Welcome!  Enter my Quirky Space, have a cup of Virtual Coffee…and let’s chat.

I’ve been visiting blogs this morning, and there were a few celebrating Ten Years of Blogging…and then I realized that I started blogging ten years ago in April.  When did I stop celebrating the blogoversaries?  Probably when I added a few blogs along the way, and now have six (down from 20, but I didn’t have that many for very long.  LOL).

I wrote another post about my blogging journey earlier this week in Thursday Potpourri:  A Journey of Ups and Downs…

So…the week has been one of various celebrations, like meeting Son #2’s girlfriend for the first time.  Before we met, he sent photos…like these: First – Jazz Night at the W Hotel.

Then…Visiting Napa wineries…

Or a fancy dinner at a Japanese Restaurant, also in Napa…


Then, finally, the day we met…yesterday.  We had lunch in a neighborhood restaurant, attended by my daughter and son-in-law…and Son #2 and his GF.  Afterwards, we posed for this shot:

We all had a lovely time, chatting and telling family stories, ours and hers.  The real person was even more fun than her photos.


Today…I’m finishing up Before and Again...and hope to start reading Educated.

I added Season II of Goliath to my Amazon Prime Watchlist.  I’m ready to binge.

What is happening in your corner of the world? 




Every day I bring in more books for this stack, and I hope to whittle it down a bit more this summer.

So far, this stack has twelve unread books:

The Swallows Nest (a review book), by Emilie Richards

Fairy Tale Interrupted, by RoseMarie Terenzio

Good Me Bad Me, by Ali Land

The Comfort of Others, by Kay Langdale

Becoming Queen Victoria, by Kate Willliams

The Girl:  A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, by Samantha Geimer

Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber

What Remains:  A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, & Love, by Carole Radziwill

Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson

Talking As Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham

Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

America’s Queen:  The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Sarah Bradford


This stack does not represent the whole of of my unread print books, but they do spotlight the majority of them.  Why have I stacked them up so blatantly on my living room coffee table?  Why have I not left them in the office, where they could be out of sight?

Well, that’s why, of course.  If they are more visible, I am more likely to pick one up to read instead of primarily relying on the books that reside on Pippa.

Plus…I love the look of them.

If I put my mind to it, I could clear all of these off before summer’s end.


How do you deal with your TBR books, the ones that are “physical” rather than digital? Does the sight of them give you pleasure…or pain?  



16158528Wrapped in the comfort of her childhood home in Kentucky, Teddi Overman had dreams. And adventures. Some that she shared with her younger brother Josh, who had a unique affinity for wildlife, especially the broken and damaged ones.

Teddi’s passion for furniture sprang to life when she discovered an old broken-down chair by the side of the road. Studying library books, she repaired and refinished it and finally sold it. To a man named Jackson T. Palmer from Charleston.

Years later, she would go to Charleston to pursue her dream, but she crept away without talking to her parents, leaving only a note. She believed she needed to shape her own destiny.

Of course she would apprentice in Mr. Palmer’s shop, and she would still dream of owning her own. But the journey to her own shop would not be straight and smooth. Journeys never are. But I loved taking the journey with Teddi, walking the pathways with her, visiting the yard sales, and sharing special moments with her best friend Olivia and her Grammy Belle, a ninety-something woman with a zest for life and stories to tell.

I think Grammy Belle was one of my favorite characters. I loved the lessons she shared, like this one she gave to Teddi: “Sometimes it’s not what we hold on to that shapes our lives—it’s what we’re willing to let go of.”

That is a lesson Teddi had to learn over the years, as her younger brother Josh mysteriously disappeared one day in his teens, after a particularly tragic event, his whereabouts still unknown. But Teddi has a feeling…he’s somewhere on the Gorge near the farm, doing what he loves. Saving the wildlife.

What will Teddi do to honor her brother, after her mother’s death? How will the new life given to the old homestead somehow bring resolution to the unanswered questions? And how will moments from her childhood continue to resonate as she struggles to move on?

Reading Looking for Me was like living the story with the characters, experiencing their vision of life through the homey moments in Kentucky, or the gorgeous homes and antiques in Charleston. The author’s visual images drew me in and embraced me, making me feel part of everything. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted desperately for Teddi’s story to continue. I am hoping for a sequel. Or a few rereads. I loved this story! Five stars.



It’s already quite warm here….even though the early morning breeze came through my patio door and made my breakfast enjoyable.


I cooked up some turkey bacon to have with my scrambled eggs and mimosa.  I was reading Flora while I ate, feeling the breeze wafting in through the patio door.  I could have gone out there to eat, but I was reading while the bacon cooked.  I had to be close by!




So far, it’s a lovely book, set in the 1940s in South Carolina.  Ten-year-old Helen is the first person narrator.  It’s a time of war, of polio, and isolation.

My Sunday Update post today includes my Mailbox Monday.

This upcoming week is the first summer vacation week, which means that Noah will be coming to my house on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  On alternate weeks, he’ll be at his dad’s.  The real-life adventures of the child of divorce.



When my kids were growing up with their “single mom,” we didn’t have a Nana nearby to help out, so the poor tykes had to go to daycare until they were old enough to be on their own at home.  But even teens aren’t really old enough, I discovered.  They can get into so much trouble!

I’m really happy that those days are behind me.

This summer Fiona will be moving back from Texas.  I can’t wait!

New Fiona pic framed


fiona's music


So as the hot days descend, I am looking forward to more family moments.  And great books I’m eager for, like Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted, coming in September.



Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.

The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He’d been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He’d been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone’s name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes.

But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge. And before long at least one aspect is solved as Kinsey literally finds the key to his identity. “And just like that,” she says, “the lid to Pandora’s box flew open. It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed, but for the moment, I was inordinately pleased with myself.”

In this multilayered tale, the surfaces seem clear, but the underpinnings are full of betrayals, misunderstandings, and outright murderous fraud. And Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised.

W is for . . . wanderer . . . worthless . . . wronged . . .

W is for wasted.



What are you looking forward to in the days and weeks ahead?  As I type in the date June 9, I am reminded of June 9, 1970, when I went to an unexpected party for graduate students and met my second husband, the father of my youngest son and my daughter; and grandfather to Noah, Fiona, Aiden, and Dominic.  Who knew?




Okay, it’s kind of late in the day to do a Hump Day Potpourri post.

But it’s been one of those days.  Early this morning, I was shouting out about an upcoming release I’m excited about:  Jodi Picoult’s upcoming book called The Storyteller.


Coming on or about 2/26/13, it promises to deliver the best ingredients of a book by this author:

Sage Singer becomes friends with an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community after they strike up a conversation at the bakery where she works. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…but then he tells her he deserves to die.What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever redeem themselves with good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all—if Sage even considers his request—is it murder, or justice?

Then my day continued, with the kinds of chores that I detest:  scrubbing floors and general cleaning.

Next I finished reading Bonnie, by Iris Johansen:  click for review.


I went for a few drinks at the bar around the corner, where my daughter works.  And came home to start reading a book that wasn’t on my list for the week.

Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian.  An Oprah Book Club pick that I missed when it first came out.


And now I’m frustrated, because Word Press is not letting me put the images in the correct place in this post!

I’m quitting!

Hope your day is going better than mine….Usually, it’s Blogger that messes with my images!  Do you have days like this?


New Header at Curl up and Read


Bloggiesta is a great blogging festival.  I’ve mentioned it a time or two in my posts this week, but now it’s here.  And here’s my post that talks about what’s happening and changing.

There are lots of mini-challenges and sites that tell us how to do various things.  Like widgets, and how to connect with others via social icons.

I’ve been playing around at my Curl up and Read site linked above…and also over at Rainy Days and Mondays and Story Corner, where I’ve learned, (finally), to add pages to Blogger.

But I also must send out thanks to Patty, at Books, Thoughts, & a Few Adventures, who convinced me that it was pretty easy to do.  So thanks again, Patty.

In addition to these bloggy things, today has been a day for watching movies.  I have a lot of movies on my shelves, and sometimes I forget about them.  So today I pulled out some oldies, like these:


I’m a big fan of Mary Tyler Moore….

And the combination of Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett is memorable.


This one is based on a book by Joyce Carol Oates, which I loved.  But Poppy Montgomery really nailed the Marilyn Monroe part in this movie.


So what do you like to do on a lazy Saturday?  Do you have chores and errands?  Or, like me, are you enjoying a leisurely day?


Today I’ll be participating again in First Chapter First Paragraph, hosted by Diane, at Bibliophile by the Sea. 

I’ll also be spotlighting the excerpt in Teaser Tuesdays, at Should Be Reading.

I’m featuring another of my own creations today:  Embrace the Whirlwind.

Synopsis:  How does one person connect to another in a meaningful and satisfying way?  Can a tortured past and tangled family history impede prospects for finding happiness in the future?  The author explores the multidimensional character of Amber Cushing, a young woman whose conflicted relationship with her mother propels her into a whirlwind of bad choices.  Her growing addiction to love pushes her out of control and thwarts any chance at happiness.  But when she begins to explore her own feelings and understand the reasons behind her actions, Amber starts to forgive herself and to forge a brave new future.


She hadn’t trusted in the myth of “happily ever after” for a very long time, but despite herself, she had believed that he was going to be the love of her life.  After all, the two of them had been hanging out pretty regularly now for a couple of months.  He came to the roadhouse where she worked, usually right after he finished up with his construction crew, and they had fallen into the habit of leaving together after her shift ended.  But tonight had been different, right from the start.

 First of all, he had barely acknowledged her presence when he got there.  Still, she had tried not to take it personally, telling herself that he was just catching up with the guys.  But then he’d started flirting with some of the other girls who had come in halfway through the night.  Toward the end of her shift at the roadhouse, she had watched Buck walking out with that little twit, the one who had been hanging all over him all night long, and she could see the handwriting on the wall:  he was moving on.     

She had struggled along anyway, trying to pretend that none of it bothered her, until finally she was able to leave for the night.  She headed toward the parking lot, and after she climbed into the old beat-up pickup truck, she huddled up inside for a few minutes wishing she could somehow disappear.  She wished she could close her eyes, and then, once she opened them again this whole day would have magically turned out to be nothing but a dream.  A nightmare, of course, but just a dream all the same!  The humiliation of it all!  She could still see the faces of the others as Buck had turned on his heel and walked out that door with someone else.


Now I can’t wait to see what the rest of you are sharing!  Come on by and share your thoughts.


Welcome to a potpourri of fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by A Few More Pages; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!







Today I’m featuring a book from next week’s stack.  The Effect of Living Backwards, by Heidi Julavits, has been on my TBR stacks for quite awhile.

Does Alice really hate her sister, or is that love? Was she really enrolled in grad school, or was that an elaborate hoax? Is this really a hijacking, or is it merely the effect of living backwards?

Following her acclaimed debut, The Mineral Palace, Heidi Julavits presents a quirky, compelling new novel about two sisters, a bizarre event, and the elusive nature of truth.


Beginning:  When I arrived at the Institute, my name was still Alice, I was still the daughter of an entomologist and a population control activist.  I was still a dropout student of social work and a former waitress at a western-themed steakhouse.  I was still the product of one divorced academic family, various embassy school systems, two state colleges, three-quarters of an overpriced graduate program, and a long humiliating indoctrination by the American restaurant service industry.

My thoughts:  I’m guessing that by the time she leaves the “Institute,” she may no longer “be” any of these things.  Just guessing.  Her identity may go through an overhaul.


P. 56:  Despite Tabinshweiti’s artful talking, nobody believed him.  The hijackers were overpowered by the members of the British rugby team, the plane went into a tailspin and crashed into a harbor off Koh Pipi, and all sixty-nine people aboard were killed.


This book sounds like it will test our belief systems about reality.  I’m curious.


What about the rest of you?  What are you spotlighting today?


Welcome to Hump Day Potpourri and our Waiting on Wednesday celebration of the upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  Our event is hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

I hope you are all excited about the new books you’re going to learn about today.  I know that I am.  I especially enjoy visiting blogs and adding new books to my staggering lists (and stacks!).

The other day I discovered this book by Anne Lamott called Some Assembly Required.  It will be released on 3/20/12.

Blurb:   In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.

Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax’s life.

In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax’s mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.

By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family-as this book will change everyone who reads it.


I think this one sounds really wonderful.  There is nothing quite like adding a baby to a family, even when that bundle of joy comes earlier than expected.

What are you looking forward to this week?  Please come on by and share….


Here we are again, ready to cross over that “hump day” bridge.

This week is unique, in that the end of the year looms.  When confronted by endings and new beginnings, our thoughts often go to exciting clean slates; but we must also look at what we’ve left unfinished.

Last night, I was reexamining my “Old TBR Stacks.”  I’ve made a brave attempt to whittle them down, and in the New Year, I have big plans to dive into the chunkier ones via my Chunkster Reading Challenge, along with the Mt. TBR Reading Challenge.

To further encourage my efforts, I have actually moved physical books from the TBR shelves onto my office coffee table, where they are poised for reading.

As I empty shelves in my bedroom (site of Old TBRs), I have opened some up for books I’ve finished.  There is a lot of bookish movement in the wake of these efforts, and I’m very excited to begin the New Year.  Does actual physical movement bring a sense of accomplishment?  I know that I felt full of energy and excitement about making even this little bit of progress.

Here are a few of the books from those stacks that will soon make it to the “read books” shelves.

What bookish plans do you have for the New Year?  Are you full of enthusiasm as you make lists, or do you plan to just “go with the flow”?