Monday, June 27, 2016

Mondays - 06/27/16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.

My week:
A busy, crazy week preparing for this weekend's arrival of students for my first summer program. And I have to work on Sunday, which is not typical. Enjoyed an early release on Friday and wandering around Boston practicing photography.



Current reads:
• A Little History of the World - E. H. Gombrich

• The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography - National Geographic
• Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling
Finished reads:
• Last Days of California - Mary Miller
• The Absolute Beginners Guide to Taking Great Photos - Jim Miotke
• So That Happened - Jon Cryer
• Wildflower - Drew Barrymore

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Walk to Beautiful - Wayne

Title:  Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way

Author: Jimmy Wayne
Genre: Memoir
Rating4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: Purchased - e-book

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, county music, children's success stories


 
What Its About:  
Country artist Jimmy Wayne was not born into the business, not by a long shot. Wayne grew up with an absent father, a mother who barely cared for his sister and him, and more often than not found himself with neither, sleeping on the streets or with friends or random family. At a key turning point in his life, the age of just thirteen, Wayne's mother left him at a bus station hundreds of miles from home to continue traveling with her boyfriend, who was in trouble with the law. Wayne found his way to the home of Russell and Bea Costner, an older, God-fearing couple, who took Wayne in and set him on the right path: school, work, a future.

Wayne found himself drawn to music to help himself deal with the chaos and sadness that is his childhood. He learned how to play guitar. He started writing songs.  Eventually, he found his way into the Nashville music scene, leading eventually to hits and success. This memoir chronicles these years of his life...and more.

At the height of his career and success, Wayne made a life-changing decision. During a slow summer, between gigs traveling with the likes of Brad Paisley, Wayne up and decided to walk 1,700 miles across America (from Nashville to Pheonix) to bring attention to the plight of homeless and foster children and how even one person could make a difference.






The Bottom Line: 
A really great read. Wayne is an amazing person and has experienced an amazing story.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Tunes - 06/21/16


A good lyric is like a great book...

Taylor the Latte Boy 
Kristen Chenowith, Artist
Marcy Heisler, Writer







There's a boy who works at Starbucks
Who is very inspirational
He is very inspirational because of many things


I come in at 8:11, and he smiles and says, "How are you?"
When he smiles and says, "How are you?"
I could swear my heart grows wings


So today at 8:11, I decided I should meet him
I decided I should meet him in a proper, formal way


So today at 8:11, when he smiled and said, "How are you?"
I said, "Fine and my name's Kristin"
And he softly answered, "Hey"
And I said, "My name's Kristin, and thank you for the extra foam"


And he said his name was Taylor
Which provides the inspiration for this poem


Taylor, the latte boy
Bring me java, bring me joy
Oh Taylor, the latte boy
I love him, I love him, I love him


So I'd like to get my nerve up to recite my poem musical
He would like the fact it's musical because he plays guitar
So today at 8:11, Taylor told me he was playing
In a band down in the village in the basement of a bar


As he smoothly flipped the lever, to prepare my double latte
But for me he made it triple, and he didn't think I knew
But I saw him flip the lever and for me he made it triple
And I knew that triple latte meant that Taylor loved me too


I said, "What time are you playing? And thank you for the extra skim"
He said keep the 3.55, because this triple latte was on him


Taylor, the latte boy
Bring me java, bring me joy
Oh Taylor, the latte boy
I love him, I love him, I love him


I used to be the kind of girl
Who'd run when love rushed toward her
But finally a voice whispered, "Love can be yours
If you step up to the counter and order"


Taylor, the latte boy
Bring me java, bring me joy
Oh Taylor, the latte boy
I love him, I love him, I love him


So many years my heart has waited
Who'd have thought that love could be so caffeinated?


Taylor, the latte boy
I love him, I love him, I love him
I love him, I love him, I love him

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wildflower - Barrymore

Title: Wildflower


Author: Drew Barrymore
Genre: Celebrity memoir
Rating3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Celebrity memoirs, stories about maturing

 
What Its About: 
This collection of essays offers a different view of Barrymore's life than 1991's Little Girl Lost. Barrymore has grow up and focused her life and talents on much bigger goals than partying, daily sobriety and growing up.


Offering stories that vary from childhood foolishness, like rescuing her jeep from an impound lot by driving it through the gate, to holding her father's hand while he died and learning to forgive, Barrymore has had one crazy, interesting and ever-evolving life.







The Bottom Line:
Entertaining.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Tunes - 06/14/16



A good lyric is like a great book...

June Is Bustin' Out All Over
Carousel Cast, VariousArtist
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Writers






Nettie
March went out like a lion
Awakin' up the water in the bay;
Then April cried and stepped aside,
And along came pretty little May!
May was full of promises
But she didn't keep 'em quickly enough for some
And the crowd of doubtin' Thomases
Was predictin' that the summer'd never come

Men
But it's comin' by dawn,
We can feel it come,
You can feel it in your heart
You can see it in the ground

Girls
You can see it in the trees
You can smell it in the breeze

All
Look around! Look around! Look around!

Nettie
June is bustin' out all over
All over the meadow and the hill!
Buds're bustin' outa bushes
And the rompin' river pushes
Ev'ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill!
June is bustin' out all over
The feelin' is gettin' so intense,
That the young Virginia creepers
Hev been huggin' the bejeepers
Outa all the mornin' glories on the fence!
Because it's June...

All
June, June, June
Just because it's June, June, June!

Nettie
Fresh and alive and gay and young
June is a love song, sweetly song

All
June is bustin' out all over!
The saplin's are bustin' out with sap!
Love hes found my brother, Junior,
And my sister's even loonier!
And my Ma is gettin' kittenish with Pap!
June in bustin' out all over

Nettie
To ladies and men are payin' court.
Lotsa ships are kept at anchor
Jest because the captains hanker
Fer the comfort they ken only get in port!


All
Because it's June... June, June, June
Just because it's June, June, June!
Nettie
June makes the bay look bright and new
Sails gleamin' bright on sunlit blue

All
June is bustin' out all over
The ocean is full of Jacks and Jills,
With the little tail a-swishing'
Ev'ry lady fish is wishin'
That a male would come
And grab 'er by the gills!

Nettie
June is bustin' out all over!
The sheep aren't sleepin' anymore!
All the rams that chase ewe-sheep
All determined there'll be new sheep
and the ewe-sheep aren't even keepin' score!

All
On acounta it's June! June, June, June
Just because it's June, June, June!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Mailbox - 06/13/16


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.


What better to do while on vacation than buy books?!

My awesome vacation week started with the annual town library's book sale last Saturday. But this year I was smart! I finally updated my Goodreads.com account to show which books l own, so I didn't bring home any doubles...as I have for several years now.

The sale was fabulous, as always!


A couple of these are books I started but need to finish.
So many great choices!


Sometimes its OK to buy a couple you already read, right?



More for my growing collection...

Now I just have to get these updated on Goodreads too!




Mondays - 06/13/16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.


My week:

A restful, though productive week of vacation! Got a lot of things accomplished this week and even got to enjoy a day of traipsing through the New Hampshire wilderness, which was actually fun.







Current reads:
• The Bucolic Plague - Josh Kilmer-Purcell

• The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography - National Geographic
• Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling




Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Salon - 06/12/16

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The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by



Life:
A wonderful vacation week of rest and relaxation, much overdue...after jumping from one job to another in August of last year without time off and having no time to breathe since then.

It was a VERY productive week around the house. I was able to get a bunch of home/life related things done that I have been putting off for months. As well, hubby was off so we went yard-saling, book buying (more about this later this week), and even took a trip up to New Hampshire to enjoy the wilderness. We visited the Flume in Franconia Notch/White Mountains (about a two hour ride). I'm not much of an outdoors woman, but hubby loves it.  The weather was perfect, cool and windy (read: few bugs), and it was a really, really nice day.

I even took my camera along to try, again, to get some decent shots (I am a TERRIBLE photographer - I DO NOT have "the eye")...oh, you think I'm over (or under) estimating:

I FORGOT MY CAMERA BATTERY!

I had taken it out to charge it. I put it back in my bag (with my extra battery) when we left...but never put it back in the camera. It sat in the car the whole time, while I lugged my useless camera around.  I am a seriously BAD photographer! Ha, ha!!

But thankfully, I did have my phone with me, so all was not lost:










It was seriously gorgeous out there!



I tried to get some pictures of the surprisingly tame chipmunks (I kid you not, I almost stepped directly on one), but they were all blurry (the pictures, not the chipmunks - HA). Oh well, still learning I guess.



Blogging:
Along with my valiant efforts at home (we cleaned the basement, well half the basement...again), I was also able to get a fair amount of blog work done as well. I finally updated my blog template, as the one I was using was giving me trouble. I had changed it briefly, but the color scheme messed things up worse. So I finally sat down and found something new that cleaned this mess up. Then, I updated pages, prepared posts, etc., etc.

Hopefully it is more enjoyable for everyone. It was certainly about time!!
Have a great week everyone.

Shannon
 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mondays - 06/06/16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.


My week:
Last week was busy, with the deadline for our summer program at work and other need-do things like faculty contracts going out. Along with the holiday on Monday and the freebie day off Friday, it was a crazy race to get everything caught up and ready for my student helper to fill in. My student helper who, in addition, just trained to do some parts of my job. I am hoping all goes well this week while I am way, or I may never get the chance to go on vacation again, HA!

Current reads:
• Houseboat Chronicles, Notes From a Life in Shield Country - Jake MacDonald

• The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography - National Geographic
• Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling

Finished reads:
• Last Days of California - Mary Miller
• The Absolute Beginners Guide to Taking Great Photos - Jim Miotke
• So That Happened - Jon Cryer
• Wildflower - Drew Barrymore


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sunday Salon - 06/05/16

SUNDAY POSTThe Sunday Salon.com
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Life:
It's a dreary, rainy day here in the Boston area...and that is kind of nice actually. 

I've got the TiVo frozen and am enjoying the sounds of the rain coming down and the kitties sleeping around me. Hubby and I are on vacation this week, which was extended by a day for me on Friday due to a freebie staff appreciation day. A thank you for our extra effort during the merger, which took place Thursday. Yep, folks, I now work for Berklee School of Music. Exciting.

I'm already struggling with not worrying about work... I was able to hire the gal who helped out last year, so I know everything will be fine. But I'm still having to refocus my thoughts often...and it's still just the weekend, so nothing has happened yet! Ugh, get control Shannon!


Friday and Saturday were actually quite productive as cleaning and laundry got done early so I could just sit back and just enjoy. I also finally updated months of back log in tracking finances in Quicken and set up new accounts as hubby and I recently changed banks. Hubby also did his share, so the lawn is even mowed!


I also broke out my camera again, in the hopes of getting out this week. It's looking to be a fairly wet once though, so who knows!? But at least I am reading up again and playing with it. The blogger Gallo Organico does a summer photo scavenger hunt, so maybe I'll toss in this summer...hmmm....



Blog:
Saturday was also the annual library book sale, and once again I did some fair damage. I actually came home with a full box...and hubby didn't threaten divorce. So he's a #keeper!

The problem with buying a bunch of great books is you just want to read them all. Now. Every. Single. One. Right now!  But realistically I can't possibly. But I can dream.


Have a great week everyone!!


Shannon
















Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Call of the Farm - Bilow

Title: The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself

Author: Rochelle Bilow

Published: Paperback – September 23, 2014
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Book Source: Purchased e-book
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, stories about farms and environmental stuff, books about relationships


What Its About:


Despite Rochelle Bilow's extensive culinary training and dreams of becoming an accomplished food writer, success was slow in coming. While visions of writing for a well known foodie-magazine danced in her head, she was barely making rent.



After randomly accepting an assignment writing a short piece on a small, sustainable CSA farm in New York, a small flame was lit. Bilow began volunteering at the farm and slowly worked her way to full time employee. Baling hay, feeding animals, planting and harvesting vegetables, rendering lard, making butter, and taking part in the annual chicken slaying, she had seemingly found her place. And, it didn't hurt that the job came with a good looking farmer to teach her and initiate her into the lifestyle.



Bilow cooks her way through a full year on the farm, sharing recipes and her experiences with farm work, fellow workers and customers, and the potential love of her life.



The Bottom Line:


Bilow's memoir of a year spent on a CSA farm is entertaining, heartwarming, and introspective - though a tad-bit...whiny. Her descriptions of farm life and cooking for a group of hard working farmers are enjoyable. Her obvious passion for this simpler lifestyle and knowledge commendable.



But her repeated descriptions of her unsettled relationship were just frustrating [at least for me...though of course that could more a remnant of my own experiences]. While I offer her kudos on being so self-aware and acknowledging her, shall we call them, mistakes in love, her seeming desperation was annoying. I couldn't help but look incredulously at the book and say, "Honey, he's sleeping with someone else! And if he isn't, he wants too...that is why is unwilling to settle down. Tell him to screw himself and move on!" (again, maybe it was just me).



Overall, a good read well worth exploring during a hot summer day!

Monday, May 16, 2016

And then your heart breaks again...

July 2016 will be two years since my sweet little Sheeni girl left us.

Generally, I miss her terribly but I am living with it. I am able to pack the grief and loss away and continue on with my life, until hubby mentions her or she comes up in conversation. Then I tear up, cry a little, take a deep breath and try to move on.

But today I read that Atticus died. 

If you are not in-the-know, Tom Ryan wrote an lovely memoir, entitled Following Atticus, about his amazing time with a sweet little dog named Atticus. Atti was a gift that came to Tom out of the blue fourteen years ago and changed his life, inspired him to completely change his life and break mountain climbing records in New Hampshire with Atti by his side. Since reading the book, I have loosely followed Ryan's blog and Facebook page enjoying snippets of life with Atticus from afar and experiencing Ryan's kindness when he took in another sweet little guy named Will. Will who was elderly, sickly and expected to die within months, or weeks. Will who managed to live far beyond that, a wonderful, fulfilling life with an unending fountain of love and understanding from Tom Ryan and his sweet Atticus.

But as all pets do, Atti too grew older. Cancer took over. And, this past week, Tom had to make the impossible decision to let his sweet Atti go. And just like that I can barely breath. I can't stop the tears. That the loss of a dog who I never met personally could bring such sadness is weird. But the loss brings back my own pain and then my heart breaks once again...



That's it. Nothing profound or earth changing...

Now I've got to go hug my kitties and try to pull myself back together.

Mondays - 05/16/16


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.

My week:
Busy! Lots of busy at work. A birthday. A graduation. I am ready for a vacation!

Current reads:
• The Turner House - Angela Flournoy
• Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling

Finished reads:
• The Call of the Farm - Rchelle Bilow
• The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan
• Men and Dogs - Katie Crouch


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Salon - 05/15/16

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Life:
My goodness time flies... So much has happened since we last talked! I'm just going to have to focus on the main and most recent items. 
Shortly after we last chatted, we had a major health scare in the family. My mother-in-law had a health crisis and for several days, we were just not sure. But at the last minute she pulled through and they were able to insert a pacemaker which has given her much-appreciated reprise. God willing it will be a many-year-ed gift!
In the midst of that craziness, I had promised to help out at the theater which I had not done for a couple of years I guess. It was really cool to be back and take part again. I put in just one night, a weekend evening. It was low stress and just plain fun. I'm glad I did it.
I recently celebrated my 46th birthday. Blah!


My little brother graduated from college this weekend. My LITTLE brother, from COLLEGE! Holy crap-oly! I'm so proud. Like many students, he struggled a bit and took some time off (as did I when I was in school), but he made it through with a hard-earned B.A. in history! Go Patrick!  We just got back from a celebration cookout and are exhausted from the exciting weekend!
Things are gearing up at work for our summer programs, which I manage. It's been crazy with the semester end, finals and Commencement. And now the summer programs are just weeks away. Wowzy! Also, the merger continues to move forward. Things have been going smoothly, so far. This month, Berklee's HR managers are sitting down with our staff (and our supervisors) and essentially telling us what to expect from our jobs and the merger changes, for the immediate future, given the June 1st official date of merger. My meeting is Tuesday morning. Wish me luck and send a few (much needed) prayers.
Blogging:
I was able to update a few things on the blog, but CLEARLY I have not given it nearly the attention I should. I'm working at it...

Truly I am.
Have a great week everyone!!

Shannon
 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mondays - 03/28/16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.


My week:
A stressful, rollercoaster week due to an family member's health. Thankfully, we seem to have gotten a reprieve due to a pacemaker placement. Spent a very low-key Easter with the family, feeling grateful.

Current reads:
• Hammer Head - Nina MacLaughlin

Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling

Finished reads:
• And I Shall Have Peace There - Margaret Roach
• Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America - Brian Benson


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Moon Over Manifest - Vanderpool

Moon Over ManifestTitle: Moon Over Manifest


Author: Clare Vanderpool
PublishedGenre: Children's Fiction
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Children's Fiction, Historical Fiction


 

What Its About:  




Abilene Tucker is a young girl, just twelve, when her father sends her off to live with an old friend, Pastor Shady Howard, in his "hometown" of Manifest, Kansas. Gideon Tucker is a hobo who rides the rails and never settles in one place and its just too dangerous for a twelve year old girl to be living that lifestyle.
But Manifest, Kansas ("A Town with a rich past and a bright future") doesn't quite live up to its nameIt's the Depression, and the only thing scarcer than water is the funding for a "bright future". Abilene feels abandoned by the father she loves dearly and sets out to discover any sign or clue of her father's past and why he has sent her here. But no one in her new town seems to have any stories or information to share about Gideon Tucker. At least, that is how it first appears.  However, with the help of new friends, of all ages and nationalities, Abilene finds not only her father in Manifest, but herself as well.
The Bottom Line: 
A sweet and entertaining book for children with just the right mix of mystery and emotions.  A pleasure to read.