Saturday, April 25, 2009

A perfect summer April?

After several weeks of chilly temperatures and soaking rains, we finally had a glorious day filled with sunshine. It hit 92F here in the middle of the afternoon--a tantalizing taste of summer, smack dab in the middle of spring.

Just before dinner, as the sun waned and temperatures cooled a bit, I sat outside on the deck to drink it all in. My new windchimes--a gift from one of my students--filled the air with music every time a soft breeze blew through. There were birds singing (and probably celebrating that I finally got around to re-filling the feeders), and bees buzzing over my head en route to the fragrant pink blooms of our flowering cherry tree.

It was one of those perfect, serene moments--one that I tried to capture as a snapshot in my mind, so that I can hark back to it when life gets crazy and stressful.

Life is good.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dreamgirls x 2


Jennifer Hudson, in concert in Atlanta, with special guest Jennifer Holliday, tearing up the stage with "And I'm Telling You, I'm Not Going."

Jennifer Holliday was in the original cast of Dreamgirls on Broadway in 1982. She's still got it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A laundry mishap with a happy ending

Yesterday, I discovered that my 2GB Attache' flash drive--the one that contains important backups for my laptop--accidentally took a little trip through the washing machine AND the dryer (yes, the highest heat/Cotton setting).

I left it out on my desk overnight and hoped for the best. This morning, I plugged it in, and all of the data is still there, perfectly accessible. Whew!

Thank you, Laundry Gods, for sparing my flash drive.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter from Me & Bubba

I recently received this massive chocolate bunny (3-feet-tall, 19.4 pounds) from a friend, right in time for Easter. One of my daughters immediately dubbed him "Bubba the Bunny." We'll be bringing Bubba to Easter dinner with us, where he will be the star attraction come dessert time.

Wishing you all a Happy and Blessed Easter today. I hope your day is filled with love, celebrating and LOTS of chocolate, just like mine!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Book review: Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee

Every once in a very long while, a book will come along that captures my attention, to the point where I cannot put it down until I finish it. No matter how long a day it has been, no matter how tired I am, I just can't go to bed until I read the final chapter and see how it all wraps up. This happened with Stephen King's The Stand, a couple of the Harry Potter books, The DaVinci Code, Twilight, and now, with Say the Word.

This is a YA novel about Shawna Gallagher, a privileged 17-year-old whose world is rocked by a sudden phone call: her estranged mother, who destroyed their family when she left to be with another woman, has had a serious stroke. Shawna reluctantly goes to her mother's deathbed and witnesses her final moments. Afterwards, as Shawna struggles to cope with the loss, its impact on her own life, and the devastating effect it has on the lives of her mother's new family, she begins hearing her mother's voice. This was an intriguing plot device that worked well, and helped the mother to remain a vital and pivotal character throughout the book, even though she dies within the first few chapters. Throughout the rest of the book, Shawna slowly pieces together the complex and surprising motivations that led her mother to give up everything for a chance at happiness.

In the process, Shawna comes into her own, learning more about herself, her dreams, and her own motivations. The thing I liked most about the book was the way Shawna's character develops throughout the story. She is far from perfect, and there are times when you want to reach through the pages and throttle her, but her actions are always realistic and understandable. She is certainly flawed, but you can't help rooting for her.

This book rises above the usual teen-fluff that is so rampant in YA these days, because it tackles the very real and current controversy surrounding the battle for equal rights for homosexuals. Garsee does not shy away from presenting an unflinching portrait of this issue, including the ugliness of prejudice and the stigma that is still so prevalent for those in homosexual relationships.

You'll find underage drinking, sexual situations, and adult themes in this book, so I wouldn't recommend it for tweens or very young teens, but high school-aged girls--and their mothers--will enjoy reading about Shawna and her coming-of-age story. It starts as a quest for Shawna to finally understand and forgive her mother, and evolves into a fascinating and poignant journey of self-discovery.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No foolin'

Today is April Fool's Day, my least favorite day of the entire year.

What is it about today that makes otherwise sane human beings think they are justified in acting like thoughtless idiots?

Silliness is one thing: Google released its CADIE "Artificial Intelligence" program at 11:59:59 last night. It's a program that, among other things, promises to read and respond to emails on your behalf. The first example of how Google AutoPilot works is that when you receive one of those Nigerian pyramid scam emails, it replies by helpfully providing your bank account information, social security number, and your mother's maiden name. Cute.

It's the "practical joker" that ruins this day...the "friend" who has a co-worker call you, pretending to be someone from your credit card company, informing you of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges that have hit your account. Yeah, that's real funny.

Ugh...a perfect day to unplug the phone and stay in bed, if you ask me.