Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Image: mvlteenvoice.com
I've read most of the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events as well as seen the movie version starring Jim Carrey. The movie had its issues so I was really looking forward to seeing how the Netflix series stacked up.

The first season was available yesterday, and since it was only eight episodes long, I watched the entire thing. What follows are some of my thoughts, including some spoilers so if you haven't seen it yet, don't read any further!

I honestly loved this series. Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant as Count Olaf. He had the perfect air of ridiculous and menacing that is in the books. The children were also perfectly cast and the supporting characters were all great as well.

I've read some reviews that says it's too dark, too morbid and too unfortunate. I read one review that was unhappy that the story is actually a series of unfortunate events the Baudelaire children go through which seems odd to me since it's right in the title.

It's gothic and dark, but so were the books. I didn't watch it with my daughter, but I wouldn't have a problem with her watching it. Yes, there is death and murder, but none of it is gory. Usually the dead person is either not shown, or is taken away rather quickly. 

There is bits of humor, here and there. Patrick Warburton's deadpan portrayal of Lemony Snicket adds a lot and of course, the outrageous behavior of Count Olaf's acting troupe / henchmen lighten the darkness.

The biggest surprise I found was the short bits showing a mother and a father. We aren't told who they are until near the end of the season. They bring hope but it is dashed away, sadly. But as we are told often in each episode, this is not a happy story.

All in all, this show is all I had wanted the movie to be. Each book is presented in two episodes which gives plenty of time to explore the story fully. The movie tried to cram three books in and it felt rushed.

I'd highly recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events to fans of the books and fans of gothic misery!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow And The South

Image: www.al.com
I've lived in WNC for nearly 12 years after living in the Land of Snow and Ice (aka Michigan) for my whole life. And it still boggles my mind how people act when there is just snow in the forecast!

I do admit that when it start snowing, I stay off the roads. Last year, we got snowed in for several days because there are simply not enough plows / salt trucks to clear all the roads in a quick fashion. A little bit of snow can shut things down.

But it's not suppose to start snowing until this afternoon at the earliest. Last forecast I saw had it starting at 8 pm tonight. Right now, it's cloudy and grey, but nothing falling from the sky.

Yesterday, I went to Walmart. My main goal was to pick up a prescription, but the line for the pharmacy was super long and I knew that I wouldn't make it to the front in time because I had to be home before Emily got home from school.

So I ended up just buying bread and milk. It was stuff I needed but it was funny because when there is snow a-coming, people in the South stock up on bread and milk.

The parking lot at Walmart was crazy. People seemed to have forgotten normal parking lot behavior. I ended up pulling forward into a spot and I thought a lady was going to shank me because she had wanted that spot.

Trying to get out was just as tricky. People were going way too fast and not paying attention to where they were going. It was just crazy and that was yesterday - at least 24 hours before it was even maybe suppose to snow.

For everyone in the South who might get hit by frozen water coming out of the sky, remember be calm. Snow can't hurt you but slamming your car into someone in a parking lot might!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goals For 2017

Image: colemanmediacenter.org
I don't do resolutions, I do goals. My goals last year were to get healthier (check!) and write more (kind of check).

For this year, it's more of the same. My main goal is to get a finished draft on my first novel so I can start figuring out querying to get an agent or if I want to self publish. All that good stuff on the road to becoming a published author.

Working on my health is an ongoing thing. I kind of fell off the exercising wagon at the end of the year. Once we got back from Disney World, things got so busy! So I need to go back to the gym more again.

Other than that, I also hope to have some new costumes for the cons I'll be going to this year. 
Tina from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Princess Leia (white dress and buns) and Anna from Frozen are all on my list.

Beyond that, I'm hoping that 2017 will be kinder than 2016!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 - Year in Review

Image: openclipart.org
This year has been an interesting one. The celebrity deaths have been hard to watch. The ones that have hit me most have been Ron Glass and Carrie Fisher. The election was a shitshow all around and I can't deny that I'm not frightened by what may happen in the years to come.

But on a personal level, 2016 wasn't too bad a year!

It was a Disney year, and Disney years are always good because of going to my favorite place in the world. I also didn't need to go to the ER at all this year which is huge!

We joined the Y on January 1st of this year and I started weight training a few months after that. I didn't lost a lot of weight but I gained a lot of strength and stamina, which was something I really needed! I'm hoping to build on that in 2017.

Girl Scouts became a huge part of our lives this year. We went through our first cookie season and Emily got to go camping for the first time ever! We actually have gone camping with the Girl Scouts three times this year.

Both Emily and I made new friends thanks to scouting! And Emily was very excited that her two best friends ended up in her class for 2nd grade.

Emily worked very hard in school to become a much better reader. She has grown so much - including in height. She's almost as tall as I am! In addition to Girl Scouts, she also got more involved with church. She is in the children's choir and active in the elementary youth group! She was also in our church's Christmas pageant as Innkeeper #1 and an angel.

 I'll post about my goals for 2017 in a different post, but while I'm not glad to see 2016 be gone soon, it wasn't too bad of a year for us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Final Thoughts!

This is the final post of my Disney trip report! To start from the beginning, click here!

The whole reason I started planning this trip was an incentive to recover after I got very sick and had a bunch of seizures. It was a scary time for me and having just the thought of Disney World helped me along. It also helped me get stronger. I spent a lot of this year at the gym, walking and doing weight training. It really paid off because even though I was walking many miles in a day, I wasn't really sore the whole week.

Of course, we also celebrated Emily's birthday since she happened to be born in my favorite month of the year. She got a lot of attention from her birthday button and she loved that!

This trip was a lot of firsts for Emily. First time at Epcot, first time on a roller coaster and first time going to the Halloween party. She enjoyed it all which made me happy!

My favorite part was finally getting to wear my Tightrope Girl costume to the Halloween party. I got a lot of compliments on it, especially from cast members.

Even the hurricane was interesting. It was a little scary but I hoped that Disney would do their best to keep us safe. And they really did and did their best to keep people entertained while the parks were closed.

I also want to give a shout out to my travel agent, Sara Varney at Mouse Fan Travel. This is the 2nd trip she's helped me plan and she's a really good travel agent. She got all of our dining reservations that we wanted and even called us the day before the hurricane was suppose to hit to make sure we were ok. Fabulous customer service right there!

All in all, Disney World still retains its place as my most favorite place in the world! I can't wait to go back hopefully in a few years!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Magic Kingdom and Departure Day!

This is the 7th post of my Disney trip report! To start from the beginning, click here!

Our day dawned very early because I wanted to get to Magic Kingdom as close to rope drop as possible. We got dressed, finished packing up the car and checked out of our hotel. We hopped on a bus and got into Magic Kingdom just as the morning rope drop show was finishing up.

We headed right to the Crystal Palace and got seated very quickly. The food was good and the characters were really great! Emily had especially wanted to meet Eeyore, but loved Tigger, Pooh and Piglet too!

From there, we to Fantasyland. Emily wanted to ride on the Carousel and there was no wait for it. Then we went to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Since this is the newest ride in the Magic Kingdom, it's a long wait for standby. I had had a fast pass for it on hurricane day, but sadly none to come by on the
day we actually got to the Magic Kingdom.

Thankfully the queue was pretty cool so Emily was amused. But it was the longest line of the whole trip since we waited over an hour. The ride was cool and Emily loved it. It was her first roller coaster! I'll definitely want to ride it again, but not with an hour wait!

We did a few Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom stops. Emily loves that game and had fun fighting the baddies. We headed to Adventureland because I had gotten a fastpass for Pirates of the Caribbean. This was Emily's first time riding pirates and she loved it.

While in Adventureland, we also rode the Magic Carpets and had our very first Dole Whip! It was getting close to noon and getting really hot out. It was honestly the hottest day of
our entire trip. So we headed back to the front of the park.

We did one more Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom stop and then rode our last ride, which was The Haunted Mansion. We left my favorite place in the world behind and got back to our car to begin the long journey home.

Because of the hurricane, we took the longer way home through Atlanta. I use my GPS on my phone to get directions and I was a little freaked because it took me on a toll road and I had no change. Thankfully the tolls had been suspended because of the hurricane.

I really wanted to get back home so we drove the whole way back to NC. I did manage to hit my head pretty hard. I went to the back of my car which has a hatch, and misjudged the distance when I was closing it and brought it down on my head. It hurt a lot and once we got home, I spent the next few days in bed. Afterwards, I'm pretty sure I managed to give myself a minor concussion.

Besides injuring myself, I managed to get us safely home. We got home right around midnight so at least I had been awake for 18+ hours. It was a long day!

Up Next - Final Thoughts About the Trip!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Girl Scouts and the Christmas Parade

Last year, our Girl Scout troop marched in the Fletcher Christmas parade. We didn't have a lot of prep time so it was just our girls wearing their vests with Santa hats on, walking down the street. After last year, the parents  / leaders decided we were going to do better this year.

The parade has a theme every year and the theme this year was "Christmas in Candyland". We started working on it over a month ago. The girls were involved in every step - from planning to creating. But of course, us parents had to do quite a bit as well.

The main focal point of our float was our Gingerbread house. I was really sick with a migraine the day they put it together so I sent Todd in my place. He ended up being a much better help than I was because he used his engineer's mind and designed the house. I heard praises from the other parents about it afterwards!

Last Friday we put everything together and put it on the float. The girls crafted jingle bell bracelets while us parents did the heavy lifting, as it where. The float ended up looking great!
Saturday was the parade and it was an extremely cold day. I put several layers on Emily and myself in order to stay as warm as possible. We got everyone we could on the float, including my kid. Some kids walked and a couple road in the back of the truck. Some switched out in the middle of the parade.

The girls looked cute with their gingerbread aprons which thankfully could be worn over coats. They handed out candy, jingled bells and waved to the crowd who had braved the cold.

It turned out very well! I think for our first float it was awesome. And the girls had a lot of fun with the whole process!