Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Arts

Lately, I've been feeling the Martha Stewart vibe, I suppose. It started with some paint-it-yourself figurines I bought at Hobby Lobby. The next thing I knew, I was mixing paints and perfecting my technique. They still look like crap, but my husband thinks I am now crafty. Then came the should-we-do-something-for-friends thing for Christmas. I suggested that I could make pumpkin bread from a recipe my mom has used ever since I've been around, and probably longer. Hubs agreed this was a great idea, and we got right on it. Not only was I being a domestic goddess in the kitchen, but I took pictures!
We get a bit messy when we cook. Lol.

Only a little messy, really. . .

I could honestly eat all of these loaves by myself, once they're finished.

The finished product, with home-made (read: crappy) tags I made to distinguish which family receives which loaf. MMMMMM.

And, to continue my creative-artsy-awesome streak, I just bought two plain shirts from Old Navy. At first, I didn't want them, because they were plain, crew-necked t-shirts. They weren't "cute". But Hubby mentioned that we could go buy stuff to make them better. So, off to Hobby Lobby, where I bought some stuff for silk screening one and an applique for another. Perhaps I'll take pictures and post that one next? Stay tuned. . .

Friday, December 17, 2010

Look, A Nook!

OK, so I got a Nook for my birthday. Yay, yay, yay! I haven't blogged about it yet, because (here comes the old college cheer) OMG FINALS WEEK. But now I am ready to gush about my Nook.

First of all, it came as a total surprise. Then there was the fun in figuring out how it works and all its features. I learn best when I just play with tech, and so I tapped screens and looked up books and checked out the Barnes and Noble top 100, not to mention the New York Times Best-sellers list, all provided on the home screen. And then I made a promise before my mother and my husband: I would only allow myself one purchase a month. A MONTH! Because I could easily spend a hundred dollars in one day, let alone a month. Of course, I completed the first book and am now currently reading (for free) Pride and Prejudice. My fist purchase was . . .

Masques, by Patricia Briggs. It was new and it was written by Briggs, need I say more as to why I purchased the novel? The plus side to only buying one book is that I can still visit my library, although I'm currently torn between a bizarre attachment to my Nook and a strong desire to smell a book and turn its pages. There was a certain sadness when I returned my last check-outs; I thought I'd never set foot in my library again. And I LOVE libraries. But then my husband made a fantastic point. If I'm only purchasing one book a month, I'm still going to need my library, for the times when I sit idle, having completed the novel I had just bought.

All in all, you can't really lose with a Nook. I love the user-friendly interface; the fact that I can browse just like I'm in the store; the slim size that weighs about as much as a childrens' paperback; the matte finish on the screen to prevent glare; the ultra-crisp quality of the wording done in E-ink; and the space it saves.

I love books, and I will by no means abandon them, but I love my Nook, and it is now a very important part of my own personal library.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I went to the library today a little disappointed in myself. I hadn't finished my very last book. On the one hand, I should give myself a break. I can't read as much as I used to due to my job's stand against enjoying yourself and keeping good morale going, and on top of that I had a holiday to do and a paper to write before the holiday. Thank goodness I *did* write the paper when I did, because there was an awesome windstorm a-blowing on Thanksgiving, and the power kept going out, which would have sent me into a panic.

So, I went back to the library with every intention of rechecking The Devil in Green, since I'm already almost done with it, and finding one or two more. And here they are!

The Devil's Queen, by Jeanne Kalogridis.
You might recall that I checked out another book of hers last time: The Borgia Bride. I enjoyed this novel so much, I went and checked out the next one I saw on the shelves. I hope it's as good as the first one.
The Queen of Sinister, by Mark Chadbourne.
Chadbourne wrote The Devil in Green, which I am currently finishing, and I want to go ahead and give it five stars. I likable main character, with a cast of supporting characters that are all different, yet fit together so well. Witty, action-packed, thrilling. It's pretty awesome. When I saw that there were books 2 and 3 (I had to pace myself!), I had to check out the next one. Nothing better than reading a series through, all at once.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Library Loot

I was kind of optimistic about going to the library today, but I was a bit disappointed. When I told my husband I "only got three books," he found it quite amusing. "ONLY three, huh?" he replied. So, here is my loot, which took awhile to find, and which I am not at all sure about, as far as how good they will be. I guess that's the beauty of the library: I didn't buy any books I might not like, and I can give them right back.

The Borgia Bride, by Jeanne Kalogridis.I was definitely in the mood for another historical novel after The Mistress of Rome (great novel!), so I grabbed this one up. I plan on reading her Medici novel next.

The Devil in Green, by Mark Chadbourne.
It had me at "dark fantasy" and also "Tuatha de Danann." (Google it; it's great stuff.)

Darkborn, by Alison Sinclair.
I hope this one lives up to my expectations. The cover art is pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your problems? Not Mine.

One of my coworkers called in sick today, so I had to man his department. I was actually really glad because I didn't have to worry about Miss-Tattle-Tale or Big-Boss-Lady popping into the office every hour or so unexpectedly and could happily read my book in peace (while, of course, getting the job done right.) I had a peanut butter Twix and a Dr. Pepper to keep the munchies away, and all was well.

Until SHE walked in.

I don't know what this person's issues are, but she has them. I asked if she had an ID with her. SP, I promise.

"It's in my car," she snapped.

"Well, you need an ID in order to continue."

"You want my to go get it?!" (Incredulity. How dare I suggest she follow the rules?)

"Yes, please."

Big, disgusted sigh.
I'm not sure why this was a big deal, but when she returned, she threw the ID down. I took it, gave it a look, set it in front of me, and told her what computer was available.

"Can I have my ID back," she snapped at me again.
Honestly, at this point, it was beyond tiring.

"Well, I keep it for you, and then when you sign out, you get it back." (Weird, I know, but SP, again. Usually.)

"I don't want to forget it."

"You won't. I'll hand it back; don't worry." (I may even have smiled!)
Then she stared at me incredulously.

So, we had a staring contest. I finally raised my eyebrows in the classic "What do you want?" look that is, I admit, pretty impertinent and tends to piss people off.
"They've never kept my ID before," she barked.
I couldn't very well tell her it's because the new worker is incompetent and doesn't bother with pesky rules, but instead I silently handed the ID back. Whatever. It was either comply, or lose it and tell her I was being paid to help her (she could, you know, go to the next closest place that offers our services, which is about 4 hours away), so she should probably treat me a little bit nicer. I'm NOT getting paid enough to put up with tantrums and drama queens.

Afterward, I asked the coworker who had called in, via text, whether this girl was usually rude. He tried to reply diplomatically but he confirmed she was, indeed, not nice. Brownie points to me for not telling her exactly what I thinking!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Two weeks had gone by before I finished my last book from my last library trip. It's rare when that happens, but I had a bunch of school stuff to contend with. On the one hand, I'm aware that I'm probably stressing myself out way more than I need to, but on the other hand, I hate waiting until the last minute to complete an assignment and I have a desperate urge to stay way ahead of everything and do as much as I possibly can in order to get the best grade I can. But I can't give up my reading habit, so I do take time out to read, and thank goodness for my library.

Today's loot begins with Final Exam, by Maggie Barbieri, the last novel by Barbieri that I have seen on my local library shelves, and maybe even her last book? I'm not quite sure. If so, I've read her entire series.

Then comes Mob Rules, by Cameron Hayley. I was unsure about this book, but I decided to give it a try. Hopefully, it's worth the read.

Mistress of Rome, by Kate Quinn, was just too intriguing to pass up. I haven't read a historical novel in awhile, so maybe this is where I get back into the swing of really great historical fiction.

Last, and I hope not least, is The Barbary Pirates, by William Dietrich. I picked it up because of the title, but it seemed like a great adventure novel, so I threw it on top of my stack.

As you can see, a rather eclectic stash. I am excited because I can pick and choose what to read next according to my mood. Yay books!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, Have a Merry One

When I was younger, I wasn't too into the Halloween thing. The dressing up was meh, trick or treating was fun and candy was great, but it wasn't the best thing ever. But now that I'm older, I find that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the weather, perfect - getting cooler, smelling fresh - I love thinking up cute costumes I could try (so much more to choose from as an adult [get your mind out of the gutter, people, I think I just mean I'm more creative]) and just the festivity. The pumpkins and the smells, and the decorations.

It helps that there isn't this huge responsibility to get everyone the perfect gift because if you don't you're a horrible family member. Also, I like the eerie and strange, so this holiday works.

So, have a fun and safe Halloween!

P.S. How sweet is that book plate?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Library Loot

After finishing both Rosie Dunne and The Pirate Bride (both so enjoyable; I loved Rosie Dunne. Her life was so real, and even though I have never been anywhere near in her shoes, I felt she was really relatable as a character) in the same day, I knew it was time to head to the library. At first, I tried to find the stuff on my list, but I came up continually disappointed. Only one from my list came home with me. However, before I go looking for what's on my list, I look through the new arrivals, and because of a book or two I caught a glimpse of, I was suddenly in the mood for something a bit darker than my usual. So, without further ado, my library loot!

First off, Maggie Barbieri makes another return to my bedside table with Quick Study. This time, Alison and her detective boyfriend discover that Alison's friend's nephew has gone missing, and been found washed up in the Hudson River. Ruled an accident by the guys in charge, Alison and her detective aren't so sure. And so begins another great, fun romp into crime with the awesome heroine who can't seem to stay out of trouble.
The next book I picked up was Blood Song, by Cat Adams, despite my misgivings. I mean, they used the phrase "badly wrong" in the summary on the back. *cringe* But it seems just up my alley, considering my mood for urban and dark fantasy. Celia Graves is a bodyguard that ends up waking up on a slab in a university to discover she is now an Abomination, no longer human and not quite vampire. Her master is hunting her to either finish her off or complete her change, and the cops think she's a murderer. Now, she has to trust a powerful mage, his brother, a werewolf, and a single cop that isn't trying to decide whether to stake her or throw her in the slammer.
Lastly comes Midwinter, by Matthew Sturges. Suffice to say, it's about a man who must save the Seelie Court from the Unseelie Court and its evil Queen Mab. It looked suitable for my reading mood, plus who can go wrong with Fae fantasy?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two Books Down, Two to Go

I started with The Forest of Hands and Feet, by Carrie Ryan, because I didn't know what it was about, and it was a bit of a short read. I save my longer reads for last so I can savor them. I really enjoyed the book, finishing it in about a day and a half (work, school; I picked a crappy week to choose more books than two as I have homeworks, a quiz, a lab and a paper outline - which is turning into an actual paper - due within this next coming week. But I will get through!). While the book was disturbing and dark on many levels, the main charcter somehow always managed to stay positive and full of hope, which is what really pulled her - and me - through. Sometimes, I felt the book slowing down, and I would get impatient, but there never ceased to be something coming around the corner. When I try to sum up this book, I think Zombie Apocalypse meets M. Night Shymalan's The Village. I'm considering checking the next book out, just to see where it can take me, but there were parts that I was hoping could have been better fleshed out (ha, no pun intended).

Next came Extracurricular Activities, by Maggie Barbieri. I had high hopes for this book, and a good feeling I would get through it pretty quickly. Alison has to deal with crime in her little suburb, and she seems to be in the middle of it all, again. Her ex-husband is murdered, and she finds the body, sitting in her kitchen with all the signs of a mob murder. Then her neighbors leave quite unexpectantly, leaving her with their dog, and her suspicions about Peter Miceli, the mob boss, are being more and more validated with every kidnapping, break-in, and unexpected stop-by that he performs. The ending has a great twist or two, and she gets a lot closer with her detective friend. All in all, very satisfying.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Library Love

I brought back a few more books from the library this time around than I normally do. For one, despite my schedule, I find myself reading a lot (I am unashamed. I read before classes, between classes, during downtime at work), and I finished the last two books in a little under a week. So, even though I *did* make myself put one back, I got four. And I'm almost done with the first, which I got yesterday.

1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
I saw this on my sister's to-read list on good reads, and absentmindedly went looking for it at the library. When I found it, I knew I had to get it, even though I had no idea what it was about. I'm not disappointed.

2. The Pirate Bride - Shannon Drake
I've read Shannon Drake before, and I am *way* into pirates, especially bad-a pirate women that ruled the seas. This book brings about the idea that the dread pirate Red Robert is, in fact, a woman who has never let a foe live to tell (Dead Men Tell No Tales!), who falls in love with a man she has captured, and who must have an awesome pirate fight with her archenemy. What's not to love about this?!

3. Rosie Dunne - Cecelia Ahern
Penned by an Irish author (I'm also way into Ireland), Rosie Dunne is a story of love, a love that everyone sees except the two who are meant for each other. Told in notes and letters, etc., I think it's also known by the title Love, Rosie. I discovered this book through my Chick Lit book club. Go clubs!

4. Extracurricular Activities - Maggie Barbieri
I went to the library with this one specifically in mind, another in the Alison Bergeron mystery series. After discerning that this is probably the second on the list, I snatched it up. I hope it's as good a read as the first!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Once, I Did, Like, Two Things at One Time

Ever had one of those days when you feel like you're doing a million things at once, and then you say it out loud (or type all your multitasking out) and then you realize, you were not really doing so much? Yeah, it's one of those times.

So, I went to classes, and after my first class I:

  • did my stat homework
  • did research for my soon-due outline (sort of, more like in a week or two but whatever) for a research paper, and got an update on Sheila (now dubbed Cricket, as apparently that is what she ate to stay alive and OMG you do not want to know how that was discovered), and put together a mass e-mail in the hopes of finding someone that might want a new kitten, all of this at the same time, and . . .
Well, that's it. And you read it, and you realize . . . Calm Down. There is not a reason to rush, or stress, or feel overwhelmed. That was 3 (count 'em, 3) things done together that were not imperative to the salvation of your soul. Breathe. Finish your day, make some hot chocolate, and read a book. And enjoy the fact that life is not currently being flipped upside down at this moment, because in a day or two, it probably will be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book = Not Satisfying

I finished reading The Nanny Diaries, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, and I have to say that it was a good read.

At first, I found it somewhat amusing, the way the mother dealt with life in general and having a child in particular, but the deeper the book drew you into the lives of the Xes, the more sad it really got. Grayer X at first seems like a brat, but not for long. At age 4, he is carted around for French lessons, piano lessons, and any other lessons that will win him that "edge" he'll need to get into the best preschool, as well as constant play dates. As far as his diet is concerned,

"All servings must be pre-measured - NO additional food is permissible. All juice is to be watered down and drunk out of a sip glass over the sink or in the bathtub (preferably until the child is eighteen). All food is to be served on a plastic place mat with paper towel underneath, bib on at all times. . . NO food or drink two hours before bedtime. No additives." Yadda yadda, etc. etc.

They might as well add, "Child is not allowed to act like a child in any way, shape, or form."

The mother is rarely there, and the father even less so. The boy is like an accessory to them both. As you warm up to the little tyke, and get pulled further into the vortex of a cheating husband and his not-so-discreet woman on the side, at first you feel sorry for the wife. But, at what point do you stop putting a douche that could care less about his son and cares even less about you, before your only child? I know this book is about the Nanny, and she is most definitely mistreated (she gets paid 3 dollars an hour, when she calculates one of her paychecks), but you soon start to really abhor the parents and the way they deal with their child. And Grayer clearly only wants their love.

The ending was the most disappointing to me, not because the book was bad, but because I REALLY wanted Nanny to stick it to the parents (as in, shock the heck out of them, make them see reason, and then adopt the poor kid after they realize what they're losing). But, all in all, a good read. A lot more in-depth than your usual chick-lit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Murder 101

I really enjoyed reading Murder 101, by Barbieri. it made me laugh, and really kept me turning the pages with it's witty dialogue and a plot that trucked along at a pace that kept me quite happy.

When Alison Bergeron, an English professor at a Catholic college, is pointed to as a suspect for the murder of one of her students, two detectives are put on the case. It becomes apparent she isn't the one, however, pretty soon. (Maybe it's her penchant for puking and fainting when blood is evident). It *is* clear that she is on the murderer's list of loose-ends to tie up. Kidnapping, a bipolar Mob father, and a sexy detective that feels the pull of attraction as much as she, keeps this story a very fun, cute, quick read. I actually am looking forward to the next in this series, which was sitting right next to the first at my local library (yay!).

My favorite line, found on page 134: "I went to bed with a mixture of sexual desire and self-loathing, just like a good Catholic should. . ."

P.S. Don't worry, this book didn't get very steamy, although the sexual tension was plenty, in my opinion. ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Library Grabs

I finished Twenties Girl, and knew I needed more books ASAP, so I headed to the library today with high hopes and a list. I came back with two. Not because it was all I could find, but because the other books were quite large and I didn't want to get too overwhelmed.

The first book is Murder 101, by Maggie Barbieri. About an English professor, who is visited by the police with some good news and some bad news. First, they found her previously stolen car. Second, she is now a suspect for murder as one of her students was found dead in the trunk. With the help of her friend, Max, Alison must snoop to clear her name.

The second book is The Nanny Diaries, one I have been wanting to read for years. Let's hope it lives up to all the hype!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saving Sheila

Two or three days ago, I heard the sound of very loud, yet tiny sounding meowing outside of my apartment complex. Since I was taking my dog for a short walk before work, I couldn't really approach it, but once I took her back upstairs, I went in search of the tiny kitteh. I heard it hidden among some foliage, meowing it's little head off. I thought I caught a glimpse of a little body and blue eyes. I tried calling it; I tried finding it. It was too far in and it refused to come out. Racking my brains for anything I could do to help it, I immediately thought of the cans of tuna fish we had in our pantry. Sadly, they didn't have a pop top and my automatic can opener was out of juice. Then I realized I had a can of sardines. If I could pull one apart into tiny pieces, maybe I could lure the kitten out. But once I got to its hiding place, the tab broke, and the can remained stuck. Frustrated, I said a little prayer that someone else would find it and headed off to work. When I returned, I didn't hear any meowing, so I optimistically assumed someone *had* found it and helped it.

This afternoon, I was taking the trash out, when I heard it again, much louder, much more desperate. Immediately, I went to the bushes. The closer I got, the quieter it would become. I threw my trash to the side and got down on my hands and knees. It was hard to see, but there she was: a black kitten with green eyes, watching me warily. I tried caling it; I reached my hand in and it crouched further beneath its shrub. Finally, with no idea what else to do, I reached in, grabbed it behind its scrawny head, and pulled. Scooping her up into my arms, she immediately went quiet and curled into me. She even started purring a little. But all I could think was, "What now?" We can't have a cat. I didn't know anyone that wanted one. But I couldn't just leave her.

After a fruitless attempt at contacting a woman in my complex who was an advocate for animals, and a ring over at the humane society where they informed me all shelters were full, and many phone calls, I contacted my aunt. She agreed to take her, nurse her to health, and find her a home. I was so grateful I could have cried. I waited in my bathroom (to avoid a confrontation with my dog), letting the kitten sleep in my arms, until my aunt called. We surmised it was a little young to eat real food, and that not only was it severely dehydrated, but it was ill.

I hope you find a good home, Sheila. (Yes, I named the baby.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Library Loot

I planned on a trip to the library today, and made myself follow through, even though I knew I'd stay forever. I was a little disappointed, as there were many books that looked interesting, but didn't exactly *grab* me, and so I ended up heading home with only one: a highly unusual event for me. But it's for the best, considering my busy schedule lately. (For example, I spent a long while trying to complete my statistics homework this afternoon when I got home, and I have a test tomorrow.)

The good thing about the book I got was that it did grab me, it really, really did, and I am really excited about it. Having already started it, I have to say that I'm already happy to be along for the ride. A reading me is a content me. The book was a suggested book for my new chick lit book club, entitled Twenties Girl, by Sophie Kinsella. Not her usual chick lit slant, Kinsella introduces Lara Lington, who has just attended her great-aunt's funeral. And she meets her great-aunt's spirit. With a final request for Lara - find a missing necklace - she must find the necklace in order to put her great-aunt to rest.

What really intrigues me about this novel is the personality of the spirit - a real "twenties girl" - feisty, spirited, fascinating. I haven't gotten far into the book, but I' looking forward to meeting Sadie and reading the all about the shenanigans Lara gets into, not to mention the arguing and learning she'll earn through her old auntie. I'm not recommending, however, until I complete it. Until then, happy reading!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I live in South Texas, so when everyone at my work announced (at different moments in time) the first day of Fall, I might have said "yay" in my head, but it meant nothing to me. Our leaves don't change colors, and our weather doesn't get cool until - oh - December or so.
But this morning, I took my dog outside, and it was cool! It felt amazing! It smelled so fresh! It was Fall! Mind you, "cool" in South Texas is in the mid-60's, and, to give you an idea of how our weather here really goes, when a few of us found out that the high would be in the low 80's, we all cheered, because that is unprecedented so early and it's been so hot lately, but today was perfect. It'll change by tomorrow and it won't actually get "cool" until, you know, Christmas. But still! Count your good days!
P.S. I will be going to the library soon (when I finish the very latest book I have been reading, John Kessel's The Baum Plan for Financial Independence. Full-time school, plus work is not conducive to reading time.) When I do go to the library, I will blog about my picks, why I liked them/chose them, maybe a little about each one. I stole the idea from my sister, who stole it from someone else. I'll have to find out who and get back to you.

P.P.S. I joined a Chick Lit reading group, so some of my picks will be due to said reading group. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rain, Rain . . .

I love the rain. When I don't have to drive through it, anyway. Yesterday, my husband and I were driving home from church, and we hit a street that was starting to get pretty gnarly. Rain was spraying up over our hood, and my SO finally asked if we should turn around and head in the other direction, to his parents' house, which was closer. Honestly, I kept hearing that annoying standard reporter's voice in my head: "If you can't see how deep the water is on the streets, it's
safer not to try it. Turn around, and find a safe place until the water level goes down. I'm Sue Suzerain, reporting for . . . "
So, yes, I asked my husband to turn around. As we were busting our slow U-y, I looked further down the road we were currently leaving behind, and saw a car, stuck and stalled.

I headed to class this morning in a light drizzle. However, in Statistics, it was announced that we were to expect more of the same as the day before for this afternoon. My professor was correct. I sludged to my car, sans cute umbrella and matching - adorable - rainboots. Once I closed the door and breathed a sigh, I realized everything was soaked: me, my clothes, my flip-flopped feet, my backpack, my purse, and - oh yay- I was dripping steadily all over my car interior. The rain was coming down, but not as hard yet as it could have been and probably will be, so I grit my teeth, turned my defrost to blasting, and slowly eked my way out of the parking lot and to my apartment, where I promptly changed into dry sweats, and am pondering a cup of hot chocolate or maybe just a nice burrito with salsa.

Until next time: stay dry, my friends!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Career?

On break between classes this morning, I popped into the library and picked up a copy of the Library Journal magazine to pass the time. What I ended up reading was a bit distressing. When I first decided I wanted to be a librarian, I looked up some stats in the government's occupational handbook. It stated that because a lot of jobs were filled by babyboomers, and there was a general lack of interest in the field, jobs would start to grow for those looking toward becoming a librarian within the next 10 years.

It didn't anticipate the recession.

I'd been reading it in other blogs for awhile, but everyone complains about how little money their jobs are paying, how funds are low, so I wrote off all of the writings. But this magazine summed it up like a smack in the face. Because of the recession, or maybe its because the government doesn't see the importance of libraries, budget cuts have been harsh. According to the LJ, New Jersey received a vicious budget cut of 43%. New York City alone got a cut of $15 million dollars in funds. On top of it all, a lot of libraries everywhere had to layoff employees, or offer retirement incentives to give employees a graceful exit.

All of this meant two things to me: will libraries be there for me, like they were when I was a child, in even just a few years? And will I even have a career to look forward to after earning my master's? My husband assures me there will be a career, that there are no worries. I hope he's right. In the mean time, read the printed word! Visit your local libraries!

In case you're interested, check out, and see what I mean.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Orson Again

I recently finished an anthology of science fiction short stories put together by Orson Scott Card and it was amazing. I love short stories, especially science fiction, so I was glad when I finished my books and could read my husband's. Lol. The book, Intergalactic Medicine Show, was compiled to give readers a taste of the online magazine of the same name, once again headed by Card. I can't wait until my husband reads the book, so we can chat about our favorite stories, two of which I have already chosen. One is a re-make of the story of Uther Pendragon, from a much different perspective, with a bit of a dark twist. The other is very short, but I liked the overall feel, and the little twist. It definitely had a ring of truth to it.

Well, until my hubs reads it, and unless YOU read it, you'll have to wait for more elaboration on the stories. Until then!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Commercials Misleading: Who Knew?

Like any TV viewer, I run into the occasional commercial. There's always one that talks about how great the "actual customer's" mattress is; how they used to wake up with bad backs and sore necks. I never woke up with a bad back. Sometimes my neck was sore. Usually my hips or shoulders hurt, but I never put much stock into their claims that the right mattress could solve my sleep problems. The tossing and turning; the need to nap throughout the day.
But the new mattress I bought with my husband is amazing. I've had the best nights sleep on it; it's so soft and comfortable, perfectly plush, and I have felt energized and revitalized in the mornings and throughout my days. If you're tired all day, seriously, invest in a new mattress.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting Grown-Up Furniture

I have reached a new stage in my life; I can now say I am officially a newlywed (even the country says so; we got our marriage license back in the mail the other day). Well, I've been able to say so for two weeks now, but still!

So, my husband and I now live in my apartment, and we were faced with what a lot of newlyweds are faced with, which is that we can't really rely so much on the college-kid furniture. We want to build a life, start having real house ware, get rid of the rolling, primary-colors storage bin (red! yellow! blue!) that served as my night stand since I was a kid. The first order of business was a bed that was more suitable for a husband and wife, i.e. one that fit more than one person over the age of six.

I'd heard a song about a wonderful store that sold great things for cheap prices. IKEA! After searching online, we found a bed we both liked, but the shipping alone cost more than the actual bed. We bought a queen mattress set, and not too long afterward we finangled a day when I was off of work and we could borrow my husband's parents' mini-van and head to the closest store, three and a half hours away.

Having never been to an IKEA store, I was a bit overwhelmed. We already knew where to find our bed, which we promptly bought and packed up. But wait. Did we want anything else? It might be awhile before we got the chance to come back, and their prices were great. Plus, we dug their style. My husband was hoping for a coffee table (because, you know, I don't HAVE one), and I REALLY wanted to get rid of that rolling plastic bin I called a night stand. We had a nice bed, and I wanted a table to match. So, we hit the showroom. It was good that we both discussed exactly what we wanted before heading in, and how much we were willing to spend, because OMG I wanted everything. "But, babe! Look at this kitchen! Can't we just buy the whole kitchen?!"

Needless to say, we came out with a coffee table and two nightstands, all matching in color and complementary in style, for under $200 dollars. I left happy as a clam. We were starving after all that shopping, and promptly headed to the closest Dave and Buster's (never been). The food was yummy, and I love arcades. My husband and I tore through Time Crisis 4 and skee-ball. We earned enough tickets to load up on candy, but the line was so long I gave up. Oh well. Maybe next time I can actually earn enough coupons for a Dave and Buster's cup.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beach Bumming It

Yesterday, we all went to the beach, my fiance and I, the in-laws, and some friends of the family. One of my SO's brothers who is visiting from Utah has been seriously beach deprived, so the family has been going more than usual.

They packed up everything: food, soda, s'mores, chairs, roasting sticks, towels - while I was at work. And then we all hopped in two cars and high-tailed it out there. It was already evening, so there was no brutal sun. The wind, however, whipped my hair all over the place and blew sand into my eyes. I don't like the ocean water, considering I can't see what's coming at me, so I sat in a chair and watched the other kiddos swim out almost farther than I could see. Every once in a while, I caught sight of a patch of dark hair bobbing up from the waves, or a pale head, but that was it.

Eventually, my SO and I went climbing about on the dunes, hopping and skipping over grasses and sticks and left over detritus. I fell down one dune, getting sand in my eyes anytime I moved afterward. I actually love the dunes, though. We had a lot of fun. When we came back from our excursion, a small fire was just beginning. Eventually, it was large enough to roast hot dogs over. Unfortunately, someone left all condiments but mayonnaise behind, so I tried my best to eat one with mayo. It was so gross to me, I lost most of my appetite.

There was also watermelon, a great beach/summer-time snack. This watermelon was weirdly orange. I called it radioactive, but it was pretty yummy. There were s'mores to be roasted, but as I am not a big fan of marshmallows, especially on a windy beach wear gooey stuff flies into your hair, I merely ate a graham cracker with chocolate. Still delicious. We had to suddenly pack up and leave when the night tide came in, soaking our feet, seeping into our little fire, and pooling beneath the cars.

It was definitely a good time: I was, however, exhausted, considering my early and long hours at work, so I went home a little earlier than usual to get some sleep. Sadly, the sun was not up when I awoke this morning. In my opinion, if the sun isn't up, I shouldn't be either. Work would have been a little angry if I went back to sleep, though.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Long. Day.

I had work bright and early this morning, unfortunately. Too bad I wasn't as sunny as the morning was at even that early hour. At least, not until I had a few hours of work under my belt, a Coke well on its way to infusing its caffeine goodness into me, and some good reading (after performing my work duties, of course. Phone message check and e-mails to look at. Calls to answer. An in work test to take and get certified in). Afterward, I headed to my soon-to-be in-laws house to do some much needed shopping with my sister-in-law (future, that is).

We went to J C Penny's first. Of course, I hadn't thought to go there for what I was looking for, but I was happy to find what I wanted, for a much more reasonable price and a buy 1 get 1 free sale, to boot! After searching for shoes and a dress for my other sister-in-law-to-be, we headed out of the mall. I was done with trying things on and shopping in general. Until we made it back, and it was mentioned that I needed long sleeves for my wedding dress. Also, her bride's maids dress had come in, and we had to rush to the seamstress to get it altered ASAP. I am getting married in less than a week, and we needed stuff fixed pronto. Of course, S, my sister-in-law-to-be, looked gorgeous in her dress. The color was amazing and her blue eyes just popped.

After that quick run to the seamstress, S, who had earlier endured many tryings-on, told me that I could merely buy a white, long-sleeved leotard to wear for my marriage (the reception will not require long sleeves). We stopped by one place, which had only one size of the leotard I looked for, which was not my size. The next place we found in the nick of time. They had my size, and although I payed a bit for the thing, I left reassured that I had found what I needed.

The last thing was, of course, shoes. I am not a high-heel kind of gal. I plan on wearing white, beaded ballet slippers. After a trip to Jo-Ann's Fabrics, where they were out of my size, we headed to Michael's, where I found a suitable pair, with pearls and beads and a bow, perfect for my gorgeous yet simple dress. By this time, I was so ready to collapse from hunger that I was glad when we headed back to the house for the second time.

Now I am at home, listening to music and looking forward to my bed and much wanted sleep. I did take a super long nap at the in-laws house, considering I was so exhausted, and my appetite had been satiated. I wish I could sleep in mornings, but my body wakes up a little after 8 and won't let me rest after. However, wake me up before then and I will gladly bite your head off. I am NOT a morning person.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trine, the Game

Last night, my fiance and I went to a friends house to have a little fun, play some games. After watching the Celtics beat Magic (I cheered on the Celtics, just because I liked their uniforms better), we put a video game on that my friend had recently acquired online through his PS3. When I first saw Trine, I thought it would be lame, but my friend went ahead and bought it, possibly because we'd researched it a bit online and heard some good stuff about it.

This retro, side-scrolling fantasy/action/physics-based game is addicting and fun. It can be played with three players, as ti has three characters. One, a Magician, has the powers to conjure boxes and planks that help jumping onto high ledges and walking across spike-infested pits. Another character, the Knight (or Fat Kid, as I dubbed him last night), has strength on his side. He's really the combat-ready character of the team. The protector. Finally, the Thief, which I claim as my character, has a bow and arrows as weapons, which can be upgraded to shoot fire arrows, or even just more arrows in one shot. She also has a whip-like tool which can fasten onto wooden objects and be used to swing about. I use this tool heavily, considering I don't have to wait for the magician to conjure a box when I want to swing to the next ledge, or I just want to easily avoid treacherous pits of acid or spikes.
While this game can be played with just one player, you need all the characters in order to get through the levels. When playing one person style, you can switch characters depending on your needs.

This game was very addicting, and we whiled away a few hours without even realizing it. We laughed so hard at some of the goofy things that occurred, for example my penchant for swinging myself onto spikes, or failing to swing to the appointed ledge; my friend's inability to swim because he was so big and heavy a character; my fiance's drawing skills when conjuring a plank or box; our overall general lack of staying alive for longer than a few seconds after being regenerated due to our gung-ho approach to the mission. At one point, instead of running quickly back to the check point to retrieve my dead character, my fiance and my friend left the check point behind. They figured they had the Knight, a combat-ready character, and so did not especially need my abilities, and would make it to the next check point first. My friend, the Knight, promptly died in a pit of acid, and my fiance, the Magician, being defenseless, tried his best to kill five undead skeletons by drawing boxes above them and squishing them. He died as well, and we all ended up back where we began.

There was a lot of laughter, a lot of teasing, and a great time in all. I highly recommend this game for a bit of fun with a couple of friends. Make sure they can draw, first, though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Endless Series'

As a fantasy book lover, I am well-acquainted with the "endless series." The stories wrapped in books sometimes as thick as 1,000 pages, novels that continue the stories into the 20th and 30th book. If you find the right ones, you can easily become addicted, waiting anxiously for the next, which sometimes won't come for years. Such is the way of it with the Mercedes Thompson series. I've blogged about a couple of her books, and just completed the next in line: Silver Borne.

Of course, she's back to being in trouble, after having borrowed a book from a half-fae in the last novel. The fae want it back, and they aren't stopping at much to get it, considering that it can be found easily in one of two ways: by fire or by death. The fae have never been known for their great appreciation of those so lowly as the non-fae, even a shape-shifter like Mercy, so Mercy's fighting for her life. To top off all of her troubles, her old friend Samuel is not himself-literally. After trying to commit suicide, this werewolf's wolf side decides to take over in order to insure survival, but as everyone knows, wolves are not cute little puppies, and werewolves are wolves' more dangerous cousins.

I loved this book, and read it every chance I got. Because it's the semester's end at my university, I couldn't read it as often as I wanted, so it took me nearly three days to finish, but I enjoyed every moment of it. Mercy is back to her awesome self, investigating her way through the complicated maze of fae and werewolf worlds. The way in which Briggs has built up such a rich other-world right beside our very own makes for some fascinating reading, as you view her intricate take on the whole werewolf/vampire/fae/Other storyline. It's not just spitting out the same old, same old. And as for the characters, they're changing in the way any true human would; showing their true colors, hiding others, and always shifting your viewpoint of who they really are and what part they play in the grand scheme of things in the series.

Once again, I will probably have to wait to read yet another installment. Cross your fingers I'll get to see it before next year!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Covers

I know, two blogs in one day. But I forgot to mention my absolute love of these nifty little book covers by Vera Bradley (who also makes prints, bags, and other cute stuff). It all started when I visited my mother and saw an adorable quilt-like printed "notebook" only to find that it was a book cover, not a notebook! I got so excited over it *blush* that my mom actually gave it to me. She said she thought it was pretty, but she was nowhere near as ecstatic over it as I was.

Basically, it works as a book cover should. It lets you slip the front and back cover of a paperback book into little pockets , and it even has a ribbon bookmark. The cover protects your book from getting bent whilst traveling in your bag, or keeps crumbs from attaching to the unprotected soft shell, or - in my case- takes away the need to dog-ear pages. I love it, and use it on all my smaller paperback books. My only problem with it is that it only fits one size, small. A lot of my paperbacks and none of my hard-backs could possibly fit. But, it is tres adorable!


Sometimes, I find myself trying to be organized for the morning by choosing something to wear before I go to bed. Usually, this means grabbing the first shirt I like and deciding if I want to wear flip-flops or flats in the morning (I have a bunch of jeans, I just choose the most comfy of the available pairs). After choosing an outfit, which takes all of 30 seconds, I like to curl up under my comforter and read until I become drowsy enough to drift off to sleep. Currently, I am reading Mademoiselle Boleyn, by Robin Maxwell, a historical novel of Anne Boleyn. It begins telling her story at the age of 9, when she was sent with her sister to accompany to France the soon-to-be French queen Mary. This novel is amazingly eye-opening as to how very uncensored they were of things back in the time period, and how very corrupt, as well. It's a rather interesting, amusing, and dare I say shocking read.

But that is all beside the point. My point is, this morning I wanted to wear a particular pair of flip-flops, one's that I adore. Silver flip-flops made from duct tape, thanks to my very craft-y SO. :) So I chose a shirt specifically because it had silver lettering on it, to match the sandals. But I needed to wear a sweater of some type, considering I would be stuck at work, freezing, so I picked out my newest one, which is green and argyle. Um. . . not so coordinated? I tried to pull it all together by wearing a green barrette in my hair, however the green barrette has clovers on it, so maybe not so matchy-matchy? I think I may have failed at coordinating an outfit, a la Ugly Betty. I should stick to my tried and true method of "Does this fit? Will I be comfortable in it?" And ok, yeah, sometimes "Will I look cute?" does come into play. But it's worked, mostly, so far.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Falling DownTo you Sweet Ground

I haven't fallen down in a while, but as a child I did so often. Often enough, in fact, that I learned how to fall in order to prevent any serious injury to myself. I learned to roll, and tuck my head toward my chest, as well as keep my arms close to my sides.

Today while having a grand ol' time walking my dog, Sophie, dancing a bit to some Irish punk music, my dog caught me off guard by surging forward in the hopes of chasing a bird. I stumbled a step, and the next thing I knew, I tripped over some uneven sidewalk. I hit my knees and began to fall forward, but my old instincts kicked in. The next thing I knew, without a thought, I'd thrown my weight to the side, bent my head forward a bit, and tucked my arms to my sides (I realized all of this later, after I analyzed the fall). I landed with considerably less momentum on my back. My knees took the worst of the beating. One is turning purple-black, and the other is missing a nice little swatch of skin. If I hadn't rolled the way I'd done, however, I would have smacked my head on the pavement, considering that I have a hard time catching myself with my arms. Thank goodness for past experiences and some pretty good ninja/ survival skills!

On the downside, I don't know how I managed as a kid! My knees are killing me. It hurts to bend them. Stairs are painful. Then again, as a kid, I'd probably be screaming my head off, so I figure I'm handling it pretty well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gamer Grub

I was at my local university when I got hungry yesterday, but I wasn't in the mood for savory, and I needed to grab something on the fly. I walked into the little convenience store we have on campus and came across a promising snack choice - "Gamer Grub".

I've heard of this new-ish snack food through PC Gamer magazine, wherein they wrote a review (way back when) of the two available flavors: pizza and PB&J. I remembered that their reviews weren't exactly scathing, but they didn't sing the highest praises either. I debated between the two before deciding to go for the PB&J.

The "Gamer Grub" marketing ploy is pretty simple: directed straight at computer gamers, to "boost your game" with vitamins and neurotransmitters. . . Hang on - what? Neurotransmitters? As a psych student, I was a bit confused. Maybe I haven't taken the class in which they explain how they get the neurotransmitter adrenaline or endorphins into food, so I'm extremely skeptical over that whole idea. The most I can come up with is that maybe they have managed to mimic certain neurotransmitters, much in the way caffeine mimics the neurotransmitter that brings about an alert state. Of course, that would look dumb on the bag "Vitamins and stuff that mimics neurotransmitters!!" Oh, and just reading the bag, it says that it contains "Proprietary Cognitive Blend Choline" which is another way of saying caffeine, basically, and at 101 mg per serving, and 5 servings per bag, well that's about the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee. Woo! Go game boost!

Anywho, another gimmick is the no greasy fingers and no keyboard crumbs promise on the container. With the PB&J, there really IS no greasy fingers, but no keyboard crumbs? MY SO and I both agreed that was complete bull-hockey. They're there, they're just not visible. Which, in my humble opinion, makes it all the more worse, because once you forget to clean your 'board, how long will those settle in and accumulate?

All in all, "Gamer Grub" delivers a yummy snack, but leaves some promises quite un-kept. Also, I don't feel a particular "boost" in my game, even though at the moment I'm studying and not fiddling with say, Modern Warfare 2 (which I totally played last night, and to add to this side note, I also played a newer version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was the fun in a nostalgic kind of way! "It's pizza time!")