Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wow. Does it seem possible that 2007 is days away from ending?? This year certainly has flew by. In some ways, it was an awful year...and in other ways it was a great year. I started a new job that I like, and everyone is well. So, I really guess you can't beat that!!
As far as reading is concerned, it was a lousy year for me quantity-wise. There just weren't enough hours in the day. BUT quality-wise, I read some exceptional books!! (and for a person that admits to not liking non-fiction books, I was pleasantly surprised!) Here are my top 5 reads of 2007:
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak - Narrated by Death, this is the story of Leisel Meminger, a little girl in Nazi Germany. She is being raised by a foster family, and she steals books. This book left such a mark on me!! I cried for at least the last 50 pages! It was truly the best book I've read in a very long time!
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman - This story is about the clash between Old World Gods and the new Gods of the Technical Age. Shadow is one of my very favorite literary characters. This book blew me away and cemented Neil Gaiman as one of my favorite authors!
3. The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer - Memoir written by a man about the Bar that changed his life forever. A wonderful story of a boy and his mother, and how they made their dreams come true.
4. Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan - Another memoir!! John Grogan tells the story of his dog, Marley. Untrainable, hyperactive and a true pain-in-the-butt, Marley is also loyal, lovable and a wonderful part of the family. If you ever had a pet, this book is for you!
5. I am the Messenger by Markus Zuzak - Yep. This guy can WRITE! A story of an average, unmotivated young man and the great things he accomplished. Another book that left me with tears in my eyes!!
These are the best books I've read this year. A few that I would consider runner-ups: Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason, The House of Night Novels by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, and Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors.
Like I said. Some great quality books in 2007. What were some of your best books??
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Well....with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I totally forgot about my blog anniversary!! Dec. 22nd was the date of my first post last year. Can you believe it?? This blog is now a year old!! And don't I feel like a veteran??
But....I don't have much time to celebrate!! I'm off to work soon. I guess the one bad thing about changing jobs is having time off around the holidays. But that will change next year. One of the best benefits I received when starting was Vacation/PTO. By the end of the first year, I will have 4 weeks vacation time!! It's starts accumulating immediately, and after my 90 days "probation" time, I will already have a week!! Not bad.
The house looks like a tornado hit!! Santa (and the grandparent's) were very good to the kids. We have toys and boxes all over the living room, that I was just too tired to pick up. Not a book was found under my tree (for me anyway!), but I did get some money. Can always use that. Besides...the Ministry ticket was my real present, so I can't complain.
So...I'm sitting here in my new flannel pj's, getting ready to hop in the shower. I hope each and every one of you had a great Christmas with your family. And I hope Santa was good to you!!
And for those of you that love Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, here's a cute (and extremely witty) little mystery, taken from The Guardian!!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
- Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
- Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
- Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Lisey's Story by Stephen King
- Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
- I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
- Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
- High Five by Janet Evanovich
- Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
- The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
So.....there you go. Will try to actually get through the list this year!!
It's finally time to post my choices for the "Celebrate the Author" Challenge. Hosted by Becky from Becky's Books, it's a year-long challenge. You read 12 books in 12 months. A book a month, during the authors birthday month. I just think this sounds fun!! And a way to celebrate my favorite authors!! So....here's "The List":
- January - Anne Bronte - Agnes Gray
- February - John Steinbeck - Grapes of Wrath or East of Eden
- March - Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- April - Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic
- May - Jodi Picoult - ???
- June - Thomas Hardy - Far From the Maddening Crowd
- July - Robert Heinlein - The Puppet Masters
- August - H. P. Lovecraft - At The Mountains of Madness
- September - Stephen King - ??
- October - Ursula Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness
- November - Neil Gaiman - ??
- December - Charles de Lint - The Onion Girl
I left a few blank. Maybe it's wishful thinking that a new book will come out by then. Or I just couldn't decide right now. Whatever the reason, I'll pick something!!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?
Truth be told, I'm usually a little behind when it comes to new books. I always have a list that I want to read, but by the time I get to them, it's usually after the year they are published!! There are a few exceptions to the rule. I did read Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult when it came out. It was good. Not as great as some of her other books.
The best 2 new series that I started this year are the House of Night Books by P.C. Cast (the last one was published this year - Betrayed - and it was fantastic!!) and the Gardella Vampire Series by Colleen Gleason. Book number 2, Rises the Night, was wonderful.
I think that "Best of" lists do influence my reading. If for nothing else, it's just another list of books that sound interesting to me!! I always read them and add a few to my reading list for NEXT year!!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sorry this is so late today. It was my first day of work at the Red Cross and I didn't have time to post before I left this morning!
One of the first traditions that Mike and I started when we got married, was this: Every year before we put up the tree we would go to Hallmark and buy a Christmas ornament. Then when the kids came along, we would buy one ornament for them and one for us. Now, the family goes and each person picks out an ornament!! We have so many now, there is barely any room on the tree. But we just keep adding them!! You can't tell from the picture, but our tree is covered with blue lights. They are the epitome of Christmas for me.
This year Mike was SO pleased with Chad's choice: It is a TV with ESPN on it. When you hit a button on the top, it plays the theme from Sport Center!! You can tell he is getting older. We started out with Woody from Toy Story, then went to Storm Troopers from Star Wars. Then it was football players. Now ESPN!!
Bella....ever the Diva....this year choose the Barbie Fashion Ornament!! The girls are so much more predictable than Chad. We have Disney Princesses and Barbie!! This one is really cute. She even has her shopping bag!! Yes, I know I'm in trouble with this girl!!
Christmas Eve is always my favorite night of the year. We go to Early Mass with the in-laws. Then we go back to their house for a Prime Rib dinner, complete with all the fixin's!! Finally it's a showing of one of my very favorite Christmas movies....Christmas Vacation!! (What can I say?? We are rather warped!) When I FINALLY get the kids to bed, the real work begins. All the last minute wrapping and stocking stuffing. And putting the presents out. I always send Mike to bed with the kids, just to make sure they don't slip downstairs. So it's really peaceful. Especially when Christmas morning is a blaze of kids running and presents being torn open!!
1 bag (8oz) Hershey's Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
additional granulated sugar
Heat oven to 375F. Remove candy wrappers. In large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended. Add the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and all of the brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the additional granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place kiss on top of each cookie, pressing down so cookie cracks around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Don't forget to visit the others on the blog tour!! And have a wonderful Christmas holiday!!
19 December - Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December - Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December - Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December - Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December - Booklogged (A Reader's Journal)
24 December - Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Ministry is my number one favorite band of all time. They have played together for close to 30 years. When I was in college I found this band. Founder Al Jourgensen IS Ministry. He is the singer, songwriter and main voice for all these years. Originally from Chicago, he signed with Wax Trax in 1980, and started Ministry. In the early years, Ministry had a techno/electronic sound. Most Ministry fans refuse to even admit to this. But the song "Every Day is Halloween" is still one of my favorites!!
With the release of The Land of Rape and Honey, Al Jourgensen became the Godfather of the Industrial Revolution. So many bands today credit Ministry for their sound. And this album is considered a classic and one of the most important in the industrial metal sound. Probably my very favorite song, is "Stigmata" from this album. But it's hard to pick. The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste was next to be released. Still one of top-5 Favorite Albums of all-time. With "Burning Inside" and "So What", you can't miss. All that teen angst I had, was released by shouting the words from So What:
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I've never been a HUGE Matt Damon fan. I like him ok. But he is really a fantastic Jason Bourne!! Since Mike was lacking on the action in I am Legend, we put on The Bourne Ultimatum. Well...the movie certainly wasn't lacking for action. From the opening sequence, it was a non-stop roller coaster. And truth be told, I thought it was definitely the best movie of the 3. I really enjoyed it!!
Finally....in the spirit of the holidays, we did watch a Classic:
It's a Wonderful Life is just about the greatest Christmas movie...ever!! (OK...there IS Christmas Vacation!) I just love this movie!! So, while I was making Chocolate Chip cookies for the kids, we watched it. There is just something about Jimmie Stewart that makes me want to hug people. To see him go from wide-eyed dreamer to a man utterly without hope....to someone that has EVERYTHING to live for is just so touching!! And yes, I cried. I always do. It's part of the Christmas tradition for me!
So....I didn't get anything accomplished yesterday, but I did watch some fantastic films!! So, I'll leave you all with this thought:
"Remember that no man is a failure who has friends".
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Imagine my surprise when I came home today to find a package sitting outside my door!! I heart getting presents!! I guess that's the one thing that will never change the older we get. It was labeled S.S. My secret Santa package arrived today!! Now, I guess I could have done the really cool thing and taken pictures of the beautifully wrapped presents....but no. I was too anxious to dig in! I guess that's another thing that will never change.
I do have to say as soon as I opened the first present, I knew exactly who it was from. I had read a review posted by my Santa on Mary Modern by Camille DeAngelis a few weeks ago. And it looked fantastic. So I decided to put it on my "Wish List". And apparently Santa noticed!! Of course, Santa hit on 3 things that I love: Books, Chocolate, and Saving the Planet.
Candy rocks! Especially chocolate. And I got a box of chocolate along with some candy canes. (Mental note: must hide before the rugrats get home from school. Or said chocolate will be a goner!)
But the last is probably the most special. The little Christmas tree and the certificate meant the world to me. 10 Trees planted in my name. What a special present!! I have to say, it actually brought tears to my eyes. OK. So I'm a sap when it comes to this stuff. What can I say?
So...I have to send an especially heartfelt THANKS to Carl. What a wonderful Santa you are! (for the record, I'm sending a special thank you your way. Hopefully, you will get it next week!)
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Booklogged tagged me for this meme, so I thought I would play along!
5 Things I was doing 10 years ago: (I can't even remember yesterday!)
1. Getting ready for Christmas with my son. It would have been the first Christmas that he would really have fun (18 months old). So I was buying a lot of toys!
2. I was finishing up some computer classes at the Jr. College here in town.
3. I was getting ready to start a new job at Caterpillar (and now I'm getting ready to start a new job again!!)
4. After Christmas in 1997, I made MY first trip to Disney World for 3 days with my husband. It was a wonderful time!
5. I was reading very little (can you imagine!)
5 Things on my T0-Do List today:
1. Send off my Secret Santa package!
2. Go pick up dog food at Petsmart.
3. Change the sheets and clean the bedrooms.
4. Do a little more Christmas shopping!
5. Go downtown and take the drug test so I can start my new job!!
5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy a new house, so the girls don't have to share a bedroom.
2. Take the whole family on a Christmas Cruise during Christmas vacation.
3. Pay off all my debts!
4. Go to the bookstore and buy whatever I felt like buying!
5. Donate money to the Dream Center in Peoria, to help others have a nice Christmas as well.
5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):
2. Cowboy boots.
3. Maternity clothes.
4. Split skirts.
5. Interview suits! (I guess I'd better Never say Never!)
5 Favorite Toys:
2. Guitar Hero for PS2
4. Satellite Radio
5. My bread maker
5 People to tag:
Chris at Book-A-Rama
Suey at It's All About the Books
Melody from Melody's Reading Corner
Rhinoa from Rhinoa's Ramblings
Amy from The Sleepy Reader
See that was fun!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Well....I knew it would happen one of these days. After many months of looking for a new job, I got the call yesterday. The American Red Cross gave me an offer, and I jumped on the chance!!
After spending the last 13 years of my life with a fortune 500 company that treats it's employees like crap and works them to the bone, I think I finally found a place I can respect. Not only are the benefits good (although the pay IS less), it's a company that's sole purpose is to help others. The job is administrative (not programming), and the hours are exactly what I was looking for. In the end, I'll be able to spend more time with my family, even if I still keep up the part-time gig on the weekends.
I don't start until the 17th (pending the results of my drug test...man I hope being completely hopped up on caffeine isn't a BAD thing!) So....2 weeks to get stuff ready for the holidays, and off to work I go!!
Maybe things are starting to look up a little for me!! I was beginning to wonder.