September 30, 2010

Reading "Belong to Me"

"Belong to Me" is the story of Cornelia Brown and her husband, Mateo Sandoval, who have recently moved to suburban Philadelphia from NYC after 9/11. While Cornelia seems to yearn to fit in with the neighborhood ladies and others she meets, she can't seem to conform. Her relationship with her uptight neighbor across the street, Piper Truitt, gets off to a rocky start and Cornelia is desperate for a friend she can be herself with when she meets Lake Tremain. Lake has moved to town to provide her gifted 14-year-old son, Deveroux, with the education he deserves.

As everyone's paths cross and intertwine, relationships are forged and broken, illnesses are fought, marriages are in crisis, babies are lost and babies are conceived, biological fathers are searched for, sneaky ulterior motives become public knowledge and stunning secrets are revealed. This book had me turning page after page as quickly as I could. The growing friendships were portrayed with real love right alongside catty comments and betrayals. So creative and well-written. Here are a few excerpts ...


     After an almost imperceptible lift of an eyebrow, Lake strode over to Piper's table, smiled warmly at the two women, and said, "Hello, I'm Lake and I'll be your server today."
     "Lake," said Piper, flapping her lashes. "Now that's a different name."
     Lake swept her gaze around the restaurant, as though to make sure no one was listening. Then, in a loud, conspiratorial whisper, she replied, "Actually, it's my middle name. My first name is ridiculous. Just god-awful. I don't know what my parents were thinking."
     "Oh, tell us what it is!" burbled Kate.
     "Yes, do." Piper made it sound like a command.
     Lake didn't pause to blink or swallow; the words slipped off her tongue as innocently as you please. "Piper," she said, "can you imagine?" If Kate's gasp hadn't been so loud, my gasp would have echoed through the restaurant like thunder. Lake handed Piper the wine list. "Piper. Like 'Viper' with a P."


     He and Clare started walking toward the bus stop, their shadows stretching out ahead of them. Dev watched the girl shadow take the boy shadow's hand, and he realized that the homesick feeing had disappeared. In its place was a new feeling, too new to have a name.
     "How cool would that have been, though?" He shot Clare a sidelong happy grin. "A dad with a bike shop?"
     Clare laughed her jingle-bell laugh, and Dev realized that what he felt was young. He'd been young all his life, of course he had. But now he was aware of it. Every cell, every electron of his body felt young: unencumbered, uncluttered, as clean as the clear blue sky.


     The streetlight sifting through the living room curtains carved shadows into my husband's face, painted his goldenness over in grays and whites, and the stillness of him shot me through with icy fear. Teo looked dead. I wanted to fall on him like rain, wash away every unkindness, everything from the last fifty-six hours that hadn't looked like love. Softly, I kissed his neck, his temples, the center of his chest, the palms of his hands.
     "Wake up," I whispered, "Teo, wake up."
     "You're here?" His voice was hoarse in the dark and only half awake.
     "You're not allowed to think I'd leave you. You hear me? Or that I wouldn't have married you if I had known. I'm sorry. I love you so much, and still, I made you feel that way."
     "Cor." He ran his fingers over my face. "I'm sorry, too. I missed you."
     "I left you alone with everything. But I won't do that anymore. I promise."
     For a little while, we became nothing but being together. Hands and breath. Gravity and weightlessness. Murmuring and mouths and skin.


It wasn't until I finished reading this wonderful book that I found out it was a second novel. The first, "Love Walked In," actually precedes this one in story. So I'm going to read them out of order, but I'm definitely going to read them! I really enjoyed the voice of author Marisa de los Santos in "Belong to Me," and highly recommend it.

September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Random Cape Cod

driving down a tree-lined road at dusk
dock at woods hole
chain link on the ferry

September 28, 2010

Visiting Martha's Vineyard

But he's got high hopes
He's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie in the sky hopes

Oops there goes another la la la la

This song popped into my head yesterday morning and I could remember the melody but the lyrics were just floating around with lots of missing words. Especially when I got to the Oops there goes another part. All day long, I'd start singing it, then come to that last part and could not remember what the thing is that goes. I decided I'd give myself 24 hours, then look it up. I never would have gotten it right. Here are the lyrics ...

High Hopes (sung by Frank Sinatra)

Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground
There's a lot to be learned, so look around!
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant can't
Move a rubber tree plant!

But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes;
He's got high apple pie in the sky hopes.
So any time you're getting low, instead of letting go,
Just remember that ant!
Oops! There goes another rubber tree plant!
Oops! There goes another rubber tree.....
Oops! There goes another rubber tree plant!

When troubles call, and your back's to the wall,
There's a lot to be learned; that wall could fall!
Once there was a silly old ram,
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam.
No one could make that ram scram!
He kept butting that dam!

'Cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes:
He had high apple pie in the sky hopes.
So any time you're feeling bad, instead of feeling sad,
Just remember that ram!
Oops! There goes a billion kilowatt dam!
Oops! There goes a billion kilowatt....
Oops! There goes a billion kilowatt dam!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, back to our New England trip. Our first full day on Cape Cod, we took the ferry from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard ...

It was a little overcast and the skies occasionally looked stormy, but the weather was good and the cool temperatures (60s and 70s compared to 100s in Phoenix) were so pleasant ...

On the island, we took a quick tour of an alpaca farm. They are bred specifically for the fiber they produce to create woven and knitted items like sweaters and scarves and gloves. The fiber is spun into yarn and is incredibly soft.

I guess sitting around growing your hair is excruciatingly boring -- caught this one yawning big time ...

Check out the weird mop of hair on this one laying with the babies ...

Here's the skein of yarn I purchased in their shop to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves ...

In Oak Bluffs, we enjoyed a street fair, had lunch at Island Bar & Grill, then slurped down some large homemade ice cream cones ...

One of the fun, fairytale features of Oak Bluffs is the gingerbread houses. I could see myself renting one of these, sitting on the porch, knitting, reading and drinking coffee 'til the alpacas come home ...

These beautiful hydrangeas were along the fence in one of the yards ...

It was a beautiful day riding the ferry back and forth and wandering the island. I have High Hopes that we'll do this again someday. And will pass along one little tidbit of caution picked up at the alpaca farm ...

September 25, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Actually, we're already back. We just spent a week in New England, visiting Cape Cod, Boston, Salem, Jamestown and Mystic. I need to do some major editing, but I managed to take over 800 pictures. It was a pleasant change to be in the 60s and 70s when we're still over 100 degrees in Phoenix. I wore sweaters and socks and big girl shoes (flip flops are my shoe of choice most of the time).

I told Hubby the night before we left that I needed a new large handbag to accommodate my camera. We started looking at some at Kohl's and when he realized that the bags I was gravitating to were in the $80 range, he suggested we just go look at new smaller cameras instead. I was hoping to get a new camera for my birthday in December so moving the timeline up a few months had me grinning from ear to ear. I ended up with a Nikon Coolpix S3000 that I simply adore. This thing is so tiny, easy to use and takes great pictures.

I was learning how to use it on the plane and took a bunch of pictures out the window ...

The clouds were so thick it looked like you could just step out and walk on them. The last four were taken as we were preparing to land at Boston Logan.

During the week we took some fun tours and did things like visiting an alpaca farm, the Salem Witch Museum, Harvard, Plymouth Rock and a cider mill. I'll be sharing pictures as I get them organized.

September 20, 2010

Husband Chain Letter

Dear Friend,
This letter was started by a woman like yourself in hopes of bringing relief to other tired and discontented women. Unlike most chain letters, this one does not cost anything. Just bundle up your husband and send him to the woman whose name appears at the top of the list. Then add your name to the bottom of the list and send a copy of this to five of your friends who are equally tired and discontented. When your name comes to the top of the list, you will receive 3,325 men … and some of them are bound to be better than the one you gave up!
Do Not Break This Chain … one woman did and received her own jerk back!
At this writing, a friend of mine had already received 184 men; they buried her yesterday, but it took four undertakers 36 hours to get the smile off of her face.
We’re counting on you,
A. Satisfied Woman

September 17, 2010

What's Cookin' - Baked Halibut

I've never been a fan of fish unless it was lobster, crab or shrimp. A few years ago, our youngest daughter learned how to poach salmon, talked me in to trying it and converted me. Now I'm trying to branch out a bit more and this easy way of baking fish is really great.

Baked Halibut
serves 2

2 - 6 oz. Halibut filets (or your favorite fish like cod, turbot or red snapper)
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 chopped tomato
1/2 lemon (squeeze a bit over each piece and reserve the other half for use at the table)
4 T. water
Salt and pepper
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place each piece of fish on a large square of aluminum foil along with 2 tablespoons of water to create steam. Top with shallot, garlic, thyme, tomato, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Wrap the foil into a pouch, place on a baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Serve with steamed vegetables.

A little squirt of lemon over the top of the baked fish finished it off nicely; it was so juicy and not the least bit fishy tasting. Plus it's a healthy meal. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!