Monday, August 31, 2015

What I'm Into (August 2015)

I like to start with books to try to convince myself that I really do do more than lay around watching tv.  But yall, I just REALLY love tv!! But I love reading too.  That's gotta count for something.  Right? RIGHT?!?!

So since July's check in, I've been reading...
 Case Histories (loved), The Three and Day Four (loved), another Jack Reacher (loved #jackreacherfanforlife), The Kind Worth Killing (didn't love at all), and Shadow and Bone (meh, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything to write home about.)

I just went to the library (a HUGE new one I haven't been to before, but with a truly HORRIFYING parking situation- I will never visit that branch again, sadly) for a big run and in my (overflowing) to-read basket in the hallway is Sound of Broken Glass, Until You're Mine, Death on Demand, Fourth of July Creek, Among Others, and last night I cracked open Broken Monsters. Have I mentioned lately how much I heart eyes emoji libraries?

And, drumroll please, there is FINALLY a copy of Finder's Keepers in the system (although no actual book yet) and I am FIRST in line!!! Take that amazon!! I'll keep my nine ninety nine, thank you very much.  Still no work on Invasion of the Tearling.  Fuckers.

Okay, now on to what I do when I'm not reading- rot my brain with television.  I've been watching more telly than movies, but let's start with movies.  We rented Ex Machina and it was good.  I didn't think it was AS GREAT as I was expecting, but maybe my hopes were too high? I just love that Domhall Gleeson.  Remember About Time? AKA Best Movie of Two Thousand and Fourteen? In fact, he even makes me want to watch this new Star Wars type movie.  And I don't do Star Wars.  THAT'S how much I love him and his ginger hair.

And one night when Nick was gone I watched These Final Hours, and I'm gonna preemptively call it- Best Movie of Two Thousand and Fifteen. What's it about...hmm.  It's in Australia, although that really doesn't mean anything.  A comet or something has already hit the earth and a wave of fire or whatever is taking over the world, like from the top down.  It's not really an apocalypse movie. The point is, they know exactly when it's going to happen, and at the beginning of the movie, they've got like twelve hours or something.  So this dude wants to go to a party and get super high and drunk with his girlfriend so that he doesn't feel it when he catches on fire? But it starts with him and a different girl, who tells him that she's pregnant.

I'm with him, a little- why would you tell me that NOW? But he refuses to stay, and heads out for the party, and that's the only parts where you see a little of the crazy apocalypse- people being assholes and such.  But he sees some dudes about to rape a little girl, and even though he just wants to get to his party, he intervenes and grabs her.

Then, of course, it's all about how he takes care of her and changes.

Does it sound stupid? I feel like I'm making it sound stupid, but it's SO good.  I was straight up weeping by the end.  Just a sort of spoiler- this isn't Armageddon, no one is trying to save the world- the event has already happened.  I just don't want anyone waiting for Bruce Willis to show up and save the day- the world ends.  This is about how one dude spends his final hours.

It was SO GOOD yall.  For reals.  And? That weird girl from Predestination is in it!! I think I love her. It's a small role, but she knocks my socks off.  In fact, I should just make a list and watch everything she's ever done.

Since it's summer, we've been watching movies with the kids after dinner.  We watched Maleficent, which I actually thought was quite good.  And one night we watched Alexander and the Blah Blah Bad Day, and lemme say I LOVED that one.  I thought it was awkward that Jennifer Garner and Michael Scott have ZERO chemistry, but it didn't affect (effect?) how much I loved the movie.  It was funny, sweet, and just all around fantastic.  And all three of the big kids liked it.  Daisy wasn't very interested. What're'ya'gonna'do, right?

And just the other day, we watched Lucy bc it was on and we didn't have anything better to do.  I have no idea what the fuck that movie was about.  Visuals were cool enough, plus Morgan Freeman talked a lot, and that's always a win, but other than that...I have no idea.

Oh, and I went to see Rogue Nation, which was good enough.  I liked Ghost Protocol better bc I felt like Tom Cruise really stepped back and let Hawkeye basically take over the movie, but that doesn't happen in this one.  For me, more Hawkeye is always the way to go.  But this one is mostly Tom.  Oh, there's a lot of Simon Pegg.  Which was nice.  "He's so talented." Name that quote!! Anyway.  It was exactly what you're looking for in a Mission Impossible movie, right?

And for tv, we finally finished Breaking Bad.  It was just as good as EVERYONE ON THE PLANET says it is.  Man, when SK says watch a show- WATCH THE SHOW.  At first, I sort of wished they'd ended at season four, after he blows up the nursing home, but the more I think about it, you gotta do season five, when he truly turns into a fucking psychopath. That scene where they're having a shoot out in the desert (um, yes, don't they do that a lot? you know the one I mean) and he's like "you owe me Jesse Pinkman!" and the guy says "fine, you find him, I'll kill him"- lemme say that EVEN IN THAT MOMENT, I thought that Walt would see reason and something would kick in and he'd protect Jesse.

"Found him."

Ohhhhh, I actually cried.  What the fuck is wrong with that man?!?!?

I don't know that my heart has ever broken for anyone as much as it broke for Jesse Pinkman.

And Landry from FNL!?!?! Watch out Ricky Hitler!! Whoa.  He caught me off guard in the best possible way.

I want to watch them ALL again, like RIGHT NOW.

I've also gotten hooked on Jane the Virgin.  It sounds so stupid, but it's sweet and funny and I love it.  I usually sit down to watch one episode then watch four, so that's how I know I really love it.  And I really do!! I'm about halfway thru, so NO SPOILERS please!!! I'm so torn between Michael and Rafael!!! Something the narrator said makes me think Michael is going to die (please no spoilers, I'm begging you) but then I'll feel even WORSE about her being with Rafael!! Yum.  It's just so great.

Nick and I have been watching The Last Ship and it's fantastic in a cheesy, unreal, fantastic way.  You  are talking to the two people who consider Armageddon on of the best movies EVER, so that's what we're working with here.

And lastly, I've been watching Partners in Crime, a BBC miniseries which I guess is based on an Agatha Christie series.  It's sort of campy and unrealistic, but also fabulous.  I'm easy to please.  It reminds me a lot of Bletchly Circle, but it's not as good. But worth watching if it comes to the states.

I've been working on all the socks, the sweater I'm knitting (it's taking FOREVER bc I'm scared to take it out of the house), the quilts for the twins, and my newest favorite- Minecraft quilts for Melissa's boys!!!

I thought I would hate it, because I am sick TO DEATH of that fucking game, but it's actually super fun and cute.  I've already ordered some fabric to make one for us too.

Phew.  My butt hurts from sitting here so long, so I'm calling it quits.  What have yall been into this summer?

Linking up, as always, with Leigh Kramer. What are ya'll into lately?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greece, August 2015

While the Great European Driving Vacation of Two Thousand and Fourteen was AWESOME and I'll remember it forever...I'm still a bit tired from it.  Even a year later.  So this year, for our 'summer holiday' (I'll miss the Brits and their concept of holiday, sob) we wanted one thing and one thing only:  amazing weather and a pool.  I guess that's two things.  Whatevs.

We started in Santorini.  We flew Easy Jet from Gatwick, it's about an hour ride to the airport, five hour flight, then we picked up a rental car and drove to this AMAZING house in Oia. It was FABULOUS.  Washing machine (no dryers), stove, full fridge, hot tub on the deck, pool right out the front door.  FABULOUS.

Let me tell you something I read about in exactly ZERO guide books and blog posts when I was planning this trip: in Greece, you can't put toilet paper in the toilet.


Yes.  You wipe your butt, and you put the tp in the garbage can.
HOW IS THIS A THING?!?! HOW COME NO ONE WARNED ME?!?! I thought it was just bc Santorini was sort of small and run down, but alas, every bathroom I came across in Athens, a HUGE city, had that same angry man reminding you to throw the tp in the bin.

What.  The.  Fuck.

So be warned. The place we stayed, I swear to God, the lady came and emptied the bins ten times a day.  But it was still SO WEIRD.

The first day, we just played in the pool and hiked down to Katharos Beach, which, if I'm honest, sort of sucked.  Sorry.  But after you've been on the beach in Guam...yeah.  Katharos ain't cuttin it.  They did have a super cute beach bar that we went to twice though, it was a two minute walk from our door.  The food was decent, and the staff was AMAZING, and the view wasn't anything to turn your nose up at.

Then the next day, we headed to the town- the stuff you see in the movies.

It LITERALLY took my breath away.  AND? Fifteen minute walk (kids <ahem mama> are so slow) from our house.

For anyone who thinks it's all roses and sunshine with these kiddos- they're pretty badass, but they're also just regular kids.  This above is what we're dealing with most of the time.  Still worth it to travel, but let's be honest- this is hard.

Anyway.  We grabbed some gyros here and it was the second best food we ate all week.  Apparently gyros aren't common in restaurants? We could ONLY find them at this little sort of street food time shack.  Although we didn't look THAT hard, bc these were so good.  We ate there twice too.

But hands down, without a doubt, the best place we ate all week was Floga.  Best view, best service, and absolutely some of the best food I've ever eaten in my life.  Best meal I ever had still goes to this Italian place in Bath (what?!?!) but seriously- this was a CLOSE second.  I had the chicken souvlaki, Nick had the lamb chops, and we got two plates of buttered noodles for the kids.  The kids ate all our food, all their food, and we all licked the plates.  It was TO DIE FOR.  And this view?!?! FORGET IT.

So Floga.  Figure out how to get there and GO THERE.  Trust me on this. I literally took this pic just sitting at the table eating.  It was SO COOL.  Yall.  It was SO COOL.

All right.  Oh, we also got gelato um...every single this place.  It was really good.  I was too busy stuffing my face to take a pic.  I got coffee one day, biscuit one day, and strawberry the next.  Anyone want to hazard a guess how much I gained on this little holiday?

The third day (it's the THIRD DAY) we drove about an hour to Eros Beach bc the fantastic lady running the houses said it was nice, and it really was.  For a non-Guam beach anyway.  The rocks were small enough to not hurt your feet, although NOT sand, and the waves didn't actually knock my kids out. We ate at the Theros Wave Bar and it wasn't that great.  You could also pay for a chair and umbrellas and stuff, but it was like fifteen euro and then you had to spend at least twenty euro on snacks and drinks AND they were set too far back from the water to keep an easy eye on the kids.  So no go for us, but if that's your thang, it looked pretty relaxing.

After that, we were pretty much done.

Played at the pool, drove back into the gorgeous part of the city to eat and look at how amazing it was one last time, then hit the hay.

It was no lie about a thirty minute plane ride (we flew Aegean Air) from Santorini to Athens.  We had some dude pick us up at the Athens airport (I can get the info from Nick if anyone needs it) and he drove us to this pretty spectacular apartment. I would say the coolest thing about Athens was the apartment.  Sorry.  We just weren't huge fans.

But the view from the sofa was pretty rad.

The first day we just sort of walked around our (totally adorable) neighborhood and found a few places to eat before heading back to the apartment to swim.  We did get our first views of the acropolis though, and it was cool.  Ish.

The next day we did the hike.  We went early and the walk up is actually pretty shaded, but the top is (obviously) the hottest and most crowded place on earth.

I don't know why I didn't love it.  Was it because we didn't do a private tour like we did at the Coliseum?  Was it because it was too hot? Am I just a horrible bitch? Who knows.  But I was...underwhelmed. To say the least.  Yes, it was cool that it was built so long ago.  But that's about it.  I feel awful, I really do.  But Athens just didn't make my skirt fly up.

I did think it was totes aborbs that the kids were (as always) more impressed by the rocks than anything else.  Ava was sort of interested in the mythology (thanks Percy Jackson) but even she didn't seem TOO enthusiastic about the whole endeavor.

Mostly, everyone (mama included) just wanted to get back to the apartment to play in the pool.

So final verdict? Santorini is a DEFINITE can't-miss.  I say skip Athens, but then again, how can you go to Greece and not visit Athens? I bet no one ever will.  But for us, at least, it was just meh.

We flew home on Friday on EasyJet.  Our flight was delayed an hour (thanks London rain) and then we got caught in traffic (thanks London commuters) and it was basically the trip from hell and I vowed never to fly again, until we PCS next summer.  I just absolutely HATE flying. From here on out, if we can't drive, Mama ain't goin.  For reals.

Anyone going to Greece? Anyone been and think I'm crazy for not loving Athens? I bet I'm the only one.  But whatevs.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Report: So Many Books

Let's just dive right in.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Wayward Children by Ranson Riggs- My initital thoughts were...Meh. I liked this enough, but during the times when I typically read, I found myself reaching for my phone to play solitaire instead. I thought the main character was sort of a dick and the storyline just didn't grab me at all.

 From the back of the bookA mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

I certianly wouldn't call it spine tingling.  That being said, tons of people who's opinions I truly respect loved it, so maybe it's just me.

Ohh, Becky, I just can't quit you.  Shopaholic to the Stars feels like what must be the fiftieth book in the series, and I love them all.  My initial review still holds true: It was exactly what I expected and exactly what I wanted it to be. Not gonna win any awards and I wouldn't want SK to see me reading it, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for Becky Brandon nee' Bloomwood.

From the back of the bookBecky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA — city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour — and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage's personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sag'’s arch-rival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most? Shopaholic fans old and new will devour Sophie Kinsella's newest adventure!

I definitely devoured it, and as soon as the next one comes out, I'll grab a copy at the library.  Not sure I'd pay for any of these books.

Next let's talk about the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi.

It was nothing life changing, but I enjoyed it. Quick read, fun, better before the love parts started but still tolerable after that. I feel like she was going for Pure and Fuse and Burn a little bit, but those were VASTLY better. Still, I can't wait to read the next ones. Three point five stars, it was fun to read. And my library system didn't have the second and third, and I couldn't wait so I bought them.  If that's not a ringing endorsement...

And last but certainly not least (I've always wanted to say that) we have No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie. I loved this one.  Although I can't figure out why that's the title. My goodreads writeup: I really enjoyed this! I don't know what I was expecting- it's not the type of book I usually grab, but it was fab. It reminded me of those Lacy Sherlock books by I think Catherine Coulter? Is that a thing? But waaaay better. Not as addicting as my beloved Jack Reacher, but I'll definitely pick up another one.

I haven't got around to the next one yet, but I'm anxious to start it.  One day.

From the back of the bookOlympic rowing hopeful and senior Metropolitan Police officer DCI Rebecca Meredith goes out alone to train on the river in Henley on a dark afternoon in late October - and doesn't return. When a desperate search by the police and a K9 team reveals the possibility of foul play, Scotland Yard wants one of their own on the case. Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, returning from celebrating his marriage to long-time partner Detective Inspector Gemma James, is called to Henley to investigate. He soon finds that the world of elite rowing can be brutal, and that Rebecca Meredith's ex-husband was not the only person with good reason for wanting her dead. Then, when a search-and-rescue team member is threatened, Kincaid realizes the case may be even more complex and more dangerous than he believed.

So there you go. Five fab fun books, one mostly-dud.  Read anything good lately? I'm always looking to expand my library wait list.

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the prompt Book Report.  Obvs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shower Toiletries Lanyard

I first saw this on pinterest (of course I did) and found a fabulous tutorial and copied it.  I won't go into too much detail here bc I feel like I've been typing all damn day, but I followed hers (almost) to the tee and it worked fine. I will say that she recommends closing the lanyard with velcro so you can open it up to loop over like a towel rod- I didn't do this and already wish I had.

Also, I couldn't reach my tape measure without getting up, so I used the remote to space my D rings.  I'm not a stickler for accuracy.

Basically, take a yard of inch wide webbing, secure a swivel clip at the center.  Draw some lines or guesstimate inch spaces, then secure your D rings at the inch marks, going opposite directions.  So slid one down to the swivel clip stitch line, then stitch your line and inch above.  Slide the next one down to that stitch line, facing the other way, and stitch another inch up.  And so on and so forth.

Then attach the ends together.  Again, I recommend using velcro so it opens up, but this did work fine for us. Easy peasy, this took ten minutes max.

Then fill your bottles, attach them with your pretend mountain climber clip thingies, slide on your shower shoes, and go take a shower at the campsite without having to set all your tiny Ikea toiletry bottles down on the shared-drain floor. BARF.

Here's my supply list. I got it all in the UK bc I was on a time crunch, I'm sure you can find it all on amazon US as well.  Webbing (they're out of pink?!?!), D clipsswivel clip (this one was huge, I had a smaller one laying around that I used and liked much better for mine <mine is the pink one> but Nick didn't complain about his) bottles, and the mountain climbing clippie thingies.

You can also just buy one here.  But where's the fun in THAT?

Linking up with Flamingo Toes for Show&Tell and Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Break

Summer break is sort of kicking my ass.

I love year round school.  It's perfect for Scott, just when he starts getting fed up with going to school, bam! Time for a break.  For the most part, both schools we go to do six weeks on, one week off, six weeks on, two weeks off, repeat three times, then we get the entire month of August off.  It just works extremely well for me.

Last summer, of course, as soon as school let out, we set off on the Great European Driving Vacation of Two Thousand and Fourteen, so there wasn't a break.  Period.  This year, the boys and Daisy got out two weeks ago, we immediately took off to go camping, then we had all of last week at home, plus most of this week, then we're leaving for Greece on Friday.  As soon as we get back, Grandma Jane will be here, then right when she leaves, we go back to school.

So it's hard to bother with getting into a routine since it will end up being less than two weeks straight that I'm at home with all those hooligans.

So instead, I sleep in while they watch tv and try to kill each other, then I come down to drink coffee and watch HGTV on netflix until they run out of time on their kindles.

The house is a wreck.  They're CONSTANTLY fighting.  They all smell awful bc I can't remember when if they had a bath last night so I usually skip it, then forget that I skipped it and skip the next one too. Warren just smells awful all the time.  Even when he first gets out of the shower. He's like that dude from Charlie Brown.

I do make them go outside, sometimes, but it's been super cold and dreary and just blah. I tried taking all of them to the library but that was a bust- they fight too much.  Why do they hate each other?

I've been knitting and sewing a lot, but mostly, I just lay around watching Buying&Selling.  There's only twenty six episodes, so that's gonna be a problem shortly.

I haven't even been reading.  I don't know why, I'm super excited about the books I have.  I just don't feel like it, I'd rather knit or play on pinterest.

I don't really have a point.  I just wanted to barricade myself in the office for a few minutes. Naturally, as soon as I leave the living room, the fighting stops.  It's all giggles in there now, but as soon as I walk back in, it'll be punching and kicking and pulling hair.  It's not each other they hate, it's me!

And the food.  How can they eat SO MUCH? I don't understand.  I'm almost two hundred pounds and I swear to God, I don't eat HALF the food that one of them eats, and the heaviest one can't be more than forty five pounds.  What the hell is that?

Literally. By the time I'm done cleaning up after a snack, they want another one.  Short of roasting an entire chicken, I don't know what to stick down their gullets to get them to shut up about being hungry.

Plus, laundry? They wear their pajamas all day, yet I'm still doing my typical four loads a day? What the fuck? How is that mathematically possible?
 I hate everything. I realize this post has absolutely no point.  Whatever. I'm just trying to kill time until we leave for Greece.  Which I have still done ZERO planning for.