Monday, March 12, 2018

Good Reads

It's been a while since I've posted some good reads.  Lately, I've still been reading a lot of non-fiction, although there has been some fiction sprinkled in-between. The only reads that I can recommend at this point, however, are as follows:

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Caution: This book may motivate you to take your investments, your 401Ks, your savings and put them under your mattress. It's the true story of a group of really smart guys who discover "dark markets" on Wall Street. Do you think that the Dow Jones is the only ticker in town? Think again. These guys expose "the insiders" and try to reform the way Wall Street makes profits and, for which I say, good luck and godspeed. I recommended this book to my husband, my neighbors, friends. It's been interesting talking about this book with others. And eye-opening.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

Neither an easy nor a quick read. This book seems at times all over the place, but it's an intriguing read and perspective, cross-referenced with ancient traditions, classic philosophies, and modern-day scientific research. When I say "all over the place," it's that it sometimes reads like the author's train of thought versus tightly written text.  That said, it's still widely interesting--even inspiring--and Dr. Peterson is clearly a smart guy. He's been on a lot of news programs and radio shows lately talking about everything from child-rearing to "maleness" to safe spaces.  I like many of the nuggets of wisdom I've found throughout the book. Super-smart guy. Fresh perspective. Inspiring, even. Read it.

Gabriel: A Poem by Edward Hirsch

A father's grief over his son's unexpected death, as told in a poem.  Not a light read, obviously.  If you've ever had to deal with the death of a loved one, you might be able to relate to this author's words. And even find some comfort.

I did.

What's on your nightstand?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Man of La Mancha

For my Arizona friends: There are only a few days left to see the Arizona Theatre's production of MAN OF LA MANCHA at The Herberger.

We saw it yesterday. It was FABULOUS! Great storytelling, big voices, compelling interpretation.  And flamenco dancing! 

Catch it if you can. You won't be disappointed.

Find the link here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Among Other Things

This is how I spent part of my Christmas vacation...

Hope you enjoyed some lovely time with family and friends and books and wine. :)

Here's to a happy and healthy 2018 for all!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Traditions

Every year. Without fail. In no particular order, this is what's happening at my house...

Ho Ho Ho, from my house to yours!

Monday, October 23, 2017

While My Paintbrush Gently Weeps

Well, not really.

But here's what I've been doing the last couple of months. Painting with oils gives me a lot of joy, especially when something turns out halfway decent. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

This last one is a collage of paintings, of sorts. I got inspired to paint the ocean after our Turks & Caicos trip earlier in the year.  The ocean surrounding the island has a blue-green color that is spectacular. I mixed colors for hours, trying to find that perfect mix.  Not sure I did it justice, but when I look at this painting, I'm back on that island.  Then I surrounded it on my wall with some desert paintings.  This is my attempt at the desert meeting the ocean. It's a work in process.

'Till we paint again!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Good Reads

I hope you had a chance to read some really good books over the summer.  I did.

Here are two that I really enjoyed.  One I read on a plane between Chicago and Phoenix. The other I read on my back porch before the desert got too desperately hot.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

First of all, with a title like that, I knew that I had to check it out.  This is the story of a quirky woman and an IT Guy (who also has his quirks) who somehow find common ground and forge a friendship.  Their lives intersect at first when they help an elderly man who has stumbled on the sidewalk.  And the story starts to build from there.

I liked the slow way in which their relationship builds, along with the reveal of their character flaws and quirks. It reminded me a lot of another book that I loved called A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  It was like peeling away at the layers of an onion.  And there were tears.

My second favorite book of the summer had characters that were neither likeable nor endearing.  In fact, there were moments when I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room because the two main characters were so obnoxious.  But the story was a total page-turner.

We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley

This is the story of two rich gorgeous people, Catherine and William, who are selfish, self-absorbed, and have too much time on their hands. However, they fall in love, get engaged, plan to get married. Blah Blah Blah.  What could be more perfect, right?  Wrong. One of them has an agenda.  And one of them is more diabolical than the other.

Without giving too much away, you've got to read this one if you're in the mood for a bit of a thriller.  I give the author bonus points for the depiction of Catherine's mother who suffers from Alzheimer's.  The mom was by far my favorite character and very authentic.

If you liked Gone Girl, you might like this one too.

What was in your beach-bag this summer?

Monday, June 19, 2017

From Italy Con Amore

Just spent two crazy fun weeks in Rome with my family with side trips to the Tuscany region, Florence (my fave), Pompei, Positano and the Amalfi Coast.  I'm pretty sure I ate my body weight in gelato and pizza and spaghetti with clams. Thank goodness for all of the walking.  We had an incredible time.

We saw all of the sights in Rome, including the Colosseum, Vatican, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, art museums and at least 100 churches.  At the crazily crowded and popular sights like the Vatican and the Colosseum, we were fortunate to find exceptional guides so that we could really understand the history.  So glad we did.

One thing I realized from the first day was that Rome was larger than life: everything is grander in Rome--the churches, the statues, the fountains. The crowds! There is artwork on every building, on every corner.  There's a sort of organized chaos and you just have to swim with it to truly enjoy and experience the city.  You also have to learn to ignore all of the panhandlers and watch out for pick-pockets, like any big city.

We logged about 75 walking miles in Rome, never taking a cab, except for one time coming back to our hotel the day we visited the Vatican because the temps were pushing early 90's and we were all starting to fade from all of the walking and the heat.  So we hailed a cab.  And promptly got a cold scoop of gelato near our hotel. Followed by dinner at a lovely rooftop restaurant.

Fun trip. Great adventure. Wonderful memories. I'm posting a few pics here but there's a bunch more on my Facebook page, if you're interested in seeing more or traveling to Italy.  Happy to have had the experience of this trip.

Hope you're having a great summer!
Ciao, for now!