Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blog Design by April Showers

Hi Friends! Just wanted to give a quick update on me: Still working at the middle school, now I'm in a long-term sub assignment for US History ---- I LOVE it!!

April Showers is updating my blog with a new design! I am so excited, the drafts are way cool! Just what I need to inspire me to get back to blogging! I'll be back soon! :O


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where are you, BookLady?

Hi Friends! I went back to work this week = no blogging for me. Once I get situated and in a normal routine I'll be back! I am teaching a Language program at a local middle school. I am very excited and I can't wait to meet the students! Wish me luck!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

Well, my daughter is going back to school today. Of course I will miss her, but I am also VERY excited for her! She is living her dream, after all. She is about to begin her 3rd year in The Marshall School of Business at USC! We are a TOTAL Trojan family! To help her prepare to, uh, miss me, I cooked a few of her favorite meals this past week! ;)

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese!

Yes, I am reading while stirring the sauce! I could not put down The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!

Thursday: Tostadas and Spanish Rice! (and the beans are NOT from a can!)

My girl, may she study hard and get our money's worth!!! ;)


Visit Seven Clown Circus for more wonderfully wordy Wednesday pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Terrace Books Tuesday

So much going on at Terrace Books right now! Our readers are really stocking up on books. We welcomed about 10 new customers in the past week. Suspense books are selling like hot cakes and I just put in an order for lots of new vampire novels for one of our longtime customers, Marion. Another exciting thing: we are promoting the website, So far, four of us are members and we are close to becoming addicted, I tell you, it is hard to get away! If you decide to join, please look us up! Find our group listed under: Friends of Terrace Books.

But before you go, please read my mini-review that is posted on our community board at Terrace Books.

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher: Dial Press, 2009 trade paperback edition, $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-385-34100-4 290 pages
Genre: Fiction, literature
Rating: 5 stars, outstanding!

What the book is about: Ever had potato peel pie? Don't worry, this book is not about cooking! It is a compelling tale about the German Occupation of the Channel islands during World War II. The story gives us an insiders view of the Occupation, written in a unique style of letters exchanged between the members of the society and Miss Juliet Ashton, a published author. This old fashioned book club was invented by the founding member, Elizabeth McKenna in order to create a diversion from the Germans during curfew one night. What entails is a moving masterpiece of history told from those that lived it and how the books they read helped them survive. Yes, the books helped them survive. It is somewhat of a love story: a love of books, a love of writing and a love of Guernsey. The relationships -- between the people and the books they read -- are revealed slowly and purposefully. Be prepared to fall in love all over again with the classics and with the unforgettable characters in this book.

Why I loved it: Each character is revealed to us through the books they read. They are, in essence, defined by their choice of book!

My favorite excerpt: "I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers -- booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one -- the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it -- along with first dibs on the new books." page 15 (My thoughts exactly!)

My recommendation: You will enjoy this book if you like historical fiction. It is a romance about books and reading. I highly recommend it for English teachers or anyone else whose profession revolves around reading. Also, those interested in the occupation of World War II should enjoy the historical implications. Very well researched and has made me move on to other Occupation non-fiction books.

What to read next: (all are non-fiction)
London 1945: Life in the Debris of War by Maureen Waller
The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940-1945 by Madeleine Bunting
Our Longest Days: A People's History of the Second World War by Sandra Koa Wing


Monday, August 17, 2009

Manic Monday

Good Monday morning to you! Welcome to Manic Monday at my blog where I list the Tuesday book releases that I hope will interest you, my readers. So, shall we?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, hardcover. Historical fiction; England; War of the Roses (new series by this bestselling author!)

Vanished by Joseph Finder, hardcover. Suspense; missing persons; corporate intrigue

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, hardcover. Non-fiction; biography; actors and actresses

The Shortest Distance Between Two Women by Kris Radish; paperback. Women's fiction; relationships; women's lives

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks, hardcover. Fantasy fiction; The Magic Kingdom series; epic

Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, hardcover. Fiction; Rwanda; women cooks; bakeries

Soul of a Dog by Jon Katz, hardcover. Non-fiction; essays; farm life; dogs; New York

August 24, 2009 (next Monday)
Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo, hardcover. Fiction; historical suspense; Alex Cross; race relations; Southern states

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gidget moments '09

The end is near. Sadly, the beach days of 2009 are dwindling. The days of sunshine and heat, that is. The beach is available year round, of course, but somehow being there with the crowds and sun and the noise and the trash and the endless search for parking . . . wait . . . uh, yeah . . . sometimes THAT part of the beach experience is NOT fun.

The trash. Ugh, it pains me to see when groups of people or kids leave loads of trash. Last time we were there, a day camp visited from L.A. A ton of kids went, and about 5 counselors were there to watch them. I caught on to their carelessness inexperience after a 4 year old came walking from down the coastline, amongst all the people, ALL BY HIMSELF. At the beach. Soaking wet, too, so yeah, he was in the water! I watched as he found his way back to their "camp" sat on his towel and no one cared. They didn't even know he was gone. From that moment on, Frank and I took turns watching out for "Orange Shorts" as we so lovingly named him.

Yet another idiotic strange thing I saw that day: A woman was there with the tiniest of umbrella and smallest of bag for snacks, with her baby. Her very WHITE and FAIR baby, so fair the baby's hair was even white. Guess what she did? She stripped the baby of all her protective clothing and let her sit on the towel, in the sun in only a diaper. That's it! Oh yeah, she put on sunblock, but HELLO? Sunblock does NOT protect a baby's sensitive skin, c'mon, you really don't believe that ONE layer of lotion is going to protect a baby THAT white? She MUST not know that damage to a childs' skin before the age of 7 is the MOST damaging exposure they will get in their life. It is the WORST set up for skin cancer in later life. I was just about to go explain this to her when another mom noticed the same thing. She went to her and said, "Would you like to share our shade?" BRAVO! That was good! Why didn't I think of that? Here I was thinking about all the damage that poor little girl would encounter in later years, that maybe the mom didn't know, that she would suffer cancer as she got older, and on and on. When all I had to do was offer them our umbrella!!! Wow, the things we learn from eavesdropping watching other people!

THEN the camp kids started packing up. And leaving trash. I just couldn't stop myself, I picked up their trash, too, and I wasn't too happy about it, let me tell you! I got tired of Frito bags getting blown into my face! I know I'm supposed to be all Gidgety and nice and sweet and stuff, but wait, Gidget was feisty! SOOO . . . I was about to go over and help the poor counselors assign trash duty and get the kids lined up . . . they were failing miserably. (The teacher in me was all ready to organize the departure.) But I didn't, because my kids were there. They are total Gidget moment killers. They get "embarrassed" whenever I talk to people I "don't even know." Imagine. And all I'm trying to do is educate people and make our world a little bit better!

Things to remember for your last Hoorah at the beach, '09:
Sunblock, sunglasses, umbrella, ice chest filled with water and good snacks, towels, flip flops (yes, people do try to walk all the way to the water from the parking lot without SHOES!).
For older children (pre-teen and up) BEFORE they leave your area, make them aware of their surroundings. Have them point to and identify the number of the nearest lifeguard tower, tell you the color of your umbrella, identify "neighbors" and so on. Set the limit for how deep the water can be on their bodies, waist is safest. My youngest is already 12 and these rules still apply (unless of course Dad is out there boogie boarding with him).

Last, relax, have fun, enjoy (as if!!!!).

Oh, almost forgot, I found another book for The Take A Chance Challenge! At the beach, I saw a woman reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (challenge #6:Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it). Yes! The first in the Southern Vampire Mystery series, I haven't read it yet so I can read it AND cross off another challenge! Yay for me! :)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Today I am participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I grudgingly chose prompt #4:List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah.

First, I had to look up "hutzpah." It is Yiddish for "balls." Or some say, cajones, whatever, you get the picture. And I "grudgingly" chose it, because, well, the other prompts were a little to deep for me. Too much thinking. It's summertime . . . it's hot . . . coffee hasn't kicked in . . . you know what I mean. And, yes, I know, my blog is supposed to be about reading, so I've thrown in a few fictional characters to make it interesting.

1. Mark McGrath: Can I grab your be-hind? Oh, no wait, I already did -- without asking! Something about a tall, lead singer, white boy that I just CANNOT resist!
2. God: Why haven't I won the Lotto yet? (I'd probably get in BIG time trouble for that one!)

3. The family member that spread awful, hateful rumors about me: Why? Do you not have anything better to do with your time than ruin friendships? Are you happy now? (and the reason I don't say this is because I can't stand the mere sight of her. My "god moment" was when I got chills of danger once when she looked at me as if she was possessed; God was telling me -- Watch out! So glad I listened. From that moment on I believed in The Evil Eye! Whew, scary stuff.)
4. The boy I had a crush on in high school (okay, boys): What do you have to say, now? ;)

5. Rhett Butler: Can I be your baby-mamma? (I WILL not let him/her ride a pony)

6. Wannabe customers of my book exchange that think they should not have to pay because they are bringing in REALLY good books (which are REALLY old, falling apart and stinky): Do you even understand how a business works? It takes cash flow; what is so hard about understanding that??????
7. Bono: Will you write a song about me?

8. Gidget: Can I be the Latina version of you?

9. Pete Carroll: So, you wanna make my son a deal now, before all the scouts get sight of him?
10. Becky Bloomwood: PLEASE let me be your bestie! We can shop together, do lunch, laugh, go to shopaholic anonymous meetings together! It would be such fun!

Visit Mama Kat to read more Writer's Workshop prompts!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

This is Scooter. I'm sure I've posted pictures of him before, but he's just so DARN CUTE that I can't help myself!

Yup, that's right, strike a pose!

Last night we were "reading" together (I was reading, he was sleeping) and Frank takes this picture of us. Notice my insanely cool OpenPage book cover. It conveniently holds the book/pages open while you read. I sell them at my book exchange and on my website, Terrace Books. Customers love, love, love them! ;)

Visit Seven Clown Circus for more wonderfully wordy Wednesday pictures!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Manic Monday

Manic Monday is the list I compile of the interesting (to me) books ready for Tuesday release.

Tuesday, August 11,2009

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett, paperback. Fiction, internet intrigue, blogs, teenage girls

South of Broad by Pat Conroy, hardcover. Fiction, friendships, South Carolina (author of Prince of Tides)

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown, hardcover. Fiction, legal mystery, suspense, Georgia

Blindman’s Bluff: A Decker and Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman, hardcover. Fiction, suspense, police spouses, LAPD, California

Atlantis Revelation: A Thriller by Thomas Greanias, hardcover. Fiction, archaeologists, conspiracies, Atlantis

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay, hardcover. Fiction, fathers and daughters, missing persons, suspense

Know of any good reads that I've missed? Please comment about them! Also, tell us about your favorite independent bookstore!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Snip It Saturday

It's Saturday! Time for a little snip-it, or preview, of the current book I'm reading. Enjoy!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: A Novel by Stieg Larsson
Vintage Books, c2008 (translation copyright by Reg Keeland)
ISBN 978-0-307-45454-6

So it seems everyone (and their mother) has read this book but me. This Vintage Books paperback edition was just released and it is on the PB Bestseller list. It is a story of crime, suspense and family saga. Alot of family saga. In fact, TOO MUCH family saga for my taste. I am on page 265 and am just now getting "in" to it. I tried my darnedest (is that a word?) to understand the family lineage, really I tried. But I got tired of it and just ended up skimming the paragraphs (and sometimes pages) of who's who in the Vanger family. Boring. But don't worry, I will not suffer you the same fate! I chose a scene which contains the more interesting side plot which includes the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Her classmates thought she was crazy and treated her accordingly. She aroused very little sympathy among the teachers. She had never been particularly talkative, and she became known as the pupil who never raised her hand and often did not answer when a teacher asked her a direct question. No one was sure whether this was because she did not know the answer or if there was some other reason, which was reflected in her grades. No doubt that she had problems, but no one wanted to take responsibility for the difficult girl, even though she was frequently discussed at various teachers' meetings. That was why she ended up in the situation where the teachers ignored her and allowed her to sit in sullen silence.

She left middle school and moved to another, without a single friend to say goodbye to. An unloved girls with odd behaviour.

Then, as she was on the threshold of her teenage years, All The Evil happened, which she did not want to think about. The last outburst set the pattern that prompted a review of the casebook entries from elementary school. After that she was considered to be legally . . . well, crazy. A freak. (page 229-230)

Good stuff! Of course, I am dying to find out what All The Evil is! The novel takes place in Sweden (another reason I can't "love" it; places I am not familiar with). The other main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is a journalist who is commissioned to solve a 30 year-old unsolved murder. Apparently, knowing the family lineage of the Vanger family is VERY important to the story. He has a year to live on the family owned island and solve the mystery. As a reader, the real mystery is how the two plots will intersect. So far, Mikael and Lisbeth (girl w/dragon tattoo) have only met once, briefly. What the heck is going on? I kinda don't care about the murder, I just want to know where the story is going. Maybe that's supposed to be the mystery!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Grunion Run!

What is a grunion, you ask? A grunion is a tiny, silver fish. Fish can run? Well, yes and no. They "run" along SoCal beaches at night during their spawning season. They come on shore, that is, and when you see it, it's amazing!

I was lucky enough (they are only on shore for 4 nights) to happen upon a grunion run during my senior year in high school. During Prom. With Frank. I know, you can stop gagging now, but really, we are NOT the perfect couple! ::wink:: The sight was fantastic (the picture I found makes them look like dead fish out of water, believe me, they are VERY alive)! It's as if the entire shore is moving. They seem to glow silver in the dark and they flap like crazy to get back into the water. Before that night, I had never heard of a grunion. I was so afraid to walk out there -- eww, what if it touched my foot? Frank, the gentleman that he is, coaxed me rather lovingly to just get a little closer (do you know where this is going?). "C'mon, you don't have to go any closer than you want to. That's, it, just a little closer. I -- I mean-- they won't bite." We did end up on the shore, but I dared not touch one! People were actually trying to catch them with their hands! Apparently, that's how you fish for them.

Anyway, yes, we did end up having a romantic, moonlit kiss on the beach that night. Since The Kiss happened during the grunion run, I have to believe that our lives were destined to mesh into a series of "luck" and "love" that continues to this day. Maybe I will try to convince Frank to go out tonight. And just maybe, I'll get LUCKY and see the grunions again. Wonder if it will be the same after 22 years? I'd love to find out (hu-muna, hu-muna!).

Check out Beach California to read more about the Grunion Run. There is also a list of the beaches and times that the grunion are expected to be seen.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Reads

Time Was Soft There: A Memoir, A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
By Jeremy Mercer
Publisher: Picador, St. Martin's Press, New York
ISBN 0-312-34740-5

From Publishers Weekly
Mercer explains his memoir's title this way: "Hard time goes slowly and painfully and leaves a man bitter.... Time at Shakespeare and Company was as soft as anything I'd ever felt." His graceful narrative follows struggling writers as they live on potato soup and dreams at Paris's famous expatriate bookshop. Mercer, a former Ottowa Citizen crime reporter, finds himself at Shakespeare one gloomy Parisian day in 1999, in his late 20s, with not much money and no plans for the future, trying to evade some angry newspaper sources back home. With little fanfare, he is taken into the store by its owner, George Whitman, a kindly yet scatterbrained man, who explains, "I run a socialist utopia that masquerades as a bookstore." Mercer begins working as an eager unpaid employee, running errands, acting as a referee between the writers who hang out there and ringing up sales (it's no B&N superstore: when Mercer asks where the credit card machine is, he's told, "Dude, Shakespeare and Company doesn't even have a telephone. Of course we don't take credit cards"). Mercer portrays the assorted characters and their adventures with an eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. Francophile book lovers will enjoy his finely crafted memoir.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

When I read it:
We took a road trip up to Sacramento to visit friends on New Years in 2007. Of course, we passed through San Francisco! I do not travel much, but when I do, I MUST visit an independent bookstore. My goal for that trip was The City Lights Bookstore, for it's history and just plain "coolness!" I found this book there and was on a fixation of the Shakekespeare & Co. bookshop in Paris at the time.

Why I chose it:
. . . Because of my fixation on the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop in Paris! I also read Shakespeare & Company by Sylvia Beach (the original owner of the bookshop) and when I get my mind on something, I go all the way (meaning, I want to visit it someday, too!). Mercer's memoir is about his time there and his relationship with the current owner, George Whitman. Shakespeare & Co. is a haven for writers. They are/were allowed to live IN the bookstore! Mercer enters into the bookstore's world with high hopes of writing a "brilliant novel at the bookstore" and be considered an "acclaimed genious." What transpires is a personal story of hope, maturity, and "life imitating art." The book has been acclaimed as a living biography of George Whitman, a very good one!

Visit At Home with Books to read more Favorite Reads.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordful Wednesday


My son plays football (he is visible in the 2nd pic, white t-shirt and red shorts). It is a grueling sport for a kid, he has played since he was seven years old. He loves it. Official practice began Monday night, the famed "hell week" is going on now. They run, run, and run some more. Next week they get their pads, then they will hit, hit, and hit some more!

Visit SevEn cLoWn CirCuS: Wordful Wednesday-Animal Incidents to see Angie's pictures and view more participants in Wordful Wednesday! :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Manic Monday

Good morning, fellow book and beach lovers! Welcome to Manic Monday where I list some of the books that will be released Tuesday. I call it Manic, because the amount of books released each week is absolutely CRAZY insane! It takes me AGES ::wink:: to browse through the lists and lists of titles, then decide which to include here!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eclipse (The Twilight Series) by Stephenie Meyer (paperback) vampire, romance, PAPERBACK!!!

Bad Moon Rising: A Dark Hunter Novel by Sherrilyn Kenyon (hardcover) paranormal; vampire/werewolf; gothic romance

The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice (hardcover) women's fiction; family issues; summer stories

I Can See You by Karen Rose (hardcover) romantic suspense; computer/online murder mystery

The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom (hardcover) debut author; ghosts; haunted house

Alibi by Teri Woods (hardcover) thriller; crime novel

The Last Ember by Daniel Levin (hardcover) legal suspense; religious/archaeological thriller (said to be comparable to DaVinci code!)

Of Bees and Mist: A Novel by Eric Setiawan (hardcover) debut author; mysticism; mystery; supernatural

Non-Fiction of Interest
A Long Bright Future: The Very Good News About Living Longer by Laura L. Carstensen, Ph.D (hardcover) longevity; financial security; healthy aging

Of course, these are not all books released, if you know any of interest that I missed, please comment about them here!


P.S. April Showers is having a totally groovy blog design giveaway!
Check it out, pretty please! ::bats eyelashes::

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sundays in My City

Welcome to Sundays in My City! Unknown Mami has devoted her Sunday postings to wonderful pictures of her city. Today, she invites us all to join in. Visit her to add your link or just to see how other bloggers spend their Sundays!

In my small city, we are lucky enough to have a labyrinth. It is a quiet, spiritual place to walk, meditate, and pray. The above photo is the entrance. The photo below is the angel statue which is a reminder of the sacredness (of quiet, peace, and no talking "policy").

The next photo is of the center of the maze. Here, one can sit and rest while praying or meditating before re-entering the maze to follow the way back out.

I enjoyed my walk to the labyrinth today. I felt calm and refreshed afterwards. (I spent about 15 minutes in the center of the maze, desperately trying to quiet my mind!) I have lived here for 20 years and love to share my favorite places with people. Our city is only 3.5 square miles, but it is full of wonderful surprises. Join me (and Mami!) every Sunday as I share these treasures with you!

Unknown Mami

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Hi all! I'm back! Sorry I did not post any pictures yesterday for WW, but for some reason I cannot load them up to blogger. Maybe they are too big? I don't know how to make them smaller . . . and they were really cool pictures of us at the lake! :(

Anyhoo, I'm writing with Mama Kat again and I've chosen this prompt:
5.)List your 7 most favorite summer items!

However, I'm going to change it up a bit and tell you about my 7 most favorite summer books (books I've read more than once).

1.) Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
This book is hilarious! Becky Bloomwood will do anything to shop -- kinda like me when I am working full time! She gets herself into some pretty sticky situations. Required reading for all shoppers and the others in the series are just as good. Kinsella recently put out a new book, Twenties Girl. It's on my shelf, can't wait for it!

2.) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Oh . . . good, good, good! It is a short (174 pages) book that reads like a parable. Santiago is traveling to Egypt to find his "treasure." He learns many things along the way but the most important lesson comes at the end. Coehlo is a master storyteller. You WILL learn something about yourself after reading this!

3.) Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor
Okay, this book might take the entire summer to finish, but even if it's the ONLY book you read this summer, please do! It is the love story of a Mexican man and woman who flee to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution. Read this for the history, the setting (SoCal!) and the romance!

4.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Okay, so I'm a sucker for the everlasting love saga! I do love the history . . . you all know it's about the Civil War, right? LOL! I think I like this book so much because SOMETIMES I act like Scarlet. Not the strong, get-off-my-land-you-Bastard Scarlet, but the spoiled, bratty, who-will-I-let-get-me-my-barbecue Scarlet! ;)

5.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Ah, yet another love story! But notice that the love stories I'm choosing are not the cheezy, sex-filled novels with no substance! These books are actual literary masterpieces! Everytime I read this, I STILL want to bonk Heathcliff on the head and say, "Hello! Can you give a girl a little help here?!"

6.) Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Yes, I read cookbooks! Whenever I visit the library, I check out at LEAST three. I have one beside my bed right now, as a matter of fact. I just made the Garza household's favorite recipe from good 'ol Betty last night, Macaroni and Cheese! MMMMMMMMMM!

7.) The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Summertime is my time to get back to writing. Something about the hot, lazy, dog-laying-beside-me kind of days that inspire me. This book is sort of the bible for writers. I've never really followed all the advice to a tee, since I feel kinda funny taking "my artist" on a date (a.k.a Me) but I do try and get back into the habit of morning pages every summer. The subtitle is A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and the book is full of exercises that should keep away writer's block.

So, there you have it! My favorite summer books! Don't forget to head on over to Mama's Losin' It and find more workshop participants!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Today is Thursday, Writer's Workshop day! Mama Kat chooses the prompts, we answer them! I want to complete #5 today . . . seems easy and fun.
5.) What are three things we would love to know about you

My answers will be more than I hope you have already figured out by reading my blog. First -- good gossip here -- Frank and I had our first baby when we were 19 years old, married at 20. Yes, we were young, yes, our baby was at our wedding! And the BEST part? We are still together! (bet you didn't see that one coming!)

Second, I like to drink -- no, that's NOT why I got prego at 19! Sheeps! When I was teaching full-time, I'd drink every single weekend. I KNOOOW! Bad, bad, bad . . . . the good thing is, I don't do that anymore. Teach. (LOL!)

Last, my house is super tiny. And kinda messy. My room is the catch-all in the house. I even took pictures of the mess to send to the guy on Oprah who fixes up everything all nice and stuff -- Peter Walsh. Maybe I'll get brave enough one day and post them for Wordful Wednesday, of course, right after I have me a few Jack & Cokes!

Have a super day and visit Mama Kat for more writing prompts. Do it, it's fun! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

My All-Star, again!

As you know, I am so proud of my boy. And I LOVE watching him play baseball! In this photo the team is praying before a big game. Frankie got to say the prayer, he is to the way left of the photo.

As for the game, well, they lost. Our baseball season is officially over ::sniffle:: Yes, I did shed a few lonely tears as the last out was made, not because our boys lost, but because another season is over. I look at his teammates and silently pray for each and every one of them, that God keeps them safe from harm and that they all grow up to be loving, responsible men. Being a Team Mom allows me to have a special bond with the boys, I'm at every practice and sometimes I feel like I'm a mom to the whole team! :) I miss them already and can't wait for next season!

Visit Angie's Seven Clown Circus to see more Wordful Wednesday participants!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm Taking my first Reading Challenge!

First, I need to post the answers to the Truth or Lie? quiz that I took with the Unknowm Mami -- fun stuff! Three of the following are true, one is a lie. Keep reading and the lie is revealed at the end of the post!

1. I grabbed Mark McGrath's(Sugar Ray) ass.
2. Ralph Tresvant (New Edition) told me he loved me.
3. I partied with Madonna (yes, Madonna).
4. I was a regular on Wed. nights at the local gay bar.

Second, I entered my first ever reading challenge! It's called The Take A Chance Challenge and it's also Jenners' first time making one at Find Your Next Book Here. Since I'm kinda in a hurry (finally, beach!!!) I'm only copying and pasting the guidelines today . . . um, yeah . . . I DID have some of the books chosen already and written down . . . somewhere . . . I'm SURE the list will show up soon! Anway, here are the specifics of the Challenge. Please visit Find Your Next Book Here and check out the guidelines, sign up, and you may even win the $25 in books from (ugh)Amazon :::forces smile:::.

Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

Random Word. Go to a random word generator (link is there) and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

Birth Year Book. Find a book that was published or copyrighted in the year of your birth. Read the book and write about it.

Judge A Book By Its Cover. Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect.

Phoning An Author. Pick a random last name out of the phone book. Find an author with the same last name and read a book by them. Write about it. (I'm flexible ... if the first random name you pick is Xprxyrsss, you can pick again!)

Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2008 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

Lit Riff (inspired by the book Lit Riffs by Matthew Miele.) Choose a song and then write a brief story that is inspired by or further explains the lyrics of the song.

Poetic Review. Write a book review in three different forms of verse: haiku, limerick and free verse. (You can pick any book you want to write about.)

Movie/Book Comparison. Find a book that you haven't read that has a movie based on it that you haven't seen. Read the book and watch the movie within a few days of each other. Write about your reactions to both the book and the movie and compare the two.

I have already begun the last one, I'm reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. The movie is coming out soon, can't wait to see it! Happy Reading!

answers to Truth or Lie?
The lie? #3, I've never partied with Madonna . . . in real life. Curious about the Truths? Well, I did have a chance to give Mark a nice Wink-Wink at a concert, he nearly fell of the wall he was standing on! At my first concert I was sitting in the 3rd row singing, dancing, and screaming for New Edition. As Ralph began to sing "Lost in Love" I screamed out, "I LOVE YOU RALPH!" He smiled, and looked right at me (I SWEAR!) and said, "I love you, too." And, yes to #4, I went for 80's night and cheap beer, really!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Manic Monday

Here are some new releases for Tuesday, July 14, 2009. Happy Reading!

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner (hardcover) chick-lit; small town secrets; Illinois (sounds like Weiner adds some drama to this one!)

Last Light over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe (hardcover) women's fiction; South Carolina; shrimping industry; marital relationships

Sweet Mary by Liz Balmaseda (hardcover) romantic suspense; Miami; drug cartel

Non-Fiction of Interest
Tattoo Machine by Jeff Johnson (hardcover) memoir; Portland; tattoo-shops (not for the light hearted!)

Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers by Bridge Brennan (hardcover) business; marketing to women (probably not good for the beach! Leave work at home, but seemed note-worthy for mom-preneurs)

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich (hardcover) social networking; pop culture (oooo! Can't wait to read this! From the back cover: The great irony is that while Facebook succeeded by bringing people together, its very success tore two best friends apart.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Frank!

On this day, 40 years ago, my husband Frank was born. For a glorious 17 days he is "older" than me! Because is Frank is a factual kind of guy, I'm going to share a few that I know about him.

Fact: I have lived with him LONGER than anyone else on this earth.
I met Frank when I was 17 years old. And let me tell you, I was smitten from the get go! He had this confidence about him that totally hooked me--totally. He has great genes (thanks, Mom & Pop!) and is very youthful looking. I remember when I was first introduced to him, I kept thinking, PLEASE let him be my age! Turns out, he is exactly 17 days older than me. Lucky me!

Fact: Frank's loyalty factor is outta this world.
In our years together, friends have come and gone--acquaintances, really. But one thing that is true of the friends that have remained is their loyalty for each other and dedication to their friendship. Frank will do whatever his buddies ask. With no brothers to call his own, Frank has made these men his brothers: Joe, Cisco, Chris, Brett, Paul G., Paul B., Randy, and Aurelio. You all hold a special place in my husband's life ....Thank you.

Fact: His kids are his life.
People that know us think that I am Frank's reason for living (okay, you got me, I made that up!). Frank wakes up at 4:15 am to begin his day. He reports to work at 6, where he is in charge of running a multi-million dollar wastewater facility, on-call, 24-7. He does not get paid overtime (very sore point with me, can you tell?). He is "at work" for 10 hours, Tues - Fri. He gets home after 5 and rushes off to whichever practice he needs to be at, whether it be baseball, basketball, softball, and soon football (soccer, too, when Frankie was too young to play football -- he tries to suppress the soccer memories, LOL!). Frank has been coaching for 13 years, NON-STOP. He knows that very soon, our kids will have lives of their own -- as they should -- and time passes way to quickly. He's doing his time now, and I can honestly say, he enjoys it! (but don't tell the kids that, they think he is the "mean" coach!)

Fact: He puts up with way too much of my b.s.!
Okay, I'm a little spoiled, so sue me! Seriously, I DO NOT know what I have done to make this man love me so deeply, honestly, and fully. I question every day how in the heck I got so lucky. Sure, we basically grew up together, we are best friends, we know the most intimate details of each other -- but still -- I wonder. It's as if he's wearing permanent rose-colored glasses! Yes, he treats me like a Queen, and sometimes I am overwhelmed, but I accept his love and pray that I don't screw up -- again.

Fact: I love him.
No words can describe my feelings for my husband. No person knows the roads we have traveled, the obstacles we've overcome or the tragedies we've endured. I can honestly say that having him by my side has helped ME reach (almost) 40 myself. I look forward to our next birthday month and the countless days of love, laughter, and friendship that will surely come our way.

I love you, Frank Jude Garza. Happy Birthday!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beachy Stuff

I love Martha Stewart. In another world, at another time, in another place . . . I could be her! Last year I was on a roll, making aprons left and right, homemade fudge packed in ribbon laced mason jars, the BEST macaroni and cheese you've ever had -- Frank began calling me "Martha Garza." Sure, she's a little over the top sometimes, like, where do I go to get duck breast? I can bet they do NOT have it at my Stater Bros! I can also bet my kids wouldn't eat it! (don't think I would either, come to think of it . . . )

Anyhoo, sometimes I just love to go over to her website and browse around. Recently, I found some easy handbag designs. However, after reading comments submitted, I have been "scured" to try any designs (fabric cost $$$, ya know!). Have you noticed how limited and short each direction is? I need pictures! Even here on the web, why can't Martha's staff put some photos in with the directions? I regularly visit some crafty bloggers and let me tell you, their tutorials are WAY easier to follow than some of Martha's stuff! I just have to share this design from Made by Rae for a Buttercup Bag (link is on the left side of her blog). It is the cutest thing ever! Still a novice, I'd need to take a class (LOL!) to sharpen up my skills.

If I make the Buttercup Handbag, I would take it with me to a beach side hangout like Mutt Lynch's. Or, I'd bring it along when we make our summer shopping trip to Jack's surf shop. How cute would it look with matching flip-flops? It does seem too small to carry even a small paperback, so it would definitely be a shopping trip only kind of bag. It looks just the right size for a wallet, cell phone, car keys, lip gloss and small notepad with pen -- shopping trip essentials! The BEST thing is, that other crafters have purchased Made by Rae's design and are selling them on Etsy! That means I don't even have to make it myself! Woo-hoo!

Well, enough of that. It's Friday, I need to clean up the house, do laundry (another big game tonight -- we lost yesterday --), pay bills (UGH!), run to the market that does not sell duck breast, and then maybe finish reading Debbie Macomber's Summer on Blossom Street (just can't get into it, sad 'cuz I usually love Debbie).

Book Lady

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Writer's Workshop--I survived!

I have chosen to write about Mama Kat's prompt #3: Describe a difficult moment that you survived.

On 4-1-01 I survived a major car accident. While in Las Vegas with friends, a woman ran a red light and broadsided us. I was sitting in the "way back" of our Expedition -- with no seat belt (another story). Upon impact, I was thrown into the side window, breaking it with my then-135lb-body and was partially ejected from the vehicle. I suffered a broken clavicle, partially collapsed lung, too many broken ribs to see or count, and numerous "minor" bumps and bruises. That night in the hospital, my husband picked red paint chips (from the other vehicle) out of my hair. Over the next few days, he used a borrowed set of tweezers to pull glass out of my back. I stayed in that shitty (another story!) hospital for 5 days. But, I survived.

The physical part was actually the "easiest" thing to overcome. At first, I was determined to get better FAST. I guess someone forgot to tell my body what my plan was! As my entire track-off time came and went and everyone else settled back into their own daily routines I was spending countless hours on my couch, staring at the tv and zoned out on medication. I began to feel the sadness overwhelming me. I felt like a freaking nuisance to my own family. I learned to not ask for things and Frank decided that he should make up my lunch every morning, wrap it in Saran wrap and leave it in the fridge. Eventually, I stopped eating even that. I had no appetite -- for living much less eating.

Then one day, it all changed. Frank came home and sat next to me on the couch. "How are you doing today?" his usual question. "The same," I mumbled. I had become accustomed to automatic responses and no eye contact, I didn't notice that he was holding one arm behind his back. In a second he whipped out his arm, opened up his hand, and right there in his palm sat the tiniest, cutest, most adorable puppy I had ever seen in my life! My eyes instantly came back to life and I rushed to take the little guy into my arms. I immediately snuggled him into my neck and began to cry. A puppy! For me! We fell in love instantly.

I named him Scooter and he became my motivation to get better and get my life back. I had to feed him, bathe him, potty train him and entertain him all day. Sure, we slept alot (side note to Steph: Ohmygod! Frank, he won't wake up! Is he breathing? Ohmygod! Do something! LOL) but having my own little "charge" jump started my recovery.

Scooter is 8 years old now and he's still my best little buddy. I'm still caring for him (right now we are battling his first ever encounter with FLEAS!!) and he's still protecting me (and sleeping). Sure, he's a funny and neurotic kind of guy, but look who his mama is! A lot changed in my life in the years following the accident, more heartache, stress, and tragedy (I ended up losing my teaching position and Darlene was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes). And on particularly rough days, I always had Scooter to come home to. He knows when I need a snuggle (even at 6lbs he still lies across my neck!) or when to distract me with his attention seeking behavior -- hey! look at me! I'm the one with FLEAS! Can you pay attention, puhleeze! Where would I be without him??? Love you, little guy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

My All-Star

In the first picture Frankie is putting up the tent for the all night "practice." (I KNOW!) The second picture shows me and Frankie after their first win last night (woo-hoo!). The last picture is of Frank and Frankie, coach and player together after a big win! Thanks to all the fans who came out to support us in our first tournament game. Our stands were overflowing with parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, and friends. (BTW, have I mentioned that I just LOVE baseball?) :D

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beach Dreamin'

It hasn't worked so far. I thought that having a blog about beach reading would mean lots of visits to the beach. To read. Not so. My son's athletic "career" is kinda taking all of our spare time at the moment. And I am NOT complaining. Watching my son on the field is my absolute favorite thing!

Baseball is still going on for us. He made the All-Star team (playing with Saundra's son, you know, The Italian Mamma!) and they have practice every day. Which is okay, they are dedicated boys and they really want to win at least one tournament! Frankie is basically an all around player. He prefers pitching or catching because he gets to have the ball on every play. Of course, he will gladly play wherever the coach puts him. That's one thing about my son that impresses every coach he plays for, he will do as asked, no questions asked. They always remark on how "coachable" he is, what a leader he can be and how passionate he is for the game. Although he will only be in 8th grade, he still agonizes over which sport he "likes" better, baseball or football. He cracks me up because he thinks he has to choose! My husband and I keep telling him, "You can play both!" When baseball is in season, that's his favorite! When football is in season, then that's his favorite! LOL!

Which brings me to football. Any moms have sons who play? EEEEK! Only last season I learned to stop holding my breath during every play. AND, I just found out one of the coaches asked him to play "up" in the Pee-Wee division. I was happy with him losing 3 pounds to stay down in the younger division, but no, my husband (and son) both want to move up. Great. In case you didn't know, Frankie is the center. However, he is NOT built like a center! He is fast and smart with the ball, that's why he plays the position. I am starting to get a leeetle bit nervous about this football season . . . I told him he better start working out and build up some MAJOR muscle. He just says, "I know mom, I know. I'll be fine." Ha!

Anyhoo, that's the basis of our family life right now. Baseball. Honestly, I'm enjoying every minute of it! :)

Little League Pledge
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always
Do my best.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Manic Monday

July 7, 2009 Release Date
Here are some interesting beach reads for July 7, 2009 release date. Purchase them at your nearest independent bookstore, please!

Black Hills by Nora Roberts (hardcover)

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (paperback)

Burn: A Novel by Linda Howard (hardcover)

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells (hardcover)

Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison (hardcover)

Pop Tart by Kira Coplin and Julianne Kaye (paperback)

The Husband Habit by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (hardcover)

What She Wants by Cathy Kelly (paperback/reprint)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Snip It Saturday

chasing harry winston
by Lauren Weisberger
Downtown Press
c2008 by Lauren Weisberger

Let me confess now. I did not know who Harry Winston was. While reading the book, I kept thinking, when in the heck are they going to talk about Harry Winston? One character casually referenced his name on page 55, Adrianna remarks, "Laugh if you must ... [b]ut there's nothing funny about a five-plus-carat round stone in a micropave setting from Harry Winston. Nothing at all." So, I'm thinking a guy named Harry Winston is going to give her a diamond ring, right? Nooooo, she means ANY guy (rich guy) is going to give her an engagement ring that he buys FROM Harry Winston. The jeweller. The most famous independent jeweller, ever. See how naive, innocent and poor I am?

Now that we have that out of the way . . . the book is about three best friends' quest to find love. They make very specific resolutions. Adrianna will become monogamous and engaged within the year. Emmy will become less inhibited and sleep with random men in foreign countries. And Leigh will . . . well, we really don't know what Leigh's game plan is, her life is perfect! She does have one teensy, tiny problem though. She is as neurotic as all get out! This character was the absolute reason I finished the book in a day and a half. She is hilarious! In this scene, Leigh has had her No Contact Monday invaded by her friends with an emergency; one of them just got dumped. Leigh was lounging in a sweat suit, watching TiVo'd Project Runway when the doorbell rings and in an instant her No Contact Monday is no more. After hearing about the disastrous scenario where her friend gets dumped, Adrianna turns to her as poses the following question:

"Leigh, querida, it's seventy-five degrees outside. Why are you dressed for the middle of winter?"
Leigh looked at her thick fleece pants and matching sweatshirt and shrugged.
"Do you not feel well? Are you cold."
"I don't know; it was just what was laying around. What does it matter?"
"It's not that it matters, it's just strange that someone so, how should I say it, temperature aware isn't positively melting right now."
Leigh wasn't about to admit that she was actually warm -- too warm -- but that there were extenuating circumstances. Adrianna might have asked, but she definitely didn't want to hear that Leigh swathed herself in clothing because she hated when the backs of her arms or thighs stuck to the leather couch. That of course she'd prefer to sit around in a pair of boxers and a tank top, but the skin-on-leather stickiness -- not to mention the annoying ripping noises every time she shifted position -- made this impossible. Leigh knew they would think her crazy if she explained that she'd actually already worn all of her lightweight, full-length pajama pants (and even all of her yoga pants) and that because she preferred to wear them without underwear, they were really only single-use pants and ended up int the wash pretty quickly. So she was really wearing the fleece sweat suit only because it was the single clean option in her closet that was capable of protecting her from the dreaded leather couch, which both her mother and Emmy had insisted would be the right choice even though Leigh had really wanted the modern fabric one that wouldn't have felt like sitting in a vat of rubber cement all the time. Not to even mention that fact that in a few short months (six) it would be winter, and she'd still have to dress like an Eskimo because regardless of how toasty warm she kept the apartment, the couch would feel like ice against her bare skin instead of snuggly and soft like the MicroSuede one everyone else had vetoed. No, it would be better to just leave well enough alone.

Poor Leigh! Throughout the whole novel she attempts to just "leave well enough alone" and ends up nervous, anxious and on the verge of a full blown panic attack! Sorry if you find it odd that I consider this hilarious! I just do. :)

I would recommend this book to women who: find humor in neurosis; are not easily offended by the f-word (does not happen too often, but it's there); can handle one of the characters decision to "whore around"; like stories about the "fear" of turning thirty and still being single (gasp!). Happy Reading!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Beach Fashion

We all need eye protection when at the beach. Living in Southern California means you need sunglasses all the time! (See, there is a reason we wear sunglasses all the time, not because we are snobby!) People with sensitive eyes should always wear eye protection around here. I am in desperate need of a new pair, seeing as I LOST mine about a month ago. I had the cutest pair of Versace! I'm still hoping they are not lost, but only "misplaced" -- as in, I just haven't found the place they are hiding from me! Maybe in one of my countless purses or bags? Anyhoo, while browsing for a new pair, I found this closeout online store -- HiSunglasses-- that specializes in name brand sunglasses. The pair I picked out are the Diesel brand you see pictured here. No, I haven't bought them yet . . . I just like looking at them.

Which brings back memories of catalog-wish-list-making when I was a kid. Apparently, I never grew out of it because I still do it today -- only with online shopping and new magazines. Whenever I browse my House Beautiful magazine, I "pretend" that I get to choose ONE thing on the page, what will it be? (BTW, my cousins and I invented this game years ago when the new JC Penney catalog came in the mail! And God forbid if we chose the same item! A serious argument would develop, "I saw it first!")

Love to make your own wish lists -- material things or life wishes? Then you MUST read Debbie Macomber's Twenty Wishes. It's the fourth in the Shop on Blossom Street series. I have book five, Summer on Blossom Street on my waiting to read shelf. Happy Reading, toodles!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Welcome to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Every week she gives us different prompts to jump start are creative-selves. Visit her to find more lovely ladies joining in!

This week I chose prompt #3: I'll be happy when __________.

I actually have been thinking hard on this one and even began the draft yesterday. Here's a glimpse of my neurotic self talking in my head:

Okay, if I fill in the blank I am essentially admitting that I am NOT happy. But, I AM happy. But, I guess some things in my life would make me happier . . . kind of like an instant gratification-happy, not the long-term happy that I feel "almost" daily. Uh-oh, I just put almost in quotes, I've admitted to not being happy!!!.

So, yeah, see why this is difficult for me? Anyway, it brought me to my answer, I will be happy when I can write book reviews without beating myself up. I have been invited on several occasions to write reviews for our little weekly newspaper here in town, but I can't do it! I read reviews from the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, and think, "Wow. That's a review." (Yes, I actually compared our small-town paper to the New York Times!!LOL!!) So what if they are actual writers getting PAID to do it, I should be able to sound like I know what I'm talking about, right? (And, I compared myself to a reviewer from the New York Times! LMAO!!!)

I feel like I need a class on how to write good book reviews. Taking a "class" is my answer to everything, in case you didn't know. For goodness sake, I've taken enough of them just to become a Highly Qualified Teacher for the State of California. I know there MUST be a book on how to write the most awesome, readable, enjoyable, error-free book review. Believe me, there's a book about everything! Ask my daughter, she worked at the USC depository shelving tons of obscure stuff -- hey mom, have you ever read Lewis Clark's Field Guide to Wildflowers of Field and Slope in the Pacific Northwest?

Obviously, it's time I pay our fabulous librarian, Erin, a visit -- BTW, half off your fine debt the entire month of July! But, ah, I digress. Anyhoo, that's all I have to say about that. I'll be happy when I can stop being my own worst critic.

Wordful Wednesday

A New Baby!!!

Olivia Rose was born on Monday, June 29, 2009. In the first picture you see she is being held by long-time friend, Sally. The second photo shows Tina and Olivia. In the third picture you see my oldest daughter, Darlene, admiring the newborn. We are so excited to welcome Olivia Rose into our family of friends. We have been best friends with parents, Joe and Velma, for many, many years. Congratulations to the new parents and may God bring you many blessings with your brand new, beautiful baby girl, we love you!!!