I know I've been MIA. I have not abandoned the blog- there is a reason! A LONG and detailed post is coming explaining my absence, so don't worry. Just wanted to check in!
Hope you all had a lovely weekend! :-)
Blah... I was so tired all day today. I didn't fall asleep until almost 12:30 last night. Boo-hiss. And of course, I had to get up and go to the bathroom, like, five times throughout the night. (Note to self: maybe start drinking a little less water before bed, as this seems to be a common occurrence on many nights!). Combined with a super-boring meeting today (one of those meetings where you have no idea what it's really about or why you're there begin with, but you have to go anyway) put me in a comatose state of mind for most of the day. I'm hoping to sleep well tonight! I have an all-day training class tomorrow, so I could definitely use a little extra sleep!
My apologies for being MIA the past few days. I have no real explanation other than sheer laziness. But I do have some exciting book news.
So I finished Goodnight Nobody on Saturday. It was pretty good, although I must say that it's my least favorite Jennifer Weiner book. I really liked the main character, Kate, she was easy to relate to and identify with on many levels, but the whole murder-mystery plot was just too unbelievable for me, especially when she goes around town playing super-sleuth. That was just a little too much for me. But I did like the ending. Not going to give anything away for those who haven't read it, but I will say that there several elements to the ending, and not everything was resolved and wrapped up in a pretty little package... it left you wondering about a few things. I liked that. All in all, an enjoyable and fast read.
Another book down to cross off the list! So here's my new book that I randomly selected: The oh-so-controversial A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey. I bought it for $1 at my favorite book sale a year or two ago. I don't think I need to provide a description or general synopsis for the plot of this book. I think we all know what this book is about.
I want to preface by saying that the controversy surrounding James Frey and this book doesn't bother me in the slightest. It didn't turn me off from wanting to read it in any way. I read an article about this whole drama in Vanity Fair and it thoroughly discusses the spectacle behind the book. It turns out that James Frey was very upfront with his editor and publisher about the fact that a lot of the book is embellished or overdramatized, that he never denied this fact, and even signed legal documents to attest to that. But at the time this book came out, the publishing industry was really pushing the memoir genre, and so they spun it as a memoir, thinking it would sell more, etc. Those documents never surfaced during this whole scandal, and the editor who worked on this book conveniently left the publishing company. I feel bad for James Frey, actually. I feel like he took a lot of flak for this. Who cares if he embellished on his rehab stay? He was still a drug addict, and he still went to rehab and completed the treatment and turned his life around, and it's still a pretty good book. His words and descriptions are haunting, chilling. He's a damn good writer, of fiction, nonfiction, fictional nonfiction, whatever. And if A Million Little Pieces inspired just ONE person who struggled with an addiction to get better and turn their life around, just ONE, then it was worth it. If it saved just one life in some way, then it's still a successful book. Anyway. I will step down from my soapbox now.
Because of James Frey's distinctive writing style, it's very easy to read this book quickly. I'm already about halfway through. For those of you unfamiliar with James Frey's writing, he does not use any quotation marks and instead starts new sentences with a new line on the page, so it's really easy to get through a page in, like, 30 seconds. So because of this, combined with the fact that I'm a fast reader who reads as often I can- on my lunch break, the gym, whenever I have spare time- I'm already about halfway through the book. At first, I wasn't really feeling it, because it was talking a lot about the physical symptoms of withdrawal- the vomiting, bleeding, aches and pains, etc. There's a scene where James has to get a root canal without any pain medication, and I literally had to skip over those pages, because I have a weak stomach and knew that I could not deal with the nitty-gritty details. Nor did I feel the need to read a whole page dedicated to the color of his bile, you know? But those symptoms have faded now that time has passed in the book, and it's become more personal and emotional and less icky. I knew that it would. Unfortunately, I am well-acquainted with the process of rehab and withdrawal- not for me personally, but through a few family members. Maybe that's another reason I feel for James Frey. Going to rehab is not easy. Staying clean and sober is even harder. And the fact that he had the courage to talk about it at all should say something, and people should cut him a break. It's hard to get sober, and it's harder to stay sober. The book mentions that the specific rehab center that James Frey stayed in has a 17% success rate. That is the most successful rate of any rehab center in the country. That made me stop and realize the intense power that addiction can have over a person. It truly is a demon that takes possess you. I have seen it firsthand. And I have seen the good and the bad. I know people who have conquered their demons, and I know people who just could not and the demons won. Fiction or nonfiction, at least James Frey could conquer his demons. So I refuse to vilify him and look forward to reading about the rest of his journey! Okay, now I really WILL get off my soapbokx!!!
Hope you're all enjoying the first week of autumn! Here in my neck of the woods, we could not have had a more beautiful and perfect weekend to celebrate the end of summer. Warm and sunny and gorgeous the ENTIRE time! I spent as much time as possible outside soaking up every single minute of sunshine that I could. And so far, we've had beautiful fall weather too. The crisp fall air is starting to sink in at night, and it's starting to get darker a little earlier, but it's nice. :-)
Time to hop in the shower and hopefully get to bed a little early... goodnight! :-)
I rented the first season of Gossip Girl from the library today on a total whim. I came home and watched the first episode... and now I'm totally hooked. One more silly fluff TV show to add to my weekly to-watch list!!! :D
I am SO GLAD that this week is almost over... Friday's just a few hours away... TGIF!!!!
Is anyone else's week SERIOUSLY dragging? I honestly can't believe that it's only Wednesday. I have no idea why this week is going by so slowly. Work is busy, but not overwhelming, so I'm busy, but not slammed, so it's not from boredom. And it's not a BAD week or anything, it just seems to be creeping along at a ridiculously slow snail's pace for some inexplicable reason. My roommate and several of my coworkers agreed. Maybe it's just summer coming to a close? I don't know. At least America's Next Top Model is on tonight. And it's the makeover episode, so at least one girl is guaranteed to cry over her new look, so that'll be some good TV.
I'm about one-third of the way through Goodnight Nobody and I am totally loving it. I love Jennifer Weiner and all of her books, and this one is no different from all of her others for me. The mystery and the murder is a bit far-fetched, in my opinion, but hey, if I wanted real murder and suspense, I'd be reading Stephen King or John Grisham, not Jennifer Weiner, you know? ;)
Today I noticed as I was leaving work, that it smelled like autumn outside for the first time this year. I can't describe the smell, exactly, but I think you all know what I'm talking about- there's just this scent to the fall air, you know???? And I definitely breathed in some of it today. It was nice, and refreshing, but a little bittersweet, because I'm a true-blue summer gal, and while fall is beautiful and I'm excited to bust out the fall sweaters that have been patiently waiting around in my closet waiting to be worn for months, fall tends to remind me that winter is slowly approaching, and I hate winter intensely. I cannot stand being cold, and no matter what I do, I feel like I can't get warm. Thank God we have free heat. But still, it's cold and gray and dark and depressing and COLD. But I'm trying not to think about that, and live in the moment, and appreciate the beauty of fall. No reason to give autumn the cold shoulder (no pun intended) just because it's a bit of a segue into my least favorite time of year.
Hope you're all having a great week (hopefully going a bit faster than mine!) and having some nice pleasant fall weather of your own. :)
I finished reading Bitch last night, and it was a total letdown. Which is such a shame because it had such great potential and started out so strong. I thought it was going to be a book about how women throughout history have been mislabeled as "bitches"- women like Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette, Martha Stewart, the like- and how they were quickly branded as "bitches" when they were just trying to live their lives and do their thing- like men do, only women are identified as being "assertive" and "bitchy" when they do it. I thought it would be liberating and empowering and make me want to burn my bra and swear off men forever.
Instead, it was just this big, rambling mess that hardly talked about women's studies at all! It was more like a 400-page rant of everything that the author hated about society. It was like reading Courtney Love's journal. She gave away plots and endings to so many books and movies, which pissed me off, and there were typos, which really pissed me off! The author made, like, ten great points throughout the book, but the rest of it was just so chaotic and confusing, that by the end I was just skimming it so I could finish it (plus I was sick of all the book and movie spoilers, so when I saw the name of a book or movie up ahead, I knew to go ahead and jump to the next page.
I finished it last night and went on goodreads to see what other people thought of this book, and it got extremely mixed reviews. But something I read in a lot of the reviews is that the author confesses in a later
rant manifesto that she wrote a lot of Bitch when she was strung out on drugs, namely coke, and the sad thing is, then it made more sense. The book definitely is a ranting and confusing muse and once I heard she was coked out for most of it, I was like, ohhhhh, okay, I get it now. But it still was not a very good book.
If you are into bitter nonsensical rants from a girl who tries way to hard to be angry at the world, then you might like this book. Other than that, skip it.
But on the flip side, I DID start a new book yesterday!
Quentins, by Maeve Binchy. She's an Irish author who also wrote books like Tara Road, Circle of Friends, and Evening Class. I've read a few books of hers before and I've always liked her. I find that Irish fiction/Irish chick lit is always a really fun and engaging read. I started this yesterday and I'm almost one-third of the way into it! Here's a summary of the plot from goodreads:
In Maeve Binchy's timely and topical tale, Quentins, Ella Brady is a documentary filmmaker who wants to bring the tale of the eponymous Dublin restaurant to the screen. Quentins has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years and has become the meeting point for a lot of characters, including some familiar faces from previous Binchy novels. As Ella makes more and more headway with her documentary, the secrets, betrayals, and stories of love that emerge make her question whether or not she wants to bring the tale of Quentins to the screen after all; especially as she is also forced to confront a devastating dilemma from her own past.
It's great so far! I definitely needed a good fun book after the letdown that was Bitch! I'm about 100 pages into it and can't wait to read more of it tomorrow on my lunch break and hopefully over the weekend!
Hope everyone is having a great week! My week has sucked, mostly because of work (actually, all because of work), but I guess that will just make tomorrow all the more sweeter... YAY FRIDAY!
Time to watch The Cho Show and get ready for bed... goodnight!
I was going to blog about books tonight- I only have a few pages left of Bitch and actually picked a new book to start and started on my lunch break at work today (I read the first chapter...it's pretty good so far!)- but it's been a bit of a weird, unsettling day today, and I'm just not up for it. I'm just going to take the rest of the evening catching up on all your blogs (I read more than I have listed on my page; I need to update my blogroll list!) and finishing up my book and going to bed. Hope you all had a great day and I'll check back tomorrow! :)
I really didn't do too much this weekend... the weather yesterday was completely miserable all day long and into the evening- it really didn't let up at all, and lounging got old quick! :) By the evening I was completely stir-crazy and restless. I couldn't concentrate on my book, nothing was on TV, and I was not motivated to go out and find something to do in midst of a flood watch warning. I swear after a while, my butt hurt from sitting on it all day! I did find small things to do, like shred all the mail I've been avoiding for years (it's literally followed me to different apartments!), but it was possibly one of the most uneventful Saturdays I've had in a very long time. Boo.
Of course it was absolutely beautiful today! So I went grocery shopping, came home and read for a bit, had lunch, and then that listless feeling kicked again, so I went to the gym and did a nice long cardio workout, which felt GREAT after being so sedentary the past two days! It rejuvenated me and made me feel so much better. I am one of those people who honestly enjoys exercising, because I always feel so great afterwards. I feel refreshed and relaxed and strong (and sometimes exhausted and sweaty and sore, LOL). I definitely experience the endorphin rush that working out is supposed to give you!
So I'm about three-fourths of the way through Bitch. I still like it, but there are definitely some things about it that bother me:
*There are a lot of pop culture references to lots of movies and books , which is only natural because it's a sociology book. However, I would appreciate it if the author stopped giving away the entire plots and ending to said books and movies. Most of them I have no real interest in, but some of them, I do. Or should I say, did.
*This author is very... opinionated, which I respect, but her opinions are definitely coming off a bit angry and jaded and a bit harsh. For example, she wishes that Mary Jo Buttafuoco had not survived the gunshot wound she received to the head, one of the reasons being that she chose to look the other way while her husband slept around. I think that's a bit on the extreme side. But these are her opinions, and her book, and her style, so I can't really fault her for that. I'm just not sure I agree with everything she's saying.
*The book tends to ramble from one topic to the next kind of aimlessly. I thought this book would be all about the rebellious women in history, which it sort of is, but the author tends to ramble and digress and go way off-subject, and it's making the book really difficult to get into sometimes because I never know where she's going.
But for the most part, I am enjoying it, but I'm not sure how often I'll re-read this again. It's a lot to digest!
Speaking of digesting, I tried a fun new dinner concoction tonight: Mango Chicken Curry!
Dessert tonight is a repeat of last night's dessert:
That is a Deep Chocolate Vitamuffin top with sliced strawberries. I've had Vitamuffin products before, but this was the first time that I tried the Deep Chocolate muffin top, and I am hooked. I think when I run out of these, I'm going to buy the mix online and make them myself... you get more for your money that way!
All right, time to watch Mad Men and get ready for Monday (bah)- hope you all had fabulous weekends!!! ;)
It is a miserable day here today, my friends! It's been dreary and blah and pouring most of the day. It's definitely the kind of day to stay inside curled up with a blanket, the remote, and a good book... which is exactly what I plan to do! ;)
I got all my obligatory Saturday morning errands/tasks over and done with- yay! I went to Trader Joes today to pick up some goodies. I got my basic staples- sodium-free whole wheat bread, frozen mango chunks, chili pepper sauce, boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts- and picked up some new products that I'm excited to try out- their Sweet Potato Bisque, Low-Sodium Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, no-salt-added wild canned salmon, and their frozen mushroom risotto. Hurray for new finds! When I got home I doubled-checked my receipt (I always do) and noticed that they charged me for the Sweet Potato Bisque twice! Grr! I called the store and they said to bring the receipt next time I come in and they'll reimburse me, no problem. I only live about 10 minutes from TJs, so I'll probably take care of it tomorrow while it's still on my mind and I don't forget (no way am I going back out in this mess!) Then I stopped by a local grocery store that I don't normally shop at, but I heard on the radio that they were advertising blueberries and strawberries both at 2/$5, so I had to stop and get some... gotta jump on that while I still can before they go completely out of season and are too expensive to buy!
After that I stopped by the library to return a DVD (No Reservations, with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart- it was pretty cute! Cheesy and predictable, but sometimes, you just need to watch fluffy movies like that, you know?) and pick up two DVDs that I had on hold that I'll probably end up watching today... now, don't laugh... but I picked up part of Season 1 of Everwood (okay, fine, laugh a little). I LOVED this show.I got hooked on in it in college and was so bummed when it was canceled (although it was getting kinda stale by the last season, or maybe I was just getting too old for it). But I thought it was cute, and for some reason, the other day I had an overwhelming urge to watch it. Maybe because all these bloggers are going back to college and it's making me a little wistful of my own college days, including the melodramatic teen drama I used to watch in my dorm. (This was pre-Hills and Gossip Girl, so cut me some slack!) Anyway, while I was there I saw a box of free books, so naturally I had to go investigate, and naturally I found one: The Big Rock Candy Mountain, by Wallace Stegner. I read the back cover and thought about how it kind of sounded like The Grapes of Wrath (another to-read on the No Book Left Behind Project!). Here's a brief description: Bo Mason and his wife and two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair; drifting from town to town, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune. Stegner has created a masterful, harrowing saga of a family trying to survive during the lean years of the early 20th century.
I don't know... it was free, ok?
And then I came home and sucked it up and cleaned the bathroom, a task I have been putting off successfully for a long time. It is without a doubt my least favorite chore to do. I prefer the chores that do all the work for you with the flick of a button or switch- i.e., the dishwasher, the washer and dryer. I LOVE running the dishwasher and doing laundry, because I don't have to be that actively involved, and my reward is shiny clean dishes and nice soft warm clothes. But it desperately needed to be done, so I sucked it up and did it. In my opinion, it still doesn't look all that great, but I don't care- it's going to look exactly like it did before in just a few days anyway! (You know, I used to date a guy who LOVED to clean. Loved it. Like Danny Tanner from Full House. And the only time I ever miss him is when I am scrubbing the bathroom floor. Sigh.)
While I was waiting for the bathroom to air out, I called my sister and we had a nice long chat. She started school this week, and is really liking it so far. She even likes math. And we are not a family that usually says stuff like that. I despise math. I would never try to befriend math ever. Math makes me want to cry, and often did when I was in school. But I'm glad that she's enjoying school so far. This is her junior year, so soon she will need to start thinking about PSATs and SATs and... college!!!! Hard to believe!
Now I'm showered and cleaned and in my comfy clothes, and getting ready to go some L&L- Lunch and Lounging!
Book update: I'm about halfway through Bitch. It's pretty good so far, but I have a few grievances about it. Since the weather is miserable and I'll probably stay in and veg out today, I'd like to try and finish it if I can, but I realize that's a very ambitious goal, especially if I'm going to watch Everwood. We'll see though. I used to be really good at reading and watching TV at the same time, but not so much these days!
I'll check back in later with a book update post... I just hadn't posted in a while and wanted to say hi! Hope you all are having a great (and dry) weekend!
(I say so far because it's early in the week!)
1. Halloween Adventure stores are officially open for business. And grocery stores have already put out their Halloween candy displays. When did it become necessary to put out consumer goods and decorations for holidays that are months away? I'm guessing I'll start seeing the Thanksgiving decorations at some point next week.
2. I actually saw a commercial on TV, sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association, ADVOCATING and DEFENDING high fructose corn syrup, saying that it's "okay in moderation". I am so appalled by this statement that I don't even know what to say, except I hope that people, especially people at risk for diabetes, do not take this message seriously and continue to consume products with HCFS.
And now I will get off my soapbox and get ready to spend the rest of the evening watching The Office and Raising the Bar. Hope everyone's Tuesday was nice and breezy like mine was, because there's nothing worse than coming off a nice holiday weekend than a crappy day at work!
Thankfully, the rest of my weekend was much better than Friday! I had a great time with my sister on Saturday. We didn't really do anything too exciting. We went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the book I had to special order- Tripping the Prom Queen- and we just hung out there for a while reading and drinking coffee- and I bought this month's issue of Shape magazine, because I heard through the blogging grapevine that Kath from one of my favorite blogs, Kath Eats Real Food, was featured in this month's issue! I haven't read it yet... I'm saving it for the gym... I think that's more appropriate, don't you? ;) But I did take a quick peek at her article page... can't wait to read it! Later that night we made Trader Joe's Lobster Ravioli, which was all right- I'd never had it before. It was okay, but not something I'd go out of my way to buy again. Anyway, we also rented a movie- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants- it was so cute!!! Of course, now I want to read all four books in the series, haha! (Okay, I have no idea why these sentences are in a different color, I keep trying to change it to my default color and it's not working... sometimes Windows Live Writer and Blogspot annoy the crap out of me!)
On Sunday my sister and I went to Target, then I took her home, spent some time reading on my patio, and after lunch went on a nice long walk because it was just so beautiful out! This was the perfect Labor Day weekend weather... warm and summery and not a cloud in the sky! I spent the evening watching AMC's second season marathon of Mad Men, which was awesome... now I'm all caught up with the show, thank goodness! Now I can finally be a regular viewer!
I didn't really do too much of anything today, yet today seemed to fly by anyway! I got up, had breakfast, hit the gym and did the epliptical machine while watching The Rachael Ray Show again... which made the workout just fly by! Then I went to the grocery store to pick up a few need-to-get-through-the-week items, came home, read outside some more, had lunch, and went to the pool. Something a little weird happened at the pool... I was sitting there reading, and I noticed this man kept looking at me, and he even said hi to me when he was in the pool kind of near my chair, and I just smiled politely and went back to my book. I was getting a bit of a weird vibe though. Anyway, while I was leaving the pool and walking back to my apartment, for some reason, I looked over my shoulder back at the pool, and the man had sat up in his chair (he'd been lying facedown when I left) and was watching me walk away. My gut instinct was to keep walking, to walk past my actual apartment building so he wouldn't see which building I lived in. So that's what I did. I walked around the complex until I couldn't be in the pool's view, and then I cut through the back to my actual apartment building. It just kind of creeped me out... you can't be too careful in this world, especially when you are a young, single woman, you know? I'm so glad I looked back and saw him looking... my gut instincts tend to be fairly on-the-money, and my gut told me, keep walking. I'd rather be safe than sorry, you know?
So I did quite a bit of reading this weekend, and Bitch is awesome! Seriously. Every woman should read this. It is very empowering! Even if the pop culture references are outdated a bit- and believe me, they are!- the key theme of the book still rings true ten years later- that women who are viewed as "independent" or "assertive" are chalked up to being "bitchy", that even though women have come a remarkably long way, it still doesn't seem to be enough. Here are some excerpts from the book that I've bookmarked and just wanted to share:
*"The notion of a woman simply reveling in her own gorgeousness and sensuality because she can, because she enjoys it, because she wants others to appreciate it, seems not to exist in our cultural lexicon."
*"In this world women have very little recourse, and the solace of knowing there will always be another man is not much relief when there have already been more than enough."
Not that this book is all complaining about how unfair women have it and the world is so cruel to us, and it's not a male-bashing book (rather, a society-bashing book, LOL), but it really interesting to read and learn about why it has been so hard for society to allow women to just be, you know? Be themselves, be who they are, not change or have to make excuses or apologize for who they are or what they want... men never do that... so why do we? Where and when was that ingrained and instilled in us? It just really makes you think, LOL. I'm enjoying it, obviously! :)
In foodie news, I tried to make a healthy version of Chicken Parmesan for dinner tonight because I have an abundance of tomato sauce I'm trying to use up, and it came out super-tasty!
It's nothing fancy... I didn't even take the time to use breadcrumbs for a coating, haha. I just grilled up a frozen chicken breast, threw down some no-salt-added tomato sauce (note: no-salt-added tomato sauce, while good for you because it's drastically lower in sodium compared to other pasta sauces, also lacks a bit o'flavor, so you have to add your own spices. I added crushed red pepper and some garlic), melted reduced-fat Provolone, and steamed broccoli. I also had a side salad, but I guess it was feeling camera-shy. :)
On another note, check out the summer containers that were on clearance at Target! Since I can't turn down stuff on clearance, I had to buy them:
Hope you all had a great Labor Day Weekend! Back to the daily grind tomorrow- ugh!