Saturday, September 24, 2011

2nd Annual Practical Magic Blog Party 2011 is Here! *Updated*

It's time for the 2nd Annual Practical Magic Blog Party created & hosted by the wonderful Anna of Frosted Petunias!
Practical Magic Blog Party

My sincerest apologies for getting this up rather late! The adventure that is post Hurricane Irene cleanup & repairs has been taking up too much time recently. (sigh) Things are a mess; I only started decorating for Autumn yesterday and I'm missing Halloween decorations!

Luckily my broom is always safe and sound by the front door so at least I don't have to wonder where it is. (Not that it hasn't been known to scamper off now and again - naughty broom).

I was afraid, quite honestly, that I wouldn't even get a post up sometime today! I kept hitting dead ends with every other one I tried. But, this morning I sat here at the computer and it flowed. Thankfully! I would have been so disappointed if I'd missed this, it was such fun last year!

As some may remember from last years party, while I like the movie, (and love that house!), I love the novel by Alice Hoffman! For those who haven't read it, here's a summary from Goodreads:

"The bestselling author of Second Nature, Illumination Night and Turtle Moon now offers her most fascinating and tantalizingly accomplished novel yet -- a winning tale that amply confirms Alice Hoffman's reputation not only as a genius of the vivid scene and unforgettable character but as one of America's most captivating storytellers.

When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts' mysterious and sometimes frightening powers -- and as their own powers begin to surface -- the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into "normal" society.

But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes -- in the form of a menacing backyard ghost -- the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift -- and their key to a future of love and passion. Funny, haunting, and shamelessly romantic, Practical Magic is bewitching entertainment -- Alice Hoffman at her spectacular best."

Alice Hoffman's Here On Earth was my favorite of hers for many years until I read Practical Magic last Summer for the first time. Oddly enough, I've had that old paperback since 2002 but I never got around to reading it (and it somehow survived a nasty breakup along the way and a move from inland to the coast a couple of years after that). Normally an avid reader, last Summer I could barely pay attention to tv much less read anything and ended up only reading 2 books.

For those of you who don't know, last Summer (2010) during the July 4th weekend, I ended up in the hospital for a week, fairly close to death, because of a bacterial infection that had taken over in addition to an unrelated obstructed kidney stone which blocked my left kidney to the point it 'ballooned' and was 'sweating' toxic urine into my body. I was put in the 'adult cardiac critical care unit' because the high fever I had elevated my heartrate above 145 beats per minute and they were afraid I was going to have a heartattack. I had emergency kidney surgery during which a nephrostamy tube was insterted to drain the kidney, which I lived with for 3 months, and overall continued recovering at home both before & after the tube removal last October, well into this year, 2011.

At first I didn't have the energy to do much more than watch tv. I tried reading but I couldn't focus. Eventually I was able to knit just for the sake of knitting. I was so overwhelmed! After that I re-read A Year By The Sea by Joan Anderson, a memoir. (Which I highly recommend!)

Then, for some reason, I picked up Practical Magic. Once I did, I couldn't put it down until I was finished with it. I'm a sucker for just about any book that has such wonderful garden descriptions in it because not much gives me greater joy than my gardening, but it was more than that which kept me reading every given chance I could. Then again, we all know that gardens are magical places, even in the pages of a novel. Perhaps I fell under a spell...?

Speaking of spells, never try doing them while your hair is falling out in droves like mine was last Summer & Autumn! (Because of the illness, meds & anesthesia). Cleaning up after those pickles was a chore indeed! Anyhoo...

Then I discovered the Practical Magic Blog Party after I was finished reading the novel! (I've no idea how I came upon it - I have large memory gaps now, the result of that infection and the anesthia from the second surgery last October). It was just what I needed at the time! Something to get my creative juices flowing again. Something I had such FUN with. A pleasant distraction from all Id' been going through.

Before I let you leave and move on to the next party post, I'll share with you a couple of my favorite quotes from the novel:

"Still, she often dreams of the aunts' garden. In the farthest corner there was lemon verbena, lemon thyme, and lemon balm... Everything in the garden had a purpose, even the lush peonies, which protected against bad weather and motion sickness and have been known to ward off evil..."

"Always keep mint on your windowsill in August, to ensure the buzzing flies will stay outside, where they belong... Never presume August is a safe or reliable time of year. It is the season of reversals, when the birds no longer sing in the morning and the evernings are made up of equal parts golden light and black clouds..."

Thank you for dropping by friends! Hope to see you again next year!

If you'd like to see my PMBP post from last year, just click here.

And now, before I hop on my broom & fly off to visit all of you, I have to fuel up with a cuppa tea & maybe a brownie then take a quick walk through the garden. What? Oh yes, I do garden and have many things blooming as we speak. Yes, gardens are magical places indeed! Yes, that's rosemary by the gate. Yes, I have many roses & lavender, see? Over there, there, there and there. Hm? No, the lavender is inside, dyying on the mantle along with hydrangea blooms. We have to hurry now. Well, I need to clip some of the peony foliage to bring with me. Because it's raining here and I'm very prone to motion sickness, especially when I fly...

To have a peak at my own gardens, just click here.

(This is a partial shot of the cover of my paperback copy of Practical Magic).

An update; I've dropped by the house to refuel for a long night of blog hopping after what's been a delightfully fun day already! Welcome to Pumpkin Manor, where Pumpkin Blessings abound!


Edie Schmidt said...

You have had a time! I love the quotes that you have chosen for your post. See you next year. Best wishes

monkeycstars said...

Thanks for sharing!


Faerie Moon Creations said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry to hear you were so ill. I am glad you continue to recover and get well. Books are magic, aren't they? There is such power and healing in the written word. I'm thrilled that you loved Practical Magic - it is so different from the film but they both hold the same premise. THank you for visiting my party - take care! Theresa

Carol said...

So sorry to hear of all your health issues! Hope you are better now!
~Carol Ochs :)

dogsmom said...

My heart goes out to you and others hurt by Irene's rage. I am glad you are getting things back in shape, but know it takes a lot of time you'd rather be using for other things. If only we had a bit more magic to help with those cleaning chores.
Today's brooms are not as resourceful as those of days past.

I am very happy you are able to come out and play with us this week and appreciate the movie and book we all adore. I need to find time to read more of Alice's books.

lisa said...

So sorry to hear of your health problems. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Your garden is quite lovely and thank you for sharing it. Stop over to my enchanted oven to share a PM cookie or two.

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all your health problems. Wishing vibrant health and a speedy recovery! Now I know I have to read this book! I love the quotes and everything that you have shared! Blessings!~

Lady Jess said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better! Magic does have that sort of something that helps us along, doesn't it? Thank you so much for sharing with us and I hope there's a ray of sunshine coming it's way with your name on it! ((hugs))

maddyrose said...

You have been through a terrible time and have weathered it well. Your writing in this post proves that. I enjoyed your post and wish you happiness.

Bird said...

Oh dear, Jo, you've had such a rough go of it last year. I'm am happy they caught it all. I do hope that this year you are feeling so much better and are healthy and wonderful again.

Loved your post for the PM party and I do have to read the book again. It's been sucha long time. Actually, I think my cousin borrowed my book a few years back and it never found its way to me again. Looks like I need a new copy. I best go and get one.

Bright blessings to you (and your gardens are gorgeous!),

Linda said...

I am so sorry that you are not feeling well. Hope you are back on your feet soon. Thank you for sharing. Please visit me:

Moncha said...

So sorry to hear you are not well. I hope you will be feeling better soon.
Have a magical day.

Tamara said...

I'm sorry to hear you haven't been well and you had damage from Irene. :( Thank you for the wonderful party share. :)

LuLu Kellogg said...

I hope you will be mended up quickly and will feel better soon!!

Thank you so much for sharing your post with all of us for the Practical Magic Blog Party! Lovely to visit with you!

LuLu Kellogg

Sandi said...

Great quotes! I never realized, until this blog party, that there was a book. Reading your quotes I think I must have it now!! Thank you for such a great post. I hope you are healed and happy! Hugs sister witch!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•`*SANDI

Dragonfly said...

Loved visiting your party post, I also love the book, it's so rich in story.
I have become a new follower and will be back after I've hopped through the other party goers to read more of your posts and visit your garden.

J x

Magaly Guerrero said...

The way the book uses history is one of the things I love most about it. The movie does it in a different way, but it still pleases me enough to watch it probably too many times ;-)

Glad the room is okay ;-)

Victoria said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you are not well. I know from experience how awful it is to be chronically ill. But, it sounds like you have a great attitude and outlook on life and that's half the battle won. I too loved 'A Year By the Sea' by J. Anderson. I'd be hard pressed to choose between Practical Magic the book and the movie as to which was my favorite...I love them both equally, although for different reasons.

Your blog is beautiful, and the photos are gorgeous!


Victoria from Brushstrokes

Celia said...

Wow! You have been through a lot! I LOVE the book A Year by the Sea...I have read it a million times....along with Joan Anderson's many other books! I have a copy of the Practical Magic book on it's way to me....I haven't read it yet!

Melanie Statnick said...

Beautiful post, I have'nt read the book yet but I think I'll get one...

Jo said...

I want to thank everyone so much for dropping by and for your kind words & well-wishes too! My apologies for not having stopped by to see all of you yet and thank you each personally! I've been flying around visiting the parties all over the bloggersphere and now that I'm home for the night, I'm exhausted; I'll be sure to drop by & see y'all throughout the rest of the weekend! Pumpkin Blessings!

Rinni's Playground said...

Sorry to hear about the mess Irene made, happy that you and yours made it through alright though! Wonderful quotes! Your garden is beautiful! I love your "support the troops" scarecrow banner! I was in the Army and my husband is currently deployed, so it always warms my heart to see things like that!! Thank you for dropping by my PM post. ;)

wickedfaerie said...

So sorry to hear about your troubles but you did a great job on your Practical Magic Party. I really liked my visit.


Susan said...

Jo, we've spoken before about our chronic illnesses and physical difficulties. We are both also jersey girls. I'll be revamping my blog soon, and I think I'll be separating the pages out, and like you will have a page for my health and that of friends.
I am soooo very sorry to hear of all your recent health issues. Big but gentle hugs my friend!
I have a similar story about one of my stones, and hydrophrenosis, with a flaming bacterial infection-Ecoli...they almost put me in the ICU.
Christmas of 2009, at 5:30 am I was admitted they kept me until new Years eve at 7pm. I made 2 more trips back, the second was to remove the stent, and they found, the stone was not gone as they thought it was and had to bust up and pull out. I have 4 more sitting in my left kidney.
I sending out healing and comforting energy and adding you to my nightly candle lighting!
now off to actually comment on the PM part of your post!
Be well and be blessed,

Susan said...

Hello again Jo,
I am sorry to say I enjoyed the movie sooo much better than the book. (which is not usually the case) I do not like how the Aunts and the house were portrayed. I didn't like that sally moved away. I didn't like that her girls are grown. I didn't like that she was so "stiff-spined". yes she was stiffly fighting her nature and roots in the movie also, but not as much as in the book.

I do love the quotes you chose!

my paperback (which I am giving away after the one read) has the boot on the cover. Your cover is very cool looking.

I'd like to recommend a novel called Garden Spells, magical, family centered, and with a garden as one of the main characters :) the Author is
Sarah Addison Allen.


apinkdreamer said...

what a magical post! thanks so much!!!!

Magic Gypsy said...

Keep gardening! Gardens are filled with good growing and healing magic.

Frosted Petunias said...

Oh my goodness Jo, you have been through quite a bit since last year's party. I hope you are recovering from both the health crisis and Irene. It's nice to hear that the book helped to make you smile just a little. I have never seen the cover with the house and the witches. I love it! And how wonderful that you added more magical pictures to your post later. Thank you so much for sharing and for joining the party again. Now take care of yourself :)


B'ham said...

We truly do need to appreciate the life we have... especially when there could be so many things going wrong...
Thank you for sharing... Positive thoughts and energy coming thru to you !!

victoriantailor said...

So glad you recovered, can't imagine not having you as a fellow blogger with all you have to offer,
great post, I am off to visit your garden, Celeste,

Birgit said...

Great to hear that you are doing better now! :)

Magical Times,

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Hello, I am visiting form the Practical Magic Blog party. :D

I loved the book, too. My daughter and I recently read Hoffman's YA novel, Incantation, and we loved it!

Lovely post!

Jo said...

My apologies for the delay in thanking some of you so much for dropping by my PM party post and for your kind words! Flying about on a broom is more tiring than I remember :o)

everymagicalday said...

What pretty pictures you have of the Pumpkin Manor. It's practically magic! lol Still flying around peeking in at everyone's posts. Brightest Blessings!

Melissa said...

My goodness...August really wasn;t kind to you last year! Glad that Practical magic helped you through and that you are better this year!!

♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Meanderings

Wizardess said...

I am a book fan as well! The Red Garden by Hoffman is also a good read. Lots of bears...and if the women aren't exactly called witches they certainly could be, and there's obviously an important garden. Here's to your continued good health.
Cheers from
The Wizardess

Que Bella said...

What a lovely party post! So sorry to read about your illness, hopefully, all that is now in your past. PM is definitely my favortie Hoffman book. Thanks for sharing, Michelle

Jo said...

It's never too late to drop by a blog party gals! Thanks so much for dropping by my PM party post and for your kind words! Happy 2nd Annual Practical Magic Blog Party!

A Magical Whimsy said...

Dear, sweet Jo
It sounds like you have had quite a lot going on in your life in the past year. Thank God you are OK now.
Thank you for this lovely post about 'Practical Magic'. I wish I could dress up like the aunties everyday! I love dressing up!
May you have continued renewed health, and may things get back to normal soon since Hurricane Irene's damage.
Have a blessed weekend!
Teresa in California

im zoe said...

This post is great! a fab tribute to the amazing film/book.

Zoe x