Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Reads of 2009

Don't forget to vote books for me to read in 2010!

Here is a list of my favorite books (plus links if I reviewed them) that I read in 2009. In no particular order...

1. The Twilight Saga (sadly no I did not review any of them, but I loved them... quirks, bad writing and all.. )

2. American Wife – Curtis Sittenfield (sadly I was a bad blogger at the beginning of '09 and did not review this either.. but it was excellent... )

5. The Mating Rituals of a North American WASP - Lauren Lipton (Hilarious and fast read..)

13. Georgia Nicholson's Series by Louise Rennison

What was your favorite book of 2009?

Thanks for being such great readers as I figure out how I want to best share my reading / writing with you all. 2009 has definitely helped me grow in my reading selections and reviewing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

on the bright side, i'm now the girlfriend of a sex god confessions of Georgia Nicolson

From the back cover: Georgia Nicholson is dating the Sex God so life should be perfect... except in Georgia's life, nothing is ever perfect. Her cat, Angus, is terrorizing the neighborhood. Her sister, Libby (who is slightly mad), hides her pooey knickers at the bottom of Georgia's bed. Then the Sex God breaks it off because she's too young. It's time for Georgia to become a heartless boy magnet.

The second installment of Georgia’s antics begins right after we just left her. She is gearing up for THE WORST TRIP ever to the other side of the earth, when joyous news is received and Vati (her name for her dad) is coming home! No need to travel away from her Sex God of a boyfriend.

However, this good news is ruined when SG decides that Georgia is too young for him and they can’t see each other. Georgia is heartbroken, but with the help of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, she realizes that men are like elastic bands and she has a “grand plan.”

Georgia also is a tad bit kinder to P. Green, but her ridiculous childish behavior continues and she is a terrible friend to Jas. So very selfish, but aren’t we all at 14. Full of dramatics and Georgia's ridiculous ability to get herself wrapped up in the most bizarre situations or stories. A great quick read and for sure a great laugh!

Don't forget to vote for the January Group Read (poll on the side)!!!

Also, don't forget to vote for what books I should read in 2010 and (potentially) win yourself a prize!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

I have to thank Reading is Sexy for her review of the hilarious antics of Georgia, which inspired me to check out Louise Rennison at my local library. It took me a week to get through this, but honestly should have taken me just a few hours, I blame Christmas. :)

This book has a ton of Brit humor, which I love and is written in journal format with the narrator being a fourteen-year-old girl. It's funny because it totally takes you back to 14 and the RIDICULOUSNESS that is 14 and female. All the outrageous antics you do to make yourself look good and to impress boys. All the fickle things you say and do to your "best-friends." This book does not disappoint.

Georgia is in love with a sex-goddess (Robbie) who she hopes to be her boyfriend. There are a lot of misadventures on her quest to achieve this and a lot of them are her own fault. She has a cat named Angus who is quite the terror, a sister who is hilarious, and parents she could do without. (Remember she is 14.)

However, this was hilarious and I loved how it was written in journal form and that she wrote constantly. I also liked how it was believable for 14. None of the crap of being "soo grown up" and what not. Realistic childish ridiculous fun. Oh and some snogging and running through the streets with her nuddypants on. :)

Check it out if you want a laugh and some good YA fiction. There are also more stories in the Georgia series and unfortunately unless I pull off a Christmas miracle and finish the other 2 that I have checked out TODAY, I will have to wait awhile to get back to them as they are being held at the library and I cannot renew them.
Don't forget to vote for the January Group Read (poll on the side..)
Also, don't forget to pick out books for me to read in 2010 and enter to win a prize!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

You Pick 2010...

*Note the poll is up for January's Group Read!! ** voting goes until 1/1/10 and I will announce the winner that day..

Taking a page from Stacy's Books , albiet a much SMALLER page, I am going to have my lovely readers pick 10 of my 2010 reads. The last two years I have made a push to read the books on my shelf. While, I have done a pretty darn good job, I also have obtained more and bought more and then not read some. Last week, I went through my house room by room, book shelf by book shelf and collected books that I need to read. Now this isn't even the complete list because I have more young teen / young adult books that I have collected over the years that are not on my list to read but I have collected them from people who know I am a teacher. I unfortunately took the picture before I added in my Christmas stash of books but I took a photo of those and after I took that I did add it into my large pile, which is still NOTHING compared to her large stash of books. I am amazed by hers, which you can view here.

Here is how this will work. You will pick 1-5 titles from the stack that you think I should read in 2010. Leave comments about why you think I should read that particular book or you can just leave a list. I will leave the voting open until January 3rd. On January 4th, I will post the 10 books that my readers have chosen for me to read during 2010. If there is a tie, I will pick the one I will read out of it.

Now, you may ask, why should you help me pick a book out? Because, after everyone has added in their 2 cents and I am tallying the votes, I will use to pick a winner and that winner will recieve Bananagrams Gram - Bunches of fun! If by chance the winner already owns this game, I am willing to send a gift certificate to uncommongoods as it is one of my favorite places to shop and browse!

Now help me out !!! :)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.. I hate wrapping because I stink at it. Yesterday when I was wrapping approximately 95 percent of the presents I bought, I got tired of wrapping and totally started gift bagging it up.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial love…

3. When do you put up the tree? Over Thanksgiving weekend in general, this year I reluctantly put it up the first weekend of December..

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually the 2nd weekend in January.. I’m too lazy on New Years and too busy watching football to get to it until then..

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes I do! I hope I get some this year.. My grandma used to always have it..

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Eh… I never got anything exciting for Christmas.. my brother did.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The hubby!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom…

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail…

11. Worst Christmas ever? Probably the year my great-grandma died on Christmas Day or the one we are about to have in 2 days.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie(s)? Elf. Cheesy ABC family and Hallmark movies

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I usually start the day after Thanksgiving, though I had purchased one gift before that this year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yup. Some people should really think about the size and likes of a teenage girl before giving them things, is all I’ll say. :P

15 .Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Carmels, peppermint stick ice cream, sugar cookies, puppy chow… spinach dip

16. Lights on the tree? The white ones that came pre-lit with my tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Hark the Herald Angel Sing, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Come All Ye Faithful

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Basically stay at home, but our families live a very short car ride away so we spend Christmas Eve and Day shuttling between the two..

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Funny, I sent this as homework home with my kids this week because I could NOT remember… (Donner, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Blitzen and Rudoloph)

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Eve with the in-laws and this year also with my parents.. morning with each other and afternoon with my mom’s fam.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? All the dang meals people apparently want to feed you, even when you are full and the insane scheduling of visits..

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like colorful balls, snowmen and special ornaments with meaning..

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We always did ham and all the random sides but this year we are trying something different… we are doing lasagna, homemade garlic bread, salads and some pasta..

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? My grandma to be here..

I hope everyone has a great time celebrating with family!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Discussion Questions for The Awakening..

Well, with the lack of comments on my review, I am hoping that some at least read a little about it so we can have a discussion. I sense that it wasn't a fan favorite! :)

1. What is important about the title?

2. How does Chopin reveal character in The Awakening?

3. Is Edna consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How? Why?

4. Would you recommend this novel? Why or why not?

My answers will be in the comments!!! Add any other questions you want to add...

Remember to vote for the January Group Read!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Gossip Girl

Publisher's Weekly ---At a New York City jet-set private school populated by hard-drinking, bulimic, love-starved poor little rich kids, a clique of horrible people behave badly to one another. An omniscient narrator sees inside the shallow hearts of popular Blair Waldorf, her stoned hottie of a boyfriend, Nate, and her former best friend Serena van der Woodsen, just expelled from boarding school and "gifted with the kind of coolness that you can't acquire by buying the right handbag or the right pair of jeans. She was the girl every boy wants and every girl wants to be." Everyone wears a lot of designer clothes and drinks a lot of expensive booze. Serena flirts with Nate and can't understand why Blair is upset with her; Blair throws a big party and doesn't invite Serena; Serena meets a cute but unpopular guy; and a few less socially blessed characters wonder about the lives of those who "have everything anyone could possibly wish for and who take it all completely for granted." Intercut with these exploits are excerpts from (the actual site launches in February), where "gossip girl" dishes the dirt on the various characters without ever revealing her own identity amongst them. Though anyone hoping for character depth or emotional truth should look elsewhere, readers who have always wished Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz would write about teenagers are in for a superficial, nasty, guilty pleasure. The book has the effect of gossip itself once you enter it's hard to extract yourself; teens will devour this whole. The open-ended conclusion promises a follow-up. Ages 15-up.

Me --- I have watched a few episodes of the CW's Gossip Girl and was instantly attracted to its ridiculousness. I immediately knew I wanted to read the books and it has taken me awhile to venture into the YA section of the library. The first installment in von Ziegesar's series is just as ricdiculous as the show. I am glad I have the image of the actors in my mind and I think it's nice to have the show in mind while reading. I am not ashamed to admit I love to tread mindless trash, and this is just that. But, I mean how can you resist a bunch of spoiled teenagers acting like 20 somethings? Completely unbelievable but at the same time it drags you into the craziness. It MAKES you want to be as lucky as them.

You know you love me.. xoxo.. :)

Remember to vote for the January Group Read!

Monday, December 21, 2009

January Group Read...

I know this is very early, but I figure with the holidays and what not it would be a good idea to start suggesting books to read in January. That way, we could have a book decided on by January 1st!

I'm kinda thinking about a book that is upbeat or about new beginnings. But like always, anything and everything is welcome to be suggested!

Leave the suggestions in the comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

When I look past the fact that I was not a fan of Chopin's writing style, I will say the message and subject were good.

The Awakening is the story of Edna Pontieller, who is a New Orleans wife in the late 1800s. The book opens in the summer on Grande Isle, a resort for wealthy New Orleans families. Edna doesn't seem to connect with or belong with the others besides Madame Ratignolle, Mademoiselle Resiz and Robert. Robert had the reputation of picking a married lady and "befriending her" over the summer for some harmless flirting. This summer he picked Edna. Edna enjoyed the attention Robert gives her and slowly starts drifting from her husband. There are moments that she openly defies his wishes and then wonders if she always did what he said, and realizes that she has.

Madame Ratignolle is the vision of what the perfect mother and wife of the late 1800s should be. She is everything Edna had been before she was "awakened." Mademoiselle Reisz represents what Edna could become if she left her husband and children.

Her summer of discovery and fun ends when Robert abruptly leaves Grande Isle to go to Mexico for a "business adventure." Edna is heartbroken. The summer finishes and they return to New Orleans. However, back in New Orleans Edna is no longer the Edna that Mr. Pontieller married. This Edna does what she wants and casts away jobs/visiting that she oversaw as Mrs. Pontieller. Her husband worries about her and thinks she is mentally unstable. A doctor friend tries to reassure him that she is not and to just give her space.

Edna has a real push to independence when her husband is called away on business and her mother-in-law takes her two boys. She spends her days wandering, painting, visiting Mademoiselle Reisz, and entertaining Alcee Arobin. She decides she needs to separate herself from her large stately house and downsize into the "pigeon-house." So, yes she basically decides hey I am going to move out of my house and oh I will write my husband that is away on business a letter and it will be all fine and dandy. That is when I started questioning her mental capacity.

Edna is visiting Mademoiselle Reisz one day, when Robert appears. He is back from his "business adventure." He walks her home and they skirt around uncomfortable inappropriate topics until they are interrupted. Edna doesn't see him for many days until she runs into him and they get to talking. All the feelings are out in the open and it seems like all the cards are falling into place and they will be together. Edna is called away and when she returns, Robert is gone.

This sends Edna who is already emotionally fragile into a huge tailspin.

I do have an issue with her relationship with Arobin. If she is in love with Robert like she proclaims, then that was stupid and in no way acting in way to get him. However, if she is just unhappy and latching on to anything (which I think is the case) than fine. But, to go on and on about her love for Robert and then to that and THEN be soo upset when he says "good-bye." Uh no. Crazy. And perhaps this is when I have to remember this was the late 1800s and she was just beginning to assert "independence" and had no idea how to act in independently.

Anyway, I think I will settle on this being okay. Not something I'd re-read or gush about it. What do you all think? Comments? Questions? Start something up in the comments!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have started and stopped and erased the review of The Awakening more than twice. That is just going to have to wait. I have started and stopped an "All I want for Christmas --- books" about five times. I am lacking the focus.

Not only am I lacking the focus for writing the blog, but I am lacking focus everywhere. I have been forgetting about everything, not comprehending simple sentences being said to me, and losing my ever loving patience.

I need Christmas break. I need it soooooooo bad. And sadly, I already am thinking how it is not long enough. We haven't had recess outside in about 2 weeks. The weather has either been too cold or too wet and my kids don't all have the right clothes on any given day and when the majority do not, I am not going to make them stay inside while half go out. At 5 years old, it is not their fault they don't have it.

This post is about all over as my mind keeps flying. I have ideas for posts, but the motivation to start them and implement them erases the moment I click on "New Entry." I really need some focus.

And to make a further random jump of topic... Those of you who are purchasing gifts for a significant other, what are some things you are getting them? I need to get my husband something "fun" or something and this year I haven't found the idea yet and I am clearly running out of time!

And in hopes of jump starting my "focus" what would you like me to blog about?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Second Thoughts on The Awakening

FYI, the following will probably contain some spoilers. It has info based on the first 196 pages (large print edition). Read at your own risk. :) I finished the book after I wrote this but did not include all my thoughts on it.

New Words...

Blagueur – joker

Lorgnette – eyeglasses that are held to the eyes with a long handle

Unbelievable quote ---”Do I have to think of everything? ---- as Leonce says when he’s in a bad humor. I don’t blame him; he’d never be in a bad humor if it weren’t for me.” (pg. 77)

Whaaat??? Holy battered woman syndrome. He only hits me because I deserve it????

I also quite enjoyed when Edna’s husband went to the doctor and was concerned she was mentally unbalanced because she was standing up for herself and doing what she wanted. And that her own father tells her husband to manage his wife by force. Eeesh.

Something I don’t understand about Edna is the fact that she just decides to move into the other house and acts like it is no big deal and her husband will be fine with it and what not. It’s like the most natural thing in the world. I am currently on page 196 and she is hosting a dinner party as her last hooray at the house.

My current thoughts --- Like the book, but still not sold on the writing style. I really don’t like being TOLD what people think, how about you let it show up in the writing, not spell it out. I like the random French thrown in, but I don’t really know what it all means, so if I care I have to mark it and look it up later, so that is annoying.

What do you think of Edna’s plan to take up residence in the new house? What about Alcee Arobin? What do you think of THAT drama? I quite like Mademoiselle Reisz. She is a nice enabler for Edna. Any questions? Comments? Start discussing in the comments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Mitten by Jan Brett

From Jan Brett’s Website…. When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing. One by one, woodland animals find the mitten and crawl in; first a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse, and what happens next makes a wonderfully funny climax. As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on. Once again Jan Brett has created a dramatic and beautiful picture book in her distinctive style. She brings the animals to life with warmth and humor, and her illustrations are full of visual delights and details faithful to the Ukrainian tradition, from which the story comes.

Me….. I absolutely LOVE this book. It has the best pictures, relatively short and entertains both the children and the adults…. I read this with my class a couple weeks ago and we did a lot of different activities with it.

I had planned to do a picture walk first but I ran out of time on Monday, so we jumped right in on Tuesday. After we read the story through, we talked about how many animals went in the mitten, in what order and if that many animals would actually fit in our mittens. Then to start the activity from her site, I had the students color in the animals during centers that day. The next day, we re-read it and talked about the order they went in again. Then I showed them the mitten that we had made copies of on construction paper and how they would cut them out (2) and then we would staple them to make our on mitten. After the mittens were made, we cut out the animals we colored the day before. Then I re-read the story again, and while I read the book, the students put the animals in their own mitten. Super cute.

Thursday I had a short emergent book that the students could read themselves. We ‘read’ it through together and then the students colored in the books. I showed them how they could use their mittens from the day before to read and act this story out at home. Everybody was SUPER excited to show their parents.

Other activities we did during the week included counting / graphing the amount of mittens vs. gloves we had as a class, teaching the word was, and working on AB and ABB patterns by coloring in mittens.

This is one of my favorite winter books. What are some of your favorite winter books?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Awakening first thoughts...

I am currently at Chapter 8 and have already marked a few parts that I wanted to comment on. My initial reactions are, it's okay and I think I am at a point where it is starting to pick up. I am not quite a fan of the style of writing, where the author tells you how/what the character is as opposed to "showing." I don't want to be told the character is engaging or whatever. SHOW it to me.

The first quote that I marked that I wanted to share is this..

"They were women who idolizeed their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themsleves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels." pg. 22

I've never understood this. I can't imagine living life like that. No matter what I am my own person. Obviously, I do not have children but I am married and I am not all about taking care of my husband all the time.

"In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an indvidual to the world within and about her." (pg 33)

Is it bad that my thought was, IT'S ABOUT TIME.. ;)

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding he body in its soft, close embrace." (pg. 34)

This was just a beautiful line. I like how Chopin descibes the sea as seductive. It summed up how I feel near the ocean. It's beauitful, easy to stare at and erase all worries.

A new word...

This word I had to look up because I had no idea.
befurbelowed - Furbelows are are flounces or elaborate trim on a dress or skirt. Befurbelowed means to be dressed up in particulary fancy cloth

Anyone else have any quotes they've marked so far? Who has started reading? What do you think? Any questions? Comments.. Anything at all.. start a discussion in the comments! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Things I Want My Daughters to Know

Elizabeth Noble has once again weaved a wonderful tale using the viewpoints of four sisters, their stepfather and excerpts from their late mother's journal. When I saw this book cover and was intrigued I had no idea that I had already read one of her novels, The Reading Group, before. (Another good read, if you were wondering.)

The book follows the girls and their stepfather in the year following their mothers death to the dreaded 'C' word. One would think that it would be messy and hard to follow the different viewpoints, but they just kept me more into the book and more wanting to find out more. I love how Noble is capable of letting out little nuggets of the story and for the little plot lines to develop in your head.

Barbara, their mother, knew death was coming and prepared by leaving a journal for her daughters to read and by leaving them all letters. Some of the contents were life shattering, and others the good ole advice you'd expect from a mum.

The Narrators

First there is Lisa, the oldest daughter who is the BIGGEST commitment phobe possible. Has the self-destructive behaviors down pat. Luckily for her, she has common sense and a wonderful "bloke." (God I love British slang!)

Jen, is the second oldest who has the vibe of a fridge wench. She is clearly unhappy and through the various nugget droppings you find out why. However, in the beginning it made me want to punch her husband, then her, and then I just wanted to hug her.

Amanda, is the third daughter and the free spirit. She is always off traveling and is not there when their mother passes. This causes her some pain but the chance meeting of Ed helps her adjust and find her real self.

Hannah, is the baby and the only child of Barb and Mark's marriage. The others all came from their mum's first marriage to Donald. Hannah is the typical teenage girl who is thrust into adulthood and loses her innocence all to young. She tests limits, she breaks rules, but deep down she loves her dad and misses her mum terribly.

Mark is the wonderful stepfather who took in Barbara's teenage daughters as if they were his own. He misses his wife terribly and tries to give the advice she would. He recalls all of the tidbits she shared through the years of how to deal with daughters and tries his hardest to be dad/mom/friend to all of them.

I really cannot do this book justice. It is soo good, and I don't want to reveal too much more because this is a book where the more you read, the more you discover and realize how little you knew and how badly you misjudged the information you had already. Or maybe that is just me.

Definitely recommend and if you've lost a mom or a close person, keep the Kleenex handy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy 101

The rules of this award:

List 10 things that make you happy.

Try and do at least one of them today.

Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

Link back to the person that tagged you.

Becky from Love Everyday Life was kind enough to bestow this wonderful award on me.

10 Things that Make me Happy

1. Reading a good book.

2. Sipping on a glass of wine, watching a movie and just relaxing with my husband.

3. Girls night.

4. Watching a child learn, grow and play.

5. Cheesey Lifetime movies.

6. A good hair day.

7. Summer

8. Having my husband make me wonderful food.

9. Spending time with my family.

10. Reading blogs and learning more about other people.

Now, 10 bloggers I would like to pass this award to:

1. Blair from Heir to Blair

3. Lisa from Knitting Yarns

5. Marie from BostonBibliophile

8. Stacy fom Stacysbooks

Thanks for always brightening my day ladies!!! ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009


If you want one of the books that I am giving away, let me know which book you want and leave your email. The first person to tell me which book they want and leaves their email addy will get it. :)


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tis the Season and All...

I am taking a page from stacybuckeye and in the honor of the season I am giving away 5 books to the first 5 people who respond. They are all slightly used and some have writing in them, but everyone loves a good used book, right?

Here are the 5 lucky books looking for a new home. If you want one of the books, just leave a comment and an email that I can get ahold of you at to get your address.

1. The Last Juror - John Grisham - Fairy Footprints

2. Kiss the Girls - James Patterson

3. Ceremony - Leslie Marmon Silko Lisa

4. Babyville - Jane Green - amber tidd murphy

5. Dancing Girls - Margaret Atwood - amanda18228

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December's Group Read is...

The Awakening by Kate Chopin!! I just got this from the library last week and it is next on my list after I finish the tear inducing Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble.

From the Book Jacket: Edna Pontellier is once again spending the summer with her husband and children at Grande Isle, a resort for wealthy New Orleans families. But this summer is very different for Mrs. Pontellier.
The sultry nights, the hypnotic, gentle lapping of the waves on the beach, the intoxicating scent of the breezes off the Gulf -- these all combine to bring strength to Edna's inner self, the person inside who she has too long stifled for her husband, family, and society.
Slowly, through that fateful summer, Edna changes. Her husband doesn't understand why more and more his wife is letting her housemaking duties slip and is increasingly rebellious. Edna herself is unable to fully explain what is happening to her, but she knows that she can no longer be untrue to herself. Description: This story of a woman's struggle with oppressive social structures received much public contempt at its first release; put aside because of initial controversy, the novel gained popularity in the 1960s, some six decades after its first publication, and has since remained a favorite of many readers. Chopin's depiction of a married woman, bound to her family and with no way to assert a fulfilling life of her own, has become a foundation for feminism and a classic account of gender crises in the late Victorian era.

Looks good.. cannot wait to start!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pride & Prejudice: The Last Installment


Now that November is concluding in a short few hours, I figured I'd give our group read one more plug. :) So here are a few questions for you on this dreary back to work Monday.

1. Did you enjoy P & P? I liked it. It was what I was expecting. A slow read with lots of hidden clues.

2. Are you planning on reading any other books by Jane Austen? I still want to try to read all of her stuff. I think the next one I want to tackle is Sense & Sensibility but who knows. I think I won't venture down the Austen path again until 2010.

3. Who was your favorite character and why? I had a few favorites. I liked Elizabeth as the narrator but she was kind of irritating at times to be a hands down favorite. I liked Jane for her seeing the good in people and her kind attitude. I liked Mrs. Gardiner for her good humor and awesome advice giving. She was a very good mother figure for the Bennet girls, as opposed to their own dim-witted mother.

4. What character did you like the least? Why? I did not care for Lady Catherine for obvious reasons. The woman was INSUFFERABLE. UGH. I probably would have have been as nice as Elizabeth was to her. I did not like Mrs. Bennet or Lydia becaus they were just plain stupid. I did not like Miss Bingley because she was a bitch.

5. Would you fall for Mr. Darcy? I would have given up after he first insulted me. However, that brings up the whole first impressions concept that Lisa and I believe Becky mentioned in their guest posts. Look what Elizabeth would have missed out on if she would have gone on her first impression. Look what Mr. Darcy would have missed out on. However, he was so incredibly rude, he would have to work very hard to win my heart and unless there was a shortage of men around, he would not get a second chance!

Answer these in the comments or on your own blog, I am interested to hear what others have to say. If you have any other questions you'd like to share, leave them in the comments! I love to talk about books. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Review: Keeping the Moon

I opened up the other Sarah Dessen book I grabbed from the library last week and polished it off this afternoon. Keeping the Moon is the story of Colie and how she “becomes.”

Colie is a recently thin 15 year old whose mother is Kiki Sparks, fitness guru. Colie’s mom wasn’t always Kiki, the fitness guru. She used to be fat Katherine. However, after many dead-end jobs and multiple moves across the country she scored a job at Lady Fitness, and a new woman was born.

The book begins with Colie being sent to live at her Aunt Mira’s for the summer so her mom could promote her fitness products in Europe. Colie is sure her summer will be miserable.

However, she meets Isabel, Morgan, Norman and her Aunt Mira who change her in more ways than she ever thought possible. Even with her 45 and a half pound weight loss, Colie was still seeing her fat self in the mirror. She kept hearing people calling her thunder thighs, lard ass and thought she was still the fat clumsy girl. These new friends help push her to be more confident and to believe in herself.

This was a quick read and had a good message about believing in yourself. Awessome for a YA read. Many small stories wrapped into the bigger message of having faith in yourself. The well-developed characters make the book.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: This Lullaby

This is my first book by Sarah Dessen who has been highly recommended via various blogs and friends facebook statuses.. Great way to find a new read, eh? I was not disappointed.

Remy is a recently graduated high school senior who is counting down the days of her summer break until she heads across country to attend Stanford and leaves her messed up childhood behind. Her mother, famous romance author, Barbara Starr is marrying for the 5th time, 4th legally recognized, and the planning has fallen upon Remy, again. Her brother Chris has found a girlfriend who has changed him and shaped him into an unrecognizable upstanding citizen.

Remy refers to herself as a bitter bitch who doesn’t believe in love. She uses and loses guys. She gives gifts that have no personal meaning and avoids making things messy.

Remy’s world is rocked when she meets Dexter. He shakes up her entire summer break plans and questions her feelings on love. She breaks all of her rules for him and loses some of her tough girl cred. Then in a moment of panic she loses Dexter and moves on.

Or so she thinks. Dexter wants to attempt “being friends” and Remy tries to resist but he says all hurting will be on his side if it doesn’t work. Well does anyone see this ending well? It doesn’t. Especially when Remy starts dating ‘Perfect Paul,’ who likes Dexter’s rival band.

At the end of the summer, Remy heads off to Stanford. Does she leave clean and clear or are there still loose ends? Guess you will have to read this quick and awesome read by Sarah Dessen. ;)

Friday, November 27, 2009


The Poll is up for the December Group Read. It will be open until 11:59 on November 30th. I will announce the winner Tuesday, December 1st.

If you read Pride & Prejudice and want any more discussion questions, or want to post a review at your site that would be great. If anyone wants to do another guest post for it, I am up for that as well.

Let me know what you want, and I can make another post of discussion questions for P & P.

Happy Black Friday!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice day with their family and friends. I urge you to make sure you appreciate every moment you have with them and to make sure they know they are loved. If you think, "Oh I'll ask them later," or "I'll call her later," please don't. Just do it. Forever is very short.

Here is the recipe for the Blondie's that I made for my aunt's house today:

1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white choclate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8x8 inch pan. Combine butter and milk in large saucepan. Place over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat, add the brown sugar and egg. Stir until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

I usually let them cool overnight (covered) and then cut them. I made two batches for my Thanksgiving crowd, but usually I only make one batch for a dish to pass. They are EXCELLENT if I do say so myself. Once I pop I need to walk away or I will eat them all. You can substitute the white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips for walnuts or not use as much. I have a sweet tooth. :P

What did you make for Thanksgiving??

Have a great day!!!!!!!

Dont't forget to vote for a book for the December group read.. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen

The Back Cover: Since its immediate success in 1813 Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work "her darling child" and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print." The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy. is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen's radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

I found this book to be immensely entertaining, but a little slow going at some parts. I was intrigued by the very first sentence, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in posession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Because my thought was, are you serious???? Because I would think it the opposite, stay away from my money bizaaatch. :) But that might just be me.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy do NOT start out on the right foot, when she overhears him pretty much calling her ugly. However, they find that they are each others equal in terms of wit and humor. However, a lot of pride and a whole lot of prejudice keep them from understanding each other and acknowledging their true feelings for a good too many pages, where as the reader, I just wanted them to smell the roses already.

I did find parts of the book very predictable and found it very unbelievable how COMPLETELY crazy the two Bennet daughters were and how sensible and mature the other two were. Also not understanding how the father could even stand the mother.

Basically, Elizabeth and Darcy spend a lot of time dancing around each other with their words, misunderstanding others intentions and playing around with the information they are given. However, Darcy does grow up and change, mostly from Elizabeth's complete analysis of his shortcomings.

I guess it is fair to say that I liked the sparring and the one liners they would throw out at each other and at other dimwitted people, but the book went a little to slow and a little too predictable. I guess I had higher expectations.

What did you think of Pride & Prejudice? Have you seen the movie? What other Jane Austen book should I next tackle?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A little squee of excitement..

I was looking through my stats about who comes to the blog and from where (yes you anonymous stalkers) and saw someone and gotten here via a link and I was like hmmm what is that, so I in my stalkerish habits clicked to see what it was.

What it just so happened to be is an article that mentioned my blog and linked to a post that I had written at the end of October about reading goals and how I was not going to fulfill mine this year.

In my giddiness of someone actually READING and then mentioning it in an article made me have to share and be a little attention whorish. :)

And in the spirit of giving, I want to attention whore Lisa's Beef Stew. My husband made it for us on Sunday and it was fabulous! ;)

So now, dear readers attention whore away in the comments (may it be about yourself, personal or a great blogging moment) or if you are feeling giving attention whore someone elses' blog. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

December Blogger Book Club suggestions..

I have enjoyed reading our first to selections I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass and (still finishing) Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first is probably not a book I would have picked to read on my own and the second is one I wanted to discuss with others. :)

So any suggestions for December? Is there a holiday themed book you've always wanted to read? Another classic that is itchy to be read? Or a newer book you've wanted to tackle?

Leave suggestions in the comments until Thursday afternoon and on Friday I will put up a poll for Decembers group read with the winner decided by Monday evening and announced Tuesday, December 1st.

Get suggesting.. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2,191 days since my husband ...

Could claim victory over my BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO BUCKS!!!! 6 YEARS OF VICTORY! I am definitely enjoying smelling the roses as the OUT RIGHT BIG TEN CHAMPIONS!!!

THE GAME photo 2009 enjoying the game in our living room

THE game photo 2008 tailgating in Columbus

THE game photo 2007 at The Big House (yes my husband still rocks the Biakabutuka jersey)

THE game photo 2006 tailgating in Columbus
There sadly is not a 2005 photo because I watched it with my dad and he was at MSU tailgating for the MSU / Penn State game

Our first THE game photo 2004

We started dating in 2003 but I was still away at school so we did not watch the 2003 game together. Also known as the last time MEEEECHIGAN beat Ohio State.

GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a fabulous rest of the weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blogger Book Club: Check in!

How is everyone doing on reading Pride & Prejudice?? I am really loving it. It's been much easier to get into than I had thought back when I first attempted it back in July.

I really enjoyed the verbal sparring between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. It makes me feel like I'm in a courtroom drama with the jarring back and forth. It always intrigues me with the way the written language can be twisted and how far it has come since the 1800s when Jane Austen wrote her novels.

I must confess that so far, I have NOT figured out what the hoopla is about how some people 'want to find their own Mr. Darcy." So far, he seems like any other random cocky guy. So you want a guy? Is that what women are saying? I also was QUITE disappointed in how Elizabeth so readily listened to what Wickham had to say about Darcy. I mean, I thought she was smarted than that. Apparently, not.

I did mark one quote that I will share.. "Stupid men, are the only ones worth knowing, after all." Hah.. That made my night when I came across it.

Now for a discussion question..

Two central characters in Austen have her own first name.In Emma: Jane Fairfax is a decorous, talented, beautiful woman.In Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennet is everything lovely.What do you make of that? Taken from

Personally, I think Jane is a common name; and while it is interesting that her Jane's were beautiful/loved/talented I don't think it was done PURELY out of selfish reasons. However, it is obvious why Lydia wasn't a Jane nor Mrs. Bennet a Jane, ya know? I think Jane Austen wrote what she knew and she wrote to escape. She had to have been a huge people watcher and a private person and through her novels she got to live.

What are your thoughts on Pride & Prejudice? Have a quote you'd like to share? A question? Let's get a discussion going!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free (idea!) Food Thursday.. :)

Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac (adapted from Rachael Ray)

· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
· 4 to 6 chicken breasts (I used chicken breasts that had been marinating in zesty Italian dressing)
· 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
· 1 large onion, chopped
· 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
· 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated (I used garlic powder)
· 1 tablespoon paprika
· black pepper
· 2 cups chicken broth
· ½ cup or less of hot sauce ( 1/2 was too much and we LOVE spice, i'd say just a little less than a 1/2 cup)
· 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
· 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
· 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
· 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
· 2 scallions, root ends removed and thinly sliced


Put pot on for pasta and then cook pasta until al dente. Then drain and wait to put into the chili mixture.

Cut chicken little bite size pieces.

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chicken bits and brown them, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the veggies, stirring frequently, until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the hot sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer the chili for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together and thicken it slightly.

Pour pasta into chili. Mix together and then pour everything into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and place it under the broiler until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden brown. (2 to 3 minutes)

Sprinkle the chopped scallions over top! You can serve it with sour cream as well..

the finished product.. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking ahead -- a 2010 reading goal

I like to make lists and goals and books are not immune to this liking of mine. I am always wanting to branch out and try new things and books are an area where I really need to think and research when I am trying to branch out. I am someone who if they are interested in an author or series will read the entire thing as fast as possible and then need to find something else to help my 'fix.' I have an addictive personality, what can I say? :)

I have started to think about 2010 and what kind of goals I want to make reading wise. The last two years I have had the goal of reading 100 books. Which I know is doable, but work, the Internet, and reading more classics have come between me and reaching that goal. Last year, I also decided to an A-Z challenge, where you read 26 books starting with a different alphabet letter and 26 books by authors whose name begins with the different alphabet letters. Needless to say, I will not be realizing that goal this year unless I read a book a day pretty much between now and December 31st. I am okay with that because I have read a lot of different books this year, which was my main goal. I will also challenge myself to the A-Z challenge for 2010.

MOVING ON.. THE REAL reason for this blog post (yes I sidetrack easily).. My personal challenge to myself is to read books that have been made into movies that I want to see, but that I have wanted to read the book first. I am one of those people who ALWAYS wants to read the book first and THEN watch the movie. If I happen to know it is a book. However, sometimes I just want to watch the movie and sometimes I read the book and DO NOT want to watch it..

So here is a starting point of books that I want to read in 2010, and then watch the movie:

Gone With the Wind
Sense & Sensibility
Great Expectations
The Bridges of Madison County
The Cider House Rules
High Fidelity
The Scarlet Letter
The Jane Austen Book Club
Because of Winn-Dixie
White Oleander
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader

Anyone else want to take on this challenge? What books/movies do you want to read/watch in 2010?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - Pride & Prejudice

TEASER TUESDAYS (hosted by Miz B) asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!
My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and
caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficent to
make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less
difficult to develop.

~ pg. 3, "Pride & Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Leave a teaser from your current read in the comments or post a teaser on your blog. Make sure you leave the author as well so others can check out the book if they are so interested. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mannerisms & Subtle Signs

Hi friends! It’s Becky from Love Everyday Life. Our faithful blogger has been through a lot lately so I hope she is taking it easy and knows that our thoughts are with her (as are our virtual hugs).

Let me introduce myself. I’m a twenty-something outside of Washington, D.C. and I love my husband, books, OPI nail polish, and anything related to fall. But I have to confess. It’s almost halfway through November and I haven’t started the book we’re all reading yet.

I am really excited to read Pride and Prejudice – I’ve never read a book by Jane Austen before (don’t get me started on how I feel like my English degree doesn’t count because of that), and I honestly don’t know if Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth get together, but I’m sure it’ll be a heck of a journey to get to that point.

I found an article recently about Jane Austen – one of my bosses (a fellow English major) sent it to me, and it’s awesome. (Check it out here). Most of the article is about a new exhibit featuring Jane Austen, but the beginning is what caught my attention. It spoke of Jane Austen in a role we don’t necessarily see her in – that of a doting aunt. The exhibit showcases (among other things) a letter to her eight-year old niece Cassy, with everything spelled backwards. For instance, the beginning of the letter reads, “Ym raed Yssac,” and ends with, “Ruoy Etanoitceffa Tnua, Enaj Netsua.” (For those of you who haven’t had caffeine today that translates to “my dear Cassy” and “your affectionate aunt, Jane Austen.”)

The article described Austen as “precocious,” but mysterious enough where it’s hard to imagine what she was actually like. “You have to read her the way her most sentient characters read their companions, attending to subtle signs, mannerisms and language.”

Do you think it’s hard to separate an author from what he or she writes? Do you think they’re telling a story from their life at all (even if it’s a novel)? Sometimes I have problems separating celebrities from their roles in TV or a movie, but I don’t seem to have as much trouble with authors. Maybe because it’s easier to put down a book and go about my day as opposed to reading a recap of a TV episode online and seeing all the comments people made about it.

However, Jane Austen never married, and I don’t know much about her love life, but I don’t think she had very much of one. If that was the case, are you impressed with her ability to pick up on subtle signs and mannerisms between men and women, or do you think she used that as an excuse to sit back and watch? Have you noticed any subtle mannerisms in Pride and Prejudice? Do you wish you could write an entire letter backwards? Or are you like me and haven’t started the book yet?

(Thank you Becky for your very insightful blog post... NOW GET READING!!! ;) .. Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers over some of the most difficult times I've had recently..)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Commencement by j. courtney sullivan

Celia, Bree, April and Sally meet when they are all assigned the same dorm at Smith's College. Smith is an all women's college and they've all gotten there through different paths. Celia grew up going to Catholic school who has two well educated parents and a mother is a vp for a major markeing firm. Bree is from the south and has a very traditional family, and a mother and a grandmother who had both gone to Smith. April was raised by a single mother and is a hardcore feminist. Wanting to be involved in anything and everything that helps women. Sally's mother recently passed away and she is grappling at life without her.

The book jumps perspective from one Smithie to the next, and the reader is allowed to see how different and alike all of the women are. How Bree has a relationship with a woman, yet claims not to be a lesbian. How the other girls made out with or 'above the jeans' action with other women and do not think they are lesbians.

It's really a fast read and captures soo much of the college expereince and of growing up in your twenties in modern times. The book follows the girls after graduation and to one of the girls weddings where there is an AWFUL fight. It takes the next year with some REALLY life changing events to bring them all back together again.

I really enjoyed the book and the ONLY thing that upset me, was the ending. It was a fitting ending, but it defintely could have had ONE more chapter to tell you 'what happens now.' I hate when books do that. But that just means they are that good, when you want to keep reading. It certainly captures the intensity of college friendships that only those who are thrust into such close quarters with strangers can understand. It also captures the COMPLEX relationships, first loves, heart break, dissapointment, pain and grief that seem to be all encompassing as you find your niche in the world.

Feminism is talked about quite often. I would be surprised if you went through the book and saw it mentioned every 5 pages. The book talks about different types of feminism and how each girl encompasses their own brand of feminism and how each deal with the multitude of choices they have.

Definitely reccomend to women, especially in their 20's and 30's.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pride & Prejudice: First Impressions

Hello dear readers – it’s Lisa from Lisa’s Yarns! I’m helping out this week since pinkflipflop certainly has a lot on her mind with the passing of yet another grandparent. L It’s times like this that I wish I could hug a person through her computer.

Have you started reading “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen? I have actually read this book before, but I think it was 4-5 years ago, so I feel like I am reading it for the first time all over again.

Did you know that a previous version of this book was entitled “First Impressions”? Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet’s first impression of each other plays a major role in this book. The first night Elizabeth Bennet met Mr. Darcy, she overheard him making this comment about her:

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men…” (p. 14)

Ouch. That’s a pretty rough assessment and must have been hard for Elizabeth to hear. It’s no wonder that she decided at that moment that Mr. Darcy was not someone she would want to associate with.

But sometimes first impressions can be wrong. Will Elizabeth’s impression of Mr. Darcy? I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Have you ever judged a person based on a first impression and found yourself to be completely wrong?

(Thank you Lisa!! Be sure to check out her blog, but I think most of you already do! )

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two of my favorite things - Travel and Wine

This was originally written in August of 2008, right after the hub and I had gone to Traverse City for our one year anniversary. I’ve edited some things.

The hub and I went up to the Leelanau Peninsula for our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! It was a good time. We drove up Saturday morning and enjoyed the BEAUITFUL weather of the day. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect northern Michigan day. We stopped at 4 different wineries and did wine tasting. My favorite was Shadylanes, where we started. They had a really good chardonnay that I liked, and we bought a bottle. We also got some kind of a Riesling because when you bought a bottle of chardonnay you could get that one for 4 bucks. :) (Yes, we may like our wine, but we are also cheap.) They also had a really good smoked salmon cheese spread we got with our wine. Yum.
At Shady Lane's

We also went to Chateau Leelanau, which was all right. We got a bottle of wine there as well but I can't seem to remember the name/kind. Our other stops were at Good Arbor and at the Cherry Republic winery. Ahh Cherry Republic was my second fave. All different kinds of cherry flavored wine! We bought a bottle called cherry red which was like 80 percent merlot and 20 percent cherry. It was soooo good and reminded me of a bottle of wine we had in Jamaica.

For lunch we stopped in Leland at Fishtown and had some yummy fish. Then we walked around for awhile and enjoyed the big boats and stuff. We had a hotel in Arcadia on Lake Michigan and our big plan was to watch the sunset on the lake. Well, we got down there at like 7:15 with our wine to drink, chairs and cameras and Mother Nature had a different plan. It started pouring on us a half hour before sunset! So that sucked, but we just ran back to our room and headed to the bar next door called The Big Apple to eat dinner. They had super yummy pizza. Then we hurred back to watch Phelps win Gold.

on the beach with our wine

after we got caught in the rain

Sunday we started the drive home taking scenic paths. We stopped in Bear Lake hoping to eat at a cafe there but it was closed but they had a beautiful lake to gaze at. We also stumbled upon a pretty cool campground we might want to check out sometime. We ate lunch in Mesick at Jeri's Family Restaurant, which was the PERFECT diner for hub so all was good with him. I think I forgot to mention I had us off roadin’ on a dirt road thru a HUGE hilly area and the hub was sure we were going to get stuck or he was never going to eat again. After that we continued on our way home with a quick stop at A&W for some root beer floats. All in all, a great northern Michigan weekend. :)
as we were driving our random travels home

In other trips to the Traverse City area, I have visited Left Foot Charley’s, Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, L. Mawby and other wineries whose names are escaping me at the moment. L.Mawby has a really cool atmosphere inside, with an excellent cheese spread and crackers and some awesome sparkling wine. Their wine has fun names like; Sex, Us, and Wet to name a few. J Left Foot Charley’s 2007 Red Drive is my favorite and is located in the old State Mental Hospital.

a view in early April from a top a hill on the Grand Traverse Peninsula outside a winery

Basically, Traverse City and wine go hand in hand. Traverse City alone, is a beautiful area to visit with lots of activities and if you do not check out a winery when you are there you are missing out!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grandma June

I don't think anything I can say can do my grandma justice but I am going to try. She and I are a lot alike and yet so very different. We both love history and politcs but fall on very far opposites of the political spectrum. As my one uncle said the other day, "Fox News is going to go bankrupt." They definitely lost out on one of their number one viewers. If there wasn't golf on the tv, there was Fox News. And she wasn't a quiet Fox News watcher, no she was always vocally agreeing or disagree with whatever was being said. She did not keep her opinion unknown. I inherited that from her. I however, did not inherit the tact and kindness she would use when dealing with people.

Grandpa, my bro and my Gram after a bball game

However, tact and kindness did NOT entire into the political spectrum. There she let her naughty words fly. Speaking of naughty words, she taught more than a couple of her 12 grandchildren some pretty choice words. Actually, in her casket with her is a notecard with a message from my cousin with some of the very words my grandma taught her. There were a few cousins who had to have their mouths washed out after spending time with grandma, she certainly liked her 4 letter words. Nothing to bad, but nothing a school teacher would want to hear, or a parent. :) I myself at age three, may have said to my grandfather as he and she were driving me to the hospital to meet my new brother, "Damnit Walt. You've done it now. You've missed the turn!"

at my wedding in 2007

She was always reading. ALWAYS. I got my love of books from that sweet spunky lady. She was a fan of romance novels, porn for ladies as I call it. She also read books about history and tried to dable into literature. She turned up her nose when I let her borrow Ragtime, but tried to make me feel better by saying my uncle the English teacher said it was very good. I have so many books that I've gotten from her, that I don't think I will ever find the time to read them all. We would switch our books back and forth and she introduced me to an awesome used bookstore. I will miss her opinion and her awesome stash of books to borrow. After moving into the new apartment she shared with grandpa, she was ALWAYS on the couch. She slept there at nights because the bed wasn't comfy and she always was laying there snuggled under blankets her nose buried in a book.

my aunt, my mom and gram at her 80th bday party

She'd also always order my grandpa around to do things for her. I found it so adorable that he could never say no to my grandma. Whatever she wanted, he gave it to her. And honestly, the relationship my grandparents share was very special. She was his JuneBug and he spoiled her rotten. Taking her to the casino, buying her scratch offs, running to the store to get her things, driving her around... He sometimes acted like he was bothered by it, but he never once denied her things.

in Chicago for my cousins wedding shower

My grandma never really liked to drive and I am one of the very few grandchildren that experienced riding in the car with her. I have a memory of sitting in the backseat with the windows down and it seemed like we were FLYING through town. She also once geeked herself up to drive 2 miles down the road to watch me run in a junior high track meet. She got the car out of the garage and drove over to the track, only to find out that I had gone home from school early. So she had to jump back in the car and drive back home. I think that was her last driving adventure.

at my wedding

My grandma was ALWAYS there. She came to my school for Grandparent's Day, band concerts, softball games, basketball games, high school graduation, my wedding and my college graduation. I have her on video at a bball game YELLING at the refs. Oh yeah, that was my grandma she loved watching us play sports and was quite the vocal supporter. She and grandpa wouldn't even sit next to each other at my brother's varsity basketball games. I am so glad she could watch me graduate from college. She was so proud of me and my other cousins.

they left graduation right after i walked across, so i brought my cap and gown to christmas to get photos :)

Another one of my fond memories from my childhood is going to work with my grandma. She worked at an elementary in the library and she also played the piano for the kids. She taught me "This Land is My land," "America the Beautiful," and many other songs. She was very patriotic and she loved to play the piano. I am sad to say her lessons she gave me failed, the only song I can play is "Peter Piper."

Grandma and Honest Abe

I cannot even begin to express how sad I am that I can no longer call my gram and talk to her about my day or tell her my new exciting news whatever that may be. She was always ready with stories of the random old people she encountered or whatever her food cravings of the moment were. I'm going to miss watching her do her sway side to side as she walked and I will miss going shopping with her. I can't believe both my grandma's aren't there for me to call and chat with. I used to always call both of them on my way to and from work and school. I don't think I am capable of deleting eitheof them from my phonebook. I loved my grandmas and I know they loved me.

So Grandma June, I know I didn't capture nearly enough of how much I love and will miss you. How much I enjoyed you, laughed with you and debated. But I will always keep you dear to my heart. I'm so very sorry I could never have a child for you to meet. I hope I can keep your memories near and you always in my heart. I love you. Oh and your hair is beautiful. In the famous words of my brother... "Say your prayers butthead!"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

Hello all! Life has been crazy the last few weeks and I really don’t think/feel up to writing all that much. However, I don’t want to let my blog just ‘sit.’ I have some posts for Mon-Wed, but was looking for someone/s who would want to blog for me Thursday, Friday and next Monday? Anyone up for it?

Especially if you are/have read Pride & Prejudice and want to throw something into that discussion, or any other book topics. Or heck, whatever you want to write about is fine with me! Or if you just want to promote something or any other type thing. Anything would be appreciated and loved.

If you would like to help me out, just leave me a message here with your email and I will get back with you. Thank you.

And also, thank you for all your comments about my grandfather and grandma. It has been a week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


My mom's mom, my wonderful wonderful grandma passed away this afternoon.

I am completely spent.

For those keeping track at home, yes I have lost 3 grandparents in 3 months. And 2 in 6 days. Yes, I am spent.

I will go back to drinking my beer, nursing this massive headache, crying and pretending that things will be okay. Because frankly some of the best moments of my childhood left today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recent book happenings..

This summer I went through a phase where I found some new books via various peoples book blogs and put them on hold at the library. I JUST got one the other day and it is soo good I am addicted like crack. Like, if I didn't feel like I would be soo lost if I didn't catch up on blogs right now, I would be reading it. It is called Commencement and written by J. Courtney Sullivan. So far so good. I'd recommend it on the first 40 pages. :)

I also stopped into Target tonight to grab some deodorant and decided if I could find a book between 5-8 dollars that I really wanted to read I would pick one up. I found Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I watched all of Season 2 of True Blood on HBO in September when I was sick and I really wanted to check out the Sookie Stackhouse Series. I read 3 pages while waiting for the hub to try on a tux for the wedding he is in this weekend. It is a nice fun light reading style which is what I need in my life.

I have not started Pride & Prejudice yet, I am going to try to finish Commencement by Sunday (I only get it for three weeks) and start up reading P&P. If I don't finish it by Sunday, either way I am starting P&P!

I have had a busy week and another busy weekend. Tomorrow I am back at work and realized I didn't stop to pick up some pictures I need to do our project I wanted tomorrow, so basically my entire lesson plan for tomorrow and Friday need to be arranged, and I am wondering how the sub did and who it was. I also am going to have parents in the room the next two days so my plan of, let's just go to the gym for 20 minutes tomorrow, probably shouldn't happen. Depends on the weather, if it is raining, we are so going to run off some steam in the gym! After work, I am going to visit my grandma (mom's mom) in the hospital because she is not doing well at all. I really CANNOT handle losing another grandparent this year so I am hoping she can pull out of this. This weekend we have wedding rehearsal and wedding. The cold weather is not making me excited, however it should be around 50ish this weekend. Yay..

Now I must catch up on all my blogs..

Have you bought/found any new books recently?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November's Group Read is..

....Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen! I am excited to read this. I started reading it this summer when my grandma was in Ohio. Then left the book in Ohio and after I got it back, never finished. So I will have to restart from the beginning. But I am looking forward to talking about this one with everyone!!

Here is the review from :

Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible,
incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an
insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she's a completely hip character, who
if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her
exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. The point is, you
spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth
and Mr. Darcy hook up?

Here is some info on Jane Austen from :

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and
their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less
than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period.
When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters,
moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers,
occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she
began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the
anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice
in 1813, to modestly good reviews.Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty
character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know
very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly
retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored
short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified.
Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final
novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel,
Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where
she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger
Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to
the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.Jane
Austen's delightful, carefully wrought novels of manners remain surprisingly
relevant, nearly 200 years after they were first published. Her novels—Pride and
Prejudice and Emma among them—are those rare books that offer us a glimpse at
the mores of a specific period while addressing the complexities of love, honor,
and responsibility that still intrigue us today.

Happy Reading!!! I am off to Ohio for the funeral and will be back late tomorrow...

Monday, November 2, 2009

vote vote vote..

Just a friendly reminder to vote in our poll to decide if what we read.. it is currently tied. 2 votes for Jane Eyre and 2 votes for Pride &Prejudice.. voting ends in a couple hours.. iwill hopefully post the winner in the morning, unless we have to extend it!

Review: I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass

I See you Everywhere is the second novel by Julia Glass. It was also the first novel we chose to read as a group. It took me a really long time to read it, but not for lack of being interesting.

This book is about two sisters, Louisa and Clem. Very different, but both have a feistiness in them. Louisa seems to always be jealous of Clem and always looking for her approval, even though Louisa is the oldest. Clem is wild. She does not do anything half-hearted. She is an all in kind of girl, this gets her a lot of adventure and a lot of injuries.

The book switches back and forth between time periods and narrators and sometimes it does take some thought to remember what the timeline is and who is narrating. Towards the end, there are some bombshells of cancer and suicide. Though, the suicide in retrospect is not unexpected and if earlier events were looked back at, there is a clear history of instability.

While definitely not a happy book, it is a very interesting book about some whacked out family dynamics.

Don’t forget to vote for November’s group read!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I posted the poll on the left about picking a book for the November Group Read. The poll ends around 11pm on November 2nd. Choices are Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility. I want to read all three, so I'm excited to see the winner!

My grandpa passed away last night. He is the husband of the grandma I lost this summer. He had come to live with my parents and has suffered through a lot of different health problems in the last 3 months. This seems super surreal since I still haven't wrapped my mind around my grandma's death. I feel really bad for my dad. He has had so much on his plate since July and has lost two parents. The thought of losing either of my parents, especially both in 3 months makes me really sad and have no idea how I'd deal with that. But I also have a very different relationship with my parents than he did with his. Regardless, it still sucks.

I am still not freaking done with I See You Everywhere. But since today IS THE LAST DAY OF October. My goal is to finish it already today. I have so slacked on reading since school started and I am not happy about it. I have read a lot of children's books and a lot of blogs, but I need to focus on my books. I am not going to finish any of my 2009 reading goals and that stinks.

Donuts are a great breakfast on Halloween.

I was going to have a costume for tonight but as the week went on I just am not feeling it. I can barely feel going out to the bar even though I want too. I am going to go pass out candy at my parents house.

Happy Halloween!!!

Who else hasn't/won't finish their reading goals for the year? Who was smart enough not to make any? Who HAS accomplished them? (You suck. Kidding.) Anyone read either three of the above books and can give some insight?

Have a great weekend!!