Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Salon: Time to Say Goodbye

 Good afternoon my friends.  Have you ever heard the song "Time to Say Goodbye" sung by Sara Brightman and Andrea Bocelli?   Gorgeous!  I never get tired of it.  Anyway, that title came to mind when I started writing this post.  Because I think it is time.  It has been brewing in my head and heart for awhile, for a number of reasons, but Michele Jacobsen's post inspired my action.

When I started blogging, I immediately jumped into a daily posting schedule, reading and writing like a madwoman.  I made friends (lifelong ones I hope) and our blogging community was small and warm and intimate and invigorating and innovative.  We had things to say, we supported one another, we gave each other awards, we met in person.  But over time it changed, it got crowded and competitive and sterile and a bit...juvenile.  My kids became teenagers, and slowly I trimmed down my pace to four days a week, then twice a week, and now I only post on Sundays.  My posts are starting to sound like a broken record...I'm busy running around, my reading is in a slump, blah blah.  I'm bored with myself and I'm sure you are bored with me too!

And recently we got Brody, and what attention and time I had is now devoted to him.  OK, let's stop for a couple of pictures.    

Shopping at our wine store

Chewing on the hedgehog on a cold night

I also realized that what I DID say on the blog, I said it on Facebook as well.  My Goodreads "reviews" (if that is what you want to call them) post on Facebook, my pictures all get posted there, the movies I see get posted there on Letterboxd, and if there is something really on my mind, it gets discussed there.

So what's the point?

I still plan on roaming around and reading a few of your blogs, because I do still want to know all the shiny new pretty books I need to read.  And I care about what is going on with all of you.

So on that note, I'm going to sign out here, take my current book that I'm averaging 5 pages a day on, and sit in the sun with my dog and read until I fall asleep.      

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Salon: I blinked...

 Wow!  What a week we've had!  Now I'm determined not to glorify the busyness, but we were seriously on-the-go this week.  (No wonder I'm wanting a nap!)

Brody had his first puppy school Monday night.  He will have five of these sessions, learning to focus, sit, down and other puppy duties.  I intend to keep him in classes as long as possible.  This dog needs his brain exercised.  He also had his second set of puppy shots and his first vet visit since we got him.  

My parents returned from their trip to Arizona and California, just in time for my sister from Minnesota to visit.  We had absolutely gorgeous weather while she was here, which she completely soaked up.  We went out to lunch and dinner on several occasions (taking the dog when we could), we saw a play of "To Kill a Mockingbird", we went to the farmer's market and shopping in Winter Park, she cooked Chinese for us (she is a master since she studied there for over a year), she came with me to the trainer a couple of times, and we watched some movies.  We saw "Birdman" at the theater, and watched "Under the Skin" and an old Polanski movie "Cul de Sac" here at home.  And of course we did lots of romping with the dog.


Unfortunately while my sister was here, my kids, husband and dad all had the crud.  I'm waiting for it to swing my way, but I hope not.  That kept us from ever doing something together, the seven of us.

I don't have much to report on reading unfortunately.  Things should settle down a little bit now, and I'm hoping to get some momentum.  Currently I've started the audio "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy" by Karen Abbott, as well as "You" by Caroline Kepnes in print.  Both great reads, just need some down time.  I'm really getting antsy because I've really got a wonderful TBR stack going right now, including some recent purchases from our wonderful new indie bookstore in town called "Writer's Block Bookstore".  I got "Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins for my next book club.  I got "Her" by Harriet Lane, "Redeployment" by Phil Klay, "Finding Florida" by T.D. Allman, and "From Hell", an Alan Moore graphic novel about Jack the Ripper.  I also got "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathanial Philbrick at Costco (impulse), and the ARC of "The Precious One" by Marisa de los Santos from the most awesome Jill Broderick.  OMG people!  I NEED TO GET READING!!!

So on that note, I'm off to shower something.  Grocery store, helping my daughter with SAT studying perhaps, and maybe a little of that rare gem called reading.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Salon: The Social Schedule

 We are now just wrapping up our first week with Brody.  We are exhausted, but so in love with him.  Our breeder told us that to properly socialize a dog and make sure he is well-behaved and adaptable, he needs to meet at least 100 people before he is four months old.  He also needs to get used to being groomed (something that will take up more and more time as he gets shaggier) and get used to the leash.  We took our mission seriously, so we had a busy week.  He has had play dates, gone in the car on errands and to pick up my son every day, gone on walks, been to my husband's office twice (once for family game night), gone out to dinner with outside seating, met the folks at the neighborhood fire station, met the ladies at the pool store, and helped me with yard work.  He is such a good boy, sleeps through the night in his crate without crying or messes, and is happy to just hang out even when there are screaming kids or loud music and chaos.  He can already sit and down, tells us when he needs to go out, and can walk on a leash.  He goes to puppy school tomorrow night...that should be interesting!  We couldn't be happier with him.

Sooooooo...reading?  Not so much.  I did finish "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng on audio (thank God for audios) for one of my book clubs.  I didn't love it like so many people.  It has plenty to talk about, but I can't say I enjoyed the listening experience.  It was very heavy, and I felt agitated with the parents in the story.  I just recently started "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy" by Karen Abbott for my other book club.

In print I started "You" by Caroline Kepnes on the way to North Carolina and back last weekend, but once I got home I haven't read a single word, as you might imagine.  It certainly isn't because of the book, I just have been chasing my toddler-in-a-dog-suit.  I'm hoping I will get a minute or two today to dig into it a little more.

Exciting week coming sister is coming down from Minnesota for four days or so.  It's been awhile since I've seen her so that will be fun.  I'll fill you in on our activities next week.  Hope you all have a great Sunday!  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Salon: Puppy Breath

 Good afternoon bloggy friends!  I have been way off the radar this week, preparing for the arrival of The Fluffy Sweet One.  It was hard for me to concentrate.  I worked out, did some yard work, a doctor appointment or two, a meeting at the school for the son (you know, because it isn't a good school year without a couple of these!).  My daughter, husband and I took off Friday morning for North Carolina (ugh, 9 long hours, I'm not a good road trip person), and got there around dinner time.  The puppy nanny and her daughter came to our hotel so we could meet Brody and his siblings.  On Saturday morning we went to the breeder's house to absorb a million tips and facts about these dogs, get a grooming lesson, and away we went.  The ride back took a little longer because we stopped at Starbucks and subsequently my daughter had to stop and pee about 5 times.  But sweet boy was great.  He just passed out in the back seat and slept the whole way.  Little puffy pumpkin butt.

He has done very well so far.  He slept through the night in his crate without a peep, and has only had a couple of potty accidents.  Today we met some of my friends and played with a friend's dog.  I'd forgotten about how puppies are like toddlers and get into everything!  My daughter is so good with him, though, and has been a huge help.

Are you tired of hearing about the dog at this point?  LOL.

As you can imagine, if I've been distracted before now, at this point I'm totally over the edge.  I was barely able to get this written!  Things will settle down eventually, once he gets older and in a routine.  I look forward to long walks with him, which will help with audios!

I finished "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman on audio this week, and it was very sweet.  It was sort of a nice mix of humor and poignance.  It had some very serious, sad issues but you finish the book feeling warm inside.  I'm now just starting "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng for one of my book clubs this month.

In print I finally finished "Where All the Light Tends To Go" by David Joy.  This was an excellent debut novel about a 19 year-old boy living in Appalachia.   Extremely dark and heartbreaking, but what do you expect with that setting?  I've now started "You" by Caroline Kepnes, a really twisted story about a stalker.  Really intriguing and easy to read though!

We are headed out to a Superbowl party tonight, and while it is a fun event, it is hard to really focus on the game because there are so many people.  And I'd rather hold my puppy and watch at home but we must make an appearance.

Bear with me on the obsessive chatter about the dog, and the lack of visitation to your blogs.  I'll get there!  Hope everyone has had a great Sunday!         

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Salon: T-1

 Happy late Sunday afternoon friends!  I'm rolling in at this hour because I have to wait for my weekly dog pictures which are the last ones I will get before we to pick him up next Saturday.  I love the one of him reading.  And when I say I love our breeder, I mean, she and the puppy nanny are amazing.  They take the puppies on field trips, make sure they have exposure to other dogs, cats and people, and they read to them and play music.  They potty train and crate train them, and get them used to the leash.  This week I got to Face Time with Brody for the second time, so I could see him running around doing his thing.


It has been a full week.  Mid-week my back felt better, and I was able to go back to the trainer but I did spend many hours on the heating pad!  I should be close to 100% when I go tomorrow.  I'm really happy with these people, they aren't messing around.  I'm walking around like I've been riding a horse and can barely get in and out of a chair!  Haha!

I had a book club meeting to discuss "Me Before You" (my choice because I want as many people to love this book as I did).  Did you know it was going to be a movie late this summer?  A friend's son had confirmation.   Did some work in the yard - the weather has been gorgeous.  We attended a wine and food tasting with silent auction on Saturday night, which was hosted by my friend that owns a wine store.  That was fun.  I had hoped today to relax, read a little, take a nap, but in fact it was opposite.  I've been on the move all day, so after I finish this post, it is the shower and the comfy chair for me for a little bit.  My husband and my dad are out right now riding in an old B-17 bomber, so in the back of my mind I will be saying a few safe flying prayers.  Sheesh!

I continue to read a few pages here and there on "Where All the Light Tends To Go", which really has a wonderful voice of a 19 year old boy in Appalachia.  Dark and murky but also with a tiny bit of hope.  And I HOPE I can finish it this week.  On audio I finished "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger, a coming-of-age tale set in a small Minnesota town in 1961.  Incredible literary voice and story.  I had my quibbles, but still a fantastic listen.  I'm now a couple of hours into "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrick Backman, and it is funny and sweet about a curmudgeonly old man.

Hope everybody has a great Sunday, what is left of it.  After I shower, I will be roaming around on the blogs a bit.  See you there!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Salon: Best laid plans...

 Good evening...little late today.  I wanted to wait until I got the latest pictures of the puppy.  Of course.  He is 6 weeks old now, and we will pick him up in two weeks.  It is like we are anticipating a baby.  We are crazy.  Last weekend we actually got to FaceTime with Brody and his nanny.  We have the best breeder ever.  He is definitely on the heavier side of a six week PON.  The cats are just going to LOOOOOVE him.

So the week started out good, or normal at least.  I was doing my thing, running here and there, going to the new trainer.  Then on Wednesday I casually picked up a small weight and completely threw my back out.  Man, it sucks being old.  So I've been laid up a bit...two trips to the chiropractor, lots of moaning and groaning, a heating pad and Advil.  Blah.  I'm going to try to get back to the gym tomorrow.  We will see how that goes.

Now that the Oscar contenders have been announced, we (primarily defined as my mom and I) are on a mission to see as many of the movies as possible.  This week we saw "The Imitation Game", "Ida" (nominated for Best Foreign Film and is Polish) and "American Sniper".  All great movies but "American Sniper" kinda blew us away.

On the reading front?  Eh.  I did start reading "Where All the Light Tends To Go", and is a troubling but easy read.  I am hoping to make some progress on it next week if I can stay away from that damned Wordbrain game.  On audio I finished "Lock In" by John Scalzi.  It was genius as far as world-building but the plot was a bit convoluted.  It still was pleasant to listen to Wil Wheaton narrating.  I'm now about halfway through "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger.  I intentionally didn't read the synopsis, so I have no idea where it is going, but I'm enjoying it so far as a coming-of-age tale.

Tonight we are eating food that is bad for us and watching playoff football games.  Go Colts.  The kids have tomorrow off, so that takes some of the Sunday night pressure off the table.  What has everyone been up to today?  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Salon: New Beginnings

Howdy guys!  What do you know, I'm up and on my game this morning.  I was thinking about my week, and decided it was definitely a good one.  I read a post yesterday (OK I read A LOT of posts yesterday as I've been really slacking and had to catch up) that reminded me to shut the hell up about being busy.  It isn't about being busy, it is about managing my time more wisely.  I have plenty of time to sit down and read or chill out, but I don't because that is the way I am.  In fact, I'm thinking that my word of the year should be something along these lines...CHILL.  Lest I give myself heart failure.

Lots of "beginnings" to the new year this week.  I had my first Polish class of the year on Wednesday evening.  It was nice to see some of my new friends again, and I'm hoping with the arrival of the puppy in a few weeks, I can keep this up.  It is good for my brain.  Speaking of the puppy, gratuitous weekly photo:    

The puppy "nanny" who helps the breeder texted me this picture on Friday afternoon.  Made my day.  I love these women.  He is getting bigger by the day, and is so precious - look at that expression.  Makes my heart swell.  I should have my Sunday update pictures soon, and when I get those I'll post on FB.

Also had my first Heathrow Literary Society meeting of the year on Wednesday as well, discussing "Orphan Train".  That was such a good book but I read it so long ago.  I brought my mom with me, and I think she enjoyed it.  This group always reads the book and has lots to say.

I also think I found a new trainer to replace Andre.  I was a little bereft at the beginning of the week without my regular flogging, but tried a new place on Friday with a couple of my workout ladies, and we had our asses kicked thoroughly.  As in, I can't move, even today.  This is a good thing.  I'm going to give it a month and see how I do.

I'll need to do some extra working out next week because we went to a seafood buffet Friday night and out for my hubby's birthday last night.  Today will require bread and water I think.

I'd love to tell you that I did all kinds of reading, but I did not, at least in print.  I am totally addicted to a game on my phone called "Wordbrain", and until I conquer it, which will take awhile, I may be on a reading hiatus.  Ha!  (If you see me posting about the game on FB, it is because I am pimping myself out for hints to help me in the game.)  However, I did finish "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson and in a word?  Perfect.  I claim to have started "Where All the Light Tends To Go" by David Joy but I haven't really started it in earnest.

On audio, I finished "Blue Lily, Lily Blue" by Maggie Stiefvater, the third installment in the Raven Cycle series, and it was very good.  Love this series, and I'm totally hyped for the fourth and final book.  This is a minor miracle, considering my general attitude towards YA.  I'm now about halfway through "Lock In" by John Scalzi (and narrated by Wil Wheaton - woo!).  Apparently Audible has a corner on this audiobook.  Even libraries aren't getting it, which is annoying, so I nabbed it with an Audible promotion.  It is good - creatively genius - but not the easiest thing to understand.  I'm wondering if this is going to be a series?  It could be.

I'm not sure what is on the agenda for today.  I'm afraid to speculate reading, because while that would be great, I'm usually offered other suggestions.  Sundays are for family.  It will be a surprise!  See, I'm chill.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Salon: New Year, New Dog, New Routine

Good evening friends!  I actually missed last Sunday...first time in so long.  The day just got away from me!  Holidays are a tough business.  I need a vacation from the holidays.  But I'm back in business now.  The kids go back to school tomorrow (woo hoo!) and I can go about starting my new year.

The first major change is that Andre the know, the one I've been going to for over three years...has shut his doors, as his building is being sold. He doesn't seem to have any plan of when or if he will be back in business, so I'm going to have to find an alternative plan.  This is equivalent to finding a new OB-Gyn or hairdresser, and it is distressing.  I'm on a mad search.

And I better search quickly because my Lord, the eating and drinking that has been happening lately.  None of my clothes fit.  Something must be done soon.

We DID have a nice Christmas and New Year celebration.  It was dialed down a bit from earlier years but that didn't really seem to bother anyone.  Just having the time off (except from the cooking!) and spending it with family and friends was all that was needed.

And the new puppy!  The highlight of my life at the moment.  We are naming him Brody and have selected him from the litter of four.  Here he is at four weeks: 

We will pick him up on January 31st in North Carolina.  For those that weren't around when I originally talked about him, he is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog.  Prepare to be barraged with pictures forever.

Reading was pretty slow.  I'm not sure why I think I'll get all this reading done when everyone is underfoot!  I did finally finish the true crime novel "Monster" by Steve Jackson, and it was really what true crime should be.  Horrifying, fascinating stuff.  I'm now about halfway through "Amy & Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson, a YA recommendation from Jill.  A little sneak peek on my opinion of this one...simply wonderful.  Maybe not totally groundbreaking material, but a balm for the soul.

Audio!  Not sure where I left off two weeks ago (and I'm too lazy to look) but I finished "Empty Mansions" by Bill Dedman for a February book club meeting, and I enjoyed it.  This is a true story about a very wealthy, eccentric heiress and her disappearing millions.  I also blew through a quick one called "Detroit: An American Autopsy" by Charlie LeDuff.  Again, more good non-fiction from a investigative journalist who sets out to poke around the ashes of a once-great city to learn where it all went wrong.  I decided it was time for something not-real so I'm listening to installment three of the amazing Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater called "Blue Lily, Lily Blue".  Such an escape for me, with incredible narration.

This upcoming week will bring the start of new Polish classes, as well as a book club meeting on "Orphan Train".  Back to the damned doctor appointments.  And to golf or not to golf?  I'll have to see how everything works out.  Happy Sunday, what's left of it!