Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adventures in Audio Books

I decided to try a book on CD again. My horrendous commute coupled with the same old songs on the radio prompted me, and my sister, who is trying book on CD for the first time soon. Anyway, I never know what to choose. The last one I picked was narrated by Garrison Keillor who has such a mellifluous voice that it was putting me to sleep because I am not extremely awake at 6:30 am when I leave. I thought I would pick some chick lit, something light. I've enjoyed a number of Marian Keyes' books (Sushi for Beginners, and others I can't recall). So, I saw one by her, Last Chance Saloon, and snatched it up from my local haunt, the library. It's 16 CDs. That's a lot, if you didn't know. If you've never experienced a book on CD before, they don't usually read every single word that is printed before the book actually begins (i.e. the publisher, the dedication, etc.) But this one did, and it was a man with a thick English accent. I started to get a bit worried. After about 5 minutes of that, the book began. And because it is set in London, the narrator is British. Normally I rather enjoy a good accent. If there was any money in it, I would have been a linguist. However, I found this narration a little distracting. Then, as luck would have it, the main characters are Irish. So, the narration is British, the conversation is Irish and it's taken me until the 3rd CD to figure out if I've actually read this book as a book before. I don't think I have but some of it seems very familiar. I'll let you know how it all shakes out in the end.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bullets for Wednesday

  • One vote yes and one vote no on the background? Come on people. A tie is not helpful.
  • I hope Jeanine (sp?) wins So You Think You Can Dance. I don't like any of the guys really.
  • I got my new Karhu's tonight! I'll probably not wear them until Saturday, and only if I skip zumba. I'll have to think about that. I need all the zumba I can get before I teach, right?
  • I want to see Funny People. I think it will be good.
  • OMG, Ele Cake. I lurrrrrve you!
  • Spending Freeze Imposed. :(
  • Miss Sadie needs a haircut. She is in full blown ragamuffin stage.
  • I can't wait for fall TV to start. I'm excited for all of my regular shows but also for Glee, which I think will be awesomeness.
  • I gave up on my July workouts. Time to start anew in August.
  • I have multiple bug bites from last night's luau in the park. We needed some citronella up in that piece.
  • So far I haven't gotten any compliments on my new work tops (see above: spending freeze)
  • Is it Friday yet?
  • Some of my tomatoes are ready for picking but they are bruised.
  • Seriously, Friday?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Best Friends Forever

I selected Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner from the Express shelf against my better judgment. I had read some decent reviews but I checked it out knowing full well that I'm not a very big fan of Jennifer Weiner's. I just feel, in previous books, her characters are too one dimensional, the stories are predictable and that I don't really relate. Like I said, against my better judgment. BFF is the story of Addie Downs and Valerie Adler, high school friends who have drifted apart and are brought abruptly back together when Valerie runs over some guy at their high school reunion. She seeks out Addie's help and they go on the lam. (I just like saying on the lam.) Addie used to be fat and then she lost weight. Valerie used to be trashy and now she's a meteorologist. They pick up where things left off despite a friendship threatening incident from high school. Yea, BFF!! This one just wasn't for me. Sorry. If you've read and liked Weiner before, you'll probably like this one.

P.S. One vote on my background poll? I'm a sad blogger.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Check out my new background! Do you like it? Please answer in my poll on the right. See, right over there. Not that far from here. I won't be offended if you don't like it.

In upcoming plans parents are coming in from Florida on Friday morning. Much cleaning has ensued. Plans for entertainment include: shopping in cutesy stores my mom will like in nearby Waynesville, golfing for the men, pulled pork and dinner at an Amish restaurant. Look out for these guys!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Here goes nothin'

Tonight at zumba, my instructor says, "I need to talk to you after class. It's important." I didn't think too much about it mostly because she said it to me during the class, in between songs, and it was kind of hot in there and I was a sweaty mess, glad to get my cardio on. So, after class she asks if I can sub for her during a Saturday class in August. Huh? Yes, I'm a certified instructor but I've never actually taught a class, unless you count the one I did for my sister in her dining room. I agreed to it only because she said she knew I could do it. I'm super nervous now. Luckily, the Saturday class is usually way smaller than the weekday ones and hopefully it will be all regulars and (fingers crossed) my nemesis won't be there. So anyway, I guess I better start practicing..... Hopefully the downstairs neighbors will understand.

In other news, I think John's birthday trip is ON! We're hoping to go to Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake. A day of wineries and theatre. Splendid! Who picked this trip anyway? It may be John's birthday but.....well, hopefully he's looking forward to it too. :) Accepting all suggestions for B&B's in the NOTL area. I've never stayed at a B&B before. I'm hoping it will be fun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

You don't have to floss all your teeth...

I had my semi-annual check up at the dentist this afternoon. I don't mind the dentist. I especially like how my teeth feel after a thorough cleaning. I actually enjoy when they scrape my teeth because it erases those coffee stains. I've been trying to only drink one cup a day but, let's face it, that's not going so well. 5:30 am + 1 cup of coffee = Grumpy Ashley. Anyway, I got there early so I had to wait. Then, I had to wait in the chair. This is a sort of fancy dentist with TV's in the exam rooms. I always bring a book so I don't need to rely on the television. Good thing too. It was on Family Guy and no one gave me the remote. We all know how I feel about "adult" cartoons, and if you don't know, I despise them.

Anyway, I was prepared for some excessive touching from the dentist. Last time John went the dentist rubbed his shoulder when he asked, "Hey, how's it going?" He was trying to pick up my man! I always forget to look for a ring so I don't know if he's married. Regardless, everyone there is really chipper, to the point of irritation. When I ask, "How are you?" They say, "EXCELLENT!" And I want to reply, "That's nice. I had a crappy day and now I'm here instead of at home. Let's get this over with." So, my hygienist went to work and lo and behold, it wasn't the dentist with the over-touching, it was the hygienist! I had the bib on, of course, and every time she scraped my teeth and went to wipe the tool on the bib, she wiped it on my boob! Now, of course there were many layers between pokey tool and actual boob but the point is, I don't need to be punctured, lady. Ease off! I'm not paying extra for that.

Happy to cavities but they are still watching the root canal I got 2 years ago. Thanks a lot, shoddy dentistry! If I have to have that root canal redone I will cry for a long time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Handle With Care

I had to wait for a long time on the hold list before I was able to check out Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult's latest. The was okaythough because I feel like I need to take a break from her after reading a few books of hers in a row. Anyway, Handle With Care is the story of 6 year old Willow who has osteogenesis imperfecta, an affliction that causes bones to break extremely easily, and family. Her mother, Charlotte, decides to sue her OB and best friend, Piper, in a wrongful birth suit. Throw in a snotty teenage daughter and a court case and you've got yourself a typical Picoult novel. The story was very interesting and what I enjoy about Picoult's books is her point of view change from character to character so we can hear the omniscient voice in each case. However, I was waiting and waiting for the Picoult twist and it didn't happen until the very end....and I was not pleased with it. I didn't feel there was any closure and for it to end the way it did well, I didn't like that part of it. But, if you're a fan of Picoult's, you'll like this one.

In running news, my shoe fitting was very enlightening....and expensive. The fitting was free; the shoes that are best suited to my feet are probably the priciest in the store. And unfortunately, they didn't have the 10 1/2 (My feet are growing!) in stock so I have to wait for them to come in. Bummer. I was raring to go but alas, I shall wait. They are Karhu's and they're Finnish. How's that for fancy!

Also - John and I made it to Valley Vineyards on Saturday for a little wine tasting. It was kind of a drive through the back country roads but it was well worth the trip down to Morrow. For $5.00, we sampled 9 sweet wines including their ice wine. They were all delicious! We bought a bottle of the Catawba (my pick) and the Dechaunac (John's). They also have a dry sampler that I think we'll go for next time. I also had a glass of their cab sav and we shared their delicious cheese plate. It was such a nice afternoon. We need people to visit us so we can take them there. Hint, hint.

So all in all, a fab weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fitted feet

Well, so far, no plans for a new washing machine to be delivered this weekend. I'm happy to have my Saturday but it also means a trip to trash city (AKA the laundromat) in the coming week. Sorry, that was probably a harsh judgment of the 'mat. It's just kind of dirty in there and stuff and last time, some guy asked me if a sock that was nowhere near me was mine.

Anyway, what I am looking forward to is getting fitted for my running shoes! I am biting the bullet, forking over the dough, and with any luck, getting a great pair of shoes that will be of great assistance to me in my fitness endeavors. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm going to Up and Running. Is that not the cutest store name? Loves it!

Are there craft circles out there? Do those exist? I feel like I won't be able to get any crafts done if I have a specific time and place to do them. They don't seem to happen on their own. Guess my first foray into quilting will have to wait. I guess I need a sewing bee maybe, or a craft buddy. Maybe if/when I have a craft room in a future home I'll craft more......likely not.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


OK, so I have got to find something fun to do this weekend. Last weekend, we had a short outing in a nearby town that was cute and I plan to take my mom back there next weekend when they visit. (oops - better get cleaning!) But part of our day was also spent waiting around for the repair man to tell us the washing machine in the condo is so old, they don't make the parts anymore. We're going on 3 weeks with no washer and multiple trips to the laundromat. Laundromats are expensive, yo. Supposedly, a new washer is being ordered tonight and I'm praying it can be delivered tomorrow or Friday as opposed to blocking out another 4 hours on Saturday. Anyway, I'm also trying to plan something fun and exciting. We are going to a Mexican restaurant we've never been to before on Saturday for dinner but I'm hoping something else could happen in the afternoon. My front runner is a winery down by Cincinnati. Mama loves the grape. But, I'm open to suggestions.

In other news, my new hero is Dick's Sporting Goods. I bought my Brooks there before my 5K if you'll remember. Since then, my feet are killing me! The ball of my right foot feels like I'm stepping on a nail every time I walk, let alone run or zumba. Having worn them about 10 times I thought, there's no way they'll take these back. But, I didn't even have to get tough with them, which I was fully prepared to do. I explained the situation and they said, "That's valid. We can refund the purchase." I'm sorry, come again? I don't even have to mess with store credit? SCORE! So, while I'd like to give Dick's my business for being a stand up establishment, I think I should go get fitted (after going to the podiatrist) like I should have done in the first place. Ay dios mio! Stay tuned. I'm hoping the right shoes will make me run on air.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Sometimes I think, "I could probably save some money if I dropped my HBO." And then I laugh out loud at my silliness. If I dropped HBO I wouldn't get to see Entourage, whose 6th season started on Sunday. The boys are back in town!

Now if only Mad Men would start again, my TV life would be complete.

Monday, July 13, 2009

To the silver screen...

I LOVE when I'm ahead of the game. If you recall, I reviewed the Julie & Julia here on March 9th. And now, on August 7th, the movie is being released! Julie and Julia stars Amy Adams as Julie the blogger, and Meryl Streep as Julia the Child. I also love when books I've read are turned into movies. I think this looks like it will be super cute on screen. Who to go with....? Certainly not my husband. Anyway, looking forward to that.

Not looking forward to D-Day approaching in 3 weeks. For all of you who know what this means, hook a girl up and save my life, PLEASE!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Still Alice

Still Alice by Lisa Genova is one that I keep seeing pop up on random lists of others' good reads so when I saw it on the Express shelf, I snapped it up. The story follows Alice, a 50 year old Harvard professor, through her diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's disease and the rapid progression of her mind's deterioration. Told from her point of view, the path follows Alice's confusion and memory loss. Her desperation is palpable until eventually, the disease grabs too tight of a hold to her and she has lost everything she was.

Having never experienced this wretched illness firsthand, I wasn't sure what I would find in Still Alice. Genova has made a professional career of researching degenerative diseases as a doctor, professor, etc. so she knows what she's talking about. What I found was a story that I knew would be sad but was really devastating to read. That being said, I definitely recommend reading this one but with the absolute caveat that it is NOT a happy book. Just a warning. Anyway, check it out.

John and I saw Public Enemies last night which we really enjoyed. I am not head over heels for Johnny Depp like a lot of people are but he was HOT in this movie. Just had to say. I love Christian Bale though too so it was winner winner chicken dinner. Except for the teenagers talking for half the movie behind us. We should have moved but didn't. Oh well. Still worth watching, especially since we had coupons. Thank God! At some point, the price of movies at that particular theatre has sky-rocketed to $12.00. PER PERSON! Ridiculous. It'll be matinees from here on out.

And lastly, here's a recipe for your to try (I'm full of suggestions today). It's a Green Monster Smoothie . It seems like it would be gross because yes, you use a full cup of spinach. But I swear, you can't taste it! This is FULL of vitamins and fiber and protein. I'm hoping to use it as a breakfast replacement sometimes too. When else can you eat a cup of spinach for breakfast?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4th Recap: A photo diary

I forgot to tell you about my accomplishments of the weekend! Saturday we got up bright and early to run our first 5K. I couldn't pull the pictures from the actual race but here are some of us getting pumped up.

So, we got to race nice and early and we were excited! I didn't hear even hear the gun go off when the race started but figured because the crowd in front of me was moving, that the race had begun. I stuck with John for about 1/3 mile and then he took off. The hills were not easy but I had so much fun! The only part I really didn't enjoy was the few minutes I ran behind a shirtless fat man with a blonde mullet under his sweatband. Klassy. I passed him pretty quickly. So, I'm doing OK and then I get a cramp! But, I breathed through it and as I was heading toward the track where the finish line was, I thought, I'd better kick this up a notch. I wasn't really sure how fast I was going because I set my Nike+ to kilometers and I had no idea how fast 6:30/kilometer was compared to my minutes/mile pace. So I think I'm closing in on it and I realize all of these people entering the track with me are doing a full lap to the finish. BLAST! That's another quarter mile folks. I conserved some energy and about 30 seconds out, I sprinted to the finish with John cheering me on along the side, having finished before me. 31:22. WHEEE!!! But, my pace was 10:07 and it had taken me about a minute to get to the start. My chip time didn't record so 31:22 was my gun time. Which means, I did it in almost 30 minutes!!! I totally rocked my first 5K. John ran it in 27. We were really proud of ourselves, and we're ready for the next race.

Then, I talked him into going to the parade. Heh, and into bringing Sadie. She was really overstimulated by all of the activity but all in all, did a great job. We went to the festival later on and then came home and took a 3 hour nap. It felt GREAT!!!
It was kind of drizzly for fireworks so we just watched some on TV and saw some from our balcony in the distance, which Sadie did not care for. A happy 4th and a delicious Patriotic Trifle!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Blessings, by Anna Quindlen, was written in 2002 and while I tend to focus on more recent books, I picked this one up randomly at the library. I've kind of been in a reading slump lately. I'm hoping the one I just got will be good.....more on that later. Blessings is the tale of Lydia Blessings, an elderly practically family-less woman who bosses around her staff at her large home. Skip Cuddy lives above her garage and takes care of the grounds when he happens across an infant, left by her parents on the doorstep shortly after birth. Blessings weaves in and out of Lydia's youthful days and how lonely her present has become. Skip hides the child, rather unsuccessfully and what unfolds is a heartwarming and heartwrenching plot with some unforeseen twists.

I enjoyed Blessings. I've never read any of Quindlen's novels but I do catch her colum in Newsweek from time to time. This one is worth reading for a different story, and it's relatively quick. My biggest issue was that I read in my car at lunch and it's been pretty hot. I don't like to turn on the air and the heat makes me sleepy. Reading + Sleepy = Not the most thorough reading. Oh well.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Meet Andi

Today, (day one of stay-cation) John and I went to the outlets. I had a need for new work tops, a dress for wedding, and new running shoes. I didn't do so well in those areas but I did bring home the newest member of my purse family. This is Andover, by kate spade. I'm calling her Andi for short! She is emerald. Her interior is chocolate. Because my yellow bag is so elusive, Andi is stepping in. Search for yellow bag has been suspended with Andi's arrival. She's petite but fits over my shoulder and ultimately won out over a blue Coach bucket and a pumpkin (love!) boxy handbag, also by kate, for her color, price, and shoulder wear-ability. I hope she will be very happy. Kudos to my husband who scored big bonus points for encouraging the purchase of said bag and stood with me for about 20 minutes while I put on each bag, held them up side by side, and so on. He's a keeper!

Did I not tell you about my stay-cation? I have been jonesin' for a vacation BIG TIME. That's no secret. But, for many reasons, we cannot book a vacation at this juncture so since we had today off (yes!) I'm calling this weekend a stay-cation. This involves not going anywhere more than 45 minutes away and spending lots of money. Both of which I accomplished today. After Andi, I did end up getting my new running shoes, though not at the outlets. They are by Brooks. I've never had Brooks but lots of runners swear by them. I have a hard time investing in running shoes for some reason. I wear them a lot but I never think they should cost more than $50. And really, with my feet, they are the one piece of footwear that I should be investing in. Oh well, someday I'll learn.

I'm hoping my Brooks will give me a good time as I cross the finish line of my very first 5K. I am nervous and excited. Since it's my first race, I have set a VERY attainable goal of 35 minutes. I'm hoping to come in a couple minutes under that but John and I drove the course today and it's hilly. Oops. We don't train hills. This might be a problem but I'll just do my best and know that about 3 years ago I couldn't run more than a minute without stopping. Progress.

Have a happy 4th of July!!!