Sunday, December 18, 2011

It Only Takes a Girl

I came across this on Facebook and wanted to share it with my blogger friends. Something to think about.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Should I Really Be ABBA?

As you probably know my moniker, ABBA, was given to me by Sara when I first started blogging. It stands for Aries, Blond, Blogging, Aggie. Now there are a couple of things that might exclude me from continuing with this name; first, because I'm not really a blond anymore as I've discovered that my natural color is quite a few shades darker and second, because I've been a really bad blogger of late.

However, I'm not really focusing this post on either of those two concerns. I'm actually questioning whether I should be an Aries. In looking into what it means to be an Aries, there is a lot about that sign that just doesn't fit with who I am. Here is a little snippet of what makes up an Aries:

  • Adventurous, Ambitious, Impulsive, Enthusiastic (Yeah, not so sure about this.)

  • A Pioneer both in thought and action (Hmm, on the fence on this one.)

  • Open to new ideas and a lover of freedom (I would agree)

  • Welcome challenges and will not be diverted from their purpose except by their own impatience (Umm, sometimes...)

  • Courageous leaders with a genuine concern for those they command (I would not say 'courageous leader' but I do have concern for those I command.)

  • Being responsible people, it is rare they will use their subordinates to obtain their own objectives (I would agree.)

  • Do not make good followers because they are too "take charge" (I wouldn't say I'm not a follower because I'm not thrilled with being a leader, but I do have a 'take charge' attitude.)

  • Unwilling to obey or submit to directions for which they can see no reason (Yeah, I totally agree with this one; been this way ever since I was a wee babe.)

  • Aggressive and restless, argumentative occasionally, headstrong, quick tempered, easily offended and capable of holding grudges (Hmmm, not so much.)

  • Intellectual and objective, but can be bigoted and extremist in religion and politics (Yes and no...Ooo, maybe I'm bigoted about making a decision.)

  • Champions of lost causes (Yeah, I think lease I know I've backed some.)

  • Quick-witted (I give this one a big heck yeah!)

  • Sometimes foolhardy and overly optimistic (Yeah, probably.)

  • Prone to headaches, depression, indigestion, and nervous disorders (Sadly, yes.)

  • Likes spontaneity (Ummm, no.)
Now, I've noted for each of these whether I actually agree with these. Since my birthday is only 5 days from the cusp of being a Taurus, I decided to check that out and see if I really should have been a Taurus and I just arrived early (which I've always been prone to do):

  • Patient and reliable (I'd like to think so.)

  • Warmhearted and loving (I'd like to think so.)

  • Stable, balanced, conservative good, law-abiding citizens and lovers of peace (I'd like to think so.)

  • Respect for property and a horror of falling into debt, they will do everything in their power to maintain security (Hell's Yeah!)

  • Keen-witted and practical (I'd like to think so.)

  • Apt to become fixed in their opinions (Maybe sometimes, or not, I don't know...)

  • Obstinately and exasperatingly self-righteous, unoriginal, rigid, ultraconservative, argumentative (Not always, No, No, No, No)

  • Need someone to stroke their egos with a frequent "Well Done" (But really, don't we all?)

  • Faithful and generous friends with a great capacity for affection (I'd like to think so.)

  • Gentle, even tempered, good natured, modest, and slow to anger, disliking quarreling and avoiding ill-feeling (Yes, yes, yes...I will avoid fighting any way that I can!)

  • However, can explode into violent outbursts (Well, it has been a long time, but when I was a kid I could tell stories about tearing up my room when I would get mad.)

  • They have aesthetic taste, enjoying art, for which they may have a talent, beauty and music. (I'd like to think so.)

  • They have a strong, sometimes unconventional, religious faith (I would have to agree, especially the unconventional aspect.)

  • Industrious and good craftspeople (I'd like to think so.)

  • At their best in routine positions of trust and responsibility, where there is little need of urgency and even less risk of change (While, I do like my routine and really like being in a position of responsibility where people can trust me, I also get bored easily...)
Okay, well maybe I am more of an Aries with a whole lot of strong influence from my Taurus side....Can I make up my own sign and call myself an Arus...although that could be mis-typed so easily....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Starting the Week Off

So, I started the week off trying to be very positive. On Sunday, the 'official' start of the week was spent doing work stuff for about eight hours and then pulling out all my Christmas decorations and actually getting my tree up. Last year was the first year that I have had a tree of my own, so it was lots of fun to decorate it, with thoughts of all the years to come and the traditions and memories and blah blah. Last night, as I was putting it up and decorating it, I kept thinking "Wam I doing this again?" If my parents weren't coming to spend Christmas with me, I'm pretty certain that I would not have done any decorating. Although, I have to admit that upon digging all of my stuff out, I found some really cute things that I picked up last year at an after Christmas sale.
So, this morning, still trying to keep a positive outlook on the week, I come into the office (mistake #1) and actually try and get something accomplished (mistake #2). For some reason, and for the life of me I can't put my finger on it, I don't have a lot of spark to do anything here....maybe I'll just spend the rest of the afternoon figuring out my Christmas menu....

Friday, December 9, 2011


Okay, maybe not something I should be celebrating, but...

I was demoted yesterday. I've been in this team lead role for about six - seven months and as you all have probably been aware traveling to my customer location about once a month. Well, the powers that be have decided that this role really needs to be permanently at the customer site, so they are moving one of my team members into my role.

While it was initially a bit of a slap in the face, within about three minutes it hit me and I have to admit that I was happy. I then admitted to my manager that I have hated my job for probably the past six months. That gave him some relief, not that I had been hating my job but that I wasn't upset about the change in roles. How can I really be too upset? I am keeping my same salary and I'm giving up the extra 30+ hours a week that I've been working and the stress.

The really good thing about this is that, hopefully, I'll have more energy and drive to blog more (which I know will make all of you happy since I've been VERY hit or miss with the blogging), exercise more, quilt (which I haven't done in so long that I'm not certain I know where my quilting room is anymore), read more, spend time with friends more and have something to talk about rather than just kvetching about my job, and, when the stars align properly, be able to resume carpooling with Sara!!

Admittedly, there is some drawbacks to this whole thing. It is going to be tough to stay on the same team, even though the person stepping into the role and my manager both want me to stay and have offered any job that I want in the team. I have also had other people in the past say they want me to come join their teams. And, unfortunately, the change is not immediate; it won't actually take place until some time in January, but, I think I can hold tight in the interim...and just keep doing my happy dance in my mind.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Love My Little Terror

As I'm sure you are aware, I have a new man in my life. Yes, he is four-legged and covered in fur, and as much as I would love to say he looks like Taylor Lautner from Twilight, he is NOT a werewolf. However, he is a terror...

He has found his voice and likes to use it loudly and at odd times. He will bark at his reflection in my glass entertainment center. In fact, yesterday he figured out how to slide the door open and gladly informed me of this by barking directly into my DVD player.

He has also found that the springy door-stoppers are GREAT fun. He spent many an hour yesterday hitting one and making it go "boinnnng". Well, he did that up until the put where it broke off the wall and he decided to make it a chew toy...which I promptly took away from him. He then headed to another one to see what it would do. Since I would make a loud noise whenever he approached it, he lost interest and hopefully will not find it again.

He is also the destroyer of many toys. I'm okay with him destroying his stuffed toys with squeakers. I've come to realize that this will happen and have vowed not to acquire anymore of that ilk for him. I have found a brand that is supposedly nearly indestructable, which we are going with from now on (they just aren't very cuddly, but I guess that is the sacrifice he will have to make). However, he also decided that his dog bed was just a giant stuffed toy as well. He had many an hour of great fun attacking the bed, flipping the bed, rolling around on the bed, chewing the handles off the bed, but then he would also pee on the bed, which caused the bed to get washed. This last time while washing, a little tear the terror had made grew and all the stuffing started coming out; guess where the bed is now. So, being the good mommy that I am, I bought him a new bed, sherpa lined, microsuede, cozy. Eight minutes. It took him eight bleeping minutes to chew a hole in his new bed. I am now on the hunt for a bed made out of ballistic material, again will have to forego coziness for indestructability.

Last thing the little terror did yesterday was to come up to me in the bedroom, look right at me while I'm texting Sara, and start to pee not three feet from me. I of course yell horrible things at him, which makes him stopp peeing and run away from me, after some chasing around I finally get him out the door to finish his business. Sadly, the whole time I'm trying to reason with him and am saying things like "You WILL NOT pee in my house!!" or "Wdo you think you are doing? You know better than to pee IN MY HOUSE!" or "If you do this one more time, I swear you are going to be an outdoor dog!!" Which of course, I know he does not make sense out of other than "wow, she has a loud bark".

But then, I cannot stay mad at him. He looks so pitiful when he wants to come back inside and it is cold out there and he is just sitting there with his tail wrapped around him. And then, when he knows it is safe to approach me, he curls up next to me and puts his head in my lap and sleeps (and my mom will get a kick out of this...he drools on my lap). And, I feel really awful today because he woke up about 2:00 this morning and tried really hard to get outside to throw up. And I couldn't get mad at him when he threw up 3 feet from the door.

My poor terror....

Monday, November 21, 2011


As you have probably seen from pictures of my baby, Leo, he has some pretty big ears. I think I could probably get Radio Free Europe tuned in on those. Since it has gotten cold out, I notice that every time he comes in, those ears are ice cold and I feel guilty that he has to go outside...but, he ain't doing his "business" in my house.
So, last night I'm curled up asleep and he is curled up next to me with our heads kind of together (yes, he sleeps with me). All of a sudden, he goes and shakes his head and I get whipped in the face by those ears...
Not only can I get radio stations in on those ears, but they could also be deadly weapons.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 - Book 27 - Blameless

As I'm sure you have gathered, I've been doing a lot of reading lately. As soon as I finished Changeless, I dove directly into Blameless, the third in the Parasol Protectorate series.

Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.
Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attached by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.
While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain to her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

Again, great mind-candy kind of book. Not very challenging and yet very entertaining. Lots of steampunk visuals and hand-to-parasol combat. At the heart of this series is a love story and a girl's search for who she really is. There are two more in this series and I'm about to begin the fourth book....sadly, the fifth book will not be available until March of 2012, but I already have it on my wishlist!!

Oh, and now I'm hungry for pesto....

2011 Book 26 - Changeless

I just finished another trip to DC and while on the trip, I read Changeless, the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. Here is a quick description of the book:

Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest in fashion, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

This is a very fanciful series that I am completely addicted to. It is all very far-fetched and proper English. The characters are fun and the intrigue is well, intriguing. This series is a very fast read, which may also be why I am enjoying them as much as I am. I would give this book, and the series as a whole, the better part of two thumbs up. I would recommend them to only those people that I know who might have an interest in steampunk literature and who don't have a need to be overly challenged by their books.

2011 Book 25 - Mockingjay

I actually finished this book a couple of weeks ago on a bus trip to Houston and back with my mom. And, I know that I've been a really bad blogger, again, but to be honest, work just has me flumoxed and not really in the mood to write about anything. However, I will document my reading. Mockingjay, the final book the Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy was great. Oh wait, let me give you the bookjacket first:

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels Mockingjay – no matter what the personal cost.

As I was saying, this final book was really great, as were all of the books in this series. All three of these books were highly entertaining and really hard to put down. As stated at after I finished Catching Fire, I am now very much looking forward to how these are going to be portrayed on film. I also have a hard time looking at these books as 'young adult' as they are extremely violent. I give all of these books two thumbs up and a 'heck yeah, you should read them!' In fact, my niece, whose copies I was borrowing, has requested that they be returned as she wants to read them again.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Book 24 - Catching Fire

Today I finished the second book in Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. I know there was a long stretch between the first, The Hunger Games and this one being read, but I don't intend to have such a span between this and the third as I'm very excited to find out how things end. However, let me first give you the synopsis from the book jacket:

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District
12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothin is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

I give this book and the whole series thus far, two huge thumbs up. If I could shut off the rest of the world and just curl up with these books, I would in a heartbeat. I'm also very much looking forward to how the movies are going to turn out, as they are making a movie of this to come out in March 2012. I am curious, though, how they are actually going to do this movie and not make it Rated R based on the violence and cruelty that the books actuaully address.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Book 23 - Winter Sea

Susanna Kearsley's book The Winter Sea was my most recent completion. Here is the back of the book write-up:

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobian fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.
Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth - the ultimate betrayal - that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

I found this to be a great book. However, when I just read what was written on the back, I don't really see where that all comes from. I highly recommend this book. It made me smile and cry and smile.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bad Mommy

I admit I am a bad mommy to Leo. He is spoiled rotten. But I can't help it, look at that face:

He barks or whines and I jump and find out what he needs....usually nothing, but I give him food because I feel guilty for not being a stay at home mom.

However, I've taken to drugging him at night so that we'll both sleep. He LOVES the pill pockets that are beef flavored, so I give him one of those with a little Benadryl stuck inside and then his mint cookie for fresh breath. He munches them down like there is no tomorrow.
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I have only done this twice and I take a close look at him and before I do it he has red, rheumy eyes and a runny nose much like I get with allergies, plus he is doing lots of scratching and chewing on his feet, which the vet said was a sign of allergies.

The thing is, though, the meds make him a little loopy. Last night within about 15 minutes he was barely able to stand and once I got him into bed (yes, he sleeps with me) he started snoring like an old man. Then he woke up right as I was turning out the light after reading and started wandering around the bed and bumping into the headboard. I then realized that he had to go potty, so I rushed him outside (much better to do it out there than on my feather pillow) where he finished up but then got a second wind and was all hyper and wanting to play. Well, momma wasn't having any of that, so I put him in his crate and shut my door. After listening to him for 30 minutes bark and whine, I got up and let him back in bed with me, whereby he did go to sleep but had all sorts of night terrors and kept kicking or head butting me...not certain what a nine month old puppy has to be terrorized about since he lives in the lap of luxury (aka Casa ABBA), but he must have some demons.

Anyway, I think tonight I'm going to hold off on the drugs and see how he sleeps...and how I sleep. Hmmm, I wonder if my neighbors would kill me if I decided he needed to be an outside dog....oh wait, I can't do that, did you see that face?!?

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Book 22 - The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

I tell you, I've been on quite a roll this vacation and finished up my third book. The latest has been Alan Bradley's second book in his Flavia de Luce series The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. Since this was an actual book that I read and not from my Kindle, I can provide you with the write-up from the back:

Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey are over -- until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who'd do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she's letting on? What about Porson's charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local contables can't solve -- without Flavia's help. But in getting so close to who's secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?
I have to admit that I do enjoy a good mystery and the Flavia books seem to provide that in an Agatha Christie sort of way....if Agatha Christie wrote her main character to be a highly intelligent child with a passion for posion and a history of being tortured by her older sisters. I would recommend this book to folks if they wanted a light read with a little meat on its bones. The plot is pretty good and the character development is quite impressive. I look forward to getting the next in the series A Red Herring Without Mustard...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 Book 21 - The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland

So, I actually finished two books during my recent travels. The second book was a really quick (and interesting) read titled The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters. Here is the book's description:

This comedy mystery, the first in a series of criminally funny fables, is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. She's guided through her dangerous adventure by her own Cheshire Cat.
Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. Alice sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter.
After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desparate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super-glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.

This book was actually recommended to me by a friend and I didn't actually read the description before I read the book...and actually not until just now as I write this up. So, as I was heading home from the airport yesterday and telling Sara about the book, I actually did reference Stephanie Plum as being similar. In short, this is a really quick read that has some cute parts, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are looking for some simple brain candy.

2011 Book 20 - The Forever Queen

I finished off Helen Hollicks book The Forever Queen while on my latest trip to California. That is the beauty of taking a relaxing vacation...being able to just read and relax is heaven. Oh wait, I'm not talking vacation yet, this is about the book, so here is the write-up:

Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people - no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for Englan, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror.

I really enjoyed this book. Like with other historical novels, there are of course slow parts, but in general it is an interesting tale. Nothing like a good book where the primary character is a strong female. I recommend this to anybody who wants a romantic look at early English history.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goin' Back to Cali....

I'm packed and ready to head out to the airport for my friend Sam's wedding. Sara and I are on this adventure together and I'm looking forward to having a Thelma and Louise weekend with her...hopefully there will be no killings, blowing up of tankers, or driving off cliffs...but I make no promises. There will definitely be good fun and lots of laughs...oh and wine, don't forget the wine (although I could see one or both of us drinking a lot out of those little mini bottles of liquor).

Sara told me that she is not planning on checking her luggage...I on the other hand have packed like my grandmother. I have two dresses, as I wasn't certain which I was going to wear and since I have two dresses, I have two pairs of shoes. I also have a combination of 18 other outfits (we are gone for 4 nights) least I think I have that many possibilities....I may have only packed 18 tops and no pants....I guess we'll see.

I did have an issue with having to pack a whole lot more hair products since I am now rocking the short takes a whole lot more work than the long hair that would always get pulled into a pony tail or bun.

I'll try and keep you posted throughout the weekend of our activities. Need to let the beast out before I head out. He'll be okay on his own if I just leave the door open and fill his bowl with kibble, right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


After two and a half years, I finally decided my hair was long enough to donate and get chopped. Of course, this momentuous occasion had to be properly documented and I'm finally getting around to posting about it.
Before - Hair down, see long....

After - One big swipe with the scissors and it all goes away.

After Part 2 - Dead pony off to Locks of Love.

Final - Not as short as I was originally thinking, but short enough for now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Devil Dog Ruminations

Below is a conversation that I had at lunch today:

ABBA: I think I'm going to take my puppy to the vet on Monday. He has a pretty bad cough and sniffly nose.

Male Lunch Companion #1: Oh no. Kennel Cough. You need to get that taken care of.

ABBA: He hasn't been to a kennel.

MLC#1: Doesn't matter. It is airborn. How much of your monthly budget have you set aside for vet costs?

ABBA: Ummm (Thinking to myself "I'm supposed to have a budget? Oh right, yeah, that's the adult thing to do.")

MLC#2: Yeah those vet bills can really get up there. I had a friend who's bill cost $4500 for a MRI....

{More conversation between MLC#1 and MLC#2 occurred here about other people's vet bills as well as their own. I stopped listening and started thinking about shoes.}

Lull in the conversation.

ABBA: How much does it cost to put a dog down?

MLC#1: You are walking back to the office.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Intervention

I got lucky last night with two beautiful women.

Stop...get your mind out of the gutter... I'm lucky because I got to have dinner with Jane and The Queen!!

While at said dinner, much was discussed including work (blech), home struggles (blech), children (yay and blech), and Devil Dog (awwww). We also had lots and lots of laughs, pizza, wine, and unnecessary but yummy dessert. Oh, and Jane made precictions....

It was also pointedly mentioned that I have been extremely remiss on my duties as a blogger and we were therefore also having a Blogger Intervention. I actually expected Kim to jump out from the booth next to us; sadly that didn't happen....but really would have been exciting.

Obviously, the intervention was a success because I am blogging today. I vow to work really hard to blog more often, however, there is only so much whining about work I can do, and pretty soon stories about Devil Dog are going to run thin as well. I guess I will have to go discover life so I have something to write about!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Worst Trip Yet?!?

I think I have reached a new low of travel to DC. So far this trip has actually been worse than the Breast Feeding fiasco.
I will start with my flight into DC. I left on an earlier flight on Sunday so that I could get in town and do a little settling in. The expected ETA was 2:15ish. We were on approach when the pilot decided to do a little circling around. Then we are informed that we are going to have to be diverted to Richmond, VA so that we can refuel. Turns out there is a "small" storm in the DC area closing down all the airports.

  • Fast-forward 2.5 hours we get "well folks, the fuel truck is on its way. You may have noticed the storm has passed by here and gone off to the east. As soon as we get the fuel, we'll be on our way." (At some point we were served a granola bar and a glass of water.)

  • Fast-forward 45 minutes we get "well folks, this is a small airport and there were a lot of planes diverted here, if we can't get off the ground in 30 minutes then we'll have to go to the gate. You'll have the opportunity to get off the plane, but please stay in the gate area as we will take off as soon as we get the okay."

  • Fast-forward 20 minutes "Please turn off all electronics and put away tray tables."

  • Fast-forward 30 minutes "Well folks, we didn't make our window so we are going to be pulling into the gate...."

  • Fast-forward 30 minutes "Please turn off all electronics..."

  • Woo Hoo!! We are back in the air.

  • Fast-forward 45 minutes "Welcome to Regan National Airport. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to get to our gate for a while. Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts on..."

  • Fast-forard 60 minutes later "Well folks, a gate have finally come availble...."

  • 9:30 PM - I'm about to bitch-slap the guy in my row who has decided to be a gentleman and let the people in the row behind us get off the plane before us... Um, buddy, get the hell outta my way....

  • 10:15 PM - Get to my hotel.... Low room. On the street. Get to hear traffic noise.. Woo and Hoo....
So, if that weren'it enough to represent a really bad trip, today I'm sitting in the office on a conference call and if feels like a big truck just drove by. Gee, that is a little odd we're on the 9th floor... Then, shakey-shakey-shake...5.9 earthquake. I didn't experience this big of an earthquake the entire time I lived in San Francisco!!

Some of the people completely freaked out in the building and then we were all evacuated. I went ahead and grabbed my stuff and my managers' stuff and headed down the 9 flights of stairs. We got yelled out because we weren't at the "designated meeting area". It was then decided to chuck in the towel and everybody, who could headed to their respective abodes. Luckily for me my hotel is a short 1.5 mile walk, so I headed out dodging the crowds from all the other evacuated buildings. Once I finally made it back to the hotel, it turns out that I can't get into my room, not because of the quake, but because of the maid. So, I headed down to the bar and decided to have a couple of nice glasses of Dr. L. Reisling....yum!! (The wine has been the highlight of the trip thus far.)

So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next two days will be uneventful, although I'm NOT holding my breath. And I can only hope that Hurricane Irene holds off until after I take off Thursday evening.... I'll keep you all posted!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 - Book 19 - Murder on the Orient Express

This past weekend I went to Vegas for a Bachelorette party, which will be its own series of blogs that I just need to sit down and write. Since I was traveling, I had to have a book to read and my boss had recently tried to talk to me about Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, but I had to interrupt him as I hadn't read it. He was shocked and amazed that I had missed that one and insisted that I go out and get it and read it. Well, I always do what my boss tells me to do and so I went and downloaded it to my Kinndle and ate it up on my trip.

It is a classic. Yes, I had if figured out within a couple of pages of the body being found, although I'm not certain if it is because somebody in the past had informed me what the outcome was or if I had heard reference on some show or movie. However, that didn't deter me from reading it all the way through. I still needed to learn how it was all handled and how Hercule Poirot deciphered all the clues.
I give it two thumbs up and if anybody wants a quick read I highly recommend it. It doesn't have the flare and panache of a modern-day murder mystery, but it still a great read.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Leo - The Latest Casa ABBA Addition

I have a new puppy and we are learning all about one another. I should probably back up just a smidge....

Last weekend I was out for dinner with The Queen and our friend Jennifer. I mentioned that I was thinking of getting a puppy (never mind the whole traveling stuff) and that I saw a picture of a puggle and thought I would get one of those. Fast forward to Wednesday and I get a Facebook flag from Jennifer saying she has a foundling puppy free to a good home. And thought I would love him.

Wednesday evening, I stopped by her place and was introduced to this little rascal and immediately fell in love. Jennifer was ready for me to take him that minute, however, I had to say no at that moment because I did not have a puppy-proofed house at all. Plus, I was leaving on business on Saturday.... In general, I was screwed.

She agreed to keep him on Thursday and take him to the vet (upper respiratory infection) for me. However, she was going out of town on Friday and Saturday, so I had to see if The Queen would take him (luckily she did) and then Jennifer took him back for the week.

Long story short, I finally brought him home with me yesterday and we've now spent a whole 24 hours together. We are learning the dance and I'm so in love with him. What I've learned so far:
  • He sleeps a lot.
  • He snuffles and sniffs a lot.
  • He snores.
  • He barks, but not much and usually only when there is a sudden sound.
  • He is a messy drinker.
  • He smells like Fritos, to me.....I'm thinking of changing his name to Frito or Corn Chip, but will more than likely stick with Leo.
  • He is getting fixed in the very near future.
  • I'm gonna have to reorganize my life in order to give him the time he deserves.
The sad thing is, I have to leave him again this coming weekend as I have a trip to Vegas planned. Anybody want to come stay at Casa ABBA for two nights and play baby sitter for me?

2011 Book 18 - Soulless

Finished this book on the flight home on Thursday. Soulless by Gail Carriger was great fun. Here is a synopsis:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and hen the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? Soulless is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. It was an incredibly fast read and not too taxing on the brain. While I doing these work trips, I really don't want to have to face a daunting book as the work and the customer is daunting enough. I give this two thumbs up and am preparing to download the next two in the series to my handy-dandy Kindle. The only issue I did have with this book is how the author flip-flopped back and forth in referring her characters. One paragraph she would refer to her as Alexia and the next it would be Miss Tarabotti, but that really one of the few downfalls.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011 - Book 17 - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

I just finished Helen Simonson's novel Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and really liked it. Of course, it was one of my Kindle books (have I mentioned how happy my Kindle makes me? More on that later.). So here is the description from Amazon:
In her witty and wise debut novel, newcomer Helen Simonson introduces the unforgettable character of the widower Major Ernest Pettigrew. The Major epitomizes the Englishman with the "stiff upper lip," who clings to traditional values and has tried (in vain) to pass these along to his yuppie son, Roger. The story centers around Pettigrew's fight to keep his greedy relatives (including his son) from selling a valuable family heirloom--a pair of hunting rifles that symbolizes much of what he stands for, or at least what he thinks he does. The embattled hero discovers an unexpected ally and source of consolation in his neighbor, the Pakistani shopkeeper Jasmina Ali. On the surface, Pettigrew and Ali's backgrounds and life experiences couldn't be more different, but they discover that they have the most important things in common. This wry, yet optimistic comedy of manners with a romantic twist will appeal to grown-up readers of both sexes.
As I said before, I really enjoyed this book. I think I channel the Major sometimes because I often find myself echoing his frustration with the "younger" people who lack respect and are only superficial. While the Amazon write up said that this would appeal to both sexes, I personally doubt that, or at least the male writers that I know are not ones that I can see enjoying this story, but I would definitely give it two thumbs up for you female readers out there looking for what is essentially a love story.

Now, onto my latest profession of love for my Kindle... I now take it to the gym with me, increase the font, prop it up on the ledge of the treadmill and read while I work out... GENIUS!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I Did on my Stay-cation 2011

Last Thursday and Friday I decided to take the day off work and have a little "stay-cation". I had made some appointments, but thought they would go quickly and I would have some time to quilt and relax and read and relax..... Here is what actually occurred:

9:15 - Labwork/Fasting Blood draw for annual physical. Not too traumatic, other than I don't do well fasting, and I forgot and went to the bathroom before I left the house, which meant my non-blood "sample" was a little challenging to get.
1:00 - Dentist appointment to get a second crown. I didn't think that would be that big of a deal, oh how wrong I was.
1:15 - Actually go back to the chair.
2:00 - Old filling removed and start prepping the tooth for the crown. The dentist is very high-tech and a lot of time is spent getting a perfect CAD picture of the tooth and then having it created on site by a computer and lasers and magic.
2:45ish - Start testing to see if the crown will work by seating it and taking x-rays, etc.
3:30ish - Finally decide that the crown isn't quite right and decide to start over.
4:30 - Start testing to see if the second crown will work. Eureka!! This one works, so let's get the porceline fired.
5:30 - Um, yeah, we're sorry, the crown cooled down too quickly and it cracked. It will take another two hours before it will be ready. Would you like us to send you home with a temporary and we can reschedule at your earliest convenience to get the permanent one in? It will only take about 45 minutes.
6:15 - Leave dentist with temporary crown and appointment for the next day to finish.
6:16 - Cancel plans with my sister as we were going to get together for lunch on Friday....

8:30 - Mammogram.... Always a pleasant experience, but like I said earlier, I'm getting prepared for my annual physical and want the doctor to have all the necessary information.
11:00 - Return to dentist.
11:20 - Head back to chair.
11:30 - Scream out in pain as they try to remove the temporary crown without any anesthesia.
11:40 - Face is starting to go numb....whew.
11:45 - Temporary crown yanked off.
12:00 - Start prepping the tooth for the newly created crown that was prepared over night.
12:25 - Dentist looks at new crown and says to the assistant "Is this the new crown or the one from yesterday?" Assistant says "New crown." Dentist says "It has a crack in it...."
12:45 - Start creating a new crown....again.
1:45 - New crown is ready. Let's do some x-rays to make certain that it is going to seat correctly and if there are any adjustments that need to be made... Yep, looks good.
2:15 - Start prepping for putting in the latest and greatest crown.
2:30 - Finally get new crown in place and start curing the cement.
2:45 - Cement is cured. Dentist returns to take a look and cleanup some of the cement and check to make certain that the bite is all good.
3:00 - Dentist pops the new crown off in her efforts to clean up the tooth. ABBA almost swallows the crown. Dentist informs ABBA that "hmm, this has never happened before where the crown popped off after being cemented in place."
3:05 - ABBA starts to cry.
3:15 - Start prepping the tooth AGAIN for the crown to be put on.
3:45 - Crown is put in place and cement is cured.
4:00 - Dentist returns and checks things out. Does some cleanup. Ensures that everything looks good.
4:30 - ABBA leaves.
4:45 - ABBA cancels plans with high-school buddy because she is just too worn out and her jaw is still numb and swollen.
7:00 - Numbness is gone and ABBA starts exploring the new tooth and area.... Hmmm, there seems to be a chunk of cement that is scraping the inside of the cheek.... ah well.

All Day - In bed or in the bathroom due to the sickness that I get whenever I have anesthesia (no so pleasant).

Pleasant afternoon and evening spent with the family seeing the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and fireworks outside with a great picnic.

Spent the morning with my folks, then swung by and visited my high school friend that I had to cancel on and then home to bed.

Back in the office realizing that I really didn't have much of a vacation..... Ah well, maybe next time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

2011 - Book 16 - The Postmistress

Just finished reading Sarah Blake's novel The Postmistress. Here is write-up of what the book is about:
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. Both both Iris and Frankie know better...
The Postmistress is a tale of two worlds-one shattered by violence, the other willfully naive-and of two women whose job is to deliver the news, yet who find themselves unable to do so. Through their eyes, and the eyes of everyday people caught in history's tide, it examines how stories are told, and how the fact of war is borne even through everyday life.
I give this two definite thumbs up. While it took me a bit to actually get into the story, but once I did, I had a hard time putting the book down. It was actually a very powerful book after having just been to the Holocaust Museum in DC.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I've Been a Bad Blogg

I so need to apologize to all my faithful readers out there as I have been MIA for a number of weeks now (aside from the short and sweet write-ups of a couple of books). I've had a number of blog-worthy moments over the past two weeks, while traveling to DC, and I'll try and capture the highlights here (and in the future, I'll try to be a better blogger).

Metro Experiences - When I'm in DC, I've actually become that city-girl I always thought I could be and I'm riding the Metro pretty much every day. Mind you, it isn't the most pleasant thing because there is a high percentage of homeless people in DC and they often use the Metro stations as their overnight abode and/or bathroom; so as the heat goes up in the city so does the funk. Luckily one day I had an elderly lady sit down next to me with so much perfume on that it not only covered up the urine smell and general funk smell, but she also managed to make my eyes water and singe my nose hairs.

Shuttle Experiences - When I would travel to one of the offices, I would take the Metro out there and then a shuttle bus would pick me up at the station and drop me at the office building (we around here really need to look at improving our mass transit system and expand the rail system and implement free shuttles to more offices...just saying). The shuttle driver is this older lady who is very, VERY chatty. I learned that her daughter and grandkids live with her because her daughter lost her job. I learned that she has a gun, but it is in multiple parts, but she is pretty certain that if a robber were to break into her house and he was slow, she could put the gun back together fairly quickly, as long as she could remember where all the parts were as well as the ammunition. Speaking of robbers, the only thing worth stealing from her is her old television set and even that isn't worth much, but it is worth more than her car. I also learned that she doesn't understand those of use that work in these offices and are working 10, 12, 15+ hours a day. Her little nugget of wisdom "You only get paid for 8 hours, why work more?"....Ah, if only I could drink THAT koolaid.

Tourist Experiences - I did manage to stay over the weekend this trip, so I did do a little touristing around. Not much mind you because for some reason the summer is a busy time in DC and there were just way too many annoying people around to have to deal with too many of the museums. I did get into the Holocaust Museum, which was a powerful place to go. I can't even begin to describe that experience. After the Holocaust Museum, I went to the Freer Museum where there is a lot of Asian Art, which I'm not a big fan of, but there is also quite a bit of James Abbot McNeil Whistler's work, which I actually do like. There is also what is called "The Peacock Room", which has a lot of vases and the like. It was in there that as I was trying to get a picture of the crackle on one of the vases and had my flash on... Yeah, I was yelled at by the guards about having my flash on... Oops.

Bathroom Experiences - Okay, so I'm not really going to share a whole bunch of bathroom experiences with you other than this one. I went into one of the stalls in the women's room in the office. I noticed that there was a slight crack in the seat, but didn't think anything of it. I put down my seat cover, dropped trou, and proceeded to sit. Mind you I was only doing #1, so there wasn't a lot of pressure needed. But, as soon as I sat down, the friggin' seat broke... Yes, my fat arse broke the toilet seat in a public bathroom. Of course, I couldn't do my business at that point, at least not in that stall, and luckily I was the only person in the restroom, so I quickly pulled up my pants and shuffled to the next stall and completed my mission. I came out of lady's room laughing so hard at myself that I could barely speak. It was literally the cherry topping to a crappy day (no pun intended).

Flight Experiences - Other than the normal delays and the fact that I almost gave myself whiplash when I fell asleep on the flight, nothing too exciting happened at the airport.

So, I think that wraps up the highlights of the last couple of weeks. I promise to try harder in getting my life documented and available for the world to read. Thank you for you patience with me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 - Book 15 - From Dead to Worse

AND.... the last Sookie Stackhouse novel that I have in my possession From Dead to Worse....
After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit, Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, yearning for things to get back to normal. But her boyfriend Quinn is among the missing. And things are changing, whether the weres and vamps in her corner of Louisiana like it or not. In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death...and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when he fur has finished flying and the cold blood ceases flowing, her world will be forever altered.
I have to say that I am done with this series for the time being. This last book was a little random and felt like the author was trying to wrap up a lot of the story lines that were going on throughout the past 7 books. She also is trying to open up a couple of new lines which may or may not be interesting to follow. I have a number of other books that I want to get through before I start tackling the remaining Sookie books.

2011 - Book 14 - All Together Dead

Just finished up the final two Sookie Stackhouse books that I have in my possession. I'll first address All Together Dead. Below is what is written on Goodreads about this book:
In All Together Dead, Sookie is trying to put past failed relationships behind her and has a new man in her life: the handsome and mysterious shapeshifter Quinn. But in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and with the entire Louisiana supernatural community still reeling. Sookie is summoned by Sophie-Anne Leclerq (the Queen of Louisiana) to accompany her to a historic regional vampire summit. However, the conference - where entire power bases could be gained or lost - is filled with friction and ill will; and when delegates are found brutally murdered, Sookie finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy-ridden power play where the unlikeliest of suspects could be a cold-blooded killer.
As with the other books in this series, they are fast reads and mind candy...but I love 'em. One more to go.....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Whine, Wine, and Zumba?

Saturday night I went over to the Queen's for some whine and wine time and our friend Joanne was also there to catch up with the Queen. During the conversation, I was asked "what have you done today?" I responded, "Not much, slept, I think I purchased the Zumba DVDs..." This of course caused some confused looks as in "you don't KNOW if you purchased Zumba?!?"

I have a bad habit of rolling out of bed on Saturday and/or Sunday morning and turning on the television at 5:30 - 6:00 AM when I'm still not quite awake, but can't lay in bed any longer. 9 times out of 10 there is an infomercial of some sort on and 8 out of those 9 times it is for some miraculous weight-loss product or excercise equipment. When I'm in the fuzzy morning state, they all seem so brilliant and I just know that THIS will be the one that I'll stick to and become gloriously thin and in shape. Lately, however, I've been able to resist actually purchasing these (and yes, I'm now confessing that I am an infomercial addict and have been known to purchase many a miracle product on-line....).

And yet, this past Saturday morning I couldn't resist. The lure of the rythmic music hooked me and I reached for my computer, logged on, and purchased the DVDs (come on they came with free shipping and the magic shakey-shake sticks). I've convinced myself that I'll be able to travel with these and do them in my hotel room while I'm on the road....

Sunday morning, I checked my email and yes, there was the confirmation that I had actually made the purchase....I'll let you know when I break the shrink-wrap on the package.... Speaking of, does anybody want the complete set of the Billy Blanks Tae-Bo Bootcamp...still in their wrapper....

I know, I'm pitiful...

Friday, June 3, 2011

What A Week

The week started off relatively normal, aside from it being Memorial Day.... I guess taking that day off jinxed the rest of the week.

Tuesday - Sitting in a meeting and learn that I have to change my upcoming travel plans so that I can be in DC for a specifc 2-day meeting. While this isn't that big of a deal, it did sorta throw off my schedule. the good thing out of changing my travel plans is that now I'll be in DC over a weekend and I'll take that extra time and do some additional exploring. Late afternoon a transformer blew in downtown DC, which caused a complete power outage in much of the metro DC area, including one of the buildings where my customer works, so we had to scramble to get our equipment powered down while the generator was still funcioning so that there wouldn't be damage to equipment or data. We were on conference calls until close to midnight getting things powered down and waiting with hopes that the DC power would come back didn't.

Wednesday/ Thursday morning - We still didn't have power and got about 3 hours of sleep that night as we were doing lots of trouble shooting and remediation planning....Okay, so yeah, I wasn't doing a whole lot of either, but I was documenting everything and coordinating getting people here and there.

Thursday afternoon - I had a scheduled dentist appointment, which I thought was just going to be a cleaning and whitening treatment. I already felt guilty going away from my team, but I couldn't NOT take this appointment which had been set up for a month. So, I go to the dentist (stupid Tomtom got me a little lost, but whatever) and it turns out that it wasn't for a cleaning, it was for a sales pitch and exam and I'm not really certain what it was all for (yeah, I had a coupon). So, after having an exam and a gagillion xrays and pictures taken of my teeth (FYI, if there is ever the need to identify my body just contact this dentist - they have me covered), the dentist comes in and informs of the following: 1. I need to get crowns on two of my teeth that I've had fillings in since practically the womb. 2. I need to get my remaining wisdom teeth extracted. 3. I need to have a deep below the gum scraping something, something....I stopped listening at this point. We landed on getting just one crown on the one tooth that had a crack in it (no wonder that tooth always had pain when I bit down on it)....and it was decided that we would go ahead and do the crown right then.

Five hours later, I left with a face that looked like I had a stroke because of the local anesthesia, my jaw completely dis-located from the what I'm pretty certain was 20 people in my mouth at one time, and a lighter wallet.... Ah well, I guess we have to suffer sometimes for health purposes even though I'd really rather just let all my teeth fall out of my head before I return to the dentist (don't worry, that won't happen, but it is a thought).

When I got home from the dentist I ended up back on a conference call dealing with more work stuff, even though I couldn't actually talk...remember stroke victim...until close to midnight when we finally felt confident that all systems were back to their normal state.

Today, I was supposed to volunteer at a golf tournament, but either from my lack of sleep and the haze that I was driving in or the fact that Tomtom couldn't find where I was supposed to go, I ended up driving around this community for almost an hour and never able to find where I was supposed to be. I ended up just coming home and even though I felt really bad about not being there I also felt that the fact that I kept falling asleep whenever I stopped moving was a sign.....

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weekend is quiet. I've got 'wine and whine' scheduled with The Queen for tomorrow and going to hopefully do some sewing... One thing is for certain, I really do NOT want to relive this week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Working the Drive-thru...

As I pulled away from the drive-thru window at Chic-fil-a grabbing dinner this evening, I started thinking about how pleasant the people working there were and then I started thinking about how nice my first job at McDonalds was when I was just a fresh high school graduate and sometimes wish I could go back to working the drive thru window....

  • when the only things I had to worry about on the job were making sure to get the fries out of the grease and skim it regularly;

  • having to tell a customer that the shake machine was on the fritz and I couldn't sell them one (or worse, actually having to clean the shake machine);

  • or the time when we ran out of Happy Meal toys and tried to substitute plastic spoons (yeah, not one of the shining moments in my golden arches career).

It was such an easier life and somedays (especially days like this) I really think about throwing my hands up and going back to that easy life of asking "would you like fries with that?".... Heck, I'd even be willing to go back to the nasty brown, polyester uniform....

Ah well, I can dream, right?

Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 - Book 13 - The Hunger Games

I just finished the first book in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy, appropriately titled The Hunger Games. Since I actually read the book version of this and not on my Kindle, I can provide what is written on the back of the book:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I'm very excited to move on to the next one in this series. Amazon had been recommending these books to me for quite sometime, but I never opted to purchase them. Then I saw them listed in the "young adult" area at Target and had one of those magical thoughts that perhaps the "young adult" in my life may have read these books and still have them.... lo and behold, she did. So I've borrowed these books from my niece (so nice that she and I can share literature).
I give this book a thumbs up. It is entertaining and intriguing, while not Ayn Rand, it did remind me of some of her work...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011 - Book 12 - Definitely Dead

I'm still loving the bring candy that is the Sookie Stackhouse series. I just finished the 6th book in the series and here is what is posted on the site about this book:

Sookie Stackhouse once tried to keep her mind-reading capabilities secret, but the word is definitely out in Bon Temps, Louisiana, her hometown, leading local police to call on her to help find a missing child. There's a new man, were-tiger Quinn, in the picture, too, but on their first date, two were-people attack them. Sookie isn't sure whether she or Quinn was the target but is soon distracted by a more pressing problem. Cousin Hadley, a vampire, has been murdered, and Sookie has inherited her apartment, meaning she has to go to New Orleans to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death and meet with Hadley's lover, the Vampire Queen herself. Though not quite as driven as past entries in Harris' Southern Vampire series--Sookie doesn't get to New Orleans until a third of the way in--this is a gratifying read for Sookie's fans because of a major surprise for Sookie about one of her old lovers.

So, I'm down to two left in what I've downloaded to my Kindle, and while I stated above that I'm enjoying these books, I'm about ready to be done with them for a while and move on to something else. Maybe this weekend I'll focus on a non-e-book and finish something completely different....
I also think I need to put the Trueblood series on my wish list because I've very, VERY intrigued as to how these characters translated into "flesh and blood" so to speak....but not until I'm done reading about them, I hate to be tainted by someone else's vision....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 Book 11 - Dead as a Doornail

As mentioned before, I am tearing through these Sookie Stackhouse books on my Kindle!!
Here is the write up from "the back" of the book (as known as what says about the book):

Sookie Stackhouse just can't seem to stay away from the supernatural denizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana. In Dead to the World (2004), she found herself embroiled in vampire politics; this time around, she's involved in the machinations of the Were-people, whose pack leader has just passed away. -Alcide Herveaux asks her to accompany him to the funeral, where Alcide's father declares his candidacy against a slimy, calculating rival. Angry at being drawn into the conflict, Sookie can't distance herself entirely, because a sniper has been taking shots at Were-people, and the community suspects Sookie's brother, Jason, a new shape-shifter. Sookie's love life is every bit as complicated as usual, and her collection of would-be beaux continues to grow. Also, someone wants her dead, which she learns when an assailant sets fire to her beloved house. Harris' southern vampire series remains one of the best of the breed, concocted out of just the right mixture of humor, intrigue, and excitement. Its latest entry does not disappoint.

Unfortunately, like so many other things with empty calories, this brain-candy is starting to possibly decay my synapses and I probably need to shift gears and read some other genre shortly.....
Oh, who am I kidding, I've only got three more of these to read and then I find something else to tear through!!

It Is Getting a Little Better

So, I've now made it through 3 days here and yes, things are starting to turn up a little bit... Okay, maybe not looking up so much as no longer looking down.

  1. I've conquered the Metro. I have figured how to get on the correct train to take me to the office AND the right one to get me back to the hotel. Trust me, this is a big deal.... Momma - your baby's growin' up!!

  2. I took a great walk yesterday evening. I left the hotel and walked down to the National Mall and then the length of the Mall down to Capital Hill and back up. Walking along the Mall was so very cool. There is so much activity going on along the mall; I saw people running and walking, laying around reading, teams of interns playing softball, Frisbee football, and dodge ball. The air was warm with a nice breeze. I saw baby ducks in the water feature at the Ulysses S. Grant memorial. I have to say that I do love this city.

  3. I had a very unhealthy, yet tasty, hot dog from a snack truck for lunch.

  4. And, today, I was mistaken not once but TWICE as a "native" and was asked for directions from "tourists" as I crossed the Mall on my way back to the hotel. Sadly, on said walk "home", I somehow tweaked my hips and now my lower back hurts and should probably get out of this chair and more around rather than continue to write about my day...
Let's keep our fingers crossed that tomorrow continues on this upward trajectory.

Monday, May 23, 2011

So Far, Not So Good

Perhaps I got a little full of myself when I had such a great day on Saturday. I think karma has decided that I deserved a little smack down because so far, this trip to DC has NOT been stellar. And, yeah, I am only on my first day, but I'm ready to throw in the towel and if I could only stay in bed the rest of the week in my hotel room, it might actually approved. But, let me start at the beginning....

My Flight -

It was a jam-packed flight and I knew it was going to be bad when 1/2 the flight loaded when they called for the Priority Access group. Now, I splurged on myself and paid the extra money to get the bulkhead seat, so I was still feeling pretty positive. When I got on, I noticed that the air was a little funky, like stale bathroom, so I was pretty happy that I wasn't in first class and having to face that for 3 hours. I get to my seat and there is a guy on the aisle and I'm by the window, I have my fingers crossed that maybe, just maybe nobody will sit in the center seat....yeah, that didn't happen. First across the aisle from us a lady and her son and their companion realized that they weren't actually sitting together so for some reason they gave the 9 year old the bulkhead seat without him actually understanding that he couldn't have his computer out until after takeoff and he couldn't keep it on the floor at his feet. So they completely blocked traffic until they finished their conversation and got settled. Finally, the center seat person arrived.... A lovely lady with her one year old son, who traveled on her lap. He was a cute little kid who managed to kick me almost the entire trip. If he wasn't kicking me he kept grabbing at my shoulder. I accept my fate and hunker down with my book and wait to take off. We finally head out to the runway and start taking off. Now I've been staring out the window up to this time, but I kinda realize that the kid next to me is pretty quiet, so I glance to my left to just see how everybody else on my row is doing. I'm glad to know that the mom read that it is good to have a baby feeding during take off to help with the pressure in their ears; my sister did this with Kathleen when we flew with her when she was a baby. Unfortunately, this lady was not feeding this cute little boy with a bottle....she was breast feeding him....without a privacy blanket. Yep, you read that correctly boob whipped out on the plan with the kid clamped on. Do NOT get me wrong, I'm completely okay with natural feeding, but I think there needs to be some sort of privacy blanket or something. I felt really bad for the guy sitting on the other side of her because he was totally blushing as the boob being used was the one closest to him (ergo, I was being kicked by the kid). So, we get in the air and the lady pretty much took over all of our space, she ended up using my tray to hold her drink because she had the kid on her lap. She pulled a brownish banana out of her bag and ate it next to me. Again, I have nothing against bananas, but I don't like the lingering smell. Time went on and we finally approached landing, well, you guessed it the kid got his treat to help with the ears we landed, but this time she switched boobs, so this time it was the one closest to me. I didn't even mention yet the fact that the flight was bumpy and late and I swore at one point that the little yellow oxygen masks were going to drop from the ceiling and I was going to be forced to elbow the lady if she tried to take my mask and give it to her kid....Luckily, that didn't happen. (I did have one sick thought though when the kid's little bare baby foot was kicking me.... Wouldn't those make the cutest little keychains, kinda like rabbits feet, except they wouldn't stay cute and plump once removed from the body....) So, all in all, perhaps one of the most uncomfortable flights that I've been on (aside from the one where the woman went into seizures in the aisle right next to me.

Additional Travel Day Issues

  1. Stood in line 30 minutes to get a cab and ended up sharing one with a stranger.

  2. Stood in line to check in to the hotel.

  3. Was given the worse room.... I am in the room RIGHT NEXT TO THE elevator on the backside of the building so that I have no phone reception on either of my cell phones.
First Day In the Office

Okay, so there really wasn't any one thing that was horrific when I got to the office. In fact, the day ran pretty much as expected, meaning I managed to get absolutely nothing done because I was running around trying to put out fires. However, about an hour before time to leave as I was headed to yet another meeting, I stopped to chat with one of my folks and did something with the heel of my shoe and managed to break it. These were some of my favorite shoes that I've had for a long time. I was surprised that I was able to break is because it was a pretty substantial heel. I left the office and walked back to the hotel. About a block from the hotel, it started raining....not a big deal, but just a cherry to top off the day. I did run up to my room, quickly changed, and ran out in the rain down to Filene's Basement and found a replacement pair of black heels to get me through the rest of the week. I stopped at this little deli next to the hotel that I've stopped at before every time I've been in town and picked up a chicken margherita pizza. After it was cooked and the girl was putting it into the box, she turned around and kinda gave me this look. I didn't think anything of it, although I probably should have. When I got back up to my room and settled in to have dinner I opened the box and realized that the reason she was giving me that look was because somehow as she was putting the pizza into the box, she managed to drop part of it on the floor (or somewhere), so I was a slice short....maybe that isn't a bad thing, but still....
So, do we think the week is going to improve?!?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yesterday was a Good Day!!

Nothing overly exciting happened to me yesterday, but as I crawled into bed last night, I was happy. Here's a quick recap:

Morning - I got up and participated in an official 3-Day Training Walk. I did one last week as well and met Shannon Kmak. Last week when we showed up at the training walk they told us that if we hadn't come with a friend that we needed to have a walking buddy just so we could have somebody to watch our back and vice-versa. She and I turned to each other and introduced ourselves. During the walk as we got to know one another, we learned that we both worked for Dell and both knew the Queen. This week we walked and talked and made plans to work in the afternoons when I'm in town. I also came across her blog, Crazy Pink Life, after I got home. So, yeah, it was a good morning with a good walk, new friends, and some laughs.

Afternoon - I have finally admitted that I'm never going to have a clean house, which means, I'm not going to have anybody come over to a dirty house. Okay, so this isn't really something new. My entire family can attest to the fact that I suck at housecleaning and in general turn a blind eye to my own filth... yeah, ewwww. Yesterday, I had a maid service come in and they made my house sparkle. I LOVE having a clean house and not actually having to do the work myself. I now have them scheduled to come every other week when I'm in town, so hopefully this clean house happiness will last!!

Evening - I met up with one of my oldest friends, Anna Marie, for dinner. We spent a couple of hours eating some good Italian food and catching up, laughing, and sharing.

So, yesterday was a good day!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Book Ten - Dead to the World

Yes, I'm still tearing through the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels. A little background from the write-up since I do not have the book to actually quote from:

Fans of Laurell Hamiltons' Anita Blake looking for a lighter version of the vampire huntress should cotton to Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic Louisiana gal who really wants to be normal, but suffers from a huge self-confidence problem, a case of permanent bad luck, difficult relatives and a penchant for attracting unsavory characters of the not-quite-human kind. In this fourth quirky installment in this hitherto mass-market series (after 2003's Club Dead), Sookie finds that her bad luck has taken a new turn for the worse. Sookie's love interest, Bill the vampire, runs off to Peru to do research. In his place, Sookie is stuck with Eric, Bill's boss (and head vamp for the district), who appears out of thin air buck naked with no memory of who he is or what he does. Coincidentally, Sookie's brother Jason goes missing. Less coincidentally, but more ominously, a coven of witches (who also happen to be shape-shifters and vampire blood addicts) comes rolling into the nearest big city, looking for trouble. Consistent, well-built charactes and as trong, action-packed plot that will keep readers guessing to the end distinguish this frothy fusion of romance, mystery, and fantasy.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I am really enjoying this series and it is great to not have to think to much when I'm reading. Basically, there isn't much left to say, I'm just documenting what I'm reading at this point. If your into the series, join me in the brain-candy pleasure!!

Oh, and now that Amazon has pointed out Laurell Hamilton, I guess I'll have to look into that author...amazing how one thing quickly leads to another!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Book Nine - Club Dead

So, I've finished another book on my beloved Kindle. And, yes, it is the third in the Sookie Stackhouse series. This one, Club Dead, was a quick read that I enjoyed...I love the brain candy that these books afford me. Here is the write up from Amazon:

Sookie Stackhouse is having man trouble. Her vampire boyfriend, Bill, has been distant and inattentive lately. Then he announces that he is going on a business trip, which clearly is more than it seems. After a werewolf tries to abduct Sookie at work, Bill's boss, Eric, tells her that Bill fell under the sway of his--Bill's, that is--ex, a sexy vamp named Lorena, and has been kidnapped. Eric wants Sookie's help in getting Bill back, and despite her hurt over Bill's betrayal, Sookie agrees to go to Jackson, Mississippi, to find her wayward lover. Eric has persuaded Alcide, a dashing werewolf, to get Sookie access to Josephine's, aka Club Dead, the local hangout of Jackson's supernatural element. In between dodging kidnappers, the advances of amorous Eric, and her growing feelings for Alcide, Sookie has to find out who kidnapped Bill and figure out a way to rescue him. With some droll touches--Elvis, now a vampire, is Sookie's faithful guard --Club Dead is ideal for readers who like their vampire fiction light, humorous, and fast-paced.

As I stated earlier, I am enjoying these books immensely and am having a hard time pulling myself away from reading and actually getting stuff that I need to do done. Ah well, we all need down time, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weirdest DC Trip Yet

So, I'm on my 3rd trip in a month and a half and while I'm starting to get in a travel groove, I have to say that so far this trip has been a little wack-a-do...

  1. Plane actually landed 10 minutes early.

  2. Last 30 minutes on the flight, everybody had to remain seated and all electronics had to be off. This would be a downside of the Kindle (which I still love), so I had to break the rules and keep my Kindle on so that I could continue reading...suck it American Airlines.

  3. I am in the exact same room as I was last trip, just a floor down, and two floors down from the same room two trips ago.

  4. This morning as I'm finishing up getting ready, I hear somebody trying to get into the room and then a knock, so I open the door and there is a lady there who has just been given my no.

  5. I get back to my room this evening and I walk in and it turns out that my room is not on somebody's clean up list because nothing was done in here... I guess they decided that they can give it to somebody else as long as they don't bother making the bed....

  6. I saw a visually impared lady on the street with a beautiful black lab service dog.... but she was bopping away to her ipod....

  7. I offered to help a lady with a walker get into a cab and she yelled at me.... she looked a little like the mama from Throw Mama from the Train...
I'm sure there will be more wack-a-do things to happen, but it is only Monday. And, yeah, I realize that in the grand scheme of things these aren't all that wack-a-do, but it gives you an idea of what I'm experiencing out here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Memorium....

Required Reading: Seve Ballesteros Passes Away
As most of you know, I'm NOT the biggest sports fan in the world...and especially not golf. However, I remember when Seve first hit the scene and I saw him playing golf (if we were at my grandparents and golf was on....we'd be watching it) I got a big ol' crush on him. This is sadness for the golf community....

Smarty Pants

I've recently had an obsession with Smart Water (only because it is usually cheaper than other waters when I go and buy it).

And I have found that I have a love for White Cheddar popcorn, specifically Smartfood brand....

Do you think I'll actually gain any "smarts" from eating these?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 Book Eight - Living Dead in Dallas

I have to tell you that I'm truly addicted to my Kindle....I'm seeing an episode of Intervention coming soon....

I spent all day today reading the second in the Sookie Stackhouse series Living Dead in Dallas. Here is what would be on the back of the book, if I had a physical book:
Waiting tables, sweeping floors, reading minds and solving mysteries for the undead. It's all in a day's work for Sookie...

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of real bad luck. First, her co-worker gets murdered and no one seems to care. Then Sookie is attacked - and poisoned - late one night by some weird and apparently mythical beast. She only survives because the local vampires roll up and graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it). But in return the blood-suckers need a favor.

Which is why Sookie ends up in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire, on the condition that her undead friends don't do anything, well, vampiric while she's there. Easier said than done. All it takes in one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly...
As I said earlier, I tore through this book today and only was able to stop myself from getting engulfed in the next one because I have a commitment this evening and some work to do tomorrow. While, these books are no literary masterpieces, they are fun mind candy and I'm obviously enjoying reading them.

Perhaps, I should hold off on reading anymore on the Kindle until my next trip....

2011 Book Seven - Dead Until Dark

I'm traveling every other week now and decided that carrying my library is really tough, so I bought a Kindle and the first books that I downloaded were the first 8 in the Sookie Stackhouse series. If you are unfamiliar with the series it is what the HBO series True Blood is based on. The first book that is Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Since I am downloading the books, I don't have the back of the book to quote here, however here is what is written up on the Amazon site:
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life - and one of her coworkers checks out.....
Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.
This book was a great, fast read and I'm already 1/3 of the way into the next in the series. I have a feeling that for some light sumer time (and plane) reading, this set of books is going to be great!!

On a different note, completely away from the book..... I LOVE my Kindle!! The thing that is great about it is that I can't read ahead. With a "real" book, I am in the habit of flipping to the back of the book and/or the last chapter and reading how the book ends after a couple dozen pages, and the Kindle doesn't easily allow me to do that (and if it does, I haven't figured out how to do it, which is a good thing).

Okay, now I'm off to chomp through my next book!!