Friday, April 30, 2010

end of week uncertainty

Mother Nature is toying with us yet again. I just finished looking at the NOAA site and checking out the forecasts for the cities where my soccer girls are scheduled to play this weekend. The forecasts don't look conducive to being outdoors kicking a ball around.  Of course, the one tournament is three hours east and the operating body has a reputation for not canceling events in a timely manner. Let's hope they look at the NOAA page and decide that 100% chance of T-storms means that you should tell folks by noon on Friday not to get in their vehicles and start driving.

The other event is much closer, only an hour drive and isn't scheduled to begin until later on Saturday. I fully expect that match to be called off as this town is in our region and is under a flood watch as we are for the weekend.

At this rate, I'm never going to have the chance to have my mulch delivered let alone distributed into the five large flower beds surrounding the house.

But, all of that aside, I'm looking forward to watching "The Young Victoria" today with my Anglophile movie friends and enjoying a nice potluck lunch. I'm contributing some French Onion soup via Costco's frozen food section and a small dessert of imported chocolate via Aldi's. Yum.

Whatever the weather, enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

flesh circus

Zombies. Voodoo. A circus that draws in the damned. Lilith Saintcrow.  When you pick up one of Saintcrow's books you know you are going to read some awesome fight scenes, have your stomach get a bit queasy and have your head bombarded with word pictures of some pretty scary stuff. "Flesh Circus" delivers on all fronts.   And while this book deals with lots of scary, nasty, hellish Things, it also deals with the very scary and human emotions that come with relationships.

I like Saintcrow's raw and often brutal writing style. She calls herself a 'hack' on her blog, but it takes a lot of talent to write fight scenes that make you feel like you need a shower to wash off the zombie bits when you finish the chapter.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

birthday greetings

My Dad reads my blog from time to time and so this Happy Birthday Greeting goes out to him on the occasion of his 70th!! Here is to a great day for you and an even more wonderful 70th year.

Love you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

slow weekend and not one minute spent reading

We were stuck at home almost all day on Saturday due to some major weather action rolling through the area. Experienced some big hail, some major thunder/lightning and lots and lots of rain.  I bet we received 4 inches of water by the time the system finally moved east. Thank goodness, no tornadoes in our area, but south of us, ten folks lost their lives due to tornadoes.

I didn't open one book to read. Not sure what I did, but it didn't involve words on paper. Hubby and I did watch a movie with Russell Crowe and Leo DiCaprio titled "Body of Lies." Good stuff, but never heard much buzz about it. Sometimes when a movie tackles current political/geographical issues, the subject matter is too fresh to draw an audience.  The acting was good, the plot was good....I'd recommend it.

Sunday brought the sun, some shopping and lunch out with my girls and one adopted 'daughter' feet were tired, but it was fun to be able to not hurry through things as we had  nothing else we had to do.

A weekend without soccer was most needed and gave us all an opportunity to breathe before the craziness that is May begins.

Friday, April 23, 2010

from 60 to 0

Mother Nature has put the brakes on our super mega busy soccer/camping weekend. Yep, the NWS is calling for some of the major nasty stuff to descend upon our region tonight and tomorrow. Ugh. They are using the "T" word quite liberally and the forecast just looks rather, well, ugly.

So, good thing we have plenty of books to read. Plenty of movies to watch, if the power stays on and plenty of home work to accomplish.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I couldn't sleep past 4:30 this morning. I went to bed at my normal time, but woke up and wound up in the kitchen making coffee well before 5. Ugh. It happens and when it does, it makes for a very long day.

I'm not having much luck reading the next book in my TBR stack. This one is from Katie MacAlister, who I love, but whose series books most definitely need to be read in sequential order. This must be book three or four as with each page I am more lost, confused and disappointed that I'm not following the storyline. Think I will set it aside and move on to another novel.

Until then, I need more coffee....lots more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

when you aren't being heard

My neighbor and I made a point of attending our high school's AP/Honors open house last night. Our kids are taking a decent share of those classes, yet when it came time for scheduling next year's work, all three were encouraged to enroll for even more AP/Honors courses.

When is enough, enough?

After a telephone discussion with one of the counselors, it was stated that the school administration tells the advisers to push as many of those higher level classes as they can get the kids to sign up for. It is not their job to talk about balance, handling work load or recognizing that most students need to have a 'life' beyond the school work. This was reiterated to us last night by the principal.

Yes, some kids can handle the work. Or at least they appear to be handling the work, until, as one girl admitted to us, a panic attack hits during the first week of school because 5 AP classes were too much. Yep, this poor student almost passed out from stress, and the principal's comment was she is to be commended for trying.

High school students shouldn't be having panic attacks. Where is the BALANCE????

Another trend in the conversation was the lauding of 'select' universities and how they look at the AP/Honors course enrollment in the admissions decision. Public universities were spoken of with a dismissive attitude, as a student would have to settle for attending that type of institution.

And this is in a public high school.

I'm all for my kids stretching and challenging themselves and working hard to learn. I'm not for buying into the agenda that taking AP courses makes you a better person or attending a 'select' university makes you more employable or more important.

We walked away knowing we weren't heard. Our point of view was dismissed. The administrator's comments had very patronizing and borderline defensive tones to them. Sad. But, I also did learn that when it comes to scheduling my children's course work, I wield the ultimate veto power and without my John Hancock on the dotted line, nothing is final.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


With the recording of the two books I read over the weekend, I've now logged 30 books into the 'read' column for this year. As I work my way through the pile I currently have, only three more to go in that stack, I intend on switching back to YA and reading a variety in that category next.

Thirty books in 4 months, not too bad. I doubt I will keep up that pace, but if I could I'd shoot for making it to 100 books in 2010.

I received my first official pin from my boy scout son last night. Each time he advances in rank, I get a pin to wear on a special ribbon I can attach to my shirt. It was quite the eye opening experience for me to see the Troop in action and to watch the boys/young men at the meeting.

We have a night off from soccer tonight. Yeah. We need a break before the big tourney this weekend, well it will be a big tourney if the weather report is wrong. We may see two days of thunderstorms. The neighbor and I have already decided to hold off on our mulch order until next week as we don't relish the thought of having yards and yards of mulch delivered the day before a gully washer. Even tarping the piles won't help much when the yards are like sponges and the flower beds like mud pits. So, we delay and see if the extended forecast is more amenable to our plans for making our flower beds all nice and pretty.

Enjoy the Tuesday...all day long:)

Monday, April 19, 2010


The whiplash effect is starting to set in as I alternate reading the literary fiction books with the paranormal romance books. It was a rough transition to move from Shiloh Walker's "Hunter's Need" to Ian McEwan's "On Chesil Beach." The switch from a serial killer mystery featuring an amateur sleuth psychic and her shapeshifter boyfriend to McEwan's incredibly restrained and precise story about mismatched newlyweds was jarring.

Yet, I managed to finish both books over the weekend and am ready to dive into a Katie MacAlister novel which is sure to provide a lot of humor along with the paranormal romance.

I'd read more from Shiloh Walker. I enjoyed the mystery laden plot in the book and how the romance factor didn't drive the story. This wasn't a cookie cutter plot filled with character's I've read before.

Ian McEwan is obviously a very, very gifted and skilled writer who is greatly admired and worthy of reading, but, moving into one of his stories after reading Walker's novel was too much of a shift. I'd try another one of his books, but my mindset needs to be different.

Friday, April 16, 2010

delete all

I just spent a few moments cleaning out my Yahoo email box. I had gathered close to 4,000 old emails and decided to purge everything that was older than April of 2009. I was left with close to 1300 emails for the past 12 months. Wow. That is a lot of email. I do get things automatically delivered to my email, facebook posts etc, but most of these were actually communications regarding the Library and the Friends as this account is devoted to those two entities and the people who are involved with them. I have a personal email that I use for the family and things pertaining to my kids' lives/activities.

Amazing how we gather stuff. The girls and I will be having a garage sale sometime this summer. Most likely very early on as the rest of the summer is quickly becoming booked with assorted things. They are eager to make some money off of the things they have outgrown, whether it is clothes, or toys or 'dustables.' I told them it will take them close to a week to set up and price everything, make their signs etc. They didn't flinch. Guess they are determined...which is fine. It will be a good experience for them to run one.

Still reading away. I finished another paranormal romance, Big Bad Wolf by Christine Warren and also a women's fiction book titled Starting Out Sideways by Mary E. Mitchell. Both were good stories. Sort of interesting to switch back and forth between these two genres. I'm really getting a feel for the differences in pacing, character development and even dialogue as I can make very fresh comparisons. I'm also starting to see the formulaic nature of the romances versus the women's fiction titles.

And with that, it is Friday and time for the weekend. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

hashing it out

I'm off to the Library today to sit in on a meeting to review our most recent book sale. The sale manager does this after every sale. She invites those interested parties who worked a lot on the sale to offer opinions, suggestions and comments regarding how things went, what we might change or do in a better way.

Each sale is different. We obviously have different inventory to sell as all of our stock comes from community donations. The weather is different and it is pretty understandable how that can impact our bottom line. We set things up in different ways depending on how many books in certain categories we have gathered over the months. Different folks show up to work. Some stay and work sale after sale, others come and go.

But the one thing that runs through all of the sales is that a whole lot of folks give a whole lot of time to raise money for the Library. This is truly a labor of love and those of us that sit down today to hash it out need to remember that being a volunteer for a cause you really believe in is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

pet peeve number two

So I'm reading another one of the books I found at the book sale. This time I'm back in my paranormal romance stack and the title provided the perfect example of another pet peeve of mine. This book is part of a series that is set in a 'world' but each novel has its own hero/heroine. Some characters are recurring, but for the most part, it is the romantic couple's story. Here is the rub: Sometimes these stories insert too many extra characters in an attempt to provide a link to future books. We meet three or more additional men or women who will eventually be the star of their own story. They seem to serve no purpose in the story except to wave a flag that says Hi, remember me when you buy this author's next book!!

Ugh. Continuity is great, but this character dropping device can run off the tracks pretty quick and it gets real old.

I finished the book in record time and have now returned to the women's fiction/literary fiction pile.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

hateful endings

I like books to end. I don't like when the words stop on the page but the reader is left wondering what happens next, what does this mean or has to reread the final few paragraphs to make sure something major wasn't missed.

Last night I finished a book that didn't end. I ran out of words and paragraphs. I reread the last two pages and was left with the feeling that I missed something.

Ughhhh. Not sure why authors do this. Does it make them feel artistic? Does it make them think it elevates the book to 'literature' status? One thing I know for sure that it does is honk off readers as I have read other blogs that complain about this same tactic/device: the non-ending.

So, after I close this out, I will be looking to see if I can find a sequel for said book. Not sure if I would read it, but I need to know, does Martha wind up with Fred or what????

Monday, April 12, 2010

good stuff

Lots of good stuff around here. The Friends had a successful Spring Book Sale. We made more money than my target goal. I found ten books at the sale to replenish my 'to be read' pile. I snagged five literary fiction titles and five trashy paranormal romance titles. I'm alternating between the two genres and am having fun discovering some new authors. I also found the majority of the required reading titles for my oldest's English class for next year. Spent a little and saved a TON. Yeah. I was also able to help out the neighbor's daughter, who will be taking the same class, as we had multiple copies at the sale. My good deed for the week.

The girls played some good soccer this weekend and emerged unscathed from the intense state qualifying rounds.

The weather was beautiful and we are slowly getting the yard and flower beds reclaimed. Mulch is on my horizon. I love to see those beds all neat, clean and full of weed choking mulch.

TCAP week starts today for the youngest, who is thrilled beyond belief to be taking these tests and having the chance to 'blow them out of the water.' I think he is thrilled because TCAP week means no homework, lots of extra recess time and plenty of snacks.

So, as we really settle into April, lots of good stuff all around.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've been AWOL of late at my blog. Just wanted to pop in and say I will continue to be AWOL until next week.

The book sale set up starts today and for the next few days that will loom large in my life. Toss in quite a bit of soccer, some household chores and a general lack of time to read.

Catch ya in a few.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

end of a series

I finished the fifth and final book in the Bonner family saga by Sara Donati. I'm not going to bother with trying to review this title, "The Endless Forest." Donati's books are long, packed with dozens of characters and filled with historical details. By the time you reach the fifth book in a generational saga, some of the characters and dead, but still referred to, others are not longer center stage as younger characters step into the limelight. Just suffice it to say, the series ends well. The last book wraps up the story of the Bonners in a beautiful package and is just as worthy of reading as the very first book. Maybe someday I will go back and reread the entire saga, one after another, and savor yet again Donati's fine talent for creating a really good historical fiction novel.

Next up, "The Burning Land" by Bernard Cornwell....I'm back in the clutches of Thor worshipping warrior Uhtred and his fellow soldiers as they get tossed about by the many factions that went into creating England.