1. Weekly photo challenge. I usually don’t participate in the photo challenge because I’m a terrible photographer. Look no further than this blog as evidence of that. But I enjoy looking through real photographers’ interpretations of the week’s theme.

Last week was love. I immediately thought of this photo I took of a father and his two daughters in the Cinque Terre – Monterosso, Italy. This pic is so old it was taken with film. Remember that stuff? The stone resting on the father’s heart is almost poetic.

Family on the beach

2. Winter Light. There is something so beautiful about the way the light falls across the buildings in the winter. It’s something The farther north you go, the more pronounced the colors and shadows. Even the clouds pick up the subtle  Some kind of payback for facing down howling winds and frigid temperatures for three months.  Here are a few pics from the past week. See caveat above about my photography skills. Or lack thereof. But I couldn’t resist sharing them. I hope this does it justice.

Office view

Winter light _ sky

Winter light _ church

Winter light _brownstones

Winter light _ bench


The Mermaid Collector, by Erika Marks

3. The Mermaid Collector, by Erika Marks. I’m a sucker for a story that grounds itself in the history of a place, bringing the past to bear on the present. The Mermaid Collector does just that, interweaving the tragic tale of Lydia and Linus more than a century ago with modern day Tess Patterson, a woodcarver commissioned to sculpt a mermaid for the upcoming Mermaid Festival.

Each August, the small, coastal town of Cradle Harbor, Maine, gears up for an extravaganza of all things mermaid in honor of the Mermaid Mutiny legend. I was drawn in by the setting of Cradle Harbor, which becomes another character. I can’t imagine the story taking place anywhere else — a testament to the confidence of the author, Erika Marks. Another author might have overwhelmed the story with facts and historical research, but she picks just the right details, letting the reader use her own imagination.

There are many threads to The Mermaid Collector, but to me, the heart of the story is the connection between Tess and newcomer Tom Grace. Tom has mysteriously inherited the lighthouse, leaving the townspeople to wonder what he intends to do with it. Only Tess’s step-father knows the truth. I enjoyed all of the characters in the story – too many to list here — they were interesting and complex, but I never lost track of them or felt any were superfluous. If you’re looking for a book with a little bit of history, a little bit of romance and a lot of layers, this is a great choice.

Have you heard any legends about mermaids? Do you have a fascination with lighthouses?

4. A new kind of personal ad. On a lamppost in the Village.

Nerd Seeking Nerd

5. Did U Know… Some bow whales living near coastal Alaska are 200 years old.  A few of you were as amazed as I was about that after a mention in a previous Friday Five. (Cocktail party tidbit: They aren’t the oldest living things on earth. Not by a long shot.  These are. )

Then I stumbled on this short video from National Geographic. This guy (the whale, not the man) may have been alive at the same time as Thomas Jefferson.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tovDf-BKRZU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

Have a great weekend everyone!

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