The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RTT: Adventures (or Misadventures) in Moving


Hello my lovelies. Have you missed me terribly? I'll bet you have. I've missed you. Seriously, I have about 3 million boxes to unpack and I would much rather be blogging.  It's RTT though, so I'm back, baby.  For today.

*Moving = Ugh.  Moving the week of Thanksgiving = Double Ugh.

*I packed all my unmentionables in my suitcase because I don't want strange German guys handling them.

*Somehow our paperwork got screwed up and it read that we had 4000 pounds of household goods. The moving company sent 2 packers. You should have seen their faces when they saw how much stuff we have. It should have read 14000 pounds. They called for backup.

*It took 2 days to pack and load. Two very long days.

*It gets dark early (like 4:30pm) so they had their van light on to help see the truck while they packed. The van battery died and we had to jump them off. Unfortunately no one could figure out how to jump off of the battery in Ulrika as Volvo does crazy stuff with their batteries. Fortunately the Contessa came to the rescue with her Ford and was able to get them going again.

*My mom flew over to take care of the boys while we moved.  Thank goodness.   It would have gone far worse if we'd had to take care of them too.  She also cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  If she hadn't we'd probably have ended up at McDonald's.  I was too beat to cook.  See two asterisks below for part of the reason.

*They used an elevator platform attached to our balcony (we live on the 3rd floor AGAIN) to haul our stuff up to our new apartment. After about an hour and a half, the elevator stopped working mid-cycle. It was stuck up around the 2nd floor. One of the movers had to scale the ladder part and fix it. He was perched precariously for about 30 minutes.

*They all put our beds together after delivery. They did something wrong when they put our bed together. At 4:30am on Thanksgiving morning one of the rails fell off and our box springs slipped off and our mattress tilted to the side. We had to get up and put it back together. We were so deliriously tired we laughed our heads off. Good times.

*We bought anew sofa that was supposed to be delivered today. They couldn't get it up the stairs because they are too narrow and ceiling where the stairs above are is too low. They don't have an elevator lift. We had to go back to the store and "return" it (weird to return something you don't have) and get the loveseat instead. They refunded our delivery fee and are giving us free delivery of the loveseat. Let's hope it fits up the stairs.

*I seriously have about 3 million boxes to unpack so I should probably get off the computer. Sigh.

*This is how my week felt:

I hope you all have a wonderful RTT.  Hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging soon.  Miss me while I'm gone and think about me slogging through all these boxes.  Double sigh.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moving Day!!!!!

Oh, my peeps, moving day has arrived. Or at least it will in the morning (it's almost midnight as I type). I may be offline for a few days (GASP!). I'll be back soon though and I'm sure I'll have loads of stories about the movers, what got broken and what a pain in the arse it is to move. I may just have to spend the next few days with a few bottles of wine. Cross your fingers. I hate to move.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RTT: Moving Day is coming


 Tuesday!  I missed RTT last week and since we're moving next week, I'll miss it then too.  Bummer.

*Except that I'd have to live in Florida where my hair gets HUGE from the heat and humidity, I totally want to live in one of the Disney houses/neighborhoods at Golden Oak.  $1.4 million for the lowest priced home?  Sure, why not?

*The Norwalk virus or Norovirus (the virus that causes the stomach flu) can survive on an uncleaned carpet for a month or more.  Think about that.

*Is it wrong that I sometimes watch Phineas and Ferb when Indy's not even around?

*Bacon flavored perfume.  Eww.

*We were going somewhere the other day and Indy told James Bond and I that he wanted...something (I can't remember what) that was fairly high priced.  I told him that we weren't getting it for him and he said he'd just have to buy it himself.  James Bond asked how he'd get the money and Indy responded without even pausing "Well, I'll just get myself a retail job!"

*Moving day is less than a week away.  Ahhhhh.  I've been scrubbing things.  Like the refrigerator and the stove.   Yuck.  I hate cleaning.

*I caved today and bought an iPhone.  Now if I can just figure out how to use it.  I have already downloaded Angry Birds though.  Don't tell Indy.

*Teething.  Yuck.

*Does it freak anyone else out that your web browser updates the ads for what you've recently searched for?

*It's freaking cold here.  Our high today was 38.  Brrrrr.

*Why doesn't Facebook have a "Dislike" button?

*Don't we all like it good and cheap???

I hope you all have a great Tuesday.  I will miss you next week.  Think of me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

This is (mostly) a repost of last year's Veteran's Day.  I should note that Frank Buckles passed away this past February 27, at age 110.   He was a huge lobbyist for a national WWI memorial in Washington D.C. which 93 years after then end of the war, we still do not have.

Sixteen year old Frank Buckles enlisted as an ambulance driver in the Army. The year was 1917. He sailed to France in late 1917 on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued survivors from the Titanic in 1912. He was just 17 and still serving in France on Nov 11,1918 when the Armistice went into effect.  With his death an entire generation is lost forever.   You can read more about him in this post I did just after his death.

It is estimated that of the 16 million Americans who served during WWII, less that 3 million are still alive today. Their stories are dying along with them.

Edited to add:  The gentleman in the red shirt is John Finn.  He passed away in May of 2010.  He was the last surviving Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor winner.  You can read more about him in this post.

The Korean vets are of an age with the WWII vets. Some of them were WWII vets.

The spunky, misunderstood, often angry, Vietnam Vets are now grandfathers.

One day, the young men and women serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be old and have only stories and memories.

This is one of my favorite Veterans Day photos of all time.  It's also incredibly sad when you know the story behind it.

This was taken at the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982.  The man shown is John Ambrose.  He was 86 at the time and a WWI vet.  The flag he is holding covered the casket of his son who had been killed in Korea.  Not only are vets amazing people, but they often raise children who are patriotic and feel bound to serve their country.

If you know a Vet, your father, grandfather, mother, uncle, sister, whoever, talk to them. Ask them to tell you what they remember. Tell them you're grateful for their service and sacrifice. Honor those who came back. Remember those who didn't. Never, ever, ever forget.

There are many vets in my life, chief among them James Bond and my dad, and I am grateful that I know such amazing people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Latest Captain Lacey Novel: A review

I love a good read. Love it. I love to curl up with a good book (or now with my beloved Kindle) and lose myself in it. I have an extreme fondness for Regency era mysteries with a dash of romance thrown in. Seriously, you should see how many are on my Kindle.  Or maybe not.  You might think I have an obsession.  Which I don't.  Mostly.

A few months back I was moping around waiting for the next book in one of my absolute favorite Regency mysteries to come out when I went to my Amazon recommendations. I saw a book I had not heard of, but was only .99 and thought what have I got to lose?  Aside from .99 and really, what's that?  I am so glad I laid down (or electronically transmitted) my .99 because I found a fantastic new series by Ashely Gardner.

The series follows Captain Gabriel Lacey, a former Army captain, home from the Napoleonic wars, injured, lost and suffering from bouts of melancholy (post traumatic stress, perhaps).  Lacey stumbles upon the mystery of missing girl, a grisly murder and uncovers corruption and dark dealings in the first book, The Hanover Square Affair. He finds that solving the mysteries somehow help him find his own way and deal with the dramatic change in his life from army officer to an unemployed and often penniless civilian.  There is also a great cast of supporting players, who each have their own secrets.  Sometimes the supporting characters are my favorites because I want to know more about them. 

The latest book, A Death in Norfolk, is my favorite so far (each book is better than the last!).
While traveling to his rundown ancestral home Lacey is tasked with delivering a message to a neighbor by a high end criminal named James Denis, who has been both friend and foe in previous books, only to be told by the recipient that he has just delivered a death sentence.  Lacey's strong sense of honor causes him to help his neighbor escape only to discover that the real mystery is just starting.

Lacey becomes involved in a hunt for priceless paintings, murderers, and thieves, as well as the  mystery of a missing girl and the local parish church's silver from 10 years earlier.  Along the way Lacey learns more of his own family's secrets, finds himself fighting for his life and making decisions that cause him to question his own honor, a character trait that has in the past defined him, and his sense of right and wrong. 

Ashley is a prolific writer who has more than 30 novels and novellas under her belt and of the several I've read, she crafts them well.  Her writing is smart and and her attention to detail vivid.  Another thing I really like (and appreciate) is that while she is descriptive, her prose isn't bogged down with too much detail.  I've read books that have entire pages dedicated to what the characters are eating.  Snooze.  Even when Gardner mentions the characters eating, which I don't really mind,  it's a sentence or two and then it's on with the story.

While the characters' problems are decidedly early 19th century, as people they are very relatable.  Lacey et al are complex (especially James Denis who is the most enigmatic of the characters) which makes them realistically drawn. They get tired, irritated, angry, jealous, and sad, like real people, ache when they are hurt (both physically and mentally) and are joyful, thoughtful and grateful when appropriate.  I dislike books where the lead characters are so perfect you'd probably hate them in real life.  Ashley has a done a beautiful job of crafting characters who are beautifully flawed.  Lacey's world is complicated, often dangerous, and terribly exciting. 

The mysteries themselves are well crafted and intricately woven.  One of the best things in my opinion is that I can't guess the "bad guy(s)" and their motivation within the first chapter or two.  I really hate when it's incredibly obvious who did it and why before I've even really met the main characters.  Gardner does the mystery aspect well.  I'm often genuinely concerned for the characters and hoping they'll make it.  It can be stressful!  There are twists and turns and multiple suspects in each book that keeps me wanting to read straight through to the end.

If you love a good mystery with a dash of romance, Regency styling or even if you're just looking for a good read, I highly suggest Gardner's series.  So far there are 7 complete novels and 2 novellas.  While each book could be read on its own, it's best to start at the beginning to get a true feel for the characters and to understand the overall plot arc(s).  And for .99-2.99 per down load, what do you have to lose?

***This is not a paid or sponsored review*** 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Giveaway winners

I'm a day late on this. Sorry. Here are the winners from the big giveaway week:

Signed book and $25 Amazon GC: Vandy J from The Testosterone Three and Me

$20 Gedanke GC: Tamara from Start Enjoying Life (and other blogs)

My Memories Suite Download:  LMA from Life of a New Teacher

Fascinator: Tia from Clever Girl Goes Blog  (this is one of my favorite blogs and I'm incredibly jealous she won because I love this fascinator!)

Tres Magnifique:  Julie from Momspective

Congrats to all the winners!  You will be contacted via email soon.  In case you're wondering, we chose very scientifically.  I took the number of entries for each giveaway and asked Indy to pick a number between 1 and the number of entries.  Whatever number he chose, I counted down on the comments (in order) and that was our winner.  He was very excited to help.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RTT: The cookie candy bar


*In anticipation of our upcoming move (which we now know will take place on Nov 21), James Bond and I have been cleaning and tossing stuff we don't need. I was cleaning out the kitchen when I ran across an unopened box of Thin Mints I had squirreled away when I was pregnant. Rapture! I opened them and discovered that they had stuck together in one big Thin Mint tube. They had to be eaten like a candy bar. A delicious, chocolatey, minty candy bar. Yeah, I was covered in crumbs and it's not something I'd want anyone to film and put on TV, but it was so yummy. No, I didn't eat the whole thing. I wanted to, but James Bond came along and this time I don't have the excuse of being pregnant to scare him off. Darn it.

*The MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on my list of places to visit) has 18,000 doors.

*Han Solo likes it when I sing "Low" by Flo'rida.  He also likes the dance that goes along with it.  Clearly I deserve the mother of the year award.

*Did you know that when "It's a Small World" opened in Disneyland (CA) that Walt Disney poured water from each of the seven seas into the ride's water channels?

*Who's now singing "It's a small world after all" in their heads?  You're welcome.

*James Bond's mom is full Italian.  She was born in America, her parents were both born in Sicily.  The other night we were talking about something Italian and he called it Mexican.  I laughed and told him for someone who was half Italian he was clueless.  Indy asked what I meant by half Italian and I explained and told him that he was 1/4 Italian.  He looked at me totally shocked and said "What?  I'm not 100% American?"  JB and I laughed so hard.

*This morning Indy was feeding the dogs and when he stood up, he clipped his ear on the corner of the freezer.  There were a few tears, but after a minute, all was well.  About 10 minutes later I was making him a cup of tea and asked if he wanted milk in it.  Without missing a beat he said "What's that?  I can't hear well.  I have ear damage."

*Yesterday Han Solo fell off the sofa.  He was sitting with Indy and leaned over to grab a teething ring and tumbled off before Indy could grab him.  He was fine, but cried for about a minute.  Indy cried for 20 minutes.  It was awful.  He felt so guilty and was so worried Han Solo was going to have a "mild traumatic brain injury."  This is truly a military child.

*Approximately 17% of all humans are left handed (James Bond is).  The same percentage is true of chimpanzees and gorillas. 

*How true is this?

*I applaud their reasoning:

Happy RTT to you all!  Winners of last week's giveaways will be announced tomorrow.

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