Sunday Bookends: New Books, More Snow, and comedy clips

What’s Been Occurring

After last week’s snow that buried us in another two feet of snow, the kids and I were stuck in the house all week, unable to completely clear the driveway of snow and ice and afraid to back the van out of the garage. My son went out everyday and shoveled, especially since the wind was blowing and causing snow drifts throughout the week.

I tried Mama’s Empty Nest. I tried to focus on the beauty of the snow! I promise! But all the shoveling and wind and blowing snow and the ice. Oh, the ice! Now, honestly, I did see the beauty in the snow and the kids did have a little fun in it (though not a lot because the windchill on this hill was so horrible), but next time we get snow, I hope it will be a little bit less.

We tried a science experiment I saw on Instagram the one day and it was an utter failure. We were supposed to build a snow volcano and I was supposed to put a bowl in the middle for the baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar so it would overflow down the sides. Instead, we just poured it in the snow and, of course, it melted the snow and left a pool of red in the snow. It ended up looking like a murder scene.

After the experiment, The Boy lifted his sister and tossed her into the snow, like big brothers do, which resulted in her yelling in anger and frustration because she doesn’t have any snowpants right now (she grew out of hers). My 6-year-old stood in the driveway, her little fists clenched, and yelled (so the whole neighborhood could hear), “Thanks to you I’m going to get hypothermia!”

Spoiler alert: she didn’t get hypothermia and she wasn’t even that snow-covered. In my defense to the above photo, I didn’t know she was legitmately crying when I took the photograph and her crying stopped within seconds after I took the photo so she was more indignant than anything else.

We’ve also been having sleep issues with Little Miss. She used to never wake up in the middle of the night but now she wakes up, wants me and we have to listen to Frank Sinatra until she falls asleep. The issue with this is that I can’t go back to sleep after this – either because of itching from dry skin or a stuffy nose, so I’ve been having some really rough days of struggling through with very little sleep. I really hope this is a phase she’s going through that she breaks out of soon because I feel pretty useless most days even without the lack of sleep.

What I’m Reading

The snow delayed the arrival of a paperbook copy of ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson but when it finally came I dove right in and haven’t been able to put it down since.

Here is the description:

When the man she loved years ago returns to town, one young woman’s complicated past rises again, threatening to expose her well-kept secrets.

If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.

But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine has pledged her heart and ring finger to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll promise to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it―not even Celeste, the double bass–playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.

I’m also continuing Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin, which I’m really enjoying.

Here is the description for that one:

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she’s getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia … until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they’re right. Four x-rays later, Harriet’s ankle—and her heart—are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She’s doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it’s time for her to be put out to pasture—God has a different plan.

What I’m Watching

This week I watched a couple episodes of Murdoch Mysteries, an episode of Lovejoy, and then I watched some favorite comedy clips, including this one from John Branyan (which I find to be brilliant):

The Boy and The Husband have also been watching Wanda Vision, which is a show from the Marvel Universe (that’s comic book language for anyone unaware of what Marvel is).

So that’s my week in review. What was your week like? What have you been watching, reading, listening to or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: When ‘best selling’ authors are a total let down; taking the dog to the groomers; and the perils of living in a rural area

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

What Has Been Occurring

Tuesday morning I woke about the time my husband was leaving for work and sent him a text instead of leaving my warm bed, to tell him I loved him and to have a good day. When I closed my eyes to try to go back to sleep (but never did), I thought about the winding road he drives on to get to work and how it’s made even more dangerous by the threat of deer running out in front of cars and large water trucks taking up more than half of the already narrow road. I prayed for his safety and dozed for a few more moments before starting my day.

Little Miss and I took Zooma the Wonderdog to a local groomers so at the end of the day, when Hubby pulled into the driveway, I let the dog out so he could see her new “do”. The kitten snuck out at the same time and I was chasing her when I noticed my husband was looking very annoyed at the front of his car, taking photos of it with his phone. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. When I saw the smashed in windshield I hugged him and told him I was glad he was alive. More than one fatal accident in our area has been caused by a deer going all the way through a front windshield so the fact he was still standing meant more to me than having to figure out how to pay to fix the damage. The deer hit the left fender, rolled up over the windshield and the top of the car and my husband thinks it kept going. All he knows is that he didn’t see if after that.

Our insurance claimed we had some huge deductible so they won’t cover any of the repairs. Par for the course in our life. We will deal with the repair somehow. I’m just glad we didn’t have hospital expenses or a funeral on top of the car damage.

Other than that, our week was fairly routine and very boring. It was so boring I didn’t even pick up my camera this week so the only photos you’ll have for this week are from the smashed windshield. I would share with you the photos of how awful our dog looks after going to the groomers but one, she looks awful, (little tiny head and huge body because it was the like the groomer only half did the job), and two, I haven’t been able to get her to sit still long enough to get it. My pups long hair I love was pretty much butchered and we’ve decided we will do her grooming from now on.

What I’m Reading

I read a Fannie Flagg book last week and to say I was underwhelmed is an understatement. I was totally shocked at how the entire book “told” a story but never “showed” anything. There were no character descriptions and the dialogue was like I was reading Fannie’s outline for the book. It was like reading a tenth grade book report instead of an actual book. It was just the oddest thing because she’s a New York Times best seller and I couldn’t figure out how based on this book. The story was good, but the telling of it was…well, just a “telling.”

The book was The All-Girls Filling Station Last Reunion. The premise was truly interesting, but the way she just stated the story instead of showing us what happened was so strange. I think maybe she sent her outline for the novel and the publisher accidentally published it and was too embarassed to admit their mistake and retract it.

Listen, I’m not the best writer either but this read like a teenager telling a blow-by-blow telling of their day. In fact, most teenagers could have added more feeling and description to this novel than Fannie did.. Fannie Flagg, as sweet as she seems in real life, should have hired someone to add descriptions and inflections to her novel to make the reader really feel like they were there instead of feel like tey were being presented an oral pesenation on how paint dries.

So, the bottom line? I agreed with this Amazon review: “Although the story was good, the writing was amateur, which is surprising. Fannie Flagg has been one of my favorite writers, but this book was a complete let down. In good writing, the reader gets lost in the story, with no sense of the fact that he or she is in a fictional world. As I read this novel, I was aware at all times of the writing. The character development was often trite and under developed. There was far too much telling of the story–and not nearly enough showing. The story had potential, and with more development, could have been fabulous. Unfortunately, it just fell short.

This doesn’t mean I’ll never try Fannie Flagg again, of course. She’s a good storyteller (She wrote the book that the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was based on) and maybe this book was just a fluke.

I’m still reading Silas Marner and guess what? Once I got over Elliot’s tendency to “over describe” (I know, first I complain about an author that never describes and then I complain about one that describes too much. I’m never happy), and the older language (the book was written in 1861), I got caught up in the story and have been enjoying it. Unfortunately, because the language is a little more of a challenge than the other books I’ve been reading, I can’t read it late at night or I fall asleep. I feel bad I complained about it last week, and the week before, as if I was suffering through reading it. The story really is interesting. There is something for everyone in this one — romance (of sorts), a sweet story about an outcast who wants to adopt a little girl, a traitourous brother, a family scandal and family secrets.

The Boy and I are reading this as part of his Economics/English curriculum (from Notgrass) and he has gotten so into the story he’s been reading ahead of what I assign to him, which is fine by me. I like to see him engaged in something other than Minecraft or Harry Potter (though I don’t mind either of them. I just like that he’s broadening his horizons.).

As if I don’t have enough to read I’m also finishing Charles Martin’s book, which I mentioned last week, and just started Expired Refuge (Last Chance County Book One) by Lisa Phillps.

What I’m Watching

My husband and I watched a couple more episodes of Shakespeare & Hathaway Season 3 on Britbox and last night we watched Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot movie from 2004 staring Emily Plunt and David Suchet (who is well known for playing Poirot from 1989 to 2013.). This version of Death on the Nile was a television movie. A remake is being released this year starring Gal Gadot and Kenneth Branagh. See it in a theater near — oh, never mind. See it on your TV later this year.

For those who don’t know, Shakespeare & Hathaway is a fairly light crime show about a private detective team. They became a team sort of by accident. The woman, Luella Shakespeare, came to PI Frank Hathaway, to find out if her fiance is cheating on her. After the investigation the two become a team as she goes into business with him. It’s a fairly formuliac show, but I still like it and the reporte between the two main characters. Sebastian, Frank’s assistant, makes the show even better.

I’m also watching some rather sappy Hallmark movies. I’d rather not talk about that, though.

What I’m Writing

I’m still working on The Farmer’s Daughter (even though I did not share a chapter on Friday, but instead lamented on how I’m hating the story right now) and on Tuesday Quarantined, the novella, will publish on Amazon. On the blog I published:

Faithfully Thinking: Keep Your Eyes Focused on Christ, Not on the Storm;

Randomly Thinking: Pets are Trying to Kill us and Are Cats Inherhently Evil? I Say Yes.

and I shared a guest blog post on Blessings by Me about ways to support your immunity.

As I mentioned above, I don’t have any Photos of the Week this week but will be sure to take some this week to share for next week.

How about you? What’s been happening in your life? What are you reading, watching, writing, listening to, etc.? Let me know in the comments.