Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ten Things About Kittens...

Ten Things About Kittens...

1. Not all kittens come home all cuddly and adorable like in Facebook videos.

2. Two kittens can, in fact, contort their bodies so as to fit both of themselves into a space the size of a milk jug!

3. Feral kittens, even when socialized, will likely be traumatized by a move to a new home (especially when said move involves leaving mama behind).

4.  Two scared kittens will determine the best hiding place they can find in the middle of the night is the dirty fireplace (cold, of course)!

5. Even a scared kitten will purr when given enough love and attention.

6. As much as you feed them, pet them, and scoop their poop...new kittens will always willingly come to your husband first (not that I'm hurt or anything).

7. The first time a kitten willingly decides to come out from under the bed, with you in the room, you will feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway..."Fire! I have made fire!" (Insert chest beating here...)

8. Chest beating is apt to scare said kitty back under the bed...avoid!

9. Eventually, even the most scared kitten will realize that they are safe and loved and that maybe this new home is a good place to be. This may take a while, but keep at it!

10. Rescue cats are worth every second put into loving them and giving them a safe and secure forever-home! Run, (now!) to your local pet shelter and adopt a ball of love!




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Almost Perfect - Manning


Title: Almost Perfect


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

Book Source: From author for honest review

 
Recommended if you like: Stories about animals, stories about ADHD/autism and children, stories with strong relationships



What Its About (publisher's)


Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.
 
Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. - See more at: http://www.cherrymischievous.com/#sthash.9I6KLTHp.dpuf
Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. - See more at: http://www.cherrymischievous.com/#sthash.9I6KLTHp.dpuf

The Bottom Line: 
I was inititally interested in this book because of the dog thing. I love stories about animals, espeially dogs.  But little did I know that the real treasure of the book was in fact the relationships. A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, this book was very well written and well worth the read. The way the characters came to life makes it impossible to not feel connected and absorbed in their struggles.

Additionally, Manning clearly knows her stuff. So often, authors research a topic and write a book thinking they know "enough" about the subject to make due. Manning, who actually has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H. from Harvard University, truly knows her stuff. She creates a realistic character living with autism/ADHD. This made the book more enjoyable for me (as an M.Ed).

Definitely worth the read! And, with its short chapters, its a pretty quick and easy read.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 1/27/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

She Let Herself Go
George Strait, Artist
Dean Dillon and Kerry Kurt Phillips, Writers




He wondered how she'd take it when he said goodbye.
Thought she might do some cryin': lose some sleep at night.
But he had no idea, when he hit the road,
That without him in her life, she'd let herself go...

 
Let herself go on a singles cruise,
To Vegas once, then to Honolulu.
Let herself go to New York City:
A week at the Spa; came back knocked-out pretty.
When he said he didn't love her no more,
She let herself go.

She poured her heart an' soul into their three-bedroom ranch.
Spent her days raisin' babies, ironin' his pants.
Came home one day from the grocery store and found his note,
And without him there to stop her, she let herself go...

Let herself go on her first blind-date:
Had the time of her life with some friends at the lake.
Let herself go, buy a brand new car,
Drove down to the beach he always said was too far.

Sand sure felt good between her toes:
She let herself go on a singles cruise,
To Vegas once, then to Honolulu.
Let herself go to New York City:
A week at the Spa; came back knocked-out pretty.
When he said he didn't love her no more,
She let herself go.


To Vegas once: Honolulu, New York City.
Came back knocked-out pretty.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

#timetoread


Happy National Readathon Day folks!!

Here in the great white north, we are anticipating 4-12" of snow today. Perfect day for locking oneself in one's bedroom and reading until your eyes bleed!  

I am trying to finish up The Book Thief (boy is this a long one, fabulous but long...757 pages according to Overdrive), as its due back to the virtual library today. I've got a ways to go...

I may need to see if my cheat of setting the date back on my iPad works one more time...at least for one day.

What are you reading today? Anything good?




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rainey Royal - Landis

Title: Rainey Royal


Author: Dylan Landis
Published: Genre: Fiction
Rating:
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Book Source: Borrowed from the library

 
Recommended if you like:  Fiction, The 1970's




What Its About:  

It is 1970's Manhattan. Rainey Royal is a young girl living in her grandmother’s Greenwich Village townhouse with her loose-moraled jazz musician father, Howard, who is raising her on his own, and his best "pervy" friend/musician buddy, Gordy, who enters Rainey's bedroom nightly to stroke her hair and back. Her mother has abandoned them, supposedly to live on an ashram somewhere. As well, their home serves as a commune for an ever-changing cast of hangers-on and bimbos who idolize Rainey's father, a well known musician

Rainey is a sensitive girl, struggling to find her way both at home and in the world. She uses her sexual prowess, as well as bullying, to control those around her in a desperate attempt to maintain some control in her crazy, chaotic world where there is little guidance or support and outright neglect (when one of her father's hangers-on rapes her, he excuses the incident quickly)She uses art as a life-line and creates works for clients out of artifacts from deceased loved ones, trying to parlay this talent into the grounds of a stable and secure future.


The Bottom Line: 
Helen Schulman of the New York Times calls this book "...14 stories trying to coalesce into a novel." Sadly, I don't feel like it ever gets there. The book just sort of rambles along never quite making a point or...frankly, mattering.

Had I known that Rainey Royal was a character who shows up in other books by Landis, perhaps I would have appreciated this look into her life more. But having read this book freely of its own, I was not impressed. Just when I began to like Rainey, she would do something mean or nasty (like holding up a couple at gun point, just to steal the woman's coat). I just never made any connection with her or the other characters and therefore just couldn't like this book at all.





Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 1/20/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

After The Love Is Gone
Earth, Wind & Fire, Artists
David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Bill Champlin, Writers



For awhile to love
was all we could do
we were young and we knew
and our eyes were alive
Deep inside we knew our love was true
For awhile we paid no mind to the past
we knew love would last
Ev'ry night somethin' right
would invite us to begin the dance

Somethin' happened along the way
what used to be happy was sad
Somethin' happened along the way
and yesterday was all we had
And oh after the love has gone
how could you lead me on
and not let me stay around
Oh oh oh afterthe love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found

For awhile to love each other with all
we would ever need
Love was strong for so long
never knew that what was
wrong oh baby wasn't right
We tried to find what we had
till sadness was all we shared
We were scared this affair would lead our love into
Somethin' happened along the way
yesterday was all we had
Somethin' happened along the way
what used to be happy is sad

Somethin' happened along the way
oh yesterday was all we had
And oh after the love has gone
how could you lead me on
and not let me stay around
Oh oh oh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found

Oh oh oh oh oh oh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found
Oh woh woh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found

Oh woh woh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found
Oh woh woh
Oh woh woh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found

Woh woh woh after the love has gone
what used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found
Woh woh woh

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Goals



I am not one to set "New Years Resolutions", mostly because I'm not one to complete them... And then I feel like a big ole failure! But I do want to look forward, thinking positively about 2015 and what can be accomplished! So, I have decided to plan some..."goals". That way there is no failure, just "unaccomplished" or "yet to be accomplished" ideas. Here goes...


Books and Blogging
1. Read 50 books or more
2. Post more about life stuff, and book stuff, and just generally be more consistent
3. Do better on my reading Challenges
4. Read (and complete) at least two new classics this year
5. Get better at drafting upcoming posts, so I can keep the blog up to date and not constantly fall behind
6. Add some diversity to my reading, maybe branch out and read a genre that typically I wouldn't



Health and Fitness
1. Exercise more, say 3x/week (or more)
2. Cook more and therefore eat better, less microwaved, meals

Home and Organization
1.Update the bathroom, paint, mirrors, etc. It needs help!
2. Fix the "closet situation". When we moved, we downgraded to one large closet...from two. Ugh! This has created issues... We need to add a second level, at minimum, and preferably an entirely new closet system.
3. Finish painting the indoors (kitchen and bedrooms)

Work and Education
1. Pass on as much old department work as possible, as quickly as possible so I can...
2. Focus more intently on my new duties and try to get ahead of the game, rather than always catching up
3. Move my old department into their new building and settle into my new space
4. Possibly start studying to take my certification in Research Admin, which will just make me more employable in my field
5. Maybe dabble in a few classes...like, perhaps, computer coding

Family and Fun
1. Hang out with friends and family more, invite them over if need be rather than going out
2. Be more flexible when hubby does plan outings and I know I'll have a great time...I "just don't wanna go out..."
3. Settle in with our new youngins and ensure their new lives are safe, secure and happy
4. Motivate hubby to work on music with me and not just his buddies
5. Continue efforts to hang with PV, despite our changes...hopefully gig a bit over the summer

That's more than enough for now...

Hopefully I can end the year feeling that I accomplished at least some of these goals and, maybe even a bunch that haven't crossed my mind!

What goals do you have for the new year?




Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 In Review

I


Following the example of Katieleigh @ cakes, tea and dreams:

in 2014, I…
  • marked my four-year anniversary of Tufts University
  • performed with PV in our fifth year of the Hingham Cabaret
  • began couponing seriously and managed to acquire a pretty good stockpile
  • started using both a FitBit and a CPAP, both of which have improved my health, though in different ways
  • attended two days of my town library's book sales
  • went on a lovely "ladies weekend" and drank martinis
  • bought a new car 
  • put Shannon's Book Bag on Facebook
  • lost the center of my heart, my sweet Sheeni 
  • painted our house a lovely sage green
  • went into the studio and produced a CD with PV with over 20 songs on it
  • began making an effort to workout more, focusing on being active not losing weight
  • accepted and started a new position at work

2014 Challenges Results

Not a great year reading-wise...


2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Hosted by The Book Vixon
Challenge: Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
Books read 2012: 47, Books read 2013: 35, Books read 2014: 30

Books to read 2014: 58
Books read in 2014: 30
Books remaining: 28 



I  beat the goal of 11-15, but not my personal goal of 58. But I beat last year's failure amount...so I'm gonna call this:
 
SUCCESS! KIND OF...




I Love Library Books Reading Challenge 2014

Hosted by Book Dragon's Lair

Challenge: Adult - 36 Books
Books Read: 8
Books remaining: 26



FAILED!





What’s in a Name 2014

Hosted by The Wormhole


Challenge: 6
Books Read: 3

Books remaining: 3


FAILED!


1. A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After) - Early Decision; Breakfast Served Anytime, Leaving Time

2. A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)

3. A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)

4. A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.):
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy; Amy, My Daughter, To Selena, with Love

5. A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain): Rainey Royal




Ebook Reading Challenge
Hosted by Workaday Reads

Challenge: DVD - 25 ebooks
Books Read: 23
Books remaining: 2

FAILED!




2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 
Hosted by Escape with Dollycas
Challenge: Option A (the lazy way) - 26 Books
Letters Read: 18
Letters remaining: 8


FAILED!
 
 






Hosted by Lianne @ caffeinatedlife
Challenge: Occasional re-reader - 1 – 4 books
 Books Read: 0
Books remaining: 4


FAILED!
















Complete 2014 Reading List:


  • January:
  • 1. Coreyography
  • 2. The Truth About Cruise Ships
  • 3. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
  • February:
  • 4. Early Decision
  • March:
  • 5. Handbook for an Unpredictable Life
  • 6. Incognito: Lost and Found at Harvard Divinity School
  • April:
  • 7. No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver's Days
  • 8. Prepared For A Purpose
  • 9. Breakfast Served Anytime
  • May:
  • 10. Part Goose, Part Swan
  • 11. The Word Exchange
  • June:
  • 12. The Big Tiny
  • 13. Dear Nobody
  • 14. Amy, My Daughter
  • July:
  • 15.The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • 16. Rare Bird
  • August:
  • 17. Leaving Time
  • 18. To Selena, With Love
  • September:
  • 19. Stronger
  • 20. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
  • 21. Fly A Little Higher
  • October:
  • 22 The Martian
  • 23 My (not so) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith 
  • 24. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
  • 25. Getting Life
  • November:
  • 26. Dirty Bombshell
  • December:
  • 27. Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern
  • 28. Rainey Royal
  • 29. The Guys
  • 30. Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Deep Thoughts From A Hollywood Blonde - Garth

Title: Deep Thoughts From A Hollywood Blonde


Author: Jennie Garth
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: Celebrity memoirs, easy-going humor, 90's television



What Its About: 
In her "tell-all" memoir, Jennie Garth tells her story...from her sudden rise to fame, playing Kelly Taylor on Aaron Spelling's Beverly Hills 90210 in the '90's, to her recent divorce from husband Peter Facinelli. 

As always, fame is not what it seems. Garth opens up about the difficult adjustments she was faced with as her beloved father faced health issues, just a Garth hit her teen years, forcing her family to move her childhood home, a spacious ranch and the pain of leaving her older siblings behind, especially her closest sister.


Garth opens up about her first and second marriages and how they were greatly affected by her emotional issues, due to these losses, and talks of how she found herself faced with performing in a scripted "reality" series, just as her second marriage shattered and having to face the camera and appear happy every day, despite her pain. And, now in her forties, Garth talks of how she has found her way to moving forward, caring for her beloved daughters and animals.

The Bottom Line: 
A good read. The initial chapters about her childhood and 90210 are entertaining and read quickly. As her story moves into her personal life, failed marriages, and struggles to survive her very public divorce, the read becomes much more personal, deep, and emotional.

If, however, you are looking for some deep, dirty gossip..whether about her 90210 cast mates, or her exes, you are going to be disappointed. Garth has nothing but good things to say about her coworkers, though she acknowledges that age and immaturity played a large part in the rumor mill. As well, Garth is extremely kind to and respectful of her ex, Facinelli, accepting responsibility for where she may have caused the rift.

The teen sensation has grown up, it seems, and with this book you begin to realize just how deep Garth's thoughts truly go!



 


 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 1/13/15

A good lyric is like a great book...


American Pie
Don McLean, Artist & Writer


A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

[Chorus]
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

[Chorus]
I started singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Verse 2]
Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me

Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

[Chorus]
We were singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

'Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

[Chorus]
We started singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
And singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
'Cause fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan's spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
And singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Outro]
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

[Chorus]
They were singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye
And singin' "This'll be the day that I die"