Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, I can't say I'm sad to see 2011 go. It's been a tumultuous year for me. In the short span of 365 days, my son turned 16, dropped out of high school, enrolled in community college, got his GED (scored higher than 96% of graduating seniors), got his first job volunteering at a pet shelter, adopted a cat and enrolled in the local university as a full freshman. The kid doesn't have a car, but he has an A in computer, an A in Japanese, an A- in English Comp, a B+ in Communication and a B in Freshman Writing. He started up the computer club only to have the jerks that joined vote him out as president once he had all the grunt work done. Through it all, he's struggled with anxiety, depression and self-worth issues and has had to have his meds adjusted repeatedly.

After being out of work for a year, my husband started a new job and immediately began obsessing about when he'd be laid off again (hasn't happened yet). He's (well we've) dealt with elderly parents who can no longer care for their house and have had several health scares and a brother who underwent quadruple bypass surgery. He's put on 30 lbs. this year from all the stress.

I underwent three separate and unbearably painful dental surgeries, got myself on anti-depressants (can I say I'm a much more balanced person with them? lol), gave up more freedom to drive my son to classes (spring semester is carefully scheduled so that I don't have to spend hours in the car) and resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably never work a real job again. I've also dealt with my father having several very very scary medical emergencies.

Like I said, tumultuous. Thank God for books. They've kept me sane and allowed me to escape. (Well, the prozac might have helped with that, too.


Now I'm kicking back with a Dogfish Head Brown Ale, reading Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead, while Pineapple Express plays on the television (LOVE that movie - its sooo ridiculous) and kicking 2011 out the door with a laugh. I survived and that's good enough for me.

Hope all of you have a wonderful New Year, too. Bring it on, 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Release Craziness Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is another awesome Tuesday of new releases! I'll be picking up a few of these - probably not tomorrow, but before the week is out. What am I most looking forward to reading?? The Mortal Bone by Marjorie Liu. I'm fascinated by Maxine and her world. I also love Jennifer Lynn Barnes wolf series, so I'm looking forward to reading Every Other Day. And Babylon Steel, while a little off my usual genre, just looks campy enough for me to enjoy. Here's the list:

Every Other Day – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Daybreak Zero – John Barnes
Archon – Sabrina Benulis
The Demon Lover – Juliet Dark
Shadow City – Diana Pharaoh Francis
Spirit Bound – Christine Feehan
Bedeviled – Sable Grace
Ghost Walk – Heather Graham
A Hard Day’s Knight – Simon R Green
A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
The Mortal Bone – Marjorie Liu
The Warlord’s Legacy – Ari Marmell
Bitter Seed of Magic – Suzanne McLeod
Wicked Circle – Linda Robertson
Babylon Steel – Gaie Sebold
Switchblade Goddess – Lucy A Snyder
Vesper – Jeff Sampson

So what are you anxious to get your hands on?

OOOH! Book Sale!!! 26th & 27th only...good books, too.

Hi All -
Just wanted to throw out there that (out of Canada) is having a huge 2 day sale. 50% off all books - and they're all seriously marked down anyway. I just bought 21 books for $43. No kidding!!! Shipping was $10 (roughly), so the total was $53, but still. You cannot beat that. Most of these are trade paperbacks that originally cost $15 each, with some paperbacks mixed in. Its a ridiculous savings of roughly $170! (I think I calculated it out to $221 for all the books together, without the shipping.)

I've ordered from this company before. They're legit and the books are in excellent/new condition, usually with a mark somewhere on the cover or page edges. AND they're not weird books either. There are big name books there. So what are you waiting for? Go. Buy!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wishing You All Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone who floats by this blog a glorious Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza and New Year. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it will be filled with love and laughter and the joy of family and friends.

As for me, I've survived the in-law's Hannukah celebration (trust me - its an event that requires at least alcohol and often prescription meds). I'm gearing up for the parent's Christmas celebration (much calmer if you ignore all the dogs), my own Christmas celebration (a peaceful, quiet time) and New Years (which I usually celebrate alone because everyone else is in bed). All of this festivity is followed by kid's 17th birthday and two nieces' birthdays (one 27, one 13). It all falls within the window of last Sunday to Jan. 19th. I will be happy when its all over.

Yes, it is a crazy time of year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

e-Reader December & finally feeling a little like Christmas

I decided to make December an e-Reader month since I bought way too many 99 cent books in the last month (I think it was somewhere near 40 heh). Since a lot of these books are shorter, I can actually find the time to devote to reading them. (It's not because I'm trying to bring the number of books I read this year up. Honest.)

So far, I've read some good books and one awesome one. I'll keep you posted. 

Also, at some point this month I'll be posting my favorite picks of the year. So keep an eye out. 

I finally managed to decorate my tree. The thought of crawling up into the attic and drag out boxes was just too much for me this year. Instead, I hit Walmart. I bought some curly ribbon - the kind that comes three colors to a roll and draped that around the tree (its red plastic-y, gold shiny and brown paper). Then I bought 4 packs of ornaments - (1) white glitter icicles (1) gold plastic icicles (1) copper glitter butterflies (1) white glitter stars and a pack of round gold ornaments that were gold glitter, shiny gold and dull gold. I also found a very cool steampunkish star.

Here's where the fun comes in: I bought gold, silver, copper, black and turquoise acrylic crafter's paint, too. I took the white glitter ornaments and dry brushed them with black, silver and turquoise. I brushed the copper ornaments with gold and black. I brushed the gold ornaments with black, copper and turquoise. Then I hung it all up. Voila! Steampunk tree. 

Total cost: $27!

I honestly didn't expect it to end up looking so pretty. (I'll put a picture up as soon as my camera is charged.) My house isn't exactly festive, but that little corner where the tree sits is. It's good enough for this year.

And my shopping is all done! Yay. Not all of it has arrived yet, but the last delivery is supposed to come on the 20th. So I should be good. If not, there's always Amazon overnight delivery. Lets just hope everyone likes their gifts. 

As a little side note for those who missed it, I still have some books that I'm trying to get rid of. Scroll back in my entries and if you see anything you'd like let me know. I don't think they'll make it to you for Christmas, but they're totally free to good homes. And they're all new! (Because they're duplicates.)

Now just get me through the turmoil of kid's meds being off, final exams and the craziness of Hannukah, Christmas, New Years and kid's birthday all falling within 10 days of each other. (Deep breath.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unexpected Expenses (aka Why Me?) - yes, a vent...

...and I apologize in advance.

The kid's phone tried to ELECTROCUTE him! Now, this in and of itself is horrible enough. But it gets worse. See, this is the 3rd phone that kid has had in less than two years.

The first and second phones were the type where the keyboard slides out. Both of them had the screen disconnect from the keyboard causing a white screen (which was really quite pretty). Both were Motorola. The wiring from the screen to the keyboard failed. Verizon rules are: contract plan + phone fail = refurbished phone of same type (ie. "Here, have another phone we've fixed that had the same problem as your last one. Hopefully we've fixed it well enough for it to work for the rest of your contract.") But when the second phone failed (big surprise) in April, we told them that was unacceptable. We wanted a phone that wasn't going to fail.

So, with much haggling (they waived the early replacement fee; we accepted a brand new 2 yr. contract AND paid for new phone at a discount), we got the kid the Motorola Droid X. From day one this phone had issues. The phone periodically refused to recognize the memory card. It rebooted randomly. Kid said "No problem. I know some tricks." Kid is a computer genius. I said okay (yeah, don't say it, I know. I think the phrase you're looking for is "Dumbass"). Kid rooted his phone and for a while he was happy.

Then about 2 weeks ago the problems began. Phone kept shutting off. It wouldn't connect to 3G. It ejected memory card ad nauseum. And then yesterday, when kid turned it on to call me because class got out early...ZAP!!! He got the shock of his life. Literally. He managed to call me to tell me to come get him. When he hung up, the phone zapped him again and went dead.

When I picked him up, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. (And I might have thought he was exaggerating the electrocution a bit.) I told him to plug it into my car charger if it was dead. (Yes, yes, Dumbass and Shit for Brains, that is me.) After lecturing me that it was a bad idea, he did it. The phone made a loud ZZZZTTPFT sound, blue sparks shot out and it killed my charger. Fucking phone.

I suggested we take it to Verizon to get a replacement AGAIN. Kid said "no can do". It turns out kid's alterations to the phone to help it work better killed the warranty. Soooo...kid now has a Motorola Droid X that's a charger murdering bastard phone. Seriously, it's only use now is as a TAZER! I can't get it repaired because the warranty is voided. Our options? Pay for the new phone in FULL (uh, Droid X = $549!) OR cancel his phone (Early termination = $350 + cost of new service + cost of new phone = $600-$650).

My house has been a war zone for the last day. Aspergers + end of semester stress + no phone with internet access stress = HELL!!!) It's amazing I'm not a lush. Thank God wine gives me migraines & hard alcohol upsets my stomach. And beer is just tough to drink to excess. All that peeing kills the mood.

In the end kid took it out of my hands. He's now sporting a T-Mobile android no-contract phone ($280 + prepaid $30 card 100 mins/unlimited text & internet). He paid for it. I'm just out the $350...well, plus the money I paid 7 months ago for my electric cattle prod. I guess the upside of the whole thing is that it's cheaper than the $45/mo. we were paying Verizon for pretty much the same service.

Is it any wonder my Christmas tree is still in the attic?
Ho Ho Holy Shit.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Books Read in November

Does time ever get away from you? I just realized that it's December 5th and I haven't posted my reading list for November. So, without further ado, here it is:

Drink Deep by Chloe Neill (5 Stars)
Magic on the Line by Devon Monk (5 Stars)
Reckoning by Lilith Saintcrow (6 Stars)
Serengeti Sunrise by Vivi Andrews (3 Stars)
Hounded by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
Hexed by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
Hammered by Kevin Hearne (4 Stars)
The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen (3 Stars)

I've blogged about some of these because they were so fantastic. I intend to do a blog about Kevin Hearne's books as soon as I finish Hammered (which I've listed here because I started it in November - before all hell broke loose). The Vampire Stalker is a young adult book loaned to me by my niece. She's 12 and got a little freaked by it. I think it was just too mature for her (some romance and a vicious attack where the heroine gets chomped). I liked it though. Serengeti Sunrise was an e-book and I thought it was cute.

I'd like to spend time talking about these books, but I'm a little overwhelmed by life right now and have to go shuttle the kid to his next class. *sigh*