Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesdays are at least consistent.

Tuesdays are typically a stressful day for me no matter what I do. If I'm not running all over town, things will always happen on Tuesday to either stress me out or make me wonder about the sanity of humans as a whole. Let's talk about today.

  • If you are driving in a lane and you have to turn in either direction, just turn your fucking car without drifting into the lane next to you. Why do you have to drift? That extra foot of room helps you navigate your car? If you aren't able to operate your car without putting others at risk, you need to not be on the road. 
  • I'm sorry, but if you have a vehicle that does not have a fully functioning window? You need to not go through a drive through. Having worked in a few fast food restaurants I can just tell you that they think you are an asshole and so does the people waiting behind you. 
  • If it never, ever OK to put your half eaten Subway sandwich laying on its wrapper on the floor of a restroom, let alone a public restroom. It is never OK. Quite frankly, you need to finish your lunch before you go to the bathroom. Because you've just wiped your ass and now you are picking up your sandwich. Not to mention, I know for a fact that bathroom floor isn't cleaned often and when it is? They use the same mop and water they use to clean out the urinals next door. 
  • You should always wash your hands after fondling your genitals or wiping your ass. That's just a basic life lesson and if you aren't washing your hands you are a filthy person. 
  • I don't understand why Batman is now sleeping in the litter box. It's annoying and now he constantly smells like litter and I hate waking up to it in the morning. 
  • You need to stop texting and driving. I just told someone yesterday that every day I have to dodge other drivers who are just all over the place. I have kids in the car most of the time and these people scare the shit out of me. No message is important enough to put other drivers at risk. You might think you are driving just fine but you aren't and all of us around you can see it. 
  • Man who sneezed all over the back of my neck and hair in the post office? I like to operate with a three foot bubble all around me for a reason. And the fact that it was just you and me there, there was no reason for you to be practically rubbing against me. 
  • Thank you, driver of the red Grand Prix for not running me over when I fell into a pothole the size of a god damn bucket in the post office parking lot. I appreciate that you stopped and held your laughter until I couldn't see you any more. My knee feels like shit and I hope I looked like I was doing more of a pimp walk rather than a I possibly broke my ankle walk back to my vehicle.
Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day. I'd like to at least not fall into a hole. 

Let The Devil Sleep

Raise your hand if you're sick of reading chick lit erotica novels this summer? (Haha! Just kidding about the erotica- how can you possibly get sick of those?) But if you are, I have a really fantastic, stay on the edge of your seat suspense thriller for you.

Let The Devil Sleep by John Verdon

Dave Gurney, the most decorated homicide detective in the history of the NYPD, is still trying to adjust to life in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on serial killers asks for his input.  Soon after this conversation, odd events begin occurring in Dave’s life: There is a strange problem with his tractor, a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement.  As things grow more bizarre, Dave finds himself reexamining the case of “The Good Shepherd”–which, 10 years before, involved a series of roadway shootings and a “Unabomber-like” manifesto expressing rage at society.  The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging–no one, that is, except Dave Gurney.  Mocked even by some who’d  been his allies in previous investigative outings, Dave is only heeded when the reawakened Good Shepherd proves by his actions that his agenda is more complex than previously thought.

To be perfectly upfront, this is the third book in the series but you don't have to read the previous two to get into this one. Truly. I have read the other two so I knew already that John Verdon is an excellent writer who can weave a very captivating story.

Basically we have a serial killer who essentially gets away with his murder spree ten years ago, but the spotlight is back on the crime when Kim the young reporter is on the scene. She's doing a documentary on the families of the victims of the Good Shepard and how they've coped and what life has been like for them knowing the murder has never been caught. Reporting aspirations turn into absolute fear once strange things start happening to seemingly scare both her and Dave Gurney away from doing the documentary. Then once the people who are participating in the documentary start being murdered, it ups the ante. Throw in competing police departments and a pissing contest with the FBI and more "facts" that don't make any sense, and you have a very well written crime novel. I basically couldn't fall asleep until I finished it. I pretty much thought I had the killer figured out but I was so completely wrong and I actually forgot about the character and the ending was as screwed up as every good crime novel ending should be.

The only thing I will say is that some parts were a little overwhelming with crime facts and it just solidified that no matter how much Law & Order I have seen, I would not make a very good detective because I wouldn't think of half of the stuff Dave was questioning about the original murders. And Kim's character was a little too dtizy, damsel in distress for me in some parts but her role playing at the end won her over as not a total flake for me.

I so highly recommend that you read this one AND John's other novels- you won't be disappointed at all. But what's really great is that one of you will be able to win a copy of your own!

*Be a follower via GFC and leave a comment below with your email address. 

*Tweet, FB, or blog about this post. Leave a separate comment for each and leave links, please!

A winner will be drawn during my blog post on Monday, August 6. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thump, thump, thump.

So, I am still trying to lose weight. This last week I have gotten back on my running kick again and honestly, I still hate it. I don't understand how people can honestly sit here and tell me once I feel the endorphins, I'll love it and crave it. I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit on that because if I haven't felt the endorphins yet I  don't think I will.

This week I ran in the HEAT. The heat, people. I figure the "I can't run in heat" excuse is only good for one week, so there it went last week. So this week I ran in the heat and it was as horrible as I thought it would be. One day I had enough sweat in my bra that it was pooling. The absorbing technology in my bra ether failed me or it was overwhelmed because I am not kidding when I say literally a pool of water hit my bathroom floor when I came home to shower. It was as disgusting as that sounds.

I was supposed to start kickboxing today and got all mentally ready for it. Then I go onto Facebook to see that tonight's class wasn't happening. FUCK ME. This is my third or fourth attempt to start and they cancel the class last minute. Every class I can't go to is on, just not the ones I want to go to. That is more than a little annoying.

Next week I am going to do an official weigh in with pictures! This week I was 174 and that is gross. I'm nowhere near my worst but still, I know I can do better. And I will. In order to get myself to be more accountable I got myself the MyFitnessPal app for my phone so I'm trying to track my food. A huge slap in the face is seeing how many calories you actually eat in a day. It's actually god damn depressing. And I hate checking to see how many calories something is only to realize that if I eat that, I'm left with enough calories for maybe a grape for dinner. I'm fucking HANGRY people. I am so beyond hungry that I am angry about it.

Not to mention I of course pick the worst week ever to weigh myself and start a calorie tracking app- the week of my period. You all need to fear for the lives of everyone around me. It's not pretty.

For those of you following me on my thunder thigh removal quest, how are you doing? What is keeping you motivated?

Objects of my Affection

So, a few months ago I got an email invitation to read Jill Smolinski's new book Objects of my Affection and without even knowing what it was about, I agreed. Partly because it has a cool name but more so because another one of her books The Next Thing On My List was so good that it prompted me to come up with the 30/30 list that you all heard me bitch about for two years. So to this day when people ask me how I even came up with the 30/30 list, I have to credit Jill. So that right there is my little unknown connection to Jill.

Lucy Bloom’s life is in disarray.  Freshly dumped by her boyfriend and suddenly rootless after selling her house to send her teenage son to rehab, she is reduced to sharing a bedroom with her best friend’s pre-schooler daughter.  Although Lucy has lost it all, she’s determined to start over and build a solid foundation for her son’s recovery.  Armed only with her decidedly NON-bestselling book, Things Are Not People, and a possibly bogus online degree in professional organizing, she snags a high-paying job clearing clutter from the home of renowned artist turned reclusive hoarder, Marva Meier Rios.

As Lucy rolls up her sleeves to tackle the “stuff” that fills every room of Marva’s huge Chicago home, she soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva herself.  However, when Lucy accidentally discovers that Marva is clinging to a big secret more tenaciously than to any mere household object, the two women form an unlikely bond.  Each soon learns that there are those things in life we keep and those we need to let go—though it’s not always easy to know the difference. 

Right off the bat I am going to tell you I cannot stand Lucy Bloom only because I've seen enough Dr. Phil and Intervention episodes to know that she is doing absolutely everything wrong with her son. And it drives me NUTS through the entire book. But I will say that despite me wanting to smack Lucy up constantly, I eventually came around to liking her at the end because she finally gets it. 

I loved the story line with Marva- she seems like a really fun crazy person you'd like to get drunk and chat with. You can tell she has a lot of history in her own past even though she's reluctant to share it and it obviously is connected to how she lives her present day life. I really loved everything you learn about Marva and honestly, at some points in the book it feels like we shift from Lucy to a more Marva driven novel, but then we come back around. And it's great. I also love that not only are we pulling things out of the Intervention show, we're also pulling some stuff from Hoarders. Clearly, Jill Smolinski is a fan of A&E programming, as am I. 

I love so much how Jill can weave a story with serious plot lines and yet make it funny in a "it's so bad you can't help but laugh otherwise you'll cry" kind of way. And you really enjoy it. She's light-hearted, she's funny, she's realistic, and she's a good writer. Basically this book ends up being that creeper book you don't realize you really like until it's over. 

I suggest you check out Jill's website and then buy her book. Buy all of her books because as someone who has read them all, I will tell you they are all good. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dear Sara. A day late but no less awesome.

So I completely forgot to do my Dear Sara post last night because I was too busy watching the lame ass and bizarre Olympic opening ceremonies. I let the kids watch until 8 and *big* mistake. Hello officials, the English literature nightmare scene? Was that necessary? The giant Voldemort and the little demons trying to snatch kids? Guess who got no fucking sleep last night?

This bitch.

But let's handle the winner of the Night Watch book giveaway! Using random.org and it's #1, which would be Carol N Wong! I will send you a quick email this evening Carol, so watch your inbox!

Let's get this shiz started:

1. Two couples go out to dinner quite a bit, but the same couple ends up picking up the check. The other couple is always dodging the bill - what should the paying couple do? Honestly, the next time you go out just tell the waitress it's separate checks before everyone starts ordering. If the other couple says, "Oh, I thought we could do one check" or something, just respond with, "Oh wow- thanks for picking up lunch!" and that is what we call a check mate, bitch. You need to nip that shit in the bud. 

2. With the Olympics coming up- do you watch? If so, what is your favorite sport? Of course I watch, like every decent American should be. For the summer Olympics I like to watch swimming, diving, volleyball, and of course, gymnastics. I watched all of the Olympic Trails and I just about died with Nastia Liukin face planted the god damn mat. For winter Olympics I like to watch figure skating and skiing for sure. 

3. How strict are you with bed time for your kids? I have an 8 year old and she really pushes the bed time limits. Some nights she's fine and no fuss but then others (most of the time) she will do everything she can to stay up later and just fights me. How would you handle this? I am what people refer to as the Bedtime Nazi. I am very strict with bedtime and I have been since birth. My kids are 4 and almost  7 and they are in their beds between 7 and 7:30. I'm transitioning them to 7:30 because with the school year coming and knowing we'll have more activities and homework, an extra half hour is going to be great. But I am very strict. We do our bedtime routine together, I read to them, talk to them for a few minutes about the day, and then I'm out. If they aren't sleepy, they are allowed to read, listen to music, play quietly in their beds. They are NOT allowed to come out of their rooms unless they have to pee or the room is on fire. We've had some rough points along the way but for the most part, my kids know the deal. So if I were you- I would just put your damn foot down. You need to remember that YOU are the parent, YOU are the one in charge and your child(ren) need to know this. 

4. Do you do teacher gifts for the beginning of school? Last year I saw other parents do it and I did not... so is this something common? Should I be doing this? I think it's totally up to you. I give the teacher something little because I feel like they put up with a lot over the course of the day and quite frankly, who doesn't like getting something? So last year I think I gave Olivia's teacher a small basket of goodies (candy, pens, a little notebook, Advil, etc.) and her teacher loved it. This year I think I might try my hand at a school supply cake (like a diaper cake, but made with school supplies). But I also try to buy whatever is on the teacher wish list that is listed on the school supply list and then sometimes (if I can afford it) I give the teacher a gift card to Target or Michaels. I know they appreciate it and I want them to start off their school year right too. But if you can't afford to do something for the first day after buying everything to get your kid ready, surprise them something around conference time or something! 

5. Do you have any siblings? Do you get along with them? I have one brother who is two years younger than me. In fact, today is his 28th birthday. (Happy birthday, Travis!!). Travis and I get along very well and he's always got my back if I need him and the same is true with me. Plus he is funny and charming and just a really great guy who is THE best uncle for my kids. My kids totally adore him and I'm glad that they have such a great uncle like him and I grew up with. 

So tomorrow I am going to do another book review you are probably going to like, and then I have a laundry room update for you. Because you know that shit isn't done, but we've got some progress. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pants are important.

Before I forget as I am likely to do, email your questions for tomorrow's Dear Sara post to: sarastrand9438(at)hotmail(dot)com. I have a couple I'm going to do and if I can get my act together I might even have a little comeback surprise for you. We'll see so don't hold your breath. I can't be held liable.

It has been an epidemic for years in the making and I have about had it with people continuing the god damn disgusting trend of insufficient use of pants.

As a chunky girl, or at least one who has what is referred to as junk in the trunk and thunder thighs, I know how hard it is to find pants that not only look decent but cover up your full ass. It's important for you to know that muffin top is its own epidemic and it's equally as horrible.

I understand that it's depressing to know that what was once your favorite pair of pants no longer fit you. We've all been there and it's an awful realization. You often combat this with eating an entire bag of Cheetos while wondering out loud how you even got to be this way.

And while I'm sympathetic to an extent, at some point you just have to bitch slap a person back into reality. Nobody wants to see your scars from giving birth and what looks like a Mexican discount c-section on your stomach. If your stomach has been mutilated in any way for any reason, you need to cover that shit up. I don't want to look over at you while I'm having lunch only to see your stomach which looks like it has gone through a meat grinder.

I don't care how skinny you feel in your head or how skinny you are in real life- there is a point at which a skirt is too god damn short. A good litmus test for the length of your skirt if you have morals or children should be that your skirt doesn't go any higher than your fingertips with your arms down. Anything shorter automatically puts you in the hoochie category and classless and I don't care who you are. That's disgusting. With skirts that do come shorter than that you run the risk of showing everyone your vagina. While in Target the other day I see a semi good looking 20something guy who'd be better looking if his underwear (which looked old and dingy as it was) wasn't showing like this:

I don't know one woman who has ever looked at a man in old man boxers and was like, "DAMN. I'd like to date him!" No. You know why? Because boxers are not attractive. But that fact aside, the real low point was I over hear him telling someone further down the aisle to "Pull that down. Seriously, it's too short.". Out of sheer curiosity I obviously look down this aisle only to see a 20something chunky girl with unfortunate hair extensions and a terrible manicure on her talons with a skirt so damn short that I absolutely could see her vagina. And it looked angry.

Guys? You know what I am talking about when I say it looked angry. Ladies? We've all had an angry vagina at some point and all of us know that's when you close shop until it is back in tip top shape. EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS.

Except her. Not to mention she's rocking the cellulite worse than I have and I've had two kids so I have every right to have cellulite and stretch marks. Now granted, she might have kids. She might have an army of children and those might be battle scars of motherhood and you shouldn't be ashamed of that except when you are flashing your vagina in a Target, that you should be ashamed of.

And while I'm on that subject, if you are a mother? You have absolutely no business wearing booty shorts. Even if you are a teen mom, you automatically lose the right to be wearing booty shorts because you are a mother. And to put it in perspective for you young, booty shorts loving mothers out there, imagine YOUR mom wearing booty shorts and dropping you off at school. You'd be mortified and you know it.

Then you see teenagers out in the world dressing like absolute sluts with their vagina flashing shorts and hardly any tops on at all and while I get they are young and should embrace their beauty while they have it, come ON, moms. I know when I was younger I wanted to dress like Madonna and made it as far as the dining room before my mom laughed in my face and told me to put some god damn clothes on. To this day, I have no idea where I got those clothes, but I know my mother didn't buy them. And I definitely didn't leave the house wearing them. But why is it that teenagers have no modesty anymore? Do you not care that every one can see your vagina? Doesn't the breeze bother you? Why are parents letting their daughters go out like that?

Even Olivia at age 6, I monitor her dress like I should because I'm her parent. Trying to buy shorts for her this year was TERRIBLE. Every pair of shorts were very, very short to the point where if she sits down, you clearly see her underwear. Now, that's disgusting. Those shorts are her last resort shorts when I haven't gotten to laundry yet that week- everything else is a skort that has the built in short underneath because hello- perverts hang out at parks. I don't want her out there playing with some creeper getting off on seeing her underwear or something. Yet parents send their teenage daughters out into the world of pedophiles and testosterone heavy boys. Awesome.

So in all, as your plan your Christmas shopping lists (shut up, it's almost August bitches) please just buy everyone a pair of pants. And give some feminine wash as stocking stuffers. Our world might look a whole lot different in January if we did this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Random bits of Sara's crazy.

My brain is full of random observations and thoughts that need to come out. So let's talk about them.

1. Why don't you ever see moose in zoos? I just realized I have never seen a real moose ever and I don't know why zoos don't have them. It can't be their weight- zoos have hippos and elephants. It can't be their height- they have giraffes. Why are we discriminating against moose? Bastards.

2. I think my cat Batman has a butt problem. Specifically, when he jumps, poop falls out. He also gets nervous and poops. I think Lillian is effecting his butt hole and I'm concerned. He's also losing chunks of fur when the flashing lights gets a little crazy. Some days it looks like I've shaved the poor cat with the amount of fur on the floor.

3. I'm kind of annoyed at my neighbors. I am over the top friendly and say hello every time I see them and that bitch doesn't say a word. I am only going to feel bad calling her a bitch if it turns out she's deaf.

4. Why is it when Matt does dishes everything is greasy and he doesn't notice? How do you not notice when you pick up a "clean" dish and it's completely covered in grease and your hand just slides over it? It's gross. And it makes me stabby when I put stuff away only to realize that most of it needs to be re-washed.

5. People who are cross eyed or have a lazy eye freak me out. I don't know where to look and I know I look like a moron trying to figure out where to look. So I try to look at their nose or something but that feels weird too.

6. I mentioned this on Facebook, but what the fuck is up with men with long fingernails? I am seeing so many guys with long fingernails and it's all I can do not to say that's disgusting to their face. Admittedly, most of these people look questionable like they are probably using some kind of drugs but still. That's fucking disgusting. As women, we need to put our foot down on hygiene.

7. Can I just ask why women date men who look like pimps or drug dealers? They walk around town and look ridiculous. Who would willingly date a person who is a drug dealer? I mean, that would be a deal breaker for me. If some guy was like, "yeah, I deal drugs a little" , I'd be like NO THANKS. Nothing good has ever come from dating a drug dealer.

8. What the hell is up with people getting tattoos on their face and neck? Or women with boob/chest tattoos? Not once have I ever seen one of these on anybody and thought they looked good. Women of America- it is trashy to have tattoos all up on your boobs.

9. Does baby fever get better? Or is my uterus going to hurt every time I see a baby? Some times it's not so bad an other times I want a baby so much it physically hurts. Matt is adamant we aren't having any more and for the most part.. I've accepted that. But give me a baby and I want one. Bad.

10. What the fuck is wrong with Kristen Stewart? God DAMN. First off, she's like the luckiest bitch in the world to be banging Robert Pattinson and she decides to start screwing around with a married man with children? I hate her even more than I did before for her obviously lack of emotions and speech impediment and what I believe to be Turrets. Nobody flips their hair that much and constantly pulling at their hands than a liar or someone with Turrets.

11. Which brings me to this one- if you ever think that you are going to cheat, ever think about it or whatever, you need to tell your partner and just break up. A person would rather be broken up with than cheated on any day, hands down. I don't know how people think that their situation would get any better if they just had one indiscretion. Come on now, don't be dumb.

12. Why are people suing the movie studio over the shooting in Colorado? Really? How is any of this their fault? There is something really fucking wrong with a person who would sue just because they are able to when this was clearly a freak thing. Because one nut job decides he's going to make an obviously bad decision, does not give you the right to sue. That would be like suing Nike because your sneakers didn't help you run fast enough.

13. Will I ever stop craving french fries every day? Because I'm pretty sure this is what crack heads looking for a fix feel like. I want them and I want them NOW.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Simple Thing

Are you looking for a chick lit book that is a fast read and you'll finish it before you even know it? Then this one is for you. I got this one done in just under four hours.

A Simple Thing - Kathleen McCleary

When Susannah Delaney discovers her young son is being bullied and her adolescent daughter is spinning out of control, she moves them to remote, rustic Sounder Island to live for a year. A simple island existence—with no computers or electricity and only a one-room schoolhouse—is just what her over scheduled East Coast kids need to learn what’s really important in life. But the move threatens her marriage to the man she’s loved since childhood, and her very sense of self.
For Betty Pavalak, who moved to Sounder to save her own troubled marriage, the island has been a haven for fifty years. But Betty also knows the guilt of living with choices made long ago and actions that cannot be undone. The unlikely friendship between Susannah and Betty ignites a journey of self-discovery for both women and brings them both home to what they love most. A Simple Thing moves beyond friendship, children, and marriages to look deeply into what it means to love and forgive—yourself.
First off, you can tell a lot of heart went into this book. I really love reading a book that obviously had a lot of love, care, and thought put into it because it just makes it that much better. 
The book bounces back and forth between Susannah who is pretty much having a mid life crisis once her daughter hits a rough teenage rebellion patch and her son turns out to be kind of an oddball, bully target. Instead of coming together with her husband Matt to figure out a plan for them to move forward as a family, Susannah packs up her and her kids and moves them to Sounder Island temporarily and leaves Matt at home. Then we have Betty who is a really complicated yet simple character (yes, she's both) and we learn about her past and early years of her marriage and how that morphed into her present day widow status. The two women come together and they both learn something about each other, about love, about family, and what's really important. 
The book also touches on when a tragic loss or event can shape a person's life and the decisions they make with their own children. Admittedly, I don't understand how people can't put things into perspective and move on from them. I've had some pretty crap things happen to me my whole life but I've always been able to look at them, know my role, and make future decisions trying to improve on things. But Susannah effectively ignores her children and puts blinders on to everything except for the worst of the worst. A lot of her family issues wouldn't be issues if she stopped trying to control everything and be the perfect mom to everyone else... and focused on her children and what they need from her. 
I will have to say- I really loved the ending. I felt like every character got the closure that they needed, story lines were wrapped up nicely and everything comes full circle. I have to say though that my favorite part of the book is Betty's story and Barefoot, another islander. What a great story with an ending that I have my own take on. But it's a really good book that is a fast read and it might make you think about what would you do if you were in Susannah's shoes. 
Kathleen has a website, Twitter and Facebook that you can check out. Another cool thing is that Kathleen will be talking about A Simple Thing on Book Club Girl on Air on August 21 at 7pm Eastern. So hurry up and read the book so you can call in and ask her questions about her book and listen to the discussion!

Night Watch (and GIVEAWAY)

It's time for a book review AND a giveaway! I haven't had one of these in awhile so this will be fun.

Night Watch- Linda Fairstein

Forty-eight hours after Alexandra Cooper arrives in France to visit her boyfriend and famed restaurateur, Luc Rouget, her vacation in paradise is cut short when a young woman from the village is found murdered. The only evidence discovered on the body is one of Luc’s matchboxes promoting his new restaurant in Manhattan. But before the investigation begins, Alex is summoned back to New York to handle a high profile case. Mohammed Gil-Darsin, the distinguished and wealthy Head of the World Economic Bureau, has been arrested and accused of attacking a maid in his hotel.  As the world watches in fascination to see how the scandal will unfold, Alex finds her attention torn between preparing the alleged victim to testify and a murder case with ties too close to home. When a second body is found with Luc’s matchbox—this time in Brooklyn—Alex begins to fear that the two cases may not be as unrelated as she thought, and that uncovering the sordid secrets of the city’s most wealthy and powerful could cost her and her loved ones everything they hold dear.
At 400-some pages in length, this was a meaty book. Although at times the book was slow going, you can't help but want to finish it to figure out how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together and find out who is really doing what and why. 
I really loved the very intricate story line of the book because the author gives you all these bits of information and you don't know if they all fit together as one large crime story or if there are in fact, two separate crime stories happening at the same time with overlapping characters. When two characters are introduced towards the end I knew immediately what was going on and I was totally right. (Thank you, Law & Order: Criminal Intent!) It basically read exactly like a Law & Order episode and that was very cool. 
One thing I kind of hated was Alexandra. I like how initially she's this intelligent, independent woman with a career. Loved that. But within a few chapters that unravels to her becoming this whiny worrier that overshadows her judgement and decision making. She makes terrible decisions and she's the epitome of the argument that women are too emotional to be in high level, high stress careers. So that was kind of annoying but I liked how towards the end she pulled her crap together and got her game face on. And let me just say, I think her and one of the detectives should just start dating because there is clearly some chemistry there, they are just both too stubborn to do anything about it. *just saying* 
Overall I really liked the book and it was a very good suspense/thriller book with enough in it to keep you going even through some of the slow points. Linda has a website that you should check out HERE. But you all have the opportunity to win your own copy of this book! 
*Must be a follower via GFC
*Must leave a comment on this post with your email address 
*Optional: Share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog (leave me a link in the comments below) 
Giveaway will end on FRIDAY, JULY 27

Monday, July 23, 2012

If you're happy and you know it.. clap your thighs.

Hear that noise? It's not thunder, it's just my thunder thighs coming to the party.

I'm not even going to give you a sob story but I didn't work out last week. At all. AT ALL. I did eat marginally better so I didn't feel completely terrible but I don't feel great. Part of my problem is the mother fracking heat. Obviously with it being summer I knew this could be a road block but honestly, I figured by 7 p.m. things might be a bit more reasonable to go running in. I clearly figured wrong because every day last week at 7 it was still 80something degrees.

No effing thank you.

I think it's safe to say none of my neighbors would have cared had I died from heat exhaustion in their yard and would probably just mow around me at some point. This weekend I though I was going to go hard core- if it was too hot then by god- I'm going to mall walk our mall! It's air conditioned and has almost no customers so it was a win win. Then by some freak accident, I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulders/back and I still don't know what I did, but I do know I can barely move without being in pain and my head no longer turns. I walked around the house Saturday night because it hurt to much to sit or lay down so I'm obviously exhausted because what sleep I do get is short lived.

Which throws my "I'm starting kickboxing!" plan out the window for today at least. I have to think that by the Thursday class I should be OK? Because I actually am looking forward to kickboxing because it's something I've wanted to do for awhile now and now that I found a low cost (donation only) class, I'm all about that.

I have a Florida vacation in the works for next June and this bitch is going to be on a beach in a bathing suit. With no cover up. That's right. NO COVER UP. So I need to get excited about being hungry and working out.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thank You For Flying Air Zoe

I can't even tell you how excited I am about this book but if you listening carefully, that's not a pig you hear, that's me squealing! (Terrible image, isn't it? But if it helps I am eating brownie bites so it could very well be a pig.)

Thank You For Flying Air Zoe- Erik Atwell

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been turned on, but feel free to ignore it, because sometimes life is best lived on its dizzy edges. Your cruising altitude today will be sky high, and you will be flying at staggering speeds as you travel alongside Zoe Tisdale, former Valley Girl and rock star turned bored butter saleswoman.
On the heels of a brush with mortality, Zoe concludes that she’s been letting time pass her by. Realizing she needs to awaken her life’s tired refrains, Zoe vows to recapture the one chapter of her life that truly mattered to her – her days as drummer for The Flip-Flops, a spirited, sassy all-girl garage band that almost hit the big time back in 1987. But reuniting the band won’t be easy. The girls who were once the whiz kid guitarist, the prom queen bass player, and the hippie lead singer grew up and became women who are now a reclusive dog trainer, a wealthy socialite, and a sociopathic environmentalist. Will Zoe bring the band back together and give The Flip-Flops a second chance at stardom? Is it possible to fully reclaim the urgent energy of youth?
As you follow this wild flight path, please know that your destination could be anywhere at all, complimentary oxygen is provided upon request, and baggage flies free. We hope you enjoy the ride, and Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.
I have to say, I love when a woman has a mid life crisis because it hits close to home. Any woman who tells you that she has not hit a low point in her life while crying on the floor of a Target bathroom because the plastic stick you just peed on says you're pregnant and your almost two year old daughter is screaming because of the automatic flushing toilets are spraying her, is quite frankly- a liar. Every woman has a moment like this and it may not be that dramatic and it might not be used as a "crazy customer story" at a Target training to which you'll have confirmed to you when you meet a mom at a toddler class who laughs about it as you cringe. 
But let's talk about Zoe. 
I loved her. I loved her in every way you could love a fictional character that could very well have been you if you started selling butter. She's your 20something friend who isn't married, doesn't have kids, doesn't have a real purpose in life and is basically treading water while everyone else is moving up in the world. She's the perfect example of how one life choice can send you in a tailspin for the rest of your life because you don't quite know how to most past it. 
The book starts off with a near death experience of an almost plane crash. And I have to be honest, I laughed. I kept laughing through the first chapter because it was funny. There is nothing funny about a plane crash where everyone dies but it is funny to see people around you freak the hell out and then it turns out OK. Right? That's funny, right? Well, I think it is. Mostly because I'm that girl laughing during difficult and stressful situations. You don't want me to help you put your oxygen mask on, I won't be of any help. 
The other part I loved about this book is how true to life it actually is. If there was ever a person who would have one bad thing after another happen, it would be Zoe. And me. (See? We're like the same person.) And I admittedly said, "AMEN" when I came a line in the book I reserve for the lowest moments of my life, 
"Sometimes when you think you've finally reached the very depths of hell, you discover that hell actually has a basement."
Right??? My closest friends have heard me say this for years every time a crisis hits me at the worst possible time because honestly, it's just the way life goes for me. And as it goes for Zoe. If Zoe were a real person I would have tried to learn to play an instrument to help her fulfill her dream of playing at the Whisky A Go-Go club in California. I've always been a big believer in going out and trying something new and exciting in your life and marking off the goals on your bucket list. What's life if you aren't going to actively pursue and do the things you most want to in the world? What's the point of having goals and dreams if you never try to go after them? Even if you fail, at least you can say you put forth the effort and maybe it wasn't meant to be. And in like Zoe's case, maybe it isn't so much the fact that she plays there, but more importantly, picking up the friends that were left behind as she moved forward in life. 
So. In all? LOVED THE BOOK. I can't tell you how much I think you need to go out and read this book. This is the book that I will be buying friends for Christmas or for friends who are on baby daddy #6 and maybe need some guidance and condoms. It's a fast read, it's entertaining and you'll get sucked in. And secretly wish you had been in an all girl band in the 80s. 
See what other tour stops are saying HERE too. Erik also has a funny blog and you should check that out HERE and not to mention his Facebook page HERE.  And for those of you who missed Erik's guest post on my blog last night, you absolutely need to do this. Even if you are at work. It's worth it. Go HERE to read it and laugh, but don't pee in your office chair. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's time for the most bad ass guest post ever. EVER

About a month ago I was contacted by one of my contacts at TLC Book Tours asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the book Thank You for Flying Air Zoe by Erik Atwell.. because as she said, "I'm not sure if I asked you about this tour before or not, but I wanted to tell you that your blog was on this author's "wishlist" of blogs that he would be thrilled to be featured on."  I'm not going to lie, I maybe squealed out loud (very loudly), maybe did an undignified happy dance and then possibly peed my pants a little. I mean, these things could have all happened but I won't ever confirm. Deny, deny, deny. But I obviously agreed (with enthusiasm!) and I've read the book and I'm going to put my review tomorrow. But I'm going to tell you to just go buy the book now because it was good and after you read this fabulous guest post by Erik you will agree. 

We're soul mates. 

Sure, he's married... I'm married. But whatever. He's like me but with a penis. He just gets it and I love how well he can capture exactly what I'm saying and it causes me to talk to my book. Out loud. It was an awkward day at the park while I read the book because I'm pretty sure every mom there looked at me with sad eyes like I was that "special person" that the special bus dropped off for her day out on the town from the special person home. 

But without further adieu, here is a hilarious guest post that you will love if you have ever traveled with a small child. Trust me, you'll like him as much as do. And don't worry Erik, I'm not writing this from the bushes in front of your house. (*waving!*) 

(side note: I love how he says "ASAFP" because that is a total Saraism. See? Soul mates.)

I Remember, I Remember, When I Lost My Mind 
(a.k.a. Notes from Year One as a Debut Novelist & Debut Dad) 

On the morning of April 22nd, my wife, our nine-month-old wild man of a son, and myself all woke up buzzing with anticipation and adrenaline. We’d finally arrived at a day on the calendar that we’d long ago, circled, highlighted, and decorated with glittering stars. This was the day we were piling into our purple minivan and going on a nice long drive from our condo in Seattle... 

To the mountains of New Hampshire. 

And we weren’t coming back. 

So yeah, this was one hell of notch on the family timeline, as with hope in our hearts and a glorious future before us, we set out to give our son the same serene and idyllic childhood that his parents had growing up in New England. After too many years of city traffic and unnecessary bustle -- in addition to living just down the street from a 24/7 busy freakin’ fire station -- we adopted the following battle cry as our big adventure’s mantra: 

Less sirens, more crickets! 

Oh hell yes, we were totally ready to make a break for it. 

Except we sort of weren’tNot that morning, or that afternoon, or that night... 

Or the very next morning... 

No, in an amazing display of ineptitude that rivaled Continental Airlines typical service in Newark, we finally managed to hit the road almost 36 hours after our scheduled departure time. And why was it that we found ourselves stuck in pre-liftoff quicksand? 

Because trying to relocate your life with a toddler in tow is probably the very definition of chaos. This is why it thrills me to no end to be writing this guest post for Sara’s Organized Chaos blog. I clearly could learn a lot from her. So Sara, thanks so much for giving me this stage time! 

Anyway, here’s the thing... I’ve always been a fairly orderly and organized person. I’ve always known where everything I need is located, never struggled with time management, and have rarely felt like I’ve lost control. This past year, however, one in which I’ve become a new Dad with a debut novel who’s just moved into a new home 3,000 miles from his last home... Well... 

I basically tumbled headfirst into the lunatic confluence of bedlam, chaos and crazy. 

Just touching down in New Hampshire a mere two weeks after leaving the left coast didn’t magically soothe our sleepless souls. The place we thought we were going to call home didn’t quite pan out -- though the spiders there seemed to really enjoy taking root. Additionally, we soon thereafter realized that jobs we thought we’d be able to land weren’t exactly sure things. So began our personal Panic Dance, and somehow when the music stopped, we found ourselves paying rent at three separate residences and without a single job to our name. 

This was totally okay, though. See, we had a plan. We were going to get by on smiles instead of paychecks! 

Brilliant, huh? 

Yup. Sometimes when Chaos sets up camp, Logic decides to altogether leave the campground.  

To be sure, these are the times that test the capacity of intellect. Times when you open the freezer and find your house keys. Times when you catch your wife eating puréed apples and apricots, and when you shoot her a glance that suggests she needs help -- or at least a bib -- she coolly says, “This stuff is really good -- want some?”  

Times when you look deep into the eyes of a six-inch-tall stuffed toy zebra named Zigzag and say, “Zigzag, what is the key to happiness?” 

I was a big fan of the 1988 film She’s Having a Baby. Charming and relatable characters, clever humor, and just bursting with heart. All that said, I would love to see a sequel for this. Or better yet, write a sequel for this that takes place over the span of the Briggs family’s first year as parents. I even have a working title: She’s Having a Meltdown. 

Kidding aside, we knew that trading gridlock for dirt roads wouldn’t magically lift chaos from our lives. The trick, I think, lies in the ability to stop trying to organize the chaos, and simply embrace it as a fact of life. Ironically, the less you try to give the chaos some sense of order, the more orderly it probably becomes. 

Here it’s important that I point out that it just took me two hours and three separate trains-of-thought to write this last paragraph. I was rolling right along, but my wife & the little dude came home, which happily derailed the train for an hour, then just as I was gonna get back into a groove, little dude went all acrobat on us during a nasty diaper change, which sent us scurrying to the tub, and wait - do we have, like, any clean towels? Never mind, we’ll just use our comforter -- we don’t so much need it seeing as how we haven’t really slept since last summer. Okay, little dude is dry, I’ll get back to work just as soon as I have lunch, which I desperately need ASAFP because I forgot breakfast for only the 88th day in a row, and holy crap, when did we buy this cheese? Is it supposed to be, y’know, blue? I swear, we forget so much of what we buy at the supermarket that we may as well just toss our groceries in the trash as soon as we bring them home. 

“Hey honey?” 
“Yes, Erik?” 
I think the broccoli’s gone bad. 
Let me see... Oh, that’s not broccoli.” 
“It’s not.” 
“Nope, it’s cauliflower.” 
“Well that’s just gross.” 

Scenes like this are the norm in our giddy but glorious brave new world. And even if our fridge looks like a nasty diorama honoring The Best In Produce from 2009, it pales on the chaos scale next to the home itself, which looks like an entire Babies R Us store exploded in the living room.  

As the seemingly unstoppable demolition of control, common sense, and my already questionable intelligence continues, I wonder about the direction of my fledgling author career. My debut novel Thank You For Flying Air Zoe was written in the pre-fatherhood Seattle era -- am I the same writer I was then? Do I have the creative moxie available to pen an Air Zoe sequel if sales end up justifying one?  

Daffy and totally toddlerized by the little dude’s relentless energy, I plop down at the end of the day, and toy with possible prose for this would-be sequel: 

“Zoe opened up the breakfast menu, then said to her date, ‘I think I’ll have the huevos rancheros, because I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am...’” 


Someday soon I hope to once again have my own brilliant ideas. 

What I know is that I’m not blazing any trails every other new parent hasn’t already traveled. Every new parent is numbed by the sacrifice of sleep, misplaces valuables a dozen times a day, and invents weird lyrics to lullabies (You mean “Sunny lemon tea, man” is not a line in Frère Jacques?). But while unchecked chaos may be the surface of every new parent’s road, unbridled joy is its scenery, as every now and then, when you least expect relief from the swirling tempest of toddlerhood... 

You stumble upon absolute beauty within the chaos. 

See, recently the little dude and I were playing in the loft, which is 400 square feet of open, carpeted paradise. At least I think it’s carpeted -- sometimes it’s hard to see beneath the exploded toy store. Anyway... Our son has already learned how to walk and wobble around with a great deal of confidence, and during this particular session, he was going from one wall to the next, happily kicking a bouncy ball I won at one of those impossible fifty cent grab-a-toy-with-a-crane vending games on the New York State Thruway.  

(pats self on the back for winning this ball) 

“Now here are the nominations for Father-Of-The-Year...” 

Sorry, where was I again? 

Right. The ball. The loft. Chaos.  

So there he was, kicking and toddling, toddling and kicking, when he stopped cold at one of my canvas sandals, which I’d lost in the clutter earlier that day. He scooched down to take a closer look, then satisfied, he stood back up, slipped his sweet tiny foot into the sandal, then looked up at me and flashed the greatest grin in the universal history of grins. 


All because I’d misplaced my sandals in our massive mountain of lovely and amazing chaos. 

Maybe we don’t need to be so organized after all, y’know? 

“Hey Zigzag, guess what! I think I’ve figured out the key to happiness!”