Monday, September 30, 2013

What I've Read

Ever since I discovered that the local library offers e-books downloaded directly to my kindle- FOR FREE- I have been spending less time on my computer and more time doing exactly what I did as a kid- curling up with a dog and a book for hours on end.  I have a fairly specific niche- Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and contemporary "young adult" fiction (think The Hunger Games, the Divergent Series).  But while the queues/wait lists for these books can be up in the 70's or even in the triple digits, I started searching by what's currently available and taking a dive.  And that's how I found Sanctus.

I don't write reviews.  Because I am pretty notoriously happy with everything.  I like almost every movie I watch.  Same goes for TV shows.  And books.  Sure, there are those that I love and will rant about for days/months/years.  But I'm not exactly what one would call critical.  I utilize these materials for entertainment, and what can I say- maybe I'm just easily entertained.  

I chose Sanctus (by Simon Toyne) because I was ticked off over the wait line for the next Divergent book and a novel by Joe Hill that I've been dying to read.  It was a week or so before the honeymoon, and I REALLY needed some books for the trip.  I searched on my library's website, narrowed the field by "what's currently available," clicked on- I don't even remember what category- and Sanctus showed up.  The description sounded interesting enough:

One man's sacrifice shocks the world . . .
One woman's courage threatens a conspiracy as old as humankind . . .
And some will do anything--anything--to keep their secrets in the dark.
A man climbs a cliff face in the oldest inhabited place on earth, a mountain known as the Citadel, a Vatican-like city-state that towers above the city of Ruin in modern-day Turkey. But this is no ordinary ascent. It is a dangerous, symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is an event witnessed by the entire world.
Few people understand its consequence. But for foundation worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others, it's evidence that a revolution is at hand. For the Sancti, the cowled and secretive monks who live inside the Citadel, it could mean the end of everything they have built. They will stop at nothing to keep what is theirs, and they will break every law in every country and even kill to hold it fast. For American reporter Liv Adamsen, it spurs the memory of the beloved brother she lost years before, setting her on a journey across the world and into the heart of her own identity.
There, she will make a discovery so shocking that it will change everything. . . .
I started reading it sometime during the honeymoon, and was intrigued!  But then it expired and I kind of forgot about it.  Probably because Divergent finally became available.  Then it was time to fly to Portland and wait in long lines- so I needed another book, STAT.  And there was Sanctus, available.  I downloaded it again, and picked up where I left off.  And I'm really glad I did- because maybe it starts out a little bit slow, but this book has got to have one of the best endings/twists/plot points of anything I've ever read.  Towards the end there, I was reading so fast my finger didn't leave the page, and I actually yelled at Scott to leave me alone because I NEED TO READ MY BOOK.

I love twists and turns.  I live for thrillers.

And I love me a good strong female character.

And did I mention the ending?

Oh... AND it's part one of a trilogy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Color Run!

"Oh no guys, it's fine!  I stopped blogging but now I'm back, promise!"

HA!  Here's a fun little quick and dirty (see what I did there?) blog post to hold you over until I can get to the good stuff.

Scott and I have done the couch to 5k program off and over over a period of a couple years.  First the weather in Oregon put a damper on it, and then we moved, and then we started over with my parents.  Then wedding stuff got crazy and we fell off that train again- but not the whole health train!  We continued to work out at home and at the gym a few times a week.  But the running thing?  Not so much.  However- we had already signed up to do the Color Run in DC.  I thought it was a good choice for your first 5k- it's not timed, so it isn't super competitive.  People run or walk it, so if we got tired we wouldn't look like losers walking.  And most of all- FUN! 

I have to say I was pretty proud of myself.  It was my very fist 5k and I did manage to jog my booty through most of it- we walked the giant hills and a few times when I got color powder in my throat and started wheezing.  But overall I was happy I did it, and proud of my time (even though they didn't time it- we did, using the RunKeeper app on our phones).

My favorite thing about the run is that it gave me something to look forward too.  I'm big on motivation- as in, I don't have any within my inner fitness goddess or whatever, and I need it to come from outside.  The Color Run (and other runs like it) break the whole thing down into bits.  In this case, there were 4 color stations.  SO you start running, run through the mud/up some hills and right when you're like "I'm pretty sure I didn't sign up for a mud run/warrior dash when is the color going to happen oh God," you can see Pink up ahead.  And there's music blasting and people are screaming for you, and people are laughing, and there's cute little signs, so you think, "Hey, that's not so far away.  I can make it to Pink!"  So you find your ~motivation~ and you run your butt to/through Pink.  And when you finish with that, you feel rejuvenated- and up int he distance, you can see puffs of Yellow powder floating into the sky.  So you say, "that's not TOO far away.  I can totally run to Yellow."  And so on and so forth until you finish running through Blue and can see the finish line.  And if there's one thing that DOES motivate my inner fitness goddess, it's finishing strong.

And then of course, there's a huge party at the end and everyone is happy and colored in pretty colors and it's a wonderful experience.  If all of my runs were broken down into little pieces and had big parties periodically throughout, I would be a much better runner.  Who wants to come line the streets by my house with some boomboxes and cheer for me?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In The Garden: Sunflowers!

SOMEONE fell off the blogging train!  I'll give you a hint- it was me.  I started my new job, which has been wonderful and also chaotic, and we took a trip to the pacific northwest over the labor day weekend, so I'm just now getting back into the swing of things.  There have been a few new things worth mentioning happening around here,  but lets get to one of my favorites- the sunflowers!

The last time I posted, we had one row of flowers that had popped up.  Here's what the garden looked like at the end of August, before we left on our trip:

The first two rows in buttery yellow bloom, the third row coming in with a deep burgundy color.  Well, then we had a massive thunderstorm and left for neatly a week.  When we returned, the garden looked like this:

Holy mackerel look at that guy on the left... where did that even come from???

It is so tall it is up by our master bedroom window.

Pretty obsessed with the colors on this one.

I've been periodically cutting some and bringing them inside for the vase on our table.  I've also been collecting the seeds once the flowers wilt and the petals fall off- maybe I can grow a new garden of sunflowers next year using the seeds I collected from these!  Wouldn't that be something special?  

This garden has come a long way int he past few months.  I mean, just look where they were in June.  Just little baby sprouts.  And now there's stalks that are 10 feet tall!  It's pretty great, if I do say so myself.  And they make me smile every time I go outside.