Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Meme

It's been a while since I've done a Booking Through Thursday. Today's topic appealed to me so here we go with an old friend.

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

I haven't had a lot of time to read anything at all lately having been on my pseudo-vacation and then getting the kids back to school. I just finished reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell yesterday though. I'm not sure how "fluffy" this book is but I enjoyed it as a leisure kind of read. When I decided to read it, I didn't realize that it was a memoir. I believe this is the first memoir I've ever read. Julie said in her book that she was criticized for the foul language she used on her blog and thus, in her book, lol. I thought it was funny and made the book more real. I figure there are more important things to obsess over in life than someone's exuberant use of the "f" word. My blog is pretty clean compared to the way my mouth works in real life. You should hear me while driving.

Anyway, before Julie and Julia I was reading and I'm still in the middle of Charlaine Harris' Shakespeare's Landlord. I decided to give this a try after reading and thouroughly enjoying Harris' Southern Vampire series. Like I said, I haven't finished it yet but I started reading this book a couple weeks ago and it was fairly easy to put down and not pick back up in favor of another book. I still plan on finishing it in order to give it a fair shake but at this point I thinks it's safe to assume I won't be reading the second book in this series.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Day of Firsts

Today was the first time the oldest child was allowed to wear makeup to school. Nothing too dramatic. Luckily for me, she seems to lean more towards the conservative side rather than the clown school side. She’s also the same way when it comes to her clothes. I’m keeping all my appendages crossed that she stays this way. I consider myself really lucky that I don’t have to fight with her about how she dresses and stuff.

Today was the first day that I’ve ever homeschooled a child. It went really well. Way better than her first day of school last year when she came home crying. We covered reading, spelling, math, and science today. I had a lot of misgivings about this undertaking but I honestly and truly think it’s the best thing for her. It’s only the first day so there’s still obstacles to overcome but we can’t do any worse at educating the youngest than public schools have done. This I know without a doubt.

Today was the first time that I’ve ever smashed a cell phone into a bazillion pieces. Well, to be more precise, a Marine Corps six ton did the job but either way, my BlackBerry is still dust in the road. I’d rather not say how it happened because I come off really bad in this story so don’t ask, heheh. I got REALLY lucky in that my line was eligible for Verizon’s new every two so I have a brand new BlackBerry Storm and I LOVE it. I’m sad that all of my contacts, saved e-mails, and pictures on my other phone are lost, but I have a new gadget so I’ll survive the loss.

Today is the first day that I’ve ever had the Uh Huh Hers on my iPod. I just downloaded their Common Reaction album from iTunes and I have to say that I think I’ll really love it. It reminds me a lot of the 80’s electronic pop kind of music. It’s also very much chic music too. They sound great and I love the  upbeat-ness to all their songs. It’s gonna sound pretty great at top volume in my car tomorrow, heheh.

Today was the first time I’ve ever run over two curbs in one outing. I don’t know what was wrong with me but those curbs kept jumping out in my way.

Now, I’m off to bed. Today is NOT the first time that I’ve ever hated getting up at 6:30 in the morning making it so I have to go to bed early at night just to get through the day. I’m so not a morning person.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vaca Visiting the Fam Finale

So, we’re home. One day later than we wanted and one day earlier than planned. Get that? We had planned on being home 8/22, decided to leave on 8/20 and actually left on 8/21. The youngest child ended up getting a fever so we left on Friday. We left earlier than planned because we were ready to come home, lol.

This trip has made me reevaluate how I feel about Ohio. For the last 12 years, I have said that I hate Ohio and anything to do with it. This was a totally unfair assessment. Ohio is a pretty neat state. There is a lot to do with the Columbus Zoo (voted #1 in the nation), Cedar Point, Kings Island, The Wilds, Old Man’s Cave, Lake Erie, and tons and tons of other things I haven’t listed (not that I got to enjoy any of them while on this trip). In addition to sight seeing and other activities, there’s lots of shopping and dining opportunities in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, and their surrounding suburbs (which I did get to do.). Funnily enough, I also realized how much I miss seeing miles of soybean and corn fields in the summer. It’s almost a Zen type of thing to look out over the rows.

The reason I have always said that I hate Ohio is because of how much of a PITA it is to go there. It’s either a 6 hour flight from California, a 13 hour drive from Vermont, or an 11 hour drive from North Carolina. Then, once you get there, the entire fam expects you to continue to traverse the entire state to visit them since the Mister and I have family pretty much all over the state with the exception of the very northern parts and we probably have family up there that I’m forgetting. I have decided that I’m not going to Ohio again unless it’s in an RV that we rent. Then we’re going to park it in some campground and everybody can come to US!!! We always end up pissing people off because we spent too much time there and not enough time here or vice versa and with an RV, it’ll be their fault if they don’t make it out to the campground. Ingenious, right?

Do I have pictures to share? Just a few with some animals. I didn’t get any of my grandparents house because the youngest was sick and we didn’t make it out to say goodbye like I had planned. I’m actually glad that I didn’t. I was almost in tears several times thinking about it and I know what kind of a fool I would have made of myself if I had actually known my last time there was my last time there. I think it’s best this way.

Now we’re home and trying to get back into a routine and get the kids started at school. Their first day is tomorrow and today will be hectic to say the least. It’s not even noon yet and I already feel like I’ve had a full day.  The Mister goes back to work tomorrow too but my first day back is today and I have a bit of catching up to do.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vaca Visiting the Fam Pt. 2

Let's see. We left our house last Friday so today makes ten days since we've left home. I'm ready to go home. It's not anyone or anything but I guess I'm just homesick. I miss my bed, my house, the peace and quiet, my office, my Internet, my phone charger (I forgot the wall charger and can only charge my phone when we're in the car which is a major PITA!!), and most of all, I miss my sleep. Everyday that we've been here we've been up late and I've been woken up by either kids, dogs, or my sister's alarm going off at top level for an hour. I'm not exaggerating either. I am whining but I'm not exaggerating.

As a result, we're heading home a few days early. Just a few but enough that it'll be nice. We're not going to be able to go to the zoo, Cedar Point, or COSI but who cares. I want my house.

Anyway, enough whining.

I don't really have too much to say though. We haven't done anything. We did get to go to this petting zoo thing that had a giraffe, llamas, alpacas, goats, kangaroos, camels, and some other animals. What was cool about it is that you could feed and pet everything there except for the donkeys. I got to feed and pet a giraffe which was way cool. I also got to pet the kangaroos which was neat too. We had a lot of fun. Other than that, all we've done is hang out, shop, and eat. We discovered The Cheesecake Factory which is our new favorite restaurant. We've been twice and got something different each time and shared. Great food, HUGE portions, awesome cheesecake, and a nice environment. My only itch about it is that the menu is so big that it's hard to decide cuz everything sounds good and so far I've tried five different entrees and liked them all.

Despite my sister's alarm clock, I have truly loved staying with her. It seems very grown up to stay with my sister and her family, lol. I introduced her to my favorite wine last night and we enjoyed a bottle together. I also introduced her to Dooney & Burke, Coach, and Burberry but that's another story. ;)

Tomorrow we're leaving my sister's to visit some other fam. Then, we're headed back to N.C. first thing Thursday morning. We're driving straight through since staying in a hotel didn't really work out last time, heheh.

If you're tweeting me, leaving me Facebook messages, or comments on my blog and I'm not answering, I'm getting them, it's just hard to respond on my phone which constantly needs to be charged and I can only get on the Internet sporadically. I love and appreciate them though so don't stop!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vaca Visiting the Fam Pt 1

We've had a pretty good trip so far. We haven't really done all that much yet except for visit. We've been gone six days and gotten gas four times already. That's how much driving we've been doing.

Sunday, we met my cousin Mandy, my brother, my niece and nephew, and my grandparents for breakfast. The last time I had seen my cousin was nine years before at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party. I was honestly shocked when I realized it had been that long. It was so great to see her again. She had to leave that day to drive home to St. Louis and I really wish we had had time to visit longer.

After breakfast, we drove out to my grandparents' house to visit for a while. Bittersweet is the only way to describe it. Anyway, my grandma has this table that she got for her 50th birthday in Italy. The table is inlaid and is six triangles that fit together to make an entire table. Each triangle piece of the table opens up and plays a different song. Because my grandma started my music box collection, she told me that one day that table would be mine. Well, since they're moving, she told me it was time to take my table home. I absolutely love this table and we are having it shipped home. I was also supposed to get this ballerina, harpist musical statue thing that was my great grandma's but my uncle snaked it from me. I'm not happy but what can I do? Had he taken my table, I'd be in Iowa right now beating him up for it, lol.

We've been staying with my sister while visiting. She just bought her first house so it's been a real treat to stay with her. It all feels very grown up, lol. Also, she loves my dogs so they've been welcome in her home. She and her husband actually have an appointment set up with a breeder to look at Boxer puppies, hehehe. I'm a bad influence I guess.

Like I said, it's been a nice visit so far but today was a touchy day. The youngest child and my nephew who is four like to nitpick at each other. Today, he was spitting on her which caused her to lose it which caused me to have a meltdown. I really just wanted to beat on everybody. Now, we're kind of all in our own corners, lol.

So, that's the trip so far. I have no idea what's planned for tomorrow. We're supposed to be going to the Columbus Zoo, COSI, Cedar Point, shopping, and we have tons more family to visit with. It should be an interesting few days. ;)

Oh. I got a cute pair of shoes on sale today too.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Getting Ready to Go

Our first order of business while we're in Ohio is to visit my grandparents. They are selling their house so this will be the last time that I get to see it. I am most unbelievably sad about this. Their house has been the one constant in my life. My grandpa and my uncles built that house. They've lived in it since before I was born. This house represents summers spent swimming with my cousins, Christmases spent camping out on the living room floor with all my cousins, walks in the woods behind their house, walks to the bridge with my great grandpa, just so many memories. This house was a happy safe haven when I was a little girl.

There is a folding door that goes from the den to the hallway that every grandkid has gotten their fingers smashed in at least once, lol. When I was teeny, tiny, I locked myself in my grandparents' bathroom while I was playing in my grandma's makeup, heheh. My uncle had to take the doorknob off cuz I wouldn't let anyone in while I was trying to clean up my mess. My cousins, sister, and I had this kinda traditional game we'd play during the holidays that we aptly name The Wall Game. Basically, it was a game of tag where the opposite living room walls were "base" and you had to run safely between the walls while the cousin that was "it" tried to tag you. My grandma was in a constant tizzy over the hand prints us dirty kids would leave on her white walls. One year, my 6+ foot tall uncle decided to join in and his clumsiness led to a mirror getting knocked off the wall and broken.

I can remember many nights sleeping in the middle bedroom that used to be my great grandpa's before he passed away. Their house is in the country so the silence is very complete at night with the only sounds being from crickets in the summer and the wind in the winter. It was quite different than my childhood bedroom in my house that was on one of the busiest streets in the town where I was born. It was peaceful.

There were also nights that I would sleep in my grandparents' bed with my grandma because my grandpa was working a 24 hour shift at the fire house. In the mornings, I would sit and go through my grandma's jewelry boxes trying on her rings and picking out what I would have liked to have had for myself.

And now that I'm grown with my own kids, I enjoy memories of my grandpa taking my daughters for rides on his lawnmower. Memories of them swinging with my dad in the swing in the backyard. Walking with my kids out to the pond so we could watch the frogs jump in and bluegill swim around the cattails.

Life goes on and change happens but this will take some getting used to for me. Maybe some Xanacs and therapy will be in order, heheh. I'm sad but I'll get over it. I'm really looking forward to seeing my grandparents and their house once more time before they move. It's been a few years since we've been out to visit. Our trips to Ohio don't often coincide with them being in Ohio at the same time since they enjoy travelling and spend their winters in Texas. It'll be a treat if not a bittersweet one.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Best Beach Reads

Pam had this over at her blog so I found the list on NPR's website and decided to highlight the books that I have read. Sadly, it's only 15 (thanks Pam, heheh) out of 100. Oh well.

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon

41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand, by Stephen King
53. She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
74. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe [tie]
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett

81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
81. The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve [tie]
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell
89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume
96. The Shining, by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Summer...So Far

It's been forever since I've had a real blog post. I read somewhere that you're not supposed to acknowledge time away from your blog or apologize for it. I think that's funny but even so, I won't apologize. Life happens, ya know?

So, the summer. The Mister spent most of his summer in Jacksonville at Staff Sergeants Course. If you're not familiar with this, it's basically a bunch of Marine Staff Sergeants getting beat down with PT (Physical Training or exercise to you and me.)and supposedly learning how to become better Staff Sergeants. No biggie. He was able to come home every weekend and even some week nights. The girls and I manage quite well on our own. I enjoyed not having to cook hardly at all this summer. With the Mister gone, the girls and I ate light and had many "catch whatcha can" nights.

The oldest child celebrated her 13th birthday back in July. She had two different sleep overs for it and managed some pretty good loot. She got a new cell phone, some clothes, DS games, and her first real, not play, makeup.

My 32nd birthday was 6 days before hers and I spent it at home. I honestly don't remember if the Mister was home, if we went out to dinner, or what. My own birthdays mean very little to me.

The youngest child has been herself. She's made a couple new friends in the neighborhood and has stayed busy, out and about, all summer. Oh. And we've decided to home school her this year. Maybe I'll talk about that in a separate post sometime.

Work has been pretty crazy for me. CRAZY!! I've had several big projects due this summer and with the kids home and the Mister gone, I've been busy. I even worked overtime for the first time last month. I may or may not have a couple new clients lined up for the coming months as well. I'm pretty ambivalent about that. Don't get me wrong. I'll be grateful for the work but I'm to the point where I'm happy with my the steady clients that I have now so if these new ones don't work out, I won't be too sad about it. In addition to my consulting work, I've been trying to write for another blog that has to do with social networking and working from home. It's really tough keeping up with two blogs let me tell ya.

Also, the Mister and I are on the very cusp of being officially open for business with the soap project. We've made three new and improved batches that we are taking to Ohio (more on that in a minute) that we plan on hawking to friends and family to sell. I've redesigned our website, designed a logo, made cigar labels, and we are just about ready to open our virtual marketplace. More on all this in another post as well but feel free to ask any questions and pass along the word!!

So, Ohio. We are planning a trip there. This will be our first, for real, honestly, planned trip to Ohio that we've ever taken. We've gone for weddings, funerals, illnesses, and to pick the kids up but never just to visit. The last two times we tried to plan a trip, someone in our family died. I kid you not. The last time, almost two years ago, the week we were going to go, my brother-in-law was killed in an accident. We hadn't even told anyone we were coming cuz we wanted it to be a surprise. I'm telling you what though, if someone dies this time, I will never plan another trip to Ohio again. That would just be too freaky. We have lots planned. We are taking the oldest child to Cedar Point. It will be her very first trip there and she's very excited. It's almost a rite of passage for someone from Ohio. The youngest isn't going because she won't ride rides. She'll be hanging with her cousins and grandparents. My step mom is also treating us girls, and my sister, to a day spa. They're getting mani/pedi's and facials while I get my hair cut and colored. I'm not much for having people touch me so I opted out of the other stuff. We're also going to a zoo. We haven't decided between the Indianapolis Zoo or the Columbus Zoo yet. We're also going to try and fit in a trip to COSI in Columbus. I used to LOVE going there when I was a kid and I would really like to take my girls there. Man. I'm kinda tired thinking about all that, lol.

Anyway, we've made a couple trips to the beach but not nearly as often as I would like to have. I timed it the other day...From the time we get up, get ready, and drive to the beach, it takes us two hours till we hit sand. Two hours makes it so that we don't get to go as much as I would love to go.

To fill in the nights, I've been watching some new TV shows. I really like True Blood and Hung. They're fun and pretty over the top. The Mister and I have also started watching Nurse Jackie on HBO. I love that show. I've been a fan of Edie Falco's from when she was on the Soprano's. Old summer shows we're still watching and loving are The Close, Raising the Bar, and Weeds.

I've also been reading again. I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series (The books from which True Blood is based.) in a week, lol. I downloaded them all to my Kindle app on my iPod. I've also been reading my English Royals non fiction books as well. I'm reading a book about Henry VIII's wives and a book about Mary Queen of Scots. I'm really enjoying them both. They make me miss watching The Tudors less, lol.

I don't think anything else of significance has happened this summer. It's been relatively quiet. The Mister graduates from his training on Wednesday and we leave for Ohio on Saturday. We'll be back a couple days before school starts and that will be the end of summer. I'm a little sad about that. I look forward to summer all fall, winter, and spring and it just doesn't seem to last long enough.

So. What did you all do with your summer?