COFFEE CHAT: A MORNING OF BOOKS, TAXES, ETC.

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Good morning, Bloggers!  It’s time to have another cup of coffee…and chat.

Today’s chat will be about my Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts, and I’m linking to Bookishly Boisterous, where others meet to share their thoughts.

I love my Happy mug (above).  There is a story to it, of course.  When I moved into this condo after living for several years in a bigger place in the foothills, I got rid of a lot of my old stuff.  I was going for the minimalist look.

But that’s not me…so slowly, but cautiously, I started adding a few things to fill in my new spaces.  I found this Baker’s Rack in a shop that was going out of business….I had always wanted one, so I thought:  why not?

 

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On display near the rack I had just purchased were assorted dishware, including these “happy” mugs, bowls, and saucers.  Of course I had to have them, and let me tell you how much joy they bring to my ordinary meals!  I love using colorful dinnerware, even when I am eating alone.  Maybe especially when I am enjoying a solitary meal.

 

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They mostly show up at breakfast, on my tray.

 

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Which brings us to my office, where I now am blogging away, chatting over another cup of coffee.

Today’s read is A Vanishing Year, by Kate Moretti, and I am loving it!  I’ve had my share of thrillers in the last few months, but this one is a bit different.  A “dark, twisty, edge-of-your-seat suspense” (Karen Robards), The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.

 

 

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Basically, it’s a story of a woman who fled her life in California, landing in New York with a new identity.  But can she put the past behind her?  Will the secrets she is keeping ruin the life she is building?  And will her wonderful new husband turn out to have a very dark side?

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I will finish it this morning, I hope.  But I do have an appointment with the accountant this afternoon, to deal with taxes.  My least favorite thing.  I always feel anxious, with knots in my stomach…ever since the year when I owed an additional $2,000.  I’ve taken steps to make sure that doesn’t happen again…but I am never secure about it until after the appointment.

 

 

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Next I hope to read The Best Awful….before starting a series of review books.  It is Carrie Fisher’s sequel to Postcards from the Edge.

 

 

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I think that was my last cup of coffee, so I’m off to read some more.  I also need to ponder cleaning up this place…but that can wait until tomorrow.  Right?

What are your random thoughts today?

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LET’S CHAT OVER COFFEE: FAMILY MOMENTS….

books-fairytales-may-16-shapedGood morning!  Grab some coffee, and let’s chat.  Welcome to my Interior World…and the occasional excursions into the Exterior World. 

Last summer, my granddaughter Fiona and I traveled to the Northernmost section of the state to beautiful surroundings.  I took lots of photos…but I can never have enough.

 

 

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Fiona’s dad, my youngest son, sent some more photos the other day, showing what it looks like in the winter season.  The water, below, looks ferocious, and the sea (above) looks sultry .

 

 

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I like this glimpse of the forest and the water…

 

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Meanwhile, back here in the city, Fiona posted this photo of one of her new looks.  I like her colorful array of garments, and the head scarf is covering her slowly growing hair.  On impulse, she shaved it a few months ago.  LOL.

 

 

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In this shot, she is looking rather sullen.  Or thoughtful.

 

 

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Auggie, a companion for my son and DIL…is an ever-present “person.”

 

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Last week, I did a “switcheroo” of some tables (see Weekend Potpourri:  A Switcheroo...)  The table, below, now taking up residence in my office, once sat behind the loveseat in my bedroom.

 

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In the bedroom, I replaced the cart with this small wicker shelf, which works better, I think.

 

 

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Then I rearranged a few of the objects on that wicker shelf…I’m never quite satisfied.  Small changes, with the Irish Coffee mug on the edge, with the leprechaun posed against it:

 

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As I said, never satisfied.  In the office, I moved the cart a little bit, and put some decorative boxes on the opposite side, so they are visible.

 

 

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I think that’s it for today….but maybe not.  Always changing, that’s me…and some of my changes include the header at Serendipity....

 

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And over at Rainy Days and Mondays:

 

 

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What did your week look like?  I am sharing this on West Metro Mommy Reads for Saturday Snapshots.

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COFFEE & FAMILY MOMENTS: SAVORING THEM…

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Good morning, bloggers!  Do you have some coffee nearby?  Let’s lift those mugs and celebrate reading, coffee, mimosas…and special family memories.

Today I found some photos from the past…they are a bit blurry, but that’s okay.  Like the velveteen rabbit, they have been LOVED a lot.

First…

My second son, Brett, cuddling with his three kidlets, whom we called the A-Tots, back in the day.  L to R:  Aaron, Alec, and Aubrey.  Alec will be 22 in June; Aubrey will be 20 this month; and Aaron will reach 19 in June.

 

 

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In this photo, they are a little bit older:

 

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A photo of my eldest, Craig, and his lovely wife Gabi, when they were still living in Berlin.  This shot was snapped in 2010…so they weren’t yet married.  The wedding took place in 2013, and now they live in Prague.

 

 

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I found a more recent photo of Gabi:

 

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My youngest son and his wife (left and center) live in beautiful Crescent City, CA…and here they are, with a friend:

 

 

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Check out their beautiful surroundings:

 

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Back in the Central Valley, my granddaughter Fiona and her mom played with some face goop:

 

 

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In our nearby mountains, my youngest grandson is enjoying Nature…

 

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In a world that seems to have gone mad in recent days, I cling to the family moments…and hope that our lives (and our dreams) will survive.

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And I take pleasure in my books.  My current read:

The Bad Things (e-book), by Mary-Jane Riley, a darkly compelling psychological thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of THE WICKED GIRLS by Alex Marwood and THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT by Kate Hamer.

 

 

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I’m enjoying it so much, that last night I downloaded Book 2:  After She Fell.

 

 

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As you sip your coffee, reflect on your moments…and let’s share!

I’ll be linking to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

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REVIEW: FAULTLINES, BY BARBARA TAYLOR SISSEL

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It’s the phone call every parent dreads: in the middle of the night, Sandy Cline learns that her twenty-year-old son, Jordan, has been in a car accident. Her nephew, Travis, was also in the car, along with Travis’s girlfriend. All three are alive—but barely. The car was smashed against a tree along a remote and winding road, beautiful but deadly, in their rural Texas Hill Country town.

In the wake of the car crash, the close-knit family is tested like never before. Jenna, Travis’s mother, blames Jordan—as well as her sister, Sandy—after reports surface that Jordan had been driving. As the young adults struggle to survive, tension between their parents escalates. But when trust is broken and a shocking family secret is exposed, it creates a perfect storm of harrowing consequences. Rumors in the small town spread like wildfire. When details of the accident are questioned, Sandy and Jenna wonder if their family has been destroyed beyond repair.

 

My Thoughts: From the first moments, I immersed myself in the story of a family suffering one of the worst events that can happen to parents: a child in danger, possibly because of something reckless one of them did. Set in the Texas hill country, in a small town named Wyatt, we are offered a glimpse of the people, the setting, and how families cope in tragic moments.

Sandy, mother to Jordan, is blindsided when her sister Jenna, Travis’s mother, reveals a long-hidden secret in front of the family. And in a hurtful way.

It was easy to see that she acted out of pain, but the consequences would be long-standing, and the bitterness would last for the foreseeable future.

Emmett, Sandy’s husband, reacts to the revelation by leaving Sandy in the lurch…and ultimately, creating another chasm in the family.

Jordan makes another discovery that will lead him to an older woman named Libby Hennessey, whose husband Beck is somehow connected to him.

Meanwhile, so many events seem to collide and come together, in an almost domino effect, that had me, as a reader, wondering how everything would unfold. Why is the small town detective, Officer Huckabee, seemingly targeting Jordan? Why is he obsessed with Jenna, Travis’s mother? Who is cutting up and killing animals and displaying them on Libby’s property?

As the secrets, lies, and mistaken choices slowly come together, Faultlines reveals more of the darkness that lies within a small town and in a family, but also provides a glimpse of moments of healing. A five star read.

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A COFFEE CHAT: REMEMBERING AN ICON….

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As I sip my coffee this morning, I remember how much the iconic Mary Tyler Moore meant to us, those of us coming up in the 60s and 70s.  The Mary Tyler Moore show was a must-watch, and I even purchased DVDs of some of the seasons after the show ended.

 

 

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She showed us the challenges in the workplace, how to navigate dating life with humor, and how to enjoy the friendships of other women.

Last night, in two memorial shows, we were reminded of her body of work, and how her presence on the two most famous TV shows—The Dick VanDyke show and The Mary Tyler Moore show—was only a piece of who she was.

I’ve seen her in a few movies, the most notable being her portrayal of the cold mother in Ordinary People.  Remember that one?

 

 

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I am pretty sure I have this one in my collection, but if not, I am also sure that I can find it, perhaps on Amazon Prime.

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Was Mary Tyler Moore someone who informed your life growing up?  Did you watch either of her shows?

She will be missed.

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GRAB SOME COFFEE & LET’S CHAT….

books-fairytales-may-16-shapedFor some reason, the coffee tastes especially good this morning.  And then I thought:  it’s time for Coffee Morning!

Last night was a late one, so that probably also explains the extra need for the caffeine boost today.  The Girl on the Train movie is now on Amazon Prime...and I watched it again.

This Is Us was on, too, and I was compelled to view it afterwards from the DVR…so, late night.

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I’m reading Always, by Sarah Jio, a nice palate cleanser in between thrillers.  Set in Seattle, we get to follow the character along in a dual time line that switches between the 1990s and the present.  My copy is from NetGalley, to be released on 2/7/17.

 

 

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Enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crain can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a journalist and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As she and Ryan leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister…

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Today I’m supposed to have another spa day…just a massage.  I’m enjoying those, as my muscles seem to tighten so regularly that the pain is an ever-present companion.  Could my hours on the computer…and/or reading explain some of this?  I should be using the exercise bike, below, instead of letting Minnie take over…She does look cute there, however.

 

 

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A while ago, I was thinking about moving…remember that?  After considerable thought, I have decided to happily stay put for now, as the thought of packing, getting rid of a lot of stuff (since the places I looked at were smaller), and/or changing up the routines that are so comfortable to me….knocked that idea right out of my head.

Plus…my neighborhood favorite places right around the corner are part of my comfort zone.  The theater, the restaurants, the bookstore….okay, now I’m definitely sold on staying.

Last night, I visited one of those familiar restaurants and used one of the gift cards I got from my grandchildren at Christmas.  Yard House, close to the theater….is not one of my usual places, but I enjoyed this dinner of fish and chips, with malt vinegar.

 

 

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I ended up sending that blended drink back…for one on the rocks.  Which is what I’d asked for, but I took the photo before realizing they had brought the wrong one…LOL.

My usual places are so familiar that they already know what I want when I walk in.  Does that mean I’m predictable?

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So…what now?  Another TV show I’m loving is back from hiatus:  Too Close to Home, with one of my favorite actresses from two soaps…she was killed off on both of them!  Rude, right?  But I think the second “death” was to accommodate her new show.  Kelly Sullivan plays a character living in a tiny town in Alabama.  Her sister has been working for the President…and having an affair with him.  Until she is discovered and evicted from her job and her apartment by the President’s wife.  She slinks off to Happy, Alabama, an inappropriate name for a place filled with meth heads, trailer parks, and angry characters.

 

 

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Can I say I am addicted?

Another new show on the horizon, available only on CBS All Access (which I had to sign up for, of course!):  The Good Fight carries forward some of the characters from the now defunct The Good Wife.  The show premiere is February 19.

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Am I done?  Yes, my coffee is gone and I need to get back to reading…so, next time!

What are your comfort zones?  What books/shows fill your days and nights?

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A JOURNEY: UTILIZING MY ONE WORD IN MY DAILY LIFE…

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Finding strength in my One Word, HOPE, is a journey.  Just like everything about this blog.  A journey through my interior life as I explore my feelings, my attitudes…and take actions.

Am I looking at life through the lens of hope as I explore?

I am finding that little things, seemingly, look different to me when I apply a hopeful attitude as I approach them.  Something minor, like deciding what books to read through new processes, like my TBR Jar (something I am trying this year).  My TBR Jar, created with a quirky little container, now holds all the “dusty TBR books” from 2014 and 2015, and the first half of 2016.

 

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My Read the Books You Buy Challenge – 2017 takes me on my hopeful journey through newer books, spotlighting those I acquired from July 2016-December 31, 2017.

So far, I’ve added 4 of those newer books in that category to my “read” list.

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There are many things in life we have no control over…like the things that other people do.  Our reactions, attitudes, etc., over which we do have control….can shine a ray of hope into our lives as we let go of the anxiety, fear, and resentment we might feel towards the “things we cannot change.”

Yes, a little bit of that old “serenity prayer” can help us in such situations.

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However, I am practical, and I like to focus on what I can change…and my reading and blogging are a good example of what I can change.  How I decide what to read, what to blog about, and even something as miniscule as my blog headers, layout, and background.

Which brings us to Bloggiesta.  This weekend, we are having a little mini-event, and I’ve already started working on my Serendipity blog, my focus for this blog party.

In my pictures folders, I have several sample headers and blog buttons ready to go.  Which to choose?  I am feeling hopeful that I will find one that makes me want to go to the blog and post reviews, events, etc.  One that might appeal to visitors as well.

Like I said…HOPE.

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What is your One Word, and how are you using it in your daily life?  Do you find it helpful?

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