August 21, 2011

Sunday Salon - August 21, 2011

I didn’t get a chance to write last week as I was too busy enjoying our visitors. Our granddaughter came out from the east coast for a full week and our daughter flew up for a long weekend from Texas. We had THE BEST time!! We visited a local museum (UNL's Morrill Hall), celebrated a couple of birthdays, went fishing (Shay & Grandpa), saw The Help (me & Amy), did a little shopping, cooked some delicious meals, visited the Lincoln Children’s Zoo (one of us rode a horse), went swimming at a friend’s house, did a lot of porch sitting with Annie-Dog, and had ice cream almost every single night. Our favorite location? Ivanna Cone, located in the Haymarket. We went two nights in a row. :)

The week flew and after two very long days of travel, I’m only just now beginning to feel rested. More about that later.

I didn’t get much reading accomplished during Shay & Amy’s visits, but I did find time on all eight flights (yes, you read that correctly; two roundtrips to VA = 8 legs) to relax with a couple of books. I was in the middle of Sea Escape (Lynne Griffin) before the trip and managed to finish it on my first flight. I decided to stick with the “sea” theme and dove into Sea Glass (Anita Shreve), but couldn’t get interested. It might have had something to do with the lackluster plot or the fact that each chapter centered around one of six characters. I read about 50 pages and decided to set it aside. A part of me is tempted to give it another try since the setting involves the same location as other books by Shreve. Maybe when I’m not so distracted.

Keeping with the “sea/beach/summer” theme, I picked up another book by Shreve that has been lurking on my shelves for quite some time. Body Surfing proved to be a very enjoyable story. I was immediately drawn in and actually forced myself to set it aside for a day or two so I could fall back into it on my flight out of Omaha to Dallas. My granddaughter slept a good portion of that leg, so I was able to get thoroughly engrossed and almost finished the book on the following flight. It’s funny how one book by the same author left me bored and restless and another completely spellbound. Go figure.

I’ve just started another “beach read” and while I haven’t had much time to relax and read, I have a feeling Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God (Joe Coomer) is going to be a winner. I’ve had this book for ages and the cover art isn’t the same as what I’m finding on the Internet. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of it for my final review.

I'm glad we had such a good visit with the girls because our weekend has been anything but stress-free. It all started on a dark and stormy night (Thursday). My flights out to VA were uneventful other than the five hour layover at DFW. However, my final flight home the following day was cancelled (mechanical issues) and I was rebooked on a later flight, which resulted in a six hour layover. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. DFW is a lovely airport and the D Concourse has some of the nicest restaurants. I’ve eaten at the Reata Grill, Cantina Laredo and Cool River Café, the latter of which is now my all-time favorite. I know where all the quiet areas are (with comfy chairs!) and I relaxed with my book and iPad, catching up on my favorite blogs with a new iPad app called Reeder (thanks for the tip, Heather!). The bad part of this trip was when I learned that the Omaha airport had been closed due to a severe storm that included softball-sized hail and torrential rain, accompanied by strong winds. So my flight was delayed even later. I actually would’ve preferred a cancellation, so I could spend the night and not have to pay the fee for changing my flight, but that didn’t happen. Omaha reopened and we were on our way. We landed close to midnight and I had a long drive ahead of me. I crawled into bed at 1:30 a.m. completely exhausted!

It wasn’t until the following morning that I discovered the hail damage to my less-than-one-year-old Subaru. At first I thought it was simply body damage with several large hail dimples, but then I discovered the cracks in my sunroof. Ka-ching! I knew this wasn’t going to be cheap. I made an appointment with a body shop and have an appointment with my insurance adjuster on Monday morning. Oh, well. It’s only a car, right?

But things went from bad to terrible. Saturday morning I went into the basement to do some laundry and noticed that the floor was soaking wet. A couple of the ceiling tiles were soaked and there was water on my treadmill! We don’t know if it’s a roof issue (we did get hit with some torrential rain on Thursday night) or if it’s a plumbing issue. Either way, I need to make some phone calls and try to get this resolved. After today's morning shower, we ruled out the roof. Sigh.

Suffice it to say, what had begun as a fantastic week with my loved ones ended on a very stressful note.

So, how about some pictures to end this post on a happier note? I took hundreds of shots, but these are a few of my favorite. I’m sure I’ll share more in the coming weeks.

Emily, Maddie and Shaylyn
at UNL's Morrill Hall

Annie and Shay cooling off
in the shade at the neighborhood park

Shay and her Aunt Amy

Fishing at Holmes Lake with Grandpa
(Shay caught 2 fish!)

Swimming at Dave & Heidi's

Riding at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Beautiful day at the Lincoln Children's Zoo!

Sippin' sweet tea on Nanny & Grandpa's porch

Cracking up with Grandpa
(my personal favorite)

Nanny and the birthday girl

Manicure with Aunt Amy

I literally have hundreds of photos from our recent trips that I need to work on, as well as my stack of books to review. I think there's at least eight! However, it's a beautiful day and I swore I'd get on my bike this weekend. The photos and books are going anywhere, but our fickle weather can change in flash. This is Nebraska, after all.

Links to the books mentioned in this post can be found by clicking on the cover art in my sidebar.


  1. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Sorry for the stressful end to your great week with Amy and Shay...Hope the car and "leak" get fixed "good as new" with a minimal amount of hassle! Glad you got in some good reading time to help fill the travel layovers... Good thing you can read ANYWHERE (just about!) Blessings on your end of summer stretch! :) Gwen

  2. What a blessing to be able to spend time with your girls! Thanks for sharing the photos of everyone (& I hope your basement and car get fixed quickly)!

  3. Love all your wonderful photos, Les! I am glad to see you enjoying Coomer's book - I read that one in 2007 and really liked it (here is my review if you are interested: http://www.caribousmom.com/2007/02/11/beachcombing-for-a-shipwrecked-god-book-review/)

  4. Sorry such a terrific visit ended on a sour note with hail damage and pipe problems:( Loved the photos

  5. I think you're meant to stay on the ground for a while. Hope the repair process goes smoothly. Love the pictures!

  6. I can't believe how fast all of those girls are growing! They are all beautiful. Shaylyn has an awesome smile. Terrific photos -- all look like wonderful moments.

    Funny about your beachy book trend and one Shreve working better than the other. I see you're reading Zeitoun. I passed up a copy at Borders, the other day, and had regrets so I grabbed it, today. I've deliberately avoided reading books about Hurricane Katrina but this one looks good and passed my flip test with flying colors (in other words, I wanted to sit right down and read it immediately).

    I've just started reading a book I think you'll like -- an ARC that will be released in October: Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan. It's written in a nice, chatty and relaxed style and packed with recipes. If you see an ARC lying around at your workplace, *grab* it!!!

    I hope your repair issues are quickly and easily taken care of. We've got two car repairs to deal with. Husband's air conditioner died. We do go through car A/Cs, down here, as you can imagine. Kiddo has a non-working airbag, so he's at school without a car and husband has just been sweating. LOL Hopefully, we'll get those fixed quickly. Poor hubby. I can't loan him my car because I don't have a permit to get him into his workplace, so he just has to wash and change shirts when he comes home for lunch.

  7. Great pictures! It looks like you enjoyed your time! I read Sea Glass a few years ago. It wasn't my favourite, but it was still good.

  8. Linda T.8:43 PM

    It looks like Shaylyn was shown a wonderful time by her Nanny and Grandpa and Aunt Amy! What wonderful memories that will make!

  9. This is a trip Shaylyn will remember her whole life, even if she makes it every year after this one. A big trip for a little girl. She has such a happy, open face. I so loved all the pictures.
    As for the house and car, isn't that the way. Money going out in all directions at the same time. I hope someone can figure out what's going on.

  10. Wonderful pictures - it's so obvious how happy everyone is! Sorry the week ended so stressfully. Can't wait to check out the Reeder app... and Sea Glass is probably my least favorite Shreve novel. I did finish, but it certainly wasn't very memorable.

  11. Jackie - Thanks! I'm glad you got the chance to meet Shay.

    Gwen - Thanks, my friend. Things are looking somewhat better around the home front. The broken pipe has been removed and the new plumbing should go in today. Then to get bids for drywall repair and painting... ;) The car should go into the shop for repairs in a couple of weeks. In other news, I'm heading out for a bike ride with a friend after work today. Gotta love this cooler weather!!

    Stephanie - It was a fabulous week. We're already looking forward to next year!

    Wendy - Thanks. I have a lot more pictures that I'll share here and there in the coming weeks. Thanks for the link to your review. I knew one of my blog mates had read the Coomer book! I need to get back to it. Only reading a page or two before falling asleep and it's losing its momentum.

    Diane - Yeah. Me, too. But we'll get it all straightened out. I'm glad if it had to happen, it happened after the visit. The house is a disaster right now!

    Janet - I think you're right! Repairs are moving along. Silver lining: We aren't in the middle of selling our house. ;)

    Nancy - Glad you enjoyed the pics. Yes, Shay has a gorgeous smile. And she truly is a happy, happy little girl. I haven't read much of Zeitoun these days, and now with Irene heading toward the East Coast, I'm tempted to leave it for a bit longer. It is very well-written, though! Thanks for the recommendation for the Bijan book. I'll keep an eye out for it at work. Sounds like something I might really enjoy. Repairs are going smoothly, but probably not so cheaply. Oh, well. It's only money, right? ;) Bummer about your cars. I use my A/C a lot up here. Can't imagine being without one down South! My hubby gets pretty sticky, too, riding his motorcycle home from work. We're both looking forward to the cooler fall temps (but NOT winter!).

    Kailana - Thank you. We had a lovely time with the girls! Thanks for your input on Sea Glass. I may just skip the book. To many books...

    Linda - Wonderful memories for her and us! It was a delightful visit, although too short. Next summer, two weeks.

    Nan - I agree. She's old enough that this trip will really stick with her. I gave her a pretty blank book to write a daily journal entry of her visit and she plans to bring it every year she comes out. I agree, she has such a happy face. She just beams! As far as the house and car, they will be fine after we throw a lot of money their way. ;)

    JoAnn - We were very happy to finally have our little granddaughter come out here to visit. We've always gone to her hometown, so it was fun to show her ours. Thanks for the info on Sea Glass. I think I'll skip it.


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