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ten things to celebrate in january: a scavenger hunt

December 30, 2016


one. january tenth. peculiar people day. peculiar: strange; odd; unusual; funny; curious; bizarre; weird; abnormal; exceptional; extraordinary; remarkable; puzzling; mysterious; perplexing; baffling; suspicious; eerie; uncanny; unnatural; freakish; fishy; creepy; spooky; eccentric; unconventional; wacky; oddball...

read or watch miss peregrin's home for peculiar children. what's the first word on the tenth line of the one hundred tenth page or what's being said in the seventieth minute of the film and by whom? also, write a letter to the strangest person you know telling him or her what you most appreciate about that person's character. lastly, what makes you peculiar, and how do you feel about that trait or talent?

two. january twelfth. feast of fabulous wild men day. my mother thinks the most fabulous wild man is tarzan. fact AND fiction, who are yours and why? take a picture with the factual one, if you can. share a favored line of dialogue by the fictional one, if you can't.

three. january thirteenth. make your dream come true day. what's a dream of yours? do one thing that works toward making that dream a reality. sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. and i promise you, something great will come of it (benjamin mee -- we bought a zoo). be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold (herbert spencer).



four. january sixteenth. appreciate a dragon day. what's your favorite film, novel or program that contains a dragon in it? if it's a film, what's being said in the seventy-sixth minute (this is a corrected time; for those of you who may have already accomplished this task, you may keep it at the original eighty-sixth) of the film and by whom? if it's a book, what's the sixth word on the tenth line of the first page? if it's a program, what's being said in the sixth minute of the tenth episode in the first season and by whom?

five. january twenty-third. national handwriting day. write a letter. WRITE it, as in put a pen or pencil to paper and fill a sheet of stationery with the words of your choosing, stuff it in an envelope, seal it, stamp it and put it in the post. let someone you love know you love them and why. because it's that time of the year when we all get a little down in the dumps, yeah? the echoes of the hurrahs from the holidays have faded. winter's setting in. warm that person's heart in a way that can be cherished for more than a millisecond.

six. january twenty-fourth. squirrel appreciation day. there's a book called scaredy squirrel by melanie watt. that squirrel's afraid of pretty much everything. chances are good that you're afraid of one of the things the squirrel is. do one thing that scares you (eleanor roosevelt). that thing you and the squirrel are afraid of? do a thing that pertains to that fear. AND THEN, help a friend face one of his or her fears that is similar to the squirrel's.

seven. january twenty-fifth. opposite day. wear a t-shirt backward for the entirety of your day.

eight. january twenty-eighth. chinese new years day. treat yourself and a friend to some chinese food. also, what's a trait of your chinese zodiac sign (i'm an ox, by the way. yay) that you do not have? how can you cultivate that characteristic? what's a trait that you do have? if it's one you're not proud of, how can you alter its prevalence?

nine. january twenty-ninth. national puzzle day. put a puzzle of more than five hundred pieces together. you can get a little help from your friends if you like, but i'd prefer you do this by yourself. because i'm evil like that.

ten. january thirty-first. inspire your heart with art day. spend a day at an art museum or gallery (this was edited to include galleries because i neglected to consider their advantages when i originally wrote the post) admiring the creativity of others. visit the gift shop if there is one and buy some postcards depicting artwork you favor or find postcards elsewhere if there is no gift shop (an additional edit) and drop a grateful line to your craftier friends.

ten things celebrated in december: a scavenger hunt

December 27, 2016


one. december first. national pie day. also national eat a red apple day. buy, or if you're feeling especially awesome, bake an apple pie and take it to the servers of a favored restaurant. they bring you food and drink at your beck and call. be sweet and bring them some treats. in this case, i purchased goodies from pie in the sky and delivered them to my people at pappadeaux's.

shannon requested a chai tea latte
claire (right) with hanna
two. december second. national salesperson's day. when you're out shopping for those special gifts, ask an associate what a good pick-me-up would be. what can you do to put a bright spot in her day? chances are good it'll be a simple as a cup of starbucks or, in the case of one of my manager friends, a route forty-four diet coke from sonic with hardly any ice in it. while snagging some of those plaid coffee mugs for my dad's office, i got to visit with some of the gals at pottery barn. claire, who originally balked when i'd asked for a picture and then snuck in at the last second, shared her triple chocolate chunk cookie with hanna. so sweet, these ladies. i love them.

three.
three. december fifth. bathtub party day. snag a favored scented shower gel from bath and body works (or wherever you go for that stuff... i'm partial to bodycology's white gardenia, which can be found at the grocery store for like four bucks), pour a glass of wine, put on some music or listen to a bit of an audio book you've been dying to read but haven't had the time. give yourself a blessed hour. your family will probably thank you for it.

four.
four. december sixth. st. nicholas day. surely you know a nick or a nicholas. take some time out of your day to send a special note to that person. i wrote my great uncle, the monk living in utah.

five.
five. december tenth. nobel prize day. here's a list of the laureates in literature. choose one and share a line or two from a work you admire.

of all the books i was supposed to read in high school the good earth was one of only two that i liked.

The old man let his scanty tears dry upon his cheeks and they made salty stains there. And he stooped and took up a handful of soil and he held it and muttered, "If you sell the land, it is the end."




six. december twelfth. poinsettia day. pick up one of these gorgeous creations and take it to a friend you've not seen in some time.


seven. december thirteenth. national cocoa day. take a breather from the christmas shopping. treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate.

eight. that just rolled out of bed look.
eight. december fifteenth. cat herders day. surely you know someone who's got one too many cats in his or her house. and surely those cats are wreaking havoc on the christmas decor. find a cute cat card and send it their way. they may be needing the reminder of why they love the things right about then.

nine. lunch with linda.
nine. december twenty-first. winter solstice day. the longest night of the year. the hardest time of the year for some. there are those who are grieving. there are those who are in the throes of some pretty wicked depression, and this time of year is NEVER good for them. find a way to bring them some warmth, to shed some light. check with your local service organizations and see what you can do to help those in need. take some flowers to a senior living facility. treat a friend who may be grieving to lunch or a movie. or just sit with them for a while. listen.



ten. december twenty-eighth. national card playing day. we spend so much time on our phones or sitting at computers being "sociable". try getting a group of friends together for a game of hearts or spades, uno, skip-bo or phase ten. turn the television off. sit at a table and enjoy each other. have a game night. unwind.

i spent an afternoon playing cards with two of my writing friends, ann and kelly. the latter brought with her a game called splendor, which is pretty nifty. i recommend you check it out.

a tale of two evenings

December 21, 2016

the characters: two girls are having dinner prior to catching a movie; one is married and has taken the time to meet with her unmarried friend while her husband gets his drink on with some of his friends. she is well-dressed, gorgeous, feminine--the kind of gal men are quick to notice. the other is dressed in a baseball cap, sweatshirt and jeans--the kind of gal she thinks men don't notice at all.

a group of guys--well-dressed, white-collar-types (probably oil and gas folk, engineers of some kind... science geeks)--are having dinner and drinks after work.

two servers, one female and one male.

the setting: bar louie; booth near the bar, not far from the bathrooms. prime real estate, really.

the plot: the single chick spots a handsome lad seated at the table between their booth and the bar. she debates with her married friend whether she should make an attempt to get his attention.

the conflict: the single chick has no game whatsoever. she is generally outspoken and boisterous, but she clams up when her interest in a man is piqued.

the resolution: after consulting her friend, their server (female) and a second server (male), the single chick with no game writes the following note on one of the server's notepads, used for taking orders:

hi there.
i need someone to go see star wars with me.
that could be you. 
936-555-7549*
jenn
(the chick in the baseball cap)

the single chick instructs their server to give the man whose piqued her interest the note after the two women have vacated the premises because she is, upon occasion, a fearful, pathetic wench who has no game.

the characters: the single chick from the previous tale.

a female bartender with mad skills and much game (mentioned in this post)

two guys, seated to the single chick's left.

the setting: pappadeaux seafood kitchen; the bar, near the to-go stand and the service bar.

the plot: the single chick is working on her manuscript. on this particular day, she has not brought her laptop with her. she has printed two copies of her manuscript, one on yellow paper and one on blue. the yellow copy has edits a friend has made. the girl is marking the blue copy with the edits she has chosen to accept.

the conflict: the bartender with the mad skills pours a schooner of beer. while waiting for the foam to settle, she prepares other drinks her guests have requested. when she goes to top off the schooner, she accidentally knocks it over and spills the beer all over the girl's manuscript, the girl and the guy seated next to her.

the resolution: the single chick manages to keep her cool; the bartender and she laugh it off. the guy bitches endlessly about how his three-hundred-fifty dollar shirt (which is ugly as fuck, by the way) is soaked. he later spills cocktail sauce on it and bitches some more.

the bartender comps his order of oysters.

the single chick goes to facebook and posts that she is seated next to the most pompous, bitchiest douchebag in existence, says she has a present for the bartender and shows her the text, which has the bartender smiling again.

*number changed to protect yours truly

reading recap: the sixth

December 17, 2016


the ones i've read
landline
eleanor and park
the fault in our stars
the language of flowers
wonder
one day
redeeming love
i see you everywhere
the perks of being a wallflower
a school for unusual girls
just one day
where she went
attachments
if i stay
finding paris
the truth about alice
love is a mix tape
me before you
the royal we
dash and lily's book of dares
fangirl
dr. bird's advice for sad poets
exile for dreamers
meant to be
the statistical probability of love at first sight
the silver linings playbook
thirteen little blue envelopes
love and other perishable items
stargirl
persuasion
divergent
after you
makeovers at the beauty counter of happiness
fifty shades darker
fifty shades of grey
the time of my life
insurgent
all there is: love stories from storycorps
the testament
the chance
the wit and wisdom of mark twain
how to love
julie and romeo
the phantom tollbooth
thin, rich, pretty
allegiant
this is what happy looks like
fifty shades freed

the ones i'd started
interpreter of maladies
gone with the wind
the book thief
the help
the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian
althea and oliver
six impossible things
this is where i leave you
a stained white radiance
forever amber
two kisses for maddy
captivating
so long insecurity
the sisters mortland
how to eat a cupcake
another piece of my heart
mennonite in a little black dress
the noticer
maximum achievement
rays of the dawn
the fountainhead

the ones i (wish i could've) took back
because they bored me
every day
whiskey beach
gates of fire
just one year
if he had been with me
anna and the french kiss
the arrivals
how to be single
crime and punishment
looking for alaska
an abundance of katherines
the best of me
a casual vacancy
if you could see me now
prep
lucy sullivan getting married

and a bunch of others whose titles i've forgotten.

i've decided i'm gonna keep the recap list going indefinitely.
right now i'm at forty-eight.

let's get some christmas up in this bitch

December 16, 2016


there is no tree at our house yet. i finished my christmas shopping yesterday and got gifts wrapped last night, but even without the tree, i kind of like my little stack of christmas cheer in the corner of our family room. and it makes the perfect backdrop to show off the goodies that i got from janell at three arrows. she sent me two of my favorite things: literature and music. i'm excited to crack open that book and cd. i made myself wait until today to rip off that cellophane.

how interesting is that i drew janell's roommate, sammy, in this gift exchange! you can see what i sent her here. and you can see what sammy got janell here. all this giving and cheer is courtesy of mattie at northwest native and olya at the siberian american. i'm grateful to all for the holiday spirit!

tuesday topics

December 13, 2016


once upon a time and with a fellow blogger's help, lauren had a linkup called tuesday topics. she and her cohost tiffany put out a list of the topics for the next ten tuesdays. it was the only linkup i participated in fairly regularly, and i was kind of bummed when those two ladies bid the thing farewell.

well, she and i are bringing that thing back, yall. come january third, she and i will be posting regularly on tuesdays, beginning with TEN new years resolutions. chances are good i can keep at least one of those, right? i'd love to see what kinds of things yall come up with and hope yall will play along.

exile for dreamers

December 11, 2016

why i wanted to read it: because i liked its predecessor well enough.

what i liked: the characters. the continuation of the conflicts established in the prequel. i like tess more than i like georgiana.

what sucked: since i've begun sharing snippets on picky from the books i've read, i don't think i've ever not marked a single page, but that happened this time. it's possible, though, that i'd built this one up a little too much. also, i might've read it a little too hastily. i like georgiana's dude, wyatt, a WHOLE lot more than i like tess' ravencross. i really liked ravencross in the first one, so i was excited to get to know these two. i wasn't as enthralled with the story as i had been with the other one.

having said that: it's good. i'm looking forward to reading the next one.

a school for unusual girls

why i wanted to read it: because i met the author at last year's montgomery county teen book festival and LOVED her. she is one of the friendliest authors i've had the pleasure to meet. of course, i'd interviewed her prior to having attended this thing, so that could've had something to do with it. you can read her responses here. so she's lovely, right? she's also got a pretty damned fine idea for a story. i don't normally like historical fiction, but the more she talked about this novel, the more i wanted to read it.

what i liked: hope does not shatter all at once (page 30).

"even so, she's a mere girl. new to the school." sebastian crossed his arms. "what can she possibly know of chemistry and ink formulas? chemistry requires an understanding of mathematics. in my experience, girls' heads are full of fripperies and trinkets. their weightiest calculations are deciding how many ruffles they want on their next ball gown."

fripperies? ruffles?  i curled my fingers around a decaying timber. what an arrogant jackanape. i'd like to hit him over the head with a calculation or two... "for your information, i have never given a single thought to the number of ruffles on my ball gown. ever." (pages 37-38).

"although she must have bumped her head. she keeps going on about ruffles."

"i do not. and for your information, a ball gown doesn't have ruffles. it has flounces."

"see what i mean?" sebastian shook his head mournfully. "poor thing is delirious" (page 39).

"put me down, sir." 

"lord wyatt is a viscount, georgiana. one must address him as my lord, rather than sir." miss stranje instructed me as if i were a complete simpleton. "thus you would say, 'kindly put me down, my lord.'"

i didn't care whether he was a viscount or a fishmonger (page 40).

"no, no," i ordered. "spread them out. they need to dry thoroughly for the test to be accurate."

"tsk, tsk, you must address me properly, as my lord, remember?" he mimicked miss stranje's scolding voice as he spread the papers. "thus you would say, my lord, would you please be so good, and kind, and tolerant, and forbearing, as to spread out the test papers so that they might dry thoroughly? at this point, if you were a well-schooled young lady, you would flutter your long lashes and demurely add, if you would do me this one kindness, my lord, i will be forever in your debt."

my mouth opened in search of an appropriate response, but nothing came (page 212).

i love these characters. all of them. even the nasty ones are well-conceived, as is the story. sure it follows the formula a bit. and it's cheesy at times, and while i am normally not a fan of the queso, i don't mind it here.

it's fun and clever. good stuff. it's a very fast read.

what sucked: it's been a while since i read it, but i can't really think of anything that bothered me so much that it bears mentioning here.

having said that: i was so eager to read the sequel, and i've not been so excited to read a book all year.

the royal we

why i wanted to read it: because erin recommended it. and it was a selection for her last reading challenge.

what i liked: the criminal loss of one made up for the egregious loss of the other (page 283).

"knickers'll need nurturing through this," freddie said over pints the night before operation pole began. "the last time a great hairy hooved beast thundered toward him, he cried."

"from the dander," nick said.

freddie cupped his hear. "the danger, you say?" (page 302).

"what's her name?"

"i absolutely know the answer to that, but i choose to keep it private for her own protection."

"no clue, then."

"i've one clue. it's vaguely musical." i frown. "triangle? treble clef?" (page 462).

again, i marked about a dozen pages, but after reading them again i wasn't as impressed. for the most part, i like the characters and the story. it reads fairly quickly. the dialogue's pretty good. the story's chock full of conflict.

what sucked: it's about two hundred pages longer than it needs to be. it's drawn out and predictable as shit. i spotted the villains right off, mostly because their names are pretty freaking suited to miscreants. and the princes in this story? you might as well call them william and harry rather than nicholas and freddie.

having said that: i enjoyed it. it's fun.

after you

why i wanted to read it: because i thought i wanted to know what happened to louisa. and it was a selection for the last book challenge erin hosted. i read a whopping five titles last time, yall. usually i manage about half that many. out of ten books. because reading ten books in like four months, for me, seems to be a ginormous feat i may never accomplish, but you know... every time she announces the categories for the next one, i'm all i will finish this bitch this time. this has been going on for a LONG time.

what i liked: sometimes i felt as if we were all wading around in grief, reluctant to admit to others how far we were waving or drowning. i wondered fleetingly whether sam's reluctance to talk about his wife mirrored my reluctance to discuss will; the kind of knowledge that the moment you opened the box, let out even a whisper of your sadness, it would mushroom into a cloud that overwhelmed all other conversation (page 147).

i'd marked about a dozen pages, but after going over them (and it's been months since i'd read this book, so i was reading those pages again without considering the context of those that come before and after), i only like the bit on that one, and i'm not that enthused about the thing.

as for the story, there are parts of it i could appreciate it, and most of those were scenes that involved sam or lily.

what sucked: i did not like louisa in this book. she annoyed the ever-loving hell out of me. nor did i like camilla. i could not reconcile this novel's version of either of these women with those in me before you. and yeah, i know grief can change a gal in some pretty fantastic ways, but... it's like moyes has changed their dna or something. i don't buy it. also there's a subplot involving louisa's parents that is redonkulus.

having said that: watch the film version of me before you. don't even bother with the books.

fuck yeah survey: food

December 7, 2016

one. how do you feel about golden oreos? meh.
two. what is your favorite dessert topping? cool whip.
three. what is your favorite flavor/brand of bubble gum? super bubble.
four. favorite cheese? kraft american.
five. favorite lunch meat? turkey.
six. favorite ice cream flavor? chocolate.
seven. best-looking food? chicken spaghetti.
eight. best food to put cheese on? bread.
nine. best sexual food? i don't have that kind of an imagination, yall, and i'm alright with this.
ten. best-tasting drink in the summer? coca-cola.
eleven. best-tasting drink in winter? hot chocolate.
twelve. best food for a night out with friends? a variety of appetizers. finger foods. fried things.
thirteen. best foods to eat with a roll? luby's fried fish, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes.
fourteen. messiest food? barbecue.
fifteen. easiest food to prepare? bagels.
sixteen. cheapest food you ever ate? ramen.
seventeen. most expensive food you ever ate? stuffed flounder.
eighteen. stinkiest food you ever ate? oysters.
nineteen. favorite dipping sauce? chic-fil-a.
twenty. best pizza topping? hamburger and bell peppers.
twenty-one. favorite potato chip flavor? regular lay's or ruffles potato chips.
twenty-two. most toxic substance you ever ate? glue.
twenty-three. most calories you ate in one meal? gino's pizza. i don't remember how much but it was A LOT.
twenty-four. favorite soda? coca-cola.
twenty-five. favorite flavor of juice? cranberry (probably because i like the coca-cola a little too much, and subconsciously my body is saying bitch, please.)
twenty-six. favorite vegetable? green beans.
twenty-seven. favorite fruit? blackberries.
twenty-eight. worst canned food? spam.
twenty-nine. best side dish? macaroni and cheese.
thirty. worst fast food restaurant? long john silver's.
thirty-one. best restaurant? the republic grille. (yall probably thought i was gonna say pappadeaux's, didn't you?)
thirty-two. best-smelling food? blueberry muffins.
thirty-three. favorite appetizer? cheese and crackers.
thirty-four. favorite cookie flavor? ranger cookies
thirty-five. favorite cake flavor? chocolate.
thirty-six. favorite pie flavor? blueberry banana cream pie.
thirty-seven. chocolate or rainbow sprinkles? rainbow.
thirty-eight. ketchup or mustard? ketchup.
thirty-nine. best food to have on a date? the kind that i don't get all over my face.
forty. most shareable food? cookies.
survey found here.

stuck on you: where there is love there is life

December 6, 2016


about a month ago, i drove into west houston to attend an author event at blue willow bookshop, which is probably where i should buy all my books but driving from the woodlands to memorial city sucks ass (i usually take ninety-nine which means i'm spending money to drive on a road not funded by my tax-payed dollars, and then i have to get on interstate ten which is the devil's freeway: the stretch from ninety-nine to six is like the third layer of hell, six to the sam houston tollway's the fourth, toll to chimney rock's the fifth, chimney rock to loop six ten is the sixth, loop to shepherd's the seventh, shepherd to forty-five's the eighth, and then you're in it... the ninth layer of HELL), really, so... and i forget i could just call them and say ship it to me... because barnes and nobles is closer and there's this computer right here...

anyway... i drove into west houston to hear gayle forman talk and get a signed copy of her latest, leave me. while waiting, kept finding things to buy, and so i left with a bag of books instead of the one.

and the one i liked most of those purchased that day is stuck on you: one hundred forty quirky love quotes that stick in your memory and on your stuff. (it's in the bag, the brown and pink one on the left.) on the cover are the words where there is love there is life. i picked it up and flipped it open and landed on these quotes:

the deeper your scars, the more room there is to fill them up with love (daniel chidiac).

i have found that if you love life, life will love you back (arthur rubinstein). 

i had to buy it. i have to remember to fill the scars with good things. because i so often forget to do this.

so... a few of the good things:

great mystery, teach me how to trust my heart (lakota prayer).

if grass can grow through cement, love can find you at every time in your life (cher).

you are a conductor of light (sir arthur conan doyle).

oh, what a beautiful season... for some

i used to love this time of year. like really love it. like, i'd decorate my room and have my christmas shopping done before thanksgiving and have all my presents wrapped before mom had even rearranged the den to make room for and set up the tree. christmas was my favorite holiday. not because i got presents, though, i'll admit, i'm a greedy wench who likes getting a whole lot more than giving. and i like giving quite a bit. but because i believed it brought out the best in everyone.

i used to love it. i used to think it was the most magical time of the year, and that's what made it wonderful.

and then the magic began to fade. years went by and i'd face yet another holiday season as a single woman. i've never been in love at christmas time. i'm watching all these damned hallmark movies, and i love a lot of them. i used to believe in their possibilities, but they're just stories to me now.

christmas decorations didn't go up until the day after thanksgiving. and then that friday became black friday. and then thanksgiving became black thursday. and shopping centers put up their decorations and stores began advertising their holiday sales before halloween. the way we draw this season out now... if a little christmas spirit's good, a lot of it must be better, right? all that does is make me aware of what i lack, make that period last that much longer.

so there's no man for me. fine. the only reason i want one anymore is because every now and then i think it must be really nice to be held, to have someone hold onto you. other than that, meh. seems more of a hassle, really, to have a relationship than not. i'm well aware of the perks of the single life, and the last man i dated made me appreciate those perks a hell of a lot more than i'd ever done before.

my brother's been gone now for thirteen years. i don't get to find the perfect plaid button-down for him anymore. i don't get to hear him tease me about how he's found me the perfect present. i don't get to argue with him over why that ornament shouldn't be hung in that spot. i don't get to harass him about getting his lazy ass out of bed christmas morning so we can open our presents. but there's also... i don't get to worry that he won't live to see christmas morning, like i did that last one he was with us. i don't have to see my mother worry. not about that.

now i get to see her worry about her heart, and how it's not beating right. i get to worry that something awful will happen between now and christmas day, and she won't be with us. she spent this past weekend in the hospital. they put her under friday and tried to shock her heart back to a regular rhythm. i spent that day praying she wouldn't die. i spent the next one berating myself because i should've prayed that the procedure would've worked. i spent that weekend praying she would come home. i miss the times we spent at our cabin in colorado making paper chains and popcorn ornaments. i miss the innocence of the days of her playing her old holiday vinyls, like the new christy minstrels' merry christmas! album. that one had been my favorite. she put that one on thursday morning, december first. that night, my father was telling me about the procedure she was having the next day, and the first words out of my mouth were, could it kill her? i hate that that's the question i thought to ask. that i had hurt him in asking it. i hate that i had to prod her to write down her wishes for her funeral services just in case. hate that my brother's death has since forced me to be so damned practical.

i hate that my other brother's children are in mississippi. that we don't get to spend christmas with them this year. fine. we'll celebrate christmas again a few days later.

but mostly, i hate how selfish people are, how pushy they've become. how when i'm standing in line at hobby lobby to buy the frames my mother requested for the photos she wants to give my cousins' wives, the woman behind me has to keep inching forward because she's in that much of a hurry to buy her four rolls of wrapping paper. that i can't hold my ground and stand before the clerk who's ringing up my purchase, that i've to step further and further away from the clerk because the customer is crowding me. how when i say, i've moved three times for you; can you please stop?, she has to insist she's nowhere near me. i hate that i can't see that. that she's taking up so much room in my vision, i've lost all concept of everything else. that i can't just wait the handful of seconds it would've taken for the clerk to finish ringing me up before i explode and embarrass myself. that i've made others' shopping experiences unpleasant and the clerk's day that much more difficult because they've had to witness my kind of crazy. that all this grief boils over into my hollering at the customer that that may be enough room for you, but it's not for me because i can't see! i know i've ranted about this a lot. i hate that i can't make people understand how terrifying that can be for me. the picture on wikipedia's post about depth perception? if i were walking down that street, it'd look as flat to me as it does to you in that photo. that's how my vision works. i don't have a front and back, a near and far. i've a top and bottom, a right and left. all the cues mentioned on that page are crucial, vital to my ability to judge my place in my surroundings, and if too many of those are compromised because someone's standing in too close a proximity, i could lose it.

every time i go out, i risk that. i'd managed to be kind to everyone that day (except for when i was driving, but they're not hearing me bitch, so that doesn't count). i'd managed this for hours. i was at my second-to-last stop. i'd begun to think i was gonna get through the day without incident.

i had to put myself in time out after that. i drove to pappadeaux's and had a few cups of chamomile tea and carried on with my day. when i got home, i helped mom, who'd come home from the hospital the day before (thank god), get some of the christmas decorations out while we watched a hallmark movie. how ironic is it that the one she picked was about a boy who needed a heart transplant?

i hate that i've come to hate this time of year. i miss the days when it was magical. i wish it could be so again.

book challenge by erin

December 2, 2016




five points: freebie – read a book that is at least 200 pages. thirteen reasons why by jay asher.
ten points: read a book that starts with the letter w. we are okay by nina lacour.
ten points: read a book with six words in the title. i was told there'd be cake by sloane crosley.
fifteen points: read a book that has a (mostly) green cover. twenty wishes by debbie macomber.
twenty points: read a book with a homonym in the title. the twelve days of dash and lily by rachel cohn and david levithan.
twenty points: read a book by your favorite author. my true love gave to me: twelve holiday stories edited by stephanie perkins and featuring a short by rainbow rowell.
twenty-five points: read a book set in the city/town/state... where you live. the jealous kind by james lee burke.
thirty points: read a rory gilmore book. the divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood by rebecca wells.
thirty points: read a book from a genre you’ve never or rarely read. the shack by william p. young.
thirty-five points: read a book with time travel. life after life by kate atkinson.

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the fall film challenge recap


one. about adolescence. the outsidersi know i should've loved this one. god knows it has an incredible cast, and the story's a school-read staple. but... meh.

two. about a character's rebirth or rite of passage. a guide to recognizing your saintsit's a rough one. it's well done. it's not one i ever want to watch again.

three. about a comic book character. deadpool. see monday's post.

four. shot or set in washington, d.c. jason bourneMEH. i've liked every other bourne film. this one was shit.

five. set in an academic environment. cluelessmeh.

six. about failure. take this waltzmy biggest issue with this film is that its ending is like the villain who can't die. there was a pretty perfect place to stop it, which would've made me like the story a hell of lot more, but no... thirty more minutes of failure. i think michelle williams is adorable. i liked that seth rogen wasn't over the top. the other guy's cute. i wanted to like their characters but couldn't.

seven. about a man vs. god or gods. the trojan womenah, the greeks. they really knew how to wreck the human spirit. all this tragedy over a woman. all this tragedy, really, because zeus got bored with mankind and decided they should just obliterate each other. so we've katharine hepburn, genevieve bujold, vanessa redgrave and irene papas, which i love. we've LOTS of ranting and raving, lots of scenes that feel better suited for the stage than cinema, which i don't love. i think what i love most about this film is that some of that ranting and raving (and trust me, these chicks are completely justified for that), are some beautiful, poignant lines. yeah, maybe some of it's over the top. but i felt myself tearing up a number of times.

eight. about a man vs. himself. the big chilllove the cast. love the music. liked the story well enough.

nine. about an invention or an ingenuous individual. flash of geniusthis one was SO hard for me to watch. i can't tell you how strong the impulse was to turn it off after having seen maybe twenty minutes of it because it made me angry for so many reasons. the last twenty minutes or so were okay. bah. the man's plight is significant, for sure, and worthy of his efforts. but five minutes of reading about it on wikipedia is enough of an education.

ten. set in a jail or prison. american history xi've known i needed to see this film since its release but haven't wanted to watch it because of how heavy i knew it would be. and i was right about that. i cried in the end. i hate how horrible we can be to each other, and this is a damned fine depiction of that.

eleven. about a dog. red dogit's slow at the beginning, but it gets good about halfway through. i liked it.

twelve. about loss. truly madly deeplyi love just about everything starring alan rickman, but this one not so much. it's a great idea for a story, but the performances didn't do much for me--even rickman's. i didn't like it until the last fifteen-twenty minutes.

thirteen. about man vs. man. unbrokengod, it is LONG, and i'm sure this is intentional. yes, the man's an inspiration. yes, his strength is superhuman. yes, the story is remarkable and fantastic and good... every positive adjective you can find works here. but the film itself... bleh.

fourteen. about man vs. nature. deepwater horizonsee monday's post.

fifteen. one that has a monster or monstrous individual. the hobbit: the desolation of smaugso the first of the hobbit films bored the HELL out of me, and i didn't give a rats ass about watching the rest of'm because of that, but also because it's one book that's been broken into three movies and that trend needs to DIE. NOW. this category, though, i don't like monster movies. AT ALL. so i figured i'd watch this one, and i am SO GLAD i did because luke evans is a handsome lad. and this one's MUCH better than its predecessor.

sixteen. shot or set in pennsylvania. flashdancelet's ignore the fact that a) i'm jealous as hell that any girl could have a figure like the chicks in this flick AND be so limber; b) let's also ignore the fact that every time i saw michael nouri, i thought ZIVA'S DADDY. it's ninety-five minutes long, which part of me liked because, hey, films are never so short anymore. but this one glossed over all the things that would've made me like it (like my writing critique group likes to say i gloss over all the things that would make them like my story more, so that's probably why it's in my head). she's cute. it's predictable as shit. i liked it, but i've NO desire to see it again. (and i'm a girl who can watch a movie DOZENS of times, so that should tell you something).

seventeen. about a character's quest of some kind. the hobbit: battle of the five armiesbetter than the first hobbit. not as good as the second one.

eighteen. about a character who goes from rags to riches. joysee monday's post.

nineteen. about a man. vs. society. alliedBLECH. don't bother. seriously. it's shite.

twenty. originally released in the thirties. mr. deeds goes to towni liked it.

twenty-one. about undesirable individuals or elements. ghostbustersentertaining. spectacular, but more because it's a spectacle than because it's superb. i actually liked melissa mccarthy, and that NEVER happens. kate mckinnon and leslie jones were good. kristen wiig is typical. also... chris hemsworth. he's pretty. :] so were the special effects.

twenty-two. about a voyage and return. the martian. it's better than i expected. i can't say i loved it, though. it's good. i liked damon's character a lot.

twenty-three. about wizards or witchcraft. fantastic beasts and where to find themsee monday's post.

twenty-four. originally released in the sixties. tom jones. holy crap. HOLY CRAP. i could NOT WAIT for this one to be over.

twenty-five. about a yearning or obsession. hugopretty like a child's storybook. the first half or so is SLOW. wish jude law'd had more screen time. if you can hang through the first, the finish is good.

twenty-six. big stone gapit's cheesy as heck -- like where the heart is kind of cheesy. i don't know that i could recommend it, but i didn't mind watching it.

twenty-seven. concussioni agree with andrea, who said, been meaning to watch this one for awhile now. it moved slowly, but interesting subject matter.


twenty-nine. hacksaw ridgesee monday's post.

thirty. lovingsee monday's post. also, watch this interview. this one, by the way, was my favorite of my selections.

thirty-one. remember the titanssee monday's post.

thirty-two. the thirty-threeit's well-done, save for the fact that after being buried for some sixty days the men are fairly clean-shaven. that's probably a petty thing. of the roles i've seen of antonio banderas', this one's probably the best. i enjoyed the performances of quite a few in the cast.

andrea: FIFTY. finished original list october second. finished BONUS list october thirty-first.
christina: FIFTY finished original list october seventh. finished BONUS list october thirty-first.
christine: FIFTY. finished original list september twenty-second. finished bonus list november twelfth.
me: thirty-two. finished original list november twenty-fifth.
alyson: twenty-five. finished original list september twenty-second.
dani: twenty-five (six titles from bonus list).
kathryn: nineteen
brianne: nine
michael: nine
sabrina: nine
lauren t.: eight
erin: seven
stephanie: seven
cassie: four
cherie: four
audrey: one
lauren h.: one

not quite like last year's in that i had more people complete the regular round, but what i love is that two of these gals knocked out both the regular and bonus rounds by halloween. that impresses me.

and in case you missed it, i finished this fucker and then some. :]

ten things to celebrate in december: a scavenger hunt

December 1, 2016

it's ten this time because a) time, b) money and c) it's my bloggy and i can if i want to. mental floss compiled a list of fourteen days to celebrate in december. i'm using some but not all because of the aforementioned reasons. if you choose to blog about this, photos are required, but they don't have to be selfies (see reason c). you can do them in any order you'd like. they do not have to be tied to their day. you've until december thirty-first to complete this thing.

one. december first. national pie day. also national eat a red apple day. buy, or if you're feeling especially awesome, bake an apple pie and take it to the servers of a favored restaurant. they bring you food and drink at your beck and call. be sweet and bring them some treats.

two. december second. national salesperson's day. i've done more than my share of time in retail hell. i know how dreaded this time of year is for the gals behind the counter. when you're out shopping for those special gifts, ask an associate what a good pick-me-up would be. what can you do to put a bright spot in her day? chances are good it'll be a simple as a cup of starbucks or, in the case of one of my manager friends, a route forty-four diet coke from sonic with hardly any ice in it.

three. december fifth. bathtub party day. things are about to get crazy, yeah? or maybe they've done so already? all the shopping and the baking and the trimming of the tree... treat yourself to a time out. snag a favored scented shower gel from bath and body works (or wherever you go for that stuff... i'm partial to bodycology's white gardenia, which can be found at the grocery store for like four bucks), pour a glass of wine, put on some music or listen to a bit of an audio book you've been dying to read but haven't had the time. give yourself a blessed hour. your family will probably thank you for it.

four. december sixth. st. nicholas day. surely you know a nick or a nicholas (or maybe a nicole?). take some time out of your day to send a special note to that person. 'tis the season...

five. december tenth. nobel prize day. here's a list of the laureates in literature. choose one and share a line or two from a work you admire.

six. december twelfth. poinsettia day. pick up one of these gorgeous creations and take it to a friend you've not seen in some time.

seven. december thirteenth. national cocoa day. take a breather from the christmas shopping. treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate.

eight. december fifteenth. cat herders day. surely you know someone who's got one too many cats in his or her house. and surely those cats are wreaking havoc on the christmas decor. find a cute cat card and send it their way. they may be needing the reminder of why they love the things right about then.

nine. december twenty-first. winter solstice day. the longest night of the year. the hardest time of the year for some. there are those who are grieving. there are those who are in the throes of some pretty wicked depression, and this time of year is NEVER good for them. find a way to bring them some warmth, to shed some light. check with your local service organizations and see what you can do to help those in need. take some flowers to a senior living facility. treat a friend who may be grieving to lunch or a movie. or just sit with them for a while. listen.

ten. december twenty-eighth. national card playing day. we spend so much time on our phones or sitting at computers being "sociable". try getting a group of friends together for a game of hearts or spades, uno, skip-bo or phase ten. turn the television off. sit at a table and enjoy each other. have a game night. unwind.