Friday Fill-ins 01-30-09

Janet is our faithful host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. I'd really like a nap right now.

2. F*ck!!! is the word you'd most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe.

3. Possession is a book I’m looking forward to reading.

4. I loved the first movie with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow; the second, not so much; haven’t seen the third.

5. Marshmallows and fire go together like sand and hot dogs.

6. The beat goes on and on and on and on and on.
La de da de de,
la de da de da
(Sonny and Cher)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading and practicing my choir music, tomorrow my plans include driving north to attend my uncle’s memorial service, then visiting with family and staying at a B and B; and Sunday, I want to spend more time with my family, drive home and read! Read More!

Wordless Wednesday: It's Winter, Need Color!

Be sure to click on the photos for enlarged magnificence.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
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Teaser Tuesday 01-27-09: The Bonesetter's Daughter

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read (without spoilers, of course) to entice you to read the book.

From The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan, page 197, way more than two sentences. I'm such an anarchist.

I was remembering how she taught me that everything, even ink, had a purpose and a meaning: Good ink cannot be the quick kind, ready to pour out of a bottle. You can never be an artist if your work comes without effort. That is the problem with modern ink from a bottle. You do not have to think. You simply write what is swimming on the top of your brain. And the top is nothing but pond scum, dead leaves, and mosquito spawn. But when you push an inkstick along an inkstone, you take the first step to cleansing your mind and your heart. You push and you ask yourself, What are my intentions? What is in my heart that matches my mind?
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Weekly Geeks 2009-03: The Classics

There are four parts to this installment of Weekly Geeks.

Part the first:

How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don't get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

I feel pretty inadequate about classic lit, considering I have a BA in English. I've read very little Shakespeare; a few Dickens; only one Jane Austen so far; no Balzac, Byron, Blake or Burns. I don't feel intimidated by it anymore, but I can't say it's my favorite genre. I usually read it because I think I should, not because I enjoy it. To me it's a bit like learning music theory and getting a good base of classical music before journeying off into other styles.

Last year I read War and Peace and Anna Karenina. I enjoyed the latter immensely and had a love/hate relationship with the former. I'm really glad I read them and it got me over feeling intimidated. I also learned a lot. I'm planning to read more Russian lit in the next year.

Recommendations for Classics 101? Dickens - David Copperfield or Great Expectations; Twain - Huck Finn; Willa Cather - My Antonia; Bronte, C - Jane Eyre; Homer - The Odyssey.

Part the second:

A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you're not familiar with.

I was going to read a bit of Madame Bovary but it's after 1 a.m. and I think I'll take a pass on that for now. Perhaps I'll come back later with a mini-review.

Part the third:

Let's say you're vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don't find her a book, she'll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

I would argue that there are classics younger than 100 years: anything Steinbeck; To Kill a Mockingbird, Beloved.

But let's say this bookstore only carries books published in the last 25 years. "Cousin Myrtle, I think you'd like The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Yes, it's about South America, it's translated from OK, what about one of these?" (I show her The Poisonwood Bible and A Prayer for Owen Meany, hoping the religious references will appease her). "Here's one - The Hours. It's based on Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, sort of a re-telling. Yes? Great, I think you'll love it. And this one too - The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro." She'll be impressed by the English manners. (Now that cousin Myrtle is out of my hair, I'm going to curl up with The Handmaid's Tale, definitely a classic, but one Myrtle wouldn't appreciate.)

Part the fourth:

As you explore the other Weekly Geeks posts: Did any inspire you to want to read a book you've never read before—or reread one to give it another chance? Tell us all about it, including a link to the post or posts that sparked your interest. If you end up reading the book, be sure to include a link to your post about it in a future Weekly Geeks post!

Three blogs I visited mentioned Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray:
Stephanie at Confessions of a Bookaholic; Jackie at Literary Escapism and marineko at dreaming out loud. I've never read it. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one I keep thinking about reading and two of these bloggers mentioned it. So, I guess I know what two books will be going on my TBR pile!

Thanks to Ali for hosting Weekly Geeks this week. Great questions!
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Always check your child's homework

The assignment for the first graders was to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grow up. Cathy submitted this:

Her mom sent the following note to Cathy's teacher the next day:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.

I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it.

Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely, Mrs. Smith

This was sent to me via email; I have no idea who to credit.
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Sunday Salon: Potpourri

The Sunday
Well, it's been quite a week. I'm still pinching myself, and every once in awhile I say out loud: "President Obama" because I do so like the sound of that!

I haven't been in the Salon for a couple of weeks. I'm on a bit of blog/meme overload, between book blogs and photo blogs, many of which happen on the weekend. But I've missed TSS, home of my very first meme.

I've been reading a lot - up to my 10th book for the month and will likely read 2 or 3 more. So far in January I've read:
  • Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria A Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
  • Open House by Elizabeth Berg
  • Tree Crazy by Tracy Gallup
  • Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor
All of these have been high ratings - 3.5 - 4.5 out of 5. I've especially loved The Road Home, The Night Watch and The Flying Troutmans. I'm zipping through The Bonesetter's Daughter and Ship Fever this weekend and hope to get another Orange Prize read in before the end of the month for Orange January. Most of these books so far fit into one or more of my challenges; The Bonesetter's Daughter fits into 3 of the 6 categories for What's in a Name: a profession, a body part and a relative (though I can only use it for one) PLUS it's an Orange Prize short lister. PLUS it's my book group read for the first week of February. I do love to multi-task.

Also! I'm hosting another book tour this next week - Friday January 29th come check out Ingrid E. Cummings and her new book The Vigorous Mind: Cross-Train Your Brain to Break Through Mental, Emotional and Professional Boundaries. Wow. Just memorizing that title should increase your brain power! It's likely to be an interesting discussion. Check back in a few days for more information. Edited to add: this has been postponed; will probably occur in February. Stay tuned for details.

Here's hoping you're having a wonderful weekend. Happy Australia Day to my friends down under. And Chinese New Year is tomorrow - we are entering the Year of the Ox. President Obama (YES!!!) was born in the Year of the Ox, 1961. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the characteristics of an Ox; I think this describes him to a T:
The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, even without imagination. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent.

People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do.

The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self-sacrificing exterior lies an active mind.

Ox people are truthful and sincere, and the idea of wheeling and dealing in a competitive world is distasteful to them. They are rarely driven by the prospect of financial gain. These people are always welcome because of their honesty and patience. They have many friends, who appreciate the fact that the Ox people are wary of new trends, although every now and then they can be encouraged to try something new.

It is important to remember that the Ox people are sociable and relaxed when they feel secure, but occasionally a dark cloud looms over such people and they engage all the trials of the whole world and seek solutions for them. Also the Ox people are all caring and loving but at times when you mess with them they will tear out in anger.

Join the Sunday Salon!
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The First Couple

I just had to post what I think is the sweetest photo of Barack and Michelle Obama I've seen yet. This was taken in a freight elevator as they were being escorted from one inaugural ball to another.

Photo borrowed from

And this came in an email forwarded to me from my Dad. I don't know who the original author is.
Dear World:

We, the United States of America, your top-quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding,



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Friday Fill-ins 01-23-09

Janet is our friendly host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. Oh, I am so joyful that Obama is our new president – and that Bush is finally GONE!

2. We will always go through changes, big and little.

3. During the inauguration I wept.

4. 21 pieces of music to memorize in the next 3 months; are you kidding me???

5. Right now I'd like to be at the beach, sitting by the woodstove, watching the waves and the rain.

6. My new camera is my favorite gadget.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a quiet evening of reading, tomorrow my plans include reading and learning new music for the choir and Sunday, I want to read and blog and catch up with The Daily Show episodes online!
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Booking Through Thursday - Inspiration

Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

Since “Inspiration” is (or should) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?

Well I must say my reading has changed tremendously over the last two years, since I joined LibraryThing. Not only do I get book recommendations from the mysterious workings of something called an algorithm, but via the talk groups, I'm in touch with a lot of people with common interests and common reading habits who talk about the great books they've read. I've been inspired to read authors and works I never would have heard of otherwise.

I'm less and less inspired by bestseller lists (I will never read a Stephanie Meyer book no matter how many she sells), but I do pay attention to some of the prizes, particularly the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The books that are winners and on the short lists often align with my reading tastes. The Orange Prize books are so special that two months of the year are now dedicated to reading as many on the lists as I can (thanks to my pal Jill).

My favorite authors inspire me - some of them inspire me to read everything they've ever written: Isabel Allende (pictured, with President Obama!), Barbara Kingsolver (upper right), Sarah Waters, David James Duncan (lower left), Rose Tremain, Louise Erdrich (lower right), Kazuo Ishiguro.

I used to read a lot more nonfiction than I do right now - I was often inspired by a sense of despair! And a longing to find solutions to an ever growing number of global issues. But I think I needed a break from reality.

Our new President has inspired me to read his books as well as some others that are on his favorites list, particularly Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison - a re-read for me), The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

What about you? What inspires your reading these days?
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Wordless Wednesday: Mount Hood

Click on photo for a spectacular view.

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Witnessing history: January 20, 2009

As I write this, there are less than 24 hours left until Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. I can't even begin to express what this feels like.

Just thinking of the part where Bush finally leaves Washington causes my heart to soar. I have this image of the Pigpen character in Charles Shultz's Peanuts - he leaves a wake of dirt wherever he goes. Only in W's case, it's death and destruction left in his wake and it will take more than a broom and a brush to clean up the mess he's made. So much of it is irreparable - lives lost unnecessarily - and so many rights have been trampled, so much environmental and economic damage done that some of it will take many lifetimes to heal.

But I don't want to dwell on the negative today; I've been doing that for 8 years. I want to celebrate this awesome occasion!

I don't remember being excited about an inauguration before - well, the truth of it is, I've never been excited about a President before. And I can just feel the excitement, the energy around me building. I believe the US has been on a downward spiral for a long time and the only thing to save us from complete collapse requires something to shake it up, to change the course. I'm not about to put all of the burden on Barack Obama, for no one person can achieve that kind of goal, it's a setup for failure. But the essence of what his election represents is what gives me hope - that enough people in this country have seen that the path we've been on is unsustainable and we need to radically change the way we live and work and eat and treat each other. Obama is not only a symbol of this change, but has the qualities needed to inspire others to do the work that needs to be done.

I believe that Obama and his administration have no grand ulterior motives as Bush/Cheney did, that when he swears tomorrow to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution they will not be empty words, there will be no unspoken subtext. I have to believe this.

And - how cool is it to see this African American family move into the White House? this mansion that symbolizes the best and the worst of this country. I remember hearing someone right after the election say they wish they could be witness to the arrival of the Obamas, greeting the mostly Black house staff - what pride on both sides there will be.

I have to say it. I'm worried for Barack Obama. I'm scared that some wacko or wackos will do their best to take him out. I don't think our nation could survive a tragedy like that. I don't want to think about it, but in these days when people gun down classrooms of students, anything is possible. So that's where most of my prayers are directed; I don't feel a need to pray that Obama will do the right thing most of the time. But I do pray for his health and safety.

So, this time tomorrow, the US will have a new President, most of the world will celebrate and we can begin to move forward at last! Free at last! Free at last!

What are your hopes, dreams and fears about the new administration?

One more thing - a bumpersticker spotted:
2009: The End of an Error.

The wonderful photo above taken by Doug Mills, NYT .

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Teaser Tuesday 01-20-09: The Flying Troutmans

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read (without spoilers, of course) to entice you to read the book.

From The Flying Troutmans, page 57 :
Marc said it was important for us to detach, to stand alone, to experience ourselves, to answer our inner something, to recognize the divinity that resides within each of us.

But what if our in-house divinities are telling us exactly the same thing? I asked him. Like, how many ideas are out there, anyway? Ours may match.
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Weekly Geeks 2009-02: Being a WG

This week an unfinished person posted our Weekly Geeks assignment, thanks, uh, person! Joanne put forth the question:
For those who have been with the group, either from the start or joined within recent months, what does being a member mean to you? What do you enjoy about the group? What are some of your more memorable Weekly Geeks that we might could do again? What could be improved as we continue the legacy that Dewey gave us?
I'd been blogging for a couple of months before I actually posted my first WG entry, though I'd followed the meme every week. The ideas were almost always interesting and fun, creative, community-oriented or educational. And so I kept coming back every week. There were only a couple that didn't interest me - one was a scavenger hunt that looked like it would take all week to do! I loved the weeks when we intentionally "met" other bloggers, for interviews or comparisons. I've gotten to know a lot of wonderful people through Weekly Geeks and that's what keeps me coming back.

What I love about being a "member" of this amazing group is that anyone can join at any time, and there are no expectations. And it's fun and interesting.
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Friday Fill-ins 01-16-09

Janet is our fabulous host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. Enough with the Bush administration! Yea!!!!!!!! Four more days!

2. Healthy food vs food I want to eat causes me to be conflicted.

3. I've been craving time at the beach.

4. My girlfriends make me laugh.

5. I wish I could go to the beach next week. In my pure fantasy world, I'd go to the inauguration, but in reality I couldn't take the crowds. I'm there in spirit!

6. War in the Middle East has been on my mind lately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a quiet evening, tomorrow my plans include cake and games with some friends and Sunday, I want to read!
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Booking Through Thursday - Sing, Sing a Song!

Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

Sing, Sing a Song:

What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love? Why? And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

Now, of course, I have that stupid Carpenter's song running through my head, thanks a lot Deb!

One of my most favorite songwriters of the last 15 years or so is Cheryl Wheeler. She writes funny songs, poignant ones, love songs, breakup songs, songs about her cats - attending one of her concerts is like an emotional Space Mountain ride!

Cheryl wrote one of the best love songs ever - "Gandhi/Buddha." My partner and I sang it to each other at our commitment ceremony. Here's the chorus:

I must have been Gandhi or Buddha
or someone like that.
I must've saved lives by the hundreds everywhere I went.
I must've brought rest to the restless
and fed the hungry too.
I must've done something great…
to get to have you.
At her concerts she sings the alter ego version in addition:
I must have been Hitler or Satan
or someone like that
I must have brought death and destruction
everywhere I went
I must have brought torts to the tortured
Drowned some puppies too
I must have done something BAD to have to have you
See what I mean about Space Mountain?

Another favorite CW song is called "Unworthy." It moves along at a pretty good clip and, as you can see, has lots of words. I love singing this song, though I usually have to untie my tongue when I'm done.

I'm unworthy, no matter what I'm doing,
I should certainly be doing something else.
And it's selfish to be thinking I'm unworthy,
all this me, me, me, me, self, self, self, self, self.
If I'm talking on the phone I should be working on the lawn
which looks disgraceful from the things I haven't done.
If I'm working on the lawn I should be concentrating on
those magazines inside, since I have not read one.

I should learn how to meditate and sew and bake
and dance and paint and sail and make gazpacho.
I should turn my attention to repairing all those
forty year old socks there in that bureau.
I should let someone teach me to run Windows,
and learn French that I can read and write and speak.
I should get life in prison for how I treated my parents
from third grade until last week.

I should spend more time playing with my dog
and much less money on this needless junk I buy.
I should send correspondence back to everyone
who's written, phoned or faxed since junior high.
I should sit with a therapist until I understand
the way I felt back in my mom.
I should quit smoking, drinking, eating, thinking sleeping,
watching TV, writing stupid songs.

I should be less impatient when the line just takes forever
'cause the two cashiers are talking.
I should see what it's like to get up really early rain or shine
and spend three hours walking.
I should know CPR and deep massage
and Braille and sign language
and how to change my oil.
I should go where the situation's desperate and
build and paint and trudge and tote and toil.

I should chant in impossible positions
till my legs appear to not have any bones.
I should rant at the cops and politicians
and the corporations-in indignant tones.
I should save lots of money to leave Audubon,
plus all the rocks and animals and plants.
I should brave possibilities for plotting plums of problems
prob'ly blossomed, plausibly from
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah I'm unworthy.
I also think "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is the most perfect song ever written.
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Wordless Wednesday - 01-14-09: Indian Camps

Click on photos to enlarge

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
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Teaser Tuesday 01-13-09: The Night Watch

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read (without spoilers, of course) to entice you to read the book.

From The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, page 19:
Once he tied one of my plaits to the handle of a door, and slammed it.' She touched her scalp. 'It hurt like hell. I wanted to kill him! I believe I would have, if I'd known how. I do think children would make the most perfect little murderers, don't you?'
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Weekly Geeks 2009-01

Well, we're back at last, and Dewey's spirit lives on in every Weekly Geek post. I had the honor and pleasure of posting the first assignment for the return of WG. And I've been so busy visiting everyone's posts this morning, I haven't even finished mine!

Our assignment this week:

In the spirit of the amazing community building that Dewey was so good at, tell us about your favorite blogs, the ones you have bookmarked or subscribe to in your Google Reader, that you visit on a regular basis. Tell us what it is about these blogs that you love, that inspire or educate you or make you laugh. Be sure to link to them so we can find them too.
Some days I make myself crazy trying to keep up with all the blogs I want to visit. Thank goodness for retirement! and for Google Reader which manages all my favorite blogs and lets me know when new goodies are posted. To think a year ago, I hardly knew what a blog was!

I have several categories of blogs I follow; for this post, I'm limiting myself to three in each category, which is really hard to do.

Book blogs:
  • books i done read - Raych writes the funniest reviews on the planet. I hope she wills me her sense of humor. She is so irreverent - a quality I admire in a person!
  • Tripping Toward Lucidity - Andi was one of the first book bloggers I connected with. She's also very funny and thoughtful, writes great reviews and shares her daily life with us, the good, the bad and the ugly! She's also busy with a few other blogs and an online 'zine. Not to mention teaching and going to school. Sheesh.
  • Cornflower lives in Edinburgh and has quite a following. She recently separated her book blog from her "other" which has fantastic photos, textiles, recipes and food photos that will make you drool puddles. This link is to her book blog where she runs a monthly book group and writes fantastic reviews. Also hosts a lot of giveaways.

Photo blogs:

I've recently become addicted to photography and there are some wonderful blogs and memes out there (my photo blog is now separate from this one). Here are some of my favs:
  • Lisa's Chaos - Lisa and her husband are professional photographers and their work is stunning. Very creative and fun stories, too. Lisa hosts one of my favorite photo memes, Macro Monday. I love macro photography!
  • Spatter - what can I say. Awesome photos. Interesting stories. June travels a lot, so there's a great diversity to her photography.
  • Heaven in Belgium - Jientje has a lot of fun with her camera and shares tips with us. She's very creative in her photo setups and is, well, just a nice person.
Other - writing, politics, whatever:

I think what has astounded me most about the blog world is how people are writing their everyday stories in such creative ways. Whether it's about raising children, moving to a new town, the '08 election or just pondering, this is definitely a new way of finding community and sharing our stories, which is a good start down a road to peace. It's such a wonderful way of connecting and finding similarities and learning about differences. Some of my favorites in this category are:
  • Diane's Addled Ramblings - this woman is funny!!! She writes about being a single mom, about writing, politics, dating - all with a style that keeps me wanting MORE.
  • i am saved by the buoyancy of citrus - this is Raych again, her non-book blog. Again, funny! Everyday. Someday I will ask her where she got such a quirky blog name.
  • So Not Zen - I recently discovered this blog; another very funny writer about the everyday, the joys and woes of parenting. She's doing a daily gratitude post. She also lives just across the Columbia River from me. And I love the name of her blog. And this bit in her "about me" cracks me up: I want to think like Buddha, not look like him.
Can you tell I appreciate humorous blogs?

Well that ought to keep you all busy for awhile! Now I'm off to see who else has posted to Weekly Geeks. I will have to pry the laptop off my hot thighs by the end of this day. No, not HOT as in buff - HOT as in this laptop is now the temperature of a waffle iron.

Visit the new home of Weekly Geeks and see what others are geeking about.
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Friday Fill-ins 01-09-09

Janet is our inimitable host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. It's January; time for my mammogram.

2. Organic Valley Eggnog is what I crave most right now. But it’s past the season, which is probably just as well.

3. Cork and wine go together like eggshells in an omelet (if the cork ends up in the wine).

4. A good nap is so nourishing.

5. Let us dare to hope that we can heal our ailing Mother Earth and undo some of the damage that has been done to the US and the world over the last 8 years.

6. Portland is and always will be my home.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading, tomorrow my plans include reading and taking photos and Sunday, I want to read and take photos!

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Wordless Wednesday - 01-07-09

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Teaser Tuesday 01-06-09: Oscar and Lucinda

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read (without spoilers, of course) to entice you to read the book.

From Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, page 252:

She swore later that Oscar's mouth dropped open. She described it for him: He was like a ventriloquist's doll from which the ruling hand has been rudely withdrawn, leaving the subject slumped, without a spine, unable to lift so much as an arm.

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The Sunday Salon: Some Things I Learned in 2008

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday and Merry 2009! Condolences to those of you who must return to the work world tomorrow. Here are a few things I learned on my reading road trip in '08.

  • It wasn't so terribly painful after all to read War and Peace. I even enjoyed it!
  • And - the next time I read a chunkster like that, I will focus only on that book and not read anything else concurrently. I feel like I missed a lot by interspersing other books with it.
  • My favorite genre is contemporary women writers (Orange July was wonderful for that reason!) My second favorite is historical fiction. Often they're one and the same (e.g. Music and Silence by Rose Tremain or Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks).
  • "Contemporary women writers" does not mean chick lit. (I already knew this, but maybe you didn't.)
  • Graphic novels are definitely worthy of the name literature.
  • I can read many more books than I ever thought I could. 107 total for 2008. Many more in 2009!
  • The book blogging community is a wonderful place to learn, connect, laugh, cry, be creative and add too many great books to an already teetering Mount TBR.
  • It's quite possible to blog and visit blogs 24/7.
  • But then I wouldn't get any reading done.
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Friday Fill-ins: 01-02-09

Janet is our fabulous host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. The world is going to change in wonderful ways after January 20th.

2. The end was the last thing I said.

3. I wonder "who wrote the Book of Love."

4. Beginnings are at the end of all things.

5. There's something to be said for denial.

6. Right here is where I want to be.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to time with my dad and his wife, tomorrow my plans include driving home and reading and Sunday, I want to read Oscar and Lucinda for Monday’s book group!

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