Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thawing out the random

I definitely see some yard where it is supposed to be. Never mind the four foot snow bank resting on part of my front garden. Maybe it is a new irrigation system.

So tomorrow is April, and that means the a-z challenge is starting. The big question is whether or not I will be starting with it. My alphabet is all filled in, just waiting for a dose of ambition. I thought of a different theme yesterday, but then tried to draw my attention to that completed list. I am just concerned for the five of you who hang out here, as I want your visits to be pleasant ones. Without being able to offer you fresh baked goods, I am at a loss.

I have been trying to sort through old photos. The process is more like: Where is that photo I need? Found it, moving on! I just sort of leave the same miss mash in my wake. I do recall wishing I could locate this gem…
Sure, I was looking for something else at the time, but hey, crazy eggplant for the win!

Stacy Uncorked

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mangia Monday*- The Mystery of Six Ingredients

*This is the second installment. If you missed the one about artichokes, click here.

One of my favorite meals growing up was the risotto my maternal grandmother made. The recipe had descended from my great-grandmother, her Northern Italian mother-in-law. When risotto seemed to be all the rage about ten years ago or so, I could not deny the delight of goat cheese, squash, mushrooms or the insistence on arborio rice, but those ingredients amped up a dish that was near and dear to me because of its simplicity. A simplicity I seem unable to replicate.

Six ingredients, none of them out of the ordinary: ground beef, onion, rice, butter, broth and cheese. I watched my grandmother make this countless times. My participation was limited to checking the rice for discolored pieces before it went in the pot, and an occasional stir. The specifics of the recipe, or lack thereof, became evident the first time I tried the dish on my own. My grandmother used a bowl full of rice. I knew which bowl, the dark gold colored one; however, I did not have that particular bowl in our college townhouse kitchen. I also had not gained an appreciation for the growth potential of uncooked rice, nor grasped the concept of a typical soup bowl's capacity. I think I might have started out with three cups of rice. I am fairly certain I also used chicken broth instead of beef. This mattered. I knew stirring was involved so that the rice would not stick, but also recalled being told that if I stirred too much, as an ambitious eight year old may have been wan to do, the rice would get sticky. So much room for error. The final product was not a bad meal, but absolutely not what I was aiming for. Luckily, college roommates and neighbors tend to be hungry and not terribly picky people.

Many subsequent attempts at my family's risotto have been executed in my kitchen. Cook the beef and onion down longer, don't be afraid of butter or salt, be patient and let the rice brown a bit, add the broth and pretend there is a science as to how much each time and how often to stir, parmesan or asiago cheese - not romano. I have come close. My mother has it down correctly, despite a recent addition of mushrooms. My grandmother does not cook anymore because her memory for creating something from scratch has escaped her.

My last effort probably tasted like the risotto I often long for. The taste of victory faded quickly though, as it did not bring the comfort I expected. I got greedy. I wanted to be at my grandparents' kitchen table, with my plate of rice having been scooped with that black handled metal spoon from that thick pot. I wanted a fresh tomato from my grandfather's garden because it just made the meal taste even better. Of course I also wanted my grandfather to still be with us. My quest for perfection in preparing this meal had ignored what I was really striving for in the most recent years.

As I provided some commentary to my family on the quality of our dinner, all three of them were politely quiet...the way we always were when my grandmother started critiquing the sticky/salty/bland/undercooked rice she had made.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Week 39 - Snacking is fine!

I looked around and haven't seen the competition, but in the event that she is planning some sort of point tallying, contest busting portfolio, I shall keep going. Sometimes it is difficult to get motivated without a snack, would you agree? Have you tried Snapea Crisps?

Dear Snapeas in a Pod,

My daughter and I are huge fans of your Snapea Crisps. I could not win her over to the black pepper variety, but that just means we each get our own bag, and I don’t have to share.

I appreciate any snack that does not leave me full of shame if I go over the serving size, or even eat the whole bag. (This is not to say that I eat a whole bag at one sitting, but if I did…)

Every time I reach in the cupboard for your crisps, I am comforted by the nutritional benefits, and baffled by how they come to be. I find myself looking over the ingredient list, curiosity peaking. Is a Snapea what happens to peas in the way that corn becomes a tortilla chip? The reality is that I do not need to know. They are yummy. Case closed.

I see you have Lentil Snaps now. This is exciting and intriguing news!

Happily snacking,

I did not hear back from the magical mystery folks who make Snapea Crisps, but we continue to enjoy their product just the same!

Current point total remains at 77

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sprucing up the random

Something was bugging me the other day, but I can't remember what it was. Hmmm, I know I didn't want to exaggerate the problem. Oh wait, here it is...
Ugly bugly! When the ruler proved an unworthy opponent to measure this speedy guy with, I used it to fling him outside.

Speaking of outside, look who busted out of his pit! (Not sure what that apparent green life form is inside the pit, but it has been covered and revealed a couple more times in the few days since this photo was taken.)

Let's talk some more about what is going on inside this house, shall we? Despite remembering a bit of French from the many years I took, and the English being right there on the package, it still just cracked me up.

**Warning, story ahead** Funny thing about translations and words in different languages. I recall Madame Boop, my tenth grade French teacher from France, telling us about a time when she intended to tell her neighbor not to shower her with the garden hose he was using, but instead she told him "Don't douche me!"

Back to the house that is not where HGTV is shooting its next show...
See that color on the right? It's gone now and the blue has taken over our living room and dining room. I love it! 

I have spent the past week and half working to make the house look better, in the event that sunshine actually does keep shining in the windows, or we are cooped up in here for another season. However, it seems the better the house looks, the worse I look. So today, as I was waiting for my son, I looked in the car's rearview mirror to assess what might need sprucing up...
…maybe not wearing sunglasses being held together with packaging tape would be a start in the right direction. A splash of color that isn't gray around the frame of my face would help as well…ugh! 

Maybe just some ice cream would help...
I love how instead of saying "made with real vanilla bean" this one has been "dusted with vanilla bean specks". I don't know how you dust ice cream, but it is delicious!

Now hold up a minute, let's just stop right here...
…because this ad creeps me out too much to continue! Maybe the Hamburger Helper guy can high-five him into oblivion!

Stacy Uncorked

Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 38 - Feeling great*!

*Feeling "great" might be an overstatement as I actually feel about ninety years old after painting today.

"Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care...about time?" As a matter of fact, I do! Especially when I am wearing a Swatch watch.

February 26, 2015

Dear Swatch Watchers,

The year was 1985, and I was in the throes of celebrating my sixteenth birthday. I was resigned to being a couple of years past an unsuccessful quest for coolness. I was tired of chasing after hip clothes and shoes with price tags and styles I wasn’t particularly fond of. One of my presents that year was this funky time telling device…The McGregor. I hadn’t seen anything like it on anybody else’s wrist. I should probably say that I just hadn’t noticed because once I wore my new Swatch to school, I realized how many other people were sporting their own unique Swatch flair. Dare I say, it was cool?

Study halls and lunch time were when trades took place, Swatch guards were adjusted, bands were swapped with that nifty little tool. (Oh, how I hope someone old enough to remember those days is reading this letter. If not, please pass me on to the dinosaur department. I was going to say Fossil department, but obviously that was a completely different decade and company for me – no offense.) Some girls wore team jackets or football jerseys, but for a brief time, I had someone else’s Swatch.

For sentimental reasons, the remains of my first Swatch are in a frequently opened drawer. I remember it had one green and one red band. The primary colors and large size were great, but it didn’t take long for me to diversify, and the Pink Flamingo was added. The Tutti Frutti soon followed. Those designs all carried me into the nineties, where I added Grune-Lui to my collection.

Time, and the telling of it, went on. I became a wife and a mom, but always felt nostalgic whenever I passed a Swatch display or store. In the mid-2000’s, I ran into the store at Grand Central Station and treated myself to the playful Hang On Tight. It quickly became quite a conversation piece. Recognizing my love for these relics of my youth, my sister gave me Sliding Waves for my fortieth birthday.

I think I am about due for a new classic. Another decade, another Swatch! Decisions, decisions…

Blogger, Swatcher

Did Swatch give me the time of day? They did indeed! I was so excited to rip open that big envelope, as I was fairly optimistic that there was something Swatchtastic inside. Had they found the lost tomb of Swatch guards? Maybe a t-shirt?
OK, you see the catalog. Full of awesome. But what about that other padded envelope? Oh. My. Suspense. I turned the envelope over, glanced at the letter and, SPOILER ALERT!
They wrote "Swatch pen" right on it! Go ahead though...gaze upon the glory that is my new Swatch pen. Sadly, it does not tell time, but it is merchandise worth five points!

Current point total   71 + 5 = 77 points

If anyone sees the competition, tell her I miss her...and that I am winning (finally)!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lightening the load

My house started to feel so heavy. Maybe it had something to do with the inches of snow and ice weighing on the roof, but just walking into the place that was supposed to feel safe and warm felt exhausting. It was as if the moment I stepped in the door, I was a magnet for all that needed to be done...ever. There was no priority seating, nothing took a number, everything just flung itself at me at once, including the not so adorable dust bunnies that clung on to my ankles for dear life. (They can be heavier than you'd think.) I would be out in the arctic breeze thinking about all of the fantastic things I could accomplish upon my return home, but my couch was plotting against me and swallowed me whole if I dared to walk too close. Sometimes I could temporarily keep the upholstery at bay if I wielded the vacuum cleaner wand.

The thoughts about all of the changes coming this year with our son graduating and our daughter hurling herself even farther into teendom were rather oppressive. Mostly though, it was the stuff...so much stuff. It just felt so heavy, as if I had to actually carry the contents of this place on my back when I was here. "There goes mom with that Santa super-sized bag of tchochkes (I have to google the spelling of that word every time I try to use it.) slung over her shoulder. That might be her only exercise today, so let's not interfere or help her with it." My go to junk drawer projects had already been dealt with, so I was in a sort of panic looking for the next place to organize in order to restore order. No project to small, but all projects too big!

I started to pick battles with the wrong opponents, first by attempting to wage a war on our home office. You wouldn't think finding a new desk and bookcases would prove to be so difficult, and maybe it isn't if you don't care if they actually fit in the space you have available. I had to let that project go because it was making me far more miserable than the status of the office as it was. I decluttered and moved on with my life. As my daughter tells people though "The whole family felt her pain during that time." (I think it was a week.) Or there was the time when I almost repainted my bedroom that is already a color I like. I just thought maybe it needed a sprucing up, when in reality, the room was just another massive declutterfication subject. Luckily, I noticed just in time that it was the master bathroom color I despised. The fresh coat of paint initially filled me with glee, until it highlighted another issue. We had a baker's rack in our bathroom because that is where it fit fourteen years ago when we moved in. Yes, our bathroom was big enough for the shelving that did not fit in our kitchen. I had these visions of putting all sorts of plants, and maybe some candles, on it for my jet tub sanctuary. Yeah, so the tub doesn't work anymore as far as I know and those wire shelves are where sickly plants went for treatment or simply to die. Where better to hide unattractive greenery than the master bathroom, as who was ever going in there? Me. I was going in there multiple times a day, trying to balance the weight of the clutter and poor taste with my graying reflection in the ginormous mirror. Suffice to say, the baker's rack made its way to the basement where it now is a very classy piece of furniture that has been crapified with whatever debris I immediately flung on it. 

Things were lightening up a bit. I asked my mother for some help with the living room and dining room, as far as figuring out why on earth it looked like the rooms had too much stuff in them. The answer may surprise you - the rooms had too much damn stuff in them. I was flinging things off the walls without my usual whimpering over my alleged treasures. After all, it was less for me to "carry". Once I could see the walls better, I had to face the fact that the room really needed a second coat of paint (when we painted it over ten years ago), but the glitch was that I did not like the color nearly enough to buy another gallon. Enter more paint swatches!

It is getting lighter in here. There is still some memorabilia to be sorted out. I feel like some of the art projects stopped celebrating my kids' accomplishments because they are now capable of more than what their small hands could shape out of clay. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of reminders of the nearly eighteen years I have been at this mom gig. I am merely lifting the weight of trying to hang on to every single one, possibly lessening my ability to carry all of the new awesome that is to come. (Make no mistake, several treasures were simply relocated.) I am about to send my son's college deposit. That somehow lightens more than the checking account, as it is a sign of forward progress instead of simply being weighed down by the process.

Last night I cleared a path in the hallway we use every single day to get in and out of the house. The test of balance and dexterity the overflowing shoes and other odds and ends provided was getting old. There are bags of things to be donated, including bags. So. Much. Lighter. 

I have been wanting to write a post about the heaviness of my house for a month or so now. I make no claims about this being my finest work, but SO MUCH LIGHTER! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A wee bit o' the random

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(Trying to make use of the snow. I fear I am going to be drawing easter bunnies on it as well!)

I knew this day was coming when I saw the "green" frosting at Wegman's.
Seriously? I almost asked them what the hell was going on with their food coloring (the potpourri of sprinkles didn't make much sense either though, truth be told), but I like to think I have better things to worry about! 

I mean, I could be out correcting people's spelling instead.

Or I could curl up on the couch to wait until it's time to throw my reuben in the pan! Yes, I think I'll go with that!

Stacy Uncorked

Friday, March 13, 2015

And the winner is...

We interrupt the usual Friday contest post to update you on the book giveaway contest!

The following video shows the highly scientific method used to select the winner. It apparently also serves as evidence as to what a mess my desk away from desk is, why I do not have a show on HGTV,   why Fozzie does not have a show on Animal Planet, and why it is important to have qualified camera operators. Without further ado, here is the winner (scroll down if you can't wait the seventy-one seconds)…

Congratulations JoJo
Email me at andreacasarsa@gmail.com 
so we can get your book out to you!

Thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to Keija on a phenomenal read!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Random random random*

*because the lack of a catchy title was holding up progress

We broke out of the deep freeze yesterday!

I have already indicated my concern over the word choice in the #recycleyourperiodpad extravaganza, but this ad campaign does not impress me much more.
Thanks to the Monkey in the Field for this gem
Don't get me wrong, I realize that my teenage son may be amused by the notion of dropping his pants for "underwareness", but I am pretty sure he is not the target audience. I also sort of appreciate the attempt at humor, but let's face it, is anybody really finding a loss of their bladder control amusing?

Let's ask this little guy...
I passed this little elf on a shelf at my great aunt's house earlier today. I found myself offended on his behalf by what the Elf on a Shelf empire has become. I suppose you could say he is a tiny bit creepy….NO…WAIT….that word is reserved for………..
Creepy baby monkeys! Finally, FINALLY, a moderately priced creepy monkey that is also a toy!!! No more of that "this is a fine collectible" b.s. I am going to leave it up to you to decide if the question is a) Did she buy it? or b) How many did she buy?

Today is the day that The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is being released! Let's make today the final day to enter the drawing to win a copy.

Stacy Uncorked

Monday, March 9, 2015

Artichokes are Important

Mangia Monday*, friends! 

*I considered making this a series, but that seems like it could be a lot of pressure to commit to doing something here on the blog on a given day each week. (Wink, wink...I'm looking at you Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.)

I have many memories of the dining room table at my grandparents' house. In fact, that is where so much of what I remember of my father's parents took place. We were either filling our plates, taking in nourishment from the food and lively conversation, or my cousin and I were lurking around the table hoping to be invited into a round of the card game they called "May I".

Food had this tendency to just magically appear. I don't have much recollection of anyone being tied up in the kitchen, but obviously the musings of my child self could have been distracting. I do remember my grandfather frying up squash flowers, from his garden, with scrambled eggs. The fascination had far more to do with the bright orange color swirling in with those yellow eggs than it did with any interest in sampling the final product. I would try that dish now though. What I wouldn't give to try that now. How about some of those spinach and egg things I never let touch my plate? I bet those were delicious too. Such missed opportunities. This is not to say that I went hungry...ever. The bottomless serving dish of fried chicken cutlets was one of my favorites. Another highlight? The breaded artichokes.

I could never be sure if the artichoke itself contributed anything to the tastiness, or if the leaves just served as a vehicle to transport seasoned breadcrumbs to my face. Pick off a leaf, flip it over and use your teeth to scrape what was delicious into your mouth. Not necessarily fun to watch as an innocent bystander, I am sure, but we all participated and sat with piles of discarded leaves on our plates...happy. Happier still was whoever got to eat my leftover artichoke heart. I'd work my way down to the choke, dabble for a bit with that funny protective looking bristly layer, and then looked for takers.

Between my aunts and my father, there was no risk of a heart being wasted. Fond and delicious memories.

Despite my grandmother's long illness, leading up to her passing when I was thirteen, my memories of her rarely involve her hospital bed or oxygen tanks. In my mind she is smiling, laughing and vibrant. There is food and there is love.

Not too long ago, ok actually it was over a year ago, I was talking to my aunt about artichokes. Despite having developed an appreciation for artichoke hearts, in convenient canned form, I realized that I had not had a breaded artichoke in over thirty years. How could it have been so long, but still seem so familiar? I did not realize the recipe had lived on. My father did present me with a sad, but healthy steamed version on one occasion, but there were no crumbs! Little did I know that my aunts were still serving them up Grandma-style, and little had they know how much I missed them.

My aunt started to give me her "recipe". I have mentioned before that I am not really a very good cook, I just happen to be able to follow directions - very specific directions. I was already feeling tense at the thought of picking out a decent fresh artichoke to begin with. "Flatten out the leaves some, but not too much"...uh-oh,  more room for error. This was followed by more measurements that were not precise enough for me to muster up any confidence. I always thought the artichokes came out of the oven, so simmering them on the stove for over an hour was not fitting my vision. My aunt looked at me reassuringly, but she could tell I had my doubts.

I did purchase four fresh artichokes. They looked so foreign sitting there in my vegetable drawer. Hope faded, like their leaves, and I threw them away a few weeks later. I was a bit sad and disappointed, but nobody else here in the house minded, as they had no idea what they were missing.

Months went by and I had put those breaded artichokes back into the fond memories part of my brain. Unbeknownst to me, there were other logistics being worked out between my aunts as I was focused merely on packing the car for our holiday trip downstate. At some point during our visit, my Aunt Bea arrived at my parents' house with a large pot containing her take on my grandmother's artichokes. Oh my goodness! It was difficult to contain my excitement as the memories came flooding back. I was grateful for the love that planned and executed the surprise, and of course the anticipation of devouring this treat.
Obviously I shared my gift, because I am super friendly like that, and because I realized to fully enjoy this dish meant I needed company. Plates piled with discarded leaves, lively conversation and laughter. One month later, we happened to be visiting again, the day after my brother won breaded artichoke fixings that my Aunt Fran had put in the Christmas gift swap. She actually ended up making the artichokes for my brother, and he had enough to share. I could not believe my luck. Piles of discarded leaves, lively conversation and laughter.
My children walked by, unimpressed, but I did not pressure them to try, as they can have their own fond food memories. I savored each bite, and while I now know that I can revisit that flavor from when I was a kid at the big table, I also respect the fact that sitting in my own kitchen eating an artichoke by myself is not going to completely satisfy me. Artichokes are important, and a group activity.

Aunt Fran and Aunt Bea - Thank you again for warming my belly with food that filled my heart with memories.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Superhero Sunday - On hold

I had some super upcycling (despite the campaign calling it #recycleyourperiodpad, I just can't) plans for this Sunday, but then this happened…
 …and this...
 …and now a little bit of this...
…oh, and something going on here in the window too...
I can only be so super with one less hour in the day to do so, the towels can only soak up so much, plus they keep landing on the floor, sooooo...
3, 2, 1…waiting for teen daughter to see where I was headed, since she said she decided not to ask.
Aaaaaaaand..."Mum, what did you do?" (Feel free to inquire as to other cool tips for ways to impress your teenagers.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Week 37 - Are we getting even*

*Let's pretend that rhymes

Now seems like a good time to update you all on how twitter played into the contest. We didn't necessarily set out rules ahead of time for how we were going to handle twitter feedback, but since I don't see Marianne around, I think I will set forth an addendum now. I hereby declare that these point values will be assigned:

  • 1/2 point for the company favoriting the tweet regarding the post
  • 1/2 point for a tweeted response from a company that had already sent a letter
  • 1 point for an actual tweeted message from a previously unresponsive company

Here is what that means for my desperate plea updated point total:

  • 1/2 point for Juicy Juice tweeting me since they had sent a letter and coupons
  • 1 point for Gamewright, who tweeted that they never got the letter. There was much conversation back and forth, as well as them posting my poem on their facebook page after I resent the letter.
  • 1/2 point for Old El Paso for tweeting since they had also sent a letter and coupons
  • 1 point for Stew Leonard's who tweeted and apologized
  • for not getting letter and responding
  • 1 point for the letter Stew Leonard Junior personally wrote and sent to me

Funseekers are still planning their next outing

  • 1 point for Swiffer, who tweeted some love
  • 1/2 point for Byrne Dairy favoriting  my tweet

Let's see where that brings us! 
I was at 67 points + 5 1/2 points = 72 1/2 points (that half could be critical, you just never know)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Repetitive random

So you wanna talk about the weather some more? No? Me neither honestly, but it is becoming sort of inevitable. Plus, we broke a record here in Central New York for the month of February, and the news folks are trying to trick us into believing this is cause for celebration. The temperature was not above freezing a single time in those twenty-eight days, and it snowed on twenty-five of them (for a total of five feet). Basically the weather is just making a lot of us sad and SAD. It is so difficult to remind oneself how much better she will feel if she just goes outside for a walk or something (besides shoveling that is) when the thought of putting on all of that cold weather gear is so daunting…and heavy! But alas…
My mother and I don't always wear clashing clothes
 …forty minutes of making our own cross-country ski trails and now I can justify sitting on the couch the rest of the afternoon!

Fozzie would like us to talk more about him and this hellish frozen life he has been doomed to…a world where he doesn't even get to go outside with his friends.
(And apparently nobody gets him groomed, claiming the fact that he is growing mittens is a good thing.)

We could talk some more about the #recycleyourperiodpad program? Wait, let's not. OK, but did you go on twitter to check it out for curiosity's sake? No? Just me?

Did you read yesterday's book review post and comment for the chance to win a copy?

Well, this is the point in the day when I realize that despite the fact that I fed my family dinner yesterday, they are going to want to eat dinner again today. It's my own personal Groundhog's Day; sometimes I learn from it and prepare, other times not so much.

Last week I tried writing a new post that I realized had been wandering around in my brain for over a year. When I had trouble with that process, (I blame the weather, as I was unable to get that fifteen minute walk outside that is supposed to foster creativity) I wrote a list of posts I'd like to write. I was not impressed with myself, at all, after that exercise.

Uh-oh, I just caught myself zoning out and may be on the brink of procrastinating. I think I'll move to the couch to ponder what to do about that…..

Stacy Uncorked

Monday, March 2, 2015

Let the Blog Tour Begin!

It was a simple email, from a friend of a friend, asking if I had any interest in reading her sister’s soon to be published book and participating in a blog tour promotion. I could not respond fast enough. Of course I wanted to read something new! Plus, this was like a brush with celebrity of sorts for a bibliophile like me. This was like getting asked to sit with the cool kids at lunch in middle school, only much cooler.
Here it is...The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, by Keija Parssinen.

I had never really done anything like this before, and my enthusiasm was quickly threatened by panic. “What if I read it and don’t know what to say?” I semi-patiently awaited my copy. The day the package arrived, I was giddy ripping it open. The night I read the prologue, I realized that any concerns I had about not knowing what to say, were not warranted as I was immediately a fan. The only reason I put the book on my night stand at 10:30 p.m. was that I knew, after meeting the teenager Mercy Louis, that I was not going to sleep much at all if I read any further. I would have been swallowed whole into the early hours of morning by the pages. Suffice to say, I devoured the book over the course of that weekend. I cannot remember the last time I devoted an entire day to reading. The story just felt so important, and I had become so vested in the characters that I had to know their fates.

The words are perfectly chosen to put you in the scene - to feel the heat of the summer in Texas and the desperation brought with it. The town seems to be unraveling over a local news story, girls are unraveling both within themselves and their relationships, and the truth starts to unravel as well bringing some people closer together and some further apart. Mercy is dreading summer because it will take her away from her passion - basketball. The reasons for Mercy needing an escape are spelled out very clearly, and despite the uniqueness of her character and situation, she is still so easy to relate to from our own teen memories of angst on one level or another. I was cheering so fiercely for her! She tries so hard to keep herself together to be strong for others, to absorb their shocks. Lines like this, speaking about one of her friends, just grabbed me: “I vacuum up her words from where they hang unclaimed in the air; I perch them in the shadowed space where I keep her other confessions, a line of grackles on a bare branch by my heart.”

As Mercy and her friends struggle to find some sort of ordinary in their lives, there are lighthearted moments that offer rays of hope. The dialogue in these passages made the characters even more real and likeable. One of my favorites was a line one of Mercy’s friends states after she meets his mother: “I’m glad you got to meet her, even if it means I can now hold what remains of my dignity in a commemorative shot glass.”

This book brought me into a world I was not necessarily familiar with, especially as far as Mercy’s evangelical grandmother was concerned, but so much of the story was easy to relate to just the same. I was thrilled to be along on the journey. I don’t want to give anything away, so I am going to stop here, and hope you will check this one out for yourselves when it is released on March 10th. 

Wait! I do want to give something away...how about a copy of this book - The Unraveling of Mercy Louis! Just leave a comment telling me what book you are currently reading and I will enter you in my very technologically advanced drawing! (meaning I am either going to empty the candy dish or have the dog sniff out the winner).

In the meantime, you can check out Keija Parssinen’s first novel, The Ruins of Us.

Tomorrow, the Unraveling Mercy Louis Blog Tour stops in at Good Girl Gone Redneck and Nicole Leigh Shaw.

I received an advance copy of this book so that I could read it in order to offer an honest review. This review is truly my unbiased opinion.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Superhero Sunday - Sidekick candidate?

I spotted this picture of my cousin's son getting ready to fly.
I am now rethinking my need for goggles and a helmet! This guy totally has sidekick potential. My only concern is that his flashy monogrammed cape, complete with lightning bolt, may have him thinking that I should be his lowly sidekick. Stay awesome, Mercier…you are Super Mercier!