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The Books I Read this Year.

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So being that I will be quite busy the next couple days with being done at the museum and moving and the such, I’m going to do my year-end book look back now. I won’t bore you with all I’ve read, but I’ll give the overview. There was a total of 51 books and a total of 15,559 pages. Here’s a few of the books I read and what I thought about them.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen. I loved them. I got kind of obsessed by them. Lots of angst and just something I don’t normally read.

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I definitely was one minded while reading this series. I read them in quick succession because I really liked them and really liked learning more about mythology in this form

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. It was okay. Not my favorite Austen but it’s up there

Love Seen from Hell by John Emil Augustine. YUCK. I wasn’t a fan. There are few books that I should never pick up because they bother me so much and this was one of them.

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman. I loved this book. I have read very few books that take place in my home state of North Dakota and this is the only one I’ve liked. I liked the characters and the real situations the characters were put in. Go read it. Now. I loved it.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. This was another one I wasn’t a fan of. Something that I would have adored in high school but now I have to many opinions on dating and know more what I want and what I need. I didn’t need this book/devotional/whatever it is, to tell me what I need. I think I had more issue with the reviews I read about it on GoodReads.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I liked it more than the movie. The book didn’t give me nightmares. Is this a sign that the movie will one day not give me nightmares and I will lose this obsession eventually? Maybe. To soon to tell. It something I would think about reading to my kids one day.

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. This is the first Lord John book I liked and it was because there was more Jamie Fraser in it. I also like that it was in the 20 year period where Claire was out of the picture. If you like the Lord John series and the Outlander series, you’ll love this book.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Meh. I see why the show is popular and the books are popular. I just couldn’t get into it. If I had more time to devote to the series, I could totally get into the series and become obsessed.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This took me a long time to get into but once I did and I got invested in the characters and started to love them. I do not see myself re-reading it though.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green. So good. I loved how John Green pretty much pulled off narrating from a 16-year-old girl’s point of view. It was funny and serious and I may have crushed on John Green for a while.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Good but I was still coming off from the John Green high. If I had read it before John Green, I would have adored it but I didn’t. I just got mad at Anna for being a typical teenager. That (me getting mad at teenagers for being teenagers and this coming from the girl who is about to teach in a high school) does happen on a regular basis.

Several Steve Hocknsmith books. It was more of the Home on the Range books. I really like these westerns because you get the western feel but near the end of the heyday of the cowboys so they’re a little bit more sophisticated more. I enjoy the humor and how they’re written.

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning. Not that bad but I got recommended this book based on my interest in the Outlander series. Yeah, doesn’t hold up. But it’s good and an easy read. I am a little obsessed with Hawk now. I don’t know why. Well, I kind of take that back because I have an idea why, I just don’t want to talk about it.

Panic by Jeff Abbott. I think I joked about this book the most because I couldn’t figure out who to trust. I did reference this book a lot when I was reading it. I think it was because it stumped me and not many books do that.

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. Another book that was suggested because I liked Outlander. This one fared better than Beyond the Highland Mist. I liked the characters and that it was a continuation of The Last of the Mohicans. Lots of good things about it and then some other things I wasn’t to into.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I just did a review on this. So I won’t talk about it too much. Just go back a post or two and read about it.

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. Not that similar to the movie but I still really enjoyed this book. I loved the family dynamics and I love just enjoyed the love that carried on.

So that’s a selection of what I’ve read. I’ll try to post in the next couple of days but don’t count on it.

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Family Story Time

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Story time’s back. Let’s talk about the family shall we?

My curfew in high school was midnight if I was just in town or 1 if I was a little farther out-of-town. I never broke curfew. I was a good kid. When I graduated high school, I moved out of my parents’ house exactly a week after graduation and a job like 3 days later, so I got independent fast and got used to setting my own curfew. I came home the first “independent” 4th of July and I was hanging out with my friend H and she was going through some stuff so I didn’t get home until like 2. My dad wasn’t happy. I didn’t understand because they knew where I was at and I was technically not living under their roof. I still don’t quite understand but it is my father, and so I’ll let him worry. Fast forward to this past 4th of July I had gone east of my parents’ house like an hour or so to Mandan and I didn’t get home until 1. I’m 25, so they know I’m responsible and I had called telling them I was leaving to come home. I walk in the house and my parents had fallen asleep in the living room and I walked in and my mom said groggily “Megan’s home” because she either heard me shut the door or seen my headlights coming in and dad says “yeah, she’s right there”. Mom, not being awake totally looked over and jumped out of her skin. My parents are going to be the funny old couple, I swear.

I think I’ve said this before but I’m the youngest of 3 and my brother (who’s the oldest) farms with dad. At that time, we got together a lot for birthdays or just meals. Not so much any more because I don’t live at home and everyone’s so busy. I was kind of a quiet kid but I did have a tendency to be a smart ass teen. It was bound to happen and I got away with a lot because I’m the baby. But sometimes I did get punished with random things like whisker burns (there were some actual punishments but most of the time if it was little, whisker burn). Pretty sure whisker burns hurt more than floor burns. But one time, we were celebrating my 16th birthday and I was in my pajamas, big tee-shirt and shorts, and everyone was there and I said something and I instantly knew I was in trouble. I started running. Let me tell you, there’s only so many places you can run before you get caught in that house and it’s really hard to out-run 2 men (my dad and brother) that are over 6 feet tall (6 ft. 3 and 4 and I’m 5 ft. 9) and they’re both strong farmers and both former athletes. So I got caught and they picked me up by the arms and feet because I do kick and hit and they brought me back to the kitchen. I got put into the sink and the water got turned on and made sure it went down my shorts and then the sprayer went on.

My dad and his brother are 14 years apart and so our uncle was around for a good amount of our growing up. More for my siblings and oldest cousin but still around a lot. My grandma helped watch us a lot when we were growing up so obviously, uncle was there then as well. One time my sister (age 5) didn’t say thank you and she got placed in the tall garbage by the uncle and was left there to sit.

I’ve talked about cousin E before. He’s my favorite and we’re about 6 months apart in age and we spent a lot of time together growing up. He broke my pool. We had this ledge at the house back in the day and my pool was at the bottom of this ledge, you had to walk around to get there and E threw a rock in it and put a huge hole in it. I wasn’t pleased.

Being farm kids we had some awesome hide and go seek games. We played in grandma’s trailer. That usually didn’t last long. We played in bail stacks, I got left one time in the stacks. We almost played in the barn but the barn had this weird green tile that gave it a weird green hue so that didn’t last long either.

Those are just a few stories. Not to entertaining. But still something to get through Friday.

Day at the Rodeo.

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Earlier this summer, I was so excited that at the county fair, I didn’t get burned during the parade. That’s usually the only time I get burned. Little did I know I was just waiting for another county fair to get burned. And this is the second time I got burned this summer. Actually if we’re being technical, the first burn was like end of March because when I went home for Mother’s Day, my mom laughed at me. If you get the ambition, go find that post where I go out with Paleo, that’s when I got burned. I’m failing here at life.

So I went to slack and then I went to the rodeo yesterday so I was out for like 4 hours yesterday watching rodeo, hence the sunburn. Now I have never rodeoed. I like to watch and I wish I had rodeoed. I’m not well versed on rodeo but I can follow. Just like football. I think that this love for rodeo started with my father. He used to break horses and he used to rope. He likes watching rodeo, it was a bonding thing for us.

I’ve been to more rodeos in the past 2 1/2 years than I ever have. This area of North Dakota cannot get enough rodeos. So I’ve developed a short, not complete list. These are things you will see at a rodeo.

What you will see.
Long sleeved shirts. No matter the temperature. It’s one of those things where, it’s tradition, it’s practical. If you rodeo, you pretty much have a large selection of long-sleeved shirts.
Hats Another thing that every competitor will have. They’re practical. They keep the sun out of your eyes and keeps you focused.
Wranglers Thank God for Wranglers. I appreciate the fabric of the jeans…..Can we go with that?
Boots with spurs I guess for me it makes sense why you have boots with spurs but for some people it won’t. Spurs help in an event, especially with the rough stock. (saddle bronc, bare back) Helps the score.
Alcohol. Even on a Sunday morning. Recently, I had a post when where I bust out characteristics of my friends. They’re like this too. We/they can handle alcohol.
Girls who think they’re country Let’s not talk about this. I get annoyed.
Pickups and trailers Some of those outfits are nice. More money goes in some of those outfits than I make in a year, maybe 2.

I also decided that if I rodeoed, I’d do breakaway, that’s if I stayed a woman. I would be really good at it. If I were a man, I’d be a steer wrestler. I would probably do some calf roping as well. I’ve always known that I wouldn’t date a rodeo cowboy because of the injuries and they’re generally players, but if I had to, it would be a roper or a steer wrestler. Steer Wrestlers are usually the big guys and I don’t see myself ending up with a guy who’s smaller. (I don’t mean that in a dirty way.) I said I wouldn’t date a rodeo cowboy but would totally date a rancher.

Random story that could have been a lot worse: They have these gates that you open to let the horses out after they buck and not hard to deal with they push out and they bring the gate back in. There was this really rank horse and they were going to get out of the outdoor arena and they got the horse to stop bucking and they kept going round and round and round. The gate was jammed. I haven’t ever seen a gate jam. They had 6 guys trying to get this gate open. Finally they took the pins out and they got the horse out and the gate got fixed.

Still hacking away at Into the Wilderness. I didn’t make much of a dent in it this weekend due to the fair. I’m going home this weekend and hope to get more done in the book then.

Is this a nerdy post. Yeah, I guess. But I don’t care.

Dear Facebook Fiances, Wives and Mothers

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For whatever is happening in your lives at this moment, engagement, newly married, children, congratulations. You’ve made it to a significant point in your life and thank you for sharing this moment with me. But as a single woman who doesn’t know you real well (like I’m not going to be involved in any shape, way or form in this significant point or in any point of your life, we just casually met at one time and hung out a few times years ago), let me give you some pointers.

1. All those pictures of you kissing your significant others……please tell me that’s like a frame by frame because there’s so many pictures of you guys kissing. You know what kissing leads to? Babies.

2. You’re in love? Is that why you’re posting kissing pictures and saying how much you love this guy? Wait…..that doesn’t look like the guy you were kissing in pictures last month. You fall in love quickly. But you love him and he deserves 5 posts a day on Facebook, while he’s at work telling him how much you love and adore him.

3. Which leads me to say Crap. You broke up. Please post about your feelings in this order: epic sadness, epic dismissal, epic over him. It’s all epic because, even though you’ve broken/been broken up with millions of times, all these feelings are for the first time and you feel like you need to grace social media with these revelations.

4. Then you find the right guy. Super. And yes, I’m interested in what your ring looks like, but one picture of it is enough for me. And please, oh please, have a picture with your newly engaged hand up by your face while you’re cuddling with your fiancé, looking like the happiest person in the world. Because your face and hand are the best face and hand in the world. Those scenic pictures of how he proposed were great too. I hope one day my husband proposes in the cheesiest way possible just like your guy did. And b.t.w., thanks for sharing those pictures but posting, in intelligent words, of how happy you are, because no one is happier than you…..ever. Not even the kid who got ice cream at the store.

5. Again, yes, really interested in your wedding pictures. How many do you really need. 80 of the bouquet, 750 of you peeking over your shoulder, 624 of the both of you, 200 of the bridal party/family and 1000 of the dance? Well there goes 2 hours of my valuable time.

6. You got pregnant from all that kissing. Fantastic. I’m sincerely happy. Now during pregnancy, I will say this once and only once. You will be a fantastic parent. I get that you have raging hormones. But please deal with those hormones not on Facebook. Like I said, one time and then I’m done with this. Go to your baby daddy and friends and family to validate your ability. They know you better than the Facebook community.

7. Now you pooped out a baby. Awesome. I’m guessing that baby isn’t the light of your life or photogenic. What? It’s all over Facebook? Well color me surprised. And please, tell about the first bath, the first sneeze and every other first on Facebook in great detail, pictures and words. Tell me how much of a miracle your child is because I’ve forgotten that life is a miracle.

8. Pinterest Edition: I like looking at pretty dresses and rings like the rest of females everywhere, but I don’t want to know how you can use mason jars for 90% of your wedding or how “rustic” it’s going to be. Get a life.

Am I talking to all you people? No. Some of you know discretion. Thanks for that. I appreciate knowing just enough of your life to keep me satisfied. Let’s keep it that way. THANKS!

Books I DO Like

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I read a lot. I really do. I should stop reading for a while. No, I shouldn’t because reading keeps me sharp. And I learn stuff from it. Anyway, it’s just fair that since I talked about books that I didn’t like, I should talk about books I do like right? Right. Of course I’m right. Because I’m a fair person.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I promised that I would have a post specifically about this book. I promise that’s coming. I do. I promise but I’m having a hard time forming the words to make it happen and I have a large opinion of the book so I don’t what direction to go with. But I love Jane and I tolerate Mr. Rochester. Let’s be honest, he’s kind of a jerk. I was okay that he was blinded at the end and then the got together. I mean, I thought it was fitting. I love that Jane’s so independent and gets stronger through the book.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This is a surprise right? It’s like I never talk about this series. I got the first one for fifty cents at a book sale. I’m so glad I did. I don’t want to say this book changed my life but it did start me reading books that were a lot smarter. This series expects more of me than just a pretty face. But a pretty face helps. But Jamie and Claire, Ian and Jenny, Young Ian and what’s her face and then for real with Rachel, Roger and Brianna. This series expects a lot out of me but it also expects a lot out of my future husband and our sex lives. No they don’t go over board with the sex. They talk about it enough and they’re all married. So it’s cool. It’s more about their lives. And LeWhore (not her real name, just what I call her) I’ve wanted to punch her since book one. She’s like a mosquito that doesn’t die. Then Frank and his ancestor that can’t keep it in his pants around men. Arg. Another book/series I could talk forever about.

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West. This one takes place in Montana and is named after an actual event. The book is fiction but one of my librarians lived in the area that book takes place and she was telling me about how this incident actually happened and just hearing about it made me pout. It’s a sports book. I normally don’t read sports books and I don’t watch sports movies like “Remember the Titans” because they all end the same. The book did end the same as all of this genre but it was a good and interesting read. I think part of the reason I liked it was because I live so close to Montana that I know a lot of the places that are mentioned in the book. The writing doesn’t suck either. I think I really connected with the characters in this book. The best one is the foreign exchange student. He’s my favorite. I want one of my own.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green. Yay John Green. I talked about this not so long ago. I really was impressed that for a man he did a very good job of narrating from a 16-year-old girl’s point of view. I’m probably most impressed with that. It didn’t necessarily end the way I wanted it to but that’s okay. I like the monkey wrench. Read it. Read it. Read it. It’s sweet, it’s very much how teenagers with cancers would be. Not that I know any teens with cancer but you get the point, right?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I like the different narrators and the different voices. The voices are very distinct and I think the author did a good job of distinguishing the different sections. I did the audio book after I watched the movie and I’m glad that I did it. This is the first book that dealt with civil rights during this period. I have read books that took place in the civil war and there are slaves during like the Outlander series, but never during this point of MLK or any of the great civil rights leaders. I’m really glad I picked up the book.

The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is a short book and I’m kind of liking the thought of it. I don’t think you actually meet only 5 people in Heaven, I think you meet more but it does make me think of who I would meet and who’s life I am involved in. I like that it’s the kind of book that really makes you think.

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. I had to read this for English my junior year of high school. It’s about this guy who goes and fights in Vietnam. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve read the book but I remember it just capturing my attention. Until then, Vietnam was something that happened and something I couldn’t relate to. This book brought it to life a little bit more for me. It’s a young adult novel but I would recommend it to like 15-16. You know, I feel like I didn’t have a normal reading list in high school. I didn’t read many of the classics. I didn’t read Of Mice and Men, I did get Animal Farm. I didn’t like that book.

That’s a list of my top books.

Funny Facebook Friend Post: Up until I was eight years old or so, I honestly thought that strip malls were malls where people would go shopping naked. I never really questioned it. I just figured adulthood was really weird and kinda confusing like that. The guy who said that is really entertaining and I used to work with him and we’d pick on him and always revoke his man card. We may have been a little mean to him. But he’s a winner.

So my FedEx man kind of looks like and definitely sounds like Josh Turner. He came in this morning. I’m surprised I’m not in a puddle by the door. That voice…….sigh. He’s a good-looking guy but it’s all about the voice. If you heard him, you’d understand. I would totally ask him to hang out but pretty sure he’d want to bring his wife that I think he has and I don’t want to deal with that.

More Boy Stuff, but the Fun Stuff.

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I know after yesterday that people will not want to hear me talk about guys. But I found a list via one of my Facebook friends and I couldn’t resist. It’s The 22 All-Time Hottest Hunks of PBS. PBS was the majority of what I watched when I was at Grandma’s house. Let’s talk about certain people on this list.

16. Bill Nye Yup, the Science Guy. He got a 7/10 and it wasn’t higher because they said it was like crushing on your seventh-grade chemistry teacher. I looked at the picture for a while and tilted my head and put it back straight and yeah. Bill Nye, you got something going on.

14. Jason Isaacs Otherwise known as Malfoy’s dad in the Harry Potter series. I seriously didn’t recognize him as a brunette. He need to have long blonde hair for me to recognize him instantly.

13. Levar Burton Heck to the yes. I tweeted recently that I would totally do his job on “The Reading Rainbow” but he is an attractive man and I think he’s getting better with age. I loved that show when I was little.

6. Fred Rogers How did Mr. Rogers rank higher than Bill Nye and Levar Burton? I don’t agree. There’s other men more enjoyable to look at. Here’s what they said: “Don’t even front like you wouldn’t hit that.” It’s not a front, no pretending, no lying. I wouldn’t hit that. The idea of hitting that makes me grimace a little bit, honestly. It’s because of his association with the puppet things on the show. They scared the crap out of me when I was little. He’s also old enough to be my grandpa. It wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t have the picture of him being grandfatherly in my head, but I do. And I don’t think he’s that good-looking. Bill Nye and Levar Burton are both better looking. Let’s be honest.

5.Benedict Cumberbatch He’s Sherlock. That gives him more of an appeal. It made Robert Downey Jr. more attractive to me.

2. Jeremy Irons + Anthony Andrews Okay, yes, both attractive men. But why both at number 2. One has to be better than the other. Why can’t there be 23 on the list. 22 is a weird enough number so 23 isn’t much worse. Can I just point out that Jeremy Irons was Scar in “The Lion King” and I didn’t put it together until recently. And he Irons was in “Eragon”. Wasn’t a great movie but he was good. Still attractive. I’m not a hundred percent sure who Andrews is or else I’d have an opinion on him.

Yeah that’s about all I have for an opinion today.

My Question to the Universe…..

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So there’s no way I’m going to top yesterday’s post. NO. WAY. To everyone new, welcome to my life.

Here goes. This is a super long post for me today, so just bear with me here. There’s a lot of information. I just need to get this out there because it’s been bugging me today. I promise that I’ll get back to talking about literature soon but today I want to talk about something else. Actually I have a question to pose to the universe.

Why do all my awkward conversations at work stem from men? I don’t have this problem in real life. (that might be debatable since my relationship status is super single. And yes, that is Facebook official. But wait until you hear about my day.) No this is just at work. Let me tell you about it.

My town has this a.m. radio station and every Friday morning at a little after 9, they have a program called “Growing Bowman County” where they have different guests and most of the time it is our E.D.C. Director, who recently resigned due to her husband getting a better job in Wisconsin. Today, I got to go on the radio. Not a big deal, I’ve done this before. So I go in and I sit down and Wild Bill introduces me and we share the hellos and the what not. Then silence. He says nothing, just expects me to start talking. What did I do? “Well, let’s talk about that museum I work at.” That started it. This program is usually 5-10 minutes long and not a big deal, that’s about how long I got him to talk to me. It’s pretty bad when your guest feels like their the interviewer. THEN he goes, “so when is the E.D.C. director leaving?” Uh, that’s my business? He would not let this go, he kept talking about it. Then he made a comment about her that I thought was rude and he just kind of laughs it off and there I sit. Silent. End of conversation. What kind of guy does that? First I feel like I’m interviewing myself and then you ask me about someone who I don’t have a lot to do with. I don’t get it.

I’m sure it was kind of entertaining to hear this interview and then him make a joke, him laughing and an awkward silence on my end because I didn’t know how to get out of it. But still, most awkward moment of my interviewee life.

Then I get back to work. I decided that I was going to work in collections so I told my part-timer and start to leave when the phone rang and I kind of waited because it’s usually for me. Sure enough, it was a vendor who wanted to sell something to the museum store. So I answer “Hello, this is Megan. How may I help you?”

Now, being female, I don’t have a male voice. Neither, by the name, do I have a male name. So this MAN who calls to sell, hearing this, majorly turns on the charm. I get this, you probably have commission and with selling you have to have some kind of charm and sometimes flirt a little. I realize that from working retail. Anything for a sale. So here’s how this conversation went.

Well, hello there Megan, I’m (fill in the blank) from (fill in another blank) How in the heck are you this fine day?

Me: I’m fine, how are you?

Seller: Well, I’m better now that I’m talking to you……..

weird pause…….

Seller: So let me tell you about my product. I have these plastic-like bracelets. We would put the name of the museum on the bracelet. They’re like the Live Strong Bracelet from Lance Armstrong without the steroids. (Me trying not to laugh at that. Stone Faced. I can handle this.) Now here’s the regular price _____, here’s what I’m offering ______. With that extra money we’ll send you out some delicious mints. They are melt in your mouth, not in your hand…..Just like me. So I’ll send you some, how many bracelets and mints would you like?

Now let’s look at this sales pitch shall we? I know I am “magic” and can make days instantly better, that’s usually in person. Usually when you use that line, it’s usually 1980 and you have a Flock of Seagulls haircut and dress like Don Johnson and you’re hitting on a girl in a bar that plays techno music. Get a better opener. “Great, now it’s Friday”, “It’s been a great day so far, thanks for asking” are both acceptable replacements. So that made me a little hesitant about this guy because I didn’t know if he was going to sell himself to me or an actual product.

Now, the Lance Armstrong/steroids comment, I thought was kind of funny. It’s probably not funny but I did kind of snort at that and I’m silently cracking up in my head. I showed it on my face but not my voice, which in this case, mattered.

Then we got to the mints. Melt in your mouth, not your hand…..just like me.

Let that sink in…….think about it……

Now how many alternate meanings can you put to that? I came up with a few. Not all of them appropriate. Here are alternate sales pitches. “These are the best mints you have ever had, they melt in your mouth” “These are award-winning mints, I have not met anyone who hasn’t liked them.”

I partially feel like he was trying to hit on me trying to make a sale. Am I reading that right? Either way, it was awkward.

That’s just today’s awkward work/male situation. Let’s go back to last March. We had a book discussion at the museum in conjunction with the local library and the State Humanities Council. The guy who facilitated it was probably my age up to 5 years older and by the last book discussion, he was single. He comes right when I was going to leave between business hours and the discussion to get some food and he goes “Hey, business lunch, we’ll go together” That business lunch turned into feeling a lot like a date. Especially when he paid. Then we went to the library to pick up one of the librarians and then walk over to the museum for the discussion. Later on the librarian goes “He was all into the Megan, wasn’t he?” Yup, he was. He made that obvious. He made me kind of want to puke. Act professionally, keep in touch afterword, then after a while ask me out. Don’t make it obvious you like me when we’re doing business.

What is with this? I don’t feel like I have these awkward conversations in personally, so what is it about me professionally? Is it my voice? I did have a roommate once that had a hard time falling asleep without my voice because it soothed her so much. Has to be my voice that throws men off. Well, that problem solved, on to world hunger.

So I just wanted to send that out into the universe. Now it’s out, it’ll fix itself.