Sunday, August 23, 2009

Less Excitement Than Originally Stated

I've previously raved about the pilot for the TV show Glee and have been all shades of excitement about the upcoming full season on Fox, but I ran into two things recently that made me a bit less excited about it all (insert gasps of shock from my friends here).

The first was something I read: The first 13 episodes feature more than 70 songs.

The second was this clip:

These two things combined make me less excited for the show because it would seem that what the show may turn into is some kind of Broadway-musical-TV-show where every thought and emotion of the characters is acted out in songs, rather than a show about a campy high school glee club that shows their rehearsed numbers now and then during the episodes (which is what the pilot was). All I want is for Glee to be everything the pilot showed it would be (minus the strange and strained marital relationship of the director of the glee club): sweet, funny, quirky, with a bit of musical production on the side. I seriously don't want them breaking out in irrelevant songs every two minutes.


I can only hope my assumptions are wrong.

In good Glee news, it looks like Kristen Chenoweth is going to be in the show! I've been a fan of hers for a long time; most notably because she played my FAVORITE BROADWAY CHARACTER EVER - Glinda in Wicked. I also have a funny "old school" connection with seeing her perform at Miss Oklahoma when I was just nine years old in 1991. A friend of our family was competing (and won!) so we had gone down to see the pageant and Kristin was in it (she ended up as second runner-up). Not sure what role she will be playing in the show, but I'm hoping it will be completely adorable with some singing, because that is what she is and that is what she does.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hand Ad

I saw a cool ad in the airport today for AT&T. This is my favorite one:

and another one I like:

You can see more (and read about them) here.

I Love This Week

We go on a family vacation to Pennsylvania every year and I. LOVE. IT.

I'm basically excited for many of the same things my sister is. Reading, not working, family, Rita's, cards, jet skiing, etc. SO AWESOME!

I'll fill you in on my reading list and the many flavors of Rita's [including Swedish Fish flavor (!)] I ate this week when my trip is done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For Making Decisions

"...the conventional approach to discovering God's will focuses almost all of our attention on nonmoral decisions. Scripture does not tell us whether we should live in Minnesota or Maine. It does not tell us whether we should go to Michigan State University or Wheaton College. It does not tell us whether we should buy a house or rent an apartment. It does not tell us whether we should marry a wonderful Christian named Tim or some other wonderful Christian guy. Scripture does not tell us what to do this summer or what job to take or where to go to grad school...The most important issues for God are moral purity, theological fidelity, compassion, joy, our witness, faithfulness, hospitality, love, worship, and faith. These are His big concerns. The problem is that we ten to focus most of our attention on everything else. We obsess over the things God has not mentioned and may never mention, while, by contrast, we spend little time on all the things God has already revealed to us in the Bible."

from Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, pg. 44


Hosted a jewelry party last night. It was fun to plan; I decided on a Mexican theme - i had the BEST SALSA EVER at a friend's bday party a few weekends ago, so I came up with the menu surrounding that. Not as many people came as I wanted/hoped for, but we still had a good time!
This was the menu:

  • Texas Caviar (that YUMMY salsa which was the inspiration for the theme. I'll share the recipe below since you will want to make it)
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Cinnamon Crisps (easy flour tortillas covered in butter and cinnamon sugar and baked for 10 min)
  • Cream Cheese Rolls (with LOTS of olives - YUM)
  • Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies (I honestly didn't know what to make for something sweet-ish to fit with the theme, so I googled Mexican treats and this recipe came up and it looked easy. Turns out they are Russian Tea Cakes - which I love - so that was a pleasant surprise)
  • Lime Punch

So here is the recipe for Texas Caviar:

1 can pinto beans

1 can black beans

1 can black eyed peas

1 can shoe peg corn

1 small jar pimentos

1 cup celery (chopped)

1 cup diced yellow/red/orange peppers

1 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Rinse and drain pinto beans, black beans, black eyed peas, shoe peg corn, pimentos. Combine pinto beans, black beans, black eyed peas, shoe peg corn, pimentos, celery, peppers, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a sauce pan, combine olive oil, canola oil, sugar, cider vinegar, and salt. Boil until sugar is dissolved. Cool. Add the liquid to the bean mix and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Drain oil and serve.

And here is a picture of the finished (leftover) product:

I will say that mine didn't turn out as "pretty" as my friend's because I used a food chopper instead of doing it by hand - so my chunks are a bit smaller and that makes it look less colorful. FYI.

Anyway, that's it. I'm headed to the kitchen to finish off the Mexican Wedding Cake. MMMM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Got My Tickets

Well, I'm glad that I already had my tickets to the three Vikings games I will be attending this year before today happened. Now EVERYONE wants to go to Vikings games, apparently. I guess the site for tickets crashed today after the news......

So. Favre is a Viking. That's all I will say about it, cause I'm not even really sure how I feel about it.

But I do know that, Favre or not, I am SO EXCITED to go to the first game of the season in Cleveland (I was fortunate enough to get a free ticket to the game from Dad and a free flight thanks to NWA points, so it was like the perfect-football-storm)!!!!!!! Dad and big sis and I will go, and though we will miss little sis, we will have AN AWESOME TIME!!!!

We are also going to the Vikings/Packer game in the dome (like we have every year since like third grade) and the Vikings/Packer game at Lambeau. Should be long as Favre helps us WIN!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Extreme Makeover: To-Do List Edition

Well, I leave for vacation in...four days? five? I don't know. I leave on Saturday.


I had a nice list of all kinds of things I wanted to accomplish before I left, but it looks like I will be taking a moment tomorrow to have a makeover on my to-do list and choosing some things that will certainly never get accomplished. They will have to wait until September (isn't it crazy that when I come back from vacation it will be SEPTEMBER?!).

A few pieces of good news, though. September means STATE FAIR. CAN'T WAIT.


Also, my evening was dominated by preparations for having friends over tomorrow night, and I never mind having that kind of busy. It is a fun kind of busy.

So, here's to crossing my fingers everything goes well at work tomorrow (I have a lunch appointment that has been in the works since January - a very big account of mine - could have a big impact on my business....I'm hoping......) and that I have a nice relaxing evening with my besties.

Poke My Eye Out

I should know better.

But I watched Oprah anyway.

In my defense, it was 1:30 AM on Friday night and I was just home from a night at the Saints game and fun downtown with friends. I was dog-sitting for my boss, so I turned on the TV in the guest room to help lull me to sleep after a rambunctious evening.

And Oprah was on. It was a show about attraction or something like that. They were doing surveys on how attractive people are and what that attraction is based on. They showed pictures of men who had been given certain scores of attractiveness on a scale of 1-10. Those same men were scored again, this time their level of income was also thrown into the mix. As I expected, the attractiveness score went up if the salary was higher, even if the men were initially rated rather low.

Oprah's guest (Dr. Laura Berman) was explaining that women are looking for provision, just like in the cavemen days. Women need a man who brings home meat. The more meat the better.

This is where I go crazy.

Oprah says (paraphrased) that this is why she thinks the purpose of marriage has changed so much. Women can "bring home the meat" for themselves and don't need the men to "bring home the meat" anymore...

....and her guest chimed in that in many cases men aren't even needed for women to have babies anymore. Oprah agreed heartily.



But I brought it on myself.

Needless to say, this did not help me sleep. But I did make an extra effort to have sweet dreams of the man I do want to provide for me and that I need in order to have babies. So there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Roundy's Reward Program

I have a new favorite reward program!

I've been known to be a member of every reward program known to man, but my two favorites are at Super America (I get iTunes cards after I accumulate enough points from buying gas, that way I don't ever spend money for music) and CVS (I've mentioned the Extra Bucks program before, and even though I'm not as diligent about it as I once was, I still save money there pretty consistently buying things I need - mostly toiletries).

My new favorite reward program is through Rainbow and BP. You can sign up for the program at Rainbow (it's called the Roundy's Reward Program because Roundy's is Rainbow's generic brand line). For every $50 of groceries you buy, you get $.10/gallon savings at BP. One great thing is that you don't have to carry your reward card with you, you just punch in your phone number at the checkout. Also, the money you spend is tracked, so you don't have to spend $50 each time you are at the store - it accumulates as you go. Then, whenever you like, you can use your card at participating BP stations to save on gas. Right now I'm at a savings of $.70/gallon, so I filled up a full tank for $20 (it would have cost me $30).

Thought I would pass on the info - especially if you already shop at Rainbow or live near one. I always love saving money, especially when it's on something (groceries and gas) that I have to buy anyway.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reading List

I'm busy making and narrowing down lists of books I'd like to read on vacation in less than two weeks (!). Then I saw this note on Facebook (called "The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?"), and I normally wouldn’t post something that I saw on the FB, but this caught my attention for a few reasons:
  • The person who posted this list had read 46 of the books!
  • I just had a conversation with a friend who said he wanted to read more classics. He had just finished The Count of Monte Cristo and LOVED it, so it moved to the top of my list (as soon as I’m in the mood to read a 1500 pager, that is) and it is on this list as well.
  • In this same conversation about reading classics, I admitted to this friend that I’ve tried and tried to read Austen and I’ve never been able to get interested enough to finish a book of her’s (::gasp::). Four of her novels are on this list. :/
  • The best book I’ve read in 2009 is The Life of Pi (based on LH’s recommendation) and it is on this list.
  • The main character of the series I am currently reading makes a few references to Wuthering Heights, so it sparked my interest in reading that book, and it is on this list.
  • I think I’m correctly remembering that the title of my sister’s blog comes from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. It’s always been on my list of books to read, and it is on this list, too.
  • I JUST asked my sister to try and get The Time Traveler's Wife for our vacation. I've been on my library's waiting list for three weeks and it doesn't look like I'll get it in time. And it's on this list.

So, anyway, I think this list is rather random, and by no means comprehensive, but since it seemed like I had a lot of recent encounters with books on this list, I posted it here. That way I can refer to it as time goes on.

I've only read 23 of them, FYI.

Here's the list with my Yes or No behind each book.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - No
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - No
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - No
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling – No
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - Yes
6 The Bible – Most of it, obviously, but sadly, I think I have never read every word of it.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - No
8 1984 - George Orwell - Yes
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman – No
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - Yes
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - No
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - No
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - No
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - No
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - No
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien – No
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - No
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - No
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - No
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot - No
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - No
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - Yes
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens - No
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - No
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - Yes
26 Wicked - Gregory Maguire - No
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - No
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - Yes
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - No
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - No
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - No
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - No
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis – Yes
34 Emma - Jane Austen - No
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - No
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - Yes
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein - Yes
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - No
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Yes
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne – No
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - Yes
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Yes
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Yes
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving – No
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - No
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - No
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - No
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - No
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding – Yes
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - No
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel – Yes
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - No
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - No
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - No
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - No
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - No
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - No
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - Yes
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon - No
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - No
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - Yes
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - No
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - No
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold – Yes
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas – No
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - No
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - No
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - No
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - No
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - No
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - No
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - No
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett – Yes
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - No
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - No
76 The Inferno - Dante – Yes
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - No
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - No
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray - No
80 Possession - AS Byatt - No
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - No
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - No
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - No
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - No
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - No
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - No
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - Yes
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - Yes
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – No
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - No
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - No
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - No
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - No
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - No
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - No
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - No
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - No
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare – No
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - No
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - Yes

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Land of Landlords

I've officially entered the Land of Landlords.

Part of the craziness of this week has to do with the fact that I found a renter for my cabin from Labor Day thru Memorial Day. It all happened in exactly a week, but it feels like it has been a month.

Last Tuesday night I decided to place an ad in the Brainerd paper, and by this Tuesday night I had received 10-15 calls, been to the cabin twice, shown it to four possible renters, and gotten a commitment from a nice family with a talkative seven-year-old.

I have many thoughts and emotions about renting the cabin, including...

.....THANKFUL finding a renter took ONE WEEK!
.....grateful that the financial burden of heating a house I don't live in will be taken care of for nine months.
.....excited to be completely free and clear of any debt, and keeping me from being there ever again!
.....a little sad that someone else will be enjoying my (what I think is a) great home.
.....glad that people will be keeping an eye on anything needing attention at the house during the winter months, and that I trust the renters I have to do a good job of this.
.....scared of how long the to do list is when you are a landlord.
.....exhausted from making decisions.
.....confused by making decisions.
.....tired of fielding phone calls (note to self: don't buy a two week ad next year. It may only take one week to find a renter).
.....overwhelmed by the timeline of getting things at the house ready and my personal effects completely moved out.
.....anxious that this will be a stressful experience.
.....hopeful that this will be a good experience.

I feel like I'm embarking on some interesting experiment. I'd appreciate any and all prayers as I wrap up the pre-renting process (repairs, lease, installing phone, internet, TV) and as I enter the actual Land of Landlords.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Baby Whisperer

So.....apparently I'm not The Baby Whisperer.

Two weeks ago I babysat for a 10-month-old (expectedly), and 6-month-old and two-year-old sisters (unexpectedly). You'd be right if you thought it was completely crazy to watch two babies and a toddler. I don't know how moms do it. I held the 10-month-old from 8-10PM while he cried and cried, rocked the six-month-old in her car seat with my foot intermittently, and followed the two-year-old around while she checked out a whole new set of toys. It was chaos...and it was hilarious. I pretty much thought it should have been a scene in a sitcom (like many other days in my life).

I babysat last night for a five-month-old, a three-year-old and a five-year-old. Again, from 8-10PM the baby cried and cried. Especially frustrating for me was the fact that the mother (and the brothers) indicated that the baby doesn't cry when she goes to bed. Hmmmm. I must have some effect on babies after 8PM. All they want to do is cry.

But last night was made tolerable thanks to great comments from the boys. Like when the five-year-old asked my roommate (who came over to babysit with me) "Were you happy on the day I was born?" Well...neither of us knew him at the time, but the question probably stems from some kind of realization that people are awfully happy about his baby sister. Anyway, that made me smile. Another interaction that made me smile:

Me: [pointing to the (green) pet bird] "What's this bird's name?"
Boy, age 5: "Bluebird."
Me: [hiding a smile] "Oh."
Boy, age 5: "He used to have a blue tail."
Me: [pointing to the other pet bird] "What about this one?"
Boy, age 3: "Tee Tee. His last name is Bee Bee."
Me: [stifling a laugh]: "Tee Tee Bee Bee?"
Boy, age 5: [looking out the window very thoughtfully] "I think it's a good name for a yellow bird."
Me: [a chuckle escapes] "You're right."

Tonight I am babysitting again, but there will be no babies under 12-months-old, so hopefully when 8PM strikes things won't spiral out of control. I'm sure it will be fine, seeing as I've never been around these girls when they've been anything less cute and fun.

Wait a Minute...

OY VEY! The last few weeks have flown by! I won't bore you with the details. There are lots of them.

Anyway, I'm so far behind in posting that I still haven't mentioned anything about Aquatennial week. I know I've mentioned how I love the Ten Best Days of Summer before, and this year was no exception. I didn't go to as many events as I normally like to, but I did catch a few.

Once again, I was able to watch my cousin in the tennis tournament downtown. SUCH an awesome atmosphere, and SUCH awesome tennis. He ended up losing in the finals to a great player who has been touring in Europe for two years. It was by far the best tennis I have ever seen live, and very exciting, too: the first set went to a tie-breaker (and one of the games in that set had over 20 lie!)

Thanks to the long-lost days when I was a "local queen", I've been to almost every single Aqua event...except the Torchlight 5K. I've seen it happening as I've waited for the parade, but I've never participated. This year I tried to get a group together to do the run, but it ended up being just me and one other friend. IT WAS A BLAST! We both rode a Minneapolis city bus for the first time ever, ran the race on a beautiful night, and laughed a lot. I think I'd like to do it again next year.

I also thought about going to the fireworks (since they are the best fireworks ever!) but I ended up staying home and going to bed early. Can't really remember why, other than it must have been a crazy week and I had reached my breaking point. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Story of the Day

"I held out my hands & asked where I could help & somebody grabbed me & pointed me towards the future & said, You've got your work cut out for you & I said, isn't there anything easier? & he laughed & said you could dig around in the past, but it's just busywork & that made perfect sense so I shrugged & started right where I was, along with everyone else"