feelings, travel

happy birthday, italian style

there are a lot of family birthdays in may. two of which are occurring RIGHT NOW while i’m in italy. my niece’s birthday was may 28 and my bro-in-law’s birthday is today. since i can’t be there to celebrate in person, i figured i’d dedicate this post to them.

all together now! (in italian:)

buon compleanno
buon compleanno
il caro dottore T e MMM di buon compleanno
buon compleanno.

(and now french:)

joyeux anniversaire
joyeux anniversaire
cher docteur T et MMM de joyeux anniversaire
joyeux anniversaire.

and now back to english:

happy happy
birthday birthday
dear Doctor T and MMM of happy happy
birthday birthday.

don’t you just love the way the interwebs translates?

here’s the original incantation:

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear doctor T and MMM
happy birthday to you.

have a fabulous day! we’ll toast to you, T, with some of the finest italian wines and to you, MMM, with gelato!

convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #3

to refresh your memory about why i’m talking with strangers, here’s the deal.

i was beebopping as guster sang song after song. brian was jamming on the bongos. adam was strumming his gee-tar. luke (i think that’s the new guy’s name) was enjoying the crowd. and ryan was wailing when SPLASH. something cold and wet landed my arm. i half turned and saw a guy a near me flinch as well. i semi-smiled to let him know that “eww” i was hit too. apparently my smile didn’t translate in the darkened room.

“it wasn’t me,” the guy said.

i turned fully and smiled bigger. “oh, i know.”

“it’s just beer.”

“as long as that’s all it is.”

we cringed and laughed weakly, as i wiped the last drops off my arm and focused my attention back on the stage.


while you were out…

and by YOU, i mean me. i’m in italy. again. but this time in a different part and with my family and with NO WORK in sight for the next two weeks. my life rocks.

so while i’m gone, here, enjoy some of the stuff the interwebs has for you.

what makes a strong female character?

what should a writer wear? by linda grimes

25 things you never knew had names

the aurora borealis is on my list of things i must see with my own two eyes. until then, i can watch this.

then there’s this blog which is chock full of hilarious advice and snappy commentary and inspirational mumbogumbo.

these fan art pictures of the HUNGER GAMES trilogy characters are so cool. i can’t predict where the link will start. i’m hoping it’s on the picture of katniss in her gown from the opening ceremony, but if not, look for number 11 [of 42]. simply stunning.)

how about this post about a dog? i gotta keep the masses happy. and trust me, this will make you laugh.

and finally, a glee flash mob (video courtesy of sis-in-law M).

discuss amongst yourselves.

book club

BOOK HUNGRY: scent of the missing

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

SCENT OF THE MISSING by susannah charleson

what it’s about from amazon: In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped a photo from the newspaper: an exhausted canine handler, face buried in the fur of his search-and-rescue dog. A dog lover and pilot with search experience herself, Susannah was so moved by the image that she decided to volunteer with a local canine team and soon discovered firsthand the long hours, nonexistent pay, and often heart-wrenching results they face.

Still she felt the call, and once she qualified to train a dog of her own, she adopted Puzzle, a strong, bright Golden Retriever puppy who exhibited unique aptitudes as a working dog but who was less interested in the role of compliant house pet. Puzzle’s willfulness and high drive, both assets in the field, challenged even Susannah, who had raised dogs for years.

Scent of the Missing is the story of Susannah and Puzzle’s adventures together and of the close relationship they forge as they search for the lost–a teen gone missing, an Alzheimer’s patient wandering in the cold, signs of the crew amid the debris of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. From the earliest air-scent lessons to her final mastery of whole-body dialog, Puzzle emerges as a fully collaborative partner in a noble enterprise that unfolds across the forests, plains, and cityscapes of the Southwest. Along the way Susannah and Puzzle learn to read the clues in the field, and in each other, to accomplish together the critical work neither could do alone and to unravel the mystery of the human/canine bond.

my opinion: okay, so some of you know this, some of you may not. *opens closet door, lets skeleton out* i’m not a big fan of animals. i said as much during the november book hungry post, and i feel the need to state it again not for attention, but because it shows you how lovely this book was since i’m here to report that I LIKED THIS BOOK. and now i find myself watching dogs with a more sensitive eye wondering what they’re thinking, smelling, feeling. i owe that to this book. charleson’s descriptions of the search and rescue dogs are fascinating and they made the dogs seem slightly human, and hey, i like humans! which means i liked these dogs!

i repeat, i liked these dogs!

the only gripe i have with this book is the pacing. it was a bit slow for my taste. i mean charleson leads a really interesting life. she’s a flight instructor as well as a volunteer search and rescuer. that’s some juicy stuff right there, but the story got a bit bogged down with the details and scents and sights of every single training session and every single search. if it had been pared down to just the training + the big missions, i think the story would have flowed a bit more smoothly.

but, as it was, overall — i liked the story. and now, instead of just instantly wrinkling my nose when my friends’ dogs come around, i may even pat them. as unconventional of a review as that is, i think that’s the sign of a successful book.

for next month, we read elizabeth’s pick: KISS OF SNOW by nalini singh.