Monday, March 31, 2014

Well, math standards sure have changed in 14 years.

For those keeping up with my adventures as a mom going back to school, the next chapter is both parts hilarious and shameful. I took my  math and English placement test on Sunday. I was there at 7:30 a.m. and there were maybe 35 people total? I was the oldest one by a good 15 years and only one of two who did not have their parent waiting with them.

It was kind of embarrassing.

Once we got into the room to test, I was kind of nervous. I wasn't super dumb in math in high school, I pulled solid B's and that one time I got an A- in advanced algebra because Mr. Denno let me do a who lot of extra credit worksheets. But I never did math any higher than advanced algebra because I knew I was pushing my limits with that even. I did the bare minimum the State of Wisconsin requires to graduate high school.

Turns out that's a terrible choice if you are planning to go to a four year university someday.

When I opened the test booklet it very helpfully tells you that it's primarily advanced algebra, advanced geometry and calculus. Oh goodie, because I may as well just go  home at this point. I was so worried about remember the algebraic order of things and it turns out, totally pointless because 3/4 of the math problems had no numbers in the equation but it was multiple choice so I went with the one that looked better. If I get even five right on that test by sheer guessing I'm going to be really surprised. I'm expecting a zero because you got 90 minutes and I was done in 10. It only takes 10 minutes to color around 90 dots on a scantron in completely. At least I wasn't the kid who started crying during the test. I mean, it was hard but I was more on the verge of laughing hysterically because seriously- who needs this in life? I really wanted to stand up at the end and be like, "Kids- I've been out of high school for 14 years, I can tell you right here and now, I have never once used any of this.", but I didn't because they had a strict no talking rule.

Then after that, we had a bit of a break and then started the English test. Which I knew I was going to do well. I was kind of giddy because I freaking love proofreading things. And sure enough, we got 90 minutes to do that one as well and I was done in 30 and you just have to sit there until the timer goes off. I feel pretty confident I did well on that.

Turns out, totally didn't need to even take that one. *sigh* But I told Matt that's OK because whoever grades these tests will know I'm not just totally stupid. I'm just math stupid, and function just fine thank you very much. I guess I'll hear back about all of this soon. I'm fairly certain I'll have to go to the lowest level of math and work my way up to university worthy math and that's terrifying. As my brother tells me, "C's for degrees" and that might be my motto for all of my math classes. My goal is just to pass. I just need to pass.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cry No More

You guys... sigh. Every time someone asks me which book they should read next, I can rattle off a ton but this one is always in that list. I can't even tell you how many times I have read it and I love it so much every single time. Not to mention, I'm a ridiculously HUGE Linda Howard fan. I love her for days.

Cry No More - Linda Howard
Cry No More
Count your blessings; they can be snatched away in an instant. It is a sentiment Milla Edge knows too well. With an astonishing blend of savvy, instinct, and passion, Milla displays an uncanny gift for finding lost children. When all seems helpless, desperate souls from across the country come to her for hope and results. Driven by an obsessive desire to fill the void in other people’s lives, Milla throws herself into every case–all the while trying to outrun the brutal emotions stemming from a horrific tragedy in her past.

Traveling to a small village in Mexico on a reliable tip, Milla begins to uncover the dire fate of countless children who have disappeared over the years in the labyrinth of a sinister baby-smuggling ring. The key to nailing down the organization may rest with an elusive one-eyed man. To find him, Milla joins forces with James Diaz, a suspicious stranger known as the Tracker who conceals his own sinister agenda.

As the search intensifies, the mission becomes more treacherous. For the ring is part of something far larger and more dangerous, reaching the highest echelons of power and influence. Caught between growing passion and imminent peril, Milla suddenly finds herself the hunted–in the crosshairs 
of an invisible, lethal assassin who aims to silence her permanently

Intense emotion . . . potent suspense . . . pounding action. Linda Howard weaves these elements into page-turning fiction. Cry No More is a seductive thriller of heartbreak and obsession that moves with a vengeance.

I'm going to give you the quick and dirty here. Milla has a baby, which is then kidnapped in the middle of a Mexican market area. Not only is she essentially assaulted but her baby is literally ripped from her arms. And as any mother would do, she never gives up searching for that baby but in the process, her marriage falls apart. The husband wants to move on and she can't because she knows in her gut her son is alive, he just has to be. 

Fast forward several  years and she's running a non profit in Texas near the Mexican border that is charged with finding missing children. She has turned her tragedy into a career but she never stops looking for her child. All of her hard work boils down to this mysterious one eyed man, but in order to find him she is forced to hire an assassin who doesn't really take jobs unless he wants to. But something about Milla convinces James to take this job on. 

And oh boy does he. 

Have I mentioned James is a really attractive rogue kind of guy who is incredibly lethal but calm? It's like the author knows exactly what I want. In the middle of tracking down baby smugglers, they realize they are attracted to each other and good stuff happens. Like next to the river. Oh, no! My favorite is after a ridiculously pivotal scene I can't tell you about and she's emotional, he's emotional, then they get emotional together... swoon. 

Just.... fan yourself. Or turn a fan on. Maybe have a towel handy along with some extra batteries. I'm just saying it could work out in your favor as it did mine. James is dreamy. *sigh*


I loved the writing. I loved how the author sucks you in emotionally. I loved the romance and most importantly? I loved the ending. Loved it so much I can't even stand it. SO MUCH. You  need this book in your life. 


I am maybe going to over load you with book reviews this weekend because I have finished quite a few and I am in need of getting things off my desk. Including the stack of books in the "type reviews" pile.

Angelopolis - Danielle Trussoni
Angelopolis (Angelology, #2)
Hailed by USA Today as “a thrill ride best described as The Da Vinci Code meets Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Danielle Trussoni’s bestselling first novel, Angelology, wove biblical lore, the Orpheus myth, and Milton’s Rebel Angels into a present-day world tinged with the divine supernatural. The novel plunged two endearing loners—art historian V. A. Verlaine and Evangeline, a beautiful young nun—into an ancient battle between a secret society and mankind’s most insidious enemies: angel-human hybrids known as the Nephilim.

Now a decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her wings a betrayal that haunts him still. The Nephilim are again on the rise, scheming to construct their own paradise—the Angelopolis—and ruthlessly pursued by Verlaine in his new calling as an angel hunter. But when Evangeline materializes, Verlaine is besieged by doubts that will only grow as forces more powerful than even the Nephilim draw them from Paris to Saint Petersburg and deep into the provinces of Siberia and the Black Sea coast. A high-octane tale of abduction and liberation, treasure seeking and divine warfare,Angelopolis plumbs Russia’s imperial past, modern genetics, and the archangel Gabriel’s famous visitations to conceive a fresh tableau of history and myth that will, once again, enthrall readers the world over.

Before I start this review, I want you to read my review of the first book Angelology, because I absolutely loved that book. Several people got it for their birthday in 2011 because it was that good. If I give you a book, it's because I've read it and it was good. I'm not even one to like books with a religious theme to it but that book sucked me in and I couldn't stop. I was so excited for this one to come out and then I was greatly disappointed in how much I hated it. 

Because it's basically nothing like the first book at all. Maybe because it's ten years later, or maybe because Evangeline made her choice to become what she does. Maybe because I held out romantic hope between Evangeline and Verlaine and I don't even know why. When I started this book I was so hopeful. By the time I finished it, which was so difficult to do because it was just so boring, I really hated Evangeline. And Verlaine because he turns out to be a bit of an ass. 

I thought if I had to read any more about a seed catalog, I was going to lose it. I was equally lost when the author is tirelessly describing various angels, what they look like and their capabilities, because I was left wondering if I'm going to need this information to make the book seem clear, and then as it turns out- I don't. It was useless and confusing and sucked the life right out of me. 

Honestly, for as long as we waited for this follow up book, it's incomplete and kind of half assed. At this point I really wish the author hadn't even bothered because it could have been so much more and instead it's such a let down. Maybe this is a case of "just put it out, they'll eat it up" and that makes them rush through refining key parts of the story. I really can't tell you what a let down this one was. *sigh* And can I say the first book had so many quotes in it that were so thought provoking and I had really hoped to get at least one in this one? My favorite line from the first book was, "Angel and devil, he said. One is but a shade of the other." And MAN. How awesome is that? As awesome as it is, I got nothing from this book. It's actually taken me months to read because I would read a chapter and get so damn irritated and put it down until I finished another book. 

So the moral here is read the first book, it was amazing, and skip this. Pretend it never happened and it's just a dirty rumor. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fit versus lazy.

I have seen it pop up on my Facebook quite a bit in different forms over the last few months. I have gotten into some interesting conversations with people in regards to it on both sides of the fence. I think a few of my friends were kind of surprised where I stood on it considering I'm not the skinniest gal on the block.

Of course I'm talking about the weight debate. The "what's your excuse" campaign versus curvy girls being proud and loud, etc.

I will always be that person who thinks you should love yourself  how you are. We are all different, we all have different chemistry that makes us all really unique and great. Nobody should make you feel inferior because you possess a different something about you than them, whether it be internal or external. At the same time, you should never let a person dictate how you feel about yourself.

I also think that if you're really obese? Well, you've got to work on that. I'm not saying it because being overweight makes you less pretty or less great as a person, but because it isn't healthy for you. Your organs and internal system were never meant to accommodate large amounts of weight. You might be big and beautiful, but you're unhealthy. You could be the most physically fit person, but if you are technically overweight? You aren't healthy. You are still a candidate for all of the things they tell you about when you go to the doctor.

I am admittedly not the skinniest person. I'm not. I'm overweight. I am currently 5'3 and I am 172 pounds. Certainly not the heaviest I've been but it's also not the smallest I have been either. Do I look fat? No. Do I find myself physically unappealing? No. Does my husband make me feel bad about any of this? God, no. He has always embraced me at whatever I am because he loves me. So then the question is, why am I even working out? If I don't feel fat, look fat, and my husband doesn't care- why bother?

Because I want to be healthy. I don't want to develop diabetes, I don't want to have a heart attack, I want my organs to be happy and function for as long as they can without any kind of medical intervention. Because I'm not at a healthy weight despite how I look or feel. I'm perfectly happy with how I look. I don't like climbing a few flights of stairs and feel winded. I want to be able to run and play tag with my kids in a park and not have to take a rest. I want to run and enjoy it. I want to hike and not feel like my lungs are going to explode.

And what was my excuse?

My excuse has always been that I work a lot, I'm busy with kids, I'm tired, I have to clean the house, I have things to do for everyone, etc.

And it is really all just a bunch of crap. What it comes down to is that essentially, I'm a lazy person at heart.

You could argue that I wasn't when you see all that I do in a week, or even in a day. But I'm lazy in terms of physical activity. I will wimp out on everything. I avoid things that require me to do physical activity. Every time a friend would ask if I want to work out with them, I've always used the, "I'm fine with how I look. I'm chunky and proud.", because I am. I don't feel badly about how I look. Genetically, I have a large ass, large breasts, and thunder thighs. I can't fight genetics and I'm alright with that. Terrible realization to have at age 19 but at least I'm not 45 and in gross denial about it. But that doesn't mean I can't tone things up and be less flappy. That's my current goal: get less flappy.

But when I see these "thinspiration" things on Pinterest right next to the "be big and proud" things, it makes my eye twitch. Because neither are really getting it. It's not about being thin, it's about being healthy. I think society goes from one extreme to the other. They either want you stick skinny where you can count bones, or they say being overweight should be accepted.

Neither should be accepted, because neither are healthy.

This country is incredibly lazy. People are rude, they feel entitled, and they want to be right. There really is an obesity epidemic in this country and instead of finding ways to combat that through healthy diet and exercise, we have an entire movement of people saying, "You can't tell I'm not a healthy person by how I look". Um, yes. Yes I can because a human body is not made to sustain 200+ pounds of weight. It's just not. Just like if I saw a person who was jaundice, but felt fine otherwise, I could tell you something isn't right and you might have great blood pressure but hey, your liver appears to not work.

Admittedly, there are people out there who are overweight and have legitimate health reasons for this despite all of their best efforts. But at least they still make the effort any ways because they know to remain healthy and not get worse, that's what they need to do. Lord knows I will never be a size 2. I may realistically never see single digits again. I'm totally fine with that. But what I do need to improve is my heart health. I have to work out so my body is healthy and fit. I know I will likely face cancer in my lifetime at least once and when that happens I want to be ready. I want to have every advantage that I can so I can live a long life and see my children grow. I'm not working out so I can wear a bikini, I'm working out so I can increase my life expectancy.

I don't think things like the "what's your excuse" campaign is a put down at all. It's meant to be a question that gets you to look at the things you list as excuses, and what can you do about them so you CAN work out and get healthy. Not that they aren't valid obstacles, because they are. I have a list, you have a list. My list isn't more important than yours and vice versa. I think of instead of rolling your eyes at the women who are trying to improve their fitness, maybe ask them to show you the ropes. And instead of fat bashing someone, ask them if they want to go for a walk. It's OK to be not stick thin, you are still worthwhile, valued, and beautiful. But take care of your vessel. You only get one and if you can make any kind of difference in your life by going for a walk every night, why would you not do that? If you knew that 30 minutes of exercise could change your entire outlook on life, wouldn't you do it? My mental health is directly tied to how active I am and I never realized it until I became active. You might think you are happy, but just wait until how you feel when you are doing even simple things every day for 30 minutes. It's a huge difference.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Oh lambies. I was so overdue for this book it's unreal. What an absolutely awesome book. *sigh*

Wallbanger - Alice Clayton
Wallbanger (Cocktail, #1)
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight..

Can I just confess right now that I am similar to Caroline? I guess I wouldn't have pegged myself to be until I read this and I'm like, yup, totally me. Basically the synopsis of this is that Caroline moves into a cozy apartment. Where she promptly discovers that her neighbor is quite good in the bedroom. Each night there is a different lady whom Caroline nicknames based on what she hears and eventually, Caroline loses it. Enters hilarious confrontation and we take off from there. Turns out, her friends know this guy and they get awkwardly paired up as their friends all couple off and now we have Caroline and wallbanger Simon who strike up a friendship when it becomes obvious on group outings it's going to be them mostly hanging out. 

Which turns out to be fine because Simon isn't such a bad guy after all. And Caroline isn't a total prude. And they end up having fun conversations that are borderline sarcastic with slightly sexual overtones but nothing over the top. 

I have to tell you- I laughed so hard during this book all the while rooting for Caroline and Simon. Alice is a really fantastic writer that pulls you literally from the first line all the way to the end. What's really cool is this is the first book in the Cocktail series. Plus can I just say I really loved the fact Caroline is a cat fan? It's also awesome that her cat is basically an asshole. I can sympathize because all of my pets are assholes and they would do the things her cat does. Here is just a sample passage that had me cracking up, totally nodding in agreement and feeling like this author gets me: 

"If your belly button tastes this good-fuck, Caroline. I can't wait to taste your pussy."

There are certain things a woman needs to hear at different times in her life: 

You got the job. 

Your ass looks great in that skirt. 

I would love to meet your mother. 

And when used in the just the right context, in just the right setting, sometimes, a woman needs to hear the p-word. 

Right? All of you ladies are absolutely nodding your head in agreement, aren't you? Of course you are. Which means the next logical thing is for you to obviously go purchase this book. And mark everything else by Alice Clayton as to read. Clearly. 

Another reason I need to strap my planner to my arm.

I think I was just saying two days ago how if you see me without my planner, I need to be slapped. It's totally OK to assault me because I have proven time and time again that I am out of control. Without that planner I have no way to say no to something and everything goes in it.

Case in point.

I signed up for this really super fun 5k called the Glow Run, which is happening in Duluth this summer. It starts at 9 p.m. obviously because it's all glow in the dark. I did something similar last year and it was pretty stinking fun so I thought why the hell not.

Except then today I was going through my email and deleting things I've already taken care of and then I see this confirmation for the Color Run in the Twin Cities. The very next day. And I'm in the 8:30 a.m. wave. Which means I will need to leave my house by 5:30ish at the very latest in order to get there in time to register and even then I'm pushing it, so I should probably leave at 5 to be safe.

Which means I'm going to do back to back 5k's on around four hours of sleep if I'm lucky.

Good god there really is something wrong with me. I did this last year on accident and we all remember I came in DEAD LAST for that second 5k and I thought I was going to die. In fact, Matt almost got in the car to come find me because there was that much time between me and the person that was ahead of me. It was humiliating and yet here I am, possibly in the same exact boat. The only positive here is that I can't possibly be the dead last person in the second 5k because that goes all day so I can just fake it like I ran this remarkable time instead of looking like a total slacker.

Then I get to drive the two and a half hours back and obviously crash for the entire day only to get up and go to work the next day.

Again, I need to refer to my stinking planner more often. And never leave home without it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goodbye weird teeth holder in bone, and winner.

Before I get into the post, let's draw the winner for the Real Happy Family book! WOOT. Actually, I made the kids pick a number, one through six, and they both picked one. Which happens to be...


I'll send you an email Shana, so watch for that this morning.

So I think we are all familiar with my dental woes as of late, yes? (If not, here is the most recent post on it.) Well to recap you on things since then, here is what has happened.

  • Went to the dentist for regular cleaning. My teeth are cavity free (yay!) but he takes an xray of my mouth because I mentioned the pain in my sinus area again and gee whiz, that last molar with metal rods isn't feeling happy. Scan shows that the tooth? Is cracking from the inside out thanks to the metal rods. Because we know some metal can expand/contract with cold and heat. Well when temperatures are as cold as they have been, it's not impossible for that to effect my tooth. End of story? Tooth needs to come out. Also concerned about my sinus because you can see something not right in there. 
  • I decide fuck this, I'm going to an ENT. If there is something wrong with my sinus this time, I'm going to a medical person in the hopes my health insurance would cover it. I feel a left of satisfaction that I have gotten around the universe who is out for me and feel confident I will not have to start hooking. 
  • So I go to the ENT who tells me straight away this is a dental issue as he can't feel a cyst. He'll send me for a CT scan anyways and my insurance would (hopefully) cover it and the oral surgeon would likely need it as well and that'll save me something. I feel defeated that the universe has somehow outwitted me and I walk dejectedly back to my car in a really bizarre parking garage, only after getting stuck in the elevator. It was like a slap to the face from the universe as punishment for trying to outwit it. 
  • In the mean time, I take Olivia to the orthodontist for her evaluation as far as braces. Thankfully, we wait until September to see how things move more but the guy is confident she'll need two phases of braces and some pulled. I ask briefly about finances and crack a joke about how it surely can't be more than a brand new SUV and the look on his face tells me a brand new SUV would in fact, be cheaper, but oh- they discuss financing later on. Awesome. 
  • Yesterday I hear back from ENT guy on my CT scan. Turns out, there isn't a cyst in there. YAY. Take THAT, universe. 
  • However, there is signs of bone erosion. You know, the bone that holds your damn teeth in. Yes, that is eroding, the last molar on my upper right side needs to come out immediately and oh yes, it looks like I have a bone infection. 
  • Which explains why I am on week 12 or some ridiculousness of not feeling well and bronchitis hanging on because apparently, my body is not a good multi-tasker and can only do one thing at a time. You fail me, body. You fail. 
  • Next step is to call the oral surgeon who is already familiar with my mouth and my ridiculous problems this morning. I cannot afford any of this, I do not have dental insurance at all, and I'm certain my health insurance won't cover this. I can't even get dental insurance through a private plan because it won't cover oral surgery anyways so that's out. (Because I won't lie, I thought of this 3 months ago before I even saw anyone about this hoping that I could outsmart the world. But no. They clearly knew I was coming.)
So that right there? Is the crap I am having to deal with and it is only March. Poor Matt is working 75 hours a week, I'm working all that I can, and our vacation fund? Gone. That's been gone since February. Now I am in a race to pay off as much random stuff as I can so that I don't feel stressed out. That means the next few paychecks? Gone. All gone and we're eating cereal. The new roof fund? Postponed. There shall be no new roof on Chateau Strand because we cannot afford it. Also cannot afford new windows in the porch which everyone has said, "Oh, you don't need those replaced" but they also don't have any idea how cold it is on the two walls in the living room because it is freezing. Those certainly DO need to be replaced.

Now I get to call this oral surgeon this morning and see if I can get in, preferably a Friday afternoon so I don't need to take time from work. I told Matt that if I can do this in two phases, I'm willing to get this tooth pulled at the sketchy dentist that was super dirty to save money.

Probably will need that tetanus shot after all. Dammit.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Soul Control

YOU GUYS. Seriously, you guys- you need to just purchase this book now, read it, and then we can have a discussion. A serious discussion because I have questions in regards to the ending and I feel like I need to talk it out with someone.

Soul Control - C. Elizabeth
Soul Control
Young Adult Paranormal Romance of love, loss and reconnection.

“Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.”

Words of truth for seventeen-year-old Saydi Gardiner upon discovering her ancestry. But if she has doubts, further confirmation is forthcoming and it comes in the form of a wickedly gorgeous Nathanael Braxton, when he steals her heart and cuddles into her soul – the last place the boy should be.

Nineteen-year-old Nathanael’s unrelenting good looks aren’t the only thing that make him dangerous – and he knows it! However, his caring human self struggles with a loyalty – a loyalty that binds him to the hunt for the soul that will give his family the power they seek. There’s only one problem: When he finds her, Nathanael falls in love with his prey – Saydi.

You know sometimes I can get super excited about a book and be overly enthusiastic. This is going to be one of those times because this book? This book is the reason my family are wearing dirty pants today and why we have no groceries. I spent my entire Sunday reading this book and even though I had a headache so I had to keep taking eyeball breaks, I couldn't stop. Like a junkie, I could not stop. And I didn't want to stop because I absolutely LOVE this book. 

So recap it for you- Saydi thinks she's normal. We find she isn't, as you do in all YA paranormal romances, but it's fine. She's not normal but you like her anyways. Enter in really gorgeous Nathanael, who we know from reading a lot of YA paranormal romances that there is no way he could be normal. He's definitely a something. Turns out he's a Half Night, which is half human/half demon. Saydi is a Half Light, which is half human/half god. You see where I'm going? There's going to be a God vs. Demon battle and these are star crossed lovers! YES! I don't care how many YA paranormal romances I read, I can't get enough and I love almost all of them. 

Ultimately, this book comes down to trust and can Saydi trust what Nathanael tells her? Even when it defies logic at times? She has conflicting visions and as is the case with all visions, they are true to a point but there is always the twist you never see until that moment. Poor Matt last night, he also had a headache and was in bed early to go to work and here I am, trying to get through the end and it's a dramatic ending obviously, and when I get excited, I am known to stamp my feet. Even in bed. It drives Matt nuts. Poor guy was pretty irritated with me but it cannot be helped because does Nathanael betray her in the end??? 

I can't tell you. I want to, I so want to, but I would be a jerk and that would ruin it for you. But I will say this, I was left with a few questions at the end and I almost feel like there could be a sequel, but it's perfectly fine if there isn't. Either way, loved this book. A whole, super duper lot. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

One teeny tiny step closer.

I can't even remember how much I have told you about the whole me-going-back-to-school thing. I think where I last left off I was thinking about it, I applied, I was accepted and yay- not much more. But here is a recap of all that has happened since then and what is to come in the next month or so:

1. I need to take an entrance exam basically. That is happening on March 30 (yes, a Sunday) at 8 am (yes, in the morning). I am scared shit less. I have taken a few practice tests and have bombed the math one pretty hard. Every time. Like, not even close. Math is hands down, my worst subject ever. What this means it that if I fail it on exam day, I will likely have to take stupid person math, then regular math, which means taking more credits than I want. Suck.

2. After that test, I have an hour long phone conference with my distance learning adviser. She will basically go over my test, look at what was able to transfer and we figure out the game plan. Which might be tricky considering I not only have to take all of my generals again (barf) but I also am essentially doing a "make your own" degree, which I want to be pretty equivalent to an English degree with a Writing focus. So, I have my work cut out for me.

3. I applied for Financial Aid because I am not rich. Sadly, we're too "wealthy" so I don't qualify for any grants whatsoever. I also didn't qualify for any freshmen scholarships either. Matt says I can pretend to be bi-sexual because there are a lot of LGBT scholarships out there but I don't think I could really fake it for that long. I can qualify for loans, and all un-subsidized which means I'll have to pay my interest and it starts accumulating while I'm still in school. Which is really, really shitty.

4. In order to receive those loans though, I need to be full time because I am distance learning. Which, SUCKS. When I had the idea to go back to school it was with  the idea of maybe half time status. Full time? Oh god. I could take less credits, but my loan amount when then reduce and it wouldn't pay all of my tuition and none of my books. Even with full time status, it's just barely paying my tuition and none of my books. So, yeah. That sucks.

It makes the idea of going back to school that much harder. Worst case scenario? I try it, hate it, and make it out at the end and chuck deuces at college for good and just pay back the $5,000 for one semester. Which is almost half of what my full two years at the technical college cost. Matt looked like he was going to vomit when I showed him all of this on paper. I can tell he really wants to tell me to not do this and we cannot afford it, and in my head I know we can't. Let's be honest- the likelihood of me getting a job using this degree is slim to none. Not around here and even then, it's tough. Secondly, Matt doesn't want to move so it's not like I can even use that as an excuse to move, we're stuck here. Thirdly, at what point does common sense outweigh what I want? There are lots of things I want to do in life and I don't because it's not practical and it would be irresponsible for me to do it. Is this one of them? Am I going to regret this in say, mid October when I'm up to my ass in homework and the kids have activities, I have PTO responsibility, and I have work going on?

It's hard to say. Plus, if I go and it doesn't work out past the first semester, I know I will feel absolutely guilty having raked $5,000 in student loans and for it to be worthless basically.

So, that's the plight of being a grown up. It's not nearly as awesome as I thought it would be when I was 16.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When Sara Met Shirley, part 2

Jesus. I'm such a slacker. But to my defense, I have grossly mismanaged my time as of late and if you ever hear of me walking around without my planner? Slap me. I need to stop doing this. I had double booked and over extended myself every single day for the last week.

Someday? Someday I'll learn to say no.


So after we left Minneapolis and the icky hotel, we drove to Rockford, Illinois. The point of this was so we could stay close enough to Chicago but save money on a hotel and then see Kings of Leon AGAIN like total groupies, and then after the concert drive 8 or 9 hours back to my house where we'd crash for a few hours and then get Shirley on her plane to go home. The plan, while in the planning stages, seemed to make total sense. I mean, we really thought this was do-able.

And why Rockford? Well when you look at the maps, Rockford isn't a small dot. It's kind of a biggish dot but not super far from Chicago and so we thought, biggish dot meant it'd have some things going for it.

As it turns out, it does not.

Rockford is actually kind of a dump of a town that doesn't actually know it's a dump. Which is kind of sad.

Also hilarious was that the "resort" we were staying in? Oh my god- the pictures online looked awesome. Shirley and I were looking at hotels separately and both chose this once because of how swank it looked and how reasonably it was priced.

As it turns out? The "resort" is not swank. Like not at all. In fact, if you've ever ridden the "Tower of Terror" ride at Disney, you basically saw the inside of this hotel. Now, the pictures here are not doing it justice. Not at all. Because what you also need to take into consideration is that the person working at the desk was missing teeth, the hotel manager's name is Roxy Rager (I have a business card to prove it), and the pancakes served at breakfast are basically flat biscuits that have been re-heated for at least month on a daily basis. Oh, and the entire place felt absolutely haunted.

I would be remiss to not point out that the lobby had a bronze hog fountain where water came out of it's mouth like it was slobbering. You apparently could throw coins in and I'm sure that's the renovation fund.
I swear to you that the clock above the door? EXACT same as in Tower of Terror. EXACT. 
The first room we got was down a wing that I think they are going for the Southern Cotton Farm Mansion feel because that's what it looked like. Our room though was a super treat because one bed had a busted wheel so the right corner was drooping down. So Shirley goes down to the desk to obviously say this is not going to do and bless the Toothless Wonder, but he's trying to say there aren't other rooms.

You know, there are three cars in the lot, two employees and us. You have other rooms. So we get a room on the 4th floor. Turns out, the entrance is actually the third floor and there are two floors in the basement essentially. Um, no. The next room was the exact same minus the droopy bed. After getting settled we decided we were going to do Rockford, Illinois right.

Which meant going to the mall because that's all there is. Which, they have a really nice mall which was unbelievably crowded for a Friday night and it's like, family time. Small children all over the place. It's like they put every spare dollar the city had into this mall because it does not belong in Rockford. After shenanigans at the mall, we had ice cream and then decided that drinking the water at the hotel wasn't ideal so we went to Walgreens to get water. Where our cashier looked like he had the shit kicked out of him. Black and blue face, missing teeth, weird tattoos, scratches and cuts all over him.

And despite the really large amount of dental facilities in Rockford, dental care is not a priority. A lot of people were missing teeth.

So fast forward to Saturday. We never did sleep in as planned and I'll be honest- worst night of sleep I had for weeks. My ribs started to hurt because that bed sucked and I just couldn't stay asleep for long. So we decided we were going to drive to Chicago get some lunch and get on a Mob Tour where they dress up like gangsters. Which sounds super fun and awesome and I have wanted to do this for years.

But the "flagship" McDonald's in downtown Chicago makes you pay to park. Like $11.99 per hour. So we decide maybe we'd eat fast and then take the tour. As it turns out, after we ordered our food and rode the escalator (!!!), a protest broke out. I don't know what they were protesting (at least the first group) because they were yelling in Spanish, but then they started singing, "Ole, Ole, Ole" and it didn't really seem like a protest. Then out of NOWHERE, this group of hipsters who were sitting in the corner drinking McDonald's frappes no less, stand up and start shouting about "legal status does not matter" in reference to working,etc. Um, yes. Yes it does. This is the stuff you'd expect in Texas. But Illinois? First of all, who knew there was such a large population of illegal Spanish workers trying to work at McDonald's? I mean, that seems a bit crazy. Well this group rode the escalator up and down a few times and then left.

So then we left. But the tour already left. So we paid almost $20 to park (despite our $10 credit because we ordered food) and drove around downtown Chicago so Shirley could see it. But here's a thing- if you are at a stop light and your light turns red? You cannot just go and then give me the finger for turning on my green arrow. No, YOU are actually the douchebag and I don't care if you're in a $90,000 SUV. No, I will scream at you and give you that finger right back with a fist shake.

Fortunately, Shirley didn't die of a heart attack. But it really wouldn't have been a road trip if we didn't almost get killed in the car. I mean, it happens on every trip, it could have been worse.

But after driving around it became abundantly clear that I would not be able to stay up another 17 hours. I love me some Kings of Leon and if any of them called me, I'd come running, but damn. (Bonus points if you caught the song reference there.) So we decided to just head to my house.

But not without a stop at a Cracker Barrel in Janesville, Wisconsin. And every time I go to a Cracker Barrel (and Shirley agrees) I get really excited until I open the menu and I wonder why I got excited. I obviously bought a bunch of the Smarties Suckers I love and I regret not buying the frog lawn ornament where the belly lights up despite Shirley saying it's ugly. He would have been cute on my back step, I stand by that. But what I did do is take a picture of their double rocker bench with a $259 price tag and texted it to Matt saying I'd need help unloading it.

I immediately got a text that said "call me".

I did not. I ate my dinner.

After dinner, I dutifully called and told him I purchased it, it was hard to get in my vehicle, my back seat doesn't actually fold down and I'll need help getting it out because it was heavy.

All while Shirley is laughing.

Then we drove what literally was the longest eight hours of my life. And if you've never driven through one end of Wisconsin to the other at night? You're missing out on nothing. And I mean nothing. No lights, no cars, not even any deer. By the last  hour I was essentially delirious with exhaustion and my eyes burned. They were watering on their own one minute then the next felt like they've never had moisture. It was quite possibly, the worst drive home ever. By the time we got to my house, I was exhausted. Yet as soon as I lay down I'm wide awake which is a whole other level of crap.

So the next day, we get up and I am determined to get a picture of her next to snow or something. So we went to Canal Park and a super nice jogger guy took our picture.

And then I took her up to Brighton Beach in Duluth and she got to walk on ice and see baby glaciers. Plus, it was pretty damn cold so she got to experience the beginnings of frost bite. Which is better than any souvenir, really. I mean, you could get postcards but being able to go back to nursing school and talk about frost bite and the feeling of your skin actually freezing and your eyeball juice freezing with first hand knowledge? I mean, that's kind of rad.

But then she had to go home. And I'm sad. I really like Shirley and maybe it's best we don't live super close together because she'd be my friend I'd get into all kinds of trouble with. I already told Matt that once I get all of these medical and dental bills paid, I'm going out to visit her. Most likely without him because he can be a buzz kill and I mean that in the nicest way possible. But Shirley is my friend I can text random ass things to and she doesn't even blink an eye. Even though we broke up on the Illinois border over Usher versus Ne-Yo, I'm willing to work though it. Because we all know Usher is better and we can counsel her through it. ;)

Follow on Bloglovin

Real Happy Family (and giveaway!)

Book review time! I am actually in a major crunch and have LOTS of really great books coming up, which is totally perfect for you as you plan your summer reading lists, right?

Of course I'm right.

Real Happy Family - Caeli Wolfson Widger
Real Happy Family
Part-time actress, full-time party girl Lorelei Branch isn’t famous yet, but she’s perfected a Hollywood lifestyle full of clubbing, fashion, and the latest juice cleanse. When Robin, her sister-in-law and agent, throws a plum job her way, Lorelei jumps at the chance and auditions to be the new girl on television’s hottest reality show, Flo’s Studio. Enter Colleen, Lorelei’s pill-popping mother, who wants nothing more than to see her daughter win the fame and glory she never had a chance to pursue herself. But Lorelei’s dream of becoming the next reality star is dashed when she loses the spot on Flo’s Studio to a stunning African woman. In an attempt to defend her daughter against what she calls a rigged contest, Colleen goes ballistic and delivers a racist rant on live television, sparking a national media frenzy. Lorelei flees the limelight, humiliated and broke, with her slacker boyfriend Don and heads for Reno where she begins to self-destruct.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Branch family starts to come apart at the seams. Colleen and her husband, Carl, are quietly drifting apart. Darren, Lorelei’s older half-brother, is stuck in Florida working on a contentious film set while his wife, Robin, continues the tedious regimen of fertility drugs meant to help them conceive a child. Desperate to bring the family together again and make things right, Colleen hatches a plan to stage an intervention for Lorelei on the reality show Real Happy Family. Soon the entire Branch family is entangled in a mission to bring the prodigal daughter back into the fold.

Will Lorelei ever forgive Colleen? Will Real Happy Family air their most sensational intervention yet? All roads lead to a seedy Reno hotel room, where a reality TV crew is waiting.

Right off the bat this reminded me of Lindsay Lohan and her new show on Oprah's network. You have Lorelei who maybe has all of this potential to be an actress but she never really took off and a really over bearing, embarrassing, know it all mother, Colleen. And Colleen basically wants to live vicariously through her daughter and we find out that it's mostly because she got pregnant with Lorelei as an accident and her dreams were dashed. Pretty standard story line for this kind of thing. Hell, half the reality shows on TV are based on this. 

But while Lorelei is off with her loser boyfriend Dan doing drugs and trying to ruin her life systematically and on her way to Reno, the rest of the family is a hot mess. Carl, Colleen's husband, has checked out. The step brother (who is married to Lorelei's agent) is being an asshole doing his film thing while Robin is sitting at home wallowing in her dreams of having a baby. 

So naturally, let's pull the entire family together for an intervention reality show and repair it all. And as terrible of a plan as this is, there is a good ending but tons of bumps, some frank discussions, some really awful self realizations and you know if this were a real show, you'd all be tuning in and it'd likely be on VH1. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore VH1 reality TV. I cannot get enough and I'm beyond the point at which you'd naturally feel some shame about this. 

Overall? It's decent. It's not the best story, if you keep up with celebrity news and trashy reality TV you can basically see the ending of this one coming. I will say that though it's a good ending, it's kind of too nice? I mean, for a book delving into serious drug use and a lot of blurring of boundaries I didn't expect it to be so clean. I have a LOT of great things about the writing style because even though I wasn't fully loving this enough to give 4 or 5 stars, I couldn't put it down and before I knew it, I had gotten through half of the book in one sitting. So, kudos for that. 

The super cool thing is that one of you are eligible to win a copy! WOOT! US/Canada only, and I will draw a winner on Monday, March 24. Leave a comment on here (include your email address so I can contact you). Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin (see button below) and as a bonus entry- follow me on Goodreads HERE

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag... and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha

You know how there are some people out there that are meant to be your best friend soul mate? I believe Jolie Kerr is one of mine. I just... I just heart her, you know?

My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag... and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha - Jolie Kerr
My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha
Life is filled with spills, odors, and those oh-so embarrassing stains you just can’t tell your parents about. And let’s be honest: no one is going to ask Martha Stewart what to do when your boyfriend barfs in your handbag.
Thankfully, Jolie Kerr has both staggering cleaning knowledge and a sense of humor. With signature sass and straight talk, Jolie takes on questions ranging from the basic—how do I use a mop? —to the esoteric—what should I do when bottles of home brewed ginger beer explode in my kitchen? My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag proves that even the most nightmarish cleaning conundrums can be solved with a smile, the right supplies, and a little music.

I am going to tell you right now that if you know anyone who is graduating  high school, moving out on their own the first time, getting married, really disgustingly filthy, or is maybe a hoarder? Perfect gift idea! You need to get them this book. And if you're cheap (and careful) you can also read it but don't pull the pages super wide open and make a crease in the spine otherwise it'll look like a second hand book and then you look really cheap. 

I am a very clean person. Except for all of February and the first half of March when I was sick, I have myself on a pretty tight cleaning schedule. I do certain things on certain days and I do them every week. I don't have clutter on my counters, I want everything up off the floor, everything has a home. If it doesn't have a home, other things must go (donate/trash/yard sale) so that they will have a home. I am not that person with a "toy room" and kid crap everywhere. Never was, never will be. By 18 months, both kids understood mommy is not playing when she says pick toys up- they did it. I don't mess around. 

But even still, I loved this book. A lot of it I already do, but there was quite a bit I wasn't doing as often as I should (shameful) and a few areas where I've been working FAR too hard. Cleaning ceiling fans with a pillow case? Where the hell has this been my whole life?? You fail me, Pinterest. You fail me. I'll be honest and say I've never cleaned my hair dryer before yesterday, but lambs? I did it. I did it today and I felt like a freaking champion. With a clean hair dryer nobody else cares about but it's seriously like new. NEW, I tell you. 

Hands down, the chapter that excited me the most? How to clean my car. 

Stop it, don't roll your eyes at me. 

I clean the outside a lot. I vacuum it, I wipe stuff down but it's never perfect. Gideon (my car) needs a little extra love. And if you know anything about Minnesota/Wisconsin winters its that they are brutal on vehicles. I can't clean out the inside properly for months and by April I can barely get in it without feeling disgusting. But the time is coming soon where I get to be out in my drive way just cleaning everything out, and I already have products at the ready for Gids. He's going to be so happy. As will I when I am driving with my windows down in a fully clean vehicle. I don't think I'm properly emoting how much I love that vision right now. My heart feels gleeful. 


You need this book in your life. A TON of great tips plus it's a hilarious read. Plus, the last chapter? Here are gems you'll read in it: 

  • Lube stains on sheets, sure. 
  • Shit happens. Hopefully not on your sheets but if it does...
  • By comparison, pee stains on mattresses seem positively charming. (No they don't). 
  • Semen stains, because someone had to ask. 
  • Those sex toys aren't going to clean themselves, sweet cheeks. 
  • Harness care- and stop acting so shocked!
  • Diva Cake! (how to clean your Diva Cup)
  • Stoners can be clean people too, you know
  • Bong water on the carpet
  • Speaking of smoking
  • The curious case of boy smell
  • The Jizzeliner
  • My boyfriend barfed in my handbag
Those chapters alone? Life lessons we could ALL use. You might need all of these in one weekend depending on the kind of life style you're dealing with. I mean, I won't judge you, but you better be at least clean. Dang. 

It's a great book,  it's hilarious, Jolie is the best friend she doesn't even know she is, and I cleaned my house like a mofo this weekend. WIN. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


Hot damn. I didn't realize how badly I was in need of a really good romance until I read one. Then I remembered how much I loved these books and was so glad I bought it on my last "quick trip" to Target.

Mine - Katy Evans
Mine (Real, #2)
In the international bestseller REAL, the unstoppable bad boy of the Underground fighting circuit finally met his match. Hired to keep him in prime condition, Brooke Dumas unleashed a primal desire in Remington "Riptide" Tate as vital as the air he breathes... and now he can't live without her.

Brooke never imagined she would end up with the man who is every woman's dream, but not all dreams end happily ever after, and just when they need each other the most, she is torn away from his side. Now with distance and darkness between them, the only thing left is to fight for the love of the man she calls MINE.

I will say right upfront that I apparently have a thing for books that are of unhealthy relationships and where the guy totally needs to be fixed. Or at least snuggled against your breasts. Maybe this says something deeper about me as a person, but I simply cannot help myself. Most of my favorite romances feature really dysfunctional relationships and I'm alright with it. 

One line out of this book sums up this entire series and it actually happens in this book on page 38: 

"We're the object of each other's hurt and each other's solace."

Seriously- how messed up is that? It's a whole lot of messed up but again, don't care because Remy is amazing. In the first book I left really not liking Brooke and I really thought she was an irrational baby. This book makes me like her. Mostly because she gets pregnant (calm down, it's not a spoiler),  but also because you can tell she really tried hard to not be an irrational baby. Except she did get a big whiny when Remy is out working and I'm going to chalk it up to hormones, but you came close Brooke. You came close to me not liking you. Too close

In this book this is Remy's shot to become the champion he was supposed to be but because Brooke's sister Nora is a moron we know he threw the championship in the first book. Well he's back but Scorpion is too and I'll be honest- the surprise he gives Brooke? Kind of genius. I won't lie and say I wasn't hoping for more drama from it, but this works too. 

Overall? I liked the book. I flew through it, I liked how this one ended FAR more than the last book. I am also happy that Brooke isn't trying to be a female fighter. I heard rumors online that's where this book was going then I saw this cover and I was pretty disappointed. But YAY, the author didn't go there. I will say, I am kind of annoyed at Brooke's jealousy. I mean, it's clear  you're his and he isn't straying. I don't know if this is because a lot of women in general now are grossly jealous but it's not attractive and I hate that so many female leads just get put into that category. You know, not all of us freak out over every little thing. Brooke gets upset when female fans scream things at Remy. Um, what did you think would happen? He's an incredibly good looking, totally ripped, fighter. Obviously this is going to happen. Calm down, dang. So aside from that, I really liked this book. 

I think the next in this series is called Rogue, but it's not a Remy/Brooke story, which is kind of exciting. I'm basically anxiously awaiting that one. Yum. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Requested Surrender Book Blast

Book Blurb
She knows he’s dangerous for a woman like her.

He knows she’s perfect for a man like him.

From their first meeting, David Hollan is intrigued because Lacy Pembrook is
subconsciously hiding someone. Herself. And David wants to know why. He’s
patient at first. Willing to give her space, but when she breaks the rules
they’ve set between them, he’s ready to hold her accountable. One way or
another, he’s going to find the piece of her that’s yet to be uncovered. And
when he does? He intends to own it.

Given an ultimatum after she got caught coloring outsides the lines of their “trial”
relationship, Lacy decides to fall in with David’s plans. She’ll cancel her
trip and spend her vacation time at his house making up for her transgression.
No sweat, right? Wrong. What she doesn’t count on when she gets there is him
going full-out Dom on her. She quickly learns why they call him the quiet one.
He’s dead sexy, watchful and stern at the best of times, and now that he has
her all to himself, each of those things are magnified tenfold.

By the time Lacy realizes that he’s completely subjugated her—by way of an
emotional striptease—it’s too late. She’s bared her soul to him, so when he
requests her surrender she has no choice but to give it to him. Or does she?

Click here to find out how you
can pick up your copy!


About the Author

Riley Murphy writes sexy, humorous and emotional romance, happy ending
guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is awesome, people are complicated,
but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently resides
in Florida with her
gorgeous husband. She has two wonderful kids and one very bossy English Bull
terrier she has dubbed 'The divine One'. When Riley's not working she enjoys
reading, oil painting and getting to the Sunday crossword puzzle before anyone
else does, so she can fill-in all the easy answers first. If Riley wasn't a
writer she'd be an international spy with top-level security so she could have
a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real.
Failing that she'd probably go with chicken sexer. Riley loves to hear from
readers.To learn more about her or her upcoming releases swing by her website
and say hello at: or connect with her on twitter
@Riley__Murphy where she's always sharing her deep-dark secrets.

Her latest book is the erotic romance, Requested Surrender.

Visit her website at

Connect & Socialize
with Riley!


Watch the Trailer!


Enter to win $25 Amazon Gift Card!