Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 12/16/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Left To Right
Michelle Citriun, Artist
William Levin, Writer

Tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!

Our favorite time of year is here
The festival of lights,
We celebrate our victories
We celebrate our rights!

You take a single candle
And you start it with a spark,
Then you pass it all around the world
Bring light into the dark.

Tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!
Tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!

From the left, to the right
See the candles burning bright.
From the east, to the west
You just want to light the rest.

All around the world people gather on this day,
A miracle has happened so light and candle and say...

Tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!
Tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!

I said, tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!
I said, tonight we light the Chanukah candles from left to right!

Happy Chanukah everyone!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Salon - 12/14/14

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


Ooff...so much busy!

As I mentioned, I got the new job at work and the plan to split my current job into two parts moves forward. I started the new job two weeks ago (I split my day between the two departments), but the agreement was that I would continue to serve my current department as well until September (or until they really don't need me anymore). We are starting the hiring process for my replacment, but that could takes months. In case it wasn't clear, that leaves me covering TWO full-time positions until further notice. No, my hours did not technically increase, just my workload. Thankfully my new boss if really understanding. And, I did mention that I had lost one of my assistants, right? So, yes, I am covering 2.6 full-time positions in my supposed 35 hours a week. Add planning and executing holiday parties and such end of year stuff to my list... I'm pooped!

On a good note, both bosses have ok'd my Christmas holiday vacation so I will leave Dec 23rd with the understanding that I don't have to be back until Jan 5th! Better than any holiday gift I could get.

I have yet to begin my XMas shopping, not that I have a lot to do, but I should really hop to it!

I had hoped that Christmas vacation would include the addition of a couple new kitties to our home...but it doesn't look like that will be happening. Hubby is still struggling with our loss (well, we both are, but I was perhaps a bit more prepared) and is worried about his allergies. I understand, but am missing it desperately. I guess I just have to wait to see...

I'm trying to keep up with blogging along with everything else. Apologies if pickin's are slim over the next few months.
I finally picked up my new glasses this past weekend, very cute. But I am definitely not used to wearing them yet. So, I am reading on my iPad rather than a book. I am reading Danielle Fishel's (Topanga on Boy Meets World) memoir. It is cute, funny and a really quick and easy read. Just right for my overwhelmed and exhausted brain!

Have a great week!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Savings - 12/13/14


Riesen Candies:

Regular price = $2.99

No sale...but, I had two Register Reward coupons for $3.00 that were going to expire.


2 @ #$2.99 - $6.00 = $0.02 money maker


2 Catalinas printed for more Riesen candies ($1.50 off two). I am holding these hoping they will go on sale in time to use them!

Remember that Couponing is always a work in progress - and that is OK! 
I once again reworked how I am organizing my coupons. At first, I cut and separated them into a binder by category. Then, I decided (as did many other long-timer couponers) that a lot of time was wasted managing that system!
Then, I started keeping the entire coupon flyers by week... But that leaves you carrying around a ton-crap (yes, that's the official term) of extra paper weight.  And, more importantly, good coupons get missed!  After cleaning out my expired coupons and tossing coupons for items I knew I had or would have bought, I was kicking myself!


My new system is: 
Cut all coupons out weekly and toss extra paper. Separate/organize them by expiration date! Duh!

Most of the couponing sites that list deals also list the expiration date, so I can easily find them. Also, as the date nears...I can pull that envelope and flip through, pulling coupons for coupons that I don't want to waste, regardless of sale dates (for example Riceworks chips, no sales on these but I am going to buy them...they are awesome...and money saved is money saved, right?!). Also, removing expired coupons is super easy, rather than the hours it took previously! I still use my binder separators for printed coupons, as I only print ones I know I will use.

Is it perfect? No, there have been a couple situations where I knew I had a coupon for an item I wanted to buy but couldn't find it, requiring a fair amount of sifting through coupons. But that's rare and a small price to pay.

Again, I am working this system for a few months to see how it works. If it's not successful, I'll change again. But hopefully this will work better for me.  Couponing is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Do whatever works for you, whether its a big binder and lots of organizing or a small couponing envelope.

Friday, December 12, 2014

5th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa



I am super excited that it's Christmas time!! I love the music (within reason), love the decorations (but not decorating), and just love the feel of the season.

...clearly I have not yet begun my actual Christmas shopping, one day of that and


all my "Christmas-cheer" is gone, gone, gone for another year! HA!

But Santa arrived early at my house this year! My Secret Santa that is. And boy-o-boy was she generous!! Look at this haul!  But of course I'll be waiting for Christmas day to actually open the presents...


Every one of these books is on my TBR list!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Helen @ My Novel Opinion!

You were more than generous and I am super-duper excited to dig right in! Of course, perhaps I should finish the books I got last year, first? Nah! I'm chopping at the bit to get into Last Night At the Viper Room!

But first, I've got to go wrestle the Lindt chocolates out of Hubby's hands!

And keep your eyes out Secret Santa recipient... a package is on its way!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

November 2014 ReCap...


Not much reading this month...

This month I read: 
Total Read: 1
YTD: 26
Adult: 1
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


Dirty Bombshell (Lorna Burnelle)



Favorite Book(s) of the Month:


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 12/9/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

All I Want for Christmas Is You
Mariah Carey, Artist
Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff, Writers

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you, yeah.

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
And I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click

'Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, all the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's
Laughter fills the air

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa, won't you bring me the one I really need?
Won't you please bring my baby to me?

Oh, I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door

Oh, I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby

Friday, December 05, 2014

Saturday Savings - 12/6/14


Orange juice:

Regular price = $3.00-4.00 (not sure)

No sale...but Stop 'n Shop mailed customers a coupon as a loss leader this week, making it FREE!

Stacked with $1.00 coupon (wasn't sure this would work, but it did!)

So... $1.00 money maker!!

A "loss leader" are those items that stores put on sale, knowing they will loss money...but expecting the sale to bring shoppers in the door.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 12/2/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Do They Know Its Christmas Time? (1984)
BandAid, Artists
Midge Ure aand Bob Geldof, Writers

It's Christmastime; there's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer to pray for the other ones
At Christmastime
It's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime

The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Oh, where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Here's to you, raise a glass for ev'ryone
Here's to them, underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Salon - 11/30/14 & Thankfully Reading Weekend Wrap Up

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


What a busy week it's been!

I was on vacation, so I got a lot of errands done while spending more than my fair share of time on Facebook!  One of my errands was to make an eye doctor appointment. They were able to fit me in due to my flexibility and, no surprise, I need glasses. Disappointing, but at fourty-four, I suppose it's about time. I chose cute frames and await their arrival.

Hubby and I spent a lovely holiday day with his family and then drove south to spend the evening with mine. We played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity (have you heard of this, tons of fun...but a bit raunchy?!) and ate lots of great goodies! It was a terrific day.

I opted to avoid all Black Friday stress and avoided all shopping and couponing last week (I did go this weekend for a few necessities and a handful of deals, though). Instead, I opted to take part in this year's Thankfully Reading Weekend.


Unfortunately, I basically did very little reading this weekend...

Along with the obvious issue of needing glasses (I've been borrowing hubby's, but he's nearly blind...so his glasses give me a headache!), we somehow motivated and spent a good couple of days cleaning out the basement.  Four (or is it five?) years later, the space is truly getting there. We got some excerise equipment and can finally use it. There is room to do laundry, a small shop area, and hubby's music area. It's been a long time coming and very exciting! So, though I really wanted to read, I can't be too disappointed.

This afternoon I finally put my current read, In Cold Blood, aside and pulled out a book on my iPad which is easier to see. I started Danielle Fishel's memoir, Normally This Would Be Cause For Concern. I'll get back to Capote once my glasses come in and I can actually see the book pages!

I start my new job tomorrow...did I mention that I got the job I was going after? I will be splitting my time between my current job and the new one for a while, until we hire someone new for the department.  Should be interesting...but sadly, blogging time will be limited until things settle down.

See you on the flip side!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfully Reading weekend Kickoff

I have many, many things to be thankful for this holiday season...family, friends, the love of a good and honest man, a job (two, in fact, for the time being), a beautiful home, a new and reliable car, countless abilities that enable me to live as I do (sight, hearing, common sense), a sharp mind, a kick ass sense of humor, etc, etc. And, an incredible couponing stockpile that enables me to avoid shopping this crazy weekend! Though I do expect to be spending a few hours prepping Purely Vocals CDs for XMas presents, I plan on spending my weekend participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves

Today will be a busy day of travel and gobble, gobbling my way into a turkey coma...but I hope to attack my current read, In Cold Blood, as soon as I wake up! 

If all goes well. I may toss something else in there to keep my interest up. I've got an ARC of Dancing With The Devil and a few other goodies on deck.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a reading-licious weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dirty Bombshell: From Thyroid Cancer Back To Fabulous! - Brunelle

Title: Dirty Bombshell: From Thyroid Cancer Back To Fabulous!

Author: Lorna J. Brunelle
Published: Genre: Memoir
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Purchased

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Stories about illness, Survival stories

What Its About:  
Lorna J. Brunelle was only thirty-two years old that fall day when her doctor found a lump in her neck. As not only a young woman in her prime, but also a professional singer and performer, she was horrified. While the cancer was considered a "good" cancer, ie easier to heal, she was terrified of losing her voice, her livelihood and her passion. She underwent surgery to remove her thyroid, then experienced radiation therapy to treat any lingering cells. She now receives hormone treatments (which she will use the rest of her life), to keep her body functioning correctly.

The Bottom Line: 
This is a challenging book for me to review.  I know Lorna J. Brunelle.

We are not friends, never have been, and likely never will be. We attended high school together and we likely share friends on Facebook. While I have seriously tried not to allow my experiences with her to cloud my review, it's only fair that I be open about that. In fact, in the interest of assuring that my review was fair, after reading this memoir I compared my thoughts with some comments on Amazon...

Lots of folks (more than one of whom are, I happen to know, friends and family) said the book was awesome. Some didn't like it quite so much.

I cannot deny the detractors have a point. Some said the book was too whiny and "woe-is-me". Others said it was narcissisticHaving no personal experience, thank the Lord, with thyroid or any other kind of cancer, I cannot speak for the medical issues. But it appears that more than one thyroid cancer survivor has commented similarly, that the cancer Brunelle had was minor (admittedly, even Brunelle calls it the "good cancer") and that Brunelle should suck it up and stop whining. To be clear, I feel that any cancer is major and frankly, all cancer patients/survivors have the right to whine and complain all they want! But I admittedly got tired of hearing that Mrs. Brunelle is a "full scholarship winner" to a prestigious music school (actually it seems the scholarship was from an organization from her hometown, not the actual school...which of course takes nothing away from that amazing honor or the skill required to secure it), a professional performer, and a casting specialist in Boston.

(interestingly, my computer demanded on replacing 'prestigious' with 'pretentious'...just sayin').

On the other hand, I don't disagree with her supporters either. Brunelle's book is quite funny and very entertaining. As others pointed out, Brunelle does a good job of pulling you into her story and making you feel as if you are living through it with her. She truly makes it feel as if you are chatting with a close friend. And, more importantly, she offers what are clearly meant to be valuable pieces of advise for others who might be struggling with a similar experience. She seems to strive to help others, and seems to carry this effort to help others into her professional life. Kudos.

Note however that the book is also...thorough. At 340 pages, this book is very, very (...did I mentioned very) long! Ultimately it is clear to me that Brunelle's work, while well worth sharing, would have greatly benefited from the heavy hand of a  professional editor. Along with fixing grammar and syntax errors, and perhaps focusing the work a bit more, a good editor would have cut this puppy down by about 100 pages!  

All said, this book was a really good first draft. It was a very deep and personal look into one woman's experiences with cancer and treatment. It was touching and funnyAnd while I was entertained by and enjoyed reading this version, I would have really preferred reading the final  product.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 11/25/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Food Glorious Food
Cast, Oliver!
Lionel Bart, Writer

Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer --
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru...el!
There's not a crust, not a crumb can we find,
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge,
But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag...ine

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Peas, pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys --

Food, glorious food!
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day --
Our favourite diet!

Just picture a great big steak --
Fried, roasted or stewed.
Oh, food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed --
Still worth a king's ransom!
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Piled pieahes and cream, about
Six feet high!

Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite.
In this interlude --
The food,
Once again, food
Fabulous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like --
Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

Food, glorious food!
What wouldn't we give for
That extra bit more --
That's all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,

Beautiful food,

Glorious food!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankfully Reading Weekend Challenge & Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon

Thankfully Reading Weekend, November 27-30! 

Here are the details:
-There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. 
-Grab the button.

Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

  • Read-a-Thon dates: Monday, November 24 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, November 30 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly)
  • You do not have to be signed up for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge to participate (but I sure would love for you to join us!)
  • I am not requiring that you read only Christmas/holiday books during the read-a-thon, but I hope you will pick up at least one holiday tale, even if it's just to read some children's books with your kids or some holiday short stories
  • to check in on Twitter, we'll use hashtag #CSreadathon
  • as usual, you do not have to have a blog to participate...feel free to link up and check in from Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

No Black Friday shopping for me...I'll be reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting Life - Morton

Title: Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey From Prison to Peace, A Memoir

Author: Michael Morton
Published: Genre: Non-Fiction
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: This book was sent to me free from
Simon & Schuster for an honest review. All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Stories about beating the odds, Memoirs about prison life

What Its About:  
When Michael Morton left for work one summer afternoon in 1986, he didn't know his life would change forever in a few short hours.  When Morton stopped at his babysitter's on the way home from work to pick up his three-year old son, he was surprised to learn his always-dependable wife had never dropped their son off that morning. This worried him greatly. A quick phone call home proved something had happened, something bad. 

Morton hurried home and was faced by a group of police officers who were none to friendly.  He learned that his wife was dead, having been bludgeoned to death in their bed. It didn't take long for the small-town cops to decide that he was the killer.  Sadly, despite the lack of proof linking him to the murder, the prosecution agreed and a few short weeks later the jury considered the limited information they were given and sent him to prison for the rest of his life.

Only after years of struggle, with the assistance of an amazing group of caring lawyers and an organization called Project Innocence, was he able to uncover the truth and prove his innocence. Not only had Morton not killed his wife, but the prosecution illegally withheld documents and information that would have enabled Morton's defense attorneys to make a fair case, possibly changing the course of events and his life.

Sadly, it took them 25-years to clear Morton's name and finally see him released from the Texas State Department of Corrections.  During that time, Morton's young son was raised by his late wife's sister with minimal contact with Morton.  After his release, his lawyers continued his  battle pro-Bono and initiated legal proceedings against the prosecutor who had broken the law by withholding information in efforts to build his own career. 

Despite those horrible and unforgivable events, Morton has learned to move on with forgiveness in his heart and has focused his efforts on changing and strengthening the law to ensure such horrors don't happen again.

The Bottom Line:

Told with complete honesty and straightforwardness, this story will break you heart and give you hope all in one reading.  

This book is exceptionally well written. With the breath of information and the period of time covered, the real possibility existed to get bogged down and boring. This never occurs, while you also never feel like you missed anything. Thorough in all the right places and never boring!

Seriously, read this!