Asheville Snowmageddon 2015

Sometimes it’s hard to remember, technically, we still live in the South. Especially after waking to see 5 inches of snow outside. At least we finally have a snow shovel, which by the way, is much more efficient for shoveling snow than a garden spade (which is what we used the last two times we had to shovel).
Asheville 2015 Home

This was the view from our front door. Not too shabby, eh?
Asheville 2015 Pisgah National Forest

Frodo of course, LOVES the snow.
Snow Joy

For playing… and eating. Apparently snow tastes good!
Catch a Snowflake

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The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

The Stepford WivesWhat is it about Ira Levin? How did he write things that seem so normal on the surface only to be downright chilling and horrific underneath?

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the story behind The Stepford Wives, either from seeing a TV show, or a movie, but I couldn’t remember the specifics. The story is short at only 150 pages so I read it in entirety last night and it’s been on my mind since.

Not only is the main theme scary (what is happening to women to make them such perfect housewives?), but the nuances to story hit the mark as well. As Joanna sees others in the supermarket with their groceries perfectly aligned as they shop, she too feels the desire to match what they are doing, and be like them. She is disgusted at their tendency to disparage all interests outside the home in exchange for having the perfect, clean, house… yet she feels inadequate when compared to them. If given enough time, Joanna would probably have become a perfect Stepford Wife all on her own, even without the antics of the men in the town – and that – is quite scary indeed.

I like that the details are not completely spelled out, but instead you are left to your imagination to figure out… just what happened to Joanna.

All in all, it’s a good quick read that is still relevant – and will be as long as the concept of a Stepford Wife is in use in our vocabulary!

The Stepford Wives is available on Kindle for a whopping $7.99 (at only 150 pages), or you can read it on Scribd. You can use this link to get a free two-month free trial to Scribd – and I highly recommend it!

Asheville Ice Day 2015 and Silly Dog Tricks

Nothing slows down Frodo when he wants to play fetch. Ice is no match! That isn’t snow in the photo, it’s ice. Ice-covered steps… that have temporarily been converted to an ice-ramp.

Fetch on Ice
Going for a Walk
Testing the ice…
Testing the Ice
Yep, it’s cold today!
It's Cold
Frodo’s balance on ice was so impressive, we made him do tricks. And, I just learned how to make Animated GIFs. I’m sorry.
Tricks on Ice

Celebrities as Role Models – Fifty Shades of No Big Deal

Fifty Shades of GreyAs the fear-mongering continues over “young people today” watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I keep waiting for the flip side of the argument to appear, but it never does. The view point most articles have taken has really irked me, as apparently, the masses are all thought to be copycat idiots. If we see “romance” depicted in a poor manner on screen in a movie, we shall follow suit and do what they do.

Most articles and posts urge you to not see the movie, and stop speaking to anyone who does. Many claim that young people look up to celebrities and will think what they see on screen is how romance is done right.

WHAT?

Where are you in your life? Are you a parent, step parent, or grandparent? Are you concerned about the teens in your family seeing a movie and acting out what they see? If you answered YES, then you may be right. Children and teens DO learn from what they see in their life about how to treat others. Two weeks after seeing a movie, the movie will be long forgotten, but how you treat your husband or wife in front of your kids may last a lifetime. Do you scream, shout, say nasty things? Do you roll your eyes in disgust at your spouse in front of your children?

Movies don’t teach children what love and romance is – parents and families do. If you think your children need to see good role models of how a loving relationship should be – you are right. Be sure to BE that role model, and anything they see or read in Fiction will be nothing more than that – Fiction.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm HomeI’m speechless. When a book is THIS good, I usually skip writing a review. For one thing, the reviews are already glowing off the charts, and the description on Amazon boasts a variety of awards and recommendations. What can I possibly add? But, I decided to share my thoughts anyway, just in case you’re in need of a good book to read today.

I went into this book blind, no knowledge of what it was about, or the reviews. I just started reading, and then, I couldn’t stop. I read Tell the Wolves I’m Home on my Kindle, but I’m eager to own it on paper, and read it again… and again… and again.

The main character is a young teen in the mid-80s and there are so many images this story brought back to mind. Some fun nostalgia, some painful memories. And the fear. I remember exactly where I was the day I first heard the word AIDS, and how I learned about it, and how it was presented in the news. I remember Ryan White.

Though I think this book may be enjoyed by anyone above the age of 13, I think there are some parts that will just wring your heart into a million pieces if you’re closer to my age or just a little older.

I don’t want to say much more than that so you can experience the story as the author intended. And even if you are younger, the story is a must-read, as it’s simply great on it’s own even if you didn’t live through that time.

Would you like this book? I’d recommended Tell the Wolves I’m Home for fans of Markus Zusak, Catherine Ryan Hyde, and those of us who came of age in the 80s.

There is no I in TEAM – Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem by Ayn RandPublished in 1938, Anthem by Ayn Rand was way ahead of it’s time. Of course, that’s likely the goal with a Dystopian novel, but apparently it wasn’t taken as a warning.

In a society where children are growing up without knowing what it means to lose (everyone wins!), books like this should still be read today. It is a bit odd to read a book where there is no “I” – even though it’s written from the first person point of view, as people are not individuals and being alone is against the law. Since there is no alone, there is no “I” only “we” and it’s a little too easy to read this as though Gollum from The Lord of the Rings wrote it. Yes… yes, we read it we did!

I still shudder at the workplace environments where open collaborative spaces are the norm and quiet places to do actual work are few and far between. Most Fortune 500 companies are inspired to: foster a creative work environment where the team can cohesively work together and drive innovation that will bring sustainable improvement to key-emerging technologies destined to be a game-changer.

corporate-bs
Yeah. Read this book. It’s a quick short story that gives new meaning to justice and liberty for all.

The Right Way to Eat Kale (Recipe)

There is a right way to eat Kale, and a wrong way.

To clarify, this is the wrong way. Raw. Boring. Bitter.
Eating Kale

You can sometimes hide Kale in a smoothie, but you’ve got to be careful about how you do it. Less is more. For the record, I can barely tolerate Kale when eating it the wrong way. However, there is a right way to eat Kale, and when done properly, is fantastic!

Here is the right way to eat Kale. You make Kale Chips!Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • Some Kale
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Red Onion
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Fine Grain Sea Salt
  • Pinch of Kelp (optional)

Mixing Kale

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 300 degrees
  2. Wash and Dry the Kale
  3. Tear the Kale into large pieces and place in bowl
  4. Place all the seasonings in a bowl, and mix
  5. Sprinkle the seasonings over the Kale and mix thoroughly
  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper
  7. Spread out the Kale
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes

If you have any leftovers, simply store them in a lidded container. But you probably won’t have any left…

Eat and enjoy!

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a Book Worth Talking About

We Need to Talk About KevinWhat a train wreck. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a psychological thriller that slowly builds steam. And I do mean slowly. This is not your light fluffy read for the afternoon, but instead something to read, think about, and discuss. And maybe even have another light read on the side to make your way through this journey.

Some reviewers say the writing style is pretentious, but it is the main character Eva, who is pretentious – rather than the book. Lionel Shriver brings Eva’s personality to life, and as other characters are quoted, you get a really good sense that she (the author), can really write characters that are easily distinguished from one another. I grew to hate Eva’s husband almost as much as her son – and that may have even been part of her goal.

From the beginning we know that Eva’s son, Kevin, committed mass murder. Eva wonders if she (or perhaps her “thought crimes”) are to blame, and though the questioning thoughts she has never leads us in this direction, I half wonder if her husband’s behavior toward Kevin played a larger part – given Kevin’s intelligence, personality, and Franklin’s way of never treating him as being older than a toddler.

This is a very difficult book to rate. At the beginning I loved the writing style, and I loved seeing what Eva had to say about the matter (and I too, wanted to know WHY everything happened as it did). However, as the story unfolds, the verbose language style and heavy plot really weighed on me. I took a break in the middle to read a trashy romance novel (and by trashy I mean, it was awful), before continuing on with this journey that felt like it would never end. Then again, I couldn’t make myself stop reading it, and, it’s not a book that can be skimmed.

All in all, I’d say I really liked it for what it made me think. But I’m desperately in need of a good light fluffy novel now to get lost in for a few hours!

I never would have known about this book if it hadn’t been suggested to me by the recommendation engine on Scribd!