queen mary highland games

February 18th and 19th was spent in Long Beach at the Queen Mary Highland Games. What are the Highland Games? Here in California they are celebrated with mens and womens heavy athletics, attendance of clans, bagpipers, scottish food and drink, much shopping, new friends and laughter. And in my case, a sunburn.
This particular gathering was on the gounds of the famous Queen Mary oceanliner. I had never seen a cruise ship up close and personal before. She is magnificent!

We visited every booth and vendor at least 4 times. This adventure was shared with two of our dearest friends, which made it all the more fun. While the festival itself was wonderful, I think we had more fun on board ship, where we stayed the night.
Around 8pm we headed to the Observation Bar, where we spent an obscene amount of money an drinks, enjoyed the live music and had a bit of show as the place filled up with 1940's era reenactors who had migrated over from a Liberty Ship that is also an inport museum. It was like stepping back in time! Unfortunately, I only got one sort of blurry picture, didn't want to offend anyone by taking photos or blind anyone with a flash:
After our copious alcohol cunsumption, the silliness ensued:One of my favorite photos from the whole trip:My other favorite shots:


book(s) review: the hunger games trilogy by suzanne collins

I hadn't made my way to reading these books yet, even though it seemed that the rest of the free world already had. Then, a few weeks ago, my husband and I saw a movie trailer for The Hunger Games on a redboxed dvd. He looks at me and asks why we don't have them yet? Gee, because I didn't know know you were even in the least bit interested *perhaps*? Sigh. So I bought the trilogy on Amazon.

I won't review the books one at time because in my estimation they are really more of one long story broken up into 3 parts than 3 individual stories with the same theme.
Overall I would say that I really enjoyed them. Nicely descriptive and well narrated. Very few lags in the story line too. A bit of the classic 'Which boy does this girl really want' dilemma, but it was thankfully not the main focus. Hardship, pain, betrayal, love, determination, war, loss. I really liked how broken yet determined the heroine Katniss was, it gave me the impression that it is ok to be broken, that you will survive.
Without going into detail and ruining it for the three of you out there who haven't read them yet I will say:

My favorite character? Finnick

Least favorite? Gale

Character I think we could have done without? Johanna Mason

Remaining questions after reading? Why do they call them the Hunger Games? Did I miss the connection? What where those kids names?!?

Would I read them again? Yes

Read time? Unknown. I did all three in 6 days.

Biggest peeve? HATED the ending. Cried through 2 chapters. HATED HATED the ending.

Would I recommend them? Yes, but perhaps not to the under 12 crowd.