Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Photo Challenge #1 - Strength

Good Evening Humble Readers!

And welcome to the inagural Friday Photo Challenge. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to pop over and see Lindsay the Steadfast Warrior! (All are welcome... so please do stop by!)

The theme for the first week is strength. While I know that Lindsay intended for us to take a new picture, something that struck us this week as embodying strength, I was just at a loss to find anything.

So I started going through my pictures, and I came across these Both are from our first day in NYC back in September.

The first is 30 Rockefeller Center... 30 Rock. The immensity of the building and the power implied by the architecture exude strength.

And while this one is a little more obvious, I love this statue. We actually stumbled on in when we got lost coming out of Rockefeller Center (we thought we were coming out on the other side of the complex). Atlas holding the celestial spheres... strength in bronze.
So that's it, Kids... strength as seen through my camera (several months ago). Please join in and share your pics. If you don't have anything for this week, you can always work on next week's theme... Variety!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The witch just showed up...

She never shows up at night... EVER!

I knew she was coming, but she just sucks...

Off to go wallow...

Show & Tell: Excitement And A Thud

Good Morning Humble Readers..

Remember how much you loved show and tell when you were in elementary school? Getting to stand in front of the class and show off your newest do-dad or tell about your totally awesome trip to your uncle's hunting cabin... so much fun, right? Well, guess what? We can do recapture that sense of fun as adults... just participate in Mel's Show & Tell 2.0!

So what am I showing today?

This is what I'm showing today!

It came! My new pot! And it's not just a pot... it's an enamel coated cast iron 5.25 quart dutch oven. From the Rache.l Ra.y cookware line. Woohoo!

Just think of all the soups and stews and sauces I will be able to make in this thing... Heck, I might even get brave and consider attempting fried chicken (I'm sure my humble readers from the south aren't laughing at that at all). I am so excited to try making my braised lamb shanks in it.

So that was the excitement last night when I got home from work. What was the thud, you ask?

You recall that this hobbit is a big time klutz, right?

Well, I was attempting to get the big heavy pot out of it's box, and it was being particularly difficult. I tipped the box on it's side, thinking that gravity would help me. Gravity is not my friend (you'd think I would know that by now).

The pot started to slide out of the box, and then the lid started to slide faster. Because I was hanging on to the very heavy box/pot, I could not spare a hand to try to catch the lid. So, my toe thought it would be a good idea to step in (pardon the pun).

It didn't happen in slow motion. I didn't watch it as it fell. You see, the force of gravity on something that heavy generally makes it fall pretty darn fast. But then, you knew that.

Yes. The lid to the aforementioned 5.25 quart cast iron pot fell and landed on my my big toe.

I was clinging to the chairback in front of me, seeing stars, attempting very hard not to express my pain in four letter words, when my Beloved asks me, "Are you okay?"

Ummm, hell no!

This morning my poor toe is three times its normal size, and while I can bend it, walking really isn't pleasant. There is a particularly ugly gash on my toe as well. When the bruising comes in it's going to be a doozie for sure. *sigh*

Now don't forget to swing by Mel's place and check out what the rest of the class is showing!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hobbit-ish Spring Cleaning 2010

So this is what we are going to be doing this winter/spring... Lot's to keep us busy. My goal is to have the whole list finished by the time we go on vacation in May. It will be a stretch, especially with the painting on the list, but I think we can do it.

  • Go through closets and dressers (including boxes in master closet)
  • Clean & Organize linen closet and entry way
  • Clean & Organize spare room
  • Clean & Organize storage room
  • Clean oven
  • Clean & organize kitchen cupboards
  • Purge books
  • Clean fridge (inside & out)
  • Clean top of kitchen cupboards
  • Clean & organize medicine cabinet and bathroom cupboard
  • Wash windows in living room, kitchen, and bedroom
  • Wash walls in bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen
  • Clean behind fridge and stove
  • Clean Laundry room
  • Clean carpets
  • Vacuum couch and chair
  • Clean baseboards
  • Fix the faux finish in the living room
  • Touch up paint in bedroom and living room
  • Paint bathroom

And for those who asked, my housekeeping schedule that we are trying out is:

  • Monday - Living room
  • Tuesday - Kitchen
  • Wednesday - Bedroom
  • Thursday - Bathroom
  • Sunday - Laundry

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Winter Returns

Good Evening Humble Readers...

I hope you are all enjoying ICLW! I love this time of the month... so many great new blogs to discover and new people to meet. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out that blue button to the left with the dog in it. I'm going to try for Iron Commenter status again (it's been a while) but I'm a bit behind

Cycle Update: 10dpo, VERY sore b00bs, pretty tuckered out especially in the evenings, have been very nauseous today, peeing more often, very hungry. I'm telling myself repeatedly that I get these same !#$%@ symptoms every month. I'm expecting that tomorrow they will start to fade as AF makes her approach. I've been really emotional the last couple of days (hellooo, last post anyone?), but different from my usual PMS. Normally, I get irrationally cranky. These days, I'm just weepy. Who knows? I'm trying not to pay too much attention the the pregnancy predicter thing on FF. And now that I think about it, I was craving chocolate today at lunch...

This week's menu is posted. You may notice a few repeats from last week. That's because we had a couple of schedule changes and ended up flying by the seat of our pants. So, I'm making sure to use up the ingredients that we bought last week before I start on new recipes.

I have a love hate relationship with grocery shopping. I'm a foodie (well, duh!) and I love just wandering around and looking at different things, and getting ideas. I love getting good deals, and finding the best of something. What drives me crazy is that in this little city on the flatland, there are things I can never find. Why can I not get tahini? And why is the only fresh basil to be found black and sketchy looking? Why can I not find a true brisket? This is beef country... it should be easy right? And don't even get me started on the lack of a good bakery in this town! I'm sorry, but Safe.way just doesn't cut it.

Remember how I said last week that we were having an unusually warm January? Well, winter has come back with a bit of a vengance. Not too cold (only -7 or -8) but the snow and wind have returned. One of my staff made the comment that this is penguin weather... put your head down and follow the feet of the person in front of you.

I'm thinking that it's time to get some professional help. Not for my mind (altho sometimes that might seem to be a good idea), but for my blog. I want a more personalized layout, with something that is just a bit more me. If any of you are into blog design or have worked with someone good, please let me know. One other thing... how in the world do I do a strikethrough font? I want to be able to cross things off my lists, but I can't find anything to make it work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Snag In the Spring Cleaning

Good afternoon Humble Readers!

Quick Cycle Update: I'm 8dpo, with phantom symptoms galore. Sore b00bs (totally usual), increased appetite (altho, I have been cutting back lately so my body just may be still adjusting), mild nausea (only once or twice), peeing more often (but not frequent), and some weird allergy stuff going on (who knows where that's coming from).

So, if you click back to my To Dos for 2010, you may remember me saying something about wanting to 'take better care of the hobbit-hole'. Well, I have finally come up with what seems to be a workable housekeeping schedule. I'm not ready to cross it off the list yet, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

I have mapped out what we will do Monday-Thursday, focussing on one room a day. Laundry is on Sundays. I have created a list of everything that has to be done in every room, so that My Beloved and I are on the same page in terms of what's clean.

At the same time I've also put together our list of things to accomplish for spring cleaning. It's a pretty long list, considering that we didn't do much of any spring cleaning last year. Tops on the list was going through our closet and dressers. I knew we both had a ton of clothes that we no longer wear and I was sick of not having any room in my drawers.

We went through the closet this afternoon and filled three large black garbage bags. We also went through four boxes that have been in the bottom of the closet since we moved in (two of which I packed before we got married... yikes).

Then we got to our dressers. The dresser situation has been a bone of contention for some time. We don't have a bedroom set. We have two, his and mine. His is a four drawer $40 special. Mine is a three drawer wooden piece that my Beloved used as a child. Neither one is giving us a lot of room, but I have exponentially more clothes than my Beloved.

My drawers were jammed full. Jammed. Impossible to close properly.

Two of my Beloved's drawers were about 3/4 full. The other two WERE full... full of crap!

(you may be wondering why I didn't know this before, but he does the laundry so I rarely have need to go into his dresser)

Here I've been cramming my stuff into three little drawers, and he hasn't even been using the four he had for clothes! Argh!

We agreed to switch dressers, and set about emptying them. I was halfway through my sock drawer when I came across something I had honestly forgotten about. Actually a lot of somethings... 12 to be exact.

Twelve pregnancy tests. The positive results were still clear on the majority of them. Half of them have dates written on them (the dated ones are from July 08 and the undated ones are from December 08).

I recognize that keeping sticks that I PEED ON (for heaven's sake!!!) is pretty twisted. I get it. But, when I went to throw them away, I just couldn't. I mean I really really couldn't. I started bawling.

They are the only proof I have that my little girls existed. That they were real.

Please tell me I'm not totally insane for keeping them.

I'll get rid of them some day. I know I will. Just not yet.

(Hopefully, the rest of the spring cleaning will be less emotionally charged.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January ICLW: Your Friendly Neighbourhood Hobbit

Welcome Humble Readers (and any of you stopping by from ICLW)!

Normally, at this time of month I try to put together some sort of witty intro, but I'm all fresh out of witty ideas. Soooooo....

Instead, we'll start with the basics. Our ttc/IF history is in the right hand column. We've been at this for two years, and even tho we've had two solid bfp's (and one iffy one), we still have no halfling to call our own. I'm 35, he's 38. We live on the frozen flatland of western Canada. I sell books for a living, he keeps the books for a living.

Like any hobbit worth her salt, I love simple things... good books, good friends, and of course, good food. My 'to read' and 'been read' lists are in the left hand column. Our menu for the week is also over there. And as for friends... well, this community has become a big part of my circle of friends. I look forward to meeting a lot of new people this week, and I hope you find something here to make you smile.

And now for the other purpose of this post...

Dinner tonight was another new recipe.
Pan-Fried Balsamic Pork Chops
(I got this from my recent purge of my cooking mags. I would love to credit them, but I can't recall which magazine it came out of.)

  • Two boneless pork chops, at least 3/4 of an inch thick (I used the kick-a$$ Cos.tco chops)
  • 1/4 cup plum sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp tab.asco
  • Olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium skillet. You don't want it to be too much bigger than enough space for your chops. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Brown them on both sides. Don't try to move them around until they have browned well, that way otherwise they will tear. In the mean time, in a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, plum sauce, and taba.sco. Depending on how thick your chops are, you may have to reduce the heat and let them cook through. When they are 3 or 4 minutes from being done, pour the sauce over the chops and turn them in the sauce to glaze both sides. The sauce WILL splatter, so be careful when you pour it on and cover them for the last couple minutes.

I served them with my German Potato Salad (yum!) and peas. I think next time I will either cut back on the plum sauce or add a little more balsamic vinegar. They were just a titch too sweet for me. But overall, I think they turned out great, and my Beloved really enjoyed them. Hope you do too!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Show & Tell: Yet Another Obsession

Good evening Humble Readers!

So, it's Wednesday and that means it's Show & Tell! It's been a bit of a quiet week, so there really isn't a lot of anything on my camera (except some shots from our staff party on Sunday... just a lot of book nerds eating and drinking).

So, I'm going to share with you one of my minor obsessions... Stripey socks! I love my stripey socks.

Here's the thing. I am a pretty mellow person. I follow the rules. I do what I'm told. I don't set out to buck the system.

But... there are two rules that I need to break, even just a little.

First, I've been told repeatedly that women my size shouldn't wear stripes, particularly horizontal ones. I will capitulate when it comes to trousers and shirts... but socks? Am I really going to be concerned that my feet look fat?

Second, my work has a fairly specific dress code. Only three colours of shirts allowed, and you must have a collar... pants are a little bit easier, so long as they are dress pants. No purple hair, limited piercings, offensive tattoos must be covered. But they even go so far as to specify 'co-ordinated socks'. Well, that just makes me WANT to rebel.

But even my rebellion is muted.

I am a good girl. My stripes always 'co-ordinate', at least a little bit, with the rest of my attire.

So, if you are lucky enough to get matched up with me in the Kym's Sock It Too Me (and if you haven't signed up yet... why the HECK not?!?!), you will have a leg up (if you pardon the pun) on what kind of socks I will like. :)
Of course, I don't own any truly rebellious socks... hmmmmm

Now be a good humble reader, and swing by Mel's place to check out what the rest of the class is showing. You do follow the rules, don't you?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Houston We Have Lift-off

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Well, after much angst and worry, I believe O happened... what has now become 'right on time' on CD 17. At least I think it's safe to say that after three months of this, it can be called usual. What's throwing me though is all the EWCM (8 days!). I just don't quite get it.

On the Menu Tonight: Meatloaf, Fully-loaded mashed potatoes, and salad. Meatloaf, of course, is rather dull, but my potatoes were outstanding. Mashed, with butter, roasted garlic, cheese, chives, and bacon bits. Yum!

This week's menu has been posted. I'm particularly excited about the brisket on Sunday.

Does anyone know... is it possible to freeze homemade tomatoe sauce? I'm thinking about it, because of all the bpa's [note on edit: apparently I can't type bpa... any acronym that starts with b must be bfp or bfn.] in the can linings. Also, I make a pretty good tomatoe sauce out of canned tomatoes as it is, and I'm sure if I made it from fresh tomatoes it would be better.

I love washing the car. Ok, not the interior. But I luurve taking the car to the car wash! (not the automatic kind, the wand wash) There is something so incredibly satisfying about watching all the gunk and mud slip away. I love the brush with the foam. Small things for small minds, right?

Of course, you may be asking yourself... why is Mrs. Gamgee washing the car in JANUARY, in ALBERTA... IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER?!?!? Because, dear Humble Reader, it has been so warm out that everything is a royal mess (and poor Petey the PT Cruiser was looking like a Jackson Pollack painting). It's been above freezing every day this week. This is seriously west coast weather. It's not even a chinook... there's no wind. I didn't wear my winter coat to work today. Crazy!

If you are in need of a good laugh, you need to check out tonight's post from Murgdan. And when I say good laugh, I mean don't-be-drinking-milk-unless-you-want-it-0ut-your-nose laugh. Hilarious!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Definition of Frustration

Humble Readers, please bear with me...

(and if you are one of my non-IF readers, please feel free to skip this post... IF irrationality follows)

We have been ttc for 2 years...

I have tracked 21 cycles (halfway thru #22).

I have had 2 anovulatory cycles which were recovery cycles after losses.

So, 19 ovulatory cycles... 13 of which have had O on CD 14 or 15. (a couple CD13s and CD16s thrown in for aggravation's sake).

My last two cycles, as I have bemoaned to death, have had O on CD17.

Today is CD16.

I have had EWCM for a week! Not just a little, but a lot. My temps are still relatively low, and I'm going insane. I know that a 2-3 day difference in my O shouldn't be a big fat hairy deal, but it's driving me nuts.

If I don't O tomorrow, I think I might do something unthinkable to my thermometer.

(yes, the rational part of me knows that stressing about O can cause it to be delayed... but just because I know it doesn't mean I can make myself stop stressing)

Ok, rant over. We now return you to your regularly scheduled ramblings.

Response to questions: OPKs have never been that effective for me. The few times that I tried using them, I found myself even more stressed out about missing the surge. Thank you for the suggestion, tho.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Show & Tell: Flowers in Winter

Good Morning Humble Readers!
So it's been a while since I've stepped up to the front of the class and participated in Mel's Show & Tell. For those of you who don't know, show & tell is not just for school kids. Everyone is permitted and encouraged to step up and show or tell (or both) something... anything.
Today I'm showing some beautiful flowers that I grew myself! Yes, you read that right... I grew them! Me, the one with the black thumb. (my one un-hobbit-ish trait)
These are called paperwhites (some form of narcissus, I think).
I bought the bulbs and vase in a kit from my store at Christmas. It was far too easy to plant them, and they started growing right away, so I think that's what kept me motivated to keep watering them (my usual downfall). I also bought an amarylis bulb kit at the same time. It's doing well, and I will post pics when it blooms.

Now, two favours to ask... first up, don't forget to click over to Mel's place to check out what the class is showing. Second, scroll down and check out what we had for dinner last night. I was so happy with how it turned out, (seriously, it tasted as good as it looks) that I want everyone to try it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kitchen Adventures: A New Recipe!

Good Evening Humble Readers!

Oh my, lovely bloggy friends... we just finished dinner (as in, the dishes are still on the table and the kitchen is a disaster) and I had to post this!

Chili-Lime Chicken with Roasted Garlic

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 limes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 whole bulbs garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

Slice onion and and two limes, and lay out in the bottom of your roasting pan. They will serve as a bit of a rack for the chicken. Cut the tops off the two blubs of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Zest the third lime, and combine the zest, butter, chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

I forget the technical term, but basically you are going to flatten the chicken. Place the chicken breast side down on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut out the back by cutting straight down, about half an inch on either side of the spine (toss it in the freezer and save it to make stock later). Flip the chicken back over and press down on the breast bone to flatten it. Tuck the wing tips under so that they don't burn.

Spread the butter/lime/chili mix over the whole chicken. Place in the roasting pan, on the lime and onion slices. Set the garlic bulbs in beside the chicken. Put in oven, and roast for about 30 minutes.

Cut your remaining lime in half and baste the chicken with the juice. Remove the garlic from the pan and allow to cool. Put the chicken back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so (use your meat thermometer to be sure that the chicken is close to done).

For the last five minutes, crank up the heat to 400F to brown the skin. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

I served the chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. I used one of the bulbs of roasted garlic in the potatoes, and have smooshed-up the second one and am saving it for later in the week.

It tasted absolutely incredible. The only change I am going to make is to increase the chili flakes a bit. There was a little zip, but could have used a little bit more heat. So that's what we had for dinner tonight... and I wish I could somehow communicate the smells still wafting around our house.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making Progress... aka "Why Nothing Ever Gets Done Around Here"

Good Evening Humble Readers...

I have had a fairly mellow day. And. while this may be the most boring post I have ever written, I enjoyed every minute of it!
I did my workout ('walking for weightloss' dvd... don't let the title fool you, it's the workout that makes me sweat), ordered a piece of cookware that I have wanted for ages but never got around to buying (I'll share more when it arrives), and puttered around on the computer.

I decided that it was time to get cracking on one or two of my 2010 to do's... I'm starting small, with things I used to do that I have gotten out of the habit of doing.
First up, I am happy to report that in the last week, the bed has been made 5 out of 7 days! Woo hoo! (how pathetic, right?) Let's see how long it lasts.

Second, I spent some time working on a menu for this week, so that we can do the grocery shopping tomorrow evening. I thought this was going to be a quick task. *snort* Not with my penchant for distraction.

I mapped out the week, and decided that I wanted to try a couple new recipes this weekend. So I went to my cookbook cupboard...

This is what my cookbook cupboard looked like after this stack of magazines fell on my head.

It appears that over the last year or so, I have accumulated a crapload of magazines, all with recipes I wanted to try. They just end up shoved into my cookbook cupboard. So, I decided that it was time to do something about them.

After muttering a few not so nice word under my breath and checking to make sure there were no bruises or lacerations where they hit me, I started going through them. Any recipe I want to try, I tore out. When I got through them all (two hours later) I had a full recycling bin and a stack of new recipes to try less than half an inch thick. Yay!

So all this round-about rambling is to draw your attention to a new feature in the left hand column. That's what's on for dinners this week in the hobbit hole. Let me know if you're planning on coming for dinner. I'll set an extra place.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Total Randomness

Good Evening Humble Readers!

Ok, you all have been so busy posting today, that now that I've gotten caught up, I'm pooped and ready to hit the sack. I'll give you just a little run down, potpurri-style.

Sock It To Me - Yay! I missed out on this last year and I am so stoked that Kym is going to run it twice this year! Really, who doesn't love the idea of getting socks in the mail? Especially from my bloggy friends! Stop by I'm A Smart One and check it out...

I've been exercising every day. A couple of my friends from work and I have agreed to hold each other accountable for increasing our activity levels. It's only been a few days, but I'm proud of myself. I'm really feeling it in my joints tho. Getting old, I guess.

I've decided that my lady parts are suffering from some sort of multiple personality disorder... First, the screwy late O the last couple of months, now on CD12 I'm feeling like AF is just around the corner again... backache, cramping. Just weird.

I made a purchase the other day that makes me smile all the time. It's stupid... are you ready? I found these ice cube trays that make long skinny ice cubes, so they can fit in a water bottle. How cool is that?

I love the Winter Olympics! I am so excited that they are going to be in Vancouver (even if I don't get to go). Canada may struggle at the Summer Games, but winter... now that's our time to shine. There is a new commercial that I saw for the first time last week. I LOVE this commercial...

Eh! Oh! Canada Go! (yeah I'm just lame enough to jump on that bandwagon too) Having one of the few relatively cute professional hockey players in the commercial is definitely a bonus. Iggy is easy on the eyes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 Reading Challenge 'Been Read' List

Good Evening Humble Readers!

Once again the marvelous Kristin over at Dragondreamers Lair has challenged us all to pick up a book and read! Swing by and sign up... (and if you are finding this post later in the year, I know from experience that even latecomers are welcome to the party).

My goal for this year is 75 books. Last year my goal was 100, but I only made it to 53. How embarassing for a self-proclaimed book addict. Audiobooks and books under 50 pages count as half a book (I suggest that cookbooks should count as half-books, too). I read mostly fiction, wth a smattering of biographies, kids books, and, of course, cookbooks. Working in a bookstore keeps my 'to read' list fuller than I can manage, but I'm always looking for recommendations.

I will update here with every book I complete, but if you want to know more, you'll want to check out my reviews at the end of each month.


2010 Reading List

  1. Ciao Bella by Janice Kirk
  2. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
  3. A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries
  4. School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
  5. I See Rude People by Amy Alkon
  6. The Blythes Are Quoted by L. M. Montgomery
  7. Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  8. Extraordinary Canadians: L. M. Montgomery by Jane Urqhart
  9. Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James
  10. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  11. Born Round by Frank Bruni
  12. Lamb by Christopher Moore
  13. Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
  14. The Customer is NOT Always Right by A.J Adams
  15. Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki
  16. The Heights by Peter Hedges
  17. Don't Bargain With The Devil by Sabrina Jeffries
  18. The Unexpected When You're Expecting by Mary Moore
  19. What to Eat When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
  20. Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain
  21. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
  22. This Time Together by Carol Burnett
  23. Maze Runner
  24. The Gourmet Pregnancy
  25. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
  26. The Postmistress
  27. Cleaving by Julie Powell
  28. Twelve Nights by vaious authors
  29. Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel
  30. P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern
  31. Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel
  32. Blockade Billy by Stephen King
  33. Passage by Justin Cronin
  34. Traitor's Wife by
  35. Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  36. The Best Birth by
  37. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  38. A Light In the Window by Jan Karon
  39. Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
  40. These High Green Hills by Jan Karon
  41. Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader by Jan Karon
  42. Out to Cannan by Jan Karon
  43. Wings by
  44. New Song by Jan Karon
  45. In This Mountain by Jan Karon
  46. A Common Life by Jan Karon
  47. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
  48. Heroes of the Valley by
  49. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
  50. Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  51. Juliet by Anne Fortier
  52. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  53. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  54. Vinyl Cafe Audio Library by Stuart MacLean (six titles)   [54.5]
  55. more on the way!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Surprising Thoughts

Good Evening Humble Readers!

I must say that sometimes being a retail manager is half a step away from being a guidance counsellor.

Have I ever told you about... well, we'll call her "Q" just because... have I told you about her? I know, as a manager I'm not supposed to have favourites, but I can't help it with this kid. I hired her last year, when she was still in high school. When she first started with us, she was practically scared of her own shadow, but she has a passion for books.

Last summer I came to the realization that when I was her age, my mom was my age. Yikes! Talk about feeling old!

I have watched her come into her own over the last year and a half. She is funny, sometimes a little too chatty for work, and generally a good kid. She has cried on my shoulder about boys, the turmoil that surrounds high school, and her relationship with her parents. She's made some questionable decisions regarding body piercings. So when she came to me the other day, rather freaked out, I thought it was more of the usual. And I guess in a way it was, only bigger.

She had a pregnancy scare.

She was stressed out, and we talked about what her first steps should be (find out for sure if she was, then move on to what her next steps would be... turns out she's not pg) and some things she should consider to prevent this type of situation from happening again (hello, birth control?).

It wasn't a long conversation, but I think she felt better afterward. I, on the other hand, struggled for the rest of the day. I cannot deny the fact that I felt the typical anger that a 18 year old kid can do without trying what I can't do with two years of focused effort.

But the most surprising thing for me was a thought that streaked across my mind later in the day... "if she is pg, will she choose adoption? would she consider us?" It was like a whisper, an echo, and a lightning bolt all at the same time. I was stunned. I swear I stopped dead in my tracks. Where the hell did that come from? And immediately felt guilty for the thought. I mean, how selfish am I to think something like that when this kid could be facing a life altering event?

The idea of adoption isn't entirely out of left field. My Beloved and I have talked in broad strokes about the possibility. I have done a bit of reading & research, mostly to acquaint myself with the basics. We have agreed that if I m/c again or am not pregnant by summer then we will look into it in more detail. I know that there is a long way from where we are at right now to making the decision to adopt. But the seed of it is there. (A tiny part of our plan to pay down our debt this year is that we want to have that credit available should we need it for adoption fees in the future.)

But, I'm not ready to put ttc behind me. I'm not ready. Not yet.

Will I know when I am?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Memory Sucks

Good Morning Humble Readers!

*beware, convoluted tale ahead*

I have yet to put up my new calendar for 2010. I bought it back at the end of November. I could have waited until this week to buy it, and then I would have gotten it at 75% off, but I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn't want to risk it not being there later.

And it is a lovely calendar... New York (of course).

Why have I not put up my beautiful calendar? Because I haven't transferred over all the important date info yet... Birthdays, anniversaries, all that sort of thing. And why have I been procrastinating on this? Because when we moved a year and a half ago, we lost our 2008 caledar, and it was the last calendar I had on which I had accurate birthday and anniversary listings. Last year there were several birthdays that I just had to guess at.

There are some birthdays I have engrained on my brain... my bio-sister's is the day before mine (kind of hard to forget) ... I forgot my Mom's birthday once when I was in college and she made a big deal about it so it's burned in there too. But Dad's birthday? I know it's in June, always around Father's Day, but I couldn't tell you the exact date to save my life. In order to engrain my Beloved's birthday on my brain, I started using it as a password at work. Mom & Dad's anniversary is in March, but do I have the date mixed up with my sister's April birthday?

And how do you call your Mom, and ask for your Dad's birthdate? Their anniversary?

And yet, you know what I do remember? I remember that a year ago yesterday I was at the doctor, getting an ultrasound. An ultrasound that showed an empty sac, and began the two weeks of hell. I also remember that two years ago tomorrow I took my last birth control pill and that the baby making began. I can tell you the dates of my bfp's, my edd's, and the dates that my miscarraiges happened.

Why isn't it possible to forget? Do I really want to? Am I hanging onto my grief on purpose? Please don't get me wrong, the grief certainly isn't as sharp as it was a year ago, but it's still there. Is it really that I can't forget these dates? Or just that I don't want to? Or maybe that I won't let myself?

Why can't my crappy memory kick in and allow me to pass these dates blissfully unaware, like I did my MIL's birthday last year?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Howdy Humble Readers!
I have been very remiss. My lovely bloggy friend Alana at Alana-isms gave me this award waaaaay back before Christmas, but I haven't done anything with it. Bad hobbit! So, thank you,
Alana! You rock!

As a part of the award I am to tell 7 random things about me. Hmmmm, what haven't I told you all? Let me think...

1. One of my guilty pleasures... I love a good hot dog. With mustard and onions, with cheese, with chili. Now, I am fairly particular about my hot dogs. All beef, preferably kosher (cause you know you won't be biting into something you shouldn't then), on a good squishy bun. Mmmmm...

2. It's a bit of a family joke, but I regularly end up wearing my food. Usually in the vicinity of my chest (also known as 'the shelf'). Which is part of the reason I am thankful for the oh-so-unfashionable vest that I wear at work. It covers those telltale spots. I also own several of those stain remover pen thingys.

3. One of my addictions... school supplies. I love pencils, pens, blank notebooks, paper clips, staples, binders... the works. I'm not allowed to go into an office supply store unaccompanied.

4. My first pet was a bird. I know, ironic huh? The hobbit who is terrified of birds actually had one as a pet. I don't really remember him/her. All I really know is that it died of a heart attack when we moved. Got a little over excited I guess.

5. I don't like books, movies, or tv shows that I know are going to make me cry. If I cry while watching/reading out of a true emotional response, that's one thing. But those authors or shows that are known to make you cry as a part of their regular formula (any of those makeover shows, Tou.ched by an An.gel types of shows, that Sh.oes song). I feel emtionally manipulated, and then I get mad.

6. I am rather competitive. I don't watch a lot of hockey or baseball or football, but when I do, I tend to get a little too into it. Tonight is the International Junior Hockey World final, between Canada and the US. I'm sorry, my humble readers from south of the border, but there will be some dark expletives heading your way should you get too far in front of our boys! ;)

7. In case I haven't mentioned it before, I procrastinate. We finally took down our tree yesterday (I had been planning on it for almost a week) and I still haven't vacuumed up the mess of needles on the floor. (Aren't artificial trees supposed to prevent this kind of mess?)

Now, I'm supposed to pass this award on to 7 other bloggers, but I have discovered in my recent rounds that most of my bloggy friends already have this one. Soooo... if you haven't gotten it, please consider yourself awarded. You are all beautiful in my book!

And please don't forget, it's Delurking week. I want to hear from you! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hey You! Yeah,I'm Talking To You!

Good Morning Humble Readers!

So when I stopped by Mel's place this morning to check out her latest post, I learned about Delurking Week.

And of course, my little hobbit heart got very excited about this...

I have mentioned in the past how I love my Ana.lytics account. I love seeing where my 'humble readers' are coming from. For example, I know I have regular readers from Calgary and Edmonton, but I don't know who they are. There are others too... from all around this globe.

So, in honour of International Blog Delurking Week, I humbly ask all of you to step out of the shadows, even just this one time. It can be as simple as just saying 'here' or, if you feel comfortable, tell a little about yourself, tell me generally where you are from, or leave a link to your corner of the blogosphere... you could just tell me your favourite flavour of ice cream. Whatever.

And if you don't feel comfortable with delurkify-ing just now, I hope you will consider it sometime in the future.

Whoever you are, thank you for reading!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 'To Read' List

Greetings Humble Readers!

If you found your way to this post, then you are curious about what I'm reading. Or more specifically, what I'm planning on reading.

I will confess that working in a bookstore is sometimes a bit of a challenge, in that I am surrounded by books every day and it's difficult to limit my purchases. The good news is that I get to borrow books from the store (so long as they are returned in saleable condition) so I can save a bit that way, and I get a great discount for all those ones that I absolutely MUST own.

I am a re-reader. There are certain books that I try to read every year or two. They are like old friends, and I love connecting with them. There are some that I know I will never go back to, and I generally pass those on to whatever charitable organization I can find to take them. But there are those few... the old friends... that I have actually had to re-purchase because I have worn them out.

So, without further ado, here's what's on my nightstand... waiting to be read.  (italics indicate a re-read)

  • Under the Dome
  • Sea of Monsters
  • Titan's Curse
  • Battle of the Labyrinth
  • Last Olympian
  • The Red Queen
  • Lovely Bones
  • Knit Two
  • Knit the Season
  • Comfort Food
  • Distant Hours
  • Fellowship of the Ring
  • Two Towers
  • Return of the King
  • Emma
  • Sense & Sensability
  • Persuasion
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Servant Leader
  • I Can Make You Thin
  • Lonesome Dove
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The Day the Falls Stood Still
  • Fred Factor
  • Why We Buy
  • Lucky Man
  • Red Pyramid
  • Wolf Hall
  • Here Burns My Candle
  • Mockingjay
I love suggestions! Please pass on what you are reading!

Friday, January 1, 2010

To Do's for 2010

Happy New Year Humble Readers!

And happy 200th post to me! (I can't think of a more appropriate day to celebrate it.) I guess I've rambled a lot in the last year. I am so incredibly thankful for this space and this community. It has given me a vent for my stresses and support through what has become a longer journey than I ever expected. It has also brought me wonderful friends. Thank you so much, all of you.

2009 is over, and while in many ways it was a good year, I have been looking forward to this fresh start. It's a time to let the past go, and to look ahead.

This hobbit has a confession... I have never been good at resolutions. My mom was good at them. She woke up one morning and decided that after 20 years, she was done with smoking. And she was. She decided to lose weight, and in a year she lost all she needed to, and had maintained it long enough to get a gig as a Wei.ght Wa.tchers meeting leader. She's got mega will-power.

But I am not my mother.

What I am good at is lists. I have always been a list person. I love that little rush and wave of accomplishment that I feel as I cross something off my list. So, this year I have decided to not resolve anything. Instead, I'm writing myself a 'to do' list. That way, maybe I will accomplish what I set out to do.
  1. Turn off the TV - spend less time in front of the idiot box.
  2. Read 75 books - down from my prediction for 2009, but up from my actual reading total
  3. Focus on small weight loss goals - 5 pounds at a time and celebrate each victory
  4. Make the bed more days than not - make Mom proud
  5. Create & keep a managable housekeeping schedule - take better care of the hobbit-hole
  6. See all the Oscar nominated films before Oscar night - must make sure to request that night off
  7. Write more! - for at least 10 minutes a day, blog, character sketches, writing excersises, anything
  8. Become more active - again, at least 10 minutes a day.
  9. Eat better - not even so much for weight loss, but to keep my IBS in check
  10. Learn to cook Thai food - just because
  11. Make sure that my Beloved knows how much I love, cherish, and respect him - Everyday
  12. Finish decorating in the living room - bare walls are annoying
  13. Set up and regularly utilize a home filing system - no more stacks of paper!
  14. Get back to menu planning - I used to do this every week, and I need to do it again
  15. Make the spare room practical - organize, clean, and no more waiting for a baby!
  16. Paint the bathroom - I'm sick of lime green (it came that way... ugh!)
  17. Put up new curtains/blinds - I hate the white horizontal ones we have
  18. Do something, anything with our photos - photobook, scrapbook, whatever
  19. Get pregnant, stay pregnant, have a baby - in my dreams
  20. Be less hard on myself.
  21. Enjoy Life!

Ok, so not all of them are really 100% measurable, but I think having them written here will help me to keep them in front of me. I plan to revisit this list often, and to keep you all posted.

What's on your to do list this year?