Friday, September 25, 2009

Brave new world my foot!

A library without the books - The Boston Globe

I recently saw this post on the Texas Book Festival facebook page. If you read my last post, you know that I love to read. This trend disturbs me on so many levels. I cannot believe that this man calls himself an educator. He states that this is not discouraging students from reading. Perhaps not, but it certainly does discourage finding new and exciting voices in literature. There is simply no substitute for the doors that are opened by browsing a bookstore or library bookshelf, scanning the flyleaf or reading a few lines and discovering a new author or subject that excites you. Not to mention the serenity of curling up with a good book and a cup of tea at the end of a whirlwind day and escaping for awhile into other worlds. Sorry, but curling up with a laptop just isn't the same! Click on the link if you want to see the future of education. I don't know about you, but this scares me silly!

I will be the first to admit that books can take up a lot of space in your home.....

Living room bookshelves. This is after culling, but the shelves are starting to fill back up...

Magazines are great when you don't have alot of time before work. Just a quick article or two (or three, or - oh darn, I'm late!) What you can't see is the two storage ottomans under this basket - yes, they are full. Of books!

We are equal opportunity readers in this house. This is a small part of my husband's collection of books on guitars, music and photography...

Overflow from living room - had to build new bookcase for the hall...

Guest room bookshelves. And yes the walls are still purple (this was Cait's old room). I've been too busy reading to paint lol.

So please, run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore or library and rediscover the joy of reading. Before it's too late!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summer Reading Challenge results

It doesn't seem possible, but it's September already. In June, I started the summer reading challenge hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer Reads. This was the list of what I had planned to read:

1. Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
2. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke (to be released July 24th)
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
5. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
6. Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells
7. Wormwood by Susan Albert Wittig
8. Reading Lolita in Tehran

This is what I managed to read:
1. Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
2. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
5. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
6. Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells
7. Junior's Leg by Ken Wells
8. All the Colors of Darkness by Peter Robinson

I didn't get to Wormwood or Reading Lolita in Tehran. They are still on my to be read shelf.

I really enjoyed reading all of these, and finding a new voice that I really like. When I finished Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells, I got in the car, drove into Austin to my favorite used bookstore, and picked up the sequel "Junior's Leg". These books are set in the swamps of South Louisiana, and Ken Wells' ability to conjure the landscape and people of this area is amazing.

Three Cups of Tea was a truly mind opening book. This book should be required reading for every American. The story of a young mountain climber whose life is forever changed by the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, this book made me understand for the first time how fanatic fundamentalists have been able to come into power in this region. Reading about the deprivation of the people in this area, and the simple desire to learn among the children was truly eye opening.

Two of the books on my list are by my favorite author, James Lee Burke. His writing is absolutely lyrical at times, even when writing about dark and disturbing subjects. Here is my favorite passage from Rain Gods by James Lee Burke (published 2009 by Simon & Schuster)

"If someone were to ask Hackberry Holland what his childhood had been like, he would answer the question with an image rather than an explanation. He would describe a Saturday afternoon trip to town to watch a minor-league baseball game with his father the history professor. The courthouse square was bordered by elevated sidewalks inset with tethering rings that bled rust like a ship's scuppers. A khaki painted World War I howitzer stood in the shadows of a giant oak on the courthouse lawn. The dime store, a two-story brick building fronted with a wood colonnade, featured a popcorn machine that overflowed onto the concrete like puffed white grain swelling out of a silo. The adjacent residential neighborhood was lined with shade trees and bungalows and nineteenth-century white frame houses whose galleries were sunken in the middle and hung with porch swings, and each afternoon at 5 pm the paperboy whizzed down the sidewalk on a bicycle and smacked the newspaper against each set of steps with the eye of a marksman.
But more important in the memory of that long-ago American moment was the texture of light after a sun shower. It was gold and soft and stained with the contagious deep green of the trees and lawns. The rainbow that seemed to dip out of the sky into the ball diamond somehow confirmed one's foolish faith that both the season and one's youth were eternal."

When I read this passage, I felt that the author had looked directly into my soul and saw what I feel whenever I walk through this place we call home. And it just doesn't get better than that!

I hope everyone had a good time with this challenge. I certainly did, and want to thank Susan again for hosting such a fun event. Stop by
to check out everyone's list of summer reading!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another great give a way!

Just wanted to let you all know about another great give a way! Robin at Alabama Slacker Mama is having a give a way to celebrate her 200th post! 200 posts - I can't imagine, and she's done this just since December. If you've not met Robin, you are in for a real treat. She is funny, sweet and has a beautiful family. And oh, yes, she can talk!!! I'm not going to tell you what she's giving away. You need to go visit her at
to see what I'm going to win, er, what she is giving away!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fabulous fall give aways!

Everyone in blogland seems to be gearing up for fall. What better way to celebrate than with a fabulous give a way?! First visit Marty at A Stroll Through Life at If you haven't met Marty, you are in for such a treat! She is the dearest, sweetest friend you could have. Wait til you see her beautiful thrift shopping finds. This gal has the touch, let me tell you. And her beautiful room makeovers are full of wonderful ideas.

After introducing yourself to Marty, swing by and say hello to Gloria. Gloria is one of the funniest, spunkiest woman I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her collection of antiques is amazing, and she is a hoot!

So as Ferris Bueller said at the end of the movie "you're still here?" Quick, go enter these fabulous give a ways and tell Marty and Gloria I sent you!

Friday, September 11, 2009


On waking this morning, I prepared myself for the onslaught of memorials, pictures and reflections on 9-11. I remember exactly where I was (at work) when the attacks occurred. DH called me at work and told me that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. Thinking that it was small private plane, he quickly informed me as to what was really happening. We do not have a television or radio at our clinic, and at the time we did not have internet access. So the entire day was spent grilling clients who came in.
What I remember most clearly from the days, weeks and months that followed this horrific attack is the sense of pride and unity. No one was going to bring this country to it's knees. The sense of thankfulness for our firefighters and police officers who willingly went into the inferno to save lives and bring some semblance of order to chaos. The picture that I remember most clearly from this frantic time was of the thousands of people streaming across the bridge leaving Manhattan, with firefighters and police officers going into the city.
As I sit here with my morning coffee, I wonder what we have really learned from this. What happened to this countries sense of pride and unity? The constant bickering over every little thing, the two political parties acting like a bunch of spoiled schoolchildren. Name calling, mud slinging and ugly, hateful rhetoric spewing from every talk radio station. People, if we cannot pull ourselves together and learn to tolerate each other's differences and opinions, we are letting the terrorists win. Our biggest strength lies in our ability to discuss, work together and learn from each other. Our greatest ally is ourselves! We the People! Not you the democrats and you the republicans and you the "whatever". Our country was formed in response to intolerance and injustice. A place where everyone has the right to change government, just by pulling a little lever. Let's not let our differences tear us apart. Rather, try to remember that it is people from all walks of life, all religious beliefs, all political leanings and all backgrounds that give this country it's strength. It saddens me to think that the only time we can come together as a people and unite in a common cause is when we are under attack.
It is important that we never forget what happened on this fateful day 8 years ago. But it's also important to remember what happened in this great country of ours over 200 years ago. The greatest country on earth, with the greatest system of government on earth, was formed. So while it is important that we fly our flags and wear our lapel pins today, I think it is more important that we keep the flag in our hearts and minds everyday. Make our forefathers proud of what we have become and what we can accomplish. Do not let the terrorists win.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - little snippets of Georgetown

Happy Wednesday! Time for another edition of Outdoor Wednesday, so graciously hosted every week by Susan at Make sure to stop by and visit, and see what everyone is sharing this week. It has been crazy at work, so I haven't had much time to get out and about to take many photographs. It's finally starting to "cool off" enough that I could stand to be outside for more than 5 minutes, but at this point I don't have 5 minutes! Isn't that the way it goes? I'm going to share a few shots that my husband and I have taken around Georgetown this week. Hope you enjoy!

Just thought this was a pretty sky shot

Shot of an old cannon around the corner from our house. This gentleman has a really neat collection of yard art, old trucks, cannons, you name it!

I think this is the cutest fence outside of a little gift shop here.

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour. Hopefully next week I'll have more to share. Don't forget to stop by Susan's and say hello, and visit some of her other contributors this week.

Hope the rest of your week is a great one!