Saturday, November 29, 2008

Listen ... and WIN!

I've gone through my (overflowing) stash of Christmas scrapbooking & papercrafting items and decided to give away some of it to 2 new homes! So, here's the deal:
1) Listen to one of the Christmas songs playing on my blog (there's a red playlist box in the right-hand sidebar that should start up shortly after you reach my blog, but if it doesn't, you can always hit play ... or pause/stop).
2) In the comments section, list the song & whether it's one of your own Christmas favorites or just something you tolerate
3) Leave your name & some way for me to find you (a link back to a blog, an email address, etc.) and which of the two stacks of stuff you'd like to enter to win!

Stack 1:

Stack 2:

All entries must be posted by the time I wake up on Monday morning (December 1st)! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Princeps' Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera Princeps' Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another excellent book from Jim Butcher! He is a masterful storyteller, propelling several plotlines with equal force, without confusion or weakening. I was equally enthralled by all the efforts made by all the different characters. I was pleased to see some of my old favorites back & some answers to some lingering questions surface. The Alerans and Canim are far from out of danger, and I have my own theories about the Icemen, but that'll have to wait. For now, a 6th book isn't even on the horizon, so I hope Jim Butcher is working on it furiously!

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Journal Your Christmas ... EXCITEMENT!

I'm delighted to be partaking in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class for the 3rd year in a row. You may wonder why I've done this twice, let alone gearing up for a 3rd time. Well, it's simple: I've always enjoyed the process of celebrating Christmas, and this is a good way for me to document that and to collect my thoughts. I've never been one to gear up for Christmas commercialism -- I've never gone shopping on a Black Friday, nor will you catch me anywhere near a mall until January. Mankind seems to turn so irritable and self-focused; I just want no part of it! I'd rather stay home & make some gifts, wrap the ones I've already acquired (or created!), and send notes to loved ones, maybe even with a cup of cocoa close at hand.

I really enjoy thinking about Shimelle's daily topics & look forward to my little bit of creating each and every day from December 1st through January 6th. If you're thinking about reclaiming Christmas ... eschewing the holiday chaos ... or just think it's time to tell some holiday stories, you should definitely look up the class & see if it's for you! And no pressure, either -- the prompts guide you to create a page in just a few minutes a day & she's pretty savvy about knowing about when people start feeling the pressure of the holidays -- plus, alumni are invited back year after year, at no additional cost, so if you don't manage to finish it, there's no guilt! Maybe I'll see some of you on the forums!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sadly, it's time for the telescope to go

Isn't she beautiful??

As much as it breaks our hearts, we honestly are not getting good use out of the beautiful telescope that we acquired several years ago. Part of it is the light pollution in our neck of the woods ... part of it is coordinating our schedules ... and part of it is just not having the technological skillz to keep up to date on astronomical developments. Anyhoo, it's a splendiferous (as my mom would say) telescope, so if you know of anyone who might like it, please do point them to our eBay auction, which'll be up in another 6 days and 23 hours! And if someone wants to drive to our abode near Chicago, there'll be no shipping costs ... bonus! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It may only be November 15th...

... but our local "lite" station now is playing Christmas music (a bit too early for my tastes), and I've started collecting supplies for Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas online class! I took the class last year & the year before ... alumni are invited back year after year, which I find very cool. I still need to find an album that will work for me, but I've managed to collect all of my holiday themed supplies, and I still own more than enough for the process. It just never ceases to amaze me how things creep into my stash. See what I've got set aside for this album?
And I don't even consider myself much of a buyer, when I comes to scrapbooking things! Anyway, I'm looking forward to reuniting with some old online buds & making new friends! I know that I haven't personally bought any Christmas themed stuff in at least 2 years, so it's probably a good idea that I keep on doing Shimelle's class, or I'll never use it up! Anyone need any stuff??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A very eloquent & moving statement

I didn't know much about California's Proposition 8 until just a few days before the election. And initially, I thought because I don't reside in California, it didn't have much bearing on my life. Until I heard the outcome ... and I had a deep sense of being disturbed. There was something about it that was so horrifying ... so sad ... so "off" that I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Well, Keith Olberman has put his finger on it quite accurately, I think.

For those of you who don't agree with myself or Mr. Olberman, you are more than welcome to leave comments. Just keep in mind that I respect your beliefs & your right to exercise them, and would appreciate it if you could do so without being hurtful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Making a Change!!! Join me! :)

I sent out an email to my friends & family this morning. And then I thought it couldn't hurt to make it public, and see if any of my online buddies might want to get in on the action as well. So, here it is:

Okay, here's the thought that germinated in my head while biking at the gym this morning (a wonderful spot for pondering the universe, let me tell you): I would like to begin an email discussion with you about
positive changes that each and every one of us can make, above and beyond what we're doing now. I am inspired by the wave of enthusiasm and excitement from the election, and regardless of politics, I think each one of you will agree with me that the nation, indeed the world, will be a better place if we each step up and do just a little bit more than we are doing now. Whether we invest in our communities, our families, our government, our places of spiritual value, our environment, or some area I haven't considered, we have the potential to create a massive positive effect.

I know that many of you are excited about last night's election results ... and just about as many of you are sorely disappointed. I would like to step beyond the question of who has been elected and move on to the question of what will each one of us do in our own lives? Some of you I know are already actively involved in church activities, in deepening your spiritual self, in helping your community, and in other forms of activism. I think this is awesome, because you can inspire the rest of us to consider activities that we might not ever have thought of.

Here's my vision: I am sending out this email, asking if you'd like to participate in this discussion/brainstorming session. If you agree, I'll send out an email with some of my thoughts & ask people to reply with more ideas, to everyone on the list. It will not be an arena for political discussion, merely an opportunity to exchange ideas & to come up with plans of action. If you don't want to participate, that's fine, too -- I don't expect everyone to jump on this as it's got the potential to generate quite a few emails & to start up a larger process than some of you may want to undertake at this time!

If you want to participate, please email me back (hit reply, not reply-to-all, please) by this Friday, November 7th. If you do not reply, then I will make the assumption you prefer not to participate. If you have friends who you think might be interested in this little undertaking, please feel free to forward the email to them, and then have them email me directly to ask to be added. On Saturday, November 8th, I'll send out the first email to get the ball rolling & start the process of identifying different ideas ... it is my expectation that from there on out, it'll be a fairly organic process, but I'll try to step in and keep people on topic if they're straying a bit.

If, at any point, someone sends a flaming email or makes a nasty comment, I will contact that person for clarification. If, in my best judgment, I feel the person's having a negative effect on the process, I retain the right to rein them in and possibly exclude them from discussions.

So, are you up for it? Let me know! :D

If you are interested in joining, please contact me through my profile & I will add you to the distribution list!

Moved to tears

Last night, I was moved to tears. I am so very happy & excited to see the direction our country is headed. I felt that President-Elect Obama gave a moving and hope-filled speech, (you can see the transcript, here) which I pray will continue to energize the American people. As much as I am excited by the choice of our new president, I am even more excited about how many Americans seem poised to do something different ... to become more involved in their communities ... to be more active in the organizations they value. I'd said all along that my number one wish for this election was to have the highest voter turn out ever, mostly because it would mean that more people were involved & accepting responsibility. I don't know what the final voter turn out is* ... and I don't know if it'll be a reasonable predictor of change, but I am excited, all the same!

*edit, supposedly, it was at 64%, the highest since 1908.