Friday, October 31, 2014

October 2014 ReCap...



OCTOBER 2014
A better reading month. Still not likely to meet those goals, but at least got some great reading done!


This month I read: 
Total Read: 4
YTD: 26
Adult: 4
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


Including:
The Martian (Andy Weir)
My (not so) Storybook Life (Liz Harrell Owen)
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
Getting Life (Michael Morton)

Abandoned: 

None

Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Getting Life (Michael Morton)

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 26 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 18 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 7 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge = 20 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  2 of 6

Year of ReReading Challenge - 0 of 1-4

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Martian - Weir

Title: The Martian


Author: Andy Weir
Published: Genre: Fiction
Rating:

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Borrowed from the library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoir,  Books about loss, Books about medical adversity


What Its About:  
A brutal Mars sandstorm forces the Ares 3 crew to evacuate abruptly. Unfortunately, one of their crew, Mark Watney, gets hit by debris and is killed in the process.

Except that...he isn't. Dead that is.

When Watney wakes and discovers himself, alone and abandoned on Mars, he must quickly transition his Mars visit to a survival mission. Through his journal entries, we learn how he utilizes his skills and knowledge (engineering and botany) to orchestrate his own survival mission. By utilizing earth and Mars dirt, and a few potatoes that were sent for Thanksgiving dinner, he begins a garden focused solely on producing calories to extend his lifespan until the arrival of the Mars 4 mission four years out. He utilizes old parts and manages to establish communication with NASA on Earth and, along with  NASA scientists, orchestrates a plan to get him home. But its not a smooth process and Watney keeps being reminded that he may well die before he is able to complete his mission!

The Bottom Line: 
A no-win situation for the author, in my opinion.  Its one of those books that is just bound to be hated. If Watney dies, everyone is angry and let down... But if he lives, everyone rolls their eyes and says, "Yeh, of course he'd live...ho hum." Thankfully, the journey is well worth the ride..

Weir does his best to keep the excitement and challenge going until the end, and does so very effectively.  The story really grabs readers' attention. Just technical enough to be realistic, but also funny and entertaining.  A great read!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 10/28/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

If Nobody Believed In You
Joe Nichols, Artist
Harley Allen, Writer 



I watched him take the two strike call
He hadn't tried to swing at all.
I guess he'd had all that he could take,
He walked away, for goodness sake.
His father's voice was loud an' mean:
"You won't amount to anything."

That little boy quit tryin',
He just walked away.
There were teardrops on his face.
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

That old man said: "One more try,
I know i'm not too old to drive.
I promise, son, i'll do my best,
This time, i'm gonna pass the test."
"Give me the keys, Dad, an' get in."
His father never drove again

That old man quit trying',
He just turned away.
An' there were teardrops on his face.
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

We take His name out of the schools.
The lawyers say it breaks the rules.
Pledge of allegiance can't be read,
An' under God, should not be said.
I wonder how much He will take.
I just pray it's not too late.

What if God quit tryin',
He just turned away?
There were teardrops on his face?
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.


 

 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Salon - 10/26/14


If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Life:

Late as always...

After disinfecting for days, hoping against hope that I wouldn't get sick like hubby, I fell to the evil beast. I spent three days out sick this past week, and only went in Friday because I had too. With more than ten grants going out the door this month, I needed to get some work done. I planned to leave early, but when all was said and done...I missed lunch and only got to leave an hour early.

I've got a meeting this week to discuss the transition from my current job to my new one. The job that I got...but still have not been "offered" or accepted. HR tells me they are waiting on a start date... How can I start a job I haven't been offered, you ask?! Yeh, well, so do I! HA!

PV met last night to listen to our recordings and pick our final CD songs. It went well and I am psyched to hear the final version.  Very cool!

Hubby and I have spoken about maybe getting kittens around Christmas when, hopefully, we will both be on vacation for a couple weeks.  I reminded him that kittens don't always come house broken, as our sweet Sheeni did. So...having an extended amount of time to help them (and us) adjust will be good. I am desperately missing pet-love my life.  Hopefully it's in then cards.

Blogging

After reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore this week, I grabbed a memoir that's been sitting on my bedside table for months. It was a freebie from Simon & Schuster...and it was amazing! Review coming soon.



Have great week everyone!

S

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Savings - 10/25/14

**DEAL OF THE WEEK**

Generally speaking, I am an honest person.  I'm a black/white, right/wrong person...very few"greys".  Seriously, I've corrected someone or spoken up to my own detriment on many occasions.  That being said, there are some cases where I have learned to keep my mouth shut. "Big business" (shopping) is one of those. I feel that, if the big-name stores (Walmart, Stop n Shop, etc) hired staff at more than minimum wage, then they might get better than minimum wage employees. Furthermore, big business spends billions of dollars a year trying to screw me out of my hard earned money!  Errors are the cost of doing business the way they do.

Case in point...

A couple weeks back, a big name store had a deal on Arm and Hammer laundry detergent. They were $1.88. And, there was a $2 off 2 coupon in the paper. Their ad, conveniently (and perhaps shadily) pointed this deal out prominently, the potential price of $0.88 nice and big to catch everyone's eye. While I am sure they would say they were doing us a "favor", the truth is that I am confident they caught more than one shopper who didn't note the coupon needed part and didn't check their receipts after.

When I went in to get the deal, they were of course out of stock. And so I asked for a rain check for the max I could get, ten bottles.  The gal wrote the price check...for the $0.88 price!! I didn't notice until I was home, but at that point I decided it was their error, to my benefit. I returned to the store this week with my rain check and coupons...and oh, what a deal!!



Laundry Detergent = $2.99 on sale, BUT...

$0.88 each, per rain check
Minus two $2 of 2 coupons

Total cost = 0.48 each, or $4.80 total paid

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fly A Little Higher - Sobiech


Title: Fly A Little Higher: How God Answered One Mom's Small Prayer in a Big Way


Author: Laura Sobiech
Published: Genre: Memoir
Rating:
5/5- Excellent. Keep it, treasure it, reread it.

Book Source:
I purchased this book.

 
Recommended if you like: Memoir,  Books about loss/cancer


What Its About:  
 Zach Sobiech was just a teenager, barely, that spring day when he went running with his little sister. By the time he got home, his hip was aching. Assuming a pulled muscle, he let it pass. Weeks later, with the pain was still present and increasing, he went to the doctor. And life changed forever.

Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. He and his family pursued surgery.  They started chemo. They tried every reasonable therapy they could find but, when the cancer showed up in Zach's lungs,  they knew that perhaps this wasn't a fight they could win. Zach's mother, a devout Christian, could accept the loss as God's will, but she wanted her loss, and that of her family, to make a difference.  Laura Sobiech asked God to make Zach's life, and death, count for something.

A passing comment made during one of their many long road-trips for chemotherapy, that perhaps Zach should write letters to his loved ones - in case they did not beat the cancer, inspired Zach (a musician) to turn to music as a way of saying goodbye and "I existed and was important."

Sobiech wrote a little unassuming ditty called Clouds. With "heartfelt lyrics and irresistible positivity in the face of adversity", Clouds quickly caught on with friends and family and eventually with the world.  "When Zach passed away on May 20, 2013, his fans had pushed Clouds to up to #1 on iTunes, Spotify and the Billboard charts – a fitting tribute to a remarkable young man." 

Before he passed, his little ditty had given Sobiech a record contract and to record a SoulPancake video about his struggle, as well as opportunities to meet celebrities, to perform live for thousands, to record in a professional studio, and to meet and touch the lives of thousands of people who may have never known of this young boy's struggle. As well, it gave the Sobiech family the opportunity to bring some attention to the battle that is childhood cancer and to make sense of this horrible, heartbreaking loss.
 
The Bottom Line:
How does one rate such a book? It seems less about rating a book and more about rating a mother's soul.

Let's just say that Zach Sobiech was an incredible young man and his story is a "testament to what can happen when you live as if each day is your last".

An amazing read, for everyone.

Quote:

“I want to be remembered as a kid who went down fighting, and didn’t really lose.”
~Zach Sobiech

 



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 10/21/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
Luka
Suzanne Vega, Artist & Writer



My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you've seen me before

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was


I think it's because I'm clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it's because I'm crazy
I try not to act too proud

They only hit until you cry
After that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore


Yes, I think I'm okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that's what I'll say
And it's not your business anyway

I guess I'd like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown

Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am


My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you've seen me before

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was


And they only hit until you cry
After that, you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Salon - 10/19/14


If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Life:

Oooff... A busy week here! At work, one of my admin folks was out sick, one was on vacation, and the other left to work for another department a couple weeks back. That left me doing three (actually 3.2) jobs... And, remember how they are splitting my job in two? Well, part of the reason is that my job is more than one full-time slot...especially during the fall.  So, in reality, I was doing more than three full time jobs this week, - all by my lonesome! I'm pooped!

Talking about splitting my job... The interviews went well. I have been told that, though we are still waiting for HR to follow up, I am the candidate they have chosen for the job. Yeah! It's nice to know I will have a job!  Now my supervisor has to work with the powers-that-be to work it out... The department doesn't want to loss me, which again is really nice, so they are asking me to think hard if I want to stay or go.

Purely Vocals has gone into the studio three times to record. Now its up to the sound engineer to make something of our tracks. But, we should have a CD soon!  Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas! :)

Still doing the work out thing. Took some days off not feeling well, but trying to maintain at least every two to three days.


Blogging

I've finally begun to get control again. I've preset some posts, so I am not always struggling to keep  up (or let's be honest, catch up!). This fall has just been too crazy, it's tough to keep it going. But, I am determined to make it through until things calm down (and I am once again only doing one full time job, ha!).

Just finished up reading this:



I love Liz Harrell (Owen), in case you don't know. Her blog MabelsHouse, was amaze-balls! She is funny, entertaining, and seems like a really cool chic. I say "was" because she recently switched over to Elizabeth-harrell.com. She is going through some changes in her life (including a divorce) and the new blog site is a shift toward her new future. I wish her luck, success, and joy. Lot's and lots of joy!

I've started reading a fun new book... But you'll have to stop by tomorrow to see what it is!

Have great week everyone!

S

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Savings - 10/18/12

**DEAL OF THE WEEK**



Total trip = $0.48!

Papers towels = $5.00 each minus $1 coupons for each
Soap = $3.39 each, BOGO (buy one get one free), so $3.39 for two, minus $1 coupons for each pair

And I had last week's extra care bucks (CVS) =  $13.50

Total paid was $3.48

But I got an additional $3 ECB, so total cost $0.48!



Actual cost was about $0.50 for paper towels per roll (pretty good, though not 'amazing' price) and soap about $0.57 each (not a rock bottom price...bit I needed to use or lose those extra care bucks this week).



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stronger - Bauman

Title: Stronger


Author: Jeff Bauman
Published: Genre: Memoir
Rating:

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: 
Borrowed from the library.

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Surviving tragedy stories


What Its About:  
Despite what people say, Jeff Bauman never thinks of himself as a "hero". He is just a regular guy who was at the wrong place, at the right time.

Bauman was one of the many thousands of spectators at the Boston Marathon on April 16th, 2013. He just happened to be close to the finish line, as his new girlfriend Lauren was expected to finish any moment. As he and several friends stood waiting, he looked around and came face to face with evil. He recognized easily that the man next to him, dark skinned and wearing a baseball cap, was up to no good. He even thought, I should get out of here. In the seconds it took to look away, the man was gone and then all hell broke loose.

As Bauman and others stood awaiting loved ones, a bomb exploded. The force of the homemade pressure-cooker bomb removed one of Bauman's legs and damaged the other severely. The bomb, and its brother which went off shortly after the first, seriously injured many other spectators. Bauman remembers looking around and seeing his friend, who moments before was standing beside him, lying on the ground. He remembers realizing he too was on the ground and in lying in a pool of his own blood. He remembers thinking, its all over. I can't survive this.

But he did, thanks to the quick thinking and selfless response of countless others at the scene and the amazing efforts of Boston medical personnel. After awaking, one of the first things Bauman did was ask for paper so that he could tell someone, anyone, "Saw the guy..." FBI visited him and used the information he was able to share to hunt down the bombers.

Over the next months, Jeff Bauman fought for his health and for the ability to walk once again and struggled to reclaim his life, even as his realized life had changed forever.

The Bottom Line:

This was a very quick and easy read with just enough recounting of the "gory" details to be clear, but not so much as to make the reading uncomfortable. It was very interesting to read about this horrific event from the front-lines, rather than the television and radio recounting that occurred. It was also interesting to hear of Bauman's personal struggles to recover from the injuries, to regain control of his world, and come to accept what his new life was. Reading his story, you truly begin to understand what "Boston Strong" is about.





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 10/14/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
Stupid Boy
Keith Urban, Artist
Dave Berg, Deanna Bryant and Sarah Buxton, Writers


Well, she was precious like a flower
She grew wild, wild but innocent
A perfect prayer in a desperate hour
She was everything beautiful and different

Stupid boy, you can't fence that in
Stupid boy, it's like holding back the wind
She laid her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
Stupid boy, stupid boy
Oh

So what made you think you could take a life
And just push it push it around
I guess to build yourself up so high
You had to take her and break her down

She laid her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
You stupid boy

Oh, you always had to be right but now you've lost
The only thing that ever made you feel alive
Yeah, yeah

Well, she laid her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
Yes, you did
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
You stupid boy, oh, I'm the same old
Same old stupid boy

It took awhile for her to figure out she could run
But when she did, she was long gone, long gone

Ah, she's gone, she's long gone.
Yes, she's gone

Nobody's ever gonna love me like she loved me
And she loved me, she loved me
God please, just let her know
I'm sorry, I'm sorry
I'm sorry, I'm sorry
Baby, yeah, I'm down on my knees
She's never coming back to me

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2014

September 2014 ReCap...



SEPTEMBER 2014

A better month, despite being crazed with work stuff, though still not up to norm. I am still tracking, even though I am confident I will not succeed in Challenges this year. But I've read some pretty good books so far, so it was all worth it anyway!


This month I read: 
Total Read: 3
YTD: 22
Adult: 2
YA/children's: 1
Abandoned: 0


Including:
Fly A Little Higher (Laura Sobiech)
Stronger (Jeff Bauman)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Abandoned: 

None
Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Fly A Little Higher (Laura Sobiech)

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 22 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 18 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 5 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge = 17 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  2 of 6

Year of ReReading Challenge - 0 of 1-4
 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Chobsky


Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Author: Stephen Chobsky
Published: Genre: YA, Fiction
Rating:
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: 
Borrowed from the library.

 
Recommended if you like: Young Adult,  


What Its About:  
Charlie, a "wallflower", writes letters to an anonymous reader, "friend", (perhaps as therapy?) describing his daily life, struggles and experiences. As a freshman in high school he is facing such issues as sadness at the loss of a friend who committed suicide (exasperated by death of his favorite aunt earlier in his life), his efforts to develop friendships despite being shy and introspective, a  crush on one of those friends, and his struggles as his family changes, including his brother graduating and leaving for college and his sister getting pregnant by a boyfriend.

Eventually, Charlie supposedly realizes he has been molested by his beloved aunt when he was younger and ends up in therapy.  Ultimately, he decides that he should "take part" in his life and stops writing and moves on.


 
The Bottom Line:

Just eh.

I know lots of folks really enjoyed this one, but I was unimpressed.

The character of Charlie was such a wuss, going so far as to allow his homosexual friend to kiss him because he wanted to make him happy. However, on the flip side, his pathos was never quite fully realized. Having, supposedly, been molested as a child he is seemingly deeply loving of his molester, there seemed to be no anger or intense negative feelings. The character was just unrealistic.

Also, as I have mentioned in other YA reviews...this book just tried to address SO MANY issues. Drugs/drinking, homosexuality and bullying, teen pregnancy/abortion and teen promiscuity, rape and molestation, loneliness, suicide, death of a family member, growing up, etc., etc. Each of those items are very important, and perhaps several together would be fine. But all of those items forced into one *quite short* (200-ish page) novel...ech!

And through it all, Charlie's teacher assigns him additional reading assignments in class, for enjoyment. Ok, I get the reading for enjoyment thing... But its not like Chobsky expanded on this. Charlie didn't learn anything from those books (or if he did, it was never shared). So, what was the whole point? To connect the rambling whining about his traumas to reality? Or to draw in the "geek crowd" that Chobsky was tying to get to buy the book?  Ditto for the theater/Rocky Horror thing (and I am a theater person!).
Though I RARELY say this...

just watch the movie and save a few hours of your life.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 10/7/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Stealing Cinderella
Chuck Wicks, Artist
Chuck, Wicks, George Teren, and Rivers Rutherford, Writers




I came to see her dad for a sit down man to man
Wasn't any secret, I'd be asking for her hand
I guess that's why he left waiting in the living room by myself
With at least a dozen pictures of her sitting on a shelf, she was

[CHORUS:]

Playing Cinderella
She was riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Runnin' through the sprinkler with a big Popsicle grin
Dancin with her dad, lookin up at him
In her eyes I'm prince charming but to him I'm just some fellow
Riding in and stealing Cinderella

I leaned in towards those pictures
to get a better look at one
When I heard a voice behind me say
"Now, Ain't she somethin son?"
I said "Yeah, she's quite a woman"
And he just stared at me
And I realized that in his eyes she would always be

[CHORUS:]

Playing Cinderella
She was riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Runnin' through the sprinkler with a big Popsicle grin
Dancin with her dad, lookin up at him
In her eyes I'm prince charming but to him I'm just some fellow
Riding in and stealing Cinderella

Oh, he slapped me on the shoulder
Then he called her in the room
When she threw her arms around him
That's when I could see it too

[CHORUS:]
She was playing Cinderella
She was riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed looking for a pillow fight
Runnin' through the sprinkler with a big Popsicle grin
Dancin with her dad, lookin up at him
If he gives me a hard time
I can't blame the fellow
I'm the one who's stealing - Cinderella

Monday, October 06, 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday Salon - 10/5/14




If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.


Life:

And hello friends!  I hope your week was good. Same crap different day here. :)

Got a 2nd interview, later this week..

Purely Vocals went into the studio Friday to record our CD. We are not planning on selling them or anything, so it was real free-form and flexible.  We got 8 songs down over two hours (again, not selling it, its just for us). And we had a ton of fun!

No progress on the hubby/music thing.

I did have a check in with the CPAP doc a couple of weeks ago and he gave me a hard time...I had gained 12 pounds since our last meeting. Twelve pounds!! I admit I had to go home and weigh myself...I just couldn't believe it - uh...ooops! So I've buckled down these past weeks and tried to walk every other day or so and have seriously cut my sweets intake (the real problem, let's be honest shall we?!). I have been adamant that I am NOT after weight loss... I never, ever loss weight from working out. In fact, I usually gain muscle and therefore pounds, "FAILURE"! So, I am just focusing on "eating healthier" and "being more active", very doable goals.  And if I loss weight, terrific!


Blogging

I've had a few good couponing trips and have all kinds of intentions of posting them...and just haven't had time or focus. In fact, the only posts I seem to get up regularly are the Tuesday Tunes/Lyrics...and that is because I can set up a bunch ahead of time.  So, I am trying to buckle down a bit more and get ahead on all my posts, like I was before, so that I won't fall as far behind as I have been and have so many days off-line.

I am reading away and have some reviews to catch up on still. They are coming, I promise.

And I am almost done with this really good book! I honestly didn't think I would like it as much. But The Martian by Andy Weir has really sucked me in. I can't wait to find out what is going to happen next.  And frankly, it's been quite a while since any book has done that!! I look forward to posting a review soon.



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

To Selena, Wtih Love - Perez

Title: To Selena, With Love


Author: Chris Perez
Published: 2014
Genre: Memoir
Rating:

Book Source: 
I purchased this book myself.



Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Music/Artists, Selena fans


What Its About:  

Selena Quintanilla Perez was taken from this world so suddenly, so violently.  Countless fans felt the sudden, tragic emptiness and  patiently awaited...something more.  The 2000 film starring Jennifer Lopez was a band-aid on the glistening wound, but not quite enough to heal. While time has helped, fans finally have a book to ease their loss, Chris Perez's retelling of his and Selena's love story.

Perez talks about his experiences meeting Selena and her family, how he came to be part of Los Dinos (Selena's back-up group), the struggle of performing music which did not fulfill his passion for rock 'n roll, and talks of the difficulties of finding his way into the extremely tight-knit Quintanilla family. He offers an honest look at the joys, and the difficulties, of being Selena's husband...and being Abraham Quintanilla's son-in-law. 
He offers a more thorough look at the timeline around Selena's murder and shares what life has been like since that horrible, heartbreaking loss. 


The Bottom Line:

Much of this book is very similar to the movie, right down to sharing the same stories. It would have been nice if Perez had picked more untold stories and anecdotes. But the look at Perez' point of view is valuable. It provides a more thorough look at Selena as a woman, not just Abraham Quintanilla's daughter, and reminds fans of the wealth of talent that was lost.


Definitely a great read if you are a fan...or are just wondering what happened after the movie ended.