Coffee Date #40

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Why hello there! You’re looking smashing today. How has your week been? Was it kind to you? Mine seemed to drag on and on and on, but after two short weeks, what can I expect?

What’s in your cup today? Yes I have Kahlua coffee and hot chocolate mix. It’s Friday after all!

What’s new? Any good  news? I managed to make the 6:30am yoga class with my favorite instructor today. Yes, it was a minor miracle I did anything close to functioning so early, but I would have felt like a giant tool if I hadn’t because I had committed to it last night when I left the pool.

It was a good class, but I’m all off balance and struggled through parts. I also discovered that I’m very stiff first thing in the morning! I’m going to try and keep going to this class, but if I’m honest with myself, I know it won’t be an every Friday kind of thing.

In other news, I have some fun things coming up. Things like using a butt marker to prep doors for hanging, probably too much time at the pool, hopefully getting a gas stove installed, crafty and design time for a craft show I’m doing as Court is Crafty, visiting with family and friends, and a Buddy Walk!

What’s this Buddy Walk I speak of? It’s an awareness and fundraising event to “support the local programs and services provided by Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center as well as the National Down Syndrome Society’s national advocacy initiatives that were established to benefit and serve people with Down syndrome and their families.”

(I took that part from their fundraising website.)

I’m walking with Team Harlow who is the daughter of a dear dear friend. Why do I ask if you would consider it a great favor if you would consider joining us or donating to our team? If you join us or donate, you’ll be supporting a cause that’s near and dear to my family’s heart, get warm fuzzy feelings ’cause you did a good thing, and as an added bonus I’ll make anyone who joins because of my request or donates $25 or more a 4 pack of cupcakes (gluten free or not) or cookies if they need to be shipped. (Forward me your confirmation of donation and if you want cupcakes or cookies – it’s that simple.)

Other than that there isn’t much to report. I heard this weekend is going to be all rainy so I’ll likely take naps, read my books for NetGalley and do stuff around the house. I’m so exciting sometimes it slays me. What do you have going on?

 

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Thursday Three – Reasons for me to be excited for fall

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Not today, but I’m looking forward to it.

If you looked out my window right now, you’d think that fall is already here – or a really cloudy day with lots of wind. I noticed the other day that the trees are just starting to change which makes me slightly giddy. What can I say? While I love all the seasons for their very own special reasons, I might love fall the most.

(Sort of related. Did you see this Buzzfeed about white girls and fall? I’m guilty of like 5 of them, but I don’t just limit it to fall! Can you guess which 5?)

I know it’s not fair to love one more than the others, but I have valid reasons to (maybe) love fall best.

  1. It’s getting to be soup and chili season. I love soup or chili for dinner. They’re easy, warming, and there’s almost always left overs for lunch. Also, we have them with cheesy biscuits and they are just awesome.
  2. It’s cozy sweater and layer season and cozy sweaters and layers are good ways to disguise a little less than svelte physique. And they’re warm in my freezing cold office.
  3. Colors. Not only are the levees on the trees beautiful colors with striking contrast to the blue skies, but I’m wicked excited for 2014’s fall colors.  Even if a lot of the clothes are ugly.

I have a few special things that I’m hoping to pull off in the next few weeks that make me extra excited for this particular fall, but I’m not quite ready to talk about/do not wish to jinx them so for now? Just cross your fingers and think generally good thoughts for me.

What’s making you giddy lately? Do you love fall? Why?

Don’t worry. I remember. I also remembered to wish friends a happy birthday, to tell Frank that I love him, to chat a little with G-d about some things and to send healing thoughts to those who were directly affected by that day. My specific thoughts regarding what today represents have not changed much from last year.

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Reading More: Nest

A copy of Nest by Esther Ehrlich was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own

From Amazon:

For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.

Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.

Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

Nest was one of the most heart-breakingly beautiful books I’ve ever read. It’s up there with Homcoming which is one of my all time favorite books.

Nest drew me in so much that I was back to my 5th grade self, clomping through the woods on an adventure. I was sad when it was done because my new friends, Chirp and Joey, can’t come out and play anymore. I hope they’re okay.

Other than Chirp and Joey, I found the other characters to be caricatures of their roles – the Teen, the Shrink, and the New Teacher – with little development. It’s alright, it’s not their story.

It’s Chirp and Joey’s – one of friendship and healing.

Is this a book that would interest you? If it is, let me know that it is, why, and share the most heart-breakingly beautiful book you’ve ever read and I’ll pick a comment to send a copy to. I love this book that much I want to share.

I should note that although this was a great book, it did tackle some pretty serious issues such as chronic illness, depression, suicide, and child abuse. If you’re going to hand it to your kiddo, you might want to be ready for some tough questions.

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Frank said… #90

This is part of the Frank said feature. You can see more here.

Ice cream truck music playing as it drives nearby.

Frank: They’re taunting me
Me: How so?
Frank: The music is echoing through the trees…
Me: Give it time, they’ll be over
Frank: NO they won’t, THEY wont let them
Me: Who’s THEY?
Frank: General electric.
Me: I don’t think they can do that
Frank: Yes they can, they have the power.

Frank wanted me to update this and let you know that he believes GE is out to get him because their Twitter handle has blocked him.

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Coffee Date #39

I was tired. It was early

Off to Chicago coffee

Hi there. It’s been a bit. How are you? I’m tentatively back although I’m not sure what it’ll look like, how often I’ll be here or if it’ll even stick. I guess I just missed you.

What’s in your cup today? I picked up more Kahlua coffee so Friday’s are a treat again. I’m having a major craving for an English Muffin with butter and jam, but that’s a no go.

What’s new? I’ve been a little crazy busy working on a major project at the office that required an insane amount of research, too many hours at the pool to cover, some design work for friends, more crafting, and traveling. I hand wrote a bunch of stuff while I was gone and it might see the light of the internet, or maybe not. Who knows? It’s one of those things we’ll have to see about.

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It’s blurry, but so was I.

So that traveling thing. Yeah. I might be getting too old to sit in the car so long.

We were gone for 5 days and drove 1700+ miles to go to Cornfest, to find a bar that’s the Copper Fox all over again, to attend a dear friend and his stunningly beautiful bride’s wedding, a 10 year old’s birthday dinner, hear Grandma’s latest theory, and buy wine at Target. I got a little too cozy with Jack at the wedding, ate [too many] french fries, rocked the sparkly blue dress with 5″ peep toed slingbacks, and laughed a lot. We also ate a lot of bacon.

It was a good trip.

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Happy 10th D!

I’ve read a few books and am in the middle of two others. I’ll be posting thoughts on those soon. Other reviews will be coming out as the books become available for sale.

It seems I can keep getting more free books if I keep on top of the reviews. Who doesn’t like free books?

After 5 days of being away, I’m glad to be home and back to a mostly general schedule. The accommodations at the Hansen Inn are fantastic, but I missed home and my shower. Also, my body wants to get back to yoga class and more normal to me foods. I applaud my in-laws for  their willingness to help me keep gluten free, but it’s just easier at home.

I hope you have an awesome weekend. Anything good planned?

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Reading More: Guilt by Association

A copy of Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

From Amazon

Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city’s most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can’t stop herself from digging deeper into Jake’s death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation–and her life–to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

Rachel Knight has a sharp wit, sharper mouth, and a kind heart. The plot was decent enough but the characters and various descriptions got in the way of this being a better book and getting a thumbs up from me. There were some very funny lines but I don’t know about “riotous humor”. The characters were likable enough, but quite obviously borrowed from other authors.

I grew weary of the dining /drinking being peppered with how much she was going to have to work out and what she was going to wear. Maybe it was done to be more more relatable, but as I ate my french fries and wore my yoga pants, I found it cumbersome and guilt inducing. The specific products and locales mentioned made me wonder if Clark was paid to mention them.

I’ll read a few more to see where Clark take her character, but I don’t expect I’ll give this series a thumbs up. Kinsey Millhone, Kay Scarpetta, Kate Beckett, Eve Duncan Olivia Benson or even Trixie Belden she is not.

I’m sure Clark was an ace attorney, but she has a long way to go to be a fiction writer.

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Checking out for now…see you soon. (Probably.)

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Until we meet again…kiss kiss

I’ve had no desire to blog in the last week. Almost none at least. I’ve had no ideas that urgently need to be written down because “oh gosh that would make a fun post!” and limited things I’ve wanted to share. It’s possible that I’ve just had more on my plate than I normally do and because blogging is something I only expect for and from myself it’s the easiest to let go of when things get to be overwhelming.

Don’t worry, I’m fine. It’s just the idea of recapping my Friday night adventure to Hartford, CT,  sharing the absolutely terrible looking cookies I made, or things I need to get done in the house/projects we’re working on there is frankly too exhausting to even contemplate.

Maybe my online story is done, it’s been 10 years after all. Maybe not? Who knows.

I’ve loved blogging, meeting new people, and learning about things from different perspectives so I imagine I’ll be back – probably. For now I’m going to focus on some new projects around the house, in life, and around the web. My gut tells me that it’s break time.

Now. I’m not saying all of this because I want people to try to convince me to stay (don’t bother, I’ll be back or not when I’m ready) or because I feel like I owe anyone an explanation of why I’m not going to post for awhile. I’m writing this so that people don’t wonder where I am or what’s up. I hate it when people just go poof!

If you need to reach me, you can email metweet with me here or follow my pictures here. I’m sure I’ll be back, but when and what capacity that will be? I’m not sure.

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Reading More: Collector of Dying Breaths

A bit ago, I read Collector of Dying Breaths, by M.J. Rose. A copy of this book was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through my partnership with the now defunct Red Letter Reads. The opinions are my own.

From Amazon:

Florence, Italy—1533:

An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fra­grances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the poten­tial to reanimate the dead.

In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country, but also the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, René doesn’t begin to imag­ine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present:

A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile—trying to recover from personal heartache by throw­ing herself into her work—learns of the sixteenth-century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomesobsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breaths he had collected during his lifetime.

Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Flo­rentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection, a woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir . . . for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means.

This mesmerizing gothic tale zigzags from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first-century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit cha­teaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

Even though I’m not a lover of historical fiction or sci-fi generally speaking, I really enjoyed this book and spent several nights up very late because I couldn’t put it down. Some of it seemed a little far fetched even for sci-fi, but it was a great story, had an intriguing premise, and was quite engaging. I also loved that we got to see what happened next to Jac after Seduction, a new mystery for her, and a little bit of love throw in for good measure.

The historical parts were vividly written and I was able to clearly imagine them in my head even though I have little reference for that particular time period. The present parts were a little wordy, but I learned some interesting things from all the information that was packed in to the story, for instance that ambergris which is putrefied whale vomit is an ingredient in high end perfumes.

I give the book a solid B and look forward to more by M.J. Rose.

Is this something you’d like to read? Why or why not?

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Keeping up with the cleaning up!

I am not shy about saying that I love, Love, LOVE that we have so much space in our house. I love it to the moon and back. Square footage wise it’s more than three times the size of my glorified studio that I had before Frank moved here and about twice the size of our apartment in Troy.

I love it, I do. But all that space means more space to be cluttered and have to keep up with straightening and cleaning it up. (I’m super glad we didn’t end up with the old Victorian we thought about…)

Frank and I aren’t dirty people, cluttered and messy sometimes? Sure. Junk mail piles up and stuff doesn’t get filed right away. I’m not too big a person to say that a lot of it is on me because my crafting stuff doesn’t always get put away like it should, sometimes the dishes don’t get done every day, and laundry stays out longer than it should.

If I’m being totally honest with you, I’ve NEVER been very good at staying on top of clutter. I sometimes wonder if it’s because I’m just lazy about it (maybe) or if it’s because I do my best work with what I need at my fingertips (true) and things being too neat stall out my thought process. I’m guessing it’s a combination of the two.

Life happens. Sleep sometimes wins. Sometimes I just can’t deal with it right away and then I get distracted. I guess those are excuses but who’s perfect? Not this girl. I’d rather attempt to relax than worry if every dish is put away, but maybe I can split the difference?

I was feeling a little overwhelmed last week with some of it and I stumbled upon a Tumblr called “Unf*ck Your Habitat” (lots of cursing but also lots of inspiration – you’ve been warned) It is what it sounds like; helpful hints and reminders to keep your living space not a big hot mess.

Each week they post a challenge and this week’s speaks to me directly! This week the challenge is to deal with the “Invisible Corners” or Piles of Stuff to Put Away Later as some people call them.  I can think of 4 or 5 that need to be taken care of and there are probably likely more. I just thought of a sixth.

I have to teach tonight so I’ll probably only get one or two 20/10s in, but it’ll be a start. If for some reason I don’t have to teach, I’ll maybe get a few more in.  I’ll be using my #makeaugust to be #neater tonight.

Are you one who has to have it clean or prefer a little/lot of clutter? Does your habitat need some unf*cking?

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Things that made me smile this week…#32, 2014

I’m back at it, listing out the things from the past week that made me smile and that I’m am thankful for. It’s important to remember the things that are good to help ease the sting of the bad.

What can I say? Some weeks are better than others and I’d like to have reminders of the good for when it’s not so good. I re read that statement and it makes me feel like I’m implying that life isn’t good. It mostly is. (Knockonwood!) I just want to make sure I’m documenting the moments that shine for me so when they don’t I can find good things quickly

  • Gouda Mac and Cheese to share with friends
  • The beautiful bluejay that visited
  • Fun graphic design (unicorn farting glitter, Tom Cruise is a robot.)
  • Live music in the sunshine and laughing with Frank, Daddy-O and Cas
  • Frank still Liking me when I’m having a hard time Liking myself.
  • Planning a girls day for 9/27. If you’re local and think you might want in let me know and I’ll send you the info. We’re doing a painting at a bar and lunch.
  • “Beating” the guy next to me on the rower. He just couldn’t keep up and it made me giggle.
  • Reading at lunch with left over Chili Pie.
  • Liking my outfits most days last week.
  • One of my special needs kiddos making progress with me.
  • Not breaking down in tears for Sunday’s yoga class

How was your week?

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