Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days

I am thankful...

1 ...for technology that shortens the distance between family and friends in places far from here.

2 ...for water.

3 ...for my oldest son who posted how much he loves his mom on his Facebook page for all of his teenaged friends to see.

4 ...for my dad. He always makes me laugh.

5 ...for my mom. Happy birthday.

6 ...for the ability to go to the grocery store and buy groceries while so many people are struggling with putting food on their tables. It's easy to take this for granted.

7 ...for books. Even the boring ones.

8 ...for humor. It's always good to laugh.

9 ...for quiet.

10 ...for conversation.

11 ...for service. I am honored to know many service men and women, past and present, who put service to our country above all else. Also, my friends who stand with their military husbands, wives, brothers, and sister with dignity and grace. Your commitment and sacrifice requires gratitude far greater than I can express.

12 ...for my in-laws. Seriously, the stories my friends tell are unbelievable. I love our drama-free family!

13 ...for slow-paced weekends.

14 ...for the great manners the kids are really great at using.

15 ...for my younger sister. You are remarkable in all ways. I am glad you're my sister. Happy birthday to you!

16 ...for Modern Family. "I sleep clown." Enough said.

17 ...for fun with good friends. Breaking Dawn I opening night showing!

18 ...for sleep. I am so, so sleepy today.

19 ...for Excedrin.

20 ...for my life's partner.

21 ...for good health.

22 ..for our kitties.

23 ...for my youngest daughter because she makes us laugh. All of the time.

24 ...that my older sister was able to come home for Thanksgiving.

25 ...for my youngest son and that he marches to his own beat.

26 ...for my oldest daughter. She's always so full of light.

27 ...for my brother.

28 ...for new career paths. I guess since I filled out all of the paperwork today, I can say I am now a youth worker at a local pediatric psychiatric hospital.

29 ...for music.

30 ...that I have so much to be thankful for I could easily fill 365 days. I have been blessed in so many ways and am grateful for each day I get to spend surrounded by the people I love doing the things I love.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Troubled -- Suzanne Leavitt

TroubledTroubled by Suzanne Leavitt

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book had many problems that made it difficult to read. First, there were many technical issues with the writing. This book was filled with random use of italics of words, phrases and sentences. Even a just a few letters of words were italicized. The author used quotation marks for thoughts which is really, really uncommon in modern writing and this was made even more troubling as the author combined thoughts with dialogue so it was difficult to follow what was spoken and what was thought.

The characters were flat and came across as pathetic while almost the entire story was constructed through dialogue making for some strange and unrealistic exchanges. The writing itself was elementary and forced. Almost no attention was paid to detail or setting and the author relied too heavily on the dialogue to note changes in setting. The overall story was predictable and anticlimactic because it became such a cliche.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Why I'm a V-Day Cynic.

Okay, to be fair. I don't exactly believe what that sign says...although my thoughts don't stray too far.

I get the desire for people to want to celebrate Valentine's Day with those they love. It's sweet to send flowers or exchange meaningful gifts and if you love to celebrate this date on the calendar then more power to you.

My dislike of this day is not so much the sentiment because anytime couples or families or friends want to show one another how much they care it can't be a bad thing.
My problem with today is the expectation it seems to place on couples and the problems it creates for couples when those expectations are not met. Year after year I talk to friends who are hurt because their loved one didn't do what they thought they should: didn't call, didn't buy the perfect thing, forgot to pick up a greeting card or didn't send flowers. Then suddenly it becomes a measure of a relationship when a relationship is so much more than one day. "He must not love me as much as I thought he did if he didn't even pick out a card today of all days!" It seems off balance to put so much into one day.
Valentine's Day in our house is kind of an afterthought. We are aware of the day but it is expectation free. We understand the need to share our feelings with each other but without the pressure of gifts or cards. We joke, laugh and share daily. We don't place commercial expectations on one another, they aren't necessary.

Today we did what we do every day. We cooked dinner together. We talked about our day. We shared margaritas.

I am not trying to bag on those that love February 14th. It's just not our thing.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

I found this protein smoothie recipe in Tony Gonzalez's book The All-Pro Diet. That entire book is great but I particularly love the smoothie and protein shake recipes he included. This one is awesome...

Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

1 cup 1% milk (or plain hemp, almond, or rice milk)
1 frozen banana, slightly thawed
1 scoop protein powder

Blend in a blender. Drink immediately.


Songs for the Missing -- Steward O'Nan

Songs for the MissingSongs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed this story--though given the subject "enjoy" doesn't quite seem to be the right word. The author's writing style is a little difficult to follow at times. Specifically, in some places it was tough figuring out who was the focus of that sentence or paragraph. One thing done really well is the great amount of description in this novel. O'Nan also created fully developed characters that you wanted to get to know. One last note: The Killers are from Las Vegas. I appreciate when an author does his or her homework on pop culture references. This story would have benefitted from some fact-checking.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

White Bean Mash

White bean mash shown served with pan-seared sirloin medallions and sauteed spinach.

Cannellini, navy and great northern all work but our favorite is cannellini.

Serves 6

2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ medium-sized onion, finely chopped
½ C vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper


In a small skillet, saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, heat rinsed and drained beans into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Add cooked onions, garlic, stock and juice from half of the lemon. Bring to a simmer then mash, off heat, with a submersion blender, standing blender or hand masher until desired consistency. Return to medium-low heat for a couple more minutes then salt and pepper to taste.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Room -- Emma Donoghue

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could not put Room down. The characters were well-rounded, particularly Jack. He was such a vibrant character and, after getting used to his voice, it was fun to experience the story through his eyes. There were a few things I did not care for in the story, but to avoid spoilers, I will keep those to myself. I enjoyed the story overall and found it difficult to put the book down.

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