Friday, December 30, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 4

Wow, if ever a book made you feel, this is it.  And how many feelings.  Rage, anger, disgust, disbelief, dread, to name a few.

I had my reservations with many slow spots and a few too many descriptions (that's where they could have cut it down, Kelly!) but the story, was fabulous.  Wow.

If you haven't read it; do it.

Things that stood out..

When the General stood up for Andras.  That General is the guy I would want to be able to say I was if I had been in that situation.  What a HORRIBLE comment made by the Major.  Sickening.  I cannot understand feeling that a whole group/race of people is below you.  (Unless of course they are U of M fans and then I get that.) Kidding...maybe.  ;)

I just don't understand how Klara would have felt it was safe or that no one would notice she came back? That just didn't seem believable to me at all.  Or how safe and secure they felt until it was too late.  How accepting they were of a lifetime of cruelties because they were Jewish.  I really must have lost the memo on why being Jewish is so bad.  (Are they U of M fans???) Kidding again..  I would have been trying to hightail my tushy out of there, but then again I do understand all that garbage about family and what not, but I kind of think I would look at it as, a I NEED TO SAVE MYSELF moment cuz I am selfish like that.

1. What details in the descriptions of Banhida (pp. 356–63, pp. 392–99), Turka (pp. 486–503), and the transport trains (pp. 558–66) most chillingly capture the cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis? In addition to physical abuse and deprivation, what are the psychological effects of the camps’ rules and the laws imposed on civilian populations?

2. Why does Klara refuse to leave Budapest and go to Palestine (p. 510)? Is her decision the result of her own set of circumstances, or does it reflect the attitudes of other Jews in Hungary and other countries under Nazi control?

3. The narrative tracks the political and military upheavals engulfing Europe as they occur. What do these intermittent reports demonstrate about the failure of both governments and ordinary people to grasp the true objectives of the Nazi regime? How does the author create and sustain a sense of suspense and portending disaster, even for readers familiar with the ultimate course of the war?

4. Andras’s encounters with Mrs. Hász (p. 6) and with Zoltan Novak (pp. 19–20) are the first of many coincidences that determine the future paths of various characters. What other events in the novel are the result of chance or luck? How do the twists and turns of fortune help to create a sense of the extraordinary time in which the novel is set?

5. What did you know about Hungary’s role in World War II before reading The Invisible Bridge? Did the book present information about the United States and its Allies that surprised you? Did it affect your views on Zionism and the Jewish emigration to Palestine? Did it deepen your understanding of the causes and the course of the war? What does the epilogue convey about the postwar period and the links among past, present, and future?

6. “In the end, what astonished him the most was not the vastness of it all—that was impossible to take in, the hundreds of thousands dead from Hungary alone, and the millions from all over Europe—but the excruciating smallness, the pinpoint of which every life was balanced” (p. 558). Does The Invisible Bridge succeed in capturing both the “vastness of it all” and the “excruciating smallness” of war and its impact on individual lives?

Any overall thoughts you'd care to share? A favorite character?

Once again, thank you for participating and making 2011 a lovely reading year!! Can't wait to see what we read in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The flu..

sucks..

Hope to be back and at it soon.. ;(

Good news.. I've caught up on the book and should be finished by Friday ha.

Bad news? You don't even wanna go there..

Hope nobody else had family share their germs with them this holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 3

Hi, everyone! It's Amber from A little pink in the Cornfields, and I’m filling in for Emily today to discuss the third section of The Invisible Bridge.


I have a small confession. When I first agreed to write a guest post for Emily earlier this month, I had no doubt that I would be able to read this book and be ready to discuss the third section. Then the first week rolled by… and I didn’t get any reading done. Then the second week… and by the beginning of this week, I panicked a little. I didn’t want to not be able to follow through with this commitment!

 Luckily, classes ended last week and all I had to do this week was substitute teach two days. The students were watching a movie, so I had lots of time to read! I’m so glad I did, because I began to really get into the book!

 If it wasn’t for that commitment I don’t think I would have read this far in the book. The first part read a little slow for me, and typically when that happens I tend to put the book down and move on to something else. Halfway through The Invisible Bridge I found myself getting extremely attached to Andras and Klara, and their extraordinary relationship, as well as all of the other people in their lives, so I’m glad I didn’t give up on them.


I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t read the reviews of this book on Goodreads, because I’m constantly bracing myself for something that is going to make me cry. So far, I haven’t cried, but I have come close. I’m almost done with the third section and should start the fourth and final section today!

 1. Despite the grim circumstances, Andras and Mendel produce satirical newspapers in the labor camps. What do the excerpts from The Snow Goose (p. 331), The Biting Fly (pp. 360–61), and The Crooked Rail (p. 437) show about the strategies that helped laborers preserve their humanity and their sanity? What other survival techniques do Andras and his fellow laborers develop?

 These newspapers they wrote and illustrated showed that despite the dire situation they were in, they could still find humor in everyday life and knew this was important for their own mental health. I think other survival techniques the laborers developed were writing letters home and looking forward to letters from home. I think after awhile they learned that they would need to keep quiet and work hard if they wanted to be left alone from the generals in charge.


2. General Martón in Bánhida (pp. 399–402), Captain Erdó, and the famous General Vilmos Nagy in Turka all display kindness and compassion. Miklós Klein engages in the tremendously dangerous work of arranging emigrations for fellow Jews (pp. 422–23). What motivates each of them to act as they do?


I think people like Klein were very intuitive and realistic about what is happening and what could happen while others around them were trying to be optimistic. I was really surprised during the part General Marton discharged Andras. I was really preparing myself for something bad to happen and was cringing before I needed to. I’m very happy to see that things turned out well for Andras and he was able to go home two weeks early.


3. The Holocaust and other murderous confrontations between ethnic groups can challenge the belief in God. "(Andras) believed in God, yes, the God of his fathers, the one to whom he'd prayed ... but that God, the One, was not One who intervened in the way they needed someone to intervene just then. He had designed the cosmos and thrown its doors open to man, and man had moved in ... The world was their place now" (p. 432). What is your reaction to Andras's point of view? Have you read or heard explanations of why terrible events come to pass that more closely reflect your personal beliefs?


I think it would be very hard to be in Andras’ shoes and not feel this way, to not question your belief in God and his existence. I think his reaction is very human and should be expected. As for why I think terrible things happen, well, my explanation is pretty religious. I don’t tend to get very religious on the Internet, but it is my answer. There’s evil in the world simply because of the fall of Adam and Eve. It is very difficult to say what you would think or feel in a situation like this, it is very unfathomable and hard to comprehend. I would like to say that I would keep my faith, but I don’t know if that is true.


4. In Budapest, the Lévi and Hász families sustain themselves with small pleasures, daily tasks at home and, in the case of the men, working at the few jobs still available to Jews (pp. 352–55, pp. 366–77, pp. 405–10). Are they driven by practical or emotional needs, or both? Does the attempt to maintain ordinary life represent hope and courage, or a tragic failure to recognize the ever-encroaching danger? What impact do the deprivations and degradations imposed by the Germans have on the relationship between the families? Which characters are the least able or willing to accept the threats to their homeland and their culture?


I think both families are trying to stay as optimistic as possible and enjoy the little they have left. I think in the back of their mind they know it is going to get a lot worse, but are unsure what to do about it – if anything at all! I think the attempt to maintain ordinary life is a natural defense mechanism and survival tactic. I think they knew that more danger was approaching, but how could they leave? I thought many times during these parts that if I were in their shoes, I would just leave! Go to America or somewhere far away from Europe – but, it’s not that simple. I think the depravations and degradations are absolutely driving an even wider wedge between two families that were already very different and split down the middle in terms of class and privilege.


5. What are you thoughts from section three?


During this section the book really began to pick up for me. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the Levi and Hasz families – as painful as that might be. I also began to really question my choice in reading another book about the Holocaust this year. I have read so many, and although I enjoy learning more about WWII, it is heavy and hard to read at times.

Thank you so much Amber! Next week we will finish up on The Invisible Bridge.

Our book for January is going to be State of Wonder by Ann Patchett and I do not have it in my posession yet, but will tell you that we are going to discuss the first half on January 13th and the second half/whole book on January 27th.  Will let you know more exact details when the book is in front of me! ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A day in the life of Nora..

Happy Tuesday! Today Nora is sharing her day with us.  Nora writes over at Walking with Nora and hosts Wine & Love on Thursdays. Enjoy!

Hi everyone! It's Nora, from Walking with Nora and today I'm going to take you through an atypical day of my life as a bonus mom: this past Saturday, aka our Christmas with Belle & Jolie.

7:30am- Wake up to the sound of Jolie, the oldests, door opening and closing. Feet scampering down the hall. Toilet flushes. Feet scamper back. Door slams this time. This prompts Belle, the littlest, to wake up and open and close her door a few time, just for fun. I roll over and attempt to sleep for another 30 minutes... stayed up late wrapping presents with Knight and playing Santa. The extra sleep will do me wonders.

8am- It's clear the kids are officially up now, but Knight and I take our time getting up. I look out the window to find a dusting of snow, lazily change out of my pjs into yoga pants and a sweatshirt, even though there isn't much difference between pjs and this outfit, it makes me feel better. Knight and I take turns in our en suite bathroom prepping for the Christmas unwrapping with the girls.

8:30am- Venture out of our room, Jack (my dog) in town and within 20 seconds, both girls have their doors open and are chattering on about how they saw SNOW FALLING THIS MORNING! We choose this moment to tell them we had a special visitor last night- SANTA! In two seconds flat both girls are hovering around the tree, poking and prodding the presents, trying to find out which ones are theirs.

9:15am- All presents are open. There is a mess of paper on the floor. In fact, we have been done with presents for about 15 minutes at this point. Belle and Jolie run back and forth in between their rooms and the tree to put their presents away, and leave others that they want to play with more immediately under the tree and lying around. Belle is already in one of her princess dresses that she received for the day. Jolie has donned her Minnie Mouse PJs. And then they realize they are hungry for breakfast. But they want baths first! You know, so they can put on "stylish" clothes for the day.

10:30am-  Morning baths have been given and after a bit of a fuss, the girls are finally dressed. (Jolie is in that stage where she wants to pick out her own clothes yet she struggles with the concept of outfits, so she requires assistance, even though she doesn't like or want it. Which resulted in mini breakdown). It's amazing to us they have gone this long without food despite numerous offers to eat earlier; I suppose we have Santa to thank for this!

10:45- A brunch of sorts for the girls: yogurt, meat, cheese & crackers (their favorite since they aren't big sandwich eaters), fruit and juice. And finally we are ready to head to Target to pick up goods to donate to the Food Pantry, a new tradition we are starting this year.

11:45- Food pantry items purchased at Target, with the girls asking for some new toys (ah, to be a kid and think that every toy should belong to you!) and then off to the food pantry only to discover they are CLOSED today, so no donating. Knight drops me off on our main street so I can run into my new favorite boutique and pick up a few presents for Christmas, including one he can't see!

12:30- Pit stop back at the house to drop off the presents, food pantry items, and let the girls have some quiet time to play with their toys while Knight catches up on ESPN, we grab a quick lunch and then watch some Man Vs. Food Nation, a show that I'm endlessly fascinated by. Before this, though, the girls snuck into the snow to get their boots and coats all wet and snowy. Then they make pretend snow angels in the house, on our wood floors.

2pm- Quiet time is over, the girls have been snacked, biobreaked, cleaned up their rooms and now it's time to attempt to finsih my Christmas shopping for my family, with the entire family in tow. We weaved in and out of lines at various stores (North Face, JCPenney which is much nicer than I remember it being, Charming Charlies) with the girls being surprisingly awesome at helping pick out clothes for my Gram, and Jolie who spotted some great finds for my mom too (not clothes though).

4pm- We had discussed going out to eat but it's a tad early for dinner and we aren't really in the position to hang out in this area until dinner so we fill up at the inexpensive ($3.03, a steal for this area!) and head to another part of town that we like for dinner. First stop, though? Driving through a local ski resort that has over one million Christmas lights across their grounds. We oohed and ahhed over every.single.light, listened to Christmas music and discussed how Santa delivered packages to us: Through the back patio door, clearly, since we (sadly) don't have  a fireplace. The girls watch "Flight Before Christmas" in the truck as we drive around. proclaiming it's their new favorite movie.

5:30- Arrive at Chili's, Belle and Jolie's vote, for dinner. The inevitable "what should we have" discussion ensues. Several trips to the bathroom, lost crayons, several colored pictures (good thing I remembered the diaper bag), and nearly all of their drinks, dinner is served, and an hour plus later, it's time to leave. We survived with minimal spills, no tears, and kids who ate all their food. I deem this a success.

6:30pm- Pass a sign that says "Live Nativity, Tonight!" and go in search of it. Discover an adorable church we didn't know existed, sit on hay bales, and enjoy the live nativity complete with sheep, goats, and a cow. (Love that the little boys who are there to watch over the sheep threaten to scare each other's sheep if they don't treat them properly. And when that doesn't work? They threaten to let them loose. It was hilarious.) Pet the animals when we are done, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies inside the church and decide to return on Sunday for the Children's Christmas Service.

7:30pm- Home, after a veerrryyy long day. PJs. Teeth. Bed (for the girls). Outside and dinner (for Jack). No protests means the girls are pleasantly and thoroughly exhausted. Knight and I settle in to open Christmas cards and a package we received, put on sweats, watch Bad Teacher, write thank you notes and last minute Christmas cards and decide on bed at the early hour of 10:30pm. I got sucked into SNL and stayed up much later than anticipated.

We had a blast this past Saturday on our first official Christmas together as a family and I think the girls did too. Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into one of my days as a Bonus Mom! It was fun to recap it.

Holy crap! What a busy day! Sounds like a great family day. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Discussion 2 - The Invisible Bridge & January Suggestions!

Happy Friday!

What a friend Andras has in Polaner.  I hope that we all have that one friend out there that no matter what, stands by you, will take care of you when you are sick and just be there.  Also, Andras role as a go between with Paul and Elisabet shows a maturity that not many 22 year olds have these days.  I always think that people in their 20s in the 30s-40s were far 'older, wise and mature' than those in their 20s now.

Oh, and I'm still not caught up but I am getting close! ;) Busy week with conferences, observations, meetings and life! Ahhh...

1. In what ways does Andras’s infatuation with Klara, as well as his hesitations about pursuing her, follow an age-old romantic pattern?

2. Do Klara’s revelations (pp. 214–34) change your opinion of her and the way she has behaved?

3. In Budapest, the Lévi and Hász families sustain themselves with small pleasures, daily tasks at home and, in the case of the men, working at the few jobs still available to Jews. Are they driven by practical or emotional needs, or both? Does the attempt to maintain ordinary life represent hope and courage, or a tragic failure to recognize the ever-encroaching danger?

4. Is Andras's belief that “they wouldn’t deport me…Not for serving the ideals of France” (p. 102), as well as the reactions of Professor Vago and Andras’s father to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia (p. 266) naïve, or do they represent widespread opinions and assumptions?

5. What are your thoughts?

And what would you like to read as a group in January?  You can leave your suggestions in the comments in this thread.  I will put up a poll Monday and you can vote through Thursday when I will announce the January read! Thanks for participating!

And look next week for a wonderful guest post by Amber, who shall give this book a far better discussion thread than I!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Wednesday Confessions...

- I think Elf on the Shelf is a bit freaky looking and have no intentions of him gracing my home.  It seems like work (for me, the parent) and promotes tattling.  I think I will stick with, 'hey behave, because your presents can go back to the store or to other good little boys and girls." Or, Santa has a list and he will know... all without having a freaky little doll in our house.  Plus, tattling? So annoying. 

- I judge the lunches my students bring.  Rice crispy treats, peanut butter crackers and fruit snacks? Not a meal.  Nutrigran bar, chips and cookies? Not a meal.  There are some really good ones.  Apple, pepper slices, half a peanut butter sandwich, milk and sometimes dessert.  Oh and lunchables are so gross looking.  The meat and cheese make me want to puke!

- I have four loads of laundry to fold, a dishwasher to unload and dishes to wash but instead last night I Christmas shopped online, caught up on blogs and facebook.

- I really hope my kids learn their songs for our Winter Program soon because I don't want my off-key, tone deaf voice to be the ones parents hear singing.

- I bought 3 boxes of girl scout cookies and one box stayed in my car.

- Sometimes, err 99 percent of the time, I try to pawn my child off to her father when I smell she has a poopy diaper. ;)

- I sneaked a peek at my amazon wish list to see if anyone bought anything off of it (they did!!!).

- When people call me mama it takes a lot of self-control not to yell swear words at them.  I have a freaking name.

- I'm so brain dead, I forgot the 'really good' confession I had.

- When I read stay-at-home moms say they they are there for ALL of the milestones and with their kid 24/7 and know what they do all day it makes me stabby.  Unless you are a deadbeat parent, you ARE there for all the milestones, you DO know what your kid is doing and who the heck wants to be with anyone 24/7.  But, that might be my insane need for alone time coming through on that last one.  Frankly, the first time you see your kid crawl is the first time your kid crawls.  He/she could have been crawling forever in their crib when you are asleep and you too, could have missed 'the first time.'  I know what my kid does when I'm away from her, because I ask.  Not too hard.  Do I need to see her 24/7 to survive? No.  It's stupid comments like, "I get to be there for ALL milestones," with emphasis added, that make more women feel insecure in their parenting choices. 

- I like being away from my child.  And my husband.

- I wish some of the 'older crowd' never got on facebook.  Or, someone taught them they don't need status updates every day or telling us exactly what they are doing.  Life happens, even if it is not recorded on social media.

- I cannot wait until Christmas break.

What would you like to confess?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A day in the life of Kyria..

Hey all! Today, we hear from Kyria, who shares her life journey over at The Travel Spot. She enjoys traveling (and writing about it!) running and taking some fantastic photos. Thanks Kyria!

Hello, I am Kyria from Travel Spot! For me to explain a “normal” day in my life is hard, since I am not working during the holidays. Since I have the time off, I have been taking advantage of it by visiting with friends and family. The day that I documented, I was staying with my friend in Oakland. She had to work so I spent the day at her house with the cats. I guess some things are always there, such as eating or running, but depending on where I am and what I am doing, the when changes. So here is a day in the life, as normal as it gets right now!

7:30 Wake up, brush teeth, pee, put in contacts, make bed. These are all things that no matter where I am, I do them every day. Even the making of the bed, which I get made fun of for, since I even do it when I am staying in a hotel.

7:34 Make coffee. Another MUST. Well actually the drinking part is the must, but first someone has to make it!

7:40 Empty Dishwasher, tidy up house, drink coffee. I figured since my friend is letting me stay at her house, the least I could do is help with some chores. She probably won’t be able to find anything now, since I also organized her fridge.

8:30 – 9:30 Read blogs, drink coffee. I don’t have breakfast right away on mornings when I don’t have to work. Even when I do have to work, I sometimes take my supplies in with me and have a bowl of cereal or something around 9ish. I like to have coffee first and chill out for a while. This morning I had breakfast at 9:30 and then spent some more time reading blogs and drinking coffee.

10:30 –10:37 Attempt to fix drain. Fail. Another chore I promised to do for my friend is to see if I could get her drain to drain faster. I wasn’t strong enough to get the drain out of the tub though. At 10:38 I give up on drain repairs for the time being.

10:40 –11:45 Decide to go running instead, get ready to run, drive to park, run. It’s a beautiful day in Oakland and I have a great run around Lake Merritt.

11:46 –12:15 Attempt to fix drain again. Success this time! I realized that I did not need to remove the drain. Instead I took out a different part, snaked the line and put it all back together again.

12:30 – 1:00 Tonight I am going to Sacramento, to stay with a different friend and her family for the weekend of the race. I got all my stuff packed and ready. It barely fits though, since I not only bought a pair of boots, but also a few sweaters in the last week (and some tights – 4.99 at Ross!) I stuff it all in the bag anyway.

1:00 – 1:30 Lunch:Spinach and beet salad with goat cheese and a hummus and carrot side dish. Yum.

1:30 – 2:30 A friend of mine asked for help making a button for her blog, so I spent sometime working on that, then from 2:30 – 3:00 I worked on the last of my Christmas cards. I am pretty much finished except for a couple people who I still don’t have the correct address for. I like to get them done early. That way can spent time doing my Christmas shopping. I am almost finished with that too; I just have a few gifts left to buy.

3:00 – 5:00 Spent a little more time tidying up the house and then worked on some pre-scheduled blogs for next week, since I will be staying with my parents, who don’t have Internet or cell service. So if I am not always commenting right away on your blogs that is why! Sorry!

5:00 My friend arrives home from work and we hang out and chat for a while before heading out for some grocery shopping (she has a dinner and a movie date tonight at her house) and then she drops me off at the Oakland BART station,where I take the BART to Walnut Creek to meet my other friend who is driving up to Sacramento tonight.

7:30 - 9:45 I get picked up at the Walnut Creek BART and we drive to Sacramento, with a stop in Vacaville for some sushi and ramen.

10:00 We finally get to the house around 10, and then I spend some time chatting with my friend and her family, who are hosting me for the race. They are like my 2nd family and are going to drop me off at the start line as well as watch me in several places during the race! I am so excited to have spectators to cheer me on!

10:30 Get ready for bed, brush teeth, take out contacts. I try to sleep but I am nervous for Sunday, so it takes me a while to get to sleep. Usually I go to bed pretty early, but tonight my nerves keep me up until about 11:30 when I finally fall asleep.


1) Hanging with the cats 2) Make the bed 3)Brush/Contacts 4) Make Coffee 5) Drink Coffee 6) Empty Dishwasher 7) Make Breakfast 8) Eat Breakfast/Read Blogs 9) Packing 10) Running 11) Fixing the Drain 12) Lunch 13) Snack 14) Christmas Cards 15) BART Schedule

Thanks Emily for having me over! I can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s days!

Thanks Kyria! I find it funny that you always make your bed. I don't even know if I made my bed once in the past year! I also must drink coffee. Which reminds me, I need to pick some up or I will be a sad girl!

What is a must in your day?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Changes for 2012 Book Club...

Change is sometimes daunting, scary or hard.  Sometimes it is rewarding, beneficial and freeing. 

I hope the changes I am planning for next year's book club are of the positive nature.  While, the early months of juggling a child, work and daily life wasn't too much, it has now hit a point where something has to give.  My husband's business is thriving (which is EXCELLENT, so so excellent) but that means lots of late nights.  Which in turn, puts more childcare and house work on me.  Which in turn, makes me super duper tired and wanting to veg on the couch.  Which you would think, would make me read more, however, my brain can't handle words and I get easily distracted.

So, instead of 4 check-in's a month I will only be posting 2 check-in's.  If anyone wants to do an extra check-in on the other odd weeks that is more than fine with me, even if it is sporadic.  So, depending how the dates fall we will discuss the book on the 2nd and 4th Friday's of the month.  I am hoping that will give people even more time to get the books and more time to read / catch up.

Also, some months (I've got my eye on February and April off the top of my head) we may join up with another month and do an extra long month read.  So say we may do Feb/March together and April/May together.  I will let you know when I add the post for the monthly suggestions. 

I am so thankful for the participation and feedback given in the last 2!!! years we have been reading together.  I want to continue the monthly books and our talks, but I know to put forth my best effort and to be fair to those doing the reading, I need to adjust this. 

Thanks for being understanding and for participating!!

Do you like these new changes? Any other thoughts?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Invisible Bridge - Discussion 1

Hola!

I have to admit, that I far from being done with this first section.  Whoops, I apologize.  I was going to finish it up Thursday night, but the migraine from hell entered my life and I thought I was going to die/or had the flu.  It was bad.

Sooooooo...

1. What are your thoughts over the the book so far?
2. What does the opening chapter establish about the cultural and social milieu of prewar Budapest?
3. What do Andras’s reactions to Hasz household reveal about the status of Jews within the larger society?
4. Why do Andras and his friends at the Ecole Speciale tolerate the undercurrent of anti-Semitism at the school even after the verbal attack on Eli Polaner (pp. 39–40) and the spate of vandalism against Jewish students (p. 94)?

Please share any other thoughts or questions you have yourself!

Next week we will cover chapters 15-25!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Call me crazy but..

I'm joining a 2012 reading challenge.  It's okay, I will wait while you laugh and point out that I haven't posted a book review in a super duper long time.  It's cool.  I am joining up with Adam, in hopes I can spend more time reading and less time on the internet!



The jist, is pick 12 books to read that have been on your TBR list for over a year and also choose 2 alternates in case you really cannot finish one.  We all know I own faaaar too many books and I really need to stop getting over due notices from the library.  So in no particular order, here are the books I plan on reading for the challange in 2012.


1. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
2. Because of Winn Dixie - Kate DiCamillo
3. A Theory of Relativity - Jacquelyn Mitchard
4. Something Blue - Emily Giffin
5. She's Gone Country -Jane Porter
6. Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli
7. Prayers for Rain - Dennis Lehane
8. Suite Francaise = Irene Nemirovsky
9. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
10. The Girl in the Green  Raincoat - Laura Lippman
11. Naptime is the New Happy Hour - Stefanie Wilder Taylor
12. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Alternates
1. She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
2. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler


I will update this post and add links to my reviews as I fnish.  I will also post an update post in June. 
 
Anyone else care to join?  Head over to Adam's site and link up!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A day in the life of Crissy..

Hey all! Today's day in the life is Crissy, a respitoray therapist from Texas! Thanks for sharing Crissy!

Being a respiratory therapist has lots of pros and little cons. We are the critical thinkers in the hospital. Not only do we give people breathing treatments to people that have asthma, COPD(combination of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), and people with reactive airway disease we save lives. Going into this line of work I did not realize I would be doing this but quickly found out it is a very rewarding career! So I have picked out one of my busy days in the world of the Medical ICU at a big hospital in the Dallas area. I will be doing the time in military time as that is how we do it in the hospital.

0500- Alarm goes off. Time to start my second 12 hour shift in a row.
0600- Leave the house to get to work by 0630. We have to clock in by 0638 and no later than 0645.
0640- Told I need to go to the unit to get report from the night therapist because he is in a room fixing to help put a breathing tube in and place someone on a ventilator. On top of that I have 5 other patients on ventilators and a patient on a form of breathing treatments that help expand her lungs and we give her medication as well.
0645-Headed up to the unit and relieved the therapist from the room so he could give report to another therapist. Intubated the patient (which means put a breathing tube in their airway) and placed patient on the ventilator without any complications thanks goodness. While we are in the middle of that Im informed there is another patient that needs blood drawn to see if they need to be intubated as well.
0700- Go draw blood on the other patient that is just wearing a machine that pushes air into his lungs to help him remove CO2 in his blood so he can breathe better and not be so lethargic..
0710- The blood I drew looks awful. So we decide to place a breathing tube on him too. So in less than 30 minutes we have placed two breathing tubes. I haven't even seen the other 5 ventilator patients I have.
0740- Start checking on my assigned patients. Find out we have to go to Cat Scan with one patient that is on a ventilator. If the patient was just on oxygen I would not have to go but we use a portable ventilator to transport these patients. Thank goodness Head Cat Scans take at the most 15 minutes there and back. So I try to get thru all my ventilator checks before we have to go travel.
0820-Have checked all patients. We check the ventilators every four hours and giving them breathing treatments thru the ventilators. I have to make sure that the tape job that holds the tube in place looks good and the tube is in the right place. I retaped a few of them. Headed to get blood on the two patients that we intubated earlier in the morning to make sure the settings I placed them on will work out or if things need to be changed.
0840-Another coworker checks on me and she does a treatment for me!! Thank goodness because I felt behind.
0850-The two doctors in the unit that change orders went around to my other vent patients and were making changes so I have to go behind them and write them down.
0920-Now I sit down to finally get some charting in. We chart in two systems unfortunately that can take a good hour to finish.
0950-Grab something to eat real quick and Im told there is a ventilator patient in the ER that is coming to my unit but dont know when.
1000-We do rounds on every patient in the ICU. Sometimes this can last til 1100 or it can take 30 mins. This one took til 1045.
1045-Go set up a ventilator for the on coming ventilator.
1100-Start my therapy all over again. Instead of five ventilators I have 7 to attend to now.
1120- New patient arrives. 8 vents now and this one needs to go to Cat Scan too. Frustrated that ER didnt do this before coming up. Urgh.
1245-Get all vent checks done. Go grab a quick lunch.
1300-Headed to CT scan with the first patient that needed it done.
1320-Charted second rounds in the two systems.
1420-Changed tape on the patient from the OR before going to CT at 1430.
1500-New round starts with less vents. Thank goodness. Hoping my afternoon is better than my morning. I only have 5 of the 8 vents that I ended up with.
1615-Done with vent checks now time to chart again. I get so sick of computers by the time I leave work.
1700-Head down to the department to relax and eat a snack.
1800-Get a call that a patient needs to be looked at. Head up there and the patient just needed to be suctioned. Yes I get to pull some nasty stuff from peoples lungs but I dont have to deal with anything below the belly button and that makes me happy.
1840-Give report to the next therapist down in the department which was my husband!!! I have the luxury of working in the same department as my husband just opposite shifts. He works nights and I work days.
1908-Clock out and go home. Boy were my feet hurting after that day. Felt like I was on my feet a majority of the day. Not all days are this crazy but 70% of it is.

Being a therapist truly makes you appreciate life so much. Watching people struggle to breathe is one of the hardest things to watch. The feeling of helping people words cant explain. It truly makes my heart happy.

Thank you so much Crissy! It's so refreshing to hear from someone who cares passionately about what they are doing!

Do you work in the same field as your signficant other? Have you ever in the past? How does it/ did it go?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The books I'm asking for this year..

Yay Christmas!!! I love buying the perfect gift and getting the perfect gift. (Yeah, I'm a tad selfish, or honest.)

Every year, since I don't remember when, quite possibly my whole life, I've always asked for/got books for Christmas.  This year is no different of course, even though I still haven't read the books I got LAST year! Whooops.  I have about 100 books I've never read before, it is bad.  Anywhooo, tangent.

Yeah.  Christmas.  Here is my book wants for 2011...

Two Kisses for Maddy - Matt Logelin
I have read Matt's blog for so long and have been SUPER excited to read his book, but knew I had to put a few months between having Isla and reading this book for my anxiety/peace of mind.  Now, it is game on!








The Violets of March - Sarah Jio
All the recommendations I've read of Jio's first novel have made me excited to read it!








Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
I am so late on this book train but I am super excited to read this book set in the 1940s while Japanese were being sent off to internment camps in the US.








Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

How can you NOT want to read that?
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
Ernest Hemingway. Jazz Age Paris. A 'golden couple.'  Sign me up! I, as in any good stalker, ha, want to read about Hemingway and his wife Hadley. 








Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
Apparently, I have a WW2 theme going on with my list.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
And consider me hooked...

Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
What books are on your list? Any I should add?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Don't you hate...

When something is on the tip of your tongue and you can't remember what it was?  There is a poem posted in our bathroom at work that I wanted to post about.. and wouldn't you know it.. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the poem.. or the poet and my googling is not working..

Needless to say, I am looking for motivation wherever I can.  Winter has arrived and with it, my gloomy outlook.

You know what else it brings? The people who tell you to be thankful for what I have.  Don't ya think I know that? Are you supposed to be happy 24/7 just because there are people that want what I have? Well dangit, I want something that I don't have.  So bugger off.

In other randomness, cuz that is what this post is filled with... My baby girl is 6 months old and that means we have been breastfeeding for 6 months!! Woot woot!!! She is eating more big girl foods and so far has enjoyed some sweet potatoes, bananas, oatmeal, carrots, peas, and spicy beans and rice.  I am hoping that I will cultivate an adventurous eating like myself.

And hopefully, I will remember to check out the poem posted in the bathroom stall tomorrow so next week, I can wow you with my words.

Or maybe I will forget and spend 400 words randomly complaining about being cold and not being done with my Christmas shopping even though I started in October.

Whoops.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Invisible Bridge Discussion Schedule!

Hey all, sorry it took me longer to get the schedule up for the December Group Read, The Invisible Bridge.  We won't start discussing until Dec. 9th.

Here is our schedule...

Discussion 1 - Chapters 1-14 - December 9th
Discussion 2 - Chapters 15-25 December 16th
Discussion 3 - Chapters 26-33 December 23rd
Discussion 4 - Chapters 34- Epilogue December 30th

If you would be interested in doing a guest post for one of these, let me know! Thanks and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A day in the life of Heather...

Hey all! Today, we have Heather a friend of mine, who unfortunately does not have a blog! Thanks for sharing your day with us Heather.. and sadly, she sent me some really cute pictures,  but I didn't know how to get them out of Word and didn't look until tooo late so I attempted to add some of them back in but in my trying to get them saved in Paint I messed some up.. I suck.. Sorry Heather!

Hi, I am very excited to share with Emily’s readers what a day in my (uneventful, yet fulfilling) life is like. My name is Heather and I am a working mom with a long commute. During the week, every day is pretty much the same, but I chose to document a typical Wednesday because aside from the weekends, that is the day I get to spend the most quality time with my  3 year old daughter Charley.

4:45am: The alarm sounds and I hit snooze.

5:02am: The Alarm goes off again and I get up, mosey on to the bathroom while my husband is still snoring.

5:10am: Find my way to the kitchen to take my vitamins and make my morning tea.

5:15-5:45am: Iron my clothes and put on makeup…I don’t even bother fixing my hair anymore, it is either in a loose braid, a messy bun, or a frizzy hot mess.

5:45am: Matt, my husband, brings me breakfast consisting of eggs & ½ a grapefruit.
5:55am: I get a sippy cup of warm milk ready, put it by “the chair” as my daughter calls it, in my bedroom, turn the TV to Arthur and go wake up the sleeping beauty.


6-6:15am: Flurry of activity, dressing me, dressing Charley, getting her a banana, then a cheese stick, then she tries to trick me into giving her popcorn. In between, I get my lunch packed. Then we all three end up in the bathroom dancing and brushing our teeth to the tooth brushing song on Charley’s step stool. Finally get hugs and kisses from daughter and husband and hit the door for my long commute into Atlanta.
6:15-8:00am: Drive the 44 miles one way to my office. (I am usually at the office at 7:15, but today it rained and Atlanta stops when it rains.
8:00: Usually the first one at the office, I am the personal assistant to our CEO and Executive Assistant for Human Resources for an auditing firm. I turn on lights, gather newspapers, turn on my computer, and put my lunch in the refrigerator. Make a cup of coffee.
8:00-9:00am: Catch up on email, check personal email and internet message boards I frequent, look at my calendar and the calendars of those I support to see what is on tap for the day.
9-10am: I am working on the Holiday Party Invitation, various tasks from New Hire Letters and book orders, to Management Reports, to Staffing Tracker.
10am: Morning snack: greek yogurt and a peach, 2nd cup of coffee. Check various message boards I frequent.
10:15a-12:30p: Work.Work.Work. More administrative work, from preparing invoices for approval to re-stocking the break room, working on a Management Report project for our Commercial Division which involves “cleansing” the report of all client and vendor identification and developing a spreadsheet for reference of who the actual client of the cleansed report is, and doing a lot of personal stuff for the CEO.
12:30p-1p: Lunch! Usually leftovers and a cucumber/tomato salad…at my desk. Today it is a Stuffed Pepperoni Sandwich. Check various message boards I frequent.
1-4:00p: Work.Work.Work. I received a new Management Report due November23rd. I checked the length and it is 50 PowerPoint pages with lots of data. I have to clear my schedule to dedicate 100% of my time on it so that the many back and forth drafts will get it completed and to a final approval by next Tuesday so that I can print/bind and ship 30 copies to the Principal to arrive by Wednesday for presentation to the client November 28th. (These are very complex reports where I have to check the math and claim amounts, ensure every page lines up with the page before and all data is accurate for the audit. It is my responsibility to make them look “pretty” and professional and check formatting/punctuation/grammar, etc.)
4:00p: The weather is really terrible, so my boss told me to leave 15 minutes earlier than I normally leave on Wednesdays to ensure I get home in time to change and get Charley to “Mommy & Me” Gymnastics.
5:15ish: Stop at package store to get wine for Survivor.
5:30-6p: Arrive home to hugs and kisses from both of my biggest fans. Change into comfortable clothes. Matt is feeding Charley and getting her into her gymnastics leotard.
6p: The 3 of us hop in the car and head to gymnastics. I ask Charley about her day, but she wants “Music”, so I put in the Cinderella soundtrack and we sing along changing “Cinderella” to “Charley-rella” where appropriate. J She holds my hand from the backseat and we share the moment together.
6:20-6:30p: We are waiting for class to start. This usually consists of watching the team girls practice their floor exercises. Charley cheers for each one very enthusiastically and loudly.
6:30-7:15p: Gymnastics! Matt comes out after warm ups and the 3 of us go from station to station. Bounce house, Beam, Trampoline, Airplane ride on the zip line, bungee swing, and bars, to the mat to practice rolls and then back to the Bounce house.
7:15-7:30p: Drive and arrive home.
7:30-7:45p: Spot clean the dirty girl put her in her Jammies.
7:45-8p: Catch the last 15 minutes of Clifford the Big Red Dog, snuggling in “the chair”.
8p: Bedtime for Charley
8-9p: Salad, Wine & Survivor night with Matt
9-9:15p: Shower (Matt moves to the living room to watch TV)
9:15p-10p: I watch Criminal Minds and catch up on Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends
10p: EXHAUSTED! Bedtime!
For years I’ve been saying I will get everything together the night before, or this will be the week I am organized and not in hurry, but it has yet to come to fruition. I think I am comfortable with semi-organized chaos. So this concludes a day in my life as a busy working mom with a long commute.

My day starts with “the chair” and ends with “the chair”. I live for that chair.


Friday, November 25, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 4

I have to be honest, this book was just okay for me.  There were moments when it was really good, and other moments where I was skimming and my head/heart wasn't in it.

I liked the timeframe and I liked the characters of Emma, Frankie, Harry and Otto.  Iris, not so much.  I liked the reporting of Frankie and her time spent on the trains.  All of the Cape scenes were pretty blah for me.

1. Seek Truth. Report it. Minimize Harm. That is the journalist’s code. And it haunts Frankie during the book. Why wasn’t Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For someone whose job was to deliver the news, did she fail?

2. After Thomas tells his story of escape, the old woman in the train compartment says “There was God looking out for you at every turn.” Thomas disagrees. “People looked out. Not God.” He adds, “There is no God. Only us.” How does THE POSTMISTRESS raise the questions of faith in wartime? How does this connect to the decisions Iris and Frankie make with regard to Emma?

3. Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he’s Jewish? Do you think he’s right not to do so?

4. Discuss the significance of the Martha Gellhorn quote at the beginning of the book, “War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever.” What stance towards war, and of telling a war story does this reveal? How does it inform your reading of The Postmistress?

5. “Get in. Get the story. Get out.” That is Murrow’s charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it’s possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

What was your overall feeling of the book? Are you planning on joining us in December?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

December Group Read is...

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer!

Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel—eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story
collection, How to Breathe Underwater —is a grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war.

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he becomes involved with the letter’s recipient, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena, their younger brother leaves school for the stage—and Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. From the Hungarian village of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s garret to the enduring passion he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the unforgettable story of brothers bound by history and love, of a marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish
family’s struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war



I'm excited to read this one! I do not have the discussions broke out because it is not available at my library til mid December so I had to order it on amazon and won't have it til Monday.  Will update you all on the discussion dates as soon as possible! We won't have a discussion next Friday, December 2nd.  The first discussion will be on the 9th!

Who is reading with us? Anyone interested in a guest post?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A day in the life of Lisa...

Hey all! A day in the life... is back with Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing your day traveling to my my favorite midwestern city, Chicago! For those of you who don't know Lisa, she works as a fixed income analyst.

Hello to Emily’s readers, it’s Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns!  When Emily asked if I was interested in participating in this series, I thought it would be interesting to record what all happens on a day when I am traveling for work.  This trip to Chicago was atypical as I did not have client meetings, but it gives you an idea of what it is like to travel for work!  I apologize for the lack of pictures…  I think my co-workers would have thought I’d lost my mind if I had taken pictures during the day – and then I felt horrible on the flight so the last thing on my mind was taking pictures of anything!!


5:30 – Wake up in hotel room, get ready for work while listening to Pandora

6:30 – Check out of hotel, stop by Starbucks for the mandatory pumpkin spice latte that will help me get through the long day at work.  Get a fruit cup with the hopes this will sustain me through the day (I usually eat eggs for breakfast).

 7:00 – Arrive at the Chicago office to find that there is no receptionist so I need to call one of the sales reps so they can let me in.  Cross fingers that I reach some.  Cross fingers that I am actually in the right place.

7:15 – Get settled into a random desk.  Overheat and sweat profusely because this office is hot, it is unseasonably warm in Chicago, and I am wearing a wool dress with tights (it was cold when I packed, I never imagined it’d be so warm in Chicago).  Hook up laptop, fan myself, consider ditching cardigan (but don’t because I am wearing a sleeveless dress).  Check in with my boss.

 8:00 – Call into our Monday morning trader call, take notes on what happened in each market.

 8:30 – Start going through emails, follow up on things, research a question a sales rep asked.  

 10:00 – Conference call meeting with our off-site boss in Charlotte.  Try to stay engaged in this conference call.  Try to remember to mute the phone each time I cough (I have a wicked cold/cough)

 10:30 – Start to sit with the various sales reps, ask them questions about their client base, attempt to sound smart and get them to like me. 

 12:15 – Wonder if the guy who said he would take me to lunch is actually going to follow through on this…  Hmm….  * insert sound of stomach grumbling *

 12:30 – Grab lunch with the cube mate of the guy who said he would take me to lunch.  Talk work stuff, continue to try to sound smart and get this rep to like me. 

 12:45 – Bring lunch back to the office, eat at desk while answering questions about my job/my life/the market from people sitting around me. 

 1:00 – More meetings with sales reps to talk about their clients/how I can help.   Make tentative plans for a return trip when I will meet with their clients. 

 2:00 – Check in with my boss again, talk about what I will finish up before leaving for the airport. 

 2:30 – Lead another trader conference call, take notes about the different markets.

 3:00 – Say good bye to everyone, walk to the train.

 4:10 – Arrive at airport, track down healthy food (sushi), charge iPhone, decompress from a long day of talking to people and being “on”. 

 5:45 – Board plane, pretend I am mute so the person next to me does not talk to me on the plane.  Tune out others around me, fantasize about sleeping in my bed that night.

 7:30 – Flight lands, impatiently wait for people to de-plane, wonder if the people on this flight have ever flown because it should not take this long to de-plane.

 7:50 – Get onto light rail train.  Exchange knowing look with fellow traveler who is appalled at the loudness of his seatmate’s headphones.  Put on headphones, attempt to zone out everyone around me. 

 8:20 – Get off train, walk home to my condo.

 8:30 – Arrive home in my condo.  Breathe deep sigh of relief.  Unpack necessities as I am too exhausted to unpack my whole suitcase (very out of character for me, but I was so exhausted.  And sick.) 

 8:45 – Shower to remove the grime of work and travel from my body.

 9:00 – Take melatonin, go to bed.  Marvel at how comfortable my bed is compared to the hotel beds I have slept in the last 3 nights!

So I was up at 5:30, and in bed at 9, which is probably about a typical day for me.  I really enjoy traveling for work, as it’s great to meet people after talking to them on the phone for months, but I have to say that it is totally exhausting to travel – and this trip was especially tough because I was sick with a terrible cold/sinus infection – I actually ended up going home sick the day I got back!  When I was younger, I thought traveling for work was so glamorous, but now that I travel for, I realize that it’s really not very glamorous at all and you really do not get much time to appreciate the cities you are visiting!  That said, I still do enjoy it as it’s fun to get out, put faces to names/voices from phone conversations, and meet with their clients.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Lisa! I know, sometimes I wish I could just be a professional traveler.  Perhaps a travel blog writer? Yes.. that would sounds perfect, if I only had to travel in warm areas!

Do you travel for work?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Monday to me..

You know what is gross?

Baby snot.

Well, snot in general.  I hate seeing other being have snot hanging from the nose or flying out into a tissue.

What's worse? When your cute baby has snot flying oute and INTO HER mouth and you can't get it in time.

Gross.

Gag worthy.

At least it's not green.

Yet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Discussion 3 - The Postmistress

I found this section to read faster than any other part of the book so far, and for that I'm thankful.  However, Frankie's time on the train about shot my anxiety level through the roof! Holy crud buckets.  I just do not understand how so many people looked the other way as Jews were discriminated against and moved.  Boggles my mind and hurts my heart every damn time I read about it.  Fiction or non.  Horrible.  People who deny the Holocaust, I just have no words for them.  Well, I do, but they are not kind.

1. Do you think Iris is doing the right thing by holding on to the letter? Why or Why not? What would you have done?
2. Much of The Postmistress is centered on Frankie’s radio broadcasts—either Frankie broadcasting them, or the other characters listening to them. How do you think the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 1940s differs from our experience of getting news from the television or the Internet? What is the difference between hearing news and seeing pictures, or reading accounts of news? Do you think there is something that the human voice conveys that the printed word cannot?
3.  We know that Emma was orphaned, that Will’s father had drinking problems, that Iris’s brother was killed in the First War, and that Frankie grew up in a brownstone in Washington Square. How do these characters’ backgrounds shape the decisions that they make? And if we didn’t have this information, would our opinion of the characters and their actions change?
4. When Frankie returns to America, she doesn’t understand finds it impossible to grasp that people are calmly going about their lives while war rages in Europe. What part does complacency play in The Postmistress?

Thanks for participating! I will be adding the poll up for suggestions sometime today! Next week will be the last discussion over the rest of the book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Glimpse Into Meal Planning

I always like to hear what others are cooking up, planning in their homes, so sporadically I share what I have oh so lovely planned for my family.

I've gotten into the habit of trying to do a 'big' grocery trip every 3 weeks.  In between, sometimes I run in for more bread, milk,eggs or sandwich stuff if we run out in between.  But I try to shop the sales on meat so I can always pull things out.  We also LOVE Stove Top stuffing and Rice a Roni Spanish Rice so when things like that are on sale we stock up. 

Couponing has kind of been hit or miss lately because of time constraints and I haven't gotten a Sunday paper in about a month and I don't use Internet coupons unless they hit my email.  I do use mperks through Meijer and I occasionally will check out various blogs to get coupon/sales deals.

I also stalk the internet for recipe ideas and we very rarely eat the same thing twice.  Unless we love it and it gets thrown in the rotation for awhile until we forget about it and then I will remember it again a few months later when I'm searching my favorites or pinterest boards. 

Things we always keep stocked in the pantry..
diced tomatoes, cans of corn, salsa, spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, pizza sauce, jiffy pizza dough, cream of mushroom, chicken broth, black beans, pinto beans, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, tortilla shells, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, Betty crocker frosting, canned soup, canned chicken, granola bars, tomato sauce, rotel, and Hormel chili

I'm sure there might be more but those are things I usually always stock back up on or load up on when they are on sale..

My current goal is to meal plan out for 2 weeks and I usually don't include the weekends unless we are planning a big Sunday meal for leftovers. 

Here is our current two week out plan..

M – Swedish Meatballs in the crock pot, served over mashed potatoes w/ a green salad
T – out to eat at our local Taco Tuesday
W – Chicken Enchiladas w/ Spanish rice
TH - leftovers
F – Meatloaf or since my husband is in charge it may change to takeout
S – Beef stew

M- Goulash
T- Spicy Bean Burritos
W – Taco Chili

Since, the next week is Thanksgiving, I only did three meals because I am sure all three will give us leftovers to get us through the weekend, plus we will be at a lot of family gatherings which cover our other meals!

I don't plan out our breakfasts, but we usually either grab granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs or leftovers.  Same with lunches, we either eat leftovers, sandwiches, frozen meals or fruits and veggies. 

What do you keep stocked in your pantry? How far out do you meal plan?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside.

Sorry, there is no A Day In the Life today... but next week we will hear from Lisa from Lisa's Yarns about traveling on business! (Can't wait!)

Here are the last two..
A Day In The Life of Becky
A Day In The Life of Amber

If you would like to share a day in your life, email me at pinkflipflops44 @gmail . com and we will discuss! I know, it's fun to read about others.

Since, I have nothing to put in this spot today because I was planning on posting A Day In The Life, here are some photos of Isla.







Have a good Tuesday!

What's a necessary start to your day?
Mine lately, is coffee.  Needed.  For Sure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

December Group Read Suggestions!

 Wow! Another year in the books.  Kind of crazy! Even with as busy as life has gotten over the last few months, I really enjoy reading/talking with you ladies! And it is that time again to suggest somethign for December.

Here is what we've already read..

The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
Middlesex
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Leave a suggestion by November 18th.  The poll will go up that day.  And as a thank you for all that have participated in the last year, if you suggest a book and your book is the winner I will send you a copy for next month.  If you already own that book, I'll let you pick another for yourself, or you can gift a free book club book to someone else.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 2

Hey all! Discussion two is over chapters 6-15.  Thanks for playing!

Iris seems so rigid and stuck in her roles.  I almost want to peg her as having Aspergers.  She's something else. I physically cringed when she gave him her 'certificate.'

I also felt that Will was extremely hard on himself and extremely selfish for leaving his very new wife.

"There was dark in that tone and smiles in the dark, Emma realized." pg. 228 (I liked this line!)

"There is no God. There is only us Fraulein." pg. 306

1. Do you think Iris has a personality issue?
2. Do you agree with Will that 'the only thing that makes sense is to go'?
3. Anyone else crack up over doctors smoking?
4. Do you agree with Frankie's way of thinking or Will's?
5. Would you travel into a country at war?
6. How did you feel about the last part of this section? When Frankie was yelling and Thomas was hiding?

Come back next week for discussion 3! Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art Every Day Month 2nd Check In

I've been busy since Sunday! I was busy checking out Pinterest for suggestions and decided to skip over Thanksgiving for decoration ideas and move on to Christmas.  Plus, there is more time between now and then!! ;)


Sunday, I created this masterpiece.  Pumpkin Blondies!!! Yummmmm!


Monday, I started the letters for my banner that I shall attempt to make.  I used note cards, a black marker and letter cut outs that I had.


Tuesday, I made more letters! Not really impressed the letter I.  I may have to re do this.  especially since all the other letters are capitals.


Today, I made this lovely creation at the Art Center.  I used a pipe cleaner, leaves and macaroni pieces.  It looked cooler at school, some of the leaves fell off as I transported it home!


For the rest of the week, I plan on working on the banner some more and who knows what. Always, looking for something somewhat easy haha.

What have you created this week?

Don't forget to check out Leah's blog and the other talented artists creations!