Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Random Thoughts and Coffee Chat

Hello!  I'm linking up with Stacy.

Seems like I didn't get a weekend, this past one, at all.  Part of that was probably because of a conflict at work that happened Friday as I was about to leave work.  All I thought about all weekend was that conflict.  And of course, everything worked out just fine Monday morning.  But it ruined my weekend!  Well, I guess I let it get to me.  And it wasn't my whole weekend. I exaggerate.  But it definitely interfered.  Don't you hate when that happens.
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So, I didn't watch all of the Oscars.  Awards show bore me after a short time.  Besides, I haven't seen but one of the movies that was nominated for best picture.  But... drama!  Right there at the end!  I heard about it Monday.  If by some chance you haven't seen what happened, take a look!

Another news source, Hmmmm, wonder which one, said there were Trump bashers at the Oscars.  Were there?  I didn't see any.  I thought the whole affair was comedically classy, if that makes sense.  Loved Jimmy Kimmel as host.
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And while I'm speaking about TV, have you see this new Hurricane Spin Scrubber thing?  It makes cleaning the tub and shower, even the tile, look like a breeze.  The brush heads go 300 RPM, and you get three different brush heads.  I think I'm going to have to get one!  But wait.  I don't like to clean.  Will I actually use it?  Or will I just spray my scrubbing bubbles on there and rinse it?  I don't know.
I'm trying to raise enough money for my son to go on a study abroad trip since his sister got to go on one.  He will get to spend a couple of weeks in Australia, and he will also go to Wyoming.  At some point, he'll get to see the Northern Lights.  He gets 4 hours college science credit - if I end up being able to afford it.  Just when I need a philanthropist... there isn't one there!  Haha!

And now, Coffee Chat with Ink Interrupted.

Our hostess asks:
Who do you trust most?

Trustworthiness is so important to me.  You could be not-a-great-person in other ways, and as long as you're trustworthy, we'll get along fine.  I need to know that someone is going to do the things he or she says he or she is going to go.  Can I trust your word?  Can I trust you with information?  Secrets?

You know who I trust the absolute most?  God.  I don't always understand why things happen, but I know there's a reason, and I trust Him, because He does know the reason, and He wants good things for me (unlike my coworker last Friday.  tee hee).  Seriously, He wants what is best for me, so I put my trust in Him.

Humans are a little harder to trust.  And trust, once broken, can never be regained to exactly the same level.  As far as humans go, I trust my family.  Most of all, I trust my husband. Every now and then, doubt creeps in, but it doesn't stay, and it is unfounded.  One of the things I love most about him is his trustworthiness.  Here is a picture of him and one of our daughters by the Buddy Holly statue in Lubbock.

That's all for now!

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

The WhistlerThe Whistler by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Whistler is billed as "a high stakes thrill ride through the darkest corners of the Sunshine State" according to Barnes and Noble. That's a pretty fair assessment, actually.

A Time to Kill tackled racial violence and rape. The Firm is about a law firm that is in bed with the mafia. The Pelican Brief tackles the murder of Supreme Court Justices. The Chamber tackles such issues as anti-Semitism, the KKK, and the death penalty.

The Whistler, in my opinion, is not the typical drama I expect from John Grisham, but it is a thrilling ride nonetheless. What disappointed me most was that there was no courtroom involved.  That is usually my favorite part of a legal thriller.

The issue is the lack of integrity of a judge. The main character, Lacy Stoltz, receives an intriguing phone call with accusations of judicial misconduct. Lacy's job, working for the board of judicial review, is to investigate these accusations to determine if there is enough evidence to bring the judge under review. The caller is an attorney representing the person who wants to blow the whistle on the judge. But the corruption doesn't include only the judge. The Coast Mafia, in partnership with the Tappacola Indian Nation, are also included in the corruption. And since some of the events happen on tribal land, they are governed by their own laws, not those of the state of Florida or the USA. Can Lacy, her partner, and her boss, with formidable foes such as a judge, a mob boss and his thugs, and an Indian tribe with questionable ethics,  get to the bottom of things before it becomes too dangerous?

I must admit, the beginning of the novel didn't hook me, but I kept reading, and several chapters in, it finally did. This was not the enthralling courtroom drama Grisham is known for, but it was a mystery with many twists and turns. Secrets are revealed at just the right times to keep the action moving forward. Each piece of the puzzle is carefully and skillfully placed to keep the reader intrigued. We find out before the end who the whistleblower actually is, but even then, there are ups and downs and twists. It's like an exciting roller coaster ride. Good job, Grisham. While not as good as my favorites mentioned above, it is so much better than your previous novel, Rogue Lawyer.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

A Random Post

I'm linking up with Stacy!

So happy to have seen my twins this past weekend.
 My daughter's school has an annual event called Sing-Song.  It's a pretty big deal.  My husband and I picked up my son from his college and headed to Abilene.  A. very. long. drive.  But I'm so glad we did it!  I'm even happier that her social club won first place in two categories and second in the third category.
 They get $1,000 to give to the charity of their choice, in this case, an organization about Diabetes.  They had a young sister pass away in her dorm room, likely from side effects of diabetes, so they wanted to make that contribution in her name.

I've been missing so much sleep lately.  I'm tired, but I can't get sleepy.  If I get into bed when I'm not sleepy, I will just lay there and fret.  Then, I can't sleep at all.  But I have to get up early and go to work, so... days off that are coming up will definitely include a nap.

My husband and I ate at Outback last night, which I usually enjoy.
 This time, though, the seasonings on my steak were so strong I could barely eat it.  I even tried wiping it off, but that only helped a little.  I have never had a steak there that I didn't like,  But I loved the strawberry peach sangria!

That's all for now!
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Study Abroad Australia

Support our group Study Abroad. Please click here. Study Abroad Please support Study Abroad Australia if you are able. Thank you!

Sunday Synopsis

Here I am with another review.

Cross the Line (Alex Cross, #24)Cross the Line by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been enjoying Alex Cross books since 1993. This one is #24. There is a bookshots book (also published in 2016), but I read it out of order, so I've read all 25 Cross books. Another one is due out soon, and I'm just as anxious to read it as I have been to read all of the previous ones.

I will admit that some are better than others, but this is due to James Patterson taking on co-authors. Some are just better than others. This one is credited only to Patterson.

This book has Cross investigating the death of the chief of detectives who was also his friend and Bree's mentor. Meanwhile, a crime wave is sweeping the city. A group of vigilantes is wreaking havoc on "bad guys," people who smuggle humans or make drugs. A sick, individual, sharpshooter on a motorcycle is killing drivers who are using their smart phones while driving. Amidst this chaos, Bree is appointed chief of detectives, when Alex declines the position. Nana Mama and all the kids also have story-lines woven into the novel.
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Patterson does an excellent job connecting all the dots and wrapping things up into a package that makes sense. There is lots of action, detail, and suspense. I was not disappointed!
(P. S. Click the words "image credit" above to go to a video interview with James Patterson.)

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Random and Coffee Chat

I'm linking up with Stacy.

Hello all!  Are you celebrating this day of love with your sweetie?  I'm working most of the day, as is hubby, but we plan to get dinner together.  And maybe Rockets tickets for the game tomorrow!  That would be awesome in my book.  Did you see my list of gifts that would make me happy?  I wonder if your top gift made my list.  Check and let me know!

So, did any of you watch the Grammy's?  I didn't.  I don't usually watch awards shows.  I get bored.  I can always find out the winners the next day, if I care to.  Most of the music that was featured I don't listen to, so that was another reason.
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Did you hear about the guys who sneaked into the SuperBowl?  Some enlisted help from Patriot's fans who left a side door open, and some used a step-ladder to gain access.  That's some big cajones!  You can read about it here.
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Texas-based business, My Fit Foods, has completely shut down.  Their gig was providing ready-made healthy foods.  I tried some that they delivered to us at school once, but I never got the chance to go buy any.  And as a sure sign that the business is defunct is that their Twitter account is closed.  That pretty much makes it a done deal.

And now let's have some coffee chat.

Our hostess asks...

LOVE.   What, or Who are you lovin' lately?

Who am I lovin'?  My husband, of course,  He is doing his best to make our marriage work.  Sure, we have ups and downs, but right now we're in an "up" and I hope it lasts a long time.

I'm also lovin' my children who are either away at college or living elsewhere so we don't see them often.

WHAT am I lovin'?  PEANUT BUTTER M&Ms!  Oh, my, goodness, these are all kinds of deliciousness!  If I have them, I will eat them.  Not the peanut kind.  Peanut BUTTER.  They are soooo much better than Resse's Pieces.  RPs don't have chocolate.  They're better than Reese's.  They have a smooth peanut butter mixed in with the chocolate in a candy shell.  These are my current favorite addiction.

How about you?
Have a great week!

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

I'm finally back to posting my book reviews and suggestions!

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I was pleasantly surprised! I read the premise and thought, "This isn't the kind of book I usually like." I thought it would be sappy, and mushy, and romantic, and in it's own way it was romantic, but not the way I thought.

Me Before You - the title - I believe that it refers to Lou (Louisa Clark). To me it means "The Me I Was Before I Met You." A subtitle could be "How Will Traynor Changed my Life."

Lou is an underachiever just living day to day, still at home with her parents and grandfather, as well as her super-smart, talented sister who goofed up and got pregnant and now has a little boy. Lou works at the Pub down the street. She has a boyfriend who is an avid runner who really doesn't pay much attention to her. She has no aspirations to leave their small, comfortable, English village, and lacks the self confidence to see herself in college.

When she loses her job at the Pub, she eventually gets an interview with the Traynors who are looking for a helper for their son. Will, once a powerful businessman, world traveler, and a reckless adventurer, is a quadriplegic now confined to a wheelchair due to a senseless accident.  He was run over while walking to his car during a heavy downpour. Lou has no special skills working with a medically challenged patient, but they do have a full-time person to meet his medical needs. She is hired to do a little cleaning, help him eat and drink, and keep him company.

At first, Will is mean, bossy, condescending, and grumpy. Over time, they begin to soften toward each other. Lou finds out that Will had already tried to kill himself and has plans to seek an assisted suicide in six months. During that time, Lou tries her best to show Will that his life is worth living.

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The way that Jojo Moyes develops the character's personalities so well makes them feel like friends. I believe that is the reason the reader experiences ups and downs emotionally as the plot moves forward. And every scene contributes to the plot. There is nothing unnecessary. This was the kind of book that was difficult to put down.

I do not want to give any more away. This is a book you should read! If you've already seen the movie, read it anyway. I'm sure the book is better, but I do plan to see the movie now.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Thursday Thirteen Valentine's Day

I am resurrecting a post I wrote two years ago in honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day "holiday" with a few minor changes.

This edition of Thursday 13 is brought to you by Valentine's Day. I'm not necessarily a huge proponent of Valentine's Day, as you can read in this post, but to my male readers (although I think most of my readers are female) you need to know that when a woman says, "Oh, you don't need to get me anything," or "Oh, anything will do," it is a good-natured LIE. Women just don't want to TELL you they expect a gift. They want it to be your idea. So, Men, your wife will always LOVE to get a gift from you, regardless of how much the lady doth protest.

1. A card - Not a Hallmark card. A card you have either made yourself, or one that has a super-sweet or sexy sentiment handwritten by you, or perhaps a love poem is tucked inside.

2.Candy - I prefer Peanut Butter M&Ms, but some women want a candy heart.  But here's a tip... Skip the Pangburn's and go straight to the really good stuff like Dove, Ghiradelli, Lindt, or Godiva.

3. Flowers -  I love the color pink and pretty much any type of flower such as carnations and roses. And I like Cala Lillies, too.  Try to send them to her at work where her friends and co-workers will see them. That'll earn you some extra sugar. And make sure they come in a vase, not a box!

4.Stuffed Animals - Again, I don't mean the ones you get off the shelf at CVS or Walgreens. Get the good stuff! Go to Build-a-Bear workshop, probably in every mall near you, choose a cute bear, record your voice giving her a message, and the Bear-Builders will place the message so she can hear it when she presses a button in the animal's paw. She'll see you as thoughtful.  I have a pink cat that my husband and children gave me that I love.

5. Pajamas or lingerie - Nothing too risque. A pajamagram is a great gift idea, and I've already found the link for you.. I heard about this on the radio.

6. A Restaurant Dinner - Take her out to her favorite restaurant. And don't forget to make reservations so you don't have to wait for hours.

7. Perfume - Find out her favorite fragrance and purchase it for her.

8. Jewelry - Diamonds are nice, but so are earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Ask a salesperson to help you choose something stylish in the costume jewelry section if your budget can't take diamonds right now.  I have fallen in love with Charming Charlie!
9. Bubble Bath - And the time to take a long, hot bath without kids disturbing her! I love the detox rocks from Bath Junkie. And lavendar is a relaxing fragrance.  I also like the "rock-type" lavendar/chamomile bath stuff from Bath and Body Works, but they are usually sold out.

10. Candles - Can you tell that women love fragrance? And again, don't go for the dollar store candles. Choose one at a place such as Yankee Candle Company or Bath and Body Works.  If you know someone in the business, PartyLite makes the best candles.
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11. Movie Tickets - Take her to see that chick-flik she's dying to see.

12. Theater Tickets - Even better than a movie, buy tickets to the theater. She'll see you have a cultural side.

13. A Professional Massage or Facial - Saved the best for less. Massage Envy tends to be an affordable place. Find a day spa near you that gives deep cleansing facials, one hour massages, or better yet, couples massages. She'll be so relaxed! And a relaxed woman is a happy woman!

Ladies, what do you prefer as a Valentine gift?


Happy Valentine's Day!  Visit Thursday Thirteen here.
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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Random Thoughts and Coffee Chat

I'm linking up with Stacy.

Wow!  Lady Gaga's performance!  I have never been a fan, although I know most of her songs.  But she was incredible!  They said it was the second highest halftime viewership (Katy Perry is #1, another half time show I thought was great).
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I loved how she started out so patriotically.  I loved the music, the energy, the stunts, and most of the dancing.  Some of the guys got a little TOO into their roles.  And I never realized how incredibly talented she is.  I loved how she said hello to her mom and dad. I love when she hugged a high school student who was on the field as part of the outer entertainment.  And you know what?  I was fully expecting a political message, and maybe she did slightly, by the songs she chose, but she earned my respect for taking the high road.  It was all about her and not politics, the way I think the SuperBowl should be.  Very classy!
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Last time the SuperBowl was in my hometown, we had the "wardrobe malfunction."  Not something to remember, in my opinion.  Thanks, Lady Gaga, for being classy and putting on a stellar show.
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With the exception of the Kia Niro commercial with Melissa McCarthy, the commercials this year were nothing special.  Now, granted, I didn't see all of them.  I missed quite a few, in fact, but based on the ones I saw, nothing special.  There were a lot of action movie commercials, phone companies, snacks, cars, beer, and previews.  The game was more interesting this year!

I hope the SuperBowl will come back to Houston in 5-10 years!

And now, Coffee Chat.

Today our lovely hostess says...
Random!  Every now and then I like to give you 
a chance to just untangle your thoughts.  
Dessert recipes also acceptable.  Encouraged.

Random?  You know what's random?  This.  Cultural Appropriation.  I had never heard of this until today.  I had no idea what it was, so I looked it up.

On the surface, the definition seems positive:
the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture.
Positive?  Au contraire!
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The Website Everyday Feminism (no, I don't read it.  This is the ONLY time) says this:
A deeper understanding of cultural appropriation also refers to a particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.
In other words, it makes you a racist.

The Urban Dictionary says this:
The ridiculous notion that being of a different culture or race (especially white) means that you are not allowed to adopt things from other cultures. 
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Like Alyssa Milano's dreadlocks. I say it's much ado about nothing; creating controversy where there is none.

And now... for my next surprise!
Just for our hostess Rory...

Texas Sheet Cake!
It's delicious!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Sleep, Please?

I have a hard time falling asleep at night.  I have trouble turning my mind off, so I'm trying to find a few ways to fall asleep and stay asleep.  I want to sleep like a baby. (Or, maybe not.  Don't they wake up frequently and cry?)

1.  Obviously, there are OTC sleep aids.  They contain diphenhydramine which is actually an anti-histamine.
2.  Prescription sleep aids such as Ambien and Lunesta.  Lunesta did not make me drowsy, and Ambien leaves me feeling like a zombie the next day.
3.  Natural sleep aid such as Melatonin.  I prefer the kind that melts under the tongue.  Helps me sleep like a baby occasionally.

4.  There is a technique called 4-7-8.  Take in a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold for 7, exhale for 8.  This is a new relaxation method I'm going to try tonight.  Read more about it here.
5.  Exercising during the day to reduce stress may lead to easier sleep.
6.  Avoid naps.  But I love naps!  I only get them on weekends, though, because I get no sleep during the week.
7.  Turn off the TV and computer. Both stimulate the brain so much that they can prevent sleep.  Again, hard for me to do.

8. Wear an eye mask to make sure the room is completely dark.  My daughter does this.
9.  Keep your bedroom cooler than the rest of the house.  Cool temperatures are more likely to put you to sleep.
10. Comfortable clothing and bedding promotes better sleep.
11. Aromatherapy, and lavender in particular. I don't know why, for sure, this fragrance helps people sleep more deeply, but I feel like it calms me a little.

12. Putting on socks is rumored to help regulate your body temperature for sleep.  Can anyone sleep in them?  Everyone I know says they take them off either before bed or during the night like me.
13. Tart cherry juice, if consumer twice daily, will increase your Melatonin naturally in about two weeks making it easier to fall asleep.

I've got to start sleeping better.  Sleep is crucial for your health, your sex life, learning, remembering, and so much more.  I'm going to go try to catch some Zzzzz's now.  Here's to relaxation and sleep.

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