Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Do Dogs....HATCH?


This gem (a.k.a. "shit I didn't buy) just appeared in the feed for the giant schnauzer group in which I participate on "The Facepage". 

It scares me quite a bit. 

The dog egg, not the giant schnauzer group. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Q3 Reading List

49.  Homicidal – Paul Alexander – About a serial killer “the grim sleeper”.  It was ok.  I didn’t know about the guy before.  The story could have been developed a lot more, I don’t feel like I have much insight into his psyche. 

50. A Walk in the Woods  - Bill Bryson – I listened to this while driving around getting myself lost on the backroads of northeast Tennessee, just trying to see what I could see.  I’m sure all the goats I passed wondered what was so damn funny as I laughed and laughed alone in my car. 

51. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon – I resisted and resisted and resisted reading this.  Why?  It is about 2 guys who write a comic book, and I just didn’t think it would appeal that much.  There was TONS of hype in literary circles and it was on a bunch of award lists, and it’s been on my to-read list since it came out.  I finally bit the bullet, and I LOVED it.  Great story, great character development. 

52.  Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures – Walter Moers –Kids book – super fun.  A really long, really good plot/ character driven kid’s book.  My friends Andree and Ben recommended this series (the Zamonia series)years ago, but I just finally picked it up from my audible.com wish list.  It was really fun.  A little too much dues ex machine for me, but it IS a kid’s book so I can forgive it. 

53.  I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids – Jen Kirkman – I don’t have kids.  It wasn’t really a conscious decision, it just didn’t happen and I never had the overwhelming desire to do anything about it.  People in general don’t understand, or tend to feel sorry for me.  Sometimes it’s good to hear other people who have chosen to be child-free tell me it’s ok. 

54.  The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck – No, I had never read it.  And now that I have, I’m not sure I get the hype.  There is really no character development.  No lessons learned, no growth.

55.  House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski - wow this was WEIRD.  I bought the hard copy because it has lots of odd content (footnotes, maps, illustrations, references to appendices).  I think it would be a pain to read on an e-reader.  The story is weird.  It was GOOD.  And it was scary.  It’s a movie within a book within another book within an interview within…it’s odd and hard to describe.  I loved it. 

56.  Gulp – Mary Roach – I liked it ok.  I heard various people on podcasts talk about how HILARIOUS it is.  I chuckled in a couple of places, but I think it would only be HILARIOUS if you laugh every time somebody says poop. 

57. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson – LOVED this.  LOVED.  Her words are like BUTTER.  This book is sad and beautiful and hopeful  and a little crazy.  (Learned about this one while listening to the Yale Open Course  ENGL 291: THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1945I loved every one of the lectures in this series – I highly recommend it.) 


58. The Human Stain – Philip Roth – I learned about this on in the Yale Open Course as well, but I didn’t like it as much as Housekeeping.  It was ok.  Roth is an awesome writer, of course, but I guess I just didn’t connect with the characters as much. 

59. How We Decide – Jonah Lehrer – Meh.  Not what I expected.  I thought he was going to tell me how to not eat M&M’s and French fries, but he kind of didn’t.  He explained WHY I eat M&M’s and French fries, and I supposed that should be enough to make me stop.  Not so much.

60. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – It super sucks to be poor, live in cardboard housing, and have very, very little hope.  Depressing. 

61. Night Film – Marisha Pessl  - I like reading mystery/ thrillers in the summer, and this was a great one.   Unusual, suspenseful, dark.  Has what is a sort of cool app that comes with the book where  you take a picture of different illustrations in the book and you get additional content.  Totally don’t need it to enjoy the book, but it was neat I guess.

62. Night – Elie Wiesel – Good.  Another sad story about the holocaust.  I think there are better ones. 

63. MadAddam – Margaret Atwood – Margaret Atwood has never written a thing that I didn’t love.  This one was probably my least favorite, but I still loved it. 

64. The Anthologist – Nicholson Baker – I fell in love with Nicholson Baker’s writing many, many years ago when I stumbled across The Mezzanine.   He writes in a style close to the way I would write, could I write.  This one is tied for my favorite with The Mezzanine.

65. The Golem and the Djinni – Helene Wecker – For some reason this was like The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay for me in that I was reluctant to dive in.  Once I did, I was pretty hooked.  I really liked it.  Very good story. Very good character development.  Not sure about you, but I find that pretty important.

66. The Silent Wife – A.S.A Harrison – Meh.  Supposed to be as good as Gone Girl, which I found Meh as well.   This wasn’t even that good, though.  It held my interest, but the “twists” weren’t all that twisty. 

67. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital – Sheri Fink – I had a knot in my stomach the whole time I read this.  For anyone who thinks they understand what it was like in NOLA and that people whine too much – you need to read this.  She does a great job of putting you in the thick of things.  I’m not saying all the decisions people made were right, but I know that I DON’T  KNOW how I would react in these circumstances, and neither do you. 

68. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story – Kurt Eichenwald – Really great description of the ENRON debacle told in a narrative way.  I’m an accountant and I still don’t 100% understand all of the shenanigans that went on with the book keeping, but I have a much better understanding than I did before reading this. 

69. Tenth of December – George Saunders – George Saunders is my new boyfriend.  This is a collection of short stories – I love EVERY ONE.  He writes the way I think.  He surprises me.  He gets me invested in characters in a few short pages. I am now desperately seeking anything else he has written. 

70. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie – Coming of age story set on a “modern” Indian reservation populated with alcoholics and people fiercely loyal to tribe.  Sad but hopeful.

71.  The Circle  - Dave Eggers – I tried to read “ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and I just couldn’t get through it.  “The Circle” is way better for me. I didn’t absolutely love it.  At times it felt tedious and I wanted him to get to the point, but it held my attention.  It also made me want to delete my facebook account and go off the grid FOR REAL.

72. Rivers – Michael Farris Smith – Who doesn’t like a dystopian novel set in the place they actually live?  I know I do!   So yes – setting was fun and awesome.  But the author also wove in a good story.  I would like to have seen a little more growth in the protagonist, but maybe we’ll get a sequel?  There were some very beautifully written passages  - so much so that I will buy a hard copy of the book and revisit them.  I listened on audible.  It’s read by the author and he does a solid, non-distracting job; a pretty good feat for an author-read book. 

73. The Good House – Ann Leary – This was fun.  I needed something funny to break up all the sad true stories, and sad coming of age stories, and sad dystopian stories.  This fit the bill.  It had it’s poignant moments, but they were framed in humor.

74.  Truth in Advertising – John Kenney – LOVED this!  Great story.  Great humor.  Great character development.  I want to read more from this guy – this is apparently his debut novel.  It’s about this guy who is a copywriter @ an ad agency.  Very un-mad men-like, though. 

75. Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City – Billy Sothern – He interjects a little too much flaming liberal politics for my taste; however, his real stories about real people were great.  He does a very good job of painting the picture of what it was like in the days after Katrina – very true to what I witnessed myself.  The audio book is ATROCIOUS.  The reader makes absolutely no effort to get the pronunciations of place names, surnames, even FOOD names correct.  He pronounces Jambalaya “Jam-BALL-ya”.  Unforgivable.  As a criminal attorney, he has some great insight into what happened at OPP (Orleans Parish Prison). I learned a lot about that situation that I didn’t know before, and it was heartbreaking. 

76. How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature Free Life – Dan Wilbur – Oh Dan Wilbur, you crack me up.  If you haven’t checked out his blog “BetterBookTitles.com”, do so immediately.  He retitles classics, like “The Road” becomes “Are We There Yet?”.  Game of Thrones becomes “Four Weddings and a Shitload of Funerals”.  You get the picture.  Hi-larious.  

So there you have it.  What I’ve read from July through now.  My to-read list just keeps getting longer.  That’s a good thing, right?  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Turd Giblets

My poor Greta.  14 years old.  When she sleeps good, sometimes poop just falls out of her butt.  My poor husband is the one home with her 98% of the time when this happens.  So there ya go.  It is what it is and we still love her heart out.  Sometimes it is a little overwhelming.  Following is a text exchange I had with my husband this morning.  He asked me how my day was, and you can read the rest.  My response to his question about my day starts with the green bubble at the top...

Hun, our Greta is so lucky to have you as a patient and understanding Dad!!!!   Sometimes you just have to laugh!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pipe Cleaner Art

My agency's awesome training guru (and also my good friend), Polly, fully understands the needs of tactile/ kinesthetic learners like me.  Most of our classes are, by nature, hours and hours (and hours) of lecture, power point presentations, and sitting on your butt. 

If you know me, you know:
  1. I want to learn and UNDERSTAND anything I am taught.  I need to internalize it, and
  2. I get ants in my pants. 

So thank you, Polly, for always providing tactile tools for us to play with while listening. Not only can I listen and actually focus on what's being taught, but I end up with bonus art work. For example, this vase of flowers complete with a bee, a spider in a web, and a ladybug. I was pretty proud of it.


I hear through the rumor mill that the new training people don't much believe in providing these sorts of materials.  No biggie really for me, because I can always doodle, but I think it's a shame.  I know it works for me, and I appreciate the training department's efforts to incorporate all types of learning styles. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Errrrings

Last night I ran by my new friend Vickie's house with my realtor/ friend Billie who had, earlier in the evening, dragged me to my very first ever real-live yoga class, which was AWESOME.  I loved it.  LOVED.  I feel so stretched!  It was yoga for serious beginners, and there were only 4 people there besides the instructor, so no need to feel embarrassed or intimidated.  PLUS it's right around the corner from my house so I can walk there.  I'm stoked.

So anyway then we ran by Vickie's, where Billie made the mistake of showing me the new JEWELRY Vickie has been making and omg I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!  It's metals and pearls and copper and metal enamels that she burns onto the copper with some sort of alchemical process, and it's pretty and funky and feminine and a little rock and roll. 

I bought a pair of earrings, but I saw about 20 other things I wanted.  It's hard to get a good picture of earrings when they are attached to your head.  Did you know that?  But I tried, because I wanted you to see how cool they are along with today's Kameleon necklace/pop.  So not the best pic, but you get the idea.

She is selling her pieces on Etsy:     Vickie's Etsy Shop.  I know she is also planning to be at the Peter Anderson festival.  That is, of course, unless I purchase her entire inventory before then.

LAWD save me from my jewelry obsession. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Christmas Trees

As promised, my Christmas tree project! I have always LURVED this little bottle-brush Christmas trees in funky 50's colors that are generally a bazillion dollars in antique stores and are in varying stages of decay.  At some point one of my relatives (grandmother? aunt?  who knows) had some of those little old cardboard sparkly covered cottages with some of these trees, and I coveted them.

Never could bring myself to buy any because they weren't $.10.  Y'all know I'm cheap.  ENTER PINTEREST.  Oh Pinterest, how I love/hate you. It is an obsession.  Low and behold, you can find 8,000 different ways there to MAKE YOUR OWN FUNKY CHRISTMAS TREES!!!

And so I went on the hunt for a giant bag of bottle brush trees.  First I sent my Mom to look for a bag since she was at a Hobby Lobby, but she didn't really know what I was talking about, nor did the sales people.  Then I looked at a Hobby Lobby or Michael's (I don't remember which) and they actually HAD had them, but they were out. 

I tried to bring myself to order some online, but I couldn't find any with free shipping and I'm just too cheap for that.  FINALLY I ran across some in the Christmas section of one of the craft stores. It was a bag like this --------->
I got the flocked ones, and just dumped them in some warm water and OxiClean. Most of the flocking came off, but it was fine anyway.

At first the trees just turned BLACK, and I thought I had messed up.  But I just needed to use a little patience (I don't have much.) 
 Here's what I guess you'd call phase 2.  Still a little color. I ended up changing out the water several times, adding more OxiClean, and finally I poured a little bleach in there too. 
 And here's what they look like once they were all done and dry.  Then the fun part - decorating!  The how-tos I found on pinterest recommended RIT Dye, but I didn't feel like going to the store, and I didn't want to buy a whole thing of RIT anyway to dye a few trees.  So I turned to another fun project I saw once on pinterest.....
 Alcohol inks!  I just took some rubbing alcohol, put it in some Ball jars, and cut open a couple of sharpies I had lying around. I dumped the sponge-y doodad from the inside of the sharpies into the alcohol, and VOILA!  Just dunk the trees to dye! And, yes!  Yes it did dye my fingers blue/ green which lasted several days.  Perhaps, in future, tongs...

Then the super fun part began!  I dug through my supplies of sparkly bits, mardi gras beads, glitter, powdered snow, and sent to town!  This was a blast.  I ended up wanted a few more colors and didn't feel like making more alcohol ink, so I actually colored some of the trees (the purple ones, specifically) with a HIGHLIGHTER.  Yep.  It worked just fine!
So here they are all finished.  I just love them to DEATH. I packed them away carefully, but I'm anxious to see how they hold up after being in the attic for months and months. 

And of course I had to sketch them.  Cause that's how I do.
Make some for yourself and let me know how it goes! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Some Kid's Stuff

I know. I don't have kids.  But I have 4 nieces and a nephew and they may eventually like cool old stuff, and also, so what?  I like cool old stuff too.  At the beginning of the year, I had to work in Huntsville for a couple of weeks.  On the way home, I stopped in Hartselle, AL to run through some antique stores.  I didn't actually buy anything, but I was tempted by this 1955 board game called

""BUZZ  A Honey of a Game"

It was in super good condition. I absolutely love the colors and art work. The board itself, of which I can't find a decent photo online, was SUPER cute as well.  The instructions were quaint and 1955-ish, and the box included a pamphlet with descriptions of some of the company's other games which were pretty funny.  My thought was that I could frame the board for my guest room (AKA K.E.S.'s room), and that would have been great, but since then I have changed my design scheme for that room so I guess it's ok that I didn't get it.  Still, the game itself actually looked fun and involved MATH, so I will keep a lookout on ebay for one in good condition. 

 A few weeks later, I saw this AWESOME set of 1950's Libby carousel glasses and I WANTED WANTED WANTED them!!! HOWEVER.  I don't need any more glasses to have to STORE, AND, they were ex-pen-sive (over $100?  I don't remember exactly, and I don't remember where I saw them). 

A search on e-bay today reveals sets ranging from $40 for 8 to $250 for 8. I still love them. I still don't need them.

Blogging about all this junk I didn't buy is a surprisingly good substitute for actually buying them.  My checkbook thanks you, and my husband is thrilled I am not bringing more stuff home.   

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jazzy's Dwight Schrute Impression

Out of town for the weekend, and I'm missing the pitter patter of giant feet, so here's a couple of videos I just happened to have on my camera.  Jasmine is FAMOUS for her impression of Dwight Schrute's famous SPIN MOVE:

Here's Dwight: 

And here's Jazzy: 

And here's Greta, my 14 year old, talking back to me.  She is SO SASSY. 

Hotel rooms are way too quiet.  Yeah I know I could get out and do something and talk to people, but sometimes it just feels like it's not worth the effort.  I haven't left my room this weekend. It's a little depressing, but I just didn't feel like getting out and exploring.  The thought of it, for some reason, gave me the heebies.  I am not really all that superstitious, but I will generally try to pay attention to those sorts of vibes.  Maybe it was the story I heard from one of my coworkers about being followed and threatened by a man once when she was out of town for work and went walking around alone.  Maybe I just miss my husband.  I've been wanting us to come up here to the mountains.  Maybe I need to quit reading stuff about serial killers.  Maybe I need to finish this one work report I have hanging over my head....

Regardless, here I sit.  I did do a TON of reading and drawing and Candy Crushing and even some work.  Hoping I can get my groove back next week.  Then I'm working on the Coast for 2 weeks so WOOT! 

Also:  next week my dining room buffet should FINALLY get delivered!!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tennessee Morning Walk

Went for a long walk up a hill behind my hotel this morning to see what I could see.  Saw wildflowers, tracks, large animal poop (my friend saw the picture I took and said it was only a horse - I was sure it was some sort of attack elk), nice vistas, a hilltop swamp, some sunshine, a turtle shell, some cool rocks.  SO glad to be motivated to get outside!!!  Pics included here: 


and in link to the right ------>

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Did not buy...

This.  What IS it?? It looks like it is missing a piece.  See the two holes?    

Someone is Spoiled

My cousin's yorkie, Wilson, in the arms of his Grandma, my Aunt.   Wilson doesn't allow her to have a conversation with me unless she is holding him.  Spoillllled.

Oooo Love!

Spending the night with my aunt on my way home from Memphis tonight.  She has a new piece of art in my room that I love!  She's had it a long time but needs to get it reframed so hasn't had it out.  I love love love the juicy colors.

"Just a Schnecond"

My brilliant and hilarious husband posted this on our giant schnauzer group facebook page this morning.  I love it!!!

"I have invented a new unit of time. It is called, the Schnecond.

This unit of time is relativistic, and it is based on the fundamental amount of time it takes for a Giant Schnauzer to make up its mind if it wants to come inside once you have opened the door. As it is variable, you can imagine that it leads to some pretty complex mathematics, but using the Schnecond in your every day life, when being your Giant Schnauzer's butler, will make scheduling expectations much easier.

Some things of note:
The Schnecond is inversely proportional to how much uninterrupted sleep you have gotten. Some people have claimed Schneconds in the 30 to 45 standard second range between the times of 1 and 5 am.

It is directly proportional to the number of night time chirps, croaks, sudden breezes or any other distractions that could suddenly pique the interest of a Giant Schnauzer while pondering crossing the threshold of his or her domicile.

A Schnecond is not complete until the entirety of the Giant Schnauzer has cleared the threshold so that the door may then be closed. No halvies Scheconds, only whole numbers.

Calculating your life span in Schneconds would actually make your age younger than you are currently, though premature aging is a considerable factor in the Schnecond time stream. I am almost 40, though in Schneconds, I'm closer to 10.

Because Schneconds are relativistic and variable, try not to confuse the person not currently owned by a Giant Schnauzer by saying "Just a Schnecond". Some people can't wait all day.

Your Giant Schnauzer will most likely calculate your payroll in Schneconds, unfortunately."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mid-Year Book Report Correction

My Aunt Billie says she did NOT recommend Cutting for Stone.  She didn't even get through it - did not like it at all.  I admit, it was GORY.  But like I told her, I can handle reading about pain, suffering, and cruelty to humans, in general, but not to animals.  So the gory parts of this book didn't bother me too much.  I still really, really, liked it, and I still trust the recommendations that Aunt Billie DOES make to me. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mid-Year Book Report

This year has been a GREAT reading year for me.  I told you about 9 of them in THIS POST.  Those remain some of my favorites so far, but let me just go ahead and give you the whole list with some down and dirty comments.

  1. Wonder - R.J. Palacio Well, I didn't like this one as well as ROOM, but it was still good. ROOM just had more character development in my opinion.  And while I guess they actually aren't all THAT comparable, they are both told from the point of view of a little kid with issues, so I sort of lump them together.  
  2. The Yellow Birds - Kevin Powers Reviewed here
  3. The Dog Stars - Peter Heller I love me a good post-apocalyptic. This was a damn good one. Made me sad in lots of ways.  Isolation and friendship.  Reliance and dependency.  A good dog.  Wow.  
  4. Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple  Reviewed here
  5. Some Remarks - Neal Stephenson  Thanks Mr. Stephenson, I'm now saving my money for a treadmill desk.  
  6. Wool Omnibus - Hugh Howey Jason and I listened to this together and really liked it.  5 related, interwoven short stories, with more to come. I thought it had some really good character development.  Good pacing.  Enough action and science to keep Jason interested, and the science wasn't completely stupid.  (I'm looking at YOU, "Under the Dome")
  7. Treasure Island!! - Sara Levine Confederacy of Dunces LIGHT + She's Come Undone LIGHT, only with a girl who thinks she's a pirate.  It was fun.  and LIGHT.  
  8. Life Among the Giants - Bill Roobach  This was good.  I think maybe I just didn't relate much to the characters, so I didn't feel all that invested. But it was well written, and it definitely held my attention.  
  9. The last 1/2 of The Brothers Karamozov LAWD this was long.  I didn't like it NEAR as much as Crime and Punishment, but then I've always had a thing for stories about psychos. This was excellent, of course, and I'm glad I read it.   Isn't it so interesting how people raised by the same parents, in the same environment, can turn out SO different?
  10. Currency - Neal Stephenson Neal Stephenson, as you know, is my boyfriend.  So, yeah.
  11. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain Reviewed here
  12. Suddenly, a Knock at the Door - Etgar Keret Short story collection.  Some elements of mystical realism, which I can dig.  I listened to this on audio, and I feel like I missed something.  I think I'll go and get this in hard copy and spend a little more time with it.  I think there are some things in here that I want to think about more.  
  13. A-Z Perfume Guide - Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez  I went through a brief period of obsession. 
  14. 100 Classic Perfumes - Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez I said I was obsessed.  I admit it.  
  15. Ready Player 1- Ernest Cline Snow Crash meets The Westing Game meets it could have ended a lot faster.  The end Druuuuugggggg on for me.  But it was a fun read, and I don't not recommend it.  
  16. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel Reviewed here
  17. Bring up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel Reviewed here
  18. Columbine - Dave Cullen I'm fascinated by the psychology of both the survivors and the perpetrators.  And the failure at so many levels to prevent this.  We are a nation of passing on the responsibility, aren't we?
  19. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store - Robin Sloan The Davinci Code meets Ready Player One....sort of.  It was fun. Another one where I could have just done without the end.
  20. Fobbit - David Abrams Reviewed here
  21. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green  Reviewed here
  22. The Emperor of Scent - Chandler Burr About Luca Turin, see also #13 and #14.  This was a good bio.  
  23. Vampires in the Lemon Grove - Karen Russell Short stories.  I think I loved them all.  Another one with a touch of that mystical realism Karen Russell is good at.  
  24. The Dinner - Herman Koch I love a book where it starts with a good story, good characters, and good plot, and the whole book is peeling away layers and layers and layers and then BANG.  Literally.  A good beach read - oh yeah.  
  25. Drinking & Tweeting - Brandi Glanville I like her.  Sue me.  
  26. How to be Black - Baratunde Thurston I heard him on NPR or somewhere, and was intrigued.  It's the brother book to "Stuff White People Like", which I haven't read yet.  This was really fun.  I still don't think I could pass, though.  I'm pretty white.  
  27. The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson Reviewed here
  28. The Death of Bees - Lisa O'Donnell Lolita except without the kiddie porn but with more murders.  I liked it a lot.  
  29. The City & The City - China Mieville Now this was a super interesting concept to me.  The murder mystery that went along with it bored me to death, but the world building was really REALLY cool. 
  30. Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy) - Mira Grant Part 2 of the trilogy.  I loved it.  FUN and fast and interesting and funny and sad, too.  
  31. Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy)- Mira Grant Part 3 of the trilogy.  Umm...still loved it, but there is a SHOCKER that I'm still not sure I'm over.  
  32. To The Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf What's with all the hype? I don't get it. I thought I'd been missing out all this time?  It's just "seize the day", people.  
  33. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe OH my. We white Christian people sure are destroyers, no?
  34. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls - David Sedaris Bwwahahaahaahah!
  35. Sharp Objects- Gillian Flynn I liked this a lot better than Gone Girl.  It was a fun beach/ thriller/ summer read.  
  36. In the Wood - Tana French In the summer I sometimes like to read crime-y pulp paperbacks. But not shitty ones.  This was a good one with good character development, plot and pace.  I have found myself thinking about this guy (the protagonist) from time to time since I read this.  
  37. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn the "twist" was obvious.  I hate that.  
  38. Shipbreaker - Paolo Bacigalupi Paolo is sort of Neal Stepheson-esque, so I like it a lot. I am a post-apocalyptic nut.  This one is set in post-apocalyptic New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, so I really love the world-building here.  I cared about the characters.  I found the fight scenes a little tedious at times, but that's just me.  I think Jason would find this one fun.  
  39. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness Sorry, not my favorite.  This is the first book in a series, and I have no plans as of right now to pick up the second.  I do sort of care about the 2 main characters, so I will probably read the rest of the series at some point, but I'll have to be bored.  
  40. The Likeness - Tana French - I didn't like it as much as In the Wood, but I think maybe I was getting burnt out on my summer crime-reading spree.  It was good, and the premise was interesting.  I wasn't bored, and I cared about all the characters, but the resolution of the mystery was sort of flat or something.  Again, maybe I was just getting bored of mysteries by the time I read this one.
  41. Fool - Christopher Moore - Oh Christopher Moore, please write more books like this and Lamb and  Bite Me and A Dirty Job, and less like The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and Island of the Sequined Love Nun, kthanx.  This is funny and smart and funny.  King Lear from the viewpoint of a court jester. 
  42. Moral Disorder and Other Stories - Margaret Atwood I'm not sure what I think about this one.  They are all interrelated stories, but I didn't find myself connecting much with any of the characters. I couldn't even really tell you what any of the stories was about.  Maybe I was in a bad/ weird place when I read this?  Maybe I need to read it on paper?  I listened on audio.  Maybe I'll revisit it at some point, but probably not.  
  43. The Woods - Harlan Coben It was dumb of me to read this one and In the Wood by Tana French so close together.  They are both about kids who get murdered in the Wood and then way later one of the people involved ends up being a cop and investigating another murder of kids and drama ensues.  I have them both confused and mixed up in my head.  
  44. Angelmaker - Nick Haraway I liked The Gone-Away World way, way, way better.  This one is still ok though, think a steampunk much better written Davinci Code.  With robot flying bees.  And ninjas. 
  45. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet - Jamie Ford My Aunt Billie has been trying to get me to read this for years, and I finally picked it up.  WOW it was great and I loved it.  I generally HATE romance crap, but this one had enough other intriguing stuff going on that I could easily overlook that sappy love junk.  Actually that part just added to the already excellent character development, so...well done.  
  46. Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey  Oooo!oooooh!! Spooky and creepy and GOOD.  A little magical realism....or was it? Another one my Aunt Billie recommended - she has never ONCE steered me wrong.  Good story, good characters that I cared about - up to and including the brassy neighbor, good descriptions of surviving Alaskan winters.  A good one, too, to read in July on the Coast.  It cooled me off, even when it wasn't giving me the chills from being creepy. 
  47. Reckless Endangerment - Gretchen Morgenson, Joshua Rosner The BEST explanation of the causes and effects of the 2008 real estate market crash and people behind it.  I was riveted.  RIVETED.  
  48. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese Another Cousin Holly/ Aunt Billie recommendation, and oh they did not disappoint me.  This one was a big deal a few years ago, and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind.  Glad I waited until I was in a good place for it, because I loved it. I even made it through the GORY descriptions of operations and hospitals and dying people without barfing.  I just finished it today, and I already miss the characters.  I'll be thinking about them for a long time. 

That's it through July 21, 2013. Next up: British Victorian literature, starting with Middlemarch.  That's a story in itself, but for another time.  I'm tired and I still have to get a little work done before I can crash.  Goodnight my peeps!

Good Birthday Week

Today is my 44th birthday.  And as I typed that, I threw up in my mouth a little.  44.  44444444444444.  44.  Two fours.  FOUR decades + FOUR years.


ok I need to get over it.

On the positive side, Jason has treated me like a princess this week.  Not that he doesn't normally do that anyway, but just even more special little things than usual.  Like one day I was craving onion rings.  He got on-line, found recipes, went to the grocery, came home, and BAKED me AWESOME crunchy onion rings.

Then, we had to go to Baton Rouge last Tuesday to check on the house there, and he had ordered me my MOST favorite cake in the world.  Berry Chantilly from Whole Foods.

OMG this cake.  For real, it's too good for words.  

This week I also got several things in the mail that I "won" off the ebay.  I'll be sharing those in the next little while.  

My NEW ROOF got done WOOHOO!  And I couldn't thank my hunny enough for taking care of THAT nightmare.  The research he has put in to make sure we got what we needed - WOOF!  A LOT!

Got a zillion Happy Birthday's on The FaceBook, talked to K.E.S. on FaceTime, during which she told me she had a "Happy Birthday Party for me", then I went to Mom's, and she had fixed my favorite birthday dinner EVAH....

Fried steak, english peas, and that AMAZEBALLS mac and cheese she made the first time this Christmas.  Remember that?  Remember how I ate so much of it at Christmas that I didn't poop until February?  Well, this time I'm prepared.  I bought some SMOOTH MOVE tea at Whole Foods Tuesday.  So take THAT, mac and cheese!

So yeah, Happy Birthday to me!  All in all, a  pretty good time was had by all!  Next week, HOPEFULLY, my new dining room buffet will get delivered and then we can all really celebrate :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bery Heavy Head

A post on the Giant Schnauzer Facebook group this morning included the cutest photo of a giant out in a garden with her head laying on a rock.  It got me thinking about all the different pictures I have of my Jazzy Grrl laying her head on various things.  It cracks me up, the positions and places she ends up.  She's so sweet and funny, we just love her heart out.

Hello dis is Jasmine and dese are fings I like to lay on.  Because my humans treat me so bad and won't give me anywhere nice to rest to I have to lay on hard, cold, uncomfortable objects.  Like....
Dis chair.  Dis when I first got here and had no beard and looked like a goof. 
Dis miter box

The arm of dis swing
Dis rocking chair
Dis desk

Dis drafting table
Dis rail
My Dad's foot

My sissy's bed, within reach of the dangerous dragon-schnauzer

OK, sometimes they let me get comfy :)  I guess I've actually got it pretty good.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mimosa, anyone?

Druid Oak

One of my favorites on my morning walk route.  Doesn't it look like it is doing a reallllllly slow ( like eons long) pirouette?

What the?

Anybody know what this is?  There is the head and the three little separate dishes and then the body which is hollow. Lady at the antique store has no idea.  


I so dearly love my crepe myrtles.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Planner!!

I am a planner fanatic.  I've had one at all times since my sophomore year of college. It's also one thing I've hoarded.  I still have them all.  (Well, except that I went through a several-year Franklin Covey phase.  Those planners have 1 or 2 whole pages a day.  I did not keep all the pages from those planners, just key pages.)  I don't know why I keep them.  I guess they are the closest thing I have to a diary.  I have always sucked at actual diary-keeping.

Over the years, I tried pretty much every format out there.  Every size.  Every arrangement of pages.  One-page-a-day, two-page-a-day, one week on two pages etc. etc. etc.  I've just never been 100% satisfied.  I finally decided it's because that is not the way my brain works.  My brain works in a list format. So after MUCH searching for the perfect format, I finally stumbled upon do-it-yourself planners.

And now I have a new obsession with the Arc planner/ notebook system from Staples.  Here's my 1st go.  It's the junior size planner, with lots of plastic dividers- from both the ARC line and from the Martha Stewart line (also at staples - and yes they are interchangeable).  I bought all the flags and tabs and page markers, and some Martha Stewart to-do list packs (that's the first little short page you see in the pic below).  And lots of blank paper in various formats.  I learned very quickly that I needed the 2 things I did NOT buy on my first trip to Staples - the hole punch and the upgraded size discs.

Sidenote: Jason rode with me on my first trip to Staples, which is a little over 20 miles away in Pascagoula, MS. We counted 52 rabbits on the trip. See here the article about bunny counting.    http://www.sunherald.com/2013/07/05/4778978/bunny-counting-contest-is-hoppin.html 

  So today, Mom was here and we had some time to run around before going to see KES once she woke up from her nap, and I convinced her to ride back to Staples with me.  We counted only 17 rabbits, but it was about 2pm which is not their prime-time.  

These new discs look huge, but I know I will expand into them.  I have already made sections in the planner for Gardening, Blogging, Home, Secret Codes, Books, Doodling, and yes, WORK.  However, I did something new in this planner.  I put the work sections in the very back, because I am trying to remind myself every time I open this planner that although my job is very important to me, I need to stop letting it always be the top priority all the time.

After all my internet searching I still never found a planner page format I really liked, so I decided to make my own!  With my hubby's help (he's a photoshop wiz), we used one of my own doodles and modified a free downloadable blog planner I found from www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com.  It's simple and easy, and it really all I think I need.  It has space right after the date for any appointments I have, the space next to that is for me to record my time each day for my time report, the 8 little circles on each day are for me to mark that I drank the water I'm supposed to drink, and the W on each day is for me to mark that I WALKED (or rode my bike or whatever).

I am super sure that this will go through 100 iterations through time, but I so VERY happy with the way my first attempt turned out!    I feel more organized and clear-headed already.  Can't wait to really start using this new tool!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dear One Kings Lane,

I have no words, other than....Do I need a new section of my blog entitled "Very, Very, Poorly Posed Statuary", or perhaps just "What.in.the.holy.hell."?????

Friday, June 14, 2013


Yesterday some stuff got moved around in the room where I'm working, and there, on the table, was THE WOODEN PENCIL OF MY NIGHTMARES.  It had a BROKEN POINT with jagged wood shards sticking out at dangerous angles.  It a NO eraser left, which means somebody erased until they rubbed METAL ON PAPER.

I had the major heebs.  MAJOR.  I picked it up from the middle, and hurled in towards the garbage can, but missed.  Not being able to stomach the idea of taking my life into my own hands again to actually put it IN the trashcan, I left it, thinking somebody awesome would save me from it. 

I went to bed last night feeling slightly safer, but still concerned.

This morning I got to work, walked up to my spot at the table, and BAM!!!!!!!  THE DAMN PENCIL WAS AT MY SPOT.  Now I'm not saying I don't perhaps SLIGHTLY deserve this for not making damn sure the thing was disposed of properly, but COME ON. 

I took the pencil and threw it away in another office Fffffffaaaaaaaar fffffffffaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr away.  Then I told my team that their evaluations on this job would for REAL reflect this injury.  Marquita noted that the people currently in the room were not the people who placed the offending object, and I pointed out that they stood by while evil happened.

Which is just exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

I can't cotton to the idea of putting an actual picture of the torture device here, but here is a drawing.  Or as my friends in Boston say, a drawering.