Thursday Doors: Patchen

Today we drove into the Santa Cruz mountains in search of some geocaches and California history. There used to be a train through the mountains from Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz, and towns along the train line made their money from selling lumber.

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Mundane Monday: Boxing Day

The day after Christmas is also known as “Boxing Day.” Traditionally in Britain, servants were given December 26 to celebrate Christmas and received a box to take home, containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food. Churches also displayed boxes for people to give Christmas donations to charity. Boxing Day is still a national holiday in the UK and Ireland but not here in the US (except as the day Christmas is observed when it falls on a Sunday). Continue reading Mundane Monday: Boxing Day

Thursday Doors: Candy Cane Lane

Back in Belmont MA, there were two houses right next to each other near a highway exit that went all out with decorations for Christmas. During the rest of the year one of them kind of looked like our house: a standard white colonial with black shutters and a red door. But a few days after Thanksgiving it started, and continued into January: trees, snowflakes, and blinking lights, framing the door and welcoming Christmas visitors.

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For the past 2 weeks I’ve been participating in a NaNoWriMo-related Blog and Social Media Hop, hosted by blogger and author Raimey Gallant. I did the Facebook, blog, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads hops. I finished following everyone on the very last day of the follow period. I followed Facebook pages as my author page, and that seemed to protect me from being blocked the way some others were.

Otherwise, this year wasn’t a successful NaNoWriMo for me. Continue reading Hop(p)ing

Mundane Monday: Kisses, Love Dreams, and Alien Droppings

We don’t have grand plans for the holidays this year. I sprained my ankle and can’t go skiing. So we are spending this Mundane Monday making cookies. I’ve already made one batch and they disappeared fast. So my teenage kids made some again this afternoon, without my help.

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Book Review: Interviews: Volume 1 by Laurie Niles Interviews: Volume Interviews: Volume 1 by Laurie Niles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book would make a wonderful gift for your violin teacher or orchestra stand partner. It’s like a box of fine chocolates: varied, rich, each one delicious in its own way. The author is a thoughtful interviewer who seems to be able to relate well to the famous violinists she talks to and to get them to open up to her about a myriad of topics. Her subjects are all violinists at the top of their game, and the author deserves kudos for choosing a diverse group of interviewees in terms of musical interests, age, gender, and background. Each interview is reasonably short, too, so it’s easy to dip in and out.

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A Writers’ Eye View

Last weekend my husband and I went to a Christmas party given by a local geocacher in Hayward, over in the East Bay. It was a fun party: lots of good food and conversation, and a contest. Every year this person puts out a series of puzzle caches on the first of the month, and at the end of the year, prizes for Fastest Solver and Fastest Finder for all 12 caches are given out at this party.

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Book Review: Running from Giants by Margareta Ackerman

Running From Giants: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a ChildRunning From Giants: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child by Margareta Ackerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is short but packs a punch. The story of 10-year-old Srulik’s running away in plain sight and evading the Nazis that killed the rest of his family would be almost unbelievable were it not for the evidence of his survival embodied in the author and in her book. Written as a granddaughter’s retelling of her grandfather’s memories, it gives modern readers a way in to another time and place.

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