Monday, January 31, 2011

This weekend involved:

driving to Michigan for a wedding
listening to books on tape
eating fast food

hanging out with good friends
reminiscing about college days
dancing and eating wedding cake

seeing our puppy who missed us
trying to get over being sick
making progress in a new book

Friday, January 28, 2011

A perfect combination




I love the idea that Naturally Nina posted about yesterday.  You can make your coffee a completely new experience by adding coffee to it.  It's so simple, but so awesome!  The full directions can be found here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book review: Gather Together in My Name

I finished reading Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou.  It is the second part of her autobiography, following I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I read when I was in high school.  The part of her autobiography was really interesting because she ended up dong a bunch of things that I had no idea she had done.  I absolutely LOVE Maya Angelou so I tend to enjoy everything she writes.

In this book she is raising her son while trying to make a living.  Sh holds a bunch of different jobs all of which she seems to get completely by chance.  She keeps getting involved with men and then having to move because something goes wrong.   She gets a job as a creole cook even though she has no idea how to cook creole.  While working as a waitress, she meets two lesbian prostitutes and then ends up becoming their madam and then leaving town because they are angry with her.

She tries to join the army, but at the last minute is turned away because when she was a teenager she studied dance at a school that was supposedly communist, even though she had no idea.  After that she has a brief stint as a dance partner for a tap dancer, who ends up going back to his previous dance partner.  Then she meets another man, who tells her that he is a man with a gambling problem in an unhappy marriage.  He convinces her that he is going to leave his wife and marry her, but that he has to pay off some of his gambling debt first.  She agrees to help him pay off his debt by working as a prostitute for a month or so.  She eventually figures out that he isn't who he said he is and is instead a pimp with several other prostitutes working for him.

The book ends when she is trying to figure out what to do next to support her and her son.  She briefly considers giving up because she is so frustrated by everything that's happened to her, but realizes in the end that she has too much promise to not use it.

This book was definitely interesting because of everything that happens to her in it (and believe me, I haven't covered it all!) but it wasn't one of my favorites.  I thought that she was really struggling to find herself and her morals during this period of her life.  It was worth reading, but I would read either I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or A Song Flung Up to Heaven because I think they are much better books.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh my goodness

Image from here
Have you seen this adorable cottage?  I saw it on Tranquility du Jour, which directed me to The New York Times article that was written about it.  While

I was originally drawn to the idea of the cottage.  Its beauty.  Its charm.  I actually enjoyed reading the article more than looking at the pictures of the cottage.  Sure it's cute, but Sandra Foster, the woman who renovated it, had some wonderful things to say.

She talked about the time she spent homeless while she was growing up.
“If you don’t have a home, you don’t have a sense of place, you don’t have a life, you don’t have a soul,” she said.
She tells the wonderfully, simple story of how she and her husband met and fell in love.
“I was a gardener, he was a gardener,” she said. “There is a plant called nepeta. I had trouble growing it. He grew it like gangbusters. I was fascinated by this very handsome man who could grow something I couldn’t grow like there was no tomorrow.” 
She then explained how she and her husband took on too much when they were trying to renovate a huge, old farmhouse.
Image from here
“The only thing holding me together was Todd’s love, and his love of food and feeding me, and his love of flowers. Every single day I come here, there are flowers. A whole path of rose petals leading to a bath full of rose petals and candles. He’s a magical man, despite his flaws.”
After they realized that renovating the farmhouse was putting too much stress on them, they bought the land they currently live on that has a trailer and the cottage that she has been renovating on her own.  I'm not exactly sure why I liked the article so much, except that she seemed really willing to be honest and open about the things she's been through and the things that are important in life.  I really liked that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An organized linen closet or why I love my husband

While Andrew's been at home job searching, he's also been taking care of the house, which has been absolutely wonderful.  He is constantly organizing something, which means that I'm always finding things more organized than before.

For example, the other day I went to the linen closet to get a towel.  I really don't like our linen closet because it's been disorganized since we moved into our house.  It wouldn't take that long to organize, but it never makes it to the top of my list, mostly because it disappears once I close the closet door again.  So I was overjoyed to find that Andrew had completely reorganized the linen closet one day last week.  I know it's a little thing, but it makes me so happy.

It's been really nice to have him doing some of the things that we've been meaning to do at home, but haven't gotten around to.  It gives him something to do during the day other than just job search and it helps him remember that he's still contributing to the household even thought he's not working.  It's things like this that remind me why I love him.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Um, did you see Oprah today???

She has a half-sister that she never knew about.  It turns out that her mom gave up a baby for adoption but never told Oprah or the rest of her family.  How crazy is that?  Can you even begin to imagine finding out that you were related to Oprah!?!

I just felt like sharing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This weekend involved:

  • hanging out with Andrew
  • watching way too many episodes of Weeds (I might be am obsessed...)
  • taking a nap for several hours
  • going to the gym (That's four times this week!!!)
  • starting to knit a baby blanket
  • going to the congregational meeting at church
  • figuring out how to use my Mom's new Cricut
  • mailing Cricut cutouts to my sister
  • watching football that I don't really care about now that the Colts are out of the running:(
  • playing with Schmoo during the football

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Movie review: The Business of Being Born

One of the documentaries I watched on Netflix is The Business of Being Born.  As much as I'm not ready to have a baby yet, I am interested in the ongoing debate over the different ways of giving birth.  I'm not in any way advocating one way of giving birth to babies over another because I know next to nothing about it.  I haven't done any research other than reading birth stories on some blogs and watching this movie.  But there were some things in the movie that I found interesting:
  • Midwives attend to over 70% of the births in Europe and Asia.   In the United States they attend less than 8%.
  • "Women have been told that they're not responsible for their own birth process."
  • Obstetricians = surgeons
  • The United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world.
  • The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries.
  • "Hospitals are businesses."
  • "Once they started an was like a domino effect."
  • "In the hospital you're not allowed to have very long labors, so if you're not dilating rapidly, which you're likely not to do if you have an epidural early in labor, you will be give pitocin.  They will put the in the IV.  It will flow into your veins.  Pitocin makes contractions longer and stronger and closer together.  So the pain of labor is much worse.  So you go with that for a while because you have the epidural, but eventually the pain of the contractions in overwhelming the epidural so you need to up the epidural and then labor slows down so you up the pitocin.  Now you're not feeling the pain of the extra pitocin because you have the epidural, but your baby is getting compressed. Blood and oxygen levels drop.  Because pitocin contractions last so long and they're so strong, the blood and oxygen flow to the baby is compromised.  So then the baby is likely to go into distress and then you're sent off for an emergency C-Section from contractions induced by pitocin..."
  • "Women have given up their autonomy about birth."
  • "I think there's a lot of fear instilled in women around birth."
  • "Why should women feel confident about giving birth when the whole culture is telling them this is scary, this is dangerous?"
  • "Women expect to have traumatic experiences.  That's why they're all having epidurals because they're terrified of what this is."
  • "You're going to be transformed by your birth.  Like it or not."
  • "For the rest of her life, a woman will remember how she was made to feel while giving birth."
  • "If you really want a humanized birth, the best thing you can do is get the hell out of the hospital."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have a new obsession and its name is Netflix.

Over the weekend I got one of those one month trial offers in the mail so Andrew and I decided Why not?  Let's give it a try.

We installed it on our Blu-ray player so we can watch the movies and TV shows that are instantly available on our TV.  Last night we watched The Princess and the Frog and a few episodes of Weeds, which I've been wanting to watch for a long time.  (I'm still undecided as to whether or not I like it...)

Besides the movies and TV shows, there are a bunch of documentaries that I've been meaning to rent from the library.  When I do rent documentaries from the library, I tend to feel forced to watch them instead of being able to watch them when I want to.  Now I have that option!

The only potential problem I see with Netflix (besides wanting to have it longer than the trial period which we can't do until Andrew finds a job) is that there are way too many things I want to watch so my list of movies, TV shows, and documentaries to watch could end up as long as my list of books to read.  And believe me that is a long list.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three day weekend

The weekend involved:

hanging out with Andrew
enjoying How I Met Your Mother
making a fire in the fireplace

trying on bridesmaids dresses with Sarah and my mom
eating frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf, which is one of my new favorite places
finding really cute wedding invitations for Sarah and Justin

coffee in large cups
reading books
working on my craft room

going out for yellow curry at Jasmine Thai
playing with Schmoo
getting up early and then going back to bed

reading blogs
catching up on DVR
putting up a bulletin board in my craft room

spending time relaxing

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book review: An Italian Affair

I just finished reading An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser.  It's a memoir/travel book where a woman who is recently divorced meets a married professor from France and begins an affair with him.  They meet in different countries over the course of several years.  Their relationship is interesting because it can't go anywhere and because the professor is kind of selfish and blunt.

It's  a fun read because you feel like you are traveling while you're reading.  The book reminded me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love because of the travel, romance, and adventures they have during their trips.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Craft room update

During my winter break from school, I was working on painting my craft room.  The room used to be the little girl's room, which means that it had little girl colors.  The bottom half of the room was a light green, while the top half of the room was a sunny yellow.  Those colors combined with the ladybug/butterfly theme they had in the room worked well for the little girl, but not for me.

The paint color is Ocean Soul by
Valspar.  It looks more like a jewel
tone on the walls, especially next
to the white.                                    
I spent a long time deciding on a paint color and eventually decided on painting the bottom half of the room a vivid turquoise color and painting the top half of the room white.  I have a lot of pictures I want to hang on the wall so I think the white will really make them pop.  I really like the way the paint looks so far.  Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to hang where on the walls!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  One of my students finished reading it over winter break and brought it to me to read.  The thing I loved about this book is that it's narrated by a dog named Enzo.  It was a really interesting perspective, especially because the dog could only communicate with the people in the book through its actions.  (In that aspect, it reminded me a lot of The Book Thief, which is narrated by death.)

The narration was my favorite part of this book because I thought that the overall plot was pretty depressing.  I kept waiting for it to get better.  It didn't necessarily get better, but it did resolve some...  Maybe I'm being too hard on this book.  I'm sure that it would be more interesting if you were interested in racing because Enzo's owner races cars.  (But let me just say that the ending of the book is a lot like the ending of Marley and Me.  It definitely made me cry.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

A great reminder of what life is about

To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live.  To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life.  To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day.  To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am.  I am.  That is something to aspire to.
-from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Making time for myself

One of the things I'm trying to do this year is to take time for myself.  I managed to do a little of that this past week.  (I'm going to try to take Sunday nights to reflect on the week I finished and plan for the week ahead.)

To make things fun:
I scrapbooked pictures of Schmoo and our program and tickets from Wicked.  I read part of The Art of Racing in the Rain, which one of my students read and then brought me to read.  I played with Schmoo.

To make me feel/look better:
I did my makeup every day.  I straightened my hair one day.  I flossed almost every day!  I worked out twice.  I took a nap yesterday afternoon.

To make things easier on myself:
I packed my lunch the night before for the whole week.  I picked out my outfits the night before for most of the week.  I asked Andrew to help me out by buying soy milk for my coffee when I ran out.

To make things easier on both of us:
I loaded/unloaded the dishwasher a few times, though Andrew definitely did it more than I did.  I took down the Christmas decorations inside the house and put them into their containers for Andrew to store in the garage.

This week:
I'd like to keep packing my lunch, planning my outfits, flossing, and doing my makeup every day.  I know I'll be going to the gym twice, but I'd like to make it at least one other time.  I'd like to help out around the house more so that things feel cleaner and calmer.  And I'd like to scrapbook our Christmas pictures and cards and continue working on my craft room.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More heartbreak

Today was the first day we had students at school again.  We had two teacher work days to prepare, but I realized that I wasn't totally prepared.  Remember when I posted about the student who was having the week from hell earlier?  His father died over our winter break.  We have another student whose father died over winter break as well.  These kids are some of the sweetest kids I know and it just breaks my heart.  I know how hard it was for Andrew to lose a parent when he was in college.  I can't imagine how hard that would be in high school.  I didn't even know what to say to them when I saw them today.  I debated whether to say something to them about it or to not say something to them and let them simply pretend like it didn't happen for a few hours, though I know that there's no way to pretend about that...

Prayers for them both would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuna noodle casserole

I admit it.  Tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite things to eat.  There's something about it that just seems comforting to me.  Maybe it's because my mom used to make it on nights when she wasn't going to be home for dinner because she knew that we loved it and she absolutely hated it!  Maybe it's because it's so easy to make.  Just some noodles, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of tuna, and of course some peas (because they are the perfect finishing touch) and voila!  You have dinner!

Admit it.  It looks good to you right?

Monday, January 3, 2011

How I Met Your Mother

I know that I'm REALLY late to this party but I started watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother and I love it.  It gets funnier the more you watch it.

It actually reminds me a lot of Coupling (the British version), which is a great show too.  It's not quite as funny, but definitely something I'll be watching a lot more of.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I wore my red shoes in honor of the ruby slippers.
(I know.  I'm a dork...)
Last night, Andrew and I went to see Wicked!  We had tickets to go see it a few weeks ago, but we both ended up with the flu so we didn't get to go.  Andrew surprised me on Christmas morning with tickets to see it on January 1st, the last night it was in town.  We made a night of it by going out to dinner first.  It's always fun to get dressed up and go out with my husband, but I'd been anticipating this so long that it made it even better.

The show was amazing!  It was so much better than I expected it to be.  I've been listening to the soundtrack for years, but I knew that I didn't know the entire plot.  But there were at least three plot twists that I didn't see coming at all.

The acting and singing was every bit as good as the soundtrack and the sets and costumes were unbelievable.  We weren't allowed to take pictures in the show, but I wanted to share some pictures from around the web.
This was the set before the curtain was even raised.  The dragon was amazing.
It moved and breathed smoke out of its mouth.  Image from here.
Glinda (or Galinda depending on what part of the show it is)
came floated down in her bubble and sparkly dress.  Image from here.
Elphaba (aka the wicked witch of the West) is quite different
from Glinda because she wears black for the entire show and,
of course, she's green too!  Image from here.

They're enemies at the beginning of the show.
Image from here.

But friends by the end.
Image from here.
If you get the chance to go see it, you definitely should!  I absolutely LOVED it!

This is awesome

Picture taken from Things Organized Neatly

January goals

  • Work out more than I don't work out during January  
  • Take a multivitamin daily
  • Drink water
Relationship with God
  • Go to church and Sunday school
  • Read God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours by Max Lucado
Relationship with Andrew
  • Finish reading Let's Get Real: Bringing Authenticity and Wholeness to Your Marriage by Dale Forehand and Jena Forehand
  • Go to at least one restaurant participating in Devour Downtown
  • See Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (opens January 20th)
  • Complete 30 days of the Declutter Calendar (I've already done 16 so that shouldn't be too hard!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting the new year off with a bang...


Andrew and I were on our way over to my parent's house to spend the night with them, my sister, and her fiance.  We had Schmoo with us so that he could play with the other dogs while we hung out.  About two miles away from their house, the back left tire started sounding strange.  I thought, well we're almost there.  We can just keep driving on it until we get there and then figure out what's going on.  But we didn't manage to make it that far.

We went through the last light before my parent's house and then the whole car started shaking so I put on my hazards and pulled to the side of the road.  We had a nice couple pull up beside us to make sure that we had a phone to call for help.  We called my parent's and told them that we needed Justin, my sister's fiance who's really good with cars, to come help us.  After that, we had a fire truck pull up behind us and one of the firemen got out and asked us what was going on.  I told him that we had blown out our tire and that we had help on the way.  He said that he would have a police car come pull up behind us while we were dealing with the tire and then he started directing traffic.

In about two minutes, Justin and his brother, Kyle, came to help us.  Andrew took Schmoo and walked him to my parent's house, which we could see from where we were, to get him out of the way, while I watched Justin and Kyle put on the spare tire.

As I told my parents when I got the car to their house, when I do anything, I do it well.  I think the pictures make that obvious.
The nail and screw that we found in the tire when we took it off probably had something to do with it!

At least I know that 2011 can only get better from here!