Archive for November, 2009

This is my third installment of a YA Dystopic novel as part of my participation in the BOTNS DystopYA challenge. The first two were The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I also reviewed those two on this blog. Please be warned, I am not good at reviewing without some possible spoilers.

That said, this book felt a tad bit immature for what I am used to reading. However, it was recommended to me by a bookseller so I hoped that I would enjoy it. I did.

The premise is at some point in the future, most probably the United States, or what used to be the United States. They determined that at age 16 everyone underwent a series of cosmetic surgery to make everyone “Pretty.” Until that operation, most adolescents lived in dorm like settings and were called “uglies.” Our main character, Tally, had her best friend turn 16 several months before her. She wasn’t a rule follower. This seems to be typical of all dystopic lead characters. She broke curfew, rode her hoverboard (flying skateboard) at all hours of the night and took off her interface ring so the authorities would not have any way of tracking her. It’s during one of these tricks (that’s what they are called) that she meets Shay, another Ugly who happens to have the same birthday as Tally. Tally is very enthusiastic about having the surgery and becoming a Pretty, whereas Shay, from the beginning, is a rebel. She doesn’t want to become Pretty and thinks that everyone should look the way they are and that they ARE pretty by being themselves. Shay introduces Tally to the Ruins (where we all used to live apparently) and talks of the Smokies, a band of rebels who ran away from society in order to live their lives freely and as themselves, sans surgery.

Shay runs away before it’s her time to have the surgery and leaves Tally a very cryptic note to guide her to the Smokies. However, the authorities, rather than operating on Tally makes her wear a pendent and seek out the Smokies to help the authorities capture the rebels. There are a group of cruel Pretties called Special some-thing-or other (ala our CIA) and this begins the struggle for Tally, for she meets all of the Smokies and begins to like their way of life. There is a romance with David, who Shay of course fancied, and parental units. It appears that there was brain alteration in addition to the physical alterations.

It took me much longer to read this book than it should have and while I did enjoy it, as I said at the beginning it was rather adolescent from time to time. I never felt this way when I was reading The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, so I felt like I was unfairly judging this book. I did however, feel like that when I read Twilight, so what does that say.  I also put the book down several times to read other books, so perhaps that played a part in it as well.

There were several instances throughout the book where I thought to myself that I could definitely see this happening in our society. Heck, it happens already where young girls want plastic surgery to fix things. And indulgent parents allowing that sort of thing. Is it the kids maturing physically at younger and younger ages, or is it me just getting older. Did my parents and their parents before them feel this way as well? Hard to say.

I will say, that I am going to read the next book in this series, Pretties, although, I’m hoping that the silly adolescent portion goes quickly.


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My decorations are up. Thanksgiving week is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow. Blah. Although, I didn’t rest much this week running around for the little one and helping my mother take care of the baby. Did I mention to you that my parents have temporary custody of my niece’s baby because the state took him away from her. Oh. my. The worst part, is my niece’s attitude. It’s as if it’s my parent’s obligation and anything that she does is a favor for them. Ugh, I don’t even want to get into the details because I get upset about it all over again.

The week visit, minus the niece drama, was great.  It was good to see my mom, even if it meant helping take care of a 6 1/2 month old. He’s a sweet baby and it isn’t his fault, you know? I’ll be going up there the day after Christmas for a visit so, it’ll be nice to see them up there where they are more comfortable.

Today on tap, climbing Mt. Laundry. Every time my parents come to visit I fall behind on my chores since I’m busy paying homage to them over at my grandmother’s. I never get anything done here. Yesterday, I put up all the decorations and the tree. Today, I’m going to do the laundry and clean. I’m also meeting my friend Nikki for lunch at Big Bear Brewing Company. Yum, they have the best food there. After that J wants to go to a comic book store that is over by where we are having lunch, so I told him I would take him. He never asks for much, being my laid back middle child and all, so I figure it will be nice to do this for him.

I’m finishing up Uglies, by Scot Westerfeld. This is my final installment in the Books on the Nightstand DystopiYA challenge. It’s a series though, so now I’m going to have to get all the other books in the series to see how it ends.

Of course, there is also football today. I’ve also got tons of pictures to upload, once I figure out how to get them off of the camera and onto here. It’s not my camera so I’m not all that familiar with these minor details.

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It’s one of those days where we are supposed to get all retrospective and give thanks for all of the blessings that we have in our lives. I won’t disappoint.  For all the things that I always think that I don’t have, I really am so blessed. My eldest who gives me headaches galore, I’m thankful that he is around to do that. That they all are. I’m so lucky to have this crazy and dysfunctional family, because, well, I could have none.

I am also thankful for having reconnected with a special family from high school. I hadn’t seen them in years. My best friend from high school and her family really mean a lot to me and I especially grateful to have them in my life again.

This is all pretty standard stuff, but I don’t want to ever take it for granted and these are the times that I try to remember when I’m struggling with life. With that, I’m off to get dressed and begin cooking the stuffing. I’ll take lots of pictures.

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An incredibly hectic week is over. <cocking head> what? wait, you mean, it’s only Wednesday? Well, crap.

Seriously, today was crazy. First the photo shoot was fun. Fast paced, but fun. She had a lot of great shots and we will look at the proofs on Friday.  She had a good time, and I’m hopeful that she will enjoy this new adventure.

Then she had gymnastics. Afterwards, I had a talk with her coaches, because I wanted to find out from them what they felt the difference was between the two gyms. Actually, they approached me because my wonderful, beautiful 6 year old told them that she went to open house gym at the other gym. We had a good discussion and I’m going to leave her there. I was having serious doubts about moving her, not because I didn’t think she could handle it, she can, I just didn’t know if that was the best thing for her. So for now, she stays put.

I just made home-made cornbread for the stuffing for tomorrow. Yum.

I’m going to bed, I’m so tired. managing this little girl is hard work.

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The last two days have been nuts. We’ve been shopping and planning for Shy’s photo shoot this morning. I had to make sure that it would be done by 2p since she has gymnastics practice and they said initially that yes, starting at 11a we would be finished by 1p the latest. Then they called me back to see if we could come at 10a because after looking at her initial picture, they wanted to be sure that they had enough time to do all the shots that we need. I wonder what this means. Of course, I’m interpreting it as my daughter is just so amazingly beautiful that they know that they are going to take hours of photos of her.

The other exciting news is that Shy had an evaluation at a different gym and they want her to be placed on their Level 3 team. Wow. She would be the youngest one and this gym just won the State USAG Championship for this level and several others above. USAG is the governing body for gymnastics and their TOPS program is where girls train in order to compete at the collegiate level and beyond. It’s a big step. Right now, she’s at a small comfortable gym but she won’t achieve the long-term results that will help her succeed when she’s older. This new gym, however, is a big gym and would definitely challenge her. Not to mention put her on the path that she wants.

I asked her, what did she want. I explained that she would have to leave her old gym to go to this new one and she said, well, I guess I’ll have to go then. She wants the challenge even if she doesn’t know how to quite articulate it to me.

Nothing of value comes easy. That’s for sure.

This morning we are going to her photo shoot. I’ll have pictures of that later.

I haven’t had time to do any exercise, yea, that’s just an excuse. But really, I haven’t unless I get up at 530a.  I’ve been out and about the majority of the day and haven’t gotten home until 8p where I just want to crash. The good thing, is that I haven’t had much of an opportunity to eat poorly, heck, eat at all.  When I have eaten I have made good choices. Even though there were times I could have eaten junk, I’ve realized that I didn’t want to. Did I have one oreo last night, yea, but that’s the kicker I had one. Just one. Not possible in the past, last night, I just wanted a taste of something sweet. I should have just had a piece of dark chocolate since that would have been better for me.

Today will probably be another not able to eat much day. We are leaving for the photo shoot at 9a and will probably be done there by 1p. After that, Shy has gymnastics practice and I’m going to use that time to come home and pick up around the house and do laundry. Well, fold the laundry that’s in pile. Then I have an appointment with the owner at the new gym to figure out the payments and cost of this new opportunity.

Somewhere tonight, I need to find time to make the Cornbread and Sausage stuffing for tomorrow. I think I may just do it in the morning before we go up to my Uncle’s.

Do you guys ever find that you are busier when you aren’t working than when you do?

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I’m off this week and this week is turning into a crazier week than when I work. Honestly.  My mom and dad (and niece and baby grand-nephew) are here for the holiday and they got in late yesterday, at like 730p. Which meant we were visiting with them late. This morning, after dropping the kids off at school, I went to my grandmother’s, again, and went shopping with the entourage. We had to get Shy outfits for her photo shoot, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  Did I mention the photo shoot? I’ll have to keep that secret just a little longer.

By the time the shopping was done, I had to go pick up Shy from school and go straight to gymnastics. From there, we got Jon and then back to my house for the fashion show with all the stuff we bought. A few things need  to be exchanged tomorrow and we still need black patent leather shoes for the Christmas dress (I’ll definitely have photos).

Tomorrow, the kids have school and then Shy has a special workout after school. Before that I need to exchange the clothes and make sure all things fit. If not, after her workout, we will be hitting the mall again. Wednesday morning is the shoot and then gymnastics again in the afternoon. Did I mention that the kid breathes, eats and sleeps gymnastics. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to make the cornbread sausage stuffing I have listed in the recipe section.

I’m just lounging at home after a busy crazy day watching Ghost. Oh, Patrick, how you are missed. Seeing him in this movie so full of life is so sad knowing how he died. And losing my sister last year, gosh, I wonder if that’s how it was. I want to believe it was and is like that and so I will.

And on that note, go hug the people you love.

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No, not the TV show, but me, live and in person.

Today was a great day. We woke up and we are all still recovering from this cold that we all caught.  Not really a flu, but flu like symptoms. How do I know? Well, the worst of us was tested. Shy had an appointment at a talent and modeling agency and they thought she was great. Who wouldn’t? Seriously, though, they said she was so well behaved and had personality to go along with her beauty. I just need contact sheets and then she can start.

After that we headed to Barnes & Noble for coffee (me) and a book (Shy). We looked around and I explained what various books were. She would pick them randomly as we wandered throughout the different sections of the store. After a distress call from A & J that the dog, Sedona, was hurt and hiding in her crate did we head straight home. So much for our hanging out on the East side of town.

Did I mention that it’s race weekend and I’m unable to attend this year. Yea, I’m not happy about that. So, I decided to try and do some fun things since I couldn’t go boogity, boogity, boogity racing.

We got home and the pup was ok. A little sore on the one back leg (she’s a three legged Pomeranian) but otherwise fine. We settled in with dinner and a movie. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This movie choice was a two-fer, family friendly and had Bradley Whitford (my most favorite actor) in it. After that Shy went to bed and caught up on a little DVR action. Popcorn was my snack du jour.

And now I’m in bed watching what appears to be a lame edition of SNL. Except the Sarah Palin 2012 skit was funny.

Best of all, I stayed on plan. Stayed within my points allotment. Yeah!!!! It really wasn’t that hard actually.  Well, ok, truthfully, at one point it was and I almost grabbed a cookie. But I didn’t. I distracted myself by doing laundry and I was able to have the moment pass. I think it’s really just bad habits holding me back now. I’ve dealt with the emotional inner turmoil, did the pain in the ass work to figure out what was the motivation for my eating and weight and now that I’ve dealt with it I really think I’m on the road to changing the habits. I have other non-food ways to deal with those emotions now.

This blog plays a part in that. Considering that no one read it today means that I’m talking to myself, but that’s cool, I actually do that in real life too. I’m off to watch SNL and read the new Richard Russo book, “That Old Cape Magic.” Review to come sometime this week.

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