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

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!

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?

Book List From 2010

Some were great, some were crap.  Some were repeats and some were just random fillers.  Here’s my book list from this past year:

1.   Good Luck

2.   Bet Your Bottom Dollar

3.   Quentin’s

4.   A Rumor of Bones

5.   Questionable Remains

6.   The Heretic’s Daughter

7.   Let Them Eat Fruitcake

8.   Fallen Idols

9.   Archangel

10.  Little Children

11.  Far From Home

12.  The Undaunted

13.  The Help

14.  The Scarpetta Factor

15.  I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This (Bob Newhart autobiography)

16.  Second Helpings

17.  Hope in a Jar

18.  The Frog Prince

19.  A Year on Ladybug Farm

20.  Chill Factor

21.  Hour Game

22.  Murder on a Bad Hair Day

23.  Two Girls in a Blue Dress

24.  The Pink Ghetto

25.  Total Control

26.  The Winner

27.  The Associate

28.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

29.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

30.  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

31.  Split Second

32.  The Camel Club

33.  This Time Together (Carol Burnett autobiography)

34.  Here We Go Again (Betty White autobiography)

35.  The Alchemist

36.  Where the Sidewalk Ends

37. Sideways Stories from Wayside School

38.  Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars

39.  The Girl Who Played with Fire

My First Car

I didn’t get my first car until I was 21 years old.  Sure, I drove myself to school when I was 16.  But the family poop, brown minivan hardly constitutes as my first car.  Neither does the blue Plymouth station wagon affectionately christened D.D. (del diablo or “of the devil”).  Don’t get me wrong, these were great for cramming as many people imaginable inside but they were hardly the beacon of motorized style.  No, I was just paying my dues.  And in time I was the proud owner of this little beauty:

I know what you’re thinking but don’t hate.  This rotting piece of tin was mine for three months, getting me from Laie to Honolulu everyday for my internship.  And don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I got a tetanus shot not longer after I took these pictures.

It had so much to offer.  Two tone brown rust color body work, actual rust, holes from the salty sea watered air (what you can’t see is a massive chunk of hood missing from just such a hole), and check out that snazzy ceiling cover.  The spare tire was flat (which I discovered as a result of an unfortunate incident with a flat tire that I may have to blog about some time) and had a nice film cover of spider webs in the inside and I discovered live roaches, yes you read that correctly, live roaches living in the trunk (which I also discovered as a result of the unfortunate flat tire incident).

By the end of the summer the car produced and incredibly loud popping sound whenever I turned the wheel in any direction…something about the front wheel bearings or axles?  And by the end I could only drive for about 30 or 40 minutes before the car overheated and I’d have to pull over, let it cool down, and dump water in it.  And who could forget the crazy night when both of the headlights went out when I was still a half hour from campus?  And how I couldn’t replace the bulbs because someone had stripped the screws and I had to take it to a mechanic who charged me $20 to change them even though it took him two minutes and I brought the new bulbs with me.  Or the time when both windshield wipers went out the same day during a rain shower (and no, I’m not kidding)?

But hey, the radio worked and miraculously someone actually paid me money for it when I left.  Good thing or else I was just going to abandon it in a parking lot or push it off the cliff into the ocean….just kidding…sort of.

Security Tag, BBQ Sauce, and an Accident

I just got back from a weekend in Independence, Missouri.  I was there with my dad and uncle attending the conference where they presented their research findings that I was helping them with.  Overall the weekend was fun, I met a lot of very nice people, and learned some interesting things.  Plus it was cool to hang out with my dad and uncle for a few days.

We headed straight for the Kansas City airport to pick up my uncle and that’s when I noticed something on my shirt.  See, last week I went clothes shopping.  I know, I know very unusual for me but I’ve been feeling a sort of physical funk I guess.  Anyway, I ended up buying a couple of shirts.  One is white and one is black but otherwise totally identical and both are nicer, more dressy type shirts.  I knew I was going to need to dress up at least two of the days so I brought both along, having worn the white shirt once and never having worn the black one.

Blah, blah, ok.  I get in the back seat where my clothes are hanging and notice that the store security tag is still on my black shirt.  Lovely.  Of course I try ripping it off but if you were capable of doing that the security tag would be pointless.  All I have to do is keep my white shirt clean and just hope it won’t look too bad after a couple of days of wearing it.  Naturally about an hour after I put on the shirt I spilt barbeque sauce right down the front.  Honestly, I rarely ever spill my food on my clothes.  I leave that to Pammy Girl.  But of course I was wearing the white one with no other shirt to change into. Grrr.  This kind of irony happens to me so much it’s almost laughable.  Almost.  Ok, well it is. When I got back to my room I was able to use the handsoap to wash my shirt so it looked as good as new.  No harm, no foul.

But the real event happened Friday afternoon back in Arkansas.  My brother was involved in a car accident while driving my car.  He’s fine, just a little sore, and everyone else involved was fine.  Some car, for reasons unknown to my brother, drove off into the median which caused other drivers to slam on their brakes and swerve into the other lane.  When all was said and done, my brother was at the tail end of a four car pile up.  And here’s the kicker, he was driving my car because last week someone backed into his while he was parked at Office Depot and then they drove away.  So I had told him that he could use mine to transport his equipment to Little Rock for his concert that was on Friday night.car

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I am so grateful that he’s ok, that everyone in the accident is ok, and that though things could have been so much worse, they weren’t.  As it happens, just this week I paid off my car and had received my title.  I don’t know if my car is fixable or not.  I don’t know if my insurance will say it’s totaled or not.  I don’t know if I’ll end up having to buy another car, take out another loan to pay for that car, or even if I’ll ever get a job to pay back on the loan I may have to take out.  But I do know that my car is easily twice as big as his.  And I do know that the frame in the front of my car is a lot stronger than on his.  And while I don’t know exactly what might have happend had he been driving his car, I do know it could have ended very badly.  And knowing this makes me so glad he was in mine.  And besides, at least I can say I was a car owner for a week.

The Throbbing Testicles

That is the name of my brother’s band that I had the opportunity to see perform on Friday night.  And what a show it was!  Until Friday I had only seen them perform in an acustic show and while it was good, I wanted to witness the full scale, amps turned up, rock out performance.  The night went as follows:

9:00  – Called Robert (my brother) to make sure they were still performing and get a better idea of when they were going to be onstage.  I had absolutely no interest in seeing the two other bands perform.

9:05  – Left house and headed to Little Rock

10:00 ish – Got to Little Rock after a couple of stops. Called Robert because we ( my mom and I) were lost.  Got new directions.  Learned the first band was just starting…they were two hours late.

10:20 or so – Found venue.  Robert just happened to come out at the same time we were driving by and told us that the second band nearly caused a riot inside.  Apparently their gimick is to be controversial to get a rise out of people and start fights.  I really hate bands that do that.  We were advised to stay in the car and wait it out rather than coming in.

11:20 – Finally told the majority of the other band had cleared out and it was ok to come in.

11:40 or so – The Throbbing Testicles take the stage.  I know none of you know my brother.  Crap, none of you really know me but I couldn’t believe the transformation he takes when he gets up there.  He’s a laid back, passive guy most of the time but as soon as he took the stage he completely owned it.  He’s the lead singer and without him the band has no real sustaining life or energy.  I seriously can’t get over how he totally commands the performance.  They’re definitely a band where you need to see the show live rather than just listening to their CD.  Their songs are a little corny, I mean with songs titled “Grandma is sitting on the can so we’ve got about 20 min to kill” what else would you expect?  There are costumes that get worn and my brother is definitely influenced by the mainstream semi-punk almost glam rock bands like Cobra Starship in the way he dresses and even a little in the performance itself.  Actually, now that I think about it I have no idea where his influence in style comes from.

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But the show is so full of energy and catchy little hooks here and there that you can’t help but have a good time.  They’ve developed a small fan base that come to their shows that help to build the energy as well.

12:15 more or less – Their set is over and my mom and I are heading to the car to leave.

12:30 – Drive on a street that passes a lot of clubs and bars and see a guy sitting on a bus bench throwing up.

1:00 – Get home

I was looking through pictures and what not and didn’t go to bed until around 2:30 which was dumb because I had to get up at 6:30 to drive to Memphis.  That little jaunt is three hours each way and going on virtually no sleep pretty much sucked.  I was so tired this morning I grabbed the same smelly clothes off the floor I wore at the concert and even now I still have the pumpkin stamp on my hand.  Here it is midnight  and I still haven’t had any sleep and I’m getting up in the morning to drive to Illinois.  Times like these I feel like an 80 year old woman in a 29 year old girl’s body.