Thursday, February 23, 2012

Northanger Abbey

I refuse to pay for shipping for online purchases. It's such an waste. So anytime I'm shopping for textbooks and other various necessities and presents on Amazon, I toss in a smaller purchase that won't hit the $25 purchase requirement on it's own. Buying last minute books for my classes gave me the opportunity of getting a Jane Austin novel that I hadn't read yet. It arrived way later than my other books- 3 weeks plus to be exact, so I had forgotten it.

After finishing the Hunger Games, and working on schoolwork, I reread Ella Enchanted, Pride and Prejudice, Darcy's Story (a retelling from Darcy's side. The only fan fiction I've ever enjoyed, probably because so much of it is just reprinted from Pride and Prejudice), Breaking Dawn and then a perusal of Twilight before Northanger Abbey arrived to give me fresh enjoyment.

I had trouble putting it down. Pride and Prejudice is still by far my favorite. But this one was even funnier. All of the references to other popular written works of the time appealed to my history-loving nature, so I thoroughly read and loved all the footnotes too. I loved the characters because they were so refreshing compared to what's popular today. Even better, they were straight to the point, no subtleties about them, so I was never confused or wondering if I missed anything due to the context. Jane Austen really was a genius.

On a side note, I think I have finally given up any notion of writing novels myself. I just can't do it. My stories would be incredibly boring, because I have come to terms with the fact that I can only write about characters worth loving and once I love them, I cannot put them through any conflicts. The best I can hope for is to give Jon ideas and let him determine how much to punish and plague them. I'll only require a happy ending in return.

I'd love some suggestions for good fiction!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update (part 2)



This month is almost at a close. It's been a lot like last month, little of significance, but constant chaos.

I did my Premier "daughter's" training show and have been mentoring her through the beginning of building her business. I hope I'm this blessed with all of my business relationships. She's really easy to talk to, naturally good at being a jeweler and has so much potential. I like her a lot! 

I have 3 other shows for this month. I'm expecting to pay off my investment by the end of month and start turning profit next month. Which is really exciting for me on a number of levels. It's one more thing to check off my NYR list. It's a lot more encouraging/motivating to be in the green rather than digging my way out of the red. And, as the weather gets better, I'm expecting my shows to stabilize, and I can get to work on that budget!

Jon is excelling in all of his classes and is increasingly more interested in what he's learning, which means that I'm conversing about computer science a lot more than I ever wanted to. I'm adjusting to this gracefully, haha. I miss him like crazy and have started a weekly countdown to his graduation (43 weeks). But I'm adjusting better to the emotional aspect more each day too. Almost two months has already gone by. Jon doesn't share my optimism, but I hope that he won't have to work overnights and Saturdays for the next ten months. I look forward to any necessary changes that something like an internship would bring, even if it only lasted for the summer.

My classes fit my needs right now better than I could have possibly imagined. I'm working so much ahead in the one class, that I hope to have it completed within another 2-3 weeks, which will make the remainder of the semester a lot more manageable.

Ella and Lily started up Ballet classes again. That's an experience that writing can do no justice to. I'll try to remember to take video of it and post on here for family.

Jon just got his car issues resolved. So, naturally my car started having engine and power problems yesterday. I expect we'll exceed the 1k mark in repairs by the end of the month, with 90% of that belonging to my car. It just occured to me that my car is 10 years old, I really hope this isn't the beginning of the end. :/

This Saturday, Sunday, and Monday all belong to Premier, with shows and meetings. I'm really looking forward to it. I love my job.

In a week, Erica and I are leaving for a roadtrip through the following Monday. I cannot wait.

Annnnd every day it gets a little warmer out. I'm itching to start gardening, building a fence, etc. I can't wait to be able to open the windows and smell spring. I can't wait to pack away the heated blankets, space heaters, coats, gloves and Ugg boots. I'm craving both sunshine and thunderstorms. Spring draws closer each day! :]

Update (part 1)

I finally have a spare moment to think back on updates. I was prepared to write about February and maybe half of January. I looked back over the blog to see when the last time was that I provided one. Unfortunately I noticed a trend of "let's skip the update for now." So it seems that I have also the first half of January and December to write about. Oops!

End of November:

I finished out work at NPUC.

We went on a family vacation to South Carolina for Thanksgiving the following week. There was something like 14 of us. So there were a million of amazing pictures taken, which I hope I will remember to post soon ( honestly, I haven't looked at them yet. :[  )

We came home and Jon left at 8 am Monday morning to start his new job at Taco Bell. He came home promptly at 8:30 am, to tell me that the store manager there had decided he would not be a good fit after all and sent him home. We spent the next 2 weeks seeking counsel, going back and forth with the store manager and the district manager, and removing every demand on our side to fit what they needed. It ended with Jon informing both managers that he had to have a job and would work anything they wanted. The district manager said she had not been told that Jon had offered to change anything and would call us back by the next day. We never heard from either of them again. I still can't believe it played out the way it did. I know that this must have been God's design for us all along and each move was necessary to direct our path. But to save myself bitterness and resentment toward how we were lied to and further treated, I avoid thinking about it at all.


Jon started work immediately at Boston Market due to some connections we are incredibly thankful for. That, plus job searching for more hours, better income, and a better fit for his classes, took up the remainder of December.

I mainly adjusted to being a stay  at home Mom again, dealt with finals, and worked my jewelry business.

We had a very humble Christmas, which I exacerbated by randomly giving the girls presents to open when I was too eager. This led us to the decision to have an extremely small Christmas every year, so that the girls would be raised with a better understanding of the real nature of why we celebrate Christmas. Sure, I'd like to shower them and others with gifts throughout the season. But I kind of want them to wake up to no presents under the tree Christmas morning. I want them to associate Christmas with one gift only: that of Christ. And appreciate the day not because they get stuff but because they have an eternity in Heaven to look forward to.

Jon started a job at the Comfort Inn, overnight, on the last Friday of the month. He's been there full time since. It's been a God send, of course, because he spends the majority of those forty hours being paid to study and complete his classwork. Plus breakfast. :]


Jon started a courseload of 5 classes, almost immediately. He works 6 days a week, split between the two jobs. Somehow he has been able to take the Sabbath off every week. God provides. So that's when we see him.

I had no shows in January, but had several to look forward to in February and March, plus promises of several friends and family members, so I didn't worry about it and considered it a month of vacation. :]

I signed on my very first Jeweler at the end of January. She is going to be amazing at this business and I feel so blessed to have had her join under me.

I started classes at the very end of the month.

I filed our taxes, with the majority going into savings. I used a chunk to pay off part of my school debt as planned, and another chunk to pay for car repairs that I still feel I was scammed into. It was a frustrating month for car issues.

... to continue...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hunger Games trilogy

***Possible Spoiler Alert***

So the Hunger Games have made up half of the new books I have read so far for my New Year's Resolutions (hereafter referred to as NYR, because it's a mouthful every time, and I don't stop mentioning them halfway through January like many people. :]  ).

I really liked the first book. I read it warily because I have low tolerance for violence and gore. And I knew what I was getting myself into. At the end for example, with Cato, I had to really skim that portion because it was so disturbing. His last few seconds still haunt me. I wasn't sure where I stood with the whole Peta Vs. Gale thing.

The second book I devoured. And oh man, was that a great ending. Suzanne Collins got me the first time around- I wasn't sure what Peta's true character was until the tracker jacker nest exploded. The second time, I had caught on to her style and had kind of figured out the "surprise" plot. At least, I had the gist of it. Although maybe it wasn't supposed to be a surprise. Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

At this point, maybe 3 days have passed. I knew I shouldn't go immediately into the 3rd book (I shouldn't even have started the second) because my classes had started and I was (and still am) trying to get my business built a little more solidly.

But, as is the way with me and good fiction, I have no self control. So I read book three, on the computer, starting at like 11pm, and finishing around 5:30 am. Yeah it was bad. The book... phew, it was awful. Really, really bad. I knew with the subject matter and respected authors' attitudes toward their masterpieces, I couldn't really expect a fairy tale ending. I would have appreciated it, but for some reason author's always want their pieces to be really cemented in reality. Even if it's fantasy. Anyway, I was in complete disagreement with who some of the main characters turned out to be, namely Peta and Gale. I thought the demise of some of the main characters, as well as the methods, was unnecessary. And I thought Katniss seemed really dead in this last book. The technical maneuvering toward the end got so boring that I skimmed a lot of it. Don't get me wrong, not all of it sucked. I thought the way District 13 was portrayed was pretty cool. I liked the way Coin played out. And various other things. But overall, it seemed to me that Collins caved under the pressure to produce an ending even more phenomenal than the beginning and middle. It seems she wanted the story to go out with a BANG. It felt it went out with a thud. Katniss deserved better. Damn it, I deserved better.

I'm looking forward to seeing these books translate well to the big screen, soon. Granted, even with a PG-13 rating, I'm probably going to have my hands over my eyes for many scenes. Ah, well.

Hunger Games was my last prospect. Now, I really need some recommendations on some great fiction that's not too realistic, preferably with a happy ending, to fulfill my goal of 25 for this year.