Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Late Book Reviews...

So I have been reading a lot but have not reviewed books in a while so I thought I would review a few of them for you now. These will be a little shorter than usual but bear with me, I am so far behind. Today you will get to read about Thuderstruck by Eric Larson and Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. Both were book club choices for this month and I enjoyed both. Plus both counted towards my book total for this year. I am currently at 3 books and 10 points (which will increase when I pick a category for Rebecca).

I really enjoyed this book. I am not one to fall into romance novels often but Rebecca is more than just a romance novel (it is actually called romantic suspense). The story was quick and very engrossing. I enjoyed the world DuMaurier creates for Mrs. de Winter and how the love between Mrs. de Winter and Maxim does not just die. I found Mrs. Danvers very unnerving but I now understand the reference and the whole story was fun and suspenseful. However, I did not enjoy the ending. It was to fair to end it that way. I wish to know more but the only way is to read the 'sequel' written at least three decades later by someone else. I hope to watch the Alfred Hitchcock version of the film this weekend with J and see what he thinks of all of it.

Thunderstruck was a slow starting book but one I feel into quickly. I enjoyed the crossing stories, which I know most people don't like, and I loved the science involved. I also really enjoyed the merging of the two stories at the end, with the pursuit of Crippen. I am still amazed how some inventions came about, for example this book chronicles the creation of wireless communication. Marconi was no scientist but his belief that it should work and his constant trial and error worked in his favor. He was like an engineer, who are always dear to my heart since I have so many in the family. The Crippen murder took longer to get going but once it got interesting the Marconi story got long winded, which made it good having the two stories overlap as they did. Overall I really enjoyed this book.

So to sum up I give Rebecca five bookmarks out of five because it is a great read and a classic that has lead both novels and film and Thunderstruck four out of five bookmarks because it did drag at points but is very good for mainstream non-fiction. Pick them up when you get a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

J's Birthday!!

So as you may know J is yet another year older now. He celebrated a couple of weeks ago but I am finally posting about it now. I went with a winter-y theme making a mint green 'Happy Birthday' sign and wrapping his presents in winter-y paper. Oh and did he get a lot of presents, not a ton of expensive things but some nice stuff for his classroom, movies, even a new book. We went out to dinner at Fudrucker's (where I was still able to stay on my diet and J finally got the burger he had been craving) and I baked him a chocolate cake for dessert.

But on top of my efforts, friends and family sent him thoughtful presents as well. Including a Braves Potato Head that J still can't figure out how my mom got into that little box. Yes, I guess she is the wrapping queen this time. Even though he had to work J had a wonderful birthday and we are looking for many more like it. Now if only we could do such a good job with our anniversary next month. Hmm... better get on that.

Oh and Happy Birthday to all of my January peeps out there. I had no idea how many of you there are. So here we go: Happy Birthday day to Megan, Sagan , Jordi, Micheal, Charles, Alberto, Jim, and J! I know I am late for all of you but Happy Birthday anyway! I hope it was great!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some goals for 2009

So last year was great, we moved home and got married but now I have some BIG goals for this year. I know I have said I am going to do this and that but now I want my readers to hold me to this.

My goals for 2009 (so far)
1. Get in shape and find a way to stay in shape (I wasn't for my wedding and I have no excuse)
2. Get a job
3. Finish my novel (and maybe look into publishing)
4. Blog at least three times a week (keep me on this please)
5. Start crocheting and crafting for profit (and finish some items early)
6. Read 50 books this year (and get at least 200 points each quarter)
7. Be more thrifty (find ways to save more money so we can really work towards a house)
8. Be better about my health care (I hate going to the dentist and doctor but if I will be TTC one day then I need to be in the best health possible before the baby comes)
and lastly...
9. Get rid of some stuff (I am way too much of a pack rat... things need to go and not be bought again)

Ok so that is what I hope to do... please help me stay on these. Oh and maybe stay in better contact with people... can that be a goal? How do I achieve that? Hmm... that will probably be the hardest for me.

Family Visits

We have been lucky enough to see some of our family that does not live near us over the holidays. It started with my brother and sister-in-law coming down for a whole week around Christmas (it is hard being so far from my sibling again this year). It was so much fun to see them and my 'niece' Bunny. I hope she is out of the ugly puppy stage by my visit up north this summer.

J's dad also flew in for a conference after Christmas and made some time to see our humble abode. I was afraid all of the Christmas would bother him but he seemed to roll with it. J really likes this one-on-one family time the best and I am so happy they got to see each other. Oh and we had dinner at my favorite place, Sahara, which is totally the best restaurant in the world... if you like Moroccan food.

And most recently my aunt came out to see my grandmother and they trudged all the way out to see little ol' me and our place. J had to work but he wouldn't have liked the visit anyway because we had seafood for lunch (his least favorite food, but he likes sushi). We tried out Captain Blyther's which seems to win awards every year as best restaurant in our area. They didn't have want I wanted so I tried something else. It was ok but not the best. Maybe next time I will enjoy it more. However, we did get lots of gifts with the visit. My aunt brought me something new to craft (a lined cookie bag) and some note cards (a hint to write more often?). We also received some more penguins (can you ever have enough), a little ficus, and a first Christmas ornament from my other aunt. We are totally stoked about the ornament since we failed to find one this year (plus it is Lenox so really pretty).

My cousin is coming out later this year as is my uncle and aunt again. Also I think J's mom is coming for Christmas this year (which is making J excited) and we see my brother and sister-in-law for a cruise with my folks this summer. It is great being back and the fact we get to see so much family even after we moved.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cal Academy... can I move in?

When I was a kid I loved the Cal Academy. I loved the stuffed animals (at the time I didn't know they were real... I just thought they were like the Disney ones) and could spend days roaming the halls. Well they closed it on my to remodel... which is cool but I am not as happy with the new one. Ok I still want to move in and live there but still.

The new Rainforest part is amazing and fun to go through. I am glad the folks made us wait in line for it but the only part with stuffed animals anymore is the Africa part and that is tiny. The other exhibits seem lacking to me and the living roof is cool but doesn't have many details of how it works or what is growing there. It just feels big and empty in parts... but I could so fix that if they needed! But I doubt they will ever come to me to fix it.

However, our advice is not to go when school is on break. J and I had no problems but everyone else was in line for days. It just can't handle the number of people who want to use it, which is sad. It is a cool place and I did get a membership so I will be going back but it is smaller and not as cool as I remember it. Oh well.... I guess I will have to get used to it. Still better than almost any other natural history museum I have been too (the one in North Carolina was cool through).

Christmas and the tale of the missing posts

OK so maybe there are no missing posts just silly me being too busy to write them. We have been busy (by me I mean J and I) with so many things it will take a lot of posts to catch up but I will start here. I hope I didn't lose any readers (which I am sure I did but maybe they will come back). Let's start where I left off... Christmas and Christmas decor. I am not going to post as much as I had wanted to about that but I will give you the picks of my trees (more images will be on my craft blog if you are interested). We had two trees this year but I didn't seem to get a good picture of the big one (so it is in two parts with the middle missing but you get the point). The house did smell very Christmas-y with two trees (the small one now lives outside) and I think it made J get even more into the spirit of the holiday.

The little tree was filled with little ornaments and the big one with everything I had collected since my childhood. We only have a few 'us' ornaments but that number went up this year thanks to my Aunt Pattie, who is the single best shopper in the family. Thanks Pattie!

We had a wonderful time over Christmas seeing all of the family and all of the amazing presents. In a later post I will tell you all about our trip to the California Academy of Sciences and Bob's
visit and even Carolyn's trips out. Oh and a book review or two... or three. Sorry I dropped off but I am back now.