In the mood

photo 1As we drove to downtown Tacoma for date night Saturday, my husband asked me, “Are you excited, old soul?

Indeed I was. Extremely! For that date night would be like no other date night. It would be a night right out of history.

When I heard the “In the Mood” 1940s musical revue was making a tour stop in Tacoma, I immediately sent the ticket link to Trevor with the words: “This sounds AMAZING!!!!!!!

My music-appreciating husband gladly agreed and we bought two tickets for the show at the Temple Theatre.

I can’t remember when my love of jazz music was born. I started playing the clarinet as many elementary-aged budding musicians did and continued on in junior high (and then high school). I really wanted to play jazz music but was dejected when my band teacher said clarinets couldn’t play in the school’s jazz band.

Wphoto 2At the conclusion of my eighth grade year, while looking forward to a summer vacation of being lazy, my teacher asked if I would be interested in learning to play the tenor saxophone over the summer for the jazz band. Finally, my big break!

I spent the next three months learning my new instrument and enjoyed being part of a group of jazz musicians my freshman year of high school. Fun fact: The first known photo of me and Trevor was our 1998-1999 jazz band photo.

I appreciate many different types of jazz, but nothing tops the sound of big band — the swingin’ era of 1940s horns gets me every time. When I heard of the “In the Mood” show, I felt it was created just for my old soul!

With lips and nails painted red, my husband and I enjoyed a night on the town! Upon entering the theatre we quickly learned we were one of the youngest couples in attendance, by about 30 years. Surrounded by baby boomers and military veterans, we enjoyed the popular sounds of the 1940s for two hours.

Along with the music was narration, dancing and singing — a scene right out of a USO dance circa-1944.

But the real star of the night was my husband’s zoot suit shoes, which he inherited from a friend’s grandfather. Only one of the eight who gave compliments noticed my shoes matched, too!

photo 3
Our vintage kicks.

My literary soul mate

Brooke lost in “Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen’s Life.”

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Brooke. Over the last couple of years our paths crossed often at work-related events.

A friendship bloomed out of those random encounters and was held together by: 1, our love of dogs 2, our love of “Downton Abbey” and 3, our love of literature.

We are literary soul mates.

We enjoyed a girls date last November and saw “Pride & Prejudice” at the Lakewood Playhouse. I have yet to meet an individual who loves Jane Austen more than Brooke.

My beautiful friend is headed off to a new adventure far away from here and as a send off I’m featuring Brooke and her literary tastes in a short Q and A:

Q: What is your favorite genre?

A: I read for entertainment, so I’m a big fan of fiction. Especially anything British; I’m a total Anglophile. I specifically like reading anything that takes place in England during the Tudor era (1400-1500s), the Regency era (first part of the 1800s) and the WWI era.

Q: Favorite author?

A: I’ve got to go with my girl Jane Austen.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: Just finished “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides and just starting “Identical” by Scott Turow.

Q: What do you look for when picking out a book?

A: That’s a tough one. I will really read any kind of fiction, and I read a lot so I’m not super discriminatory. I’ll read just about anything that comes across my bookshelf. Sometimes I’ll go to the library and just grab the first five books that look appealing.

Q: What author do you own the most books of?

A: Jane again. You’d think it wouldn’t be her because she only completed The Six. However, I have multiple versions of each of her novels and if I added them all up, I’m sure she’d win.

Q: Your house is on fire (and your husband and dogs have safely escaped) and you can only rescue three books, which three would you grab?

A: Hmmmmm … “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” and just to make things a little different, “Gone Girl” by Gilliam Flynn, which is my favorite book of the last two years!

Q: If you could have tea with any author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

A: I’d have tea (appropriately enough!) with Jane. My favorite thing about her books is her wit. I’ll read “P&P” or “Emma” for the 13th time and laugh out loud. My husband things I’m a nut case that I can find the same things, or  sometimes things I’ve never noticed before, laugh-out-loud funny. I have a feeling tea with Jane would be hilarious!

Thank you so much Brooke for the book chat and for being the Elizabeth to my Mary Bennett! Thanks to social media we can still talk books when you’re miles and miles away!

Wishing you the best of luck!

What I’m Reading Wednesday

American Wife. 2008

My latest read took longer than my average week to finish. Not because it was difficult to get through, but because 555 pages is quite a commitment.

“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld has sat on my bookshelf for so long I can’t even remember how I came to own it. The book was published in 2008 and was chosen as one of the Ten Best Books of 2008 by Time, People and Entertainment Weekly.

When I re-read the book description on the jacket cover I was reminded of why I wanted it for my personal collection. Because of my obsession with the Kennedy family I initially found “American Wife” interesting because it’s a first person story of an American First Lady.

While the book is a work of fiction, it is loosely based on First Lady Laura Bush. The main character, Alice Blackwell, experiences life events very similar to Mrs. Bush, including being involved in a car accident as a teenager that killed a classmate, becoming a librarian, and her husband’s political career.

Sittenfeld’s amazing imagination pieced together a “tell-all” story from beginning to end, not skipping an era or address. This novel required all 555 pages because of the author’s incredible attention to detail, and I believe a single word wasn’t wasted.

“American Wife” marks the seventh book read for 2014 and I’ve already started on this week’s book, which if you read last week’s post, ended my New Year’s goal of 2014.

What are you reading this week?

Bye, bye 2014 goal

42e1229bdf3ad009b39d56f3236f9ac8March 5 is the day my 2014 goal died.

If you missed my New Year’s post, my goal for this year was to avoid the library. I wanted to stop checking out books so I would ignore the unread books on my bookshelf.

Three months in I’ve read five books from my shelf and two on loan from a friend. I’m in the middle of a 500-pager that previously collected dust on my bookshelf for so long I can’t remember how I came to own it.

The temptation proved too great today. While out covering an assignment, which was conveniently located next door to the library, I poked my head in with the idea I’d check out a movie. I even picked up books from the “New Arrivals” shelf only to put them back with the image of my home collection in my mind.

But then it happened. As I was exiting the library the display case featuring “Women’s History Month” biographies caught my eye. From female aviators to the women’s liberation movement, I looked at each book behind the glass case. I was almost to the end of the display when “The Astronaut Wives Club” by Lily Koppel caught my eye.

It’s a book I’ve wanted to read since it came out last June. My mom fed the fire of my interest when she shared with me news articles of how the book about spouses of America’s Mercury Seven astronauts on historic missions came to be.

I could feel the pull.

I re-entered the library and with no one at the check out counter I built up the courage to ask if the display books were available for check out or if I’d have to wait until April.

My fate was decided with a “yes.”

My 2014 goal was laid to rest, but I feel no regret. With this month being Women’s History Month I have the perfect opportunity to learn of the rich history of the women who came before me. And for them and the opportunity, I am grateful.