My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Thankful…

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I’ve already told you guys how much and why I’m thankful for books (just ALLLLLL of the books), but I wanted to take some time today to shed some light on the other things in my life that make my heart smile.

I’m doing this a bit early seeing as all I plan on doing tomorrow is watching football, playing with my little cousins (one of them  promised me an epic no-holds-bar, fight-to-the-finish game of hide and seek and you better believe I am holding him to it!) and falling into a tryptophan-induced coma.

1. My awesome and crazy family who love me–and put up with me—no matter what (cue the “awwwww”)

2. My awesome and even crazier friends who love me–and put up with me no matter what (cue the double “awwwww”–good golly I’m adorable on Thanksgiving)

3. Harry Potter. Duh.

4. The Milwaukee Brewers. Double duh.

5. My faith, my courage, my strength and my willingness to never, ever, never ever give up.

6. Good hair days.

7. Bad hair days (because it really makes you appreciate the aforementioned good hair days.)

8. Sweat pants.

9. Ben & Jerry’s.

10. Ben & Jerry’s.

11. Ben & Jerry’s.

12. My health (especially after all of the aforementioned Ben & Jerry’s.)

13. And Billy Murray.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!! :)

Hey guys!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Can you all believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday?! Seriously, where has the time gone?! Before you know it, it will be Christmas and then we’ll be ushering in the new year (which is crazy-sauce! I just started getting used to writing/typing/signing the date as 2014!)

But before we (or I) get too ahead of ourselves, let’s go back to Thanksgiving shall we?

I love Thanksgiving.

I really do.

Of course there’s the delicious food (hellllllo stretchy pants!), the football, and the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But what I love most about this holiday is getting together with family and friends, spending time together, and taking a moment (or five) to reflect and celebrate what it is that we’re truly thankful for, the things that give us joy and make our hearts smile.

It goes without saying that we’re all a little quirky on Turkey Day. Or maybe that’s just my family.

Nonetheless, it’s a holiday that while steeped in tradition, can take on many forms.

For example, some of us are Tofurkey enthusiasts, while others are devotees of the deep-fried turducken. Some of us are Turkey Trot running champs and other live for a little pigskin on the flatscreen. Thanksgiving is one of the few traditional holidays that really celebrates our diversity as a cultural melting pot, which basically means you can take the holiday and run with it however you like. Harry Potter-themed Friendsgiving? Go for it! Around the World in 80 Turkey Dishes Potluck? Sure, why not!

However we choose to spend it, our Thanksgiving celebrations are about the same thing–showing gratitude for what we have.

Well, that and pie.

So in honor of this day, I’ve decided to spend this week focusing on what I am most thankful for. Up first, I’m gonna let my book nerd flag fly as I give thanks for all the literary gold in the world. Here are 15 reasons why I am thankful for books:

1. Books keep you sane during your awful rush-hour commute.

2. Books have saved you from going on countless awful, no good, very bad dates. You’ve had many a perfect evening at home cuddled up with Mr. Darcy.

3. Books make soaking in the bathtub all the more fun (as long as you don’t accidentally drop said book in said bathtub. I’ve been there, done that and am still having nightmares over wrinkly pages and smeared ink.)

4. Books don’t care if you can’t pronounce the big words in them or if you don’t even finish them. Books don’t judge you for anything (except for maybe when you accidentally drop them in a bathtub.)

5. Books have the remarkable power to put even the rowdiest of children to sleep.

6. Books have the remarkable power to put you to sleep too, especially when you’re up late worrying if the turkey brine you used was “gluten free.”

7. Books teach you to empathize with people you’ve never met and help you tolerate the people you have, like your cousin’s boyfriend who is a DJ and is also a Cub’s fan.

8. Books remind us that sentences can have more than 140 characters, they don’t have to start with “OMG,” and they don’t always need to be accompanied by photos.

9. Books make you smarter. I have no idea why. I think it has something to do with pheromones in the paper?

10. When you need to put the world on a time out, books are there for you.

11. Books allow us to vicariously experience a range of gif-worthy emotions, from heartbreak, to terror, to despair to jealousy. All while maintaining our effortlessly cool, intellectual composure in public.

12. Reading is one of the few things you can do in sweatpants on the couch that qualifies as “constructive.”

13. Books show you that you are not alone in the world, even if all of your relatives thing you are and keep asking if you’ll ever get married.

14. Books teach you that your parents, your teachers, and your friends aren’t right about everything, but then neither are you.

15. And lastly, books teach you to think for yourself, so you can ponder things like, “pumpkin or pecan pie?”

Why are you thankful for books?

I put up my "Christmas Tree" this weekend and I've got to say, Rockefeller ain't got nothing on my tree! ;)

I put up my “Christmas Tree” this weekend and I’ve got to say, Rockefeller ain’t got nothing on my tree! ;)

This holiday season, consider giving/donating a book to children in need, giving them the gift of literacy and the magic that only a great book can give. For more information, please check out the awesome program Barnes & Noble is currently running!

Thoughts on a Thursday

1. I just finished re-re-reading Mocking Jay in anticipation for the movie which opens tomorrow (technically it opens tonight at midnight but I’m old and lame). Why?! Why do I do this to myself?! Who else is pumped to see this movie though?! I’m a little hesitant that they decided to split it up into two parts, but I guess that just means more room (and time) to include ALL of the details.

2. This song has been stuck in my head for 36.777 hours now. I’m going to go ahead and apologize right now to my poor coworkers who have had and will have to put up with my mad karaoke skills for the rest of the day/week.

3. Um, can we talk about how incredibly cute Mr. Adam Lavine is here for a second?  #sigh

4. I just had a really big interview (if you’re counting, it’s number 4,367) for an Adult Graduate Student Librarian position at Bryan College in Dayton, TN!! I’d say I feel really good about it, but I’ve felt “really good” about all 4,367 interviews before this one. Any good ju-ju thoughts, fingers-crossed, and 11:11 wishes directed my way would be mucho appreciated.

5. To celebrate said interview, I got a #facelift. Because how else is one supposed to celebrate other than buying and devouring a cookie the size of a small hippo?

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6. Speaking of hippos…

7. Turkey Day is less than 7 days away!!! That means we’ve only got one week to train. Our stretchy pants, that is.

Have a great rest of your Thursday, guys!! :)

Things I won’t do

Eat a sandwich without a side of chips.

Go commando.

Stop Facebook stalking certain people.

Yoga.

Simple math without using my fingers.

Stop believing.

Think of the term “meat loaf” without gagging.

Dance (without channeling my inner Elaine Benes).

Wear sneakers without socks.

Wear sandals with socks.

Leave a bookstore without at least buying one two all of the books.

Turn down a cookie.

Or ice cream.

Or ice cream sandwiched between two cookies.

Be a Cub’s fan.

Or a Bear’s fan.

Listen to this (or any song really–it’s a bit of a problem) without singing butchering right along with it.

Anything before I change into comfy clothes after work.

Kick-starting a bag of potato chips is pretty much standard–you open with the double-pincer, squeeze-and-pop technique, start fishing out the prime, full-bodied  chips at the top of the heap, and then start working your way down to the half-broken chips in the middle of the bag. A few minutes in, you’ve chomped your way down to the bottom and you might think you’re pretty much done.

But oh no, my friends.

That is just the tip of the salty, barbeque and ruffled chip ice berg.

You have just arrived at the best part.

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This is when you get to that last, crumbly triangle of potato chips wedged right in the corner of the  bag. You know what I’m talking about. Usually at this point, your lips and face are covered in grease-crumbs and your fingers are neon orange, coated in a film of salty saliva.

That delicious patch of potato powder is all yours, but to get it, you have to get a bit dirty.

First of all, you won’t be able to slip your fingers down that crinkly, mirror well so you have to tilt the bag sideways and size up that crumbly triangle for what it’s worth. See what you’re dealing with here. Commit to a game plan.

Next, even though your fingers might already be wet at this point, it’s best to be safe with the ‘ol Thumb Index Finger Pre-Lick. Come on, get a good lather of spit on them, don’t be shy. Remember: the crumbs are in there deep, and your slightly sticky spit-glue will help mine the greasy plunder.

Now, it’s time to ATTACK! wedge your wet thumb and forefinger in there hard and squeeze until you feel like you’ve got most of it. Then, pull out quick and in one swift move, sweep and drop that last crumbly triangle right onto your tongue, making sure to lick the stubborn remains off your fingers while saying “Mmmmmm” a lot.

And you’re done!

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Now, while the Thumb Index Corner Pinch move is grittier and more explosive, there is a backup technique that will still get the job done if you aren’t so much a fan of getting down and dirty. Those in the biz know what I’m talking about: The Dumb-Truck Bag -Tilt Maneuver. this one requires two hands, a gaping mouth, and a forty-five degree angle to turn the trick. ou can use it alone or in tandem.

Either way, almost entirely composed of salt and artificial flavorings, that last crumbly, triangle of goodness packs a full flavor finishing move, unlike the watered down sip at the end of a soft drink cup, the stump at the bottom of a muffin or the tooth breaking kernels hiding in that last handful of popcorn.

AWESOME!

P.S. Speaking of awesome, if you haven’t tried these bad boys out yet, do yourself a flavor and pick up a bad (or five). They come out only during the Holidays so be sure to snatch up this perfect mix of salty and sweet ASAP!

Friday Fav’s

Happy Friday, all! :D

Wow, I kind of thought today would never come. Maybe it was the fact that Mother Nature decided to go all renegade on us, dropping the temps and the snow, full-force. I am definitely not a morning person. Couple that with having to crawl out of my comfy and cozy blanket fort/bed to face the bitter cold to go to work and you’ve got one grouchy McGrouchster. On the plus side of things, all of this winter weather business has definitely gotten me into the Christmas mood.

There. I said it.

Usually I try to ward off all carols, candy canes, gifts and decorating until at least the day after Thanksgiving, but this year, I’m struggling guys. We decorated our office yesterday afternoon and with the tree right outside of my office door and Frosty the snowman looking spying at me through my window, how can I not get all festive?! Plus, Turkey day is so late this year that if I wait until after to get all Christma-fied, there won’t be a heck of a lot of time to soak it all in.

And I’m a gal who needs a lot of Christmas soakage.

That is why, I here by declare it to be fully okay to drink eggnog, put up your tinsel and get on with your bad-gift wrapping self!

Or at least that’s what I’m planning on doing this weekend.

Okay, maybe not so much the decorating part…yet…but I am definitely getting a jumpstart on my Christmas gift making. Yes, I said making. Every year I try to find some funky and cool thing to make all of my friends and this Christmas is no different. I’m kind of anal when it comes to what I make (and don’t even get me started on the whole Christmas Card process!) and it takes me a good while to make sure everything is perfect, right down to the very last bow and ribbon. You can see why I like to get started ASAP! I’ve got something really cool this year that I’m doing (all I can say is that as far as gifts go, it will definitely be my friends’ “cup of tea.” :)

I hope you have a fantabulous (and warm) weekend ahead of you, and in the meantime, feel free to check out my favorite finds from the web and more in this week’s Friday Fav’s!

Favorite truth. Ummm, yeah. Like, every Saturday and Sunday…

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Favorite seasonal treat: Hot Cocoa Cookies. Now that we’ve finally got some snow on the ground, these hot cocoa-inspired sweet treats sound sooo yummy. Pair these babies with a giant cup of whipped cream, I mean hot cocoa, and you’re all set!

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Favorite geek need: Cable Clips. This sounds ridiculous, but nothing annoys me more than when I unplug a cord from my laptop and it falls off the table and onto the floor. Just one of those things!

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Favorite wow: Thorn Crown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. You have to checkout these pictures. What an amazing place!

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Favorite picture: 6-Layer Rich Chocolate Malted & Toasted-Marshmallow Cake. Per-fec-tion!

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Favorite pooch. CAN I HAVE HIM?!

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Favorite view: Streets of Najac, France. I wonder if these people wake up everyday thinking, “I get to LIVE here!”

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Favorite reading nook: Book Nook Tents!! I mean, I’d never want to leave. Like, ever. How cool!!!

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Favorite cookie crave: Chocolate Chip Cookie Mousse Bomb. This recipe makes me sublimely happy. Cookies on top of cookies topped with chocolate. ‘Nuff said. ;)

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Favorite funny: 20 Puns That TOTALLY Nailed it! I am nothing if not a pun-connoisseur and these my friends are ALL of the best! They’re a lot like Cheetos Puffs; so bad, they’re absolutely delicious! ;)

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I haven’t read anything quite like this book before. Part sci-fi, part adventure, and completely humanistic, The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber is original and very addicting (I pulled quite the few all-nighters on this one.)

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It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC.   His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling.  Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.   Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable.  While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival.  Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

While I was reading this I had a sense of foreboding, which is I partly I guess what kept me reading until the wee hours of the AM, however, that feeling of foreboding was unfounded. I guess I kept looking for some big revelation or some monumental event but it never happened or was too subtle to notice.

The characters here are all well thought out and I got to know them as their lives unfolded and that is what also what kept me reading. Peter becomes so absorbed in his teachings to the Oasans that he doesn’t take care of himself or his wife’s feelings of aloneness. I liked that Peter quotes from the bible and preaches; I took it as lessons I hadn’t had before.

I wish there had been another few pages to finalize what happens in the end and at close to 500 pages, a few more wouldn’t have hurt. In fact, I think it would have lead to a more satisfying ending. As much as I found this different world and their inhabitants intriguing; I wanted to know more of what was going on with home and the world we know and why.

I’m a sucker for great literature but hate untidy endings so after finishing “The Book of Strange New Things” I was a bit conflicted. The prose is beautiful and mundane. It gets inner monologue. Gosh, there is so much!

It’s a book about beginnings and endings. But it’s also a book about faith.

It’s a book about marriage. But it’s also a book about friendship.

It’s a book about redemption. It’s a book about broken people. It’s the beginning and the end.

Does this sound confusing? It isn’t. It flows beautifully. It is all of those things together and more. It’s a gorgeous story. It’s beautiful and not easily defined. And I whole heartedly recommend reading it. More than once. Because it’s one of those readings that unfurls. And those are the very best kind in my opinion :)

*I received an advanced copy of The Book of Strange New Things from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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