A Dog-on Good Time

I woke Woo from a post party nap for the photo. All this action makes him exhausted.

Is there anything more powerful than the love of a dog?  It’s a love so deep that I am not sure we humans even understand. I first came to whitness this love in an odd place. While living in Southern France there was a homeless man who often found shelter on my doorstep.  He had a shepard looking dog and they greeted me in the morning as I headed out to school. Actually the pup greeted me…the man slept. It always intrigued me that this dog was so loyal. He was always right there. Not fenced in. Not tied. No leash. Just loyal. Hanging out with his master.

Back in February I read “A Dog’s Purpose” by Bruce Cameron. See original post: https://commingle.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/purpose/ I knew the moment I finished the book that this would be my book club selection. We have lots of animal lovers and we all live on the same street so often see each other while out strolling our pups.

Wheels turning. A theme. Here goes…In honor of “A Dog’s Purpose”, we had HOTDOGS for dinner…bone shaped sugar cookies for dessert and for party favors each guest received a cute little bag of treats (a doggie bag) to take home to their furry friends!  Oh…and Woo spent the day at the spa getting a new “doO” for the Par-T!

Thanks “Court” friends for a dog-on good time!

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my nook

How often do you spend a quiet afternoon reading? Our world is so full of technology, entertainment and crazy buzz that we rarely take time to enjoy the simple pleasure of curling up with a good book and being transported to another time and place.

I love to read and cherish my library membership. I am a faithful reader. What a joy to spend the last few minutes of every day curled up with a good book. About two years ago, I re-discovered the library. Even technology has made the library a convenient luxury. I can go on-line and search out my next read and have it transported to the library near my house. I then receive an email to stop by and pick up the book. No searching a paper card catalogue. No disappointing visits. The book is there at the front desk ready for me. My library participation makes me feel like a good citizen to my community and the earth!

I have toyed with the idea of an e-reader. But resisted. When discussing this purchase with C, he shared with me that this was a stupid purchase…and I reminded him that he thought the ipod was stupid too (6 years later…I’m still using it) Of course I didn’t listen to C….I broke down and bought a Nook (mainly for my upcoming Asia trip). I thought that maybe this technology would be weird. But wow. What a convenience. The reader is clear and easy to read. I was able to figure out how to use it in a relatively short time (an hour or so). The download feature was easy and fast and B&N offer a good variety of freebies.

Now all I need is a friend with a Nook and we can share books! Anyone want to join me?

freedom

One hundred pages in, I am immersed in my first Nook read- Freedom by Jonathon Franzen. Lots of hype around Oprah’s latest pick. I had to give it a shot.

Immediately hooked, the story is narrated from all different perspectives, from the neighbors, friends and on-lookers, to the wife, husband and children. This modern novel brings to contemplation the true meaning of freedom.

Freedom is explored on so many levels- freedom from love, freedom to love, freedom from loss, freedom from history, freedom from society, freedom from personal turmoil, freedom from desire, freedom from sexual desires, freedom from intellectual endeavors…the list goes on. Each character brings his/her own challenges and struggles with freedom. There is no way that you can’t find someone whom you relate to in this story of life. This story brings to the surface the timeless quest for freedom and the human quest for meaning.

Though it doesn’t appear that the average readers on Barnes and Noble are giving this book a good review, I personally think this novel will live as a classic display of human struggle and a testament to the contemporary society we live in today.

My Word

What is one word to describe yourself? One word. Easy enough right? I have been deliberating this question now for weeks.  It all began when a reporter from Greenville Magazine asked me to provide five words that describe myself. I asked the natural question- Do you mean words that I would use to describe myself…or words that others would use to describe me. We all know there is a potential for differing answers on this one! I polled a number of friends and colleagues who know me fairly well, and came up with a nice mix of descriptors: adventurous, optimistic, curious, zealous, fun. But really…I wouldn’t feel good about using any ONE of these words as the sole descriptor of me…my essence. Me to the core.

So then…that  very same week, some girlfriends and I went to see “Eat, Pray, Love” and there I was again, faced by Elizabeth Gilbert with the very same question- What one word describes me? My word. My core. My essence. Damn…the universe is making me do some serious introspective deliberation. In the quiet of the day this question has lingered…In the busiest time of the day, this question has lingered. I searched my sole. One word just couldn’t do….I am a mix of things…some really juxtaposed against each other. I’m a little bit small town….yet…a little bit big city. I love highly sophisticated art but collect incredibly basic folk art. I navigate to fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants…yet crave good ol’ southern bbq.

And after weeks of soul searching…the conclusing hit me hard…I commingle. How could I have not seen my word from the beginning of the quest?  After all, it’s the name I chose for my blog. COMMINGLE- to mix or mingle together; to blend. A fine word I fell in love with at age 12.  A fine word to describe me- age 34.

What is your word?

Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap

Good, Big and Cheap! Anything described in this way, must be worth knowing about. I woke up early and decided to head out to the Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book sale- a benefit for the Gville Literacy Association.

I’m so not a girl for crowds…especially the general public. Not that I think I am better than others…but being a petit girl, crowds make me feel a little claustrophobic because I can’t see anything but people’s back sides..and sometimes that just isn’t pretty. I saw that you could pay a little extra to get in early and beat the crowd. Perfect. I arrived about 30 minutes before the public opening. The line of folks wrapped around the building (an old mall)- people of all shapes and sizes, carrying big tote bags, baskets and roller luggage…all to load up on books. I quickly skipped up to the front of the line…paid my extra bucks and headed in. OMG. I have never in my life. There were millions of books- all neatly organized and categorized. What a dream! But I only had 15 minutes before the masses arrived so this trip needed to be short and sweet. I loaded up with five home decor books, a birthday cake cook book and two general cook books for a friend who is trying to cook at home more often. So that is 8 books…nearly new…for a whopping $29. I now get it…that’s why all of those people had suitcases! To haul off all of the good, cheap books!

Next year, I’ll plan to arrive at 7:30…and bring my suitcase!

My Summer Reading List

I kinda wish that work gave us a summer reading list the way that school did. Of course it would be great if they gave us work hours to read the books on our list and even better to be able to discuss with colleagues. Guess it would be like a business related book club. Sounds like a good idea…maybe I should start one.

I was the nerd in high school who always looked forward to seeing which books were selected for the summer reading list. I don’t know why I thought summer reading was so much better than regular school year reading. The books were more sexy…but they were still homework and who wants to deal with that – especially in the summer. I even looked forward to the discussion groups during the first week of school. I may have been the only one who actually did the reading. Don’t you think it’s so interesting how perceptions and interpretations can vary from person to person? There is nothing better than breaking down a book to it’s most simple elements and even then the interpretations can vary wildly.

My junior year of highschool, I had a hippy teacher who was going through a divorce and she taught us about falic symbols…that year I searched for falic symbols in all that read. How bizarre…or maybe not for a 16 year old girl! I digress.

I have a million books on my  “for fun” summer reading list. I’ll never get to all of them so here are my top five:

1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle
3. Little Bee by Chris Clee
4. The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
5. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Today I started The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one and I’ve heard the translation is a little weird at points. Apparently it’s a real page turner. I’m not normally a thriller girl, but I’ll give it a shot. I always like to read the NY Times Best sellers for conversation purposes. It’s always good to have a conversation starter in your back pocket. And I have vaca next week and plan to blow through a couple of books sitting by the pool and the beach.

I am so happy that I love to read. There is nothing better than flipping the pages in a great book(besides noshing on some great chocolate while flipping the pages!). And what could be better than to be transported to places you’ve never been, meeting characters that make you laugh and discovering a world quite different from your own?

What’s on your summer reading list?

A Reliable Wife

 Despite what you may think…I am not describing myself (though I do think I am quite the reliable wife!). I started a new book today- A Reliable Wife by Roert Goolrick. An Oprah recommendation. Set in 1907, the book is basically about a mail order bride. A wealthy man in a small mid-west towndesires to change years of solitude by finding a companion to live out the remaining years of his life. According to the book synopsis, it’s an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder…Read the first 50 or so pages and it seems to be a good read. Characters develop quickly and the plot is moving fast enough that I am ready to pick it back up to see what transpires.

Perfect summer read- love, scandal and murder! What is it about summer that goes along so well with a good book? I don’t know if I read faster or have more time to read, but every summer my interests in books increases ten-fold. I can remember as a child riding my bike back and forth to the Dunn Public library several days a week to check out the next book in the Sweet Valley High Series. That was long before Saved By the Bell and 90210. Most people love to curl up in the cold winter with a good book, but for me nothing is better than an afternoon at the pool with a good read.

I’d love to hear about your reading recomendations…please leave a comment!