Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weekend Reflections 8/27

Looking outside...it's sunny and hot. 89 is cooler than it has been, but it's still hot. I am so ready for fall.

Listening...to silence. The Boy and The Doctor are at work and The Brother is sleeping. It sounds like a normal Saturday.

Loving...my family. They are my world.

Thinking...that The Brother started school this week. It's hard to believe he's a sophomore. He's had a great first week as far as classes and school go. 

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now. I'm not sure about dinner.

Wearing...purple pajamas. It's my standard summer sleep wear.

Hoping...that we will finally get the Trailblazer back next week. The warranty will cover a new engine, thank goodness and it should be fixed next week.

Reading...To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

Today...We have a funeral for a dear friend who passed away suddenly this week. I love this man and his wife. He was my son's scout leader at church and I worked with him for several years when I was the Advancement Chair for scouts. He was kind and considerate and a truly good man. He looked out for The Brother on activities and encouraged him. Most of all he loved him and The Brother knew it. The Brother had a difficult week because he found out about this man's death at school. A friend's mom texted and the boy proceeded to tell everyone what happened. The Brother immediately texted me asking if it was true. I hadn't even heard about it yet and I had to confirm it. I was livid that he had found out in such a casual manner with no one to explain or comfort him. He has handled it well and we have talked a lot about it and shared our memories. We will take him to the funeral tonight and we have tried to walk him through what will happen. This is the first time someone close to him has died where he is aware of it.

Quoting...“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two"

Feeling...My heart has been heavy this week as I have remembered our dear friend and prayed that his wife and family will find peace and comfort.

Planning...we are acquiring and shopping and crossing off lists as we prepare for The Boy to go to school.

Gratitude...for my family, for my faith in God, for good friends.

From my world... 

My kitchen table has become the collection point as we keep adding to it. We have been shopping and collecting and organizing all that the boy needs for his first college apartment. Some things are new, some things are from my kitchen that we no longer use anymore. Fortunately, he's fairly low maintenance.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, August 26, 2016

5 Books I Want to Read...Autobiographical

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2547. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing. This month is sort of autobiographical.


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Blessed with enormous talents and the energy and ambition to go with them, Franklin was a statesman, author, inventor, printer, and scientist. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and later was involved in negotiating the peace treaty with Britain that ended the Revolutionary War. He also invented bifocals, a stove that is still manufactured, a water-harmonica, and the lightning rod.

Franklin's extraordinary range of interests and accomplishments are brilliantly recorded in his Autobiography, considered one of the classics of the genre. Covering his life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, this charming self-portrait recalls Franklin's boyhood, his determination to achieve high moral standards, his work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, experiences during the French and Indian War, and more. Related in an honest, open, unaffected style, this highly readable account offers a wonderfully intimate glimpse of the Founding Father sometimes called "the wisest American."

Columbine by Dave Cullen

"The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . . " So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.

What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme

In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found ‘her true calling.’

From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.

After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.

Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

Le voici. Et bon appétit!

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.

Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.

Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity.

Barack’s journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away—and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance.

A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader—a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.


What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: Layered Pages, A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cover Crush...My Bookstore

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

The little bookstore surrounded by books instead of buildings caught my eye. It's bright and cheery and a perfect complement to the softer, muted colors of the rest of the cover. 

A book about books and favorite places to "Browse, Read and Shop"? How can you not love it? This is on my wish list. 

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesindieBRAG.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Conversation at Our House...Elephants

The Brother has always loved animals. Especially elephants. Even now, as a teenager, he still loves elephants. He is self taught in all of his knowledge and can spout details on a whim. He's really fun to take to the zoo.

J: “I wish I could be an elephant.”
M: “Where would you live?”
J: “Down here, in the living room.”
M: “Wouldn’t you want to live in Africa?”
J (indignantly): “Mom! I wouldn’t have a herd in Africa, I’d be by myself. I’d get eaten by a lion.”
M: “Well, you can stay here then and we can be your herd.”
J (indignantly): “Mom! People don’t live in herds, they live in groups. Other animals live in herds. Humans live in groups, you know, like baboons.”