WEEKLY UPDATES: A WEEK OF ENJOYING EACH DAY…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

I am ahead of the game this weekend!  Here I am at 5:48 a.m., ready to talk about my week…and I have read and reviewed three books!  I enjoyed them, too.  I went crazy on the blogs, writing seven posts.  I also viewed The Stranger and Reckoning on Netflix.

In the rest of the week, I have savored the packages arriving regularly from Amazon, mostly household and personal care items, but fun, nevertheless.  And groceries came yesterday via my Instacart app.  I am ready to settle into my cozy space, although today is the day to eat in the dining room.  In some ways, I don’t like having to go there, but then I gather my things from my closet and feel excited about dressing up for an outing.  Not a regular thing around here.

So…first of all, let’s all grab some coffee and take a closer look.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Friends and Strangers”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Finding Joy…

My WWW Post…

Another Peek into the Backlog…

Bookish Friday:  “Home Before Dark”

Coffee Chat:  A Day at a Time…

Friday Sparks:  Favorite Things…

Review:  The Half Sister, by Sandie JonesReview:  What You Wish For, by Katherine Center – NG-7/14/20Review:  The Swap, by Robyn Harding

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INCOMING BOOKS:

Two books came in my physical mailbox…and I downloaded three e-books.

I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron (a replacement copy for reread)

I Was Told It Would Get Easier, by Abbi Waxman

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Downloads:

28 Summers, by Elin Hilderbrand

Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager

Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder

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CURRENTLY READING:

Stranger in the Lake, by Kimberly Belle

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I wish I had some good food to share…but I did get a new top from Amazon this week, and I’m wearing it today.  That’s not me modeling the top, though.  LOL.

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FINDING BALANCE…THROUGH THE FOREST…

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In order to achieve balance, we must bring together our various pursuits in a measured way.  Our reading, writing, blogging…all are part of who we are, and each must find its expression.

Today I searched one of my pages here which I have entitled “The Forest,” and some of my thoughts about our journey through the forest brought me to this excerpt, below, which includes a portion of my book Embrace the Whirlwind:

Where the Journey Sometimes Takes Us (Written 9/22/15)

 

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Sometimes the writer’s life seems to take us far afield of our creations.

Or maybe we’re distracted by other kinds of creativity, like the interiors of our homes or the blogging world.  Is that part of our journey as writers?  Creating a kind of nest in our exterior world, or finding connections that help us become part of something bigger than ourselves?

A writer’s journey can be a solitary one, and the immediacy of blogging can be very appealing.  After we come out of our cocoons and connect with others, we can return to our interior life with greater enthusiasm.

I’m hoping that will happen, anyway.

All of this seemed to spring from that dark place where I’d found myself with last week’s reading.  To begin this week in a different place, I started with a thriller, and now I’m following the journey of kids who have aged out of the foster care system.  A chronicle of what that journey looks like.

A reminder of my time back in the trenches as a social worker.

I have incorporated some of those memories and experiences into my writing; especially in the five  SIX books now available at my website.

Currently, I’m tweaking a WIP called Interior Designs, a spin-off of my second book, Embrace the Whirlwind.  As I consider the characters I have brought to life in ID, I am reminded of the original book and its themes. (This sixth book is now published and available in paperback and Kindle).

In this excerpt of ET, Denise Richardson ponders her life after her social work career:  a life that includes providing a home for the stray young people she finds around her.  Reminders of some of her own experiences.

Denise Richardson gazed around at the messy sitting room.  Articles of clothing were draped across every available surface while dirty plates, bowls and glasses rimmed the coffee table and side tables, vividly announcing the recent flurry of activity.  And while untidy rooms were not something new and unusual, today’s detritus suggested even more happy chaos than usual.   

In the midst of these poignant reminders of a life brimming with activity, Denise reluctantly gave in to the feeling of well being that threatened to overcome her.  And following the acknowledgement of the positive feelings came the recognition that she was afraid of feeling this good!  All of her life she had gradually come to an uneasy peace with the familiar feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear.  Even guilt.  But contentment…Now that was a feeling so rare in her life that she felt suspicious when it hovered nearby.  Feelings like contentment and well being could so easily escape without warning; their presence among the familiar negative emotions only enhanced the ever-present anxiety.  

Denise laughed out loud.  Afraid to be happy, so she sabotaged herself with the familiar fears and worries.  There was no shortage of triggers for those emotions.  All she had to do was look inside to find something to elicit all the doubts and anxieties.

Wasn’t it about time to finally set aside all that old baggage?  Maybe she should make an appointment with Leslie Noble, too!  The woman came every week to see Savannah and lately, she’d been scheduling appointments with Amber.

She glanced toward the ceiling where Amber and Ariel were sleeping in their old beds.  They’d been coming every weekend for about six weeks and sometimes Amber and Ariel even spent the weekend at Hilary’s.   

They had talked last night.  Amber was struggling with the decisions she had to make.  Trying to think things through and consider the consequences…That was hard work for her.  But she was learning that her impulsive choices created trouble and disaster; she had made a decision to try and change her tendency to act first and wallow in misery afterwards.

Denise was familiar with impulsiveness disguised and renamed spontaneity.  Living with the wreckage of her own whirlwind adventures had ultimately led to some positive growth, but the price had been high.  But then maybe nothing worthwhile came without a price of one kind or another.  She guessed that the trick was to minimize the costs while absorbing the precious gems at the core of each life lesson.

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OUTSIDE MY INTERIOR WORLD: BRANCHES OF THE FAMILY TREE

Madeleine on June 15 - coffee

As I share my cup of coffee, I gather together some of my extended family photos.  Those that reveal the various branches of my family tree.  I’m linking today at West Metro Mommy Reads.

First, here is my younger brother with his three grandchildren, L to R:  Gavin, my brother, America, and Luc.

 

 

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Here’s America with her 8th birthday cake, which she celebrated on September 11, 2016:

 

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My niece Amy, with America:

 

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Luc is getting the barbecue ready:

 

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Luc and his dog in the woodsy surroundings:

 

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Beautiful Pine Crest Lake:

 

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Now let’s look at another branch, with my niece Emily, (my sister’s daughter), her husband Bryan, and baby Margaret, who had her first birthday recently:

 

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Here’s Margaret, in the foreground: earlier in the summer, at Half Moon Bay.  I recall taking my kids there:

 

 

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Meanwhile, I spent a recent summer Saturday with this lunch, before seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby: I had a Blushing Geisha, with Crab & Avocado delights:

 

 

pre-movie-appetizers

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Enjoy your weekend!

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COFFEE MORNINGS: MY INTERIOR WORLD

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Here I sit, blogging and visiting blogs, my coffee cup next to me on the shelf (above); I do love my coffee mornings.

Yes, I am enjoying the start to my weekend morning…but I am also procrastinating.  I need to clean the patio so I can actually sit out there occasionally.  I also need to do a little housework, which I’ve been putting off all week.

But what fun is that?  In my post-retirement/freelance life, I’m supposed to be able to choose my activities.  And they should be enjoyable ones.  Ha!

Okay, let’s stop being self-indulgent here, but I do want to finish my blog visiting, which includes chatting about all the wonderful books others brought back from BEA.

Can we say ENVY?  Yes, we can.  But it’s okay.  Many of these books will be available in the next few months…and in the meantime, I do have a few that I’ve noticed on stacks.  Books I got from NetGalley.  I call the theme for my upcoming books:  The Girls in June.

First, we have The Girls in the Garden, which will be released on June 7.  So I’ll be picking it up to read very soon. (It is alternately called The Girls, or The Girls in the Garden)

 

 

 

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And, to keep to the “girls” theme, here comes The Girls, by Emma Cline. (June 14 release date)

 

 

 

the girls by emma cline

 

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Finally, All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda (Release date – June 28)

 

 

 

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Now let’s look at my Netflix Addiction.  Yes, lovely new seasons are coming, from Bloodline next week, to Orange is the New Black in June.

In the meanwhile, I am luxuriating in The Killing.  A wonderful murder mystery laced with political scheming and nefarious deeds in a neighboring casino, it is set in Seattle.  I love Seattle!  I’m almost finished with Season II (of four), and we still don’t know who killed Rosie Larson…but there are plenty of suspects.

 

 

the killing image

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But before I settle in to continue watching, I really must clean that patio, at the very least.  Right?  It isn’t THAT bad…just requires a broom, a dustpan, and a giant trash bag.  No problem!

 

 

patio on may 21

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But after a cleaning, it can look like this again:

 

 

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As I look at the patio photo above, I realize that this one was taken before they replaced the patio fence, which looks sooo much better nowadays, and behind the detritus of leaves, etc., you can glimpse it in the messy patio scene above.

Something to look forward to…a new clean patio with the prettier fence.

What is your interior world showing you today?  Fun, errands, chores?

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WEEKEND MOMENTS: NETFLIX BINGEING, MOTHER’S DAY, & LOVE….

May 7 breakfast in bed with Netflix

Some of you may have seen my preparations for my Day in the Life:  In the Bedroom. (Interior World Shake-Ups…When Will I Stop?)

My day began early.  Everything was ready, so I first brought in the laptop (Louisa May), and set her up.  I hooked up the TV and laptop, changed the input on the TV, and voila!  It’s all set.

Next came the breakfast tray.  You can’t really enjoy Breakfast in Bed with Netlix & Amazon Videos…without it.

First I finished watching Happy Valley, another binge-worthy show.

 

 

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Next:  Watched the rest of The Newsroom on Amazon Video:

 

 

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Finally…Grace & Frankie.  I watched all of Season II!

 

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During this long process, which didn’t seem long at all, I enjoyed food, coffee, and then a mimosa….

 

may 7 bedroom - mimosa, etc.

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I took a little break between shows to go online and visit some blogs.  Laptop came over to the bed….

 

laptop on bed - may 7

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So….after lolling about in bed all day, one would think I would feel rested…but I was kind of tired.  I read a little from the book I’ve been savoring all weekend:  What We Find, by Robyn Carr.

 

 

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Guess what’s coming tomorrow?  Clouds in My Coffee, the third book in the Country Club Murders trilogy (series?).  I can’t wait to download it!

 

 

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So…my weekend continued, with Mother’s Day brunch up in the mountains, by the lake.  Here are my lovely daughter and grandson, with the boats as a backdrop:

 

Heather & Noah - Mother's Day Brunch - Bass Lake

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One of the gifts she gave me was this hand-carved art piece, created by one of her friends:

 

 

Love Sign Close-up

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Here is how it looks on my Love Wall in the office.  It is surrounded by baby pictures of my kids…and one of me back in the day:

 

 

Love Wall - 2

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Finally…some lovely lilies:

 

Mother's Day Lilies

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These were my Weekend Interior Moments.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.  Do you enjoy setting up your interiors for such moments?

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INTERIOR THOUGHTS: A CAFFEINATED SUNDAY

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My little office nook, above, is where I hang out most mornings…and some evenings.  I love it!  But notice that couch in the foreground?  It is definitely comfy, and makes into a sofa bed.  But when my granddaughter comes to stay, as she did on Friday night, she doesn’t sleep here.

Here is why:

 

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The tiny TV that doesn’t even have High Def…lol.  Even though it plays DVDs, imagine them on that small screen.

In the living room, I have fairly comfy sleeping couches that don’t pull out into a bed…and this TV:

 

bookshelves-madeline-hatter-etc

It is Caffeine Sunday!  I visit the Sunday Post, hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer, and drink more coffee than usual.  I binge-watch shows on Netflix, and also read whatever is on my stack for the week.

Today I’m reading Where I Lost her, by T.  Greenwood….and I am eyeing one of my new reads…but I should stick to my plan for the week.  Right?

 

 

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Yesterday, I found this postcard from my son in Prague…he has a quirky sense of humor.  We had this ongoing game while they were visiting, about pug faces…they printed out pug faces and stuck them on my various dolls that have no faces.  I have a few of those, including a Shaker doll.

 

another pug face

I found this one after they left….I turned the doll around and just about lost it…lol. (At the top of this post, note how the doll is usually posed with her face turned away).

 

pug face punk

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On Netflix, I am caught up in a series called Lie to Me, starring Tim Roth and Kelli Williams, among others.

I think I’ll make some French toast and settle in with this one.  I just brewed a second pot of coffee.

What do you like to do on Sundays?

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WEEKEND INTERIORS & THOUGHTS

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Good morning, readers!  I have been writing about my interior world changes for a while, now, and I’m sure you have gathered that it is all a “work in progress.”

Today brought a few more changes.  In the photo (above), you can see a couple of shelves that are minus a few books.

Here is where they ended up…one of the shelves I emptied a few weeks ago is in the garage, and I put it to use as a stop-over place for the donations.  Later I will take them to the library…once I have more books.

 

 

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The bins I have been filling with some of my collectibles are starting to stack up nicely on my garage shelves.

 

 

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More….

 

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Since today is Sunday, I am getting ready to settle in and binge on Netflix.  I am on Season III of Breaking Bad.  Last weekend, I finished all 13 episodes of Grace and Frankie, which I loved and wrote about in Weekend Potpourri: More Tidbits About My Obsessions.

I also started reading The Lake Season, by Hannah McKinnon, and I know I will curl up with that one later today. (Will be released June 2.  I got this copy from NetGalley)

 

 

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So it looks like a great weekend for me…what about you?  Are you planning events?  Getaways?

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WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR — DEC. 3

Thoughts From the Interior

This past week seemingly flew by, as so many have lately.

What did I accomplish?  I guess I did some reading; I even reviewed the notes from the Beta reader for Defining Moments; and I did a little Christmas decorating.

Last weekend’s get-together with family left me nostalgic, though; as I unpacked the decorations, my thoughts took me to the moments when I had collected each item.

Many of them I acquired during recent years, but there was that one Santa sleigh that I have had since the 1980s, when my kids were young, and we were living in that cute little apartment surrounded by wicker.

Santa Sleigh on the Left -- A Reminder of Times Past

 

Here’s a shot of the kids, amongst the wicker:

 

That shot, of course, was not taken during the Christmas season.

Do you ever think about the clothes, decor, and other remnants of a particular time in your life?  Sometimes I even wonder what possessed us to dress or decorate that way.  But those were the times.

Then, I guess, we thought it was cool.

I drove a little VW Bug back then, and recall stashing many a “find” in the car and driving home.  Sometimes with the ends sticking out the side windows.

We probably couldn’t get away with something like that now!

I am trying to stay in the moment, though, and enjoy the life that surrounds me now.  Like grandchildren.  Here’s a shot taken just last weekend.

 

Does the holiday season stir up memories for you?  What do you like to remember, laugh about, or even sigh about?

WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR — READING & BLOGGING — NOV. 18

 

Weekends usually find me scrambling about, hoping to finish the “assigned” reading for the week, while still participating in blog events and even writing the occasional original post.

Is this what my life has come to, then?

Oh, and I also forgot to mention the writing that I still need to finish.  Yes, the drafts are pretty much complete.  They’ve been edited, tweaked, polished…and sent out to readers.

But right now I’m rereading Interior Designs (again!), which is the most “ready” of the two WIPs.  I regularly post excerpts at Snow Chronicles and update my progress at Creative Moments.

Every time I read this work, I can feel the character’s emotional exploration…and I think this is probably a good thing.

We all want our characters (whether in books we read or books we write) to feel like real people.  Three dimensional people with all the quirks, foibles, and even deep-seated flaws of those we encounter in our daily lives.

Right now, I’m just about finished with a book I’m reading called The Sisters, by Nancy Jensen.  A saga-like tale of a long-ago great misunderstanding and the consequences that unfold for decades.

As I read through each page, I am wishing and hoping for some kind of reconciliation; an explanation from one character to another that will give us the closure (and redemption) that we need.

I don’t know if that will happen, but I can’t wait to find out.

What are you reading, writing, or blogging about today?  Come on by and share those thoughts….

 

 

 

WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR — NOV. 4

GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE!

As the weekend approaches, I am once again reminded of how wonderful the weeks are for me these days.

Back in my old workaday world, weeks were something to trudge through, moving toward the weekend.

Nowadays I’m just as excited about Monday as I am Friday.

Sometimes the days seem to blur together, and the next thing I know, it’s the weekend.

Finding joy and creativity in each day is a gift.  A hard-earned reward, perhaps, for all the years of trudging.

Not to put down the trudging years.  Those life moments gave me a lot of material to write about.  And now my days give me the time to turn those moments into creations.

I’m just about finished with two WIPs, which I’ve mentioned in my writing blogs.  On Snow Chronicles, I have excerpted from each of them, as well as from my published works.

At Creative Moments, I have separate pages for each of my published novels.  There I also document my writing challenges.

Interior Designs will be published first, since it has already gone through several Beta reads and I’ve tweaked and polished it until it is now shrieking for mercy.

My MC sprang from one of my published books, Embrace the Whirlwind, in which she portrays a rather manipulative character named Martha Scott Cummings.  As I thought about this character afterwards, I realized that there had to be more to her story.  So ID is an exploration of what made that character who she was and offers the opportunity for her to reinvent herself.

In Defining Moments, which will come out in the spring of 2012 (hopefully), my MC, Jillian McAvoy, is a writer/blogger who loses her way in the World of the Web.

She is unlike any character in my other books.  In some ways, she reminds me of my own obsession with blogging and social networking, taken to an extreme, and some days, as I travel the web, I think about what could happen if….

I like to write about people in situations that are familiar to me, but whose lives take them out on a limb or two.  Even if they veer dramatically away from the paths I’ve traveled, there are similarities that I hope will make readers connect to them.

Reading several books a week is another gift in my new life.  Sometimes I read mysteries, while at other times, I am drawn to the books about people in troubled relationships, or families caught up in one or another tragedy.  Dysfunction calls to me.

Right now I’m reading a book set in the sixties about a troubled child whose mother is in prison, and how the only family available to him (aside from strangers) is comprised of a motley crew of quirky individuals living in Humboldt County, California.  My cup of tea!

Wrecker, by Summer Wood, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in most unexpected ways. It’s June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker’s birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she’s in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he’s shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he’s scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.

What kinds of things do you enjoy during the week, as well as on the weekend?  What books do you enjoy most?