Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Let this be a lesson to us all. Some camera angles/smiles/facial expressions make human faces look like animal faces like dogs and lions (or Richard Gere, but that's another post). If you're still skeptical after seeing this picture, double click the picture for a better look. Just be aware of it before something like this happens to you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Confessions, Complexes, and Conclusions

I must confess, I have this funny little thing about me where I don't finish books that often. I get bored in the middle, or sometimes even in the first couple chapters. I am one of those kinds of people and can you believe that I actually love reading?! What is wrong with me?!

The light bulb turned on about what has been missing from my bookshelf. Peer pressure, social accountability, public judgment, a swift kick in the pants, more pressure, an opportunity to form an opinion with a time and place to share it, and friends who I know are powering-through-the-middles-of (or enjoying) the same reads.

Well, thankfully for my children whom I will be educating, I have joined a Book Club (their father Grant has been secretly praying for something, anything!) Just becoming a member of a secret elite club (okay, maybe it's not secret...or elite) alone has encouraged, no
required, me to finish the books we have chosen. That means I will be finishing at least 11 books this year. That will be a record for me. Our first selection was...
And I actually finished it! This is (kinda) a big day. I mean I have finished books before, don't get me wrong, but it's less than half the books I actually start. I am so glad for this much needed motivation to finish the books because my pride won't let me be that guy who goes to the book club without reading/finishing the book AND I know that many times the best part of a book is at the end! (Which fact, when I told my dad I couldn't ever finish a book, prompted him to solemnly reply, "that's the saddest thing I've ever heard" and coming from a psychiatrist, that phrase is locked and loaded with the potential to cause one or more major complexes, and he said that seven years ago. YIKES. I didn't think it was that bad, but it probably is the saddest thing (a slight exaggeration) that I never get to the best and most rewarding parts of books. Dr. Bench, I feel your pain.)

Well, that was before! Now I have succumbed to the the tried and true method of pure peer pressure (aka The Book Club). Extra motivation people, the proverbial swift kick in the pants (thanks Book Club, I needed that). I mean, that can't be overlooked or overrated. If there is anything that you find hard to do, find a friend to do it with right?! I mean, it works, there's no arguing with that. Maybe for this purpose was the Book Club created. Maybe it was brought forth so friends could get together and talk about their personal reading, but maybe it was to manipulate people into finishing books. All I know is that it will manipulate me into having experiences I've been lacking. Experiences that will quicken my wit, multiply my understanding, ignite my imagination, hone my humanity, grow my heart, pry open my mind's eye, volumize my vocabulary and reveal my raw intelligence (my kids will never know what an imbecile their mother once was-Don't tell 'em dad...or Grant!). And last, but not least,(read this part slowly, with feeling) this Book Club experience (emotional pause) will still my father's mourning soul, wrestling the saddest truth he ever did internalize, which sadness spewed straight from the mouth of his First Pride and Joy (what a paradox).

I owe you big time Book Club!!

So, the members of my Club are all going to dinner to talk about Confessions and then see the movie! Doesn't that sound like fun?! Also, a great website where reading friends can get together is called Good Reads. I'm on there now and I'm adding my reviews, my opinions, my star ratings, and getting recommendations for future literary adventures, it's great. If you are on there, let's be friends, and if you are not on there, join up! It's good times AND you can see what I think about what I've read, which opportunity is worth signing up for, even if you don't read.

(Can you tell how joining a Book Club has opened the flood gates of my creative long-windedness and caused me to become more self-amused? Think of what it can do for you!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One more thing...

I look like Richard Gere.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back at It

I have wanted to start running again but I have found that my motivation to do so has been low. Very low. I read my friend Jen's blog and she had a difficult time running because of an injury but started a program that trained her to run 3 miles in 30 minutes and she loved it! I thought that might be a good starting point for me and maybe if the program looked good enough, I would start it. Well, it looked good and started out easy. I began it a week ago and seriously every day I felt better, stronger, faster and closer to my goal. Feeling like a runner is one of the best feelings in the world and I missed it so much. I recommend it to any one looking to get in to running or enjoying running more. If you are already a runner, you probably already know about Runners World but it is seriously great.

The Cutest Apron Ever

I have been in the market for a cute apron. The ones that I have found are either WAY too expensive (for something that you are going to get dirty and stain with oil and food) or they are not cute or they don't fit well. I am so glad that I finally found the Cutest Apron Ever that is affordable, cute and fits perfectly! I discovered it yesterday at The World Market. I have gone in there before to browse the exotic food and candies (like Violet candies that Anne and I love), but I haven't paid much attention to the things they have for the home until yesterday. This cutest apron ever was only $20, it fits very well and also has napkins and pot holders to match if you want to be matchy matchy. They have other patterns too that are so cute. I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted. There is one that is red with white crowns on it that is so darling, I might go back and get it so I can have a backup :) I have also started a mini collection of cloth napkins and place mats and this is the perfect place to find cute patterns that you can mix and match and it won't break the bank! If you have one of these stores near by, go check it out for tons of cute things for the house, and if you don't have a store near by, you can buy stuff online!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cloud 9

 This is a wonderful view from the plane as we were leaving John Wayne airport.  I thought it might be a while since I saw the sun again so I wanted a picture to remember it by.
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Quirks or Perks

Okay, so I've been tagged by Leah to list 6 quirks. It was so fun reading hers, I hope mine measure up! Now, it took me a little while to think of these so I hope I thought of some good ones!

1. I eat grapefruit like oranges. I peel them and eat them in wedges... without sugar. I like the sweet/tart taste. I have almost one a day.

2. I take bites out of all desserts but can never bring myself to eat a whole serving at one time. I won't sit down to eat it either, otherwise it feels like I am eating it rather than just taking a bite, even if that bite turns into 3 or 4.

3. When I am sick or otherwise afflicted, I turn on Disney cartoons to help me to fall asleep. It works very well. It must be something with the familiar noise. I used to like when I could hear the TV that my parents were watching after I went to bed. I found it comforting.

4. I will listen to a song I like over and over and over and over again. Much to the dismay of siblings and husband who are repeatedly subjected to my musical taste. Hey, if they didn't like the song before, they'll end up liking it after the thousandth time. (Anne and Grant have both admitted to this phenomenon).

5. I rub my feet together as I'm trying to fall asleep. I have always done it. It must be something I discovered was soothing to me when I needed to fall asleep as a small child or something. I didn't know I did it until my room mate and friend Sjauna pointed it out to me when we were in college! Also, I HAVE to have a cold pillow. I will awaken in the night to switch my pillow over and I need to sleep with AT LEAST 2 pillows just in case both sides of one pillow get too warm. I also have to sleep on my side because if I sleep on my back I get nightmares.

6. I love paper!! One of my favorite gifts for Christmas was when I was 7 and my aunt gave me loose leaf stationary. I would look at it and leaf through it and I even still have some of those old sheets of paper. I could literally spend all day in the Paper Source. I love paper and keepsakes that are paper like letters and playbills and tickets. My journals are busting at the seams because of all the papers I stuff in there.

7. For good luck, I'm adding one more. I scrutinize EVERYTHING. I am such an analyzer that my friends and family will consult me about what I think and advise about relationships because I can pick apart everything. I ask a lot of questions. I once asked Anne, "Who's that?" about a guy crossing the street and she looked at me like I was the craziest person alive for asking her who a complete stranger was that neither one of us had seen before. I ask a very many question and demand a very many detail, but you have to give me a break, my dad is a psychiatrist(not to mention my step-mom is a psychologist) so I developed these attributes subconsciously. I even had a friend refer to me as Dr. Bench because I have a lot of psychiatrist-like qualities. My dad interestingly enough, thinks I would make a better lawyer.

Well, that's me in a quirky nutshell.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Mothership Has a Birthday

The Mothership or otherwise known as the Mother of the Corn (Bailey and Levi are Children of the Corn) celebrated another year of being alive. All of her children were present (except Johnny john-sad, we missed you John!). Part of my gift to her was to make one of her favorites...

Monte Cristo sandwiches for all, and to all a good night. Here's a little sneak peak...

Check out my food blog for the recipe.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The things you learn...

Want to know what happens when you boil eggs and you forget they are boilling and the water evaporates and the eggs are still left on the heat?

They explode.

Don't ask me how I know that.

So, the other day, I was at the Doctor and Grant came with me. We were sitting in the waiting room reading magazines. I was reading Better Homes and Gardens and Grant was reading ESPN. As I was looking through the December issue, my eyes widened, my face got closer to the pages, and I started salivating as I noticed AMAZING recipes page after page. There were like 10 that I wanted. I started thinking about all the different ways I could get my hands on them. I considered copying the recipes myself, asking the receptionist to copy them on the copy machine, ripping out the pages I wanted, and then, the last option, just taking the magazine (it was the Dec. issue and we were already in Jan!). I told Grant my dilemma. He told me to go ask the lady to copy them for me. I said no. I felt embarrassed. He became more insistent and then after my fifth head shaking, he snatched the magazine from me and headed up to the receptionist. I started nervously laughing and watched him as he politely said, "Excuse me." The receptionist came over. After a small conversation between he and the copy machine lady, the receptionist said I could just have the magazine!! And Grant, victorious as ever, smiled with accomplishment and I smiled for two reasons. First, that my husband would do that for me (ask the receptionist to copy pages out of Better Homes and Gardens) and second, that now I have the magazine in my possession and I can make those incredible dishes! Simple Thrills.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chicago For the Holidays

Our trip to Chi-town was so great and the best part was spending so much time with family but it also gave way to a plethora of visual experiences that afforded a well rounded ambiance. A few of the things we were lucky enough to take in...

Some amazing barns that were a few miles from where Grant grew up about 45 minutes west of the city. He has a lot of family in the area so as we traveled from one house to another, we got to take in the view. These shots were taken from the car window as we drove by. As pretty as it was, I was not interested in being out in that snow to take a few pictures.

Now to the City! These were some shots from Greektown. As you can see, all the snow melted and the sun came out for most of our visit! It was really nice. The blue restaurant the Pegasus is where we ate on our honeymoon. Aw, memory lane. This shot also taken from the car...
Here is another restaurant Artopolis from Greek town where we ate this visit thanks to the Zagat Chicago book (a must have for any city you will be eating in). It had very yummy Mediterranean fare with the best baklava you have EVER tasted. Greek town has such cute restaurants!
Of course, you gotta love the Illinois politics. Some very shady stuff going on right about now.
We took advantage of the free day at the Museum of Science and Industry and on the way there drove by the famous Grant Park (where Obama and many of his supporters celebrated his presidential victory) and Buckingham Fountain (that was closed unfortunately due to construction).
A highlight for me was seeing the famous Water Tower again that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. My grandparents spent a lot of time in Chicago when they were first married as my Grandpa attended Northwestern for dental school (my dad was born there actually) and they have a painting of the Water Tower in their home. I sense a tradition starting. It is quite beautiful.

On New Years Eve, we headed up to the Hancock Observatory which did not disappoint. Here Anne and I are washing windows to earn the 20 bucks it cost to get a gander of the city from the top.

Here we are getting ready for our personal audio tour of the city from way up there which was also included in the price to go up to the top. It was really informative and took us all around the city.

The best part of being up in the Hancock Observatory was this... watching the sun set on 2008.

Here is a cool shot I got looking out onto Lake Michigan and Navy Pier, but in the background you can see the silhouettes of people on the other side of the Observatory looking out onto the horizon after the sun set. Watching the city transition from day to night was quite impressive from way up there (93rd floor) and well worth the price to go up. I always love the city skyline at night and I think Chicago has the best skyline I've ever seen. I HIGHLY recommend this observatory (better than the Sears Tower because it gives you a view from the middle of the city and not on the outskirts) if you ever find yourself in the Windy City (which coincidentally got it's nickname from it's politics and not the wind).