Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Construction update- South College- trees cut

I was very sad to come onto campus Monday morning and see a gapping hole where trees used to be. Not only evergreens gone but a beautiful apple tree that I adored is gone as well. Unfortunately when I was taking photos for my previous post I didn't focus on this side of the building. I hadn't realized the future was going to be so dim for these trees so I don't have a good before and after to show you. I only have the after. To the left is South College and to the right is Thompson.

You will also notice that the windows are still out in South College as well. All in all the building is pretty much just a brick shell. The inside has been gutted completely. I hope to go up in the tower of the library later today and get some views looking down on the whole construction site so that I can show you the full scope of this project.

For more information about this project here is a link to the official UMass construction information- http://www.umass.edu/fp/ccip/

Monday, March 9, 2015

Construction at UMass- South College

Sunrise, view of the library... had to sneak this in there just because it's pretty.

Windows are out of the building at South College this morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Inside my Coat Pockets - a poem I wrote a few years ago

I may have posted this before, but I'm going to post it again.

"Inside My Coat Pockets", a poem by me.

Inside my coat pockets
the beginning of a poem
I pull out a refrigerator magnet
shaped like a pink frog
or Martha's Vineyard
next I find an old camera
with no pictures left of course
and what do we have over here?
some used Kleenex of course
a crumbled paper bag
where did this old watch come from?
ah, the orange bottle cap that inspired me
to write this.

That's only pocket one, let me go on.
up here we have some seashells
mixed in with some sand.
And over here, let me look
a pen, a business card, and some directions
a flashlight, a bottle of aspirin, and some fruit snacks
a quarter, a receipt, and some hand cream
and more and more fruit snacks.
I have no idea why

And finally, the last one
another bottle cap, a bit more kleenex
my cell phone, and some car keys
and of course a credit card and some ID.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blog post in progress-- Shawn Inmon

Last May I posted about "Shotgun Lovesongs" and the connection to music and Bon Iver. I'm not sure if I have posted a book review since that one. I was incredibly drawn in by that book and the music. I went on to buy a few Bon Iver cds and one by a girlfriend connected to the music and I spent a lot of time absorbing all of it. I still listen to the music. It's not forgotten.

So now I've stumbled on a couple of memoirs by Shawn Inmon. Shawn wrote one in the voice of his wife Dawn, and the other in his own voice. I read Dawn's voice first even though he wrote it second. Now I'm not ready to fully post all that I want to say but I'm working on it. I did a quick, really quick review on Goodreads because I have been terrible about keeping up with Goodreads reviews and I didn't want to forget it. However the blog post is going to take longer.

One thing that struck me with Shawn's books was the way the music was woven through them. I've since been in touch with Shawn (thank you Facebook!) and he sent me a playlist that he has posted on Youtube. I'm listening to it as I type this. He also has a website, a Facebook page, and many more books for sale. It's a lot to absorb all at once for a fan like myself coming into the story late.

There are a number of things I like. I like the way the music weaves through. I like that the stories are memoirs. I like the story line of a second chance romance with a happy ending.  I like how accessible Shawn has been as a person. I'm still working out all I want to say.

One musical reference he made was to the band "Stonebolt" which I had never heard of before. I checked with slightly older, more knowledgable friends and they hadn't heard of the band either. My conclusion is that "Stonebolt" is/was a regional band from Vancouver and popular in Washington where Shawn and his wife grew up. Shawn's playlist led me to music on YouTube but I haven't yet been able to locate any music on Amazon or Google for sale. I still have some research to do I guess.

Anyway, more later I promise! This is indeed a work in progress.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What would you say if Humans of New York interviewed you?

I had this random daydream this morning and I thought I would share. What if somehow, some way I got stopped by Brandon of HONY and he photographed me. Ugh. What a nightmare! Haha. Would I say "No", maybe, Maybe not.

Here's what comes to mind-

1. I hate how I look. I know if I get my photo posted lots of people will have negative things to say about me. I know they will also say I should go to the gym, or do something to change my appearance.

2. I have a crazy mother. Crazy mothers and crazy childhoods are way too common in this world.

3. I wrote a book. I need to edit it and get beta readers and some day get it published but I hold back. Why? Because of that fear of rejection.

And all 3 are connected. Many of my friends follow Humans of New York. I would be recognized and seen by them and millions of others. I would be in the spotlight for about 30 seconds while people posted their comments, many of them probably negative. If HONY published my comments about rejection there might be some kinder comments but the negative would still be there.

Meanwhile I go on. I need to push past this negativity and get this writing done. Seriously. 2015 has to be the year.

My mother is giving me another end-of-life scare. I don't know if she will beat this one or not. We'll see. We've had scares like this before and she's come out okay. Still, how many times can she win?

My goals in 2015 include losing weight and writing more.

And I am way, way behind on GoodReads if you are wondering. I stopped applying to win books because I couldn't keep up with them all.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reading, reviewing, writing, and editing

Last night before I fell asleep I had this blog all written out in my head. Unfortunately I was too tired to write it down and now I've lost some of it. I am attempting to recreate it anyway.

We came home yesterday from a day trip to the Boston area. In the mailbox was a book that I'd won from a giveaway on Goodreads.com.  I've been winning a few of these giveaways lately and my book pile is piling up faster than I can read the books. He said "Wow, people must really love your reviews." Maybe they do, maybe they don't. I don't write great reviews. They're usually pretty simple and straight forward. Def not my best writing.

We went in the house, and he took care of our daughter while I disappeared into the bedroom and fired up my bedside computer. I opened up the browser and went to Facebook. I posted an unofficial review of the places we'd been to in Somerville. Then I went over to TripAdvisor and wrote up 2 official reviews. This required a little research because the restaurant that we ate at didn't have it's own listing. Once those reviews were done, I went over to Goodreads and updated my book shelf to show I'd gotten the book. A peek inside the front cover showed me that the author had even written me a note and autographed it. Well that deserved some special attention. I looked him up and sent him a thank you note. He wrote back and offered me another complimentary book that he's written. I haven't replied yet. I figure I'll wait until I read this one before I answer. I hope it's a good book though. I'd hate to write a negative review now.

After my reviews were posted on Facebook, Goodreads, and TripAdvisor I looked up his website and checked the listing of other books he's written. This isn't a debut novel. Then I went over to Twitter to see if he was on there. Nope. However he was mentioned by another Twitter entity recently who has already read the book I just got. I tweeted to him/her, and they tweeted back. I scrolled through my Twitter feed, a mix of many things including many authors promoting their books.

Phew!! When I was done with all that I finally cracked open the E-book that I had just borrowed from the library. This is one that I tried to win a print copy of, but failed so I had put a hold on it and I finally got it. I read a few chapters to get myself into it. Then finally very late, I turned off the screens and went to sleep.

Meanwhile July is fast approaching and while I have been editing my Work In Progress it is not completely revised yet. I'm probably about 1/3 of the way through it. In July though I will be doing Camp Nanowrimo and I will begin the next draft of this novel whether I am ready or not. The thought of having 2 drafts going is challenging. I will have to come up with a way to keep them separate. I am not even sure what my writing schedule will be like, but I have set a low word goal and I plan to make it happen.

It seems like lately I spend more time writing reviews of other people's works, quick and simple as they may be, than I do working on my own material. Oh well. Hopefully it all pays off in the end.

I know ultimately I need an editor, and maybe a cover designer too. I'm not there yet though. Just need to keep plugging away.

Friday, May 23, 2014

I think of Lisa

A poem I just wrote - "I Think of Lisa"

When I hear a woodpecker early in the morning before the sun comes up, I think of Lisa. 
When I drive to work at sunrise and the fog is hovering over the water on the lake and no where else, I think of Lisa.
 When I have to brake hard because a deer has run out in front of my car, I think of Lisa.
 When new blossoms show their colors in the courtyard garden at work, I think of Lisa.
 Whenever I find a little beauty in my day, I think of Lisa.

--by me

This poem is dedicated to Lisa B. Adams who is still fighting, and to  my neighbor Tanya, my cousin Daryn, the mother of one of my daughter's classmates Kiran, and all of the other mothers and fathers out there who don't get to watch their children grow up because of cancer.  Cancer Sucks. 

"Find some beauty in each day."- Lisa B. Adams

Lisa's website is here-  http://lisabadams.com/

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Shotgun Lovesongs" book review

Here's my review from Goodreads--

Shotgun LovesongsShotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book, except the ending, but that shouldn't stop anyone. I ran across this title through my work in a library and looked it up here on Goodreads. After I started reading it, I looked it up on Amazon and read some more reviews on Goodreads. I had no idea about the connection to "Bon Iver" as another reviewer mentioned, but I spent a few hours doing some research and listening to some music and became a fan.

When was the last time you read a book that led you to good music? I don't know if that's ever happened to me before, and I loved the book even more for that.

Getting back to the novel itself though, the story takes place in a small Wisconsin town, a farming town, much like many farming towns all across America I imagine. I can certainly imagine this story happening in a small town that I've lived in myself or one of the others nearby. I liked that. I like stories in small towns. I can imagine the bar at the VFW because I've been in a few. So this story struck a chord with me.

I was thrown off for a minute as I went from the first chapter to the second and the narrators changed, but once I adjusted to that and began to pay attention to the "L", "H", "R", "B","K",etc.. at the beginning of the chapter I did just fine. It's a good way to tell this story, switching points of view all the time because it really helps you get the full story. I was fully drawn in to the characters, and I had trouble putting the book down when it was time to do other things.

Now that I've read it, and returned it to the library, I may buy a copy to put on my shelf for when I want to read it again. It was that good.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dear "Greg" on Goodreads.... thank you

Dear "Greg" from Goodreads,

Thank you! Thank you for your review of "Shotgun Lovesongs" by Nickolas Butler. You've got your settings set up on Goodreads so I can't send you a message on Goodreads directly. I know it's unlikely that you will ever see these words either.

You inspired me though. First of all, I went back to Goodreads and changed my own settings just in case some day someone sees something that I write and wants to comment on it.

Secondly, and most importantly you inspired me to look up "Bon Iver". You said in your review of the book that you are not a Bon Iver fan, and yes you know he has another name, but you're going to leave it at that. You said that "Shotgun Lovesongs" seemed to be about "Bon Iver". Thank you for that.

I had never heard of Bon Iver until I read your review. Today I looked him up, and yes I found Justin Vernon. I also found Volcano Choir, Gayngs, The Shouting Matches, and Kathleen Edwards while I was at it.

I found Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, and NPR. I've listened to over an hour of Volcano Choir's music today at work.

So, Greg wherever you are... Thank you for all of that. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book as much as I am enjoying it, but thank you for mentioning the reference that other reviewers didn't know about. Thank you for introducing me to new music.

I'm not actually done with the book yet myself, but now that I have this music to go with the book I think I'll enjoy it even more!

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story"

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True StoryThe Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Started out so interesting. I was born in 1971 so some of this happened before my time, and I loved hearing the history from this point of view. However, as more wives are added it gets more confusing. I think the beginning is the best. By the time you add the 9 and then the 19 I couldn't keep track anymore. Who was separated at the beginning? Who had been divorced? Why did the kids say these 2 were in love when so-and-so had been cheating.

Like others said, this could have been a lot better. It really skipped around near the end and I got thoroughly confused. I'm glad these women got their stories out, but maybe it should have been done sooner and by someone else. Maybe Rene Carpenter would have written it better.

View all my reviews