Sunday, January 24, 2010

Moving Blogs

Love and Travel was a great blog for what it was originally set up for--logging our travels and vacations. But as we grow in our lives, life has become more than just love and travel. Of course, that doesn't mean we're going to stop traveling--we're currently planning our annual trip to Sturgis for August--but I always felt weird posting non-travel things on the other blog. Basically I needed an outlet where I could write about everything that I wanted to. I might even transfer the bookish stuff over here one day!

So, here's the birth of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. Sometimes it feels like more insanity than love and laughter, but that's what life is, right? A little of the good and bad (not that insanity is always bad).

Now I just need to commit to actually posting stuff instead of just thinking of the posts and putting them off for another day. Ahhh, the insanity...

In short, Welcome.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Puzzle Bark Tree - Stephanie Gertler

Title: The Puzzle Bark Tree
Author: Stephanie Gertler
Published: 2002 Pages: 319
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Gasp! Holy Hannah, a book review! Truth be told this is a library book and I'm getting emails from the library threatening to take away my shiny new library card if I don't return the book, and if I don't write at least some thoughts on the book before I return it I never will. Who knows if I'll ever get to those finished in 2009 or not let alone a year in review, but gotta start back somewhere, right?

Kind of wish I could start with the fabulous books I ended 2009 with--Hunger Games, Goodbye Tsugumi, Breaking Dawn, Cry The Beloved Country. But I guess maybe starting with an "eh" book is just as good a place as any. Hmmm, why does it feel like I'm stalling?

The Puzzle Bark Tree was my January book club pick and I don't think any of us were really blown away by the book. Some liked it better than others, but I guess that's to be expected when you get a group of people reading the same book. The story begins with an elderly couple, the Hammonds, is found dead in their beds. They are discovered by their longtime housekeeper, Jemma, and when Jemma calls the daughters Grace and Melanie to inform them of the horrific news they both immediately know that their parents committed suicide.

The Hammonds have led a life of hermitude (I may have just made up that word?) never allowing anyone to get close to them, even Grace and Melanie. When it came time for Grace and Melanie to learn the contents of their will they were both shocked to find that Grace was left a house several hours away from where they grew up. Grace embarks on a journey to discover the home she was left and begins opening doors to mysteries and a life long forgotten.

My friend Laura finished this one before me (I actually didn't finish until after our meeting...) and she described the book to me as something you might see on a Hallmark or Lifetime Channel special. Pretty accurate description. Poor Grace has just uncovered a past she never knew she had but her selfish and unsupportive husband simply cannot understand her sudden confusion about her life. Throw in a whiny teenaged daughter and a potential love affair and you have all the makings of a great melodrama.

I'd throw this book into the "OK" category. I'd recommend it to those who like Anita Shreve type books (which I like OK). It has depth and good character development. There's an element of mystery and of course love interest. It's fairly predictable in a way (at least in hindsight)--actually it's a totally harmless book and is certainly entertaining enough. I think the bottom line is it just isn't my kind of book. I wouldn't recommend it for book clubs--we had a few things to talk about but conversation finally fizzled out as we began to talk about the other books we're currently reading.

A totally rambling and nonsensical review. Guess that's what happens when the book just doesn't speak to you one way or another. I ended up finishing it after the book club meeting if that tells you anything?

Are you reading anything exciting right now? I just started Les Miserables this morning. It might take me all damn year, but I have high hopes. Ha!

Dinner's ready--so ramble off.

Monday, January 18, 2010

100 Mile Fitness Challenge Week 2

I had a great start to the week of January 8-14. After not working out a stitch the first week in January (we'll blame the move to the new house), I started off strong with step aerobics and abs on Saturday and hitting the gym on Sunday with my mom!! for elliptical and bike cardio. Thanks mom for being such a big motivator for me. :)

Saturday - 35 mins Step; 15 mins Bender Ball (abs) = 3 miles
Sunday - 30 mins Elliptical; 30 mins Bike = 4 miles

Unfortunately my doctor told me that I can't work out for a few weeks. I had to have a small procedure last week that will keep me off my feet but I'm going to see if I can at least manage to walk a mile here and there and maybe do some low impact yoga. This will definitely be a big set-back but I think I'll still manage to get my 100 miles in. I'll just have to make sure I can kick it up full gear in February and March!!

Do you have any favorite low-impact workouts that you could share? :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Whole Lotta Books to Unpack

Howdy! And Happy New Year!

Just thought I'd send a quick hello since I finally got my books unpacked. I got two new bookshelves last night so I have three matching in total. I feel like such a grown up! Ha! One more is coming today but I have to share that one with Scott. Boo! I wish I could try to talk him into getting rid of some of his books, namely the outdated business textbooks, but I know I don't have room to talk.

In case you're wondering how many boxes it takes to pack up approximately 700 books, well here's a look. (those don't include the boxes with Scott's books as he hasn't unpacked his yet).

Oph! Scott just informed me that he found another medium box with books. Sigh--add one more to the pyramid in the picture!

Side note--I started getting so much spam during my absence that I'm now on full moderation. Sucks since I don't get on the computer very much lately, but I figured that was better than comments for escort services or random Chinese symbols popping up. Maybe one day I'll be able to take it off again.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

100 Mile Fitness Challenge 1 done, 2 to go!

I guess since I started this challenge online I should go ahead and do my progress report! Eeep! Life has been moving so fast lately that I can't believe I haven't written a decent post in two months. Shameful.

Well, the first 100 Mile Fitness Challenge has ended and I barely squeaked by with my 100 miles. But I did it and I'm ready for round two. Well, I guess I haven't done any working out this year but I'm ready to get my butt in gear!

What kinds of work outs do I do? Mostly I rely on my workout videos when it's too awful to run outside. Yoga, pilates, step aerobics, kickboxing. Sometimes I'll head to the gym and hop on the bike but I know everyone is at the gym right now kicking off their new year's resolutions. I also try to throw in some weights and should really be better about doing those squats. For some reason they're just so dreadful!!

Anyway, dinner's ready and my fingers hurt from typing.

Will you join me for the second round of the fitness challenge? Sign up's are here and the regular blog is here. It's not too late to sign up!

Much love,

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