Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's Just My Opinion

Everything to LoseEverything to Lose by Andrew Gross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I was reading this book, I thought maybe it was one of Andrew Gross's first independent writing attempts, but as it turns out, it wasn't. I usually like his style of writing. He's sharp, clever, creates dynamic characters, but not in this novel.

Having the 7 year old calling his mother "Mommy" in every. single. sentence... got old quickly. The characters were underdeveloped. The dialogue was unnatural. The flashbacks were a little confusing. It was never explained to my satisfaction how a child who is inherently evil would turn into a man of the people, a senator, a public figure. It just didn't make sense. Nor did the way the protagonist managed to throw the money from the car without being seen by the other witness and how she came back for it later.  Surely the firefighters and rescue personnel would have canvassed the area.  The NYPD officer working with the "Ukranian" mob was just ridiculous. Last, the punishment of a few months in jail was completely unbelievable as was the main character getting a fabulous job after serving time. I'm also pretty sure that a boat hook through your car window would create enough havoc to either kill or disable you, not to mention your car.

I was not impressed with this particular novel, although I have enjoyed others by this author.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April is National Stress Awareness Month

We use the term so frequently.  "I am so stressed!"  But what, exactly, is stress, how do we know our stress level is too high, and what can we do about it?  I found a great article that answers some questions about stress.

1.  Stress is your body's normal reaction when it senses danger or a threat of some kind.  Stress is what helps us stay focused and alert.  It's how we meet challenges, real or perceived.
2.  When your body is under stress, it releases adrenaline and cortisol.
3.  It is important to know how  your body tolerates stress and when you have too much.  If your body is constantly under stress, you may not realize the effects that stress is having on you.
4.  Too much stress can cause changes in mood, health, and life in general.
5.  Stress can cause memory loss, poor judgment, excessive worry, and leave you unable to concentrate.
6.  Stress can cause you to feel anxious, moody, overwhelmed, or lonely, all of which can lead to depression.
7.  Some unpleasant signs of physical symptoms of stress include chest pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and susceptibility to colds and other viruses.
8.  It may affect your sleeping and eating habits.  Stress may cause you to seek self-medication through alcohol or drugs.  You may also develop other nervous habits.
9.  How do you know if you're under too much stress?  Some people are just aware of their bodies, and they recognize it.  If you are unsure, there are a number of free "stress tests" available online.  (Here is one, here's two, here's three.)
10.  Common stressors include major life changes, major work changes, financial or relationship difficulties, being too busy, negative self-talk, and chronic worry.
11.  One way to to manage stress is to avoid it, if at all possible.  Sometimes that means saying, "No," and staying away from people we know cause us stress.
12.  Sometimes we have to learn to adapt to the stress so we can better deal with it.  Look at the big picture to decide if something is worth getting upset about it.  Let go of the things you can't change. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your job, relationship, or whatever is causing stress.
13.  Here are some tips for dealing with stress:

  • Set aside time each day to rest, relax, and re-energize whether it's through quiet time, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, reading for pleasure, or something else.
  • Develop an exercise routine whether it's walking, running, lifting weights, yoga.
  • Eat regular, nutritious meals.  Avoid too much caffeine and sugar.
  • Establish a regular sleep routine.
There are plenty of great tips out there to help us avoid or deal with stress, but we have to take charge and DO something about it.
I'm linking up with the new Thursday Thirteen.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Random Tuesday

Random Tuesday with Stacy Uncorked.

I attended a visitation and a funeral this weekend.  The father of one of my daughter's best friends passed away at age 58.  Cancer.  Five years ago, his daughter, my daughter's friend, died in a 4-wheeler accident.  I can't imagine how the mom has the strength to deal with all of this loss.  I would crumple.  At least, I think I would.

This week, I had a student  who wore a shirt that said "Love is in the Air," so I thought I would treat you with the 1978 song of that name by John Paul Young.  I hadn't heard it in years until I looked it up on YouTube.

 A couple of weeks ago, my husband, daughter, and I attempted to go to the Arts Festival.  This used to be a free event about 30 years ago.  It isn't anymore, but we decided to go anyway.  Well, there was no parking onsite, so we had about a mile walk from the parking to the entrance to the festival. The line to get tickets wrapped around and around and around as though people were waiting for a ride at DisneyWorld!  We found out tickets were $45 each.  After buying tickets, you had to get in a different line to enter.  We couldn't even see the end of that line!  It just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny, so we decided to hike back to the car and leave.  I think it was a good choice!

How's that for randomness?!  Oh, and if you have a chance, please visit my Weekly Roundup post.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Roundup

6 Things You Should Never Do on Facebook
This post should be required reading for ALL young people, and some of them even apply to friends I know who are not young and should know better (numbers 3,5, and 6 especially).

5 Ways to Deal with Sentimental Clutter
We all have those items that take up space that have no monetary value.  I certainly do!  This post offers some options about what to do with those items so you can have your space back!
The Secret of Happiness?  Stop Feeling Bad About Being Unhappy (by Tim Lott)
This is my favorite blog post this week.  I am a realist, not a pessimist.  Just because I'm not happy all the time doesn't mean I'm unhappy, mad, or sad all the time, either.  Sometimes I just AM.

Read This Roundup

20150312_155041_resizedPhoto courtesy of Karen Blue
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.


















Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Mother's Job

Why am I always so tired?  Because moms have lots of jobs!

Finder of Lost Items - Mom can always find it.
"Mom, I can't find my (fill in the blank)."
"Did you look for it/them on your bed, under your bed, in your closet, in your desk?"
"Of course!"
Mom goes and looks and finds the item in two minutes or less.
"Where was it?"
"On your bed!"

Nurse - Don't feel well?  Just being in mom's presence will make you feel better.

"I can't do it!"
"Yes, you can.  I know you can!"
"No, I can't."
"Mom, I did it!"

Troubleshooter - Mom can figure it out.
Whether the printer won't print, the computer dropped off the network, the TV has no picture - mom will persevere until she gets it right, or at least call someone who can tell her how to fix it.

Cook - When and what is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.

"Mom, I need help on my social studies assignment."
No problem.  Mom likes to color maps.

"Mom, I have to type my research paper, but it will take me hours."
Half an hour later, Mom is finished.

"Mom, she hit me!"
"Did you hit her first?"

Maid - No explanation necessary

Meanie-head - Sometimes you just have to say, "No."

Chauffer - At least until they learn to drive

"Mom, I need money for (fill in the blank with lunch, clothes, lab fee, school supplies, headphones, etc.)

Personal Shopper
"I'm out of deodorant!"
"I need a poster board for a project."
"Will you buy me some new jeans?"
"We're out of shampoo!"

Event Planner - Have a birthday coming up?  Mom has it under control.

I must have used the "new" math, because I think that's 14, and this is Thursday Thirteen!  Oh, well.  You know there are so many other job duties moms have, and we love it!


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