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by Des

The Fault in Our Stars- April 2013

April 19, 2013 in recap

This month I was going to choose a long book. Like, over 700 pages long. But then I looked at everyone’s faces when I mentioned that and decided that the end of the semester might not be a good time for a long reading assignment. So, I chose a different, but equally good, book for this month. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. I gave fair warning that this book made me sob. SOB! And I never cry at books/movies (because I may or may not be a sociopath). But I wanted Jen and Sarah to know because they cry at commercials. And while I did give fair warning about the book, I still received this tweet:

sarah tweet

Anyway, we all really enjoyed the book and Jen and I really like the Tumblr that John Green has set up for the book. It is a YA book, but it is definitely one that appeals to adults as well. We agree that there is some sort of understanding that the author needs to finish a book rather than ending it in the middle of a sentence, and so while we would read An Imperial Affliction because we know that the protagonists love the book, if a randomly-chosen book ended that way, we would be pissed! I also learned that something being OK and forgiving someone can be/is two different things. But I have a hard time separating them, which is why i hold grudges. Meh. At least I’m self-aware and have forgiving friends 🙂 I won’t go too much into the book JUST IN CASE someone other than the 3 of us reads this… don’t want to give any spoilers. But we all agree it was a great book and you should totally read it. But have tissues handy.

This is going out of order, but dinner was simple for this book club. Jen brought some bread, cheese, and hummus (along with very pretty flowers). The bread with the hummus was really good. I noticed that she left it at my house. I would be angry, but that ish was tasty. I made tacos because i was feeling kind of lazy. And I burned the rice a little bit. Oops. But I think the queso made up for any of that. And Sarah made cinnamon rolls which were warm and sugary and delicious. She took the middle piece because Matt said something mean. It was funny at the time… I just wish I could remember what it was.

The music for this month was supposed to be about grief or living life to its fullest. Jen and Sarah put a bunch of sad songs on their lists… which was kind of expected. Jen kept it classic with Queen and Pink Floyd while Sarah added some Miranda Lambert country to the mix. I put a cheesy One Direction song and a hate-when-it-gets-stuck-in-your-head Ke$ha song on my list because I figured we would need songs about being young.

Thirds was kind of depressing this month as I asked everyone to write an obituary for someone still alive. And we would have to share it. I couldn’t finish mine because I wrote it for my twin brother. But I let them read what I wrote. It ended up being a eulogy instead of an obituary… but it was the same idea. Jen and Sarah BOTH wrote an obituary for themselves. It was a hard assignment for all of us, but I think it made us realize the kinds of people we hope to be, how we want to be remembered, and what the important things are. Matt also gave me some comfort because he told me there is a way to provide for my pets after I die. It seems silly to worry about that, but so many people don’t and then their pets end up in a shelter because no one wants to take care of them. Anyway, I feel better now.

We had a lot of current events this month. That’s what happens when Sarah posts stuff (j/k <3) But we had a lot to get through, and as always, we got sidetracked by some things. So, here’s a rundown in bullet form.

  • We agree that doctor-assisted suicide should be legal because who the hell are you, person in government, to tell me that if I’m dying anyway, I can’t choose the way I die. </rant>
  • We laughed at/were horrified by Pinterest, you are drunk. What are people thinking with some of these things?!
  • We want to buy GoldiBlocks and think it’s an awesome toy for girls
  • We wish there was an easy way to transition to natural gas… but there’s never an easy way, so we kind of just have to suck it up and do it before our world falls apart
  • This goes with several articles, so I’m just going to say it once: SOME PARENTS ARE INSANE. And not in any sort of good way.
  • Sarah has convinced me that cursive should maybe not be taught in schools. At least, not in the way, and for the dumbass reasons, they are proposing.
  • Men, by and large, are stupid and need to learn that women are PEOPLE.
  • We learned the art of the humblebrag, and while we all do it, some of us do it more than others. And it’s annoying.
  • Can’t wait for the new Hunger Games movie! November, why you so far away?!
  • Being an awesome mom and being a good friend are not mutually exclusive.

As always, this was another succesful book club even though Sarah (or Jen) could not name all of my cats. And Sophie kept trying to crawl onto Sarah’s lap, even though Sarah DID remember her name. 🙂 Can’t wait for the next one. Book, TBD.


by Des

January Saloon- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

February 6, 2013 in recap

We squeezed in book club right at the end of the month. This is mostly my fault, since I was gone for 2 weeks. But we’re all busy ladies, so scheduling can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. The point is, we made it happen and it was fun.

The food was pretty low key but still delicious. Jen brought some dip with pita chips. I made tortilla soup, but I forgot to buy tortilla chips… and Sarah brought cupcakes from Sugarland! She bought the rest of the cupcakes that help support the Carolina Tiger Rescue! As we were eating, I told them about the marathon and Tim and I talked about Disney World.

The thirds for January was to do something silly. But no one did it. I was sick. Jen was sick. And Sarah never told us what she did. Or at least I can’t remember if she told us what she did.
The music was ‘Songs that make you happy.’ There was a wide range of music chosen for this theme, from music from ET to music from Lilo and Stitch to music from Jimmy Buffet.

This month’s book was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Overall, I think we all liked it, although some parts were slow in the middle. But we agreed that some parts were just hysterical, including my favorite, about the big metal chicken. But, I think I might be the only one who will continue to read her blog, because I think she’s hilarious.

There was a wide range of topics for current events.

  • We talked about how Glee ripped off Jonathan Coulton’s version of Baby Got Back.
  • We pondered the idea of putting all information into DNA, because it has totally happened already. It’s just expensive right now.
  • Jen told us about the article we didn’t read (it was really long!) about how genetically modified food is actually a good thing
  • We ranted about people posting spoilers on Facebook and Twitter because not everyone watches the show when it first comes out! C’mon people! At least put Spoiler Alert somewhere so I don’t have to read it!
  • We touched on an article about NC’s new governor and the value of a liberal arts education.
  • And then, because we’re a little insane, all signed up to run a 5k on the 10th.

All in all, it was another great book club. I hope we don’t have to go so long between book clubs again! Wish us luck for the 5k!

by Des

121218 Short Story Christmas

January 7, 2013 in recap

This month we did something different and each picked a short story! We also continued our tradition of going to Maggianos for dinner, but FIRST we opened our presents! It was all very festive and fun.

Maggiano’s was, of course, delicious. During dinner we talked about our short stories, briefly.

Jen’s story was “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. We all liked the story but were disappointed that it ended so abruptly. It was an interesting concept, though, the idea of everything having to be equal… even though they weren’t.

Sarah didn’t pick a short story, it was an essay called “Why I Write” by Joan Didion. It started off a little slow and you had to remember it wasn’t a piece of fiction, so there was no plot. But the message she was trying to convey was beautiful and the reasons why Joan Didion writes… well, those are the same reasons why we read.

My story was “The Lady or the Tiger.” It is a story that is taught in 9th grade English, although I never taught it. And I like it because it forces the reader to make a choice and to think about characters, but also about themselves. Jen thought the story was a little mature for 9th graders, but that was up for debate.

We also talked about Thirds, in which we all wrote letters. We talked about who we wrote to and why and it was fun to sit down and actually write a letter. Except for Jen. She typed hers. 🙂

So that was our December Holiday Saloon! January is back to normal with a new book! Huzzah!

by Des

Book Thief Recap- September Saloon

October 22, 2012 in recap

Normally I would feel bad about posting this recap so close to the next Saloon… but if you’ve noticed, my fellow bookclubbers post late, too. And so this is going up a FULL TWO DAYS BEFORE the next Saloon. Not to brag or anything.

Before we started anything, we spent a good bit of time playing with our phones. Jen and I got the new iPhone 5 and Sarah got the iPhone 4S. We were trying to figure some stuff out, and playing with them, etc. Technology is fun.

Jen started us off with awesome buffalo chicken dip. It was so good, I even ate celery! But soon, the celery was gone, so we moved on to pita chips. That dip disappeared quick! It was fab and I think she should make it again. Just sayin’. I made chicken and rice for the entree. It was okay. Everyone ate it, so it wasn’t terrible but I’ve made it better before. I think that’s just me being picky. After dinner, we usually wait a little bit before we eat dessert… but someone *cough* Tim *cough* wanted dessert right after dinner. And who could blame him? Sarah made a delicious, although slightly frosting/filling challenged, red velvet cake. She said there was something wrong with the frosting/filling but I don’t think we heard her over the sounds of us eating the cake. Yum!

This month, for the third, we were supposed to do something nice for a stranger. Since the third was Labor Day, some of us, I think just me, didn’t get it done on the third… but it’s the thought that counts and I did finally do something nice. I let a mom with kids go in front of me in the grocery store. Jen was nice to a neighbor kid, which might have backfired in the long run, and Sarah was nice to a friend. We let her have it because it was a really nice thing of her to do. Seriously.

The theme for the month was hopeful songs. Honestly, I don’t remember much of what we listened to except Sarah had a whole bunch of punky/emo songs from the early 2000s.

We read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak this month. It is a young adult novel about life in Germany during WWII. Overall, I think we all really enjoyed the book. Although, it being told from the perspective of Death made it difficult to be surprised by some things, as Death kind of gives spoilers of upcoming events. Jen was surprised that it was a book for high school aged kids, which is a valid point. Although it’s not nearly as graphic as some other books set during the same time period. It was nice to read a book set during WWII that wasn’t strictly about the Holocaust. Both Jen and Sarah took copies of the book to loan to their moms. Yay!

This month we talked about unwelcome house guests, not of the pest variety, either. It was fun to talk about situations in which we want our house guests to leave and proper house guest etiquette. Jen had us look at a picture of a creepy bug. It was a little cute but more creepy. Nature is weird, yo. We then discussed wanting to see the new Much Ado About Nothing, made by Joss Whedon. Whenever it comes to a theater near us. And finally, we talked about the concept of a free university and decided it would be good to learn skills there, but not for an actual degree.

Another Saloon in the bag. Can’t wait for the next one! Always good times. 🙂


by Des

“Mistborn” Recap

June 20, 2012 in recap

June was our 12th book club! And it was great, as usual. There were a few changes, namely the boys played Magic at the dining table while we chatted in the living room. It worked better than expected. But other than that, the night was mostly the same as usual. Jen made awesome bruschetta. She has a picture somewhere. But believe me, it was so good. For the entree, I made baked ziti and garlic bread. So, we had a little Italian theme going on. Delicious. Finally, Sarah made cookies for dessert using her new mixer! I liked the pinwheel ones the best but the chocolate chip/peanut cookies were really good, too. A very yummy book club!


This month’s music theme was Strong Women because WE ARE STRONG WOMEN! Well, and because the main character of the book is a kick-ass girl. This month I was the one with repeated songs. One was on purpose because Fairytale fit so well with the theme. But Fighter was an unintentional repeat… I didn’t look at everyone else’s songs before I made my list. Oops. The songs were awesome and we decided it would be a good workout CD. Of course some country music made the list from Sarah and Jen put in some quirky music with Garfunkel and Oats.


This month was our first fantasy novel. It is the first book in a trilogy, but it can stand alone by itself if you don’t want to read the whole trilogy (although Jen and Sarah said they would read the other two books). Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors but since Mistborn is a fantasy book, I was a little worried it wouldn’t go over well. But it seemed like everyone enjoyed reading the book and that is awesome.

So, some things we talked about:

Overall, Vin was our favorite character although Sazed was an interesting character as well.
We all agreed that Tin would be the most useful Allomantic power, if you couldn’t be a full Mistborn. Although Sarah might benefit from being a Soother so everyone would always be calm when around her.
We tried to more solidly figure out how Allomancy with Feruchemy could make you live forever, like the Lord Ruler. We kind of figured it out, although Jen was not totally convinced.
We touched on the relationship between Vin and Elend. We had to go back to the book to see if Vin actually does go back to Elend at the end. (Spoiler: she does)
Sarah didn’t like the mistwraiths/kandra because they eat people. Understandable.
And at the very end of the night we realized we didn’t talk about Marsh… but there are more answers as you read the second and third book.

Mistborn was a success, yay!

Current Events

We talked about so many different topics! The first was about the soda ban in NYC. Overall, we don’t like that freedom being taken away or made more difficult but are all about taxing the hell out of unhealthy/super high calorie food. Good intentions but maybe not the right execution, Mayor Bloomberg.

If any of us actually watched reality TV, we thought that the new show Push Girls would be a positive show to watch, if it were done the right way.

Probably the most interesting conversation we had was about attachment parenting. Consensus: breast feeding a 3-year-old– crazy weird. Attachment parenting as it was conceived isn’t a horrible idea, but its transformation to what it is today is what the problem is. Parents today are not doing their kids any favors. But Sarah won’t be like that… because we’ll call her crazy. 🙂

We also talked about how to pack a carry on with 10 sets of clothes, how to make a ring out of a bill so you’re not screwed if you’re out and lose your purse, or whatever. There was a short discussion about how funny Garfunkel and Oats are, how the hell ADIDAS let the shackle shoes through so many lines of development, and how the Internet can be awesome (The Oatmeal raised a whole bunch of money for charity because some idiot was stealing his work, etc etc).


There’s usually not an ‘Other’ section but this month is special. We have decided to add another facet to our monthly Saloon by having a sort of challenge every 3rd of the month, like “Fast all day.” Although I hope that’s not one we pick because that would be really hard.

We also talked about how we’re going to celebrate our Salooniversary! I’ll leave that to be a surprise for the next post but I’m super excited about it!!!

For next month: What Alice Forgot


by Des

Time Traveler’s Wife Recap

April 10, 2012 in recap

This Saloon was a special one because it lasted ALL NIGHT! But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

This month’s food was simple. We’re all super busy with lots of different things. So, Jen brought some bread and a yummy cheese spread. I made a spagetti and shrimp thing, which was a little bit spicier than I intended, and Sarah, hopped up on allergy medicine because of my 5 cats, brought chocolate-covered strawberries. We sat around and chatted for a little bit while we ate before we got down to business.


This month’s music theme was “Going Away songs.” We had a nice range of music but, as we often do, there were a few overlapping songs. We also came to a decision about our music. If we keep going the way we’re going, we’re (mostly I) going to run out of music, especially since we try not to repeat songs. So, now we’re doing 5 songs each instead of a whole CD. It’s an experiment. We’ll see how it works. 🙂


Overall, I think we all enjoyed the book. We had some good discussions about if we would want to time travel (no) and if we would be as patient as Clare (maybe). Also, Sarah remembered a scene that neither Jen nor I remembered happening. We realized it was because it was written in a strange way compared to the rest of the book. Good Job Sarah!

We talked about the purpose of Clare’s art and the characters and other aspects of how time travel affected all of their lives. It was a fun discussion and I’m glad we all enjoyed it.

Current Events

Sarah posted a video about old cell phones. It’s crazy to think people actually used a bag phone. So silly.

We talked about having your friends’ backs, even when they may not deserve it and how it’s nice to have friends like that. We agreed that it was okay if Target advertisements were sending us individualized coupons based on our spending habits. The NY Times article that Jen posted about it was actually an excerpt from a book I had recently read. Maybe we’ll all read it one of these months.

The guerrilla libraries in NYC phone booths were cool but it would be nicer if people actually used them how they were supposed to rather than just taking the books. It’s a cool concept that would be fun to participate in.

We had an interesting conversation about if gay twin brothers should be allowed to have a sexual/romantic relationship because of incest laws. I’m not sure we actually came to a conclusion other than, it’s not resulting in children so laws shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Or maybe that’s my own opinion. It’s a sticky situation, to say the least.

And finally, we talked about people’s reactions to having homeless people wear tshirts advertising themselves as hotspots during SXSW. We’re all for giving homeless people a way to make money. Stop whining. We’re not exploiting them. We’re employing them.

And then…

We left for the midnight show of The Hunger Games!

by Des

Holiday Saloon!

January 17, 2012 in recap

December’s Saloon was a bit unorthodox for various reasons. Because it was so close to the holidays and I had to take a last-minute trip to NY, we decided to have this month’s book club at Maggiano’s. When we go to the restaurant, Jen gave Sarah and me our birthday/Christmas present- dinner and a show! We’ve decided to see Wicked in May and we’re all super excited!

Even though this month’s Saloon was a little different, we still hit on the topics that we always do…

Since it’s the holiday season, we all made holiday CD’s. We listened to them in the car on the way to and from the restaurant. One of the favorites was sung by Cartman 🙂

At dinner, we discussed the book,The Art of Racing in the Rain. It seems we all liked it and would recommend it to other people. It wasn’t exactly a holiday book but it had the sort of ending that makes you feel good and that’s always good around Christmas time.

Current Events
Because we were at a restaurant we didn’t have our computers out to look at the current events we wanted to talk about. We did, however, discuss new year’s resolutions. Apparently, none of us make them. We do set goals, though, so we talked about those a little bit.

After gorging on pasta we popped into Barnes and Noble to browse around. It is book club, after all. Then We exchanged cookies (Well, Sarah and Jen made cookies…) and said good bye until our birthday celebration a few days later!

So, December’s book club was a big change from what we usually do but we were still able to keep the core of it. It’s good to know that we can be flexible when we need to be.

by Des

“Pi” Recap

September 18, 2011 in recap

This was our third Saloon and, as always, it was lots of fun. Sarah and Jen had to trek out to my house and Sarah had to brave my cats against her allergies. Luckily, there was no sneezing. Jen brought the appetizer, which was this pizza roll full of awesome. There were two different kinds and they looked so pretty! I made a jambalaya for dinner. I thought it was a little too spicy (because I’m a wimp) but everyone else seemed to like it. Sarah made this apple pecan bundt cake with a cream cheese filling. YUM!

During our eating we chatted about random things and Sarah and Tim talked about board games. Then, I sent Tim downstairs, set up my computer on the TV and we started with playlists. I made a CD from soundtracks- musicals, tv shows, movies, etc. Jen made a CD with songs that all tell a story. At the last minute she changed one song to Hotel California. Since Sarah hates that song, Jen gave her the un-updated version. It sounded like a fun CD and I can’t wait to get my real copy. Sarah’s CD was ‘Songs you won’t admit to loving… but know all the words to.’ Personally, I thought it was awesome and we all had a fun time trying to guess who each song was by. I can’t remember the last time I listened to anything by LFO.

Next, we discussed the book. I think overall, we all enjoyed it. There was some debate over Pi’s feelings for agnostics but I think, like in the book, we all chose what we wanted to be true about it. I’m glad we were all confused about some of the parts and that made us read a little more closely. I was also excited to share some of the things I used to talk about with my students when I taught the book.

After a quick break for some cake, we starting talking about current events. The first one was about teachers and the use of Facebook. It was interesting to discuss because Sarah and I are/were teachers and Jen has instructed kids before. The article was about a teacher who had posted anti-gay remarks on his Facebook page and was then fired because of it. As a teacher, I had pretty strong feelings about the issue because being a teacher is hard enough and there are so many rules about the things you CANNOT DO. But, in another sense, and I think Sarah and Jen agreed, teachers need to be held to a higher standard because they are seen as role models in the community.

Then we talked about how small our vocabularies are and that it’s interesting that you can know what a word means without being able to define it. Weird. We also talked about where we like to write and that it’s fun to be a tourist, sometimes.

We talked about September 11- where we were, how we felt, etc. It doesn’t feel like 10 years.

Somewhere in there we talked about the upcoming 5K we are doing- Oct 30. It’s a Monster Dash and Sarah and I are wanting to run in tutus. It will be awesome, right Jen?

Finally, we talked about our favorite blogs. Mine, inevitably, consisted of mostly pet blogs. The one that I will share is ModernCat It has lots of cool cat products for people and their pets. Plus, the woman behind it, Kate Benjamin, is really awesome.
Sarah shared with us the wonder that is Cake Wrecks which, if you haven’t seen it, shows pictures of awfully decorated cakes. It’s hilarious. And on Sundays they put up beautiful cakes! Sarah also shared The Duo Dishes which has a lot of yummy-looking recipes and will be sure to expand my waistline.
Jen shared Jonathan Coulton with us. It’s a fun blog so you should check it out! And also buy his music.

Saloon- Round 3 was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to host! Next, it’s Jen’s turn and we are reading Freakonomics! And I’m pondering dessert ideas…

Happy September!

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