It’s a Birthday Kind of Day!

Birthday Girl - Then/Now 2014

It’s been a little quiet on the blog. I took the last couple of days off because my kids are on Fall break AND because today happens to be The Girl’s birthday! She is now an eleven-year-old, phone-toting, gal. Yep! I finally caved and got her a phone.

Yesterday, we tooled around town, had lunch and then came back to watch a movie. Today, The Teen was supposed to have an all-day rehearsal for The 39 Steps but the drama teacher’s kid is not feeling well so he is off today as well. I just made blueberry scones. The Girl just opened up her presents and now we are about to make her cake!

She saw this cake on the Real Girl’s Kitchen:

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/haylie-duff/black-bean-chocolate-cake-with-buttercream-frosting.html

This cake just happens to be gluten-free. We are putting it together now. Later, we are heading out to a steak house for dinner because that is what The Girl wants, and then we will come home to eat the cake! Click on the photo if you’d like the recipe.

That is my day. There might be more movie watching and reading in there too and of course later, the final cast list for Annie comes out. I sure hope she gets a part and that The Teen gets what he wants as well.

Have a good day!

The Sunday Salon: October? Really?

Sunday Salon

October? Really? This is going to be one of those years. The ones where no one in my family gets excited about the holidays. The Teen asked if we could skip the Halloween decorations this year and I thought The Girl would object, but nope…she said nothing. When it’s this warm, it’s hard to break out the holiday stuff and even with the stores cramming it down my throat, the feeling just isn’t there. Sigh.

What am I reading?

I haven’t done any reading this weekend. The Girl had her friend over for a sleepover and my mood lately has been all over the place. I have many books going but I can’t seem to settle on one. I need to just pick one to stick with.

What am I cooking?

Last night we had pizza and today? Who knows? I can’t cook when it’s so hot! I should really be grateful though because with the AC on, it’s quite nice. I hit Trader Joe’s and loaded up on all the seasonal stuff. Spiced cider, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin bread mix and Harvest tea. But do I have stuff for the week? No.

What am I watching?

Yesterday I watched a Doris Day movie, April in Paris. Loved it. Hoping to fit a horror movie in somewhere. I have Monday and Tuesday off. I decided to take them off because the kids are on fall break and Tuesday is The Girl’s birthday.

Right now, we are about to head off to church and then grab smoothies because when you live in Southern California, that is what you do.

What do you have planned for today?

Grab Your Book: Reading Anything Good?

Grab Your Book

FRIDAY! Finally! This has been the longest week ever and all sorts of stuff happened.

The callback list for Annie posted and both kids got a callback. The Teen got called back for Rooster (Tim Curry played him in the movie), which is what he tried out for but sadly, The Girl did not get called back for Annie. Instead, she got a callback for Duffy, one of the other orphans. Both, great roles. We won’t know who made the final cast until Tuesday afternoon but both said their callback went well. The suspense…it kills me.

I got a promotion at work. I never talk work on here but hey, I am happy.

Another thing that happened this week is that my daughter’s teacher enrolled her in a Title 1 program. Now, I don’t know much about Title 1 so maybe you teacher folks can clue me in but I was a little surprised about her being added to this program. She started Kindergarten when she was four, before they changed the cut-off date so every year she lags a bit in the beginning. I hear this repeatedly at the parent conferences but then once she is back into the routine of things, she is okay. However, this teacher, whom I love and was also was the teacher for my son when he was in 6th, said she needs some additional help so of course, this concerns me. Plus, I asked The Girl who else was added to the program and she said, her words, “The new girl who does not speak English.” Oh my. I have a meeting to discuss the program on 10/16. I figure extra math help cannot hurt but it threw me off a little.

These days, I need reading more than anything. Kid stuff, work stuff, you know the drill. Every time I turn on the TV something horrible has happened somewhere. And although my schedule seems more manageable, I find that I am not handling what I have as well as I used to. I suppose it’s just a lack of patience. Why do I have to be here? What’s the point? Tell it to me in three sentences or less. Yeah. I know many of you can relate.

So, why can’t we all just sit down and read and not worry about any of it? That is my question.

I just finished I Am Malala and I have a confession. I had absolutely NO desire to read it but I flew through it in just a couple of sittings and now I am glad I read it. That is why I belong to a book club. Had it not been chosen, I don’t think I would have picked it up on my own.

Just started Something Wicked This Way Comes for the read along Sandy and I are hosting. More of you have decided to join us and we couldn’t be happier. I am liking it quite a bit. It’s very atmospheric. I need ‘atmospheric’ since it’s supposed to be 108 here this weekend and it just does not feel like fall.

I want to also start this one:

The Book of Strange New Things

It’s a chunkster though and I want to be sure I am done with it in time for my Revival read along. Yes! Another Stephen King read along! That will be announced later this month.

What are you all reading?

‘Something Wicked’ Begins Today!

#EnterTheRingmaster

Our group read for Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury begins today! It’s not too late to join us. To sign-up or to see the reading schedule, check out the announcement post. We’ve got an entire month to read this baby and I have to say, from the opening pages I am hooked.

Something Wicked cover

Plus, it also counts for the R.I.P IX challenge which a lot of us are doing as well.

I hope you can join Sandy and I!

The Sunday Salon: What a Week

Sunday Salon

It’s been a rough week. The Girl was sick-ish last week and guess what? Even with my excellent preventative measures, I am a walking petri dish right now. I can’t really figure out how I caught what she had because I hardly ever catch colds but I did. Monday, I knew I was a goner but was in denial and Tuesday was much worse but since I was alone in the office, I figured I’d tough it out and drown myself in cold meds and tea and hope for the best.

I am still sick though. The low-grade fever continues to linger which is not bad enough to make me bed-ridden but just enough to throw me off my game. I can still read but not without a lot of Sudafed. I’d go to the doctor but everyone seems to have this same head cold. There’s nothing that can be done. I just need to let it run its course.

But, the kids got through their first round of auditions for Annie. The callback list comes out Tuesday afternoon. Let’s hope they get to go another round. The Girl was coming off of her head cold, so her voice was a tad scratchy but I think for the most part, she got through it okay.

What am I reading?

I am still reading The Bone Clocks and finishing up Fahrenheit 451, which I started for Banned Books Week. But soon, I will be reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. More details on that below.

What am I cooking?

I am so done cooking! I made five dozen brownies for the choir bake sale and twenty or so fruit loop necklaces. I do have to go to the store later because I think my kids are sick of cereal and I have a tiny craving for Chicken Alfredo.

What am I watching?

I watched an adorable movie that just happened to be on, Definitely, Maybe. It was so darn cute! Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin. Adorable. Not sure what I’ll watch today.

Now for some exciting news.

Read Along Info:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes (hashtag #EnterTheRingmaster) starts this Wednesday, October 1st. Did you find a copy? Did you sign-up? Because there is still time to read this Bradbury classic with Sandy and I.

Something Wicked cover

Here is a little taste of what it’s about:

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmares (Indiebound). 

How can you resist?? Freaky carnival action? I am so there.

Banned Books Week: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

I have been sick all week. Just a bad head cold but bad enough to make me miserable. SO miserable, that when I was in bed and realized that I left my copy of The Bone Clocks downstairs, the mere thought of getting up to get it was too much. So, I looked at my nightstand and I pulled out my old, worn copy of Fahrenheit 451. It is Banned Books Week after all.

Now, I have read this book many times. I think, at least three times but never in my life have I shed tears over the writing. I have been all choked-up while reading it. Published in the early 50’s, this book was way ahead of its time. The world within these pages is just so similar to our world today. The large TV screens (4th wall), the ear shells (ear pods/iPods) and the constant stream of noise that is a part of our daily lives. It’s overwhelming and scary and every night this week I have been staring wide-eyed into its pages and just wondering, what’s next?

In case you haven’t read this classic, it’s about firemen and how their main purpose is to destroy books by burning. In their minds, they’re doing everyone a favor. Too much information is dangerous. I can’t even begin to fathom living in a world like this but take this week as an example, there are school boards out there who have decided to ban books this week! Yes! During Banned Books Week!! How insane is that?

Pretty insane.

Have you read the Bible? The stories in there will curl your toes! Just sayin’.

Anyway, I am enjoying my week with Fahrenheit 451. Maybe the cold meds have a lot to do with how emotional I’ve been while reading it but the passages… oh! Some of the passages are just so lovely and powerful. I want to print them all out and hang them around my house.

Are you reading a banned book this week?

Review: The Way Inn

The Way InnThe Way Inn
By Will Wiles
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062336101, September 2014, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Very strange, often clever but surreal story about a guy and a hotel.

The Rest of It:

What I said above sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? But that’s really what the story is about. Neil Double is a conference surrogate. His job is to attend conferences on your behalf. Why spend money and time to send your employees all over the country for these things, when you can pay one guy to do it for you? That’s Neil. He reminded me a lot of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He’s very precise and wants things to be a certain way and he loves hotels. More than the average person and definitely more than the conference goers who normally attend these events.

This time, he is staying at The Way Inn, which is a hotel chain that he is very familiar with but there is something very strange about this particular hotel. The corridors seem oddly familiar and yet new and every once in awhile, his key card fails to work and it almost seems as if his hotel room appears in two different places. As you can see, it’s a little bit surreal once you get into the meat of the story and I think some readers might be turned off by it. However, I think the cleverness outweighed the other elements and although I did lose a little interest when I realized where the story was going, I still thought it was a pretty clever story idea.

There are some other characters that add interest. The conference head who realizes what Neal is doing and tries to put a stop to it. There is also a strange woman who keeps showing up and Neal is absolutely sure he’s seen her before. So along with the surreal stuff, there is a tiny bit of mystery as well.

Would I recommend it? I would, if you don’t mind a lot of mundane details. You see, I am a little anal and highly sensitive to noise and smells and  lots of other things these days so the highly descriptive parts about the hotel itself were fascinating to me. I can see others being bored by them though. Also, I am not sure the majority of you would buy into the surreal aspect of the story but it was a quick read and I found it entertaining. Just know, that’s it’s clever but may not be for everyone.

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

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