Monday, July 30, 2012
1. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe -- Had to read this "classic" and definitely enjoyed it.
2. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster -- Pass
3. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain -- Loved it though you will hate Ernest Hemingway by the end.
4. Crossed by Ally Condie - Book two in semi Hunger Games-esque and entertaining
5. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly - Liked
6. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - Slavery made into a soap opera. A bit much.
7. The Darlings by Cristina Alger - Entertaining story
8. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett - Excellent. One of the best books I have read all year and my Mom agrees.
9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Very good. This book is different and a bit spooky. I have heard it compared to Harry Potter but I'm not sure I would agree entirely.
10. Matched by Ally Condie - Book one in the trilogy I previously compared to The Hunger Games. These books are way easy to read and I have to admit, I have already pre-bought the third book which comes out in November.
11. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick - El Bizarro
12. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - Very interesting and informative story about modern day Mormons as opposed to Mormonism practiced centuries ago.
13. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James - Ok, I'm very embarrassed to admit I have read these. I really hated the first book and had decided not to buy the other two when in the last ten pages of book one, I was completely sucked in. Funny how that happens, huh? If you are easily freaked out by anything sexual, you should take a pass on these. I'd classify them as borderline porn.
14. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James - porn
15. Fifty Shades Free by E.L. James - porn
16. Miss Peregrine's House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - Very odd book but highly entertaining. I'm still not exactly sure I have grasped what happened.
17. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - Great read, highly entertaining, twist at the end that sort of irritated me and tainted the book as a whole for me.
18. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson - I always like this author's books and this was another good read.
19. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster - Something about Jen Lancaster annoys me. I kind of think she is an asshole.
20. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan - If you want to have nightmares about cruise ships sinking a la Titanic style and living on a lifeboat for 21 days, this is the book for you.
21. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Couldn't put this one down until I was done. Haven't heard from anyone who didn't enjoy it.
22. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - Jenny Lawson reminds me of Jen Lancaster. Enough said.
23. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - Good story though a bit harder to get into than most books.
24. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Same author as Gone Girl but this book is slightly less entertaining and definitely has a screwy main character.
25. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - Also one of my favorites of the year so far. I only wish more had been tied up at the end.
26. Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead - Good read if you want something fluffy.
27. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty - Great story, definitely enjoyed.
So there y'all have it. I am in the process of reading My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock and I'm really liking it. It would appear that I am on track to read my goal this year but I always want to hear suggestions from others. If you have read something recently that you couldn't put down, please let me know! The winter is closing in on us in Germany (yes, I know it is only July but you would be scared to if you lived here) and I'll need to ensure plenty of reading to get me through the dreary months. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say!
Posted by Gleatie at 3:07 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012
Posted by Gleatie at 11:02 AM
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Let me start off by saying that I am OVER Brussels. I'm over the noise at night, I'm over handing getting Evans in and out of the apartment on my own but mostly I am over being harassed for money every single time I step foot out the door. Folks, I'm from Atlanta so I'm no stranger to being hit up for cash while walking around in town but Brussels takes begging to a new level. When Deaner gets finished working in the afternoons we love to stroll with Evans to a street cafe and sit down for a beer. I didn't used to mind when street performers came by playing accordions but it is starting to seriously set us back some. Who wants to feel obligated to tip every accordion toting dude that walks by? Not me. Unfortunately my son LOVES them and as soon as he hears them coming he starts to dance. Not just a shake of the head dancing but a full on dance that causes people to stare at us as the street performer zeros in on us. Easy money. How could we not tip when Evans is clearly enjoying their services? There is the key word people. Services. At LEAST these people are playing an instrument. They are annoying at best but I can live with that.
Last night Deaner, Evans and I went out to eat. As we approached the door to the restaurant this gypsy lady who was begging on the street leaned over and opened the door for us and then shook her little cup at us. I found it hard not to show my annoyance since I clearly could have opened the door myself and I did not feel guilty telling her sorry. After being tucked away in our booth in the back of the restaurant and served our appetizer we were approached by a little girl who looked to be about 8 years old and was dressed respectably. She stood at the end of our table holding her hand out for money. I was simply appalled. Come on! We are eating dinner here! Deaner and I both said "no, sorry" and she made a pouty face before then pointing to our appetizer plate, that we hadn't even touched yet, and ASKED FOR OUR FOOD. Now some of you might start to feel bad here and say that this was just some poor starving child who NEEDED our food. You might feel differently when I tell you that upon us telling her "no" again, she stood at the end of our table and said "f@*k you both". I just sat there like a dummy not knowing what to do until thankfully Deaner came to his senses and told her to go away. We received another "F*#K you BOTH" on her way out the door. Something like this would have never happened in the States. Why? Because business owners don't allow beggars to come in to their restaurants and hassle their patrons like that. Infuriating. The restaurant where we had dinner two nights ago told two different people asking for money to get out and leave us alone. It's not going to be a hard decision when deciding next time where to eat.
I might have been able to shake the shock of being cursed at by a child but when a different child held open the door for me today and then demanded money, I ceased feeling bad. It wasn't the act of holding the door open that irritated me so much. It was the fact that when I glanced at the child, all I could see was a nice green alligator staring at me from the chest of his shirt. Trust me, if you are going to ask me for money, you really shouldn't do it while wearing a Lacoste shirt. I don't think I need to say anymore.
So there are my thoughts on gypsies in Brussels for the week. Brussels is great but I think we are going to take a break from each other for a little while. I need some time to reignite the love affair I have with this city!
Posted by Gleatie at 8:48 AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
In another new dining establishment adventure we came across another hit. Ellis is a gourmet burger joint without any of that pork/beef mixture that so many European places favor. 100% real ground beef. It hard to believe what you will take for granted living in the States.
Thankfully we are reaching the halfway mark of this trip. Evans has been down for the count and that has been very hard on all of us. At 2am he woke me up running a 102.4 fever and would only sleep if lying completely on top of me. Think Brussels, in July, with no AC, in a single bed, with a 102 degree radiator on your chest. Two more nights. I know I keep saying it but SURELY Evans will feel better by tomorrow. When we return home, I don't care what it takes, we are getting on a better sleeping schedule. Happy Hump Day to everyone!
**I realize that this post is pretty boring but people can't be caught doing it outside your apartment EVERY day!
Posted by Gleatie at 8:29 AM
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Me: "No way, I don't see anyone in there".
Deaner: "No, I saw them, there were two of them".
Me: "Well, what could they possibly be doing in there"?
Deaner: "I don't know, maybe it is covering a manhole and they are doing some work"
Me: "I guess, I don't even see anyone in there".
Deaner: "Or....maybe they are doing "IT".
Me: "Impossible". (See? The Germans really are starting to get to me assuming everything is impossible!)
Several moments of silence go by. Passersby are just strolling by the structure like nothing is going. I started to lose interest in Deaner's sighting when it happened. Just like that, the canvas walls started shaking.
Me: "Oh. My. God. You are right. Someone IS in there and they ARE doing IT"!!
Deaner: "I KNEW IT".
Me: "How are they going to get out when they are done"?
Deaner: "I have no idea, I didn't see them get there in the first place".
Several more moments of advertisement shaking. Finally, I couldn't hold it any longer and announced I had to RUN to the bathroom. As soon as I started to turn away Deaner yelled "THERE THEY ARE" to which I sprinted back. I was greeted with laughter as he was just jerking me around. I went to the bathroom for real this time only to have Deaner yell from the other room.
Deaner: "They are coming out! THERE THEY ARE! For real this time"
No way, I have got to get back to see this. Ensue much running in slippery sandals and tripping over furniture to get to the window. Sure enough there were two people, a GIRL and a BOY, no older than 15 years old, were attempting to extract themselves from said steel structure. The boy was attempting to hoist the girl up and over the top but was failing on every attempt. This was better than reality TV.
Me: "Holy crap. They are never going to get out of there".
Deaner: "Well not that way at least, maybe they should tilt it from the bottom".
Sure enough the next approach was for the two to start tipping the structure on its side so one could crawl under to the safety of the streets. I regret not having my camera for what happened next but during a very zealous round of structure tipping, in which multiple people were passing by, the two crazed love birds managed to knock the entire advertisement over, narrowly missing multiple passersby. Two CHILDREN escaped out the bottom, quickly ran around and uprighted the tipped over advertisement and were on their way while smiling and laughing at each other.
Me: "Did that really just happen"?
Deaner: "They really could have hurt someone if that thing tipped over ON TOP of someone".
Me: "Did that really just happen"?
Call me a prude, call me an old lady, call me naive but I have a really hard time wrapping my head around witnessing such trashy behavior. I was recently asked, along with several other women, how I would handle discussing the "birds and the bees" with my child when the time eventually came. With Evans being 23 months old I plead the fifth and put the issue, impossibly far in the future, out of my head. I'm not sure how, and I'm not sure when, but when the time does come I'll have to make it very clear that behavior like that is disgusting. Get a room. Oh wait, you probably have to be at least 16 to do that. At least figure out an extraction plan that doesn't involve potential injury to others BEFORE entering a steel structure to get it on. Check out the arial views that others might have of you. And for God's sake, no one wants to see your private life like that. Now run along home and do your homework or something.
Posted by Gleatie at 5:17 PM
Monday, July 23, 2012
So, I wrote this post yesterday at the height of my stress and fear of no sleeping. Evans took about 20 minutes to cry it out and fall asleep. Miraculously, he slept all night. I was so instantly relieved that I was lured into a false sense of security because shortly after Deaner put Evans in bed with us at 8am, he threw up on me. Upon further inspection I have deduced that he threw up three other time in his pack n play as well. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about throw up. And it isn't good.
Posted by Gleatie at 10:04 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Posted by Gleatie at 9:33 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Posted by Gleatie at 10:02 AM
Monday, July 16, 2012
Flying for ten hours anywhere is a daunting thought. Add a child to the mix and it can feel like it will never end. Your child can be perfectly behaved for 5 hours straight and just as you are about to start patting yourself on the back for your superb parenting skills they can morph into the devil. And guess what? You still have five more hours to go! On this last vacation I had PLENTY of time to really mull over what works and what doesn't and had several situations thrown in my face that made me realize a few things that you should NEVER do while flying with or without children.
1. If you have a cough, please take some cough medicine BEFORE getting on the plane. And then again during the flight. As much as you can possibly take without overdosing. If your child has a cough, please give them cough medicine BEFORE getting on the plane. And again during the flight. It is very simple. I am certain I have been guilty of this before and I understand that sometimes it is impossible not to cough but we had coughers on both legs of this trip and I can't tell y'all how it makes my skin crawl. Some things are impossible to avoid but at least pretend like you are trying to control your disgusting hacking cough so I don't feel like you are actively trying to give me the plague.
4. On the same sort of note, I understand you can't jump at every demand a child makes on an airplane. However, if you at least ACT like you are trying to entertain and keep your child quiet, other passengers will be much more tolerant. Ever sat next to someone who ignores their child's fits for hours and lets their child whine or cry loudly while they do something self serving? I'm much more likely to cast death daggers at those parents than the ones that I see trying to help the solution. (all parents get bonus points for pulling out an iPad because it shows TRUE commitment to keeping your child quiet).
5. Scissors are not a great toy to let your child pack for the plane. Frankly, I don't know how you got them past security but it was a stupid idea. No one wants to sit next to someone chopping up spiral notebook paper and dipping it in water. Enough said.
6. God forbid your child is sitting in a middle seat but if they are, YOU get up and let them out to the bathroom. Do not expect that the person on the other side be your child's exit row. While you are standing to let them out it's probably best to just accompany them to the bathroom. Those doors are tricky even for people like me.
7. Snacks snacks and more snacks. Did y'all miss that? Bring as many different types of snacks that you can possibly fit. Have you ever tasted airline food? Your child probably won't taste it either. Be prepared. (please feel free to include snacks like Benedryl or Nighttime Delsyium. I'm just saying). Some of our favorites are Go-Go Squeeze applesauce, goldfish and Pringles. Sound healthy? It's not, but it's a novelty and novelties work.
8. Let your toddler run around in the terminal before boarding the plane so that they don't want to run up and down the aisles during the flight. Deaner and I take turns following Evans around while he pushes the stroller himself. It wears him out before a very long period of sitting down. On our Frankfurt to Atlanta leg Deaner worked up quite a sweat running after Evans, who kept trying to exit the secure area over and over. An even better idea? Get a Crown Room/Sky Club pass and enjoy several drinks while watching your child push the stroller around.
9. While on the plane, do not encourage your child to walk up and down the aisles. Thankfully Evans was a late walker so I have only had a handful of flights where walking was actually his preferred mode of transportation however, I also don't let him think walking around is an option. When we head to the bathroom for a diaper change I always carry him because once he figures out he can walk himself, it would be all over. I put his carry-on toy bag and my own carry-one under his feet so he can't slide out of his seat. I always sit in the row of two seats so I can block him in against the window. Long gone are the days of sitting in the bulkhead because there is way too much escaping room in those rows. If all else failed, I would consider binding his feet. :)
Posted by Gleatie at 9:57 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Posted by Gleatie at 5:45 PM