Friday, December 19, 2014

How and What Do You "Read?"

One of my goals for 2014 was to read a little more and keep better track of what I read. I added a list on the left hand column of my blog, and it has helped me keep up with this intent. I just added the five most recent books. 
Of these, my absolute favorite was "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng. It's an emotional story of a mixed race (Chinese-American) family in Ohio in the late 1970's.  It was beautifully written, well-paced and made me think deeply about how I parent my kids. I would definitely recommend it.
I read "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd and "Americanah" by Chimamanda Adichie for my book group.  Both were very good and both taught me a lot about parts of life about which I had never read - the first, about abolitionists in 1840's Charleston, South Carolina and the second about Nigerian emigrants to the United States and England. 
The other two books, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" and "Gone Girl" were quick, entertaining reads without a lot of heft to them. I found the ending of Gone Girl annoying, but so did a lot of other people I think.  One of the most interesting things about "Bernadette" was that I read it as a paperback book borrowed from a friend. I used to do that all the time, but now I tend to read almost exclusively on my ipad. And it seems like my friends do, too! I liked having a real book, and I really like being able to borrow books (rather than buy them - at least ipad/kindle books do not require shelf space to store).  And I was wondering, how you do you read books? On a kindle or ipad? Do you read real books? From the library? Borrowed? Or bought? By and large, I don't mind reading on my ipad, but I do think a real book is just a bit easier on my eyes. Thoughts?
When talking about Americanah, I use the term "read" a little loosely because I listened to it on Audible on my ipad. It accompanied me when I drove Henry back to Eugene, Oregon (a nine hour trip) and then on a long plane flight and finally finished it at home. I started using Audible for Clara to listen and read along to the novels she is assigned for high school because she is not a strong reader. It's a subscription service, and I had an unused credit so bought Americnah.  I liked the experience enough to buy another book, "We are Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Fowler. But I haven't gotten around to listening to it yet.  And I was wondering, do any of you use audible, books on tape or any other audio book format? Do you like it? 
Our next book group book is "The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer. We almost chose "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown. I am definitely planning to download and read Denali's Howl by Andy Hall over the holiday. What about you? Do you have any good book recommendations? What are you planning to read next?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ZIZO #32: Fence Flowers and Memes

As I return to blogging, I'm thinking about a blogging schedule . . . 
how often to post and whether to continue following along with different memes.
One of my favorites (and most consistent) memes this year has been Helena's Zoom In/Zoom out photography challenge. I've done 32 out of the 51 weeks this year, which is pretty good for me. I'm not sure what Helena has in store next year, but I'll definitely take a look and consider playing along. 
I also enjoyed  "Good Fences", hosted each Thursday by the Run*A*Round Ranch blog. I find fences so visually interesting that I  was am really drawn to this meme. You can see this week's offerings at this link.
I found this beautiful fence full of flowers at the tree farm last weekend and like that it fulfills both challenges.
As one year ends and a new one begins, I'm wondering. What memes did you like and participate in this year? What are your plans for 2015 memes?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Returning to Blogging

Well, that was a long break . . . 
I didn't have a plan to step away from blogging, but I did.
Life happened, work happened, and I just didn't have the time to devote to writing posts.
But now I'm back.
And I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what you've been up to.
Thanks to those of you who sent me emails to make sure I was still alive . . .
as you can see from the above, I am. And so is the rest of the family. The photo is from our annual trip to the Rancho Siempre Verde Christmas tree farm. 
I'll update you on what we've been up to over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Final Linky for 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to the final linky for the 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt! And welcome to Half Moon Bay, my home town. Today, I'm going to show all my finds for you, in one place, but you should feel free to create whatever type of post you want . . . feature your favorite post or your most recent or create something new.
A bunch of creepy garden gnomes. . . the creep factor surprised me.
Birds on a wire . . . filtered in instagram. This was harder to photograph than I would have thought. 
A group of tired tourists. . . I think all the tourists posts made me giggle.
A rack of post cards . . . most of these looked the same around the globe.
An urban street scene . . . city life at its best.
A rural landscape . . . found while moving Henry back to University of Oregon
A tattoo on a person . . . taken outside the baseball stadium
A bakery in Oakland Chinatown
Photo-bombed by an elephant, while photographing flamingos
A horn . . . in a pub (of course)
A mascot . . . Smokey the Bear
A sunrise . . . outside Idyllwild, CA
A parade . . . 4th of July in downtown Half Moon Bay
A Juggler  A Birdhouse (alternative B) . . . sigh (I really wanted a juggler)
A sign in a language other than English . . . election day
A lamp post . . . Chamarita Festival
Waterfall . . . Cal Poly, Pomona
A public garden . . . Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
A bus with a picture on the side. . . Ocean Beach, San Francisco
A seasonal selfie . . . me at the Ballpark
So there you have it! My 21 finds for this summer. I really enjoyed hosting the scavenger hunt and loved seeing everyone's finds.  Please add a link to one of your posts (either a new one created to celebrate the end of the Hunt or one of your old favorites). Also, if you participated, please leave me a comment telling me how many of the items you found and leaving any feedback you have to help make next year's hunt even better!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt: The End is Near!

Item #7: A Rural Landscape
Hey Everyone!
I know I've been a bit missing in action, but I've been lurking in the background and watching everyone finish up the scavenger hunt. And I've been working on my last few as well. I may not get the juggler, but I've got an alternative.
The Scavenger Hunt officially ends on September 23, and I'll put up a final round-up post to go live on the 25th. I hope everyone who has participated stops by this weekend to link up a post about the Hunt and to let me know how many of the items you've found.
See you then!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scavenger Hunt August Linky: Those Last Few Pesky Items . . .

Welcome to the August Link for the 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt! As we turn the page on the calendar and head into the last few weeks of summer and look towards the end of the Hunt (on September 23, 2014), my thoughts turn to the last few pesky items to be found. 
I had taken a serviceable photo of my car horn but hadn't shared it yet because I wanted to find a better one. And I did! I love the big horn sheep I found mounted in the local ale house. So that's #11 A Horn. And that leaves me with just two more items to be found: a rural landscape and a juggler.  I have faith in my ability to take the landscape. I just need to grab my camera and go for a drive - maybe this weekend. 
But the juggler will be much harder.  Am I worried? No. Because I know the Scavenger Hunt always has a little magic waiting for me. If you have any doubt, check out this story which goes with this photo from 2011
And, if all else fails, I found this wonderful bird house (alternate B) while hiking in Idyllwild:
So, now it's your turn. Show us what you've found by linking up a recent post below. And do try to visit a few of the other participants to see what they've found. There will be one more linky at the end of Summer (Sept. 23), which is a great opportunity to do a summary summery post!



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Quick Hello and Scavenger Hunt Linky Reminder

Hi all!!!
I've been super busy here with the end of our summer break and beginning of the school year for me and for my daughter Clara. I wanted to pop in to remind everyone, though, that I will be hosting the end of the August linky for the 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt this weekend (I'll put it up to start Friday night, August 29, California time). Please check in with your latest finds. I've really enjoyed seeing what everyone has been up to on instagram and facebook. I apologize for not getting around to my feedly reader to catch up on blog posts, but, as I said, I've been super busy!
Doing what?
Well, helping Clara finish her summer reading for school:
Taking her shopping and then sending her off for her first day of her junior year. She looks very grown up for 16, doesn't she?
We've also been spending time volunteering at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafeal.  It will be our regular Sunday volunteer gig this year.
We're working in the boarding/neo natal kennels. That's Clara doing health checks, which includes cleaning ears and brushing teeth. We also give baths, clean kennels and feed the dogs. We don't work with the puppies, but do get to see them occasionally:
And that's your dose of cute for today!
Hope to see you back this weekend for the linky.