Friday, July 31, 2009

March Upcountry by David Weber and John Ringo

Buy Now!

"March Upcountry" is the first in a series of military sci-fi books by David Weber. Now, while I love science fiction, I generally do not like the more military-orientated books. I'm not into the blood and gore and I don't have the type of mind that enjoys reading the tactics like some other people.

This, however, is one military sci-fi book that I really enjoyed reading. I'll admit I did "skim" over most of the battles, just reading enough to get the important details, but there was much more to the book than simply the fights! There is also a lot of political intrigue, laughter, and great character development.

In "March Upcountry" we meet Roger Ramius Sergei Chiang MacClintock, a foppish prince who is third in line to inherit the throne of man, and no one wants to imagine what would happen if he actually took the throne! His mother, the Empress, decides to send Roger on a mission that keeps him out of danger, and where he won't be able to cause much harm (hopefully). So he heads out with the Bronze Battalion for protection on what should be a simple, if annoying, trip.

Of course, life rarely goes as planned, and the trip is sabotaged, which forces Roger and his troops to land on a harsh planet. No one knows where they are, their resources are limited, and they are going to have to hike across the planet to get to the shuttle port where they will have to fight if they hope to ever get home. Fortunately the Bronze Battalion is made up of an elite fighting force, all of them chosen for their strength as soldiers, and for some of the interesting "other" talents that they often have.

Along the way they face incredible obstacles, and they come with solutions that aren't always what you'd expect. You'll love getting to know the characters in this book! Roger does grow to be more than a worthless fop, and there are many interesting people in the battalion. The armorer in particular will keep you laughing!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Moving - The Grand Adventure

Moving day was yesterday, and it went much better than I had hoped! Tuesday we had packed the almost every last thing, so there wasn't much left to do in that regard on Wednesday morning. Mostly bathroom and last minute kitchen stuff. The "moving team" was supposed to gather at 12:30 so we spent the morning storing up our last bits of energy for the big push. Mo hadn't really been able to fall asleep the night before (he does that) and so he spent the morning asleep on the futon. I did some bead weaving and crochet to keep myself sitting and relaxed.

Around 12:30 the "team" arrived. We didn't have a big team, but it was more than enough. Ruth came, yes, that's my Mother-in-law and we have the same first name. Then we had my brother Gordon, Dad, and Mo. The hardest part for me was staying out of the way while they packed. Ruth started doing some cleaning and I sat and crocheted while the men packed up the vehicles. It was HARD not to be doing anything productive (at least towards the move), but at least I knew everyone understood.

We were all amazed at how much stuff the guys fit into that first load! It amuses me because my Dad is an expert at packing up vehicles with people's stuff, but he hasn't personally moved in over a decade! With him organizing things they stuff the two pickups and our car full to the brim, and we took off to the new apartment.

While the men brought up load after load (we're on the second floor), Ruth and I began to tackle unpacking the kitchen. We had planned it so that the kitchen boxes were the first things over here just so that Ruth and I could start in on that. As far as I'm concerned having my kitchen settled is my first priority in a new place, and it gave me something that I was capable of doing.

Ruth and I made a good team. She'd unpack items and I'd put them where I wanted them. It went much faster than I thought it would! I LOVE my new kitchen. I mean, it's still a dinky apartment kitchen, but I have much better storage than I did in the last one, and everything has it's place. That makes me super happy. I still dream of the day where I'll have a huge ranch-style kitchen, but I'm happy for now.

Ken, my father-in-law, was supposed to join the guys at 3 (after he got off of work) to help with the rest of the heavy stuff. That left us with an hour to kill after the first load was done. Did I mention we had record breaking heat yesterday? We did. So we spent that hour just down the road at Burgerville. It was a nice break. The rest of the group enjoyed nice cold shakes and I had a grilled chicken burger to help get my strength back and level out my blood sugar.

Ruth and I stayed at the new apartment while the guys went for the second load. We finished getting the kitchen settled and then curled up on the two halves of the futon (which was on the floor) and just relaxed and talked with the fan blowing on us. It was so nice!

We got a great surprise when the guys showed up with the second load. Some one else was in the process of moving out and they offered us a cute little love seat! It rocks too - so we're calling it our cuddle rocker. It's perfect. The futon is actually my evil twin's and we're giving it back to her. It fit in our old apartment, but it was going to be a really tight squeeze in the new place, and the cuddle rocker is going to fit much better!

Two loads was all it took to get our stuff moved. We were done by 4 o'clock, even with that long break! Ken helped Mo get the bed set up (the other thing of paramount importance in a move), we had hugs all round, and then his parents took off. Ruth just had gum surgery so she wasn't really up to eating anything yet and joining us for dinner. My brother had already taken off a little bit before, exhausted, so that just left my Dad, Mo, and myself. Mom was getting off work soon so the guys and I headed out to find some placed air conditioned to eat.

Finding a place to have dinner was an adventure in and of itself! We had a few thoughts for most in our mind (after the air conditioning of course), and that was "cheap and close." So first Dad headed to KFC while Mo and I went down to the store to pick up one thing. He called us and informed us that KFC had poor air conditioning, so we switched the plan to Don Taco. Well, we all got to Don Taco and discovered that they were propping the doors open to keep the place cool. Not a good sign. So Mo and I followed Dad to a restaurant he thought he remembered...but that we know suspect he was remembering from 20 years ago... At that point I decided I didn't care if we were driving across town, we were going to head to Shari's (a diner) because we'd all be able to find good food and I knew there was air conditioning!

And that's the grand adventure of our move.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Moving Day!

That's right - I'm moving today! Finally! After a summer of apartment hunting, and then several weeks of packing when my health was good enough, the big day has finally arrived! Our apartment is covered in boxes, my hubby is catching one last nap on the futon (which is on the floor since the frame is disassembled), and I'm enjoying my last few minutes on-line before the insanity begins! Woohoo!

Only sad part about all this? My beads are packed up! *cries* Ok, so I can't complain too much, I have my lovely craft bag packed with a bead weaving project, my cross-stitch, and my crochet :D I'm going to have to be careful to pace myself, so I wanted to make sure I had something to do with my hands when I'm forced to rest.

Seriously though, I will have to be really careful. We're having record breaking heat here right now. I live in the northwest right? We're usually in the 80's this time of year. It's supposed to hit 107 today. So I have to be extra careful to stay hydrated because dehydration triggers my asthma really quickly! I also have high blood pressure issues - and heat is really bad for that!

We did the last of the packing with my Mom last night. We were all working pretty steady - and after the third box I packed I kinda collapsed and fell asleep on the futon. I was apparently all red and blotchy. Moses covered my forehead with a cool cloth and that helped.

So my plan for today is to suck as much water as I can, and sit as often as I can convince myself! I'm not going to be moving any boxes (not allowed to because of my back issues anyway). I'm going to stay at the new apartment with my MIL or Kat (or both) and slowly start unpacking while everyone else does the heavy work.

The internet is going to be connected some time tomorrow. All we know is that it'll be up by 5pm. And by then I may be falling asleep again :P We'll see. So I don't know when you'll see me on-line again. I miss you all already!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik

Buy it Now!

"Victory of Eagles" is book 5 in the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik, and once again your joining me in progress as I read a series! I read the first four books while I was living in Ellensburg last year, and fell in love with the series!

Will Laurance and Temeraire are the heroes of this series. Will finds himself bonding with and raising Temeraire when his egg hatches unexpectedly on an over seas voyage. Will was a mariner, and he never thought he'd be a dragon captain, but that's what he becomes as Temeraire grows.

The series is set during the Napoleonic wars, but it doesn't just take place in Europe. Our two companions also travel to China, Africa, and all over the place! The first four books in the series are; "His Majesty's Dragon," "Throne of Jade," "Black Powder War," and "Empire of Ivory."

I really enjoyed this series because it looks at dragons from a different angle. Well that and I've always loved dragons! This series looks at what the world would look like if dragons were a normal part of life, if they fought by our sides, and formed partnerships with us. Temeraire never looks at things quite the same as a human would, and I love his spin that he puts on things! I highly recommend the series to any dragon lover out there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Updates :)

Here's the latest news :)

Kat's Dad: Latest count is that they've found 3 more broken ribs bringing him to a grand total of 14 broken ribs! I can't even imagine the amount of pain he must be in. They are keeping him in the hospital until Tuesday for sure to give his bruised lungs a chance to heal and to get his oxygen count back up. At this point they've decided not to do surgery on the ribs that broke loose because they think that the healing time naturally will be less than the healing time if they cut him open.

Disability: I received a letter this week saying that I have to go in for a mental evaluation. That's the 11th of next month, so I'm figuring that I won't get any decision back on my case until September at the very earliest. I'm not too worried about the eval. Everyone tells me it's pretty standard procedure. At least, I've convinced myself for now that I'm not worried, we'll see how I feel as we get closer to it!

Moving: We're getting down to the deadline! Wednesday is moving day. Really the only big thing left to pack up is the kitchen - and we can't really do that until right before. I also need to go through the bathroom stuff and figure out what I can get rid of because our new bathroom is tiny compared to the one we have now. So my goal for tomorrow is to work on that. I think the hardest thing will be packing up my beads though. *sniff* Not like they are hard logistically to pack, just emotional :P

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Summer We Didn't Date - part 2

If you didn't see my previous post - this is part 2 of a memoir piece I wrote recently. Part 1 is here.

The Summer We Didn't Date
Part 2

Like I said, I don’t really blame my friends for their confusion. I don’t think I really understood what was going on well enough to explain it very well, and the amount of time we spent together would have made anybody suspicious. Especially the amount of time we spent dancing.
Matt and I made great dance partners. I’m 5’10” and he was 6’2”. At those heights I often found myself with leads who were shorter than me, and he often found him self having to dance bent over so he didn’t break his partners arms. Together however? We fit perfectly. I was also one of the people who could keep up with his random style when he decided to get wacky. Add to that there were a couple of swing dance styles he had taught me that few people in the area knew, and we danced together a lot. I think if he had stayed in the area we may have become official dance partners. We just worked that well together dancing.

Matt is also the first guy I ever really slow danced with. I grew up pretty sheltered, and I had never danced by the time I moved out on my 21st birthday. When I did start dancing (not long after) I preferred to keep a safe distance between me and the guys I danced with. Swing dance doesn’t require a great deal of closeness for the most part anyway, and so there was a good deal of time before my walls broke down.

I think it was inevitable that I did eventually become comfortable with dancing close to my dance partner. It’s hard to avoid in the dance world, and I’m a very touch-orientated person anyway. I did always keep some boundaries though. I never became a skanky dancer and I was always picky about what guys I was willing to dance close to.

The first time I slow danced was a memorable day for many reasons. It was Father’s Day, but both of us had plans to celebrate the day with our Dad’s on a different day for some reason, and Matt suggested we hit up a park in Portland where they’d been holding weekly out door dances for free. So we climbed into Matt’s car and headed into down town Portland.

We had a rudimentary knowledge of where it was that we were going, well, we at least knew the address, and we had a map, so we should have been fine right? Wrong. What we didn’t know was that there was a big parade going on that day, so streets were blocked off, and parking was scarce. It took us 45 minutes to find a parking spot that was even remotely close to our destination. And by remotely close I mean 10 blocks away.

Relieved to finally be walking to the park, we headed off to cross the 10 blocks, neither of us talking much, just determined to get to our destination. Then we hit yet another snag, the parade itself, and what a parade it was! Apparently Portland holds their annual “pride parade” on Father’s day for some unknown reason. What’s a pride parade? Well as far as we could tell it’s a display of pride in sexual freedom of all sorts. The two sights I remember the most vividly were a bunch of toweled guys in a fake shower, and the girl who wasn’t wearing anything up top except a couple of strategic stickers, Matt wanted to know if that was even legal or if she should be arrested for public indecency.

As we stood there, trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the parade, I saw a girl with a basket headed our way. I couldn’t see what was in the basket, but I could see that she was pulling small objects out of the basket and handing them out to people as she made her way along the sidewalk. I did the first thing that came to my mind. I hid behind Matt!

I was really glad I hid too, because it turned out she was handing out condoms. I don’t remember what she said as she passed them out, I just remember watching Matt turn to the guy next to him and say, “Want some extra’s?” And then take off across a gap in the parade like a he was on fire. I quickly followed, dodging the nearest float as it approached, and we walked stiff-backed down the next block, neither of us quite knowing what to do or say. Finally Matt said, “That wasn’t awkward.”

“No, not at all.” I responded.

We were silent the rest of the way to the park.

There weren’t very many people at the dance event, which made sense since it was Father’s Day, and while we did recognize a few dancers, none of them were dancers that we knew very well. I think we started out dancing together, and then got brave and started dancing some with the people that we didn’t know. I do remember that we danced together a lot though, because there weren’t very many options!

Finally, after we’d been there for a good span of time, they started playing some slow music. At this point I pretty much avoided all slow dances. I just didn’t trust most of my dance partners, or my own ability, enough to want to dance that slow and close. It wasn’t something I’d ever made a big deal out of. I had just always found some excuse to back out like saying, “I really need to sit this one out.” Which, come to think of it, most of the guys probably saw right through because one function of slow dances is to let the dancers catch their breath!

I don’t remember what excuse I made when Matt tried to convince me to slow dance with him, just that whatever it was, it didn’t work. Matt was there to dance and he wasn’t taking no for an answer! I tried to protest, but he was so cute as he coaxed me out on the dance floor. Besides, I told myself, this was Matt, and if I couldn’t trust him on a slow dance I could never trust any guy.

At first I was really tense. Even as a dancer I wasn’t quite used to being this close to a guy and it was a total sensory overload, both from his touch and from the smell. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t stink, but he had been sweating, and his “manly smell” was over powering!

To regain my mental balance I began to focus on the music. They were playing a song I knew, “Dancing Cheek to Cheek,” and I focused on humming along and moving to the music until I slowly relaxed and began to melt in Matt’s arms. That dance was magic. I forgot all my inhibitions about dancing close to a guy and just enjoyed the music and our interpretation of it.

It sounds romantic, and I suppose in many ways it was. For that one song I was in love. Not with Matt specifically, but with the music, with the dance, with the moment.

I still can’t hear that song with out thinking of Matt and that summer.

The summer we didn’t date.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Summer We Didn't Date - Part 1

I've been trying to work on my writing skills. It's something I really enjoy doing, and something I want to be better at! Unfortunately my health problems often leave me so mentally exhausted that it can be hard to write coherently and creatively. So I set my goal as having one piece to publish on this blog a month other than my on-going story Aria's Quest. This time I'm breaking away from my typical fantasty format and I wrote a memoir piece.

The Summer We Didn't Date

You’ve heard the classic stories of an idyllic summer spent in romance; well this isn’t one of those. In fact, the best part of this summer was that there were no romantic complications what so ever! Yet it is still one of the best summers in my memory.

Matt and I had been friends for a awhile, and I’m not really sure what changed between us that summer. We’d gotten off to a rocky start years before over some religious differences, but I’d grown as a person since then (I freely admit the problems were my fault), and we’d since gotten to know each other fairly well. The time we spent together was usually in large group settings though. We were both swing dancers and we’d spend hours with our friends dancing, sometimes out in dance halls, other times at parties, and sometimes in just whatever random place the mood hit us.

That summer something changed. I don’t remember any specific event that triggered a change, it just happened. Slowly we started hanging out and doing things together just the two of us. I suppose our schedules were just compatible, we liked many of the same things, and we felt safe together.

We had some crazy adventures that summer. I don’t remember what movies we saw, but I know there were three or four times I’d get a call at some random time (like 9 am on a Monday) saying “Hey, want to go see…” and next thing I’d know it would be just the two of us in the theater watching the latest flick. After all, who else is awake, and not at work, for an 11 o’clock showing on a Monday?

I do remember that we saw the second Matrix movie. That’s the only one I remember and I remember it vividly because there’s a sex scene (that I didn’t know about ahead of time) in it. They weren’t kind with the scene either, no, they wove the sex scene in with a dance scene where something important was going on. So there I was, still a rather sheltered girl, never having seen a sex scene on the big screen before, alone with a guy in the theater, and not having a single clue how to respond!

Another time Matt and I went on a day trip to Seattle. Now I should mention that I grew up in a very sheltered home, so going on a road trip with a guy was a rather shocking concept for my Dad. I went anyway. Dad wasn’t happy, but after all, I was an adult, out on my own, and I knew Matt was a safe guy. Plus it wasn’t like it was an over night trip!

Matt wanted to go to Seattle to check out the university he was applying for. I don’t remember if he didn’t have a car at the time, or if he simply didn’t want to make the trip alone, but I had a friend I could visit in Seattle, and I always loved road trips, so we had decided to go together.
We got up early on Sunday morning to beat the traffic and give us plenty of time up there; it’s a three hour drive after all. I dropped him off to wander around the campus and went to go spend the day with my friend. We met up again, swapped stories, and drove home. But the day didn’t end there. No, it was Sunday, our traditional night to go dancing!

We had planned it all out ahead of time. When we got to town we stopped at his Grandparents house, where he was living at the time, to get food, freshen up, and put on our dancing clothes. I remember being in a small bathroom, changing and putting on deodorant, and catching myself blushing in the mirror as Matt insisted to his Grandparents that I was just a friend, they weren’t allowed to get all excited, and they needed to behave themselves! It was hard to keep a straight face when I came out to eat burritos with everyone else, but I had no clue if he would know that I could hear them through the walls, so I never said a word.

That night we danced into the wee hours of the morning, and then went out for pie at Shari’s with a bunch of our friends, another tradition for our group. I don’t think I dropped him off at his place until around 2:30 in the morning. I remember thinking it was the longest day I’d ever spent with a guy. 6am to 2:30 am. I was exhausted the next day, but I’d had fun, so I didn’t really care. In those days I had lots of energy to spare (and drank lots of caffeine when I didn’t) and I was known for pulling crazy stunts like that.

Like Matt had insisted to his grandparents, we weren’t dating. I know that sounds strange with us going to the movies and taking road trips, but we really weren’t. I’m not sure it’s something we ever consciously discussed, but it was something we both were very aware of. In fact, quite a bit of our time was spent discussing past relationships and current crushes. It was funny, in a way I became Matt’s “wing man” for the summer. Not only did I know every detail he knew about every girl he liked, he would often dance with me to “show off” for them!

I don’t think our friends really understood. I don’t blame them either! They all thought I was crazy. He was a very cute guy after all. At the very least they thought that I should be hurt that he spent so much time with me, but was so obviously interested in other girls. What they didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, was that our friendship was very healing for me.

I’d been through a bad relationship that lasted for years longer than it should have. The details aren’t important now, but I was left with a scarred heart. I didn’t really think I was worth anything, and I didn’t expect to be treated like I was special. I also did not trust my own judgment in guys any more. Not in the slightest. So anything with even a hint of romance to it tended to scare me out of my wits. It didn’t help that around that time most of the guys I did figure out were interested in me were obviously only interested in me on a sexual level, and that was not somewhere I was willing to go.

So Matt was like a safety net for me. I was extremely confident that he wasn’t interested in me, he wasn’t the type to try and get in a girls pants anyway, and I didn’t fit into his “mold” for the type of girl he liked either. At the same time, he was always a gentleman around me. Matt was always a little old fashioned, he could make suspenders look hot, and was the type that opened doors for girls.

Matt always treated me like I was special. I may not have been the one for him, but that didn’t change that I was a special person in his eyes. I can’t even begin to tell you how healing that was! I began to slowly believe again that I was worth being treated like I was someone special. I began to learn to accept it.

Update on my Friends Dad

My friend Kat's Dad had a nasty fall two days ago. The brief news that I got last night was that he was able to stand up briefly yesterday - which is incredible because last I heard he wasn't even able to move! He is going to have to have surgery for his two ribs that are completely snapped off. They didn't know when yet though. My friend Kat is completely exhausted from all of this, quite understandably.

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for your kind words and prayers. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cast in Fury by Michelle Sagara

"Cast in Fury" is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara. Sadly for us, the next book isn't out yet! It's due to come out later this summer though, so hopefully I won't have to long of a wait to get my hands on it, because I love this series! While I'm waiting I've ordered the first book in another series she's written, so we'll see how that goes.

In "Cast in Fury" Kaylin is thrown into a PR nightmare, which is an awkward situation for her considering she's never been known for being the most diplomatic person around. After seeing the Tha'alani go out to face the tidal wave in the last book, the people of the city believe that instead of trying to stop the wave as they were really doing, the Tha'alani were invoking the wave to destroy the city. Now the Imperial Playwright has been ordered to write a play that will help ease the tension.

Unfortunately Rennick, the playwright, really has no clue what the real situation was like, nor does he really have any understanding of the Tha'alani. Kaylin and Severn understand the Tha'alani better than most, and they were directly involved in the situation with the tidal wave, so they've been sent to Rennick as advisers. A job that will not be easy.

To make life even more complicated their beloved Leontine Sargent has been arrested for murder. Worried about the closest person she's ever had to a father, Kaylin begins to investigate, and finds a tangled web that will take all her skill to unravel and stay alive at the same time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Call for Prayer

Hey guys - just reaching out to my friends and asking for prayer for a close friend of mine named Kat. Her Dad fell a really long ways from a ladder today and he's in the hospital. He has 10 fractures - I think all of them ribs. 2 of his ribs are completely broken off and loose. If those don't "settle" by morning they will have to go in and do surgery.

On top of that his lungs are severely bruised. The scans look like he's been smoking 20 years - but he's never touched a cigarette in his life. So they are keeping him doped up and on oxygen. He can't move. The doctors say he's lucky even to be alive.

Just to compound things...

Kat's Dad is self-employed. He and her Mom are divorced and he supports her Mom with child support. So this is going to be really bad financially for both his family and hers.

Please keep Kat's Dad, her families, and Kat in your prayers. She has a medical condition that's caused by stress too, so this is going to be really tough on her physically. Thanks for your support. I'll keep you updated!

Aria's Quest - Getting to Know Joey

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria decided this would be easiest if she found a true believer, someone who already believed in fairies that she could easily converse with, and so the first part of her time in the city was taken up searching for one of those. She's finally found a true believer and now she's getting to know him and trying to figure out how she can help him.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest

Section 4
Getting to Know Each Other
Part 4
Getting to Know Joey

Taking a deep breath Joey started talking, “Well, I’m not really sure where to start telling you about myself. I work here at the church as a janitor, but you already know that. Um, I share an apartment with two other guys from the church, helps keep the rent down you know? I don’t really know either of them really well. They both grew up together and share the master bedroom. I have the smaller bedroom to myself. We don’t hang out to much. They have their own lives and I have mine. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we dislike each other, we’re just different.” Joey explained.

“How are you guys different?” Aria asked.

“I guess in some ways it comes down to where we grew up. They are both city boys, and they love going out clubbing and to the movies and stuff. I don’t mind going out once in awhile, especially to the movies, but I’m more the type who likes to do active things. I love to bike and do pretty much anything that gets me out doors. I also don’t mind doing things on my own and they’re the type that craves company.”

“So you’re not from the city?”

“Nope. I’ve only been here for about a year. Grew up on the edge of a small town.”

“Did you grow up on a farm?” Aria had never actually been to a farm, but she was familiar with the concept.

“We had land, but it wasn’t a farm, even though we always had some animals running around. Cats, dogs, and Ma’s chickens mostly. We had a huge backyard that kinda dissolved into the foot of the mountain behind us. We spent hours playing in the woods and exploring around the mountain.”

“Whose ‘we’? Do you have brothers and sisters?”

Joey got really quite for a minute at this question and Aria was afraid for a minute that she’d said something wrong. “I have a sister. Her name is Molly.”

Aria hesitated before she asked any more questions, she wanted to know more about Molly, but with the look on Joey’s face she wasn’t sure if she should ask. Before she made up her mind Joey spoke again. “Sorry, it’s just, well, we don’t know where she is. Molly came to the city to go to school two years ago. At first we heard from her all the time, and then suddenly her phone calls just stopped. She’d only been here for 6 months. Nobody has heard from her since.”

“Is that why you came to the city?”


Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (no spoilers)

This weekend I went and saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince with my hubby and two of our friends. I had a blast! We went to a local theater called "Cinetopia" where, for a little bit extra, you get leather seats, foot rests, and you can even order food! Mo and I didn't get any food (although we ate our friends leftovers) because it's expensive, but the comfy chairs were really nice. I actually had more energy after the movie than I did before it!

The movie is a really long one, so make sure you take your bathroom breaks BEFORE you go in. Of course if your like me, you might still miss 5 minutes of the movie. What can I say? I drink a lot of water! Helps keep me breathing and feeling good :)

I will also warn you, in case you haven't read the book, that you may need tissues for this one. I only teared up a little at the end, but I probably would have been crying all out if I'd seen it with a bunch of girls and not my hubby. Something about knowing you're about to get teased that helps keep the tears in check...

I think that, over all, they did a really good job with this movie. It's been awhile since I read this particular book in the series (so I'm rereading it right now!), so I can't really be sure how good a job they did on the details, but the over all flow of the movie was really good. I also think they did a great job with the special effects that were used!

Some of my friends are telling me this is the best HP movie that they've done yet. I'm up in the air about that. I'd agree that it was definitely done better than the first couple, but I haven't seen the other movies recently enough to really compare. I seem to remember liking the last one better though. Of course, that could also be me liking that portion of the story in the saga better!

Why do I have an urge to go borrow the entire movie series from my evil twin and re-watch it? Ooo that would drive my hubby nuts! Maybe when we're done moving :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint and illustrated by Charles Vess

Buy it Now!

I was excited to see a children's book by Charles de Lint! He's one of my favorite authors, so I was excited to see him write something in this arena. One more book to add to my "if I ever have kids" list!

"A Circle of Cats" is a fairy story about a little girl who lives in wonder and awe of the world around her, and who always looks for fairies. One day she wanders off and gets lost, and the process, gets bit by a snake. She's dying, and the many cats she's befriend over the years decide to save her in their own way.

This is a very cute story! The illustrations are adorable as well. I highly recommend it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

We have a Moving Date!

We officially have a moving date! We're going to move everything on the 29th...and maybe some on the 30th. I'm so excited! I'm not sure why I'm so excited, but I am :) So I've been busy starting to pack things up whenever I have some spare energy.

It's kinda crazy, because I'm actually not feeling stressed about the move, but I'm guessing my body must be feeling the physical stress because of the way it's reacting with asthma attacks and migraines. That's ok though. None of them have been very severe and I'm still getting lots done :)

I got to go for a walk with my girls yesterday! We might have been crazy for going for a walk in 95 degree weather, but hey, that's us! It was nice and relaxing. I love walking with them because we get to talk our hearts out and I love the girl time!

In other news ... I get to go see Harry Potter tomorrow! I'm so excited! I'll be blogging about it for sure :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Lost Boys - a Movie Review

Who said movie reviews have to be about current movies? I recently re-watched "The Lost Boys," a campy vampire movie made in the late 80's. I love this movie!

Now, unlike many children of the 80's, I didn't grow up with this movie. My parents wouldn't have dreamed of letting me watch a vampire movie when I was little! I did see it a few years ago with my Evil Twin, and I decided that it was time to introduce my brother to this cult classic.

We had a great time watching it. It is definitely very 80's, and we cracked up over some of the hair styles and outfit! It was also strange seeing Kiefer Sutherland looking so young. As far as vampire movie go - it's not exactly that scary - but is a lot of fun!

So if your looking for some fun, blood, and 80's nostalgia, then this is the perfect movie for you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Buy it Now!

I went into the book "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley with a lot of preconceptions. How can I not? Most of us here in America have grown up with the story of Frankenstein as portrayed by Hollywood, whether we've seen the movie or not. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I've seen the entire movie, or if my ideas are pieced together from bits and pieces and things that have made it into other movies.

Well the story was not what I expected, but I still found it very interesting! I had visions of a tall tower, lightening, and villagers at the base of the tower with pitch forks. There is no tall tower, lightening does play a role, and the angry villagers aren't as prevalent in the book as I thought they'd be.

What we do have is a fascinating tale that was written by a girl of 19. 19??? That's right. How many novels do you think have been written by 19 year olds - and have achieved this much fame? Not many I'd imagine.

The story tells of the creation of Frankenstein's creature, who he is utterly horrified of once he's brought to life. The book is broken up into several sections. In the beginning we learn of what lead to this monstrous creation. In the middle section we learn the Creature's story, what happened to him as he tried to comes to terms with who and what he is, and how he copes. In the last section we have a dramatic sequence of events where Frankstein remeets his creature, and things go horrifically wrong from there.

It was definitely an interesting read!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cast in Secret by Michelle Sagara

Buy it Now!

"Cast in Secret" is book three in the "Chronicles of Elantra" by Michelle Sagara. In this book we join Kaylin Neya as she investigates two missing children. Kaylin has always had a soft spot for children, and protects them fiercely, so the cases have even more urgency for her than she normally would show.

Of course it's much, much more complicated than simple a couple of missing person's cases. A magician has stolen an artifact in hopes of controlling the elements. Unfortunately opening the box would destroy the city, but he doesn't really care much about that. Kaylin soon realizes that the missing children are mixed up in all of this, and that she alone has the power to save the city.

Along the way Kaylin pulls of some incredible stunts that should have gotten her killed, but with her usual clumsy charm she manages to get through them. She also confronts one of her deepestprejudices and discovers that the race she's always feared, is a race she can love and embrace.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what the next one holds!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Aria's Quest - Mutual Fascination

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria decided this would be easiest if she found a true believer, someone who already believed in fairies that she could easily converse with, and so the first part of her time in the city was taken up searching for one of those. She's finally found a true believer and now she's getting to know him and trying to figure out how she can help him.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest
Section 4
Getting to Know Each Other
Part 3
Mutual Fascination
Aria woke up full of energy the next day. She was excited to head back to the church and spend more time getting to know Joey, but she made herself slow down long enough to eat breakfast and drink some coffee, although she made decaf instead of regular this morning because she was already buzzing from her excitement! Coffee had quickly become a part of her morning routine though, and there was no way she was going to skip it.

Finally, when she knew enough time had passed, she headed out for the church. Joey knew she was coming, but she didn’t want to show up before he got to work after all. As she flew she pondered just how she was going to figure out what she could help him with. Aria quickly rejected the idea of just asking him straight out if he needed help with something. It felt like cheating. Besides, without getting to know him, she wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell if what he asked would really improve his life. Or what if what he asked would improve his life, but there was something far bigger that he didn’t feel like he could ask, but that she really should have helped him with? Aria shook her head to clear it of all the thoughts chasing after each other. She would simply just take the time to get to know him, and she’d figure it out eventually.

Joey was on the front steps of the church sweeping when Aria arrived. His face lit up when he saw her, “You came back!”

“Of course I did. I said I would didn’t I?” Aria felt a bit miffed that he’d doubt her word, but tried not to show it.

Joey gave her a bit of a bashful grin, “Well, yeah, but there was a part of me that was convinced that yesterday was a dream.”

Aria’s heart melted when she heard that. Joey reminded her of a big kid in some ways! “No, I’m just as real as you are, and I don’t plan on disappearing on you any time soon. Well, as long as you don’t mind me following you around while you work!”

“I don’t mind! It’ll make the day go faster.”

“Great! So why don’t you tell me a little bit more about yourself? Yesterday we mostly talked about me.”

“Are you sure? I mean, compared to your life as a fairy I’m sure my life has got to be pretty boring.”

“Not at all.” Aria responded sincerely. “Think of it this way; your life as a human is just as foreign and strange to me as my life as a fairy is to you. You do things differently, and your whole world is strange!”

Joey looked thoughtful, “I never thought of it that way before.”

“Well you fascinate me, so start talking!” Aria gave a little laugh and stuck her tongue out at him.

“Yes ma’am!”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Last Siege by Jonathan Stroud

Buy it Now!

Once again Jonathan Stroud writes and excellent book, and from a completely different angle than the others of his that I've read so far! I think that's what I enjoy the most about him as an author, not only is very creative, but he's always doing new things!

In "The Last Siege" we meet a several children who live in what I'm assuming is rural England. These three children wouldn't necessarily have been the type to become friends, but they are drawn together first by a snowball fight, and then by the imagination and excitement of Marcus.

Marcus loves castles, he's read about them, explored them, and dreamed about them for a long time. Well, Emily and Simon live in a village that has a castle, and Marcus convinces them to explore it. Not as easily done as said however because the castle is locked up for the winter, and the snow has been fierce lately. The kids manage it though, and their imaginations run wild as they explore.

Then Marcus comes up with another idea, wouldn't it be fun to spend the night in the castle? This sets them off on a series of adventures that will turn rather nightmarish before it's all over! You could say it's a bit of a psychological thriller for young adults. I really enjoyed it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Hunt is Over!

That's right folks, we found a new apartment! We took the parents down to look over the complex on Thursday, filled out all the paperwork, I gave my current manager notice yesterday, and we move the last week of the month! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am! No more peeing walls! At least we hope.

Seriously though - this complex is newer and nicer - and we're only going to be paying $40 more than we are now! The manager is really nice and seems to be really on top of things. Much more so than my current manager. It will be a little bit smaller than the place we're in now, but it has better storage, so I think it's all going to work out pretty well :)

It was kinda funny, when I went to give our current apartment manager notice that we're vacating, she knew exactly why we were leaving! LOL She apologized up one side and down the other for all the problems we've had in our apartment, tried to convince me that it was abnormal (and it might be), and offered to move us to a different unit. I told her as gently as I could that we just felt more comfortable with a newer building. She's a sweet old lady, I do like her as a person even if I don't think she's a great apartment manager. I didn't bother to tell her that even though I like her and Bob (the fix-it guy) I'll be a lot more comfortable in a place where the fix-it guy works more than two days a week, and where there's a more proactive approach to problems.

My plan for the next couple weeks is to try and pack a little every day. I'm starting with things that we don't use often (like the extra blankets, my crystal bowl, pictures) so that progress is being made! I'm also going to try to go through and seriously ask myself "does this really need to go with us?" and get rid of even more things. I'm a compulsive pack rat - but I've managed to purge a lot over my/our last 4 moves.

Oh my gosh - this is my 5th move in 2 years! Argh!

Did I mention in general I hate moving?

I am a person of routine. Moving requires completely disrupting that routine. First there's the stress of figuring out where your moving too. Then the packing up. Then the unpacking. Then finding out how your routine is going to work as you get settled into the new place.

I'm guessing that's a large part of why I've been so tired lately. Stress from trying to find a place we could afford that would be healthy for me, and because it's so disrupted my routine. That's why this blog hasn't been as consistent as normal. Lack of routine and exhaustion!

I'll try to keep things up around here as much as I can, but I must admit I'm really looking forward to the end of August! I figure by then we'll be at least mostly settled into the new place, Mo will be going back to school, and I can reclaim a routine for myself :D

Did I mention I do have my first bag packed? It's a garbage bag full of blankets :P Hope to get more done today! There's nothing on the agenda today - no where to go - so I figure I can do a little bit here and there around my normal reading/writing/beading/chatting :P

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint

Buy it Now!

This was one I honestly wasn't sure I was going to keep reading, because it starts out with a one night stand. Normally de Lint's books don't have that much sex in them and it kinda startled me to have it be the opener of the book! I kept going though, and ended up very intrigued by the concept behind the book.

Grace is a hard core girl, she is covered in tattoos, but it's because they each have personal meaning not simply because it's trendy. She also discovered at an early age that she loved cars, and more specifically, restoring and working on classic cars. So instead of wearing makeup and doing all the things her mother would expect, she took shop, and grew up to become a mechanic.

Now Grace has died, but instead of going on to whatever reward awaits her, she's stuck in a limbo world that's centered around the apartment complex she lived in. She's not the only one stuck in this world, and each person is dealing with it differently. Some simply sink into apathy and sleep, other's find ways to occupy themselves, and still others are convinced there is a way out if they only look hard enough.

Grace and one of her new friends become convinced that there is a way out of their predicament. The story takes a lot of twists and turns, and oh did I mention? There's a heart breaking love story as well!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July Fun :)

We had a lot of fun on the 4th of July! It was great, because I was actually able to do something for once :) I don't get out of the house except for errands and doctors visits that often...

Anyway - I made a yummy fruit salad for the event! And every last bite was eaten! Blueberries, strawberries, fresh pinapple, bannana, and mango. Yum :) I love fruit salad - have I ever mentioned that?

This is how we spent most of our evening - on the lawn talking and playing games! Well, one game. I think it's called Surro? Not 100% sure, but it's easy and fairly mindless, and we had a ton of fun!

We also got in a game of "make Kat think we're going to tickle her."
Highly hilarious for all of us, but poor Kat...

And I have to get in a shot of my dear hubby! His hair is getting long... I like it though!

So that's my 4th of July. No fireworks, just friends and food :) It used to be that they had a huge fireworks display at Fort Vancouver. Now I couldn't go to the actual Fort because that close there was too much smoke and I'd have an asthma attack, but you could see the display perfectly fine from the lawn of Clark College. That's why Bethie's house was always party central. We'd all park in her neighborhood and avoid the traffic at the fort, hang out and have food, and then walk over to Clark to watch the fireworks! Sadly they've cancelled the display for financial reasons...but we still had the party! Last year when we were up in Ellensburg was the first year I had gone with out going to Bethie's for the 4th in a LONG time, it was really good to be back :)

Sorry I've Been AWOL

There's just been so much going on latey! I have half a dozen posts written in my head - but I've had no time or energy to get them up here. First I crashed after the 4th (but it was worth it!) and then I kinda hurt my shoulder.

Yes, I can hear you already, but I did hurt myself again. I took a nasty fall tripping over a matt and wrenched my shoulder. It's healing fine, but the upshot is that I've been in a lot of pain and not spending much time at the computer. Now today I have a long day away from I no guarantees that I'll get any of my posts up today either!

BUT the good news is that I think I'll be able to start getting back to my normal routine tomorrow :D

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer

Happy 4th of July!!!!

Buy it Now!

I picked up "Broken Angel" by Sigmund Brouwer when I was browsing the "new books" section at the Library. The author caught my eye because he's one I read a lot when I was in middle school. I wasn't as thrilled with the last one by him I that I read as I thought I would be, but I was still willing to give it another try! I'm glad I did.

"Broken Angel" is the story of Caitlyn, a girl who's grown up knowing that she's different because of a growth on her back, and who's father has always sheltered her because of it. They live in Appalachia, a nation that's been carved out of the USA, and that functions by ruling it's inhabitants with an iron fist.

Now Caitlyn and her Father are in danger, she is being hunted, and he has a plan that he hopes will save her, but that will mean a ton of sacrifice.

The book is an intense thriller with lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wow - June was Busy!

Wow - I got a lot done in June! Think you missed anything? Then read through this post and follow the links to what you missed!

Remember, for my Top Commentators contest all that matters is the MONTH you left the comment in, not what month the post was written! So if you have some back reading to do - then earn some extra entries!

So what did happen this month? For one, I did my first ever author interview with Lisa Shearin! I just want to say thanks again to Lisa for agreeing to do the interview and for being so wonderful to work with :)

Now for the normal stuff (or as normal as it gets with me) :)

Personal Stuff:

My Writings:
Summer Time Fun (informal writing)

Book Reviews:

TV Post:

What's in the works for this month? Well nothing as exciting as my author interview...although I'd love to do another one at some point. Life is just to busy for me right now to do the work of finding one who will let me interview them!

We're still apartment hunting, but very little got done on that this week because there was just too much else going on. We spent about two hours today filling out MORE paperwork for the disability application. They sent both Mo and I these packets of questions about every little detail in my life and how my disability affects that. *rolls eyes* My hand was so cramped by the time we were done! It was kinda stressful too. Ended up with an asthma attack this afternoon. Probably because of the stress. But hey, hopefully it's worth it!

Fun stuff, I do have some pieces that I'm writing that hopefull at I'll find enough time to polish up enough to put up on the blog! At least one of them this month would be good right?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wicked by Gregory Maquire

My recap of June will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm doing a lot better tonight - but still fighting off the effects of a migraine - so tonight I'm just going to post a review :) (I pre-write them).

Buy it Now!

I came away from reading "Wicked" by Gregory Maquire with mixed feelings. I've always loved the story of the Wizard of Oz, and from that perspective it was a TON of fun to read some new "back story" to what was happening when Dorothy came to Oz! I really enjoyed the character development and how he explored the character of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I was a little disappointed by some of the things that Maquire chose to include. I think some of the sexual scenes he threw in were unnecessary and that his book would be appropriate for a much wider audience if he hadn't included them. Some of them did fit, but some of it just seemed like extra fluff to help the book sell.

One thing I found fascinating about this book was all the psychological elements he put into the story. There is a lot of discussion about the nature of good and evil, and what leads a person to either. The characters are complicated and interesting. The journey he takes the Witch on, as she becomes the "monster" we know her as, is full of interesting turns and twists!

Over all, I did like the book, but I wouldn't recommend it to a young reader. I'm wondering what the next book, "Son of a Witch" holds, and I would love to see the musical some day! I've heard some of the music and loved it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June's Contest WINNER

This month's winner is again THERESA of TILTCREATIONS!!! Woohoo! She's won a $10 gift certificate to either of my shops.

Now, for any of you that may be disappointed that you didn't win my top commentator contest, from now on the previous month's winner will not be eligible for the current month. So Theresa's not eligible next month and all of YOU have a chance to win!

How do you win? Just comment on my posts! Please make your comments more than one word, but that's the only requirement! Whoever has the most comments for the month - wins!

Here's the fun figures :)
Top Commentator: This month - 16, last month - 12
Total Commentators: This month - 29, last month - 32
Total Comments: This month - 108, last month 100

Have a great day!