Monthly Archives: January 2013

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Before we get down to the task at hand, or perhaps maybe the book at hand,  I must brag just the tiniest bit.  I picked the winner in both of the football games yesterday.  We didn’t start out this way but ended up with a friendly rivalry going.  Ralph picking Atlanta and New England, Me picking San Francisco and Baltimore.  I won’t say anymore.  Now I just have to figure out who I’m rooting for at the “Big Game.”    😉

So, To Books!  Mondays are the day for It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  This is hosted weekly by Sheila at Book Journey.  It’s great fun and be sure to visit the other linkers when you’re finished here to see what they have to say.  Every week I find a book I’ve never heard of and must read now!

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Last week I wrote about The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and the fact that I was about to read it.

The Fault in Our Stars

I mentioned how sometimes I’m reluctant to read books just because everyone else is and how many times I’m disappointed.  That did not happen this time.  This was a wonderful book.  When I thought I would be crying and I wanted to cry, I found myself laughing instead.  The two main characters were struggling and facing mortality as teenagers, yet they could smile and enjoy themselves and even fall in love.  Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a Broadway musical and they don’t [SPOILER ALERT!!] live happily ever after. It’s not a comedy, it’s not all humor, but what the author does is make you love these characters.  I read books sometimes and when I’m finished I have a sort of hollow feeling because I’ve spent time with these people and yet have never come to care about them.  This doesn’t happen with The Fault In Our Stars.

If you have not read it, please do.  It is not just a Young Adult novel.  It is a Human novel.  I loved it.

I had seen The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton listed in several catalogs and on several lists of books that must be read.

The Moonflower Vine

I happened to find it at Goodwill for…say it with me…49 cents, a few weeks ago.  I was excited.  It is beautifully written and I feel it’s a book I may have to read a second time to feel its full impact.  Interesting, flawed characters live a bit of a chaotic life, it’s not always easy and they try to stick together under some tough circumstances both logistical and emotional.  Although I like to know what’s happening in a book as the story progresses, this doubles back to tie up the loose ends and it works for me in this book.  I can’t believe this is the only book Carleton ever published.  I was sorry to hear that.  Very interesting and I suggest that you read it if you can.

I’m currently reading Lisa Scottoline’s Killer Smile.

Killer Smile

I like her novels.  She’s flippant and there are some things about her style that annoy me…No! “Yes!”  Stop doing that…but I digress.  Her plots are interesting and have good twists.  Exactly why I read a mystery/thriller.

Lastly, I’d like to mention something on a personal note.  Someone I know has written and published his first book and I’m very proud of him.

My best friend, Gail’s brother, R E Thorpe has written On Leave.

Ray knew nothing about writing a novel when he started, he just knew that he had a story he wanted to tell.  He joined several writers’ groups, he wrote drafts, listened to critiques and learned every step of the way.  I’m very excited for him.

At the moment, it’s only available through Amazon but I’m sure that as it’s popularity spreads it will be available through other books stores and web sites as well.  I’ve included the Amazon link above.  My copy is on order and I look forward to receiving it.  In a few weeks, you’ll see it in one of my It’s Monday! posts.  Read the blurb on Amazon and see if it’s your kind of book, then Order!  I’ll look forward to hearing what you think.

That’s it for me today, when you’re finished here be sure to stop over at Book Journey to see what everyone else is reading!

Happy Monday! Happy Reading!

Let’s Tell A Story

This is Colette…

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This is the story of why she looks a bit skeptical and why she has a cupcake on her head.

The reason…It’s her First Birthday Party!!

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Did I say it was a Sesame Street First Birthday party?  Oh, yes, it was!

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Cupcakes made by Mom.

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Favors for the little ones.

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Favors for the adults. (More on these later.)

The party was held at a wonderful place called Paws Farm in Mt. Laurel, NJ.  I had heard about it from Colette’s Mom and Dad, Heather and Brian as being one of Colette’s favorite places.

We got to meet some of the animals who live at Paws Farm.

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A corn snake.  Love how his eye caught the light of the flash.

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My favorite, the hedgehog.  Miss Kathy, our host for the visit with the animals told a wonderful story about hedgehogs in London.  How they are cared for by everyone in the city and they even have a plan in place to get them to the vet’s hospital if they’re injured.  I need to learn more about this.  I still think I want one…even though I’ve been told they’re not the best pets.

The party was held in a lower section of an old renovated farm-house.  A wonderful place but the room must have been a root cellar or something before, it has a very low ceiling.  Not too bad for most of the humans. Except…

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Evan is 6′ 11″ and realized the problem as soon as he got to the doorway.  He spent most of the party like this…

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Or this…Yes, those are his knees showing over the table because he’s sitting in a kiddie chair…he’s very tall and very funny!

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Ele and Little Michael.  He’s getting so big, I almost can’t call him that anymore.   😦

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Mom and Dad about to feed Colette her Number One Birthday Cupcake.  Oh…That’s why she had the cupcake on her head!

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The end result!  You haven’t really enjoyed it if it’s not all over your face, your hands and your bib…Have you?!   😉

We had a wonderful time exploring the farm and I got some other wonderful photos that I will share, eventually.

The adult favors had this adorable tag attached.

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In the bag were yummy sugar cookies made by Heather, one a “C” and one a “1.”

While walking out to the car, Ele and I accompanied by Brian were walking along the black top path.  Unfortunately, it was raised and there was a place where a chunk was out of it.  Of course I was the one who twisted my ankle (because I’m famous for that…) I fell, felt foolish and got up.

Brian had gathered everything I dropped in the fall, including my baggie of cookies.  Here’s what happened in the fall.

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Smashed to smithereens!  Brian’s comment as he handed me the bag…”Well, Aunt Fran, at least now they won’t count!”  I knew I loved that boy for some reason.

It was a wonderful party, a beautiful day and in spite of my injury, I was so happy we could be there to help Colette celebrate her big One!!

Think of me today, hobbling around trying to find my Ace bandage and my heating pad.  It’ll be a sit down, foot up, read my book kind of day.  As a veteran of sprained ankles, I’m sure to be up and around tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!  Happy Birthday, Princess Colette!!

Snapshot Saturday~January 19

I’ve only been participating in Snapshot Saturday for a few weeks, but I must say that the interesting group that gathers over at Alyce’s blog, At Home With Books is supportive and unique.  They give great comments and have made me feel part of the group already.

Seems that many of the participants have created their own badges for the link up.  If I was creative and had even the most remote clue how to do that, I would.  As it stands, all you get is me and my snapshot.

My photos do seem to heavily favor the sky either morning or evening.  I do have a hard time getting away from my sunrises and sunsets.  That’s just the way I am.  As I write this, Ralph is playing a CD of Don McClean’s Starry, Starry Night which is quite appropriate.  He’s also sharpening pencils with an electric pencils sharpener.  I’m trying to concentrate on Don.

I’ve had several nice photos this week but this morning’s were particularly intriguing to me.  I’ll give you two.

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I’m not sure which I like better.  I like them both.  Sometimes I think God creates these things just so that I can take a photo.  Perhaps He does.  I like to think He’s got my back.

Of course, Saturday means my weekly trip to Weight Watchers.  This has been a very up and down week for me; feeling in control at times and at other times, not so much.  Either way, the scale will tell the tale.

We’re heading to a birthday party for a 1-year-old today at a farm this afternoon.  Should be great fun!

Happy Snapshot Saturday!

Strange But Good~Literary/Film Version

It’s a little funny to me that almost as soon as I decided to start participating in Strange But Good hostessed by Laura at Sprint 2 The Table I have cooked very little.  Food funk I suppose but never let that keep me from eating strange or having strange motivations for my food choices.

Sprint 2 the Table

I remember a few years back, Ralph and I were watching The Avengers.  No, not the recent one with all of the hunky superheroes.  This was The Avengers starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman.  The one about British spies and based on the 1960’s British TV series.  Hey, it also had Sean Connery and Eddie Izzard in it.  We couldn’t resist.

To move my story along here…  Did I say they were British?  It seemed that in every new scene, they were sitting down to tea.  Tea here, Tea there.  About 20 minutes into the movie I told Ralph (my Ralph, not the other one) that he had to pause the movie.  He said, “oh, do you need to use the bathroom?”  I said “No!  I need to make Tea!!”

I’m very suggestible that way.  So this past week I read The Fault In Our Stars.  In several scenes in the book, they were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Not as often as Tea in The Avengers, but often enough that I was thinking I wanted some.  Then I saw PB&J on several blogs that I read and my fate was sealed.  I not only wanted PB&J, I NEEDED PB&J.

So I started to assemble that which I craved.  The shocking realization hit me that we had no bread!  Never let me be deterred when I want to eat something.  I proudly present to you Strange But Good-ers…

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Peanut Butter and Jelly on Rice Cakes!!  Strange yes, but so tasty.  Ok, if I just put peanut butter and jelly on my finger and licked it off it would have been acceptable at this point.  But hey, I even measured out the PB and the J. I was proud of myself for that!

I guess in a way this is not only Strange But Good, it’s also True Confessions. I am one of the most suggestible people you’ll ever meet.

Now do you all understand my reason for not reading 50 Shades Of Grey?!

Strange But Good…check out the other linkers on this fun link-up.  See how strange we can all be and leave some comments.

Happy Friday!!  The sun is shining…I’m so excited!!!

Kicking Into Gear

Perhaps I should title this post, Kicking Myself Into Gear, or even Kicking My Self in the Butt.  I certainly feel in need of a kick of some nature.  Again…perhaps the weather is conspiring with my current lack of motivation to make me feel this way.  Perhaps it’s just me.  I like having a scapegoat, but, it’s probably just me.   😦

I am not being as motivated as I had hoped I would be with my sorting and packing project.  Yes, this house is a dark pit that needs a good clean out.  We’ll never get out if we don’t begin.

Between now and Monday, I’m going to work on getting some structure into my plan.  Then on Monday, I want to really focus and dig in and toss out.  So much can be gotten rid of or assigned to the Yard Sale pile.  I really should focus on that.  Keeping in mind that I want to accomplish that in the Spring.  If I keep that focus in mind, I can pin point the things I need to do.

I’ve been going through drawers, cabinets and books to see what can go.  Nearly all of the books I read last year have gone into the yard sale pile.  I think that’s a really big step for me.  If I didn’t totally love a book, it’s going.  That doesn’t help me handle the new books I’ve been accumulating from Goodwill.  Well, at least I’m making room for the new ones, right?! 😉

I have boxes at sister Ele’s house which need going through as well.  I think I’ll try to devote one day a week to that.  I think there are some things in those boxes which are really just ready to be tossed all together.  I just need to do that.  Ok, I’m liking this way of thinking.

Clothes are something I really need to think about as well.  I have so many things I don’t wear anymore.  How can I wear them when they’re at the bottom of a plastic bin?!  I don’t even know they’re in there!  Many things can be assigned a place in the Yard Sale pile.  I don’t know if clothes sell very well at yard sales, I don’t think I’ve ever included them.  I can at least donate them after the sale if they don’t go.  Besides, if I’ve lived without wearing them for this long, I don’t need them anyway.

One of the reasons I like writing BCDC is because talking to all of you helps me a great deal.  It helps me to Focus which I always tell you is one of my issues.  It helps me to talk through a situation and often makes it easier for me to figure out a plan…and boy do I need a plan right now! 😉

Now that you’ve all motivated me, I’m off to start my plan.  Of course that will be after I ride my bike and read for an hour.  It IS the riding that’s the important part, right…not the Reading?!?  😉

Happy Thursday! Let’s go accomplish something!

WIAW~My Memory Card Ate My Food

I just love being part of What I Ate Wednesday hostessed by Jenn at Peas & Crayons.  I try to participate each week even when I have no food to share!  I do have some to share, but I’ve got to say, I think my memory card ate my food.  I was certain I took photos of more than what I can find.  I know in the past there has been operator error involved, but I swear…this time it’s not me.

Regardless of this tiny technical difficulty, I’m ready and here we go.

Peas and Crayons

All last week, Ralph had been saying how much he would like pizza.  I try to control myself during the week and pizza is Not part of my plan.  I kept telling him that if he was patient, we could have it Saturday after my weigh in and then I could get back on track.  We didn’t wait long and were there rather early for lunch but nevertheless it was delicious.

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Wish I could say this was all I ate, but alas…it was not. 😦   It was however just delicious and we polished it off in short order.

I have no photos of the ice cream I ate later, probably should have done a photo.  Not photos of a few other snacks either.  Saturday was a day to teach me a lesson I think.  My body does Not like when I eat all crazy and off track anymore.  My body likes when I eat right and make good choices.

Sunday morning, I was thinking only of getting back on track.  Breakfast at the diner?  Ok, but I was in control now.

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A mushroom and spinach omelette.  No cheese in it because it’s really hard to decide how much they’ve used and I don’t really need it.  I requested the spaghetti cheese and shook some on.  I got the cheese-y taste without the Points.  Cottage cheese on the side in place of potatoes helps to pump up my protein.  Rye toast, dry please.  A little jelly added makes it taste just as good.

Sunday morning prior to leaving for breakfast, I chopped up a quick crock pot full of my version of Weight Watchers veggie soup.  It always helps me to stay on track.   Doing it in the crock pot means I don’t have to think much about it after I start it.

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The soup in its “pure” version-veggies only counts for 0 Points on WW.  I added a half cup of cottage cheese to add some protein and only 2 points.  After microwaving, I topped it with some dried basil and Locatelli cheese, 1 Point but a real flavor boost.

I have to admit, I was feeling off track for the weekend, but now I’m feeling better.  I’m writing everything down and being mindful, as I should be.

Sorry I don’t have more photos today, but…What I Ate Wednesday is fun regardless of how many photos I have.  Be sure to check out Peas & Crayons and see some more wonderful food to drool for.  Leave some comments, too.

Happy WIAW! Note to Self: Remember to take more photos, next week! 😉

I Don’t Know About Anyone Else, But…

I know that I have no right what so ever to complain.  When I think back to the winter we experienced in 2011, I should be jumping for joy.

In a way I was jumping for joy then.  I had just stopped working.  I had stopped having to commute 25 miles in each direction on highways which were constantly under construction, both directions…always, always under construction.

That was the year that Mother Nature decided to grace us with no less than 5 snow storms each of which deposited about 10-12 inches of snow on us.  I was fortunate that I didn’t have to drive those long miles through terrible road conditions with usually impaired vision from frosted up windshield wipers.  I was safe from any number of possible calamities that might have befallen me on those roads.

These last few weeks have been so much warmer than we could possibly expect for January.  In fact it’s colder near our home in New Mexico than it is here in New Jersey.

But it is also so incredibly dreary most days.  The dreary is really getting me down.  I should be motivated to do a lot of things, but I’m sluggish and unmotivated.  I want to sit and read.  In my opinion, sitting and reading is a worthwhile endeavor, but I have other things to do as well.

I’m trying to refocus.  I’m trying to be productive.  Maybe today will be the day.

Isn’t it amazing how weather can have such a positive or negative effect on our day-to-day lives.  I have no words of wisdom to impart here.  Just musing and trying to get myself out of this funk.

I think I’ll write a list.  Things I need to do, then try to follow it.  Quite a concept.  Actually, I think the better idea is to write down what I do accomplish rather than what I want to do.  I think for so many of us, we go through the day accomplishing a great many things for which we don’t give ourselves credit.  I shouldn’t be writing a To Do List.  I should be writing a What I Did list.

Give myself credit for what I DO accomplish rather than fretting over what I DON’T accomplish.  I think I like that idea.

Now let’s see what I can DO!!

Happy Tuesday!!  See what you can Do!!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?~All The Popular Kids

Coming out of a weekend where I have felt a bit dazed and confused (so what’s new about that?!) I’m glad I have something like It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading? to get me back on track.  It’s the bookish link-up started by Sheila at Book Journey and I’m enjoying being part of it. So here goes.

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Since I guess this makes me one of the popular kids now I have to confess something.  I’ve talked about this before.  I have a hard time getting revved up and into reading the popular books.  Part of that comes from having decided to read something in the past mainly because it is insanely popular.  Everybody’s reading it so why shouldn’t I?  Then I’m disappointed.  I so much more like poking around in used books stores coming up with things that look interesting to me.  Sometimes I make good choices and really enjoy a book or sometimes I pick out a stinker.

I don’t mind it when I’ve made the choice and it’s a dud.  I mind it so much more when Everyone who is Anyone says that this is a great book and I have to read it.  I tend to hold off on books like that waiting until my resolve is weak or I find it for 49 cents at Goodwill.  Trust me however, even if someone offered to GIVE me 50 Shades of Grey, I won’t be reading it.  I might, however consider 50 Shades of Dorian Gray which I saw at Barnes & Noble last week.  Now That would be funny.

That brings me to The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

The Fault in Our Stars

No money changed hands on this one.  I’ve been trying to make more use of my local public library, and not just as a place where I can buy cheap books at their ongoing book sales.

I’ve only read the first page of it, not allowing me to tell you anything about it or whether I like it or if it’s annoying the bejesus out of me.  I’m approaching this with an open mind.  I’m just going to dive in and see where it takes me.  At least it didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize.  I guess that makes it a safe choice.

Let us all know what’s on your reading list this week.  Check out the link up at Book Journey and read some of the other blogs linking there.  We all love your comments!

Happy Monday!  What Are You Reading!

You Are The Sunrise Of My Life…

It was so encouraging to get so many kind and positive comments on my Snapshot Saturday post yesterday.  I wasn’t kidding when I said that there certainly seems to be a very supportive group of people participating in this link-up.  I’m so grateful to Alyce at At Home With Books for starting it.

I wrote the post on Friday afternoon and I mentioned Ralph’s comment that New Jersey wanted us to stay and was offering us splendid sunrises and sunsets to keep us here.

Saturday morning’s sunrise was not very impressive when I got into the car to head to my Weight Watchers meeting.  Just a bit of light coming up (I leave at about 10 minutes to 7 so there’s not much light yet.)  However, when I got to the little store where I buy my coffee, this had started…

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I got my coffee and continued on my way.  Because I was driving, I missed several beautiful opportunities, but finally I told myself I had to stop.

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There was hardly anyone on the road except me at that time on a Saturday.  Thank goodness, because they would have thought me crazy, seeing my flash going off while my car is idling at the side of the road.  Sounds like the opening paragraph of a Sci-Fi movie!

I have to say, I’m beginning to agree with Ralph in his contention that the sky is working its magic to keep us in New Jersey.

For those of you waiting to hear my news from Weight Watchers yesterday it was positive.  I lost 1 pound and I’m feeling back on top again.  Only a pound and a half to get to my personal goal and I hope to get there in the next few weeks.  Of course, I’m not telling you about the damage I did yesterday…All I can say is when I finish here, I’m about to make a crock pot full of WW veggie soup and then I’ll be getting on my exercise bike to do my penance.  I’ve always said that one day of exaggerated eating won’t kill me.  Especially when I have a week to redeem myself.  😉

Happy Sunday!

Snapshot Saturday~January 12

Another Saturday has rolled around and it is time for Snapshot Saturday again.     This is hosted by At Home With Books and the lovely Alyce.  I am loving this link up for two reasons.  One reason is that I love the photos that everyone is sharing each week.  Second reason is I’m finding so many more bookish people with blogs!  This is all in all way too much fun for me.  When you’re finished there, please visit AHWB  to look at some great snapshots and meet some interesting new people.  Oh, yes…leave some comments, too.

There is a bit of back story that needs to be told for my snapshots (two this week) to make sense.

Those of you reading BCDC for a while know that I’m a sucker for a good sunrise or sunset.  Those here for Snapshot Saturday probably know that already, also.  The first photo is fairly straight forward.  A beautiful sunrise.  It’s funny that when Ralph and I were in New Mexico we talked about how New Jersey skies in general couldn’t live up to New Mexico skies.  Over the last few months our sunrises here in New Jersey have been just beautiful.  He says that New Jersey doesn’t want us to go so it’s putting on a show.  I appreciate the show but…no…that ploy won’t work.

First shot…

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I love it!  Gnarly Tree making an appearance.  This was just beautiful.

Here’s where the explanation needs to come in.  We live in what used to be my Grandparents’ house.  It was a tiny cottage that was built on to, to make it a tiny house.  When my Grandparents lived here, they needed air conditioning.  Instead of blocking a window in the living room, they had a hole cut in the wall next to the window and the air conditioner was installed there.  When I moved in, I had central air conditioning installed.  Obviously, the wall unit needed to be removed but we’d be left with a whole in the wall.

Ralph came up with the solution.  As a surprise for me, he had a leaded glass window created to fit into the hole.  It’s wonderful and I love it.  When the time comes for us to move to New Mexico, the leaded glass window will be removed and come with us.

After photographing the sunrise that I showed you above, I sat back at my computer and continued working.  Something caught my eye and I looked to the left.  I realized that the sunrise was coming through the leaded glass window and the window next to it. Unfortunately, my camera wouldn’t capture the color coming in the regular window, but did catch it coming in the leaded glass.

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That was a rather lengthy explanation for one photo, but I thought it was necessary.  I hope you all enjoy it.  I just love it!

Be sure to visit At Home With Books for more Snapshot Saturday!

Happy Saturday!  Look for the sunrise!