Sunday Bookends: Little white lies, Three Amigos, and it is time for Christmas books

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays, I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Love and A Little White Lie last night after working on it for a few weeks now. It didn’t take me this long because it was bad, but because I kept getting interrupted by writing projects, books, or just the everyday weirdness of life.

I will be honest that I almost bailed on this book part way through because the one character was so annoying to me and because the middle dragged a little bit. I really wanted to reach into the book and slap the one character. He was so whiney. Argh! But the book was really worth finishing because the writing was so good, the main character was so complex, and many of the supporting characters were loveable.

In case anyone reading this is interested, here is the description:

There’s a lot of irony in hitting rock bottom

After a heartbreak leaves her reeling, January Sanders is open to anything–including moving into a cabin on her aunt’s wedding-venue property and accepting a temporary position at her aunt’s church despite being a lifelong skeptic of faith. Choosing to keep her doubts to herself, she’s determined to give her all to supporting Grace Community’s overworked staff while helping herself move on.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting the church’s handsome and charming guitarist. It’s a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn’t believe in.

Only this time, keeping her secret isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Especially when she’s constantly running into her aunt’s landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past-and-present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she’d rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds that can’t coexist, can January find the healing that’s eluded her, or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?

I am finishing a book for an author friend this week (By Broken Birch Bay by Jenny Knipfer) and then I plan to focus on Christmas books, including Shepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon, America’s Favorite Christmastown by Dawn Klinge, and A Highland Christmas: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton. If I can find a paperback copy, I’d also like to read some of Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery, if it is a real book and not just some knock-off Amazon thing. Has anyone heard of it?

Little Miss and I are reading Paddington before bed and Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac during the day.

The Boy is reading Sea of Monsters, which is a Percy Jackson book and yes, during the week I am making him finish The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Husband is reading Kagan The Damned by Jonathan Maberry.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week we had a good school week during which I actually felt like I had fun, even if the children didn’t.

We didn’t do much else during the week, other than visit my mom on Thursday and grocery shop on Friday. Our shopping trip was delayed by an issue with the van that I thought was going to cost a lot, but turned out could be fixed by my dad dumping three quarts of oil in the engine. In other words, I don’t pay attention to the lights on the dash of my car.

This week’s weather was a mix of mess, wind, and cold. Still no snow, which was fine with me.  

This next week we don’t have a ton planned and if it’s going to be as cold as it has been, I am fine with that too.

What We watched/are Watching

Last Sunday, The Boy and I watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while The Husband took Little Miss to a train ride with Santa.

Later in the week we watched The Three Amigos, an old movie from the 80s with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase.

It is a movie I used to watch with some friends of mine, probably when I was 9 or 10 and it was so weird and funny to watch it again all these years later. There was at least a couple of off-color moments, but for the most part the movie is clean.

The movie is about three actors who portray a trio of heroes called the Three Amigos in silent movies. A woman who is looking for someone to rescue her town from an evil man who is terrorizing it sees the movie, thinks it is a newsreel and sends them a telegram, asking them to come save her town. The telegraph operator decides to edit the telegram so she can afford to send it and, unfortunately, the actors think they are being hired for an acting job. Hilarity ensues from there as “they” say.

During the movie, there is a scene where Martin Short and Steve Martin sing a song called “My Little Buttercup,” which I had forgotten all about until it started. I used to sing the song to my mom and dad after my friends and I watched the movie and they would laugh so hard because I looked so ridiculous. I’m leaving it here for your viewing pleasure.

Little Miss’s impression of the movie: “Nope. Too much fantasy. Not enough reality.”

Sigh. If you knew what movies she watches, you’d really laugh at that comment.

There is a scene in the movie where the villain has a discussion about the word plethora and what it means. As I watched it I remembered that this is where I learned the word and from then on kept finding ways to use it in sentences. I still find a plethora of ways to use the word in sentences. Get it? I still find a plethora – yeah, okay. You get it.

Anyhow, later in the week, I started to watch You’ve Got Mail then realized that I don’t really like that movie because the two main characters are lying to their boyfriend and girlfriend and chatting to each other behind their backs. It is essentially a movie about cheaters, even if parts of it are cute.

I clicked off that and saw The Bookshop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart and then realized something I didn’t realize before. You’ve Got Mail is based on this 1940 movie.

As usual Hollywood is not original because I also started to watch A Man Called Ove this week and it is a Swedish movie that is being released in the U.S. under the title A Man Called Otto starring Tom Hanks. From what I can see, the American movie has been recreated frame for frame. I enjoyed what I did watch of A Man Called Ove, even though I would consider it a dark comedy and those aren’t usually my thing. I stopped it because I decided I should watch something a little happier since I was home by myself. I plan to finish the movie this week.

Anyhow, back to The Bookshop Around the Corner – it’s supposed to take place in Hungary, but only one person has a Hungarian accent. The rest either have New York accents or British ones. Besides that odd glitch, it is a very good movie about a man who is writing to a woman and later learns that the woman is someone he actually knows in real life.

I very much enjoyed the movie and was glad I watched that instead of You’ve Got Mail.

Also this week I watched The Muppets Christmas Carol as part of the ‘Tis the Season Cinema with Erin from Still Life with Cracker Crumbs and Katja_137 from Breath of Hallelujah.

They both had such interesting posts about the movie. I loved how Katja_137 threw in so much trivia about it, including an edited scene I didn’t even know existed.

You can read her post here: https://breathofhallelujah.com/2022/12/02/the-muppet-christmas-carol-tis-the-season-cinema/comment-page-1/#comment-56

And Erin’s here: https://crackercrumblife.com/2022/12/01/tis-the-season-cinema-the-muppets-christmas-carol/



What I’m Writing

I’ve been working on a short story that I will start sharing on the blog Friday and run for 12 days after that. It will feature the characters from Spencer Valley, including Molly, Alex, Robert, Annie, Franny, and maybe a little bit of Jason and Ellie and Matt and Liz.

Here is a little sneak peek for those of you who might like to read along:

Cold bit at Robert Tanner’s skin, stung his lungs, and made him wish he could stay inside under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Instead, he stepped further into the cold, pulling his winter cap down further on his head.

Between the house and the barn snow swirled wildly, darkening the sky and making it feel like dusk instead of late afternoon.

Inside the barn it was warm, and he was grateful for it, even if his arrival did mean he’d have to start cleaning out the cows sleeping area and preparing the second milking of the day.

Truthfully, his mind was far away from the tasks of the day. His thoughts were consumed with another project he hoped to have complete by Christmas – a gift for his wife of 30 years.

On the blog this week I shared:

What I’m Listening To

I have not been slowing down and listening to anything except for some worship guitar music while I write. I hope to remedy that this week and listen to some more music. Some nights my daughter and I listen to the family hour on our local Christian radio station, which features Adventures in Odyssey and other Christian radio dramas from 7 to  8 p.m.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Pretty Christmas lights, making pies, and a lot of Christmas movies and shows

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Last week we had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I was so glad to be there with my family after spending last year’s in a hospital room, alone, with a burly nurse who was really nice but not who I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with. The ambulance drivers and ER nurses and doctors were nice too, but again…not family. 

This year we had a small gathering at my parents and it was the best thing ever – for me at least. I couldn’t stop feeling giddy inside because I was simply there. Little things that usually annoy me – okay, fine. Some of those things still annoyed me but they annoyed me less because I was alive to be with my family! Whoot!

Earlier in the week we went over to help my mom make an apple pie for The Husband’s birthday (he’d rather have my mom’s apple pie than cake any day – the same as our son) and Thanksgiving. We made two apple pies and figured we’d have the second one for Thanksgiving and skip the pumpkin pie since there was only six of us. My husband is given one whole  pie for himself.

Dad decided we needed a pumpkin pie though and made one Thanksgiving morning.

On The Husband’s birthday we visited a local Festival of Lights, per his request. This is a light display set up at a golf course about a 35 minute drive from our house. We had visited it in 2020, missed it last year because we were sick and then recovering so this year The Husband said that’s what he wanted to do for his birthday.

The display is massive with trees wrapped in lights and various displays set up on the grounds. You drive through it slowly and take it all in. I wish it could be done twice but, alas, they charge $30 for one drive through. This year it was completely worth it as they had added even more to the display than when we visited in 2020.

I invited our neighbor and her granddaughters (friends of Little Miss) to come with us and it made the night even more rich and fun. The giggles and squeals of the little girls in the back was a little overwhelming at times but also wonderful to hear.

We encountered a dead deer in the road in the other lane on the way to the display. On the way back our neighbor, who is in her late 70s and gets up very early in the morning, dozed off as she said she probably would. She was maybe out for ten minutes but we thought she was still out when suddenly she said, “Don’t forget that dead deer up here!”

We all about wet ourselves because we thought she was asleep. Luckily, someone had already moved the dead deer out of the roadway because it was a large deer and missing it would have been hard to do.

Friday was a lounge-around-the-house day for the kids since they I had given them the rest of the week off school. Little Miss had a friend over. They decorated our tree for us, which we didn’t expect to happen but it was nice to have that job done for us.

Saturday The Husband and The Boy went to see Wakanda Forever (Black Panther 2) and Little Miss played with her friend again.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I haven’t been reading as much as I want to be so I am still – yes, still – on the same books I’ve been on for a month now.

I hope to finish Love and A Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray this week so I can continue on some Christmas books, including Shepherd’s Abiding, which I am reading off and on.

I am taking a break from The Father Brown collection for now.

I’d like to read or finish the following books for December:

Shepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon

By Broken Birch Bay by Jenny Knipfer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Christmas in Absaroka County by Craig Johnson

And

America’s Favorite Christmastown by Dawn Klinge

Knowing what a slow reader I am, I doubt this list will be accomplished, but we shall see.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week I watched another Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie, White Christmas, Brokenwood Mysteries, a show called Still Standing, the movie Enchanted, and started the follow up movie to A Christmas Story on HBO Max.

What I’m Writing

I am working on a short story that I hope to share on the blog before Christmas. It will feature Alex and Molly, Robert and Anne especially, but also some of the other characters from Spencer Valley. That’s all I can tell you.

I’ve also started another book and would love to finish it in time for a spring release.

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To


 I’m not actually listening to a lot right now. Anyone have any suggestions?

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Snow returns, Charles Bronson movies and fathers in my reading

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I have started my annual reading for Shepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon. I love this sweet story about Father Timothy Kavanaugh who finds a nativity set that he wants to repaint and fix up for his beloved wife Cynthia. Sigh. It’s just such a sweet story.

(If you haven’t read Mitford before, Father Tim is Episcopalian so he is allowed to marry. *wink*)

I am also continuing with the Father Brown Collection by G.K. Chesteron, which is a collection of short stories. I’m a mood reader so I read a story and then switch to a different book for a bit.

I’ve also started Love and A Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray and am enjoying it so far. It’s about a woman who has taken a job at a church but doesn’t feel she belongs there. It is the first book in a three book series.

At night I have been reading Paddington Races Ahead with Little Miss.

I am also reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain off and on during the week with The Boy, who is reading it for school.

The Husband is reading…. Oops. I forgot to ask before I scheduled this and he’s already asleep.

What’s Been Occurring

I rambled about what has been occurring on a post from Friday and not much more has happened since then. In that post, I shared that we had our first official snowfall earlier in the week, only a couple of days after it was in the low 70s. Last night we had more snow, but only about an inch and a half.

This week we are looking forward to celebrating The Husband’s birthday by attending a festival of lights display about 45 minutes from us and then a quiet Thanksgiving with my parents. We are also looking to five days off from school since the kids seemed to be burned out on lessons. Yes, already burned out. This early in the school year.  

What We watched/are Watching

The Husband and I watched two Charles Bronson films this week: Mr. Majestyk and Red Sun. They were both very good. Red Sun featured a bit of female nudity that we weren’t expecting and Mr. Majestyk featured swearing that was tame compared to the movies of today but still swearing. That’s just a disclaimer for anyone who is sensitive to those aspects of movies.

I also watched two Hallmark Christmas movies. Sign, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas made me cry and Trading Christmas made me smile. I own Trading Christmas because it is just a light movie I enjoy watching. Both are on Amazon.

I also watched The Christmas Carol Goes Wrong for the ‘Tis The Season Cinema feature with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs.

This week Erin and I will be watching White Christmas and posting our impression of it on Saturday. Please feel free to join us and post your impressions as well.


What I’m Writing

I’ve started writing a new book while I am editing Shores of Mercy, but I am not ready to share it yet and not sure I will share it on the blog or not this time. It’s going to be different than my previous books, in some ways, and it is not part of The Spencer Valley Chronicles, or any series. I can tell you that the main character is male, over the age of 50, and it will be one point of view, third person. I’ll keep all of you updated.

This week on the blog I shared:

A Chat and a Cup of Tea or Something Warm

‘Tis The Season Cinema: A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong

Special Fiction … Wednesday? Mercy’s Shore Final Chapters

Educationally Speaking: Fall Homeschool Update

What I’m Listening To

While I am watching Christmas movies early, I haven’t yet started Christmas music and won’t do that until December, most likely. When I do it will be the Michaels – Smith and Buble.

I found a Youtube video of worship music being played on a guitar that I’ve been listening to while I write.



Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: friend visits, warm weather, and Christmas movies

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I have been reading a collection of Father Brown stories by G.K. Chesterton and have been enjoying them for the most part. The third one I read went off on a weird ramble for several pages that had nothing to do with the story I thought but these were written in the early 1900s so I cut Chesterton some slack.

I have also been reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain with The Boy for school and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with Little Miss.

I’ll probably start a new fiction book this week, but I’m not sure which one yet. I have a few I’ve read the first few pages of an am liking so I just need to pick one. The Seven and a half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has caught my attention so far.



What’s Been Occurring

This past week Little Miss and I were both surprised when her little friends who moved to Texas a year and a half ago, came back to stay.

Little Miss had a blast visiting with them during the week. We were still able to finish schoolwork but it was pushed off to the evenings to they could play together.

The friends are signed up back into school now so we won’t have our school days interrupted as much.

She was able to visit with some other friends yesterday.

We didn’t do a lot last week other than school. We had been doing game nights once a week with my parents but I had congestion and they were doing other things most days so we will have to have a game night another time.

The weather was oddly warm all week and then today it dropped into the 40s and it is literally downhill from here. It’s like we were in spring and then drastically plunged into winter. Our sinuses are definitely going to suffer even more this week. As I was writing this actual snow started to fall. Yuck.

What We watched/are Watching

This week I watched light and fluffy stuff including a couple of Hallmark movies even though I am not the biggest fan of Hallmark movies. I do like the movies based on the short-lived show Signed, Sealed, Delivered which follows a group of employees in the Dead Letter Office of the United States Postal Service. The premise – of them solving mysteries surrounding lost letters or packages — is a bit far fetched but the overall stories are uplifting and encouraging.

Earlier in the week I watched The Man Who Invented Christmas as part of the ‘Tis the Season Cinema feature Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I started this week. We are watching Christmas movies from now until the week before Christmas. Next up is A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong which you can find here on YouTube:

This special was on the BBC and is part of a series of specials and shows about a theater group who is always messing up or somehow ruining their shows with misspoken words or mishaps.

What I’m Writing

I didn’t share much on the blog this week other than the last chapters of Mercy’s Shore (Shores of Mercy).

I had to add a quick chapter to Shores of Mercy and also started a couple other stories to see which one sticks in my brain for me to continue it.

I did share a blog post about The Man Who Invented Christmas.

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to a lot of Family Life, our local Christian radio station.


Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: The Boy turning 16, Mary Berry, and warmer weather

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays, I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

This week I finished Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo for a book tour. It was okay, but I was disappointed halfway through, unfortunately, and need a break from book tour books for now. Those are books I don’t have the benefit of abandoning for a different one.

I switched over to GK Chesterton’s Father Brown stories and am really enjoying it so far. Many of these stories were the basis for the British show, both the original 70s series and the more modern one.

I have a few choices to start as novels next, including The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, Miss Julia Knows A Thing Or Two by Ann B. Ross, a Longmire book, or a Joe Pickett book, and Criss Cross by C.C. Warren.

The Husband is reading Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard.

The Boy is reading a Percy Jackson book.

Little Miss and I are still reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at night.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week I thought I had caught a cold, but it appears to be sinus drainage from the weather change this week which included temps jumping up, especially over the weekend. I was better yesterday during the day but I continued to cough from what felt like mucous draining down the back of my throat during the night. I think if the weather would stabilize, that would help my sinuses a lot. What I am thankful for is that it hasn’t affected Little Miss like it usually does.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we are celebrating my son turning 16. He had friends over yesterday and today. We will visit my parents today and are cooking steaks on the grill — a treat since steaks have been so expensive. Yesterday Little Miss and I helped my mom make two apple pies for The Boy who is not a fan of cake but loves his grandmother’s apple pie.


Tomorrow he gets a day off school and we will celebrate some more.

What We watched/are Watching

I failed at No News November so far but hope to do better this week and plan to use shows like Classic Mary Berry to help stay away from news as we move into elections here in the United States.

I won’t completely stay off news, especially Wednesday, but I will be taking a longer break.

If you don’t know who Mary Berry is, she is a cook from the U.K. who might be well-known to fans of The Great British Baking Show, which airs on PBS in the U.S. I had to Google how old she is because during one episode she said she’d been cooking one recipe for 60 years and she learned it in college. It turns out she is 87 and her full name is Dame Mary Rosa Alleyne Hunnings DBE. I know this particular series must have been filmed years ago because there is no way she is 87 in this series. I looked it up and she was 83. Good grief. She ages well. I read that her mom died when she was 105 so it sounds like Mary could have many more years of creating cooking shows.

Part of the time I am confused while watching her cook because they either use a different name for the ingredient over there or I’ve absolutely never heard of a particular ingredient.

I didn’t watch much else this past week, but hope to watch some more old movies, etc. this week.



What I’m Writing

I am currently editing Shores of Mercy and hope to start another story, outside the Spencer Valley Chronicles, this week. I have actually started four other books, but I have to decide which one I am going to continue to work on to release next.

On the blog this week I shared:

What I’m Listening To:

This week I listened to various praise and worship songs.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Radio shows and stations, fun books and classics, and cooking shows

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Each evening I look around our living room and count heads. Not the heads of children, but pets. I make sure that both our cats and our puppy are inside, safe and sound.

It makes me smile when I look around and they are all there, usually curled up in a dog bed (that’s often our old cat) or a recliner (taking up space where we could sit).

This week I have been trying to remind myself that I get to have this life, especially when I have to do something I don’t really want to do — like drive Little Miss to gymnastics or walk her to the trampoline up the hill, or go get groceries. There is a lot about my life I am blessed to be able to do. I’m blessed, after last year, to still be here.

Our local Christian radio station has had a family hour from 7 to 8 p.m. on weekdays for more than 20-years. They play Adventures in Odyssey and follow it with Down Gilead Lane, Lamplighter Theater,  The Pond, or Animal Jam. These are all children’s Christian radio dramas produced by Focus on the Family.

Little Miss and I started listening to the last half hour on the way home from Awana a month ago but I would forget to turn it on the radio at home. I finally put a reminder on my phone to turn the radio on so Friday night Little Miss was so excited and ran around the house as I turned it on, shutting off all the lights to make it “more like a long,  boring car ride.”

We huddled under my huge, fuzzy blanket and listened to the stories, imagining what was happening, which was nicer than her playing video games or watching cartoons that are full of subjects I am not too sure about.

This radio station has been a real blessing to our family, especially me this week when I had to drive on a road I am not comfortable driving in the daylight, let alone at night, three times in one night. I turned the station on and listened to encouraging Christian music all the way to take Little Miss to gymnastics, then back, then back to the same place to pick up my husband (who was waiting for someone to unlock our van, but that person never came). I’ve heard people say that turning on this radio station is liking reconnecting with a long lost friend and they are right. Much like God never changes, this station has been there for almost my entire life when I’ve needed it the most. If you are ever in the area, it is Family Life out of Bath, N.Y. and they have transmitters throughout Upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania.

They also offer music streams on their webpage (https://www.familylife.org/).

Temperatures have been dropping very fast at night but we have been dragging our feet on turning the heat on because of how high the oil prices are. When it hit 28 one night this week, I decided we are going to have to break down and turn it on.

What We’ve Been Reading

This week I am finishing up Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo, which I am enjoying so far.

Here is a description:

Mishaps Abound as Second Chance Ranch Struggles to Get Its Start
 
Grab a lap dog to cuddle and relax into a fun small-town mystery as a new dog rescue project turns into a three-ring circus of calamities in book 2 of the Gone to the Dogs series.
 
Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening.

More in the Gone to the Dogs Series:
Book 1 – Off the Chain by Janice Thompson
Book 2 – Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Book 3 – Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Janice Thompson

I am also reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because The Boy is also reading it for English LIT.

After Dog Days of Summer I hope to dive into (in no particular order):

The Father Brown Mysteries by G.K. Chesterton;

Criss Cross by C.C.  Warrens;

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz;

Miss Julia Knows A Thing or Two by Ann B. Ross

At night I am reading The Light, The Witch, and The Wardrobe with Little Miss. I haven’t read this book all the way through since I was a kid so I am excited to read it with her.

The Husband hasn’t — gasped — started a new book yet.

What I’ve Been Listening To

There are so many Christian musicians with new albums out including:

Cody Carnes,

Steven Curtis Chapman

Anne Wilson

and

Mercy Me

I’ll be listening to a lot of new music this week.

What We’ve Been Watching/Watched

Little Miss and  both enjoy cooking or baking shows so she asked for the Great British Baking Show, but it wasn’t showing up on the streaming services we have so we opted for Mary Berry’s show called Classic Mary Berry.

Little Miss was absolutely delighted when it started and said, “I love these shows!”

The one downside was the commercials. But we had fun watching Mary whip up a variety of dishes. I’ve never had a poached egg, have you? And if I haven’t eaten one, then I’ve never cooked one. Have you?

I also watched part of the Dove Awards and hope to watch more later:

The Husband and I also watched A New Kind of Love with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

What I’m Writing

I am finishing up Shores of Mercy and excited to start a new book while I let the book set for a couple of weeks and then start editing and rewrites. The book is up for pre-order on Amazon HERE (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BK5CQDVZ)

This week on the blog I shared:

Now it is your turn. What are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Fall colors fading and a movie week

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to

What’s Been Occurring

As I started this post, my cat, Pixel, is asleep in the dog bed (because it’s obviously not for the dog in her mind), snoring away. Yes, literally snoring. I often find myself looking around the room for the source of the snore and finding her as if I keep forgetting that she snores. There is a reason I call her my spirit animal. We’re both fatter than we should be, both snore softly (sometimes louder) and both have sinus issues.

We are also both moody, but that’s a story for another time.

As I continue the post, Saturday afternoon, the wind is blowing hard outside, ripping the last of the brightly colored leaves from the trees and scattering them across the yard, reminding me Autumn has been a beautiful yet short season this year and soon cold will settle in for good for at least four months. I’m not ready for winter, as I never am. I want to hold on to the crisp autumn weather with its mixed days of sun and rain, brilliant colors splashed across the hillside, and leaves crunching under my feet.

We were able to see a lot of the changing foliage Friday, before the wind moved in, as we traveled an hour away to Wilkes-barre (right by Scranton) to visit a mini-Build-A-Bear store for Little Miss to use a gift card she’d received. We traveled some backroads, cutting down on our travel time and adding to the beauty of the journey. It isn’t a trip we’d probably take often due to the twists and turns of the road, how it took us up to higher elevation then back down into valleys, which would leave those roads an icy or snowy mess during the winter months.

I took my camera and my phone, but the camera card malfunctioned, and the phone was barely charged, leaving me frustrated as I couldn’t grab as many photos as I had planned to. Luckily, The Husband let me use his phone for some photos and then he ran into a Wal-Mart and grabbed a spare card for me. That let me take some more photos, but I was still kicking myself for all the missed opportunities earlier in the day.

What I’ve Been Reading

Last week I abandoned the Donald Westlake book, High Adventure, at least for now, because I realized I hated all the characters and didn’t care what happened to them. I may pick it back up again this week because I am curious to see what happens.

This week I am reading The Do Over by Sharon Peterson which I may or may not finish depending on how risqué it gets since it is a mainstream romance and I usually read clean romances.

I am also reading You Are The Reason by Mary Felkins.

Little Miss and I are reading Paddington At Work at night and will be starting a book about Booker T. Washington for school this week.

The Husband is reading Q-Squared by Peter Davidson.

What I/We’ve Been Watching

This week I watched The Baroness and the Butler from 1938 on YouTube. It starred William Powell and a French actress who simply went by Annabella. It was the story of a butler in the house of the Prime Minister of Hungary who gets elected to parliament in the party that opposes his employer.

There is, of course, romance involved.

The Boy and I also watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the Spooky Season Cinema feature I am doing with Erin of Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs.

Then we watched The Emperor’s New Groove for nostalgic reasons for him, since he watched the  movie as a young kid.

Last night The Husband and I watched Patriot Games, which I had never seen before and he saw many years ago.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been steadily working on Shores of Mercy so I can start the full edits and get it to editors in November and release in January.

This week on the blog I shared:

Now It’s Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.


Sunday Bookends: Birthday, fall is coming – oh, it’s here, and cat books

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

Last week I finished The Cat Who Wasn’t There by Lilian Jackson Braun.

Description:

Persuaded by his beloved companion to join her in a group tour of Scotland, Qwill expects to revel in his Scottish heritage while keeping Polly Duncan safe from the Pickax Prowler. Instead, his trip is cut short when a thief swipes a suitcase, the bus driver disappears, and a fellow tourist is found dead, all in the same day.

Although the town of Pickax is in a tizzy over the recent events, Qwill has other, more puzzling worries on his mind. Who is the fellow still following Polly? Why is Koko licking Qwill’s photographs of Scotland and tackling him on the apple barn stairs? Upon investigating the secret life of the deceased and the bizarre behavior of one of the tour’s members, Qwill’s sensitive moustache tells him one thing: more trouble is on the way.


I then started Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan. I’m reading it via a library book and as many of you know, I have a library book phobia because I am always afraid I will dent it or mark it up. So I tried reading the library book without moving anywhere, but I leaned up to get something and bent the pages slightly. It freaked me out so bad that I looked up on Amazon how much it would cost to get my own copy. It turns out it was on Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it through there and I’m taking the library book back out of fear of ruining it. I know. I have issues.

I’m also listening to The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold on Audible.

The Boy was reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (yes, still) but then Little Miss left some slime around that hardened on it so the book was damaged. This became a bit of a family crisis because The Husband said he’s owned the book since he was 15 and it won’t be the same thing if I buy him a new copy. Sigh.

The Husband is reading Raising Steam by Terry Pratchet.

Little Miss and I are finishing up a Paddington book we hadn’t read before (Paddington On Top) and during the day we are reading The Year of Miss Agnes, which we might have finished last week if I hadn’t lost the book. Argh!



What’s Been Occurring

The nights are getting colder and in the second half of this week temperatures didn’t get past 65 during the day. It looks like it will be the same next week. Our leaves are turning much slower than I thought they were going to but it looks like we might have some bright colors in October.  

My birthday was Monday, and it was cold and rainy and I was excited. I know. I’m weird. I literally giggled with glee because I knew it meant I could read a book, under a blanket, while it rained.

I opened a book and watched a Thin Man movie. I literally did nothing Monday and making myself do nothing was fun. That night we all watched The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

The day before my birthday we went to my parents where they made me a delicious lunch of beef ribs, homemade onion potatoes and cabbage from my dad’s garden. Yum!

My dad also gave me some sunflowers from his garden and my mom gave me a check and told me I couldn’t spend it on the kids or groceries like I usually do. It was very hard because I had a couple pieces of curriculum I wanted to get, but in the end I bought myself a booklight, a journal, a paperback of one of The Cat Who books, and a new cover for my Kindle.

I wrote in my recent Randomly Thinking post that our kitten is a killer. Both my cats are actually, so imagine our surprise on Sunday when The Husband and The Boy saw a mouse running out from under our stove. Hmmmm…. The cats can apparently kill rodents outside the house, but not inside.

Wednesday night, though, our older cat, Pixel was lying in wait by the couch because the mouse ran under the couch Tuesday night after it scampered all over the living room, trying to get away from her. We still haven’t seen a sign that she’s caught it, since The Boy said she was still looing for it Friday night.

What We watched/are Watching

I already mentioned I watched a Thin Man movie for my birthday. I watched it all by my little ole’ self. It was The Thin Man Goes Home and I don’t remember seeing it before.

I also mentioned we watched The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain. If you haven’t seen the movie before, it’s really enjoyable and fun.

Last night The Boy and I watched Benny and Joon with Mary Stuart Masterson and Johnny Depp. It’s a movie I remembered from my teen years and it was my first intro to Johnny Depp.

Earlier in the week we watched Shaun of the Dead, which I wrote about for my Spooky Season Cinema Post.

What I’m Writing

I’m continuing to work on The Shores of Mercy. I’d hoped to have the first draft finished by the end of September but it looks like it will be mid-October now.

Last week on the blog I shared:



Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: The last swim, the passing of a queen, and a variety of books

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Junkyard Dogs, A Walt Longmire Mystery, by Craig Johnson yesterday. It was hard to put down, it was constant action, as usual. It is the sixth book in the series. The eighteenth book in the series came out last Tuesday and The Husband is excited. I don’t usually like books with harsh language but I’ve read a lot worse (or started to and put them down), there is no on-page sex (except in one book and it was thankfully really brief), and I love the characters.

I hope to finish Refuge of Convenience by Kathy Geary Anderson by today or tomorrow.

I was glad to have the two books to switch back and forth on since the Longmire book has heavier topics and isn’t as clean. Kathy’s books are all listed under Christian Historical Fiction and are engaging and make me want to find out what happens.

Up next in my list is The Cat Who Wasn’t There by Lilian Jackson Braun, a book from a cozy-mystery series I enjoy. It’s a comfort read to me.

Little Miss and I are reading either Paddington or Anne of Green Gables at night. She’s enjoying Anne so much that she has even been drawing photos of her. We are also reading The Year of Miss Agnes for her school lessons.

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Welles for school.

The Husband is reading Hell and Back by Craig Johnson.


What’s Been Occurring

Last Sunday we attended a picnic at our neighbors and my parents came as well. It was a super nice day.

It wasn’t a hot day, which made it even nicer, but Little Miss still took a dip in their little pool in the backyard. She talked me into going in as well and it was awful. It was so cold it was like standing in a large glass of ice water. I lasted about seven minutes.

It appears that it will be our last swim in a pool this season, unless the weather warms up this week.

It’s supposed to rain all day today and part of tomorrow.

Zooma the Wonder Dog even got some socialization in, visiting with the neighbors’ Shitzu dogs while Little Miss jumped in the pool.

Today we have a family reunion to attend. It should be interesting in the rain and will probably consist of me talking to former neighbors of mine who I am not actually related to but attend the reunion every year because they are like family.

Last week was our first week of homeschool and it got off to a bit of a bumpy start for Little Miss and me because neither of us has actually adjusted to being back at school. She wasn’t ready to sit and learn just yet and I was way too uptight about it all so on Thursday we both feels to separate parts of the house to have a good cry at one point.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week The Boy and I watched Clue as part of a feature Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and I are doing called Spooky Season Cinema. I talked more about that in this post. This week we are watching The Addams Family.

The Husband and I watched a Brokenwood Mysteries episode, some specials about Queen Elizabeth, and an episode of a hilarious old British sitcom called Yes, Prime Minister.

Sunday morning, I watched the coffin of the queen being driven from Balmoral Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, and will admit I felt weepy over it. I believe this queen was a very “grand lady” who had a great deal of dignity, unlike a few members of her family (*cough* Andrew. *cough* Harry lately.). With her gone, I’m not sure what the family will devolve into, though they had devolved into a pretty big mess in the 1990s with the divorces of Charles and Diana and Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

As I mentioned on a post on Instagram last week, the world is not only mourning a person, who seemed very kind and compassionate, but an era of respect, dignity, and grandeur that is slowly being eroded away. I didn’t finish The Crown when we had Netflix, but I enjoyed watching it and later doing my own research on what parts of the show were accurate and which parts weren’t. I feel, somehow, as I am sure the people of Great Britain feel even more, that after watching and reading so much about her that I knew her personally.

Of course, I didn’t know her personally, her family did and I do feel for them as they mourn her. Some might say “Well, she was old, so it was to be expected,” but that doesn’t take away from the pain of losing someone who was more than a queen to her family. She was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to her family and not having her around to interact with anymore, to not having her wisdom to rely on, will be extremely difficult.

In addition to all the queen news, I watched The Young Philadelphians as part of my “Fall of Paul” yesterday since I didn’t finish a couple of movies I wanted to watch with Paul Newman during my Summer of Paul movie-watching experience. I hope to watch Mr. and Mrs. Bridge with Paul and Joan (his wife) later this week.

I’ve also started a documentary on Mae West last week that I hope to finish this week.

What I’m Writing

I am working on The Shores of Mercy, but honestly, I am discouraged in my writing. I started writing fiction to have fun but for some reason I’ve been focusing too much on how poorly my books are doing in rankings, etc.

Sadly, I feel like I often start things and enjoy them for a bit and then feel depressed when I watch others get the “success” I worked for but could never reach. But at the same time, I feel like success for me is connecting with other people and by that measurement, I have had success and it’s all I really need. It’s a weird dichotomy of wanting to be popular with my writing yet loving that I am not popular and can write whatever I want.

I think one issue is that I have been writing books I think certain readers want instead of stories I want to tell, even though I have enjoyed getting to know the characters of my Spencer Valley books. I also appreciate, more than anyone knows, my blog readers who have faithfully supported me in my writing journey, especially Bettie who offers prayers for me and my fictional characters. I often feel like even if I am only writing for Bettie and my mom, it is worth it.

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

This week I listened to Toby Mac’s new album again and I don’t love every song, but I really like most of them. I plan to listen to some sermons this week and maybe an audiobook since I’ve decided to check out Chirp, where you can buy audiobooks a you go, versus having a membership.

So far, this one is my favorite:



Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.