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27 September 2012

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey

You don't even know...

I stopped into the library the other day to drop off and pick up another pile of books for my dear daughter Willow.  I spied this little number sitting on the shelf.  The title caught my eye, the parody sticker reeled me in.

As anyone can tell-- especially if you are unfortunate enough to know me or by some bizarre quirk in your personality, enjoy reading my posts-- I think I'm funny.  No, really, I love to laugh.  It usually isn't hard to get me going either.  Ask Moira.  Ask my BFF.  I laugh so hard tears run down my leg. 

So when I saw the little yellow smile, telling me to take it like a big girl, I knew this was the book for me. 

Andrew Shaffer, writing under Fanny Merkin (the name- not literally under) says in a NY Times interview he wrote this in 10 days.  All I have to say about that is "Brilliant!"

The blurb from the back cover states:
Young, arrogant, tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

Hilarious!  That is the only word I have, I seriously almost had to read this in the bathroom.  You know, in case I, ahem, cried.  I found this to be a parody of the original 50 shades (which I still have not read) and the Twilight books (which I will never read. I mean, come on. Sparkles...really?)

Earl Grey is convinced he's horribly screwed up with all his shames(he has a man crush on Tom Cruise) and Anna has her own quirks and issues(she picks her nose when she's nervous).  She has a drunken roommate in Kathleen and her best friend Jin, is a brony.  No, I will not say what that is.  Find out for yourself. 

All in all, I will probably end up buying this book simply to have it around for when I need a laugh-a-minute pick-me-up.  Over all I have to give this 5 stars, anything less would make me a liar.  So run, don't walk, to your nearest booking establishment--be it library or book peddler--and get yourself a copy.  Oh, you should probably stop at the grocery and get some tissues and t.p. for when you, ahem, cry.

13 September 2012

IT will probably kill me...

    First of all, let me state that I love my husband.  Let it also be known that this fact may not save him from becoming a new "compost heap" in my back yard.  Maybe I'll plant a few shrubs on top, that would look nice.  Ooh, a nice gazebo covered in climbing roses and maybe a swing with....what?  Oh.
    I have tried to come to terms with something that sends me into a state of near panic at the mere mention of the word.  Retirement.  There... I said it and didn't swoon.  I have heard the stories from married ladies with retired husbands, and with, first my father's and now my husband's lay-offs, I have experienced brief glimpses into this world.  So, I have learned some things.

    The main thing, really, is that I would like to opt out but cannot, in good conscience, do that.  He can't work forever.   Right?  My dearest other half is only 40, so this retirement isn't happening anytime soon, but still.  He works as a carpenter, which means- aside from the fact that nothing in the house is fixed- he sometimes has a lay-off because a job isn't quite ready.   Goody!  This also means he becomes, in a word,  insertive.
    Yes, I meant insertiveI'll admit that can be a bonus right after lunch and sometimes twice on Tuesday but that isn't what I meant.  Geez, you people.  Go wash your mind, I'll wait.  Better?  Good.

    What I was trying to say before sally-naughty-pants interrupted was he inserts himself into everything I do, and tries to do the same with me.   I understand these are opportunities to spend time together, honestly, I get that.   But when I hear the phrase,  "Uhm, Hon?"  I usually cringe.  I've tried hiding but that only works for so long.  (Besides, I don't fit under the bed.)  That phrase, you see, is usually followed by either "what are you doing?" or "do you wanna...?"  

    The "what are you doing" is generally obvious in answer.  Some old stand-by answers include---  
    "painting a wall mural" --going to the bathroom
    "knitting" --washing dishes
    "talking to the president" --making dinner
    and the ever popular shriek "what does it look like?!" --everything

    The other phrase "Do you wanna...?", is usually followed by something that, no actually, I don't "wanna do".  Why he thinks I actually "wanna do" most of the things he ever suggests still completely baffles me.  Allow me to set the most recent scene.  I have filled the bucket and have just begun to mop the kitchen floor when..."Uhm, Hon..." he says eagerly with keys in hand, "do you wanna go to the tractor store with me?"  Now, this isn't so much a question as a-- request, let's call it. 

   Now I know what you're thinking, "But Mina," you say "why wouldn't you want to stand around in a store that smells like motor oil and regret, staring at weed wackers and leering lube jockeys?"  Normally, you would have a valid point (if there were any shot in hell said lube jockeys would be passably attractive) but today floor mopping and ground beef have captured my attention.  Like that matters.

    I sigh, loudly.  Knowing that if I do not head straight to the nearest tractor-hawking establishment the rest of my day will be ruined.  If I say "no, thank you" he will proceed to look at me as though I have crushed his very soul.  It is very trying.  So, instead, I sigh again and rub my forehead.  I know, universal, right? This is his cue to act like a giddy 4 year old who has been told I will be serving ice cream for lunch.  I sigh.  A lot.  Stupid tractors.

    Thus go my days, until the call comes for him to head back to work, and I have to admit that I don't really hate packing lunches all that much.

   In closing, let me reiterate that I do love my husband.  He is a great father and provider, friend and worker.  And there are still gonna be those days when I really want that gazebo.....



08 September 2012

Broads On A Budget: The Snack Time Dilemma

My kids are forever searching for a snack.  Left to their own devices, they'd eat every blasted treat purchased from my weekly grocery runs in a day or two!  It's exasperating.  Snacks aren't cheap, and there's nothing worse than opening the cupboard to discover that you are, in fact, Old Mother Hubbard!  (Of course, because the greedy little darlings have raided your stores)

Don't despair.  The Broads are at the rescue!  Here are a few quick fixes for those times when the kids are 'starving' and you're staring at the shelf blankly, wondering what in the heck you can come up with to silence the suffering.

The Saltine ...Oft Overlooked Staple

My grandmother, being a child of the depression, offered me this tasty treat one afternoon when I was quite young.  I've never forgotten how yummy it was, and she shared that during those lean days of her childhood, her mother had come up with the idea. 

You'll need saltine crackers, butter, a dish of sugar, paper plate(s), knife and spoon.

Butter the crackers and let the kiddies hold it over a paper plate and sprinkle sugar over the buttered surface.  Tap off excess - and Voila! - Happy Kids.  The sugar is minimal and the kids still get a sweet treat.  That's It!

Sunflower Seeds - Long Lasting Yet Not Filling

I regularly keep sunflower seeds in the house.  Ranch, Buffalo Ranch, Dill-Pickle, and Buffalo Wing Red-Hot are among the favs in this house.  Give the kids a dish for the shells, and they'll be busy for at least half an hour.  Plus, my boys can chomp away without ruining their appetites for dinner.  *Warning:  This Snack May Cause The Need For Vacumming.*  I would never kid around about extra vacuuming.  Okay, enough said.

Microwave Popcorn:  Cheap And Easy To Hide (I say that last word with a completely straight face.  Anyone with kids old enough to raid cupboards is nodding and smiling.)

'Pop' (Ahhh, I crack myself up sometimes) into your local Wal-Mart and you'll find the 24 pack Gourmet brand microwave popcorn for about $5.00.  That's a lot of snacking-for-your-buck.  Adding to the draw of this option, most kids are capable of peeling the wrapper off, plopping the bag into the contraption we call a microwave, and pressing the 'popcorn' button.  No fuss, no muss.  And... you're getting the kids to eat their fibre. 

Happy Snacking!


01 September 2012

Cover Reveal For A Practical Arrangement, Nadja Notariani

Brazen Reveal!

Nadja Notariani made a splash last year with her historical novella, Her Dark Baron.  Well move over, because her newest release, due out in early September, is sure to please with this beautiful cover!  Join in our Cover Appreciation.
A Practical Arrangement, Nadja Notariani

۩ A Practical Arrangement, Nadja Notariani ۩

Miss Evangeline Grey, intelligent and sensible, has no desire to marry, her reluctance born from the dire warnings of her overly emotional mother. Her father has other ideas, however, and decrees that unless she weds by the spring, he will choose a husband for her.

Prim and proper Evangeline accepts her father's issue with little more than mild alarm. Knowing herself plain of face and sharp of tongue, she believes herself capable of warding off any perspective suitor. Her plan goes awry when the scandalous seducer, Mr. Thomas Masterson, visits her family's home, for Thomas has learned that he must procure a wife to receive his full inheritance.

When he discovers Evangeline's predicament matches his own, Thomas determines to orchestrate a practical arrangement. A war of wit and word results, and Thomas finds himself ever more beguiled by the soft heart he discovers under Miss Grey's stern, inhibited exterior. Patiently, he endeavors to gain her respect and awaken her passions. As tenuous trust blooms between the rake and the reluctant, unfortunate events – and Thomas' past reputation – threaten to destroy the peace and happiness he has found within the bonds of his Practical Arrangement.


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