Friday, September 18, 2009

AND THE WINNERS ARE...The Smart One and The Pretty One

And the winners are:
I will be emailing you today for your addresses!
Please respond within 72 hours!

Giveaway~ Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley

President of the United States Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees appointed to the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill A Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won't have the guts to reject her -- Judge Pepper Cartwright, the star of the nation's most popular reality show, Courtroom Six.Will Pepper, a straight-talking Texan, survive a confirmation battle in the Senate? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? And even if she can make it to the Supreme Court, how will she get along with her eight highly skeptical colleagues, including a floundering Chief Justice who, after legalizing gay marriage, learns that his wife has left him for another woman.Soon, Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. Supreme Courtship is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule.

Thanks to Valerie at Hachette Book Group

Five winners will be choosen

The Contest ends at midnight on September 27th

Open to US & Canadian addresses. No PO Boxes please.

To win:

Your first comment should be your name & email address (1 entry)

Your second comment should be that you are a follower (but only if you are!) (1 entry)

Your third comment, should you choose to do so, should be a link where you have posted about the giveaway (this will count for 2 entries)

part 3~ I'm a Survivor!

Ok, so I'm going wrap this year & 1/2 long story up today.

There was not alot going on during that year, or if there was, I don't remember it. I know I'm still occasionaly teased that I would have the same conversation repeatedly with my kids. Mostly about a certain country music video and how everytime I saw it, it was brand new to me! haha! I worked everyday that I could, only taking off for treatment Fridays. Including the 8 day stay in the hospital, I only missed 30 days of work that whole year. I would go home, sit down and fall asleep. The kids would fix their own dinner and try to get me to eat. OH! Speaking of eating. Let me say that I've almost always been a chunky girl, especially after have the kids. That January I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer when I could scrape the money together and was loosing the pounds! I'd lost about 50 over a 6 month time. Of course, when you start chemo, you can't go to the gym (all those germs!). So I quit going. My rational was: Well, if anything good can come from having cancer, maybe I can loose the other 50-60 pounds I need to loose. Now before you say anything, I am fat. Not an, oh she's just a healthy girl fat. NO. So If I was to loose those extra 50-60 pounds, I would still be a little on the heavy side. Anyway. So I kept going to the docs each Friday and noticing that I wasn't losing any weitht, I was GAINING weight. They had forgotten to tell me that with the chemo that I was being given, people gain weight. It's been almost 3 years now since my treatments ended and I still get tired easily. I've gained back every pound I ever lost and can't seem to get rid of it now.

Here are some things that I found out to be true for me:

  1. Being a bald woman got me out of a speeding ticket!
  2. Chemo destroys your tastebuds. Do not attempt to eat anything even remotely spicy. Everything tastes alot like cardboard.
  3. Even if you are only 36, after awhile, you start to walk stooped over. I still stoop when I am really tired.
  4. The only clothes that are remotely comfortable are pj's & sweats.
  5. Sleep was my best friend for awhile. I still occasionally will go home at 5:30, fall asleep and sleep until the next morning.
  6. I have truly amazing kids. When I get sick now (like last week with Bronchitis) they do anything and everything they can for me.
  7. I am much stronger than I really ever thought. I thought I was strong going through 2 divorces & the deaths of my parents. After cancer, I now know I can get through anything.
  8. I have never participated in a breast cancer walk and I rarely tell anyone that doesn't already know that I've had breast cancer.

    Yes, having breast cancer is hard. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone in the whole wide world. BUT it isn't the death sentance it used to be. Take the time to do a self exam every month. Schedule your mammogram appointments today. And if you do get the call that every person dreads hearing, go ahead break down. But don't let it keep you down!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Corset Diaries by Katie MacCallister

"I have to wear what?"

No woman in her right mind would consent to wearing a corset for a month. Especially a "skinny-challenged" woman like myself. But dreams of being debt-free danced in my head when I received the offer to appear on a reality TV show.
A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke is about real people--people like me--pretending to live on an English estate, circa 1879. Sounds fun, no? Well, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. We're talking no televisions, no cell phones, no PMS medication. And did I mention the corsets? No breathing for a full month. Luckily, when I met the real-life descendant of a duke who was to be my pretend husband, he took my breath away...
In a manor in which everyone must strictly follow the Victorian lifestyle, things were bound to go wrong. Like when some harmless lust turned into that other thing...
Love was definitely not in the contract!

about the author:
For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn't think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.
Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.
Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.

my thoughts:

This was a Laugh Out Loud funny tale! It isn't everyday you come across a "skinny challenged" heroine, like you do Tessa. And to have, "Gark!" a hero like Max...yummy! Katie MacAlister is now one of the authors I reach for first if I want a quick & funny read! I loved 'The Corset Diaries' and plan on reading it again soon!

part 2~ a walk through hell...

So I went into surgery, had the port installed, celebrated Thanksgiving my family. My first round of chemo was scheduled. December 16, 2005. I remember I woke up that morning, feeling optimistic. Not completely terrified. I can and will beat this. Positive, positive, positive. If I lost my hair, so what? It's just hair. I'd slap some RED lipstick on, big hoopy earrings and wear it well. Until I actually walked into the room with the recliners (there's 2 in each treatment room) and sat down. One of the nurses came in and asked how I was doing. That was all it took. I broke. I cried like I've never cried before. I was so scared. They gave me the hugs and support I needed, brought in a woman that had been going through this for awhile, and got me started. I was going every other Friday, for 2 different kinds of chemo. One was so bad that it had to be manually pushed into my port. If it was accidentally spilt on skin, or was not in the vein properly, it would eat your tissue to the bone.
So I sat there for about 4 hours (maybe it was more) watching as I slowly allowed someone to poison my body. drip. drip. drip. But they used my port and it was working wonderfully! When I was finished with my first treatment, I went home and straight to bed. And slept for about the whole weekend. I went to work Monday, starting to feel run down. But not another treatment until after the holidays! Yay! I would sleep on my lunch hour. My appetite dwindled. I wasn't vomiting, no poopies, just tired. And during all this, I'm doing last minute Christmas shopping, preparations, etc.
* little backstory*Christmas Eve is spent with Jim's step-daughter (from the relationship before me) and her family. Tammy was the one who told me about her company hiring, set up the appt for me, everything. I had quit my job of 8 years to babysit Tammy's first baby, Taylor in 2001.

So that evening we head over to Tammy's to spend Christmas Eve with her family. I'm not feeling good, I had a little bit of a temp, just what I was told to expect, really. Run down. We have so much fun with Taylor, it's her first Christmas and it was magical! We go home, get our kids tucked in, because like all young teens, they will be up before the sun!
I wake up the next morning and can barely move. My temp is sky high. It's Christmas morning! The kids open their presents, we call their dad for him to come early to get them, Jim & I head to the ER. Something must wrong. I get there about 7:30 a.m. They take my temp and it's 103.7. They tell me they will be drawing blood to start some tests. I make sure they know to use the port (hey that is why its there!) so no vein poking! They come to draw blood, and NOTHING will come out. Ok, remember when I said it's attached to your artery? Yea, blood is supposed to be FLOWING through it. Nada. Zilch. Dry. Guess what? It turns out my port is infected. My infect port has now given me Sepsis. For those that don't know what sepsis is:

(sěp'sĭs) n. pl. sep·ses (-sēz)
1. The presence of pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood or tissues.
2. The poisoned condition resulting from the presence of pathogens or their toxins, as in septicemia.

It literally almost killed me. That night. I was admitted into the hospital, they forgot to turn the temp up in the room, by evening I had so many IV's attached. That evening I began to convulse (or so Jim has told me repeatedly) my blood pressure did its weird thing, my heart rate did it's weird thing. Then it just stopped and I was back.
By the time I left the hospital, it was New Years Day, the port had been removed, I had a large blue tube stuck in the side of my throat for an IV that I would have to attach several times a day. (It has left a small hickey looking scar on my neck. I still get teased! LOL!) I had a home nurse that would come in everyday, to check to ensure that I was getting better, that the infection was going away. Let me stop here and say this. I was MISERABLE in the hospital. The staff acted like I was putting them out by being sick during the holidays. Ok, so maybe it was. But come on, your a nurse for a reason. Your supposed to want to help those that are too sick to help themselves. Not only was the staff horrible, but about 5 days into my stay my hair started falling out. I was so sick I truly did NOT want to see anybody and there were times during that hospital stay that I was so sick that I really did wish that I would just go ahead and kick off. I've never been so sick in my life. On New Years Eve I point blank told the docs that they would figure out a way for me to get home to be with my kids (their dad had to go back to work) or I would walk myself out of the blankity blank blank hospital. My Daddy was a truck driver, I know lots of good ole boy cusses! I would never, ever, never recommend that hospital to anyone. It is forever referred to as the Veterinary Clinic around our house.

Well, that's it for part 2. Got to get some sleep!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blog Tour: Lucan by Susan Kearney

Healer and high priestess of her people, Lady Cael is fated to life without a mate. But a mysterious explorer named Lucan Rourke doesn't know her secrets, and his touch makes her crave a future that her extraordinary birthright has forbidden her. . .
Lucan has just one mission on Pendragon: to find the mythical Holy Grail, Earth's only hope for survival. His powerful attraction to Cael is a distraction he can't afford, unless he convinces her to join forces with him. Yet working so closely together only heightens their passion . . . even when the terrifying truth of Cael's heritage threatens to shatter Lucan's every belief-and the galaxy itself.

about the author:

Kearney is known for her sexy Rystani warrior books, The Challenge, The Dare, The Ultimatum and The Quest, a series of paranormal romances set in the future. In September 2009 Kearney begins the Pendragon Legacy series with LUCAN, a futuristic romance. She follows up with RION in December and JORDAN in March 2010.
Kearney, a native of New Jersey, writes full time and has sold books to the industries' top publishing houses — Grand Central, Tor, Simon & Schuster, Harlequin, Berkley, Leisure, Red Sage and Kensington. As an award winning author, Kearney earned a Business Degree from the University of Michigan. Kearney's knowledge and experience spans throughout the romance genre, and her fifty plus books include contemporary, romantic suspense, historical, futuristic, science fiction and paranormal novels. She resides in a suburb of Tampa—with her husband, kids and Boston terrier. Currently she's plotting her way through her 54th work of fiction. You can reach her through her web site at E-mail Susan.

my thoughts:

Page turner! This book had everything I enjoy in a book. Action, romance, a very HOT hero! Lucan & Cael are a couple that I enjoyed getting to know.
I am impatiently awaiting the next book Rion, which is due out in December! (yes, he is HOT, too!)
I've said it before, but I will say it again...
I wish I had the imagination it takes to create whole worlds like this! To have an imagination like this would be fantastic!

part 1~The Day I Found the "Lump"...

As everyone knows (or should know by now) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So I thought I would take a trip down memory lane (what I remember of it anyway) and tell my story. It won't be told all at once, its just too hard emotionally to relive it all at once. So here it goes. The beginning:

One morning in October of 2005, I was getting ready to go to work, the normal routine every morning. I lathered up and started the cleaning process. When I went to clean my left boob, I noticed there was a hard bump. And it felt BIG to me. Now I didn't remember it being there the day before (you know it had to be, but how could I have MISSED that!)! But I didn't think to much at that point (maybe I was getting ready to start or any number of things), just that I better call the doc and see what he thought. I finished my morning routine, went to work, called the doc and of course he wanted to see me. That day. So I went in, he did his exam and sent me right over for a mammogram. When those results came back, he sent me to a surgeons to see what he thought about removing it. (Let me just slip in here that my surgeon looked an awful lot like Al Pacino!!) We decided that it did need to be removed, so a date was scheduled for the following week. Have I mentioned yet just how scared I truly was? I was scared spitless. So I made the arrangements, scheduled the time off work, and went in to have the operation. It was going to be a quick removal (we still thought it would be benign) with me going home the same day.
I will always remember the look on the surgeons face when he walked into my hospital room after surgery that day. The test results weren't back yet, but he was almost positive it was cancer. I knew 24 hours later. At the ripe old age of 36, I had a fast growing cancer. What would happen to my babies if I died? Their dad could barely take care of himself, let alone raise my kids the way I wanted them to be raised. Both my parents & step parents had already passed, I sure didn't want one of my sibling raising my kids.
So another surgery was scheduled to remove some lymph nodes to see if it had spread...IT HADN'T!! Yay! I did catch it in time. Appointments were made with an Oncologist, treatment was decided on, the decision to have a "port" put in for the chemo was made and the appointment scheduled to have that surgically installed (yep back to Al Pacino!!). Everything is ready to go! By this time, it's almost Thanksgiving and we had ALOT to be thankful for that year.
I was asked once why I chose to have the port inserted. Let me tell you, when you find out your going to have a needle stuck in you for over a year and a half, a port is a Godsend! For those that don't know what a port is: It is a thing that they surgically insert into your artery so the nurses do not have to poke you with a needle in a new veins each and everytime you go for chemo. Mine was inserted in the upper right side of my chest above my book. It stays in the same spot, it's just a little bump under your skin. It can stay there forever if need be.

Well that's all for now, I need to get to work!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review & Giveaway~ Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron

Your busy mom lifestyle dictates quick get-on-the table meals, but how do you prepare and cook a delicious meal at the end of your busy day when you are simply out of time and energy? It’s simple! Here's how: Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms Cookbook. This is Jane Doiron’s cookbook of savory, family-favorite recipes that were individually home-tested and selected.
Make Ahead Meals are:
• Simple to prepare.
• Simple to assemble ahead of schedule.
• Simple to freeze ahead.
• Simple for the whole family to enjoy.
Jane Doiron helps you, a very busy mom like herself, to put a fabulous dinner on the table every night for friends, or just for the family, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of flavor.
Jane's goal was to seek out main dish, family-favorite recipes that could be make ahead meals without sacrificing the food’s taste and texture by freezing. After years of home-testing recipes, Jane has compiled this must-have cookbook with specific make-ahead directions. In addition, Jane includes her best recipes for clever side dishes, flavorful appetizers and luscious desserts. Imagine opening your freezer to pick out a family-favorite appetizer, main dish, or dessert, and all you have to do is thaw and heat it!
Make-ahead meals are a healthy and economical alternative to take-out and preservative filled, pre-packaged foods. With make ahead meal planning, you are making fewer trips to the grocery store, and saving money otherwise spent on unhealthy, take-out and fast foods. It’s simple. Give yourself a break during the hectic weeknights with Jane’s make-ahead meal recipes. Spend the time that you save outside of the kitchen doing something that you enjoy.

my thoughts:
I've always wondered how to make casseroles ahead of time and freeze them. As well as what other foods can be prepared ahead and frozen. This is one of the best cookbooks that I've found that explains the process, step by step, from start to finish! As everyone is aware, I've been out of commission for the last 2 weeks and this cookbook came in while I was stuck on the couch. I've had lots of time to go through, pick out some of the recipes that I can't wait to try (most are desserts, go figure!) Even my kids (who I've complained about never being home for dinner) have went through and marked the recipes they want me to make ahead (so they can eat them anytime!).
Jane's website: Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
now for the fun stuff:
Jane has graciously sent an extra copy of Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms!
The Contest ends at midnight on September 29th
Since I am mailing this out,
it is open to EVERYONE! EVERWHERE!
To win:
Leave a comment with your name & email address!
That's it!

New Blogger on MGP!

I am very happy to say that my very best friend in the whole wide world, the one person who I think knows me better than anyone else ever has, Terese will be reviewing books here on MGP! I asked her to join me here, and since she is oh so sweet, she said yes! She is the Mama of 2 1/2 year old Jacob (aka Jake the Beefcake!), so most of her time is spent chasing after him, but when she does find time to read, she will be posting her reviews here! It might be one post a month, it might be every 6 months, but she is now a part of MGP!

just a little background about us:

Terese & I met when I moved in across the street from her family, we were in the 3rd grade and had the same teacher every year until we hit 6th grade. Like all friends (and siblings!) we had rough patches but we have always found our way back to being friends. I spent more holidays with her family than I spent with my own! Oh what a joyous Christmas it was, the year her family got Atari from Santa!


by Susan Kearney are:
The Optimissic Pessimist
You should have an email waiting for you!
Please respond within 72 hours!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Been Out Sick...

Well, I've been knocked on my rump. I have been sick since the 4th and I'm still feeling out of sorts. Whatever this is (the doc said Acute Bronchitis that has triggered my asthma but has been irritated by my seasonal allergies) is really whipping my as*. I haven't been to work or even picked up a book to read in the last 6 days! I will slowly be catching up with everything, giveaways, reviews, etc.

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