Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (2/8/16)

Hosted by The Book Date!

Some weeks are better than other, for reading and, really, for life in general. Last week was fantastic all-around!

I finished reading…

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. I picked up this book because I adored his collection of short stories. I was not disappointed. It reads like interconnected vignettes with character’s weaving though everyone’s story. Life in a small college town might just feel that way.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie. This book came out a few weeks ago, and after seeing it on so many "must read" lists, I couldn’t resist. It is quirky. Describing it as “unique” and “fun” does not do it justice. It is so much more than that. Clever and amusing and charming book.

Dream Work by Mary Oliver. This was my second poetry collection by Oliver so far, in life and in 2016. I actually sought out this one first, before her Pulitzer Prize winning collection American Primitive, because of one poem. It is called Wild Geese. A year ago September, I attended a community yoga class in Millennium Park here in Chicago. There were yogis of all shapes, sizes and abilities. The air was crisp and the sun shining bright. As the class began, we closed our eyes to reflect and the teacher recited Wild Geese. The moment was fleeting and I remember loving the words and wanting to hear them again. During our final resting pose, she read the poem once more. And then again more slowly so that we could take them in. Needless to say, I ran home and “Googled” the poem. 

The rest is history, and I am in love with Mary Oliver. I want to see life/things through her eyes and express myself half as eloquently, lusciously as she. I can’t imagine it will be too long before I get my hands on Felicity.

All three books mentioned above receive two enthusiastic thumbs up from me!

I am currently reading…

The other day, I mentioned three half-finished books that I want to complete before moving on to others. I don’t know if I am actually able to do this because I have an idea already in my mind as to which books I’d like to take on vacation, but it’s worth a try.

  1. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.
  2. Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (of theater, movie, and Weeds fame)
  3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Today, I am planning to wrap up Dear Mr. You

Next up…

I fairly sure I am taking The Story of a New Name (My Brilliant Friend, Book 2) by Elena Ferrante with me to wherever it is I am going, which I still do not know three days out and it is still driving me crazy. It’s 480 pages, but I will definitely take another two just in case.

Okay, bring on your reading recommendations!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Half-Finished Books...

  1. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  2. Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker
  3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these. I will not pick another book until I finish these.

I Tried To Ply Him With Wine

So I plied my husband with wine last night with the express intent of garnering any information I could with regard to the before mentioned trip on which we are to depart next week. (Did you know I just used “with” three times in this sentence? Best to pull out my Thesaurus next time I come to write.) 

You see, he has this cute little thing he does when he’s hiding something or telling a white lie. It is a smirk along with the slightest flaring of his nostrils. It is a never fail, telltale sign. (Blogger’s note: This dude does NOT lie (or well)!). Dang it, if he didn’t do it once, which means he’s either been practicing how not to do it, or I didn’t hit any nails. 

My first try, after the first glass of wine, made mention of Zika; the flu-like virus transmitted through mosquito bites and sex. I said I should probably load up on bug spray just in case. Nothing.

After the second glass of wine, I pursued the clothing angle. I told him I didn’t have any swimwear at home, and he’d have to swim alone if there were beaches or pools involved. He didn't seem concerned. Just to cover my bases, I threw in that I didn’t have any ski clothing laying around either. They're all in our storage unit. Nothing!

After the third glass of wine…Listen, a girl’s got to try everything! NOTHING!

I actually thought I could snag him someway, somehow. He’s tight as a drum! Even my best friend, who didn’t behave as if she’s on “Team Gina” when she declared he should withhold all information until within a 24-hour window, won't budge. Either!
I don't know if I can handle it. I have five days until I know something, I think. I don't know if I can handle it. Maybe I’ll come up with some tricks to pull out tonight. Because I don’t know if I can handle it. 

In truth, I want to know, and I don't want to know.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


"I don't want a peaceful,  "perfect" little
sweet-charmed, fairytale fantasy.
:I want a real life.:
A gritty, juicy real life,
dripping with truth, filled with
disappointment and not-so-pretty
Sarah Harvey


100 Word Challenge: Long Married Couple

rooted in the blessedness of routine
there’re seldom mysteries anymore 
like a child’s gender until her first breath
days, months, years soldier march
waffles, grilled cheese, spaghetti 
broken records of the same thousands 
of moments life slides by on its way 
somewhere kids outgrow things
while you misplace you believing
the contentment of life in the ordinary

when one day

Hints are Purposely Left 
To a Secret but Disbelieving 
His stealth That’s not Him and 
You’re Insane because You 
Thought you Knew 
Everything But you have no Idea 
Where he’s Taking you
Though you're Certain
It's two Tickets to Paradise 
100 Word Challenge
Hey! Click on the 100 Word Challenge badge right there and join in the party! Thanks, Tara, for being our new spot to play. I really have no idea where I am going, or packing instructions, and I am going crazy not knowing. He pulled one over on me!

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Fast and Furious Addition)

Thanks to The Book Date!

So here’s the scoop fast and furious. 

I have finished:

Since finishing A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara last week, which was a BIG book in every way imaginable, I needed something to balance my brain from it. So I chose The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter. Walter also wrote Beautiful Ruins, which left me lukewarm. However, this book was so much fun. Hilariously depressing. Akin to novels by Joshua Ferris, but Walter came before. It had a wee bit of a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style, too.

American Housewife by Helen Ellis. I said this about it on Goodreads:

“This is a hard one to rate as I have read quite a few short story collections, which I felt more feelings for. That said, some stories are so outstanding! Ellis has such a cool voice. I really like "The Wainscoting War", "Dumpster Diving With the Stars" (Woo hoo!), "Hello! Welcome to Book Club", "The Fitter", and "How to be a Patron of the Arts". The first half stories felt fresh and unique. I feel bad, though, saying the second half seemed so similar. Nothing unique. Even observing this, I had so much fun with this collection. I have been and am an American housewife.

3.5 stars!”

What am I currently reading?

The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2) by Elena Ferrante. If you haven’t started this series, DO! I love everything she has written. I’ve been hanging on to two of her other novels,Troubling Love and The Lost Daughter, for almost a year. Since they are short, I intend to bring those on a secret vacation next week. Why secret? Because I have absolutely no idea where I am going. Hubby says he will give me “climate’ for packing purposes two days out. WHAT? 

That’s me! What about you?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Stealing: I Have Answers!

  1. Do you know any couples that have been married for a long time? Almost everyone I know has been, or was, married for over a quarter century.
  2. What are you tired of people telling you? That I need to move     back to the suburbs.
  3. Which type of ice cream do you prefer? You mean flavor? I like vanilla with chocolate sauce or salted caramel. If you mean type, I will always order a chocolate shake, malted preferred.
  4. Do you have a little sister? What’s her name? I am still mad at my mom and dad for not giving me a sister. No, I’m not really. I consider my life filled with sisters who happen to not be of blood relation. Maggie, Sue, Cathy, Jen, Liz, Cristina. Sorry if I have forgotten anyone.
  5. What was the last movie you watched on TV? Last night, we watched Burnt with Bradley Cooper. It was okay. I like movies about cooking, but I was frustrated with the lack of annunciation. 
  6. If the internet wasn’t available, what would you do instead? I am only taking a quick break from what I was just doing, which is reading. Reading is a default function/activity for me. I am reading a short story collection called American Housewives by Helen Ellis, if you were curious. It’s pretty funny.
  7. Do you complain a lot? I don’t think so, but you should ask my husband for confirmation.
  8. Name a movie that you favorite actor is in? Hmmmmm. I don’t have a current favorite. Sorry, Tatum.
  9. Do you like your toes? I like them better when they are painted, which they are now. The color is “Lincoln Park After Dark”. It is a purple so deep it is almost black. It’s my winter color. But do I really like them? Eh, they are a little chubby.
  10. Would you rather go to an authentic haunted house or an ancient temple? Oh, I hate haunted houses! I would have horrible dreams for years. I can’t stand things jumping out at me. I LOVE ancient temples (I was in Nepal eleven months ago and was fortunate to see fifty or more!)
  11. Have you ever had champagne? Did you like it? I love champagne. I almost bought a tee-shirt at Christmastime that said “Champagne and Spaghetti”. That kind of sums me up!
  12. Are there any seashells in your room? Definitely. I pick them up whenever I can. Rocks, too.
  13. What was the reason for the last time you went outside? I went to yoga this afternoon.
  14. Do you like fruity or minty gum? Minty. Fresh breath is important.
  15. Are you looking forward to any day of this month? YES! I am very much looking forward to February 11th!!! My hubby is taking me somewhere and I have no idea where. My only clues are some Christmas gifts including two rain ponchos, an umbrella, and a wireless and waterproof speaker. Sounds like I am going to get wet. Better not be cold and wet.
  16. What was the last graduation you attended? My daughter’s college graduation.
  17. Do you rummage throughout he $5 movie bin at Walmart? Um, always.
  18. What day of the week do you usually do laundry? Everyday. I do a load a day.
  19. Do you like using air fresheners? Where the heck did this question come from? Are candles included? I burn them a lot. Citrus or clean linen are my favorite scents.
  20. Are you nails ever painted red? Yes, during the holiday season, but a very deep and dark shade.
  21. When you were a baby, did you have a favorite blanket? I am not aware.
  22. Ever been on a cruise? Three.
  23. Would your rather go to Alaska or Russia? Mine may be an unpopular answer.
  24. Strawberries or bananas? Love both, with chocolate all the better. Forced to choose? Strawberries.
  25. Are you wearing socks? Right now, no. I rarely wear them no matter the season.
  26. When was the last time you went to the mall? A couple of weeks. I am not much of a store shopper.