Ten On Tuesday ~ November

Hi Everyone,
The Ten On Tuesday topic for Tuesday, December 1, 2015 is 10 Best Things You Did In November.
Have fun!

Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Happy December, everyone! Let’s see what I did last month, hmm? It was a relatively quiet month (especially compared to past Novembers – such as three years ago, when I got engaged at the end of November). Quiet can be good, though! I enjoyed last month, even though it was a fairly calm month.

  1. Caroling rehearsals! We perform with a local theatre company and sing in Victorian costume. Great way to bring in money for the company’s slow time.
  2. Baked an apple pie. I think I may have been able to find my grandma’s pie recipe, so this makes me very happy.
  3. Thanksgiving with my family. It was lovely.
  4. Cuddled with Mr. Wyrm and Suzy-cat.
  5. Bought spiced cider from Trader Joe’s! Yum. I love that stuff. (Not quite as good as home-mulled cider, but instead of taking hours on the stove or in the Crock Pot, it takes a minute or two in the microwave.)
  6. Watched “The Full Monty” (stage production) live at one of my local community theatres.
  7. Went to brunch and the 75th anniversary of “Fantasia” with some friends.
  8. Saw the doctor. Not what people normally think of as a “best thing” to do, but it meant I was able to get meds to help me through this allergy / cold / whatever season, so I count it as a wonderful thing.
  9. Came home from a wonderful trip to Disney World! Yeah, this wasn’t quite as nice a thing as the trip itself, but it was still nice to be home.
  10. Played games on the PS4. (Diablo III, currently.) This may seem like a minor thing, but it was relaxing and fun. And that is one of the best things I can do for myself.

Have a great December!

Ten on Tuesday ~ Thankful in 2015

Good morning everyone, and happy Thanksgiving week to my fellow Americans! (Happy Tuesday to everyone else…)

The Ten On Tuesday topic for Tuesday, November 24, 2015 is 10 Things You Are Thankful For Right Now. I added the “right now” because we do this topic every year and I’m hoping by focusing on things we are thankful for right now we can avoid being repetitive. That being said, it’s your blog and you can approach this however you like!

Have fun and Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US!

This is a traditional topic for the Ten on Tuesday just before Thanksgiving, so I do appreciate the chance to make it slightly different each year. Granted, there are some things that remain the same, but there are others that change a bit. It’s a good reminder to be thankful for what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t.

  1. My family. This is a regular one, but for good reason. I am very thankful for the love and support I get every day from my entire family.
  2. Our health. Mr. Wyrm and I are both still getting over colds, but in general we’re in pretty good health. That is an improvement, and I’m so grateful for it.
  3. Kitty lovin’! Some of my other friends mention periodically how their cats aren’t cuddlers. I love that mine is.
  4. Rain! There’s rain in the forecast. As a Californian, this is something I can’t take for granted, and am always thankful of when it happens.
  5. Work. I have a job. This is something I sometimes forget to be thankful for. (I haven’t been out of work recently, so that’s not the issue. It’s just so much easier to complain about work than be grateful to have it.) And on top of that, the people who run our company treat the employees like people. Also not something to take for granted.
  6. Taking home videos is really easy. It makes it easy to capture silly moments when my nephew is doing something particularly cute, for example.
  7. Apple Pay from my watch is super convenient. This may seem a silly thing to be thankful for (and it is certainly a First World thing) but it has made my life easier while I’ve been doing holiday shopping and trying to juggle all the things. One less thing to juggle.
  8. My new computer. I didn’t realize how much was lacking from my old computer until Mr. Wyrm convinced me it was time for an upgrade.
  9. The local theatre scene. I don’t go see as much theatre as I want to but I do love that we have so many choices around and they’re such good quality. I also love that I’m part of the (community) theatre scene, and so know at least one person involved in nearly every production I go see.
  10. Life. My life is good right now. I don’t always have something specific to be thankful for, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful.

I hope you all have a great week, whether this is Thanksgiving week for you or not! It’s never a bad thing to reflect on the good in our lives instead of the bad.

Friday Reads: THIRTEEN by Kelley Armstrong

13Thirteen: Otherworld Series #13
by Kelley Armstrong
(paranormal romance)

Thirteen is the final (and 13th) book in the Otherworld series. I have enjoyed reading this series for so long, that even though I ordered the hard cover of the book as soon as it came out (over 2 years ago now) I have put off reading it until now. The series isn’t over if I haven’t finished reading it, right?

I can’t really go into much in the way of plot details without spoiling the rest of the series, but suffice to say that there is a big massive plot going on that will involve just about everyone you’ve ever met in the Otherworld who hasn’t died, and some who have. And yet, it felt complete and proper for this book to be so all-encompassing. I didn’t find it awkward or trite or anything, the way some wrap-ups are. Perhaps because the characters have all been in and out of each other’s books throughout the entire series, and so it’s nothing new for it to happen in this one. Besides, when you have a relatively small supernatural community who all know each other, and something is threatening their entire world, wouldn’t it make sense for them to call on each other for help?

As to the construction of this book: officially it’s a Savannah book. Unofficially it also touches on everyone else who has narrated a book in the Otherworld series. For instance, after a few chapters of Savannah narrating, Jamie narrates a chapter. Then a few more of Savannah, and then Elena has a chapter. And so on. I wasn’t sure about it after the first non-Savannah chapter, but once I realized that all the other narrators were getting a final nod, I thought it was a really cool touch. Yes, the plot points could have been delivered in other ways using only one narrator, but this was more fun. Also, some of the information which was completely natural in a cameo narration would have seemed like info-dump in the main narration, so I’m glad it was presented this way.

And now… well, now I want to go back and re-read the entire series. Again. Or at least re-read my favorites. (For reference, if anyone’s curious, Paige’s and Jaime’s books are my favorites. I do also love some of the others, including BITTEN (book 1), but I don’t love all the books in the series equally.) Then again, I think maybe I should wait a bit before jumping in to a re-read, if I want to get any sleep in the near future. I kept meaning to go to bed last night, but THIRTEEN wasn’t finished yet and I had to know how it ended. Yup. That’s me. Wait two years to read a book because I want to pretend the series is still running, and then stay up until 1am on a work night because I can’t wait another day to discover the ending. Hey, no one said that bookworms were logical.

If it wasn’t obvious, I really enjoyed this book. Not sure yet where it ranks in my “Otherworld favorites” list, but it’s nearer the top of that list than the bottom. And it’s one of my favorite books that I read in 2015. Kudos, Kelley.

WIP Weds ~ the “what can I show you?” edition

I haven’t done a WIP Weds in a while, have I? I guess part of that is because I’m working on Christmas gifts. This time of year is a really bad one for knitting progress pics. There’s really not that much that I can share.

However, one thing I can share is the spinning progress I’ve made on the Kitty Mine Crafts SAL. (SAL = spin-a-long) Unfortunately, I have only taken one photo. Here it is! This is the first bobbin of singles I spun. I have since spun up a second bobbin of singles, let them rest, and plied them together, but I haven’t taken any additional progress pics yet. I will shortly, because I love the way it’s turning out, but I’ve been busy / lazy / sick and haven’t done it yet.

Hmm, I do have a knitting project I can share with you. This is a new sock (no, I haven’t finished either of the 2 socks-in-progress I have on the needles already, though one is close). It’s on Noro Taiyo Sock yarn, and I’m really enjoying the color changes. The sock is a combination of the Toe-Up Double Gusset Sock and Wendy’s Feather and Fan sock pattern – the first for the foot up through the heel, and the second for the leg. I have gotten further than this picture shows, but I haven’t gotten to any of the pattern stuff yet.

Looking at my calendar, there aren’t many more weeks until Christmas. Hopefully that means I’ll be able to share more WIP Weds shortly than I have been recently! Then again, one of the projects I’m going to be starting shortly is for my 2-year-old nephew, and he doesn’t read my blog, so I might share WIP pictures for that project even before Christmas. We’ll see. Have a great rest of the week, everyone! Hard to believe it’s already almost (American) Thanksgiving…

(Side note: sometimes I think the Canadians have it right by putting Thanksgiving earlier in the year. If nothing else, that way it gets more individual attention, rather than having it closer to Christmas and getting overshadowed…)

Ten On Tuesday ~ Just Chillin’

The Ten On Tuesday topic for Tuesday, November 17, 2015 is 10 Places You Hang Out.
Have fun!

Ten places I hang out? Well, this is going to be somewhat more boring than it used to be. Now that my work is closer to my home (and don’t get me wrong, I love having a 20-30 minute commute one-way instead of it being an hour or more each way!) I spend less time out and about and more time at home. (This is also a good thing! But it means this 10 on Tuesday might be a little more boring than it would otherwise have been.) I know, a lot of the time out & about that I used to spend was things like waiting at Starbucks for the traffic to die down so I could get home without spending too much time on the road.

Anyway, here’s my list for the week. And apologies if this isn’t as coherent as my usual posts – I’ve spent the last week or so being sick*, and might still be a little loopy from the meds, so I’m doing the best I can.

  1. Home. My favorite place to hang out.
  2. Work. Not exactly my favorite place to hang out. I do count it, though, in part because I spend many of my lunch breaks at work eating food I brought from home instead of eating out. Cheaper and often healthier.
  3. My sister’s house. This is our usual family gathering spot, mostly because she’s the one with the kids, and the kids are the ones with the least flexible bedtimes.
  4. Barnes & Noble. Because books.
  5. Starbucks. Even though I’m not spending as much time in them as I used to, I do still hang out in Starbucks when the occasion calls for it.
  6. Panera. Sometimes. They have some similar qualities as Starbucks, plus soup. I don’t hang out here often, but it’s a good spot for getting in some quality writing time. Which I need to do a lot more of.
  7. The theatre/rehearsal space. Either because I’m getting ready for a show, or because I’m going to see one.

And… that’s about it. Not very interesting these days. Sadly I haven’t spent much (read: any) time with my S’n’B lately, or I’d be spending a lot of time hanging out at one particular Starbucks. This is the biggest casualty of my new job: Thursday night S’n’B’s are no longer feasible, since they’re still an hour away from home. (Previously, the location was doable because while it was a ways from home, it was relatively close to work. Not so much any more.)

Granted, to be fair, I do spend time with friends and at places other than work and home. I just don’t have many regular hang-outs these days. Though I sometimes try to pretend otherwise, life just isn’t like it was in college anymore.

Anyway, how about you? Any fun hang-out locations?

*Side note: I;ve only been sick for the last week or so, but I’ve had symptoms for the past month. The doctor and I both think it started as allergies, and only recently developed into a cold/secondary infection/yucky gross crud. In any case, I’m on antibiotics for it now, and am feeling much better. Life should get back to what passes for normal around here again very soon.

Friday Reads: Free Agent

Free Agent: Grim Agency #1
by JC Nelson
(contemporary fantasy)

This book has been on my TBR shelf for a while now. I don’t remember why I picked it up originally (or if it was a gift, or if I won it in a contest), but I know why I picked it up to read now: the cover. It’s a pretty cover. It looked like a good, fun, magical romp – and it didn’t dissapoint.

The basic premise, without giving too much away, is that the magical / fairy tale world is real and exists alongside the mundane world, with bits overlapping and only people who belong in one world able to access it. For instance, a normal human could walk right through the gates of Kingdom without getting to the magical realm: they’d be stuck in the regular world instead. The Fairy Godmother of stories (or in this book’s case, Fairy Godfather) is also real, but instead of doing everything by magic and by himself, he has an agency of helpers. Marissa is one of these agents, and the book starts off with her setting up a prince to fall in love with a princess, without the help of a love potion (though those do exist). Of course, things never go according to plan, but you’ll have to read the book for the rest.

I really enjoyed this book. If you’ve been following my book reviews for a while, you have probably noticed that I love fairy tale retellings. This one is no exception. I love the way the worlds overlap. I love how mundane things can interact with magical ones, and the way the magical part of the world is created in this story. The plot, also, was a lot of fun. I can’t get too detailed without getting into spoiler territory, but it’s safe to say that there were some twists I anticipated, and plenty of others that I didn’t.

There are currently two other full-length novels released in this series, as well as a short-story or novella (I haven’t looked into it yet and so am not sure which category it falls into). I think I will continue to read these books, since they are a fun take on fairy tales – and hopefully the rest of the series won’t sit on my TBR shelf for as long as the first one did.

iPod Shuffle

Hi there! Normally this would be a Ten On Tuesday post, but this week’s prompt didn’t speak to me. Instead, I’m going to shuffle my iPod and list the first 10 songs that come up. (Always a fun random blog topic…)

  1. “Walk Like A Man” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  2. Handel’s Water Music Suite #2 in D
  3. “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” by Clay Walker
  4. “Quero Ser Tua” by Suzy (from Eurovision 2014)
  5. “Telephone” by Lady Gaga, featuring Beyoncé
  6. “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman
  7. “Call Me Irresponsible” by Michael Bublé
  8. “Holiday” by Green Day
  9. “Children Of The Universe” by Molly (also from Eurovision 2014)
  10. “King Of Spain” by Moxy Fruvous

Have a great day!