Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, © 2008, Harper Collins

I am sure plenty of you have already picked this book up. I had seen it promoted on Goodreads, Indigo/Chapters and elsewhere. While that does help to catch my eye, it doesn't always equate to me reading a book. And as I am not much into racing and I don't have a dog, I might not have picked up this book at all. But my book club strikes again and it is on our list for this fall, so off to the library I went.

And I am glad.

We are introduced to Enzo in the opening pages. He is an old dog that is failing. His hips no longer work and his bladder isn't what it used to be, but he is still dedicated to his owner, Denny. As the story unfolds, we get to recollect Enzo's life from the time he is picked out of the puppy patch at the farm. And in a unique twist, the tale is told exclusively from Enzo's perspective.

Enzo is a dog that is closing in on his perfection of doghood. He is convinced that in his next life he will come back as a human. As such, he strives to do his best to be kind and considerate to Denny and as it comes in turns, his wife Eve and their daughter Zoe. Just because Enzo feels he is close to being human doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy a good game of tug of war with Eve or a walk in the park with Denny when he is home from the race track though. But when Eve is struck by a deadly diagnosis of brain cancer, the whole family has to adjust, Enzo included.

Even if you are not a dog lover, you cannot help but be charmed by plucky Enzo. He understands the nuances of life and refuses to let go of his faith that good will prevail. Through the family's trials, he tries to find understanding and offer support to his humans, in a way that can't help but make us wonder at our own failings. If you can keep dry-eyed in this quick 321-page read, you are a stronger person than I. But I am sure you will enjoy it nonetheless even if you do.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the key

the key to my heart
returned too soon with remorse
a cold reminder
some things aren't as we dream them
metallic hope thrown away

Thursday, September 11, 2014

About Time

Happy New Year!
Words spoken by those in...  September?!


But it makes sense. And it has been similar to the meaning behind the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne . I have been experiencing 'old home' month, if you will. Faces I haven't seen in years have filed by with smiles and hugs like nary a day has past. I've seen former work associates, co-workers, spoken to high school chums, and visited friends who moved away years before. Their link is in their happiness to see me.

Now, is it that I am so great a person? Well, not necessarily or else I would probably still see or talk to them all on a regular basis. Not that I am knocking me. Life gets busy. Sometimes Big 'L' Life gets in the way of living. We get so busy running that we forget to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the people along the way that have sniffed those roses with you.

It fills my heart to see their smiles. It does my soul good to hear them say they have been thinking about me. Where have I been? What have I been doing? How have I been keeping?

I ask myself, why haven't I been around then?

Well, J lives in BC and L moved to NY 14 years ago. JA is a 2 1/2 hr drive away, as is C in a slightly different direction. A, B and D work 10 minutes from my house, but the phone has been silent between us. And my excuse for S is what? I am too busy for a coffee break? What's wrong with me? Why can't I drive 45 minutes to see D and J or 1 hour to visit with J and L? I would love to see all of them. I know there is tonnes to catch up on and we could all use the tonic of the visit.

It is that dreaded Time. Or lack thereof. But it seems that time is pointing out there is plenty of reason to stay in touch. Relationships are worth it. And regardless of the quiet days that I spend typing on my computer, I do have a few relationships in my life. My friends are there regardless of time's passage.

And right now, I should make the effort to reach back out and step into people's lives. It is worth it. Time has bestowed the gift of remembrance on me. Perhaps it is time that I cash in on that offering.

Anyone care to sniff the roses with me this week?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Waiting in my Web

Isn't that interesting? The black and yellow garden spider is also known as the writing spider. Argiope aurantia is harmless to humans, but collects plenty with her sticky web.

Wish I could catch a few more clients with a web of my own...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I have a little secret. I've got a little bit of twang to me. I really don't know where it came from. My mother listened to the likes of Nana Mouskouri and Boney M. We had 8-tracks and records, which were played from a large stereo cabinet that looked something like this...
Not mine, but not far off of our super 70's stereo

Now that was a fine piece of electronica, let me tell you. It had an am/fm stereo, record player and an 8-track slot on it, plus the obligatory red velvet curtains on the side panels. Bring on the 'Night Flight to Venus'! Hooey, we knew how to throw one down.

Yes, well...

Jump forward a few years and my musical tastes expanded some. I was introduced to punk, alternative, pop, rock, and funny enough, a whole lot of folk music via some musician friends. I had a real eclectic taste, that was for sure. I was just as happy to listen to Depeche Mode or Skinny Puppy, as I was to groove to Gordon Lightfoot or Stompin Tom. I know. I know. Neophyte.

Nathan Rogers at this year's Home County
But out of all those musical stylings, the folky blues stuck. I still flip on the radio to whatever pleases the kids or myself in that moment (plenty of CBC 2 in the afternoons and evenings), but a good old dose of folk music makes me smile. In fact, I don't think I've missed the Home County Folk Festival in years. And I am pretty sure I have made folk fans of my kids too, as they always insist on going and staying as long as possible (dragged them away from Whitehorse at 10:30 pm this year).

I believe it was at a past year's Home County that I ended up on Rock Ridge Music's mailing list. They had me in a good mood and I would have signed up for anything on that day. In retrospect, it was a good thing though, as now they send me artist spotlights all the time. I have discovered 'Dwight & Nicole' and Levi Weaver, both of which are fabulous bands/musicians.

This week they sent me a teaser for someone new though. And I need to hear more.

Christian Lopez Band
On first listen Blaster Records snapped up this talented musician. It was a no-brainer and they have formed a great union since their initial meeting. That despite the fact that the front man for the band is a mere 19-years-old. Don't let his age fool you though. Christian Lopez is an old hand as far as making music goes. He began playing piano at age 5, and guitar by the time he was 9. Writing songs was a natural extension that came along in his teens.

Now the West Virginia native's dreams are coming true in the form of his first EP Pilot set to be released in October 2014. Not too shabby for someone who has played pre-shows for the likes of Zac Brown and The Dave Matthews Band. Intrigued yet? If it seems like a long time to wait for the EP, there is always live music to fill the gap. The band is touring the US this fall.

8/20 – Cumberland, MD / Downtown Cumberland Concert Series
8/21 – Floyd, VA / Dogtown Roadhouse
8/23 – Nashville, TN / Antique Archaeology
8/23 – Franklin, TN / Grey’s On Main (evening show)
8/29 – Charlotte, NC / PNC Music Pavilion
9/3 – New York, NY / Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3
9/12 – New Hope, PA / Triumph Brewery
9/13 – Winchester, VA / Bright Box Theater
9/18 – 9/20 – Dewey Beach, DE / Dewey Beach Music Festival
9/27 – Blacksburg, VA / Sycamore Deli (w/Deer Run Drifters)
10/4 – Thomas, WV / The Purple Fiddle
10/10 – Clear Springs, MD / Knob Hall Winery
10/11 – Bethesda, MD / Taste of Bethesda Festival
10/17 – Bedford, VA / Bedford Library Concert Series
10/18 – Shepherdstown, WV / Shepherdstown Opera House
10/25 – Centreville, VA / Cox Farms Fall Fest

It's one thing to rave over the music and pump up a band, but I know you just want to hear it for yourself, right. We have to wait I'm afraid, as the full EP will only be released later this week for streaming or download. The teaser I got was just a single song, which was enough to let me know that I definitely wanted to hear more.



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