Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Sunday Salon - A Relaxing Weekend

Well hello, y'all. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to the blog, but in light of my previous post, as you might've guessed, I've had a lot on my mind. I've been doing lots of applications, networking, reaching out to possible connections who may need social media consulting. It's going well and feels promising, but it's rare that I let myself sit down for a few minutes and clear my head. Most of the time I'm just trying to stay busy.

This weekend has been a relaxed, kicked back kind of time. It was good to just hang out and be lazy for a change. The laziness included...

The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Netflix...

A delicious baked chicken...

And some of these wicked kaloches from The Czech Stop. Pulled pork were awesome and the berry and cream cheese were great, too. 

Oh, and books!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm Grateful For, Or How I Became Unemployed

Yes, you read that correctly. My super-cool-sounding social media job is no more. Truth be told, it's been a difficult road since I started at the new company. Without being disparaging, I'll just say that I've known for a while that it wasn't a good fit. Despite those concerns, I worked my tail off to do the very best job there was in me to do, and at the end of the day, they weren't displeased with my work or my work ethic -- it was a money thing and an industry thing and a cloudy view of what social media could do for them.

So here I sit, unemployed, a house and a kiddo to support, and I am surprisingly...fine. In the first hours after "the talk" with my boss, I was a mess. Many tears were shed. More a case of wounded pride than anything. A serious case of the what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do's.

I am a worker. I am not a workaholic necessarily, but I tend to define myself by the work I do. Always have. It runs in the family. So to be jobless FOR THE FIRST TIME (against my will) since the age of 17 (I turn 32 in November) is a bit of a shock to the system. In fact, most of those years -- even in high school -- I had more than one job; sometimes as many as three. That being said, I'm still teaching five online classes. Thank goodness!

So what do I do with myself?

  • I will treat job hunting like a full-time job.
  • I'll tap into every available network I have (in-person, online, and I'm not too proud for nepotism)
  • I will try to head off the blues at the pass -- because I know ups and downs come with this territory
  • I will do everything there is that needs to be done. You do what you have to do. 
I expected to feel bad about this change. I expected to feel sad and mad and a little tortured. But the truth of the matter -- the sweet, wonderful, surprising truth -- is that in the past 48 hours I have felt more love, appreciation, and support than I ever would've anticipated. I am overwhelmingly grateful!

Thank you to all of you who reached out to me on Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail. I've even had fellow bloggers and social media extraordinaires sending me job postings (quite a few of them). I've received virtual hugs, and sweet notes, and snarky jabs at those who let me go (thanks, guys!). And I feel ok. For the first time in a long time, I feel lighter, happier, more like myself. I know this is the beginning of something better for me. 

I'm grateful for...
  • The opportunity I had that will inevitably improve my resume
  • The friends and family and loved ones who have come to my side to make sure I'm doing ok
  • The offers of help
  • The prayers
  • The love
In the midst of what I expected to be some very dark days, I feel so much relief, confidence, and hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you. All of you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Readalong Wrappage - The Little Stranger and IT!

It's Monday before noon and I'm already making up words!!! Watch out!

So I have MUCH MUCH to do today with The Little Stranger Readalong (#TLSread) wrapping up and the IT-along midway point postage due.

Admittedly, I skimmed through this one as opposed to a concentrated re-reading. I read it a shortish while ago and was familiar with most of the details. However, I can't say that it creeped me out ANY LESS than the first time. 


A number of participants have commented in their mid-way and closing posts that they didn't find this book particularly scary. I think I must just be a scaredy freak, but this book terrified me. Psychos, blood and guts, and general "horror" don't scare me particularly. Gross me out, yes! Scare? No. But malevolent spirits and creeping things that can't be SEEN, seriously scare the poo-schnickens out of me. 

From the moment the smudges started to appear, I had that creeping feeling. Oh, and that creeping/walking mirror? Oh my Lord. It's that slow build-up of terror that really gets me. As the characters became more troubled and unreliable I got progressively more unsettled. The biggest deaths seriously unsettled me. 

But what I love most about this book is not the scary. It's Waters' deft hand at the writing. I'm a serious sucker for unreliable narrators and ambiguous endings. I love what they require of me as a reader. The idea of Dr. Faraday as The Little Stranger -- as this want, and need, and cloying anxiety -- is just fascinating to me!!!! The shifting of classes is always of interest to me as well, and this book put a great, interesting spin on those concerns. 

To read a deeper, awesomer (yes, awesomer) post, try Fig and Thistle. SO INSIGHTFUL!

The second order of business is to check in for the IT-Along!!! I admit, I'm doing horribly with this one. Snail reading. I just can't seem to sit down and commit, though I am really enjoying the writing so far. Keep in mind, I haven't read anything of King's in probably 15 years or so. I'm reminded of how wonderfully he captures the minutia of his characters' lives. It's their personal quirks and proclivities that give each character a distinctive personality. That said, my GOD it's a lot of backstory! Although, I was happy that King introduced the scary clown so early in the game. Gives me hope that things will really get truckin' here in a bit. 

This one is less scary to me than The Little Stranger because it is far more overt. And I think I've seen the movie SO many times that I'm desensitized. ;)

How's your reading going?

Friday, September 14, 2012

BBAW Recap and an Invitation

This has been a fantastic Book Blogger Appreciation Week. With all the work madness in my life recently, it's good to be settling back into a normal routine that includes blogging and reading. While not everything is back to perfect, it's back to better!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has been a great opportunity to turn back to the blogging, show some appreciation and some gratitude, and celebrate this fantabulous group of bloggers and the thing we love most: reading (and writing about it)!

Now, an invitation. Y'all know Heather and I started Estella back up, this time as The Estella Society: A Reading Playground Built By Book Bloggers For Book Bloggers! That's our whole purpose right there -- to provide thoughtful content and fun stuff for bloggers to do. We're in the middle of The Little Stranger Readalong, The Top 100 Chapter Books Readalong is getting ready to do its first post (thanks, Kristen!) and we have some OTHER VERY EXCITED NEWS coming up. Ahem! Not ready to announce yet, but it's on the horizon.

So in short, this is less of an advertisement and more of an invitation to join us. Whether you'd like to contribute your writing, comment, or just lurk and enjoy the ride, we invite you to be a part of a fun spot for readers to enjoy the literary life. Come on over!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BBAW 3: What Does Book Blogging MEAN!?

I'm a little late getting started today. I did a wee bit of oversleeping this morning only to leave my house in a huff. Traffic sucked. Work has been busy. BUT, amidst all the kerfuffle, I've been itching to write this post.

Click HERE for image. 
Most of you have been reading this blog for a while now. You know that it's been active for 7 years, that it started with grad school snark and morphed into a place to express my passion for reading. You know that my life has changed a lot -- new jobs, a son, relationships come and gone. While it's mostly about books, this blog is quite simply, my home on the web. I am the me'est of me right here on these virtual pages. I let it all hang out, as it were.

And the changes this blog has undergone, and the me'ness of it get at what book blogging means to me. For me, book blogging is an excuse to hang out with my friends!!! I share with you all the same things I'd share with a group of great girl (and boy) friends.

I want to hear your opinions and go places with you and do fun stuff together. And that gets at the second item in "what blogging means to me...": community. I've said it a gazillion times, and I'll say it scads blogging is only as good as the community around us. That said, we have our ups and downs. We have our dramas and our spats, our scandals, and our great, cohesive events. With this rollercoaster ride in mind, book blogging is also about helping make the community its best and a most enjoyable place to be.

Third, book blogging means a platform. Now, read carefully here because it may not be what you think. I've become quite the outspoken monkey over the years about blogging on one's own terms. I'm not a champion  of authors or publishers. I'm a champion of bloggers using their creativity and expressing their joy! Book blogging means a chance to speak to other book bloggers about the hows, the whys, and the why nots.

Seven years ago (closer to 8 maybe?) there was a migration--a creation--of book bloggers. Many of us met in Yahoo! Groups as part of BookCrazy, The Book Spot, OnThePorchSwing, BookiesToo, Banned_Books, and others. Pretty soon we heard of this crazy new thing called blogging and we began to make our way. 8+ years later we're a huge community of book lovers. Readers. Writers. While I'm not saying we were the Adams and Eves of book blogging, there were groups of us that made the switch. I had a core of friends even then. We were a community that grew into a new community.

There are a lot of pieces here. A lot of facets of what "book blogging means to me". To me, it means an opportunity to talk to you. To share myself. To share our love of books. To share my opinions after 7 years of this. To try to bring us together in the pursuit of  fun stuff. To give you a pat on the back or a kind word when you're stressed by too many ARCs.

Book blogging means friendship, camaraderie, and sharing. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BBAW Day 2: The Self Interview?

Who forgot to sign up for Book Blogger Appreciation Interviews??? That'd be me!!! So I'll be interviewing myself. I don't blame you if you just clicked away. 

3D glasses w/out lenses. I SWEAR!
Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Reading is probably the only time I DON'T snack. Chewing and reading are too much head action for me. 

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?

I've never had much of a problem with writing, marking, dog-earing, generally destroying (loving?) my books. Especially the ones I read for school back in the day. Now that I've gone almost exclusively digital I still obsessively annotate. 

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Both! This changes depending on the year and my mood. One year I read almost no contemporary fiction in favor of YA or non-fiction. This year is a fiction year with almost no non-fiction. Moody is me. 

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Neither! Trade paperbacks and e-books for me. 

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point?

Depends wholly on my level of sleepiness and whether or not the book will physically damage me if I drop it on my own head as I'm nodding off. If I'm sleepy, I can stop anywhere, though there is a special warm feeling if it's at the end of a chapter. 

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Another beautiful part of e-reading: the lookup word function!

What are you currently reading?
Stephen King's It for the #ITalong!

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Mid-afternoon, spread out on my bed with the fan blowing. Ohhh heavenly. 

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I have recently become a series ho. For years I wasn't a fan but Outlander changed all that. *hugs the book*

Want to ask me something that I haven't answered here? Go for it! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'M BACK! In Time for BBAW!

Holy CRAP, PEOPLE. That was a week if I ever had one. Just to recap, I've worked every weekend for over a month, work throws a huge yearly conference for the real estate industry, worked my arse off, blah blah blah. Can I smash the word "work" in there anymore??? It was a lot of WORK. There.

Long story short:
Wednesday - arrived at conference before sane people should be awake. On feet over 12 hours. Listened to James Carville and Mary Matalin speak and then saw George and Laura Bush speak.
Thursday: 14 hours on feet
Friday: 12 hours on feet including a closing keynote from Bill Clinton
Saturday: Clean up day

Needless to say, I am SO GLAD to be home. I had to stay at the conference hotel the whole time because I live an hour away. This means I didn't see Greyson for FAR TOO LONG. Copious baby hugs have been had. And I'm off work today! Woot!

Upside, I got to stay here...

Since I've been so busy the last month or so, I'm RIDICULOUSLY, SHOUTY CAPITALS excited to be back to blogging. I've missed you all muchly. And I've missed having brain enough to read! All seems to be on the mend on that front, too. 

So today is the first day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and we're having a big ole appreciation-athon. Who am I to resist something fun like this? Let's face it, I blog because I appreciate all of you who blog, too. This community is what keeps me writing and you all have been SO good to me. True friends indeed. I can't highlight you all, but know that I'm giving you ALL a big ole virtual hug. 

Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity is the first blogger I've ever met in person!!! She is super fun, very sweet, and I love following all her bloggy adventures from the books she's reading, to her life as a mother, and her Pinterest extravaganzas. 

Vasilly from 1330V. You amaze me with all you do. A caring mother, a student, a voracious reader and always thoughtful and just awesome! *high five*

Lisa from Books, Lists, Life has become one of my closest bloggy friends in the last year. We text, we e-mail, we talk about ALL THE THINGS. She's one of the most upfront, honest, easy-to-talk-to ladies around. 

Jill from Fizzy Thoughts. I could sop this one up with a biscuit. She's hilarious, her reading tastes are hella fine, and she's a born songwriter. IT-along forever!

Christina from Reading Thru the Night came to my attention on Twitter with all her mad geniusness, and I'm like HOW THE HECKFIRE did we not know each other better already??? She did the North and South readalong with us, and she's now co-hosting the IT-along with Jill.  She also goes by Princess Clown Nose. 

Brooke of The Blog of Litwits is just too dang insightful. Love her reviews, love her Tweets, just love her!

And last but fo' sho not least is my blogging and reading soulmate. The grandmaster of cool. The supremely supportive. Cohostess with the mostest. One of my best friends for over 10 years. Heather, Capricious Reader, I love you muchly.

Thanks to #BBAW for bringing us back and reminding us to focus on each other!!! That's what it's all about. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

RIP VII - Whahahahahhhhhh!

Once again, it's time for the annual RIP event, and the illustrious Carl has taken us on a grand, whirlwind journey through six of these bad boys, to make this number seven! Holy grey hair, Batman!

This year, I shall be embarking upon Peril the First and reading four books from the creepalicious RIP genres. I'm also intimately involved in Peril of the Group Read because, well, Heather and I are hosting that readalong I've mentioned 800 times already.  Here's what I have on my Nook which means these are the most likely to be chosen:
  • IT by Stephen King for the #ITalong hosted by Jill and Princess Clown Nose
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters for the #TLSread (RIP Readalong over at Estella Society)
  • The Small Hand by Susan Hill
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (need to finish)
  • Affinity by Sarah Waters (need to start over)
  • The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
  • The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (need to read after ALL THE YEARS)
  • Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey (looked cheesy but available from my library)
And I have a bunch more work to do, so I'm gonna run! Conference time is upon us this week and it's gettin' CRAZY up in here! Read and prosper, people. Read and prosper. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

TSS - I'm Reading Defensive Driving

That's right, kids. Most of this weekend has been consumed with an online Defensive Driving course. I only have a few modules left and I'm free of this cheesy, video-laden, driver's hell!

Finishing up:

For a piece over at the Estella Society. SO BAD. Been reading this crap for a month!

Digging into:

And of course, also...

We have about 26 people signed up for The Little Stranger Readalong! We could always use a few more! Tag: #TLSread on Twitter!

Tomorrow: The RIP VII post!
Images by Freepik