April Nightstand

I had five reviews post this month with nothing TBD! I also was able to catch up on some personal reads over Spring Break, which is good because I’m headed into a review book-heavy period. Tell me, have you read anything good lately?

Want to know what others are reading?  Click on over to Nightstand.

On my nightstand:  The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. This was going to be my “book published in 2016” but I got an ARC and I don’t include review books  in the challenge if at all possible. It’s the long-awaited book three in The Passenger series.

I’m listening to:  The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) for “a murder mystery.”

Reviews and Other Posts:

  • Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein.  A character-driven novel set in North Carolina that deals with mental illness, parenting, football, and love that was meant to be.
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz, read by Madeleine Maby. Tanya Dubois is on the run, changing her identity while trying not to get caught. Fast-paced doesn’t even describe this novel.
  • Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway. Estranged sisters are reunited when their ailing mother asks them to find a book about a woman Samurai who may be their ancestor.
  • Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, read by Santino Fontana. This is the sequel to You and picks up right where that one left off. After Joe finds out Amy was just using him, he follows her across the country to LA, where he’s dazzled by Hollywood.
  • Take Wendy Wax’s Cheez Doodle Challenge and enter to win a copy of then latest noel in the Ten Beach Road series.

Personal Reads:

These fit categories for this year’s Pop Sugar Challenge.

  • A book with a protagonist who has your occupation – Chaos Theories by Stephen Banks.  This is a big stretch for the category but it’s about a guy that works in a software company, so close enough.
  • A book that’s under 150 pages – The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
  • A book set in Europe – The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  • A book that’s becoming a movie this year – Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, read by Madeleine Maby
  • A book set in your home state (NJ) – Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart, read by Christina Moore
  • A book about a road trip – An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

That’s it for me this month.  Check out 5 Minutes for Books for what’s on nightstands across the globe!

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Daybook: April 11

I haven’t posted in a while, as usual, so this is covering some events over the last month or so.

Outside my window…  It’s raining. Blah. At least it’s not like Jersey where it rains pretty much the whole month of April.

I am reading…  The Royal We by Heather Cocks. Listening to Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. Both are for the Pop Sugar reading challenge.

On stage… In March was Zach’s first performance of Peter Pan, put on by his school, where he played Captain Hook #2 — he was in the last scene with Hook where he kidnaps Wendy, swordfights with Peter, and is chased off stage by the crocodile. He had less dialogue than the other Hook but the much more physical parts, and he absolutely loved it. The kids were really cute, the costumes were awesome, and there were some pauses and issue with the lights but overall they did really well for kids ages 5-11.  Sunday was the second performance, in the afternoon, and the kids did much better this time.

In Easter…  We don’t really do a whole for Easter around here. We dyed eggs Saturday night, the bunny came Sunday morning and filled their baskets, we went to see Zootopia, and for dinner we got a spiral ham and fixings from Sam’s. Pretty low key day but it was nice. Alex was fighting a cold of some kind so he didn’t want to do much.

For Spring Break…  Alex went to Europe, the rest of us went to Florida. Trip report coming soon, at least for Florida.  He had a great time, though I think he was happy to come home. He went to Amsterdam for 3 days, then drove from there through Belgium to Paris, where he spent another 3 days.  There was an option to add London but we didn’t do it and I think it was a good decision. He gets tired of having everything planned and even their free time wasn’t totally free since they were with a chaperone. He liked the more open days like the gardens in Amsterdam, and he liked Versailles. It was a good experience and I’m glad we were able to give it to him.

This week…  As we near the end of the school year (33 days to go!) things are winding down, though this is kind of a crazy week. Chess and Scrabble are over, so Zach only has choir and ambassadors. He also has a den meeting, and starts his lacrosse clinic this week. He also has breakfast with the third grade teachers, which he won at the silent auction. Alex has a troop meeting, plus track practice every day with a meet on Wednesday. He’s supposed to go camping at the Air Force Academy with his troop this weekend, thought it will depend on the weather. I have PTO tonight and a dentist appt tomorrow, plus Scout committee meeting Thursday. Jon is taking his Praxis exam (one of the teaching exams) tomorrow, and has a Scout district committee meeting.

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March Nightstand

I had five reviews post this month, and one more is written but not yet posted. I’m heading into a bit of a review book break, which means I get to get caught up on some personal reads on my upcoming Spring Break trip. Tell me, have you read anything good lately?

Want to know what others are reading?  Click on over to Nightstand.

On my nightstand:   Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway. Estranged sisters are reunited when their ailing mother asks them to find a book about a woman Samurai who may be their ancestor.

I’m listening to:  The Passenger by Lisa Lutz, read by Madeleine Maby. Tanya Dubois is on the run, changing her identity while trying not to get caught. Fast-paced doesn’t even describe this novel.

Reviews and Other Posts:

  • He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker, read by Kate Rudd and Olivia Song. A woman is shocked by her best friend’s suicide, and while cleaning out her apartment, begins to suspect it may not have been suicide after all.
  • When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker. A newly widowed (widowered?) father of three begins receiving letters from his wife, written while she was undergoing cancer treatments, discovering secrets he isn’t sure he wants to know.
  • Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany. Two sisters, separated when their mother surrenders them to the state, find each other as adults and struggle to build a relationship.
  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky.  I like books where Greek gods are living in today’s time, and this one mixes a murder mystery with the mythology.
  • The View from Prince Street by Mary Ellen Taylor. I finished this one in January but only got the review written this month. It centers around two women who must face demons from their past.

Reviews TBD:

  • Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, read by Santino Fontana. This is the sequel to You and picks up right where that one left off. After Joe finds out Amy was just using him, he follows her across the country to LA, where he’s dazzled by Hollywood.

Personal Reads:

These fit categories for this year’s Pop Sugar Challenge.

  • A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. This is kind of a weird category, so when my online book group picked this for an epistolary novel, I figured I could make it fit. I loved the movie and really enjoyed the book, even though they have some big differences.
  • A book written by a celebrity – Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham, read by the author. Graham’s narration felt like she needs to cut down on the coffee and take a breath, but I enjoyed her story of an actress trying to make it in NYC.

That’s it for me this month.  Check out 5 Minutes for Books for what’s on nightstands across the globe!

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Daybook: March 13

Outside my window… it’s cool, but a nice night.  I’m not a big fan of daylight saving time but I am happy I was able to go for a walk at 7pm.  It was getting dark but not too cold. We’ve had great weather lately and I really hope this is it and winter is really over.

I am reading…  When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker.  Listening to Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, which I’m really enjoying.

I am watching…  Right now I’m watching Walking Dead. Which Alex has started watching on Netflix. I told him to just monitor himself and if he gets too freaked out to turn it off. But at 12 I think he can handle it.

This weekend…  was a somewhat busy one. Friday night was PTO skate night, which the kids always love. Saturday morning we all ran the St. Patrick’s Day 5k. My official time was 50:55, so not a PR but still a good time considering I haven’t been walking outside much. After the run we went over to get our free beer and watched the parade. We sat outside a nearby bakery so couldn’t really see much. By the time we got our act together to figure out lunch all of the restaurants with outside seating were full, and since we had the dog we just ended up going home.

Today we went to the Globetrotters game, two of our friends have daughters who twirl in a baton group and they were performing at half time. After the game the players were available for signings, and Alex brought the ball and Zach the headband that we bought last time we went. Then we went for dinner since this week is Great Plates (aka restaurant week) but the place we went wasn’t that great.

This week…  Alex has track practice every day and a meet on Tuesday. No Scouts for him this week because it’s Spring Break for the kids in another school district.  The school play is next weekend so Zach has dress rehearsal as well as another rehearsal, then the play is Saturday evening with a dinner an auction, then Sunday afternoon is just the performance. He also has Scrabble and Chess Club, and a pack meeting.

Saturday we also have a pancake breakfast at Jon’s school for one of their parents who has cancer, followed by the St. Baldrick’s event where all 3 of them are getting their heads shaved.

A Picture Thought…

2016-03-12 08.28.30

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Daybook: February 29

Well my last daybook was the first day of the month, I guess it’s fitting that this is the last day of the month? And Leap Day, no less.  Today’s Google Doodle is cute.

Outside my window… It’s going to be another gorgeous day. Yesterday was in the 60s and sunny, and I didn’t have much to do around the house so sat outside and read for quite a while. Jon and I went on a 2.5 mile walk, and we made the kids play outside. The weather is going to be like this for the foreseeable future and I am definitely not complaining.

I am reading…  Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany, listening to He Will Be My Ruin by KA Tucker.

In sports… The wrestling season ended this weekend.  Alex won 2 of his matches and lost 4, I think.  He was supposed to be in the JV conference tournament on Saturday but he hadn’t been to practice for various reasons (including his not wanting to go) so the coach didn’t enter him, and then he decided to just not do it.  Track starts today, which he’s excited about. We got him new sneakers this weekend so he’s all set.

Basketball also ended this weekend, though Zach missed the game because he was at the aquarium for a Cub Scout overnight.  They only won one of their games (I’m assuming they lost yesterday) but the kids had fun. He wants to do a lacrosse clinic in the spring, it’s once a week for an hour with no games so at least it’s low stress. We just need to get him the gear.

In Scouts… Alex got his First Class rank last week, so he’s officially on the road to Eagle.  The requirements for these ranks are easier, I think, as they just have to earn so many merit badges and earn volunteer hours. The volunteer hours are easy for him as he needs them for NJHS too, and he helps with Zach’s chess club each week.

In growth…  Both boys got new sneakers in the last couple of weeks. Alex now wears an 8.5 (jumping a full size since October) and Zach wears a 3. He’s got small feet, though so did Alex.  Alex is in size 14 clothes and Zach is in a 10, or 10-12, which means we’re at the point where clothes (mostly pants) are going directly from Alex to Zach.

In health and wellness…  Well I had hit 11 lbs down, but then had a bad food week last week and went up a little.  I’m still down just about 10 lbs.  I’m using My Fitness Pal to track food, and have been doing some kind of exercise almost daily.  I really like the Zumba World Party for the XBox, I’ve now done all of the 40 minute medium intensity workouts and several of the 60 minute.  The high intensity are a but much for me just yet but I’m working on it.  I’ve also been doing Walk Away the Pounds and pretty much have the 3 mile walk memorized so need to get another DVD.  Now that the weather’s nice I want to start walking outside more too, we’re doing the St. Patrick’s Day 5k and I’d like to PR, which means under 48 minutes.

 

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February Nightstand

Nightstand already?  Short months always get me. I’m a bit behind on reviews but plan to get caught up soon.

Tell me, have you read anything good lately?

Want to know what others are reading?  Click on over to Nightstand.

On my nightstand:   Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. This has been on my to-read list forever, I absolutely loved the movie. My online book group is reading this so I’m squeezing it in between review books.

I’m listening to:  He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker, read by Kate Rudd and Olivia Song. A woman is shocked by her best friend’s suicide, and while cleaning out her apartment, begins to suspect it may not have been suicide after all.

Reviews and Other Posts:

  • What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine. Six-year-old Izabella stops speaking after a family tragedy, and eight years later, her mother and grandmother bring her back to the place where it happened in hopes that she’ll be convinced to talk again (I totally stole this summary from Dawn’s post of my review on the 5M4B Facebook page).

Reviews TBD:

  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky – review will post next week.  I like books where Greek gods are living in today’s time, and this one mixes a murder mystery with the mythology.

Personal Reads:

These all fit categories for this year’s Pop Sugar Challenge.

  • Satire:  Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  by Maria Semple. I’m not really a big fan of satire, it tends to be too over the top for me. And there are some aspects of this story that border on the ridiculous, but I still really liked it.  It’s read by Kathleen Wilhoite, whose acting I’ve enjoyed, and she also sings an amazing version of O Holy Night that’s part of the story.
  • A book from Oprah’s book club: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, read by A long time ago I made a vow to never read another Oprah book but this one had amazing reviews, and it was a good choice. I didn’t realize it was based on the real-life story of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, who were a huge part of the anti-slavery movement and also could be said to have started the women’s rights movement.
  • A dystopian novel: Reached by Ally Condie – the third and final book in the Matched series. I read Matched last year as my pick for a book with a love triangle, then reach Crossed to find out what happened next.  I thought this series was ok, as far as dystopian teen angst goes.

That’s it for me this month.  Check out 5 Minutes for Books for what’s on nightstands across the globe!

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Daybook: February 1

So I haven’t posted a daybook in a month, since the kids have been back to school life has been our usual crazy busyness and I don’t spend as much time in front of the computer in the evenings as I’ve been working out.

Outside my window… It’s snowing.  We have probably 6″ so far and are expected to get at least 12″ by the time it’s done tomorrow. The kids had school today but all after-school activities were canceled, as was Scouts tonight and city offices are closing early. I expect at least a late start tomorrow, if not a snow day.

I am reading…  What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine for review.  I am listening to The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, which is my pick for a book from Oprah’s Book Club for the Pop Sugar challenge. As a rule I stay away from Oprah picks so this was kind of a hard category, but this one has excellent reviews on Goodreads.

I am watching…  Thanks to the Christmas hiatus, we’re mostly caught up. We have a couple episodes each of Grimm and Elementary, and have been staying current on the other shows that are airing new episodes. I know once new shows start airing we’ll be behind again but that’s ok.

In sports… Alex has had two wrestling meets so far – the first one the other team didn’t have a lot of kids on JV, so he wrestled exhibition against another kid on his own team, and he won. He did really well, he was happy. His second meet he fought hard but ended up losing by points. He was close to pinning the other kid but time ran out.

Basketball has started for Zach as well. His team is mostly second graders, he and his buddy are the only third graders and neither one is a star player. They got destroyed at their first game but did much better their second game, though they still lost.

In Scouts… Alex achieved First Class rank a couple of weeks ago, he’ll receive the award at the next Court of Honor. He’s also now a Patrol Leader, which means he’s in charge of one of the groups of boys during meetings, and helps plan the meetings once a month. Achieving the next rank requires merit badges and volunteer hours, plus some leadership. He needs volunteer hours for NJHS anyway so those shouldn’t be hard to do. Getting him to work on merit badges is a little harder.

In other activities… Let’s see.  Zach is doing chess, he placed 25th in the chess tournament last weekend, with 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 losses. He’s in the third-fifth grade category now and there are some really good fifth graders, plus he doesn’t really practice. Our school’s team did really well, earning 5 of the 9 awards.

Zach was in Scrabble club, but intramurals have started and those are the same day as Scrabble, so he has decided he’d rather do the intramurals. He’s also an Amabassador for this semester, which he’s excited about.  The school is also doing a play this year, Peter Pan, and he wants to do that. First rehearsal/parent meeting was supposed to be today but was cancelled due to the snow. And of course he has Scouts too, the Pinewood Derby was this weekend, I don’t know what place he came in but he was last in every race he was in. Oh well, he had fun.

This weekend…  Saturday morning was the Pinewood Derby, then Zach had a basketball game. Jon went to a Scout recognition lunch, I thought he’d be recognized for his work on day camp but he wasn’t.  For dinner we went to friends’ house and had a really nice time. Sunday was mostly a lazy day but we did drag our butts down to Denver for the Marvel Universe Live show.  Zach, dressed in his Thor costume, loved it; Alex liked it too though he was over the target age range.  Thank you Aunt Nunu for the tickets!

 

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January Nightstand

It’s nightstand time again! My reading (and reviewing) slowed down some this month as we returned to the busy life of work and school. Tell me, have you read anything good lately?

Want to know what others are reading?  Click on over to Nightstand.

On my nightstand:   What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine.

Listening to:  Reached by Ally Condie – this is the third book in the Matched series, and I’m reading it for my book from the library in this year’s Pop Sugar challenge.

Reviews and Other Posts:

  • The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. This novel revolves around the sex trafficking industry and a bachelor party gone very wrong.
  • What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross. A woman takes another woman’s baby and raises her as her own daughter.

Reviews TBD:

  • The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone, read by Lauren Fortgang.  This is the type of YA I like – written for young adults but enjoyable by all adults. It’s a murder mystery involving an MMORPG world and a stolen (digital) spear but there are lots of pop culture references, a romance, and a likable protagonist.
  • The View from Prince Street by Mary Ellen Taylor. I finished this last night so haven’t had a chance to write it up yet, but I liked it. It’s the second in a series and I haven’t read the first but it focuses on a different set of characters so I don’t feel like I missed too much.

Personal Reads:

  • Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin, read by Cynthia Nixon.  This is one of Giffin’s older novels, intertwining the stories of the mother of a little boy burned in a fire and the wife of the doctor who treats him.
  • Smoke by Catherine Mackenzie. This book about an arson investigator dealing with a fire in her own town and her marriage falling apart was highly recommended by a good friend, and I also enjoyed it.
  • Naked in Death by JD Robb. This was my pick for a romance set in the future, and I think it’s a good series to listen to on occasion when I have nothing else in the queue.

That’s it for me this month.  Check out 5 Minutes for Books for what’s on nightstands across the globe!

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2016 Goals

I know goals are supposed to be specific, measurable, and attainable.  I get that, and I know why, but for my goals for this year, I’m going to be a little more general, which I think will make them more attainable. These are, as always, in no particular order.

  1. Shop at the new mall once it’s fully open.
  2. Complete the Pop Sugar reading challenge.
  3. Attend 4 cultural events – a play, festival, concert, art show, etc.
  4. Volunteer with a charity or other organization (Scouts and school do not count).
  5. Eat at 4 new restaurants, or try 4 new foods, or a combination of the two. Food trucks count.
  6. Travel some place new – a new state, a new city in Colorado, a new place in Fort Collins. I’d like to do 4 of these as well.
  7. Redo the boys’ rooms – change the borders and stickers, and paint if necessary.
  8. Make lip balm with kit.
  9. Complete a puzzle, preferably The Starry Night, but one of the others we own would be good too.
  10. Walk/run a 5k.  Optionally, achieve a PR.
  11. I need an exercise/fitness/health goal, but I don’t want to put “lose weight” or “get healthy.”  How about this – change my eating and exercise habits in a way that make a difference to how I look and feel?  That’s not really measurable but I think I’ll know if I’ve done it.

I think I’ll stop there, since it’s actually a decent-sized list.  Wish me luck!

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2015 Goals Round Up

My rolling job situation this year made it hard to do a whole lot, plus our busy schedules don’t leave a lot of free time. Here’s the results of my goals.

  1. I completed the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, and also read 91 books this year (1 more than my goal of 90).  
  2. From the Fort Collins Bucket List, I completed these:
  • TRY TRADER JOE’S – Try? I’m there often. 
  • TAKE A TOUR – we did a brewery walking tour and a distillery tour. 
  • GET YOUR IRISH ON – 5k and parade, check. 
  • KICK IT OLD SCHOOL – this means go to the drive-in, which we did (Inside Out and Minions) 
  • SEE THE CITY THROUGH MAX – Max is the new bus system that runs parallel to one of the busy streets in town and takes you into Old Town. We’ve done it a few times. 
  • GET FESTIVE – we did the Brewer’s Festival. 

We did not:

  • HIKE HORSETOOTH  Ø
  • CHEER ON THE RAMS – we didn’t make it to any football games this year. Ø
  • TAKE IN A SHOW – wow. Sad. I’ll blame lack of funds for most of the year and the fact that we were out of town during the big summer music festival. Ø
  • TRY THE TROLLEY Ø
  • RAFT (OR TUBE) THE POUDRE Ø
  • THROW A FRISBEE (at the CSU Oval) Ø
  • HAVE THE BEST COSTUME (i.e. the Tour de Fat bike parade) Ø
  • GET SPOOKED (Haunted tours) Ø
  • HAVE A MALL RAT MOMENT (the new mall isn’t fully open yet, I plan to go when it is) Ø

12. Take a trip to a beach – We did this when we went to NJ during the summer, we had a great day at Point Pleasant with friends. 

13.  Finish Alex’s stocking. Sigh. Ø

14.  “I want to hit 1,400 [miles]. At 2400 steps per mile, I’ll need to walk 3,360,000 steps, or 64,000 steps per week.”  I only did 955 miles, 2,318,427 steps.  I could blame being unemployed or my long commute for a couple of months, but I really have no excuses, I just didn’t do it. Ø

I’m still working on my 2016 goals. I think they’re going to be a little less specific than these were.

 

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