October 27, 2012

Catching Up to Take a Break...

Oh friends... how I miss thee...

Something I dabbled in, recently - floral bouquet arrangements
(for a wedding of a friend - so much fun!)

I have been kicking myself most of this year for not keeping more on top of sharing on here. I had picked "Achieve" as my One Little Word and boy, oh boy, I can say I have achieved a lot.  Sadly, writing and sharing HERE is not one of those achievements. 

This makes me frustrated, because I adore my blogging posse.  I love visiting your blogs. I love hearing from you here.  I have missed all of you over these months and every time I dwell.  I scold myself.  I make promises to myself to start tomorrow.  Write this weekend. Schedule, plan, plot. 

And then more life happens. 

And before I know it, it's been weeks that have passed.

So, in a rare moment of Kindness-To-Self, I have decided to make a clean break from this blog.  Not permanently.  But for the rest of this year. 

I truly hope that you'll still be interested in my stories when I return.  I hope to share all kinds of things with you on a regular basis.  The when, though, is up in the air.  I'm tentatively saying until the end of this year.  However, that sounds a little too much like an early New Years resolution, and I don't really "do" resolutions.  So... let's just say I'll be back... most likely in a couple of months.  Maybe before. 

The bigger issue is... I'm allowing myself to not fret about it.  Not worry or kick myself or listen to my inner critic about not "achieving" this piece of me. 

I hope you understand.

If you really miss me, there are places to find me... email is the most reliable one.  You can always leave me a comment here and I will respond, I promise.

So... in the meantime...

Happy Halloween!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Hannukah!

Merry Christmas!

(And any other happy, merry holidays that I haven't included - I don't mean to... please celebrate!)

October 2, 2012

The Door...

I have lived in this house for twelve and a half years.  It has a lot of wear and tear and a lot of stories to tell (or keep secret, as houses are known to do).  Today I want to show you something in particular, though.  It is something I walk by at least 10 times a day, if not more.  It is this door:

From almost the time we moved in until this day... today... this door has had a poster on it.  It was a black, white and green poster... of an alien head, with gigantic words on it:  "Keep Out".  Yeah, it looked like this:

So, I have to admit... the first few years (years?) this poster made me angry.  It really bothered me.  It probably didn't help that I had an alien head staring into my bedroom, as this door, and this poster, faces my bedroom doorway.  It didn't keep me out, though, even though this door was almost always closed.

A few years ago, an additional piece also became attached to the poster on this door.  A cardboard image of a ghost.  It was placed there one Halloween, and there it stayed.

This door is the entryway to my son's bedroom.  He has lived part-time in this room for 7 years and full-time for 5 years. 

He is moving out to his own apartment this week.  Tomorrow.

He took the poster off his door today. 

The door looks bare... empty... lonely.

It looks sad.

I never thought I'd miss that poster.  But maybe it's just a preview of missing my son.

Major life changes.  Never easy.  I am full of so many emotions surrounding his move.  Excitement, nervousness, relief, happiness, sadness... just a jumble.

Pretty soon, this door will nearly always be open.  Open into a gaping maw of empty room.   So much potential.  For the room... and for my son's new adventure in life.


September 20, 2012

I Made It! :)

We're having an employee and customer appreciation event at my day-job tomorrow.  The theme is "Fiesta!" this year.  Office staff were asked to bring in a dozen cupcakes of any style.  Well... I was going to be lazy and buy some, but was somewhat harangued at work over that statement. I kept hearing,  "You're too creative..."



Never one to back down from a challenge (most of the time), I searched the Internet for some ideas on how to decorate a cupcake Fiesta!-style.  After seeing several very cute photos, I found two that really, really intrigued me.  And I settled on this one... look what I made!

I'm so excited that they turned out as well as I had planned/hoped.  A friend of mine helped me figure out how to make the taco shell so everything is 100% edible.  Well, except the paper wrapper.

Creative in the kitchen today.  It feels good...

September 19, 2012

The Problem...

The problem with going to a 4-day retreat where you spend 75% of your time scrappin' and 25% of your time eating and sleeping is that when you get home you fall into a deep depression when you realize you can't continue on that way 24/7 for the rest of your natural life.

September 9, 2012

It's That Time Again...

I tell ya... 2012 has been the Year of Scrapbooking!  I have had an event of some sort nearly every month of this year and I've had a blast.  Coming up soon is my annual retreat to A Crop for All Seasons

I've been spending this weekend getting prepped and I *think* I have a pretty good handle on things this time around.  I would really love to be super organized and productive as I have multiple projects on my plate.  Nearly everything I'm taking is for someone else so I'd love to get those projects done and make October's crop weekend all about me.  It's time. 

Please... tell me what you've been doing to be crafty... creative... arty... etc...

I love to be inspired by YOU.

September 5, 2012

Why You Don't See Me Commenting on Your Blog…

Hey Yo!  I just wanted to share with you why you may not see me hanging around your blogs anymore.  I blame it on work.  Not the amount of work I have to do, but that my workplace has locked down internet access so thoroughly that it has prevented me from enjoying my favorite breaktime activity: visiting and commenting on your blog!

You see, I used to be able to start out at Google Reader, read all of your blog post (if you had it set up to allow reading the entire post) and then I could bink over and leave you a little love.

Now, it’s considered “web communications” and I’m no longer able to visit any of you out there who have “blogspot” in your address, among other “web communications” site addresses. 

To make matters worse, the IT dictators have even blocked some of what I can view on Google Reader!  If you have a post that contains any photos that are uploaded to/from your blog – yep, those are all blocked as well.  So, I can only read the text but we all know that many of us post photos as well and that’s more than half the story! 

It’s terribly frustrating.

So why don’t I read them when I’m home at night?  My nighttime hours are slammed!  I work out nearly every night, have household chores to keep up with, plus two “second” jobs to try and stay on top of (which I fail at most of the time).  And then there are those nights when I just crash.  Yes, yes, I could make a better effort, I agree.  But… well, it is what it is.

I am sad and miss my lunchtime reading.  I will, however, make a better effort, I promise.  But in the meantime, know that I’m still there… reading what I can from Google Reader and sharing in your worlds the best that I can.

(Hugs) all around!!

September 3, 2012

The Day I Arrived at School Too Early

Here I am for Storytelling Sunday... a day late and a dollar short, but here nonetheless.

Once upon a time, I was a creative writer. It was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but I really enjoyed writing and I think – for my age and wisdom of the time – I was pretty good at it. But please, let me present to you one of my award-winning short stories and let me hear what you have to say…

The Day I Arrived at School Too Early
written when I was around 13 years old (1983/84)

On Tuesday, May 3rd, 1990, I arrived at school earlier than usually.  I have never seen such sights as I did at that time…

I walked through the front doors and the first thing that impressed itself upon me was that everything sparkled, like a diamond under a bright light.  I decided to put everything in my locker to get rid of the load.

The second strange thing that hit me was that I couldn’t open my locker.  In fact, all of the locks on every locker were stuck shut!  I dropped my books on the floor next to my locker.  “Ouch!”  That’s what I heard.  Looking around, I saw no one so I decided it all must have been in my mind.

Walking by the principal’s office, I glanced in.  What I saw almost gave me a heart attack!
There were two…things… in there.  I assume that they were the Principal and vice-principal.
They each were pea-green in color.  All out of shape, almost like a blob.  They had pointed, orange ears (on backwards) and purple horns coming out of their noses.  Bright red eyes (three and one-half) looked as if they would have been able to burn anything up.  They also had seven brown fingers (all together).

They started to turn so I ran across the hall and hid. I  definitely did not want them to see me.  They made a sucking noise (like a suction cup) as they traveled.

I turned around, from facing the door, after I had heard them move away.  What I saw then was total chaos! The clock was talking, telling the desks (which were moving) where to go.   (The clock kept pointing with its hands.)

I ran out of there and up the stairs as if I were being chased by a pack of wolves.  I should have left right then and there, but at that time I figured the bathroom would be safest.  WRONG!!  Water sprayed all over; things flew in the air.  I turned “about-face” and stepped out.

I could hear murmuring next-door (the teacher’s room).  I walked over and opened the door a crack.  Looking inside, again I almost had a heart attack!  Most all of the teachers were in there; including the principal and the vice principal.  What was worse… ALL of the teachers were exactly like the principal, except, maybe, different coloring.

Now the vice principal takes out this rainbow colored liquid.

This liquid was unique.  It had every color in the rainbow and no matter how much they mixed it, the colors never combined.  Then, passing it out in miniature tea cups, everyone drank some of the liquid.

Immediately they all changed into the teachers as I knew them.  I did not hesitate; I ran out of that building – fast!  Can you imagine what the Home Ec or Health room might have looked like?

I waited, then finally came back an hour later.  Everything was back to its old, dull self.  Lockers opened, clocks told time.

To this day I feel that maybe I was dreaming - - - BUT, one day while I was doing a favor for a teacher, I opened a drawer and found a small vial of RAINBOW COLORED LIQUID!

By the way, it really was award winning.  Only I didn’t read the announcement so by the time I went to pick my prize, there wasn’t much left to select from.  At the time, I was not into metal bands or hair bands or whatever they called it in 1983.  My prize?  The Scorpions “Love at First Sting” record album.

Hmmm… I think I still have it…

To read more stories, visit Sian for links to other Sunday tales...

August 21, 2012

Too Long ... That Light is Elusive...

A while back I posted a topic labeled "Light at the End of the Tunnel"... apparently, the tunnel is longer than I thought.   Fourteen days since I last wrote.  Nearly a month since that tunnel post.  It is starting to make me sad!  Apparently, I must have more work to do on my time management!

Anyhoo...  in that tunnel post, I shared this photo and promised to be back to explain. 

And here I am!

That picture represents many days of purging my scrapbook stash, packaging it and pricing it for a fantabulous scrapbook and craft sale that a group of us got together and held. 

It was a blast!  Think of it... scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, stamping, art... all together in one location... and most of us had been employees of scrapbook stores.  Lots of deals, I tell you.  If I were a shopper, not a seller, it would have been like a kid in a candy store!

We even served refreshments!  Absolutely NOT your average garage sale! 

Believe it or not this was our first customer.

Yes, him.  Never would have thought someone like this would show up at a craft sale.  Actually, I don't know that he knew what he was doing there.  He literally walked around the circle of "stuff", picked something up off the center shelves that cost 50-cents, paid for it, and walked out.  I don't even think he stopped walking... it was like a fly-by-craft-buy!

Hangin' out at the cash-out stand... the shaded area!  :)

It was so well-received and we were successful enough that we decided to hold another at the end of September.  So... if you're in the area, let me know and I'll send you the deets! 

Anyhoo... just one more of the fun, scrapbook-related happenings that has been keeping me busy this year. 

I WILL be back with more...

August 7, 2012

The New Room...

Well, my blogging friends, here is part of what has been going on in my life.  This directly affects my fitness foibles on which I have been mostly silent of late.  I guess you could say that I have been pretending I'm a yo-yo, with my weight bouncing up and back down a couple of pounds for many  months.  Until recently, I wasn't too upset about it, but have finally recommitted (as of around March).

I have also decided I need to have a place at my home that is devoted to fitness.  We have a "spare" room in our basement, but for many years it has held... well... crap.  Lots of it.  Piled taller than me (which isn't a big deal as I only stand 5-foot, 1-inch).  Crap, crap, crap.  Like, so much crap!  How much crap, you ask?  Loads of crap! Like, the beginning of a Hoarder dysfunction.  (shakes head in embarrassment.)

Here are some pictures of our room o' crap.  Please excuse the mess.  (snicker)

Standing in the doorway

Counter clockwise, slightly, still from the doorway

All the way to the left of the doorway, and I've stepped inside the room slightly.

Okay, these pictures don't even reflect an area to the right of the first photo, which would have been the closet had this room ever been finished by the previous owners of this house, which is also piled full of crap.  This 'closet' area is really just the wood studs awaiting the drywall/sheet rock.  Oh... but the lovely previous owners did install the closet doors!  (Who does that?!)  You can see one at the right of the first picture.

As you can see, it's a horrible clutter of who-knows-what.  You can somewhat see that there is a weight bench.  No, really! There is!  Okay, look... in the first two photos, if you look really hard to the left, you can see some weights sticking off the end of the bar, and in the third photo you can see the bar on top of the bench, in front of the headboard.  See it?  There!  Yes, you've got it now.

At one point in time I was hoping to make this room a little workout area.  Instead, as you can see, it became a dropping point. 

Many months ago, The Hubs volunteered to go on a trip for his company to their national conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.  After finding out the dates, I took some time off, completely committed to clearing out this room.  I wanted to do it when he wasn't home to try and get rid of things we didn't need AND because I tend to be a little more productive when The Hubs isn't around (shhhhh, don't tell him!)  I didn't tell him what I was going to do, so he hadn't a clue!  When I informed one of my friends of my plans, SHE took off the time as well, and very generously offered to help me out! 

Last week was The Week!  I had my ideas on what I wanted to do, so when my friend arrived last Wednesday morning, we set to work.  First thing first... remove EVERYTHING from The Room.  This was an all day task.  Some things went straight out to the curb, while many things just got moved into our family/TV room for the moment.  Talk about a work out!  Cleaning out the work out room was probably the longest and hardest work out I've had in a long time!  Six hours of moving boxes and junk and stuff.  The heaviest stuff we moved?  A console TV.  Up 6 steps and back down two and then to the curb!  How proud am I?  Also about 16 sheets of drywall/sheet rock.  After about three, we got tired of carrying the heavy full-sheets, so my friend cut it in half while I trekked it up the steps and out to the curb.  Doing the math?  That's 24 trips up and down the steps.  The other major heavy item was a computer desk, in pieces, that was simply a bear.  After the drywall?  A bazillion more trips (I might be exaggerating a little) with pieces and strips and chunks of old paneling.  Some other things got moved out just because I knew they were things the kids had collected over the years and no longer really wanted.

Did I mention the heat and humidity of this day?  No?  Well, it was hot.  And humid.  'Nuf said.

Eventually, my curb looked like this.

Thank goodness for Craigslist.  Let me tell you, if you're in the States and have access to Craigslist, post a "free curbside pickup" post and your stuff will FLY!!!  No joke.

Here is the room once it was mostly cleared out.

See?  There's the weight bench!  The only item that never left the room!
So exhausted at this point!

At this point, we finished clearing the room and then set up the shelving that you can see to the left of the weight bench.  We cleared off the shelves that are up on the far left of the above photo and moved them to the far, blank wall (with paneling).  Then we pretty much called it a day. 

Believe it or not, I went and worked out after all of this.  I certainly got my fitness on last week!

The next day we went to Lowes and bought even more shelving, set that up and then started repacking items into smaller boxes that would fit on the shelves.  Here is where I also culled more stuff.  So many things in that room were actually EMPTY BOXES!  Needless to say, a lot of room was created by ridding ourselves of those.  And, it hurts to admit, more than 75% of the empty boxes were kept because they were The Hubs' collection.  He swears he has a use for them all so I stacked them up so he could decide if he really needed them or not.

After a second day of putting things back and a third day of really going through personal items and deciding what to keep (and a few hours spent looking through my old high school yearbooks, reminiscing), I was nearly done.  And the stuff on the curb was nearly gone!  Here is where the room stands now:

I'm standing in the doorway again, the same location as the very first picture up at the top of this post.  Those Dell boxes are empty.  Some of them have foam in them.  All of them came home with The Hubs because he could "use them".  I can't even say how long they've been sitting in the room.  Why are they still in the room? Because I felt he needed to SEE how many empty boxes he has... they won't be staying there for long.   The opposite wall has shelving.  Much of what's on those shelves will still be cleared out.  In fact, two of the shelves are all Partylite products from when I was a consultant for that company.

Looking counter clockwise, you can see a better view of the shelving.  What is most amazing to me is the FLOOR!  I can see the floor. And the treadmill is actually IN the workout room! The circular item to the right is a Papasan Chair and will be leaving with The Boy when he gets his first apartment (very soon, I hope).

And here we are looking all the way left from just inside the door of the room.  Weight bench and balance ball, the entire inventory of my fitness equipment (not including the Wii).  The bed headboard and foot board have been listed on Craigslist for sale.  No bites yet, so if any of you are nearby, it's for sale!  :)

Don't be blinded by the brain-breaking wallpaper on this wall.  It will be painted over (no I'm not taking it down first - there are reasons for this).  In the meantime, you can see the remaining items in The New Room - my treadmill and my weight bench.

But wait!  There's more!

And, here is my geek husband's tower of old computers.  And I call him a geek lovingly, trust me... having a computer smart person in the house is super handy!  But having over 15 PCs in various states of broken is not cool.  So not cool.  They are stacked here by the door leading out of this area of our basement a) to make it easier for him to NOT forget they exist and b) to make it easier for us to get them up the steps and OUT of the house as soon as he says he doesn't need them anymore.  And he's already done the research on where to take them, so hopefully this pile o' crap will be gone soon. 

But wait!  There's more!  Remember the "closet" area that really isn't a closet, but rather the framework for  the closet?  I bought shelves that fit between the studs so that we can use it for more organized added storage space.

There are three shelves... the first shelving unit holds more computer stuff.  The second shelving unit holds gaming stuff.  The third shelving unit... holds empty boxes. 

Yes, I'm serious.

That's a men's Huffy Blackthorn bike there.  Also up for sale on Craigslist.  Anyone interested?  Give me a shout!

Well, there you go.   This has been in the works for months and it took us about three days to get it done from start to near-finish.  I say near finish because I still have things I'd like to do. I'd like to get some foam flooring in to ease jumping around in there.  I also want to paint that nasty wallpapered wall.  And my friend is going to help me sew panels to "wall up" the areas of the closet that aren't doors... in other words, the other open areas.  But I'm good to go.  No excuses now!

Oh... except there's no power.  We'll have to run an extension cord.  But if that's all I have to be concerned about compared to where I started, I guess I'm a happy camper.  Anyone want to come over and be my fitness buddy now?

One giant leap toward fitness at home.  One even bigger jump toward Kai's clean sweep!

Back soon with more summertime adventures!  Promise!  :)

August 5, 2012

Free Gasoline...

Welcome to this month's edition of Storytelling Sunday.  It begins with this picture, which is actually the end of the story:

Now, let's get to the story...

One day, not too long ago (as evidenced by the date on the receipt), The Hubs and I had friends over on a Sunday afternoon.  This particular Sunday was also "National Ice Cream Day".  Now, I'm not one to ignore ice cream, especially a national holiday celebrating such a delectable treat.  So before we got too involved in our social time, one of our friends and I went out to get some sweet treats.

As we reentered the house, I heard a weird noise coming from the basement.  It sounded like my washing machine on spin cycle but Very Loud.  Did The Hubs start a load of laundry while I was gone?  I leaned forward, bracing myself on the stairwell railings, to listen more closely.  That's when I noticed the water coming out of the laundry room area into our family room.

I tore down the stairs, yelling for The Hubs to come.  Entering the laundry room, I am immediately in water up to my ankles.  Turning on the lights I see that the hot water heater has water pouring out of the bottom of it.  Stunned, I just point to it as The Hubs comes flying in.  He turns off the water main and we just stare at each other, dumbfounded. 

Another of our friends came downstairs to see what the issue was.  He showed us that there was a bypass water turn-off on the hot water heater, so we could still have cold water in the house.  I spent the next 30 minutes sweeping water toward out sump pump.  I must say, our basement must be graded well, for although there was a lot of water in the laundry room, very little got into our family room.  For that I am very thankful.

Well, we continued our afternoon social time with our friends, just with cold water and a lot of stress spinning in my head.  I mean, it's not as if I was saving up for a new hot water heater or anything. 

After our friends left, I went online to do some research.  Found the best buy at Lowes and so The Hubs and I decided to head over there the next day.  Besides, the Lowes website said "same day installation"!

(I'll skip over the part the next morning where The Hubs braved a cold shower.)

The next morning we headed to Lowes.  After discovering we couldn't purchase the one we had found online, we chose another, less expensive model.  This proved beneficial because of all the other things, including a permit to perform the work, we had to purchase to get the job done.  As The Hubs was finishing up the selection and details, I left the store and headed back to our local Giant Eagle to purchase Lowes gift cards.

"Why?" you ask.  "Why leave the store to buy gift cards only to come back and pay for the items with them?  Why not just pay for them?"  Ah... because if I'm going to buy a new water heater, I might as well get as many perks as possible. And for every $50 spent at our Giant Eagle, you earn 20-cents off your gas.  This is so very worth the 2 miles I had to drive to get the gift cards, and return to the store.

After paying for the hot water heater and all that came with it, we left the store to await the installer.  After only 3 hours, he arrived and it took him less than an hour to install our brand new hot water heater.  Aaaaah... hot water again.  Such a taken-for-granted luxury!

And a few days later?  I stopped at the gas station and got free gas!

Moral of the story?  If you're forced to buy a new hot water heater when you least had planned to do so, then drive the extra couple of miles to get gift cards so that you can at least get a tank (or more) of free gas. It's such a small thing.  But worth it.

Looking for more fun stories?  Visit here!

July 27, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel...

I promise to be back to tell you what this is.  It's been a heckuva summer so far, how about you?  So many things to share... and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know I said I'd be back before... but this time I really, really, really meeeeaaaaaannnnnnn it!  :)

July 11, 2012

That Fifty Shades of Grey Craze..

Over the weekend I was off to my hometown in NY to visit family and participate in the Positivi-Tea Tealightful Conference.   Therefore, I missed on Storytelling Sunday.  And, wouldn't you know it, I looked up at my calendar today to realize I'd also missed Ten Things on the 10th once again.  How bummed am I?

So, while I have been off gallivanting around, I have been purposeful about making time for reading.  I have not been keeping you up to date, my bad, so look for a few more book reviews going forward.

Today, instead of a belated Storytelling Sunday's Kai-story,  I want to discuss my take on the "housewife porn" trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Now, to be clear, "housewife porn" is not my term, I'm just lifting it from various articles and reviews I've read over the past month or more.

To start off... I Love Smut.  I love smut.  Smut books are a release for me.  An escape.  So, I am biased about any book that has a large amount of detailed sexual activity.  Sorry... TMI?  You can stop reading any time.  :)  And, I'm sorry, but these books... while they had pieces of detailed intimacy... were not as overwhelming as typical smut that I have read in the past.  With that disclaimer, let me go on...

****Spoiler Alert:  I may be talking about some specifics.  If you do not like any piece of a story told to you, you may choose not to read further.  That said, I won't tell you the ending or any specific details that will "ruin" the main plot lines... I don't think. ****

Fifty Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey

The first book in the series grabbed my attention, but-quick.  Had a decent set-up, and an attention grabbing (if too young for my taste) leading man, Christian Grey.  Seriously, what woman doesn't fantasize about the well-to-do, smart, successful, rich man who owns his own business, flies his own helicopter and has the highest technology available at his fingertips?  Especially a woman directly out of college, young, struggling to make her own way... but now swept off her feet by someone she never thought existed - Anastasia (Ana) Steele?  Yeah, most women would be raising their hands about now... if only at the very superficial level.  All that and *love* too?  Yep, on board!  Of course, this book doesn't quite delve into love... but more instant attraction between two people, one of whom has very specific predilections.  Let's just name the elephant in the room:  BDSM.  (BDSM stands for Bondage/Discipline/Domination/Submission/Sadism/Masochism.  Yes, I know that's actually BDDSSM but the community truncated it for simplicity to BDSM.  Hey, I wasn't part of the decision, I'm just the messenger here.)  Have an open mind and want to learn more?  Click the BDSM link above to read the Wikipedia entry about this "kink choice".

Again... good smut, but I have a small gripe about how it is presented.  Aside from the power exchange, the dreamy rich guy, the awkward, smart just-out-of-college girl, this book is really about sexual tension, sex and the wild and crazy emotions around it.   The writing style is hard to get past (for me), and I really didn't appreciate the sweeping stereotypes.  The character development could have been much more deep and multi-faceted than it was.

Seriously, though, this book does not deserve the hype it is receiving as "housewife porn".  The marketing campaign is brilliant, though, as it seems everyone is talking about it, everyone wants to know what it's about, and apparently they're already going to make a movie out of it (sigh).  

For my technical review, I was somewhat frustrated with the writing style and the repetitive text... seriously repetitive.  And, if you pick up this book, be prepared to move directly into book #2... as in, immediately.  50 Shades of Grey's frustrating, cliff-hanger ending truly pissed me off and I was glad to have the 2nd book at my fingertips to continue and move out of that anger rut.  If I didn't have the 2nd book, and I wasn't intrigued by the mystery of Christian Grey, I might have been so angry that I would not have continued on to...

Fifty Shades Darker

50 Shades Darker

Here we delve further into the leading characters, Christian and Ana, their personal histories (including some major drama and trauma) and how they develop into a relationship together.  A very fast relationship... intense... with far fewer "smut" scenes in this book than in the first one.  This book is truly more along the lines of a typical "romance novel" hills and valleys of the romance between the hero and heroine than "housewife porn".  Don't like the first book because of the smut?  Then do continue on to the next two.  The plot seriously changes and there is much less of the "alternative BDSM" type of scenes.  Oh, and we add in a couple of antagonists (with guns and life threatening situations) in this book, setting up additional plot lines in the third book.

Technical review here again - SO seriously frustrated with the number of "Oh My" statements in Ana's head.  It was like a drinking game!  That and the two distinct personalities within Ana's mind (her "inner goddess" and her "subconscious") preening and dancing (goddess) or peering prudishly over her half-moon glasses (subconscious) every other paragraph... I was read to strangle all three of them!  *deep breath*  But if you can get past the not-very-good writing (I did)... keep moving forward to...

Fifty Shades Freed

50 Shades Freed

The final book in this trilogy and I had to push myself to get through it.  I read the first book in a matter of a day and a half, the second book in 3-5 days... the third book?  It took me a couple of weeks.  Now, to be fair to the book, I was extra busy, but I also wasn't called to it like I was the first one, and had to keep reminding me to finish it so I could pass it on to a friend.

What can I say about this book?  It is a continuation of the 2nd book, delving into Christian and Ana's more serious, now life-long commitment to each other, but still exploring Christian's mysterious effed up past, additional antagonist appearances and moving forward into the future.  I will not spoil this by sharing details, but I will say that getting past the Oh My's, the Inner Goddess and the Subconscious was much more difficult in this book, having had my fill in the first two installations.  What can I say... hmmm... well, it ended well.  It was a very happy, "romance novel" ending.  So... if you like that kind of stuff... read to the end and you will be very happy.

I was surprised to find an additional chapter at the end of this third book that shares with the reader Christian's mind and perspective of his and Ana's first meeting.  I do find it very entertaining to read things from the perspective of an alternate character.  Stephenie Meyer tried to do something like that for the first Twilight book, but it got leaked to the internet and she never completed it out of (rightful) anger.   It was fun to read, though.

Overall, I enjoyed the trilogy, but I didn't LOVE it.  If the line for reserving these books at the library hadn't been so large, I would have been happier to borrow them to read rather than buy them.  I would not read them again (which is a huge thing for me... because I do reread books that I love).  And I think the hype surrounding them is just that... hype. 

But then, as I've already stated, the smut books I read are much smuttier than the 2nd and 3rd... and perhaps even the 1st... in this trilogy.  So perhaps I'm just... jaded.  :)

Have you read any of the Fifty Shades books?  If not, do you intend to?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

July 8, 2012

Surviving the Heat?

Holy storms, Batman! 

AND... triple digits in central Ohio!  Who woulda thunk?

How are you keeping cool?

June 11, 2012

Loud and Clear...

It's been a day.  A little on the rough side.  As I was wandering through Inside Out's Truth Pinterest board, I found this.  It really just screamed.... screamed... out to me.  I needed to see it... read it... hear it.  I now need to embrace it.  I wanted to share it too, as I work to embrace it.

I need to figure out how to accept this for someone I love very much.  Have you ever had to let someone go (from your life, not your heart)?

June 10, 2012

One Life to Live...

No, not the soap opera.  Well... maybe, but not the one you are thinking of.

My wise and wicked stepmother (the wicked is in jest, the wise is not) has told me, repeatedly, that the older I get, the less I will care about what others think.  And oh, how true!  I have spent the first 40 years of my life truly concerned about how people would think if I did this, did that, said this, thought that.  And that has stifled me.  A lot.

The past two years, though, I have been working on letting that concern go. 

Most recently it has become more important to do what I want/feel and say what I think/know and not stifle myself because of fear.  I have had to take baby steps... feeling my way forward in the darkness of what I have always known, because that fear is pretty strong.  I think as I make a break-through, though, I do something little in a symbolic gesture of what I've have done mentally, emotionally or psychologically.

Lately, it has been self-alteration.  Minor self-alteration, but it's a change nonetheless.

Purple hair.  Not all of it... just a little.  But it's a symbol of breaking free from a few of my own self-imposed tethers.

I'm sad that it has taken me 42 years to stop caring so much, and start being more of who I feel I am inside.  I can't say I'm done caring, or feeling fear about being me, but I feel so much more happy and closer than I've been before.

After all... it's my only life, right?  Why not be me in it?

Yep yep.  Purple.  I think it's a good color.

What do you do to celebrate you?

June 4, 2012

Stamp Addict!

I love stamps. I use them not nearly as much as I buy them.  When I buy them, I have tons of plans for them.  Then they sit.  Then I look at them later and wonder... what were those plans I had?

Recently I went to the Great Lakes MegaMeet in Novi, Michigan.  What a blast that was!  It's a scrapper's shopaholic paradise.  One of my favorite stamp designers was there and I visited that booth not once, not twice, but three times!  It is where I dropped the most cash.

I can't explain why I love these stamps.  But, I shall try... they're cutsie.

They're versatile.

They are a "starter" for your own creativity.

They suck my money out of my pocket!

I love them!  And trust me... I came home with many... and a signed stamp-doodle by Judith herself.  She amazes me at how quickly she can "art".  She inspires me and I love to chat with her every time I am in her booth.

I highly recommend finding her booth at a show near you.  There is so, so much fun to be had!


**DISCLAIMER - Stamps by Judith did not pay me in any way to gush over her products... I just love 'em.  What can I say? **


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