Friday's Letters

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Happy Friday, all! I'm excited to be linking up with Ashley
at Adventures of Newlyweds for Friday's Letters. It's been while!

Dear Amazon,
You know the other day when I clicked over on my Kindle to check out my queue of personalized book recommendations? And the only book you thought I should buy was "The Unwanted Wife?" Yeah...thanks for that.

Dear Hubby,
Thank you so much for signing up for a weekend shift for your next work rotation. I know it wasn't your first choice, but I'm glad we'll have our days off together :-)
Love, "Wanted Wife"
P.S. Could you try not to be so serious all the dang time?




Dear Neighbors,
I really appreciated your jack o' lanterns and Halloween decorations. Last month. I think it's time to move on and, you know, deck the halls.

Dear TLC,
After catching a few minutes of your new show "Extreme Cougar Wives" featuring a fiesty 76 y/o grandmother hooking up with 18 y/o boys men...I must admit that I'm torn between "Ewwww" and "You go, girl!" Lol.


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 Dear Pinterest,
You've really been saving my bacon (and my time) lately with your super easy/super awesome crockpot recipes. Like this Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff. Yum!! It goes a long way toward making up for what a non-crafty loser I feel like after looking at your DIY page ;-)


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Conflicted

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You guys, I'm conflicted here.
I have a dilemma.
Are you ready?
Ke$ha.
Yep, you heard right.
Here's the thing: I think her voice is absolutely
nails-on-a-chalkboard hideous.
But "Die Young"?
Literally, can not get it out of my head.
Painful.



In(f)erior Decorating

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Well, Happy Cyber Monday ladies and gentlemen!  Have you scored any fantabulous deals today?!
I missed Black Friday this year due to that silly little job-thing, but thanks to the ever-loving internet I've managed to get a bit of Christmas shopping done anyway. And for other people, no less! (Insert pat on the back here, as my usual MO is more of the one-for-you-two-for-me variety.)




So, I'm pretty darn good at spending money. Working on getting a little less good at that particular
skill, if you know what I mean. 

You know what I'm not good at? (Besides math and gardening, that is...) Decorating. My lack of ability for festive arranging is never more apparent than during Christmas time. If I can manage to put up a tree and toss on some ribbons and a few ornaments, I usually call it good. If I'm really making an effort, maybe I put out a glass dish of Christmas candy. Like I said, I'm not exactly a whiz-bang at this stuff.


2011...Hey, at least I got the tree up!

This year, the in-laws are doing Christmas at our place and I need to spice things up! I need to make
more of an effort! I stopped at TJ Maxx on the way home from Phyiology today, figuring that if I was going to start exercising my inferior (notice that's an f, not a t) decorating skills I'd better start off someplace budget-friendly.

I decided to sort of ease into it. You know, by checking out all the shoes (nothing exciting there) and sweaters (a cashmere Cynthia Rowley shawl sweater just about jumped into my shopping cart, but I managed to fend it off, suffering only minor emotional trauma...) Eventually I made my way to the back of
the store, to **Christmas.**

And promptly had a panic attack.

Okay, not really, but I was darn close. The profusion of garlands, ornaments, wreaths, holiday dishes, stuffed Santas, wicker reindeer, glittery snowflakes, and stacks and stacks of pinecones and tiny trees had my head spinning. What are you supposed to do with all that stuff?! I couldn't pick out A. Single. Thing.

Clearly, I need help. Clearly it's time to regroup and do some strategizing. Therefore, my current mission is  to scour all your lovely blogs in search of Christmas decorating tips, amazing ideas and how-to's before I wade back into the fray for round 2.

Have you written any decorating posts or read a great one recently? If you leave a link below I'd love to visit (and be forever grateful!) Please do share! :-)

Friends, family and...Magic Mike?

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I actually sat down today intending to write a funny turkey-day post. But funny is just
 not what was on my mind apparently! I hope you'll stick with me anyway...

I have a confession to make: I haven't always looked forward to the holiday season...haven't always appreciated the purpose of Thanksgiving or the spirit of Christmas. There have been years when,
in my heart of hearts I felt like a downright Scrooge.

My early 20s were rough in some ways. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, had just ended a long-term relationship, and my parents were in the middle of a divorce from which my mom chose to make a permanent exit from my life. For a couple years, the holiday season with all it's happy family festivities and easy couple-y togetherness felt kind of like a personal affront. At the time, indifference seemed like the best defence: claiming that Thanksgiving wasn't really "my thing," and that Christmas was overrated. Really, it was just loneliness talking.

Since then, I've grown up a little bit. I've come to realize that sometimes water is thicker than blood, and that friends can be family too. I met Travis, and gained a whole secondary family in the bargain.

Things have changed for the better, and these days I look forward to the season from a happy, comfortable vantage point. But I haven't forgotten what that awkward loneliness was like or how it felt to be the odd man out, making excuses so no one would know I was spending the day holed up with a Lean Cuisine and a stack of DVDs. If you happen to be in that place now, please know that it won't be forever and you're not really alone, no matter how much it may feel that way! I've got your back on this one.

So today I'm giving thanks for family (old and new, in all its imperfect forms) friends, fresh starts, and the love of my life. And of course I'm thankful for all you gorgeous readers! I truly hope I never take any of this for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!
XoXo


Something about Fall...

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There's just something about this time of year.
The cold weather.
The comfort foods (homemade roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup...mmm)
The baked goods everywhere
The endless wardrobe layering possibilites...sweaters, blazers, cute little jackets...
It all adds up to me feeling like I can overindulge. Pretty much constantly.
And it's so easy to ignore the exercise that I should be doing and curl up by the fire with warm chocolate chip cookies...
Nobody's going to notice a few extra pounds under my tank/tee/sweater/scarf combo...right?

At the end of October I ran my first half-marathon (the very small, very local Cloverdale Harvest Half, as a matter of fact.) That was a big goal for me! My longest run up to that point maxed out at 10 miles, and this particular race course was slightly mis-measured for a total of 13.6. Fortunately, they were beautiful miles: along a creek, and through trees and vineyards as the sun rose. The experience was exhausting, exhilirating, exciting. Not exciting in a "I kicked this half-marathon's butt" kinda way, but more like, "I made it, I didn't give up and that totally rocks." The ever-supportive hubby took a few pics along the course from which I learned that I am possibly the most ridiculous looking runner on the planet. I'll save the worst for later, in case I decide to do another 'awkward photo' post...




As fabulous as the race-experience was, can you guess what I've been doing for exercise since then? How many great runs I've gone on? Nothing and none, respectively. (Reference beginning of blog post.) But I think I'm ready to jump back on the fitness-wagon. It's cheaper than buying bigger clothes, ya know? To that end I've downloaded a training program from Runner's World called "Break your 2:30 Half Marathon." Which I'm planning to start next week. I know, I know...but it's Thanksgiving you guys, and the mashed potatoes and sourdough rolls are literally calling my name. Anyhow...

Wish me luck? 
Are you staying in shape for the holidays?

Me, Myself & I [back in business]

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Since I'm still trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging-thing, what better way to jump back in than the Me, Myself & I link-up hosted by Breanna at My Beautiful Crazy Life? Cause girrrrl, you know I love me some link-ups! And... action!

1. What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the holidays?
     I have 3, actually: A Charlie Brown Christmas...It's been my all-time favorite since I was knee-high  
     to a grasshopper (what exactly does that mean, anyway??), A Christmas Story...I hated this movie
     initally, but it's endless holiday cycle on Turner Classic Movies eventually wore me down and I now
     consider it a staple ("You'll shoot your eye out kid!"), and The Holiday (Jack Black for humor/Jude
     Law for hotness. 'Nuff said.)

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2. It's the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?
     Friends. Family. Health. Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate. Actually, this question deserves a whole
     post (wheels turning...).

3. If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?

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4. Who in your family are you most like?
     I can see little bits of myself in all the members of my family. The one I'd most like to be like is my  
     little brother: he's brave (Iraq veteran), a great father, hilarious and creative (built an electric motorcycle
     for fun, and sewed my nephew a fur dog suit for Halloween...say what?)




5. What is your favorite drink at Starbucks?
     Tall skinny vanilla latte. No, no that's a lie...my real fave is a grande cinnamon dolce latte with whole
     milk and whip cream. There. I said it. But for special occasions only :-)

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Monday!


                                                                 

No "Dog Shaming" here, folks!

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Whew! Do I ever have some things to catch up on around here...a half marathon, a world series game, a girl's weekend in Tahoe...Halloween for crying out loud!

Problem is, aside from work, school and the fun stuff, I've been neglecting my blog recently because I've been on a straight-up book bender. Oh yes, I just said that. Books are my 'crack' and I've been devouring them, one after another, the way I most kids gobble Halloween candy. I blame it on my Kindle, the worst possible enabler for a book junkie. (Does it get any easier than 'One Click' purchasing and wi-fi downloads?! And hellooo, Kindle deals!)

In any event, it's been bad enough the past couple weeks that the hubby, who doesn't actually read my blog (finding The Chive far more appealing, apparently...maybe I should incorporate some boobs and/or "dog shaming" here? Nah...) actually scolded me the other day for my blog-laziness. I hate to admit it, but he's right: I need to put the books (and the newspapers and the Glamour magazines) down for a hot minute, get out of my creative-rut and make this little blog a priority again!

So, while I get some photos together for upcoming posts, I'll leave you with a few weird and wonderful Physio-facts, and a short list of some of the books I've been reading...just in case you'd like to crack-out too :-)

Weird Fact #1: A stick of dry spaghetti burns as well as a match. Okay, I'm taking my instructor's word on this one, as I'm a little hesitant about lighting fires in the pantry. I'm not totally ruling it out for a rainy Saturday though....

Weird Fact #2: Neurons produce enough electrical voltage that 20 could run an iPod. Hmm...That's some serious brain power...

Weird Fact #3: For every pound of fat you put on, your body also adds 200 miles worth of new blood vessels. Which means by the time Thanksgivings over, my insides should look like a Thomas Guide...

And now for the books:

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: Loved this novel about friendship, family, and traditional Chinese culture.Given that I love everything Amy Tan's ever written, I wasn't surprised by how much I enjoyed Lisa See's similar writing style and subject matter.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: Hated it. Not so much because it was completely different than the movie, which it was. But my main issue was that I waited and waited for some climactic moment, as the suspense built, and then...it just sort of petered out to kind of a sad, blah ending. Boooo.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Loved, loved, loved: suspenseful, thrilling, unexpected and a little twisted. But what I love most is Flynn's colorful vocabulary: it feels rich and...satisfying somehow. As soon as I finished I immediately had to read her other two books: Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Loved.

City of Women by David Gillham: A little bit of a heavier read, this is a book about an oblivious German housewife who becomes a reluctant participant in the hiding and rescuing of Jews during WWII. I really enjoyed the main character's mental and emotional journey toward becoming a more open and aware person. And I'm a sucker for any kind of historical novel anyway...so...win!

Well, that's all for now folks! Any weird facts or book recommendations you'd care to share? I'd love to hear!
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