Monday, September 4, 2017

Good Reads

I hope you had a chance to read some really good books over the summer.  I did.

Here are two that I really enjoyed.  One I read on a plane between Chicago and Phoenix. The other I read on my back porch before the desert got too desperately hot.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

First of all, with a title like that, I knew that I had to check it out.  This is the story of a quirky woman and an IT Guy (who also has his quirks) who somehow find common ground and forge a friendship.  Their lives intersect at first when they help an elderly man who has stumbled on the sidewalk.  And the story starts to build from there.

I liked the slow way in which their relationship builds, along with the reveal of their character flaws and quirks. It reminded me a lot of another book that I loved called A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  It was like peeling away at the layers of an onion.  And there were tears.

My second favorite book of the summer had characters that were neither likeable nor endearing.  In fact, there were moments when I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room because the two main characters were so obnoxious.  But the story was a total page-turner.

We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley

This is the story of two rich gorgeous people, Catherine and William, who are selfish, self-absorbed, and have too much time on their hands. However, they fall in love, get engaged, plan to get married. Blah Blah Blah.  What could be more perfect, right?  Wrong. One of them has an agenda.  And one of them is more diabolical than the other.

Without giving too much away, you've got to read this one if you're in the mood for a bit of a thriller.  I give the author bonus points for the depiction of Catherine's mother who suffers from Alzheimer's.  The mom was by far my favorite character and very authentic.

If you liked Gone Girl, you might like this one too.

What was in your beach-bag this summer?

Monday, June 19, 2017

From Italy Con Amore

Just spent two crazy fun weeks in Rome with my family with side trips to the Tuscany region, Florence (my fave), Pompei, Positano and the Amalfi Coast.  I'm pretty sure I ate my body weight in gelato and pizza and spaghetti with clams. Thank goodness for all of the walking.  We had an incredible time.

We saw all of the sights in Rome, including the Colosseum, Vatican, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, art museums and at least 100 churches.  At the crazily crowded and popular sights like the Vatican and the Colosseum, we were fortunate to find exceptional guides so that we could really understand the history.  So glad we did.

One thing I realized from the first day was that Rome was larger than life: everything is grander in Rome--the churches, the statues, the fountains. The crowds! There is artwork on every building, on every corner.  There's a sort of organized chaos and you just have to swim with it to truly enjoy and experience the city.  You also have to learn to ignore all of the panhandlers and watch out for pick-pockets, like any big city.

We logged about 75 walking miles in Rome, never taking a cab, except for one time coming back to our hotel the day we visited the Vatican because the temps were pushing early 90's and we were all starting to fade from all of the walking and the heat.  So we hailed a cab.  And promptly got a cold scoop of gelato near our hotel. Followed by dinner at a lovely rooftop restaurant.

Fun trip. Great adventure. Wonderful memories. I'm posting a few pics here but there's a bunch more on my Facebook page, if you're interested in seeing more or traveling to Italy.  Happy to have had the experience of this trip.

Hope you're having a great summer!
Ciao, for now!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Reaching Out

I shared this post on my Facebook and Twitter pages and certainly wanted to share here as well.

A good reminder to reach-out to your parents, grandparents, and elderly neighbors, especially those living alone.

This story is heart-breaking.

Click HERE.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Has Sprung in the Sonoran Desert

I usually post these photos to my Facebook account, but the desert has been so beautiful this year (thank you, Rain!) that I wanted to post them here as well.  Here are just a few pics from my desert hikes. (Click each image to enlarge.)

Beautiful yellow wildflowers surrounding a saguaro that's, surprisingly, still standing, given all of the little birds that like to burrow inside of it.  Each "arm" represents 25 years.

Octotillo looks so gorgeous this time of year. From a distance, the red flowers at the top kind of look like Arizona cardinals.

Pink flowers on cactus might be my favorite desert color.  So vibrant.



And, last but not least, some desert wildflowers, all purples and yellows.

Hope you are enjoying your Spring wherever you call home.

:)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ring of Fire

Last night, I had tickets to the Arizona Theatre production of RING OF FIRE at The Herberger in Phoenix. Battling traffic to get there from all of the Final Four tourists and downtown events was a hassle but, in the end, so very worth it.

In short: the play was FABULOUS!

It's an autobiographical of Johnny Cash's life, told through 38 songs.  The actors and musicians were amazing; their voices were perfect.  It's equally impressive at all of the beautiful music that Johnny and June Cash created. While I loved all of the songs, their rendition of "The Far Side of Jordan" was my favorite.  If you live in Phoenix or if this production comes to your city, grab tickets.  You won't be disappointed.

The music was wonderful. Standing ovation at the end. And, Bravos all around.

Monday, March 13, 2017

When Life Intersects with Reality

This is quite possibly the cutest thing on the Internet right now. Definitely share-worthy:


There's a story here, waiting to be told. :)

Happy Spring!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl 2017 Commercials

Until the second half of this football game, I was only in it for the commercials.  But then, wham, what a comeback by the Patriots...

Anyway, this is the only time of year worth watching television commercials. I always hope to see something new, creative, and exciting, especially when they spend a gazillion for a commercial.  Usually, most of the commercials disappoint--maybe because the expectations are too high?

I noticed that this year that the commercials were less about cute babies and puppies and more about celebrities.  More about cars and phones; less about Doritos and beer.  And what happened to the Clydesdale horses?? Did I simply miss them this year?

Here are my top 3:

1) Cam Newton. I thought his commercial was hilarious. He was selling Buicks. I think...

2) Skittles.  I thought that one was funny and clever and kind of gross at the same time.  But I laughed.

3) Melissa McCarthy and the tree-hugging.  Hilarious. I think she too was trying to sell a car in the end.

What were your faves?