Thursday, July 31, 2008

Photo A Day 31

I dunno which one should be the photo for the day. You decide! Which family photo do you think deserves the honor of being put in an album?
Photo A:or

Photo B:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photo A Day 30

This is the corner of the gym where I spend the most time ... on the bike, elliptical trainer, or the weight machines.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo A Day 29

This is my good friend, Mele. I've known her since about 1991, when we both lived in downstate Illinois & we now live 2 doors down from her! It's funny, the twists & turns life takes, isn't it?? We get together for lunch every 2 weeks, like clockwork, and it's always awesome to catch up!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Photo A Day 28

Here's the stack of paperwork I get to tackle after work tonight! Just a regular part of my routine...but it always feels so good to have my desk cleared off!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Photo A Day 27

We went to the Renaissance Festival today. Kevin had way more fun than he thought he would, using water torture on Jake. *grin* Jake liked it, too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo A Day 26

My nephew, Jake, is in town from AZ. I took him down to our local park, where he played on the equipment & before long was saying, "Hey, get my picture!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Photo A Day 25

This is Mohammed. He's my regular postal clerk. Well, at least when Earl is not working. Or Randi. They all know me pretty well. I bring them cookies at Christmas time. I am also well known for saying their spiel before they do. You know, "This package contains nothing liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous. I do not need delivery confirmation, signature confirmation, proof of delivery or insurance. I also do not need any packaging products, sports memorability, passport application or photo, teddy bears, or commemorative stamps." They crack a smile every time I do it. I told him I was taking many photos today, to document my day, but that this one would be on my blog for certain. He said he was cool with it, so here he is!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photo A Day 24

My mom-in-law invited us over for dinner. She always sets a beautiful table, but check this out ... even her clothes are color coordinated with the place setting, the food, and beverage! Talk about a classy lady!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photo A Day 23

This is a common view for me. It's a picture from the interior of my car, as I am stopped at the train tracks, waiting for a freight train to pass!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photo A Day 22

Marketing at its finest ... our Domino's Pizza, "cloaked" in pepperoni, complete with a Dark Knight commemorative box. I just thought this was too funny. (Oh, and the "sweat" from the pizza box left grey droplets all over our white countertop. It cleaned up okay, but I think someone didn't test that aspect of the box very well!)

Take 2 minutes and have a giggle

Just remember: Before you hit play, hit pause on the playlist on the right sidebar of the blog. (and this is totally worksafe, but does require sound)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Photo A Day 21

You're probably asking yourself, "Uh..okay...what is this a picture of, exactly?" It's how the upstairs hallway works when my efficient cleaning lady is at work. I had always thought of a cleaning lady as a huge splurge ... but when I figured out that she can do in 3 hours what would take me 2 days (and lots of complaining ... and knee pain & back pain, to boot), I decided we were worth the splurge. So, now I look forward to her coming every couple of weeks!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Photo A Day 20

It was nice & sunny today, for a brief span, so we said "Carpe Diem!" and raced over to the Arboretum to soak up some beautifully green expanses!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Photo A Day 19

Today it wasn't the heat that was a problem, it was the humidity, or more accurately, the dewpoint, I suppose. I think the dewpoint was 70 ... and the temperature was 71, and there were no breezes whatsoever. It made for some seriously sweaty training at the Chicago Swordplay Guild ... I wish you could make out just how sweatsoaked my hair is ... or how much sweat is on my face, but you'll just have to take my word for it. I just wanted Pete to take my picture quickly so I could get into my air-conditioned car ... and get home to shower!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Photo A Day 18

Our Rose of Sharon out front has a single flower on it ... all the rest of the branches just have buds, but somehow, this one flower has bloomed, all by its lonesome. So, I thought I'd celebrate the early bloomer!


Making Memories has this new line coming out, called Spellbound, and I think it's just very cool! I'd love to win my very own set of this stuff, 'cause I'm already dreaming up ideas for our Halloween party -- I'd be able to make some wicked invitations, spooky party favors, and then make ghoulish pages about it afterwards!!!!! How spooktacular would THAT be?

Those tiny-alpha stickers are just perfect. Heck, I might even use them on a Haunted Mansion page for our Disney World trip. And those clear glitter stickers? They'd dress up all kinds of things on my table for the Halloween party! And the bat brads are just too fun! I would live to use those on some cards for my relatives, too! Oh, I hope they pick me! I'd make such good use of this stuff, in so many ways! *grin*

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photo A Day 17

These are my two friends, Jason & Todd. They came over tonight to do a practice run of A Game Of Thrones, a game Todd's running at GenCon next month. They are very rarely this serious ... and the photo is truly funny, because Jason's about as tall as I am ... and I believe Todd's a few inches over six feet, but they staged it so it looks like Jason's taller!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Photo A Day 16

Our side yard is in complete shade all day, so we've got several hostas (now in bloom!), vinca, bleeding hearts, coral bells ... little by little, we improve it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photo A Day 15

It's great having friends next door. We can invite them over on a whim & keep them here with promises of ice cream & a viewing of Burn Notice. *grin*

Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have to say I found this book an easy read & thoroughly engrossing. It moved along at a rapid pace, and the author did a fabulous job of portraying some in-depth characters. Again, another book I would not typically have selected on my own, but a quite enjoyable read. It was also a fascinating and (as far as I know having visited The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL and having watched Tod Browning's Freaks) accurate portrayal of circus life in the 20's and 30s' in the US.

View all my reviews.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Photo A Day 14

My sweetie grilling us some ginger-lime shrimp!

Photo A Day 13

Yesterday, we spent the whole day in our jammies, with no contact from the outside world, and no computers! So, we did a lot of reading, chatting, baking, cooking, watching TV shows we'd recorded, and just plain hanging out!

Review: The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.) The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book has deepened my respect for the development of the English dictionary. It had not registered what a monumental undertaking it was, spanning about 4 decades. And this element of the story was truly fascinating: how events unfolded so that an American Civil War surgeon, imprisoned in a British insane asylum, would contribute so massively to the overall work. I think anyone who appreciates the process of research, the era of the latter half of the 19th century, or who has a love of words, would appreciate this book!

View all my reviews.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Photo A Day 12

We went to the farmers' market with $33 in our pockets. We left with 5 cents. We bought 2 ears of corn for $1. We bought some delicate white potatoes for $1.50. And we bought this 10 pound box of blueberries for $30. That's right. $30. When you consider it holds 12 pints, and most pints are selling for 4 or 5 dollars, we made a killing. We'll eat a bunch of them by the handful over the next few days ... some will no doubt get turned into baked goods & the rest, well, they'll be frozen & pulled out in the depth of winter. Oh, yeah. Yummy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photo A Day 11

This is our 3rd cat, Comet. He's the only boy of our trio, and he's the youngest. He is also, as his name suggests, moving. It's very hard to get a clear picture of him, with his dark grey fur & constant motion, but today, as he woke up from a cat nap, I snapped a half-way decent picture of him!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo A Day 10

My sweetie decided to make his new signature pasta sauce. We kind of threw a sauce together a couple of weeks ago & loved it so much, we actually made note of what went into it, so we could replicate it. Now we can freeze some of it & have some on hand for a later date. WOOT!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Photo A Day 09

For dinner tonight, I made a "southwestern confetti salad" from a recipe by Cooking Light. Can you say YUMMY and HEALTHY???

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Books you can't live without

This is so cool and I found it on Chiara's Blog(she got it from Kel's Blog) and I thought it was cool so I figured I would share it with you all. I'm not sure where the original claim about the 6 books came from, as Chiara found Googling only brings up more blogs that have completed the list, but the original list came from here. Still fun though... Read on and then get listing!

“The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.”

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Underline the books you LOVE.

4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.

5) Gray out those you are unfamiliar with.

6) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

1 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations Charles Dickens

11 Little Women Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the d'Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

13 Catch-22 Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare William Shakespeare

15 Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis

34 Emma Jane Austen

35 Persuasion Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de Bernières

39 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh AA Milne

41 Animal Farm George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney John Irving

45 The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies William Golding

50 Atonement Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi Yann Martel

52 Dune Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

62 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones's Diary Helen Fielding

69 Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist Charles Dickens

72 Dracula Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte's Web EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory Iain Banks

94 Watership Down Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

100 Les Misérables Victor Hugo

Photo A Day 08

I joined my friend Chris, back in May 2004, at the cat shelter & we've been scooping poop, sanitizing cages, "socializing" (a.k.a. Playing With) cats, and dishing out food & water ever since. Today was our last day, so I decided to commemorate it with a photo!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Photo A Day 07

Ah, the life of a cat, dozing in the front window.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Review: What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat

What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat by Louise Richardson

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was actually highly impressed with this book, and that's strong praise considering it's one that typically I would not seek out. I would have to say my understanding of terrorism has expanded by a factor of 5, thanks to this book, both from a psychological and a political perspective. I found it a thoughtful read, and noticed, in the wake of reading it, that much of the world's news makes even more sense to me. I wish I had better words to describe my reaction, but this type of book is so far outside my typical arena, thoughts fail me. If you have an opportunity to borrow a copy of this book, I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting a better insight into how terrorists operate, why various nations struggle to contain them, and what we can do to limit the effectiveness of terrorism as a tactic.

View all my reviews.

Photo A Day 06

I just love this picture. The last time we visited my aunt & uncle, she made us caramel corn & although she sent us the recipe afterwards, we were both feeling like we needed some hands-on instruction. So, today, just an hour before we left for the airport, she walked us through how to make it. We packed up 2/3rds of the batch & brought it home!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Photo A Day 05

When we visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art with my aunt, uncle, and cousin, my aunt wanted me to see this Roman statue, saying "it looks just like grandma"! She wasn't kidding. The facial structure & large ears are totally her!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Photo A Day 04

July 4th we were cruising up the Mississippi River! I thought I'd use this shot to remind us it was Independence Day ... and that we got to boat on the Ole Miss!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photo A Day 03

All I can ask is: when was the last time you were allowed inside the cockpit of a DC-9 commercial aircraft?! The cockpit was open when we boarded our flight to Minneapolis, and I commented to my sweetie that I really wish I could take a photo, but I didn't want to freak out the flight crew. They're so touchy these days, what with heightened security and all. When we deplaned, though, I had my point-and-shoot camera ready & dared to ask if I could take a photo. The co-pilot said, "Sure." Then, he said, "Hey, why don't you get in the picture. Just climb on in." So I did! Just too too awesome, if you ask me. I feel like putting on my old Ozark, metal pilot's wings.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Photo A Day 02

One of our kitties obligingly posed for this photo, quite curious as to what I was doing perching the camera on the back of a chair, pointed right at her. Miraculously, she hardly moved during the 2.8 seconds of shutter time!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Photo A Day 01

I'm playing along with several friends over at House of Paper & taking a photo a day, every day in July! Here's today's photo:That's right...a tomato. I am working very hard to keep our lone tomato plant alive. With luck, we'll have a few tomatoes. *grin* I don't even like tomatoes, mind you, but my sweetie adores them. And if we wind up with more than he can handle, I can always turn tomatoes into something else that is palatable. Like tomato sauce. Or ketchup.