I Like and I Don’t Like

I’ve been tagged by my sister, who is not really my sister but who shares the same first and last name as my sister (I’ll shutup now), the beautiful and talented Karen Harrington of Janeology and Scobberlotch fame.  I haven’t done a non-bookish meme in a long time but this one couldn’t be easier, and it made me think about the small things I enjoy and am grateful for on a daily basis.

The rules:  Fill in the blanks after each bold word and tag 3 friends.  Even I can do that.

I like book blogger get togethers.

I like Nature Valley Sweet and Salty peanut granola bars.

I like clean sheet day.

I like walking with my friend every morning.

I like when someone else makes dinner.

I like the peace in the hour before my family gets out of bed.

I like taking pictures of my kids.

I like watching American Idol.

I like Jim and Pam (and baby Cecelia Marie!).

I like the beach.

I like being outside.

I like eating dinner together when everyone is home.

I love hearing my girls laugh and get along with each other.

Today was a chance for a new beginning – a do-over.

I hate snobs.

I hate going to the dentist.

I hate feeling overwhelmed.

I hate termites.

I hate dishonesty and fuzzy values.

I hate when teachers give boatloads of homework.

I hate selfishness.

I hate seeing my daughters in pain.

I (secretly) like to eat lunch by myself (I borrowed this one from my “sister”- we are so much alike!).

I love when my family is happy and everyone gets along!

Okay… To the following three people, tag! You’re it!  Tell me what you like & don’t like (or tell me to take a hike!)

Wendy from Caribousmom

Care from Care’s Online Book Club

Susan from Suko’s Notebook

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Sunday Salon

Well would you look at that..  it’s been a whole week since I’ve posted anything!  So sorry.

Reading:

Goldengrove-PB-199x300I was about halfway through A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents when I accidentally left it in my husband’s car, leaving me without an ‘in progress’ book.  Thankfully Goldengrove arrived that day.

Actually, Goldengrove TRIED to arrive twice before but the UPS man wouldn’t leave it without a signature.  That just burns my shorts.  Who can be home all day, waiting for books to arrive??  I wrote a note asking UPS to please leave it on the porch, or with a neighbor, so they finally did that on the 3rd day. My neighbor ran it over to me as I was leaving to pick up the kids at school, so I started it in the school parking lot and haven’t put it down since.  The writing is achingly beautiful, and I’m blown away by the author’s ability to paint such vivid mental images with her words.  I’ve inhabited the Goldengrove world entirely and I’m going to finish the book before going back to A Field Guide.. because I just can’t bear to put it aside.

The UPS man had another surprise for me this week.  Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving is a chunkster at 576 pages.  On the back cover it says, “In 1954..in Northern New Hampshire, an anxious 12 year old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear.  Both the 12 year old and his father become fugitives…”  An unsolicited book of that size might have ended up on the bottom of my TBR pile, but I’m intrigued.. plus, well.. it’s John Irving.

imageDB-3.cgiMy book club meets today to discuss Lottery by Patricia Wood.  Lottery is about a mentally challenged young man who wins 12 million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.  Ms. Wood is working toward her doctorate in a disability and diversity program, and she is also the daughter of a lottery winner, making her uniquely qualified to tell this story!  She lives with her husband on a boat in Hawaii but will take time out of her busy ‘aloha’ schedule to chat with us this afternoon.

My kids have been reading quite a bit.  My youngest, the reluctant reader, found a book she likes.  Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell has captured her imagination.  It’s subtitle is “The Secret Diary of Nikki Maxwell” and it’s set up as the diary of a middle school girl.  It’s kind of the female version of the Wimpy ugliesKid books.  My daughter has to read 20 minutes per day and this book has her reading a little longer, even after the timer goes off.

My oldest is a reading machine.  Her latest obsession is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  She plowed through Uglies in a day and a half and begged me to get in the car and drive to the book store for Pretties, the next in the series.  There are four books in the Uglies trilogy (isn’t a trilogy, by definition, 3 things?  Did he get to three and just decide to keep going??)  She’ll probably have them all finished by the end of the week.  Any suggestions on what to feed the raging reading inferno that is my 11 year old?

Kids and Home:

1st day of 5th grade!

1st day of 5th grade!

My 5th grader went back to school on Tuesday.  On Wednesday she tried out for basketball, and on Thursday she found out she made the team!  Which is great, but also adds another layer of chaos to our already hectic lives.  She’ll practice twice a week and have games through mid November.  It’s a travel team with games as far as 30 miles away, mid-week.  I’ll have to use my magical powers to be in two places at once, or rely on other parents at times to drive one of my kids around.

My 7th grader, who has played the trumpet for the last two years, announced this week that she was switching instruments.  She wants to play the baritone.  Having never been in band, I wasn’t even sure what that is.. but I know now that it’s sort of a small tuba.

Her band director thinks that’s great and is totally encouraging the switch, but I’m a little unhappy about it.  Maybe because I’m the one who has been renting the stupid trumpet for two years and paying for lessons all summer!  On the plus side, the fingering is the same on both instruments, so she should pick up the baritone very quickly.  Plus, she can use a school-owned instrument in junior high and high school (if she sticks with it) because not that many kids go out for baritone, and bands need them, so the schools have plenty to lend out.  That means no more instrument rental fees for me.  I should be happy, right?

Football season has started so the hub has checked out of family interaction on weekends in favor of a perpetual tv trance.  He’ll be “watching” the kids today during book club.  Hopefully they won’t burn the house down.

I signed on to chair the Scholastic Book Fair at the junior high, which starts this Friday and runs for a week.  There are a ba-zillion details to attend to in advance of the fair, so if anyone wondered why I haven’t been around the blog-o-sphere much lately, that is why.  It’s a big job, but I love being a book pusher.

Thanks for stopping by Books on the Brain!  Leave me a comment and let me know what’s new with you.  What are you reading this week?

Deeeeeeeeez are a Few of my Favorite Things

Trish had a fun post the other day about 10 things she loved that started with the letter O. It’s a meme and to play along, I had to leave a comment and wait for Trish to bestow me with my very own letter. She bestowed me with the letter D. At first I thought, could she have picked a harder letter?? Then I thought, yeah, I guess she could have given me X or Q or U and I’d be stuck talking about x-rays or Quantum Leap or underwear. So Trish, thanks for D. It’s not so bad.

Now I get to bestow others. I’m liking the word bestow.. it makes me feel royal and powerful. Bestow, bestow, bestow. Would you like me to bestow a letter on you, my dear? If so, leave a comment and I’ll bestow you with one (Oh, crap! My tiara just fell off!)

guy-fieri_med1. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

I love this Food Network show and it’s host, Guy Fieri! He’s a blast! He’s a dude who loves good, real food and isn’t worried about calories and presentation so much as taste. Guy was the 2007 winner of The Next Food Network Star (kind of a foodie American Idol).

images-32. David Cook

Speaking of American Idol, I love last year’s winner, David Cook! I find his voice so raw and sexy- there, I said it! And I’m old enough to be his, er, um, older sister! Or aunt! (Yeah, that’s it!) Click HERE to watch his latest video for Light On, a song I’ve been enjoying a lot lately on my iPod (the embed feature is disabled or I’d show it here).

3. Diet Coke

I’ve been on and off the wagon many times over the years, but this magical elixir is what gets me moving in the morning and keeps me going all day. How many do I drink each day? Roughly a 6 pack. I know- it’s bad. I have read all the emails about how you can clean toilets with it and remove rust and etc. and yet, I still partake. My insides are probably all rotted- or perhaps iron-clad.

4. DUDE

This word has inserted itself into my everyday conversation. I blame her. And her. I realized it was bad when I caught myself oooing and ahhhing over a baby at my daughters’ school and found myself saying to his mother, “Aw, dude, he is so cute!” Last night I said to my daughter, “Dude, I can’t take anymore whining. Just finish your homework” and my daughter said, “Dude?” Ok, perhaps it’s time to remove this too-hip word from the vocabulary of my non-hip self. But dude, have you seen this T Mobile commercial? I love it.

images-15. Dunder Mifflin

I’m a HUGE fan of The Office!! HUGE! My husband is from Scranton, PA and we spend 3 weeks there every summer, so we chuckle over local references. But I watch because the writing is brilliant, and I find it hysterical. I have friends who don’t get it, but to them I say- Dude, don’t call me on Thursday nights! I completely clear my schedule to get my JimandPam fix!

6. Dawn

I like dawn- as in morning’s first light. It’s dark when I get up and I love to watch the sunrise. I do it almost every day from an east-facing upstairs window. It’s peaceful to spend that time alone before the rest of the family starts moving around. It calms me and makes me happy. I also like Dawn– as in awesome, well known book blogger.

Jasmine meets PorkChop the guineau pig

Jasmine meets PorkChop the guineau pig

7. Dogs

Ok, truth be told, I don’t love ALL dogs, but I do love MY dog. Jasmine is a sweet, loving golden retriever who sheds like crazy but wants nothing more out of life than to be near me. What’s not to love? Oh, and Sheri? I respect the leash laws!

8. Denim

I’m a girl who loves her jeans and can be found in them just about every day. They are so versatile. I wear them everywhere, and why not? You can dress them up or down. I’ve got my skinny jeans, my fat jeans, my baggy jeans, my dressy jeans. I’ve got jeans with a dark wash and jeans that are super faded. I’ve worn them all my life and will always and forever be on the search for the perfect pair.

9. Dark Chocolate

I have a bowl of Dove dark chocolate hearts sitting nearby, but not too close. I actually have to cross the room to get to them, otherwise they would be way too dangerous. I’d eat them all! I love all those studies that say dark chocolate is good for you. I’m sure they mean in very small doses, right? Not 10 or 12 pieces at a time?

images-210. Daisies

Of the Gerbera variety. They are my favorite.

Bloghopping Challenge

As I was trying to catch up on some favorite blogs, I ran into this post at Presenting Lenore, about a Bloghopping Challenge.  The idea is to visit 10 blogs you’ve never visited before and leave comments on posts that interest you.  This is a carryover from BBAW (one of the many things I never had time for, because there are only so many hours in a day, and I have kids and a house and work and responsibilities- oh, and books to read- lots ‘o books).  Click here for the full list of instructions. 

I don’t have time to do 10 today, so this will be a “Part 1” post.  I have been visiting tons of blogs lately that are new to me for my recruiting efforts to find tour hosts for TLC.  I’m coordinating a tour for Abigail Carter, author of The Alchemy of Loss, and checking out all different types of blogs. 

First, I’d like to talk about Abby’s blog, The Alchemy of Loss.  Abby lost her husband Arron in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.  Abby writes in such a clear, straightforward manner.  I really enjoy her posts, because they give me a lot to think about, and I love the fact that she’s discovered all of us “blog people”.  Her latest post, titled The Quick Rip, has her wondering about death, and which type is worse: “The quick “no goodbye” death, or the slow decline of one’s body? Is it like Band Aids? The quick rip, preferable to the slow pull?”  Read more here.  

Have you seen People Reading?  The author posts pictures of people reading all around San Francisco and then asks them a question about what they’re reading.  Garbage men, business women, soccer moms, college students, homeless people; everyone in the whole city seems to be reading!  It gives a unique portrait of the city and gives me hope that there really are tons of readers out there.  This blog really appeals to the voyeur in me, and since I’ve just purchased a brand new camera, it’s given me some ideas! 

Another really cool blog is Sassymonkey Reads (where she claims reading is better in bed- I’d agree).  She recently moved her blog and this is the new location.  She’s got tons of great reviews, and she’s also a contributing editor at BlogHer.  

Ok, blogging time has run out for me, and I only got through 3 blogs!  I’m coordinating the Scholastic Book Fair next month for my daughters’ school and I’ve got about a zillion copies to make and details to take care of.  Ah, the life of a chronic volunteer.  The important thing is for me to get it all done today so that tonight I can do something I’ve been waiting to do for 4 months- veg out in front of the tv and find out what’s going on with my friends at Dunder Mifflin on the 1 hour season premiere of my favorite show, The Office!  I heart Jim and Pam.  (“Kiss her, kiss her good.”)

To be continued…  

BBAW Giveaway! Agatha Christie Lovers, This is for YOU!

Hercule Poirot, the fictional Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, appeared in 33 novels and 51 short stories before being killed off in Curtain (published in 1975, the year before Christie died), and was the only fictional character to be given an obituary in The New York Times, on August 6, 1975. Poirot, played by many actors over the years, including Albert Finney and Tony Randall, was a small fastidious man with great dignity, always incredibly neat and impeccably dressed, with a stiff upturned moustache, dark hair and green eyes.

Actor David Suchet stars as Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian sleuth in four complete, feature-length mysteries in one DVD set. They are:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd-Poirot’s retirement in a quiet country village is abruptly ended by the death of his disagreeable neighbor.
Lord Edgware Dies-Intervening in a sticky marital situation, Poirot suddenly finds himself in the midst of murder.
Murder in Mesopotamia-Poirot is visiting an ancient site in Iraq when the head archeologist’s unpopular wife is killed.
Evil Under the Sun-Death intrudes on Poirot’s island holiday, and only he can determine who is responsible.

Would you like to own Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Complete Collection DVD set? You WOULD?? I thought so! If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie mysteries, leave a comment by September 23rd, the day the set will be released, and tell us which one is your favorite for a chance to win this collection, courtesy of A&E and Books on the Brain! Thanks, A&E, for helping us celebrate Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

A Dazzling Opening

The eyes of the world are watching the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing today.  In a  breathtaking display of beauty, art, symbolism, and technology, the Chinese really put on a show.  

Am I the only weirdo who cried a little bit?

Our family is most looking forward to the gymnastics, swimming, diving, and track and field events.  

What are you looking forward to?

It’s Almost Here..

If you do not have a daughter between the ages of 7 and 13, this may come as news to you, but if you DO have a ‘tween than you surely know that CAMP ROCK PREMIERES TOMORROW, JUNE 20th!

My kids have been waiting for this for weeks!  Joe Jonas and his Bros. star in this new Disney Channel musical, which also features the soon to be wildly famous Demi Lovato.  There are plenty of squeaky clean teens and positive messages (follow your dreams, believe in yourself) in this surefire hit.  Here’s the preview: