It all started with an alligator

Are you ever in a conversation with someone and then you say something out loud and the other person has no idea what made you say that? You may have been talking with your friend about mashed potatoes and then all of a sudden you mention something about having to take the car to the shop. The friend is wondering where that came from and then you have to explain that mashed potatoes reminded you of your trip to the grocery store to buy potatoes and how when you came out of the store, you discovered your check engine light was on in the car and therefore you have to take your car to the shop.

This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I'm not sure what the connection is so I try to solve it like a mystery and then when I realize the connection, I feel so excited.

Maybe it's just me.


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow SunHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook and give 4 stars for the writing and story, and the extra star for Robin Miles' narration. This is probably the best narrator I've heard. She does Robin Miles does a different tone of voice and accent for each major character, so you can easily distinguish who's speaking. It was fantastic to listen to. I see that Ms. Miles has also narrated Hidden Figures, so I will listen to that at some point.

The story is historical fiction about the main characters' experiences during the Nigerian-Biafran war, a subject I knew nothing about. It's always painful to read about how people suffer during war, but this really helps you understand life living as refugees and really tugged at my heart considering all that's going on in the world now.

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Update:  I just came across this interview of a man who describes when the war came to his village.  So much of this is described in the book.  Wow.



Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That HappenedHyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book had me laughing until I was crying, many times. Yet, it also has the best description of what depression is like that I've come across, so it was also very thoughtful. I wasn't familiar with the blog of the same name, but I will now be an active follower.

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Mission: Tackle the TBR list

I came across this blog the other day about an approach to whittling down a "To Be Read" list of books.  I have an ongoing problem of buying books but never reading them.  I get distracted by new books and feeling like I need to read them right then and there, so I set aside whatever I was reading at the time (or what I was intending to read next) and then never go back to the original book because something else comes along.

In this blogger's approach, she only allows herself to bring in one new book for every two books of her own that she read.  Two out, one in.  I like this idea.  She set up some rules for herself and I'm adopting two of hers for myself:

  1. Rereads don't count.  I don't often re-read books but I do from time to time and these won't count for my "out" list. (It's almost time to read To Kill a Mockingbird again.)
  2. Books that are given to me as gifts don't count toward my "in" list.  As the original writer says, I can't help if people want to shower me with books.
  3. This one I'm adding -- books can include those on my shelves, those on Audible, and those on my Kindle.

The blogger uses a bullet journal to keep track of her books.  If you haven't clicked to go see the original post, her journal looks like this:




Then she fills in the books accordingly.  I'm going to keep a similar journal here on my blog.  As I just finished a book that had been on my shelf for quite a while, I'm starting there.  Another goal of this endeavor is to clear my bookshelves so that I'm only keeping books I love and I want all of my books to fit on the shelves I have, without having to expand to new shelves.    Here's where I'm starting:

I don't like how I have books in front of others, or books sitting on top of others.  I want this shelf to be orderly and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Looking at these photos, I have a few other rules to add:

  1. I'm not going to read The Bible. 
  2. I'm also not including instructional books like the ones I have for photography. 
I also have a bad habit of starting challenges and not finishing them, so we'll see how this goes.


The sounds of Big Little Lies

Tonight is the finale of HBO's Big Little Lies.  I've really enjoyed this show and can't wait to find out who got killed and who's the killer.  At this point, I honestly have no idea.  They've done a really good job of making you believe it could be anyone and that everyone is under suspicion.   I never read the book, and I'm glad I didn't because I've enjoyed how this showed has laid out the mystery with the snarky police interviews with the other parents at the school and the glimpses into the messed up lives of the three main characters.  I'm really looking forward to the finale.

The other thing I've REALLY enjoyed about the show is the fantastic soundtrack.  I love that Reese Witherspoon's daughter on the show is so into music and listens to these obscure, haunting, soulful songs.  A couple weeks ago, I checked iTunes to see if the soundtrack was available, and lo and behold, discovered it was coming out on March 31.  I just downloaded it and look forward to listening.  It seems like one of those albums you'd put on for quiet times or maybe when you're feeling melancholy.  I don't think it's something you'd put on to cheer you up.  Hopefully it won't have the opposite effect and depress me though!  I don't think it will, but I do think it will help when you're in a reflective mood.  I'll let you know.


Like Real People Do

This game came up for me as a memory on Facebook--my original post was dated March 9, 2009.  Hard to believe I've been on FB that long.  Anyway, it's been a while since I posted so I figured I'd go ahead and play this again today and see what comes up.

[Note:  After I went through this, I realized some commentary was necessary, so I've added that too.]

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, i-pod, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the "next" button to get your answer.
3. You must write that song name down no matter how silly it makes you look.
4. Title this note what the answer to your last question is.
5. Good luck and have fun!

On & On (Eryka Badu)

Take Good Care of My Heart (Whitney Houston/Jermaine Jackson)

They Can't Take That Away from Me (Ella Armstrong/Louis Armstrong)

The Big Bang (Katy Tiz)

Yeah, like my head is going to explode from allergies.

Mean (Pink)

My life's purpose is to not be mean.  I try really hard, anyway.

The Tracks of My Tears (Adam Lambert's version from American Idol)

This makes it sounds like I caused my parents a lot of grief.  That is not the case!

Like a G6 (Far East Movement)

As in, what is a G6 anyway?

Come to Me (Mary J. Blige)

Kerri, in my original Facebook post, the answer here was, "'The Secret Life of You' (Kerri Arista)" :o)

Jack & Diane (John Mellencamp)

First, I didn't know this song was on my iPod.  Second, I had to listen to the lyrics again to see how this could possibly be my life story.  It makes sense...the whole song is about life and growing up. 

Hold on to sixteen as long as you can
Changes come around real soon
Make us women and men....

Life goes on
Long after the thrill of living is gone 


It's Alright With Me (Harry Connick, Jr.)

Berzerk (Eminem)

This would make for an interesting dance.

Ooo Baby Baby (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)

Tracks of my Tears would've been more appropriate here, I think.

Trio #1, Movement 3 (Mark Sylvester)

This is my friend Mark's song, and it makes it's not as scary as this question makes it sound.

Paso En Tampa (not sure, from the ¡Cubanismo! Mardi Gras Mambo CD)

Does this mean "Time in Tampa"?  If so, I got nothin'.

Village Ghetto Land (Stevie Wonder)

This one made me laugh out loud.  Me and my friends--Village Ghetto Land!  Ha!

Like Real People Do (Hozier)


Book multi-tasking

Britt-Marie Was HereBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book but didn't love it like I did My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry and A Man Called Ove (my favorite of the three). I really enjoy Fredrik Backman's writing, but this one was disjointed, and I didn't eventually fall in love with the Britt Marie character like I did with the "unlikeable" characters in the other books. Still, I was touched and moved several times, and chuckled several other times.

Scrappy Little NobodyScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Anna Kendrik a lot and like her even more after listening to this audiobook, read by Anna herself.  She's quirky and funny and her essays are mostly relatable. I say "mostly" because I obviously can't relate to presenting at the Oscars, but Anna helps you understand how that experience might be for someone brand new to it. She feels like "one of us" and I enjoyed that.

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It's the Grammys

Just a few thoughts on last night's Grammys show.

  • Yay for two Bruno Mars performances!  I wish he had done Perm or Finesse instead of Versace for the first song, but I was so glad he was back for the Prince tribute.  He was fantastic!
  • So great to see The Time.  Morris and Jerome look great. 
  • I was pleasantly surprised by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood's performance--I probably liked it because it didn't sound much like a country song.
  • I loved that they mentioned Sharon Jones' passing and that the Dap Kings performed with Sturgill Simpson.  I'd never heard of him before, but it was a great performance.  Horns and country music--who knew?!  I can't find the video yet, but I'll post it when I do.
  • It was great to see A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes referring to "President Agent Orange" cracked me up.
  • Beyoncé and whatever the F she did.  No.  I just can't.  (Apparently everyone on Twitter can, but I can't.)
  • Needless to say, I was pleased that Adele swept Beyoncé in the big categories and so was a bit disappointed that in Adele's final acceptance speech, all she did was gush over Beyoncé.  Groan.  I told my sister that maybe Adele was just being proactive in keeping Kanye from bum-rushing the stage.



No, this isn't going to be a post about how I've been feeling the past three weeks under the new administration (even though that is an apt description....)

Rather, this is a post about a cute new show on NBC called Powerless.  It stars Vanessa Hudgens as eager project manager, Emily, who goes to work for Wayne Enterprises, as in Bruce Wayne Enterprises (as in...Batman).  She and her team invent products to protect consumers from the dangers put forth by all the superheroes and supervillains in Charm City.  During the first episode, it's Emily's first day on the job.  She thinks she'll be working for Bruce Wayne, but learns that she actually works for his cousin, Van Wayne, who gets no respect from Bruce.  It's a pretty clever premise and I've enjoyed the first two episodes.  It's also a pleasure to see Danny Pudi on TV again, Abed from Community.

The Daily show... by Chris Smith

The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and GuestsThe Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a huge fan of Jon Stewart and his years on The Daily Show and thoroughly enjoyed this oral history of the show from behind the scenes. They author talked to everyone...Jon, Colbert, Steve & Nancy Carell, writers, producers, frequent guests, even Glenn Beck. It was interesting to see how it all came together and the respect that everyone had for Jon Stewart.

All through the past election season, I kept saying that I wished he'd waited until the election was over before ending his show. As I was reading the book, I could see how that job could suck you dry and I forgive him for ending when he did. If he had stayed in, I'd be concerned for his health.

In describing the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, the author writes: "Otherwise he and Colbert were an excellent fit for the jittery moment in American politics—a moment very much in need of a few laughs and a dose of civility." Those words are still true today and I really wish those guys were still around to help me get through the current situation.

As an aside, this comment from Jon about the Rally cracked me up: "The night before the rally, I remember working with Hillary Kun. We were trying to figure out how to send a jet to pick up a variety of O'Jays. For some reason I had this stupid idea that the O'Jays lied together in the O'Jay house. They all wore the same outfit every day. They did their moves at the breakfast nook. It was a little more complicated than that." I really miss that humor.

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And that, ladies and gentlemen (really, lady and lady....aka Deb and Kerri) concludes my January challenge.  It was tough but I'm glad I did it.  I do feel back in the habit and though I won't be posting daily, I do hope to be here more often when I have something to say.  Thanks for reading!! 

UPDATE 2/10/17Holy moly.  I came to Blogger to write about something else and just realized I never published this.  OOPS!