Monday, May 24, 2010

Gimme Your Audiobook Recommendations!


Sooooo, many of you know I'm taking my first long distance motorcycle trip this weekend. No, I'm not driving solo but I may help drive as we're taking my mother-in-law's trike (think three-wheeler motorcycle...don't worry, I'm taking the camera).

Since I'll have hours and hours of roadtime without any communication with Scott, I thought I'd ask you guys for your audiobook recommendations!

Gimme Your Audiobook Recommendations! I'd preferably like to listen to something I haven't already read, but what's an audiobook you listened to that you couldn't put down er, turn off.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5.19.2010 - Fourth Anniversary

Scott and Trish Wedding May 19, 2006

Scott and Trish: Salzburg, Austria(Salzburg, Austria)

This day four years ago I married my best friend.
Our path is not always without bumps,
But there is no other road I'd rather be on,
And a long road I know it is.

Still happily in love,

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: Vol II 1-7 (15-21)

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts is hosting a readalong of Wuthering Heights. Every week the participants read three chapters and post about their readings on Wednesday.

So, finally caught up!

(1-3) Cathy has fallen into convalescnece and a mental state of decline at the Grange. Heathcliff visits and expresses his undying love. Cathy dies! in childbirth and Heathcliff damns her (yes, quite the emotional man). Isabella escapes from Wuthering Heights after a violent scuffle between Heathcliff and Hindley. She leaves for London where she has a baby, Lindon. Hindley dies and the home and Hareton are left to Heathcliff in a manner.

(4-7) Fast forward 12 years where Cathy (junior...other Cathy will now be referred to as Catherine). She's a pleasant girl and on a walk with Nelly ends up at Wuthering Heights where she meets Hareton. Edgar picks up Linton and he is a winner! (so says my notes--really he's a whiny baby). Nelly drops off Linton with Heathciff at WH; Heathcliff admits he'll use him as he'll be the eventual heir of everything. Three years pass and Cathy meets up with the WH gang in the moors and she meets Linton and begins a strange courtship with him until Edgar puts a stop to it.

My Thoughts:

Lots of deaths and births and really I'm kind of glad to have the fresh blood in the story--even if Ms. Emily had no imagination for names. I even like Cathy a little bit even though I know there's no good ahead of her with the wimpy little Linton. What a weenie he is! Hareton seems to have some promise but is kept so low that he's basically socially retarded. I'm coming to realize (as I should already know) that there is no hope for any of these characters. So I'm wondering--what's the point of the whole story?

Something that has really struck my curiosity in these past few chapters is Nelly and her reliability as a narrator. At one point it is mentioned that Nelly is the same age as Hindley which would only make her a few years older than the rest of the crew. This means that way back when Heathcliff was first introduced into the family she couldn't have been older than a young girl. Tell me that she was able to process the events with maturity and objectivity! Of course this whole story is told from hindsight, so I can't help but feel that her knowledge of the outcome colors her telling of the events just a little bit. And was she really present for all of this? Or is she filling in the gaps? What are your impressions of Nelly?

Some lines that caught my attention:

Heathcliff: "Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort--you deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears. They'll blight you--they'll damn you. You loved me--then what right had you to leave me? What right--answer me--for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or satan could inflict could have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart--you have broken it--and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you--oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?" (165).

Sigh. I really want to use the "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" quote from a few pages on but will resist the temptation. Double sigh. (I know, exaggerated eye-roll).

Heathcliff to Linton (junior): "Now, my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!" (190).

Heathcliff on Hareton and Linton: "Mine [son] has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His [Hindley's son] had first-rate qualities, and they are lost--rendered worse than unavailing--I have nothing to regret: he would have moe than any, but I, are aware of--And the best of it is, Hareton is damnably fond of me!" (224).

On pins and needles to find out what happens next!



Check Out These Other Participants in the Readalong:
Literate Housewife
•Vivienne (Serendipidy)
Messy Karen
Victoria
•Jenny (Take Me Away)
•Ti (Book Chatter)
•Lisa (Lit And Life)
•Dar (Peeking Between the Pages)
•J.C. Montgomery (The Biblio Blogazine)
Whitney
•JoAnn (Lakeside Musing)
•Gentle Reader (Shelf Life)
•Amy (New Century Reading)
•Geri (One More Foggy Notion)
•Rob (Books are Like Candy Corn)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken and Mushrooms and Trish Rambles

Teriyaki Chicken and Mushrooms

First--apologies for the cruddy picture--there IS chicken under those mushrooms. Scott told me the other day that it really freaks him out that I take photos of our food. :) Yes, I guess it is a little strange.

You know those pages in the recipe books that are so sticky from things getting spilled that you know by now it's a great recipe you love? This has been a favorite of ours for years--and for Scott to like something (other than me) for years is astounding.

From Trim and Terrific: American Favorites (a family favorite)
1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken parts
1 tablespoon minced onion flakes
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp honey
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms.

From Trish's Easy Peasy Shortcuts (I've learned measurements don't matter for this one)
2 chicken breasts (or more if you want more)
Fill medium bowl with some soy sauce and more teriyaki (I prefer teriyaki to soy sauce, hence the deviation)
Sprinkle in onion flakes, garlic powder, and whatever strikes fancy
Squeeze in honey
Let chicken marinate for as long as you can (I try to start it in the morning so it's nice and juicy by the time I get home--hence the dark color of the chicken in the picture.

Place chicken in 2-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and cover with mushrooms and bell peppers and continue coooking for another 20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Serve with rice.

Yum.

In Real Life?
I'm exhausted. I've been having severe jaw pain for the past year and half and finally sucked it up for an MRI this morning. Two hours in a tube. Moments were relaxing, but when I had to force my jaw open...ugh...

I made some great progress on the quilt top yesterday until I realized that my tension was off after changing my bobbin and now I'll have to unpick two rows. BUT the good news is I'm almost done! And then I just have to think about binding it and then cuddling with it.

Zero progress in Les Miserables. Still have ONE more book left, so can definitely see the horizon there. Am caught up to the group for Wuthering Heights, though, so yay! Anyone up for a Brothers Karamazov readalong this summer? I know Bellezza just did one but I missed it.

Scott is in the other room right now listening to Nessum Dorma and Con te Partirò. They're so beautiful it makes me want to cry. I might just a little. :)

Our fourth anniversary is on Wednesday and Scott says no flowers because he has a big surprise. Not sure I can hold my breath until then!!!

We finally planned our next trip! We're going on a biking trip to the Ozarks (in Arkansas). Yes, like a motorcycle. Over Memorial Day Weekend. Now I just have to ask off of work. We're still in "busy season" and on extended hours so this will be tricky. I'm going to plead I need this trip for my well-being.

Wow, chatty!



Yes, I am an Amazon Associate and if you buy Trim and Terrific or any other product through the above link from Amazon I receive a little bitty commission. Hate to even mention it as I know no one's clicking, but fear the FTC.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: Chapters 4-14

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts is hosting a readalong of Wuthering Heights. Every week the participants read three chapters and post about their readings on Wednesday. Still a little behind but hope to catch up soon. And yes, I realize it's Sunday and not Wednesday. :)
Chapters 4-14 (end of Volume I)

These chapters are mainly narrated by Nelly (Ellen Dean) and she begins her story during the childhood of Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw whose only surviving parent is their father. One day his father returns from a trip with a young gypsy boy, about Catherine's age, and Mr. Earnshaw continues to take him in as a son--of course we're talking about Healthcliff.

Going to go quick here as this summary is mostly for my memory (which is pitiful, I've learned). Please feel free to skim these paragraphs. If you're a high school hack looking for a summary--go elsewhere as I can't contend to the accuracy of my memory!

(5-7) Hindley treats Heathcliff awfully although Catherine befriends Heathcliff. Hindley leaves home when he is older and Mr. Earnshaw dies while he is gone. Cathy is befriended by the Lintons (Edgar and Isabella) while Heathcliff is essentially shunned. Hindley returns to WH married and treats Heathcliff abominably.

(8-9) Hareton, Hindley's son is born, but his wife dies. Cathy begins to spend more time with the Lintons where she continually hears negative things about Heathcliff. Heathcliff has become so abased at Wuthering Heights that his communication and intelligence is suffering. Cathy seeks out Nelly's advice on whether she should marry Edgar even though Heathcliff is her soul. Heathcliff eavesdrops on the conversation and as luck would have it only hears the negative things Cathy speaks about him. He leaves WH and doesn't return.

(10-14) Cathy marries Edgar. Heathcliff returns all civilized and handsome. Cathy and sister-in-law Isabella begin visiting Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff is staying with Hindley. Heathcliff begins courting Isabella, they run off together and marry, Isabella is kept in unhappy state at Wuthering Heights while Heathcliff secretly sneaks off to visit Cathy (or tries to) at Thrushcross Grange where she has taken ill.

Whew.

So my thoughts:

First, a confession. I skim everything Joseph says. I remember flipping to the back of my book in high school to read the translations but this copy doesn't have endnotes and I'm lazy.

Second, even though I'm mostly enjoying my reading I can't handle more than a chapter or two at a time. Man is Emily longwinded! And though I love the language I wonder if she might have been a little more concise. Sometimes I'll read a whole paragraph or page before really grasping what she's saying (although this might be due to my sporadic reading).

Third, it seems to me that the characters take a sudden turn towards cruelty/awfulness. As I was reading Heathcliff's initial introduction, I felt truly sorry for him and wondered if he wasn't just a creation of his treatment by Hindley. I admit that I was looking for reasons why Heathcliff and Cathy turned out to be so rotten. But really, is there any excuse for his vileness? And Cathy? I can't think of any justification for her wretchedness. She's just plain selfish and I don't feel sorry for her. If she loves Heathcliff so much, even after he returns all studly (does he remind anyone else of Edward from Twilight?), why doesn't she just run away from him? Seems to me much of the drama in this book could have been prevented. But then we wouldn't have a book, huh?

But all my frustrations aside, I still can't help my swooning at certain moments. I was reading this passage at the gym on the bike and I'm sure I got many strange looks as I would pedal pedal pedal, grab pencil from hair and underline, pedal pedal pedal, hold book to chest and sigh.

Cathy: "I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathciff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire" (82). [Sigh...but it doesn't make me feel sorry for you, Cathy!]

Nelly on Heathcliff and Isabella: "I felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there to its own wicked wanderings, and an evil beast prowled between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring and destroy" (109).

Cathy: "We've braved its ghosts often together, and dared each other to stand among the graves and ask them to come...But Heathcliff, if I dare you now, will you venture? If you do, I'll keep you. I'll not lie there by myself; they may bury me twelve feet deep, and throw the church down over me; but I won't rest till you are with me...I never will!" (128).

Hope to catch up to everyone soon!!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

In the Garden - Spring 2010

The past two months Scott and I have been spending hours in the garden each weekend. Hours. The benefit of buying a home with a landscaped garden is it's already landscaped and we just have to clean up. The downside of a pre-landscaped garden is we have to clean it up. And with four very mature trees in the front and back yards (remember the snow pictures?) we had so many leaves to rake. Like 20 Home Depot bags worth. Like we've been to Home Depot so many times in the past two months to buy bags that I think we're on a first name basis.

But, we're almost there. I'd still like to do more flowers in the backyard and we have rabbits eating the flowers in the front yard, but after not doing any gardening for the past three years it's been surprisingly fun getting my hands [very] dirty.


BEFORE


Wish I'd taken the pictures before raking all the leaves.




Some 20 bags of mulch throughout the front and back yards




I laughed at Scott's mask until I saw all the crushed leaves blowing around


Me with the leaf blower

AFTER

Begonias in the front. Rabbits are loving them!

Impatiens--this side of the garden gets very little sun and isn't doing as well

Now those are impatiens!






SURPRISES


Carpenter Bees in our patio awning. Little bee made that hole (and several others).


Cheesy but I had to throw it in...sorry.


Gorgeous Knock Out Roses


Irises!

Our Magnolia is finally starting to get blooms and it's still a surprise as to what color our crepe myrtle will be. I'm guessing hot pink but we'll see soon!

I wasn't born with green thumbs despite my Grandfather's very green thumbs. I welcome any hints that have worked for you--especially in riding your garden of very pesky (albiet cute) rabbits.

Happy weekend--and to the mother's Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Importing Woes...aka Spamming your Google Reader

Not only can I not get my posts to import correctly from the Nook, but because I've imported SO many posts in a short amount of time I also have to enter in stupid word verification to post this post. And I'm afraid I can't read the particular code they gave me. GRRRRRRRRRRRR. Yup, "the characters you entered didn't match the word verification..." No @#$#@%@^%!

Not a happy camper.

LOL! Because all you can do is laugh, right?

EDITED: I think it's all properly imported! Need to delete out 375 bad posts, but I'll take it. Thank you Amanda and Jason for all your help and just lending an ear.

A Much Happier Camper,


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Top 10 Best Workout Songs

I go through these cycles with my working out where I'm gungho for several months and then my habit slowly dies into nothingness. I'm at that point right now. Confession--I haven't regularly worked out since October. Sure, I've worked out the bare minimum to finish the 100 Mile Fitness Challenges, but usually that just involved several weeks of nothing followed by a few weeks of craming.

Well, it's time for me to get back on the wagon. I have about 10 pounds that I'd like to drop in order to not have to do the squatty dance when I put on my jeans (you know the one) or have to contort my face to avoid the double chin in pictures. I don't weigh myself...ever...so 10 pounds is just a guesstimate. I just want to feel better, really. My goal is to start working out 150 minutes a week. This is only 3 hours, folks, but hopefully it will give me a place to start.

So, as I was on my brisk walk this afternoon, I started thinking about the workout songs that I have on my playlist to keep me moving. I generally listen to Country, Classic Rock, and 80s/90s, but occasionally there will be a current pop song that catches my attention.

Trish's Top 10 Best Workout Songs
(or close to--hard to choose just 10)

Break your Heart by Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris (new fav!)


Take me Out by Franz Ferdinand


Stronger by Kanye West (clean)


Shake It by Metro Station


Mr. Brightside by The Killers (love this video!)


Sandstorm by Darude (introduced to me by cousin Elise)


Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas (clean)


Single Ladies by Beyoncé


Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada


Tik Tok by Kesha


And finally one more--the song that I usually end my workout with. The song that makes me want do repeated fist pumps in the air while I scream "I did it!"

Baba O'Riley by The Who (no real vid but bet you know this one)


Other notables that either didn't make the list or don't have a video:
*American Boy by Estelle feat. Kanye West
*See you Again by Miley Cyrus (not ashamed to admit this)
*Love Again by Mika
*Dream On by Aerosmith
*Chop Suey by System of a Down
*4 Minutes by Madonna and Justin Timberlake
*Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm
(I could go on and on!)

So, is your foot tapping to the beat of any of these songs? They all make me want to get up and dance!

What is on your workout playlist??

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Brooke's Notecards and Bookmarks Winner!



Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by and enter for a chance to win my sister's notecards and bookmarks.

The winner is Bonnie from RedLady's Reading Room! I hope you enjoy them, Bonnie--they're even cuter in person than in picture.

Please take a minute to check out Brooke's fabulous creations at her Etsy shop Paper Love by Brooke. She's just getting started with her shop and I can assure you that the pictures just don't do these cards justice. She's also open to custom orders--I think I call her at least once a week begging her to make me a birthday card, shower card, wedding card, etc. I bet she'd even make you some of those adorable corner page bookmarks! She also has some really adorable Mother's Day cards available. Her prices are cheaper than what you'd find in the store (robbery almost!) and it saves you the time of fumbling through the racks. Yes, still shamelessly promoting, but I wouldn't be if I didn't believe in her.

Hoping everyone's having a fabulous Saturday! I'm off to a day wedding of a dear friend of mine who I've known since 6th grade and then I'm hoping to squeeze in a little bit of riding time.

Much love,

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