Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of Reading for 2010

I feel a little bit sheepish participating in this "Best Of" meme since I only finished a whopping 23 books this year (yes, twenty three), but I have blogger's block again and really want to post something before tomorrow at midnight!  And for the record, while I do feel like a bit of a failure as a book blogger for only having read 23 books this year, I think back on all the things I did in 2010 and am totally OK that reading took a back burner and will continue to do so in 2011.

So...Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner has asked us a series of questions about our 2010 reading (pop by for a Linky of all participants).

My 2010 Reading Year

1. Best book of 2010?
No question about it – Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Extremely Loud &; Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer. I can pick two, right? They are soooo different afterall.

2. Worst book of 2010?
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos. I don’t often feel like I've wasted time reading a book, but I wish I could have the week I spent reading this one back. I read for book club and it’s a harmless book (murder mystery), just not something I enjoy reading.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I wanted to read the book for so long and it ended up just being a painful time sucker. 

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?
The Odyssey! Who knew that it would be so easy to read and entertaining as well.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
Is it weird that I don’t typically recommend books? I guess Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close though it’s not one I’d recommend universally.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010?
Does Flavia de Luce count as a series? I adored The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and can’t wait to read more of Flavia’s adventures.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?
Not sure I really had any “discoveries” this year, but I’ll be reading more of Jonathon Safran Foer and Alan Bradley for sure.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?
I guess maybe One for the Money by Janet Evanovich but mostly it was just entertaining rather than HILarious.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale about a Victorian murder mystery. This one will get included among my favorite non-fiction books!

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?
I didn’t really have any “anticipated” reads for 2010. Now, 2011 I have a whole list!

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Delicious. I might even pick up the Jane Eyre edition for next year.


12. Most memorable character in 2010?
Definitely the cast from Wuthering Heights. I even casted out my own version of the movie.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010?
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Any book that can make me cry on the bike at the gym is one dear to my heart.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. See note above about crying on the bike at the gym. Seriously.

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
Animal Farm by George Orwell.  Such a fun surprise and so short!


Book Blogging in 2010

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010?
I’m admittedly bad about kind of sticking to my handful of longtime favorites, especially after the blogging break and move, but a few newbies [to me] for me this year are Erin Reads, Kristi Loves Books, Iliana from Bookgirl's Nightstand (met Iliana this year in Austin!), Amy Reads, and Allie from A Literary Odyssey

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close though it’s mostly a rambling mess. In my head I also love my Les Miserables review even if I can’t seem to get more than one paragraph actually drafted.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog
Though sometimes I miss the big Sunday Salon discussions I used to have before my break, I’ve had some great ones this year. Two of my favorites from this year were Taming of the Shelves and Picking Your Next Read.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?
Amanda from The Zen Leaf wrote an amazing review of Lolita. She warns of spoilers, but I think especially those who haven’t read the book should read her thoughts. It’s a beautiful book that so many people avoid but she explains perfectly why Lolita is a must read.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
ALWAYS the read-a-thon. The next I presume will be in April right before Little Miss comes. I’m hoping I can get in one last day of gratuitous reading before the true insanity begins.


6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010?
Finally letting go of Trish’s Reading Nook and allowing myself to begin to blog more freely (still working on it, but hey).

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)
That I can download audiobooks from my local library! The collection is small but I’m hoping I can take more advantage of this in 2011.

Soooo, the bottom line is I want you all to go read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close right now so we can meet for coffee and chat about what heavy boots the book gave us.


I'm so looking forward to all that 2011 is going to bring.  I plan to be back with a Sunday Salon on January 2nd, but until then I hope you all have a lovely and safe New Year's Eve and Day.

Much love and happy reading,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Happy Christmas to You

Whereever you are, Whatever you're doing, I hope you have a spectucular Christmas.


(I saw this video on my friend Meredith's blog and she kindly said I could repost her idea--video is a little grainy, but I love the song: Drummer Boy by Jars of Clay).

With a very full heart,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Ramblings on Wednesday Morning

I’ve been working on a draft for my thoughts on Les Miserables but I can’t seem to get my thoughts to go anywhere. And now, several months after I’ve finished the book I wonder if my love for the musical has colored my memory of my reading? Maybe I should just forget all else and write a rambly post about the book…but not today. Today is just a random rambly post.

I find myself with lots of things I’d like to post about, but when it comes time to actually writing the post none of my ideas seem appealing. Do you have that happen to you? Sometimes I wish people would just tell me what they’d like to see me blog about. I’d ask, but fear of no answer (crickets chirping anyone?) is enough to keep me from asking.  :P

Oh, and last ramble post, I didn't mean call anyone out when I said only two people will read the whole post--that's certainly your prerogative as a reader to read as much or little as you'd like. But it did make me smile how many of you specifically told me you read the entire post.  You spoil me rotten.  Seriously.

Oh, so back to random rambles.

This week marks 23 in the pregnancy timeline. It seems like every day my tummy grows exponentially. I go to the doctor on the 28th and I dread hopping on that scale and seeing what all the Christmas goodies have done to my body. I few weeks ago I was all “ah ha! I GET to gain weight during the holidays” but that was when I was struggling to put on the pounds. Now I just look at toffee and bam! (well, can anyone just look at toffee?).  I'm still doing pretty good and I'm trying to exercise at least sometimes--lately this means three times a week.  Yes, I realize I'm pregnant, not fat but I'm also conscious that what goes on must come off.  But for the record, I love being pregnant.  Sure I have terrible heartburn and a bit of sciatica and other small sundry complaints, but otherwise, love.  Even when little girl is kicking my bladder at 4:15 am and I can't get back to sleep.

22.5 weeks

Sorry if this post turns into a baby heavy post. Life otherwise is kind of boring right now (a good thing).

My dear husband Scott took it upon himself last week to paint the nursery. Pink. This was entirely his idea but I wasn’t going to fight him, even if I would have opted for something more neutral. He was hoping for a boy, so for him to offer to paint a room pink tickles me to death. He did warn me that he’d be pretty [profanity profanity] if baby turned out to be a boy afterall. Ha! It does happen. It's really hard to take a good picture of the pink, but it's fairly subtle.


Scott has also picked out the bedding for the nursery. Yes, it is Pink Camo.  Yes, we are Texans, but isn’t it adorable? People ask what will happen if the room doesn’t match the bedding but Ehhhh. There are things in life to stress about and matching pinks is not one of them.  (click on here for more pictures)


Ok, just a few more baby things and then I'm done, I swear. Last week little Baby Billy Sue was spoiled rotten by some dear friends.  First a very plush swankie blankie from some of my best high school friends.  It's so unbelievably soft.


And second--this one makes me want to cry every time I look at it.  The dearest Debi (formerly from Nothing of Importance) made this absolutely gorgeous blanket.  I believe if you click on the picture it will enlarge to see the detail.  It's breathtaking and I'm speechless at her generosity.


I think it’s official that my orchid has a bud growing and not an alien worm thing. I’m super excited about it as three weeks ago it was just a curious little thing (link to last picture).


Does anyone clip recipes from magazines only to stuff them into the corner of your pantry? Something I’d love to do in 2011 is make a scrapbook of recipe clippings. Nevermind the fact that I don’t scrapbook for real and probably never will.  How do you keep track of recipes you receive here and there?

I’m making a mental list of books I’m excited to read in 2011. On the short list: Everything is Illuminated, The Stand, Possession, and The Knife of Never Letting Go. Oh, and PS—in my Sunday Salon post I mentioned I wanted to read 26 books next year (2 books a month). No one pointed out there are only 12 months in a year so only 24 books. I felt like an idiot but guess no one noticed my mistake. What are you excited to read in 2011?

I got my Christmas present from Scott early this year.  I rarely ask for anything but after seeing my cousin's awesome pictures with her 50mm lens I HAD to have one.  I'm still getting used to the smaller aperture (1.8f) but so far I love it.  See my adorable niece below...


I can't believe Christmas is in just three days.  Today is my last day of work for the week and then we're off to Coleman until Christmas when we come back to spend the next two days with my family locally.  I'll be glad for the break from work but I'm not sure how relaxing the time will be with all the traveling about.  I started the The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane last night and how cool would that be if I actually finished this year?!  What are your plans for the holidays?

Until then...

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel - Paulo Coelho

Title: The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel
Author: Paulo Coelho
Published: 2010; Pages: 208
Genre: Fiction, Inspiration
Rating: 3/5

The Alchemist is an allegory or parable of a young shepherd, Santiago, who gives up everything to follow a recurring dream in which he discovers treasure.  Along his journey, Santiago meets several who help him and whom he helps because when someone works to achieve their dreams the universe aligns to make it so.

Reason I read it: When Trish (Hey Lady) announced on Twitter that TLC Tours would be doing a book tour of the graphic novel version of The Alchemist, I jumped on the opportunity so fast I...well, it was fast.  I'll be the first to admit I was never terribly interested in reading the original version of The Alchemist--probably because someone I know said it was literally life changing and that always makes me hesitant and turns me off immediately (especially given the fact that this book did not really change said person's life).  Anyway...  I figured the graphic version would be a perfect way to experience the book and right I was.

My thoughts: This is totally not my type of book.  Even just the idea of it seems a bit preachy and the premise is quite obvious--though I believe this book can be interpreted several ways depending on where one is in life, which is a plus.  Seek and you will find.  Ask you and you will receive.  The answer is right under your nose.  One must experience many things to find the answer.  If you really want something and work to achieve it, it will be yours.  If you put your mind to it, you can do eeeet. There are signs and omens all around us.   And many more that I'm forgetting or missing. 

And before you get all up in arms because you feel I'm being dismissive, let me say I'm not trying to be dismissive because I do find these messages valuable.  I simply prefer to have the messages delivered to me in a more subtle way rather than in a flat-out allegorical tale with heavy religious undertones.  Aside from my personal biases, though, I was intrigued enough by this book to read through it really quickly.  At first I was concerned about not having read the original book, but I kind of liked going into this one without any predisposed notions of what to expect.  The story was a bit choppy at the beginning and many other bloggers on the tour mention that some of the story might be missed by not having read the original first.  This may be true, but I never felt like there were holes or that pieces of the story might be lacking. 

I found the artwork gorgeous--all the pages are in full color and really it's quite stunning. A few things that I found curious, though.  There are no pages numbers.  The women are portrayed as all having tiny waists and ginormous bosoms--except for a fortune teller who might really be a man.  Sometimes the characters had very misleading expressions on their faces and this was a bit confusing at times as I feel artwork should really be representative of emotions in a graphic novel format.  Finally, the writing was sometimes a little off. I could be wrong about this, but I don't think the graphic novel is translated like the original is?  Either way, it feels poorly translated--the phrasing is at times awkward and not quite correct.  Despite those curiosities, I am so glad to have encountered this story in graphic format. [for some reason I can't get any of the pictures from the publisher to upload properly otherwise I'd love to share a page]

Bottom Line: Sure, I'd recommend it.  If you read the original and really enjoyed it, this might be a great way to revisit the story and remind yourself of what you liked so much the first time.  If you haven't read the book and don't have much interest, this might be a perfect way to get a taste as it should only take you a few hours to read through.  And even though I don't love this book like others do, and I don't find it earthshattering or novel, I did find a few bits of wisdom to personally take away with me.  And while I'm not rushing out to get the original novel, I might be a little more openminded to it now that I've seen the story.

Have you read The Alchemist [in any format]?  What did you think?



Thanks to the ladies at TLC Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this tour.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Salon 31: 2010 Looking Backward and Forward

I'm sitting here on Sunday morning in my La-Z-Boy recliner with a heatpad strapped to my upper back and a coffee in hand (er, close by).  Ahhh, this is the life I think, except I can't think of anything to write about for today's Sunday Salon.  I keep a notebook in my purse where I jot down ideas as they come, and I asked around on Twitter earlier this week for prompters, but as of yesterday when I sat down to type up my post nothing felt right.  So I set up shop and hoped something would come to me overnight.  Nope.

Since next Sunday is the day after Christmas and I'm not sure what my schedule will look like next week (so far busy as Scott and I hop around to all of the parents' homes), I've finally settled on the obligatory End Of Year Review post.  I wish I could do a full report--such as vacations taken and adventures encountered, but just like I haven't blogged about every book I read, I kind of lost track of the other stuff as well.  Maybe next  year, eh?

Janus looking backward and forward

2010 was a strange year for me.  As 2009 came to an end I realized I was spending more time online than I really wanted to be.  I was expecting a baby and preparing for a move to a new house and life seemed to have presented me with new things to focus on other than reading books and blogging.  I didn't want to find myself losing hours to the computer anymore but instead I wanted to focus on the here and now of life.

In January, right after the move, I had my miscarriage and for a while the last thing I wanted to be doing was reading and blogging.  Looking back I'm not sure what I did with my "free" time but soon I was so busy at work that I couldn't even think about "free" time.  Gone went my morning and lunch reading/blogging times and since I don't do a lot of reading at home this meant my reading time got cut significantly.  As I type this I have no idea how many books I've read this year.  Guessing between 20 and 25 but I won't find out until I get up out of this La-Z-Boy and move to my regular computer.  And even then, I'm not sure how accurate my records are since I haven't blogged about every book I read this year and didn't keep diligent lists like normal. 

Not knowing how many books I've read is actually very liberating.  Since blogging I've been so caught up in how many books I've read, how many I need to read to fulfill challenges, how many books I haven't read yet that I want to, how many I'm acquiring, numbersnumbersnumbers, Ineedtoneedtoneedto.  I've learned this year that I don't want to go back to that.  Because what was happening was I was letting go of other aspects of my life so that I could finish one more book.  Please understand this is my own personal thought--I'm not saying that reading lots of books in a year is bad--but it was bad for me and I don't ever want to go back to the mentality of "I can't do that because I need to finish this book" or "I can't because I need to catch up on bloghopping."  Reading is a very important part of my life, but it is not my life and I don't want living an active life to come second to reading just one more book.

Whew, I've been blogging this for over an hour yet and still haven't gotten to my list of 2010 reads!  Coffee needs a refresher anyway--so up I get to face the numbers.

Books Read in 2010 (to the best of my memory)

1.  The Puzzle Bark Tree - Stephanie Gertler
2.  One for the Money - Janet Evanovich (mini review)
3.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
4.  The Night Gardener - George Pelecanos
5.  How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly - Connie May Fowler
6.  Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show - Frank Delany
7.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
8.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson - Green and Levithan
9.  Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
10. Admit One - Emmett James
11. Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor E. Frankl
12. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
13. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - Kate Summerscale
14. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
15. Animal Farm - George Orwell
16. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley
17. Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostovesky
18. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathon Safran Foer
19. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
20. The Book Thief - Mark Zusak (re-read)
21. The Odyssey - Homer
22. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (graphic novel)

22 books.  We still have 11 days left in 2010 but there's a book for work I need to read, so it's possible this is it.  And you know what, I'm OK with that.  I've read some fantastic books this year.  Favorite book of 2010??  Easy.  Dead even toss up between Les Miserables and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  Both fantastic books that I simply can't stop thinking about.

I don't like to make New Years Resolutions because you never know what the new year will bring you. In my case, the New Year is bringing me a new baby. My life will change drastically and its impossible for me to fathom what that means exactly. There are so many things I'd like to do in 2011: finish a quilt for Scott and make one for the baby; read 24 books next year (2 a month); cook one new recipe every month; continue learning more about photography; exercise regularly (which might only mean 3 times a week); spend more face time with family and friends; finally blog about that trip to Europe--but mostly, I just want to live a full life and not be bogged down by this, that, or the other. Life's too short and moves entirely too quickly. What does this mean for my blogging?  Nothing really.  I love blogging and I'll do it when I can.  Simple as that, right?

Alright--two hours later I've got to hit that publish button and get off my rump.


What thoughts do you have as you look backward at 2010 and look forward to 2011?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Annual Bake Day - 2010 Virtual Advent Tour

One of my favorite family Christmas traditions is our Annual Bake Day. Of course we always baked holiday goodies when I was growing up, but for the past four years we’ve had an official bake day where we all bring together recipes, our pots and pans, and more butter than anyone would ever want to imagine.

This is not your casual bake day—a fair amount time goes into picking out recipes to bake (old favorites and new things we’d like to try), creating the shopping list and dividing ingredients between bakers, and then working our fingers to the bone as we measure, sift, pour, stir, and bake our goodies. Of course, there’s always a healthy dose of smiles, laughs, Christmas music, dancing, and the occasional knife fight (I joke, but a knife always seems to find itself in one photo shot).

This year our bake day was especially fun because my aunt, cousin, and sister all flew into Dallas just for the bake day. We had 11 recipes on the menu and though at times the outcome looked a little sketchy, we pulled everything off beautifully.

My apologies for the picture overload, but we had such a great time I couldn't NOT include some of these pictures.  Blogger isn't letting me preview posts, so hopefully the spacing is OK. 

2010 Annual Bake Day

Sister Kim and Cousin Rachel making Strawberries


Aunt Debi and Sister Brooke

Nick, Trish, Kim - The obligatory knife photo

Scott dipping oreo balls

Nick shaking cookies in powdered sugar

Trish, Mom, Brooke figuring out measurements

Kim, Trish, Aunt Debi, Mom, Rachel, Brooke

Aunt Debi, Rachel, Mom, Trish, Brooke

Finished

But we lost our insanity

The Goodies
(some of them)

Cherry Chocolate Sumsum (don't know technical name)

Buckeye Delights

German Shortbread with Jame

Toffee-glazed cookies

English Toffee

Um...YUM!

Christmas Strawberries
(family favorite passed down from paternal Grandmother)

Christmas Strawberries

Ingredients:

2 large packages strawberry jello (separated)
1 lb or 7 cups coconut
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sugar
20 drops of red food coloring

Combine 1½ of jello packages in a large bowl with remainder of ingredients. Reserve the other ½ of jello package in a smaller bowl for rolling strawberries.

Mix ingredients well. Shape into spoonful-sized strawberries and roll strawberries into reserved jello mix. Allow to set on wax paper. Use buttercream icing for green stems/leaves.

A very sweet and tangy treat.  Has anyone seen anything similar?  Wondering if it's a Swiss thing?

What will you be baking for the holidays?
 


This post is part of the 2010 Virtual Advent Tour - a fifth year tradition in the book blogging community which allows book bloggers around the world to share their holiday traditions with one another.  Two years ago I shared the competing Christmas villages-a tradition between my husband and me.  Visit the 2010 Virtual Advent Tour site for other book blogger's holiday traditions.



Life update: Test is done--won't know score for another month but pointless to worry anymore.  Need to put away those Halloween Decorations (not kidding) and then hopefully I'll be free and clear to do whatever the hell I want!  I forgot what that feels like...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs


I’m notorious in my family for hearing a Christmas song and saying “Oh, I love this song; it’s my favorite.” In fact, I have been given such grief over this statement that I finally had to make special note of which Christmas song truly is my favorite. Every year it’s a toss-up between Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)—doesn’t matter which rendition—but either way, I can’t choose just one.

My love for Christmas music is somewhere on the extreme end of the love spectrum. I have over 125 Christmas songs on my ipod (like 7 versions of versions of The Christmas Song) and I admit that if I have my ipod on shuffle during non-Christmas times of the year I won’t change the track if a Christmas song comes on.

Some of my friends think this is sacrilege and wonder how I don’t tired of Christmas songs, but there is something so incredibly magical about Christmas music. I am not a religious person, but I can’t help be moved by the spirit of the season—particularly through the music. Even yesterday I was listening to O Holy Night (Glee version) while Scott was driving us to dinner and tears were pouring down my cheeks.

It’s taken me weeks of listening to complete my list of favorite Christmas songs—drafted on paper in alternating red and green pen (not kidding)—and I’m sad about some of the great songs that didn’t quite make the cut, but I couldn’t include ALL of them or you’d think me ridiculous. These tend to be the more “abso-awful” songs (term coined by Paxton of Cavalcade of Awesome on his own Christmas Songs list)—such as Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton and Last Christmas by Wham! Also, while there are certain songs that I love no matter who sings them, these tend to surprise me--they're not the songs I would generally call my favorites but they are so fantastic I can't help loving them.

Stop talking Trish!

So…the list. In no particular order.

1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. All I want for Christmas - Mariah Carey
3. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Josh Groban
4. O Holy Night – Mariah Carey
5. Please Come Home for Christmas – Jon Bon Jovi
6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Rascal Flatts
8. Christmas Waltz – The Carpenters
9. Happy X-Mas (The War is Over) – Celine Dion
10. This Christmas – Christina Aguilera

I wanted to include clips from YouTube but I haven't touched my home computer in over a week because of my studying and YouTube is blocked at work. Maybe one day I'll edit and include but my mom told me I need to stop talking about this post and just publish it already.

So, I will leave you with one of the "abso-awful" (or "aweso-awful") songs that I love but didn't make the list.

Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen




It's been said many times, many ways...

Merry Christmas, to you.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas Songs??



[hoping to take test on Monday and then will be FREEEEEEEE!! This blogging break sucks.]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby Billy Bob is a Girl! And Other Randomness

Well, it’s looking like my blogging break is going to have to extend for possibly another two weeks until I’ve actually taken my work-related Continuing Education test (essay test over a textbook I’ve been reading for almost a year on things that are way over my head).

I miss blogging and realize that probably only 2 of you will actually read this entire post, but I’m feeling chatty and wanted to get a few things out. While I’m totally ignoring my Google Reader, I’ll do my best to return the visit…for whatever that’s worth. Better yet, if you want to direct me to a specific post, I’d love that, too.

The biggest news, which I wanted to do in a post of its own but am too scattered right now to do a post on one topic, the biggest news is…

IT’S A GIRL!

Baby at 19 weeks

So thank goodness no Baby Billy Bob. Though, she’s endearingly known now as Baby Billy Sue. I know, I know. I’m not a redneck, but I can’t help that I married one.  [Scott isn't really a redneck, I just tease].  Think those are little fingers tips by baby's head?  And Little Miss already has several cute girlie outfits courtesy her future Grandma and Auntie.  Of course, she also has a Harley tshirt courtesy other Grandma and Texas Rangers tshirt courtesy future daddy.  First annoucement of Baby is here.

I'm also buckling under pressure and posting the belly shots (courage thanks to Trish Hey Lady who is my pregnancy twinner).  I'm a little embarrassed of these because it looks like I have no belly--which isn't the case (though it is on the small side, I think for 19 weeks).  Perhaps the slimming black wasn't the best choice but eh--ironic that when I'm pregnant and have gained xx pounds I finally take a skinny picture.  #lifedoesntmakeashredofsense  And yes, in second pic I am sticking my tongue out at mirror.



Other random thoughts of late:

Scott took it upon himself to make a pumpkin pie on Monday night without my help. I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was doing until he asked “Isn’t there an easier way to do this?” I looked over and he was shaking salt from a salt shaker into a teaspoon. How adorable is that?  But the pie turned out delish.


I’d like to be granted an extra 2 hours every day (up from my normal hour wish) so that I can start making a quilt for Baby Billy Sue. Forget Scott’s quilt—pink is so much more fun than motorcycles.  I LOVE this quilt--and it kind of makes me like the name Georgia as well.

When I saw these coffee cups at Target I literally ran down the aisle to get them. And then skipped all the way back to cart. They make me ridiculously happy.


Sometimes I wonder why I keep “Blog about 2009 trip to Europe” on my list of things to blog about. Even Sturgis 2010 is getting far away. I mean, at this point will it ever get done?

I’ve had baby names picked out since I was ooooh, 5 years old. Though, Gertie from ET is no longer on the list. It never occurred to me until recently that Scott might not like my names. This is very hard for me to reconcile (said name is extremely popular in several countries though I personally only know one person with said name).

My orchid plant has a little bud on it. I’m hoping it’s a flowering bud rather than a worm thingy. Any tips for “dormant” orchid plants? I keep watering them hoping one day they’ll sprout back. One seems to be in leaf stage right now—wondering if I need to repot it.  What do you think?  Bud or worm thing?


Scott has been nagging me for almost a year to decorate our new house. I HATE shopping and am a pitiful decorator/accessorizer. So, I’ve been slowly buying things here and there (which is how I think it should be done). BUT, he’s been changing out the light switches around the house and there are several switches with no plate—just bare switch. How is that any different from the fact that we have lime green drapes hanging in our family room? Pulllleeeeze.


It really irks me when I get a pistachio nut that isn’t cracked all the way. What do you do with these? Do you toss them or use a nut cracker or…gasp…crack them with your teeth? PS. Irk was a “word of the day” my mom gave us when we were little. I still use it all the time. Always after "it really..." 

Last time I did one of these random posts I listed out the posts I’d like to write given the time. So, here we go again with last time's list plus some additions:

*Reviews: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Just Listen, Les Miserables, The Book Thief
*Audiobooks: The Carrie Diaries, The Hunger Games, Paper Towns, When Engulfed in Flames, Freakanomics #fail
*Trips: Europe, Sturgis
*Trips I'd like to take--and possibly pictures from trips long long past
*A post about The Princess Bride I've been tossing around in my head [idea now drafted on paper]
*A mission to use my kitchen appliances (but then I'd have to actually do the mission)
*Yummy food I've cooked--wish I had better pictures Cookies, Cookies, Pie
*I've been toying around with the idea of writing about something personal that happened to me--not sure if this would be a good idea, though as the subject makes people uncomfortable (I think I answered own question) Mentioned during announcement of Baby
*Musicals I adore
*Songs I sing aloud to in the car
*A list of all the books I've reviewed since this blog isn't indexed well and probably never will be [Though list is now outdated]
*Book Club Recommendations
*Books I wish I could make time to read a second time
*Books that I would recommend to the well-read and/or adventurous reader
*Several Sunday Salon post ideas
*What to do about the old blog [Who cares.  Not sure why that blog still has over 400 subscribers? Big indicator that high subscriber numbers doesn't really indicate all that much]
*Our summer learning how to sail a sailboat
*Top 10 favorite Christmas albums and Christmas songs
*What it means to be an Aggie and how I'm oddly excited UT is not bowl eligible this year.

Yup, the end.  Oh ya, one more confession.  It's officially December 1st and my Halloween Village is still on full display.  Not sure it will come down until after I take that damn test for work. 

What random things are on your mind lately?


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