My Blog, How I have missed thee

Yes, I’m still alive and mostly well!! I started grad school two weeks ago, and have been absolutely overwhelmed. I knew to expect a lot of work, but this is a bit much! My life outside of work has been dedicated to school—no blogging, no writing, very minimal sketching, and even less exercise (boo!).

I feel like I’ve managed my time a bit better this week so I’m going to take a moment to relate some of my recent activities.

On the reading front…

  • I’m almost caught up on Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. I’m holding off on the next book because once I finish that one, I will have to wait until July to read the next one.
  • I have gone back to the Scot Harvath series, written by Brad Thor. I’m reading Blowback now, and while it is good, Scot isn’t Gabriel, and Brad’s writing doesn’t have the in-depth, smooth flow that Silva’s does.

On the movie front…

  • I went to see London Has Fallen in the theater. I know, it got pretty crappy reviews, but if you’re in the mood for lots of action, this is the movie for you! Also, it doesn’t hurt that two hot guys in suits do an awesome job of staying alive and taking care of the bad guys.

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13 Hours: A Must-See Movie

13hours-finalposterToday I went to see the new 13 Hours movie. I have to say that it was just as good as the book. I’m not sure what movie the critics were watching (they weren’t so positive), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also have to say I was very impressed with my fellow moviegoers. The theater was packed! At the end of the movie, there was complete silence in the theater. You could have heard a pin drop. Even though I knew the outcome, I found the final scene very moving.

Despite your politics, I encourage everyone to either see the movie or read the book. The former special forces soldiers in the movie embody the definition of “hero.” They didn’t have to go help. They chose to fight for those who needed help. In fact, they wanted to go sooner than the CIA Station Chief allowed. Maybe Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith would still be alive had then been allowed…we’ll never know.

Jack, Rone, Tanto, Boon, Tig, and Oz (shouldn’t forget Bub either) deserve many thanks for going above and beyond…especially those who gave their lives. They were one talented group of men who worked so well together…it’s hard to say how many lives they did save based on their selfless actions.

Thank you! Thank you for your bravery and for making the absolute best of a horrible situation.

Still Alive, Just Away from the Blog

I’m still here…just haven’t made the time to post to my blog. I’m sorry for neglecting it, but it’s been a rather eventful week.

Work was absolutely crazy! I earned my pay and then some! I really hope this week is a bit more laid back than last.

On a better note, I got good news. Woohoo! (Insert happy dance) I found out that I’ve been accepted to Mercyhurst MercyhurstUniversity’s Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Intelligence Analysis. If you aren’t familiar with the program, here’s a link to it. Now, my fingers and toes are crossed that I get some financial aid. Grad school isn’t cheap! I’m going to start in the spring, and it looks like my first class will be Intelligence Theories and Applications.

So what else have I been doing with myself, you ask?? Not writing (sadly). I’ve been working on my Spanish. Thanks to Duolingo, I’m almost 50% fluent. My hope is to finish up Spanish and start Arabic. Yeah, that one’s going to be quite the challenge! If anyone can recommend a good online program/app, I’m all ears.  Continue reading

The Wrap: Vol. 4

I’m trying to get back into a routine with my wrap-up of the past week. 2 weeks in a row isn’t much of a pattern, but hopefully I’m off to a good start! It may be more challenging when the holidays get here. *grins*

Word to Describe the Past Week: Sneezy! I’ve been having sinus issues most of the week. I started taking Vitamin C and trying to drink more water. I really don’t need a cold or a sinus infection, but it seems something is making the rounds. Stay back! I don’t have time to be sickly!

Books: I just finished Striking Distance by Pamela Clare. Stay tuned – I will be posting a review of this romantic suspense novel. I will give you a clue – I really enjoyed it…thinking it will be 4 stars!

Writing: I hate to admit that I’ve been a slacker this week. I think I only managed 500 words on my NaNoWriMo story. Ugh. I am way behind my goal. However, I have another story bouncing around my head (go figure, right), and I re-read one of my M-M stories that ‘s 75% done.  I decided I’d like to have it done by the end of the year so it can be released in time for Valentine’s Day. It is a prequel to Wild Horses. I really need a snow day or two so I can stay home from work and write!

TV/ Movies: Still addicted to Arrow. Ah, Stephen Amell… Sadly I cancelled my subscription to HuluPlus. I was having too many issues with it (unreliable), and they pulled Teen Wolf Season 3 – not cool!!

I also had a chance to watch Skyfall again. While I liked it, I think my favorite Bond movie where Daniel Craig is Bond would be Casino Royale.

Anything else? I’m trying to think…there isn’t much else notable to report. I’m still spending quality time in the gym. I’ve actually been pretty sore; I started a new workout that has me lifting heavy. I also got new running shoes – they rock! They are lightweight and have lots of cushioning. Willow is doing fine. She has done nothing but sleep today so I can only imagine what trouble she will find tonight! Wish me luck!

Sleeping_Willow_ED

Labor Day Weekend

Monday night, and I’m getting ready to head back to work bright and early tomorrow morning. I figured I would share what has occupied my time this holiday weekend. Maybe you did some of these same things!

Friday night, I met my friend Dawn at the movies. We saw the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I’ve read the books and was curious about the movie. I had some concerns going into it: I wasn’t sure about some of the actors picked to play the roles. I was totally psyched about Simon, but the rest… Needless to say, I really enjoyed it. The actors pulled it off wonderfully. I think the screenplay did the book justice and kept things moving. Lots of action and great special effects. I definitely recommend seeing it. A solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, Cathy and I headed to Reston, Virginia. We stayed at the Hyatt and had fun shopping at the stores in the Reston Town Center. I confess that Athleta was my favorite. We even checked out some classic Porsches that were on display. That evening we headed to Wolf Trap for the Sound of Music Sing-A-Long. It was a blast but really hot and humid. We left at intermission. I didn’t enjoy feeling like a sardine with little leg room and hard seats.  Continue reading

What a Weekend!

I need another weekend to recover from this past weekend! So here’s the breakdown:

  • Friday night was dress rehearsal for the concert on Saturday. We had a brass ensemble accompanying us on some of our pieces. It is amazing how easy it was for them to overpower a chorus of fifty singers. It took some time getting the dynamics correct. Despite all that, it was very cool to perform with them. I do confess, I was a bit concerned as we didn’t run the concert. There was a piece I really wanted to review that we didn’t go over. Crossed my fingers that we would do it Saturday before the concert.
  • Saturday ends up being an unseasonably warm day. Dry, too, thank goodness. We arrived at the church early to rehearse with the bell choir that was accompanying us on some of our pieces. That was very cool! The ringers were very talented. I played handbells at one point so I have a good appreciation of what they were able to do. Incredible!
  • The concert: standing room only (and yes, people were standing). From what I could hear in the alto section, it sounded great. I got several compliments about how well we did. The concert was longer than usual, but I don’t think people minded. We did get a standing ovation. Yay! Made all the hard work worthwhile. Well, that and seeing the smile on our director’s face when we hit things dead on – I doubt he could have been happier.
  • Saturday night – a group of us met for dinner at a local pizza place. It was nice to start relaxing after the concert rush. It was also nice to be out of my floor length black gown!
  • Sunday – a day of relaxation. For the most part! I did watch James Bond’s Quantum of Solace. Liked the car chase right at the beginning. What an awesome car!! Too bad Bond had to hurt it – LOL I hate to admit, too, that M was getting on my nerves. When will she learn to trust 007? Cutting off his credit cards? Sophomoric. I was a bit disappointed – I don’t recall seeing Q; although, I guess he made a name (or should I say a letter??) for himself in Skyfall.
  • Late Sunday Afternoon: The Spirit moved me to run. Can you believe it? No, I couldn’t either! The weather was still on the warm side and drizzly. I dressed in my tights and hat and looked forward to getting out there. I only ran about two miles and walked almost another mile (my knee started acting up – go figure). I felt refreshed and invigorated when I returned. I think the post-run hot shower had something to do with that as well!!

So is my need for another weekend now apparent? This upcoming weekend will be just as busy with lots of singing. Dress rehearsal Friday. Another dress rehearsal Saturday afternoon before a concert Saturday night. Concert Sunday afternoon. Then, choral singing will be done until after the first of the year. We get to perform Gloria by Randol Alan Bass with the Symphony. I am so excited about that!! It is going to rock!!

But for now, good night! I barely got six hours of sleep last night. I need to do better tonight.

Back to the Grind

Wow, Thanksgiving has come and gone. In what feels like in the blink of an eye, Christmas will be upon us. I managed to get spoiled having time off of work. I did some traveling, a lot of reading, and tried to catch up on my writing.

My NaNoWriMo story is coming along well. I’m behind my “ideal” word count, but I’m over 11K words. The way the story is progressing, I don’t see it being complete without being close to 50K words. If that is the case, it will be a record for me! I haven’t written anything that long before. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m hoping I can successfully blend mystery and romance without letting my readers down.

My writing time has been infringed upon by practicing the piano and rehearsing my music. Our choral group’s Christmas concert is December 8th (hopefully that date is a Saturday – you would think I would know…). Yikes! We have two rehearsals and then the dress rehearsal. I’m not panicking, but I definitely have some things to work on.

Tomorrow I get back to the work grind – and to getting up early. Yuck!! Oh, before I think about that, I’m on a James Bond kick. Do I need to admit I picked up the British version of GQ with Daniel Craig on the cover?? I watched Casino Royale today. Loved it! The man has some stamina – and no fear! I definitely had a laugh when he broke into M’s house. I cringed when he drank the poison. I think, overall, I liked it better than Skyfall. I could have done without Bond being tortured, but thankfully he survived. Oh, and we definitely didn’t get to see enough of his glorious body in swim trunks. Those scenes went by way to quickly *wink* I will give him credit for his nerves of steel at the card table. Wow!! I may have to re-evaluate Daniel Craig’s position in the list of actors who have portrayed Bond… hmmm….

Well, I suppose I should get my things ready for work. As much as I don’t want to stop enjoying my Sunday evening. Such is life, I suppose.

Casino Royale poster is courtesy of http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/File:Casino_Royale_poster.jpeg