Friday, October 28, 2011

Marcus Approved Music!

For years, it has been a known fact in this house that Don and I have terrible taste in music.  According to my stepsons anyway.  And while I can't vouch for Don (Guns N Roses doesn't really appeal to me either) I always found this ridiculous.  I have great taste in music.  I just happen to prefer music from the late 90s early 2000s.  Is that so wrong?  Doesn't everyone have a preference for the music they enjoyed in high school?  In any event, I've always maintained that the music I do enjoy from that time period is pretty dang good.

The other night I had my ipod on in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner.  I was listening to a playlist I made 5 years ago, and I still listen to frequently, that had some Chili Peppers, Weezer, Live, Tool, etc., on it.  Marcus was wandering in out of the kitchen while I cooked and every time would comment on what a "great song this is."  I rolled my eyes.  He concluded that at some point in time I have managed to "acquire" a good taste in music.  No, I informed him, you've finally managed to realize what GOOD music sounds like!  So I was quite flattered when he went into our itunes database to upload the songs from my playlist on to his ipod.

I may not be the "coolest" stepmom on the block, but I guess I can take a bit of solace knowing that my taste in music isn't entirely awful....though I must admit, he wasn't in the room when Salt n Peppa came on....seriously though, how can you NOT enjoy the song "Shoop"????

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time For a Few Flakes...

I hate snow.  And I hate being cold.  Why I live in Maine is just beyond me, but I'm here and I'm not leaving, so I deal with it.  Today, however, I'm looking forward to seeing the first few snowflakes of the season come down.

Mainly, I just want to take Ben outside and see his reaction to them fluttering against his face and catching a few on his tongue.  Obviously he doesn't remember the snow last winter, when he was one, so this will be a new experience for him, and I'm pretty excited to snap a few pictures of him.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will get snowflakes, not just gross sleet or something.

I'm also enjoying the weather because it gives me the opportunity to crank my pellet stove.  I love my pellet stove.  I love it a lot.  It's like a woodstove, only better.

Once a day one of us dumps a bag of pellets in it (well, right now I'm using a bag every 3 or 4 days, but when it gets cold we use a bag a day) and I set my thermostat and it does all the work.  I can keep my house at a roasty toasty 72 degrees without having to lift a finger.  And when it's burning, it's like a woodstove so I can go stand by it and warm up if I've caught a chill or hang wet mittens in front of it to dry.  It has to be cleaned, like a woodstove, but that's usually a 15 minute process once a week, a minor trade off for the wonderful heat it provides us.

Oh, and pellets are sooooo much cheaper and more efficient than oil, it's just not even funny.  I love my stove, it was one of the best investments we've ever made.

So while it's a gross, cold, dreary day today, I've got a couple things brightening it up.  Thank goodness for the little things...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ack! My Back!!

Ouch.  So apparently I've officially entered adulthood.  My back is KILLING me.  I'm not usually one to whine about pain (don't consult my husband on that one though) and I'm not usually in a lot of pain, but for the last few months, and specifically the last few weeks, I've been pretty uncomfortable.

Why does my back hurt, you might be wondering, well, I can list about forty reasons why, the number one being: Ben.  He weighs almost 25 pounds now and I carry him or pick him up, or push him in a stroller, every day.  And since he's now nearly two, he's not always "cooperative" when I'm trying to do those things.  Carrying a screeching squirming almost-two-year-old up the stairs for a diaper change would throw out anyone's back!  Add that to the physical demands of waitressing (NOT all the fun games people think it is...) and the other odds and ends of stuff I do on a daily basis, and voila my back hurts.

Anyway, since I'm not one for pain medications, my first order of business has been finding something to ease the pain and make it go away.  I figure exercise is a good place to start.  There is just one problem with this.  I HATE exercise.  I'm pretty sure those "endorphins" you're supposed to get from exercising are missing from my body,  I feel zero enjoyment, zero sense of accomplishment and zero satisfaction from anything even remotely resembling exercise.  And I hate sweating.  Gross. 

So what do you do when you need to exercise, and hate exercising?  Look for the wimpiest yoga video ever and hope for the best.  And that's just what I've done!  On a recommendation from facebook, I'm watching "Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains" on Netflix in the morning.  Since the 35 minute video SAYS I don't have to do the whole video if I don't want to, I don't.  (In my defense the last section involves rolling around on the floor and I have very delicate hips, so I think it's better that I just skip that for now.)  The yoga routine is done in and on a chair, takes me about 20 minutes, and has to be one of the corniest things I've ever witnessed.  (Seriously, I think there might be a Unicorn on the lady instructors yoga top.)  BUT, it feels really great on my hips and back and I don't break a sweat.  It's PERFECT!  Today will be day three and my goal is to do a week straight and see how I feel.  If I'm feeling better I'll try adding the third routine and maybe even considering a more "intense" video.

But someone please put me out of my misery if I start running around in a unicorn leotard with a sweatband.  That's not the kind of life I want to be living....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Project!

So I've been working on a little project.  It's a new blog.  It's been finished for a while now, and I've just been writing entries here and there while I figure out just what I want to do with it.

Don and I have been talking a lot about what our "dream" jobs would be, or what we might like to do when we "grow up."  The only answer that really ever rings true to me is reading.  I would LOVE to spend my days reading and sharing what I think about books and all things bookish.  Since I have yet to find a job listing for this fantastic position, I decided that perhaps I should just start doing it and see what happens.  I mean, worse case scenario, I have fun for a while reading and blogging for family and friends.  Best case scenario, someone finds my blog and offers me an awesome job.  Either way, it sounds like a win-win situation to me.

So here's the link to my new book blog:

The Reading Dork

(Book Nerd was taken, so this was the best I could some up with)

I've also got a facebook page for The Reading Dork, so you can like me there and see when I post blogs.  I'm also hoping to share other stuff, like lines from books that I'm reading, other book/dork/reading links and whatever else I find interesting.  So like me if you want, or just read my blog.  Or do none of that and just read this blog.  It's all good to me!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mission Possible

My day started at 6:10 am when Don entered the bedroom and announced he needed to take my car to work today.

Me: Wha?  Why?
Don: (sigh) When I was outside last night I took my keys, phone and wallet out of my pocket and left them on the hood of Jake's car.  Then Jake drove to Hannaford.  I can't find any of it.
Me: Oh crap.

Do we have a spare set of keys for Don's car?  No.  So the ONLY set of keys we had were somewhere between our road and Hannaford.  Excellent.  Needless to say, I wasn't going back to sleep.  Before Don left for work he was able to find his cell phone with a flashlight.  No keys or wallet in sight.  When it got light enough,  I went for a short walk down the road with the baby monitor in my pocket.  Still nothing.

At this point, Don and I were pretty upset.  Replacing the stuff in the wallet would be a pain, but not impossible.  The missing keys....THAT would be a problem  (Yes I KNOW we should have spares but it's one of those things you think about every now and again and then you completely forget to do anything about it.)

Ben woke up at 8:30.  I packed him cheerios and raisins in a snack cup, and a cup of juice.  I bundled him up head to toe and we set off on a walk in hopes of finding the keys somewhere on the road.

Key Finding Attire

FORTUNATELY, we live just down from a very sharp s-curve.  FORTUNATELY Jake drives like a teenager.  His speed, plus the sharp corner caused the keys and wallet to go flying off the hood on the s-curve where I found them this morning, jumping up and down with cars trying to avoid us on the aforementioned dangerous s-curve.  Ben and I did avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic (not that there's a lot of that at 8:30 in the morning in Waterboro) and everything in the wallet was safe and sound.

Today I'm going to Walmart for a spare set of keys.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reading to Write

From Sunday's Maine Sunday Telegram Q&A with Children's Author Tomie dePaola:

Q: What are some of the components that make a good children's book?

A: If I knew that, I'd be a billionaire.  I'd say if somebody wants to be an illustrator, go to art school to learn about techniques and colors.  If you want to be a writer, my first question would be, "Do you like to read?"  Because nobody can be a writer if they don't love reading.  Try to find your own voice and be as honest as possible.  Write about things you know or you feel deeply about.

Well said Mr. dePaola, well said.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Fun!

What an amazing autumn weekend!  The weather hasn't even felt like autumn, which makes it even more fun to be outside enjoying!  Friday my husband agreed to take the day off from work and we took Ben to the Fryeburg Fair!  Neither Don nor I had been in the last ten years or so, so we were excited to go as well.  It was especially enjoyable since we didn't have to deal with going on rides, playing games or even trying to fit in every activity or show.  We were able to walk around, enjoy some snacks, check out the animals and wait in line to play in the petting zoo.  The petting zoo was the highlight of the day, Ben got to pet and feed some goats, some baby goats, bunnies, chickens and sheep.  The goats were a bit aggressive and tended to plow him over in order to get some snacks, but it was still fun!

On Saturday, I took Ben to Grammy's house for the night.  While I was enjoying lunch with my mom and some friends Ben entertained himself with my mom's chickens and the toys she recently acquired for him.  The overstuffed mini-rocking chair was the highlight of his afternoon, and it now sits in our livingroom for Ben to read in.  While we were at Grammy's house, I snapped a few pictures of him playing in the leaves!  Fun fun!!!

Sunday we took Ben to the playground for a little while.  We are lucky enough to have two playgrounds just minutes from our house.  This one is about a 15 minute walk so we decided to enjoy yet another summer-like autumn day and walk to the playground! 

The best part about our weekend so far, is that it isn't over yet!  Monday's plans include a trip to Old Orchad Beach, so more fun for us!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fancifying My Blog

I've been messing around with my blog today, trying to make it a bit more unique and a bit more attractive.  It's not bad, but I think I'll keep puttering around with it.  I think my ultimate goal might be to create a second blog focused solely on the books I am reading.  There are a lot of book blogs out there, and some of them are even popular enough to have publishers send them FREE books to review.

Could you even imagine?  FREE books?  I would die.  So, I was thinking of maybe eventually starting a new blog about books, because, ultimately my life would be complete if I could financially support myself by reading books all day.  And since that's kind of a stretch, at least getting my book habit paid for would be a nice goal.

It's something to dream about anyway....

possibly the best thing I've ever seen....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Downside of Book Addiction

I'm in the middle of a pretty big conflict of interest with myself.  (If that's even the appropriate phrase?)  I'm getting very tired of waiting for available books at the Portland library.  I'm tired of the Waterboro library having such a poor selection of books.  When I want to read a book, I want to read it NOW, not when someone else has finally returned it, and Don finally has time to make it to the library.  This is just getting obnoxious.  I've had this whole perfectly good rainy weekend to read, and not a single book for me to read.  (Yes, I KNOW I have a house full of books, but there are only so many times you can read some of them...)  My point is, I want to OWN books.  And this is where I find my dilemma, because I don't have money to be spending on books.  It used to be ok when I could scoot over to Borders on my way home from work and pick up something with a 30% or 40% off coupon, but now, Borders is gone, leaving me with only my local bookstores. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of supporting local businesses, and I LOVE bookstores, but the bottom line is, I just can't afford to pay cover price for the amount of books I consume.  It's just not a financial possibility for me right now.  When they released the new George RR Martin book this summer I bought it at my local bookstore because a trip to Portland was out of the question, and I paid $35 for the book.  $35!!!!!  Borders was selling it for about $10 less.  I just don't have that kind of money to be spending on books, especially since I had that book finished in about 3 days.  I need another solution.

Which is where the new Kindle comes in.....

I have sworn that I did not want one, that I'd much rather own and collect beautiful books, and that is still completely true.  But, I've discovered that there are e-libraries where you can download books for free, making a trip to the library obsolete.  Also, many books are offered at a substantial discount to purchase the e-book version, and there's no's also instant.  So now I'm torn.  I LOVE books, I love looking at them, I love holding them, I love collecting them, and I love sharing them with people.  But, to keep reading at the pace I'm currently going, I'm either going to go out of my mind with frustration and boredom waiting for the library, or I'm going to go broke buying them at bookstores.  And now you see my dilemma.

Today I'm heading to the local bookstore to scour their used book section in hopes something interesting pops up.  When the library lets me know the book I have on reserve is ready, I'll read that one.  And I think perhaps I'll start setting some money aside to breakdown and buy myself a technologically advanced e-reader and hope that I won't be contributing to the demise of the hardcover/paperback book.  I really do love books, you know.