Friday, August 28, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse August Book Review---Among Others by Jo Walton

My favorite read for the month of August was Among Others by Jo Walton.

15 year old Morwenna is a Welsh teenager in the 1970's struggling to deal with the loss of her twin sister. Her mother, who dabbles in magic, is mentally ill, and Morwenna believes her to be evil and the cause of her sister's death. She has been sent to live at a boarding school by her father (a man she barely knows) after her mother is deemed unfit to care for her. Morwenna believes in magic, and she sees spirits and fairies and all kinds of otherworldly creatures. Those magical entities, and her love of books, are her only sources of solace in a world filled with grief and loneliness. Has she inherited her mother's madness, or does she really see these "others"? It's up to the reader to decide.

I identified with this young girl's longing to find her place in the world, and the way books and reading help her escape the painful parts of her reality. It's a bittersweet coming of age story, and it's beautifully written. This was my favorite book for the month of August.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book club tonight

Tonight I'll be going to my second meeting with one of the two book clubs I joined recently, and guess what? I still have 3/4 of the book to finish!

Reading Woman, Renoir

Thank goodness I have the day off and finishing it won't be a problem. But I hate it when I put things off until the last minute like this. It's not really like me to put something off for this long, though. Especially when it involves reading.

To be fair, though, I'm not really digging this book. I purposely put off reading it for a while because I read quickly, and I know from experience that if I start the next month's selection right away it won't be fresh in my mind to discuss three and a half weeks later. So I waited until the meeting was one week out before downloading it onto my Nook, and when I finally started it I didn't really like it. So then I kept finding other stuff to read instead, and now I only have a couple of hours to finish! The book is Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

I will finish the book this afternoon, and I'll post a short review of it later in the week. I'm curious about what the other book club members thought of it, and I'm looking forward to tonight's meeting even if the book isn't my favorite. The group is made up of about 12-15 women and is a sub-group of our city's Welcoming Club. The one meeting I've been to so far was a lot of fun--we met up at local beer brewery/bar/restaurant place--and the discussion was lively and interesting. (Last month we discussed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt). Tonight we're meeting at the home of the lady who is the president of the Welcoming Club and a very active book club member. Occasionally someone with the space and inclination will volunteer to host a meeting. It should be fun.

Well, off to spend an afternoon finishing the book and washing a couple of loads of laundry. At some point I hope to get in a good long walk with the dogs, too. The weather has turned a tiny bit cooler and I feel the need for some fresh air and exercise. I may even bake a peach pie late in the afternoon. Today is going to be a nice day.

Have a good one, everyone!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August afternoon

I forget how much I love sitting outside on summer afternoons. It's been so hot that staying in the house all day long can get to be a bad habit.

Even on a hot afternoon, the deep green shade of the backyard can be surprisingly pleasant. Especially with a good breeze blowing.

There are several young walnut trees for shade. If I take a book and a cold drink out to sit under them, Ginger always follows me and stretches out at my feet. It's too hot for George and he refuses.

I also went shopping at the tiny farm stand down the road and bought the most beautiful peaches and plums. They're making the dining room smell like heaven.

It's a lovely August afternoon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Life with a parrot is never dull.

Marco's latest favorite bit of mischief is creeping down to the floor and walking around there, where I'm afraid he's going to get stepped on (or worse).

If I'm in the next room I'm usually alerted to the fact that he's down there creeping around by the tip-tip-tapping of his toenails on the kitchen linoleum.

I'm surprised he hasn't learned to say, "Get off the damn floor!" since I yell it so often. He knows we don't like it.

And just look how innocent he tries to look when he gets busted:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sometimes things do work out for the best!

I heard nothing at all back from my job interview at the school. I thought it was quite rude of the principal to not let me know something. My friend (the teacher) actually went and asked him about it--- and he said they really liked me, it was a tough decision, blah blah...and that they were so torn between me and another candidate that they ended up flipping a coin to decide! And I lost. Which is fine, but an email to say "sorry, but thanks for applying" would have been nice. Oh well.

Actually, though, as it turns out I'm glad it worked out that way. The woman who DID get the job had been working as a substitute teacher at the school, and my friend ran into her the next day. She confided that getting the job was  "a godsend" for her. Apparently she really needed the health insurance benefits that come with the position because her husband has just been diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer.

When I heard that, I was so very glad that SHE got the job....I don't know what Gregg and I would have done without health insurance when he had lung cancer. Thank goodness they will be able to afford treatment now. And honestly, the job didn't pay very well anyway so I'll be better off in the long run holding out for something better.

I'm just happy to know the person who got the job really, really needed it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Help me ID this flower!

Can anyone help me identify these tiny flowers?

They grow in a shady spot on the side of my house, and they come back every year about this time. They're on stalks about 24'' high and have beautiful little blooms about the size of a cherry. I have no idea what they are, and neither does the man we rent from. "Something mama planted" is all he can tell me, and that his wife dug up a clump of them years ago and planted them at their house. They're carefree little flowers that seem quite hardy and adaptable.

I've wondered for years now what they might be. They're beautiful and I plan to dig up a clump or two myself to take when we move. If anyone can help me identify them, I'd be very grateful!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


This past Friday, on the day of the blue moon, I had a job interview with the principal of a school where I'm hoping to get a job! It's a clerical position with a very low salary, but I'm hoping that since I'm more educated and have more experience than the job requires I can get enough money over the base salary to make it possible to accept the job. That is if I get offered the job!

I think the interview went well. My friend who's a teacher at the school thinks very highly of the principal and has recommended me highly to him. He seemed like a very nice guy--young, passionate about his job, and invested in making a difference in the lives of the kids at his school. I felt very comfortable during the interview--there was also a lady there but I can't remember what, exactly, her job title is. They were both easy to talk to and asked fairly standard questions. I hope I made a good impression.

Speaking of making an impression......I'm not a girly-girl kind of woman. When I'm not at work, my typical attire consists almost entirely of jeans, t-shirts, comfortable walking shoes, and little or no make up. Even at my job as one of the managers at a bookstore, I try to lean towards the "casual" side of "business casual" as hard as possible. So getting extra dressed up is a big deal for me. For the interview, I wore a business suit with a skirt and low heels, and I had to go out and buy new hose. (I hate wearing hose and tend to make runs in them after just one wearing). So I bought a pair of thigh-highs thinking they would be cooler in the summer heat than full-on pantyhose. Well, after the interview was over and I stood up and shook hands with the principal, I felt the top of the hose on the left leg start to roll down a little bit. I just barely made it out the door before they rooooolllllllled past the bottom of my skirt, and by the time I made it to my car the entire left side was flapping at my ankle! Thank goodness it didn't happen until I was out of sight! Smooth, huh? LOL!! I guess I'll never manage to be very ladylike!