Odd Apocalypse (Odd Thomas, #5)Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I welcomed Odd Thomas back into my life. He was a missed friend. His charming quirks and sixth sense captivated me since the first book.
Odd Apocalypse seemed different than the other Odd Thomas books. I’m not sure I can put my finger on the exact reason why. Odd is still himself.

The story is still distinctly Odd Thomas. But somehow, the story seemed darker. Yes, I know I’m talking about a guy who can see ghosts and fights phantoms and what not, but there seemed to be something more brutal about this book. If I can ever put my finger on why I feel this way I’ll be happy to share it. Maybe another Odd Thomas fan can help me out.

I love Annamaria and her wonderfully cryptic conversations with Odd. The storyline in this book had me hooked from the get go. I wonder what Tesla would think if he were to read this book? I feel like Odd is growing into something so much bigger than what he started. I hope his journeys with his ghost dog and his new found friends continue on and on.

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Before anyone gets any ideas, I’m not some extreme prepper or anything. Do I feel the need to be prepared? Yes. And just recently for some reason I've had the feeling I needed to get together an emergency pack for work. And just so you know I have some background with the Red Cross and that’s really put the “preparation” bug into me. I mean it never hurts to be prepared!

So, you don’t know what an emergency prep pack is? Don’t worry… it’s probably more normal that you don’t.

An emergency prep pack is an emergency kit that you keep with you. We have a semi-constructed kit at home and I have a torn apart one that used to reside in my car.  But why would you need to have an emergency kit at work? Well, I spent 7.5 hours a day (actually more) at work and emergencies and disasters don’t only happen while I’m at home. So this is a small to medium bag filled with some emergency gear that could help me if I were caught at work during a disaster.

So for a starter emergency prep pack you only need a few things. Here’s the list I put together to start and as you can see I have a lot left to get (all the ones marked “check!” are purchased).. but hey, I’m not trying to break the bank over this. I’ll stock up as I can, little by little until it’s done. And then I’ll probably begin upgrading items as needed.

my pack and it's dismal contents... but it's a work in progress!

Backpack (check!)
I’ll be honest here. I’m a Panther’s fan but seriously, the only reason I got this pack for it is because it’s a simple draw string backpack – and apparently the only one I could find in WalMart.

Flashlight (check!)
I bought a generic little flashlight from Walmart. I’d prefer to have a headlamp in there but that’s something I’d rather wait and upgrade later.

Extra batteries for flashlight
Duh.. don’t want to run out of light!

Emergency Blanket
I have a blanket currently in my office, only because a vendor gave it to us at a conference. So I may just use that or I may go by the tiny emergency blanket, you know the one that looks like aluminum foil and throw that in there.

Water pouches/Juice boxes/Caprisun
This is going to be a tough one for me because juice boxes and caprisun always seem to disappear around me, I don’t know why. So I’m thinking some water pouches, or even better a couple of the flavored water caprisuns.

Granola Bars or other High Calorie foods
I was thinking about putting some dehydrated meals in my bag but then realized I wouldn’t have a stove to cook them on – that’s in my backpacking gear. So I stuck with buying some Special K meal bars and threw a 6 pack of them in my bag. Worst case scenario I have a meal for a 6 days. Not ideal but hey.. it’s there. And if I were stuck at work during an emergency, it’s a lot better than the crap that’s been in the fridge for at least 2 years.

Walking Shoes
This is on my list, but I’m not sure how practical this is going to be, so this may get deleted. I see the rationality behind it, if there’s a disaster and I’m stuck here, where do I want to go? Home. Right. If my car has been thrown by a tornado I’m probably going to have to hoof the 14 miles back home and doing that in my cute mary janes probably ain’t going to cut it. But still… to leave a pair of shoes in my bag seems silly.

Multi-function Knife
I don’t think I can have too many of these. So I’m going to grab a tiny one to throw in my bag to compliment the bigger knife I carry in my purse. Hopefully I can get them all matchy-matchy like.. does Very Bradley make knife sheaths yet?

Mini First-Aid Kit (check!)
I kind of cheated on this. The mini first aid kit should really contain band aids, rolled bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream and whatever else you feel you need. I went to Walmart and picked up the pre-made kit and it has everything but the rolled bandages. I have a few of those at home so I’ll grab one and throw it in there when I remember.

So there ya go! Do you prep for stuff like this? If you do, what would you put in YOUR pack?

PS: follow me on twitter: @tattooedmommie

Friday already? Oh that's right, I'd realize it were Friday had my week not been a blur of craziness! I guess the school year starting is a rude awakening of what the next 9 months will be like!

Friday Letters
Linking up with Ashley @ Adventures of Newleyweds 

Dear Football Team… 
GO REBELS! You kids are awesome and you really showed your heart last night at the pep rally! I hope your parents are so proud of you! You boys really can do anything if you work together and try your hardest!

Dear Husband…
I know I make fun of you a lot and it is all good natured. But you've totally impressed me once again with how awesome you are. Not only did you make a super good decision (at least I think) in trading in Big Blue for a reasonably sized, more economic, totally rad Rav4 but you're the only person I know who would make sure to think of me while in the middle of making a totally awesome purchase for themselves. To know how much it would make me smile to have my van detailed and back like new, only makes me remember that you do think of me - even when I swear I'm the furthest thing from your mind. I know buying a car  isn't the most romantic thing in the world but somehow you managed to remind me of why I love you so much!

Dear Elementary School… I'm sorry that I'm probably going to be the most annoying mom ever. I am a little over excited this year and I want to help, so please excuse my incessant calls and emails. I do have hobbies and other things going on, although I'm sure it's hard to believe. I just would really like to be involved with my son's school and I hope you don't mind. I promise I'm not this crazy about most everything else and I'm sure the excitement will die down in the next few weeks. But if not, I'm sure I'll be apologizing again later.

Dear Scale…
I got nothing for ya. Seriously. You and I are not friends right now. 

Dear Weekend…
Please be easy on me. I know I keep over scheduling you and it's just going to be that way for a little while, but please work with me a little and allow me just a minute of rest.


PS: follow me on twitter: @tattooedmommie

Last weekend I went to Tryon, NC and visited a local upick tomato farm. Farm? Garden? Whatever you call a large place with a ton of tomatoes that they let you come and pick for a ridiculously economic price. I picked about a half bushel for $4.00 and literally almost pulled my arms off carrying the buckets of my beautiful tomatoes.

Before I get into what I did with these tomatoes, let me just interject here and explain something that I learned (the hard way). I've been used to getting tomatoes from the store and paying a ridiculous price for them. For those of you who haven't ever acquired a lot of tomatoes at one time (like me, a week ago), I've got some tips for you.

As soon as you get home clean your tomatoes and set them out on newspaper. Do NOT leave them in the bag you collected them in for a week. I mean, you could have all good intentions of using them all that weekend and time could slip away because you mistakenly got into more than what you bargained for, but whatever you do, just take them out of your bags and get them laid out.

Because seriously, the rotting mess that happens in one week is seriously disgusting. I lost at least 3 pounds or so of tomatoes because of it. I had all intentions of doing all my canning last weekend but since it was my first time I underestimated how long it would take so by the time I did 4 quarts of whole tomatoes, I was done.

Another tip I'll give you is to relax. The first canning experience I had was so stressful because I was trying to follow the instructions so closely that I really didn't enjoy what I was doing. I was so consumed with getting everything down to the second. This time around I relaxed and wow, how much more fun this was!!

And the last tip, and probably the most important... have wonderful friends who give you delicious fresh veggies (or whatever) from their garden because it TOTALLY makes the whole canning experience rock ten times more than if I had to go buy all my additional vegetables for my salsa. I mean, other than a few jalapenoes all of my veggies in my salsa were all fresh and not store bought - and in my book, that's pretty awesome.

So, last weekend I canned 4 quarts of tomatoes and this weekend I did 9 pints of salsa! All, for $7. Granted I didn't count the peppers and cilantro given to me. So that is a really nice savings and considering tomatoes go up in price during the winter, this will save me some decent cash! I plan to go back and pick some more and can some crushed  tomatoes and maybe some more salsa before tomato season ends.

I love Fridays. They always make me feel like a little kid getting out of school.

Friday Letters
Linking up with Ashley @ Adventures of Newleyweds 

Dear Carolina Panthers… you have one seriously huge fan visiting you today and I expect you to give it 110% to make sure that all those little guys and gals are completely entertained. I hope you know you all are role models and act right. By the way, please let my kid meet Sir Purr so he can stop obsessing about it. And by the way, a few tips on throwing a spiral from a pro wouldn’t hurt either.

Dear Week…  you were really rough on me and I’m really hoping you’re not looking to make a repeat next week. Because honestly, it’s not that I can’t handle you, it’s just that I don’t have too many more vacation/sick days to work through all the stuff you’re throwing at me.

Dear Work Out Room Upstairs… I know you miss me. I miss you. I am working on a plan to make sure we see each other much more regularly. This weekend is my last weekend to say “next week I start…”

Dear Son’s School… You are starting soon and I can’t say that there is anyone more excited than me. Scratch that. My son. Yes, he’s only in 1st grade so he has plenty of time to realize how much he will dread going back to school but for now he loves the idea of going back to seeing his friends everyday and he’s excited about being a 1stgrader. I hope that mentality sticks kid.

Dear Hormones… please just stop. You know what I’m talking about, no need to bring it all out into the public and stuff but just chill out. You’re making me and probably most of my family members miserable.


PS: follow me on twitter: @tattooedmommie