Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Salon: Keep Calm and Read a Book

 It's another beautiful Sunday, and a reason to celebrate being alive!  This is the attitude I'm determined to take.  My weeks are always busy and things tend to get under my skin.  Stupid, petty things, that end up giving me heart palpitations and make me lose my shit.  My family gave me a few side glances this week, so it's time to take a step back.  Life is good.  Keep Calm and Read a Book.

So, we had a typical week at hand.  Husband was out of town for some of it.  A kid was sick.  Doctor appointments.  Hours in the car every day.  My son had his second attempt at the gastric scan (he was able to eat the radioactive oatmeal - woo hoo!), results TBD in a couple of weeks.  My dad and his buddy made an impromptu trip down here to get his boat.  5:30 am Cross Country practices.  Dinner with friends on Friday night.  Crazy mixed with good.  I haven't started playing golf yet because I feel like there is too much going on (and it is SO HOT) but I probably need to start that back up again, for no other reason than to do something for myself.

I finished up the first two seasons of American Horror Story, so I was able to get back to reading.  Still working on "Wool", and I'm totally into it now.  Let me just say this.  I am tired of dystopia, but this book is brilliant.  It is knocking my socks off.  And lo and behold, IT IS A TRILOGY.  OMG!  And the books are long.  But I fear I'm not going to be able to resist not reading them all fairly quickly together.  In terms of world-building and amazing characters, this is where it's at.

I did finish up Camilla Lackberg's "The Ice Princess" on audio, and it was OK.  There were some problems, but I think there is enough attraction with the primary characters to bring me back.  Maybe.  I'm now about 7 discs into my beloved Tana French's latest book "The Secret Place".  Oooh, these audios.  All that shite and mordor.  And wicked boarding school teenagers.

I'm hoping to carve out some time today for "Wool", in between church, SAT class, and the normal prep for the upcoming week.  Anybody have fun plans, or reading something extra special?    

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Salon: Slight derailment

 Happy Sunday everyone!  Because of Labor Day, we had a shorter week but it sure didn't feel like it.  There is just so much going on, I feel like I am in a tornado of STUFF.  Finally after four months, a tiny bit of work is being done on our demolished wall, but that requires babysitting (especially when the clean-up crew punctured a water main which was fun).  My son was supposed to have a gastric scan but that went bust when he couldn't choke down the green radioactive eggs.  We had to reschedule, and this time I guess we will try oatmeal.

Yeah.  We will see how that goes.

Starting a major overhaul of the backyard, so I'm getting bids while simultaneously attempting to prepare the area for this work.  Had some pool issues going on.  Have some very sick loved ones who are battling cancer, and are always on my mind.  I'm not yet settled I guess is the bottom line, which means that I am easily distracted.  I picked this week to start watching "American Horror Story" on Netflix (Seasons 1 and 2 at least), and with my spinning brain combined with my obsessive nature, I basically derailed.  I didn't read any print at all (currently about 150 pages into "Wool").  I didn't read blogs.  I just watched hour after hour of this freaky, disturbing show that is completely up my alley.  I don't know, I'd say the creators could give old Uncle Stevie a run for his money.  I think I may heave a sigh of relief when I knock this series out so I can try to return to the land of the living.  At least I'll be prepared for Season 4 which starts early October, and has the theme of "Freak Show" which will tie nicely into Ti and my readalong of "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

I did make some progress with my current audio "The Ice Princess" by Camilla Lackberg.  I can't say it has blown my mind yet.  The narrator's voice tends to cause my mind to wander, but I am getting invested in the characters, and probably will continue the series.

Today we have church, my daughter's SAT class, and probably that is it (pool floating for me perhaps?).  The kids are slammed with homework.  Hope you all have a pleasant and relaxing day.  Is anyone reading anything good?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Something Wicked...coming October 1st

You all know what happens when like-minded bloggers start talking on social media...plans are inadvertently hatched and it becomes A Thing.  In this case, my buddy and twin in all things scary, Ti of Book Chatter, mentioned she was going to read "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury for Halloween.  I quickly hopped over to Amazon and read the synopsis...two boys and an evil carnival?  Ha!  You guys know I couldn't say no to that, and thus we decided to make it a readalong.  Here are the details:

Hosted by Ti (Book Chatter) and Sandy (You’ve Gotta Read This!)
- The read along begins on October 1, 2014 and ends on October 31, 2014
- This read along will take place mostly on Twitter using the hashtag#EnterTheRingmaster. Use the hashtag to share your thoughts while reading. Search for that hashtag on Twitter to see what readers are saying.
- The book is short and broken down into three sections.  I will be listening to this on audio, and Ti will be reading it on Kindle, thus no page numbers, so for those who want structure, here are some guidelines:
  • Finish Section 1 (Chapters 1-24) by Friday, October 10th
  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st
- On each of those dates, Ti will try to post a little update on her blog for anyone who’d rather chat there.  I will probably talk about it on my Sunday posts.

Doesn't this sound like fun?  While we were hatching our plan, I also noticed that not only was there a movie made based on the book, but there are evil carnival-themed movies that I may be watching as well, provided they are on Netflix.  I'll make sure and post about those too as the time gets closer, if you want to watch with me (if you dare!).  I also understand that the new "American Horror Story" (premiering October 10) has a freak show theme.  So!

We did learn that the cover is in redesign, so there aren't copies of the thing readily available at the bookstores, which is why we are giving you a head's up now.  Ti tells me the Kindle version is somewhere around $5.

If you want to join us, head on over to Ti's place to register with Mr. Linky!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Salon: Something Wicked

 Good morning and a happy long Labor Day Weekend to you all!  It  has been a busy week here at the Nawrot house!

The first bit of fun was on Monday night.  I met up with Jackie from Farm Lane Books for dinner while she was visiting here from England with her family.  Jackie and I have been following each other almost since the beginning of our blogging careers, so it was really nice to finally meet her in real life!  I got to meet her adorable husband and children as well.  I've said this before but it is kinda amazing when you do a blogger feels like you've known them forever.  

We also had a back-to-school night at my daughter's school on Wednesday, which is a three hour ordeal.  I brought my husband this time so he could see what he was paying for.  It was at this event that I learned that there is a long waiting list for student parking spaces.  So that dream that in three weeks, when my daughter gets her license, my troubles are over?  Nope.  A little piece of me died when I found that out.  I can't even think about it.

The husband was out of town later in the week, on his annual trip to Chicago.  I got my first turn in getting both kids to school in the morning!  Hee Hee!  (That would be my maniacal cackling.)

If we are going to do a glass half full attitude though, I am KILLING the audiobooks.  I finished up "You Should Have Known" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, which really pulled me in but overall had some issues.  I won't go into the specifics but the link will connect you with my Goodreads thoughts.  I then quickly flew through the fifth installment of the Kate Burkholder series "Her Last Breath" by Linda Castillo.  This series will never be a mind-blower, but is fascinating because it takes place in Amish country.  A very treacherous Amish country it seems...I'm thinking more murders per capita there than Chicago.  Then just yesterday I finished up Rob Lowe's second memoir "Love Life".  While I didn't totally love this one as much as his first, it was entertaining albeit a bit scattered.  Inspired by someone (I'm sorry I can't remember who), I decided to start the Swedish crime series by Camilla Lackberg, "The Ice Princess".  If I enjoy it, there are six or seven more installments to pursue.

In print I read the short but devastating "The Colour of Milk" by Nell Leyshon.  Then I turned to "Wool" by Hugh Howey.  This one is going to take longer.  It has some amazing world building I must admit, I just haven't been settled enough to really sit down and dig in.  Maybe this weekend.

So before I sign off, I just wanted to let you know that Ti at Book Chatter and I will announce a fun project tomorrow that we hatched a few weeks ago.  You know how those e-mails start talking about something and before you know, it spirals into a Thing.  Just earmark your October.  Stay tuned! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Salon: Blessings

I'm definitely breathing a sigh of relief after the end of this week!  It was my son's first week of high school, and I think I was as nervous about it as he was.  But he got through it, I got through it.  He was placed in a couple of classes that were not honors and should have been, so we are still hanging in limbo a bit trying to finagle some schedule changes.  I'm also trying to figure out pick ups and drop offs, with two kids at two schools that are far apart from each other with different hours.  Logistically it was a total nightmare, and I declared that I cannot do this for an entire year.  I just pray that in a month when my daughter gets her license, she is able to get a parking spot at her school and this insanity can end.

But!  There were good things happening this week as well, and I need to focus on that.  On Thursday, my husband and I had our 22nd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with a nice dinner on Friday night at a place called Eddie V's.  They greeted us with rose petals on our table, a card, a rose for me, and a free dessert.  It was a nice touch!

On Saturday night we attended a 50th birthday party for a friend we have known since our kids were 3 years old.  He just completed a year of battling colon cancer and he has recently gotten clear scans, so we were celebrating more than just his birthday last night. It was wonderful to see him and some old friends.  These are the blessings that I need to remember when I'm a fugue state after being in the car for three hours!  LOL

I had a good bit of reading this week.  I finished "Duma Key" by Stephen King on audio, and it was really an enjoyable book.  He created a wonderful setting on a fictitious key on the gulf side of Florida, with some spooky stuff but not too much.  This story was more about the bonds of friendship.  Great King storytelling at its best.  I also finished King's "Joyland" in print, rounding off my Summer of King.  This was another novel that was light on the scary and heavy on the feels.

I am now nearly through the audio of "You Should Have Known" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and the jury is out on this one.  I hate the characters, very large chunks of the story seem to be missing, and it seems to be wrapping up a little too conveniently.  So stay tuned for the final verdict on that one.  Have any of you read this one, and what did you think?  I am also reading "The Colour of Milk" by Nell Leyshon in print.  A short book, but one that is promised to level me.

We've got nothing on the agenda today but taking my daughter to her SAT class.  Maybe a little pool action later since it is probably going to hit 98 again today.  Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, and hopefully one that is cooler than mine!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Salon: Summer of King

 Good Sunday morning friends.  Well it's been one of those weeks.  I don't know how else to put it.  Not the worst week, but one that could certainly not repeat itself if I had my druthers.

On a good note, my dad returned from Africa.  He had an excellent experience this time around, and didn't harm himself, get Ebola or get shot down by terrorists.

My daughter started school on Tuesday.  She is a high school Junior so it is old hat by now, but there is already no shortage of stress going on.  She gets up at 4:40am for cross country practice, has three AP classes and is taking an SAT exam prep course.  She's going to have a most shitty first three months of school.  I plan to stay out of her way, except to provide food and the occasional pedicure.

My son starts high school tomorrow.  Gah!  So this week we ran around trying to get the information we needed to, you know, be prepared, and it isn't easy.  I did attend a Freshman Mom Mixer and orientation, BUT.  This is our first foray in public school, and they do not hold your hand like the private schools do.  It is like a scavenger hunt to figure things out, dependent on your wily and creative skills.  He is going from a class size of 40 to 600, from a school he has attended since he was 2 1/2, and I know he is worried about fitting in and finding his place in this sea of humanity.  Pray for us tomorrow!

We had a doctor appointment to follow up on his endoscopy from a couple weeks ago.  Esophagus is awesome, and they pulled him off one med.  But he has lost a lot of weight since April and doesn't have much of an appetite, so more tests.  So I guess several weeks into the new year we will miss a whole day of school.

The Robin Williams thing.  I'm worn out over that.  It pretty much devastated me, not only because he was a beacon of light, but because of his suffering.  If I hear one more person that says he was selfish, I'm going to lose my shit.

Books, then, kept me settled this week.  I finished Karen White's "Return to Tradd Street", the latest in that series.  As I have said before, the male and female protagonists in these stories drive me crazy.  They adore each other but they take part in a ridiculous game of self-denial and pride.  But praise the Lord, things are finally looking up, and I did enjoy this installment much more because of that.  (Small digression:  The funniest thing in this book was when Melanie's secretary, an avid golfer, becomes one of Tiger's flings and moves to Florida to be closer to him.  LOLOLOL).

Then I decided it was finally time to institute Tina's "Summer of King", never mind that summer is almost over.  I needed this.  So I started "Duma Key" on audio, something I've had loaded on my iPod for EVER.  And it is so good.  Not an action-packed novel, but classic King storytelling on a fictional Florida key two islands south of where we just vacationed.  I also just started "Joyland" in print.  King is good stuff, and not necessarily horror.  He gets a bad rap for that, and people don't read him because they think it will be terrifying.  Some of his stuff IS terrifying ("It" or "Pet Semetary" come to mind), but some is very subtle and more about the journey, on which you will be totally sucked in.  I'd match some of his work up against any author of highbrow literary fiction.  It is that good.  There is a reason why a gazillion people love him.

Besides running my daughter up to her SAT class today, I'm not really sure what is on the agenda.  I'm hoping to keep it low key but these things are often not in my control.  Hope everyone gets their day of rest today.  


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Salon: The calm before...

 Yes, so I'm popping in here a little later than I normally do.  We had a late night last night.  We attended (I think for the third of fourth year in a row) the monstrously-sized "Taste of the Nation" fundraiser with some folks from my husband's company.  Food stations, wine stations, and silent know the drill.  Usually we walk away winning something, and I was doing my best...a Big Lebowski bowling pin signed by Jeff Bridges, an Aveda gift basket, Erasure concert tickets, a golf package.  But apparently the economic downturn is over in Orlando.  We walked out with nothing.

The last time I checked in we were at the beach.  We swam in the ocean (water was 90 degrees, I kid you not), burrowed under our beach umbrellas and napped and/or read, we ate at some great restaurants.  We went and saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" and loved it.  But on Tuesday morning, we grumpily drove back home to reality.  Haven't seen my daughter much since then.  She has an insane amount of work still left to do before school starts this Tuesday.  Haven't seen much of my son either.  He has, you know, video games to play and stuff.  His school starts the following Monday, so he has a little bit more freedom left.  The week was pretty low key.  A couple doctor appointments and that was it.

It has been oppressively hot and humid.  It is hard to want to go outside frankly.  There is the pool, but you are guaranteed a storm in the afternoon so you have to make it quick.

I plowed through Liane Moriarty's "Big Little Lies" at the beach.  It was a pretty quick 458 pages, which is an accomplishment for me.  I loved that book.  She has got such a way with portraying life as a woman today.  I'm going to highly recommend it to everyone I see.  I read a couple more "Saga" graphic novels (I've gotten through three so far) and I am hooked.  I'm now about halfway through Karen White's fourth Tradd Street book "Return to Tradd Street".  It is a bit of a mystery why I continue to read these.  I love the Southernness of it all, but the behavior of the two protagonists drive me MAD.  I do like to finish what I start though.

On audio I finished "The Silkworm", which I adored.  This second installment is much darker than the first, a little more complex of a mystery.  For me the icing on the cake is the narration of Robert Glenister, which is genius.  I then blew through "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry", something I should not have put off as long as I did.  Narrated by Scott Brick, this is the sweetest, most touching story.  Something I'll carry around with me for a long time, and it is a love story to books.  So all around, I've had some amazing reading lately.

Not much planned for the day.  We went for almost a two hour walk this morning, so the exercise is done.  Maybe a trip to Target, maybe some PGA on TV this afternoon.  Good Sunday activities.