THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY….

Good morning!  I’m grabbing a cup of coffee, and getting ready to hunker down to write this post, linked over at Bookishly Boisterous. I got up very early (4:30 a.m.), since I’m not sleeping well…explanation is Item No. 2.

  • I am loving the newest version of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.  I watched Episode 7 last night, and while I’m enjoying seeing more of the life they once had, it is even more depressing when I think of what has happened to the women in the tyrannical state in which they now live.
  • All week long, I have been fighting an allergic skin reaction to hair dye.  It took me to Urgent Care on Sunday, where I was prescribed steroid pills for 5 days.  Today is the last dose, and while the skin is mostly clearing up, I still get bouts of itching, usually when I’m trying to sleep!  Some days are better than others.  I felt so good on Tuesday that I actually left the house to check the mail, buy groceries, and head off to buy a new little flat screen TV for my office.  It will be delivered (and installed) on Saturday.  The current TV is a ten-year-old boxy one that often loses the signal, since the equipment doesn’t really work that well on it.

 

  • Books read and reviewed this week so far have been quite different from one another, and I realize that I like that kind of selection.  First there was Nancy Thayer’s Secrets in Summer, set on Nantucket.   Then came Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins, which I mostly enjoyed, but there were multiple narrators that came at the reader so fast in the beginning that it was hard to keep track of them.  Finally, they were fleshed out more in the rest of the book.  Yesterday I read #GIRLBOSS, a book that led to the Netflix show…which I had watched before reading the book…and loved.  (Click titles for my reviews).
  • On June 8, my daughter and son-in-law are flying off to Prague, Amsterdam, etc., for a 10-day honeymoon.  They, of course, will also visit with my eldest son who lives in Prague.  I’m very envious!

 

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  • Today will be an at-home curl up and read day; I’m enjoying The Wildling Sisters, by Eve Chase.  The book has a dual time-line:  one from 1959, and the other is fifty years later.  Something mysterious happened on an old English Country estate.

 

  • Here is another view of my up-next print books, a backdrop to the large glass of iced tea I enjoyed the other day, while contemplating the stack.

 

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That’s my week so far…what did yours look like?

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MEET THE DOMESTIC DIVA: AN EXCERPT FROM “INTERIOR DESIGNS”

It has been a while since I’ve shared an excerpt from Interior Designs, my sixth novel.  I love the MC, Martha Scott Cummings, who was an annoying character in Embrace the Whirlwind, but she is now redesigning her life.

 

An Excerpt from Chapter OneInterior Designs:

 

When I woke up, my thoughts sifted through my mind slowly, like pieces of a dream.  I could feel the sun through the spaces in the blinds, and I gradually saw my surroundings—my pink and white floral Laura Ashley spread, the matching shams, and other assorted pillows—and that normally blissful feeling started to descend.  And then something jarred me fully awake.  I sat up slowly, and the heavy cloak of despair fell down around my shoulders.  My now-familiar life began to take shape.

 
When had my world morphed into this despair that seemed to follow me into every waking moment?

 

Why did my sleep bring my only peace these days?

 
Just as the self-pity threatened to turn my day gray, I jumped out of bed and headed for the shower.  No time for dark thoughts.  I still had a daughter to care for and a business to run.  Nothing could turn my world completely upside down—just because I’d been abandoned by the man I’d thought would be mine forever….

 
Stop those thoughts, I told myself, and tried to find something positive in the beautiful surroundings.  Usually I found serenity in the carefully constructed world I had designed for myself, just as I did for my clients every day of my life; today would be no different.  My gaze swept the room, noting with satisfaction that everything seemed orderly.  I was one of those housewives—oops, wrong term these days!—who joyfully cleaned and restored order, if only to bring back the original design I had envisioned.

 
When things are askew, nothing looks beautiful….Were those my mother’s words?

 
I laughed, hoping the sound would remind me that my life wasn’t over.

 
In the shower, I allowed myself to enjoy the hot pulsating massage of the water, feeling the steam gradually taking away the cloak of despair, while my mind slowly filled up with thoughts of the beauty I could create in the world around me.

 
Someone had told me once, a long time ago, that pleasing visual images could do wonders for the mood.

 
I had barely finished my shower, wrapping myself in the luxurious toweling robe, when ten-year-old Meadow’s voice outside my room brought me back to reality.  “Mommy, where’s my blue sweater?  You knew I wanted to wear it today!”

 
Was that an accusatory tone in her sweet voice?  When had she turned so shrill?

 
“It’s in your armoire,” I called out in what I hoped was a cheerful tone.  “Just a minute and I’ll help you look.”

 
A few moments later, we had uncovered the missing sweater, settled Meadow’s backpack and other school supplies on her shoulder, and descended the stairs together.

 
Normally I was in the kitchen ahead of her, but lately, my days seemed to force their own mold around me.

 
My coffee had trickled its last drops into the pot and the aroma guided me toward the room.  Turning on lights, I looked around, as if to mentally review my surroundings, and thus my life.  I loved this room, which had been the center of my world for many years.  Okay, so it had lost some of its luster, but I could change that.  Wasn’t I the Domestic Diva?  I chuckled to myself, my mood almost restored by my rediscovered sense of humor, and briskly put together Meadow’s breakfast.

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HOPE: MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER….

This morning, as I visited blogs and responded to those who visited my Bookish Friday, I noticed my One Word logo in the sidebar at Serendipity….and realized it has been a while.

Has HOPE carried me along on my journey this year?  Am I finding new optimism in my daily life?

Well, some of the time, but then there are times that I flounder and even throw up my hands in dismay.  Like when my skylight cover repeatedly fell during the big winds of this year; or when the wind destroyed my patio umbrella, requiring a new one…and then I had to find someone to set up the new one.

Yes, these are ordinary setbacks.  But in the past month, I have been fighting a skin irritation (allergic reaction to hair dye?), and right now I’m going through it again.  My daughter does my hair and didn’t test the dye this last time, since it’s the same brand she has always used.  But now she is doing some research…and I’m using the hydrocortisone recommended by the doctor…and my skin is on fire, still, but slowly cooling down.

I may have to let my hair go to its natural color, whatever that might be (gray?) until we find a solution.

Meanwhile, I am still reading and somehow, it does distract me enough…but I have to keep cold compresses close by, too, and wash and change the lotion every few hours.

This happened last month, too, and it took a full week to clear up.  I am HOPING that it will clear up sooner this time, but then, that’s just optimism.

My current read is He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly, a NetGalley review book that has kept me twisted up as the story weaves the past and the present together, giving us bits of information as we move along.

 

Blurb: In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

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Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the author threw some more twists our way.

How scary is it to try to escape the world of “digital footprints”?  I tried to imagine living off the grid, and realized, along with these characters, that it is nearly impossible.

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I have two more NetGalley review books to be released soon:

Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe, and The Breakdown, by B. A. Paris. (6/20/17)

 

Then Every Last Lie, by Mary Kubica, is on my shelf and will be released on 6/27/17.

 

 

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I am hoping to love each of these…and then it’s on to July, where I have three more books from NetGalley.  A busy summer ahead!

Now…if I can only stay free of skin allergies/infections…and broken things in the house…sigh.

Check out my new patio umbrella through the window.

 

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What is your One Word?  Are you keeping it in your sights on this journey through 2017?

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COFFEE MORNING: FAMILY BONDING….& MEMORIES

Good morning, and let’s grab a cup of coffee and chat.  Above, I’ve set my cup down on my Baker’s Rack so I can check out my figurines, like the Wizard of Oz collection that remind me of the journey.  Below, another view of my Wizard of Oz characters that have become a logo for my creations.

 

Coca Cola bears join an assortment of books, mugs, and other bears, like the ones on the bottom shelf.

But…before I get off track, today I’m going back in time, to the place where I grew up.  A place now belonging to my younger brother, who recently enjoyed a visit with his grandchildren there.

Left to Right:  Luc, Gavin, and America, his grandchildren, in the almond orchard:

 

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A close-up of the almond orchard…I recall many walks among these trees….

 

https://laurelrainsnow.wordpress.com/***

My brother, Eldon, his wife, Marie, and three grandchildren:  Gavin, America, & Luc…By the big tree that has been there since I was a kid, and before….

 

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Luc is enjoying a ride…in the background, notice the old barn that was there when I was a kid.  It looks like it hasn’t been painted since then, either, but I know it has been.  It used to be red.

 

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Gavin is taking his turn…

 

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Inside the barn, you’ll find my brother’s shop where he creates Signs by Eldon…and his crew of fans:  Luc, Gavin, America, and wife Marie.

 

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Gavin, playing the piano that was also in this home when I lived here, sometime in the mid-20th Century!

 

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A bonding moment between Marie and America, her youngest grandchild…(and only) granddaughter…

 

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Three generations of females:  Marie, Amy, and America….

 

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I think it might be time for a visit IRL….so I’m planning for a getaway to the Northern Central Valley soon.

What do you love about your family moments?  Do they tell a story?  Remind you of the past?

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COFFEE MORNING WITH PHOTOS & THOUGHTS….

Welcome to a Coffee Morning with a view of the patio…and a new umbrella to replace the tattered one, destroyed by our windy April.

Mornings are the only cool time of the day, now, and can you believe that I was longing for the warmth just a month ago?  LOL.

The book on the table is one I’m going to start reading soon:  Secrets in Summer, by Nancy Thayer (from Amazon Vine).

 

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  • Last night I stayed up late to finish Not a Sound, by Heather Gudenkauf, a wonderfully riveting thriller from NetGalley.  (Click title for my review).

 

 

  • Today I am getting another manicure…gel, of course.  My nails never survived three weeks without chipping when I used regular polish!
  • Afterwards, I have errands…and maybe I’ll treat myself to a drink and some soup or a salad.
  • Pippa, my Kindle, always accompanies me, so we can enjoy reading along with the libations.
  • I found this photo on my daughter’s FB page…an interesting take on game night.  L to R:  Noah, Heather, David, and their friend Joe….

 

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That was my week, in photos, books, and thoughts.  Linking to Christine, at Bookishly Boisterous.

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COFFEE, ETC. – A BOOKISH & NOT SO BOOKISH WEEK….

  • Yesterday I met up with a friend at Barnes & Noble’s for one of our nice long chats…and because I had to wait a while for her to arrive, I started with a grande coffee and this scone (above).  The scone was a bit hard, but the coffee…yum!
  • Afterwards, we browsed for books…I didn’t find anything, but I was tempted by a few.  One of my things lately…don’t buy something just because I like it!
  • My granddaughter Fiona made a comment on the above photo…on my Facebook page.  Here is her profile photo today ( I asked her if she is feeling “blue.” LOL):

 

  • My youngest son and his wife recently moved into another cottage in Crescent City..now they are only a block from the beach.  I am so ready to go visit!  Here is a view of one of their rooms…you can’t see the beach from inside this one, of course.  The dining room section is on the far left.

 

Another view…you can see a glimpse of the kitchen on the right.

 

  • The previous house was a bit larger, but the proximity to the beach was the selling point.
  • My patio umbrella is now in tatters.  There was a sizable tear after the recent winds, and now the umbrella is barely there.  I ordered a new one from Amazon, which was supposed to arrive today…my e-mail this morning shows a delay of two days.  I guess I could have gone to Pier I and picked one up…but I wasn’t feeling into shopping in the stores.
  • Meanwhile, I have to attack the remaining weeds along the borders.
  • Maintenance came and secured my skylight cover a bit more…with an adhesive.  It had fallen three times this year!
  • Books:  Yesterday, I wrote about what I’ve been reading since last week in my Hump Day Potpourri:  A Week of Reading.
  • Then I wrote about:

WHAT’S NEXT?  I JUST DOWNLOADED A BOOK THAT I’VE BEEN EAGERLY AWAITING…

Into the Water (e-book), by Paula Hawkins

 

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Synopsis:  A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
 
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
 
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
 
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

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So…it has been both a bookish and not so bookish week.  What was yours like?

Linking up with Christine, at Bookishly Boisterous.

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HOW MY BLOGGING JOURNEY BEGAN….

On April 21, 2008, I created my very first blog.  It was on Blogger, and I called it Laurel-Rain Snow’s Creations.  I later changed its title to Story Corner.

When I started moving over to Word Press, creating blogs here, I still hung onto that first blog.  But eventually, I deleted it, having moved some of the content over to this blog and others.  This blog was my first on Word Press, launched on June 22, 2009.  Several name changes followed over the years (Explorations, Reflections, & Meditations), as I merged a few of my Blogger sites (after I had gone a little crazy creating so many).

Check out the story of my blogging journey here.

Rainy Days & Mondays was my last blog to come to Word Press, and while I didn’t move all the content when I recreated it here on December 3, 2014, I did bring over most of my reviews.

Because I have had so many blogs (now I have six), and because they have gone through so many incarnations, I seldom celebrate the blogoversaries.

But occasionally I do like to mention how my journey began.

Here are the blogoversaries of my current sites:

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An Interior Journey –  June 22, 2009

Potpourri – July 11, 2009

Curl up and Read – October 22, 2009

Snow Sparks – May 10, 2010

Serendipity – August 4, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays  – August 16, 2009 on Blogger

                                              December 3, 2014 on Word Press

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What do you remember (and celebrate) about your blogging journey? 

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