Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mellow Mushroom

One word: YUMMMMM!

Mellow Mushroom Pictures, Images and Photos

We had dinner two Sunday's ago at the Winter Park Mellow Mushroom. David had heard about it through the grapevine and thought we should check it out.

FA-BU! The atmosphere was fun, the staff was great and the food fantastic. We got the Philosopher's Pie:

Steak, Portobello Mushroom Cap, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Provolone, Feta, and Mozzarella Cheeses on an Oil and Garlic Base.


I even sent a comment to the e-mail address listed on my receipt, which they answered in 24 hours, thanking me for the nice comments.

Want to see if there's one near you? Check here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue

"Gathering Blue," a companion, not a sequel, to "The Giver", by Lois Lowry, is another dystopian society, but unlike "The Giver," this society has reverted rather than moved ahead technologically.

Kira is a young girl living in a society where brute force, anger and yells are the norm. The huts are minimalistic, the world is dirty and you're only valuable if you're healthy and can contribute. Kira was born with a bad leg, but her mother fought fiercely to keep her. Now, at the age of about 12-13, she has lost her mother to illness and fears she will be cast out to the Field, to be killed by the "beasts" who live there. But Kira has a gift; she is a talented weaver. Her fingers are almost magic. The Council of Guardians recognizes this gift and brings her in to live in their building, one of the few buildings that survived from "before."

The story tells of her works with her weaving, her learning, and her friends with very special talents as well, housed in the same building. She learns to make colors for her threads, but cannot figure out how to make blue. She begins to learn about the past, she questions her and her friends' freedom, and starts to discover what is really out in that Field, including the very special inhabitant that helps her "gather blue."

It's a nice Young Adult quick read.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yay Tag Cloud!

I'm such the nerd, because I am excited about my tag cloud.

Check it out, below the "book shelf" over to the right showing the books I've read.

The Tag Cloud shows all the labels I have assigned to posts, but instead of taking tons of room lining them out in order, it's in that neat little sphere pattern. Scroll your mouse over it to make it move.

I tweaked the size, background color and text color to match my blog.

Interested? Check out the instructions here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Behind the Scenes...

at WGN. Jacob likes WGN's YouTube page and showed me this yesterday.

Here's what Chicago's WGN primetime news anchors do during commercials. Love it.

Friday, January 23, 2009


It died. It couldn't take the heat, and cracked.

Six years and several meals later, it died.

Rest in peace, Crockpot. Rest in peace.

crock pot Pictures, Images and Photos
You were a great wedding present.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe Pictures, Images and Photos

Mr. Defoe's book, published in 1719, was one of the "Classics" books on my list, so now I can check it off.

The End.

Kidding. Sort-of. I was rather bored with this book. There were some great insights though. The story deals with the fictional character Crusoe's life and being stranded on an island for 28+ years before being rescued. His early life deals with his going against his parents' wishes, and every single time something bad befell him, he prayed and repented his life's sins, which I found funny, in that people in the 1700's act no differently than today; pray to God only when your luck is down, and never to give thanks to when your life is good.

He gets stranded on the island, the sole survivor of a ship wreck, and vacillates between being immensely sad and immensely grateful to God for all he was provided (he has the ship to scavange off of, and makes himself several "homes" on the island, gets a herd of goats, etc. etc.).

Most of the time we're just listening to the minute details of his every day doings, which gets really redundant and uninteresting. Only towards the end, where he frees/saves "Friday" does the story get a little bit interesting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piano Man

Jacob is learning to play the piano, and is doing quite well, but if I ask him to do it for people, he gets all "teenager-y" and says I only want to show him off.
HECK yea!

Eventually, I will have my video camera ready to snag him playing some tunes. :)

Tea, Please.

We have lots of play tea sets. Several. A few. Too many. I've asked people to please not get Isabel any more. Please.

So when my dad and step-mom came over the first week of January with gifts for us, I almost choked them when I saw another tea set. Almost, because I noticed that it was, in fact, a bathtub tea set. We were in short supply of bath toys for Isabel. Beside the tea set, she was given another bath toy; a hoop and ball, plus tub crayon, bubble bath and bubble foam canister.

She is now set for weeks of fun in the tub. So much fun, that maybe I'll forgive my step-mom for buying Isabel play make-up. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I think this is one that David's mom gave me. I know it's not the one Aunt Joan gave me. She gave me "A Green Journey" by Mr. Hassler. "A Green Journey" has some of the same characters as "Staggerford," But "Staggerford was the very first book written by him about this little peculiar town.

The story follows the week in the life of 35 year old bachelor high school teacher name Miles, who has been renting a room from the protagonist of "A Green Journey," Miss Magee, for 12 years. The week deals with all the pretty crazy characters in the city. The superintendent so afraid of a heart attack that he doesn't want to be excited. The principal of the high school, who married the woman Miles loves because Miles was too slow to do anything about her when he dated her. The dentist flagrantly dating the football coach's wife. The high school senior with a crush on Miles. It's funny, and you sometimes want to hit some of them upside the head.

Then, BOOM. Mr. Hassler rips the rug right out from under you. I was in the dentist's chair when it happened, so I couldn't react the way I wanted to, which was to cry.

I came home and told Jake about it. I told him how out of the blue it was. How random. The wise one said to me, "Well, that's life, isn't it? Things happen out of the blue."

Very sweet book, the first in his Staggerford series.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at Headquarters.....

While we were at Blue Spring, David was at home. He's not so much a letterboxing group person. He enjoys letterboxing, just us though.

David had a project to do.

Isabel's closet is about 7 feet long. Seven feet of one shelf/rack. Her teeny clothes hung there, and there was SO much wasted space. When my mom sent Isabel some money for Christmas, I used it towards a closet organizer.

David put together the organizer and when we came home from the letterboxing event, I put everything back in her closet.

How cool is this??

The top left level are her nice dresses that she hardly wears. The bottom left are all her dress-up clothes, readily accessible to her. Now she doesn't have to get one of us to come get her costumes down. Sweaters and sweatsuit outfits fit in the middle there.

Allll the way up top is a shelf for things we really don't need access to much, like her Halloween bag, her little travel duffel bag, some toy boxes, etc.

To the right are her every day dresses and skirt/shirt outfits.

Her shorts and shirts are both in a dresser, and in the plastic bin there, because SHE HAS TOO MUCH STUFF!! We are lucky enough to get hand-me-downs from one of my sisters, and over-indulged by the rest of the family. It's kind of crazy.

P.S. Vicky. Those are not her only shoes....

Blue Spring Gathering

Saturday, the kids and I attended a gathering of Central Florida Letterboxers at Blue Spring State Park, best known for manatee watching.

We arrived just in the nick of time; the park was full to capacity and people behind us could not get in until a car left. One car leaves, one car allowed in. It was crazy.

We hiked to get a letterbox and enjoyed cake.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dollhouse, Premieres Feb 13 at 9 Eastern on Fox

Set the DVR's folks!! Joss is back!

Also, check out Joss teaching Eliza how to do a sexy, confident walk. :)


"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in book," Belle became my favorite Disney heroine. I always loved that she was smart and didn't care what anyone thought of her. Back then, I very much identified with her feelings:

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they've got planned.

She's my favorite Disney gal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Belong to Me

Let's ignore the gross things happening with my body, and move on, shall we?


I have never read a single one of her books until now. Is she like a Danielle Steele or something? I used to see tons of her books around, and when I saw this, a hardback, for $1 at the library, I bought it for kick and giggles.

This book is, I guess, a mystery. The main character is a radio show personality/psychologist who profiles a missing person's case on her show, about a famous tv analyst who disappears while taking a cruise. While trying to solve the case, she links it to other cruise disappearances and realizes the killer is in her town and is killing other people who may have seen him.

The book's o.k. No huge piece of literary sunshine or anything. I mean, with the limited people in her life, you know one of them's the bad guy, which is really weird, since it's a HUGE FLIPPIN WORLD. How does she know the killer of a missing person who boarded in Perth, Australia and was last seen getting off the ship in Hong Kong? It's NOT that small of a world people.

I'm not sure Ms. Clark is my cup of tea. But then, neither is Danielle Steele.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Three Words




I did what I had to do for the doctor, and I won't even begin..... Scarred.

grossed out Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, January 9, 2009

*Insert Whine Here*

We interrupt this fascinating blog to let you know that I am sick.

Whatever it is began Sunday the 4th at 3 a.m. I woke in bed, sweating but freezing, with the worst abdomen pain ever, that radiated up to in between my breast. After several visits to the rest room, I eventually fell asleep at 5:30 a.m. and, when Isabel came in a 7 to ask for breakfast, I kindly referred her to her dad, who had fallen asleep downstairs playing a video game, oblivious to my pain.

I dragged myself out of bed at around 10:30, lest they think I was just being a slacker, and trudged downstairs, where David proceeded to tell me I looked horrible.

The rest of the day was spent in between the bathroom and random sections of the monster couch downstairs. Laying completely flat made me dizzy, so I tried to get comfortable sitting up on the couch. Chicken noodle soup and half a piece of toast was all I could do. David said in our 9 years together, he'd never seen me this bad.

Monday and I felt a bit better. No fever or chills, and so I went to work. The rest of the week was a constant parade to the bathroom, not for vomiting (which I never did), and difficulty sitting down (which Anna can attest to. TMI, huh?)

This afternoon, I was eating lunch with a co-worker. About 2 seconds after taking the last bite of a 6" chicken salad sub, I get this immense pressure below my breast bone; as if the sandwich was lodged there. I walked it off in the warehouse, but then called my doctor and thankfully, they squeezed me in for a 2:30 p.m. appointment.

I had blood work done and then, yay! Stool sample goodie bag! Per the nurse's instructions:

1) Place plastic wrap on the toilet.

*screeeeech* Put on the brakes.



2) I get to put the "samples" in various shaped vials and tubes and return them on Monday.

3) I am to refrigerate them until Monday

I don't even know how to explain this one to the family. "No honey, I did NOT pack your lunch, put that down!"

The doc wants to see if I have a bacterial or viral infection and pin down which one. The increase in the stomach acids may have also led to the sandwich parts causing me intense indigestion.

So, think of me and my fridge on Sunday, 'k?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Stuff!

I love free stuff. Especially when it is free stuff we actually NEED!

Last Wednesday, my boss brought in a table to work. He told me I had dibs on it before the rest of the guys. We (David & I) have been discussing getting a new table for the breakfast area in the kitchen. The one we have is about as old as Jacob, is too big for the area it was in, and was being held up by an allen wrench underneath. (Thanks for the fix, Kevin).

We discussed buying one, but you know me (cheap). It was something we could put off because we actually had a table. Other things came first. We talked about a small round one for the area.

So when my boss showed up with this, and said I could have it for free, I was ecstatic!

Anyone need a rectangular table? Allen wrench included. :)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

J K Rowling Harry Potter Tales Beedle Bard Pictures, Images and Photos

Cute, quick read. The premise is that we Muggles get to finally read the wizarding world's versions of fairy tales. As famous as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White are to us, the stories in "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" are as famous to witches and wizards.

Quick stories, with "asides" by Professor Dumbledore, before his demise of course.

I bought it with a Christmas gift card, to add to my Harry Potter hard-cover collection.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Stuff

For those of you NOT on Facebook to see some pictures (lol), here's what we did for Christmas.

Kelli stopped by on the way from West Palm back to Atlanta at our place, while I was at work, to watch the kids open their gifts from her.
The next day, we drove the dreaded "can't-read-in-the-car" 9.5+ hour drive. Yes, I will buy a portable CD player next time. :)

We hung out with David's family. Rock Band, WAY too many cookies, SIL's new house and lunch, finally, at Mojo Burritos in St. Elmo. (I say Mo-Ho, the gringos working there say Moe-Joe). I've only wanted to go there for 3 years.
Santa was good to us. Book store, coffee, Old Navy and Target cards for me, as well as two seasons of Bones. :)

On the way back home, we stopped near Atlanta to see Kelli's new house. A hovel. A HOVEL, I say!

It has a furnished one bedroom apartment with a kitchen in the basement area. We're moving in!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale Pictures, Images and Photos

Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" was part of an on-line round-robin postal letterboxing book club. Phew. As I started reading this I said to myself, "I know this. Why do I know this?"

Because I had already seen the 1990 film adaptation of it featuring Natasha Richardson, Robert Duval and Faye Dunaway.

Well, poo! Now I know the end, I thought.

The book is another dystopian future where a horrendous attack on the U. S. kills the president and every member of Congress. Marshall law takes into effect, and then slowly, the law becomes very "religious, " and women start to lose their rights. Their bank accounts are frozen, turned over to their husbands, fathers, brothers to manage. Then, they can't work. Then, they canot be educated and are not allowed to read. Slowly, they lose everything. This I did not understand. I did not understand the logic of it, nor how the U.S. ever got to that point.

We meet Offred, one of the Handmaids. Offred's not her name. She just belongs to a Commander, a high-ranking official in the new regime, Fred. She's "Of Fred." She's a handmaid because she is fertile. She can have babies. Woman who can babies, who are not married for the first time (if you are married a second time, it's a sin and therefore not a valid marriage), who are not married to high-ranking officials, are taken to a training facility. They are covered from head to toe in red. Their faces are covered with...wings, a whimple? Their faces are covered from the rest of society. They leave the facility once they are assigned to a high-ranking official. The Handmaids' job? To procreate.

If you are not a wife, or a Handmaid, you're an Aunt (a training facility matron), a Martha (an older, sterile house servant/cook, etc) or an Econowife, a wife to the lower-class men. If you are sterile, a lesbian, a rebel, a femenist, you are an Unwoman, and are captured and either killed or sent away to the colonies, usually work in radioactive facilities, or cotton or fruit picking.

A very large part of society is sterile. Several things are to blame; radiation and pollution are some of the reasons. Some of the high-ranking officials' wives cannot have children. They are given a handmaid. There is a rape ritual where the wife will grasp the wrists of the handmaid, lay above her, if you will, while the husband has sex with the handmaid. All so that the husband and wife can take the handmaid's child as their own.

It's a pretty creepy book. We get disjointed stories from Offred. She was married (for a second time), she had a daughter. She and her husband and daughter tried to escape to Canada but failed. She never sees them again. Her Commander is possibly sterile, as she is the second handmaid to be called Offred. The first one hung herself.

There's an underground movement, there are special club for Commanders and other officials to secretly flaunt the new religious was of life. There are spies, there are double-spies. Who can she trust?

The movie ends differently from the book. I liked them both.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Book List

Here are the books I read in 2008.

The Chosen - Chaim Potok
The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle
Impulse - Ellen Hopkins

Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire
Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri: Inferno, Purgatory & Paradise*
The Warden - Anthony Trollope

I Love Everyone (and Other Atrocious Lies) - Laurie Notaro
The Hunchback of Notre Dame* - Victor Hugo
Dead Run - PJ Tracy
Crime and Punishment* - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lucky - Alice Sebold

War and Peace* - Leo Tolstoy

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
Circus of the Damned - Laurell K. Hamilton

Invisible Monsters - Chuck Palahnuik
Rascal - Sterling North

July :
Mira, Mirror - Mette Ivie Harrison
Moby Dick* - Herman Melville
Tales of the Slayer Vol. 2 - various authors

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
Fahrenheit 451* - Ray Bradbury
Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind
The Virgin’s Lover - Phillipa Gregory
A Farewell to Arms* - Ernest Hemingway

Son of a Witch - Gregory Maguire
Wuthering Heights* - Emily Bronte
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

The Princess Bride - S. Morgenstern / William Goldman
Don Quixote de La Mancha* - Miguel Cervantes
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
The Giver - Lois Lowry
Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
Specials - Scott Westerfeld
Last Days of Summer - Steve Kluger
Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card
The Lunatic Café - Laurell K Hamilton

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
No One Here Gets Out Alive - Jerry Hopkins and Dan Sugarman
The New Policeman - Kate Thompson
Last of the High Kings - Kate Thompson
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scot Card
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

Forty-seven for 2008. I'm slacking. I read 50 in 2007. BUT, look at April. "War and Peace," people, "War. And. Peace." That one killed April and my year. :)

* = Classic Book List from Penguin

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, New You # 2

OK, right now get your wallet or purse.

Is your social security card inside? Take it out. Keep it in your home somewhere safe. A file cabinet, a file folder, a desk, anywhere but your wallet.

Why? Your wallet already has your driver's license, credit cards and checking information in it, right? Why give criminals the one thing they really need to start opening new accounts and spending $$; your social security #.

I took mine out of my wallet several years back when my sister's car was broken into while she was at the gym. Crooks know that women who work out at gyms aren't going to bring in their purse, aren't going to use a locker. They look for women walking in with their towels, membership cards, and that's it. While she was working out, a crook smashed in her window and took her purse, that she had hidden under her seat. The purse contained her license, her checks, credit cards and social security number. She had a lady try to cash a check at her bank using a fake id with the lady's picture, but my sister's name on it!! That's how far they will go. The bank had already been alerted and knew tha this was not my sister, so they denied the claim, called the police after the lady left, and also told my sister.

Please, take that S.S. card out of that purse/wallet and put it away!

Bye Christmas, Hello Neighbors!

New Year's Eve, David was catching up on Bones Season 3 episodes that I had already watched (Christmas present to me from David and the kids), so I decided to start taking down the decorations.

I did the entire house, watched the crazy neighbors one street over set off some amazing fireworks (I'll try to post a video Jake took with his camera) and then went back to do the tree. That's a long project but by 1:30 a.m., the tree too was done.

In the morning, I hear Isabel gasp downstairs. "The TREE!" she cries. "The ormamints and the angel are gone!" We explained that Christmas was over and we would have to put everything away until next Christmas. "O.k.," she says and skips away.

David's job was to take down the actual tree, put all the boxes back in the garage and remove the lights from the bushes and trees outside. We'll have to wait for the weekend to borrow our neighbor Charlie's really tall ladder to take down the roof lights.

As all this is happening, really cool neighbors that moved last year send me a text message. Their house across the street, the one David's been mowing the grass for, the one that's been for sale for a year, finally sold. We have new neighbors. From the looks of it, it's a lady with 3 young girls, Isabel's age! We've seen a lot of people helping, so we don't know who belongs in the house yet. We're being cautiously optimistic. What an amazing start of 2009 for them! I'm going to give them time to settle in, then I'm taking over a batch of Killer Brownies and introducing myself.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year, A New You!

Happy 2009 Everyone!! Ok, let's get this year started!

Doesn't it feel like 2008 was a blur?

I have an assignment for you. It's rather important so pay attention.

1) If you do not already own one, go out and purchase an address book. An old-fashioned book you have to write in.

2) Grab your cell phone. Go through your cell's phone book and review each entry. If they are not valid, delete them.

3) Transpose all the valid names and numbers, in pencil, to the old-fashioned paper address book. Why pencil? People move, people change numbers.

Why are we all doing this? (Yes, you are doing this.) Because how many of us actually know anyone's phone number anymore? Not me. If our phone dies, gets run over by a car, gets dropped in a toilet, we're in deep doo doo (pun intended.)
Cell Phone Pictures, Images and Photos

I have a manual phone & address book. It was a gift from my mom and I've had it since Jake was 3. That thing is my bible for addresses and numbers. 12 years later and I am still updating it (in pencil) :) Every time someone gives me a new number, not only does my cell address book get updated, but my manual phone book too.

Happy New You!