Life, Gaming, Depression, Excercise, MARRIED! School…

Well, if you thought I’d fallen off the face of the Earth, I didn’t. Life has been a bit busy for me. I got into playing World of Warcraft, for one. Then I got lazy about writing reviews, though I kept reading. Then I got burned out on reading. Then I lost my home internet. Then I battled some bad bit of depression. Fought my way out of that by excercising and bike riding. While biking, I met a man, who became the most important person in the world to me.

Got MARRIED on March 6th, 2012 (our anniversary is 3-6-12… fun for math geeks :-D )

Been a newlywed since then, so I have to get out of the BED to read a book ;-)

Started back at school and am working at getting a degree in Criminal Justice. So now there’s less time for book-reading.

I’m missing it, though… and writing essays and research papers is reminding me of what I’m missing, so I’m going to try to get back into blogging.  I can’t promise it’ll be all book reviews, though. It may be a bit of everything from marriage, raising kids, school work… books, even, lol.

I might add that WORDPRESS has changed a bit since I last posted.  Not sure if I like it or not.

I promise not to wait another two years and a half to post again ;-)

BTT- The Cold, an Award and a Giveaway!

btt button

The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?

When it’s really cold, I like get into my bed, snuggle up under my warm covers, and then read.  I’m not particular about the type of book, though I don’t think I’d read anything that required me to think.  The problem I have, however, is that I always fall asleep!

read other Booking Through Thursday answers here :-)

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I’d like to say thank you to Reagan at Miss Remmers’ Reviews for my first award for 2010.  It’s quite a lovely award, don’t you think?

Prolific Blogger Award

A Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive… keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.

There are a couple of rules for this award:

  1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
  2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
  3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
  4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.

Miss Remmers’ Reviews is one of the blogs that I first visited during Bloggiesta as part of the comment mini-challenge, and I enjoy Reagan’s posts, especially the Thesis Statement Video, which has the Thesis Statement Rap in it.  LOL! Had to put it in there :-)

Now for my magnificent seven nominees:

Care’s Online Book Club - While Care is currently UNPLUGGED, I enjoy reading her posts, particularly the Virginia Wolf ones (I argue I don’t like stream of conscious, and yet I loved Push.  Maybe I should give Ms. Wolf a shot, since it really was the movie The Hours that made me run from her.)  Looking forward to your return, Blogging Buddy :-)

Wrighty Reads – Debbie has great reviews and I enjoy her “So I was just wondering…” posts.  AND she’s a fellow left-hander ;-)  Lefties RULE!

Unfinished Rambler – Poor Unfinished.  He’s lost his favorite blog home, Humor-Blogs.com, and he’s been going through the various stages of grief about it.  I think he might be at acceptance now, but I’m not quite sure… He’s definitely still snarky about it, but he’s usually snarky anyway, which is one of the things I enjoy about his blogs.  Did you know Elvis is the janitor at his library?  He’s probably too cool for this award, but here it is all the same :-)

Lady Gwyn’s Kingdom - This is a fairly new-to-me blog, but quite enjoyable.  I found it through my Google Alerts.  She had “Reading Challenge” and Welsh on the same page, so Google thought it was the same as “Welsh Reading Challenge”… erm, not quite, but I’m glad for GA’s loose extrapolation, because I would have missed this one.  It’s a lovely blog, playing chamber music while you read reviews of books about Tudors and other royal members behaving badly (and some not so bad, too;-) ), books by Sharon Kay Penman, and you can read about what happened on this day in history, as well.

Reading In Color – Ari is probably another one who is too cool for this award (really, she is, go check her blog out :-) ), but it’s what I’ve got to show my appreciation for what she’s doing, so here ya go.  She’s working with Doret and Laura on a project to find the most diverse YA/MG publishing company, so if you have any ideas, pass it along!

Debbie’s World of Books - This is another great blog I first visited during the Bloggiesta mini-challenge, and I’ve enjoyed ever since.  Great reviews, fun memes, and I love the blog theme (purple’s my favorite color ;-) )

In Spring is the Dawn - Also a Bloggiesta find, Tanabata focuses a lot on All Things Japanese, whether that be in book or movie form, or the traditional music of Japan.  It’s fascinating to learn about translations, and her blog’s layout is fun and beautiful.

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Also, don’t forget to check out my giveaway!  I’m giving away a copy of Push by Sapphire, and the more people sign up, the more prizes!  If 50 or more people enter to win, I’ll add $10 to spend on Amazon.com for the grand prize!

TSS ~ Blindfold the Groundhog! I’m Protesting Winter!

The Sunday Salon.com
Okay, so I’ve had just about enough of this wispy white and cold crap.  I’m not fond of having my breath stolen from my lungs because it’s so cold it’s painful to breathe in at all.  Maybe if I just hibernate for the rest of the winter?  Gah!  I’d still have to go out to get groceries.  Oh, well… I guess it’s either run away to Florida or just suck it up.  Since I don’t have the money for a road trip, I guess that means I’m in for the sucking part.

So, January was a fairly productive reading month.  I finished off eight books, and am about half way through two others.  Since just having year-long goals only made me quick to start and race to the finish, while dropping off the face of the reading world the other five or so months, I decided to post monthly plans to keep me accountable :-)

I was surprised I hit 8 last month, but I need to get that every month if I’m going to accomplish all the challenges I’ve signed up for.  There were two books I had planned to read in January that I didn’t get to, so they go on the top of the list.  Also I have  a blog tour book, so that goes to the top, too.  And I’m doing the Lord of the Rings Readalong, so The Fellowship of the Rings is a topper, too.  LOL, heck, they’re all top books!

Currently Reading:

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl ~ I’m reading it with Magggie, and we’re on page 30.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore ~ Really, I’d only picked this one up because Fire is on my ARC-alanche pile, but I’m completely wowwed by this YA fantasy book!  I only wish I’d read it sooner!

Planed Reading:

The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green by Terra Wellington ~ This is one of the two I’d meant to get to in January.  It was won in the March 2009 ER batch, so I’m needing to get it done this month.

Holy Roller by Julie Lyons ~ The second overdue ER book, I think it’s also a March 2009.

Tainted by Brooke Morgan ~ I’m down for February 24th for the TLC Book Blog tour.  I’m looking forward to reading this one, it sounds intriguing.

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy ~ I have a second book for a giveaway for this one :-)

Strange but True, America by John Hafnor ~ I also have a second book to giveaway on this fun book ;-)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein ~ I’ll probably space this out all month so I can both enjoy it to the most, as well as get it done while reading everything else.

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I also intend to keep up on my Google Reader.  I’ve done really well at keeping it under 100, which I was feeling panicky about that much until Jen and Natasha were laughing at me and wanting to get theirs below 1000.  Okay, I’ll stop stressing because there’s 20 still sitting in my reader… lol.  And I’m trying to post something everyday.  I only missed 3 days in January, and if I can get a few rainy day posts in the can, I should be able to have one everyday.  I’ve been thinking about doing some mini-reviews of books I read before blogging. 

So what kinds of post would you like me to do?  Does anyone miss Viral Video Wednesday?  What are you planning to read in February?

January Wrap-Up

Every month I intend to create a bloggie wrap-up.  I swear to myself I’m gonna do it next month.  Then, the first of the month rolls around and I read Fyrefly’s and DevourerofBook’s, among others, and I say, “Ah CRAP! I forgot to do a wrap-up post!  Dang it!  Okay, I’ll do it next month, I swear…”  And you’ll know how many times I’ve actually followed through on that when I say, “Yay! This is my first monthly wrap-up post!”  LOL.

K, I have ADD bad.  I get distracted so very easily.  Sometimes it’s TV or gardening or doing stuff with the kids, and sometimes it’s computer games like SecondLife or World of Warcraft or the latest, face book apps.  SecondLife pulled me away from everything for about 5 months straight, and now I can’t remember the last time I was on.  With WoW, I’d learned a thing or two from SL, and so I didn’t go so long or so deep, but still I was absent for a while, traipsing through Azeroth.  Facebook games are so getting old, and I’m down to a few that have to be tended daily:  Farmville, the café game and the pet games.  I’m mostly still doing those because my mom is actually on facebook, SHOCK! and the kids play, too, so I play with them.

Where was I even going with that?  Oh, ADD… lol, I swear, that wasn’t on purpose!  Okay, I’m lost now… that was funny, and I laughed, and lost my train of thought.  Oh well, must not have been too important.  That’s why I like to outline things, and why I hate stream of conscious storylines.  I get lost enough in my own thinking, I don’t need to do so in a book!

Moving on…

I decided during Bloggiesta, that the best way to do a wrap-up post was to write it all month long, keeping track of commentors and other things that happen, so I started this post about a week after Bloggiesta, because I got distracted and it took a while to get back to it.  Maybe that’s where I was going with that up there. :-D

Maybe ADD is why I hate long paragraphs?  It feels like being trapped in a room with no windows.  I often skim through the middle of them, or just read the first and last lines of it and move on.

Moving on…

During the Month of January I:

Started my first book challenge, The Welsh Reading Challenge, because I wanted to read more books relating to my own heritage, but needed a little prod to do it and keep on track. The fact people joined the challenge was GRAVY :-)

Joined a total of 13 reading challenges, 11 of which are being tracked on my Reading is Challenging! page, as well as two more at LibraryThing:  The 75 Book Challenge, and the Books off the Shelf ChallengeThe Sookie Stackhouse Challenge was in progress, though I don’t know if I can call it progress, since I have YET to pick up the first book. Actually, I picked it up, read 2 paragraphs, then put it back down… don‘t tell BethFish :-D.  This is the most challenges I’ve ever participated in, and I don’t expect to complete them all, realistically, but I’m hoping!

Spent a total of 21 hours working on blog improvements as part of Bloggiesta.  Thanks, Natasha! And after all the work everyone else did and the mini-challenges I wanted to do but didn’t get to, I now have a longer to-do list than when I started!

Created The Welsh Reading Challenge blog.  After reading how other bloggers who host challenges have found a separate blog is a better way to keep it all organized, I started the blog for TWRC during Bloggiesta, and had it open and ready for visitors about a week later.  We’ve also got a couple sponsors, some mini-challenges in the planning stages and some prizes on the way :-) Too cool!

Started a weekly award called The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact criteria for this, but right now it’s been for people who are doing something to make the world better.  Presenting Lenore received my inaugral award for her International Book Blogger Mentor Program, and She’s Too Fond of Books received the second for her post about Kiva.org and how micro-lending requires so little of us and can make such a difference in the life of someone overseas.

Joined the Tolkein Readalong.  I’ve been wanting to read the Lord of the Rings for a long time, but just needed the push.

Books read and reviewed in January:

Of Bees and Mists by Erick Setiawan ~ A magical and fantastic adult fable about love, self-respect and self-confidence, about doing what’s right and forgiveness.  I gave it 4 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Fruits Basket, Volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya ~ I love the Furuba series, and volume 5 introduced Kisa, the tiger, and Hanajima’s little brother.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted as a food title for my What’s In a Name?3 Challenge, Manga Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland ~ Atrocious, far-fetched and just plain BAD. 2 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge and New Author Challenge.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ~ Filled me with warm feelings of childhood and chocolate, and was a pleasure to read cuddled up with Maggie.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted for The Welsh Reading Challenge.

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr ~ I read this one with Mags, and since it was a re-read for me, I had Maggie sit down and write her first book review.  I did help her with grammer and spelling, but the words and thoughts expressed are totally Maggie… lol… including her expressing how much she disliked having to sit and write a review on a snow day from school when she could be outside playing.  Mags gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  This counted towards my We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge

Islands Apart by Ken McAlpine ~ Interesting reflection on life in our modern world and how our advances in technology are contributing to a decline in interpersonal relationships, as well as a disconnect from nature.  I gave it 4 stars.  This counted for my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge.

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine ~ Reading this felt like a prolonged hug from creepy Uncle Stan at the family reunion, but was a necessary evil.  Still, I stand by my 2.5 rating, which is based more on the writing itself than the book’s subject material.  I wasn’t wowwed by Levine’s writing, though it had some beautiful moments.  This book counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein ~ I finished off this month with a comfort read and old friend.  Even though it was a third read through, not to mention the numberous times I watched the 1977 cartoon of it growing up, it still held my attention and kept me in suspense, a sure sign of a classic book.  5 stars for sure.  This was for the Lord of the Rings Readalong and counts toward my 451 Challenge.

People who Commented:

Bluestocking from The Bluestocking Guide
Kathy at Bermudaonion
Wendy, the Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Anna at Diary of an Eccentric
BethFish at Beth Fish Reads
Kailana at The Written World
Ita
debnance at readerbuzz
Care at Care’s Online Book Club (Hi, blogging buddy!)
Mona Everett
Aarti at B O O K L U S T
Annette
Sally906 at Sally906’s Reading Challenges
Sharon at Ex Libris
Eibhlin
Lynda at Lynda’s Book Blog
Ladybug at Escape in a Book
Aastacia
Amanda at Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit
Susan Evans at Well-Mannered Frivolity
Melanie at Cynical Optimism
Shannon at Flight into Fantasy
Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through Books
Janet at Fond of Snape
Vasilly at 1330v
Snowbell
Jack at Slightly off-center
Debbie at Debbie’s World of Books
Amber at Mommy Mania
Zee at Notes from the North
Meghan at Medieval Bookworm
Gina at BookDragon’s Lair
Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog
Jennie at Biblio File
Amused at Amused by Books
Michelle at Michelle’s Masterful Musings
Rebecca at Lost in Books
Lenore at Presenting Lenore
unfinishedperson at Unfinished Person
Marie at The Boston Bibliophile
Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books
Rhinoa at Rhinoa’s Ramblings
Traci at Traci’s Book Bag
Laza at Gimme More Books!
Grad at The Curious Reader
Sandra at Fresh Ink Books
BookMoot at BookMoot
Jackie at Literary Escapism
Janelle at Brimful Curiosities
Novroz at Novroz’ Life
Jennifer at Rundpinne
DanaB at Windows Wide Open
Nisé at Under The Boardwalk
Alayne at The Crowded Leaf
Violet at Violet Crush
Angie at Annie’s Home
JDaniel4’s Mom at JDaniel4’s Mom
Ann Marie
Joy at Joy’s Blog
Stephanie at Bad Mom
Emerald Yomi at Emerald Yomi
Debbie at Wrighty Reads (go lefties!)
Pippi at Pippi’s Postings
Memory at Stella Matutina
Petunia at Educating Petunia
Sarah at SmallWorld Reads
Lisa at Online Publicist
Myriam Kross
Guatami Tripathy at everything distils into reading
Ariel at Sycorax Pine
Nicole at Linus’s Blanket
Kay at The Infinite Shelf
jo at attalife
Dawn at For the Love of… Eloquence 
Kimberly at A Child of the King!
Mizhelle at Life Can’t Wait
Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations
Keely at The Un Mom
Rebecca Reid at Rebecca Reads
Molly at my cozy book nook
uninvoked at uninvoked 
Stacey at Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife
Lisa at Lit and Life
Vicki at Reading At The Beach
Callista at SMS Book Reviews
Farmlanebooks
Meg at write meg!
Marce at Tea Time with Marce
Jenny F at Have a Happy Day
Irene at Irene’s Desk
Wordlily at Word Lily
Beth at Weavings
Laurel-Rain Snow at Laurel-Rain Snow Creations

And that’s a total of 81 commentors so far (1/25)

Other fun facts:

Kitty Litter Cake (and Cat Litter Cake), Gary Larson (and The Far Side) and qoutes for The Book Thief are the most widely used search terms that bring people by, along with Confessions of a Shopaholic and Vampire Kisses bringing in plenty, too. “erotomania” surprisingly, brings in a fair share. Uh oh, do I have a stalker?

LOTR Readalong – The Hobbit

I love the fantasy genre, have read Paolini, and am absolutely in love with Katsa and Po in Graceling.  I’ve read all the books in The Chronicles of Narnia, play World of Warcraft, and I rather enjoyed Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure.  So when I read about the Tolkein Readalong, I decided to Crash the Unexpected Party.

The Lord of the Rings ReadalongJanuary was the month of The Hobbit with A Striped Armchair.  I got a late start, so I’ve had to hurry a bit to catch up, but I’ve now finished the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It was a re-reread for me, “the third time pays for all”, as Bilbo says, and my last time on the journey There and Back Again was in early 2008, I believe.  It amazes me how this book was still able to keep me in suspense through goblins chasing them, Riddles in the Dark, the sticky troubles in Mirkwood, imprisonment in the wood-elves city, Bilbo’s battle of wits with Smaug the Dragon, and through the final scene of the book, The Battle of Five Armies.  I so love Tolkein, and I seem to forget how much until I read his work.  Next month will be The Fellowship of the Rings with The Literary Omnivore.

So Eva at A Striped Armchair gave us the following questions:

  • Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?
  • Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?
  • Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of the narrator’s voice?
  • Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?
  • Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?
  • Okay, so here we go :-)

    1.  Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?

    I have just finished the book about twenty minutes ago, after tackling it in about 3 days.  I was a bit burned out by the ARCs that I’ve read this month, and desperately need a fun escape in a comfort read and The Hobbit fit that to a T.  I really do hope to take the next books a bit slower, because it gave me a bit of a brain-ache this way.  As always, it lived up to my memories, and I’ve been running over to YouTube to watch the 1977 Cartoon version of it that I watched repeatedly at my parents naseaum as a kid.  What really surprised me was that, even though I know the story, know what all’s going to happen, and know the outcomes, it can still hold me in suspense.  I was biting my nails and flipping pages, even though I knew they were all going to make it through.  Of course, since it was a reread, it was familiar, and maybe it is the cartoon I watched for all those years that makes it a comfort read for me.

    2.  Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?

    I did have trouble in the beginning of the book getting started.  I kept falling asleep.  However, that may have more to do with the fact that I was in a nice, warm bed at 12 o’clock at night, with the audiobook playing as I read along.  There is a reason we read bedtime stories to kids to make them go to sleep, and I can tell you it works on 36-year-old moms just as well ;-)

    3.  Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?

    Well, as I said, I read along with an audiobook, so I didn’t skip the songs this time, but I never skipped them anyway.  I figure Tolkein put them where he did for a reason and read them (sang them, out loud, even if it drew stares) where he plunked them.  It was a bit different hearing them from the audiobook reader, who also sang them, (but with breaks that I didn’t care for) in that his tunes for them was a bit different than the ones I had sung.  Honestly, it would have never occurred to me to skip them.

    4.  What do you think of the narrator’s voice?

    I have always loved the book’s narrator voice, and I’d have to say that I like the audiobook’s narrator’s voice, as well.  I hope he’s doing the next three, as well.

    5.  Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?

    Yes, my book had both the dwarf map of the Lonely Mountain and the moonrunes that Elrond discovered (lol, I can’t read runes, though, so what does that matter?), as well as a broader map that shows the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, and the Grey Mountains, as well as Smaug on the Lonely Mountain.  They’re labelled “Thror’s Map” and “Wilderland”, and I referenced them often, especially the one of Wilderland to get a good sense of the directions they took and how far they travelled.  Like Bilbo, I too LOVE maps!

    6.  Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?

    Ooh, favorites…  I knew this question was coming, so I tried to be prepared, but I just was too into the book to remember to pick them.  Let me see….

    Favorite main character:  Well, of course it’s probably Gandalf.  Do people answer anything else?  Why or how could you have any other favorite than the Wandering Wizard?  Well, maybe Bilbo…  since he is the one about whom the story was written.  Certainly, it can’t be the dwarves, they’re a bunch of pansies who push Bilbo out in front like a Hobbit-shield.  Money-grubbing, short, lazy.. grumble grumble.  I know too many people like them in real life to like them much in the book, especially the pompous, self-important Thorin (though, he does redeem himself in the end).

    Favorite minor character:  Ahh, now this one gives us a much broader choice.  My favorite minor character is, by far, Beorn.  I loved Beorn!  He treats his animals with care and love as if they were his own children, and watches over and guards his friends, too.  Beorn could be called “The Guardian of the Wood”, I think.  And I had forgotten about him until reaching his house after the Eagles had dropped them all at the Carrock.  Beorn has this sense that he could be dangerous (well, and his does transform into a bear, after all), but there’s a gentleness about him at the same time.

    Favorite scene:  My favorite scene had always previously been the barrel-escape scene.  However, this time around, my favorite scene is at the end, when Gandalf and Bilbo begin their journey home, parting company with the elvenking, and Beorn stays with them and protects them.  I don’t know why I’d never paid much attention to him before!

    As for my favorite quote…  There were so many great lines and passages in this book, obviously!  But here’s the one that struck me this time around:

    “The the prophecies of the old song have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” said Bilbo.

    “Of course!” said Gandalf.  “And why should not they prove true?  Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?  You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?  You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

    “Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

    -The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, page 330

     

     I found a deep sense of comfort in this passage this time around, and I’m not exactly sure why.  Perhaps it’s the idea that I myself am “quite a little fellow” (or whatever the term for a girl fellow is) in a wide world, and it’s a comfort to know that it all will turn out okay in the end.  Sometimes it feels like I’m battling the forces of darkness just to raise my kids to be honorable, integral, self-respecting, well-mannered, civilized, law-abiding, good citizens.  And though it would be nice to have a wizard helping me along the way, or a bear-man like Beorn to watch over them when they’re not under my own watchful gaze, it is a comfort to know that there is Someone who does keep them, and all of us, and, though we might not understand the hows and whys, there is a Plan that is being worked out for the good of all.

    This counts toward my 451 Challenge.

    Friday Fill-Ins ~ The LOST Bionic Invisible Blogger!

    fridayfillin.gif

    1. Wouldn’t it be easy _to sneak into the vault at the bank and help myself *sigh* if only I had the power of invisibility_

    2. _Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic blogger. The Kool-Aid Mom will be that blogger.  She will be_ better than ever!

    3. I love the taste of _chicken (don’t EVER EVVVVER Google “I love the taste of” …. EVVVVVER_. you went and did it, didn’t you.  I WARNED you.

    4. _Now that it’s the domain of two teenagers, it looks like a tornado touched down after an industrial accident happened_ in the living room.

    5. The first thing we’re going to do is _get that woman hitting little punk into a sweatlodge and make him sweat out that evil_.

    6. _The cold weather outside makes my nose go_ drip, drip, drip; _could someone tell me where the facet handle is?_

    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _read The Hobbit, work on laundry and start a LOST-a-thon with Mags_, tomorrow my plans include _lunch with the kids and a run to the library, fininshing and reviewing The Hobbit, clean house, and more LOST with Mags_ and Sunday, I want to _hide from Maggie’s dad (he told her he’d be here Sunday, that’s why all the house cleaning), act like I really care what he says, then LOST the rest of the day after he leaves_! (Yes, we are gearing up for the LOST season premiere next week!)

    So, whatcha doin’ this weekend?

    more Friday Fill-Ins here!

    Weird Things From Google Alerts

    Okay, I was listening to Natasha on That’s How I Blog! when my connection, or blog talk’s, not sure, crapped out.  I was going to have to listen to it a second time anyway, since the kids decided to have a screaming match and wanted me to referee.  NOW, now that I’m NOT listening… they’re angels.  Better not type too loud, they’ll be in here fighting and fussing and chasing me off the computer!

    *sigh*

    So, during Bloggiesta, there was a mini-challenge about setting up the Google alerts.  I set up about 4 or 5, and then I get an email once a day with detailed web traffic that used the terms I put in.  So far, most of them link back to either my posts, comments or tweets.  Or they simply link to posts that happened to contain all the words, but not together. “Reading the other team’s stats, the Welsh rugby team has a challenge ahead of them!” has Welsh, Reading, and Challenge, but has NOTHING to do with the Welsh Reading Challenge.  Silver lining, I suppose, I’m learning a LOT about rugby… lol

    But once in a while, it turns up a treasure.  There’s a blog out there named Scaling Mt. TBR and I felt an immediate kinship.  She reads a lot of historical romances and not as many books as I, but we rode the same wavelength.  She even has a Mountain pic in her header, like I do, but hers is massive and snowy and intimidating.  I like my green and trees and lake with the mountain.  There’s LIFE around my books.  I like her pic, too, but I like mine better ;-)

    I’ve also discovered the Welsh Reading Challenge is sponsoring the Left Coast Eisteddfod.  It’s posted on the Hiraeth page, as well as being in a widget, but I didn’t think of it as sponsoring, since I didn’t give money.  I thought I was only spreading the word.  I do support the event, and would go if I could.

    Then there’s Wuthering Expectations.  I had to laugh when I read this:

    As a side note, see here for the brand new Welsh Reading Challenge.  Now we just need an Irish challenge, and a Jersey and Guernsey challenge, a Cornish challenge, an East Anglian challenge, etc., etc.

    I commented that actually, if we just went with Celtic Reading Challenge, it’d take in Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and the rest didn’t matter anyway :-D  I think Care said she’d like a Celtic one, too, so it’d work out.  I want to read Anam Cara (suggested by a good friend), and I could do that with a Celtic challenge.  Ah well, next year…  By the way, Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations is hosting a Scottish Literature Reading Challenge, but I don’t completely understand the instructions.  I do know this, though:  If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

    So, do you use Google alerts?  Anything interesting come up for you?  Have you ever discovered you were linked somewhere and didn’t know it?  Was it a good or bad thing?

    Crashing the Unexpected Party

    In case you didn’t know, I love fantasy.  And before I started blogging, I had read The Hobbit and had started reading The Fellowship of the Ring, put it down to read something else, and forgot to pick it back up.  I’ve been wanting to re-read the first and read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for a bit, but just not done it.  And with all the ARCs, it doesn’t look like something I’m going to just do on my own, at least not this year.

    Tolkein readalongSo when I read BethFish’s Lord of the Ring readalong post the other day, I was reminded I had meant to join in.  But I’m beginning to think that if I don’t say it publically, I’ll forget to do it.  So here’s my public announcement:  I’m doing to the Lord of the Ring’s Readalong.

    I’m joining in halfway through the first month, and am just a little behind on The Hobbit, which is the January book.  Here’s the schedule:

  • January: The Hobbit at A Striped Armchair
  • February: The Fellowship of the Ring at The Literary Omnivore
  • March: The Two Towers here at Shelf Love
  • April: The Return of the King at Just Add Books
  • I think I’ll do a bit of reading before doing an update.. lol, I need to have something to update.  Right now, I’m just listening to the audio book from the library, but I think I’ll probably go borrow the hard copy later.  I seem to get the most out of books when I listen to AND read along with them.  I kinda wish I hadn’t mooched away my copy now.

    So are you doing the readalong? Have you ever read Tolkein?  Have you watched the movies?

    Presenting Lenore ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week

    I’ve been thinking about doing an award of some kind for a while, and just not known what I wanted to do.  I’ve also been wanting to do a “featured link” post every week and share the blogs that I’ve found recently.  So I thought, why not combine the two?

    And so I give you:

    Kool-Aid Mom's Award

    Presenting Lenore

    What’s given me the push to start this now is Lenore of Presenting Lenore’s new The International Book Blogger Mentor Program 2010.  I blogged about her initial announcement last week, and am excited to add that she’s now taking application for Mentors and Authors to share books and experience, as well as for Mentees who are outside the mailing lines to which publishers are willing to send. 

    To be a mentor:

    You must have an active blog that has existed as a book blog for a minimum of one year. You agree to send 2-3 books that were published with a traditional publisher in 2009 or 2010 to an overseas address (if you yourself are located overseas, you may elect to be matched up with someone from your own country, if available). Additionally you agree to look over the recipients reviews of the books and give them advice.

    I can tell you that oversees postage is a little more than to send a card to your momma, but, for the most part, it’s not a bank-breaking expense.  About six or so months ago, I changed my Bookmooch preference to “will send everywhere” and was a little nervous at first, but what I’ve learned is that generally, the postage is about twice that the average domestic rate of $2.80 per book by media mail.  This means it usually costs between $5-$8 for one book and would be around $20 for a one-time shipment of 3 books that I’ve enjoyed to someone who might never be able to get their hands on a copy.  It’s an amazing chance to do something good and to make our great, big world a smaller, friendlier neighborhood.  I can’t wait to see who I’m matched with!

    The Sunday Salon Is Closed? Oh, Noooz!

    The Sunday Salon.com

    Okay, before you get too excited, it’s NOT the whole thing that’s closed or closing, The Sunday Salon is just closed for new membership.

    Let me explain.

    When I started The Welsh Reading Challenge, it was my first book challenge, and I was doing it out of a love for my own heritage as well as giving myself a prod to read those books I’ve really been wanting to, but just not done it.  I hadn’t really expected very many people to join in, though I wasn’t closed to it.  So when a few people joined in, I got excited.  I looked around at everyone else’s challenges, especially those who were finishing up with their firsts and starting their second ones, so I could glean from their experiences.  One thing that was mentioned by a couple was that having a separate blog just for the challenge was a preferable way to keep the challenge better organized and thereby easier to navigate for participants.  So during Bloggiesta I decided to take the big step and give the challenge it’s own space to live and flourish.

    I’ve been working on the challenge’s blog and adding pages and content, as well as beginning to get some offers for prizes (Thanks Ceri at Americymru!).  It’s been a bit of a reading distraction as I’ve been hunting up titles for the suggested reading page and worked a bit on a Welsh culture page called “Hiraeth” (which actually took a lot of reading and exploring).  Even when I have been trying to read, my mind drifts to the challenge and ideas for the blog to make it more fun (Pam at Bookalicio.us made the delicious suggestion of having a Welsh movie mini-challenge and we could sit around and drool over Ioan Gruffudd among others -what others? After she invoked the name of Mr. Fantastic, I was like Homer for donuts!  Mmmm… Ioan.. nom-nom-nom!), as well as informative.  It’s a labor of a lot of love, and even if no one else enjoys it, I do.

    So when I thought about how to do a weekly wrap post to let everyone know what books were read with links to reviews and other Welsh-related stuff, I thought immediately about The Sunday Salon.  It’s a great weekly meme that many bloggers participate in, and the posts are linked through the site, yahoo tubes, as well as tweeted.  I jumped out of bed and ran the five steps to the computer to sign The Welsh Reading Challenge up!

    Imagine my shock when I read this message:

    as of January 3, 2010, we won’t be accepting new members in the Salon.

    You see, apparently this fabulous meme has grown to over 500 blogs and is more than YahooPipes can handle.  LOL!  How fantastic is that?  To think that, right now all over the world, more than 500 people are at this moment writing a post like this one, or thinking about what they’re going to write, or reading other SundaySaloner’s posts after publishing their own.  I don’t know if The Sunday Salon is the largest meme on the Internet, but it’s amazing no matter what.

    So what do you think?  Do you participate in The Sunday Salon?  How does it make you feel to know it’s closed?

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