Category Archives: new year

Pants on Fire

“After my last post about accidental olive oil, I promised a friend I would write the story of setting my pants on fire. There was also interest in my brief mention of scissors in the fridge and milk on the counter after my Y2K party, so I’ll explain a little more about that, too.

At the end of March, I had an abdominal surgery. Just laparoscopic; I wasn’t cut open, but I did have four holes in my belly. I was given a belly binder thing, to help with pain relief. I lovingly referred to it as my girdle. who knew that it would also save me from bad burns, too?

I was putting chickpeas on to boil after soaking them over night, so my gas flame was on as high as it would go, and I was experimenting with adding fresh onion and garlic to the water to flavor the beans.

I was slicing fresh garlic directly into the pot, when I began to sniff the air, like a dog who caught a yummy scent on the breeze. Is something burning, I thought as I cut slice after slice into the water.

(I can hear all you cooks thinking, you’re supposed to mash fresh garlic, what are you doing slicing it?)

As I sniffed the air, trying to decide what was burning, I felt heat on my belly. I threw the rest of the garlic into the water, the knife onto the counter, and batted at my belly, burning my fingers in the process.

You know in books, when the protagonist tells you that time seemed to slow? That is absolutely, 100% true. Thinking back, it still seems like the whole experience took minutes, but I’m certain that the first sniff to the oh shit I’m on fire realization, only took a few seconds. Before I could think about it, I ran to the sink, flipped it on, picked up the sprayer and shot water at my belly.

After the fire was out and my fingers were only slightly prickling with pain, I inspected my pants. The drawstring had caught fire, the knot still tied, but the bow now split into four burnt strands. The embers at the end of those strands had managed to burn a whole in my shirt, as well as the pants. the only thing that saved me from a burn on my belly, was my post-surgical belly binder, my girdle, which had not a tactile mark on it. Do hospitals collaborate with NASA or something?

Lesson learned: do not cut the veggies over the pot of boiling water.

On the scissors in the fridge comment from my last post

Someone on Twitter said it sounded like one helluva party. It was a great party. I turned twenty-one the day before Y2K, so I used money I had gotten from Christmas and my birthday and stocked my dad’s fridge full of booze. I had informed him he would need to not be home as I was throwing a party. Looking back, I’m kinda surprised he was just like, okay. Um, thanks Dad?

I had taken a picture of my fridge before the party, showing off all the bottles of beer. I took pictures the next day, too. All the beer was gone, except for the case of Milwaukee’s Beast, I mean Best that someone had brought and no one drank. There, on the middle shelf, were the kitchen scissors. Across the kitchen from the fridge, the milk sat on the counter, gone warm. I don’t have any idea when or how this happened. Sighted readers, sorry but while I might still have said pictures in an old folder on my hard drive, I have no way of finding them.

Last thoughts

I see the doctor tomorrow to get my cholesterol results, so wish me luck!

Is there a cooking and/or healthy eating question you have, or do you want more blunder-type stories? Feel free to ask in the comments or on Twitter, since a combination of the two is how this post was born. I am revamping my blog. I got bored of writing all the book posts, and while I was seeing traffic on my stat counter, I wasn’t interacting with readers. I miss those days, so talk to me!

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Filed under new year, num num food, twitter me this

December’s Audio Books Et Cetera

I’m fighting a migraine and it’s my birthday (12/30) as I write this and I’m waiting for my requested birthday dinner of 5 Guys, Burgers and Fries but my stomach is a little queasy from the migraine so no fair. December has not been kind to me. I’ve got a mystery bug that sent me in a panic to the neurologist after I almost passed out on stage while singing in the Tucson Girls Chorus 30th Anniversary concert. I thought for sure my MS was in one hell of a relapse but my MRI was clean, so the neuro tested me for an evil virus which I was sure I was dying from but that came back negative so the neuro sent me to my primary care doc and turned the mystery over to her. I see her next month. the neuro thinks I’ve got a bug that’s exacerbating normal MS symptoms like fatigue and dizziness. I get super breathless and light headed with the slightest of elevation changes. I’ll have a day of feeling better and then the next day I’m back to square one. Sitting in a normal chair is difficult since I feel like I’m going to topple out of it. I worked on my novel in the first part of the month after taking a week to recover from NaNoWriMo, then this bug hit and I’ve been useless. That’s about all I’m going to say on that right now since I’m fighting a depression that would love to grab hold while I’m weak so let’s move on to books, shall we? Oh, I checked my stat counter today to give me the motivation to care about this post and you’re still reading, so I’ll keep writing. comment sometimes, will ya? I’m fragile. tee hee. A ear end book recap/top ten list is coming at the beginning of next year.

*Seven books this month*

106. “The Twelve: A Novel” (The Passage Trilogy book 2) by Justin Cronin – narrated by Scott Brick

finished December 31

Ok so I really don’t think I’ll be finished with this on December 31 but it’ll be damn close and it’s a long book, as was the first book in this trilogy, so I’m counting it since I’m over half finished as of today, the 30th. Book two has been so much better than book one, which was good but very draggy. Lots of blood. Lots and lots of blood. Not quite your typical post apocalyptic. The third book is out next year and I’ll definitely read it to see how the trilogy concludes. And, Scott Brick. Need I say more?

Ok now I’m writing this on December 31 and last night the book started having an X-Files feel. Oooooh! Government conspiracy in the apocalypse? yes please!

Ok so it’s December 31 and I’ll be finishing this book tonight. I haven’t been able to put it down all day.

@jccronin

105. “The Passage” (The Passage Trilogy book 1) by Justin Cronin – narrated by Scott Brick, link Adenrele Ojo and link Abby Craden

Finished December 26

After I tied Ricardo up and made him read my favorite zombie trilogy back-to-back, he told me about this series, narrated by Scott Brick so I decided to read it since it’s Scott Brick and I kinda felt bad for abusively forcing Ricardo into that zombie series even though he did like it.

‘passage’ was good but after the first part, I was very angry and I can’t say why because spoilers but the book redeemed itself and I stopped being angry. Ricardo said he liked the second book better and I have to agree. This book was super laggy with navel gazing, a publishing term I just learned from my friend Lauren which means talking about stuff that doesn’t matter. On and on some passages (hey, passages, the Passage har har) went. Just get on with it, I thought often. It was a good book though. Very reminiscent of Stephen King’s “The Stand” but with a lot more blood. A lot.

The two female narrators read brief segments, the second of which being diary entries. As a warning to the listener, Scott Brick interrupts the second woman with things like, missing pages or illegible, and it made me jump to hear his voice suddenly haha.

good book, but there were times I wanted to skip through or just stop reading all together. Be patient, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry if you like bloody post apocalyptic thrillers.

104. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” (Daughter of Smoke and Bone book 1) by Laini Taylor – narrated by Khristine Hvam

Finished December 17

I put off reading the Justin Cronin books because my friend Lauren wanted me to read this with her and would you believe it, she kept stopping reading it? I mean, my goodness. She’s reading it again now though which is good since I can’t wait to talk about it.

This book reminded me a lot of Diana Rowland’s kara Gillian series, but for young adults. It has an awesome fantasy element, angels and demons in an urban setting, with portals into other places. Oh and the protagonist has bright blue hair and tattoos. What’s not to love? the writing is absolutely exquisite, with passages that made my breath catch in my chest they were so hauntingly beautiful. then in the next breath, the characters would do something funny. It’s the perfect balance of beauty, humor, magic, world building and character development. I can’t wait for the next two books, which I bought with iTunes gift cards my uncle and aunt gave me for Christmas and my birthday. Weee!

Just wait until you find out what the wishbone is for…oh and the teeth…

This book is the closest to my novel that I’ve read since I began writing it back in November, well except for the achingly beautiful prose which mine doesn’t have yet in this first draft. Muahhaha!

@lainitaylor

103. “Champion” (Legend book 3) by Marie Lu – narrated by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern

Finished December 14

What an excellent trilogy! Bleak dystopia, heart breaking romance, awesome narration and the most epic fighter jet scene I think I’ve ever read in a book. Highly, highly recommend this trilogy if you like YA.

102. “Prodigy” (Legend book 2) by Marie Lu – narrated by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern

Finished December 10

Wait, the epic fighter jet scene, that was in this book, not book three. Why, why do I not write stuff about these books right as I finish them? I seem to remember at least jotting down notes. My brain this month, blame my brain.

I think all I’ve got is so good, go read, so good haha. click the links I provide to Audible and read about the books there, what do you think I am, a publisher’s summary blog? Haha! Ok I think I need dinner. Loopy much? Books? What? Oh right, books. I think the first book in this trilogy is in November’s book post.

101. “Kill Shot” (Icarus book 1) by Aria Michaels – narrated by Rhiannon Angell

finished December 9

This was a daily deal and I wish Kate Rudd had narrated. It screamed for her voice. the narrator was ok but there were two characters she did super high pitched that made my brain throb.

It was an entertaining read, though several times i found myself thinking, was this book self published? There was a glaring error of continuity at one point, where these teenagers are hunkered down in the basement of the high school after this solar flare causes all hell to break loose, and they’re in the basement for days. When the protagonist has to venture out she thinks to herself how different everything looks from when they walked to school that morning. *record scratching sound* Nooooo, back up and read what you wrote. Didn’t realize they’d be in the basement that long or something?

turns out the novel was self published. the reviews on the book are from people who were asked to review the book by the narrator. It all makes sense. I’ve got nothing against self publishing, but I’d like to see this book and the sequel get a traditional publisher and professional editors. Just a good polishing and this book would shine.

Ooooh, I did jot a one word note on this book: anyways. The characters kept saying it and that word is one of my pet peeves. Also, everyone kept saying the protagonist’s name. How are you feeling, name? How’s the weather, name? Name, what should we do now? And not her full name. Her nickname. It got so old! I still enjoyed the book though; I can’t lie.

@AriaMichaelsYA

100. “A Dangerous Fortune” by Ken Follett – narrated by Michael Page

Finished December 5

Ken Follett at his best, wow. This was such a good book. This book takes us into the inner workings of the banking world of the late 1800’s. It shows what happens when families have too much power and will do anything, anything, to keep it. Ricardo recommended this book and I could not put it down. Excellent!

***

Happy New Year and happy wedding day to Evan Longoria!

@Evan3Longoria Anyone who says they weren’t nervous on their wedding day is a liar! It’s a great kind of nervous! Excited to see my bride @jaimeedmondson. from Twitter for iPhone Dec 31, 2015, 12:07:17 PM

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, birthday, Choir, doc, evan longoria, family, gratitude, humor as coping skill, iTunes, new year, rambles, spoons, twitter me this, writing

2014 Audio Books and why I changed the format

It’s just a blog. It’s just a book list. they are just book posts. It’s just a yearly top ten list. right?

So why has it killed me and haunted me that I have to give up on the 2014 book list and not do a top ten list?There’s just no possible way I could write posts for all the books. There’s too much other writing I want to do and sadly, writing is pretty hard on my body. I’m up to the beginning of June on the list haha! There’s just no way. So I had to admit defeat and decide not to try and play catch up for 2014. Should I try and pick my favorite book from last year though? Perhaps.

I’m going to post the document in which I kept track of all the books from last year, up to the point where I stopped writing book posts. I thought some might enjoy seeing how I keep track and it ought to give you an idea of just how far behind I got.

Last year was just so crazy. i mean craaaaaazy. It’s no wonder the blog wasn’t top priority. There was so much work to do in order to get ready to move. I had to find a suitable house to rent and start going through the old two bedroom apartment, getting rid of stuff and packing. Talk about a mass purge! It was an incredibly therapeutic experience, literally throwing away my past lives. As I put hands on every single one of my possessions , a quick decision was made. If I couldn’t tell what i was holding, it either got donated or trashed. That means every single photograph.Every visual, non-tactile memory, gone. let go of. I made the decision to scale down my stuff. A lot. A lot a lot. And man did it feel good!

There was old junk jewelry of my mom’s. It’s gone now. I made peace with that, with her. It’s like I knew she was cool with the fact that I let that stuff go, that those possessions didn’t keep her on this plane with me. I feel like she’s with me stronger now that I’ve let those physical things go. I know that may not make any sense, but it does to me.

So while the preparation to move was cathartic and wonderful, it was a lot of work. A lot a lot of work. that I did on my own. B took care of his stuff, I took care of mine. he did all the heavy lifting of trash removal and donations though, thanks. B. I also hired a junk removal service to come and take some of the bigger items. They donate what they can and trash the rest. The stuff we moved fill this three bedroom house quite nicely. We’re no longer cluttered. All of the keepsakes I could not part with fit in Gamma’s cedar chest which now resides in my “Duchess Den”, so named since it was decided “girl cave” just didn’t sound right and my friend Professor Twain named me the Rays Duchess of the Arizona Territories, so my room in this house is called the Duchess Den. It’s a wonderful room. I’ll write about it some time.

Anyway, after the move and getting settled, which I did in one week, my MS decided it was pretty pissed at me for all the hard physical work and i ended up with four new brain lesions. Good thing I had established care with a new neurologist just before the move. I underwent steroid infusions which I wrote about in November. Check those posts out. I imagine they are rather entertaining now that I’ve gotten some distance from that. I’ve started an oral MS medication called Gilenya. I’ve been on it just under a month and it has been a challenge.

So, something caused me to write this today and post my unedited 2014 book list and after writing that, I’m really ok with not doing my book posts like normal. Extenuating circumstances and all that. 2015 is a new beginning and who knows how or if I’ll do book posts this year. I’ve gotten some good work done on my YA novel but I’m taking a break from that to start work on the memoir. Who knows, maybe it’ll make someone’s book list some day. Ok, let me look at this list and see if I can pick a favorite.

Took a break to read some Twitter and this tweet made me remember trashing my old journals during the purge. I was kinda glad I couldn’t read them, though I still felt a pang when I trashed them.

@SaraBareilles reading old journals is excruciating.

Ninety-six books in 2014 woo hoo! That’s up from seventy-one in 2013. I am such an addict!

Ok so I’m going to mention several books methinks. Just going down the list for starters, I think I can easily say one of my favorite stand-alone books was ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St.John Mandel. I’m not going to write about books in this post though, so you’ll have to click the link if you’re curious. I highly recommend it. Any book mentioned in this post is highly recommended. My favorite author Scott Westerfeld had a new one this year, ‘Afterworlds’, and I read it twice, back-to-back so that was like four books since this book is two books in one. My friend Robin recommended ‘The Gods of Gotham’ by Lyndsay Faye and I’m so glad she did! The Dead Six series by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari is narrated by Bronson Pinchot who is right up there with Ray Porter and Grover Gardner for me, meaning if they narrate it, I buy it and I’m never disappointed, at least not in the narration. The Dead Six series rocks! A new favorite narrator is Luke Daniels who reads the The Brilliance Saga which also rocks. I got ‘Joe Ledger: Special Ops’ just for the interview with Ray Porter which had me grinning the whole time. I had read most of the shorts already but they were easy to hear again.

That gets me caught up to the other books I read last year and reviewed on the blog. There are some really great reads on that list as well.

I have to mention who I think is most definitely the most entertaining author I stumbled upon in 2014 thanks to Audible’s daily deals and that’s Diana Rowland, author of the White Trash Zombie series and Kara Gillian series which I am currently rereading. As soon as I finished the sixth book, I immediately began book one again. I just wasn’t ready to be done with the characters until April when the next one comes out. There were also many details that have become more clear during the second read through. This world is very complex. The narrator for the White Trash Zombie series, Allison McLemore, is most definitely my favorite female narrator. She’s terrific! I follow @DianaRowland on twitter and I just adore her.

Yikes, almost forgot Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man trilogy and the new Fitz and the Fool trilogy which only has one book out so far. These books are awesome and follow the life of Fitzchivalry Farseer. the only downfall to this series is the changing of narrators which is a major bummer. Robin Hobb and Diana rowland were most definitely my favorite authors last year.

Ok, I like how that wrap-up turned out. I think for 2015 I might try doing a monthly wrap-up like this post rather than stress about reviewing every single book since I go through them so fast. Audio books on iThings can be devoured quite quickly since they can be listened to no matter what you’re doing. Unless I’m sleeping or on the computer, I’m reading. It’s no wonder the books pile up. Here’s to a better 2015 for everyone! below is the unedited list I used to keep track of all the books.

Phew! Oh, all the ‘Demon’ books below are the afore mentioned Kara Gillian books. There are six out right now.

96. Touch of the Demon Finished December 30 So good

95. Sins of the Demon Finished December 27 (So good!)

94. Secrets of the Demon Finished December 25 (So good!)

93. “Blood of the Demon” by Diana roland – narrated by – Finished December 23 (so good!)

92. “Mark of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book One) by Diana Rowland – narrated by – Finished December 22 (So good!)

91. The Amityville Horror by – narrated by Ray Porter – Finished December 20 (So good!)

90. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb – narrated by – Finished December 19 (Entertaining)

89. “The World’s Strongest Librarian” by – narrated by – Finished December 14 (Marriage Material)

88. “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett – narrated by – Finished December 12 (So good!)

87. “Revival: A novel” by Stephen King – Finished December 3 (So good!) *Shudder* Terrifying. Something happened.

86. Royal Spyness book 3 finished November 30 (entertaining)

Assassin’s apprentice again Finished November 28

85.All Farseer books ( Finished November 25 (Marriage Material)

81. Book 2 Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb – narrated by – Finished October 31 (Marriage Material)80. Farseer book 1 by – narrated by – Finished October 26 (So good!)

79. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel – narrated by – Finished October 20 (So good!) Finished again October 23 (Marriage Material) Jeevan being on stage trying to save Arthur, the image of being there behind the curtain, drowning out the audience, what memories. It making a room with a high seiling, the wings with crevies.

78. “Midnighters #3: Blue Noon” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app) – Finished October 19 (So Good!)

77. “Her Royal Pain” by – narrated by – Finished October 17 (Entertaining)

76. Dresden book by – narrated by – Finished October 14 (Meh)

75. Twain book – narrated by Grover Gardner – Finished October 10 (entertaining)

74. “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by – Finished September 26, read it again and finished the second time October 5 (So good!)

73. “Edge of Eternity” by Ken Follett – narrated by – Finished September 23 (Entertaining)

72. “The Maltese Falcon” by – Finished September 14 (Meh)

71. Sherlock book by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by – Finished september 13 (Entertaining)

70. “The Virgin Suicides” – Finished September 11 (So good!)

69. “Echo Burning” by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill – Finished September 9 (Entertaining)

68. “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson – narrated by – Finished September 5 (Entertaining)

67. “The Gods of Gotham” by Lyndsay Faye – Finished August 29 (so good!)

66. “Swords of Exedus” (Dead Six book two) by Larry Correia and – narrated by – Bronson Pinchot – Finished August 26 (Entertaining)

65. “Dead Six” (Dead Six book one) – Finished August 22 (So good!)

64. “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling – Finished August 18 (Meh)

57. – 63.Entire HarryPotter series – Finished August 14 (Marriage Material)Started Bryce Courtenay book but I was depressed so started White Trash Zombie again, read Harry Potter at night. Brian in Flagstaff

56. 4th Lincoln Perry book – narrated by Scott Brick – finished July 14 (Entertaining)

55. “A Welcome Grave” – narrated by Scott Brick – finished July 11 (Entertaining)

54. Second Lincoln Perry book – Finished July 9 (Entertaining)

53. “Tonight I Said Goodbye” – narrated by Scott Brick – Finished July 8 (So good!)

52. Dresden book – Finished July 6 (Meh)

51. “How the White Trash Zombie got Her Groove Back” by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore – Finished July 3 (Marriage Material)

50. “Wicked Girls” – finished July 1 (So good!)

49. “Doc: A memoir” – Finished June 28 (Entertaining)

48. “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower – Finished June 26 (Entertaining)

47. “A Better World” by Marcus Sakey – narrated by Luke Daniels – Finished June 20 (Marriage Material) Terrifying. I was listening while doing dishes and felt a tremendous sense of fear as US soldiers coralled American refugees

46. “A Hymn Before Battle” – finished 6/18 “Meh”

45. “A Kiss Before Dying” – finished June 13 (So good!) Twitter made me jump. Wish I hadn’t heard the forward.

44. “The Descendents” – Finished June 12 (So good!) Sid rocks

43. “Joe Ledger: Special Ops” by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter – Finished June 10 (Entertaining)

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, Gamma, mom, new year, spoons, twitter me this

Hanging with Ro Episode 14 – New Year’s Eve in Flagstaff Style

On New Year’s Eve, B and Jayden and I piled into the car and drove up to Flagstaff, AZ. The band Quiet Riot was doing a show there so we had been planning the trip for about a month. When he first asked me if I’d want to go I thought it would be fun to chill in the hotel while he went to the concert, but then I considered going to the show. It had been years since I rang in the new year anywhere other than my bed haha! I ended up not going though because it would have just been too loud for Jayden and for me. I like my hearing, thank you very much.

The drive up was uneventful. I listened to Josh Groban non-stop. B started telling me about snow on the ground next to the highway the closer we got to Flagstaff. Snow! When we arrived at the hotel the temperature change was quite drastic and the breeze bit my skin as we walked to the lobby. Inside I quickly put my Rays hoodie on.

The room was great! It had a little kitchen with a full size coffee maker. I brewed the coffee they provided but it wasn’t good so we’d have to hit a Starbucks so I could get some instant.

We relaxed for a bit in the room and after I fed and relieved Jayden, we headed to the casino to eat. B had to pick up a player’s club card which was the ticket to the show. Sitting in a diner at a casino at 5pm is super creepy. Unless it was just this particular one. It sounded like the most depressing place. There was no laughing, no idle chatter, no music and I kept hearing what sounded to me like a zombified game of Marco Polo.

As we ate I listened and finally got that people were walking by the diner saying, “Kino,” and the staff at the diner parroted them back in a very lackluster voice. Alrighty then.

Then B noticed the band walking right by the diner! He named each member as they passed. The drummer was last, the only original member of Quiet Riot and B said he was the only one with an entourage. Me: Really? B: Yeah, two people.

They were carrying their own bags and everything. Life as a washed up old hair band? It was still cool though.

As we were walking onto the actual gaming floor to get B’s pass, a security guard stopped us. I couldn’t hear what he was saying so he spoke up. He was asking if Jayden had paperwork. I blurted that I have an ID for him but I think the guy could tell I was shocked at the question. He said something like, “what are those dogs called, I can never remember.”

“I’m blind and he’s my guide dog.”

He let us go then. It was bizarre.

The game floor was so smokey! It rather disgusted me and I couldn’t believe I used to do that. I guess I have become the grumpy ex-smoker haha! It’s not so bad outdoors but inside there? Whew!

B got his pass and we went back out into the cold. Wow cold. I mean, cold!

We headed back towards the hotel and I used Siri to locate a Starbucks. Now I had real coffee and was good to go. We hung out for a bit and B tried watching that awful duck show. He switched to New Year’s stuff and there was a year in review show that was rather interesting. We never watch TV other than sports, so it was an experience haha! They discussed things I had only read about on Twitter. Pop culture anyone? It’s lost on me.

After B left I decided on a whim to record a voice note and it morphed into a Hanging with Ro episode. It had been awhile since I recorded myself being a goofball haha!

Ok so now for Hanging with Ro Episode 14. How perfect is that? Episode 14, ringing in 2014. Whoa. *opera voice* Spoooooky! *end opera voice*

So there are two files. This first one is the longest. I think it’s around forty minutes or so. I had no idea where it was going when I started haha! Topics include but are not limited to:

*Breaking the rules with Jayden

*Being out on New Year’s Eve. I just remembered the last time. It was 2005/06 and Georgie and I went to an AA New Year’s event. We were both in our first year sober and we were so scared we’d get hit by a drunk driver.

*Muttmuffs

*B stands for…

*Getting distracted and laughing at the TV

*Seriously? That’s CNN? Anderson Cooper giggling.

*Remotes hate me.

*2013 year in review. Colorado to see Chupa and my first Rays game. Feeling fabulous in Colorado.

*Hip pack humiliation.

*Bad summer, bad health oh who’s singing?

*Josh Groban. How I love the Josh Groban.

*We need to move. Teeth. Not move teeth. Ow.

*Gamma

*I don’t get TV.

*I make a cup of instant coffee but not in the closet.

*I sing la la la and the Josh Groban love begins with gusto.

*Flagstaff smells good.

*I try and describe the Grand Canyon.

*More Josh Groban drool only this time with songs on the iPad. I’m pathetic.

*Ok Josh maybe I didn’t hear that right from you I can’t be certain because you all talked a lot.

*Wow I was sniffling already. I got totally sick the next day.

*The song that made me cry in the car is a Stevie Wonder cover.

*Here is the translation to the song I was swooning over.

*I tell you to look up this clip on youtube so here it is.

*Ok wow I really am happy being me, trust me.

*Who’s outside the window?

*I wish I could shut up my humming.

*I waste time trying to play a song. I didn’t realize I had lost my wifi so I couldn’t get it from the cloud. Here’s the other Brave song by Sara Bareilles. You’ll probably recognize it from those Microsoft commercials.

*I wrap up this portion finally haha!

New Year’s Eve Part 1

And we’re back. This one is about sixteen minutes.

*I’m paranoid it’s not recording.

*Two minutes away from 2014.

*Loud upstairs neighbor.

*David DeJesus is mentioned. Baseball must be on the brain.

*Sleepy girl

*Midnight in New York phone call.

*A totally lame Arizona midnight but at least I checked the time at the exact right moment.

*Evan Longoria. He is seriously mentioned in every single one of my audios. You’d think I do nothing but talk about that man!

*I talk about the Phoenix trip I had forgotten to mention in my year review. Who got to go on the field at Chase Field? Thank you David Price!

*Phoenix killed me though. Well not really since I’m alive but you know.

*Disappointed girl in a Vanderbilt shirt.

*Dave and Andy!

*Learning from mistakes.

*Sleepy iPad scrolling. More talking about Josh Groban. Here’s the song I talk about where his voice becomes part of the instrumental. I really think that’s one of my favorites.

*Finally come to my senses and wrap it up. I also mess up a New Year blessing haha!

New Year’s Eve Part2

I was up when B got back. Just after I stopped recording, fireworks started and there were a lot of people outside the hotel. When I took Jayden out I couldn’t believe how cold it was! Wow. When I asked Siri she said, “brrrr, it’s twenty-two degrees.” B and I talked about the show and then I tried to sleep and failed miserably.

The next morning I woke up way too early and sat on the strange uncomfortable couch waiting for B to get up. Even he couldn’t sleep late. That hotel was so noisy!

We took our time getting ready and headed out to the Grand Canyon. I was sneezing a lot and wished I had taken some of the cold meds I brought with us. The Canyon was about an hour and a half from the hotel. On the road leading to the Canyon, there was suddenly a huge heard of elk! Do they roam in heards? Is it spelled that way? Hmmm.
Anyway, B had exclaimed, “deer! Wait, those are too big to be deer.”

“Are they elk?” I asked.

He said I was probably right and explained that a few crossed the road and several were on the side grazing on grass. Cool!

We parked and found the restroom and I had a total panic attack in there because it had hand dryers that sounded like freaking wind tunnels and they hurt my ears and Jayden was affected by them too and holy crap it was good to get out of there.

We made our way to where B could see the canyon and I listened to all the accents around us and children and different bird sounds. It was very cold and breezy. I did not feel well. There was much more walking than I had expected. I mean it’s a huge hole in the ground. It doesn’t seem like you should have to walk very much to find an edge. It had been sixteen years since I’d been there so couldn’t remember. I wanted to get to a good spot to get a picture with Jayden and me in front of the canyon but it was going to involve steps and there were too many people and yeah. Blah.

I snapped some pictures with my iPhone and sent one to Twitter and apparently it was lovely. Let me see if I can find the tweet. Ok I can’t find it so I asked Twitter. Might just have to upload it again. I should really figure out Word Press pictures haha. Here’s the picture. Thanks, @L_Squared!

So I just got sicker and sicker as we went back to the hotel. I collapsed for a bit and then we started trying to figure out food. The only two places that were open on New Year’s Day were The Outback and Sizzler. Sizzler? They still have those? That was my first ever job. I was a salad bar keeper. Fried shrimp entered my brain and that was all I could think about. So we went there and there was actually a huge snow drift in the parking lot! I had my fried shrimp but I was so miserable I hardly remember it. Bread pudding for dessert. I thought a rap in my head: I had dinner, at the Sizzler with my mister, on New year’s Day, while I had a fever. Wow. Um. Yeah hi. I won’t quit my day job. Oh wait, I don’t have one.

We went back to the hotel and I did some packing up and crashed. That was pretty much it! It was a really good time and I’m glad we did it. I felt pretty good there in Flagstaff, minus being sick of course. It was like how I felt better in Colorado. High elevation and cold, I tell ya. I used to think I’d like to live in Flagstaff but I don’t think so. Just too cold and there’s an odd feeling there. Just like in Sedona when I went with B several years ago. We both feel it in northern Arizona. Just an odd feeling. It’s a nice place to visit though!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you enjoyed the audio if you listened.

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2nd Annual Center of the Roof Top Ten Book List

(Links open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in the list. Links to Audible and Amazon when applicable for each book are found in the title links. Links links links.)

How is it time for the end of year book post? Didn’t I just post last year’s? I honestly don’t know where 2013 went but I’m glad to see it go. I had some good times though, going to Colorado to visit Chupa, going with B to Phoenix to see the Rays, making more amazing friends online and the books, especially the books! Audible introduced a daily deal as well as their usual sales so my reading increased this year. Yay books! There were a total of seventy-one this year, up from fifty-nine last year.

It seems to have been the year of the series as you’ll notice below. It was much easier to compile this list since I kept better track this year and instituted my rating system. I had nine “marriage material” rated books so I had to choose one from seventeen “so good!” rated books to fit the tenth slot. I thought it would be rather difficult but as I went through, the decision was made simple. So without further adieu, I give you the Roof’s Second Annual Top Ten Book List!

10. “The Company: A Novel of the CIA” by Robert Littell – narrated by Scott Brick

“The Company” is an awesome CIA book recommended to me by my friend Ricardo. It was so good! It follows the lives of four men as they leave college and enter life in The Company. I’ve never been into books about espionage but this one turned me on to stories in that realm.

I got so invested in these characters since we meet them when they’re young and impressionable and follow them into their careers with the CIA. Are they all on the side of the US? I should have written this up much sooner. I finished it at the end of May. I just remember it seemed non-stop, something always happening. There was a lot I found familiar since I read a book about Area 51. I feel like I’m learning more about the past from books than I ever did in school; how sad is that?

You know what else is sad? When I wrote that post, Audible had taken down the unabridged version of the book. I checked just now and they are showing an unabridged version but it’s the same length as the abridged version. Do you smell fish? I do. I wouldn’t bother with a sixteen hour version of this book. The one I read was epic and long and awesome. Shame on Audible for taking it down!

9.“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck – narrated by Dylan Baker

Whoa, I was still using an iPod to listen to books when I reviewed this back in February haha! Just a funny (to me) aside.

This book was incredible. Not only did it capture a dreadful time in American history, it did so with simple but poetic writing and characters you want to root for.

“Grapes of Wrath” got my blood boiling a lot. I suppose a book with the word wrath in the title has achieved its purpose if it makes one’s blood boil, right? The story follows the Joad family as they are kicked off their farm and forced to move west to California. Why were they kicked off their farm you ask? The dust bowl ruined their crops so the bank decided it could turn a better profit if it kicked the farmers off the land and replaced them all with tractors.

This book was hard to listen to and not because of the narrator, who did a fabulous job, rather because of the subject matter. Those people had to travel across the States with everything they owned strapped to their cars, burying their dead along the way. They were honest working folks who’s land was ruined and people on the west coast hated them for it. Ah, sometimes that’s just the American way I guess. ‘Grapes’ was very very good and I recommend anyone read it though I certainly couldn’t read it more than once like I do with a lot of books I like. The post I wrote on the book was very cynical and wrathful indeed.

8. “Jack of Diamonds” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

How about another Ricardo recommendation? I can’t remember if he specifically recommended this or if I just got it since I loved Courtenay’s Australian Trilogy last year. Rest in Peace, Mr. Courtenay. Your stories will be missed.

I am so so so sad that we will not receive anymore fabulous stories and wonderful characters from the one and only Bryce Courtenay. I suppose I am lucky since this is only the fourth book I’ve read by him so I still have plenty more to indulge in. When “Jack of Diamonds” was over I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters, knowing they wouldn’t appear in future books.

In “Jack of Diamonds”, we follow the life of Jack Spayd from his modest Canadian upbringing during the Depression with an alcoholic father and loving mother all the way to his adventures in South Africa as an adult. One could tell Courtenay meant this to be a few books, but knew he would die before he could write any more so he wrapped up the story in a way that was faithful to all the characters. It was a wonderful book filled with music, laughter, drama and love. And will the bird be ok?

Humphrey Bower narrates this as well as all of Courtenay’s books and he’s brilliant! I think I listened to another narrator to rival his talents though. Stay tuned!

7. “Truth in Advertising” by John Kenny – narrated by Robert Petkoff

I found this book since I’m a fan of William Landay and he and Kenny are friends. Lucky me! This book was fabulous. I didn’t know what to expect going in to it and I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t say much about it in the original post so as not to spoil the overall feeling of it for anyone else and I’ll stick to that here.

Oh side note, if I hadn’t had some sort of career in medicine back in the day, I was also interested in marketing and advertising, so I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of this book. Man this book was awesome! Definitely making the year end top ten list, no doubt.

I just remember feeling affected at the end of the book and that is always a good sign. The advertising aspects of it were great but it went so much deeper. Such a good book! I hear it has also been optioned for a movie. It will make a good movie methinks. Oh man I hope they do the baby scene!

6. “The Gypsey Morph” (The Genesis of Shannara Book 3) by Terry Brooks – narrated by Phil Gigante

This was the third book in a trilogy but I didn’t write them up in one trilogy post for some reason so this book gets the nod for all three. I loved this trilogy! I used to not be one for fantasy and such but my reading tastes have grown and evolved over the years. I think I have audio books to thank for that.

If you’re a fan of stories of magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend. If you don’t think you’re a fan, why not try it? Man, I’m getting sad all over again thinking about all the characters I’ve left behind. I suppose they’ll stay alive in my Audible library though, just like how the elves were kept alive in the elf stone…

Reading through the posts I’ve written on these books makes me want to go back and revisit the stories. Ah, so good! So magical and evil and wonderful!

5. The Joe Ledger Novels by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

Ah, Joe Ledger! What up? I’ve missed you, man. I think you’re coming back to us next year? I hope so! This series is another one I have to thank Ricardo for. He finds the best books! If you click the link to the post, you’ll find links inside that one to the six books that are out. There’s actually only five Ledger books out but the sixth is a collection of Ledger short stories that tie up some loose ends. Man, thinking about these books makes me crave more of that characterarc!

There was no stopping me once I started the series. I had no desire to read anything else. I wanted to just keep hanging out with Joe Ledger and Mr. Church and Rudy Sanches and Top and Bunny and oddities oh my!

I flew threw these books, unable to put them down.

Oh, if you don’t like blood and gore, be forewarned. There are some very graphic scenes in every book. The action rarely stops so there’s a lot of blood. But, there’s also a service dog! How’s that for perfect? He’s so cool!

Oh and Ray Porter? Excellent narrator! He nails the badass tones during fights and then almost makes you cry when Ledger is feeling emotional. I’ve looked up Porter’s other books, he’s that good.

I did read one other book narrated by Ray Porter. I’ll sneak the link to that post in.

If you click the link to the Joe Ledger post, you’ll find comments from the author himself! How cool is that?

4. “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving – narrated by Grover Gardner

You know, the best part of writing Top Ten posts is revisiting my favorite books of the year. After I go and read through my post on the book I sit for a minute remembering. Happy making!

This book was narrated by Grover Gardner and I love him. He’s definitely one of my favorite narrators and he was a big reason I got this book. I swear if I ever write a book, I’m going to be incredibly picky about who narrates.

This book follows the life of an orphan named Homer Wells, brought up in an orphanage during the early 1900’s. Expectant mothers would come to the orphanage to have one of two things, an orphan, or an abortion.

Even though the subject matter was so serious, the underlying humor and Gardner’s delivery of it made me laugh out loud several times. Homer is such a lovable character and I still find myself thinking of him when I say, “right” during a conversation.

Right. Bah hahaha! Hahaha! Why have I not read any any more John Irving books? I need to remedy that in 2014, methinks. His humor is just too good. I’ve always been fond of dark comedy.

Oh! At the end of ‘Cider’, there’s some really good author’s notes. Apparently John Irving’s father was a doctor which was partly what inspired this book. I just love author’s notes! I highly recommend this book if you can stomach the subject matter.

3. The North and South Trilogy by John Jakes – narrated by Grover Gardner

Oh I’m having feelings and I haven’t read through the post on this yet. Ok, deep breath. Hey, back-to-back Grover Gardner. I didn’t plan that. That’s kinda cool. Ok Ro, you’re avoiding reading the post. Go.

*Sigh*

I can’t even, there’s just nothing I can write about it today. I’ll leave you with some quotes from the post.

*sigh*

Oh my I mean oh my seriously I can’t even I mean how do I write about this trilogy?

Did you ever see the North and South mini series with Patrick Swayze? I’ve always told people that my knowledge of the Civil War consisted only of what I remember from watching that in high school. See my high school didn’t know how to teach history. They just had us watch North and South and Roots and The Last of the Mohicans. All great, but shouldn’t school be about book learning?

The first book, “North and South” is about the time leading up to the {Civil} war. We meet the Main and Hazard families and begin to follow their lives. The Mains are a southern rice plantation family and the Hazards are northern iron workers. The two families come together when young Orry Main and George Hazard meet on the way to West Point. I immediately feared that at some point during the war, Orry and George would meet on the battlefield.

Each book is very long so I spent a lot of time with these people. Just after I started the first book, I got a bluetooth speaker for my iPhone so I started listening to my books with the Audible app. The speaker made it all very portable so I did a lot of listening while moving about the house. These two families became a part of my life, every single member. Even the bad ones, and oh yes some were bad. This trilogy had two of the best written villains I think I have ever encountered. I found myself questioning my love for humans when I wished some of the things I wished on these people. Good thing they were fictional.

Oh, those villains! *Shakes fist* Deplorable human beings they were.

Oh, this trilogy! And wouldn’t you know, I actually got Ricardo to read them instead of the other way around? We got to discuss the villains. Terrible no good people! Ok I should really move on. I feel like I need some sorbet to cleanse my emotions first haha!

2. The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia – narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Any guesses as to who recommended this? Who else. Thanks Ricardo! First of all,

Honestly, whoever wrote the summaries for these books did them a vast disservice in my opinion. A private detective who uses magic? Um, isn’t there already a hugely popular series of books like that? The book just didn’t sound appealing to me at all. However Ricardo has never recommended a book I didn’t like and it was a daily deal so I took a chance. Oh thank goodness I did!

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a publisher’s summary that was so off the mark for a series of books. I’ve searched on Twitter for readers and fans of the series and they are hard to find which makes me sad. This series was simply fabulous!

“Hard Magic” begins when a farmer is annoyed by yet another car full of “Okies” comes by looking for work. I read “Grapes of Wrath” earlier this year so that immediately placed the time setting of the book for me during the Dust Bowl era. The farmer notices a scrawny teenaged girl in the car with grey eyes and against his better judgement,decides to intervene on the girl’s behalf since he recognizes her as having a special magical power that kills most before they reach adulthood. It’s a good thing he decided to take her under his wing. She quickly became my favorite character. Faye Vierra! I adore you!

I became rather obsessed with Faye haha! She’s one of the most fun characters I’ve ever read.

I soon realized I had been transported to an alternate history, this one full of all sorts of magical powers and interesting characters mixed with real people from that time. If a name sounded familiar, chances are looking it up would lead me to a Wikipedia page about that person and their life. Examples are John Moses Browning, Jay Edgar Hoover himself and Raymond Chandler, to name just a few.

Oh and there are airships, did I mention airships? Yeah, remember how I feel about the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld? The Grimnoir Chronicles is the Leviathan series on steroids! By the time the first book was over I was giggling and applauding and I couldn’t wait for the next one.

Remember above when I mentioned a narrator who could give Humphrey Bower a run for his money?

The narration? Bravo! Bronson Pinchot does so many different voices and accents, from the deep slow voice of Jake to the soft accented voice of Faye to the odd and creepy Pale Horse and on and on, he was brilliant! It wasn’t until I was grabbing links for this post a couple days ago that I read he played Balki on Perfect Strangers! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Luckily he narrates the whole series.

This series is full of heart pounding battles with weapons from guns and swords to all sorts of magic you’ve never even dreamed of!

I couldn’t help but think about my dad when we went to see Independence Day all those years ago. He pointed out how frustrating it was that everything they seemed to try failed. Not everything goes perfectly four our heroes in these books either.

One of the best characters introduced in “Warbound” is the thirties version of Hannibal Lecter. Creepy! There was what I think of as an X-Files reference with this black oil stuff that made my stomach turn.

Some of these scenes could be straight out of a screen play they are so well written. You can literally see the action happening. One of my favorite mental images was of a fragile origami duck in the palm of an armored suit.

I simply adored this trilogy! I don’t think I have ever finished a trilogy and then immediately began reading book one again like I did with this one. When it was over I just wanted to peak back at how it began. I honestly didn’t think I would listen to all three books again but that is exactly what I did. There were little details I had missed the first time as well as some things that became clear the second time through since I was in pain, on drugs and grieving the first time through. I think that’s another reason I didn’t want to let the trilogy go. It had been a huge comfort to me through what was probably the most difficult few weeks of this year.

Thank you so much, Mr. Correia! You helped me through some really bad times. Oh, and I’d like a Grimnoir ring, please and thank you.

1. “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green – narrated by Kate Rudd

Just leaned my head back and had a moment of quiet reflection about this book before going to read my post on it. I knew about halfway through the book that it was going to get the number one spot on this list. It was going to take something phenomenal to bump it and nothing did. This book was sheer emotion for me from start to finish. I laughed and giggled and sobbed, oh did I sob. I haven’t read the post on it yet. The movie just finished filming and luckily John Green was rather active in it so I hope it’s wonderful. When the movie poster was released, my friend @MandaGator described it to me and I got choked up all over again. Here’s the poster.

I’m not sure I would have gotten TFIOS if it hadn’t been a daily deal. I abbreviated the title because John Green himself does too. How do I know this? At the end of the book, there was an interview with John Green and he mentioned Twitter so as I lay in bed, tears drying on my cheeks, I looked him up on my phone.

This book centers around teenagers so I suppose it could be classified as a young adult novel but that certainly doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy it, I mean I am an adult. Sorta. I try and stay young emotionally. Not young emotionally, you know what I mean. anyway, Hazel Grace oh wait she only likes when Augustus uses her middle name, Hazel is a sixteen year old girl who has ben fighting terminal cancer. The book is written from her point of view and I love it right from the get go because she talks about how her story isn’t going to focus on the typical cancer kid book stuff.

I knew I’d end up bawling at the end of this book and I was not wrong. I loved loved loved this book! Right now it’s definitely getting the top spot on this year’s top ten list. It’s rare that a book touches deep emotions and this one surely did. From the awfulness of cancer which I’ve experienced, not in myself *knock on wood* but with my mom and B’s mom, to the having major limitations when you’re young and all you want to do is live, to the love of books and boys and music and America’s Next Top Model…

There is a lump forming in my throat.

I’m all glowing inside remembering it and how it made me feel and how the characters knew exactly what it’s like to be me. John Green, thank you! Audible, thank you! Oh and the movie just wrapped filming. John Green was at the filming so I know this because of his tweets. I want to say I won’t watch the movie since the voices will be all wrong and I’m not sure I want to feel the flood of emotion again but I know I’ll watch it. Oh, I miss you Hazel! I miss you Augustus! You’ll be back in the movie! Yay!

The teens in this book just “got me”, you know? I mean they understand. I understood them. I wasn’t just listening to this book, I was transported into it, like that Aha video from the eighties or something. I was there with Hazel and Augustus at the bones and on the plane and I watched them in the convenient store parking lot. I fell in love with them and when it was over I felt like they all died. But they are all still with me in my heart because a little bit of my life seemed to have been in each one of them. I’m close to sobbing again.

Oh! Wait! Kate Rudd, bravo! Wonderful job narrating this book! Hazel’s friend with the slightly European accent? Haha! Great job! Ok why am I writing that as if I’m writing it to Kate? This book, it just makes me gush!

They just aren’t going to sound right in the movie I know it! Ok, stop it with the contempt prior to investigation, Ro. I can’t wait for the movie so I can be with these people again! This book is the pure definition of my marriage material rating.

We aren’t done yet! From the cutting room floor:

Honorable Mentions

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King – narrated by Will Patton

What an excellent book “Doctor Sleep” is! I don’t think I have ever literally applauded when an audio book was done. I certainly did with this one. It was after King’s afterword and the way he ended it, in his own voice, made me squeal with delight, clap my hands and bounce on the couch. So so so so good!

*I’m surprised I couldn’t fit this in to a top ten spot so it gets the first honorable mention. Oh and I’m still a little scared of Joe Maddon now, thanks Mr. King.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling – narrated by Robert Glenister

I really really really hope the character of Cormoran Strike in this book returns in future books. Rowling? Are you hearing me? I want more!

*Rowling works magic with a detective story!

“Stay Close” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

The “supporting cast” was excellent as well. Ok, Ken and Barbie, can you say creepy? What is up with those two? I mean seriously, what is up with them? *Shiver*

*Trust me, that book is not about dolls.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn – narrated by Ann Marie Lee

Gillian Flynn, I don’t know whether to hug you or slap you. Where do the things in your head come from? Cancel that. I don’t want to know.

*Teeth. *Whimper*

“A Game of Thrones” (A Song of Ice and Fire book 1) by George R. R. Martin – narrated by Roy Dotrice

I can’t even begin to try and describe the plot because it’s so detailed and intricately woven together. Basically there’s a king and that family and a lord and that family and they marry this family and those families hate each other and then there’s this other family that is pretty much all dead way over there and it’s only hinted at what that family’s relation is to these other families and then you have this wall, this gigantic wall and there are bad things on the other side so the men of the black have to guard it and winter is coming. Winter is coming. Winter is coming.

*Whadda huh? Yeah pretty much. I’m on the third book in the series and still loving it.

“Harvest” by Tess Gerritsen – narrated by George Guidall

This book had so many twists I almost felt sea sick. You naturally root for Abby and one thing after another happens to her so you find yourself groaning as yet another force holds her down.

*The title is not referring to a pretty moon or fall festival.

“Deadly Straits” by R. E. McDermott – narrated by Todd Haberkorn

His character is quite funny and sarcastic and a bit of a jerk, but he’d be the first one to admit that. I fell for him instantly.

*McDermott is a self published author who actually went to the trouble of making his books available in audio format. Yay!

***Special Mention****

“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon – narrated by Alana Kerr

I made that comparison to Harry Potter since it seems Shannon’s series and even her writing are being compared to J. K. Rowling and her magical world and I honestly cannot fathom the comparison. Saying “The Bone Season” is like Harry Potter is like saying baseball and basketball are similar because both balls are round.

*This is Samantha Shannon’s debut novel, written when she was only twenty-one. I think her next books are going to be pretty incredible!

They never made it within a mile of the cutting room:

Dishonorable Mentions

“Relic” (Pendergast, Book 1) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – narrated by David Colacci

This book is getting my equivalent of 1 out of 5 stars. I think the narration and production are a big reason why. Good narraters tend to make you forget about plot holes and idiot characters.

*Totally wanted that woman to get eaten in the exhibit.

“Jaws” by Peter Benchley – narrated by Erik Steele

For me the only likable character was the shark.

*Can the shark eat the girl from “Relic”?

“The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy – narrated by J. Charles

Clancy should probably take some of the blame since he laid down a huge chunk of the plot way too soon. You know immediately what the Russian captain of the submarine, The Red October, is up to. The whole first half of the book gives background on characters and lays out exactly how the captain plans to accomplish his goal. This all might have been interesting but the horrible narration just kept distracting me.

*And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for that horrible meddling narrator. It was so bad I had to include an audio file of me in the post.

“Strangers” by Dean Koontz – Narrated by Dick Hill

By the time I reached the end and had all the mysteries explained I just didn’t care.

*Whoa, I had forgotten that Ricardo recommended this. He has more than made up for it!

And that does it for 2013, phew! That was a lot of fun to write. I hope it was fun to read. Last year several people told me about books they bought based on the list so I hope I’ve given you some good recommendations.

Here’s hoping 2014 brings us all health and happiness and great books!

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Amazon, apple Inc, Audio books, family, fellowship, iPhone, misty eyes, new year, twitter me this

Just a quick first post of the year

I’m only writing a quick post because I’ve decided to blog every day, but I don’t have anything I really want to write about. I’m in a pretty good place mentally and physically but thinking back on last year isn’t exactly what I want to do today. So far today is going well, saw Gamma and had a good time but last year definitely ended bittersweetly and today is still a sad day and I just want to go play some Yahtzee and eat goldfish crackers. 😉

Happy New Year and all that!

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Jumbled thoughts

“We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.”

-President Obama 1/12/11

My mind has been a jumbled mess. How much to blog, what not to blog, how much to I write about my feelings, feeling silly about my feelings, not knowing how to process, trying not to make things about me, finding the line between grief for others and grief for myself.

This year has just not started well for the people in my life. I can tell you right now that I’m fine, my family is ok, Jayden is fab, B is fine. But tragedy struck on January 1 and then the following Saturday.

Just when the winter blues were lifting and I was getting back into a routine and getting things taken care of, it just seemed like the world was turned upside down. Some friends of mine lost a child on New Year’s Day and my grief for them but so consuming, causing feelings about my own never to be motherhood and those feelings bought about feelings of guilt for thinking about myself amid the grief for my friends, who were in another state.

I saw a specialist that week as well, for a female issue that is totally fine, so no worries there, but the doctor thought it would be a good idea to take my hand, place it on my belly, and have me feel my uterus. He couldn’t have known how much that would ache emotionally, but it did.

Then the shootings happened in my hometown and I found out on Twitter and I can’t even begin to write about that. It’s why I put Obama’s quote at the top of this post, because I feel he summed it up while he was here for the memorial.

The fact that my town was on Dateline and CNN and all the national news and then the President was here, was just so incredibly surreal. When tragedies like this happen, our first thought is always, that would never happen in my town…and then it does…

It happened the day of my friends’ memorial for their child, and my town lost a child to violence. Again, the questions of appropriate emotional response flooded my brain and it wasn’t until Obama announced that Congresswoman Giffords had opened her eyes that I was finally able to sob.

I feel like something has switched off in me, like all I can do is write, I can’t read. I can’t read anyone else’s words. I can’t bear to see more, to hear more, to try and fathom more. I tried today, to read, and I just can’t seem to do it right now. And that makes me feel guilty, like I’m being selfish and uncaring. I mean, that started even before the holidays. I chalked that up to holiday blues and now it just seems to be more than that.

This last Monday I learned that a distant relative had died and I had to be the one to tell Gamma, because she doesn’t have Facebook. It seems Facebook and Twitter are the means to find out about things these days.

I’m hoping this is just maybe some kind of transitional phase, as I continue to process what happened in the town I grew up in, as I grieve with my friends from afar over their loss. Perhaps life will, in fact, find a sense of normalcy.

As always, Jayden is my rock. Can you believe our year anniversary is next month? He’s the only thing normal in life, it seems, for the time being anyway.

I really did try and spend the day reading today, to see where you all have been and what you’ve been up to. Hopefully soon the block will lift. Until then, I’ll be here and there, writing fiction maybe, or the occasional jumpled ramble.

Tell the ones you love that you love them. Be grateful for each moment. Time is so…so fleeting. Lives are so short.

I hope this year shapes up. It has to, right? Me and my silver lining. I guess the silver needs some polishing though, because right now it looks pretty dull. It’ll shine again though, I have faith.

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Filed under faith, family, fellowship, Gamma, in the news, Jayden, misty eyes, new year

Just Yesterday

Do you ever sit back and think, holy crap, where has the time gone? Do you ever have moments where you reflect on your life and think, wow, can one person really do all that changing? I simply can’t believe it’s the last day of 2010. How did that happen? Just yesterday I was throwing Barbie dolls into my trees, hoping they’d get stuck, then throwing Ken up after them, hoping to knock them down.

Just yesterday I was roller skating, on four wheels that weren’t inline, to Debbie Gibson, creating cool choreography to ‘Electric Youth’, or jumping from concrete to gravel like the ‘Solar Babies’.

Just yesterday I discovered Nirvana, after my best friend forced me to watch the video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, urging me to forget about Mariah Carey and start listening to real music. It worked. Thanks Kurt.

Just yesterday I graduated from ‘Sweet Valley High’ to Stephen King novels and broke my back learning how to try to win the essay medal in Academic Decathlon, constructing the perfect five paragraph essay in one our or less after being given three prompts. I came in fourth overall. No medal, but the highest score in my high school’s history. I wonder if my record stands?

Just yesterday I was pre-med on a full scholarship and got drunk with a boy in a dorm room. Just yesterday I went with mom to chemo treatments. Just yesterday she died.

It seems like just yesterday I had an enormous New Year’s party for the year 2000 and got so drunk my boyfriend and I couldn’t manage to lose our virginities. Just yesterday I was only 21.

Wasn’t it just yesterday I walked into my first meeting after making a mess out of my life, never mourning mom’s death, being a terrible friend, not holding down jobs, going nowhere with my life?

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I finally found the true meaning of happiness, to be happy joyous and free through life’s turmoils, with the help of a power greater than myself, a power that was not alcohol?

Just yesterday, I came out of that MRI machine with one eye blind and began to learn how to live with MS. Just yesterday I started dating B and my old cat, Combat was still alive.

Just yesterday I watched my vision slowly fade as I stared at B, just yesterday Combat died, Just yesterday my aunt died, just yesterday B’s mom was diagnosed with cancer.

Just yesterday I picked up a white cane and discovered audio books. Just yesterday I brought my Mac home and found my online fellowship of people who really and truly get it. Just yesterday that little iPod started it all.

Just yesterday I was on a plane going to meet Insert. Jayden. JayBay. Jay. Gooberhead. Just yesterday a dog became my eyes.

Just yesterday the little girl throwing Barbies into trees could never imagine the life she’d lead at the end of 2010. Just yesterday she turned 32. No really, I really did, just yesterday, turn 32.

It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? To write your life down like that? To see it written like that, with just a few hundred words, really encompassing all the changes, all the phases, all the strife and all the joy.

Would I change any of it? Not a thing. Would I trade my recent sad times for happy times? Nope. For me, pain has and always will be, the cornerstone of spiritual growth. When I begin to emerge from sad times, I am like a rose opening her face to the sun, cleansed, grateful, joyous.

It seems like just yesterday I thought I’d never feel happy again. And then like that, like a firecracker in the night, the veil lifts and happiness glitters once again.

My old pool league operator once said words to me that I live by today. After I played a really terrible game of 9-ball and thought I’d never break my losing streak he said, “you can never fully appreciate victory until you experience defeat.”

The words were in reference to a game, but they are so true for my life. After I have been cleansed of sadness and melancholy, I can truly open my eyes to gratitude. How’s that for victory?

Happy New Year everyone! Be safe tonight and please, if you have a few drinks, call a cab.

See ya next year!

PS – I’ll be updating to Snow Leopard today, so if I’m not online for awhile, it means I screwed something up. 😉

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, birthday, Combat, faith, family, fellowship, gratitude, holiday, Insert, Jayden, mom, new year, pool, proud geek, sobriety, white cane

Happy New Year!

I had to laugh this morning when I checked the time on my phone and he said “January zero 1, twenty ten”. I don’t know why that made me laugh. Guess I got so used to hearing two thousand and nine”. He actually said the “and”.

I slept a blessed ten hours aaah. Oh sleep how I love thee. I had a decent night last night. Got to blow off some steam with Carin and Steve which was wonderful. It’s amazing, I think I’ve only known them since like October or something, and having them go away caused a glitch in the matrix or something. Carin put up a screen reader singing Aulde Lang Zine. I just realized I have no idea how to spell that.

B and I had Hungry Howie’s pizza. I had them once years ago and when B got home, there was a flier for them on the door. It’s the first time for either of us that that kind of marketing actually worked. They have this flavored crust, very good.

Then we watched Robin Williams – Weapons of Self Destruction. L had put a link to a clip of him up on Facebook, because he does this bit where Bob Dillon is a GPS. I watched that the other day and was laughing hard, so we watched the whole thing last night. In the youtube clip, he does a Silicon Sally type bit too and it’s too funny. Here is the clip, but if you don’t like swearing, don’t watch it.

I realized that I need to watch more stand-up comedy. It’s pretty perfect for a blink. Not a lot of fisuals. Hey Steve and Carin, who’s that blind comedian? Comedy is good for the soul lol. I liked this one too, because Robin Williams is like me. He admits it, so I can. And his jokes about alcoholics cracked me up! I think the combo of sleep, comedy and my favorite Canadians are responsible for my waking up in a good mood.

2009 was actually a pretty good year, despite the horrible economy and everything. So I guess I should say that 2009 was personally a good year. So hopefully 2010 will only get better, but I hope I didn’t jinx myself by saying that. Ok, 2010 can be just as good as 2009, it doesn’t need to get better. There, did I un-jinx myself?

Cats are going wicked nuts right now. They tend to do that when I get up. Like, mom’s up!!! Yay!!!! We don’t have to be quiet!!!!

I have that too much sleep headache. Just a little one. Coffee is slwoly taking care of that. It’s like my body is going, you are 2 to 3 hours late with the coffee. Wtf? At least I’m not hungover, yay! This was my 5th New Year’s Eve sober woo hoo! Oh, if you’re hungover, I always liked mixing Gatoraide with Canada Dry ginger ale. Or of course, the hair of the dog that bit me, but I’d always wait until noon, so the gatoraide and ginger ale combo held me off till then 😉

Anyway, oh holy crap I was about to close this post when timmy and Spinelli came running in and clawed their way up the other couch. I always have to pause, because I never know if I’m about to have a cat jump on me. Ok, back to closing. Happy 2010 everyone!

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Filed under cats, coffeeholic, gratitude, holiday, new year, plugs, screen reader, Silicone Sally, silly girl, sobriety, spoons, youtube

Doggy Countdown – Thoughts on years old and new

I’ve been thinking about how to do this countdown deal. Write only posts about impending school, or just write my normal posts under this heading. The main reason I want a post a day is to chronicle each day under one label, so I can find those posts easily. So I think I’ll include anything in these posts, and if I do multiple posts, only one will get the label, for archiving. Which means I can only have one post a day where I talk about my thoughts about my dog haha. Ok this entire paragraph was pointless except to clarify for myself how I’m gonna do this.

I am completely out of spoons today. I think I’m operating on a half a spoon. Felt it as soon as I woke up. Aches all over and lethargic. When I don’t feel like writing or even replying to comments or emails, that’s when I know I’m fatigued. I got to wondering if it had anything to do with the gym being closed until Monday, and then I read a blog post about not exercising and feeling it, and that answered my question. I’m sure a big majority of it is the not working out, because I haven’t done it at home since last week. Slacker. So I’ve probably got a touch of MS fatigue, mixed in with being a slacker, Aunt Flo visiting, sorry guys, leftover holiday blah, a sick cousin in Chicago, Grandma worrying, then the shock of going to GDB in a month and a half, not eating all that great and WHAM, spoon thief has food to eat. So I’m pretty sure this lethargy is partly my fault. I’m not down on myself for it, because sometimes I need this kind of proof that things like eating right and working out really make a huge difference. So, Monday is the day and I can’t freakin wait to hit that treadmill.

My birthday was nice. Just relaxed and L came over. We sat and chatted for awhile and had a laugh over something I did to scare Spinelli which I can’t write here lol! Then she bought me a mocha from Starbucks. Mmm. Overpriced, yes. Delicious, yes. I tried their instant coffee a few weeks ago and it’s gooood. I’ll be taking that to GDB 😉

B has had the flu for about 3 weeks, his doc informed him yesterday. So he’s got meds and is feeling better. He got me Olive Garden last night for my birthday, and will buy me a suitcase to take to school. I went to bed as usual and insisted on getting a kiss from even though he’s sick. If I haven’t gotten it yet, I should be safe, I hope.

So, I don’t think I need to write much about this year, as it’s all pretty much on this blog. Even though I didn’t start it till September, this whole year is still documented here in some form or other.

So I’ll look to 2010. Lots of change afoot. Getting my dog will bring about big change. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little fearful. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes question whether I really want this. Doubts are normal, but while I’m looking at those doubts, I’m choosing not to feed that particular wolf. Anytime a major change is coming, it’s normal to feel some animosity, if I spelled that right.

I also have to admit that I’m a little scared of 2010. My right eye went blind in 2006 along with the MS diagnosis, and I went blind in 2008, so I’m a little scared of even years now. First it was May, then April. So beware the Ides of March haha! I’m trying not to dwell on it. I’m much healthier now and my dog will add so much to my physical routines and my mental health, and keeping those 2 things healthy are imperative with auto immune, or any disease, really.

Aside from the dog and my fears about the MS, there’s nothing else I’m counting on, no real expectations. I don’t make resolutions, because they are made to be broken. Most of the things I’ve wanted to improve in my life, I’ve worked on wholeheartedly in the last almost 5 years, and even more so since going blind. I love who I am, I’m already losing weight, I’m already cleaning more, I’m doing my little home improvement projects, so there isn’t much more I want changed that I can change. Pretty much anything else I’d like to see change is completely out of my control and therefor cannot become a resolution 😉

One thing I have absolutely decided, and this is just coincidence that it’s happened at the New Year, is I am going to buy myself something from Amazon once a month. Nothing big. Just something. Even a trash can. Or pajamas. Or something for the dog. Just something. Because it’s fun, I like tracking packages, and I’ve deprived myself of a lot of simple pleasures over the years, and I’m done with that. Finally redoing my bathroom and just the little home improvement stuff the last couple weeks has just lifted my spirits, and I deserve it, so I’ll be doing that 😉

I guess one thing I really found in therapy is that I’ve been too damn hard on myself. So I’ve been working on that, and will continue that.

I absolutely have to say that I am thrilled to be embarking upon this next year with all my blogger friends. I’m not going to name everyone because I’d forget someone and then feel terrible and go right back to beating myself up hahaha! But this blog and everyone I’ve met through it has been one of the absolute best things to happen in 2009 and I’m so glad to continue on with it. Future dog, in training as I type, as Spinelli sleeps on my lap, you are the reason for this blog. I don’t even know you yet, and you have changed my life.

A month and a half to go! And then I meet my pooch! Hmm, I wonder if there was a phase report today.

Ok, enough outta me. I’ll write next year 😉

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Filed under Amazon, birthday, coffeeholic, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, family, Gamma, GDB, gratitude, holiday, new year, Spinelli, spoons, treat for me, workouts