TUESDAY SPARKS: “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is one I downloaded in July, and I plan to start reading it tonight.  This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell, is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating, as I’ve enjoyed several books by the author.  An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Best-selling author Maggie O’Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.” Perfect for readers of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

 

 

 

 

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Intro:  (The Strangest Feeling in My Legs – Daniel – Donegal, 2010)

There is a man.

He’s standing on the back step, rolling a cigarette.  The day is typically unstable, the garden lush and shining, the branches weighty with still-falling rain.

There is a man and the man is me.

I am at the back door, tobacco tin in hand, and I am watching something in the trees, a figure, standing at the perimeter of the garden, where the aspens crowd in at the fence.  Another man.

He’s carrying a pair of binoculars and a camera.

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Teaser:  They are waiting, Lucas and Maeve, on a strip of gravel outside the thing like a cattle shed that serves as an airport in this part of the world.  He has a rucksack at his feet, a hat with earflaps pulled down low on his head; Maeve is huddled inside her waterproof.  (45%).

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Blurb:  Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse. 

But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children, and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
 
“O’Farrell’s prose manages to be both intimate and expansive and keenly perceptive in its insights about the complexities of marriage.  Beautiful and bittersweet, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE will make O’Farrell’s longtime fans swoon while prompting new readers to wonder why they’ve only just discovered her.”
–BookPage

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I am excited at the journey ahead, as it’s been a while since I read this author.  But I remember loving her work.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: MY FAMILY & MY NEST

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, an opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

It has been a few weeks since my last post, so today will be a potpourri of images from the summer.

First, let’s look at some shots of grandchildren, starting with my eldest grandson, Alec, who will be in his senior year at UC-Berkeley in the fall:

 

 

Alec in June 2016

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Take a peek at a recent shot of Fiona (age 19):

 

 

Fiona in July

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Noah (13), enjoying fireworks on July 4th:

 

 

Noah, 4th of July 2016

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A cupboard with some old favorite print books…and some knick-knacks:

 

 

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A close-up of the books; do you see any titles you’ve read?

 

 

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A tablescape with dolls and other trinkets:

 

 

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Some changes on my sofa table:

 

 

 

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A new hall tree arrangement:

 

 

June 15 changes - 2

 

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Morning coffee….

 

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What did your week look like?  Are you sharing your summer in photos?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: SUMMER FUN

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Now that school is out, the Three A’s are in a celebratory mood.  Aaron, in the middle, just graduated from high school; Alec, on the left, will be starting his senior year at University of California at Berkeley; and Aubrey, right, just finished her freshman year at San Diego State University.

 

The Three A's in June

 

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Aubrey and some friends are enjoying the wind in their hair…Aubrey is the one in the back right.

 

 

Windblown in June - Aubrey & friends

 

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In the mountains to the north of us, my niece and family are enjoying the Great Outdoors.  Here are Lucas, Gavin, & America, left to right.

 

 

Luca, Gavin, & America - June fun

 

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Luc (left) and Gavin (right), are wandering through the Lupines.

 

 

Luca & Gavin in the Lupines - June

 

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My niece Amy and the Guard Dog….

 

 

 

June camping - Amy & Dog

 

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Take a look at one view of my office nook, a part of the book case, and the sofa on the right.

 

 

Office Nook & Surroundings - June 9

 

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Say hello to little Madeleine Hatter, strutting her stuff on the pub table in its new location.

 

 

 

rounded Madeleine

 

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What are you sharing today?  Come on by and leave your comments and links.

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SATURDAY SPARKS: SPOTLIGHTING INTERIOR & EXTERIOR MOMENTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Spring brings wonderful days to family, and here are some special moments.  First, my niece Amy and her eldest son Luc are enjoying the hammock under the big trees.

 

 

April - Amy & Luc - Hammock time

 

 

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Luc and his dog are also hanging out under the trees…

 

 

Luc in April - a boy and his dog

 

 

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Enjoying our northern beaches near Crescent City are my son and DIL’s dog Augie, playing with a seal….

 

 

4-16 - In Crescent City - Augie & the Seal

 

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Fiona has a new job, and here she is enjoying some relaxation after a work day.

 

 

fiona - may 2016

 

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I switched some things around in my bedroom, so I could watch Netflix via my laptop/TV hook-up…this table with lamp, books, and dolls once lived across the room, below:

 

 

may 4 - sheets

 

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Here’s the TV/laptop set-up, ready to be connected via the HDMI cable….I think I’ll spend some time watching this weekend, since my bedroom feels really cozy now.

 

 

laptopTV plan

 

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Today I got my first Mother’s Day gifts…delivered: the bear, the box of edible goodies, and a balloon:

 

 

Happy Mother's Day 2016

 

 

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I received an edible treat:  delicious chocolate covered strawberries….I am trying not to eat too many too quickly….

 

 

 

mother's day chocolates

 

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For the fun of it, I posed the Madeleine Hatter doll with my Mary Engelbreit cottage:

 

 

 

Magical images

 

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That was my week….what did yours look like?  Happy Mother’s Day to all who have children, grown or small.

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SATURDAY SPARKS: MORE FAMILY FUN

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Let’s showcase the small fry in the family.  Here is my great-niece America, who will be eight on September 11.  Great name for her, right?  She lost a tooth…

 

 

America - front tooth missing

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Let’s take a look at another shot of her….her family lives in the mountains…it’s gorgeous there!

 

 

America at play - April

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In South Dakota, my twin step-great-granddaughters are having a pretty good time of it, too, posing…and playing…Here’s Lilly….

 

 

Lilly twin

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Now let’s take a peek at Bella….She looks unhappy, doesn’t she?  Well, she’s had a cast on for a few weeks.  It’s coming off soon (it probably already has!)….

 

 

Twin Bella

 

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I like this photo of Fiona…she looks like she is overseeing something….but I think that’s a rat on her shoulder…EWW…

 

 

Fiona - a fun day

 

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That’s it for this week…here’s one of my favorite tables, with books, photos, and other goodies…and a cup of coffee in one of my fun mugs.  Note:  the little girl in the sunflower frame is Fiona, eighteen months old, and behind that one….Fiona and her brother Dominic:

 

 

morning in april

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What are you sharing this week?  I hope you’ll stop by….

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SNOW SPARKS: THE EYES, ETC.

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

I wasn’t sure I would participate today, as I’ve joined in the Dewey’s Readathon…but I’m on a break, so here goes, with some photos of family, etc.

Here’s a shot of my niece Amy…her eye, actually.  Artistic, right?

 

 

Amy's eye

 

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And now for Fiona’s eye:

 

 

Fiona - Eye - april

 

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And, back a year or so ago, a weird Fiona eye:

 

 

fiona - more creativity

 

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Here is Fiona again, not as weird…a few years ago….

 

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So, the eyes have it today.  What are you sharing?  Oh, and just a little reminder of my Readathon today, coffee and books:

 

 

april 23 break 3

 

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What are you sharing?  What does your day look like?

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SPARKING FAMILY MOMENTS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

I have missed a few weeks of this event, and in the meantime, I’ve been gathering together some family moments to share.  Below:  My Three A’s, home for Spring break…(Alec, Aubrey, & Aaron).

 

Three A-s #2-spring break

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The Three A’s again, with their dad:  my son Brett….

 

My Awesome son & Three A's

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Here are Lilly & Bella, my step-great-granddaughters, celebrating Birthday Number Two!

 

 

Lilly & Bella - Two!

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Last weekend, I went to the movies to see “Hello, My Name is Doris,” and beforehand, had lunch and this lovely Blushing Geisha drink at the neighborhood Dai Bai Dang.

 

Blushing Geisha drink

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A little vignette created on my pub table:  Quirky Madeleine Hatter…and a cute mug from my daughter:

 

Married to Books with Friend

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What are you sharing today?  I hope you’ll stop by and leave your links…

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MONDAY SPARKS – IGNITE YOUR MONDAY MOOD

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It’s been a while since I joined in to muse about my week, my books, etc.  Join us at Jenn’s Books and a Beat to chat a little.

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

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Last week was Bloggiesta and A Day in the Life.

Click my links to read those posts.

Today I’m almost finished reading If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, by Claire LaZebnik, a book that has been on Pippa since May 2015.

 

 

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The book is engaging, but my feelings about the MC have changed as I turn the pages.  I was sympathetic in the beginning, but now I am tired of her behavior and her various attitudes.  I hope she will make some changes.

Do you ever get frustrated by the characters in your books?  Silly question…of course, you do.

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What are you reading, doing, or thinking about today?

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FAMILY & INTERIORS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Today I’m grabbing photos from the past, as well as current ones.  In the photo below, we see my granddaughter Fiona, center, with two of her five brothers:  Jake, left, and Kevin, right.

I think Fiona was about four in this one, which means Jake was nine and Kevin, almost eleven.  Funny how kids love making silly faces during photos.

 

Fiona, center, and two of her five brothers

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Here is the adult version of Fiona, off to college classes recently.

 

on the road - fiona in march

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Left, my other granddaughter, Aubrey, with a friend; also enjoying spreading her “college girl” wings…

 

Aubrey & friend- college girl down time

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Now for a glimpse of my interiors; below, my Peter Pan figurines.

 

Fairytale images

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Another view of my favorite bookshelf, the pub table, and a peek of the hall tree at the front door.  Notice the various Disney figurines, along with books, dolls, hats, etc.

 

bookshelf, pub table, hall tree-March

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On Monday, after running a few errands, I settled in for French Onion soup, a Pomegranate Martini, and Pippa, my Kindle….

 

soup and martini on Monday-2-29

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Fiona received her artistic twist from both branches of her family.  Below, check out one of her mom’s artistic expressions….

 

 

Sara's art (Fiona's mom)

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What did you capture today?  Come on by and share!

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ASSORTED MOMENTS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Here are some assorted photos, showcasing family, home, and moments…

On the right, Aubrey and friend are kicking back at the university she attends.

 

Aubrey & friend - college days

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Fiona is having a melodramatic moment…with stripes.

 

 

Fiona with stripes in dec

 

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Earlier this week, I decided to celebrate not having a disastrous visit with the tax accountant…Mac & Cheese, a salad, and a Pomegranate Martini…

 

Iunch in feb - mac & cheese, salad

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Back home, I am enjoying some time in my office…this is the part of the room with couch, TV, etc.   I hardly spend any time on this sofa…since I’m usually on the computer, in my little nook, which isn’t visible in this photo.

 

office in feb

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My usual hideout in this room…I’ve shown it before….

 

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My granddaughter Fiona loves to create art…and this is a rendition of hers, a self-portrait of sorts….sparks anyone?  To me, it seems to ignite something.  Notice it on my header today, too.

 

fionas-quirky-creations

 

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That’s it for today…what are you sharing?

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