Monday, December 07, 2015

Mondays - 12/7/15


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.

(Still) Current reads:
• Fishbowl - Bradley Somer
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (reread) - J.K. Rowling


Coming up:
Hoping to get to My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart, but doesn't look good.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sunday Salon - 12/6/15

SUNDAY POSTThe Sunday Salon.com
The Sunday Salon is now a Facebook group.
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Life:

Hello all!

It's been a long few months being on blogging hiatus. Anyone who was following me before and happens to still be here - thank you for sticking around!! 

Long story short (or kinda long, actually)...

As of my last writing, if you recall, I had been forced (not happily, though not exactly kicking and screaming) into a new position at work. It wasn't quite the right fit. I knew that, but I needed the job and figured I'd stick it out. Overall, it was good. Ninety-eight percent of my new "clients" loved me. I heard every day how great I was and how glad people were that I was working with them. Every. Day. Then, there were a couple of A-holes [this is a fair assessment, one of them called me up screaming one day - professional, no?!]. Could I have given them better service? Perhaps. Was I doing my best given the first four months in the job I was literally doing BOTH my old and new full-time jobs!? Yes.

It sucked to find myself in that situation. I am a perfectionist and am admittedly used to excelling at work, 
since I began working at like sixteen. I was a freakin' KMART Employee of the Month in high school! I was promoted to assistant manager of a record store the day I was hired. Literally two hours after I started they pulled me in the back and asked if I would start training to manage another store the next day!  So this failure situation unnerved me greatly [...honestly I am still struggling to bounce back. I still wake up at night and lie for hours worrying about what I have forgotten].

It all sort of came to a head when my ex-supervisor [who I have to admit is a really nice person and *may* have had the best of intentions] starting putting me in situations where I couldn't trust her. For example, she offered to write an email to those two folks who were unhappy, taking blame for her lack of attention to my training and promising to provide better service. She asked if I wanted my name to be included at the bottom. I agreed. I truly wanted it to work out and was willing to put in even more overtime hours to fix things [I was already going in early and staying late!]. Then suddenly, said email was coming from me and I was the one aplogizing. WTF?! Then she asked me, "You're not worried about this going into your personnel file, are you?" [Actually, I hadn't worried about that until you mentioned it, but thanks.] I just knew it was time to go.

[It should be noted that I worked at that company for over six years and was very happy up until the last year or so when they brought in contractors to help cut costs - ie staff].
Thankfully, I am extremely blessed to be very...employable. And lucky! So here I am today...

I was able to find an amazing job that is not only a perfect fit for me, but also a challenge. I am still in higher education but am working at a Conservatory, which fits my music and theater background perfectly! A dream job. And though its taken me some time to settle in, I feel appreciated and welcomed every day. I love it here! Some changes are brewing within the company (a merger is pending) and everyone is hoping their jobs will survive, me especially! But we are being told that there is no intent to reduce staff, just to merge our different but similar worlds.  For now, we are just going with the flow and hoping for the best. I am chosing to believe that this amazing door that opened for me, at the right time, was meant to be!

So that's where I've been these past months...worrying, stressing, adjusting, growing.

Away from work, things are good. The kitties are doing very well and have become sweet, cuddly girls. They are growing up so fast! Hubby says they have "chosen"... A cuddles and loves on him and L is clearly my baby, with snuggles and face rubs. They have discovered the basement, which Hubby finally cleaned up!, and they love it. It's dark most the day and they can cuddle up together in a pappason chair and sleep. It's still freakin adorable how the snuggle and play.

 

We put up our Christmas tree today. I realized that the babies were living in a PetSmart for their first Christmas. This is their first "real" Christmas, first tree, etc. I can't wait for Santa to come!

Blog:

I'm just getting back into the swing of things and hope to get ahead on postings, perhaps over the holidays (Christmas Eve through New Years, which the new company gives us off - in addition to vacation time annually!). I am reading much more now that I am no longer driving but taking the commuter rail and T. I've got a bunch of reviews to catch up on! Perhaps an update of the blog will be I the cards this year... We'll see.

Overall, I'm just really glad to be back.

Have a great week everyone!!

Shannon


















Wednesday, December 02, 2015

All The Bright Places - Niven

Title: All The Bright Places

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

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: YA novels, Books about suicide


 What Its About:
Theodore Finch is on the edge...literally. As he stands six stories up on his school's bell tower one afternoon, contemplating death clearly not the first time, he discovers that he is not alone. Over his shoulder, he finds Violet Markey, a popular but quiet girl. He realizes quickly that Violet is terrified and seems stuck. He talks her to safety and safeguards her secret, telling everyone that she in fact saved him.

Both students are struggling with personal issues. Theodore, the school "Freak" (as the other students call him), comes from a broken home with an abusive father and a distant mother. Violet recently lost her beloved sister in a car accident for which she feels responsible. As they work on a shared school project together, wandering and learning about Indiana, they develop a friendship which slowly finds its way to love. Finch helps Violet Re-Markey-able (his pet name for her) come to accept her loss and a start looking toward the future. Unfortunately, neither one understands the depths of Finch's troubles and saving his life might be a bit more difficult.







The Bottom Line: 
This was a really well written young adult story. Its a smooth, easy read - right up until it breaks your heart. Told from the point of view of both students, Niven writes from personal experience. This understanding stands out in each teen's thoughts and actions. Well worth the read!


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 12/1/15


A good lyric is like a great book...

Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy

David Bowie & Bring Crosby, Artist
Katherine K. Davis and Harry Simeone, Writers





David: and this one. this is my son's favourite. do you know this one?
Bing: oh, I do indeed, it's a lovely theme...

Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
A new-born king to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum
Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mondays - 11/30/15


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.

My week:
Slow week as I was home for the holidays and not riding the train, but managed to finish up All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and a few more chapters of my reread.

Current reads:
• Fishbowl - Bradley Somer
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (reread) - J.K. Rowling


Coming up this week:
Digging into Fishbowl and really enjoying it. Also downloaded My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart, but not sure if I will get to it.

Monday Mailbox - 11/30/15


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Honestly, I can't quite remember everything that arrived over these past months...or how they all came to me, but below are just a few peeks into what found its way home while I was resting from blogging.

These were from a local store that sells used media (books, CDs,DVDs, etc.), as well as new of course, for reduced prices.


A little non-fiction, this is they guy who wrote and sang that song at the end of Good Will Hunting, Miss Misery...


Some flea market finds...


Now if only I could find the time!!







Thankfully Reading Weekend 2015 Wrap Up!


What a great way to celebrate my return to blogging after a few months of silence!

Though I spent quite a bit of time this weekend cleaning up after the holiday and "lazin' like raisins", as I call it, I was able to get through a few chapters of my Harry Potter reread and was able to finish up my current read All The Bright Places by Jennifer Nven. Reviews to come soon, of course.

Thanks for letting me take part and get my feet wet once again in our little blogging pool!

Shannon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Savings - 11/28/15


I haven't been doing much couponing recently. First of all, we have a basement full of good stuff!  And with the new job, the longer hours, and traveling via train (and no longer via my own car) it's hard to work up the energy to make it happen.

But I've always got an eye out for a good deal! 

Perhaps one of my best to date was this Thanksgiving's turkey! At work, they gave us $25 coupons for Butterball turkey. With our BJ's membership, we were able to get a lovely 23 lb. bird for about $25.35. Coupled with my coupon, our amazing turkey for 12+ cost us a whopping $0.35!!!

Now that's a couponer's Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thankfully Reading Weekend 2015!


I guess it's day three of this challenge, but I started late Thursday, so for me it's really day two. Thursday was just way too much to consider reading.

Yesterday, I spent most of my day "vegging out". While there was a good chunk of reading, there was a lot more TV (I hate to admit). But after this week, I needed to just REST!

Today is rainy and overcast here, which is kind of nice as its sidelined hubby's "we must get out and do something, because I've been sick all week and doing nothing but sleeping and sitting on my tush". I really needed another day to rest and can always use more kitty snuggle time. And, not surprisingly, I needed to do more laundry and more dishes!

I'm enjoying finishing up a reread of the fourth Harry Potter book (Goblet of Fire) and am working my way through All The Bright Places, which is an enjoyable, easy read so far. And, I am appropriately thankful for these gifts!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfully Reading Weekend 2015!

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. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit. If you think you can join in, grab the button  and add your sign up post to the link-up below. If you don’t have a blog, you can sign up the comments or sign up using a link to your Twitter account or Faceboook page!
Twitter: #thankfullyreading

Happy Thanksgiving all!
Today, I am thankful for surviving preparing dinner for 12 on my own while hubby fights a cold (I refused to allow him to touch any of the food), despite the fact that I am well known for my "if it don't come in a box or bag, I ain't makin' it" cuisine!  But I did it...appetizers, turkey (hubby helped), stuffing, taters, yams, green beans, carrots, creamed onions, gravy (all admittedly with help from Dad). And it was good! Unfortunately, hubby now knows I am actually capable of "real food" (as my nephew-in-law, recently home from his first year of college, called it - as I always did!).
And I am thankful to be back to blogging!  I will do my best to catch up and keep up...though it's doubtful I will meet any of my annual challenges. Oh well, it's the thrill of the ride, right?!
I figure a reading challenge (and some desperately needed down time) is the perfect place to start!!







Monday, October 12, 2015

Still Here

Hey all,

I'm still here!

I'm working hard to solidify a new job and hope to be able to return to blogging soon.

The new job has enabled me to add about 2 hours of reading to my day, so I've got lots of reviews to catch up on.

I'll be back soon.  Promise!

Don't give up on me yet.

Shannon


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sunday Salon - 08/09/15



If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

Hey all, sorry I've disappeared of late.

After all my extra effort at work in the spring (and unpaid overtime), it's just not a great fit. Some of the job is working out fine and other parts not so much. I guess this happens sometimes with jobs changes. It's all very, very stressful and frankly sad.

My boss seems committed to working it out, which is nice. I'm not clear how, and miss much of my old job duties, but clearly I have to keep paying my mortgage...so I'm doing my best (while keeping all options open). Only time will tell.
But, needless to say it's hard to focus on blogging when every day you are emotionally and mentally drained by the time you get home.  I am hoping (and sending out daily prayers - I welcome any extras that you might have to share) that I will be able to clean up this mess quickly and move forward in wonderful ways. But until then, I'm just treading water.

Otherwise, all is pretty good. Hubby is good, house is good, summer is good, and life is good.  The babies are doing great! They have both grown quite a bit and are finally totally settled. They are clearly still ferals, shy to noise and quick movements, but they cuddle willingly and soak up the love we give them. I'm the luckiest kitty-momma in the world to come home to them each day.

Blogging:

am still reading. In fact, probably more given it's ability to let me disappear mentally. And I am still reading your blogs behind the scenes, as always. But for now, I need to remove the stress of blogging and keeping up the blog for sanity's sake. I will be back....don't remove me just yet! Once all at work calms down I will catch up, I promise. 

Best,
Shannon

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Moloka'i - Brennert

Title: Moloka'i


Author: Alan Brennert
Genre: Fiction
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Borrowed from a friend

 
Recommended if you like: Historical fiction, Stories of Hawaii


 

What Its About:  
The Kalama family have lived a happy existence in their native and idyllic 1890's Honolulu, Hawaii, until one day their youngest daughter Rachel develops a rash on her leg. Rachel's mother is horrified and tries desperately to make sure Rachel hides the rash. But through a careless comment, Rachel's sister shares the horrible infomation that her sister is a leper, suffereing from leprosy.  Rachel is quickly shuttled off to the local hospital and held for months while doctors try to save her.  

Eventually, seven-year-old Rachel (a bit of trouble maker, she is a child after all), is deemed a lost cause and sent to Kalaupapa, an isolated leper colony on Moloka'i island. Rachel spends most of the rest of her natural life on Moloka'i watching friends and family come and go, struggling to understand why her mother has disappeared from her life without writing or visiting, and dreaming of that day when she will get to leave the island and reunite with her mother, siblings and a child that she bears who is taken from her before the child can be infected.

It is only in her old age that Rachel finally learns the fates of her sister and brothers and the depth of her mother's love.








The Bottom Line: 
A beautifully written, historically accurate, story of those who found themselves inflicted with leprosy in those days and times. 



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love Life - Lowe

Title: Love Life


Author: Rob Lowe
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, 1980's 


 
What Its About:  
In his first book, Rob Lowe shared with readers his life history, how he got into acting, his experiences in Hollywood, and his struggle with partying and alcohol. And 1980's teens swooned and read in droves.

Years older and wiser, Lowe's new book shares older and wiser stories from his adult life, post party-boy. His new stories focus on issues such as coaching his children's basketball team, learning about his genealogy, seeing his first son off to college for the first time, and ultimately how he has learned the importance of and what a gift his marriage and wife are. It seems he is maturing, as are his fans, and he shares his experiences with pride and acceptance.







The Bottom Line: 
When I first saw this title, I thought... "Hmm, sounds like he will be talking about relationships." His title would have, perhaps, been more aptly named "Love Life!" An exclamation, or direct order, rather than noun. An older and more mature Rob Lowe communicates perfectly with his older and more mature fans. As with his first title, after reading you are left with more of an understanding and absolute respect for this man.  Well written and exceptionally entertaining!


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Working Stiff - Melinek/Mitchell

Title: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner


Author: Judy Melinek/T.J. Mitchell
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, medical stories/books, stories about 9/11


 
What Its About:  
An interesting new look at death, Working Stiff is the story of Judy Melinek, a up and coming doctor who discovers that her passion is not where she expected. While she likes medicine, she finds working in a hospital setting less than desirable. She opts to explore the option to study pathology. She is awarded the opportunity to train as NYC medical examiner.

She begins her training just before the September 11 attacks and quickly gains experience and knowledge in her field. Dealing with daily NYC death, with causes ranging from shootings and stabbings, to drug overdoses, to natural causes, Melinek learns the ropes of working in a profession that many could not imagine. She develops not only her medical and legal knowledge, but also her ability to separate the world of death at work and life with her burgeoning family.

All of that experience is tested when on September 11th, her entire world is shaken as she walks to work and see a large plane flying very, very low. Too low. Upon arriving at work, she is informed of the events unfolding and spends the next months in the proverbial trenches with her coworkers assisting with the horrific recovery effort. Ultimately, she finds her place in her new field and 







The Bottom Line: 
Interesting look at the every day life of a medical examiner and the trials they face in their work. Melinek shares the truth behind the glamorized depictions seen on shows like CSI and Law & Order.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 07/07/15




A good lyric is like a great book...

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile
Harry Connick, Jr.
Martin Charnin, Writer



Hey, hobo man,

Hey, dapper dan,
You've both got your style,
But, brother, you're never fully dressed
Without a smile!

Your clothes may be beau brummelly
They stand out a mile,
But, brother, you're never fully dressed
Without a smile!

Who cares what they're wearing
On main street or saville row?
It's what you wear from ear to ear,
And not from head to toe,
That matters.

So, senator,
So, janitor,
So long for a while.
Remember you're
Never fully dressed,
Though you may wear your best.
You're never fully dressed
Without a smile
Smile!
Smile!

[Spoken:]
Smile, darn ya, smile!


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Etched in Sand - Calcaterra

Title: Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island


Author: Regina Calcaterra
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, stories of struggle, stories about children



What Its About:  
Regina Calcaterra's rags-to-riches story of growing up in Manhattan with her multiple siblings suffering at the hands of a neglectful, abusive, alcoholic mother for years before being able to find a way out. Calcaterra's mother repeatedly leaves her children home to hit the local bars and returns months later to discover that her daughters have kept themselves and their siblings alive by stealing food and nailing windows shut for safety.

Calcaterra eventually manages to be the first in her family to attend college, going so far as to get her law degree, and goes on to an admirable legal career in New York politics and activism.






The Bottom Line: 
Well written and heartbreakingly honest, Calcaterra's story shares a childhood of horror while giving the reader hope that there hope beyond adversity.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 06/30/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

Young
Hedley, Artists
Hoggard, Howes, and Poederooyen, Writers




I'm tired of waking up at 5AM
My boss has lost his freaking mind again
I'm getting so sick of the same routine
And living out somebody else's dream
Another zombie coming back to life,
Only 20 but I'm feeling like I'm 45

Better burn out than fade away
So come and have a drink on me
On me, on me

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young
Young
Young
Young
Young

I'm tired of dressing up and stressing out
I'm guessing messing up's what I'm about
Kicking and screaming inside my head
A white picket fence, you blink you're dead.
Another zombie coming back to life,
With the beat like a bomb in the blinding lights.

Better burn out than fade away,
So come and have a drink on me,
on me, on me

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young

Hey hey hey!
Time is ticking, they say
Hey hey hey!
Not a minute wasted
Hey hey hey!
It's better to burn out than fade away

We were young
Young
Young
Young
Young

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young,
Having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gone Girl - Flynn

Title: Gone Girl


Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction
Rating
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Fiction, Mysteries


 

What Its About:  
Nick Dunne met his wife, Amy, at a party and despite losing contact with her for a year eventually reunited, fell in love, and married. Their "perfect" life carried on in New York City until both Nick and Amy lost their jobs. Then Nick's mother developed cancer and Nick dragged his wife to his home town of North Carthage, Missouri - quite a change for a born and bred New Yorker.

Amy and Nick do their best to adjust to their new lives, despite arguments and struggles. Neither are happy, but both seem to be trying, perhaps. Until one day, on Amy and Nick's fifth-year anniversary, Amy disappears. Out of the blue, she is gone. There appears to have been a, questionable, struggle in their home. The police quickly focus on Nick and pull out all the Missouri "stops" to locate her, or a body. Clues, including an anniversary scavenger-hunt (a tradition between them), lead both the police and Nick to come to conclusions about what happened to Amy.

But...








The Bottom Line: 
This book sounded like such a great concept. It was so very hyped by so many!

But...

In the words of Patricia at American Thinker...

"Gone Girl was one of the best books I had read up until the last few pages. Then it became the worst book I'd ever read..."

Agreed.

Ugh! What a waste!


...sorry Gillian, never again.