Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: The Replacement

The ReplacementThe Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Replacement is a story about changelings, the idea that sometimes fairy creatures steal away human children from their cribs and replace them with their own castoff children. This book updates the idea and brings it to the modern town of Gentry, where we follow a changeling, and the undoing of his world around him.

This young adult novel manages to include paranormal themes while also touching upon mature subjects and remaining true to the thought processes of teenagers. While I thought some characters were underdeveloped, the world of Gentry and its underworld were nicely fleshed-out, with an intriguing backstory. I enjoyed the way "old world" mythology became modern, although at times it felt the author was trying to be too cool and edgy, particularly in some scenes set at a club.

The mood of the story is really handled well. You can feel the funk/depression/fog the main character is in, and it suffuses the pages with its own kind of melancholy. Reading this really is like entering Mackie Doyle's brain, with its concerns about girls at school coexisting with worries about the dark fairy underground he finds himself flirting with. It's good stuff.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 5/24

Life with the Dietrichs

This week's Learn Something New Tuesday is all about the end of the world!

1. Did you think the world was going to start ending on Saturday?
No! But I did think it was pretty funny. I set up a countdown for 6pm on one of the computers at work.

2. Did you stock up on important things and sell all your good stuff and spend your life savings or leave it to someone?
No, that would be crazy. Although, it's probably a good idea to be stocked up anyway.

3. What were you doing at 6pm on Saturday?
I had just finished work and was staying after for a family game night.

4. Do you think that someone can predict when the world is going to end?

5. Do you have family or friends that really thought the world was going to start ending?
Not as far as I know.  

6. What do you think of Harold Camping (the guy that predicted the world was going to start ending on certain dates and was wrong BOTH times)?
He's crazy and just wants attention.

Monday, May 23, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday 5/23

My 10 favorite literary quotes. (As pulled from my Goodreads profile. And by literary, I mean about books or from books.)

1. Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly. - Neil Gaiman

2. Hi Sandy, I won! - Ellen Raskin
This one is from the book The Westing Game. You have to read it to understand it. This is my favorite childhood book, and every time I read this quote, I smile.

3. Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. - Lemony Snicket

4. All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king. - JRR Tolkien

5. I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything. - Mark Haddon

6. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

7. The true American patriot is by definition skeptical of the government. - Sarah Vowell

8. The world was hers for the reading. - Betty Smith

9. I don't get nearly enough credit in life for the things I manage not to say. - Meg Rosoff

10. The best way to get even with anyone is to put them in the rear view mirror on the way to something better. - Joe Hill

Closet Curtain Project... and Housewarming!

This week we are preparing for our housewarming party!

I am really excited about it. I still can't believe we've only been here in this house since March 4th. Coming up on just three months... how crazy is that? I love how much this house feels like ours in so short a time.

Of course there is a lot of preparation to be done before the party. Scotty is loving the new clippers he got to trim the palo verde trees in the back. We've been cleaning and organizing.

One project we did yesterday ended up really nice!

When we first moved in, the master bedroom closet had broken doors on it and the shelving inside was all crooked, broken, and lacked support. We used the IKEA Antonius storage system to line the floor with plenty of storage for folded items like jeans, pajamas, etc. (We don't even need the dresser in the room anymore... that's nice.) We also installed a standard closet rod up top, a bit higher than usual to accommodate some nice bins on top of the storage system.

Yesterday we put in a curtain rod and pretty curtains from Target to complete the closet. I really like it!

New Closet Curtains, Closed

New Closet Curtains, Open
It is just one more project to cross off our list, but it makes me happy whenever I go into the bedroom!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 5/17

Okay, so I'm a day late, but I still wanted to answer the questions! I was at a conference about social media all day yesterday and didn't want to pay the hotel's wifi prices...

Life with the Dietrichs

1. How old does someone have to be to be officially an ‘adult’ to you?
I'd say in their early twenties... 18 may be technically an adult but it doesn't feel that way to me. And of course, I know some people who are much older than me that I wouldn't consider adults!

2.Would you get along with someone who reminded you of yourself?
Yeah, I think so. Scotty reminds me a lot of myself sometimes, and most of my friends remind me of myself.

3. Did you ever seriously think that a monster was hiding under your bed?
If I thought about it, I knew it was silly... but I was definitely afraid of monsters under my bed as a kid :)  

4. Did you ever have a black and white cat?
Yes! I still have one. Sneakers:

5. Last time you used hand sanitizer?
A few minutes ago. I use that stuff all the time.

6. Do you like wearing your hair up or down?
Down... but lately it's been up because my hair has been obnoxious.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

PJ's Graduation

My little brother graduated from college yesterday with an Associate's Degree. I am so so proud of him! Love you, PJ!

PJ's Graduation Mosaic

PJ's Graduation Mosaic

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 5/10

1. What was your very first job that you went out and interviewed for and got?
That would be for a retirement community down the street from my high school. It was a large building and I worked as a server in the restaurant. I didn't have to deal with money or tips (I made minimum wage and the residents paid for their meals in the cost of their living arrangements), just food. I only worked on Sundays. It was easy for a restaurant job but the coworkers were heinous. No supervisor to speak of (he locked himself in his office and ignored everyone) and bullies galore. When I left I was told I could never work for them again. Good! It made me happy.

2. If someone gave you $50 and said that you had to spend it on yourself right now, what would you buy?
Clothes. I want to go clothes shopping this weekend, so this would just speed it up a little bit.

3.  How would you spend an entire day alone?
I love being alone... I mean, I love other people but I am just fine by myself and much more relaxed... I would just do what I usually do: watch tv, eat junk food and mess around on the computer.

4. What is one thing you’d change about the car you currently drive?
I'd fix my truck's transmission - pretty sure something is up with it. Uhmm, and change it so it is magically clean. It really needs to be cleaned and I am really lazy about it. I sometimes drive our Cobalt but I wouldn't change anything about that except maybe add more leg room in the back.

5. What is your favorite way to eat chicken?
Any way. I loooooove chicken. And I like other people cooking it for me because I get paranoid about it being cooked through.

6. Which one of these scented candles would you light?  A) vanilla B) crisp linen C) melon
Vanilla. I got a vanilla air freshener for the kitchen, and I love it. Linen would be ok, but a lot of melon scents smell really artificial to me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday 5/9

For 10 Good Things on a Monday today I will be sharing 10 favorite photos I've found recently. I've been going through my photo files picking out photos I want to get prints of to frame... so many photos, it's a little overwhelming. But while I do so I'm finding a lot of photos I love that remind me of happy times... so here we go... in no particular order.

Me, Hans, my mom, and my brother PJ - in California for my Mom and Hans' wedding

My Dad and PJ on the night of PJ's graduation

Me in California with an R2D2 mailbox

I'll probably get in trouble for posting this... but this is Scotty's crazy family!

Scotty's cousin Danielle's daughter Lorelai, playing with my lens cap. SO CUTE.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law waiting in line to get a Wii. This makes me smile.

Same time... Chris and Alicia killing time while we waited.

Four generations... my great-grandma, my granny, my mom and me.

Women on my other side of the family... my aunts, cousins, stepmom and Nana.

My Auntie Beth rocking out with PJ and a friend of his TJ.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Kahlua Cake

I made this recipe yesterday for my sister-in-law's Cinco de Mayo dinner. (Hey, it's got kahlua, so it fits, right?) It was so good! I've hardly ever made cakes before, so I was nervous, but this turned out yummy. Easy to make, too.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake
1 package Devil's food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding (small box)
4 eggs
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. Pour into a greased cake pan or bundt pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs on it - about 45-50 minutes.

Serve with powdered sugar sifted over the top.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 5/3

This is Learn Something New Tuesday... with six new questions every Tuesday to answer.

1. Have you ever gone swimming in the moonlight?
Yes - in my in-laws' pool. It's really nice.

2. In your whole house, what room do you stay in the most?
That would be a toss-up between the den (which has the computers and Loki and Genbu) or the living room. Although, of course, the bedroom would probably win since sleeping takes up so much time!

3. How much time do you spend on computer a week?
Oh... a lot. Especially if you factor in being on the computer at work.

4. If a stranger gave you a cookie, would you eat it?
No. I'm a little too paranoid for that.

5. What’s one thing you’re looking forward to?
The rest of this week (I have the week off work), and the Pet Expo on Saturday.

6. If I say “psycho”, who is the first person that comes to your mind?
A certain few members of the public who utilize library services...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recipe: Cheesy Texan Skillet

This is one of my favorite dinners to make and it's super easy. I don't remember where I found it but they called it Cheesy Texan Skillet - we just call it our favorite, especially now that I've added a few things to make it "mine."

35. Dinner

Cheesy Texan Skillet
1 onion, chopped
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 package shells and cheese dinner
Assorted spices (cumin, salt, pepper, etc)

Drain the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the liquid to make 1 3/4 cups total.

Brown the meat. To the skillet, add the black beans, tomatoes, tomato/water liquid, pasta shells, and onion. Stir until boiling. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 9-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat.

Stir in cheese sauce from the shells and cheese package. Make sure it's well-blended. Serve with shredded cheese on top.

A Visit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the Picket Post Mansion

We took a trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum yesterday. I absolutely love the arboretum. It's huge, and there's so much to explore. Yesterday, we went to take a look at the Picket Post Mansion, which is a house (really, more like a compound) built by Boyce Thompson in the 1920s. The house was recently reacquired by the Arboretum, in 2008, and they want to renovate it over the next decade or so.

There's just something about walking the trails at the Arboretum that I love. It's very calming and there is always something new.

17. Succulent

18. Wildflowers

19. Roses

20. Shade

21. View from the Eagle's Nest
The view from the eagle's nest at the top of the house, which is built on top of volcanic rock.

22. Us

23. Picket Post House - Eagle's Nest

24. Fountain

25. Can you spot the whiptail lizard?
Can you spot the whiptail lizard?

26. Picket Post HouseHere's the view from below the house.

27. View from the suspension bridge
And from a suspension bridge further on the trail - the house is just a speck in the distance.

28. Main Trail

29. Eucalyptus

We finished off the day by buying some chocolate mint at the gift shop/nursery. What a great place...

30. Chocolate Mint