The Tree

I’m trying to stay up-to-date with December Daily this year. It’s been pretty exciting and I think it’s because I’ve got new gadgets: the new computer, new Selphy printer (my previous one died in August), and new Canon 12×12 printer; and new software. I went for it. Got Photoshop CC. It comes with Lightroom which I am clueless to. Not sure how I’ll find the time to learn it. Photoshop is, for the most part, similar to CS6. There are a few things that are different but I just need to explore. I’m mostly thrown off by the size of the computer screen. I don’t normally fill the whole screen with one app. I section it out, otherwise I’d have to sit pretty far back. With Photoshop, I do fill the screen (which I like), but then it makes the photo I’m editing look tiny. Anyway, I’m not complaining. Just getting used to technology.

We went and got a Christmas tree at Costco this morning. Before that, daughter came home from school for lunch. We got a quick glance of her before we headed out and she headed back to school.

Hope this holiday month is treating you well.

Junk Journal Flip Through

Tried my hands at making a junk journal.

The Burning White Book Signing

It was a few years back when I first stumbled upon The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. I can’t remember how I found this trilogy but I loved it so much that I couldn’t find it in me to read his new release, The Lightbringer. I waited about a year before I gave in and I wish I hadn’t waited because it was so much more amazing than Night Angel. Don’t get me wrong. Night Angel was pretty good but it’s just your average fantasy. Lightbringer, however, is in a slightly different sub-genre…an epic fantasy.

The Burning White is the final book in The Lightbringer 5-book series. The series follows multiple characters and has a strong magic system that is thoroughly designed. The first book starts out fairly slow because of all the world-building and character development but I find it necessary. My favorite book of the four that I’ve read is the third book, The Broken Eye. It’s because there’s one main character that really shines in this one.

This was my first book signing ever and I really enjoyed it. Weeks’ talked about his journey through the series and did a Q&A session. Lots of good questions were asked and answered. I was so in awe that when I got up to have him sign my book, I was speechless. I wanted to thank him for writing such a beautiful story. Alas, I didn’t squeak out much of anything, except for “Will you take a photo of us” to his wife, and “Thank you,” and “Bye” to both of them before we left. My husband did more talking than I did. And, most embarrassing was when Weeks’ reached out to shake my daughter’s hand and she said, no. He and his wife understood and we all laughed.

We got a thingy of tissue paper during the signing. I’m so not ready for it, but I am at the same time.

Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up the book, The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood at Barnes & Noble. It was B&N’s book club pick and I’ve never gone to a book club before so I figured I’d give this one a go. The book club experience was really enjoyable. I was super nervous but the others made it very welcoming. Our facilitator was also pretty cool. Her questions got us all thinking. I wasn’t able to finish the book before attending but we still had good and debatable conversations about it. A few days later I finished the book and found myself completely immersed and loving it.

The Testaments is the second book to The Handmaid’s Tale. I read The Handmaid’s Tale five years ago and liked it but it wasn’t as powerful as this one. And since it’s been awhile, I really can’t remember the details or the characters. What I do remember is that it was from one character’s point-of-view and the world she lived in was completely controlled.

The Testaments is written in first-person point-of-view through three female characters and tells their story. At first, I wasn’t so sure I liked the idea but as the story moved along, I began to really enjoy it. The Testaments is right up there with 1984 and Brave New World, and even A Clockwork Orange. Atwood mentioned something along the lines of, “2+2 sometimes equals 4.” In 1984, 2+2 always equals 5.

The Testaments is a powerful story about totalitarian in a dystopian society in what was once New England. It’s about control going awry and how three women, but mainly one strong woman with a plan to save the two from losing their lives and bringing down the Republic of Gilead.

When I purchased the book, I saw this notebook with the cover from The Handmaid’s Tale and just had to have it. I don’t have the book though (borrowed it from the library). Not sure what I’ll be using the notebook for.

Shaman – A Short Horror Story

If you’re into scary books for this month, check out “Shaman.” It’s really scary. I don’t recommend reading it at night or before bed. Right now it’s free on Kindle until October 20th. mybook.to/shaman

Road Trip: Grand Canyon National Park, Etc.

The family took a one week road trip last week to Grand Canyon National Park. We drove south to New Mexico then headed west to Williams, AZ where we stayed for a couple of nights. We drove an hour out to the Grand Canyons then took the buses along the canyons for the breathtaking scenes.

On the morning of our third day, we headed to Page, Utah where we had hoped to tour Antelope Canyon but they were all booked so we decided to drive across Glen Canyon Dam and check out Lake Powell. We met a friendly French family who were on vacation. We stayed one night in Page then headed out the next morning. Our goal was to go straight to Grand Junction, CO but decided to take a detour to the four corners (where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet). The idea came from our youngest. She was napping when we took the detour. We wanted to surprise her but she heard us talking and woke up to help us with directions because husband’s Google Maps was acting up.

At the Four Corners, one of the Navajo’s selling memorabilia explained that the sellers in the New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah corners were all Navajoes while the sellers in the Colorado corner were Utes. I wanted more history from him but I felt guilty because I didn’t buy anything from him. I did thank him for the bit of information.

Grand Junction was our resting place before the drive home. Husband and I wanted to surprise our oldest by going to an alpaca farm. She had no idea and loved it. We also wanted to pick peaches but it was still too early in the year for the public picking. We ended up buying their stock peaches. We did pick cherries though. Husband picked them because all the cherries were at the very top and he needed a ladder to get up there.

Dumplings with Chili Sauce

I’ve been wanting to try dumplings with a really hot chili sauce for some time now all because of the food pics on Instagram. Earlier this week, I bought frozen veggie and chicken dumplings from the grocery store to try it out with the chili sauce I made following a recipe I Googled. It was pretty easy to make: combine dried crushed hot peppers and non-aromatic oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Let cool completely and jar. I had the dumplings with the chili oil and a bit of soy sauce (pictured). It was really tasty. Today, I made more and added dried shallots. It was even better. I’d say, this is one of the simplest and quickest tasty food ever.