Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Time to Light the Lights!


Ooooh, blog titles with DOUBLE MEANINGS! A combination of a line from "The Muppet Show" theme song up next to the plan I have to put up the Christmas decorations today! I am a clever girl!

So why Barry, Kermit and Shaun? My brother awesomely volunteered to take these albums and digitize them for me! None of the three are available on iTunes (or anywhere else I'm aware of) digitally. The only trouble is he has to listen to each album as it plays so he got to "enjoy" TWO of my old Shaun Cassidy albums ("Born Late" is the other one). I haven't listened to these for about 30 years myself. And as Lady Chardonnay points out, "Other than 'That's Rock and Roll' and 'Hey Deanie' I don't remember a single other song." There's also "Da Doo Run Run" but that's it. Still, I remember listening to these albums with much fondness so it will surely be a nice addition to the old iPod.

The Muppet album is another gem I've missed. Looking forward to that one! And for some reason, that particular Barry Manilow album --- "Barry" --- has never been released on CD or digitally. Does Barry hate it for some reason? It's got some lovely songs if I recall, including a cute duet with Lily Tomlin making fun of the other popular duet songs of the day (Barbra & Neil, Barbra & Barry Gibb, Barbra & Donna, Lionel & Diana).

All of the Christmas stuff is downstairs waiting for me to get the decorating done. I bought a new tree which is small (4.5 feet tall) yet ample to place presents around. In preparation for putting up our tiny tree, I made CPA Boy and The Boy help me clean out and rearrange the garage (they had to DVR the Raiders game for later: what good guys to make Momma happy!). We went through the decorations and pared down a lot. Last year we didn't even have a tree so it had been 2 years since I've seen the ornaments.

Our front yard is huge and would be ripe for extreme decorating but after decades in apartments or houses which were not visible from the street we never got into outdoor decorating. And now it just seems like too much work! But I do have red and white ribbon to wrap around the 4 trees in front to make them look like candy canes so that's a small step...as long as the ribbon doesn't leach out color and all the ribbons look white and pink instead. Festive either way!

In dieting news, I was very good over Thanksgiving, having a plateful of dinner on Thursday and Friday with no second helpings. Even so I was uncomfortable on Thursday night, feeling stuffed to the gills but I also drank TWO Diet Cokes so I assume that didn't help matters. I ate no pumpkin pie but on Friday I DID eat the last Mrs. Field's cookie from the guys trip to Fairfield and Chick-Fil-A Wednesday. I was completely satisfied by my plateful of food which was comprised by a spoonful of each item and minimal gravy. I really am used to eating less overall.

I weigh myself about once or twice a week and nothing has changed for WEEKS! I have been exactly the same weight for weeks, I tell you! Then, on Sunday morning, movement! In the right direction too. I was suddenly down by 5 pounds! A miracle! And I weighed this morning again to see if it was a fluke and it wasn't! That means I've lost a total of 15 pounds and NOT ONE IOTA OF DIFFERENCE is actually apparent to me. I'll need to take stock of my wedding ring fit later: it had been getting snug this year. I don't wear it around the house, mainly because it was snug, so maybe it will fit better again and I can go back to wearing it all the time.

It has been very difficult to have cut down what I've been eating and then not show any weight loss whatsoever! (Actually, now it's not difficult at all because I'm used to it and also able to say 'no' to several former staples of my diet! Except for an occasional cupcake!) But maybe it takes metabolism a while to catch up? Like my metabolism thinks, "Okay, she's eating less food, trying to starve me, so I better hold on tight to everything." Weeks pass and now it's thinking, "She's still eating less but we are surviving just fine so maybe I can ease up on a few fat cells after all."

Christmas decorating awaits!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No one told us ANY of this!


So my eyebrows have always been a little more "Brooke Shields" or even "Audrey Hepburn" than "Edith Piaf" or "Greta Garbo" and I have never been one to pluck them (or use an eyelash curler --- I think it may be a latent phobia --- those gizmos freak me out and I have never owned one). I think this stems from the way in which I rebelled as a teen.

I was never a drinker nor did I ever try any kind of drugs. (When I was about 19 my acne medication made me kind of high: I felt like I was floating as I lay on my bed. My doctor told me to halve the dose and all was well.) I never wore trampy clothes nor did I run around with a "fast" crowd in high school or college. Instead I refused to wear makeup. THAT'LL show my mother! Did I mention the acne I had starting in high school and WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?


Anyway, back to my eyebrow story. My mom was a child of the 1940s and 1950s. She had attended modeling school and learned how to do her makeup according to the standards of those times. Among other things, this pretty much meant plucking out ALL of one's eyebrows and drawing them in again with eyebrow pencil. My mother's eyebrows never did grow back except sparsely and every day for the rest of her life she had to draw them back on.

I am very surprised that my mother never held me down and plucked my eyebrows. I am pretty sure she wanted to since she used to slap makeup on me for all occasions she could manage. Her makeup was Max Factor pancake, another thing she used all her life. When I finally started wearing makeup (about age 19 or so) I also used pancake makeup. As a child of the 1970s, however, this was NOT the right thing to use, but it was all I knew! By the time the 1980s rolled in with its big hair and bigger makeup I missed that train too. My hair stayed small and my makeup routine stayed 1950s.

I never did anything to my eyebrows though. They were thick and dark and natural. I liked them, probably because I knew my mother did not. SUCH a rebel was I. About 5 or 6 years ago I did have them "shaped" which is basically waxing off the stray hairs above and below the main section but I only did it that one time.

Here's what no one ever tells you: your eyebrows go gray too! (Intellectually I knew this but now that it's happening to me at a fast and furious pace I am shocked, SHOCKED!) Oh, and they also grow more wildly than ever. I have a few that are super long and need to be trimmed. I have so many more strays over and under the natural arch that I think my eyebrows will start to look like the late Andy Rooney's. And the gray ones! (Actually, mine are white.) They stick up and out just begging me to pluck them! So I do but this is a no-win scenario as they will ALL turn white and then I'll be eyebrow bald.

So it looks like I will need to resort to an eyebrow pencil after all. Blech. I hate shopping for makeup.

Sigh. I guess older women DO tell us these things but we, in our perky-breasted glory, think, "Naah, that'll never happen to ME." And years later there we are, looking for a bra with way more support.

And don't even get me started on the chin hairs. Guh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

...Sometimes you don't...

Last night I ate a Mounds Bar. I haven't been eating sweets lately (not really counting the dark chocolate-covered edamame or cherries because the chocolate is so bitter to me that I can't really eat them for real ENJOYMENT, ya know?) and the Mounds tasted really good. I have found, however, that whenever I eat something rich it makes my stomach feel kinda, dare I say, queasy. Just a little bit though. But that little bit is enough to keep me from chowing down on large quantities of rich foods.

In the most educational novel I read in high school, Scruples, the heroine Billie starts out chubby. While staying in Paris she slims down. Later in the book another character who struggles with her weight, Dolly, is talking to her and Billie says not eating chocolate is easy for her because it is the color of poo. So she just imagines that it IS poo and she can easily refrain from eating it. I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS. But give me a hint of a stomach cramp and it's a little easier to avoid it!

I think the other thing that has helped is that I DON'T SNACK. Before September I would go through candy bars, cookies and so forth quite often. I would shop at Cost Plus for the usual stocking stuffer treats for CPA Boy and The Boy and I would also buy a bunch for myself. Then I'd eat them all before Christmas. This year I only bought a package of Toffifay because I really like the hazelnut/chocolate combo. That was it! I am impressed with my fortitude!

And yet, I lose no weight. But I am sure my pancreas thanks me for giving it a rest from all the sugar/carbs I was taking in. I am still hopeful that my metabolism will kick in at some point and start spewing out the pounds!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I was going to prepare some foods today but there is no room in the refrigerator for anything. But once the turkey is in the oven I can get it all done. For right now I am totally Scarlett O'Hara-ing: I'll think about it tomorrow. But I am looking forward to yummy turkey. And my pop will be coming over to eat with us so he can pass judgement on how well I follow his stuffing recipe!

And it was a good week for girlfriends! I had a great chat with my sis-in-law, Francine Bear; made plans for Saturday with CPA Michelle; and had TWO phone calls with my best friend of all, Lady Chardonnay!! Granted, we called each other because each of us reached a low ebb this week but we still had some laughs. For whatever reason (mainly a bad habit from the days when long distance phone calls were out of our budgets and a 3 hour time difference doesn't help either!) we just don't talk much on the phone. We e-mail usually, and lately I think our respective blogs are actually smoke signal communications to each other even though other people read these blogs too. Which really works because now I feel like I really know what's going on daily in her life and she knows what's happening in mine. Cool, right?

I bought a new Christmas tree yesterday. It's tiny, only 4.5 feet tall. We just wanted something to decorate that doesn't entail the rearrangement of an entire room. I will need to purge some ornaments though. That's next week's task.

I watched "Never Let Me Go" and it was a fine adaptation of the book. I have recorded "Inception" and "Ocean's Eleven" (trying to make up a bit on my fundamental George Clooney deficiency but I will really need to be in the mood to follow through and watch it). I also have "Ship of Fools" on the DVR but it always seems to be a movie that I record, don't watch and then delete...until the next time it's on! I like Vivien Leigh though and would like to watch the movie eventually!

Happy Turkey Day!




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Random Comments


Last night I made it through TWO movies which was cool. I finished "Let Me In" which was a little slow, but interesting. I read the book last month and had made thought about 15 minutes worth of the film over the past week while dinner was cooking. Then I started "Up in the Air" which I really liked. It's odd but I don't think I've ever seen any other George Clooney movie. I just ran down the list in IMDb and the only exception was his voice work in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut". I just don't get to the movies very often. One of my current goals is to see more movies at the theater. We'll see.

I am recording "Never Let Me Go" this week. I read that book too earlier this year. And "Gidget" is still on the ole DVR, so I hope to get to that soon too. It is stunning how much I know about movies yet how few I've really seen!

I got a few things purchased for Christmas today. And CPA Boy and I went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving stuff. Raley's is never super busy so it wasn't bad for a early afternoon Sunday. I'm sure Safeway was packed; it always is. That's why I don't like shopping there!

Here's a weird thing I like to do while I'm watching TV: I fold paper. I will take a stray magazine subscription card and then accordian-fold it. Once it's folded I just play with it for a few days and then I start tearing it into little pieces. Then I throw that away and start again. I really like doing something with my hands while I'm watching TV. Like I said, weird. Anyway, I bought a package of origami paper because it's IN A PERFECT SQUARE already. And the colors in the package are fun. I only know how to make 2 actual things with origami: a balloon or a cup. I can also make a fortune teller thingie. I guess I could learn more origami patterns and actually use them to decorate bu then the tearing-paper-to-bits part would be missing!

Last night I finished a book too: TTYL. It was cute and I will definitely read the next 2 books in the series. TTYL is more for a high school audience while The Mother-Daughter Book Club seemed to be aimed more towards the tweens. That series continues so I am interested to see whether the reading level will increase once the girls reach high school age.

I really must get bored easily when it comes to book types. I find that I really must vary the genres of books I read because there is a certain sameness to each category. For example, in the junior high/high school girl (and college-age girls too, I think) stories, there are 2, 3 or 4 best friends (is it ever MORE than 4?? I can think only of The Group as an exception), they are introduced and a story is told over the course of the school year. Problems arise, they are overcome and the cycle begins anew in the next book of the series (even Harry Potter books follow this basic format).

Mysteries are the same way. And romances. And almost every kind of fiction! I have to vary what I read so each type of book seems fresh when I pick up the next!

The other thing I do when I read the junior high/high school/college books is decide which character I relate to best and which character suits my best friend, Lady Chardonnay. It's almost never a perfect match (not until she and I get around to writing our Chastity Castle series!) but there is almost always a reasonable approximation or a combination of one or two characters' traits.

I always find it odd when a group of 3 or 4 girlfriends all profess their "best friendedness" with each and every other main character. In my life I have always known it to be a group of friends but the dynamics generally favored PAIRS of girls who were the actual "best friends". In high school this was always rotating so that my BEST friend in our group of 7 always changed from year to year. This makes sense because your interests are generally in constant flux in high school. And the "boy craziness" stage never seems to arise in every high school girl at the same time so there is always maneuvering among a large group (it's hard to be best friends when you BOTH have crushes on the same fella!).  In college, almost immediately, it was me and Lady Chardonnay who were true blue BFFs although we had other close friends who rotated in and out over the years. NEVER were we best friends with every single girl in our circle of friends. I guess this makes sense too in that we know a bit more where we stand in our taste in guys. It's ALWAYS a good thing if you and your BF like different types of men! Lady C and I RARELY overlapped here!

In other important news, the inexpensive space heater I bought is keeping my office so toasty warm! Yay, no frozen-on-the-keyboard fingers this winter!!!

UPDATE: I watched "Gidget" tonight and I think it might be the kind of movie you love only if you see it for the first time as a kid! Sandra Dee looks anorexic (I think she actually was at the time and her shoulder blades are QUITE prominent!) and she must have looped ALL her dialogue because it's so obviously dubbed, even the indoor scenes. And her scenes with Cliff Robertson are kinda creepy because he is so much older than she is (he looks a mature 35-ish and she looks 14-ish). Oh well. I doubt all the "beach" movies I watched when I was a kid would be as enjoyable to me now. At least Annette and Frankie look the same age!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aaaarrrggghhhhh!!!


Yesterday was not a good day.

I got some tasks done: organizing kitchen cabinets, coloring my hair, doing CPA Boy's laundry, and other things I am forgetting about right now.

But still so much to do: shop for Thanksgiving groceries. I HATE grocery shopping but I am looking forward to eating a Thanksgiving dinner I'VE cooked. I actually put together a pretty good meal, simple though it is. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing (Dad's FABULOUS recipe!), glazed carrots, cranberry sauce: this is all I need to make me happy. CPA Boy will make the pumpkin pies and candied yams, neither of which I plan to eat. I do not care for yams. I don't know why. They are actually kind of sweet but I just don't care for the taste. (Same goes for sweet potatoes.) I like pumpkin pie but I don't love it. I don't want to waste fat calories on something that's just okay. For the record, CPA Boy makes FINE pumpkin pies!

I invited my dad (last year I had both Mom and Dad over and my mom ate and ate and couldn't stop raving about how good everything was, sigh) and he'll be here. I also invited my various in-laws but they aren't coming. Part of me is relieved: no cooking for a zillion people. But part of me is irritated because their reasons indicate they will NEVER come to my house for Thanksgiving.

Moving on...

I was cleaning house yesterday and as I walked past the front door I noticed marks on the wall. They were about 2 feet from the floor and looked kind of like a wall would look if 2 small doorknobs had been slammed into it. The paint was gone and the surfaced was pressed in and smooth. I question my son and he's all, "I'm shocked, SHOCKED. I don't know how that happened." (This is not what he SAID but it captures his attitude pretty well.)

Yeah, well. I said it looked to me like an XBox controller had done it. My (supposedly brilliant) son responds, "I could never have hit the wall with the controller from where I'm sitting in front of the TV." Now I hear things getting thrown in that room all the time as well as cussing and fist slamming on the coffee table. His response then is ALWAYS, "What? I didn't hear anything." Like I'm a moron. I KNOW something has been thrown. And it has: an XBox controller. Turns out it BOUNCED into the wall after he threw it. We're talking about 12-14 feet here so a pretty big throw.

He's all, "So if you knew I'd done it why'd you come and ASK me?!"

I'm all, "The first words out of your mouth SHOULD be 'I'm sorry. How can I fix it?' not all defiant and snotty."

It only got worse from there. There were F-words and other awful phrases used by both parties. It ended up with me taking away use of my car. (Says he: "Fine! I'd rather take the bus anyway. It's easier!" Uh-huh, right.) I may also have told him to pack a bag and get the hell out of my house. It's all a kind of blur. He hasn't budged from his room though (no wheels, heh!).

So: AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I am drowning my sorrows in books. I have finished Ball of Fire (Lucille Ball bio) and Book 2 of the Bartimaeus trilogy (The Golem's Eye) and also read The Mother-Daughter Book Club last night (Lady Chardonnay mentioned one of the sequels in her blog so I ordered the first book in the series via Paperback Swap and got a practically brand-new copy on Tuesday!). The Bartimaeus books take a few days to get through so I may put off reading the last one for a bit. I also started TTYL this morning while I was waiting for my hair color to do its thing. It's written entirely in instant messages among three friends so it takes a bit to get into the rhythm. It's really good though. And it has at least two sequels to follow.

Entertainment Weekly is here to read as well but it has Kristen Stewart on the cover which means lots more pix of her inside as well. I draw mustaches on all her pictures so I will need a full pen this week. She just irks me. Last week Miss Piggy was on the cover. I love her. She's more my idol than KStew will ever hope to be!

Speaking of, I really want to see "The Muppet Movie"! I think I would also like to see "The Descendants" starring George Clooney. Maybe tomorrow or next week.

And to top off a bad day/week, two of my very favorite TV shows are MIA on the Winter?Spring schedules: "Community" and "Cougar Town". Guh.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Frozen shoulder???

So my shoulder pain has been getting worse in the last week or so. I'm thinking I have Frozen Shoulder, which is what my dad had several years ago. He had surgery and lots of physical therapy.

It's my right shoulder that hurts. I cannot reach into my right back pants pocket (if my pants had one, that is) nor can I reach my bra strap with my right hand. Sleeping on my right side makes it hurt worse. Ugh.

I told CPA Boy that he needed to help me do "physical therapy". What I pictured happening: him gently cradling my right arm and helping me stretch every day. How it happened: him grabbing my right arm and trying to crank it upwards while I yelled and criticized. (Our marriage in a nutshell, I guess!)

One website said that a frozen shoulder starts out slow and then ramps up to excruciating very quickly. I think I am in the ramping up phase, dammit! The "frozen" part comes when people have pain so they stop using their arm thinking this will help heal it. Instead the arm just settles into an even more frozen position. Sheesh, I really don't want to have surgery!

In other news, I received 3 books in the mail today (TTYL & TTFN by Lauren Myracle and The Pig Came to Dinner by Joseph Caldwell) and picked up one at the library (Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe and the Shaping of California). These will join the other 50+ on my to-be-read shelves. It's somehow always more exciting to delve into the newly received volumes. Plus library books always need to move to the top of the pile. The Pig Came to Dinner is book 2 in a trilogy and I am still waiting for book 3.

Dad & I went out for errands and shopping today --- Sears, Cost Plus, Costco, library and post office --- and then picked up lunch. We were chatting and I brought up my Facebook friend from Mandeville who was on last night's "House" episode. He makes several connections closer for me. Dad knew Kris Kristofferson in high school (he signed Dad's yearbook!) and Dad's sister was in the same class as Merv Griffin. And CPA Boy met Harrison Ford's brother earlier this year. And Lady Chardonnay has a good friend whose sisters are actresses. I am thus connected pretty quickly to many people! My eye doctor's last name is Bacharach so he may be related to Burt Bacharach (I refuse to ask because I don't want to be THAT person and it makes no real difference to me). And my former gynecologist's girlfriend is an actress.  And there must be other connections I am forgetting.

I don't think I actually know anyone famous though. But I don't care. I like to think I would be "cool" if I met someone famous, AKA not make an ass of myself! I have met a couple of authors at book signings and managed to act like a normal person.

I did not get to most of yesterday's to-do list so I guess I know what my plan is for tomorrow!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Household to-do lists are no fun!

Another banner day in the life of a housewife....

Leak in the roof, what do you do? Call at least two places for estimates (3 or more is just asking for a stay in the loony bin) and make a choice. Then schedule the chosen firm to do the work. Easy, right? WRONG.

Roofer One was out the next day and the estimate came via e-mail report (with photographs!) two days later. It was pricy ($$$) though.  Roofer Two kept promising that the estimator would call. Then, nothing. I would call the office to see what the problem was and they told me they had no record of my ever calling! I persevered, however, because you just need TWO crummy estimates for comparison's sake. In any case Roofer Two's estimator guy came over two weeks ago. Still no estimate.

I called them today and now I'm waiting for the estimator to call me back. Yeesh. (Sorry CPA Boy, we're going with expensive choice; CPA Michelle recommended them too!)

Meanwhile, I bought some new storage things and I need to put them into place. I need to transfer food from the freezer in the kitchen to the freezer in the garage and vice versa. I need to thaw meat for dinner. I need to bring in the case of vitamin water because my upstairs fridge is empty. I need to do laundry. I need to organize the piles in my office. I need to buy more Christmas gifts. I need to plan my Thanksgiving shopping list. I need to vacuum. I need to exercise. I need to color my hair. Aaarrgghhhh!

All I really want to do is direct read! Although I am between books and I must decide what to start next. But I have a book in at the library and 4+ others on their way via Paperback Swap! In the meantime, magazines! I got Time, Oprah, and Real Simple to keep me going for today.

I had a horrible nightmare a couple of nights ago and I can hardly wait for it to fade away. This happens every few months: a dream so awful that I wake up petrified (I don't scream though; take lessons, CPA Boy!) and keep picturing the terrible images over the next couple of days. ::shudder::

Better get to work.....


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Genres, genres, genres...


I found an image that had a chart of book genres that I really liked but it was almost too small to read the categories! So here they are, listed for your convenience:

  • Mysteries
    • General
    • Noir/Hard-boiled
    • Police procedural
    • Hobby
    • Cozy
    • Historical
    • Paranormal
  • Romance
    • Contemporary
    • Paranormal
    • Gothic
    • Regency
    • Western
    • Historical
    • Romantic suspense
  • Fantasy
    • Traditional
    • Horror
    • Comic
    • Historical
    • Weird
    • Contemporary
    • High/Epic
    • Slipstream/Interstices
    • Urban
  • Science Fiction
    • Dystopian/Utopian
    • Space opera
    • Alternate history
    • Cyberpunk
    • Steampunk
    • Military
    • Romantic
    • Hard
    • Soft
  • Thriller
    • Environmental
    • Supernatural
    • Historical
    • Medical
    • Psychological
    • Legal
    • Espionage
    • Political
    • Technological
    • Military
Obviously not all genres are presented in this list but good enough. I can't come up with examples of each of these but I am pretty sure it corresponds to what I like to read or at least have tried.

I do not care for thrillers in general and I've read very few. I loved The Bourne Identity, for example. I read The Hunt for Red October and it was okay (LOVED the movie!) but cannot face another Tom Clancy tome, ugh. This is CPA Boy's favorite author though.

I am not a big mystery fan either but I have read a handful. I read Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi, liked it fine and decided not to pursue the alphabet series any further. I think they would be entertaining but there are too many other books I'd rather read. I read a scrapbooking hobby mystery series by Laura Childs which is cute but not well written. I read them because they are short, feature a scrapbooking shop, and take place in New Orleans (my hometown). The "mystery" is serviceable at best but I like reading about the French Quarter (where the heroine lives) and other New Orleans stuff (food, Mardi Gras). I like the more unusual mysteries like the Flavia de Luce novels; she's 11 years old. I also adored a book I read called The Victoria Vanishes in the Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series. It was very funny. It turns out to be the 6th book in the series so I need to go back and read the earlier volumes.

I know everyone's taste is different but I really don't understand how people who delve into just one genre do it. In other words, how does one read every "cozy" mystery to come out? How do you stand one more romance novel, especially when that's all you read? I get too bored reading the same type of book!

As for romance, I have read exactly 2 Harlequin romance novels in my life; that was plenty. Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" books are considered romances (among other genres) but she has pretty much made her books more historical in recent volumes. There should probably be another category under Romance: Vampires. Ugh.

Of these categories, the ones I gravitate towards are Science Fiction and Fantasy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE dystopian  novels! Just read a teen book from the 1970s called The House of Stairs. I can thank Mr. Frank Levy and his Speculative Fiction class at Mandeville High for the genesis of this love!

Alternate history is great too Robert Harris's Fatherland is a good example). I haven't tried steampunk yet but I have a series on my Kindle to get to at some point, so we'll see. In the fantasy genre, I guess I would be a reader of Horror (Stephen King, for example), Comic (Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker's Guide, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books), High/Epic (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, etc...), and Traditional (I think this would cover children's series like Harry Potter, Septimus Heap and Bartimaeus).

I also read books that aren't categorized on this list. Literary fiction, I guess?? Where should a book like Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides go? Or even something like Catcher in the Rye? Where does Historical Fiction (Edward Rutherfurd's Sarum) go, assuming it wouldn't be considered a Historical Romance (Gone with the Wind or Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber)? So this genre list is incomplete.

I like a lot of non-fiction too and that's a completely different animal. Subjects I like reading about:
  • The Tudors: Henry VIII & Elizabeth I specifically. I like non-fiction AND historical novels almost equally. I didn't watch "The Tudors" though because we don't get Showtime.
  • RMS Titanic and other shipwrecks
  • Serial killers: real ones, not necessarily fictional characters
  • Lucille Ball, Katharine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Great Garbo: fascinating women
  • Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria and her descendants (especially Nicholas & Alexandra)
  • Language, specifically the history of English
  • Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other related geology/meteorology
  • World War II, especially Hitler & the Nazis and the Holocaust
I know I am missing a few topics!

Time to go read!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lunch, Pie and Chat

That's right, I had a mini chocolate cream pie at lunch!

CPA Michelle and I had lunch today at the Petaluma Pie Company (appropriate music alert! "Michelle" by the Beatles is currently playing on my iPod!). I really liked the chocolate pie. For the main meal I had the Mushroom and Goat Gouda savory pie. While it was tasty, I discerned NO cheese flavor at all. That made the pie a disappointment; I live for cheese. CPA Michelle's Spinach & Feta was also devoid of cheese flavor. In any case, it was a nice --- and inexpensive! --- lunch with lots of chat.

You'd think we'd run out of ways to complain about our family members but no, the topic is never-ending. And generally features us planning to run far away and see how our families would manage without us. Alas, we think they would barely blink and would learn to do without all the little things we do to keep the family machine a-runnin'. And it's expensive to run away, dammit!

CPA Boy and I caught up on some TV last night, watching Jeopardy, Terra Nova, The Simpsons and House. I am excited because next week's House episode features a Facebook friend of mine! He is actually friends with my brother from Mandeville High days and I haven't met him in person that I remember (my days in Mandeville are a blurry memory; not happy times for me). This puts me 2 to 3 degrees from Hugh Laurie! Cool.

I've got pork chops thawing for dinner and that's easy enough but I haven't a clue what to serve with them. Well, I think I have a can of baked beans that'll work. Eat up, Boys!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


We saw "Weird Al" Yankovic in concert last night and he was great. The crowd definitely encompassed all ages. Anything I know of current music is due solely to Al who parodies those tunes. BONUS: We got out of the parking lot FAST. I'm a pro! CPA Boy and The Boy had to run to catch up with me. Ha!

Today Dad & I went to The Container Store (LOVE!) and then to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I didn't get my usual: Crispy Chicken Costoletta which comes with mashed potatoes and asparagus --- YUM! Instead I ordered the gumbo. Now I have leftovers to serve to CPA Boy for dinner! Bliss!

Oh and for the record, when CPA Boy became a partner we checked for CPA Man but someone else already had that personalized license plate, so Boy it remains!

I also brought home some cheesecake for the Boys. I didn't get any for myself because, while I like cheesecake just fine, I don't LOVE it. No sense using up calories on something sweet I don't love. I will, however, regret this about 9 tonight...

I plan to (maybe?) use the calories tomorrow when I go to lunch with my dearest friend who is not Lady Chardonnay. We'll call her CPA Michelle. I am hoping she will want to try a new local restaurant called The Petaluma Pie Company. Besides sweet pies they offer something called Savory Hand Pies. Some flavors include: Mushroom and Goat Gouda, Samosa (Indian flavors), Hamburger Pie, and Spinach & Feta. I have high hopes for this place. Plus I might be willing to taste a bit of chocolate cream pie. We'll see. Lately, since I have basically stopped eating much sweet stuff, I just don't have the taste buds for sweets like I used to. But savory? Count me in!

I am hours behind on my TV watching, due to Mona Lisa Smile and Weird Al. And I remembered yet another show I watch: Cougar Town. Once you get past seeing Courteney Cox as Monica Geller from "Friends" and once the show ditched the actual "she's a cougar" premise, this show turned into a bunch of people sitting around drinking wine, making snarky comments and doing stupid stuff. I love it lots.

The shows I watch, in no particular order: The Simpsons, Once Upon a Time, Boardwalk Empire, House, Terra Nova, Dancing With the Stars, Unforgettable, Mad Men, Modern Family, The Middle, Suburgatory, Community, American Horror Story, CSI, Game of Thrones, Survivor, Jeopardy, The Soup, 30 Rock, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, and lots of QVC & Turner Classic Movies.

Ugh, it's almost 5 o'clock and it's dark! Another thing I loathe: Daylight Savings Time changes. Pick a time, America, and stick with it!!

Okay, that's a wrap for today. I want to change the comments section so they will post without moderation but I haven't figured out where to do that with Blogger's new look. I'll keep working on it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Diary


My dearest friend, Lady Chardonnay, has been blogging daily about her weight loss progress. I think I would like to make this more of a general diary of what's going on with me!! (Yes, I am TOTALLY copying my BFF as she is setting a SPLENDID example!)

Speaking of weight loss, I have lost a total of 11 pounds over the course of 2 months. I am eating better and I am definitely forgoing all the sweets I used to substitute for breakfast and lunch. I am not a huge lover of breakfast. Oatmeal never really appeals although I actually LIKE it. Weird. I am also weird about cereal: I do not like eating it with milk, preferring it plain. I got some yummy cereal at Trader Joe's and it was too crumbly for plain eating. My solution was eating it mixed in to a serving of vanilla yogurt! Perfect!

So I am eating less crap but the weight is really going nowhere. My assumption is that if I do nothing else, while eating my new healthier diet, I will lose about 5 pounds over the course of a year. Since I need to lose a zillion I will need to ramp up my efforts: less food, more exercise!

Time will tell....

Meanwhile, my son (let's call him The Boy) has had his driver's license for a month now. It took him about 3 weeks to start referring to MY CAR as "my car". Guh. He does not have a car of his own because his father (let's call him CPA Boy) is waiting for the model he wants to buy to arrive at the dealership. CPA Boy wants a 2012 Hybrid Toyota Camry. The Boy will then get the 2005 Toyota Corolla while I will wrest back control of my 2007 Toyota Prius.

As you can see, we are a Toyota family indeed.

We used to buy new cars all the time. We had a rolling system where we would buy a new car every 3 years so that we each kept a car for a total of 6 years. Then we'd sell the 6 year old vehicle. Now we have decided to stick with our cars for as long as possible. Plus CPA Boy got screwed out of the last deal, as he got my 3 year old Corolla and I got the new Prius!

In any case I will be so happy to have my car back in my complete control. I do not like anyone driving my car. (I also don't like to be a passenger in cars either, by the way.)

I had a huge pile of magazines to go through thanks to some new subscriptions. I get National Geographic, Entertainment Weekly, Time, and Real Simple, all of which I love and read religiously. We got free subscriptions to Oprah, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Money, and Smart Money. I was DROWNING. So this weekend I took Saturday night to polish them off. This involved NOT READING some of them. It feels good to have the pile GONE.

I counted the books on my To Be Read bookcase next to my bed. There were exactly 50!! And I have new ones coming every week thanks to papaerbackswap.com!!! I just ordered a teen book series by Lauren Myracle apparently written in instant message form. They were on several challenged book lists so I must check them out!

And my TV programs keep recording. Thanks to my newer, larger capacity DVR I have actually been able to watch a bit MORE than normal. This involves watching movies in pieces: perhaps 15 minutes while I am cooking dinner, another 10 minutes while I wait for CPA Boy to finish showering and then join me for our regular TV, etc... But last night I finished "Mona Lisa Smile" instead of watching "Boardwalk Empire" or "Once Upon a Time" because practically every actress in it was of note: Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhal, Ginnifer Goodwin, Marcia Gay Harden, and a couple of others, including a tiny part for an actress now on "Boardwalk Empire". I loved the movie, by the way. A distaff version of "Dead Poet's Society"??

I was making a list of TV shows I watch this morning to share with Lady C and I now realize I forgot one: American Horror Story! Oh, and sometimes The Daily Show!

Well, this is cool. I didn't think I had much to write about and here we are. LOTS written! Yay!