We had 70 degrees and sunshine for Easter and Christmas this year in northwestern Pennsylvania. You can’t beat that for pleasant weather. Especially when we are entertaining twenty to thirty people…and that’s just part of our immediate family! This Easter we had twenty four, and four of them were under the age for five. We truly enjoy young children. I will never forget the look of sheer joy on the face of our beautiful two year old great granddaughter when she found her Easter eggs, one by one. (The young adult early birds had tossed the eggs randomly around the yard.) Our teenagers decided to sun themselves, including an exchange student from San Paulo, Brazil. A sweet and very bright girl, I asked her when she speaks English, which she does flawlessly, if she thinks in English or Portugese, and then has to translate. She said she thinks in the language she’s speaking, but then looked a bit perplexed and said, “But I’m not sure when I dream which language I dream in.” She is living with our son and family this semester. We will all miss her when she returns to Brazil.
My brother’s daughter, Hannah, sang a solo with her choir from Texas A&M at Carnegie Hall in N.Y.C. on March 12th. When he told me it was coming up, I said, “Oh, I wish I could go but I am so busy, etc.” A few days later I told my husband I really wanted to go, but he wasn’t interested in going at all. I realized I’d always regret not going, no one from our family has ever performed at Carnegie Hall before, and who knows if it will happen again. My new motto, ‘If Not Now, When?’, propelled me into action! I called my brother for the Carnegie tickets discount info. Our daughter-in-law, Suzie, and their two girls plus the Brazilian exchange student signed on, as well as our oldest granddaughter whom we picked up two hours down the road. I drove my van to Manhattan with no difficulty, thanks to Suzie’s outstanding GPS navigation/guidance. Their daughter, who is attending Stony Brook on Long Island, and her roommate met us at our hotel, it was the first day of their spring break. The weather was beautiful. We stayed two nights, and had two rooms, with two double beds in each room, two people slept in each bed. But we were not in the rooms much more than to sleep and get ready to see the city. Friday night we ate at ‘Bubba Gump’s‘ in Time Square. it was delicious and so much fun! (HINT: If you go there, brush up on your Forrest Gump trivia.) Saturday night we ate with my brother and his wife at ‘Planet Hollywood’, also on Time Square. It was another delicious and fun place to eat. We walked to Carnegie Hall from there. After the show we all walked to a cafe a few blocks down the street for ice cream, Hannah joined us. It was a short but memorable trip that none of us will ever forget. We had such a great time!
I read several books this month. I found Mrs.Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin in a dollar sales bin, (I love bargains!) It was a fascinating book, so well written and researched. I have met Melanie, a bright and personable woman, and have read her, The Aviator’s Wife. Also a very good book.
I read A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott, it was an interesting period novel about the making of Gone With the Wind and the behind the scenes maneuvers of movie making.
Brushed by the Sacred by Lee Beckes, is poignant, inspirational poetry. It is beautifully written, something for everyone and you don’t have to be heavily into poetry to be touched by his poems.
I am reading Anne Tyler’s Digging to America now and loving it, as I do all of her books.
Our book club book this month was The Nightingale by Kristine Hannah. I read it a year ago and was happy it was chosen. It generated a great discussion with the wonderful characters and all the layers of intrigue the author created.
We are reading Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes for our April book.. It is a poignant, thought provoking novel with lots of British wit.
We watched the movie, Room. It was so well done that we felt like peeping toms watching real life through someone’s window! I had read the book and I was impressed that the author, Emma Donoghue also wrote the screenplay.
I’ve been mostly busy with helping my husband edit his memoirs, for the last few years he’s been writing random essays and thoughts about his life. I am helping him organize it into a chronological memoir, and sorting out the repetitions. It will still be in his words, of course, because after all, it is his story. And trust me on this, he has led a compelling one of a kind life!
Also I keep submitting my work… and I have started my next novel.
Till next time, keep reading my friends.
March sneaked up on me this year. And I even had an extra day in February, such procrastination! This morning when I walked our dog, I noticed the first shoots of daffodils have made their way above ground. Our winter has been mild in PA this year, especially compared to last year…but it is still a thrill to see the first signs of spring.
We spent two weeks in Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach in February and another week going and coming home with cousins and friends along the way. My sisters and their husbands went with us and we had a ball. We rented a three bedroom condo through our timeshare at H.H. The weather was lovely. Bicycling on the beach was fabulous. Spending time with family is something special, especially since none of us live geographically close to each other as adults. It rained one day, so we drove to Savannah, Georgia and ate lunch at Paula Deen’s The Lady and Her Sons Restaurant. The food was delicious and it was a fun day. One sister is a huge Paula Deen fan!
In M.B., it was just my husband and me. We had a very nice one bedroom timeshare condo, it was cold and rainy most of the week, so we did indoor things. Lots of reading and movies. And we went to our first ever political rally, (we were there the week before the S.C. Republican primary.) Neither of us had ever been to one before, so when Jeb Bush was just a few miles down the road, we decided to go. We were not really supporting any of the candidates at that time and didn’t have high expectations. Local and national media were on site. When Jeb entered the building, the crowd erupted in applause and cheering. He has a presence that demands respect. He spoke fluently in detailed plans about his proposed platform. He interacted warmly with the crowd and had a genuine sense of humor. (There was such a huge turnout that hundreds of overflow people were sent to a nearby church. Jeb visited them for an hour before coming to our building.) He was definitely worth the wait. Interestingly, when we later went back to our condo, we watched the Local News at 11. Coverage of his rally was beyond poor, a few phrases were taken out of context, and no rapport with his audience was shown. I looked at my husband, and said, “It is hard to believe that’s the same rally we were at tonight.” We were saddened to hear he had dropped out after that primary.
We saw the following movies: The Big Short, A fast paced complicated movie that we want to see it again.
Brooklyn, A beautiful sweet movie. Creed, a good story and who can resist an older Rocky? The Well Digger’s Daughter, (on Netflicks), A sweet French movie, with captions. Serena, (on Netflicks), An early Jennifer Lawrence movie, the fourth one I’ve seen her play opposite Bradley Cooper. Haunting, I’d like to NOT remember it so well!
Race, The Jesse Owens story about the 1936 Olympics. Excellent movie. I was surprised to read the negative reviews after we’d seen it. Trust me it is a great movie! We will see Spotlight, this year’s academy award winner for best movie, on Monday at our local independent movie series.
I’ve read several books: Me Before You, by Jo Jo Moyes, British author great character and plot development. An unforgettable story. All Waiting is Long, by Barbara J. Taylor, An advance review copy, will be released in July, great story–a follow up to the Morgan sisters, from Sing in The Morning, Cry at Night, twenty years later. A Man Called Ove, debut novel by Swedish author, Fredrik Blackman, An engaging story, great fun, different style of writing, refreshing new characters and plot. Tipping Point by David Poyer, A naval sea adventure from the Dan Lenson series. Exciting! Trace by Randy Valentine, Thriller, debut novel, most reminded me of the Da Vinci Code, though the story is completely different. Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult, another mother/daughter story that she is so good at creating. I also read a few others but did not write all titles and authors down as I read them, I need to get better organized!
We are dreading and anticipating the final show of Downton Abbey this Sunday evening…it is really the only show we watch all week and we can’t imagine another show of its quality coming along any time soon.
Now for my good news/bad news: In 2015 there were 395, 586 books published in the U.S., that’s 32, 966 books per month! Most of them were self published. I am still hoping to find a literary agent and then a publisher for my novel and book of short stories. Yesterday I received another very kind and encouraging rejection letter from an agent I had submitted my work to. I remember all too well the years I spent submitting manuscripts that were ignored or on occasion receiving impersonal form-letter rejections. So, it seems I’m really moving up in the publishing world!
Till next time, keep reading my friends.