Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Every year I, like everyone else, make resolutions, though I try to go a little outside the box. Here's the list for this year:

1. Try to keep better track of sock pairs. I have a really big issue with socks missing their "buddy." And it really makes me mad because I am convinced that the washer or dryer is eating them which I know is not true. And if the washer or dryer isn't eating them, that makes it my fault when one or 34 socks get lost. So in an effort to keep tracks of my socks, my New Year's Resolution is to ball socks up together every single time I take a pair off.

2. Read more. I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis last month when I realized there was just not enough time in a lifetime to read the amount of books I want to. I made myself a "to-read" list which was over 100 titles long. Do you know how long that will take me? So in an effort to get through that list (at least partially) my New Year's Resolution is to read at least 25 pages a day. At least.

3. Make an attempt at being less messy. I am just a messy person, not DIRTY mind you (messy and dirty are different, just like organized and clean are different.) So in an attempt to be more organized I am going to try to pick-up for ten minutes before I go to bed (fold a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, etc. also go into this category) and for the first 10 minutes every morning do something clean-related (clean the sink or bathtub, etc.) I will be honest that I'm worried the second category is eventually going to turn into, "Well I brushed my teeth, so I technically I did clean something." But I'll at least make a solid effort. I promise.

4. Renew my faith. I was raised Jewish, but mostly we just went to temple on all the major holidays. I am glad that my parents didn't really force a religion on me (I hate to say force because I think having faith in something-no matter what religion- is a great, great thing) and raised me with an open mind. And by open mind I mean we celebrated Chanukah and Christmas. Spoiled I know. I took the Jewish equivalent of Sunday school, but barely recall a thing. So this year I am going to attempt to "be a better Jew," and learn more about the religion and culture. And I am going to check out the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. Has anyone ever been or want to go with me?

5. Get Married. Okay I know this doesn't sound like a very good resolution seeing as how I am already engaged and we already have a date and place set and paid for, but what I mean is actually getting going on the whole process. So I resolve to get a videographer, DJ, and officiant all in January. We are getting married up in Merrillville, Indiana... so I am totally open to suggestions.

So those are my 5 resolutions for this year. I am also going to make a few resolutions for the decade since it is going to be 2010!

1. Write a book. I haven't decided if it's going to be something serious (like all the amazing novels I read) or something a little more light-hearted. Depending on how my journey through Judaism goes (see #4 above) I may consider writing a book along the lines of "From JAP to Jew." So please don't steal my idea. And if you don't know what a JAP is, ask my Dad-- because he totally raised one :)

2. Have babies (god willing!) I'm one of those crazy people who wants a baby right now, but will do the responsible thing and wait a couple of years. Maybe in these couple of years I will adjust better to eye-boogers, nose-boogers, puke and poop, but it's not likely. Why do you think I'm marrying Rambo?

3. Own a house. And decorate it. Ohmygosh I can't wait. The goal would be that this happens before the #2 resolution of having babies.

4. Finish the puzzle I started last week (notice how this is going in the decade-resolution decade, because even though I work on it every night, I swear it's not more done than when I opened the box.) So yea, finish the darn puzzle.

5. Teach King to stay away from underwear. Um yeah, definitely going in the decade resolution list.

What are your resolutions?

Happy New Year's!!! Have a safe and fun night.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Why I'm Going to Get to Watch Whatever I Want Tomorrow

This afternoon while I was finishing up work, I wanted to watch the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that I DVR'd last night. Mark, who is home for three weeks until his next semester starts, was all "NO WAY, we are not watching that, watch it on your own time." Which I can understand because I am a wonderful fiancée like that.

However I had a brief flash of what it must be like for moms when their children are home for Christmas and summer break.

Anyways, tonight I came into the living room and Mark was watching Rambo 27 or some number like that. "Mark do we have to watch this?"

"Babe, its a classic!" he says. I rolled my eyes, but kept my mouth shut because I am a wonderful fiancée like that. After I was bored 5 minutes later, I went and worked out for an hour. When I came home a movie called Soldier was on. A movie that I had neither seen nor heard of ever.

I sat down on the couch and said "Seriously, Mark can we please change the channel?"

"Babe, this is the movie where I learned all my moves! We can't change the channel!"

Moves? What moves? In all fairness, perhaps some of them were employed when Mark was in Iraq. But I personally have never been privileged to see these "moves." Or perhaps we are just never in the right setting for these "moves" to be employed. However there are a lot of snakes in this movie, and the main character likes to kill them by hand. This, Mark is not allowed to claim as a move in his repertoire that he learned in this movie, because I'm sure the main character would not have taught Mark to jump 10 feet in the air and then dance like a little kid who has to pee, like he did that one time when we were backpacking that in the Smokies.

Not that I wouldn't have done the thing if I nearly stepped on a giant snake. I'm just saying clearly Mark wasn't watching the moves in this movie close enough.

Anyways, I'm just sitting here, minding my own business twittering, facebooking and blogging away, ignoring whatever is going on in the movie and every 5 minutes Mark is all "Babe, look at this part!" or "You gotta watch this it's awesome."

Which, for the record, I would never had done to him if we had watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

But I'm keeping my mouth shut because-- you guessed it-- I'm a wonderful fiancée like that.

And because tomorrow I will use the examples of me lovingly watching Rambo and Soldier with him as leverage to watch whatever I freaking want.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hello, readers! It's been awhile, hasn't it? Hopefully you'll forgive me, but I think we all understand how hectic the holidays can get. Here's a recap of the past few days:

1. King got beat up. And by beat up I mean he was trying to play with an older lab at Rambo's Dad's house. This particular lab, named Tucker (who is usually a very sweet-tempered dog), did not want to play, and growled at King to let him know. King still wanted to play. So Tucker bit him. Hard.

I totally saw the whole thing and then watched King run as far away from Tucker yelping the whole way. I couldn't look. I felt sick. I thought for sure King's little baby snout was only barely hanging on to his face. How would he eat? How would he drink? How was I going to explain a deformed dog for the rest of my life? So I made Rambo look.

"He's fine," Rambo said. Ohmygodthankgod. At this point, Mark's step-mom (Nurse Nancy) was holding a paper towel up to his nose so the blood would clot. "Don't worry, there's just a little blood," she said, in an attempt to make me feel better. She showed me the paper towel. WHICH WAS COVERED IN BLOOD. I retreated to my previous position on the couch and continued to feel sick. For the rest of the night King stayed in the corner, going near none of the dogs. Occasionally he would peek down into the dining room through the stair banisters. It broke my heart.

The cut has nearly healed, but King sort of looks like a rat because there is a bump on his little baby snout which I am hoping will eventually go down. Other than King, my main concern is how I am going to survive, when I am eventually the parent of an actual CHILD. I see a great many panic attacks in my future.

2. We saw Avatar in IMAX 3D. And it was AWESOME, even though I got a little motion-sick at the beginning and had to stand in line for pop and popcorn and miss the first 15 minutes of the movie (AHEM Hamilton IMAX 16 in Noblesville.) But back to the movie, it was amazing and so fun to watch at every single second. When I walked in (late) to the theatre everybody in the whole theatre, which was full, was smiling with those dorky 3-D glasses on. So cool. Go see it. in 3D if possible!

3. We also rented and watched District 9. And it very well could have been my least favorite movie of all time. So bad in fact, that is all I am going to say about it. Except that I don't recommend it.

3. Santa brought me a Kindle. And so far, I love it. And I really love the idea that I am employing modern-day technology with one of the oldest forms of entertainment... reading! A full report to come.

4. I started a 1,000 piece puzzle. I was on a big puzzle kick this time last year, and finished 3 of them in no time. I started the 4th one, and it literally sat on our coffee table for 2 months. And in case you were curious, it is a nightmare to dust an unfinished puzzle. And since we got King, I was afraid to start one because there are few things worse in the world than having ONE piece of a puzzle missing. I will report back in about a month or so on the status of this particular puzzle, and how many pieces King gets to. (Current count: 1, but it is still workable.) Why do I like puzzles so much? It's hard to explain but I LOVE grouping together all the pieces of the puzzle that look the same. This is where the tree pieces go, this is where the sky pieces are, and this is where I have the window pieces, etc. Plus every time you get a piece to fit, you get this proud feeling of accomplishment. Multiply that by a thousand and I am one happy puzzler.

5. Every time I typed "puzzle," "puzzles," or "puzzler" in this post, I first typed pussle. Including just now. It was annoying, and now the word puzzle doesn't even look like a real word to me.

That's probably enough recap for you right? It was great seeing all of our family and friends this week, and thanks everyone for all the gifts! I hope your holidays were as eventful and fun as ours!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Present Situation on Presents

1. I have officially finished all of my Christmas shopping as of 8PM last night. And by officially finished I mean I am completely done except for I have to pick up one last gift card. So, like I said, officially finished.

2. I bought three rolls of wrapping paper, and I'm already out. If there was a wrapping paper that advertised "Guaranteed to wrap all of your presents this holiday season" I would totally buy it even if it cost $20 and weighed 10 pounds. Because going back and forth to the store just for wrapping paper is ridiculous. Not to mention that then there are like 3 presents that don't match all the other presents under the tree. Which is unacceptable in Lauren's world.

3. I LOVE buying presents for people. But I hate when people (ahem, Mark) tell me exactly what they want. What is the fun in opening a present when you know what's inside?

4. Even more annoying is when you happen to buy two presents for your fiance (for example) and have a great idea for a third present, all of which he off-handedly mentioned MONTHS ago. Then one day a week ago he comes home and says "You know what I want for Christmas?" and then proceed to name off the two presents you already bought and the one you plan on buying. Now it appears that I am just buying the presents because the fiance explicitly told me that is what he wanted for Christmas. I am going to get no credit for thinking of them and paying close attention on my own. I didn't list the presents in the above situation because a. Mark doesn't read my blog and b. there is a solid chance that he will forget that he told me what he wanted and I will be a hero on Christmas.

5. On the other hand, it is completely acceptable for me to tell you exactly what I want, for you to wrap it, for me to open it, feign surprise and then be completely happy.

6. I wrapped a couple of presents yesterday and I was putting them under the tree, when I saw two presents without a To/From tag on them. Both were clearly wrapped by me. But I could not for the life of me remember what they flipping were. I could account for what was inside every other wrapped box under the tree accept for these two little ones. I made a list of everyone I bought for and what I got everyone, and still these two little boxes fit in no where. So I opened them and was all "Oh yeaaaaa..." (I can't tell you what they were! What if this person reads my blog!?) Anyways this situation sort of eliminates any future job opportunities for myself as an elf.

7. Speaking of To/From tags... if you forgot to buy them and are doing last minute wrapping (like myself) Check out THESE adorable, printable tags from CreatureComfortsBlog or THESE equally adorable, printable tags from PaperCrave.

8. That's all. Have fun opening presents everyone :)


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Happy Holidays from Lauren, Mark & King!

(click image to enlarge)

We had our holiday cards designed by Doodlebug Dezigns this year, and I was very impressed at how they work with you until you are 100% satisfied! Thanks Doodlebug Dezigns, we've gotten a lot of compliments!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Elfing Around

I am definitely in the holiday spirit.

Example A: See sidebar to the left. On the top widget, click play. This is Rambo & I wishing you Happy Holidays. I know, Mark has some great moves, huh? Want your own? Check out ElfYourself by OfficeMax

Example B: I finished decorating the tree and wrapping the presents. Well, the presents I bought already, at least. There are a few on my list who I haven't gotten presents for yet. So just in case you might be one of them, you better be good for goodness sake.


Example C: I made my own wreath, and bought all the parts at Michael's. It probably ended up costing me around $12!


Example D: Kim and I made a homemade gingerbread house. And when I mean homemade I mean I made the gingerbread from scratch, cut out the house pieces from it, made the icing cement and decorated it with Kimmy. It is rather gaudy but I LOVE IT, it reminds me of Candyland. As a sidenote I will probably never do this again because I don't even like gingerbread and kneading that dough with molasses sort of grossed me out. And I made the biggest mess my kitchen has ever seen. And if you have ever seen me cook you can imagine how big of a mess there was. Next year I will attempt a sugar cookie house AND we will remember the chimney.

Also that green glob to the right of the house is a tree. Yes, a tree. and the blue blog is a pond. Because real gingerbread men need to fish.




What were the boys doing while we made the gingerbread house? Well Mark tried to steal candy (which as you can see, doesn't fly in my kitchen.)

And they made some lures. And tested them. IN THE BATHTUB.
I love the holidays. How have you been elfing around lately?
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


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Totally Random But Interesting

So I was playing on Twitter last night (@LaurenBlast if you don't already follow me, and if you don't know what I'm talking about Google it. And yes, I am one of those people who use Google as a verb.) And I found the Twitter account for @OMGFACTS. And I was totally hooked. Here are the facts I found more interesting. I can't account for the accuracy, but I can tell you that after doing some I did end up doing a little Googling myself.

  1. The plastic things at the end of shoelaces are called "aglets."
  2. "Dysania" is the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. (I totally suffer from this daily!)
  3. African Elephants are pregnant for 22 months - that's almost 2 years!
  4. Las Vegas has more churches per capita than any other US city.
  5. Honey is used as the center of some golf balls.
  6. A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn't give her coffee.
  7. On the day The Wizard of Oz's Judy Garland died, a tornado touched down in Kansas.
  8. Margaret Higgins Sanger, a pioneer of birth control, was one of 11 children
  9. Albert Einstein's last words will never be known He spoke them in German, and the attending nurse did not speak German
  10. The average man will spent about 145 days of this life shaving.
  11. Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell
  12. The Hoover Dam was built to last 2,000 years. The concrete in it will not even be fully cured for another 500 years.
  13. The "I'm feeling lucky" button costs Google $110 million every year.
  14. In a public bathroom, the stall which is closest to the door is usually the cleanest, because it's the least used.
  15. No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
  16. Alaska could hold the 21 smallest States.
  17. A group of Kangaroos is called a mob
  18. A group of Owls is called a parliament
  19. Polar bears can swim 60 miles without pausing for a rest.
  20. It is physically impossible to urinate and give blood at the same time
  21. Scientists estimate that sleep lost due to daylight saving time reduces the average lifespan by nearly two full months.
  22. Ingesting small doses of ink over an extended period of time will change your eye color slightly
  23. 315 entries in Webster's Dictionary will be misspelled.
  24. Moths are unable to fly during an earthquake
  25. Children conceived on airplanes never suffer from motion sickness. (Apparently I was NOT conceived on an airplane.)
  26. In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her husband if he cheats on her
  27. The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust
  28. President George W. Bush and Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner are cousins. (9th cousins after I did a bit of research!)
  29. Hitler was voted Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1938.
  30. Animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by a lightning strike
  31. Crocodiles never outgrow the place they live. If you put a baby-croc in an aquarium, it would be little for the rest of it's life.
  32. "Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand, "lollipop" with your right
  33. If the entire population of earth was reduced to exactly 100 people,50% of the world's currency would be held by 6 people.
  34. "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.
  35. Of all the words in the English language, the word 'set' has the most definitions
  36. Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous line in The Terminator 'I'll be back' was originally scripted as 'I'll come back'
  37. Only about one third of the World's population can snap their fingers. Can you?
  38. Al Gore's roommate in college (Harvard, class of 1969) was Tommy Lee Jones.
  39. Actor Bill Murray doesn't have a publicist or an agent.
  40. One out of three employees who received a promotion use a coffee mug with the company logo on it.
  41. French author Michel Thaler published a 233 page novel which has no verbs.
  42. 71% of office workers stopped on the street for a survey agreed to say their computer passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar. (I totally would, too)
  43. If you hook Jell-O up to an EEG, it registers movements almost identical to a human adult's brain waves.
  44. Americans take an average of ten days off per year for vacation. In France, the law guarantees everyone five weeks of vacation.
  45. The inventor of Vasaline ate a spoonful of it every morning. (Ewww)
  46. The Nike swoosh was designed by a Portland State University student, and purchased by Nike for $35 (Whoa, that student is owed a little something, I'd say.)
  47. 72% of Americans sign their pets' names on greeting cards they send out. (Guilty)
  48. Amusement park attendance goes up after a fatal accident. People want to ride upon the same ride that killed someone
  49. The average child recognizes over 200 company logos by the time he enters first grade. (Hello, marketing)
  50. The dot that appears over the letter "i" is called a tittle.

So there you go, 50 things you probably didn't know before. Don't say I never teach you anything :)
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree

I have a memory of Christmastime when I was little. In this particular memory I can remember my Dad attempting to get a HUMONGOUS tree through our garage door, down the hall, down the stairs to what would be it's resting place at the bottom in our living room. I remember pine needles everywhere, and that distinct smell of tree in the house.

I don't remember if I went to pick out the tree or not, but I can also remember my mother's face which sort of said "Holy sh!t, Marty what did you buy!?" I also remember that when we finally got the tree up the tip of it curled against the ceiling (the ceiling in that room is probably somewhere near 20 feet high.)

Apparently that was the last year we had a real tree in my parents house.

Looking back on this memory I thought it was a childhood exaggeration. You know how when you are little things seem so big or so amazing, but if you go back when you are older it's just not as cool as you remember? That's what I thought this memory was like.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when the topic somehow got brought up. Apparently this was not an exaggeration. The tree really DID touch the ceiling and curl over. Evidently my Dad was always in charge of getting the tree and on that particular year his eyes were bigger than our living room. What I did not remember from childhood is that my parents also had to use fishing line tied to windows to keep the tree from falling over, and they broke more than one tree stand in getting it to stand up.

Like I said, that was the last year we ever had a real tree.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago. Mark and I picked out our real tree and brought it home. This would be my second year of getting a real tree in my apartment. We got home just in time for me to change and head out to my book club meeting with my friend, Kim. And when I got home, I walked in to a forest of a living room. Mark and Zac had put up the tree.

The tree didn't quite touch the ceiling, but in our tiny apartment, this thing literally took up half of the living room because it was so wide. I am absolutely kicking myself for not getting a picture. We have since scaled it down a bit to actually fit in the apartment. And by scaled it down a bit I mean:

1. Turned tree on it's side... pine needles everywhere.
2. Saw tree to make it shorter. I took a turn sawing, Mark took a turn sawing, then I took a turn again.
3. Sawdust everywhere.
4. Sap everywhere. Freaking sticking everything. Including sticky King.
5. Put it back in the stand. Mark-"Are you holding it straight?" Me-"Yes" Mark-"They why is it crooked?" Me-"Because YOU keep twisting it!"
6. Trim the tree. "Okay, get that one Mark... NO NOT THE WHOLE BRANCH JUST A LITTLE OFF THE TOP, A LITTLE OF THE FLIPPING TOP! WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF LITTLE!?!?"
7. More sap everywhere.
8. Vacuum up pine-needles and sawdust.
9. Take a pee break. Discover a tiny spider crawling on my leg while I am peeing. OHMYGOD.
10. Make a split decision to kill spider with my bare hand because I wouldn't want spider crawling into anywhere where spiders definitely DON'T belong.
11. Brag to Rambo that I killed a spider basically as big as a tarantula with my bare hands.
12. Freak out that the spider came from the tree and picture thousands of spiders crawling all over the apartment.
13. Try to get drops of sap off of King's fur. Look up how to get sap off fur on the internet.
14. Am reminded about how the other day I was typing in "dog ate glass ornament."
15. Wonder how often mom's google things when their children do something stupid.
16. Wonder how anyone survived before Google.
17. Decide that I am grateful that Google will be available when I have kids.
18. Re-put the tree in the stand because it was slowly tilting. Mark-"DO YOU KNOW WHAT STRAIGHT MEANS!?"
19. Rearrange furniture to accommodate the huge tree.
20. Ask Mark, "What do you mean you don't want to help me decorate it!?"

And though it ended up sort of more bush shaped that tree shaped, and somewhere between ugly and adorable, I still love it.

Though I think this may be the last year we get a real tree. Apparently the "eyes are bigger than your living room" thing is genetic.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Love: The Thirteenth Tale

I'm on a huge reading kick. I mean, I always read, but lately it occurred to me how many good books there are in the world versus how much time it would take to read said books. Ohmygosh... there isn't enough time! So I started a list of books that I want to read (which is right now somewhere way over a hundred, if you had something you think I should add please let me know.) But first, I had to read this month's book club book, The Thirteenth Tale. And oh how I loved it, which only reinforced in me that I have a lot of reading to do.

Book Name: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield
Category: Fiction-Literature
Pages: 432

Brief Description (borrowed from Borders): Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny. Reclusive author Vida Winter, famour for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness... featuring the beatiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

Why I bought it: It was our chosen Book Club book for the Naughty Novelists!

Book Love: This book is a little bit gothic, which I wasn't sure I'd be into but I loved it. The main character basically grew up in a library (did I mention that my list of "to-reads" grew a lot after reading this book? It mentioned sooo many classics!) and her character has a troubled past, which goes well with another of the main characters, an author named Vida Winter. Also this book has an AMAZING surprise ending. I wish I could discuss it with you, but I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't read it (that what Book Clubs are for!)

Quotable: Whenever I read books, I dog-ear the pages that have quotes on them that I love. Then when I finish the book, I go back through and read all of them. I just recently started writing all my favorite quotes down, too. Usually I have 4-5 quotes I like, but some writers just have an amazing ability to put things into words and in those books there might be 8-10 quotes I like. In the Thirteenth Tale I found 14! I'm not going to share all of them with you, but here's a few so you can get an idea of what a great author Setterfield is:

I posted one in Quote it last week.

"People disappear, when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both natural and dreadful. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. THrough the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you.They can alter you. All this even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a king of magic". -p17 (see I told you... gothic but beautiful!)

"I'm sorry," I heard her say. "One gets so used to one's own horrors, one forgets how they must seem to other people." -p54

"He put an arm around me. 'I know, ' he said. 'I know.' He didn't know of course. Not really. And yet, that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. 'I know,' he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way he did." -p389

"He was standing motionless, arms stretched out on either side of him, eyes closed and face turned skyward. All the happiness in the world was falling on him with the snow." -p395

Bottom Line: If you like classics, or books where one of the themes is a love of literature-- you'll enjoy The Thirteenth Tale. Or if you like gothic novels and ghost stories... you'll like this as well!

Availability: You should be able to find it anywhere! Now, get reading!

By the way, I am now on to reading Jane Eyre, and next in line is the Great Gatsby!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Particularly Annoying

Let's talk about last night.

I got to see a good friend of mine, Lainey while I'm working out here in Baltimore. It was fun to catch up, and she made me watch all the Big10/ACC basketball tourney games, which was fun because it was the first time I ever watched it, and what do you know? We won for the first time in 11 years. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyways. So she leaves (I'm at a hotel, mind you) and I read a few chapters of Jane Erye (I'm on a big reading kick right now.) Then as I'm falling asleep, it starts to rain. This made me happy because I love falling asleep to the sound of rain. Then I hear: Drip, Drip, Drip. Which turns into Thud, Thud, Thud. And somewhere else I hear what I am calling Squidge, Squidge, Squidge. The squidge sound sort of made me cringe every time I heard it.

What the heck, is it raining in my flipping room? And the short answer is yes, it is.

But I'm not a short answer kind of person.

I get up close to inspect the window, and I feel a drop of water on my shoulder. I look around and before I know it I realize that the ceiling is FLIPPING leaking from at least 5 different spots. One spot is hitting the chair (drip, drip, drip) three spots are hitting the carpet (Squidge, squidge, squidge) and one spot is hitting a lampshade (thud, thud, thud.)

So I pick up the phone and call the front desk.
"Hi, my ceiling is leaking from way more than one spot. And by way more I mean 8."
(I tend to exaggerate in stressful situations.)
"Well, would you like to move rooms?"
-Me, glancing around the room at all my work stuff sprawled on the desk, dirty clothes in a pile, things plugged in everywhere and imagining all my stuff spread out over the bathroom sink.
"No, I don't think so it's pretty late and I've got all my stuff --er-- unpacked."
"Well, would you like me to send the maintenance guy up?"
-Me, imagining a creeper knocking on my door then spending an hour awkwardly talking to me while he pretends to fix anywhere from 5 to 23 leaks. (Can you even repair a leak from the inside?)
"Um, no I don't think I feel comfortable with that."
"Well those are the two options I can think of, so unless you had another idea?"
-Me, feeling stupid because I obviously didn't think this call through before I picked up the phone.
"Um, okay-- I'll call back if I decide to change rooms, or we can just deal with it in the morning. Thanks..."

Unless I wanted to pack up all my stuff, it looked like I was sleeping in the leaky room. So I moved the chair and the lamp (both now covered in what looks like a vomit-substance because of the plaster mixed with water) to eliminate the sound, and I put towels on the floor because I thought this would make the squidge sound a little more "padded." I turned the fan on high, and moved as far to the other side of the bed as possible (away from the leaks.)

With a pillow over my head I finally fell asleep to a symphony of Squidge, drip, squidge, drip, splatter.

Only I didn't sleep well because I kept dreaming that water was dripping onto my face. I would wake up, turn on the light-- check the ceiling, realize my face was in fact dry, turn off the light, put the pillow back over my head and repeat the above sequence.

My question is though, how do you let a hotel room in Baltimore develop leaks in 5 different spots!? It seems like a very busy hotel, and Baltimore gets a decent amount of rain-- and I'm willing to bet I wasn't the first to experience this, especially reflecting on the reaction of the hotel desk clerk.

I think I deserve a complimentary night. I only stay at this particular brand every time I travel, and I certainly didn't pay $110+ dollars a night for a leaky roof!

I usually get a "How was your stay?" e-mail a day or two after I check out, and though I have never responded to it or filled out the accompanying survey, in this particular instance they will be receiving a particular link, to a particular blog and should be particularly happy that I didn't mention a particular hotel brand.

Moral of the story: I am such a nice person. (You already drew that conclusion though, didn't you?)

The end.

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Wordless Wednesday (It's Wednesday Somewhere)


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote It

"There is something about words. In expert hands manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wine themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so entralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic."

From The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Little Turkey

I love Thanksgiving and absolutely everything about it (well, except clean up.) This year, like usual, Rambo and I are going up to my parents house for the holiday along with my Grandma, and brothers. Let me set the mood for you using all the senses.

(Sense of Smell) The house will smell heavenly all day because of the turkey that is being slow-roasted. (Sense of Sight) You’ll see mom and I in the kitchen and I’ll probably be the one stuck with peeling a million freaking potatoes as usual. David may make an appearance to mash the potatoes, but it sort of depends on if he is in the middle of some sort of video game or not. (Sense of Taste) Eventually someone will roam into the kitchen, stick his dirty little finger and taste-test something. I understand, Mom and I make the house smell amazing and you can’t resist, but I warn you (Sense of Touch) if I catch you I will smack you. Only those cooking can taste-test. (Sense of Sound) You’ll likely hear the sounds of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, a football game, and sibling rivalry and bickering at its finest (we have to get a few months of it into just a couple of days after all.)

This has been the norm for 19 years. Because 19 years ago, a fat little turkey named David came into our lives and completed our family on Thanksgiving Day.

Ian (left) and David (right) a couple of years ago. I wanted to put up a baby pic of David, but it would have required scavenging and scanning.

David’s actual birthday is the 22nd, but I’ll always think of him as the Turkey baby because he was the one who actually managed to be born on a holiday (I was one day off of Valentine’s Day and Ian was one day off St. Patty’s.)

I remember being dropped off at a family friend’s in the neighborhood with Ian and knowing that when my parents came back I would have a little brother or little sister. Naturally I had a request in for a little sister, but either I didn’t ask it loud enough or often enough because my parents came home with another little boy. Our Turkey baby.

Looking back it’s much better that David was a boy. Dressing a girl up as a girl, doing her hair and make-up and making her pose like a model for pictures is not nearly as fun as dressing a boy up as a girl, doing HIS hair and make-up and making him pose like a model for pictures (strangely, none of these photos can be found.) I then proceeded to order him up the stairs to show Dad, only to hear, “Get that Sh!t off of him right now!”

Cleary I was blessed to have another little brother. And even though David is now 19, and much taller than me, he will always be my little brother and Turkey baby.

Happy Birthday David, I love you!

And Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Peek at our Thanksgiving Table

Thursday is going to be amazing. Need proof? Take a look at a few of the things that will be making their way to our Thanksgiving table below. And feel free to use them yourself!

Appetizers:
Hot Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
Found at Macheesmo
Cranberry Baked Brie
Also found at Macheesmo

Side Dishes:
Basil Mashed Potatoes- the recipe I'm using comes from HouseBeautiful magazine, courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa. But there are similar recipes all over the internet.
Sweet Potato Casserole- I rarely use an exact recipe when I make this. Just a little bit of this and that. This year there will be mashed bananas in there as well as pineapple juice.

Dessert:
Chocolate Harvest Cake- This chocolate cake has a pumpkin-cream cheese filling. The best of both worlds in my opinion. You can find the recipe at BHG!


Of course this list neglects a few more of the things we will be serving, like turkey, stuffing, etc. I'll do my best to get a tablescape photo of the food on the big day!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Hello, Thanksgiving!


This week is Thanksgiving. Which means this week is ENTIRELY about food. My blog will more than likely reflect this, so be ready.

I've been saving this recipe for you guys until it was closer to the holidays because it feeds a TON of people and it's perfect for breakfast or brunch when you have a bunch of people in your house.

I made it a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious, so the plan is to make it Thanksgiving morning, so no one (ahem any of the boys in my family) start whining at noon, "Whennnnn is it going to be ready? Four more hours!? How long can a turkey seriously take!?" There is a long baking time, but that means plenty of time for you to do all that fun stuff like peel potatoes. Enjoy it!

French Toast Bread Pudding courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.

Here's what you'll need:
1 challah bread, sliced 3/4 inch thick (you can also use any kind of bakery egg bread or any good white bread you can find)
8 extra-large eggs
5 cups half and half
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar and maple syrup for serving

Here's how you make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the bread in two layers in a 9x13x2(ish) baking dish and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or half-and-half, honey, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and press the bread down to soak completely.

4. Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to come an inch up the side of the baking dish. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn't touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and back for another 40-45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

5. Sprinkle with confectioners and serve with maple syrup or honey.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

See what happens when I go out of town?

I was out of town last night and all day today working, and on my way home I called Rambo to see how his day went, and to check in on my baby, King.

After the initial, "Hey, how are ya, miss you, love you" etc. that should be expected from a loving couple such as we, I asked how King was.

"Well, babe, King caught his very first Muskie today." And I swear to you, I have never heard Mark sound more proud of anything-- including when he caught his first Muskie.

But what throws me off most about this story is that, based on my so-in-depth-it-should-be-illegal-for-a-female-in-her-twenties knowledge of Muskie fishing (which stems from being engaged to a man who spends every spare moment watching fishing on TV, reading fishing magazines, making lures, making sketches of lures and you guessed it-- actually fishing) I know that there are probably not Muskie in a river running through Indianapolis.*

"Oh, that is very exciting, clearly King is just as into fishing as his Dad!" I told Mark, "How did he catch him?"

"Well, the Muskie was actually dead- King just sniffed him out." Oh good. What an elegant palette my pup has. He loves everything from panties to muskies.

"And was his first Muskie as big as your first Muskie?"

"Oh no, this one is only about six inches."

"How do you know it's a Muskie if it's a baby?"

"Well it's too long for any kind of other fish, and I just really think it is."

Right. My fiancé is so addicted to fishing-- specifically muskie that he is now seeing them everywhere. This fact was further hammered home when I discovered that Mark TOOK THE DEAD AND ROTTING FISH HOME WITH HIM, took pictures of it and sent it to my Dad, his brother, and our friend Zac who only encourages Rambo's little hobby (the photo album is called "King's Catch".)* Here are a couple of the pictures, and if you could clear up for me that this isn't a Muskie please let me know. If it is a Muskie, don't tell me because Mark will find out and I will never see him again because he will spend the rest of his life down by the river fishing:

This one was entitled "teeth"
Yes, he is missing AN EYE.

But back to the conversation:

"So our porch sort of smells a little fishy."

"Ew! Well make sure you put it in the DUMPSTER and not in the trash, okay?"

"What do you mean PUT IT IN THE TRASH? I put it in the freezer for further investigation."

Further investigate? No more NCIS for you, Rambo, no more NCIS for you.

But I will admit it was really cute how Mark was beaming about King's first Muskie. But not cute enough that I will touch anything currently sitting in our freezer.

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*I really need to work on my run-on sentences.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thoughts for Tuesday

Another random thought post for you:

1. King just ate his way through a strap on one of my tank tops. I yelled at him and now he is truly following me around like a lost puppy looking all sorry and so stinking cute. How can I be mad at a face like that?

2. Mark came home the other night telling me that he bought soap that will make it so he doesn't smell human any more. He also bought a new detergent for the same reason. AND he was excited about it. I was completely confused as to why he wanted to stop smelling human. Who thinks of that? What a weirdo! Maybe I told him he stinks one time too many and I was really hurting his feelings? But I only tell him he smells when he really does smell. Like sweaty gross boy... which is not everyday or anything, just every now and then. He couldn't have taken offense, could he?

So finally I felt bad enough to say, "Mark, is this because sometimes I tell you that you stink? When I say that you smell it's usually on days when you have been fishing all day or working on something or running around with King. You don't stink all the time. I didn't mean go out and buy soap that makes you not smell human anymore."

And Mark says, "Oh, didn't I tell you I was going hunting this weekend? That's why I bought that stuff-- so the deer won't be able to smell me."

No Mark. You didn't mention you were going hunting. You just came home and told me you wanted to stop smelling human and you bought soap and detergent to help you do so. So not only did I think you were weird for 10 minutes, I felt guilty for telling you that you smell sometimes. How do you walk in the door and of all the things you have to tell me (like you are going hunting for the first time, and could potentially kill Bambi's Dad, or "Gosh you look beautiful, have I told you how much I love you lately?") You choose, "Honey, guess what? I bought soap that won't make me smell human any more!"

3. I do not get video games. The last video game system I mastered was Nintendo 64, and even then I only liked to play the fun games like MarioKart and MarioParty. Mark has a PS2 (I think that's what it is) and doesn't usually play, but was all excited because this new game Modern Warfare just came out. So he bought it and is all "Babe you want to play with me?" No thanks. I can't quite master the concept of this joystick moves your head, and this joystick moves your body, and this button shoots, and this button reloads. Trust me I've tried and I just end up spinning in circles. And just walking around shooting people doesn't seem fun to me-- guess I'm weird or something. "It's okay, hun. You play... I'll just blog or something."

Five minutes later "OH MY GOD, BABE! DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID WITH THAT DRONE?! THIS IS AWESOME."

And I just found myself thinking that there clearly is a huge divider between men and women. Because I don't even know what a drone is, but even if I did, I would be willing to bet that what you did with it, in my opinion, was not cool.

4. Call me crazy, but maybe instead of playing video games, or putting extra time into trying to not smell human, there may be something a little more productive Mark could be doing. Like plan a wedding, perhaps? Now that is what I call fun.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote It

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
-Chuck Palahniuk

(Did I mention he is one of my favorite authors?)

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Daily Find: Jetsetter

Please pardon the appearance of my blog! I am trying to give it another make-over but I haven't had the time to finish it up.

Anyways I wanted to share with you another fun website I found: Jetsetter. Remember when I told you about those other members-only flash-sale sites like OneKingsLane and Gilt? Well this is sort of like that except for travel-lovers.

So what is it? Okay for example, today two new "sales" went up. The first is just outside La Jolla, called the Lodge at Torrey Pines. And it is beautiful! Jetsetter
has this sale up until November 18th at Midnight. And for example, the Palisades Room which usually costs $495 is $295 through Jetsetter. Or, the Signature Room- usually $305 is $210 through Jetsetter. And you can book it pretty much anytime up through February.

The other sale that went up today is the James Hotel in Chicago. Rooms that usually go for $342 are going for $199, and rooms that usually go for $182 are $109 all through Jetsetter. And you can book the James Hotel through March. Not bad! Here are a couple of screenshots of the site:

Upcoming sales include:
The Parisian Grande Dame in Paris
The Surrey in Manhattan
Capella Pedregal in Cabo
Campton Place in San Fran

And in the past week I have seen sales for Costa Rica, Africa, Italy and Paris. So the possibilities are endless!

The site also outlines why you'd want to go there, if the hotel has any accolades or awards, and what there is to do surrounding the hotel.

How to Become a Jetsetter Member:
Basically you have to know someone who's already a member and have them sign you up, or you can be put on the waiting list to get in (rumor has it this takes less than a month.) If you sign more people up, when they make their first purchase you get $25 to spend on the site. I'm a member, so if you want to be a part of it just email me (Laurealism at gmail dot com!) Or if you are already a member of Gilt Groupe, you can use Jetsetter.

Leave any questions or comments you have below!

Bon Voyage!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Belated Halloween

So I know I'm officially late on this one... but I still wanted to share some pictures from Halloween.

Mark and I joined a group of our friends and headed down to Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee. We stayed at an old farmhouse with tons of land-- including a super-creepy graveyard with graves dating back to the 1800's. We carved pumpkins, had a costume contest and overall just had a really good time!

Here's the farmhouse:

First we started with a hike to a waterfall on the property. And when I say hike, I mean it-- there were no paths. King practically drug me down the hill until I took him off his leash.



Yep, Mark and King had matching shirts:


Here's the pumpkins before:


And after: (two winners on the left)
And Mark's:

Creepy Graveyard, notice the sunken graves!


Creepy Fog:
Creepy Costumes:

Vampiress drinking her Blood(y Mary):
Costume Winner:
Thing 1 and Thing 2 with Cat in the Hat (we were warm and toasty all night!):
There were about 11 dogs on the trip, this is probably the only time King was laying down:


I hope everyone had a great Halloween!

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