Sunday, June 17, 2012

I finally celebrate Father's Day!

This is an odd post to write - in fact, I don't even know how to begin this.  I'll start here - today is Father's Day.  It's also a holiday I never celebrated growing up.  Not to say there weren't presents and cards given in our house, but I personally did not enjoy the day.  I felt like an impostor shopping for cards that said things that I wish I felt for my father, things that I knew were probably true for other people, but not for me.  I did not have a good relationship with my dad.  Neither did my sister, or my mom, or most of our family.  The people who like my dad the most were mainly people in the church he pastored who didn't know the real him.  Who only saw our "perfect" family at church, where we all pretended to be happy so we wouldn't sully the message my father was preaching.  Our long faces would have been distracting, I bet.  Although I didn't enjoy the sermon part of the service because I felt like I was in the midst a family of hypocrites, even if not by my own choice, I dreaded the going home after the service part.  I wondered if anyone noticed I was afraid to get in the car with my father.  I wondered how in such a small town, no one noticed him on the road, threatening to run over people on neighborhood streets, refusing to brake for animals in the road (even though my mother and sister & I were huge animal lovers), yelling when he felt cut-off in traffic, or the pounding on the steering wheel while yelling at whichever one of us was unfortunate enough to attract his attention.  It is possible that people did see, or notice, but no one ever said a word.  Even though he was a pastor, my pastor, I never blamed God for this - I believe God was disappointed in him too. (and who of us haven't disappointed God at some time in our life?)  The fact that we as humans have the power of free will, the ability to make choices and decisions for ourselves, absolves God of the blame for how we act.  I know lots of people still blame Him, but that's just an excuse, a crutch, to keep from having to face being responsible for their lives.  I used to pray and ask that I could just make it out of my childhood home alive.  That sounds really melodramatic, but it was true.  My father managed to keep the most violent parts of our relationship away from my mother by doing them when I was with him somewhere or at home alone with him.  While the excessive punishment, whether I deserved some sort of punishment or not, was upsetting, it was not the whole of the degradation of our relationship.  There were other things, scarring and humiliating things, that I don't care to go into here - besides, your own imagination would probably be pretty close to spot on.   The, "If you tell I will hurt  ----" (someone or something you love), worked to keep me silent.  I did decide that if I did make it out of the house and grew up to be a parent myself, I would never treat my children that way.  I would love them unconditionally, I would be mad at them for disobeying without letting my anger rule my mouth and the hand holding the belt.  I vowed that I would tell my children that I loved them all the time - even if I was disappointed in a decision they'd made, or a grade they came home with, or an attitude or statement that was below their potential.  (I also vowed to let my children eat as much whipped cream as they wanted, straight out of the container - now I always keep on in the freezer!)  

Amazingly, (to me anyway), I did make it out, and I did grow-up.  When I was an adult and living on my own after college, I made the decision to have nothing to do with my father ever again.  It was tricky, because he and my mom were still married.  He had hurt and wronged her too - pastors are put in close proximity to hurting women on a regular basis, and sometimes lines get crossed.  A lot of lines in his case.  I walked away, and while I knew I had made the best decision for me, and any future children of mine,  I also grieved.  I grieved for the what-might-have-been's.  I wanted so much to have a father who was my protector, not the one I needed protection from.  A father who loved me unconditionally - when I made mistakes, made bad decisions, misbehaved, disobeyed, and even failed miserably.  He only loved me like that when we were in front of other people - at church, or with visiting ministers, evangelists or missionaries in our home.  I grieved for the handful of good memories from my early childhood.  I grieved for the wasted potential.  I grieved that my future children would never have a grandfather they adored, like I adored my grandfathers.  I made myself sick about it, but still, through all the tears, I knew I had to walk away from that relationship for my own mental health.  Once I made the break, and took time to grieve, I was done.  I learned to answer questions about him with, "He's not around anymore."  

He divorced my mom after 36 years of marriage, remarrying almost as soon as the ink on the divorce decree dried, and was left by his new wife 6 months later because of his affairs.  He remarried again, a girl slightly younger than me, and the one he carried on an affair with through two marriages.  Eventually I got married, (and divorced) had a baby girl, married again, moved to a new state, and married the love of my life.  My father never did take rejection well, and moved to "my" new state as well, and started a campaign to reconnect with me, and to be a part of my little girl's life.  That didn't work out like he wanted, and he got angry and "stalkerish".  He showed up at every job I worked at, and made facebook friends with people I worked with that didn't know him from Adam.  I refused to let my child be photographed for school functions, wouldn't put stickers up from her school, dance or sports teams because I didn't want him to be able to find her.  It became tiring to always be on guard, but necessary.  He's gone after both my sister and I with a gun because we don't want to be around him - I had to protect my child from being placed in an environment like that.  

Fast forward to this month.  I have worked hard to put my past behind me, to learn what forgiveness is when the things you are forgiving haunt you and your dreams, and the person you need to forgive refuses to change or admit there is anything to be forgiven.  Several times I thought I had it conquered, and then he would show up again.  Either at my job, or in my mailbox, or email, or try to call.  I would be reminded of all the reasons I had severed connection with him, and feel those feelings all over again.  I made a concerted effort to have memories without pain, forgiveness without anger, and I strove to remember good things about him and our relationship in my childhood.  I finally got to where I had wanted to be about this situation for years.  I was happy with my family and my life, and wasn't driven by feelings of fear of him, anger towards him, and knew that he could never hurt me again.  Then I got a phone call.  Oh, the inevitable phone call.  It happens when you least expect it, sneaks right up on you, and comes wearing a coat of the feelings you threw out long ago.  

My sister called to tell me that our father had contacted her from the hospital, in very poor health.  He couldn't tell her what was wrong with him or how long he'd been there, but after some calls to the nurses station she found out that it was very bad. So bad in fact, that by the end of the week, they said they had done all they could and there was nothing else they could do and they couldn't say how much longer he'd be here.  During the week I had little emotion about the situation.  I felt like I lost my father a long time ago, and grieved then.  I didn't have any emotion left for him as a father, just as another human being who was sick and suffering.  After five days of sporadic updates from the current wife through my sister, it was clear that he was not getting better, and would soon depart this world.  All of a sudden it hit me.  I would never see him or speak to him again.  I wasn't sure I ever would under normal circumstances, after all it's been about a dozen years, and nothing has happened to change my decision., but I didn't like the thought of not having the option to make a different decision in the future.  I began to feel sad.  I can't tell you exactly why I was sad, and it surprised the heck out of me, and in fact, I called an old friend who knew him and would understand and said over and over, "I didn't know I was going to be sad!  Why am I sad?  I didn't know I was going to feel anything!"  I decided that I should call him and say goodbye.  I didn't want to, in fact, I felt downright nauseated, but I felt like I needed to.  I wanted closure for myself, and I would rather look back and say, "Well, I wish I hadn't even gone through that", than to say, "I wish I would have made that call while I could."  I don't want to live a life of regrets, and if I have any, I want them to be for something I did stepping out of my comfort zone, than over something I never attempted.  

The call was not spectacular.  It wasn't life changing.  It wasn't a reunion or a confessional.  I even had to introduce myself.  I didn't call to argue, demand answers, or ask for apologies.  I made the call, not for him, but for me.  To help me find closure to a situation I thought was handled (in my mind).  I told him I was sorry he was so sick and in pain.  The call lasted two minutes.  I literally said, "I don't know what else to say, so I'm going to get off the phone."  I hung up, and still didn't know how I felt.  I didn't know if I was glad I called or not.  I didn't know if it helped anything.  But finally, my heart rate slowed, and I began to feel calm.  Nothing changed, none of my history with this man was magically erased and replaced with wonderful memories.  There were no apologies, no, "I wish things had been different between us", but it was done.  I was surprised by my emotions, I made the call, did what I felt I had to do, and that was that.

Amazingly, as of today, he is still hanging on.  He's coded, he's been through surgeries, lost one and a half times the volume of blood he started out with in his body, and he's still here.  I've stepped off the roller coaster named emotion that I was on for about an hour that day, and have returned to my life, not a person with a changed past, but a person with a changed present.  I'm done.  It's done, this situation in my life.  He may fully recover against the doctor's every predictions.  Or he may die today - or tomorrow, or ten years from now.  But whatever his life's journey brings him, it doesn't cross paths with mine.  I still truly believe my decisions to sever the relationship between he and I is the best thing I can do for me and my family.  But this time I am certain that I have memories without the sharp thorns of pain.  He can never hurt me again - either in memory, the present or the future.  

Today is Father's Day.  And while I don't celebrate Father's Day with my father, my daughter has an amazing father who she adores, looks up too, and waits impatiently for after work every day.  I wouldn't trade their relationship for anything in the world.  She may never know how lucky she is to have a father like him, but I know.  I am thankful that my husband is a father who can be celebrated, today and every day, no matter who he's in front of, or what role he is in or what position he holds.  He's the kind of daddy she will be able to use as the baseline for how other men treat her.  While I missed that in my life, I'm ever grateful she hasn't.  

Happy Father's Day, honey!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Daughter's Art

I have to tell you, creativity has never been my strong suit.  I'm not an artist, not a musician, not crafty, and I don't find things in the dumpster and make them look like I bought them from Neiman-Marcus.  The best I can do is color in the lines.  And that's on a good day.  However, my daughter seems to have inherited my mother's art gene, and is a crafty, artsy, fashionista little thing!  (Don't tell her I called her little - she's counting down the four months between her and her 9th birthday!)

As a proud mom, and admittedly partial, I want to share some of her art work.  Her art teacher is fantastic, and I'm pretty sure Art is on her top 2 list of "Favorite Classes at School".  Even her most simplistic art I cannot duplicate without the use of a scanner and/or camera.  Most of these are self-explanatory.

Personally I like cows with symmetrical spots on their legs.

The detail work on the Owl is done with black paint & glue mixed to give it a touchable texture of feathers.

This little guy is one of my favorites - it's done in chalk.

She told me that this one was created by putting heavy spots of paint at the top of the vase, then turning the picture upside down to let the paint run.

This is a "wallpaper" background, and tile counter under a fish aquarium.

More detail on the aquarium.  You can see little white bubbly-looking spots in the "water".  This is salt put on wet paint, and the salt dissolves into the paint leaving the water bubbles.

This is her most recent work - a clay bird bath.  

I should probably re-title this post to "My Daughter is 8, and a Far Better Artist Than I'll Ever Be".

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Story - I want to be a runner, but I'm frightened

I have a problem with running.  I don’t like it.  While I know that it is a great way to get and stay healthy, and even more important, to get alone time, its a tough sell for me.  In addition to just not liking the idea of running, the extra weight I’ve stored on top of my feet (namely in the butt and thigh area), is discouraging.  I don’t like walking with that extra stuff – much less running!  And I’m pretty sure that I don’t look good running either.  Here is an example:

See how this could scare the neighbors?  It’s just not right to do that, I want to be a good neighbor.  So, that leaves me with early morning or late night runs.  I use the term “runs” loosely – there would probably be too many walking breaks (also called I-think-I’m-dying-and-need-to-throw-up breaks) to call it actual running.  Please also note – I am NOT a morning person.

But on the other hand, perhaps I should just jump out of bed and head out the door…

So my current dilemma is that I don't want to run, but I also don't want to look like I do.  Seriously, a beached whale looks better on the beach than I do!  I have to try, and I'm really hoping that I will develop a love of running.  I know it might take a while, but getting off the couch and out the front door is probably the hardest part.  Well, I read that, but I think the hardest part will be the actual running.  And then doing it again the next day.  

I'm looking for motivation, and I found a run I'd really like to do, it's called the Color Run, and it looks like a blast!  I have a friend who is putting together a team for the Memphis run later this year and I plan to go!  Which means I have to train...  *sigh*  It all comes down to me getting my running shoes on and starting.  

For the color run you just need to wear a white t-shirt, and at each kilometer you get dusted with a different color.  By the end you are full of color and more confidence!  I'm going to have to see if this jacket comes in white....

Check out the video of one of the Color Run 5K's

Do you have an inspirational/motivational stories that would help me?  I promise to share mine along the way.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Husband's Bike Almost Killed Me

Yes, you read that right. My husband's bike almost killed me. At least, I assume it's his bike - we found it in the garage - the very full, drive-me-crazy-kind-of-full, garage. And I sincerely hope it's his, because I don't want to think that some unsuspecting bike rider somehow detoured in our garage, got lost and died. Finding a body would do me in, I'm pretty sure. But back to the bike.

I've been walking about 2 miles a night for at least 5 nights a week with my neighbor, and I'm not seeing the results I want to see. My husband, who never makes me feel less than lovely, kindly told me that he knows I don't like the way I look, and I didn't get there overnight, and I won't get back to where I want overnight. That's true, and I love him for his support (and other things). But after 5 weeks I'm not really seeing ANY results, other than a bit more stamina, so I decided to take it to the next level. I decided to add bike riding in the morning to the evening walks I've been doing.

I got the bike out, lowered the seat, and hopped on. Better to do this with no witnesses than wait until the family is home. They say once you know how to ride a bike you never forget, but "they" say lots of things I don't really believe. I was overly proud of making it out of my driveway and around the corner without falling off, although me and the brakes did have a bit of a misunderstanding that almost threw me over the handle bars.

I already had my 2 mile route plotted, since it's the same route we walk, so off I went. Let me just tell you a couple of things - in case you were wondering... First, riding a bike outside is way different than riding a stationery bike in the gym. Second, those tiny little inclines (which feel much like large hills) are much more obvious when you're on a bike. By the time I made it to the turn-around point - the half-way mark, I was wondering who I could call to come pick me up. My dogs don't drive (they don't work, they don't cook, and as seen in an earlier post, they don't know CPR), and all the adults are at work. Well, all of them but me. I finally figured out I'd just have to ride the torture device back home.

At this point the bicycle seat and
my seat are not meshing. I don't know who designed this blooming seat, but it wasn't someone with tooshie comfort in mind. I'm pretty sure the person who designed this seat is the same one who told American Airlines that less leg room would be unnoticeable to passengers. Liar, Liar, pants on fire.

In any case, I'm as far away from home as I plan to be, so I have to turn around. Thankfully, there was a slight downhill slope so I could coast a bit before having to pedal again. I don't have anything against pedaling, except that it moves my seat on the bike seat, and as I mentioned, the two were not getting along. It's that If-I-Don't-Move-Maybe-It-Won't-Hurt-Worse feeling. The only silver lining is that it wasn't really hot, and the breeze was keeping me from sweating. BTW - I don't glisten, or glow - I full-on sweat. I did when I was thin too. TMI.

I managed to make it to the next uphill slope - I'm telling you this looked only slightly less intimidating than the 12,000 ft. mountain my truck climbed summer before last. Darn google map doesn't show this particular mountain range - it looks just like the rest of the level streets in the neighborhood. False advertising.

I have to talk myself into staying on the seat. The seat-numbing seat. I shame myself into staying on it and keeping my legs moving - after all, someone might be home and see me pushing the bike instead of riding it. By this time my seat isn't the only thing that's hurt and numb - and yes, they can both happen at the same time. The handle bars are making unnatural grooves in my palms, and the front tire is flat. But I'm almost home - I can even see my street. I manage to stay on this rolling torture device until I am in my driveway. Once I'm in my driveway, leaning on my truck, I can't make my legs get off the bike. I have to let the bike almost fall over to get it low enough to move my leg off of it. I stagger inside, finish off two bottles of water and start on Gatorade. While I'm trying to make my legs work I text my husband. See below...

I'm sure behind all of that laughter (at my expense), he is truly sympathetic. I am writing this down so that next time I decide to let myself go, I'll remember how hard it is to get back to where I want to be. In the meantime - anyone want a bike? The seat was designed by an airplane engineer (I'm pretty sure).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tattoos and other things

I follow several blogs, and spend an undetermined amount of time reading them each day. I read this blog post today, and it made me go to Google Images and do a search of my own, so, here's the original blog I read, and then below, my contribution on the subject.

60+ Literary Tattoos: From the Amazing to the 'What Were You Thinking?!'

On a quick note, I am not against tattoos, in fact, in my late 30's I decided to get my very first tattoo. (and second and third). Mine are in places where unless I show them to you, you wouldn't know I had them, and I put thought into each one. So far, I have not regretted any of them. Have to wonder if at some point, some of these people will look back and say, "Maybe that wasn't my best moment", or "Maybe I should have put that somewhere else." It's also possible that they will say, "Dude, look at this tat! It rocks! Best. Decision. Ever.". :)

I'm a little bored, do you mind if I borrow your leg and a marker while we are waiting on our table to be ready?

I can't say that I've ever loved a comic this much. If I did though, I would end up with Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes. And I can assure you, it wouldn't be pretty.

I love books, adore reading, and will spend all my money on them, then later I'll wonder why I'm hungry and there is no food in my house. But, I'd rather just tell you that - it's cheaper and it hurts less.

I would only consider this if I had a written contract that it would provide me with books for life from Penguin Publishing.

While my daughter and I enjoy sharing Harold and the Purple Crayon books, getting a tattoo of good ol' Harold is not something either of us are inclined to do.

Wouldn't it be easier to use google or wikipedia? Or just carry around an Ayn Rand book for reference?

Because the movie wasn't creepy enough...

And the last tattoo of the day....

Because this guy has a great sense of humor!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Stuff

I'm not a very crafty person - I can recreate something I see done (Love Pinterest), but to do it by myself with my own ideas is much less likely.

I thought I was being proactive to have my lil one get her Valentine's cards for her class done Wednesday evening, since she has dance on Thursday evening, and her Valentine's school party on Friday. Well, that went fine, but on our way home from dance Thursday night she said, "We haven't done my Valentine's box!" YIKES! I sent her to the shower and I grabbed a cereal box, wrapping paper, spray adhesive, ribbon and a hole punch.

In a matter of minutes we have a working Valentine's box. Had I been more prepared I would have stenciled her name, or used more stickers, but as it was I only had some unused Valentine's Day cards for decoration, so it was kind of plain.

I can see where it could have been done much better, with more frills, but it was workable and fast!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 1 of 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge

When you get to the point where you avoid your own self in the mirror, and when you get dressed you realize you're asking a lot out of your pants, it's time to do something about it.

I don't know about you, but I am an amazing planner, and I can be completely motivated - when I'm sitting on the couch thinking about it. I can be so excited about my new workout, a yoga DVD, walking with my neighbor, or eating lots of salads and fruit. I go to bed so pleased that I am going to get up in the morning and kick butt! Then, morning comes, and that person is gone. GONE. No idea where she goes, but she usually shows back up about 9pm, in my living room on the couch.

A good friend of mine posted on Facebook that he wanted to do a 30 lbs in 90 day weight loss challenge and asked who wanted to join him. I remembered that girl that was talking about being motivated and this new healthy lifestyle she planned on embarking on (She was sitting on my couch last night in her pajamas), and I thought, she'd want to do this, so I should join in.

Well, we are not alone, my friend, this PJ-couch girl and I... 10 people have joined this challenge. We now have our own FB group. (Don't try to find us, we are a secret group). Today is Day 1. We all agreed to be open about our current weight and 90 day goal weight. Admitting that I'm "larger than life" by voluntarily joining a group called "Fatty's Unite" should be enough, but no, now I have to say/type my weight out-loud. Not even my husband knows my weight. (He better not try guessing either if he wants to wake up in the morning!) I bit the bullet, and after another brave soul who happened to have the same starting weight as me spoke up, I shared my weight. ARGH! It was horrid! Even my fingers cringed when I was typing it!!!

Well, good news! After chatting it up last night with my new group of like minded friends, the PJ-Couch girl showed up this morning!!! I can't tell you how long its been since I've seen her in the light of day - probably 4 years? Well, she encouraged me to have a nice healthy bowl of oatmeal to start the day.

Here's what I recorded in my workout log this morning (after checking in on my FB group to make sure everyone was doing something active this morning too).

Day 1:
*Felt motivated and inspired, dragged the dusty elliptical out, wiped it down and got the remote and two bottles of water. (optimistic, aren't I?)
*The animals all came to see what this dusty stiff thing was. (The elliptical, not me)
*Started a 30 minute routine, but realized that if it stayed at level 8 resistance I couldn't move my legs.
*2 minutes in - doing good, feeling proud.
*3 minutes in - legs weigh at least 100 pounds.
*4 minutes in - my body yells at me, "Keep it up fatty, and you die!"
*OMG. It's only at 9 minutes!!!
*14 minutes - remember quote about "There are 1,440 minutes in a day, use 20 of them to exercise"
*18 minutes - only two minutes to go...I can do this
*20 minutes - stagger to the door to undo the deadbolt so the paramedics can get in, does anyone know CPR???

Well, I'm happy to report that my heart did not in fact explode, and I managed to make it to the couch before I needed CPR. Good thing too, because no one else is home, and the dog's version of CPR involves a lot of tongue (kind of like that gross CPR Instructor, but that's another story...).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Cat Burglar in Training

I enjoyed this book, it was an easy and fun read. This story focuses on Lady Evelyn Fawkner, daughter of the Viscount of Oakthorpe. She and her young daughter, Amber, have recently returned from France to the Oakthorpe estate. In addition to her father, Ben and his wife, Hannah, close friends, also reside at the estate. Her father, with help from Ben, has long been "The Shadow", a cat burglar who focuses on the rich and their jewels.

She returns to find her father in debt, and receives a threatening phone call from the unsavory collector, threatening her daughter. Her father is suffering from crippling arthritis, and Ben is recovering from a fall that injured his back, so they guilt and compel her to take on the identity of The Shadow. While she resists, she also knows that without her help they could not only lose the family estate, but also be in danger themselves. Adverse to the plan, but more adverse to threats against her daughter, she agrees to their plan.

While at a society function, she meets Kahu Williams, the local detective who is tracking down the theft of jewels and other valuables, some filched by Eve and her family, and some from another, unknown cat burglar who is infiltrating their territory. Kahu is quite taken by Lady Eve, and pursues her, which puts quite a damper on the family hobby.

Will Lady Eve and her family be able to steal enough to pay their debts while staying under the radar of the ever-present Kahu? Will their home and young daughter be safe? Will they find out who is infiltrating their territory?

I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Best Day of the Year So Far...

I was so pleased today to get a visit from both the postman and the UPS man! No, it's not because I have a thing for men in uniform, it's because they both came bearing boxes with books! The first was our Christmas box from my mom - better late than never, and who cares if it didn't get here by Christmas, I believe in spreading out gift receiving. Although I'm making myself wait to open it until my lil' heart gets home from school, I just know there is a book in there for me! The second delivery was a 10 lb box. I've never been more excited to "put on" 10 lbs! :) The box from the retailer contained five books, my after Christmas present to myself! I took advantage of a half price sale, free shipping, a coupon and a membership discount and got five books, four hardbacks and one trade paper, for only $15!

The books I got in today are listed below, with a generic book review from the retailer, as I have not yet read the books.

"American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld (This is a book I watched fly off the shelves when I was working in a bookstore - always wanted to read it)

"From her husband's desk in the Oval Office, Alice Blackwell can contemplate the deep incongruities of her own life. How, for example, did a quiet, bookish girl from small-town Wisconsin become involved with the gregarious, charismatic Charlie Blackwell? Their politics, their backgrounds couldn't have been more different: Charlie was the carefree, even boisterous son of a wealthy Republican family; she was a registered Democrat who paid her bills with the modest salary of a school librarian. Nothing had trained her for her job as a First Lady and certainly nothing had prepared her for the painful controversies of her husband's second term. A riveting novel by the author of Prep and Man of My Dreams."

"New York" by Edward Rutherfurd

"Edward Rutherfurd celebrates America’s greatest city in a rich, engrossing saga, weaving together tales of families rich and poor, native-born and immigrant—a cast of fictional and true characters whose fates rise and fall and rise again with the city’s fortunes. From this intimate perspective we see New York’s humble beginnings as a tiny Indian fishing village, the arrival of Dutch and British merchants, the Revolutionary War, the emergence of the city as a great trading and financial center, the convulsions of the Civil War, the excesses of the Gilded Age, the explosion of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the trials of World War II, the near demise of New York in the 1970s and its roaring rebirth in the 1990s, and the attack on the World Trade Center. A stirring mix of battle, romance, family struggles, and personal triumphs, New York: The Novel gloriously captures the search for freedom and opportunity at the heart of our nation’s history."

"Pirate Latitudes" by Michael Crichton

"The Caribbean, 1665. Port Royal, Jamaica is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. For Captain Charles Hunter, there’s a living to be made, and gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking.

Word in port is that the galleon El Trinidad is awaiting repairs in a nearby, heavily fortified, harbor. Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy island and commandeer El Trinidad, along with its fortune in gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of island legend and Hunter will lose more than one man before he even sets foot on foreign shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure . . ."

"The Disorder of Longing" by Natasha Bauman

"When her husband arrives home carrying a crate of colorful orchids, Ada Caswell Pryce thinks he is bringing her a gift, a peace offering during an unhappy time in their marriage; little does she know how much these strange looking flowers are going to change her life.

By Boston standards of the 1890's, Ada is not a good wife. Strong-willed and beautiful, she longs for the days at university when she was free to be herself. Her husband Edward is intent on curbing her wild behavior, but she thwarts him at every turn — she drinks wine with the housekeepers, gives feminist books to her maid, and sneaks out for midnight horseback rides along the Charles River.

To treat Ada's “hysteria,” Edward restricts her daily activities and her relationships, then carefully choreographs her sexuality. Unable to bear another day of her stultifying and demeaning existence, Ada secretly plots ways to leave. Ultimately, it is her husband's all-consuming passion for collecting rare orchids that provides Ada with a daring opportunity for escape."

"The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood

"Margaret Atwood's novel somehow manages to be both futuristic and primordial. Set in a post-apocalyptic age when most of humanity has been obliterated, The Year of the Flood tracks its two rare, perhaps unique female survivors. Ren, a supple young trapeze dancer who is imprisoned inside a sex club and Toby, an ex-counter clerk who has become a follower of Adam One, the religious leader who predicted the catastrophic natural disaster. Beyond this mismatched trio are a host of bizarre walk-ons and sideshow characters, not to mention an ominous police state waiting in the wings."

As I said in the beginning of the post, I didn't write these book reviews, as I have just received them and haven't read them yet, but they seem like really great books, books I'm drawn to by both the reviews and the cover art. I'm so thrilled to be holding five new books! It makes an already good day even better!

If you've read any of these books, I'd love to hear from you and hear what you thought about them! I hope you are having a wonderful third day of 2012!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This Year I Will Read

I'm really looking forward to this year. 2011 has been full of challenges I haven't had to deal with before, and while I hope I learned from them and became better, I don't want to go through it again! However, one bright part of 2011 was all the books I got to read. I had more free time than I anticipated, and surpassed my goal of reading 100 books in a year. I so enjoyed reading new books, "meeting" new authors, and writing a few book reviews. I've become a weekly visitor at our local library, and the library bookstore, and for Christmas my husband gave me a membership to the Friends of the Library!

As the new year revs up, I'm making more reading goals. Even though I anticipate being busier this year, I'm still planning on setting a goal of more than 100 books for 2012. I'm so looking forward to reading some of the books on my "to be read" shelf, as well as new books & authors I don't know about yet. I'm planning on writing more book reviews, and enjoying my book choices.

Since reading is maybe the only thing I do just for me, I'm not going to put a lot of rules on my reading goal. In fact, other than trying to reach my goal, there will be no rules. If there's a really great book I'm in the mood to re-read, I'm gonna do it. If it's a young adult book instead of a classic, and I feel like reading it, I'm gonna do it. If I read a really great, make-you-think book, then feel like reading a "brain candy" book that takes no concentration and is just fun, then by George, I'm going to read it! I'm absolutely going to enjoy my year of reading!

The reading goal I set last New Year was one of the few "resolutions" I've set and kept, and totally enjoyed keeping! I intend to enjoy this resolution just as much!

I hope you make meaningful resolutions for yourself this year, and no matter how big or small, if those resolutions make you feel good, make you happy, and is something you enjoy, I think you'll have no trouble keeping them!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Books I Read This Year

Books Read in 2011

“Mercy Blade” by Faith Hunter
“Destiny Kills” by Keri Arthur
“From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E. L. Konigsburg
“Scent of the Missing” by Susannah Charleson
“Night of the Loving Dead” by Casey Daniels
“House Rules” by Jodi Picoult
“What the Night Knows” by Dean Koontz
“To the Power of Three” by Laura Lippman
“Baltimore Blues” by Laura Lippman
“Step on a Crack” by James Patterson
“Run for Your Life” by James Patterson
“Charm City” by Laura Lippman
“Worst Case” by James Patterson
“The Five People you Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom
“The Skin Map” by Stephen R. Lawhead
“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes
“The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly
“Toys” by James Patterson
“Virals” by Kathy Reichs
“Butchers Hill” by Laura Lippman
“Tick Tock” by James Patterson
“River Marked” by Patricia Briggs
“Burned” by P. C. Cast
“I’ll Walk Alone” by Mary Higgins Clark
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
“Learning to Swim” by Sara J. Henry
“Sing You Home” by Jodi Picoult
“When We Were Friends” by Elizabeth Joy Arnold
“Jane Slayre” by Sherri Browning Erwin
“Mermaids in the Basement” by Michael Lee West
“Mercy Burns” by Keri Arthur
“The Brass Verdict” by Michael Connelly
“The Passage” by Justin Cronin
“Now You See Her” by Joy Fielding
“The Night Season” by Chelsea Cain
“The Dead Town” by Dean Koontz
“Vampire Hunter D” by Hideyuki Kikuchi
“Ape House” by Sara Gruen
“Before I Go To Sleep” by S. J. Watson
“The Book Club” by Mary Alice Monroe
“The Priest’s Graveyard” by Ted Dekker
“If I Am Missing or Dead” by Janine Latus
“Eragon” by Christopher Paolini
“Eldest” by Christopher Paolini
“Kiss of Shadows” by Laurell K. Hamilton
“The Chase” by Clive Cussler
“The Reversal” by Michael Connelly
“A Caress of Twilight” by Laurell K. Hamilton
“The Wrecker” by Clive Cussler
“The Raw Shark Texts” by Steven Hall
“Alphabet Weekends” by Elizabeth Noble
“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
“The Divide” by Nicholas Evans
“The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake
“The Raising” by Laura Kasischke
“Hit List” by Laurell K. Hamilton
“Imperfect Endings” by Zoe FitzGerald Carter
“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel
“Riding Lessons” by Sara Gruen
“Little Bee” by Chris Cleve
“Across the Nightingale Floor” by Lian Hearn
“The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz
“The Fairy-Tale Detectives” by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
“My Name is Not Angelica” by Scott O’Dell
“Hunting Fear” by Kay Hooper
“Chill of Fear” by Kay Hooper
“Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
“Miss Julia Speaks her Mind” by Ann B. Ross
“Julia’s Hope” by Leisha Kelly
“Miss Julia Takes Over” by Ann B. Ross
“Miss Julia Throws a Wedding” by Ann B. Ross
“Save Me” by Lisa Scottoline
“The Gift” by James Patterson
“Miss Julia Hits the Road” by Ann B. Ross
“The Walk” by Richard Paul Evans
“Now You See Her” by James Patterson
“Miles to Go” by Richard Paul Evans
“Miss Julia Meets Her Match” by Ann B. Ross
“Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult
“Never Knowing” by Chevy Stevens
“Miss Julia’s School of Beauty” by Ann B. Ross
“The Leftovers” by Tom Perrota
“Emma’s Gift” by Leisha Kelly
“Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” by Nina Sankovitch
“Skinwalker” by Faith Hunter
“Kill Me If You Can” by James Patterson
“Blood Cross” by Faith Hunter
“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King
“Happens Every Day” by Isabel Gillies
“The Borrower” by Rebecca Makkai
“Miss Julia Stands Her Ground” by Ann B. Ross
“The Power of Six” by Pittacus Lore
“Graveminder” by Melissa Marr
“Pathfinder” by Orson Scott Card
“Miss Julia Strikes Back” by Ann B. Ross
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
“Revenge of the Witch” by Joseph Delaney
“The Story of Beautiful Girl” by Rachel Simon
“Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
“Katie’s Dream” by Leisha Kelly
“The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
“Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosney
“Fire” by Kristin Cashore
“Dead Reckoning” by Charlaine Harris
“Life on the Refrigerator Door” by Alice Kuipers
“Bitten” by Kelley Armstrong
“Greywalker” by Kat Richardson
“Escape” by Barbara Delinsky
“Grave Sight” by Charlaine Harris
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry
“Grave Surprise” by Charlaine Harris
“Seizure” by Kathy Reichs
“An Ice Cold Grave” by Charlaine Harris
“The Christmas Wedding” by James Patterson
“Grave Secret” by Charlaine Harris
“Real Murders” by Charlaine Harris
“Stolen” by Kelley Armstrong
“Dead of Night” by Jonathon Maberry
“Grayson” by Lynne Cox
“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
“Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham
“The Litigators” by John Grisham
“When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan
“Miss Julia Paints the Town” by Ann B. Ross
“The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers” by Thomas Mullen
“Museum of Thieves” by Lian Tanner
“The Abduction” by John Grisham
“Seriously,…I’m Kidding” by Ellen Degeneres
“Miss Julia Delivers the Goods” by Ann B. Ross
“Clara and Mr. Tiffany” by Susan Vreeland
“Vanishing Acts” by Jodi Picoult
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
“The Pact” by Jodi Picoult
“The Gathering” by Kelley Armstrong
“South of Superior” by Ellen Airgood
“Handle with Care” by Jodi Picoult
“The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka
“Red Helmet” by Homer Hickam
“Till Morning is Nigh” by Leisha Kelly
“The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom
“The Magician King” by Lev Grossman

My goal was to read 100 books in 2011, and I was able to read 143! I have so enjoyed the books I've read this year, the reviews I've written, and the other book blogs I've visited!!! Looking forward to more reading in 2012!