Lady In Read Writes

Bluer Skies, Beautifuler All

By November 25, 2017 Memes, Writing

Blue November Skies Make Life Beautifuler

 Blue November Skies Make Life Beautifuler

A Beautifuler All

This wonderful life

that we lead

Taking every day

in stride

You make it our lifestyle.

Smiles and cries,

cheers and whines

You make all worthwhile. 

Skies bluer, 

smiles wider,

tears disappear

while you are near.

Life is beautifuler

more livelier 

with all of you here.

– Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead

Today, we have Amaya over at dVerse challenging us to write Jazz poetry. Listening to music did help me get the words flowing today and while I went into serious rhyme-mode towards the end of the poem, the music playing the background kind of provided the pauses for my writing. And the blue skies of earlier today helped as well.

The lyrics for some of the greatest jazz hits are simply beautiful – I have heard so many of them before but had not given any conscious thought to the type of music they might be and looks like Jazz is one of my favorite types of music considering the songs I was listening to today as part of this exercise without even knowing they were jazz 🙂 Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World‘ and Doris Day‘s ‘Que Sera Sera‘ are among my favorite songs.  Lyrics discovered today that totally wowed me (just two among many) – ‘Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry’ by Frank Sinatra and ‘Smile’ by Nat King Cole.

This post is towards dVerse’s Jazz Poetry challenge and Skywatch Friday.

 

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By November 23, 2017 Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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For a Gentle Soul That Was

By November 23, 2017 Memes, Writing

For a Gentle Soul That Was

She was all that is gentle,
all that is kind indeed.
Always caring, never judgmental
she was. All that is gentle –
a dove now free; an amble
her gait; love in every deed.
She was all that is gentle,
all that is kind indeed.

Writing a triolet (or a form of it) as a eulogy to my DH’s aunt who passed away yesterday. She was going to turn 80 in January and was the oldest sister among five sisters in my MIL’s family She was the epitome of a gentle soul, taking care of everyone around her quietly. I have never once heard her complain or say anything bad about anyone at all. No matter what hardships she was going through, she always had that serene smile on her face; and the snacks and sweets she made – they were totally, consistently delicious! My mil mentioned that there were literally hundreds of people at her funeral. She lived quietly, lived simply, lived gently, and was loved widely, loved deeply.
This goes towards ABC Wednesday‘s letter T (triolet) and dVerse’s Poetics where Kim is hosting today’s challenge which is to write a poem, of any length or form, about an animal in a human way or a human in an animal way, highlighting some trait of the animal/human that either sets us apart or brings us together.

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Enjoy Black Friday Shopping – From the Comfort of Your Home

By November 23, 2017 Everything Else, Reviews

I love the holiday season, actually I love the whole of the year!! And starting late August through early January, it is a stream of festivities for our family. Indians have festivals throughout the year and each one is marked with its own set of rituals and celebrations, and of course, foods. That was definitely my favorite part of the festival (watching mom make those special dishes, snacks, and sweets for each festival, being a taster if allowed, and then..mmm).

One other aspect of all festivals – shopping!! Festival sales frenzy hits India as well with major sales during the festival of lights – Diwali. So while family and friends back home in India have likely been frequenting sales a couple of months ago, this is go-time for us here in the US with Black Friday followed by Small Business Saturday and then Cyber Monday, thankfully followed by Giving Tuesday.

Me, I am not one for shopping crowds. I have of late, grown fond of online shopping, so I tend to lean towards the Cyber Monday trend rather than Black Friday. Even before Cyber Monday events began, the most I would venture out on Black Friday would include – 1) drive out around midnight on Thursday, check out the crowds waiting in line outside the stores from the comfort of our warm car, and then drive back home for a hot chocolate and a late-late-night movie with family; and 2) if really inspired to do some shopping, step out after 2 pm or so on Black Friday and make the best of the remains of the sales when the crowds have mostly thinned..

So I do feel good about all those stores that offer Black Friday deals online as well as all online-only stores that do that and I can skip #2 above as well 🙂 Here are a few I plan to use myself and you can check them out too.

Amazon – (“well, duh, obviously” I say to myself) – this is my first go-to store any day of the year for anything from A – Z, as the logo says.  With Prime, it is even more easier – waiting is not painful at all with packages delivered based on Prime shipping options available (same day/one day/two days) for the item. Plus, you get to use all the other wonderful Prime features like Prime Video (our favorite to watch currently is ‘The Lucy Show’ – a family favorite, while I have been binging on Suits). Check out the Prime Monthly option available now – it definitely looks worth checking out (take it from a Prime member – I have been an Amazon customer for as long as I can remember and finally became a Prime member a couple of years ago and am wondering how I took that long to do so!)


15 Stocking Stuffers Under $15
A Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of all Ages

And if you are looking for Black Friday deals on Amazon, there are many to choose from including the one below:


 

One other place I will be shopping at is Mixbook – I went looking for cards to see what is available. I love the card and calendar options and the ease of selecting the layouts that will work for my photos. Below, I selected the Marble option from the holiday cards, uploaded my photo and when it did not fit in with the default layout of the selected option, I clicked on the layouts tab to scroll through and find the one that works for me. We can easily change backgrounds, text options and more. Or you could select the blank canvas option and start off from there.

I played around with couple of others too with this photo (that is another level of difficulty – to pick a photo, hence I started with this ornament photo before making a choice from family photos!) and you can see those below

There are so many choices that it is definitely making it difficult for me to pick one and I might end up ordering the acrylic block – one really beautiful piece of personalized decor in Mixbook’s Home Decor; or end up with all of them 🙂 Mixbook is having great deals Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday deals are below and look out for my CyberMonday post soon.

Black Friday: 55% off wall art, cards and premium books or 45% off everything else —

Code BF17A – good 11/23 – 11/26

Blocks do look cool. and with a 45% Black Friday discount, the price not too bad.. so I am contemplating (the photos are still to be finalized!!)

So, what about you? Are you one who braves the cold and the crowds for the Black Friday sales (and those deals are hard to beat!) or like me – couching your way to shopping success!!?? And for Small Business Saturday, do you have any local small businesses that you plan to go shop at??

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10 Ways Of Giving (Thanks) Not Just on Thanksgiving, But Everyday

By November 22, 2017 Everything Else

As parents, teaching our kids habits of being thankful and of gratefulness today will go a long way into developing happier adults of tomorrow. This festive season is perfect for ingraining these habits even more deeply (which are most likely and hopefully already there) as part of something more regular than around Thanksgiving.

Gift, Giving, Person, Creativity, Horizontal, Shopping

Here are 10 ways we can give thanks, to our family, friends, community, and more.

  1. Donate – this one is pretty simple and obvious; and you can donate to the cause that calls to your heart.  Every little bit counts. You could also check out the Wishbook in your local community if there is one (our local newspaper publishes one every year and the online edition will be up Thanksgiving Day here) or other foundations like Make-a-Wish  if you wish to donate online.
  2. Volunteer – at food banks, senior centers, animal shelters, and more. Do call ahead and check since most of these places have a volunteer list a mile long and you might need to put down your name for volunteering sometime from now. If you can get a group together to go along, it makes it all the more better in every way.
  3. Write a letter to someone you know – A handwritten letter or postcard still makes us happy, so write a letter to your parents, a relative, a friend, or even your kids! (Or if asking them to write, maybe they can write to a grandparent, a cousin, or their friend across the street too)
  4. Write a letter to a senior citizen  – You can check out Love for the Elderly for information.
  5. Write a letter of gratitude to a soldier, a veteran, a first responder –  You can check Operation Gratitude for how you can do this.
  6. Take a thank you basket to the local fire station or sheriff’s office.
  7. Do a RAK today – random acts of kindness seem to spur chain events of kindnesses often so you never know what that cup of coffee you buy for a stranger can end up at. But even if no chain is spurred, do that random act today and revel in that gooey feeling all by yourself…
  8. Say thank you – that is all there is to this one.. thank you to the newspaper delivery guy, that mail person who unfailingly drops off mail no matter what the weather is like, to the clerk at the checkout counter who has possibly been standing for hours. When I volunteer to serve food at my son’s marching band tournaments, all those kids unfailingly say thank you as we serve them and it always warms me up, inside out!!
  9. Smile and make someone’s day – Be the first one to smile and you can see spirits lifting up – yours and of those around you. A smile is magical that way.
  10. Make a card for someone – Here is one organization I enjoyed working with in the past. Get together a group of friends and make cards for hospitalized kids to show they are not alone, to help them get through their day. Make and pack and send out the cards to this organization (or others) and they will take care of delivering the cards to the kids.
  11. And one last one to make it more than ten – Shop – yes, you can give and say thanks by doing at least part of your shopping at organizations that give back with your purchases or at the charities themselves. This article at the Balance has wonderful ideas for the same. One local organization that I want to mention here is Inclusive World – they have a few items available (changes throughout the year) and you can check back to see if you find something you will love. You can check their mission here.

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Top Ten Books I am Thankful For (today and always!)

By November 22, 2017 Books, Memes, Reviews

thankful

Over at the Broke and the Bookish, today’s top ten theme is thankfulness. I am always thankful for books, whatever they are, but there are always some books that leave you totally thankful for them and wishing you could personally thank the author and the publisher and just everyone involved in making the book just be!! So the list I have compiled below is a list of books (in no particular order) that wowed me when I first read them (and some I have read many times over, while others I do hope I can get to reading once more later). Not sure if I could stop at ten but I will, the first ten I recall will be the ten that make it into today’s list!!

  1. The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
  2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  3. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  4. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  5. Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  10. well, there is a whole another top 100 fighting it out for this spot though I told the books that these are not listed in any ‘favorites’ order but they have a lot of words to say to me :), so I am leaving mine at 9 for today!

Cutting for StoneHaroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman RushdieLittle Women (Little Women, #1)Freedom at Midnight

Black BeautyThe Mayor of CasterbridgeThe Diary of a Young Girl

Are any of these books in your top ten? Or would they have made it there? If you have not read any of them, do try them out and let me know what you think.

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Looking Up Into Fall

By November 21, 2017 Art, Memes, Writing

Looking Up at fall

For PhotoSunday and MySundayPhoto

Featured here: Our very own Japanese Maple!! It is a delight to watch anytime during the year, and especially beautiful during the fall, when the tree seems to move into fall slowly, with a multitude of colors greeting us as we look up into fall! Greens, yellows, oranges, reds and some browns… a veritable fall palette!

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One Fun Way to Make DIY Christmas Ornaments

By November 20, 2017 Art, Memes

DIY Ornament

These DIY Christmas ornaments are fun and easy to make. All we need is a little bit of paint, some plain precut wood ornaments, and loads of imagination. Our Girl Scout Troop is gearing up for the upcoming Craftapalooza where we plan to set up a booth all our own. This is our first time participating in something like this (so far, it has only been cookie sales to raise funds for the troop and for Girl Scouts) and all the girls are totally excited about this. With just a vague idea of what to expect (since we have never even been to one of these events before), we picked these ornaments as our DIY to-sell items. We have spent the last couple of meetings in a flurry of colors and joyous sounds. Some of the girls manage to get more paint on themselves (and each other) than the ornaments, but in the end, they all are totally enthused throughout the meeting and have made many ornaments already. As you can see in the picture below, more than ornaments got painted:)

painting bananas

a”peel”ing painting

For the actual pieces, we had two different types of wood 0rnaments to work with. One of the dads graciously sawed and sanded wood pieces from tree branches in their backyard, and the girls drilled holes in them (pictured above with the gold background and pink hearts).  The second base material we worked with was unfinished wood ornaments that I ordered from Amazon (pictured to the left)

All the girls came armed with brushes and sharpies, as well as acrylic paints, and as I mentioned before, loads of enthusiasm and creativity.  We primed the ornaments with white or lighter shade paints and then got on to designing on them. These are totally fun to make and hopefully easy to sell at our Craftapalooza event soon.

For the one pictured above, I used brass colored spray paint on a few of them and then used pink sharpies to write on. It was fun and easy-peasy!

Here are a few pictured below (made by the girls and their siblings, ranging in age from 7 to 12) and these need an additional coating of clear varnish.

My question to the readers: Will you buy these ornaments? Do let me know in the comments.. And which one might be your pick among the ones pictured? Maybe if a couple turn out to be favorites here, we should make more of them… 🙂

DIY Ornaments

Linking to Pink Saturday, do check out the other amazing links over there 🙂

For Holiday Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers under $15 for kids, check out my Holiday page and subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you updated of posts and events on my blog (not too many emails, I promise!!)


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Thirteen Facts About the Justice League You Probably Did Not Know

By November 17, 2017 Everything Else, Memes

We are a family of super hero fans (well, all except my DH). When I mentioned to a colleague sometime ago that some of my favorite TV shows (well, actually my favorite!) include The Flash, The Arrow, and a whole bunch of other Netflix Marvel series, the first question was ‘do you watch them because of your kids?’. My answer – ‘my kids watch them because of me!’ So I must be one among the few moms (as far as I know, at least) past 40 watching and loving such shows and movies. I totally devoured all of the Avenger movies and as a kid, read tons of the DC and Marvel comics (it was a miracle that in our sleepy little town in the middle of somewhere, my dad’s friend had a wonderful collection!!).

Justice League November 2017

Image courtesy: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League_(film) (fair use under the copyright law of the United States.)

So, while we have not yet headed to the theater to watch ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner and it is movie time!!  Many super hero or more specifically, Justice League of America (JLA) fans are waiting for tomorrow – the release of the Justice League movie.  Here are some cool and random facts about the Justice League that you may not already know.

  1. The Justice League is not the first team of superheroes. It was the Justice Society of America which consisted of earlier versions of some of the current JLA members.
  2. Their first villain was a starfish named Starro. (Brave and the Bold #28)
  3. The Atom – one hero we really enjoyed watching on CW – attended meetings in a flying chair!!
  4. Malcolm Merlyn, the villain you(I) want to like, on ‘The Arrow’, is actually a JLA villain. He is now so much part of the Green Arrow world that it might be hard for fans to imagine something else.
  5. They had an annoying non-superhero sidekick in Lucas Snapper Carr (who had to give up his membership after he revealed their hideout to the Joker)
  6. Their hideout – a secret cave outside Happy Harbor, Rhode Island.
  7. Hawkeye is the only superhero who is in both the Avengers and the JLA.
  8. Many believe that the Marvel comics superhero teams, first the Fantastic Four, and later the Avengers, were created because of the success of the JLA.
  9.  Wonder Woman is one of the superhero characters who has successfully wielded the hammer of Thor.
  10.  Flash gave Aquaman his moniker.
  11.  Cyborg, the half-man, half-machine has the ability of ‘technopathy’ – the ability to communicate with technology around him
  12. Wonder Woman had to prove her worthiness on her return to the League after leaving for a brief spell by performing twelve trials comparable to that of Hercules.
  13. The upcoming (well here already) movie is based on the DC Comics relaunch – the New 52.

and one more before I sign off for the day, the JL also has Rex the Wonder Dog.

So, to my readers I ask: 1) will you be watching the movie in theaters? 2) who is your favorite superhero (if you enjoy reading/watching superhero related books/shows)?

And while you are here, have a look at my Holidays related posts for gift ideas and more (click on the Holidays menu link above) and subscribe to receive updates (no spam, I promise) once in a few weeks.

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The Spanish Shadorma (nothing to do with food or shawarma)

By November 15, 2017 Memes, Writing

Writer’s Digest is a place where I end up discovering wonderful literary and poetry forms and end up delighting myself by just being there. Today, I realized that they have a challenge ongoing currently called the 2017 November PAD (poem-a-day) Chapbook Challenge and while they are already halfway done, I plan to still use the prompts and write at my own pace.  Today’s poem does not fulfill any of the prompts from PAD so far but I will get to those soon. You can find out more about the challenge here (and per the rules, you can play catch up if you have a late start)

Today I discovered the shadorma, which is a Spanish 6-line syllabic poem of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllable lines respectively. And Robert has a beautiful example over at Writer’s Digest in the previous link. This is my attempt at the shadorma and working it up with the photo prompt for dVerse’s challenge by Lillian and ABC Wednesday‘s letter S.  You can link up multiple shadorma if you chose. This is a fun poetry form to work with, as I discovered. Check out the other entries for dVerse and ABC Wednesday as well as for PAD on Writer’s Digest by clicking on the links provided.

street-art-2779341_1920

 

(un?)Comfortablorful Crown

Colorful

though my crown may be

don’t you see

they’re prickly

they hurt me

and now I shed rainbow tears

hoping you will see

– LadyInRead (Vidya Tiru)

 

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