Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 09/16/14

 

A good lyric is like a great book...
Let That Pony Run
Pam Tillis, Artist
Gretchen Peters, Writer


Mary was married with children
Had the perfect suburban life
Til her husband came clean with the help of Jim Beam
And confessed all his sins in one night
Said he'd fallen in love with a barmaid
Said she made him feel reckless and young
And when he got through, what else could she do
She just let that pony run

You do what you gotta do
You know what you know
You hang on til you can't hang on
And then you learn to let go
You get what you want sometimes
But when it's all said and done
You do what you gotta do
And then you let that pony run

Mary moved to West Virginia
After the shock wore off
She got a divorce and a chestnut horse
And a barn with an old hayloft
And sometimes she rides by the river
Says it makes her feel reckless and young
She closes her eyes and she holds on tight
And she lets that pony run
You do what you gotta do
You know what you know
You hang on til you can't hang on
And then you learn to let go
You get what you want sometimes
But when it's all said and done
You do what you gotta do
And then you let that pony run.

Let that pony run.

Oh, oh, oh....


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 09/9/14


A good lyric is like a great book...
Secret Gardens 
Judy Collins, Artist & Writer



My grandmother's house is still there
But it isn't the same
A plain wooden cottage
A patch of brown lawn
And a fence that hangs standing
And sighing in the Seattle rain.

I drive by with strangers
And wish they could see what I see
A tangle of summer birds
Flying in sunlight
A forest of lillies
An orchard of apricot trees.

Secret Gardens of the heart
Where the flowers bloom forever
I see you shining through the night
In the ice and snow of winter.

Great grandfather's farm is still there
But it isn't the same
The barn is torn down
And the fences are gone
The Idaho wind blos
The topsoil away every Spring.

I still see the ghosts
Of the people I knew long ago
Inside the old kitchen
They bend and sigh
My life passed them up
And the world passed them by.

Secret Gardens of the heart
Where the old stay young forever
I see you shining through the night
In the ice and snow of winter.

But most of all
It is me that has changed
And yet I'm still the same
That's me at the weddings
That's me at the graves.
Dressed like the people
Who once looked so grown-up and brave.

I look in the mirror
Through the eyes of the child that was me
I see willows bending
The season is Spring
And the silver blue sailing birds
Fly with the sun on their wings.

Secret Gardens of the heart
Where dreams live on forever
I see you shining through the night
In the ice and snow of winter.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sunday Salon - 09/7/14




If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.


Life:

Another busy (hmm, Mr. iPad said "bust") week! Students are back and the days are flying by. 

I await a response to my resume, which I sent. I've been hunting for songs that might interest an audience in a piano-bar-like setting for hubby and I to learn (suggestions, anyone?!? Bueller? Bueller?). And PV is wrapping up a few final performances this month, before hopefully recording in October.

Hubby and I have almost finished painting the house. It looks really nice. In fact, two neighbors have commented about the color already. We are hoping to finish up next weekend, well before the cold weather. There are of course many other jobs around the house which I hope to accomplish too!

I had my first couponing trip in quite a while this week, since ou loss... Success!  Check Saturday to see what came home and what it cost me!


Blogging

Doing pretty good reading too...well for me. I powered through Jeff Bauman's memoir, Stronger, about losing his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. And, I've picked up an "oldie" (it's not that old..but it's not new either), but goodie that I had yet to read. Check tomorrow's Monday post to see what it is!




Thursday, September 04, 2014

August 2014 ReCap....



AUGUST 2014


This month I read: 
Total Read: 2
YTD: 18
Adult: 2
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


Including:
Leaving Time (Jodi Picoult)
To Selena, With Love (Chris Perez)

Abandoned: 

None


Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Leaving Time

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 18 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 16 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 2 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge = 13 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  2 of 6

Year of ReReading Challenge - 0 of 1-4

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 09/2/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Don't Laugh At Me

Mark Wills, Artist
Allen Shamblin and Steve Seskin, Writers


I'm a little boy with glasses
The one they call the geek
A little girl who never smiles
'Cause I've got braces on my teeth
And I know how it feels
To cry myself to sleep

I'm that kid on every playground
Who's always chosen last
A single teenage mother
Tryin' to overcome my past
You don't have to be my friend
But is it too much to ask

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

I'm the cripple on the corner
You've passed me on the street
And I wouldn't be out here beggin'
If I had enough to eat
And don't think I don't notice
That our eyes never meet

I lost my wife and little boy when
Someone cross that yellow line
The day we laid them in the ground
Is the day I lost my mind
And right now I'm down to holdin'
This little cardboard sign...so

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

I'm fat, I'm thin, I'm short, I'm tall
I'm deaf, I'm blind, hey, aren't we all

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at m

Monday, September 01, 2014

Sunday Salon - 08/31/14




If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.


Life:

Hello friends!

It's been a while (and this post is late...), but here I am. It's a start. So, much has been going on since my last post...

It's been just over a month since my kitty died. Hubby and I are still struggling, but surviving. It's the best we can offer. We have chatted about getting another kitten or two, but not quite yet.

Work is gearing up for the students' return tomorrow. I'm prepared work-wise, but honestly exhausted from life. Not sure how the fall will go...hoping for the best. They have finally posted the position that will essentially split my job in two. I now have to decide whether to apply or to sit back and wait it out, having no idea what the rest of my job will look like after upcoming major changes (move to a new building, combining of admin staff from various departments). Both options are stressful and scary, though not unexpected. Though I knew it was coming, it doesn't make the changes any easier. 

After ten amazing, wonderful years, my singing group Purely Vocals has decided to, for the most part, disband. We are still close friends, and nothing bad occurred. It's just life changes. One of the women is retiring in the fall and she travels quite a bit. Rehearsals are impossible with her overseas. So, though we may sing a few small gigs next summer, for the most part we are done. I'm sad; it's been an awesome experience...singing with my "diva-sisters". I'm open to the changes that are coming for all of us though...

Before we go, PV hopes to record a CD...for memories sake, if nothing more.  Also, Hubby and I are now talking about putting something together. Have I mentioned hubby is a fantastic musician?! I am a good singer, good voice and all. But he is a true musician...guitar, keyboards, etc, etc. We are hoping to put together a duo and start gigging locally next summer. Wish us luck!

This holiday weekend, I traveled to my childhood home of Reading, PA for a wedding. It was a lovely event and a terrific weekend (though hubby stayed home). I stayed in a hotel that allowed me a gorgeous view of the city and the Pagoda.  It was really nice, nostalgic. But I was glad to get home last night.

Spending my holiday reading, cleaning and preparing for the weeks to come.

Blogging

Getting going again, though I am still doubting I will accomplish my annual reading goals. So, the pressure is off and I can just enjoy the books, right?




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2013
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating:
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source:
Library

Recommended if you like: Fiction, YA, Horror tales

What Its About: 
Our narrator, a 50-something man visiting his childhood hometown for a funeral, stops by his old neighborhood for a quick visit. But this isn't just any old visit, or any old home for that matter. As a seven year old boy, it turns out, our narrator experienced a horrible and unexplainable event and this neighborhood, or something, draws him home to remember.

When he arrives, he heads to the big farmhouse and pond, or "ocean" as his friend Lettie used to call it, as the end of his street. He knocks and is confused when an old woman answers. He's not surprised to see the woman, he is just unsure which woman she is. Given the years, it could not possibly be Old Mrs. Hempstock, Lettie's grandmother. It must be Lettie's mother, Ginnie. Except...it's not. And Old Mrs. Hempstock invites him to visit the Ocean and remember...

Years ago, his parents took in a lodger who committed suicide and then things went from uneasy to strange and dangerous. This singular event seemed to have unleashed a spirit, or malevolent force, who wanted to exist permanently in their world. The Hempstock women are left to clean up the situation while ensuring the boy's safety.


The Bottom Line:
A good read. Billed as an adult novel, it reads more like a YA novel. As always, it sucks readers, even adults, into its world and offers the typical Gaiman thrills and chills.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 08/26/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
Keeping the Faith
Billy Joel, Artist & Writer


If it seems like I've been lost
In let's remember
If you think I'm feeling older
And missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known me much better
'Cause my past is something that never
Got in my way
Oh no

Still I would not be here now
If I never had the hunger
And I'm not ashamed to say
The wild boys were my friends
Oh

'Cause I never felt the desire
'Til their music set me on fire
And then I was saved, yeah
That's why I'm keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

We wore old matador boots
Only Flagg Brothers had them with a Cuban heel
Iridescent socks with the same color shirt
And a tight pair of chinos
Oh
I put on my shark skin jacket
You know the kind with the velvet collar
And ditty-bop shades
Oh yeah
I took a fresh pack of Luckies
And a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man's Trojans
And his Old Spice after shave
Oh

Combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the rest of the Romeos wore
A permanent wave, Yeah
We were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

You can get just so much
From a good thing
You can linger too long
In your dreams
Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies
'Cause the good ole days weren't
Always good
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

Learned stickball as a formal education
Lost a lot of fights
But it taught me how to lose O.K.
Oh, I heard about sex
But not enough
I found you could dance
And still look tough anyway
Oh yes I did
I found out a man ain't just being macho
Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food
Drank a lot of take home pay

I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl
In the Chevrolet. Oh yeah
We were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

You know the good ole days weren't always good
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

I told you my reasons
For the whole revival
Now I'm going outside to have
An ice cold beer in the shade
Oh, I'm going to listen to my 45's
Ain't it wonderful to be alive
When the rock 'n' roll plays, yeah
When the memory stays, yeah
I'm keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith
I'm keeping the faith,
Yes I am


Monday, August 25, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Leaving Time - Picoult

Title: Leaving Time, A Novel


Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: 2014
Genre: Fiction
Rating:
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: 
I received this book from the publisher, Ballantine Books, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review.


Recommended if you like: Picoult, Fiction, Elephants/Animals, Mysticism




What Its About:  
Jenna Metcalf was abandoned as a child. Her father, the director of an elephant sanctuary, was admitted to a mental institution.  Her mother, a researcher of grief in elephants, disappeared one night after a terrible accident in which a fellow employee was trampled to death.  For most of her thirteen years, Jenna has dreamed of finding her mother, who surely would never have left her willingly. Finally, she is able to utilize the information that she has been gathering from the internet and from her mother's research journals to aid in her search.

Understanding, however, that a thirteen year old can only do so much, Jenna draws Serenity Jones, a washed-up psychic, and Virgil Stanhope, a worn-out detective, into her search efforts. Both are drawn to assist in the venture due to previous failures in their own careers.  Jones seems to have lost her previous psychic abilities after an embarrassingly public mistake where she assured a prominent family a child was living when he was not.  Stanhope was the detective who investigated the trampling death, who finds himself haunted by the case and his doubts as to whether it was correctly resolved.

With the help of Jenna's childhood memories, Jones' sixth sense, and Stanhope's keen officer's eye and sensibility, the three struggle to rediscover and understand decade old clues to Alice Metcalf's disappearance. It is only by assisting one another that they can answer the questions that lead up to an exciting and fascinating finish.

The Bottom Line:
Pure Picoult, this book is a terrific read that readers, fans or not, will love! More mystery, no court battle, this novel grips you from the get-go and hangs on until the last second. You cannot help but become enthralled by the Jenna, Jones, and Stanhope characters. Their stories are so enticing.

Furthermore, this book offers a wonderful educational feel as well, offering much information as to the plight of elephants, whether in captivity or the wild. After reading, you will certainly think twice about visiting your local zoo or circus event.

I enjoyed this book very much!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 8/19/14

A great lyric is like a great book...


Alyssa Lies
Jason Michael Carroll, Artist & Writer




My little girl met a new friend
Just the other day
On the playground at school
Between the tires and the swings
But she came home with tear-filled eyes
And she said to me "Daddy, Alyssa Lies"

I just brushed it off at first
Cause I didn't know how much my little girl had been hurt
Or the things she had seen
I wasn't ready when I said you can tell me
And she said

[Chorus]
Alyssa Lies
To the classroom
Alyssa lies
Everyday at school
Alyssa lies
To the teachers
As she tries to cover every bruise

My little girl laid her head down
That night to go to sleep
As I stepped out the room I heard her say
A prayer so soft and sweet
God bless my mom and my dad
And my new friend Alyssa
I know she needs you bad

[Chorus]

I had the worst night of sleep in years
As I tried to think of a way to calm her fears
I knew exactly what i had to do
But when we got to school on Monday I heard the news

My little girl asked me why everybody looked so sad
The lump in my throat grew bigger
With every question that she asked
Until I felt the tears run down my face
And I told her that Alyssa wouldn't be at school today

She doesn't lie
In the classroom
She doesn't lie
Anymore at school
Alyssa lies
With Jesus
Because there's nothing anyone would do

Tears filled my eyes,
When my little girl asked me why Alyssa lies

Daddy tell me why
Alyssa lies

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 8/12/14


A great lyric is like a great book...
If wishes were changes, there'd be no goodbyes. So long to the heart I have given...  Miss you kitty.


If Wishes Were Changes
Nanci Griffith, Artist




I wish that you loved me the way that I love you
I wish I had Angels who sang in my dreams
If wishes were changes, we'd all live in roses
And there wouldn't be children who cried in their sleep

And he wishes I loved him, the way that I love you
If wishes were changes, I'd dry all his tears
If wishes were changes, I'd make him my anchor
And he'd be my Angel who sang through the years

So long to the blue days of wishing
If wishes were changes there'd be no goodbyes
So long to the heart I have given
'Cuz wishing won't bring back the love in your eyes

And I wished that I had your wings of desire
I wish I had seen you as I see you now
I wouldn't feel sorrow, you've left here inside me
But wishing won't change right from wrong for you now

So long to the blue days of wishing
If wishes were changes there'd be no goodbyes
So long to the heart I have given
'Cuz wishing won't bring back the love in your eyes

I wish that you loved me the way that I love you
I wish I had Angels who sang in my dreams
If wishes were changes we'd all live in roses
And there wouldn't be children who cried in their sleep

If wishes were changes we'd all live in roses
And there wouldn't be children who cried in their sleep

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friday, August 08, 2014

July 2014 ReCap...



JULY 2014

A tough month over all...


This month I read: 
Total Read: 2
YTD: 16
Adult: 1
YA/children's: 1
Abandoned: 0


Including:
Rare Bird (Anna Whiston-Donaldson)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)

Abandoned: 

None


Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Rare Bird

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 16 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 14 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 2 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge = 11 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  2 of 6

Year of ReReading Challenge - 0 of 1-4

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Rare Bird - Whiston-Donaldson

Title: Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love  

Author: Anna Whiston-Donaldson
Published: 2014
Genre: Memoir
Rating:
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: 
I received this book from the publisher, Convergent Books, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review.


Quote:
"I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home...."  

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Christian, Insprirational, Stories of loss

What Its About: 
A mother's story of survival and hope in the face of horrible loss.

Jack Donaldson was a typical, though mature, thirteen year old that September 2011 day. He enjoyed acting, legos, and playing with his friends. Then, in a moment, he was gone. While playing outside with friends - with his mother's approval - during a freak rainstorm, he fell into a creek that had swelled to river proportions and was carried away to his death.

His parents and sister were left to struggle to come to terms with this horrible event, in light of their faith and beliefs. How could this happen? Where was God? How could he allow this to happen to such a young and vibrant life? Though each handled their grief differently, struggling to find answers, each finds peace. Donaldson even finds that she can take comfort in signs and indications that lead her to believe that Jack is safely with God.

Heartbreaking, yet hopeful.


The Bottom Line:
A surprisingly well-timed gift. Having just lost a beloved pet this past week, I joked when this arrived that this was the last thing I wanted to read. But, for some reason, I was drawn to it. And, as I couldn't focus on any other reading options, I acquiesced.

Though heartbroken, Donaldson manages to focus her thoughts on surviving and accepting, rather than hurting and sadness. Her references to God and religion are interesting and enlightening, rather than preachy.  It was actually quite helpful in my similar journey.       


Monday, July 28, 2014

Mondays - 07/28/14

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Found myself unable to focus on much since the loss of my kitty last Monday.  Finally decided to read a book I had already read just to have something to focus on other than Facebook. Then UPS came Saturday and delivered a gift.




Now Reading:
Rare Bird (Anna Whiston-Donaldson)
All Souls (Michael Patrick MacDonald)

Just Finished
The Ocean At The End of The Lane (Neil Gaiman)

On Deck
????

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Snapshot - 7/26/14

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And God Laughs...

BEFORE I GO further, I must warn you that this is a tough, tough post - and apologize for the lack of pictures. Honestly, it's just too hard right now...

What is that saying about making plans and God laughing?

Well he must be chuckling a good one. All my vacation plans: painting the house, couponing trips, doctor appointments have gone, gone, gone out the door.

God's plan (blessing) was that both hubby and I be home this week... with my sweet little kitty... in her final hours.

Over the weekend, she was not feeling well, vomiting and lethargic. It didn't get better...so we visited the doctor Monday and I am very glad we did, the night's events would have been more horrifying had I not known it was coming.

A very quick check up and the vet told us that she was likely in her last days (her temp was low and that apparently is a major sign) and strongly suggested euthanizing. Now, if you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know that this wasn't a complete surprise, she is...was...15 and had been having some issues. But we really believed it was stomach trouble, similar to recent events, and expected some Pepcid...and perhaps something to help with some arthitis. We expected to have to make the decision sooner or later... Later.

Apparently, she's likely been battling a cancer or some disease for over a year, her spleen (which was slightly enlarged last year) was huge this time and the concern was it would burst and she would bleed out painfully. And its now clear that it's likely that her stomach issues were caused by the spleen swelling and squishing on her intestines/etc, hindsight is a bitch.

Hubby and I were taken by surprise, though the "what should we do if this is something serious" conversation did come up, so maybe not totally. After little consideration, and watching her push her way back into the hated, dreaded, evil cat carrier because she knew it meant her return, we knew we that we needed to bring her home.

We got the info for a home-based vet who would come to us and perform the final deed and made a call. The doctor gave us pain meds and told us to keep her comfortable until that time. She was very happy she was home... but clearly not well. The meds, while they helped, actually made her vomit more...which took progressively more out of her as the night went on.

Our efforts to get in touch with the home vet were desperate as we realized she might not actually make it until the vet came. Sadly, she didn't. But we were with her every second of the way, telling her how much we loved her, that it was ok to go, and calling her by much loved nicknames (which she responded to with a tail wag...until she just couldn't anymore). We gave her the pain medication and pray she was not in any pain.

She now walks with the angels.

It was, without a doubt, the most horrible, painful night of my life... The only close second would be today, when we had to put her into a box and bury her sweet soul-vessel in the ground.

...Now I'm faced with refocusing a life that, for 13 years (many of which were single and all of which were childless), revolved around my sweet, baby girl. The love of my life. My little kittenopolous. My She-Nibblers. My reason for living.

So, whatever plans I had for vacation, this week or next, for the blog and for life in general are on hold until I can once again get my feet on solid ground.

I am sure you all understand.