Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Thursday Thirteen

I only started drinking wine about six years ago.  I just didn't like it... until my husband's cousin refused to take no for an answer, and I learned to enjoy a good glass of wine, white wine mostly, but also an occasional sweet red.  BUT, the last two times I have had wine to drink on a school night, my whole night of sleep was disturbed, and today, I found the research to support that conclusion.  Here are some (fun) facts about wine.

1.  A new study shows that...
"drinking in the evening and before bedtime is associated with significant stimulating effects, compared to other times of day." So it wasn't all in my head!

2.  Red wine is more likely to keep you awake than white because it has properties in it that act as histamines.

3.  Did you know it takes about 2 1/2 pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine?

4.  There are over 10.000 varieties of wine!

5.  We have the Mesopotamians to thank for inventing wine-making in 6,000 BC.

6.  Did you know that white wine gets darker as it ages?

7.  Corks didn't come into use until the 1780's.  This allowed vinters to be able to age wine directly in the bottle.

8.  Organic wine and wine made with organic grapes are not the same thing.  You can read further if you're interested.

9.  Watching calories?  You might like to know that a glass of wine has about the same number of calories as a glass of grape juice.

10.  I know what you people from California, Florida, and New York are doing!  These three states have the highest wine consumption in the US.

11.  California is the fourth highest wine-producer in the world following France, Italy, and Spain.

12.  "Drinking to your health" refers to ancient Greece when the host would take the first sip of wine to prove that it was not poisonous.

13. Plato believed a man should not taste wine before age 18 and drink it only in moderation until age 31.  According to Plato, a man over 40 can drink as much wine as he wants in order to cure the crabbiness of old age.  Hey!  What about women?  I get crabby, too!

I hope you enjoyed this bit about wine.  You can join Thursday Thirteen here.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

So Random!

I'm linking up with Stacy

This is post number 1,983 for me!  1983!  That's when I graduated from high school.  Those were easier times, huh?  I bet some of you weren't even born yet.  I may not be a spring chicken anymore, but I can still cluck like one!  Hahaha!  I crack me up!

Did you know you can  Save 15% on flowers sitewide at Teleflora? Same day delivery available with code AFLS1822. Offer valid through 2/28/2018.

Did you get something for your sweetie for Valentine's Day?  I got something small-ish.  Just a reminder that, as much as he may irritate me SOMETIMES, I still love him.  We went to our fancy dinner Sunday night.  Tomorrow, we'll probably eat at Whataburger.  We've done that a few times. It's almost a tradition.

What?  You've never heard of Whataburger?  Well, it's just about the best burger you could eat.  It beats In & Out by MILES!  I was expecting something special when I tried In & Out.  Boy was I disappointed.  The burger is small, nothing spectacular.  The fries are bland.  But, back to Whataburger.  If you're ever fortunate enough to eat one, may I suggest the Whataburger with Cheese, mayo, no mustard, lettuce and pickles only.  My husband likes his all-the-way.  And try a small side of gravy with your fries.  Or some spicy ketchup, my son's favorite.  You'll be glad you did.  And if you're lucky enough to live in one of these states, give Whataburger a try! (And no, I don't get anything if you do.  This is a free PSA!)

I haven't been keeping up with The Olympics.  Have you?  I've just been so busy.  Since I live in a state that is NOT known for snow, and I've never actually participated in any of them, it's hard to get too invested.  I enjoy watching ice dancing and figure skating, though.  I really look forward to the summer Olympics.  What is your favorite sport?

Have a great week!

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Valentine's Day Flowers for Your Sweetie

Save 15% on flowers sitewide! Same day delivery available with code AFLS1822. Offer valid through 2/28/2018.
Check out this Mad Crush Bouquet!

Sunday Synopsis

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1)A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why have I never read Sue Grafton? Her books have been on my TBR list since 2012. Finally, I came across a great deal through Book Bub and purchased this book. It's right up my alley! I love sleuthing stories!

The book is set in Santa Teresa, a fictional town that is loosely based on Santa Barbara, California. This book is the first in the "alphabet mystery" series. I'm not certain if the author or readers coined that phrase, but I liked this book enough to go ahead and purchase the next, B is for Burglar. I would like to read them in order, but I've already been offered a great deal on T (also through Book Bub), so I may not be able to read them chronologically, though it's my preference.

Kinsey Milhone, a former cop, has set up shop as a private investigator. She is approached by Niki Fife who was convicted of poisoning her husband. She maintains that, even though she has served 8 years for the crime, she is innocent, and she needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. Can she clear Niki and restore her good name? You'll have to read to find out!

I really loved that there were several twists in the plot. As soon as I thought I had it figured out, the author threw a wrench in the plot, and I was off in a new direction. The writing is solid. Good characterization, believable characters and believable scenarios. The author paints a picture that is clear in the mind of the reader using sensory details and visual images. I was also impressed that there were no errors in grammar or spelling because, lately, I seem to come across things like that more often.

Grafton crafted a clever who-dun-it. Nook book available for about $2.99. Enjoy!

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Monday, February 05, 2018

Random Tuesday

Hello all!  I'm linking up with Stacy.

How 'bout them Eagles?  I don't really care much about football, but it's really exciting for them.  I was so proud to be a Houstonian when the Astros won the World Series.  I'm glad this gives Philadelphia a cause for celebration.  I don't understand the riots, though.  That is just not a way to demonstrate your pride.
Image Credit
And how 'bout that Ryan McKenna?  What a lucky and exciting night he had taking selfies with Justin Timberlake.  I bet he gets all the girls now!

Image Credit

But the commercials this year?  I was underwhelmed.  I think my least favorite was the Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice, even though Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors.  The TurboTax Thing Under the Bed was seriously freaky.  Actually, it's probably my least least favorite.  The M&Ms commercial with Danny DeVito  and the Alexa loses her voice were on the humorous side.  I got bored with all of the ads for new movies, though.  You can watch them ALL (plus the halftime show) HERE.

Since my daughter graduated from college, she is living at home right now.  I love it, but she doesn't, so she is actively looking for a job.  Things are done waaayyyy differently now than they were when I was her age.  Anyway, she cooks dinner at least once a week, which I could definitely get used to!  Here's what she made tonight (and it was delicious!):
Roasted Veggie Trapanese Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage  - Click for Recipe

I can't wait to eat something cooked by my husband in his new birthday present.  I got him this smoker, and I'm pretty sure he likes it and that after he cooks in it, he will love it.  I know I will!
Have a great week!

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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After the barrage of dystopian novels that have been the rage for the last few years, this seemed like just another attempt to capitalize on the success of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Little did I know that it was published in 2003, many years before those books. Several of my students insisted that it was "so good!!!!" and encouraged me to read it, so I did. It's a fairly short, easy read.

The City of Ember is set in the future, what has been described as post-apocalyptic. The main characters are Doon and Lina who have been assigned their first jobs. The city was supposed to be a refuge, or perhaps an experiment, but the Builders never returned to Ember. Years and years have passed so that the people no longer remember any life before Ember, which is always dark and requires electricity. Things have run smoothly for who knows how long - until now. Stores of food and supplies are running low, the government is corrupt, and the electricity is beginning to fail. Doon and Lina must solve a mystery, initiated by Lina's grandmother, if they are to save the people of their city.

I liked that this book had a mysterious element with some suspense as it made me want to keep reading. There were some adventures along the way. And the ending is not really an ending, because, surprise, there is a sequel. I'm not sure if I care enough about the characters to invest my time in another book, though, as the book lacked character development. The friendship of Lina and Doon, their effort to solve a mystery that might save their community, and the snags that occur along the way are what kept me reading.

I would not put Ember on the same level as The Giver (which I read first although it was published two years later). Several parts that me of it. The Builders arranged things so the citizens would not have the memory of their previous lives. They have assigned jobs (at the tender age f 12) so that the city functions in an orderly manner. However, The Giver was deeper with more sophisticated conflicts and themes. Situations in Ember just seemed to be solved a little too easily for Lina and Doon. Oh, here are the items we need, what a coincidence.

For younger readers, this is a great starter dystopian book that does not get as violent as The Hunger Games or Divergent, nor does it require the same reading skill as The Giver, or even Matched. I would recommend this for grades 4-6. For adults, if you're needing a "bubble gum" book just to kill time, this should do the trick. And it's enjoyable.

Jeanne DuPrau beat all the others to the punch in the dystopian genre, and for that and her clever storyline, she deserves praise.

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