Monday, November 29, 2010

Bad News, but Thank You

We've been running the "For Cody" fundraiser here for a bit, but we got the bad news we'd been hoping to avoid this weekend. Cody passed away the morning after Thanksgiving at home with his family. The Rockets are feeling sad, and I suspect some guilt too. However, even though we weren't able to make it to New York before Cody's passing, we will be helping out with his funeral expenses and attempting the trip again closer to Christmas or New Years.

I cannot thank you enough for what you've donated. I get a little teary talking about it (or typing about it) actually, so I think I'll leave it at that. 

Thank you so much.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*Crickets*

And what is there to say except life marches on and my reading lag continues. I'm reading so little and with such inconsistency lately I often wonder what to post or if I should post at all. I've slacked on some commitments and I still have three jobs and a baby, and sometimes I wonder where I got so off track that I can hardly pick up a book!

I'm experiencing that blogger's guilt that I've seen so many others complain of when they go on long hiatuses. Should I shut it down? Close up shop? I've been blogging for almost six years, so that hardly seems like an option. But, I'm not going to apologize for a busy home and work life anymore, nor will I beat myself up for not reading and posting.

At this point I just have to trust that my old spark will return one of these days when life is far less intense. Maybe the holidays--once a couple of the teaching gigs let out for the break--will allow me a respite and some peace of mind, and I'll happily fall back into my groove.

In the meantime, I'm reading your blogs and loving them as always.

A happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to all the American readers, and a wonderful week and weekend to others of you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I just have a minute...

But I had to post this picture...


...because it's one we'll torture him with when he gets older. Apparently, he bounced until he couldn't bounce anymore.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Missing Post: The Jungle

Alas, I was scheduled to recap the BookClubSandwich discussion of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle on Monday, but I'm lagging a little behind. Expect the post on Thursday. An all-day meeting tomorrow will certainly put me out of the loop.

In the meantime, what are you reading?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sunday Salon - 'The Birth of Love' Grabs Me

Happy Sunday, bloggers. It's no secret that I've had trouble sinking into a book lately. I pick one up, I read a few pages (or not), I lay it aside. I waffle back and forth, read a few more pages, forget about the book. So on and so forth.

Finally, FINALLY, I made a very bold move. I dropped everything that wasn't blowing my skirt up, and I downloaded a book that was really calling to me: The Birth of Love, by Joanna Kavenna.

I first took note of this British novel when Jackie reviewed it over at Farm Lane Books. In short, it's a story of birth in three different times: a doctor in 1865 Vienna advocates for better hygiene among doctors, a mother in 2009 is having her second child, and in our future babies are farmed but one woman is imprisoned for concealing a pregnancy.

Before Greyson was born I didn't care much for birth stories. I really had no investment in the topic, but since he came along I am far more interested. Since little G is where the majority of my time goes these days, I thought it would be fitting to read a book about birth. This book has been calling to me ever since Jackie posted her review, so there was nothing to hold me back.

Right off the bat, I'm totally enamored of this novel. It really has a little something for everyone: historical, a little sf. The writing seems very tempered. Though it switches times and characters, the writing is quite controlled and carefully paced. I'm only on page 50 or so--transitioning from the portion set in Vienna to the present day--but I cannot wait to see where it goes from here. If Kavenna can exert this much control in her writing, I can't imagine what will happen when the book spirals into some of the more intense sections which I'm sure will come later.

While I hated to lay aside some of the other books I've committed myself to (cough-TheJungle-cough), sometimes it's all there is to be done to avoid an extended slump.

What are you reading? Is it going smoothly or do you feel a slump coming on?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Birthday Recap

A birthday in pictures!

The table when I got home!

A super-cute cake. Yes, the cupcakes holding the 3 and 0 are turkeys.

We had Babe's Fried Chicken for dinner, and Greyson approves.

These are the flowers the Dean brought for my late b-day celebration at work. The lemons are a great touch.

More of Greyson eating chicken. Looking very content.

The Rockets!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Big 3-0...





That pretty much says it all. Hello, 3-0. :)

Update #1, 8:44AM: This is what's shakin' in my office this morning!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Personally: Good Friends and Better Hair


Left to right: me with much shorter curls; a former student and super-scholarship winner, Rachael; Terri, one of my bestest buds who just moved back to San Diego

And it's hard to see in this pic, but the hair is a distinctly violety brown. I feel much lighter. See, below is the before.


This was a pic from Greyson's first baby shower. I swear I'm sniffing chocolate in that diaper. It's a good shot of the former hair, anyway. While it was pretty in its time, it was heavy, super-thick, and almost down to my heiney. It was time for it to go.

Bye bye big hair!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Sunday Salon and "For Cody" Fundraiser Update

First and foremost, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to donate to our "For Cody" Fundraiser, and thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send your good thoughts and prayers our way. It's much, much appreciated!

I've been thinking about it, and there's always a distinct possibility that we won't make our goal or be able to go to New York at all. I don't like that thought because I want the kids to see Cody, but IF it doesn't happen, the money will still go to Cody's family either as a donation to the Cancer Society, the hospital where he was treated, or directly to the family for their expenses. Several factors have to come into play to make that decision, but I do want you all to know that your money will make a difference, even if we can't go to New York ourselves.

In other news, life rolls on at Miller-D'Aprix Manor. I've actually taken the time to read for the last few days. I finished up the second book in the Weetzie Bat series, Witch Baby. I've decided to put them down for a bit, but I do really like them. I will come back to them, probably in the new year, to finish up. I just needed to make some progress to another book choice to avoid a slump.

Last night, I cracked open Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White. So far, so good. I'm burned on YA paranormal, but so far the premise of this one is new enough to keep me going. The main character is a little Buffy'esque in her dialog, but we'll see how it plays.

Tonight: jump on The Jungle for the BookClubSandwich discussion. Don't forget to check out Kim's opening comments tomorrow!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

For Cody - Fundraiser, Updated

Estella's Revenge: For Cody - Fundraiser: "Most of you, if you've been reading here for a while, are familiar with Rocketgirl and Rocketboy. They are my stepkiddos-to-be, and they're ..."

Note: the faulty PayPal button from earlier has been fixed. You do not need a PayPal account to donate. I appreciate the interest so far. This is really hard to do, so thank you for your understanding.

By the way, the donate page says DaprixCreative because that's the name of Chuck's business and he set it up. It's legit!

Personally: Cute Baby Pics

Because it's been a while...

We still have some new pics to process, but these will hold ya over.

Happy in his Bebe Pod chair.

Note: Pre-haircut hair. Pay no attention. Focus on the baby.


Pretty eyes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Blustery Hunker-Down-with-a-Book Books

Something about the change from hot to cooler weather makes me really long to read. The days get wetter and darker, and all I really want to do is cocoon myself in a blanket, sip tea, read a book (and watch Ghost Hunters). While I can't say that the type of books I read changes by season, the urge kicks in at a fever pitch this time of year.

These are a few of the books asking me to hunker down with them:

The Sugar Mother by Elizabeth Jolley
Blurb from Library Journal - Jolley writes tongue-in-cheek of ordinary people caught in far-from-ordinary situations. Edwin, a mild-mannered, fiftyish professor, is married to the ambitious Cecilia, an obstetrician who has just departed on a year-long medical fellowship halfway around the world. One night he must reluctantly play host to the new neighbors, a cunning mother-and-daughter team who end by moving in. Edwin is eventually smitten with the daughter, and readers can imagine what awaits the career-minded wife's delayed homecoming. Jolley's strongest, zaniest novel yet, with the high level of entertainment maintained until the end.

This one arrived unsolicited and it looks just off-kilter and weird/charming enough to me to devour it. Isn't the cover wonderfully hilarious?

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
Blurb from Booklist - Peter Harris, a dispirited Soho gallery owner in his midforties, arrives home to find his wife in the shower and marvels at how lithe she looks through the steam, then realizes that he’s admiring her much younger brother. Called the Mistake, or Mizzy, he’s a lost soul, a junkie and moocher as sexy as he is manipulative. Mizzy appears just as Peter, brooding, romantic, and self-deprecating, is grappling with his failings as a father and an art dealer.

In my experience with The Hours and Specimen Days, Michael Cunningham is nothing short of stunning. I hope he doesn't let me down this time around.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Blurb from Booklist - Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee.

Even though I've largely sworn off paranormal YA, this one sounds just unique enough to keep me interested.

And while there are tons more books staring me down from my shelves, these are the ones that come immedaitely to mind. What have you been lusting after lately?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kith (graphic novel)

Unfortunately, Kith, by Holly Black, is the only book I managed to finish for the recent Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. If I could've picked another book to finish, any other book, I most certainly would've.

This is the second book in the Good Neighbors series about a punky teenage girl whose mother is a selfish fairy-wench. Her dad is pretty spineless, her grandfather is a powerful fairy-king. Teenage girl has to save her hometown and her idiot boyfriend from being overtaken by the mean, mean fairies. Blah blah.

Pretty uninteresting on the whole.

I adore the artwork: moody black and white, funky fairy-folk. That's where the love ends. I read it because I knew it would be quick, and quick is not always a good thing.

Two big toes down.

Monday, November 01, 2010

High on Excedrin and Ready to Read!

*bouncing off the walls* I started the day with a headache, took two Excedrin Migraine, and now I'm ready to clean the whole building! Whee!

Happy post-Halloween! This means I've officially bombed the RIV V challenge (sad face). I think this is the first year I've absolutely sucked it up. Oh well! I loved the attempt as much as ever.

Other cool, bookish goings-on: The BookClubSandwich discussion of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle will begin on November 8th over at Kim's blog. I need to get off my butt and start this book. I am super excited about it because I've wanted to read it for years.

I'm still in the midst of Dangerous Angels, Francesca Lia Block's collected Weetzie Bat books. Technically, I'm neck deep in the second book, Witch Baby. I just *heart* them more and more as I read. The references to the just-beginning AIDS epidemic is really heartrending through the eyes of Duck and Dirk, two gay characters in the novels.

Wanna read a really good passage? I thought this was just whimsical enough to show off Block's writing style:

Not only did Raphael look like powdered chocolate, but he smelled like it, too, and his eyes reminded Witch Baby  of Hershey's Kisses. His mother, Ping, dressed him in bright red, green and yellow and twisted his hair into dreadlocks. ("Cables to heaven," said his father, Valentine, who had dreads too.)
Raphael, the Chinese-Rasta parrot-boy, loved to paint, and he covered the walls of his room with waterfalls, stars, rainbows, suns, moons, birds, flowers and fish. As soon as Witch Baby had learned to walk, she had chased after him, spying and dreaming that someday they would roll in the mud, dance with paint on their feet and play music together while Cherokee Bat took photographs of them
I really am getting more and more into these books the further I read. Yay for being engaged in reading!

Back tomorrow with a review of Kith by Holly Black.
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