Monthly Archives: February 2012

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — FEB. 25

Sparks are flying around the blogosphere again today, as we join in with Alyce, At Home With Books, to showcase our Saturday Snapshots.

This week, I sifted through some photos and found a theme that sparked my interest.

Eyes.  Yes, the eyes have it.  And today I’m sharing Fiona’s eyes, from toddler days to teens.

Here she is at eighteen months.

In the shot, she was covering her lower face, so I cropped it even more to spotlight the eyes.

And here’s one of her as a teen, on New Year’s Eve.

I found this perplexed set of eyes on her Facebook page.

 

Now I’m eager to visit all of your creations.  Come on by and share….

“SNOW” STORIES — FEB. 24

This month, my two granddaughters (above and in the header) celebrated their fifteenth birthdays.

This photo shows them as snow bunnies (at age seven).

To find out more about this snow story, visit HERE.

Enjoying family moments in special places is what the “cabin in the woods” was all about.

Nowadays, we’ve moved on and the cabin is no longer “our place.”  But we still enjoy traditions, like our family get-togethers that inspire photos like these.

What special family moments do you enjoy?  Do you have special traditions?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING THROUGH THURSDAY — FEB. 23

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Today’s Theme:

 

This week’s theme is related to the nose – any action that you do with your nose. I can only think of SMELL and BREATHE for now, but go ahead and come up with something more innovative.

SMELL Breathe, Anything else you can come up with the nose’s functions

***

Today I’m excerpting from Whole Latte Life, by Joanne DeMaio.

Would you leave everything behind to know who you are?

Sara Beth Riley never dreamt she’d walk straight out of her life.  Actually she’d never dreamt a lot of things that had happened this year … From being kidnapped by her own best friend, to throwing her wedding rings into the Hudson River, to calling an old love in France, to getting inked with said best friend, painting the passionate constellation of these choices into permanence.  But mostly, she could never have dreamt what started it all.  How could it be that her mother’s unexpected death, and the grief which lingered painfully long, turned her into the woman she was finally meant to become?

Sara Beth’s escape begins a summer of change – of herself, of marriage, of the lives of those around her.  In a story that moves from Manhattan to the sea to a quaint New England town, Whole Latte Life looks at friends we never forget, at decisions we linger with, at our attempts to live the lives we love.

***

Theme: (After his wife goes to New York, Tom spends some time in the attic, reflecting).   He slides the rocking chair close to the crib and sits there, watching.  Before you know it, Owen won’t be a baby; this peaceful time in the night won’t happen forever.  Tom hears the sigh of his son’s breathing and then he does what he’s been doing more and more for the past year:  He figures out how to do this reading thing, how to fill in for his wife, his voice whispering about ducks and happiness and spring and puddles. p. 38

***

Booking Through Thursday:

What do you look for when reading a book blog? Does the blogger have to read the same genre? Do you like reviews? Personal posts? Memes? Giveaways? What attracts you to a book blog?

And–what are your favorite book blogs?

There are a variety of characteristics that draw me to a blog and combine to make it a favorite.

First, I like a blog that is designed creatively with a header that appeals to the eye; I like sidebars that have interesting photos to tempt me into clicking on them, to see where they might lead; I like blogs that load fairly easily, so I don’t have to wait FOREVER for them to “settle down.”

Secondly, I like a mix of posts that feature books, but also other topics that show the reader who the blogger is.  Life moments, if you will.  And lots of photos.  It helps if the blogger is a little bit quirky and has a sense of humor.

Finally, I enjoy it if the blogger reads some of my favorite genres, so I can find new books that I’m going to love to read.

Now…that said, I also like knowing that there will be a post that feels cozy and warms me up in the morning with my coffee, like Book Journey, with the Morning Meanderings.

Socrates has a lot of cute and cozy mysteries that intrigue me; Bibliophile by the Sea usually finds just the book I’m wanting to read; and, at Life in the Thumb, I’m also able to connect with books and add them to my shelves.

Book’d Out showcases books that sound so good I can’t help but want to read them, plus she poses interesting questions and dilemmas that make me think.

Reading Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures is like having a conversation with a friend over tea or a nice martini, with lots of cute moments with Lucy (her cat-person).

There are more sites, too, like Bermudaonion or Book Fan Mary, but I can’t name them all!  I enjoy participating in certain memes that allow me to connect with familiar blogs and sites:  These two memes, of course; Sheila’s It’s Monday:  What Are You Reading?; and Alyce’s Saturday Snapshot.

What do you like about the book blogs you read?  What draws you in?

SPARKING SURREAL CONNECTIONS — A REVIEW

In the beginning of Creative Spirit, we are introduced to the history of Korban Manor…and to the domineering owner of the house and grounds.

Then we are thrust into the future as several artists gather to the present-day manor, kept in its historic condition as directed by Korban’s will.

As the artists converge on the manor for their retreat, we catch a glimpse of what each of them hopes to achieve in this six-week stay at the old estate. Mason hopes to sculpture something noteworthy, to set his career on an upward path and to make his mother proud; Spence is hoping to jumpstart his languishing writing career; and Roth hopes to capture wonderful photos for a documentary.

Others are also there for similar reasons. But lurking in the background and ever-present throughout the story are others whose presence seems nebulous, questionable, and surreal.

And let’s not forget Anna, terminally ill, and in search of a spiritual connection.

At first, I could connect with the characters and even the spiritual entities, feeling empathy for each. But as events progressed, and as the twisted plot left my heart pounding with fear, I had to set it aside…just so I could sleep!

When I finished it the next morning, I was quite glad for it to be over. Nicholson is a talented writer and his characterizations felt real and three-dimensional, even the ghosts. But I knew going in, and nothing has changed my mind: this kind of horror tale is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I’m awarding four stars for the way the author pulled it all together, and kept me guessing until the end.

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — FEB. 18

Sparks are flying around the blogosphere again today, as we join in with Alyce, At Home With Books, to showcase our Saturday Snapshots.

As I was out and about this week, I stopped in to see my daughter where she tends bar a couple of days a week.

This first one shows her hard at work.

The flowers were for Valentine’s Day.

In these next photos, we see Heather at different ages and places in her life.

This one was captured by her older brother, the photographer; we had been to the “family sculpture,” which I’ve showcased on other occasions.  He decided to catch some candid shots of her at play.  This one was taken in 1991.

And here’s one of the two of us, a year or so before.  Okay, my hair is totally in need of a makeover!

But I love the mother/daughter moment.

What are the rest of you spotlighting today?  I can’t wait to see….

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — FEB. 11

Sparks are flying around the blogosphere again today, as we join in with Alyce, At Home With Books, to showcase our Saturday Snapshots.

This month brings the fifteenth birthdays of my two granddaughters, Aubrey and Fiona.  Here are a couple of shots of each of them, showing how they are enjoying their friendships.

Here’s one of Aubrey with some friends.  She is the second from the left.

Aubrey and Friends

 

And here’s Fiona with a friend.  She’s the one on the right.

 

Fiona and Friend

 

This second shot is a bit blurry…but you get the picture.

How did these two girls, who were babies just the other day (lol!) turn into fifteen-year-olds?

I’ll never stop feeling amazed at how quickly they’ve grown, or how much joy they bring to my life.

What are you sharing today?  Special moments?  I hope you’ll stop by and comment, with your links.

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — FEB. 9

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Today’s Theme:

 

This week’s theme is very related to the ear – any action that you do with your ear.

HEAR
listen, anything else you can come up with the ear’s actions :) etc.

 

Today I’m excerpting from a book I just finished reading:  How to Eat a Cupcake, by Meg Donohue.

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs’ housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia’s engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

***

Theme Snippet  (Annie has just arrived at the St. Clair residence for a catering job, and is greeted by Mrs. St. Clair):  “Oh, thank goodness it’s just you!”  she rasped into my ear.  “I nearly died when I heard the doorbell.  I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that early guests are as welcome as the plague in this home.”

***

Booking Through Thursday Prompt:

“If you had to pick only 5 books to read ever again, what would they be and why?”

***

That’s a tough one!  I don’t think I can name individual books, unless, of course, it’s the copy of Gone with the Wind sitting on my office coffee table waiting to be reread; or perhaps Rebecca, waiting there for the same reason.  Those two books I read in high school and recall loving them.  I wonder if I would feel the same now?  Curiosity would draw me to read them again.  Or nostalgia.

I would love to reread anything by Jodi Picoult; or perhaps Marge Piercy, who symbolized a time of feminist consciousness in my life.  I might choose something by Maeve Binchy, because she makes me feel cozy.

 

What about the rest of you?  Did you think of those very special books, or did you struggle with this one?

This is a question like the one we had a few weeks ago:  do you like good writing or a good plot?  Impossible…lol

 

 

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — FEB. 4

Sparks are flying around the blogosphere again today, as we join in with Alyce, At Home With Books, to showcase our Saturday Snapshots.

Today I have more old family photos to share.  This first one is a 1913 portrait of my maternal grandparents.  This photo was taken on or about the time of their marriage.  They both came to the United States from Sweden, separately, while young; they met in LA and married, after which they moved to the Central Valley.

1913 Photo - Ben and Emma Larson

I snapped this next photo of a painting I have hanging in my home.  My mother grew up in the farmhouse depicted here, and she painted it a few years ago.

Painting by my mother

I remember visiting this house and wandering in the surrounding areas.  I especially loved that old tankhouse directly to the left of the farmhouse. 

The interior of the farmhouse had two staircases:  one that led up from the kitchen, and the other from the living room.  I had a lot of fun exploring the rooms, especially one that held my grandfather’s photography equipment.  He died while my mother was still a child, but I loved that his equipment was still there.

Now that I’m feeling very nostalgic, I’m eager to visit all of your featured images.

FRIDAY SPARKS: CHILDHOOD MOMENTS — FEB. 3

When I think about the connections in my life, I often see a recurring and bonding theme in childhood moments.  Mine and the childhoods of my children and grandchildren.

The terrain of childhood is a starting point for us all, even though we have very different childhood experiences.  But talking about those experiences can bring us closer together.  Sharing photos that spotlight our experiences can do the same.

In the photo above, the centerpiece is one of my childhood pictures, and I’m bookended by pictures of two of my grandchildren at different phases of their livesMy snapshot captures me at about age three, apparently tossing a teddy bear into the bushes.

I remember the moment.  I had just spent more than a week (which seemed endless) in a darkened room, recovering from measles.  The disease that (thankfully) children can now be immunized against.

Hating those endless hours in the darkened room, I can still see myself pushing a miniature car about in the crib, feeling very bored.  I might have been scared, too, since nobody talked about what was going on.  Afterwards, I had to wear dark glasses to protect my eyes; at one point, I recall stomping on the glasses and breaking them.

Years later, I found those glasses in a bottom drawer of a cabinet, and the memories flooded back.

I suspect that the beloved teddy bear had to pay for my frustrations about being “contained” for what must have felt like an endless period of time.

Now, juxtaposed against my childhood moments, take a look at the photo on the left, of my grandchildren experiencing their own adventures in very different ways from mine.  They seem happy with the cat (Sebastian), enjoying each others’ company.  I wonder what their memories are of this moment.

On the right, the same two are enjoying preteen moments at our “family monument.”  Yes, at some point, my children dubbed this sculpture at the local university “ours,” because we often posed for photos there.  I have a couple shots to share:

The First "Family Monument" Shot

 

This second photo was taken several years later, in the early 1990s.

Why do we feel so connected to this particular spot in our family history?  Perhaps we feel the strength of our bonds when we share the common experience. 

Do you have family traditions that spotlight your connections?  Moments you share that bond you?

 

 

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — FEB. 2

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.

Today’s Theme:

Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is very related to the eye – any action that you do with your eye.

SEE
WINK, VISION, ROLL etc.

Mine is from my current read:  Jonathan’s Story, by Julia London, a spin-off from the now defunct soap Guiding Light.

From New York Times bestselling author Julia London comes the passionate, suspenseful novel based on Guiding Light, the 2007 Emmy Award-winning daytime drama.When his true love Tammy Winslow died saving his life, Jonathan Randall had only one reason left for existing: his baby daughter Sarah. But Sarah’s great-grandfather, powerful millionaire Alan Spaulding, was obsessed with bringing her up himself. Faking his death, Jonathan fled Springfield, leaving only his mother Reva Shayne aware he and Sarah were still alive.After being on the run for months, Jonathan comes to the sleepy town of Tourmaline, California, with no intention of staying. But ten-month-old Sarah seems strangely happy here, and Jonathan himself feels an inexplicable pull toward the town. It’s almost as if Tammy’s ghost were whispering to him that he should stay for a while. But life is hard for a bad boy trying to turn good, until a local young woman comes into his life.

Aubrey Cross isn’t quite sure what attracts her to this stranger in Tourmaline. Perhaps it’s his dark good looks; perhaps it’s because she too has always felt as if she doesn’t belong in Tourmaline, even though her father is the popular town sheriff. Aubrey alone knows that this pillar of the community is in reality a sadistic abuser.

And, of course, with a past like Jonathan’s, it’s no surprise that life doesn’t stay peaceful in Tourmaline for long. Sheriff Zeke Cross is sure there are some secrets buried, and he’s not going to rest until he uncovers them. Can Reva protect Jonathan and Sarah before they’re discovered by the dangerous Alan Spaulding?

Featuring some of Guiding Light’s favorite characters, Jonathan’s Story is the passionate tale of how Jonathan may have finally found a second chance for true love…but who knows better than Jonathan how quickly everything you love can be ripped away from you?

***

Snippet:  She (Reva Shayne) rounded another corner, banking the car wide and praying no one was coming toward her on the other side of the road.  She quickly straightened her car out and resumed her reckless speed.  Ahead of her, she could see a cloud of dust where Alan’s and Jonathan’s cars must have turned onto a gravel road.  p. 2

***

Booking Through Thursday prompt:

Have you ever read a random book left in a waiting room or on a park bench, etc., and did you like it?

***

I racked my brain on this one, but I could not think of a single time when that happened!  I’ve picked up magazines in waiting rooms, of course; but I haven’t seen a stray book anywhere.  Now I could be totally blocking this out.

I may have picked up a book or two at someone’s house, but not to read the whole thing.  Perhaps a page or two.  I couldn’t even tell you the name of any of these random books.

Wait!  I do recall picking up a random book a couple of years ago, at a resort where I was staying.  I had finished all the books I’d brought with me, and went to the office to see if they could tell me where the nearest bookstore was.  They pointed me to some shelves nearby and I was told I could pick something out there…so I grabbed a Faye Kellerman book that I hadn’t read, called Moon Music.  I did like it, although it wasn’t my usual choice.  There were shape-shifters, etc.  I was just happy to have something else to read!

Now I’m curious about what the responses of the rest of you!  Come on by and share….

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers