Friday, December 31, 2010

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo (Halo, #1)*3.5 stars*

First let me say... I'm totally in love with the cover of this book.  How gorgeous is that?

I really enjoyed reading this book...but yet there were several things that kept me from giving it 4 stars.

I'll start first with my complaints:

-It was waaaaaaaaay too long. It has what I call "Beautiful Creatures syndrome" in that it was a good story could have been told in 100 less pages.

-Bethany did no strike me as divine. She had far too many flaws and was far to naive for me too really buy in to the fact that she was an angel.

-Would The Archangel Gabriel really be sent to some podunk town? Wouldn't he be put to better use elsewhere where there are major issues? Maybe not... I don't pretend to be an expert on Christianity or angels.  That was just my take.

-As much as I thought Xavier was adorable, I didn't really feel the intensity of his relationship with Bethany. Something was missing for me. It was cute, but I didn't feel the depth. It felt like a typical high school romance to me.

I know that sounds like a long list of whiny complaints, so let me assure you that I did enjoy the book. It was an intriguing story with types characters that I haven't read a whole lot about. It was also really interesting to hear the descriptions of heaven, hell and angels. I actually found that part fascinating and it's largely what captured my attention in the beginning. I read through it fairly quickly given that it's pushing 500 pages (about 150 longer than my average book lately) and I look forward to the next installment. The epilogue leaves a little cliffhanger that makes the reader, or at least made me anxious to see what happens next and what's in store for these characters.

All-in-all, I recommend this book to all fans of paranormal romance. A cute read.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010... as read by me

If I finish my current novel Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto, by midnight tomorrow (which I fully intend to do -hooray for vacation) my book count for the year will be at 36, not including the 13.5 audiobooks I've finished.  Although this isn't the huge totals that some of my other book nerdy friends will close the year with, I'm happy with it considering the amount of reading and work I had for school over the course three full-time semesters. 

I thought I'd round out 2010 much the same as last year... with a listing of my favorite and least favorite books of the year.

2010 has been a really good reading year.  Eight new 5 star reads, two new 5 star audiobooks and re-reads of some old favorites like Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Harry Potter (I'm currently in the middle of Half Blood Prince on audio).  Plus, I have a hella-lot of 4 star reads.  I've not really disliked anything I've read this year and I feel very lucky for that.  For a full listing of 2010 reads click here (or here for my audio list).

Favorites (5 stars) of 2010
in order read

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain

Sisters Red (Sisters Red, #1)

Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce

In the Time of the Butterflies

The Summer of Skinny Dipping (Summer, #1)

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

How I Live Now

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

To Kill a Mockingbird

Disappointments (2 stars) of 2010

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

I Just Want You to Know: Letters to My Kids on Love, Faith, and Family

I Just Want You To Know - Kate Gosselin

The Line (Line #1) 

The Line - Teri Hall

So... on to 2011.  With the sequels to The Dark Divine, Sisters Red, Hex Hall and Linger on the pile for this year, I'm really looking forward to it.  Now, to dig into the pile of gorgeous books I received for Christmas.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Hollow (Sign of Seven Trilogy - Book 2 ) by Nora Roberts

*3.5 stars*

I didn't think I really cared about Fox and Layla's story... boy was I wrong. I just wanted to nom Fox the entire time I was reading, and Layla really impressed me. She seemed to be quite the spineless pushover in the first book, but came through pretty strong when she needed to in this installment.

Again, I found myself struggling with just how "out there" the paranormal aspects were. I'm honestly having a a little difficulty keeping up with what's going on in terms of Twisse (sp?), Hester... and that crew. I'm hoping that it will all come together in the final book.

I LOVED the humour in this story. Especially between Fox and Layla and his family. The "this is excellent news" scene with Sage in the office cracked me up.

I've become quite attached to these characters and am DYING to find out what will happen with Gage and Cybil. The tension between those two is killing me and will hopefully make for some steamy reading.

Can't wait to finish off the series!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas

It's my absolute favorite time of the year.  The decorations, the food, the gifts, the music.... the traditions. I'm rarely happier than I am around Christmas.  This year brings 3 family dinners and 1 family brunch... with the possibility of 1 more dinner if my Dad decides to visit next week... and I'm going to enjoy every crazy, chaotic moment.

I hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) holiday season and enjoys lots of time relaxing and with family and friends. Enjoy!  -xxoo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I think I'm in love

Well hello Jarrod Gorbel... I love you.  Just so you know.

When it comes to music, I like what I like. Sometimes it's some little local band, sometimes it's top 40, sometimes it's country, sometimes it's classic rock..... I just love music.  If it makes me think, dance, cry... if it incites some kind of reaction from me, I like it.  That's what it's all about.  There's nothing better to me than that song that comes along every once in a while that I just can't get enough of, and I found a new one today.  Lucky for me it's from an artist that I wasn't familiar with before now.  This is especially exciting because it opens up a whole slew of possibilities for future can'tgetenoughofthissong candidates.

Annnnd... special bonus?  Jarrod is super easy to look at in additional to his killer abilities as a musician.  I'm kind of mesmerized by him.

Do yourself a favor and check these songs out.... start w/ 10 Years Older because it's INCREDIBLE!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I suck... taking pictures.  Well, I suck at a lot of other stuff too, but especially at taking pictures.  This has not always been a problem for me, but it seems to be getting worse lately.

Bub and I took off to Niagara Falls for the weekend to celebrate our 10th anniversary and I didn't take a single picture of either of us.  There were many picture worthy, Ishouldwanttocapturethismemory moments.... but I failed to remove the camera from my purse even once with the exception of 1 shot of Santa Claus in the parade we stumbled upon. And honestly... why did I want a picture of Santa?

I also snapped a pic of this cute guy with my phone who was watching the parade with his people:

He was very proud of his sweater (and if you can't tell.. that's a little stuffed snowman on his back).  Too cute!

Bub and I headed down on Friday night, making pretty decent time, arrived to check-in to the hotel, have a beer and then head out to Mick and Angelo's- hub's fave restaurant and a Niagara Falls night # 1 tradition- for dinner.  It was to die for as always (although I'd HATE to see the calorie count on the calzone that I get).  We walked down Cliffton Hill to see the falls and watch the fireworks and then strolled around a little before stopping for ice cream (yeah... not a good idea in December in Ontario) and then headed back to the hotel where I spent the rest of the night in the jacuzzi.

Saturday was spent first at the breakfast buffet, then outlet mall shopping, a drive through wine country (seriously... I want 90% of the houses that we drove past... gorgeous!) and then strolling through and shopping in Niagara on the Lake.  It's such a quaint little village and was so cute all done up for Christmas.  We happened to be there for their Santa Claus Parade, which was the best I've seen in a long time... great marching bands and drumlines!

We headed back into Niagara, stopped on the way for a late lunch and then spent the afternoon in the jacuzzi back at the hotel.  After switching rooms because we had no more hot water we got ready for dinner at Canyon Creek overlooking the falls.  It was an incredible meal with a great view and not terribly priced.  We spent the night planning our fantasy dream house.  Mine included a huge great room with a big fireplace, a full library, a hot tub, stables and horses, a seperate family room for the television.... Bub's included basketball and tennis courts, both an indoor and outdoor pool, a hot tub and a theatre room.  It was fun to dream a little.

We had every intention to go skating at "Rink on the Brink" which is an outdoor rink right at the falls, but when we went back to change, I got in the tub and that was it.... by 10pm I was out cold in the kingsize bed!

Sunday we left early and got Timmy's for breakfast on the road because some nasty weather was supposed to come in.  When we got back, we ended up spending the day with my Dad who was coming through town on business (he lives 13+ hours away and I haven't seen him since my Aunt was sick last winter).  So it was a really nice surprise and a great way to round of the weekend. 

I wanted to spend tonight picking up my last 2 Christmas gifts and then completing my wrapping... but the laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping that didn't get done this weekend can't wait.  We have no food and we'll have nothing to wear if I don't do a load or 2.  So that's what I'll be up to tonight.  However, it will be nice to be at home "puttering" around with the dogs rather than at school like I would usually be on a Monday night.  Maybe I'll even get a little bit of reading in??
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 Years of Goofy Love

On this exact day 10 years ago, sometime around 7:30 pm if memory serves me correctly, on ICQ (remember ICQ?? "uh oh!") a boy who I'd been kissing and drinking hot chocolate with after school for about 2 weeks asked me if I would be his girlfriend officially.  And I said yes.  Little did I know that 10 years later, I would own a house and car, have 2 dogs, 3 nieces and 3 nephews and be 4 years deep into a silly, fun and exciting marriage with that same boy.

Honestly, if the average Joe could see into our house on a normal night when it's just us and the dogs, they'd probably think we were crazy.  We dance and goof around and play fight and call eachother names..... and just laugh together. A lot.  We've gone through some stuff in the last 10 years, but he's really my best friend and I'm so lucky to be able to go home at night and unload a share of my troubles on him.   

I can't believe that it was December 7th 2000, way back when I was in the 10th grade, that it all began. And now here we are on December 7th 2010 and I'll be going home to that same boy... probably not kissing him tonight cuz' he's sick...  but definitely celebrating a decade of the most goofy love most people will ever see.

Oh! and look what was waiting for me when I got up this morning......

A (giant) homemade card to add the collection I have which includes 1 for every month of our first year together and every year since then.

*sorry for the crappy quality- my BB camera sucks*

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Oh how I wanted to fall in love with this book. I wanted to open it and get sucked in and finish it in a sitting and want to talk about it for ages. But, I just didn't. I totally thought it would be another one of those Hex Hall-like surprises where I think "meh... I might as well see what the fuss is about" and then finishing with "oh my god, I loved this book, it was just so much fun!", but it wasn't.

Maybe I shouldn't have gone in with that level of expectation. Maybe it was just "too fantasy" for me with the souls and the glowing and the fairy paths.... I really don't know. But whatever it was, I finished this book feeling pretty blah about it (blah = very academic, critical literary analysis term).

I think what bothered me most was that it was almost as if White was trying really hard to be anti-stereotypical-paranormal-YA. I found it obvious in a lot of places. I'm all for trying to bring something fresh and new, but not when it's so obvious that you're working so hard to do it. It felt... forced, and it kind of annoyed me.

I also finished it thinking that I was glad it was all wrapped up, and then thought "huh?... I don't really understand what happened". Maybe I missed something or maybe you're supposed to be left in the dark for the sequel (and you know how I feel about series books that leave you confused... confused is NOT the same thing as cliffhanger)... but either way I was no clearer on Vivian, Reth, Lend or Evie's full stories by the time I finished. I feel like I missed a chapter that did a lot of explaining or something.

Ok- enough of the negative. What did I like? Um... LEND! What a cutie and very believable. Regardless of what he was, I easily bought into him as a teen.

I seem to be in the minority on my opinion of this book so I won't discourage others, especially fans of paranormal YA, from reading it. I know it's right up some people's alley and I think White has done a great job writing it in such a way that it's "safe" for young readers.  It just wasn't for me and I won't be continuing with the series.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I admit, I may be slightly biased when it comes to this Christmas classic. My father had a dramatized version on vinyl that we used to listen to when I was growing up (something I believe he had listened to when he was a child). We'd turn the lights off, but for the Christmas tree, and sip hot chocolate and listen to the spooky story. I remember being quite scared at certain points but I loved it... and still do.

What can I say about this story? It's a perfect Christmas lesson and a perfect depiction of the joy that Christmas can bring. I love everything about the Christmas Season, so Scrooge's turnaround at that time of the year is particularly special to me.

I don't have much more to say about this book except that if you haven't read it, you should. It's one of those classics that everyone should experience and enjoy for themselves. And then rent the movie or a dramatized audio book sometime around the holiday season. The newest animated version with Jim Carrey is great... but nothing beats the creepy old black and white original.

They're definitely good entertainment while telling a wonderful story.  Great read!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I think I’m finally ready to talk about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Had I posted a review before today it probably would have gone something like this:

Wow. Like seriously… wow. So good. I mean with the… ya. And the…? Wow. And then I cried. Like, they just did such a good… ya. Wow.

As you can see, that wouldn’t really have told you much except that I loved it to the point of speechlessness.

Best movie yet by far. The acting was just incredible, compartively. As much as I love Emma Watson as Hermione, she kinda bugged me at times with her overacting in the films previous to this one. But not in DH. She was on point the whole time. The tension between Ron and Hermione is palpable and I loved it! All of the characters did a really great job this time around. You really sense their connection, their loyalty to one another.

If I could choose three words to describe DH it would be dark, intense and sad. I’m happy that I hadn’t read the book recently because I was able to go into the movie with few expectations or “I hope they do this scene” etc etc. I was able to just sit back and enjoy it and let it all come back to me as the movie went on.

Some of my favorite parts (MOVIE AND BOOK SPOILERS TO FOLLOW):
  • The first (and only scene, I think) with Harry and Ginny… I wanted to shout out, “don’t worry! You’re gonna get married and have lots of babies!!!” But honestly, I think it was a really good way to set the record of where they stood with each other.
  • The scene with Fred and an injured George… “Saintly… see, I’m holy?”…. classic Weasley twins! I think I liked this because, for the first time, you see the deep connection between the brothers. Another classic Weasly moment was the “just trying to diffuse the tension” line at Privet Drive. LOVE!
  • Harry and Hermione dancing: some people found this cheesy, but I loved that he did this for her. Just shows how much he cares for her and how close they are.

Friggin’ scary, but awesome nonetheless parts:
  • The wedding: when Kingsley’s Patronous arrives to warn everyone “The Ministry has fallen… Minister for Magic is Dead…. They are coming”… *shivers* So creepy-awesome! The voice gave me chills.
  • Godric’s Hollow: seriously, the old lady is really bloody creepy. And then in the bedroom? God, I knew it was coming and yet still jumped about 10 feet out of my seat.

The hardest parts to watch:
  • Ron and Harry's fight followed by Ron's departure.  I wanted to SCREAM for him to take the Horcrux off (but then one of my favorite parts was his return... excellent part of the book and movie).
  • Hedwig! Poor, sweet, loyal Hedwig. It was not a long, drawn out scene but Oy! I couldn’t stop the tears. I seriously ached.
  • Dobby’s death. I cried again…. and kept on crying. Good lord they did it well. It just ruined me.

My only complaints:
  • I was sad that we didn't get to see Kreacher's turn around.
  • I have to wait 8 months until the bittersweet end.

 Such a great movie that I absolutely cannot wait to see again!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blood Brothers (Sign of Seven Trilogy - Book 1) by Nora Roberts

I hadn't read Nora Roberts in a while so when browsing through the library one day (in between holds) I decided to pick these up. I'd heard The Sign of Seven Trilogy was a great series.

Book one is a very quick read which introduces you to the 6 main characters (gee... I wonder where that's going to go, with 3 men and 3 women in a romance book?). This book focuses on Quinn and Cal and the relationship that they develop.

It was enjoyable, kept me engaged and I read through it rather quickly, but I didn't LOVE it. It was just a good, entertaining read.

I'm not sure I can point out specific complaints without posting huge spoilers so I will avoid that for now. I will say that some of the paranormal element was just.... to "out there" for me to really buy. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against paranormal and read a lot of it, but this stuff was just a little... eh.

Aside from that I really did enjoy it. The characters were quirky and flawed, as NR usually writes them, and therefore very fun to read about.  The romance between Cal and Quinn was equal parts cute and steamy which is just how I like em! I'm excited to see where the Cyb and Gage story goes. I like their attitudes and I think a relationship between them would be really interesting.

I have The Hallow (book 2) checked out and waiting at home and am looking forward to diving back into Hawkins Hallow after a brief break to finish something else. All in all- this is a good romantic thriller that I recommend to all NR fans.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feeling a little pissy today....

....I'm trying really hard not to be, but it's just not working and the stabbiness is winning out. I'm feeling... betrayed, for lack of a better word, by someone who I thought was a good friend. I don't want to be mad at him, but I just am. I'd love to call him out on it but I can't for one reason or another, so I just have to sit and brood about it. I honestly don't know whether to cry or throw something.

The problem with days like today is that I have a hard time separating the thing that's bothering me from everything else. So, I'm short tempered and agitated with everyone who has the misfortune to get in my way. I know it's not fair, I know that it's childish, but I can't help it most of the time. When I'm in a mood, I'm in a mood and there's no coming out of it until I'm done being mad. Bub knows this well. My famous line is "I'm not finished being angry yet so leave me alone".  And when he's knows what's good for him, he does.

When I'm mad, I like to deal with things. I like to confront the issue, sort it out and move on. When I can't do that, my mind twists and turns (usually along with my stomach) and sends me to the point of complete distraction. That's what's happening today. I feel like I might BURST with the frustration.

So.... I just have to try to move past it and get through the day so I can go home and vent my frustrations to Bub (poor guy- he doesn’t know what he's in for). Until then, I’ll be a nervous ball of dirty looks, snarky comments and impatient gestures. Lucky co-workers!

Ugh.  It's going to be a long day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ordinary Miracles

 Three sweet little lives were welcomed to this world today... and although they gave their Mama and Daddy (and everyone else who loves them already) a big scare making their appearance at only 28 weeks, they have put a big goofy smile on my face today.  I've even shed more than a few joyful tears.  Want to hear something really cheesy? I've been humming this all day too,  but I believe it.

I'm so happy for Jenny, her husband, and their new family that they've been waiting so long for... and I'm thinking of and praying for those sweet babies to stay strong and get healthy so they can go home with their parents.

Congrats Mama and Daddy! And welcome Tobias, Eleanor and Callista!

Fall Update

I'm SUCH a slacker when it comes to posting pictures of events, so I'm going to do another ones of those fall update posts.

First, in September, we took off to Niagara Falls for the weekend to celebrate Bub's Gramma's 80th Birthday.  She'd had her big party for her 75th, so she wanted to do something different for her 80th and choose gambling in Niagara. 

It turned out to be a great weekend.  We were supposed to stop at a Becca Fitzpatrick signing on the way down, but Bub was suffering from a nasty headache that day so I let him sleep and drove right through to Niagara.  Well... almost.  I pulled off in Milton for a pee break and Bub happened to wake-up.  Headache pretty much gone, he requested that since we were in Milton we had to find "Halifx Donair"... a restaurant we had heard about on TV that apparently made donairs just like out east.  So, we took a drive down Main Street and low and behold, we found it.  So Bub got his donair and I got a chicken ceasar salad and we picnic'd in the car.

This picture was taken moments before the ORANGE sauce ended up in his lap and on my passenger seat.

Much of the T family was able to make it for the weekend, which included a big family dinner at the casino buffet on Saturday night.  It was a blast.  Unfortunately, I didn't get many pics.  Here's the one and only time my camera came out that weekend.

Bub'a Aunt and Uncle, myself and SMIL walked from the hotel to the liquor store for supplies... but we got thirsty on the way and stopped for a margarita!

We had a great time with the family, and then the cousins and their spouses went out drinking and dancing Saturday night at a little dive club!  Wish I would have taken some pics.  We had a great time.

I also treated myself while we were in Niagara..... I really couldn't afford it, but I LOVED it and it really was a GREAT deal thanks to a 20% off sale and the Coach outlet!

We immediately moved from birthday to wedding festivities for SIL.  Being part of the wedding party, along with Bub, meant I didn't capture any of my own pics... but I stole a few from FB to post here.

We're missing a bridesmaid here... but you wouldn't know it. 
Bub stood up for SIL on her side so really, he should be in this pic as well.  

Super uncomfortable dresses, but the colors were very pretty.  The day went ok, the weather was perfect and the wedding beautiful and a lot of fun. As much as I hate to say it, it was a relief to have it over with though because it took up a huge amount of time and money that I didn't really have. 

The bride and her million pound dress and train.

We definitely celebrated though... drinking and dancing the night away. 

Myself and my 3 nieces gettin' our groove on at the beginning of the night.

The weekend following the wedding meant we finally got some peace and quiet.... along with some down time.  So we took full advantage of it.  But not long after, I woke up to this....

This was taken from my bedroom window on Oct 22nd.

It didn't last of couse, but it definitely hit home that an Ontario winter was on the way. 

Preparations began for our Halloween Bash.  It was a TON of fun, despite having to miss the prep and beginnig of the party due to my stats exam.  Everyone had a good time, with lots of food, drinks, Rock Band (with an epic group rendition of WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE) and even some karaoke.

Here's a few pics from the night:

The food all ready to go.  Bub took a pic for me since I wasn't home to see this.  We even made candy apples!

Bub and BIL aka Wayne and Garth.  I hate this picture because it's so unflattering for MH but it's the only one I got of the two of them.

McSteamy and Little Grey! Love It!

Myself and bestie # 2. 
I'm really not wearing that bat on my head... it just looks like it. 
A Fallen Angel and Snooki! Caaabs are heeeeya!

SIL and Sammy in the worlds tightest Bam Bam costume.

Junior- Hippie Love

Some of the other crazies at the party.... ya... I don't really know what to say.

All in all, a fun night... but we're not sure we'll do it again. It was a lot of work and really expensive, but a blast.  We'll see.

So, we're now headed into the Christmas season! My favorite time of the year! Hopefully I'll be a little better with the camera this time around so I can document some memories for myself. 

Time to start counting the "sleeps til' Santa comes"!

Friday, November 19, 2010


By the title of this post, you might think that I'm getting a certain movie to be released today confused with this classic...

I assure you... I'm not (great movie though).

Then why the need for a title in triplicate you ask?  Well in all honesty, if you don't know (or can't figure it out), then I'm not sure you deserve to read my blog.  (I'm kidding of course!) 

My excitement today is due to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I'm honestly giddy with anticipation for 10:15 tonight.  The trailers honestly give me chills! I get  Ron fix, and a Lupin fix.... and I'm just all around excited to spend a couple of hours beyond the muggle world!

Unfortunately, seeing the movie on release day means seeing it in sold out theatres and waiting in lines... but it's well worth it.  I'll take a book, my DS and my BB and keep myself and Bub entertained while we wait.  We've done it for all previous HP releases, for Avatar and for the Twilight movies... so we're old pros.

Unfortunately I didn't get to finish my series re-read, and it's been quite some time since I read this book (the day it was released) so I'm a little foggy on the details, but I think that will just make it all the more enjoyable!

Can't wait!  I'll be sure to post a review ASAP.   Now... if I can just make it through the next eight and a half hours.......


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

*First reads win, Nov 2010*

Ok- so this story gets almost 4 stars... call it 3.5. It was a really good read and I enjoyed it a lot, but there was just something keeping me from giving out that full fourth star.

The storyline was definitely a winner. Very suspenseful and intricate enough to keep me turning the pages. Sure it was a little cheesy at some parts, but we're talking about a romantic suspense, so you know there's going to be a certain degree of cheese at some point (whispering words of love in Italian during "you know what"... CHEESE).

The main characters were likeable and engaging. I didn't love Sam, but I didn't dislike her either. She was a good enough MC. And I, of course, loved Zach. The bad boy with a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. Swoon!

I think what has me hesitating is a) the supporting cast. It seemed like this book spent way too much time setting up for future books (with "The Guardian Angelinos") and it didn't seem authentic and sometimes didn't really flow with the storyline. And b) the love story evolved a little too quickly for my liking. One minute they couldn't be together and it was torturing them and then they just were and it was all happy and kisses. It was a little rushed for me.

Other than that, I really did enjoy the book. It was a nice change of pace from my last book and I couldn't wait to get home in the evenings to crack it open while soaking in the tub.

Another fun first-reads win!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Quitter...

...that's what I am.  Well, I'm sure it's how some people will see me.

I dropped the stats class.  Somehow, I managed to pass the exam, but I was not impressed with a 52% (bumped to a 57% since the Prof gave us all a free 5%).  I know I can do better, I just have to approach the class differently.

So, after almost 2 weeks of agonizing, talking to tutors, talking with the family and most importantly with Bub, I decided to drop the class and take it again next semester from scratch, even though it was against the advice of some of my family.

I'm taking a different approach this time around.  For one, I'm not taking it online.  Clearly for this class, I need to sit in front of my Professor to be able to ask questions as we go, and secondly, I'm getting a tutor to walk me through the class from week one.

I know this may seem like quitting to a lot of you, and I think some members of my family will be incredibly disappointed, but I have many reasons for dropping the class.  Anyone who's taken the class seems to understand exactly where I'm coming from. It's those who've never been there that don't get it and think I should just "push through and get the pass" to "get it over with".  But I don't want to just "get it over with".  I need to protect my GPA and I need to set myself up to actually learn something in this class and in the future.

Sure, I've now lost the time and money I spent on the class for this semester (which I HATE), but I think the other stuff outweighs it.

a) I can't afford to have my GPA drop drastically, especially while I'm waiting to have my degree change approved.  If the degree change doesn't get approved, I'm done because I can't continue in the program I'm in on a part-time basis.

b) I don't have the time, energy, money or brain power to meet with a tutor 2 or 3 times a week until the final exam on December 14th, which is what would be required in order to get back on track with hopes of just passing the exam

c) I don't understand the new material because I don't understand the old material.  The hole is just getting deeper and deeper the further we go.

d) I have to take Stats II.... so if I don't have a basic understanding of this stuff and just "get the pass" I'll struggle just as much, or more, with Stats II.

So.... I made the decision and dropped it. I think it's best for myself because I know that I can start from scratch and do better with a little more planning and a different approach.  I wish it had turned out differently, but now I know how this class is and I'll be more prepared the second time around.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent. 

This is why we choose today to remember the brave men and women who have fought, who are fighting and the many who died for our freedom as a Country. 

I'm so proud to be a Canadian.  There's isn't another country in this world that I would choose to live in and my pride lasts 365 days per year. So, on this day I have to give thanks and remembrance to those who have ensured that it remains the amazing and free country that it is.

So I say simply.... Thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices you made or are making (and for those who will make them).  I am forever grateful.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae 

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How I Live Now- Meg Rosoff

*I wish I could give this book both 3 and 5 stars*

I really struggled in deciding whether to give this book 3 or 5 stars. Yes, you read that correctly. Not 4 or 5, or even 3 or 4... but 3 or 5.

The first way to describe this book is, in my opinion, strange. Very good, but definitely strange. This story is about love, lust, family, perseverance, survival, war, eating disorders, depression.... ya, it's all over the map. That combined with the very unique (and slightly annoying at first) writing style with run on sentences, improper punctuation and random capital letters, is what makes this book so different and hard for me to rate.

At first, I thought "nope- this is just to different for me, I'm not going to like it", but by about the middle of the book I was captivated and totally engaged with the characters. Seeing a story of war from a child perspective, with very little adult influence was very fascinating and very honest.

Daisy is an incredibly interesting MC with a lot of flaws. I think the most interesting aspect of the story is watching her grow and mature emotionally out of necessity for survival. He commitment to Piper is incredibly interesting and I think it's what saves her and gives her the power to keep going.

The Edmund story line was..... just..... weird. Perhaps I missed something, but I really didn't understand the necessity of their familial ties. I got the intensity, but why in inappropriateness? This is where I struggled.

However, this book takes you on an emotional journey that's both sad, terrifying and hopeful. It's the uniqueness of the book that makes it so captivating and I really recommend it.