Friday, July 29, 2011

camping is certainly an adventure…in insanity

A few weeks ago we made our pilgrimage to Yosemite.  It was … interesting.

Emma loved everything about camping except nighttime.  The first two of the three nights her nose bled.  And when I say ‘bled’ I mean to say, bled all over her face and sleeping back and jammies.  The first night we were there she slept on this thing:

Good in theory.  Bad in practice.  It’s a sleeping bag that’s sort of attached to an air mattress.  The air mattress is more like an inflatable raft you take into the pool.  Slightly uncomfortable and VERY LOUD.  So the noise she made moving her around kept her from really falling asleep and kept me from sleeping at all.  She whimpered a bit and tossed and turned until she just woke up completely and started crying.  I got up to calm her down and noticed darkness all over her face.  Grabbed a flashlight and almost had a heart attack when I realized the darkness was blood.

Not.  Fun.

Eventually I brought her into my sleeping bag (I got a ‘big & tall’ bag and it was perfect for fitting either my preggo pillow or a fussy 5 year old) around 5 in the morning.  She slept for a couple of hours and I slept for around an hour.

The first full day at Yosemite was …. long.

We did make it to the valley later in the morning.  Our campground was about 30 minutes or so from the valley.  We headed out with really no plan whatsoever.  Walked around for a bit, but the kids were really tired (and me too) so we didn’t really hike around like we planned.  We did get ice cream and the kids participated in a scavenger hunt that the park puts on and they had fun with that.  I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I would, as I wanted to, but I did get some.

Just some ground cover.  I thought it looked purty.

Dominic hitching a ride with Ji-Chan.

My brother, looking excited.

Trying to decide what kind of ice cream to get.

Working diligently on their scavenger hunt pictures.

The obligatory picture of Half Dome.


Chloe kicking back.

Sunshiny day.

Before we headed out to Yosemite we got an email from Park Services informing us that nearby our campsite they would be doing a controlled burn of several acres.  Luckily, we weren’t really affected by the smoke, but it was much closer than we thought it would be.

It’s hard to see during the daytime, but this was from the campsite across from us.  From there you could see across the road where they were doing the burn.  All day and during the night as well we could hear trees falling.  I couldn’t believe how loud it was!

Much easier to see at night!  Nuts & crazy and luckily the kids were sleeping when we saw this.  Though Dominic was pretty stoked to see all the fire fighters and trucks!

Despite all the pitfalls we did have a good time.  I love camping, the tents and sleeping bags, s’mores and all the camping food.  It’s just fun and nostalgic.  Plus we were there with some of my favorite people.  Next time though, I think we’ll stay a little closer to home!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

probably the best night of my sister’s life

In the summer of 1989 my sister was just barely 11 years old.  I took her with me to Great America’s Redwood Ampitheater to see New Kids On the Block open for Tiffany.  It was that day that I created a monster.

You would think in 20+ years her adoration for this boy band would wane.  You would be wrong.  When they announced their comeback tour she knew right away because, of course, she’s a fan club member or something.  I went and it was fun because it was so nuts to think that I first saw them in concert when I was 14 and here it was 20 years later and they still sounded good.  Then we went again the next tour.  I was a little less enthused, but alcohol contributed to a good time.

Then came the news.  New Kids On the Block would be touring this summer with Backstreet Boys.  I knew exactly where this was going.  I can’t really say that I was excited, especially not as much as my sister, but I hadn’t seen BSB in concert in many, many years and here I was killing two birds with one stone.

When Amy found out we had 4th row seats I thought she was going to pass out.

But dang, we were close.

Detective Danny Reagan in all his glory.

I didn’t edit these pictures and most of them sucked because I cannot work my husband’s point and shoot and I couldn’t bring in my Nikon so these were taken with my iPhone.  But you get the idea.  We were close.  They sounded great.  BSB is still one of my favorite boy bands though without Kevin there’s a noticeable difference.

Nonetheless, my sister had a good time.  And 22 years later, that’s all that counts.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

happy happy birthday



Happy Birthday to my favoritest sister in the whole wide world!!  You barely look older than this picture!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

don’t blink



There are some things you do on autopilot.  For me, one of them is reading James Patterson novels.  I started reading them when I was a kid and I haven’t stopped yet.  No matter how bad they get.  But they’re starting to wear on me.

I’m tired of lines like this:

Then he was gone, straight to hell.  Do not pass Go.

Italicized and all.  It bugs me.  At first I attributed it to the fact that he was co-writing with less experienced novelists.  That they must be the issue.  But it’s not.  I’ve noticed it more in the Alex Cross novels that used to be my favorites.  There’s a cheesyness factor that is getting really hard to ignore.  Patterson, being famous for his incredibly short chapters feels the need to leave each chapter with some sort of italicized one liner.  I don’t believe that people think like this in real life.  I don’t even really believe people think like this in make believe life outside of James Patterson’s novels.

That being said Don’t Blink was still a decent novel.  A quick ‘beach read’ if you must.  I don’t really know what that means, but I always see it on the jackets of books.

Nick Daniels is a journalist who is about to write the story of his career when he gets caught in the middle of a mob hit.  Not only does he witness the hit, but he records it on his cassette recorder.  Suddenly, he becomes the most sought after writer there is.  The DA wants him, the police, FBI and the mob.

The story’s got great twists and turns and the action definitely keeps coming.  Besides the cheesy one liners it’s really not that bad.  There’s no strange supernatural crap like he tried in You’ve Been Warned (which Howard Roughan co-wrote with him) and we’re not stuck in the head of some deranged unbelievably uncatchable killer like in Swimsuit.  It’s just a good bad guy versus good guy type of book.  Almost what James Patterson started doing in the first place.

Now out of his combined effort novels, this is no Postcard Killers.  His work with Liza Markund was probably one of the best in a long time.  But it is a close second.

Friday, July 22, 2011

shadow kiss


When I first saw the covers for Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy books I thought they were giant rip offs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Not the books themselves, mind you, just the covers.  It put me off because as you all know I am a huge judge-a-book-by-its-cover type of person.  A friend lent me the first book and since I was running out of good books to read I thought, why the heck not and started reading.  So I did and I really enjoyed myself.

Mead has a slightly different vampire mythology and I’m just not going to get into it here.  It’s just too complicated.

This is the fourth book in the series and things are getting heavy and starting to change for Lissa and Rose.  With graduation only months away the damphirs are assigned to a Moroi classmate to ‘protect’ for the rest of the school year as part of their training.  Their teachers will at times pose as Strigoi attackers at random times to test the Damphirs to see if they’re ready to protect their charges.  Strange things start happening not only to Rose, but to the entire Academy.  In the middle of everything they discover that Victor is getting ready to stand trial for kidnapping and torturing Lissa and Lissa is not on the witness list.

This installment of the Vampire Academy series was full of tension, action and grief.  Rose is such a wonderful character.  She’s full of life, opinionated, sarcastic and she sticks to her guns.  She’s struggling with being in love with a man she knows she can never be with, being the best guardian she can be and coming into the realization that once she graduates her life will never be hers.

Christian got more of the spotlight this time and I have to say that the more I get to read about him, the more I like him.  Adrian is also developing into a fantastic character.  I was a little disappointed in Lissa, though I understand the direction that Mead is taking us.

Now that Rose has made her choice I am anxious to see where she goes with it in the next book!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the hollow


Abbey never imagined that she would spend the summer before her Junior year without her best friend Kristen, much less the rest of her life.  But here she is.  With everyone in the town of Sleepy Hollow believes that Kristen took her own life under the bridge and into the water Kristen becomes both the charity case & the freak at school.  When all seems lost to her she meets Caspian.  A mysterious, gorgeous boy who says all the right things and becomes the answer to all of Abbey’s wishes.  But a secret Kristen was keeping threatens everything and Abbey must decide whether to let the past lie or try to discover the truth.

Sounds good right?  And it takes place in Sleepy Hollow for goodness sake!  I’m still confused about how I feel about this book.  It kept me reading.  Kept me interested, but when it was all said and done I closed the book and thought ‘whaaaaaat???’  I don’t even know what happened there.

Abbey is not the worst character I’ve read.  She’s no Ever for sure, but she’s been created into that annoying can’t-live-without-this-boy-I-am-all-of-a-sudden-madly-in-love-with-though-I-know-nothing-about-him thing that all YA writers seemed to have adopted.  Yes, I was a boy crazy teenager once, but I honestly do not remember being this nutso.  Of course, I never came across a vampire, werewolf, ghost, immortal, mind reader, etc., but I did meet some crazy boys in my day.

The one thing that really annoyed me was how dramatic Abbey would get just out of the blue, but then again she’s a teenager whose dealing with the death of her best friend.  I’ll cut her some slack.

The problem with the story is that is was so dang slow.  I kept waiting….and waiting….and waiting….for the plot to pick up.  To find out this mysterious secret that Kristen had, to figure out the connection between Nikolas, Katy & Caspian was, but Verday just didn’t want to part with that info.  Ugh.  There were giant chapters that were completely unnecessary.  It was just filler.  Like the two chapters dedicated to her cleaning out her uncle’s office and the weird guy who dropped off papers for her uncle to sign.  I didn’t really need to know that.  I wanted to know why Abbey didn’t think it was strange that Caspian’s last name was Crane.

But I’ll read the next book because this one wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read and I really have this thing where I’ve got to finish a series (unless it’s really bad, but then I finished reading Ever’s series and that was the worst piece of garbage I’ve ever laid eyes on).  So I have it on hold at the library.  I’ll let y’all know if it’s worth it.

It’s got to get better, right?  I mean it’s Sleepy Hollow for christsakes!

planking is funnier when done with animals

Today my sister asked me what ‘planking’ was.  I explained it to her and then found some examples to show her. 

This one still makes me laugh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

treachery in death


In the 40th Eve Dallas story I’m getting bored.  I guess it has taken a while.  I mean, 40 stories?  Sure some of them were short stories, but really they all have followed the same formula.

Someone dies.  Dallas gets called out and the victim becomes ‘hers’.  She preaches about the badge and her city and how no one will get away with this.  She calls in Feeney, McNabb, Mira, Baxter & Trueheart and they, along with Peabody save the day.  They tie up the case, but inevitably the killer tries to take out Eve, but of course, she takes them out, goes home to Roarke and they have wild monkey sex (her words, not mine).

This is pretty much the same except this time we see more of Webster, the ex flame IAB guy and Darcia, chief of police on Olympus.  Peabody gets to be primary on a case and Dallas is slightly nice to a few people she usually isn’t nice to.

I guess I just need to take a break from Eve & Roarke for awhile.  This month I was planning on trying to finish off the short stories I’m behind on and I’m still going to do that because they all connect the older stories.  Once I’m done with that I’ll take a break for a bit.

This is still a good story, don’t get me wrong.  Peabody overhears two conspirators planning murder and theft.  While it may seem slightly run-of-the-mill the fact that Peabody is at the Central gym makes it all the more threatening.  Although she doesn’t see the two people speaking she knows the most important fact of all … they’re cops. 

Good luck, Peabody.

red glove


This was a cool book.  However, the cover sucks.

Red Glove is the sequel to Holly Black’s White Cat, part of the Curse Worker’s series.  This story begins shortly after White Cat leaves off.  Cassel has discovered his brothers’ deception and fixed it in the only way he knows how.  In doing so he’s revealed to Zacharov (think The Godfather) that he’s a transformation worker.  Zacharov wants him to come work for him ‘taking care’ of people, but Cassel doesn’t want to be a killer.  But now, the Feds are onto him, trying to get him to pick up where his brother left off in exposing the Zacharov family and all their evil deeds.  Stuck between a rock & a hard place Cassel has got to find a way out of the mess.  And that’s not even going into the mess that is Lila Zacharov.

I really like this take on magic and mobsters.  Cassel is a smart kid and he’s doing his best to do the right thing, but he’s surrounded by people who want to bring him down all for their own benefit.  In this world of curse workers there is literally no one to trust so he’s pretty much on his own. 

Holly Black is not a preteen YA writer.  She’s harsh and dark and morbid.  The story is bloody and full of drinking, sex and cursing, but it works.  I felt like this book ended.  There weren’t any questions in the end and while it wasn’t necessarily a happy ending, it was a satisfying ending.  However, I noticed on Holly Black’s website that another Curse Workers book is on it’s way.

But I’m not complaining.  I liked this series, much more than the Modern Faerie Tales or The Good Neighbors.  I’ll definitely pick up the next one when it comes around.  I just wish someone would do something about these covers!

what the night knows


Maybe it’s just time that I was jaded.  Or maybe my favorite authors are just running out of ideas.  Either way, this hasn’t been a good book week for me. 

When John was fourteen years old he discovers his parents and little sisters dead at the hands of a seemingly inhuman madman.  After killing this man with his own gun John finds out that his family was the fourth family that was murdered by the same man, 33 days apart.  Now, almost 20 years later a family has been killed in almost an exact way that the first family was murdered and John believes that in a matter of months his family will be next.

Hugely supernatural, yet not quite interesting or unpredictable I found myself skimming pages just to get to something more interesting.  While very different, there were too many similarities between this book and Relentless.  Two men who saw their families massacred grow up to find themselves and their families in danger inexplicably again.  There is a child, or three, who are mature waaaaaaay beyond their years and they have somehow created the key that will solve the problem in the last minute of the crisis.

And all the action will happen in the last 20 pages of the book.  Feel free to skip ahead.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the girl who chased the moon


After the death of Emily’s mother Emily moves to Mullaby, North Carolina to live with a grandfather she never really knew existed.  Though nervous, Emily is determined to make the most of this move.  In the meantime, we meet the other residents of Mullaby, including Julia who has returned to settle her father’s estate and get out as quickly as she can.  Just the idea of making a life in her childhood town suffocates her.  When Emily meets Win and sparks fly Julia, Emily’s grandfather & the rest of the town know nothing good can come of it.

I loved this book.  It’s sort of a crossover between a YA novel and an adult fiction novel.  Emily’s story is the center of the plot, but Julia’s story is also a huge part of the story.  I loved each of the characters and was entranced by the promise of the supernatural, by the mystery that surrounded Win and his family and by the love story that slowly develops for Emily and for Julia.

The story wasn’t so much supernatural as it was magical.  I didn’t want it to end, even after learning all the secrets there were to learn.  I just wanted to keep reading about everyone in Mullaby forever.

the dead town


In the last installment of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series we find Michael, Carson, Deucalion and a bevy of new characters in a small town in Montana called Rainbow Falls.  In the last book, Lost Souls we discover that Victor has been ‘resurrected’ by his clone, Victor Immaculate and resumes his work by creating not one, but two new races.  Communitarians & Builders.  Easier to kill than their predecessors, Communitarians are still no fun, but Builders, oh those are another story all unto themselves.  Quickly the town is being overtaken by Victor’s nutsos and it’s up to Carson, Michael & Deucalion to help the town save themselves and the rest of the world.

I can honestly say that I would have been more than happy had Victor perished and the story ended with Dead & Alive.  I don’t think it was really necessary to go into all of this again.  That being said however, I loved some of the new characters introduced in Rainbow Falls.

Mr. Lyss and Nummy were probably my favorites.  The grumpy old con artist and the mentally challenged boy-man complimented each other beautifully.  I loved their rapport.  I loved Nummy’s innocence and the way he rubbed off on Mr. Lyss.  I loved how despite really wanting to Mr. Lyss came to enjoy Nummy’s company and fiercely want to protect him.

Bryce & Travis were introduced in Lost Souls (along with Nummy & Mr. Lyss) however, they didn’t make an appearance in The Dead Town until nearly halfway through the book.  Travis’s search for his mother was nail biting!  I wanted so badly for her to be okay, but certain her fate was sealed. 

Now that it’s over I wish I could follow Deucalion on other adventures.  Like Odd Thomas he’s an unforgettable character and in this series, though he is the key he doesn’t get as much page time as he should.  I was happy to see Brother Knuckles, even in his short appearance.  Crossovers always excite me.

Despite these last two books being somewhat afterthoughts, the ending was slightly abrupt and anticlimactic.  But really, what did I expect?  It had to end sometime.  I think my favorite part of the book was Deucalion & Victor’s conversation about Mary Shelley’s book and the implications Deucalion brings to light.

Although I give this book only 3 stars, the series as a whole is 4.5 for me.  I loved Dean Koontz’s version of Frankenstein’s monster.  The surrounding characters were great, although by the end there were so many most of my favorites took a backseat.  Still, I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good sci-fi horror book that’s easy on the brain!

Monday, July 18, 2011

the giver


Dystopian novels are all the rage right now.  The Hunger Games trilogy, The Scorch Trials, The Forest of Hands & Teeth, Delirium, Matched … I could go on and on.  The Giver, written almost two decades ago (which makes me sad because it was published the year I graduated high school) is part of a genre that existed, but wasn’t quite as popular then as it is today.

Jonas is turning twelve and in the Community this is an important time.  At twelve they are given their jobs and begin their training.  It is the first steps on the road to adulthood.  But when Jonas is skipped over at the ceremony and then given a job that comes once in a generation Jonas’s entire world changes … both for the better and worse.  Now that his eyes are opened to the world that he has lived in for the last 12 years he is disillusioned and depressed and he longs for a way to change everything.

I saw this on Lah’s of Lazy Girl Reads list of favorite books.  Then I think it was the next day or so I read an article on /Film about how Jeff Bridges was bringing The Giver to the big screen.  I picked up the trilogy at the library and started it right away.

While it’s much more chaste than the others I see where books like Delirium and Matched got their inspiration.  The way the Community lives and works is so similar it is almost exact.  But I loved the way the memories of the past are kept and passed along in The Giver.

Jonas is a brave and strong character, even before receiving his job assignment.  He longs to do the right thing and is compassionate and caring.  When the secrets of his community are revealed to him he does not dismiss the sadness, but instead longs for a way to share everything with the people he loves.

I can’t go on and on about this book without giving too much away so I will just leave it at that.  I can’t wait to read the next two books!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

when you were mine


Elizabeth Noble has written some of my favorite books.  Alphabet Weekends, The Reading Group, Friendship Test & Things I Want My Daughters to Know.  So I had no doubt that When You Were Mine would be another good read.

It wasn’t, really.  It was okay.

Susannah is living a life that she’s not sure she wants to live anymore.  Living with a man who hardly ever takes her feelings into consideration for the last several years and acting as stepmother to children who want nothing to do with her she wonders if she stays because she wants to or if she stays because she has nowhere better to go.  A chance meeting with the first love of her life at her brother’s wedding sends Susannah into a tailspin of emotion and flashbacks to when she was passionate and everything was exciting.  When her best friend comes to her with news that literally shakes Susannah to the core she loses herself even more in the past.

There was so much going on in this book.  I felt sorry for Susannah, but really she not that fun to root for.  She’s unhappy but really doesn’t want do anything about it, she just wants to hide until someone else takes care of it for her, yet at the same time confides in no one about her feelings of dissatisfaction.  Near the end you begin to see her stand up for herself and try to be strong, but it all is dependent on her desire to be with someone she can never really be with.  She just can’t seem to stand on her own two feet.

If this had been the first Elizabeth Noble book I picked up I doubt I would have tried her others, which would’ve been a shame.  While this wasn’t an awful book it still left me wanting something more…

Saturday, July 16, 2011

the magnolia league

51Q-x2 ZgJL

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure why I picked up this book.  I have read Katie Crouch’s adult fiction novel Girls in Trucks and was not fond of it at all, but the cover for The Magnolia League looked interesting and I’m a sucker for Savannah so I guess that’s it.  I should have stuck with my instincts.

Alexandria is basically forcibly moved from Mendocino, California where she was living on a communal farm with her mother to Savannah, Georgia after her mother is killed in a car accident.  Alex is a dreadlocked, Phish concert t-shirt wearing hippie who smokes pot (even though she really doesn’t like it) and pines for her free living home back in California.  Immediately introduced to The Magnolia League they set to work on remaking Alex into an MG (Magnolia Girl).

Alexandria is close to one of the most annoying characters I have had the displeasure of reading.  As I type this I’m about halfway through the book so I don’t have high hopes for her changing any time soon.

At least twice in every chapter she says something like ‘At the RC we did…’ or ‘they never did this at the RC’ or something along those lines.  And then she’s so forced granola crunchy it’s painful.  Sure I care about being socially conscience, but she takes it to the extreme and does not shut up about it.  She reminds me of Zara from the Need trilogy by Carrie Jones with her letters Amnesty International letters.  Well, Zara on steroids is more accurate.  Zara was never this zealous or obnoxious about her causes.  Alex doesn’t have a cause, she just wants to bitch about everything that isn’t the RC.

Madison says it best at one point in the book:  “Alex,” Madison says through clenched teeth, “if you keep talking in bumper stickers, I am going to stab you in the face.”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Katie Crouch’s foray into YA fiction is so one dimensional and frustrating.  Girls in Trucks was one of my least favorite books and while this is a completely different genre it still has the same dry tone.  We don’t really get the opportunity to get to know the other characters other than the base knowledge Crouch allows.  The relationships that Alex forms with potential boyfriends and the Buzzards leaves you wondering why?  Everything feels rushed despite time moving on through the book.  It’s as if she couldn’t bother with character development.

All in all I gave the book 2 stars on GoodReads and Shelfari.  While interesting, it wasn’t enough to guarantee that I’ll read the next book in the series.  Alex annoyed me far too much, but maybe she’ll have grown up a bit in the next book?

Friday, July 15, 2011

and so it is done


*photo from

I’ve read a lot of posts today and the last couple of days, heard a lot of friends say the same thing about Harry Potter.  How when the books were done, this movie was over, they felt as if a part of their childhood died.  Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in 1997.  I didn’t read it then because I just wasn’t into ‘kid’ books.  But even if I had, I was no kid.  My childhood was over and done with and for goodness sake I was married!  It was just before the first movie came out in 2001 that I read the book.  I loved it.  I loved JK Rowling’s imagination.  It literally knew no boundaries. 

It was fascinating in a way that nothing was or has ever been since.  She created this world, this beautiful, magical world that you could completely immerse yourself in and get lost.  She created characters that at times we hated, but always, always loved.  She made magic feel real.  She made you believe.

Reading the books as an adult I had a much different perspective than the younger fans I suspect.  I was disheartened by Rowling when characters close to Harry began to die.  I felt that it was so unfair, being fiction, why can’t the boy have a bit of happiness in his life?  He’s already lost so much.  But in the end, I understood.  I was moved by the loyalty of his friends and teachers.  By the students who believed in him regardless of if he came through for them or not.

Most of all I loved Hermione Granger.  She was smart and bossy and completely unapologetic of it.  Harry could never have completed his journey, hell Harry couldn’t have survived if it weren’t for her.  She was scared, like the rest, but brave beyond her years.  She read books, tons of them and proved that half bloods were just as good, if not better than full blooded witches.  She was magnificent.

Ron made me laugh.  He was the unlikely hero.  The best friend who slowly grew into himself and gained the confidence he so greatly needed.  He always seemed to say the wrong thing at just the right time.  There was very little filter given to Ron.  But he too was brave, even if he didn’t know it at the time.

And so many others, besides Harry who colored the story more brightly than anything I have ever read or probably will read in my lifetime.  Neville and Luna with their clumsy attempts at life.  Cedric in his perfection, McGonagall and her rigid standards who was more like a mother to Harry, though he didn’t see it until the end.  Hagrid and his unconditional love.  Dumbledore and his wisdom.  Severus and his painful heartbreaking love for someone that carried on to the boy who lived.  Draco and his struggle to become who he should be and not who he was made to be.

And so many more.  Each character brought to the story something tangible and wove this tapestry of wonder that no matter how many times I reread the books covers me like the warmest of blankets.

And now the last movie has graced the screens.  We’ve waited in the last midnight showing line.  We’ve sat for the last time in a theater with other fans cheering and crying at a story we already know, but can’t help but relive on the big screen as if it were new.

Sitting there, tears pooling in my eyes, it dawned on me that at some point in time these movies became less children’s movies and more adult.  They matured as their audience and characters did.  Watching each movie from beginning to end you can see the progression.  Themes are darker, choices are more difficult and the brave begin to perish.  For a whole new generation of Harry Potter fans who might be opening the books for the first time right now, it will be a few years yet before your parents might allow you to watch these movies.

But oh, wasn’t it perfect?  David Yates you are redeemed in my eyes.  After the disappointment that was The Order of the Phoenix and the disaster that was the Half-Blood Prince I feared for the franchise when I saw you were chosen to direct the last two movies.  While some complained of the slowness of Part 1, I thought it was a much better offering coming from you.  And now, well after Part 2 I’m okay with you.  The only disappointment I felt at the end of this movie was that it was the last.

Thank you JK Rowling.  For the last 10 years of magic in my life.  For reminding me that there is always magic in books.  For quite simply being.

Now I must go and get my dad to watch all 7 of the previous movies so I can go with him to see this last one again (but in 3D this time)!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

check this out people

This week in celebration of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Sonya over at Fishnets & Hip Checks has been having a Harry Potter week.  Each day she posts something HP related.  I’m loving it and you should too!

it all ends here

For those of you who might be living under a rock and do not know today is Harry Potter day.  Well, really tomorrow is as the movie officially comes out tomorrow, but we're going to see it tonight so today, for me, is Harry Potter day.

Since I haven't posted in awhile (been busy, I'll catch you up later) I thought I'd leave you with a little Harry Potter fun-ness.  This is not for the prudish, okay?  This is going to be a lot of cursing and other such fun stuff.  I'd probably give it a R+ rating, but it's freaking hilarious and one of my favorite Smodcasts & Smodimations of all time.  Enjoy people!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

it ‘twas a happy fourth

Last year we took the kids to the San Jose Giants game the day before the 4th and they do a spectacular fireworks show.  This year, the kids assumed we would see fireworks like that.

We didn’t. 

It was too hot and we were too lazy to do anything that serious so we drove up to the high school to see if we could see anything from there.  Ray brought along some sparklers and we saw a few fireworks so the kids were happy.

When we got back home we broke out the fireworks we got and the kids got to watch them up close and personal while they threw those pop thingies.  They thought it was the coolest.

So even though my Mom’s birthday is today we still consider yesterday’s fireworks for her since we were celebrating her birthday yesterday!

When I say the kids thought it was the coolest, I wasn’t talking about Chloe.  She was less than impressed.  Mostly because she wanted to sleep.

These kids thought it was fun.

The ‘fountains’ were pretty awesome.

It’s amazing how long these last for being so little!

My prized picture for the night!  I’ve always wanted to try this, but never got around to it.  I wish it was a bit darker, but I’ll try again with my tripod and see if I can’t get a better one next time.  Still, I think it came out pretty good!

Hope everyone had a fun Fourth & I hope my Mom is having a fantastic day with her sisters on her birthday today!  Love you Mom!

it’s a deal

This past weekend I got a new Nook.  No, not the color one, but the Simple Touch one.  It’s a dream!  It’s super light & holds all my books and it’s tiny!  I heart it something fierce!

But alas, I must now sell my 1st Edition Nook.  That too I love something fierce, but I can’t use two readers!  So if any of you are interested email me!

It’s a 1st edition Nook with a DecalGirl ‘Her Tranquility’ decal on the front with the matching screensaver.  You can take it off if you want.  The Nook itself is in excellent condition, but the cover I bought for it and am including with the Nook is a bit dirty on the outside from use.  I have the cord & charger as well as the original packaging.  It’s 3G with WiFi and it’s selling at B&N for $170 new.  I’d like to get $100 for this one.
Here’s some pictures!

disgusted and i can't be quiet about it

Today, like many of you out there I was glued to the screen at 11:15 PST to see what I thought for sure would be a guilty verdict being read in the Casey Anthony murder trial.  To say I was shocked and upset would be quite the understatement.

I have literally been following this story since Caylee was first reported missing almost three years ago this month.  Every day I read or watched anything new that was released.  I knew that she was dead and I knew that her mother had something to do with it, but still when her little skull was found by that meter reader I cried.  She wasn't my child.  I didn't know her and I live across the country from her, but damnit babies are NOT supposed to die, much less be buried in a shallow, unmarked grave.

And I was so angry.  What was wrong with that woman?  Why didn't she care?  Every time I saw her on the news she was smug and fake.  Her sorrow was hollow and empty.

And now she's gotten away with murder.  Lying to the authorities, a possible maximum of 4 years jail time.  It's not enough.  Will never be enough.  After the not guilty verdict was read aloud I gasped and held in my tears as best I could since Emma was in the room with me.  But when all was almost said and done (I turned it off before the last two verdicts were read) I had to go run to the bathroom and cry.  And even now thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  Blame it on the hormones, but really I think my reaction would have been the same no matter what.

Logically I know that the prosecution's case was largely circumstantial and certainly the DA office is to blame for bringing the case to the courts so quickly.  Maybe if there had been more time to investigate there would be more physical evidence, but this isn't C.S.I. or NCIS.  This is the real world where all the evidence sometimes is what's right there.  There's no Mac Taylor to find the scrap of DNA amidst a mountain of garbage that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have the right perp.

I believe there was enough evidence.  Chloroform and decomposition in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car.  Evidence of duct tape on Caylee's body.  I'm sorry, but if you're refuting testimony of an expert from The Body Farm you're nuts.  Again, logically I understand the doubt in that jury's minds and that's important when it comes to our justice system, but I can't get over the fact that there was no doubt in my mind and that Casey Anthony got away with murder.

Not just the murder of someone....the murder of her own child and I will never be able to wrap my mind around that.  Justice will never be served for that little girl.  I can only hope that Casey Anthony's sentence is cut short. And not because of good behavior.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

reading books in june

June was a sucky book reading month for me!  I think I only read 11 books.  That's an all time low.

So this month I've got to catch up.  I checked out a bunch of books from the library this week and I'd like to get most of the read before we go camping.  Then when we go camping I'll just take the Nook.  So handy-dandy.  I'm not planning on reading any graphic novels this month unless I get my hands on the True Blood one.  I have 24 books on my list, though 7 are short stories.  If I can get those done this month I will feel much better about reaching my year end goal of 200.  Secretly, I'm hoping for 250, but let us not get to crazy yet.  I'm really hoping to reach my goal before the baby gets here.  Good luck with that.

On a sad note the Hogwarts Challenge is officially over.  I haven't checked to see how many points I ended up with, but I'm sad that it's done.  Part of me is thinking of volunteering to take over next year if Bunnitaz over at Worth Reading It decides she's really not going to do it again because I loved it so much.  We'll see!  I'm definitely grateful that she hosted this year so I could participate!

So that's my book news for now.  So exciting, isn't it?  I'm really going to try this month to post reviews on here for all the books I'm reading.  I always do a short blurb on Shelfari & Goodreads, but I've been lagging here.  By the way, if you're on either of those sites hit me up so we can be book friends or let me know how to find you & I'll do so.

Happy reading!


There are people in your life that you expect to behave or do things in a certain fashion.  They run the gamut from friends & family to your mail carriers or even complete strangers.  You expect people to act with common courtesy or to put the mail in your mail box and take the outgoing mail with them.  You just expect that because, well it’s the way things should be, right?

But then there are those who DON’T do what you think they should do.  And this can also go either way.  They are either inconsiderate or you’re just expecting too much.  And it can drive you crazy.  Maybe it drives you crazy because it’s making your life crazy to plan around this person or fix the mistakes this person is creating in your life.  Or maybe it drives you crazy because you see the train wreck that is about to happen and no matter how loud you scream or how animated you wave your arms around it doesn’t stop the wreck from happening.

And I have one of those expectations.  And it is driving me crazy.  Or at least it was, until I realized that the only person being driven crazy in this instance is me.  And really it is difficult to not jump up and down and wave my arms and scream for the train to stop (though surprisingly being pregnant does not make me the least bit partial to jumping up and down), but I have to ignore it.

That’s pretty close to impossible for me.  I’m pretty much a busybody.  When something (or someone) is broken I want to fix them and truly believe (somewhat delusionally) that I KNOW how to fix them when in fact, I haven’t the slightest clue.  These urges have gotten me in trouble from time to time.  For instance, falling into a relationship with a person so irrevocably broken because I felt I could make them better only to find that what was broken in them wanted to break me.

Or being in a restaurant and seeing a table act like a bunch of assholes to their overworked waitress.  Or working with an overworked waitress and watching an asshole customer be, well, an ass.  Despite my small size I was never one to back down from a fight or afraid to stand up for someone I thought was being wronged.

And now, older and wanting less drama in my life I’ve come to the conclusion that people cannot be fixed.  Especially when they themselves do not care.  And since I do not want to be crazed anymore they can just stay on those tracks and meet their disaster.  Sure, I might be there to help pick up the pieces because I am not an asshole, but I can’t stop them from chugging along anymore.

*end random rant*

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