Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Salon: The Final Stretch

Here we are, at the end of our (very late) spring break.  I'm always sad to go back to the routine, but at the same time, he have one more month of school left.  Praise Jesus.  It's been one of those school years that I'll be glad to put behind me.  Next year I'll have two high school students.  I'm choosing to believe this will be a good thing (ha - I know, I'm deluded).


St. Simons Island Lighthouse
After we last talked, we left Savannah and spent a few days on St. Simons Island, which is about 1.5 hours south, near Jekyl Island.  I thought we were going to Sea Island, but no.  We tried to go out there one day to visit, but they wouldn't let us in.  Apparently we needed three million in the bank to do so.  LOL.  My husband and I golfed, and the four of us rode bikes all over the island and saw a few of the historical landmarks.   

Christ Church (est. 1820)

Christ Church Cemetery (est. 1803)

Dinner at The Rooftop at Ocean Lodge

We arrived back home on Thursday afternoon to our house full of needy kitties.  A friend had a big retirement party on Friday night that the hubby and I attended.  And when I woke up on Saturday morning, I decided that YES I would participate in the Dewey Read-a-thon.  I never know for sure if it will work out until the very day, so I wasn't signed up.  But with the rate I've been reading, I figure any time I get would be more than normal.  I didn't start reading until right after noon, and made it until about midnight, with breaks for laundry, dinner and Game of Thrones (more on that in a second).

On vacation, I did FINALLY FINISH THE EXPATS!!! Woo hoo!  I had no specific complaints about the book.  It was well-written and twisty, but I have to express a niggling doubt that when a book takes a month and a half to read (and is only 300-ish pages) there is something missing.  I just can't tell you what it was.  After that, I picked up Karen White's "The House on Tradd Street", which was an easy read.  One of those books where you allow yourself to slip into the charm of Charleston's old society and a few ghosts, and you know things will turn out OK.  You are in good hands with Karen.  I finished that one yesterday, and am now reading "The Outlaw Album" by Daniel Woodrell, author of "Winter's Bone".  If you saw the movie or read the book, "The Outlaw Album" has the same feel.  It is a collection of short stories that show the underbelly of humanity.

Not much progress on audio, I'm afraid.  When you are on a family vacation, the family frowns on such an activity!  I've halted my listening of "Iron Curtain" at disc 14, and taken a break to listen to "The Martian" by Andy Weir.  It is very entertaining! Once the kids get back in school, I should blast through it.  I'm not into Sci Fi, but who can resist a story of an astronaut being accidentally left on Mars?  Good stuff, man.

So, big news.  We have finished watching all the Game of Thrones episodes, AND ARE CAUGHT UP!!!  OMG!!!!  So tonight, we will be watching live.  I am so excited I can't stand it.  I can actually read all of your spoilery posts and contribute to the discussion!  In other news, I have watched up through Season 4 Episode 7 of The Walking Dead.  (The next episode is the Mid-Season Finale, and yes thanks to damned EW I pretty much know what is coming, which gives me mixed emotions.)  I am being held hostage by my daughter, who dictates when episodes will be watched.  It is driving me crazy.  I have finished the first season of True Detective (LOVE).  We are halfway through Season 2 of House of Cards, so that is next on our list to finish.  After that, who knows.  A friend of mine has all the seasons of Downton Abbey that I can borrow.  Or...Orange is the New Black?  We will have to have a family vote.  Such damn good stuff on TV these days.

Besides church, we have nothing planned for today.  It will sort of be the slow, sliding inevitability of Monday school, which promises upcoming finals, AP exams, 8th grade activities and graduation, etc.  This next month is going to fly by though, and it is all good.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Salon: One for the books

 And I'm not talking about the good kind of books that we read and love.  This week was one that about caused me to lose my mind.  I know I always say things like that, and I know I tend to get on here and complain.  But this is what is going on in my life, and I've gotta share.

Bear in mind that Thursday we left for Savannah for spring break.  Which is good!  And I'll get to that.  But Monday through Wednesday was enough.  LOL.

One of our cats got sick...upper respiratory infection, so vet appointment and meds and cash.  It's always fun giving cats meds!  On this same day, my daughter's school went on lockdown because of an armed suspect nearby, at the same time as a violent storm blew through, at the same time that my son had to get to a volleyball game.  The pool broke (specifically the thing that makes salt into chlorine), and I couldn't figure out how to fix it, so I had to do some emergency stuff to it to keep it from getting green while we were gone. We had a follow-up appointment for my son and his tests, and it was determined that he is allergic to cow's milk.  Now, he doesn't drink milk or eat yogurt, mayo or sour cream, so this basically affects his intake of cheese, Italian food, butter and chocolate.  It bums him out but is much better than a gluten intolerance.  We had a bit of insanity, though, in his trying to get caught up with schoolwork before spring break, as he has missed so much throughout this ordeal.  I also worked the Adult Literacy League's fundraiser "Reading Between the Wines".  I was lucky to get there, dressed, with my lipstick on, but it was successful and it was enjoyable to hear Stuart Woods speak.

This all happened Monday through Wednesday.  However, the ultimate thing that completely freaked me out happened Tuesday night.  A car was driving aggressively on our street, passed another car, clipped it but kept driving, lost control and hit our wall at the entrance to our driveway.  It flipped over on its side, and the two occupants had to be removed through the roof of the car with the jaws of life.  Both people ended up dying...a terrible thing.  The story now is that the man (the driver) was having complications from a colonoscopy and was driving himself to the hospital (his wife was with him but couldn't drive at night).  I ran out when I saw the emergency vehicles, and it was a sight that I'll never forget.  I didn't sleep well for a couple of nights.  Now I have to figure out how to get our brick wall fixed.  Here is a picture from one of the news stations.   

ANYWAY, when these things happen, you have to count your blessings, right?  Suffice it to say, I couldn't get out of town fast enough.  I was starting to get heart palpitations.

We love Savannah.  My husband and I have visited before, but the kids have never been.  As always, we explore on foot.  It is the best way to really get a feel for a place.  We've probably walked 30 miles since we arrived (yesterday alone we hit nearly 30,000 steps).  We've had a lot of rain, but whatever.  It is all about the historic houses, the food, the ghosts, and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" landmarks.    

We have rented a house while we are here, with a pull-down movie screen in the living room, so we've been catching up on our Game of Thrones (one more episode to finish Season 3)!   We did a ghost tour last night, and this morning we are going to attend Easter service at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the oldest Roman Catholic church in Georgia.  Tomorrow we will head out for a few days to Sea Island.

So.  I'm halfway through "The Expats"!  I'll get there eventually.  And I listened to a little more of "The Iron Curtain" on audio.  After being blown away by Wally Lamb's "We Are Water" on audio, this non-fiction audio filled with facts about Europe post-WWII is tough.  My husband is listening to it in his car at the same time, so it is fun to get his reaction since he and his family lived through Soviet occupation.

Hope you all have a blessed Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Salon: Marking Time

 I'm back for another week!  I'm alive!  Can't say it was a pleasurable week, but it is done.  My son got through this procedures and the doctor seems to think he is suffering from severe food allergies, exact offending foods TBD.  We will have an appointment next week and will learn our fate.  In the meantime, we have cut out dairy (he had dairy issues as a child) and he seems to be feeling better.  Let's just all say a little prayer it isn't gluten.  All he eats is gluten.

A close friend of mine lost her father this week to Alzheimer's.  As I lost my grandmother.  Horrible disease.  My thoughts were with her.

I'm not an allergic person.  I can hang with cats, dogs, guinea pigs, shellfish and peanuts.  But good LORD I had my issues this week.  I cannot breathe, and my head feels like it will explode!  It made me just want to nap and hide, and slog through the week.

I've been continuing my TV series binging.  Finished HBO's first season of True Detective (this is one of the best series I've seen, right behind Breaking Bad).  I'm close to catching up on The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.  Someone highly recommended The Wire.  I feel like I need to put a few of these others to rest first!

We've also been glued to The Masters.  Someday I'd love to go.  I suspect that is all we will be doing tomorrow, as it is the final day.

Our spring break is late this year.  It starts this coming Thursday, and we are going to Savannah and a little place called Sea Island.  It can't come soon enough.  I'm just marking time until then.

I really don't read much any more.  I don't comment much on blogs any more either...I'm just distracted.  I'll get back to my routine soon hopefully.  I did finish "The Troop" by Nick Cutter, finally.  What should have been a two day read was about two weeks.  The book was gross and fast-paced, truly a double dog dare for those that like that kind of challenge.  Now I'm back to "The Expats" again.  I'm determined to finish it.  Someday.

Audio is a little better.  I jumped into Wally Lamb's newest release "We Are Water" for book club next month.  I'd heard this was not up to his usual excellence, but from my point of view (I only have one more disc left out of 19) this is an incredible novel.  It has about 40 discussion topics which is...AMBITIOUS to say the least, but from an audio perspective, it is amazing.  Some of the best narration I've heard in recent times.

My daughter and I did our animal shelter duties yesterday (our offsite adoption event placed three dogs in homes - yay!), so today should be fairly uneventful.  Church, grocery shopping and The Masters.  Maybe a quick episode of something, maybe a little reading if I can focus!  Hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing Sunday.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Salon: April hole

 Morning folks!  Are they any of you left out there?  Maybe a few.  Well April has arrived, which means it is time for me to find a hole and sit in it for awhile.  Like Toru in his well in "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle".  Just so you know, this is a normal April activity for me.  I tend to hide away, avoiding contact and interaction because I'm sick of things.  I get over it.  But if it seems like I'm not commenting or communicating, please don't take it personal.  It is just a thing I do.

The son is still having stomach issues, to the point where I had to go in and explain it to the principal because of missed days.  Which is frankly making me a nervous wreck.  But we've got procedures and tests this week, results the following week, and 27 days of school left in this place where he has been since he was 2 1/2.  It will be over soon.  We won't discuss the details of making up the work when the child in question has "senior-itis".  You understand that I'm on my last nerve.  Husband says I've been acting weird.  Yeah.

The husband was out of town, there were some doctor appointments and a funeral, all things that provided negative distraction.  Luckily I have been completely obsessed with my newly-discovered TV series...still catching up on Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Walking Dead, and just recently True Detective.  I convinced my husband that it was medically necessary that we get HBO so we will have immediate access to new Game of Thrones once we finish the third season.  (Which is how I got access to True Detective, which stars Matthew McConaughy and Woody Harrelson and is BRILLIANT.) So.

I've kinda forgotten what a book is.  I started Chris Pavone's "The Expats" but couldn't focus so I picked up Nick Cutter's "The Troop" and I'm about 2/3 of the way through it.  Easy reading and REALLY GROSS (in the best way) but I've not spent much time even trying to read in print.

On audio I got about 10 discs into Anne Applebaum's "The Iron Curtain", and it is fascinating but SOOOOO much detail it felt like my head was going to explode.  My husband is listening to it in the car, so I decided to let him catch up with me.  In the meantime, I started another long one, Wally Lamb's "We Are Water" for next month's book club.  So far this is an incredibly narrated audio.

Yesterday I attended my fourth UCF Book Festival here in town with Heather from Book Addiction.  This event was quite the thing a few years ago, but it seems they have cut back on the number of authors and Heather and I were only bloggers in attendance.  So a bit anti-climatic.  We heard and met Chris Pavone, author of "The Expats" and recently "The Accident".  He is a new author and has found great success, but I must say he digressed way off the path in his talk and wasn't all that chatty one-on-one.  Wouldn't blame him if he was bummed at the turnout, honestly.  The real highlight of the day was listening to Andre Dubus III, author of a number of books but notably "The House of Sand and Fog", who was the keynote speaker.  He has had quite the life and was incredibly impressive.  He was mesmerizing and charming.  I now want to read his entire backlist.

Not much on the agenda today except a kitty adoption event at the local Petco from 12-4, and church.  Maybe I'll find enough focus to finish "The Troop", or then again maybe I'll just binge some more on series streaming.  Anything exciting happening in your neck of the woods today?