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