Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Showin' My Books - October '17

I mentioned the other day that I'm in the midst of several books at once. I'm having trouble finishing books, not necessarily because I don't like them, but ... I don't know why. But I do have a few books to talk about on the 3rd anniversary of Steph and Jana's Show Us Your Books linkup.

Life According to Steph

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - SO many people raved about this book and I'm thrilled that it lived up to my expectations. My IRL book club read this and it's one that most all of us really enjoyed. I need more Kristin Hannah in my life, but spread out, because there's some heartbreaking stuff in there.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus - I very much enjoyed this book about five high school seniors who wind up in detention but only four make it out alive. There's a lot of Breakfast Club-ness going on here (except for the murder, of course). It's told from the perspectives of the four survivors and I loved the character development, and the need to keep reading at the end of every chapter.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Before I read this for book club, it seemed like everyone adored it. So I felt like a loser because I just wasn't feeling it. After I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads, I felt validated because other people told me they didn't like it either. If you're in the "loved it" camp, that's cool; it just wasn't for me.


What are you reading?

Stay tuned,

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Big Give

I know it seems that everyone has a hand out asking for donations these days. This post isn't seeking specific donations, rather it's alerting Central Ohioans to an opportunity for your charitable dollars to go even further.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years, The Columbus Foundation is hosting The Big Give, which begins Tuesday 10/10 at 10:00 am EDT and ends Wednesday 10/11 at noon EDT. During that time, you can donate to one (or more) of over 900 nonprofit organizations spanning 10 counties around Columbus. You can even donate to a fund for hurricane relief. There is a $1.3 million bonus pool which will be added to donations on a pro-rata basis. So while I can't say your donation will be doubled, every donation will be amplified to some extent. Also, credit card fees during The Big Give will be covered by The Columbus Foundation.


There are SO many options. Whether your passion is supporting the arts, or rescuing animals, or helping the homeless, or cancer research, there's something here for you. And I'll admit that the website can be overwhelming, so if you are interested but having trouble finding just the right nonprofit, let me know and I'll help navigate the system.

Again, here are the bullet point details:

Stay tuned,

Friday, October 6, 2017

It's Friday and I need a brain dump

Here comes some random shit that's in my head.

  • I haven't yet watched any brand new shows this season. It's all I can do to keep up with This is Us and the TGIT lineup on ABC. This is highly unlike me.

  • I'm currently suffering from Multiple Book Disorder. I have at LEAST five books started right now, none of which is the one for my real life book club which meets Tuesday. And my TBR pile (as in, actual books that I own that I haven't even started is hovering around twelve.

  • Not sure what someone just heated up for lunch but it smells like grilled cheese to me. I could go for a basic grilled cheese and fries right about now.

  • I have a vacation coming up very soon and I can. not. wait.

  • Someone hacked into my Ulta account and used my rewards points. Seriously? WTF?

  • I also had someone use my credit card (well, not the actual card, because I have that) at a Sam's Club. Easy to tell it wasn't me since I don't have a Sam's membership. Thank you MasterCard for alerting me to that one.

  • This is Day 4 of my 50 blog posts in 50 days. I almost missed day 3, but I got it there in the nick of time.

  • I have lots more to say about these things but...

    •  I'm still in utter disbelief that one person can murder 59 people and injure hundreds more in a matter of minutes. This is so fucked up.

    • PSA for anyone who still doesn't realize it: Puerto Ricans ARE Americans. And paper towels aren't going to help them. I still feel like I'm living in some bizarro dream and wonder when it's going to stop. (Side note: the "US" in US Virgin Islands? Yeah, that means those residents are Americans, too. Maybe if they were allowed to vote for the president they'd matter more?)

    • Yet with all the crises around us, it's somehow very important to make sure that employers can cry "moral objections!" and opt to not cover birth control. The reasons this makes no sense are numerous but for now I'll just say that when the consequences of having sex are as intrusive to men as they are to women, then we can talk. Until that day, spare me the morality speech. I'm not buying it.

I think that's enough for today. Have a great weekend!

Stay tuned,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day 3 and I've already (almost) failed

The last 24 hours have been jam packed - somewhat with scheduled activities, but also with some very unplanned obligations. But dammit, I'm not going to fail on the third day. It's 11:08 pm as I type this so I have 51 minutes to get in under the wire.

This week has felt long so of course I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I'm especially looking forward to this weekend because it's the Italian Festival, which is just a few blocks from my house. And let's be honest, the main part of the festival I can't wait for is the food. Pizza and gnocchi and cannoli, oh my!

I did manage to make a fun little button for my blog adventure. What do you think?

Stay tuned,

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Last minute ZZ Top

A couple months ago, Aaron mentioned that ZZ Top was coming to town on October 3rd and started talking about maybe going to the show. Me: eh, maybe.

Cut to October 3rd, 9:03 am. I get a text from Aaron that just says "ZZTop?" My initial thought is, no, I don't feel like it. But, seeing as Tom Petty just died and I never saw him in concert, I changed my mind and texted back "Sure."

3:12 pm - email from Aaron with a link to a concert review saying "Looks like lots of seats available. I think we should go."

Me: I already said yes. Buy the tickets.

I mean, take yes for an answer already!

So after work, we took the bus downtown and ate at an Irish pub (question: when you order fish & chips, are you expecting sweet potato fries? I was not.) and then went to the Palace Theater (Columbus friends, yes, the Palace!) and bought seats in Row L on the floor.

Fun story: although I had never seen ZZ Top, Aaron had seen them twice before, albeit nearly 30 years ago. One night many moons ago, Aaron and his friend Mike were at a blues bar in Cincinnati where they watched a group called Big Alice and Unfinished Business. After the show, they played some pool and a couple guys came in and put quarters down on the table. Those guys were Dusty Hill of ZZ Top (left in the above picture) and a road manager. So yeah, Aaron played pool with 1/3 of ZZ Top.

Stay Tuned,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

50 in 50 - Day 1

Hello, is anyone there?

So here's the deal. In 50 days I will be 50 years old. I've decided as a challenge to myself to blog every day for the next 50 days. My tag line has always been "sometimes silly, sometimes serious, always real," and that's how these next days will be. Some days I might write about my hair, some days I might rant about a topic I feel passionately about, some days I might just write about nothing in particular. The real goal is to renew the habit of writing on a regular basis.

I'm also committing to reading (and commenting on) my blog friends' posts. I've been really lazy about that for a while. I need to be less lazy, in more ways than one.

I hope you'll join me on this journey.

Stay Tuned,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Some things I've read since the last time I blogged

My poor blog has been seriously neglected. And it's been a while since I linked up with Steph and Jana. And I can't get the link up button to work. And I'm certain that I've read more than I'm listing here but even my Goodreads account has been neglected. With all that said, here we go!

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry - I liked this one a lot. It had elements of Mary Kubica's The Good Girl and a one-and-done ABC series from last year called The Family. I really kept going back and forth in my head as to whether or not the girl who showed up was really the girl who was kidnapped. There were certainly parts that didn't work for me, but overall I enjoyed it.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid - I read this for my IRL book club. Actually, I listened to it, which only took about 4 or 5 hours. Admittedly, I went into this with a groan because the premise reminded me of Dark Matter, which I didn't love. Maybe without that bias I would have liked this better, but it just didn't ring my bells.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda - This was also a book club book and I liked this one better, but at our book club meeting, the first thing someone asked was "what the hell happened?" It was kind of hard to follow and the backwards-style storytelling had me reminding myself "no, that hasn't happened yet." This is also a case in which "unreliable narrator" is a bit of an understatement.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy - I often feel late to the party when it comes to which books I'm reading, but I jumped on this one pretty quickly. Dumplin' was one of my favorite books of last year so I was anxious to read Julie Murphy's latest. It didn't disappoint, although I'm not sure much can live up to Dumplin'. There was some controversy surrounding this book because it deals with sexual fluidity, but I like it. A lot.

What have you been reading? I'm off to the Show Us Your Books link up to add even more titles to my TBR list!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Showin' My Books - April

Hey y'all, it's been a while. Time to link up and talk about books I've read lately AND find more books to add to my list.

Life According to Steph

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (audio) - Although this is predictable and I had a hard time believing that the main character was THAT clueless about technology, it was still a fun book and I really enjoyed it.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (ebook) - There are other Moriarty books I like better, and this one took forEVer to reveal what happened "the day of the barbecue," but ultimately once I got to the end I found the characters staying with me.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (audio) - I was drawn to this after listening to a podcast about audiobooks. I don't know if I would have liked this had I read it in a traditional way, but I loved the reader and her different voices. There are two more and I don't know that I'll read them, but I liked this one.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (audio) - This book starts out like it might be a romance of sorts, shifts to a psychological thriller and then takes a turn that is crazy! I think people will either love the twist or hate it, but I loved it.

The Forgotten Girls by Alexa Steele (ebook) - Don't be fooled by my 3 star rating on Goodreads; I liked this book but it did take me a while to finish it. Still, it was a good mystery that I didn't figure out before the reveal and I liked the female detective. There's a second book and I'll probably read it.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco (audio, read by the author) - Mastromonaco started working for Obama when he was a US Senator and eventually worked her way to being Deputy Chief of Staff. It's a quick, easy read (even on audio) and I enjoyed getting some behind-the-scenes info. It was kind of annoying that she jumped around chronologically and she used a lot of nicknames that the audiobook didn't allow me to go back and figure out who the real people were, but for a non-fiction book, I liked it.


My Favorite Husband by Pam McCutcheon - When I get my BookBub emails I often download some fluffy chick lit since it's free (or maybe 99 cents). That's how I got this one, but I just couldn't. It was too ridiculous.

What are you reading?

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oscar Hangover

Remember that time I said I'd post my Oscar predictions? Yeah, that never happened and by now hardly anyone cares about the Oscars anymore but I'm going to post about them anyway.


I only saw 3 of the 5 nominees, but my favorite was Piper (the winner) about a baby sandpiper. It's adorable and fun, which I needed because I watched these immediately following...


Good God, these were devastating, but so worth it. I recommend watching all of them.

  • Joe's Violin - a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin to a New York City instrument drive and forms a lovely friendship with the 12-year-old girl who ends up playing it.
  • Extremis - deals with end-of-life decisions by focusing primarily on two families and their doctors.
  • 4.1 Miles - a Greek coast guard captain pulls desperate refugees crossing from Turkey.
  • Watani: My Homeland - follows a family living in Aleppo who migrate to Germany after the father is taken by ISIS. Watching the kids acclimate to their new surroundings is fascinating.
  • The White Helmets - are volunteer rescue workers in Syria who, after bombings, rush to save people trapped in the rubble. This group has saved more than 80,000 people.
I was pretty sure The White Helmets would win (and it did) but my heart was with Joe's Violin.


These were all foreign with subtitles. I enjoyed all of them. My favorite was Sing, which takes place in a Hungarian elementary school in which a new girl joins the choir but is then told to just mouth the words because the director wants only to win a national prize. The students eventually perform an act of rebellion that I didn't see coming, and it's brilliant.

I thought, however, that the winner would be Ennemis Interieurs, an interrogation between a French official and an Algerian man who has lived in France his whole life and finally wants to become a citizen. I should have gone with my heart on this one because Sing was the winner.


Supporting Actor
I was certain Mahershala Ali would win, but if Dev Patel had pulled off the upset I wouldn't have minded.

Supporting Actress
All of these actresses were superb, but this was Viola's time and damn, can that woman give an acceptance speech.

Lead Actor
I voted for Denzel but Casey Affleck's performance was definitely worthy. I struggle with the off-camera controversy surrounding Affleck's win. I mean, I'm probably not going to have a beer with the guy, but he acted his face off in Manchester.

Lead Actress
Viola Davis easily could have been in this category. I'm sad that Taraji P. Henson was not nominated, and I absolutely think that Amy Adams should have been nominated for Arrival, but Emma Stone's movie was the only one in this group that I saw, so I can't really say who should have been left off the list.

In our Oscar pool, I chose Moonlight for both Director and Best Picture, but I really thought that director might go to Moonlight and picture would go to La La Land. It went the other way, but I'm thrilled for Moonlight. It's such an amazing story and apparently it was made in 4 days and cost about $12. (Yes, I'm exaggerating.)

Having said that, and having seen all nine Best Picture nominees, and recognizing that giving an award called Best Picture is pretty ridiculous, here's how I would personally rank them if someone kidnapped my cats and the ransom was my list:

Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water (I'm honestly not sure why this was nominated, but Jeff Bridges was great)

For what it's worth, I predicted 14 of the 24 awards correctly (and won the pool at our party).

As for the show itself, other than being too long as always, I really enjoyed it. I thought Jimmy Kimmel did a great job. The Matt Damon stuff was hilarious ("2-time Academy Award winner Ben Affleck and guest"), and the winners gave some fantastic speeches, mostly without notes. Fashion-wise, I thought there were very few clunkers (but Dakota Johnson, WTF?).

After watching the show to the end, we rewound it to the start of Best Picture. How freaking crazy was that?! Something tells me that Pricewaterhouse Coopers might lose the Oscars gig.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Six Pack - 2017 Vol. 1

Not a link-up, but I'm taking a page from Jana today with six things that are currently going on in my world.

This week's six pack is brought to you by (of course) Columbus Brewing Company's SFW. We just started bottling this farmhouse ale. It's lighter than a lot of our beers and I'm a big fan. ** Just in case you don't know, I work for CBC.

Oscar nominated movies. So far I've seen 8 of the 9 Best Picture nominees (#9 is on deck for tonight). I've also seen all of the nominated shorts - documentary, live action, and animated (OK, I've actually only seen 3 1/2 of the animated shorts because of a scheduling SNAFU on my part). Look for a review and predictions post next week.

On Kindle - The Forgotten Girls by Alexa Steele, a murder mystery that I'm enjoying but I need to step it up because I've only been reading this one in small snippets.

On Audible - Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I'm not sure if I would like this if I were reading it traditionally, but I'm liking the audio version a lot.

Smoothies and juices from Zest Juice Co., a local company that I just started visiting. Today's purchase (below) a Blue Almond smoothie and a bottle of Crave juice (carrot, grapefruit, pineapple, turmeric and ginger). Other favorites include the Pistachio Oatmeal Cookie smoothie and Habanero Heat juice.

My latest KEEP purchases. I'm addicted to KEEP Collective's bracelets. My friend Tiffany is a consultant and decided last week to design a "nevertheless, she persisted" bracelet and she's donating some of her commission to the ACLU. Because I have a few items from KEEP, I've been mixing it up. If you're interested, let me know.

For some good college news for our nephew James. For those who don't know, James has been living with us since July. He's a senior in high school and we're in the midst of college visits and FAFSA and the Common App and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! We were late to the party with college stuff but hopefully he'll still be able to get some scholarships and whatnot. And seriously, how can they resist this face?

Other than audiobooks, I'm also constantly on the lookout for a new episode of the NPR Politics Podcast. I started listening during the campaign last year. Of course now they have to preface every episode with "we recorded this at 2:00 pm on Thursday. Things may have changed since then." And they usually have.

Enjoy the weekend! Here in Columbus, we're expecting 60 degree weather. In February.

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