The only book he has ever read is Of Mice and Men (by the way, he liked it- two thumbs up), and that was just so he wouldn’t flunk high school English.  He does, however, put up with my addiction to reading.

4.  I lost the nail on my big toe on my right foot doing a roundhouse kick in Tae Kwon Do a couple years ago.  It grew back deformed.  I wear sandals anyway (when I’m reading).

5.  I hate going to a person’s house who insists that people take off their shoes before entering.  Probably because of the deformed toenail thing.  One of my book club friends has all white carpeting and you check your shoes at the door.  I have to make sure I’m wearing decent socks or have my toes polished when it’s her month to host.           

6.  I drink 5 or 6 Diet Cokes a day.  It’s 7 am and I’m having my first one now.  My goal in the new year is to get off that chemical cocktail for good. But I always enjoy a Diet Coke when I’m reading.

7.  I have 4 junk drawers in my kitchen.  Most of it is the kids’ junk.  (Sure it is.)  No books in there, however.

Ok, so now ya’ll know how weird I am.  Are you weird too?  I’ll tag:  Patti, Sheri, Robin, Heather, Natalie, and anyone else who wants a reason to procrastinate!  Feel free to ignore the tag, as I usually do!

Tuesday Teasers

Miz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

My teaser comes from page 131 of Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.  This book is a memoir of the author’s childhood, in which she had a third of her jaw removed as a result of a disfiguring surgery due to Ewing’s Sarcoma, and later suffered the pain of rejection and cruel taunts by classmates.  

“Everybody, from my mother to the characters I read about in books (who were as actual and important as real people to me), was always looking at someone else’s life and envying it, wishing to occupy it.  I wanted them to stop, to see how much they had already, how they had their health and their strength.”  

I can really relate to that and remember feeling that way last spring, when we were dealing with a serious medical issue with my older daughter.  I remember being barely tolerant of friends whining about minor problems, and wanting to scream- stop it!  You have everything and you don’t even know it!  Thankfully my daughter is much better now, and my friends no longer annoy me quite so much!

What are YOU reading this week?

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a reandom page.
Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
My teaser comes from Schooled by Anisha Lakhani (appropriate for the first day of school, don’t ya think?)

From page 45:

The remainder of orientation was spent preparing my room, typing up lesson plans, and attending inane department meetings and faculty workshops with titles like Deep Down We Are All Visual Learners and Your Student, Nanny, and You: Finding That Right Balance.  I had assumed that a school like Langdon-springboard for the Ivy path, education bastion of the elite- would have a rich language arts curriculum.  I was wrong.

Tuesday Teasers


  Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
  • My two (2) “teaser” sentences for today:

    From page 45 of Sweetsmoke by David Fuller, a novel set during the Civil War, featuring a character named Cassius, a slave working on a Virginia tobacco plantation:

    “He did not know what existed out there.  He could not read, and to him, a map was nothing more than a jumble of shapes and lines.”  


    What are you reading this week?  Can you share two random sentences?

    Teaser Tuesdays


    Okay, I ripped this off borrowed this from Minds Alive on the Shelves, who got it from Should be Reading, a great blog I’ve never visited before today.  Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme that is just too much fun to pass up.
    Here’s how it works:
    ● Grab your current read. 
    ● Let the book fall open to a random page. 
    Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. 
    ● You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! 
    ● Please avoid spoilers!            

    So, here are my sentences for today, between lines 7 and 12, from my current book, Netochka Nezvanova, a Penguin Classic… hmmm.  1, 2, skip a few..  Ok, here we go, from page 103:

    Two years later, while the family was at the Prince’s summer villa, little Sasha, Katya’s younger brother, fell into the river Neva.  The Princess screamed, and her first thought was to throw herself into the water after her son.”
    Since I’m only on page 15, I have no idea what’s going on down the road on page 103.  But it sounds interesting!
    Play along if you’d like.  I’m going to tag a few people for fun, but anyone is welcome to join in!
    I’m tagging:  Jill from Fizzy Thoughts, Anna from Diary of an Eccentric, Natalie from CurlyWurlyGurly, Care from Care’s Online Book Club, and Karen from Planet Books.  

    Tuesday Thingers and a Singer

    From our host The Boston Bibliophile:  So the question this week is- how many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you’ve read- and are there things you leave off?

    I only have 116 books in my LT account right now, but I’ve only started adding them in the last couple months. They are books I either own or I’ve read very recently, and I have many more to add.  I pass on many books I’ve read to friends and I donate a lot of books to my local library.  My kids give a lot of their books away too, but for some reason we get far more than we give.  The kids have received bags of books from neighbors with older kids and friends with older siblings. Some people are just book magnets, I suppose, and my girls and I have powerful magnetic fields!  Or maybe it’s just good book karma- what goes around comes around.  Oooo, that reminds me of that Justin Timberlake song I just added to my iPod.  Here’s JT doing his thing- enjoy!  I know I will!


    The Calliope Experiment #3: The Beach

    This is for the fiction writing challenge called The Calliope Experiment.

    Shivering as she made her way across the rocks, she wondered why she hadn’t thought to bring a sweater.  It always irritated her when Jack reminded her of things like that, but apparently she needed the reminding. 

    She came to a place that required her to set the box down so that she could boost herself up and onto a large boulder.  The rock, smooth and flat, was table-like, and standing on it afforded her a clear view of the coast all the way north to Rocky Point and then south to the old lighthouse.  She could see someone near the water’s edge but from this distance couldn’t make out if it was a man or a woman.  She had hoped to be alone out here, so she sat down next to the box, thinking she would wait until the person moved on. 

    Carefully lifting it to her lap, she thought again how surprisingly heavy the box was.  She hadn’t expected ashes to weigh so much, but of course there were bones in there too.  Jack had said it was silly to cremate a dog, but Bear wasn’t just any dog.  Bear was her friend, her companion, her confidante.  Bear was her substitute child.  When people asked if they had kids, her reply was always, “No, but I have Bear.” 

    And now he was gone, and there was still no baby.  The months of tests and shots and sex on demand; all the hoping and waiting had taken their toll on her psyche.  Waiting-waiting for nothing as it turns out.  The crazy mood swings and everything else might have been more tolerable if the end result had been a baby. She felt so tired, so empty, so alone.  And now her pseudo-baby, Bear, was gone too. 

    The person was moving down the beach slowly in her direction.  She could see now that it was a man.  He was tall, like Jack, and had a fishing hat on.  He was wearing a green sweater and jeans, rolled at the cuffs.   His gaze was focused on the ground and he bent down now and then to pick something up, presumably a shell or a rock, and put it in a bag.  “Move on, old man” she thought, ungraciously, but he was clearly in no hurry. 

    She smiled, then, as she thought about how much Bear had loved the beach as a pup and a young dog.   How he’d pull on the leash and his entire body would wiggle with excitement as they approached the water.  How he’d race into the waves the second he was released.  He was definitely a water dog- a big chocolate lab.  It had been a couple years since they’d brought him down here.  His arthritis had gotten so bad that it was hard for him to walk over the rocks, and he’d tire himself out so much that he could barely make it back.  He was too big for them to carry.  Still, she wished she’d brought him back for one final visit, but they’d had a windy, cold spring and the time had never been right.  

    She’d come down here without much of a plan, and it was freezing.  She thought she’d scatter his ashes over the surf, but now she could see how ridiculous that idea had been.  The wind wouldn’t gently scatter the ashes, it would just blow them back in her face.  She thought of the futility of it, of everything.  Bear was gone, he wasn’t coming back, there was no baby, and probably never would be.  

    She put down the box and brought her knees up to her chest, resting her head on them and finally allowing herself cry.  So she wasn’t made of stone after all, as everyone suspected.  At first it was just a couple of tears but before long it was huge gushing sobs, smeared mascara, snot and all.  For several minutes she gave in to the despair of losing her precious pet, and along with it, her dreams of motherhood.  She startled at the feeling of an arm around her, and looked up to see green eyes matching the green of his sweater.  Jack.  “What are you doing here?” she asked.  “I brought you a sweater,” he said. 


    Booking Through Thursday: Writing Challenge

    Here’s today’s Booking Through Thursday challenge.

    Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
    Turn to page 123.
    What is the first sentence on the page?
    The last sentence on the page?
    Now . . . connect them together….
    (And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)


    Oh, good. An easy one. My mind is on overload and if BTT were too thought provoking today I would have to skip it.

    My first and last sentences from page 123 come from the book The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. This is a book I started last week, got to page 19 and was sobbing like a moron, soaking my t-shirt in tears. It’s about how a mother copes the year after her 5 year old daughter suddenly dies. My own daughter is having some serious medical issues right now, so the grief, pain, and heartache of the mother was a bit too real for me; too raw, too scary. Reading it made my mind travel down some terrifying mental paths. I couldn’t hang, so I closed the book and will try it again some other time (maybe). But since it’s sitting here, I’ll use it for BTT. Here goes:

    “We’ve got champagne and gorgeous hors d’oeuvres and tenderloin for dinner.” She walked in and everything, eight months later, was exactly the same.

    Those two sentences don’t go together at all, but whatever.. I’m just following directions, and I’m grateful this didn’t take any real effort.


    OOOPS.   I do believe I did this all wrong.  It’s a writing challenge.  You’re supposed to actually write something in between the first and last sentences on the page to connect them.  How did I not get that??  Oh, yeah.. my brain is full.  That’s right.  Anyway, I made an effort, so here goes.  Please don’t laugh.  I am well aware that I’m not a writer!!

    “We’ve got champagne and gorgeous hors d’oeuvres and tenderloin for dinner,” said Rene as he kissed me on both cheeks, European style.  I attempted a smile, hoped it was convincing, and made my way into the kitchen, finding Rene’s sister, Grace, with an armful of appetizers.  “Can I help?” I asked, but she waved me away and kindly said, “Grab a drink and find me out back.”  She knows I hate this. 

    If only I had an appetite. I’ve lost 18 pounds in 8 months, although I don’t recommend the diet plan.  What would we call it.. the Husband Caught Cheating Diet?  The Brad’s An Asshole Diet?  The Lose Your Marriage/Lose the Weight Diet?  

    If Rene wasn’t so important to me, I’d be home on the couch, clicker in hand, but to miss his commitment ceremony would be unthinkable.  He’s my oldest friend, and he’s the one who introduced me to Brad all those years ago, although I don’t hold it against him.  

    Earlier, I put on my makeup, fixed my hair, and picked out clothes, all on automatic pilot.  I actually used to enjoy these things, before.  Before it got so hard to leave the house.  Maybe this is what I need, even though I’m uncomfortable with it, I tell myself, trying to psych myself up for the evening.    Everyone says it’s good to get out, see people.  Friends, acquaintances – a room full of potential conversations and possible connections are here.  Rene’s friends are all so witty and fun.  Maybe they can shake me out of this funk, this black hole of self imposed isolation that I’ve descended into.  

    I slide open the screen door, looking for Grace and actively avoiding Clark and Stephan, feeling their eyes boring into my back as I step outside.  They know her, of course.  Clark is Brad’s boss, and Jasmine is Clark’s assistant.  Jasmine.  Sexy, younger.  What a fucking cliché.  I’ve often wondered if Clark set them up, or at the very least did nothing to discourage it.  He’s never been that friendly to me.  Well, it doesn’t matter at this point.  Jasmine left the company when I found out about the affair and all hell broke loose.  Brad begged me to forgive him.  We saw a therapist.  We went on ‘dates’, made love, made plans.  He apologized profusely and said it was over between them.  He loved me, he loved our life together, he promised it would never happen again.  And then…she walked in and everything, eight months later, was exactly the same.  So much for promises. 


    So, that’s it.  I have no idea where that came from in my overloaded brain, but there it is.  You should try it. It’s a good exercise.  Make something up and see where it goes.  Have fun.