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Not since living in Colorado have I marveled at the thunderous spectacle of a spring storm. Pounding and rumbling, water sluicing quickety-quick down gutters and shimmering streets. Pittsburgh weather is, thus far, the best I have ever known, elementary school definitions of the elements, fall-winter-spring, at least. We’ll have to see about summer. That may be the rub. This delightful downpour rolled through Monday, evocative petrichor, giant splashy drops, and thunder of the variety that welcomes rather than terrorizes. Air thick with humidity lay in its wake, just right, I thought, fans churning lazily, at least for now.

When the summer sun arrives in earnest and I am out and enjoying it, hopefully not merely melting and cursing the humidity that I now enjoy, I will be protecting my skin with Block Island Sunscreen. What is this, an advertisment? It is, indeed. I will admit that I never thought it would happen, but Kelly, one of the kindly women who runs the company, got in touch. She asked me if I would give it a whirl and report my thoughts. Since it is a product I would actually buy, I decided to go for it. I received my SPF 30 bottle earlier this week and honestly did not expect much. Though I am a natural-leaning sunscreen shopper, I am very picky about textures and fragrance and zinc-white glowing skin. Goldilocks comes to mind, but I think even she would say this stuff is just right. Block Island scores well on the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen guide, has no nasty chemicals like parabens (very bad news for a gal with endometriosis, as they mimic estrogen in the body, and I’ve got PLENTY already), phthlalates, dyes, artificial fragrances, or nano-particles. It smells nice, but the scent doesn’t linger at all. Most importantly, it goes on like regular lotion, no furious rubbing and no greasy skin, and it does the job. Holy frijoles, it’s a win!



The Kindle Edition of Polite Society is FREE today!

Download your copy now!

If you are visiting from outside the US, go to your home Amazon site, my link is for the US only.

Happy Reading!

Some ever so random bits and bobs for you today. My mind is a wandering one. Its oft preferred state, which, after some overly obsessive and incredibly tiresome thinking suits me fine. Uh-huh.

First, a little more leg than I anticipated, but whatever. Call me a slut, but my neighbor beat you to the punch on whore. Because if a little leg, using birth control before having my internal lady parts removed (read about it here: 1, 2, 3, 4) , and enjoying sex with my husband make me one, I say, in for a penny, in for a pound. Anyhoo, the socks beg to be seen! They are from Gumball Poodle (oddly, I bought mine at New Seasons) and are perfect for roller skating, even when hidden under cropped pants, with many other neat-o options. Meat, anyone? Beer? Bacon?

Second, a little listening. Do you know about Poking Smot? I must say that I, in no way or shape, like this moniker. Really? That’s the best you got? Well, I shall forgive you because your website is so freakin’ awesome that it nearly makes my head spin. Music, so very much music: new, old, jazzy, synthy, rocky, poppy (currently jiving and toe tapping to Sandy Bull’s “Blend”). Merde et zut alors! This place could be the site of my downfall. I’ll just listen to one more song and be on my way, oh and another, but wait, they’ve got that? Down for the count peeps, d-o-w-n!

Third, a little reading. This is a shout out for local writer K.B. Dixon who sent me a copy of his book, The Photo Album. It is a very quirky, Colleen-style tale. A warm breeze of an afternoon read and well worth the time, it’s an imaginary photo album (hence the title) with captions. What was happening there? What was intended? What don’t we see? Filled with details of places I love and very much home. It made me think, laugh, and sigh with wonder.

Fourth, a little watching. And contrast. First, another one of my man-crushes, Zach Galifianiakis (I’m not kidding), in a supporting role (with Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson – a fine trio if ever there was) in a truly awesome and also very Colleen-style comedy series, Bored to Death. I think I’ve mentioned this bit of kooky before, but dang, do I love it so. The hubster can’t get enough of it either, I might add. We laugh until we cry and always want more. Luckily we’ve got DVD number two waiting for us to-night. It’s on, bitches! (Just for you, Amber)

Now to the contrast, The Yellow Handkerchief. It follows Brett (William Hurt) after his release from prison, searching for a new hold on life and remembering May (Maria Bellow), the love he left behind. Then there is Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (handsome Eddie Redmayne), young and inexperienced, escaping home, awkward and yearning for a connection, to no longer be outsiders and first forgotten. They travel in Gordy’s car, through the post Katrina aftermath, taking ill used highways and discovering unexpected places, especially within themselves. Sweet and sad and happy.

Fifth, a little love, for you, sweet readers, and Friday. Have a tip-top, hat’s-off, groove-on weekend!

This final Hawaiian post is a long one.  Grab a beverage or a snack and sit for a spell, won’t you?  We’re starting out in Hale’iwa on the North Shore, the surfing capitol of the world.  There are lots of charming shops selling all kinds of goodness, and equally charming people.  We’ll definitely be back here.

Action shot!  The North Shore seems to be the shave ice capitol of the world, as well.  If I do say so myself, our combination of lemon, coconut, and vanilla was pretty darned awesome.  Soft, almost creamy, no ice crystals, and that touch of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup was divine.

Anahulu stream bridge in Hale’iwa.  I love bridges.

A cute cottage for island living.

Smack-dab in the middle of the Dole Plantation.  I have never seen so many pineapples!

Highway 99 south to Honolulu.

Dining at the Kapiolani Farmer’s Market.  We indulged in an omelet with asparagus and island sheep cheese, super refreshing sparkling beverages, macadamia flower honey from Kaneohe, and abalone.  Despite being slightly worried that we were the only haolies in line for them, they did not disappoint: garlicky, buttery, slightly chewy, a bit like escargot.  What a pretty bit of “garbage,” as well.

The Kapiolani Community College (the location of the farmer’s market) has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen.  There are a myriad variety of flowers…

And cacti…

And more flowers.  This was actually part of a hedge.  A hibiscus hedge.  It is paradise, after all!

This amazing banyan is the neighbor of the Iolani Palace.

The Hawaiian Crest, it reads:

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono

The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness

The grand entrance to the Iolani Palace.

Still pretty grand is the back entrance, where our tour started.

The barracks – can you tell Hawaiian royalty was deeply influenced by Europe, and, in particular, Great Britain?

What a fine porch to take in a luau…

Or wait for a tour wearing our special shoe covers.  No photos allowed inside.  Trust me, it was worth it.

Twin Palm trees and a beautiful view.

The state capitol building is unlike any I have seen before.  I really liked the architecture.  It is open to the elements,  with offices around a courtyard.  The handsome mosaic, reminiscent of the ocean, is at the center.

Also on the grounds of the capitol is this quite fine and modern rendering of the gracious and giving Father Damien.  A sainted man who cared for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those with leprosy (Hansen’s disease).  He worked tirelessly for sixteen years before contracting and succumbing to the disease himself.  Mahalo.

Greetings from his Majesty King Kamehameha, responsible for uniting the Island Kingdom of Hawaii.  You can see the real cape he wore (made of thousands of red and yellow feathers) as well as other gorgeous finery on the tour of the Iolani Palace.

The grand mausoleum of King William Lunalilo, elected popularly and by the legislature.

Lunch time at the Hawaii State Art Museum.  The restaurant was highly recommended by our tour guide at the Iolani Palace.  The chef takes a “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always” approach.  It is mighty fine.

A tribute to Hawaiian Firefighters.  Mahalo!

The Honolulu Brewing Company building, circa 1900.  It actually went under a $25 million dollar renovation, but, quite unfortunately, I guess they used some super stinky wood sealer, and the building remains unoccupied.  Talk about a bummer.  It was, however, used in LOST, in some scenes where Charlie was meant to be in England.  This also reminds me, we had one LOST sighting on our island adventure.  In the airport on our way home, we saw Jack’s father Christian.  He is more handsome and shorter than I expected.  Go figure.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel grounds.  As we were walking by, we saw a couple readying for their wedding ceremony.  What a place to tie the knot!  For my Uncle Chris, and a shout out to Rick, too: we couldn’t find the place you guys had a cocktail, but no worries, we indulged in more than one delicious tropical drink requiring an umbrella and a maraschino cherry.  We also had stunning views from the Punchbowl (see below).

Pineapple County Store

An Oahu icon, we had really good burgers and the equally good company of a local who dines here every night.

Leonard’s makes Malasadas, the best doughnut-like baked good I have ever tasted.  Trust me, with a particular fondness for fried dough, I have A LOT of experience in this area.  We tried them plain, filled with chocolate (like a really good pudding), and a silky coconut cream, of course.  Is there a Hawaiian term for Ooh la la?

We’re at the Punchbowl National Cemetery.  Located in a crater above the city, the cemetery is a stunning memorial to the sacrifices of our service men and women.  Lady Columbia holds a laurel branch and represents the grieving of all mothers.  Inscribed beneath her are the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Amen to that.

It is a somber place of gorgeous vistas, encompassing Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor.

The small chapel.

One of the marvelous maps detailing World War II battles.

A final view of the sea.

Mahalo much, dear Hawaii!


Hi everyone –

Thanks so much for your kind words over the past few days.  I am feeling better.  Sometimes meltdowns are necessary, yes, totally.

Now, as the Monty Python boys would say, “For something completely different,” or, maybe “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

I was visiting the Angry Chicken blog the other day and she mentioned Land’s End and how, now that she’s old enough not to care, she can say how much she likes their Canvas line.  It’s funny, because I had been contemplating a post about my love for all things Land’s End for quite some time, but didn’t have the balls to put it out in public like that.  With all the positive words I read in her comments, I decided to declare myself.  Here’s why: I am a classic preppy girl at heart, and they really deliver in this department, and at  fantastic prices.  Sign up for their deals online and you get free shipping (not all the time, but I haven’t had to pay for it in quite a while) and some pretty sweet discounts (25% off sometimes – hard to beat).  Men’s TALL sizes – the hubster need not expose his belly to the world!  I also love that you can buy through the catalog and return items through your local Sears – no return shipping!  Their customer service is awesome, via phone or chat online.  They also truly believe in their products, don’t have those awful final sales, and will take items back any time, like forever. I’m sold.  Here’s a few photos to show you.

As well, any time you decide to watch America’s Next Top Model and want to laugh at some of the awful looks the ladies give, know that this standing in front of the camera business is hard.  Oh goodness, did I ever take a lot of pictures and resorted to goofy faces out of a singular desire to get it done before the sun went down.  Sheesh.

I’m wearing the Canvas line Cotton Lawn Shirt.  I love it so much that I have it in Navy, too.  The pants are Women’s Heritage Chinos in Navy.  The button detail is fantastic.  I also adore the fact that they will hem the pants to the length you want at no extra charge.  I love short pants, and I cannot lie!  I opted for a 26″ inseam.

The cute anchor necklace.  I am also a rather big fan of nautical themes.

I’m wearing my worst inquisitive look, but whatever, the shirt is Canvas Gingham Poplin in Navy.  Navy cardigan from J. Crew last year.  Bag is the Garment Washed Ragtop Tote.  Shoes Cole Haan.

I’m screaming in horror at what I’m doing!  Short Sleeve Aqua-Terra Rash Guard Shirt.

All the skin is so bright!  Beach Living Mini Dots Bikini.  It makes me feel like a 50’s bombshell…

Sleeveless Jersey Cover-Up in Navy.  It has pockets!  The sandals are from last year.

Enough already!  Shirred Front Dress.  More pockets!


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