Archive for the ‘Hey! You over there! Entertain me!’ Category

Thursday Recaps with allll the ‘Tournament of Books’ books.

January 31, 2019

Good morning, starshines! Today is Thursday (right?), and you know what that means… book reviews!

Since I’m catching up still, and I haven’t posted on Thursday since the new year has started, I have quite a few books to choose from. 17 books in fact! (I read double that number last year, but let’s cut me a break this month, considering what I had going on. Mkay?) I’ll just grab a couple of them and see how this goes…

A Very Large Expanse of Sea, by Tehereh Mafi (2018, HarperTeen, 320 pages, Hardcover library loan). I know Ms. Mafi from reading her bestselling novel Shatter Me, which seems to have started a well-to-do series. I expect a series soon and I am here for that!!! For those who haven’t read it, briefly, Shatter Me is a dystopian horror/romance in the same vein of Divergent and Hunger Games. It was fantastic! When the plot felt a little shaky, Mafi’s voice was there to rescue it, strong enough to carry everything asked of it. Given that, I was curious how Mafi would handle teen romance. Expanse is about Shirin, a bright, sarcastic, nearly-mute, Iranian, Muslim girl whose family moves constantly, so Shirin never puts down any roots or tries to talk to anyone at school. It would be pointless. Until this year. It’s just after 9/11, Shirin’s having to navigate alllll the hate that – if you remember – was even more terrifying and devastating than ever before. Shirin and her brother also start a breakdancing club at school. I loved that Mafi was breaking stereotypes by letting a strong female lead enjoy an activity we typically see associated with men. Mafi drew on her past experiences to do so, and I loved the social commentary bit…but the actual talking about breakdancing was a little boring for me. It either needed to be the entire focal point of the book and just go there, or else the technical aspects needed to be trimmed. Otherwise, a very strong showing. 4 of 5 stars.

Call Me Zebra, by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (2018, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 pages, Digital, Tournament of Books finalist). Ohhhhh I so much don’t even want to talk about this book. Zebra has lost every around her, but that doesn’t matter anyway (hmpf!) because she’s a booklovin’ atheist anarchist on a mission to retrace the journey from Iran to the states that she and her dad took waaaaaay back in her childhood. (Pretty hand, huh?)  Dude = there was so much philosophical bullsheep that I couldn’t even barely make it halfway. This book was WAYYYY NIOT my cuppa. So I’m putting that out there. 2 of 5 stars – I could tell there were flashes of brilliance (probably more than a few) even if it wasn’t my thing.

My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018, Doubleday, 226 pages, Hardcover library loan, Tournament of Books finalist). This book is hot, hot, hot right now and I’m so glad it made the cut for the ToB, even if it’s as this year’s Hot YA Book That Will Make Us All Think. My Sister is about two sisters, Korede (our narrator) and Ayoola, the title character. Korede feels like she’s the smart, ugly sister who is constantly bailing out her beautiful, dumb sister – I mean, she has had to help her sister cleanup after quite a few messes. Even though My Sister is a slim book, it packs a wallop, and I thoroughly enjoyed unpacking everything Braithwaite had to say about sisters – these two, and others. I mean, look at the title – even there, one can’t exist without the other: Korede is unnamed, only seen because she’s claiming her sister, but she gives her sister the big lights as subject and object. It’s glorious! The rest of the book is like that, quick little jabs in short chapters you’ll swallow whole – all the way to the sucker punch ending! 4 of 5 stars.

Census, by Jesse Ball (2018, Echo, 241 pages, Digital loan, Tournament of Books finalist). I have to be straight with you: I hate Jesse Ball. I hate him so much that I thought I would need to leave this book for last – that kind of hatred and judging the book by its author. But let me tell you this, too – I’m glad I read it, Census, because it was actually a really good book! It tells the story of a father who has found out he is dying. His wife has already passed. And he has a son he loves fiercely, a son with Down Syndrome. Clearly the only answer is to help the government take roll call. Adventures throughout England’s gorgeous countryside ensue, and if you don’t need tissues, knowing how everything will wrap up, well…you have a sterner constitution than I.  3 of 5 stars.

That’s all for this week! Have you read any other Tournament of Books finalists? I’ve also read The Parking Lot Attendant (3 1/2 of 5 stars) A Terrible Country (2 of 5 stars), and America Is Not the Heart (2 of 5 stars). I’m still looking for that one book… Every year the ToB gives me one book that surprises me and I fall in lurrrve!!! That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m patient. (Crazy idea, I know.) Give me your recs!

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The Return to StitchFix!

January 29, 2019

As a reward for sticking to my plan and putting in the work to make myself (and my family) better, I gifted myself with the return of StitchFix!

It’s been a minute since I last used Stitch, and I didn’t really have any specific needs or goals. I just asked them to make me pretty, Lawd! Here are the results:

img_6807Cranberry pants! Oh, just kill me with the 90s color scheme. Actually, I didn’t mind the cranberry so much. I wasn’t crazy about the seams randomly all up and down my legs. But they were subtle(ish) enough for me to wear these to work.

And I did ask for some colored pants to help make me be less blah and more poppin’!

So while I like the style of these pants…

They didn’t fit. The waist and the seat area (in the front, too) were wicked baggy. The ankles were tapered and the right length. Everything else was too big. Alas.

The cranberry pants will be featured in many of the other pictures. Like they will be with our next contestants! Come on down!….

The grey striped short-sleeved shirt I love! I don’t like that I love yet another something that’s neutral-colored. But it’s meant to go with the cranberry pants, and it goes with just about ALL of my other pants and skirts. So there’s that. It’s wicked soft. And I love that the sleeves are peek-a-boo! I don’t know if you can really see in that pic, but I love them! So this shirt is a keeper.

The hunter green blouse on the other hand… There are those 90s colors again. And hunter green? As much as I loved it the first time around, now not so much. In fact, I told my stylist no hunter green colors at all. I didn’t even know I had to specify that color til it showed up! Color aside, I also wasn’t keen on the “stuffiness” of the blouse. The sheer material was okay, I guess, you can’t really tell. But the fact that the collar is about choking me – nope. And the pleats down the front from the tight collar, nope too. So no, not a keeper. Thank you, next.

Ohmygosh that pattern!!! I mean – !!!!! I loved it so hard, with the pinks and whites and muted peaches, all up against that black! Shirt dresses are so hit-or-miss with me, and this one was a miss, ultimately. The material was just a bit stiff and that was the factor that tipped us over. I needed the material to be just a little slinkier to fall better when I cinched the belt. It looks great from the front when I have my hands at my waist. But when my hands are down – total frumpy bloat box. I nearly cried when I had to say no. Womp wah.

One last item…

img_6811I’m sure you’ve seen the necklace in many of the pictures of my outfits that you’ve already seen.

When I unboxed it, I wasn’t a fan. It feels pretty cheap, and the gold was too bright. AND I don’t typically mix silver and gold together.

But it looks wicked cute with the shirts and dress I tried on. It dressed up even the stripey shirt I like so dang much! It hung and showed well with the outfits I tried on, so I decided to go ahead and keep it.

When you think about it, with my styling fee, it’s like my free item!

So there you have it – my first Stitch since I’ve come back. I know I only kept two items, but that’s pretty good for my first outing, I think. And I gave my stylist a lot of good feedback so she should have a good idea of what I like and definitely what I don’t! Ha!

Now if we could just get the weather to cooperate so I could wear my new shirt and necklace, that would be amazing! You hear me, Weather Gods?!

Quote of the day.

January 28, 2019

Ooh, that Bee-girl! She’s at it again, leaving me in stitches!

Setting the scene: We had Christmas late, as I might have mentioned. And during said Christmas, I received this llama mug from the girls…

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Isn’t it awesome?! Okay, so there we go. Annnnd scene.

Me: Man, I really don’t want to put away this mug with our Christmas stuff. Girls, what do you think – is this a Christmas mug, or an everyday mug?

Girls: An EVERYDAY mug!!!!

Me: Are you sure? There’s a lot of snow in this picture. That makes it Christmas-y. Especially here. (Sad panda. Er…llama.)

Bee: Well, you could say those snowflakes are just paint splatters! ….Or blood.

While I’m dying of laughter (BWAH HA HA HAHAHA HA!  Blood??!! Seriously, girl?! Too much!!), Gracie finishes perfectly with…

Gracie: Dexter would approve.

She is too much! They both are. And they’re mine, all mine, so just stay away. Good gravy.

Well, me and my, um, MurderLlama are going to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Have a great Monday, everyone!

Damage (good damage! baseball damage!) done.

October 29, 2018

BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet baby jeebus, you did it! And in short order, too. I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night. (Well. Ish.)

It was beautiful. And I needed something beautiful. I needed happy smiles and goofy-ass grown men dogpiling all over my TV.

This morning I worked my smelly, hasn’t-been-washed-since-the-post-season Sox shirt into my dressy work suit for our Big Fall Muckity Muck Meeting, and tried to class it up with fancy earrings as best I could.

SoxWin

I stopped for Dunks and ordered a coffee regaluh. (And, sigh, yes, then I had to explain what that was. God bless.)

Dunks

And this week with its full moon and the Big Fall MMM at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed will be…whatever it is. But the thing is…I’m feeling nothing but joy!

My boys won, danced, and repeated right up to the evah-lovin’ end.

I am joyful, Boston.

And that is wicked awesome.

She’s creating.

August 11, 2018

One of the diversions in which I’ve been immersing myself to help keep away the ghosties is crafting. Book crafting. Ornament crafting. Baby blanket crafting. It’s all good!

And plus I get to rewatch all of Orange Is the New Black before I dive into Season 6. Yassss!

One of the items I’m onto right now is creating a bunch of framed pages with a phrase to pop out and catch your interest. I can pre-make a bunch of pages and then offer choices in frames. That way I can cut back on storage, customize my products, and give my Etsy peeps what they want!

I only have a limited number of books available to craft from, and I need to get my hands on a copy of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I want to do a frame of “I love you more than pie.” Because how sweet is that?!

As far as structure, I’m thinking of something like this:

Resisted

 

You like? I’m taking orders. And ideas for price points. Basically I’m just having a lot of fun with my Saturday nights. Everyone be jealous!! Ha!

Remember that time there was a Chocolate Cuppa-cake Truck?

July 11, 2018

When you’re soooooooo close, but still missed it by a mile…

TwinkieFunko

(Yes, this is the depth at which my brain is operating. Because sometimes shallow is deeper than me.)

Those tiny moments.

April 23, 2018

With an incredibly hectic schedule during the days, and with crazy schedules frequently at night with the school year winding down and concerts and field trips cluttering up my dayplanner, the moments I cherish are the quiet ones home with my girls.

I had to be in place early this morning, so the girls stayed with their dad for an extra night. I miss them so much after they’re gone all weekend. One extra night makes it so much harder, for some reason.

Soooooo, tonight there’s a game plan. No, literally – we’re going to play card games and order pizza and just chill out on the couch. Gracie-girl mixed five different decks of cards for us, and we are gonna have us an epic game of War. Mwa ha ha ha!!!

Games are afoot, madam. And I cannot wait to relax with my chicas and enjoy them!

A tale of two girls.

January 23, 2018

You may have heard: I broke my foot.

With significant (snort) injuries such as these, the best you can do is follow the doctor’s orders, wear das boot when you must go out, elevate, ice, and rest, rest, rest. (Even if your heart wants to run, run, run.)

It helps when your girls are kinda, sorta really frickin’ awesome and do so much for you that you break down in tears a time or two. The teen and tween years might break me, but in between the moments (and LAWD do we have moments), there are times when your thirteen-year-old empties, fills, and empties the dishwasher unasked, and surprises you by cleaning out and completely reorganizing the walk-in pantry. And your eleven-year-old, she does washes, dries, folds, and distributes five loads of laundry over the course of a weekend.

With all of that unprompted work, you know there had to be a little rest involved. Doctor’s orders, remember?

Here’s where my girlie-girls diverged on the path in the yellow wood.

Gracie-girl and I…well…we may or may not have watched coughcough:eleven:coughcough hours of Bondi Beach Rescue on Netflix over the course of a lazy Sunday. Beautiful, bronzed lifeguards with Australian accents and not a plot in the world to try and follow? Sometimes that’s just what you need, baby! I don’t think my foot lifted from its feathery pillowed perch twice all afternoon. We giggled, we bantered, we were utterly ridiculous trying to keep names straight and pretend we weren’t hoping for broken backs and gory shark attacks – I’m not even going to sugar-coat our pathetic selves. Pure, mindless fun!

And the Bee-meister…well, she may be finally succumbing to crushes and batting her eyelashes at the men-folk and the lovely ladies, but that chica of mine will let her silly sister and eye-rolling mama watch all the fluff she wants. And when she’s stored up enough points, she’s going to cash them in – by asking to watch It. Yes, even if it means having a sleepover because she knows I’ll get scared. And even if it means an entire week of them because she knows that’s an excellent way to communicate how desperately she wants to watch something, anything else…especially if it’s scary and delicious and spine-tinglingly full of plot and cinematography. “It’s like watching comic books, Mom!” she says to me. And I can’t say she’s wrong!

I didn’t give in to Bee – the girl is brilliant, but she needs to be smarter than asking me at 9:42 p.m. on the night before school week starts again. We settled for watching the trailer – she hadn’t even seen that – and my little smooshie faced twinkle-star [don’t tell her I called her that out loud] hid her face behind a pillow for half of it. I promised we would watch it – It – for our next movie night. Gracie squealed and objected and created lists of counter-arguments, but after ELEVEN hours of Bondi Beach, I wasn’t overly concerned that she was outvoted.

Two very different young ladies, two very different tastes in television, two very different ways of making sure their mama was well cared for, well rested, and well on her way to recovery.

How lucky am I?

30 Days of #Readathon: Best.

October 1, 2017

It’s Sunday night, and you know what’s a good way to put off going to work tomorrow? Talking about the Readathon! As you might have heard, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is celebrating 10 years of readathoning excellence, and to get us all worked up to read all night, Dewey’s fantastic hosts have decided to launch a “30 Days of Readathon” countdown. Each day has a theme; you get to decide how to tackle each theme. You can post blogs, snap pictures, record videos, host podcasts – you do you! The how is up to you. The what is books, obviously. Why? Because BOOKS!

There are 20 days left before our #Readathon kicks off, which means today’s theme is “Best.” Best what? I decided to re-post a picture from October 2014, one of the best Readathon hauls I ever prepped. I borrowed nearly thirty books from the library, just to be sure I had what I needed when the mood struck. (And, yes, I read or perused most of them!)

IMG_5310

It also counts as one of the craziest prepper moments, too! Ha!

What are some of the best moments from your Readathon-er past? Have you ever done anything totally off-the-charts insane?

Anticipation.

July 12, 2017

“Why are you smiling?” Gracie asked. Barely asked – it was very early this morning and we were driving from our house to her dad’s, so I could drop them off before I continued on to work. Verrrrry early for smiling.

“Because I was thinking of how my hands just moved on the steering wheel, and how it was like I just handed someone some toll money. And how very soon I will be home and my sisters and I will over such silly things as tolls.” [But not in Mass – they just did away with human toll takers.]

It’s true. We’ll laugh about the silliest things. Me and Kim and Rhi and the girls and Liza and Hillary and everyone else. At godawfulearly in the morning and hilariouslylate at night.

Sixteen more sleeps!