WIP Wednesday - Just keep swimming!

Just Keep Swimming!

You just gotta love Dory! I'm swimming right now, in the midst of doing taxes and also working on class stuff. The module this week in Humanities - Kantian and utilitarian ethics. According to Kant, motive is the operating force and actions are based upon what you think you ought to do based on a sense of duty versus the right or moral thing to do. Pity or compassion doesn't play a role.   Utilitarianism is the ethical concept that says what is right or good is what brings the most happiness.  When faced with a choice, take the one that will make the most amount of people happy.  For example: Given the choice to save one person or five people from being hit by a train, save the five and let the one die.  Or if there is one person you can throw in front of the train further up the tracks that will save them all, do it.     

So right now I'm contemplating the question: "consider Kant's requirement that other people be considered as ends in themselves and not as means to an end.  Can you think of any cultural or economic practices that might seem to violate this principle?"      Fun huh! 

Also started working on the taxes.  Yes, I know. Should have started long before now.  I have excuses.  Discovered the version of Quickbooks we have at the shop, doesn't want to work on my windows 7 laptop for whatever reason.  Figured, no problem..... installed turbo tax at work to import the quickbooks file into it.  Something screwy there too.  Didn't want to do it.  Que the violin music, please.   Just have to do it the old fashion way, and printed off all the reports needed and will  manually enter the information.    So...... that's what I'll be working on for the next few days.  

In the midst of all this, re-evaluating the first quarter of home school curriculum, making some changes and refreshing myself on how to be a better mentor to my 5th grader.  I've had a decided lack of patience lately, which doesn't fair well, when trying to teach my wonderful child.   Which is one reason I decided to reread Thomas Jefferson Education.  

I'm continuing to write everyday and making progress.  Getting a little bit closer to that final scene of Red Thief.  The morning pages are going well and helping me work some frustrations out on the page.   I'm in week 7 of The Artist's Way - recovering a sense of connection.  One of the tasks is make a collage.  Collect 10 magazines, set yourself a time limit and go through, cut out images that reflect your life and interests.   Make sort of a pictorial autobiography.  Shouldn't be too difficult, right.  Unless all you have is Writer's Digest, Writer, Bookmarks, Air and Space and Reader's Digest.  *facepalm*   As a result,  I kind of went on a subscription bing of magazines I've been wanting, but never got around to it.  Subscribed to Poets and Writers, Sunset, Coastal living, Smithsonian, Conde Nast Traveler, and Old schoolhouse.   Happy Happy Joy Joy! 

I haven't had a whole lot of time to write any reviews. Heck, I haven't had a whole lot of time to read for pleasure. However, I just started "Heart of Deception" by M.L. Malcolm for TLC Book Tour coming up on April 4th.  

Speaking of reviews, you may have already seen this, but if you haven't, you should.   It's a great reminder to authors of how NOT to respond to a negative review.  This author melted down, telling commentors and the blogger to  'f' off twice when he refused to delete the review and in my opinion just killed her career as it were. Amazingly unprofessional but educational for the rest of us.

Sometimes God calms the storm.  At other times, he calms the sailor.  And sometimes he makes us swim.  ~Author Unknown
Just keep swimming!  

Sunday Salon: Happy Blogoversary to Me!

4 years old!

Join me in a piece of cake to celebrate the 4th anniversary of My Two Blessings! 

To celebrate I bought myself a couple of new journals.  One is a beautiful new journal from Peter Pauper Press with artistry by Josephine Wall.  I love her art. Her arts speaks to me and is so colorful and imaginative.

The other because I simple love leather and like to write and it had 400 lined pages in which to express myself.   A thick black bonded Italian leather journal from Barnes and Noble and handmade in Italy.  *sigh*

In honor of my blogovesary, I am having a couple giveaways just for my followers. I'm very thankful you all are interested in what I have to say, otherwise I'd be talking to myself.  Welcome to the newbies who have joined in the past year.  At some point, please take the time to introduce yourself, say hi, question me an answer or just say boo!  If there is anything you want to know about me, now if the time to ask. 

The first giveaway is for my top two personal cheerleaders who have stuck with me through thick and thin and provided me with unconditional support, no matter what direction I seem to go in.   I can't tell you all how much I appreciate you. Thank you, ladies for your unlimited support.

Staci at Life in the Thumb 

Candace at Beth Fish Reads

They will receive the Josephine Wall journal above along with

The Reading Woman


The second giveaway is the book of your choice from my 2010 book list, excluding e-books and class books.  You must already be a follower of my blog to win and there will be four winners in honor of my four years as a blogger.   Leave your name along with your email address and the book you would like to win in the comments.  The giveaway is open for U.S. Residents only and will close at 11:59 p.m. on April 3rd.  The winners will be picked by Random.org.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  ~Marcel Proust

Thank you to all my wonderful virtual friends, readers, followers, tweeters and lurkers. I appreciate you more than you can know.  Cheers to one more year! 
The Sunday Salon.com

Philosophical Friday: Post to ponder while I'm unplugged for the day

In one of the week's in Artist Way, one of the tasks was sort of a time travel experiment.   "Describe yourself at eighty."  Seeing as my dad just turned eighty and all he's accomplished with his life, I thought it an interesting question.   "What do you think you'll be like at eighty?"   Ever thought about it?     "Now, write a letter from you at eighty to you at your current age.   What would you tell yourself?  What interests would you urge yourself to pursue?  What dreams would you encourage."  

"Then remember yourself at eight.  What did you like to do?  What were your favorite things?  Write a letter from you at eight to you at your current age.  What would you tell yourself."  (pg 89)   It was an interesting, fun and enlightening exercise.

So, what would you tell yourself?

Quote to Ponder

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:  They try to have more things, or more money, in order to have more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. -  Margaret Young (pg 96)

End of the first round of ROW80 - a Round of Words in 80 Days

The first round of A Round of Words in 80 days is over.  I am so glad I joined in.  Breaking down major goals into mini goals each week really helped me immensely.   Did I finish Red Thief?   Not exactly.   I'm close and there are 12 days til the start of the next round on April 4.  My plan is to have the first draft finished by then.  Cross your fingers, legs and what ever else will cross.  I have to figure out how the bad guy is going to go down.  And if I'm going to kill him off or not.  And how I'm going to get my heroine to forgive the undercover guy who loves her for lying to her and not saving her sooner.  Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.   Bwahahaha!   In the meantime, I'll be thinking about my goals for Round 2. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue working on The Artist's Way and writing morning pages.  The morning pages have been instrumental in helping me work things out in writing, staving off 'computeritis' in the morning, and generally stop me from worrying about things.  If something bothers me - turn to the page, write it out, work it out and move on.   Highly recommend it.   I kind of jumped the gun the other day when I was in borders (breaking my buying ban - *gasp*) by picking up another one of Cameron's book's The Vein of Gold. I couldn't resist.  

Another major major benefit of A Round of Words in 80 Days besides the accountability, is the other participants. I've had the pleasure of discovering a diverse group of writers, in all stages of their quest and learned a lot from all of them.  Big thanks to Kait for hosting and her wonderful group of sponsors who made it all the more interesting.  Round 2 will run from April 4 through June 23rd.   If you haven't joined in, perhaps then would be a good time to start. 

Check out how everyone else did with their goals here.

Happy 80th Birthday Dad!

Me and my Dad - 1966 (thereabouts)

“May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”  Irish Blessing

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad

Love you to infinity and beyond

Sunday Salon: Spring Reading Thing and the homestretch for Row80

Spring Reading Thing 2011

Happy Spring! It is that time of the year again and the start of Callapidder Day's Spring Reading Thing.  This year I'm mixing it up a bit and going to read some non fiction books.   A strange thing happened as a result of my reading deprivation week.    I haven't had any desire to read fiction.  *gasp*   I'm not craving my brain candy.  What I am craving is non fiction. My brain seems to be in a feed me, teach me, inform me, fill me up mood.   Could have something to do with my Humanities class starting and all the work involved with that.  So...I went through my bookshelf of non fiction I've been collecting and meaning to read and picked out several books.  

My short stories class seems to have opened my mind about marking up books, underlining passages I want to remember and jotting down notes in a notebook while I read.   I happen to love it when I come across an old book, marked up with notes in the side margin. Provides an insight into how the book affected that person or a memory it tripped.  Susan Wise Bauer's method she discussed in Well Educated Mind finally makes sense to me.  However, it works better for non fiction, than fiction in my opinion. Along with the fiction books I'll be reading for various challenges and book tours, I'll also be reading:

  1. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time  by Dava Sobel
  2. The Real George Washington by Jay A Parry and Andrew Allison
  3. Memories, Dreams and Reflections by C.G. Jung
  4. A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille
  5. Theology for Beginners by  F.J. Sheed
  6. Holy Yoga by Brooke Boon
  7. The Apostles by Pope Benedict
  8. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman


We are in the homestretch for the first round of A Round of Words in 80 Days.  I'm not quite done yet with the first draft of Red Thief.  My goal was the finish it by this round, but not going to happen.   The next round doesn't start until April 4th and I expect to be done by then.    I had mini goals each week which I have accomplished so far which is 

Writing every day at least a half hour and shoot for at least one full handwritten page, front and page. Whether it amount to 500 words or not, don't know. 

Morning pages ala The Artists Way.  Haven't missed a day.

Work everyday on the tasks for Artists Way. Doing good.
One good thing about Row80 and The Artist's Way.  Both have prompted me to set mini goals and write to do lists every morning and check things off as I go along.   I feel like I've been much more productive so thanks to kait for hosting.  

Go cheer on the other participants, give them some encourage and a pat on the back for sticking it out.  You can find them here.


The Sunday Salon.com

Guess what! March 21st is also my 


I'm thinking about what we can do to celebrate.  Stay tuned!

Philosophical Friday: quote to ponder

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man's brow.

Ovid-- Roman poet and author of Metamorphoses

How the paperback novel changed popular literature

Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

I decided on my research topic for my Humanities Capstone final project: George Bernard Shaw. Now I just have decide exactly what my thesis will be.  While looking up information about him and discovering he wrote this book called "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism" I came across this interesting article on Smithsonian.com called "How the Paperback Novel Changed Popular Literature." The "Woman's Guide etal" was the first non fiction paperback published along with Agatha Christie's "Mysterious Affair at Styles." Which I read by the way - good book.  I couldn't find a copy of Shaw's original guide but....  synchronicity - the book is being re  released April 2011. 

Intelligent Woman's Guide

I pre-ordered it and also bought a copy of his play Pygmalion.  TMC recently had an old movies month and I dvr'd both the play Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, which is the musical based upon Pygmalion.  It will be fun watching them both. 

I was going to leave you with a reprint of "How the paperback novel changed popular literature" but it is longish and I've been over inundating you all with rather longish posts lately.  Click over here and check it out.  It is an interesting bit of history about Penguin Publishing and literature. 

"The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another." 
George Bernard Shaw - Pygmalion

Sunday Salon: My reading deprived life.

picture courtesy of Rigmarole

I survived my week of reading deprivation and found myself not in any rush to pick up a book yesterday or today.   I was 85% successful.   I allowed for reading emails, business and class related stuff.  My new Humanities Capstone class (my last one!) started on Monday.  I couldn't help myself and had to find out what is in store.  Discovered - lots of writing!   I printed off what I needed so I could work on the questions.   Of course, I couldn't do the treadmill without reading my nook otherwise it is a chore (excuses, I know) and I'm trudging through counting steps bored out of my mind. I read a non fiction book about journal - Write for Life.  I can see I'm going to have to buy a hard copy because it begs for note taking.

No fiction. Nada, zip, zilch, no tamales.   My brain candy, my serious addiction that is so hard to do without. Or so I thought.  Here I was surrounded by all these books and I didn't  browse or read nary a one.  

When I did slip, it was non fiction and I'm not particularly a fan of non fiction, but learning to appreciate it. The New York Times, which my husband loves to read, left lying on the kitchen counter.  I hardly ever read it.  A story attracted my attention and I caught myself after a couple minutes.  A magazine when eating a snack, a catalog that came in the mail. 

What did I do since I wasn't reading books or blogs.  I wrote, cleaned, caught up with laundry, decluttered.  Finally went through my closet and filled 6 garbage bags with clothes I never wear and haven't worn since my corporate working days.   Cleaned out our drawers (which now close easier without having to shove anything down) and filled two more bags.  Still need to do hubby's side of the closet. :)    Dropped it all off at Good Will. 

I straightened out the bookshelves and discovered non fiction books that I'd bought and forgotten about and wanted to read.  Set those aside for later.  I moved the furniture around in the living room.  Made some changes to our homeschool curriculum.  Another story in itself.  

And I had time to do this:

One amusing side effect.  Getting James to bed on time so we had time to read one chapter of Harry Potter.  Hee Hee!  I got a lot done writing wise and otherwise, but it wasn't all peaches and cream.  I did get cranky. (poor James)  I'd find myself with nothing to do, standing in the kitchen at a loss.  Bored.  What do I do when I'm bored.  Reach for a book, go online.  Get lost in one or the other and the To Do list is forgotten.  Friday I tried sketching James face while he worked on math worksheets. He wasn't too impressed.  

Was it worth it.  I'd say so.  I have a tendency to over read, if that's possible.  Was I more creative?  Maybe. I did finish a couple more chapters of Red Thief.  Had some Aha moments.   Did I get a lot done. Yes.  Will I ever do it again.  Possibly.  I can see the benefits.  Clearer mind, cleaner house, more time to get things done, the desire to learn something new.  As I mentioned before, during Lent will be totally unplugging and no reading on Fridays. 

Had more time to imagine, to dream.  Started Week 5 of the Artist's Way which is Recovering a Sense of Possibility.  It's all about not limiting yourself, not limiting what help you'll accept from God and other sources.  Saying yes to yourself for a change, instead of putting yourself last.

Cameron says:  "What we are talking about seems to be a conscious partnership in which we work along slowly and gradually, clearing away the wreckage of our negative patterning, clarifying the visions of what it is we want, learning to accept small pieces of that vision from whatever source and then, one day, presto!.  The vision seems to suddenly be in place.  In other words, pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can."

Love that.   Among the tasks are starting an image file of:  

  • If had either faith or money, I would try - list 5 desires.
  • List five more imaginary lives and add images to your file
  • If were twenty and had money - five adventures
  • If were sixty-five and had money - five postponed adventures

It's all rather eye opening when you think about it. 

The Sunday Salon.com 
So what's in store for this week reading. I'll be starting "Faithful Place" by Tana French. That's it. One book on my mind. Shocking huh!

Goals for the week.  Along with everything else will be adding in class stuff. Lots to do each week.  Fortunately each module is two weeks long. Module one is due 3/20.  The class will also involve writing a research project paper instead of a final. 

1)  Write every morning at least half an hour/500 words.  85% done with Red Thief
2)  Do morning pages every morning during breakfast
3)  Come up with K theme for next sunday's 52 books in 52 weeks blog post. 
4)  Class:  Type up Q1 "why study humanities" answer
5)  class:  Record audio introduction  - already written
6)  Class:  Final project - decide on topic for research paper
7)  Class:  Write and type answer to Q3 The truth about Poetry 
8)  Class:  Write up and type Self Reflective essay
9)  If I have time - review Heatwave by Richard Castle

Check out how everyone else is progressing here.

If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there.  Did you remember to turn your clocks forward an hour.  My cats have been preparing me for the last two weeks by getting me up a couple hours earlier.  I still feel jet lagged.   

See you round the water cooler!

Philosophical Friday: quote to ponder

Today trying something new and starting Philosophical Friday.  For the 6 weeks of lent, I'll be scheduling thought provoking questions or statements by the great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, prophets and who ever else pops to mind.  Something to think about, perhaps write about.  Fridays will be my unplugged day with no technology and continuing the Artist Way experiment of no reading for the day.  The day will be spent exploring our creative side. 

Artwork by Josephine Wall

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves. ------    Carl Jung

Sunday Salon: What does writing, reading, lent and Row80 have in common?

What does writing, reading, lent and row80 have in common?  Me, frustration, desire, sacrifice, and persistence.   I tried to institute a buying ban at the beginning of the year and did quite well for all of a month or so. That all feel apart in the past couple weeks.  Thursday, I went over to the Catholic book store to look around for reading material for Lent and didn't find exactly what I wanted. However, I did find Willa Cather's "Death comes for the Archbishop" and Ted Dekker "Elyon"  

I had gone in to look for a book by Thomas Merton.  I had read "Seven Storey Mountain" last year and enjoyed it.     However, the gal who worked there informed me that in his later years, he delved too far into eastern mysticism. As a result Catholic bookstores don't carry his later works because they don't want people to lead in the wrong direction. I'm pretty sure they were probably talking about these books:  The Way of Chuang Tzu and Mystics and Zen Masters which actually look pretty interesting to me.  

Turns out I didn't have to look farther than my own bookshelves.  I did a bit of cleaning in the bedroom, straightening out the shelves and found these gems just waiting to be read:  Pope Benedict's The Apostles and 12 Extraordinary Woman by John Macarthur.  Also James and I will be reading "Little Pilgrim's Progress" adapted by Helen Taylor for kids and doing Kay Arthur's bible study "God What's Your Name?

I also came up with an idea given to me by the Artist's Way. In week 4 which I mentioned last week,  Cameron called for a week of reading deprivation. I'll take it one step further and utilize it during lent and have an totally unplugged day, once a week - no technology, no reading.  Friday's will be my totally unplugged days.  We will continue to unplug until 4:00 during the week days. 

Did I take a week off from reading last week?   Nope.  I completely stalled and the airplane crashed.  As a result I stepped away from the book and didn't touch it again until yesterday.  I binged just like a person who decided they have to go on a diet and then suddenly is constantly hungry.  Plus I kept telling myself, had to figure out what we were going to do for lent.  I also missed a couple days of writing.  It just threw me for a loop.

I'll be the first person to admit I'm addicted to reading.  If I don't read I get very cranky.  I worked it out in the morning pages and since I made commitment to do the Artist Way,  decided to do it.   Started yesterday and will refrain from reading, except emails, business and home school related stuff until Friday.  You are allowed to continue reading Artist's way and complete the tasks so will be working on those. Today is a gimme just like Sundays aren't included in the lent weeks.

The Sunday Salon.comDon't forget to check out week 10 in Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks. This week's theme I is for Ireland.   Also Carrie of Books and Movies is hosting a read along of "Faithful Place" by Tana French this month. 

I'm making progress on Red Thief and came to an extremely emotional part. Which is why I ended up taking off a couple days. I didn't want to deal with  explaining to my hubby or son why I was crying, so I had to wait until I had some alone time.  Once I did sit down to write the scene, my eyes were tearing up and my nose was running, but I got through it. 

My goals for this week are:

1) continue Morning pages
2) Refrain from reading for the week 
3) Write 500 words a day 
4) Complete week 4 tasks in Artists Way
5) Decide on J theme for 52 Books Blog

Check out the other Row80 rowers here and see who is still hanging in there and how they are doing this fine Sunday.

TLC Book Tour: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni (plus giveaway)

Welcome to the first stop of the TLC Book Tour's blog tour of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. I'm excited to be a part of the tour and thanks to the publisher will be giving away two copies of the book.  More information on the giveaway at the bottom of the post.


Danielle Trussoni

Back Cover:  Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her care was entrusted to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  Now, at twenty-three, she discovers a 1943 correspondence between the convent's last mother superior and the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller that plunges her into a secret history stretching back a millennium: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.   Blending biblical lore, the Miltonic fall of the Rebel Angels, the apocryphal Book of Enoch, and the myth of Orpheus.  Angelology is a luminous, riveting tale of ordinary people caught up in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

Whether you are a believer in angels or not, Angelology will blow your mind and make you rethink everything you think you know.  Angelology is defined as the the study of angels and is one of the ten major categories of theology.  Really!  Trussoni borrows from  the stories of the angels from biblical times when the angels mixed with the humans, most preferably woman, and their offspring were a mixture of human and angel called Nephilim.  Where she alters the story to create a intriguing premise is when a Nephilim took on the likeness of Noah's son Japheth, killed him and took his place on the ark.  Thus when Noah and his family survived the flood, evil survived in the form of the Nephilim who went on to procreate and spread his wicked ways throughout Europe. The angelologists are trying to stop the Nephilim from finding a golden lyre which can alter things either in a good way or bad way. 

Angelology  takes place in two different time frames: the present with Sister Evangeline discovering her past and her ties to angelology and in the past when one of the elder sister's reveals her story and her connection to the angelologists.   The story is rich and complex, the characters complicated and the writing paints an interesting, yet scary picture.  It really made you think.   And the ending - it seemed something was missing, unexplained or unexplored.   However, there is a sequel to the story which Trussoni is currently writing which probably explains why it ended the way it did.  

I'm afraid I read rather quickly through the story because I forget February ended early and I lost three whole days.  Angelology is one story that deserves to be read slowly and thoroughly to appreciate it. I definitely will be going back and rereading it. Take the time to look things up that caught my attention and wanted to know more about.  Angelology is one of those books - driving you to the dictionary or the encyclopedia for more information.   I highly recommend it.  

Thank you to TLC Tours for asking me to be part of the tour, penguin books for providing me with a courtesy copy and Danielle Trussoni for writing such an evocative story.  

I am giving away two copies of Angelology, (one to a customer please) and the giveaway is open to U.S./Canadian residents only.  Please leave your name and email address in the comments. The drawing is open until the end of the tour, March 31st.  

Check out the next stops on the tour:

Wednesday, March 2nd: English Major’s Junk Food
Thursday, March 3rd: Life In Review
Tuesday, March 8th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, March 9th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 10th: The Book Faery Reviews
Friday, March 11th: Katie’s Nesting Spot
Monday, March 14th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog
Tuesday, March 15th: Book Reviews by Molly
Wednesday, March 16th: Devourer of Books
Thursday, March 17th: Chaotic Compendiums
Monday, March 21st: Boarding in My Forties
Tuesday, March 22nd: Café of Dreams
Wednesday, March 23rd: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, March 24th: The Infinite Shelf
Monday, March 28th: Calico Critic
Wednesday, March 30th: Alison’s Book Marks
Thursday, March 31st: Booksie’s Blog

DANIELLE TRUSSONI is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and author of the memoir Falling Through the Earth, named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year in 2006 by the New York Times Book Review. She splits her time between the United States and France.

Visit Danielle on the web at www.danielletrussoni.org and www.angelologist.com. You can also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
 For more information on the tour, check out TLC Book tours here.