Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Friday, John and I had our normal pizza night with a little twist. We make our own whole wheat dough thanks to my trusty Breadman and usually just have a white garlic pizza with herbs. This week, we were craving something a bit spicier. I found this Rachael Ray recipe for Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza on the Food Network site. If you're a fan of this type of pizza, definitely check this out! I don't like food that is too spicy but this was just right because you can alter the amount of hot sauce to your liking. YUM! Or should I say "Yum-O!"

P.S. Attention woman at the rec center walking on the track in a sweater dress, leggings, and hat like Blossom would wear: if you're going to wear street clothes while walking laps, just go to the mall and walk. It doesn't cost anything. You'd have to do fewer laps and you wouldn't have to give us runners dirty looks while passing you. Thank you for your consideration.

Living Dead in Dallas

Living Dead in Dallas is the second in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. (alliteration alert!) In the first book, we discover vampires have become legal and are mainstreaming with humans. Sookie, a mind reader, and Bill, a vampire, are now a couple. In Living Dead in Dallas, Eric, a head vampire of sorts, wants to lend out Sookie's skills to solve a missing person/vampire case in Dallas. Sookie and Bill go to Dallas, get into some trouble, and......well, I won't tell you if they solve the mystery or not. In fact, that's all the plot I'll give you so as not to spoil anything. That's all you really need anyway.

I'm starting to really enjoy this series. It's similar to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich in that it's not a heavy read but is pretty entertaining and relatively humorous. Since I'm all caught up the 15 books in Stephanie Plum, I might as well keep going with this one, right?

One down and 5 to go before February 16th unless I want to pay library fines......

Today is a day of cleaning and crafting. We ran all of our errands yesterday so we could just hang out today. Yea! We also think we've decided on switching to AT&T and getting iphones. We were all set to stay with Verizon but, for a number of reasons, changed our minds.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Two Thursday Things

This started on Tuesday, actually. Tuesday morning as I was pulling into the office parking lot, I saw an orange tabby cat walking around all by his lonesome in the cold. As I headed into the building I tried to get him to come to me, "here kitty, kitty". He ignored me but was talking a blue streak. Meowing on and on. Typical feline, but I'm a sucker for an orange cat. My cat Tigger lived into his teens. Later on that day, I saw him outside my window. I couldn't hear him but I could see that he was still meowing. It was cold out there, despite his fur coat.

Fast forward to this morning and I was in the restroom, going about my business, when I heard meowing. That's right, meowing. In the restroom. And it didn't stop. On and on it went. I couldn't tell where it was coming from but it sounded muffled, from the wall, or a neighboring office. Then, as I washed my hands, the meowing stopped. Could my orange tabby friend have somehow made it inside? Did someone else bring a cat into the office? I would love an office kitty. That would be super. He could sleep on my desk when the sun beat down. He would like that, as would I. I'll let you know if the meowing persists, though I didn't hear it anymore throughout the day.

Also today, I had an evening work function. I was dreading this because it meant I had to skip zumba. However, I did have a pleasant surprise while at said function. I was chatting with an older gentlemen that I had met my first year on the job, 4 1/2 years ago. He says to me, "I didn't recognize you at all. Have you lost weight?" I was taken aback slightly because I haven't really lost any weight recently but then I realized that I hadn't seen him since 2005 and since then, I HAVE lost weight. What a great compliment! I accepted it graciously and was quite proud of myself. How nice of him to notice. Not just anybody would ask that question either, I think. I don't know that I would. But, I'm hoping it will keep up my momentum towards my newest weight by anniversary date. So far, so good because I will make my 20 workouts in one month goal for January and will keep right on going through February. Smaller size, here I come!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh,. library, you fickle temptress

My best friend, the library, has screwed me. I have a very efficient system of putting books on hold as soon as I hear about something I want to read. Oftentimes, the books are extremely popular and I am WAY down on the hold list. I was 252nd when I first added The Lost Symbol when it was released in October; I made it to #1 just last week. So, while I feel this system saves me lots of time at the library and reminds me of books I want to read, which I often forget, the system has a fatal flaw. Sometimes, like now for instance, I get to #1 on multiple books at the same time. Then, there is a mad scramble to read them within my allotted 3 weeks. I will renew, if I can, but usually there are others waiting their turn patiently and I must return them.

I always get so excited when receiving the "You have a book waiting for you" e-mail. But over the last few days, the e-mails kept coming. This week, I am in the unfortunate predicament of having 4 of my books ready for me at one time. FOUR! Also unfortunate is the fact that I already have 2 out that I still need to finish. This means I have to read 6 books in 3 weeks time. SIX! Some of them will be very fast reads; all of them I am excited to devour. I am doubting my reading speed with this challenge. I suppose, I could just eat the fine if I don't make the deadline. I usually feel like a fine is a well-deserved donation to the library. However, there are others waiting. I don't want them to get restless.

So, for the next 3 weeks, I will do little else but read I suppose. I have craft projects and knitting to accomplish but those have no deadlines. The reading cannot wait.

Yesterday, on my way to the library to pick up said books, I was talking to my mom on the phone and told her of my plight. Six books in three weeks. She has her doubts, I think, of my achieving this goal. Anyway, when I pulled into the parking lot and told her I had to go she says, "OK, have fun with your sex books." You can imagine my confusion at this comment as none of my books are sex related. I just said OK and hung up. Then, I realized she meant 6 books. Six, not sex. As if I would tell my mother when I read a sex book, which I don't do, tell her or read them that is. Sheesh, what kind of person do you think I am?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ask and ye shall receive.....

We booked our spring vacation! We'll be spending 5 days with my parents in Ft. Myers. I cannot wait!! Nothing but laying out by the pool, shopping, relaxing, and fun in the sun. Miss Sadie is being happily, or unhappily, dog sat by my in laws. How nice of them! Best of all, it's a non-stop flight and it was super cheap. Only $350 total for both of us! Now, if we could just get H&R Block to install on this dying laptop so we could do our taxes.......

P.S. I broke my mall freeze this weekend but I didn't buy anything. So, technically, I didn't break the spending freeze. Yea, willpower!

The Road

I read an interview with Cormac McCarthy recently, though I can’t remember where, that spoke about the newly released screen version of his 2006 novel The Road. And because I’m making an effort to discover new, well new-to-me, authors, I got The Road from the library. Warning: this is not a happy tale. The Road is the story of a father and son who set off on a depressing journey. Though the details and time period are not truly divulged, America has been set on fire, literally, and there are hardly any survivors. The duo decide it best to walk to the west coast where they will hopefully find other signs of life, or at least, a life for themselves.

A long, tedious voyage, father and young son push all their worldly belongings (not much) in a cart down what seems to be the one road left crossing the country. The landscape is covered in ash and soot making food and shelter difficult to find. They travel in constant fear of meeting other survivors with bad intentions, and for the boy, in constant fear of almost everything that they come across. Along the way, a careful dance develops between assuaging the boy’s fears and trying to stay alive.

The Road, for me, was just so so. It was nice to branch out a bit from my usual reads. It was extremely relationship driven without really talking about the characters at all. I guess I should say it was more journey driven, but the journey would not have existed without the characters or their relationship, right? I’d be interested in seeing the movie as the book was filled with descriptive imagery that would be nice to visualize.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adventures in Wine Land

Now, you all know mama loves the grape. I especially like finding and trying new and different wines. I rarely buy the same bottle twice. That's not true. I usually buy and old standby and a new one when I go to my wine shop. These two were recommended from some friends. (Thanks C & J!) I wanted to pass them along to you. However, you may have trouble finding them outside of Ohio. And by 'may', I mean will. They hail from Breitenbach Winery in Dover, OH allllllll the way up in the NE corner of the state. However, because my wine store is awesome, they stock Breitenbach along with a myriad of other Ohio wines.

The first is a blush called First Crush. It is rather sweet but crisp. And my favorite part is the bottle description, "This youthful wine leaves a pleasant memory." It sure does! I think maybe in another life I'd like to write wine bottle descriptions. They are my fave!

The second is a semi-sweet red called Roadhouse Red. It's sort of syrupy and delicious. Breitenbach says it's a combination of American and French grapes. Mais oui! And the bottle....."reminiscent of good times spent at the old-time roadside tavern and dance hall." I've never spent any time at a roadside tavern and dance hall but I'll start pretending I have when I drink the Roadhouse. Delicious!

So, if you find yourself at Arrow Wine, these retail for $10.99. Otherwise, you could probably find Breitenbach more readily in northern Ohio or of course, if you drove yourself over to Dover and picked it up direct from the source.



1) A vacation. Preferably someplace warm. I have been out of school for a number of years but still long for the days of spring and summer breaks. A time to recharge and regroup, get things done. As an adult, all things have to be accomplished on weekends. That doesn't leave much time for fun, right? We do have one trip planned but it's not until July! That's nearly 6 months away. We're trying to decide on flights for an April trip, but even that is 3 months away. An eternity.......

2) A new right foot. Despite multiple re-fittings with my podiatrist, my orthotic inserts still don't seem to be doing the trick. I still have foot pain on a daily basis, especially while running. I really don't want to have surgery but I don't know if there's another option. I'm not interested in stopping exercising to recuperate but I can feel tendons moving in my foot. That's probably not supposed to happen, right?

3) A faster running pace. Since all of my foot troubles started (see above #2), my pace has slowed considerably. When I can actually complete 3 miles without ending up in tears, it's not very fast. Plus, it's all been on an indoor track due to inclement weather. That means I'll be even slower outside when everything thaws out. How am I ever going to get any faster or add mileage if I can't complete a simple run?

4) A stronger will. Despite my mall freeze, I think I'm going to go shopping today. I don't need anything. I just want the satisfaction of purchasing something. I am so weak.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Knitting Success -- baby steps......

Before I screwed up that hat for John, I did have some knitting success on a hat for my sister. I sent it to her as part of her birthday present. I finished it a few weeks ago but had to wait until she had her birthday so I didn't spoil the surprise. Here is Sadie modeling it. I took a picture of myself wearing it but I had a big zit on my chin at the time so I'm not showing that one.

This one turned out pretty well, I think. Although, you probably can't get the full effect unless it's modeled on a human and not a canine. I used this pattern from Martha Stewart. I really like the color. I think I have enough to make fingerless hand warmers to wear in my office. No joke, it's really that cold in there that I will look like a homeless woman but still be able to type.

Mad Knitting Skillz Attempted: Decreasing, following a pattern for knitting

Yarn Used: Lion Brand, Wool Ease in Fig

Grade: I give myself a B+ on this one. It was slightly larger than I wanted it to be but my sister has thicker hair than me so hopefully it fit her perfectly.

In other knitting news, I'm on about hour 4 of this supposed 6-hour Afghan and I'm not even halfway done. 6 hours my foot!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

South of Broad

I have been a fan of Pat Conroy's since I read Lords of Discipline (so good!) more than 10 years ago. I knew when I saw South of Broad on the Express Shelf that I would love it. South of Broad is the story of Leo 'Toad' Bloom, a teenager in 1969 Charleston. He has had some missteps in life following his brother's suicide. Drugs, mental institutes, etc. It is the summer before his senior year and his mother, the school principal, is determined to have Leo do his community service at her will. These tasks let him meet lifelong friends, help along integration, and break down class and social barriers in his school and town.

The story skips ahead to Leo and his friends as adults as they delve deeper into some of their sordid histories and get into a little bit of trouble. This part was very suspenseful! The story then goes back to the group's senior year of high school and then back again to adulthood. The time jumping was very effective. It helped move the story along at a nice pace while divulging all sorts of exposition in an untiresome (that is not a word) way.

Conroy is quite the story-teller. And his imagery, fuhgeddaboutit. The characters are damaged and real. The story is sad and happy and troubled. It felt good to read fiction of substance. South of Broad.....two thumbs up!

P.S. I think I fixed the Comments so you don't have to have a gmail account. Give it a try!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

iPhone or Droid?

It's that dreadful time again for us when John and I have to get new cell phones. Most people look forward to this day, especially after having the same phone for the last 2 years. I, however, can't stand it. I hate learning a new phone because I feel stupid when I can't figure things out. Also, cell phone stores make me sleepy much like Lowe's and Home Depot do. I can't walk in there without wanting to take a nap. I feel like cell phones are such a necessary crock. We don't have a landline so we need cell phones, and yet, you come out of there spending way more than you intended for some reason and your monthly bill never truly reflects what the brochures claim it will.

We have been Verizon customers since we got our original phones back in 2004 or 2005 (I can't remember which, it might have even been 2003). While we've never been dissatisfied with Verizon, save for an unpleasant minute overage incident a couple years back, we've never been overly satisfied either. We have been discussing switching to AT&T for quite awhile now. My sister and mom are both AT&T customers and they are really the ones that drive up my minute usage. (Not a complaint, luv ya, B!) So, if we switch, we can go with the lowest minute plan because it would be free to talk to them. Big plus. However, I am concerned about dropping calls due to lack of coverage, a minus.

Then we come to the phone situation. I am a flip phone fan and feel as though I don't need a smart phone/mobile web/time wasting apps, etc. I have this problem with flat phones in that I cannot cradle them between my ear and my shoulder. When I explained this to the Verizon salesperson as we were looking at the Droid she said, "Oh, I've never had that problem." Oh, ok. Thanks for making me feel like some sort of a freak and also not doing your job correctly by telling me how much a Bluetooth costs. Way to lose that sale, honey! If you've been to a cell phone store lately you'll note the dearth of flip phones and an overabundance of smart phones, slider phones, etc. I think I must be out of luck. If there were a market of buyers for the flip phone, they would still sell ample models, yes?

So now I am almost forced to get a smart phone and I'm stuck in the same situation that John has been whining about. iPhone or Droid? They're basically a wash on cost by the time it all shakes out. John likes the slide keyboard on the Motorola Droid but I found the Droid Eris hard to use in the store. The iPhone is pretty sweet but would likely drop calls due to spotty coverage.

Feel free to weigh in with your opinions. It doesn't really matter that much to me one way or the other since we are supposedly allowed to keep our numbers even by switching to AT&T. That is my biggest concern. Who wants to notify everyone that their number changed? So, in thinking positively, it's great that I get to keep my number!

Knitting Fail

Remember my first knitting in the round fiasco? Well, it didn't take me long to start over and finish the hat. I used this pattern from KnitPicks. This hat was supposed to be for John. Remember how he doesn't have a winter hat? He's always walking out of the gym bare-headed. That's like a first class ticket to Cold & Flu Town. Unfortunately, I don't think this hat is going to work out so well for him. See for yourself.

When wearing a hat, it's of utmost importance that you are able to see. John thought it would be really funny to pull the sides down and make it look like a bonnet. This is the thanks I get for my toils and strife. Sheesh.

I guess I better scale it back to straight lines. Maybe knitting in the round just isn't for me.

New SkillZ Practiced: knitting in the round, more decreasing

Yarn Used: I forget. It was super cheap though because this was pretty experimental.

Lesson Learned: KNIT A GAUGE!

Resting Peacefully

This weekend was super exciting for us! One of our Christmas presents was.....a new mattress!! This was a very welcome surprise to us. We have been sleeping on a 20 year old hand me down mattress for the past couple years. It did the trick but we were waiting to buy a house to get a new mattress.

Isn't it pretty? One of the best parts is that there is no longer a gap between the mattress and headboard which means, our pillows won't fall down in there anymore. We also bought new pillows. Sweet! However, getting a new mattress required us to get rid of the feather mattress topper that we used to have on the old mattress. This topper was the bane of our existence. The feathers poked through and stabbed you in the night. It was on clearance at Macy's for $25 a couple years ago and we thought it would solve all of our problems. Well, not really, but we knew it would temporarily help the age of our old mattress.

The problem with a feather mattress topper, besides the poky-ness, is that it sheds feathers. We found this out very early on and there's not much to be done in this situation. The other problem is that Sadie likes to eat said feathers. When we were throwing out the topper after the new mattress was delivered, we left behind a wake of feathers. A feather smorgasbord! And Sadie went to town. She ate as many feathers as she could. She's done this in the past and the worst outcome was her throwing up. Not pleasant, but an easy fix. This time, it wasn't so simple.

The next day, Sadie was experiencing some blood where there shouldn't have been any blood and unpleasant issues with her bodily functions in the posterior region. One trip and $250 to the emergency vet later and she's good as new!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If you've got a knitting issue, here's a knitting tissue...

I have decided to re-discover my knowledge of knitting. I'm a crafty renaissance woman, didn't you know? My grandma, who also taught me how to sew, taught me how to knit many years ago. I never really mastered anything beyond a straight line. I am the bomb at scarves and blankets. Five years ago I tried to knit a sweater. I still own it but it is unwearable, in public anyway. My grandma had to fix a lot of mistakes. The sleeves are super wonky, bless her heart. She did the best she could with what I gave her. Recently, I have taken to wearing it for warmth at home. It's purple. Sometimes I also wear my purple lounge pants with it and John calls me the Purple People Eater. He thinks he's hilarious. Silly rabbit.

ANYWAY -- I really wanted to get back into knitting but with my knitting coach 4 hours away, I'm going to have to challenge myself and learn on my own. Luckily, good old You Tube is a wealth of knitting information.

Mad Knitting Skillz I already knew: casting on, knitting, purling, casting off.

I've never had to decrease or increase, although sometimes that happens unintentionally. Oops. I decided to tackle a hat for John. He has no winter hat. Can you believe that? In OHIO?! I found a pattern called the Easy Peasy hat (I'll post the link when I'm finished making it). This pattern required me to put on my big girl panties and learn how to both decrease and..... knit in the round. This terrifies me. The picture looked like stockinette but I wasn't sure how I'd knit and purl opposite sides to achieve this in the round. I'll let you novice knitters in on a little secret, knitting in the round does this for you automatically! By virtue of knitting in the round, you'll come out with stockinette anyway. Happy day!

You Tube warned me to be very careful not to twist my knitting while in the round (by the way - non-knitters, knitting in the round is knitting on two needles attached by a long plastic cord). You Tube said, "twisted knitting cannot be fixed and must be abandoned." I should have taken that as a stern warning.

I'm not sure if you can tell here, but about 5 rows into the hat, I realized it was already twisted. BLAST! I suppose I can be happy it occurred so early in the project. I'm going to chalk it up to being a knitting in the round beginner. My needles kept flipping over and that cord never did straighten out right. I casted on again and went on my merry way.

Stay tuned for the finished project.....coming soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

TV Dilemma

I never thought I'd utter these words......I think I need to cut back on the amount of TV I watch. I love television so much! I have early memories of not being allowed to watch MTV as a child but having to pass it (channel 23) on the way to Nickelodeon (channel 26) and possibly stopping for more than a second to see what I was missing. My burgeoning romance with television began at an early age. I remember that Saved By the Bell used to be on at the YWCA on Saturday mornings after my ballet class. I probably looked more forward to watching SBTB than I did actually going to ballet. I never was a very good ballerina; that should probably tell you something about my lack of athletic prowess up until recent years, when my prowess has improved. Does that also tell you something? Television does not an athlete equal. I digress.

Today I came to the realization that I should perhaps cut out some needless shows when I read that there is yet another season of Project Runway starting on Thursday. Yes, the last season ended only a month or so ago. It's the same with the Biggest Loser and yet both NBC and Lifetime thought, "Oh, not too soon for another season. We've got to put some sort of programming on." I simply cannot commit to back to back reality seasons of this nature. I'm somewhat of a closet reality show junkie. I should qualify that. I'm not really closeted but there are shows I will not watch (i.e. any dating show, any gross show, or any stupid show -- use your own qualifiers). But I like competition shows, such as the two aforementioned, and for some reason I can't get enough of the Kardashians (I wish my hair looked like that!) Where was I going with this? Oh yes, I think I'm thirsting for scripted shows. Maybe I really just need to cut back on reality shows. Could that be the case?

Chuck returned this week, which is one of only a handful of shows (save for all programming on the Food Network) that John and I watch together. Also, Big Love is back and soon enough, my beloved LOST will return for its final season. So, I suppose, in the course of typing this post, I've come to the conclusion that I just need to drop some of my reality TV watching and get back to the scripted shows that involve a whole team of actual writers to put together and not writers for the Hills.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Last week, I finished Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer, very quickly despite its 600+ page count. It had large font but it also moved very quickly and try as I might hide it, I was looking forward to reading it. This is the third book in the Twilight Saga which leaves only one book in which to wrap everything up. Pretty sure that won't be too difficult. Anyway, Eclipse takes place back in Forks where Bella is nearing graduation, a college decision, and an impending plummet into the vampire world. It had been promised to her, in New Moon, that she could become a vampire after graduation and be able to live with Edward for all eternity. How sweet. Eclipse dealt a lot with her decision to turn to the dark side while hearing the tales of how the other Cullens came to be vampires. It also delved into the Quileute background and how Jacob and the others came to be werewolves. Of course, it couldn't all be that simple. Yet again, something is hunting Bella and she is in terrible danger! Also, Jacob professes her love for her (duh) and she is left at a crossroads (sort of).

Bella is not turned into a vampire in Eclipse, so I haven't spoiled anything for you there. But it was pretty suspenseful and thus far, Eclipse is actually my favorite in the series. I also, most surprisingly, find myself needing to read Breaking Dawn to see how everything wraps up. In this, I must practice some restraint. While I know the library has available copies, I have far too many books ahead of Breaking Dawn that I should tackle. In particular, the one I'm reading now is neither Young Adult nor a fast read. So, stay tuned if vampires or "kids books" are not your thing. I head back to the adult world of reading next...whenever I finish it that is.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gah --- Snow

Let me just say, I am so over winter and it's only January 8th. I've got a long way to go. Oh yes, the positive side of winter is that I'm getting much use out of my most favorite Christmas gift: new Uggs! Most troublesome are Sadie's new bathroom rituals. When it was just cold and slightly icy she did her business relatively quickly. She did not like the wetness on her paws or the salt she walked over. This week, however, it snowed. A lot -- for Dayton anyway. And since then, she remembered that she loves the snow. She likes to shove her face in it coming out with a snow beard. She doesn't seem to mind that her little legs sink all the way into the drifts. She will pee anywhere she sees that white stuff, including the sidewalk. No manners here.

Because she enjoys the snow so much, she tends to prolong her brief bathroom trips into not so brief bathroom trips. At any given time, John or I can be found shivering as she dives into the snow time and time again urging, "Come on, Sadie. Just go already!" I mentioned she'll pee immediately. #2 is another story. She does not like to poop in the snow. I think this is because she can't sniff out a good spot in the grass. Last night, she took her sweet time seeking the perfect spot....which she never found. At some point she just shrugged her little doggie shoulders as if to say, "This isn't worth it. Let's just go back inside." Infuriating.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thoughts on a Wednesday

  • Pantyhose Update: Today I opened the package of the second pair of pantyhose I purchased from Victoria's Secret knowing full well that my left great toe would be bare. As I slid this pair on, I was astonished to find no sexy naked toe. What the what? This was a normal pair of pantyhose. The pair I thought I was purchasing with the other one. No hole! No exposed toe. Upon further inspection of the package, I noticed that it still referenced a "Sexy naked toe." So now, the only logical explanation is that VS's description really should have just been "Sheer toe" but they had to fancy it up, being the nation's largest lingerie seller and whatnot. I feel like I should take back what I'm assuming is the defective black pair but I already wore them. Ah me.
  • I am on a self-imposed shopping ban. Operation Save is the name of the game these days. Usually my shopping bans conceptualize after a large, unnecessary shopping spree. Well, I had no such spree but I've come to the conclusion that our condo can't possibly hold anything further. This saddens me greatly as I love to buy new things.
  • There are so many crafts I would like to make and not enough time to make them all. I need to take a vacation for crafting purposes only. I would stay home and maybe also go to Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc. for supplies. This sounds so awesome. There are sewing and knitting and art projects to be made.
  • I am having trouble deciding which album to buy with my iTunes gift card: Sugarland or Lady Antebellum. Maybe I should splurge and get both! But, my gift card is only for $10. Probably shouldn't splurge. See above, bullet 2. But I want both! And they don't take up any space at all physically, which was the reason for the ban in the firsr place. A loophole perhaps?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Official Book Club Selection

No, I'm not starting a book club. Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, by Kathy Griffin, is the name of my first book for 2010. It is, as the title mentioned, Griffin's memoir. If you are not familiar with Griffin, she is a comedian/actress/reality show star and apparently a writer as well. This memoir chronicles her path to fame in a humorous manner. She's been in the biz for a number of years and took a lot of lumps to get where she is now, which was interesting to read. I realize this is an extremely brief summary. Like, two sentences brief. OK, here's one more: she glosses over her relationship with Steve Wozniak by printing 20 pages of e-mail snippets between the two of them instead of actually addressing the relationship, how it came to fruition, and how it ended. Why not just leave that part out all together then? You can skip that section. It's tedious.

If you are a fan of Kathy's, her comedy specials, or her show My Life on the D-List, which I typically am, you'll enjoy this book. She writes very conversationally and it seems to have her comedic timing infused throughout. If you find her obnoxious, as many do, you're not going to like this book.

Want to hear something crazy? I already have my first 10 books lined up in my book bag and on the hold list at the library. Whee!

By the by......yesterday was one my year blog-iversary. Thanks for being loyal readers, even if you're small in number. There would be no point in blogging if you weren't around.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark is the first novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I am always looking for a good series and although the Jessica Darling series did not pan out for me (I couldn’t even make it through the 2nd book) I had high hopes for this one. In light of all the vampire popularity lately, this series was ahead of the curve as it began back in 2000.

Twenty-six year old Sookie Stackhouse lives with her grandma, Gran, in Bon Temps, Louisiana, north of New Orleans, her parents having died when she was younger. She’s a waitress at Merlotte’s, a bar in town. Vampires have just been legalized as public figures of society where they previously had to hide out. Bill Compton is one such vampire that Sookie eventually begins dating. Things start to turn south in Bon Temps when a string of strange murders occur and Sookie fears she may soon fall victim. Her brother, Jason, is a lead suspect as most of the victims are women that he has dated in the past. Bill does his best to keep her safe; Sookie does her best to clear Bill’s name (also a suspect due to the vampire nature of the wounds on the bodies). Will the killer be found? Will Sookie live? I won’t give it away for you but she’s the main character so, she lives. Oh yeah, Sookie also has a strange ability to read minds. Her clairvoyant ways are somewhat of a joke in Bon Temps but they often work in her favor. I should also mention her boss, Sam, is sweet on her too. I smell a love triangle in the near future!

I really enjoyed Dead Until Dark. I like a good mystery and this one was also somewhat humorous and contained a burgeoning love story that I think will continue throughout the series. I hope this will be a good series I can sink my teeth into. (Vampire Pun Intended – HA!) I also recently found out that the HBO series True Blood is based on these novels. The first season just happens to be on my On Demand so it looks like HBO wins again in the programming battle. (P.S. Big Love Season 4 starts on January 10th. Praise be!)

Also, I ended up finishing Dead Until Dark on December 31st but couldn’t review it until now. So technically, it goes on my 2009 count which means my total of books read was pushed to 51. Wheee!!! I’m nearly finished with my first book of the new year and have plenty more in my library bag.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

If you've never had Buffalo Chicken Dip before, you're really missing out. It's best enjoyed on tortilla chips or celery. You can also sub in fat free ingredients like I did without losing any of the yummy delicious goodness. Don't sub in fat free cheese though. That stuff is nas-tee. I also only used 1/3 c. hot sauce, as opposed to the 1/2 c. it calls for. When I make it too spicy I get wicked heartburn because I have no control over this dip and don't know when to call it quits. I made it for John and me to enjoy while watching the Rose Bowl. And enjoy it we did, right as the Bucks stomped all over Oregon. It also was made to celebrate losing my status as a college football widow. YEA! For now, I'm just a playoff widow.

And, check out my Little Dipper. I got it for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I love all things mini. I'm not sure where this obsession comes from but if something is cute regular size, it's way cuter mini-style.

I also wanted to share with you a new wine I tried last week. At our New Year's Eve dinner at Fleming's (where they offer more than 100 wines by the glass and bottle), I ordered this Cabernet Shiraz by Pretty Sally. I picked it for the price ($8.75/glass) and the name (so fun!). It's a 2005 from Australia. I am a fan of both Cabernet and Shiraz so I thought this varietal would be interesting, and I was right! The most interesting part were the caramel notes I tasted in the background (do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?) I'm hoping I can find this in stores because I'd like to have more. According to the Pretty Sally website, 2005 was a great year for Australian wines. Their tasting notes don't reference caramel but I don't care. It was in there. They're highlighting "plum, black currant, and baking spices, with shades of pepper and cumin." If you like medium-bodied reds, this one's for you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

It is now 2010. That is very strange to say and type. 2010 is going to take a lot of getting used to, I think. Anyway, John and I celebrated the end of 2009 with dinner at Fleming's (mmmm steak) and going over to some friends' to play games and watch the ball drop. It was a good time. I hope you all had a good evening as well.

This year, my resolution has nothing to do with weight loss, not that I'm giving up that plight by any means. I just don't want to build my yearly goals around losing weight. I have done so for many years in the past and it hasn't worked out too well for me. My resolution for 2010 is to be a more positive person. I am a big complainer, maybe you know this already. John can surely vouch for that fact. There is usually something that I am annoyed with, don't want to do, etc. that typically leads to a negative rant by me, either inwardly or outwardly to the nearest set of ears. What I've decided is that negativity gets you nowhere. Sure, there are things in my life I would change but I can't let that affect my everyday being. So, POSITIVITY is the word. When I find nay-saying thoughts creeping into my psyche, I will say, "Out, out. You've got no business here." And then instead of complaining, I will try to look on the bright side of things and put on a big smile.

My secondary resolution is to be more social. John and I have a very small circle of friends here and I think life could be a little more exciting if we could meet new people and also, see the friends we do have more often. I really feel both of these resolutions will improve our quality of life greatly.

Did you make resolutions this year? Do you think you'll stick to them? I guess only time will tell.........