hydrangea

Hydrangea is such a funny word. But man oh man, do they have gorgeous blooms.

I am a houseplant person. Period. I am not a gardener. So it’s with a great deal of fear that I present to you my Nikko Blue hydrangea. I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing, but I hope we can survive together. I even…ugh… joined a group. A hydrangea Facebook group.

I am now a person who joins a specific flower’s Facebook group.

My shade garden keeps getting bigger and bigger this year. And now I’m going to foolishly(??) (…yet to be seen…) try to grow hydrangea in pots on my front porch. (I asked my hydrangea group and they said it’s okay.)

I put the pots on rollers so I can manipulate their sun intake. California sun is brutal!

I love their color and hope I can maintain it. We mixed coffee grounds into the dirt for an extra boost of acidity.

The petals are so beautifully intricate. What a fantastic plant. I see why people work so hard to bring them back every year.

Our front porch now includes sansevieria, hostas, various calatheas, kangaroo paw fern, Japanese Aralia, Chinese evergreen, aloe vera, a white azalea bush, a majesty palm and a Japanese maple tree.

And now some blue hydrangeas.

Surely I’m done adding things now…

Any hydrangea owners out there who can help a girl out with some advice??

My New Life as a Book Reviewer

During the last few months of 2019 I decided I wanted to get serious about reviewing books and working with publishing companies to do reviews for upcoming and newly-released books. I made it my goal toward the end of the year to research and find out as much as I could about the craft before the new year began.

And I have to tell you, I’m having a fantastic time! It’s a challenging project for me with the added benefit of free books!

The very first book I received to review was Diane Keaton’s new book, BROTHER AND SISTER. (I reviewed it here.) It is set to release on February 4, 2020. What a fun way to start this goal, right? With Diane Keaton!

I’ve received a handful of books since the Keaton book (with release dates throughout the spring.) Each time I hear the doorbell ring, I run to the door to see which book has arrived. Earlier this week a book was Fed Ex delivered. Expecting a different novel, I was completely surprised as I opened the envelope, slid out the book and suddenly, there was Rachel Maddow’s face looking straight at me. I immediately sent my sister and husband a text. “That’s your girl!”, my husband responded (knowing if Maddow ever showed up on our front steps he would be a thing of the past!) -ha! My sister (also a Maddow fan) was equally as excited. I can’t wait to dive into this book and learn more about this multifaceted news anchor.

The thing I’ve enjoyed THE MOST about this process is that it is challenging me to write. Reviewing books takes me back to my college days of writing in a concise but complete fashion. To help me hone the skill, I’ve been reading professional book reviews as examples on how best to captivate a reader’s attention and consolidate the book without giving too much away. This has become a challenge between myself and…myself. Pushing the limits and diving deeply. There are plenty of other book reviewers out there so it’s ridiculous to feel any competition with them. And I really don’t! I’m having way too much fun challenging and competing with myself. And what better 2020 goal could there be than self-improvement through an avenue I completely enjoy?!

I wish I’d paid more attention to my history professor who tried to teach us speed-reading, however. I am a slow reader. I devour too much. Underline too much. Stop and think about too much. But I’m learning!

I’ll celebrate my 55th birthday next month and I have a new (and beloved) hobby. I am convinced I’ll be saying that very same sentence when I’m 75 years old. I love the stimulation and endorphin rush of learning something new.

Rachel sits on my desk now, whispering empowering messages into my ear as we both push up our chunky glasses and get to work.