Wait , what was I doing again?

So far, this has not been a productive week for me. The Saturday track meets are fun but they take up my “to-do” day. I usually spend Saturdays cleaning and or shopping but none of that happens on track meet day so then it gets shoved into the open spaces during the week.

I end up with strange lunch combinations since the pantry is in need of supplies.

My family ends up with mismatched clothes because I am unable to do ALL of the laundry and end up doing only half at a time. Which means that the perfect outfit is ruined (ask my daughter) because I did not wash said pants and top together at once.

The Otter Pup does not have her favorite treats and therefore, barfed on my pillow.

With no Saturday to do stuff and my evenings filled with other activities, I have no time to get my own stuff in order. As of last week I was doing okay on the reading front but this one book put a halt to my reading. Not because it’s bad. I was enjoying it but the pace slowed down and now I have completely lost interest in it. It’s horrible when this happens because it’s ruined me for other books.

When I do have time to do anything, I sit down and completely forget what it was I had planned to do.

Two more track events for The Girl, and two weeks of pre-show prep for The Teen’s high school play and then hopefully things will slow down a little. But, did I tell you that The Girl signed up to do GREASE this summer?

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in so you didn’t think I fell off the planet.

 

The Sunday Salon: An Easter Hello

Sunday Salon

Hello all. How’ve you all been?

It’s been busy around here. Mostly, good stuff but with nightly activities and the spring break that came up  out of nowhere, I felt as if I was Fred Flintstone in his floorless car, running  just to keep up.

A few updates. I had some health stuff going on and the biopsy came back NORMAL. I was very relieved to get those results. I really started to think about what I’d do if they came back abnormal. Not a fun topic of discussion right before vacation so it was a huge relief that the news came in right before I left. Thank you for the prayers and support.

I also alluded to stuff going on at work. I have been known to feel a re-org coming on and sure enough, I returned from break and it happened. The details are not solid yet but my job, it-is-a-changing. Again. Wish me luck with that.

Oh and one other thing, one BIG thing. I got baptized this past Friday! Let’s just say that as a child, my childhood was less than ideal. I had guardian angels along the way that steered me in the right direction so I always felt a spiritual connection but could never find a church that I felt comfortable going to. About a year ago, we went to a special service that a local church was holding and for the next couple of months we’d either watch the service online or go every once in awhile. It’s not traditional. There’s music and lights and a coffee shop, but the Pastor really clicked with us and although the message is what you’d expect to get in church, it’s delivered in a comfortable, friendly way.

On Good Friday, my family and I decided to take the plunge and participate in the baptism celebration. It was SO not me. Cameras, lights and lots of people cheering us on. I was so embarrassed but at the same time, very happy to have finally found a church that we love.

Here we are, freshly dunked! The Hub was getting the car but he participated too.  It’s a horrible pic of me, but you all know me so I know you will forgive the matted hair and the lack of make-up which seemed to disappear once dunked. Not pretty but that’s okay. 

Just baptized!

Just baptized!!

In case you are wondering, The Teen did not participate but he went with us. He has been going to the Mormon church and although I had hoped that he’d join us, he decided not to. Religion is a very personal thing, and I don’t like it to be jammed down my throat so I am letting him take this journey on his own. As a mom, there are lots of decisions I have had to make recently that have been difficult, but knowing my own struggle with religion, his choice of religion should not be one of them.

I was so worried about stupid stuff like the temperature of the water and looking like a dork once dunked but with everyone cheering you on, you stand there dripping wet, but happy. I thought The Girl would get scared last-minute but nope, she wanted to be first!

So, that was my excitement this past week. Yesterday , The Girl had a track meet. It was held on a really old, dirt track and none of the kids knew how to run on it. Out by us, all of the tracks are turf so The Girl struggled a little with her times, but still enjoyed herself. We then had her best friend over for dinner and a sleepover. It was a fun night. They colored eggs and got barked at by the Otter Pup.

The Teen had to work the prom last night so he’s not up yet. I suspect he’ll sleep right into the afternoon.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday:

Chatsworth Track Meet

The Girls at the track meet. Mine, is the one in the middle.

Dinner with the Girls

A fun dinner with The Girl and her BFF.

What am I reading?

I am reading A Wild Sheep Chase in bits and pieces. Murakami is always so enjoyable and thought-provoking that I find myself savoring his writing. It’s not a book to blow through quickly. I am also reading The Walking Dead governor books. VERY good. I am in the middle of And The Mountains Echoed, a good story but my interest is waning.

What am I cooking?

I wasn’t going to make anything special but then last minute decided to cook-up a ham. I saw a recipe for a peach & brown sugar glaze and I was craving greens so we’ll have the peach-glazed ham, collard greens, mac & cheese (both gluten-free and non), mashed potatoes, carrots and rolls. I picked up a peach pie for the Fam and then I got a creme brûlée for myself. Yum.

What am I watching?

I’ve been watching Chrisley Knows Best. Have you seen that show?? It’s crazy but I can’t stop watching it.

That’s my week and weekend. I am helping myself to another cup of coffee and then hopefully I can take a nap later. What’s your plan for today? I am glad I went to church on Friday because I am dragging this morning.

Cover Lust

New Murakami Covers

I am shaking my head because this is so unfair.

I finally, FINALLY own all of Murakami’s novels in paperback and what happens?? They come out with these awesome new covers.

If you look closely, the images on the cover contain clues:

The Elephant Vanishes

See how that center image resembles an elephant’s trunk? Clever, huh?

I. Need. These.

Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now
The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares
(Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 9780385736800, April 8, 2014, 256pp.)

The Short of It:

Every now and then, I reach for something just because I know it will be a quick, fun read. The Here and Now, was that book.

The Rest of It:

Prenna James, born into a world riddled by plague, leaves the 2080′s with her mother and a group of time travelers in order to escape what the world has become. They travel to the present day, where she must mingle with other teens, assimilate, or risk losing everything.

This was a super quick read and if you like time travel, reading this will be a nice way to spend the afternoon. It felt very YA, and I believe it is categorized as such but I still enjoyed it. Some of the story was a little predictable and convenient, but overall it was what it promised to be. I would have liked more of the 2080′s, to get a real feel for what she was escaping from but that is the fatalist in me talking. I love a world riddled by catastrophe so of course I wanted to spend a little more time there.

I could see my daughter reading this and she is only ten so that should give you an idea of the reading level. Overall, simple, quick, fun.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review & Tour: Casebook

Casebook
Casebook
By Mona Simpson
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385351416, April 15, 2014, 336pp.)

The Short of It:

A little bit of mystery and a lovable protagonist add a special something to an otherwise familiar story.

The Rest of It:

After his parents split, Miles Adler spends his days eavesdropping on his mathematician mother, Irene. Although his father visits frequently and Irene is still good friends with him, Miles fears that she’s lonely and a little depressed. When she meets Eli Lee, Miles sees a different side to his mom, a happy side. Her laughter and the easy breezy way she has about her when Eli is around, makes the days that much easier. But when Miles begins to suspect that Eli is too good to be true, he employs the help of his best friend Hector, to find out the truth.

The setting of this novel is both Santa Monica and Pasadena, Ca. Two places very local to me and for that reason alone, I decided to accept this novel for review. It’s fun to read a book and discover that yes, that is exactly how those neighborhoods are and that was absolutely the case here. I love when I can relate to a character through setting.

The setting wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye. I loved the characters, too. Miles, when we first meet him, is an awkward teen. He’s not a ladies man but is okay with it. He hangs out with his best friend Hector, and they spend their days cooking up business deals to make a few bucks. Selling snacks at lunch or providing re-location services for problem pets, Miles and Hector seem to do alright. When Miles begins to suspect that Eli is not being truthful with his mother, Miles and Hector tap her phone and look into Eli’s personal life to get a feel for the kind of guy he is. This is difficult for a couple of reasons, one…that Miles has grown to like Eli, and two…that his mom is so happy around him. Does he really want to know the truth?

I loved this book and was so sorry to see the story end.

Miles is such a sweet kid. Hector, too. I loved their friendship. It really reminded me of my teen years. How all you wanted to do all summer long was hang with your best friend. I spent many summers at my friend’s house, on her floor, gazing at the ceiling or out the window. It was okay to just BE and that’s how it is with Miles and Hector. The added mystery of Eli and who he really is just adds to the story.

As a mystery, it’s pretty tame. But as a coming-of-age story about friendship and family, it hit the ball out of the park. It just hit me in all the right places. It was sweet, funny and reminded me that there is goodness in the world. I highly recommend it.

 

Mona Simpson

Ms. Simpson’s Facebook page.

Ms. Simpson’s TLC tour stops.

TLC Book Tours

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Spring (Break) Reading

Pool Side Gossip

Slim Aarons’ iconic Poolside Gossip as seen on the Glam Pad blog.

We haven’t had much of a winter here in Southern California but it doesn’t quite feel like spring either. It’s a little too cool in the mornings for it to feel like spring, but according to my calendar spring break is right around the corner and that means…

Reading. Movies. Eating.

See that photo above? I love the name of it, Poolside Gossip. I want to be one of those ladies and pretty soon, I’ll have my chance because Palm Desert is one of our destinations. I don’t think it’s very warm there and last week they had one heck of a wind storm but it’s nice to get away.

Part of the fun is choosing which books will go with me. I have a lot of good ones to choose from:

Spring Break Collage

The Martian by Andy Weir
The Painter by Peter Heller
A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Under a Summer Sky by Nan Rossiter
Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Driftwood by Elizabeth Dutton

Never in my wildest dreams will all of these be read but I hope to get to at least two of them. I think two, is a realistic expectation and if I get to more, then that will be the the icing on the cake. That’s how I see it. I never know what mood I will be in while away so I have back-ups to choose from. Plus, I seem to like books about vacations, whenever I am ON vacation. Funny, huh?

Do you have any special reading plans coming up? If you need some reading motivation, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is just around the corner. I haven’t been able to participate properly in a couple of years but it’s always a lot of fun and a good way to go through your shelves and get those books read.

Anyway, off to begin my Friday. Friday at work, but hey… it’s Friday.

Review: Life After Life

Life After Life
Life After Life
By Kate Atkinson
(Reagan Arthur Books, Hardcover, 9780316176484, April 2013, 544pp.)

The Short of It:

Interesting premise and at times, fluid, beautifully written passages but overall, one of the most frustrating reads I’ve read in years.

The Rest of It:

The story begins in 1930. Ursula Todd assassinates Hitler while he is sitting in a cafe in Munich and she dies in the process. Next, the story takes us back to 1910, the night of Ursula’s birth. Due to bad weather, the doctor is unable to attend her birth and the poor girl dies with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her neck. As Atkinson takes us back and forth through time, we see Ursula in various stages of life. Sometimes, she’s a child and ends up drowning in the ocean, other times…she’s older and as readers, we get to spend a little time with her family before tragedy strikes.

But tragedy does strike and over and over again, at that.

I really had a hard time with this one. The writing itself wasn’t bad. In fact, much of it is beautifully written but I didn’t care for Ursula all that much so seeing her die and come back so many times was a bit much for me. Oh, and it was long, which of course felt even longer with all of the back and forth going on.

The one thing that kept me reading is the idea that one small change can affect your life. That aspect of it was interesting to explore but it was ultimately lost within the structure of the novel itself.

My book club is discussing this book later this week. I’m interested in how the discussion will go because I feel as if I’ve spent so much time with it, that I don’t want to spend more time discussing it.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

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

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