Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Birthday Book Giveaway

Keeping it simple here...because today is my birthday, I want to give away some books. The gift of reading (and the amazing books I've had the opportunity to read) has been a treasure to me over the past 40 years (maybe less since I didn't start reading until I was three or four years old).

Unlike my book blog, I'm limiting this to US/Canada.

Good luck!

These are NOT the books I'm giving away. That part is a surprise!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.  If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on this blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends July 24th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hey, It's Okay Tuesday

One of my favorite blogs, Airing My Laundry, does a post every week that was inspired by a section of Glamour magazine. She invites her followers to do their own posts like this. I enjoy doing this a every so often, so I thought it's time for another list. Since I don't do this weekly, my list will be long.

It's okay...

*To have a wicked case of Hamilaria. If you have this too, join my fan group.

Along with this...
*That some of the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton has left already or will be leaving soon. I know some people are devastated about this, but I'm used to seeing people other than OBC perform in shows and as long as they do an amazing job, that's what matters most. It's also cool to see how someone else interprets a role. And I can imagine that the original cast would feel burnt out after a while and need to "Take a Break."

*That today is the last day of my thirties.

*That I haven't written a post about my cruise yet (I still have it all in my head, so I will soon!!!)

*To see two musicals in one week (Rent and Evita)

*To not care about that Pokemon Go thing. (And I'm not being facetious. It just doesn't interest me. Not begrudging anyone else the fun and entertainment.)

*To have finished season 2 of The Goldbergs (and to be wondering when season 3 will be on DVD)

*To have finally shown my younger son Big and to notice all the inconsistencies even more this time around. Still so funny!

*To admit this:

*To be done with season four of Orange is the New Black and still freaking out about it. Also, to have known a major spoiler and not have told my husband because he hates them as much as I do, if not more. (I will write a post about this and a few other shows soon.)

*To be unmotivated. It's like I have birthday senioritis or something.

*To think that this is NOT okay in the slightest! (And by "this," I do NOT mean shutting down an online chat.)

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Goldbergs-Season 2 with SPOILERS

If you read this post a while back, you would know how much I love watching The Goldbergs. I started season two around Pesach and got my in-laws into it, as well. I also got my sons into it and they binge watched season 1 and then when they caught up to me in season 2, we watched together. (I'm just glad the swears are bleeped out and that the adult jokes are over their head. They still find a lot of things very funny.)
I'll cut right to the chase with favorite episodes this time.

#1 Love is a Mix Tape: In the second-season opener, Adam takes the next step in his blossoming relationship with Dana by creating a mix tape for her, but the tape falls into Beverly's hands instead. Elsewhere, Barry gets caught with a fake ID.
Season 2 started out on a hilarious note with this episode. The best part was Beverly playing the tape in the car while Dana was right there and Adam having to come up with an excuse for what had happened. Also, David Spade as the fake id seller was great! (I love the SNL actor cameos on this series!)

#2 Mama Drama:
When Adam isn't cast as the lead in the school musical, Beverly helps him star in a competing show. Murray stubbornly tries to avoid traffic, opening a rift between him and Barry.
So many great things about this episode, from Adam being a total diva to Murray's impatience with traffic.

#3 The Facts of Bleeping Life: Adam and Barry form a garage rock band, and promptly invite Erica and Lainey to join with unforeseen consequences. The royal wedding inspires Bev to renew her vows with Murray.
"Did his vows end with 'sha la la la'?" So many funny moments!

#8 I Rode a Hoverboard:
Adam's exaggeration about how he broke his arm could jeopardize his friendship with Emmy Mirsky.
Adam's George Michael impression won me over, but his little lie had some funny consequences.

#10 DannyDonnieJoeyJonJordan
: Beverly is ordered to clean out the garage by Murray, who wants everything gone except for one trunk that he's particularly sentimental about. Meanwhile, Adam and Barry discover Erica's old collection of New Kids on the Block memorabilia.
Hands down, the best episode of the season! I could not stop laughing. Not only was the NKOTB homage beyond awesome, but the artwork stuff was hilarious too.
Murray: "I love Babby. Who's Babby?"
Beverly: "You're Babby!"

#14 Barry Goldberg's Day Off: Trying to copy one of his favorite movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Barry skips school.
I love the way this episode played out. The funniest was trying to get the host at the restaurant to act snooty (or snotty?) but he was all friendly. Also, Charlie Sheen's cameo was unexpected and awesome. Of course, I had to show my kids FBDO after we saw this.

#15 Happy Mom, Happy Life: Dana and Adam are given a doll to parent for a school project, but end up in jeopardy of failing because of Beverly's "grand-smothering." Meanwhile, Erica tries to get back at Barry for monopolizing her best friend's time by joining the JTP, however her plan doesn't go as expected.
I love that Nick Swardson plays a scam artist selling fake CPK dolls and how scary they look. Also, the Heart song playing every time someone has a moment with Erica. I did get teary-eyed over the nice thing Barry did for Erica toward the end. And Adam's teacher's reasoning for giving him a good grade.

#16 The Lost Boy: Adam attends a Phillies game with his dad and ends up lost in the stadium after Murray allows him to leave his seat on his own. Elsewhere, Beverly's guilt trip backfires when Erica and Barry drive off without her during an argument on their way home from the mall. Repeat after me: "It's not real. Don't feel." I love how that backfired and how Barry got all into bedazzling his clothes. And what is a "nubby" anyway? I always joke with the kids about giving them snuggies and nubbies now. Adam reminded me of my older son with not wanting to go to the bathroom by himself. I do agree that it is a bit much to send a kid to the bathroom by themselves at a big crowded place like that.

#17 The Adam Bomb: Adam and Barry get in a prank war, while Erica tries to become a pop star.
I love that Erica was a Tiffany fan. I was all into her music in the late 80s and played her tape over and over and over again. (It was my comfort music for a while.) The pranks were pretty funny...especially the photo one.

#21 As You Wish: Murray's joy over Adam wanting to play a sport is short-lived once he discovers that it's fencing, and worse yet, he was inspired by a scene from The Princess Bride. Meanwhile, things don't go exactly as planned when Beverly tries to make a love connection between Barry's wrestling coach and Erica's voice teacher.
Honestly, I was thinking this would play out like the "Ferris Bueller" episode and Pops would be reading the story to Adam while the other characters played the various parts. Beverly could be all "I'm not a witch. I'm your wife!" However, there were some great parts to this episode. I also love the matchmaking. It reminded me of Clueless in some ways. (Ironically, Wallace Shawn is in that movie too!)

#22 Dance Party USA: Adam, thinking Pop's good luck might rub off on him, takes a gamble and ends up losing his beloved toys. Meanwhile, Erica's dream of appearing on a popular TV dance show turns into a nightmare when Barry gives her pink eye.
Erica's situation reminded me of You Again (movie from 2010 starring Kristen Bell). All the betting with the principal was funny too.

#23 Bill/Murray: Murray bonds with Lainey's dad and learns what it means to be a true friend.
Clued me in to why adult male friendships are so complex! I also love how Adam was trying to mimic the "Take On Me" video, but it came out just a tad different...

#24: Goldbergs Feel Hard: Beverly insists on throwing Erica a going away party when she leaves for her summer arts school.
The description is just a small part to a great episode. I love Barry's little slip-up. It reminded me of Chandler on Friends. (Except Chandler got a much better response.) I did not expect Dana to say what she did though! And Erica and Murray's "love-off" was pretty funny.

Great season overall! I can't wait to watch season 3 and wouldn't mind it being on DVD right about now...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Zork, part 2

Remember Zork?

Well, my older son apparently was very motivated to write (more than I have been lately), and decided to write a sequel. Here goes...

The galaxies once created a planet named Zorkanog far far away from anyone’s solar system. Zork finally got a job that his parents Zork and Zork liked. Zork worked at the mission control center preparing the spaceships for Zorkanog orbitings. He knew all the instructions so whenever someone shouted, “Pour the oil!” He would do it.
One day when Zork was working on the ship, the instructor shouted, “Squeeze the lemonade!”
It was almost as if Zork had a question mark on top of his head. “Squeeze the lemonade?” Suddenly, Zork’s eye spotted something. It was a lever that had the word LEMONADE on it. Zork had the urge to pull it and when he did, the rocket started rumbling. The label was upside down! The rocket ship was really called the EDANOMEL.
“I said to squeeze the lemonade! Not the lever!” The instructor shouted
“Uh oh!” Zork mumbled.
The rocket ship started to rumble.
“Whoah!” Zork shouted.
Zoom! The rocket ship flew into the galaxy of Altania. Boom! Zork landed on the ground of the EDANOMEL. The platform opened and Zork walked out onto a dusty planet. There was a sign that said:
Welcome to Languia
Zork thought to himself, Languia? I’ve never heard of Languia before. Zork walked along a dirt path until he came to a noisy carnival.
An alien went up to Zork and asked, “Lang lang lang lang-lang lang?”
Zork responded, “Zorky zork zorkety zork zork.”
The creature that spoke Languish had a confused look on his face. The problem was Zork spoke Zorkon while the creature from Languia spoke Languish. Zork saw a roller coaster. When he went on, he could feel the roller coaster taking up speed. Flip! Zork forgot to buckle up. He landed in the EDANOMEL.
BLAST OFF! a pixelated voice spoke.
When Zork was back in the comfort of his house he thought to himself, Maybe I should think of something better to do than squeezing lemonade.
Zork knew he could now do better.

To be continued?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Looking back on a decade....

It's been 10 years since this happened... (Side note: I loved the skirt I was wearing in the first picture and the dress I wore at my party.)

Now that I'm less than a month away from my 40th birthday, I want to reflect upon my thirties. I decided to make a list of thirty great things that happened during these past 10 years. Some are personal and some are from pop culture. And since I obviously can't cram 10 years into one list, so I'm sharing as much as I can think of from the top of my head (in no particular order).

1. My younger son being born
2. My daughter being born
3. Moving to Maryland
4. Two of my kids getting cochlear implants
5. Starting this blog
6. Starting my book blog and watching it grow
7. Book Expo America in 2014 and 2015
8. Seeing In the Heights and meeting some of the Original Broadway Cast afterwards
9. My "reunion" with "Will" after six years apart (separated by the length of our country)...the culmination of it being at Marie's Crisis Cafe
10. Visits from my BFF
11. My job (which I've been at for six-and-a-half years)
12. Making some great new friends (both online and in person...sometimes a mix of the two)
13. Going to Disney World for the first time in about 25 years
14. Going on a cruise (and yes, I still need to write about it)
15. My current obsession with Hamilton (if you are obsessed too, go here)
16. The Mindy Project
17. Orphan Black
18. Orange is the New Black
19. Parenthood
20. Being acknowledged in several books
21. Unique and Value Village (pretty much the same store though)
22. Reaching my 10 year wedding anniversary...and beyond
23. Vanilla Almond Special K cereal (a staple of this past decade for me)
24. My job in NJ (it was flexible, allowed me to get back into the working world after being out of a job for a while, and I got along well with my boss)
25. Seeing Newsies in DC
26. Jamie Cullum
27. The Goldbergs
28. Trying my hand at fiction writing again
29. My local book club
30. Speaking of books...the plethora of amazing books I've obtained and read either because of my blog or because of book club. (I can also attribute some to the library used book store.)

I'm excited for what my forties have in store and hope to make another list like this in 10 years, with room for 10 more items!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

That voice!

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, I chose the topic: Write a tribute to a musician or band.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

After this week, our blog project group is taking some time off for the summer. I'll still be blogging, but on any topic of my choosing at any time I want. :)

Back in 2004, I bought the soundtrack to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. There was one voice on there that stood out to me...Jamie Cullum. He was singing a cover of "Everlasting Love." (If you need to get your Colin Firth fix, the link is to a music video from the movie.) A few years later, I started listening to his music more frequently. I can't get enough of his voice. It has an edge to it and yet is so relaxing to listen to. I added all his songs on Spotify to my favorites list and made a Pandora channel based on his music, where he shows up every few songs (interspersed with other singers who have similar styles). I ended up getting his Twentysomething CD, which I listen to in the car when I'm not listening to Hamilton. It helps me get through stressful driving situations and generally puts me in a good mood. Speaking of Hamilton though, through the fan group I created, I recently connected with a woman who worked with Jamie Cullum. That puts me one degree away from him! She said he's really nice, which I'm not surprised about. I'd love to hear him perform in concert. The last time he was out here, the timing didn't work. I hope he'll be back soon though. In the meantime, here are some songs of his that I especially love. Happy listening!



"Mind Trick"

"All at Sea":

"These are the Days":

"Next Year Baby":

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How lucky we are...

There's a line in a song from Hamilton that goes "How lucky we are to be alive right now." I recently saw someone post about how it applies to being alive at the same time as Lin-Manuel Miranda so we can experience this incredible musical (even though the only way I'm doing it so far is through the soundtrack). I definitely agree with that sentiment!

That got me thinking about other reasons I feel lucky to be alive right now vs. a different time period.

*Walt Disney World came about in 1971. If I had been a kid in a different era, I wouldn't have been able to experience it when I was young. I know Disneyland was established in 1955, but it's not like I've ever been to California anyway.

*"Rocky Horror" came out a year before I was born. Had I been a teen/young adult prior to that time, I wouldn't have gotten to enjoy it during my college years.

*Dentistry has made many advancements and dentists seem nicer and gentler than I heard of them being when my parents were kids. (My mom still hates going to the dentist.) I'm glad my kids have had only positive visits to the dentist. And that my dentist was able to fix my tooth when I broke part of it a few years ago. It looks like nothing ever happened to it. I'm sure back in the day, that wouldn't have been so easy!

My younger son at his first dental checkup

*Technology! I am glad I can type everything on a computer and be able to erase my mistakes without having to insert a whole new piece of paper into a typewriter each time. I'm also glad the Internet is around or I wouldn't have been able to connect with some amazing people. I also think cell phones have their advantages. If I had not had a cell phone on the night my car got stuck in the snow, it would have been a lot harder to work things out for getting a ride home. (The Internet was helpful in that situation, as well!)

*Cochlear implants exist. Had I given birth 40 plus years ago, my kids would not have had this amazing miracle to help with their hearing loss. From what I've heard, even hearing aids weren't as user friendly back in the day.

*I grew up in the 80s and 90s. This was a time of amazing pop culture in terms of movies, music, television, fashion, etc.

*Books: I am not a fan of classic literature, so I don't know that I'd enjoy books in a different era, even if that was the only option. I know I wouldn't have V.C. Andrews to keep me sane during my pre-teen and teen years. (Or The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High before that.) And, of course, chick lit wouldn't have been around yet. (And I don't consider Jane Austen to be chick lit. Sorry!)

*There's been a lot of progress recently, even with all the craziness in the world. I know it will always be two steps forward, two steps back, but things have changed a lot from even when my parents were my age. Whether it is marriage rights, accessibility for people with disabilities, an African American President, or a female Presidential nominee, I think a lot of this has to do with the Internet and how it opens a new venue for people to speak out on issues and push for change.