Saturday, February 27, 2010


Rules: YOU! Yes, you, reading this. You're tagged. Now that you know more about me than you ever wanted to know, play the game, it's fun! Let others know a little more about yourself, repost this as your name followedy by "ology."

What is your salad dressing of choice? Sun-dried tomato and oregano

What is your favorite sit-down restuarant? Olympia Greek Taverna (in my home town)

What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Wrap Zone

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Beef Dip Sandwiches

What are your pizza toppings of choice? chicken and feta cheese

How many televisions are in your house? two (which is one too many)

What color cell phone do you have? red


Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right.

Have you ever had anything removed from your body? Some moles (blech!)

What is the last heavy item you lifted? the components of a calendar rack at work

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? Never.

Have you ever fainted? Yes


If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No way.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? I actually did... or rather I changed the spelling of my name... to a more feminine version.

How many pairs of flip flops do you own? Two

Last person you talked to? My Beloved


Season? Autumn

Holiday? Christmas.

Day of the week? Whatever day my second day off in a week is (the first day is always a recovery day, second day I get stuff done)

Month? October

Color? Red

Drink? Green tea lemonade

Alcoholic? Siegerebe (the best white wine I have ever tasted!  Only one winery in BC makes it, and when I go home in May I'm stocking up!!!)


Missing someone? No.

What are you listening to? The TV ... CSI New York

What are you watching? TV and my computer screen.

Worrying about? taxes

What's the last movie you saw? Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief

Do you smile often? I try to.

If you could change your eye color what would it be? Green

What's on your wish list for your birthday? A new watch

Can you do a chin-up? What?!?! Are you on crack?!  Hell no!

Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Both.

Have you been in a car wreck? Yes.

Have you caused a car wreck? Yes, I ran into a mountain.

Do you have an accent? No, but I can fake a few really well.

Last time you cried? Last night

Plans tonight? Vegging out!

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Yes.

Name three things you bought yesterday? A sub, an iced decaf raspberry mocha, and... and... I think that's it.

Have you met someone who changed your life? Yes, my Beloved.

For the better or worse? Beyond better.

How did you bring in the New Year? Quietly, just us, at home.

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? I would, if only to figure out a way to meet my Beloved sooner.

What songs do you sing in the shower? Broadway showtunes

Have you held hands with someone today? Absosmurfly!

Who was the last person you took a picture of? Person... I don't know... I took a lot of pictures of Sunny-boy though (the dog)
Are most of the friends in your life new or old? Both.

Do you like pulpy orange juice? Yup!  But it has to be really cold.

Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly? Together? eons ago.  I don't like jelly.  Prefer jam

What were you doing at 12 a.m. last night? Reading

What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Damn this ovwatch... (was digging into my arm)

This lovely little meme brought to you via Rain & lowfatlady!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Riding The Bench (Blame It On the Olympics)

Good Morning Humble Readers...

As the ol' witch (that would be AF) is packing her bags, and I'm still buzzing from the Canadian women's hockey team's gold medal win last night, I can say that the dark cloud that decended almost two weeks ago is starting to break up and the sun in shining through again. 

Literally, and figuratively.

And it's so much easier to be a happy hobbit when the sun is shining. 

So, this morning when I read Minta's post about feeling guilty about celebrating her pregnancy (and about bemoaning the physically difficult and painful aspects of it), I couldn't help but have a bit of a grin on my face. 

Before I continue, I should reiterate that this hobbit hasn't ever really been one for team sports, and I certainly could live the rest of my life and never watch another NHL, CFL, or NBA game on tv ever again.  I love the olympics, but once every four years is plenty for me. 

All that said, I couldn't help it when a very bad sports metaphor came to mind as I read Minta's post. 

We're a team.  All of us IFers, and our irl support networks.  We work together, sharing information and support, caring for each other when we fall, and striving towards our shared prize, building our families. 

We all want that chance to play in the big game, to have our time on the field/ice, to have a chance to score that big goal... of bringing a baby into our lives.

But we all don't get to play at the same time. 

Some of us are stuck riding the bench for longer than others.  Yes, we can get frustrated when we feel we've been waiting for our turn for a long time, BUT that doesn't change the fact that we are still cheering on those who are getting to play.

The only thing that makes riding this bench bearable is seeing fellow IFers playing their hearts out and succeeding... getting that prize.  The prize that I know they long for just as much as me. 

So, to my teammates, my fellow journey-ers on this ever lengthening road, please, when you get the chance to play... PLAY!  Enjoy yourselves!  And if you twist an ankle or get checked into the boards (lame metaphors, sorry), it's okay to moan, it's okay to take some time to nurse your wounds.  I'll even offer you a virtual ice pack, and help you back to your feet.

And listen for the sounds of us, still on the bench, cheering you on!  When you score that goal, we'll all come running, clearing the bench to hoist you on our shoulders, celebrating your victory. 

(told you it was a terrible metaphor)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Show & Tell: Two Weeks Late

Good Evening Humble Readers!

First off, thank you so much for all your support.  I'm feeling a bit more normal today.  Your kind words mean so much!

Now, it's time for Show & Tell.  I had originally planned to share these pictures just after Valentine's day, but life kind of happened, and well, here we are.

For those who don't know, Show & Tell is wasted on elementary schoolers!  We all have so many things we can and should share!  If you want to join the others standing at the front of the class, stop by Mel's and find out how you can participate.  ALL ARE WELCOME!

So, Valentine's day... an important day for us because it is the anniversary of when we were matched on eH.armony.  My Beloved was in my first set of matches, but due to a comedy of errors, we weren't actually able to communicate with each other for almost two weeks.  He had actually closed our match (and did so again a couple of weeks later) but he realized the error of his ways... and here we are four years later!

He brought me some beautiful red tulips (my absolute favourite... what I carried at our wedding) to work the night before V-Day.  He also got me a chick flick on dvd (Jane Austen Book Club).

My gift to him was an official Canadian hockey team jersey and I cooked a fancy dinner (which we ate on tv trays while we watched the Olympics)

Our dinner was this recipe (I so wish I could claim it as my own!) from one of my favourite recipe websites.  When I first read the recipe, I thought it was way to involved for me.  But I did some thinking and some planning and it turned out beautifully.

I altered it a little bit, using strip steaks instead of filet mignon and omitted the bacon. Here are the steaks, already stuffed full of crab, breadcrumbs, shallots, celery, etc.

I found a bag of small tri-coloured baby potatoes (gold, red, and purple) and I roasted those in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

I also served some steamed asparagus.

The sauce is totally what made this meal spectacular, and I'm not kidding it is soooooo worth it!  It took about a half hour to make, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.  And here's the secret ingredient....

That's right... whiskey!  I honestly had never bought whiskey before and felt like I was 17 again sneaking into the liquor store.  It probably wasn't the best whiskey, but I was so flustered, I just grabbed one I recognized.  (I now have a half the bottle left... it was a little tiny bottle... and I don't know what to do with it)  I also bought some wine... a nice inexpensive merlot.

And this is the finished product. 

My Beloved was actually a tad on the stunned side when he took his first bite.  I will accept that I'm a pretty good cook, but this made me feel spectacular!

Now, don't forget to swing by Mel's place and check out what everyoe else is showing this week!

BTW... I'm totally digging the updates Blo.gger has made.  I don't know when it happened, but I can now do strikethrough text and upload more than five pictures.  Very nice!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Episode In Which the Hobbit Has A Meltdown

Oh Humble Readers... what an agonizing couple of days it has been.

In order to tell the story properly, I have to back up to the end of my last cycle. I made the decision that I was going to take a break from my b vitamins. I had what I thought were good reasons for doing this. I had been doing some reading that indicated that there can be too much of a good thing with b vitamins and that headaches and even potential nerve damage are possible side effects. I thought I would try a cycle without my neon-pee-inducing B100s and see what happens.

Well, humble readers, all hell broke loose.

It started with just feeling sluggish. Ok, I have been downright exhausted. I tried to write it off as late winter blahs.

Then I started getting cranky.

Really cranky.

Head spinning, eyes going red, psycho-bitch from hell cranky.

It felt like my worst ever PMS (and it used to get REALLY bad), but it couldn't be PMS. I was only 4 dpo. In the past few years, my PMS symptoms have lessened and lessened to usually only the last day or so before AF shows up. This cycle my long suffering Beloved has had to put up with the demon-hobbit for almost a full week.

Then yesterday I completely lost it. It started with a seriously sinking temp that told me I wasn't pregnant yet again. And then... well, the reason why doesn't matter, but I was a screaming, crying, swearing wraith-like harpy. I was a complete mess. And I had to go to work afterward.

Yes, I had just worked a 7 day stretch (which is incredibly challenging for someone who gets her batteries recharged by being alone or with one or two loved ones), but that's no excuse.

Today I had planned to do battle with the bad guys in Mario and Luigi's world, some blog surfing, and reading. Some alone time.

But I ended up with a visitor. A very unwelcome vistor. AF. And I'm only 11dpo. So that means that my luteal phase went back to 10-10.5 days (rather than my now normal 12.5-13 days). PROBLEM!

I'm cramping worse than I have in years, and I feel awful.

I'm feeling like a baby is never going to be a part of our lives. More than two years, two lost babies, and no real reason why. I'm feeling like the last two years have been wasted.

The rational side of me is saying, chill out... you have things you can do (start taking the b vitamins again, start using the ov watch, call Dr. U and see if he is willing to do some testing). But the rational side isn't winning just now.

I'm keeping my head above water today, but just barely. Damn hormones.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ICLW February - The ABCs of Me (again...)

Good Morning Humble Readers...

I hope you are all well. I have been a bad blogger of late, which I will blame on dog-sitting, the olympics, and attempting to avoid thinking about the tww I'm coming onto the tail end of. I will get back into things here soon, I promise.

For those of you stopping by from ICLW, WELCOME to my cyber-hobbit hole. Pull up a comfy chair, help yourself to anything in the fridge, and peruse the bookshelves.

A while ago, I did the abc's of me... but it's been six months or so I think, so I thought it would be good to do again, and let you in on some of the more random aspects of who I am.

A - Alberta... my current home. I can't say that I'm a fan of the winters here (they go on forever!) but it's home.

B - Books... A life long obsession. I learned to read when I was 4 and I haven't stopped. I have books in every room of the hobbit-hole. Living room, kitchen, spare room, bedroom, and yes, even the bathroom. Too many to number.

C - Cooking... another obsession. I love trying new foods and new recipes. I'm currently trying to master the art of fabulous fried chicken.

D - My Beloved... my wonderful, loving, patient, funny, smart, wonderful (did I mention that?) partner on this crazy road.

E - Emily Hope... our first angel baby. Her EDD was April 1st, 2009. We lost her at 11 weeks, blighted ovum.

F - Farenheit... what I track my bbt temps in (rather than celcius).

G - Games... the olympic variety. My current obsession and major distraction. Canada isn't doing as well as hoped, but it's not for lack of trying.

H - Homebody... that's what I am. I love being at home, with my Beloved, curled up on the couch.

I - Infertility... it sucks. 'Nuff said.

J - Jesus... my saviour.

K - Klutz... that's me. This time of year is the worst for me. If I am going to injure myself, it's going to be now, when it's icy, but it's melting too.

L - Lima beans... can't stand them! Urgh!

M - Moved... what I have done a lot in my life. 59 times to be precise. 3 countries, 3 provinces, 3 states.

N - Net... the internet. Where I met my Beloved, and many many wonderful friends.

O - Olivia Noelle... Our second angel baby. Her EDD was August 18th, 2009. We lost her at 8 weeks, blighted ovum.

P - Pugs... I love them!! I hope to soon have one as a part of our family. We were looking after a precocious little guy for the last couple of weeks and it has rekindled my need for a snuffling, snorting, fur baby. The breeder we have been in contact with currently has a few pups available, so in the coming weeks we may be expanding our family.

Q - Quest... I'm in search of a lot of things. The perfect recipe for fried chicken, the roots of my family, a baby of our own.

R - Retail... my work, my frustration, my joy. I love being a bookseller, and for the most part I totally love my customers. There are those days tho...

S - School supplies... I am addicted to school supplies. Pens, pencils, notebooks... they all

T - TWW... two week wait for the uninitiated. The time between ovulation and when AF shows up. The insane time when I analyze every twinge, every possible symptom of pregnancy in hopes that this might just be the month. (yeah, right)

U - Unusual... that would describe my family make up. At one point in my life I had 6 parents.

V - Vegetarian... something I could NEVER be. I am an omnivore, and proud of it.

W - Wii... I am a fan of those crazy guys, Mario and Luigi, and am completely stoked that I finally got my hands on Super Broth.ers for the Wii.

X - X-cited... (a bad one, I realize) What I'm feeling about the new Alice in Wonderland movie.

Y - Youth and Family Ministry... that's what my degree is in. And yet I sell books for living. Go figure.

Z - Zealand, New... (I know it's weak) I really want to go there some day.

Well... that's me. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Crawling out From Under A Rock

Good Afternoon Humble Readers...

So, you might be wondering where I've been the last week or so. Probably not, but just in case, I thought I'd tell you what I've been up to...

Work has been very draining lately. Not so much physically, but psychologically and emotionally. The morale in our store has been taking a beating over the last few weeks (the usual post Christmas irritations), and it's potentially going to be getting worse before it gets better due to some changes coming in the next few weeks. The changes won't mean anything to our customers (except for better service!) and I think it will be great when it all falls into place, but the transition for our staff will be challenging, I think. And of course, if it's challenging for them, it means it's challenging for us as a leadership team because we have to make it work and be positive about it.

The Olympics... I'm actually working on a full post about the first few days of Olympic competition. I'm not normally a televised sports fan... don't even get me started on how boring watching football or baseball is on a regular day. But the Olympics make me make me sports-crazy! I'm loving it! One thing I have discovered today... I have to limit how much of the alpine skiing and snowboarding I watch. I am very susceptible to motion sickness, and watching them fly down the slopes, on that track with the lines gives me a horrible headache and makes me feel ill.

Valentine's day was a nice quiet day for my Beloved and I. I made a spectacular dinner (it will be my show and tell this week). We went to church, went out for lunch, got groceries, and then came home and watched a whole lot of speed skating, figure skating, and men's moguls. My Beloved surprised me with some beautiful red tulips on Saturday night... he brought them to my work... he likes to show off a little sometimes. He also got me a dvd (Jane Austen Book Club). I got him one of the official Hockey Canada jerseys. He's pretty stoked about it.

You all have been very busy bloggers... I hadn't read any blogs since sometime Thursday, and when I opened my reader yesterday it had more than 50 posts... YIKES! I've read through most of them now, but I haven't done much commenting yet.

Cycle update... oy! Fertility Friend has been driving me up a wall! I know I have griped incessantly about how my O day has changed significantly in the last few months, but really, it is still stress-inducing. Then throw in a couple of wonky temps, and FF all of a sudden says I O'd on CD 13. I KNEW that wasn't the case and that it would change, but there's nothing like having crosshairs on your chart to make you wonder if you are imagining things. This morning FF changed my O day to when I thought it was, CD 16. But it's still only dotted lines.... grrrr. I'm 3dpo now. Oh, and I got my OV watch. If I don't get a bfp this cycle (and I don't think I will), then we will start using that at the end of this month.

Sunny-boy, aka 'the little poop' has had good days and bad days. He's definitely missing his owners. He's very well potty trained, and has only had one accident in the house, which was our fault because we slept in on Saturday morning. He really does have the personality of a cat... loving us one minute and the next totally ignoring us. He's also darn smart. He very quickly figured out how to open the garbage can in the kitchen. He has a decided opinion about the pizza guy and a couple of our neighbours (they are EEEEEEEVVIILLL!) and he doesn't really like the pen he has to stay in at night or when we aren't home. His owners have emailed several times checking in, which I think it pretty darn cute. But even with a few stressful moments with him, I am still very much wanting a pug... so much so that I started checking the local breeder and rescue sites again.

Why is it that men's clothes are cheaper than women's clothes? I bought my Beloved three pairs of pants today for a total of $100, all of them regular price. I bought myself two pairs for the same amount, and one was half price. grrr.

And while I'm on the subject of shopping, can I just say how much I HATE the mirrors and lights in the fitting rooms? Grey hairs, varicose veins, and let's not even talk about the cellulite... UGH!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TV Land: A Different Look At Infertility & Surrogacy

Good Evening Humble Readers...

So I have a confession to make. I watch a lot of unscripted family drama on TLC. I cannot call it reality tv, because it's just not reality. I am curious about the lives of people dealing with different family situations and how they are living their day to day lives. I was intrigued by the idea of what it would be like to watch a family with sextuplets handle things, and the logistics of raising a family of 19 kids.

My most recent addiction is the Li.ttle Cou.ple. If you aren't familiar, pop over here to learn a little bit about Bill & Jen.

They are going through a lot of life changes right now. Job challenges, building a house that will meet their physical needs, and most recently, investigating what it will take for them to build a family. Jen's anatomy is such that carrying a baby will put her life at risk, so they are currently looking at surrogacy and what that process would look like for them.

I have to say that, with the exception of one instance when Jen referred to the RE 'implanting' and embryo in their surrogate, I have been very impressed with how they are showing the process.

In every episode, they are portrayed as taking their time, weighing their options, and trying to make decisions with as much information as possible. In looking at surrogacy, they are faced with all the usual fertility issues, plus the genetic issues brought with both of them being dwarfs.

In last week's episode, a psychologist at the surrogacy center they are considering working with asked them what I thought was a very important question... why would a surrogate take them on as intended parents? Knowing that they have a one in four chance of having a child that will not live past the first year, the psychologist talked about the impact that would have on the surrogate and her family (spouse, parents, children).

It is the first time I have experienced a 'Hollywood' representation of surrogacy as anything remotely resembling real life. I was cheering as they talked about the implications, the costs, and the realities (will they even be able to retrieve any eggs?) of family building when you can't do it the traditional way. Tonight's episode had them in an RE's office, and actually talked about vaginal ultrasounds, egg retrieval and semen analysis. All the 'messy' stuff that you never hear about when it comes to infertility and tv.

I look forward to following their journey, and I hope (and pray, seriously) that they have a positive end to this road, and not wind up the way other TLC families have (the infamous Gosse.lins, the Rol.offs, and the Teu.tuls).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: The Life of a Dog

Good evening humble readers...

It's been a mellow day. Just me and Sunny-boy hanging out. He's a pretty lazy dog, sleeping most of the day. We did go for a few walks, but the only time he actually got at all rambunctious was when I dozed on the couch and he jumped right top of me. Funniest moment of the day with him... earlier this evening he jumped up onto the stool we have for our glider-rocker. He wasn't expecting the stool to move, so when it started swaying he was a bit freaked out. His owners emailed me on Sunday just wanting to see how things were going... very cute.

We had this for dinner tonight. First, if you haven't checked out Ree's site, you need to. Incredible recipes, fabulous photos, amazing giveaways, and a great sense of humour. Second... if you are a fan of beef dip sandwiches, you need to try this recipe. I used the first recipe in the link, with just a couple of minor modifications. 1 - I sauteed some onions in my dutch oven and then placed the roast in on top of it. 2 - I couldn't get pepperoncinis at the little grocery store across the back lane, so I made do with pickled hot peppers. 3 - I don't like cheese on my beef dips so I omitted that. Let me just say they were the best beef dips ever! The au jus was incredible! This one is so going into my regular rotation.

I need to get back to being a better commenter. Ever since I started utilizing my Goog.le Rea.der, I find that I read a lot more posts, but I don't actually click over and comment on many. Do any of you have any good habits for using your reader?

I found out the other day that one of my staff's wife is very likely miscarrying. I didn't know that they were pregnant, but from what he said it sounds like a blighted ovum. I don't know if I said the right things, you'd think I would, right? Having been there and all. The thing is, I had exactly 10 seconds to process the fact that they were pregnant before he said that they were afraid she was losing the baby. The selfish part of me had already started playing the poor-me-I'm-not-pregnant tape in my head, and then I found out that there is a new member of this club. The club no one wants to be a part of. *sigh* Please send your prayers and good thoughts out there for M & R.

Cycle update: Today is CD 12 and the ewcm has begun. O could be anytime, but not likely until the weekend.

It appears that I am a bit abnormal. (OK, stop that smirking!) I love the olympics. I'm not normally a sports-on-tv kind of person, but I do love the olympics. Especially the winter games! Hockey, figure skating, curling, skiing, snowboarding... all stuff that Canadians do well at. And the fact that they are happening in Canada for the second time in my lifetime... that's pretty darn cool. The thing is, not a whole lot of people around here seem to be very excited about it. Hmmmm...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Hobbit vs The World: And These People Are Allowed to be Parents?

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive here, but...

I was minding my own business. At work, doing the bookselling thing. I catch a glimpse of the headline on the local newspaper sitting on the desk in our office... "Name My Baby!"

The story, on the front page, is about a woman in a neighbouring community who is 23, 28 weeks pregnant with her second son, and is just absolutely flummoxed on what to name her newest little one. Apparently she and her partner chose the 'perfect name' when they named their first son, and now they just can't come up with anything else.

In an effort for their child to not be nameless at birth, she has instituted a local contest. She even indicated that doesn't want the name to end in particular letters, presumably because they wouldn't work with her last name.

Honestly, I stopped reading at that point. I didn't read about what her grand prize would be or when her deadline for submissions would be. I was just disgusted.

What the story and her contest say to me, admittedly a very biased infertile, is that she cares so little about the child she's carrying that she can't be bothered to come up with a name for him.

If she wants names, I've got names. Names that I have carried in my heart for years. Names that I still cling to as beacons of hope. I can also give her the names of numerous babies, longed for and loved and cherished... babies that my bloggy friends never got to hold that have names.

The least a mother can do is put some thought into naming her child, and not make it a publicity stunt.

I would like, 12 years from now, to be a fly on the wall when she has that conversation with her son... "no, I didn't name you. We drew your name out of a draw box. Your brother's name was perfect, so we didn't even try."

Ok, rant over.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Photo Challenge #2: Variety

Good Evening Humble Readers!

Well, it's Friday... and that means it's time for Lindsay's Friday Photo Challenge! If you don't know about the Photo Challenge, please swing by and Lindsay's place and check it out. Everyone is welcome... the more the merrier!

This week's theme is Variety...

Now, looking around my home, and really around my life, there is one particular area where there is a ton of variety.

Books! The things you can experience, the places you can travel to, the people you can meet...

So many things to learn about...

And so many things to dream about...
Now, if you don't have a pic for this week's challenge, next week's theme is Celebration. Start thinking about what might embody celebration for you.
We have a house guest for the next two weeks. He arrived tonight with almost as much stuff as a baby would (and almost as many instructions :) ), and his mom & dad are on their way to Mexico. He's a goofy little thing, with a serious addiction to peanut butter and baby carrots. It will be fun to have a fur-baby for a couple weeks. Be prepared for some pug-tastic pictures!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Did I Do Wrong?

Good morning humble readers...

Ok, just a quick question for my fried chicken experts...

Why did the coating start sliding off while it was cooking?

I soaked the chicken in buttermilk, had lots of well-seasoned flour, kept the oil at the same temp the whole time.

I think the oil wasn't quite hot enough when I put the first piece in, so I waited another minute or so before adding the rest.

Everything else turned out ok... the chicken was cooked through, and it tasted pretty good. Didn't need to call for pizza. It did take longer than I expected, but I will know better for next time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January 2010 Hobbit-ish Book Reviews

Greetings Humble Readers...

It's been a while since I have done a book reveiw post. I thought I would give you a run down on what I've been reading. Two posthumous offerings from a couple of my favourite authors, a couple great reads for book clubs (if only I was a part of one), the next big thing in kids fiction, a treatise on manners, and some fluff.

Ciao Bella by Janice Kirk (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - I stumbled across this one by accident, but I'm glad I did. It's the story of a young Canadian woman married to a missing Italian soldier, set at the end of WWII. The story begins with her waiting for him to return as she cares for his failing father. An American soldier, apparently lost and with a broken down motorcycle, takes shelter in their barn, and quickly becomes a part of their small world. The storyline that follows isn't altogether original, but unique in its subtle plot twists and interesting characters. Will her husband return? What is the American hiding? Can she let herself grieve when she doesn't know her husband's fate?

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - A complete manuscript found in Crichton's office after his death, this is not a typical Crichton story. Not at all science-based, imagine a more brutal, less humourous version of Pirates of the Carribean. Don't get me wrong, it had it's amusing moments, but it certainly didn't fit with what I was expecting. The story of a privateer captain setting out to capture a Spanish galleon full of gold, there are plenty of battles, daring rescues, and near wrecks. The thing that's killing me is that it leaves you hanging... I know there was another book found among Crichton's papers. I can only hope that it carries on with the story.

A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries (3.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - A dying British Lord, father of three beautiful daughters, is trying to rectify an old wrong and provide for his daughers at the same time. His estate is entailed to the next male relative, the son of a cousin and known profiteer. Hidden identities, family secrets, and women who want to marry for love... all needed ingredients for a regency romance. I generally really enjoy Jeffries' romane novels, but this one felt a bit lacking. Her female lead was a bit wishy-washy, and the hero was less than heroic in many circumstances.

School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (4.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - An interesting collection of short, interconnected stories about a group of people attending a non-traditional cooking class. The teacher, a proponent of the slow food movement, works to show her students that food is a part of life, to be experienced and shared, rather than a necessity to be utilized. From the elderly couple with a surprising past, to the klutzy insecure young woman, to the man mourning the loss of his wife, and the woman in the first stages of memory loss/alzheimers... all the students have something to learn and it's not just how to combine tomatoes, garlic, and basil to make pasta sauce. This book was very enjoyable, and great book club fodder.

I See Rude People by Amy Alkon (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - I was instantly intrigued when this title showed up in my store. I have a very strong opinion about how manners have declined in our culture, and I was excited to see that I was not alone. Her chapters on mobile phone savages (take that! chick who talks on her cell phone in a public bathroom!) and underparented children were outstanding, and I was literally cheering the author on as I was reading. But in between were rambling chapters on how she was abused by others (her car was stolen, her identity was stolen, her bank account was fraudulently tapped) and how she hunted down the perpetrators. Her war on bad manners started when she decided not to be a victim any longer, and I applaud her efforts. I just didn't need to hear the minutia of her every interaction with uncaring law enforcement officers and corporate suits.

The Blythes Are Quoted by L. M. Montgomery (2 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - I can't express how disappointed I was with this book. I was so excited... the 'lost' final book of the Anne of Green Gables series! Never before published in its entirety. A manuscript delivered to her publishers on the day Montgomery passed away. Well, as a life-long fan of Montgomery, and as an avid reader of anything with her name on it, I was very saddened to find out that I had indeed already read 90% of this book. Rather than being a continuous narrative, it is a collection of short stories that only involve the Blythe family in a peripheral way. Other than that, there are poems between each short story with a bit of dialogue between Anne and Gilbert. The short stories have all been previously published in other collections. Don't waste your money if you are a LMM fan. Get it from the library.

Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - Loved, loved, loved this book! Riordan is capitalizing on the Harry Potter formula, but he does so with a sense of adventure and a major sense of humour. Percy, a middle school student dealing with ADHD and dyslexia, always seems to be getting into trouble. Strange things happen around him, things that only a few other people seem to understand. As he journeys to find out the secrets behind who he is, he ends up having the adventure of a lifetime... traveling across the US, battling creatures and beings of myth and legend, and saving the world in the process! FUN! I can't wait to read the rest.

So, that's it for January. 7 out of 75 down!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Monday Morning Minutia

Good Morning Humble Readers...

It's been a quiet weekend. AF has packed her bags and has left for another month. She's been staying for short amounts of time lately, more than three days, but not a full four days. Just something to think about.

I have been slowly making my way through the Creme list (check out the link to the right if you don't know what I'm talking about). I've found I can only read a couple of posts a day because they are so emotionally charged. There are so many incredible stories in our community! If you haven't submitted something for the list, Mel is accepting submissions until March 1.

Calling my fellow foodies! I am going to be brave this week and am going to try frying chicken. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? I have been reading a LOT of recipes and have a pretty good idea of what I need to do, but there are some contradictions. Soak the chicken in ice water or in buttermilk? Cook for 8 minutes a side, or 20 minutes, before turning? My Beloved is prepared for an emergency pizza order in case everything goes to pot.

Does anyone have any experience with the I'm looking at getting one (from Kiji.ji... the Canadian equivilent of's List) and I want to hear how it worked for others.

For those who asked... Yerger Burgers are kind of like sloppy joes. Brown up your ground beef, toss in a diced onion, a bunch of ketchup and mustard, and at the last minute a bunch of chopped up dill pickles (basically whatever you put on a burger). Then you put the mix on some good chewy buns, top with shredded cheese, then wrap them in foil and toss them in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes.

I didn't make Iron Commenter during ICLW in January... *pout* It wasn't for lack of trying. I was able to visit 120 (or so) blogs before I ran out of time and steam. I love that there are so many people on the list these days, but it also makes me a little sad that there are so many of us... if you know what I mean.

I watched the special last night... about the premature birth of their 19th child. Honestly, I don't know what to make of the Dugg.ars, but in watching that episode last night it was very apparent how they cherish their children and don't take it for granted that they have been blessed with all these kids.