My NOT So Reading Life

I swore, SWORE I would not allow a slump to hit me and it has. Not fully, but sort of. First off, this time of year is difficult. I’ve been given a rather large project and the deadline for said project is the end of the year, but I am taking a lot of time off at the end of the year so really that only gives me a good ten days to get it done. I’ve made progress though so there is hope but my mind is a little scattered lately which makes reading difficult.

Speaking of reading, this book I am reading is good, but I don’t want to read it! It’s The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. In theory, there is really nothing wrong with it but for whatever reason I am not eager to pick it up. It’s a library book that I have already renewed once but it’s messed up my 2-3 at-a-time book reading. I do have King’s Revival to keep me company, but I am reading that one slowly on purpose so that I can comment along with the other read-alongers.

I also have some health stuff going on. Not serious, as least I don’t consider it to be serious but my iron levels are at an all-time low. No one can figure out why and now my gluten-free diet doesn’t seem to be helping me anymore and I am not sure why. It’s made me tired and grumpy. Not good for the reading mojo.

My action plan? I am going to ditch the one book because it’s really screwing with me. I have recently gotten some really good ones, like The Rosie Effect and I’ve Give You The Sun and Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania. They all sound so good.

I go to the doc on Friday so we’ll see what he has to say about all of my other stuff. If I eat nothing, I feel good but I can’t eat nothing forever.

Anyway, thought I’d check in so that you didn’t think I fell off the planet or something.

This time of a year is a challenge for a lot of you, what do you find challenging right now?

Sunday Matters: Clearing House

Sunday Matters

It’s been an interesting week. The Teen is driving. He took his first lesson and he’s been driving all over the place with us. He’s not bad. Better than I expected him to be. I told him that if a zombie apocalypse should overtake us, he can at least drive us out of it. Progress.

I’ve been working on a project at work and it’s coming together. It taps my creative side so it’s nice to use that part of my brain. However, my eyes! All that close computer work is really getting to my eyes which affects my reading, to a degree. I just load-up on eye drops and tough it out because let’s face it, the act of reading must continue or I’ll lose my mind. It’s my only break in the day.

Right Now:

As I sit here enjoying my first cup of coffee, I am pondering my house and all the stuff in it. TOO MUCH STUFF. Which is why we ended up in debt, no sense trying to hide it. I used to buy stuff all the time, especially when the kids were younger. That stopped years ago when furloughs hit and my husband’s business started to tank. I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Mostly, that I am happiest when I don’t have a lot of stuff. Sitting here, warm, under a blanket with  my family around me is really what makes me happy. Not the stuff that I’ve accumulated throughout my life.

Live Simply

Source: Pinterest

I hate clutter. Hate it with a passion so I am always tossing stuff out but I am thinking there is a lot more than can go. Especially since I’ve come to terms with it all and accepted that I will never be a “spender” again. I see all of the waste and it makes me physically ill. After church today, I plan to go through the garage to see what can go. It’s not all that relaxing but it makes for a satisfying day.

Also, if any of you struggle with simplifying, like I do, check out this awesome post on how to become ‘unbusy’.

This Week:

Not a whole lot going on this week. Same old rehearsal stuff but no extra meetings or anything that I know of. I guess I will be picking up a few things in preparation of Thanksgiving. The Girl wants to pick out another puzzle to do that day. We sucked when we tried to do the last puzzle. It was a Titanic theme, so cool, but it was all blue and dark and there were too many pieces, it was too large and the pieces were too small. I kept having to get up close to it to see it and that was a major pain. The eyes. Them again. They betray me these days.

What else? I have a door that needs painting. Exciting, huh?

Reading:

A group of us are reading Stephen King’s Revival for #ReviveMe2014. It is so hard to pace myself when reading this book. It’s not like we have a schedule or anything but usually King’s books have some heft and this one does not. It’s relatively short, for him, so I find myself rationing out bits to myself here and there. I am really liking what I’ve read so far but where is he going with it? It has been advertised as his return to true horror but as of yet, I don’t see it. It’s a good story though. He always tells a good story.

Watching:

I did end up watching Snowpiercer. The first hour totally sucked. Good premise but it was weird and strange and dark and seemed way over the top with some of the acting. One of my friends said she walked out of the theater, it was so bad. That first half was horrible, but the second half was pretty good, or at least I feel it redeemed itself.

American Horror Story continues to be all about Dandy. What a strange character. I find myself loving his Man Child ways. When he loses it, I lose it. I find him so interesting.

The Walking Dead fizzled out a little with the last two episodes but I know how it works. Back story for any of the characters always slows it down but then it picks up again. I am expecting a lot of action tonight.

Still watching a lot of I Love Lucy and yes, Chrisley Knows Best and Kendra On Top. I think I just lost bonus points with you all for admitting it but those shows, along with all their drama is what entertains me at the end of the day.

Making:

After attending the Newhall Old Town holiday lights kick-0ff  last night, I opted to enjoy a cheese tamale and did not go to the market. That means I have nothing in the house to cook. My family abandoned me for church this morning so maybe if I go to an earlier service, I can hit the market on my way home. Still not sure what to make tonight though.

Grateful for:

Very grateful for our beautiful home. It may not be perfect but it’s cozy and with this red-flag wind warning, I am very happy to be inside, nice and warm.

Happy Thought For the Week:

This week I am saying goodbye to the glorification of busy. I know lots of people who thrive on a full calendar but that’s not me. I am going to start blocking out time in my planner that is just for me.

What are you doing this week that is just for you?

Holiday “Creep” and Keeping it Real

Give Thanks

What is it with everyone this year?

Christmas began to creep into stores early October and now it’s full-blown Christmas everywhere you go. I used to love waking up the day after Thanksgiving and seeing the stores transformed into a Christmas wonderland. It signaled the arrival of Christmas and it was so exciting!

This year, I am struggling with it. I love Christmas for a lot of reasons but I love Thanksgiving too and I feel as if it’s getting the shaft big time this year. How do you avoid the holiday “creep”? Or do you? Maybe you just give into it. I feel pressured to start my shopping but you  know what happens when I shop early? I forget how much I’ve gotten and I end up with a lot of extra stuff and really, none of it is needed. Sometimes, I even forget to wrap stuff and find it later! That has happened to me at least three times.

This whole holiday thing has really been on my mind lately. Has it been on yours? When I get  like this, it helps to jot stuff down that makes me happy and I invite you all to join me. I’m grateful for so many things and taking a moment to focus on Thanksgiving keeps it real.

Things to look forward to between now and Thanksgiving:

  • Slowly planning the holiday meal. Usually I make the same things but there are a couple of new dishes that I add to mix it up a little. This recipe, was a new dish that I tried when I went gluten-free and it became a staple.
  • Time off! I am taking the week of Thanksgiving off. I try to every year, but this year with all of the job changes at work, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. I’m looking forward to the time off.
  • Coming up with my Thanksgiving reading list. I’ve got the week off, I must have stuff to read. I don’t always stick to the list but it’s fun to make one.
  • Sitting down with my December calendar and having a come to Jesus moment. Mapping out December can be a little stressful for some, but I take comfort in knowing what I’ve got coming up. I geek out when it comes to my planner.
  • If the weather cools down, it will be nice to take some walks with the Otter Pup. It’s been warm so I’ve left that job to The Hub but as the decorations go up, it’s fun to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Coming up with my holiday playlist. For both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I tend to not listen to music all that often. Weird, but around the holidays I really like it.
  • Movie watching! I watch a lot of movies this time of year. A must-watch movie: A Miracle on 34th Street (1947). It puts me in the mood for Christmas. We usually watch it on Thanksgiving day.
  • Spending Thanksgiving day with my immediate family which is just the four of us and the pup. We lounge around in our pajamas, eat and eat and just enjoy each other’s company. I cherish this time together.

Your turn! What are you looking forward to between now and Thanksgiving?

 

Sunday Matters: Countdown to Thanksgiving (I think)

Sunday Matters

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it so. I’ve been thinking about the meal and our day-long pajama party. What could be better? The fact that Christmas has been pushed upon us so soon, really gets to me! Just a few years ago, you’d wake up the day after Thanksgiving and everything would be transformed and you’d be anxious for Christmas. Not now. Sigh.

Of course, time seems to be flying by too. Tuesday, The Teen takes his first in-car driving lesson. He’s also looking at colleges. I think The Girl has skipped over the Tween stage and gone right into Teen. She’s been a real treasure lately. Smirk.

Last night we hit the ice rink. Everyone was bundled up in coats and scarves which was funny given it was close to ninety degrees yesterday. Us West Coasters try really hard to create seasons for ourselves but it’s not working out that great.

The first shot is The Teen and his girlfriend. The second is The Girl and her friend, The Girl is on the right.

Ice Rink

Right Now:

Sitting here with a cup of coffee as the rest of the house sleeps. It’s a beautiful day and yes…sunny!

This Week:

Driving lessons, Annie rehearsals and some doctor stuff.

Reading:

  • Driftwood by Elizabeth Sutton (REALLY enjoying this one)
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (at a suburban BBQ a man slaps a child who is not his own. Drama!)

Watching:

The same two shows that I always watch, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead. Both happen to be really good this season. I saw that Snowpiercer is on Netflix instant view. I’d love to sneak that one in today,

Making:

Even though it’s warm out, I am craving chicken noodle soup. Yes. NOODLES. I’ll use gluten-free ones which won’t quite be the same but so be it. When you’ve got a craving, you gotta satisfy it. I think biscuits are called for as well. Mmmmm.

MS soup

Grateful for:

I am grateful that I am able to take a good chunk of time off for the holidays. I’ve got Tuesday off for Veteran’s Day but I will be taking Thanksgiving week off and a couple of weeks around Christmas. I LOVE and need this time off.

Happy Thought For the Week:

Stephen King’s new book comes out on Tuesday. Revival is said to be his return to TRUE horror and of course I am hosting a read along for it. If you want to read it with us, you can check out the details here:

ReviveMe 2014

 

What are you grateful for today?

Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
By Robin Sloan
(Picador, Paperback, 9781250037756, September 2013, 304pp.)

The Short of It:

At the intersection of high-tech gadgetry and old school methods, you’ll find Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

The Rest of It:

This is one of those rare instances where I went into a book without knowing a thing about it. I mean, I knew nothing. I figured from the title that it would be about a bookstore and it is, but we are not talking dusty bookshelves filled with the classics. This bookstore operates 24-hours a day, is run by a quirky little man named Mr. Penumbra and things gets interesting when the new guy working the graveyard shift, Clay Jannon, discovers that along with regular books, they lend out special books that happen to be written in a secret code.

Clay’s web designer background leads him to delve deeper into the store’s database and when he meets Kat Potente, a data visualization specialist for Google, the two attempt to decipher the code and figure out the puzzle. To complicate matters, Clay and Kat realize that they are not the only ones trying to decipher the text, a secret society called the Unbroken Spine is also attempting to solve the mystery and then Mr. Penumbra goes missing leaving Clay and Kat to wonder what this is all about.

This story is a wondrous mix of old verses new. Tech-lovers will be dazzled by the Google references, the high-end book scanners and the time spent at Google headquarters, Kat’s place of employment. Others will be fascinated by the Unbroken Spine and their rigorous research methods. Or, you might find yourself somewhere in the middle. Either way, Sloan tells a good story. There’s a lot of action and just enough nerdy goodness to wrap your brain around. There’s also quite a bit of humor which I tend to appreciate in a novel when it’s handled well, as it is here.

There are definitely two types of people in this novel, the types who cannot live without technology and the types who cannot live with it, but I hazard to guess that Sloan falls somewhere in the middle because neither side is really played-up to be better than the other. That can be argued if you take the epilogue into account, where everything is summed up nicely and tied with a bow but I was okay with it.

This is a really fun read. There’s something for everyone but don’t expect it to be a traditional bookstore story because it is definitely not that.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: Finally, a Fall Weekend with Clouds and Everything!

Sunday Matters

How was everyone’s Halloween? Ours was great. We had quite a bit of candy left over because guess what…it rained! Yes! Not much, but it was cold and breezy and a little wet out there so I think a lot of families opted to stay home. The Girl had her friend over and The Teen had his girlfriend over and it was a really nice time. We watched The Tingler and The Teen and his girlfriend watched Psycho. Pumpkins were carved, seeds were roasted and plenty of candy was munched. All in all, a good night.

Right Now:

At this moment, I am looking forward to my first cup of coffee. A little dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and I am good. Oh, can’t forget the cream. After coffee and a quick bite, we are off to church which I am really looking forward to. The series we are in right now is on family and how it’s not always perfect. The timing of this series could not be better. The holidays are coming up and there are some issues with my side of the family that tend to bring me down. They are out of my control but I can’t help it.

This Week:

Not much going on this week. There are a few rehearsals and book club but I think that’s it. I went to the mall yesterday and it FELT like the holidays were right around the corner. Honestly, if the kids were not with me I would have picked up a few gifts but they were, so I didn’t. This week, I am going to think about my strategy for this holiday season. I really want to tone down the commercial aspect and focus on family.

Reading:

I haven’t started anything new. I am still in the middle of several books. I really want to start The Rosie Effect though. I may, but only if I can make a little more progress in my one reading club book, Five Days at Memorial. My club meets to discuss it this week so I really need to finish it.

Watching:

As I mentioned above, I finally watched The Tingler, a classic horror movie starring Vincent Price. It was good and campy. With the weather the way it’s been, cloudy and cool, I’ve been getting my Lucy fix and watching back-to-back episodes. I DID manage to watch Halloween and Halloween II as well, I love those movies.

The Walking Dead is on tonight so I will for sure be watching that. A word about last week’s episode of American Horror Story, so sad. I almost shed a tear!

Making:

Not sure yet. The Teen made pumpkin bread. Yep, The Teen! He really gets into Fall. Last night I made a chicken stir-fry for dinner but tonight? I really don’t know what we are in the mood for yet.

Grateful for:

This week, I am really grateful that my immediate family is healthy. I battle health issues related to Lupus but I have been pretty good lately. Recently, The Teen heard about a friend with some health issues and my parents have a lot of health issues and it’s just scary to think how fragile we are. You don’t think about it often and honestly, who wants to dwell on it? But as I get older, so does everyone around me. So for today, I am grateful for the health of my family.

Happy Thought For the Week:

My happy thought has to do with a book that will be out soon. Sign-up to read it with me!

ReviveMe 2014
What are you up to today?

 

Announcing the “Revival” Read Along!

ReviveMe2014

When King releases a new book, you pay attention. I  know when he released Mr. Mercedes a few months ago, folks who didn’t even read King picked it up and were pleasantly surprised at the story telling contain within. He is quite the story teller and that is the one thing I say over and over again to readers who are afraid to read his stuff. Granted, some of his stuff can be terrifying (IT, comes to mind) but many of his books are good stories and memorable characters. Good versus evil. I love it.

This year, fans get to gush over another book release! Revival hits the shelves on November 11th and I am SO there. Just in time for my holiday reading. I love to read something really good over Thanksgiving break and the anticipation of a big release is almost too much for me! Do I buy the Kindle version? The hard copy? Both? Ah, decisions.

The only thing better is getting to read it with others. Wanna join me?

Details:

-The read along begins on November 11, 2014 (release day!) and ends on November 30, 2014. Take longer if you need to but it’s Uncle Stevie! Chances are we will finish early.

-This read along will take place mostly on Twitter using the hashtag #ReviveMe2014. Use the hashtag to share your thoughts while reading. Search for that hashtag on Twitter to see what readers are saying.

-Since most of us have to buy the book on release day, this will be a “fly by the seat of your pants” read along without any structure! Just read, comment if you feel the need and enjoy it! A lot of us did this informally with Mr. Mercedes and it was fun to catch people on Twitter talking about the book.

Are you in? A good resource for you is this site! It’s his return to true horror. Be ready for it.

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