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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: Parting Gifts by Lorraine Heath

PARTING GIFTS by Lorraine Heath
A Diamond Homespun Romance - Diamond Books
December 1994

I have no clue whatsoever what made me pick up this book. I was standing in the office in front of my bookshelves, it caught my eye and I thought to myself, "I think I'll read that for Nath's Re-read Challenge this month". Just think what might happen if I actually stop to think about what I'm doing before I grab a book?

This one is set in Texas in 1881. The book opens with Maddie knocking on the back door of the town brothel, desperate, hungry, barefoot. She's sold everything she can to eat and survive, tried to find respectable work, but finding herself alone and unprotected decides there's nothing for it but the whorehouse to survive.

Once the half-decent Madam finds out that Maddie is a virgin she decides more money can be made by auctioning Maddie off for her first time.

Charles is in town to buy cattle. He and his brother run an inn and stagecoach stop. The railroad is taking more and more of their business away and Charles' brother Jesse has been saving money for them to buy cattle as an alternative way to earn a living as the inn business plays out. It's also to realize their father's dream of having a cattle ranch in Texas.

While Jesse stays behind at the inn, Charles travels to town and uses the cattle money to bid on Maddie. Once he has Maddie in the room he proposes to her. Charles is widower with two small children. Going on gut instinct, Charles believes Maddie is tonic he and his family need.

It is actually at this point the story begins as Charles returns to the inn without the cattle, without the money and with Maddie in tow as his wife.

The title is a play on words of gifts Charles seeks to bestow on the people he loves best. He always brings a gift home to his children and as the story begins his gift is Maddie.

This description only scratches the surface of this story. There's twists and turns, many of which you can see coming, but they are handled deftly and in a realistic way in Ms. Heath's hands.

While I still liked this story very much, it didn't pack quite the punch it did the first time I read it. Still, it's a good book, and though it doesn't have much of the steam we've come to expect as a matter of course in our romances these days, it certainly doesn't lack for its breathless and meaningful moments.

Well done and an enjoyable read.

My Grade = B

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a weekend!

Finished LORD OF SIN by Madeline Hunter. I'll be digging in ye olde tbr for the others in the series. It really hit the spot...

Not as much as this one though.

What a wonderful surprise to find at my favorite Borders store on Saturday! Quite by accident, I might add. I read it in one sitting Saturday night. Four and a half hours of bliss. I don't know what to say beyond...GOOD BOOK and wonderful addition to the contemporary series Ms. Kleypas is writing about the Travis family.

Another surprise at Borders was finding Jodi Thomas' new contemporary REWRITING MONDAY as well. I actually had one of the booksellers ask me, "Why Jodi Thomas? Why that book?"

More to feel good about this weekend? Beanie called to say that he'll be home a couple of days of his Spring Break mid-week. Shmoo's GF came home from her cruise and we got caught with her and had lunch with she and Shmoo on Saturday.

Spring flower planting is all done too. Merry little flowers of purple, white, red, and yellow are dancing in the breeze in my front yard.

A busy week is ahead and I have to finish my online traffic school too.

Spring is here and I'm feeling good.

Oh, Steadman, it was divine talking to you Friday night.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hello Lampost...

I'm so happy! I've been dragging three different books around all week. I had an appointment for a mani/pedi last night and this is what I cracked open. 100 pages in and all is going well.

What I'm not going to do? Be on the computer tonight. I'm going to read this weekend.


One more thing...

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement yesterday. I really needed the pick me up, or the slap up the side of the head as it were. You all had great bits of advice that I sorely needed to hear read again and be reminded that it's a process and a lifelong commitment to living healthy.

So I'm feeling much better, in fact I'm feelin' grooooveeeey. Ba-da-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-da...feelin' grooooooveeeey...

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

After these messages...

...we will return to our regularly scheduled programming. Who knows I might be reading by then. One lives and hopes.

I want to lose 20 more pounds before going to RWA. I'm stuck. Not losing. Not gaining. I'm also not motivated. What I don't get, which is why I'm writing about it, is why my desire still exists if I can't get motivated. It seems so pointless, and, frankly, is frustrating me enormously.

Do you think about why you eat?

I've been wondering about this lately.

Honest to God, there are lengthy periods of time when eating healthy and "being good" are so second nature that I can't imagine I will ever go back to poor eating. That certainly was the case last year.

Since the very beginning of 2009 I've been obsessing about food, sweets in particular. I'm craving candy I haven't thought about in years. What. Is. Up. With. That?

While I have gained some of the weight I lost last year, a few exasperating pounds, I'm holding my own, barely.

What I'm wondering is whether any of you have anything you tell yourself when you find yourself thinking about food. For instance, one of the things I try to say to myself, that only works sometimes, is "Why is it so important you eat that right now? Can you wait? How about tomorrow? Do you want to eat that more than you want to lose x-number of pounds or fit into x-outfit?" Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Hence my new found relationship with Mr. Goodbar. *A-hem*

Do I sound the teeny tiniest bit desperate? Cuz I am. If you have any strategies or tips, please share. I'm floundering.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apples & Oranges

There is always a running list in my head of what I am doing-thinking-saying and what I really want to be doing-thinking-saying.

Because I can't shut up or stop thinking about it. Er...my brain can't shut up or stop thinking about it.

1. While making my bed, I now think about all the people I know who DON'T make their bed. I obsess about why I still do and then wonder if all this wondering makes it a mental health issue?

2. While folding clothes and listening to Shmoo rhapsodize about all things Edward and Bella (I may have mentioned he's hooked on the Twilight series) I am actually wondering if he will remember this when I have Alzheimer's and come and visit and talk to me then.

3. I love blogging but while doing it realize that I rarely watch TV and that it eats drastically into my reading time...the blogging does.

4. While swimming up and down the length of the pool I wonder if being more fit is worth the time I lose in the evenings and on weekends. Of course I've added wondering how I'm going to fit weight training in now too.

For no apparent reason at any given time I'm wondering how women do it all. There is no way when my kids were in grade school that I could spend the time I do now on the computer. Just no way.

Everything has a season I guess.

So why am I sitting here typing and wondering about this stuff instead of going in my room and reading?

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Booklover Lament

Too many books... Too little time. I rarely suffer from reading slumps. Yes, I can go through phases where I pick up and put down several books, but inevitably there's always something in my tbr or the bookstore that I want to read.

Lately my problem is like that of a binge eater being sat down in front of all their favorite foods and not knowing where to start. I feel overwhelmed with choices. Anyone who's ordered a meal with me knows I get a little nutty with too many choices.

I'm going a little crazy trying to decide what to read next. Maybe I need to assign myself homework reads. Something I 'have' to read for someone or some assignment. *heavy sigh* I have to admit I've tried that. It makes me cranky.

What about the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs? I have the first three in paperback in my tbr and won BONE CROSSED in a recent contest Nath had. They are definitely on my radar.

Do I want to re-read a Theresa Weir book? Kristie's Author Spotlight got me all worked up and salivating to re-read one or more of those keepers.

Ever since my wonderful conversation with Pamela Morisi last year at RWA I've been wanting to pull out one of her keepers from my shelves and take a look at it. Or maybe one of the Penelope Williamson books still in my tbr...

I was panting for Nalini Singh's ANGEL'S BLOOD release and haven't cracked it open.

Have you been reading the current series by Madeline Hunter? I have her last three book in my tbr. LORD SIN is sitting on my bedside stand? Should I read it next?

See what I mean? I don't know what to read. Well, I don't know what to read until March 31st anyway when SMOOTH TALKING STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas is released. That will be devoured immediately. I've read the excerpt a couple of times and for some reason just can't wait for that book. Go figure.

How do you decide? Any tricks or clues you can share?

Hey! Maybe I should read TEARS OF THE RENEGADE by Linda Howard from the 'Famous Firsts' series by Harlequin. Think?

What? You're speechless. Me too!

I still don't know what to read next.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Lifetime & Nora Roberts or Duplicity & Julia Roberts

Did anybody watch NORTHERN LIGHTS on Lifetime over the weekend? We recorded it and I caught parts of it. LeAnn Rimes seemed okay, and you have to be comatose not to find Eddie Cibrian appealing. This isn't one of the NR books I'd read so it didn't get on my nerves like having Heather Locklear cast in ANGEL FALLS did last year.

I was out of the loop all weekend. Did anyone see
DUPLICITY with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen? Well, spill... I'm intrigued. Was it any good?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

And so it goes...

Whirlwind weekend with the Stairsteps is over. Fun was had by all. Well Aunt Ro-Ro had fun and I think the Stairsteps did too. Lots of junk food was consumed I can tell you that. Yes, I did also manage to get a couple of fruit and vegetable servings in but bribery is a very fine edge to walk.

We didn't get any yard work done because the weather wasn't cooperative. Bummer that. We did get lots of exercise running around though and Emily was in heaven with three boys to play with.

Our weekend included a visit to the bookstore where they each scored a couple of books. It's hard to argue with a kid who wants to read. My sister, before having three boys in rapid succession, taught elementary school, so her boys love books. We got a couple of Boxcar kids chapter books, a book on the rain forest, a book on reptiles, and the first two books in a series called the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer. Shmoo read the Vladimir Tod books and recommended them to our precocious 10-year old boy genius.

We had some moments of hilarity and high drama with the three of them in between stuffing ourselves with pizza, doughnuts, and ice cream. Fortunately GG and I restrained ourselves with the food, but not with the laughter.

I managed to get some reading time in and finished the reprint of TANGLED LIES by Anne Stuart. I have a lot of her older books, but they are of her single titles. TANGLED LIES was her first Harlequin Intrigue and was released in 1988 or 1989. It held up pretty well although at one point I found myself thinking 'why doesn't she use her cell phone?" Ooops. No cell phones. Anyway it was pretty good and a nice, easy, quick read. Of course the reading of this book called for a visit to her website which resulted in finding out that this little gem...

It's supposed to be a thriller involving a serial killer. Shades of Richard Tiernan in NIGHT FALL? May 1st release date and I'm really looking forward to this one.

In other news...

We have also finally subscribed to HD TV for the BATV. Alright, here it is... Life will never be the same. Holy guacamole! It's awesome, just awesome. Wonderful. You can still see the TV screen from Mars, but it's all kinds of WOW!, so you know, I'm almost glad we have it. Almost. Just gotta call the electrician back to hide some more wires. *sigh* It's always something.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Pet Names and the Busy Weekend

This weekend my sister is taking her husband to LA to a concert. Why is this significant? Well they are driving here from where she lives, near Santa Barbara, and dropping off my three nephews, who I affectionately call 'The Stairsteps' because of their closeness in age and size. I also call them kee-kee bobos, schmenkies and when I lose my mind and insult my beloved younger son, I even slip and call them Shmoo.

Which, indulge me a moment while I go off on a tangent, is interesting because when Shmoo was in about the 6th grade he said he didn't want me to call him Shmoo any more. I promised to try and not call him by his special pet name, especially in front of his friends.

Shortly thereafter we got a visit from 'The Stairsteps'. I grab one of my nevvies, give him a nuzzle and affectionately call him 'my Shmoo'. From down the hallway and the bowels of boy central I hear, "Hey! That's my name!" What? Huh? Your name? Alrighty then. Ever after I've been careful not to call anyone else Shmoo while not addressing my Shmoo as Shmoo in front of his friends. Complicated enough for you? Lordy.

Ironically Shmoo doesn't mind me calling him Shmoo now at the ripe old age of almost 19. In fact I think he kind of likes it. Weird, huh? I know nicknames, pet names, shortened derivatives of names aren't for everyone but they are just a by-product of my affection for someone. Poor Super Librarian Wendy has been given about three nicknames by me already.

Beware my fair friends, it can happen at any time. I may already have a pet name for you in my ever cogitating grey matter and just haven't been brave enough to address you by it yet. If I slip up and you hate it, tell me. I'll stop. If not...well you've been warned.

What's in a name? Lots of fun stuff. There's tons of places to get fun names on the internet.
How about your fairy name? Mine is Fire Rainbowdancer. Or, how about my stripper name of for a good time call Sierra Sunnysizzle? Just call me Sunny... Sunnysizzle. Heh.

So, back to the busy weekend. My nephews will be staying over this weekend and I'll be pretty busy with them and don't expect to be around the blogosphere much. Try not to let too much happen, I hate when I miss stuff. In the meantime think of me enjoying spoiling The Stairsteps and conning them into helping me plant my flower beds.

Bribery, the cornerstone of good parenting, will play a large part in my nefarious plot to beautify my yard. Any ideas for 10, 9 and 6 year old boys? What would really float their boat?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

In case you were wondering...

why I haven't been out and about much this week. I'm pooped. I've moved into my new office at work and it's been more time consuming than I expected. All the heavy lifting and cleaning are done. My new file cabinet arrives later today and then all I have to do is learn a bunch of new stuff to make sure they don't think they made a mistake. Heh.

Consequently, I've been so tired the past couple of nights I haven't been catching up much with all of you. Maybe tonight. We'll see.

Such sad news about Natasha Richardson isn't it? Two sons without a Mom. Too young. Just sad. Then I think of children all over the world without their mothers and th e little mouse on the wheel in my brain needs a rest from all the spinning.

I'm reading a very good book right now by Cate Noble called DEAD RIGHT. It was a total impulse buy and so far it's paying off very nicely. Before that I finished TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Kristan Higgins. I enjoyed it also, but for more than that you will have to wait until my month-end reading list.

One more update on Beanie, he got called to work as an extra yesterday. He worked a full day on ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL He had fun, but observed that movie making is a lot of standing around and waiting. The only star he saw was David Cross. Mr. Cross was also in the sitcom ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT whose character Tobias aspired to be in the Blue Man Group. Mr. Cross is a very funny guy.

While looking for all those links I saw that there is talk of a movie based on the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT TV series tagged GET ARRESTED. I'm a fan of the show so this is news. Looks like most everyone has signed on to do it. Wa-hoo!

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Author! Author!

That minx Kristie is always trying something new. Just the other day she started a new feature on her blog called 'Author Spotlight'. For this first time she chose one of my all time favorites, Theresa Weir who now writes as Anne Frasier.

I have every one of the books Kristie talks about on her blog. At the time I was reading Ms. Weir I hadn't been reading very many category romances believing they weren't as long as stand alones and therefore could not be as good. Lay your hands on the old Silhouette Intimate Moments IGUANA BAY by Ms. Weir and see if you don't change your mind.

I've missed the unique and strong voice in contemporary romantic fiction that was Theresa Weir. Go over to Kristie's site and take a look, she has given a short blurb about each book.

Since it's been literally years (and years) since I'd read any of my Theresa Weir keepers I asked Kristie if the books were holding up well and whether or not they felt dated. Check out the comments. A couple people mentioned the books did just fine.

I'm looking at those keeper shelves again thinking maybe, just maybe I need to pull one of those Weir books down for next month's TBR day. She's a wonderful writer. If you haven't tried Theresa Weir yet, you really should.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TBR Day: Two Texas Hearts by Jodi Thomas

Jove Romance
July 1997

This book was part of my glom last year of Jodi Thomas' back list. I'm on a historical kick anyway and what better than a western for Keishon's TBR Challenge this month?

I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience stories. I don't like them to be too contrived or unrealistic though. This book comes close because the marriage comes as a stipulation in Winter McQuillen's foster father's Will. All the land on the ranch is left to Win, but the acreage around the house and the house itself are left to Win's wife. The wife he doesn't have yet. If he doesn't find one, then the house and it's acreage will be donated to the church. Meaning Win would have to buy the house smack in the middle of his land back from the church.

Kora Adams came to Texas after she stole a mail order bride's proxy. She needed a safe place for her unruly sister and catatonic brother. Believing her bad luck has followed her to Texas Kora arrives only to find her proxy husband was shot and killed in a stage robbery on his way to meet her. Kora and her siblings are trying to make ends meet on the poor farm and dirt dugout of her recently deceased husband.

Enter Win McQuillen who needs a wife in a hurry. Win eliminates all the women from the widow's meeting in town and as a last hope rides out to the farm where Kora and her family are.

That's just the first 30 pages people.

There are lots of things I like about this book. The basic plot is good and the dynamic between Kora and Win has so much potential. I really like both of these characters very much.

My biggest complaint is that there is almost too much other stuff. going on. There is more than one conflict in the story so it was hard to concentrate on which was the primary story arch. The secondary characters were interesting, but often were distracting as well. My final issue with the book was the purple prose. I hadn't noticed this as a problem in any of the other books I've read by Jodi Thomas, but it certainly was notable here.

Not a bad read, but I really wanted to like it more because of Win and Kora.

My final grade = C

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And now for the News...

Yes, it's St. Paddy's Day. Since I'm mostly Italian I didn't grow up celebrating this holiday much. No big parties. No green beer.

When we adopted Shmoo we found out he's of Irish heritage which he loves to carry on (and on) about. He thinks it's very significant. That said when I was making pasta salad for the St. Paddy's potluck at work today, Shmoo chimed in with a "It's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow?" Ain't he somethin'?

I can't remember why I was telling you all that. To wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day? Probably. Let's go with that, shall we?

In other news, you may have noticed in the comments yesterday that Wendy the Super Librarian and I have purchased our airline tickets for Washington DC. Yippy, yappy and yahooey! Now it's real. Four more months. Since we are two and a half months into 2009 already, that's not that far away. Am I crazy or does it seem like it was just Christmas?

Beanie is officially working at Disneyland. He's a submarine driver on the Finding Nemo ride. He's also registered with an agent to do extra work and maybe, just maybe possibly get some work in commercials. What can I say, the boy's a big dreamer. He's also finally found a "good artist" to draw his comic book idea. I think this makes a total of 4 people collaborating on it now. Of course, I'm constantly asking motherly questions like, "And, how's school doing?"

Like most college kids he's burning the candle at both ends but seems to be thriving. I'm happy for him. Please Lord, one more year to graduation.

Shmoo is rethinking his commitment to the fire service. The kid I had to nudge, push and shove through his senior year of high school actually likes college. He announced to us over the weekend he thinks he will go ahead and get his 4-year degree. While I'd love to send up the halleluias I know his mind and attitudes changes with the weather. OTOH, I'd be a liar if I didn't say it made me happy that he's even considering a degree. It was a brief moment of bliss to think that maybe, just maybe some of the stuff we've been drilling into his head talking to him about since he started kindergarten has stuck.

GG has had some rocky roads and tough transitions at work lately, not the least of which was a co-worker being struck and killed by a truck in the freight yard where he works. The truck driver was where he was supposed to be, the co-worker in the correct crossing area, they just didn't see each other. Horrible, horrible accident. Knocked my GG a bit off kilter. His words to me, "You just never know what a day will bring. All the guy wanted to do was go to work to take care of his family." I love my husband. I really do.

Day one of my new job? Pretty darn good. Of course the transition is nothing like being brand new at a company. I know all the people and routine. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be in my very own office. I got all kinds of keys today. That's one of those things you don't know how to feel about. Good=They trust me. Bad=Crap! They trust ME? Yes, this is my internal dialogue. It's so fun. NOT.

I didn't make my bed today. It was liberating because I didn't think about it once and got home and was surprised by the unmade bed. Okay you probably don't think it's significant, but if you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that it was b-i-g for me.

I'm walking. I'm swimming. I'm trying going to lose more weight before DC. Although I've pretty much conceded that if I want to read and blog I'll probably be sleeping less.

I told GG sleeping was overrated. He said, "Not when you aren't getting any." I hate it when he's right. And gets the last word.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Research: Washington DC - The List

As it turns out I'm going to go to DC a few days before the convention starts and will have one single day to see stuff. There are a couple of people in my life who have been to DC recently who have my head spinning with where I should go and what I should see.

It occurred to me that I'd like to get some other people's opinions about what they would see in DC. If YOU had only one day to see the sights in DC what would you absolutely have to see before going home? Tell me in the comments and help me make a list.

If you happen to live in the DC area (or thereabouts) what's a cool place to eat, have a drink, see something that most tourists don't get to see? Tell me, tell me, tell me...

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

One more time...

The winner of my drawing never claimed her prize. What's a girl to do but draw again?

KRISTIE(j) c'mon down! Do you want this book? Let me know. Or I'll comment on your blog and tell you. If you want it, it's in the mail... Email me your snail mail addy to RnG1180@aol.com.


And now a word from our sponsors...

My sister has her team pledge page up at the Wounded Warrior Project. They are still struggling to meet their goal of $500 for their race in May. If you are looking for a worthy cause that benefits our wounded soldiers, this certainly is one.

Better yet, you will give incentive to the Road Warriors to ruuuuuuuun and train.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Movin' On Up...

I've been been with the fire department for 20 months. Twenty months of learning, laughing and realizing all the stuff one little fire department does.

Today is my last day in the job and the department where I started as a part-time clerk. Monday will be a new day in a new department with new challenges.

This may not seem like much to you, but for me at this stage of my life to find this new challenge and not only still be employed, but be able to grow and change in a job, well I have to tell you, I'm profoundly grateful.

So, while I tell one raucous group of co-workers goodbye, I'm moving down the hall to a different department and new challenges.

I can't predict what tomorrow will bring. Stuff changes, even in government related jobs. Every state, county, and city are experiencing deep budget cuts that severely affect all your local services. Your local fire department and police department are not exempt from this.

But today, I'm excited and incredibly grateful for what's ahead of me. It's been an unexpected blessing to find these people and this small fire department at this point in my working life. I'm going to enjoy it and them for as long as it lasts.

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I can't wait!

I thought this trailer was good...

until I saw this one...

Am I a trekkie? Nah. Not really, but I am excited about this prequel to the series. It looks gooooood!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


spon·ta·ne·i·ty (spnt-n-t, -n-)
n. pl. spon·ta·ne·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being spontaneous.
2. Spontaneous behavior, impulse, or movement.

spon·ta·ne·ous (spn-tn-s)
1. Happening or arising without apparent external cause; self-generated.
2. Arising from a natural inclination or impulse and not from external incitement or constraint.
3. Unconstrained and unstudied in manner or behavior.
4. Growing without cultivation or human labor.

Got some? Spontaneity. Do you have any to spare? If so, can I borrow it? Never mind.

What am I thinking?

There is no longer any room in my life for spontaneity.

Do you think your children kill your spontaneity? No, I say. Not kids. Do you think your job kills spontaneity? Nope. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house? No. No. And, no.

What kills spontaneity is...exercise.

I mean it. Hear me out.

Yes, exercising does give you a feeling of well being. Working out certainly helps you feel good about yourself and builds confidence. But whoever told you that you'd still have time for a life if you are exercising and then doing all the stuff I listed above is a big, fat, liar!

Lately in order for my life to "work" I have to schedule and plan everything. And, yes, I do mean everything. It sucks. It sucks big time. Pun completely and entirely INtended. Or UN-tended as the case may be.

Is it really so much to ask for about 4 more hours in the day?

And now, to demonstrate my frustration, a song from my crush.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I didn't want to watch or listen to this when I received it. Somedays, I just can't, and I was busy. I was tired. I was afraid. Why I decided to play it last night of all times, I honestly couldn't tell you.

Maybe you've seen this, or read it, or heard about it. I hadn't. So, it was a transcending moment for me and it made me think of all of you. You people out there in my cyber world with whom I share so much of my life.
I hope you have the time to watch and listen. I don't think you'll be sorry you did.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Outsider by Penelope Williamson

The Outsider by Penelope Williamson
Warner Books
August 1997

I will probably regret not saving this for Keishon's TBR Challenge next week since it's a historical and from my TBR, albeit a very recent addition. However, I read this very rich and very satisfying historical over the weekend and wanted to share my thoughts right away.

One of the things I was aware of immediately was how much I've become accustomed to getting the bare details of characters before being plunged into their story. If you like to know about the details of a character's life you'll love this book. Don't get me wrong, it's not bogged down in description or minutiae, but there's a richness and texture to the story I rarely see any more.

The time and place is the late 1880s in Montana. A widowed woman and her son find a severely wounded man in their meadow and go about the formidable task of saving his life. The widow, Rachel Yoder lives the Plain life. The wounded man is Johnny Cain, a self professed killer for hire.

Rachel is a woman happily cocooned living her Plain life with her 10-year old son. She has been widowed a year and knows it only makes sense to choose another husband soon to help her raise her son and run the sheep farm. Johnny Cain is a man with no roots, no feelings, and no intention of having either. He does not believe in anything and trusts no one.

I thought it was astonishing how unapologetic Ms. Williamson is about Johnny Cain. There is no overnight metamorphisis here. This is a man who is a killer. Johnny Cain is not suddenly saved or changed in this story. In fact at times she made her task of making this a sympathetic character so formidable I began to wonder if someone else would emerge as the hero.

These two people could not be more different, but over the course of the book they both discover a lot about themselves and each other. This journey, or discovery, was riveting for me. It wasn't hard to put myself into the story and wonder, 'what would I do?' Would I have that little faith? That much faith? That strength? That much ruthlessness?

I was captured completely by this book and resented every minute I couldn't be reading it. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I have a few slight complaints about some of the roads she traveled with a couple of the secondary characters and wonder why she did it, but other than that I think this is my first 'A' read of the year.

If you like multi-layered stories, westerns, complicated characters, you'll love this one.

My Grade = A-

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Monday, March 09, 2009

All about GG

I saw this on Holly's personal blog and decided to give my man GG the spotlight and see if I know as much as much about him after all these years as Holly does about MM.

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV. What is on the screen?
The Biggest Loser. He loves that darn show. He hates to miss it and loves the machinations.

2. You’re out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
If he's not 'in training' for some run, honey mustard. Otherwise he might get fat free Italian...on the side of course.

3. What’s one food he doesn’t like?
Peanut butter. Unless it's in cookies. Weird, no?

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order?
Wine. Usually red.

5. Where did he go to high school?

6. What size shoe does he wear?

10 1/2 DD. Fuh-reaky wide feet.

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?
Maps. He loves Atlas, old maps and globes.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?!
Turkey & provolone

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
Ice cream. He rarely eats it because he's always watching his weight, but he loves ice cream.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Kashi Autumn Wheat

11. What would he never wear?
He avoids color, so anything bright or colorful...not happening.

12. What is his favorite sports team?

Poor sap mostly grew up in Ohio so he likes the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. He's far from an avid fan, but he follows them.

13. Who did he vote for?
He's a republican who for the first time in his life voted for a democrat for President. He can hardly believe it himself.

14. Who is his best friend?
Me. Then, maybe, Jack Joe from college.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do?
I wanted to steal Holly's answer of "How much time you got?" But that's no fair and sort of boring. So I'll go with, he wishes with a burning passion that I would just leave the house when we are going somewhere and not want to do "one more thing" before we walk out the door.

16. What is his heritage?
English & Scottish

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?
German chocolate.

18. Did he play sports in high school?

19. What could he spend hours doing?
He graphs his training and has a diary. He comes up with all sorts of stuff to keep track of. It's amazing and more than a little nerdy.

20. What is one unique talent he has?
Makes me believe over and over again that we can do anything as long as we are together.

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The Watchmen

Shmoo went to the midnight opener of the movie THE WATCHMEN Thursday night/Friday morning. Friday evening he told GG and I how completely awesome the movie was. Frankly I wasn't that interested in seeing the movie. I'd seen trailers and it just didn't spur any interest for me. Shmoo was insistent. So GG and I sort of agreed to go see it on Saturday.

Well, we saw it.

I'm not going to say the movie didn't have its moments, because it did. I thought both Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup were great. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was okay as was Patrick Wilson. Although I feel I should warn Jeffrey Dean Morgan fans he doesn't have much screen time.

Anyway, there's violence. Graphic violence. A rape scene and a sex scene. Now, I don't object to any of these things in a movie if they progress the story, make a point, or seem necessary to the plot. My son tells me the violence is necessary to demonstrate some significant plot points like man's inhumanity to man. Okay, maybe, and I mean maybe, I can buy off on that one.

The rape scene and the sex scene. The graphic sex scene? Nope. Just titillation. A blatant appeal to the adolescent males who will be flocking to this movie. Ugh!

I probably spent one-third of the movie with my hands over my eyes. I read love stories for crying out loud and this was pretty gross more than a few times. *heavy sigh* In normal circumstances I would have walked out and left my men folk to watch it while I browsed the bookstore or got myself a cup of java. But I didn't. I stayed. I stayed because I was also fascinated and wanted to see how it was all going to turn out. More on that later.

My final criticism, not that you or Hollywood gives a hoot, but I thought Malin Ackerman (previously seen as the spoiled sister in 27 Dresses) was horribly miscast as Laurie Jupiter, aka Silk Spectre II. As was Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias. Every time they were on screen, which was quite a lot in Ms. Ackerman's case, it took me right out of the story.

Ultimately I don't think I could recommend this to anyone unless you are insanely curious and have to see it.

I said I would come back to 'how it all turns out". Nope, no spoilers here. I only want to say that for all the violence, sex and miscast actors, I was engaged in the story and curious as hell to see how everything was going to be resolved.

All in all it was an interesting experience, even if I can't say I'm glad I went. I probably would have been better served renting this one and seeing it on a smaller screen. Although with the BATV maybe it wouldn't make a difference there either.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

And the Oscar Book goes to...

Maija from Finland is the winner of my copy of CRY FOR PASSION by Robin Schone.

Congratulations Maija! Please contact me at RnG1180@aol.com by midnight, Friday, March 13, 2009 with your snail mail address.

Using the very highest quality and cutting edge technology, I went to Random.org to choose a winner. I mistakenly put all 12 numbers in. Yes, I should have just counted my guests comments because the first 3 numbers were MY comments. Oy!

So I had Shmoo help me pick the winner by drawing a slip of paper out of a cereal bowl. That's right. High class. That's how we roll here at Casa de Nobody Asked Me. Top drawer all the way.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

My so called sekrit life.

Many moons ago I used to go out. No kidding. I actually went to places that served alcohol, played loud music and provided much entertainment and amusement to my exuberant and youthful brain. I loved to mingle out amongst the hordes of humanity.

Now? Well, not so much. Kids, age, work and reality have greatly curtailed my night life. Now, I only get a chance to go out like once a year and I call it RWA. Heh.

Anyway, once upon a time I would go out and enjoy a margarita. I still love 'em. Classic lime - rocks or blended. Lip smackin' good. Although these days I pretty much stick to my GTs, I still like to reminisce about my margarita days. Yesterday, a friend with whom I've shared more than one margarita, sent the following important health information to me. As a public service to all the women of the world who do, or have, enjoyed a margarita I felt obligated to share this information.

Important Health Issue for Women

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered a resounding "YES!" to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Margaritas.

Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions.

Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately and with a carefully managed regimen and dosage you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past.

You will discover talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living, with Margaritas.

Margaritas may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Margaritas.

However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try Margaritas.

Side effects may include:
dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lust, vision impairment (objects may be less handsome than they appear), loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, possible attraction to the same sex, and table dancing.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Reading and Loving this...

Cry for Passion by Robin Schone

I haven't been in love with everything Ms. Schone has written by a far cry, but I'm really enjoying this one. It's one of her awakening to passion stories with some interesting twists. At least they have certainly engaged my interest.

It's a part of her Men and Women's Club series and by far the one I've enjoyed the most. It's trade sized and I know some of you don't like to buy trade, so I thought I'd give my copy away.

So, have you ever read a Robin Schone book? Do you want to? Post a comment on this post by 9 AM, Saturday, March 7, 2009, and I'll draw the name of one of you to send my gently read copy.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gobsmacked by LB Gregg

Gobsmacked by L.B. Gregg

When you have a friend write a book you are naturally excited and supportive of their new adventure. I know I was. By the time I met Lisabea last year at RWA, I sort of knew from her blog that she was writing, but I didn't really know. Ya know?

Anyway, shortly after meeting her she clues me in that she's writing M/M and getting ready to submit. A big part of the reason she went to RWA was to network and pitch her book. How cool was that? Very. I was equal parts fascinated and excited while watching her navigate new and scary waters in an endeavor to get her book published.

It wasn't long after coming home from the conference that I got word from Lb that her first book, GOBSMACKED, was going to be published. Now, a good friend would have been worried about lots of things that had to do with their friend's new challenges. Sadly, I have to admit that most of my worry early on was all about, uh...me.

The little hamster on the wheel of my brain kept thinking things like, what if I don't like it? Most everyone knows I adore Lb, but what if I didn't like her book? Could I tell her? Would she be angry if I didn't like it? Would I have the nerve to tell her I didn't like it? If I told her, would our fledgling friendship be over? Sounds like a soap opera, doesn't it?

Fortunately, all that angst was for naught.

You've never seen such a relieved and happy person as I was reading the last page of GOBSMACKED. Grinning I was. I immediately called Lb to tell her how relieved I was the book was good. Yep. That's what I said. "Lb! I'm so relieved your book is good!" What a friend huh?

GOBSMACKED takes place in the small New England town of Smithfield. I love Smithfield. I want to live in Smithfield. Lb somehow makes it seem nice even during the cold and blustery winter when the story takes place. It seems like an idyllic place to live. Sure, people know your business, but they also care about you. *cue music*

"You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name."

This story is character driven, which is something I've mentioned many times as one of my favorite things about a book. These are real people with messy lives. They aren't perfect. They make mistakes. This story follows Mark who is breaking up with Jamie, and Tony the local resident cop or 'Trooper', as Lb refers to him. Interesting men, good looking, messed up and so very, very human.

I've read this novella twice now. I've found different things that delight me each time. It's a quick easy read and once you start it, you don't want to put it down. I know I didn't.

Yes, we all know I love Lb, but I'm absolutely delighted to tell you, this is a good book. You should read it. You won't be sorry you did.

My grade = B+

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