Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some of the Best of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges

I'm sure you've seen a number of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Here TastefullyOffensive.com put clips from 50 of the best celebrity challenges into one video. I know that some have criticized this challenge as being too gimmicky but I think that anything that calls attention to a serious disease such as this one and which also inspires people to donate to a good cause can't be bad. (Plus...Patrick Stewart and Benedict Cumberbatch? I'm in).



And just in case you missed Homer Simpson taking the challenge...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Books That Stay With You

During the past two weeks, I've delved into a couple of books that are similar (they're both relationship books, and while both of them have romantic elements, neither would be categorized as a romance in the traditional sense). Both books feature very strong and memorable characters. There is, at times, a sadness about them, but also a real sense of joy. 

The first is Never Change, by Elizabeth Berg. She's a favorite author but one whose books I dole out, because I don't want to finish everything before she has completed her next book. This book had been on my e-reader for awhile and when I began reading it, I realized that I had read it once before in print form (for an author, I'm awful at remembering titles and I had bought it sight unseen, without reading the blurb). But it was just too good not to read it twice, so I did. I think it was even better the second time around. 


It is, as I mentioned, a sad but ultimately uplifting book. Here's the description (from the Amazon listing). 

A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinski is reasonably content with her quiet life, her dog, Frank, and her career as a visiting nurse. But everything changes when Chip Reardon, the golden boy she adored in high school, is assigned as her new patient. Choosing to forgo treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned to his New England hometown to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poignant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.

The other book is The Forever Year by Lou Aronica. So far I've only read one other book by him (Blue, which was very different, but which I also loved), but I know that I'll be reading more.

Fun and funny and touching, and filled with humorous banter, it's a story of a family and of a love (or...two loves), but it's so much more than that. Here's the description (also from Amazon):

Jesse Sienna doesn't believe that love can last. His parents’ marriage was caring but passionless, and his own romantic history tells him that love can burn bright, but that it cannot burn for long. So when his elderly father, Mickey, moves in with him and seems unable to understand Jesse's no-strings-attached relationship with Marina, his current girlfriend, Jesse barely pays attention. It's just another example of how different they are – and more evidence that he and his father will never connect on any meaningful level.

But the truth is, Mickey Sienna knows more about love than most people learn in a lifetime. More than half a century ago, he discovered the endless rewards of investing your heart and soul in someone...and he knows the devastating costs of letting the perfect someone slip by.

When Mickey sees Jesse taking an extraordinary woman for granted, he decides it's time to tell Jesse his story – a story he's never shared with any of his children before. It is a story that will change both of them profoundly.

At once a stirring family drama and a touching romance, THE FOREVER YEAR is filled with richly drawn characters and powerful situations. You will respond personally to the people you meet in this novel, and you will find yourself deeply enmeshed in their stories. And you might find yourself looking at love in a new way.

What's on your reading list this month?

Have a great day!

Myrna

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trying to Stay Organized

Yesterday we had a garage sale. It was the first time we'd done this in several years, so we had lots to sell. The real goal wasn't to make money but to clear the clutter and regain some much needed space. So we got rid of things we didn't need, want or use anymore (VCR tapes, record albums, a tandem bicycle that my son and husband had fixed up and returned to its former glory, older DVD players, household items we were no longer using, used tennis balls, an office chair and a host of other items).

The stories that arose from the sale are almost better than actually selling things. There was the man who was grateful to find a microphone stand because he had left his behind at a gig, the woman who bought over 100 empty DVD cases for her church, the man who took every album out of its sleeve before choosing a number of them and who thanked us for taking such good care of our record collection, the man who bought a number of items and then asked us not to put them in bags because if we did, his wife would know that he had been to a garage sale. It's always a tiring day, I end up with dusty hands and a lot of cleanup at the end, but it's also a unique and interesting experience. Most of what was left can either be recycled or donated, and since we sell things very cheaply, we like to think that the people buying go home with bargains. Items we no longer used will find a new life in someone else's house.

And now I have room to organize my house a bit better. I love organizing. That's why this video by Casey Neistat about one of his own methods of organizing small items resonated with me. I don't have any red boxes (although I'd love to have some). But, of course, I have my own methods of keeping track of things. I'm sure you do, too.


Have a fantastic day!

Myrna

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's Summer! Lots of Reading Going On

Yes, I know I just posted a "What I'm Reading" message a few days ago, but since then I've read some more, and both of the books were fun.

The first, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, is widely known (a bestseller?) but I hadn't heard of it until a friend and fellow writer recommended it. What fun! It's been billed as a romantic comedy, but it's a very different type of romance. The hero, Don Tillman, has been called socially challenged. He's definitely unique. I cheered for him all the way through. What a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a day!


The second book is actually a children's book (recommended for ages 8-12), called Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke, author of the Inkheart series. It's about a boy, Jon Whitcroft, who is sent away to boarding school (his mother is dating a man Jon despises and nicknames The Beard, and Jon's actions against The Beard are getting out of control). But once away at school, Jon finds himself in a life or death situation...with a ghost. This is the fourth book I've read by Funke, and what I like best about her books (besides the paranormal elements) is that her characters are well formed and there's always a strong female. In this case, although Jon is the protagonist, he quickly meets Ella, and ghostly adventures begin!


I'm not sure if it's the teacher in me, the parent in me, or just the reader in me, but I do still love a really good children's book. 

Have a wonderful day!

Myrna

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wedding Dresses on Etsy?

I confess that I am not an Etsy expert. I find the site both intriguing and somewhat overwhelming. So many items. So many unique things to look at. I always fear that if I visit the site I'll end up there for hours, caught in one of those "just one more page" scenarios that I'm sure most people have succumbed to now and then.

The variety of objects there is amazing. Still, I never really thought of it as a place to find a wedding dress. Now I can't believe how clueless I've been. A search for "wedding dress" turned up over 137,000 items! 

Sure, not all of them are wedding dresses. Some are bridesmaid dresses or other wedding items. Still, there are a lot of wedding gowns to be found. Unique ones. Here are some of the choices:

This one is meant for a beach wedding (I think). It has panels and shows a lot of leg.

Suggested for weddings and proms:

Mermaid style with a train:

Ivory and champagne:

Bohemian style (I confess, I don't know what the parameters of this style are, but there were a lot of dresses labeled this way):

For those who want a shorter dress:

Or tea length:

And, of course, there are lots of vintage and vintage-inspired dresses:



I can't really imagine ordering a wedding dress online, but apparently (given the number of dresses available) it's quite popular, and I have to admit that the variety was intriguing. 

Have a wonderful day!

Myrna





Friday, August 8, 2014

What I'm Reading Now

A few years ago, having watched the movie Spirited Away, by Hayao Miyazaki (which I loved), I also watched his version of Howl's Moving Castle.


But I had never read the book. Actually, I didn't even know that there was a book. There is, in fact, a 3-book series, the first of which, Howl's Moving Castle is the basis for the movie. Written by Diana Wynne Jones, who wrote more than 40 books for young readers, the book was enchanting and fun. 


I had to read the others, so I'm continuing on with Castles in the Air and House of Many Ways. Fun!



What are you reading this week?

Have a wonderful day!

Myrna




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Tower of London Remembers World War I with Poppies

This year is the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of World War I. There were 888,246 British fatalities during that war, and an artist, Paul Cummins, created an installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower, one for each soldier who died.

Here's an aerial view:

Here's a brief interview of the artists involved, with footage of them making the poppies.


And more details of how this came about, all that it entails and how it will be presented (with some great views of the poppies on display). Quite an undertaking, and (I suspect) very moving, with an ongoing reading of the names.

I wish I could be there to see this. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How Many Times Have You Listened to an Airline's Safety Presentation?

If you fly a lot (or even if you only fly infrequently), you've probably listened to those seat belt, oxygen mask, smoking, etc., instructions so much that you tend to give those presentations less than your full attention. I fly Southwest when I can, and they usually try to liven things up a bit with humor. Apparently, United has decided to take this a step further with this somewhat entertaining and informative video. I do like the fact that for the first time I actually got to see the flotation device instructions in action, something that isn't possible in anything other than a video.

And, of course, you get the wonderful Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue" music that United has been using as their theme since 1987.


I wonder if these types of video presentations will become a trend, since they can be changed frequently in order to hold a passenger's attention. 

Have a great day!

Myrna

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Unusual Jobs

I've been absent for a bit (vacation, yes!), but here I am and I'm ready to address one of my favorite topics, unusual jobs. When I first began writing, I owned several books dedicated just to the topic of professions, because what a character in a book does for a living directly reflects how others (including readers) see that person. It affects the type of hours that character might have free, where they might live and so much more.

So when I saw this Mental Floss video on 26 Unusual Occupations I was intrigued. I'm sure that you know about some of these jobs, but there may be at least a few surprising ones.


Enjoy and have a great day!

Myrna

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Love it When a Movie Leads Me to a Book

I finally saw the movie, Philomena, and now I really need to read the book. That has happened so many times before (I didn't even read the Harry Potter books until I'd watched the entire series).


Judi Dench and Steve Coogan were just wonderful.

And now...to get on with reading the story.


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