Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

The new year brings about a time of reflection for many of us. We take stock of our lives, and think about what we need to change. It's not a coincidence that so many people start a diet or exercise program on January 1st. Or they pledge to give up smoking, drinking or another vice. But rather than try to change our current situation, why don't we put out the energy to bring us what we want exactly. Do you want a book contract? Put it out into the Universe. Do you want to change your position in life? Figure out what you want and ask for it. What can the world say, but no? And then are you really worse off? Shoot for the moon, you just might hit a star on the way down.
Happy New Year to all of you. May it bring you your dreams.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Entertaining myself...

A big part of winter break is finding ways to relax, while still being entertained. When you're single? You usually end up entertaining yourself. Books, movies, bad Lifetime T.V. You name it, I've tried it...and succeeded. So here we go, my round up of movies watched and books read (and yes, I promise to only recommend the good ones).
-Savor Me Slowly by Gena Showalter. The latest in her alien huntresses series. I loved this book. It's a perfect set up love v. duty. High action, high romance. And aliens!
-The Warrior by Kinley MacGregor. I may have already talked on this one, but definitely a good book. The latest in her Brotherhood of the Sword series, this is Lochlan's book. She also leaves us with a glimpse as to their fallen brother's true fate. wonders if she's planning to entwine her series with this one.
-Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan. Allison is a new writer on the scene. Her first trilogy came out last year, and she's followed up with a fabulous new trilogy. My only problem? Remember what happened in the first, to remember how characters were linked in book two. I love a good mystery, and a good serial killer book, and Allison provides both. I'd rank her right up there with Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag.
There have been others...but these are definitely the top three. Now, on to movies!
-Waitress. loves Nathan Fillion. You all know that. I was worried about my love, though, when he's introduced as a married doctor. Ooh, boy. That can't end well, can it? But it did. In true Chick Lit, Chick Flick style we get to see the ups and downs of taking back your life. Not to mention pie! Who doesn't love pie? It's a good thing I ate before watching this movie, or I would have been starving!
-Juno. Teenage pregnancy...'nuff said, right? Wrong. This is a funny, poignant look at what happens when cynical and sarcastic Juno finds herself pregnant and in need of a family for her baby. The actress did a wonderful job portraying a confused girl trying to find her way through life. I laughed through the whole movie.
-Charlie Wilson's War. Saw this the other night, and I'm very glad I went. The movie is based on the true story of Charlie Wilson, congressman from Texas, who took it upon himself (after some prodding) to provide our covert operations enough funding to help end Russian occupation of Afghanistan. It shows the lengths this man was willing to go, not to mention the amount of money he raised, to support the Afghanis during the mid-1980's. It also shows the results of those efforts, and the beginnings of our current situation. Yes, I recognize some aspects were likely glamorized. This is Hollywood after all. But the movie leaves definite food for thought here.
As for other movies watched...well, let's be honest. I'm almost embarrassed by them. The were cheesy, schmaltzy, and tearjerkers. And I watched them all the way through. Next up is Gods in Alabama, a book recommended by Shannon, and hopefully either PS I Love You, or Atonement. Hmmm...I've still got time, right?

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Things I shouldn't do...

I've never said I have the best judgment. Heck, my favorite movie when I was four was Poltergeist (don't ask...I have no explanation for that one). Which would likely explain why my weekend was spent going between two extremes. I've either been busy watching tearjerkers on Lifetime T.V., or else scaring myself silly with Allison Brennan books (Speak No Evil) and the first two parts of Stephen King's movie The Stand.
Something tells me I'll be joining the "sleeping with the light on" club tonight.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007


That would be the sound you hear as I take a big sigh of relaxation. I love sleeping in, watching movies, and in general taking the time to breath. I forget about that a lot of the time. I forget to stop for a few minutes and simply breath. I forget to simply be in the moment and enjoy it. Why is that, do you think? Why do so many of us have so much trouble taking time to relax and simply BE?
What really amazes me is how calming filing papers, or cleaning up my kitchen table can be. I won't go so far as to say it's transformed me, or that I've become one of those people who run around cleaning everything. But I definitely can find the quietness in setting aside time to file away papers and to clean out those files of old, extraneous papers.
I hope you've all had a moment to enjoy the quiet of this time of year. Or at the very least are able in the near future to find that moment of quiet for yourself.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I made it...

Of course, by about 8 a.m. yesterday I was literally on the hour countdown to when I could leave work. I love my students, but the day before winter break? Heck, we're all ready to not be there. But we made it through their poetry recital (they did great!), and the reception following, and now I'm home. I'm home and I can finally start to feel some of the stress leaking away. Of course, when I look around at the mess that is my apartment, my shoulders are up by my ears again, but I can deal with that. It's just a little filing...and vacuuming...and dusting...and washing...and moving...and empyting...and...well, I think you get the picture.
So happy winter break to all teachers out there. Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why writing a series isn't on my current agenda...

At the bookstore the other night to pick up a few last minute gifts, I came across Kinley MacGregor's much anticipated The Warrior. The Warrior is part of her Brotherhood of the Sword series, and Lochlan's story. Fans of the series have been waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and, well, you get the picture. So I found out the book was released (I thought it was still a month off. Goes to show how much attention I pay), and snapped up a copy on my way to the checkout.
So I did what any good bibliophile does when they come across a book by their favorite author...I set aside my towering pile of TBRs and I dug in. And I quickly discovered the problem with long series, especially series where the books come out years apart from one another (and I do think it's been a year since the last one). I discovered that...
I don't remember a freaking thing about the books.
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. I remember a few character names. And I vaguely remember one of the underlying stories. And I know I've seen that character mentioned before. Didn't he have a book already? But for all intents and purposes, I can't remember anything about this family. Which leaves me in a state where I'm enjoying the book for what it is, but I'm annoyed as heck because I know I should have this information somewhere in the dusty corners of my mind.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why writing a series is a little further down my list right now. I have a hard enough time remembering my characters and plot for one book at a time, let alone a whole slew of books. I've done the sequel thing, but that didn't go far. I'm sure at some point in my career I'll stumble upon a group of characters all waiting to have their stories told. And at that point I'll happily sit down and write them all.
But for now? I'll just read the series, and enjoy what others can create.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Hannukah Meme of My Favorite Things

So, I was recently tagged by Christina with the following Holiday Meme.
Instructions: Please share 12 of your favorite Hannukah things (or Christmas if applicable): they can be memories, traditions, songs, presents, beliefs, whatever it is about this season that you love. Send it to others and be sure to link to them so that everyone can enjoy the many variations!
1. Latkes. I enjoy this one time a year (usually), and look forward to them all during November. There's something about fried potato pancakes and applesauce that just make me happy.
2. Gelt. I don't even like chocolate all that much, but there's something about Hannukah gelt (chocolate coins). Maybe it's the challenge of trying to peal off the thin gold colored foil without sacrificing any of the treat. Maybe it's simply the tie to my childhood. I didn't get any chocolate gelt this year, but it's all good.
3. Lighting the menorah. This one is definitely a throwback to childhood. I remember growing up and lighting the menorah with my dad, and then with my papa whenever we were in Florida for the holiday. I love the tradition of it, of knowing that for centuries people have been lighting the menorah and telling the story of Hannukah.
4. Winter break. Okay, technically this one doesn't always coincide with the holiday, but I think it should count. I look forward to some time off during this time of year, every year. Let's face it, it's probably one of the reasons I became a teacher ;)
5. The Hannukah Song by Adam Sandler. Let's be honest here, folks. It's almost the only popular Hannukah song out there that doesn't have to do with a homemade dreidle.

Sadly, after 5 I'm stumped. I think part of it is because Hannukah's not an important holiday. Not really, anyway. Most of the world thinks it is because of the time of year it falls during. In reality, it's a minor holiday, not even a Holy Day. It's the celebration of a miracle, in which a small group of soldiers fought and defeated the Greeks back in the day. They then returned to their temple to re-consecrate it. The oil, enough for one night, burned for eight. In the grand scheme of things, though, the holiday falls pretty far down the list. It's fun, it's festive, but it's not even my favorite. My immediate family will usually gather for a small dinner, but I can't remember anyone in my family ever making a huge deal out of it. It certainly wasn't a cause for gathering the entire family together.
So there you have top 5 favorite things about Hannukah. I know, it's supposed to be 12, but you'll have to deal.
As for the rest of you, the following bloggers are up next:
Ms. K.
Ms. C.
Jill Monroe

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

"It's time to light the lights..."

Yes, it's time for an homage to The Muppet Show. Or at the very least, time to quote them.
Tonight's the 6th night of Hanukkah, the 6th night of lighting the menorah and watching the candle flames dance. The first night I found myself reading a little bit about the ritual I was performing. For instance, how many of you know that the purpose of the lights is to be beautiful? That's it, nothing more. We are only supposed to watch them, and enjoy them. They aren't meant to warm, or to usher in a holy day. They are only meant to be pretty.
I kind of like that idea.
So tonight I lit my candles and watched them dance. And soon I'll be off to my last Hanukkah party of the season. All in all a good night.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

No longer singing...

"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head", thank goodness. They stopped the rain in my apartment, and outside of all my furniture piled in the middle of my living room, and the whole in my ceiling, and the fan drying out my carpet, all is good.
Actually, it's great. Only 8 more school days until winter break (*ducking to avoid flying objects from moms and non-teachers everywhere*). Of course, I'll be working my rear off during break, but I'll be home doing so. On my couch.
Who knows, maybe I'll even manage to make a dent in my TBR pile. Which is short 3 books, now that I've finished those from my last book post. If you haven't listened to my words of wisdom, get thee to the bookstore and buy Un-Veiled by Eileen Rendahl. Fab-u-lous! She maneuvers through to the climax so neatly, you don't even realize you've read the last half of the book in only a few hours. I was shocked when I saw I only had a few pages left. Definitely a worthy read.
Up next? Well, I'm not sure. I have so many to choose from. Quite possibly something from Stephanie Rowe. Or maybe Elizabeth Boyle. Or...hmmm....I think I have to ponder this more.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring...

Inside my apartment. Again.
I thought we were over this? Been there, done that. Really don't want to deal with it again. At least this time around it's not a day off for 90% of the population. Now if only my maintenance man would call back.
Please tell me this is not a sign of things to come this day.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

And the winner is...

The Chanukah festivities began today with a brunch-time gathering with friends. About 14-15 of us gathered in my friends' home to share in latkes (potato pancakes), home-made sufganyot (donuts), and many other yummy treats. It was an afternoon of food, fun, games and conversation...all of which were capped off by our gift exchange. We played by the rules that before you opened a new gift, you had the option to "steal" from another participant. The most traded was probably the Starbucks gift card. Never mind that as one friend pointed out, we could all go and buy our own $10 card if we really wanted to. It wasn't the was the principal!
At one point I almost walked away with this lovely prize, but another friend stole it. The menorah lights up when you pour in hot liquid. And in the end? I walked away with the gift card. Yay!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

A word to the wise...

When you go grocery shopping, don't forget to wear a loosely-fitted shirt, just in case you decide to pick up a flu shot while you're there. If you don't remember to wear the loosely-fitted shirt, you run the risk of creating a tourniquet-like effect with the sleeve you are wearing.
And let me tell you, that hurts.
On an up note I now have my immunization, food for the next week (or few days if the expected wind-storm does anything other than blow), and the makings of a farmer's salad for my two Chanukah parties tomorrow.

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