28 April 2009

Roommates Wanted BY Lisa Jewell

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I debated on whether this book was to get 2 or 3 stars. Finally decided on 3 stars because I did like the storyline. What I didn't like was the swearing, excessive use of certain words and the talk about porn and sex. Not the normal descriptive stuff, but the talk of how much certain characters participated in these activities. Anyway, enough of the negative, I am one who almost always has to finish the book once I get started.

The main storyline in this book is about a guy named Toby. Toby's story starts out with his father not really putting much love or stock in him. Toby does manage to move on naturally through life, getting married and such. When he is about to get married, his dad buys and gives him a house to start his new life. At the same time, his dad takes off to Africa to start a new chapter in his life. This house is about the only good things his dad seems to have done for him. Then, Toby's wife leaves after a matter of weeks. Left to himself, he places an "advert" for roommates. He receives such response and ends up with a house full of 'mates' that change over the years, except for one, Ruby. Fast forward 15 yrs later and life events turns his life upside down. He meets Leah, his neighbor from across the street and begins a transformation that each of us, at some point, must go through...growing up and taking responsibility for ourselves regardless of our upbringing and parents and everything before!

I really liked this story, as the Toby is about the same as myself and most of my circle of friends. I could really feel some of the same struggles and confusions on where to go next in life as Toby and other characters in this story. Once I chose to look past the language, especially, which I still view as unnecessary, this turned out to be a good book. I am glad I read it...thank you Reader's Choice! Although, I do not plan on reading any of Lisa Jewells other books, now that I know her style and such.

As for quotes:
pg 42: "He's taken ninety-seven years of life to the grave with him. All those experiences, all those emotions. People he loved, places he's seen - gone. I wish I'd talked to him more. Wish I'd let him pass on his stories to me. I could have kept them for him. You know." As a genealogist, I loved this statement, how often we wait until it is too late and then wished we had done something more. My advice, DON'T WAIT, if they don't want to talk, that is their choice, but make sure they know they have the option by asking questions!

pg 217: "I am eminently disturbable, I can assure you. Any excuse to get away from my computer. The two of us spend far too much time together as it is." 'nuff said

pg 337: "Real love, it doesn't just pop up when it's convenient, you know? It doesn't just turn up and fit in with everything. Real love is a pain in the arse. You have to make compromises for it." good advice, imo

pg 350-351: "There were no 'mistakes' in life - just a series of random decisions that led to a series of random outcomes, good and bad." This is so very true, every decision we make has a consequence, whether it is good or bad, immediate or eternal, all choices we make have consequences we must experience.

pg 368: "Because, you know, love's not always convenient, is it? Sometimes it's just a pain in the arse. But if you don't try, then you don't know. And I want to try. And I want to know. Because otherwise I'll spend the rest of my life wondering what happened..." I know this is a repeat of sorts, but I think it is very true in a lot of things, not just love. We have to try and find out what happens, no regrets!

pg 444: "I've spent my entire life letting the world wash over me. But not any more. It's my turn now." EXACTLY!

18 April 2009

The State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first grabbed several of the Salt Lake County Library Systems Readers Choice selections, this was the one I was most excited about reading...

Given recent events in our nations history, I am a bit intrigued to read things about the White House. I loved the detail regarding all things White House, the protocols. So many of us don't realize just how much becoming part of the White House, in any manner, changes the way things are done in our lives! From our personal relationships to the protocols of office politics...but Ollie manages it all well in this fun novel.

The book starts out with our aspiring firecracker chef, Ollie, who stumbles into a situation that is about to change her life, most likely for good. She helps stops a 'loony' running around the White House grounds. Thinking she is helping out the Secret Service, she clunks the loony in the head with a frying pan. As we follow her story along, we find out more about just how things work in Washington and the White House itself. I found this part of the storyline very interesting. I mean, we have news stories all the time that come out from our nations capitol. How much of these stories are reality? In this day, we really have to look in ourselves and rely on our own instincts to decide for ourselves what we will believe. Ok, off the soapbox and back to the story...

We follow Ollie through her life, during the next few weeks, as she deals with being thrown into the path of The Chameleon, the most successful assassin ever! As well as dealing with new White House staff (who, come on, no reader really believes is the villian...that would be TOO easy)...yes, I really did just give a hint towards the storyline, WOW! Anyway, Ollie also has to worry about her competition for the Executive Chef position that is about to be open at the White House kitchen. Will her involvement with the Chameleon leave her out of work? Or even without a boyfriend, who is a Secret Service agent? As we continuing reading, we learn about the functions of the White House kitchen. I found this part of the storyline to be quite interesting. What the kitchen staff has to go through just to prepare for any meal in that house is quite the feat. All the details from how they get the food itself to making sure all attendees needs are met...allergies, likes/dislikes, etc! WOW, some moms have a hard time with this in their own homes with a handful of people...imagine managing this stuff for events that have worldwide affects! This is a job I do NOT want, but, with all the above in mind, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in this series. If you love food or love a good mystery, this book is for you....bon appetit!

Almost forgot, of course, there are a few quotes. I will note, now, that most of these are a bit cliche, but they served as a reminder to me of things going on, not just in my life, but in the nation right now...

pg 120: "...if that's what you believe, then that's exactly what will happen. If you give up, then she wins. With no effort." I needed this good reminder right now. We have to put forth our absolute best effort and work for what we want! MAKE IT HAPPEN!

pg 121: "Nothing's impossible with the right attitude." Now, while in this part of the book, this statement is reference to a seating chart for an upcoming dinner at the White House...it serves as a great reminder, like above, that we make our own attitude and our attitude makes a lot of what becomes us!

pg 148: "Sometimes all we can do is our best, and we have to hope that's good enough." I think, especially with the above, that this statement speaks for itself.

pg 265: well, for this one, it is way too long to justify putting it on here...but, for this one page alone, I encourage everyone to read it...reminds us of patriotism. We should be proud of whatever heritage brought us to this land of freedom. We should be grateful that we have such freedoms. We should remember all this and work to make things even better for those to come...

11 April 2009

Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery BY Rosemary Harris

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really liked this book! In the library a month or so ago, I saw the display for the Reader's Choice books. I have heard a lot of about this 'program' over the years, but never really knew exactly how it worked. I grabbed the list and as many of the books they had copies of on the display. In other visits to this same branch, I've grabbed even more books from the display. My mom has read 2 and is on her third. I had to finish reading Inkheart, so this is my first Reader's Choice book.

I chose this one first because it was a mystery and I couldn't wait to read it, it has been awhile since I read a good mystery. Pushing Up Daisies did NOT disappoint, the mysteries kept on coming and just when you thought you had one figured out, there was a twist or a new mystery added to the storyline! I love the main character, Paula Holliday, who picked up and moved to a new place and started over in a new career...even though, if threw her into the middle of some town secrets! I absolutely loved the mexican characters and the take different people viewed them with...from loving them and fully accepting them for who they are to the racist assumption they know nothing and are only good for labor no one else wants to do! Those who really know me, know this can be a sore spot for me, I really hate prejudice and racism! Stereotyping is a horrible practice! And who wouldn't love a cop nicknamed MOM...

I haven't read as much mystery as I like because I do tend to spook rather easy. I was pleased that this one kept the spookiness to a minimum and just continued to dig through to the solutions of the mysteries! I am usually pretty good at figuring mysteries out before they solutions are revealed, but this one kept me guessing and I like that, a lot!

Of course I have quotes, but only a few this time:

pg 74: "You're having a turkey sandwich for breakfast?" Lucy asked. "It's not for breakfast, it's brunch. And it's never too early for turkey. It's one of God's perfect foods" My sentiments exactly! My sister and mom surprised me with a TBA sandwish from Kneaders a few days ago and I absolutely am addicted...turkey, bacon, avocado...what's not to love?!

pg 75: "IF CON IS THE OPPOSITE OF PRO, IS CONGRESS THE OPPOSITE OF PROGRESS?" I know this is an old saying, but given many people's extra difficulties with the government of late, I found it most interesting to read in this book. Just food for thought...

pg 145: "And he's apologizing for his weight, which means he's somewhat interested." pish posh....you know who you are...the reason this caught my attention and why I had to include it in my quotes here!

10 April 2009

MY Steve's birthday....

...yes, Steve is a too common name, thus the necessity to differentiate between our Steves...we have 3 alone in just his immediate family group! But I digress...

Last Saturday (4 Apr) was Steve's birthday and so we headed to Midway to spend the night at the Zermatt Resort. This is a fancy schmancy 4 star resort that is nestled in this small community in the Utah mountains. Where to start....it was a good weekend, overall…

We got up there, got checked in and went exploring. I wanted to find the steakhouse so I could see the prices on the menu...the menu is online, but no prices, so I was expecting the worst. We basically had no money (beyond the ITEX certificates we were using)....but had to eat...we had looked at the bistro menu as we started to explore and decided that if the steakhouse was too much, we'd cancel our reservation and eat at the bistro. We went all around the building we were in and the one next to us...found the pool (nice indoor/outdoor with waterfall hot tub), the spa and the wellness center (mostly a fitness center, very nice, though!)...We found the conference center (there was a national women MBA leadership something or other going on, I thought that was interesting, but didn't get the chance to visit with any of the women, but did get to observe a few while we were there)…oh and a wedding, too. While in the Conference Center, we popped into the business center and used the computers for a few minutes, literally, I was very pleased that he was also pretty much ready to continue exploring when I said I was done with the one thing I needed to do online. We found the gift shop, the bakery/deli and finally the steakhouse, which was outrageously expensive, as expected. Here is the website for the resort itself http://www.zermattresort.com/site/index.html, on there you can view the priceless menu, if you like, http://www.zermattresort.com/site/zermatt-resort/dining/Menus/Schneitter …the salad at the very very bottom was about $30! I guess, overall, it was about what a steakhouse would be...but with only a $20 cert and really no money, it was way too much for us, this trip...they did have a prime rib buffet for $24.95/person BUT nothing on the menu really stuck out for me, so I wasn't really excited about it and didn't have my heart set on eating there.... and so I left the choice up to Steve as it was HIS birthday!

He chose to eat at the bistro, where I enjoyed a very delicious club sandwich on a croissant and he had a very good buffalo burger. We drank water and enjoyed the food and atmosphere and such...it was nice, I think we both liked it a lot! We headed back to the room, but then I realized they hadn't done the complimentary turndown service and I didn't want to be there when they came, so I told Steve (who had no idea we were having the turndown service...I wanted him to feel/see the fanciness in hopes that he will somehow get the idea that we deserves such things) that I wanted to go hang out upstairs for about an hour. Upstairs was a private club/lounge place...they had a pool table and tables setup to play checkers/chess and even backgammon... except that they only had pieces to play chess. I wanted checkers but oh well...SSSSSSOOOOOOOOO, Steve taught me how to play chess!!! Now, I had a friend in junior high try to teach me, but I don't think I cared enough to really learn and I didn't think I really cared now, except that I've sorta wanted to for awhile now because Steve LOVES chess, he has a really nice set or two! Anyone out there up for the challenge of whuppin’ him at chess…let me know, k?! I love you dear, but I think it may be awhile before I can actually beat you at this game! Although, it somehow clicked, I think he did a great job teaching me in just a few minutes and we played 2 games... he won both, but I gave him a run for his money in that both games lasted a long time, he said he was impressed! It was fun!

We went back to the room, watched a bit of tv, after the news we went back to the bistro for dessert. He chose to each get a piece of cake instead of share one piece and he ended up getting his $7 piece free because I told the gal it was his birthday! I love when that happens! They even gave us the choice of milk...skim, 1%, 2%....and had refills on it, too!! At $4/glass, the free refill made us happy! After that, Steve felt a bit icky and we were both tired, so we went to bed, he watched more tv and I watched a bit while reading a bit...then we both fell asleep....We were going to try hitting the pool, but didn't get up early enough...checkout was 11, but I had them give us until noon so I could watch all of morning conference, which I did and I will be blogging on conference talks throughout this next week.

We checked out, went straight to Nephi so I could take Steve to JC Mickelsons (see my blog below, posted last weekend, about MY birthday weekend). Then went to Lynndyl and watched for trains....I mostly read and we talked a tiny bit. It was a nice quiet time from our hectic noisy lives! As we first started to leave Lynndyl, I saw a horse that caught my eye and I thought was pretty, so I was going to take a pic…by the time he backed up and I grabbed the camera, the other (darker) horse got jealous and had to come join the fun and the spotlight, LOL!

From Lynndyl, we then went to his mom's in Nephi and hung there for a couple hours and then came home. It was a lot to do in just about 36 hours, but it was worth it and fun! I am glad he had fun and loved JC Mickelsons, as I knew he would! He took tons of pics and hopefully he will post some of them, at least, on his blog (http://sjbinut.blogspot.com/). This is one of the very very few pics I have taken with his camera and I told him that I got to put this one on my blog:

Happy Birthday, my love....hope you really did enjoy it as much as I did!!!

04 April 2009

It's MY Birthday...well, ok, it WAS....

Last weekend was my 38th birthday. I decided to spend it in Mesquite/Las Vegas Nevada! My mom, her friend and I left immediately after Bunco friday night. We got to Mesquite in time to get about 2 hours sleep and headed in to Las Vegas for ALL day saturday. We casino hopped so I could play Bingo and get a bunch of different birthday freebies...silly, I know, but it was way fun. This is my favorite freebie of the day......they were giving these out two years ago, but I was not able to get one for me, although I had gotten one for my sister for her birthday and one for my mom for her birthday! Mom played a little bingo and spent a little time with her friend. We ate dinner at Terrible's casino, Bougainvillea Café and Rotisserie, to be more specific. I enjoyed lemon chicken. We finished the night at the Eastside Cannery, where some nice women took a pic of the three of us...just before we finally headed back to Mesquite for the night....

Sunday, we decided to head back in to Las Vegas for a few hours as Judy, my mom's friend had some slot play left at Arizona Joes...er, Bob's...er, Charlies, ya, that's it....In our trip to Mesquite/Las Vegas a month ago, we found out about the free pics with $1,000,000 at Binions. (This promotion is going until the end of May 2009) I was very interested in this, to add to my visualization board and whatever you want to call my collection of "pics with well-knowns". We each had our pic taken individually, but I was not able to scan my mom's friends pic, but here our ours...

Before heading into Las Vegas for the day, I just had to eat at my favorite restaurant in Mesquite, Panda Garden....yummy Lemon Chicken....YAY! Mom had me take this pic with her camera just outside of there....

Monday, we spent hanging out at Virgin River and Eureka in Mesquite. I played Bingo most of the day. Mom and Judy played a little Bingo, slots and drove around Mesquite, a little. Mom took Judy and showed her the neighborhood I would love to live in, IF we ever ended up living back in Mesquite. I can never remember the name of the neighborhood, but it is right next to the Reber's property. Not only is Bishop Reber the absolute best Bishop I have ever known, their entire family are wonderful examples of being true Christians! We love and miss them all tons!

Tuesday, at long last, it was time to go home...we took our time getting out of Mesquite, stopping in Beaver Dam at the Dam store (next to the Dam bar and Dam Deli and going through the Dam door...you get the idea) to get some AZ lotto tickets and show Judy this "part time tourist trap". We then stopped in Bloomington, just outside St George, at my Uncle Leo's house. He was off to work at the Temple, but we had a pleasant visit with his wife, Aunt Daisy and a hilarious trip down memory lane with my cousin, Les....we continued on our trip, making the usual pit stop/fuel fillup in Fillmore. Then decided to eat at JC Mickelsons (http://www.jcmick.com/) in Nephi. As many of you know, this is a landmark business in the Nephi area. It has moved its location, but has remained a great place to eat. Judy ordered the chili, saying that it was okay as it was from a can. My mom ordered the popcorn shrimp and enjoyed it very much, it was delicious...even as leftovers, Steve said they were "alright". I ordered the BLT and loved it. We walked in and were instantly amazed and such by their newest addition, finding out that they had just reopened the day before our visit. We were lucky to be able to eat there, as we got there right at closing time. They were playing with their new toy and gladly served us. The service was good and I would recommend everyone go to JC Mickelsons for this special treat, good food and great service.....oh, ya, I waited until now to post this because I plan on surprising Steve with a visit there this weekend (his birthday) and didn't want him to figure out the newest addition, pics below...BUT once I take him there, his pics will be wonderful, mine with my fuzzy cell phone camera could never do much of this justice!

03 April 2009

the myspace.com handbook

the myspace.com handbook: the complete guide for members and parents BY T. Brian Chatfield rating: 2 of 5 stars
I saw this book on display at a local library and thought it was interesting that someone would take the time to put such a book together, so I picked it up! I have been a myspace user for a few years now and do still check it about once a day, when I am on the computer. I did not read this book cover to cover, but rather skimmed it page by page looking for parts/sections that would interest me. There was not a whole lot of sections I read through. The best thing about this book is found on pg 100-104, a list of "Common Abbreviated Symbols and Emoticons" followed by "1337 Speech" and "Acronyms and Other Phrases". Or, in other words, shortcuts used in communicating on myspace or chat or even texts, now. The one I find the most amusing as misused is LOL. Which stands for Laugh Out Loud, but those new to the internet, especially get confused and think it is Lots Of Love! Anyway, I guess this book can be for those who think that myspace is the end all of social networking or for the parents of those possibly addicted to myspace. As for me, I do my momentary check on the days I am actually on the computer, but my favorite social networking site, especially for those around my age, is currently Facebook! So, come, join the information superhighway of networking and lets all be friends!