June Read: The Alchemist- Finished, and Loved It!

“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves His children.
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist p.103

What a nice, uplifting, positive book! A fast read, but deep. Pick this book up to join Santiago, the Andalusian shepherd boy as he travels from Spain to the Pyramids of Egypt to discover his treasure.

Here’s quite a Life Nugget, if this doesn’t sum up what it feels like to start making your own decisions in life, I don’t know what does:
“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” (p. 68)

So, keep making those good choices. You know which ones they are- the healthy ones. All the little good choices you make are like streams of goodness leading to your river of what is your very own ocean Overall Good. Been making bad choices lately? Little choices that are not healthy? Big ones, maybe? They are draining your ocean of Good. Fill yourself with what is good. Be carried away by currents of goodness.

One of my most favorite parts of the adventure is the story that the alchemist tells Santiago just before the two part ways (page 156 in my book) and begins with these words:
“I want to tell you a story about dreams,” said the alchemist. The boy brought his horse closer…” My. Favorite. Part. If you have the book, go look it up, right now!

And my favorite line from the book:
“Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” (p.58)

Does Santiago’s quest end with riches and treasure, as the Gypsy woman, the king, and the alchemist all suggested? You have to read the story to find out. One of my last favorite lines from the book was this:

“(Because) wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

Get into a good book!
Get into a good book!

Shhh… don’t tell the 14-Year-Old Boys I’m Watching Marvel’s “Agent Carter”

Because they think it is FUNNY to tell you SPOILERS about the shows you may be catching up on. THE TWERPS! No lie, The Boy and his friend texted me a bunch of things that would happen during the finale of “Agents of Shield.” I’m still mad…

image from google.com
image from google.com

Needless to say, I wasn’t about to tell them that I started the “Shield” prequel “Agent Carter,” which picks up the Marvel universe storyline from shortly after we lose Captain America in the 1940’s. The show follows the life and adventures of Agent Peggy Carter, fighting for respect from coworkers almost as much as fighting to uphold the ideals of the free world. IMDB sums it up so: “In 1946, Peggy Carter is relegated to secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). When Howard Stark is accused of treason, he secretly recruits Peggy to clear his name with the help of his butler, Edwin Jarvis.” You can watch the last four episodes, including the season finale, on abcgo.com, if you are so inclined.

Some of the best lines from the show are given to Angie, one of the girls who lives in the apartments for women with Peggy Carter:

Angie Martinelli: These rolls keep for three days. Four if it’s cold and you put them out on the windowsill.
Peggy Carter: Oh, glad to hear it. I don’t often steal food.
Angie Martinelli: Are you kidding? Carol once fit a whole chicken down her sweater.

and:

“(Showing Carter around the apartment building) Hi, Mary! That’s Mary. She’s a legal secretary at Goodman, Kirksberg and Holloway. Evelyn. Evelyn is a lounge singer at a club in midtown. Hi, Sarah! That’s Sarah. She’s a slut.”Angie Martinelli

and more:

“I got a bottle of schnapps and half a rhubarb pie; let’s see which one makes us sick first.”Angie Martinelli

I began writing this post after starting “Agent Carter” early last week, intending to finish it and the series in about 10 days or so. Nope! All done! Great show, lots of fun. Looking forward to season two. It is on the high end of violence for me… as a matter of fact, there was a scene in the penultimate episode that reminded me of a (terribly violent, awful) scene in the movie “Kingsman- The Secret Service.” If you have seen both, you know what I’m talking about. Ugh. I’m more of a Rom-Com fan, and really surprised how much I’m enjoying this Marvel Comics universe.

Now… on to “Daredevil?” Just DON’T tell The Boy and his friend, please!

Housework vs. Binge Watching… there’s no choice here, really.

There is a big payoff when I catch up to my kids’ friends- the nagging ends. “Mrs. J, have you watched those movies I loaned you? Have you started Arrow yet? You are going to LOVE Daredevil!! WILL YOU PLEASE CATCH UP TO ME IN AGENTS OF SHIELD!” I think I have finally watched all of the Marvel movies and have almost finished going through my DVR’d Agents of Shield episodes. (one of the best lines from a show: “Perhaps we could have discussed this alone without all of Hufflepuff looking on”).

I have to admit, I did the same thing to some of these kids with the Harry Potter books- remember the childhood credo-” If you can dish it out, you gotta take it, too.” Years ago, the babysitters for my kids were great fun to talk with about the Potterverse.

another image straight from IMDB.com
another image straight from IMDB.com

Watched Iron Man 3 last night- loved it! Almost blinked and missed Stan Lee’s signature cameo, but I caught it. And I thought this movie had the best after-credits clip. I liked The Winter Soldier better, because it tied in so many of the sub-plots over the whole Marvel universe, but what do I know- maybe the new Avengers movie will tie into Iron Man 3? The Husband and I will try to catch it in the theater. But Iron Man 3? Loved it. Great character growth. I was too wrapped-up to note any favorite lines, whoops.

To wrap all of this up, I am a full-on fangirl now of the whole Marvel experience. Sigh. They got me, and I’m loving it. On to Agent Carter, Daredevil and the rest. Next time I look for a new show or movie to watch I’ll be choosing those that are NOT part of a huge, obsessively interwoven web of excitement. Again, I share the warning- don’t ask teens to recommend new TV shows or movies.

Popular Mechanics Magazine- Knowedge (and humor) for 14-Year-Old boys and Me… actually, anyone

IMG_6185IMG_6161On the flights home Saturday, I thought for my New Thing O’ The Day that I ought to pick up and read a different magazine- cover to cover, one that I had never considered before.

Popular Science looked great, but that would be cheating since I had read that before, but Popular Mechanics looked really good, too. I’d poke my eyes out before reading a gossip rag. I really DON’T care which celeb is popping encapsulated gold leaf so they can literally poop gold.

IMG_6163Check out some of the fun stuff I learned on a two hour flight:

Big Ol’ fold out section all about hammers. Now I know more about hammers than you, ha!

IMG_6165A really informative article all about the Lego company- from its beginnings to the MIT designing the programable bricks and their own feature movie.

IMG_6168
A “Field Guide to Life” section designed to teach anyone at any age how to do something… like

IMG_6167IMG_6166Butcher a pig, for ages 46-59, (my age demographic, here!) build a stone wall, play poker for money, or identify edible plants… I like that plant stuff. And poker. I’m not offended that the pig butchering was not in my age group.

IMG_6182Some of the best and most humorous writing though, was in the shorter info-graphic-y sections like “How Your World Works- How High Can I Get Up In A Lawn Chair With Balloons?” No author credit is given, but credit needs to go to whoever wrote this section- it was funny.

And…

IMG_6180IMG_6181The best- in the Skills section, which has the lead in “Found a dangerous piece of heavy machinery with the keys in the ignition? Here’s what to do next.”- “How to Drive Anything”- complete with Action Hero Bonus information! Alexander George, I like your writing. Please keep this up. Signed, a 48-year-old mom of teens. One of the best lines: “Tanks are not good for Fast getaways.” Duly noted. Thank you.

IMG_6172And another Skills article, a Q and A “Ask Roy” which covered noisy neighbor fixes and dangerous building advice…

There were a boatload of more interesting pieces in this month’s Popular Mechanics, not the least of which include an article explaining Blackberry’s QNX operating system, another explaining how some of the directors of “Furious 7” got an amazing action shot for the latest movie in the franchise,IMG_6185 a short but cool look at the 2015 Corvette (cool, but I’m a Mustang girl), and a TOTALLY SLICK look at what a 1965 Fender amplifier looks like, all exploded out for you to see each part.

My son will love this magazine now that I’ve finished it. I liked it so much that I think I’ll actually order a magazine again- we both would love this if these all represent how this publication usually rolls out.

Should I be worried that a lot of my interests align with those of a 14-year-old boy? I’ll reflect upon that question a little later… Top Gear’s Africa special is on and begging to be watched.

Road Trip- The Theatre Company, Upland California

Three moms met at the High School, loaded a couple hundred costumes into their SUVs, then blew out of San Diego for the 100+ mile trek to Upland. A couple hours later, they were unloading, chatting as they worked quickly. Speeding through the costumes, maternal instincts motivated these women, for they all had either children participating in holy services at school or children home from college. Nothing gets done more quickly than tasks done by moms with the desire to see their kids, no matter how old these children are. Before completing the “dump and run” return, they learned that one of the owners has been “involved in theater for about 429 years and could make a set out of toothpaste.” Believe it! The Theatre Company was a great place to work with for organizations on a tight budget.

A regular and an owner? Details to be filled in soon...
A regular and an owner? Details to be filled in soon…
Phew! All done!
Phew! All done!

The Theatre Company in Upland, California was a long drive for the three of us, but it felt good to lend a hand and spread the workload between many helpers. At least one of the moms had made this trip a couple times already. Great programs need the participation of a lot of energetic families, and I am thankful to be part of a big, uplifting, caring drama family. The two women I helped today are two of several that I wish I had taken the time to get to know better. They are worth their weight in gold and are two of many reason why I love this high school.

It has been a pleasure, ladies!

Apple Tasting- Thanks for playing along, House Crew!

This weekend was spent hanging out at a high school theater with a bunch of students running almost everything. The parents just tried to stay out of the way, helping where the Kid In Charge told you to work, and when they found down time? To keep them from hazing the new students- it is fine for the make up girls to take a willing freshman boy and do him up, but not fine if duct tape is involved.

Sarah and and a Student-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless!
Sarah and and a Student-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless!
Toju contemplates how much he disliked that Ambrosia...
Toju contemplates how much he disliked that Ambrosia…

I bugged the kids to eat a bunch of different apples with me so I could cram in a new thing for the day. I deny going “on and on about a blog,” Student-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless, but will happily try to embarrass you by posting photos of you and your friends, ha.

We had in our lineup the following varieties for the students running the front of the house and concessions to try:

Ambrosias- “oh gosh, that’s nasty!” and (indicating one of their friends) “she likes it, I bet she has a ‘refined palate’ and likes sophisticated foods,” and ” isn’t ‘ambrosia’ supposed to mean ‘food of the Gods’? Blech!”
Jazz- good
Cripps Pink- a favorite of several
Piñata- yum, but had a big bruise
Cameo- yuck, mealy, (insert soud of spitting into the trash… drama students can be dramatic)

Ambrosia wins for the best lines, Cripps overall.

I’m tired, the show is over, all the students are crying with post-show depression and this blog post is late.
It’s been a great weekend!

Throwing in this extra photo because these are great people!
Throwing in this extra photo because these are great people!

Big Goal Reached- First 5K is the Hot Chocolate Run!

Me peeking into the photo, about to run...
Me peeking into the photo, about to run…
Why wouldn't you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?
Why wouldn’t you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?

Holy cow, this was fabulous! Especially since my Official-Running-Coach-turned-Official-Chauffeur joined me… can’t beat that at 5:30 in the (fill in your preferred explicative) morning. “Yes, dear. Drive me to Padre Stadium at the crack of dawn, thank you.”

A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..

There were all kinds of people running or walking the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15/5K– I loved seeing the kids and parents! The DJ pumping up the crowd at the start line tried his best to keep up with congratulating children running their first race. My favorite thing (besides the chocolate) was the comments I overheard. Overall winner- the guy who asked volunteers handing out water “No thanks, I’m looking for the Chardonnay!” Close Second to the couple calling out to other volunteers and supporters with the bells and noisemakers, “Needs more cowbell!” Honorable Mention to the college girls who couldn’t believe they were there at 6:30, “That’s it, walk time, we are so not even running this!” Makes you wonder if they were just ending a long night without any sleep! You know why teen girls don’t go out in groups of three, five or seven? Because they can’t even. Ha!

Forget the goodie bag, here's the goodie bowl!
Forget the goodie bag, here’s the goodie bowl!
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate...
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate..

I’ve been using my family’s activities for an excuse not to do much for myself. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE the organizations, projects and competitions that my children and husband have chosen to challenge themselves. The teachers who led The Boy’s Academic Decathlon? Gold standard. Our community’s Rec Soccer? The best parents and coach. Don’t get me started on The Girl’s high school, I have several posts lined up on this blog for them alone. And The Husband’s work and biking friends? I thank God for them in particular. I just enjoy going along with everyone else’s plans and needs. You need a Helper Bee and not another leader? I’m there, just ask.

But, along with the theme of this blog, it is time to start branching out and learn new tricks for me. I wonder what next month’s project will be and where it will lead me? :oD

Happy day to you all, and thanks for reading!