Saturday, July 25, 2015

AudioBook Review - Walking in Circles before Lying Down

Walking in Circles before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400161460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400161461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches

Amazon Summary: Dawn Tarnauer's life isn't exactly a success story. Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job-hopping to start a career, her current boyfriend insists on living "off the grid," her life coach sister perpetually interferes with incomprehensible affirmations, her eccentric mother is busy promoting the culmination of her life's work—the Every Holiday Tree—and her father is ending his brief third marriage while scheduling two dates for the same night. 
Dawn's only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So, when her boyfriend announces that he's leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace. "I should have said something sooner," Chuck confides, as he tries to console her. "Couldn't you smell her on his pants?" Dawn is stunned. It's one thing to talk to your pets, but what do you do when they start talking back? It's not just Chuck, either; she can hear all dogs—and man's best friend has a lot to say. The ever-enthusiastic Chuck offers his tried-and-true advice on the merits of knocking over garbage and strewing it everywhere, auxiliary competitive peeing etiquette, and the curative powers of tossing a ball. Doubtful of her own sanity, Dawn considers that, in the ways of life and love, it might be better to trust Chuck's doggie instincts instead of her own.

My Take:

Right now I'm reading stuff I don't have to think about...stuff I can take at face value and just enjoy...period.  I've struggled to find something that holds my attention for very long.
I grabbed this audiobook to listen to in the car on my way back and forth between my home and Mom's.  I didn't have high hopes for taming my wacky brain right now, but I really wanted to try.

The first part of the story was slow...setting up the characters, their lives, their personalities, etc. dry, ho-hum - I wondered if I had made a mistake.

To make matters worse, many of the other characters are about as likable as lint.

Dawn's boyfriend Paxton doesn't like dogs and makes them sleep in the hall - Paxton is "off the grid" DJ and gets mad when he thinks he's being interrupted...calling this guy a jerk is putting it mildly.  Worse to me was that Dawn put up with it.
Her sister is a nut...and not in the funny way.  An obnoxious, self-centered nut.
Her wonder Dawn has issues.
Dad isn't much better.

Once Chuck answers Dawn, after doofus-head Paxton dumps her, the fun first Dawn thinks she's crazy...and tries to figure it out...once she finally lets go and starts truly conversing with the dogs, I couldn't wait to get back in the car to listen.

Chuck's answer to every problem - "throw the ball"

Pull off the road right here and throw the yellow ball.  It's right under the seat.  I'll bring it back so enthusiastically that I will break your heart with the pure delight I take from simple minded minutiae.  Wait'll you see the look in my eyes!! It's a gift that keeps on giving."

I so love Chuck's voice!!!  And his vocabulary!!!  Chuck saves this story just as he saves Dawn.  
An added bonus for me is that Chuck's voice is spot on for my oldest daughter's little pit mix Zeke.  All of our animals have voices.  We talk to them, and they talk back.

Nothing at all wrong with that!

Zeke has been with us since my daughter traveled to Honduras in April, and we have struggled to find his voice...until Chuck!  
Once I made the connection between Chuck's voice and Zeke, I couldn't help but smile warmly every time Chuck spoke.  
Zeke is just about as hard-headed and sometimes mischievous as Chuck as well!

Are you blogging about me?

I loved that there is a rhyme and a reason for everything Chuck does...a logical explanation for the unexplainable in human eyes.  Chuck doesn't overthink, analyze, wallow in anxiety...he calls a spade a spade and spits it out.  I love it.  What an analogy for how we should handle life. 

“There’s two kinds of peeing,” he says. “There’s regular peeing, because you have to pee. And then there’s auxiliary competitive peeing. For acquiring an empire. I’m all about the real estate.” 

Merrill Markoe was a head writer for Late Night w David Letterman, and I will definitely read more of her writing!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read - Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up over at The Broke and the Bookish where they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. 

Of all the weekly memes out in bloggerland, this is my favorite.  I don't always participate, but this one spoke to me.  There are just too many books to read stuff you really don't want to read.  And, that's perfectly ok :)

1.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I'm really picky and sensitive about books about the South.  I had no desire to read this book, especially once the movie came out and I saw a preview.  I was born and raised in Mississippi, and a pet peeve of mine is a bad southern accent by a non-southern actor.  Like fingernails on a chalkboard.

2.  The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - not in the least bit interested in time travel...I wish I was, but I just can't make myself :(

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - cancer, kids...Are you kidding me??

4.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I should like this book...but I'm not the least bit interested in giving it a whirl.

5.  YA Blockbusters - Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles), Shiver, City of Bones, Daughter of Smoke and Bone...They all run together for me.  My oldest daughter has read a lot of them.  I can't even keep track of which series is which.  I don't need that kind of chaos in my life ;P

7.  The Host by Stefenie Meyer - aliens...meh...nah...Another I wanted to read, but I just couldn't force myself.

8.  Grey by E.L. James - I actually read the Fifty Shades them really fast over the course of either Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays...I can't remember.  I even started a review about the trilogy as a whole instead of each individual book.  But, why the hell would I want to read the same damn story again...even from a different perspective...sounds like fast cash to me.

9.  The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - I actually have this one on my shelf at home.  I've tried at least 6 times to read it.  I may just have to donate it to the library.

10.  Zoo by James Patterson - I'm mad at Patterson.  Can you say formulaic, using others work and slapping your own name on it?  Can you say a book about animals who turn on people?
I don't think so.  Just what we need to make people feel even more warm and fuzzy about animals.  Yes, I have a chip on my shoulder.  What's it to ya'??

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday is here again: Good news and Bad news

Good news: I've made some serious progress with my reading slump.

I have reviews started for:

The Dead Will Tell by Linda (Library)

Top Secret Twenty-One (Library)

Walking in Circles before Lying Down (Audiobook from the library)

Let's Pretend this Never Happened (Ebook)

One Good Dog (Audiobook from the library)

I told you it was serious.

Here's what I'm currently reading:

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Audiobook) - I've actually started this one several times.  I'm not sure how I feel about it so far...

In the Woods by Tanya French (Library) - I've been wanting to start this series for a while.  Now's just as good of a time as any.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood (ebook) by

My only explanation is this:

Bad News: Mom's back in the hospital again.  
She and I both are climbing the walls at this point. We've been here 4 nights already and may be here several more.  
Just same ole same ole when chemo kills everything in your body and leaves you open to any and all problems for a while during the cycle.  Once her counts recover, we should be able to go home and rest more comfortably.  We're both ready.

The first two nights back I couldn't sleep.  I don't know why.  I sat up all night long watching Breaking Bad.

Speaking of Breaking Bad:

How did I miss this show??  How did I miss Aaron Paul?
Just how??

"The Fly" episode was priceless!

"He's got skills, yo!"

"Look who got got, yo!"

...which is exactly how I felt yesterday after running for the first time in a while.  Spin classes have been few and far between lately with the holidays so I've missed them.  I only have a small window each day to leave Mom.

Even at 4:00 p.m. under overcast skies, the heat was crazy.  

But, the difference in the way I felt after and the difference in the way my brain feels today is worth a little heat.

I may be able to make it to the 5:30 Spin class today...we'll see.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Today was Ed's first day of retirement. 
He celebrated by getting up at his usual time and taking Reagan to soccer camp...on the campus of the job from which he retired. 

Old habits die hard.

I'm glad for him.
I think he needed to get away from his old job.  It was becoming toxic.  
That's not my story to tell so I won't go into it here. 

Plus, this ain't an academic blog...just in case you've forgotten...
says the English teacher with a PhD who enjoys the hell out of using the word "ain't."

My guy with some of his staff at a nice little dinner they put together for him this week.  
This is a great group of people minus a few others who left before the picture taking commenced and/or who couldn't make it to the dinner.

No toxicity here.
Just good friends.

Happy Retirement, Ed...New Horizons ahead :) 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scottish Hound Dogs

These little guys joined us at the shelter yesterday:



and Braveheart - that fish hook was stuck in his precious little feet :( 

Apparently, our shelter manager was in a Scottish mood yesterday ;)