SERENDIPITOUS MONDAY: MEMORIES & IMAGES…

 

Lately, I’ve been sentimentally looking back at some of my previous places and spaces.  A favorite of mine:  this cozy room that felt like an apartment/getaway in my two-story A-frame house.

Note the mini fridge, microwave, coffee pot…and that white wicker bed tray.  I could stay in that room all weekend, if I wanted.  And since I was still working at my high-stress career, I often chose to do that.  My kids were grown, and while the two youngest took turns living in the guest house next door, they had their own private lives.

Except when they needed to use my laundry room.

When my daughter was in the guest house, she had colorful decor, and I enjoyed visiting there, too.  I loved the bathroom she created, with red-orange on the walls and playful images.

 

 

 

Later, when both “kids” had gone, I used it as a real guest house.  I bought some Coca Cola furnishings, which I took with me to my current residence when I moved.  The sofa/bed now resides in my guest room/office at the condo.

 

 

Sometimes the memories take me back, and while I’m enjoying my smaller space now, I do miss having those “kids” pop in from time to time.  Now they are scattered everywhere…except for my daughter, who is half an hour away.

My eldest son, who really enjoyed staying in the guest house when he visited, is coming in mid-May for a short visit.  We’ve had some good visits in my current space, too.  Watching Netflix and eating popcorn.

 

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Do you ever traipse down Memory Lane?  What fond memories and photos make you smile?

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I’m currently reading Someone Knows, by Lisa Scottoline, and really enjoying it.

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SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS: “SNOW ANGEL COVE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I bought for last year’s Christmas season, and then didn’t get around to it.  Here’s hoping to enjoy it this year.  Snow Angel Cove, by RaeAnne Thayne, is a story about Haven Point, a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright…

 

 

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Intro:  Oh, this wasn’t good.  At all.

Eliza Hayward stood with sleet pelting her like hard little pebbles, gazing at the blackened, charred bones of her future.  Cold dread wormed its way beneath her coat like the wintry wind blowing off Lake Haven, just a few hundred yards away.

“I don’t like this place,” Maddie muttered, gripping her hand tighter.  “It’s ugly and scary.”

“Yes.  Yes, it is.”

This couldn’t be real.  She had driven the two hours from Boise with such eager anticipation, singing Christmas carols all the way, loud and silly enough to make a five-year-old giggle.  She had been so excited about this new chapter of their lives in this lovely Idaho town nestled in the raw and stunning Redemption Mountains.

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Teaser:  The bruise above her temple looked dark and ugly against the pale loveliness of her features.  He couldn’t look at it without guilt drenching him like somebody had tossed a bucket of ice water in his face. (p. 73).

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Blurb:  Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a hero, but she’s not expecting one who almost runs her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew what his life was missing before Eliza, but now he’s willing to risk his heart on a yuletide romance that could lead to forever.

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What do you think?  Could this be the story to get you into the holiday mood?  I know I’m eager to find out.

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SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS: SAVORING A TRADITION

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Good morning!  A week ago, I wrote some thoughts on Holidays: Sharing Life’s Unexpected Treasures.

In my post, I spotlighted some photos…and mentioned one special holiday tradition that began in 1979:  see photo above.

A couple of days after Thanksgiving, we found this great sculpture over at the local university, and a tradition was born.

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A few years later, we took another photo…I couldn’t find the snapshot, so I took a picture of the framed version from my iPhone…it’s not that great, but you get the idea:

 

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Fast forward to 1991…we tried to take the photo in 1989, set on the five-year intervals, but something went awry with our photographer (not my son that year!), and we couldn’t do it again until 1991:

 

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That was the last one we took of the original four kids!  Some grandchildren have tried…here are a couple of them…Fiona and Dominic in 2009:

 

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When my eldest son was here in the summer, we had hopes of recreating a shot of the Original Four…but again, one member of the crew was unavailable.

My second son, Brett, is the “Arbiter of the Tradition,” pushing for a recreation of those special moments.  He persisted…but despite his efforts, we were unable to pull it together.  Sigh.

Perhaps there are just some moments you cannot recreate…and you just have to find new traditions.  Or savor the memories of the old ones.

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Do you have traditions special to your family or group?  How do you maintain them?

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SERENDIPITOUS WEDNESDAYS: WAITING FOR “AFTER HER” — MAY 29

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Good morning!  Welcome to a morning of sharing our serendipitous finds, otherwise known as upcoming releases.  Join Jill, at Breaking the Spine, to see what others are awaiting.

I’m a big fan of Joyce Maynard, so I was really excited to learn about her newest release, coming on August 20, 2013.  After Her is a story about what can happen during a long, hot, and dry California summer.

 

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It’s the summer of 1979, and a dry, hot, northern California school vacation stretches ahead for Rachel and her younger sister Patty – the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome and chronically unfaithful detective father who loves to make women happy, and the mother whose heart he broke. Left to their own devices, the inseparable sisters spend their days studying record jackets, concocting elaborate fantasies about the life of the mysterious neighbor who moves in down the street, and playing dangerous games on the mountain that rises up behind their house. When young women start showing up dead on the mountain, the girls’ father is charged with finding the man responsible, known as The Sunset Strangler. Seeing her father’s life slowly unravel when he fails to stop the murders, Rachel embarks on her most dangerous game yet: setting herself up as bait to catch the killer, with consequences that will destroy her father’s career and alter the lives of everyone she loves. It is not until thirty years later that Rachel, who has never given up hope of vindicating her father, finally smokes out the killer, bringing her back to the territory of her childhood, and uncovering a long-buried family secret. As with her novel, Labor Day, Maynard’s newest work is part thriller, part love story, Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case that terrorized Marin County in the late seventies, her tale delves deep into the alternately thrilling and terrifying landscape of a young girl’s first explorations of adult sexuality and the loss of innocence, the bond between sisters – and into a daughter’s tender but damaged relationship with her father, and what it is to finally trust a man.

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I am very excited that this book will be coming to me before the summer is over!  What are you eagerly awaiting?

MOMENTS OF SERENDIPITY & GRACE — A REVIEW

15985391The only child of MacLaine and her husband of thirty years, Steve Parker, Sachi’s surreal childhood began when she was sent to Japan at the age of two—though her mother would sometimes claim Sachi was six—to live with her mercurial father and his mistress. She divided her time being raised by a Japanese governess and going back and forth to L.A. to be with her mother, hamming it up on movie sets, in photo shoots, and Hollywood parties, even winning—and then abruptly losing—the role of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. As she got older and attended boarding school in England and Switzerland, became a Qantas stewardess, and then became involved in a series of abusive relationships she tried to unravel the mysteries of her childhood and her parents’ unconventional marriage.

Including twenty never-before-seen personal photos, Lucky Me: My Life With–and Without–My Mom, Shirley MacLaine is a fascinating look at Hollywood and what it takes to succeed there, the incredible ambition of Shirley MacLaine and the fallout it had on her only child, as well as a woman’s attempt to understand and connect with her extremely complicated parents.

As a fan of Shirley MacLaine, I have always been curious about the less publicized aspects of her life, like her daughter, Sachi Parker. I recall seeing Sachi in bit parts in some movies, and noticed the striking physical resemblance between the two.

But so much about Sachi is distinct, unique. Perhaps growing up in Tokyo and being separated from her mother for large chunks of time informed a lot more about her life than just the obvious elements.

In reading Sachi’s story, her feelings of loss and abandonment shone through for me. And perhaps knowing more of the details of what her life looked like and how it felt for her has helped me fill in some of those missing details of MacLaine’s life, as well.

I like this summing up of Sachi’s perspective near the end of the story, when she concludes that she still doesn’t understand her mother:

“It has taken me this long to realize that I don’t need to understand her. She’s on her journey, and I’m on mine. Our lives may intersect at crucial points, but there’s no reason to expect them to run side by side, on parallel tracks. Mom’s spirit bounces all over the universe like a jet-powered pinball, and every now and then it settles beside me for a moment before some visionary impulse shoots if off again. I’m just a stop on the road: she doesn’t need me, not at all, and she isn’t going to pretend for propriety’s sake that she does. She’s off fulfilling her destiny.”

It takes a lot of courage to accept the reality of one’s relationships, especially those most significant in our lives. I also like this summing up in the final paragraphs:

“Looking back over my life, I see that it’s full of providential moments, moments of serendipity and grace. Whenever things seemed desolate, whenever I was poised to capsize, something unexpected always came along to help me out.”

What I see as I read this story of a woman’s journey is that the mother and daughter are not as different as they appear at first glance. They are each vying for her own place in the world, and doing it on her own terms. And while some readers will only see the opposing points of view and conclude that someone is “lying,” I see that life is often like that. There is your truth, my truth, and the real truth somewhere in between. Four stars.