I wanted to hate this book. I certainly disliked the characters, but in their absolute dysfunction, I found I had to keep reading. I guess I became the “rubbernecker” fascinated, even routing for a good outcome for the main character Rachel, who all at once I disliked, felt sorry for, and wanted good things to happen to. She is a victim of circumstance, of life, and her own poor decisions. I wanted her to find her own redemption, and in the end, I think she did.

The story weaves itself in and out of three essential characters, where the reader gets glimpses into the days, and nights of what you think are random events. You’re taken on a train ride, weaving in and out of a chronology that in the end gets you to your destination in a way you wouldn’t have expected, not right away anyway.

I don’t usually lean toward this genre and often choose to read books like these because I want to study how they were written, for plot purposes, for character studies and so forth.

The Girl on the Train: A Novel
by Paula Hawkins is very much in the wheelhouse of a Gillian Flynn where the story is character driven and often the outcome is tragic and morose.

The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins - Book Review

Aria - Nicole Olea


I have an aria

made up of words

like cells replicating within me.

My hands at the ready,

fingers tapping against the keys,

searching for the string

of perfect words, nouns, phrases,

to make up a sentence

that says it all.

My own perfect concerto


on to a blank page.


I spent the better part of my day at my local Italian hospital waiting for and receiving an iron infusion (I’m very anemic). My husband was with me and we were sitting in the waiting room surrounded by the iconography of my religion when he said something that lit a spark in me that is burning like a bonfire in my brain.

I don’t know if it was divine intervention or the fact, that for the first time in a long time I, at present have adequate levels of iron in my system. (This was my third treatment).


A photo’s worth a thousand words huh..? Despite what this photo looks like, my Beloved, isn’t praying he’d actually dozed off. That’s not blood, but iron in the IV. Promise.



I like to think it was a little bit of both.

For the first time in a long time I feel like I can actually think with some clarity with regards to telling a story, even if my brain is ablaze.

I have a lot of work to do and I’m thrilled.

I’m about to go all Big Bad Wolf, and huff and puff all over this story, until it’s a wild fire of words. I’ll worry about water hoses some other time…maybe never.


Poetry… Like a song, can take a grip of your heart and squeeze tight. When I first read this poem, I had just such an experience.


It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?

We’re still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.

And became as lonely as a shepherd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

'Icaro caduto' ('Icarus fallen') sculptureSculpture: “Icaro Caduto” (Icarus Fallen” Igor Mitoraj, Pisa Italy, September 2014



Judging by how few books I read in 2014, it was a busy year.

It was something I felt a keen absence of. As it is, I have three books on my Goodreads list that I’ve not completed. (I’ve annotated those with an asterisk.)

Compared to 2013 or 2012, or 2011, this list is short y’all!  In previous years I averaged about 30 books per year, this is half that!

  1. The Diviners by Libba Bray*
  2. Painless Grammar by Rebecca S. Elliot
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  4. And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
  5. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
  6. Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going
  7. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
  8. Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
  9. Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  12. Paper Towns by John Green
  13. Perfect Ruin by Lauren De Stefano*
  14. Half Bad by Sally Green
  15. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan*
  16. Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Here are a few of my book related Instagrams from 2014.

books 2014

I love seeing lists of books others have read, so if you’ve got one, share the link in the comments, or just jot down some of your favorite reads in 2014.

I also happened upon this fun reading challenge. I’m so all over this!


A few weeks ago I had a biopsy taken on my forehead of a mole that had come back from a previously excised mole that was confirmed basal cell carcinoma. Today I got the results, and it is indeed positive once more. I’ll have to have it removed again, only this time the margins will have to be much bigger. My options as far as the removal here are limited. I can go to Germany and have a Mohs surgeon remove the mole, have one of the general surgeons here, or wait till April for the plastic surgeon. I don’t want to go to Germany. The thing is, this is a reoccurrence, at present, the Mohs surgical removal method is the most effective way to remove all of the cancer cells, but still preserve healthy skin tissue. Yet the thought of going to a base in Germany, stay there a week or possibly more to have the procedure isn’t something I’m keen on doing.


I may wait to decide until I get results for another excision I had on a mole that returned on my back that was very close to the spot I had melanoma in.

Wear sunscreen. Trust me. The damage done to my skin occurred in childhood and during my teen years. I stopped attempting to achieve a golden, sun kissed skin when I was 19, and managed to get a sunburn so bad I landed in the ER. Everyday, I have sunscreen on. Every. Single. Day.

My skin color is pale. I’ve learned to love it.

Here I am being all reflective in Crete. Sunscreen 100 SPF on my body, 110 SPF on my face.


If you’d like to check out other posts I’ve written on my skin cancer experiences, click right here.


I thought I would take this opportunity to show you another area (besides the David) that stood out for me at the Galleria dell’Accademia or Gallery of Academy Museum in Florence. We weren’t allowed to photograph in many parts of the museum, but the one area I would’ve loved to explore was this room full of statues, called the Gipsoteca Bartolini which unfortunately was roped off the day we visited. I was totally drawn to this room, and probably spent a good 15 minutes just gazing in longingly into it.

I later learned (read, I Googled) this room of statues is actually plaster casts of sculptures, all done by Lorenzo Bartolini. Plaster or stone, I would’ve loved to have spent a ton of time in this room, which was lit beautifully with soft light.

Gipsoteca Bartolini

Gipsoteca Bartolini

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the scene from the 2005 movie version of Pride & Prejudice, where Elizabeth Bennet played by Kiera Knightly tours Darcy’s home.

Elizabeth Bennett, Kiera Knightly, Pride & Predjudice, sculputres, Darcy's home tour,


Can you see it too? Or am I just that much of a P&P fan..?



Photos of Lizzie’s Tour of Pemberly, source