Sunday, December 14, 2014

...but I am Uncommonly Blue

For those of you who were wondering, yes I still post to this blog!  I am taking a break from my other blog (Hit the Road Fat!) for a minute to write about an awesome book.  Remember books?  Those square shaped things with the pages and the words?  Take a few minutes to hear me out, and I promise that soon I will be back to posting hilarious hula hoop videos and talking about my war on cauliflower and my love of donuts. 

Why am I writing about a book, you might ask?  Well for one thing, I love to read! Secondly, this blog has a literary title, so why not write about at least one book?  (You didn't know that, did you?  DID YOU?!?! Yes, "the Pig of Happiness" is a book, and it inspired my blog. )  And finally, I'm writing about a book because I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  So with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to it!

The Book:  An Uncommon Blue, by R.C. Hancock

The Summary(provided by
In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. When sixteen-year-old Bruno accidentally kills a royal soldier, he goes from favored to fugitive. Now Bruno's only chance at survival is to become someone else. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue. Now he’s visiting parts of town he never knew existed, and making friends with people he would've crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago. At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get his life back. All Bruno has to do is abandon those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader and let an innocent Green boy die in his place.

My Review:
This is a fast paced book that hooks the reader pretty much right from the start.  We are introduced to Bruno, a privileged high school student who has his world turned completely upside down in a matter of minutes.  He is forced to abandon his high class world after being tricked into irrevocably mixing his beautiful blue "fire" with a lower class Green.  He then accidentally kills a royal soldier and hides out in the Red slums while trying to figure out how to clear his name and recover his place in the Blue upper class.

First of all, I really like how the writer introduces the reader to the world of Telesphore and it's inhabitants with their interesting colored fire, which is not only their life force, but also determines each person's place in the caste system.  Maybe I am just unimaginative, but I often have trouble reading fantasy, because it takes me half the book to figure out half of what the author is even talking about.  Not so with An Uncommon Blue!  Mr. Hancock has managed to create a world that seems real, one that even unimaginative people like me can visualize.   The best part?  The author is able to clue you in to details of the characters, the caste system, and the mysterious "fire", all while maintaining a glorious fast pace.  Anyone who has ever plodded (and I mean PLODDED) through the Wheel of Time series has got to appreciate a book/series that cuts to the chase.  I mean, no disrespect to Robert Jordan, but I really don't need to know what every character is drinking in every scene...just get to the dang point!

So I appreciate the fast pace.  However, I do think Mr. Hancock could spend a tiny bit more time fleshing out his characters.  Especially in the beginning, I would have liked to see a bit more of Bruno and his privileged Blue life.  I think delving a little more into his character, showing how he fit into the stuck up Blue system, would have provided a little bit more contrast to his eventual change of heart. And there are more characters that I would like to know more about, but I am going to get the author the benefit of the doubt and assume we will find out more in the next book.

Overall, a great book.  One that I would recommend to adult and young adult readers alike.  Do yourself a favor and experience a more uncommonly "colorful" world!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

But someone keeps molesting my merchandise...

"Show me a person that works in retail and I'll show you a person that has a loathing for all humanity".  I saw this on a bumper sticker once and it made me laugh.  I personally love retail and I love customer service and the adventure that it provides each day.  However, anyone who has ever worked retail can identify with that statement at least every now and then.  I know I can.  People are crazy.  People are quirky, fun, nice, weird, name it!

One thing that I've noticed in my retail adventures is that there are certain types of people that make customer service personnel want to lower their opinion of humanity a notch or two each day.  Here are a few of the types of offenders that I have noticed are common in retail:

Needy Nellie
It's ok to ask questions.  Sales associates are there to assist and genuinely want to help people find what they need.  But the Needy Nellie takes question asking to a whole new level.  This person needs to know everything about every item in the store.  Sales associates need to be prepared to offer up price, function, and name of the manufacturer's-sister's-cousin's-dog's-mother of every item or else the Needy Nellie will be severely put out.  Needy Nellie also has no filter and will ask questions before thinking it through. 
Nellie: "what is the difference between these two products?"
Associate: "um...well one is shampoo and one is a belt sander..."
Nellie: "ok but why would you buy one and not the other?"
Associate: "one is for washing your hair and one is for sanding things"
Nellie: "ok but which one would I use to clean my bathroom?"
On top of everything,  the Needy Nellie does not have the ability to listen.  All sales associates should be ready to answer the same question multiple times. (so like I was saying about that belt sander...)

Tester Molester
The Tester Molester has a compulsive need to try everything in the store.  No tester? Don't worry, the Tester Molester will make their own!  Every spray will be sprayed and every product touched, felt and smelled.  Boxes will be opened and contents thoroughly examined and then shoved half-assedly back in, if at all.  Once this person has examined everything and made their selection, they will place their "tester" back on the shelf and buy a fresh one.

Super 'Splainer
The Super 'Splainer (or super explainer) has to tell you their whole life story before they get to the point.
Super 'Splainer: "So the other day I was in Ogden, I mean I live down here, but I was up there visiting my grandma because she lives, well not in Ogden, but close to it, and she tells me last minute that she needs a blow dryer, ok she might have mentioned it before but I couldn't get it then because my kids were sick, so while I was up there, not in Ogden, but close to it..."
I will spare you the rest, but this is the Super 'Splainer's way of asking if they can return an item that was bought at another location.  Simply asking this question is beyond the Super 'Splainer's ability.  Also, not only can a Super 'Splainer not ask a direct question, they can not answer a yes or no question with either a yes or a no.
Sales associate: "Did you want your receipt with you?"
Super 'Splainer: "The other day I went to Target and I was buying a belt sander and when I got the receipt..."
You get the idea.

Shouter Outer
The Shouter Outer has no social etiquette whatsoever.  This person will randomly shout questions into the universe and expect them to be answered.  The Shouter Outer is oblivious to other customers and will holler questions at associates regardless of who they are helping or what they are doing.  The bathroom is no longer private if a Shouter Outer is in the store.  Sales personnel better talk fast because a Shouter Outer does not generally listen to the answer to their question before shouting another one.

Jaw Jacker
The Jaw Jacker has a phone permanently stuck to their ear and will often have inappropriate conversations while in a store.  My personal favorite overheard convo was about some poor girl who was out of work because she had "stripper's knee" from, yes, stripping too much.  Apparently this is a real condition.  At least that's what I (unwillingly) heard.  Jaw Jackers will stay on the phone the entire time they are shopping and will not hang up when it's time to complete their purchase.  Often the Jaw Jacker will roll their eyes or act put out when the sales associate does something so "rude" as to give them their total, ask for payment, or wish them a nice day on their way out.  Combine a Jaw Jacker with a Shouter Outer and you've got trouble!

So there you have it.  Do you recognize any of these people?  Have you possibly identified any of these behaviors in yourself?   I, personally have a tendency to be a bit of a Super 'Splainer.  However,  since I have identified the problem, I can usually stop myself from telling people things they really don't care about and just get on with the transaction.  So the next time you are shopping and you notice that your friendly store associate is gritting their teeth through their smile...stop...take a minute to think.  Are you a Shouter Outer? A Needy Nellie? A Tester Molester?  I think everyone has done one of these at least once.  I want to know.  Which one are YOU??

Sunday, October 28, 2012

But we lost our Peanut...

       Just a warning, this is not going to be my normal smart assy, funny blog.  Rest assured that I will be back to all that soon, but not today.  So if that's the style of blog you would like to experience right now, I wouldn't recommend this particular post.
     I just wanted to write a quick note for those of you who are not aware of what has been happening lately.  JR and I lost our Peanut.  Peanut was the name we gave our baby after seeing it on the ultrasound for the first time.  At only 9 weeks, it looked more like a peanut than a baby, so the nickname seemed appropriate. 
    Nothing dramatic happened to cause the loss of our Peanut.  I went in for my regular appointment at 13 weeks and there was no heartbeat.  No warning, no signs that anything was wrong.  Just no heartbeat.  I was 13 weeks, almost out of the first trimester, but the baby only measured at 11 weeks.  I had a D and C two days later.
    I know I'm not the only woman to have a miscarriage.  It happens all the time.  But it doesn't make the experience any less heart-breaking when it happens.  It feels so personal.  I think I am struggling extra much with this because of all the other crappy things I've had to deal with in the last few years.  I have had to put up with quite a few health problems, with the most recent being cancer(melanoma), that left me with an 8 inch scar down my face and neck and partial paralysis of my mouth.  I was ready for something good to happen, I needed something good to happen and we thought this was it.  It was exciting to finally get to see a doctor for something fun. 
    Unfortunately, this has turned into just another crappy, hurtful thing to add to the list.  I know that it will happen for JR and I eventually(and hopefully soon!), but right now it's hard.  We miss our Peanut.  There are good days and bad days.  I just want to say thank you to everyone for the love, support, prayers, hugs, tears, flowers and food that have been sent our way.  And thanks to my mom for hauling ass to Glaus Bakery to get me a chocolate rum torte before they closed.  Chocolate makes everything better, especially if it has alcohol in it. 
   I'm sorry for the depressing post.  It is way more personal than I ever like to be, but it's something I had to get out there.  I don't know why.  Maybe to help myself heal, maybe to give our Peanut some validation...I don't know.  Thanks for reading.  I promise I'll be a smart ass again soon...

Monday, May 28, 2012

But I still have another mile left to run...

I hate running, I really do.  Normally I wouldn’t voluntarily subject myself to something so putrid, but in a moment of temporary insanity I went and signed myself up for the Dirty Dash at Soldier Hollow on June 2.   Now understand, I had just had two surgeries for cancer(melanoma), and after receiving a positive prognosis for the future I suddenly, and quite randomly,  felt the need to do something physical with my now “healthy” body.  Not only that, but in my insanity I actually convinced other people, namely the husband and his family, that it would be a good idea for them to run.  Why they agreed, I’ll never know.  Maybe they are crazy too???
It really seemed attainable at first.  I had about 3 ½ months to train and that was plenty of time, right?  Never mind that not only do I have a temperamental meniscus in my right knee and I’m at least 20 pounds overweight, but I also haven’t run anywhere in about 10 years.    But I was committed!  (no, not to the mental institution)  So after about a month of putting it off, I convinced the husband that we needed a treadmill.  We found a used treadmill on KSL and I was off!  That is until I tweaked my temperamental knee on my first time on the treadmill.  WALKING.  This was not going well.
Luckily, I was able to nurse my knee through that first week and eventually started making progress.  Painful, sweaty, miserable, stinking progress.  I hated every tortuous minute that I was running and couldn’t wait to stop.  However, I was able to glean at least a small bit of satisfaction from increasing my time and distance on the treadmill.  I got up to 36 minutes on the treadmill, which for a chubby girl like me is pretty dang impressive I thought.  Now I was ready for the road!  JR and I hit the trail the next day.  Everyone warned me that it would be harder to run outside than inside but I had fooled myself into thinking it wasn’t so.   I found myself making excuses like,  ‘ since I’m clumsy, I expend a lot of energy just not falling off the treadmill, so once I’m on the road it won’t be hard because I won’t have to worry about keeping my balance all the time.’  Yes, I realize this is obviously INSANE, but that really is the kind of thing I like to tell myself to avoid reality.
As you can imagine my first outside run was Hell.  It was extremely discouraging and took a few days to recover from, although it was mostly by ego that was injured.  If I hadn’t actually paid money to go run in a race and had other crazy people following me in my run to insanity I would have quit right then.  But I pressed on.  Once I convinced myself to run outside again I was able to make progress once more, although it was even slower and incredibly more painful than before. 
So I have been doing a lot of running.  And a lot of bitching.  Sometimes I take my old fat dog on my run and that reminds me how slow I am.  When we go out together he doesn’t actually run, he just walks fast, and not even that fast(although he IS using four legs which I kind of think is cheating).  Near the end of the run, I always break into a sprint to push myself for the last little bit.  Fat dog always does a double take when I start sprinting maybe because he can’t believe he actually gets to run during my “run”.
It was during that part of my run when I had an epiphany.  It was exactly two weeks until the Dirty Dash, and I was just opening up into the sprint when my temperamental meniscus reared its ugly head.  Something in my knee twisted and semi-locked up the joint.  It was at that moment when I felt something surprising.  Disappointment.  I was disappointed because how was I going to run with a twisted knee?  How was I going to run the Dirty Dash in two weeks??  And why the Hell am I upset about it?!?!?  Hadn’t I been looking for a valid excuse to not run anymore?  Here was my excuse and I found myself completely and utterly…disappointed.  Wow.  Could this mean I actually like running??  Can I actually refer to myself as a runner?  Or has my temporary insanity developed into full blown madness?
Regardless of my mental state, I am still running.  I will still be running the Dirty Dash at the end of this week, albeit slowly with plenty of swearing and general bitching.  Wish me and meniscus luck!  And if you are thinking about running, Just Don’t Do IT!

Monday, December 12, 2011

But the reindeer’s won’t let me join in any reindeer games...

Ok, I don’t mean to be a lame-o and keep on the bad song subject, but with it being the season for Christmas music, I think it exposes us to a special kind of audible nastiness that needs to be addressed. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music, but I do take issue with the way some of these songs are getting sung. I’ve noticed that a lot of the irritants are coming from more modern versions of classic standards. It almost seems like the artists I’m hearing have decided to lay down the tracks without actually checking what the words are, they just sing what it sounds like to them, or what they think it might be. I mean, there is nothing like honoring the Christmas season with a hastily recorded, half-assed version of Jingle Bells, right?

For instance, I keep hearing a version of “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” that has this interesting interpretation, “When we finally kiss good night, how I hate going out in the snow, but if you really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm…” What?!?!? I’m sorry, but “Snow” and “Warm” don’t rhyme any way you say it. I would think that somebody would notice and take a second to wonder if there might be a word to indicate bad weather that actually fits in the line. A word like, I don’t know…storm? I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that the plural of “reindeer” is not “reindeer’s”, but in fact, “reindeer”. Maybe all of Santa’s reindeer’s should have spent less time mocking Rudolph and more time on their grammar. My favorite is a version of “Run Rudolph Run” by some bozo that mixes up a line that is supposed to say “baby doll”, but he says “Barbie doll”, which doesn’t seem like a huge deal until you apply it to the whole line: “a little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink and wet”. Now those activities are all fine and good for a baby doll, but until they come out with a Rehab Barbie I don’t think that other idea is going to fly. And whoever the dumb bum was that wrote that obnoxious “Snow” song they sing repeatedly in White Christmas obviously never lived in a place where it actually snows. Nobody who has had to shovel 3 feet of snow off of their car would ever say, let alone SING:“I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow”.

In closing, I would just like to say, if I were Mary, and I had just had a baby, and some little snot-nosed kid came around playing a drum, I’d kick him in his Rum Pum Pum Pum!

Friday, November 11, 2011

...but the horse with no name won't shoot the sherriff

I love music. In the car, at work, at the gym (at least I think I would like music at the gym, assuming I ever went). It is virtually impossible for me to cook without a little opera or Tijuana Brass to get me in the culinary groove. Cleaning? Bring on the Lady Gaga or They Might Be Giants. I love dance music, old music, fun music, guilty pleasures! Almost every activity is better when paired with a song or two.

But what if your activity is accompanied by a nasty, obnoxious, all-around HORRIBLE song? For instance, America’s “A Horse With No Name” , which ranks #1 on my personal DNL (Do Not Listen) list, followed closely by, “I Shot the Sherriff” and every song EVER performed, previously and in the future, by Gordon Lightfoot. What do you do? I, personally, sing Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. Not because I am particularly fond of this song, but because studies have shown that it is the antidote to every poisonous song known to man. It’s true, you can Google it. Ok, don’t Google it, but just trust me.

Now, as with every strong medicine, “Copacabana” can have adverse reactions, and must be sung in small doses. Side effects may include: vomiting, nosebleed, the urge to sing about everything you are doing to the tune of “Copacabana”, booty shaking; and in extreme cases, brain damage. If you have “Copacabana” stuck in your head for more than 4 hours, contact your physician immediately, as this can be a sign of a serious condition that can become permanent if left untreated. Dirty looks from the driver in the next car is a definite sign of overdose. Song badness is a very serious condition and should not be left untreated. If you find yourself assailed by any song on your personal DNL, please apply the “Copacabana” technique immediately.

I will be sure to let you know when the over the counter tablet version of Copacabanafren is available so that actually singing the song won’t be necessary. Until then, “Her name was Lola, she was a show girl”…

P.S. I know it’s early in my blogdom to ask for reader opinions, as my readership is quite small(but mighty!!!) , but I want to know your personal DNL’s. Keep your Copacabanafren handy as this could get painful!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

...but I can't find the right spot on my foot.

I recently went and had a foot zoning done by the wonderful Janice. It was fabulous! The idea behind foot zoning is to be able to heal and maintain your body by stimulating certain parts of your feet. For instance, Janice was able to show me how to rub my toes to help stimulate circulation around my eyes to make my baggage look not quite so horrid and huge. She realigned my ribcage and eased the tension in my hips. I’ve heard of people getting abscesses drained and kidney stones obliterated from a single foot zoning session. Foot zoning is said to have spiritual healing properties as well. It is supposed to help get rid of emotional toxins and help you be more “centered” and “balanced”.
So after an hour of Janice stimulating, circulating and invigorating I felt great! I was rested and my chakra sufficiently centered. On my drive home I felt as if there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. And then I had a thought…if we can heal our bodies and minds by correctly manipulating our feet, can we in turn cause DAMAGE to our minds and bodies by INCORRECTLY manipulating our feet??? As someone who spends a lot of time on her feet each day this is a great concern to me. What punishment am I inflicting on my body each hour that I’m on my feet at work? If I have to stand on my tippy toes to put something away am I, in fact, making my eye bags bigger? Is every step I take pounding my kidneys into oblivion and shutting down my lymphatic system? And that’s just the physical damage! What emotional and spiritual harms am I creating by merely walking around each day? I know running can make me crabby, but is bad arch support making me crazy?!?!
After all these thoughts came flying my way, I naturally came to the most logical conclusion. I’m never walking again! Ditto on standing, running and skipping. River dance is right out. It may seem extreme but it’s the only logical way to maintain my physical health and emotional wellness. I just can’t afford to have my last ounce of sanity sucked out through my poor innocent tootsies.
So if you need me I will be home, pampering my feet and apologizing to them for the years of abuse and neglect I have inflicted upon them. And maybe, just maybe, they will let my heart keeping beating for one more day.