reading list: update

Am kind of excited.  In the rash of posting 2012 goals/resolutions, I mentioned to a literary friend about this reading list.  She said that we should coordinate and have a bit of a cross-country book club.  So I sent her my list, and we'll see what she says.

I'm a little bit excited about this, I have to say.

As for 2011, I didn't quite make the cut off.  Well, I sort of did.  See, I did acutally read 52 books this year.  In fact, I read 64 books, clocking in at a mere 5.7 days/book.  However, of the orignal dozen or so books I set out to read by the end of this year, I came up short by 2.  But that's because I read an additional 11 books or so.

I think that's pretty cool, and I'm darn proud of myself.

Here's to delving head first into my 2012 list, and well as the primary goal of reducing my library request list from 100 items to 30 by the end of 2012.

I hate when things get like this.  I don't understand why we can't have a dialogue without him getting his nose all bent out of shape.

I hatet that I have upteen google accounts, all under different email addresses, and I can't make them all under one without losing what I have saved.  Grr.

As for 2011, between my mom, my job, and two bug infestations, this year has sucked ass.  On to the next.

Happy New Years, errbody.


Love is: surprising your husband by coming home a day early and he's excited to see you.

Love my mooba x-*



So THAT'S why I fell this way . . .

“Basically, I realized I was living in that awful stage of life between twenty-six to and thirty-seven known as stupidity. It's when you don't know anything, not even as much as you did when you were younger, and you don't even have a philosophy about all the things you don't know, the way you did when you were twenty or would again when you were thirty-eight.”
―Anagrams, by Lorrie Moore



For all those Jepordy fans out there, the answer is, What is more fun than doing the dishes and finishing your last 4 Christmas cards?

That's right.  It all starts innocently enough.  I just bought batteries so now I can take a few in-progress photos of the knitting I've been doing.  I must upload these RIGHT NOW. Wow, these photos are unorganized, and so many duplicates!  I must organize them RIGHT NOW!  Gee, a whole ton of my projects on Ravelry have no snapshots to prove all the laborious hours I put in.  I must  . . . folks, you're smart.  You know how this ends.

It is now almost 1am, and I still haven't done the dishes or finished my cards.  Instead, I'm writing on my blog no one reads about how much procrastinating I'm doing.

Tis a sad sad day for productivity.  Too bad I got so much done!

p.s.  Just in case none of you were wondering, I only have two books left for my reading challenge.  I might actually accomplish this list by the end of the year after all!


this cracks me up

What I got while attempting to web surf at work today:

Your organization has chosen to limit viewing of this site (http://www.geographia.com/argentina/argen01.htm), due to the rating of its content (art/culture).

to make!

This and this.

Whaddya think? Christmas ideas for next year?


christmas rush

So do you ever tell someone something random because you secretly hope it will help hold you accountable?  Well I do, and this is one of those times :)

I usually am pretty planned when it comes to Christmas.  I keep lists starting in May of who I'm giving to, ideas, amounts, budget, everything.

Except for this year.  And it's totally kicking me in the butt.

My goal is always to be done by December 1st.  I think I only made that goal once, but still, it helps a lot.

Now I just spent 3 hours running around crowded MOA, racking my mind for gift ideas for my nearest and dearest.

Never again, I tell you.  Never again.

And now I have still have to find time to write my Xmas cards and wrap our presents, and my the presents my parents have bought.  They say they won't need me to, but I know how this story ends.

If I don't have a little notebook riding around in my purse by next September AT THE LATEST, I might as well sign myself up for a marathon.  Because that's what I'll be doing in December, pulling my hair out, and being crabby and frustrated that I couldn't get this together earlier.

So!  How are you? :D


Dear cell phone, I realize that you are not 'smart', but please understand. I will never ask or wish or remind about a bfax. Ever!
Apparently the key to reaching my 10k steps is shopping. This merely fixes one problem by creating another! No good.


I'm team Jacob; my husband is team Edward. Think We'll be able to work it out? ;-)


Status update: (I) love double pointed needles.

In other news, trying to figure out what to do with 341 yards of new yarn I bought that looks like this:

I seem to be in a scarf rut, so maybe it's time for some new skills.  On the other hand, I love how much instant gratifcation scarves provide.  And capes and wraps do nothing for my narrow shoulders.  Entrelac perhaps?  Cabeling?  feather and fan?  Discuss.

Also, saw this amazing spiral scarf (why, oh why do I never get sick of these?) at 3 kittens.  It was like a lace-weight fuzzy (mohair?) knitted on a larger gauge, like 13.  But it was like it was knitted in a long rectangle with an eyelet edge, and then they went back and slip stitch crocheted the edge to make it ruffle.  The clerk said they did something else, but I couldn't really follow.  And even if they did do something else, it got me thinking, would that work?  So I think I'm going to pick up some more of the fountain hills at Depth of Field (I need it for something else.  No, really!)  and do a quick trial, and see from there.  Because I did not dig all the long rows of the first spiral scarf I did (knitted horizontally with kfbs ad infinitem), but I also disliked how slow it was knitting vertically with short rows.  Although, I'm sure the lace work didn't help that at all.

I like that I've gotten to a point in my knitting edification that I can see projects and more or less understand how they are made, or at least see how they could be made.

note to self - runny pecan pies

I made this recipe for our holiday party, and unlike other times I 've used this exact same recipe, it got rather runny.  So I went looking for advice.

From the Pie Expert.  All credit goes here.

I have a problem with my pecan pie filling always being runny. I’ve tried to cook the pie longer but then the pecans get too toasted and taste burnt. Please help!
Sad over a runny pie
Dear Sad,
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! So this again is a common problem, and one with many potential sources. The reason pecan pies set up in the first place has to do with the egg and sugar to liquid ratio. Cooking the egg/sugar/liquid mixture makes a custard, and so if one of these custard components is off, you'll have a problem. Some pecan pies have fillings that are cooked beforehand on the stovetop. I've read that during this step it's important that you let that cook slowly without stirring, or the filling will be runny. I am not sure on the science there... and kind of think that is superstition... but it can't hurt to try it.
If you are using a recipe that *doesn't* precook the filling, you might try out a recipe which does... because then you do some of the thickening before
A second thing to try is to adjust the liquid, so that the liquid:egg ratio is heavier on the egg. So if you are adding any liquids (like bourbon), try reducing the quantity... or using larger eggs (so if you usually buy large eggs, switch to jumbo.
A third source of runny-ness could be your oven. If it is cooler than you think (you could test this with a thermometer) you could have problems. If you are cooking longer at lower temps you might have problems getting that custard to set.
finally, you could try this recipe out:

1 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups pecans (i like using whole pecan halfs, but you could also use 2 cups chopped)
9" unbaked pie crust

Place rack in lowest 3rd of oven, preheat oven to 350 F
Filling: combine corn syrup and sugar in a saucepan and stir to mix. Place over low heat and bring it to a boil, without stirring. Remove from heat, add butter and stir gently to melt butter. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs to break up and whisk in salt and vanilla. Whisk in syrup and butter mixture, being careful not to overmix (to avoid getting air into the filling which will result in a foamy layer on top of your pie during baking). Let cool.

Assemble: spread the pecans into the bottom of the crust. Skim any foam from the top of your filling and then pour it over the nuts. With a fork I usually arrange the pecans so they are all coated with some filling and right-side up.

Bake: Place the pie on a cookie sheet and stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set (if you grab the sides (use potholders!) and twist the pie back and forth gently, the sides should stay put, but the center should jiggle a little) and the center will be puffed up. Remove from the oven, remember that the pie will continue to cook for a while after you take it out, so the middle will set up. Also, it's normal for the pie's center to deflate a little. Serve warm or at room temp.

good luck!
- the Pie Expert

Although, upon further reflection, I think I may have made this one last year.  Maybe that's why it was different, hmmm?

*Update 12.2012*  It is indeed the James Beard recipe from Epicurious that is not so runny.  Two fewer eggs will do that.  Made it twice this Christmas season both with fantastic results :)


Sometimes I read blogs, and I think, “I want mine to be just like that”. 

Here is an example:


Giving Thanks

My church always holds a Thanksgiving service, one where attendees are encouraged to share a testimony or give thanks.  I rarely, if ever, do, mostly because it takes until the end of the time allotted for me to figure out what to say.  So, instead, I will say it here.

1.5 years ago, I was spending my last day at a job I loved.  My husband had lost his job just two months prior.  My mind was spining.  What would I do?  How would we pay the bills?  I was a wreck.  I was obsessing, not surprisingly.  In in the midst of the swirling void, I heard a still, small voice.

Haven't I always taken care of you?

I stopped myself short.  This completely foreign thought was true.  We had always been taken care of.  We had been able to find a car when we needed a new one.  Our bills had been paid when we had only one income previously.  And even though we were told my husband wouldn't not be receiving unemployment, he did.  All of our needs were always met.

And they continue to be.  I had enough money to get me to my next job.  I've had steady work for the last year, paying all my bills and breathing deep.  S found a job and we haven't started, or gone bankrupt or had to move in with my parents, all things we feared may happen.

And it was in church today, that I was comforted even more so.  This statement is not just a fact; it's a promise.  And it's not just a promise for me, but for everyone.  Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Wiccan, what-have-you.  Not only have we always been taken care of, we will be taken care of, always, all ways.

I found immense comfort in this, not just for myself, but for everyone in the church, everyone I know, everyone on this earth.  

And for that, I am grateful.


Saturday, we had our first snowfall of the reason. A respectable few inches. It will all be gone by tomorrow and be 50 by turkey day. Go fig.

Whenever I think of one of these, the other springs to mind.

Good old Neil.

Obviously, they both include graveyards.  But I think it's also because of Bod and Scarlett (although maybe their roles are reversed in the song).  Or maybe because both of these fine gentleman have ties to Minnesota?


Reading challenge update

So as far as my 2011 End of Year challenge goes, meh.

Of the 18 books in 18 weeks I'd planned to read, I've finished 12 of them, as well as piling on a few extras.  6 extras to be exact, not including two I'm currently reading and few Christmas themed books I'd like to crank out.  In my spare time. During the holidays.  Shoot me.

So I've fully accepted that I may not finish my list by the end of the year.  But you know what? Even if I just finish the books I've started this year, I will have read 60 books this year.  That's pretty cool.

library lament

Some things are changing with the library's circulations and it's not good.  Well, for me anyways.

Until now, the library's limit for requests/holds and checkouts was 100 items.  I never had anywhere near 100 checkouts, but I consistently max out my list of requests, often times, checking out two books only to run to the website and request two more.

Starting January 1st, 2012, both the requests/holds and checkouts will be limited to 30 items.  That means that until I whittle down my request list by 70%, I will not be able to request any new items.  (I will concede, however, that my items requested until that time will be grandfathered in)(Still, I'm tracking at about 60 items read this year, so it will probably take me the majority of 2012 to whittle that list down)(So much for my great literary plan of 2012).

Plus, although I never got close to 100 items checked out at once, I frequently have between 25-35 items out at once; a mixture of CDs and books and sometimes other media.

Also? CD check-outs will be for only 7 days (in line with DVDs) rather than the 21 days like books.

I suppose this will mean that a lot of the super long waits on popular new releases will drop because people (such as myself) won't be able to load up their request list with them.  It will also mean that CD turnover will be quicker because CDs will need to be returned quicker.  (Hey, maybe I'll finally get that Solid Gold CD after all!).

And I also suppose that since CD checkouts will be shorter overall, I won't need to check out as many items at once because the CDs will be going back so quickly.

But wow, this is hitting me hard.  I have to say, I'm kind of bummed.  But I suppose that's why it's called a public library, and not my own personal collection.

Update:  Ok, so maybe this will be do-able after all.  After a moment of nerddom, I made a list and some calculations.  I have 51 books on my list; these are books that I will not be able to read this year and will be reading myself (as opposed to books requested for other people).  25 of those 51 are books where I am currently the 1st person in line to get a copy (as soon as I unsuspend it).  The rest I'm sure will open up over the course of the year.  4 of the books (half of which I'm #1) are audio books, which I don't count.  I don't count them because they are "read" during times when I would otherwise not be able to read a printed book, i.e. driving, knitting, at work doing data entry, etc).

This is starting to sound a lot more possible, and like a whole 'nother reading challenge alltogether


So I know that I wanted to spend more time this year actively acknowledging what I am grateful.  I'm a huge believer in gratitude being a healing force, and I believe I've had the most transformative experiences when I stop looking at what I lack, stop comparing myself to others, and look at what I have.  But I have not done well on my daily reflection.  Or at least, not in an ritual way.

But today, I find myself very grateful.

It seems silly really.  My aunt has put together a wiki for us to "draw names" for Christmas, and also to post a quick list of what we might like.  (Yes, I am grateful she took charge and did that, but that's not the point.)  I am completey flummoxed.  I have nothing I want.

Ok, yeah, of course, there are things I want.  I want a full-time job with benefits and paid time-off.  I want an apartment/condo/house that we can afford that isn't in the ghetto.  I want a car I don't constatnly worry about putting in the shop.  And to lose about 60 lbs, or even 20.  And a week or two on one of those all-inclusive cruise ships.

Or if you are looking for more tangible things, I'd love any cd from Solid Gold.  Or a gift certificate to one of my fancy yarn shops, or to Penzeys.  Or a gift certificate to my favorite restaurant that just so happens to not have a national ad campaign.  Or a to get my nails done.

And I suppose those are all things too, but none of which I feel like I can task my family with.  Some of my family is very internet savvy.  Some are not.  Some live in the MSP metro area, some live in more rural parts of the state.  Putting anything down that can't be found at a chain store is really pushing it, and the $30 limit.  But I'm not focusing on that.

What I'm focusing on is this:  I look around my tiny, tiny apartment and nothing jumps out as a need.  I have nothing that I'm pining for.  Even when asked the simple question of what's on my wish list, even if there are a few (self-imposed) restrictions, I draw a blank.

I want for nothing.  And I am supremely thankful.


Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. - James Michener


What 'catching up on my correspondence' now means: getting my txt on while walking home from work.


Dear Crabby Class Member,

When I call you back after receiving a letter from you, please don’t treat me like a telemarketer by loudly pressing digits in my ear.  Oh, and please don’t call back the next day saying we never called you.  We did.  You just didn’t take the call.

Your friendly class-action administrator


animal, vegetable or mineral?

My husband and I are having an ongoing argument.  It's not about how he dresses, or whether the toilet seat should be left up or down.  It's about corn.


My husband is under the (incorrect) impression that it is a vegetable.
"See?", he says, pointing to box in the freezer.  "It says vegetable medley.  And it clearly shows corn as part of the vegetable medley."

"Yeah, well, they also call Velveeta cheese."

I whole heartedly disagree.  Corn is a grain, therefore a starch/carb.  This makes dinner very difficult.

"What should we have with the chicken and corn on the cob?" I ask innocently.

"Mashed potatoes?"

"Umm, no."

"Why not? We already have a veg?"

"Umm, sweetie, corn isn't a veg.  It's a starch.  Have you ever heard of broccoli tortillas?"

"No, but I've heard of zucchini bread."

"Never mind."

This has lead to a basic ban of corn in our house.  This makes 4th of July and August in general very awkward.

Can't we all just get along?
Dear WMDA, That's a terrible acronym. Fire your PR rep unless you like being associated with a failed war and a failed president.


Are owls ever going to go back out of style?! Please!?



Mama had some books to sell so we trekked over to Half Price Books.  The loud speaker sounded like the adults in a Charlie Brown story.  I thought I over-heard my name.  “Hey, did they just say Rachel?”

“No”, Mama replied.  “They called Lisa.”


The weird thing about working on outbound calling in a call center is that you spend all day listening to the phone ring.


First day wearing long underwear and It's not even November yet. Tres triste.


All the Single Ladies

What a fascinating article about how the makeup of a marriage has changed, stigmatization of being single, and lots of other gender politics.  It appears there are lots of other connected articles I'd like to check out aswell.



My Epiphany

A few things happened this week to make my epiphany possible:

  • I talked to a friend
  • I reviewed my day
  • I had a meeting today
Independently, these all seem like basic, work-a-day items, but they had a resounding effect.

I hate my job, or at least don't like much of it, and I am ready to leave in the near future.

I ran into J in the skyway.  We talked about working together at Unnamed Local Chain Coffee Shop.  He offered me a job, but I turned it down because it wouldn't be a step forward.  I thought about all the things that I had liked about working for him.  But I realized that I really do want my quiet, cubicle office job.  But that's now what I have.

Then I started thinking about my day.  I felt like my inner-monologue kept saying, "but I HATE doing (x,y,z)."  I frequently have the thought, "I don't want to go to work today," so I call out more than I should, and means I have less money, and it takes longer for me to get PTO through my temp company.  I realized that the only parts of my job that I really liked was when it was slow enough for me to read or knit, two things that although acceptable, realistically are not why they pay me to be there.

And then I had my re-training for Mass Tort today.  My supervisor's almost direct quote was, "If you really don't think this is for you, let me know.  But realistically, this is the direction we are headed.  Everyone will have to know this eventually, because this is our future."

And that's when I knew my future was not with this company.

So, I spent the afternoon doing a bit more thinking.  If I'm going to leave, when will I do it?  My contract is up the end of this month.  That would be convienient.  But the holidays are right around the corner, and I plan on taking the week between Christmas and New Years off.  If I start up with another company, they may not find that too appealing.  So I'm thinking that I'm going to do two things: 1) I'm going to start looking and praying for actively for my new right place and 2) if I have not found a new job by the beginning of the new year, I will ask ProStaff to end my assignment at my current place and find me another position.

In this economy, it can sometimes feel blasphemous to say, "I don't like my job."  We should all be grateful, and I am.  I am mindful and grateful of the good already received (or at least try to be.)  But I think there's something to be said for reaching and not settling.  I am not happy where I am.  In fact, except for my previous full-time employment, I have not been happy since I worked with J.  But I know that I can be happy.  Divine Love always has and always will meet every human need.  Always, all ways.

So now, I just need to get to work, physically and metaphysically.


Is there really anyone who isn't *aware* of breast cancer?

I need to call my friend to make plans.  I haven't seen him to catch up in about a year.  But I'm avoiding him.  The coffee chain he works for is in full swing with their For a Cure Marketing and I, for one, can't stand it.

Now I know I'm a bit unorthodox; I don't donate to medical charities or causes.  Something that I will probably never get into here, and if you know me, you know why and that's all I'll say.  But it's a choice I live my life by.  I do however agree that breast cancer, autism, domestic violence and hat hair all need to be addressed.  I don't, however, like being guilted into a purchase because of the color, or being pressure to buy a duplicate of something I already own simply because it supports a cause I should care about.

Here's a great example:  I went into a large chain coffee shop (feel free to free-associate), and noticed they were marketing their water as a way to raise funds for water in under-developed countries.  The water cost $2.  How much of that was going to this noble cause? 5 cents.  2.5% of the purchase price.

Now, if water in said under-developed countries is really so important, wouldn't it make more sense to buy a case of water from your favorite discount-chain for approximately 50% less per bottle, and send the difference to the same exact charity?  Or what about giving up bottled water all together, carrying a reusable bottle from home, and sending the money you would have spent to this worthy charity?

I want to buy a product because it's what I need, it's the right price and it's of good quality.  I don't want to bring other factors in, especially ones meant to play to our heart-strings.  I'm not naive enough to believe that we always make the most logical consumer purchases.  But I think this is not only playing dirty and confusing the issue, it's just plain annoying.

I hope my friend will still be glad to see me in November.


some days are better than others

Spent the majority of my day explaining to people that a lot of money divided among lots of people means everyone gets the same small amount.  Basic math, people.  Basic math.    One guy told me our math was wrong.  I asked him, "Really, you think our math is wrong?  What did you get?"  As if no one checked the math in advance.  Why thank you, Mr. Smith!  I’m so glad you let us know we sent the wrong amount.  All the project managers, lawyers, and judges were scratching their heads wondering if it was right, but we sent the checks out anyway!  Does it really take 10 minutes to explain why fifty million divided by 280 thousand is $178 and not thousands of dollars?   If you’re not getting $178, you’re doing it wrong.  Yesh. 



Today, I asked a caller for his name, and I could’ve sworn he said it was Voldemort.  Turns out, it was Waldemar.  I’d never encountered that name before.  A little later in the day, it came up in a book I was reading.  The context in the book was already funny, but even more so when I replaced it with Voldemort.

I am a certifiable Harry Potter dork.
I am grateful for glorious weather in October.


Today, mama and I celebrated the end of her foot doctors appointments by taking a mini road trip to cannon falls and northfield. Color was beautiful. Grateful.


underbuyer vs overbuyer

THe Hapiness Project is much different than I thought it would be.  I didn't expect the research, the planning or the insight. But it's been all of those, and honestly, I can see it being a book I reread for inspiration and to gather new techniques and ideas.

One of the concepts that Gretchen brought to my mind was the concept of being either an underbuyer or overbuyer.  She relates to being a underbuyer, underscoring her frugal nature.  I think I'm a bit of both.  I tend to put off purchases to the last second, always searching for a better deal, and sometimes spending more in return trips to buy things at the last nano-second, than I would've if I'd just pulled the trigger and bought that extra tube of toothpaste in the first place.

On the other hand, when it comes to food, I tend to over buy.  I don't plan well on purchases, and S and I often shop separately, each forgetting things, and buying our favorites, which don't always translate into meals.

I think I want to try and hit the middle, neither under- nor over-buying.  But what would that look like?  And how would I achieve it?

Sonos on The Sing-Off

Ok, so these episodes are really long, even on Hulu.  But I watch to support Sonos:

(performance starts about 1:50)

I really hope they do well.  Although, upon more review, I must concede that this group is flipping amazing.  Bruno Mars? has nothing on this arrangement:


From "On Three Ways of Writing for Children"

“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so.  Now that I am fifty I read them openly.  When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown-up."



another goal

I love HCLIB's Museum Adventure Pass program.  I mean, what's not to love?  Free admission for you and a friend, just for checking out a pass at your local library.  The branch I frequent nearly always has all the passes available  even the super coveted MN Zoo ones.  But sadly, the program is ending in a year.  So, I'm going to try and go to all the museum before Labor Day next year and take full advantage of the program.  Hold me to it!


So, apparently I've given in.  I'm seeing E tonight.  I miss her, and although she didn't know exactly what was wrong, she's intuitive enough to know what she messed up and apologized.  She may get sucked into her own world, but she's been there for me.  I can appreciate that.  And truly, you can never have too many friends (except maybe on facebook).

I activated my Nice Ride subscription today, and I'm eager to take it for a spin.  It's such a beautiful day today, I think I overdressed by wearing a sweater.

October is looming, so I brought some truffles to church on Sunday, hoping to bring in some business.  I should let Beth know I came up with my list of truffles too.  And maybe send a note out on FB, letting people know.  I want this holiday season to go well.

I finished Eclipse today, and read Jean Chatzky's Pay It Down.  I've been kinda slacking on my reading, and although that wasn't officially on my list, it should hopefully push the totals in my favor.

I need to get my financial house back in automatic-saving order.  I have $2000+ in my checking account (yay!), but I think a lot of it is untransferred savings, so I'm afraid to spend much of it.  Must do before end of week.

Also, looking at taking some pictures this week.  There's a tree outside my window at work that keeps calling my name.

Today, I'm grateful that my opinions of people rarely stay static.


Shows I'm attempting to watch this year

Modern Family
The Office
2 Broke Girls
The Sing-Off (at least as long as Sonos lasts)

This list represents approximately 600% more shows than I've followed since the end of Gilmore Girls.  Crazy.
I always struggle when people ask me what kind of books I like to read.  Good ones? I think to myself.  Are there any other kind?

So I found it interesting when I logged into goodreads today and noticed that, without any input from me, they had found actually several categories of books I like.  Whodda thunk?  They include: biography, chick lit, contemporary, crime and memoir.  Ok so, I could have told you about memoirs and chick lit.  I can't count the number of books I've read that are "a day in the life of . . ."   So many infact, that I've figured I must have one I could come up with.  A day in the life of a call center rep?  A barista?  truffle-entrepreneur?  Hmm. 

The one that really stuck out to me was crime.  My mother has always loved mysteries.  So naturally, I avoided them like the plague.  I think it was because she always tried to figure it out whodunnit before it was revealed, whereas I just followed along the story.  This discrepancy made me think I was somehow doing it wrong, and shunned them all, including Nancy Drew.  But as it turns out, I've read a few in recent years.  What with the Dragon Tattoo series, and the Spellmans, I apparently have a whole new appreciation.


finished AiB. Finally!

On to The Hunger Games.

For those of you keeping track at home, I am seriously behind.  And the holidays are approaching fast.  I’ll have to get ahead to keep pace during that time.


Auto correct didn't recognize the word Cds. Not sure which is weirder: that or that I just now figured it out?


thoughts from the day

I still love Jimmy Eat World's album Chase This Late.  I don't think I've found anything of theirs I don't like, but lately I find myself just craving to hear various songs off this album.  Also, it's one of the few albums I listen to completely without skipping any songs.  And that my favorite song keeps changeing, because they're all so good.  That, in and of itself, is a huge recommendation.

So after a month of stony silence on both sides, I finally heard from my delinquent friend.  She'd gotten fired from her server gig at a corporated chicken wing chain.  She had called me last night, and my bitterness prevented me from answering.  Then I saw this morning on Facebook (how did we find anything out before? Were carrier pigeons involved?) what had happened.  I immediately called her.  We've played phone tag.  I've expressed my sympathies and offered an ear.  I think my obligation is done.  If she wants me, or needs me, she knows where to find me.

I loved A Visit From the Goon Squad so much, I'm listening to the audio book currently.  The narrator is really excellent, but I've come across a few mispronunciations that threw me off.  The one that comes to mind now is 'desultory', which was pronounced like 'de-sultry.'  Oh well, I knew what she meant, right?  It's interesting how listening to the book has given new layers of meaning to the vignettes.  Highly recommeneded.  And it was Slate.com's pick recently for their audiobook club.

If something is so minor I don't even getting around to bitching about it here, it's pretty minor.  Although, truthfully, I'm kind of suprised this hadn't been mentioned before:  My 20-year-old cousin has had to appeal to our grandfather twice since her highschool graduation for help to buy fund her transportation.  The specifics of repayment, I am not privy to.  But I won't lie, it irked me.  I bought both of my cars, paid for all the repairs, and the thought that I could call Bank Grandpa had never crossed my mind.  But I conceeded that due to differences between my grandfather's relationship with my father and my aunt, my relationship with him was very different than my cousin's.  I mentioned this to my husband and my parent's, and then let it go.

Imagine my surprise when I got a letter in the mail today from my grandpa.  Enclosed was a brief note and a check for $500.  He said that he had helped my cousin with her car, and her brother with his resent wedding bills.  Although I hadn't asked for anything, consideration was owed and he was happy to give it to me, his eldest grandchild.  Hot tears sprang down my face, surprising both myself and my husband.  Gratitude, relief, joy all washed over me.  I called my parents immediately; had a single breath of my frustration in the situation reached my grandpa?  If so, I would have been mortified.  But they didn't think so.  and on further reflection, neither do I.  A depression era, retired vet like my grandpa would have written a very different letter if that were the case.

Despite the relative distance of our relationship, I love my grandpa.  Many things have been said about him: that he's terse, stubborn, and stingy.  But no one's ever said he's unfair.


things you learn in retrospect

Facebook informed me that the following was my status update a year ago today:

I just discovered that the Bermuda Triangle has moved and is now located in my car. Sunglasses, retainers and wedding rings are not safe, but unlike Amelia Earhart, may be rediscovered.

Pretty witty, eh?


So, I don't really do the reality-contestant-talent shows.  But I might have to after hearing about this.  I think Sonos is great.  I love how inventive their covers are.  Seriously, check out "I want you back."  It's truly haunting and will give you a whole new perspective on the song.

I wonder if it'll show up on my on-demand menu? Or hulu?  There's very little (if anything) I actually watch the night of broadcast.

Great Excitement!


from Amaryllis in Blueberry, pg 10

Just to set the record straight, envy is not green.  And rage isn’t red hot, and the blues have nothing to do with blue.  Envy is more dust colored, a transparent sort of gray.  It quivers, like heat rising.  Rage itself is not any shade of red – it’s not any color at all.  It’s a smell, like fried-up fish.  Melancholy? The blues? Melancholy’s more of a shimmer than any color.  And it creeps: blues on the move.

This quote makes more sense when you read the book.  But alone, I find it mesmerizing.

S's first official knitting project

Some women knit there men sweaters.  Some knit their men scarves.

Me?  I knit my man a bracelet.  Yes, a bracelet.

So far, I haven't quit endeared my DH to the charms of knitting.  I think he thinks it's too country or vintage for him.  But I did find a loop hole.  See, DH has a tattoo around his wrist, and it's against the dress code at his job.  Since we were at the state fair, we looked for items that could cover his tattoo and still be practical.  No dice.  Sexy leather cuffs would be too hot.  He didn't like the bracelets that you adjusted by pulling of the strings (which incidentally were my favorite when I was the friendship bracelet queen, but whatevs).  And then it occured to me:  What if I knit him a cuff?

So I did.  It's not my best piece of work.  I think I'm actually going to knit a few more so that he has a wardrobe of them.  Goodness knows I have enough yarn.  But I find it kinda cool that he's going to wear something of mine to work with him every day.  Let's him know I care.

Love ya, babe x-*


my 2012 reading challenge

After I’ve finished the books I’ve set out to read this year, these are books left on Shmoop’s best seller’s list that I will have not yet read:
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Hobbi by JRR Tolkien
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Lightning Theif by Rick Riordan
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Lovely bones by Alice Sebold
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Shining by Stephen King
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin

But I think most of them will have to wait for 2013.

Since I’ve proven I can be a rather prolific reader, I decided to up things a notch.  I’ve picked 12 authors of classics (modern and otherwise).  Each month, I will pick an author from my list, and read one of his/her works.  I hope this challenge will expose me to greater literature and expand my horizons beyond best sellers, chick lit and fantasy.  My 12 authors are:

Jane Austen
Charlotte Bronte
Lewis Carroll
Charles Dickens
Alexandre Dumas
William Faulkner
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ernest Hemingway
Jack Kerouac
Jack London
Ayn Rand
Mark Twain

If this is not sufficient to keep me busy, I’ve made an addendum list to explore:
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Aldous Huxley
Joseph Steinbeck
Harper Lee
James Joyce
Beyond all the reading I have listed, I still have a significant list of books waiting to be fulfilled from my library list.  This should make for an interesting 18 months of reading.



She spotted me before I saw her.
I smiled.  Should I have?
Her acrylic nails were fresh, along with the bruise on her left cheek.
Did I have any cash?
her wallet was stolen, her ID gone, her bus leaving for home, from outta state, her dog died
Do you have any cash?

Do I?
Do I tell the truth, or do I lie?
I have cash in my pocket, but not enough to make it to pay day.

Cup of cold water in christ's name?

Am I doing a good deed?
Am I being hustled?
How different are they?  Why do they feel so similar?

I've made my decision.  My noes crinkles up and I grimace.
She knows that face; what I'm about to say
She turns away before two small, sad letters can pass my lips.

She walks away; she sees someone else.


34 weeks in; 18 weeks to go; 37 books read so far*

So, with 18 weeks to go, and trending slightly ahead of one book/week, the question remains, what books will I read for the rest of the year?  So far, I've just been reading whatever drew my fancy, but now I find myself wanting to plan what I'll read to finish out the year.

I have 25 items out of my 100 requested items that are not suspended.  I'll let that sink in for a second.  THus my great desire to clear out some items ready to go off my request list that may have been on there a bit longer than they should.

Here's what I have planned so far
currently reading:
  1. Traffic
  2. Eclipse (just started) (I know, I know)
Next few books coming to me from the library:
  1. Amaryllis in Blueberry
  2. Hunger Games
  3. I Remember Nothing
  4. The Happiness Project
  5. Catching Fire
Hmm, so we have two series represented with only the last books to go.  So I guess those should be included in my list of 11 yet-to-be-determined list
  1. Mocking Jay
  2. Breaking Dawn
But what else?
How about:
  1. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
  2. The Curfew
  3. Blood Bones & Butter
  4. Matched
  5. 365 ways to live cheap
  6. Magician King
  7. Half a Life
  8. The Uncoupling
  9. Maine
Can she do it?

*I reserve the right to change my list, my goal and anything else I feel like, dagnabbit.

things I need to do to get my apartment in shape:

  • wash the dishes I promised I'd do tonight, but, psssht, like any of us really believed that
  • sweep kitchen floor
  • sweep bathroom floor
  • find floor in bedroom
Not extensive, right?

Good news?  The living room is pretty ship shape, so really, if we have company or something, only three things really need to be done.  Ta da!


Just spotted my first pumpkin price latte of the season. Blended option also available. Not sure how I feel about all this.


. . . and the other's gold

This post is dedicated to all the people I've reconnected with this summer

Maren and I had a blast spending a cool weekend watching the first 7 harry potter films at the Riverview Theatre.  We met in kindergarten and were good friends through 4th grade, when I switched schools.  I have plans to have dinner with her this week at Victor's.  It's like we never lost touch, except I think we have even more in common now.

Alycia and I met through my friend S (not listed below).  I royally pissed her off because I promised to invite to to my wedding (and then forgot) and then didn't.  By the time I had realized, I had run out of room and money.  Plus, everyone she would have known was sitting at the head table.  But she eventually forgave me, and when her mom passed away earlier this year, I do what I always do.  I wrote her.  I don't particularly enjoy writing condolence letters, but I believe they are important, and something that are often shyed away from.  In turn, we've gotten together a few times to chat and catch up, and I discovered she and I had a lot more in common than our shared friendship with S&L.  What a learning experience in 1st (2nd and umpteenth) impressions.

Ginny and I met at my first year at Camp Lake Hubert.  We became fast friends in our weeks stay, and I was so sad when she didn't come back.  At the end of our session, it came up that we were of the same denomination.  I thought she was confused.  I'd never met anyone who was of my faith at a non-church gathering.  Turns out, she thought the same thing.  Now her mom attends our church and I met her for appetizers in Uptown last week.  She's leaving for Prague at the end of the month to teach english.  She's funny and animated and full of vigor and energy.  I hope we'll keep in touch.

Sarah's grandparents lived next door to me when I was growing up, and we'd play together when she and her brother came over.  I don't remember anything about her brother.  Years later, when I was working out at the airport, we met for the second time, without knowing our previous connection.  I usually only see her about once or twice a year, but I got to see her twice this summer.  It's always so good to catch up with her, and she keeps me updated on airport friends we had together that I lost touch with.

This may have been a tough summer, full of bumbs, bruises and bug bites.  But I'm so grateful for the time I've had to reconnect with these people, and I totally acknowledge that I probably wouldn't have had the chance if my "usual" friends had not been stupid occupied.

Next on my list?  Krupali and Jane (although she's in AZ).  You know what they say: Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other's gold.

Update: I forgot to include Lori and Sara W in this post.  I'll have to write about them another time.


topics on my mind

So I keep thinking I'll develop each of these into posts on their own, but that doesn't seem to be happening.  So I'll just say a few words on each.

Spending money like I have it
This seems to be my mantra this summer.  I am definitely taking steps backward instead of forward.  And after spending three years trying to dig myself out of debt, I can't tell you how frustrating it is.
There's a condo I discovered not far from our place.  It's beautiful.  It's got three bedrooms.  And we might actually sort of be able to afford it, seeing as the mortgage and HOA fees combined would be equal to our rent.  But I don't think our credit is good enough to make it, and I'm scared of asking, and I don't think my husband will be willing to have them check our credit because his is so bad.  This absolutely breaks my heart.
Talking to a brick wall
We saw D&T a few weeks ago.  I felt like nothing I said to her registered.  It was literally like talking to a brick wall.  Or like I was speaking Mandarin.  SO FRUSTRATING.

Reconnecting with old friends
The one upside to this summer has been reconnecting with old friends.  Between going to the Harry Potter marathon with M, and having appetizers with G last week, I've really enjoyed that part of this summer.  I'm hoping I can find time with K this next week.  But it does kind of sting that the reason I've had time to do all these things is because my usual cast of characters is either to busy to deal with me, can't be bothered or terrified I'll infest her with bugs.  Lovely.


I feel like I need new friends in addition to a new job.



Me: Thank you for calling the Settlement Administrator.  Can I please get the ID number off of the postcard you received?

Caller: Um, where would the number be on the postcard?

(In my head): Umm,It's a postcard.  Is it on the front?  No? Then, check the back.  Still can't find it?  Then you need more help than I can give.



So I just got a call from one of my favorite.  He always hears my name as Lisa.  But for some reason, today he heard my name correctly.  “Oh, Hi, my name is Mr Ronald Plow. “ He says.  “I usually talk to Lisa.  Is she there?”

That was harder to explain than I anticipated.

this summer

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month.  But I'd have to agree with Bananarama.  I think this year has been a cruel summer.  Between mama still recovering, hotter and more humid days, bed bugs and the just plain brokeness of it all, I’m officially stating that this summer has sucked ass.

I think you have to be from a northern clime to truly appreciate the severity of this statement.  In Minnesota, we start dreaming of summer soon after the State Fair closes it’s doors at the end of Labor Day.  By February we’re celebrating days in the 40s and watching every sign of spring so closely we could be phenologists.

So, after all this dreamin, wishin and hopin, to dismiss summer so summarily is odd to say the least.  Let me explain.

I feel like I have no friends.

Facebook disagress.  But isn’t that the interesting part?  How can one have 120-some “friends”, and yet feel ostracized, alone and abandoned?  And I should clarify, I know I’m not alone.  My husband and I are close, and I see my mother weekly if not more frequently.  But I feel pushed away by my closest friends.  S keeps saying “we need to get together”, but can never find time.  E “is just too overwhelmed, it’s all too much” to be bothered to take my call.  C would like to see me, but is afraid I’ll contaminate her with bed bugs.  Shy of strip searching myself and spending $2 and an hour drying my clothes prior to going over there, I doubt that will happen.

I am upset.  I am unhappy.  I am distressed.

I hate this summer.



The following phrase keeps repeating itself in my brain:  I need to find a job.  Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons I turned to temping is exactly because I struggle with how to do this.  But I was reassured by a thought that crossed my mind today.  I was lamenting (for the millionth time) my lost position (If only I hadn’t left, if only I were still there) when it occurred to me.  When I first started at Caribou, I loved the store I was at, the manager and the company.  But after only a couple of short months, I was transferred to a new store with a new manager.  Things were already so good, they can’t possible be better, I worried.  I thought about leaving and starting over.  But I decided to sit tight, pray, and see how things shook out.  Turns out,things were largely the same in the short term, and set the course for my career with the company in the long term.  In fact, if I had never changed stores, I more than likely would never have met my mentor, been promoted or met my husband.  This realization of how pivotal this event was, and it's extrordinary outcome gives me so much faith.  I listened, and obeyed, and things turned out far better than if I had struggled against the current.

When I left my last position, crying, a voice said to me, “Haven’t I always taken care of you?”  and I had to admit it was true.

And so far, even in despicable times, my husband and I have been cared for.  So, although I am going to look in earnest, I’m going to listen in earnest.  The decision that made the biggest change in my life, I had no choice.  Why should I worry now?



Some changes must be made.  Although I am grateful for the income it has provided me, I've come to the conclusion that my current work situation is not to my benefit.  I'm no longer making progress; I'm backsliding.  I'm even more grateful that my temp position gives me the flexibility to change all this.  But the fact that I just don't like my job that much is pushing me onward.

But like most people, I'm scared.

See, I was fired.

I made a stupid mistake, at a job I really loved, and I'm scared of what any potential employer will do with that when they have a sea of eager, over-qualified applicants in a recession that has either put hair on the chest of men, or sent them crying to their mommas.

But I have dreams.  And I'm not getting closer to them.  In fact, I'm losing ground.

Something has got to change.

I guess maybe it's me.


Best similie ever: she had a lip gloss with a wand that pushed her lips around like a snow plow. - service included


frustrated and disappointed

Some days I just need my friends.  In particular, I wanted to talk to E, who is my constant bitching buddy.  Except, usually it’s her who’s bitching and I’m being the loving consoling friend.  In return, I get back “oh, you’re such a good friend, what would I do without you?”  Indeed.

So, as an aside, bed bugs wage psychological warfare.  Just for the record.  Sleep deprivation, anyone?

And what do you need in times of war? You’re friends.

Granted, she didn’t know what I was going through.  I don’t hold it against her that she didn’t answer the phone.

What I did resent, however, was a message from her today going on about how everything was just “so much” and she was having trouble with it all, so she just decided not to answer my call yesterday.  Sorry. Bye.

Ok, for the record, everything has been “so much” since I met her almost 15 years ago.  And I have always been there to listen.  Did it ever occur to her that maybe what I was dealing with also was “so much”, and I was hoping for a little goddamn reciprocity, instead of just to shoot the shit and listen to her tales of woe?


Well, fuck you.

I know damn well what you’re getting out of this relationship.  What am I getting out of it?

Not even a dial tone.


FW: couple things

Love this exchange

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 8:47 AM, wifey wrote:
a)      When you come for lunch today, can you bring my badge? (it should be on my dresser or similar area by the foot of the bed) And my One Fifth Avenue book? Or any other book off my library shelf?
b)      Can you confirm with the office about how the apartment was treated (heat and/or insecticide?) and if adjacent apartments are being/were treated?
c)       Do we have any Cargill turkey products in our possession? There’s a recall  www.cargill.com/turkey-recall
d)      Love you love you love you

See you at noon

From: hubby
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:21 AM
To: wifey
Subject: Re: couple things

yes I will bring you badge and book.

they did both heat and insecticide the first time, and doing another insecticide spray next thursday. the tech said it can take up to 60 days for the insecticide to take hold, but assured that it works.

no toxic turkey :-D

loveyou loveyou loveyou

knitting note to self

Waist Shaping by Knitting Daily (planning on using this with that stellar Hermoine sweater!)

In other knitting news, I finished my second spiral scarf, but it only spiraled for about 18" out of 72. So I frogged it, and decided to knit one almost just like it except it's knit horizontally with short rows for shaping, with a nice lacey pattern for interest.  Only thing is, it's not mindless, so I can't really do it at work.  Although i've more or less gotten to the point where I think I could.

But that's ok, because I started another scarf that is SUPER easy, and I love it so much.  It's what I thought the first project with this yarn would be like.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

Tomorrow:  play day with Mama with some other stuff thrown in.  Have I mentioned how much I truly despise bed bugs?!?!


It's safe to say ..

I just want to go home to a non-buggy bed.  Is that so much to ask?


Finished: Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me.  Still working on: One Fifth Avenue.  This is what happens when they expect you to work at work.  Crazy, innit?


30 books

So you know how I'm always asking, which book is this now?  How many have I read this year? How despite the fact that I keep track right here, I can't seem to tally them up?  You know what works really well for that?  Goodreads.com

So?  Are you dying to know?

Well, no, you aren't.  Because it's the title of this post.  But maybe, just maybe, you were until you read that.

You're welcome :D

Wow.  That's a lot!  Aaaannnd, I've also managed to complete several knitting projects, and maintain a hefty social life!  I'm quite impressed with myself!

(p.s.  Do you know we are only 29 weeks into this year?  That means I'm trending ahead of 1 book/week!  I'm so proud of myself!)

(p.p.s.  This probably means I'm reading a lot of fluff) (Damn.)


knitting and other news:

I loved my first spiral scarf that I'm making another one just like it, if only to use of the rest of the yarn.  P.s.  1 hank =$10=3 projects=hours and hours and hours of knitting= lots and lots of cheap entertainment.  bonus?  My mom has the same yarn left over from a project in two additional colors.  Someone is going to spending a lot of time on upcoming Christmas gifts!

In other knitting news, I'm so unhappy with my Chain mail scarf.  It's lumpy and hard to see, and I although I generally like crocheting, I don't appear to like tunisian crochet.  So I'm going to frog it (that's knitter's speak for rip it and start over)(Hey!  Look at me using knitter's speak!) and make a scarf made up of different rip patterns.  There was one in the library book I just returned.  There's a wrap in there that I wanted to make as well, but I think that I'll just use the general idea of it (the shape and texture) and try and knit it instead.

In reading news, I finised Loving Frank.  It was excellent, and moving, and wonderful.  Seeing as that I'm probably the only 12 year old in the world who CHOSE to do a huge project on Frank Lloyd Wright, and have actually been to Taliesin, I found it that much more interesting.  Wright was clearly a brilliant man, but he was not without his faults.

Right now I'm reading Candace Bushnell's One Fifth Avenue.  There are so many characters, I actually had to go back and make myself a cheat sheet after getting 100 pages.  But now I'm doing much better with it.  It's fun and silly and the perfect summer read.  Plus, I find her to be an astute observationalist, which makes her less frothy than I expect from Chic Lit.

And on a final note, we are deep into the Bed Bug War.  Everything except our bedding was removed from our bedroom and put in plastic bags.  Everything that was fabric in the whole apt was bagged, along with any "clutter" (yeah, good thing we don't have any of THAT lying around).  So as you might suspect, our apartment is basically empty.  Becuase all the fabric items are supposed to be put in the dryer for 20 mins, we decided we'd head to a laundromat.  We could only fit the laundry and half of the fabric items in the car, so we have clean laundry and half of the items debugged.  We still have to vacuum the whole place, but other than that, we did pretty well for one day.  I'll tell you one thing, it will make me a lot more cautious about what we bring into the house, and how we handle it.

The most surprising thing?  Spending your whole Saturday cleaning isn't so bad when you get to do it with your loving husband.


In other news . .

we have bed bugs.  This is officially the worst weekend of the summer.  It will all be spent preparing for the exterminators.

Plus side?  We only have 400+ sq ft to prep.  I can't even imagine doing this for my parent's house.  Yuck.

thoughts on taste

After coming home from a long week this week, I decided to do something different.  I normally spend my time in the apartment alone in blessed silence.  But this time, I walked over to our extensive CD rack, and picked up a disc I probably haven't listed to in 10 years.

Backstree Boys.

And, despite supposedly being more sophisticated and more cultured than I was when I first listened to this album, my musical tastes haven't changed that much.  I still dislike the songs I disliked then.  And I still like the same songs I liked then.

I guess there really is no hope for me changing my tastes.


worth it?

Just last night my friend asked me what my top 5 choices for traveling would be.  It wasn't hard since I've never been outside North America (and Canada barely counts) (sorry hubby).  But instead of the enlightening, goal-inducing experience she was going for.  I just felt discouraged.  I feel like I'll never get there, never have the time & money to go.

And then I found this:  http://travelhacking.org/

For a minimum of $15/month, it promises to help pad you mileage balance, let you know first about super deals, and basically make all your travel dreams come true.

But the question is, is it worth it?

I fully believe in paying for worthwhile info, but right now, even if we could get the trip for nothing, we still have no funds for hotels, food, sightseeing.

Hopefully, I'll have paid off my debts in 2 years.  And hopefully by then, this program will still be around.  I think i'm going to hold onto my $15 dollars a month til then.


I can has? I can knit?

I really want to do this project, but I'm terrified of sinking lots of money and time and having it turn out awfully.  Bah.

In other news, I just discovered one of my best friends knits ( on occassion).  And I finally bought circular needles (so I can return the wooden ones to my mom) and a tunisian hook for the scarf I've been planning on knitting for awhile.  Here goes nada!

Books update:  Still working on Loving Frank.  I really like it when I'm reading it, but as soon as I put it down, there's no pull for me to keep going.  Very odd in deed.

and I just picked up about three more books at the library today.  I'ts a sickness, I tell you.


Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold.


book numbers 29 &30

Curse of the spellmans did not disappoint

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran was Durlightful.

Pace is dwindlimg some, but still steady.  On to Loving Frank.


So excited about this!!!



Condolence letters and children becoming the parent role

I did two things this weekend that felt very adult.  This is a feeling that's awfully fleeting for me.  Considering I'm in my late 20's and married, it seems like I oscilate between feeling like an old, married lady and an ingenue.

1) Condolence letters
A friend (of a friend) of mine lost her mother last month.  And although she and I aren't super close, we exchange greetings via Facebook and have each other programmed into our cellphones.  I never knew her mother, and I don't attend funerals if I can help it (long story).  But I do write letters.  I write Christmas cards, mother's day cards, birthday cards and condolence cards.  Possibly the hardest things to write, and yet the most appreciated.  I'll admit; I don't have all the answers.  I often have to peruse some letter-writting books on how to write such a letter.  But I believe they are important.  I believe they reinforce our own thoughts on life, love and family.  I believe they remind us that each day is precious.  I believe they show the recipient that you care enough to put pen to paper, track down an address, and put it in a mail box.  I got a call a few days later from my friend.  She was so moved that I had written her.  I expected she had received lots of these kinds of letters, but I was wrong.  I think reaching out to people, however you can, is vital.  But I think there are specific occasions that require a letter.  And I think condolences top the list.

2) Role reversal
Last week, I visited some family out of state.  As I worked on a project in the kitchen, my Aunt sent my 15 year old cousin so I could "show him the ropes".
"I"m a baby, after all." he said sarcastically.
"You always will be" I smiled back.
Being an only child, as we both are, you are always the baby, the child, the young one.  So it's rare when I find that the shoe is on the other foot, and know I'm the one directing my parents, especially my mother.  But with the events of the last year, it's an experience I've been getting to know quite well.  And yet, it's always a bit unsettling.  It surely doesn't reassure me that I'm ready for parenthood.  I actually quite enjoy feeling like I'm still 22; adult enough for everything to be within reach and yet, young enough for me to not be completely responsible.  Here's hoping I still have a few of those years left.


I currently have 4 books at my desk at work. I have innumerable magazines there as well, along with a small knitting project. I’m either the luckiest girl in the world, or my contracts about to end.


Curse of the Spellman's

Is exactly what I needed. Looking forward to what happens with Stone and Izzy, and how Rae grows up.

Next up: Loving Frank.

No knitting updates. I’ve been busy reading!


Today I managed to wear a shirt with the tag still attached, my underwear inside out and my pants on backwards. Jealous?

books update

Reread Good Omens to great success. I knew all the parts, I just couldn’t figure out how they went together. Much better without missing the crucial 15%. Amazing.

Attempted Empress, but I’m having trouble getting into it. Couldn't make it even 10 pages.  And reviews on Amazon were mixed.   So i'm thinking about skipping it.  I may give up and reprise the Spellman’s instead.

Stay tuned.

On other notes:

The weather today: hot and sticky.  The weather tomorrow: hotter and stickier.  Why do we wish so longingly for summer when the reality is, it's a beast?

Also, I found out that I basically got screwed out of a weeks pay.  I'm bummed.  I was looking forward to getting paid for summer holidays.  Getting paid for days I don't work is my favorite.  But, it appears I'll have to wait until October.  Or get a real job.  My choice.


bookish thoughts

I am first in line for exactly half of my library waiting list . They’re all suspended books, waiting for me to have time to plow through them. The other half of the list is a handful of books that I’m still deeper into the line on. I’ve suspended all those preemptively. Everything else is CDs. I feel like this is somehow representative of me, but I can’t quite see it.


is not a fan of being stag at a party where I don't know anyone but the guests of honor. Harumph.


90 percent chance of overnight rain. Winds 20-30 mph. Low 61f. Reason 9564 why I'm still glad I don't have the paper route anymore.

On another note, I just tried to fall asleep with my glasses on. Almost worked too.

book number 28

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth
It's pure silliness.


knitting update

Everyday wrap: Done.  Finally.  2nd official product.

Grey spiral scarf to be gift/use up yarn left from wrap: CO

Tunisian chain mail scarf: Yarn bought, need hook.

Cute yarn bought for pennies at Michael's last weekend: found pattern, need needles.

Apartment: suffering from neglect.  I wonder why?

books grand totoal so far: 27

That's more than a book a week.  Amazing.

Next up:  Good Omens again.  Which I read via audio book, but when all was said and done, I was like, huh?  I think that because I stopped doing my paper route, I wasn't listening enough and I lost track.  So I'm trying the print version.  I want to really like this book because R&N are mad for it.  Plus it's Neil Gaiman.  Not counting towards books read total for the year.

On Deck: Empress, Curse of the Spellmans and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran. 

Empress is by the same author as The Girl Who Played Go.  So it'll probably be as amazing and also as heartbreaking.  Sigh.

Curse of the Spellmans is part of a whole slew of books about the kooky PI family.  Should be good for a laugh and go quickly.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is part of Real Simple's No Obligation Book Club.  I'm a week behind, so I've got to catch up.  But it looks to be a fun, quick read, so it shouldn't be a problem.

So, I've essentially got 4 books to read in the next 5 weeks.  And I've got three knitting projects I'm hot to start.  This should be interesting.

check out

 My latest quest to figure out why I keep killing my herb garden.

My constant search for new personal finance blogs.

Something yummy I hope to make next time we have someone over for dinner.


updates and streams of consciousness

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake:  Incredible.  So moving, touching, and magical.

CakeWalk:  Amazing.  Touching.  Poignant.  The chapter without a recipe at the end just about made my bawl at my day job.  The fact that food had always been a comfort to her, and couldn't even help her at that point in her life struck me to the core.  So, so good.  So so glad I read it.  It was completely the opposite of what I had imagined it would be. ( I obviously didn't do my research on that one) (But that's OK).

Biked 14 miles yesterday.

I'm beginning to lose my steam on FB.  I feel like I get more updates from companies and public figures than my actual friends.  I hesitate to comment on anything or post anything because I either feel like I'm either one-upping someone else, or I'm a loser because it's not as (adjective) as someone else's.

Plus, I still find myself annoyed at S&L.  I've been following DH's lead with D&T.  So that leaves some fairly big spaces in our lives right now.

And tomorrow is Sara's sister's graduation party.  I'm not even sure if I'll see them because it looks like they'll be headed to another party that's going on at the same time in roughly the same area.

Reason's why I'm annoyed at S:
  • We had plans that she totally forgot
  • I was included on her new plans, and made to feel like an afterthought
  • she repeated asked me if I was going to an event I'd told her repeatedly I wasn't attending
  • she made a big stink about how we should get together and then never followed through
  • it's now been almost a month, and I don't seem to be getting over this
Reason's why I'm annoyed at L:
Actually, it can probably be lumped together as one: I've noticed him ragging on S a lot in mixed company.  I feel like the kind, sweet patient L that we've known for the last several years disappeared and left this asshole douchebag in his place.  I know spouses can be annoying; after all, I've got one!  But if I were to complain about him to T or his sister or his mom, I'm smart enough to know I'd be digging my own grave.  Plus, I hate to say this, but L got his green card because of S.  Because she fell in love with him, married him, and helped him put together all the documentation he needed, wrote an amazing letter that won his case, and stayed here and worked like a dog so that he could quit his job and go to Mexico for a month while it got straightened out.  Now she's writing a book about their experience.  And he thanks her by talking shit about her to her friends, and being impatient and annoyed all the time?  What, because he got his green card and lost a bit of weight?

Honestly, it makes me want to lost more weight, just so I can shove it in his face and say, Fuck you.  You can be in shape and not be a dip shit to your wife at the same time.  I know.

This? right here? does not bode well for our summer fun.