Next Year Has To Be Better, Right?

I realize my posts have been sporadic of late but I swear it's not my fault. At least not directly. A gremlin (I suspect the same one that William Shatner kept seeing outside his airplane window) has climbed inside my hard drive and caused all sorts of evil things to happen.

I was planning on buying a Mac with my tax refund, but I don't know that I can survive with just my iPad for two whole months. We will see. Forgive what may seem like slacker behavior on my part during that time and know that I will continue to visit your wonderful blogs when I can.

On a more pleasant note, I just finished Stephanie Perkins' second novel, Lola And The Boy Next Door, which made me feel all melty inside (review to follow soon). Damn that woman can write! So I wondered if any of you have read anything lately that caused a strong reaction, good or bad. Please share.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - Movie Review

Let me just start by saying I'm not a big action movie fan. At $7.25 for a matinee ticket, I usually look for something more character driven to sink my box office bucks into. But I'm also one of the millions of people who check out www.rottentomatoes.com to get a consensus review for a movie. And with a whopping 93% "fresh" rating and comments praising it as the "action movie of the year", Ghost Protocol was hard to pass up.

I'm not a rabid follower of the franchise, although I did see the first one back in the 90s. Don't worry, you won't have any problem following this one even if you haven't seen any of the others.

You do want to pay attention once the lights go down, though, because the pace is fast and you might miss something if you are away from your seat. If you aren't on the edge of it during the briefcase scene toward the end of the movie, then you haven't been paying attention.

Ghost Protocol is fun for the whole family (no sex and not too much cursing). My daughter loved all the cool gadgets and asked on several occasions, "Do they really make those? Where can you get them?"

My son loved the cars. I told him to save his money.
BMW i8 hybrid
And I enjoyed seeing how well Tom Cruise has held up over the years (he'll be fifty next year). After the whole couch fiasco, I think this might just be the movie that redeems him. Even my kids thought he was cool and that's saying a lot.
Hello, Maverick.
And if you're one of those people who like rating systems, I'd give this one four stars, 8 out of 10 and a highly recommended.

Since I won't be posting again until after Christmas, I would like to wish you all a very merry holiday. And remember, one out of four presents are re-gifted. Think about it.

Bah Humbug Blahg Fest!

Better late than never, I always say! I got my days mixed up and thought this was supposed to post tomorrow. Try as I might, I couldn't come up with 12 things I disliked enough to talk about, but I did want to mention my top five:

1. All those self-righteous people who say, “You're not finished Christmas shopping yet?!” You know the ones. The aspiring Martha Stewarts who not only finished buying presents in November but who also make their Christmas cookies from scratch and string popcorn for their trees.

2. Non-peppermint candy canes - who thought this was a good idea?

3. The Bell Ringers – This is not a reflection on The Salvation Army as a whole, just the internal conversation all these “Santas” stimulate every time I pass them on my way to spend money that I don't really have (or would rather be saving to spend on myself later). Oh gawd, do I have any change? Is it wrong to give a handful of pennies? Look at him with that smug smile on his face. I bet he hasn't put any money into that kettle thingy. How does he know I didn't give to the last guy I passed? Don't make eye contact, don't make eye contact, don't...sh!t, now I have to give him something. They better not change shifts while I'm in the store because if I have to go through it again with a new guy, he's getting this gum wrapper.

4. Remakes of classic Christmas songs - As much as this will break my daughter's heart, I don't want to hear Justin Bieber sing anything, but especially not a Christmas classic like The Christmas Song. Don't mess with tradition.

5. The local mall - I suggest avoiding it completely between September and February. Amazon RULES!

May all of us finish our Christmas shopping before Christmas Eve (that's what I'm shooting for anyway).

Have a great weekend!


Let It Snow Book Review

From Goodreads:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. 

Thanks to three of today's bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

I really enjoyed this one. John Green is one of my favorite authors (Will Grayson, Will Grayson is FABulous) and this was my first chance to read Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. 

The thing I enjoyed the most about this collection is that the characters are interwoven throughout the stories. All of the protagonists attend the same high school and know each other by varying degrees.I loved the way each of the authors played off the other sections of the novel and it had me wondering how the writing process worked on this one.

All of the stories were sweet and funny with just enough setting thrown in to really put me in a holiday mood. I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a Christmas themed story or a good contemporary YA romance. 


We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I was supposed to do a book review on the blog today. This was supposed to be an average, ordinary Thursday. But if I've learned anything over the years it's that life sneaks up and clobbers you when you least expect it. And maybe that's what keeps us all from dying of boredom.

My dad walked out of my life twenty-five years ago this past summer. Within a year, he'd divorced my mom and remarried his secretary. I got birthday cards for a couple of years and then nothing. I heard he moved out of state and was raising a family with his new wife.

I never tried to contact him because it hurt too much to even think about what I would say. I remained deeply angry until I had kids of my own and managed to forgive him which I would compare to being able to take a deep breath again.

Today, our family lawyer called. He'd been contacted by my dad's wife stating he was very ill and wished to speak to me. When Mom told me I began sobbing. I don't know where the pain came from but it overwhelmed me. I became that young teenage girl who wondered if she'd caused her dad to leave and why I wasn't worth his time - the young woman who stayed in a bad marriage for far too long because I was determined my relationship wouldn't end up like theirs.

And as I reapplied mascara before work, I wondered if I should call him. Would it do either of us any good? Would it be worth it? I imagined how the call would go. I ran through different scenarios in my head. None of them ended up helping me make a decision and I still haven't.

I don't usually talk about anything too personal on the blog but I wanted to get these feelings out in the open because I've learned it helps me work through them. I know some of you may have gone through similar experiences and I would love to know how you ended up dealing with it.

Christmastime Is Here...

...as if you haven't noticed.

Hello elves and elfettes! I've missed blogging over the past few weeks but really needed the break. I've been decorating the house and catching up on all of the upcoming blogfests.

Even with all the warm fuzzies, it seems the holidays are never complete without a dollop of frustration, but I'm saving that list for The Bah Humbug Blahg Fest hosted by the one and only Grumpy Bulldog. If you haven't signed up yet, you should consider it.

There is also DL's DeJa Vu Blogfest where something old will be new again.

Last on my list today is a plea for help. I've been reading quite a bit of erotic romance, one of my guilty pleasures, and after all of that steamy dialogue I've found the male voice on my GPS is lacking that certain something (and if I'm not mistaken, he yelled at me today when I missed several turns in a row).

I would love to make driving in the car more enjoyable. So if any of you have found a sexy male voice (perhaps with a French accent) please share him!
Tournez à gauche, s'il vous plaît.
On second thought, I may have a wreck.


Thankful And Looking Forward

Dropping in from my hiatus to express my gratitude to those of you who have "checked in" on me cyberwise and to also wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

I've been perusing your blogs, and I'm constantly entertained by all of your witty, wise and heartfelt posts about everything from writing to parenting to relationships and beyond.

Along with Christmas decorations (which I'll be putting up tomorrow), this time of year brings out all of the new reading challenge posts for the remainder of 2011 as well as the year to come. As I've almost reached my Goodreads goal of fifty books this year (only one to go!), I thought I would get my goals in writing for the upcoming month to keep my scattered brain on track.

I'm going for the "Buddy The Elf" level and planning on reading 5-9 holiday themed books before the end of December.

I'm aiming for the "Serial Mistleto-er" level here.

I'm going with the "Christmas Tree" level on this one which is 5 or more holiday books by January 6th. And I'll probably throw in the "Fa La La La Films" bonus level because who doesn't like Christmas movies?

I've already got some wonderful books lined up to read:

Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris
Miss Read's Christmas by Dora Saint
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
A Christmas Memory & One Christmas by Truman Capote
A Child's Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

I'll be returning to regular Tuesday and Thursday posts starting December 6th. Talk to you all soon!
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