Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a recent release from a favorite author.  The Book That Matters Most, by Ann Hood, is an enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

 

 

 

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Intro:  (Part One – December – Ava)

Ava saw it as soon as she turned the corner.  She stopped, squinting as if that would change what she was looking at.  It was a week before Christmas on Weybosset Street in downtown Providence.  The Christmas lights already shone, even at five o’clock, because the day was so dark and gray.  The air had that festive holiday feeling that came from people bustling about with oversized shopping bags, cold air, tired decorations, a guy selling Christmas trees on the corner.

But Ava felt anything but festive.

She stood staring at the Providence Performing Arts Center marquee.  She knew it was backlit in white with black letters announcing The Lion King, because she’d come here just last night, the tickets given to her by a colleague from the French department trying to cheer her up.  But she couldn’t actually see the marquee.  No.  The marquee was covered in red and green cable knit yarn, almost like it was wearing a sweater.  Except Ava knew that it wasn’t wearing a sweater.  The PPAC marquee had been yarn bombed.

***

Teaser:  (Paris – Maggie)

Of course, he was married.

Although she didn’t learn it that first night, it became clear soon enough.  The apartment on rue Saint-Antoine was a second flat, the one that Julien kept for his work, which involved art installations. (p. 66).

***

Synopsis:  Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

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I love books about bookish things, so this one appeals to me.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading, curious about the book club members meeting their goal of finding the book that matters most to them?

I also enjoy alternating storylines, so I’m eager to keep going.

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Posted in Sunday Potpourri

SUNDAY POTPOURRI: REFLECTIONS ON MY SUMMER….

Coffee, Mimosa, & reading - logo2

Welcome to my first Sunday Potpourri in weeks!  Well, at least two or three, anyway.

A Sunday was one of the first days I wrote on this blog…one of my earliest posts was on a Sunday in July 2009.  A while ago, I recreated that post (partially), one that included my preteen granddaughter Fiona, in Celebrating Special Moments, Past and Present.

I recall those moments fondly, as my now “late teen” granddaughter is a complex person.  One who sometimes enjoys my company, and at other times, she ignores me completely.  Shouldn’t she have gone through this phase earlier?  Now that she is a young adult, she should be more agreeable.  Right?  I guess not.  LOL.

We did have a semi-enjoyable trip, mostly once we got there.  The car ride was not fun, all twisty, with continuous road work, which contributed greatly to our short tempers.

Stopping along the way for refreshments helped.  But Hwy. 101 has so many tiny towns, and finding great places to pull over was a challenge.

Once we arrived, however, there was plenty to keep us occupied…and lovely breezes, too.

 

 

August 2016 - pier in Crescent City

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Next time I go there, however, I will go solo…and on the train!  I picture myself resting and reading.

 

 

 

Amtrak

 

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Now that I’m back, I seem to be getting my Reading Mojo again.  Although I’m catching up on Netflix as well.  I resumed watching Doc Martin, which I’m starting to enjoy more, now that I’m (kind of) used to the MC and his quirks.

 

 

Doc Martin in Cornwall

 

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Currently I’m reading The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton, and while I don’t usually enjoy a “child” narrator, this particular one is quite articulate, and I settled into her perspective, remembering my own younger years surrounded by fruit orchards.

 

 

 

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Synopsis:  Mary Frances “Frankie” Lombard is fiercely in love with her family’s sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie’s roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.

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Next I hope to read Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris.  I waited and waited for this one…and then it was released last week.  Loving the anticipation!

 

 

 

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Here are some thoughts from others: 

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

The debut psychological thriller you can’t miss!

“A hair-raising debut, both unsettling and addictive…A chilling thriller that will keep you reading long into the night.” —Mary Kubica, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Girl

This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” —Booklist (starred review)

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you…Warning: brace yourself.” —Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

***

What does your Sunday look like?  Restful, busy, or a combination?

 

Here’s what I had yesterday, at California Pizza Kitchen:  Pea Soup and a Strawberry Margarita.

 

 

soup and margarita - august 20

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Posted in MUSING MONDAYS

MONDAY POTPOURRI: MUSINGS….

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  • 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 sequel do you have yet to read?

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Last week, I blogged about my daughter’s 40th birthday in A Journey with Heather:  Happy Birthday!

She is on a cruise to Ensenada, with a group of friends.

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Meanwhile, I’m currently reading The Truth-Teller’s Lie, by Sophie Hannah, a creepy, twisty book with characters you can’t trust or believe.

The second book in Sophie Hannah’s beloved Zailer and Waterhouse series, The Truth-Teller’s Lie is a chillingly smart suspense novel sure to appeal to fans of Tess Gerritsen and Gillian Flynn.

 

 

 

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What are you musing about today?  Come on by and share!

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Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from NetGalley, to be released on 8/23:  The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena.

 

 

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Intro:  Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming.  She’s had too much to drink.  Cynthia has been topping her up all night.  Anne had meant to keep herself to a limit, but she’d let things slide—she didn’t know how else she was supposed to get through the evening.  Now she has no idea how much wine she’s drunk over the course of this interminable dinner party.  She’ll have to pump and dump her breast milk in the morning.

Anne wilts in the heat of the summer night and watches her hostess with narrowed eyes.  Cynthia is flirting openly with Anne’s husband, Marco.  Why does Anne put up with it?  Why does Cynthia’s husband, Graham, allow it?  Anne is angry but powerless; she doesn’t know how to put a stop to it without looking pathetic and ridiculous.  They are all a little tanked.  So she ignores it, quietly seething, and sips at the chilled wine.  Anne wasn’t brought up to create a scene, isn’t one to draw attention to herself.

Cynthia, on the other hand…

***

Teaser:  Marco almost hadn’t gone through with it.  When the babysitter canceled at the last minute, he’d panicked.  He’d almost called the whole thing off. (46%).

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Blurb:  How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . . 

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I’ve been eagerly awaiting this one for a while, now.

 

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Posted in Thursday Potpourri

THURSDAY POTPOURRI: OFF TO THE SHORE!

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How did Thursday come so quickly?  Probably because I’ve been rushing around all week, picking up medications, getting the car tuned up for my trip next week, and regularly checking the mailbox for that ever elusive tax refund.  You know…the one they have promised twice will be “arriving shortly.”

It was supposed to be a direct deposit…so easy.  But because they messed up (along with the trust that issues my checks), they have taken this tack.

Perhaps it would serve me better to forget about it.  Focus on other things.  Hence, next week’s trip to “beach country,” where my youngest son and his wife have been living for almost two years.  And I haven’t been up there once!

So it’s long overdue.  Below, a photo of my son and his dog, walking the beach.  It looks like a wonderfully peaceful place to live…10 hours away! 

 

Chris and dog on beach - nov***

Every summer, I feel as though I must go to the beach.  Yet it has been years since I did so.  I think it was 2010 when a friend and I drove to Morro Bay and stayed in a cottage belonging to my daughter’s in-laws.  It was lovely and memorable…and it doesn’t quite make up for all the years I’ve missed.

When I was a child, we went to Santa Cruz every summer for a couple of weeks.  We stayed in the same place, a little cottage, and my mother always cooked up some salmon, our favorite fish which we got at the wharf.  I can still smell the cooking scents….and feel the cool breeze.

Ah, the childhood memories do sometimes remind us of what we love.  What we should never forget.  Family connections and special places that call to our souls.

This Sunday, before Fiona and I head up north, my second son and his three kids, (no longer kids, actually), will meet us at The Elephant Bar for lunch.  Our semi-annual gathering.  Fiona and her brother Dominic will be there, along with my daughter, her son Noah, and her fiance David.

Heather has already texted me this morning, begging for another venue.  For some reason, she doesn’t like The Elephant Bar.  I told her everyone else wanted to go there, and to please join us.  She quibbled a bit…and then gave in.  Here is last summer’s photo of our gathering.  Dominic was missing from that day because he had to work.  I love the ambience of the restaurant, and taking photos by the big elephant.  LOL.

 

 

family gathering 1***

I’m doing laundry this morning, getting ready for the trip.  My bedroom is a chaos of assorted luggage, small bags, etc.  My daughter borrowed my best sized luggage for her trip later in August…Hmm, I should have held it back until after my trip.  Instead, I have a jumble of duffle bags, etc.  But…nothing will stop me now!

Off to the shore!

 

Smith River - site of bloody battle

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What are your plans for the remaining summer days?  Any beach trips?  Or, like me in previous years, reading good beach books?

***

Posted in Monday Potpourri

MONDAY POTPOURRI: ANOTHER DAY OF MUSING…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s time to muse!  Join Jenn and the gang at Books and a Beat.

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…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What’s your most favorite “chunky” book? (over 500 pages)

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I finally started reading Flight Patterns, by Karen White, which I’ve had for a while…but for whatever reason, other books got ahead of it in the queue.

 

 

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be…

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Sometimes going home is painful, but it can also be a healing time.  I have always enjoyed Karen White’s books, since the very first ones I read a few years ago, the Tradd Street books.

Have you read her?  What did you think?

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Liberty is standing guard over my bookshelves….she is my mascot.

 

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Posted in Hump Day Potpourri

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: THE EXTERMINATOR IS COMING!

june 9 coffee & blogging, etc.

It’s Hump Day, and I’ve been visiting blogs and enjoying my coffee.  I’ll be vacating the premises soon, as the Exterminator is coming to spray.  Even though I only SAW two crickets in the past few weeks, I heard a chorus of them in the laundry room.  So…that’s it, guys!

He’ll arrive some time between 8:00-11:00 a.m., and then I will have to leave for a few hours.  Luckily, I have books to read….and an appointment with my stylist daughter, Heather.  The bear, below, sits at her station.  I haven’t named the bear, which I gave her for graduation….which is odd, right?  What does she look like to you?  Holly?

 

heather's bear

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On Monday, I got my carpet cover from Amazon.  It was delivered on Saturday, but since the post office closed at 2:00, I wasn’t able to retrieve it.  It was easy to move the stuff out of my nook and slide it in.  I am happily rolling around on the slick surface.

I’m reading One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and enjoying it.

 

 

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On Netflix, I am addicted to a series that is new to me:  The Last Tango in Halifax is a British show that I love.  The protagonist is played by Sarah Lancashire, who also starred in Happy Valley,  another engaging series.

I am on Season 3, with only four episodes left, and I’m already missing these characters!  Their lives are so messy, they are so flawed, but I love them all!  Except maybe the ex-husband to Caroline (below), who hangs around with hangdog eyes.

 

 

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This sweet couple (below) meet again after 60 years, and realize they never stopped loving each other.  But they also face many challenges.

 

 

sweet couple in halifax

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So now I must get ready to gather my things about me and vacate…once the exterminator arrives!

More later!

***

 

Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “HERE’S TO US”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is the newest book from Elin Hilderbrand:  Here’s To Us.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue:  One Perfect Day)

Deacon Thorpe is thirteen years old and still more a boy than a man when his father, Jack, tells Deacon they’re taking a day trip out of the city, just the two of them.

Deacon is intrigued by the idea of a day trip out of the city.  They rarely have money for anything other than minute-to-minute survival.  Jack works as a line chef at Sardi’s in Times Square, and he gets only three days off per month.

***

Teaser:  (Laurel) She wandered upstairs, taking it all in:  the nightstands topped with crocheted doilies, a vase holding a bouquet of dusty plastic daisies, the bookshelves crammed with paperback novels—Peter Benchley, Robert Ludlum, Judith Krantz.  The same faded watercolors hung on the walls alongside the amateurish oils done by Mrs. Innsley, the previous owner. (p. 66).

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Synopsis:  Three romantic rivals. One crowded house. Plenty of room for jealousy.

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor?

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What do you think?  Are you curious?  Do you want to read more?

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Posted in MUSING MONDAYS

MONDAY POTPOURRI: MUSINGS…

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It’s time to muse!  Join me and others over at Jenn’s Books and a Beat, and check out these prompts:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought (received) 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: Finish the sentence: “If _____ and _____ were to get together and write a book…”

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I’m loving my current read, Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler.  I can’t think of any of her books I haven’t loved, but from the very first page, I felt connected to the MC Kate.

 

 

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Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies

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Last week, I received these books:

 

Falling, by Jane Green (Amazon Vine)

 

 

 

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Leave Me (e-book), by Gayle Forman (NetGalley – 9/6)

 

 

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Kindle Prime:

Everything We Keep (e-book), by Kerry Lonsdale

 

 

 

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Purchases:

 

The Girl You Lost (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

 

 

 

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (e-book), by Amy E. Reichert

 

 

 

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They May Not Mean To, But They Do (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

 

 

 

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What did your week look like?  Stop on by and let’s chat…My book mascot Liberty (below) will join in.

 

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Posted in Sunday Potpourri

SUNDAY POTPOURRI: NEW THINGS, CREEPY VISITORS….

Coffee, Mimosa, & reading - logo2

My week went by fast, with four books read and reviewed….see my Weekly Updates.

My carpet cover (for my office chair) did not arrive on Saturday, probably because the post office closes at 2:00 and Amazon had until 8 p.m.to deliver it.  Sigh.

But I did take a trip to Target and bought a new kitchen rug.  The old one was so depressing…

 

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I wish I could cover up every one of those horrible white tiles!  How I long for the brick ones I’ve had in other places…or the hardwood.

Well, we deal with what we have, don’t we?  Here is another view of my kitchen, which I try to cheer up a bit with color…and coffee.  The Coca Cola ice bucket contains tea bags, Sweet ‘n’ Lo, and instant oatmeal packets.

 

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I like finding new uses for old things, since I never used the ice bucket until I found these new ways to spice it up.

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Last night I started reading Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler…and I’m enjoying it so far. 

 

 

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I’m still freaking out about the cricket that visited a week ago, followed by another a few days later.  Now I have a hard time falling asleep, because that’s when I hear them!  Although I have done away with those two, how do I know there won’t be more?

Everywhere I go, I see them.  There must be a pestilence of them this year.  In the supermarket, the clerks were talking about them.

But…it doesn’t help my sleeping to know that they are everywhere!

I try to read for a very long time, hoping to fall asleep immediately, but I know that if The Visitor arrives…I will not sleep again all night.

Any remedies?  I did spray around the windows and under the sinks where the water pipes reside….hopefully that helps.  I haven’t had a visitor since I did this.

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Now I plan to read some more, watch movies on my DVR, and maybe some Netflix.  The other night, I recorded an old movie from 1977, which I have on VHS, but don’t like watching movies on the VCR…LOL.  The movie: Looking for Mr. Goodbar, with Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, etc.

 

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I plan to save it on my DVR indefinitely…as DVD copies are currently unavailable.

What does your weekend look like?  What are you looking forward to?

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