What’s Making Me Happy, July Edition!

Apartment Hunting!

  • We make apartment hunting fun!  
  • Stops for coffee (Dunn Bros)
  • Stops for mid-afternoon sustenance (Salut Bar)
  • Rooftop dining with Deadra (Louie’s Ristorante)
  • Looking forward to more Minneapolis adventures!

Co-workers!

  • Book talks at Binkies
  • Happy hours after supervision
  • Celebrations of LICSW after work
  • Strolling along the river in Red Wing

Summer fun and celebrations!

  • Rolling River Music Festival in Red Wing (late June)
  • Fourth of July
  • Rooftop meals
  • Binkies on the Lake
  • Thursdays on First
  • Bonfires
  • RASA’s “Leaving Iowa”
  • Using my kitchen to create deliciousness
  • FAIR FOOD!  One funnel cake per year
  • Walks on beautiful days
  • Planning Ferragosto Fun

Movies! Books! Music!

  • The Heat
  • Playing for Keeps
  • 21 Jump Street
  • The Promise of Provence
  • 11/22/63
  • The Night Circus for book club
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Rob Lowe
  • Emails filled with songs for each day of the week
  • My favorite song of the week: Thursday (Here’s Why I Did Not Go To Work Today) http://youtu.be/ciz_C3xiuN0
  • Cancelled cable = Netflix fests
  • Planning a party for fellow book lovers

What is making you happy this July??

44 Things – Quarter 4

Yes, Quarter 4.  In a few months I will be having another birthday!  I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time for self-reflection, so I haven’t completed this thought yet.  Let’s see what comes of it for now…August 2011 088

44 Things: Q4 – Things to DO or LOOK FORWARD TO! (July, August, September)

  1. Fourth of July!  Always a great time with family – relaxing time at the end of the dock, fireworks, great food and photo ops!
  2. Plan a Book Fest!  First annual?  Bi-annual? Bookish food and treats?  Crafts?  Oh my!  It’s coming right up, but it’s in the planning stages!  
  3. Ferragosto!  I can’t wait for my made up mid-August celebration!  More details to follow!
  4. New York City! Looking forward to planning my annual trip to NYC!  It will make turning a year older more palatable!
  5. Books! Read and listen as much as possible!
  6. Cosmo Girls! Start planning for 2013-2014!
  7. State Fair? Go if I can!
  8. Help Marissa move and get settled!
  9. Ferragosto Ferragosto Ferragosto!  I have a feeling it’ll be the best ever!
  10. Sit down and … play piano or write poems or letters or play accordion… take time.
  11. What do you think I should add to my list?

There were items from past lists that didn’t get done (closets didn’t get cleaned, strangers didn’t get conversations… ) but I am not one to beat myself up over undone lists.  Most of the fun for me is imagining the possibilities and it is just bonus if they happen.  Probably I should add “start thinking about being 45!”  What will that mean?  What fun things will happen?

“Summertime
And the living is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, your daddy’s rich
And your mama’s good lookin’
So hush little baby now
don’t you cry

One of these mornin’s
You’re gonna rise up singin’
Then you’ll spread your wings
And take to the sky

But til that mornin’
Ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With your daddy
And your mammy
standin’ by.”
–  George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, Porgy and Bess  

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

The scientific randomness of picking a name out of a hat means that Sarah is the winner of the e-book, The Promise of Provence!

Read my review of the book here, and click here or here to learn more about Words and Peace France Book Tours, which continue!

France book tour
France Boosk Tours

Next summer Patricia is taking a tour of Provence with 14 women, and boy is it tempting!
She’s fun to follow on Facebook and Twitter. A lot going on for her!

Enjoy the book, Sarah!  Happy reading!

France book tour
The Promise of Provence

 

The Promise of Provence Synopsis

             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.”     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace

Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

********************************************************************************

Author bio:

Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.

Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.

Pop in to visit her at:

http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com

http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9

and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands

Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

Book Club Read – “The Night Circus”

Reading at the end of the dock
Reading at the end of the dock

I always complain that it’s hard to get a lot of reading done at the end of the dock, because it’s difficult to read with your eyes closed with all the sun worshiping that goes on!  (NOT really something to complain about!)
It’s just  so much easier to chat with those around you, than to make the effort to read in the sunlight.

But I did dive into this book over the 4th of July holiday and finished it right before I walked out the door for book club today!

We had SO much fun at book club (as usual), but tonight I had to share a few pics from the day.  Some of the book clubbers have husbands who like to tease that we are a drinking club with a book problem, but I said today that we really don’t live up to that reputation!  We do love a good theme and always bring fun food, so maybe we are a food club with a book problem!

book club
Book Club Treats

Jill set the theme with the black and red and white decor.
The popcorn and chocolate sweets added to the ambiance, as did the cocktails!
(I didn’t say we didn’t have drinks at book club!  The rhubarb slush was delicious!)

book club food
The spread was delicious – as usual!

We had delicious grilled hotdogs, fresh fruit, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, macaroni and cheese corn (yummy!) and a terrific taco salad.

Chocolate mice dessert book club
Chocolate Mice (ala The Night Circus)

And for dessert these delicious and decorative chocolate mice!  How fun is that?  Of course it’s a treat you can pick up at Le Cirque des Rêves, but also can be homemade in your very own kitchen!  And they were delicious!

And every few years we like to take a photo.  It’s been a few, and one of our gals was missing, but we had a blast taking these photos.  Jill’s camera will take 7 shots in a row, and that is great fun.  We had different poses for each shot, each one sillier than the next.  But mine was just a simple 10 second delay… we look good!

book club picture Night Circus reveours
Book Club July 2013

We also discussed the book, because we never have book club without discussing the book, and although some didn’t like it as much as others, there was great discussion.  We certainly didn’t pay attention to the Shakespearean references, but maybe we will on a re-read!

Good fun!

What will I read next???  Whatever it is, I look forward to it!

“The Promise of Provence” e-book Giveaway!

What a treat it was to review Patricia Sands’ book for the France Book Tours!

You can read that review by clicking here!

France book tour
France Boosk Tours

And it’s my pleasure (plaisir) to provide one of you with an e-copy of the book for yourself!

France book tour
The Promise of Provence

Please comment on this post OR the post with the review and you will be entered to win an e-copy of the book from the author.

In your comments, let me know either

a) a place you loved that you’d like to revisit,
b) your favorite kind of summer read,
or c) anything you want me to know.  🙂

On Sunday evening a winner will be selected randomly from all who enter (think name in a hat!) and will be announced on this blog on Monday.

Bonne chance! 

Danette

***********************************************************************

Read more about France Book Tours by clicking either of the links below, and look even further to see a synopsis of this book and more info about the author!

http://francebooktours.com/
http://wordsandpeace.com

**********************************************************************

The Promise of Provence Synopsis

             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.”     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace

Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

Patricia Sands
Patricia Sands

Author bio:

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.

Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.

Pop in to visit her at:

http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com

http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9

and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands

Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

 

The Promise of Provence

France book tour
The Promise of Provence

When Emma at Words and Peace asked if I would review this book for her France Book Tours ,   I wasn’t sure, as I’m not much of a reviewer.  I love to read and I love to give my feelings about books.  But to dissect them and truly “review” them?  Well, I will do my best.  AND, if you read to the end, you will learn how YOU can win your own e-copy of this book!  Woot!

France book tour
France Boosk Tours

I don’t have too much in common with Katherine (Katica, Kat):  she is a research assistant for a specialist in the study of pain.  She has her PhD and loves her job (no PhD for me, but do love my job!).  She thinks life is going along as normal, and then on her anniversary her husband drops the bomb:  he is with someone else and going to be having a baby.  Her life is forever changed and she feels that her past was a lie.  Anger, betrayal, sadness.  She moves in with her mother who reminds her of Nietzsche’s philosophy, which is also her own, that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Thought this related
Thought this related

So, thankfully I haven’t been betrayed in such a terrible way by a person in a relationship, but I have had the experience of “starting over” and re-evaluating life a few times.  When my daughter went to college, I remember feeling so sad that I wasn’t even able to face the empty house after drop-off day.  And then suddenly I recognized that I had freedom – and my motto became “I can do whatever I want!”  It was a great year of being foot-loose and fancy free!  For the first time since forever.

And then the flood happened and took our house and personal belongings and rocked our world a little bit (understatement?).  I highlighted a line in Patricia Sand’s book that reflected my feelings after that time:

“How is it, when my heart is so broken, the world can still be such a beautiful place? It isn’t right. It isn’t appropriate or fair. Everyone and everything should be suffering like I am.”

Going to work, watching people mow their lawns, seeing that life was “normal” everywhere else, was hard to bear some days.  But life does go on.  And on and on.

In The Promise of Provence, Kat is encouraged by her great friends, friends whose relationships she began to nourish and cherish as never before.  If you know me, you know that I believe in and value the power of friendships – I’m so glad that it was part of this book!  Kat also discovers the world of “home exchanges” and her life is never the same.  She chooses to swap homes with a family in Provence, the land of Peter Mayle novels.  She has traveled to France in her younger days and is glad to revisit.  During her first visit she finds that it is OK to be alone.  OK to embrace change.  She discovers the life of plaisir – pleasure.  

Mirella:  “You know, Katherine, we are masters in the art of plasir.  It is the underlying theme of life here.  In spite of the many negatives in our society today, the French continue to strive to be artful, exquisite.  It is a legacy we do not want to lose.

“It combines with the art of seduction… la seduction,” Joy interjected, with a knowing smile.  “It’s a virtuous skill here to seduce and touch all the senses with fashion, cuisine, wine, scent, words…

Also the world of pastis (an anise flavored liqueur and aperitif of France) and petanque (a French game of boules, which is like bocce ball)and panier (a basket for carrying provisions) .  She meets Philippe and Picasso and hopes to someday return.  Not long after, an opportunity arises and she goes – for longer this time, and during her second home exchange she discovers that she truly is self-reliant and feels at home.  

Katherine: “Anyu’s words to me about being alone, about finding strength in being alone, live inside me all the time.  They’re empowering.”

I thought the end of my marriage was the door slamming on my life but instead it turns out to have opened the door of opportunity.”  

Isn’t that the way life is?

The Promise of Provence is full of popular culture references (Downton Abbey!) and also things that I had to look up.  One thing I looked up was quite a treat!  In Cap d’Antibes, Katherine speaks with Philippe about La Grande Nomade, which she can see from her windows.  The art feature is by artist Jaume Plensa and Philippe tells Kat about the artist’s philosophy:

“I read an interview with him that touched me deeply. The feeling he expresses through this work is that letters are like bricks.  They help us to construct our thoughts.  He described his belief that our skin is permanently and invisibly tattooed with the text of our life experiences and then someone comes along – a friend, a lover – who is able to decipher these tattoos.”

I had to see what this art work was so I went to Google…

English: Nomade sculpture by Jaume Plensa, tak...
English: Nomade sculpture by Jaume Plensa, taken in Antibes, Provence-alpes-cote d’Azur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and lo and behold, I have a photo of one his pieces – the same piece – not in Cap d’Antibes, but in Des Moines, IA!  How fun.  We loved discovering the “Letterman,” as we called him, in the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden one spring day.

des moines sculpture garden
Plensa’s “Nomade” in Des Moines

From Wikipedia: Plensa says, “Telles des briques, les lettres ont une potentialité de construction, elles nous permettent de construire une pensée”.  (Such bricks, letters have the potential to construct, they enable us to construct a thought.)

I received this book as a gift from the author, and although there were times that plodded along for me, it truly was a gift – a reminder that it is always good to seek the plaisir in life, enjoy each moment, savor your friendships, and to be ready for adventure.

“Each day is a gift, Katica.  Try to live your life knowing what matters most and always, always, remember… what doesn’t kill us… ” 

***************************************************************

And now, as promised, a gift for you!  

Please leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a copy of The Promise of Provence in e-book style!

Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Tuesday, July 9.  

Also click through below to learn more about the book, about the author!  I know that I’m putting her first book The Bridge Club in my TBR list!

The Promise of Provence Synopsis

             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.”     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace

Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

********************************************************************************

Author bio:

Patricia Sands
Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.

Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.

Pop in to visit her at:

http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com

http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9

and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands

Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands