SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS…

This week I spent time playing around with images until I finally created the one above for my new blog header.

The doll on the left has figured into my headers here for quite a while; she seems to remind me of serendipitous moments, since I accidentally discovered her one day in Barnes & Noble.  After I brought her home, I always seemed to place her next to books on my shelves.  She fit there.

When I moved almost two years ago, I was not in charge of what came with me…thanks to being ill at the time, and I hadn’t placed her on the list “to bring.”  Something I later regretted, but I was glad to have many photos of her, so she could still reign in my blog life.

I needed another doll to balance her out, I decided, so finally I found the one on the right.  It was time to create a blog banner featuring them both.

I have a lot of images of the new doll in various poses.  The one below is next to a Mary Engelbreit banner that always makes me smile:

 

Then there is this one, on the entry way table under which I stack my TBR print volumes, and next to my little Jelly Cupboard (and the little Mary Engelbreit cottage on the right).  The banner is topped by a little sign that reads “When all else fails, ask Nana.”

And now for another one, which offers a full length glimpse of the cupboard and its treasures:

 

So…those are some serendipitous moments I am enjoying on this Friday. What brings delight to your days?

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: MOVING ON…

Today I am anxious and hopeful…and waiting for final results.  As I think about what lies ahead, I am reminded of four years ago and what happened then.  Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote back then, on November 17, 2016:

 

  • This past week has been very emotional.  Ups and downs, fear and anger.  Disbelief.  It has been like a nightmare, only I can’t wake up!
  • The good thing that came out of it:  I read and reviewed FIVE books!  In my Weekly Updates, I talk about my hope of finding serenity, and I link to my reviews.
  • After that burst of reading energy, I’ve been stumbling along this week.  I finished reading and reviewing only ONE book…and I started a couple of others.  Send in the Clowns, excerpted above, is moving along nicely.
  • My daughter and her fiance impulsively decided to have a civil ceremony here in town, but she planned to keep quiet about it…since there is still an April 1 wedding at the beach on the schedule…but then she announced their nuptials on Facebook a couple of days ago…that secret didn’t last long.  (Note the “hokey” backdrop provided by the County).

 

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  • The beach wedding will be a fun getaway for all of us, I guess.   Since this is her second marriage, I thought they night cancel the beach.  We’ll see.
  • Next week is Thanksgiving, and it’s my favorite holiday!  I’m having dinner at the home of my daughter’s new in-laws.
  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving, a few of us are gathering for a lunch at Yard House; my son Brett and his daughter Aubrey, as well as local family, will be meeting there.  I always enjoy these events.

 

 

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  • Today I plan to just hang out here and read…it’s cooling off quite a bit, and it seems appropriate to curl up in this cozy spot.  Especially since my mood is still all over the place.

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My life has changed dramatically since then, but the feelings are similar. I am more hopeful now, however.

After that election, I read the book Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance, one that resonated. Serendipitously, there will soon be an Amazon Prime movie based on the book.

I read the book to understand what happened in 2016…but now I want to move on. I am so done with the last four years!

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What are you pondering today as we face still more crazy election results?

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: IMAGES FROM THE PAST…AND THE PRESENT

More blog header changes!  In this newest one, I kept the lofty photo on the left…one of my favorite places to live, over the years.  My bedroom was in that loft, and I loved the look of my “resting place.” The brass header, the wicker pieces, and the framed 1920s image over the bed.

Downstairs, I loved the coziness of the fireplace and the wing chairs, like this one my eldest son chose for his photo op. My daughter loved curling up next to him, since his visits were rare back then…in the 80s and early 90s.

Here she is in my loft space. Up there, I had chairs, a TV, a stationary bicycle…and a view of downstairs.  Plus…I could see when the teenagers came home at night.  LOL.

And downstairs, by the sofa and desk, she is contemplating what will happen next.  The photos in the background:  compliments of eldest son.  The heart-shaped clock:  my daughter’s creation.

 

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A couple of years ago, my eldest son, who lives in Prague, visited Amsterdam…and the photo on the right side of my header was captured there.  A coffee shop with an interesting sign.

 

The middle image in the header came from my Bitmoji Collection…Unicorns are “unexpected treasures,” the tagline of this blog.

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I have probably displayed some of these photos in the past, but I loved bringing them together today to tell a different story.

What stories are you showing us this week?

Check in at A Web of Stories.

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SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS: BLOG HEADERS, DECOR, & NOSTALGIA…

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Welcome to another Friday post, in which I share some of my whimsical thoughts and images.

The new header (above) is probably my third one in as many days.  I was trying to capture something elusive…and maybe I have finally found it.   As you can see, I’ve changed the header again!  But we’ll talk about the photos that inspired the one I created at the top of this post.

The sofa shown was from my eldest son and DIL’s home in Berlin.  A little garden cottage that looks like something out of a storybook.

Here are a few of those shots, although they don’t live there anymore.  Now they are in Prague, and in the city.

A view of the outside of the cottage and gardens….

 

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Lofty interior….

 

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Writing space…

 

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Through the French doors to the dining room…

 

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Into the garden…

 

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Another view of the sofa…and some art…

 

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I love lofts, which you may have noticed over the years I have been blogging.  For a few years, I lived in a townhouse with such a loft…

 

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A view from the loft….

 

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Inside the loft bedroom…

 

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Another view…that tiny TV is Circa 80s style….and the wicker is straight out of the 70s…

 

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Does your decor reflect your current life?  Do you love looking back, with nostalgia?  I do…and I also enjoy the interiors of my adult children’s spaces.

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAYS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – THE NIGHT GUEST

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I’m spotlighting an ARC of The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane.

 

 

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Beginning:  Ruth woke at four in the morning and her blurry brain said, “Tiger.”  That was natural; she was dreaming.  But there were noises in the house, and as she woke she heard them.  They came across the hallway from the lounge room.

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56:  Now Frida held a hand to her dark hair and produced a sigh so bitter, so exhausted, and at the same time so sweet, that Ruth was tempted to reach out and comfort her.

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Amazon Description:   A mesmerizing first novel about trust, dependence, and fear, from a major new writer

Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane’s hypnotic first novel, is no simple tale of a crime committed and a mystery solved. This is a tale that soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, trust, dependence, and fear; about processes of colonization; and about things (and people) in places they shouldn’t be. Here is a new writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to describe the mysterious workings of our minds.

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I am eager to delve into this story.  What are you sharing today?

SERENDIPTIOUS FRIDAYS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — LIE STILL — SEPT. 13

4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is an ARC in which I am deeply engrossed.  I have developed a crick in my neck from curling up and reading this one on and off throughout the day.  I only ever took breaks to watch a couple of TV shows.

The book is very suspenseful with lots of secrets revealing themselves slowly.  Lie Still, by Julia Heaberlin, starts out with a scene of violence that informs a lot of the story ahead.

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Beginning:  For me, the rape is a permanent fixture on the clock, like midnight.

A point of reference.

I was nineteen years and four days old.

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56:  “There is blood in my house.”  Lucinda’s lisp was a little hard to understand, but the word blood was unmistakable.  She popped the slip of paper in her mouth and began to chew like a bubble gum addict on cocaine.

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Amazon Blurb:  In the tradition of Lisa Unger’s Beautiful Lies and Nancy Pickard’s The Scent of Rain and Lightning comes a twisting, riveting novel of shifting trust and shattered lives. Lie Still delves deep into the heart of an opulent Southern town, where gossip is currency and secrets kill.

When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past—and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women—and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick—Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.

It isn’t long before Caroline mysteriously disappears and Emily is facing a rash of anonymous threats. Are they linked to the missing Caroline? Or to Emily’s terrifying encounter in college, years earlier? As the dark truth about Caroline emerges, Emily realizes that some secrets are impossible to hide—and that whoever came for Caroline is now coming for her.

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As evening approaches, I want to keep reading, because I don’t want to put this book down.  But I’m afraid to read this in the dark…lol.  And I’m afraid of women like these….

What are you sharing?

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — SEPT. 6

4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is another ARC from Amazon Vine:  Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, by Paula Daly.

 

 

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Beginning:  Day One:  Tuesday

I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep.  I’ve had five and a half hours and, after hitting the snooze button for the third time, I lift my head.

It’s the kind of tired I’m beyond finding reasons for.  You know the sort, you first notice it and you think:  What is wrong with me?

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56:  Alexa had turned her back and was taking another taste from the pot on the stove.  ‘Kate,’ she said, her voice snippy with criticism, ‘these onions are not completely softened, you can’t serve the tagine like this, it’ll be awful.’

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Amazon Blurb:  Lisa Kallisto—overwhelmed working mother—is the not-so-perfect model of the modern woman. She holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, she cares for three demanding children, and she worries that her marriage isn’t getting enough attention. During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for a moment and her world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. To make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear within the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and after having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.

In Paula Daly’s heart-stopping debut novel, motherhood, marriage, and friendship are tested when a string of abductions tear through a small-town community. Gripping and fast-paced, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? introduces an outstanding new thriller writer with a terrifying imagination for the horrors that lurk in everyday lives.

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What do you think?  I know that I’m eager to plunge into this one.  Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you’ll share your comments and links.