Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I'm Grateful For....

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Happy Thanksgiving! It's hear again. The holidays have really snuck up on me this year. 

It's been a really, really tough year. Probably my hardest. I lost my brother and one of my best friends within a week of each other back in April. It's been a bit of a blur the last 7 months. But the things that keep me going are the things I'm really grateful for.

1. My family and friends. We've been an amazing support for each other. Just being able to talk and laugh and cry and get angry with them. They are really the only reason I'm still functioning.

2. Stars. As Carl Sagan said it best: We are all star stuff. It's humbling and beautiful.

3. Coffee and alcohol. Silly, I know. But they're both amazing in the proper proportions :)

4. Knowledge and imagination.

5. Animals. They really know how to heal my soul.

There a million other things I'm grateful for but this will do for now.

I'd like to leave on a poem I recently found that has given me a lot of peace and I will now share it with you.

A long time have I lived with you
And now we must be going
Separately to be together.
Perhaps I shall be the wind
To blur your smooth waters
So that you do not see your face too much.
Perhaps I shall be the star
To guide your uncertain wings
So that you have direction in the night.
Perhaps I shall be the fire
To separate your thoughts
So that you do not give up.
Perhaps I shall be the rain
To open up the earth
So that your seed may fall.
Perhaps I shall be the snow
To let your blossoms sleep
So that you may bloom in spring.
Perhaps I shall be the stream
To play a song on the rock
So that you are not alone.
Perhaps I shall be a new mountain
So that you always have a home.
by Nancy Wood, Many Winters: Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cat Thanksgiving Thursday--Actually Wednesday This Week! (18)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

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It's supposed to be on Thursday but that's Thanksgiving and I already have a post planned for tomorrow so Wednesday it is!

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May you, yours, and your kitties have the happiest Thanksgiving yet!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Suburban Legends and 100 Ghosts

Suburban Legends: True Tales of Murder, Mayhem, and Minivans by Sam Stall

I truly do enjoy stories. Stories about people and our perspectives and how we see things are so valuable. I wish this is how Stall would have presented these 'legends.' But as the subtitle says, he describes them as true stories. Are they really? They are fun and interesting and scary but I wouldn't describe them as true.

He gives no references or bibliography, no way for anyone to fact check these stories. I would have appreciated him allowing us to make up our own minds.

But as stories they were quite interesting.

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner

This is an adorable book of ghosts. I've looked over them many times with Gabe. His favorite is the Harry Potter ghost.

Each image is a new take on the classic. All are fun and imaginative :)

Both books were sent to me by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

One Line Movie Reviews (14)

I haven't found the time till now to get my movies up! Sorry there are so many. I will try to be better about getting them out regularly :)

Rating: B
1. World War Z (2013): Fun zombie movie but the book is so much better.

Rating: B-
2. 28 Weeks Later (2007): An exciting sequel to 28 Days Later (and Jeremy Renner...)!

Rating: B-
3. Heathers (1988): Crazy teen dark comedy; I had no idea this existed!

Rating: A-
4. Tootsie (1982): Fascinating comedy that explores cultural gender roles; I loved it.

Rating: B+
5. Iron Man 3 (2013): Not as good as the first one but still exciting and fun, though, the ending wasn't my favorite.

Rating: B+
6. Much Ado About Nothing (2012): A a very creative and funny modern update to the Shakespeare classic.

Rating: B
7. This Is the End (2013): Tongue-in-cheek comedy about the New Testament apocalypse, also funny and enlightening.

Rating: A
8. Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill (1999): Izzard gives the best stand-up act ever.

Rating: C
9. After Earth (2013): Mediocre sci-fi adventure.

Rating: B
10. Insidious (2010): A new twist to the typical ghost story, scary and fun.

Rating: C-
11. Army of Darkness (1992): Silly and gruesome continuation of the cult classic Evil Dead.

Rating: B
12. The Breakfast Club (1985): Still a classic but found it didn't resonate with me like it once did...I guess that's what happens as we age!

Rating: A
13. Catching Fire (2013): Even better than the first movie; Go, Katniss!

Rating: C-
14. Man of Steel (2013): I've never been a fan of the Superman story and this one definitely didn't turn me into one.

Rating: B+
15. Brother Bear (2003): Sweet story about love and loyalty; Gabe really enjoyed it, too.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Halloween Challenges! How'd I Do?

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I signed up for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VIII from Stainless Steal Droppings that ran from September 1-October 31. I love everything Halloween! I also signed up for a few mini challenges but I ended up forgetting about that and didn't update my here we go.

I challenged myself to read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, World War Z by Max Brooks, and two others that I didn't get to.

So instead of the two I didn't get to, I read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, and Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I need to get my reviews up of these last two. They were both amazing!

I challenged myself to reading some short stories and I was thinking some from Edgar Allen Poe but I didn't get to any of his and instead focused on short stories from A Skeleton at the Helm: Tales of Ghost Ships, Derelicts, & Hauntings at Seas by John Richard Stephens. I didn't get through all of the stories but I read 4 or 5.

Movies: I watched Jaws, Insidious, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Night of the Living Dead, Zombieland, Evil Dead, and World War Z.

It was a great horror-filled two months!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cat Thursday (17)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

World War Z by Max Brooks

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I really enjoyed this one the second time around. Max Brooks knows how to paint a plausible picture of a real-life viral zombie apocalypse. How do the various countries handle the outbreak? How does it spread? How does the world population fall and who survives and how? How do countries rebuild?

This book has pretty much nothing to do with the movie starring Brad Pitt, other than the title and a few of the events, but other than that the two stories are completely and totally different.

The book is an oral history written down. The journalist decides to interview a lot of people who have survived World War Z and get their stories down. He breaks it up into a chronological history. How it starts and who knows about it; how it spreads...the Great Panic; etc. He gets stories from various people in different countries. So we get a picture of how the whole world handled this war.

A few of my favorite stories:

The Italian military buried beneath in the catacombs. That was scary. The few survivors trying to make it up north to Canada where it's so cold that the zombies freeze. The story about a woman who is guided to safety through zombie jungle by a strange voice on the radio. The under water zombie divers. How the dogs were trained and contributed to the war effort. How Russia becomes a Holy Empire again...

The only thing I'd complain about is some of the stories were a bit dry but that's to be expected. I think it makes the stories more believable as a whole.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Reading Life (5) November 11, 2013

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A Reading Life...hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict, and also inspired by Lisa at Lit and Life--Life: It Goes a meme where we get to talk about other stuff we're doing in our lives along with reading!

Listening to:

My 4-year-old play Minecraft for a bit so I can get this done ;) Not much still on the listening front...

Books Finished:

Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, World War Z by Max Brooks, Night Film by Marisha Pessl, Nick and Tesla's High-voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I had a few more on my list for Halloween but they fell through the cracks so I will have to give them another go for next year :)

  • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • The Physics of Christmas by Roger Highfield
Coming Up:

The Holidays are now upon us. I am looking forward to some holiday histories of Winter celebrations, fun holiday recipe books and DIY stuff, planning fun stuff to do with family, and heart-warming stories about humanity! Meaning I have a lot of planning to do to get at the specifics... :)

  • Finished The 3rd season of The Killing.
  • Finished the last and final season of Damages.
  • Catching up on Walking Dead.
  • Just watched Insidious for the first time and am looking forward to seeing Chapter 2!

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Chilis. Lots and lots of chilis and soups. I am also trying out new cocktails with some girlfriends. I tried an appletini the other night and it was really good.

3 parts Apple Pucker, 2 parts vodka, 2 parts sweet n'sour mix. Shake it all in a cocktail shaker and serve in a martini glass to be super classy ;)

Grateful For:

The beautiful weather the last week and for great weather this weekend while Hubby and I are in Vegas, baby!

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I went hiking with Gabe and his friend Alex Friday afternoon and it was warm and just gorgeous.

Also grateful Halloween was fun and went off without a hitch!!!! Wore Gabe out and he wanted to go home before all the houses were gone to! Success!

Also grateful to Devoted Hubby. We celebrate 10 years next month but are celebrating a bit early this weekend!

Looking Forward To:

Vegas this weekend! We leave Sunday morning and head back Tuesday. It'll be fast and furious but still a much needed getaway to celebrate the BIG 1-0! Also grateful my mom is willing and able to watch the Gabester while we do this :)


Pumpkins at night.

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My costume for Halloween :)