Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whirling Wednesday

Sorry for the blog silence.

Soon after returning from our vacation I found out I'd run out of image space here on the ol' blog. I did a quick sweep and deleted duplicates, old headers, etc. but am still dangerously close to the free storage max. I'm left with a challenge.
  • Do I delete the images from the older posts, say from 2007 through 2009?
  • Do I pull the images, re-size them smaller, and re-post?
  • Do I bite the bullet and PAY for extra storage?
  • Do I call it a good run and wrap the blog up?
I suspect, whichever way I go, things will be very quiet around here until after school starts again when I'll actually have time to tweak things.

Speaking of school...

The school supplies have been bought with the exception of new backpacks. Hair cuts are on tap for this weekend. I need to do a final inventory to make sure everyone has appropriate clothing (3 of the 4 have to wear 'standard attire') and fill any gaps.

Then we have Back to School Day for Cam at middle school so he can get his locker assignment and class schedule. Seventh's hard to believe.

The following day is a parent only Kinder orientation for Robbie. My baby :whine: Can I just say this is completely bittersweet? I'm excited for him and this next stage but he's the last one to head off to school. A part of me is looking forward to the 3 hours of quiet I'll have each afternoon yet I think that's going to wear off sooner than I expect, LOL

Finally, we'll have the general orientation at the elementary school for all 3 boys to meet their teachers, drop off supplies, and all that fun stuff.

And Monday, August 29th, school is back in session :throws confetti:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Road Home

The road home from our annual vacation to see family in Oregon was paved in hell, LOL

We were cruising along, making decent time, when Mark noticed a noise. He didn't even have time to identify it before this...

He was able to get us safely to the side of the road. Thankfully, no one was hurt and no accidents occurred.

Loaded for the trip home, getting to our jack was not easy, LOL. Because we have just the standard factory jack we figured we'd have to unload the majority of the van to use it safely thus elected to call on AAA. The rain helped decide it :)

Waiting for AAA to show up...

Then the decision: continue on to the next city and hope we can find a tire store open or turn around and hope to find a tire store open at the previous city.

Did I forget to mention it was Sunday afternoon when this happened? Sorry.

We continued on figuring worst case scenario we'd have better luck finding a hotel for the night. We squeaked in by the skin of our emergency spare tire -- why don't they put full-sized spares on vehicles anymore? -- into the Eugene Sears service bay 15 minutes to closing. (Huge shout out of thanks guys in Sears Automotive! You saved our bacon.)

Trying not to completely waste the stop we went to dinner. All this put us 3 hours behind schedule and we ended up driving through Death Valley in the heat of the day.

Did I mention we were loaded down? We had to turn off the A/C a couple times while driving through Death Valley to make sure the poor van didn't over heat. (Yeah, that would have been the icing on the cake of the trip.)

After four years of making this trip I guess we were due but boy was this the neverending trip.

We had a challenge on the way up too, you can read about that here, but that one ended up being kinda cool :)

What trip from hell have you experienced?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me Time

While on vacation, I made sure to get me time. (Don't worry. Mark got some guy time and long overdue family time with his parents.)
  • It came in the form of dinner and a movie with BFF.
  • Getting a pedicure with Debbie...a long overdue pedi! Is it my imagination or is this color the same as my avatar? Oh well, the pedicures were a few years apart.
  • Going to the Highland Games. Of course one of the best parts of going to the games was spending time with Debbie and Helena!
While at the games, niece Helena, found this shop and bought one of these hair do-dads. Is this not gorgeous? Yeah, I was whining about my lost hair. I've got the business card :) and a reason to grow out my hair again, LOL

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: The Devil to Pay

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and bad tequila. Shannon McKee finds herself at the end of her rope, and she offers her soul to whoever can save her first.

Unfortunately, she sends that request to both agencies. Shannon’s plea is answered immediately by two men who couldn’t be more different from one another. Yet they share a bond and an affection for the stubborn Miss McKee that even they don’t understand.

When Heaven and Hell demand their payment, Shannon has no choice but to submit. No matter who gets her soul, she’s not getting out of this alive.
My lovely friend Maria Zannini sent me a copy of her new book, The Devil To Pay. Thank you! (She didn't ask me to pimp review it.)

This is Maria's first foray into indie publishing and I think she nailed it with a great cover, clean editing and formatting, and her usual amazing storytelling. The Devil to Pay is the first book in her Second Chances series.

At novella length (about 55 pages) there wasn't an overwhelming amount of world-building, just enough to ground the reader in the story, but what there was Maria peppered throughout the narrative and made every word work for its space in the story. Amazing characters but because this is the start of a series we don't learn everything about them.

We're pulled into the story by a situation I think most of us can relate to in this economy and we care about Shannon, worry about how she's going to get out of her predicament. Delicious hero number one walks in. Just when you think maybe Shannon has an answer...well, then it gets complicated :)

The story came to a conclusion, all the questions for THAT plot were dealt with, and the series was nicely set up. Still, I was left a bit disappointed in the ending. I can't completely put my finger on it. Perhaps it is that the romance wasn't resolved. But I have faith in the story and trust Maria. After all, this is the set-up of a series, and oh, there are so many ways things can go!

As a self-published series, I'm crossing fingers the wait won't be long between releases. What are you waiting for? Go pick up your copy of The Devil to Pay today :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Reading Summary

Total number of books read: 10 (I'm actually surprised I got through that many this month as I slacked quite a bit in July.)

Monthly reading goals:

  1. 1 new-to-me author each month -- Stacey Kennedy
  2. 4 genres/sub-genres each month (I'm adding to that at least one book a month must be non-fiction and/or writing related.) -- Non-fiction (No More Blank Screen: Blogging Ideas for Fiction Authors by Krista D Ball), Romance (Indian Moon by Carolyn McCray), M/M Romance (Conquest by SJ Frost), Steampunk (The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Catherine Bell), Paranormal Romance (Stolen Dreams (The Lingering Spirit) by Stacey Kennedy),
  3. Alternate male and female authors (I will say at least one male author per month.) -- didn't happen this month
  4. Write a note to 1 author each month -- hasn't happened yet but will

Friday, July 29, 2011

Heavy Athletics

Is there anything more delicious than a man in a kilt?

Not in my book :grin:
Kilt, n. - a costume sometimes worn by Scotsmen in America and Americans in Scotland. ~ Ambrose Bierce
The Portland Stone -- okay this event is unique to the Portland Highland Games. These guys are "tossing" a 96 pound stone over 9 feet. Now, that would be like me, well maybe Mark, tossing Cam!

This was actually the judge of the competition proving he still has it!

Caber Toss -- the tossing of a telephone pole, LOL. The Caber is 19-20 feet long and weighs about 150 pounds. The goal is to toss it so the Caber pivots on its top and to fall in a straight line from the athlete in the 12 o'clock position.

I remember the time I took a friend to the games, we were at one end of a football field and the Caber finalists were at the other end -- she was worried that we'd get hit, LOL. It's a telephone pole, it won't go far!

Weight for Height -- this is like the high jump but with a 56 pound weight. The athlete gets three chances to clear the bar. If successful her can move on to the next height.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Highland Dancing

There's a wee part of me that wishes my parents had encouraged Debbie and I to take up dancing -- not the bit of ballet I have vague memories of but the highland stuff -- but in their defense there may not have been anything in the Bay Area where we grew up. One of my cousins took the highland dance and demonstrated at one or more of our reunions. Sigh.

And Coquitlam, BC must have one hell of a dance studio because the majority of the winners were out of Coquitlam. Wonder if that's where my cousin went?

During one of the competitions we saw...

Is this little sweetheart not the cutest thing you've ever seen? She was mimicking the dancers...doing a pretty good job of it too!

I just wish I could have gotten in behind her so I could take a picture with her in the foreground and the competitive dancers on the stage in the background. It would have been the coolest picture.