Books of 2012…that I actually read

It’s my end of the year book list again.  Looking back, some were winners and some were just total crap.  So with that in mind, here’s the list:

1.  The Sixth Man:  David Baldacci

2.  Red Mist:  Patricia Cornwell

3.  The Big Bad Wolf:  James Patterson

4.  London Bridge:  James Patterson

5.  Freddy and the Clockwork Twin: Walter R. Brooks

6.  Mary Mary:  James Patterson

7.  Fatherland: Robert Harris

8.  Year of the Chick:  Romi Moondi * none other than our fellow blogger!!

9.  Cat & Mouse: James Patterson

10.  Double Cross:  James Patterson

11.  I, Alex Cross:  James Patterson

12.  Cross Fire: James Patterson

13.  Hunger Games:  Suzanne Collins

14.  Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins

15.  Mocking Jay: Suzanne Collins

16.  At Home on Ladybug Farm:  Donna Ball

17.  Cross: James Patterson

18.  Cross Country: James Patterson

19.  Love Letters from Ladybug Farm:  Donna Ball

20.  Me Talk Pretty One Day:  David Sedaris

21.  The Weird Sisters:  Elenor Brown

22.   13 Reasons Why:  Jay Asher

23.  Heaven is Here:  Stephanie Nielson

24.  When You Are Engulfed in Flames: David Sedaris

25.  The Cinderella Deal:  Jennifer Cruise

26.  Girl Walks Into a Bar:  Rachel Dratch

27.  The Family Fang: Kevin Wilson

28.  Kill Alex Cross:  James Patterson

29.  I Didn’t Ask to be Born:  Bill Cosby

30.  Bet Me:  Jennifer Cruise

31.  Good Grief:  Lolly Winston

32.  Welcome to Temptation:  Jennifer Cruise

33.  The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb:  Melanie Benjamin

34.  In the Woods:  Tana French

35. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  Jenny Lawson

36.  The Fear Index:  Robert Harris

37.  These Girls:  Sarah Pekkane

38.  The Night Circus:  Erin Morgenstern

39.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (& other concerns):  Mindy Kaling

40.  The Innocents:  Francesca Segal

41.  And then There Were None:  Agatha Christie

42.  The Shoe Maker’s Wife:  Adriana Trigiani

43:  11/22/63:  Stephen King

44.  Unholy Night:  Seth Grahame Smith

45.  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter:  Seth Grahame Smith

46.  Doomsday Book:  Connie Willis

47.  The Glass Castle:  Jeannette Walls

48.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress:  Rhoda Janzen

49.  Alice I Have Been:  Melanie Benjamin

50.  Murder on the Orient Express:  Agatha Christie

51.  Always the Designer Never the Bride:  Sandra Bricker

52.  The Lions of Lucerne:  Brad Thor

53.  Path of the Assassin:  Brad Thor

54.  The Witch’s Daughter:  Paula Brackston

55.  Best Friends Forever:  Jennifer Weiner

56.  State of the Union:  Brad Thor

57.  Blowback:  Brad Thor

58.  The Tiger’s Wife:  Tea Obreht

59.  Edgar Sawtee:  David Wroblewski

60.  Moloka’i:  Alan Brennert

61.  Trading Christmas:  Debbie Macomber

62.  The Litigators:  John Grisham

63.  The Year of Living Dangerously:  Quinn Cummings

64.  Dear Cary:  Dyan Cannon

65.  The Broker:  John Grisham

66.  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:  Amy Chua

67.  A Prayer for Owen Meany:  John Irving

68.  Running with Scissors:  Augusten Burroughs

69.  My Mother Was Nuts – a Memoir:  Penny Marshall

70.  The Bone Bed:  Patricia Cornwell

71.  Half Broke Horses:  Jeannette Walls

72.  Elvis and the Dearly Departed:  Peggy Webb

73.  The Dressmaker of Khair Khana:  Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

74.  The Playdate:  Louise Millar

75.  Secret Daughter:  Shilpi Somaya gowda

76.  Girls in White Dresses:  Jennifer Close

77.  The Language of Flowers:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh

78.  Pioneer Woman – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels:  Ree Drummond

79.  Elvis and the Grateful Dead:  Peggy Webb

80.  Takedown:  Brad Thor

81.  Notes From the Underwire:  Quinn Cummings

82.  Where’d You Go Bernadette:  Maria Semple

83.  Mr. Churchill’s Secretary:  Susan Elia Macneal

84.  When in Doubt Add Butter:  Beth Harbison

85.  The Alchemist:  Paulo Coelho

Hangin’ Tough with the Right Stuff

Leave it to New Kids on the Block to bring me out of my blogging funk.  I’ve been thinking of lots of things to update on here but never bothered to get around to it.  Let that be a lesson to you…never underestimate the power of the boy band.

My brother presented me with this little gem today:

He found it in a Goodwill, knew I would love it and bought it.  If this sounds familiar, you might remember he bought me one of their other videos a few years ago.

I absolutely love every single thing about this cover.  First of all, how much more street thug cool can you be than to have your picture taken literally in the street…next to a minimally graffitied wall…next to a sign that reads drug free school zone? Not much let me tell you.

Looking at Joey, aka Little Joey Joe, *sigh and swoon* (it was quite the competition between Joey and Jordan as to who would be my favorite New Kid but in the end Joey won out) I have to wonder if he was expecting there to be a flood or whether he hit puberty in the time between buying those jeans and taking this picture.  My guess is the latter.

I don’t really know what look Danny was going for…Tom Cruise in Risky Business?  More mature? Cool and casual?  Let’s go out for an evening stroll through the back streets of New England while I impress you with the intricacies of freshman community college knowledge. Fail, fail, and fail.  You’re not fooling anyone Danny.  We’ve all seen Community and the only intricacies of knowledge going on there is what to do should you find yourselves locked inside the school during a zombie attack.  Which by the way, was very helpful.  As a side note, I’m very excited for Community to come back this fall.  And very ticked with networks at putting it in the Friday, aka kiss of death, time slot and only greenlighting 13 episodes.  You suck networks *shakes fist*!

Nice pajama pants Jordan.  And what’s with that hat?  And the vest?

Jon, I’m totally loving your tights? long john underwear? under your jeans.  And penny loafers? Seriously.  I guess the jokes on us because you had us totally fooled.  How could we not have known you were gay? It’s so obvious in retrospect.  George Michael you were wrong, the clothes DO make the man.

Donnie, oh Donnie.  I just don’t know what to say about your mess of an outfit.  What. The. Crap?!??

So I turned the video over and this is what graces the back:

How about a closer look?

Looking at this I can’t believe Jon’s the only one who’s gay.

Joey, or excuse me Joseph as it’s labeled, must really like that T-shirt he’s wearing of forgot to bring a change of clothes to the photo shoot.  I’m loving the bowling pin broach on his jacket.  Did you know I like to bowl Joey?  Did you, did you??  Oh the fun we could have had.

Seriously Jordan,What. Is. Up. With. That. Hat??  You look like a creeper with your fingers trying to give a dainty tip of your hat.  You might be about to give a cordial greeting but you’re undressing me with your eyes.  Perv.

Jon your hair is perfectly coiffed and looking closely I think your eyebrows were purposefully brushed that way.  Again I ask, how did we not know you were gay?

Donnie I still don’t know what to say.  Your clothes and style are sending all sorts of mixed messages.  Mostly ones that say you look stupid.

Danny, I forgot you had that nasty rat tail.  I wish it could have stayed that way.

Oh man, I can’t wait to push play!

Blue Skies Smiling At Me. Nothing But Blue Skies…

I don’t know what it’s like for the rest of the nation but down here in Arkansas the weather has been HEAVENLY!  A lot of sunshine, low humidity, warm temps…sigh.  Just the other day it was 80 degrees.  And I loved it.  I’m currently in denial about the fact this probably means the summer will be unbearable hot and riddled with insects.  But for now I’m content and happy with the sun.

A few posts back I talked about an assignment I had to do for class that involved creating a glogster.  I’m happy to say that yesterday I finally got around to doing it and it’s now submitted and done.  Looking at it, it’s pathetic it took me as long as it did to put together because I’m pretty sure there are some third graders that could have done a better job in less than half the time.  The information on the page is ridiculously scant but I think that’s the point.  At least I’m hoping it is.  There was no way to possibly put all the relevant information from the chapter on this thing so I scaled back to an extreme degree.  Here’s a link so for those of you who didn’t know what a glogster was, you can get a peek.

Also, some of you from Facebook may have seen that I posted an update about oatmeal.  More specifically, how I don’t like it but am trying to fool my tastebuds into thinking they do.  I think I have finally found success in maple brown sugar.  Is it the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship?  I doubt it, but at least I didn’t dump it down the drain.  That’s gotta count for something.

Speaking of food, there’s a new restaurant here that’s becoming my favorite.  It’s called Pitza 42.  They serve personal pizzas on pita bread or you can get different kinds of salad.  And for every meal purchased they donate a meal to a charity that helps feed hungry children around the world.  AND it’s cheap.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

A look ahead this week shows that Friday is FIELD TRIP DAY!!!!  I love field trip day.  We’re taking the kids to the fire station so that should be pretty fun.  Last year we had some firemen come to the preschool and the kids got to see and try on some of their fire clothes and sit in a fire truck.  The kids had fun but I think this year will be better.

And finally, I’m going to end this post with the Valentine gift I gave my mom and brother.  If this doesn’t say I love you, well, I don’t know what does.

Valentine Tradition

A few years ago my brother and I made some heart shaped sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day.  Instead of decorating them pink with pretty sprinkles, we iced them black and wrote what most people really think of the opposite sex (you know you’ve thought these).  Here are the contenders for Valentine’s Day 2012:

Some of these were repeats, some new, but all had us cracking up while we made them.

Where Did November Go?

So…uh, what happened to November folks??  I don’t really know where to begin because the post I’ve been thinking about posting is irrelevant seeing as how Halloween is long over and gone.  So just imagine, I walked around my neighborhood and took pictures of the decorations people put up and some of them were pretty cool.  A lot of people around here did some sort of decorations even if it was minimal.  One of my favorites was a ginormous spider a guy built out of PCP pipe with glowing green fangs and put up in the front yard.  I’d post the pics but they didn’t turn out all that well now that I’m looking back at them.  We even decorated our porch which was a cross between nice harvest with pumpkins and hay bales and typical Halloween with spider webs and ghosts.  I even tried to make this:

It didn’t quite turn out exactly like this but good enough.  Another reason I’m not posting pictures is because my computer is going through a freak out period.  I just got it a few months ago and there’s already some sort of hardware glitch.  Lovely.  I’ve talked to tech support on two separate occasions and all I’m wanting them to do is send me a box to put my computer in so I can send it to be repaired.  It is now a month after my initial call and I still don’t have a box.  Grrr.  I will be making yet another call tomorrow and may have to ask to be transferred to their complaints department or something.  It’s frustrating and annoying.  And I’m annoyed that I have to talk to some guy in India who I can’t understand and who can’t understand me.  Double Grrr.

With the semester coming to an end I’ve been bombarded with papers, projects, assignments, etc.  The good thing is I’m starting to see the end.  Whoo hoo!  We had family in for Thanksgiving which was fun.  I was a cooking fool last weekend.  I made a big dinner the night before then cooked the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and made four pumpkin pies.  I love pumpkin pie.  All the cooking is just the warm up for the Christmas desserts that need to be made.  Last year I baked a little over 400 cookies, 5 loaves of bread, three batches of fudge, 2 batches of cream cheese brownie bars, 2 or 3 batches of homemade oreo cake/cookies, and tried divinity which I ended up being sidelined for because that’s really hard to make.  Maybe this year.  Speaking of the Christmas season, all the holiday movies have started up which I’m apparently a sucker for.  So odd because ordinarily I can’t stand Lifetime or Hallmark but sprinkle in Christmas and I can’t turn it off.  Go figure.

Well for some stupid reason I woke up at 3:45 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I hate that.  So I”m going to go attempt to do that now.  But I’m going to leave you with what I discovered making a web outside my window:

Ok, ok so it wasn’t really a goliath birdeating tarantula out there but it may as well have been.  It was totally big and creepy.  Well, pleasant dreams!

Who You Gonna Call?

Oooh, call me!  Call me!  I was waiting to post these pics because I had some other pictures I was wanting to post but as it turns out I still haven’t taken them.  Here are a few from my Halloween party last week.

   

The kids of course had no idea who or what I was but loved that I was walking around with a vacuum stuck on my back.  And check out that gun.  It’s an original toy from the 80’s I found in my brother’s stuff up in the attic.  Am I a rock star or what…ok fine, but it’s still a good costume.  By the way, this is my 300th post – whoo hoo!

Alrighty Then

I got a message from someone (ahem DJD) to update this little diddy of a blog and I told him I would by the weekend because I thought for sure I could think up enough fodder from the past two months to write about.  Well…I’m not so sure.  Now that it is officially fall (it is officially fall right?) there is a holiday smell in the air and a little bounce in my step.  Spring/Summer are my favorite seasons but let’s face it, this past year felt like living in a crematorium so I welcome the lower temps and humidity.  Not just welcome them, I have a spare bed and bath reserved and am prepared to be at their beck and call if they promise to stick around for a while.

We have now started the months of uppers – October, November, December – when everyone starts being nice and a little more charitable which will be followed by the months of downers – January and February – when everyone is annoyed and irritable.  Ok maybe that’s just me.  Regardless we’re in an upper and I’m actually excited it’s October.  Colors will start becoming vibrant and of course Halloween is merely a few weeks away.

I won’t even attempt to write an entry on Halloween because compared to some of you who are Halloween enthusiasts, my entry would be pathetic and sad.  And admittedly I haven’t always been so jazzed about it.   I think working at a preschool has definitely helped.  There are just so many cute crafts and songs and the kids are uber pumped about dressing up.  Yesterday we went on a field trip to a pumpkin patch and I was probably more excited than they were.

Our school Halloween party is a week from tomorrow and I’m still trying to put together my costume.  Last year I went as a Ninja Turtle and this year I want to go as a Ghostbuster.  I’m borrowing a pack back vacuum to serve as my proton pack but am having a hard time locating a jumpsuit to wear.  Today a friend said he would mail me one of his old flight suits from when he was in the Marine Corps which would be perfect but I’m a little nervous it won’t get here in time.  Fingers crossed.

This year I’m even planning on helping to decorate the outside of the house and have already bought a few things to get the ball rolling.  Who knows, with this festive attitude I may even go to a haunted house.  Yeah right.  I had a traumatic experience (oh it was traumatic alright don’t you worry, that is if you’re a wimpy 10 year old girl) when I was in the 6th grade and have never gotten over it.  I tried going to one in the 9th grade but it didn’t work out to well and I break into a sweat and start having heart palpitations just thinking about it.

There won’t be any watching of scary movies either as I will most likely stick to the lame TV crap available on ABC Family this holiday season.  Baby steps, baby steps.  I “watched” Quarantine a few months ago but that viewing was done at high noon through my fingers with the remote firmly in hand ready to change the channel with the click of a button.  I also tried to watch The Strangers but only made it about 2/3rds of the way through.  Had to read the ending on IMDB.  A wimp I am.

On to something happier about the fall season, I made caramel apples today and am going to get apples tomorrow to make applesauce.  And while I’m mentioning food, I made some homemade chicken noodle soup last weekend that was to die for.  Another great thing about fall, hearty soups and a kitchen that smells heavenly.  Well there you have it.  Stay tuned this next week for pics of (cross your fingers) my ghostbuster costume.

First of All…

Yesterday was my birthday!  Whoo hoo!!  I had the day off work and was pretty lazy for most of the day.  My mom, brother, and I had a little gift opening party and then went to dinner.  My brother went on home while my mom and I went to Target so I could look for cheap school supplies and other Crayola type things for the kids at the preschool.  I then went home and watched Thundercats.  And that my friends is how a 32 year old celebrates their birthday on a Friday night…or at least how this one does it. 

Since I last wrote, summer school started and ended.  I’ve never taken classes in the summer and I never want to again.  It blows.  Summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and freedom.  It was never intended to be a time of research methods and child development.  But it’s done now and I got a two week break before starting up again for fall.  I did get some good news yesterday regarding my practicum.  The university is allowing the preschool where I work to serve as my practicum site so I now don’t have to be placed in a school somewhere in the district which means no scheduling hassels, worrying I won’t get my hours, and I get paid.  Getting them to accept it has been a little bit of a problem so I was ecstatic they finally agreed.

During those two weeks I had off, I went on a little road trip with a friend of mine from Utah.  She flew down here to Arkansas and we decided to drive to Mississippi to the Gulf Shores.  We didn’t really plan this very well so when we got there it wasn’t at all what we thought it was going to be.  Nevermind that we really weren’t in the right place which we didn’t discover until a few days later.  Instead we went on to Gulf Shores, Alabama which is a tourist spot.  If you have kids this is a great place for you.  I don’t have kids and neither does she so we went on to Pensacoloa, Florida. 

 This was perfect!  We got there late afternoon and drove right to a beach and just layed there.  I loved it.  In the morning we got up to see the sun rise which was kind of nice I guess and I was planning on another day of laying at the beach.  We didn’t do that though.  Instead we went to the national park and walked around on some trails.  We decided to go ahead and make our way back to Mississippi after we got some information on where we were supposed to go.  The second time around was a little better.  We had dinner at a place called The Shed which we had both seen hightlighted on different food shows.  It’s a BBQ/Blues joint and if you are ever in Ocean Springs, MS you need to eat there.  Definitely two thumbs up.  It looks like a crappy hole in the wall place but it’s SO GOOD.

   Anyway, here are some pics from the trip:

    

Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?