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Showing posts from January, 2011

E is for Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Back Cover:   A panda walks into a cafe.  He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. 
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit.  The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "look it up." 
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda.  Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.  Eats, shoots and leaves." 

Are you a stickler for punctuation?  Do misspellings and bad grammar and misplaced commas drive you crazy?  Yeah, me too. After 25 some odd years working as an administrative assistant (glorified secretary) in which, every single document that passed through my hands had to be absolutely perfect before it went out, I'm a stickler for punctuation. So when I came across this book the other day, I just had to read it.  Eats, Shoots & Leaves is …

WIP Wednesday - getting in a groove

How long does it take to form a habit?  In my case, I'd have to say about 3 weeks.  I am now (drumroll please)  writing every single day.  The morning pages have helped tremendously in stopping me from getting on the computer during breakfast, then getting caught up the internet.  I'm also getting up a little bit earlier so on Monday and Thursday I have time to write before getting ready for work. Once breakfast is done, I work on my current WIP and it may only be half an hour a day and writing one to two pages, but it is progress.  The story is suspense with a bit of romance thrown in but hadn't been able to figure out the romance part. How to get my two main characters to really 'see' each other.  Found the solution, wrote the Aha moment and now the interest is there, so now have something to work with.

Between Better Writing Habits and The morning pages, it has also freed me up from having to create every single blog post from scratch sitting at the computer.  I …

D: Delirious by Daniel Palmer - Plus autographed copy to giveaway!

Author Synopsis:  Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.
Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.
In a desperate struggle to save his life, Charlie races to uncover the truth, all the while realizing that nothing can be trusted—least of all his own fractured mind… 
Charlie Giles lived a perfect, metic…

Poor melvin broke his paw!

Thursday evening, Melvin came into the living room and he's favoring one leg, hopping on three.  We check out his leg and he has a deep cut on one paw.   We're thinking maybe he and one of the other cats got into something.  We hadn't heard anything so he could have been tussling with the persistent neighborhood cat who keeps coming in the yard.  Since he's not walking on it, decided to take him into the vet on Friday.   She said it's not a bite but looks like it got caught on something.  One of his toes could be broken, so decided to have x-rays done.  Turns out the bone behind his big toe is broken.   They splinted and wrapped it and now he's housebound for the next 6 weeks.  Poor Melvin!  He's our talkative cat so we've been getting an earful.

C: Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Catch a Rising Star!

Have you ever wondered what happens after the "they lived happily ever after" part in fairy tales. Do they live happily ever after?   Is life care free and simple without any problems or worries?   Michelle Davidson Argyle explores that in her debut novella which continues Cinderella's story in "Cinders"
Back cover:  "Cinderella's happily ever after isn't turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic."
When Cinderella married the prince, he saved her from her stepmother and stepsisters and a life of drudgery.  However, the glow of her new life soon begins to wear off.   She had gotten what she wanted, so why wasn't she happy.   She began to wonder...  Does he really love her?  Would he love her without the enchantment spell?  Does she love him even though al…

B: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Back cover:   Fate can take many forms. For Henry, it arrives in an envelope from a stranger, containing a story by Flaubert, a play featuring two characters named Beatrice and Virgil, and a note signed "Henry" with an address in the same city.  From the moment, Henry finds the address and steps into the taxidermist's shop, a place unlike anywhere he has ever been, his life is changed.  In this extraordinary feat of storytelling, Yann Martel poses enduring questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity.  And just as in Life of Pi, Martel's wit, pathos, and probing humanity are sure to hold readers in thrall. 
I really don't know what to say about this one.  It's truly an odd story that captures your attention.  But as time goes on, you feel like you are walking down a garden path, that is slowly getting chocked by weeds, and you are getting pricked by thorns.  The story was just a bit too morbid for me.  Unlike Life of Pi, whi…

Pinewood Derby 2011 - My guys did it again!!!!

2011 Pinewood Derby
My guys did it again. Father came in first in the Family and Friends race and his car kicked but.  James came in first in the Webelos race and second overall. It was so close.  River, a little Tiger cub, his car  came in at 2.542 and James at 2.543.  Woozer.   This year James made a Luigi car.  His car last year was Mario.  It was simply amazing.   He started chanting Luigi for his car to win and had all 9 kids who were in the final race started chanting for his car as well.  Father and I looked at each other - they were cheering for his car while racing him.  What a kid!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  (first sentence) Front Flap:  Anna Karenina has beauty, social position, wealth, a husband and an adored son, but her existence seems empty.  When she meets the dashing officer Count Vronsky she rejects her marriage and turns to him to fulfill her passionate nature-with devastating results.  Anna Karenina is both an immortal drama of personal conflict and and social scandal and a vivid, richly textured panorama of nineteenth century Russia.   Translation by Richard Peaver and Larisse Volokhonsky

I'll admit that before I read Anna Karenina, didn't have a clue what it was about. It was one of those, have it on the shelves, inherited books that everyone says is a must read.  Having read War and Peace, (link to review)  which I enjoyed immensely, I sort of expected it to be in the same vein.   Instead - drama, angst, introspection, jealousy, hatred, spite, love and death.  Oh, the angst of it all!  Imagine…

WIP Wednesday: gaining momentum

I'm plugging away and trying something new.  I read about Morning Pages on Better Writing Habits and thought I'd give it a try.  The theory is you're supposed to have pen and notebook by your bed and upon waking up, write three stream of consciousness pages before starting your day.  That doesn't exactly work quite so well in my household.  Upon waking up, I have four cats demanding attention and to be fed. So instead, I feed the cats, fix my breakfast (and James if he happens to decide to get up with me) and write while eating, instead of reading my email.  Once breakfast and morning pages are completed, which is generally simultaneously, I curl up on my comfy couch in the living room to write and work on my current WIP.   My son quite happily does his thing on his computer, leaving me to write until hubby gets up.  I usually manage to get an half hour or so of writing in.

The stream of consciousness thing is interesting as I generally don't have a whole lot to com…

Random Ramblings and ruminations

Some days don't you feel like doing this?

Hello!  I'm still here.  Been a bit busy and stressed and crazy around here without much time to just sit and be.  This the first day I've had to just sit down and do nothing in the past week or so.  Last weekend we went to the funeral of one of our neighbor's.  She sadly passed away from cancer that she'd been battling for a year and a half.  We didn't think she was going to make through Christmas 2009, but she did. She quit chemo mid year and started feeling better for a while.  Then it hit hard again a month or so ago.  Everyone on our block attended the service.  We're all old timers and they've known hubby from his selfish, partying days as a college student til now as a happily married, hard working family man.   Chris loved photography and every year she made us a calendar with a current picture of James. 
We went from the funeral up to the bay area for a family party with hubby's side of the family. …

WIP Wednesday - ROWing upstream against the current

Round of Words in 80 Days check in

Granted we are only 4 days into the new year, but I can already see the need to adjust my goals.  Monday Kait wrote this wonderful post about sustainable change and tweaking your goals as you go along and having regular measurable steps. Then I stumbled upon the 31 Day Better Writing Habits blog. It is co-founder by two authors: Jennifer of Procrastinating Writers and Suzannah of Write It Sideways and liked what they had to say, plus there are daily challenges. Things to think about and work on, so decided to do that as well.
The first change - I decided to quit rowing upstream. Realistically I don't have a whole lot of time to write in the morning on Monday and Thursdays since those are my days to work at the shop. I've been fighting that forever, trying to fit in writing on those days and it just doesn't work. It didn't work during Nano and I just made up for it the next day, which was a struggle keeping up with the word count. Mon…

About My Two Blessings

Welcome to My Two Blessings. I originally started this blog on March 21, 2007 as a means to communicate with family and friends and let them know about our journey through homeschooling and life in general. I discovered a whole new world of book bloggers, author blogs, writers blogs as well as home school and educational blogs. It has evolved or rather I have evolved since then and the blog has become a creative outlet for not only discussing homeschooling, but also my education, books and writing.
What is the history behind the name My Two Blessings. It all has to do with my family. My # 1 blessing is my husband. He is my soul mate, best friend, sounding board, massage therapist, can fix anything mechanical, wonder man. Do you think I love him just a little bit? He is master of the house and my sweet son calls him Father. So we will refer to him throughout as Father. My #2 blessing is my one and only son, James. It wasn't intended for him to be an only, but that's …