Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review - Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Best opening line ever: "The telephone rang, and she knew she was going to die".  
Cool, right? 
I wish I could tell you that I loved this book but frankly, I was disappointed in it.  This is a book that has two storylines within its pages.  One story follows a journalist, who is seeking to tell the story of Teresa Mendoza, the Queen of the South.  The second, and much more intriguing story is that of the Queen and her escape from Mexico to Southern Europe where she reigns over the narco mafia. 

The book was long.  And, at points, rather tedious.  However, the author does a decent job of weaving the two storylines together and I applaud him for his attention to detail.  However, the book would have been better if the journalist story had been left out.  I became fascinated with this young woman.  I wanted to hear more about her story and much less about the journalist, who ended up giving hints to what would happen next in the book.  The thing I love best about a book filled with suspense is solving the puzzle before I reach the last page.  Instead, the journalist story line gave too much away and I was disappointed.  I simply kept reading because I hate to leave a book unread. 

If you want a book that is filled with details that get in the way of a suspenseful story, you'll enjoy this book.
Otherwise, I suggest you leave it on the shelf.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Time for the Academy Awards!

One night a year, I get the TV all to myself.  The boys are ever gracious and try not to interrupt my obsession with the Oscars.  By 3pm on Sunday, I was settled onto the couch, watching the red carpet and texting three different people with my comments: Jodie, Kate and Mom.  I watch for about seven hours straight and at the end of the night, I grade it from start to finish.  
Jodie, Kate, Mom and I were blowing up the phones for a solid two hours.
Thanks for playing with me, girls!

Trends:  Strapless.  One shoulder.  A lot of pale-ish dresses (as I predicted). 
 I haven't to admit, there were very few dresses this year that I did not like.  Very few.

So, let's start with my fave.
First dress on the carpet remains the first one in my heart.
Milla Jovovich.
Gorgeous, I say.
I love love love everything about this one.

Penelope Cruz was a close second.
The color is perfect for her and I loved her glamour hairstyle.
When I think of the Oscars, this is the type of dress that comes to mind.

A surprise member of the top three was Gwyneth Paltrow.
I normally don't groove on her but I was a HUGE fan of this look.
Trendy and statuesque.

Now, which dresses brought out my catty self and created the most text message controversy?
First up - worst dress of the night.
Rooney Mara.
While I will concede, from the waist down, this dress is pretty.
I simply couldn't get past her boob flaps. And terrible bangs.

Michelle Williams
Simply put, I was disappointed.  The color is pretty but all you see is color and with her tiny pixie self, she needed something to bring her face out more.  This style isn't right for her. 
I do think she could have done better.

Viola Davis
If you know me at all, you know what is running through my head.
Just don't raise your arm, honey.

Emma Stone
I LOVE this actress.  Her bit with Ben Stiller is one of my favorites from the night.
But this dress?
Good Gawd - why didn't someone tell her there was a giant bow about to eat face?

Honorable Mention list:
Jennifer Lopez
Hair was predictable but I love the style on her.  It is probably more of a Grammy's dress but she rocked it.

Jessica Chastain
The more I stare at it, the more I like the dress.  But not on her. I would have loved to have seen her in a softer color.

Angelina Jolie
I admit it, I like the dress. 
Ang looked like she didn't care about being in attendance but she rocked this dress.  BTW, she did not deserve to have the douchebag make fun of her on stage. 
And she really could use a sandwich.

Finally, Meryl Streep.
She deserved the award and she looked gorgeous accepting it.

I was really disappointed in the show.  Billy Crystal was predictable and, at times, looked pained to be hosting.  Several of the bits were funny, Chris Rock made me laugh out loud, and the memoriam piece was one of my all time favorites.  I admit, I hadn't seen about 80% of the movies that were nominated but now I know what to put in my Netflix queue!

But the Oscars needs to change it up with a different host.  Jodie suggested Jimmy Fallon or Conan O'Brien.
I fully agree.  Funny and they know most of the folks.  Jimmy Kimmel would be a great choice, too.

My grade:  B-.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

finding my inner american girl

For as long back as I can remember, my mom bought my sister and I one doll a piece for Christmas.  One special doll a year.  I suppose every mom wants her daughters to play "mommy" and love their "babies".  And my mom gave it the best try for YEARS.  My sister and I would roll our eyes but looking back on it, I love my mom for wanting us to have our own special babies. 
For what it is worth, my sister and I did become Mommies but both of us are the working parents in our families (by choice) and neither of us learned to cook (also, by choice).
Some gender tendencies stick and others simply wash away!

Anyhow, my mother's patience and trying has paid off for my sweet niece Lorelli loves dolls. 
American Girl dolls to be specific.

For her ninth birthday, we visited the American Girl store. 
All I can say is WOW. 

There are no words to describe this store.  A store filled with hundreds of dolls and thousands of little girls, running over one another to pick out doll outfits and accessories.  Ok, hundreds and thousands may be an exagerration but I do swear a mom or two knocked me over, in their haste to get to a specific outft.

Lorelli used her Christmas money to buy a new doll.
Meet Cecilia!
Cecilia may be "Marie" now because her name was going to be changed but I haven't heard a final update.
Either way, the birthday girl was in love.
And Katelyn really likes her new friend, too.

Or so I'm told.

I wish I had pictures of my mom's face as she walked around. My sweet mom couldn't help herself and had to pick up about a half dozen outfits for the two dolls.  I swear, if these dolls had been around when my sister and I were little girls, my mom would have saved every last penny she could find so we could have one.

As for myself, I don't think I found my inner American Girl after all.
She was frightened off by all the freaky dolls!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

my crafty self

Anyone who knows me, knows the last word I would use to describe myself is "crafty".  I am lucky to surround myself with plenty of crafty folks (Mom, Melinda, Michelle) but being crafty just isn't me. 

That being said, I've been going nuts about my jewelry box.  I can't tell you the number of times I would lament the disorganization to Eric.  He finally responded with "get a 1x4 piece of wood and put some nails in it and hang your necklaces."  Which is exactly what I wanted him to say...and then do for me.

Melinda showd me a picture from the dreaded beloved Pinterest, where a woman used doorknobs instead of nails and I was sold.  And yet, my non-crafty self was stressing over finding the right knobs, painting the piece of wood, hanging it up and spending a ton of money, trying to figure it out.  If this befuddled frame of mind doesn't convince you that I'm not ready for Pinterest, I don't know what will!

So, to make a long story short, I finally ended up with hooks (cost= $3.00) and screwed them into the drywall. 
I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

On a completely unrelated side note, I am thinking I might start curling my hair.  I haven't done this in years but as I grow out my hair for Jodie's wedding in August, I'm tired of it looking like an overgrown bob.

What do you think?

I'm just not sure...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pinterest and Me

It seems everyone and their mother is on Pinterest.  Everyone...but me.  I realized yesterday, as my hairdresser was suggesting a school project to me to which I responded "don't tell me you found that on Pinterest? (she had), that I may be the last person on earth, refraining from Pinterest.

Are you on it?  From what I hear, it is fantastic.  From what I hear, it is wonderful for new ideas. From what I hear, I'm really missing out.

Here are my reasons from refraining:
1.  My perfectionist self will feel insecure when I see the great projects done by others.
2.  My non-crafty self will feel insecure when I see the great projects done by others.
3.  My frugal self doesn't have the extra money.
3.  My busy self DOES NOT HAVE TIME!

When all is said and done, I don't have time to pick up a new obsession.  I know there are great ideas on there; inexpensive and fun.  Projects that I could do on my own.  Meals I could even make for us.

In order to find all those projects and meals, it would require time on the computer.  And something would have to give. That something would be time, at home, with my boys.  If I was on Pinterest, we wouldn't have made a dump run today or cut up all the branches in our yard.  I wouldn't have deep cleaned our upstairs or done five loads of laundry.  I wouldn't play board games or make train tracks with Alexander.  I wouldn't watch Glee with Eric.

Of course, if I had an iPad (I REALLY want one!), I bet I could find the time.
I mean, I find time to blog, right?

Have you found something on Pinterest that would change my mind?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I do love me a biography.  And this one certainly doesn't disappoint. 
The book follows the life of Louis Silvie Zamperini, a cheerful and charasmatic individual.  The book travels from his wild childhood through his years of training for a stint at the 1936 Olympics (can't help but realize how ironic it was that he shook hands with Hitler), his incarceration during WWII as a Prisoner of War and his struggle to survive the aftermath. 

The story is incredible.  The writing is vibrant.  And the characters belong in a movie on the big screen.
There were moments when it became too heavy for me and my heart broke for what this man experienced at the hands of his enemies.  He couldn't escape from his past and astoundingly, found inner peace that led to a life of service leadership.


Underlying it all is the character of Lous Zamperini. 

I am pretty sure I would have loved the chance to have a cup of coffee with this guy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

how have i never known about this place??

Today, Melinda and I had girls day.  We started at IKEA.  In typical "Michelle and Melinda" mode, we walked and talked.  At some point, the conversation turned to accessories.

Melinda, with a huge giggle, "OMG, have you been to Charming Charlies?"
Me:  "Uh, no"
Melinda:  "How much time do you have?"
Me: "All day. Especially if the plan involves shopping."
Melinda: "YES!  LET'S GO!"

I'm about 99% sure I did a happy dance the minute we walked in to the store. 

Jewelry.  Purses.  Shoes.  Clothing.  Sunglasses. 


After 45 minutes of Melinda following my giddy self around, I walked out with a few delightful AFFORDABLE goodies.  I was so giddy that I laid everyting out so I could share it with you!  Nothing better than laying out clothes on a stair and snapping photos!

I am so in love with this coral tunic.  I am also the owner of several new necklaces, along with dangly earrings that I love, love, love.
I'm already looking forward to my next visit. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a spring purse...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

step 1...

Choosing a timeshare!!

We want to visit my brother's family in June, right when summer lets out for the summer. The first time Eric and I went to Orlando it was in late June and HOT, HOT, HOT!  We didn't experience any hurricanes and the weather was actually pretty comfortable.  Yes, it will be warm and humid and the boys will probably going to hate it but not me! 
Last night, Eric and I spent time looking at various timeshares.  We prioritized a few but mostly emphasized that we wanted transportation to the parks.  Mom did some searching for us today and VOILA! 
Thanks to my awesome parents for letting us use their timeshare points, we have a place to stay for a week in June!! 

The best part is the bus transportation to and from the parks so we won't have to bug my brother or sister-in-law for rides every day.  I imagine we will end up with a rental car for a few days so we can hang out at their house for a day (look at how cleverly I invited myself over...) and to Universal Studio so my brother can show us his mucky-muck self and I can ride HARRY POTTER! 

Thanks for the timeshare, Mom and Dad!  We really appreciate it!

Step 2 - Flights to Orlando!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm an Auntie!! Again!!

As I slowly move from out of my fever-heavily-medicated-induced haze, I thought it was time to blog about my newest nephew! 

As my brother posted on FB last Friday,
"On this date at 2:22am EST Calvin Daniel made his first appearance to the world. He is 20 inches long, weighs just under 7lbs and is the joy that Lissa and I never knew we were missing." 

Love him.  So much.

And my brother.  And my sis-in-law.

I'm so determined to visit the little guy in June.
Until then, I am anticipating our first Skype date!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Update on Ms. Kelly and other random tidbits

God is good!  After ten hours of surgery, the doctor was able to remove 60% of the tumor on Friday.  The rest of the tumor will be removed on Friday morning, due to scheduling issues with the hospital.  Best of all, the tumor is BENIGN!  Kelly is in great spirits.  I spoke with her on Sunday and nothing about that girl has been altered!  Time will tell what the full effects are, after this last surgery, but all signs point to a good recovery.

I'm sorry I didn't post sooner but I have this nasty sinus cold. I can't remember the last time I couldn't knock a cold right out of my head, after a few days of Theraflu. I even left a Superbowl party at HALFTIME to crawl into bed.  I never leave a party!  This bugger is all up in my sinus cavity and down in my chest. It's a doozy.

If you happen to have any prayers left over, Dad has gallbladder surgery on Wednesday.  Rather routine operation but with Dad, there is no such thing as routine!  Please pray for no complications and a smooth recovery.

Tomorrow, my niece, Lorelli, turns 9. 

My nephew could be born any day. 

I sure have a lot to be thankful for.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

prayers for kelly

If you read my last post, you know how much important my students are to me.  A few favorites have moved past that place of being a former student into that of a friend.  There is a select group of six who mean the WORLD to me.  I mentored them throughout high school and even went with them on their senior trip to Disneyland.  I've watched them travel their paths through college, boyfriends, marriages and births of children.  I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of the women they have become.

This last October, four of them gathered and took me out to lunch.
Tonight, sweet Kelly (far right in the red), is at Harborview.  Tomorrow she is scheduled to have a tumor removed from her brain. 
Please pray for her health, doctor's steady hands, no sign of cancer, calm for her worried family, and a speedy recovery so she can get home to her sweet baby girl, who was born in December. 

Be strong, Kelly