Wednesday, September 24, 2008

hip to hike

I went to the Bristol dog park yesterday night to meet up with Amber, Aaron, Kyle, and Joe, and I was surprised to find that we were going hiking through trails in the woods instead of just standing around while the dogs ran around in circles. Surprised when it was too late to go back and get my cane, which worried me briefly, but then I just gamely traveled on. And, to my great surprise, my hip didn't bother me at all! Not during the hike, not afterward, and not even this morning when I woke up. I hadn't even remembered to take my normal 600mg of ibuprofen yesterday, either, so I was expecting some misery. But things are good. Which is strange, because a few days before, I'd gone on a couple of walks around my parents' neighborhood with my mother and sisters, and my leg did hurt me then. I am wondering if the difference truly is between the impact of concrete on my joints compared to the relative "softness" of packed earth. Just something I've been thinking about....

In any case, last night was a lot of fun. I hadn't seen Amber or Aaron in something like 4 years, but they are fabulously easy to pick back up with like no time has passed at all. They're good people. We took a nice long hike (it felt so good to be exercising), then Aaron & I went grocery shopping together, and we all cooked dinner together back at Amber's apartment. I'm really disappointed that Amber is moving to FL next month, just when we've finally gotten back in touch! Things like this seem to happen all too often in my life. Blah.

In other news, work told us yesterday that we're no longer going to develop the product that I've been working on since January! But, luckily, I'm able to transfer to another product within the same group, so it'll be a bit of a transition, but hopefully not too difficult to get used to. I'm looking forward to seeing what this change'll be like.

Speaking of which, I should go back to reading the manual to familiarize myself with the new software.

Have a good Wednesday! xo

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 happy thoughts

Because I've been having a really bad week, and because I am a pessimist by nature, I figured Wendy's idea of listing 10 things that make me happy right now was a good way to cheer myself up:

  1. the sunny-but-chilly fall weather

  2. feeling productive with my knitting (although still somewhat overwhelmed...)

  3. a warm cup of French vanilla coffee

  4. my cozy new Urban Outfitters shirt (that I'm wearing right now)

  5. the anticipation of a good book (I'm enjoying Anathem thus far)

  6. my new shelves

  7. having cleared the air a bit with some people

  8. making plans with other people that I haven't seen in ages (and was being lazy about contacting...hopefully I'll get to everyone soon)

  9. Talk Like A Pirate Day, of course

  10. and last but certainly not least, plans to have dinner with my family for Sarah's birthday this evening, at a lovely teahouse in Middletown (I'm especially looking forward to the cake!)

Oh and I have to add: 11. feeling like I've been organizing and purging a lot of the stuff that plagues me every day...I love the calm that I get from not having so many things. I am really trying to get rid of useless crap (and things I just don't use, even if I think I might someday...) and I've gone through a lot this past month. I hope to continue to clear our the clutter.

Um...otherwise, really not much going on with me. As I said above, I had a really bad week, emotionally and physically draining, and I am just ready to get some sleep this weekend. I am also looking forward to having some sisterly fun, as Bethany will be in town to celebrate Sarah's birthday, so we'll be hanging out a lot. Luckily my sisters tend towards more quiet-time activities, too, so I hopefully will feel rested after this weekend (since clearly last weekend I did not).

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that all of you feel rested & relaxed afterwards. xo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Anathem
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson

TITLE: Consuming Kids
AUTHOR: Susan Linn

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Monday, September 15, 2008

cupcakes & curry

It was my oldest sister's birthday this weekend, and because of that (and because I've been wanting to try out the cookbook that Sarah K gave me), I was excited by my plan to bake up a batch of vegan orange creamsicle cupcakes:

They turned out just lovely, as you can see - I am very pleased with the result. They were moist and pudding-filled and the frosting was unbelievably delicious (if I do say so myself; I feel I can, since it was the recipe that made it, not my following the steps of it!).

However, I didn't factor in how exhausted I'd be come Monday morning, because my weekend consisted of:

  • going out for a late dinner + drinks on Friday evening, while listening to a fun Irish band perform late into the night

  • getting up early to squeeze in a stop at a local charity tag sale my friend was working (which I was unable to locate) before zipping as quick as legally possible down to New Haven to meet up with Sally for a brief visit, which included:

  • some shopping at Urban Outfitters & a lovely lunch at the burrito place across the street, and once Sally left, was followed by

  • visiting Ikea solo, which was such a bad idea, but I didn't want to "waste" a trip to NH and not stop in!

  • hating crowds of slow people more than usual

  • deciding on a smaller set of shelves than I wanted because I wanted something I could fit into my car

  • struggling to fit the boxes into my car (in flipflops!)...and then realizing that my GPS was wedged underneath the boxes and that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to lift them in order to reach it

  • finding my way successfully home, although there were harrowing moments, as in when I attempted to go from 91 to 691, and just blew right past the exit, which would've been okay had I had my GPS...

  • realizing it was probably better that I took 9 instead

  • making a quick run into Price Chopper to pick up ingredients for the above cupcakes...and feeling slightly better that at least I had the foresight to bring the cookbook with me when I left for New Haven that morning

  • getting home, opening the cartons that contained the shelf pieces in order to bring them in one by one...and realizing I had gotten the WHITE ones instead of the BLACK that I wanted!

  • getting over that, and

  • hauling the shelves inside piece by piece, bruising myself mercilessly in the process, and sweating like I'd just run a marathon

  • attempting for quite some time to put the shelves together & swearing a blue streak until I was finally successful (usually I am awesome at following directions!)

  • feeling in a slightly better mood once I had shelves up & was able to put things on them

  • making orange pudding on the stovetop to prepare for cupcake-making on Sunday

  • collapsing into bed...only to realize I was unable to sleep, and stayed awake until around 3 or 4 in the morning...

  • waking up early to successfully complete the cupcakes - here they are fresh out of the oven:

  • making a quick grocery store run to pick up ingredients for a double batch of Curried Sweet Potato & Apple Pilaf

  • going to my sister's to celebrate her birthday with cupcakes & ice cream cake (while chopping vegetables for the pilaf)

  • stopping at my parents' to drop some things off & have my awesome father help me with my car

  • running back home to cook & shower before heading over to Jenn's

  • finally arriving at her potluck dinner party with a successful pilaf & a few cupcakes in tow

So, there you have it: my unexpectedly whirlwind weekend! I had no idea it'd be like that. I had expected a somewhat slowly-paced couple of days, and had been looking forward to some relaxing smattered with seeing some good friends here & there. No wonder I'm exhausted today.

Plus, I didn't get much sleep again last night.

Can I have another weekend to recover from this one? Please?


p.s. Very sad to hear about David Foster Wallace...I have been meaning to read Infinite Jest for years (really enjoyed A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - bits of it still stick with me years later); now when I finally get around to it (perhaps after Anathem?) it'll have to be read in homage....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

just for you, Neal

Well, it looks like I'm giving up on my all-female reading list...finally!

I hit 10, then 50, and kept going...I didn't realize how many books by women I had on my to-read list! So I've been reading women almost exclusively for over a year now. I never thought I'd be able to stand even a few months, let alone an entire year! Well, maybe it was something I needed at the time....

However, I have recently been struggling with wanting to return to male authors, yet having such a difficult time deciding when and how. As in, should I wait until I hit a good round number, like 75 or 100? And what book should I start with? I felt like it should be something monumental, some work that was seminal in the development of literature, or else it wouldn't be such a poignant change. I considered Tolstoy, Proust, García Márquez. I felt like the decision was impossible to make. I want to read all of those, yes, and many more: but which first? Maybe it isn't even that important of a decision, but it feels like it is. I realize that I've been "cheating" a bit and reading some male authors, but for the most part I've been restricting that to book clubs or audiobooks. So I do feel like this is an important turning point for me.

So. I decided today, hell with it - why not my favorite author's new book? I know I'll enjoy it, it comes out today, and it's an easy decision to make. I don't want to wait on this new one like I've waited on others, because "a convenient time to read" this or that never actually happens, for me. I just have to pick it up and start reading. Which I'm eager to do - I do occasionally enjoy reading books that are à la mode so I can sometimes have conversations with people who aren't classics dorks like me, haha. (Not that I don't read other stuff...but usually I am at the very least a few years behind on whatever I read, largely because I tend to get books from, I'd rather hear from people that a book is worth my time before picking it up, hah.)

Plus, I'm currently working on female-authored-books 68 and 69...and, after all, 69 ain't a bad number to end up on.... :)

And, buying it today gives me an excuse to visit Ant at work, which is an added bonus.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Martha's 100 declutter

I came across this Martha Stewart article on Unclutterer today, and although it's from a year ago, it's still got some great references for those of you looking to thin out the stuff in your life. I don't agree with some of the items, but for the most part it's a pretty nifty & comprehensive little guide. I found the information on preserve to be of particular interest...granted, some places (Boston included) do recycle all types of plastic, but I know that many places don't, so this is a neat way to keep #5 plastic out of the trash. I did a bit of searching the website, however, and while I had hoped they would offer discounts on their products for mailing in materials for their use, they do not - but they do offer postage-paid mailing labels, at least. So really all you would have to provide (besides your time & energy) is a box. Not too bad, but they still are reaping the benefits financially...still, I suppose I'd rather see the plastic used than tossed. Maybe it's just (crazy) me.

Thanks, Mom, for raising three recycling-obsessed daughters! (Well, I suppose that it's better than us being more ways than one, hah.)


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

book meme

I saw this on Stariel's blog; I am changing the rules a bit because I don't have many books that I've started and not finished:

Instructions: Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you’ve started but haven’t finished you'd like to read someday, cross out the ones you hated, and underline the ones on your book shelf! Combine indicators as appropriate.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

This is a very curious mix of books...I wonder if they are all someone's favorites or something. Odd.

But, always glad to see my favorite book (Cryptonomicon) listed.


p.s. I'm well aware that this is probably interesting to no one else but me...but I wanted to post it, I'm sorry. :)

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Bug
AUTHOR: Ellen Ullman

TITLE: Consuming Kids
AUTHOR: Susan Linn

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens