Thursday, December 30, 2010

A glimpse into my childood...

Forgive my lack of updating this past week. Husband and I went home to Mississippi to spend Christmas with our families. Like I said in my Thanksgiving post, it's such a hard trip for us. It's at least 10 hours (and that's if we hit no traffic at all), and I feel like I never get to spend enough time with my family. My nephew is six months old now and getting so big! He is seriously one of the happiest babies I have ever seen.

I was able to spend a good amount of time with my parents on Christmas Eve. My mom and I made mini Oreo cheesecakes and then we went on a little photo exhibition. What started out as me taking some pictures in the backyard quickly escalated and we went to a few other places to take pictures.

First up are a few photos from their backyard that kind of define my childhood.

My parents built their house shortly before I was born, so it's really the only home I've ever known. He planted a few pine trees in the back yard when they moved in, and I'm always amazed by how much they've grown. I can remember when my mom first told me that trees were alive, I was both confused and amazed. I spent countless hours in this backyard talking to the trees.

I remember playing with pine cones, and having pine cone wars with friends who came over. They hurt!!

Our old swing-set, forgotten to time.

This to anyone else probably looks like garbage. At one point in time it was black and looked like a mini witches cauldron. I spent many hours in the back yard with it making my brew (which usually consisted of pebbles, leaves, pine straw, etc.). I was delighted to see it still hanging on the fence where I last left it 15 years or so ago.

My mom planted this tree when I was little. I can remember it was so tiny. It got run over by the lawn mower a couple of times, I think, but it has thrived and is now a huge, beautiful tree.

My family has a cemetery out in the country and I hadn't been in years. Mom and I got to talking about it and I thought how great it would be to give it a visit and take a few pictures.

Directions to the cemetery.

Most of the people buried here died in the 1800s or early 1900s, though there are some more current headstones.

As you can see, it's not a very large cemetery...

But this is why I love it. It's beautiful out there.

It's become a little overgrown in the years. I can remember being able to see miles and miles of hills through the trees.

After our trip to the cemetery, we went to my elementary school. The county recently built all new elementary schools and are planning on tearing the old ones down. I realize the buildings are old and falling apart, but it breaks my heart. Some of my best memories are in those hallways and classrooms. I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher and teaching there one day. My dad and grandmother went to this school, too.

Where the playground used to be, though they've already disposed of all the playground equipment. Without the swings and slides there, it seems empty and small and sad.

This was one of my favorite spots to play. My friends and I found rocks that would write on the brick like chalk, so we would play teacher a lot. This stairwell holds many memories.

The gym...

Most of my class favorite pictures were taken on this bench.

The front of the school. Many class pictures were taken on these steps.

The school used to house grades 1-12, and my grandmother graduated high school here. Her class put this mosaic tile in front of the school steps.

Me on the steps of the school, one last time before the building is torn down.

Sunday we woke up to... SNOW! It wasn't a big snow or anything, and it didn't stick, but it was so magical to watch it fall on the Christmas decorations. I will forever remember walking across the parking lot into church and seeing the snow fall around me. And how cold my legs were!

After church we went to my grandparent's house for leftovers. My grandfather had told me I had a great-great something (I believe it was four or five greats, I can't remember) grandfather that was buried at a cemetery in town that fought in the Civil War. I had no idea and was very interested to see his headstone. Husband and I looked for about half an hour, but it was so cold and windy we couldn't look for long and we didn't find it. I'll look next time I'm down. We did make a stop by another cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried and visited them. Yes, I know I'm a little obsessed with cemeteries and history and genealogy. I'm okay with that.

Entrance to the cemetery...

Great-grandparents. I felt a little bad for not having flowers or something to leave for them.

I'm so grateful to be able to spend time with my family. And I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful, loving, and supportive family. I don't know what I'd do without them.

My grandparents and me.

My family!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Random Links

Happy Monday, everyone! I don't really have a post planned for today, but I do have some links I want to share of previous posts that I think might interest you over this holiday week. Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe
Turkey recipe
Dressing recipe
Sweet Potato Casserole recipe
Sausage Cheese Balls recipe
Cornbread Muffins recipe
Pecan Pie Recipe
What to do with leftover holiday cards?
My Top 5 Most Hated Christmas Songs
Super Mega New Year's Giveaway (I'm giving away five books!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Books

I keep seeing people posting their "Best of 2010" lists and giveaways, but I'm a glass half full kind of girl (Ha, such a false statement), and I prefer to look to the future. In looking to the future I am greeted by 2011, which will surely be a year of great books, both by debut authors and by established ones. I've composed a list of the books coming out in 2011 I'm most excited about. I'm certain there are some I forgot to include as this last only goes to August, so I'm sure I'll be updating it as the day progresses. The list is in order by release date. Hope you enjoy! What books are you most excited about coming out this year?

Across the Universe
by Beth Revis Releasing January 11, 2011

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver, releasing February 1, 2011

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Angelfire by Courtney Moulton, releasing February 15, 2011.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, releasing February 22, 2011

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Clarity by Kim Harrington Releasing March 1, 2011

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Afterlife by Claudia Gray, Releasing March 8, 2011

The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.

Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano, releasing March 22, 2011

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, Releasing April 5, 2011

Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn’t quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What’s a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day — if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, releasing April 26, 2011

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, releasing July 12, 2011.

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater

In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink, releasing August 1, 2011
(The cover hasn't been officially released by Michelle, so I won't be posting the image here)

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, Releasing August 23, 2010

SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED and FATHOMLESS.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Make Coffee

I'm not meaning to brag (ok, maybe I am), but I am a bit of a coffee connoisseur. I've been drinking coffee since an early age and my only steady job so far in Austin has been as a barista (the people who make your coffee at coffee shops, for those who aren't familiar with that term).

I can remember going on an overnight field trip in 5th grade to Pensacola, Florida. 5th graders are just old enough to pretty much know how to fend for themselves and just young enough to not be able to stay in a hotel room overnight by themselves, so we had a chaperone. Our chaperone, Mrs. Sanderson, got up before we did that morning and made coffee before getting in the shower. She made plenty, so I decided to have a cup while I waited for the bathroom to free up. When she came out of her shower, she freaked out. I remember her screaming, "Oh my gosh! What are you doing? Put that DOWN! You can't have coffee! I'm going to call your mother and tell her you're drinking coffee!" My response was, "Ok, would you like her phone number?" So I'm not exactly sure at what age I started to drink coffee, but I know it was before I was in 5th grade. With all that being said, I thought I'd share my coffee knowledge with my lovely readers!

Hardware you'll need:

1. Coffee Pot
-Take your drip coffee pot (which is like the Hello Kitty one pictured above)and throw it in the garbage. No, I am not kidding. I have owned quite a few drip coffee makers in my day and they either don't work properly or don't make a good cup of coffee (yes, most of my coffee pots were pink, don't judge me). Instead, invest in a French Press, like this guy. I'm searching for a pink French Press, so for now I have a model similar to this from Ikea. Bodum is the better brand, but if you're strapped for cash a cheaper model will work just as well with some adjustments.

2. Water
-If you have very good tap water, you're welcome to use it. Mine isn't horrible, but I can taste the difference between tap and filtered. If you wouldn't drink your water from the tap, why are you making coffee with it? Did you know coffee is around 98% water? I always use filtered water when making coffee or tea.

3. Beans
-If you have a coffee grinder, grind only the amount of beans you need for the pot you're making. If you don't have a grinder, you can go to your local coffee shop and buy beans there and they'll be happy to grind them for you, or you can even do it at your grocery store. Remember to keep them in a dark, cool (not in your freezer or fridge!!!) place in an air tight container. The shelf life of fresh ground coffee is only around 7 days but I usually go through about a bag a week anyway. Also an important note about beans when using a French Press: when you French Press your coffee it makes it a bit stronger than normal coffee (due to grind, which I'll get to in a sec). If you like a medium roast you may want to start out with a lighter roast to see how well you can adjust before going back to your normal blend. Different coffee pots and coffee filters require different grinds of coffee beans. If you have an espresso maker you'll want a very fine grind. However since we're doing our French Press method, you'll need a very coarse grind. The more coarse the grind, the longer it takes for water to get through meaning you'll have a bit of a stronger flavor than if you used a regular drip coffee maker. Still with me?

Now that we've gotten all those steps out of the way, the following steps are how to actually make your coffee.

1. Water
-Warm your water in a kettle (or in a pot if you don't have a kettle) on the stove until just before boiling. My kettle makes a funny noise before the water comes to a boil, so that's how I know. If it's a little boiling that's fine, you just don't want a roaring boil.

2. The French Press
-If you have a cheaper model French Press like me, you'll want to warm it before you actually put your hot water in it. I know it sounds a bit weird, but think about it: You're putting hot water into a very cool vessel, it's not going to stay hot for as long as you need it. To warm your French Press, run your kitchen tap until the water is hot and fill it with the hot water. That's it! That way when you put your coffee water in your French Press it's already warm and waiting. I usually warm my mug as well because I like my coffee pretty hot.

3.The Coffee
-My French Press is 34oz. I usually only make half a pot at a time because that's roughly one mug full for me. However sometimes I'll do the whole 34oz. and refrigerate the leftovers for iced coffee later. It'll keep in your fridge for about five days, fyi. For doing a half a pot at a time I use 3 heaping tablespoons of (coarse ground!) coffee, if I make the whole pot, I'll use about five. You can adjust this to your liking.
-Pour out your warming water, add your coffee, then add your water.

Let it sit for around 1 minute. Take the handle of a plastic or wooden spoon or chop stick (something that isn't metal, metal leaches flavors and I'm always scared of banging the side of a hot glass vessel with a metal spoon. If you like to live on the wild side, you're welcome to go ahead!) and stir. You should have a nice crust on the top at this point, this is the coffee and oils separating from the water, and we don't want that, hence the stirring.

See the crust?

That's some serious stirring action...

After you've stirred, add the lid (don't press just yet!) and set your timer for 4 minutes. Walk away... (The longer the steep time, the stronger your coffee. If you're not a strong coffee drinker you may want to start at 3 minutes and work your way up.) After the 4 minutes are up slowly press down on the French Press. If you've done a whole pot this process should take about 30 seconds, half that if you've done a half pot. Again, this is making sure the water, coffee, and coffee oils are all blended together properly. You don't want to rush it!

4. Enjoy!
-After you've pressed your coffee, it's ready to enjoy! Pour into your favorite mug and add whatever sweeteners you desire. I'm currently using a Pumpkin Pie Spice cream and it's lovely!

Also an important note: Treat your French Press (or whatever coffee pot you use) like an appliance! Would you simply rinse out your crock pot after cooking a roast? I would hope not. Wash in hot water and soap and let dry. Some coffee pots are dishwasher safe, just read your manual. I hope you have enjoyed learning to make coffee with me today! Let me know if you try this method and how it works for you. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Around the Interwebs

Just a quick little post to let you know of a couple of things around the interwebs I think you might be interested in.

My friend Jen and I got to talking and decided we should make a Facebook page for Texas Book Bloggers (and book lovers) to come together. Texas has such a great literacy community and we thought there was a need for a page where all of us could come together, talk about books, authors who will be touring in the state, etc. So if you're in Texas (or even if you're not), please go "like" the Literary Lonestars page!

Dear Teen Me is a website devoted to authors writing letters to their teen selves. It is an amazing project and I feel so honored to be a part of it. I mean... my name is right under Sarah Ockler's... eeek! How crazy is that? I don't feel like I deserve to be a part of such a well known, amazing, and talented group of people. My DTM letter won't be up until the beginning-ish of the year, but please go check out some of the letters that have been posted so far! They are truly inspiring.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Super Mega New Year's Giveaway!

I've been going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to do this giveaway. I haven't done a giveaway in a long time, but being an unemployed author has taken a toll on the old bank account. Well... I've decided to not be an old Scrooge and do the giveaway anyway mainly because it put me in a better mood and my official blog anniversary is around the first of the year. Have your ears perked up yet? Hmm? Well maybe this will perk 'em up. Or make you drool, I'd be happy with the drool.

Prize #1:

Prize #2

Yes, you're seeing that right: TWO PRIZES! Prize #1 includes a paperback of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, paperback of 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (it's signed!), hardcover of The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, hardcover of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, and a hardcover of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Prize Pack #2 includes a ton of swag and a lot of it is signed! Including a Gatlin County Library bookplate signed by Margie Stohl and Kami Garcia, (authors of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness), signed bookmarks from Anastasia Hopcus, Bree Despain, a signed copy of the first chapter of The Scorch Trials, a Summer Court bracelet from Melissa Marr, and a Mockingjay pin! I'm also expecting at least one other bookplate, so I'll update when I get it.

I usually don't make being a blog follower a requirement because, frankly, it annoys me. However since I am giving you so much, why don't you give a little back to me? I'm not going to ask you to post links everywhere for extra points, but I'd love it if you followed my blog. Come on, I'm an interesting person, right? *crickets* Seriously, all you have to do is press the little "follow" button at the top left of your screen. Not hard!

Now for a few housekeeping rules:
*For this particular contest, you must be a blog follower.
*Due to the amount of stuff I'm mailing, this contest is US only :(
*Contest will run from today through December 31st at midnight CST with a winner announced on January 1, 2011 (or somewhere around then).
*I will email you if you win! Please respond within 72 hours or I'll have to give the prize pack to someone else.
*One entry per person. And like Santa, I know if you're naughty or nice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bah Humbug!

I'm sure by now you're all tired of hearing me talk about how much I lurve Christmas. If you are, then you'll want to stick around and read this post because things are about to go down.

Up until this year I've always loved Christmas music. I usually start listening to it as soon as Halloween is over, whether the weather outside is frightful or not. This year, like the ones before it, I started listening to Christmas music both online and through my iTunes playlist around the first week of November. However, things seemed different. I noticed myself changing the station or switching playlists. *gasp* "What is wrong with you? Why are you being such a Scrooge?" I kept asking myself. I then noticed I wasn't doing it randomly, I was doing it when certain songs came on. I always thought myself a lover of all Christmas songs, but apparently I am not. So, for your entertainment, I've put together a list of my most hated Christmas songs in with links to youtube videos if you haven't heard them before.

My Top 5 Most Hated Christmas Songs

5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by the Jackson 5
-I think part of the reason I never liked this song is because, until recently, I didn't get it. So, you saw your mommy kissing Santa, hu kid? Well that's just weird, why would your mom be having an affair with Santa? What are you, Santa's offspring? Oh, you mean Santa was the kid's dad? Oh! Right, right. Well if the kid's dad dressed up as Santa to bring presents to the kids, why was he all sneaky about it? I mean, if someone's going to dress as Santa, the whole point is to let the kids see Santa and know he's real. In this song the kid makes it clear he shouldn't have seen Santa at all. Plus let's be honest, baby Michael Jackson's voice is pretty hard to stomach after a while.

4. The Little Drummer Boy by Everyone
-This is my husband's least favorite Christmas song. It's funny because pretty much every time he gets home or we get in the car to go somewhere this song comes on. I never minded it too much until I stopped and understood the song a little. "Ok, so baby Jesus was just born, right? Meaning he's still an infant. I want to go see baby Jesus, but I don't want to be a creeper about it. I don't have any money to bring gifts like the wise men are doing, so what can I do? Oh! I'll play my drum for him and his new family! Infants love loud, obnoxious noises, right?" I can tell you one thing, if I were Mary I'd be more than a little t.o.'d at Mr. Drummer Boy waltzing into my manger and banging on his bongos for my infant that I just got to sleep.

3. The Christmas Shoes by New Song
-I'll admit that when this song first came out a few years back I didn't mind it, may have even liked it a little. But after hearing the song constantly for the past five years or so, and after a book and made for TV movie, I am sick to death of it. As my friend Laura on Facebook said, "Yet another example of how a writer's bittersweet, sentimental, and tender words and thoughts get SHOVED into the media marketing frenzy due to popularity and then become used as a sad attempt to manipulate people's emotions for profit." I couldn't have put it better myself. Also, the part at the end when the chorus of kids join in makes me want to stab my eyeballs out using my big toe.

2. Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg
-I understand the point of the song, it talks about lost love, living in the past, etc. What I don't understand is why it's a Christmas song. The only reference it makes to Christmas is at the beginning when they briefly mention that it's Christmas Eve. Yes, there's an Old Lang Syne instrumental part at the end, but I just don't get it. In my family we call it, "The Drinking Song" because it seems like all the characters in the song do is drink. This song is over five minutes long, and I don't think it should be over four.

1. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy
-I had someone tell me the other day, "What, you don't like Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer? Aren't you from Mississippi?" What the flip does being from Mississippi have to do with liking this song? What, are we all rednecks? Do we all look the same to you? I have many problems with this song. First- it's played too much, I hear it way too often. Second- How stereotypical can you get? This song is so country and redneck it even gives this Mississippi girl the heebbyjebbies. Also, "Grandmaw got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve..." Why in the WORLD is Grandmaw walking home by herself? It's dark out and probably cold and depending on where you live, probably icy or snowy. At best Grandmaw's going to fall and break a hip. At worst, she'll get run over by a reindeer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eye Strain

Since quitting my job and staying home I've been on he computer a lot. Whether it's because I'm working on my WIP, blogging, or goofing around on Twitter or Facebook, I'm pretty much constantly in front of a screen. I noticed when I went to bed last night my right eye was really red, not bloodshot, but almost like a blood vessel had been popped. It was only then I realize how much I use my eyes during the day.

You might be telling me, "Well get off the computer for a bit!" which is all well and good but my main hobby is reading which probably doesn't help the eyes. We also bought a new TV over the weekend and Husband and I have been enjoying watching movies and such which isn't helping my eye strain either. How do you people do it? Is it something you get used to over time? Do my eyeballs just need to be toughened up? Or do I really need to take a step back and find something to do for a while every few hours to let them rest?

If it helps, I wear contacts but have the same problem whether I'm wearing my contacts or my glasses. Though my eyes are a bit less dry when I wear my glasses.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Texas Book Bloggers, We Know How To Party

This weekend I went to a Texas Book Blogger Christmas get together. In attendance we had myself, Jen from I Read Banned Books (who was a lovely host!), Nancy, Stacy, and Shannan from Girls in the Stacks, Katie from MundieMoms, Jennifer from Fictionally Yours, and Kelsey from Reading or Breathing. You know how some people say, "That party was epic!" and it really wasn't? Well, this party was epic, and I really, really mean it. It was so nice to spend an evening with these lovely ladies and be silly. I've forgotten what it's like to let go of whatever reservations you have and just have a good time.

The whole point of the party, besides having fun, was to swap books. Everyone went through their bookshelves and brought books that they either had multiple copies of or simply didn't want anymore. Whatever we had left over we were going to donate to an Austin woman's shelter. I didn't think we would have very many books, but we had a TON! I brought over 30, and others brought in bag fulls as well. After some snackage, we dumped all the books out on the table and had a few moments of, "OMG! Who brought this book?! Ooh I've been wanting to read that! Give that to me!!!" (And we also had a few "WTF is this book??" moments as well.) It never got catty, but watching the free-for-all was hilarious. Once the pile had been dug through, I held up the leftover books once by one to make sure nobody wanted them. Some of the titles were hilarious! After all was said and done, we have over 65 books to donate to the Austin Woman's Shelter! Amazing! I would have never thought we would have ended up with so many books to give away.

After we went through all the books, things got a little crazy. I'm not sure how the conversation started, but we thought it would be funny to take pictures in front of a fan. Somehow Jen produced a fan and we had a blast (literally). What's next after that, you ask? Well a black-light party, of course! What's more fun than a bunch of women (most of whom are over 25 and married!) than a black light party with reflective makeup? I can't think of anything! After a while of dancing around like idiots (And I'm pretty sure one of the Stack Girls took video, which I dread seeing!) we were pooped and went to bed like the old ladies we are.

I'll end this post with a slide-show of all of our pictures from that night, as that seems easier than having 30+ pictures individually in this post. It seems most of the more embarrassing ones are of just me. Wish I wasn't such a spaz! Enjoy!