Monday, October 13, 2014

Hoka Polka

Back in July of 2011 I reviewed a book for TTPT  Born to Run in which I begin the post saying

I'm not a runner. Never have been. I do run though. On a treadmill or on fairly flat terrain. After 3 miles I'm toast. So how can I say I'm not a runner? Well, I don't run races and my 'running' is pretty slow and steady ... and as I mentioned - lacking hills.


Time to eat crow.

I AM a runner.

I run 4 miles with hills at least 3 times a week.

I've run in several races.

I run against me. No one else. My goal is to finish and try to beat my own personal time. Not what someone else tells me my time should be.

Because I can.

One of which was ten miles (TEN!) and had lots (LOTS!) of hills. The last mile was UPHILL!

And I did it.


For my Aunt Barbara.

I'm running because I can.

When I was first starting out it was painful. Down right miserable.

And then I'd think of my aunt.

Sick. Scared. Exhausted. Housebound because of chemo.

I can do this.

If she can do THAT.

I can do THIS.

And I did.

I just signed up for my first 1/2 marathon (and it's flat - I haven't completely lost my everlovin mind).

Over the past 3 years I've had a few injuries (one related to an overzealous rendition of the chicken dance) not to mention the fact that I am getting older by the second. I've gotten better at listening to my body and knowing when I need to take a walk break or a few days break. Heck - when to take Motrin and an Epsom's salt bath or when just a glass of wine will do ;-)

I finally feel comfortable calling myself a runner. After all, with the clown shoes on I better claim it. Either that or join the circus.

These babies feel like I'm running on air. Instead of pounding the pavement I am now doing the Hoka (One One) Polka.

Will you join me?

Clown shoes not required.

Circus optional.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

For Your Girls

Unless you live in a hole in the ground or you are severely color blind I'm sure you've noticed a lot of pink these days. Pink ribbons, pink hats, pink socks, t-shirts that say 'Real men wear pink'.

Can I say - real men do wear pink and quite well *Rocky*.

All kidding aside - breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) is nothing to laugh about. The statistics are nauseating and well


If you've been here for a while you might remember an email I shared that my Aunt Barbara sent me regarding my egg nog recipe. It was a hoot and her doggie Cooper got the treat of his life! Just around that time my Aunt had pain in her breast that would not go away. She went to her MD but by the time they could fit her in (approx. 2 weeks later) the pain was gone. No lump found via mammogram or physical exam. Her MD said cancer pain comes and stays - doesn't go away and since she was all clear via mammogram and her exam there was nothing to worry about.

Two months later the pain is back and is excruciating. It was not going away. Back to the MD and a sonogram is done.


Something is found.

Biopsy done.

Breast cancer.

It was in her lymph nodes.



More surgery.


More chemo.

My aunt - my funny - beautiful - smart - vibrant aunt has been to hell and back.

She is a fighter.

She has lost hair, had it grow back only to lose it again.

She will win.

She is at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. What they portray in their commercials are legit.
They are the bomb.

I am so thankful that my aunt took her health seriously and was persistent (that is how she ended up at CTCA after two disastrous MD experiences).

Why do I share her story? Because Aunt Barbara's story could be ours. Maybe it already is. Maybe you know someone who is fighting. Maybe you know someone (yourself?) who is adverse to getting a mammogram. My aunt's is a rare cancer that grows almost like a rope vs a lump so it was not detected the traditional ways but she listened to her body. She was persistent and she was right. She knew something was amiss.

Don't be shy - do your self exams monthly. Get your mammogram annually. Listen to your body and make your doctor listen. That's what they get paid to do.

Thank you Mindy for sharing your story and inspiring me to share my aunts.

If you are one for praying - I'd appreciate (and so would my aunt) prayers for her to be cancer and pain free. The medications she has to take to counter the chemo she is on is wicked and reeks havoc on her body. She is grateful to be alive but we believe in miracles and pray for total healing!

So ladies, when was the last time you checked your girls?

Don't wait.

Do it for your girls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Turn the page ... Tuesday

It's hard for me to believe that I haven't hosted Turn the page ... Tuesday in over a year (or done any blogging for that matter). I kept reading and life kept going and I never made it to the blog.
No time like the present.
I have read quite a bit over the past year so I went back through and picked the books that I thought would make for great October reading. I also included some current reads too. Enjoy!
You all may remember that I like to get my books as cheap as possible; preferably free. This little nugget I had on my to-read list and discovered it was actually a Kindle Prime book = FREE. Perfect. The Bloodletter's Daughter  is based on events that happened in the early 1600's which had me spending some quality time with my friend Google. Did you know you could get a shave and have leaches attached to your body to remove any bad humors by the same person? Yup. So glad we have progressed in our personal hygiene and medical fields. But I digress. The Bloodletter's daughter assists her father in - wait for it - you guessed it - bloodletting. Marketa is not only beautiful but ambitious and wishes to become a bloodletter herself and has some grand ideas but is prevented to do so because she is a woman. Enter the true bad guy (as opposed to all the other's who think Marketa should stick to women's work - you have to read the book to see what THAT is all about - ahem). Don Julius is mad - literally - he's insane and completely out of control. There's one teeny tiny problem (besides being a lunatic) - he's technically royalty but because of this thing called illegitimacy he has no claim to the thrown.  But because his dad, the KING - has put him in the castle on the hill of their village, the common folk still have to treat him like he's hot stuff. NOT A GOOD COMBO. Can you see where this is going ... ol' DJ has some bad humors and he thinks Marketa is THE ONE to cure them. And as they say ... the rest is his-stor-eee. 
Here is the link to the facts of Don Julius D´Austria that the book was based on.
Yo! Adrienne says: It's a page turner that's worth the time. Sooo glad I am a 21st century woman.

Have you ever had a friend that maybe wasn't such a good influence. Maybe they never really made you do anything you didn't want to do but there was just something there - something that made you go against your gut. Harriet Said ... is one of those books that had me thankful that any peer pressure I may have succumbed to as an adolescent (the main characters are 13 and 14) was mild compared to what these two girls did to each other and those around them. This book is chocked with insecurity and manipulation. Oh wait - I just described what it means to be a teenager. Thank goodness I'm 42.

Yo! Adrienne says: If you like to be freaked out by how much damage two girls can do - go for it! I passed it on to Goodwill.

Imagine you only had 99 nights to get done what needed done our you were out. Out as in no place to live and your life is still a wreck. Thank goodness Rocky isn't too particular about the housekeeping - I don't think even if I had 99 million nights I would ever have this house spic and span.
Oh - the book. Never mind my train wreck.
Don't call the Health Department.
The House on the End of Hope Street is filled with talking portraits, books that appear and disappear, and (my favorite) a closet that is FULL of every kind of shoe, purse, hat, clothing item you could ever want. AND then changes when you need something different. Now THAT is magic.
Each woman who finds her way to the house on the end of Hope St. is waging her own battle and lacking direction plan. They are more or less at their own dead end. The story's main character Alba Ashly actually has everything going for her. That is until - well. You have to read the book to find out. But let's say it's big. As the book progresses she meets some pretty interesting people (and a very cool cat). There's some great roommate tension and building mystery surrounding each person and their great "need" that drew them to the house. The house has a "history" and the author had fun intermingling famous authors and their work throughout the book.
Yo! Adrienne says: If you are a fan of Sarah Addison Allen then you will enjoy this quick read. I passed this one around to all my girlfriends. I loved it.
Thanks to Dolce Bellezza I have ventured into a new category of reading - translated literature. When The Stationmaster appeared on her blog I was intrigued. It is a book consisting of 8 short stories. I have read the first 3 and am in the middle of the 4th. I have kept it on my nightstand and it has been so satisfying as a quick read before bed.
The Stationmaster shares the last days before the Stationmaster retires from the job he has had his whole life. He and his now deceased wife lived in the station and handled every aspect of the operation. Now that things are more "modern" the train only comes through a fraction of the times it once did. No need for a full time manager. Sadly, the stationmaster's daughter died at a very young age and he also suffers remorse from how he handled his wife's death. Despite being stoic he is lonely and struggling with the prospect of retirement. Then along comes a mysterious young girl who lifts his spirits. As the story progresses several girls (one at a time) come along - each reminding him of his lost daughter.
Love Letter was such an interesting "romance" and apparently has been made into two feature films. (I'd love to see if I can track one of these down to view.) We are introduced to the main character right after he is released from a short stint in jail. He makes his living in unusual and illegal ways. One of his most recent paychecks came from his "marriage" to a woman he would never meet. That is until after her death when he had to play the part of a mourning husband and claim the body. Sadly, she earned her money servicing the city visitors who came to the country for some R&R. Upon arriving and collecting her limited belongings he finds in her purse red lipstick (which he fascinates about her wearing) and a letter addressed to him. He is struck by not only how beautiful she was but by what she had to say to him in her note. He is so overcome with emotion he can't help himself from full blown sobbing. He doesn't know if he will ever feel this way about anyone again.
Devil. Have you ever met someone that you were convinced was pure evil. It's frightening when you get that weird feeling and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Yet their credentials are pristine. Imagine it was your tutor that gave you the willies and that tutor was your friends as well; that is until he died suddenly. The friend who just came into school the day before he died and was complaining that the tutor was horrible to him and he was convinced the tutor was harming his mother. And now he's your tutor. As soon as he appears the once affluent house begins to fall apart. The main character watches helplessly as his parents marriage fall apart - sees his grandfather die suddenly while confronting the tutor - witnesses something in the woods between his mother and tutor that his innocent mind doesn't understand. Devil in disguise?
Yo! Adrienne says: I have really enjoyed reading these short stories; and the fact that they are translated Japanese literature makes me feel that much smarter ;-) I chose to add them to the October list because there is an enigma to each one.
I am currently reading a classic this October. I've had Dracula on my kindle since January 2011! Goodness. 'Bout time I got to it. Ever since I read The Historian  I swore I was going to read Dracula (and then watch the movie). I don't even know how long ago that was. Probably some time before January of  2011 ;-)

And while I'm talkin' classics, a few years ago I read Frankenstein and loved it. Which reminds me. I never watched that movie either. Looks like I'm going to have a spooktacular October!

I hope there are still some of you loyal TTPT fans who have some great reads to share. I can always add a few more to my list.

I am trying a new link system. If it doesn't work just leave your link in the comments.

Looking forward to what you've been reading ... um, like in the past year ;-)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I've decided to do a little theme post periodically.

Maybe it will become a weekly post - maybe not.

Right now it's about being in the moment.



This weekend I am savoring a date night with Rocky and some delicious-will-be-put-into-the-rotation Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Both were fantabulous.

I encourage you to make the soup. Rocky is already spoken for ;-)

I'd love to hear what you are savoring at this moment. Leave a comment (and with a link to your post if you blog).

Don't forget Turn the page ... Tuesday is this week! I've got some great reads for the month of October to share. Think spooky and suspenseful but minus the gore. Boo Yeah!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tap Tap Tap ... Hello?

Is this thing on?



How ya been? Anyone still out there?

Nothing like just jumping right back on the horse, or blog ...

I can't even tell you how many books I've read since I last posted in September 2013.

September 2013?!?!

Let's not go there. It was too long ago.

So lets talk numbers instead.


That's a lot of blogging I've missed. Will you all join me again for our Turn the page ... Tuesday adventures? I won't bombard you with 43 reviews this coming Tuesday but I will certainly have a few good ones to share.

I just might even post more than the first Tuesday of each month. Mindy's challenge is a tough one for me but maybe it's time to dust off the keyboard, sewing machine, crochet hooks, real camera (as opposed to my phone) and get back to documenting my wonderful and crazy life.

And since I like to have pictures with my posts ...

Happy fall ya'll from beautiful Virginia.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

From The Shelf TBR

I nabbed Fahrenheit 451 at a Big Read event many years ago. I actually loaned it out to my cousin before I even read it. She returned it in a timely fashion but up on the shelf it went. I finally pulled it down (when I realized that there was a movie) and read it (before I watched the movie). It's hard to believe that it was published in 1953; granted it was billed as a sci-fi- resist-the-power-book but here we are in 2013 and we are not too far off from what was "futuristic" in this novel. I was dismayed but also pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the book. I would definitely suggest you add it to your "classics" to-read list.

From Amazon:

"Internationally acclaimed with more than 5 million copies in print, Fahrenheit 451 is Ray Bradbury's classic novel of censorship and defiance, as resonant today as it was when it was first published nearly 50 years ago. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires... The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning ... along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames... never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think... and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!"
On The Kindle TBR

Another book from Fitzgerald's Flappers and Philosophers book that has been languishing on my kindle. The Ice Palace did not disappoint. It was a short but delightful read. A one sitting read. Just up my alley these days since school has started back (I thought I was supposed to have ~more~ time - ha!). A sweet southern belle meets a yankee and decided that she wants to get out of town - how better than to marry someone to take you away. The story is based on a premarital visit with the future in-laws up north where it is cold, gloomy, and lacking southern charm. I was tickled by the main characters description of the 'brutal' weather and lack of a warm reception. I am a Virginian after all - a southerner at heart despite the fact that my parents were born and bread in NY (along with all previous generations up to the boat they arrived on). I could relate. Now, before I get any negative comments regarding North vs South - let me be clear - I love NY. The south is just ... different. Read The Ice Palace , you'll see.
From Amazon:
"The Ice Palace is a story of cultural conflict between Sally - a Southern woman and her Northern lover. Sally decides to change the slow routine of the South and join the North by engaging to Harry Bellamy. Will she be able to adapt?

Join F. Scott Fitzgerald as he examines the social and cultural differences between the South and the North throughout this story - The Ice Palace"
Book VS Movie
Oh goodness. How I wanted this movie to follow the book closely. I had read several reviews of Fahrenheit 451 and almost didn't watch it because so much was cut. So much that I couldn't imagine how the story could even be told without several of what I considered to be main-sub characters eliminated. I did end up being disappointed in that regard. Too much was hacked so that I felt for the most part (aside from the general theme of censorship and book burning) it was not what I had read. A few key scenes from the book were included but again - it was anticlimactic. They even changed the main characters wife's name! Now, with that said I would actually recommend the movie for different reasons. The main character's wife sits in front of a TV all day and night. It was funny to see this 1966 version of a "wall tv" - it looked just like what we have in our living room now. And the tv in her bedroom - looked similar to an iPad. Funny how we've evolved.
Bonus Books

 Ahhh. The last of my Sarah Agnes Prine books. I was sad to say goodbye to her. What can I say? The saga continued. The Star Garden did not disappoint. If you haven't already added this series to your must read -  Nuff said.
From Amazon:
In this stunning sequel to the tale begun in These Is My Words and continued in the beloved Sarah's Quilt, pioneer woman Sarah Agnes Prine is nearing bankruptcy. After surviving drought and the rustling of her cattle in winter 1906, Sarah is shocked when her son brings home a bride who was slated to become a nun. Meanwhile, neighbor Udell Hanna is pressing for Sarah to marry him. Then a stagecoach accident puts Sarah in the path of three strangers, who will forever change her life...."

If you've been hanging around here long enough you know I have enjoyed a few Susanna Kearsley books. The Rose Garden goes down as yet another. I love the setting. I love the characters. I love how she weaves the past, present, and future together . Once again, I did not see the ending. That makes me happy. I think I have it figured out and then - bam - I have no clue. I just loved this book. Don't walk - run to your library, computer, where ever and get this book.
From Amazon:
"Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.

But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs.

From Susanna Kearsley, author of the New York Times bestseller The Winter Sea and a voice acclaimed by fans of Gabaldon, du Maurier, and Niffenegger alike, The Rose Garden is a haunting exploration of love, family, the true meaning of home, and the ties that bind us together."

 I am really starting to develop a complex regarding my link ups. I really think there is a conspiracy out there to get me. Now I cannot get Inlinkz to work. This is just making me fume. ok. deeeeeep breath. So much more to be worried about than a link. Just leave your link in the comments and I'll get you in the post. My apologies (again.).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

From The Shelf TBR

Good old Alice In Wonderland.  Ben sitting on my shelf since high school. I'll let you guess how long that has been ;-) I decided to read this aloud to my kids ... I had forgotten quite a bit of the story and how - um - strange it was. My children loved the Cheshire Cat and loathed the caterpillar for smoking. I also have Through the Looking Glass but I think I'm going to read it first myself before I pull it down for my kids.

On The Kindle TBR
I had downloaded a copy of Flappers & Philosophers after I had read The Paris Wife and A Movable Feast. You could say I became a bit obsessed with all the characters that Hemmingway hung out with. True to form - I got distracted and forgot all about it. F&P is a grouping of several of Fitzgerald's short stories. I read The Offshore Pirate and loved it. I was totally surprised how it turned out - and loved it. It is typical of Fitzgerald - beautiful, wealthy, and idol sums up the main characters. An excellent quick summer read.
From Amazon:
"First published in 1920, it tells the story of a young woman, named Ardita Farnam, who is on a trip to Florida with her uncle, when her boat is assailed by “pirates”…"
Book VS Movie
So we had to go old school for Alice In Wonderland. I didn't want the kids to see the Johnny Depp version. I had heard it was a bit creepy. We streamed the original 1933 movie on Netflix which is still in black and white (it had not been digitally altered). My boys totally dug it. Note to self - more old black and white movies. For the most part the movie followed the book but the beginning was totally different; so much so that we thought maybe we were watching the wrong movie. It tickled me to hear the boys get excited at certain scenes that they liked in the book and when they were talking to the tv that they (the movie) had it wrong). I say watch this movie just for the sheer fun of it. They did a pretty good job considering the technology they had.
Bonus Books

After reading These Is My Words I just had to head right over to the library to get Sarah's Quilt. All I have to say is if you haven't gotten TIMW yet and read it - you better hurry up and do it because Sarah's Quilt is just and dag on good. I thought I might get sick of firery Sarah Prine but just the opposite. I was wishing I could have known her ... I will get to spend a little more time with her because there is a third book - woo hoo!

From Amazon:

"In These Is My Words, Sarah Agnes Prine told the spellbinding story of an extraordinary pioneer woman and her struggle to make a home in the Arizona Territories. Now, in this mesmerizing sequel, a three-year drought has made Sarah desperate for water. And just when it seems that life couldn't get worse, she learns that her brother and his family are trapped in the Great San Francisco Earthquake. A heartwarming blend of stubbornness and compassion, Sarah Agnes Prine will once again capture the hearts of readers everywhere."

 I read The Lace Reader while at the beach which was a perfect setting. The book is set in Salem, Massachusetts with a lot of action involving water, boats and a secluded island. Not exactly a beach setting but I could feel the ocean breezes and smell the water in the air - just as in the book - a nice accidental touch. This is another you should add to the list - it's a page turner with a bang at the end that unless you are a 'lace reader' or psychic I doubt you would have figured it out. It had me thinking back trying to put all the pieces together long after I had finished the book. Definitely a great read.
From Amazon:
"Brunonia Barry dreamt she saw a prophecy in a piece of lace, a vision so potent she spun it into a novel. The Lace Reader retains the strange magic of a vivid dream, though Barry's portrayal of modern-day Salem, Massachusetts--with its fascinating cast of eccentrics--is reportedly spot-on. Some of its stranger residents include generations of Whitney women, with a gift for seeing the future in the lace they make. Towner Whitney, back to Salem from self-imposed exile on the West Coast, has plans for recuperation that evaporate with her great-aunt Eva's mysterious drowning. Fighting fear from a traumatic adolescence she can barely remember, Towner digs in for answers. But questions compound with the disappearance of a young woman under the thrall of a local fire-and-brimstone preacher, whose history of violence against Whitney women makes the situation personal for Towner. Her role in cop John Rafferty's investigation sparks a tentative romance. And as they scramble to avert disaster, the past that had slipped through the gaps in Towner's memory explodes into the present with a violence that capsizes her concept of truth. Readers will look back at the story in a new light, picking out the clues in this complex, lovely piece of work."

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