Monday, November 26, 2007

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

Ok. It's a bit sappy and probably more than a little cute - but don't hate me because I LOVE this book.

What can I say about Marley that hasn't been said in reviews all over the world? It's just a great book. If your a dog, loved a dog, wanted to own a dog, known someone who once knew someone who owned a dog - read this book. It mad me cry and laugh. It's non-fiction so it is a change from my norm but it was such a great read. In the end I think I appreciated Holly more when I was done with it. Remember: Pick up the book and a box of tissues - Marley breaks hearts.

Book Description: John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow fur ball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound stream roller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women's undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. And yet Marley's heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit's end. Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Red King's Philosophical Question

So I've been home sick with a stomach bug for the last two days, that has lead to major philosophical discussion time with the Red King. Doesn't it always when he's involved? This time the discussion came to Superheros. That also seems to be a common topic in our house. Anyway here's his question:
  • If you could pick a superhero to be, who would you pick? Why? Are you a Marvel or a DC hero? Are you something completely different?

Now for those of you playing along at home, there are some rules you must follow.

  • You need to pick a hero that you think you are like, not just one you think has cool powers.
  • It must be a hero you think represents your true "secret" identity.
  • For those players who have joined me in the COH realm, DO NOT pick your "hero". We need a well known hero to really psychoanalyze you! LOL.

An example I can use to show you is the March Hare. (Yes, darling I am outing your secret identity.) The March Hare is often referred to by our coworkers as Batgirl. This is appropriate on many levels.

  1. Batgirl has a utility belt. As a real life supermom I am sure the March Hare has one.
  2. Batgirl was really Barbra Gordon, librarian by day. March Hare is a middle school Media Specialist, aka a Librarian.
  3. Batgirl was witty, sweet, and kicked butt. All things March Hare is known for.

See this works. So I am posting this out to my readers - a challenge posed by the Red King.

  • Pick a known superhero as your alternate self and let us know why this is the hero most represented of you.

You've been challenged by the Red King and I am really curious about the results. I need to think about mine but promise to post it here. Oh, and in case you were curious, the Red King picked Dead Pool.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Silly Rabbit, Toxic Waste is for Kids!

So the biggest news on the home front this summer was the discovery that we live within 1/3 mile of one of Connecticut's largest Superfund sites. Shock was the least of our emotions. gives several meanings to the word Superfund. The definition that probably holds most to the use in our town is the following from Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English:
  • Main Entry: n
    Definition: a U.S. federal government program established for toxic waste cleanup

The truth is all this came to light when the EPA announced plans to meet with residents to discuss the future of more than 29 sites throughout out the town that are contaminated. We got a flyer to the house but it was such a plain looking flyer no one noticed what it was for. The poor little flyer found it's way into the junk mail pile and was promptly forgotten. Well, largely overlooked until a neighbor explained what it was. That was the end of July. Since then there have been several meetings and a large push by my neighbors to stop the plans. I understand and share many of their concerns. To fully understand you need a little history on the town's ongoing relationship with it's toxic waste-

"Raymark Industries, Inc. (Raymark) was a manufacturer of automotive brakes, clutch parts, and other friction components, primarily for the automotive industry. Raymark and its predecessors were located on a 34-acre parcel at 75 East Main Street in Stratford, CT. Raymark operated at this location from 1919 until 1989 when operations ceased. Raymark's manufacturing waste was historically disposed of as fill at 75 East Main Street, at a minimum of 46 residential properties, and at numerous commercial and municipal properties in Stratford. In addition, several wetland areas in close proximity to the Housatonic River were also filled in with Raymark's manufacturing waste. The contaminants in Raymark's waste consists of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin, semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), asbestos, and metals. Extensive testing of soil, groundwater, soil gas, indoor air, and sediments throughout the Stratford community has been conducted by the EPA and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP). The total population within 4 miles of the site is approximately 145,000. No known public drinking water wells are located within 4 miles of the site; however, a few private water supply wells may exist upgradient of the former East Main Street facility. Near some of Raymark's historical disposal locations, seed oysters are cultivated in the Housatonic River, and crabs and clams may also be harvested for recreational purposes. Selby Pond, located adjacent to Ferry Creek and the Housatonic River, has warning signs posted that informs the public that eels from this pond may have high levels of PCBs. The 34-acre former manufacturing facility at 75 East Main Street has been demolished, capped, and redeveloped into what is now known as the Stratford Crossing Shopping Center - which includes a Home Depot, Shaw's, and Walmart." Quoted from Superfund 365 - This site takes a one year journey examining 365 of the worst toxic waste sites in America. It's a fascinating and scary journey through the places we call home. Anyone at all intrested in the topic, and we all should be, should take a look. My hometown of Stratford, CT is day 40.

The EPA's best plan for our town it to take 26 smaller sites and consolidate their waste into one of 3 larger sites. The largest site is located three blocks from my home and while I am not keen on the idea, I do see why they are suggesting this site as the best option. The problems in our lives always seem to come down to money, don't they? This case is no different. There is only $21 million left to deal with this after the major site was capped back around 2000. It is the completion of that site that caused much of my own, and many of my neighbors', confusion. I found out about the Superfund after we moved in but, like many others whom are new to the neighborhood, thought it was a completed and finalized problem. I thought it was dealt with. Silly rabbit, there is obviously much more out there. So with money running low the consolidation plan isn't bad, it's just not necessarily the right choice.

The site near our home, referred to as OU4 or the Ball field, is smack in the middle of a highly residential area. There is a park right across from our house, complete with playground and pond. This park is also where the local high school plays football and has it's track meets. I am concerned that the most viable plan to truck this waste into the area for consolidation brings it right past this park. Yet the other two major sites are not better choices. All three sites are in residential areas. Besides ours, one is a wetland and the other is a beach area. What I do know is that the area that gets on board with the plan will have it's OU site capped. The sites that don't get completed? Well, who knows. Superfund has had it's funding slashed every year and this means less help each year for those that live around such sites. My neighbors have started a group to try and get power behind the fight - They are fighting for what they believe is the very lives of their families.

People often say something is good for an area. Prisons, half-way houses, psychiatric centers, garbage dumps, and health clinics are good things. Everyone thinks places like these will help the population in the end. Unless it's going to be located in our neighborhoods, then it's bad. These places and institutions lower our property values. We feel less safe. We feel abused. Not in my backyard! Still, someone has to live near these places. Someone has to pay the price. When it comes to toxic waste the same thing is true. The funding only goes so far. It has to go somewhere. How high a price is acceptable to pay though? Some pay for the good of the many? I get it, but when is the price too high. Lead, asbestos, and other poisons are in the land around where children play everyday. Is it acceptable to leave it? Is it acceptable to move it so it has a chance to be airborne? Children and families live near these site. It's not okay that money has to be a major factor. Where does that leave those of us who already have it in our backyards?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Dark, mysterious, and an all together great read. This book was amazing. I found it when it first came out and read it over a rainy two day period. I was totally engrossed and was sad to see it end. After recommending it to several friends, I reread the book a few weeks ago and listened to the audio on my long commute. Both the audio and book still held me enthralled. One co-worker, Wonder Woman (dubbed so by the March Hare) and I have spent every lunch for three weeks talking about this book. Wonder Woman even wrote notes in her copy, which as a librarian I am greatly disturbed by! LOL. Why is this all important? Because The Thirteenth Tale is one of those stories that gets under your skin.

The novel weaves together the lives of two women. One is Margaret Lea, a novice biographer and our narrator for the novel. It is through Margaret's eyes that we learn her story and that of the mysterious Vida Winters, England's best loved author. The tale that unwinds before us is a maze of mystery and verbal slight-of-hand. What you think you know if often incorrect and those nagging shadows of thought often prove to mean something deeper.

This is a love story written to anyone who has ever had a deep romance with reading. There is a line I love, spoken early by Margaret. "Reading is dangerous." It's in a part of the book where she talks about being so engrossed in a book as a child that she relaxed her body and fell off a wall. As a reader I understood that line. In a great book you can lose yourself within the realm of the book and not know there is any other world. Reading CAN be dangerous. Reading can let you live many lives. My greatest disappointment in this book is that it ends and there is nothing else I have found quite like it.

Book Description :
All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

What can I say. I'm a gamer who lost herself within the realm of "City of Heroes" for well over a year. I saw this book and had to read it. No regrets. It was so much fun! A superhero and a supervillian, the tale told from both sides of the spandex. This book was fast paced, hilarious, and also disturbingly deep. Who could want more out of a pleasure read?

That's the problem lately. With so much going on in life, and time just slipping away, I don't seem to get the "fun" books anymore. So much of my life is spent on the 'required' reading list. Reading for enjoyment seems a fond and distant memory. This brought it all back.

Now you may not be into the whole comic book world. You may say to me, "Fable, I want a book with substance and respectability. I can't be seen reading a book about flying crusaders and their arch nemesis!" In that case read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, it's a classic and not entirely stuffy. As for me I want a good story!

Go, pick up Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman to understand the villain. Pick it up to find the depth of character within a hero. Pick it up for fun. Just pick it up!

Book Description: Doctor Impossible—evil genius, diabolical scientist, wannabe world dominator—languishes in a federal detention facility. He's lost his freedom, his girlfriend, and his hidden island fortress. Over the years he's tried to take over the world in every way imaginable: doomsday devices of all varieties (nuclear, thermonuclear, nanotechnological) and mass mind control. He's traveled backwards in time to change history, forward in time to escape it. He's commanded robot armies, insect armies, and dinosaur armies. Fungus army. Army of fish. Of rodents. Alien invasions. All failures. But not this time. This time it’s going to be different...

Fatale is a rookie superhero on her first day with the Champions, the world's most famous super team. She's a patchwork woman of skin and chrome, a gleaming technological marvel built to be the next generation of warfare. Filling the void left by a slain former member, we watch as Fatale joins a team struggling with a damaged past, having to come together in the face of unthinkable evil.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Father Time is Overworked!

I'm not sure where the time goes anymore? Everything seems to go by so fast. It's already October and I feel as if it were only June a moment ago. Is it an age thing? Am I feeling time slip past me quicker now than I did when I was younger? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling it may be more than that. I have a feeling it's partially the age we live in that is at fault as much as it is my own AGE. Everything is faster now than it was when I was growing up, now grant you I grew up in the house that technology forgot and estrogen built - at least according to the Red King. In spite of that though, we only need to look at a few examples of the technological advances in the last 10 years to see what I am getting at.

Once upon a time, several years ago in the last century: -

  • There was no Internet. If you needed to research a topic you might have to go to the library. Now we have libraries in the 21st century. The difference? When you went to the library in the 20th century you looked your information up in a . . .gasp. . .book!

  • If you wanted to write to someone in the last century than you would write a letter and send it to that person through the mail. Now we still have mail in the 21st century, it's where you get you catalogues and Netflix DVDs.

  • In the last century, not everyone had a cellphone. You had to call some one's house phone. If that person didn't answer, you were lucky if they were technologically advanced enough to have an answering machine.

We now live in an age where we can keep in constant touch with family, friends, and work. This is both a good thing and a bad. I'm not saying it was better back than. Far from it, for I enjoy all things modern and techie. I find pleasure in the cutting edge, sometimes wildly outrageous, gizmos and gadgets. I just noticed that all this tech seems to make the world around us run a little bit faster. I can be on one of my games or talk on the phone and find hours are gone. Is it an age thing? Yes. The question become is it OUR age or MINE?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?

I think I am at that point in my life. You know the one? Where your just not sure if the choices you made in life were all the right ones?

WARNING: This will probably be one of those whiner moments that happen frequently inside the blogging world!

It's not that I don't like my life; I do. I just can't stand parts of it.

Work: I am not sure what to do about work. In the past, I never questioned my job. I loved it. While there were things I didn't enjoy, for the most part I actually looked forward to going to work every day. Work was fun. I enjoyed the people I worked with. I enjoyed the kids. I enjoyed the books. Now it has become a chore. Now I know this is true for many people and I should just sucked it up but I am having a really difficult time doing that. I WANT to enjoy my job. The love affair is over.

Marriage: I love my husband but I think we are facing a rut. Part of the difficulty is me. I know that. It's not easy to live with me and all my "baggage" - which includes an insane family, The Red King in all his glory, and a complicated but caring "college" roommate. Now, I've been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. While giving the "baggage" a name doesn't change that I have always been like that, I guess I just long for a little more support from him. Now that we know there IS a problem, I am trying really hard to work on it. I don't feel as if there is much "change" on his end. I know that he refuses to treat me differently and I guess that's a good thing. Still, I'm not sure.

Cindy's wedding: This is not something I am dissatisfied with. I am excited for her and glad to be a part. I wish I had been able to be there for her more during the events leading to this happy day. I wish she was closer. I do miss her. In fact, this category should be -

Friends: I wish I had my closest friends closer - I mean in distance. We are all so spread out, and life just keeps stepping in to make us busy. Yes, we have our online time playing COH. For that I am thankful, but even that has been far apart lately. Again, life has kept us all busy.

COH: I LOVE this game. In fact, with all the stress in my life right now, sometimes all I can think about is the game. This is a HUGE problem with J. It bothers him that I spend so much time online. It has become more of an issue in our marriage than money ever was. I wish he had some interest outside of me. I guess I should be thankful that after 11 years together he still finds me interesting but you can have too much of a good thing.

Books: Can't believe I am saying this - Don't know and don't care. It's all been crap lately anyway.

Family: I love them. I hate them. I miss them. I think I am home sick.

Maybe it's just depression setting in. Maybe it's an age thing. I don't honestly know. I am past caring, this is what the stress has done to me. It scares me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Life As We Know It.

So life as I know it has gone to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes stress is the great equalizer and I just can't deal. Here is life so far.

  • Cindy's wedding is approaching. This is a good thing, except when you take into account that I was a complete idiot and ordered the wrong size top for my bridesmaid's dress. Crisis was averted. I ended up ordering another top of the rack from California. Now I have never been to California, but my top is a native of. I know she has many people coming and many from far away. I am willing to bet money my top gets to be one of the furthest attendants going to her wedding. LOL. There was panic there, let me assure you. I should have great shoes though.
  • Work has been. . .unpleasant. I have never longed for a school year to end so quickly as I am praying for this one to end. Between budget issues and red tape, there aren't enough sick days in a school year.
  • My Great-Aunt is in the hospital. I have always had this overwhelming concern about her living alone in Queens. She's 93 years old. About 4 weeks ago, she went missing. She was in the hospital but none of the family knew. She has no children of her own and her husband died back in the late 80s. Her sister, my grandmother, is now living in Florida near my dad and uncle. Grandma has dementia setting in. I worry who will care for our Great-Aunt. Makes me worry about the future. You spend you whole life caring for other people, just to end up alone. She didn't contact anyone because she didn't want to worry us. I don't know. I think I was more worried when we couldn't find her.

Can't wait to put this year behind us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When It Rains Does It Really Pour?

So the Nor'easter hit us on Sunday, only Cindy would have a fabulous bridal shower in the storm of the season! Everyone got home safe and had a good time. It was the evening hours that seemed to bring the biggest problems. It would of course, because of high tide.

Being in coastal towns, your always a bit aware that flooding may be a problem. Since I grew up in Long Island and now live in Connecticut near the sound, I am always acutely aware of flooding. There were many evacuations in the coastal towns, our town even blew there air sirens. The brook near our home started to fill the park. We even saw a transformer blow near the police station. The whole area on the other side of the park was plunged into darkness. It was so bad, I even got to stay home from work because the town I work in was hit hard. Evacuations and shelters were mandatory in some areas.

One of the hardest hit areas was Westchester County, where our college is located. My sympathies go out to Bo. I realize this must have been a huge headache for her as head of security for the college. She was missed last night while the rest of us played COH and saved the world. (I swear I am not gloating Bo, my thoughts were with you but my gaming addiction runs deep). In fact, I thought of Bo a lot yesterday while we were playing. the Nor'easter may have flooded the college but the shootings at VA Tech also had our thoughts with her. It is almost unfathomable when something like this happens. Of course your thoughts go to the families of the victims. However, at the same time you start to consider the what ifs and the what could be items. You think about and pray for the victims - then say a prayer it's not you or yours. Sounds horrible but I am always amazed at how true it is.

Today is tax day.

It's been so busy a week and it's only Tuesday. Hmmm, makes me wonder what tomorrow will bring. Today, Cindy got her promotion to full time. I am very excited about it for her. Yet, again, I realize we are selfish beings by nature. With K and her new jobs, now Cindy. Whomever will be there to save the world with me? *Shudder* I may have to join pick-up teams or go outside into the sunlight. Sunlight! I'm a gamer. Sunlight burns. Ahhh. Hiss. This is bad. If I go outside, I might actually like it and remember what life was like before COH. I know Bo will join me but she gets home later. There will be at least 3 hours when I am on my own. I can feel nature calling me even now. I might just have to go for a walk.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

All About Cinderella

So today, in the biggest rain storm to hit the northeast in a while, Cinderella had her bridal shower. It was lovely and I absolutely loved seeing her so happy. I think it is just hitting me know that L and her beloved are walking down the isle in little over 2 months. I am so happy for her and kind of teary at the same time. So L has found her nickname in my blog - from now on she will be referred to as Cindy or Cinderella. It fits her. She is a fairytale princess and deserve every fairytale happiness. As a fellow princess, I should know. So now I will recount her fairytale as I know it:

Once upon a time. . .for that's how these things always start. . .there was an exotic beauty from NYC who grew up in a large and wonderfully mixed up family. Warm and extended, this family was her world of values and love. The young princess moved out to Long Island. She gathered more people to her, for it was hard to resist the princess' light. She grew up and went to college. Still the people flocked to her like bees to a hive. Cinderella was beloved and cherished, but alas she was unlucky in love.

Many men fought for Cinderella's attention, there was no lack of knights playing for her attention. Alas, all the dukes, kings, and lords could not give her heart what it needed. There was even one sheriff of Nottingham and a fire resistant pig boy. I know. I was there. These men tried to win her, some succeed. Some lied. Some cheated. Some became boorish and unworthy. Each time Cinderella cried, my heart would break with her and for her. Yet Cinderella is resourceful and strong. She knows that life is not always balls and carriages. Sometimes life is only pumpkins from the garden and broken glass slippers.

Then she received a newsletter and corrected the writer. He was a science fiction prince. He courted her. He wooed her. She fell head over heels. Red envelopes, flowers, and the occasional Godzilla whispered his devotion. I worried at first on her behalf. Could he be as charming as he appeared. Then he asked her to live with him. He took care of her. He took an interest in the things that delighted her. He made an effort to accept all her extended "family", and we are not all that easy to love. He won her heart and then her hand. He won me over. He was the Prince Charming that Cinderella was always looking for. Best of all, he made her happy and in that only fairy tales can be found.

So now, as the weeks to the royal ball count down, I hold my breath as I am honored to witness a storybook romance come to it's next stage. May they live happily ever after.

Hey Cindy! I love you more than you can know babe. Your my dark, beautiful, moonbeam sister and I wish you every happiness. Thank you for letting me be apart of this fairytale.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To!

Well, my birthday came and went. Simple and celebratory, I have enjoyed the entire week - but there is always something isn't there. Work hasn't been the best of places lately and that is a sad idea. I always LOVED my job but the stress and problems have changed a lot of that. It is a weird feeling to be so excited about a birthday but to be anxious about your job. Things have been weird and I'm at a point where I just don't know what tomorrow will bring. The Red King is still dealing with the aftermath of losing his teeth. K has been laid off from work. J's job may be in jeopardy, although he is so very marketable that it probably isn't an issue. Now with the money and job issues at my job, I just don't know what to make everything. Either way, the birthday was good. I got a great set of bookends, Sims 2 Seasons, books galore, and a great gaming keyboard. Only problem? My computer seems to be on the fritz. Something about the CPU fan crapping out. So a gaming keyboard is great but it's not the be all when you can't play the games. :) Either way, life is good and bad. I am very happy with most of my home life and not so thrilled about work. There are days when I feel like crying from it all but then I just go on. You get up and do it all again. That's life.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

We Want a Wii

So the Red King has come home and with him has arrived the Minotaur God. Like the warriors of the past these two have donned the horned helmets of the mightiest of hunters. The will search high and low, refusing to accept defeat. The prey? The Nintendo Wii Game System. It will be found, nay MUST be found. Only upon finding such an animal will the determined hunters return. Problem is the system seems to be sold out in our area of the country. While ordering the item may seem like an idea, it can not be done. The item of desire must be in hand for it is truly "the hunt" that is desired. The ability to say, "I have found this and won". Now I'm not sure if men feel this way but I do know that shopping for many women is like this. It is the hunt for the bargain and the item we desire. Watching the boys in action certainly seems to suggest it is the same with men. J called around and found 10 in stock at the local Toys R Us. We are not sure though if it is the pack the Minotaur God wants. He does not want a bundle pack. He simply wants the game system. We wish him luck. I wonder if we should roast a caribou or an ox in honor of his hunt? We are so modern we have lost the celebrations of life. The hunt after all was one of the biggest challenges and traditions for early man. What is the correct sacrifice for a video game system? A virtual offering? Spam?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cuddle Bunnies and A-Bombs

I haven't written personal items in a few weeks and so I figured I would make this blog a quick review of the past insanity and joyful upshots.

  • Biggest Scare. The Hubby Unit was in a bad car accident 2 weeks ago in Philadelphia. His was down there on business and his friend was driving them out to dinner. A woman ran a red light and hit them. They spent 24 hours in the hospital. J's brother took me down there to break him out. In all honesty, the hospital probably did a wonderful job but I hate not being told what is going on and seeing the love of your life in a neck brace is terrifying. I had to scream and threaten lawyers to get a doctor to come by. It had been 18 hours since J had seen a doctor so I don't feel too bad about my outburst. He is doing well, though I am concerned about his back since the last accident.
  • Superheros Unite. The girls' and I all got our heroes to Level 50 on the double XP weekend held on the COH servers. It was 48 hours of little sleep and saving the world. J set us up in one room and let us go at it. I can't believe we all did it. I am still tired from it.
  • Cuddle Bunny from Hell. I love Holly to death but she has been up my butt for weeks now. I am concerned she isn't feeling well but she seems OK except for the fact that she wants to be held and cuddled. Maybe it's the weather?
  • Jack Frost is Cruel. The weather has been bitterly cold, I feel like screaming. Just snow already and get it over with. I know spring is coming but after the late winter start I'm just not sure when.
  • The Tea Party is Over. Probably has been for a while, but like most of the beloved items of my life I didn't want to see it. The Dormouse seems to be in deep trouble and I am not sure she deserves it. I have seen so much back stabbing in the last week I can't remember what age we are all suppose to be. I understand that we work with tweens, though I don't think we need to act like the kids. Of course, this is said by the video game playing librarian. Still, I'm disturbed they are so complacent in hanging her out to dry. She, herself, is driving be batty but I think she has every right to be pissed off. Problem is I know so little of the story that it is hard to understand the final chapters. Either way, we are all in trouble over this.
  • March Hare is Freezing in February. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ranch, seems the March Hare is having troubles of her own. From the frying pan into the fire, it never seems to end for the poor March Hare. If your reading this - I'm with ya babe! I'm not sure if someone downtown is just out to get us all but man did we all end up on the slaughter list.
  • Did you say Slaughter List? Yes, yes I did. K is having troubles of her own downtown. Apparently she isn't perfect and therefore no eligible to continue in her job. Considering her coworkers seem to be improving, doesn't that make them imperfect as well? The powers that be want to help get her another job. Help her cause she is such a great girl. Well she is, but part of me know a part of this has to do with the lawsuit they don't want. K should be protected by the disabilities laws. I would really like to shove must of this crap they feed us in a pipe. Like to see them smoke that!

I just throwing this all out. Frustrating week probably doesn't mean squat to anyone. I know my writing is all over the place and this entry makes little sense. Maybe I will come back to these topics. Maybe I won't. For now let's just let it go.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Beauty by Sherri S. Tepper

Beauty has always been one of my favorite novels, dating back from when I first read it as a teen. About once a year, I pick it up and read it again. It is always like meeting up with an old friend, comforting and familiar. It was always like that, even the first time, because Beauty is a fairytale retelling. Primarily a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but interwoven with a myriad of other classic fairy tales, the story will always seem familiar and then it will go veering off into the strange. Beauty if one of the few books I have ever read where I feel both fantasy and sci-fi work together instead of against. Most of the time, when a novel tries to have elements of both genres, it works against the believability of the novel's world. In Tepper's Beauty, it is the one world that is destroying the other and so it makes sense that they would work against each other. As of my last reading, I am noticing that it wasn't quite as enthralling as I recall but I don't think most books from our youth stand up to our jaded adult minds. I still love this book. There are parts that still make me very sad and others that still surprise me. That's impressive with my line of work.

Book Description: Drawing on the wellspring of tales such as "Sleeping Beauty," Beauty is a moving novel of love and loss, hope and despair, magic and nature. Set against a backdrop both enchanted and frightening, the story begins with a wicked aunt's curse that will afflict a young woman named Beauty on her sixteenth birthday. Though Beauty is able to sidestep tragedy, she soon finds herself embarked on an adventure of vast consequences. For it becomes clear that the enchanted places of this fantastic world--a place not unlike our own--are in danger and must be saved before it is too late.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicole Kraus

Guilty pleasure or beach read in the middle of winter. I'm not sure what else I can say about the Nanny Diaries. It was a good book with a lot of disturbing issues buried under it's dark humor. I would place it in the same category of ChickLit that I would place "Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger but I enjoyed this much more. Nanny is really highered as a replacement parent for her charge and that alone disturbs me on so many levels. Makes me wonder if my students have had this happen to them. If you like similar books than you should enjoy this - it differs enough to blow other ChickLit titles away.

Wanted:One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless--bordering on masochistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Herm├Ęs bag. Those who take it personally need not apply. Who wouldn't want this job?

Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn't work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day.When the Xs marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

Several years ago, L (the Caterpillar) discovered Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde Series and introduced me to it. I loved the books, wishing there were more than three to the series. Then, L discovered Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series and shared it with me. I read them and enjoyed. However, after several books, I stopped enjoying them. I'm not a total prude, and maybe I have been working with teen books too long, the series became nothing more than a porno in a dust jacket. I don't even know where the plot ends anymore. Take than and all the books that have been ripping off Laurell K. Hamilton lately and I am crushed. I want a good action paced urban fantasy. I don't mind a little sex thrown in but if I wanted smut I would read romance. So what happened is that we managed to find 3 hopeful alternatives. L found Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison and Bitten by Kelley Armstrong look promising. I found Ill Wind by Rachel Caine and I loved it.
Book one of Caine's "Weather Warden" series drops the reader right into the middle of fast paced novel whose main character is a weather warden named Joanne Baldwin. The book has demons, wicked weather, Djinns, and gifted abilities that play out like "magic". I picked up the first three books in this series on a trip to Philadelphia and ended up reading most of the trip. I couldn't put them down. Now, I am not saying the ideas in this book haven't been done before. They have, many times. You have your smart mouthed, fast driving, magically talented heroine. There is the staple romantic male lead that happens to be supernatural in nature. The usual cast of characters are present and accounted for, I just feel Rachel Caine does it better. I cared about the characters, enjoyed the action, followed the plot, and felt the sex scenes fit the book without slowing down the story. I am up to book five in the series and still very happy with it. I actually crave the next book and that is saying a lot considering how many books I get to read for work. The series may change. It may go the way of so many others and disappoint me. I am hopeful that it won't. The writing is fast paced and fun to read. So if you are looking for an urban fantasy, liked the earlier books in similar series, or are attracted to more romantic action novels - pick this one up.

Book Description: First in the new Weather Warden series... Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life... Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Enemy of the Red King

So the New Year's bells have rung and not much has changed. There are a few things here and there but the biggest thing to hit our home has occurred to the Red King.

For years, 24 of them to be exact, my family has dealt with the Red King's illnesses in stride. He has never been what you would call healthy. Poor little brother has always been plagued by skin irritations, fevers, and stomach problems. He was sick so often, many family members accused him of being a hypochondriac. As 2006 came to a close we found out it wasn't in his head. The Red King has a severe allergy to soy. Now, many people who have heard about this have taken the stance that it should be easy to avoid these products. After all, just don't drink soy milk. Well after these last few weeks, these people can bite me. Soy is in everything! Take a look next time your in the store at the ingredients in your favorite foods. Crackers, breads, ketchup, even peanutbutter contain soy oil. Apparently 20% of the population has this allergy, which in many cases can be as serious as peanut or shellfish allergies. Yet, and here is the part that drives me nuts, NYC and many of the neighboring areas have passed a law to make restaurants stop using oils that contain transfats. So no more transfats in your fast food restaurants or you little romantic cafe. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that we are acknowledging that there are more healthy ways to prepare our foods. The bad thing is that soy oil is cheap and is the oil of choice for many of these restaurants. What this means for our household is that we can no longer eat out if we wish to eat with the Red King. So what am I telling you? All restaurants are using soy in their food? No, not all restaurants are using soy, some assure us they are using vegetable oil. Read the label - contains soy. Worse yet, is that you can't be sure because even the restaurants aren't sure if their cooking oils, margarine, or breads contain soy. So we are assured it is safe to find out that it is not. One such item that lulled us into a false sense of security was ketchup. The red king has always loved his ketchup. Heck, as a kid, there would be night when all he ate was ketchup sandwiches. We figured ketchup was okay. Never said soy on the bottle so we good, right? Afraid not. At the bottom of the label was a sentence that said "contains natural flavoring". After some research we found out this sentence normally refers to some form of soy. I just never realized the extent of this problem. From talking with others, neither did they. It is not an extremely common allergy so people without it don't know or don't care. The "it doesn't affect me or mine" syndrome. Still 20% of the population is a fairly large group and studies show, that due to our over exposure to soy, that number is on the rise.

Don't worry. The Red King isn't starving. We have gone soy free in our house as much as we can and health food stores are a major help. K even found him a ranch dressing that doesn't contain soy, which is amazing. As for much of what is in a regular supermarket. . .Well there is Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and SPAM. Neither contain soy. SPAM?! Who knew?