Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Reviews - January 2010

I'm sure all four of my followers are wildly curious about what I think, and because it's an icky day outside and I need something to do that is NOT cleaning my house, I've decided to review the books I've read so far in 2010. Since it's January 30th, I figured I would act as though I intended to do a month review and not that it just conveniently fell that way.

If you are my friend and see a book you are interested in, and I haven't mailed it out on yet, then feel free to borrow it.

Oh, and by the way, do not expect these book reviews to tell you much or be uniform in any way. It's just whatever the heck I feel like saying about it. If you're looking for a professional review, go somewhere else!

And here we go....

1. The Lost Quilter - Jennifer Chiaverini
I believe this is the 14th or so book by Jennifer Chiaverini that I have in the Elm Creek Quilts series. I am particularly fond of the ones that go back in time and tell a story during a historical period, which this did. My heart was tugged and moved for the heroine's plight and I was horrified by many of the things that happened to her.....even more so knowing that these things - and worse - happened to slaves regularly. This book can be read on it's own (if you ignore the first chapter or so...) or in order of the series. I highly recommend it.

2. Untamed - Francine Rivers
This was my bookclub's choice for January. It's a small book that tells a fictionalized version of the story of Tamar from Genesis 38. This was an excellent book, and just another example of how much I adore Francine Rivers. I love the way she can take a story or character from the Bible and just bring the whole thing to life. She now has this story in a larger volume along with other small stories about women from the Bible (I can't remember the name.) Highly recommend.

3. Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy
In this book, Maeve Binchy tells many, many different stories....with many characters....whose lives and stories all sort of intertwine and involve or mention Whitethorn Woods and/or the statue/shrine of St. Ann that is in those woods. My boss loaned me this book probably two whole years ago. I had started in once and put it down - not because it wasn't good - but I don't think my brain could handle it all back at that particular moment. When I picked it back up again I read through it fairly quickly. I recommend this book, but it may not be for everyone. Many of the stories are left kind of open-ended and that could just drive a person crazy. I have read several other books by Maeve Binchy and I have enjoyed them all probably a little more than this one.

4. A Thousand Words for Stranger - Julie E. Czerneda
Let me start by fessing up that I only made it to page 105. I used to read books to the end no matter what. Now that I turn 40 this year (gasp!!) I have decided that I'm not going to waste time on any book that I don't either really like....or at least am interested enough in to be compelled to find out the ending. (And I am NOT one of those people who just turns to the end of the book!) Having said that, this is not a bad book. Truly. It has been interesting. I feel for the character Sira. I've wondered about what is going to happen to her. But I just can't get into it. I do enjoy a good SciFi movie or show now and then, but this was my first attempt at a book that I would put in that category. Not for me.

If I actually remember that I did this for January, I might do it again in February. Unless, of course, I forget.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Basketball / Snow / Cake

It took me a couple of Samuel's basketball games to even get a picture he was IN, so I didn't mind that the quality was low when I finally was able to capture him. The fact that he had the ball in his hand was a huge plus. We will ignore that this was before the game started and no one else was around him, but it did make things much, much easier.

My second shot of Samuel was a great improvement. I can't remember what was actually happening at this point because I am totally incapable of paying attention to the game and taking pictures at the same time. I hope for more basketball pics at future games, but these two are enough for a scrapbook page if I never take another, which is entirely possible.

I was hugely disappointed this morning that school was not canceled due to inclement weather, since I had already informed by boss that I would be staying home if it was. When the schools decided to let out at noon, my excitement was barely contained. I know this doesn't look like a lot of snow, but it's a fairly good amount piling up outside now and it's still coming down.

We have bread, milk, and a lot of junk food should we be snowed/iced in all weekend. This is how Samuel and I celebrated:

We did save a piece for John, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Speed Scrapping and Eating (not so) Right

This will have to be a short post because I have another "speed scrap" in about 10 minutes. Or maybe I'm going to watch Fringe. I haven't really decided yet, and I feel like I haven't given my TV viewing priority lately. I would hate to neglect my DVR. It's very important to me and I think I need to let it know that every so often.

Speed scrapping is where you are part of an online chat and instructions are put up one at a time and you do whatever it says: "Pick three pictures. Make one large and two small" "Pick four papers" "Put a flower in one of the corners" and so forth and so on. You never really know what you're going to come up with. I always end up fudging a little bit because sometimes the instructions are just wonky. Since I have a boy not all instructions involving flowers and ribbons really work with him. These are my last two speed scrap pages:

I have a thing for buttons, if you haven't noticed.

John and I are doing well on losing weight in 2010. Last week at my Weight Watchers weigh-in I had lost FIVE, yes FIVE pounds. Of course, that was all weight I had gained during the holidays so I can't rejoice over it too much. I lost another pound this week. Then John bought a bag of mini chocolate chips because Samuel wanted chocolate chip pancakes. They have been my downfall for the past couple of days. I won't be satisfied until I have consumed them all and the bag is empty. It's a sad state of things, but that's just what be. I will get myself under control eventually. If I can just lose .2 of a pound more in January then I will have surpassed my goal for the month. Not too shabby... Now if I can just put down this bag of chocolately goodness.

Samuel is spending the night with his grandparents tomorrow. He looks forward to it because grandma always watches America's Funniest Home Videos with him. This morning he announced to me that he hadn't seen it in awhile and he was so glad he was going to get to because he "couldn't live without comedy!" After a moment more thought he added, "and chocolate milk!" At least he gets plenty of both around here.

I've suddenly become very interested in photography and I want to figure out what all my camera can do. I doubt it's much, but I need to find the manual around this house somewhere. This may turn out to be quite a search, but I'm sure it'll turn up.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year are finally here!! I'm not a resolution-maker because those usually fail. However, I do have a goal and it's not an unreasonable one. By the end of 2009 I had lost over 30 pounds. I lost more than 30, but let's face it, December didn't do anyone's waistline a favor so I have to go back a little bit. Since 2010 is the year I turn 40 (yeehaw!) I have made a goal to lose 40 more lbs. by my 40th birthday. I have just under 40 weeks to do it. I'm still a member of Weight Watchers, attending my weekly meetings and counting points so I'm not starting from scratch here. Anyway, my wonderful husband John has agreed to have the same goal. So, here's to losing 40 lbs by October 4th! Whoo hoo! I'm not going to blog specifics about my weight because I'm just not into the TMI, but I will try to put up at least a monthly update on how we are doing.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to 2010. Happy New Year!