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Books Read January 2010

  1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (Kindle)  The first book in the Dresden series.  This is a reread for me.  Probably the 3rd or 4th time I have read it (I’m rereading the entire series in anticipation of the newest book release in April).  Harry Dresden is the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country.
  2. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Kindle)  The second book in the Dresden series.  Business is slow when Harry gets a call about a strange murder on a full moon with unusual paw prints next to the body.
  3. Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn (Kindle)  Kitty the werewolf DJ goes on a reality TV show with other supernatural creatures (vampires, psychics), only things are not exactly what they seem.  Book 7 in the Kitty Norville series.
  4. Demon Bound by Caitlin Kittredge (Kindle)  Thirteen years ago Jack Winter made a bargain with a demon to save his life.  Now its time to pay up.  Second in the series of Black London.
  5. Bite Marks by Jennifer Rardin (kindle)  Jaz Parks book 6.  Another vampire-centric supernatural book.  Demons and gnomes and Jaz is hearing voices in her head.
  6. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs (kindle)  Mercy is a skinwalker with some interesting talents.  Mercy needs to get out of town to avoid some vampire problems, so she goes to help an old friend with a ghost problem and runs into new problems.  This is 4th in the Mercedes Thompson series.  Another reread for me.
  7. Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor (kindle)  This was free on the Kindle.  Caledonia is offered in marriage to the infamous Lord Sin.  Romance historical fluff novel.
  8. Gypsy Legacy by Denise Patrick (kindle)  Another free book on the Kindle.  A son comes back to inherit his ancestral home only to find out his father has added some provisions on to the will requiring he marry his gypsy stepsister.
  9. A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris A collection of the previously published short stories featuring Sookie Stackhouse.  I had already read all of these except for one, but it’s nice to have the stories all in one location.
  10. Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris The 4th and final book in the Harper Connelly series.  Harper finds the dead after being struck by lightening.  This book ties up all the loose ends, Harper finally finds the person she has been looking for since her teens.
  11. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (kindle)  3rd book in the Dresden series.  A literal Nightmare is on the loose and is after Harry and his friends.
  12. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher (kindle)  4th in the Dresden series.  Harry gets caught up in the affairs of the Faerie.
  13. Death Masks by Jim Butcher (kindle)  5th in the Dresden series.  Harry has a duel with a red vampire and must save a religious artifact before demons use it to spread a plague.
  14. His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls (kindle)  Free on Kindle.  Romance novel.
  15. The Bride’s Baby by Liz Fielding (kindle)  Free on Kindle.  Romance novel.
  16. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (kindle)  6th in the Dresden series.  Harry helps out his white vampire friend Thomas and finds family.
  17. Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child (kindle) Free on Kindle.  Romance novel.  Typical star crossed lovers come back together once he discovers he’s the father of her infant twins.  She forgives him all the crap he put her through.  Yadda yadda yadda.
  18. Homespun Bride by Jilian Hart (kindle)  Another freebie on kindle.  Historical romance about a woman whose life has gone wrong, her parents die in an accident, she loses her sight in the same accident, then her fiance leaves her for being damaged goods.  Her life turns around when a childhood sweetheart comes back into her life.
  19. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf (kindle)  Free Again!  About a witch and a vampire who become romantically involved.

New Year’s Goals revisited–January

How are you doing with your goals for the New Year?  I think I’m doing alright so far.  But it’s always easy to keep them up for the first month, it’s making them a permanent part of life that’s difficult.

Exercise:  I’ve managed to get a little exercise most days.  My goal has been to do a workout on the elliptical three days a week.  Some weeks its been more, and some less, but I’ve managed to get my lazy butt moving more.  I usually do a 30 minute resistance and pace program on the elliptical.  The program keeps my from getting bored and it’s more of a challenge in a shorter period of time.  The problem I have is when do I do the exercising.  I leave the house at 10 to 7 most days and don’t get home to close to 6.  So it can be hard to find the time and energy to workout.  I would love to get in the habit of waking up earlier and exercising first thing in the morning.  But that requires waking up at about 5:20 in the morning and I am not a morning person.  NOT a morning person (yes it needs repeating).  I’ve tried it and it went ok, just cannot see it being a regular thing.

Eating:  I’ve done ok with this.  Not perfect, but better than previously.  Less fast food and more vegetables.  I’m feeling pretty good about this.  I know I can do better, but I’ve got a good start.

Writing:  Although I haven’t blogged a ton, I have been writing in my paper journal more.  I don’t have a lot of time at the computer so I’ve found that actually sitting down with a pen and paper works best for me.  Then if I want to blog something, I just type it on up.

Crafting:  I’ve been trying to knit, at minimum, a line or two every week day.  Sometimes I cannot get it done or I just don’t feel like it.  But I have been doing it more.  I went with my sister for a scrapbook night once this month too.  I think it would be nice to make it a goal to try to go once a month.

New goal:  Take more pictures!  I had to actually dig my camera out from under a pile of crap to even attempt this!

Oh Kindle. I want to have your babies. Lots of them.

My most favorite gift this Christmas was a kindle.  Yes, I know.  I was shocked and totally freaking excited in a way that was sorta scary.  I had put it on my Christmas list as a sort of dream gift, never actually expecting to receive it.  I know this year, more so than other years, was hard money-wise for my family.  Yeah, just like the rest of the world lately.  But huge surprise my sister decided to buy it for me.  I have to admit that I did not really have a preference as to a Kindle over nook.  But I knew the nook was backordered and has less books currently available, so I am extremely happy to have gotten a Kindle.  (but yeah I probably would have loved nook just as much).

I read a lot.  Like tons.  I love having the ability to buy a new book whenever I want.  I love the sample chapters so I can read a bit to decide whether I want to spend my money on that book.  I love that there are many free books available.  Yup, you can get books from places other than Amazon as well.  The dictionary feature is superb.  I find myself looking up words all the time.  Sometimes just to check that the word means what I think it means.

I have a basic black leather case on it.  It has the hinge action to keep the kindle in it.  I don’t really love that feature.  It just doesn’t hold it in very securely.  I wish I had bought a cover that closed with a zipper.  But I don’t have plans to buy a new one yet.  Can’t I’m spending all my money on books!  I also would like to buy a skin for it one of these days.  There are all kinds of cool skins at Decalgirl that I would love to have.  Problem is I just cannot make up my mind on what I want!

more cookin stuff

Greek Salad Pita Sandwiches:  another epicurious recipe I recently tried.  Another winner!  Some changes I made, I left the seeds in the tomatoes and the cucumber.  I left out the green bell pepper.  Used Italian Cheese mix instead of the feta (don’t care for feta).  And then I added the wonderful red pepper mayonnaise (in my last post).  These are very good.  I just kinda eyeballed the amounts to use because I was just making this for myself and not for a group.  I thought it was delicious and very satisfying.  I know it would be more healthy without the mayonnaise, but I really loved that darn mayonnaise!  I could see this being good with some hummus spread on too.  I thought this was a pretty filling pita, wasn’t sure how filling it would be without meat, but it was gooooooood.

The final new recipe that I’ve tried was Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas.  I really love Gnocchi, but I typically order them from a good take out restaurant in town.  This was the first time I’ve cooked with Gnocchi (even though I didn’t make the actual Gnocchi).  This recipe was quick and easy to make.  Didn’t take much in the way of skills to make this.  I think it was good, but not outstanding.  The Gnocchi were easy to cook and they tasted great.  I think the sauce just seemed rather bland to me.  I think if I were to make this again that I would add more garlic and maybe more of the red-pepper flakes.  Also some plain black pepper.  I think I want to try maybe a vodka cream sauce with gnocchi next.

If anyone has any recipes to recommend let me know!

Cookin’ and Eatin’

Eating better is one of my goals for this year.  The past year included too much fast food and fried comfort foods.  It was definitely lacking in the fruits and veggies.  I’ve decided I need to expand my repertoire of recipes too.  When I want to find a new recipe to try I go to Epicurious.  I’ll either search by the type of dish I want or by the ingredient I want to use.  I usually go for a recipe that has a high rating and I’ll read through the comments for suggestions or changes to make.

This past week I made the Portobello burgers with Red Pepper Mayonnaise.  Absolutely delicious!  This recipe is a keeper.  The red pepper mayonnaise is divine and delicious on a variety of things.  I changed the recipe and used buns (cannot remember what they are called?), used no vinegar, and used my regular Hellman’s mayonnaise.  I also served with tomato and spinach on the sandwich.  Even my brother (a huge carnivore) loved these.  These will be made again and again and again!

With the burgers I made a three bean salad.  I adjusted the recipe to use parsley instead of cilantro and chili pepper instead of cumin (couldn’t find any in the store?) and I left out the black eyed peas.  This is a dish that benefits from being made ahead of time and letting the flavors marinate.  I really enjoyed the mixture of veggies in this, a very fresh and crisp dish.  I am not sure I enjoyed the seasonings in this.  I need to try to make it with the cumin and then decide.  I used the chili as it was a recommendation as a substitute for cumin on allrecipes.

Another new year, another new post

I didn’t realize that it had been so long since I wrote in this blog.  I guess I am just not cut out for this blogging stuff.  But, let’s give it another shot, ok?

Goodbye 2009, you were the worst year of my life.  So many bad things happened; I wish I could erase you from my memories.  I hate sounding so negative all the time.  I do enjoy my life and the good times I have.  But there is no denying that the last year was a no good, horrible, awful year.

I haven’t written in a really long time.  The main thing is/was that things were so very horrible I did not want to dwell on them.  Or even think too much about everything that was happening.  I admit that I lost myself in all the horrible crap that happened in 2009.  I stopped doing a lot of the things that I enjoyed, I didn’t knit or crochet, hardly scrapbooked.  Pretty much the only thing I kept doing was reading and I continued doing that because I have always been able to lose myself in a good book.

November 2, 2009 after a horrible year of fighting against CNS Lymphoma my wonderful mother died.  I know I will never be the same.

mom's high school graduation picture

I don’t think I’m ready to put into words everything that I am feeling and all the emotions I am dealing with.  I would like to say that if anyone is dealing with Central Nervous System Lymphoma or knows someone who is affected by this disease, please, feel free to contact me.

2010 is going to be the year where I put myself and my happiness first.  2009 I spent so much time trying to take care of everyone else that I have forgotten to take care of myself.  This year I turn 30 and I would like to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually happier that I was in 2009.  I need to get back to caring for and about myself.  I need to eat healthier, exercise more, and sleep better.  I want to craft more.  I want to write more whether that is in a public forum or a private journal.  I don’t think of these things so much as New Year’s Resolutions, but as a new outlook on life.

mom and me 2006

More of the same.

My New Year resolution: “to better my life”. Vague, yes? It’s done on purpose. I just want my life to improve, in whatever way it can. Let’s just hope that 2009 is better in some way then 2008 was.

I have a few crafty projects to show off and of course the camera is currently down for the count. I have a new hat, scarf, and mostly completed vest. Oh, wait, it’s been so long since I took pictures of my projects, I also have a cowl and another hat too. I haven’t even been keeping up with my ravelry page.

I got a new baby nephew for Christmas. I call him Baby J. Because I don’t really care too much for his actual given name. Or I call him JC (for Jesus Christ and JC are his initials). He’s a pretty big guy (born at 9 lbs 9 ounces). He looks more like a 3 month old then a newborn.

Last time I wrote Mom was doing pretty well. I should have knocked on wood. The last chemo was really hard on mom. In December she spent half the month in the hospital. She spent a week in the hospital for the chemo. Then she was out less then 48 hours when she had a big seizure. It was scary as all hell. My dad came running to get me. We had to call 911 and they took her away on an ambulance. She wasn’t coming out of the seizure very well. Her vital statistics were crazy and she while she was opening her eyes; she just wasn’t “there”. So she spent her birthday and another week in the hospital. They decided that maybe her brain was still experiencing some swelling, or maybe it was the chemo, or the radiation, that caused the seizure. Because of the seizure the docs decided to put her on a much higher dosage of steroids and anti-seizure medicine. Well the steroids at high dosage actually deteriorate thigh muscles. The seizure meds have a side effect of loss of coordination. I am sure you can imagine the fun we have been having. Mom was having trouble walking and moving around already, and now things have gotten a hell of a lot worse. On top of these lovely effects, the steroids have been making mom’s blood sugar go crazy. We’ve now got the fun of insulin shots 4 times a day. Mom hasn’t had a chemo treatment since the beginning of Dec. because the doctors said she was too weak and wanted to give her some time to build up her strength (ha!). Last night I was woken up at a quarter to 4 because mom couldn’t get up. She was in the basement and had been sleeping on the couch and went to get up and just couldn’t. She crawled to the stairs and banged on the wall until I got up. Then I was able to get my dad to help her. It’s hard for me to admit, but I only weigh 100 pounds and mom weighs 50 pounds more, there are times when I just cannot help her. My dad was trying to help her up when he dropped her and knocked her head into the wall (today there is a bruise on the side of her face and lump on the back of her head). Luckily we woke my brother up and he’s a strong guy and was able to help as well.

I am not even going to go into the fun of Christmas and the stress that was. Let’s just say I got to do all the Christmas shopping for my parents, clean the entire house for 50 people to come over, and care for mom and my 1 year old niece (I had her while my sister was in the hospital giving birth to Baby J) at the same time.

I know, I am a whining complaining bitch. Ah well…