Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The larger reason is that I took a break from blogging so I could reflect on what I want this space to be. In 2009 and 2010 I started many topics that I didn't follow up on here. Great topics that I think have a lot of value for me to write about and for others to read. I wasn't able to find my rhythm and I wasn't very good at follow through. Which is odd because I am a project manager and implementation is the name of the game at work.
So I took a break and asked myself why I was blogging. What was the purpose? What message did I want to send out to the blogsphere? How did I want readers to perceive me and my words?
I don't have a complete and total answer yet. Time is something precious that I don't have a lot of so I need to be smart about my blogging. And if I continue I want to be consistent. It's only fair to you and easier for me - less guilt at not posting and all that.
Advent, the religious and spiritual season we are in, is a time of reflection for me, so I'm taking the time to reflect, ponder, and to determine a course of action. I'll share what I come up with, I promise! In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate it, and you!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Today's Soundtrack Friday isn't about me. It's about him. My husband is complex yet simple. He has a hilarious sense of humor. He can think deeply and can also step back and see things from a broader perspective. He doesn't always have the best taste in clothes, movies or TV but I admire his willingness to try new things and to take my recommendations seriously.
We fell in love over a mutual admiration for Canadian prog rock group Rush. In some ways, Rush is the soundtrack of our life together. You name the song, I can tell you how it fits into our relationship. Scary, huh?
So, to my wonderful husband, today's Soundtrack Friday is all about Rush. I give you their hit single, a staple of concerts everywhere, Freewill. Babe, this one is for you!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Sanna's new blog focuses on her love of all things Christmas and romance novels. She is going to start reading as many Christmas themed romance novels as possible between November 1st and Christmas, I think. It's a great challenge. I do enjoy a great happily ever after wrapped up in a festive holiday theme.
What I did love about Hallowe'en were the cartoons. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Bugs Bunny's Howl-Oween Special. The Devil and Daniel Mouse. Any of the Scooby Doo Hallowe'en themed episodes. Young Frankenstien - while not a cartoon, a damn fine movie that I pull out every year about this time.
These I loved more than Christmas specials. Even as a child I loved being a little bit scared. Just a little bit. I wasn't into the slasher movies of the 80s. But I was into reading great creepy books like Lois Duncan's Stranger With My Face and Down a Dark Hall. The Twilight: Where Darkness Begins series, especially Fatal Attraction (not to be confused with the movie by the same name).
I also enjoyed the camp that came with the Hallowe'en themed cartoons and specials. They were often very hilarious and even ridiculous but that made me love them all the more.
Today, two days before Hallowe'en 2010, I give you The Monster Mash done up in one of the campiest ways I have ever seen. Not even a little bit scary, but that's okay. I like it anyway. :)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The city of Pamplona advises, "Reunners need to be calm people with good reflexes and in excellent physical shape."
Think about a challenge you currently have.
- If you were perfectly calm, what would you notice about your challenge?
- If you were in excellent physical shape, what could you do?
- What's the most dangerous thing you could do?
Friday, October 15, 2010
In a lot of ways, the 80s gave birth to the music video, the techno movement, bubble gum pop and some of the most unlikely one hit wonders ever.
The 80s was also a time of fertile imagination. And camp. Great, fantastic camp. Like this video for this song by 80s power group Duran Duran. I listened to this group a lot in the 80s. Even followed them when they temporarily split into Power Station (with Robert Palmer) and Arcadia. To date, my favorite Duran Duran title is A View To A Kill, which is also the only Bond theme song to hit #1 on the charts.
Back to campy songs. Hungry like the Wolf is fun. The lyrics are possessive, the music is catchy, and the video is cheesy, but does have some great bare chested moments. It's one of those songs that earworms its way into your brain. But it is a song I remember fondly from my youth. So to all my friends who are children of the 80s, this Soundtrack Friday is for you!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Once it flowers the head faces east. Away from the heat that could damage those tasty seeds. It protects itself against something that was once nurturing that may now be destructive.
I often think about sunflowers tracking the sun. They seem to know what they need and they know just how to get it! I wish I was more like that.
I don't always do what I know I need to. I stay up too late reading or watching TV instead of going to bed at an hour that supports good health. I don't make the best food choices. I don't always do the right thing with my time. I don't follow the sun. Or, I don't realize what I needed last week or last year isn't going to help me today. To be more deliberate about my choices, I ask myself the following questions:
- What repents the sun in my life? What do I need more of?
- When does a good thing become too much?
- The sunflower's goal is to produce fruit (seeds). Is what I focus on getting me closer to my goal? Or further away?
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
- What happens when you clear aware the distractions? What’s the “bottom line” about your challenge
- When you are 95 years old, what do you want to say about your life?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Madhouse and Deathwish by Rob Thurman -- books three and four of the Cal Leandros series. Wow, the twists and turns this series took. Deathwish was specifically a mind bender. There is another book in the series out now and I have to read it soon or I'll go nuts trying to figure out what happens next.
Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, and Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning -- the first four books in KMM's Fever series have been a reread for me this summer. Her fifth and final book is coming out in January 2011. Too long to wait!
Love is a Four-Legged Word by Kandy Shepherd -- a cute story that has a little intrigue and a lot of laughter. If you're looking for a fun and sexy contemporary romance, this book might do the trick.
Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann -- her first original contemporary romance in years, this book was everything I love about Suzanne's early books. A definite treat.
Forsaken by Shadow by Kait Nolan -- A debut short story in the paranormal romance genre by self published author Kait Nolan. I'm jealous of her storytelling ability and her moxie. I predict we will see a lot of Ms. Nolan in the future.
Love and War by John and Staci Eldridge -- I really enjoyed this book. A non-fiction look at marriage, spiritual warfare and building a love that lasts.
Liberty Starr by Rebecca E. Grant -- This was the summer of debut authors for me. This was a solid erotic romance by Ms. Grant and I'm looking forward to what she writes next.
Chasing Perfect and Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery -- Books one and two of Susan's Fool's Gold series, where men are a hot commodity and community is everything. This is a great contemporary romance series, book three is out now so you can read all three if you don't like to wait. *grin*
The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory -- Before the Tudors there was the royal house of Plantagenet, consisting of the Lancasters and the Yorks. This is one interpretation of the beginning of the War of the Roses or the Cousin's war and tells the tale of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. A quick historical read that poses a lot of questions and promises much adventure.
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah -- A reread of Kristin's first women's fiction novel. Even better the second time around. Have I mentioned how much I love Kristin Hannah?
A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu -- Wow. I have no words for how amazing this story is and what it does for the world Ms. Liu has created for her Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series. If you like rich and lyrical storytelling and you haven't read this series, I highly recommend you try it!
Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl -- Book two of Lynn's Kyndred series is amazing. I bow to a master and want her to write faster so I can read more!
If Angels Burn and Private Demon by Lynn Viehl -- I started a reread of Lynn's Darkyn series. The books are a study in finely woven plot lines and superb character development. They have almost ruined me for other paranormal romance novels. Almost.
Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night Eternal and Abandon the Night by Joss Ware -- Joss, aka Colleen Gleason, writes a terrific post-apocalyptic the Envy Chronicles romance series. The series does not end. Look for at least another book coming in 2011. And if you like vampires and the Regency era, you may enjoy Joss' alter ego, Colleen Gleason.
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh -- Book 2 of Nalini's Guild Hunter series. I enjoyed the story and the continued world building and I hope the next book goes into even more depth of the politics and hierarchy of the archangels.
Spider's Bite and Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep -- Ms. Estep is known for her tongue-in-cheek superhero series. She proves she's a master of the dramatic as well as the comedic. Her Elemental Assassin series takes an unlikely heroine - a professional assassin - and turns her into a heroine you want to root for. There are at least 3 more books forthcoming in this series and I can't wait for the final showdown.
Hush by Kate White -- this mystery was a quick read and just what I needed in between all the paranormal romance and urban fantasy I've been reading. Kate White is the editor-in-chief of Cosmo magazine and still manages to write entertaining mysteries. There is hope for the rest of us!
Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts -- Since getting my nook eReader I've been collecting some books in electronic format and clearing out bookshelf space. Barnes and Noble need to get on the ball and offer the final book in Nora's Dream trilogy. I have the first two and had to get the final one from the library. Don't worry, I still enjoyed the end to a great trilogy.
The Search by Nora Roberts -- a stand alone novel about a woman, a man, a dog and a bad guy. Okay, it's not quite that simple. In fact, the story is very rich in character and setting, as only Nora Roberts can do. As a dog lover, reading a story about a search and rescue team and dog trainer was a treat. One of the best single titles she's written lately.
Destiny's Star by Elizabeth Vaughan -- The final book in her Epic of Palins series takes us back to her beloved Plains (Warprize, Warsworn, Warlord). Each book in her Epic of Palins series was better and better, bringing us to the place where several of Elizabeth's worlds meet and gives fans of her Warlands series hope that she is not finished with Lara and Kier. Well done.
Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen -- This is book 8 in Tess's Rizzoli and Isles series and the thrillers are getting better and better. This story had twists and turns that had me jumping up in surprise. It's not often a plot twist blindsides me but Tess did it not once but three times! I read this on vacation in Canada. I bought it for my nook and read it on the plane. What a joy it was to not have to carry a million books with me and yet have around 30 on the nook I could choose from.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
It was a good trip, visiting family and getting to know some very interesting people who have become a part of my family's lives. The weather could have been warmer, but I'm not going to complain because it wasn't humid like it is here at home. Ick!
While we were gone we set up the DVR to record reruns of The Office. There are quite a few episodes I haven't seen so it was great to come home and finally be able to see Jim and Pam's wedding. Yes, we're behind the times.
In honor of Jim and Pam of The Office, today's Soundtrack Friday is Chris Brown's song Forever. But because I'm not really a Chris Brown fan I'm posting two wonderful videos for you to watch instead. First up, Jim and Pam. You may be tired of them, but hey, I only caught this episode last week! So cut me some slack and enjoy the beginning of happily ever after. You'll have to click on the link to get to Hulu. Apparently they don't think it's okay to embed a video to one's own website. Go figure. :)
The Office - Jim & Pam's Wedding
Now, the inspiration for it all, and another video gone viral that you've likely seen before. How can you not help but smile at the joy in the faces of the wedding party. Or laugh at the wacky self expression. Either way, it's all good. Enjoy!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Today, in an attempt to get the sun to shine, I bring you Weezer and their single Island in the Sun. Because I enjoy the obscure, the video in today's Soundtrack Friday post is the little played Mexican wedding version. Enjoy!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I wasted time, and now doth Time waste me; For now hath Time made me his numb'ring clock; my thoughts are minutes." ~ William Shakespeare, playwrightI believe this quotation to be about procrastination. We all do things to waste time. Some of these things are good things but they take us aware from our most important tasks. Last night I thought I was wasting time. I could have been updating the cheque book or working through the budget so we can determine how to pay for the installation of our new wood floor. I could have been cleaning or making lists for our trip to Canada next week. I could even have been researching appliances for the new kitchen.
Instead I was sitting on the couch with my husband and my dog watching TV. I can't remember what we watched. I do remember the discussions my husband and I had. They were discussions we should have had a while ago and didn't for whatever reason. So, while I could have been doing all these other productive and necessary things, they would have been time wasters. Why? Because I would have been doing instead of being with my husband and sometimes being is more important than doing.
- Where are you wasting time?
- What's the most important thing to be working on?
- Are you putting doing ahead of being?
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sure, the show is campy and sometimes tries too hard to make the plot fit the music. But it's fun and I can so relate to some of the kids who were not in with the in crowd.
In the finale, the kids of the New Directions show choir sing a tribute to their mentor and teacher, Will Schuester. That's when I completely lost it. The song they chose is from the 1967 breakout movie "To Sir With Love" and if you haven't seen that movie, stop reading this blog, log onto Netflix and rent it! The song is a moving tribute to a man who worked hard and tirelessly to help his students grow and succeed. The road was rough and strewn with obstacles, but at the end he brought people together. This is what Will Schuester did for the kids of New Directions. Before they begin to sing, each member of the show choir tell Will what they were before glee club. I almost lost it when Phin shared his part of the speech. And again as Will tears up. A third time when the love-to-hate Sue Sylvester walks in the shadows of the auditorium and even she has a tear in her eye. Yes, it was a weepfest.
Today I bring you Glee and To Sir with Love. I also bring you the original song from the movie. Both are worth your time.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
- What can you stop doing right now?
- What’s non-negotiable?
Friday, June 11, 2010
While I'm fairly certain April has told me her favorite MB20 songs, I have failed completely as a friend as I do not remember them. However, because today is all about April, and because she is a dear friend, here are several MB20 videos for your enjoyment.
April - I hope you enjoy your day! And I apologize the videos aren't completely clear. It was hard to find ones I could actually post. :)
How Far We've Come
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ( I have found it), but "That's funny... ~Isaac AsimovI spend a lot of time trying to find the best way to do something - the best way to develop or improve a process at work. The best way to communicate something. The best way to write that scene. The best way to organize my books. The best way to spend time bonding with my husband.
Sometimes the best way crashes down on my like the roar of a symphony. Here I am, it says to me in flashing lights and neon arrows. Most of the time it's while I'm fumbling around with an idea or when I'm doing something mundane like the dishes that an idea strikes me like the quiet autumn breeze - a subtle barely there tickle of a whisper. It's something different. Odd. Funny. And focusing on that little tickle moves to a much better direction.
What feels a little odd to you?
What does that tell you?
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts - Book 3 of Nora's Bride Quartet was nice. No huge external conflict, some interesting internal growth and a wonderful story of friendship. Sometimes that's what a girl needs to fill her reading hours.
Lois Lane Tells All by Karen Hawkins - A fun contemporary read that builds on Karen's Glory, North Carolina series. Quirky, funny, with strong characters and some interesting twists and turns and a satisfying happily ever after
Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen -- This is book 4 in Jessica's 2010 Doomsday series. I really enjoyed Lucius and Jade's story and the twisty turns the plot is taking as the Nightkeepers race to save the world. I think to date, this is Jessica's best book.
The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal -- I really enjoyed this story of second chances. Less a love story and more the journey of forgiveness and self-discovery, this book combined secrets, sins and the family in a unique way that left me not wanting to say good-bye. A definite must if you enjoy the journey a soul takes to find healing and purpose.
If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl -- The first book of Lynn's Darkyn series. It was my first time rereading it, and that's mostly because I finally broke down and bought a copy. The series is great and I had enough questions in reading her Kyndred books I had to purchase her first series. If you haven't read this series, do. It's not your typical vampire tale. Not at all. In reading these books I can almost believe immortals exist due to a twist of fate and genetics.
Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl -- Book 2 of the Kyndred series, this book takes us deeper into the world of the Darkyn from the point of view of those souls who have been altered in some way to make them "different" and potential candidates for turning into the Darkyn. I really enjoyed the love story in this book along with the special appearance of Michael and Alex from the Darkyn series.
Instant Tempation by Jill Shalvis -- The last book, and for me the best book in Jill's Wilder Brothers trilogy. I loved the characters, the setting, the integrated mystery and the resolution of the series. That said, Jill, can we please have more of the Wilders? I don't care if they are all married and happy now. I want to see the boys in this next phase of life. Pretty please? I'll send you cookies!
Something About You by Julie James -- This was a fun read with some great characters and a plot that is both outrageous and believable. Julie is on a role and I can't wait to read what she comes up with next.
I remember a quotation I read in my Get Unstuck book about worry and I emailed it to my friend.
I'm not going to worry about the things I can't control, because if I can't control them there's no point in worrying about them; and I'm not going to worry about the things I can control, because if I can control them there's no point in worrying about them. ~Mickey RiversThink about a situation in your life that challenges you and ask yourself the following questions:
- What can you control about the situation?
- What can't you control about it?
- How do you think you will move forward?
Friday, May 28, 2010
With the story, Mallory's story to be exact, I made a turning point in determining who Mallory is. I've been living with this character for about 4 years, writing off and on. More off than on until this year. I always knew there was something different about her, something that edged her story into the world of paranormal fiction. And in the last two months I've discovered just what that is. I'm not sharing too much about it here because the story is still being written and as far as I know there's nothing quite like it out there. I need to be very private with the story right now so I can work it out in my head and on the page.
As I've discovered more about Mallory, I've had a song in my head that fits Mallory at a certain point in the story. There's no video for the song that I've been able to find, sorry! It's Seen Enough by Dryer. I don't know much about this group and this is the only song of their's I have heard, or so I believe. There's something wonderfully aching about this song and it really fits. Oh, I wish I could share the scene that meshes with this song. When (knock on wood) this story is finished and published I certainly will!
Without further ado, on this long weekend Soundtrack Friday, I give you Dryer and Seen Enough. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Simplify! ~ Henry David Thoreau, philosopher
- What can you stop doing right now?
- What can you get rid of right now?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Daring to Dream and Holding the Dream by Nora Roberts - I am the proud new owner of a Nook, which is Barnes & Noble's eReader. Since I have the Nook I decided to buy some of my favorite books and NR's Dream Trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies. Sadly, B&N doesn't have the third book as part of their ebook collection so I'm still waiting to complete my collection.
Moonshine by Rob Thurman -- book two in Rob's Cal Leandros urban fantasy series. I thought the book was richer then the first in the series. I'm looking forward to the third book to see how things turn out for Cal and Niko.
Latte Trouble by Cleo Coyle -- I seem to be reading a lot of series lately. Cleo Coyle writes the Coffeehouse mystery series set in NYC. Marjorie Liu recommended this author and series on her blog this past winter. It's an entertaining series with some solid character development. Thank goodness there are still quite a few books for me to read!
BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker -- Ted Dekker used to write this amazing Christian fiction. He's now writing darker mainstream books. I picked up BoneMan's Daughters on a whim at the grocery store and I'm so glad I did. the story was dark, rich and emotionally moving. The twist at the end was nothing short of inspired. Ted has not lost his touch as an author. I'll be seeking out his more recent backlist this summer.
Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis -- Book two in Jill's baseball series. I have no idea if there are going to be more books in the series or not, but the first two had me laughing and sighing alternately. Jill knows how to write a great contemporary romance.
The Taking by Erin McCarthy -- Erin is known for her light and funny paranormal and contemporary romances. She has a darker side with her Seven Deadly Sins series. The Taking is the third book in this series and it focuses on demons and voodoo and lost love and second chances. I love the theme of redemption that sweeps through the entire series.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Jason, the main male character in my current WIP, aka Mallory's story, is looking forward to summer as well. To Jason summer means the world is alive with second chances. True, the summer in Mallory's story is fraught with trauma, but Jason is a man who sees the possibilities and urges others to see the same. He's going to be pushing Mallory out of her comfort zone in ways that will shake that girl to the core, I just feel it! Oh, I'm itching to write more...but I need to focus on the day job right now. Must earn that paycheck. :)
This week's Soundtrack Friday is a song that I think of when I think of Jason and his optimism so today I bring you an oldie from Wilson Phillips. Enjoy Hold On and let the scenery in the video remind you that summer truly is just around the corner.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
It's been a long week and we've earned some fun, some relaxation. What is more fun than this blast from the past? A girl singing about the ulitmate girl power. A tune that even had my dad's conservative toes tapping. A video that made my brother smile with Captain Lou Albano showing up in a cameo role.
Without further ado, I give you Cyndi Lauper and her hit video, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! Enjoy your weekend. Have a little fun on me.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
I'm currently managing at team of 16 plus 2 additional people. It's an interim thing that I've been doing since January. We have a new manager for the team of 16 who will be back to take up the mantel on the 10th. In the meantime, I'm stretched. Way beyond stretched some days. And I use all my energy at work motivating the team and helping them with their questions and student situations. Don't get me wrong, it's been fun and challenging, but I don't want to be a supervisor of 16 people. Not for my first foray into supervision. I found myself saying to my husband after particularly challenging days, "I don't wanna be a pirate!"
For those of you not in the know, this is from an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry somehow agreed to wear a puffy pirate shirt on TV. Jerry didn't want to wear the shirt and be seen as a pirate.
I want to coach at work. But I don't want to have 16 direct reports. It's an experiment that needed to be done and I'm glad for it. I know I have it in me to supervise and some day maybe that's what I'll be. But right now I want to focus on other things and it's good to know that about myself. Fear had kept me from this type of role in the past and I can honestly say fear is no longer a factor. :)
What's your pirate shirt? Have you tried it on for size before discarding the idea all together? If yes, what did you learn? If not, what's holding you back?
Monday, April 05, 2010
In my quest to not only make time to clean and organize my home office, I decided I could no longer move forward with this project on my own. Instead of muddling through by myself and getting stuck in the big picture or mired in the details, I enlisted the help of a trusted friend who is more than capable of organizing space.
It took me a long time to come to this decision. I had to work through the expectations I had of what I should have been able to and by when. I am able to help other people organize themselves, but I have to work very hard to organize myself. So I had this picture in my head that I could, no should, be able to do this on my own. Looking around the office, and at my procrastination with the project, I made the decision to go ahead and ask for assistance. And, no offense to my husband who has offered to work on this project with, but I needed someone who didn't have a vested interest in the project.
Enter Christine. In one evening we cleaned off the desk surface, a couple of shelves and the piles on the floor. I had two bags for Goodwill, several bags of recycling and everything I didn't know how to organize or wasn't sure I was going to keep was neatly organized in labeled bags. The room looked larger and I wanted to be in the space for the first time in months. Since last fall, to be exact.
Later this week we are going to work on this some more. The goal is to not have to buy any new furniture (though I can make lists of what I want in the future to make the room more usable), and to purchase the fewest number of organizational devices/tools possible all while maintaining a feel that is a cross between homey comfort and minimalism. I mean, I like my books and pictures, but I don't need to have piles of them on the floor.
I do this all the time with clients. I walk them through what is keeping them stuck so they can move forward. I was unable to do this for myself and when I was ready to ask for help, help was there for the taking. Sometimes, it's all about realizing we can lean on people in our lives for a little while.
When you find yourself overwhelmed by a project, who do you turn to for motivation? What do you do to unfreeze yourself?
Saturday, April 03, 2010
In the outline were snippets of themes and one theme had "Will You Be There" written beside it. I figured it must have been a reference to Heart's 1993 hit Will You Be There (In the Morning) from their album Desire Walks On. I love that album. It has some of my favorite angry music on it. I hopped over to my iTunes and played the song and sure enough, this song expresses in tone and chorus what Mallory fears. That everyone she loves will leave. It's a universal theme, something almost everyone I know has felt, if fleetingly, at one time or another. And the song got me into Mallory's head quickly so I added it to my Mallory soundtrack.
Today's Soundtrack Friday is Heart and Will You Be There (In the Morning).
Thursday, April 01, 2010
High Noon by Nora Roberts - this was a reread for me. I saw the Lifetime movie in February that was based on the book and wondered exactly how much they had changed in the story so I pulled out my copy of High Noon and wow, they took out a lot! While the movie was okay, the book was better. Still not my top 5 Nora novels, but a nice way to spend a weekend.
Nightlife by Rob Thurman -- A new to me series that was recommended on Marjorie M. Liu's blog a month or so ago. I enjoyed this first novel. The premise was different and the voice of the novel was compelling. I don't know if it's a must read series yet, but I'm looking forward to reading the second book.
Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle --Book two of of her Coffeehouse Mystery series had me falling in love. Then the book hit me with a twist I wasn't anticipating. I do enjoy this series, not only because it takes place around a coffeehouse and the books include recipes, but also because I never seem to be able to figure out who did it early on. This is a mark of a good mystery.
Must Love Hell Hounds anthology -- I got this book from the library so I could read the novella but Nalini Singh but kept reading for stories by Meljean Brook, Charlene Harris and Ilona Andrews. Entertaining stories that are like crack for the voracious reader such as myself. I tell you, anthologies are the gateway drug to adding more authors to your must read list.
Inked anthology -- another anthology. I read this initially for the story by Marjorie M. Liu because it was an installment in her Hunter Kiss series. I keep reading and have added Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance and Yasmine Galenorn to my list of authors to try. Anthologies, they are gateway drugs, I tell you!
Criminal Deceptions by Marilyn Pappano --Book 6 of MP's Copper Lake series is category romantic suspense done right. Despite a shorter word count than Silhouette's Intimate Moments line used to have before it became Romantic Suspense, this book has solid plotting, pacing and character development. I usually read category romances and feel like something was missing but with Marilyn Pappano, I feel completely satisfied.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy -- I read this for bookclub and while I was initially skeptical, I really ended up enjoying it.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Okay, I thought my blog was posting all the posts I created ahead of time properly. And silly me, I didn't check until a friend asked me if I was on vacation. *sigh* Technology is great, until it doesn't work.
When I was searching out information on Richard Page in a lame attempt to see what my teen crush was up to these days, I stumbled on a YouTube video where his daughter, Aja Page, sings a cute, folksie song titled Firefly.
If you know me, you know I like fireflies. I am still bitter Fox pulled Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly. I enjoy Owl City's song Fireflies. Firefly Lane is one of my favorite books by author Kristin Hannah. And I think the actual insects are magical.
To find another song that uses fireflies as a metaphor, well, I had to get me some of that. So I bring you Aja Page and her sweet song, Firefly. If you like it, I know it's available at iTunes. Yes, I purchased it. Like I said, I like fireflies. *grin*
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
How does living in the moment correspond with making time? I hope to begin to sketch that map for you, but first, let's look at living in the moment.
Living in the moment is about being in the now. Being present. Awake. And aware. We often sleep walk through life, not fully aware of how we impact others and how they impact us. We react. We let the world run roughshod over us and our intentions. Of we simply let life pass us by while we attempt to control it.
Monday, March 01, 2010
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield -- I don't remember this book. I guess that's not a good sign. I know I read it because it was for bookclub. I do recall I enjoyed it. Hmm, maybe I'll need to do a reread so I can post something intelligent about it. :)
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah -- I. Loved. This. Book. It made me cry. Seriously. Bawled at the end like a little baby. Actually sniffled through the last third. If you like reading about families and have an interest in Russia, you will love this book. It tugs the heart, sucks you in and doesn't let you go even after you read "the end."
Lake Magic by Kimberly Fisk -- This debut novel reminded me what I used to love about contemporary romantic fiction. This book was tender and bright and a lovely read about loss and love and the power of connection. Kimberly is an author to watch!
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl -- Victoria's third contemporary romance is her best yet! Seriously. I actually read it from the library and then went out and bought it. It's sexy, poignant and fun. The heroine is complexed, flawed and every woman without being boring or melodramatic. The hero is yummy and equally as complex. This is a great story.
Ghost Moon by Karen Robards -- I enjoy a good tale by Karen Robards but wasn't connecting with this story. It felt sluggish to me, but that could have been because I was dealing with a cold when I was reading it. It was suspense lite and paranormal lite with a good romance in an interesting setting.
Sea Swept, Rising Tides & Inner Harbor by Nora Roberts -- I love the Quinn brothers. Nora does an amazing job writing men and writing family dynamics. Have I mentioned I want to be her when I grow up? It was a great treat to revisit the Quinns of Chesapeake Bay. I haven't reread the series in years and as part of my downsizing efforts I am trying to find new homes for many of my books. This means rereads of books I've been holding on to for years to see if I can stand to part with any. I just can't part with the Quinns. If you haven't read this trilogy, do so. Now!
Tempting Faith by David Kuo -- I like biographies and autobiographies. I enjoy understanding what makes people tick. I think learning about different social issues is important. I thought this book would be one of those tell alls that's more about sensationalism than really trying to understand what really happened, at least from one man's point of view. I was entertained reading this book. I think I understand the religious movements within the last 10 years of politics. I don't think I've heard the entire story, nor will I. I'm not sure if I recommend the book or not. I think if you're willing to read more than one side of the issue, I am. But if you only want to read things that will support your point of view and can't keep an open mind, skip this book.
A Lick of Frost & Swallowing Darkness by Laurel K. Hamilton -- I used to be a huge fan of Laurel's Anita Blake series but the series kind of strayed off the path too much for me. Then I found her Merry Gentry series and have loved every book so far. This weekend I read two of her latest in the series, thanks to a co-worker who was kind enough to loan them to me. Questions are answered, court intrigue escalates, and storylines come together to form an amazing whole! More questions are asked and the series takes a turn, but it's a turn that makes complete and total sense to the world LKH has created and the characters who reside within it. I have the latest book to read. I can't wait!
Friday, February 26, 2010
I've been dreaming about Mallory's story over the last couple of weeks. This is a good thing. It means the story is solidifying and the writing becomes much easier. Which is good because I could really use some good writing right now.
When I dream about the books I'm writing I often have snippets of songs going on in the background. It's like a CW TV show in my head, lol! This week I've been trying to figure out the name of a song that's been playing over and over and over in my head. I knew I had heard it before on the radio but sleep has a way of distorting music and making it almost unrecognizable to me. Finally, on the way to work this morning, I heard a snippet of the song on the talk radio program I listen to as I drive to the office.
Today's Soundtrack Friday is Kelly Clarkson and her single Already Gone. The song is haunting. Sad. It's about good-bye. Mallory's story is all about good-byes. It's also about the hope of finding out what's real when we are able to let go of the things haunting us. Not everything we say good-bye to is a bad thing. Sometimes we have to let go of good things. Things that we love, that we are sentimental about or things that we thought brought us joy. It can be bittersweet and can be the hardest thing to do. Mallory is discovering that life has it's joys and beauty and that sometimes things have be walked away from in order to let that joy and beauty truly flourish.
This song has the right tone for some of her moments of realization. It makes me ache for this woman who is only in my mind because I'm living this with her. I hope, when the story is finished, her journey is one that resonates with others in a way that offers hope. I guess I need to keep writing.
Happy Friday to you! Enjoy today's Soundtrack Friday and have a great weekend.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I love Canadian author Margaret Atwood. I love hockey. I'm disappointed there isn't Olympic hockey coverage here in the USA on non-cable tv. So when I went looking for some clips of my Canadian boys in action I came across something different. Something that at first didn't make sense to my sleep deprived brain.
Canadians do take their hockey, and their curling, very seriously. So seriously that the CBC was able to get a Canadian literary icon to demonstrate goaltending. Margaret Atwood. In full goaltender equipment. In all seriousness. Okay, in mock seriousness, but she came off very well.
I now love Margaret Atwood even more! And boys, if you're reading this blog, and I know you are, I wish you the best as you assimilate the competition and bring home another Gold for mama. I mean, Canada! Keep your stick on the ice!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Soundtrack Friday is a little late. I had something planned out and then I saw the opening ceremony for the 2010 Olympics. It's in Vancouver, British Columbia this year. A city I'm very familiar with because I spent nearly every summer there visiting family when I was growing up. I know Vancouver Island even more intimately as both my parents are from there. All of B.C. is beautiful and there are days I sorely miss it.
During the ceremony for the Olympics several Canadian artists were showcased but two stood out to me. One, because I grew up listening to her music and the other because the words made me even prouder to be Canadian.
Soundtrack Friday this week honor two wonderful Canadian artists - Joni Mitchell and Poetry Slam artist Shane Koykzan.
Shane Koyczan is a spoken word artist whose words are amazing. He preformed a wonderful poem at the ceremony, the words of which are below. This part of the ceremonies made me so proud to be Canadian. Even if I haven't lived on her shores in 15 years.
"We Are More" by Shane Koyczan
When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we’ve got a few
or that we made these crazy things
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
“been there done that”
and maybe that’s where we used to be at
we’ve done and we’ve been
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don’t forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like “someday”
someday we’ll be great
someday we’ll be this
someday we’ll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don’t have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don’t all know what it is in life we’re looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you’ve been through hell and high water
and you went deep
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
“ keep exploring... we are more”
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
My husband and I finally entered the 21st century. At least when it comes to our internet connection. We've had cable for years and years - since I was teaching at my previous employer, in fact. Cable modems are great. The connection is fast and the price, at the time, was right! The down side was we could only have one computer online at a time.
Last summer we procured a router so we could have 2 Ethernet connections to the cable modem. With TV going digital we needed to do something so we could record TV and thanks to my husband's know how we were able to build a Media Center computer system (acts like a TV tuner and a DVR) AND have the desktop hooked up to the internet at the same time. Snazzy, but so late 20th century. Or so I'm told.
Fast forward to this month. We facilitate classes through our church. The classes run 13 weeks and then they are done. No more support. No more lessons. You're on your own unless you want to take the class again. For free, but it's still a huge time commitment. Or unless you want to spend money to belong to an online community for support.
Several graduates of the course approached us about getting together as a group so we could talk the baby steps and support each other through the continuing journey. A and I were all for that and had our first alumni meeting last Saturday. During that meeting, the Budget Crunching Party was born! Everyone wanted help with either developing a budget or refining one. Why not get everyone in the same room and go over it all together, right? So this Saturday we will again be opening up our home for our alums. Then we had a moment of panic. Some of the people in our group use the online budgeting software. Others use online banking to help them budget. How on earth were we going to turn two internet connections into enough internet for up to 6 people?
There is when we had our a ha! moment. Airport Extreme. We've been wanting wi-fi for ages and have been putting it off because, well, it's a nice to have not a need to have. Until now. And we had some Christmas money socked away waiting to be put to use on a present for the house. It took two seconds to decide to buy the house the wi-fi router. The wireless router cam home home on Sunday and last night we set it up. While it doesn't change the set up for our Media Center computer or the desktop (our main computer), or my 10 year old Apple Powerbook (doesn't have a wi-fi card) , it will allow us to use our work laptops in any room of the house. And will allow our alumni group members to bring their wi-fi enabled laptops or netbooks to our house and use them as we have our budget party!
I am giddy with delight! I can keep on top of email while watching TV which means I won't have a million email messages waiting to be cleared out on the weekends. I can take the computer outside and sit on the deck when it gets warm and surf away. We can network all the computers to the back up server and to each other making it easier to access information on any of the computers in the house. We are now THOSE PEOPLE who have many computers for different purposes and use them all! I LOVE IT!
So welcome us to the 21st century. I may still be using a cell phone that I can't text or web surf on, but we have wifi! Ah, life is good.