HAPPY FRIDAY: ADJUSTING OUR ATTITUDES…

Welcome to Friday!  As you enter my apartment, you will be greeted by this hall tree  and a series of handbags. Quirky ones, like the Marilyn Monroe bag and the Elvis Presley bag.

If you come a little farther into my space, you will see my bookshelf, growing every day, with new books added regularly.

 

Now you can grab a book, a cup of coffee, and curl up to enjoy!

Meanwhile, we are still locked down, but we can now go outside with our masks and into the dining room to enjoy our meals…every other day.  On the other days, we eat in our apartments with meals brought from the kitchen.  I serve mine up on a lovely tray that just came from Amazon.

 

***

A New Normal doesn’t have to be grim.  We can formulate our own version of it, with the help of creativity and a quirk in our attitudes.

Happy Fourth of July (tomorrow!).

***

HOLIDAYS CAN BRING ON THE BLUES…CHASING THEM AWAY…

My Rainy Days and Mondays blog was created in August 2009, more than ten years ago.  It began “life” on the Blogger site, and I then transferred to WordPress in 2013.  The themes were the same:  Mondays can make us blue; books chase away the blues; and I smile whenever I go to this site.

I am also reminded of the Carpenters’ song:

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
***
But…Mondays are no longer blue days for me, as I have retired and am reading and blogging.  Happy days!  My symbols for the site showed up in my blog headers.  Books, rain, and sometimes the girl on the right side in the current banner:  she looks pretty blue.
***
I checked out my archives to see what I was writing about when I first celebrated a holiday season here on WordPress. (December 2014):

I love Mondays!  Seriously, I do.  But I used to hate them.  Which is one reason that I am now celebrating, via this blog, the absence of Blue Mondays.  Post-retirement, I relished being able to wake up on Mondays, or any day, and do what I wanted.  And read all day every day.

Chasing Away the Blues (through reading) is our antidote to the blues.

But some Mondays can seem blue, even now.  Like the Monday of a holiday week, with many blogs quiet and memes missing.  Yes, the bloggers need a break, too!  What does this say about me that I am so glued to my laptop and my online world?

Am I addicted?  Dependent?  Or at loose ends because I just miss those connections?

Meanwhile, however, the books, those trusty friends, are close by…

***

I have changed the header several times over the years.  Here is one I had a while back:

***

Now I am closing, with thoughts of rainy days…and Mondays…and books.  What are your favorite themes on your blog(s)?

***

CHASING AWAY THE BLUES…

Books Chase Away the Blues!  Sometimes, a rainy day can spoil our moods, but with the right books…or with the right people, we can conquer the bad stuff.  Today was a sunny one, however, so no worries.  But lately, we never know when the rain (and hail) will strike.

This blog is one I created in August 2009, right before I drove to Napa to hang out at a resort, reading and wine tasting.  I loved the time spent there…although I didn’t yet have a laptop on which to work, so no blogging happened while I was there.  I didn’t even have an iPhone.  But I signed up for the Wine Train, and enjoyed savoring the goodies.

When I got home, I had lots to blog about though, including some reviews of books I read while I was there.

At first, this blog was on Blogger, but I moved it to WordPress in December 2014.  My philosophy about rainy days, Mondays, and books has remained the same, though.

I am having fun with the blog these days, changing the themes, the headers, etc.  Why do I love change so much?  Or do I just love the “designing” aspect of blogging?

Today I spent hanging out with one of my two granddaughters, the one who lives in town.  We have very little time to spend together these days, as she is working and going to school.

But here’s what we did:  lunch at a nearby restaurant…and time at home afterwards taking photos.

 

Here we are hanging out at my condo.

 

***

It was a great Sunday, and I look forward to more of the same.  Tonight I’ll curl up with my books and movies.  How did your weekend unfold?

***

A FRIDAY FOR READING…AND PAMPERING…

Fridays are not my usual time to chat here, but I am sitting next to these Disney figurines and my coffee cup (above), and feeling like sharing.  I am also ignoring the housekeeping I need to do!  I did do a few things, but will postpone the heavy cleaning until later.  LOL

As I read my library copy of Manhattan Beach, I am swept back in time…to an era that pre-dates me (1930s), but the 1940s are now making an appearance in the story, and I am reminded of tales my parents told of that time.  My family lived on the West Coast, while Anna Kerrigan, in this story, lived in Brooklyn.  There were similar fears and feelings, no matter where one lived during this memorable time.

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

***

I am always intrigued by how the women were offered opportunities not available to them when the men were home.  I could sense the feeling of adventure that heightened their experiences, and how the women took the chance to discover new skills, even some independence not previously offered to them.

Anna was a character I enjoyed.

***

Later today I have scheduled a mani…and then I’ll probably have dinner out.  I know…I should do the housework before I get my nails done, as not wanting to “mess them up” will be another excuse not to dig into the heavy stuff.  Sigh.  Here’s the color I chose last time.  Should I keep it, or change it?

***

What lies ahead for your weekend?  Adventures?  Movies?  Reading?

***

LOOKING BACK: FINDING WAYS TO “CHASE AWAY THE BLUES”

cropped-picmonkey-image-rd-in-dec-2.jpg

Good morning!  It is Friday, but today I’m going to share some thoughts about Mondays…blue Mondays.  And I’ve dug into my archives here and found a post from two years ago:  December 22, 2014.

I had just moved this blog over from Blogger…I got tired of the issues I was having there, and my other blogs were at WP.  Not that there aren’t issues here, too.  But I felt comfortable with most of them.

The “Blues” seems to be a recurring theme for me, not only on Mondays, but during the holidays.  So in this excerpt, I am remembering what I was feeling back then…and what I did to overcome the “down in the dumps” feeling.

 

***

I love Mondays!  Seriously, I do.  But I used to hate them.  Which is one reason that I am now celebrating, via this blog, the absence of Blue Mondays.  Post-retirement, I relished being able to wake up on Mondays, or any day, and do what I wanted.  And read all day every day.

Chasing Away the Blues (through reading) is our antidote to the blues.

But some Mondays can seem blue, even now.  Like the Monday of a holiday week, with many blogs quiet and memes missing.  Yes, the bloggers need a break, too!  What does this say about me that I am so glued to my laptop and my online world?

Am I addicted?  Dependent?  Or at loose ends because I just miss those connections?

Meanwhile, however, the books, those trusty friends, are close by.  And I am now reading A Fireproof Home for the Bride, by Amy Scheibe.

 

 

21853672

 

I am frustrated by this book.  I am rooting for Emmy, the main character, but wishing she had more backbone.  But then I think…yes, I can relate to the tyranny of her home.  Many aspects of it resemble the one in which I grew up, and it took me a lot of determination to find my voice.  And I was already kind of a rebel.

Eager to find out what she does to escape the tyranny, I kept reading late into the night…and hope to finish it this morning.

Some horrible things have happened to her, and I think that I would have been out of there already…and she is eighteen at the time most of these things happened.

Do you ever get annoyed with characters that seem mired in their situations?  Do you want to urge them on?

***

Next, I hope to read Lillian on Life, another review book…but I also have some e-books on my list this week.

 

 

20783867

 

 

***

Later today, I am going over to hang out with Noah, my youngest grandson.  He also loves to read, and when I went there on Saturday, we spent time at Barnes & Noble, buying books for him.  I enjoy reading and sipping their coffee while he picks out books.  We might do that again today.

 

 

home-big

 

I restrained myself and didn’t buy any books for myself that day.  I had already downloaded some e-books from Amazon.

Yesterday, the UPS man delivered a package…on Sunday!  I couldn’t believe it.  It held the cute birdhouse in the photo (below).  I collect birdhouses, and my youngest son has added to this collection over the years.  I think this one reminds him of our A-Frame house in the foothills.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I am feeling very cheerful at the moment, with much to look forward to…and hey, my blues have disappeared!  Again.

Even when you have a sure-fire way to chase away the blues, do you sometimes have to reach down and plumb the depths?  Searching for that antidote?

***

What brings you out of the blues during the holidays?  Besides the things I mentioned above, I love watching Netflix these days. The Gilmore Girls revival helped me last weekend.

Since we all seem to have the blues occasionally during the holidays, I ask myself what triggers the feelings?  Could it be that the cheery songs, lights, and constant parties remind me of what I don’t have in my life?  Or is it simply the passage of time?

Whatever brings me down, it is important to find ways to uplift our souls, whether it is with books, movies, or family and friends.  Let’s hang in there!

***

RAINY DAY READING & BOOKISH THOUGHTS

blue-monday-logo

It’s Monday, so let’s head on over to A Daily Rhythm, where Jen has prompted us to discuss bookish topics:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Is a rainy day likely to inspire you to read?

***

Currently Reading:  I am totally engaged in an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter.  This is my first book by the author, but already I can tell she will be another favorite.

 

 

25574782

 

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

***

I like the question about whether or not a rainy day is likely to inspire me to read…and yes, I love to read with the sound of rain on the roof.  As long as it isn’t a storm with thunder and lightning and power outages.  Those aspects of a storm make me hide under the covers!

A nice rain is just what I need right now, as my reading has slowed a bit…also due to house guests on and off throughout the summer.  See a nice rainy day (below).  This photo was captured in April.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

***

What are your bookish thoughts today?  What inspires you?

***

CHASING DOWN OLD FAVORITES: MUSINGS

blue-monday-logo

It’s Monday!  Time to chase away the blues again…and Jen, at A Daily Rhythm has given us some topics to explore.

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite book? (or, one of your favorites!)

***

Last week, I blogged about a variety of topics, but here is a sample:

Saying Goodbye Once Again: Another Blog Bites the Dust

picmonkey-collage-choc-mim

 

Excerpt:

Yes, it was only a matter of time until this little blog bit the dust.

While I loved the premise and had fun posting about my guilty pleasures, I finally decided that I could do that just fine on another of my blogs:  Potpourri.

So now there will be a regular “guilty pleasures” feature at that site…and I have whittled my blog count down to SEVEN!

As I scrolled through the pages and posts at my now defunct site, I considered moving several of those posts over…but then ruled that one out.  I could recreate some of them.  And I will.

I am probably one of the few bloggers who has “gone wild” with the whole blogging thing, having as many as 20 blogs at one point…for about five minutes.

My steadiest number was eleven blogs, then nine, and now seven.

***

Next on my reading list is a book from one of my new favorite authors, Dorothea Benton Frank:  The Hurricane Sisters.

 

 

81dcw+2rmXL._SL1500_

 

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she’s dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz’s beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds….

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

***

I love complex family stories that carry us through the generations, and just like a real family, Frank’s characters are full of secrets.  Can’t wait!

***

I couldn’t answer the question…as how can I choose one favorite book?  I could probably name a few favorites that I have enjoyed at different times in my life.

As a teenager, I loved Gone with the Wind and Rebecca.

When I was struggling through my twenties, I loved anything by Erica Jong.  Fear of Flying felt reckless and fun.  Marge Piercy was another favorite author, with her Small Changes and Fly Away Home.

While raising my children, I loved family stories that made me connect to the characters who were also struggling with family issues:  books by Barbara Delinsky and Nancy Thayer.

And now, in my “twilight years,”—oh, I cringe at that phrase!—I probably love looking back at the phases of my life and enjoying books that remind me of past loves and the challenges that I won.  But most of all, I love mysteries and thrillers, like the books by Sophie Hannah, Laura Lippman, Karen White, and Julia Heaberlin, to name a few.

 

What about you?  Do you have favorites, or do you, too, find it hard to choose?

***

CELEBRATING MY BOOKISH LOVE: MUSINGS ON A MONDAY

blue-monday-logo

Welcome to another Monday of Musings...check in at A Daily Rhythm to see other participants.

Here are some topics:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

***

I’m currently reading A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan…and I’m loving it.  It will be released on 8/25.  I got my copy from NetGalley.

 

 

 

518i1qeaHoL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

 

In A Window Opens, beloved books editor at Glamour magazine Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach.

Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up and her work takes an unexpected turn. Readers will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she―Alice Pearse―really want?

***

And then I discovered this upcoming release from a favorite author of mine!  Yay!  Joyce Maynard is an author I have read since I first stumbled upon the book she published when she was a teenager: Looking Back: A chronicle of growing up old in the sixties. (In 1973).  To say that I am a fan would be an understatement.  I eagerly grab each new book and savor it.

Her new release, Under the Influence, is coming on February 23, 2016.  A long wait…but it will be worth it for me.

 

 

51Qed8M8dTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Alcohol cost Helen her marriage and custody of David, her seven-year-old son. Though she once had aspirations to be an art photographer, she makes ends meet taking pictures of grade-school children and working society parties for a catering company. Recovering from her addiction, she spends her evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site; weekends, she has awkward visits with her son, but he seems to be drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to the care and welfare of dogs. Their home is filled with glamorous friends, edgy art, and fabulous parties.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, cataloguing Ava’s art collection—Ava and Swift hire a good lawyer to help her regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

David witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, Cooper, and the daughter of the Havillands’ Guatemalan housekeeper. With David’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

***

What are you musing about today?

***

CHASING AWAY THE BLUES WITH ANTICIPATION

 Books & Fairytales-Musings

Good morning!  Let’s wrap our minds around some bookish thoughts…and join Jen, at A Daily Rhythm.

Some topics to ponder:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Last week, I came across someone’s idea to create waterproof books {see it here}. What do you think about this? Good idea, or bad?

***

Today, I want to share my anticipation of a new Paula Daly book, The Mistake I Made, coming in September.  I read and loved two previous books (Keep Your Friends Close, and Just What Kind of Mother Are You?), by this author, so I am eager to go with this one.  At first, it wasn’t even available to pre-order here in the US…but now it is!  I also requested in on NetGalley....we’ll see.

 

 

25697689

 

The Mistake I Made is the latest page-turner from one of the England’s most captivating new thriller writers. In her provocative and riveting third novel, Paula Daly focuses her masterful eye for psychological suspense and family drama on an indecent proposal that has fatal repercussions.

Single mother Roz has reached breaking-point. After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she’s struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son, who is starting to misbehave in school. Roz is in trouble. Real trouble.

When Roz returns home from work one day and finds an eviction notice, she knows that it’s time for action—she has two weeks to find a solution otherwise they will be kicked out of their home. Increasingly desperate, Roz doesn’t know where to turn. Then the perfect opportunity presents itself. At her sister’s fortieth birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias—wealthy, powerful, and very married. But the impression Roz leaves on him is indelible. He tracks her down and makes Roz an offer to spend the night with him—for money. He wants no-strings-attached intimacy and can guarantee total discretion. Could it be as simple as it sounds? With that kind of cash, Roz could clear her debts and get her life back on track. But as the situation spirals out of her control, Roz is forced to do things she never thought herself capable of. Can she ever set things right again?

***

I am definitely looking forward to this one!  What are you musing about today?

***

BOOKS & BOOKSTORES – NOSTALGIC MOMENTS

Books & Fairytales-Musings

Let’s gather around and chase away our Monday blues by Musing with Jen, at A Daily Rhythm.  Check out her topics!

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Is there a bookshop you absolutely adore? Or, perhaps one you’ve always wanted to visit? What is the name of it, and where is it located?

***

Currently, I am immersed (yes, thoroughly!) in Before We Met, by Lucie Whitehouse.  It languished on Pippa for more than a year, but I decided it was high time to read it.

I had preconceived ideas of what would be happening…secrets, lies, etc.  But the story has so much more than I expected.  Now I am totally unsure of how things will play out…and I’m loving that about it.

 

 

81TA9-v2U6L._SL1500_

 

A whirlwind romance. A picture-perfect marriage. Hannah Reilly has seized her chance at happiness.

Until the day her husband doesn’t come home …

Hannah, independent, headstrong and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.

Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.

But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the States and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begins to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?

Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him, or protect her …

***

Today’s random question catapulted me back in time to this lovely, nostalgic bookshop that I loved.  Sundays, and almost any day, found me there browsing…and then settling in for a cup of coffee in the adjacent coffee shop.  On Sundays, there was a string quartet that made brunch a perfect retreat.

Alas, that shop left our city way back in the eighties, I think.  But recently, I discovered that it still exists in other places, like in San Diego, CA…where one of my granddaughters will be attending university.  Yay!

It is Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse.

 

Upstart-Crow-bookstore-H-B

 

Don’t you want to curl up and read here?

***

What are you musing about today?  Come on by and join in….

***