If There be Thorns by V. C. Andrews

Posted in Books, Read

The third book in the Dollanganger saga, If There be Thorns, by V. C. Andrews was yet another spellbinding read.

As the story continues, we find Chris and Cathy living in California with Cathy’s sons, Jory (14) and Bart (10) as a happy family.  Chris is a doctor, Cathy is a ballet instructor, Jory is a dancer, and Bart is a clumsy, imaginative lad.  They live next door to an old abandoned mansion, separated by a large wall.  The boys have made this “their” playhouse.  That is, until one summer day there are construction workers repairing the house and making it ready for its new mistress to move in.  When the Lady in Black finally arrives, with John Amos – the butler – in tow, Bart finds solace in the fact that she loves him dearly no matter how clumsy or ugly or unlovable he believes himself to be, and he becomes very entranced by John Amos and what he tells him.  As the story progresses, Bart begins to act erracticly, even for him.  Everyone worries about him and his mental health, but only Jory knows that he is going over to the Lady in Black’s house all the time.  The storytelling prowess of V. C. Andrews will leave you turning the pages long after you should have put it down.  Will Cathy discover who the Lady in Black really is?  Will Bart succeed in John Amos’s plans to exact his own revenge on everyone?  Will Chris and Cathy’s secret be exposed to the world?

When the book begins, Cathy tells us about their move and where they are now.  Then she hands the narration over to Jory and Bart since it is “their story now.”  The first couple of chapters are easy enough to follow, as they are titled with the name of the child telling the story.  But as the book progresses, you have to figure it out on your own, which isn’t too difficult for the most part.  I did find, however, that reading Bart’s part of the story was a little more difficult to follow than Jory’s simply because he is a younger child and prone to not only exaggerations, but also to imaginative tall tales.  His vernacular is also a little hard to follow, though that tends to get easier the more you read into the book.

All in all, I would say that this book would get a three star rating from me.  It was well told.  The plot line wasn’t as intricately woven as the previous two books, but it still kept me hungry enough to keep reading until I was finished.  If you enjoyed the first two books, Flowers in the Attic (my review found here) and Petals on the Wind (my review found here), then you should enjoy the third book in the saga, as well.

Petals on the Wind by V. C. Andrews

Posted in Books, Read, Reviews

In the second book of the Dollanganger series, Petals on the Wind by V. C. Andrews, the three surviving Dollanganger children, Chris, Cathy, and Carrie, have escaped their attic prison.  They are running to Florida to join the circus when chance lands them on the doorstep of small town doctor, Paul Sheffield.  He takes them in to treat them for their arsenic poisoning.  Dr. Sheffield can’t help but fall in love with the children, all in their own way, and formally become their guardian.  He puts Chris through college and med school to become a doctor.  Cathy attends ballet classes and eventually moves to New York to fulfill her dream of becoming the next great prima ballerina.  Carrie stays on with Dr. Paul, as she affectionately calls him, and becomes his secretary.  As their lives progress, Cathy has plans of her own to exact revenge upon the mother that locked them in the attic all those years ago.  She does everything she can to make sure she gets her revenge on the one who abandoned them, the one she blames for Cory’s death.  Will she ever get her revenge?  You’ll have to read yourself and find out!

If I thought I was up all night to read the first in the series, Flowers in the Attic (which I reviewed here), then I really didn’t sleep while reading this one.  I just had to keep reading to see what happened next and to find out if Cathy ever got her revenge, or if she ended up forgiving their mother, which is what Chris kept trying to get her to do.

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

Posted in Books, Read, Reviews

In Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews, four children’s lives are suddenly shattered when their father is killed in an automobile accident and their mother whisks them away to her parents’ estate.  She tells them she is going to hide them away in a room and the attic until she can win back her father’s affection and is written back into his will.  Only after that has happened will she bring them out of hiding and let them meet their grandfather.

Cathy and Chris, the older children, are left to look after their twin siblings, Cory and Carrie, while their grandmother brings them food each morning to last them throughout the day.  They begin to take on the role of mother and father.  They turn the attic into a wonderful play area and spend their time thinking of how happy they are going to be once their mother inherits everything from her ailing father.  They find out their mother was disinherited because she eloped with their father, her half-uncle!  As the days turn into weeks, months, and even years, the children begin to suspect they will never be let out of their room again.

This is the first book in the Dollanganger five book series.  This book had me turning the pages long after bedtime.  I couldn’t wait to reach the end and see if they ever got out of the attic or not.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast paced reads and series of books.

Also in the Dollanganger series:

Bullying Just Got Personal

Posted in Kids, Life

I would like to start off by saying I am against bullying.  Always have been.  Always will be.  I am not raising my kids to be bullies.  I am not raising my kids to be bullied.  I am raising my kids to be against bullying, bullies, and to do what they can to stop and/or prevent bullies from bullying others.

As a child, growing up where I did and going to school where I did, I was a victim of bullying.  I didn’t let it affect me.  I saw others being bullied and I would step in and let them pick on me as opposed to the other person.  I felt that I had the mental capacity to handle it and not let it get to me like it seemed to do others.  I’m sure I did a little bullying myself.  Every kid does while they are trying to find their niche.  Am I proud of it?  No, of course not.  Was I aware that I was doing it?  No, of course not.  Did I even think of it as bullying?  No, of course not.  But I am guilty myself, just as a lot of other people are and they don’t even realize it.

I have worried about my children being bullied.  Every parent does.  With us being in the oilfield, we move around a lot.  That means that my children change schools a lot.  My daughter is in fifth grade and my son is in fourth grade.  The school they are currently attending is their fourth school in six years.  It is our intention to not make them change schools again, but as much as we don’t want to move again, in the oilfield there are no guarantees.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the subject at hand.  Bullying.  I’ve worried they would be bullied, and with them being the “New Kids” in school a lot, it is a bigger concern for me.  I was the New Kid a lot.  The New Kid is usually the first one to get picked on and bullied.

I have taught my children to always stand up for themselves and to be strong and stand up for others.  Even when it is hard.  Do the right thing.  Put yourself in their shoes.  I know that that could also put them in the direct line of fire.  They were studying tae kwon do for a while.  They didn’t make it all the way to their black belt before we moved, but they made pretty decent progress.  Both were blue belts before we left.  I am hoping to get them back into it pretty soon.  We are just trying to find the right place with the right instructor here in San Antonio.  I bought them each a Stomp Out Bullying bracelet from the store (proceeds go to stompoutbullying.org) and they both proudly wear them every day!

For the past couple of months, my nephew, who is a vibrant outgoing child of five, has become more withdrawn from everyone and has been having trouble in school.  He wouldn’t ever tell anyone why, he would just say, “I don’t know.”  That was his explanation for everything.  Why wasn’t he doing his work anymore?  ”I don’t know.”  What is wrong?  ”I don’t know.”  He lost all interest in going to school.  Why don’t you want to go to school anymore?  ”I don’t know.”  He recently started getting into more and more trouble at school.  To the point that my sister has a meeting with the counselor, vice principal, his teacher, and herself this afternoon to discuss everything.

She has noticed that most of the time when he is getting into trouble it is during his “specials” class time.  PE, Art, Music, Computer Lab, etc.  So she went up to the school yesterday to sit and observe him in his special class.  Lo and behold, she has identified the problem.  Another child in his class has been bullying him.  It has gotten progressively worse, evidently, and is at the physical stage.  This little boy went out of his way to cross the gym to where my nephew was to try and slam his head into the concrete wall.  For no reason.  Other than he doesn’t like my nephew.  Another little girl, in his class, tripped him to “fall” on top of him.  The gym teacher is only one person, in charge of three classes of kindergarteners.  She can’t see everything all the time.  She saw the little girl trip and then “fall” on my nephew and she got scolded.  However, the little boy that tried to slam his head in to the wall was unobserved by anyone other than my sister.  She noticed that before he did anything to her son he looked around to make sure that the teacher wasn’t looking.  She also informed me that another child in my nephews class has told my nephew that he wouldn’t play with him and wouldn’t be friends with him because he is a white kid.

I do not believe in identifying people by their race.  My children know that there are different races, but they don’t identify people by their race.  They don’t think it makes them different.  My nephew lives in a predominantly black community and is the only white child in his class.  My nephew has never seen race as something that makes someone different.  He has black cousins, mixed cousins, a mixed aunt.  From personal experience (I went to the same schools years ago that he is currently going to) and being white is a big thing for the other students.  White people are looked down upon in that community.  Is it right?  No.  Do I agree with it?  No.  Does it happen?  Yes.

Hate is being taught in all forms.  We, as parents, are the only ones that can put a stop to that.  Do not teach your children to hate.  Do not teach your children to bully others.  Do not teach your children to stand by and watch people get bullied.  Teach your child to stand up for themselves.  Teach your child to stand up for others.  Teach your child respect for themselves and others.  Teach your child to Stomp Out Bullying!

Sore Muscles will Pay Off

Posted in Life, Training/Weightloss

So, I posted the other day about starting training for an upcoming 5K in my area, the Color Me Rad 5K.  I am so excited to actually do this 5K.  I started training for it yesterday, and boy do I feel it today!

I have downloaded both the C25K® – 5K Trainer FREE – Zen Labs app and the 5K Runner: 0 to 5K run training – Clear Sky Apps LTD app. I was afraid that if I just started right in on using one of those apps, I wouldn’t be able to even really get through the first day of it since I have been pretty inactive since me moved back in June of last year. I know that if I failed to successfully complete just the first day, the easiest day, I would become discouraged and possibly just give up. So this week, instead, I am working out a little at the house and will start with those apps next week.

I weighed myself yesterday morning, and took two pictures that will become my “Before” pictures, to be posted alongside my “After” pictures once the 5K is done. I know that I will be slimmer, trimmer, firmer, and more fit by then. I have a couple of things that I am doing at home right now, though. First, I generally watch one or two full tv shows a day (depending on the day, give or take one either way), so I am using a TV Commercial Workout Plan for those episodes. It may not be much, but it’s more than I was doing last week. Here’s what that plan looks like:

I’m also using another app that I downloaded (for free) to my laptop. Personal Workout – AppicDesign has been working my butt off (hopefully I’ll see those results soon!) yesterday and today. My legs were sore today from yesterday’s workout, and my arms were a little bit heavier. I pushed through the pain, though, and finished another workout today! Tomorrow I will do a different one, and will continue to alternate them until I start using one of the 5K specific apps. I am hoping to be able to do the 5K training those days, and then use the Personal Workout on the other days. I hope that made sense. It did in my head, anyway.

So today my legs still feel like jelly, my arms feel like lead, and later this afternoon I am going to have one of the kids time me for Planking. I am going to start doing a PlankADay (Thanks, Slim, for the idea) and gradually work my time up on those. She is up to over six minutes a day! Way to go!

The closer to finishing the 5K training apps I get, or once I finish those training apps all together, I am going to start working my way up to this pretty picture that someone posted this morning on one of the Facebook groups I am a member of:

Looks pretty brutal, huh? When I finish my 5K training, and running the actual 5K, and I can successfully do The Ninety-Nine, I will feel as if I have really accomplished something and will feel so much better about myself. I can’t wait!

Do you want to take this journey with me?

A New Beginning! A New Me!

Posted in Life, Training/Weightloss

It’s official.  I am a fat, lazy, out of shape American.  I haven’t really done too much physical activity since we moved to San Antonio.  Before we moved, I was going to tae kwon do a couple of times a week and I slimmed down quite a bit.  I even went to a special Tuff Girls class for a while and toned up even more.  But now I am so out of shape it’s not even funny.  I’ve been trying to motivate myself to get up off my rump and do something about it.  I just haven’t really found the motivation or inspiration that I needed.  Until now!

I’ve read several things about a 5K called Color Me Rad.  I’ve even seen a few of my friends on Facebook post after they have participated in, and finished, this particular 5K.  I’ve been a little jealous.  Come to find out, there’s a Color Me Rad 5K here in San Antonio at the end of June!  So guess who is going to start training tomorrow for it?  That’s right!  This chick right here!!  Oh, yeah!  It’s going to be weeks and weeks of hard grueling make me want to fall down dead work, but it will be so worth it to cross that finish line!

Tomorrow, before I start training, I will take a Before picture (because I know that along this journey I will tone up and slim down and look better than I have in years!), although I won’t be posting it for a while.  Not until I have a nice little After picture to post right along side it.

I will be making a new Category here on the blog for my personal training/toning/weightloss/whatever you want to call it journey.  This will be the first of SEVERAL posts (most of them probably whining about how much it hurts and how I just want to quit) that will go there.  I hope you enjoy this journey with me.  Hell, jump in and start your own!  You never know, one day that ONE 5K that you just can’t pass up could be coming to your town soon.  Get ready for it!

Lunch with the Girls

Posted in Life

I met up with some wonderful women, and fellow oilfield wives, for lunch today.  We went to Carino’s.  As soon as the last of our group showed up and ordered their drinks, the lights went out!  They lost all power.  The wind here is crazy today and has been causing electrical issues all day.

After a few minutes of no power, the natives were getting restless.  Finally, after the manager came over and personally told us what was going on and that he was sorry and would try and get everything taken care of as soon as possible, the lights came back on.  We ordered our food, and our silly little waitress was unsure how she was going to get us our soup and salads before the main course because their system was down.  You don’t know how to walk over there and make a salad and scoop some soup into a bowl and just add it onto the ticket later?  Really?

We finally got our food, and after much gabbing (what do you expect when you get a bunch of women together), we were all very full and ready to take a nap.  We paid our bills, said our goodbyes, and drove to our respective homes in this horrible wind, which, by the way, almost pushed me into a concrete barrier on the freeway.

Now I am sitting at home, with my wonderful husband, who goes back to work day after tomorrow, typing this up, and enjoying the last little bit of time that we have left together before his mistress takes him away again.

The Girls

Lazy Days

Posted in Books, Husband, Life, Oil Field

So today has been a pretty lazy day around the house. I got dressed long enough to go to the grocery store and pick up a couple of things for dinner tonight and tomorrow night so I wouldn’t have to worry about doing that tomorrow. Instead, I can focus on spending the last couple of days I have my husband home for with him doing what he wants to do.

We’ve had copious amounts of coffee. We are currently taking a short break from watching The Walking Dead on the DVR. We’ve recorded the season so far and just haven’t had a chance to watch any of it with him being gone so much.

The kids went and rode bikes with one of their friends from a couple of streets over for a while. They missed out on the first couple of episodes. Sucks to be them!

Tomorrow, it is back to getting ready to tell him goodbye again. I’ve got to get his uniforms washed and ready to go. I also have to make sure that I have the things to make his lunches for the next couple of weeks. The last day or so of his days off are always so bittersweet. We get to spend plenty of time together, but we both know that it won’t be long before he is gone again for at least two weeks, sometimes longer.

I started reading another book this morning while sipping my coffee. Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews. It is the first book in the Dollanganger series. I’ve read the series a couple of times, but it has been a while so I am reading them again. Should have a few book reviews to look forward to sometime soon.

Oh!  As an added bonus, I finally figured out TODAY how to add the Subscribe feature to my blog.  Go me!  Do a happy dance!  So if you look to the left, just under the About Me section (yup, right there where my picture is), you can now subscribe to my blog.  Just enter your email address in that little box, click the ok button, and you will begin getting my wonderful posts right in your inbox!  You’ll never miss another boring word I write again!  How awesome is that?

Announcing the Winner!

Posted in BzzAgent, BzzCampaigns, Coupons, Life

In one of my last blog posts, found here, I was hosting a giveaway for a $5 coupon for the Schick Hydro Silk razor. I received both the razor and eight coupons for free for being a BzzAgent! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any actual entries. Boo on you! Haha!

So instead, since I don’t have a winner, I am going to randomly stick them on the razors at the store. I currently have four of them left. So, if I stick three on the packages at the store, that will leave me one to giveaway to one of you, my wonderful, loyal, and seemingly non-existent blog readers! One random commenter shall be the lucky recipient of an awesome coupon. Yay! So get to commenting!