A book review, sort of.

Hello, world! 

I haven’t written about books in a LONG time, but I love books.  I love reading and I have a particular fondness for post-apocalyptic literature.  Recently, one of my besties who also shares my love of science fiction recommended this book to me.  She has excellent taste in books, so I knew it would be good.

The book is One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

I don’t usually write reviews, so bear with me.  This book is based on the aftermath of a terrorist strike against the U.S.  After an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) strike, the residents of a small town in North Carolina are forced to make tough decisions to protect their town and care for their residents while managing the long-term consequences of an EMP strike.  The simple act of eliminating our very complicated power/electrical grid sends the world back into the dark ages and proves how very unprepared we are as a society to survive outside of the technology bubble we’ve created for ourselves.

I don’t want to detail the book much more than that because I’m notorious for giving away too much.  I will say this is the first book I’ve read of this genre that has ever made me feel like a real and true apocalypse could occur in our lifetime.  It was both brilliant and terrifying at the same time.  It felt so real to me that I kept thinking, “Oh shit, what would we do if the power really went out?!”  I mean really went out, as in everything with a computer chip is fried and the technology used to support our systems for transportation, sanitation, distribution, manufacturing, food production, medicine and life support technologies suddenly cease to operate.  I won’t lie, I had nightmares about this for days afterward and immediately started my long-term survival shopping list.  This book alone could keep Costco in business, forever.

10384906_976417365718684_5323661678153381091_n[1]What would you do?  What would you do if the power went out?  Do you have enough water, food and medicine to take care of your family?  For how long?  What about your pets?  Can you hunt?  Can you protect the people you love?

One Second After is a story about survival, sacrifice, devastating loss, loyalty, friendship, love and community.  It’s a story about both the ugliness and beauty of human nature.  It’s a story for everyone.

This book was amazing.  It sucked me in from the very beginning.  I know I’m reading a great book when I get angry that I have to stop reading because it’s time to make dinner for my kids, or you know, wake them up for school.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to Costco.  I need to buy like 3,000 lbs. of bulk food and toilet paper.  😉

The Love-Hate Challenge

Hello, world!

Once again, life has been busy and I’m checking in to say hello and tackle the Love/Hate Challenge handed down to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Kimboxin.  In this challenge, I have to list ten things I love and ten things I hate, then nominate other bloggers for the challenge.

Initially, it doesn’t seem too complicated.  How hard is it to list things you love and hate?  So, I spent a few minutes pondering the many nuances of what it means to love or hate something.  If you really think about it, love is not the opposite of hate.  Indifference is the opposite of love, but I have not been asked to write about things to which I feel indifferent.  So, for me, this is not an exercise of opposites, but rather a list of items that either make me feel extremely happy or extremely unhappy.  Oh, and I’m leaving out the obvious stuff, like loving my family or hating anchovies.  Seriously, who likes anchovies?

Hate, hate, hate….

These are instruments of torture.

These are instruments of torture.

1.  I hate high-heels.  Why, as women, do we choose to wear shoes that after about twenty minutes of wear feel like razor blades are imbedded on the inside?  I admit, high-heels make legs and ankles look more attractive.  They add that special something to a dress or an outfit that flats just can’t imitate.  They are incredibly feminine and just make you feel fancy.  I occasionally attempt to wear them.  But high-heels make me feel insecure.  Insecure in that I know the pain is inevitable, and I know that with one small misstep or slip,  I will fall ass over tea kettle in front of anyone watching.   Friday night Dan and I celebrated our anniversary.  We got dressed up and went to dinner at Beso, in Hollywood.  Then we walked to the theatre and saw Phantom of the Opera.  The theatre was less than two blocks from the restaurant, and in the seven minutes it took to walk there, I honestly felt as though my toes were being severed from my feet.  I then made the classic mistake of taking the shoes off while I was at my seat enjoying the performance, because my toes began to swell, which then made trying to put the shoes back on feel like a fresh new hell.  After the show, I put on a brave face, and hobbled out of the theatre, hanging on to Dan’s arm for dear life.  It was all I could do to maintain my dignity and not look like a drunk hooker falling down on the street.  About half way up the first block, I said fuck it.  I took off the shoes and walked down Hollywood Boulevard in my bar feet.  I figured, what the hell?  It’s the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it’s probably one of the nicest sidewalks in the country.  I did enjoy a laughable moment though when we walked passed a strip club whose marquee read, “1000’s of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones!”

2.  I hate being the center of attention, or having too many people looking at me at once.  It makes me feel very insecure and nervous.  Even at my own wedding, knowing that everyone was looking at me filled me with anxiety.  I prefer to blend in with the natives.  This anxiety does not exist for me in this medium, thankfully.  I want people to read my blog.  And it doesn’t feel like the same level of scrutiny for some reason.

3.  I also hate crowds.  Too many people.  Too much noise.  No parking.  And people tend to behave poorly in large crowds.  I prefer smaller, more low key environments.  Causal, laid back places.  Pubs, not clubs.

cockroach4.  I hate allergies.  I am allergic to everything.  If I was stranded on a desert island, I’d probably be dead within hours from touching a leaf or a plant, or being stung by an insect.   A handful of years ago I saw an allergist and she did that skin test on my back where they scratch your skin with a hundred different allergens and then see what you react too.  Within seconds of the nurse applying the allergens, it felt like fire ants were biting me everywhere.  The allergist sort of freaked out when she entered the room and it took several doses of antihistamine to calm the reaction and welts on my back.  When I looked at the chart she gave me, it said one of the items  I was allergic to was cockroaches.  WTF?  I want to know what part of a fucking cockroach they rubbed on my back to find out if I was allergic to it.  Gross.

5.  I hate most reality TV.  Mostly because it’s not reality and there is very little substance to these shows.  I don’t give a fuck about the Kardashians, the Desperate Housewives of any city, or who the Bachelor or Bachelorette is making out with this week.  And don’t even get me started on the Duggars.  There are a few reality shows my family enjoys, but we’re pretty selective.  My family loves MasterChef, American Ninja Warrior, the Amazing Race, and more recently, BattleBots.

6.  I hate hypocrisy.  If you talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.

7.  I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their choices, or try to negate the choices of others.  In life, your choices, for good or bad, is truly what defines you.  Own them, and use your powers for good, not evil.

10470787_611688428952780_5790317832856503493_n[1]

8.  I hate Jalapenos.  Does this need further clarification?  I think not.

9.  I hate technology when it doesn’t work.  My last cell phone sucked.  It was an older model Samsung that had the drop down keypad for typing.  I preferred that to the touch screen because my fingers always hit the wrong key and it took me forever to do anything on the phone.  So, one evening my friend was over for our regular Friday night wine o’clock, and I was bitching about my phone and how long it took to connect a call.  And she said, “Can you just give it a second to let the signal come back from space?”  LOL!

10.  I hate skinny jeans on men.  I can’t think of many things more emasculating than seeing men wear skinny jeans.  Biggest fashion mistake, ever.

For the love of….

1.   I love fresh, clean paper.  There’s something about a new notebook or journal that fills me with excitement.  It’s a clean slate.  You can write or create anything.  I would hoard them if I was crazy.  But I’m not crazy.  As far as you know.

2.  I love office supplies.  I have no idea why.  I have always loved stores like Staples and Office Max.  I love buying stuff that makes me feel organized.  Shopping for school supplies as a kid felt like Christmas to me.

3.  On this same note, I love making lists.  I write lists for everything.  Again, it helps me feel organized, and my brain needs this in order to feel peace.

4.  I love getting flowers, for no special reason.  Or for a special reason.  That’s fine too.

5.  I love giving and receiving compliments, especially when they are unexpected.  Admit it.  Getting a compliment at an unexpected moment can make you feel on top of the world.  Especially because we rarely see ourselves the way others see us.  And when you give a compliment, even casually, and you see that person’s face light up, it’s an amazing feeling.

6.  I love it when I’m on the treadmill at the gym and one of my favorite Kid Rock songs hits the playlist.  When Bawitdaba starts playing, it takes all I have to not start singing out load and head banging in front of everyone.  That song, among others, just pumps me up and makes me feel like I could run a hundred miles.  I can’t, of course, and about a minute into the song I have to slow down and remind myself that I’m forty and my knees can’t take that shit.

7.  I love my husband’s photography.  He enjoys photography as a hobby, and I love his pictures.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

8.  I love candles that make my house smell good.  I specifically love Gold Canyon Candles.  They are the best.

9.  I love reading.  I love being absorbed and transported by a story, and the devastation you feel when the book ends.

10.  I love my husband.  I know I said I would leave out the obvious stuff, but we just celebrated our anniversary, so it feels important to include him in this list.  I love the life we have together, and the balance we share in our relationship.  I’m proud of the man he is and I’m proud to be his wife.

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

I nominate the following blogs to participate in this challenge, if they so choose.

1.  https://myspokenheart.wordpress.com/

2.  https://nosajnawk.wordpress.com/

3.  https://lindsaysmiles.wordpress.com/

4.  https://brandedexplorer.wordpress.com/

5.  https://sweetykannoth.wordpress.com/

6.  https://hysterectomy4dysmenorrhea.wordpress.com/

7.   http://catsatthebar.org/   (I would love to see the cat’s perspective on this!)

Wanda Says…This is how I know I’m getting old.

retro TV

I’m getting old and this is how I know it…

1.  When I was younger, I remember thinking it was very progressive when the FCC began to allow cursing on TV. I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal if someone uses a curse word on national television?  It’s not like most people haven’t heard them before.”  And then commercials began to evolve and I thought the adult humor and content infused into the marketing of different products was more humorous than dirty.  I remember one event specifically at my grandmother’s house when she tried to shield my great-grandmother from seeing a racy scene on TV, and my great-grandmother responded by saying, “It’s not like I’ve never seen boobs before, Francis.”  Fast forward twenty years, and now I’m a parent.  Thanks to all the sex and adult references on every station and every network, I’ve mastered the sport of living room gymnastics.  All parents know what this is.  It’s the sport that’s all the rage in any family living room with small children.  It’s the act of diving, jumping, tumbling, rolling, running, or hurdling furniture, small people or pets in order to get to the remote on time to either hit the mute button or change the channel when you realize that what’s happening on the television is not appropriate for your child to hear, see or imitate. (And I’d like to thank every network that showed the new SI Swimsuit cover and all the 50 Shades of Grey trailers for the extra gymnastics practice this week.  I really enjoyed trying to field my ten year old daughter’s questions about why that girl was being blindfolded, and why that other girl was practically bearing her private girly parts on the cover of a magazine.  Thanks for that).  I’ve become that crotchety old person who complains that commercials are filled with unnecessary sexual references and that there isn’t enough quality family television suitable for my kids to watch during prime time, and that just blows.

2.  When I see a pack of teenagers walking down my street and they stop to loiter in front of my house, I want to tell them to get off my lawn.  I have a nice lawn with nice bushes and flowers, and I don’t want them to litter in my yard or fuck up my grass.  Get off my lawn you lazy hooligans!  (I can’t believe I care about this).

3.  It’s difficult for me to stay up past 10pm, even on a weekend.  I force myself to stay up on weekends because it’s ridiculous and I refuse to go to bed at nine o’clock on a Saturday.  If my husband and I are out with friends or having a few drinks, I seem to be more energized and can rally to the occasion, but as soon as the action’s over my body goes into complete shut down mode.  I need my sleep like my grandmother needs to watch the Wheel of Fortune every night, or as she likes to call it, “The Wheel.”

4.  If I have more than three alcoholic drinks in one evening it takes me a week to recover.  Seriously.  A week.  Who’s got time for that shit?  I can’t feel like death for a week.  So when I do drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, I try and keep it under three drinks and I have to drink a liter of water in between.  Otherwise my skin is dehydrated and wrinkly and I get headaches that feel like they last a thousand years.  I long for the days in college when I had the energy and stamina to go out five nights a week, stayed out until 2am and was still able to make it to an 8am class.  I don’t necessarily want to engage in those activities, I just wish I still had that kind of energy.

These will make your toes feel like they're being cut off with a butter knife.

These will make your toes feel like they’re being cut off with a butter knife.

5.  I now choose function over fashion, every day.  Is it comfortable?  Stretchy?  Will those shoes make my feet hurt if I walk more than ten feet in them?  I live in yoga pants and t-shirts.  I’m with kids all day and no one gives a shit what I look like. And the last time I made an effort to wear super cute high-heeled boots to a party, I ended up losing a toenail and needing first aid by the end of the night.  My poor husband had to practically carry me to the car, and it took me six months to regrow that toenail.  When I was 30, I would have toughed it out and claimed, “beauty is pain!”  But now, I’m too old for that shit.  Give me blue jeans and tennis shoes, any day.  (I do get dressed up and fancy for dates with my man, but that’s different than my 6am to 10pm work-as-a-stay-at-home-mom dress code, and I always wear comfortable shoes).

I prefer these.

I prefer these.

6.  The music I love and came of age on is now only played on the oldies stations.  I remember being a kid and being mortified when my parents listened to ‘their music.’  I can recall my dad rocking out to the 50’s and 60’s and thinking he was the oldest man in the world.  My mom listened to Neil Diamond, Helen Reddy, James Taylor and Barry Manilow.  Now, I love all four of these artists, and I am a Fanilow. The first concert I ever went to was Barry Manilow and I was eight years old.  I will never forget those palm trees coming out of the stage when he sang Copacabana.  I loved him, and still do.  However, when I was a teenager, I remember thinking my parents were so uncool because they didn’t understand MY music.  They couldn’t understand how important Aerosmith was to me, or Foreigner.  Journey, AC/DC, Steve Miller Band, ZZ Top, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the soundtracks to both Grease 1 and 2,  and eventually Madonna and Guns N Roses.  And then I went through my New Kids On The Block stage (don’t judge me), and eventually it was all about Grunge.  Nirvana, Bush, Alanis Morissette, the Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins.  My mother would shake her head at me and tell me to turn that crap down.  And now, I find myself listening to the popular music of today and thinking, “How does anyone listen to this shit?!”

7.  According to my husband, my hearing is going.  When I ask Dan a question, if he answers by saying, “No” all I hear is, “Yeah.”  I rarely ask him to repeat himself.

8.  New appliances excite me.  You know you’re old when you get excited over buying a new dishwasher, power washer, or coffee maker.  I got a new Dyson vacuum cleaner for Christmas and I felt like I won the lottery.

domestic man9.  I get turned on watching my husband do chores.  Man flesh does nothing for me.  Pictures of hot guys bearing their chests and showcasing a six-pack leaves me feeling…meh.  But watching my husband do dishes, laundry, rescue wayward animals,  and play at the park with our kids is the equivalent of old people porn.  Confident, successful, and happily domesticated men are sexy.  Period.

10.  When my daughter asks me, “Mom, how old were you when you got your first cell phone?”  LOL!  She’s mad at me because I won’t let her have a cell phone until she’s 13.  She has classmates who have them now and she feels left out.  In my opinion, fifth graders don’t need cell phones.  So when I told her I was 25 when I had my first cell phone, it was a regular phone, there was no app for that, it was the size of a regular cordless house phone, and I kept it in my glove box and used it only for emergencies because it cost like, fifty dollars per minute, she looked at me like I smoked crack.  And she learned about crack in school, so it was a nasty look.  Also, I seem to repel technology, and watching my kids run circles around me with new devices, games and programs makes me feel like my grandmother must have felt when I showed her how to use a cassette tape deck on my new boom box when I was in high school.

So, now that we’ve established the undeniable fact that I am turning into a crabby, appliance loving, no sexy shoe wearing, chase the hooligans off my lawn kind of spinster, what makes you feel old?