Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Salon: Killing Time

 Good morning all of you who are left out there!  Lately I've been pondering the state of blogging.  I love the friends I've made here, lifelong friends that I confide in and have laughs with.  But I can't really call myself a blogger I don't think, if I'm only on here once a week.  I guess that's OK.  I'm not totally sure how many people are left out there who are reading this but I'll take the few I have.  However we are now in a world where rock solid book bloggers with a history are being turned down for review copies, when newbies who gush over everything like crazed 16 year olds are getting the marketing dollars of the publishers.  I don't get it.  But I think my decision to take a back seat was probably well-timed.

Last week I mentioned that my daughter had done something to her back.  That continued this week.  She missed three more days of school before the chiropractor got her back up and moving.  My son did not have school Thursday or Friday, so what that means is that I had a kid home with me all week.  The three of us had a total of four doctors appointments, so bottom line?  NOTHING GOT DONE!  Ack!  I have got to figure out how to get these doctors out of my life!  It is a circle of hell, this sitting in waiting rooms.

My son and I went to see "Dear White People" at the movies, which won some awards at the Sundance Film Festival.  It was a satire of race relations taking place on a college campus...very smart, hilarious but with some good messages.

My daughter convinced me to start watching one of her (many) favorite TV shows "The Killing" which is a Netflix original.  My mom was obsessed with it this past summer, but I tuned it out because I don't need another TV obsession!  But I guess I should have listened because it is amazing.  Thus, nothing is going to get done until I finish it.  I hate it when this happens.

So again, no print reading.  None!  It is crazy!  I finally chucked "Purge", figured that was my problem.  I picked up "House of Leaves" and started picking my way through it but this is a PROJECT people.  It's going to take some time.  For a short bit of entertainment, I then picked up the graphic novel "Watchmen", my son assuring me it was genius.  I'm sure it is.  I just need to walk away from these TV shows.

On audio, I finished "World of Trouble" by Ben Winters.  And WOW.  I cannot remember the last time I finished a trilogy/series that rocked my world this way (maybe Harry Potter?).  I'm still thinking about it.  You know how a scene just sticks in there, and you keep returning to it.  I enjoyed all three books, but the final one is a doozy.  I'm now about halfway through "The Girl With All the Gifts" by M.R. Carey.  Good stuff.  Kinda reminds me of "The Passage" by Justin Cronin.  Apocalyptic, spooky, touching.

My son had another detail with the Orlando Police Department this morning, but he is on his way home from that.  The weather is gorgeous, so I predict we will head outside to do something today.  Maybe a long walk, or a round of golf.  And we've got The Walking Dead tonight, which is something that makes Sundays the best day of the week.  What is everyone up to?  Any fall festivals?  Happy Sunday!

  
 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Salon: The best day

 Happy Sunday everyone!  If you participated in the readathon yesterday, you probably are sleeping off your book buzz.  I'm almost never able to block off an entire day in the fall, but my thoughts are always with you guys.  One of these years I swear I'm going to run away to the beach for one of these events.

The weather has cooled off again...low to mid 80's in the day and low 60's at night.  Major cold front!!!  It is a pleasure to go on our walks, or sit out at night with a cocktail.  Here is a picture I took on a long walk yesterday, just around the corner from a neighborhood.  I love that about Florida.  There is nature everywhere. 

















It was a typical week for me this week.  My son's first homecoming activities occurred daily (themed dress days, the parade and football game Friday, and the dance last night).  My daughter threw out her back somehow, so she has been down for the count for a couple of days.  I feel like I am the downtrodden servant!  I took a treadmill stress test because I'd been having heart palpitations, and I passed with flying colors.  It is nice to know I haven't lost my mojo!  So my conclusion is heart palpitations = teenagers + menopause.  Something for you young 'uns to look forward to.

The best day of the entire week seems to be, without a doubt, SUNDAY!  Granted, it is a day full of the kids scrambling to get chores and homework done, but it also includes THE WALKING DEAD.  The season opener last week was epic.  My daughter and I have rewatched it three times.  I have looked forward to today all week.  I know, I'm obsessed.  So sue me.

My reading, at least in print, has been dismal.  I can't manage to propel my way through "Purge" by Sofi Oksanen.  I have progressed a little but can't get interested.  I'll keep trying for a little bit longer, but I'm really dying to read "House of Leaves" and "The Paying Guests", so I'm close to losing my patience.  I did take a break yesterday and read "Relish" by Lucy Knisley, which is a short graphic novel.  (I read "French Milk" a few years ago, a graphic memoir of her time in France.)  Adorable.

Audio is the only way I get anything done these days.  I finished "The Innocent Sleep" by Karen Perry.  It is a domestic drama and mystery about a missing child, but has twists in it that made it a surprisingly intriguing listen.  Plus the Irish-accented narrators were incredible.  I also quickly got through "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica which I rated four stars but easily could have been swayed to five.  I'm still thinking about it even now...a kidnapping gone wrong, with much more emotion and character bonding than your normal read.  Then I FINALLY got "World of Trouble" on audio from the library. I loaded it in about 30 minutes and plunged into the third and final installment of a story about the final days on earth before an asteroid takes it out, from the perspective an earnest police officer.  Great stuff!


I'm not sure what is on the agenda today.  Usually I don't have a whole lot of say in the matter.  My son is putting in some community service hours with the Orlando Police Department, which is part of his Criminal Justice magnet program at school.  Maybe a walk.  Maybe some reading.  Maybe a little Walking Dead!!  Hope everyone has a nice relaxing day to rest up for another week!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Salon: Bring on The Dead!

 Good morning friends.  Slept in this morning...no walk, no church, just laziness and a little breaking news action on the latest Ebola case.  I'm not being all hysterical here, but how did this person catch it when they were wearing a Hazmat suit?  And hello!  Didn't we all read "The Hot Zone" twenty years ago?  Didn't we all read "The Stand"?  I'm pretty irate that we are only now scrambling for a cure.  Anyway.  Happy Sunday morning!

We saw Gone Girl yesterday afternoon, and what a movie.  True to the book and true to the exceptional talents of David Fincher.  Outstanding acting and outstanding musical score.  Whether you liked the book or not, this is just good theatrical entertainment.

My week went like this.  Two doctor appointments (love to have a week when I didn't have one, but I think this is our destiny).  Back-and-forth communications with the insurance company on the UPS destruction of my yard.  We found out we need the neighbor's land survey in order to get a permit to repair our wall, and of course they will never be able to find it, so more delays on that.  Meet the teacher night for my son's high school Tuesday night.  Also meetings with his teachers on his continuing gifted track for the next four years.  Daughter took her SAT, after much gnashing of teeth and tears over the stress.  Polish lessons continue on Wednesday nights.

Wednesday night we had season 4 premier of American Horror Story: Freak Show.  You know, this series, it is sick and twisted and unpredictable and wonderful.  I don't think it is for everyone, but wow, if you can handle it, it will blow your mind.  And like Ti said, there is a clown here that gives Pennywise a run for his money.

TONIGHT we have season 5 premier of The Walking Dead, and I almost can't sit still.  My daughter and I have been watching reruns all week on and off, and have been lurking online for various previews and sneak peaks.  I'm turning off all electronics and going underground this evening.  I will return to discuss tomorrow!

Also got a new iPhone 6 this week.  I am definitely not the person that needs the new technology when it comes out, but my old phone held a charge for about an hour or two and was driving me nuts.  This phone is bigger but that is better for my withering eyesight.

On the reading front, I've not been real productive.  In print I finally finished "All I Love and Know" by Judith Frank, and it was a wonderful drama about two orphans, whose parents are killed in act of terrorism, that are adopted by twin brother of the victim.  That brother just happens to be gay and has a partner that factors into the equation.  Very insightful, lots of discussable topics.  I've now just started "Purge" by Sofi Oksanen, but I'm having a tough time getting engaged.  I may try to dig into it today.

On audio I finished "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury this week for our readalong, but I haven't written up my thoughts yet because the readalong goes all month.  I have mixed emotions about it.  Strange prose, confusing literary voice.  Is it coming-of-age?  Is it horror?  More on that later.  I'm now about halfway through an audio called "The Innocent Sleep" by Karen Perry.  I can't remember why I am reading this, but I'm thinking it was for the Irish narrator!  Man, I love those accents.  And it is an intriguing story, part marital drama and part mystery about their child that is presumably killed in an earthquake but whose body is never found.

No idea what we will be doing today.  I'm sure my husband will encourage a round of golf, but it got hot again and I'm not interesting in that misery.  I may just putter around the house and try to get caught up on pool maintenance and grocery shopping.  Hope everyone has a great day!

  


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Salon: New Day

 I woke up this morning to temperatures in the 50's and went for a long walk with my husband.  There is nothing like that first whisper of fall to turn that attitude around and remind yourself that this is a new day.

Again, the past week was not one I'm sorry to see go.  We buried my best friend's father on Thursday.  These folks are extended family to us, and I worry about them.

Amidst the nearly foot of rain we got last week, the UPS man decided it would be fun to turn his massive truck around in my yard, leaving deep ruts, mud, and broken irrigation pipes in his wake.  (Shockingly, this type of thing has happened before.)  So now I'm dealing with their insurance company, quotes and repairs on that.  The upstairs air conditioner blew up Saturday morning...always on a weekend, right?  Gotta get that guy out here tomorrow morning.  (Have I mentioned lately that I REALLY want to move to a condo?  At the beach?)

Polish classes have been going well.  I can't really tell you whether I'm going to learn anything, but we have a real mixed bag of people in there, and it's a hoot.  This week we spent a good deal of time talking about Polish food.  That was something that ALL of us could get excited about.  We all had contributions on that subject!  LOL

I really REALLY want to see Gone Girl, but our weekends are so busy.  My son is the hugest David Fincher fan, but he is always knee-deep in homework and I hate to tempt him away from it.  If I have to, I'll go by myself.

I've been slightly off my game lately, so my reading has taken a hit.  In print, I'm still reading "All I Love and Know" by Judith Frank, and it is really good.  I hope I can gain some ground with it next week.  On audio, I finished "Dear Daughter" by Elizabeth Little, a book that had been getting quite a bit of buzz.  But honestly, I just don't get it.  The book seemed very amateur to me, a lot of Nancy Drew clue-finding by a very obnoxious character.  I wasn't feeling the love like a lot of people.

Now I'm close to halfway through "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury, which is a readalong that Ti and I are hosting in the month of October.  Here are my initial thoughts...I'm not thrilled with the narrator.  The atmosphere is very creepy and there are some freaky things happening, but the style of prose is getting on my nerves.  If any of you are reading it, what do you think?

I am getting revved up for the new fall TV season starting this week, particularly American Horror Story Wednesday night, and The Walking Dead next Sunday night.  For that reason alone this has got to be a good week right?



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Salon: Stormy weather

Good morning...finally!  Seems like I've not been getting my posts in early lately.  It's not easy when you get up and go to 7:30 Mass.

This week was definitely one to put behind me.  We got over 6 inches of rain (wish we could send some over to our friends in California!).  We got no definitive answers from the doctor on my son's weight loss (more blood tests to come).  My daughter got her driver's license, and immediately began traipsing around on the busiest and most dangerous highway in the area, therefore I feel sick to my stomach all the time.  (Still no parking at the school, but I've found a local business that is willing to let her park in their lot...for now.)  And my best friend lost her father yesterday to cancer.  It was one of those weeks where you just focus on a distant point of reference and keep walking.

But we've got Ryder Cup today.  Gone Girl comes out next week in theaters.  The new season of American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are coming soon.  I've started taking Polish classes on Wednesday nights.  An indie bookstore is coming to town soon.  And I've been reading some great books.

In print I finished "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.  It truly is an incredible book, and there is no question in my mind why she's been nominated for the National Book Award this year.  I'm now about 50 pages into "All I Love and Know" by Judith Frank, insistently recommended by Heather at Book Addiction.  You would think this was some story about a middle-aged woman having drama, right?  But it is most definitely NOT.  I'm really hoping to dig in more today.

On audio I finished "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler which was...unique.  Very readable, and covers a topic you don't often see (no spoilers).  I also blew through Jojo Moyes' "One Plus One" which couldn't be more precious, and an excellent audio production.  I'm now a couple discs into "Dear Daughter" by Elizabeth Little.  I've been seeing some buzz on this one, and was on the Must list in EW a few weeks ago.  It's intriguing, snappy, and the narrator/protagonist is bratty but I think that is the point.

For the first time, my daughter is driving herself clear across town for her SAT class, so we lost our excuse for our Winter Park brunches!  Guess I'll sit here and worry instead - LOL!  Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, and please let me know what you're up to and what you're reading! 



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Salon: All I Need

 Better late than never, right?  I've already been to church and had a walk, and thought I'd try to bang out a quick update of my week before we have to leave to take my daughter to SAT class.  Taking note of my stress level, my husband has silently made this Sunday SAT thing a good excuse for the two of us to have a weekly brunch together, walk around doing window shopping and taking deep breaths.  

I won't go into detail of my week.  You don't really need to hear about it.  I will say that I've been working on pulling myself together, and that really friends, Xanax and Tana French are all I need.  (Having visions of Steve Martin in The Jerk!  LOL).  In an act of pure charity, when I expressed a mood that wasn't conducive to book club this week, a small group of friends whisked me out for a more intimate setting of drinks and talking.  This stuff is good for the soul.

So Tana French.  I knocked out her latest release "The Secret Place" on audio this week.  While I don't think it was her best work, even then it is better than almost anything else out there.  Psychologically twisted, clever and finely-wrought dialogue, and a bunch of fairly toxic girls in a boarding school?  It doesn't get any better than that.  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, her audios are sheer perfection.  After I finished that book, I started "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler.  TBD on my opinion of this one, but is it narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, whom I love.

In print I finished "Wool" finally, and deem it to be genius.  I don't care what your favorite genre is, you are going to love this one.  And there is more to come, with two more installments plus a buttload of fan fiction too I hear.  I am now about a quarter of the way through "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.  This book was just nominated for the National Book Award and I couldn't be prouder of this little whisp of a girl who writes in a big way.

Hope you all have a pleasant Sunday.  Make sure you let me know if you have anything awesome going on your nightstand!!! 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Salon: Keep Calm and Read a Book

 It's another beautiful Sunday, and a reason to celebrate being alive!  This is the attitude I'm determined to take.  My weeks are always busy and things tend to get under my skin.  Stupid, petty things, that end up giving me heart palpitations and make me lose my shit.  My family gave me a few side glances this week, so it's time to take a step back.  Life is good.  Keep Calm and Read a Book.

So, we had a typical week at hand.  Husband was out of town for some of it.  A kid was sick.  Doctor appointments.  Hours in the car every day.  My son had his second attempt at the gastric scan (he was able to eat the radioactive oatmeal - woo hoo!), results TBD in a couple of weeks.  My dad and his buddy made an impromptu trip down here to get his boat.  5:30 am Cross Country practices.  Dinner with friends on Friday night.  Crazy mixed with good.  I haven't started playing golf yet because I feel like there is too much going on (and it is SO HOT) but I probably need to start that back up again, for no other reason than to do something for myself.

I finished up the first two seasons of American Horror Story, so I was able to get back to reading.  Still working on "Wool", and I'm totally into it now.  Let me just say this.  I am tired of dystopia, but this book is brilliant.  It is knocking my socks off.  And lo and behold, IT IS A TRILOGY.  OMG!  And the books are long.  But I fear I'm not going to be able to resist not reading them all fairly quickly together.  In terms of world-building and amazing characters, this is where it's at.

I did finish up Camilla Lackberg's "The Ice Princess" on audio, and it was OK.  There were some problems, but I think there is enough attraction with the primary characters to bring me back.  Maybe.  I'm now about 7 discs into my beloved Tana French's latest book "The Secret Place".  Oooh, these audios.  All that shite and mordor.  And wicked boarding school teenagers.

I'm hoping to carve out some time today for "Wool", in between church, SAT class, and the normal prep for the upcoming week.  Anybody have fun plans, or reading something extra special?