Sunday Salon: Birthday Week Begins!

My mother-in-law is visiting from Oceanside this weekend to help us celebrate my birthday a week early (Spencer is with his mom next weekend, so we planned around that). That celebration turned out to be a surprise Saturday-night birthday dinner with my sister’s family and my dad at our favorite special-occasion restaurant, followed by a return to our house for one of my sister’s famous cakes. It was all orchestrated by my husband, and I neither expected nor suspected any of it.

Today is my dad’s 85th birthday, and we’re all meeting again for breakfast in honor of that occasion (which is not a surprise event, and which is part of why this week really IS “Birthday Week”). The whole thing wraps on Saturday with my Big Milestone Number Day. However, having my birthday fall on a Saturday is no reason to bend my “No Work on My Birthday” rule, so I’m taking vacation days this Friday and next Monday.

As for what I’m doing with those days…no clue, really:

  • Maybe some Bloggiesta-ing,
  • certainly some reading,
  • probably a bit of writing,
  • and as few chores as I can get away with.

And there will be a birthday dinner with Paul, of course–just us, this time.

For me, in all honesty, a mini-staycation doing some of my favorite things is a pretty good birthday plan. I do wish it included more of my favorite people…but maybe it can? If you’re local, you know how to find me, and I’d be very happy if you did–and if you’re not, I know I’ll be seeing quite a few of you later this spring. Can I stretch out my birthday celebration till May? Hey, I’ll only turn fifty once!

What I’m reading

  • in print / on screen

I’m reading Real Happy Family, a debut novel by Caeli Wolfson Widger, for a TLC Blog Tour date next week, and will need to get going on Tessa Hadley’s Clever Girl shortly, as I’m touring that one just a few days later. And a few days after that, I’ll be hosting the blog tour that Chronicle Books has put together for Beth Kephart’s Going Over–many of you already know how much I adore Beth, and I’m thrilled to help support her latest YA novel.

And yes, I’m still reading Fic. It’s fascinating to see how much about the fanfiction/fandom culture it describes mirrors internet culture in general. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Perhaps that’s what the book’s subtitle, Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, is really referring to.

  • on audio

Let’s just say A Short History of Nearly Everything really isn’t. It is fascinating, however, so I don’t begrudge the length of this unabridged audiobook at all.

What I’m watching


I didn’t turn on the TV at all while Paul was out of town this past week, so I foresee some pretty serious “catch up on the DVR” time in our near future.

What I’m writing


I spent most of Saturday writing and prepping book reviews and other posts–once this one is done, the blog should be set for most of this week, and I will feel accomplished.

What caught my eye this week


“Why You Should Keep a Journal (And How to Start Yours”) on Lifehacker:

“Even if you don’t think anything special has happened to you, the very act of keeping a journal can help you brainstorm. How often have you caught yourself writing about something that seems dull on the surface, but led you to a spiderweb of other thoughts, ideas, and memories as you were processing it? Regular writing opens the door to those opportunities every time you sit down.”

And if you need even more encouragement, Tif has a “Journal Circle” Challenge for April–you can find out all about that at Tif Talks Books.

Now this is how you do a negative book review–or, at least, how my friend Jane does it:

“There’s no losing myself in the story because the story is beyond predictable. In fact, I’m reminded of the fanciful plot lines my girl friends and I used to come up when we were pre-pubescent and playing with paper dolls or Barbies.
“But lots of books that fit that description are published today–most of them sold in airport bookstores and/or under the Harlequin imprint–so why does this one make me so mad?”

No one has bought me a book as a gift in years–because they know I’d just rather buy them myself anyway. What about you?

“But when reviewing the gift-buying figures, it’s also interesting to consider another theory, one surprisingly overlooked when one considers what we know is common to all book lovers: greed. Although the figure has dropped slightly, readers continue to buy books for themselves.”

“Books make great gifts, but don’t underestimate the greed of readers”, via MobyLives

Gratuitous Photo of the Week
birthday flower collage
Birthday (week) flowers came yesterday–another surprise! I’m not fooled, though. Even though the card says “David Tennant,” I know they’re from Paul.

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