Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Review - All The Light We Cannot See

Most of the books I review on the blog are out of obligation to a publisher or author and while I am grateful to have the opportunity to read and review books, sometimes the subject isn't necessarily one I would have chosen for myself.

Today, I bring you a brief review of "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. It is the first book I've chosen and read for pleasure in a long time and I am so glad I decided to splurge when I saw it sitting on the shelf at Sam's Club a few weeks ago.

I had heard about the book from a few different sources. I had seen it on the New York Times bestseller list in the Sunday edition of the NYT and it had been mentioned on at least one if not more blogs that I peruse from time to time. I really had no idea what it was about but figured it everyone loved it and it won a Pulitzer then it was probably good.

Y'all, this is seriously one of the best books I have read in years. I was captivated from the beginning. It moved me to tears, it made my heart race, it consumed my daily thoughts and often my dreams and I couldn't wait to see what was on the next page.

The book is set during World War II. It follows the lives of various people, but primarily a French girl names Marie-Laure and a young German boy named Werner. The story follows these two throughout the course of the war and tells the story of the trials they endure, the heartache they suffer and all they have to do to make it to the next day. I don't want to divulge much more because I wouldn't want to give the plot away and spoil it for you should you chose to read it. The stories are so intricate and detailed and I could so vividly see these people and the struggles of their lives.

If you are looking for a great book to read, look no further than "All the Light We Cannot See". I seriously cannot recommend this book enough. A tale for the ages.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Addition Part Two

I stopped by my parents' house last Friday to take some more photos and do an inspection of the progress. By the time Friday rolled around, I was expecting to see some framework up and so were they I think; but, the workers had not yet finished laying the cinder block for the foundation and so the progress wasn't as advanced as everyone expected it to be. That's usually how it goes in construction. Nevertheless, here are the pictures I took on Friday, July 24.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Banded Headbands

I've been meaning to write a post about the company Banded for a few weeks now, but haven't gotten around to it. So, I thought I would tackle that task today as there's not much exciting going on around these parts. 

Back in December, I went to buy some scrub bottoms to wear to and from my knee surgery. I figured they would be the easiest thing to pull on and off considering I didn't know how bendable my knee would or wouldn't be. I went by the Parkway Scrubs store at the corner of Governor's and the Parkway and found a couple of pairs for a really good price and when I went to check out, I noticed a display of headbands which caught my eye. I ended up buying a couple of headbands as well and have worn them over and over again when working out, or when I just want to pull my hair back or have a different style. They are super comfortable - the most comfortable of any headband I have ever worn. 

When I was post-Fourth of July shopping, I thought about my headbands and wondered if the company had any patriotic styled headbands and so I went shopping on their web site. Not only do they have headbands (and lots of different kinds), but they also have hair ties. So, I ended up buying two sets of hair ties and an American flag headband. 

My package arrived in the mail a few days later and it was only then that I realized that proceeds from Banded go towards feeding hungry children in Uganda. One headband or set of hair ties provides three meals. So, my purchase of one headband and two sets of hair ties provided nine meals for the children of Uganda. So, when I saw that, I felt even better about the purchase I made. 

If you are like me then you probably want or need new hair ties from time to time or maybe even a headband; so, I encourage you to remember Banded when you make a hair accessory purchase. You can also sign up for their email list which at the time I signed up offered a 15% discount on your first order. These are great not only for you, but also would make great gifts and it's all for a worthy cause. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Last Weekend

I'm finally taking a little time to write about the adventures of last weekend. It was busy and entertaining and there's was also downtime, all of which are a thumbs up in my book. On Friday night, I went to the area wide singing that was held at Lincoln Church of Christ. There was a good crowd of people there, including  Mamma Kay, the mother of my friend Erika, and I sat with her. After the singing, snacks were served, all of which were yummy. 

On Saturday morning, I watched some of the Tour de France and then recorded the rest so I could head out to run some errands. I stopped by the UPS Store to send of a package and then to Target to buy some school supplies and then to the movies where I saw Ant-Man. I had not been to the movies in what seemed like forever and I was glad I took the time to go. The movie was good and hilarious. I laughed many times and really enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The showing was in one of the larger theaters which apparently has two air conditioning units and one of them had gone out so the one remaining was struggling to keep the place cool. I either got used to the temperature or it did eventually cool off because I was never really uncomfortably hot and I really had a nice time at the theater. 

After the movie, I got my car washed and then headed home to finish watching the stage of the Tour. I tried to take a little nap, but Pippa was restless which meant I didn't get much sleep. Soon it was time to get ready for the evening adventures and I showered and got ready and soon left to pick up Erika. We were meeting up with our friends Candy and Kendra to celebrate Kendra's 32nd birthday. We had planned to go to a new spot, BJ's, and Erika and I got there about 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. The wait, however, was an hour and 20 minutes and so we ended up eating at Cantina Laredo instead. This worked out great for me because I love Mexican food and I had never eaten there before. The food was good, but the fellowship was better. It's always so much fun to catch up with my oldest and dearest friends. Erika and I made a stop by Ulta before hitting the road back home. It was such a fun evening and I look forward to doing it again next month for Candy's birthday. 

I promise Erika likes us. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Addition - Part One

I don't think I've mentioned it, but my parents are adding on to their house. It seems kind of weird since I've been wanting them to downsize for a long while now. The reason behind the addition is that my granddad has moved in with them.

My mom's dad, Bill, sold his house in Meridianville last month and moved in with my parents. They don't have an extra room at the moment and really my granddad needs some space of his own, so after much debate and changing of decisions, the final answer was to add on to my parents' house and have Bill move in.

For now, my dad sleeps on the couch and Bill sleeps in my dad's bed, but in two or three months time everyone will be back to having a bed of their own and things will return to some semblance of the new normal. I plan to chronicle the building of the addition here on the blog. I mean, after all, this is The Chronicles of Nat. I've long been intrigued by construction and love to watch a new project unfold, no doubt a trait I inherited from my dad's dad.

The project got started last week and is already moving along at a nice click. I'll have to rely on (and remind) my dad to take photos as well because I won't have time to make it out there every day, but do plan on stopping by each week.

I stopped by on Monday (July 20) and took the pictures below. The concrete foundation has been poured and the brick taken off the side of the house where the addition is going. Other than that, it doesn't look like much, but framing will be starting soon and then we will be well on our way. I hope you enjoy watching the addition go up as much as I will.

There is a port-o-potty and large dumpster in my parents' driveway. 

Inside the dumpster - full of brick.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Saturday on the Water and Other Ramblings

First of all, I'm still alive. I suppose that's the most important of the things. I've been super duper busy as of late which has left little to no time for blogging. Truth be told I haven't felt like even turning on the computer at night. I know I've mentioned it numerous times before, but after being on the computer at work all day, I just don't feel like turning it on at night. I'm gonna have to get used to it though because my graduate school classes start on August 19 and I will have to force myself to log on at night. 

I'm also having problems with my laptop as in it's about to die on me. I have been getting the black screen of death and it's living on a wing and a prayer right now so I've ordered another laptop which completely sucks because I don't have the money to spend, especially since I'm paying for this first semester out of pocket. I got approved for a federal loan, but am not taking enough hours this fall to use the money so I can't start using the loan money until the spring semester when I plan to take six hours. So, that's probably more information than you wanted to know about my schooling and computering, but there it is nonetheless. So, if anyone wants to contribute to my computer/school fund, just let me know. I'll be happy to accept your contribution to my future.

In other news, our Bible school class had a trip to the lake this past Saturday and it was so much fun! One of the couples in our class (Ray and Nancy) has a lake house in Rogersville and we spent a day out on the water soaking in the sun and having fun. I rode over with Paul and Leah. We left Huntsville a little after 9:00 a.m. and got to Rogersville around 10:30 a.m. When we got there, one group was coming off the water and soon a few others and I were on the boat heading out. I did some tubing and only fell off once which surprised me. After falling off the first time, I was certain I'd go flying off again because Ray like to take sharp turns which causes the tube to swing out wide and over the waves, but I did alright and surprisingly was not all that sore the next day. Christy tried wake boarding but was never able to really get up - but, she never gave up and we were proud of her for her valiant efforts. One of the coolest things about this trip out on the water is that Ray and Nancy's two dogs came out on the boat with us. They were so relaxed and just enjoying themselves. When we came back in, the dogs rode on the tube with two of the guys. It was incredible. I don't think The Pip will ever be that disciplined. 

After almost two hours on the water, we went back to the house to have some lunch. Ray smoked a Boston butt and Nancy made coleslaw, creamed corn, fruit salad, beans, deviled eggs, and banana pudding. It was all delicious. Not long after eating, we headed out on the water again. A few others rode the tube, but mostly we just cruised around on the lake which was nice as I do enjoy a boat ride! I wore a swim shirt with UV protection and didn't get burned at all which was smart of me. I got some sun on my legs, but nothing overbearing or painful. That might be a first for me. 

We headed back to Huntsville around 3:30 and stopped at Isom's Orchard on the way home so I could pick up some peaches which were eaten within a couple of days. We also stopped at Ollie's Discount Store in Madison which has a hodge podge of items and was a rather interesting place to peruse. I walked in the door of my house around 6:00 p.m. and was exhausted from a fun/eventful day. We are planning on one more lake day later this summer and I am certainly looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Photos From My Phone - July 2015 Edition

It's been a while since I've done a "Photos From My Phone" post; probably because most photos from my phone are added in to whatever I'm writing about. I did, however, find a few that I don't think have previously been posted and thought I would share them here today. 

Pippa is not spoiled.  

These chairs belonged to my cousin's grandmother and I bought them from her. They are super cute and comfortable. One day I may have them recovered but for now I'm sticking with the old fashioned floral. 

My cousin Tyler and I in a very blurry picture at his engagement party. I was feeling less than stellar and I'll blame my terrible looks on that. 

Finally found a Coke with my name on it. Still searching for the elusive Diet Coke with Natasha but for now, this Coke will do just fine! It was discovered in the cafeteria at work, in case you were wondering.

My favorite Toms and my white legs on a boat. 

Sometimes I color a picture with the pre-schoolers at church. 

The parking lot at work on Thursday, July 2 when I arrived. It was slim pickings that day. 

Pippa has a hard life.  

Did I mention she's not spoiled?