Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: George and Martha

Mount Vernon, April 2011
My sister and I visited the Washington DC area a couple weeks ago. On a day with amazingly good weather, we took the tour of Mount Vernon. I'd already been there several years ago, but this was the first time for her. Highlights include admiring the vivid colors of the interior walls/rooms; baby lambs; sharing a tasty tuna sandwich; and seeing George's teeth.

~ Saturday Snapshot at Alyce's ~

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kate's dress

Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images*
Well, I didn't watch it live, but recorded it on the DVR. Got up this morning, made chocolate chip scones and watched it while enjoying some coffee. I loved Kate and her sister's dresses. Absolutely beautiful.

* My favorite photo so far. A moment shared between sisters.

Winner - So Much Pretty

Lucky number twenty.
Karen-Holmes of Simply Inspired. Congrats! Please email me with your mailing address. Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Last day to win So Much Pretty

For all the passion in this intense narrative, Hoffman writes with a restraint that makes poetry of pain. She also shows a mastery of her craft by developing the story over 17 years and narrating it from multiple perspectives. While each has a different take on the horrific events that no one saw coming, the people who live in this insular place remain willfully blind to their own contributions to the deeper causes that made this tragedy almost inevitable." —The New York Times Book Review

“A haunting suspense novel about a murder mystery based on a real-life missing-persons case.”
—Entertainment Weekly, #3 on “The Must List”

"So Much Pretty is harder to pin down, trickier in its aims and delivers a skillful, psychologically acute tale of how violence affects a small town, its tentacles enmeshed so deeply into the collective fabric that it takes the thoughts and actions of one intelligent adolescent to shake things up and force everyone to examine their duplicitous complacency. To say more about Hoffman's constantly surprising story is to reveal too much, but the payoff is more than worth the slow-building suspense."
—The Los Angeles Times

Enter to win a copy of So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

things are getting kinda weird

[Photo: Marcus Brandt/AFP/Getty Images]
In addition to tea bags, there are life-sized cardboard standups of Wills and Kate popping up all over - one was even targeted by thieves. I can understand the interest, but things are going well beyond interest and attention. Things are getting kinda weird.

What's your take on the up-coming wedding?
Off to make a cuppa.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Emmylou Harris - Goodnight Old World

Emmylou is so freakin good. Looks like Hard Bargin, her new album is not to be missed.

Garden Tuesday - my dogwood

This is the dogwood tree right outside the dining room window in the front of the house. It gets morning sun and today is noteworthy in that the blossoms are opening against a BLUE sky.

Here is the same shot but with some slight tweeking via photo shop elements. Not sure which I like better.

~ Garden Tuesday at Sidewalk Shoes ~

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Movies - fuzzy faces

This week's focus at The Bumbles blog, "favorite characters who rocked their facial hair." I'm sticking with the one film that immediately came to mind:
Shakespeare in Love (1998).

Joseph Fiennes

Gwyneth Paltrow
A very entertaining movie in which both the male and female romantic leads sport facial hair.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Secret - let go

So true. Maybe you don't have to stay home necessarily, but letting go of rigid ideas about what constitutes 'a holiday' is as Martha says, "a good thing."

From this week's Sunday Secrets at Post Secret.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: pretty in pink

Since I took a trip back in time last week, decided to take a photo this morning on the way back from a starbucks run for iced coffee (still no warm/hot beverages for me). This is a close up of a beautiful pink dogwood tree in the parking lot of the movie theater.

Check out all the other Saturday Snapshots or better yet, join along, at Alyce's blog. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five for Friday

It's a bit more challenging to come up with five thoughts of gratitude from this past week mainly due to the "extensive" oral surgery I had on Wednesday morning. But, in spite of sitting here with a bizarrely swollen face and on steroids (look out!), there really are many things for which I'm grateful.

1. So appreciative that I don't have to run a bookstore while healing from oral surgery. I can be a hermit for a while and concentrate on getting better.  My husband has been sweetie during my recovery. He's cute, smart, sensitive, responsible and funny, but most of all, he's kind.
2. I love Debbie's funny, friendly and positive approach to life. She blogs at Sassy Banana and at her personal blog Etc, Etc, Etc. Such a ray of sunshine. And a birthday girl this week.
3. We went for a bike ride on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day. Got in a 25 mile ride and that means the 3,000 mi milestone is getting closer. Byka will get her much needed tuneup then.
4. So thankful that Trish has motivated me to finally read "Lit" by Mary Karr. I am loving this book. Trish is even patiently waiting for me to finish (maybe today) and we'll post our reviews.
5. A blogger friend from Texas put a smile on my big ol face when the Southwest Chipotle Mrs. Dash arrived in the mail. We have not been able to find this seasoning here for some reason and she sent us two bottles. Thanks Anne!

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~ Marcel Proust

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Tuesday - Jasmine

The birds are singing and the Carolina Jasmine is in bloom.

~ Garden Tuesday is hosted by Pam at Sidewalk Shoes ~

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pulitzer Prize goes to A Visit From the Goon Squad

It’s absolutely nutty to win something like this. I feel weird. I wish I had something more articulate to say. It seems so fantastical, like I’ve exited from real life. I found out 20 minutes ago. I was just sitting down to lunch in a restaurant and my phone rang. I burst into tears and told the waitress I had received a piece of news and that I had to leave. She told me she was sorry and I said “no, it’s good!” I went straight home. It’s unreal.
~ Jennifer Egan (Wall Street Journal)
I loved this book. The humor, the quirky characters, the shifting sense of time and place. Well deserved.

Pulitzer Prize Winners HERE.

On Movies - running on empty

Ever watch a film that left you feeling worn out at the end? Exhausted from identifying with the physical and emotional stresses endured by the characters in the film? That's this week's theme at The Bumbles Blog. In addition to gathering those films about running on empty, I'm focusing on women who out of desperation (poverty, threats of harm etc.) wind up in situations that make them go "on the run."

Thelma and Louise (1991) - Start out running away from their oppressive lives and end up running from the law.

Maria Full of Grace (2004) - A pregnant 17 yr old becomes a Colombian drug runner.

Run Lola Run (1998) - A woman has 20 minutes to run around (literally) and find big bucks to save her boyfriend's life.

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) - A new widow, along with her son, make a run for a fresh start in life. One of my all time favorite films.

Frozen River (2008) - A woman's dire economic circumstances compel her to run illegal immigrants across the Canadian border. Her smuggling takes her on a perilous route that includes a frozen river. Excellent film. Melissa Leo deserved the Oscar for her performance.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

it's okay

God Says Yes To Me
by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: you are my sunshine

Sara Anne
Our daughter turned 30 yesterday. How is this even possible? I can clearly remember when I took this shot of her at the condo we rented in Carpinteria (a little south of Santa Barbara). I love this picture as it represents a very happy time in my life. Here's a link to a photo montage I put together yesterday for Sara's big birthday.

Saturday Snapshots is the brain-child of Alyce (At Home with Books).

BTW - I'm giving away a really good book. You should try to win it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five for Friday

Five thoughts of gratitude from this week:
  • Today is my daughter's 30th birthday. Although I think about her all the time, today she is really on my mind. I'm so grateful to be her mom.
  • I've spent some time this week thinking about gardening. We bought a composter at Costco (and will assemble it today -- hopefully). It feels good to return to something that was a part of our life together from the start -- growing some of our food.
  • Speaking of our life together, we celebrated our 31st anniversary on Tuesday. Can't believe how blessed I am to have found such a good man at such a young age. The universe was really watching after me...
  • Everyday this week, at some point I've noticed just how beautiful the sky looks. Sure, we're not having typical warm, sunny spring days yet, but the clouds have been spectacular!
  • I finished a good book. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So Much Pretty - giveaway

“I feel that we are inundated with violence and it becomes something that drives our aesthetics. There is a banality and a predictability to it all: the disappearance, the search, and the inevitable discovery of a dead woman or girl, who has nearly without exception been sexually assaulted. When I was a young reporter I was shocked by this, and as a novelist I wanted to explore it.” ~ Cara Hoffman
I recently read Cara Hoffman's first novel, So Much Pretty. I really, really liked it. Due to fortuitous timing, while I had just started reading it, I happened upon a live chat with the author on Twitter. I learned two exciting things that day: 1. this book is being made into a film and 2. Hoffman is working on another book that sounds like it will be just as good as her first.

So Much Pretty is compared a lot with the Stieg Larsson trilogy and The Lovely Bones, probably because these books are so popular and more people will be able to relate. I think So Much Pretty is actually more comparable to Winter's Bone, American Rust and Songs for the Missing. To say Hoffman's writing reminds me of Stuart O'Nan is high praise from me.

I enjoyed this book because of its many themes (rural culture, violence against women, leftist idealism, ecological issues, adolescence, poverty, healthcare). Interesting issues aren't enough though -- there are plenty of writers who utilize news headlines and topical controversial issues for their stories. Hoffman's book is so enjoyable because she writes with intense authenticity and a journalist's ability to keep the story moving along at an engaging pace. I didn't detect a single false note.

Giveaway Details:

•A hardcover copy of So Much Pretty has been kindly provided by Simon & Schuster.

•To enter to win, leave a comment on this post that includes your email address.

•For another entry follow this blog via Google Friend Connect in the side bar or subscribe via email -- current followers/subscribers are eligible too. Leave a separate comment for this.

•And, for yet another entry, Blog/Tweet/Post on Facebook about this giveaway. Leave a separate comment with your twitter user name and/or link to blog post (side bar is cool).

NOTE: Giveaway reserved for residents within the U.S. and Canada.

The winners will be selected from the comments using
Deadline: midnight, April 28. Winner announced April 29.

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garden Tuesday - seed bombs

I'm joining in with Pam's Garden Tuesday for the first time today. Instead of a photo of something from my yard or garden, I'm going to share something I just stumbled upon this morning: seed bombs or seed balls. You may already know about these but this is a discovery for me. While seed bombs are utilized as an inexpensive and fun tool of guerilla gardening, I'm going to make some and use them on our property which is a wooded acre in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Maybe next week I'll follow up with photos of our seed bomb making but for now here are some articles, etc. explaining the concept and simple instructions for making your own little balls of wildflower happiness.

How to Make Seed Bombs (LA Times)

Video - Making seed bombs at home (Guardian)

Seed Balls

[Image source: here]

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meet Me Monday - Hamm for me, hold the shrimp

Well, alrighty then, it's time for this week's Meet Me On Monday via Never Growing Old.

1.  Who would be your dream celebrity date?

Jon Hamm

2.  Do you have any food restrictions? Shrimp is no bueno for me.

It's OK little buddy, you're safe here.
3.  How much time do you take to get ready in the morning? Depends on if I've showered and washed my hair the night before or not. 

4.  Sausage or bacon? Both, as long as the sausage is fake and the bacon is turkey bacon.

5.  Do you Google, Bing or Yahoo? The Google.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: cherry blossoms

I'm back from my trip to Washington DC with my sister. These photos were taken on our first day near the Washington Monument. It was a gorgeous day.

[Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce. Check out all the other snapshots at At Home With Books.]