Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Sugar Queen and Killer Swell

I am behind on my books and I need to write a review the second I finish them and save it or something! Most books are from the library and I return them, so I don't have them in front of me to refresh my memory. If you haven't read before, I have Swiss-Cheese Memory. Lots of little holes in there. These reviews actually help me remember what I read. Not kidding.


"Killer Swell," is a contemporary mystery/crime/detective novel by Jeff Shelby. It's the first in a series of 'Noah Braddock' crime stories. Noah is a shorts-wearing, beach living, early 30's detective, hired by an ex-girlfriend's mom to find her missing daughter. He's not sure why though. This lady hated him, and her and her rich husband broke them up. Why is she slumming for his help? As he digs, he finds that his ex-girlfriend was in over her head. It's fun, fast paced and I enjoyed the characters, like the slightly psycho twin brothers, and Noah's best friend.


I picked up "The Sugar Queen" by Sarah Addison Allen at the library after I read and really liked "Garden Spells." Like 'Garden Spells,' Ms. Allen imbues this book with charming/charmed characters that are quirky and fun. Josey is 27 and lives at home with a mom that she feels she has to make up to. Josey was a horrible child and to atone, sacrifices her adulthood to take care of her mom. She is really a shell; always agreeing, always doing, never feeling, unless it's with her candies, cakes and cookies, hidden inside her closet, away from mom's prying eyes, When Della Lee, a local waitress, is found hiding out in her closet and won't leave, Josey's life is turned upside down, or actually, right-side up.

It is also follows the story of Chloe, a local sandwich shop owner who was recently betrayed by her boyfriend. Chloe has a problem with books. they won't leave her alone. They follow her, appearing anywhere and everywhere. Self-help books and forgiveness books appear when she breaks up with her boyfriend, and follow her in her car, end up on the work counter, in the kitchen at home. She can't escape them. (Man, how awesome would that be?) Chloe and Josey meet, become fast friends, and Chloe slowly learns to find the self she lost in her relationship and how to forgive.

Della helps Josey blossom, admit love, make friends, and slowly free herself from her mom's guilt-hold over her, all from the comfort of Josey's closet. In the end, Della gives Josey something even more wonderful and magical than she ever knew.

Good stuff. Go read it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Woo to the Hoo!

Today, I received this beauty! As a gift! As a thank-you-for-everything gift from a non-relative.

I'm still kind-of in shock. We had a conversation on Monday re: my baking, and the fact that this person has one. I said something to the effect of I would love to have one, and the conversation continued to other things.

Today, in walks this! I squealed, and jumped and hugged. For the rest of the day, every time I'd look at it, I'd grin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Congrats Wall-E

I forgot to mention how happy I am that Wall-E won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

Congratulations Disney & Pixar.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dollhouse - The Target (ep.2)

Let's discuss 'Dollhouse,' shall we?

First, episode 1 was not my cup of tea. I did not feel even a teensy bit o' Joss or Mutant Enemy. Then I hear it wasn't Joss' original pilot.

Stupid FOX. Won't they ever learn? Three words: Firefly dvd sales. Enough said.

So, episode 2, "The Target," was seen as a stronger episode than 1 by the 'net folks out there. We are starting to see an arc; Alpha and his focusing on Echo. Why leave her when he killed everyone else around her? Joss is setting up the season's "big bad," me thinks, and we know how good Joss is with paying off on the arcs.

I didn't get how Echo could one minute be Miss Bad-@$$ woodman girl and the next she
can't run without falling down. How's that imprint working there for ya? I did like seeing how she's remembering her past imprints. Now we see what's starting for her; memories.

Which makes me wonder what happened to her that caused her to voluntarily sign up for this life.

Also, I am enjoying Tahmoh Pinikett (Helo!) as Agent Ballard. I saw him on Attack of the Show, on G4 Thursday or Friday, and he said Joss wrote the character with him in mind; Joss is a huge BG fan. How great is that for Tahmoh? Lucky!

WHAT is Mr. Dominic's deal with Echo? Is it just because she's such a huge security risk? He was really rude to brain-wiped, doe-eyed Echo. Loved the fist-to-shoulder thing though. It showed she understood just a bit that she was being mocked by Dominic.

I liked seeing back story on Langton. Harry Lennix is a darned good actor; I loved him in '24.' The banter with him and Topher (the one about the screaming, the blood, etc.) was good but it was the only 'Joss' banter I heard. Why is everyone so serious, Joss? I mean, Fred's got scars! I want Joss-speak! I want wit and humor, dagnabit.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Lv Ds!

My daughter just handed me this. It's a belated card. Tell me what it says.

I LOVE this! So funny.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I've never read Jane Austen. I know, I know. What am I doing not reading Austen? Several of Ms. Austen's books are on the Classics list I am going through. Imagine my joy, joy, joy, when I went into Borders one day in January and saw the their signature classic label "Border's Classics" books on sale; clearance even. I purchased "Emma" and "Pride and Prejudice" in paperback.....for $1.74 each! Seriously! I would have purchased more classics, had I not read the rest they had on clearance. A buck seventy four! Whoot!

Ok, "Emma." If you've seen the movie with Gwynith (sp?) Paltrow, I'm sorry. *snort* Kidding. It's a good movie actually, I'm just not a fan of hers. (She plays the same person over and over. ) The movie was the first introduction I had of Ms. Austen's book, not counting "Clueless" which really was a fun movie, and was based on "Emma."

The book is a hoot. I can say hoot, dang-it, if I want to. I don't care that it's antiquated. Let's use antiquated words. Much better than saying "The book's cooool!" Emma is a young lady of privilege who, God help her, is so "clueless", so snooty and snobby that she has no idea of what is going on around her. She thinks she does, and ends up making a mess of so many things. See, she thinks she's a matchmaker, and her attempts at getting people together are fun. As I read, I rolled my eyes, I sucked my teeth, shook my head. Things right in front of her nose passed her notice. She was so sure of her ideas, she couldn't hear or imagine anything else.

We have some characters! Her father, aye, her father. Mister Hypochondriac. Lord forbid you should have any opinion on health or how things should be done other than his. He's not a mean person in the least. He just thinks that his opinions are the only ones that matter when it comes to what to eat to not make you sick, that his doctor is the only one who knows anything, that his governess who married is so sad ("Poor Mrs. Weston" is how he refers to her in every conversation) she got married and left taking care of him and Emma, *sigh*.

Mr. Elton who thinks he is such the catch and his wife! His wife who thinks she is bringing culture and class to their town once she married Mr. Elton. Oh, she was a doozy and I disliked her immensely.

There are too many more characters to note. I enjoyed the twists and turns, the language, oh the language! I enjoyed the hilarity of her attempts at matchmaking, her attempts at foiling the matchmaking actually going on, and finally her recognizing that she herself should be matched with the one person she never thought of, who was right in front of her all along, chiding her, correcting her, believing in her.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Valentine Range of Emotions

Happy Valentine's Day. It's almost over now, you can relax. Radio stations here have a love/hate relationship with this holiday. Most callers talk about the pressure put on people to "perform" on this holiday. I feel for the men, I do.

This year, we did not go all out getting each other gifts. The kids each got a cool robot cookie, an inexpensive box of chocolates and a card. David got me roses, chocolates in a heart shaped box and a card, while I got him a card and some inexpensive pair of sunglasses to replace the last inexpensive pair he broke.

Emotion # 1: Tenderness/love. While surfing the web that morning, I read an article profiling the people on the plane that just crashed Thursday. David noticed my reading it, and started to ask me if I read about the lady who was flying to be her nephew's kindergarten date. As he spoke, he stopped talking mid-word and his voice cracked. I asked what was wrong. He cleared his throat and said "Nothing," but I turned to look at him and his eyes were tearing. He saw me looking and explained that thinking about that happening to that kindergartner the day before his Valentine party a school made him think of Isabel, and he felt horrible for that family. I love that my husband is empathetic.

We decided to hit a movie, just the two of us.

Emotion # 2: Frustration. David is not timely. He is not. He sleeps til the last minute and then takes his time getting ready when the rest of us have been ready for hours. He does this for parties, dinners with co-workers, airport trips. It's very frustrating, especially when the running joke is that Hispanics are always late. It's mostly true, we are. Except me. I am very punctual, to the point where when I get to Hispanic parties on time, I end up helping to decorate and set up because no one else is there. With David, I end up perpetuating the cliche'. I find it disrespectful to people, their time and schedules.

We have an hour and a half before the movie starts, but the theatre is about 30-40 minutes away. When it was time to leave, he has to use the rest room, he has to do this and that. The movie started at 2:30. We are in the parking lot at 2:29. This is Valentine's Day, rememeber? Full house. Full. We have to sit in row #2. Second row. My neck hurt. I got dizzy. The movie, Taken, (really good) is an action thriller moving at 100 mph. I had to look down at times because sitting in the second row because we left late was making me nauseous.

Emotion # 3: Gratitude. We came back home and took the kids to dinner. We had a good meal, they were well behaved and we laughed at silly things. We went to the book store to look at the beautiful books, drink coffee and eat cookies. I love that we have what we have, all 4 of us, together.

color pencils Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Host

This book by Stephenie Meyer has nothing to do with her 'Twilight' series. It is the story of our Earth years after it has been colonized by alien beings who take over a host body, as told through the eyes of one of the alien life forms. These aliens believe what they are doing is good, because humans have royally destroyed this planet.

It's a big book. I was telling a friend (Mo) how I don't like books that are that big. They either scare me off, or I feel overwhelmed that I will hate it and I'll never finish it.

The beginning was slow. A lot of useless phlebotinum to wade through at first. Once you get through the boring alien expositional stuff, about half-way through, the book gets good. The alien is fighting mentally with its Host body's thoughts. The host never "left the building." Alien and host must co-exist, the human hating the alien, fighting to keep its secrets secret; that humans are living in hiding. Humans that have not been taken over by aliens. The alien, Wanderer, begins to doubt; why are they there? Yes, humans are evil, they poison the Earth, they are greedy, manipilative, they discard their poor, etc. etc. But there are good humans, like those she meets finally, in hiding.

There are internal struggles with oneself (Wanderer) as well as with her inside voice, the human Melanie, as well as external struggles with the humans that Melanie has led Wanderer to, who hate her because they don't know Melanie is alive inside her.

Why am I having such a hard time reviewing this? I don't want to give anything away, I think. Ugh.

It's mostly a good book. Fun characters, aggravating characters, action, excitement, there's no real resolution in the end, just the hope of something better.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Does Kanga Worry About Split Ends?

We were running out of shampoo in the master bathroom. I usually keep a spare bottle of shampoo & conditioner in the other upstairs bathroom, for guests, so I knew I had spares. I walked into the bathroom to get it, while Isabel was finishing up brushing her teeth.

I pull the bottle of Aussie from the cabinet. aussie shampoo

"What's that?" Isabel asks as she looks at the bottle.

"Shampoo," I reply.

"Ahhhh," she nods knowingly, "for kangaroos." and continues nodding.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Tale of Despereaux


I read Ms. DiCamillo's "Because of Winn Dixie" and also saw the movie. I enjoyed her writing style. Plus, Niki loved this book, so I used Christmas gift cards to purchase it (*grumble grumble* I don't like that it has a "Now a Major Motion Picture" blurb on it. *grumble grumble*)

A Young Adult book (ages 7-12), this book is "cutely" written. Is that a word? I enjoy how the author is a story teller and speaks to us, gentle reader, as if we were sitting on the floor, hearing her read. She stops to explain things, to warn what is going to happen, pauses to explain the past, etc. Like an old friend telling you a story.

Despereaux the mouse is born tiny, with too-big ears and an even bigger thirst for knowledge, adventure and love. He won't behave like a mouse is supposed to! He's a gallant knight off to save his beloved princess. There are good guys, bad guys (rats! ew), silly guys and gals (a king who forbids soup. Despereaux's overly-dramatic French mom - loved her), naive nincompoops (Miggery Sow) and of course, a Princess named Pea.

It's a story about love that knows no limits or sizes. A love that will never be quite requited, but that is full of friendship and hope. A story of broken hearts (and ears) that mend a tad crookedly.

And soup.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More Mickeys

Haven't felt bloggy lately, so here are some pictures of hidden Mickeys. I took a day off from work on Wednesday to go to Magic Kingdom with some friends who were down from Atlanta at the park.

In Minnie's house, she had a figurine with Mickey windows.

In Minnie's kitchen, pots and two pans hanging make the shape of Mickey's head.

In line to Goofy's Barnstormer, there are several towers holding cooling fans. Only one has this hidden Mickey scrollwork.

While in line for the Barnstormer, I happen to look down and see this..

Isabel is holding hands with a girl. That we don't know. It was funny. The girl just grabbed Iz's hand and she was alright with it. They held hands up to the front of the ride. It was a COLD day (for us Floridians) and the static was everywhere.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Garden Spells

Garden Spells

I judged a book by its cover, I did. I mean, look at it. Is it not a beautiful picture? I want that picture in my house. I judged a book by its cover....and I am glad I did.

This is the enchanting story of The Waverly family, mainly 30-something Claire, who live in North Carolina in their ancestral home. The Waverly's have a...knack for things that are a bit supernatural and are known are rather odd in their town. Their octogenerian cousin Evanelle gives people random gifts; cigarette lighters, clean sheets and pop tarts, flash lights, etc. Random until, that is, these people realize they need these items a day, a week, a month later. Claire has a flair for cooking and baking, aided by their enchanted garden. Claire knows which herbs create sought-after moods like satisfaction, happiness, forgiveness, etc. and her catering business is thriving. Everything in the garden is used...except for the apple tree. Don't eat from the apple tree, even if it throws those apples at your feet over a fence or through your bedroom window, as it likes to do.

Claire's orderly life is thrown askew when her younger sister Syndey shows up back in town after years of absence, with a daughter, and a new handsome neighbor moves in next door. Sydney left with the thought of never coming back to this town full of prejudices and disdain for her family, what could ever make her come back? Will she and her sister ever get along? Can beautiful, talented, regimented Claire ever let down her guard enought to dare to love, even if it means you might eventually get hurt?

The writing was charming. The characters are quirky (the family where the men only marry older women, the other family where the women are known for their sexual prowess) and made me want to live there. Ms. Addison Allen's debut book is a great read. Check it out. And love the cover too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do. Not. Mess.

with Patti Lupone.


Ms. Lupone stopped the show completely because people were taking flash pictures after being told not to during the performance.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

She's a Hoot

Isabel's been going to Pre-K since August (she's also been sick since August, grrr, but that's another story). Pre-K has done wonders for her. For her first 4 years of life, she's been pretty much isolated from kids. We live in a neighborhood where there are hardly any kids her age and David really never took her to parks or anything. She did not know how to act around other kids and when her cousins came over during the summer last year, she would start crying when they would scream while playing around with each other. She thought they were upset or angry. Pre-K has been great.

Last week, David's hair was poufy. He was in dire need of a haircut. Right before picking her up from Pre-K, he hopped in the shower and combed his hair differently to tame the pouf. He walks in to her class to see her eating lunch with her classmates. She notices him and yells:

"HI DAD!!" (short pause) "What's going on with the hair??"

David calls me later at work, laughing, to tell me this. NO clue where she got this from but we thought it was hysterical!