sad times

I hate how I am able to compartmentalize the war…even able to forget it’s even happening at times. The last two years are some of the few in my life that I didn’t live either on a military base or very near one. I’m amazed at how I’ve distanced my mind from all that being a military family entails.

Here’s a good reminder:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17773294/site/newsweek/

I would apologize for being a downer, but I’m not sorry. I’m only sorry that I don’t make more of an effort know what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once my brother-in-law returned from his second tour, and the last of my good friends came home, and I stopped working as a contractor – planning military blood drives, I kind of checked out.

But the reality is that the rotations go on. The number of wounded and dead continue to grow. The sacrifice amazes me, and humbles me. It’s sad and exhausting to think about. For me, anyway. There so much guilt tied into gathering information – how lucky I am that I was never deployed, that my husband was never deployed. But even now, as other friends prepare to deploy on their third and fourth tours, I’m so grateful to be so lucky. And I feel bad about that. I don’t know what I’m saying here. It’s a little rambly.

Sorry about that. I’ll come back and edit this later.

Book #9

The One Safe Place by Kathleen O'BrienThe One Safe Place by Kathleen O’Brien – I’m sad to say this is the fourth book in the four-book Firefly Glen series. But rejoice! There is one more! And it’s just made the 2007 RITA list of finalists.

Back to this book, though. I loved that it was a departure from the sweet love stories in the first three books. It was still a sweet love story, but there was a lot more tense, edge-of-your-seat stuff. With the heroine hiding out from a murderous lunatic (who Kathleen made very scary and very believable), it made for an exciting story in addition to the lovey parts. I also loved Spencer and his growth throughout the book. Especially the ending.

Another winner from Kathleen – I’m off to read her 2007 RITA finalist Quiet As the Grave, which I’m super excited about, because it’s got my favorite characters from the Glen.

I can’t say it enough – if you never have, give Harlequin a chance. These books by Kathleen are quick, heartwarming reads. A million thumbs up!

Book #8

Fourth Summer of the SisterhoodForever in Blue, The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Anne Brashares. This book had a lot of low points for me, but a few high points too. I’m a big fan of this series. #3 was my favorite. If you haven’t read this one yet, I’m going to try not to give too much away.

As in each Sisterhood book, there are four concurrent stories happening. Each story was frustrating in the way of soap operas. You can see the character obviously making bad choices, but because of pride/love/embarassment/stupidity/etc. they continue on a destructive path. This happened a lot in this book. I don’t remember it being so obvious in the other books.

I was sad that Carmen didn’t figure as prominently in this book, as she’s always been my favorite character. I’d love to discuss this book with someone that’s read it, because I want to talk about how each girls’ story ended – but I don’t want to give anything away.

All that said, I read it in two days. I liked that the author made the girls seem older, through language if anything. Although, sometimes, I didn’t buy that a 19/20 year old girl would think/say the things they were thinking/saying. But still…I recommend it. It’s a satisfying ending to a great series.

Bloglines, et. al.

I’ve just made my life easier. I’ve created a Bloglines account, and added all the blogs I’m interested in to my blogroll. From one spot, I can scroll through the latest headlines of all the posts on all my favorite sites. I’m sure many of you are way ahead of me with this technology, but I’m still learning, you know. Anyway, I recommend it. You don’t have to install any kind of reader or anything.

Happy Reading

Book #7.1

The Knitting CircleI’m sorry to say that I only made it to page 17 of this book. Normally, I’m a big fan of the craft-related women’s friendship books. I loved Jennifer Chiaverini’s quilting books. However, the main character in this book is dealing with the death of her five-year old daughter. I tried to get past this, and go on reading, but I couldn’t. My son is just 15-months old. I can’t imagine a world without him, and I’m not ready to read about other parent’s loss – fictional or real.

Sorry, it looked like a good one.

P.S., I haven’t given any of the story away. This fact is evident in the first few pages. If you read it, I’d love to know your thoughts!

Book #7

The Redemption of Matthew Quinn

UPDATE: Read the comment! The author, Ms. Kathleen O’Brien herself, made a comment on my blog! Woo hoo! I’m so cool! Thanks, Kathleen :)

Book three in the Four Seasons in Firefly Glen, The Redemption of Matthew Quinn, is another goody from Kathleen O’Brien. Some of my favorite Glenners made appearances (namely, Suzie Strickland and Mike Frome), and I loved the heroine, Natalie.

I know there are those of you who automatically discount books published by Harlequin, but its your loss. Some of them are real gems – great stories that make you laugh out loud, care about the characters, and feel a little better throughout your day.

So if you’ve never read a Harlequin, start with Kathleen O’Brien’s Firefly Glen series – it won’t disappoint. I’m off to read the fourth book in the series.

Book #6

Plum Lovin' I just finished Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich – a between the numbers Stephanie Plum book. I love all the Stephanie Plum books, and this one didn’t disappoint, except that it was remarkably short. I think it took about three hours total to read. But still, funny and ridiculous like all of Stephanie and Lula’s capers.

One thing I thought was funny (not ha ha) is that this is the first novel in the series (that I noticed) where Janet attributed an actual weight to Lula, the heroine’s hefty former-prostitute sidekick who dresses primarily in spandex. She put her at 180, 5’5″. Well, I’m 180, 5’2″. Lula’s weight isn’t so funny to me anymore.

Aw, yes it is. Its funny because of what she wears and what she eats and what she does. Perhaps I should revisit the shiny spandex look and see if it makes me a comedic genius.

That’s a plan doomed to failure. Read these books – they’re hilarious.

Stranger Than Fiction, better than most

I just watched Stranger Than Fiction and loved every bit of it. Then I went online and was surprised and saddened to see how many people disliked it. Perhaps these people are what I call “Bush Supporters” – as in, the other half of my country that I can’t seem to relate to.

I thought it was beautifully written, I thought it was beautifully acted, I just thought it was beautiful. Will Farrell seems to be limitless, as does Maggy Gyllenhaal. I loved Emma Thompson’s craziness, I loved Queen Latifah’s serenity. I loved Dustin Hoffman’s acceptance and assistance of Harold’s predicament.

Seriously, what’s wrong with people? This is a movie for everyone. Get out of your shell of a life. Find something to make you happy.  I’m inspired.

The secret to fitness…

…must be proper motivation. I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m no runner. I’m hardly a jogger. I’m best categorized as a waddler. That’s right, it’s a sort of sad version of March of the Penguin (minus the belly slides, if I’m lucky) every day on the treadmill. But today, I ran 1.5 miles! That’s right – I ran 1.5 miles because I changed the music in my iPod.

So here’s the secret to my success – CADENCES! I don’t know if it’s just bringing back happy memories of my time on Active Duty (wait, I don’t remember happy times…), but there is nothing more motivating to me than someone yelling, “C-130 Rolling Down the Strip…” and hearing a bunch of tired voices repeating. I can run to Georgia just like that. (That’s also a cadence. That was just a joke. I really can’t run to Georgia.)

So my new iPod mix is this:

  • Dance Dance by Fall Out Boy
  • Candy Man by Christina Aguilera
  • Run to Cadence with the Army Rangers (about 40 minutes of different cadences)
  • Dear Mr. President by Pink with the Indigo Girls
  • The Wood Song by the Indigo Girls

It worked perfectly. The first two songs got me warmed up walking, then I put the treadmill at 5.3 and jogged to cadences for 25 minutes. Then I did situps and pushups to my girls Pink, Emily and Amy sticking it to George in the best way. That last song, The Wood Song, is just my all-time favorite Indigo Girls song, perfect for stretching, and it always makes me happy.

Now if you do that math, 1.5 miles in 25 minutes is pretty terrible. But jogging for 25 minutes straight? Without walking? Without quitting? I smell accomplishment, and it smells great!

Last week, I bought a $50 iTunes gift card at COSTCO for $44.90 – excellent deal. I highly recommend it if you purchase a lot of music. That’s five free songs!

My eCommerce teacher…

…has started a new blog and is encouraging the class’ participation. I feel like we’re taking a field trip! What a good idea – to get us off the discussion board (although, really, it’s kind of the same thing) and out into the world wide web :) Anyway, I’ve added the link to my blogroll, it’s called eComNext. If you’re looking to start an eCommerce site, it may prove to be a good resource.

Also – I’ve changed my song spot from the much loved Be Good Tanyas to Gregory Douglass – give him a listen, he’s awesome.