Friday, October 31, 2008

The best laid plans...

So here was our grandmaster plan for today. My friend Kristy and I were going to meet up at 9:20 to catch the 9:34 train. We had figured that the 9:34 train would be good because we'd probably miss most of the rush hour commute crowd, but probably not a lot of people would be heading to the parade just yet. We would buy our tickets at the platform to save a few bucks. Once we got on the train, I was going to text my friend who was getting on a few stops later to let him know where we were sitting, so we could all sit together. We'd get there nice and early before the parade started so we'd get a good place to stand. We'd watch the parade, and then try and get on a train around 3 or 4 so we could beat the rush hour traffic going back. We'd be home by dark. What a great day we'd have!

Boy, were we naive.

We got to the train station at 9:15 and the platform was swarming with people. I've never seen anything like it. There must have been at least 250 people there, if not more. I've never seen more than, like, six people at my train station. We waited for two hours. They sold out of tickets, and you had to buy a ticket on the train, but all of the trains were filled to capacity by the time they had reached our stop (and we're, like, the third or fourth stop on the line), and the trains were just whizzing by. They had to bring in the cops because people were pushing and shoving on the platform, and they were concerned about the safety of everyone, especially children, who were pushing people right near the platform where trains were whizzing by without stopping. We couldn't even get physically near the platform anyway. We were told to expect at least an hour delay for a train, if not more.

We were there about two hours (we took a break to get coffee) and we got back and there was no sign of improvement (We found out later that while we were out getting coffee, they were actually telling people to go home because they were most likely not getting on a train, and possibly not able to get a train back because they were shutting down the line. This was only 10 AM, and the parade was not even due to start until noon). I had texted my friend, and he said the same thing was going on at his station- complete and utter chaos with no chance of improvement. He was giving up and going home. Since we realized that we'd been at the train station for two hours and the chances of getting on a train were slim, and the chances of getting home were even slimmer, we decided to give up. We went to Trader Joe's instead and each bought groceries, and then came back and watched the parade at my place. We probably got a better view from my TV than we would have if we had actually been down there. In fact, we'd still be trying to get there and miss the parade altogether, and that would have upset me a lot more than not going at all. I'm actually not really that upset by it. It would have been nice to go, but it was complete and utter chaos. They estimated that THREE MILLION PEOPLE were down there. I don't think they were expecting that magnitude of a crowd. We agreed that this was much better! We watched part of the parade on TV, and then we ate lunch outside on my balcony because it was a beautiful warm day, and then we went to Wegmans, and then we went our separate ways. And that's fine by me! I would have loved to have been there, but I think it would have been more trouble than it was worth. I would have gotten down there, missed the parade, and been stuck in the city without a way to get home (they've actually SHUT DOWN the trains, the last I heard). That would have upset me a hell of a lot more, I assure you! Oh well... at least I'm safe and sound in my own home!

I still have a lot of book news to post, but right now I'm on trick-or-treater alert, so it will probably have to wait until tomorrow. Since I ended up getting all of my grocery shopping done today, I don't have to go this weekend, and that opened my weekend wide up! Fine by me... I desperately need to catch up on sleep (I got up at 7:45 today to essentially walk to the train station and stand for two hours, haha), and I need to just relax and chill. The past few weeks have been absolutely insane, and the mental and physical exhaustion is finally starting to creep on me a bit! :-D

If I get a little more energy, I might post book news tonight, but don't count on it. :-)

Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Phillies are the World Series Champions!!! It was SO amazing to watch, it still feels a little surreal, and it happened about 24 hours ago!!! I've never seen anything like it. Ordinarily I don't really get caught up in sporting events like this, but baseball is really the only sport I like, and so to see my hometown win the World Series after a L-O-N-G wait (and watching them lose fifteen years ago) was awesome. Awesome isn't even the word. I can't find a word right now. I'm a little sleep-deprived. I was up until about 1 a.m. last night watching all the live coverage, and the past few nights have been equally as sleep-deprived, because these games have been keeping me up until at least midnight (and then, of course, there was the one on Saturday that didn't get started until 10 p.m. because of a rain delay, and it didn't end until 2 a.m.... it's definitely been a crazy World Series, that's for sure!)

I had one unscheduled vacation day left, and I took it tomorrow to go to the city parade!!! I'm heading down via train with a friend of mine (they are encouraging people not to drive- they didn't even have to tell me twice- I hate driving in the city, and I can barely deal with suburban rush hour traffic), and I am so excited! It's going to be so much fun. Complete and utter chaos, hopefully in a good way! The crowd will be rowdy, but hopefully all-in-good-fun-rowdy, not I-get-knocked-over-and-stepped-on rowdy. I couldn't miss this parade. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... let's hope not! But it took them 28 years to win another World Series title, and I gotta live for the moment and be down there and celebrate with everyone. And even if I didn't have that vacation day, I would have taken one of my holiday vacation days. I would work the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Year's Eve to get to this parade! I'll post pics, if any come out! (I don't anticipate quality shots- I anticipate lots of pictures of the tops of random strangers' heads.)

AND I already had a scheduled day off for Monday. So I have a four-day weekend. How SWEET is that??? I offered to come in, but my boss said don't worry about it. She did not have to tell me twice. I plan on catching up on sleep- and all my favorite blogs! And catching up on my own! I have SO much to post about!!!! It is so easy to fall behind in blogging! I still have to post about my happy book sale from last weekend, and I finished one book, and I'm thisclose to finishing another book (I'd actually like to finish it tonight, if I can keep my eyes open long enough- I only have a few pages left, and it's such a tease to be so close to the end of a book without finishing it! Diehard readers know what I'm talking about, haha). But I fully intend to get caught up in everyone's blogs, including mine, over the weekend. But I'm too drained right now, and I still have some things to do before I hit the hay. Once I curl up with a book, I know I'll crash, haha. And I want to get stuff ready for tomorrow. I'm going prepared- layers, lunch and snacks (I doubt I'll be able to move, let alone find a place to get something to eat!), water, a book (for the train ride! In fact, I almost never go anywhere without a book), camera, etc. You'd think I was going camping. But this is going to be an epic event. They're predicting at least a quarter of a million people crammed onto the streets of Philly. I just hope I don't get separated from my friends!

While I'm too tired to get into all of my exciting book news, I will post two new and exciting fun food finds- Pure Protein Blueberry Crumb Cake Bar (yum!)- and my new all-time favorite soup possibly ever, Trader Joe's Low-Sodium Organic Fire Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. Oh. My. God. Was this amazing. I threw in some broccoli and carrots and found happy soup nirvana. I need to do a TJs run this weekend, and this is SO getting bought again.

Okay, time to get ready to get my parade on! I'll be back at some point over the weekend. Oh, and Happy Halloween! I keep forgetting that tomorrow is Halloween. Philadelphia's priorities are a little different right now. :-D

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've been a bad blogger lately...

... but I can't help it. And I have a great reason too! All of my concentration this past week has been focused on watching the Phillies play in the World Series. They've played all week. And tonight, they are one game away from winning the championship.... I can't believe it!!! I'll never forget watching them play in 1993 (the last time they played) and they lost, and I had just fallen in love with baseball at that time (I just started playing little league, my favorite movie at the time was A League of their Own, and I had honestly convinced myself in my twelve-year-old mind that I would be the first girl to ever play professional baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies... what can I say, I had a bit of a vivid imagination!), and I watched them lose, and I was just crestfallen. And I truly think that tonight is their night, and they're going to win. I really do. If not tonight, then I think they are going to win the World Series, but I really think they're going to win tonight. They have their best starting pitcher leading tonight, and I just feel like it's going to happen. And when it does, Philadelphia is going to celebrate their asses off, and rightfully so, because we have been waiting a long time for this moment! I'm totally taking Wednesday off and going to the parade!!!! The last time the Phillies won the World Series was 1980... I wasn't even alive then! People are still talking about that parade! I was watching the news, and the consensus was universal- everyone is calling out sick, and people were even saying that they would pull their kids out of school to take them to the parade. I can't miss it... it could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Once the Phillies have won and all the excitement has died down and my life has officially gone back to normal (so we're talking by the end of the week or the weekend, haha), I will be back with my regular posts. I have so much to post about too... including a very exciting book sale that I went to with my sister last weekend, where I found some great books! I was going to post on Sunday afternoon, but we were having internet problems all weekend. I had almost forgotten how much I despise Comcast, but luckily this weekend helped refresh my memory. So I didn't get to post about the book sale, but I will... don't worry!

Until then...


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...

Tonight's post is not about books, food, work, or anything else. (Although I will say this- I am just loving The Samurai Garden- it is a wonderful story and a beautifully written book- but more details will have to be provided in a later post).

No, tonight all I can concentrate on is GAME #1 OF THE WORLD SERIES...  PHILLIES VS. TAMPA BAY RAYS!!! It starts in an hour, and my adrenaline is pumping! The Phils have not gone to the World Series in fifteen years, and we are long overdue for a win.... our team is phenomenal this year... I think we can do it!!!

I'm sitting here in my "fake" Phillies jersey (it's not a real "official" baseball jersey; rather, it's my T-shirt from ninth grade little league when I played for the "Phillies", which was obviously the most coveted team in the league... I'm glad I held on to it for the past 13 years... and it's still in pretty decent condition too!)- with a long-sleeve white tee underneath, because it's cold out (plus it just looks cooler), and I am ready to see Philly kick some serious Tampa ass! (*No offense if anyone who reads this blog is Tampa fan or lives in that area. You're all wonderful. Really. This is strictly just baseball trash-talk. Florida is actually quite a lovely state... just now at the present moment in my mind, haha)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside...

.. it's only Mid-October, and already I'm freezing. It's not too bad during the day, but in the morning, and at night... those are the worst. We have our heat on and I'm still cold. My hands are already starting to get dry and crack (I know, sexy, right?) I'm wearing layers and slippers and I still feel chilly. This is just wonderful. Really makes me look forward to the upcoming months ahead. I detest winter. I hate always being cold, and there's nothing I can really do about it. I've been tested for anemia before and been told that I don't have it, although my iron count is on the lower side (I almost never eat red meat, but I do eat a lot of lean meats like chicken and fish, and I love spinach, so you'd think that be enough to cover my bases on the iron homefront). Thank God we have free heat. Regardless, I'm going to be a very unhappy blogger in the upcoming months, in terms of weather. I just hate that feeling of being so cold and not being able to get warm no matter what I do. It's frustrating. But there's nothing I can really do about it except deal with it, ya know? ;-) Plus I take my showers at night, and that helps to get me nice and warm for bed.

So I finished Silent Witness today. And I have to say, that I liked it. Mark Fuhrman is a criminal detective, not a writer, and I hate to sound bitchy, but it shows a bit. The writing is not very good. Case in point: the following paragraph- "Why does someone have to die before a thorough investigation is performed? If this had been done fifteen years ago, we wouldn't have so many questions today. And Terri Schiavo might still be alive. Um... does anyone else see the glaring contradiction here? If Terri Schiavo was still alive, I'm curious not only as to why she'd need an autopsy, but how an autopsy could be performed on her. That would be an incredible medical marvel, to perform an autopsy and determine a cause of death for a person who is still alive, wouldn't you say? There were also some grammatical errors, punctuation struggles, etc. So the writing... not so much.

But the information regarding the case was really interesting. There was testimony from family, doctors, investigators, friends, hospital workers, etc. And they all agree that Michael Schiavo did not truly have his wife's best interests at heart regarding her long-term care- he refused to let her have any type of physical therapy, her family was not allowed to visit her once he became estranged from them, she wasn't even allowed flowers or sunlight in her room. Why on earth would he deny her of these things? There was also speculation that he was mentally/emotionally abusing her during their visits together, because she would display outward physical symptoms of distress whenever he left. There was also speculation that he caused her collapse to begin with, because doctors and medical experts could never determine what precisely led her to collapse and have heart failure to begin with- she was 26 years old and in good health. The book also included affidavits from nurses who worked with Terri and found her to be emotionally responsive and able to swallow on certain occasions, and certainly not in a vegatative state, and they were baffled and appalled at Michael Schiavo's orders not to let her have any physical therapy- he even had a DNR order on her. Anyway, it was a very interesting read. And sad. I felt so awful for this poor woman and her poor family, who all suffered horribly throughout this whole ordeal. And there are so many unanswered questions that, unfortunately, will never be able to be completely answered. I can't imagine how hurtful that must be on a family that has lost so much and is trying to heal. It seems like the legal and medical systems both failed this poor family miserably, and that will forever affect the ability for them to find peace or closure. A very sad story all around.

I finished the book today when I got home from the gym today. And as per the No Book Left Behind Project, when one book closes, another book opens... the new random pick is The Samurai's Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama. It's about a young Chinese man who is sent to his family's summer home in Japan to recover from tuberculosis, right before the Second World War. While he's recovering, he meets four locals, and the story is about the friendship that develops between all of them. I saw this at my favorite book sale last year, and I had picked it up and looked at it, and was actually going to put it back, but this woman nearby came up to me and said that this was an amazing book, and I had to buy it. Very random, but I appreciated that she came up to me and said that- plus, it was only $1, so I figured, what the hell. So I guess it's time to put it to the test and see if this woman was right, or if she was a library employee in disguise just trying to raise more money from the book sale. LOL.
And on that note, it is time to hop in the shower and get ready for tomorrow. Have a great night, everyone!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another successful book sale!!!

Hello, everyone! I hope you all are having a great weekend! I've had a pretty good one so far. It's been cooler out than usual, and I'm still getting over a cold, and I'm a bit concerned because my "service engine soon" light has been on since yesterday morning (keep in mind I just had my damn car in for inspection two weeks ago and they said everything looked great.... hopefully it's just a fluke!), but other than that, I'm good! :-)

I went to one of my favorite library book sales ever with my friend Rick, and we both found lots of great books! I spent a little more than I wanted to- $32, and that was after putting lots of books back. If I hadn't put any back, I would have spent $50! Even I can admit that's a little excessive, LOL. So after some careful weeding and eliminating, I whittled my pile down to $32 worth of goodies. Wanna know what I got? Of course you do!!!

So I got fourteen books, $2 each:

*You Must Remember This, by Joyce Carol Oates. I've been wanting to read more of this author, and this sounded like a particularly good one... it's about a "typical suburban family" in 1950s upstate New York that is anything but the stereotypical "All-American family" they portray themselves to be.

*Life's Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, by Lisa Belkin. Lisa Belkin is a columnist for The New York Times, and this is a book she wrote about trying to juggle a professional career, a marriage, raising two young boys, and challenging the whole "Supermom" myth. I love women's studies and sociology books, so I figured I'd like this.

*Death by Suburb, by David L. Goetz. A humorous book about how not to let living in the suburbs "kill your soul" and how not to turn into a Stepford Wife or Soccer Dad. I thought it sounded funny!

*When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself From Food and Weight Obsession, by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter. Like I said, I love these kinds of books. And I've struggled with food issues in the past, and thought this sounded really interesting.

*Second Chance, by Jane Green. LOVE Jane Green! She's one of my favorite chick-lit authors. I hadn't even heard of this book- it's one of her newer ones. And it's in really nice condition too!

*More Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin. This is a book in part of a series called "Tales of the City", following the lives of a group of individuals who live in the same apartment complex, I believe in San Francisco. I bought the first one at a book sale a few years ago at Rick's urging, because he said it was such a great book. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I figured it would be nice to have the second one for when I finally do get to it! :-)

*Best of Friends, by Cathy Kelly. LOVE Cathy Kelly. She's one of my favorite chick-lit writers too. I hadn't heard of this book either, so I was pretty excited!

*The Second Stage, by Betty Friedan. This is the follow-up book to her groundbreaking feminist movement book "The Feminine Mystique", which I actually just bought at the paperback book sale two weeks ago. So it was cool to find this.

*Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, by Rachel Simmons. This. Was. A. Fantastic. Book. Absolutely amazing. Every girl needs to read this, whether you're in high school or you graduated ten years ago! It was awesome. So I was happy to find it. And it's in really nice condition too.

*Conversations with the Fat Girl, by Liza Palmer. This is a fiction novel about two friends who befriended each other in childhood because they were both overweight and lonely. Now as grown-ups, one is still overweight, while the other had gastric-bypass surgery and is now marrying a surgeon, concealing the fact that she had surgery, and she asks her best friend to be in the wedding. It sounded like a Jennifer Weiner novel, or something along those lines. It sounded like a fun read.

*The Worst Years of Their Lives, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich writes a lot about economic sociology. Every book of hers I've read, I've liked. This particular book is about the 1980s and how it was dubbed "The Decade of Greed". Which means there's going to be all sorts of 80s references. Awesome. :-)

*An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard. This is an autobiography about the author growing up in 1950s Pittsburgh. I like autobiographies/memoirs, so figured I'd give this a shot.

*Holy Hunger: A Woman's Journey From Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment, by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. This is a memoir about a woman who comes from a dysfunctional family- her father was an alcoholic and her mother was depressed and emotionally distant- and how it drove her to compulsive eating, and how she overcame that. It sounded like a really interesting book. I have never struggled with this addiction, because I have such an interest in the psychology of eating disorders, I thought I would like it.

*The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. I've heard amazing things about this book. My sister actually lent it to me and told me that I had to read it, that she just could not put it down. I saw a few copies at the sale and figured I'd pick up my own copy. It's a woman's memoir of growing up in a very dysfunctional family.

In addition to the books, I picked up four videos for $1 each:

*A weight-lifting workout tape: Kathy Smith's Time-Saver: Lift Weights to Lose Weight. I like Kathy Smith. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I have a few of her workout tapes and DVDs and like them a lot. I have her Strength Training DVD, but thought this might be a nice change.

*P. M. Yoga: Conditioning for Weight Loss. I'm too cheap to pay for yoga classes, my gym doesn't offer them, and I thought it would be a nice addition to my workout-at-home tapes. I only have one yoga tape and I figured it couldn't hurt to have another to mix it up a little.

*Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout. I love Pilates. I've been doing it for years! Had to get this!

And last but not least...

*Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Fully Restored Limited Edition. Sleeping Beauty was my absolute favorite Walt Disney movie when I was a little girl. I loved this movie so much. I would prance around the apartment in my princess costume and my tiara and pretend to be Princess Aurora, or sometimes I would get out the accessory wand and pretend to be the fairies when they're having the fight over what color to make the cake icing ("Pink! Blue! Pink! Blue!"). I saw this movie and immediately felt warm and cozy and nostalgic. I had to buy it. LOL.

So it was a good sale! Rick and I rejoiced with tea at an adorable little coffeehouse near the library, then we walked to the local Trader Joe's to pick up some fun treats. I bought sodium-free whole wheat bread, pumpkin butter, organic brown rice marshmallow treats (healthy Rice Krispy treats... there is a God!!!), frozen mango chunks (these are a must-have in my freezer at all times, especially now that fresh fruit is getting a little on the expensive side), and chocolate chip fruit and nut bars (my new favorite pre-cardio workout energy bar).

So it was a very successful outing! And now today is a typical Sunday... picked up a few groceries to get me through the week (I successfully managed to not spend a lot of money- $24- trust me, for me, that's good! Normally I spend quite a bit more than that! I didn't need much though, and what I needed was cheap). I picked up a new sandwich roll that I've been wanting to try, those Arnold's Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins. They'll be perfect for veggie burgers. So that was exciting. This afternoon I'll probably hit the gym and then chill out for the rest of the day and get all my stuff ready for another fun-filled work week.

Oh! I started a new book! I can't believe I almost forgot!

DSCI0626 Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo's Death, by Mark Fuhrman. In case you don't remember the Terri Schiavo case, she's the woman who collapsed in her bathroom in 1990 for reasons still unknown (she was only 26 years old!), and went into a vegetative state, needing a feeding tube to live, and her husband and family spent the next fifteen years fighting each other over whether to have the tube removed or not (her husband wanted it removed because he said she wouldn't want to live that way, but her family wanted to keep it and keep her alive. She hadn't left any instructions either way). It's a very interesting read, and I'm liking it. Personally, I don't know what I would want in that situation. She did eventually have the tube removed, and died in 2005. Anyway, I'm about halfway through already (it's a fast read), and it's extremely interesting. Her husband sounds like a very manipulative, controlling ass! He was even engaged to another woman for years while still married to Terri, but refused to divorce her, because then he would lose control of her medical affairs, as well as her estate and life insurance. Makes you wonder what his best interests at heart really were.

I tried a new concoction side dish for dinner last night...cheesy vegetable rice!

DSCI0631 Nothing extremely fancy here... 1/2 cup instant brown rice, frozen broccoli, and frozen pepper and onion mix all mixed together with a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Wedge melted in. It was so freakin' good!!! It kind of tasted like a healthy version of those casseroles people make, with the chicken and rice and creamy Campbell's soups? Very delicious!!!!! I also made some grilled chicken. I <3 my George Foreman grill. We're very good friends.

And last but not least, I wanted to show my readers just HOW much I am a sucker for "limited edition" products:

DSCI0628 I bought an 18-pack case of Clif Z Kids Bars in the Spooky Smores flavor, LOL! I have always been a sucker for any food product with the marketing gimmick "limited edition" stamped across it. I always buy it, figuring, I have to... it's limited edition, it will be gone soon! I am their total target audience, LOL. Anyway, I looked for this flavor all over the place, and finally found one, and tried one, and LOVED it... they reminded me of a healthier version of those Quaker S'mores flavored granola bars that I used to LOVE as a kid...I bought a few more and loved them so much, that when I went food shopping last week, I asked if I could buy them by the case! The guy seemed a little taken aback (I didn't blame him, haha), but said it was fine! So I got this case for $12.99. I didn't think that was bad at all, since they sell for .89 cents apiece! Plus, I had to... they're limited edition! LOL. And by the time they're gone, I'll be sick of them until they come back next October anyway, haha. Anyway, I thought that my healthy food aficionados would get a kick out of that. :-D

And on that note, I'm going to take some more daytime cold medicine and make some lunch (have I mentioned how much I'm digging hickory-smoked tofurky lately? Love it!). New Cold Case and Mad Men on tonight- can't wait! :-)

Hope you all had a nice weekend! :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blah week, but exciting weekend!

I'm not going to mince works here- my week sucked. Work sucked. I fought a cold all week.  Shanghai Baby sucked. I quit it about halfway through. It was just one of those weeks that left you physically and mentally drained and everything was totally blah. I could not be happier that the weekend is here... especially because in just a few hours, I will be going to one of my favorite used book sales!!!! I can't wait!!! I'm meeting a friend of mine there bright and early so we can get our pick of the litter (I'm not kidding; people are hard-core about book sales... they start lining up before the doors even open, I've learned from past experience!). And then afterwards we're going to rejoice and celebrate our new finds over much-needed caffeine. I've only been to this particular book sale once, but I found so much great stuff the last time I went... I'm so excited! I'm getting up nice and early and having a big bowl of my favorite cereal (Barbara's Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls) for book-finding fuel! What better way to end a bad week than with an awesome book sale, I ask you???  :-)

I'll be back tomorrow to post all about my new finds! Hope you are all having a great weekend so far!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Slump

Okay, so I quit the Roger Ebert book too. I wanted to like it, I really did. And it had a few funny comments and anecdotes. But I ultimately gave up on it because:

*I had never heard of almost every single movie he hated... I guess there's a reason for that!

*It gets old to read about someone trashing movies that you've never heard of and have no desire to ever see.

So I abandoned it. Oh well. I feel like the past few books I've read have been totally blahsville. But life's too short to read bad books! Especially when there are so many great ones out there!!!

So into the Box of Book Titles I dug... (seriously, still need a damn name... I'm thinking something with a "lottery" theme... I work in Communications, damn it... why can't I think of something witty and clever???)

DSCI0625 Shanghai Baby, by Wei Hui, which I coincidentally picked up at the same time as the Roger Ebert book. Here's a quick plot synopsis grabbed off goodreads:

"Set in the centuries-old port city of Shanghai, the novel follows the days, and nights, of the irrepressibly carnal Coco, who waits tables in a café when she meets her first lover, a sensitive Chinese artist. Defying her parents, Coco moves in with her boyfriend and enters a frenzied, orgasmic world of drugs and hedonism. But, helpless to stop her gentle lover's descent into addiction, Coco becomes attracted to a boisterous Westerner, a rich German businessman with a penchant for S/M and seduction. Now, with an entourage of friends ranging from a streetwise madame to a rebellious filmmaker, Coco's forays into in the territory of love and lust cross the borders between two cultures -- awakening her guilt and fears of discovery, yet stimulating her emerging sexual self. Searing a blistering image into the reader's imagination, Shanghai Baby provides an alternative travelogue into the back streets of a city and the hard-core escapades of today's liberated youth. Wei Hui's provocative portrayal of men, women, and cultural transition is an astonishing and brave exposure of the unacknowledged new China, breaking through official rhetoric to show the inroads of the West and a people determined to burst free."

Hmmm... sounds scandalous. And raunchy. This book was actually banned and burned in China. That intrigues me. I read a few pages already while eating dinner, but then my attention gravitated towards The Biggest Loser.

So my cold is almost completely gone. I attribute this to rest, fluids, and lots of vitamin A-and-C-filled fruits and veggies. I tried two new food products in the past two days (new to me, that is): Trader Joe's Low-Sodium Organic Butternut Squash Soup and the Apple Pie Larabar. I wasn't digging the squash soup last night all that much, but for some reason, tonight I liked it much better. Last night I just threw in some broccoli and crushed red pepper and thought it was eh. Tonight I added broccoli, peppers, onions, a dash of TJ's chile pepper sauce, and a few crushed BBQ soy chips. Yum! MUCH better. Now it's gone from "probably wouldn't buy it again" to "wouldn't go out of my way to buy it, but would throw it in my cart if I happened to see it and remember I didn't have any at home".

Not the case at ALL with the Apple Pie Larabar. I thought that was delicious!!! It tasted just like apple pie! It's now tied with Peanut Butter Cookie for my favorite flavor. Of course, I will have to eat each one a few more times before I can make a final decision. ;-) And there's still so many others I have to try. I need to restock on energy bars this weekend. I am running low.

Can't wait for tomorrow night! The Phillies are just ONE GAME AWAY from going to the World Series! They haven't been there in 15 years, and it is LONG overdue!!! :-) My adrenaline is rushing just thinking about it!!!! (I'll catch the debates during commercials... this is far too important to miss... I already know who I'm voting for anyway!)

Goodnight! :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008


Happy birthday, Paddington Bear!

Paddington Bear I love this little guy. :-)

Fun fact about your blogger: I was Paddington Bear in a play in 4th grade.

Hope everyone had a decent Monday! GO PHILS!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I have a cold and feel icky. Cold medicine is doing nothing to help me, as is usually the case (I don't even know why I buy the damn stuff, I swear it never works!). And the Phillies are losing to the Dodgers 6-1. Blah all around. This is so not the way to end a nice weekend of good times and sunshiny weather.

So, some quick book updates. Okay, so I finished The Bell Jar on Thursday night. I gotta tell you... I didn't think it was all that great. In fact, I liked She's Come Undone much, much better. I thought that was much more insightful and descriptive and deep and profound. This book didn't move me like She's Come Undone did. Maybe I read it too late in life. Maybe I should have read it in high school, or college, when I was having those adolescent/young adult identity struggles? I don't know. In any event, it was okay. I can't see myself re-reading it, at least not anytime soon. My copy of the book had some biographical notes about Sylvia Plath at the end of the novel, comparing her to the main character of the book, and I did like that.

So I picked another book, and picked the book version of a favorite childhood movie of mine:

DSCI0619 Oh man, what child of the '80s DIDN'T love The Neverending Story? I remember that I used to watch this movie with my cousin Pat every time we hung out together. We couldn't get enough of this movie! I'd watch it right now if I had it. I'm not really into the fantasy genre (although I did love the Harry Potter series), but I picked this up a few years ago at a library book sale, and figured, how could I not like it? It's The Neverending Story, only it's words!

Well, kids, there IS a difference. The movie totally captivated my young imagination as a child. The book completely bored me as an adult. I could not get into it at all. How disappointing! I tried to muddle about halfway through and then I quit. There were a few good parts here and there, but just not enough. I think I'd rather watch the movie. Ah well.

So I abandoned hope and gave it to my roommate. She reads more fantasy than I do, and I think she'll really like it. I think I might just rent the film and reminisce and leave it at that.

So I picked another book at random, and came up with this:

DSCI0622 I Hated, Hated, Hated this Movie, by Roger Ebert. I bought this years ago at one of those overstock book warehouses, the one that breezes into town with a plethora of overstock, sells what it can in the time it has the space rented, and moves on- like a traveling circus of books (it's a Gold's Gym now).  It is, essentially, a list of the movies that Roger Ebert hated and his justifications for loathing them (it was published in 2000, so all of the flicks are pre-millenium). Funny so far (I'm on page 7, haha). I've already agreed with two of his choices- Ace Ventura and the sequel. The others, I've never even heard of. Anyway, it's funny.

I had to start fasting at 8 p.m. tonight because tomorrow I need to go get bloodwork done (don't worry, I'm fine, just the routine physical bloodwork), so I got my carbs on for dinner and made a yummy pasta dish:

DSCI0623 DSCI0624 2 oz. whole wheat penne rigate, mixed with frozen shrimp, frozen pepper and onion mix, and frozen broccoli, with no-salt-added tomato sauce all jazzed up with spices. Yumsville. And some cherries for dessert. A very super-yummy "Last Meal". Hahaha.

Now it's time to watch the rest of the game, watch Mad Men, and go to bed and hopefully get a good night's sleep. I can't take a sick today because we're slammed at work. This is so NOT the time to be sick (although I guess there's never really a "good time" for it, really). Hope everyone had a great weekend!  :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And as promised...

... a list of my exciting finds and acquisitions from this past weekend's book sales!

Paperback Book Sale on Saturday:

*Good Enough to Eat, by Leslea Newman (Fiction novel about a 25-year-old woman with an eating disorder- bulimia- living in New York City.)

*The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan (This book was supposed to be an amazing book about the feminist movement. I love women's studies/women's empowerment books, and I've heard of this book, and so I was really excited to find it... and for .33 cents, at that! It was a paperback, and paperbacks were 3/$1.)

*The Class, by Erich Segal (A fiction novel about a group of five men who graduated from Harvard in 1958 who reunite for their 25th reunion, and it chronicles their lives from the past 25 years.)

Book Sale on Sunday:

*Peanuts: A Golden Celebration (The Art and Story of the World's Best Comic Strip), by Charles Schulz (This looked really cute and was only $1 for a coffee table book, with lots of illustrations and commentary from the late, great Charles Schulz. I figured, for $1, why not?)

*The Onion Ad Nauseam: Fanfare for the Area Man, Archived Volume #15 (I don't really read The Onion, but this looked really funny, and was only $1)

*I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe (An 800+-page novel about a girl attending a prestigious Ivy League university. This got mixed reviews, but whatev, I've been wanting to read it for a while)

*6th Target  and *7th Heaven, by James Patterson (This is part of the Women's Murder Club series, and I have all of them in hardback, all purchased from various book sales, and I've been looking for these two in hardback forever and I finally found them! Now I have the whole series in hardback for a fraction of the cost of just one hardback... I find that very exciting.)

*Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, and Their Families, edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner (Again, I love books about women's studies, and I also love sociology books, so I thought this would be an interesting read)

*Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood,  by Susan Linn (A book about how marketing/advertising companies aggressively target young children in their marketing and ad campaigns, the psychology behind it, etc. I LOVE books like these. I find them so interesting)

*A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation, by Catherine Crier (I almost put this back, but I like reading true crime, and at that point of the book sale, it was getting really crowded, overwhelmingly crowded, and I just wanted to pay for my books and get out of there. And it was only $2 and in brand-new condition. So I bought it. I probably didn't need it, but oh well.)

*My Friend Leonard, by James Frey (The sequel to A Million Little Pieces... I promised a friend of mine that I would buy this if I came across it at a book sale)

*Gossip of the Starlings, by Nina deGramont (A fiction novel about two girls in boarding school. I like that whole "school-lit" genre... I read Prep, Admissions, etc., so I thought this would be a fun read)

*Just Between Us, by Cathy Kelly (Cathy Kelly writes Irish chick lit, and if you like chick lit, you should read her... she's great! She reminds me of Marian Keyes. I have almost all of her books. Bonus: it's signed by the author! And was only $1! Hurray!)

So those are my book sale finds! And they've been added to the No Book Left Behind list, of course, and I added the titles to the Still-Unnamed-Box-of-Book-Titles. I really need to get on that and think of something cute and clever.

Barreling through The Bell Jar...

So I have about fifty pages left of The Bell Jar. It's a fast read- only about 250 pages. It's pretty good. Based on all the hype this book has received throughout the years, I expected her to more, well, psychotic (as in, ripping out her fingernails and banging her head against the wall), but she's really more depressed than psychotic. But it's a good read. My friend Bianca said that she read this in high school and it just changed her life. I wouldn't go that far, but I did read She's Come Undone during a particularly difficult time in my life (freshman year of college, when I was still adjusting to college life, had just broken up with my boyfriend, etc.), and it really affected me and changed my life. It was the perfect time in my life to read that book. It's still one of my all-time faves. The Bell Jar, not affecting me so much. But I like it.

I hate that it gets so dark so early now. According to, the sun set here at 6:35 p.m. That sucks. It depresses me. Have I mentioned just how much I hate winter? I know it's only fall, and at least we're having a pleasant fall, but I know that winter isn't too far behind. I seriously have to stop thinking this way and just appreciate autumn. Maybe The Bell Jar is  getting to me more than I thought!

Hope everyone out there is having a good week! My week has been all right. Work is about to get really busy and insane, starting on Friday and letting up around the end of the month. I don't mind being busy, I don't mind working hard, but I hate feeling rushed and overwhelmed with rush projects, which is what some of our upcoming projects are going to be. For example, there's one project where we have to proofread an 800-page book in, literally, 4 hours. No exaggerating. I have a great boss who always tells us just to do the best we can, but I just hate that rushed pressured feeling. But, it happens. And I have lots of vacation days coming up once this all dies down, so at least I have that to look forward! I have seven vacation days just in December alone! And a few in November around the holidays, and some random days here and there. We have a use-it-or-lose-it policy at work with vacation/sick days. And I intend to use every single one I have! I actually didn't take a single sick day so far this year... which means I might get my first-ever Perfect Attendance Award at work! Of course, now that I've said that, I'm going to get sick. But that's okay. I wasn't trying for perfect attendance, it just happened.   :-)

All right, time to get myself some dinner (I have a sweet potato in the fridge, begging to be topped with some cheese and broccoli and salsa and Boca crumbles, so I must comply) and watch some high-quality TV- America's Next Top Model and The Biggest Loser. And read some of The Bell Jar.  Maybe I'll even finish it up tonight! That would be exciting. Doesn't take much to excite me.   ;-)

Monday, October 6, 2008

One of those perfect weekends...

... that you hate to see end, that makes coming into work on Monday even harder than it already is!  :)

I had a FABULOUS weekend. The weather was a-ma-zing- the perfect fall weather. It was sunny and warm with that slight fall breeze, and that lovely autumn-y smell.

I hit two used book sales this weekend- a paperback book sale on Saturday morning, where I got three books for $1- and a big used book sale on Sunday morning with my sister, where I got eleven more books for $19. So 14 books for $20- not too shabby, in my opinion! I'll post titles and details tomorrow- this is a quick post because I got home later than expected (had to get my car inspected- it passed but needed an alignment and a new air filter and oil dipstick, so it set me back $215, but I'm still on my I-had-such-a-wonderful-weekend high, even that couldn't bring me down), and am still trying to catch up on a bunch of stuff before bed.

I had a great time with my sister, as usual. We hung out, chatted, read, grabbed coffee at Saxbys (I had a coupon for a free coffee, so I got a skim cappuccino with sugar-free Irish Cream syrup... so yummy!), watched Grey's Anatomy eps on DVD (my sister must be living under a rock somewhere, because she'd never seen it, and I have the first season so we watched a few... now she's hooked, I had to lend it to her, haha), made an awesome dinner (grilled chicken and Trader Joe's mushroom risotto, which neither of us had ever had before, but I had bought on a whim a few weeks ago... it was incredible! We also had side salads for some veggie love), and watched Heathers, which she'd also never seen before (she's from the Mean Girls generation, LOL). We also caught the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin skit on SNL- friggin' hysterical! I laughed so hard I cried. Especially the part where she gives the shout-out to the third grade class at Gladys Woods Elementary School for helping out with her debate prep. And when she got out the flute for the talent portion... oh man, it was so funny! I love Tina Fey! And I loved the looks that Queen Latifah was giving her. We were both cracking up.

I finished Admissions on Saturday afternoon while I was eating lunch. It was cute. Exactly what I needed to come down from A Million Little Pieces. I let my sister pick my next book- she reached into the Box of Book Titles and pulled one out at random- and she pulls out, of all things, The Bell Jar.  Which happens to be one of her favorite books- she read it when she was 13! Apparently I am one of the only girls on earth who has never read The Bell Jar. Well, I'm reading it now! I'm about 70 pages into it and so far, she hasn't had her breakdown or anything, which makes me suspect that it's going to come very soon. But I'm liking it. I loved She's Come Undone and Esther Greenwood reminds me a bit of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye with her humor and the way she looks at life, so I can't imagine I won't like it.

Okay, believe it or not, that was my "short" post. Expect a longer one in a day or two. Goodnight all!   :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My delay in posting- all for nothing! Grrrr....

So I know that I said I would be back with a long post explaining why I haven't posted lately, but that there was a reason and to expect a long post with that reason in the upcoming few days. Well, that didn't quite work out like I thought it would. Let me try to explain.

So I finished A Million Little Pieces on Friday night. Towards the end of it, I just could not put it down. It was a great book. If you can get past all of the brouhaha and drama about its authenticity, you should definitely read it. Because it was an amazing book. I read it in three days.

While I was reading this book, I received a phone call from my sister to let me know that a family member is in rehab. Eerie coincidence, huh? I was going to post a very long and very personal story about the family member, which would also mean I'd have to go into long detail about my family, which is very complicated and complex. I wrote it up and everything- it took me days to figure out what to say, how to say it, etc. It was extraordinarily personal, but that didn't bother me, because this is my personal blog, and I want to be honest and upfront about my life and who I am at all times. I read quite a few blogs whose writers are amazingly honest about their life experiences and struggles, and I applaud them for their bravery.

So I wrote something up and spent a while editing and fine-tuning it, and even posted it briefly and everything... but then I got extremely paranoid. Because I work for a very, very conservative company with a very conservative and highly regarded reputation, and I started to worry about what would happen if someone at my company stumbled across my blog somehow or our IT department came across it, and I'm not sure what our policy is regarding personal blogs that are available to the public. I don't think they care about ones that are set to "private", like myspace and whatnot. I never, EVER blog at work (I probably wouldn't even be able to; a lot of websites are blocked, like games, personal e-mail, myspace, etc.), but more importantly, I worry that someone I work with- be it a coworker or a member of executive management- would just stumble across it somehow and read extremely personal information that a very select few friends of mine know about. It's information so raw and personal, and I just don't need the people that I work with knowing about it... you know what I mean? Although I'm sure I'm worrying about it too much, I just can't help but think about the risk. I tried to make the post private, but I couldn't figure out a way to make the one post private without setting my entire blog to private, and I didn't want to do that. So I took it down. I saved it as a draft though, so I still have it.

So I will say that a family member in my immediate family is in rehab. This is their fourth stay in rehab for addiction to prescription painkillers and alcoholism. Several of my family members have struggled with various addictions, from this one to eating disorders to heroin, and some have gotten successfully treated and sober, some have not and continue to relapse. One refuses to acknowledge that they have a problem at all, and as a result has irreparably damaged many of her relationships with family members (including hers with me). I wish this person all the best in a recovery, but I'm also remaining cautious because I feel like I have gotten my hopes up too easily in the past, and it's always heartbreaking when they relapse. So I'm remaining cautiously optimistic for now.

Unfortunately, that's all I really feel comfortable saying in a public post, but if you have any questions or want to know anything else, please, feel free to e-mail me. I'm happy to answer any questions regarding this topic. Like I said, the only reason that I am not revealing more information is because I just worry about posting this information publicly and it somehow getting through to my place of employment. One should not have anything to do with the other, but I just don't feel comfortable taking the chance. I'm happy to answer any questions offline though!

Now, that being said, let's move on. Happy Wednesday!

So I DID start a new book- Admissions, by Nancy Lieberman:

DSCI0613 It's a fiction book about uber-rich New Yorkers trying to get their children into fancy elite private high schools in Manhattan, no matter what they have to do to get them in. Think a combination of The Nanny Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and Gossip Girl. It's great. The perfect mindless fluff book to read after coming down from a book like A Million Little Pieces. I'm about one-third of the way through already.

Well, that's enough rambling. I have just enough time to sneak a quick peek at some of your blogs, maybe have a little dessert, read a few pages, and hit the hay. :-) Work's going to be busy tomorrow, and not in a good way!