Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Library Used Book Sale Treasures

The week we left for Paris I managed to squeeze in a bit of time at our library's fall book sale. I never pass this up if I'm in town, no matter how busy I am. Because...books!

These days I'm pretty selective about the books I bring home since my home library numbers in the thousands of volumes and vacant shelf space is, well, non-existent. In fact, this recent haul is still sitting on the floor of our library. I will eventually make room for them somewhere. I might even (gasp) get rid of a few others to make room for them. We'll see...

Anyway, here is my latest book haul:

When you run out of bookshelf space...


Library used book sale haul #books

"Tin Roof Blowdown" by James Lee Burke
"The Hemingway Reader" by Ernest Hemingway
"Affairs at Thrush Green" by Miss Read
"Friends of Thrush Green" by Miss Read
"Gossip From Thrush Green" by Miss Read
"USA Volumes I, II, & III" by John Dos Passos
"Kiamichi of the Choctaws" by June Cullison Otjen
"The Poems of Tennyson" by Alfred Tennyson

The Tennyson, Hemingway and Dos Passos books are classics, which is where my major book focus is these days. I can borrow a current novel from the library but there's something about having classics on my shelves which just feels...right.

The "Thrush Green" books are, obviously, part of a series. A few years ago I picked up a couple of others at a library book sale. I haven't read them yet, in part because I like to read series in order and I don't have them all (yet). However, they sound like the sort of sweet, gentle, older fiction I enjoy retreating to in times of stress.

I've actually read "Tin Roof Blowdown" before and enjoyed it, as I do all the James Lee Burke novels I've read. I bought this one to add to my Burke collection and because I'm inclined to read this one again at some point. It is set in New Orleans, immediately post-Katrina.

Finally, I bought "Kiamichi of the Choctaws" because I am part Choctaw and would like to know more about my heritage. I'll let my dad borrow it, too, as I'm sure he'll be interested in it. *Just as I was getting to publish this post I decided to look up this book on Amazon. Imagine my surprise to find that there is only one copy available, from another seller, and they want $199.95 for it! There is no picture and they do mention a book jacket while mine is a library binding but still. Apparently I latched on to a rare book. 

So that's my most recent book haul. Oh, wait! I just remembered that the book I'm currently reading was purchased at this sale. Let's see if I can find it on Amazon so I don't have to go take another photo.  Okay, here it is, although my copy has a different cover:


A number of years ago I read "84, Charing Cross Road" and adored it. It's the true story of the 20 year correspondence between and American woman and an antiquarian bookseller. "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" is by the same author, Helene Hanff, and it tells the story of her visit to London to meet the people she has been corresponding with for two decades. 

So, what are you reading these days? Do you attend library book sales? Any books you'd like to recommend? Leave me a comment, sharing a recommendation or two. And if I don't get a chance to blog again in the next two days, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The scent of a woman...

Ever since I was about 16 years old I've worn Shalimar perfume. Oh, I've had a few brief flirtations with a handful of other fragrances. L'Heure Bleue, Paloma Picasso, Red, Giorgio...  But I always come back to Shalimar and for the past couple of decades I've remained faithful.

To me, Shalimar smells warm, a little exotic, mysterious, sexy and yet classy. I wear it every day and people compliment me on it all the time. David loves it, too, which is a good thing. So why did I decide to look for a new fragrance during our recent trip to Paris. Well, it's like this...

Scent is extremely important to me. Like music, it evokes very strong feelings and memories. When I snuggle beneath freshly washed, Downy-scented sheets (especially if they are also line dried) I am, once again, a ten year old girl spending the night at Grandma's house. A whiff of gardenia reminds me of late night drives home from visiting an aunt and uncle because they had a huge gardenia bush by their front door and always gave us a bloom as we left which my dad would tuck into the car visor. Neutrogena Rainbath shower gel whisks me back to our honeymoon in New Orleans where that was what our hotel provided. And while this one is a little less romantic, I love the smell of Pine-Sol because that is what my mom used and it just says, "clean" to me.

A couple of years ago I got this idea. I would search out a second perfume and only wear it when I am alone with David. It would be something private between the two of us. On one of our trips to New Orleans I spent some time in a  perfume shop smelling all the fragrances. I thought it would be especially nice to buy something there because the scent would also remind me of my favorite city. I found a couple of possibilities but an hour or so after trying them on I didn't like either very well. I had pretty much given up on this plan of mine.

And then David told me he was taking me to Paris. Paris - famous for fine perfume! In fact, Shalimar is made by Guerlain, a French perfume company. It also makes L'Heure Bleue, one of those I mentioned above. I decided I would try to find another fragrance on our trip. Bonus - it would always remind me of Paris!

Late one afternoon toward the end of our trip, David and I walked almost a mile to the Guerlain perfume shop I had spotted on our bus tour around the city. A doorman greeted us as we entered an all-white room which smelled heavenly. We were the only customers and I must admit, the whole experience was just a bit intimidating. One by one I picked up the testers. With most I knew from the first whiff they weren't for me. I tried a few of them on a tester strip only to eliminate most of those, too. I think I may have actually tried one on my wrist. David was right there with me, sniffing each possible choice. Finally he said simply, "I like Shalimar". And that's when I knew my search had ended. At least for now.

My wonderful husband then purchased a bottle of the real perfume for me. It's hard to find anything but the eau de parfum or eau de toilet around here. I haven't seen the "parfum" anywhere in years. Not only is the perfume longer lasting (and has a richer, deeper fragrance), it still comes in this gorgeous, iconic bottle:


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Isn't that beautiful? The other formulations come in a bottle which was updated several years ago:


Pretty, and still reminiscent of the older bottle but I love the vintage look of the other, don't you?

Maybe someday I'll find another perfume but for now Shalimar remains my signature scent. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Paris est magnifique!

One of my favorite college courses was "Art in Life" and I especially enjoyed the architecture portion of the class. When asked what I like about New Orleans, one of the things on my list is the architecture. That's part of the reason I've always wanted to see Paris. I've seen the pictures...and have been collecting them on Pinterest. I knew I would love the city but I had completely underestimated how stunningly gorgeous it is. 

Everywhere you look there is another spectacular example of how an old city should look. Like this church in the neighborhood where we stayed, Church of Saint-Sulpice:








Printemps (department store):




Palais Garnier:




Just a random building:



I tell you, everything was beautiful. Pictures cannot do this city justice. It is much grander than pictures can depict and I cannot wait to go again! 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Paris, je t’aime


Oh, Paris...how do I begin to share what a glorious time we had? I've dreamed of visiting Paris since I was a little girl and David made my dream come true last week. I knew I'd love it but I wasn't sure about David. He was doing this for me and I knew he'd do his best to make sure I had a good time. However, as an empath, I am keenly aware of his feelings and if he wasn't enjoying the experience it would be harder for me to do so.

Fortunately he loved it! In fact, he's already talking about our next trip and of buying the Rosetta Stone language learning program so we can really learn French. That was one of our biggest concerns but it needn't have been. We started each conversation with a greeting in French and then everyone was more than happy to speak to us in English. And the people couldn't have been more gracious. Forget everything you've heard about the rude French. We didn't find that to be true in the slightest.

There is so much to tell that I'm going to do so in a series of posts...vignettes of sorts. But that will have to wait. Today I'm driving my mom to the city to pick up my aunt at the airport. I'm really looking forward to visiting with her over the next several days. So for now I'll just say, à bientôt mes amis.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Too Soon...

Untitled
photo by Deanna Piercy

I want to paste these first fallen leaves back on the trees
and nudge the sun a bit higher in the sky.

I haven't had enough suppers of sweet corn on the cob,
my salty fingertips slick with butter. 

I never got around to making ice cream with juicy peaches
and the homegrown tomato season is never long enough. 

Soon we will wrap our necks in colorful scarves,
fading tans hidden beneath cosy sweaters.

And I will mourn the barefoot days of summer.
                                                 by Deanna Piercy

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Celebrate Yourself with the Celebrating Womanhood #selflovechallenge

Celebrating Womanhood #selflovechallenge


This is the third annual Celebrating Womanhood Event. This year, instead of shining the spotlight on another woman, it's all about YOU. Or, in my case, ME.

The challenge is to share three positive things about myself. Now, let me just say that this is much harder for me than the previous two years of this event. I've been thinking about this for a quite awhile and really wasn't sure what I'd share until today. Actually, that's not quite true. As I'm writing this sentence I am still debating about one of them. Let's both see what I come up with as I type this, okay?

1. I'm an empath. If you aren't familiar with the term, here is a good explanation. In short, empaths are deeply in-tune with those around them. I believe this trait has helped me be a good mother and was very helpful during my time as a hospice nurse.

2. I am a very good, intuitive cook. I rarely follow a recipe exactly and I can always whip up a tasty meal from whatever I happen to have in the house.

3. I like my dimples. When David and I were dating one of his nicknames for me was "Dimples".

Whew...that was kind of tough. Now it's YOUR turn!

If you don't have a blog, share on Facebook, Twitter, a favorite email loop (as long as they don't mind off-topic messages), or just write it on a Post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror. You can also share on our Facebook page. I'd like to see what you come up with so please leave me a link if you put it on your blog or just share your three positive things in the comments. (There are only a couple of "rules". Pop on over to the announcement post to see those.)

If you write a blog post add the link to your post to the linky below. When tweeting, use the hashtag #selflovechallenge. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers!

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Take the #selflovechallenge - Celebrating Womanhood Event

Celebrating Womanhood #selflovechallenge



For the past two years, we've let you get away with shining the spotlight on another woman. This year, it's all about YOU. As women, we often have trouble putting ourselves front and center. We're not important, not pretty, not smart, not talented. Just not enough.

But that is SO not true, and we challenge you to break through that barrier. Join the #selflovechallenge on September 16, and share three positive things about yourself. If you don't have a blog, share on Facebook, Twitter, a favorite email loop (as long as they don't mind off-topic messages), or just write it on a Post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror.

Men can participate, too, but we really want women to embrace this. You are amazing, and it's time you owned it!

Your three things can be just one comment each, or you can give background or elaborate in some way. The positive things can be anything: a physical trait, a talent, a facet of your personality, or anything else you can think of.

The only rule is that you can't add any qualifiers.

YES = I have beautiful eyes.
YES = I get a lot of compliments on my eyes.
NO = I have pretty eyes. At least that's what people tell me.
NO = I guess I have pretty eyes, but no one can tell because of these stupid glasses.

Just acknowledge and accept that you have gorgeous eyes and move on. ;-) We're not looking for affirmations here. Find three things you can love about yourself just as you are. Sure we can all improve something, but you are amazing RIGHT NOW! If you honestly can't think of anything, ask your friends and family. You should love yourself unconditionally, but sometimes we need a little help realizing that there is something about us to love.

Join our Facebook page, and help us spread the word. We’ll have a linky up on the 16th for you to share your posts.

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