Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Enjoy your day, Dear Reader! Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!! Whoever you are, wherever you are, take a moment tomorrow and think about what you're thankful for. Thanksgiving isn't as fun as Halloween or as flashy as Christmas but it's sad how this humble, beautiful holiday gets brushed aside in favor of dropped prices on more junk we don't really need.

Off soapbox. 

That is all.

I'm thankful for YOU, Dear Readers! Cheers!




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TBR Tuesday: Tequila Mockingbird



Though this isn't a novel, I would sit down and read it on a rainy afternoon. Tequila Mockingbird is not only one of the most clever titles I've come across, it's one of the most clever books I've ever thumbed through! Part cocktail recipe book, part literary treatise, Tequila Mockingbird is filled with literary inspired drinks and snacks that look like they would make any book club giddy. I mean, come on! Who wouldn't want to eat an hors d'oeuvre called Prawn Quixote?

The shop I work at carries this book and every Friday I'm tempted to take a copy home with me. My only problem is what to make first? The Last of the Mojitos? How about A Rum of One's Own? Or - look out now - The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose? Of course there's a few drinks for the non-alcoholically inclined such as The Wonderful Blizzard of Oz.

Sounds pretty silly, right? Well, it is. It appears to be a delightful romp through classic literature with a twist of lemon and a whiskey shooter on the side. I may be a little too excited about this one.

Happy Tuesday everyone! What's at the top of your TBR Pile?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Learning to Love Literary Fiction



Weekends are different now. They begin on Sunday and end Monday night. I am forever telling people to have a great weekend on what usually signals the end of one.

Ah well...

Serendipitously, Jon and I have the same days off. This past weekend (aka Monday) we discovered a used book and record store a couple of miles from our house. As soon as we walked in it felt like home. The shelves were packed three rows deep. The prices were good. They had a mythology section. Oddly enough, it smelled like the old bookstore I used to work in. It was quiet and lovely and musty and we were the only customers there.

There's something about being left to your own devices in a bookstore. It happened the other day at Barnes and Nobel. While I am certainly a champion for the Indie Bookshop and the local used book store, the only place I can find British periodicals is B&N and so I go. Also, it's a great place in which to wander through the Fiction/Literature section. I'm usually the only one there.

This is where I've found myself lately. Not Middle Grade fiction (which I adore), not Fantasy or Arts and Crafts or Cozy Mysteries. No. Fiction. Unspecified. Literary. Classic. In college I would get so angry and THOSE people, the ones who ONLY read or wrote Literary  Fiction. It was said with down turned nose as if people who read genre fiction were of a lower class than they. I wanted to point out that Literary Fiction IS a genre, but I didn't. Who wants to get into an argument with a band of bitter, angry existentialists?

Ok, ok, now I'm generalizing but that's what I assumed. As payback, I'm now wandering through the stacks looking at, you guessed it, literary fiction. And, yes, I still refer to it as a genre :)

And in this genre I am delighted. Positively delighted. There are classics tucked next to pure, literary fiction, stacked next to magical realism and wedged between experimental fiction. I find humorous titles next to "Ulysses" and gorgeous, re-imagined covers of "Metamorphosis". These aisles are packing my phone with images. Most of my pictures these days are book covers whose titles I want to remember so I can eventually read them. Whether I find them at a big, national retailer or hidden in the stacks of a lovely, dusty used book shop, I fully intend to indulge in this new addiction and I'll share it with you, dear Reader, in my TBR Tuesday posts.

And I certainly hope you share with me your bookstore adventures. May your TBR piles grow ten times over!

Happy weekend - whatever that means for you!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quotes and Notes



I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, wracked with sorrow, but through it all, I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

~ Agatha Christie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To be Read (TBR) Tuesday

Good morning!

Thank you to all the well wishes this past weekend. My husband and I both ended up with the same darn cold but all is back to normal at La Petite Maison. For a moment I thought about naming our tiny bungalow something austere and repulsively enormous. Like THE GRANDIOSE HOUSE OF CARRIAGE or THE BODACIOUS BUNGALOW BIG-TOP but in the end, Jon suggested we call it like it is: tiny house. Only in French because, let's face it, French makes everything sound better.

Here's a new, weekly feature for you, dear Readers: To be Read Tuesdays or TBR because it's easier to type and, let's face it, we all know what THOSE letters stand for :). Recently, I've developed quite the trigger finger whenever I waltz through a bookstore. Also recently, I find myself perusing the literature and fiction aisles. Not what I'm used to reading or exploring but I am finding some fantastic titles which I shall, in latter weeks, post here.

Today, I'm dreaming of vintage handkerchiefs:

Link to publisher's book page HERE (Thames and Hudson)


This isn't a joke. I have a passion for pattern and vintage handkerchiefs are treasure chests of pattern. I have a small collection (somewhere) that I hope to turn into a lovely curtain one day...you know, when I can finally move all my belongings to where I am.

Handkerchiefs make me think of a gentler time when ladies cared about manners and were well versed in the eloquent art of well placed sarcasm. The Brits do it best, especially in period pieces and cozy mystery novels. Ah to be able to dab my eyes with an elegant hankie all the while dealing vicious blows with nothing more than well placed wit and razor sharp vocabulary.

I found The Printed Square whilst perusing the art and design book section. The word "printed" leaped out and me and I had to see what it was about. The book is mostly pictures, gorgeous one page spreads of nothing more than well ironed lovely little hankies. Some are pristine while others, my favorites, have small tears or entire corners missing.

Where and by whom were they carried? How many tears did they dry, how much comfort did they bestow? One can only imagine.

I for one am thinking of starting a new collecting passion. There are so many antique, thrift and second hand stores in Savannah there's bound to be more hankies than I can shake a runny nose at. Considering I'm recovering from a cold, I'd say this is a hobby that's come about in the nick of time!

Tell me, what's on your TBR pile this week? Have you discovered anything new that you'd like to read? Any quirky collections? Any of grandma's old hankies lying about?

Happy Tuesday,

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We Interrupt This Blog...


This is pretty much all I feel like doing this week. It's not all I'm doing, though. I'm at work. Then I come home, put on pajamas and try to get my head unstopped. I've got a cold or some other seasonal funk.

Here's to feeling better and back to blogging next week.

I'm off to watch a ridiculous amount of No Reservations...

...oh yeah, and read.



Cheers!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG_November Edition



Good morning! Today is the November posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Every month, we post about our writing insecurities or offer encouragement to those who need it. If you're not involved, click HERE to find out more about this amazing group. If you don't know who Captain Alex is (aka Our Fearless Ninja Leader) then click HERE. This was his brilliant idea after all :)

***

"Hey, Jen, could you call --- and troubleshoot why our point of sale system isn't working?"

"Hey, Jen, could you call ---, ---, and --- and pay these invoices? Here's my credit card. Thanks!"

"Hey, Jen, I told this gal you were the hiring manager. Could you tell them we're not interested in their application? Make it sound good!"

Yes, all three of these requests were made of me.

All three of them were made in my first week of my new job.

I've been at said job now for a month (woohoo!!) and I LOVE IT. Read: this is the first time in my life I've ever been able to say I love my job. From the very first day, I was thrown into the underbelly of running a boutique business in a very busy tourist town. In other words, I showed up at the pool and was pushed off the high dive into the deep end.

Talk about feeling insecure! I do NOT like confrontation. I HATE being handed things that are "of some importance" and told to handle it. These things were asked of me on my first day at a new job. And you know what? I handled them. I didn't hem-haw around, I didn't kick the dirt or try and excuse my way out of them. I did them.

I, who sucks at computers, get easily overwhelmed and can come across as waaaay too nice:
- spoke to three different people at a company I've never heard of to troubleshoot why our computers weren't working or accepting credit cards
- created an item in a system I've never used on an iPad (which I loathe) that makes our discounts much easier to deal with
- told no less than five people (who were told I was the hiring manager) "Thank you for your application but we've decided to go in a different direction"
-dealt with a credit card snafu like a BOSS!

I'm learning something new every day. I'm finding out that I'm capable of far more than I ever thought I was. And you know why? Because I was given NO CHOICE in the matter. I was handed the credit card and told to pay the bills. I was given the phone and asked to fix the computer problems. And I did it.

If I think too much about something, I won't do it.
If I grab the darn phone, punch in the numbers, and speak my mind, I get things done.

So. Writing.

Stop over thinking your story. NaNoWriMo is in full swing. I'm as guilty as the cat sitting in the bird cage with feathers sticking out of it's ears. Write it. Type the words. Don't worry about it being "right". Make the call. Make the decision. Step up the plate and swing for the fences. 

TRUST ME!

You are braver than you think, smarter than you know, and more amazing than you realize.

WRITE ON!
(like a boss ;))



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Establishing the "New Normal"


I'm not quite sure who said it first, the term "New Normal" but I like it. It suits exactly what we've been seeking for the past month. Yes, we've been in our new home for a month. Thirty-five days to be exact. And while we're almost there, to this new sense of normalcy, there's still so much that feels strange to me.

For example, the complete lack of space! I KNEW we were downsizing. I KNEW we were cutting our living space in half. Seriously, kids, we went from 1400 square feet to 700. Oi! Today I was trying to organize the closet. And you read that right: THE closet. One and only. There I was, thinking I was helping, pulling out all my t-shirts and long sleeve shirts that didn't require ironing when all I was really doing was making room for the dresses I completely forgot were draped over the small shelf shoved in said closet.

Did I mention the closet is tiny? And that it's being used for TWO people?

After literally shifting one pile of clothes for another I asked the empty bedroom whose brilliant idea this was, moving into a house small enough that you can sit in the middle of the bed and practically touch the walls on either side?

Oh yeah. That would be MY brilliant idea.

Another example: the coffee shop. Now, I know this may not be a big deal for most people. Most people go to THAT place. You know, the one with the siren and the plethora of warm, sweet drinks (the chai latte of which I must admit, I am a big fan). For us, however, we need a small, cozy, quirky place in which to drink our black beverage of choice. Or tea. I'm still hopelessly addicted to Earl Grey. Back where we're from there was ONE such place within a 50 mile radius. And they knew us there. Literally. We hung out there every week. They are our friends and considered in many ways family.

Here, there are no less than 5 coffee shops in a 5 mile radius. And I like them all. They all have something unique going for them. They also all have their drawbacks. I'm needing a place I feel I can go to, get to know the baristas enough that they will soon be privy to my own hot drink sensation: The British Imperialism in a Cup.

We'll talk about that in another post :p

Today, dear readers, I feel I may have found a suitable substitute. See that mug at the top of the post? That sits atop a random table in said coffee shop where Jon and I sat in mismatched leather chairs and wrote for a good hour and a half. It's a big, open place, painted grey and black. They play 1940's and 50's music. The barista was dressed like a barber from 1933. A bizarre painting of The Ramones hung in the hall and the bathrooms were easy to find. It's quirky without being pretentious. It's moody without being a haven for hipsters. The Earl Grey didn't suck!

I liked it, Dear Reader! In fact, I liked it a lot. Bonus points: it's 1.5 miles from my house. In fine weather I will be walking.

I have not established true normalcy yet, Dear Reader, but the tentative courting stage of Coffee Shop to Write In has begun. Here's hoping!