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Go, go, go, go, go!

Who hit the Life on Fast Forward button? It's been a busy November!

The first weekend of the month, Jeff, his sister, and I took the Megabus from Des Moines to Chicago for a weekend shopping trip. Since we booked several weeks in advance, we only paid $35.00 for all three of us to travel roundtrip. Now that's a deal! His Aunt Linda took the train in from Michigan and we all landed in town at about the same time. Perfect! We did have to pay for a cab to get us from Union Station to our hotel, but that wasn't a big deal. We couldn't have driven there for what we paid, plus we'd have had to pay to park our car. And luckily the weather cooperated; it wasn't too cold, and it wasn't hot, either. Plus, it was a fun time getting away from work for a few days and seeing a different landscape.

Speaking of work, as I anticipated, things have gotten 2009 levels of busy there. We had mandatory OT this week, and I've been focusing so intently to get through the piles that I've barely had time to check any of my online homes. I know I have to be missing a lot, and I'm sorry if I've not commented on something I ought to. On the nights when I've been home, I eat dinner and usually end up falling asleep on the couch while staring at the TV screen for an hour or so. I hate brain drain. It's pathetic. When did I start getting so old?

Last weekend was completely eaten up by watching the K-State football game in the early afternoon (a loss, alas), and then an evening with friends on Saturday.  Then Sunday was dedicated to a birthday party for the Divine Miss Anna. How in the world is she 9 years old??

This weekend is Jeff's big painting show, so I've spent several of our Thursday night date nights hanging out with him while he paints and putting price tags on all of the merchandise. Last night I headed down to provide moral support. Friday is always a big day and he started the evening with the house looking like this. By the time I left, he'd rearranged everything into two big display areas. Everything that had been in the kitchen and the den is now in the living room, and the once full basement is now all condensed into one area. Hooray! Christmas probably isn't cancelled. ;)

Tonight I'm going to dinner and to see the latest Harry Potter movie with Kathy and Janelle. It's been ages since the three of us spent some quality time together, so I'm excited about that.

It appears that my parents are very close to knowing what their plans will be after the first of the year. But considering it's not final yet, that's probably not something to talk about in an unlocked entry.

Tomorrow I think I'll be crossing another item off of my life list - I have a whole chicken in my refrigerator waiting to be baked. Yay! And I finally have my pictures to write the entries for the other items I've accomplished  with visual evidence. Another yay!

So, that's how things are looking in Caryle world right now. How is it already Thanksgiving next week??? I haven't started any of my Christmas shopping! Meep!

One of These Nights

heart mountain

When I was in high school I learned that there was something different about my parents, something that set them apart from other adults I met and spent time with. You see, when my friends' parents drove us places we'd pile into their cars and minivans and they frequently would be listening to the radio. While that wasn't different from my parents, the music coming through the speakers was. They were listening to the oldies station.  Everyone in the car would sing along about how they wondered why; why, why, why, why, why she ran away and about their little deuce coupe while I sat there feeling like I was in some alternate universe where everyone else knew something I didn't. My friends were gobsmacked that I had no idea what the lyrics of these songs were. I was equally shocked that they did. I'd only heard them on TV during commericals about "the good old days" and my parents certainly didn't listen to that sort of music in the car.

It wasn't that my parents were really that much younger then my friends' parents. They had me when they were in their early 20s, after graduating college. But somehow, while my friends' parents kept their musical tastes lodged in their younger years, my parents' musical tastes were all over the board and they kept up with the times.  I was brought home from the hospital after I was born to the arena rock sounds of Boston. I remember singing along to Abba's Super Trooper album on my way to ice skating lessons, and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers sang a lot about being islands while I was in elementary school. I was 100% times more likely to hear Bon Jovi than the Beach Boys.

One of the groups in heavy rotation throughout the years, though, was the band I went to see live last night. When I heard The Eagles were coming to Des Moines, I seriously squeed. Out loud. At work. And when my friend Kathy called later that night to ask me if I wanted to go see them with her because we both love them so much, I knew it was a moral imperative that I go. I mean these guys wrote and performed one of my all time favorite songs, One of These Nights. I was super excited. 

The show was last night, and I had a great time. While Glenn Frey made jokes that this was the Eagles geriatric tour they proceeded to showcase that they still had it with talent to spare. They're the real deal - no backing vocals here - they just played and sang the soundtrack of my childhood for three hours. I said to Kathy that it made me long a bit for the days when music stars played their own instruments, wrote their own songs, and the majority of the music on the radio wasn't the product of heavy production.  Don't get me wrong, I love dancy, heavily produced pop music probably more then the average girl, but there are times when I crave authenticity. This show was clearly live. And the best part is that they never acted like they were tired of the songs they've been playing since the 70s. The other thing I appreciated was that there were solid nods to the solo careers of the band members. Very awesome.

Of course, though, it wouldn't be a concert that Kathy and I attended together without some funny moments. I guess I have to start by saying that we were the youngest people in our section. Not unexpected, I mean, these guys have been releasing albums since before I was born. But I don't believe I've ever seen so many older white men dancing and swaying to music in my life. Behind us was a man that showed his enthusiasm by randomly yelling "Yeeeaaah!" when he go excited. Kathy and I took to imitating him because were were so tickled. The man sitting directly in front of me was an air puncher. You know, those people that shake their fist in the air in time with the music. Well, this guy was an air puncher with no rhythm.  (How does that happen? Can't they HEAR the beat??) But the best part was when his wife literally ducked to avoid being hit in the head during one particularly enthusiastic moment. I thought I was going to cry I was laughing so hard. Then there was the beer farter sitting to my right. Thankfully that was only during the last few songs.

It was a really great show, and I have the satisfaction of crossing them off the list of people/groups  I'd really like to see before they stop touring. Good times. 
autumn tree
So... I accidentally took a hiatus from LJ the last few months. I can't say I had a real reason for it. I used to update my LJ a lot during lunch at work, but now I pretty much always take less than an hour for lunch and I no longer eat alone at my desk. Now I have lunch with friends. I'd blame being busy, but when am I not busy? It just happened, it wasn't intentional, and I don't intend for it to happen again. Whoopsie.

Let's move on to new business, shall we? Lets.

I was watching a show on my Saturday/Sunday morning addiction, Food Network, and a host of one of the shows talked about having her Accountability Group over for dinner for their weekly meeting. My brain perked up; I was intrigued. In a blog post, that host talked about a group of close friends that met weekly and firmly but lovingly helped hold each other accountable for taking steps toward fulfilling their goals. As a chronic procrastinator, I thought this might be a good idea for me.

I brought it up to my friends at work, my wolfpack (a reference to the movie The Hangover which makes me laugh despite myself), and a bit to my surprise they were enthusiastic about it as well. Excellent! So, the 5 of us are meeting every two weeks to help encourage each other to do things we might not get to otherwise.

To give things a bit of a focus, and to keep everything from being too much of a downer (because, really, who amongst us isn't going to have some variant of losing weight on the list), I suggested we make a list of 50 things we wanted to do - they could be giant things or smaller things that can be accomplished relatively easily. The idea was just to do things. And so, at our first meeting I made my list of 50 things, some of them are really long term goals, some are medium term, and some are short. I also tried to focus my list on things which were solely within my realm of influence. By that I mean that I picked things within my control. For example, since I'm not a scientist it's unlikely I'm going to find a cure for MS, but I can raise money to help find it. So without further ado, my list:

The List!!Collapse )

The plan is to post updates as I cross things off the list. I've already done two of these. I'll post about them as soon as I have my camera back for pictoral evidence. (Jeff has my camera at the moment.) So, there you go.

I'm hoping this is a good step toward more regular updates. I hate that I've stepped too far back. How are you? Have I missed anything I should know?

Book Talk: Day 3

Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months

I scanned ahead to see if I might end of talking about either of these books during the rest of this series, and I'm not sure. So, I'm going to cheat and talk about two books I've read in the last 12 months that I loved. Actually, I think I've talked about them both here before, but they were so good that I have to talk about them again. I think I've read so many romances in the past few years that I needed to cleanse my palette. And luckily for me, there have been some really good fantasy novels available to fill that role for me. It's been nice to return to a genre that I loved so much in high school and my undergrad years.

So without further ado, the first favorite of the last 12 months is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I really, really loved this book. TNoTW felt both really familiar and yet wholly new to me when I read it. It was like I was being told a story around a campfire as it drifted from one part of Kvothe's tale to another. Several familiar fantasy tropes were there - an orphan with entirely too much talent for his own good, a school of magic, a world with a lost and formerly glorious past, blah blah blah. But this book grabbed the shoulders of those tropes, gave them a big sloppy kiss complete with tongue and then made them new all over again. That, my friends, is good writing.

And even though this book is long (over 600 pages hard cover), I was never bored, nor was I tempted to read ahead. If you know me well, you know I have a very nasty habit of reading the last page of a book - I made myself behave when I read this one. This is no fantasy door stopper with too many complicated names and places to remember.  Even though there's a rich backstory for the world Rothfuss has created, he always tells the story in a way that provides context for the names used and he guides the reader through this story with a deft hand. I was not frantically flipping back and forth from text to glossary and back again - it simply wasn't needed. Patrick Rothfuss gave me everything I needed as I read. Awesome.

And how excited am I that we have a publication date for book 2? Only very! Book 2, The Wise Man's Fear is scheduled for release on March 1, 2011 and I will be at the bookstore that day to learn more about our intrepid hero.

The other favorite of the last year is The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Like TNoTW, this story is wide in scope, but intimate in its telling. At its simplest, this is a fish out of water story about a woman who desperately needs to learn how to deal with her terribly powerful family before they figure out a way to kill her. It's also about a triumverate of gods and the consequences of their terrifying power and love for each other. And it's about a world with a class system that no one dares to defy because the consequences are unimaginable. I loved the author's use of first-person storytelling. It brought me close to the story without allowing me to know too much before she was ready to let me know. I loved the slow reveal of just how much trouble the main character, Yeine, was in and I enjoyed reading her struggle to figure out how to deal with these powerful beings while simultaneously accomplishing the goals she's laid out for herself. And how much did I love Nahadoth? Very much. I do love the danger a not-entirely sane character brings to the table. I think it appeals to the middle school girl that loved gothic novels and thrilled at the bat-shit crazy that was VC Andrews' Flowers in the Attic series. Not that these books are anything alike, because they're not, but this one character hits that creepy but oh-so-good button.

I'm also excited for the second novel in this series, The Broken Kingdoms comes out on November 3, 2010. There's a new narrator this time, and I'm curious to see where the author goes with the resolution at the end of THTK.

Book Talk: Day 2


I wound up being too busy at work to post on Friday, so I'm a bit behind. Nevertheless, here's day two!

Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

Meljean Brook’s Guardians series. (6 full length novels, 4 novellas in anthologies so far)I heart these books so much. They are without a doubt one of my favorite book series going. The world Meljean has established is rich and layered, there’s tons of action, and each book builds on the plots of the previous novels – things that happen in one book really affect the things happening in the books going forward. But beyond the awesome plots and world, the real beauty and joy of these books are the characters. Allow me a moment of pure fangirl squee while I think about the characters. I mean, these characters are AMAZING. There are lots of species of characters - humans and demons, and vampires, and nosferatu, and angel-like guardians. But this is “no plug a vampire into a book and go” book series. Each book focuses on two main characters but none of these people feel like someone you read about in a previous book in the series. They’re distinct people and they all feel incredibly real when you’re reading them. They speak differently, act differently, have varying interests and dreams and goals, and they’re so three dimensional. Meljean writes characters they way I dream of writing characters. No exaggeration.


So, why aren’t more people reading this series? They’re not a quicky reads. Meljean keeps you on your toes and forces you to pay attention. And, yes, the first book in the series had a few confusing points which can definitely be chalked up to first novel growing pains. But she’s gotten better and better with each book. Seriously. Read these books, and I hope you’ll love them as much as I have.

Book Meme - Day 1

book chick

I'm going to bashfully jump right into this book meme and beg your pardon for the lack of life updates. I've been good - busy but good. Business as usual, pretty much. :)

So without further ado, here's the first day of this book meme:

Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)

I’m sure there are several book series that I’m not thinking of right now that I would have loved to spend more time with. The one that comes to mind, though, is John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. As it stands now, there are four books in the series (and a novelette thingy that he released online) and we’ve had those books narrated from the point of view of three different characters. I found the fourth book, Zoe’s Tale, particularly compelling because it was a retelling of the events in the series’ third book told from the perspective of the teenage daughter of the narrator of the first and third books. I would love to see more of Zoe as she grows up, but for now Mr. Scalzi has no immediate plans to write another. I understand his desire to explore strange new worlds, but I really enjoyed these characters and the universe he built.


Also, I would really like to see Dean Koontz write a sequel to Watchers (dude, it’s about an incredibly intelligent golden retriever), or get back to his Christopher Snow series. I don’t care for his Odd series, but that seems to be the only character he’s revisiting lately. *pouts*


As for a book series that could end: The Anita Blake books have completely jumped the shark. Laurell K. Hamilton is really the only author whose name elicits an automatic roll of the eyes. She still sells well, but in my opinion she’s far too self indulgent with her characters – when ¼ of the last 5 books in a series is devoted to conversations/arguments retreading everyone’s issues with each other and how they’ve disappointed each other and NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS TO MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD it’s time to move on. There’s no growth – ever. It’s Self-indulgent naval gazing. Blech. No more.

Tune in, hopefully tomorrow, for Day Two!

Source of questions here.


Home again, Home again

I'm home after my vacation (Thursday to Tuesday) in Michigan. We had a lot of fun relaxing and shopping and eating. Good times. I had fun, but there was a dark spot (friend related) that I'll have to talk about later.

Anyway, what did I miss while I was gone? Internet coverage on my phone was spotty up there, so I couldn't reliably check my friends page. What's up with all of you?

Procrastination Nation

Do Not Want

This morning as I left for work I was greeted with a sight that’s bugged me for what has to be at least two months, now. As you know, I’m living in my parent’s house while they’re away and most of my household belongings are sitting boxed up on one side of the garage. Currently, a few of those box piles resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and not in a classic architecture with a kitschy flair sort of way. They’re sitting there staying semi-upright through the grace of some kind structural sprite or karma or something because, really, they’re one strong gust of wind away from toppling all over the place.


And they’ve been that way for months, just sitting there, waiting for me to do something about it. Months! Did I mention the months part? Yeah… But have I taken charge and set those piles to rights? No. It drives me crazy to look at it, and I’m embarrassed every time I open the garage, but for some reason the annoyance factor has not turned into action. Procrastination has won every single time.


It’s the same with exercise. I have to exercise; my health is going to take a hit if I don’t start living a more active life. So, I make grand plans before I go to bed that tomorrow I will get up and walk before I shower and go to work. Or I tell myself that I’ll come home from work and get right on the treadmill. Then I end up staying up late, and the alarm clock goes off and I hit the snooze button too many times to get my workout in. So then it has to be done after work, but I have errands to run, and by the time I’m done I’m worn out and I have to make dinner and then I can’t find the energy to get up off the couch. It’s a ridiculous cycle that I have never been able to break. Procrastination wins again.


And what does procrastination get me? What’s my grand reward for listening to that voice in my head that says it’s okay to not get up, to not tackle the job that needs done? I get a guilty conscience and a few more minutes on the couch. Wow. That sure is a great prize, eh?


And the thing that really gets me is that I hate this about myself. I hate how I feel when I procrastinate. Action feels good. It provides a sense of accomplishment and actually *gasp* improves things. At work I’m FULL of awesome action; I’m constantly getting things done. It’s only at home that things fall apart. Yes, work wears me out, but the “I’m tired” excuse has to stop. The mental beatings I give myself when I don’t get things done have to be more tiring than actually doing the things I should.


I’m sick of making excuses for myself. I’m out of patience with my lazy side. Something’s gotta give, and it’s going to have to be my membership in Procrastination Nation. I mean, if the thing I dislike most about myself is fixable, don’t I owe it to myself to try?


So here’s where talk has to turn into action. I think my best strategy is to tackle this on two fronts. Front 1 – exercise. Front 2 – projects. I think, to keep things fun, I’ll need to name the fronts, like they’re battalions or something to try and keep things entertaining.



Glamorous plan making hereCollapse )

So there we go. I have a plan. Now, let’s see how I handle the follow through. Wish me luck.

The concert that almost wasn’t


The plan:


Jeff and I are big fans of the TV show Glee. We laugh about it, quote it, buy the music, recommend it to friends, and I know that at least I get excited when we find out that someone else watches it too. So when we heard the cast of the show was planning a four city tour this spring, we talked about how cool it would be to go see it, and then promptly did nothing about it.


Then in March Jeff called me at work and said he’d heard our friend Abby was going to see one of the shows in New York City. We were a bit jealous. So, we decided to live a bit recklessly and started looking into whether we could make it to one of the shows. The logical location choice was Chicago, but the performances were during the work week, and the 5 hour drive meant we’d probably have to take a day and a half off of work to get there and back. So, we started looking at the other venues and ended up picking Phoenix. Going to Phoenix meant we’d be able to make the trip over the weekend and be able to save money by staying at my uncle’s condo. Win!


 We were scheduled to fly Continental out of Des Moines at 5:20 p.m., have a brief layover with time to quickly grab some dinner and change planes in Houston, TX, and then get to Phoenix by 9:40 that evening.


The horror begins:


Here’s my timeline what actually happened:



Timeline ahoy!Collapse )


If you waded through that, you’re a champion. I just had to put the lunacy down in writing somewhere for posterity.


So, here are the things that really bothered me, which I’ll be sharing in my letter to Continental:

  1. I have to believe that somewhere along the way someone had to realize that the pilots for the flight to Phoenix had reached the end of the number of hours they could work. Shouldn’t the flight have been cancelled before we were even boarded on the plane?
  2. It is crazy that there was only one person available to help all of the suddenly stranded customers when the flight was cancelled. This was only exacerbated by the so-called customer service number not taking calls and the extreme lateness of the hour.
  3. Despite all of the flights that had been cancelled the evening before, there were only TWO representatives available to assist customers at 8:40 in the morning. How is this acceptable?
  4. Due to their inability to provide answers or any sort of real reassurance we were actually going to reach our destination in a timely manner, Jeff and I had to pay for a hotel room, we had less than four hours of fitful sleep, and I was a bundle of nerves while we waited, and waited in line to find out what the heck was going on.


Needless to say, I was extremely underwhelmed by Continental as a whole.


You’re gonna make it after all:


After we finally made it to Phoenix, we had a great time!


My cousin Amy lives in Phoenix, and I hadn’t seen her since Gramma’s funeral. We had made plans to have lunch with her, but since we arrived a bit later than anticipated, we ended up having a late lunch/early dinner with her and her kids. They are growing up so quickly, and they thought Jeff was great. (No surprise there.) It was so nice to see them!


I was pleasantly surprised to find it was easy to drive in Phoenix. I don’t know if it was because it was a weekend, but I didn’t feel any of the stress driving in Chicago causes. It helped that they seem to take the speed limit pretty seriously around where we were. So, there were no a-holes driving mach 2 down the highway weaving through lanes of traffic. And yes, even though it was hot, it wasn’t bad because it was a dry heat. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes.


The concert itself:

I’m plagiarizing my Facebook status here, but you know how people say things are awesome and they only half mean it? Well, the show was beyond awesome; it was fabulous, and amazing and terrific. The cast of the show is supremely talented. They were dancing and singing (live – if they lip synched at all it was only a backing track during the really heavily danced numbers) their hearts out. Their voices sounded great and it was fun to see how excited they seemed to be about performing live for the fans.


You can tell the show was put together with love. They changed costumes for almost every number, they had numerous set pieces, pyrotechnics, material recorded by Matthew Morrison (Mr. Schuester) and Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester), and a well rehearsed band.


As for the numbers they performed, I honestly don’t remember them all, but enjoyed every one of them! J Jeff’s favorite was Defying Gravity, and I was really happy when they sang Somebody to Love as their final encore. We also had a preview of some of the songs we’ll be seeing in the weeks to come. Good stuff!


In the end, I was really glad we went, and it was worth the trouble. Good times. Thanks, Glee, for making it worthwhile.

There will be sun in the sky


I’m sorry I’ve been remiss in updating since sobbing into my LJ, dumping very sad news about Chloe-kitty onto the world, and then running off to avoid thinking about things. Even though I haven’t thanked each of you personally, I wanted to acknowledge that your kind words meant a great deal to me after that shocking event. I’m doing pretty well, I think, considering the circumstances. My eyes don’t well up with tears every time I think of her, and I can talk about her most of the time without feeling like I’m going to lose my composure.


The deep sucker punch sadness hits me at odd moments. Two weeks ago an Apple app commercial about picking a dog from an animal shelter had me dissolving into a wet, snotty puddle. And picking up her ashes last week from the vet’s office wasn’t easy. I still find myself looking for her out of the corner of my eye – it’s a ten year habit that’s not easily broken.


Honestly, being at the house alone is the hardest part.  It feels empty - like the soul of my home left with Chloe. There’s no kitty snuggles and kisses, no one to listen when I’m basically talking to myself, and no feeling happy that Chloe will be glad to see me when I get home. I’m sure things will change over time, but right now the house seems like a random building with walls and my stuff inside. And each step I take to remove her presence from the house feels a little bit like a betrayal. They’re necessary things – I had to wash the sheets and towels she used to lay on, and I vacuumed and mopped the living room floor – but it feels a bit like I’m erasing her from my life. I know that’s not the case, but who said loss was rational. I’ve gotten rid of her bowls and litter box, but still can’t quite bring myself to lint brush the fur off her favorite chair, and I haven’t thrown out her carrier.  


It’s so easy to discount the grief one feels when losing a pet, but I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to honor the loss. Chloe was an important part of my life for more than 10 years – that’s longer than I’ve known many of the people in my closest inner circle of trust. I remind myself that it’s okay to feel a twinge of sadness when I open the door and she’s not there. It’s okay to cry a bit when I see the fur still sitting in her brush. But it’s also okay that the grief really isn’t as raw as it was, and it’s okay to laugh when I think of the good times my kitty and I had. I was lucky she picked me.


I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip to Phoenix, Arizona with Jeff to see the cast of Glee in concert. I promise an entry about that either tonight or tomorrow. Let’s just say the concert was fabulous, and that I’m not a big fan of a certain airline. If I can get my act together, I plan to write a letter to express my displeasure.


I had written the bones of an extremely long update post yesterday during my breaks on my first day back at work after my San Diego trip. It was going to be a good one. I just had to come home and fill it out more before I could post it.

Plans changed.

I had a terrible shock when I got home. My Chloe kitty had passed away while I was at work. I can't talk about it much because I'm trying not to upset myself too much before bed, but I wanted to say something here to acknowledge that it happened before too much time passes. I had 10 wonderful years with my beautiful baby girl. But now there's an blank space where my Chloers used to be and I miss her sweet face.

My loved ones have been a such a gift. I am very lucky that they take such good care of me.

So now I'm going to go take some Advil PM, and sleep in my house tonight (spent last night up in Ankeny with Jeff, his dad, and the twins), and go back to work tomorrow. Deep breaths.

Whooooooosh Zoooooooom


It has been absolutely gorgeous outside the majority of time the past couple of weeks, and I am so happy to declare winter officially over. I would much rather be outside with a good book right now than inside working. This is what I love about this time of year it’s not so hot that you feel damp and sweaty the second you step outside but warm enough that you can enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin. And whoo boy does this skin need some sun. My skin is so pale right now that I feel translucent.


Spring and summer are not typically an overscheduled time for me, but my calendar has been filling up fast. Here’s what I have coming up:


Fun stuff under the cut!Collapse )


I’ve been very engrossed in reading books lately. I missed it so much when I was working 8+ hours of OT a week and then during the move that I feel like I’m catching up with a long absent friend. Since my last book update I read amazoniowan’s second published novel, Special Delivery. (It was fabulous.) I’ve read the first two books in an Urban Fantasy series by Diana Rowland called Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon. They’re a combination police procedural and mystery, with a nice dose of romance sprinkled in. I also read a nice contemporary romance by Kristan Higgins titled The Next Best Thing. And finally, I’ve started reading Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. The first, The Thief, won a Newberry Award and it has a wonderful and unexpected ending. I’m looking forward to picking up book #2. Last night I started a new Urban Fantasy called Mind Games by Carolyn Crane. It’s about a woman that’s an extreme hypochondriac who is drafted to join a group of crime-fighting vigilantes that use their unique “gifts” to reform criminals. It’s off to a promising start.


Speaking of reading, I’m on It’s a nice way to keep track of what you’re reading, see what your friends are reading, and see what they thought of what they read. I’m not great about writing actual reviews, but I always try to give the books I read a rating. Come friend me if you’re interested!


And now I’m out of time for updating more. Ta ta for now!

The songs of Italy


This post was prompted by an exchange I had with @scrabblewench on Twitter last week.

In January 2004, I travelled with my dear friends Kathy and Janelle to Rome, Venice, Florence, and Siena Italy. For two and a half weeks, we trained, planed, bused and automobiled our way across the Italian landscape. We spent ridiculous amounts of time staring at marble statues, paintings, and frescoes, old architecture, and ancient books. I think I spent more time in church than I had the previous three years combined, and tried not to look for lightning strikes every time Janelle loudly proclaimed “Oh my God!,” when she saw something beautiful in an old cathedral or the Vatican.  We also consumed our body weight in gelato. We drank wine, we ate authentic pizza and homemade pasta, and tried our best not to act like ugly Americans. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

But even the most intrepid tourist needs some down time, and at the end of our daily outings, we would trudge (well, they trudged – I limped because I had blisters the size of Texas and Alaska on my feet) back to our hotel room to collapse on our beds while talking about what we’d seen. (Why were those uniformed men holding machine guns looking at us suspiciously? We’d only gotten lost and stumbled upon the Italian version of the White House and were just loitering and staring at a map trying to find out where the hell we were.) Because the hotels we stayed in were, of course, in older buildings the floors were a bit creaky. And since we were sometimes trying to take naps, we found it easier to sleep if we turned on the TV for some ambient noise.

There’s something disconcerting, which may be too strong a word, but it’s all I have right now, about always hearing Italian spoken around you wherever you go. So by the end of the day, we were longing to hear English coming from those TV speakers, even if it was attached to a Brit accent. This limited our choices to, essentially, three stations: BBC World, CNN World, and MTV. After three new cycles, you get pretty tired of hearing the same stories over and over (although it was terribly amusing to hear the world talking about the Iowa Caucuses while we were in Europe), so we would inevitably end up switching to MTV.

To our relief, we found Italian MTV plays more videos than our MTV. While there were several Italian artists played, there were also several songs by English speaking artists in very heavy rotation. Six years later, I still associate every single one of them with our trip and I love and hate them for it. Those songs were:


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My friend Dan likes to talk about how certain songs remind of specific times in his life. These songs, in particular, are exactly that for me.  It takes just a few notes, even if I don’t care for that particular song, and I’m taken right back to those happy memories. That’s good stuff.

The path paved with good intentions

Still not dead yet! And I'm feeling considerably less stressed than my last update. Why? I'm done moving!!!!  Yayayay!  Cue the wild applause and singing.

I'd intended to update as soon as I finished moving, but on the 28th I managed to catch a very vile flu (the stomach kind) that knocked me for a loop and out of usefulness for pretty much four days.  Thank God for Kathy and Janelle; they saved my ass by taking me to the hospital clinic and finishing up some last minute things at the apartment. Poor Jeff couldn't help because he'd managed to get something that behaved a lot like bronchitis. He would have helped, but the girls were able to take care of me.

I would have updated after I felt better, but then I had to cram my preparations for the Oscar party (mostly unpacking some boxes and finding homes for things and buying groceries) into just two days. I'd had grand visions of making fancy appetizers and making a nice drink and dinner. But instead I settled for frozen appetizers and a simple chicken tetrazzini dinner. We all managed to have a good time, anyway, but I'd wanted to fuss a bit more.

While I was sick I managed to fit in some much longed for reading while laying on the couch.  I particularly enjoyed the book I talked about in my last entry, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I loved the mythology of the world and the bizarre politics established in the city of Sky. I also liked the Yeine's quiet strength, and Sieh's playfulness and longing for affection, and I even enjoyed the story's villans. heidicullinan , I think you'd enjoy the creation myth aspect of the Gods in this world, particularly that there were Three of them and that they were, for many many years, everything to each other. And yes, I confess, I fell a bit in love with Nahadoth. I'm curious to see where N.K. Jemisin takes us in the second book in this trilogy. It's set in the same world, but each book is meant to be a story of its own.  I love finding new authors!

And now I'm excited to read Heidi's second released book, Special Delivery.  Talk about a change in tone. ;)

So there you have it, the reason I've been an unintentional stranger lately. I'm edging slowly back into normal life (which still involves working approx. 47 hours a week, btw) whatever that may be. 

I know ocannie  had her second healthy little girl, so congrats to her and hubby! So, I didn't miss seeing that. :) Have I missed anything else I should know?

Utter fail with facepaw and an update


The weeks have flown by, so all I can say about my lack of entry here is to point to my icon. Facepaw. *sigh*

Much of my free time lately has been occupied by the move. I’ve been packing, unpacking, sorting, or shifting things around. It’s absolute drudgery, but at least the end is sort of in sight. I was bad this last weekend and didn’t do any packing. That will, I’m certain, come back to bite me in the tail as we reach the end of the month.

Other than moving stuff, I’ve been taking advantage of opportunities to ignore the ridiculous and cold weather (we’ve set a state record for the number of consecutive days with at least 5 inches of snow on the ground) and spend time with people. We had a game night a few weekends ago, and went to a Golden Globes get together another weekend. This weekend we’re having a non Super Bowl party (taking place on Saturday rather than Sunday) where we’re eating Super Bowl party food and watching movies with Heidi and Dan. It should be fun.

 Jeff and I are also going to try to see all of the movies nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture this year. Since the Academy has decided to nominate 10 of them, there’s a lot to see. Here’s my list so far along with some quickie thoughts. I’ve seen the ones in bold type:

Oscar movie thoughtsCollapse )

I also wanted to talk books. I finished a book last weekend that I really enjoyed. It’s by Patrick Rothfuss, and it’s titled The Name of the Wind (TNoTW). It’s a large book (672 paperback pages), but it went by pretty quickly over a few days during a heavily interrupted week. It’s an epic fantasy, which is something I haven’t read lately, but I was persuaded by this review to give it a try. It was really, really good, and like the other folks that have read this book, I’m eagerly awaiting its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear (no ETA yet). Fantasy has been a struggle for me to slog through in the past few years because of all the Names and Places and lack of transparency in the writing. In high school and college, I was more determined to push through until it made sense, but now I have no patience for it. That’s why TNoTW worked for me. It felt like I was being told a story by a great storyteller; the story flowed where it needed to go. But if you’re in the mood to be told a story, it’s a good one.

I’ve also been intrigued by The Book Smuggler’s review of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I’ve read the first three chapters here and I’m completely ready for more when it’s actually released.

And I’m out of time. But anyway, for those that were wondering, that’s what’s going on.

Hugs to all and here’s hoping the remainder of the week brings sleep for those that are tired, appliances that work for those having trouble getting things properly fixed, pain free days for those struggling, music that inspires, and peace of mind for all.



What I've been doing + Cheer and Jeers

autumn tree

The month is getting away from me already which is BAD NEWS since all of my things need to be out of my apartment by the end of February. My primary obstacle right now, other than lack of motivation and a severe hatred of moving, is a shortage of moving boxes. This wouldn’t be a big problem if so many things weren’t going to have to stay in those boxes in the garage, rather than simply being moved from one space to another. If it was a simple shift, I could reuse boxes. Unfortunately this is not the case. So, that’s very high on the To Do list this week – find boxes or face the consequences. Procrastination is not my friend, here.

 Since the weeks have gotten away from me, I’ll give you the brief bullet pointed version of my holiday season and the last week or so.


  • Mom and Dad arrived on December 20th for the holidays. It was so nice to see their faces! And my Dad has turned into the amazing shrinking man with all of his golfing and walking. My Dad used to be a 52 inch waist. He’s now down to a 44. Amazing!
  • While I was glad to see my parents, since there’s only one bed in the house, I slept on the couch until they left on January 6th. I not ashamed to admit, dear LJ friends, that I missed sleeping on a bed; my poor hips and joints can’t handle that much consecutive couch time any more. But I survived and that which doesn’t kill you makes you … sore. ;)
  • Snow, snow, snow. We had record snow falls in December, and January has most unfortunately followed suit. Driving anywhere lately has been a test of nerves, as high winds have been blowing the snow around and turned our streets into skating rinks. It can stop any time now. Seriously.
  • Even with the weather, the holiday celebrations themselves were quite nice.
    • Tina Christmas was fabulous, as usual. We had dinner, fun and thoughtful gifts for everyone, and the usual laughs.
    • Soup-n-Santa on the 23rd was held at Jeff’s sister’s place in deference to the oncoming snow. Luckily the weather held off long enough for us to have tasty soup, exchange pajamas and presents and spend some time with the babies.
    • On Christmas Eve my parents and I braved the slick roads and went to Christmas Eve service at their church here in town. The minister of their church has a great love of jazz music, so he (and others) created a Christmas program telling the Christ story through jazz music. It was unlike any other Christmas program I’ve attended which was good for our first Christmas without Gramma.
    • Christmas day morning was … quiet. We exchanged gifts which didn’t take very long since there were just the three of us, but I think my parents enjoyed their gifts. (Either that or their acting has improved. Hee.) Mom and Dad gave me a check to help me buy a MacBook, and I can’t wait till I have saved enough to buy it. If I hadn’t had these dumb car problems I might have it already. Impatient! Maybe when I get my taxes done?? Jeff had planned to have Christmas dinner with us, but it wasn’t looking good weather-wise. I was putting on my best “it’s okay, I’m not going to be depressed about this even though it’s waaaay too quiet around here for it to be Christmas face”, but it calmed down just enough outside that he was able to make it. Hooray!
    • New Year’s Eve was spent up at Dan and Heidi’s place along with Heidi’s friends from the Central Iowa NaNoWriMo group. We had snack foods, drinks, tarot readings, and Rock Band. I would like to personally apologize to Pat Benatar and Cheap Trick for my performances. ;)
  • The last weekend before my parents left, Janelle and Kathy were able to come over and visit for a while, so that was nice, too.


And that’s about it, as far as the holiday season went. Last week was mostly recovery from Mom and Dad’s visit, dealing with my car and avoiding dying in another (!) snow storm. Thank goodness this week is providing a bit of a reprieve. Even though temperatures are still below freezing today, they’re not below zero, and there’s the promise they might reach over the freezing point. Whoo hoo, heat wave!

 So here are my cheers and jeers:


The good and the not really so badCollapse )

And that’s about it for now. (She said after babbling forever.) Hope everyone has a great week!

Echoes of family everywhere

redsnowflake ornament
As my Gramma became older, and her back considerably less forgiving, she would ask me to do things to help her. “Caryle, could you please pick that up for me?” “Caryle, would you please carry that downstairs?” And most of the time, I was glad to do it. Even when answering her voice meant jarring my mind and nose reluctantly away from whatever make-believe world the latest novel I’d purchased had carried me to, the person I am at my core was glad to help. And when Gramma could no longer reach her feet well enough to cut her toe nails, I kissed her on top of her head, told her I was doing this because I loved her, grabbed the nail clippers from her hand and proceeded to trim those suckers down to a manageable length. And really, I was glad I could help her with this little indignity in a small way. Now when I cut my toe nails, I think of her and that I’m thankful I can still reach mine.

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Darth snowman
Only four people will get the subject line, but it seemed an appropriate day to use it. I'm sure I got it wrong but those folks get the idea. :)

And what's this, you may be saying, I'm posting an entry during the middle of the day? Well, my friends we're having a snow day here. My company actually decided not to open today due to the blizzard conditions outside. Yesterday we had 14 inches of snow and today we've had wind gusts over 50 mph. I have snow drifts in my yard that are waist deep and I'm glad I actually checked my food supply because the snow in my street is so deep that I don't believe I could get my car out.

So instead I'm working on some Christmas projects I've been hoping to get to and later I'll start wrapping presents. Yay! I've already had a nap on the couch after drinking some warm apple cider and the lights on my tree are so friendly. The only thing that would make it better is being snowed in with some company (besides Miss Chloe kitty).

Tonight is the Fall finale for Glee and while I'm excited to watch it, I'm also really sad that I won't get my fix again until April. Whiiiiiinnnne. At least they're being smart and releasing the half season on DVD to tide us over.

And that's really about all. Next weekend the holiday fuss starts in earnest starting with the annual Very Tina Christmas up in Ames. It's one of my favorite things about the holidays so I can't wait for that. And then my parents arrive on Sunday the 20th. I can't believe it'll be here so soon!

Take care everyone. Hugs to all.

As proud as I can possibly be

I'm headed to bed as soon as I hit post on this one, but I would be incredibly remiss if I didn't post something today. You see, my dearingest darlingest friend Heidi has her very first novel available for purchase today. Heidi is also known as heidicullinan here in LJ land. I've probably told this story here, but since it's an illustration of the universe helping lead me to exactly what I needed, I'm quite fond of it. I met Heidi because of our mutual enjoyment of Jennifer Crusie's books. We had both travelled to Kansas City (she brought her hubbie and daughter whileI brought Kathy) to attend a book signing and we bonded a bit over our mutual Iowaness over drinks down at the Plaza. I had stumbled on her blog before the event so I knew she was a writer, and when I asked her about the story she was working on, she just lit up from within. She started talking about a story that, for those that also know her, has turned into something entirely different (Charles, anyone?), but at the time it was about a woman asking the man she secretly loved how to use a sword. Her passion for her work was so unfiltered and clear that I was a little in awe of her. I knew that some day I was going to be able to read the published version of something this amazing woman wrote. I now count Heidi among those friends that mean so much that they're family, but I'm still a little bit in awe of her because she's just that awesome.

It's been a privledge to be able to watch Heidi grow even more as a writer in the years I've known her. And I've celebrated her willingness to write about a subject she is almost as passionate about as writing - LGBT romance. And while she's still writing "mainstream" romance when the story falls that way, Heidi's first published novel is a male/male romance with paranormal elements. The story is called Hero and I know it's going to be wonderful and gripping and emotional and probably really steamy. :) Here's a synopsis:

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So, yes, if you're so inclined, please check out Heidi's book. It's available in e-book format or via mail in trade paperback from Dreamspinner Press. I'm so incredibly proud of my fantastic friend and wish her nothing but success. Onward and upward! And also, Heidi, I need more Charles soon. :) :poke, poke: ;)

Waving hello to the sun through the windows

autumn tree

We've reached the point of autumn that ceases to feel like autumn for me. The leaves have fallen from the trees, the sun is just starting to creep into the sky when I drive to work and has set by the time I leave, and the wind is feeling pretty wicked. If the grass still weren't holding onto some of its green, I'd probably think it was winter. We'll probably start hearing talk of snow soon. I'm not ready! At least my newfound ability to get to work by approx. 7:00 means I'll probably be able to avail myself of the parking garage. Now to convince my very routine oriented morning brain that it needs to drive straight to the garage instead of veering to the right...

The approach of winter always awakens my desire to spend time cooking in the kitchen. I've been delightedly ooohing and aahhhing over recipes I see posted online. One of my favorite websites right now is a site called The Kitchn. I love the frequency of their posts, the varied topics, and that the items they post don't seem overly fussy or pretentious. I am decidedly not a chef; I just love food. I like trying new things, but I need those new things to be accessible, too. When I cook it's after I've worked nine and a half hours or during my preciously hoarded weekend hours. I don't need my food to make me feel inadequate or like I've put in tons of effort for very little reward. I think that's why The Pioneer Woman is also so popular. She's a mother of four living in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma on a ranch who homeschools her kids (now there's a case for home schooling - her kids help on the ranch and shuttling them to and from the school would take hours out of the day - but I digress). The woman is busy, but she still writes yummy recipes that don't require a culinary degree. Seriously, try this recipe, it's fabulous.

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That's about all I have time for now. I'll be talking about my dear[info]amazoniowan 's book release (December 4th) at Dreamspinner Press as soon as I can find something more intelligent to say than "Buy my friends book because she's amazing and I'm really proud of her. "

Take care all!

I've got the power!

dark side

One of the very best things about moving into the house is that I now have access to a DVR. Considering my schedule these days, it's such a relief to be able to take my time running errands after work and not rushing home for fear of missing the first 15 minutes of a 7:00 show. And, unlike a VCR, I don't have to worry about tapes and I can set it up to record an entire series. It's awesome. I've wanted one for years, and now I have it. Bwahahahahaha!

Case in point, I had to buy cat food and run by my apartment for a few things after work today, and I knew I probably wouldn't make it home in time to catch the beginning of the new "V" premiere. But I wasn't worried, because lalala, I'd set it to record the series already. Yippee.

I know DVRs aren't really new to anyone, but it's my first time to have one, and it's everything I'd hoped it would be. If I could hug my DVR, I totally would. And did I mention that I know have access to an HD (high def) TV? Oh yes, FEEL my TV watching power.

Anyway... moving on. :)

Tonight was the premiere of the new "V". I remember enjoying the two old mini-series when they aired in the 80s, so I was excited about the remake of the show. The story line, while a classic sci-fi trope, is a good one; it's a classic trope for a reason. What if aliens calling themselves the Visitors suddenly appeared in our skies extending their hands in peace and friendship while offering technological advances in return for some mineral that we have in abundence? Would it be too good to be true? Or is this a cynical and harsh viewpoint? Are the Visitors part of God's plan for the Earth? Or should Earth's citizens be careful not to give them blind faith and devotion?

I watched some of SyFy's "V" marathon on Sunday, and the show held up surprisingly well. Yes, the effects were outdated and, yes, Marc Singer's jeans were so tight that I feared they might split if he bent over to pick up a pencil, but the show's themes haven't lost thier punch. I believe I read somewhere that the 80s version of V was meant to be a reminder of Nazi Germany. If we aren't careful, it's relatively easy to allow ourselves to go along with what we're told is for our own good and safety. A few freedoms here, a few fingers pointed there, and soon entire groups of people are disappearing without so much as a whimper. It's easier to go along with what we're told is right to preserve our own comfort. But what is the cost?

Thoughts on the new V below the cut (very slight spoilers)Collapse )


autumn tree
Yesterday was supposed to be my first day of an entire month of posting. Since there's no way I can do NaNoWriMo this year, I thought I could probably muster the energy and gumption to post at least a little something every day here.  I had good intentions, but I think taking my mom to the airport to leave for San Diego and finding out while I was at the airport that a former co-worker of mine that I was fond of lost her life to H1N1 this weekend drained me of my happy happy.  There's nothing like an unexpected death to make a person, or at least me, feel like they've been punched in the stomach. So, I'm missing my parents just a bit. And I'm definitely going to miss seeing Manisay's smile and her extremely tasty egg rolls. She was a really fabulous person.

Lest you think I've been all mope lately, though, let me produce visual evidence that I did, in fact, have a good time this weekend.  Jeff and I joined his family and the twins' godmother in following the yellow brick road for our Halloween costumes. We were Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West. I can't remember who said it first, but it's almost not Halloween if Jeff isn't in drag. My boyfriend is fearless (one of his best qualities), and he was a huge hit. Seriously. People pulled over their cars to stop and take pictures. After all, an over 6 foot tall man in a wedding dress, a blonde wig, and a crown is bound to make an impression. ;)
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And that's about it for me today. Hope everyone had a decent Monday and best wishes to my NaNo writing friends!


Belated birthday wishes

You know, I'm really good at remembering when it's someone's birthday week. What I stink at, apparently, is remembering to send birthday wishes on the ACTUAL day.

Friday was dear, lovely tracyj23's birthday. And I am a schmuck and forgot to recognize the occasion on the actual day. Ack! It was an absolute mad house at work on Friday, and I'm thrown off of my usual schedule with everything since I'm living with mom right now. So, I keep not remembering to do things that I usually do. But I totally meant to post something on Friday to recognize one of my favorite LJ friends. I'm so sorry, Tracy. I hope you had a fabulous birthday.

Big hugs to you and lots of virtual chocolate!

Fighting anxiety back with a plastic spork


As I mentioned in my last post, my dad left for California this weekend.  Considering the trouble Mom has been having with her Multiple Sclerosis lately, neither dad nor I felt comfortable with her staying by herself for an extended time. This means I need to spend the weeks he's gone and before she joins him living with Mom at her house. I also had a couple of 24 hour road trips happening this week that meant leaving Chloe behind. 

Considering that the house is going to be our home before we know it, I decided that it would be a good idea for Chloe and I to migrate over to my parent's place. I thought that spending a few days there with the kitty would ease the transition and she wouldn't freak out when I left town Thursday night. I mean, staying with my parents (whom we used to live with in another house) without me for a night in a place she's been in for over 48 hours seemed preferable to being alone in my apartment for a day, right? So to recap, I had two goals:

1. Get Chloe used to the house - since it will be our home - in a relatively stress free way.
2. Have care and company for the kitty while I went to Minnesota for a trip with Jeff and Dee Dee (Jeff's sister) and then to Kansas for a last football game with Dad.

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On the parent's front, since we didn't go to the game, Dad left on his migration out west Saturday afternoon.  It's weird that he's not just a drive away. Now there will have to be pre-planning and planes and two hour time differences. Ugh. 

Mom will be joining him on November 1st. It's been a bit more exciting than I'd wanted already since she's battling her "B" wheelchair. (Dad took "A" with him to help prevent damage on the flight.) She's fallen down the past two nights. Unfortunately I can't pick her up, so I'm left feeling a bit helpless and helping boost her where I can while she tries to get up. It's just as much "fun" as it sounds. But we'll get through, and it is nice to be able to come home to a not empty house feed someone (when I have the energy to cook).

Gotta go now. Hope everyone has a great Monday and week.



About 45 minutes ago dad let me know that since the K-State football game we'll be going to this coming Saturday is a night game, we'll need to drive seperately because he'll need to leave for California on Sunday morning from Kansas. Wow. Talk about reality hitting me with a 2 x 4. My dad is leaving for California in a week. Ugh. I was prepared for him to leave on Sunday, but somehow him leaving for California from our football game gives it a sort of fly-by-night abrutness that I wasn't anticipating. It make me worry about mom;she's already expressed some anxiety over how she's going to feel when dad leaves, but I thought I'd be there to stay with her and keep her company. Instead, I'll be leaving with Dad for the game. Yuck. So, ... yeah, what I'd thought was going to be a last hurrah with my dad has turned into a bit of a clusterfuck. As with anything that gets too complicated these days, I'm tempted to chuck it and say we shouldn't go to the game. I don't know. We'll see.

In other, less depressing thoughts, autumn has arrived in full voice this weekend. Yesterday morning, I awoke to giant snowflakes falling gently to the ground, and since I knew it was too warm for it to stick to the roads I enjoyed the prettiness of it. I always love watching snow fall, ... it's the after-effects I don't always love.

I went up to Ames today with Jeff, his sister, and one of the twins to take a walk around campus today and look at the leaves. The trees are changing color right now, and we got some nice pictures of them. I love autumn, so it was really nice to get in some walking in such a pretty setting. It was pretty chilly, and by the end of our walk I was glad I'd brought a light coat, worn a hooded sweatshirt and had some gloves to wear. Brr! But the walk put me in a really mellow mood that lasted right up until my chat with Dad. :sigh:

 My love affair with the TV show Glee continues.  I find myself downloading the songs from the week's episode as soon as the show is over (if not earlier) because they almost always make me smile. What's been fun is being able to share my excitement for the show with so many of my live and in person friends.  That happens so rarely for me. Usually, if I get people hooked on a show, they're trying to play catch-up and the DVD releases don't cooperate with getting people ready for the current season. (I'm looking at Battlestar Galactica there.) This is the first season, so that problem has been minimal. Yay!

And that's about all I have for today. Hope everyone has a lovely week. I have a four day work week, so that's already something to look forward to. Ta!

I’m in a Muppets state of mind.


Hey there, friends. Rather than talk about what I’ve been doing lately (work, work, birthday celebrations, Dad’s retirement party, work, work, work) and boring the whole lot of us, I’m going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart – the Muppets. I know, maybe it’s not a normal thing for a woman in her 30s to talk so unabashedly about their love for these furry creatures, but I just don’t care.


I can’t remember how old I was when my parents bought me the soundtrack album (yes, the giant, easily breakable record form) for The Muppet Movie, but it was always among the records in heavy rotation on my well used and slightly abused ugly tan Fischer Price record player. It’s no surprise to those that are around me when music is playing, but I would sing along with Kermit and Fozzie as they sang about “The Rainbow Connection” (I wonder if this movie was out before rainbows became synonymous with the LGBT community) and “Movin’ Right Along”. I’d skip ahead or sing along while gesturing wildly to my adoring fans (aka the stuffed animal pile) when Miss Piggy would deliver her melodramatic and breathy excitement at seeing Kermit for the first time in “Never Before”. And I fell in love with a quiet little song sung by, of all characters, Gonzo called “I’m Going to Go Back There Some Day”.



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Hello lovely LJ friends! I just had a lovely three day weekend and I didn't go into work for three whole days. It was pure bliss!

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with my parents. We had lunch at Red Robin and then headed to the mall for a few hours. Considering the number of birthdays swifly approaching (Jeff, the twins, my friend Kathy), I needed to buy some birthday cards and I think I found some good ones. Then we hit one of my favorite places in the world, the bookstore.

Speaking of birthdays, how crazy is it that ocannie and DeeDee's babies are already a year old? It doesn't seem possible. Miss E is starting to walk on her tip toes for a few steps and Mr. N is not far behind, at all.

Hey, remember when I used to have time to read and talk about books? Yeah, me too. I've still been reading bits here and there, but haven't really had the energy to talk about them.  It's time to break that trend, no?

I picked up three books. Book talk!Collapse )
Saturday evening I kept Jeff company while he watched the twins. I can't get over how big they are. They're eating real food and sort of walking and they're turning into real people! It's freaky.

On Sunday I spent the afternoon with my friend Kathy. She's in the process of buying her first house, and I was there to lend some moral support in the process.  In the evening, I went down to Jeff's place to help fill goodie bags for the twins birthday party and for some pizza. Mmmm... Winn's pizza.

And Monday (Labor Day), I didn't go anywhere or do anything. It was as wonderful as I wanted it to be. I tried to bake banana bread and was thwarted by the size of my disposable loaf pan. :sigh: Baking is just not my strong suit; I have no instinct for it. But I did try a new recipe for salmon cakes and found it yummy and tasty. Yay! Also, some very kind friends gave me some fresh tomatoes so I've been eating them like crazy. Tomorrow night I'm going to make some pico de gallo. Yum!

I'm so happy it's a four day work week. I'm supposed to put in 38.5 hours, and today I worked 10 hours and 40 minutes. A good start since I'm leaving work at 4:30 on Friday. This weekend I'll be up in Ames for a birthday celebration for Jeff (and sort of me). It should be a good time and, as always, I'm looking forward to seeing Anna, Heidi, and Dan.
In case I don't update as soon as I'd like, I hope everyone has a fabulous week. Hugs to all.

Eat, sleep, breathe, work

kalee - waiting for happier days

I won’t bore all of you, and myself, by sharing all of the nitty-gritty details about how my job is swallowing my life. I’m sure you can infer what you need to know from the total lack of posting and by me telling you that I’ve worked 50 hours the past two weeks, and at one stretch worked 12 days in a row. I’m slogging through, trying to get enough sleep and eat my fruits and veggies.


Family life:


Family stuffCollapse )



I’m sad to say I’ve hardly seen anyone lately. I haven’t seen the girls since Chicago, and had to miss our trip to the State Fair since I had to go into work instead. Bah!


But I did get to see Heidi, Dan, and Anna on the 22nd to celebrate Heidi’s birthday.  We had a great time and ended up staying up till 3:30 in the morning talking. Whoops! The following day I was reminded that I’m definitely not 22 any longer.


There’s lots of activities coming up, though, that give me hope I’ll be able to see more of my favorite folks. There are birthday parties galore in September!



I’m thoroughly enchanted by Imogen Heap’s new album, Ellipse. Just like her last album, Speak For Yourself, it gets better each time I listen. I love that on first listen it’s soft and dreamy and musical but won’t put you into a coma. And I love, even more, that on later listens you start hearing the humor and wit in some songs and laid bare confessional emotion in other lyrics. My favorite songs, so far, are First Train Home, Earth, Swoon, 2-1, Aha!, Canvas, and Half Life. Well done, Imogen, well done.



The only TV I make an active effort to carve out time for right now is True Blood. And, I confess, like the other girls, I’m developing a character crush on Eric Northman. In the first season he just seemed sort of dark, moody, and broody. But in this season, le sigh. I think it’s the shorter hair. Why yes, yes, I am shallow at times. And I don’t care.


And really, that’s about it. Not much of interest in the last two weeks, I’ve been too busy to be interesting. I’ve begun to form a theory that being this busy at work is some sort of punishment for all of the times I told my parents I was bored when I was little. That must be it. ;)

Two awesome things about today


1,  It's my dear heidicullinan's birthday. (A birthday I can aways remember because it's exactly one month before mine.) I know we "celebrated" already, but I hope you have a fabulous day and that this is the year publishing discovers how awesome you are.

2. Imogen Heap's new album, Ellipse, is out today. I am downloading it on iTunes as I type. Yay for new Heap!

Actual update to come - although the short version is work, work, work, stay up too late talking with wonderful people, work work.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday!

If you're searching for a post from me

Jon - searching
I promise I'm still around. It's just been especially crazy the past several days. Since my last post I have:

- Taken my car in to have the back bumper fixed and a rattle taken care of, only to have the dealership fix the rattle but repair the front bumper. They're fixing it later this month for free. *headdesk*

- Aggravated my carpal tunnel (hence a lack of updates after a long work day).

- Helped a friend look at a potential house (no go due to the surrounding neighborhood)

- Went to see Julie and Julia at the theatre with Jeff (very fun movie, but do not go hungry, you'll regret it).

- Gone to Chicago for a three day weekend with my friends Kathy and Janelle where we shopped, went to a pirate exhibit, went to a rib festival, and attended a concert at the House of Blues.

- Been very worried about my cat. I'm concerned that she's lost the ability to control when she goes #2, which is gross and troubling. She spent the weekend boarded at the vet's office since I couldn't ask my dad to clean up after her; it's just too much. My vet was supposed to give her an exam on Saturday, but I never heard from her so I have no idea if she learned anything. I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I pick her up. I have no idea what's going to happen, so basically I'm trying to remain calm about the whole thing.

It's going to be a hectic work week. Since I took Friday off and didn't go in to work today I have a lot of work to catch up on during the work week. I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

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November 2010



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