More bullets. It’s like an arsenal up in here!

  • I think I need to take a vacation. Like, by myself. I would love to go somewhere far away from here and stay in a hotel with room service and a spa. And I want a balcony where I can sit and drink coffee and just be alone.
  • I’m getting really bad about what I am drinking. It started with Gatorade after a run and then I keep buying Starbucks Doubleshots and SweetLeaf teas; I am sick of water but all this extra sugar is getting me nowhere.
  • After lunch yesterday I went t to pick up Isaac’s birth certificate and got my name changed on my social security card (after 5 years of marriage!). I feel very accomplished.
  • Alas, I have a whole new list of things to get done today.
  • One of which is get to the comic book store.
  • And mail a package.
  • And buy birthday gifts for this weekend in which we have two parties to attend.
  • I’m about to read the last/newest book in this one series and I am kind of sad that once I am done, there won’t be any more. (Well, except these other books by the same author which I guess I’ll have to read because my 5 or 10 minutes of actual free time between baby duties is all I have and I like to fill it with books.)
  • I am making a promise to myself to take more pictures of both Isaac and Elliot.

Bullets are appropriate for Friday

  • The bathroom renovation is, I’d say, three quarters complete. Sheet Rock Chris and Tile Chris are both here now and doing their respective things.
  • I have run every other day for a week now and made it 2.2 miles at about an 11 minute pace, which is decent for a beginner and someone not training for a race. I have not weighed myself, however. Tomorrow, I am going to add another mile to my run. If I can do 3, I’m going to sign up for some 5ks, just for fun. Actually, to get out of the house for a while, selfish as that is.
  • I’m getting so incredibly sick of the programming on Nick Jr that we’ve started watching old cartoons on the Boomerang channel. Elliot has now been introduced to Tom and Jerry and a boatload of Popeye.
  • Isaac was 6 weeks old yesterday. He’ll sleep most anywhere we go and if he wakes, he’s good. I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks though. As you know, time flies… Before I know it, he’s going to be Elliot’s age.
  • Next weekend, Elliot has two birthday parties to attend. One on Saturday and one on Sunday, they’re at the SAME PLACE. God help us but it’s a gigantic warehouse full of bouncies. I am going to lose my mind, I am sure of it.
  • Being housebound due to the workers is making me nuts. Not that I would leave but I don’t like having that option taken away. I could so go for a latte right now, as Isaac woke me twice last night instead of once, which I was getting used to.
  • Tomorrow, my plan is to clean this house and I think I’ll start feeling normal again after all this remodel junk. Wish me luck.

I like to share

Here’s an excerpt from something I found on the Black Dagger Brotherhood website. J.R. Ward, the author, wrote some smaller “Slice of life” pieces to accompany the novels. This part makes me feel like I could write a novel. But mostly, it just makes me want to read more and more of this stuff.

“Releasing her vein, he collapsed into her hair as he shuddered and bucked.

And then there was only their desperate breathing.

Dizzy, out of it, satiated, he lifted his head. Then his arm.

He bit into his own wrist and brought it to her lips. As she nursed quietly, he stroked her hair with a gentle hand and felt a stupid fucking weak-ass urge to tear up.

When her blue black eyes lifted to his, everything disappeared. Their bodies dematerialized. The room they were in ceased to exist. Time became nothing.

And in the void, in the worm hole, Wrath’s chest opened up sure as if he’d been shot, a piercing pain licking over his nerve endings.

He knew then that there are many ways for a heart to break. Sometimes it’s from the crowding of life, the compression of responsibility and birth right and burden that just squeezed you until you couldn’t breathe anymore. Even though your lungs were working just fine.

And sometimes it’s from the casual cruelty of a fate that took you far from where you had thought you would end up.

And sometimes it’s age in the face of youth. Or sickness in the face of health.

But sometimes it’s just because you’re looking into the eyes of your lover and your gratitude for having them in your life overflows… because you showed them what was on the inside and they didn’t run scared or turn away, they accepted you and loved you and held you in the midst of your passion or your fear… or your combination of both.

Wrath closed his eyes and focused on the soft pulls at his wrist. God, they were just like the beat of his heart. Which made sense.

Because she was the center of his chest. And the center of his world.

He opened his eyes and let himself fall into all that midnight blue.

“I love you, leelan.”

Now, I command thee: go out and buy these books!

Diversions

  • We finally got Inglorious Basterds in the mail; it was a “very long wait” and they weren’t effing kidding. But as with all Tarantino films, there’s a huge build up and then you watch the film and leave feeling like it lacked somewhere. It was… OK. Nothing special. The dude who won best supporting actor definitely deserved it but I see why the movie didn’t win best picture.
  • I opened all the blinds so sunlight can come in and I won’t feel so unmotivated. It seems to work.
  • I uploaded cool pictures to my tumblr, which I had been neglecting.
  • My new favorite HGTV show is Color Splash. That David Bromstad is adorable when he gets excited about designs.
  • I made brownies two days ago and then yesterday, I realized how little I actually feel like eating them.
  • How soon after childbirth should I start working out again? The elliptical calls to me.
  • I just ate the heel of a loaf of french bread with butter. At 9 o’clock in the morning.
  • Making lasagna later in hopes that can be my 3-5 PM activity to stave off the apathy.
  • Going now to feed the beast known as Isaac.

Review round-up: tried lately

I’ve been meaning to review some things I have used lately and while I”m at it, I’ll include movies, etc. So, without further ado…

LUSH Geo-phyzz bath bomb – My mom was down in Palm Beach visiting my grandmother (who is recovering from a hip injury) and she texted me to ask if I wanted anything from Lush. If you don’t have one of these and you like hippie bath products, then you’re missing out. I told her I wanted something sea-salty and she came back with this bath bomb. These are some of the fun products they offer because some have hidden things in the middle or funky flower petals that slowly break apart and float in your water. This one had a very pleasant smell and the salts fell to the bottom of the tub and stuck around a while. I was very pleased with this product. If you find yourself on their site and you do like this stuff and want to online order, I suggest  doing it now because they won’t ship some stuff once it gets warm.

My mom also picked up a sample of their Ambrosia Shaving Cream. I used this in the tub one night and was instantly turned onto it by smell alone. It’s a light citrusy smell, but also clean. The stuff doesn’t much foam up but it does create a thick layer to shave and it was really effective. Plus, it didn’t create any irritation, which I am prone to. If you have sensitive skin, this product is for you.

Publix had a buy one get one deal on this new-ish product called Vitatops so I bough them thinking they’d be good for Elliot’s breakfast. Sure enough, he liked them and it turns out, they’re pretty tasty. We’ve tried the Banana nut (just ok), Deep Chocolate (delish!), and the CranBran (Ell likes them anyway) flavors. They are stored frozen but thaw in half an hour on your countertop. But to be honest, 8-10 seconds in the microwave does them good.

St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter Soothing lotion – Target has an amazing dollar rack for travel sized things and this is one I keep picking up for my purse/diaper bag/ the spot right by our keys on the counter. This lotion is awesome at actually healing dry skin and it smells really neutral. It’s a good clean smell that isn’t too feminine (meaning Ash could use it without whining). I’ve formed a habit of putting it on my hands and face right before I leave for work and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my dryness factor. This lotion, for a buck, is a good deal. (Picture is normal size, not dollar trial size.)

Alice in Wonderland – Tim Burton, director

To be honest, I wasn’t pumped to see this but figured I would at some point. Our date day happened to fall between big movie openings so we went ahead and moseyed into this one, in the IMAX 3D theater, no less. They gave us different glasses than we had at Avatar but as we found out from this guy whose apparent sole job is to represent IMAX at the AMC theater, since Avatar was shot in 3D and Alice was filmed in 2D and then made into 3D, the polarization in the glasses is different.

So, the movie itself. Honestly? Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Especially based on some bad reviews I saw. Someone on a tumblr site I follow even wrote: “Sleeping> Alice in Wonderland.” I disagree, kind sir.

The characters were all truly fascinating and well-done; not cheesy. The Tweedles, highly under-used in other variations of the store, were probably one of my favorites. Each character had a unique and entertaining personality, including Alice, who was very well acted. I know a lot of people said they hated Depp as Hatter but he didn’t annoy me much. I forgot it even was Johnny Depp and just went with it. A main complaint was that he only slipped into the Irish accent a handful of times but I rationalize this as: he has episodes of normality – when he speaks with his real accent – and then moments when the madness hits and he speaks in a funky sort of lispy voice. I don’t know. Maybe I am a sucker but I bought it.

Crispin Glover was super creepy as the Red Queen’s right hand man, but then again, when is he NOT creepy? McFly was probably his only role where he was just dorky and not uber-creepy. I also really liked the card army of the Queen. They were exceptionally well-CG’d.

Some people were pissed that it wasn’t a straight remake of the Alice story but I appreciated the liberties they took with it. It was a fresh look at a timeless tale and it never failed to entertain me. I’m not saying it’s the best movie ever, but it was pretty damn good for my ten bucks. I recommend it if you like to watch movies that take you out of your everyday life and let you trip out for two hours.

Midnight Breed Series review (books 1-4)

I know that most of my readers don’t give a crap about this – probably – but as blog fodder goes, reviews are good. And besides, blogs are for being honest and this is a pretty frank admission: I just read four vampire books that went way beyond the Southern Vampire Mystery series: they were categorized as… “romance.” I tweeted this the other day:

“I’m #reading “Midnight Rising” by @lara_adrian. Never thought I’d read a.) vampire stuff or b.) romance but I am really hooked on the series”

That about sums it up. It started with Twilight, which I enjoyed but was wanting more. Then I read the nine books in the Sookie Stackhouse universe (btw, I have a Borders gift card just waiting patiently in my wallet for May 4th, when the next book comes out!) At the recommendation of a friend, I checked out The Midnight Breed series. I figured it was ok to check these out from the library because they don’t have covers featuring a big blond guy with hair waving in the breeze and some sultry female wrapped around his legs, giving him the eye. Because if I ever sink that far, you have permission to punch me in the face.

What I really like about Adrian’s work is that three quarters of the books are actually focused on the on-going plot and not just the sex. Maybe they’re all like this and I haven’t read enough Harlequin novels to know the difference. But that’s one of the redeeming factors of this series, in my opinion.

(There be spoilers ahead; you’ve been warned.)

Book one, “Kiss of Midnight”, revolves around the story of Lucan, who is the Gen One leader of a group of warrior vamps called the Order. What I appreciate about this version of vampires is their origin: an alien race crash-landed on earth centuries ago and fed on the blood of humans. These Ancients mated with human females and the first generation was born. Except these vampires rose up against their fathers at some point to stop all the carnage and the demise of entire civilizations and the Order was formed. After that debacle, their purpose was to take out Rogues, who are vamps who have fallen into the clutches of Bloodlust, rendering them beasts of endless fury that don’t simply feed from a blood Host but kill in the process. Once turned Rogue, they don’t operate in the manner of other vampires who are, you’ll remember, half human.

When I started reading this first novel, admittedly I was not instantly drawn to the story of Gabrielle, a photographer who never quite seemed to fit in and never took photos of people, just creepy places like asylums. When she somehow manages to witness a feeding frenzy outside a club and snaps some shots of Rogues at work, the story starts building. Lucan was hunting said Rogues and realizes that she has been involved. Obviously, their world must stay secret so he’ll do what it takes to keep her hush hush. This is a theme amongst the four books I have read so far.

Lucan poses as a police officer to get to Gabrielle. Of course, he finds himself attracted to her and soon finds out that she’s a Breedmate. That is, a woman who possesses the special ability to conceive and bear vamp offspring, should the two engage in a Blood bond. Throughout this story, Adrian is building the overlying plot that someone seems to be amassing a large Rogue army. At the same time, Lucan himself is walking the thin line between sanity and Bloodlust, a path he’s been down before. He’s lusting after her in this state but soon finds that his rational side, still present, cares for her in a much deeper way. It is Gabrielle, of course, who will pull him from the depths of his despair and right his wrongs. In the end, she finds out that he is vampire, she is Breedmate and they are mated. She is brought into their compound to live, giving up her old life as she knew it. They live lavishly below the earth and she has the most amazing, sensual relationship with Lucan. You quickly see that giving up all she used to know is not a bad deal.

Book two, “Kiss of Crimson”, carries on the plot that we left off on: the Order was led to a Rogue lair (that Gabrielle found through her special Breedmate talent of being drawn to creepy Rogue places) and they took out a good chunk of the forming army. In the process, they partially lost one of their members, Rio, in the explosion. He was caught by the C4 blast and is sent to their infirmary for an indefinite amount of time. However, this installment focuses on Dante, an 18th century warrior who is wounded from the start of the novel and finds himself searching for shelter and sustenance in a veterinarian’s building. This is where he meets Tess. Badly wounded, she tends to this mysterious man and then he feeds from her, scrubbing her memory afterward and stealing away into the night.

From the last book, we find out that the evil one in charge of the Rogue army was none other than Lucan’s brother, Marek, who had long ago betrayed the Order but was thought dead. The other aspect of the plot that we learn about in this one is that Tess’s ex, Ben, has unknowingly been manufacturing a street drug called Crimson which, if taken by humans, does little but if ingested by vampires, turns them Rogue in a matter of seconds. It vaults them into a Bloodlust like no one’s seen before. This bit of info is why Dante must continue to seek out Tess. Much like Lucan, Dante is afflicted with his own personal demon. He keeps having these incapacitating visions of fire and demise, which he assumes will be his own. So he feels as if his time is limited and his death is seeking him out all day every day.

I definitely buy the Dante/Tess relationship more than Lucan and Gabrielle. It felt more real. Thought Lucan was losing himself to Bloodlust, he had more control. Dante was really spiraling and needed her more than even he thought.

This one ends in a perilous scene, of course, with a meeting of Rogues and Ben, now turned Minion (human sucked to the brink of death who lives to serve his vamp master). We find out that Dante’s fiery vision was not his own death but that of Tess, pointing out that for as long as he’d had these visions, he was linked to her in some way. The cool thing about the relationships built between Breedmates and vampires is that they are so much more intense than anything we imagine humans could have. Through the blood bond, where each takes the life force of the other and through their connection to one another, they are linked in a more inextricable way. I am not sure that readers can even fathom what this might feel like. We are mere mortals.

The other aspect of this second book was the introduction of Sterling Chase, who is an agent from one of the Darkhavens in the area. This is where the vampires of the world reside with their mates. In a lot of ways, they resent and despise the Order, considering them to be savages and never appreciating them for their service to the vampire race. Chase’s brother was killed and he feels like it is his duty to avenge him, both for his own sake and his widow’s, Elise. Not only that but her son, Camden, has gone missing, along with some other Darkhaven youths, and the Crimson is to blame.

Here’s a tie-in that Adrian has craftily woven; Elise resurfaces in the beginning of book three, “Midnight Awakening”, alone and out for vengeance after the death of her son at the hand of Chase in the end of book two. He did what had to be done; Camden was too far gone to come back. In her intense moment of grief at the scene of the crime, Tegan, one of the other Warriors, takes her home.

So book three opens with Elise living in the city instead of the Darkhaven and tracking Rogues; taking her own brand of revenge. Her husband has been dead five years so she has begun to age. Breedmates will live eternally so long as they are receiving blood from their mate. So not only does she face this, but her ability is to hear peoples’ thoughts. In the city, she is bombarded by the evil, lustful, purely maniacal intentions of the masses. This brings down upon her debilitating headaches. While out one night, she encounters a Minion who has been sent to pick up an important package for his Master. Elise kills him and somewhere in her escape home, Tegan comes into the picture, smelling the blood.

From the start of the series, Tegan has been the most mysterious of all the warriors. He seems slightly reclusive, quiet, and very apathetic about, well, everything. We have learned that he’s about as old as Lucan and they have been through an awful lot together. His story is more intense than the warriors we have been introduced to so far. Long ago he lost his Breedmate to the Rogues and nearly slipped into Bloodlust himself. In all these years, he has not forgiven himself for not saving his mate nor has he allowed himself a relationship/much human contact. Hence why this book focuses heavily on his reluctance to show Elise any sort of kindness or allow himself to feel anything towards her. Of course, this is inevitable, as is the theme of these books. As the story is developing, so are the relationships. I have to say though, the first two books we have to simply believe the impossibility of each warrior coming into contact and subsequently falling in love with a woman who just so happens to be a Breedmate. At least for Tegan and Elise, she’s already down with the vamp scene, knows about Darkhavens, has been in one for as long as anyone, and so that aspect is absent from this installment.

The on-going search for Marek has led them to Germany, where they have traced the package Elise intercepts to an older family. This will hopefully shed some light onto what Marek’s plans may be. In the meantime, Tegan’s icy cold heart begins to melt just a little bit and at some point, they are thrown into certain situations in which they must help/confide in each other. In terms of the romantic scenes, this book far outdid the others. I think they were far sexier and more wanton than the others. As my friend’s friend relayed, “Tegan makes me want to do bad things.” I agree!

Adrian continues to impress in book four, “Midnight Rising.” Marek has been taken out but an enemy still exists. At the end of book three, the warriors came across a cave – a crypt – in which an awful thing has been discovered. With Rio back with the team – though a shell of the man he once was – he has been entrusted to blow the cave, sealing in what was found. However, we find out in the beginning of this novel that he has yet to detonate the C4 and head to Spain, as he promised the Order. Rio has fallen into despair ever since his former breedmate, Eva’s, betrayal in book one. The betrayal that scarred the left side of his body and certainly left it share of scars on his soul. He no longer wants to live and yet, cannot take that one last step into the sunshine. The vamps burn like all others in lore, which I appreciate since they are not “undead” like others.

The main woman in “Midnight Rising” is Dylan Alexander, a journalist who writes for a tabloid mag. She stumbles across Rio’s hiding spot while hiking on vacation. The thing I instantly like about her is that she’s super down to earth and does not and will not believe in monsters. She does not easily allow herself to be scared. This is a good attribute to have, considering she’s about to launch herself into another world of things humans only believe to be myth. On top of that, she has to have this attitude to accept the broken Rio as he is, scars and all.

The plot takes some twists and turns and we find out that the thing living in that crypt – being kept alive – was one of the original Ancients. Though Marek is dead, the legacy lives on in whomever has sprung the ancient one and is using him for some dastardly deed. Rio is forced to leave the cave and track down Dylan, for she has taken pictures of him and said cave, possibly revealing all that their world is and the evil that may fall upon humans.

For most of the book, she is being held by the Order – first in Germany in the home of their contact there, Reichen. Then, once state-side, she is taken to the Order’s compound. She is still refusing to believe any of this vampire bull-hockey and only wants to get back to her mother, whom we learn is dying of cancer. Here is where the story gets very complicated and Adrian successfully juggles a lot of balls. There’s the aspect of Dylan staying in the compound, because she’s coming to believe that she is special – yes, she too is a Breedmate – but she needs to be with her mother ’til the end. Then, she realizes she’s falling in love with Rio. Through her love, Rio is beginning to see the value in his life and recover from the awful betrayal, his tormented past in Spain, etc.

Adrian continues to deliver intense love scenes and passion, which I can freely admit is part of what has kept me reading. But furthermore, the plot that has evolved continues to draw me in and keep me interested. I definitely want to know how the evil side is progressing and what the warriors will fight next.  The steamy stuff is just a perk of all this.

There was even a scene in this one where I nearly cried. The relationship built between Dylan and her dying mother and the need she has for Rio really socked me in the gut. I was perhaps surprised by my reaction to this. Though I kept saying that these were fluff stories I could finish in a matter of days, I believe this to be some quality storytelling and give this series an A so far. I am first in line for the fifth book at the library and can’t wait to see where our author takes us from here.

(ETA (12/21/10) : I have finished all these books but never reviewed them. And yes, I have read all of J.R. Ward’s BDB series. It was WAY better. In fact, I think her vampires ARE the standard for PNR.)

Get your groove on

As promised, a list of sexy and/or romantic type songs for the upcoming “holiday”. We should show love every day, not just once a year! These songs – to me – always evoke some kind of passion, whether it be of the mental or physical kind. These are all songs I have in my personal collection and are in no particular order.

  • “Insatiable” – Darren Hayes
  • “Is it a Crime?” – Sade
  • “Brown Eyes” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “Kiss You All Over” – Exile
  • “Rock me” (album version) – Great White
  • “In The Still of the Night” – Whitesnake
  • “Must Be Doing Something Right” – Billy Currington
  • “Nobody Does it Better” – Carly Simon
  • “Justify My Love” – Madonna
  • “Crash” – Dave Matthews Band
  • “At Last” – Etta James
  • “Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star
  • “Freak Me” – Silkk
  • “If” – Janet Jackson
  • “Red Light Special” – TLC

Ok, your turn. What am I missing? Get yer love on, yo.

ETA: (2/12/2010) – The ones I thought of later and the one suggested

  • “Bad Things” – Jace Everett
  • “Seduce Me Tonight” – Cycle V, Flashdance soundtrack
  • “Photograph” – Def Leppard
  • “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin
  • “Do me Baby” – Prince
  • “Bring on the Men” – Linda Eder, Jekyll and Hyde Soundtrack

Some brief letters

To the guy who got into the Starbucks drive-thru this morning and blocked up the THROUGH lane to the parking spaces:

I hope your Venti no-whip Mocha whatever spills into your lap on your drive to work.

No love and foam, ME

*******

To the person who left a full styrofoam cup of coffee outside Lowes:

Sometimes we have to carry our kids and when you leave your trash right where people walk, we’re bound to accidentally kick said cup, splattering cold acrid coffee onto all of our clothes, including my son’s.

No love and irresponsibility, ME

*******

To the professor who buys us bagels:

I know no one ever thanks you but I really appreciate that.

Lots of carb love, ME

*******

To Simply Lemonade with raspberry:

I love you. I mean, I LOVE you with all my heart and soul. You are delicious!

Fruity goodness, ME

*******

8 things meme

I was checking one of my daily sites:

Tally Daily Photos and I decided to do said meme. Here goes:

8 TV shows I watch on occasion:

House Hunters
Real World
True Blood
America’s Best Dance Crew
Blue’s Clues (I kind of have to!)
NFL football
Cash Cab
Jeopardy

8 favorite places to eat and drink:

La Rumba
Outback
Cracker Barrel
Masa
Jasmine Cafe
Another Broken Egg
Osaka
Metro Deli

8 things I look forward to:

Blogging
Reading once Elliot goes to bed
Every other Friday date day with Ash
The impending birth of child #2
Free bagels on Thursdays
Springtime
Having two little boys running around my house
Sixth anniversary trip to Hawaii

8 things I love about winter:

No mosquitoes
Getting to wear my cold weather clothes
Christmas
Tea
Fires
Holiday cheer
Soup
That it is brief here

8 things on my wishlist:

A healthy baby
To be ok on money during maternity leave
A pedicure
A nice outing to a restaurant sometime soon
Endless energy
A new lawn mower
To get back in shape after baby
New carpeting

8 things I am passionate about:

Writing
My family
photography
Batman comics
Teaching
Raising my kids to be good people
(could only thin of 6)

8 things I have learned from the past:

Do not hold a grudge
Try not to regret things
Move forward and do better
Trust your instincts
For most instances, you can’t wait around for things to happen
Solve problems when they arise
Get up and do it if you know you should
Always tell them you love them

8 things I want/need:

More calmness
More patience
Pants (hey, I need ‘em!)
A haircut
IBC rootbeer in barrel form, that I can drink from all day long
HBO just long enough to watch True Blood season 3
The most sour candy in the world (it’s been a craving)
A day to myself