Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

 


After finishing my last book club book, I decided to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I’d been holding off on reading it, even though my mom lent me hers with rave reviews, because I knew I was going to need a big chunk of time to read it.  I’d heard from several people that the book takes a long time to hook you, and that I should give it at least 100 pages before giving up.  You can imagine that with that, I was a little leery to even bother.  But, I remembered the rave review of my mom so I dove in.  Within the first few pages, I was hooked.  I wanted to know more.  And that same curiosity drove me to read this every chance I got.

The author really takes you down a lot of twists and turns throughout the book.  It even has what I call, a “false ending”.  That moment when you feel like everything is wrapped up and you’re done, except that you can see you still have a ways to go in the book.  I remember going to see a movie once that had one of those false endings.  What the hell was the name of that movie…IMDB.com, here I come…oh yeah, Disclosure.  That one had a false ending too.  I remember actually gathering up my purse, getting ready for the credits to roll and the lights to come up, and lo and behold, there was like 40 more minutes left of the movie.

Anyway, this book really is excellent and well worth the read.  I suppose I should tell you to give it to page 100 before giving up, since that’s the advice I was given.  But I don’t know that you’ll need it.  I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books, but I think I’ll wait a bit before going back in.  This book was one of those that left you with a lot to think about.  But, so worth a read, it really is.

Not sure how I feel about the new movie coming out, other than I love Daniel Craig.  I might be willing to see the original film though, it is probably relatively true to the book, whereas I’m not sure what Hollywood would do with some of the subject matter.  But, maybe they’ll surprise me.

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A Trip to Rhode Island

Ready for another travel post?  I’m enjoying taking these virtual vacations this summer.  How about you?  Today we’re venturing to the North East, to Rhode Island.  As you can probably tell, we’re working with film photos again too. 

Back in May of 2002, I spent a week visiting a friend in Rhode Island.  I was not in a very good place personally.  I was going through a divorce, moving into a smaller apartment, and felt like the world was coming down around my ears.  I’d already planned this trip to Rhode Island, so I decided it might be good to have a little time away from everything.  It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.  I felt loved and taken care of, it was a beautiful place to visit, and we got to see some amazing things. 

One of the days I was there, we decided to take a drive out to Newport to see the “cottages”.  We ate lunch at a fabulous place near the pier.  Then we headed over to Rosecliff. 

You may recognize Rosecliff as the location where The Great Gatsby was filmed in 1974.  This home is really the epitome of what they refer to as the Gilded Age – a time of dinners, balls and costume parties. 

Rosecliff was built in 1902 and was inspired by the Grand Trianon at Versailles.  In 2002, when I was there, Rosecliff was celebrating its Centennial with special events including an historic costume exhibit. 

Gorgeous place, and unfortunately photos were only allowed outside, so you’ll have to take my word for how stunning it was. 

From Rosecliff, we took a little trolley over to see The Breakers.  This place is impressive, for sure.  During my visit, the house (built for the Vanderbilts by Richard Morris Hunt) was undergoing its first major architectural restoration in 107 years. 

Even the sheer size of the iron entrance gates is amazing (they weigh over seven tons by the way).

Again, no photos of the inside, but I did come home with a little book of the Newport mansions that was a lovely reminder of these glorious spaces. 

Even around the back of the house, it’s beautiful.

And look at their view from the backyard. 

It was really a lovely day, and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion on my sightseeing trip!

While I was there, we decided to head into downtown Providence one night to see Waterfire.  This was an amazing experience.  There are over 100 bonfires that float in the river and while you’re watching the fires reflected in the water, and smelling the scents of cedar and pine burning, you’re also listening to a vast array of musical selections from classical to world music. 

The fires are tended from sunset to past midnight by black-clad performers in boats. 

The whole experience is really surreal, it affects all of your senses, and it almost puts you into a meditative state.  Really really one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. 

On the last day of my trip, we decided to head out to the shore to see one of the lighthouses.  Having never seen a lighthouse before (that I remember), I thought it would be really cool.  The ocean itself looks very different than what I’m used to (Florida, California, Gulf Coast, Hawaii).   

We were out at Narragansett, at the Point Judith Lighthouse.  Unfortunately, when we got there we found out that you couldn’t actually get to the lighthouse because it had been secured since 9/11.  It was cool to see, nonetheless. 

Such a fun, fun trip.  I’ll always remember it and always be so thankful for having that time to heal when I needed it most.

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Thursday Thoughts

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I’ve been a little absent here of late. But, you can see I have been making a few changes to the look of my blog too. Not sure I’m entirely happy with it yet, still tweaking.

It’s been crazy busy at work the past few weeks. My brain is tired. I’m tired. And it’s so goddamn hot outside I don’t want to do anything but lie naked under the ceiling fan.

I have been doing some reading (requires very little exertion on my part) and recently finished Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Need to post about it, but suffice it to say it was so good! Now I’m reading Sookie #3. Fun, requires even less exertion on my part.

It’s getting on to the end of the month and that means that my birthday month is almost here. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my birthday, and will probably discuss further as the time draws near. I’m conflicted as usual.

And, as you saw a couple of posts ago, I did get to see Harry Potter on opening night. So good. So sad to see the final film. I need to read the books again. Perhaps sooner rather than later.

Oh and I finally started watching Downton Abbey. It’s really a wonderful show if you get the chance to see it. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but they are fabulous. I can’t wait to see more.

Anyway, that’s all from me today. I hope to be back more regularly soon.

P.S. The photo is from July 4th, waiting for the fireworks to begin.

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Staycation

It’s Friday again, and in keeping with my idea to post some travel photos, I thought I’d post a local location.  Years ago, I had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel St. Germain here in Dallas.  This is an absolutely gorgeous hotel with only seven suites, each one decorated differently.   

As you can see, the rooms are stunning.  And the atmosphere at the hotel is wonderful too.  The night I stayed here, there was a wedding going on downstairs.  I remember laying in that big brass bed and listening to the sounds of Billie Holiday’s “At Last” coming from the reception.  What a wedding that must have been.

I loved the feel of this room, and in the photo below you can even get a peek into the black and white bath.  And as you can probably tell, it’s been long enough ago I was here that my photos were taken with a film camera. 

So, if you’re ever in Dallas and want something different from the regular hotel options, do think about staying here.  It’s also a lovely option for a special occasion, if you are in town. 

Next week I think I may see about sharing some photos from Newport, Rhode Island with you.  Hope you enjoyed this edition of my summer vacation posts!

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Harry


The day is finally here.  I can’t believe it’s been 13 years since the first Harry Potter book was published.  And today the last movie is released.  I was horrified the other night when I realized that my book club is meeting tonight.  What about Harry???  But my friend Sherri, who I see all the Harry Potter movies with, agreed to go to a later showing so that I could make my book club and see Harry Potter.  It’s going to be a full night, but I certainly couldn’t miss seeing the movie on opening night.

It’s strange how these books have been such a big part of my life since they came out.  I quote them, I have re-watched the movies countless times, I even name things after the books (case in point, I named a quilt I made with owl fabric “Pigwidgeon”).  And the audiobooks have brought me countless hours of entertainment while making my commute to and from work.  I can’t begin to describe how well-loved these books are.

It’s the end of an era.  But at least I’ll be there tonight.

 
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Skirting the Issue

Guess what?  Another nesting project!  (Are you tired of them yet?)  Eric and I are really loving all the little changes we’re making around the house.  And strangely enough, the more we do, the more we’re inspired to do. 

This project is something that’s been on my radar for probably a year at least.  In our office, I have a table set up to use for sewing, crafting, wrapping gifts, whatever.  Underneath it, you can see, I have a variety of storage containers and boxes full of (mostly) quilting fabric and batting.  Although everything is contained, it’s still an eyesore.  Eric suggested that a table skirt might be a good solution to hide my storage and give the room a less cluttered feel. 

You can see in the photo above the fabric we chose for the table skirt.  Nothing overly exciting, and because Eric was helping pick out the fabric, nothing overly girly either. 

After about an hour’s worth of work, I had a table skirt!  It wraps around three sides of the table, and is attached to the table with velcro for easy removal.  It really does make a big difference in this room (and cleaning off the top of the table helped too). 

I’m really happy with how it looks, and my sewing machine can still sit underneath the table so that I can easily get to it.  I did actually take the skirt back off after I took this photo and ironed it, but I lost my light, so no photo of it ironed. 

My next project, that seems to be neverending, is working on that stack of papers on the bookshelf next to the craft table.  That’s all stuff that needs to be scanned and filed electronically.  No need to keep all these piles of paper we seem to have endless amounts of.  It’s going to be awhile before I get that project finished, but I’m working on it a bit every weekend and seem to finally be making a dent in it.  I promise to show more photos of the room once the piles of papers and files are gone.  Once I get the scanning all done, it will give me some more room to organize my craft supplies and hopefully make everything a bit easier to get to and less of an episode of Hoarders.

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Curb Appeal

Like I said, Eric and I have been nesting lately.  Not sure what’s in the water, but I’m liking all the changes we’re making around the house.  Recently, he brought home some solar powered LED lights to put along our front walkway.  (Please pretend I had swept up the crepe myrtle blossoms off the walk before taking these photos – kind of the antithesis of curb appeal, I know.) 

The light on our front porch doesn’t illuminate very far and with no other lighting along the walk those steps were a bit treacherous in the dark.  I love the way the little lights look and they put out an amazing amount of light. 

I am looking forward to having guests over for dinner sometime soon.  Guess I’d better sweep that walk first though…

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Fireworks: A Love Story

Eric loves fireworks.  I didn’t grow up thinking they were anything special.  Watching the fireworks with my family was usually from the backseat of the car and never from a prime location.  But going to see fireworks with Eric is something special.  We take chairs, we find a good spot, we set up with our bottles of water and now our cameras.  Eric finds the radio station that is doing a broadcast to go with the show.  

We joke with our fellow firework-goers.  We spend time just talking to each other.  We people watch. 

And when the sun goes down and that first firework lights up the sky, I know that Eric is sharing something special with me.  It’s something he loves.  It’s something I’m slowly learning to love and look forward to. 

I love hearing the kids near us gasp in wonder.  I love hearing songs about America that remind of what this day is really about.  I love seeing the look on Eric’s face while he’s watching the show. 

I love the fact that he’s finally convinced me to actually use a tripod to shoot fireworks.  And I love that I can look at these photos and remember that night that was about family, each other, sharing, and feeling proud to be an American.

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Happy 4th!

I hope you’re having a happy Fourth of July!  Eric and I are fully enjoying the long weekend and I am thrilled that he’s been excited about cooking the past couple of days.  While I’m going to be paying for it come weigh in time, I’ve been indulging in some summertime favorites.  Above you can see that Eric found some Cokes in glass bottles, along with the fun Coke glasses.  What is better than a cold Coke from a glass bottle? 

And Friday night he made fried chicken, coleslaw, mac & cheese and corn on the cob.  OMG, I had to roll myself away from the table, but it was so so good.  Sunday night we had hot dogs and root beer floats for dessert.  And today we’re celebrating with hamburgers on the grill. 

I am always happy when Eric is in the mood to cook and this weekend was a perfect weekend to indulge in some holiday fare.  I hope your 4th is a great one, if you’re celebrating the holiday or not.  We’re looking forward to heading out to see some fireworks tonight, and I do plan to use a tripod to take photos this time (unlike last year!).

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Zilker Botanical Garden

So with summer upon us, and a holiday weekend starting, I thought it would be kind of fun to post some of my travel photos.  Eric and I love to travel, but haven’t been able to do any lately, so I thought it would be nice to go on little virtual trips.  What do you think?  Want to take a little road trip with me? 

Back in September of 2007, we went down to Austin to visit my sister.  We spent one afternoon with her and my niece at Zilker Botanical Garden.  The park is really beautiful, and we enjoyed wandering around and taking photos.  At the time, I didn’t take a lot of photos, so I don’t have many to share that don’t have my niece or Eric in them.  But we had a good time walking through the various gardens. 

You just have to watch out for the velociraptors. 

But really, it is a very tranquil spot, and there are some fun sculptures for the kids, which makes it an adventure.  You never know what you’ll find around the next bend in the path. 

So the next time you’re in or near Austin, stop by Zilker Botanical Garden for an afternoon.

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