Monday, August 29, 2016

This book was so insane that I read it twice


Recently, I read a book that has been on my mind a lot lately.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid has me struggling for words to describe it. I can only give a basic review because I don’t want to spoil the book for somebody else.
My decision to read this book started when I saw it and read the first few pages in Barnes and Noble. I almost brought the book right then.
The book begins with a man named Jake and his girlfriend (who narrates the book) driving on a dark night to meet his parents at their secluded farm. But something isn’t quite right because the girlfriend begins her narration with she is “thinking of ending things.”
Reading this book was kind of like watching an episode of “Criminal Minds” but you can’t talk about it with your friend because she has it on her DVR and doesn’t plan to watch until the weekend.
In the “Entertainment Weekly” review for it, the reviewer said “your dread and unease will mount with every passing page.”
For me, it did. It started with the narrator getting calls from “the Caller”. This person would call her phone constantly and leave the same message. And her call id showed the calls were coming from her home. This caused the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck.
By the time I finished the book, I could only sat there wondering what I had just read.
Brian Francis, author of “Fruit and Natural Order”, said it was “smart, dangerous and spooky as hell. Iain Reid takes you on a harrowing road trip that keeps you riveted until the final destination.”
I finished the book and started reading it again to help me fully understand it. It’s been awhile since I read something so oddly terrifying. I guess terrifying in a way it could happen. It was a great book and I truly suggestion you read it.
And if you are confused after reading it, visit afterthingsend.com for answers. 

DAILY DOSE
1. A good cup of coffee on a long day.
2. Finding out the day will not be as long as you thought.
3. Homemade cd mixes make the commute home fun!
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Adventures at the beach with the Road Junkie

I write a travel column for Duplin Times in Kenansville, N.C. called the Road Junkie. This is my August column, which talks about recent adventures in Carolina Beach.

The view from top of the double Ferris wheel!
Ciao!!!
Ever since I moved to Eastern North Carolina in 2001, I have always heard about Britts Donuts and how I should have one.
In addition to having a love for cupcakes, I also love doughnuts. I have been a diehard Krispy Crème girl since I was a child and have done an illegal u-turn for the “HOT NOW” sign.
Through the years, I read about Britts Donuts in various magazines and had tons of people describe them to me. Last weekend, I finally had a chance to eat one. It was part of an evening long adventure at Carolina Beach.
This adventure was planned by my coworkers Alan Wells and Nadya Nataly and included myself, Nataly’s boyfriend and one of Wells’ friends.
After arriving in Carolina Beach, we decided to ride the double Ferris wheel at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park while waiting for Wells. Not to sound like a certain 10-year-old boy  (my son) but it was awesome. It was so cool to see some of Carolina Beach from the top of the  Ferris wheel.
Yes, I’ll ride a double Ferris wheel in a parking lot but I’m not willing to travel across many of the bridges in this state. I guess I’m weird like that.
There were several other rides but we were content to just stick with the Ferris wheel. It was a nice way to start the evening.
The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is ranked as one of the top 10 boardwalks in this country by Food and Wine magazine. I can understand why, because it has various shops, restaurants and nightlife entertainment.
We decided to have dinner at the SeaWitch Café and Tiki Bar. It was an all-around great experience with lots of food, fellowship and live music from the band, Spare Change.
Remembering my promise for the “Year of Yes” and stepping out of my comfort zone, I ate food I wouldn’t have normally eaten in my regular life.
Ahi Tuna Nachos

 But that’s the beauty of having an adventure, it is a chance to do whatever.  I sampled the Ahi Tuna Nachos, which featured layers of sesame-seeded pan seared ahi tuna, wonton chips, mango pico de gallo, avocado slices, crunch shredded cabbage and spicy wasabi aioli.
All of this is a mouthful for someone who is not a foodie, but a bookworm. Those ingredients worked well together.
I also sampled the Carolina Coast Shrimp Bruschetta, which had the toast on the side.
I started out on the safe side by ordering eight jumbo fried chicken wings. I ventured toward the wild side by having four in teriyaki flavor and four in strawberry jalapeño. I will say the latter flavor was different but not something I would ever try again.
For my entrée, I was challenged to go big (by not ordering The Bacon Lover burger). I ordered Carolina Shrimp and Grits. The dish had shrimp sautéed in bacon, scallions, garlic and white wine cream sauce served over a cheesy grit cake. This was a very ambitious dish for someone who was content to order a bacon cheeseburger. I have always wanted to try shrimp and grits because how can you go wrong with a dish featuring grits.
Overall, it was ok. I wasn’t able to eat all of it but it was ok.

After dinner, we hurried with roughly 15 minutes to spare to get fresh doughnuts from Britts Donut Shop.
To say the doughnut was delicious, amazing and down right awesome would be an understatement.
It was kind of like ‘Krispy who?’
To anyone who knows me, the library is my happy place. One bite of that doughnut and it was ‘Britts is better than the library.’
After that very sweet treat, we headed to the Silver Dollar for karaoke and dancing.
I will be honest. I can’t sing. I was once told that I should use my singing voice to help torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
I know I am bad but I don’t think I am that bad. I was content to sit and watch others sing but Nataly wouldn’t let me do it.
With her in front of me cheering me on and her boyfriend beside me singing back up, I sang “Creep” by TLC. When I finished, I received applause and noticed nobody had bleeding ears.
Later, I provided backup to Nataly on “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice.

It was quite a Friday night. Before leaving Carolina Beach, I had a chance to put my feet in the sand.
Til next month, try to stay cool and have safe travels!
Overall, it was an awesome adventure that I wanted to share with you guys!

DAILY DOSE
1. Getting my library ready!
2. Enjoying the summer!
3. Adventures with friends!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Welcome to my home

Open up the champagne, pop!
It's my house, come on, turn it up
--My House
Flo rida

Cookbook corner in the kitchen
The last few months have been a blur of packing, moving and unpacking while still working full-time. It all came to a head last week when I finally took time for a proper vacation and ended with a sinus and ear infections.

My meds
I spent my vacation home sick. It was also the hottest week of the summer.



So I stayed inside and read but also unpacked and made my house look like a home.
It also gave me plenty of time to think and plan my upcoming "ribbon cutting" for my new library.
I would like to share what my new home looks like. It doesn't look like something out of House Beautiful but it's my little slice of heaven.
Here, at left, is my living room. There is no central heat or air in this house so the window a/c unit is here. This is where I am most days. To the right is my messy desk. I haven't had time to get my home office together.

From there, we head to the kitchen.


My kitchen
My kitchen book shelf
My son room is painted bright blue. The previous owner was colorblind and could only see blue and yellow.


I think he will like his room.
The room has a book shelf for his toys and books. But there is plenty of space in the room for a book shelf for me.
My room is still a work in progress. But I have a big enough closet for my clothes, shoes and purses. And with no air conditioning, I rely on my fan.
My bedroom

My closet
mini book shelf in room


future library

All of this mess, above,  is where my future library will go. Since there is no air conditioning back there and the windows don't open, I don't venture back here much. But with the ribbon cutting in September, I need to start getting up early in the morning and doing some work. The books for the library are currently in the pantry.
My books waiting for their library

Spare bedroom/storage area

This is the spare room. Right now, it came fully furnished with a bed and other furniture. I am using it for storage.

My home is a work in progress. I feel have accomplished a lot but there is still more to do.

DAILY DOSE
1. Blew a tire on my car and lived to tell about it!
2. So thankful for my house!
3. I'm going to have a library!!!!!!!

My new smile

I have great news. Last Monday (April 10), I got my new teeth.  They have definitely been a game changer. It is weird being able to smil...