The Sunday Salon ~ In THIS Corner, Wearing the Blue Trunks…

The Sunday Salon.com

And now for a mostly video Sunday Salon… Well, we did read Fruits Basket, volumes 1 and 2 this week… So now for some fun stuff.

We went for a walk out in the gorgeous day yesterday… it was a little on the warmish side, but not too bad.  We decided to go to Hardee’s for supper and took Missy with us…

Right now, Missy is sitting by me in her bed with her ears cocked up and a very excited look on her face (and a tail that’s going 30 miles a minute 😉 

On a normal walk to Hardee’s, we walk the main streets, but with Missy in tow, we have to walk down what we call Ex-Lax Alley.  There are about 6 or 7 dogs in the yards on that alley, and Missy gets so excited that she never makes it out without… erm, “Paying the TOLL.” 

Missy’s very interested down there in her bed… I should cam her when one of these vids are on.  The dog in the next vid, I think, is a boxer or a pit.  He’s gotten out a couple times and is fairly good natured.  I still pick up Missy and carry her when he gets out, though.  Nice doggy though he may be, she’d still just make a two-bite brownie for him!

and the next video is a group of dogs that Missy USED to be friends with…. apparently they’ve had words and are now Frenemies or something…

It was surprising to me that they were no longer doggy-pals.  She’s either getting crotchety in her old age (all of 4, I think) or the dogs just don’t like her no  more, but she’s running out of pals!  Just the Jack Russell next door, named Spike, and that’s it.  Poor sad lonely friendless Missy 😦

LOL.. and NOW, as we were almost to Hardee’s, I was telling Maggie about how many views Missy’s videos have gotten compared to theirs… a fact that she firmly believes is Gwen watching them 500 times.  I joke around with Maggie, who’s the youngest, that Missy is, IN FACT, my baby and that the dog is my favorite “child.”  Maggie always play-fights with me and Missy when I say it, and this time Gwen had to chime in with her two-cents.  Maggie gave it back to her with interest! (It’s all play and fun, btw, no one got hurt).

And then we made it to Hardee’s, got our food and went home.  The End.  LOL.. I did have a vid of Missy getting her food, but my messy dining room was visible in the background so I deleted it.  She loved her food, though, and ate it with great relish.

And now… off to make supper.  Maggie has requested Meatloaf.  Yum!

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Fruits Basket Volume 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket volume 2 by Natsuki TakayaTitle:  Fruits Basket volume 2

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Softcover:  200 pages

ISBN:  1591826047

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…
And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have been opened to a world of magic and wonder. But with such a great secret comes great responsibility. When her best friends Hana-chan and Uo-chan come to the Sohma house for a sleepover, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the “Cat” in the bag and the “Dog” on a leash.

Mags and I started to read just a chapter or so last night and, before we knew it, there was one lonely chapter left.  The clock read 12:30 am, and we had church to go to, so we saved those last few pages for today.  Okay, the cover has Yuki Sohma on it, aka Prince Charming, Prince Yuki, Rat Boy and Damn Rat (the last one is Kyo’s pet name for him), and Maggie’s lip marks have permanently tarnished Sohma-kun’s face.  She’s eager for us to finish with book three, which has Kyo on the cover, so she can kiss all over him, too, and then make book 2 and book 3 fight over book 1.  What a deal, not only do we get books to read, but they’re dolls and action figures, too.  LOL!

So book 2 picks up after Tohru’s been staying… or shacking up as her aunt and cousins call it… with Shigure, Yuki and Kyo, and in this book her two best friend’s Hanna (she has electrowave powers) and Uo (who used to be a Yankee, which is like a gang girl, I guess) come for a sleep over.  This can prove disastrous if the guys aren’t careful, since an embrace from the opposite sex, accidental or on purpose, can cause them to transform into their zodiac animal.  Also in this book is a cross-dressing Yuki, a half-German boy who likes to wear girls clothes (Yuki was coerced, Momiji dresses that way because he likes to look pretty), New Year’s banquet, and Tohru is summoned to the Sohma estate to meet with Hatori, the one who erases people’s memories when they find out about the Sohma family curse.  Lots of sugar and love from Tohru and lots of animosity and rancor back and forth between Yuki and Kyo, with a smattering of perv-ishness from Shigure.

Oh yeah… and a herd of cats.

If you want to watch the whole vid, it’s cool. The song’s great, Mags and I will randomly sing it without realizing it… occasionally at the same time, weird. But the parts I’m after is from 2:29 to 4:58, OR for an even shorter snippit, 3:29 to 3:46 for just the “Kyo and the herd of cats” part.

Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket 1Title:  Fruits Basket Volume 1

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  1591826039

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home.  Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.  Discover for yourself the Secret of the Zodiac, and find out why Fruits Basket has won the hearts of readers the world over!

First off, a caveat:  This is my first manga, and my first review of a manga book.  I’m not exactly sure how one writes a review for manga.  I could read a bunch of reviews then write it, but I’d probably end up regurgitating what I’ve read, then.  I don’t even know if the title is supposed to be italicized like novels, and can’t exactly use a quote from the book since it uses pictures to tell the story.  But, here goes….

I first heard about Fruits Basketfrom a friend who said his niece loved it.  I’d been circling the manga pool and dipping my toe in every time I went to the book store, but had not as yet jumped in.  I’d also been sampling anime with Maggie, and so I thought this series would be a great place to start.  This book was originally published in Hane to Yume magazine in 1999.  It was finally published in English in 2004 by TOKYOPOP (if you click the link, you can read the first chapter online).  It is also a 26-episode anime series, AND an online petitionpleading FUNimation to make a second season of the show (I’ve signed, btw 😉 )

So, right from the start, I know I’m going into a beloved series and am fairly safe in thinking I’ll like it, which, of course, I did.

The story is about how orphaned Tohru, who has never fit in anywhere, comes to stay with the Shigure, Yuki and Kyo Sohma, members of a family who suffer from a strange curse that transforms them into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  It’s a book about transformations, both the humorous, and often inconvenient, physical transformations of the Sohmas themselves (and embarrassing, especially since transforming back to human form renders them naked).  It’s also about how Tohru’s kind and quiet spirit affects them, causing them to mature and let go of some of their anger and bitterness, and to grow in affection and acceptance of one another.

Maggie’s Review:

I really love-love-LOVE Fruits Basket!  Yuki and Kyo are cute and it’s so funny when they fight.  Yuki’s mysterious and it’s funny when Kyo gets mad (which is all the time) and gets cat ears, eyes, teeth and tail and hisses at Yuki.  I like the whole Zodiac thing.  It’s funny, especially when Shigure is acting like a pervert 😀  Kagura is CRAZY!  She’s in love with Kyo, and she shows it by destroying him and beating him up and flipping him through the wall.  One thing I did NOT like about it is that it’s got a lot of cuss words in it.

Maggie is funny, she says she doesn’t like the cuss words, but she sure does laugh a lot at them.  BTW, the cuss words used are Damn, Dammit, and Bitch and Bastard are used once in the second book when Kyo and Uo are playing a card game (both have anger issues).  No F-bombs, or other strong words are used.  The books are labeled for teens, which I didn’t catch until after she’d watched the whole anime series, read book one and got halfway through book two. 

and now, a few moments of love’s reflection by Kagura Sohma 😀

and, after writing this, I realized that, technically, Vampire Kisses:  Blood Relativeswas my first “manga,” though it’s not really manga because it reads like a normal American book, not right to left.  It’s the right-to-left reading of FB that’s made it so dificult for Mags to read on her own.  I’m sure a few books in and she’ll be okay.  Also, since she won’t let me put FB on BookMooch or PBS… she’s already made off with the book… I guess she’ll be re-reading it on her own, which should help her manga-reading abilities.

Well, off to Hardee’s for dinner and to finish up FB vol 2 😀

I Love You GWEN COOPER!

Okay, I had to HAD TO blog this.  Wendy from Musings of Bookish Kitty talked about the book Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper yesterday

Amazon.com Review
Book Description
Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens…

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

In her blog post, The Spoiler Odyssey (Well, Sort Of), Wendy relayed the humorous details of her quest to know whether the cat Homer suffers or dies before deciding to read it.  She put forth the question in her online reading group with some interesting results (go and read it, it’s quite a fun post 😉 ).

I commented:

I have the book on my ARC-alanche pile, and I’m dying to get to it. My middle daughter’s name is Gwen and she loves cats, so she wants me to read it to her (she’s special needs and reads at about a 2nd-3rd grade level)….

and was surprised to receive an email from Wendy forwarding the author’s comment offering to send a finished copy of the book as well as an audio book for my daughter, adding “What’s not to love about another Gwen who loves cats??? 🙂 ”  It is such an absolutely sweet and wonderful thing for her to do, and I got a little lumpy in my throat reading it.

Here’s Gwen in her first video appearance after I read her the comments:

I Love you, GWEN COOPER!! and Wendy for letting me know 😉

Summer Blahs and Distractions… and a new computer doesn’t help!

Yeah, I’ve seen a few of you expressing this same thing.  Just a general sense of blah and a disinterest in anything.  Maybe it’s the heat, it’s baking our brains -though, it’s been unseasonably mild here, so I can’t use that as an excuse!  I just can’t seem to focus or concentrate on reading.  I just can’t seem to bring myself to caring about anything.  I turn on the tv and fall asleep.  I start reading a book and space out.  The house looks like a tornado went through, but I just step over the messes.

Here’s the thing.  I was feeling a bit blah-like before I got the computer, but since then, I’ve been 10 times worse.  I suddenly realized yesterday when I forgot to get up and wake up my daughter for her summer club that maybe I’ve been on Facebook playing the games a little too much.  Yeah, okay… so I didn’t go to bed for three days playing online stuff, is that a bad thing?  LOL…

Well, at least it didn’t take five or six months to realize maybe I was spending too much time online, you know.. like it did with SecondLife.  And we all need a break from the everyday, right?  Okay, so break’s over.  Time to get back in gear.  First up, cleaning the house before FEMA steps in.  I did mow yesterday, so that’s good, right?  Or was it the day before yesterday… 

I did manage to finish reading Fruits Basket volume 1yesterday.  I was trying hard to wait until I wrote the review before going on to volume two, but… halfway into the second book now, and I think I’ll give up that plan… LOL.  Maggie made me read it!

Speaking of Maggie, she has a friend spending the night tomorrow, and she’s been involved in a play with the summer reading program at the library for which her performance is tomorrow evening.  She’s excited, of course, and is happier that her best friend will be there than she is about my going.  And Maggie starts summer school on Tuesday, which will set me back into a schedule again.  Yay for routines!

Maggie with an Airhead tongue

Maggie showing off her long Airhead tongue

Coming soon, I promise… a review of Fruits Basket volume 1 with Maggie’s guest review, too.  She made me read it, I swear!  She may look sweet, but you should see her claws!

My First Wordless Wednesday :-)

Birthday pancakes ala Maggie :-)

Birthday pancakes ala Maggie 😀

Sookie Manga Undiscovered Skanks Strike at Random!

 grave

Okay, so I’ve decided to give in and join Beth Fish Read’s The Sookie Stackhouse Challenge.  It would seem that I’m going to buy the books anyway… lol, even though I told myself I wanted to wait to see if I LIKED the first book first, I went ahead and bought the second book.  So I’ll “goat head” as my mom always said,  and join the challenge.  There doesn’t seem to be any specific number for this challenge other than to read the books, so for now, I’ll just start off with the two on Mt. TBR.

 

 

  1. Dead Until Dark  
  2. Living Dead in Dallas

I’ve also got True Bloodseason 1 in my Netflix queue, but I’m waiting to read the first book before getting them.  I may be a little late to this ball, but I wanted to be sure.  Funny, I’ve gone from scairt to join any challenges to being in five?  Does the CDC know how contagious reading challenges are?  What are they doing to help the victims?  😀

manga challenge smallAnd, I found a Manga Challenge at Rhinoa’s Ramblings… Yay!  LOL.. Now, if you told me this time last year that, not only would Ibe reading manga, but that I’d be joining a whole challenge devoted to it, I would’ve quit reading altogether.  Funny how you can change in just a year. 

The challenge is simple, just read 6 mangas in 2009.  I don’t know if graphic novels are included in that, but since it’s a manga challenge, I’ll just stick with them.  My list for the challenge is:

  1. Fruits Basket, volume 1by Natsuki Takaya ~ I’m almost done with it already, and I have volumes 2-5 coming in the mail.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and it seems the only book I can focus on right now,  so if I’m not careful, I’ll end up just reading them and ignoring all the rest of the books I’m suppose to read.
  2. Death Note, volume 1by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
  3. Psychic Academy, volume 1by Katsu Aki
  4. Naruto, volume 1by Masashi Kishimoto
  5. Vampire Hunter D, volume 1by Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano, which is still in the mail, but should be here today or tomorrow.
  6. Cowboy Bebop, volume 1by Yutaka Nanten, et al.  It’s not been mailed yet, and I’d actually requested it once before from PBS, but the person never sent it.  So we’ll see if it gets here this time. 

I chuckled at the writing on the cover of Cowboy Bebop, “Done the Right (to left) Way!”  The one obstacle for Mags reading it on her own is the right-to-left, top-down, way you have to read it.  She’s making me read Fruits Baskets out loud to her.  AND I’ll be sooooooo glad to finally get through the mangas PAST the anime series.  Every other page she gripes how the show is better and the book’s inferior.  Bah!  I’ve been secretly reading ahead of her so I can enjoy it… shh, don’t tell!  I actually like the book better than the show, though, I admit, I read it with the voices from the show (and do the voices when reading it to her).

Let’s see… what else….  Oh, I just got an email the publisher that I’ll be getting my copy of Undiscovered Gyrl, and I’m sooooo excited for that!  I’ll probably just drop everything and read it as soon as the packaging is ripped from it.  I don’t get this excited for specific books very often, the last one I read straight from the envelope was Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank!  Hopefully I’m not looking forward to it too much and the only way for it to go is down…

And now, some random things from my digital camera:

These are my gorgeous girls:  Gwen, 15, on the left, Maggie, 10, in the middle, and Sammi, 16, on the right
These are my gorgeous girls: Gwen, 15, on the left, Maggie, 10, in the middle, and Sammi, 16, on the right

 

Demure little Missy.  How could you ever say NO to that face :-)
Demure little Missy. How could you ever say NO to that face 🙂

 and whether it’s the new computer, windows vista or IE 7, there are a few things that just aggravate the crap out of me.  For instance, those two pictures were a trial of patience to get them there.  It doesn’t want to let me SEE what I’m doing in HTML mode, it keeps flipping back to the top.  Some of the blogs won’t stay open for me to leave comments, usually the blogspot ones with the comment box embedded, so I’ve missed commenting on a couple, it seems to do it most to My Friend Amy‘s site.  And it seems to have an issue with doing the open IDs.  I keep having to re-enter “thekoolaidmom” in, until it finally decides publish.  Is this something IE7 related?  *growling sigh of frustration*