Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

So Scott has been gone all week, and to fill my time, I've been watching old movies. Last night, I watched Casablanca for the first time in my life. You know, I always thought it was a Western that perhaps took place somewhere near the Mexico border. Or that it was about a white house. I never imagined it took place in a city named Casablanca in Morocco, of all places. Nonetheless, it was a great movie with so many classic lines. The whole movie, I was thinking, "So THAT's where that line comes from!" I enjoyed watching it.

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

After finishing up Casablanca, I decided to watch Steel Magnolias, which I'd also never seen. My mom told me I had to see that movie. It was so sad! I really enjoyed it, though, and the characters were fantastic. You can't go wrong with Dolly Pardon, Shirley MacClaine, Julia Roberts, and Sally Field! Great movie with a sad ending, a true Chick Flick. Sally Field's performance after Shelby's funeral was fantastic, when she has her "emotional outburst". A real tear-jerker.

I should get The Namesake in the mail tonight from Netflix, so I'll be watching that after I do some cleaning this evening.

Scott's flight leaves tonight and he will be back in the morning. I'm so glad. It hasn't been too bad being alone, but I really do not prefer it at all. I used to have no problem being by myself, but I guess I've become spoiled by having Scott around all the time. Simba misses him too, I can tell. He's resorted to being nice to ME. This may be because I am the only one available to feed him. Haha.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith - Book Review

Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just as enjoyable as the first! Mma Romatswe finds herself with new mysteries to solve and a brand new family. This is one of the most leisurely book series I've ever read, and I look forward to reading book 3!

View all my reviews.

Great weekend!

We had another great weekend! On Friday after work I went straight home to start straightening up and putting things away before The Maids arrived around 3:00. Scott and I finished up Season 4 of The Office, so now we have to wait for Season 5 to come out on DVD. We decided to watch Gran Torino (awesome, awesome movie) while we waited for my parents to arrive. They were held up due to a bad storm in the Powatan area which knocked a huge tree across Rt. 60. So they didn't get in until about 9:30 or 10:00.

On Saturday, my parents had a festival in Tappohanock, so they left very early in the morning. For the first time all season, I slept-in instead of going to yard sales. I've gotten so many books over the past couple months that I don't have anywhere to put anymore! So I slept in, and then we went to Panera for breakfast. The best thing at Panera for breakfast? Sausage, egg & cheese on an Asiago Cheese bagel. OMG YUM. It's really the best thing, ever. After breakfast, Scott and I headed back home. The weather was so hot on Saturday that there was no point in trying to do anything outside, so I decided to work on our paperwork while Scott worked on his laptop. I spent hours on the phone with Verizon trying to work out why we'd been overcharged for our service for so many months. I'm still not confident that it has been resolved, but I guess we'll find out when we get our next bill.

Late in the afternoon, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. When I got back, my parents were back and Rory had come up, and I fixed spaghetti w/ meatballs for everyone for dinner. We started watching From Here to Eternity, which...frankly I don't see what all the fuss is about over that movie.

On Sunday morning, all 5 of us went to a new church called Shady Grove United Methodist. It's a church I've been wanting to try out for quite some time, and we finally got around to it. It was great! The service itself reminded me so much of my church growing up, even though we were Presbyterian. The church was also bright and airy with a very friendly environment. It seems to be a very active church, with lots of activities for children and adults. I think its going to be the perfect church for Scott and I, so we are pretty excited! It's also only about 5 minutes from our house, which is very convenient.

After church, we went to a restaurant that Scotty chose called Liberty Valence. We thought we would NEVER get seated, and then NEVER get our food. But when we did finally get the food, it was amazing! Apparently, the restaurant's computer system had gone down, which slowed down everything for them. It was a really good brunch that we had. Anne, Scotty and I went to Trader Joe's after brunch - they had never been there before. They got tons of groceries, and I picked up quite a few things myself. After we got back to the house, we had cake and presents for Scotty. They had to get back home after that, so they left about 2:00 or so.

I spent some time reading outside (it was such a beautiful day) then went to Target while Scott cut the grass. Last night we had a nice dinner and watched some tv and he packed for his trip. He's leaving today for Seattle and will be gone until Thursday morning. He's taking the red-eye back on Wednesday night. I hope he doesn't plan to go to work on Thursday. I'm going to be lonely without him here - I'll probably do a lot of reading and watching tv.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri - Review

The Namesake The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Namesake is about a boy named Gogol who is born in America to Indian parents. His parents were in an arranged marriage in India, and moved to America shortly after the wedding. They are strangers in a foreign land, and America never really feels like home to them. Gogol grows up an American and his parents do not understand his American culture. Likewise, he does not understand their culture, either. This is a typical story for many Americans whose parents came here from another country, and the book gives an insight into what life is like for families that face the challenge of combining starkly different customs.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TV, Books, and Church

I've been watching all the seasons of The Office, and I'm now on Season 4. I had seen the pilot episode when the show first aired, and I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever seen. But it's so popular, I felt I had to give it another shot, so I started watching Season 1 on Netflix. By the 3rd episode, I was hooked. The show is hilarious! I guess Season 5 just ended in the Spring, so hopefully by the time I finish Season 4, it will be available on DVD.

I'm reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is SUCH a great book. Its about the life of a boy whose parents are from India. Their marriage was arranged, and they moved to the US immediately after getting married. The boy, Gogol, is born in the US and grows up an American. His parents do not understand his American lifestyle, and he does not understand theirs. It gives a great insight into the challenges this type of family will face. Once I finish the book, I'll have to rent the movie.

The weekend was good. We watched a movie at home on Friday night, then I went to Williamsburg with Rory on Saturday afternoon while Scott worked in the garage. That night, we all went to see Land of the Lost (which was, quite possibly, the weirdest movie I have ever seen) and then ate dinner at BW3's. They opened a new frozen yogurt place by the movie theater called Sweet Frog, so I tried that out. It's a pretty cool setup - you pick the size you want, then go around and fill up your cup with any flavor yogurt you want (self-serve). Then they have a bar area that has all kinds of toppings. At the register, they weight your yogurt and you pay by the ounce. It's not even very expensive, either.

On Sunday, Scott and I tried out a new church with Laura & Bryan. It was the first church we had been to in Richmond, and it was long overdue. The church wasn't a good fit for us - it was a bit too casual and contemporary - but we plan to try another one this coming Sunday on Father's Day. I'm looking forward to it, and hoping we have better luck this time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's your hidden talent?

Everyone has a hidden talent, don't they? I'm fortunate that I actually have 2. I can solve a rubix cube, which you could argue is not really a talent, but a strength in logic and memory. But I can do it pretty quickly - not in 90 seconds with my eyes closed, but perhaps in 5 minutes with my eyes open. I have one sitting on my desk for people to play with. The problem is, if its solved, people are afraid to mess it up. And if its not solved, it drives me crazy. Right now, it's not solved - I messed it up yesterday to see if people would be more willing to play with it - but I can't stand looking at it and not fixing it. I must be OCD when it comes to rubix cubes.

My other talent is juggling. I'm not an expert, but I can go for 5-10 seconds. With practice, I could probably go indefinitely. I taught myself to juggle when I was a kid and my parents were professional clowns. I had gotten into magic and felt that any good magician should know how to juggle. A couple weeks ago, Rory, Scott and I were playing Bocce ball in the back yard, and I decided to try juggling with the bocce balls. I suppose its like riding a bike, because it all came back to me, though only for a few seconds at a time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Some Book Reviews

I found that I can post my book reviews from Goodreads into my blog, which is pretty cool. Here are my most recent ones.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have always been a fan of memoirs, and this was no exception. Gilbert's story takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions, where you find yourself laughing with her one moment, and wanting to reach into the book and hug her the next. She gives a raw account of her battle with depression, her struggle to find God, and the euphoric happiness she finds by the end of her journey.

I gave the book only four stars because it becomes quite difficult to read in the middle, when she describes her time at an Ashram in India. Difficult, as in, quite boring. However, I recognize it was an integral part of her journey to find God.

In all, a great book that will leave you ready to plan your spiritual journey around the world.

View all my reviews.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I always enjoy books that expose me to different cultures, and this was no exception. It's an easy read with light content, and I look forward to reading more of the series.

View all my reviews.
The Glass Castle: A Memoir The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
An amazing story of resilience. Will make your grateful for whatever childhood you may have endured, and will leave you wanting to know more about the Walls family.

View all my reviews.

Marley & Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog Marley & Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Very cute book, will make you cry! And also will make you think twice about ever getting a dog - especially a lab!

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The Sunday Philosophy Club (Sunday Philosophy Club, #1) The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
I had a hard time with this book, as it was very stuffy and a bit TOO philosophical for my taste. I found myself skipping whole sections of philosophical fluff. I did not get attached to Isabel and found her character to be a bit boring.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hammock Is Up!

The hammock arrived on Thursday afternoon, and unfortunately the weather was not cooperative Thursday and Friday. It was rain, rain, rain. So we had to wait until Saturday to put it up. After a quick trip to Lowe's, Scott had it up in a jiffy. It looks great! Feels great, too. More on the hammock later. It wasn't the ONLY excitement this weekend.

My parents came up on Friday night and met us for dinner at Melito's. They are known for their "World Famous Hotdog", and I think the one I had was actually called a "Garbage Dog". Appetizing, yes? It has chili, mustard, onion, coleslaw, relish, & bacon. It was pretty good.

Saturday, my parents were doing the Strawberry Festival in Ashland. They left early to go set up, and I headed off to a couple yard sales. I came home early because a) I wasn't feeling well, and b) we had to take Simba to the vet at 8:30 am. After his appointment, we came back to the house, and decided to pull out the hammock and see how big it was and what supplies we would need to hang it up. As we were coming back inside, the hammock got caught on the backdoor, giving Simba the opportunity to make his escape. We spent the next 45 minutes chasing him around the backyard. By the time we got him back inside, Rory had come by to visit. We all decided to head up to Ashland to the Strawberry Festival and see how it was.

It was a very big festival, and I wish I'd had more time to look at all the vendors, but that's not something Rory nor Scott have much interest in doing. We grabbed lunch (I had the best corndog I've ever had) and then found Anne & Scotty's booth. We hung out for a while there, and I bought a really cute apron at the booth next to theirs. The lady who made it has a website called and all the proceeds go to Africa via the Childrens HopeChest. Check them out, and get a cute apron while helping a child in need!

We also picked up a tray of the most ginormous strawberries I've ever seen (delicious, too!) before heading back to the house to finish installation of the hammock. We had to take a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up some supplies, and then Scott had it up in just a few minutes.

I quickly found out that mosquitos can really ruin your outdoor fun. As soon as I laid in the hammock, there must have been 10 mosquitos flying around me. That couldn't be had, so we took a trip out to Target to buy a couple citronella torches and some Off spray. We also stopped at Home Depot, grabbed subs at Jimmy Johns, hit up Michael's, and then came back.

The torches and Off spray seemed to do the trick! So I spent the evening relaxing in the hammock and reading until it got too chilly outside. Then I came in to take a bath, and when I got out, my parents had come back. We all sat down to watch a movie, which I fell asleep watching, as usual.

This morning, we had breakfast at The Silver Diner before my parents went back to Lynchburg. Today, I've just been doing laundry, working in the yard, and of course, reading in the hammock. I've found that its also a great place to bird-watch. It's so quiet that the birds don't even realize you are there after a while, and they will land quite close-by, completely unaware of your presence. I'm hoping to get some good bird pictures this way. It's about time for dinner now, and I have laundry to finish up. Back to work again tomorrow. The weekends just are not long enough.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Books and a Hammock

I have so many books to read. I wish I could take a week off, and just read books. Although, the truth is that if I actually had a week off, I probably would not spend it reading books, at least not entirely. I would feel like I wasted my week if all I did was read books.

Every weekend, I come home from yard sales with more books. My shelf is overflowing, I have so many! And these aren't just any books - these are practically-brand-new, only-read-one-time, New-York-Times-Bestseller-list books. Any book-lover would have a field day picking something out from my shelves. I feel like I will never be able to read them all. But I'm going to try.

Yesterday, I ordered a hammock from Pottery Barn. (I ordered it in Green Tonal Stripe). I had been debating a garden swing, a glider, and this past weekend while sitting on my deck, I decided that what I really want is a hammock. Its a much more comfortable option, and it can also be put away and stored when necessary. I can't wait for it to arrive. I've been waiting with bated breath all day for a shipping confirmation. I hope its here by the weekend, so I can spend the weekend reading in my new hammock. I wonder if its big enough for 2 people? Because if not, Scott and I may be fighting over who gets to use it. We have the perfect spot for it, in between the playset and the shed. Its nice and shady there, and the previous owners already had a hammock there so there are hooks for us to use. It's going to be fantastic.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Awesome Weekend

What a great weekend! It was so good that I don't even mind being at work today. I feel so refreshed.

Friday afternoon, I had lunch at Nordstrom and then shopped around a bit since they were having a sale. I got a new pair of sunglasses and a thin green short-sleeved shrug that I'm wearing today. I also picked up a couple tops and a pair of shorts at H&M. Scott got home early from work (early being before 6), and we decided to go check out the garden swing at Lowe's. I've been debating on getting a swing with A-frame, but the problem is it has to be approved by the homeowners association, and that is a lot of trouble. So then I was thinking maybe we could just get a nice wooden glider. But then this weekend, I decided that better than both of those would be a nice hammock from Pottery Barn. I haven't ordered it yet, but I'm thinking I might.

Anyway, back to the weekend - after going to Lowe's, we decided to grab some dinner at BW3's, which just opened in Short Pump. We got a great parking spot right by the movie theatre, and decided since we actually found a parking spot, we'd catch a movie after we ate. We got tickets for Night at the Museum (Battle of the Smithsonian). We had some time to kill, so we walked down to Barnes & Noble to look around for a bit, then went back and got seats. This was the first time we'd been to a movie in EONS. The last movie we saw in the theatre was Harry Potter - the 5th one. So whats that, a year and a half ago? Anyway, we enjoyed the night out.

On Saturday, I woke up early and hit the yard sales. It was a fun morning. I got quite a few books I'd been wanting to read, and a couple other things as well. No huge bargains to speak of, but still a fun time. I also stopped by the Farmers Market and picked up cinnamon bread and strawberries. When I got home, I fixed french toast with the cinnamon bread and cut up the strawberries to put on top. It was yummy. We cleaned up the kitchen, then I washed my car and watered the flowers while Scott worked on the sprinkler system. I took a nap in the afternoon, then woke up and fixed hot dogs and baked beans for lunch. That night, we went to Atlee Square where all the classic cars gather on Saturday nights. We hung out for a couple hours there, then headed back home to watch some episodes of The Office.

On Sunday morning, we got breakfast at Panera, then stopped by Walmart to get oil for my car. We got back to the house and I cleaned and vacuumed out the inside of my car while Scott cut the grass. We decided to grill burgers for lunch and sat out on the deck. It was at this point we decided we needed a hammock. Haha. He changed my oil while I did laundry, and then we went out for ice cream in the evening. Overall, a pretty awesome weekend, in my opinion. Looking forward to Anne & Scotty visiting next weekend!