Category Archives: Cambria

Book Reviews? Who Does Those?

Strange little women who are putting off writing real things for real jobs, that’s who!

But in all seriousness, I believe I promised book reviews a couple of weeks ago and then sorely failed to deliver, yes?

First, a few items of general business:

  1. It’s the second week of Poetry Month! Feel free to join in- it’s so simple. Just work on one poem every day for the 30 days of October. I’ve been doing pretty well so far, and I’m feeling very exciiiiiteeeed! I plan to share some of what I;m working on on the 5’s- the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, etc.
  2. I walk/jogged a 5k mud run and obstacle course on Saturday. I wore a t-shirt and tennis shoes.  Appreciate it, because you won’t see it often. (Tennis shoes, the vile things, are nothing but cruel prisons for your feet. And t-shirts make me feel sloppy, and I despise feeling sloppy.)
  3. I miss real fall weather. I’ve been wearing fall pieces is rebellion against the warm weather (some goldenrod corduroys here, a flannel button up there, and boots always), but it hasn’t really been making me feel any better. At least the weather lady is predicting it will stay in the 70’s here all week instead of the 90’s it was this time last week. (Yes, the high on the first day of October was 93. Outrageous!)
  4. Gratuitous animal picture! Because it’s Monday, and I need some cute in my life.

    Ma-am! We’re trying to sleep, leave us alone!

And now, for something completely different. (Name that 1970’s television show!)

I read State of Wonder  by Ann Patchett for a book club that I, sadly, did not get to attend. The book’s protagonist, Marina Singh, is a doctor contentedly working for a pharmaceutical company in Minnesota when her lab partner, Anders, goes missing in the Amazon Rain Forest. He had been sent on a reconnaissance mission for their company, charged with making contact with one Dr. Annick Swenson and her team, who are supposed to be developing a new fertility drug.  Anders’s wife asks Marina to go down to Brazil and find out as much as she can about Anders’s death, and her company asks her to go to complete his original mission. But once there Marina discovers that nothing is as it seems, and her own hidden past with Dr. Swenson threatens to knock her entire mission, and perhaps the entire life she has built for herself, off course.

I asked Oscar his thoughts on this oval. He just licked the cover and said, “Seems tasty.” He’s a very helpful dog.

Patchette is a talented writer, deftly creating the tangible, stuffy atmosphere of a jungle village, and drawing the reader in with prose that tics along at just the right pace. Or at least she hits the right pace and pitch for 75% of her story. My main complaint was this: Patchett took her time with lush prose and complex story threads only to abandon them all much too quickly in the conclusion, which was unsatisfying at best. The last several chapters were rushed without explanation, as if Ms. Ann forgot she had a deadline and just bolted out the minimal skeleton of a conclusion in order to meet it. In her rush to end this otherwise good book, she let several story threads that previously seemed important fall completely by the wayside, and there were two events she introduced that literally made me angry. I will not share what they are so I don’t spoil the ending for anyone, but if you read the book to its conclusion you will know exactly what I am talking about. One seemed totally out of character for both parties involved, and the other just seemed like an easy, but ultimately meaningless and unfulfilling, way to solve a problem.

Other than that there are just a few mechanical issues. Marina Singh, our supposed protagonist, ended up being a very flat character, and she seems to be more of a stand-in for everyone else and not a true character in and of herself. Also, there were a lot of snakes involved. I wish someone had told me this before hand because I do not, I repeat I DO NOT deal with snakes. There was a scene with an anaconda and I literally cried. If you are as snake sensitive as I am (just typing that vile word so many time makes me cringe inside) skip the anaconda event!

All in all, this book would earn a solid three stars from me. Pick it up at the library or borrow it from a friend, but use the $15.99 jacket price to pick up a better book.

Perhaps that money could go towards this next book instead, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

The 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago is one of our countries forgotten shining moments. In response to Paris’s 1889 Exposition Universelle the United States decided to host their own World’s Fair in 1893. They had made a remarkably poor showing in Paris, where Eiffel’s Tower was first revealed, and were determined to “Out eiffel Eiffel” and show they world what America could do. All the major American cities- New York, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago- wanted a chance to host the world, but Chicago perhaps wanted it the most. Despite being the second largest city in the US, Chicago had a reputation as being a backwater, culturally lacking city, and they wanted to prove the posh societies in New York and Washington wrong.

Read this book!

Larson tells two tales here, really. The first is of Daniel Burnham, the architect charged with making the fair a reality, and how against enormous odds he created an expedition that not only matched Paris but outpaced it, changing American culture and architecture- and even electricity- forever. But inside of Burnham’s wonder world, a devil lurked, and therein lies the second story.

Largely forgotten by history, H.H. Holmes was a doctor, pharmacist, landlord, and con man who operated mere blocks away from the fair. He was also one of the first prolific serial killers in America’s history. Drawn to Chicago by the large numbers of young women who were moving there alone, and the excellent cover the notoriously rough city with an overworked and understaffed police force would give him, he killed at least 27 people between 1891 and 1893 before the authorities caught on to what he was doing. It is a chilling but fascinating tale that Larson tells with both precision and the appropriate amount of horror.

Larson deals purely with fact, but his writing flows so seamlessly and is executed with such superior prose that I forgot I was reading nonfiction. History buffs and appreciators of good stories alike will devour this book. It will definitely be on my favorite books of 2012 list, of that I have no doubt.

I’m now working my way through another of Larson’s best seller, In the Garden of Beasts, as well as Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. I’ve also picked up Rhoda Jenzen’s newest offering Does this Church Make Me Look Fat?, and Catherynn M. Valente’s second Fairyland book, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. I have lots of work-y things to do this weekend, but my only weekend plan is to read, so I will tell you all about these hopefully wonderful tales very soon.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Cambria, Oscar

October Poetry, NaNoWriMo, and Some Books I’m Excited About

I was going to be such a good blogger today. I had planned to get up early and get this blog out by East Coast lunch time. But then I slept in. And then I decided to start my day reading instead of writing to get my juices pumping. And then I hopped on WordPress, but started reading other blogs instead of writing my own. And then I ate lunch of the patio, and it was such a beautiful day I just had to take the dog for a walk…and you get the drift of how today has done for me. So here I am at East Coast dinner time, just getting started. But it’s okay, because I have some fun stuff to talk about!

1: October Poetry Month: I know I may not seem it in the day-to-day ramblings of this blog, but I am a huge fan of poetry. In fact, I first came to my love of literature and writing through poetry. Well, my friend Christie created her own poetry month, wherein she writes a poem everyday during the month of October. I haven’t been focusing as much on poetry lately as I’d like, so I’ve decided to join her. I’m gearing up already; I’m reading more poetry to prepare my mind, I’m seriously contemplating which journal I want to document my month of poems in, and I’m trying to find somewhere local that sells those sever-year pens Christie mentions, because I feel I am forever in need  of a good, handy pen, and as soon as I find one I love it runs out of ink. Boo bad pens. Yay (hopefully)good poetry!

2: NaNoWriMo: I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I’m going to take part in NaNoWriMo. In the past I was a bit too neurotic and obsessive to participate, but I’ve changed a lot in the last several years, my approach and thoughts on writing have changed, and I think I’m finally ready.  I’ve had a rather nebulous, though I think good, idea for a novel floating around in my brain for several years, but I never knew exactly where it should go or what the end game would be. In the last several months, though, a more definitive plot has started to take shape in my mind, and I’m very excited to get it going. To get myself ready for this, I’m pretty much just going to do what I already do. I typically write a minimum of 1,000 words a day everyday. The NaNoWriMo goal is 50,000 words in a month, so I just need to raise my minimum, knowing that there will be days I do more anyway. I’m also going to read the book No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, the founder of  NaNoWriMO.

So there’s that. Since I’ve never done it before, I don’t know how this blog is going to look or my reading goals are going to work for the month of November, but I do know that this is going to be Fun, with a capital F.

3: Books I’m Excited About: There are several books coming out soon that I’m very excited to read, and I though you might be too. October is going to be a good month to be a reader!

  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Lead the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente: You probably remember how much I raved about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making when it came out last year. Well, this is its sequel, and it’s coming out on October 2nd!!! My excitement is nearly incontainable, as you can tell by the fact that I allowed myself three whole exclamation points. (Three is the very outer limit of the number of acceptable exclamation points, or any other punctuation [such as question marks], in my admittedly snobby opinion. If I ever exceed three, assume that I am in the most serious delirium of joy ever experienced, or am dying.) Anyway, I am pre-ordering this book tomorrow, and then the day it arrives I will probably do nothing but read it until either it’s done, or I fall asleep from the exhaustion caused by my  fits of ecstacy. (If you’re reading this, many thanks to rhymeswithchair for the heads up about this book!)
  • Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women, & Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media by Nora Ephron:  I don’t know if I’ve ever discussed it on my blog before, but I am a great fan of Nora Ephron. When Harry Met Sally is one of my top-three all-time favorite movies, and I first discovered her witty books in our local library when I was in high school. I’m actually fairly certain I read both of these books at some point in high school, because I read everything by her I could find before moving on to Erma Bombeck, but they have long since slipped my memory as well as the printing press. But no more! Because on October 16th both of these beauties will be republished in a single volume. Again, can I say, pre-order!
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: In case you don’t already have it marked on your calendar,  J.K. Rowling’s first foray into adult fiction comes out a week from today! I know it won’t be the same as Harry Potter, but I’m hoping the world she creates here will be just as captivating. And you can be sure that this time next week I will have this hot little book in my hot little hands, as I plan to wake up early to go buy it. (Yes, I sadly really am that big of a dork.)
  • Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? By Rhoda Johnson: I read Rhoda’s freshman release, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, last year, and adored it. It was pithy but respectful, and deeply interesting to me. (You can read my review here, if you so desire.) This sequel of sorts also releases on October 2, and is Johnson’s story of falling in love again after divorce, fighting breast cancer, and her return to the church. I’m definitely excited to read more from this funny, thoughtful writer.
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton: Morton fans rejoice! I loved both The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden (The Distant Hours awaits on my shelf, ready to be conquered, hmmmmm….probably tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. That solves that question.), and I’m excited for this new historical mystery, which releases on October 16. I’m especially excited because I was under the impression that this book came out next October, not this year, so this is a great little surprise for me!

4: Animal Pictures: Because there is no better way to end a blog.

Nobody takes baby out of her corner!

Oscar says, “I’ll do anything, just love me pleeeeeeeas!”

Have there ever been two more adorable animals? I think not!

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Filed under Books, Cambria, NaNoWriMo, Oscar, Poetry, writing

What I’ve Been Reading, Part 2.

I think it’s only fair to warn you that these are mostly books that I have started but not finished yet. Some of them will be finished very soon, though, because I’m doing another week of trying to read a book every day. My writing has been slumpish this past week, and a good dose of vigorous reading usually helps me un-slump. Anyway, all that to say that my opinions may change by the end. We shall see.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones: A reader recommended this book to me several months back after a post about comfort books. I finally picked it up at my local Barnes and Noble last month, but just haven’t gotten around to really diving into it. I have dipped my toes in, though, and so far I’m intrigued. A girl who is turned into an old woman? A castle that moves about like it’s alive? If this book doesn’t absolutely tickle my brain I’ll be shocked.

Afternoons With Emily by Rose MacMurray: I’m about a fourth  of the way through this chunkster challenge book about a fictional girl who becomes close friends with the ever eccentric Emily Dickenson. I like it, but I have to be in the right mood to get into it otherwise I find myself reading the same pages over and over. I’m waiting for the perfect afternoon to curl up with some tea and really get into this promising story.

I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith: I love going to a book store without any specific book in mind and just perusing until I find some unexpected treasure. I almost always find something fantastic, like this book which I first discovered in 2008 on just such an expedition. Doddie Smith is most famous for her classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians, but I can’t figure out why she isn’t better known for this coming of age novel, which is narrated by 17 year-old Cassandra who lives with her impoverished family in a rundown old castle. Witty, charismatic, and just the right amount of quirky, I immediately fell in love with this book. I am sorely overdue for a re-read.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett: Y’all, I’ve joined a book club! I’m fairly new to San Diego, and making friends takes time. We were lucky that Tyler joined a company full of wonderful people that we have become true friends with, but outside of that I have yet to meet many people, and almost no book-ish ones. Them I met Gina. Her husband also works for Tyler’s company, and I think she may be my long-lost twin. And she has asked me to join her book club, where I am hoping to meet many more kindred spirits. This is the book club choice for the month of September, and  also my book for today. Why on earth have I never read anything by Ann Patchett before?! I could barely force myself to put it down long enough to write this post. An official review will follow soon. (Also, book club meets for the first time this coming weekend. I will definitely let you know how it goes.)

Half Broke Horses by Sheila Walsh: I read Walsh’s dynamic debut, The Glass Castle, in a single afternoon. Her sophomore offering has sat on my shelf for a while, often passed over for newer prospects. But after reading just 30 pages yesterday, I already know that this is going to be a new favorite. Walsh’s voice is pitch perfect and her story is, thus far, captivating.

Lit by Mary Karr: May Karr may very well be the perfect writer, if not the perfect person. Her word choice, the tone she strikes, and her honesty have all turned this into one of the best memoirs I’ve read despite the sometimes difficult subject matter. And I’m not even finished yet. I plan to do a full review when I’ve completed it, so I won’t say too much more, except I will be reading much more of Mary’s work in hopes that some of her genius with the English language rubs off.

New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2 by Mary Oliver: I bought this book during a Modern Poetry class in college, but I could never get into Mary Oliver’s work, and then I discovered Denise Levertov and officially shelved this poet. But then yesterday I was looking for something to read for my book of the day, and nothing was really grabbing me. So I took Mary off the shelf again and what do you know, I feel in love. She writes a lot about nature, but her poems are so much deeper, about so much more, than just simply animals and plants. I read all 172 pages of poems yesterday. My mind in blown and my soul is opened. I think I’ve discovered a new life-long favorite.

On Writing by Stephen King: Like I mentioned before, I had a rough time in regards to writing last week, so I thought it was the perfect time to break out this highly recommended memoir/writing advice book. I’ve tried to read a few pages every day, but I’m so fascinated that I’ll probably end up reading it all in one big chunk later this week.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi: I first read this book in a World Literature class in college. That was my favorite college course ever, and this tied with Dr. Zhivago as my favorite book from that class. Nafisi is a literature professor who used to teach in Tehran. She and seven of her most dedicated students started reading classics from the Western canon in secret, and this is the story of that experience. It is a true testament to the power of literature as well as a fascinating exploration of womanhood in the face of tyranny. Like with I Capture the Castle, I’m simply itching to read this fantastic memoir again.

So, after I finish all these up, I’ll have a few weeks worth of books that I actually own to read and then I’ll run out of books! I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you why I simply cannot EVER let that happen! So I need some suggestions. So far I plan to get:

  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson
  • Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Ann Frank by Nathan Englander
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
  • Where I Was From by Joan Didion
  • Love, Life, and Elephants by Daphne Sheldrick
  • Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth

I know that seems like quite a list, but if these are all as good as I anticipate, they will last we a few weeks at best.  Plus, I think my reading is getting faster. That means that in a month, I may not own any books I haven’t read. Eeek! And though I have a long to-read list, nothing else is jumping out at me. So, dear friends, give me your suggestions! What books do you love, what are you dying to read, what great new tomes would my life be incomplete without?

And finally, I leave you with a gratuitous animal picture. Because I just love my little furballs oh-so-much. And because they aaaaalmost like each other, and it’s starting to get cute!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Cambria, Oscar, Poetry, writing

The Monday Blahs

Today is such a Monday.

I’m not one of those people who chronically has a case of The Mondays. Sometimes my Mondays are light and airy and the perfect start to a new week, or rich and beautiful like a well-appointed Thursday where all my cylinders are pumping at full speed, and occasionally they are quiet and peaceful, like a second Sunday. But I’d say half my Mondays are THE Mondays.

The Monday Blahs, or just The Mondays, as they are more commonly known, take on two flavors. They are either sluggish and frustrating, something akin to a Saturday that you accidentally spent all on the couch and now you have one of those weird headaches you get from sitting too long, or they fly in your face like a bat from hell you were not expecting. Either way, nothing goes the way you wanted it to.

Today has been more like the first type. I had problems getting out of bed, and then I feel back asleep eating breakfast. My tub is so clogged it fills to overflowing within the space of one regular length shower, and the repair guy still has not come. I realized that somehow every one of my nails, freshly painted last night, with the exception of one tiny pinky fingernail, is already hopelessly messed up. I wrote all morning, and was going along at a decent clip, when the cat walked over my keyboard and deleted the whole thing. My kitchen still needs cleaning from a lazy weekend full of brunches and having friends over. One of my favorite plants is dying and I don’t know why. I need to go grocery shopping desperately, but payday isn’y until tomorrow. I lack motivation to do anything but read, but I can’t decide what I even want to read.

This is just not my day.

I was on the verge of working myself up into a teenage girl-worthy pity party, when that little voice in the back of my head whispered to me, and suddenly I was alright. Because, you know what? It’s all okay. (The view from my seat as I write this blog. I won’t show you the kitchen part of my view though, it really is atrocious.)

I work from home so a nap didn’t hurt anything, and now I feel much better. It’s okay. My tub is clogged, but I live in a country where clean, safe, running water is the norm. I live in an apartment building where repairs are free. It’s okay. In the grand scheme of things, painted nails don’t matter even a little bit. And I can always re-do them. It’s okay. God gave me a really creative mind, I can re-write whatever I lost, and it’ll probably be better the second time around. Shoot, I get to write for my job, just like I always dreamed. It’s okay. Every living thing, plant, human, animal, is a gift. I may not be able to save my little hanging basket of beauty, but it brought joy while it lasted. It’s okay. I have a small kitchen, it’ll only take ten minutes to clean. Plus, I’ll never regret those lazy brunches or Friday nights spent with friends. It’s okay. I may not have as much food as I’d like in my fridge right now, or the food I ideally want, but I’m not going to go hungry. In fact, I’ve never gone hungry in my whole life. I’m more than okay, I’m richly blessed.

God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, on the Mondays, but also on the Tuesdays and the Fridays and all the other days as well.  Even on my rainiest of Mondays, I have so much to be thankful for. So I’m going to go make myself a sandwich, even though a plain old turkey sandwich isn’t what I really want (Mmmmm…sushi!), and I’m going to text my husband and my mom, and probably my dad and brother too, and tell them how much I love them, because I’m lucky to have so much love in my life (I’ll probably cuddle my Cambria kitty, and give her a little piece of turkey, because I love her too.), and I’m going to turn on some Ella Fitzgerald and dance around my kitchen as I clean it. And while I do all this, I’m going to soak myself in the knowledge that no matter what I lack, no matter what goes wrong today, I am blessed beyond measure.

Have a great Monday, friends!

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Filed under Cambria, The Monday's, Things I'm Thankful For

Hello? Anybody There?

If you are still out there, then I am a: shocked, and b: grateful.  I’ve been gone a long time, but I needed to be gone for a long time. Sometimes those pesky little dark night’s of the soul pop up when least expected, and if you ignore them they get worse. Guess what I tried to do? If you said “ignore it,” you are very correct. And then it got worse, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. So I took a break from a lot of things: from reading, from writing, from blogging, from looking for a job, from beating myself up about it.  And I started spending a lot of time in prayer, and with my family and friends. I took a lot of time to focus on what matters and who matters, and tried to cut out the excess.

I love literature because it puts us face to face with truth, with reality, with the whole of humanity. But sometimes that hurts, and sometimes I need to look away. I’ve only really read the Bible and a few old favorites that are always good for my soul (Anne Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, Shauna Niequist’s Bittersweet, Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, Dr. Zhivago, A Wrinkle in Time, bits and pieces of The Chronicles of Narnia, and lots of Denise Levertov, Rumi, Rilke, Dickenson, and Frost.) That puts me hopelessly behind in my quest to read 104 books this year, but I just realized that some things are more important than reading, or even writing. I know most writers would balk at that statement. I’ve been admonished time and again that “We write because we must! Because it is our charge, our purpose, our calling! We write when it is painful because that is what it means to be a writer!” And sometimes we rest, because we are human, even those of us with calloused and ink stained fingers.

But there is a time and a season for everything. And this is the time and the season to crawl back into the light. Hello blog! I’ve missed you!Hello books on my bookshelf! You are dusty and beautiful, and I can’t wait for the adventures we are going to have! Hello pen and journal! I have so much to tell you! Hello story I was working on! I have so many ideas for your future! Hello great wide world! I am different now, but I think I’m better, and I’m ready to rejoin your dance!

I know I’m going to have to work pretty hard to build back up my readership, but it was worth it. I have started reading a thing or two in the past few weeks, so hopefully come Monday I’ll have a new review up. And since I have nothing else worth while to say to you right now, here is a brief photo update of the last two months of my life: (Warning, if you follow me on any social media, this is going to be a lot of repeats for you and thus probably a little boring. So sorry!)

Remember my favorite baby Josiah? I cuddled him a whole bunch.

I spent a lot of time at the beach…

…and I spent it with my best friend.

I got some good advice from a fortune cookie, and from some friends, though I didn’t take their pictures.

I took many gratuitous photos of Cambria, who did not mind.

We ran a 5K obstacle course challenge. Or rather, Tyler and a few of our faster friends ran, and I walk/ran it with a few of our less ambitious friends.

Tyler went to NYC for business, and I had to stay home. But I started this book, and he brought me back this huge mug, so it was okay.

And while he was gone I got to spend my afternoons with this adorable puppy, so that made it okay too.

Cambria found a new hiding/sleeping spot in the bathroom.

We celebrated friend’s birthdays, and Tyler got even more handsome, which I did not realize was possible. Look at that jaw line. Mmmhmm.

A friend found a left-over turkey in his freezer, so we all got together and had a feast. All I can say is the world needs more holidays with turkey, and also look at that amazing view!

We bought Cambria her very own castle, and now she insists we call her “Queen Cambria.” It’s mostly an honorary title since she makes no laws and really just sleeps up there like normal non-royal cats.

We went to our very first Polo match!

At the Polo match we dressed all fancy and drank champagne and pretended to be rich. We are not in actuality rich, but we did look fairly dapper.

I made the Queen cuddle with me a lot, because even Queens need love.

(Not pictured: I also ate a lot of ice cream, called my mom and/or dad almost every day, and spent a lot of time snuggled up with my man watching Dr. Who. It was, all-in-all a good respite for my soul.)

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Filed under Babies, Books, Cambria, Cats, Odds and Ends, San Diego, Tyler, writing

Happy Birthday, Cambria!

This is the story of Cambria.

Three years ago today I was a brokenhearted woman mourning a kitten and a baby, both gone too soon. And three years ago today I met my new kitty. An adorable, though timid year-old Siamese cat, Cambria had been abandoned as a kitten and caught in a trap meant for a raccoon. Saved from being put-down by a local rescue, she was healthy, but terrified of everything and everyone. The women at the rescue said she needed to go to a home with no other pets and lots of love, and I told them that we fit the bill perfectly. My mother’s heart needed someone to take care of. In the car, she sat in the farthest corner of her carrier and her whole body shook with fright, but she looked at me intently, her eyes never leaving my face.

When I let her out at home, she hid under the couch for almost five days. She’d come out at night to eat and drink, but that was all. Slowly, she started to explore other corners of the house, when no one else was there, of course. And then, one night I woke up with something furry and warm cuddled by my side. Cambria was home.

It didn’t happen all at once, but Cambria slowly became the cat she was meant to be: smart, playful, loving, always ready with a purr, a snuggle, and a kiss. And I, overtime, became myself again too. It’s like our little family was meant to be.

So Happy Fourth Birthday, Cambria Kitty. I’m really glad you are mine!

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Filed under Cambria, Cats, Caturday, Odds and Ends

I’ve Been a Bad Blogger

It’s true. But now I’m back! Allow me to reintroduce myself. Hi. I’m Amanda. This is my blog. I read stuff and write about it, or at least I’m supposed to. Or at least, I’m going to again.

You know what I’ve discovered? Writing a blog is a lot like going to the gym. You know how it is. You sign up for your gym membership with much enthusiasm, and you find a good routine. You may settle into this routine for months, maybe even a year. But then, one day, you make an excuse.

“This sore throat is just really bad, so I think I’ll stay home and get healthy.”

“I know my spinning class is tonight, but that coworker I’ve only talked to four times is having her birthday party at my favorite sushi restaurant, so I’ll just go to the Thursday class instead.”

“I don’t know anyone in the Thursday class, and it feels so awkward.”

“This Wii fitness is totally the same thing, and it’s in my living room where there are no skinny women to make me feel chubby.”

And then- voila!- it’s been four months and when you go back they’ve given your locker to someone else, and you don’t know any of the trainers anymore, and you huff and puff through all ten minutes on the treadmill that you can muster before passing out in the shower with a power bar and a Gatorade, totally exhausted.

Not that I speak from experience or anything.

Blogging is like that. For me, my gateway excuse was these people:

My family! Aren’t they just the cutest? I spent 12 whole days with them in my favorite of all places- Ohio! It was pretty chill and included a lot of time to relax, which had me dreaming of the eight books I was going to read and the multitude of amazing blogs I was going to write…and then, I went comatose. I went into a vacation, my-mom-is-taking-care-of-me-and-I-don’t-have-to-cook-or-clean coma. It was pitiful.

Then I came home. I tried to write a few blogs, but they were, to put it nicely, pure drivel. And then the excuse-a-thon began. I thought about blogging. I’d fall asleep at night composing tomorrows blog that was going to be my great comeback. And then tomorrow would come, and I’d just read instead, because I was tired, or my instant gratification bug would kick in and I’d watch TV instead.

But I’m back on the bandwagon now, and I may be a little flabby and out of practice, but dude, I have missed this blog! And I’ve missed my blog friends! And man-oh-man do I have a ridiculous amount of books to review!

These are the books that I’ve read:

Plus three e-books: Real Marriage by Mark& Grace Driscoll, Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan, and An Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson.

And these are the books that I’ve started, but for various reasons haven’t finished yet:

That top one is The Story of Charlotte's Web, for those of you who aren't magic and can't read pure light. Sorry about that. There's a window right behind my desk.

I’ll start reviewing all the ones I’ve read so far tomorrow. Promise.

For those of you keeping score, I’m a teeny bit behind where I should be. To be honest, I’ve been a little lazy on the reading front the last few weeks, so I’m trying to finish five books this week. And if I don’t stop blogging right now, I probably won’t get today’s books finished and get my dishes done. And if you saw my kitchen after a three-day weekend, you’d know just how dire this situation is. Speaking of which, I will not show you my icky kitchen, but I will show you the book of the day:

But more on that tomorrow.

PS: One last thing. A certain little someone has missed you too, and she wanted me to let you know.

Dear Mai Friens, Ai know you've missed me a whole bunches. Ai missed you too, when Ai wasn't sweeping or eating the tuna fishes. But never fears! Caturday draws nigh! Lub, Cambria

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