Monday, December 21, 2015

#Booktags Bloghop with Toi Thomas, Dec. 2015

Today I'm participating in the monthly blog hop #BooktagsBloghop with Toi Thomas , a great place to discuss what you're reading and/or writing. Feel free to hop along, Cassidy.

I went wild on Cyber Monday with Kindle books. Me and Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews was just too intriguing to pass up. It's about a kid named Greg who's brilliant idea of surviving the shark tank of high school is to be friendly to all, friend to none. This works out smashingly until his mom arm twists him into being friends with cancer-stricken Rachel.

It may sound like a sapfest along the lines of The Fault In Our Stars, but you'd never know it from the text. Here's an excerpt from when Greg first calls Rachel's house. Her mom answers and tells Greg that Rachel is in her room.

In her room, just waiting around. Waiting for me? Or for death? My God, that's bleak, I tried to put a positive spin on it.

"Livin' it up," I said.

This was the second brain-punchingly insensitive thing I had said in about thirty seconds, and again I considered closing my cell phone and eating it.

Until the end, the book reads like a farce, as if the Greg from the Wimpy Kid Series got to high school, kicked Rowly to the curb, and replaced him with film-making cohort Earl, whose every other word is an expletive. If you find excessive use of the f-word offensive then steer clear, but if not, this story was hilarious and devastating at the same time. And surprise (to me)! The movie came out last June. Well, neato mosquito. I really should get out from under my rock more often.

Have you read this one? Seen the movie? Big fan of John Green and/or The Fault In Our Stars?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Joy Bloghop

This blog hop is brought to you by Liz's Random Ponderings. Let's see, what brings me joy at Christmas?

1. Getting the tree.

When I was a kid, we had a fake tree, but I loved it anyway. My husband, on the other hand, would traipse out to the woods with his family, cut down an actual tree, and chop off the top of it to drag back. These days, we compromise, traipsing about the local nursery, until we find the perfect Frasier Fir. (Our first time around, I insisted on a Blue Spruce, which is pretty, but its needles are deadly sharp.) 

Once home, our kid dance around, fighting over who gets to cut off the plastic mesh that holds the branches together, who gets to hang the first ornament, who gets to hang the fanciest ornament, and where the ornaments that they made get to hang. While they argue, I sneak around, rearranging the ornaments to my liking until they catch me. Then they holler to put everything back and just who do I think I am, the Queen of England? (No, but I am the Queen of Ornaments, and there will be an even distribution of color, shape, and sizes so help me!)

I have an image, but Blogger is being Grinchy this morning.

2. Snow.

Up here in Rochester, NY, we are almost guaranteed to have a white Christmas. No so this year. Right now it's sixty degrees and there's not a flake in sight (except me). There is something exquisitely wonderful about being the last person awake, turning off the Christmas tree lights, going to the window, and watching the snow silently drift down in the light of the street lamp before going to bed. 

3. Going home.

We made the mistake of staying put for our daughter's first Christmas. After opening up her gifts, our baby fell into a deep sleep and my husband and I just sat around thinking, "Hmm. This is boring." No more of that! From then on, we traveled to see my parents, his parents, and all our siblings. I love being in my mother's house, eating all the yummy things she makes, and being overwhelmed by all the presents she gets for my family. It makes me feel like a kid again. 

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Question of the Month with Michael D'Agostino, December 2015

Good morning, everyone! Today's question is: 

Which one social convention would you get rid of?

How about this idiotic phrase: Good morning.

Seriously? Mornings are almost always bad. People and pets interrupt your dreams just as you are about to fly to the top of Mount Olympus on the back of a fluffy pink unicorn. 

Kidding. I don't dream of fluffy pink unicorns. (They are all classic white.)

The social convention I really hate is shaking hands. Think of the germs, people. The germs! This dislike didn't start until my kids went to Montessori School (which is fabulous btw, except for this hand-shaking biz). Every morning the children would shake hands with their teacher before entering the classroom.

Do you have any idea what children under the age of five do with their hands? It's revolting, I promise. So basically (unless the teacher has a pump sanitizer on stand-by), your kid is shaking hands with all the other germ-factories every single morning. Now that I think about it, this may have been a clever way to inspire parents to get their kids to school early just to be first in the hand-shaking line. That way you could cut down on the hand-to-hand germ dispersal quite a bit.

I know what you're thinking. How, then, should people greet each other with mutual respect? I'd like to switch to a traditional Asian greeting. Keep your germs to yourself, press your own two filthy paws together, and bow. It's quite respectful and looks way cooler.

So in closing, I'd like to apologize to the travel agent I shook hands with the other week. I was sucking down cough drops like a fiend our entire session, and I know she was hesitant to shake my hand. I should have fessed up and told her I'd been sick and we should just skip it, but that seemed rude somehow. Lady, I'm sorry to tell you, I was one day away from completing my antibiotics for pneumonia. I hope I didn't ruin your Thanksgiving. And Good Morning!

The Question of the Month Bloghop is hosted by Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined. Click here to check it out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group--A Harsh November

Diary of a writer:

November 4: Write witty blog for IWSG. Visit other blogs. Curiously tired after an hour or so. Fell asleep before lunch. Fever comes on strong along with cough--pneumonia suspected.

November 5: Go on antibiotics.

November 6: Third day of fever and cough is feeling like punishment. How did my older daughter put up with this crap for 10+ days? I'm losing it. Pneumonia is kicking my butt. Jello is my new friend.

November 7: Fever breaks. Energy nowhere to be found. I'd planned on resting up after the craziness of October, but this is ridiculous.

November 11: Take Jesse-cat to vet. Poor girl is eighteen with diabetes and now limping in both hind legs. Vet says it is severe arthritis. Heart murmur detected. Vet recommends special recovery food to boost her appetite and fluids (given by needle in loose neck skin) every other day.

November 12: Family trip to Hoopla yogurt bar. Older daughter gets ill that evening--howdy, Ralph! I regret sharing her yogurt and wonder if I'm next to worship at the porcelain throne.

November 14: Husband asks if I've heard what happened in France. With Sedona still ill and no cable, it won't be until Monday that I get a chance to learn about the extent of the tragedy.

November 16: Jesse is deteriorating. I consider taking her to the vet, but don't because it's my husband's birthday and I want him to have a nice dinner. After dinner, Jesse is not moving and I realize I can't let her suffer through the night. Arrive at emergency vet around 10 p.m. The doctor asks if I understand the process of euthanasia. Having gone it with another kitty two years ago (almost to the day), I say yes. Manage to hold emotions in check until I have to leave the room and her sweet lifeless body behind.

November 17: Go on two hour bike ride first thing in the morning to clear my head. It's freezing. I bike out to the end of the pier on Lake Ontario anyway and let the waves smack into me. When I get home, insane coughing ensues.

November 18: Pneumonia returns for round two. (Like, duh.)

November 20: New antibiotics doing terrible things to me. Switch to different medicine and buy more jello. Misery level reaches new high (or is it new low?)

November 26: Pneumonia gone in time for Thanksgiving. Subdued dinner with immediate family. High praise for my stuffing.

November 27: Attend Nutcracker ballet. It's gorgeous, but younger daughter completely bored by end of show. Entertains herself by grabbing my hands whenever I try to clap. What the . . . !?!

November 28: Get fantastic Christmas tree which fills house with its scent. Realize we own 100+ ornaments, but put every darn one on anyway.

November 30: Older daughter gets follow-up chest x-ray. Pneumonia (that she had in Oct.) all gone. Huzzah! Realize I have accomplished no writing for an entire month--will have to settle for surviving it instead.

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh, creator of this monthly par-tay, and a shout-out to this month's cohosts: Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell! Rock on with your bad selves.

How was your November? Fun? Harsh? Nano Productive?