Wednesday, January 30, 2013

walking those dogs

Just got back from walking the mini pack. We missed a few walks because we had four days of rain in a row! Unheard of! They did pretty good and it felt nice to be moving our legs again.

P.S. Rainy long walk is by holli.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

I requested this book as an Early Reviewer because I read the author's first book, The Day the Falls Stood Still, a few years ago and loved it. The Painted Girls did not disappoint!

This well-researched historical fiction novel takes place in Paris 1878. It follows the van Goethem sisters as they struggle to survive after their father dies. Luckily the oldest sister, Antoinette, once trained in ballet for the Paris Opera and uses her mischievous ways to get auditions for her little sisters. Little did I know, but they used to pay girls to train for the ballet.

Every other chapter is told from the middle sister, Marie's, point of view, although the story mainly centers around her. She wants nothing more than stability for her family. Marie is a hard worker who loves music and her family, which makes her accessible to almost all of us. One way she makes extra money is by posing for Edgar Degas. He has a smaller role in this story but is still well developed as a character.

This is an excellent sister story, but I also felt the author was making a commentary on our roles in the world. Can you truly pull yourself up by your bootstraps or were you born to your lot in life? Don't tell. I'm not supposed to quote an advanced copy of the book but I feel in sharing this you will understand an underlying theme:

Monsieur Zola's tale is not about getting a washhouse or a chance upon the stage. It is about begin born downtrodden and staying that way. Hard work makes no difference, he is saying. My lot, the lots of those around me, were cast the moment we were born into the gutter to parents who never managed to step outside the gutter themselves.

Read this book and you will be magicked away to a time and place very different from our own. Fortunately the characters will make you feel at home.

P.S. This book counts as my book Published in 2013 for my Eclectic Reader Challenge.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

quote of the day/how I know my class is going to fail state standardized testing

Me: {pressing play}

State Approved CD Instruction Deliverer: Write your full name on the line.

Girl: I don't have a full name!

P.S. I got this picture from Private Arts.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

Time for end of the year book quizzes! Yay! On this one you're supposed to answer the questions with titles of books read in 2012.

Describe yourself: The Girl Who Played With Fire

How do you feel? Serenity

Describe where you currently live: East of Denver

If you could go anywhere...? The Voyage Out

Favorite form of transportation: Ruffian (she was a racehorse)

Your best friend is: I, Robot

You and your friends are: Catching Fire

What's the weather like? Day of Honey

Your favorite time of day is: After Dark

What is life for you? The Penultimate Peril

You fear: Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Best advice: Animals Make Us Human

Thought for the day: You Shall Know Our Velocity!

How you would like to die: The End

Who else wants to play?

P.S. Books is by Emily Martin.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I made this scrapbook page back in November as a birthday present for my niece Alyssa. Her friend Stephanie asked friends and relatives to make a scrapbook page with a drink recipe, then put them together in a scrapbook for Alyssa's 21st birthday. Well I love alcohol, scrapbooking, and my niece (not in that order) so this was perfect for me.

I use a template to cut 21 out of some confetti paper and added some alcohol stickers. I put my recipe on a We R Memory Keepers Project Life-type card that I thought looked like a recipe card. Alyssa loves cats so I had to add a sticker I had of a cat with a birthday hat on.

The picture of me is with our pink grapefruit tree in our backyard, since the recipe for a vodka greyhound requires grapefruit juice. I hurried home, set up my camera on a tripod, and used the timer to take this picture. You can still see the sunglasses imprint on my nose but I was under a deadline!

The main reason I want to share this picture is because this week, after living here for 5 years, I finally invested $25 in an electric juicer and it has changed my life. I got to make a greyhound with ease after an annoying day at school (uncommon this year, and because of adults of course, not students!). And then I tried the juice without the vodka for the first time and I liked that too. Maybe I'll be healthy or something now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Last year I made a weak attempt at the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge and only read 1 book. You can read any number of books to join, but this year I'm going to shoot for 2. That would keep me at the "Initiate: Read 1 - 5 Witchy Books" level.

Here are some books that I already have which I will choose from:

1. Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman - I haven't read a book by him in a really long time

2. Son of a Witch: Volume Two in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire - I read Wicked in 2006 so I guess it's time to read the sequel

3. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts by Arthur Miller - I did a scene from this in a competition in high school but never read the whole thing

4. The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow - this has been on my shelf for 4 years

5. Witch by Christopher Pike - I have been wanting to reread some of my Christopher Pike books (my favorite in high school) but never find a reason to. Maybe this challenge will get me going.


6. The Truth About Witchcraft by Hans Holzer

7. The Complete Art of Witchcraft by Sybil Leek

8. Witchcraft in the World Today by C.H. Wallace

If you would like to join my reading coven visit Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

P.S. Matilda is by Jayme McGowan.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Favorite Books of 2012

I read 43 books last year. Here are my 9 fiction and 2 non-fiction favorites, which I recommend you read as well. They are listed in the order I read them.


Watchmen by Alan Moore - This is the first graphic novel I've ever finished. Superheroes deal with their inner demons and struggle with power trips.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - reviewed here on March 11th

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - imagine the competitive life of Geisha while learning about Japanese history. Made me cry. My favorite book of the year.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Follow Katniss as she battles for her life in a game designed to entertain and control the masses.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - The exciting sequel to The Hunger Games.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - reviewed here on December 28th

After Dark by Haruki Murakami - reviewed here on December 29th

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson - reviewed here on December 29th

The Kite Runner by Kahleid Hosseini - coming of age story about a boy from Afghanistan and his best friend/family servant. Made me cry.


Columbine by Dave Cullen - very thoroughly researched account of the Columbine shooters, tragedy, and aftermath. Everything you think you know about what happened is wrong.

Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time by Jim Gorant - reviewed here on September 11th