Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Repetitive random

So you wanna talk about the weather some more? No? Me neither honestly, but it is becoming sort of inevitable. Plus, we broke a record here in Central New York for the month of February, and the news folks are trying to trick us into believing this is cause for celebration. The temperature was not above freezing a single time in those twenty-eight days, and it snowed on twenty-five of them (for a total of five feet). Basically the weather is just making a lot of us sad and SAD. It is so difficult to remind oneself how much better she will feel if she just goes outside for a walk or something (besides shoveling that is) when the thought of putting on all of that cold weather gear is so daunting…and heavy! But alas…
My mother and I don't always wear clashing clothes
 …forty minutes of making our own cross-country ski trails and now I can justify sitting on the couch the rest of the afternoon!

Fozzie would like us to talk more about him and this hellish frozen life he has been doomed to…a world where he doesn't even get to go outside with his friends.
(And apparently nobody gets him groomed, claiming the fact that he is growing mittens is a good thing.)

We could talk some more about the #recycleyourperiodpad program? Wait, let's not. OK, but did you go on twitter to check it out for curiosity's sake? No? Just me?

Did you read yesterday's book review post and comment for the chance to win a copy?

Well, this is the point in the day when I realize that despite the fact that I fed my family dinner yesterday, they are going to want to eat dinner again today. It's my own personal Groundhog's Day; sometimes I learn from it and prepare, other times not so much.

Last week I tried writing a new post that I realized had been wandering around in my brain for over a year. When I had trouble with that process, (I blame the weather, as I was unable to get that fifteen minute walk outside that is supposed to foster creativity) I wrote a list of posts I'd like to write. I was not impressed with myself, at all, after that exercise.

Uh-oh, I just caught myself zoning out and may be on the brink of procrastinating. I think I'll move to the couch to ponder what to do about that…..


Stacy Uncorked

Monday, March 2, 2015

Let the Blog Tour Begin!

It was a simple email, from a friend of a friend, asking if I had any interest in reading her sister’s soon to be published book and participating in a blog tour promotion. I could not respond fast enough. Of course I wanted to read something new! Plus, this was like a brush with celebrity of sorts for a bibliophile like me. This was like getting asked to sit with the cool kids at lunch in middle school, only much cooler.
Here it is...The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, by Keija Parssinen.

I had never really done anything like this before, and my enthusiasm was quickly threatened by panic. “What if I read it and don’t know what to say?” I semi-patiently awaited my copy. The day the package arrived, I was giddy ripping it open. The night I read the prologue, I realized that any concerns I had about not knowing what to say, were not warranted as I was immediately a fan. The only reason I put the book on my night stand at 10:30 p.m. was that I knew, after meeting the teenager Mercy Louis, that I was not going to sleep much at all if I read any further. I would have been swallowed whole into the early hours of morning by the pages. Suffice to say, I devoured the book over the course of that weekend. I cannot remember the last time I devoted an entire day to reading. The story just felt so important, and I had become so vested in the characters that I had to know their fates.

The words are perfectly chosen to put you in the scene - to feel the heat of the summer in Texas and the desperation brought with it. The town seems to be unraveling over a local news story, girls are unraveling both within themselves and their relationships, and the truth starts to unravel as well bringing some people closer together and some further apart. Mercy is dreading summer because it will take her away from her passion - basketball. The reasons for Mercy needing an escape are spelled out very clearly, and despite the uniqueness of her character and situation, she is still so easy to relate to from our own teen memories of angst on one level or another. I was cheering so fiercely for her! She tries so hard to keep herself together to be strong for others, to absorb their shocks. Lines like this, speaking about one of her friends, just grabbed me: “I vacuum up her words from where they hang unclaimed in the air; I perch them in the shadowed space where I keep her other confessions, a line of grackles on a bare branch by my heart.”

As Mercy and her friends struggle to find some sort of ordinary in their lives, there are lighthearted moments that offer rays of hope. The dialogue in these passages made the characters even more real and likeable. One of my favorites was a line one of Mercy’s friends states after she meets his mother: “I’m glad you got to meet her, even if it means I can now hold what remains of my dignity in a commemorative shot glass.”

This book brought me into a world I was not necessarily familiar with, especially as far as Mercy’s evangelical grandmother was concerned, but so much of the story was easy to relate to just the same. I was thrilled to be along on the journey. I don’t want to give anything away, so I am going to stop here, and hope you will check this one out for yourselves when it is released on March 10th. 

Wait! I do want to give something away...how about a copy of this book - The Unraveling of Mercy Louis! Just leave a comment telling me what book you are currently reading and I will enter you in my very technologically advanced drawing! (meaning I am either going to empty the candy dish or have the dog sniff out the winner).

In the meantime, you can check out Keija Parssinen’s first novel, The Ruins of Us.

Tomorrow, the Unraveling Mercy Louis Blog Tour stops in at Good Girl Gone Redneck and Nicole Leigh Shaw.

I received an advance copy of this book so that I could read it in order to offer an honest review. This review is truly my unbiased opinion.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Superhero Sunday - Sidekick candidate?

I spotted this picture of my cousin's son getting ready to fly.
I am now rethinking my need for goggles and a helmet! This guy totally has sidekick potential. My only concern is that his flashy monogrammed cape, complete with lightning bolt, may have him thinking that I should be his lowly sidekick. Stay awesome, Mercier…you are Super Mercier!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Week 36 - Still in the mix!

Oh hey, hi there! I thought maybe you were the competition stopping by to gloat or something. I may not have been totally prepared to win this contest, but it does seem that I was ready to compete, as I apparently wrote and sent a lot of letters. Up this week is one that will hopefully serve as a reminder to tuck my friend Clairol in the cart next time I am at the store.

Dear Clairol:

I do not necessarily make bad decisions, or maybe I do. Actually, I am confident that I am not good at making decisions as far as the process itself is concerned. What if I make a choice that mocks and saddens me for the rest of eternity, or at the very least, a few months? There are so many hair color choices available for a woman who finds herself on the losing end of the gray hair pulling battle. So many shades. So many, in fact, that I was left undecided as to what color my hair actually was to begin with.

I brought a friend to the store, convinced that she had superior decision-making skills. When she steered me towards the very dark hues, I tried to disagree since I did not think my hair was black, but she seemed very confident in her decision. I felt insecure arguing with her, or the stranger who we had also dragged into the madness. While those two women focused on the precise shade of too dark for me, I caught sight of the writing on the box that said "washes out in twenty-eight shampoos". I took great relief in the fact that I could certainly wash my hair fourteen times a day if things went poorly. I also saw the words "Natural" and "Instinct" on the label, so naturally I followed my instincts in choosing your product. 

A few years ago I left my hair color needs up to a professional in preparation for my sister's wedding. I am the older sister, and preferred to not just look like her old sister. Things went far more red than I might have imagined, and while the photos show a lovely woman who had been through hair and makeup, I am not sure who she is. I then spent over a year with a gradually enlarging beanie taking over my scalp until the time came when a shorter styled haircut left that color on the floor at the hairdresser's. With Clairol Natural Instincts in my hand, and for a very fair price, I bid good-bye to my graying temples and said hello to a new woman of mystery with very dark hair. I embraced the thought of a gentle, all over, fade before picking another shade.

The handy numbers and color names must be great for people without memory issues. I rip the tops off the boxes for safe keeping, in fact, they are so safe they cannot even find their way into my purse. I arrive in the hair color aisle forced to decide what I think I remember as my color of choice. I do not panic though, after simply quadruple checking that I have grabbed the box that says "washes out in twenty-eight shampoos". (Would you consider making that font larger?)

I am also pleased to say that the messes I have made with my wayward dye gloves and bobbling potion bottles have taken less than twenty-eight scrubbings to clean off the walls, vanity, sink, mirror, linoleum, feet and rugs. (Those last two items were connected.)

Sincerely,
Andrea

So did Clairol send a team of color experts knocking at my door? Well, not exactly. The only response I heard was when my first letter was "returned to sender". I quickly resent it out to a different address, but to no avail.

 No points for this letter, so I remain at 67 points. (Currently a two point race!)

Next week I will provide updates that came after some letters were posted…very suspenseful, I know! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The random is still frozen

When we last saw Foz, he was headed out searching for greener pastures…literally and figuratively. (I will save you the trouble of clicking back.)
February 12
He is certain that this tundra-like atmosphere is something we have created solely to torture him. Let's check on him as he continues his quest.
Today, progress sadly moving in the wrong direction
Of course it doesn't help that he is not tall enough to see outside of his frozen world to find the rest of the neighborhood is suffering the same fate. The dog behind us is a beautiful and huge Great Pyrenees. Foz is pretty sure she is mocking him for needing us to shovel this"shit pit", as my husband has recently dubbed it, while she majestically stomps down the powder in her path.

The good news is that I was able to run some errands today without wearing gloves. Yes, I am pleased to report that I could walk from my car into the grocery store with my bare hands. The windchill was also only bad enough for the schools to operate on a two-hour delay, as opposed to being closed. Small victories.

Now I was only slightly concerned to see this snow panther leaping from the side of my front door. 
Do you see it? I knew I could tame him with a shovel if I had to.

So what do I do here when I am not pontificating about the snow, spending quality time with Foz, wondering about whether or not to do the a-z challenge, or trying to write posts that have been knocking in my brain for over a year? Well, sometimes I stroll over to my paperwork pile...
 …and am instantly mortified, yet intrigued, by what I see. Please tell me the cabin fever is not going to get bad enough for me to start sculpting with sanitary napkins…however "awesome" it might be. This ad is begging for a letter!

Stacy Uncorked

Friday, February 20, 2015

Week 35 - STILL alive with Terrell's!

Here we are, on day eight of fun family time, shivering away our February winter break (that started early last Friday due to a snow cold day). We have resisted the temptation to hunker down under blankets on the couch, and have actually braved the elements...in search of snacks and/or entertainment (and by entertainment, I do not just mean driving in white out conditions or shoveling the driveway). Speaking of snacks, I opted to take Marianne's contest advice once again and wrote to a local company. There would be a teenage uprising if this house was not stocked with chips, so without further ado....

June 23, 2014

Dear Terrell’s Chipsters,

I was just standing at my kitchen counter, snacking on a handful of your ripple cut chips. Since most of the delightful chips were the size of my hand, I did not feel cheated by just taking a few. I was thinking to myself about how each crispy treat was more than a mouthful. Of course, I was having this thought while cramming each crunchy offering into my mouth, whole, of course. (There is an entirely different set of etiquette rules for counter snacking that go beyond the calories not counting.)

I could go on about the perfect thickness of the chips, the crunch and delicious potato flavor, but I really ought to make sure I closed the clip securely on that bag. I hope there isn’t another mishap like when the other bag from The Big Box was left open and the chips all fell into my mouth.

Cruuuuunch…mmmmm,
Andrea

Mother, blogger, snacker

Did they chip in to return some love? Well, no...but at least I know where to drown this dip's sorrows!
Current point total remains at 67 points!

Has anybody seen the competition?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Randomish

Let's continue to visualize warmer weather. Look at these "waves" of snow on the back deck…lovely. This might have worked better if I had not opened the door to take the picture…brrrrr!
Go forth and find grass, Fozzie!
In addition to the snowfall accumulation, the clip somehow came off my five pound bag of rice, leading to a nice dusting.
Meh, that part of the snack shack needed to be tidied up anyway.

How about a Boston Cream Pie Donut martini? That was the kickoff for this year's Martini Walk (during the 20 degree heat wave). 
It was yummy, but kind of just made me want donuts. Now, the Bees Knees offering was gone before anyone could snap a picture. It was delicious! (Think lemonade and honey.)

Sometimes when you have really good luck with something on the first try, you should just quit. (I don't low why I am not a motivational speaker either.) I think that was the message learned after we hauled out a second waffle iron for more brownie making fun. 
Hmmm, perhaps a learning curve with a different iron? She switched after determining this one had too much debris to continue.
Oh my gosh! How did she completely forget how much batter to use on the original one? I just walked away as I hate to discourage her independence with my input…a decision I regretted when she was in despair over the clean up. At one point I just thought I might rather buy myself a new waffle iron that try to clean these two. We got it all taken care of though. So much nibbling, as these tasted better than the last kind (which we made with inferior batter due to the experimental nature of her business).

In a slightly related story, my cholesterol is back up a little bit. I am assuming this is because I have been so busy getting my protein from regular peanut m&m's, that I have forgotten my flavenoid and antioxidant intake from dark chocolate. Rest assured, I will get right on that.

Stacy Uncorked