Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March's Reading List

Again, another month with only 5 titles read (and a couple of them aren't quite finished yet). I think my problem is having far too many books on the go at any one time. Of course, my other problem is too much tv. My 'to read' list is growing ridiculously faster than I can keep up. Oh well... I keep telling myself that there will come a day when I won't work in a bookstore, and I will be thankful to have a library full of unread titles in my house.

Three Willows - Ann Brashares (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • In keeping with my recent trend of reading teen titles, this book is a great new offering from the author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It's the first in a new series, about a new sisterhood. Three girls, who were friends in elementary school but have gone their separate ways, face the summer before the start of their freshman year. Each has challenges to overcome... the divorce of parents, boy issues, mom's drinking, an adventure in the mountains that goes seriously wrong, and an eating disorder... just to name a few. It was well written, and it's interesting how Brashares tackles the theme of friendship from a different perspective than the original Sisterhood. Oh, and some of the original sisters make an appearance.
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (6 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • Ok... really... what do you expect me to say? A classic fantasy tale that speaks to me in a different way each time I read it. This time I seemed to be more focussed on Gandalf (the grey wizard) than the Bilbo or his dwarf companions. I love how he always seeks to come across as gruff and short-tempered, but his soft heart wins out. His affection for all of the travellers is apparent in all his actions, including when he takes his leave. And the journey... every good fantasy... every good story for that matter... needs a journey, and Bilbo's journey to find the treasure under the mountain is among the best ever written.
Inkheart - Cornielia Funke (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • I'm not quite finished this one yet. It's my 'break' book at work so I'm only reading it a bit at a time, but I'm about three quarters of the way through it, and enjoying it. I will say that I think she could have been editted a bit better (some lengthy boring bits) and the translation is clunky in places (originally written in German). Beyond those two issues tho, it is a great story and I particularly love all the quotes from children's stories at the beginning of each chapter. And I will admit that I have in the past wished that I could read some of my storybook characters into life, but I have been re-thinking that after reading Mo and Meggie's adventures. I have purchased books two and three already... but I'm going to take a break before I read them.
Mutiny On the Bounty - John Boyne (3.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • This is the other book that I'm not quite finished. Written by the author of "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", it is a different look at the story of Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian than I have encountered before. Told from the perspective of a 14 year old cabin boy, who escaped incarceration for being a pick-pocket by committing to serve on the Bounty, the story is an intriguing account of life at sea and the state of mind of the captain and crew. Initially I thought that this book might be a good addition to a list for teen boys (as there really is so little fiction written for them) but after getting about two thirds of the way through, I can adamantly admit that it is for an adult audience only. It's been a bit of a slow go getting through it, but I think I'm just getting to the climax of the story.
It Sucked And Then I Cried - Heather Armstrong (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • I came across this one quite by accident. The subtitle is what intrigued me ('How I Had A Baby, A Breakdown, and A Much Needed Margarita') and I read it in just a couple days. It's the story of Heather Armstrong, apparently a famous blogger (never heard of her until I picked up her book), the story of her walk through ttc, birth, post-partum depression, checking herself into a mental hospital and eventually reclaiming her mental equilibrium and her life. As hilarious as it is heart-breaking, her story is one I think all women can relate to at some level (whether you are a mother or not). The desire to be a good wife, the heart to be a mom, the indiginities of the medical world, the hope that you aren't screwing things up too badly. There were times when I was laughing so hard that I was shaking the bed and woke my beloved out of a dead sleep. Her descriptions of the hunger experienced while breastfeeding were incredibly funny.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, almost three months after what should have been Olivia's first photo-shoot, when we began the month of hell, I finally have a start date for testing.

"April 8th... 12:45pm... diagnostic imaging... show up 15 minutes early... "

So as eager as I am for testing to be underway, I'm nervous. And I'm looking for input. Can I work after the HSG? I'm scheduled for an 8 hour closing shift... is it doable? Or am I being naive?


And in a purely ironic twist of fate (not that I believe in fate)... I just got a phone call from Welcome Wagon, inviting me to their quarterly baby shower. It's this Friday. Gah!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Night

How are you tonight, humble readers?

I'm feeling much better today. Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts! I really don't know what to make of that stupid cold. It never did amount to much of anything... just enough to make me miserable for a few hours a day. We'll see if it comes back tomorrow.

For those of you who care about the weather on the flatland, let me tell you... it's just gone plain ol' crazy! Earlier today it was abso-smurfly gorgeous! Well above 0 (that would be in Celsius for my friends south of the border), things were melting like mad, giant puddles forming everywhere... Now, outside my window it's snowing like mad! And it's not normal flatland snow... it's like the snow I remember from Seattle. Giant wet sloppy flakes. There's already about 3cm on my balcony. Winter is never ever going to end!

Tonight, my beloved and I went out for a not-so-romantic dinner (A&W in the car, sitting in the parking lot of the movie theater) and a movie. We went and saw 'Duplicity'. It was a really good spy vs. spy movie. I loved the fight scene at the very beginning... so awesome! I won't ruin it for you... but it does get 4.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes way up! The only thing that wasn't so fun tonight was getting back into an onion-ring-smelling car after the movie.

A few of you have asked for the recipes from the dinners I mentioned earlier this week. I will post them on the weekend. They are both so simple that I'm embarassed by it... ;)

I went through with it today, and called my OB's office. AF is due tomorrow (temps dropped like a stone this morning as I knew they would), and yes I fibbed. Of course, as it would happen, I was only able to fib to the answering service, and as of 5pm today I had never heard back... Divine retribution? Entirely possible. Hopefully, I will get a call from them bright and early on Monday.

One final thing tonight... for any of you out there who pray... one of my staff is having a rough go. 'Little K' is only 17, and recently she found a lump in her breast. I know that it's unlikely that it will be anything serious, but she's really upset about it (as I know I would be too). The doctors removed the lump earlier this week and are doing some testing, but the poor kid is pretty freaked out. Without going into a ton of details, she has very little support at home and has had to face this pretty much on her own. This girl needs some peace and comfort in her life.

Thanks so much for reading... :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Good evening humble readers!

Not to much happening today, except that I was almost late for work because I was wide awake at 5am, then dozed off on the couch and didn't wake up until 6:20 (I had to be at work at 7). Thank heaven we live close to the store.

The cold that has been trying to break through the last couple of weeks appears to be winning. I have a touch of a fever and a sore throat. I hope that it just gets itself over with soon! I'm tired of waking up with sinus headaches.

I think an early evening and some tea are in order.


Tonight's dinner was: Three Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Chicken & Pesto Sauce. Yummy and easy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hobbit-ish Potpurri

Greetings Humble Readers! Today's post is just a collection of little bits of things that have been rattling around in my brain and dying to get out on 'paper' as it were.


Thank you so much to all the ICLWers who have been reading and commenting. I have been loving reading all your blogs and getting to know you a bit better. And comments really are the new hug! (I'm on the road to being an Iron Commenter this month... I'm currently in the 80's on Mel's list)


Last night's dinner turned out great, but I have changes to make before I post the recipe. I will say tho, the Ta.ste of H.ome Chicken Recipe magazine is amazing! I have chicken recipes to try for months!


As much as I'm enjoying having a cycle where I know that there is no possibility of a BFP at the end of it, I am still having a few weird phantom symptoms. With both Emily and Olivia, I developed a case of hives during the tww. For the last three days, I have been itchy beyond belief and I KNOW ITS ALL IN MY HEAD and it's pissing me off! I'm also getting a bit anxious as AF gets closer. She's due to appear on Saturday or Sunday, and I'm pondering calling my OB's office on Friday and fibbing a bit to attempt to avoid what happened this past cycle (aka getting screwed out of my HSG). Opinions?


On the menu tonight: Southwest Cheddar Burgers, Sauted Mushrooms & Onions, and Creamy Cucumber Salad.


Last but not least... oddities from the world of retail... This past Sunday was the day for me to find really weird stuff lying around my store. Normally we will find the collection of Sta.rbucks coffee cups, magazine subscription cards, baby bottles, cell phones and sunglasses left amongst the stacks of books. This Sunday I found (in reverse order... because I still can't believe it) a dryer sheet (which obviously fell out of someone's pantleg, a balled up soaking wet sock (it's owner was a 10 year old boy who had left a trail of his boots and socks by our fireplace), and... wait for it... it's that disturbing...

a pair of little girls underwear! Soiled pink panties! On the floor in the middle of our kid's department. I'm still shaking my head about it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Today is my day off and I have done next to nothing. And I have loved every moment of it! The snow seems to be melting, albeit slowly. I have enjoyed some of my favorite shows on TLC, read a portion of a great book (watch for my review of it at the end of the month), and napped.

As I was wallowing in laziness, I started thinking about all the things that I enjoy but always feel just a tad guilty about. This is just a sampling of the list:
  • New Ki.ds on the Blo.ck
  • playing Mahjongg on the computer for hours (while listening to NKOTB)
  • chili dogs
  • trashy romance novels
  • staying in my pj's all day
  • letting my beloved do the laundry and the dishes
  • Mario and Luigi
  • Star.gate SG1
  • any tv show that has to do with babies
  • bbq chicken wings from Piz.za Hu.t
  • daydreaming about our trip to NYC
I will regret being this lazy tomorrow, when I decide to be a grown up and clean my house. But for today I will just enjoy it.

Oh, and I'm planning on trying a new recipe for dinner tonight. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Hobbit Vs. The World - Volume 1

I have decided to start a new little feature here in my corner of the blogosphere, 'The Hobbit Vs. The World'. This will be a place for me to get out my crankies about the things that get under my skin, from the ridiculous to the sublime. As usual, it's your choice to read... and comment as the case may be. These are just thoughts of little consequence...

The Hobbit Vs. Old Man Winter

I'm sure if you've read any of my posts over the last few weeks, you will have recognized a trend.

I can't stand winter! I want it to be spring!

When I was a wee little hobbit, knee-high to a cricket, I loved winter. I loved the snow, I loved toboggining, mittens, seeing your breath when you walked outside, and frost on the windows. I would watch anxiously for the first snowfall, and would jump around like an idiot when I would wake to a few centimeters of the white stuff on the lawn. I would dawdle all the way to school and home, throwing snowballs and sliding on the ice. I was notorious for wearing out the knees on my snow-pants because I loved to run and slide down the ice on my knees.

When I got a little older, I still loved the snow. I didn't understand when my mom would gripe about the winter. How could you not love watching the big white flakes falling on the mountains?

But somewhere between my late teen years and my early twenties, something changed. Maybe I became more klutzy. Maybe it's because I became 'too cool' to wear winter boots. Maybe I just got tired of landing on my backside in the snow. Whatever it was, my relationship with snow and ice changed. It became my enemy.

To say that I am accident prone is an understatement. If someone is going to get hurt doing the most mundane task, it's going to be me. Heck, I almost gave myself a concussion a few weeks ago doing laundry (but that's a tale for another time). And as the world's biggest klutz, I see every snowfall as another opportunity for Old Man Winter to cause me bodily injury.

Over the years I have aquired a collection of tensor bandages , ripped trouser knees, and ice packs to rival any midget hockey team.
My tendancy towards winter injury is legend at my workplace. Last year was no exception. Twice in the early part of winter I wiped out on my way to work. Once, I actually made it to work, only to wipe out on the tile inside the entrance due to my wet shoes.

The final insult combined with injury happened last year in April. This region of the flatland is notorious for freak snowstorms in the spring and fall, and last year our final snowfall didn't come until the last week of April, after the trees had finally started to bud. We got a ridiculous amount of wet, sloppy snow, and it took a few days before it warmed up again enough to melt the white poop away.

The day after the snowfall, on my walk to work, I encountered a section of unshovelled sidewalk, where the slush and snow had frozen into a trecherous mess. Knowing my ankles, I wouldn't make it ten feet before a sprain would ensue. So I made a choice. A dumb choice... but I will admit that it seemed reasonable at the time.

I looked at the street to my left. The cars had packed down the snow. There were no frightening lumps of ice to navigate. I stepped off the curb, intending to avoid certain bodily harm, only to feel my heel hit a exceptionally slick patch of ice.

I can see it in my mind's eye. I'm sure if anyone was watching, they got a good chuckle out of it. A plus-sized hobbit, bundled up to the eyes, going ass over tea kettle, purse flying in one direction, mp3 player in the other.

The only thing to differentiate this particular fall from the thousands previous was the way I landed. Normally, I would land on a knee or twist an ankle. But not this time. This time I landed square on my pride. Yep, the old derriere. More specifically, my tailbone. I was so stunned by the pain that I wasn't even able to catch myself before my head hit the ice.

I think I laid there for a good two or three minutes before attempting the oh-so-gracefull job of getting myself up, collecting my things, assessing the damage and getting back on my way to work, all without landing on my ass again. I was only a block or so from work, so I hobbled the rest of the way, and that is the end of my sad tale.


I had cracked my tailbone. It took a month before I could sit like a normal hobbit (or human) and even now it gives me uncomfortable twinges. Especially when it gets really cold. How ironic.

So, today when I heard the weather advisory for a winter storm warning, predicting 10-20 centimeters of new snow, I said a few words that should never be heard from a hobbit. I have, miraculously, made it through this winter without hurting myself. No falls, no spills, no twisted ankles. But with every snowflake that comes, I know that the odds are just getting higher and higher against me. *sigh*

As of 11:00 tonight, the storm hasn't arrived. I'm hoping we've missed it. But in case you don't hear from me tomorrow, look for me in traction.

Update - When I woke up this morning, I found the snow had arrived. About 10cm. *shudder*

ICLW - March

Welcome ICLWers!

It's hard to believe it's already been a month, but here we are. Some things have changed... others remain the same.

Things that are the same:
  • My beloved... my calm anchor in the midst of this chaotic world. Seriously, nothing rattles this guy. And that's just one of the many things I love about him.
  • My home... as always, in a bit of disarray, but comfy.
  • My work... retail booksales. Even with the economic situation our world is in, it doesn't appear that anyone has given up reading... thank heaven!
  • My ttc journey... still in a holding pattern. I wasn't able to get in for my HSG last month, much to my bigtime disappointment. I'm hoping that we will be back on track by early April.
  • The weather... Even though it's spring according to the calendar, winter is being stubborn. The last few days have been great with a ton of snow melting. But the 'white-poop' is forecasted to make yet another appearance tonight! Argh!
Things that have changed:
  • My weight... March has been a good month for me in the battle with my weight. The first number on the scale has changed and has stayed changed. I highly recommend the book "I Can Make You Thin" by Paul McKenna. I'm not into the hypnosis part, but he made a lot of valid points that helped me to take stock of how I view my body.
  • The magpies... Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike birds? Ok, not so much dislike. More like terrified out of my mind. Anyway, imagine my delight when the magpies moved back into the lilac bush outside our bedroom window. It's a sign of spring but...
  • My bank account... Petey the PT Cruiser needed some medical care, and so $900 later, he's back on the road.
  • My blog layout... I took on html code and won! Woo-hoo! Now, I just need to figure out how to change the font and I'm set.
Read, enjoy, laugh at me, whatever. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Layout...

Hi there Humble Readers!

I have been fiddling around with my layout, as you can see. For the most part I am really happy with it, especially considering I'm not the most techno-savvy person in the world. There are still a few things that I would like to tweak...

I would like to do something about the title & description. I think they just look so blah, and the off-center thing is driving me nuts.

I'd also like to change the font, but everything that I've attempted has been pretty lame.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I've reached the limit of my knowledge of web design.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Outside my Front Door

On Sunday, when my darling one and I were heading out for church, we came across this interesting sight outside our front door. Yes... those are icicles... poor cedar tree! Just another sign that winter isn't giving up its grip on us just yet...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kitchen Adventures

In the style of the Steadfast Warrior I am going to share some of my favorite recipes... No, there won't be any family secrets revealed (Auntie S's ribs will never be a feature, I swear. Nor will the perogy dough or almond roca.), but just some of my own creations that have turned out well.

To kick things off, I'm going to give a run down of last night's dinner. On the menu was pan-fried lemon pepper tilapia, tomato basil risotto, and no-so-greek salad. I'm happy to say that all of theses dishes turned out fabulously and have been added to the keep pile.

My one disclaimer... I don't measure much when I'm cooking. (Baking is another story) All amounts are approximate. Do what you feel is right.

Not - So - Greek Salad
This recipe is my version of a Greek salad, minus the things that my beloved and I dislike (neither of us are fans of olives, and I don't like raw onion). I have been experimenting with the dressing for a long time, but finally figured out what was missing.
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 - 1 cup crumbled feta
  • black pepper to taste
Dice the tomatoes. You can seed them if you want, but I like the seeds. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and chop into half-moons. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and feta in a medium bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and pepper in a separate dish and whisk until emulsified. Pour dressing over the veggies and feta, and stir gently. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings, unless I decide to eat the leftovers for breakfast like I did today. BTW, for a less tangy dressing, just cut back on the lemon juice a bit.

Tomato Basil Risotto
For a lot of years I didn't attempt risotto because I had always heard it was so finicky to make. I finally bit the bullet a few months ago, and have found that it's really not all that hard, just labour intensive... but sooooo worth it! The following recipe is based on a basic risotto recipe I found, with my own alterations.
  • one large can diced stewed tomatoes
  • chicken stock (enough to bring the tomatoes to 4 cups)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 cup arborio rice (make it a generous cup)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (fresh would be better if you can get it)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Feta cheese (depending on what you are serving it with)
In a small saucepan, combine the tomatoes, stock and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat olive oil and melt butter. Saute the onion for a minute or two, just until tender (not brown). Add rice to the pan, stirring to coat in the oil/butter. Cook rice, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes. Add tomato mixture to the rice one ladle-full at a time. Keep stirring while the liquid is absorbed into the rice. You may need to increase the temperature so that the liquid bubbles when added to the rice. When each ladle-full of tomato mix is absorbed, keep adding the liquid until it is all combined, stirring constantly. Once all liquid is absorbed, reduce to medium low heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring very often. When rice is al dente and creamy in texture, add basil and cheese. Stir to combine and serve immediately. Makes 3 very generous servings.

Lemon Pepper Pan-Fried Tilapia
This recipe is easy to make for 2 or for a crowd. Just increase the flour mix as needed. Tilapia cooks fast, so keep an eye on it.
  • one tilapia filet per person
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2-3 tsp lemon-pepper sodium free spice mix (like Mrs. Dash)
  • Olive oil
Combine flour and lemon-pepper on a plate. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Lightly dredge filets in flour and lemon-pepper. When olive oil is hot, add filets to the pan. Do not over crowd the pan, cook in batches if you need to. Allow tilapia to cook on one side for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Flip carefully. The second side will take only 2 minutes or so. Serve with lemon wedges to sprinkle.

Next time, I will remember to take some pics to spice things up. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009


Hello Humble Readers!

I'm so excited right now... I worked the early shift today (7am-3pm) and when I walked out of the store at the end of my shift I discovered something amazing.


Yes, there are still ginormous mountains of snow in parking lots, sidewalks are sloppy and slushy, and everything looks dirty and nasty, but it's melting! I know that we won't see green grass or leaves for at least another month, but it's beginning! Right now on the street outside our home I can hear cars splashing through the puddles and it sounds like music to my ears.

And even better news, the forecast doesn't call for any more snow! I know that this is Alberta, and it is entirely likely that we will get a freak snowfall in April or May (or both), but it seems that winter may finally be over!

Not a moment too soon in my book!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beware Big Apple

Autumn leaves in Central Park... Seeing "Wicked" on Broadway... Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island...

These are just a few things on our list of to do's for our trip to New York City this fall. There are other things we want to do while we're there... so many in fact that we are now starting a list. We may have to prioritize, but some things are non-negotiable... like lunch from a hot dog vendor, and finding the perfect bagel with lox.

So here is my question... if you were going to New York in September, what would be tops on your list? Is there something or someplace that we really have to experience? Let me know!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Posting for the sake of posting...

Hello humble readers...

I'm just posting this because I feel mildly guilty for not having posted in almost a week. I've been grouchy and every post I've started has sounded whiny and petulant. My life is good, I'm just in a bad mood and lots of little things are pissing me off. If I didn't know better, I'd swear I was pms-ing.

I'm here.

I'm just in hiding.

I really need a good laugh. There's your challenge... make me laugh! PLEASE!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


At work today, I was filling out one of our numerous forms (everything in triplicate!) and when I wrote the date I felt like a ton of bricks hit me.

If my first miscarriage hadn't happened, I would be on mat leave now. I had planned to only work until the end of February, leaving the month of March to prepare for my April 1st due date. Talk about a kick in the gut. I just had to sit there for a few minutes, and pray that none of my staff walked into the office as I tried to power-blink the tears away.

It really is incredible how grief can sneak up on you. Here I thought I was doing ok...

Then, after lunch today, the staff member who recently announced her pregnancy just mentioned that while she's not entirely sure when she's due, she is pretty confident that it will be mid-August. After a mental 'huh...' I was able to make the appropriate comments about how hot she's going to be, etc. All the things that I had mentioned to my beloved when we first discovered that our second pregnancy was due on August 18th.

When I woke up this morning I wasn't feeling especially sad. I'm not even really all that sad right now. Maybe I can chalk it up to hormones and blame it on AF...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Very Annoyed

Ok... before I begin I will offer a disclaimer. For any of my readers who have a low tolerance for TMI or just really doesn't want to know the ins and outs of my 'plumbing', please feel free to skip this post. It's ok, I won't be hurt.

Soooo, I've been looking forward to the beginning of this cycle for more than a month now. Even before the miscarraige had officially happened, when I knew that the pregnancy wasn't viable, I was looking forward to this cycle because it meant that we would be moving toward starting to ttc again. I was looking forward to some answers.

When AF showed up this morning I was really happy. I was able to call my OB's office at 9am and tell them that I was ready to be booked for an HSG. The receptionist was really happy for me and said she'd get right on it. She'd call me back later in the day with the info and the appointment.

Two o'clock rolled around and I had to leave for work without having heard from her. I wasn't concerned because I knew that my work number was on file. The afternoon ticked by, and I was jumping with every ring of the phone. Finally at 4:55 I got the call.

(Cue dark depressing music)

They can't get me in this month. The receptionist was very apologetic. Because today is Monday, that means AF won't be gone until Friday afternoon-ish. Of course, I can't get in on the weekend. That leaves next Monday and Tuesday (HSG has to be done before CD 10). Of course, they only do two of these tests a day. Of course, they are booked up. Of course, I can wait another month. *sigh*

It shouldn't be such a big deal. What's a month, right? Not even a month... 27 days. In the mean time, I'm getting that much closer to my 35th birthday. The ticking of my biological clock is becoming like chinese water torture.

Maybe tomorrow I will be ok with this. Tonight I'm pissed!

Oh yeah... and did I mention that today I found out one of my staff is expecting? *sigh*