Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
1. Best Book You Read in 2012?
Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy - I learned so much about history; specifically World War I, via some wonderful, vibrant characters from all over Europe and the US whose lives were all interwoven.
2. The Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't?
The Casual Vacancy - I wanted to love this book, I did. I defended it before I read it; there were many people complaining that it wasn't Harry Potter. In the end I trudged through it in honor to JK Rowling because she gave us Harry Potter. I think she has amazing characters; it just so happens that I didn't care about any of the ones in this novel.
3. The Most Surprising (in a good way) Book You Read in 2012?
The Night Circus - I adored this book. I had very low expectations as circuses are one of my least favorite topics/forms of entertainment, but this was just something else. This is a book that you're desperate to have made into a movie not for the story but so that you can see it come to life.
4. Which Book Did You Recommend to the Most People in 2012?
Once a Duchess - because the wonderful author Elizabeth Boyce is a friend and I couldn't wait to shout her accomplishment of being published from the rooftops.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) - because I laughed so hard I hurt.
5. What Was the Best Series You Discovered in 2012?
The Century Trilogy - I read book one Fall of Giants and book two Winter of the World; both were excellent. I'm looking forward to whatever book three might bring.
6. Who was a Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2012?
John Green and Erin Morgenstern
7. Best Book in 2012 that was Out of your Comfort Zone or was a New Genre?
The Art of Fielding: A Novel - I'm not a lover of books about sports so I don't think I would have chosen to read this one that centers around baseball but it was a great read with great characters.
8. What was the Most Thrilling UnPutDownable Book of 2012?
Gone Girl: A Novel - definitely a page-turner and high on the Bat Shit Crazy Scale of Enjoyment!
9. Book that you Read in 2012 that you are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) - because it is hysterical and I read it very quickly so that I could pass it off to friends to enjoy. If I ever get it back, I'll read it again right away.
10. Favorite Cover?
11. Most Memorable Character?
Gus, from The Fault in Our Stars
Andre, from Townie: A Memoir
Alice, from Still Alice
12. Most Beautifully Written?
The Fault in Our Stars
13. Book that Had the Greatest Impact on You?
Fall of Giants - I was awed at the things I didn't know and now want to learn. Why didn't I pay better attention in all my history classes?
14. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2012 to Finally Read?
Once a Duchess - I can't believe it because I'm so thrilled that after all her hard work Elizabeth was published and it's perfect and beautiful.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote from a Book you Read in 2012?
“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
“So I guess you could say Neel owes me a few favors, except that so many favors have passed between us now that they are no longer distinguishable as individual acts, just a bright haze of loyalty. Our friendship is a nebula. (34)” ― Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
“I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me "weird" and "different," were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me ME.” ― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
“My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?' He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said,'Because I feel sorry for you.' 'Why?' 'Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”
― Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
...and so many more.
16. Shortest and Longest Books you Read in 2012?
Shortest - Lying (Kindle Single) - 58 pages
Longest - Fall of Giants - 985 pages
17. Book that had a Scene in it that had you Reeling and Dying to Talk to Somebody About it?
18. Favorite Relationship?
Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars
19. Favorite Book from 2012 from an Author you Read Previously?
Fall of Giants - I love Ken Follett's epic sagas that go on for generations.
20. Best Book from 2012 that you Read Solely on a Recommendation From Someone Else?
Townie - I didn't even know this book existed before a friend chose it for book club and it turned out to be about the town I grew up in.
I have no idea what's coming up in 2013 but I can't wait to add to my never-ending library list.
Monday, November 26, 2012
What has dragged me back to blogging? Two things. Last week I got some very nice compliments from old friends that I don't see very often and it felt nice and I'm trying to avoid sending a nasty email to Zack's school so I thought I'd blog instead. Sarcasm comes across much better in blog form vs. email to assistant principal.
Confession: I'm a totally irresponsible neglectful parent and now my child has three unexcused absences for second term. Let me explain. We've long had the plan that because we don't live near family we would travel for Thanksgiving this year getting to see family members from both sides all in one swoop. The exchange was that my kids would have to miss one and a half days of school. Now knowing this long in advance, I had each child go to each of their teachers the week before and 1. tell them which days they would be out b. get any work that they could complete and turn in early and 3. get assignments that could be worked on during the time they would be gone. Remember, we are talking about one and a HALF days of school during a holiday week. Let's all stop to think about how much instruction is actually going to be missed. SO. Skyler's teacher asked her to complete a particular assignment. Zack has four teachers that were involved; one gave him an early assignment which he turned in prior to the other kids in the class the day before we left, one asked him to study for a quiz that would happen upon return, one told him not to worry about it and to turn in his work the next week, one assigned no work at all.
We've made this trip many many many times before and we've got it down pretty good. This trip was an anomaly and it just sucked in terms of drive time. Last night when it got to be 10pm and we were still hours from home I told the kids that they wouldn't have to go to school today. They had passed in work that was asked of them and they are both A students. I wasn't worried.
When I got to work late this morning, I emailed both schools to explain where the kids were. Skyler's teacher said she would miss her and would send an assignment home with another student. She received an excused absence for each day missed. Zack's school responded that because they were not formally notified in writing prior to the absences, he would receive three unexcused absences. I responded that we had notified each teacher and had collected and completed all work requested and that not one of the four teachers notified suggested to Zack that any other procedure should be followed. I was told that now that Zack is older unexcused absences are taken seriously and that I should have also notified the Assistant Principal and requested permission ahead of time. Now...I won't even get into another story, but let's just say that AP and I are not the best of buds and the last email he's going to respond to is one from me.
I started another email detailing all the ways in which they are ridiculous for nitpicking the shit out of a situation in which an honors, gifted, advanced class taking, sixth grader who had notified all his teachers and done all requested work ahead of time during a holiday week should have an unexcused absence along with all the school skippers and regularly truant kids but I took a deep breath and as much as I think it is a ridiculous situation, rules are rules. You can bet I'll be skywriting a message over the school and sending a registered return receipt letter to the AP about his next absence five days before it occurs.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
ps - I couldn't do it. I even tried sitting on my hands. I sent another email. I'm guessing that the attendance secretary (along with the AP ;) ) has me on the "that parent" list.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
So this morning, twelve days later, I get another email from Prinstagram with my tracking info. I was all eye-rolly as they had already refunded me and I hadn't received the package from FedEx and hadn't had time to go chasing it down. I clicked through because I got to wondering if they had received the package back and managed to resend it without needing a signature. The tracking info was for the same package and FedEx said that it was still sitting at their office. I called FedEx and they said they had it. So as much as I didn't want to bother, it was pictures and so I drove 18 minutes each way on my lunch hour to go retrieve it. I can't begin to tell you how much it irritates me to have my time wasted; I was irritated with myself that I couldn't stand not chasing the package down.
What I didn't remember through all of this was that I had ordered tiny cute little books with a magnet inside the back cover rather than more prints. It pains me to say this, but they're adorable and totally something I would love if it weren't for the hoop jumping. ::SIGH::
You could thread a little ribbon through the binding and do a collection of pics for the year and hang it on your xmas tree. I hate myself for loving this idea.
I won't order from them again unless they get their shit together, but...ugh definitely cute.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
I had heard about Persnickety Prints from The House of Smiths which is a sassy DIY blog I follow and I googled around a bit and found Prinstagram. I couldn't decide which was better since I hadn't used either before so I posted a small order with each with the intention of comparing the two.
Right off the bat Prinstagram cracked me up with their auto-response "thank you for your order" email. It was snarky and made me laugh:
Email us at email@example.com if you have any questions and our sexy young customer service representative Taymoor J will get back you as fast as he possibly can. He's pretty fast ;-)so I emailed them back... womp womp they didn't reply. I find them less amusing now. :D
Meanwhile, Persnickety Prints was hard at work on the order that I placed on Thursday and managed to get it to me by Saturday. Super fast. I like super fast!!!111! The prints were packaged quite nicely and made my heart pitter patter at their retro polaroidishness. I've already sent some off.
Now Prinstagram is behind the game with their prints just shipping this morning. At first I was all "pffft, a week later?" when in reality if it weren't for Persnickety showing them up, I'd be just thrilled with their ship date. Let's see if they impress me.
ANNNNND... I already have a super annoying update. Before I even hit publish I went to look at an email that Prinstagram had sent me and found this bit of detail:
Your prints are sky high right now but soon they'll be at your door so please be sure you are there when they arrive so you can sign for your order.At which point I thought "Noooo. Surely they wouldn't expect their customers to sit at home waiting for a shipment of photo prints. They couldn't POSSIBLY have sent this package signature required." So I checked FedEx and sure efuckingnough they did and I wasn't home and now I have to take time out of my day to track down this package. The kicker is that they sent the email this morning telling me that my photos were on the way, but apparently they shipped on Monday (how is that possible Labor Day?) and so there was not even any possible way for me to predict when these pictures would arrive and arrange to receive them.
I have no place in my life for this type of noise. Prinstagram is out - they will be hearing some disgust from me.
I used my serious FedEx irritation to send Prinstagram an email asking if they expected all of their customers to sit at home all day twiddling their thumbs and waiting for their order to arrive. I was snarky and irritated and they had an explanation but... I'm not impressed. Apparently since they are a small company FedEx gives them the choice of signature for ALL shipments or NO shipments (but then they can't send international). So they chose ALL shipments. I'm calling bullshit on either FedEx or Prinstagram as I happen to work full-time with FedEx as like my job yo and... we have every shipping option under the sun available to us. If FedEx is causing this kind of hassle the good old post office will do quite nicely and at a fraction of the cost for a small business. Anyhoo, Prinstragram was quickety quick with refunding my money with, I would think, the hopes that they never hear from me again, which is about likely.
I'm not saying don't use them. Who knows (I certainly never will) they may have a fantastic product. It simply isn't worth my irritation when there are no doubt 20 other online companies ready to print my square prints at a given moment.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The schedule that I have found myself in the middle of is so ridiculous that it's hard to even describe. Only one teeny tiny thing in there was for me and I had to cancel it. Fair right? I mean, I got married and gave birth so clearly that's it for me and my hobbies/interests. ::EYE ROLL::
This week, the hours I've spent at work are actually my peace and quiet and it's the busiest I've been there all summer. "I look forward to the break I get when I am at work". Ridiculous statement. Ridiculous.
Zack is trying out for middle school soccer. His whole regular team is trying out at each of their respective middle schools. There are something like thirty middle schools in our city and I think our regular team has got kids trying out at six of them. So there's been lots of chatter about how this school does tryouts and that school does it differently and ZOMG it's insane. Zack's school employs an everyday for a week tryout which has its ups and downs. Up for the kids who get to get the nervous out and have plenty of time to strut their stuff. Down for the parents who have to get them there by 4:00 when they work until 4:00 in a different town. If it weren't for our friend J, that kid would be on his current team for the rest of his life. Thanks J! We won't know how he does until next Wednesday when the team is posted. We're all just hoping that the team needs a goalie. If you've met Zack, you already know that he's not a big fan of running ;-)
Sky is trying her best to get me to send her to boarding school this week. It's like she's thought of every phrase in the English language that will annoy the piss out of me and has them all on a repeating cycle of torture. She's got a smart mouth and rolling eyes and is dangling bungy-cord style from my last nerve. I just might take her up on her request to go live with Grammy.
Matt is... :) a husband. I would bad mouth how he suggested I just cancel book club (the one thing this week that was for me) when I couldn't get myself there in a decent amount of time because I was taxiing little people around but he redeemed himself this morning when he stopped everything, was late for work, and fixed a car problem for me when I sounded like I just might make a run for the nearest bridge. I swear he causes a good chunk of my issues but he's usually around to pick up the pieces afterwards.
How do I wrap up this big whinge of a post? How about some pictures from the summer? I'm slightly obsessed with square pictures all Instagram-style right now.
And just in case anyone else is feeling the way that I am, I find this enjoyable:
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
There are out-takes too as she was laughing so hard through the first few versions. The out-takes might play wonky as youtube is taking their sweet time uploading this one. I might have to come back and fix this link.
Monday, August 20, 2012
- I slept all wonky in the car yesterday and then decided to start a new book in the evening and oh look it's 2:00am.
- Boy child woke up with a sore throat at 2:30am
- Overslept because alarm did not go off although I checked it multiple times before bed.
- No gas in my car because we were on vacation and well...checking that wasn't a priority.
- Hit curb due to poor driving skillz and low tire pressure gauge came on immediately.
- Tire looks bad but didn't appear to be losing air so it might be another tire? I only gave it 5 minutes of standing in the rain getting soaking wet to figure it out and... you currently know more than my husband who is going to kill me.
- Had to pump gas while already late and worrying about tire.
- 50 minutes late after vacation - always impresses the boss.
- When attempting to hook-up IV of coffee, went to shake personal container of creamer and sprayed the entire work kitchen with cream. Someone has been helping themselves to my creamer while I was gone and lost the cap? I was...resigned to a day of failure at this point.
- Headache/Earache thing going on.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Last Friday a very sick man killed many people in a movie theater in Colorado.
I've been trying for several days to work into words my thoughts and what I wanted to say about this horrible tragedy. I've been struggling to avoid discussions of gun control and gun ownership because I don't think that's entirely it. I have been saving a post titled The Seven Stages of Gun Violence by one of my favorite writers, Jim Wright, because I thought I knew what he'd say and I knew it would be good and I didn't want his words in my brain before I had my own there.
Last night I was enjoying dinner with friends from book club, and as we were waiting for Ms. Sallie to arrive discussion came around to this topic. I finally got out that this man, this James Holmes, was so very sick, so clearly in need of mental health services and that I wished that this was a major talking point rather than gun control and this stuck with me as a starting point for what I wanted to say.
This morning I clicked over to Jim's blog and read his Seven Stages of Gun Violence and right there at the top he had a quote from another great blogger and news person:
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Then all this week I've been a crazy ball of anxiety who can't breath and can't sleep and can't function and finally today I said "hmmm, I just wonder if that's a side effect of the prednisone" and I hit up my bff Google and wouldn't you know that there are 1,001 articles about how prednisone will jack you up if you already have anxiety issues. It figures. I seriously cannot solve one problem without causing another. Now I'm mid-taper and you can't just go off this stuff, you really do have to taper. SO, even with my phone phobia I had to call my doctor and beg for more xanax which I just swore to him I didn't need anymore.
Let's file this under - Amanda Is Still As Crazy As Ever
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This weekend Sky has the honor of being in the wedding of one of her favorite people in the world, her second grade teacher Melissa. The dress is fit, the shoes are bought, we're choosing hair styles, and getting nails done. It's such a fun Mommy/Daugther time and the best part is that I'm not in the wedding in any way so I have no stress, I can totally concentrate on watching Skyler have a wonderful time.
This whole process wouldn't be complete without Skyler's expert opinion on weddings in general. She's decided that for HER wedding she will wear a short dress something like this but with some colored layers underneath:
You're going to want to stick around for awhile to see how that turns out. In the meantime, I'm just looking forward to seeing my beach girl all dressed up.
Monday, June 18, 2012
I'm just messing around with my mobile blogging options. Sometimes you're mosying around and you're composing a blog post in your head and later it's gone. Poof. Of course mobile blogging sets you up for interesting auto-correct issues but that just might be fun.
Family game night. Matt is teaching the kids black jack. We're hoping to retire early. So far Skyler's our best bet.
Monday, June 04, 2012
- Parking. WHERE are we going to park? How much will it cost? GAH THE PARKING. How far will we have to walk? Meter? Lot? AAAAAAAH.
- Sunscreen. Is Skyler screened? Did she get her face? Did I bring the super-sensitive-his-skin-will-freak-out block for Zack? Did I ninja attack Matt with sunscreen so he doesn't get melanoma on his forehead? How long until they each need block again? DAMN IT I forgot to spray myself. x infinity for however long we're there.
- Skyler: There is sand in my bathing suit and I have to pee x infinity until the end of time
- Zack: I'm hot but I won't go near the water so I'm cranky, also feed me.
- Big Daddy: Huh?
Wish me luck,
Orange = sarcasm