Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The List

So here it is... I'm already coming in to the home stretch of my summer semester.  Crazy, no?  It seriously feels like I just started, and yet it's quickly coming to an end... not that I'm complaining. In preparation for the end of semester I'm posting a list of things left to do over the next 4 weeks, aside from regular classes, purely for my own benefit.  It helps to get it down "on paper". 

Assignments and Tests
  • Stats II quiz # 1 - chapters 8 and 9 (linear programming and sensitivity analysis)- June 28
  • Practice questions for chapter 10 for tutor
  • Stats II quiz # 2 - chapter 10 (transportation-) - July 5
  • Practice questions for chapter 11 for tutor
  • Stats II quiz # 3 - chapter 11(integer linear programming) - July 12
  • Finish practice questions for chapter 12 for tutor
  • Practice questions for chapter 9 for tutor
  • Accounting Assignment - July 17
  • Accounting Mid-Term # 2 - July 17
  • Accounting Lab 7 - due July 29
  • Accounting Lab 8 - due July 29
  • Accounting Lab 9 - due July 29
  • Accounting Lab 10- due July 29
  • Accounting Lab 11 - due July 29
August Exams:
  • Stats II Final- Aug 2nd
  • Accounting Final- Aug 5th
And when all of that is behind me, I'll have four glorious school-free weeks (1 of which I've booked off of work as well) until fall semester begins and I'm back to three classes.  Better get to work.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

I was lucky enough to receive an advance galley of Julie Garwood's next book and anxiously dove right in.
This story had all the typical Julie Garwood romantic suspense elements... perfect man of the law and strong sassy and successful woman. As much as I know that her books repeat that pattern, I still love them for the quick escapist reads.

The good:

Max was certainly a "entertaining" *wink, wink* character to read about. I was hooked on him from the first conversation he had with Ellie at the hospital.

The romance was a good one. The connection between Max and Ellie was intense and immediate, and I bought it right away. Julie Garwood sure knows how to make me blush!

The not-so-good:

The end. Everything thing felt rushed; two story lines tied up within pages of each other, one of which that had been ongoing for 11 years? I just didn't buy it. Everything (the romantic elements and the suspense) was just too.... easy.  The book was just suddenly over.

I didn't buy the family either. It was as if she was really close to them, but yet knew nothing about them. I came away confused about Ellie's relationship with her parents. It didn't seem genuine at all. I suppose this comes from her separation from them, but it was just awkward.

Those things aside, it was still a fun, guilty pleasure read and I really enjoyed it. It had a cute romance and some good suspense and it was certainly entertaining. I would recommend it to Julie Garwood fans, or fans of romantic suspense in general.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Face the Fire (Three Sisters Island Trilogy # 3) by Nora Roberts

Face the Fire was a great conclusion to what has been a highly entertaining series. The story, the setting, the characters... I loved every piece of these books.

Mia is a really intriguing character. I love how Roberts was able to portray her as an infallibly strong and confident character in the first two books, and then realistically show the reader her weaknesses when it came time to tell her story. It made her seem more real, and yet never weak. Plus, the fact that she, a) owns a bookstore, b) lives on a quaint little island, c) has a house and gardens over looking the sea, and d) has an incredible shoe selection means that I basically want to be her. It's like my dream life.

Sam was just delicious. His desire for Mia and the way that he knew her, even after all that time, was just about the sexiest thing I've ever read about. Their connection was palpable.

One of my favorite parts about this series, was how Roberts wrote the relationship between the characters that were not involved romantically. I loved the scenes between Mia and Mac, or Nell and Sam. It was a great way to drive the group bond home.

Face the Fire definitely had a much stronger paranormal feel than the first two books. Where they dealt with evil in human form, this took more imagination. It was certainly creepy and may have caused one small nightmare during my read through.

I wish that there was a way for me to peek into the future of these characters just to see how it all turns our for them. I really enjoyed this series and look forward to another NR book soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

While I didn't like Demonglass quite as much as I liked Hex Hall, it was still a really enjoyable read packed with that snarky Rachel Hawkins wit that I love so much. It's definitely got a few laugh out loud one-liners, and I appreciate that in a book.

I still loved the characters. Jenna is probably my favorite. I love her on her own, and I love the relationship between her and Sophie.

My complaint and lower rating are due to the "cliffhanger" ending. I'm a true believer that there is a difference between a cliffhanger and just picking a particularly suspenseful part of a book and stopping. In this case, I felt like the end was contrived to create a cliffhanger that wasn't really necessary or natural. The plot had really just begun to pick up and it was over. It just didn't feel right to me for some reason.


This installment takes us out of Hex Hall and deeper into the world of the Council. It was interesting to get to know Sophie's Dad whom I was determined not to like, but who eventually won me over. His revelation about still being in love with Sophie's Mom really got it me.

I have to say that I still love Archer. His appearance in the alley and at the party were my favorite parts of the book. But I do have to admit that I really love Cal too. He obviously harbours a lot of feelings for Sophie and I want to see him get what he wants... but I'm torn. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

I'm anxious to see how the story develops around Sophie's Mom and if/how they can work together. I have a feeling that what Sophie is about to learn with tick her off, but will make for an interesting third book.

In the end, another enjoyable read from Rachel Hawkins. I'm very anxious for the next book.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Sometimes, I need a little nudge in the right direction.  Last night while sitting in my Stats II class, I was getting more and more overwhelmed at the amount of information that seemed to be going right over my head.  I kept thinking that I'd never be able to catch on, and was beginning to panic about my mid-term next weekend.  I kept thinking, well there goes my rock solid GPA.  But then, at the end of class, my professor handed out our first assignments and I was shocked to see that I'd pulled off a 93%! I practically skipped out of the classroom.  They assignment wasn't worth much (6% of our mark I think), but it was enough to let me know that if I work really hard, I can get through this.

Then, this morning, my accounting professor posted the grades for our mid-term from this past weekend and I got....100 freaking percent! WHOA?!?!?!?!?! It was the last kick in the butt to let me know that I need to hit the books hard over the next 10ish days and get my arse ready for that mid-term next weekend to keep my marks where they are.  I can do it, I just have to find the discipline somewhere.  We shall see.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's The Little Things

The further I get into my studies, the more I realize how much the little things in life really matter.  As badly as I wanted to return to school, and as badly as I want to finish and do well, returning to school full-time and keeping my full-time job means that I have very little time (or money) for anything else.  While I've made a promise to attempt to complain about it less, it doesn't stop me from noticing.

For the first two three years of our marriage, Bub and I had it made.  Both working Monday to Friday with few obligations, we were able to spend a lot of time together, take a lot of weekends away, talk long walks and eat dinner together every evening, go to the gym together every morning and spend a lot of time with friends and family.  As we approach our fifth anniversary, things couldn't be more different.  Bub is now on shift work with a constantly changing schedule, keeping him at work late into the night and on weekends. As for me, I'm constantly running between the office, class, the library for tutoring, and home to get caught up on assignments, studying or reading.  I usually have some appointment or another and there's a never ending list of errands to run.  Meals have become rushed, the house is neglected, the dogs don't get walked (they get loved, just not walked) and neither of us has set foot in the gym in well over a year.  And suddenly I'm dealing with very ticked off family and friends who don't like the fact that they rarely see us anymore (awesome... like it isn't hard enough to balance my time without being made to feel guilty about it).

Now I get that this probably sounds like it's one big complaint.... but I promise that's not my intention.  It's a simple statement of fact about the state of our lives at the moment.  I only bring it up because the the change in our schedules and in our lifestyle has really made me appreciate the little things in life that tend to bring me peace that are often taken for granted. 

I miss sitting out in the backyard, sharing a few beers and talking about everything or nothing until the it was too dark to see each other.  Now, we finish a quick meal and I head upstairs to my home office to work on some school related thing or another while Bub cleans-up.  I miss hopping in the car on Friday nights and heading to the cottage (we haven't been once yet this year, and likely won't get there until July).  Now, Bub heads off to work on Saturday mornings and I close myself in my office for the day.  I miss the impromptu solo drives I used to take in the country, windows rolled down, music turned up, where the drive home from my nephews baseball games, which should take about 15 minutes, took 2 hours for all the detours.  Now it seems when I leave one place, it's always a race to get to the next.  I miss having time to get my waxing done.  It seems now I have to plan it and book it weeks in advance to make sure I can fit it into my schedule.  I miss having a clean house and laundry.  This is probably the thing that bothers me the most.

I like to be busy, I really do, and honestly, I'm truly very thankful that I was able to return to school when so many people wouldn't be able to. To be idle for any long period of time makes me crazy....but I won't say that I don't often think about how nice it was to have the evenings and weekends to myself to do things that made me happy, just because.  I miss the simple things. I miss tea and toast on my back deck early on a Saturday morning before anyone else is awake.  I miss waking up every now and then with absolutely nothing on the agenda, knowing that they day is my own to do whatever I want.  Not having to check the clock every 5.  Like my buddy Charlie Sheen I now operate on one speed, and one speed only...GO!

I know I chose to enter this race, and I'm happy to be doing it... but I can't wait to hit the finish line so I might have just a little more time for the simple things again.