Sunday, August 30, 2009

cinematic survey

I recently came to the realization that I have too many movies. If I watched one of my movies every night, it would take me more than five months to get through them all! So I decided to try an experiment: I'm going to watch each of my movies in alphabetical order, jot down my reactions, and then decide whether to keep or sell the movie. I began a couple weeks ago and have made it through the numbers and partway through the A's. I've started a blog to track my progress: Feel free to check it out, but be sure to keep checking this blog, too!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

habla ingles?

I realized last night that I haven't talked about tutoring in a while. The girl I had been tutoring had to quit because of her schedule, so then I was matched with Walter. We've met nine times now, and I can see a definite improvement in his English. It's fun to work with him because he wants to become fluent in English, not just learn enough to get by. He brings questions, does his homework, and works really hard to understand the concepts I'm teaching. His goals are to get his GED and become an American citizen, and I think he's got the drive to do it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

going on a voyage?

This has me scared. My favorite Narnia book is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I loved the BBC adaptation. As for the Hollywood movies, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was bearable, but Prince Caspian showed little resemblance to the story, and I'm nervous about what they'll do to Voyage. Go here to read my thoughts on Prince Caspian after I saw it the first--and only--time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

today i . . .

  • got up earlier than I have in months. Thanks, school.
  • drank delicious French Vanilla coffee sent to us by Val's roommates.
  • drank delicious Vietnamese coffee brought in by the principal.
  • met with our new yearbook rep. He introduced me to an online design program that could make my life a whole lot simpler.
  • googled a phrase I thought was from a Bible verse. Nope! It was from a song we sang at CCC!
  • went to a Student Council meeting. Yup, the girl who never had any interest whatsoever in student government is now the StuCo sponsor!
  • taught my first with-a-textbook reading lesson of the year. Drove one poor student over the edge--he couldn't understand the story at all!
  • watched a really funny Reba episode. Seriously, if you need a laugh, find Reba!
  • ate a Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich. Not as awesome as I'd hoped.
  • went back to school for the annual back-to-school night where parents walk through their students' schedules.
  • absolutely roasted in the gym. Decided to be thankful I only had to spend 20 minutes there instead of an entire volleyball practice.
  • had a very awkward session with the parents of my 6th hour yearbook students. I went through my little spiel, answered a couple questions, then just stood there for four minutes while everyone looked through copies of last year's yearbook.
  • came home to an unbearably humid apartment. Immediately turned on the air conditioning.
  • finally, after putting up with the chorus of "Who Can Compare" running through my head all day, decided to buy the cd. Found it online--I thought I'd have to order it from the church--and downloaded it immediately.
  • realized how much I miss CCC and decided that Val and I need to plan a trip to Winona Lake.
  • looked at the clock, did the math for how much sleep I could get if I went to bed immediately, and proceeded to go on facebook.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

i'm a bookworm

I love reading, but I don't do it nearly enough. It's just too easy to sit down and flip on the television. I usually plan to do more reading than I actually end up doing. Case in point, our recent road trip. I packed quite ambitiously--I had at least 10 books crammed into my bag. In two weeks, I read a grand total of . . . ONE. (Take Two by Karen Kingsbury) I don't regret not reading more--either the view was too beautiful to ignore, or I was the one driving.

When I got home, I hit the ground running. (Insert Keith Urban's voice here: "I'd hit the ground, I'd hit the ground running . . .") When I wasn't working, I was doing things like, oh, having a What I Like About You marathon with Val, messing around on my new computer, and helping Steph with her college class.

That all changed last Tuesday night. I had just received my latest book review blogger book, and I started reading it at midnight. At 1:45, I had to force myself to put it down! I finished it right after work. A few days later, I started in on the next book, and it's been like that for a week--one book after another!

I've just finished my fourth book since that one, and I'm starting on my fifth. I can't remember the last time I read this voraciously, and I'm loving it!

Reading list:
  • A Man of His Word (you know by now that I loved it!)
  • Nothing but Trouble (another enjoyable Susan May Warren book. It surprised me by not wrapping everything up neatly, but then I realized it's the first in a series.)
  • Shadows of Lancaster County (very interesting, if not utterly captivating)
  • Letters from the Enemy (one of Susan May Warren's earlier efforts. The writing isn't as engaging as her more recent books, but her incredibly clear presentation of the gospel--without being overly "preachy"--makes it worth the read)
  • The Convenient Groom (oh, my. I bought this book for one reason--it has a story line I've always been partial to. They marry and then fall in love. Sort of. Some twists I wasn't expecting, but I loved every minute I spent reading it.)
  • The Time Traveler's Wife (I decided I needed to read the book before seeing the movie. Since it deals with time, I fully expect to enjoy it.)

dear netflix,

I've been a customer for two years now. You sucked me in with that free two-week trial, and I've never looked back. I love the "watch now" feature (though back before you made that deal with Starz, the choices were pretty sparse), and I've discovered some great TV shows that I wouldn't otherwise have seen (Jericho, The Monarch of the Glen).

I've always been happy with your service. Yeah, it bugs me that it takes two days for you to get a movie back from me, even though it only takes one day for me to get it from you, but that's probably more the USPS's fault than yours. Recently, however, something big did happen . . . your customer service blew me away! See, back in May, I moved Valkyrie to the top of my queue, and for a month, it wasn't available. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from you saying that since the movie wasn't available from my nearest shipping facility, you were sending it from another facility . . . and in the meantime, you'd send me the next movie in my queue. So for a few days, I had two movies even though I'm on the one-at-a-time plan. (Ironically, both were WWII movies--the other was Swing Kids.)

Last week, it happened again. I'd been wanting to see Taken for months, and after the Valkyrie incident, I decided to move Taken to the top of the queue to see what would happen. Sure enough, after being at the top and unavailable for a month, you sent it to me, along with another movie (which is perhaps too embarrassing to name here). But here's the thing--I was on vacation for two weeks, and I took my current movie with me, so it's not like you were shipping me movies for most of the time that Taken was at the top!

You've just announced that deal with ABC/Disney which adds to the value of your service, I love the convenience of both the instant viewing and the untimed rentals, and then with this type of customer service, well, let's just say I won't be canceling my membership anytime soon!


***I wrote this a few weeks ago but decided it made me sound too nerdy, so I didn't post it. But Jen recently asked why I love Netflix, so here it is!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

a man of his word by kathleen fuller

Moriah Miller is a young Amish woman who is very much in love with her husband and their life. Unbeknownst to her, her husband Levi isn't as enthralled with the Plain way of life. He leaves her for a life among the Yankees, unaware that she is carrying their child until after he leaves. Levi's brother Gabe has secretly loved Moriah for years, and he pledges to care for her and the baby no matter what.

I don't really want to say more than that for fear of giving away major plot points. Yes, this is a romance novel, so it's obvious who will end up together simply from the book's description. I can't recall reading a romance where I was surprised at who ultimately ended up together. So what makes this book interesting is how the two characters end up together. There is also a subplot involving Moriah's brother Tobias that I actually found more entertaining than the main story, which is saying a lot, as I loved the main story!

The one complaint I have is that things wrapped up rather quickly. I enjoyed the slower pace of events throughout most of the story, so when things sped up, I felt a little cheated. However, that's a small complaint and shouldn't deter anyone from reading this book. Of all the books I've reviewed for Thomas Nelson, this is the first that I absolutely couldn't put down. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian romances, and I can't wait for the next book in the series!

***Update*** If you want to read this book, please don't read the description Amazon has listed on the product page. Not only does it give away a major plot point, but it also is inaccurate!

these are a few of my favorite things

No, I'm not going to write about raindrops or whiskers or kettles or mittens. Instead, I'll let you in on some of the products and services I've been enjoying lately. I usually only plug books or movies, but I really do have other interests!
  • Special K Chocolatey Pretzel Bars. These cereal bars are so tasty and surprisingly filling that you wouldn't believe they're only 90 calories each! I love the sweet & salty combination. I found them in a special display at Walmart; according to the Kellogg's website, they're a new product, so you might not be able to easily find them. But if you can find them, you should try them out!
  • Piperlime shoes. I was a little hesitant to buy shoes online, but Piperlime's sales and return policy made me give it a shot. I love, love, love both pairs of shoes I've bought from the website! Regular prices are a bit steep for me, but sale shoes get as low as $12, and the shoes seem to be good quality.
  • Pedicures. Now that I've had a pedicure, I can't believe I went 27 years and 355 days without one! The hour spent getting my pedicure was one of the most relaxing I've had in a long time! I went to Xenon, and I can't wait to go back again! (Well, my wallet can wait to go back again . . .) Special thanks to Melissa for giving me a gift card!
  • Netflix. I could wax poetic on Netflix for a long time. A member since the summer of 2007, I enjoy Netflix more now than I ever have before. I even wrote a whole post listing all the things I love about Netflix, but then I never posted it because I sounded so dorky!
  • My new computer. I finally bought a laptop! It's an HP Pavilion, and I love it. I also now have wireless, which means my sisters and I can all be online at the same time. When I bought the laptop, one of my goals was to write more, which I've definitely been doing. Not fiction, but I'm still writing, and at this point, that's what matters.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

what a day!

I've always loved birthdays. When I was a kid, my birthday meant I didn't have to wash dishes, fold clothes, or do any other chores that my siblings had to do. I always hoped that the beans from our garden would need to be snapped--or better yet, picked--on my birthday, so that Andrew and Val would have to suffer through that while I stayed home and watched movies. Mean, yes, but I'm just being honest here! (And if you're wondering why I didn't mention Steph, it's because she never really had to do anything anyway . . .)

Today is my 28th birthday. Praise the Lord, this one was not difficult. Either 24 or 26 (I can't remember anymore!) was torture--I'm not sure why that one was so much harder than the others.

A look back at my day:
  • 12:05 a.m. Say goodnight to Val, Jamie, Kimberly, and Steph. Yes, there was a slumber party at my house last night--Jamie was Val's college roommate, and she's on her way back to school. Kimberly, Jamie's friend from home, is driving back to school with her. Steph came over because, well, Jamie is her hero!
  • 1:38 a.m. Finally put down my book and go to sleep. I was reading my latest book review blogger book for Thomas Nelson. This is the first book from them that I've been interested in to the point of not being able to put it down. I really wanted to finish it, but I had 100 pages left and knew I'd regret staying up so late.
  • 6:55 a.m. Wake up to a Jeremy Camp song on the radio. Funny, because I often refer to My Bridge Radio as Jeremy Camp Radio due to the frequency with which they play his music.
  • 8:00 a.m. Rush out of my apartment. I'm late for work on my birthday.
  • 8:10 a.m. Buy Daylight Donuts to take in to work. I'm sure I'll be forgiven for being late if I come bearing donuts. Wish I could stop for coffee, but the line at the Coffee Bean is too long.
  • 8:12 a.m. Eat a donut while waiting on a train and realize I could have stopped for coffee.
  • 8:17 a.m. Walk into an empty office. Where is everyone this morning?
  • 8:30 a.m. Receive a happy birthday text from Walter, my student from my church's ESL program.
  • 8:35-9:10 a.m. My co-workers slowly trickle in. That's the nice thing about summer . . . it's really no big deal if we're not all in the office from 8-4.
  • 9:03 a.m. Crack open a Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi. I'm gonna need the caffeine today!
  • 9:25 a.m. My boss (jokingly) asks if I'd like to use Rosetta Stone to learn Vietnamese, as we have a family coming in next week to drop off their child, and they don't speak any English. I just laugh at him.
  • 9:30 a.m. Receive this email message from

    Dear FutureMe,

    Try to be more organized in yearbook this year. Use en dash and em dash. Set early deadlines because things won't get done when you hope. Require senior pictures in October and set the sr pages for 2nd deadline. I'm sure there are more things to think about, but I can't remember them right now.

    Oh, and HAPPY 28TH BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

    (Can you tell I wrote this when I was frantically trying to finish up the yearbook?)
  • 9:44 a.m. My mom calls to wish me a happy birthday and ask what kind of coffee I'd like. Yay, coffee!
  • 11:15 a.m. Steph asks Dad if we can go out for lunch for my birthday since we went out for Andrew's birthday earlier this week.
  • 11:45 a.m. Meet Mom and Dad for lunch at DQ.
  • 12:30 p.m. Birthday picture time!
  • 1:08 p.m. As I struggle to keep my eyes open, I think once again that I'm too old to be staying up so late. Too bad I don't have those thoughts when I'm actually doing the staying up!
  • 4:05 p.m. Take advantage of Amazon's sales to buy Christmas presents.
  • 4:20 p.m. Pick up my bookagain.
  • 5:15 p.m. Finish book. This is one review I'm looking forward to writing!
  • 5:40 p.m. Head over to the parents' for my birthday supper. We had chicken tetrazzini (aka "Take One Fat Hen"), garlic bread, corn, coffee, and homemade ice cream. Muy delicioso!
  • 7:30 p.m. Watch 17 Again, one of my birthday gifts, with Mom. She thought the best friend character was hilarious!
  • 9:30 p.m. Go home; work on the Advance for a bit. (If you actually click through to see the Advance, you'll find that the person who is in charge of updating the website--me--never posted the most recent issue. Oops.)
  • 10:15 p.m. Finish blogging.
  • 10:30 p.m. Crash. I must be getting old!
(Not only do I love birthdays, but I evidently love writing about birthdays, as last year I basically told the same story I told today.)

Monday, August 10, 2009


My little sister just started blogging. Check out her blog and leave her a welcome comment!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

are you reading?

I've long been curious about how many people read my blog. I know my regular readers, but how many people stumble across my blog? In hopes of answering that question, I've decided to add a stat counter at the bottom of the page. I know this may end up being depressing--maybe my regular readers are my only readers--but I thought I'd give it a try. As of this writing, 10 minutes after adding the stat counter, I have exactly one hit . . . and it's me. By this time tomorrow, I should have at least five or six hits, right? I know my mom will check to see if I've posted anything new . . .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

because i love my sister

My youngest sister is frantically writing a research paper that may or may not be due at 8 a.m. tomorrow. It's just after midnight, and this nearly 28-year-old desperately needs sleep. But, because I love my sister, I'm staying up with her--for a while, anyway! Since I haven't blogged for a while (other than my book review blogger post), I thought I'd use this time to throw a few things out there.
  1. I've been surfing Amazon and just discovered that California Dreams - Seasons 1 & 2are now available. I just did a lot of laughing as I watched some video clips on the Amazon page. Is it ridiculous to want this for my birthday?
  2. I get my first ever pedicure tomorrow (or, actually, today). I'm really excited!
  3. I just bought a laptop. In theory, I'll write more now that I'm not tied to my desktop. We'll see!
  4. Wow, I didn't make it as long as I'd hoped. It's 12:53, and I'm headed to bed. Guess I'll have to finish this later!

Monday, August 3, 2009

faith & pop culture

How does pop culture fit in with our faith? That's a question that many Christians find themselves asking, and it is directly to that question that the Christianity Today Study Series speaks in the book Faith & Pop Culture.

This book is meant to be a study guide used in a small group setting. Comprised of eight chapters, each one speaks to a different aspect of pop culture and how it relates to faith. This book poses many questions but does not attempt to answer them. Rather, it invites the reader to use Scripture as a guide to think through the issues.

I found all the chapters to be interesting and thought provoking, save one. Chapter 3, the sports chapter, suggests that we actually don't take sports seriously enough. As someone whose athletic experience didn't extend past junior high, I really couldn't relate to much of what was said in the chapter.

Overall, I thought this book was quite interesting, and I would highly recommend it for group study. I think I'd really enjoy being part of a small group that used this book. However, it might not be so interesting for someone who has no interest in pop culture!