Reading: “A Dance With Dragons”

If we’ve spoken at all lately you know already that I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Dance With Dragons,” the most recent book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones for the TV-only types).

I feel like I have been reading this book for a year, though really I only started it a couple months ago, and have since completed a couple other books so I haven’t totally been slacking. Even now I am also about halfway through Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye.” (Which Vincent read on the plane to Japan. Sheesh, I need to get my own reading list. Please leave suggestions in the comments!!! Oh wait. Or don’t. I picked up a bunch of books at a swap in October and haven’t opened any of them yet. This is a long parenthesis.)

The George R.R. Martin books are a serious commitment. It’s a real relationship, people. With invested time and emotions. And a good amount of frustration and anger (kind of like when I watch Revenge. Lookin’ at you, jerkface Tyler).

It takes me about half of the Bible-sized monstrosity before I really get into the characters again, but once I do the plot moves QUICKLY.

Since I just got to the part where I really like the book, I’ll probably be spending a little more time reading and a little less on the Internet, or Twitter, or Facebook…

I started this series because they are Vincent’s favorite books. He rereads them every few years because they are that good. He’s right. There is more detail than even J.K. Rowling could hope to squeeze in. Each tome is chock full of family history and sneaky little details that you won’t understand until you’ve read the next two books, and by then you’ve completely forgotten the reference (unless you’re Vincent, and then you totally get ALL of it.)

It’s probably¬† better to read them in a row instead of alternating other less stressful books in between like I’ve done. And if you start the series and get totally obsessed, there are multiple Reddit forums (I’m a nerd. Whatever.) on the topic. This one is for A Song of Ice and Fire series; and this one is for the Game of Thrones TV show.

Happy reading!

Who wants to adopt me?

As part of my choir’s fundraising campaign, we are giving people the chance to “adopt” a singer.

Our lovely marketing guru wrote up these bios on all the singers, and guess who one of the featured singers is?

That’s right, me!

If you’re interested in reading, my bio is online here. We appreciate any and all donations, no matter the size. Heck, I’d be happy for a 15 cent donation ūüôā

We have a concert coming up Dec. 10 and 11 that is virgin Mary themed for the holidays

I am very, very, very excited to be singing a solo on one of the movements in the¬†Cecilia McDowall’s “Magnificat.” Though I’ve got to say, our other soloists are simply incredible.

And our performance marks the U.S. premiere of the piece! It should be a good show. If you’re in the LB-area please stop by!

Yup, that’s us! ūüôā

Fall photo: Kamakura, Japan

We are on the verge of Christmas season, but I am not ready to jump on that bandwagon yet. In an effort to hold on to the crisp fall feeling, I’ve changed my desktop background to this lovely memory, a photo I took when we were in Kamkura, south of Tokyo, in ¬†Kanagawa Prefecture,¬†Japan.

I thought I’d share it here with you in case you’re also not quite ready to loose the death grip on fall foliage.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of good food and good company!

Walking around while visiting temples in Kamkura, Kanagawa, Japan

2011 Thanksgiving!

Mmm Thanksgiving. I’ve been looking forward to your moist turkeys, bad family jokes and pumpkin pie for a month now.

I hope everyone out in the world is enjoying a day with friends and good food, whether or not Thanksgiving is being celebrated.

I have so much to be thankful for and to appreciate. I’m lucky my family and I get along, and that we live close enough to see each other fairly often. I’m lucky to have, quite honestly, the best boyfriend a girl could ask for, and am so thankful for all the time we get to spend together. I wake up most mornings smiling and that’s all because of him.

Though I know ‘things’ are not the point, today I am also grateful that I have all the things I need.

I’m grateful to my parents for raising me to be a responsible adult and I know that the life I have now is mostly because of what they taught me. And I’m thankful to my aunts, uncles and family friends who filled in gaps and proved excellent role models.

This might be a silly one, but I am thankful that I can appreciate. I am glad that I don’t look at the world and think, ‘Meh, just another sunset.’ Because every day is different and has new things to show us.

And I hope by the end of today I can add a  Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving win over the Dolphins to my list of things to be grateful for! Go team!

Dallas Cowboys take on the Dolphins on Thanksgiving day!

Google doodle: Thanksgiving turkey

If you go to Google today you can customize your turkey in honor of Thanksgiving!

My friend Erin over at Erin’s Library¬†¬†posted this great link on Facebook: The Christian Science Monitor has an article on various ways you can customize the turkey for 12 “Easter eggs” or hidden accessories to add to the gobbler.

That story is here: http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/2011/1123/Thanksgiving-Google-doodle-turkey-lays-12-Easter-eggs/Wizard-turkey

Happy cooking day, everyone!

Thankful: Canon camera

(The phrase “Canon camera” makes me think of “Candid Camera.” Anyone else remember that show?)

As you’ll remember, my camera was broken the weekend before Halloween, just less than one month after I bought it for my trip to Japan.

I picked the Canon PowerShot because it’s an upgraded version of my old Canon Powershot, which still works even though it’s really, really old and beat up from being bumped around in my purse for nearly a decade. I was in a rush to buy a camera and needed one I already knew how to work since I was getting on a plane an hour after I bought it.

The only reason I chose to upgrade is because I lost the battery charger when my family visited Sedona. The charger was in a zip lock bag along with the cord that connected my MP3 player to my car audio, and a USB port to charge my phone. None of these items have been seen since. Sedona must have swallowed them. Maybe they are in a vortex (haha just kidding).

I was unable to find ANY Canon chargers any where even though I called every store in the county that might have one, and scoured the Canon website. Universal Canon chargers exist, but I couldn’t get one shipped in time for us to leave, so I ended up buying a whole new camera.

I’m really glad I did! This camera takes wonderful pictures without me having to do much work. It also has some fun features like “fisheye” and “toy camera.”

Anyway, this whole long-winded post is so I can express my appreciation for the company. I put off taking my poor broken but beautiful machinery to the Canon repair shop for more than a week because I was afraid it would be expensive to fix the stuck lens.

But when I got to the repair shop, they took my sad broken camera and said they would not fix it, but would send me a new camera because I am under warranty for a year! Hooray!  I was told it would take exactly a week for a new camera to arrive at my house, but I got the package two days early!

And even though I had taken out the battery, SD card and had the cords and accessory CD at home, they sent all new ones with my shiny new camera so now I have an extra battery I can carry around in case the first one runs out!

Thank you, Canon, for making a girl happy before the holidays!

Canon is probably not the only great camera maker. It seems a lot of bloggers are on Nikon. If you love your camera, tell me why in the comments!

*This post is not sponsored by Canon. They don’t even know that I’m writing it. But since it’s post-on-what-you’re-thankful-for-week the timing felt right*

Thankful: frosted and freezy

In honor of Thanksgiving, and in hopes of being a happier person, I am doing a few posts on what I am thankful for.

I live in CA and while (I think) the reputation of our weather is “Sunny 70 degrees” all the time, the reality is that it does get really cold.

*Now’s a good time for a disclaimer. I’m a bit of a weather nerd. I don’t know what meteorologists actually do, but I like to look at pretty graphics of weather forecasts*

In SoCal we don’t get cold enough for snow, but it’s still frigid enough that I need a scarf, two shirts and a jacket sometimes to go outside. It’s cold enough to turn on the heater. And I’m not far from real snow.

Looks like snow, right?? It totally isn't. I don't know what it is. But it was windy that day.

But that’s one thing I’m thankful for. I’m thankful, first of all, that I am able to appreciate the small things in life — the things we often take for granted or don’t think about.

I’m thankful that we do have rain, cold, sun and trees that change colors and seasons. I’m thankful for the beauty in nature, and for remembering to stop sometimes and appreciate the sky, or the frost on the leaves.

And thankful for talented photographers like SKPhotography for sharing their images. If you get a chance, swing by frosted ¬ę Personal Perceptions.

I’ll be back tomorrow. Stay warm, my friends!

See that? SNOW!