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

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.

Today I Was Schooled

I’d really like to think I’m smarter than a four year old but when it comes to technology I just might be slipping behind.  About a week or so ago I bought a new phone.  After years of the very basic of the basic of all phones, I bought *drum roll please* ….an EVO

And I have no idea how to use it.  I’m still figuring out all it can do though in all honesty I never really will learn it all.

Today I was at work and I was talking with one of the four year olds and he pulled out my phone and asked if it had any games on it.  As a matter of fact, I have one.  Angry Birds.  A game I had never heard of until a week ago and have only played two or three times.  Most recently was last night when I tried for almost a half hour to complete level 10.

I turn the game on and start to tell the four year old how to make the bird fly out of the slingshot.  He interrupts me and says, “You have to push on your phone with your finger.”  To which I replied with, “No, you move your finger like this and let go.”

No sooner had I done that when he jabs his little finger on my phone and wouldn’t you know that one bird turned into three birds and killed all the pigs and advanced me to the next level.  Seriously?!?  Thirty minutes I spent on that stupid level and a four year old completes it with the push of a finger.

It’s crazy to think about all the things kids know about and know how to do these days.  And just like I’ve never lived in the world when man hadn’t been on the moon, these kids have never lived when there weren’t cell phones or ipods (among other things). It reminds me of the song What a Wonderful World when Louis Armstrong sings, “I hear babies cry,I watch them grow.  They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know.” I can’t even imagine what kind of advances in technology these kids are going to see in their lifetime.  It’s just crazy.

 

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 So Called Life

Two words: Jordan Catalano.  *sigh, swoon, melt*  Yesterday Netflix sent a DVD to our house that was really supposed to go to my brother’s fiance in Idaho.  I opened the envelope and found three episodes from the show My So Called Life.  I LOVED this show!  It premiered in 1994 when I was 15 (same age as the title character Angela) but thanks to those corporate network execs that I love so much, it only lasted one season.

Angela was me.  I couldn’t believe they created a show that so perfectly thought what I was thinking.  And while the show was great in its own right, I really tuned in every week for Jordan.  Re-watching it now, I realize there wasn’t much to his character.  He wasn’t deep by any means, hardly had any lines at all come to think of it but he really didn’t need to.

That picture on top graced the back of my bedroom door for close to 12 years before I finally gave in to imaginary social pressure that told me I was too old to have a collage of men on my bedroom door.  I may have taken him down but I didn’t have the heart to toss him in the trash with everyone else so somewhere in a box in the garage there Jared Leto sits.  But he’s not alone, I’m pretty sure I salvaged Mark Wahlberg as well.

A few years ago I went to a 30 Seconds to Mars show and got to meet, albeit incredibly briefly, Jared.  And while it was brief, it was long enough to look and see that his eyes really are that blue.  And at least I didn’t pull this little stunt when he asked me a question.

Anyway, watching the show took me back in time to my freshman year like it was yesterday.  The clothes, the hair, the makeup, how I thought everything was dramatic and no one except my peers knew how I was feeling.  It kind of felt exciting.  Everything was new, you hadn’t been around long enough to experience anything yet.  Looking back through the years I have some good memories and some bad ones, but they’re all a bit hazy in comparison to what I remember about high school.  I’m sure my recollection is slightly warped but didn’t it seem like we were so much more mature than the kids in high school are now?  I’m sure of it.

Then I remembered during my senior year there was a sophomore that reminded me of Jordan Catalano.  He was the oldest looking sophomore I’d ever seen.  Had the same blue eyes, easy smile, and same sort of laid back style and vibe that Jordan had.  Only this guy hung out with the popular crowd, probably for those same reasons.  I didn’t have the same sort of mad crush Angela had on  Jordan…well crap, or the way I had on Jordan, but noticed him in the halls from time to time.

For a few summers while I was in college, I worked on the landscape crew at the local university.  It was my second summer working there when who should get hired?  None other than this guy from high school.  To be honest I don’t really remember that much about him.  How’s that for an anti-climax?  I’m thinking he was a nice guy, we probably had some fun here and there but the overall memory is vague.  Geez, talk about a bummer.

Well, I decided to look this guy up and naturally found him on facebook.  Ack!  Not looking so much like Jordan Catalano anymore.  Not that he looks bad but when your vague memory looks like guy in the above pictures, all I’m saying is be prepared to be disappointed.

And just like that I remember it’s not 1994.  It’s 2010.  I’m not 15, I’m almost 31.  And I think, high school was limiting.  It was the same thing spit out again and again for four years.  It was the same people year after year.  What was exciting and new your freshman year, became an overplayed song on the radio that you either grew to hate or numbly ignored by your senior year.

But then I think of the Jordan Catalanos in high school and can’t help but smile.

It’s a Boy…or a Girl

When I was born, my mom set up a Gerber Life Insurance plan in my name.  Every few months or so I get mail updating me on different plans and updates to the company.  A few days ago I got another one and my mom opened it, as she usually does, to double check it’s junk mail before trashing it.  This is what it said:

Dear Natalie,

As a loving parent, you want to do everything you can to give your children a head start in life.  That’s why you gave your child the valuable gift of a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan.  Your thoughtful decision will help provide your child with a brighter financial future.

If you’ve recently welcomed another child, please accept our congratulations!  Now you have the opportunity to start all your children out right with the special gift of a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan.

It then goes on to tell me about the different plan options I can chose for my child.  Only one thing though, I don’t have any children.  I have not recently welcomed a child much less ANOTHER one.  I’m not a loving parent and I didn’t give a child the valuable gift of a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan.  Does Gerber know something I don’t?  Man, I really hope not.  But just in case they do, does this mean I can take a child deduction in my tax return for more money?

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.