November 29, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures: I Heart Scrabble

I feel like a love of books and a love for scrabble go hand in hand. I don't think I've ever met someone who loves to read, but doesn't like to play Scrabble. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love all board games, but one of my top favourites is without a doubt, Scrabble. I will gladly play anyone willing - in person and on my phone. Actually, my lack of blogging as of late can be partly contributed to my obsessive playing of Words With Friends (Scrabble copy-cat) on my phone. In 3D life, my favourite person to play Scrabble with is my sister-in-law, Patty. We both share an equal passion for the game. It's hard to beat her and I love the challenge. Plus, she doesn't cheat to win. I hate cheaters. What's the point?

I've been playing some form of Scrabble for as long as I can remember. I started with Scrabble Junior until I was wise enough to start playing the adult version. Everytime I see a new or different version of Scrabble for sale, I want it. But I only own 3 versions: Scrabble deluxe which has a lazy-susan type board, travel Scrabble, and Book Lovers Scrabble. But then the other day I was at Value Village and I stumbled across these vintage beauties:

Scrabble Crossword/Dominoes circa 1975

Scrabble Sentence Cube Game circa 1971
It doesn't even look like it has ever been played!

When I saw these on the shelf I grabbed them so fast and held them to my chest, looking out the corner of my eye at the lady scanning the shelves next to me like, "THEY'RE MINE, THEY'RE MINE! I SAW THEM FIRST". Pretty sure she thought I was more than a little crazy. I actually don't know if these are considered *vintage*, but come on - I didn't even know such versions of my favourite game existed! The boxes are a little banged up, but the pieces don't look like they've ever been used. And they were just 3 dollars a piece!

Now I just need someone to play them with. Jim actually said he'd play them with me, but I think he just felt bad telling me no after I came home and proudly showed them to him, excitedly asking him "WILL YOU PLAY WITH ME, WILL YOU!?" Sadly, my Book Lovers Scrabble (which was a wedding present from my bookstore manager - an awesome present I might add), has never been played yet either. 

So, who wants to come over and play Scrabble?

November 28, 2012

Audio Books: Round 2

The Confession, by John Grisham


After I read Defending Jacob, my manager at the bookstore asked me if it was similar to any of John Grisham's books. I told her I couldn't answer that because I've never actually read anything by John Grisham before. His books have always seemed more like crime solving fluff to me. I swear, I'm not a book snob, and I won't judge you if you like his books, but that's just how I've always thought of them as being - you've read one, you've read them all type of books. But then I got thinking that maybe, for the sake of my bookstore customers, that I should read at least one Grisham novel. Because what if I try to sell someone Defending Jacob and they ask me if it's like John Grisham, who they just love? I can stretch the truth when talking about books to my customers, but I cannot flat out lie.

So, and I promise this is going somewhere, then one weekend shortly after I had the above conversation with my manager, I was heading out to Red Deer and decided I was ready to give another audio book a shot. (My first audio book experience was a total fail, but I am determined to find a place for audio books in my life.) I didn't have my library card yet, so I went to the nearest Chapters on the hunt for the cheapest audio book I could find, but that was also something I actually wanted to listen to. Well you know who's audio books are some of the most inexpensive? Yup, Mr. Grisham's. So, I decided on The Confession. Cheap audio book plus "work related research" equalled win, win.

Looking back, this really was a great choice for my second audio book. The plot was easy to follow and kept my attention. Did my mind still wander? Of course, but not nearly as often as during my first audio book. Audio books are hard! You really have to pay attention, and I naturally have a wandering mind. The Confession took me about 3 weeks to listen to (I only listened to it when I was in my car), and this was a HUGE improvement over the SIX MONTHS the first one took me!

In The Confession, the crime has already been committed, and the young man, Donté, who has been charged with murder is on death row, only four days away from his execution. Keith, a young minister, receives a visit from Travis Boyette who confesses to the murder that Donté has wrongfully been accused of. Travis claims he is dying of an inoperable brain tumour and has for once in his sorry life decided that he wants to do the "right thing" by confessing to the murder. The catch is, Travis doesn't want to go to the police because while he wants to do the "right thing", he also doesn't want to spend his last few living months in jail. (*eye roll*). For whatever reason, Travis has decided to trust in Keith in getting the truth to the right people. 

I have no sympathy for a murderer trying to do the "right thing".

So we have your whole "race against time" story. Is Travis too late? I mean, 4 days isn't much time to prove his confession and get Donté exonerated. Can we even trust Travis to follow through with his confession? Will Donté's fate be changed? Is the death penalty a fool-proof system? Hmmm, aren't you just dying to know all these answers?! 

I noticed after I was done listening to this book that I had purchased the abridged version! At first I was pissed because WELL WHAT DID I MISS? But then once I calmed down, I realized, for a book like this, it probably didn't make a difference in the overall experience of listening to a book like this.

Stupid unabridged books. Who reads you?!

Now, would I ever listen to or read another novel of Grisham's? Meh, Probably not. Or at least not anytime in the near future. Oh wait, that's a lie! I *might* read Skipping Christmas next month because I own it and I want to read something Christmassy this year. But that's it. I'm sorry you had to listen to me babble on, really about nothing, and not even get a recommendation out of this. Except! If crime thrillers (and I use that term veerrrry loosely for this book, because it wasn't really high on the thriller end), are your thing, then I totally do recommend Defending Jacob. I really quite enjoyed that one.

November 25, 2012

Saigon Sundays: I Love You, Couch

When we lived in BC, we had my old brown couch upstairs in the computer room. At some point, Saigon started sleeping on this couch at night. He would put himself to bed on it, but most early mornings, he would sneak into our room. When we moved back to Alberta last year, this couch ended up in storage for a few months and then in our garage for several months more. When Jim and I couldn't find a new couch to buy that we loved, we decided to clean the couch with a rug shampooer, get a slipcover for it and put it in our family room until we found the couch we really wanted.

Well. After Jim spent 2-3 hours cleaning the couch, we brought it inside and if Saigon could "jump for joy", he would have. The cushions were still a little damp and I didn't want him on the newly cleaned couch until I had gotten a slipcover for it, so we propped the cushions up against the couch so they could finish drying over night. Saigon is usually pretty scared of anything "in his path", so I assumed this would be deterrent enough for him. I was wrong. My back was only turned for mere minutes. Never underestimate the love a dog has for his couch.

 Even after being "caught", he hunkered down and stuck his ground:

The couch is brown and Saigon is more grey, but in pictures, he blends right in!

There's no way that was comfortable, so I let him have his "moment" before making him come upstairs with us. Also, HELLO! - CLEAN COUCH!

Don't worry, the next day I picked up a slipcover and Saigon got his ol' couch back. He honestly seems more at peace, more content, now that "his" couch is back. God love him.

November 22, 2012

If Procrastination Was a Game, I'd Be Winning.

So needless to say, I haven't been blogging lately. And I haven't even really been reading. I am in a rut you guys. I blog all the time in my head, but when I have the time to sit down at the computer, I just don't have the energy to type all those thoughts out. It's not necessarily that I have a lack of free time in which I could read or blog, it's that when my plate is full, I'm tired, so instead I read other people's blog, waste time on Facebook and Twitter and play games on my phone. Actually, I've played a lot of games on my phone this past month. A lot. I know many people have a ton on their plates and are able to find balance, but I am not one of those people. When I have a lot on my plate, things like blogging, reading, cooking and house-work get neglected, and sometimes I have a hard time digging myself out of the rut I've fallen into.

This is all I want to do when I get home from work most days.

Here's a quick break down (list of excuses) as to why I've been not-blogging and not-reading:

  • I've been working two jobs. And yes, I appreciate that lots of people work two jobs, but this is about me here. For the past year I've been working part-time at a bookstore. I started one casual nursing position back in August, but once orientation was over, it didn't amount to any actual shifts. So I started another casual nursing position in October which has me working lots of orientation shifts and attending lots of learning work shops AND has the potential for me to pick up lots of shifts once I'm done orientation. It's fantastic, but very overwhelming! And trying to juggle that schedule with working odd-hour shifts at the bookstore was just getting to be too much. Not to mention I have a husband who apparently would like to spend more time with me and a dog that appreciates being walked everyday.  I NEED STRUCTURE TO THRIVE. I like routine. Routine allows me to be productive. For some reason, when I have no routine, that is when I become the master of procrastination and wasting time. So, sadly, it was time to let the bookstore job go and focus on my nursing career again. I have one shift left next week. While I will miss the bookstore tremendously, I am excited to not have the stress of trying to juggle both jobs.
  • I've started to over think my blogging and as I have gained more readers, I have become more insecure in my writing abilities. I am NOT a writer, I know this! BUT, I love books, and I do really love blogging. I need to stop treating my posts like book reports - over analyzing every little word and punctuation mark.
  • I am so behind in writing about the books I've read in the past 2-3 months that I am overwhelmed just thinking about writing about them. When I'm overwhelmed, I procrastinate even more. I know I could just skip the books I've read and start anew from present day, but I want to talk about those books. 
  • Jim has been bringing home work to work on most nights lately, work which requires him to use our one and only computer.  Obviously work that brings home a pay check takes precedence over blogging.

But wait, I have a plan! And writing said plan down is the first step, right?

Brie's plan to dig out of laziness and procrastination rut (because really, don't laziness and procrastination go hand in hand?):

1. Start writing what pops into my head and no looking back. I enjoyed The Grapes of Wrath readalong so much because I just wrote. No over analyzing, not much proof-reading, just write and post. Which I would also think reflects the true me because I'm writing without thinking about it too much.


2. Catch up by writing mini posts on all the books I've read but haven't talked about on the blog. This is important to me to do because part of the reason behind starting this blog was to work on remembering the books I read.

3. Bring back Saigon Sundays. Mostly because my sister keeps asking about them, but also because I love doing them.

4. Invest in a second laptop.

5. Inform husband about step #4.

Now I just have to stick to said plain...