Author Interview: J.W. Nicklaus

Author J.W. Nicklaus generously granted me an interview with him to discuss his recently published collection of short stories, "The Light, The Dark & Ember Between."

1) In the preface, you wrote, "While I'm not retelling any one individual's story, perhaps save my own..." and the author bio mentions that you are a single father. Then, the collection begins with four men who lose a woman in their life. Coupling those nuggets of information, I can't help but wonder, what are the parallels between your experiences and the experiences of the characters in your stories?

That is a wonderfully profound question, and I'm not entirely certain my answer can live up to the question itself!

Within the stories there are parts of my personal character within some of the storied characters. With all I share a bond of time-worn romanticism--a sometimes melancholy, sometimes many hued ideal. I revel in the sweeping kind of romantic throes exhibit by the father in Emissary, and smile with every smaller gesture like that in Paper Doll. Losing someone who so divinely occupies your heart was the focus of Requiem For Linny. The story idea itself came from seeing a painting in the Phoenix Museum of Art--the storyline wasn't based upon the loss of a person, however, rather the loss of a relationship. I tried to manifest that feeling in Buck's actions and in the way he laments the loss of his love.

I find it intriguing that you mention the first four stories, because Broken is one of those. I intentionally left the story's conclusion open-ended because I wanted the reader to decide, in their own mind, what the actual result was: 'hard' or 'soft'. I was interviewed by one of our local newspapers, and the reporter (a male, mind you) had read the book and asked me specifically about that ending. He was looking for a definitive ending, because I think we are somewhat conditioned to that. What if the ending isn't what you thought? That one clandestine piece is a haunting definition for Hope, is it not?

My experiences are not the least bit unique--they're the same as yours or any one else's. I've simply tried to take mine and give them some form, a vehicle for my own catharsis. What I hope brings the characters to life is the ability of the reader to relate and empathize, which in turn evokes emotion. Many of the decisions we make in our lives are predicated upon passion. I wrote the stories sheerly as a way for me to manifest something internally into a different realm.

2) Juxtaposed against men who are depicted as flawed and fragile, the women of "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between" are described with an almost ethereal quality, personifying beauty and strength. What was your inspiration for the characters?

You've hit upon a hot button of mine. I have long felt that women hold a latent but stunning power over men. Sure, we can be macho and do all the things that men are typically associated with, but I genuinely believe that even the hardest of men has some true weakness, in some way, that a woman can exploit. We need their tenderness and nurturing, their playfulness, their softness. Women, to me, are beautiful and strong. That's not to say all men are weak, mind you. Women just have a silken way of separating man from beast. As much as I try to explain it, it becomes more apparent that it's inexplicable . . . yet inarguably without heartfelt reproach

The inspiration? All for the love of a woman; a simple statement, yes, but so very layered. What other soul-rending emotion could better illustrate the flawed nature of men than love. There is a tangible, palpable feeling that I draw from--the ancient Greeks and many artists refer to the muse, while I feel my muse is far more spiritual in her inspiration, and as such is my angel

3) In the spirit of "Ten word quickie," define "ember between."

I am currently working on a couple.(Ed. note: Mr. Nicklaus generously provided an amazing answer befitting its own post. Come back tomorrow for his creative response!)>

4) I mentioned in my review that you write with poetic beauty. Is poet on your resume? What path did you take to arrive where you are now -- with a collection of short stories being reviewed all over the bloggosphere, podcast interviews, and signings at book stores?

You know, I have a hard time with the label of 'poet' -- not that I don't respect it, but it carries an aura of ornate literary means, and I'm not the least bit convinced that the two poems I've had published necessarily fit that criteria. I write as I feel best befits the situation. Sometimes the only way to accomplish the right moment is to be respectfully beautiful while remaining true to the story and characters. I'll give you an example from one of the stories I'm currently working on, Rhapsody In Blue, in which a woman finds herself alone in a lifeboat after suffering some injuries in an accident she has yet to remember: All I could see around me was water; reflecting sunlight made it twinkle, as if a hundred clear night skies had fallen into it.

Poetic? That's not for me to say, really. But I do believe it's respectfully beautiful and describes the way the sun comes off the ocean.

You've pretty much nailed the path . I did a virtual blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Volume, working with a wonderful coordinator by the name of Dorothy Thompson. I have to say, it's a lot of work but worth every minute if you approach it properly. I did some research into VBT's before going with PUYBV, and ultimately my instincts screamed at me to go with them. Honestly, it was one of those 'little voice' kind of moments. I was richly rewarded for heeding it, too. It was a fantastic experience for me, and to this day I remain in contact with a good number of those folks.

By the time this posts, I will have done my first book signing here in Tempe, Arizona. The bookstorewas Changing Hands, and it's no shrinking violet in independent bookstore circles. They get big name authors all the time for their events: J.A. Jance, David Ewing Duncan (NPR 'Biotech Nation' host and contributor to National Geographic), and Jennifer Steinhauer (New York Times L.A. bureau chief) -- and that's just a sample of their July authors! I'm fortunate to be listed amongst such contributors.

5) How long do those of us who have read, and loved, "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between" have to wait before we can read more J.W. Nicklaus?

I am currently working on a couple other short stories, one of which I hope to have completed within a month. Once I'm confident it's polished to my liking/standards I'm thinking of offering it as a bonus to those who have purchased the book already, or certainly to those who have reviewed it. I've been tinkering with a much longer novel for some years now, and I really need to get back into that. Tentatively it's entitled Eden, about a woman who has a rooftop garden that gets her involved in things she's never contemplated before. In true Nicklaus fashion, there is more than a hint of romanticism involved, unwittingly on her part. If I really put my self back into it I suppose I could have it ready for pre-press in about a year. In the meantime, I'll keep working on the short stories and will see where they take me.

6) What message do you hope readers will keep with them after they've finished reading the last page of the collection?

Hope isn't always right in front of our eyes, nor always at hand when we most want it--but it's always there. Always nurture your dreams, because they bring color to Hope. Perhaps the best message overall is stated by Marcus Aurelius at the end of Emissary . . . but I can't reveal it here without spoiling the story, so you'll just have to read the book to find out ;^)

7) Shameless promotion time! Here's your chance to share the social networking tools can readers can use to connect with you, where are you on the bloggosphere, etc.

First, and most importantly, I am grateful that you took the time to provide me this list of questions, and for giving me the opportunity to delve a little deeper behind-the-scenes, if you will. I was only too happy to do it! I really had to take some time to think about the answers to these questions--this was good stuff.

My web site, http://www.avomnia.com/, is geared more towards my writing and approach to the same. You can find more informaton about me, other things I've written, reviews and other info about the book, including a book trailer and links to my Blog Talk Radio interviews and all my Blog Tour stops. You can order an autographed copy of my book from there as well!

My blog, avomnia.wordpress.com, is far more dynamic and contains my ruminations on pretty much whatever I'm thinking about at the moment I write. Use the Tag Cloud to find a topic that might interest you, or just browse around a bit. I'm pretty good about interacting with my readers, so leave a comment!

I do have a Facebook page, but in all honesty I'm not very good about keeping up with it, but I do check occasionally, so ifyou're in the neghborhood by all means look me up ;^) You can reach me through my web site (jwnicklaus@avomnia.com), lostpenguin1@cox.net, or my blog, and I certainly enjoy getting mail from fans :^)

Read my full review here!


Giveaway: Tech Savvy Mama

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Head over to Tech Savvy Mama's website for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to 1-800 Flowers!

Psst- What are you waiting for? Tech Mama is giving you an extra entry in the giveaway!

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Brainy Dancer

I can't help but hum Elton John's Tiny Dancer whenever I see the right brain/left brain dancer. Watch her pirouette.

According to an article published on Perth Now, most people see her spin anti-clockwise. If you see her spin counter clockwise, you use more of your left brain than right, and those who see her twirl clockwise are using their right mind.

I see her spinning clockwise, but for me, she usually spins clockwise to 3 o'clock, then pivots, and spins counter-clockwise to 9 o'clock, where she pivots again and repeats her 180° path across the upper hemisphere.

After the jump, characteristics of each brain function, and a quiz!

Left Brains:
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

Right Brains:
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test

Let's Be Friends!

The lovely Sheila, of Book Journey, has flattered me with the "Let's Be Friends" award.

"Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and befriends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

Without further ado, here are the bloggers I would like to call friends:

Trin at Bloody Bad
Jenny at Take Me Away
Natasha at Maw Books Blog
Kim at Passion & Art


The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between

After I finished reading "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between," I emailed the author, "I'm still letting the book sink in, because I felt like I was on a little emotional roller coaster of "ooh, what's next! oh, that's sad! no, not sad--bittersweet! Sweet, it's sweet!" I guess I could say it feels draining, but in a good way, because it drains despair and fills you with hope."

J.W. Nicklaus's collection of fifteen short stories begins with "Emissary," a story about a father living in a lighthouse, with his son, daughter-in-law, and mysterious need to keep vigil over the ocean. With each page, the story "invit[es] the soul to wander in abysses of solitude." (Kate Chopin, The Awakening) Just as the waves of the ocean roll into a crashing crescendo, "Emissary" progresses from mysterious to familiar, and just as the sea seduces the sailor, Nicklaus has gently coaxed the reader into a somber place.

The first four stories emulate the four element discussed in the Preface -- Air, Earth, Fire and Water. With "Emissary" representing water, the subsequent three stories, "Requiem for Linny," "Steetlamp," and "Broken," honor the remaining three elements. The rhythm of the book continues with less overt connections, but there is a latent connection weaving the stories together. An unmistakable yin and yang is evident in the reoccurring presence of flawed and fragile men, contrasted by soft, yet strong women. The men struggle, the women survive.

J.W. Nicklaus writes with a poetic beauty, using strong descriptions that perfectly capture the mundane moments which memories are made from. Almost every page contained a quotable phrase, such as on page 31, "To the untrained eye -- hell, to the unappreciative eye -- it all looks the same, don't it?"

There are certain books that epitomize a stage of the human condition and become "the" gift book for certain occasions. Graduating? Oh, the places you'll go! Pregnant? What to expect when you're expecting! Coping, or trying to cope, with a loss? "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between!"

The vignettes of life that often pass as an ordinary moment will resonate with those struggling with life, with death, and everything between. "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between" will be your emissary, your "bridge between loss and love."

Purchase a signed copy of "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between" on the author's website.

(Hello Arizona! J.W. Nicklaus will be at Changing Hands Bookstore on Saturday July 25, 2009 at 2pm. Changing Hands is located at 6428 S McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283 Phone: 480-730-0205)

The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between
J.W. Nicklaus
American Book Publishing Group
Fiction-Short Story
ISBN-10: 1589825055
ISBN-13: 978-1589825055
196 pages
Paperback - May 14, 2009
Rating: Unforgettable

UPDATE: I'm not the only one who enjoyed "The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between." Visit my friend Sheila's blog, Book Journey, to read her two cents.

Time Capsule

A day late, but who's complaining? Last week my life was chock full of goodness, and I needed a day of rest on Sunday. Here's what happened around the world for the week of July 12th through July 18, 2009:

1. The American League won the All-Star game, again.

2. Nominations for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards were announced. What would an awards show be without snubs and surprises?

3. Walter Cronkite passed away, after a lengthy illness.

Three things I'm looking forward to this week:

1. Reading "He Who Sings Last" and keeping my fingers crossed for an interview with the author, Lisa Laird DiRosso.

2. Finally sewing a much-coveted tea wallet!

3. Visiting Halo Farms! Aah, the memories!


The Write-Brain Workbook

Bonnie Neubauer is the brilliant author of "The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to liberate your writing." (also available on DVD)366 exercises is actually an understatement, since each of the daily exercises includes a secondary exercise, titled "Take the next step."

Each of the daily exercises begin with a scenario that challenges the writer to dust off the cobwebs deep in the crevices of creativity. To compliment the drills, the pages are beautifully illustrated with a flair that stimulates creativity just by flipping through it. In Ms. Neubauer's own words, "The designers thoroughly explored and expressed each writing prompt, resulting in pages that are stunning, intriguing, varied, and beautiful."

A sample exercise:

Dear Diary-One(from Day 27)

Circle one age option:

12 yr old girl
64 yr old beekeeper
20 yr old college student
42 yr old movie star
6 yr old boy

Circle one location option:
Live on a farm
Live in a penthouse
Live in a mansion
Live on the streets
Live with an aunt and uncle

You are now this person and this is where you live.
You just found a diary from 1864. Let the story unfold. Start with:

"Some people might not have opened..."

If you knew no one would ever read what you write, would you:
Not write at all
Write a bit less
Write a lot more

How else would this affect your writing?

Look out for Neubauer's most recent book, "Take Ten for Writers: 1000 exercises to build momentum in just 10 minutes a day."

From Amazon:
Looking for ideas? This book of ten-minute writing exercises gives you 100 exercises with ten different variables for 1,000 prompts. You'll learn to play around with starting phrases, the last sentence of the story, locations and more. It only takes ten minutes to open up your writing to boundless possibilities!

Title: Take Ten for Writers: 1000 exercises to build momentum in just 10 minutes a day
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Writers Digest Books (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1582975337
ISBN-13: 978-1582975337

Toss Away the "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day!

July 18th is Toss Away the "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day! There is not a lot of documentation on the proper way to celebrate this holiday, so we'll have to make up the rules as we go along.

1) Pull off a few squares of toilet paper. Write down all of your could'ves and should'ves. Flush the list. Now your regrets have gone to a place you can't retrieve them. Let it go!

2) Get a bucket and an eye dropper. Fill the bucket, drop by drop, with all of your could'ves and should'ves. Dump the bucket down the drain. Isn't it easier to dump the regrets?

3) Write a list of could'ves and should'ves. For every could've and should've on your list, donate one article of clothing to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. You can live with the baggage of a past you can't change, or clean house and simultaneously help someone else.

4) Find the largest vase in your home. Add one flower to the vase for every could've and should've. Can you see the beauty of your past harmonizing to create a beautiful present?


Exhibition of Rejects

Spring 2006, I'm sitting in the most fascinating lecture of my entire academic career. The professor, a man who resembles a mad scientist more than the artist that he is, is inducting me and my classmates into the Salon des Refusés, the exhibition of rejects. In Paris during the 1860s, critics not only opined on the works of the artist, but dictated what an artist was capable of creating. Painters were pigeonholed as either able to paint still life or portraits or landscapes or nudes. An artist could not possibly paint both a peach and a person or a bare bosom and a boat floating in a pond.

Manet was irate that spectators were limiting the abilities of an artist based on arbitrary precepts. He challenged the status quo by not only proving he could paint still life, landscapes, nudes and portraits, but that he could combine the four styles of painting in one piece of work. His magnum opus, Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, showcases his abilities as an artists and demonstrates that an artist is only limited by his own imagination.

Déjeuner sur l'Herbe is particularly poignant for me, because I relate to the frustrations of Manet and his contemporaries. Sometimes well-meaning individuals attempt to support me by discouraging me from pursuing more than one avenue of creative writing. "Focus on one genre," is one nugget of advice I've received. As a result of my diverging interests, I am accused of having a lack of discipline. Unauthentic, insincere, and juvenile are just a few of the words of support I've heard.

Truth be told, my critics have been spot on accurate.

Writing is not my "passion."

My heart belongs to
story telling. The art of story telling is not limited to fiction. Non-fiction can qualify as creative writing, if written creatively! Some stories are best told through poetry. Other stories, such as the story of a struggling artist attempting to be understood, is best told on canvas with oils.

That's my story. What's yours?

Hot Dog!

Today is "Hot Dog Day!"

Organized by the Luverne Chamber of Commerce, Luverne, Minnesota is home to the annual "Hot Dog Night," a celebration featuring a Wiener dog race, beauty pageant and free hot dogs!

But, the fun doesn't end there! Horse drawn wagon rides, mini train rides, skits, songs, and illusions are just a few of the scheduled festivities. With a population of only 4500, Luverne seems to be a darling American town with a strong sense of community.

A neighbor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, residents of Luverne enjoy the benefits of a small town with the convenience of Sioux Falls, the Twin Cities, and Omaha just a few miles away.

Notable residents include:
If you attend the hot dog fest, please drop me a line, and let me know if it is half the fun I am imagining it to be!


Remember ...

Months ago, I saw this picture on the web somewhere. Saving the pic, I never intended to republish it. If this belongs to you, contact me and I will remove it.

1. Whoever comes are the right people.

2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.

3. Whenever it starts is the right time.

4. When it's over, it's over.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"But when he saw the carnage
from the massacre outside his window,
he was pushed past his capacity
to absorb and endure any more.
Anguished, he resolved to do
the thing he did best: make music."
p. 14 "Everyday Greatness" by Stephen Covey

"Packed with a wealth of wisdom from the pages of Reader's Digest, Everyday Greatness will inspire you with moving and timeless stories of lives lived to the fullest, often through adversity and challenge. Works from such diverse perople as Maya Angelou, Jack Benny, Henry David Thoreau, and Joe Paterno represent shining examples of character-driven living. Stephen Covey's insights and commentary help readers apply these principles to their own lives."


An Emerging Nutritionista

Buried somewhere deep within me, there is a nutritionista clawing her way out. She wants fiber(!) and lean protein(!) and abstinence from empty calories!!! She also desperately wants me to have an affair of the heart with cardio, and do yoga and pilates! Usually, I drown her cries for more fiber/less sugar with a nice big bowl of spagetti and meatballs, piled high with parmesan, finished with a pint of Häagen-Dazs.

Every now and then, she wins the battle and I dine on quinoa and fruit salad. (Fact: Quinoa rocks! Honest!) Recently, her voice has gotten stronger and I'm losing my will to ignore her pleas for a more healthy me. But, she hasn't completely won, not yet, at least.

I demand flavor!

I deserve convenience!

In an effort to satisfy my dueling desires, I paused as I passed the frozen food section on the organic aisle. Next thing I know, I'm at home, popping a Kashi frozen entree in the microwave. How did my meal fare, you ask?

Well, I sampled the Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera: "Yellow Carrots, Sweet Red Peppers & Peas, Kashi™ 7 Whole Grain Penne Pasta, Basil Pesto Sauce with Shredded Parmesan Cheese." I'll admit that this wasn't the first time I've nibbled on Kashi. Their GoLean Blueberry Waffles really do have a "true flavor explosion." The TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies are unbelievably tasty! Okay, the first bite tastes like a healthy cookie, but by the time you're done indulging, it really does taste yummy. (I can't say the same for the TLC Oatmeal Raisin Flax cookie. I think it's the flax that is a turn-off.)

Back to the Pesto Pasta Primavera.

Positives: The penne was al dente! The veggies were crisp! No soggy/microwave-meal texture or consistency!

Area of opportunity: I'm not sure how to say this delicately, because I try to be positive. But, in the interest of honest disclosure, the Pesta Pasta Primavera had a funky flavor.

To be more accurate, it had a strong flavor that I can't quite pinpoint, although it is reminiscent of fresh ginger root. (I don't see ginger root listed as an ingredient.) Now, if you care for fresh ginger root, you will really enjoy the flavor. I wasn't expecting that flavor, and I don't care for fresh ginger root one bit!

The quality of Kashi can't be beat, so I will definitely try other flavors. The Pesto Pasta Primavera is better than ordinary, but not quite noteworthy. Because of my other experiences with Kashi, I'm not going to turn my back on them. In fact, I already have the "Southwestern Style Chicken" on my shopping list.

If you have any recommendations, I'm all ears!

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Mailbox Monday

The Printed Page created a marvelous meme, "Monday Mailbox." Here are the guidelines:
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Once again, I owe thanks to Trin @ Bloody Bad for tipping me off to this trend.

My mailbox was full last week, giving me lots to read this week:

1. Aging with Grace by Greg Liberman
"Grace, a middle aged housewife, is dissatisfied with her looks, her husband, and her lifestyle. Grace is certain that she was meant to lead a more exciting life than the one she finds herself in. She finds the thrill that she is looking for and more when she reconnects with a high school friend though a social networking website. Suddenly, Grace is hobnobbing with celebrities, wearing designer clothes, and being wooed by Victor, a mysterious Hollywood powerhouse. Soon, Grace is flying off to Malibu on a whim to hook up with Victor, all the while lying to her husband and two daughters."
2. As Long As He Needs Me by Mary Verdick
"In honor of their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, Kitty and Clem Johanssen set off on what's supposed to be a dream vacation: a gracious cruise up the East Coast from New York to Montreal. But in a hectic rush to embark, Clem foolishly loses his cash to a couple of street swindlers. Unbeknowst to Kitty, the incident sets off a profound introspection of Clem's weaknesses, regrets, and mortality -- amplified by the sudden appearance of his old war buddy-turned-politician, T. McCollough Boyle, during a shore excursion..."
3. Hannibal's Elephant Girl by Ariion Kathleen Brindley
"In 218 BCE, Hannibal took his army, along with 37 elephants, over the Alps to attack the Romans. Eleven years before this historic event, on the banks of a river near Carthage in North Africa, one of his elephants pulled a drowning girl from the turbulent waters. Thus began Liada's epic journey with the elephant known as Obolus."
4. Concubine by Kota Ozembew
"Frustrated with her life in China, fifteen year old Shiao-Shiao accepts the offer to join the harem of a mysterious and wealthy American polygamist. But soon she discovers that being a concubine is not just about luxury and sensuality."
Head over to J. Kaye's Book Blog for more Mailbox Monday!

Thought of the day

My horoscope says:
You are starting something fantastic today --
even if you can't tell exactly what's going on!
It's one of those days when you can tell
that things are going to work out for the best.

Never have I read such an accurate prediction!

Daily Affirmation:

“Twenty years from now
you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn't do
than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
--Mark Twain

Time Capsule

Whew! Last week came and went so quickly, the new week began before I could recap what happened.

Highlights from the week of July 5th to July 11th:

1. Steve McNair, father of four sons and a former NFL quarterback, was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. McNair also founded "The Steve McNair Foundation" dedicated to empowering youth.

2. Byrd and Melanie Billings were killed in Florida during an apparent home invasion. The Billings were parents to sixteen children. Twelve of their children have developmental disabilities. All but two of their children were adopted. The online memorial is available here. Their generosity is a legacy that will never die.

3. Obama spoke at the G8 summit and stated that the world's economic recovery is "a ways off." I have never hoped that a president was just as plain dead wrong as I do now.

Three things to look forward to this week:

1. I will sew a tea wallet by hand.
I will sew a tea wallet by hand!
I will sew a tea wallet by hand!

2. Reading on the hammock. So many books, so little time!

3. Play with clay! Coffee ground clay crafts. Thank you, Starbucks!


Kreativ Blogger [Award]

The Kreativ Blogger award is the brainchild of a darling Norwegian blogger, Hulda. Originating in both Old German and Hebrew, "Hulda" means "loved one." On May 5, 2008, Hulda introduced the "Kreativ Blogger Award" to the blogsphere. Hulda hand made the original award, before creating the digital button. Bestowing the award upon just four Norwegian blogs. Since then, the award has traveled the world, from Indonesia to New Jersey, with over 200,000 hits on Google! Thanks to Trin of Bloody Bad for passing the award on to me.

First, I would like to properly thank Hulda for creating the vessel in which bloggers can recognize each other's creativity while supporting each other. Interestingly, when you translate Hulda's blog with an online translator, the directions indicate to "divide it out."

Honoring the evolution of the award, here is a list of seven of my favorite things, followed by my nominees.

My favorite things: deadly vices and heavenly virtues

Scott Caan. They don't make men like him in Jersey.


A chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting.
Sugar + Sunshine Bakery


Seriously, can you blame me?


Heaven is on a hammock, in the ocean, with a book.


Patience: noun, an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness
or annoyance when confronted by delay


Christian Louboutin, how I covet thee!
The perfect ruby slippers a la Wizard of Oz!
Like a superhero, I could wear my "ruby slippers" incognito,
a silent reminder that I "had it in me all along."


Kiva: empowering individuals to lend directly
to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

Passing the torch:
I would like to recognize the following blogs because they inspire me.

1. Book Journey

2. Crazy for Books

3. JannyPie

4. Love to Read

5. Take Me Away

6. Shhh I'm Reading

7. When She Reads

Sincere appreciation to Trin, from Bloody Bad, for honoring me, and Hulda, for creating the award!

Wash that _______ outta my hair

"Well, you don't have to look so dramatic about it!
Things like this happen every day!"*

I finally broke up with my shampoo. We had been together for years. Sleek.look by Matrix is a lovely product, consistently smoothing my naturally highlighted hair. My only beef is the price.

$18.99 for 13.5 ounces just is not in my budget anymore. When gas didn't cost an arm and a leg, I could justify the expenditure. For close to a year, I have had to grin and bear the price, because I just could not find a suitable substitute. Finally, I can proudly say that I found a grocery store brand that only cost me $4.49(on sale for $5.99 plus a $1.50 coupon!) for 10.5 ounces. Want a free sample?

Aveeno® has a great new, or at least "new-to-me," hair care collection, NOURISH+. I tried the NOURISH+Moisturize. Since my experience with grocery store brands has been disappointing, my expectations were low. Very low. Every line of hair care offers a "moisturizing" product, and none of them deliver. Until now.

Aveeno® knocked one out of the ball park with their NOURISH+ line. The shampoo has a nice, light fragrance, didn't weigh down my hair, and actually left my locks smooth, silky and without the need to add a detangling product post washing.

I am so pleased with this find, that I doubt I will go back to my old shampoo.

Dear Matrix,
I think we need a break.
I'm just going through some things.
I just need to work on myself.
I love you so much, but I'm willing to let you go.
It's not you, it's me.
We can still be friends!

The Aveeno® NOURISH+ hair care collection is available in:

NOURISH+ VOLUMIZE: With a fusion of lightweight conditioners, Nourishing Wheat Complex and Anti-Oxidant Blue Lotus Flower, this shampoo gives lush, rich life to limp locks.

NOURISH+ REVITALIZE: Infused with Nourishing Wheat Complex, this shampoo does much more than just nourish and cleanse your hair. It also helps protect hair's intrinsic moisture balance from everyday damage.

NOURISH+ MOISTURIZE: Nourishing Wheat Complex and Hydrating Oat Protein work together in this breakthrough formula to quench hair and replenish vital moisture.

NOURISH+ SOOTHE: This exclusive ACTIVE NATURALS® formula, with Nourishing Wheat Complex, Soothing Lavender and Cooling Peppermint helps soothe itchy, dry scalp.

Aveeno® is offering free samples on their site. Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!

*Classic line from South Pacific. This post would not be complete without a lil Rodgers and Hammerstein. Enjoy!

Watermelon granita

As in the case of almost all of my favorite foods, I can thank the Italians for this refreshing summer treat. Granita has been traced back to the times of the Greeks and the Romans to a little town called Sicily, but it apparently gained notoriety courtesy of the Arabs. For a more in depth explanation on the history of granita, held over to the archives of The Old Foodie.

Best of Silicy has a very elementary recipe for granitas, using only three ingredients (fruit, sugar, and water.) For my concoction, I included a pinch of salt and a bit of lime. Full recipe after the jump.

Watermelon Granita
1/2 of a seedless whole watermelon (about 5 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
juice from two limes
1/8 tsp salt

First, slowly heat water and sugar on low heat until the sugar is dissolved, creating a simple syrup. Allow syrup to cool completely before using.

Meanwhile, cut the watermelon into 1 inch sized cubes, or use a melon baller. The exact ratio of fruit to simple syrup is not set in stone (hehe, anyone who read Old Foodie's post about the word "granita" might see how I made a pun.) The more fruit that is used will create a granita that tastes less sweet, whereas increasing the amount of simple syrup will result in a more stickly-sweet granita.

Drizzle the juice from two limes over the cubed watermelon.

Working in batches, puree the watermelon in a blender or food processor.

After all of the watermelon has been pureed, add the pinch of salt.

Pour the watermelon puree (batches!) through a fine mesh sieve to strain, pushing through solids. (Hint: Periodically scape the puree off the exterior of the sieve.) I repeat this step for two reasons. One, I think it results in a smoother, more sorbet-esque granita, and two, there is something soothing about gently and delicately straining the puree.

Once you have a smooth watermelon juice, gradually add the cooled simple syrup. Blend well.

Pour the mixture into a 9"x13" freezer safe baking dish. (Non-stick is not recommended, as you will be scrapping through the granita to the bottom of the baking dish.)

Place the baking dish in the freezer. Every 30-40 minutes, gently scrape the mixture with a fork to break up any icicles that are beginning to form. It may take 4 hours to completely harden.

(Caution! Initially, there will be very few ice crystals, and a lot of liquid. Splashing may occur. Fun to clean up!)

The final product is a cool, refreshing summer treat. It's so good, you might dig in before you take a picture.

If you don't have watermelon, substitute any citrus, strawberries, or coffee. (Yum!)


Daily affirmations

"Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. Effective leaders are able to."
-- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

"And the day came when the risk to remain
tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took
to blossom.
--Anaïs Nin

"If I must fall,
may it be from a high place."

--Paulo Coelho

Medicine Cabinets past & present

Historic Houseparts is one of my favorite places to window shop on
the web. I recently came across this unforgettable find -- a vintage
medicine cabinet. Rustic, yet elegant, the fashionable find evokes a
certain nostalgia when the panacea for all of life's pains were found
in my grandmother's medicine cabinet. Those were the days that St.
Joseph's aspirin and Bactine, or a combination of both, cured every

A well stocked medicine cabinet should extend beyond baby aspirin, but
what are the necessities? Cruising through the grocery store, the aisles teeming with products promising to be the antidote for every symptom. I decided to bend the ear of my local Pharmacist and ask her advice on what type of products I should keep in my medicine cabinet.

Here is a comprehensive list of medicine cabinet must-have's:

Tylenol: reduces fever and treats headaches.
Advil or Motrin: relief from headaches and all-over aches & pains
Midol: relief from cramping, bloating, and PMS
Benadryl: seasonal allergies, and allergic reactions to insect bites
or food allergies
Bactine: disinfects cuts/scrapes, provides relief from itching/insect
bites (Alternative: Neosporine and Cortisone)
Mederma: applied after wound has heeled, reduces and prevents scars
Lozenges: provides relief from sore throat
Multi-sympton cold syrup: relief from sneezing, runny nose, coughing
Colace: stool softener for constipation
Pepto-bismal: multi symptom relief of upset stomach and other symptoms
including, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and indigestion (Alternative: Tums and Immodium AD)
Ambesol: relief from tooth pain
Desenex: anti-fungal spray to treat and provide relief from athlete's foot
Honey: yes, honey. Soothes sore throat, aids digestion, induces sleep, and the list goes on!

Tweezers: splinter removal
Measuring spoon and/or dropper: ensures proper dosage of liquid medications
Assorted bandages, gauze, sterile pads, first aid tape and disinfecting swabs

Neosporin: antibiotic creme, disinfects cuts/scrapes
Cortizone: topical allergy cream, provides relief from itching due to
rashes or insect bites and treats
Tums: antacid to treat heart burn and acid reflux
Immodium AD: anti-diarrheal

Based on the prices advertised at Drugstore.com, the total cost for the supplies is roughly $200. My advice is to add a few items to the cart each shopping trip, to slowly build a medicine cabinet. (Be aware of expired medications in your medicine cabinet!)

*Disclosure: This is not intended to be medical advice. If you seek medical advice, please refer to a medical professional.

*Photo of vintage medicine cabinet courtesy of Historic Houseparts


Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"What propels a person toward this ecstasy are the five senses. The more the senses are stimulated, the stronger will be the drive toward ecstasy and the more powerful the ecstasy."
p. 122, "Brida" by Paulo Coelho

is "a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller." If you haven't been exposed to Coelho's writing, I highly recommend "The Fifth Mountain" and "The Alchemist," but honestly, all of the works of Paulho Coelho are unforgettable. Look for my review of Brida later this week.


Time Capsule

Highlights from the past week:

1) I discovered the Day Zero project and created my own 101 in 1001 list. Writing the list was a challenge in itself. 3-23-12 will be here sooner than I know.

2) Sarah Palin announced she is stepping down as Governor of Alaska. Strategic? Or surrendering?

3) Biden says "we misread the economy."

4) Linda Castillo's mystery, Sworn to Silence, made it onto the NY Times best seller list at #35. My review can be found here.

5) 1.6 million people registered for tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial. Only 17,500 people will win.

Three things that I am looking forward to this week:

1) Monday morning. Silly, I usually dread Monday mornings. However, this Monday I will be working alongside a very talented woman. My gut says that I will learn a lot from her.

2) My mailbox should be crammed with several books that I have been anticipating. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that The Delivery Man by Joe McGinniss Jr is among the stash.

3) Entourage premires Sunday, July 12, 2009 @ 10:30pm! In all fairness, the only reason I plan to watch this season is to see my future husband play "a talent manager with tough talk that will become a nuisance for Eric this season."

(If anyone were reading this, I would be too shy admit my school girl crush on Scott Caan.)


101 goals in 1001 days

Unless you are a johnny-come-lately like myself, you are probably well aware of the Day Zero Project's "101 goals in 1001 days." These lists are all over the blogosphere. I discovered this brilliant idea from Suki, of [Super Duper Fantastic]. Simply put, 101 goals in 1001 days is a list of "SMART" goals. What are "SMART" goals, you say?

"SMART" is a mnemonic device to help the goal-setter create specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding, trackable goals. Day Zero recommends the deadline of 1001 days, because "The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks."

Call it irony or call it fate, but by starting my 101 goals in 1001 days today, my deadline is March 31, 2012, exactly one week after my thirty-fifth birthday. Also known as a major milestone in my life.

Please join me on my journey to complete, and blog about, the 101 goals I hope to achieve before my milestone birthday. Without further ado, here are my goals:

Adopt a dog
Adopt a Solider
Attend mass every Sunday until my 35th birthday (Bonus pts: Holy Days)
Bake a loaf of bread the old-fashioned way.
Be inspired daily--document source of inspiration.
Become a non-practicing smoker
Become a UN Goodwill Ambassador
Buy a compass
Buy a sewing machine and use it to make 35 projects
Buy a stock
Buy my own domain
Buy myself flowers 35 times.
Carry a totem.
Celebrate a personal victory with a bottle of Champagne
Collect 1001 lost coins. Document discovery.
Compliment 35 people, in writing, for their accomplishment.
Create a portfolio of 35 things showcasing my creativity.
Create a sanctuary.
Create an exercise routine and commit to it.
Create my own "School of Athens" with 35 teachers
Design a signature menu and master it.
Discover or create the perfect tomato sauce.
Drink 1001 cups of tea.
Eat vegan for 35 consecutive days.
Enter a competition: a race, a writing contest, a bake-off, etc.
Feed 35 people
Feed the birds
Find a classical musician that I adore--learn all about him.
Find one beautiful thing about each day. Document discovery.
Finish college
Fly a kite
Get 5 facials from a professional
Get a percent body fat of 23%
Get certified in CPR and the Hemlich.
Give blood.
Give myself 35 facials.
Go horse back riding
Go on an audition--extra and background work counts.
Go one 35 trips to a museum
Go to an opera
Go to the dentist.
Have 1 friend who makes me laugh, 1 who lets me cry, 1 who will help me move
Have a boyfriend who reminds me of how far I’ve come
Have a job that I'm proud of and pays the bills
Have a solid start on a satisfying career
Have a wardrobe that reflects my style
Improve my posture
Knit a sweater
Learn how to select & apply make-up that compliments me.
Learn how to smile for the camera
Learn to say "please" and "Thank you" in 20 languages
Learn to speak French fluently with a flawless accent
Learn to surf
Learn when to try harder and when to walk away.
Live in SoCal for a year
Mail a postcard to PostSecret.
Make 35 Christmas decorations.
Make chocolates from scratch--start at roasting the cacao beans
Master eating with chop sticks
Meditate for 143 hours
Only eat meals I prepared from scratch for 35 consecutive days.
Open an Etsy shop
Organize a book club
Own a home
Own a luxurious monagramed spa robe
Own a pair of Loubutain's
Own a stocked tool kit & stocked medicine kit
Paint a picture, even if it's just a paint-by-number
Pick my own blueberries
Picnic 35 times. Even if it's in my back yard. Even if I'm alone.
Plant a garden
Play Roulette in Vegas.
Read 350 books
Read Dante's Divine Comedy
Read The Bible. Every chapter and verse.
Save $3500 to spend on March 23, 2012
See a show on Broadway
Send 101 thank-you notes
Sew a quilt.
Sleep under the stars.
Spend New Year's Eve in Times Square
Spend Thanksgiving serving meals at a soup kitchen.
Start a gratitude journal with 1001 things I am grateful for.
Start a retirement plan.
Submit 35 articles for publication
Take 1001 pictures
Take a pilates reformer class.
Take a ride in a hot air ballon
Take dance classes, preferrably ballet.
Visit a Native American reservation
Visit Costa Rica
Volunteer 143 hours
Wander for 1001 miles
Write 2 letters, 1 to myself & 1 to my husband, for our 1st wedding anniversary.
Write 35 poems
Write a letter to 35 people asking for their help with one thing on my list
Write a list of 101 things I have done--the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Write a list of 101 things to do before I die
Write my family tree
Write three novels

Where in the World Wide Web am I?

And you may ask yourself...how did I get here?

Miel Abeille, my accidental pseudonym and alter ego, is a lady that gets around. With interests ranging from literature to linguini to Louboutin, Miel Abeille buzzes around the net, seeking to satisfy cravings of the body and soul. She takes her coffee breaks at the following watering holes:

Twitter A cross between a cyber primal scream and message in a bottle, the simple announcements of what's on my mind. Follow @miel_abeille!

BookBlogs at Ning: BookBlogs members read books, blog books, write books, and publicize books. About Ning: “Ning lets you create and join new social networks for your interests and passions.” Create your own social network and learn all about Ning here.

BlogHer: "The community for women who blog"

Goodreads "Goodreads' mission is to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world."

LibraryThing "An online service to help people catalog their books easily."

FoodBuzz "Find flavor, share taste"

Facebook "Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."

PaperBackSwap Book swapping community

Miel Abeille can always be reached at reminderlistreviews gmail {dot} com.


Morning Meanderings @ Book Journey

Sheila McKinney DeChantal is a self-described "wife, mom of two great boys,office manager, bike enthusiast, rollerblader," and the list goes on! Additionally, Ms. Sheila is a fellow book blogger and kindly allowed moi to guest blog over at BookJourney: One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. If you are looking for a recommendation, she might have just what the doctor ordered.

Thank you, Sheila, for sharing your stage with me.

Tastes (almost) like Trader Joe's!

One, and quite possibly the only, thing that I miss about living in Manhattan is Trader Joe's. Specifically, their Mandarin Chicken. But, I traded the city for the smell of honeysuckle, road side produce stands and wild rabbits scurrying across the yard, but mostly the honeysuckle.

Out of nostalgia, I've visited Joe's website, and on more than one occasion, I emailed their powers that be with a location suggestion. A location suggestion is a bit of an understatement. In my emails, I listed the multiple colleges, estimated the total enrollment of college students, and included the ideal address for their new store which would give Trader Joe's the maximum exposure to commuters from the various corporate campuses. I might have offered a first born child if they granted my request and opened up shop in Princeton, New Jersey.

Imagine my surprise, when I moseyed over to Joe's and found that a "coming soon" location is good ole Princeton! Delighted doesn't come close to describing my demeanor! Ecstatic, elated, euphoric--none of those adjectives accurately describe the magnitude of my emotions. Unfortunately, their grand opening is the dreaded "tbd." I guess that beats living in a town without Joe's, but it's still going to be a long, difficult wait.

Until then, I'll have to make do with a recipe I found, and tinkered, to make a Mandarin Chicken that almost passes for Joe's.

"Traitor" Joe's Mandarin Chicken
2.5 to 3 lbs chicken breast (cut into 1-2" cubes)
1.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs (beaten)

1.5 cups water
juice from two Valencia oranges
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/8 tsp grated ginger root (use more if you love the flavor of ginger)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (pre-minced garlic from a jar works nicely)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water


For chicken:

1. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
2. Put the chicken cubes in a large mixing bowl, pour beaten eggs over chicken.
3. Stir chicken to thoroughly coat with egg.
4. Using a clean, large grocery store paper bag (I take an extra bag on occasion for this purpose) dump the flour mixture into the paper bag.
5. Add the egg-coated chicken to the paper bag.
6. Fold over the top of the paper bag several times to seal closed.
7. Firmly grasp the top of the bag with both hands.
8. Shake the bag vigorously to ensure the chicken becomes completely coated with the flour mixture. Set aside.
9. Pour vegetable or canola oil in skillet and heat until oil becomes 375°.
10. Working in batches, deep fry chicken cubes until completely cooked. (make sure the oil returns to a temperature of 375° before beginning a new batch)
11. Put all cooked chicken cubes into a large serving bowl.

For sauce:

1. Pour 1.5 cups water with lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce into a medium size sauce pan. Stir well.
2. Gently heat the water/juice/vinegar mixture for several minutes, until just barely simmering.
3. Add the brown sugar, orange zest, ginger root and garlic. Stir well.
4. Bring mixture to boil.
5. While waiting for the mixture to boil, stir 3 tbsps cornstarch into 1/4 cup water. Mix completely! (The mixture could begin to resemble Elmer's glue. Continue stirring, and make sure the cornstarch has evenly and completely adsorbed all of the water.)
6. Once the water/juice/sugar mixture has come to a boil, slowly add the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce pan. Be sure to stir the mixture while you are pouring in the cornstarch/water mix. The addition of the cornstarch will temporarily change the color of the sauce from a translucent brown to a lighten, muddy brown. Keep stirring! The cornstarch will thicken the sauce, giving the sauce its consistency.
7. After all of the cornstarch/water mix has been completely incorporated into the water/juice/sugar mix, add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
8. Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken cubes.
9. Gently toss the chicken cubes in the orange sauce to completely coat the chicken with sauce.
10. Serve over brown rice or quiona, adding steamed veggies like snow peas or broccoli compliments the dish nicely. I use Green Giant Steamers for convenience.
11. Bon appetit!

Review: Sworn to Silence

St. Martin's Minotaur Books published a genuine gem with Linda Castillo's Sworn to Silence. Castillo has an impressive resume, having published over two dozen books and winning numerous awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion and a nomination for the Rita.

Painters Mill, Ohio is the Amish community that serves as the backdrop for a mystery that intertwines the lives of the Amish and the English, the past and the present, and the simple and the unfathomable. Kate Burkholder, current Chief of Police and former resident of Painters Mill, returns to the town she escaped from sixteen years earlier. The idyllic community has a past riddled with secrets. Those secrets return with Kate, to haunt and taunt the entire community. Women disappear, the town is in chaos, all while Kate is struggling with her own skeletons. Small town politics, personal demons and a sadistic killer explode in a captivating thriller with more twists and turns than old country road.

Sworn to Silence is one of the best mysteries I have read in long time. All too often, I find that authors give away far too many clues far too early, rendering the reveal anti-climatic. Castillo perfectly advances the story line so that the resolution is both stunning and unexpected. Each character is flawlessly developed, as is the relationships and interactions between them. Fans of Stephanie Plum and Regan Reilly will relate to Kate Burkholder.

Read an except at the author's website, www.LindaCastillo.com

Sworn to Silence
Linda Castillo
Fiction-Mystery & Thriller
St. Martin's Minotaur
ISBN-10: 0312374976
ISBN-13: 978-0312374976
336 pages
Hardcover-Available June 23, 2009
Rating: Unforgettable


Time Capsule

A week of loss.

Gary Papa, the beloved sports anchor on 6ABC in Philadelphia, lost his battle with prostate cancer on June 19, 2009. Mr. Papa was 54 years old. I've never been a sports fan, but I have always enjoyed Gary Papa's broadcasts. He had an infectious enthusiasm for sports and Philadelphia, and an incomparable zest for life. The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health's has renamed their annual Father's Day fundraiser the "Gary Papa Father's Day Prostate Run."

Ed McMahon, best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show, passed away on June 23, 2009 at the age of 86. In addition to The Tonight Show gig, McMahon was the host of Star Search, and introduced the world to a little girl named Britney Spears. A decorated war veteran, Ed McMahon served in the US Marine Corps as fighter pilot, flight instructor and test pilot during World War II. His service earned him six Air Medals.

Michael Jackson, pop music icon, died on June 25, 2009.

Farrah Fawcett was an Angel among us. Despite her brave, and widely publicized battle with anal cancer, she passed away on June 25, 2009. I remember the first time I saw her iconic red-bathing suit poster. I remember seeing the smile in her eyes and wondering if I be as happy as she looked when I grew up. Rest in peace, Farrah.
Remembered Joy
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all...
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life's been full, I've savoured much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—
Don't shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.


Safe Bet

"Safe Bet" by The Morning Light is today's song of the day.

In case you mishear lyrics as famously as I do, I'll let in know now that the lead vocalist is not singing "I read you opera. I thought you were a safe bet."

It would have been oh so romantic if he had been, because seriously, how can one read opera? That's like writing a painting or drawing a song. An impossible feat, but love knows no bounds, right?

The real gem of the song, or at least the lyrics I feel a kinship with are:
She tries too much
She doesn't smile enough.
She's got these great ideas
And no one to hear them
Enjoy the tunes!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


"Art is one of the means whereby man seeks to redeem a life which is experienced as chaotic, senseless, and largely evil."
--Aldous Leonard Huxley


Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
excerpt from One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
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