Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I have my Christmas Eve bread rising and a sink full of dirty dishes. I have the fish out in the fridge to thaw. I need to make 7 layer dip for Scott's office party. I need to get showered, dressed and head to Target to buy a few essentials like toothpaste, because I keep forgetting to pick that up at the store. It is a rainy, gray and very blustery day.

And....I'm happy. This morning when I checked my email, I had a note from Anne. She is home, weak, but back online and writing. Yeah!!

No blogging from me for a week or so as we enjoy Christmas and then head out to visit family.

So, Merry Christmas to all!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

good news

My friend Anne is being released from the hospital today!!! Yeah!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

lots of reading

The middle kid and I stopped at the library yesterday and brought home several books to enjoy.
Found the third Frank Beddor's book for the oldest; his take on the Alice in Wonderland story. She snuggled up under a quilt and read the day away...finished it in 6.5 hours. I found the Sookie Stackhouse short story collection. I sat across for the oldest and read that book then started a new one called "The Fruit of her Hands, the story of Shira of Ashkenaz" about a Jewess in the Middle Ages. The youngest is reading the first Harry Potter and at last check was half way through it. The middle kid seems to have a sinus infection..so off to the doctor we go today. She couldn't read yesterday due to a headache that hit about mid-afternoon, but does have two books to enjoy when she is feeling better.

So, for today, other than a trip to see the nurse practitioner and then a trip to the pharmacy to get her antibiotic prescription filled....not sure what we are doing. Maybe reading?!

Monday, December 21, 2009

egg nog and such

We attended our oldest kid's soccer team Christmas Party yesterday and one very fun thing was that we were able to try Puerto Rican egg nog. Yep. Never knew there was such a thing, but boy is it delicious!! I've asked for the recipe, but may have to see if I can google it. I know the ingredients, it would just be getting the proportions.

Had a really good time at the party. So nice to see all those soccer girls having fun and enjoying each other's company off the field. We had plenty of food and everyone left smiling.

I should make a grocery store run today and pick up the last few things we need for the week. I really don't want to have to be anywhere near the store as the week winds down towards Christmas. The kids are asking what we had planned for the next few days, and I really have no plans.

I do need to run by Goodwill and drop off a few bags of donations. I finally cleaned out our two linen closets and culled several sets of sheets and towels that have seen better days. The closets look so much better after my efforts. You can actually see what is there! Amazing!

A stop at the Library may also be in order. I'd like to read Anne Rice's latest book. This one is on angels. She had an article in the Parade magazine in Sunday's paper. Nice essay and the contrast/comparison she drew between the fascination we have with vampires and angels was really intriguing. I'd like to read her autobiography as well; her journey from Catholicism to Atheism then back to the Church would probably be very interesting.

Well, I guess Midnight Mass is out....hubby got a call that ushers are desperately needed at the 7:00 Mass, so that is when we will attend. Probably for the best. We'd all be so tired on Christmas Day and grumpy from lack of sleep!!

Speaking of sleep, my house is quiet and still. No hustle. No bustle. Just the dog snoring and the furnace running. What a peaceful way to start the week.

Friday, December 18, 2009

christmas past

As I've been putting together recipes and ingredients for the cookies and candies we will make this year for Christmas, I've been thinking about my Grandma Hillsman who passed away this past January. She was an amazing baker and at Christmas time she would fill the top of a picnic table with nut rolls, breads, and other assorted goodies for the holiday. I could so go for a slice of her apricot roll or one of her apricot filled cookies right now.

We went to Pennsylvania several times for Christmas. My earliest memory, and this one may be enhanced by the retellings I've heard, is of when my grandfather wrestled Santa for more presents. He came out of the basement, pants torn and dishevelled after taking down the jolly old elf to make sure we got our fair share.

I also remember singing in the choir loft with him and my cousins Andria and Cindy at one Midnight Mass. I remember lots of people crowded into their small house, adults clustered around the dining room table and cousins playing on the floors hoping not to be stepped on.

When I was older I remember driving there with my folks, but I flew home as I had to be at work so soon after the holiday. The trip to the airport was treacherous, but my Dad got me there safe and sound then had to take that nasty drive on the turnpike back to Nemacolin.

I remember Christmas at home, going to St. Jude for Mass, having our Christmas Eve fish dinner, our version of the wigilia meal. I ordered my oplatke and have it ready for next week. I'll be thinking of my brother a world away and wishing he was at home with his wife and kids having his wigilia dinner.

We are going to stay awake and attend Midnight Mass tonight. The kids have never been to one and there is something so beautiful and special about that Mass in particular. If it takes naps, coffee or as the middle kid is planning, energy drinks, we are going to do that this year.

Because that is how you make those memories that stay with you....long after the last apricot roll is eaten.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

yeah!!

The girls start their final exams for the semester today. Hope they are ready....going to be a long day for them. Then they get to take more tomorrow, but are done very early.


I actually slept today to a decent time. I made it to 6:00. I took a melatonin pill I had from our trip to Europe and it seemed to help, or at least it convinced my brain that it helped! Placebo or not, I feel very human this morning instead of some night creeping creature with bloodshot eyes and a bad attitude.

I made it to Aldi's yesterday and yet again am so excited that one is coming to our town and I won't have to drive 20 minutes to shop there. So many good things at such cheap prices. I bought two bags of their Christmas blend coffee and it is just as good as the stuff at TFM and way less expensive. Score!

Do need to make a couple of stops today, Library, Target and Schnucks for a few more things.

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

at 4:00 in the morning

Not much goes on at 4:00 in the morning at my house. I made the coffee, let the Dukie dog out, wiped his paws and then played a game on facebook. The paper hasn't been delivered yet and everyone else is still off in the Land of Nod. This is the second morning this week that I've been awake so darn early. I will most likely require a nap later this afternoon, time permitting, or else I will be quite grumpy by early evening.

I managed to get my Christmas cards out to those who sent to me thus far plus a few extras. I need to purchase more stamps, but can accomplish that task at the grocery store today. I also finished, I hope, the rest of the holiday gift shopping. I had the nieces and nephew to buy for yesterday, and was able to complete that mission without too many problems. The parking lot at our mall was a bit treacherous. The pedestrian friendly design leaves a bit to be desired when the weather is cold and the place is busy with cars far out numbering walkers. The roundabout in the center continues to boggle the minds of several shoppers making for some interesting moments as people couldn't quite decide which exit they really wanted. I hope I don't have to return to that shopping mecca until 2010.

My friend Anne continues to improve. Her hubby said in his latest update that she has enough tubes and such attached to her that she reminds him of an old horror movie character, but that her coloring is much improved and her spirits continue to be good. I wrote her a rather lengthy post on her Caring Bridge site. I'm so used to chatting with her via the internet each day, I really miss that connection.

Started a new book by an author I've never heard of before, MLN Hanover, "Unclean Spirits." So far so good.

Well, it is now almost 5:30 and the girls will start to swing into action. I best make my shopping list. The second cup of coffee isn't quite clearing my head and if the fogginess persists, the pantry stocking trip could be an exercise in futility as I will forget half of what I need and buy things that will go unused.

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a rash of stuff

Looks like after I pick up the cake for the Library Christmas party and deliver it I will be heading out to shopping central, otherwise known as the mall, to finish what I wasn't able to do yesterday.

Youngest kid was home with some weird rash. Almost looks like Fifth's, but I thought he had it already and you aren't supposed to be able to get it twice. Well, once he wakes up, I will need to check his legs and see what is happening. He feels fine other than a very fine, bumpy rash...who knows, we may be off to the doc today.

But, until I can diagnose and decide, the plan is to hit three stores and be home right after. No dilly dallying allowed. I know what I need to purchase and I know that I need to get out of there quick.

My buddy Kim asked what cookies I make. Well, I make a variety but every year a few are special requests. I make rocky road candy and I make skillet cookies then I make whatever else sounds good. I may make peanut blossoms this year and we are talking about making kieflies too, but only if i can recruit helpers on that project. Too labor intensive for just one Mommy.

Being gone, I haven't done any major baking for the past two holidays. I'm sort of out of the groove. I also need to get those darn cards out! I am dragging my feet on that for the first time ever. I usually have them mailed the day after Thanksgiving and this year I have zero interest in sitting down and doing that. Not quite sure what my problem is, but I need to mail at least a few to family and close friends.

Just a rash of stuff to do, so let's hope the rash on the youngest has subsided so I can get busy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

let the mad rush begin

I do not enjoy shopping at the last minute and the things I need to take care of today will, I hope, avoid that phenomena from happening. I need to pick up things from a variety of stores and really have only two hours to accomplish those tasks. Then I need to hightail it back home so I can prepare 24 maids of honor tarts for the oldest to take to her English class, yep, they are doing a Twelfth night celebration as they are reading Twelfth Night by old Willie S. I wanted to simmer up some wassail for her to take, but she vetoed that idea. So, tarts it is!

The big kids have finals this week, so I hope for them it is a light homework week and more of a study and review week.

The youngest kid will just be on pins and needles until school is finished. I don't imagine they will be doing anything important this week and their Christmas party is Friday afternoon.

I've done zero baking of yet. I really need to clean my house. I did no laundry this weekend unless you count washing the oldest kid's soccer gear twice after just one game! Oh, the mud, the mud, the mud. She was covered from head to toe and that was before the game started. We actually hosed down her cleats and had to prerinse every single item she had on BEFORE we started the washer and I still had to wash them again!!

The latest House of Night book is firmly in my rear view window now. Ugh. It was most definitely a solid 5 on a 10 scale. On the other hand, I picked up Lili St. Crow's latest Dru Anderson book and am LOVING IT. Gosh can that woman write.

Let the mad rush begin, only 11 days until Christmas. It truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

potpourri

I returned all the borrowed Harry Dresden books yesterday and heartily wish a new one was on the horizon. Some authors just get better and better with each book and Jim Butcher is one of them. The stories, the characters, the whole thing is just so much fun! On the other hand, I started the latest House of Night book by the mom and daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast and am less than entertained. Only about a third of the way through and I'm disappointed in the the story, the characters, the writing in general. Oldest kid has read it and agreed, not as good as some of the earlier novels in the series. She did say it gets better towards the end. I sure hope so.

I have quite a bit of work to do today with this laptop. I have two genealogy packets to put together, one for my grandfather and one for a great aunt. I also have a bunch of Friends stuff to resolve, organize and handle. I want to put all that 'to bed' before next week.

Making pizza for supper tonight and that won't involve dialing for delivery. Going to watch the first four episodes from season one of Supernatural with my oldest. The DVD came from Netflix earlier in the week, but we put off enjoying the shows so she could work on The Fountainhead paper from HELL!! I've never read Ayn Rand's tome starting her devotion to Objectivism and after helping the kid with the mechanics of her paper, have no desire to do so.

Soccer, soccer, soccer this weekend. Three games and I hope three wins for the kid. Have some Christmas shopping to do for the nephew and nieces in Florida.

Ho, ho, ho....away we go!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

almost done

I forgot to blog on Wednesday! Yikes. I've been sleeping oddly of late. Twice this week I've over slept and that messes up my whole schedule.

Managed to get most of my to do list finished yesterday, of course, the press release wasn't written. Guess I will need to tackle that today after I get home from the Library. Need some face time with the sorting and store crew.

Today my friend Anne has her surgery. Praying for steady surgeon hands, good nurses and good fortune for her. I just don't know how either of us will cope without her steady emails, facebook posts etc!

Our rainy and balmy weather has blown away and been replaced by frigid temps. Well, frigid for here...it is in the 20's. Brrrrrr.

I finally finished the final Dresden book I had borrowed and plan on returning them today. Up next is the latest from mother-daughter writing duo P.C and Kristin Cast. Yeah!

The week is almost done....one more week of school for the kiddoes and then we can enjoy the final days before the Santa-man arrives.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the final push

I remember how difficult it was to stay focused the last few weeks of school before Christmas break. I feel sorry for my two oldest kiddoes as they try and finish up papers, projects and take tests plus begin to study for semester exams. Not fun at all.....

That final push, those last few yards to the shore is the hardest thing. Such a good life lesson. Of course, they don't see any of that now, but maybe some day they will. Reaching the realization that when you are almost 'there' it takes only a bit more effort to finish strong. It is also the time when the temptation to quit looms largest. Hubby and I spent a few moments yesterday cheering them on, encouraging them to focus and work hard for the next two weeks.

Quite a bit going on this week. My grandmother is home from rehab and has a slew of accompanying issues. Plus, my friend has surgery. Hoping and praying for the best for both of them.

I worked on the 2010 calender for the Friends of the Library group. It was a bit surreal to type out all those months and begin to add in the events and activities for the upcoming twelve months. If this past year is any indication, those days will fly by.

It is very hard to believe that one year ago we started to make our packing list for our trip to Europe. I can't believe sometimes that we actually were able to take the entire family and go to Germany and France. Even now, those memories make me so incredibly happy and so incredibly proud that we were able to take that trip with our children. It was a stretch and a sacrifice, but one that I would make again in an instant.

The final push towards the end of 2009 is here...and we are all pulling for the shore.

Monday, December 7, 2009

overslept

I woke at an ungodly hour and decided that I wasn't getting up, so I wound up falling back asleep and then overslept! On top of that, the girls' alarms didn't go off, or did so and they turned them off and didn't remember doing it. Needless to say, the morning is not off to a leisurely pace.

They made it out of the door on time, whew. I now have to make the coffee and get the paper.

And try to recapture the last two hours!!

I hate when this happens.

Up this week, meeting this morning. Meeting on Wednesday morning. Soccer on Tues/Thurs. Soccer all weekend. Cub Scouts tonight. Plus whatever rolls our way.

Still reading Harry Dresden, but very close to finishing.

Went to the Matthew Kelly program last night at church. Nice program, good music and some food for thought. Even the kids enjoyed it.

Happy Monday....where is that coffee???

Friday, December 4, 2009

really?

First, I can hardly believe today is Friday. This week went so fast, it truly will be Christmas before I know it.

I need to gather my cookie recipes and make my ingredient list after I check the pantry to see what we have on hand. I'm sure I will need an extra bag of flour and maybe sugar. I haven't done a big Christmas cookie bake in two years, so the kids are clamoring for bins and bins of the yummy stuff. Since they have the whole week off before Christmas, at least they will be on hand to eat it all.

I'm steadily moving through the second of my four borrowed Harry Dresden books. Hope to finish that today. Of course my stop at the bookstore yesterday saw me leaving with two more books for my TBR pile. That pile is starting to look a bit tree like! Maybe I should stick an angel on top.

The shopping excursion went off without a problem yesterday and after a quick stop at Costco on Saturday morning, my three kids will be done. Yeah!! I even wrapped what I had already gathered and stuck those boxes under the tree, no name tags on them, my special identification system is in place instead.

When the two oldest arrived home from high school, they were on the floor and wiggling under that tree to see who had what box. HA HA. We all had a good laugh at my trick and all attempts to force the secret out of me were swiftly shut down. Being the Mama is such a good thing!!

And of course they know that the size of the box may not have one thing to do with the size of the gift inside....we are well known for putting tiny gifts in huge boxes and for breaking down big gifts into smaller components and wrapping several small boxes. Such Fun.

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

it is the little things

Had a lovely time at our meeting yesterday. The poinsettias the new board gave the exiting officers were well received and our retiring president gave lovely gift bags full of coffee, candy and small homemade spice bread to her stalwart crew of volunteer managers.

I came home and made a cup of tea and enjoyed too many slices of the bread. Luckily the youngest arrived home in time to finish the loaf off.

But the highlight of the day, by far, was being online at just the right time. My brother was just finishing his shift at work and was able to Skype me all the way from around the world. His voice came through perfectly, although the video would pixelate and freeze at odd times. It was so good to chat with him 'face to face' and to know that he will be back 'here' in about 37 days.

I'm off to the mall today to finish the Christmas shopping. We've pared back quite a bit this year, and the few things I have left to purchase won't take much time at all. I'm in the holiday mode now, especially after driving through our amazing Town Square last night and being able to enjoy the lights, garland and ribbon. Enchanting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ahhhh fudge

Once it got dark enough outside last night, I stepped onto the front porch to plug in our lights. No lights. Yep. Not one strand came on. I plugged in the garland and our new snowman, they burst into action and looked fabulous. I walked down to make sure the extension cord was still plugged into the first strand. Yes, it was. I shook a few of the strands. No luck. Ahhhhh, fudge.

Bummer!! I called hubby to give him the good news. He worked so hard to string those lights on Monday. Not much we can do about it at night, but guess I will be tinkering with them today if the rain stops. Today I have a Friends meeting, a bit of shopping to do and lunch to enjoy. The next Friends meeting will be my first as the president of the group. I'm excited and scared.

I finished the one Dresden files book I was reading and started the next one. I borrowed four from another library and need to get them finished. Once I do, I think I will jump genres and read something totally different for a while.

My Christmas cards, for the first time in years, are not out yet. I'm usually a get them mailed right after Thanksgiving sort of person. Just wasn't interested this year. I'm using up leftover cards from years past and that may be the problem. I'm sick of those cards! Why did I buy so many of them? Guess my taste has changed in the past four years. I have also decided to really pare down my list. Just doesn't make for an exciting card sending time. This is unlike my buddy's two sisters who I watched making cards by hand...yep, stamping, gluing, embellishing away the day after Thanksgiving. They were each going to make 50 of those cards, and I know I will get one from one of the two sisters. I was amazed by the amount of crafty stuff it takes to make a Christmas card. They are serious card makers, major money was spent on all those stamps, inks, glues, paper etc. My friend and I shook our heads and walked away from the invitation to join them in card crafting. SOOOO not my cup of tea!!

Speaking of tea, I made my Russian spice tea yesterday. Just the thing I will need to soothe my spirits as I tackle the icicle lights, my Christmas cards and to sip on while reading about Harry Dresden's latest adventures.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

deck the halls

The front porch has icicle lights all the way around. The shrubs have lights. The door is framed with lit garland and ribbon. The sled and skates are propped by the door. A new lit snowman has been added to the scene. The tree is up and decorated. The nutcrackers are placed. The ceramic Santas are on the mantel. The tapestries are hung. The greenery is draped and wrapped. My collection of Christmas books are in a basket and ready to be enjoyed.

Boy were we tired by 4:00 yesterday! Yes, we had to say farewell to a few things. Some ornaments and decor just didn't survive the long storage period. But, everything else weathered the long wait just fine.

The Halls are now officially DECKED!!

Now, onto the grocery list for the month and the all important cookie list. So far the family has requested sugar cookies, skillet cookies, rocky road and kieflies. I will probably add a new recipe to the old standbys just to shake things up a bit.

Still reading the Dresden Files books, my TBR pile is maintaining a decent height. Friends meeting tomorrow as we say thank you to the exiting officers and the new team takes the reins. Gulp!!

Happy Tuesday:)

Monday, November 30, 2009

home

Home is the best place. Yep. So glad we made our trip up north and back without any problems. Traffic wasn't bad due to some excellent timing by our driver....we even made it through Chicago in short order as no one was on the road at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. We got home early enough so that the laundry is done, we were able to have dinner together, the kids finished their homework and we watched a movie. So glad to be home.

The highlight of the visit for me was seeing my buddy, Cindy. We have been friends for getting close to 30 years now. How freaking scary is that?! And the neat thing is our kids are friends...they may not see each other for two years, but when they get together, they just click into place and act like they just saw each other the day before. I know it makes us both so happy to see them having fun.

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we start looking forward to Christmas. The tree will be hauled out of the attic today and the Rubbermaid bins full of holiday decor will make their appearance as well. I'm a bit afraid to open them as every year some ornaments have to be junked as the glue is brittle and broken, the fabric is dried out and fraying or something has been broken into pieces in some other way. I haven't peaked in those boxes let alone unpacked them for the past two Christmases because we weren't home.

Even though we were in Europe last year, I think everyone will be glad to wake up in their own bed on Christmas morning this year. The day after will see us hitting the road to make the trip to Florida and hopefully some sunny weather, nice beach time and a good visit with my folks and my sister in law and the nieces and nephew.

It is hard to believe that the year is winding down. And we have such busy days ahead. The kids have already requested Christmas cookies! I better get myself organized, take a good look at the calendar and decide how best to get it all done.

I love being home for the holidays!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving

Our suitcases are out and some of them are even packed. Yep. I have to run to the store this morning and get some food for the trip, and once the kids arrive home from school, we will be loading up and heading out.

This will be my last post until after T-day, so best wishes to everyone for safe travels, good food, better company and an enjoyable holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

heard around the table yesterday

The kids helped me clean house yesterday after church so that I could focus on making our pre Thanksgiving turkey dinner. We are traveling this year and I won't be the one cooking. So, I made a smaller version of what I usually make and we sat down and enjoyed turkey, green beans, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy along with pumpkin pie and apple pie. It was so yummy and such a nice day all the way through.

The youngest suggested we go around and list what we were thankful for while we ate. The usual items were listed, but then a comment was made that tied back into the homily we had heard earlier in the day.

Our pastor has begun to deliver a four part talk on Hope. His premise is that Hope, one of the virtues, is often misunderstood. If you look at the opposite of Hope, which in his opinion is isolation, hope is best understood. He used three examples to help illustrate his point: marriage, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and then a personal memory of a day he spent at St. Jude Children's hospital.

Hope is basically being truly WITH someone. You are WITH them on the journey, you may not have the cure, solution, answer, but you are WITH them physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. By our presence we are Hope to each other.

I don't often enjoy this priest's homilies, but I thought the idea he was putting forth was a good one. Community, friendship, family, your spouse....that is Hope.

So, when it was my turn at dinner to say what I was thankful for I said I was thankful for my husband and the youngest said, "Yeah Mom, just like in church today, he is your hope...so without him you'd be hopeless!" Which of course had everyone laughing.

Good dinner, good conversation, lots of laughter and love....guess our house has Hope.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ready, set, friday

Stopped in Target yesterday to pick up one of the youngest's Christmas gifts. Going to take the plunge into technology and get the kid the cheap iPod. Darn, the thing is as small as a thumb drive for a computer. Tiny. Wish it had a book size carrying case with a transmitter to notify me on my cell phone of its location. I fear, already, that it will be lost in the hurricane that is his room, within a few days of it being unwrapped.

I'm slowly making progress and checking off items on the Christmas list. I'd love for this Christmas to be one of those where the boxes are big, plentiful and piled knee deep and half way across the room. Not going to happen. The older they get, the smaller the gifts become! Not to mention they get increasingly more expensive.

I do need to make a Costco run to pick up the middle kids contacts and drop off her glasses for new lenses. Will get a few more gifts while I am there for the Wii and perhaps a leather purse for one of the girls. Good prices and I have coupons!

Finished the Dan Brown book. Now I can say I've read it and we can move on from there. All the talk right now is about the New Moon movie. The oldest is threatening to clock anyone who swoons over it as they go on and on and on about the storyline. The middle one just wants to see the actor playing the werewolf, sans shirt, of course. We all agree the actors from Vampire Diaries are WAY better looking and as one said in a clip last night...."I'm glad I don't get old, I like being the eternal stud." We all laughed and said, yep, got that right buddy!

So, with that, we are ready for the weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

when what is old is new again

I started reading Dan Brown's latest thriller, "The Lost Symbol" yesterday and am already two thirds done with the novel. My neighbor loaned me the book, and I am very glad I didn't have to wait at the library for it or shell out any money to purchase it.

I'm not going to bash the book. Hey, his writing may not be stellar, but he tells an entertaining story that millions of readers enjoy. I've read better and I've read worse.

He doesn't break any new ground here. If you've ever watched the History channel, you know all the Masonic ties built into Washington D.C. He takes the same 'conspiracy' approach in this story that he has used so successfully in his other novels. The story has a cast of characters very similar in type to his other stories....psychopathic villain, scary government officials, serene mentors etc.

So, what do you do when what is old is new again? Well, you read the book, return it and be happy for a writer who is making millions entertaining people. It may be formulaic, but he sells and he sells BIG.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

fantabulous

I think I've read six Dresden Files books at this point and I have to say I'm addicted to them now. As soon as I finish this post I will be logging on to the library's website to request two more titles from a neighboring library. Can I just tell you how much I hate it when our library doesn't own the complete series and has piecemeal portions of it?!

Ahem.

Well, "Small Favor" was a fun read. Butcher puts together one Gordian Knot of a plot to enjoy. Harry is in debt to Mab, yep, the genuine Queen of Air and Darkness, the big Winter Fairy herself. When she comes to collect what is owed her Chicago suffers a blizzard of the century and puts Harry smack dab in the middle of two kidnappings and a war between the agents of Heaven and Hell. Not to mention with him now on Mab's 'payroll', Titania the Queen of Summer has sent the Gruffs (as in three billy goats) out to eliminate him from the picture.

Inventive, funny, action packed and filled with a buffet of supernatural creatures...I just loved this book.

Going to dive into Dan Brown's latest today....hard to leave my new buddy Harry alone, but I have to wait until those requested books arrive before I can immerse myself in Jim Butcher's wizardly Chicago world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

taking notes

As much as I've learned to use the computer, I still enjoy using a notebook for certain things. I need to go through two different websites today and make notes about things that need to be updated. A notebook comes in handy for that even though I could open up a word doc and flip back and forth between the two screens. I'd rather write down on paper the changes and then type them into a word document. Yes, it is an extra step, but the slower process helps me think through exactly what I am doing and trying to say.

I remember reading an author comment on how it was too easy to delete his work now that he was writing on a computer instead of typing on a typewriter or handwriting his fiction in notebooks. He feared that some good stuff was being lost to spur of the moment decisions to hit the delete key.

The middle of the day is going to be occupied by an expensive but necessary purchase and installation of new tires for my Honda. My beloved mini van is now three years old and has close to 40K miles on it, so some new 'shoes' are in order before we do our holiday traveling.

I will be taking the Dresden Files book I am reading with hopes of finishing it sometime today as I have another book waiting in the wings. The neighbor has loaned me the latest Dan Brown book to read, and I need to finish that one before her inlaws arrive on Friday. Her mother in law is a big reader and will want to have a chance to enjoy the book during their visit.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

in the groove

Last week wasn't one of the more productive weeks I've had, but I managed to make a to do list on Friday and check every single item off as I completed it. Yes, I waited until Friday to get going, but once I did, I was glad I buckled down and worked.

It always feels good to finish several tasks. Makes you wonder why you procrastinated in the first place.

I have some long term projects that need work now. These aren't the types of things that go easily on a to do list. They are the projects that take days and even weeks of steady effort to finish. Of course, with the calendar showing we are entering the holiday season, perhaps now isn't the time to begin such efforts. I'm going to do it anyway.

So, watch out long languishing WIP and heads up to the unfinished genealogy project. Both of you are in my sights and it is time to pull the trigger.

I'm getting back in the groove.

Friday, November 13, 2009

tgif

What a strange week it has been with the kids having a day off on Wednesday. I sort of feel like I've already had a weekend and now I'm getting ready for another. Which, I guess, is a good thing!

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner and then Christmas. I'm excited to get into the attic and pull the holiday stuff out. It has not seen the light of day for two full years now as we've not been at home for the last two Christmases.

I watched a depressing movie yesterday, "Revolutionary Road" starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a visually stunning movie in some regards, lots of theme laden cinematography, but all in all, very depressing. I'm reading a Jim Butcher Dresden Files book. I have an end of year soccer season recap article to write. I also have a variety of other chores to complete both on the computer and off. Just not feeling the motivation to get ANY of it done.

So, I better just make up my mind, hold my nose, and dive in as I don't want to have to even think about any of it over the weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

good week for soccer

Hey! The middle kid's team won their first game of the season last night by a score of 4-1. She played so well and had several assists, great passes and through balls. Goooooooo Cougars!!

And that victory on the heels of the oldest kid being given a Coaches Award for her leadership on and off the field. Yippee!! At the start of the season she truly felt she'd been handed some 'lemons' but as we discussed she made lemonade all season long. She told me last night that she drank the whole pitcher and enjoyed every drop.

Hope the goodness continues for the rest of the week as I have several 'things' going on with family and friends

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

on the plate

Try a new recipe.
Get middle kid new specs and contacts.
Walk the dog.
Laundry.
Read.
Soccer game.


Mix together, bake at 62 degrees for 14 hours and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

mixed bag

Nothing is better than a shiny new project. Energy runs high. Excitement bubbles over. And that all lasts for a few weeks, if you are lucky, then reality sets in. I have a few shiny new projects that are waiting for me as well as some projects that are quite a bit older and the luster is long gone.

In the meantime, normal every day stuff waits to be done. The stuff that keeps the household running and the inhabitants clothed, fed and happy. What a mixed bag of late, a real hodge podge of activities and events.

Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely 2 hour meeting with the current president of the Friends. I am so lucky to count her a friend and know she will be there to support me as I get use to my new role.

I have a soccer banquet to attend tonight with the oldest. This is always an interesting affair, lots of dynamics going on, people to watch and such. I often feel very out of place at these events, for a variety of reasons, but will soldier on and plant the smile on my face.

Before that I will be attending the visitation for the husband of one of our Friends of the Library. His wife is a delightful woman and I have always enjoyed chatting with her and hearing stories about our Town 'back in the day' as well as discussing topics ranging from history to politics to religion.

It is going to be a very diverse day and I think the walk I will take with Duke may just be the best part of it or at least the one part of it that I need to be able to get through the remainder of the day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

an echo in the bone

I finished the latest book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series last night. So sad to turn the last page and know I will have to wait up to three years for the next installment in the Jamie and Claire Fraser Family saga. I loved this book from start to finish, and there isn't much more to say than that. Gabaldon is a pro at weaving together multiple plots, characters and history into a singularly spectacular read. I will now be leaving the 18th century and heading back into the world of the Dresden Files.

Lots of bits of this and that ahead for the week. I'm beginning to jot down things that I will need to address, change, update etc come January regarding my new role in the Friends. A meeting this morning will help begin that process.

Soccer banquet this week for the oldest kid. Soccer game for the middle kid and who knows what is in store for the youngest kid.

Hubby is headed off to a funeral in the middle of the week. His 97 year old great aunt passed away on Saturday and he is going north into Illinois for her service and burial.

Feels like a Monday! Full steam ahead.

Friday, November 6, 2009

fussy

Guess the cash register at the bookstore is being a bit fussy, so off I go to meet the new manager this morning and see what we can do to fix it. At least I hope I can fix it....it has been over 2 years since I programmed the thing, and I know that the manual wasn't the easiest set of instructions to work with then.

I hope to be home in short order and look forward to cleaning up the front and side flower beds. Lots of plants to cut back and lots of weeding to be done before winter sets in.

Up next, the kids will all roll in from school and while the boys are camping tonight, the girls are working. Hoping Netflix delivers the next movie from our queue so I can spend the evening watching some entertainment. I think by that point I will be more than ready to sit and put my feet up.

I've also been fussing around with making notes about what things need doing for the Friends. It is always best to act quickly when I get these ideas in my head, so, maybe I can spend some time formalizing these thoughts and getting them into the computer into some sort of document.

So.....Fuss with the cash register, fuss with my flower beds, fuss with the laptop...Just a fussy Friday ahead!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

crunch, crunch, crunch

I took our dog as well as the neighbor's greyhound for a long walk yesterday. The two get along amazingly well and actually walk together in harmony. With the dry weather we've had, the leaves are nice and crunchy along the greenbelt paths that wind through our neighborhood. Each step taken resulted in a symphony of sound between the leaves, the acorns and the twigs on the sidewalks and paths. Three miles later, all three of us were tired, but what a glorious stroll it was. Crisp, cool air, bright blue skies and falling leaves. Perfect way to spend the morning.

I was honored yesterday to be named the next president of our Friends of the Library group. This group has become such an important part of my life and their mission is one that continues to be dear to my heart. I've always loved libraries and to be able to help our local library through the Friends is very rewarding. My mind is already turning with ideas for what I want to give to the group; how I'm going to follow in the footsteps of our past two presidents, two very active and insightful women in our community. I have BIG shoes to fill, but am excited to serve. And I have a group of great gals to serve with me...which makes it very fun!

I'm up to the 300's in my book and the story continues to roll out with gusto.

Tonight our oldest is honored as she is inducted into the high school Beta Club. Looking forward to seeing her 'moment'.

But, first up, a doctor's appointment this morning and then a visit to the bookstore....Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

when you have 800 pages to read

I started Diana Gabaldon's latest installment in the Jamie and Claire Fraser saga yesterday afternoon. This novel, "An Echo in the Bone," clocks in at 800 pages of smaller than normal font sized type. I'm savoring every single word.

Something special happens when you pick up a book peopled with characters who have been in your head for over a decade. It is sort of like going home. A sense of belonging happens, a happiness settles in your soul. A continuity exists in that unique relationship between the reader and the world the author has created and shared.

I enjoy these books on so many different levels: multilayered plots, unforgettable characters, loads of history and interesting historic detail about daily life in the colonial period.

So, for the next several days, I will immerse myself in this novel and everything else will have to wait.....it is Fraser time!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

names

Read an interesting article in our paper today about babies being named after cities. I've never quite understood the need to saddle a child with an unusual name. Perhaps this is because my mom has a very unique name and doesn't like it. I'm much more intrigued by family names, names with some history, names that surpass a certain moment in time.

My oldest daughter has a slew of friends named "ashley" all spelled in a variety of ways, but pronounced the same. Both girls have friends with what would pass as a surname for a first name. Very trendy and very stuck in a 'moment.' I would guess that because of the Twilight phenomena we will see a boatload of Bellas and Edwards in the years ahead. Ugh.

Names do come in and out of style....we don't see too many Marilyns, or Lucys or Agnes names these days, but other names from years gone by are still around. Some names are timeless and hence we still see babies being named Sara, Claire, Anne and Elizabeth!

One of the things I like about fiction writing is that I get to come up with names for my characters and I love to hear stories about how authors select names for the people in their novels. But, feel sorry for the poor folk who end up sharing a name with a famous character, like Harry Potter. I'm sure that poor man gets his share of clever jokes lobbed at him. He probably wishes he had a magic wand and could turn the jokesters into toads!

Monday, November 2, 2009

busy week

From the looks of the calender on the wall, this week could shape up to be a very busy one. Lots of soccer practices, one game, two doctor appointments, one Beta club induction ceremony etc. The list goes on and on! The first week of the month always seems to be overloaded.

So, today, I'm off to restock the pantry. It is all too tempting during weeks like this to eat out and not cook. I will be looking for some quick fix items.

I picked up the latest Diana Gabaldon book, "An Echo in the Bone," yesterday from the hold cart at the library. I need to hurry and finish the Jim Butcher book I'm reading and dive into Jamie and Claire Fraser's world yet again. I started reading the Outlander books when the girls were toddlers! Now they are teens and I'm still reading them...it can take Gabaldon three years to write one of her novels, long stories with lots of good stuff between the covers.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

yeah!!

It is Friday. Just had the dog retrieve the paper for me and discovered it is really warm outside, the wind is howling and I think it is fixing to get ugly.

I have a three hour miniseries to watch today that I ordered from netflix and a promised dinner out with the hubby.

Yeah!! Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

best bit in the paper

The best bit in the paper today was about caskets. Did you know that you can buy caskets online from Wally world, Sams and Costco? I sure didn't! I guess the funeral home has to let you provide your own coffin if you wish and the online retailer has to guarantee that the casket will be delivered within 48 hours.

Wow. Plus, some of the online stores even have 12 months same as cash payment plans.

On to other news........

The intermittent rain is wreaking havoc with my calendar. I've scratched off and rewritten so many soccer practices that I have no room left for any more changes this week. Now both girls have something, supposedly, for tonight that was supposed to happen earlier in the week. Plus, the boy has his school open house/book fair.

Wonder if those online retailers sell clones or at least a Rent-a-mommy for those nights when you need to be in three places at approximately the same time.

Of tonight's activities, the book fair ranks near the top. I love a good book fair. I remember the first book I bought at a book fair. It was a book about Indians that I purchased when I attended Gates Elementary school in Aurora, Il. I loved that book. It had great pictures in it and short paragraphs about a variety of different Indian tribes. I had to be pretty young, I only went to Gates from kindergarten through half of second grade...then I had to leave my Mary Poppins teacher and start school in a different place with the Wicked Witch of the West's clone!!

I wonder if the staff at Boulder Hill Elementary ordered her up online....oh wait, those were the days before the Internet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

wow, guess the wine dude was right!

Sitting in the ortho office today and as I'm reading the big fall recipe section in the October edition of Southern Living....lo and behold they have a framed bit highlighting wine suggestions for under $12 a bottle. I scan the list and there was the wine the guy sold me....the Concho Y Toro Frontera Carmenere!

But, have to tell ya, I paid only $6 for my bottle. He gave me a deal!

and off they come

Taking the middle kid to the orthodontist today. Her braces are coming off at long last. She's been counting down for the last month and has already requested I bring an apple when I pick her up. First thing she is going to do is bite into a nice crisp Fuji!!

While I was out for my errands yesterday, I swung by the library and picked up the three Dresden Files books they had. I guess I'm going to have to go into the online catalog and see if they own the rest of them or if I can have them sent from other locations. I also need to check and see if they have the next two books in this Margaret of Ashbury series I've started. I'm really enjoying this book by Judith Merkle Riley. I also had a short chat with one of the librarians about the state of the collection and my daughters latest trip to B&N. Yep, when you see rows upon rows of new fiction at the bookstore and nothing in the library trouble is a brewing. I don't have hundreds of dollars to keep them in the latest published YA fiction titles and apparently neither does the library.

I think the days of the Friends money going towards 'fluff' purchases is coming to an end. Perhaps it is time for a concerted effort to bolster the collection budget for specific areas.

Now a totally different topic....while I was at Costco last week I popped into the liquor store after I did my general grocery shopping. How convenient that they have one right next door! I was on a mission to find a wine I had seen advertised in The New Yorker. The name of the wine intrigued me (Cupcake) and I was interested enough to see what they had available. Well, the delightful and very knowledgeable salesman/manager got his handy dandy pocket wine rating notebook out and proceeded to enlighten me on a variety of wines. I didn't purchase any of the Cupcake ones as he said the cute name didn't match up with the taste in his opinion except on one white wine, which I don't usually drink in the cooler months. I'm more of a red wine girl when the temps start to dip. So, I did end up purchasing two wines from Chile. Never had Chilean wine before, but the Frontera is excellent.....enjoyed a glass the other night with the steak we had. I bought three bottles, two from Chile's Concha y Toro and one Ravenswood, which will most likely last me until the spring thaw!

Looks like the rain has moved out....and the paper has just been delivered.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

give it a whirl

Now that my stint as the book store manager is over, a little perk that was a holdover from my days of actual paid employment has been rescinded. Yep, I won't be getting movies for 'free' anymore at the library. So, I signed us up for Netflix yesterday...this was after the oldest kid and I paid $9 to rent two movies at Blockbuster. For that same $9 I can rent as many movies as I want, one movie at a time, during a month. I can also watch movies on my computer. Turnaround time, according to the neighbor, is one day. Yep, you request the disc and the next day it is in the mailbox. WOW. How cool is that? Like Magic!

So, the oldest and I are getting ready for a marathon session of watching all the old episodes of Supernatural. Plus, I requested a series from the BBC called Lost in Austen that looks fun.

We have a two week trial period to give it a whirl.

Started reading a book by Judith Merkle Riley, "A Vision of Light." Was only able to read a few pages before it was too dark to see in the car. The middle kid worked out with both of her teams yesterday, bet she will be sore today.

Waiting to wake the oldest and see if she is going to make it to school or not. She wants/needs to go, but if she isn't substantially better than yesterday, she won't be catching that bus.

Rain has moved back in for the day it seems. The dry and sunny days were nice while they lasted.

Monday, October 26, 2009

okay, here we go

Got one home sick today. Finished the latest Dresden Files book. Need to clean my house. Looks and feels like a Monday to me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

read it and weep or not?

Very interesting....check out the link about the book price wars, the article itself has links to other publishing industry blogs about what all of this could mean.......

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/10/and-then-everything-in-publishing.html

coupon

Oooooh, got an email today from B&N with a discount coupon. I can always manage to find a book, use the coupon and feel like I got a major deal. May have to make a stop there after I make my Costco run today.

Not much else to comment on today. Yesterday was quiet. I finished reading the Dresden Files book, number four in the series. Really liked it, but then what is not to enjoy? Wizards, werewolves, faeries, magic and Chicago! I started the latest in the series last night and think I will try and read all the titles in between soon. Jim Butcher does a great job of getting the reader up to speed so you don't have to go back and read the ones you might have missed, but I'm going to do that anyway.

Hope the rain we endured all day yesterday moves out. I'm ready for some blue skies and sunshine.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

numbers

Got some numbers yesterday while I was spending an extra long time visiting with a friend at a local watering hole having lunch. Yep, hubby called to let me know he was across the river and heading west and I told him I was in a bar. He of course said, "that didn't take long, celebrating my departure already?" My friend and I laughed, but when he called back two hours later and we were still there....we really laughed. Not that sweet tea is considered a hard drink by most folks.

Anyway, while we were lunching and gabbing, a 'little bird' who shall remain forever nameless mentioned hearing some library card renewal numbers at a meeting. In our last big Friends meeting, the numbers were not given...although to be fair, no one asked for the data either.

I asked the 'bird' if he/she would share them with me. I got them later that day. What it boils down to is that only 25% of the recorded card holders have reactivated their cards since the new policy has been in place. 6% of library users identified as non residents have paid the nonresident $25 annual fee. $10,000 has been generated for the Town as a result.

So, 69% of the library cards out there haven't been renewed. Were they ever used in the first place?? It will be most interesting to see if the numbers continue to inch up or if we reach a plateau and are left with a REAL number of library users instead of an inflated one based on the sheer number of cards out there. What will this mean for staffing, funding etc? This whole effort to shed burdensome users may end up shooting everyone in the foot. Now the Town will know exactly how many folks use cards and can use that number when allocating funds.

Are you shortchanging 30,000 library card holders or only 4000 library card users???? Hmmmm, methinks the size of the constituency has SHRUNK.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

long week

This week feels like it has lasted twice as long as it should. Some weeks are just like that. Not that I've managed to get extra stuff done.

With Halloween just days away, the holiday season is kicking off in short order and I am not ready for it at all. Some stores have Christmas stuff out already. Ugh.

I'm still reading the Dresden Files book. Good story, just haven't managed to sit down long enough to finish the darn thing. Watched a movie yesterday while I did laundry....'New in Town' with Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick; very cute chick flick set in Minnesota.

Not much else to report and nothing clever floating around in my noggin today.
Happy Wednesday.....better let the dog out, he is giving me the 'look!'

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

book price wars and stuff

Guess Target is entering the fray between Wally world and Amazon......

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-target20-2009oct20,0,7009944.story


Ugh. Off to the doctor today for my annual physical. Black coffee is nasty stuff. I'm such a condiment coffee drinker....bring on the milk and sugar. But, I needed that jolt to get my brain in gear and managed to choke down a cup and a half of the stuff. Tomorrow I get to look forward to a dentist appointment, time to get the teeth cleaned. I clearly was out of my mind when I scheduled these two lovely visits on back to back days.

High school soccer manages to drag on as now the oldest kid informed us they have a scrimmage against the other JV squad on Wednesday night. No more details than that. Geez, a time would be helpful, coaches. She had back to back soccer yesterday....scrimmage after school and then a three hour club practice. One tired young lady by 9:00. Good thing she didn't have a lot of homework.

Middle kid had a scrimmage and then tonight has a game.

Youngest kid had loads of homework, most of it 'seat work' that he didn't get done while in his seat at school. Must have been something going on that kept his interest from completing all those language arts workbook pages.

And so it goes.........

Monday, October 19, 2009

books and soccer

Click on the link. So, is this a good thing or no? Yeah for being able to buy some of those bestsellers dirt cheap. Boo for what this will do for the already hurting major bookstore chains not to mention the small bookstores. I'm going to be looking for some commentary from some of the agent blogs I read to see what the general take on this new development is. Always interesting to read their opinions on the state of publishing.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091016/ap_on_re_us/us_wal_mart_book_price_war

It was a mixed bag soccer weekend. Oldest kid's team won their sunrise game by a score of 3-0. She has a scrimmage today, will share keeper duties with another player, against the varsity squad as they prepare for state play. That team must win on Thursday to advance to regionals. I'd love to see her shut them out in her half! Middle kid's team lost all three games in Arkansas but played hard and had fun. One of the other girls' moms said that several parents from the final game's other team commented on how good the girls were. Why, yes, yes they are! The youngest kid and I hung around and did a whole lot of nothing, although I did get him to practice his piano and we went down to the Square for a hot cocoa. And no, the latter did not depend on the former, no bribery was involved. I needed to pop over there and get some cinnamon creamed honey....we are addicted to it.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

rolling in the grave or a big thumbs up?

Check this out.....you know I will be reading this one:) Too bad it won't debut on Halloween!!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091017/ennew_afp/entertainmentbookdraculafrance_20091017101719

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my friend Anne's Birthday!!! Happy Birthday, Anne. May your new year be filled with good and interesting things.

I will be so glad......

When this portion of the ongoing soccer season is over, I may have a bottle of wine with one of the other mothers to celebrate. Nothing better than finding out about an unexpected and unscheduled weekend game after the kid has already been committed to work at a mini tournament as a referee. Nothing better than murky, mysterious emails that require a variety of other emails to determine what the email is really saying. Didn't realize 'communication' was a four letter word.

Thank goodness the head ref is her spring soccer coach and totally understands that this sort of craptastic stuff happens and could find someone to cover the game she will miss. Thank goodness I'm an early riser and being at a soccer field at 7 in the morning for an 8am kickoff isn't that difficult for me.

Did I say I'd be glad when this portion of the soccer year ends??? I'm so ready for league play to start. Soooooo ready.

Venting over....for now.

So, one kid plays one game and then refs 11 for her weekend activities. One kid along with hubby travels west for a weekend tournament. And one kid stays with me. Here is hoping for sunny and dry days.

I think we all need them. I know my disposition does.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

hey, beginning to mold over here.

Okay, waking up to the sound of rain, yet again. It stayed dry yesterday, unless you happened to step into the yard and then you'd sink up to your ankles. We are so waterlogged at this point; I'm beginning to fear what may happen when the temps truly begin to drop and the precipitation stays with us. Hmmmm. Cold air plus lots of moisture usually equals that dreaded white stuff that I thought I left well north of the Mason-Dixon line. I may not be a Southerner by birth, family history or anything else, BUT I do enjoy the weather HERE much more than the weather THERE. I need sunshine. I need dry breezes.

I also need to find some new books to read. I finished the delightful Hester Browne series and am in need of some new titles. After I dropped the girls off to Youth Group last night, big scavenger hunt activity to participate in, they came in third place by the way, I hit the library. Found two Jim Butcher books, his Dresden Files series. Thought I would give those a whirl. The problem is, I'm not sure what I'm in the mood to read right now.

Watched the movie 'Push" yesterday. It was okay. Neat concept, but not that great of a movie. I wasn't glued to my seat. Think I will watch "Defiance" today. Daniel Craig is always entertaining to watch and this movie is set in WWII about Jewish resistance fighters.

Feeling a bit scattered today....I think it is lack of sunshine! My brain just doesn't operate at peak efficiency when subjected to these weather patterns for days on end.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

mid week

Everyone heads back to school today. We had a nice fall break even though the weather put a damper on what we had planned for Monday and Tuesday. Sometimes it is just nice to stay home and veg out on the couch with a good book or a good TV show.

Not sure what I will do today. I finished reading the third Little Lady Agency book and cheered at the end. I knew she was with the wrong guy and when she realized it, I let out a little 'whoop' of joy. Yes, I got way to invested in these stories.

Now I need to get back onto facebook as the hubby and the girls have become seriously addicted to Cafe World and they left me in charge of serving the 'food' while they are unable to play the game. Ugh. Not that I should throw stones as I do like to play some of the shorter, timed games.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

and our wet, rainy fall continues

If winter follows the path autumn has taken, I have high expectations for 'white stuff' more than once in the months ahead. Middle kid's soccer game was called off last night and her game tonight, if the forecast is correct, will be rained out. The oldest kid has practice this morning and two games later in the week, as her season winds down. I'm getting the laundry room ready for mud.

We ended up visiting the mall yesterday for out outing. Stopped in the bookstore, always fun to look at the new titles and wish the library had them as well. Frustrating for me to see the great amount of YA books and know that our library won't have them for a long time if ever. We also went to the makeup store and the girls got some new eye makeup. I remember those days when a new liner or mascara could make my week....now, who has time?

I'm reading the third Hester Browne book about her Little Lady Agency. These are fun books filled with British humor. I've enjoyed the first two and the third is shaping up to be just as delightful.

As it does look like rain again, I think we will probably watch movies this afternoon and stay out of the weather. I had hoped to make a trip into downtown and visit a certain island we've never seen, but I'd rather wait for a more sunny afternoon for that excursion.

Back to reality tomorrow, but it is a short week and should fly by.

Monday, October 12, 2009

fall break






I think everyone needed fall break. We've had such fun already. Took a short drive to a lovely park and had a cookout with our neighbors. Smores, brats, and a dutch oven dessert....yes, we were heavy on the sweet stuff, but it all tastes so good when cooked outside. Then yesterday we hit the zoo to see the latest exhibit featuring grizzlies and wolves. I could watch the wolves play all day long. The zoo has three youngsters, beautiful creatures. In the same exhibit, they have three grizzly cubs who were trying to catch fish while we watched them. They are very good fisherman yet, but it was very funny to see their efforts and the looks on their faces...such determination! We also watched the polar bears for a long time as they swam around their 'home.' Such fun to see them so up close. Loved it and the weather cooperated for a change. The zoo is also all decorated for fall....hubby and I made the kids take of pic of just us to celebrate our successful fall break adventures.

Today isn't looking too promising as rain is forecasted for the entire day. The super dooper double dopler is quite green in every direction. So glad we managed to get the yard and two of the large flower beds put in order for fall. I actually had hubby help me and we totally gutted the back beds. Things were just out of control after six years and it is time to start all over. The bed outside my kitchen window is looking quite barren, but ready for spring planting. I'm already thinking about what I want to do back there....and I have all winter to dream about it. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the next two days and the break we have from our normal routines.






Friday, October 9, 2009

little lady agency

Hester Browne's novel, "The Little Lady Agency" is easily summed up....FUN. Meet Melissa, a recently sacked secretary in a real estate office. Mel, needing some money to keep her in tea and biscuits, decides to harness her amazing organization and etiquette skills and create a business geared towards helping hapless men navigate social settings, gift buying and even domestic staff management. She takes on the persona of "Honey", puts on a wig and her business takes off. Add into this a cute American real estate mogul, a darling best friend, a funny and cute flat mate, nutty family members and you have a darling book.

I can't wait to get my hands on the next story in this series. Just the thought makes me want to brew a pot of Earl Grey, set out a tray of digestives and read the afternoon away.

Homecoming week comes to a close today with Spirit Day, a football game and the big dance. The first nine weeks of school ends today. Wow. Fall Break will mean the kids have Monday and Tuesday off from classes. Hope they are able to rest up and start refreshed on Wednesday.

Lots of fun things planned for the weekend and I hope our weather cooperates.

TGIF.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

550 posts later

When I logged into my blog this morning, I noticed I've hit the 550 mark. Yep, I've written over 550 blog posts. Not sure if I've managed to say anything earth shattering in that time, but I've enjoyed using a blog. I usually write my entries as I savor that very first cup of coffee, before the kids and the hubby start to stir and the house is quiet.

I've blogged about books, reading, my volunteer work, my kids and hubby, my friends, the library and a few other of my passions.

It usually isn't too difficult to find a topic to write a few words about. There is always something going on.

So, here is to another 450 as I look at 1,000 as my next goal.

Started reading, on the recommendation of my friend Anne B, "The Little Lady Agency" by Hester Browne. I love the wit and humor that comes out of Great Britain and this book has plenty of it. Very witty, very cute, very British, very fun......and not literary fiction by any stretch of anyone's imagination.

I'm off on a field trip with our youngest today. Tour buses filled with fifth graders are making their way into the city to see the sights. Soccer mom I may be, but field trips are not my cup of java. It is five o'clock somewhere in the world, right?

The Friends meeting went well yesterday and I was given a glorious bouquet of cut mums as a thank you for my efforts in the bookstore over the past two years. They flowers looks amazing in my family room and I was so grateful to receive them. I love what I do for the Friends and I'm so glad I'm a part of that group.

Fall break begins tomorrow after the last school bell rings as well as Homecoming events at the high school. Looking forward to the mini vacation for the kiddoes. We have a few things planned and I hope our weather cooperates.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the magicians

Whenever I read a book that can even remotely be classified as literary fiction, I suffer a bit of anxiety. I usually read what publishers consider as genre or mainstream/commercial fiction. Genre stories are straightforward and while they are highly entertaining and can communicate wonderful emotions and human truths, they aren't supposed to be full of hidden images, symbols and mind blowing insights into the human condition.


So, when I read literary fiction the anxiety comes when I start thinking to myself...am I getting 'it.' The 'it' being whatever lesson or moral the writer is trying to impart. "The Magicians" qualifies as literary fiction and even though the book started off really well and even though the blurbs on the back cover rave about the novel, it was just okay for me.

Part of it I loved; I thought Lev Grossman did a wonderful job of digging deep into the whole idea that learning magic and being a magician is hard, mind numbing, body damaging work. Yet, the whole coming of age angst, what does it all mean, and ennui laden tone of the book just didn't appeal to me. The characters became self indulgent and irritating and the book began to lose its charm.

The writing, in many spots, is beautiful. Grossman writes lean and powerful prose. The pace of the book is good. The concept of the book is really neat.

But for all those good things, at the end it fell flat for me. Maybe I just didn't get 'it'.......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

odd feeling

Even though I am officially finished with my bookstore duties, one of my very faithful volunteers asked me to help her move the 'cherry picked' donations from last week out of the store and into the stocking closet. I showed up at 9 and we were able to finish the work by 10:30. A lot more than what is needed was pulled from the sale to be kept for stocking the store. We needed romance paperbacks, but the rest is just extra stuff that is nice, but the nonfiction bins are so full it means a big inventory swap is in their futures.

It was odd walking away from the library and to the car yesterday knowing that I'm not responsible for that endeavor any more. It really hit me.

Then, of course, I got home and the emails were flying about the money we brought in and how it should be allocated. Looks like Wednesday's meeting will be an interesting one. Think I will need to bring a calculator along, we have some number crunching to do.

Today I need to clean house and finish reading "The Magicians" so I can return that book to the library.

Monday, October 5, 2009

hunker down

Our weather had taken a severe right turn into FALL. It rained all day yesterday, non stop and the temperature stayed well below 60. Brrrr. Ugh. I made a huge crockpot full of beef stew and then made a huge pot of chili. We had the stew last night for supper and will have the chili today.

I'm off to the library and bookstore today to help one of the girls move all the good donations she pulled last week to save for the store. They have to be relocated into the stocking closet, but it shouldn't take very long at all. Then I need to hit the grocery store for a few oddball items I seem to keep forgetting, like corn starch, noodle soup and dandruff shampoo!!

"The Magicians" is a slow read. I can only take small doses of it. How to describe....literary fiction about magicians, serious, dark, adult, interesting. This isn't a gobble it up quick sort of book...more like you have to just nibble your way through it. I'm enjoying it, but will be ready for some lighter fare once I am finished.

The oldest had great success over her away game soccer weekend. They won all three games and all three were shutouts for her as the keeper. Yeah!! The middle kid is quite the U8 referee according to reports from those at the scene. She did a great job of explaining to the players the rules of the game etc. It was 'her' field and she was in charge!! Love it. The youngest enjoyed watching a show on some science channel about ten way to annihilate the planet....he is not alone in his geekiness as there are lots of adults out there who are as intrigued with black holes as he is.

If the fields dry out we may have a soccer game and a soccer practice this evening...off to look at the forecast and the super duper double doppler radar screens for our area.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

books, books, books

The Friends of the Library book sale is underway. Last night was the pre-sale for members. From all reports, it was a smashing success with 30 new memberships purchased and lots of books sold. Today the sale opens to the public and there is nothing better than helping folks find books to read. I just love talking authors and stories with our shoppers....avid readers are such a fun group.

Birthday felicitations today to my Uncle Matt who turned 73 yesterday and my bestest friend since our freshman year in college, Cindy, who turns 45 today.

I started reading Lev Grossman's book, "The Magicians" and have already determined that this is going to be a good one....I'm on page 47. Can't wait to spend some time with this novel over the weekend.

Had a delightful lunch outside on the patio of one of our local Tex-Mex places yesterday with my usual lunch crew. Nothing better than good food, great weather and fun conversations.

The oldest and hubby head off to the middle of our state for three soccer games. The middle kid is refereeing five soccer games this weekend. The youngest and I will find some sort of trouble to get into I'm sure.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter


I remember exchanging emails with Michelle Moran after her first book came out. In it she mentioned that this book, "Cleopatra's Daughter" was in the works. I was so excited as I too wondered what happened to the famed Cleopatra's two surviving children, her twins Alexander and Kleopatra Selene.
I knew they had been taken back to Rome, but that was about it. Moran does an amazing job of fleshing out their stories and grounding her tale in the often very harsh realities of ancient Rome. She has such a knack for making the past come to life....things and people today aren't really all that different than they were then.
Selene and her brother wind up living in the household of Octavia, Marc Antony's last Roman wife. They are raised and educated alongside her other children as well as several extended family members. Far from their beloved Alexandria and Egypt, they both long to return home, but realize that their fates depend on the whims and political maneuverings of Rome's ruling family and Egypt's conqueror, Octavian.
Moran tells a great story and manages to weave in historical facts, events and people in a seamless manner. Although this book is categorized as adult fiction, I think YA readers would also enjoy the novel as the main characters are in their early teens for most of the book. Nothing better than being educated while you are being entertained.
Moran's next tale is going to be about Madame Tussaud....and I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

jackpot

Sooooo excited! While I was at the library yesterday, I found several books to borrow and when I went to the counter to check them out, the gal let me know that a book I had requested arrived and was on hold for me. It was Michelle Moran's latest, "Cleopatra's Daughter." Whoo Hoo! I'm only about 140 pages into it, but am enjoying every page. Michelle has a great gift for bringing history and the people who made it to life. It is almost like she sat down and interviewed all of them over a coffee at Starbucks, they jump from the pages....quite a gift.

I will post a complete review when I finish the novel. I also found an very interesting looking book called "The Magicians" that I can't wait to read.

Jackpot day in the stacks. Nothing better.

Today is all about getting things in place so I can spend the rest of the week working the book sale at the library. Middle kid's soccer tournament is off for the weekend, but the oldest and hubby will still head east to take on some tough teams from the middle of our state.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

going to be a busy one

Busy week ahead as the fall book sale is here. Set up begins Tuesday night and continues Wednesday and Thursday. The actual sale is Friday and Saturday. Throw in a soccer game and then two tournament during the upcoming weekend and we have a lot to do.

Realized the book I found in the donation pile is one I have already read. I hate when that happens! Ugh. So, I need to find some things to read while I'm at the library today.

Soccer was a mixed bag this weekend. The oldest kid's team tied one game and lost the other two, each by a score of 1-0 off of plays where her defenders didn't quite make the smartest decisions. The middle kid was able to referee two games yesterday and is eager for that paycheck as the U19 games pay the most money available.

Our weather has finally cleared and sunny skies are predicted for the week ahead. Thank you Mother Nature! We all need to dry out after the dowsing we received over the past 24 days.

Happy Monday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

quick post

The oldest is awake, munching her cereal and waiting to use the computer as she needs to complete a transfer off a thumb drive and return the drive to a friend at school.

So, short post for today.

19 out of 24. Yep, that is how many days of rain we've had. Ugh.
Think I will clean closets and desks today. Ugh.
Think I will reward myself with a nice long afternoon reading a book I found donated at the Library. Yeah!

Enjoy the weekend....ours will be soccer filled as they try and make up games that were rained out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

story time

Six years ago when we moved to our fair town, I still had a preschooler. When we went to the library to get our library cards, something we did on the third day after the moving van left, I picked up a schedule for story time. I was eager to meet other moms and figured that would be the perfect way to do it. We attended once a week and then went over to Chick-fil-a for lunch.

I tried the story time that was held down at our Town Square, but we never became regulars at that event. The day and time didn't work for our schedule once preschool started.

Story time continues to be offered at the library and a variety of dates and times provides plenty of options for the preschool set. However, the Square has been without such an activity for several years now. The wonderful lady who used to read and entertain sold her toy store, eventually went to work for the library and is now retiring.

On Friday, story time is returning to the Square. The owner of the local and independent coffee shop is partnering with another store to offer a story time. The first guest reader is the Town Mayor and he is reading one of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York's books. The listeners will hear the story at the coffee shop and then be treated to a simple craft along with milk and cookies at the other store.

Sounds like a winning proposition for all involved.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

all the news that is fit to 'print'

Hubby and I had an interesting philosophical conversation yesterday. With the advent of what is deemed 'new' media, who are the information gatekeepers? It used to be that the big three television stations were the only televised source for news. Now news channels are a dime a dozen and are even specialized into entertainment, financial and op/ed categories. Used to be that your local paper carried UP, AP and Reuters stories along with local reporting. That diversity is absent now. The more affluent folks could perhaps even get an edition of a major city newspaper along with their local paper. Now, papers are going bankrupt and any national paper, like USA Today, offers only abbreviated stories buried beneath half page advertisements.


Now, it is often the newsmakers who are often the communicators of news. They blog, tweet, facebook etc their way into the headlines. Are there any filters or gatekeepers left? Who drives the news cycle? Who checks the facts? Who determines what is news worthy and has the definition changed? Journalists were supposed to be the watchdogs for society and keep a keen eye on our government, business etc. Now, true investigative journalism is rare and you have to wonder at the objectivity of any of the news outlets....after all, they are mostly owned lock-stock and barrel by BIG business.

News travels so fast. News cycles are non stop. Information goes viral with one You Tube post. We have access to any data we want, whenever we want, delivered how we want. There are so many gatekeepers now that truth is suffering and objectivity is on life support. You can get your news delivered from a source that leans in your philosophical direction; neatly packaged to agree with your political/religious/ethical viewpoint.

I once had a friend tell me that if you wanted to know what was really going on in the world to watch BBC news. They still reported the news, investigated the news and presented the news. I wonder what Journalism school is like nowadays.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

you're up early

What happens when hubby gets out of bed a full hour earlier than normal? Well, one thing you get is a very short blog entry. I can't write and carry on a conversation at the same time. I'm talented and can multitask with the best of them, but that skill set is beyond me.

The meeting yesterday went very well. I have a whole lot of cleaning to do today. The rain seems to be moving back into the area after a dry day yesterday. I bet all soccer events are called off, yet again, for tonight.

Okay, now he is trying to find the malt-o-meal......reminds me of the Pickles cartoon strip I enjoy reading. If you haven't looked at that strip, do so. It is hilarious and reminds me more and more of some people I know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

up next

Today I am running a meeting for our bookstore volunteers. It is, more or less, my last official act as the store's volunteer manager. We have several housekeeping things to go over and then I will introduce the new ladies and that is it.

Two years done.

What is next? Well, I've let all of them know, that after the big book sale next week, I am going to be absent from all bookstore related things. I need a nice long break and the new gals don't need me lingering around.

I think I'm going to take a yoga class. I also think I will work on my fiction writing again. I have some household projects I need to finish. Basically, I need to shift gears and refocus.

Watched an interesting movie over the weekend: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." In many ways, this was a beautiful movie. The cinematography was amazing. The Canadian scenery was gorgeous. The acting was flawless. The script was interesting. Add it all together and you get some Good Stuff.

Friday, September 18, 2009

friday

Here comes the weekend and it looks like the rain we've had since last Sunday is going to hold on and stay with us. ugh. ugh. ugh.

The sun came out for a brief moment yesterday and I walked out to the patio and stood facing that bright, glowing, orb and just let the sunshine beat down on me. I get a little disconcerted if I go without sun for more than a few days. Going without sustained sunshine for a week is trying my patience. I thought we left this gloom and drear when we moved away from the Great Lake region and settled in the south.

I finished reading the de la Cruz book yesterday.....so-so. Not sure if it was the book or if it is me. I found myself skimming the last fifty pages and that is never a good sign. Sometimes a series has a book or two in it that just don't quite capture your full attention and I'm hoping that this is the case for this book.

Up next is the latest Marcus Didius Falco mystery from Lindsey Davis. Our intrepid Roman sleuth is on vacation in Alexandria when the head librarian winds up dead. These are clever books with sly wit. Yum.

Hope the sun is shining somewhere; maybe we will get some afternoon sunshine like we did yesterday. It might be enough to get me through until this system is replaced by something more to my liking.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

today

I finished the Casey Daniels mystery I had sent over from another library. "Tombs of Endearment" was just as cute as the other three Pepper Martin mysteries I've read. Up next is the latest YA book from Melissa de la Cruz in her vampire series. "Revelations" picks right up with the story of the angels/vampires in upper crust NYC.

After the regular Thursday happenings at the library and bookstore, tonight will be one of those special moments for my youngest. His elementary school has a different grade perform a collection of songs at the monthly PTA meeting. After five years of singing, by 5th grade, they have quite a backlist of music. Tonight they will do their final performance and sing a medley of songs from all the years they have attended the school. He's been singing his favorites for us since class started and practice began for tonight's program. Next year when they all head off to middle school, life will change in a big way for them and this sort of 'thing' just isn't done. But, I have high hopes to be sitting in that auditorium for band concerts!

Soccer has been rained out all week. I just hope it dries out enough for the recreational season to start on time this weekend. The older two kids have games to ref and they need the money. The middle kid will make her debut as a center ref and has been assigned to four U8 games....nothing better than watching 'hive' soccer as those little ones scurry around the field like a swarm of bees after that ball. The older one has center ref duties on four U10 games, which means she will get to try and explain the whole concept of offsides to yet another crop of players and parents and sometimes even coaches! Soccer keeps you more than physically fit, when you are a teenaged ref, it also teaches you diplomacy, patience and assertiveness.

The mantra for today is "rain, rain, go away." Hope the sun shines a bit on all of us today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the book sale is coming

The Friends of the Library's big fall book sale is just two weeks away now. I'm not sure what I enjoy more, setting up for the sale or watching the people find great deals on books they haven't read.

Setting up can be a lot of work, but we always share a lot of laughter too. After holding several of these events, the organizers have the set up process down to a science. This time, we have finally convinced the main organizer to let us keep the book store inventory closet closed. Yes, for the past two years we have emptied every item from that closet and moved all of it into the store. Then we filled the closet back up with books for the sale, mostly romances, and then when the sale was over, reversed the process. It was extremely labor intensive and took four ladies working solid for 5 hours to get just one half the work done. So, this time, the doors will be locked and the romances put out with the other books on the banquet tables. The four of us went out for lunch to celebrate the fact we didn't have to move the contents of that closet, twice, this year!

I always work the fiction room during set up and have organized the hardback fiction for the last two sales. We also have a nonfiction room and a children's room.

We always have interesting customers. The only thing more interesting is what they buy. You just never know what someone will 'find' and have to purchase. Then when we start the bag and box sale late Saturday, wow, people just grab books and fill those containers.

I'm working the sale on Wednesday, Thursday during set up and then on Friday for a bit. Soccer tournaments will prevent me from being on hand Saturday.

We've raised as much at $8K at a sale, but since the store has been open, our total has dropped a bit and we consistently raise about $6K over the two and half days. Lots of volunteers give time or food and the community spirit that is fostered is amazing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

swoon

As far as brain candy goes, some of the current crop of YA books are destined to provide plenty of cavities. And that is fine, to a point. Not all books have to prove a point, provide a lesson or deliver some amazing 'truth' to their readers. Some books are just fluff and should be enjoyed for their fluffiness.

Then there are books that are so fluffy that they slip over the line and become irresponsible....they suck their readers into thinking that the fluff is a desired reality. That is dangerous stuff when the targeted audience is teenaged. My latest YA read isn't fluffy...and I can't imagine that most readers would want to inhabit the world between the covers.

"Swoon" started off as an interesting read, but by the end, I wasn't so sure that the author didn't intentionally include every teen angsty problem and then some, just to counter act the fluff that some other YA paranormal books deliver. The dedication was to a reader who wanted something darker....and Nina Malkin delivers just that. Let's see, we have teen sex, teen drug use, teen drinking, teen burglary, sexual abuse, adultery, patricide, suicide and the list goes on and on.

The base story was very intriguing. A ghost haunts the tree where he was hung after being convicted of murdering his lover back in the 1760's. Said ghost then possesses a young girl, then goes on to trick another girl into creating a 'golem' for him to inhabit. Once given his own body, he then delivers all sorts of 'bad' to the citizens of the town, the modern day descendants of those who killed him and his love. He is the ultimate bad boy, his nickname is even "Sin"....with no soul...who can only be redeemed by the love of his creator.....

For me, this book came across as a bit too much. Sometimes when a novel throws in everything but the kitchen sink of teen aged problems, it just doesn't work. The interesting idea of a golem was not enough to carry the plot I guess. It is not that a book for teens shouldn't talk about serious issues, but when every single one is incorporated into a single plot, it just got to be a bit much for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

books

It seems that I've beaten back the cold and am feeling almost totally human again today. In addition to the daily naps, gallons of juice and boxes of tissues I've 'enjoyed' over the last week, I also managed to read quite a few books.

"Sacred Hearts" by Sarah Dunant is a lovely book about friendship set in an Italian Benedictine convent during the Renaissance. Dunant's story focuses on Suora Zuana, the herbalist of the convent and newly arrived Serafina, a young woman who had the misfortune to fall in love with her singing teacher before being shipped off to the convent. Dunant focuses on building such lovely characters, their internal thoughts, their external action...it all melds together in such a magical way. Even though her books are set in a historical time period, you 'know' these people, because although the times change, what doesn't change is what is inside each of us. Good read.

I also rediscovered the Ursula Blanchard mysteries by Fiona Buckley. This is another series set at Elizabeth I's court. Ursula is often 'in service' to the queen and Cecil, solving mysteries and rooting out treasonous folks. These are good mysteries, plenty of twists and turns and interesting characters as well.

Up next is a YA book titled "Swoon." So far, decadent, guilty pleasure....paranormal, but no vamps or werewolves.

Friday, September 11, 2009

another at home day

Going to have another at home day today....the cold seems to be lessening its grip on me, but I'm still a long ways from my usual, productive self.

So, I will be enjoying Sarah Dunant's book, "Sacred Hearts," drinking another gallon or so of orange juice and breaking into my third box of tissues.

Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend etc......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

eclectic

I seem to have fallen prey to a fall head cold. No, it isn't h1N1, it is just a garden variety irritating head cold. Good thing I have books to read, because other than trying to nap, that is about all I'm capable of doing.

I finished Karen Chance's latest novel in her Cassie Palmer series. "Curse the Dawn" is action filled from the first page to the last. You have to read these books in order as Chance doesn't devote much time to getting a new reader brought up to speed as the story/plot unravels at a fast clip. Now Pythia, Cassie is still learning the ins and out of her office....with the help of war mage Pritkin and master vamp Mircea. I sort of have a love-hate relationship with these books. They have all the ingredients I enjoy, but for some reason I'm always left thinking the book just didn't quite succeed on the level I needed it to. Weird. It is almost like there is too much action for the plot to have any depth.

I also went ahead and read book four in the Casey Daniels' Pepper Martin series. Now, this series is getting better with each book. Good mystery, nice twists and the characters are growing. I've requested book three be sent from our neighboring library, so I will read that one once it arrives and be caught up with the adventures of the amateur sleuth to the dead, Pepper.

Up next, a total change of pace, I delve into literary fiction with Sarah Dunant and her latest historical novel.

Two soccer games tonight and only one mommy....farming one out and taking the other one to her game; box of tissues in tow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

life isn't fair update

As of now, it appears that the girls WILL get to play. Once we sign an additional waiver....they can continue on with their co-ed season and keep their team together.

Hats off to some very persistent folks in our local soccer association office for staying on this and finding a solution.

life isn't fair

Girls are allowed to play on boys' soccer teams. Our state soccer association acknowledges that, our national soccer association acknowledges that and our local organization gives their okay to it as well.

But, as of this morning, the middle kid, along with four of her female teammates, will not be allowed to compete with their team in their team's U16 boys soccer league. And because the team needed those five girls to even take the field, now the whole team is in jeopardy for league play. The team is still approved to play in three tournaments this season by those event directors.

This change is despite the fact that the roster was stamped and approved weeks ago by the league. This is despite the fact that they have already played two games in the league. This is despite of local and national rulings on the matter.

You see, our local league is run by one man. And one man has the veto power and has decided to yank the roster and not allow the team to play if they field the girls. The team can borrow boy players and continue on if they choose to do so. But, no pony tails on the field from this point on.

Why did this happen? Well, kids get hurt playing soccer and last week one of the girls got hurt....by her own goalie....who is a girl. The ambulance had to come. It is serious; a concussion that is still being observed. The same freak accident could have happened in an all boys or an all girls game. It could have happened in a basketball or baseball game.

Accidents aren't gender specific or gender neutral.

But apparently, the facts and even the stated rules aren't relevent.

Hard to look your kid in the face and tell them, it is all about money and lawsuits and the fact that even today some folks don't think girls should be playing with boys.

So we wait to see what the team votes to do. We have options. Our local organization is working with us. We have the ability to shine a light on what has happened. But in the meantime, my kid will be sitting on the bench Thursday night, dressed out, cheering on her team and holding her head high.

Nope, Love, Life isn't fair, but how you deal with the unfairness makes all the difference in the world....if not for you, then maybe for someone else.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

blah, blah, blah

Now that we are well into the school year and we've settled into our daily routine, the 'blahs' have hit all of us.

The youngest put it well yesterday. "Mom, when do we get our next vacation."

With Labor Day behind us, the next break for my students will be in October. I'd like to say we have great big plans for that four day weekend, but we don't. I'd be happy for some nice weather so we can ride bikes, maybe picnic and take some good long walks over at the boardwalk in one of our parks. Not exactly the stuff that my kids would say "Wow" over, but it is a break in the routine, although I'm sure the older two will have school projects and papers to complete over those four days.

But for now, we are all functioning on autopilot and cruising through the days.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the pepper martin mysteries

I stumbled across book four in this series via the donations to our used bookstore. When I searched the library's online catalog, I was happy to learn that while our library didn't own the series, another nearby library did. I promptly requested books 1 & 2 from them. I've finished them both and give author Casey Daniels an enthusiastic thumbs up for her series.

Pepper Martin is a former 'rich' girl who takes a job as a historic cemetery tour guide after her doctor daddy is sent to prison for Medicare fraud. Pepper then proceeds to wear a pair of stilettos on a tour, trips and winds up knocking her noggin on a headstone. She wakes with the ability to 'see dead people.' In the first book, "Don of the Dead," her ghost-du-jour is a former mobster who was murdered over 50 years earlier. Pepper is given the task of solving the murder so he can 'move on.' The same formula is used in the second novel, "The Chick and the Dead". The books deliver plenty of twists and turns and fun characters. I need to request the third novel so I can read them in order.

In the meantime, I started to read the latest Cassie Palmer novel from author, Karen Chance. I'm only a few pages into this one, so I will save my comments on this series until after I've finished it.

No True Blood on HBO last night as the big season two finale is next Sunday evening. Hard going not getting my Sookie and crew fix to wind up the weekend.

Today is Labor Day and we usually have a cookout with our neighbors. However, our 6 year old tradition is being broken this year. Some sort of viral nastiness has hit their house and while they are on the mend, they are still run down, coughing and congested...so we all agreed to postpone the festivities to another date. Not sure what we will do to fill the void, but I'm sure something will turn up.