Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lunchtime Reading

With the wet and rainy conditions today I spent my lunch hour reading at my desk. This is the fourth book in the series, so I felt confident I would enjoy it. It takes place three years after the first three books, with a mostly different cast of characters. It is fast-paced and engaging and difficult to put down at the end of an hour. I may have to check to see if this author has written anything else that interests me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Love of Water

On Saturday we went for a walk in a nearby neighborhood. I anticipated my son would enjoy this "lake" and I was correct. In fact we might still be there if I had not dragged him away with promises of peanut butter for lunch.






Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lunchtime Reading



On Friday it snowed. On Monday it was 80 degrees outside. Hello April, nice to see you again.

I wore a dress and sandals to work and spent 55 of my 60 lunchtime minutes outside walking and reading. It was glorious. I started this book just yesterday and didn't have time (with the walking) to get very far into it, but I was chuckling and nodding along. I'm looking forward to reading more today. And I can't wait for outdoor lunches to be the norm again!

Monday, April 03, 2017

2017 To-Do List: March

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books 8/24 - I read 3 books in March, so I'm still on track to make my yearly goal.
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion
  5. Hang wall art I hung one photograph on a nail vacated by a piece of art that belonged to my ex. I am not marking this as complete as I have more things that need to be hung. But, progress.
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room COMPLETED - 3/19/2017. I ordered a pleated fabric shade from Amazon for ~$9. Not fancy at all, but it gets the job done.
  7. Blog at least once a week 13/52 - I have blogged at least once a week for the first thirteen full weeks of the year.
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear COMPLETED - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work COMPLETED - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo COMPLETED - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son COMPLETED - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month 3/12 - January & February. In March we went to the Nature Center for a pancake breakfast. We didn't walk the trails so it didn't necessarily meet the spirit of the goal, but I'm counting it anyway.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Xenogeneic: First Contact by Lance Erlick (Review)


Book Description:

Xenogeneic is a science fiction thriller about first contact with an alien race that lost their civil war and wants to take over Earth.

Dr. Elena Pyetrov’s father vanished in space 18 years ago while searching for extraterrestrial life. As an aerospace engineer, Elena travels into space to search for answers and continue his work. Her ship is pulled off course and crashes. She suspects extraterrestrial interference.

The alien Knoonk lost their civil war in a distant star system and fled to Earth’s neighborhood to hide and regroup. They seek a new home—Earth. Unable to live in Earth’s toxic environment, the aliens kidnap and use humans to genetically modify their species to adapt.

Surviving the crash, Elena and her shipmates are transported to a closed cave system where the Knoonk monitor and control everything. Elena tries to make a connection with her hosts and find ways to work together, but Knoonk leaders rebuff her and force the humans to submit as slaves. The aliens use illusions, distractions, and social experiments to learn from their hostages and keep them off balance. Resistance by captive humans brings swift punishment to break the human spirit.
While Elena continues to look for ways to cooperate with the Knoonk, it becomes apparent that there can be no compromise. The Knoonk want to capture Earth for their species. It is winner take all. With time running out, Elena must dig deep to uncover the alien plan and find a way to stop them before the human race faces enslavement and extinction.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Add to Goodreads

Author's Bio:

Lance Erlick writes science fiction thrillers for young adult and adult readers. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he explores the consequences of Annabelle Scott following her conscience. He authored the Regina Shen series--Resilience, Vigilance, Defiance, and Endurance. This series takes place after abrupt climate change leads to the Great Collapse and a new society under the World Federation. His latest novel is Xenogeneic: First Contactabout encounters with an alien race aiming to take over Earth.

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  

My Review:

It's been a long time since I've read any science fiction, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book and it captured my attention from page one. Xenogeneic: First Contact by Lance Erlick is fast-paced and action-packed. It is a non-stop whirlwind and packed full of surprises right to the end.

That said, the characters are not well-developed. It's hard to become invested in a story when you don't feel like you really know anyone involved. There are also so many characters with fairly minor roles that it is difficult to keep everyone straight. The story is oddly jumpy at times, lacking smooth transitions. There is a lot of fighting in the book, although it is not particularly graphic. Nor is there graphic sexual content, with violence being mostly implied.

In short, while interesting, it was not compelling enough for me to seek out other books by this author. I have read better reviews of some of his previous efforts though.

To read more reviews, please visit Lance Erlick's page on iRead Book Tours.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing this review. The opinions are entirely my own.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lunchtime Reading



I finished this book on my lunch yesterday. It was the last in this series, so I'm sad to not have more to read. I read them out of order, but it didn't end up mattering too much.

I will start a new book tomorrow, as I used my lunch hour today to attend a free yoga class offered by my employer. I enjoyed it a great deal, as always. Then I came back to the office to find it filled with nasty cleaning fumes. The doorstop won't work, so I have no way to even try to circulate air. So there goes my happy, peaceful yoga mood. I hate people.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Snow Days

Earlier this week we got hit by Winter Storm Stella. She dumped about two feet of snow on us over two days, during which time the institution I work for shut down. Snow days! Yay! Unfortunately I had a doozy of a head cold, so I wasn't able to enjoy my days off as much as I might have otherwise.

On the second day I did something I haven't done in possibly years. I rented a movie and spent the entire naptime on the couch under a blanket. The first movie I tried to rent was only available to buy (no thanks) and the second one is currently showing on a channel I have, so I set the DVR to record it for free instead of paying to rent it. That left me surfing the recent releases until I happened upon Inferno with Tom Hanks. I have read all of Dan Brown's books and seen all of the previous movies. I can say with confidence something I don't know if I've ever said before: the movie was better than the book. Shocking, I know. But wow, did the book just drag on and on with all that Dante business. Bo-ring!

my view from the couch

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Currently

Drinking: Water or tea. Nothing new there.

Watching: I only watch TV on the weekend while my son sleeps. I usually am able to keep up with most of my regular shows: General Hospital and Chicago Fire, PD, and Med. The other lower priority shows tend to accumulate until I have extra time off: Blacklist and Modern Family.

Reading: A book that I will be reviewing in a few weeks. And to be completely honest, if I had not agreed to review the book I would have abandoned it days ago. Bet you can't wait to read the review now after that teaser! Ha.

Listening: I don't listen to much music. At home I sometimes will put the classic rock station on the TV. In the car I listen primarily to a station with "Sunny" in its name. I used to think of this channel as easy-listening. So in other words, I AM OLD.

Playing: Choo-choos. My son is mildly obsessed with his train set. I also occasionally find time for a game or two of Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.

Saying: "Did you go poo-poo?" "Where are you?" "Not a toy." "OK, go ahead."

Laughing at: My son. He's such a goofball sometimes, as is common with almost-2 year olds.

Loving: The milder temps and more daylight. I am so ready for spring!

Hating: Not being able to spend more time with my son. I want to squish him up against me every second of the day. He would not be on board with this plan, even if it was possible.

What are you up to these days?

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

2017 To-Do List: February

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like One load of stuff donated, but I'm not marking this as completed because I could donate stuff every week and still have more to get rid of.*
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books 5/24 - I met my 2 books per month goal to stay on track, so all good.
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion
  5. Hang wall art
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room
  7. Blog at least once a week 8/52 - I have blogged at least once a week for the first eight full weeks of the year.
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear COMPLETED - 2/5/2017**
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work COMPLETED - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo COMPLETED - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month 2/12 - January & February

*I took a load of stuff to the Salvation Army on 2/18/2017 (2 boxes and 1 bag). This is hard to do with a toddler in tow. The previous weekend I loaded the car and planned to go after a trip to Target. Unfortunately, the little man melted down in Target when I wouldn't let him keep a toy school bus (he has the exact same one at home so I was definitely not buying a second one), so I abandoned any hopes of making additional stops. Then I had to unload the car to go grocery shopping and reload the car the next weekend. Having learned my lesson, we went to the Salvation Army first. I unloaded the car and then managed to write out the receipt (for tax purposes) with a giant toddler on my hip. Mission accomplished. It was just a drop in the bucket of what needs to be donated, but it's a start.

**I purchased a 3 pack from Amazon. The 3 pairs I last purchased are getting a bit tight now that I've gained back the 20 or so pounds I'd lost, so I ordered the next size up and of course they're too big. I can still wear both sizes, but neither fit satisfactorily. So I'm not buying any more for now.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Saturday Morning Walk

Saturday morning we woke to a continuation of the abnormally mild temperatures. I checked the forecast and saw that would change mid-day, so we jumped in the car and headed for Second Home Nature Center. The little man was clearly as thrilled as I was with the weather and the opportunity to explore. He had great fun throwing leaves and rocks, collecting handfuls of mud-filled acorn caps, and splashing the water with a stick.







Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lunchtime Reads



I started this book last week. It's in the same series as two others I read this past fall but with a different cast of characters. While interesting and engaging, I'm finding it less captivating than the other two.

My reading time has taken a hit of late, as I had Monday off from work, Tuesday I went for a short lunchtime walk, and yesterday I went for a long walk because it was so glorious outside. I ended up not getting to do any reading at all because when I came back from my walk I was immediately pulled back into a work task, even though I technically had another 20 minutes left of lunch. Grump. I anticipate another lunchtime walk today unless it starts to rain, so I may not do any reading again. But winter will return soon enough, so I must squeeze in all the walking time while I can.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day is Stupid



Let me tell you, that donut was just an excuse to eat four pounds of frosting. And I enjoyed every morsel. These goodies were courtesy of two fine ladies I work for.

I was managing to maintain a suitable level of indifference about this stupid "holiday" until daycare got on my very last nerve. Yesterday at 1:56 PM they sent a note with the names of the 12 kids in my son's class so we could bring Valentine's for the exchange today. This was the first mention of any such activity and no more detail was provided. So obviously, my poor child showed up empty handed today because I can ONLY shop on the weekends. There is ABSOLUTELY no way around this fact. So I appear to have failed my child when in fact it is daycare that dropped the ball. Thanks for making me look (and feel) like a bad parent, assholes.

And a very Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Favorite Candy

Everyone that knows me or has read this blog knows I have an ENORMOUS sweet tooth. I primarily go for chocolate when I need a sugar fix. Here are some of my favorites:
  1. Dove milk chocolates (especially the hearts for Valentine's Day)
  2. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  3. Guylian Belgian Chocolates (the hazelnut truffle ones shaped like seashells)
  4. Lindt Truffles
  5. Milka chocolate bars (especially with Oreo cookies)
  6. Ghirardelli chocolate squares with caramel
  7. Twix
  8. Milky Way
  9. Reece's Peanut Butter Cups (I have to be in the right mood for these)
  10. 3 Musketeers
But don't worry, in a pinch I'll happily eat a couple dozen Hershey's Kisses (or Hugs). Or, you know, anything else made with milk chocolate. Keep that nasty dark shit away from me and don't contaminate my chocolate with nuts. The horror.

Writing prompt courtesy of Kat Bouska at Mama's Losin' It.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Lunchtime Reads

I finished The Vintage Caper yesterday and found it thoroughly disappointing. It was not worth the time or effort to read (or publish?). Oh well, it still counts for my yearly goal, so moving on...



I started a new book today during lunch. It was initially over-whelming with an enormous cast of characters. I still may not have them all sorted out, but before my reading session was over for the day the book got EXTREMELY INTERESTING. My practice is to read books without looking at the back cover, so I don't have to worry about any spoilers. I read the summaries and use the look inside feature to read the first few pages before adding the book to my wishlist, but then books may hang out on the list and in my tbr pile at home for months or years before I crack them open. So I was entirely surprised by the turn of events and am so anxious to get back to the story tomorrow during lunch.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

2017 To-Do List: January

Let's review (with comments):
  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books 3/24 - I finished 3 books in January so I am off to a good start. Hopefully I can keep up this pace throughout the year.
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion
  5. Hang wall art
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room
  7. Blog at least once a week 4/52 - I have blogged at least once a week for the first four full weeks of the year.
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work COMPLETED - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo COMPLETED - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
Not a bad start to the year!


Monday, January 30, 2017

Lunchtime Reads



I've read at least six other titles by this author, so I feel fairly confident when it comes to starting a new book of his. That said, I generally prefer his non-fiction, plus the subject matter in this novel is of little interest to me. Rich power players in Hollywood? Gag. But the story has moved across the ocean to France, so hopefully that helps with the ugh-factor and eye-rolling.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekends

This was yet another weekend of SICK. Fever, vomiting, more fever, no appetite, etc. all make for a sad little guy (and sad mommy).

The temperatures were unseasonably mild though, so I bundled my guy up and dragged him outside for some fresh air. He didn't want to walk or play much, but at least we got outside for a little while. I managed to inhale deeply a few times under the hemlocks. I sure do love the smell of rotting leaves, wet soil, and all the other wonders of the WOODS. It's been too long.

Ice spine made for some trickier than expected walking on the boardwalk.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Day in the Life

4:45-5:15* AM // Wake up to sounds from my son's bedroom indicating he is awake. Roll over, determined to get a few more minutes of sleep (or at least, rest). The likelihood of him going back to sleep is very slim.

5:25-5:35* AM // Give up and get up. Bathroom, then downstairs to turn on lights. Back upstairs to get my son out of bed. Nurse, read/play, dress.

6:15-6:30* AM // Head downstairs, Make tea, toast & eat an English muffin (shared with son, maybe 3/4 for me 1/4 for him).

6:45-7:00* AM // TV on to watch a few minutes of the local news and Today show.

7:10 AM // Upstairs to brush teeth, comb hair, and change into work clothes.

7:26 AM // Downstairs to put on coats, hats, shoes and load up.

7:34 AM // Pull out of garage and drive to daycare.

7:57 AM // Kiss son goodbye for the 87th time and drag myself through the classroom door. Linger excessively long while watching him on video monitor in hallway. Finally tear myself away and dash to car.

8:20-8:25* AM // Catch shuttle bus from parking lot to campus. Walk across campus, arriving a few minutes late, but still well before anyone else in the office. Arriving on time is not a source of stress in this office, thankfully.

9:00 AM // Make second cup of tea.

10:00 AM // Morning snack. Or sometimes second breakfast.

12:30 PM // Lunch hour. Read at desk. Nuke some sort of frozen/shelf stable prepared food that tastes like cardboard.

3:00 PM // Afternoon snack.

4:55 PM // Walk to shuttle bus.

5:35-5:45* PM // Arrive home, assuming no delays (like snow, construction, accidents, etc.). Ex delivers son in this same time frame, so big hugs for my little man.

5:50 PM // Dinner prep. Usually involves nuking frozen meals or reheating pasta cooked on the weekend.

6:00 PM // Dinner.

6:30 PM // Change poopy diaper, turn on heat in son's bedroom.

6:35 PM // Play, watch Elmo videos and/or Wheel of Fortune.

7:30 PM // Jeopardy!

7:40 PM // Upstairs to brush teeth and get ready for bed (jammies, books, nursing).

8:05-8:15* PM // Son in bed.

8:15-8:20* PM // Get in shower.

8:45 PM // Insert electric blanket into bed and turn on. Ninja into son's room to check temperature.

8:50 PM // Laundry, dishes, lunch prep, pick up toys, etc.

9:05-9:25* PM // Sit down on couch, play bejeweled blitz on laptop.

9:30-9:40* PM // Head upstairs to get ready for bed. Ninja into son's room to check temperature one last time.

9:40-9:50* PM // Climb into bed, vowing to get to bed earlier tomorrow. Fall asleep 30 seconds later.

*Range of time during which said activity may take place.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lunchtime Reads



I usually only read one book at a time, but I left the bottom book at the office over the weekend because I only read during lunch breaks. But I had a three day weekend and on Monday I missed my normal reading routine so I started the second book at home. Now they both are living at the office, although I've been sticking with the first one, not yo-yoing between them.

My initial impressions of Carry On, Warrior were not great. People are pretty fanatical in support of her, but at first I was turned off by the excessive mention of god (not my thing) and found the book to be somewhat irrelevant to my life. It has gotten better and some of it even has me nodding along as I read. She is funny and not afraid to show her ugly, crazy bits.

I didn't read enough of Goodnight June to really get into the book. What I read was unoriginal, but having read another of Sarah Jio's books I suspect the story will pick up as I read more.

Both books were Christmas presents. Yay! Books!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Word of the Year

I started thinking of words in mid-December. Jotting them down. Crossing them out. I had a general feeling about the direction I wanted to go with my word of the year. But I had trouble actually identifying ONE word that encompassed what I was feeling.

But I have finally decided: OPEN.

I think the word itself is pretty clear, as is how it might relate to my life. Open to moving on. Open to new possibilities. New adventures. New experiences. New people.

I don't have anything specific in mind with regards to implementing my word of the year; I'll just try to be open to opportunities as they present themselves.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Weekends

After the hustle and bustle of the last several holiday weekends, we needed a commitment free weekend to just chill. Although I would've preferred the temperatures weren't so chilly, or frankly, so painfully cold. Extreme cold always does a number on my motivation.

On Saturday I subjected my son to an instant oil change. I hate going to those places because they're so over-priced, but I guess you have to pay for the convenience of not having to spend an hour or more trying to entertain your toddler in some gross, stinky waiting room with talk shows blaring out of the TV at you. I also dislike driving over the giant hole. It terrifies me. But we survived.

From there we went to Starbucks to get a green tea latte. Gift cards to Starbucks always make me happy. Most people would probably be surprised to hear that from a non-coffee drinker. There is an older lady barista at my Starbucks who routinely makes derogatory comments about my orders. I am torn between being entertained and being annoyed. Perhaps she finds my sunny personality and adorable son irritating too.

I bundled us up Saturday afternoon to play outside for a few minutes. I couldn't get my son's thumbs to stay in the thumb spot (uh, what's that called anyway?) in his super-duper warm mittens, which meant he couldn't pick things up. He was getting super frustrated so I switched him to his thin cotton mittens, which made him happy and me paranoid. He was still happily playing (well, ringing the doorbell repeatedly) when I decided it was time to go inside. Naturally he disagreed, but my fingers were frozen inside my big wind-proof snowmobiling mittens, so...

It was even colder on Sunday, so aside from our grocery store / bank run we hunkered down inside. I kept cranking the thermostat up, but it had almost no impact on the actual temperature inside the house. 62 just isn't warm enough for me. I couldn't convince myself to get out from underneath the blanket during naptime until I had about 10 minutes left. Then I brilliantly decided to start moving furniture around towards my goal of getting rid of several pieces (a matching set of two end tables and a coffee table). So now the house is trapped in the 'gets worse before it gets better' phase until next weekend when hopefully I feel super motivated during naptime. Ha.

Discovering the doorbell. Good times.
Joining Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

My 2017 To-Do List

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like
    1. clothes
    2. furniture
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion
  5. Hang wall art
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room
  7. Blog at least once a week
  8. Purchase new bras
  9. Purchase new underwear
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month
This was all I could come up with for now, but because it's MY list I may take the liberty of adding more to it later. Ta-da!