Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: The Mansfield Statue

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!

I'm not going completely wordless this week because I wanted to share a little more information about this photo.  The statue that appears in this photo is of Mike and Maureen Mansfield.  You can read more about Mr. Mansfield here.  My personal memory of this man came from when I was in elementary school doing a report on Japan.  I had written to Mr. Mansfield because he was the Ambassador to Japan.  And, I felt so special because he wrote me back!  I don't know if it was actually him that wrote the letter, but the fact that I even got a response was such an amazing experience.  I think I have the letter somewhere.  I really should see if I can find it.

For more Wordless Wednesday selections, click here.

Have you had any similar experiences?  How about any special moments from your childhood that took you by surprise like this?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Maunder: A Dream Within a Dream

Have you ever had a dream that you wanted to become a reality?  How about a dream that once you began working towards it, that it simply was not what you thought it would be?  Or, ever had to change your dreams because life throws you curve balls?

When I was younger, I had this dream of being a woman that would break the glass ceiling in the business world.  Through education and experience, I discovered that this path in life was not meant for me.  I switched my career path to higher education and that is where I have been for more than a decade.  Over the last few months, I have begun really thinking about my dreams ... and if they agree with my career path and goals.  Should dreams and goals align?  Are dreams achievable, something to realistically work towards?  And, are they worth it in the end?

Deep thoughts for a weekly ramblings here on the blog, but it is something that has really been on my mind lately ... a LOT.  My little family has moved around numerous times over the years and now that we are potentially in a long-term home, I find myself pondering these deep thoughts more and more.  I am not getting any younger and there is still so much that I want to do with my life. I could give you the long list, a bucket list of sorts, but how does this fit into the reality of day-to-day living?

I want to believe that I can still try to make these dreams a reality, to do it ALL.  BUT, can I?  Do I really have the time or energy?  Or, should I make the time, find the energy?  I simply don't know.

I will end all this chatter now that it as clear as mud!  And instead, I will leave you with what all these ramblings makes me think of in the literary world ... one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite authors.

A Dream Within a Dream 
by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow! 
And, in parting from you now, 
Thus much let me avow — 
You are not wrong, who deem 
That my days have been a dream; 
Yet if hope has flown away 
In a night, or in a day, 
In a vision, or in none, 
Is it therefore the less gone? 
 All that we see or seem 
Is but a dream within a dream. 

I stand amid the roar 
Of a surf-tormented shore, 
And I hold within my hand 
Grains of the golden sand — 
How few! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep, 
While I weep — while I weep! 
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp? 
O God! can I not save 
One from the pitiless wave? 
Is all that we see or seem 
But a dream within a dream?

What about your dreams?  Have you seen your dreams realized?  Do you reach for your dreams?  Or, do you feel that life is really "but a dream within a dream?"

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Literary Link Love: November 2014

Once again, I'm a little late in getting my social media links posted.  The list is short again this month, but the links are worthy!

Ever wonder which children's book character you are?  I do ALL the time!  After taking this little quiz, I got my answer:  The Little Prince.  Now, I should really read that book!

This is a list of "should reads" from parents to their children.  I would also say it is a great list of gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Speaking of gift ideas . . . have you seen these literary posters from Postertext?  If not, check them out.  A few of them have made my wish list for the holidays!

Lastly, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the month from one of my favorite authors . . . Books really are almost like flying!

I have so many great links saved to share with all of you.  Now, I just need to remember to share them on a more regular basis!

What were some of your favorite links or articles from the month?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Zooming In

Last week, I skipped Wordless Wednesday, but I am back this week with a little close-up!

For more Wordless Wednesday selections, click here.

Want to venture a guess of what you are looking at?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Maunder: November in Review

I cannot believe that it is already December!  With another month gone by, it is time to wrap it up here on the blog as well.  But first, let's do a few check-ins for some November events.

Revival Readalong
I participated in the readalong for Revival by Stephen King.  I liked the story, but I must admit that it is far from one of my King favorites.  I will be posting a full review in the near future, so we can chat more about it then.

National Novel Writing Month
Yep, I participated in NaNoWriMo again this year and sadly, I did not even come close to reaching my goal of 50,000 words.  But, here's the thing . . . I'm okay with that.  I reached a higher word count than my attempt last year and I feel more committed to my story than I ever have been.  My problem is that I had a few other things come up this last month.  One was a project of compiling a family reunion book, outlining some genealogy and sharing some favorite memories.  The other was to write a newsletter for a volunteer organization that I am a part of.  I think that if I counted all of my words that I put to paper this month, then I may have actually come close to the goal.  With both of these projects wrapping up, I will be getting back to my story in the near future!

Thankfully Reading Weekend
Over the weekend, I also participated in Thankfully Reading Weekend hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves.  I completed Revival by Stephen King and started The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  At the end of the weekend, I was able to read 344 pages.  I'm happy with the amount of reading and relaxing that I was able to squeeze in.

Now, let's get to the monthly wrap-up . . .

The TOP POST for the month was twofold.  The one with the most hits was my Wordless Wednesday:  A Little Pretty; however, the one with the most comments was my Audiobook Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

The TOP PIC for the month was this tree top with a skiff of snow.  Sadly, I realized I only posted four pictures for the month, so I will be shooting for more pics in December.

The list of BOOKS READ during the month include:

  1. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  4. Revival by Stephen King

And, last but not least, I want to check in briefly on my Goodreads Challenge for 2014.  My goal for the year was to read a minimum of 75 books.  At this moment, I have read 74.  I think that I might actually make my goal this year!  Woohoo!!

How was your November?  Are you on track for your 2014 reading goals?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankfully Reading Weekend

I am diving into another readathon, the Thankfully Reading Weekend hosted by the fabulous Jenn's Bookshelves.  I am looking forward to this long weekend, expected to be filled with snow storms, family, and lots of good food.

Thursday will actually be the first Thanksgiving that we have celebrated with family (other than the usual four of us), so I am not expecting a lot of reading to take place the first couple of days.  That is, unless the storms keep the family away.  However, I am reserving the whole weekend for reading (and of course, some writing for NaNoWriMo).  I am definitely in need of this time with stories!

So, what is on my reading list?  I am planning on finishing up Revive Me by Stephen King and maybe get in a bit of audiobook listening (my current audio is I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga).  After that, here are my possibilities . . .

A couple of these books are selections for upcoming book club reads or readalongs.  The rest are just for fun.  Maybe I will get lucky enough and get a number of them done!

Are you participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend?  What is on your book stack for the weekend?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Maunder: NaNoWriMo Check-In

Another week has come and gone, and I thought I would share a quick writing update for the infamous NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  Let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.


The good part is that I am really liking where this story is going.  Some unexpected things have come out as I write.  I find myself thinking about my story frequently, wondering where I can take it next.  I have lots of plans for the characters.  I am having fun simply exploring the fiction and commiserating with my awesome writer friends every week.


The bad part is that I have had two projects come up that have taken my time away from writing.  The first is a book for a family reunion that I really should have had done two months ago.  Obviously, I didn't and I am feeling the pressure to get it completed before the holidays.  The second project is a newsletter for a little organization that I am a part of.  I was recently charged with the task of rejuvenating the newsletter and I am trying to get it out before Thanksgiving.  Thankfully, I am almost done and just need to have one thing finalized before I can complete.  Unfortunately, that one thing is not in my hands, so I am currently on hold.


The ugly part is my word count.  I honestly do not have my current word count.  I can tell you that it is more than the last time I checked in.  I can tell you that I am FAR from the 50,000 goal.  I am going to continue chugging away as time allows, and I will share my final word count once the month is up (probably in next week's monthly round-up post).  You can expect low numbers.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?  How is your writing going these last days of the month?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Audiobook Review)

For my frequent readers, you know that we moved AGAIN this last summer.  That meant I was in the car with my kids for three days.  The kids do not have electronics, so that translates to me having to get creative in keeping the kids entertained while on the road.  And, of course, my first thought was to get an audiobook to help pass the time.  The choice was really no contest.  I had to give Percy Jackson a try!

The Lightning Thief is the first of Rick Riordan's series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  We get to meet Percy and his good friend, Grover.  We are there when Percy discovers that his father is the god of the sea, Poseidon.  We stand back and observe while he is accused of theft by Zeus himself and finds himself fighting creatures he only read about , yet never believed existed.  And, we fall in love with this kid prone to all sorts of trouble!

The Lightning Thief was fun, adventurous, and left us all laughing.  My son requested that we listen more and more, and we were sad when the story came to an end.  Of course, we went out and bought the next book in the series to fill that void!

On another note, we also watched the movie after we were settled into our new home.  Though some parts are similar, many things were also changed.  All of us were a bit disappointed, but still enjoyed the movie overall.  It was just another case of the book being better!

Have you had the pleasure of meeting Percy Jackson?  What was your favorite part of the story?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: The Lobby of the Capital

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!

This is another shot from the photography workshop that I attended back in August.  It was taken in the capital building in Helena, Montana, peering at the lobby from the second floor.

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out the blog.

Do you see those starbursts?!?  What else catches your eye in this shot?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Maunder: Revival Readalong

This last week, I finished up a couple of different books . . . Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  And, since the timing was perfect, and I have a hard time passing up a new Stephen King, I decided to jump in on a readalong for his new novel, Revival.

Here are just a few notes about the Revival Readalong . . .

  • It will run November 11-November 30, and is hosted by one of my fave bloggers, Ti of Book Chatter.
  • Most of the conversation will take place on Twitter using the #ReviveMe2014 hashtag.  
  • The chatter will be completely informal.  No set questions.  No set posting dates.  My kind of readalong at this point in time!
I am not very far into the book at this time, but I will say that the opening paragraphs are some of my favorite.  I can't wait to read further into the story!

For the full readalong details, be sure to hop on over to the official announcement post.

I will be back next week to share with you more reading and writing updates.  Until then . . . 

What are you reading this week?  Any King fans wanting to join in on this readalong with us?