Thursday, February 15, 2018

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald - My Review

So, I picked up this book not really knowing what to expect..

After the first chapter, I honestly thought this was going to end up in my abandoned book shelf. I'm so glad I continued on.

While the book is, in fact, a narrative of the author's experience training a goshawk; it is so much more. It is a tale of her grief in the midst of her greatest loss. How she entered into a depression so big, she retreated as so many do. But during this grief, she entered the wild with her hawk, Mabel and started to see the world as Mabel did.

The book is also a parallel history into the world of grief of a different kind in a different time of famous author TH White, who wrote The Sword and the Stone. I found the parallels to be fascinating. Also, note, White also wrote The Goshawk, his not so favorable adventures trying to train his goshawk, Gos. 

This book was a great blend of Falconry, which I believe to be fascinating, historical commentary, and human development and self-realization.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What I Read_Book Review_ Wilson by A Scott Berg

WilsonWilson by A. Scott Berg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! At over 800 pages in length, at no point did it feel to long. I eagerly awaited the information each new chapter brought. While I have never written a book on President Wilson before, I do read a great deal about the World Wars. He is always in the periphery of these books, whether he is the president at the time, as in WWI; or in reference, as quite a few WWII books will do. When I found this book, I had to read it, and I am so glad I did!

The writing is compelling, as a good biography should be. Some might find that some topics are overwritten, but I understood why as they were the forefront issues of the time. In one case, The League of Nations & The Treaty of Versailles, were honor-bound obsessions of Wilson's. For he felt he owed the American people, not politicians, this as it stood. For to allow concessions would to be to allow the other countries involved concessions, and who could stand that chaos.

I digress.... Wilson proved to be a fascinating man. Not president of Princeton, not Governor of New Jersey or President of the United States, but man. His story, his relationships and how he loved, hated, and thought of himself: as told in this book, was wonderful. How he was respected, viewed, loved and hated by the American is no short of a testament to the amazing man he was and the impact he made on everyday people all over.

If you love history, biographies, or just have the time to kill on an 800+ page book, I highly recommend this one!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

How Have I Not Read Dune Before This?

DuneDune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For years I would look at this book, read the back and think, hmm not really my thing. I finally figured it was pulling at me for a reason and I could at least give it a try.

I am so glad I did! The book drew me in by page 20. Fully engulfed. This was such an incredible read. Herbert is a master here.

A little of the story: The Atreides' are a ruling class called off their own planet with its comforts, to the almost seemingly inhabitable Arrakis. The move is totally political and things are not what they appear to be.

The story follows young Paul, from age 15 and a Duke's son, living in the Duke's manor with both his Mother and Father, to him living among the sand people known as Fremon, where they believe he is the fulfillment of a prophecy. There are wars, deceits, amazing portraits of bravery; and so many other intimate human triumphs and heartache along the way to an ultimate realization that Paul and those around him must face.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone over the age of 14.

Have you ever put off a book as one you thought you would not enjoy, only to love it?

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Do You Have a 2016 Reading Wish List? I Do!

Every year, I add a bunch of books I would like to read onto a yearly "To Read" list. As it happens, I never actually read them all, but it forks for me to keep some sort of guideline.

Do you do anything similar?

Here is my list for 2016:

  • Audrey Niffenegger - Raven Girl
  • Abigail Tarttelin - Golden Boy
  • Anthony Marra- A Censtellation of Vital Phenomena
  • Kate Avelynn- Flawed
  • James Patterson- Private Berlin
  • Jenny Milchman - Cover of Snow
  • Mark Owen- No Easy Day
  • Linda Lafferty- The Bloodletter's Daughter

  • Jay Asher- Thirteen Reasons

  • CS Lewis- The Screwtape Letters
  • MArgaret Atwood- The Handmaid's Tale
  • Jodi Picoult - The Storyteller
  •     - The Pact
  •     - 19 Minutes
  • Tatiana de Rosnay - Sarah's Key

  • PC Cast - Destined and  Hidden
  • Truman Capote- In Cold Blood
  • Diane Setterfield - The Thirteenth Tale
  • Mark Hadden- Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time
  • Lauren Grodstein- A Friend of the Family
  • Nicholas Conde- The Religion
  • Jonathan Safran Foer- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  • Wally Lamb - I Know This Much Is True
  • Lois Lowry- The Giver
  • John Boyne- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • Ishmael Beah- A Long Way Gone
  • William Faulkner- The Sound and the Fury

You will notice, most are not newer books. In fact, my list is generally a reminder of books I have missed out on reading.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Little Known Amazon Hacks - Maximize Your Shopping

Amazon is such a vast marketplace, that in searching for what you need, you may be missing out on some key features!  Some will save you money and some will just add some great perks to your experience.

Many of you may be familiar with these, but for the rest of you here are some great perks:
  • Coupons- yes, Amazon has coupons in their grocery section! To be sure not a ton of them, but wuite a few make for some great deals. Check them out when you log in. They do change often.
  • Box Tops For Education Shopping- You can find all products that offer Box Tops in One Location
  • Use your credit card's cash back to shop- I have a Discover card and Amazon allows me to use my earned cash back to pay for my purchases.  This can be done with American Express, Chase Ultimate Points, and Citi Thank You points.
  • Amazon Smile- Use this as your default Amazon Search and when you make a purchase, a portion goes to the charity of your choosing! 
  • Subscribe & Save- When buying basics for your home such as Toilet paper and Laundry Items (among thousands of other items) see if they are Subscribe and Save eligible. You will save money and can either tweak your shipments or cancel.

Don't forget, you can earn Amazon Gift Cards just for searching the internet using Swag Bucks! You are going to search anyway. Might as well get something for it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It Has Been A Week of Downs - Seasonal Affect Disorder

Lately, I have been walloped by Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). It started earlier this week and slammed me like a freight train. All at once, I was experiencing depression, self doubt, isolated feelings, and insecurity.  Yes, I have suffered from this for many years. Honestly, I do not remember not being effected.

This year it was different. This year it all hit me in one day! Thought I was just having a bad day. I sat in my car on my lunch break shaking and in the midst of a panic attack. No reason. Anyone who has an anxiety disorder understands there is no need for a reason.  The the "all I want to do is go to bed" feeling. At 2 O'Clock in the afternoon no less! And finally, the crying jag. What????? What is wrong with me?

I thought I was getting a cold, my migraine was bad that day, you know reasoning it away. Something WAS wrong, pain and getting sick. Nope, two days later, the feeling is still here. And I feel lonely. I am missing hubby more than usual. It is no new thing working shifts that makes seeing each other almost impossible. We have dealt with it our whole relationship. But damn I really miss that man!

I already take Paxil for anxiety. For the past year, I have taking half a dose in the morning and half at night. And it has worked beautifully. I take 2000iu of Vitamin D.  As of tomorrow, I am using UV Spectrum lights, upping my Vitamin D, and taking a full dose of my Paxil in the morning!  I will give these changes a month. If I do not feel much stronger, I will discuss with my doctor.

Some people may say, turn yourself around. Others, don't let things bother you. And still more may look at me like I am weak and displaying a weakness.  To that my reply is fuck you! I am stronger than you could ever imagine! I wake up every day and do what needs to be done no matter what.

I have survived molestation and come out stronger! I have Asperger's and believe it has given me it's best. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and persevere. I have a migraine every fucking day; and have for 16 years and I have Fibromyalgia. AND I GET THINGS DONE! And I am a giving, loving, selfless person- IN SPITE of all of this.

Do not ever think I am weak. Not for one second.  This is illness, just like everything else. And guess what? I will STILL do what needs to be done and do it damn well!

I just want to get this out there, no stigmas, no judgments.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tie Dye Coffee Filter DIY Wreath

I have a ton of coffee filters I bought over the Summer for the pure reason as they made me money as overage on a coupon at the Commissary. We have a reusable filter in our coffee pot (and if you don't I highly recommend one!). I looked at them the other day, and decided to use some dye we have from our handmade tie dyes on them. I had no idea what I was going to use them for, but hey not risking any money, why not?

Well, I found out what I would use them for, when I spotted a foam wreath form at Dollar Tree! Of course, I hopped on Pinterest to see just how I might go about this. I found so many tutorials that I was able to "wing it" in my own way!

For the first step, I decided to use some leftover ruffle yarn I had from a scarf project, and wrap it around the form.  I wasn't sure how the foam would hold up to constant use of my hot glue gun, so I wanted a barrier.

After that was secured, I tied a loop of the yarn, so I would be able to hang the wreath.

From there on all I did was fold the filters in quarters, pinch the bottoms, and fluff them up a bit to give an almost flower effect. I did a bunch at a time.

I then put a small dab of hot glue on the pinched end and pressed the filter onto the form. Put A LOT of them in there to give a full effect!

You can see here how it looked halfway through:

And the finished product:

This was such a fun project! And I was able to finish it (other than the drying time for the dye) in about 1 hour.