Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Salon: Happy Place

 I'm coming to you today from my happy place.  Most of you that come by here have been around long enough to have heard about this place before.  Sorry to be a broken record.  St. George Island is in the Florida Panhandle, just off the coast from Apalachicola (known as the Oyster Capital of the World).  The island is a laid-back place with no high rises...just a bunch of houses on stilts.  A few restaurants and shops.  And miles and miles of beach, dunes and sea oats.  Sorry no pictures today but Google it - it is gorgeous.  We've been coming up here for 13 years, mostly over the Thanksgiving week.

So my son and I got up here yesterday.  My parents will arrive today.  Unfortunately my daughter and husband have to stay back until Tuesday night because of sadistic teachers that give tests on Monday and Tuesday.

We promptly rented some bicycles, went for a long ride over the island, then bought some shrimp from the fisherman guy that sells out of his truck.  That is for lunch today.  It turned cold last night (it is 52 degrees right now).  But you know how much I bitch about the heat so this is awesome.

On the reading front I finished Mo Hayder's "Hanging Hill" on audio.  This was not one of her best books, but was still entertaining with a deliciously ambiguous ending that would make Tana French proud.  I'm now 3/4 of the way through "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) and I love it.  The mystery itself is kind of plodding but she creates such great characters, is such a colorful storyteller, I don't mind.  Plus I have to add that the narrator is incredible.  He will most definitely add a star to my rating for his performance.

In print I finished "The Sea of Tranquility" by Katja Millay based on the very high recommendation of Jill, and I was completely smitten.  She and I don't always see eye to eye on YA novels (I'm a cynical poop and generally fed up with teen angst), but the book swept me away.   A must read.  Now I'm about halfway through Mo Hayder's standalone novel "Pig Island".  It is insane.  This is why I love her.  It is also my last Mo Hayder by the way, until she adds on to her Jack Caffrey series.  With all the books I want to read, I think it definitely says something when I become so besotted with an author that I plow through everything she has written in less than six months.

I've been meaning to mention that our C.B. James (Ready When You Are C.B.) is once again hosting the Triple Dog Dare starting January 1st and lasting through the end of March.  Yes it is a challenge but one that I would never miss.  You just have to read from your shelves.  Sounds simple but its not.  I always go on a Kindle-buying binge on December 31st, then rarely end up even reading those books.  But it's good fun and I have to support James always because he was my very first follower five years ago when I started blogging!

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and yummy food.  What plans does everyone have?  Have you started your shopping?  I promise I'll take pictures and see you back here next Sunday!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Salon: The Apple

 Good morning!  I'm sliding my post in here with a fuzzy head and blurry eyes.  My son and I just flew back into town last night from our field trip to New York City, and our butts are dragging.  They ran us like crazy rats, from morning until night, but we crammed a lot of activity into three days.  We saw the 9/11 memorial, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Empire State Building observation deck at night, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (wow), the Broadway show "Newsies", Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  The kids were also taken on a study tour of the United Nations and Wall Street.  Whew!  Our weather was gorgeous, at least for New York...clear skies and in the 50's.  It was a little bittersweet because this will be the last big field trip for this school, as he heads out to high school next year.

So now we focus on Thanksgiving!  We will be leaving our kitties in the hands of our house-sitter on Saturday and heading up to St. George Island for a week.  I will definitely include some pictures next Sunday.  Turkey on the beach is an amazing thing.

I can't even remember what else I did this week.  Who knows. I read the GN "V for Vendetta" and really enjoyed it.  It wasn't easy reading, as most graphic novels are.  It was complicated and chaotic, but I loved it.  Now my son and I want to watch the movie.  I then started "The Sea of Tranquility" by Katja Millay on the Kindle, which was a MUST READ recommendation from Rhapsody Jill.  I have no choice in these matters, but in this case it was warranted.  I'm about halfway through, and it is soooo good.

On audio I'm still listening to Mo Hayder's "Hanging Hill" (no listening time in NYC).  I should wrap that up in the next day or so.  It is good stuff...all her books are.  But it isn't quite as mind-blowing to me as the Jack Caffrey series.  I'm excited to see how she wraps this one up.

I think today is probably just going to be spent getting my act together for next week.  We're off to church in a minute, then my son has an end-of-the-season football thing and my daughter has to be shuttled to the animal shelter.  I have to think about groceries and a dirty house.  Hope you all have a relaxed Sunday!  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Salon: (Semi) Easy Street

Good morning friends!  As I sat pondering my past week, I decided that for the most part, it was relatively easy compared to the norm.  We were in our last week of cross country practice (and most of that was moot because my daughter was out sick for a few days).  No sports for the boy.  Kids had Monday off (aka "Doctor Appointment Day").  Husband was in town.  I actually felt like I a had a grip.  So much that I actually got my Christmas cards done, the Christmas letter done, and my Shutterfly calendars made for family gifts.  Bam!

Offsetting the glow of easy street were three horrid workouts from Andre...I think he was trying to kill me, because for the first time in a long time, I could barely move.  Also we had our annual, obligatory conference with my son's teachers.  I wasn't surprised.  We have had these things since he was in 2nd or 3rd grade...the by-product of having a spirited, too-smart-for-his-own-good child.  I hate these meetings.  I always feel like I'm going to throw up.  But it is done and all is well.

It seems I am addicted to a game called "Cubis".  Just be warned.  I've almost finished it though, with only one level left that I haven't gotten a three-star rating.  Damn these games.  They plague me.

Later next week, my son and I leave for a short, whirlwind school field trip to New York City.  In the past we have gone to DC and surrounding attractions, Philadelphia, and Boston.  These are great trips but they are exhausting.  They pack in a huge amount of activities, and this time around we will see St. Patricks Cathedral, Empire State Building, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Statue of Liberty, United Nations, and see "Newsies" on Broadway.  And maybe more I'm not remembering.

I had some good reading this week.  I finished "Benediction" on audio and really liked it.  It didn't blow me away, but it was solid writing, had solid themes, and was packed a powerful punch.  I also listened to Joshilyn Jackson's novella that is a prequel to her upcoming new book called "My Own Miraculous".  She is just so talented.  She makes my heart happy.  I am now about halfway through one of Mo Hayder's standalone novels called "Hanging Hill".  It is good, but so far not as in-my-face as her series.  Will see how it wraps up.

In print I finished "The Shining Girls" which originally got a huge amount of hype when it came out.  Again, didn't blow my mind but I really liked it, not only for the fun of time traveling serial murderation, but for the historic Chicago references.  Now, at the behest of my son, I am reading the "V for Vendetta" graphic novel, soon to be followed up with the movie.  My son has really been digging GNs as fast as he can.  I cackle maniacally at all the fun I'm going to have shopping for him for Christmas THIS year.  Woo hoo!

On the agenda today is church, shuttling the daughter to and from school to work an Open House event (community service hours!), maybe a restored car show, maybe a movie (12 Years a Slave).  Reading?  Probably not.       

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Salon: Transitions

 Hey, here we are, another Sunday in front of us.  We are falling back with our time, which is never a bad thing.  This was the first week when my son had NOTHING GOING ON (except homework) and it was wonderful.  My daughter on the other hand is still running Cross Country.  Her team placed in the top five teams for Regionals this weekend, which means they are going to States.  Which means another week of practices, and a trip to Tallahassee in the near future.  Once everyone is free and clear of extracurriculars, I think we may be visiting the Angel of Death, Andre, in the evenings for some "enjoyable, voluntary" workouts.  But that is at least a week away.

My husband was back in town, which was a nice change.  Hey, I'm happy to make dinner in exchange for another set of wheels to get the kids where they need to go.  And someone to make me a concoction when I have a bad day.

So, I didn't say much about it at the time but I wrote my last bloggy book review this past week.  From here on out, it is my plan to write informal bookish thoughts on Goodreads (which get pulled into Facebook).  I hope this works out but so far is giving me the freedom to spend the time I need with my family.  I love blogging, but requires a huge amount of time for NO money and little benefit.  I fully intend to visit blogs and stay in touch with those I love.  I'm just hoping this gives me the balance I've been looking for.

One horrible thing that happened this week was that a woman who was messing with her cell phone inadvertently swerved across a country road, and t-boned my father in his truck. Although both cars were totaled, everyone walked away, which was a miracle.  But it just reinforces how freaking INSANE IT IS TO DRIVE WHILE DISTRACTED BY A CELLPHONE.  Put it away people.  And if someone is trying to get in touch, pull over.  A blogger friend (who is no longer blogging today) lost her granddaughter in an automobile accident caused by a texter.  This is really serious stuff.  If this woman, her little boy, and my dad hadn't been in big safe vehicles, someone would have died.  So.

On the reading front, I finished "The Woman Upstairs" by Claire Massud on audio.  And I did not like it.  It had a jarring little ending, but I hated the protagonist and felt like she got what she deserved.  I shant be reading any more of her novels, thank you.  I now am about halfway through Kent Haruf's "Benediction" which is quiet but powerful stuff.

In print, I finished "Eleanor and Park" on the Kindle, and I AM IN LOVE WITH RAINBOW ROWELL.  What a perfect book.  So much that it is hard to move on.  Seriously, if you have not read any of her books, you need to.  I am now about halfway through "The Shining Girls" by Lauren Beukes, a story about a time-traveling serial killer (YES!) that is really provocative.  I recently have received a Mo Hayder stand-alone novel in print and a whole mess of audios, all from the library, so I am really excited about the short-term reading future!

I have no idea what we are going to do today besides church.  My daughter has to work at the animal shelter from 9 to 3, so I will have to attend to that.  There is a Renaissance Festival going on, as well as some great movies out, but the boy has got the crud this weekend so we will see.  The great news is that neither of the kids has school on Monday, so we will be getting an extra day off.

Hope you are all having a wonderful, restful Sunday!