Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cat-A-Tonic in My Busy Life

This is me, under that red blanket, in a cat-a-tonic state, lol. Today is cold, and I've been under the weather all week. We had snow on the ground yesterday!! But alas, I am a blogger and a student, a homeschooling mother, therefore work proceeds even when I'm feeling sub-par. There is nothing like having a kitty or two lie on your lap while you work! I'm in the recliner, keyboard on my lap with my laptop on the stand to my right, you can see my notebooks on the edge of my rolling laptop desk.

Here is my laptop desk. You can see on my laptop, this very post being worked on!! Next to the laptop are the books I'm either reading right now or trying to read. That is my MP3 player on top of the stack, with all of my Gaga and my audio books :) Some of my schoolwork is lying across my laptop. As I have carpal tunnel I use the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000© and not the laptop keyboard which you can see with the kitties in the first pic. Evidence of my feeling icky, the cough drops, are right next to my super-cool Targus© mini-mouse which changes colors!!! I think you can see the candy bar I had to confiscate hanging out behind the mouse.

As I finish up this rather silly posting, the third kitty has joined me on my lap, so now I'm toasty and warm in my cat-a-tonic state.

Asperger's Syndrome

Curt Schilling's Wife Writes About Son's Asperger's Syndrome

I know people with this syndrome. Bright, beautiful children, often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Take a moment to read about it and realize that 'difficult child' in your life may not be trying to irritate you. Sadly, it seems teachers are the least tolerant of these children and they suffer greatly in school, at least the children I know. God bless these children.

Le Fleur de Lys too: Mark Wahlberg, good Catholic moral example.

Le Fleur de Lys too: Mark Wahlberg, good Catholic moral example.

I've heard this before, and I am glad to pass this along. I was not a fan of Marky Mark, but I have seen Mark Wahlberg in a number of acting roles over the years where I liked his performances. He is a good Catholic role model for those in the performance arts, well any ambitious career-oriented soul. It seems he could have made much more money and had more recognition had he made other choices. Good for MW, choosing carefully and heeding the advice of his confessor. If I wasn't a fan already I'd be one now!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Debbie Macomber Contest

MaryBennett: A Debbie Macomber Contest

Click on the link! I just had to pass this one on from Sweet Mary!

CVS Cheese crackers

Best baked cheese crackers? We rank the house brands

Follow the link!! I'm adding this for you bargain shoppers out there, especially those of you who shop CVS for bargains!! Also, my eldest daughter adores Cheez-it crackers, hopefully she will notice my post and indulge herself!!

Incidentally I snagged this photo from the article I linked to.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A look at some young adult fiction

I have a mission to read many of the young adult books in our local library. Being a voracious reader myself, and always lacking for time to read, I have found the young adult books fill a void in my life. I started reading them to know what to recommend to teenagers and other parents at the library. Then I found they fill a nice place in my life, a quick read that is usually fulfilling. Most of what I've read has been well done.

Well, let me qualify that a bit. I prefer to read classics. I love books that make you think while telling you a story, books with depth of character, outstanding descriptions and character development, wit and clever wordplay. Most of the current books lack many of those qualities, therefore I find them to be quick reads, promptly forgotten once put down. There are notable exceptions to this observation about current bestsellers and new releases, but for the most part I'm not a fan of current fiction.

That all being said, I have taken to reading young adult books to see what the kids are reading these days. Last year I read all of the Twilight books. I enjoyed the stories, though I could not stand the writing style. Stephenie Meyer is a great story-teller who should have been given more support from her publisher. She needed better editors. By the time I read her fourth book, I was substituting words in my head to take the place of 'muttered' and 'mumbled' because she used those words so frequently. Despite the excellent story of Edward and Bella, the writing quality was so poor I am resolved to avoid further releases from this author. Her publisher did her a grave injustice.

I have also read the Maximum Ride books written by James Patterson. This is a fabulous series which opens teens to thinking about issues which they may have to face in the future, such as cloning, genetic mutation, inter-species breeding, pollution and air quality, etc. All of these issues are dealt with by the protagonists, bird-people, Max being the teen-aged leader of the flock. The writing style I found to be accessible to teens, and appropriate for the story. When compared with Ms. Meyer, Mr. Patterson is the superior writer by far, but I still found myself longing for a quality possessed by the classics. I think most people would be intrigued and drawn in to these books, and I would recommend them for anyone. There is also an excellent resource to help your teenager understand the issues more fully:

I have read the Harry Potter books, and the Books of Pellinor, both of which I've discussed in earlier posts which I believe are still on my sidebars. They are examples of the writing style which I prefer to read. Surprisingly they are both fantasy series, a genre I never fully appreciated until reading these.

The Fetch would be categorized as a supernatural romance, like Twilight, though The Fetch is not about vampires. I read this book and was not at all sure how I felt about it upon completion. Written by Laura Whitcomb, The Fetch is about a young man, Calder, who died at nineteen and has been dead for over 300 years. His job is to escort the dying down the Aisle of the Unearthing, to Heaven. It is intriguing. He makes some choices that disturb the natural order of things, such as occupying the body of deceased man which deprives the dying man of his escort through the Aisle and condemns him to the Land of Lost Souls (purgatory or even hell perhaps). By stealing a body, Calder is able to walk the earth as an immortal trapped in a mortal (dead) man's body. By choosing to do this, Calder upsets the land of the living and the land of the dead and must go about setting things right. His reasons for committing what he sees as a dereliction of his duties and a sin against God, are love. He falls in love with a mortal woman. Of course there are many more twists to this interesting tale, my heart was not in it to begin with, as I mentioned in my earlier post. In the end the book proved interesting enough to give me pause, and to make me ditch my schoolwork in favor of reading! I think I shall have to leave this book on my nightstand, it deserves a closer look than what I gave it initially. If anyone should read it, I would be interested in your insights. While it is classified as a romance, I feel it is more of an examination of choices, consequences, humility, and yes, love.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What am I reading?

On my nightstand are two books. The book I'm currently reading is The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb. It is a young adult fiction book which my husband picked up for me a while back because it is a supernatural love story and he thought I'd like it. I'm reading it bits at a time because as I mentioned I am busy taking classes, and frankly, it hasn't grabbed me and made me want to ditch school for a book. But I will reserve my comments until after I'm finished. The book has an interesting premise, a little different than what I am sure you are thinking. It is NOT a vampire story!

Now for the second book on my nightstand:

I loved the first book in McGowan's "Magdalene" series called, The Expected One. It is intriguing, beautifully written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Therefore, I am waiting until I can immerse myself in the second book. It is a treasure waiting for me. It will be a reward to indulge myself when I have earned a brief respite from studying.

What are you reading??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cold and Abandoned

I was told that my blog felt cold and abandoned by my dear friend, Mary. I believe Mary is right! Therefore, I have resolved to try and update my look, and to get back to the blog again. TBH, it is not as easy as all that. We are still trying to get back on our feet after an impossible few years, during most of that time I was actively blogging.

I think I hit a low point and abandoned the blog almost entirely :( but now I am looking towards a bright and beautiful future! Hubby is still unemployed but I feel like we are on the right track with him. I am taking classes online so I can work from home as a Medical Transcriptionist. It is a brilliant career opportunity for stay-at-home mothers. I have a friend in town who has been doing just this, as a homeschooling mother of five, for the last couple of years.

As a result, I'm entirely overburdened and busy time wise, but happy to be making progress toward a career that will enable me to contribute to the family income while not compromising our family values...Mom must be home!!!

I am going to (in all my spare time, *snort*) redesign the blog, and archive my older stuff to make room for the new. It is about time for the "new and improved" Lily and Never Fading Wood to take the place of the "Cold and Abandoned." How does that suit you, Mary?