A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Friday, August 31, 2007

And so it goes...

Okay, I'm still on a roll. I'm almost afraid to mention that life is returning to some sort of routine for fear I'll jinx the whole thing. You know, like when you're at work and it's quiet and someone makes note of how quiet it is and then... WHAM-O! All hell breaks loose? Sort of like that.

It doesn't seem that long ago that the thought of being in a routine of any sort was the very LAST thing on earth I wanted to be. Now the thought of flying by the seat of my pants all the time is like hooking a vacuum hose up to my neck and sucking all the life and happiness right out of me. No surprises thank-you-very-much. Normal is good. Normal is my friend. Of course we won't go into the whole, 'what is normal?' question. No time for those sorts of deep thought and writing.

Speaking of time...freakin' August is over! Sure sign you are aging is when you frequently note the swift passage of days and time. Who knew I'd join that club. Another thing I thought I'd never do. I used to roll my eyes. When I think of all the times my grandmother said, "Just wait. You'll see." it sort of freaks me out. I mean she said it a lot about all sorts of subjects.

Side Note: Emily is tossing her ball herself and then chasing it. She brings it to me drops it and when I reach for it she grabs it and tosses it again and chases it. She is one entertaining little doggy.

Can you see the small blue ball? She's waiting for me to
try to pick it up and then she'll grab and toss it herself.

For now I'm content to keep my head above water with household stuff, work, life in general and still be able to read. It's the little things in life that keep me sane and happy. Or, as GG likes to say, "Geez you're easy!" Of course he's not thinking about my monthly book budget when he says stuff like that.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Good Stuff - Part 2

I'm sort of blissed out right now. The house is clean. The laundry is caught up. Beanie has a car. (I know I said that one yesterday, but it's such a relief it bears repeating.) There's a three-day weekend coming up AND I've actually been doing some reading. Not a lot mind you. Things have still been sort of hectic, but reading is reading people and I'm one happy little camper with the 60 pages I've gotten in the last 24 hours. I've made some purchases the last couple of days. Three books I was happy to bring home.

SERPENT PRINCE by Elizabeth Hoyt. (Excerpt)
This is the book I'm reading now. I'm only about 60 pages in and it's just getting good.

SILVER MASTER by Jayne Castle
. (Excerpt) This is part of her Ghost Hunter series which she writes as Jayne Castle. These are the only Krentz books I'm still buying and reading. I've enjoyed the futurist world Ms. Castle has created and was very happy when I learned there was to be another installment. These books are truly stand alones. While the world is one Ms. Castle has already created, each story has it's own characters and plot.

Dark Possession by Christine Feehan. (Excerpt) Part of me can't believe I bought this let alone paid for it in hardcover. I just keep hoping for just one more good 'dark' book from Ms. Feehan because I'm still enjoying her Ghostwalker series and the Drake sisters series. So there you have it an admission of my addiction.

I've already informed GG that I intend to veg and read, read, read this weekend. I can hardly wait. At one point we had some plans to go see my brother up in San Francisco area because his actual birthday (even though we will be celebrating it in Vegas with Beanie's 21st birthday) is on September 5th. However, we decided to stick close to home and not travel over the holiday weekend.

Who knows? I might even get back to talking about and reviewing books around here. Could happen.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nobody asked me...

but I didn't get ANY reading in last night. Family phone calls about the trip to Las Vegas. No kidding I'm wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea.

I'm off to read now come hell or highwater and blurry eyes at work tomorrow!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

No time...

Here's the highlights of the last 24 hours:

Beanie got a car. 2000 Toyota Echo. Silver. Good price. Good condition. Praise be!

Shmoo has started lap swimming with us. He thinks he might join the Coast Guard.

I did laundry all day and didn't get to read a single page. I'm pouting. A little. This is a short post so I can read tonight. At least I don't have to get up at 4:30 a.m. I get to sleep in until 5:30.

The best news in the last 24? Seven of us are getting together on September 29th to have lunch and meet and talk books. If you live in Southern California and would like to join us, please either leave a comment with your email addy or you can email me at RnG1180@aol.com. I'm pretty excited about this. The group so far is Rowena, Daphne, Holly, Lori, Wendy, Nikki and me.

The rooms for our trip to Vegas went up $70 today and we didn't have them booked yet. So I'm looking for less expensive rooms again. Oy!

Gotta go now.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Can we talk about books?

Books in Winter by Jessie Wilcox Smith

I've been tagged for a book meme by
KristieJ and I decided what the heck I'll give it a whirl. Although I have to confess I did some estimating with my book count because I didn't take them all off the shelves to count. There are just too damn many to move. K? But if I erred it was on the conservative side I didn't round up.

1. Total number of books I own: Just me? Uh, 2302. Guess I don't have to worry about having something to read when I'm old...right?

2. Last book I bought: COMING UNDONE by Susan Andersen

3. Last book I read: AGNES AND THE HITMAN by Bob Mayer and Jennifer Crusie

4. Five books that mean a lot to me: This one is hard. The most I can say is that just for today these are the five books I'd choose. Tomorrow I might choose a different five books.

a. FAREWELL THE STRANGER by Saliee O'Brien. My first romance. A book found in my grandparents basement. I talked all about it here.

b. OVER THE EDGE by Suzanne Brockmann. This is special for a weird reason. In the book terrorists take over a plane. I finished this book the night of September 10, 2001. Just two weeks before we'd seen a repeat on 60 minutes about this guy Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. When 9/11 happened the first thing I said to GG was it was terrorists and I bet it was that Bin Laden guy. The primary love story isn't what resonated with me it was that Suzanne Brockmann had probably written the book a year (or more) earlier and captured the political times of the world we live in and the men and women who fight against terrorism.

c. SHADES OF TWILIGHT by Linda Howard. I just love the characters Roanna Davenport and Webb Tallant. It's about family, betrayal, dynastys. It's one of the few books I own that I've re-read more than once. I could name a couple of other of Howard's books, but I picked this one to represent them all.

d. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte. I remember reading this and thinking that everyone deserves to be loved.

e. EXODUS and MILA 18 by Leon Uris. I mentioned MILA 18 before in a meme because this book was very powerful when I read it. These books were written about Jews after the WWII when they were trying to establish a home and country in Israel (Exodus) and about the Polish Jews resistance in the Warsaw ghetto (MILA 18). The books gave history a human face and made it real to me. I cried my eyes out.

5. Tag 5 people. I hate tagging people. I never know who to pick...but I always like reading what other people write. So if you read this and want to do it...please do. How's that?

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

That was the week that was...

What a week! It all started with some testosterone madness last Sunday. I should have known then that it was going to be a week for the record books because there was so much posturing by the males in the household you'd have thought lives were at stake. It was nothing a woman wouldn't have fixed with a little retail therapy, but the guys in my house, after yelling and cussing, went running, beat their drums,and played their music really, REALLY loud. As Holly says, sometimes boys are dumb.

Of course the rest of the week highlights include car repairs, less sleep than usual, no RESCUE ME on Wednesday night, and very little reading. Ever have one of those weeks when you feel like you're running even in your sleep? It was sort of like that. Of course now that it's Saturday and I can sleep past 4:30 a.m., the time I've had to be up to take GG to his car pool drop off, I awake up at 6:00 a.m. Hope that goes away quick.

Fortunately, things seem to have settled back down. The car is fixed. Thank goodness. Also, the fly wheel (referred to as a "thingy" in my previous post) on the car didn't have to be replaced after all so the bill was $200 less than expected. Yippee skippy doo-dah day! That was some very welcome news.

I love our mechanic. Not that GG has any real competition, but a good mechanic, well they're not easy to come by. Our mechanic is such a good guy. Now some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking how naive I am, but seriously this guy is awesome. He actually tries to fix your car without jacking up the price. Really. I know it's hard to believe there is such a thing as an honest mechanic, but I'm telling you our guy is aces. Since he'd already quoted for the fly wheel (and ordered it too) he could have gone ahead and just replaced it. Instead they were able to clean up and use the existing part and we saved $200. Do you know many mechanics that would do that? Call me crazy, but I'd give up my hair dresser of 20 years before I'd give up our mechanic. I'm just sayin'.

On Thursday we got some more good (and very welcome) news. Beanie got called to interview for a job he's been trying to get since March. If he gets it he will be making twice per hour what he's making now. The interview went well yesterday and they've already set him up for the 3-day training classes pending the results of his drug test. Halleluia! He will be able to add to his car savings more quickly and get wheels again. Beanie having wheels again just can't happen soon enough. Of course, this job is further away and it will be challenging getting him to and from until he has the new car. We're just taking it one day at a time right now and basking in this good news.

Finally I got some decent reading time last night and I'm almost done with AGNES AND THE HITMAN. It's sort of a madcap, screwball comedy with dead bodies. It's funnier than DON'T LOOK DOWN and I think a bit edgier. Don't take that to mean dark and dangerous, I just mean edgier than any other book I've read with Jennifer Crusie's name on it. I've enjoyed it and would recommend it as a light, fluffy and fun read.

Gotta go now. GG made me breakfast and I'm going to go eat and finish up the book before I start my day. Who knows, I might even take a nap at 7 a.m.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Everybody's doing it...

Which Psy-Changeling Hero Is For You?

Your Psy/Changeling Hero: Clay

Intense, silent and beautiful in his masculine grace, Clay Bennett is a leopard who prefers the shadows. For the woman he considers his, he'll move heaven and earth...but first, you'll have to be willing to walk into the shadows to find him.Find out more about Clay and the series at www.nalinisingh.com
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Kudos to Nalini Singh for another great idea to promote her new release CARESSED BY ICE due out September 4th. I've seen this Quiz posted at most of my regular haunts. It's also a testimony to how popular and well liked the first two books have been.

Here's the lowdown for those few of you who might not have already heard about this contest:

What's up for grabs?

A US $50 Amazon voucher. (If you win and live outside the States, I'll swap that for an online book retailer in your country).

What do you have to do to be in to win?

1. Go and do the Which Psy-Changeling Hero Is For You? quiz and paste the result into your blog, livejournal or myspace etc.

2. Leave a comment on this post telling Nalini you've done it and including the web address where it's posted. (If you can't comment for some reason, just email her at nalinisinghwrites @ gmail.com (without the spaces).)

3. Do all this before midnight Sunday 9th September 2007 (P.S.T)

Good night and good luck!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The side of the road...

Yes 102 degrees and I'm on the side of the road with Shmoo waiting for a tow for our Ford Focus. Thank goodness for AAA the wait was a short one. Seems that the car that we put a new battery, new battery cables and new tires on to the tune of $700 just this past Monday needs a new clutch and new clutch thingy that makes the clutch bearing (?) go 'round and 'round. Ooops another $1200. Came close to needing smelling salts I tell you.

For a few brief moments we considered canceling the trip to Las Vegas, but then I remembered that we want to make memories and said what the heck. It's only money. Right? GG is the optimist in this partnership. Me, I'm the worrier. Good thing he has an abundance of optimism to cancel out my worrying. It all balances out pretty well. Balances...just caught that. The balance in our savings account is shrinking as we speak. But GG says...don't worry. So I won't. Really. I won't.

Thank goodness I have my copy of AGNES AND THE HITMAN. I'm counting on Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer to hand over some comedic relief.

But just in case, I always have this for a fall back plan...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'll take 'Quotable Quotes' for $100 Alex...

Abraham Lincoln said:

"You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time."

Only I'm going to replace the word 'deceive' with 'please'. So my version goes like this:

You may please all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.

Why you might ask? Well, I need to keep reminding myself that I just can't please every one. Since I'm the eldest in my family I frequently plan family gatherings or events. The most recent one is a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate two people turning 40 in September, one turning 30 in September, one turning 21 in October and one turning 50 in November. Lots of milestone birthdays to celebrate in a short time period.

The 21-year old is none other than my little Beanie Boy. So he's bringing his girlfriend and Shmoo is bringing his girlfriend and I'm paying for two rooms. Which is significant not all to what I'm talking about but is on my mind a great deal as I budget for the Great American Birthday trip to Las Vegas. So on with the show and all that...

To give you an idea of the size of this crowd I call a family, here's a picture of us at my 50th birthday.
That's a little more than half of us. We've had two marriages, one engagement, and 3 move-ins and 6 babies born since then. As a matter of fact, one of my nephew's is expecting his first baby that weekend and won't be able to attend even though his brother is the one turning 30. Our current head count which includes my Dad, siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, their spouses and the great nieces and nephews totals 59 people.

(Click picture to see enlarged)

Anyway, 26 of us are going to be in Las Vegas to celebrate all the birthdays with yours truly doing the coordinating. All I can say is that it's a good thing I like lists. As you can imagine it's a nightmare trying to find rooms in one place that meet the criteria of the wide range in age and family needs, but I finally got a list of choices made up and sent out to everyone today.

Now I'm working on finding the right show and place to eat dinner when we go in early November. I'm leaning toward the Cirque du Soleil BEATLES:LOVE show which is at the Mirage. Has anybody out there seen it? We thought it would appeal to the broad spectrum of people attending from age 17 (Shmoo) to 76 (my Dad).

What about places to eat? Anybody know a place that's just to die for? My brother is all hotsy totsy to try the TAO Restaurant at the Venetian. It's Chinese and is just like the famous TAO restaurant in NYC.

This is a once in a life time sort of trip GG and I want to do for Beanie and it's great there will be other family members there with something to celebrate as well. We should all have lots of fun. Any help and suggestions are VERY welcome.

Trust me you'll be hearing more on this.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday, Monday

"Monday morning you gave me no warning of what was to be..."

Cindy, package is in the mail.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Without Further Ado...

Can I do anything without a bit of melodrama? No! So I had 26 pieces of paper with names on them. Names of all the lovely people who commented on my blog this week. I put a slip of paper with your name (and number) for each time you commented. For some reason the latent bean counter in me did this. More weird stuff I wonder about...which one of my entries won? See? I told you it was weird.

So here's the process chiquitas. I used sticky notes, most notably the Susan Mallery sticky notes that I think got accidentally put in my book bag last week at Toni's place. Anyway, I wrote the names and as noted previously...there were 26, there could have been 28 but Wendy opted out, but I digress.

I had to find a container to do drawing from. What? You thought I'd put them in a pile on the table? A-Ha! Former plant holder now magazine/book holder of yoga stuff...

No time to be tidy. Got get on with the drawing. I'll get those books picked up later. Okey dokey, got all the entries loaded.

Babe, please draw for me? What do you mean you don't know what I'm talking about? My book drawing? Right now. No, I'm ready. Because I'm using the can for the yoga books for the drawing...I'll pick them up later.

Do you really need to know what GG was saying? Yeah, I didn't think so. BUT he did draw the winner for me.



That '(1)' just means that's the slip of paper I made from your first comment. The good news is you don't have bad karma due to your nefarious plots against scrunky anti-shed neighbor. How do I know? Because you just won a signed copy of PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT by Sylvia Day along with a book poster and a cute red nylon book bag! So send me your snail mail addy and I'll get your package out to you this week.

As first drawings go I thought it went pretty well, don't you?

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Friday, August 17, 2007

All I wanna do is

...read. Today I read a grand total of 10 pages. Ten. Ten pages. If you want to get technical about it I re-read five pages to get back into the story and was able to read five more in the waiting room of my eye doctor. Can you believe it? All those appointments with Shmoo over the last six months and we waited a half hour or more. So what happens today? They call me to get my eyes dilated right away. I was ready to read damn it!

Tonight I had to go to a Board meeting of our fire district and be introduced as a new employee. So work, doctor appointment, dinner and Board meeting. Note there is no time for reading. Of course, I guess I could have skipped my blog hopping and writing this post and that would have given me some reading time. At least that's what GG reminded me when I was wanking about it earlier. It goes without saying (doesn't it?) that as things go to complain about lack of reading time is a pretty luxurious one. So time to shut up about it. Besides tomorrow is Friday and then we have the glorious weekend.

Now I better drag my tired butt to bed.

Oh, one final observation of the day. So I confess online, and you can't get much more public than that, that I've been reading two books at once. You can guess what happened right? I'm no longer interested in the other book because I'm getting impatient to read the Brockmann book. I can't remember her last release that I didn't read in a day. So, for now, I've set aside the other book I was reading and am concentrating only on FORCE OF NATURE.

Now I really got to go to bed because my eyes aren't dilated any more but everything looks blurry. That's got to be fatigue and NOT my age. :) My rheumatologist told me that a healthy 50-year old woman (that's me) can now expect to reach the age of 90 if she does two things: stays on top of preventative medicine that is available AND exercises. Yippee! Works for me. I need to keep exercising for flexibility or I'll turn into the Tin Man anyway. By my game of LIFE calculations that's double bonus points for me. I get flexibility and longevity just by exercising. Besides, who needs to be creaky and stiff? Anybody got an oil can?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kwik Stop

This is the Kwik Stop post of the week. Remember how I keep saying things should get back to normal next week? Yeah, well I think that's just wishful thinking. Until we get Beanie a car I think my life will be a little bit crazy without much down time.

I'm reading Brockmann's new book. So far, at page 35, we're off to a good start. At least she has me interested. Always a plus. I was thinking about KarenS today. Last year sometime she had a post asking readers if they read more than one book at a time. At the time I posted I was strictly a one book at a time reader. This summer I've found myself reading two books at time. I have one book I'm reading at home at night and one I take to work for breaks or when I'm waiting to pick up one of the boys. What's that all about Alfie? A new reading habit after all these years?

Went to the rheumatologist today. Love those visits. Hey I'm doing fine no major changes or anything. I told him I'm still adjusting to the fact I have arthritis in the first place. You know sometimes I have stuff I want to do and my body just says "No!" It's freaky like I have no internal say so. I don't like it much, but I'm adjusting.

Beanie's girlfriend's Mom (got that one?) had a baby yesterday. A little boy. Cutie too. They named him Dayton Tuff. That's his first and middle name. Dayton is also Dad's middle name. Tuff? Well, Dad liked it. Interesting family. Beanie did lots of eye rolling. Apparently little Dayton likes Beanie better than he likes his big sister. Shmoo says "everybody loves Beanie" you know like EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND? Maybe you had to be there, anyway, we got a good chuckle out of it.

Summer is dwindling down and we are still cooking here in SoCal. It was 105 today and just enough humidity to make it interesting to take a deep breath outside. Wow! Am I REALLY talking about the weather? Say good night Gracie.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Day Late...

...and a dollar short. I had hoped to do this post last night but I had the worst mother of a migraine headache yesterday. Probably the worst I've had in about three years. I don't know if it's the recent posts by Holly and Jenster about their headaches or just what, but Lord-a-mercy the headache I had yesterday made me sick as a dog. I'm much better now, but also a bit exhausted. So, I'm off to bed as soon as I get this posted.

Here's the latest list of books to be added to my TBR. BTW, today I bought FORCE OF NATURE by Suzanne Brockmann. It was 40% off at Barnes and Noble if you have a membership. I had an additional 15% off coupon so I walked out with the book for just $14.47. That's cheaper than most trade sized paperbacks. If anyone needs the 15% off coupon just click here. You have to be a B&N member to use it, but it's good until August 19th, so have at it.

Books I bought Saturday from the wonderful Toni's New and Recycled Romances:

1. SECRETS - Volume 9. I confess I bought this one new. Even though it's my first volume of SECRETS and even though Rosario gave a recent less than stellar review of Volume 4. I confess I couldn't resist with two of the four authors being familiar to me. This one contains stories by Bonnie Hamre, Kimberly Dean, Lisa Marie Rice and Kathryn Anne Dubois.

2. FORGET ME NOT - Marliss Melton. I've got two of her books now because I heard good things about her. I haven't read either one yet.

3. Sil Sp Ed #1732 HIS COMFORT & JOY by Jessica Bird

4. Sil Sp Ed #1750 FROM THE FIRST by Jessica Bird

5. HEART OF GOLD by Jessica Bird. What can I say? I read one SSE and decided I need to read more of Jessica Bird aka JR Ward. Apparently I'm the very last romance reader on the planet to know these are the same person.

6. GOSSAMER by Rebecca Hagan Lee. Rec from SL Wendy

7. MIDNIGHT RAIN by Holly Lisle. Rec from SL Wendy. Don't worry Wendy, I've heard good things about both these authors and they are both new to me, so new is good. Wendy, bless her, thinks she influences me to the dark side by recommending books that I snatch up and buy. Heh, heh, like I ever need help buying books. I'm just grateful for the recs.

8. CODE OF HONOR by Catherine Mann. Actually her category romances were recommended to me by Lori at Let's Gab. I didn't find any of those at Toni's place but this sounded interesting so I scooped it up.

9. EMBRACED BY DARKNESS by Keri Arthur. I just keep buying the books in this series. I haven't started reading it yet. Although I must admit I like when I have four books in a series to start with then the next one doesn't seem so far away by the time I get them read AND I can read them all in a row.

Next are the pictures of my TBR which is now stored in rubbermaid tubs. There are only about 3-4 books on my bedside stand and I now can live TBR anxiety free. Take a look at the
new tubs o' TBR.

Top two tubs most likely to be broken into. Already these are both full.

What else would be next? Although the Regency tub is a broad term for really all British historicals whatever the time period.

Last but certainly not least are all other Historicals.

Here they are all five of them in their glory messing up what once was a nicely organized office.

This is my now messy office. See all the scrapbooking stuff that has been out since my project since last Christmas? I'm still working on the last two heritage scrapbooks for my two sons. Since Shmoo is graduating next June I need to get his scrapbook done.

The scrapbooking table that never ends. Note the neat piles of even more scrapbooking paper under the table. Does it look like there's much room between this table and the TBR tubs? There isn't!

Don't forget when you comment your name will be added to the drawing for the Sylvia Day book, book bag and poster.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Tea in the OC

New and Recycled Romances in Costa Mesa is one of my favorite used books stores ever. While it sells all manner of books it is very romance reader friendly. When my brother worked down in Newport Beach we worked together on a series of short stories for over a year. We had delusions of getting published but the project ended up being a labor of love more than anything else. Someday I'll talk about that and maybe even link to one of the stories.

Anyway, I never visit any place for very long without looking for a good used book store. You just never know what treasures you are going to find. I've had a list of books I'm looking for in my purse for the past 20 years. Unreal.

So I guess it's been about 18 years since I first walked into Toni's store. A friend gave her 700 books to start the store and Toni was off to the races. For many years I'd stop in about once a month or so when I was in the area. In the 90's Toni started having her author teas. So much fun. But then GG had pacemaker surgery, Mom got sick, my brother got sick and my trips to the used book store in Costa Mesa just disappeared.

I was delighted to get my invite to a tea commemorating her 20 years of business. I realized that she's been in business the length of Beanie's life. Wow! I immediately emailed Wendy and asked her if she'd like to meet at the tea. As it happens, in conversation when we first met and were discussing UBS that rock Toni's store came up in conversation for both of us. Freaky fun coincidence, isn't it? Anyway, I was glad when Wendy was up for going too.

The authors present were Meryl Sawyer, Mary Castillo, Brenda Novak, Cheryl Holt, Sylvia Day, Sarah McKerrigan, and Lauren Royal.

Besides Meryl Sawyer and Cheryl Holt I have to admit I haven't read these particular author's books. Meryl Sawyer's MIDNIGHT IN MARRAKESH is on my keeper shelf. I haven't read any of her suspense recently, but I have lots of fond memories of MIM.
If you've read this blog for any length of time you know I've read Cheryl Holt. She's a guilty pleasure (yes, I have lots of those) but I have a sort of love/hate relationship with her books. Some of them I love and some of them I...well you get the drift. There just doesn't seem to be an in-between for me. Cheryl has a new book coming out in September that, knowing myself as I do, will be buying.

I bought Sylvia Day's book PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT to read in anticipation of the tea, but alas I didn't get it read before going. Bummer. BUT, I did buy another copy while I was there and I will be giving away a signed copy of the book. Due to Ms. Day's sweetness and generosity the book giveaway includes a shiny RED Sylvia Day book bag and poster.

Look. See? Yeah, it's kind of blurry, but you get the idea, right?

Here's the lovely Ms. Day...

What do you have to do to win? Nothing. I'll just put everyone who comments on my blog this week into a hat and have one of the child units draw a name on Saturday August 18th and I'll post the winner on Sunday. The more you post the more chances you have to win. Yes, even you dear ones in Canada may enter. What's the cost of postage among blogging buddies?

Here's a few more photos. Our dear Super Librarian has a friend who loves all things Fabio. So we snagged this pillow off of one of Toni's chairs and took a picture for Wendy to send on. That Fabio...he's everywhere, isn't he?

I think everyone had an enjoyable time. Toni and her staff are so enthusiastic and fun and it's contagious. Everyone seemed pretty happy with the results.

More photos.

L to R: Meryl Sawyer, Mary Castillo, Brenda Novak's absolutely gorgeous daughter, Brenda Novak and Cheryl Holt

A look at the ladies under the tent. To the left that gentleman is Toni's husband Don who took photos and helped with the goody give away.

The lovely lady in the hat is Toni. She's standing between Cheryl Holt (L) and Lauren Royal who's blocked *sigh* by the tent poles.

Of course Wendy and I talked our heads off and were giving recs...but only to people who asked us. :) Yes I left with a bag of books. This post has gotten so long I'll post about the lastest stash and show you my newly organized TBR loaded into five rubbermaid tubs.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weren't You Wondering?

C'mon I know you were. So here it is. My high speed internet service has been on for over 24 hours without interruption. Still with me? Yeah, I can hardly stand the excitement either. So here at Casa Nobody Asked me..., each of us has been able to log on, conduct our business and log off. It's like a new lease on life. I'm telling you, we are some very happy campers here. We hardly know what to do with ourselves.

Now I just gotta wonder if that's a good thing or not. I'm talking about this high octane joy over internet service. Time to ponder again. *sigh* A thinking woman's job is never done.

I went to the tea in Costa Mesa at New and Used Recycled Romances and Other Books yesterday. I'll tell you more about that and post some pictures tomorrow or later tonight. It was a very enjoyable afternoon. You'll be shocked and surprised to know I bought books.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

And another thing...

So the infamous Charter Communications and I had a sort of Waterloo yesterday afternoon. I got my bill without any adjustment for the intermittent internet service. Yep, that was a real shocker. Not. After four phone calls and two supervisors they agreed to credit one month's internet service off my bill. Thanks be. Finally.

The interesting part came when I asked how long this so called problem was going to continue. To which this nice gentleman, I'm calling him nice because he approved the credit, told me there was no intermittent service problem in my area. What? Crikeys! Didn't the guy listen to me for the last ten minutes while I ranted and demanded the credit adjustment he just made to my bill?

So the whole circus started again about the reason I wanted the credit in the first place. Finally somewhere during the two hours I was on the phone with Charter it was determined they needed to send someone out to my house to check and see what was going on. BTW, you didn't read that wrong...TWO HOURS I was on the phone with these people resolving one issue or another.

Amazingly, since I was threatening to request refunds and credits till the cows came home or my service was fixed, a work order was placed and we actually had two technicians out here live and in person last night.

As a result I got a new modem box, new wiring put in and a connection into the box into the house replaced that was loose. Wonder of wonders all the numbers (in and out...who knows what they mean) are now within normal range and I am once again moving around the internet without waiting 30 to 45 seconds for a page to load. Or not having any service at all. Anyway things seem to be working with the click of a mouse. You know, like it's supposed to.

You may wonder why I put up with all this and just didn't change servers. Well, as it turns out most of the servers in my area are in a growth period and there's a waiting list to get high speed internet service. Witness my neighbor who cancelled service in a nearby community and moved into the house across the street. No high speed internet. They are using dial up . They can't get service here from anybody...no room they say. Who knew? Not me. I only called one provider to check and it turns out they are laying cable as we speak, which does me no good today.

After talking about all the good stuff in my life yesterday I do feel a twinge for wanking and yammering on about the no good very bad internet company. So, here's some good stuff. Besides having a smoother ride on ye olde cyber highway I also got a great cost reduction on my TV cable for the next 12 months. So if the internet stays on...not that I'm a skeptic or anything...but if it stays on, then the two hours of my life I lost with CC are almost worth it. Almost.


Friday, August 10, 2007

The Good Stuff

GG and I have a little routine we go through when one of us has the blues...okay usually me...it goes something like this.

Me: Tell me the good stuff.

GG: Well, the good stuff today is I love you.

Me: (A little zip of adrenalin in my voice) And...

GG: (Patient and smiling)Aaaaaand, we are always going to be happy.

Me: (nodding in agreement)Aaand...

GG: Does there have to be an 'and'?

Me: (Probably leaning against GG now) Today there does.

Then GG will proceed to tell me how we can figure things out together and that he knows we were meant to be together and...well it's just really nice and we've had this little routine since forever in our almost 27 years of marriage. The good stuff.

I told you all that because I was thinking today about how busy I've been and also how completely irked I've been with my internet provider. Even so, I realized that I have lots of good stuff going on in my life. For instance...

Even though I ended up with the part time job and not the full time job, I KNOW I have the better and more fun job.

I've read three books in a row that I really liked and enjoyed and they are all pretty different. (For those who want to know they are TIED TO THE TRACKS, DANGEROUS LOVER and A REASON TO BELIEVE)

My favorite bookstore in Orange County that I haven't been to in literally years is having a tea this Saturday. Unbelievably I'm still on their mailing list and I received an invite to the tea. Several authors are going to be there and you better believe I am too! My favorite librarian (the cape wearing kind) is going to the tea as well...so this qualifies as good stuff AND fun stuff.

My Mom's birthday made me smile this year instead of cry and that is definitely good stuff.

Shmoo is in school and has realized how fabs it is to be a Senior. I was worried about his complete indifference to this. It seemed just not right. However, the first day of school changed all that. Oh, and he and the GF have patched things up. That's good stuff, because who needs a moping teenager?

Beanie got all the classes he wanted (days, times, profs) for this next semester. That is REALLY good stuff.

All the other not-so-good stuff loses some of its bite when I can think about the really good things going on in my life. So how about you? What's the good stuff in your life today?

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

75 years ago…

...in a place far far away my Mom was born. Today would have been her 75th birthday.I keep thinking each year that goes by since her death in 2004 that certain dates will become less significant this year. Why I believe this I have no idea. In the three years since her death, her birthday, Mother’s Day, and the date of her death still jump out at me on the calendar.

One significant factor has changed for sure. The dates roll by with more joy than sorrow now. In fact yesterday I was thinking about how many times we schemed to surprise Mom with some gift or party on her special occasions. We were always trying to be different and imaginative because when a woman has nine children you figure she’s entitled to some extra TLC on her special days.

On her 60th birthday my Dad set up a doctor’s appointment for himself that he claimed he needed her to go along so she could drive him home. Since the appointment was out of town and on her birthday he told her he was taking her to a special place for lunch. In the mean time, while they were gone all of us kids and our spouses descended on their house. We put tiny white lights in the trees in the backyard, put up a big white tent, set up tables and chairs, put up a DJ station and a portable dance floor.

My Mom loved swing music, so we transformed the backyard into the BLUE MOON BALL ROOM. As a final touch we all dressed up in formal attire. When my parents arrived back at the house in the late afternoon we surprised my Mom.

A little tangent here, my mother played the piano. She used to play while we would be doing the dishes in the evenings after dinner. While she played and we did dishes she would call out for us to sing. Yes, I know it’s corny, but we learned a lot of old standards by standing around the piano while my Mom played and we sang some of her favorite songs. Mom either opened with BLUE MOON or she would finish with it. I’ve known the words to that song for forever.

Back to the story...my Mother thought her birthday surprise was seeing us all dressed up because the first thing we did once she was in the house was line up together and serenade her with BLUE MOON. We are hardly the Osmond family, but my Mom liked it well enough. One of her sisters who came all the way from Montana was there and hadn’t heard us all sing together before. Auntie was surprised too and also impressed that we all knew the song. It was so much fun to surprise Mom and make her so happy. While no one would be offering us any record deals anytime soon, we made our Mother happy. Mission accomplished.

Of course thinking all the kids being home, dressed up and singing was her present, Mom almost had a melt down when we showed her the back yard. When we explained there were about 100 people coming over in an hour or so she actually did freak out a little bit. She really wasn’t that worried that people were coming over. Hell no! She was worried about what she was going to wear! No worries though. My sisters and I had it covered. We went to work and did her hair, make-up and nails. She had three newly dry cleaned formal gowns to choose from to wear. We had her all dressed up and ready to go in time for she and Dad could greet the guests.

Add some champagne, moonlight, music, lights and a friend who caters and… Voila! It’s a night we still talk about and will always remember. Fortunately we have most of the party on video. In fact right after Mom died us kids watched the video together and it was so much fun to see my Mom and Dad dancing together and having a great time.

And that’s what I’m remembering today…the good times. She was really something special. This is for you Mom. Happy Birthday!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Let me eat cake, or what I've been doing lately.

Thanks for all the tips on how to indulge myself with some chocolate cake. You all are genuises and I'm keeping all your suggestions like recipes to take out and use in dire circumstances.

Perhaps like the one tonight where Shmoo is moping around the house because he and the GF are not getting along. There were slammed doors after school and angry AIM messages this evening. Seeing my usually witty, contrary and smart ass son dragging his chin around the house was enough to send me for chocolate cake. I had to do something to console myself so GG improvised and presented me with a Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream cone. I'm ashamed to say...IT WORKED!!!! I did feel better after the ice cream. Shmoo however...not so much.

The internet has been working better, but now I'm competing for time with my boys who have school work. I'm still looking for another provider. So far having problems finding "room" for us. Aaargh! Anyway, seeing as how during the day I'm at work it cuts into my computer time somewhat. Now that I get up at 5:30 a.m. I don't even have the early mornings to log on and keep up. I'm doing my best to make the rounds so bear with me.

I have been reading. Hip-hip-hooray!! I've finished TIED TO THE TRACKS by Rosina Lippi...good book. I just finished Lisa Marie Rice's DANGEROUS LOVER which I also liked. DL probably should have had more depth to the story but it stayed so focused on the H/H and it's pretty steamy, which I was in the mood for, so it worked for me. But I was really stoked to get REASON TO BELIEVE by Maureen McKade today. I'm already more than half way through it and really digging it. You just can't argue with a good western and Ms. McKade is just stellar in writing such fully drawn characters.

It's still hot and humid. I guess summer weather has been kicking some booty around the U.S. this year. So hey...stay cool out there.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Do I get cake?

I can hardly believe it. As of today I've had this home away from home for two years. What I find interesting and ironic is that this is post 365. You know what that means, right? I have enough posts to read one a day for a year. I can't believe I've written that many posts even over a two year period. That equates to one every other day. Who knew?

When I started this I was hoping I'd be able to post something at least once a week. I wondered if I'd lose interest. I wondered if this would end up being a passing phase or if it might become a passion. Mostly I wondered what I would be writing about. I had no idea back then about all the possibilities and subjects I'd be sharing and discussing out here in the cyber world. I didn't know how many wonderful and dear people I'd meet online and in person. I had no idea how many new authors and books I would discover. It's been wonderful, fun and fulfilling. It continues to be a growing and learning experience and an incredible place to play and ponder.

I am most grateful that I can indulge myself out here in the blogosphere and still have a real life. Which, in a nutshell, is the beauty of online connections isn't it? You can work on your own clock and around your own schedule. Isn't that the coolest?

So, all in all I'm in a celebratory mood. Isn't cake a prerequisite for a celebration? Don't most birthday parties include cake? My blog is TWO and I think it calls for some cake. A big yummy piece of chocolate cake. Of course, if I'm to have any damn cake I'll have to bake it myself. Which if you've visited NOBODY ASKED ME... recently you know that I'm doing my level best to keep the oven O-F-F because it is so darn hot outside. So the whole cake thing? Not looking so good. Bummer. I could really use a piece of chocolate cake.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Just Keep Swimming...

As I've mentioned many times before, often when left to my own devices, I'm likely to find myself daydreaming and thinking. God only knows what I'll be mulling over on any given day, but trust me, I always find some odd or obscure train of thought to replay over and over again like an old record. My most recent place to ponder is while I'm swimming laps on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Up and down the pool I go. Up 50 meters. Back 50 meters. Sometimes, like this past Wednesday, I do 26 lengths of the pool. That's a lot of thinking time people. Up 13 times and back 13 times.

By the way, apropos of nothing except this tangent I have us on, while I truly enjoy yoga, far and away my favorite exercise is swimming. If I ever win the lottery, you know the California lottery that I almost NEVER play, that lottery. Any how, IF I ever win the lottery one of the first things I would do with the money is build an absolutely killer swimming pool with a couple of lap lanes. The essential and absolutely crucial 50-meter lap lanes would have to somehow be worked into the environmentally friendly and really nifty keen pool design. That's the plan anyway. A swimming pool to end all swimming pools. Someday. Maybe. If I ever buy a lottery ticket.

Anyway, pool design isn't what I was stewing over when I was swimming. Like I said I think about all kinds of things. Sometimes I think about stuff I have to do. Sometimes I think about how well I just swam a particular lap. Sometimes I even think about stuff to write about here. All the while there's a soothing rhythm to it. Stroke, stroke, breath...stroke, stroke, breath...you get the idea. I love it I really do.

Then the other night before I fell asleep, I got to thinking about the rhythm of swimming. The strokes. The breaths. The pull and rush of moving through the water. This in turn made me think of all the stuff going on in my real life. Not necessarily bad stuff, just a great volume of things that have to be done in a short period of time. Huh. What to do... What to do...

Then I smiled to myself. You were expecting an epiphany maybe? Nah, I just remembered a real good piece of advice. It's pretty darn good advice, even if it's coming from a blue fish with Ellen DeGeneres' voice. Good advice is good advice. Who cares where it comes from.

Just keep swimming...swimming, swimming...just keep swimming... Now that's something to think about.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

This...That...and the Other...

I'm just dropping in to catch up with everyone. I'm still having internet problems and still looking for a new provider. *insert shrieking shrew* I haven't had time to return calls and schedule anything with possible new providers because it's been one of those extra busy weeks. What with everybody working, fewer cars and more
shuttling around town things have been hectic.

So Beanie's without a car. The insurance company decided his car is a total loss. *groan* I doubt the settlement will be enough to get what I would consider a decent and safe car. Beanie saved and bought this last one all on his own. He'll be doing that again but will probably save for a few months to add to the insurance kitty before making another used car purchase. Four people, four divergent schedules and two cars. Should be interesting around here the next couple of months. I'm praying there's no blood shed.

My father-in-law and his wife will be here for the weekend. They are absolutely delightful and we are anxious to see them. Keeping the house clean and the laundry caught up AND trying to decide what to feed them when it's so dang hot outside is another story. If anyone has a relatively easy meal for hot weather that requires little to no actual cooking, please post it or email me the recipe. The last thing I want to do when it's 102 degrees out is turn on the stove or oven.

Between work, helping Beanie with his insurance stuff (being his first accident and all), preparing for this visit and the *expletive deleted* internet problems it's been a bit of a busy week. It also means I haven't had much time to make the rounds or comment. I'm doing my best to keep up with most of your posts, but I'll have to hold off on commenting until things slow down around here.

I'm reading TIED TO THE TRACKS by Rosina Lippi and enjoying it very much. I remember vaguely someone mentioning the book before, but it was Marg's review and link to the excerpt that sold me. Thanks Marg! I didn't catch it the first time through but your follow up in June finally clicked. Seeing as how I'm so darn tired, I haven't had that much time for reading either. But I'm looking forward to things slowing down and returning to a somewhat normal routine next week. I only read 15 books in July. I read 20 in June. As each month in 2007 passes I seem to be buying more books and reading less. A bit out of kilter for me. Although I'm thinking the slow down is just the nature of my life right now so I'm going with it as the reason. It's a lot less stress that way and has the added plus of being something I don't have to worry about.

My friend Steadman lives in Minnesota. When I saw the news yesterday about the bridge I sent off an email to her. Fortunately she and all her family are all fine. Her son and daughter, who both live on their own, travel across that bridge daily. Her daughter made some other plans yesterday or she would have been in the rush hour traffic on her way home with all the other drivers on that bridge. This has been much on my mind. I love the water. I love swimming in it. However, I would not like being trapped in my car under water. I wonder if I could keep my head and be able to get out. There was one gentleman interviewed who said most people panic. He demonstrated for the newscaster what one should do in that circumstance and used an acronym, POGO. Which is basically Pop the window; roll it down if you can, if you can't roll it, break it out; Out of the car; and GO, which is swim away. Could you do it? Could you keep a cool head as you car fills with water?

While making my rounds I found this important link on Giselle's blog today. Take a second and go check it out. It's worth your time, effort and energy. It's about you, me, our sisters, our mothers, our friends. It's about people we know and love like our own fabulous Jenster.

Well, I'm dead tired. I'd better get this posted and drag myself off to bed. I will probably be scarce over the weekend since we'll be busy with our guests. Take it easy out there and stay cool. I leave you with this because it just ain't summer without a trip to the beach!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I'm not one for bugging my favorite authors to write faster. I know they probably get enough pressure from agents, publicists and the publisher(s) of their books without me sticking my oar in. But sometimes I can't help myself. I have to admit I've given one of my favorites, Sarah McCarty a nudge or two over the last year.

In my defense it's been a pretty long wait this time. A LITTLE BIT OF SASS was released in December
2005. Up to that point I'd been used to getting a new book from Ms. McCarty about every six months. So, I admit I started to get anxious for a new book about a year ago. I got what I call McCarty Madness waiting for a new book. Antsy anxious anticipation.

Happily, Sarah has lots of great stuff going on with her writing now and we will be getting lots of her books over the next 18 months. All good news to be sure, but until recently I thought I would be waiting until at least November for the any of the new books to start rolling out.

Can you imagine how happy I was when Sarah announced recently there would be a Spice Brief released in August 2007? Well let's just say VERY happy. The kind of happy that included lots of dancing and twirling. Yes, I do twirl when the occasion calls for it. Anyway, her fans will be treated to a little something to tide us over
until CAINE'S RECKONING, her first full Harlequin Spice is released in November.

So if you are as anxious as I was to get a new Sarah McCarty book, race over here at eHarlequin and get your copy. The Spice Brief titled LETTING GO is on sale for an unbelievable $.89!

I already bought mine. I can't wait to read it. Thanks Sarah. Now I'm starting the new clock for November and CAINE'S RECKONING.

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