2013: Resolve to be Successful

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Thank you, Danielle, for the lovely introduction to our “Resolve to be Successful” project. Your generosity in letting me adapt your words to fit my blog made my day. Any mistakes you find are mine. =)

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2012 was a rough year – a bitter presidential election that divided the nation; financial calamities as the housing and job markets continued their rollercoaster rides; continued war and unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Africa and China; senseless losses of beautiful lives to the twin tragedies of gun violence and mental illness; an angry and petulant Mother Nature, unleashing Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha; the Costa Concordia accident. There was so much negativity. We hope to leave negativity behind as we look to 2013 for a fresh start.

Much like Danielle (ProfMomEsq), I don’t do New Year resolutions. I already put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. Making resolutions that I won’t follow through on usually triggers a grand old downward spiral. Since I try my darndest to avoid those, I resolved a long time ago to make no more resolutions.

This year is different. Danielle ran across an idea on Facebook that was just too good. She shared it  and I decided that I’d do it too.  Then we thought, what if everybody joined us? The thought was so tickling that it brought us to the idea to not only do the project, but to blog the results. There is something about being held “accountable” (for lack of a better word) to someone else. Knowing that someone else is expecting me to find the positive will make it much easier.

The concept is simple. Keep a jar some place handy. When a good thing happens in your life, write it down on a strip of paper, and put the paper in the jar. At the end of the year, take out all the papers and read them to remind yourself of the wonderful year you had.

Danielle and I have our jars ready. Here’s her jar:

ProfMomEsq's Jar of Success

Here is mine:

Elizabeth's Awesome Jar of Success

By year’s end, our jars will be filled with scraps of paper describing moments from 2013 truly worth remembering. On December 31, 2013, we will open our jars, read the scraps of paper and post the contents on our respective blogs. Then, we’ll get to spend the rest of our day reading through all the blogs of those who join us.

Yes, that’s right! We want you to post, too! Resolve To Be Successful by clicking the button below. Follow the directions to join the blog hop, then get yourself a “Jar of Success.” Any old jar will do; you can decorate it or not, make it big or keep it small, fill it yourself or have family and friends join you; you can even go high-tech and keep your “jar” in your iThingy. Just make sure your “jar” is always handy so you don’t forget any of your moments of joy, love, happiness and – above all – success.

Feel free to snag either of the badges to post on your blog to show the blogosphere that you are joining us. Please write a post about what you are doing and try to get as many people involved in the project. The more people we have participating, the more positivity  we will be spreading across the world. Maybe if we all focus on the good things, 2013 will be one of the best years ever.

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If you link up with us, post your jar’s contents before midnight on December 31, 2013 and spend a blissful day celebrating all the wonderful milestones that paved our way to 2014. And – HEY! – if you link up, you already have something to put in your jar: you wrote your last blog post for 2013 way ahead of schedule.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing in your success! Happy New Year!

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Redshirts by John Scalzi

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*****Possible spoilers*****

I finally got this book from my library. I was worried that I wouldn’t like it. I knew for a fact that it would not take me very long to read. It seemed to be a lovely bubblegum book that would be a good distraction but wouldn’t be something that I’d want to read over and over again.

I was right. It took me a couple of hours to read the book. I was entertained during that time. The book is probably going to fade from my memory and I won’t mind at all. But that’s okay. I believe that is how the book was intended to be read.

First off, the characters were flat. It was perfect. They were supposed to be flat. If they had any substance, the book wouldn’t have worked. None of the redshirts on Star Trek had any substance at all. If they had, they would have been main characters and wouldn’t have met their terrible fates. They were likable, just not memorable– just like real redshirts.

I definitely enjoyed Redshirts. Sometimes I laughed out loud at the quips. Some reviewers stated that they laughed so hard they peed themselves. I don’t really see how that could happen, unless they suffered from incontinence or drank a gallon of iced tea while reading it. It just wasn’t that funny. However, it is worth the time it takes to read if you want something that won’t make you think too hard or make you emotionally involved with the novel.

View all my reviews

Obsessions 2012: The Wheaton Family

Welcome to part 2 of my SERIES of posts about my obsessions. If you missed my first post, check here. It’s fabulously interesting (or tedious if you don’t like AFP)!

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I have a confession to make. I have become a celebri-stalker. Wil Wheaton has been one of my favorites since I was in high school, drooling over Wesley Crusher in ST: TNG. I had the posters. I wanted to be his girlfriend. You know… typical fangirl-crushing going on there. When I joined twitter, I found him through The Bloggess who I found through… well, I can’t remember. Anyway, I immediately followed him and started fangirl-crushing on his twitter feed. His twitter feed led me to his blog(s), podcasts, and books.

That is when I realized how many layers he has. And the fact that he’s effing brilliant. And funny. And empowered by his manly geekiness. I couldn’t believe it, but my crush grew and grew (kind of like the Grinch’s heart).

I never realized that he was hated as Wesley Crusher and that he used to get death threats. To me, Wesley was a symbol of hope for people who didn’t quite fit in. He was incredibly intelligent but also very young and naive. I felt like I was Wesley (except not quite as smart, because, well… WESLEY CRUSHER- SUPERSTAR). It made me sad to think that a person who I admired was despised so much.

Thing is, Mr. Wheaton could have reacted badly to this. If I were in his place, I probably would have. So much hatred winging my way would have caused a collapse of astronomical proportions. Instead, he grew and got stronger.

They should win the cutest couple EVAH award.

They should win the cutest
couple EVAH award.

He also got married.

Happily, wonderfully, married to an absolutely wonderful woman who I was so incredibly ready to hate with the passion of a thousand dying suns. I just couldn’t.

Anne Wheaton is an amazing person in her own right. She’s hilarious and honest and smart and beautiful (inside and out). Check out her VandalEyes mission. Never have I wanted to carry around googly eyes everywhere I go as much as I do now.

To make it even better, they have a delightful menagerie of rescued cats and dogs. They are part of the family and both Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton take copious pictures and share them with their followers. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t get an awesome feeling from the cuteness of their family.

Following/stalking the Wheaton family guarantees that I will have something to look forward to on those days that I just need to get out of the sads.

To the Wheaton Family– Wil, Anne, Ryan (their son, who is awesome as well), Luna, Marlowe, Seamus, Riley, and Watson– I must give a thousand thanks for all of the joy and distraction you’ve given me this year. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.

Also, a final word from Mr. Wheaton:

Wil sez:Don't be a dick.

Wil sez:
Don’t be a dick.

Click it!! DOOO EEETTT. Buy me one while you are at it. I like the blue one.

My Review of Trapped, by Kevin Hearne

Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #5)Trapped by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me start out by saying that I love Kevin Hearne. He is a wonderful author and seems to be a great guy. That being said, I am a little sad about how this series is progressing. The stories are still great; the characters are still awesome; and the world-building is creative.

My issue is the amount of pop culture that is being tossed into the novel. I get the geek thing, the internet memes, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Pastafarians. I get that. It is amusing right now because it is current.

What about in ten years? Will these inside jokes still be funny then? I care so much about the world that Mr. Hearne has created. I want to be able to love it when I reread it ten, twenty years from now. I don’t want to feel like I’m reading something that was only applicable to the year that I read it.

The first book had a few references to pop culture, but it revolved around character creation. As the series has continued, instead of making Atticus more rounded, it seems as if he has become more entrenched in the now. I find this disingenuous. He is over 2000 years old. I realize that he had to change with the times, but when his personality seems to be supplanted by the “kitteh” and the bacon phenomenon, he is no longer the Atticus that I fell in love with.

The relationship between Granuaile and Atticus also seems to develop without evidence of development. I know that twelve years have passed since the last novel and much probably happened between them, but I missed that development. I really missed it. Once again, it seems as if character development was tossed out the window for the “easy” fix.

Maybe I am asking too much. Maybe it is selfish to want something that lasts forever. I hope that Mr. Hearne goes back to what he is really good at: creating characters that you fall in love with in spite of all of their flaws and creating relationships that feel real.

View all my reviews

Obsessions 2012: Amanda F*cking Palmer and the GTO

Everywhere I look, I see end of the year lists/countdowns/reflections. I’ve decided to jump on that bandwagon and ride it for a bit. What better way than to write about my obsessions for the year? Let me tell you, there have been so many because, well, it is what I do. Here goes, in no particular order whatsoever.*

*okay. I thought it would be all one post. It’s not. Apparently I obsessed much more than I thought I did. Welcome to my SERIES of posts about my obsessions.

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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

amanda-palmer-and-the-grand-theft-orchestra

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

I love Amanda Palmer (AFP) and have done so since she was half of the Dresden Dolls. She is feisty and says the things in her music that I wish I could say. When I first started using Twitter, she is the first person I started following. I knew that she would have something to say that would make me think. Little did I know where following her would take me this year.

One thing that I admire about AFP is the fact that she loves her fans. Loves them. She understands that she would be nowhere without them. When she decided to crowd source her latest album through kickstarter (click here if you want to see the magic unfold), I watched and waited. I so desperately wanted to be in on the awesome. My brain was obsessing in two ways:

  • I wanted desperately to be involved.
  • I didn’t want to spend the money because, well, money.

Believe me, these two things fought and fought in my mind. It was like a huge smack down going on in my skull. One morning, I woke up, fired up ye olde laptop, and backed her project before my mind woke up properly.

It was amazing. I became a part of something big. For me this was a big thing. I’ve felt an outsider for as long as I can remember, as I am sure many people have. This was something I belonged to. The Theatre is Evil album is one that I had a hand in making. I felt powerful because of it. That doesn’t happen much for me.

This power transformed itself into bravery. I woke up early on the day that they were pre-selling tickets to the concert in Phoenix. I waited, hand hovering over the enter key, to get a chance to see the album that I helped make be performed live. LIVE! I was one of the first ones in. The tickets sold out in 20 minutes and I was fast/strong/good enough to get some for hubs and I. I have to admit that I cried a bit.

I used to go to concerts when I was younger. I went to every 311 concert that I had enough money to attend. If there was a band in a club, I was there. Even thought I was uncomfortable, the music was all that mattered. I was music; music was me. As I got older, my OCD/anxiety grabbed hold and grew stronger. Music was still important to me, but not enough for me to brave the crowds. Choosing to go to this concert was a huge step for me.

It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a small venue with about 300 other people. Aside from a couple of drunks at the bar, the other concert goers were lovely.  I can’t really describe how it made me feel. Anyone who has ever gone to an AFP concert knows exactly what I am talking about.

One of the bonuses of going to the concert was finding new music. Jherek Bischoff, a member of the GTO, is a wonderful composer. He was the opening act and I was entranced by the beauty of his music. The Simple Pleasure, headed by GTO member Chad Raines, was the perfect mix that got me dancing and laughing. The band’s enthusiasm and joy was intoxicating.

I left that night lighter than I’ve felt in years.

I wanted to leave you with a AFP and the GTO video. I’m not going to post the one that I really want to because it is definitely NSFW. Click on the AFP Video Page and check out “Want it Back.” There is nudity, but it is a beautiful video and a beautiful song.

This is another of my favorite tracks off of the album. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

One more– this is not from the band but from AFP herself. It is the song that I go to when I need an uplift.

Thanks for stopping by! There is more to come. =)

Remembering

I realize that my posts have been few and far between and, when I do post, they aren’t the most upbeat. I guess I am in a time of reflection, but I do believe that it is passing. I’ve already got many ideas about fun and happy things to write about. Until then, I’m going to leave you with this.

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Today we went to the Veteran’s cemetery where my father-in-law is buried. We wanted to see the holiday wreaths that decorated the headstones. Our plan was to drive through, not stopping. When we got to where Bill is buried, my munchkin wanted to visit his grave. Even though it wasn’t part of our plan.

My daughter walked (almost) straight to his grave. She was so happy to see it. She hugged the headstone, laying her head on top of it. When she was done, she gave it a kiss. Then she popped up like a typical six-year old and bounced off, light and happy.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt that cemeteries are morbid places. I don’t really find comfort visiting them. It amazes me that my daughter feels closer to her grandfather when she visits his grave. It is a concrete reminder that her grandfather was really there and that he loved her completely. Going to visit him is easier with her there.

I’ve always wanted to be cremated. I don’t think that putting my body in the ground is a good use of our limited land resources. I wanted to be cremated and forgotten. I didn’t want any sort of memorial headstone or marker to remind people that I was alive. I thought that the memories of me would be enough.

I think I’ve changed my mind. Maybe my daughter or husband or whoever may be comforted by a physical reminder of my presence on this planet. Maybe I was being selfish because of my own views of cemeteries. It’s something to think about.