Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Salon: Regroup

 Good morning friends!  Things are looking up...I'm writing my post before noon!  We'll see if I finish before we leave for church.  I doubt it, but at least I'm getting started.

I'm not really going to say much about the past week.  It wasn't good, so I'm just going to block it out and regroup.  If we want to count blessings, I will mention that the uber-trainer Andre just had a new baby, and after taking a handful of days off, was back in action this week.  His workouts are good for the body, but are also nearly like therapy and I missed them!

I also forgot to mention last week that we went to see "Interstellar", which we enjoyed.  I wouldn't say that there will be acting Oscars coming out of that movie, but the visuals were amazing!  We're really starting to get into the season of good movies and serious Oscar contenders, and we've got our sights set on a few over the next few weeks.  If we can motivate the kids to leave their rooms!

On the reading front, I've made some good progress on "Revival", and hope to finish that very soon.  (Maybe today depending on whether it rains all day.)  I'm still not totally sure where Uncle Stevie is going with his story, but I love the journey.  I'm thinking of picking up "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy next, after reading that it was one of Uncle Stevie's favorite books ever.

On audio, I'm nearly done with the amazing Sarah Waters "The Paying Guests".  I've actually gone back and forth between reading and listening on this one and am probably a couple of hours from finishing.  She is wicked with the mind screw, and I'm just waiting for the poop to hit the fan on this one.  I will concur that the book could have used some serious editing, and there is a huge amount of drama going on, but I'm still enjoying it.  Up next is the highly-recommended "Wildlife" by Fiona Wood, which I just downloaded on audio from the library.

So the holidays.  I've got Thanksgiving sort of figured out.  But Xmas is not within reach right now.  I've got some work to do on that front.  I'm going to be looking for some motivation this week.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, whether you are in rain or snow (what seems to be the theme all over the country).  And yay!  Got it done before church!  Hee hee

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Salon: ...and the crud stayeth

 Better late than never I always say.  And late has been the theme of the week.  Not only did my son and I continue on with the crud (sore throat that morphs into congestion that morphs into cough that morphs into gastro), but my daughter had it too.  I don't like this.  I can't recuperate in peace, they are demanding and whiny, and also there is stress because of so much missed homework.  Pray that next week improves in this category.

I did crawl out to Polish class and book club on Wednesday night, despite my hacking and spewing.  I wanted to force some kind of normalcy.  For this meeting we read "5 People You Meet in Heaven", and most did not likey which made me feel a bit better about my negativity.  Such hokey, manipulative crap.  Next month we'll be discussing "Eleanor & Park" which should go much better.

I cannot believe how the holidays have snuck up on me.  Normally, my routine is to mail those Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving.  Not sure that will happen this year...don't even have a picture!  (My kids have an extreme aversion to pictures it seems.)  I've done nothing!  I guess there has to be a first year to blow my record. I get overwhelmed with all the you guys?  I have to figure out how to manage it.  Downsize, simplify, find peace.

So Tuesday I strategically scheduled an eye appointment at Costco with the release of Stephen King's new release "Revival".  Very similar to the last time I stormed the store for his latest book, there were none to be seen.  The book-stocking girl SWORE there were none, but I didn't take that for an answer.  I got the Manager to check inventories, and sure enough, they were there in receiving, hidden in the corner.  SCORE!  Sadly, I've made very little progress.  Not much reading done this week.

Audios, as usual, is where it's at more than anywhere else.  I finished "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" for my other book club, and while it was a sweet, sentimental book, it may have been a little TOO sweet for my cynical heart.  The story takes place in Burma which is interesting, and is a generational love story (narrated by Cassandra Campbell who excels at stories like this).  It just seemed like the author was trying too hard to make me cry, and also threw some pretty obvious twists in there that I think were supposed to be shocking but just made me slap my forehead.  I'm now launching into what will probably be a part print/part audio experience of "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters.  Love her, but I am feeling hesitant because the reviews on this one haven't been stellar.  It's a long book, so this will take me awhile.

So today (or what is left of it) will probably be spent trying to read "Revival" and doing some child management in the area of overwhelming homework catch-up.  I'll be having a cocktail by 5:00 I predict.

So tell me...are you ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Are you excited about the idea of shopping and decorating or not?  How do you cope with the crazy schedule?  I need tips. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Salon: The Crud Cometh

 Well, the weather is changing so it was bound to happen.  Both my son and I got the crud.  I tend to ignore it and try to sweat it out, but being a 15 year old and of the male species, the boy milked it.  I'm hoping all of this goes away soon, but odds are the other two members of the family will get it too, and will start that never-ending rotation.

Anyway, besides all that, it was a decent week.  I'm still enjoying my Polish class, and with the upcoming holidays we are going to be having food parties!  Because we must do as the Polish do.

I returned to my second book club after a couple of years on hiatus.  With the exception of one personality, I really missed these people.  They take their reading seriously, and come with notes and insight.  This month we read "In the Kingdom of Ice" by Hampton Sides, and was loved by everyone.  Here are my thoughts on Goodreads, but Jill's husband did a wonderful review as well.  I listened to it on audio, and Arthur Morey narrated.  He isn't exactly dynamic, but he's solid and is the perfect voice for non-fiction like this.

I also listened to "Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, against my better judgement.  It was chosen by my other book club, and I really had no desire to subject myself to this schmaltz, but I hate going to meetings not having read the assignment.  After all, I have no right to bitch if I haven't.  The audio made a bad situation even worse, with dramatic music that felt like a soap opera.  Ugh.  That meeting is next week.

I've now just started "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" by Jan-Philipp Sendker, the selection for next month's book club.  It is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, who does a great job with these types of books.  It looks like it is going to be a winner.

Not much progress on print.  I AM halfway through the graphic novel "Watchmen" and it is really a fine example of smart comics.  Very well-done.  I need to get it finished by next Tuesday, because that is the day Stephen King's "Revival" comes out, and I'll be joining Ti in her readathon.  I very cleverly scheduled an eye appointment at Costco that day, so I could pick up the book at the same time.  Very excited!

Not sure what we'll be doing today.  It is rainy and chilly, the kids have homework, and I'm feeling crappy.  We do want to see "Interstellar" but not sure we'll get there.  What is everyone up to today?   

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Salon: MIA

 I am pleased to announce that I am not dead!  Isn't that great?  I never post this late, but I figured the theme of the week was "MIA" so I might as well stay in character.  I fell completely off the grid this week.  I didn't read blogs.  I didn't read anything in print.  I only went to Andre's ONCE!  There is a myriad of explanations for my behavior.

Yard improvement project.  A team of workers spreading 20 tons (yes you heard that right) of Seminole rock in my front and back yard, planting plants and installing a new fountain.  Fun stuff but these guys require supervision.

The Killing.  I continue to obsess.  SO GOOD, OMG.  I am three episodes away from the end.  Nothing will continue to be done until I've finished.

Cold weather has lured me outside.  By "cold" I mean 60's during the day and 40's at night.  I don't sweat much in these temps.  It is wonderful.

And also sick kids, the usual hellish doctor appointments, a broken security system, and a flat tire that occupied a solid afternoon.  Also had a fundraiser breakfast and a book club meeting.  My son turned 15.  Halloween.  You get my point.  It was one of those weeks.

I did listen to audio, praise the Lord.  I finished "The Girl with all the Gifts", but I haven't reviewed it yet.  I really liked it.  It sort of reminded me of "The Passage", and one of the better apocalyptic stories I've read in awhile.  I have started "In the Kingdom of Ice" by Hampton Sides, a book club assignment.  The audio is 14 discs long and the meeting is Wednesday so I doubt I will finish it by then, but what the heck.  I haven't been to this book club in awhile because of some personality conflicts, but I'm going to give it another shot.

Today my son and I went to see "Nightcrawler" with Jake Gyllenhaal and it was absolutely amazing.  It made my heart pound, it made me flinch, it made me laugh.  Going to write that one up too, at some point.

Hope everyone had an awesome Sunday, and why would it not be the best when we gain an hour of time???  I always feel like I don't appreciate it enough, especially when we LOSE that hour in the spring.  Did everyone sleep in this morning?


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Salon: Killing Time

 Good morning all of you who are left out there!  Lately I've been pondering the state of blogging.  I love the friends I've made here, lifelong friends that I confide in and have laughs with.  But I can't really call myself a blogger I don't think, if I'm only on here once a week.  I guess that's OK.  I'm not totally sure how many people are left out there who are reading this but I'll take the few I have.  However we are now in a world where rock solid book bloggers with a history are being turned down for review copies, when newbies who gush over everything like crazed 16 year olds are getting the marketing dollars of the publishers.  I don't get it.  But I think my decision to take a back seat was probably well-timed.

Last week I mentioned that my daughter had done something to her back.  That continued this week.  She missed three more days of school before the chiropractor got her back up and moving.  My son did not have school Thursday or Friday, so what that means is that I had a kid home with me all week.  The three of us had a total of four doctors appointments, so bottom line?  NOTHING GOT DONE!  Ack!  I have got to figure out how to get these doctors out of my life!  It is a circle of hell, this sitting in waiting rooms.

My son and I went to see "Dear White People" at the movies, which won some awards at the Sundance Film Festival.  It was a satire of race relations taking place on a college campus...very smart, hilarious but with some good messages.

My daughter convinced me to start watching one of her (many) favorite TV shows "The Killing" which is a Netflix original.  My mom was obsessed with it this past summer, but I tuned it out because I don't need another TV obsession!  But I guess I should have listened because it is amazing.  Thus, nothing is going to get done until I finish it.  I hate it when this happens.

So again, no print reading.  None!  It is crazy!  I finally chucked "Purge", figured that was my problem.  I picked up "House of Leaves" and started picking my way through it but this is a PROJECT people.  It's going to take some time.  For a short bit of entertainment, I then picked up the graphic novel "Watchmen", my son assuring me it was genius.  I'm sure it is.  I just need to walk away from these TV shows.

On audio, I finished "World of Trouble" by Ben Winters.  And WOW.  I cannot remember the last time I finished a trilogy/series that rocked my world this way (maybe Harry Potter?).  I'm still thinking about it.  You know how a scene just sticks in there, and you keep returning to it.  I enjoyed all three books, but the final one is a doozy.  I'm now about halfway through "The Girl With All the Gifts" by M.R. Carey.  Good stuff.  Kinda reminds me of "The Passage" by Justin Cronin.  Apocalyptic, spooky, touching.

My son had another detail with the Orlando Police Department this morning, but he is on his way home from that.  The weather is gorgeous, so I predict we will head outside to do something today.  Maybe a long walk, or a round of golf.  And we've got The Walking Dead tonight, which is something that makes Sundays the best day of the week.  What is everyone up to?  Any fall festivals?  Happy Sunday!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Salon: The best day

 Happy Sunday everyone!  If you participated in the readathon yesterday, you probably are sleeping off your book buzz.  I'm almost never able to block off an entire day in the fall, but my thoughts are always with you guys.  One of these years I swear I'm going to run away to the beach for one of these events.

The weather has cooled off again...low to mid 80's in the day and low 60's at night.  Major cold front!!!  It is a pleasure to go on our walks, or sit out at night with a cocktail.  Here is a picture I took on a long walk yesterday, just around the corner from a neighborhood.  I love that about Florida.  There is nature everywhere. 

It was a typical week for me this week.  My son's first homecoming activities occurred daily (themed dress days, the parade and football game Friday, and the dance last night).  My daughter threw out her back somehow, so she has been down for the count for a couple of days.  I feel like I am the downtrodden servant!  I took a treadmill stress test because I'd been having heart palpitations, and I passed with flying colors.  It is nice to know I haven't lost my mojo!  So my conclusion is heart palpitations = teenagers + menopause.  Something for you young 'uns to look forward to.

The best day of the entire week seems to be, without a doubt, SUNDAY!  Granted, it is a day full of the kids scrambling to get chores and homework done, but it also includes THE WALKING DEAD.  The season opener last week was epic.  My daughter and I have rewatched it three times.  I have looked forward to today all week.  I know, I'm obsessed.  So sue me.

My reading, at least in print, has been dismal.  I can't manage to propel my way through "Purge" by Sofi Oksanen.  I have progressed a little but can't get interested.  I'll keep trying for a little bit longer, but I'm really dying to read "House of Leaves" and "The Paying Guests", so I'm close to losing my patience.  I did take a break yesterday and read "Relish" by Lucy Knisley, which is a short graphic novel.  (I read "French Milk" a few years ago, a graphic memoir of her time in France.)  Adorable.

Audio is the only way I get anything done these days.  I finished "The Innocent Sleep" by Karen Perry.  It is a domestic drama and mystery about a missing child, but has twists in it that made it a surprisingly intriguing listen.  Plus the Irish-accented narrators were incredible.  I also quickly got through "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica which I rated four stars but easily could have been swayed to five.  I'm still thinking about it even now...a kidnapping gone wrong, with much more emotion and character bonding than your normal read.  Then I FINALLY got "World of Trouble" on audio from the library. I loaded it in about 30 minutes and plunged into the third and final installment of a story about the final days on earth before an asteroid takes it out, from the perspective an earnest police officer.  Great stuff!

I'm not sure what is on the agenda today.  Usually I don't have a whole lot of say in the matter.  My son is putting in some community service hours with the Orlando Police Department, which is part of his Criminal Justice magnet program at school.  Maybe a walk.  Maybe some reading.  Maybe a little Walking Dead!!  Hope everyone has a nice relaxing day to rest up for another week!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Salon: Bring on The Dead!

 Good morning friends.  Slept in this walk, no church, just laziness and a little breaking news action on the latest Ebola case.  I'm not being all hysterical here, but how did this person catch it when they were wearing a Hazmat suit?  And hello!  Didn't we all read "The Hot Zone" twenty years ago?  Didn't we all read "The Stand"?  I'm pretty irate that we are only now scrambling for a cure.  Anyway.  Happy Sunday morning!

We saw Gone Girl yesterday afternoon, and what a movie.  True to the book and true to the exceptional talents of David Fincher.  Outstanding acting and outstanding musical score.  Whether you liked the book or not, this is just good theatrical entertainment.

My week went like this.  Two doctor appointments (love to have a week when I didn't have one, but I think this is our destiny).  Back-and-forth communications with the insurance company on the UPS destruction of my yard.  We found out we need the neighbor's land survey in order to get a permit to repair our wall, and of course they will never be able to find it, so more delays on that.  Meet the teacher night for my son's high school Tuesday night.  Also meetings with his teachers on his continuing gifted track for the next four years.  Daughter took her SAT, after much gnashing of teeth and tears over the stress.  Polish lessons continue on Wednesday nights.

Wednesday night we had season 4 premier of American Horror Story: Freak Show.  You know, this series, it is sick and twisted and unpredictable and wonderful.  I don't think it is for everyone, but wow, if you can handle it, it will blow your mind.  And like Ti said, there is a clown here that gives Pennywise a run for his money.

TONIGHT we have season 5 premier of The Walking Dead, and I almost can't sit still.  My daughter and I have been watching reruns all week on and off, and have been lurking online for various previews and sneak peaks.  I'm turning off all electronics and going underground this evening.  I will return to discuss tomorrow!

Also got a new iPhone 6 this week.  I am definitely not the person that needs the new technology when it comes out, but my old phone held a charge for about an hour or two and was driving me nuts.  This phone is bigger but that is better for my withering eyesight.

On the reading front, I've not been real productive.  In print I finally finished "All I Love and Know" by Judith Frank, and it was a wonderful drama about two orphans, whose parents are killed in act of terrorism, that are adopted by twin brother of the victim.  That brother just happens to be gay and has a partner that factors into the equation.  Very insightful, lots of discussable topics.  I've now just started "Purge" by Sofi Oksanen, but I'm having a tough time getting engaged.  I may try to dig into it today.

On audio I finished "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury this week for our readalong, but I haven't written up my thoughts yet because the readalong goes all month.  I have mixed emotions about it.  Strange prose, confusing literary voice.  Is it coming-of-age?  Is it horror?  More on that later.  I'm now about halfway through an audio called "The Innocent Sleep" by Karen Perry.  I can't remember why I am reading this, but I'm thinking it was for the Irish narrator!  Man, I love those accents.  And it is an intriguing story, part marital drama and part mystery about their child that is presumably killed in an earthquake but whose body is never found.

No idea what we will be doing today.  I'm sure my husband will encourage a round of golf, but it got hot again and I'm not interesting in that misery.  I may just putter around the house and try to get caught up on pool maintenance and grocery shopping.  Hope everyone has a great day!