Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to high school!

I have recently reconnected with several of my high school classmates on "Facebook". One of our classmates lives in Germany and was back in Maine for a quick visit so Julie offered to host an impromptu reunion at her farm. With a fair amount of excitement and a small amount of hesitation, I quickly RSVPed that I would be there.

I went to a high school that served 11 towns in a rural area. I have not seen some of my classmates since graduation day over 30 years ago as most of us moved away.

There were 9 of us in attendance plus 2 spouses. As soon as we started talking, the years magically disappeared. It was great fun to catch up with everyone. It was also interesting to hear "the rest of the story" from my classmates.

One classmate, Ed, always seemed to be watching the rest of us with a smile on his face. I always felt that he was more mature than the rest of us and he found our antics amusing. Another classmate said the exact same thing. When we shared that with Ed, we discovered that he had grown up in a household with parents who fought a lot and he feels he stepped back, shut down his emotions and observed the action. He said he was regretful that he never felt capable of joining in the fun.

Another classmate, Kristina, dropped out of our high school our freshman year, took classes in night school and dropped back in our senior year. A different religion from the rest of us, she was not very involved in the social aspect of school. We grew up in the same town and kept in telephone contact even when she wasn't enrolled in our school. What I didn't know was that I was the only friend that she was allowed to call. Apparently, her parents liked me and liked my parents. In addition, her father was a concentration camp survivor from World War II and was abusive. Of all of us, I would say that she has changed the most. She is now a blond, very confident and very social. She has forgiven her father for his abuse and now takes care of both of her parents.

The guest of honor, Danny, is just as I remembered him except that he is much better looking! He has come to terms with being gay and still goes with the flow. I remember teaching him how to deal with fractions in the testing room before we took SATs. No advance planning for him! It appears that he operates under the same philosophy now too. He ups and moves to a new location without a job and without a place to live. Somehow, it always works out for him.

Julie, our hostess, looks and acts the same as she did in high school. On her 4th husband, she lives on a farm in rural Maine and is thriving. Her back story was that she wanted to go to college to become a nurse but her parents wouldn't help her by filling out the financial aid paperwork. Also, her home life wasn't as rosy as we all thought. Her father, a teacher at the school, was apparently very strict and treated her poorly.

Kathy is 60 pounds lighter then in high school (a statement I certainly can't make) and served as a sniper in the military. Not a typical career choice for a small town girl in the late 70s!

Lynn married and divorced her "bad boy" high school sweetheart. She quit college to do that but returned to college and her life plans after the divorce.

Betty got married and divorced twice and picked a new last name after her second divorce. She wanted a new beginning for herself. I have to confess that even though our school was very small - I have no memory of her. Zilch. Nada. Not even a flicker. I kept hoping that something would trigger a memory but no such luck.

The other Julie brought her husband with her. I thought he might feel awkward but he says he had a great time. They co-own a couple of businesses. She seemed very secure and content with who she is and where she is in her life. She was the only other person married to her first spouse.

And, me. Well, I have turned into my mother. I work in the same industry and have the same values regarding family and helping the community. I can't say that I am where I planned to be but I certainly am happy with where I have ended up.

It really was a great day and will be a great memory. It caused me to be introspective. I realize that my classmates were much more complicated than I ever imagined and that the labels they had were not who they were. I realized that if I met some of them today, I probably wouldn't be friends as we don't currently have much in common. Other classmates that I didn't have much in common with in high school would probably be my friends now as the high school cliques have disappeared. However, there is this bond between us that remains after all of these years. I know that if I called Kristina up today and said I needed help, she would be there. No questions asked except for "what do you need?".

We all had such a good time that I know we won't wait another 31 years to get together again. For one thing, we would all be 80 and who knows if we will remember each other!

Are you in touch with any of your high school friends?

Here's to memories!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fragmented Friday thoughts

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is the instigator of this Internet crop of randomness. You could call her the farmer and we are all her farm hands. Go over and check out her little patch of odds and ends and check out what the other farm hands are up to around the Internet world. She designated little ole me as her Favorite Friday Fragmenter for last week. I haven't been so excited since I won the social studies award my junior year.

I also won a "silly goose" award from Mighty Mom over at My Wonderful Life for my goofy definition of one of her words in Thursday Thesaurus. Check out her blog if you haven't already! Don't they say that winning comes in threes? I am going to buy a lottery ticket tomorrow!

Speaking of high school, one of my high school buddies is visiting Maine from his current residence of Hamburg, Germany. Another high school classmate is hosting a gathering at her farm tomorrow so we can all get together and see him. I have reconnected with a lot of these classmates in the past 6 months due to Facebook and I am looking forward to seeing everyone. I can't believe it has been 31 years! I have not seen some of these classmates since graduation day. There is a small part of me, however, that is nervous about getting together. The high school insecurities are raising their nasty heads. Would you feel the same way?

Growing up, I loved the show "One Day at A Time" and I have casually read articles about Mackenzie Phillips and her struggles over the years. Her latest bombshell is creepy and sad, to say the least. I do wonder, however, what is motivating her to tell "all" at this point. Is it therapeutic or is she simply trying to get more attention? It is getting to the point, where I don't even want to know what is going on with anyone. Look at all of the highly talented people who are just wrecks. The price of fame is much too high!

Many of you know that one of my oldest and dearest friends is Mary Ellen. She is the one who got me into this bloggie world.You can comment on her blog with compliments or complaints about that! Anyway, she has not been blogging very much this week so I wanted to give you a ME sighting report. Yes, she is still alive and doing extremely well. She started her new job this week, is doing fabulous at it (she didn't tell me that but I am sure she is!) and likes what she is doing.

My son is a boy scout and my husband and I are both adult leaders. Two of the other leaders signed their son up for a sport that conflicts with the scout meeting. They knew that when they signed him up. Now they have asked the Troop to change the meeting night to a night more convenient for them. When I stated that our family has a conflict on the night they want to move it to and we would be unable to attend that night of the week, she sent an email to everyone saying that "We all sacrifice for our children to make them happy and feel involved but I guess that it isn't always possible". Huh? I am not sure where that one came from. I was questioning myself - should I stop doing something I enjoy (and one of the few things I do for myself and my health) so I can therefore take my son to the meetings on those nights he doesn't have his own conflict? My son heard that and said "Gee, Mom. You sacrifice for me all of the time. I don't think you need to sacrifice your commitments for him". Sometimes it takes the younger generation to put things in perspective.

Don't forget to head over to Mrs. 4444's and check out the other fragmenters.

Here's to Fridays!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank Goodness it is Thursday!

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even when your happiness tank seems to be nearing empty, if you sit back and think about it, there is usually something big or small to be thankful for. Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. My thankful list (in no particular order) is:

I am especially thankful today is Thursday as it is really my Friday! I have tomorrow off.

I am thankful that my employer allowed me to carry over my unused vacation days this past year even though it is against company policy. Now if I can only figure out how to use 23 days before next April.

I am very thankful for Girl's Night Out! My two college buddies are the best! I am thankful that the restaurant didn't charge us a rental fee for the booth last night. We were there almost 4 hours! We laughed, we talked, we gave our opinions, we sympathized, we celebrated successes and, most importantly, we were together.

I am thankful that the weather is so beautiful in Maine this week. I have been able to get out and walk at lunch time a couple of days. There is a cemetery near my office that is quiet (of course!) and peaceful. I really enjoy walking there.

I am VERY thankful that my co-worker's test showed she does not have a recurrence of her breast cancer. She joined me on my walks this week.

I am thankful that I don't have to worry what my husband is up to when he isn't with me. Ditto on my teenage son.

I am thankful that I didn't get sick at karate the other night.

I am grateful that I live where I live. I live in a relatively small town where people know me when I go into a store. However, I live an easy driving distance to Boston and Portland ME. It truly is the best of both worlds. As I get older, I am really appreciating the small town atmosphere. I am on a first name basis with the high school principal (who was one of my husband's teachers) and the school superintendent and not because my son is always in trouble! :)

I am thankful that I have a birthday coming up in the next few weeks and there really isn't anything that I really want. I realize I am lucky!

What are you thankful for?

Here's to filling the happiness tank.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is sequel time!

I am usually a very fast reader so I was very frustrated about how long it was taking me to read Dan Brown's newest blockbuster "The Lost Symbol". I have had a cold and it just made me way too tired.

This weekend I was able to finish the book. It was a book featuring Harvard professor Robert Langdon and followed Dan Brown's formula for success. It featured puzzles, a madcap race against time, a female cohort and beautiful descriptions. Since the Da Vinci Code was one of the most successful books of all time, why mess with something that obvious works? This book featured the Freemasons and their secret society. In the book, Robert Langdon was rushing to different places in Washington DC. The descriptions made me want to take a road trip to see the sights myself. It was full of surprises and is well worth the money. I will give this book 4Ks. The fact that it had a similar set up as the other Robert Langdon books is why I am not giving it 5 Ks.

This was the weekend for sequels as the next book I read was No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard. This is a follow-up to her widely successful breakthrough novel, The Deep End of the Ocean. It returns to the Cappadora family several years after their son, Ben, was returned to them. It turns out that happily ever after wasn't truly completely happy. Ben insisted on calling his kidnapper's husband Dad and calls the Cappadoras by their first names.He also goes by the first name that the kidnapper gave him. The older son has acted up over the years trying to get his mother's attention. This books starts with the older son, Vincent, previewing an independent movie about missing children without telling his mother what the movie is about. The movie brings back a lot of memories for the family and for the other families highlighted in the movie. The rest of the book deals with the ramifications of the movie and how it affects the family relationships. I remember reading the first book and not wanting to put it down. I felt the same way about this book. I read the entire book last night. I will give this book 5 Ks out of 5.

What have you read lately?

Here's to reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is responsible for this bloggie party of random thoughts. She is the party planner but we are all responsible for making it a happening party.

I saw on the news that the recession is officially over. Really. That is what they said. I hope the news gets around so people start hiring and stop having layoffs. My husband's employer is announcing a lay-off this morning. We have our fingers crossed that his name isn't on the list.
UPDATE - I got an email from my husband - he survived the lay-off!

"Survivor" had their season premier last night. I am addicted to Survivor. We have watched every season and almost every show. I always wonder about the twists that they throw in. Do they have these scenarios set "If this happens, we will use this twist but if that happens, we will do this instead"? Did you know that the contestants sign a contract that they will not write a book about their experience for several years? I also wonder why the people dress the way they do. I would only pack and wear quick dry clothes. They have to know that they are going to taken to the site pretty soon. Why don't some of these people wear their bathing suits as underwear? The women end up spending most of the season walking around in their bra and panties. Get a clue, people.

Did you read about the couple that got robbed while having an "intimate moment" in a dumpster? They had jewelry and money stolen so it isn't like they were homeless. I wonder how they happened to end up in a dumpster. "Let's go back to your place." "No, honey, my place is an absolute wreck. Let's go to a dumpster instead!" or perhaps "I can't wait to get you alone!" "Hey, look there is an empty dumpster! We don't have to wait!". Seriously, if my husband ever asked for an intimate moment in a dumpster, I would have him climb in first and leave him there. Yuck!

Here's hoping for a less stressful day at work. One co-worker is waiting for results from a biopsy and another co-worker is fighting with her significant other. Keep your fingers crossed for co-worker number one. Her doctor said she was 90% sure it was only an infection and not a recurrence of her breast cancer. We have a lot of hope. As for co-worker #2, I have given up hope that her life will ever be drama-free.

Here's to Friday Fragments! Party on!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even when things seem to be dark, there is always that little spark of light to be thankful for. Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. Be thankful for the big things - and the little things too!

This week I am thankful for:

I am thankful that I have a teenage son who is interested in my blog enough to "stalk" it. I am particularly thankful that he said "Mom, thanks for saying you appreciated that I say 'I love you' so much."

I am thankful that my son's work permit finally came in. It took two weeks and one day!

I am thankful that my son goes to a great high school. I went to open house last night and was very happy with the teachers and his courses. I am even more thankful that I am not the one taking all of his classes. AP Calculus and AP Physics would definitely do me in! :)

I am thankful that my friend Mary Ellen starts her job next week! It has been a long journey for her but I know that she will be a smashing success. She has shown determination and good spirits during the job search. She is one of my heroes!

I am thankful for bloggers who teach me, inform me, challenge me and entertain me. Check out My Wonderful Life today for her fun "Thesaurus Thursday Challenge". You will be entertained and also educated. While you are there, scroll back and check out her version of Thankful Thursday. She calls it Thankful Tuesday and you will get an extra dose of positivity!

I am thankful that the Boston Red Sox have been winning. I am even more thankful that Jerry Remy is back as a commentator. He makes watching the games more interesting.

I am thankful that my husband got up the other night when I didn't feel well and insisted on getting me something for my bad headache. The cold pack for my head did the trick.

I am thankful that today is Thursday. The work week is winding down and they say the weather in southern Maine is supposed to be great this weekend!

I am thankful for a loving family. My sister found a vegetarian recipe she thinks my son will like and my niece seems excited that I am going to visit her.

What are you thankful for this week?

Here's to appreciation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More book reviews

We interrupt the regular blog for another session of "What's on my Kindle!". I will now be adding a new feature - ratings. I will be giving each book 0-5 (with 5 being the best) Ks.

Jennifer Weiner was an oft recommended author when I was looking for vacation book recommendations. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read her books when I was on vacation (I had to spend sometime with the family, you know) but I did read two of her books when I got home.

The first book I read was "Good in Bed". Since I am more of an adventure/crime/mystery fan, I was a little hesitant to purchase this book. However, so many people recommended it, I took a leap of faith - and I am glad! This book is about a writer, Cannie, with serious body issues, self esteem issues and abandonment issues who is betrayed by a former lover when he writes an article about "Loving a larger sized woman". All of these issues were wrapped up in comedy. It was a bit over-the-top but in a good way. I laughed and I identified with her friendships and, yes, some of her feelings about her weight. I will give this book - K K K K (4 out of 5 Ks).

The second book of Jennifer's that I read was the sequel to "Good in Bed" - "Certain Girls: A Novel". This picks up Cannie's life several years later. She is now married and her daughter is 14. The book is told from Cannie's viewpoint and from her daughter Joy's viewpoint. Joy feels that Cannie is over-protective and that causes conflict with her mother. Part of the story deals with Joy's Bat Mitzvah and the different visions that Cannie and Joy have for it. I could certainly identify with that! In reading this, I felt like I was catching up with an old friend. Once again, it was funny and serious at the same time. I will give this book - K K K K (4 out of 5 Ks).

Since my son is the new owner of a learner's permit, I couldn't resist "The Secrets Between Us" by Barbara Delinsky. In this book, the daughter, who has her permit, is driving home in a rain storm and hits a pedestrian. The mother decides to say she was driving. The story details the issues that result from this secret and also delves into other secrets of her somewhat dysfunctional family. I could identify with the mother's reasoning and the story was interesting right up until the end. I felt that the ending was a bit "pat" and it seemed like the author just got bored and decided to finish the story. Because of the weak ending, I will give this book - K K K or 3 out of 5 Ks.

Finally, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This book kept popping up on the list of books that Amazon was recommending for me so I finally purchased it. It is a series of letters to and from Julia, an author in Post World War II England. She is researching a book on the occupation of the Channel Islands by the Germans. I do not typically read historical fiction but I enjoyed this book. The horrors of what the islanders - and others - suffered in World War II were tempered by the format of breezy letters. I felt like it gave me a taste of what happened there. I felt the book ended rather suddenly. I was actually surprised to turn the page and see that it was done. I will give this book 3 1/2 K's out of 5.

Next on my reading list is the latest by Nicholas Sparks "The Last Song" and the new Dan Brown which is being automatically downloaded at 12:01 am tonight. No waiting in line for me! I also have a sample of "Malice" by Lisa Jackson to preview. I am able to download a sample of a book (for free!) so I am usually pretty sure I will like the book before I purchase it.

What have you read lately?

Here's to reading!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fragments returns

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is responsible for all this fun. What is Friday Fragments? I am so glad you asked. It is where we take all of the bits and pieces of our thoughts and try to assemble them together into a crazy quilt of randomness. It is a virtual quilting bee and Mrs. 4444 is the queen bee.

I feel subdued today and I think it is because it is 9-11. It is hard to believe that eight years have passed since that day. So many heroes, so much sadness. One of my facebook friends summed up my feelings by saying: USA, home of the free - because of the brave. Amen to that.

I sent an email to someone this week and asked him to keep "this between us". I was asking a two questions but didn't want to make it into a big deal. His response to me was a note that he forwarded it to someone else to answer. What part of "between us" did he not understand? Shame on him. Shame on me too as this is the second time this has happened to me in the past 6 months. You can be sure that I won't be doing that in the future.

In the "eww, that's gross" news, a person in this area was arrested for crawling under an outhouse to watch people do their business. He was convicted of the same crime last year. Yes, you read that correctly. He crawls into the loveliness under the outhouse to watch. Can you imagine looking down and seeing two eyes? I am sure you could hear my scream all the way from Maine to California. Here is the link in case you don't believe me:

It could be a long school year. My son has block scheduling so he has 4 blocks on one day and 4 different blocks the next day. One "blue days", his schedule is "Oh, my gosh!" difficult -2 AP classes and honors English (not his favorite class) and band. On "gold days", it is relatively easy. honors Social Study, Spanish II, gym and a study hall. He is going to be stressed out on those blue days, I can just tell.

Gee, it is frustrating how long it takes to get a work permit in the State of Maine. You have to go to the Superintendent's office, fill out paperwork and they have to send it to the State of Maine to process. It is then mailed back. The last time, it took 2 weeks. It looks like it is going to take that long this time too. It is frustrating because my son would like to work this weekend. The ice cream shop will be closing Columbus Day weekend so he is running out of time!

That's all I got today folks. Make sure you go over to Mrs. 4444's and check out her portion of the crazy quilt. She always brings a smile to my face. You can also see what everyone else is quilting up today.

Here's to Friday Fragments!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A few of my favorite things....

In the Jennifer Weiner books I just completed, the lead character, Cannie, was a big fan of "The Sound of Music" and they mentioned the song "Favorite Things". It got me thinking - what are my favorite things?

Pampered Chef can opener - This leaves a smooth edge and works every time. It makes it so much easier to open cans.

Kindle - I have blathered on plenty about it so I won't bore you but it really is one of my favorite things. I can't wait for the new Dan Brown book to download! I have already pre-ordered it.

Bennies and St. Joe's coffee - This is a local coffee shop (sorry) and they feature Bennies. They are small pieces of fried dough covered with powdered sugar and served with a variety of dipping sauces. My personal favorite is espresso cream. Can you say Heaven on earth?

My projector/television - This is one of my favorite things assuming I can figure out how to turn it on (about 80% of the time). I get a high definition picture and an 88 inch screen. You feel like you are sitting on the baseball field with the players. These are much less than a comparable TV also. (Gotta love a bargain). They are also less obvious than a tv as I can put the screen up and you don't even notice anything.

Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups - we have a fancy coffee maker at works that makes coffee one cup at a time. Fresh brewed gourmet coffee to order.

Lilacs - Even though they make my eyes water and they aren't in season right now, the sight of a lilac bush in full bloom makes me smile. My mother loved lilacs too and it makes me feel closer to her.

Coffee Oreo Ice Cream - Creamy Coffee ice cream studded with chunks of oreo cookies. Yummy!

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Standin' up for me!

I have always been a very strong advocate for my son and for the youth in our town. When they were scheduling second graders for little league games from 7:00 to 9:00pm on school nights, I didn't just sit in the stands and complain. I got appointed to the executive board to make sure it didn't happen again. When the school wasn't meeting my son's needs in math, I developed a plan and didn't back down. It wasn't always easy (I was insulted, lied to and made fun of) but I did what I knew was best for him.

Who I haven't always been an advocate for, however, is ME. I am the type of person who will drive miles and miles out of my way to do an errand for someone else. I am the person who will get up at 3:00 am to drive someone to the airport and I am the first people a lot of people call when their child needs a ride somewhere. Most of the time, I am fine with this but there have been occasions when I have been taken advantage of.

I have turned over a new leaf this year. I am now starting to advocate for myself. As I have mentioned, I have recently started taking karate and I am finding it to be a lot of fun as well as great exercise. I am president of our music boosters organization and I have informed the two music teachers that I am unable to make any meetings held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings because those are the nights that I take karate. I told the head of the boy scout committee the same thing. I am making myself unavailable to them because I want to do karate for ME. Now this might not seem like a big deal to you but it is a huge first step for me.

What are you doing to put yourself first this week?

Here's to taking care of yourself!

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's time for another edition of Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at came up with this brainchild. Friday Fragments is where we bloggers can justify all the randomness that we try to hide the rest of the week. It is a mental goulash
and Mrs. 4444 is the head chef.

More than 1/2 of our staff is out of the office today. I am not sure what the boss was thinking when he kept saying yes to time off requests. Here's hoping that everyone is thinking about the long weekend and not thinking about their insurance today.

My son got his coveted learning permit Monday evening. He has driven several hours already. We live next door to his grandparents and they have allowed him to drive. In fact, his 82 year old grandmother basically insists that he drive. It is probably a good thing! Evan won't be eligible to get his license until next July so he will have lots of practice in by then.

Our school district is starting discussions with the neighboring town about closing our high school and sending our high school students to their high school. At the first meeting, apparently parents stood up and said they fully supported the idea and let's do it sooner than later. Hello. This is a major change in our educational system. How can they fully support something when they have no idea how it is going to work, what the cost will be - financially and, dare I say, emotionally to our students? They don't know what that would do to class size or anything else. Bigger is not necessarily better. I feel like I don't have enough information to say I don't support it but I certainly don't want to rush into something. The person who said let's do it sooner than later made that statement after her son spent one day in the high school. One day! I cringed when I read that statement. The teachers must feel awful. It made it sound like our high school is a bad place to be. It is small but my son loves it there and we have been very happy with the teachers, etc.

The weather forecast here in Southern Maine is beautiful for the entire weekend. We have had the worse weather most of the the summer and the last weekend, it is going to be nice? I think the weather gods are taunting me. Showing me what the summer could have/should have been.

All morning I have been hearing weird noises. I kept hearing a strange vibration at home this morning Everytime I heard it, I got up to check but it would quickly end. I just heard a strange beeping noise here in the office. At least one other person heard it too so I know it isn't me just going crazy. I hate those unidentified noises. Is it a sign that something is breaking down? Is it someone calling me on my cell to tell me that I have won $1 million dollars? Is it a bomb?

That is all that I can add to the mental goulash today. What tasty tidbits are you going to throw in?

Here's to fragments.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It is time to be thankful

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even on those "I can't wait until it is 4:30 and I can leave this horrid job" days, we truly do have a lot to be thankful for - I just know it! Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. Be thankful for the big things - and the little things too!

This week I am thankful for:

My dog who was so excited to see us when we got home from vacation. She sat on the couch next to me that evening, put her head on my lap and sighed a big sigh of relief. Her people had returned.

The high school boy who house sat while we were on vacation did a fantastic job. The house looked great when we got back, the dog and cat just loved him and he left us a nice note thanking us for giving him the job. He is an all around great kid.

That my son has made positive choices in kids to hang out with. The above house sitter is two years older than my son but is one of his friends. Also, another friend helped my son get a new job this fall. There is an ice cream shop a few miles from our house and my son really wanted to work there this summer. Unfortunately, they prefer to hire 16 year olds and sonnyboy is only 15. He got a job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant but told me he was aiming for the other place for next summer. This fall, he got an email asking him to interview at the ice cream place to finish out their season and for next summer. He was selected because of a personal recommendation of one of his friends. He got the job and his buddy is training him. It was a nice thing for his friend to do. Evan and these two boys are doing a school trip to Germany next spring. I have no worries about him because I know they are all great kids who make great choices. Phew.

That Mighty Mom liked my Thankful Thursday idea enough that she is doing Thankful Tuesday. Make sure you go over to see her and get a double scoop of thankfulness each week.

That, while I had a pile of work on my desk, I did not return to any crisis situations when I got back to my job this past Monday.

That my sunburn doesn't hurt anymore.

That things are going better for my BFF Mary Ellen. I can just tell that things are starting to go her way and no one in my world deserves it more than her.

That the way my husband suffers from his mid-life crisis is by buying a new motorcycle. I prefer that over him getting a girl friend or a new wife!

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to gratitude.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book reviews - part two

I also read "Julie & Julia, 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen". For those of you living under a rock and not familiar with this book/movie, it is about an almost 30 year old woman in New York City who is dissatisfied with her life and decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child's The Joy of French Cooking in 365 days. While she likes to cook, she isn't an accomplished cook by any stretch of the imagination so this was quite the undertaking. In addition, she blogged about her progress.

As you probably know, this book has been made into a movie and is quite popular. It is not my typical choice for a read. When I read non-fiction, I tend to read true crime books or biographies. Also, I really don't enjoy cooking. However, I kept seeing people everywhere reading this book and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Surprising to me, I enjoyed this book. The focus really wasn't on the cooking as much as it was about Julie and her life. She was a secretary at a government agency and was wondering if "this was it" for her life. Her life in the Big Apple was interesting to this country gal and her friends and family made for an interesting cast of characters. The bloggy component was interesting as well. I was surprised to see where Julia Child was made aware of what she was doing and wasn't impressed at all. I am planning on going to see the movie and would recommend this book.

Since I had enjoyed a "non-typical" choice in a book, my next book was one recommended by a fellow blogger. Kim recommended "Golden Country" by Jennifer Gilmore and when I checked it out, it looked very interesting. I don't usually read historical fiction but decided to take a chance - and I am glad I did. This story featured several families of Jewish immigrants and their successes and failures over the years. It was based in the early 1900s- Depression and World War II times. The family members ranged from mobsters to inventors to society wives. It also had several familiar people show up in Cameos - Irvin Berlin, Mae West, etc. While most of the book is based in New York City, part of it was based in Maine and that was a very pleasant surprise! What made me even happier was that the author got the geography of Maine correct - the towns were in the right order, etc. I hate when they screw that up and the last book I read based in Maine had errors all over the place. Anyway, while this story didn't have a plot with a thrilling climax, it was a very interesting "slice of life" type story and I would recommend it! Thanks, Kim.

The next book I read was back to my typical "mystery adventure". I read "Chosen to Die" by Lisa Jackson. This book was about a serial killer who caused accidents, rescued the victims and then, after nursing them back to life, ties them to trees to die. The characters all had flaws and it was a very interesting book. It was obvious to me that the author wrote the book in such a manner that there will be a follow-up book coming. If you like this style of book, this book is on my recommended list.

Finally, I am currently reading "Good in Bed" by Jennifer Weiner which was recommended by several bloggers. I haven't read more than 25% of if so I won't attempt to review it. I will say, however, that so far, I am really enjoying this author. This is a real hoot!

Thanks for reading my reviews.

Here's to reading!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book reviews by popular demand

My entire family loves to read. The first things on our packing list for vacation are books, books and more books - or in my case, my kindle. I will share almost anything with my family but my kindle is ALL MINE! Anyway, on our cruise vacation, I read several books. Some of these books were recommended by my bloggie friends and were by authors I would not usually read. I also took along some 'tried and true' personal favorites. Here are the details on some of the books I read:

I read two books by Lisa Gardner. The first one was "The Killing Hour: A Novel". Lisa Gardner is a prolific writer and she has many continuing characters. This book focused on Kimberly Quincy who is the daughter of another character. Kimberly is at FBI training camp, following in Dad's footsteps, when she finds a body in the woods. She joins forces with an agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to try to solve the crime and puts her own career in jeopardy. Of course, Dad and his girlfriend join in the "fun". This book solved the crime in a "CSI" way. They had to take clues left at crime scenes to determine where the killer was sending them. Along the way, they enlisted the help of several nerdy scientists. If you enjoy "CSI", this is definitely a book you would enjoy. It was intense and I had a hard time putting it down.

The second book I read by Lisa Gardner was "Say Goodbye" and, once again, it focused on Kimberly Quincy. She is now an FBI Agent, married and expecting her first child. This case was of a serial killer obsessed with spiders who was killing off "ladies of the night". This case was less dependent on the science method of crime solving. Once again, the book shows a main character who struggles with who she is, decisions, etc. Kimberly isn't perfect and that just made her more enjoyable. The story also includes a couple of young boys who were snatched from their families and what happens to them. It also included a few twists and turns that I, for one, didn't expect. If you like crime/adventure, this is a book that I would recommend also. It is pretty intense.

After reading two intense books, I decided to go in a different direction and the next book, I read was total fluff. I read "Thursdays at Eight" by Debbie Macomber. This book followed 4 women who met in a journeling class and decided to meet weekly for breakfast to keep their friendships going. I have read several other series by Debbie Macomber and I knew that this would be "light" reading. I was correct. I have to say, however, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed like a remake of the Blossom Street series. The characters all seemed to be similiar to other characters and it was a bit predictable. If you love Debbie Macomber, you will probably like this book. If not, I would probably skip it.

That is it for today - come back tomorrow when I talk about Julie and Julia, The Golden Country, Chosen to Die and Good in Bed (which I started when I got home).

What good books have you read lately?

Here's to reading!