Friday Book Review

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

I was introduced to this book through Pulseit. It was offered free to read during a certain time period. When I read the beginning of the description, I knew I had to read it. The time expired before I had time to read it, so I went to the library and checked it out.

Ruby McQueen is a sixteen-year-old high school student with the name, she thinks, of a rodeo cowgirl porn star, or, maybe worse, a Texas beauty queen runner-up.

The setting for the story is not Texas, it’s around the Seattle area. Ruby is a quiet girl who likes to stay under the radar. It’s the summer before her senior year, and it becomes a summer of reckoning. A summer of learning and growing and figuring out what true love and family means.

I found myself picking it up to read and then setting it down. It took me longer than it should have to read. For me, it wasn’t a page turner. It was a book I enjoyed but did not feel compelled to read quickly. I think Deb Caletti is a good writer. She has lines that resonate with the reader. I like the way she develops her characters. Specifically, the Casserole Queens ( a book club her mom runs for seniors). Although the story is about Ruby and her summer of rebellion, and how she is attracted to a boy who is nothing but trouble and seems to get his kicks out of pulling her into situations she would normally not put herself in; it’s about a lot more.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you if you decide to read it. This is a YA (young adult) book, which doesn’t bother me at all. I like to read all kinds of books. This was a worthwhile read. I would read more from this author.

Here is quotation from the book that I liked, “This is what I know: We are all a volume on the shelf of the Nine Mile Falls Library, a story unto ourselves, never possibly described with one word or even very accurately with thousands. A person is never as quiet or unrestrained as they seem, or as bad or good, as vulnerable or as strong, as sweet or as feisty; we are thickly layered, page lying upon page, behind simple covers” (301).

 

Comfortable in Her Own Skin

Last week I was fortunate to spend the afternoon with my 20 year old niece. She goes to the University of Kansas (KU) and I was in Lawrence, so I wanted to see her if she was available. She had just gotten out of her summer class when I arrived in Lawrence. I thought we would go to lunch and then I would head on to Kansas City, but we ended up shopping then heading to Massachusetts street to eat and shop some more. (If you haven’t been to Lawrence or have, but have never been to Mass street, please do so. I love Mass St. It is so much fun – lots of good shops, eating places, an old-fashioned theatre, cool book stores, etc.)

My niece is a good shopper, if she didn’t have plans to be a CPA, she’d make a great personal shopper. She helped me find a new swimsuit and khaki shorts for my son, and then it was my turn. I wanted to get a new swimsuit, but like most of us, didn’t relish the idea of trying on swimsuits. We are fortunate to be going to a beach this summer, and I really did want  a new swimsuit, so I went forward with the best attitude and enthusiasm I could. We actually had fun trying on swimsuits, and I ended up buying one I really liked. When we were leaving the store I made some kind of comment about hoping I looked okay because I used to look good in two pieces but I know my body has changed some. She looked at me and said, “Here’s my philosophy –  You need two things: a swimsuit and a beach.” I just started laughing. She is so right. That’s all I need. That’s all anyone needs. Sure, I’d like to have a nice toned body and look amazing in my swimsuit, but that is a want not a need. I have everything I need.

How did this 20 year old college student get so wise? How is she so comfortable in her own skin? I love how we can learn lessons from everyone. We just need to pay attention. I am thankful for the reminder of what is important. I tried on my new swimsuit today, and I look fine. I know when we go on vacation I will see all kinds of people in all kinds of suits. I hope they, too, realize they have everything they need: a beach and a swimsuit.

Fun Finds From the Web

Monday is here and I am setting my mind into work mode. This weekend was one of those rare weekends in the summer when we didn’t have much going on. It was so nice. It was one of those times where the balance between work and fun was just right. We have a big project we have been working on, and it seemed like things came together really well.

Here are some fun sites I found on the internet this past week.

Every now and then you just want a Coach handbag, or maybe you want to give one as a gift (lucky person!). If you are like me, and don’t like to pay full price for things, check out this Coach Outlet link. Periodically, I receive emails and I have a bought a few things over the years.

A Facebook friend had this posted on her page, and I just couldn’t resist taking the quiz: Which 80s movie girl are you?

I am not a teenager, but I often feel like one. If you haven’t checked out Pulseit, please do. You can sign up for free ebooks and get info on new YA books that are coming out.

I stumbled upon this last weekend. So glad I did! “42 Of The Most Beautiful Literary Quotes About Summer.”

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was taking a carload of teenage girls to a concert in Kansas City. The girls had the time of their lives. They played a lot of the band’s music on the way there and back. I honestly think I would have enjoyed the concert, too! Here’s a song from Fall Out Boy.

Have a super week!

Words Written by K. A. Clifton

JUST OFF OLD HIGHWAY 40

Come outside, love.
Breathe
this distilled, rural autumn air.
Our best sun attendant, nature fully engaged.
Look. Wild sumac’s afire. Shallow
creek poplars, past
flaunting their yellowed garb,
shake to disrobe.
By dusk, the sphinx moth hovers
weightlessly, piercing ruby honeysuckle
or drifts of
scented pink petunias.
And just off old Highway 40,
yard pine build their loosely matted, coppery beds.

This side of Earth’s orbit
fills my senses with fresh awareness:
a harvest of lessons learned
tangible in a wealth
of wiser choices, unmet desires
still meant to be.
Up the road,
scene-stealing grain elevators
conjoined, stand in lifeless concrete pour.
Windblown, oven months
of summer forgiven,
these few fall weeks of sweetened air reform us.
Come, sit by me.
We’re rural western Kansas. Breathe.

Theory Vs. Reality

I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.  I enjoy thinking about the future and how things might pan out. So often in life, though, I’ve seen that theory doesn’t always match up to reality.

When I was in college a group of us decided to go skydiving. I remember watching my friends jump out of the airplane. I noticed that none of them were doing it quite like the instructor had told them to. I decided I would do it right. I pictured myself elegantly leaping from the plane, back arched, arms spread wide, and head lifted. This was such a great idea in theory. When it actually came my time to jump, I just kind of fell forward out of the plane and I think there might have been some screaming.

I woke up very early this morning because I wanted to get a few things done before  I take a car load of teenage girls to a concert in a city several hours away. The concert doesn’t start until tonight, but they have this idea that they will meet up with a college age cousin of one of the girls and get there extra early. They are getting up at 6:30 this morning, so we can leave by 7:00am. I am not sure how late they stayed up, but I know around 11:00 I asked them to quiet down. I think this morning, and maybe even by tonight, they may see what is, and what they thought it would be, is different.

I’ve been thinking about horses lately. Scheming a little, wondering if we can purchase a little land that comes up to our yard, fence it off, build a corral, shelter, get something set up. In my mind, it’s a great idea. I visualize myself on a nice, easy horse. Maybe we ride around in the country not far from our house. Maybe I go out and groom him/her, or just hear a whinny when I step out back. I think about how beautiful horses are and how nice it would be to see one on a daily basis, ride when I want. Just have the joy of having my very own horse. Then reality sets in. Do the owners want to sell off part of their land? Do my husband and I know how to build fence or a corral? Do I want to shovel horse manure? Why didn’t I keep my tack from when I owned horses before? Do I have the time? Do I want to deal with farriers, vet bills, numerous trips to buy feed, supplies, etc.? What about winter weather? Do I really want to ride? Do I want that much responsibility?

I think so much of life is theory vs. reality. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that either.  It’s just life. There is what we think, and there is what actually occurs. For me, I will keep dreaming and scheming, thinking and planning, hoping and praying. But, as time has gone on, I’ve learned to realize that sometimes things turn out even better than I could have imagined, and other times theory was much better than reality. Either way it’s life, and I’m almost always grateful.

Fun Finds From the Web

Monday, Monday….(song from the Mamas and the Papas). The lyrics start off Monday, Monday so good to me, Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be.

Well, I was fortunate enough to wake up before the crack of dawn. I don’t know, but I’m guessing it was around 5:00ish. I love it when I wake up early feeling rested. There is something about getting up early that makes me happy. It feels like the slate is wiped clean and I have a new start; the day is fresh and getting up early gives me a head start.

Here’s a dish I made a few days ago. Food52 had a one-pan pasta dish (slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe). It’s easy, looks pretty, and was delicious. I will say that the concept is that you have all the ingredients in your pantry so it’s easy and quick. Well, I had angel hair pasta , not linguine. My dish ended up being a little mushy. Angel hair pasta cooks so much quicker, so it absorbed more water. It still had a great taste, though.

I think we all want to live our best lives. Even though this next piece has women speaking, a lot of the ideas apply to men as well.

I think this next find is so cool!! It’s a quiz to find your perfect spontaneous trip.

I have a goal of how many miles a week I exercise. I was trying to figure out how much time swimming laps would equal a mile. I found several charts. Here is one that converts your exercise into miles.

I love all kinds of music. I thought this was a very interesting piece from NPR. Check it out.

Here’s to a great week for all of us!!

 

Friday Book Review

Go Ahead & Like It

So happy to get this book! This book is delightful. It truly is. Written by Jacqueline Suskin and a mere 72 pages, this little book provides immediate uplifting to the reader. Much more than a gratitude journal; it’s a book about being aware, thankful, and present.

In the introduction the author states, “The most influential aspect of listing my likes is the introspective act of simply writing the list itself. My hope is to provide examples of this meditative exercise that so often reconnects me with the meaningful details that fill my life. Take it as a writing prompt, a model for self-discovery, or a form of acute observation.”

She gives examples of her lists and helps the reader create his/her own. This book is a great gift to one’s self or a thoughtful gift to give another.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

More Info.

Author Bio.

Writing Group Exercise

The last time our writing group met we did an exercise where we were given five words and then had about 20 minutes to write. There are no rules, no expectations. We just write. We have done this a lot, and I usually write something reality based – an essay or piece that takes one of the words and builds an idea around it. So, basically, I write nonfiction. Everyone else writes fiction. They usually use all the words and they are so creative! I love it. Well, this time I thought what the heck, just be like everyone else, use all the words, and write a fictional piece. So, this is what I did. It was fun.

Here are the five words: pompadour, roundly, salient, splenetic.

Here’s what I wrote.

Fred with his splendid pompadour, the envy of all his neighbors (at least in Fred’s mind), attacked his hedge bushes in a rather roundly fashion. He believed in doing things the old-fashioned way – sharp, steely edge trimmers, always kept incredibly sharp, cleaned after every use, and always returned to the proper spot in the garden shed.

Fred’s yard and home were immaculate. He felt it rather salient to give a proper, good impression. After all, one never had a second chance to make a first impression. Every now and then he caught a neighbor casting a sideways glance at his yard and then quickly turning away. Other people on his block tried to work on their yards and homes, but no one came even close to achieving what Fred had – perfection, at least in Fred’s mind, and isn’t one’s perception their reality?

He did have to admit to himself that his neighbors had become somewhat splenetic, for he hadn’t received a compliment about his house or yard for several months. Jealousy. He was sure of it. But, that was okay. He was use to it. Not everyone had hair like Elvis, a yard like a layout in Better Homes and Garden, and a home out of Martha Stewart Living. 

That’s what I came up with in the short time we wrote. I have no idea where that came from. As I was writing I had a vague notion about how we view ourselves versus how others view us. Fred thought rather highly of himself. Who knows what others really thought about him. They probably didn’t think about him much at all.

I rarely write fiction; however, I think it’s important that we push ourselves sometimes and step out of our comfort zones. That’s how we grow.

Happy writing, all. And, if you don’t write, happy whatever your activity is. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Fun Finds From the Web

Mid July, really? Yes, I know I sound like a broken record when I keep saying how fast the summer is flying by. I guess I am just still amazed at how quickly the weeks and weekends go by. Once again I find myself sitting at my desk writing on Monday morning.

My husband and I have always really enjoyed working in our yard. Every house we’ve owned we’ve tried to figure out how to bring out its best beauty. We are very fortunate in the house we currently own because the original owners did a wonderful job landscaping the 1 1/2 acres that surround the house. Our job now is upkeep and some additional touches.

Check out these low budget landscaping ideas from hgtv.

Although I do believe working in the yard can be a workout, check out this article and video: Nine exercises for sculptured arms.

With all this activity, you are bound to get hungry so here is a recipe for trail mix energy bites.

I enjoy following Happsters on instagram. Check out their website. I love the quote and picture you’ll see when you click on this link.

I enjoy Yoga with Adrienne. She has a new yoga routine to start the day. I will be doing it this week.

It’s going to be hot here in Kansas this week. Wherever you are, and whatever your week entails, enjoy the moments you can.

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Friday Book Review

Happy, happy Friday!If you lived here.. I picked up If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name at Hearthside Books in Juneau, Alaska. It was such a neat bookstore. When we travel we always try to visit stores and restaurants that aren’t chains. This book was also signed by the author, which I thought was kind of cool.

“Tiny Haines, Alaska, ninety miles north of Juneau, is accessible mainly by water or air – and only when the weather is good. There’s no traffic light, no mail delivery, people can vanish without a trace, and funerals are community affairs.” (back book cover)

I am looking forward to reading this book. I’ll let you know what it’s like.

Happy weekend, all!