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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vampires, Demons and Angels...Oh My!

Back (as promised) for a bit of a book review!

I started reading The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare before Christmas, there are 4 books out now (in series order): City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels.  I won't go into a whole bunch of detail, but I will rate the overall series a 3 out of 4 on my own scale.

I really enjoyed City of Bones and City of Ashes...but by the time I got into City of Glass...the story was starting to drift a bit for me...as if it was trying too hard.  Don't get me wrong...I read all four and eagerly await what is going to be the fifth book, due out in May time frame.  In books three and four there was plenty of drama, action, and good story line...but it was almost too much, as if the author had no idea where or how to exactly end each of those books.  I was drawn to each of the characters (if at times I was getting a little lost with ALL of the characters (again, a book 3 and 4 thing) and could visualize them and the many different settings presented.  The storyline is fascinating, and despite the few bumps I mentioned, a great read.  With books 1 and 2...I found myself up late at night reading because I couldn't put it down!  

If you enjoy the idea of the supernatural, of a cast of characters saving the world from evil...a bit of a twist on some vampire tales...then I can say I would recommend these books.  However, these books were shelved in the "Teen" section of my local Barnes&Noble...and I don't really see these as "Teen" books.  As a mother of a 12 year old who will be a "Teen" before I know it...I'm not sure I'm ready for her to read these particular books.  The ideas of Heaven/Hell, Good/Evil, etc I'm ok with...the level of violence (while "justified" within the story line) is not terrible, but the majority of these violent acts are committed by the teenagers in the story or upon these teenagers, something I'm a bit uncomfortable with...but what really holds me back is some of the relationships between different characters...particularly the two main characters, as it is implied as an almost incestuous relationship at times, and that I'm definitely NOT ready to delve into with my only child.  I think it all depends on the comfort level of the parent with these topics on whether or not this would be a good series for your child.

All in all, good...exciting read...if a bit draggy as it nears the end of the series, with my personal recommendation for age 15 and up.

I have also read the "prequels" to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and will perhaps write a new review on those in the next few days.

Enjoy!



Sunday, March 11, 2012

at Random...

been up to all kinds of things...not a lot of which I can actually post here...sorry...

life has been ridiculously busy...but in good ways (and some not so good, but that is life)...

had a few minutes to catch my breath this weekend...

and randomly tried to figure out why we are totally obsessed with vampires and demons...and angels too...but the angels part makes sense to me...the others...not so much...

and looking back at my nook library...i'm also wondering...maybe it's just me?  cuz there are quite a few vampire/demon/angel type books in my library...

so what makes them so interesting?  (personally my claim is that the AUTHORS are just amazing and keep us (ok..me) enthralled...to the point that trying out one book...leads to two different series...by the same author for a total of five (possibly six) books...PLUS...at least one (ok...reality says 3 or 4) similar type books...

who knows...but to share in my madness...in the next few days (if I can put the nook down long enough) I'll share my review of a popular series that you may find interesting...even if you are only mildly curious about the whole vampire/demon/angels thing...(which is how I got sucked in to start!)

hope you had a great weekend!  I have a few more chapters on demon hunting to read about and head to dreamland...where hopefully there are no vampires or demons waiting for me (angels are of course welcome!).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I heart Apple (TV)

a.k.a...one of my absolute most favorite purchases ever (and it wasn't my idea!) next to my iPhone (still loving BTW!) (legal note...I am writing about my love for apple products because I want to...I was provided no monetary incentive, was not contacted by apple or anyone else for that matter...I'm sharing something I like and all opinions here are strictly my own!)

(pic via Instagram...I know I'm late to the Instagram party...can I just say...LOVE!)

So a few weeks ago for mine and Hubby's anniversary...he said he wanted Apple TV...so that's what he got for a gift...and I'm pretty sure I use it way more than he does!  It's a tiny little box that you hook up to your TV...and within minutes...you have access to all kinds of goodies (best if you have an iTunes account and allow Apple TV to talk to your computer...the incredibly simple directions will step you right through it!).  So...here is how it all works out for me pros vs. cons and such...

Pros:
  1. I don't have to drag my iPod speakers all over the place...it stays next to my bed where it doubles as my alarm clock and I can listen to my entire iTunes library via my TV when I'm downstairs
  2. sound and picture quality is phenomenal...true HD (IMHO...I don't know a ton about that stuff)
  3. Cost (in a roundabout sort of way...initial startup cost is approx. $99 without tax and depending on if you need a new HDMI cable...certain movies and TV shows are cheaper via iTunes and this has pretty much eliminated our purchasing of TV shows and most movies on DVD...which could count as a storage pro as well!)  an example:  I wanted Season 1 of Downton Abbey...could not find it anywhere locally...online to order the DVDs was anywhere from 16.99 to 34.99...got it on iTunes (in HD) for 14.99...I was pretty happy!!!  and on a different note...watched all of season one and promptly purchased season 2 season pass!)
  4. Ease of use (takes almost nothing to set it up, and if you are familiar with iTunes...well, there you go)
  5. not limited to iTunes...can also utilize netflix (we dropped netflix as we were not happy with them for many reasons we won't talk about here, we've done the hulu thing too...but now we are just on iTunes...just pointing out there are other options available!)
  6. it's fun...you can use your iPad or iPod touch as a giant remote for it!  and it accesses anything you have on your iPad, so in theory you could play Angry Birds in full screen glory!
Cons:
  1. Not all apps work with apple TV...in particular HBO to Go...this would have been a HUGE plus for us...but it's not currently configured (think it's the HD thing)...and I'm seriously hoping that it does eventually work with apple TV
  2. Not everything is on iTunes (SHOCKING I KNOW!)...we pay for HBO solely for one or two shows...shows we can't get on a season pass via iTunes...and are only available once the DVD version comes out...and at about the same price...definitely a negative...but not really anything that can be done about it...as one show we are completely addicted to...it's hard to wait a year for it to come out on dvd...so we're keeping hbo for now...
  3. minor connectivity issues...sometimes have to close and relaunch iTunes on my computer to get it to connect properly with apple TV (no idea why this happens...just randomly does)
All in all, I love apple TV...and I'm sure there are some other negatives out there about it...I haven't had too many problems...but I'll keep you updated!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

officially chugging the kool-aid

even though we are arriving to the party a little late...we have finally arrived...as birthday presents to each other, hubby and I upgraded from our Android'a to iPhone's yesterday...and I'm in love!

never thought I'd be an "apple girl"...but 1 iMac, 2 iPads, a couple of iPods, apple TV, and now iPhones...

yeah...we surpassed sipping or even drinking the kool-aid...we are straight up chugging it out of the glass jug...no cups or nothing...

in the coming posts, I plan on sharing my full opinion on at least apple TV (and what I love and dislike about it)...but had to tell you...

iPhone 4s kicks some major ass!  (and Siri is fabulous!)

Later!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

update...and boobs!

if that title won't drag you in...I don't know what will!  LOL!

first...an update on me...

went to the doctor...had a good experience (minus the gross bruises from the blood draw)...and got some good news...in a way...

first...when i explained my symptoms, and said that i had been chalking it up to stress...i heard something for the first time..."you're a woman...women blame it all on stress"...that made me feel a little better.  i wasn't crazy...and i wasn't alone.  did you know that women are more likely than men to ignore health issues?  we women think we can do everything and when we aren't feeling up to par...well...we still keep on trucking...and ignore those little prickles at the back of our minds that say hey...maybe we have a problem.  unfortunately (and fortunately in a way) it looks like i've been letting stress get the best of me...and overall my health is ok!  (need to lose some weight...but one step at a time right???)

but (second)...i also was educated on something else...

i lost my father to colon cancer...over 13 years ago...unfortunately the family history puts me a bit at risk...so it's been recommended that i at least meet with a specialist...and look at having a colonoscopy soon...HELLO...i'm only (almost...give or take a 2-3 days) 35!  I'm not supposed to have to worry about this yet (OR EVER)...but...it's time for truth...I'm at risk, my father was diagnosed at a relatively early age, and I need to be checked earlier than is normal...so...when i get up the nerve (sooner than later i promise) i'll make the call and find out what i need to do...still absorbing this right now...was not expecting to be told i need a camera shoved up my rear before i'm 40!  anyways...

third...all this talk about screening for cancer earlier than "normal" happened to occur at the same time the Komen vs Planned Parenthood stuff was happening...so that leads to the BOOBS topic...

since we are being truthy...i'll be frank about it...

unfortunately my family roots have issues with breast cancer as well...my grandmother (on my father's side) lost her breast (and eventually her life) dealing with breast cancer...at a time when it wasn't something popular to talk about or advertise pink ribbons for...my mother had a biopsy around 16 years ago...which was thankfully negative...but still...if her boobs were at risk...then mine are too...

5 years ago (7 weeks shy of my 30th b-day) i noticed a slight deformation in my right breast...and at the time i actually said something to my doc (military doc...one of the good ones!) during my annual exam...he could see it also and recommended a mammogram...i was supposed to deploy in just over two weeks...and i was scared...and then I got mad....

no way the breast clinic could get me in...6 month wait at least (lack of equipment, funds, personnel...and an large influx of those needing screening)...a young female, with a family history of cancer, about to deploy to the persian gulf...was not high enough a priority...(what my thoughts and feelings were when i heard that are so dark and ugly...i won't go there now)...yet...i was lucky...my doc (being one of the good ones) called BS (as much as he could) and pulled all the strings and favors he had...and got me in for an ultrasound...which thankfully indicated normal tissue aging and no significant formations or lumps or anything...

since then...I have to say i'm pretty rigorous about my breast self-exams and take a good long look in the mirror at them pretty regularly...no lump or bump or whatever will pop up unnoticed!

why do I share this story?

I'm lucky...I have good doctors...I have good health insurance...and I will go to the mat defending my rights as a young (just don't ask my kid if i'm young) woman and my breast health!

so many are not so lucky...

so feel up your boobs...and if something doesn't feel right...get it checked...if you can't afford or can't get an appointment...or whatever...call Planned Parenthood...call your church...call your friends...do whatever it takes to find out if there is a problem...

and tell your friends.  remind them to squish the ta-ta's...whatever it takes...

we have to stick together...be it blood bonds, friendship, or the web...and remind each other...WE ARE WORTH IT!

now go check your boobs!

Hugs to all!

Lesley

Friday, January 27, 2012

Changes...time for me

It's been awhile since I posted here...I've been very much bitten by the sewing bug and it's made me very happy!  But the sewing has pulled me away from my first crafty love...stamping...and after spending some time reflecting on that...and where my life and career are right now...it's time for some changes.

first (the long part)...

I've joked (sort of) here previously about entering the "silly season" at work...unfortunately "silly season" is turning into regular business.  Previously my "silly season" would run about April - August...all prep, planning, and actual administration of an annual exam for the licensed operators at our plant.  The past two years I've played a fairly active roll (the first year wasn't too crazy...the second...about killed me) and I will be playing another active roll in the exam this year.  I enjoy being on this exam team, it's a huge learning experience, and it's something different from my regular day-to-day job...but it's actually starting to take up more time than the April to August time frame...as a matter of fact we've already begun meetings and assignments and conversation for this year...so back April up to January.  In addition to that...I've had to take on some additional responsibilities in day-to-day stuff, plus teaching in one of the most stressful environments we have for the first time.  All of this has come to a head in the past 7 days, and unfortunately some rather unpleasant side effects started popping up...

For the past 18 months I've been convinced that my biggest ailment is STRESS...and after taking a cold hard look after a bit of a scare earlier this week...I became very concerned that a health issue I've dealt with in the past has started to resurface.  So I threw in the towel and called the doctor...now, I'm not a huge fan of going to the doctor, have had some bad experiences (and some good), but it's just not something I like to do (I'm wonder woman in my own mind...and doctor's aren't necessary in my little world).  But I did the "grown up thing" and made the call, explained the situation, and I go in on Tuesday to have some tests run.  I'm hoping everything comes back fine and it is really just stress that I need to get a better handle on...but until I know for sure I don't want to take any chances.

Taking all of this into consideration, I've been looking into my own heart to determine what it is that I want to really do in my free time...and right now...sewing is the hobby that makes the rest of my world manageable.  This leads to

Second...

I'm not giving up stamping and scrapping...but i'm cutting wayyyy back on it.  I'm going to be clearing out a lot of my supplies and slimming it all down to those stamps/inks/papers that I really expect/intend to use.  Thankfully I have some friends willing to take a bunch of this off my hands!  LOL!

Third (and final)...

I spent a lot of time last year apologizing for this or that...not posting enough...posting a lot of non-scrappy stuff...a lot of venting...etc.  I'm done apologizing.  It's time for me to take care of me and put me first on a more regular basis.  I have to remind myself that the world is not going to end if I don't get a post done in time, or post a card on a regular schedule, or post something non-scrappy just to post...you get the idea.

I need to make myself important again.  I need to blog about plain ole stuff that makes me happy (see my book reviews from last year) and stop sweating the small stuff.

Most importantly, I need to take better care of myself.  Hopefully I'm starting off 2012 in the right way by going to the doctor and addressing these issues head on.

I'll share more later when I know what's going on health wise...no one worry, my ailments are not life threatening, but treating them will improve my overall quality of life.  The sooner I know if it's just stress or something else, the sooner my mind will feel a bit more at ease.

Catch you all later!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chhchhhchhanges!

Change is coming...more to follow!

happy new year all!