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Showing posts from September, 2008

Gemtree Vineyards = Good Vino

Becki, Cyndi and I went to the wine tasting at House of Tricks tonight. I had no idea who or what was being featured. It was more of a social thing for me, plus I know House of Tricks is a cool place with good eats. For $25, you get the wine and your own plate of four cheeses, grapes, strawberries and a shared basket of crispy bread. It was definitely enough for dinner for me.

The vineyard tonight was Gemtree from Australia and Eymeric Darsch from Gemtree was there to present. I couldn't place his accent but I later read that he's a French-American. He was clearly excited about his products and rightly so.

Our first tasting wasn't even on the list. It was an Albarino (put a tilde on that n) which is a Spanish grape that they started growing down under. Think somewhere between a Pinot Grigio and a Riesling. It was quite good and only two other people in the US had tasted it before we got to. That was cool.

Our tasting list also included their Citrine Chardonnay, Tadp…

Bad Mommy

I forgot to tell George that I was going to be home late tonight. I know it makes me a crazy cat lady, but I tell her on my way out the door each morning whether I'm coming home on time or late. I think she appreciates it.

I know she was not happy that I got home late. Man, did I get scolded when I walked through the door. She was not happy at all and it was very obvious.

Book Review - The Gypsy Morph

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The Gypsy Morph by Terry Brooks



My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the final book in The Word and the Void trilogy and finishes the basis for the Shannara books. Those are some of my favorite books. And, Brooks is one of my favorite writers. This is the 26th book of his that I've read.

This was a quick read but filled with action and angst as Hawk, the title character, tries to lead what's left of humanity and the Elves to a new, safe space after terrible wars have left the planet mostly destroyed and/or poisoned. There's a high body count which is disturbing since most of the main characters are kids.

There was a nice blend of magic and science and the ending left possibilities of future stories. Some of the reviews I read were critical of the ending as being anti-climatic. I actually liked it.

View all my reviews.

How Did I Forget?

Banned Book Week is this week! It's officially Sep. 27 through Oct. 4.

As a former bookseller, pretty big reader and aspiring (but not perspiring to get there) author, this week is a pretty big deal to me. Censorship of books is completely abhorrent in my world. Every time I hear about someone wanting to take books off a library shelf, my blood pressure goes up and I just want to ask the banners, "What are you so afraid of? That someone might be inspired to actually use their own mind by reading a book? Why is that a bad thing?" I could go on and on but I won't because I'm sure you get the point.

Here's one top 100 list that I found.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2000-2007

1 Harry Potter J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War Robert Cormier
4 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
5 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
6 Scary Stories Alvin Schwartz
7 Fallen Angels Walter Dean Myers
8 It’s Perfectly Normal Robie Harris
9 And Tango Ma…

Exercise Sucks

I was having a great evening at home. George was behaving, I'd just finished a book and was getting ready to start another when I decided to get something to drink out of the fridge. As I reached for a water (believe it or not), I saw my sports drink and an awful thought came to my mind.

"Oh, crap! I have to exercise tonight."

Ugh. I'd blocked it out completely. I knew I had to do it, though, because I want to get my two weekly workouts in before our weigh-in on Thursday and I'm going out tomorrow night. That leaves tonight, tomorrow morning (not likely) and Wednesday to get them in.

I've heard tales of people who say they feel exhilarated, even euphoric after exercise. Some crap about endorphins. Not me. After 30 minutes on the bike, I'm exhausted, sweaty and smelly. Those are things a Princess should never be. Know when I feel endorphins? When I sip on a cold beer or an especially good glass of wine.

I'm trying to get some sense of satisfact…

Last Week of Biggest Loser

Our final Biggest Loser Weigh-In is this Thursday. They just got around to posting the percentages for last month so Dave and I were over there to study the numbers and to see where we stand in the rankings.

We're in 5th place with a 5.59% loss which is OK but we could have been in the top 3 if we hadn't slacked off during the middle three months. The top team has been tracking at a 9% loss almost from the beginning because one guy dropped a bunch of weight in the first month.

I told Sugar Daddy that we needed to get that guy fired before Thursday and to go surf some porn on his computer so we could turn him into HR. I think he thought about it for a minute but we still wouldn't make it to the top. Oh, and we both like that guy and it would be morally wrong and whatnot so bad idea.

They did add a secondary prize of $100 each to the members of the team that had the biggest percentage loss in the last three months of the contest. There's a small possibility that we co…

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

For some folks, Sundays are the Lord's day, or a day to spend with the family or a day to recover from Saturday night. While I often do the latter, Sunday is Sports day for me. And, what a great Sunday it was!

Football

I can't tell if I'm becoming a Jets fan or if it's just Favre love or Cardinal's hatred (ok, hatred is a tad strong but I just can't root for that team even though they're from here). But, I was totally into the game yesterday. It didn't hurt that we started Favre and Jets RB Leon Washington.

Washington only scored us 6.3 points but we got a whopping 45.56 from Brett. SIX TOUCHDOWNS! Yes, six touchdowns against the Cardinals kind of lessens the impact but still. The man can still play. I must now recant my, "Brett, you retired so stay retired like a man" view with a "Woo-hoo, show those guys you can still play, Brett!"

We're going into tonight's game with a 86.86 to 75.98 lead over Crash. We have Hines Ward going t…

Book Review - Julie and Julia

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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell



My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection for the month. Our hostess this time is Maria who's without a doubt one of the best cooks I know so it's no surprise that she's read Julie and Julia and loved it. What may be surprising is that I am one of the least active cooks that I know but I also loved this book.

It's the story of Julie Powell who's working as a temp in NYC and feeling like her life is going nowhere. She decides, with her husband's support, to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 in 365 days.

Frankly, a lot of the recipes sounded disgusting and I don't think I could eat as much butter in my lifetime as they did in one year. But, the details were fascinating.

The book is not all about cooking, though. Julie also started a blog and she talks a lot about her "bleaders" as she calls her readers. …

How Much Busier Can It Get?

September 26, 2008
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
Your social calendar is going to be buzzing soon -- people are feeling more affection for you than ever before, and your presence will be in demand for everything from weddings to house painting parties. Accept all the invitations you want, and be mindful that the older friends in your life still deserve your time too. Don't get distracted by the new and shiny people who promise so much intrigue and excitement. Remember to save some time for the folks who've always been there for you.


I promise not to forget the unshiny people. ;-)

Cute!

I love Chip and Dale!

Check out this link my friend Chris sent me.

More Bad Kitty

I was quietly reading my paper this morning when George started running in and out of my room while giving out her "Timmy's fallen down the well!" cry. I had a good idea what she was trying to tell me so I got up and went into her room.

It was as I suspected, she'd dumped her water for the gazillionth time. I still can't believe that the vet said she was nicely hydrated since her water bottle and bowl spend more time glugging on to the carpet than serving as a dispenser.

I refilled it, set it back into its upright position and went back to bed to finish my paper. Not two minutes later, I heard a thud and got up to investigate.

It was dumped over again. I pushed it into the corner in the vain hope that she'll leave it upright for the day. Clearly, some reengineering needs to be done. My sternly worded lectures haven't had any effect.

We Now Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Sleeping

I did my best to tire George out last night and I told her right before I turned out the light, "Mommy would really like to sleep through the night, OK?" She didn't even chirp back at me so I was hopeful.

12:30 this morning, I woke up to a strange noise. It sounded like someone was banging against something. I mentally wrote it off to a one time thing and tried to go back to sleep. However, the noise continued several more times.

I called George but she didn't come which led me to believe she was causing the noise. She doesn't come when she knows she's in trouble. So, I got up to find her and walked out to the living room and called her again. Still no sign of her. The thought crossed my mind that maybe she'd gotten stuck in the chimney and the banging was from her trying to get out.

Finally, I turned on the light and she then showed herself. She'd been behind the blinds at the patio door. I had an "Aha!" moment when I figured out the…

You Know How I Know It's Fall?

You can't judge fall in the Valley like you can in other parts of the country. It certainly isn't clear from the weather. Yesterday was 106 degrees. The record for that date was 108 so it's plenty warm here.

I know it's fall because my allergies are driving me insane. I wake up every morning sniffling. I sneeze all afternoon and I sniffle again all night. I don't want to take drugs because the regular ones make me dopey and the non-sleepy ones make my skin crawl. Literally. My scalp feels like some one's taking it off, centimeter by centimeter.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. There are several people at work complaining about the same symptoms.

I can't wait until winter.

Dinner Review

Cowboy Ciao changed our menu a bit for tonight's dinner.

Bonus: they added a complimentary glass of wine. Sweet! We had a choice of Chardonnay or a PinotNoir. I know this may be hard to believe considering how much I talk about my love of wine but there is one type I don't really care for and it's Chardonnay. Too much oak. Our whole group picked the PinotNoir.

Neutral: they added a fourth main dish. It was some kind of nut encrusted salmon. Since salmon is fishy with bones and therefore gross, I didn't really care.

Negative: no bread pudding on the dessert option.

Bonus: they turned dessert into one option. It was a combo of the Elvis, a lemon tart and two cookies.

I chose the mixed green salad for my first course, the Testosterone Salad for my second and the dessert sampler (though they did offer to let us order off the dessert menu since we were clearly disappointed about the lack of bread pudding).

The mixed greens were good, not extraordinary. The Testostero…

Book Review - Sway

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Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman



My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're looking for a book that explains irrational human behaviors in an interesting, smoothly flowing and nowhere dry manner, Sway is a must read.

While some of the facts and stories have been talked about in other books of this type, the authors' style made them seem freshly interesting. I loved the way they combined stories and experiment results into very quick to read chapters. While, it doesn't go uber-deep into behaviors, there's a lot here to make one go "hmmmm".

Some of the interesting tidbits used the playing careers of first round NBA picks to show how we are unwilling to change first impressions, the success of the Miami Gators to show how we're unwilling to change course even if we're on a losing path and a tragic plane accident to show how we'll take great risks to avoid small losses. There's even a bit on how cultural norms affect the …

Finding A New Spot

I got a wild hair the other day and decided to take the Find Your Spot Quiz again. I've taken it once a year for the past three years and this is the first time that Phoenix didn't end up near the top of my list.

My top five:

Baton Rouge, LA
Little Rock, AR
Honolulu, HI
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA

If I indicate a preference for the Southwest it gives me:

Las Vegas, NV
Baton Rouge, LA
Albuquerque, NM
Little Rock, AR
Honolulu, HI

Las Vegas and Honolulu have been at the top of my lists all three years. I can't afford Honolulu but Vegas, Baby, Vegas would be doable...hmmm.

File This Under "It's About Frakking Time!"

The Lions FINALLY fired Matt Millen. You can read about it here.

I await stories of rioting in the streets of Detroit.

New Kitten Games

I try to run George ragged before bedtime. I get her to chase the laser pointer up and down the hall and in circles until she drops. The circles are fun because she gets dizzy and it makes me laugh.

My hope is that right before I turn off the lights, she will be tired enough to do a little snuggle session with Mommy then we can both go off into the land of Nod. It seems like such a peaceful way to end the day.

What actually happens is that she will jump on the bed next to me and let me scratch her behind the ears for about three scratches. In that next instant, I have kitten attached to my arm via four sets of claws and one set of vampire teeth. Firmly attached. I can actually pick her up if I lift my arm.

I tell her, "George, Mommy's going to beat you if you do that again!" Which means nothing, apparently, because I never beat her and she knows it. I do push her away, turn off the light then carefully put all of my limbs firmly under the pillow or comforter so they …

What to Choose?

The whole time I was riding my bike tonight, I kept myself going by thinking about more bread pudding which I will have guilt-free since I worked it off already.

I haven't decided on my other two courses at Cowboy Ciao, though. My friend T told me the Chopped Salad was amazing and that I must have it. Unfortunately, it has salmon in it. Blech. I think I'll have to wait and see if the soup entices me else it will be salad for the First Course. The Testosterone Salad for the Second Course is where I'm leaning right now. The Bourbon-Soaked Cherries are calling my name.

Here's what's on the menu:

First Course (choice of):
• Daily Soup
• Ciao Mixed Greens with Tomatoes, Dried Cranberries, Pepitas and Gorgonzola
• Chef Bernie’s Unusual, Addictive, Original (and widely imitated), Stetson Chopped Salad with Smoked Salmon

Second Course (choice of):
• Testosterone Salad with Port-Charred Tenderloin, Bourbon-Soaked Cherries and Maytag Blue Dressing
• Crispy Black Tiger Shrimp w…

Guess It's The Exercise Bike For Me Tonight

September 23, 2008
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
Your heart needs to get pumping today! Either in terms of romance or physical exercise -- or both! Try walking instead of getting into your car to go somewhere. Not only will you give your body some much needed exercise, you just might meet a cute certain someone along your route. And there's nothing wrong with purposefully choosing a route that takes you right by where they happen to be. Sometimes, there's nothing more attractive than a flushed face.

It's not like anyone's showing up at my door with candy and flowers...and, I've been to the library, mall and grocery store without meeting any "cute certain someones".

Like We Didn't Know This...?

Dinner - Yummy!

Quick review of dinner at Cheuvront tonight.

The bisque was OK. A couple of the girls thought it was too tart but freshly ground pepper helped. I thought it could have been a tad heavier on the spice but it was a refreshing starter.

Seafood Capellini was very good. Lots of lingering spice, a red sauce that was not heavy at all and some good chunks of shrimp and four mussels. Only one scallop, though. :-(

Pumpkin Bread Pudding was to die for! Perfect flavor, light and just the right size. Sometimes, you'll get a big serving and it just sits in your stomach.

The bill was, well, let's just say that our wine bill equalled the food and let it go at that.

My Friends Are So Cool!

Two of my SLC homies got to do a meet and greet with Toby Keith. You can see the pics here.

Rhettster stands out with his Drunken Screw tie-dye. Shannon's in the picture right before that. I think she's probably still wearing that bemused smile.

Good Eats This Week

It's Arizona Restaurant Week. A bunch of local restaurants are offering three course meals at a fixed $29 price (excluding beverage and tip). You can find the list of restaurants and what they're offering here. I'm going to Cheuvront tonight and Cowboy Ciao on Wednesday with my poker chicks.

I haven't settled on Wednesday's menu but here's what I'm having tonight:

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque - Roasted red bell peppers with fresh garlic and herbs pureed and finished with a touch of cream.

Seafood Capellini - Mussels, shrimp and sea scallops sautéed in a zesty tomato basil coulis served on a bed of capellini.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding - Pumpkin bread pudding served with warm caramel sauce and vanilla bean whip cream.

Book Review - Queste

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Queste by Angie Sage



My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had some difficulty in getting into this book. At over 500 pages long, I think some of the beginning could have been cut without missing anything out of the story and still leaving a substantial book.

However, once I did get involved in the story, I read the last several hundred pages in one sitting. Queste (finally) finds Septimus, Jenna and Beetle off to find Nicko and Snorri who had been left back in time at the end of book three. There are several villains working against them and some hope for a turn around to good for at least one of the bad guys.

Good stuff, great for young readers. I think the series is a tad too juvenile for me but would be perfect for kids who aren't quite ready for the darkness of the Harry Potter books.

View all my reviews.

True Blood

I've checked out the first two episodes of the new HBO show, True Blood. I had high hopes for the show because it's based on a series of books that I read and it's by the guy who did Six Feet Under.

OK, high hopes are extinguished and I now have moderate hopes that it will be a good series.

There are several things going for it. The casting in some cases is perfect. The dude playing Jason couldn't be better. He's got the white trash, sex obsessed loser thing down pat. Sam, Arlene, Andy and the Grandma all seem to be excellent matches between actor and role. Anna Paquin is going to take some getting used to as Sookie mostly because I keep thinking Anna Paquin looks weird as a blond.

The sex is pretty good, too. It is HBO so I expected explicit but this is, well, something. I expected to hear boom, chicka, wow, wow playing during the scenes.

It will be interesting to watch and see how closely they follow the books. There are many of them so they'll have plo…

Huh?

I was listening to KNIX on the way home from work today and one of my favorite songs came on. It's Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. I love to sing along (very, very badly).

So, there I was happily singing along when it got to this line:

been fuelin up on cocaine and whiskey

They muted out the word cocaine.

WTF? OK, it is an illegal drug but, still, it's not even close to one of the seven words or anything like that. I think they might be going a tad bit too conservative.

Book Review - Crucial Conversations

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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson



My review
rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the book our managers' group at work chose to read and discuss. We took three months to get through it and some folks actually still didn't finish it. I'm not sure why they didn't because it was a great book.

There are a lot of strategies on how to respond, not react, to difficult conversations and keep emotions out of the mix in the book. Also, a lot of tips on how to make conversations safe and productive for both parties.

I led the discussion of the final four chapters and gave everyone homework. The homework was to tell us about a time where they either used the techniques from the book in a conversation or wished that they had.

There were some great examples. One that I used was about one of my co-workers getting ticked off at something his boss said. I suggested he go back to the boss, say "This is what I heard you say and how I interpreted it a…

Lunch Time Sequence

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La di da, di da. I'm just hanging out here, pay me no mind.Oh, hello. I didn't notice you over here!What's this then?Almost have it! Damn my lack of an opposable thumb!

Fringe

Part One of the post...

This is a digression before I even get to the main topic. I missed setting up Fringe to record for the first episode so I watched it on my new laptop. The picture was crystal clear. The sound was great if I plugged in earphones. There was no stuttering nor buffering issues in the playback.

Guess Vista on a new machine works pretty well.

There was one problem, though. Twice during the playback, I lost connection to my wireless router. Completely. It wouldn't even find the router again after a reboot. I had to unplug the router for a few seconds then plug it back in before my computer would both find it and recognize that the WEP key was correct.

I've never had that happen on the new machine so I have to think it's something to do with downloading and/or processing all that data. I googled Vista and Netgear (my router) and found several posts where people had issues with the two working together. Since I've been good since then, I'm going…

I Found Her Achilles Heel

It's taken 3 months but I've found something that actually cows the demon. I mean, puts her completely on the defensive, running away and cowering in the corner.

What was the secret weapon?

A three year old girl.

My friend Andrea brought her daughter over tonight to see and play with George. I asked The Rocket Scientist to come over, too, as he's a calming influence on George. (I aldo made him dinner. What can I say? I'm a giver.) He really wasn't needed.

George was quite shy at first. Not shy enough to go hide under the bed but shy enough to stay at the edge of the room and watch the action. Andrea and McKenna tried to entice her over with George's feathers on the end of a stick toy and that worked to a point. George would jump at it but wouldn't get within touching distance.

She did go for the food, though. I gave them some treats to feed her out of their hands and she went for those. As soon as those were done, she was back to the edge. McKenna tr…

For The Geeks...

Non-geek readers can just pass this one by...

Our new DBA pronounces varchar as var-kar.

I say var-char as does everyone else around here.

I've never heard anyone use the hard c before and I sort of flinch every time he says it because it just sounds so wrong.

Too Cute To Yell At - Take Two

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Watchadoin', Mommy?I think hoping her cuteness melts my desire to keep her off the dining room table is definitely George's new approach to not getting yelled at. She snuck up on me today while I was working some email. It was a subtle approach, too. She came up behind the monitor so I didn't see her until she peeked around.

I'm Hopeful

I just read this post by Lev Grossman about Eoin Colfer being picked to write a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book. While I can't imagine anyone being able to match Douglas Adams' wit entirely, Colfer has shown that he's pretty clever and entertaining. I highly recommend his Artemis Fowl series and I've read most (if not all) of his stand alone books, too.

There's a BBC article linked in the above link. This partial quote of Colfer's from that story makes me thinks he's got the right mindset and level of respect needed to make this book acceptable to the legions of Hitchhiker fans:

It became a whimsy of mine to finish the story, just for my own peace of mind. I often wondered how Douglas Adams would have resurrected his beloved characters. And now, almost quarter of a century after first reading Hitchhiker, I have been given the incredible opportunity of writing the next chapter in the saga myself. In an actual book rather than in my head.

My first …

So That Was What Free Time Felt Like

For the first time in over 12 months, I am not in the process of hiring or firing someone at work. It's so liberating! And, amazing how much I'm getting done when I don't have to worry about reading resumes, scheduling and conducting interviews and developing close relationships with head hunters. Honestly, I felt like I spent more time talking to those folks than some of my best friends.

To give you an idea on how busy I was, I actually got to clear off my To-Do list this week. What's incredible about that is that I didn't even have time to draw up To-Do lists in the past few months. OK, maybe that's just incredible to me so just trust me on that one.

Adding to my newly felt freedom was that we closed the books on Parrot Grande, our club's big weekend event. Moose and I co-chaired it this year and it gets quite crazy in the weeks leading up to it. It feels really good to not have to worry about that for a while at least.

So, I had a few days of open tim…

Got The Digits

I think it's been well established that I'm a Trop Rock musician groupie. As part of my stalking, er, befriending them, I've started collecting their phone numbers. It started with Kelly McGuire's number because Mark Mulligan gave it to me when I offered to pick Kelly up at the airport. I also have Jerry Gontang's, Bob Karwin's and Matt Wahl's.

Just so you know, I don't call them at 2 in the morning and ask, "What are you wearing?"

Pirate Rick called me Friday afternoon. "Guess whose cell phone number I have that you don't."

I replied, confidently, "Brent Burns' but I'll have it tomorrow."

I told Brent the story on Saturday night and he immediately gave me his number. He then suggested I call it to make sure it was right. I did and he answered, "Kelly McGuire."

That Brent! Have I mentioned lately how adorably funny he is?

Raising The Bar - I'll Pass

I've just finished watching the first two episodes of Raising The Bar, a new show on TNT.

It's not so good.

The main characters are divided between Public Defenders and Prosecutors and they're all in their 20s, good looking and very dramatic. Mark-Paul Gosselaar strikes one note as the "the system isn't fair to my clients" guy. And, his hair and clothes are terrible. I mean, come on. No lawyer that age would look so crappy. No guy that age would look that crappy.

Disappointing show from Steven Bochco. I really expected more from the guy who brought us NYPD Blue.

It's too bad because there are a lot of actors on the show that I like and would love to see on a good show.

Too Cute To Yell At

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I was sitting on the couch and working on my laptop when I realized that George was not actually climbing on me, scratching me, biting me or squawking at me. I knew she had to be up to no good. And she wasn't as she was on the dining room table. Again.

I can't really get mad at her, though. She clearly is following in her Mommy's footsteps and can't resist the books.

Party!

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We had an appreciation party for the Arizona Parrot Head Club on Saturday night at a local hotel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Considering how I felt on Sunday morning, I might have appreciated it a bit too much. Thank the heavens for Sunday afternoon naps!
Jessie playing for us.The afternoon started out by the pool with entertainment by our own Sam Rainwater and other musical members of our club. I couldn't believe that I forgot my Vibra-slap. Again! I asked Sammy if he had brought his and he said no then followed up with, "You know why? Because I'm playing today." Ouch. That hurt. He said it was just a joke but I refused to agree that it was funny at all.
Steven having a good time.Am I a bad Mom?It was really nice outside. We enjoyed some brewskis and cigars and got to catch up with a lot of folks that we haven't seen in a while. Somehow, I ended up cash poor so Steven and The Rocket Scientist ended up buying for me the whole night. Sweet. I'll have to conside…

Book Review - New Moon

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New Moon by Stephenie Meyer



My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

More teen melodrama as Bella suffers a breakdown after Edward leaves her, becomes best friends with Jacob (who has issues of his own), gets threatened by various vamps and hurts herself. A lot on the latter. Even I'm not as accident prone as she is.

I found I actually related to the drama this time. Having had my heart shattered (only once, fortunately), I thought the description of how Bella dealt (or didn't deal) with it all was believable and understandable.

I'm looking forward to the next book to see how the relationships work out now that Edward and Jacob are enemies (of a sort).


View all my reviews.

Book Review - Fool Moon

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Fool Moon by Jim Butcher



My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book of The Dresden Files finds Harry broke, out of favor with Murphy and up to his ears in various types of werewolves. Cool. Very nice story with enough clues for the reader to guess at the ultimate villian but not enough to make it totally obvious. I'm putting the next book on my library request list - these are good.


View all my reviews.

Revenge

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I'm sooo tired.The demon, er, I mean George, is determined to not let me sleep through a full night. Every 2 or 3 hours, she decides it's play time and attacks my feet or my hands in the hopes that I'll react and interact. I usually can put her off until 5 AM or so.

If I don't give in by then, she moves on to activities guaranteed to get my attention. The first is to jump on to my nightstand and knock as many items off it as she can. The second is to jump up and swipe at a shell hanging that I got at PG that's hanging above the bed. (Which I managed to hang without The Rocket Scientist's help, BTW.)

I eventually give in and play with her for about an hour until I have to get ready to for work. By the time I leave, she's exhausted and ready for napping. Am I bitter that she gets to nap while I slave to keep her in kitten chow? A bit.

I stayed home from work today which put a crimp in her napping schedule. Every hour or so as she was curled up on the bed next to…

The Onion Covers The Brady Debacle

Read it here.

Those Onion people are very funny.

Book Review - To Hell and Back

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To Hell and Back by Lilith Saintcrow



My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the final book in the Dante Valentine series and it finds Dante finally in a death match against Lucifer. However, it took lots of pages of Dante apparently being the only one who doesn't know what's going on (and since she narrates, neither do we) with all of the crosses and double-crosses to get to that point. I did get a little tired of that and of the on and off again distrust of Japhrimel, her Fallen Demon boyfriend.

Overall, this was a good conclusion to the series and I'm glad I read them.

View all my reviews.

Final Kitty Checkup

George had her final kitten checkup this morning. She's figured out that the carrier bag isn't a good thing and almost made an escape while I was putting her in there. The car trip over involved a lot of crying but only one serious attempt to get out of the bag.

The last time we were at the vet's, I let her out of her bag in the examining room and she was all over the place. She checked out the floor, the chairs, the counter and the sink before the doc came in. This time, I let her out of her bag and she crawled out on to the exam table where she sat for about 30 seconds then it was back into the bag. And, all the way into the bag as she curled up in to the tiniest kitten shape possible. I guess she's figured out what happens in that room isn't so fun for her.

The doc said she looks good and healthy then he gave her three shots. The first one got him a dirty look from her, the second got me two "how can you let this happen to me?" looks. I told her …

Well, That Was A First

After a year of hanging out, The Rocket Scientist and I did something for the first time tonight that neither of us had done in a while. As a matter of fact, it's been so long that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

As with most first times, it was a bit awkward and we weren't very good. Fortunately, there was alcohol involved to loosen us up a bit. Despite the fact that I've been at it longer than he has, he ended up being better than I. Of course. That's so him.

There wasn't a lot of talking. Mostly words spoken softly and under our breath. I can recall a few phrases. "That was sweet." "I'm just frakked." There was one memorable exchange, too. "Will you just put it in?" followed by "I'm trying!!"

At one point, I was ready to call it a night but he wasn't content to stop without a happy ending for him so we went one last round. Fortunately, he got what he wanted on that one because I…

Happy Christmas!

I wonder how many other presents he has lying around the house for me...

It was Sugar Daddy's turn to drive to lunch today and he handed me a box when I got in the car along with a "Merry Christmas". Apparently, he'd had this box from Z Gallerie floating around, knew it was a picture frame, but thought it was one he'd forgotten to give his Mom for Christmas.

When he finally checked it out, it was a palm tree frame so clearly it was for me.

Sweet!

If It Weren't For Random Luck, I'd Have No Luck At All

I think I'd rather be lucky than good. It seems to work better for me.

The Diamondbacks pulled through for me and scored a final score of 1 to fill out my 13 Run Pool. I've got a check for a cool $300 coming my way. Sweet! Through no skill at all, I was a winner. Good luck.

We had a couple of raffles at Parrot Grande. There were separate Friday and Saturday raffles and if you bought Mulligans for the golf tourney, you got into another raffle. The Rocket Scientist and I got off the golf course to check the latter raffle's results. I won three prizes. He won none. Good luck for me, not so much for him.

I was on my way to check my Friday raffle numbers when I got held up in the restaurant talking to some folks. (I got held up a lot over the weekend and mostly it was in the bar. Coincidence? I think not.) TRS came by after checking his losing numbers so I gave him mine to check. He knew there was at least one winner in there and there was. He came back carrying a w…

Ready For Some Serious Racing!

There's a bright light in sports for me, despite the Brady debacle. It's time for the Chase! I have ten races to watch Jimmie Johnson go for his third consecutive Championship.

I actually missed Sunday's race at Richmond where he got his fourth win of the season. They moved the race time and day because of Hannah and The Rocket Scientist told me it was going to be at 1 on Sunday. Not really thinking about it, I assumed 1 our time so I turned on the TV to find…nothing.

Doh! It was 1 EST, 10 our time and the race was over. I hopped on to NASCAR.COM and saw a victorious Jimmie on the home page. That was definitely the sports highlight of the day. By like a 1000% percent.

I'm going to be much more diligent on catching the rest of the season. Jimmie's been on fire of late and I expect he's going to tear through the field like he did last year.

Go Team 48!

Completely Captivating

One of my book club pals told us about this web site last night. I started browsing and ended up losing an hour as I went through every post.

It's The Daily Coyote and the pictures alone are worth checking out but the story is about raising a coyote from a pup and is equally interesting.

Book Review - Burr

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Burr: A Novel by Gore Vidal



My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book club selection and an unpopular one as it turned out. Most of my group couldn't get past the first 50 pages. I think part of the problem for them was it's written very much like the style of the early 1800s when it takes place. Also, there are lots and lots of characters to keep track of. Some of whom are quite famous but others not so well known.

I enjoy historical fiction and I liked the book. Written from the perspective of a fictional character, Charlie Schuyler, an aspiring lawyer in the now elderly Aaron Burr's firm, there were a lot of different stories from the Revolution until Burr's death (and a little bit after that).

I always worry when I read historical fiction that I'm going to pick up some tidbit that the author made up to make the story work and think it's fact. So, I looked up a lot on Burr and the events in the book after I finished reading it and was happy to find that Vida…

Argh!

We're not even officially done with the first week of Fantasy Football and I already hate it. Stupid game!

Steven and I debated whether to start Tom Brady or Brett Favre this week. Steven was concerned that Brady wasn't going to start. I was convinced that he would because the Patriots are notorious for their misleading injury reporting.

So, we started Brady and Brady did start the game. But then got banged in the knee and is out for the season. There goes our first round fantasy pick. He got us a whopping 3 points before being done for the year.

How did Favre do? Well, he threw for 2 touchdowns and 194 yards and would have scored us 18 points. Considering that we're down by 14 going into tonight's action, we certainly could have used those points.

We also tried to be smart about our starting defense. We have Green Bay and Detroit. Green Bay's going to have a tough game against Minnesota and Detroit was playing Atlanta. Everyone's been talking about how …

Hotter Than Hades

A while back, The Rocket Scientist and I decided to see what ASU football games we could go to this year. After comparing our schedules to ASU's, the only one that was OK for us was the October game against Oregon so I bought us two tickets. We're both Alumni so it's both of ours school.

There were four tickets in the Parrot Grande silent auction for tickets for last night's game against Stanford. I consulted with TRS before I bid on them to see if we were both free and we were and I was lucky enough to get them at a great price.

So, I invited Steven and my poker chick/former bookseller friend Chris to go with us. We decided to tailgate and got to the parking lot about 4:30 to enjoy some beers and dinner before the game. It was a tad warm but not horribly so.

It was horribly so once we got into the stadium. Oyvey. We had great seats in the end zone but they were lacking one critical thing. Airflow. It was probably 105 degrees with no breeze at all. I didn't …

Biggest Loser Update

We had our 5th weigh-in on Thursday. There's only 1 month to go and some people have gotten very serious and some have given up.

I was one of the serious ones. I totally smoked my team and won this month's $100. We've decided to keep our side bet going even after the contest is over. I'd like to take more of their money so it should be a good incentive to keep going.

It's been good for all of us. Sugar Daddy is down 25 pounds, I'm down 17.5 if you count their scale but actually it's more like 12. When we did the first weigh-in, I had about 3 pints of water in me and it was after a big lunch. Both T and Dave are down, too.

The reason I won is that I've been diligent on following my 12 week plan of counting points and exercising. Parrot Grande cost me a couple of pounds but I should have those off by early next week then it's back on track to losing. This was week 4 of the plan so next week is when I move up to two workouts a week. That shoul…

A Fond Farewell

We had Eric's Memorial/Celebration of Life/Happy Hour last night. It was at the Rock Bottom that I frequent and I'm sure he would have approved of the plan.

They closed off the upstairs area for us (and it got very, very crowded as Eric was a very, very popular guy) and there was an open bar and munchies for the crowd. They'd put together a picture board and also a slide show. The picture board put me in tears right away and I could get through about 5 pictures at a time before I started losing it.

I did manage to see all of the pictures eventually. I had no idea how much of a hunter he was. There were pictures with dead animals throughout. Also, lots of pictures of his family while they were growing up and it was funny seeing Eric with an 80s 'stache and feathered hair. I've only known him for 4 years so I was just familiar with how he looked in his 40s. His 20s and 30s were something to see.

My friend Dianne had emailed me and said it just seemed surreal. …

Too Soon, Too Sudden

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He was a Big Deal.

We lost a very dear friend last week. Eric, AKA Cheap Bastard, AKA Catnip. It was shocking and sudden and tragic and I want to cry every time I think about him.

I was exchanging emails with him on Wednesday about Fantasy Football and he was actually working on his team when he had a stroke. Annette was there to call the paramedics but the doctors weren't able to save him.

It's just so hard to fathom how someone with so much energy, who was always on the go and making plans could be gone so suddenly and abruptly.

He's leaving behind an incredibly huge hole in our lives. There are so many things that we've done with Eric and Annette and so many things that we had planned to do. Trips to Key West, Rocky Point, Vegas and Laughlin. Parrot Head events in general. Competing to be the Last Man Standing, playing Hold 'Em, Blackjack and video poker (and arguing about strategies), golfing, NASCAR. There are so many things that remind me of him.

He was one of my…