Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 12/31/13

A good lyric is like a great book...

Auld Lang Syne
Lea Michelle, Artist
Robert Burns, Writer

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint' stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 12/24/13

A good lyric is like a great book...

My Grown Up Christmas List
Kelly Clarkson, Artist


Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth (there'd be)

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up Christmas list

This is my grown up Christmas list

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Salon - 12/22/13

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

Ho, ho, ho, bloggies!

Christmas week is finally here!  The past two days have been chock-full of catching up on house chores (that had been neglected due to gigs), holiday parties, cooking, and Christmas shopping. The presents are bought, the cards were sent, and we are just about ready for the big guy in red to arrive.  Just have to wrap gifts and prepare stockings.

Though the snow is not really white any more, it's still here...despite the 50-60 degree weather. But, at least the year has turned and we are heading into spring (at least in terms of the minutes of sunlight a day) and, frankly, I am thrilled! Winter is not my favorite!

I tried my hand again at the crock pot thing today, this time cooking beef stroganof. It was very good,  a little more liquididy than it should be, but surprisingly good regardless. And I expect it will thicken up over night. Definitely my best effort so far!

Books and Blogging

I'm currently reading Five Days at Memorial by Serri Fink, which is a great read so far. I continue my Moby Dick efforts, though not as aggressively as I had hoped. But I haven't given up yet! I did a pretty good job of preparing posts for the holiday season and therfore haven't fallen too far behind despite being busy. I am hoping to continue this into the new year as it takes much of the stress out of blogging for me!

What about you? Do you prepare posts ahead of time or do you blog each day?

Well bloggies, I wish each and every one of you a very, merry holiday week. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope Santa is good to you and you get to spend lots of time with friends, family and those you love. If you can, volunteer at a soup kitchen or in some other place where you can share your good fortune with those who don't have quite as much.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Secret Santa 2013 Arrived!


Santa arrived early at my house this year due to the 4th Annual Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!

Thank you Secret Santa!

My lovely benefactor over at anexerciseinwriting.wordpress.com sent along a lovely package of goodies with two "can't-wait-to-read" books, a cool looking bookmark/stand thingy (which I just MUST try), and some yummy treats! Unfortunately, her "About" page indicates she doesn't post her name...so I will respect that and won't either!

But I did want to say thank you for very, very much and I hope that your SS package arrived with lots of awesome goodies too!

I wish you a wonderful holiday and a fabulous New Year!

BookwormProblems Linkup

In honor of her 31st birthday, Jessica over at Quirky Bookworm is hosting
#BookwormProblems Linkup 

...so we can all bitch and moan about our Bookish "first world problems". Yippee! I'll try not to repeat others', trying to keep it fresh...

1. Having a hubby who thinks whatever is crossing his mind at any given moment is much more important than what I am reading at that moment. And that moment. And that one. Oh, and that one too. And...

2. Doing the math and discovering that in fact completing my current TBR list will take more years than my total anticipated life span!

3. And related: realizing that I may enjoy adding books to my TBR list more than actually reading them. It's kind of like...shopping. Or opening Christmas presents. Or...Book Crack!

4. Also related: being a slow reader!  One or two books a week is not enough!

5. Having to sync my phone Overdrive with my iPad Overdrive so that I am not caught in line somewhere with nothing to read. They should auto-sync!

6. Limited, street parking at my town's library.

7. Having to get up every day and waste precious reading time bathing, driving, earning a living, driving more, and telling the hubby to leave me alone while I read.

It’s your turn – if you have #bookwormproblems Linkup and tell us about them!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Smith (Throwback Thursday Review)

Throwback Thursday Reviews

Another favorite read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Written in 1943, this American classic is the coming-of-age story of a young Irish girl in turn of the century Brooklyn, New York.

Francie Nolan is the product of her home life. She is an idealistic dreamer, but also a practical fact checker. She loves her father dearly, but he is battling his own demons and is unable to support his family. They live in poverty. Francie's mother struggles to ensure that Francie and her brother never lose sight of the harsh realities of life, so that they will hopefully make better choices. Francie's aunt is looking for someone to love her, most often in all the wrong places.

Francie struggles to understand and find beauty in her world and latches onto what she sees as its one sign of beauty, a tree that grows outside her apartment window. The Tree of Heaven, a metaphor for Francie herself, survives despite hunger, despite the struggles of living in a harsh urban environment, forced to figure out its world all alone.

This book is beautifully written. The reality it offers about the harshness of life is heartbreaking, while being touching and maintaining hope for the future, like Francie herself. I do not know how I missed reading this as a child. I was well into my thirties the first time I read it, and yet I cried a little and fell in love with this young girl, struggling to to find her place in life.

If I was a re-reader, this would be top on my list...and that is saying a lot!

5/5- Excellent. Keep it, treasure it, reread it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

To ReRead, or Not To ReRead...That is the question!

Sorry, no reviews today. How about a question instead...

To reread or not to reread? That is the question!

There are several books on my list which I would love to go back and reread! I like to take my time, let the prose wash over my brain, and allow myself to re-experience the book anew.

But will I?

Not likely. At least, no time soon. I have a very large, and ever growing, TBR list. Seriously, check it out.... I'll wait. With upwards of 6800 books on my list, and an average reading of 4-6 books a month, let's do the math, shall we?

6800 books divided by (5 books times 12 months a year) = 113 years!!!

Seriously, one hundred and thirteen years! Perhaps I better start that exercise and vitamins regimen!

This tells us a few things:

1) I definitely need to take a look at my list, perhaps be a bit more picky, and clean it up some
2) I've got to prioritize rereading an awesome classic vs. a potentially mediocre new title
3) time for rereading is not currently in the game plan!

What about you? Do you reread? And if so, how do you find the time?!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 12/17/13

A good lyric is like a great book...
Where Are You Christmas Lyrics

Faith Hill, Artist
James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey, Writers

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
you will feel like Christmas all the time, oh

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You'll never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
fills each and every heart
With love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mondays - 12/16/13

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Now Reading:
Margot (Jillian Cantor)

Just Finished:
Everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar (Kelly Oxford)

On Deck:
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Sheri Fink)
- this was on hold and just came in!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Salon -12/15/13

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

What up, bloggies?! 

Another busy pre-holiday week here!

Purely Vocals performed again this weekend and the audience had a great time, singing along and enjoying the holiday feel. Then Saturday the hubby and I had some couples over for a hang out and easy-peasy dinner. It was a really nice night hanging out by the fire, talking, drinking, and good food. Perfect despite the snow...

Yes, last night we got our first substantial snow storm of the season.  Though it wasn't as bad as predicted, it's very pretty and it is definitely "beginning to look a lot like Christmas"! Perhaps I should start decorating...and shopping...or maybe just send out cards!  Let's just say I'm behind the X-Mas eight-ball!

Books and Blogging

Not surprisingly, this week has been slow reading, with all my other seasonal responsibilities. But being on vacation Christmas week through New Years should give me some time to relax and.. Oh who am I kidding?! I say that every time and usually end up just as busy!

But I'll try to find some time to enjoy the book and start thinking about the blog in 2014.

What are your plans for blogging in 2014?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar - Oxford

Everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar is a series of disjointed, but quite hysterical, essays written by Kelly Oxford, a writer who found success first via the internet. She is well known and loved on Twitter. 

Oxord offers vignettes from her life, starting with her childhood efforts to become a famous director by staging a live performance of Star Wars (spoiler: failed!) and peeing in her pants while trying to purchase cigarettes, to running away to Hollywood to try to find Leonardo DiCaprio and inform him that she is his soul mate (spoiler: also failed!), being "gay bashed" in a state park while having sex - with her husband, and ultimately Disney World with her husband and three children (complete with children vomiting, adult melt downs, and the destruction of  a child's innocence) - but seriously, its funny, trust me.

As the title intimates, life is not quite perfect...but when you look at it from afar, it really is quite funny! Entertaining and well worth the read for its easiness to get through when you are trying to just clear your head and relax.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Secret Santa - It's on its way!


I decided to take part this year in the 4th Annual Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!

I am very excited to receive my package...but was even more thrilled to send mine today (last minute as always) to my giftee.

I included some fun goodies, including a couple of books from the requested list and, of course, Christmas music and goodies. Rarely does a gift go without music in this house!

Hints about my giftee?


Lives in California, though that is not her home state.

Has a dreamy blog with lots of books!

And believes that reading is a way of life (a girl after my own heart!).

And, strange coincidence...

Her name is spelled the same as my middle name!

Though I am guessing it is pronounced differently, as my family seems to have issues with spelling names correctly on birth certificates, HA!!. It is a less common way of spelling the name which I see rarely, so it was quite a shocker to see it on my email. I had to peruse my site to figure out if I had ever used it...but I don't think I have. So it does seem to be just a strange, cool, funky co-in-key-dink - love that!

Well, your gift is on its way holiday Santa friend! Enjoy and merry holidays to you!!

Tuesday Tunes - 12/10/13

A good lyric is like a great book...

Hey Santa
Carnie & Wendy Wilson, Artists
Jack Kugell and Carnie & Wendy Wilson, Writers

If everyday was Christmas
If we could make believe
If everyone would give a little more
There'd be harmony

The city is covered in snow tonight
The children are fast asleep
I'm waiting for him
But he's no where in sight
And I wonder if he can hear me

Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
I wish with all my might
Hey Santa (Santa)
Bring my baby home tonight

Why does it feel like it's colder than winter
Even by the fire side
My baby said that he'd be home for Christmas
And now it's almost midnight

Christmas lights up and down the street
Are such a sight to see
But all the presents by the tree
They don't mean a thing 'til he's with me

Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
I wish with all my might
Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
If you hear me wont you hurry bring my baby tonight

I know your sleigh is full inside
But wont you stop and give my baby a ride
I'll be waiting by candle light this Christmas

Christmas lights up and down the street
Are such a sight to see
But all the presents by the tree
They don't mean a thing, Santa, please here me

Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
I wish with all my might
Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
If you hear me wont you hurry bring my baby tonight

Christmas lights up and down the street
Presents by the tree
I hear a knock
Oh, can it be
My wish is staring back at me

Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
I guess you heard me tonight, yeah
Hey Santa
Hey Santa (Santa)
I'm underneath the mistletoe with my baby tonight

(Sleigh ride, sleigh ride (repeat))
It's Christmas Time
Hey Santa

Monday, December 09, 2013

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Salon Sunday - 12/8/13

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

What up, bloggies?! 

Not much going on this week. Lots of preholiday busy at work.  Preparing for this week's holiday party. Folks always wait until the last minute to sign up, do they do that elsewhere or is it just my scientists!?

Also performed a couple of holiday gigs with Purely Vocals this past weekend. Then, headed over to the senior housing home where one of the gals' father has recently moved and performed an impromptu concert. The residents were not expecting us, not even her dad, and they were so happy to see us! They bopped and sang and one woman even directed from her seat in the back. Being in a locked ward must be tough at this time of year...and we were really blessed to be able to share the holiday spirit with them!

We've got one more performance this Friday to look forward too!

Books and Blogging

I am still working on Moby Dick, albeit slowly. It's not bad, as I've always assumed based on jokes and comments of others (that will teach me!). But it's definitely something to be read on the back end while I enjoy other, more contemporary books. At least for me!  I have also picked up Margot by Jillian Cantor. So far it's quite interesting, despite the unending number of other things drawing my attention this holiday season.

At this point, I've given up meeting my challenge goals for the year. It was just too busy and crazy this year. But that means that everything I read from now until January one is all about fun, no pressure. And that is a good thing!

Are you reading anything "just for fun" this month?


Friday, December 06, 2013

November 2013 ReCap...

November 2013 Update 

Another slow month... 

This month I read: 
Total Read: 2
YTD:  33
Adult: 2
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0 

Camp (Michael Eisner)
Twelve Months (Stephen Manchester)


Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Twelve Months (Stephen Manchester)

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 33 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge =  20 of 26
Library Reading Challenge =  31 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge =  20 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  5 of 6

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

All Souls - McDonald (Throwback Thursday Review )

Throwback Thursday Reviews

One of my favorite reads is made even more timely by the recent conviction and sentencing of gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

All Souls, by Michael Patrick MacDonald, caught my interest not because of the gangster story - in fact I typically have no interest in such a thing - but rather because of its draw as an Irish family story, from South Boston (close to where I lived at the time), and its 1970's/1980's time frame.

MacDonald and his many siblings were born and raised in the enclave of "Southie", the southern section of Boston. The Irish hub of Boston, Southie is known for its closeness, its Irish pride, its racism towards outsiders, and for its poverty.

With a mother who was known to wear miniskirts and play her accordion in local bars to supplement her public assistance funds, while searching for the next male companion to help support the family (which all too often brought additional children, but no additional income), the MacDonald household was not all that different than many in the Old Colony projects of South Boston. The MacDonald family, however, seems to have had more than their fair share of troubles. Mental illness, drug abuse, deaths, and an unending amount of heartbreak.

While this book is about this family and their trials, it is also about the South Boston neighborhood and its struggles. Sadly, with the rise of James "Whitey" Bulger and his gang of organized crime mobsters, this close knit community and the MacDonald family quickly became victims.  A center for drug trafficking, murder and poverty, Southie and its inhabitants struggled with the ravages of the crack heyday of the 1980's and the crime associated with such a trade.

More than, perhaps, anything else though Southie struggled with the ridiculous denial that this organized crime existed. While family members got hooked on drugs and died, Southie inhabitants refused to admit, or even see, the horrible things happening in their own backyards - whether out of fear and denial or just hard headedness.. Many years of struggle have followed to clean up and strengthen the community, though it will never be what it once was. Whether that is good or bad, I will leave up to the reader.

MacDonald's account of his family and community's struggles through the 1970's and 1980's is heartbreaking, and yet reeks of tragic honesty and truth. This book is wonderfully written and well worth the read!

5/5- Excellent. Keep it, treasure it, reread it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Camp - Eisner

Born to an affluent, Jewish family, Michael Eisner was given many opportunities in life. Not surprisingly, he went on to succeed in business, specifically Hollywood (as Paramount CEO and President, as well as the CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation for over twenty years).

One such opportunity came when he was quite young. As a seven-year old, Eisner's father decided that it was time for him to attend the private, Vermont sleep-a-way camp which had been attended by Einser's male family members for years, Camp Keewaydin.

The camp offered Eisner many lessons: canoeing, sports skills, making friends around the camp fire, all while building self esteem and self sufficiency. He also gathered life lessons about people skills and longevity from his beloved Waboos, the camp's director and owner for many years.

Eisner's touching memoir, Camp, is more of a love story. It is touchingly written and shows clearly Eisner's admiration for the camp, its staff, and the experiences it enables. Switching between his own childhood experiences, both as a camper as well as a counselor, and the current day, which boasts of his family's efforts to support underprivileged children's attendance at the camp, via a non-profit organization.

Before reading this book, I had no knowledge of Eisner, or his Disney tenure. I read this book quite literally and enjoyed a man's reminiscence of his childhood. Only after reading it did I delve a bit more into Eisner's experiences at Disney, including an attempted ousting and eventual early resignation. Additionally, as the book pays continual homage to Keewaydin's long-time camp director, one cannot help but wonder about the lack of this gushing for his own father, a New York lawyer whose own children referred to by his first name, Lester, rather than by "father" or "dad". One is left understanding that, in fact, Eisner became the man he is not just because of his camp experiences but because of the family who sent him there, for good or for bad.

Regardless I enjoyed this read, though it was not at all what I had expected. Having read various other camp related memoirs, I anticipated a fun-loving romp but received rather an ode, of sorts. Well written and pleasant, though a bit dry.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - 12/3/13

A good lyric is like a great book...

Jesus Gets Jealous Of Santa Claus
Toby Keith, Artist
Keith Urban, Vernon Wayne Rust, Writers

Layin' back in my easy chair
Late last Christmas eve
Silent night, twinkling lights
Presents 'round the tree
I heard my little girl's two bare feet
Comin' down the stairs
She was sad as I looked over
Draggin' her teddy bear

She said, now daddy, I had a dream
A little angel came down to me
She wasn't happy like angels ought to be
She was cryin' when she gave me the message
For all the world to hear
You know that Jesus gets jealous of Santa Claus
Sometimes this time of year

So, with her head on my shoulder
And her tears mixed with mine

I thought how little baby Jesus
Gets left out at Christmas time
It ain't about the money
Oh, money can't buy love
And I saw the light that Christmas night
With help from up above

She said, now daddy, I had a dream
A little angel came down to me
She wasn't happy like angels ought to be
She was cryin' when she gave me the message
For all the world to hear
You know that Jesus gets jealous of Santa Claus
Sometimes this time of year

She said that Jesus gets jealous of Santa Claus
Sometimes this time of year.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Salon - 12/01/13

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

What up, bloggies?! 

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was busy, but pretty darn yummy! Two families, two meals...more than one pie! Ha!

Along with completing a bunch of errands, this week of vacation was spent rekindling old hobbies. I pulled out some knitting stuff and played around a bit. I've yet to EVER complete a project, but what the heck, fiddling is fun.  I also dragged out my guitar, which I haven't played I years. I still play terribly, I just CANNOT strum to save my life!  Anyone play and have THE magic trick? Regardless, I had a good time pretending.

Also, hubby and I finally went out and bought a crock pot. Now, let's be clear...I am a terrible cook. Seriously, I burn water!  The agreement is that he cooks and I clean! But, I've been imagining opening the freezer, pulling out a plastic bag of goodies,  tossing it in the pot, and surprise...delicious, hot dinner when I get home from work. This week I tried a beef stew, corned beef and cabbage, and spinach lasagne. Let's just say that cooking is a learned skill. Honestly, nothing was terrible, but none of it was amazing either. Let's hope it gets better. Then I just need to teach hubby how to use the vacuum, ha!

Books and Blogging

I am still reading Everything is Perfect When You're A Liar by Kelly Oxford. I expected to read more this week, but just never got to it much because of being too busy (yeh, watching TV perhaps). This weekend I also started Moby Dick. I am constantly on myself to read more classics and figured, I've got to start somewhere! I figure if I read a chapter a day, I will eventually get through it. Right?!

One chapter down...

What about you, what are you challenging yourself to this month?!