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August 29, 2010

Sunday Post


Head on over to Seven Dames a Week to read my Sunday post "Making the Switch."

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August 26, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak


I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Fried Steak for dinner and it was excellent.  Unfortunately I cannot share with you the recipe.  Why you might ask? Because my  cookbook is packed up in a box.  Why is my cookbook in a box?  Well, if you follow me on twitter you might know, but if you don't you are going to have to wait until this whole thing is over to know why my favorite cookbook is currently not accessible.

...and oh what a story it is. 

Number 21!!!!

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Cheese Cracker Chicken


Um, so I tried this new recipe with crunched up cheese crackers and chicken. It wasn't awesome, I wont make it again, but it was my 20th recipe that I tried this year.  4 more and I've completed my NYR.

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August 22, 2010

Sunday Post


Head on over to Seven Dames a Week to read my Sunday Post "Pathetic Insecurities"

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August 19, 2010

Commute

I have never been one who disliked having a commute. In fact, I have always been quite the opposite. A commute is almost essential to my mental well being. There was one summer where I worked less than a mile away from my job and I often found myself circling the job's location in the morning just so I could have that commute to settle my thoughts and get ready for the day (read: blast the radio and sing along).

You are probably thinking, "why don't you "settle your thoughts" or whatever crazy thing you are referring to before you leave your house?" Because it does not work like that for me. Why? I love to sleep. I love sleep more than anything in the entire world and my morning routine is synchronized so that I get maximum sleep. I walk out the door at the exact same moment every morning. My entire morning is detailed out, like a dance, to be completed with the utmost efficiency. I eat my breakfast while curling my hair - one bite per one curl while I hold the curl in the iron. Clothes are picked out the night before. My bag is sitting by the mug that will hold my coffee that I turn on and let brew while putting the dogs into the backyard. It’s a routine that does not require sitting, contemplating, or enjoying any form of food or drink. Why? Because I would much rather be sleeping. Thus for me to have any moment of zen it has to take place on a commute.

Which is why I love the commute so much. It forces me to sit down in the morning before leaving for work and get my head together. My current commute is a little over an hour, door to door. While I definitely wish it was shorter (Half hour? Please?) I have been taking the train and loving it. Well. Let me clarify. I am taking the train because it saves roughly $40 to $50 a week (which is $2080-$2600 a year!). I don’t love sitting next to smelly people. I don’t love being harassed for money as I walk from the train station to work. I don’t love the person who doesn't feel like it is necessary to put on headphones to play their music.

I do, however, love sitting with my mug of coffee (soon to be green tea…which I will explain in another blog post) while listening to a podcast or a book on tape. I love that forced time in the morning where I have to sit and think and do nothing until the train pulls up. Why? Because I would never allot that time for myself willingly and thus I have come to enjoy it. Smelly moving train and all.

Which leads me to my two new favorite things, both of which I have discovered thanks to my commute.

This American Life Podcast 


When I asked for help regarding what to do on my commute a ton of people said they listened to This American Life.  I can see why! This podcast has me in tears one second and laughing under my breath the next (much to the dismay of my fellow passengers).  This American Life is a radio show in Chicago that airs once a week and has a different theme every week.  You can download a free episode once a week on itunes, and every additional episode is $.99.  I can't suggest it enough!

Audible.com

You may have realized by now that I can only listen to things on the train.  Which is a total bummer because I really love to read, but it only took one time for me to realize that reading on the train was a no-go for my stomach.  I got way too motion sick.  Instead, I started using audible and can download books!  Better yet, if you go to audible.com/american you get a free audible audio book download! (Thanks for the tip Maureen!) Right now I am listening to Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster and I am obsessed.  Its hysterical and compelling and I look forward to listening to it every day. 

Do you loathe or love your commute? 

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August 16, 2010

Book 16: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (Chapters 1-10)


Recently, I read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes in conjunction with the online book club Book Beginnings and Book Ends.  For those of you who love to read, its a great book and its not too late to take part!  Every few weeks we are discussing a couple chapters, and here are the questions for Chapters 1-10. 

1. What was your first impression of Tim?  
I was suspect from the beginning because of the age difference.  What does a college man want with a sixteen-year-old girl who is working as a waitress?

2. If you were in CeeCee’s position, would you be willing to help your boyfriend in the way that she is willing to help Tim?
No way.  Even when I was sixteen and impressionable I have always been a rule follower and kidnapping would have had me running for the hills. At the same time, I think Chamberlain does a really great job of making the reader understand how easy it was for CeeCee to rationalize helping Tim.

3. Why do you think CeeCee is so eager to please Tim?
I think CeeCee wants someone to love her.  Who can blame her? She's all by herself with no family.  I think anybody in her shoes would feel vulnerable and want somebody to be with.  As a result of Tim's affection, I think she is eager to please Tim to ensure that he keeps loving her. 

4. Who do you think has it harder? Tim or CeeCee?
CeeCee.  While Tim has suffered a great deal of loss in his life he's not alone because he still has his brother and he still has money that allows him to go to college.  CeeCee is sixteen, all by herself, with no money.  

5. What character trait(s) about CeeCee stuck out the most to you in these first ten chapters?
Her honesty. Especially when she refused to play games with Tim despite the fact that her best friend kept telling her to.  Also, how she opened up so quickly to Tim about her mother and her past.

6. Do you think CeeCee is as mature as she seems?
I think she's mature for a sixteen year old girl.  How many other girls her age can support themselves?  At the same time I think she's way to be young to have dealt with all the situations she has been forced into - including her relationship with Tim.


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August 15, 2010

Sunday Post

Head on over to Seven Dames a Week and read my Sunday Post "The Gift of Fear."

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August 10, 2010

Book 15: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


What to say about this book? 

I felt like the last person on the plant to read The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Whenever I discussed this book with my friends the mere mention of the title was met with high pitch squeals and "ohmygod I love that book!" As such, I was expecting big things from this book.

I have two different feelings on this book.  The first 250 pages I hated.  Literally hated.  I had to give myself pep talks to keep reading.  I almost gave up on it numerous times.  Looking back, I think it was a lot of things that didn't engage me from the beginning. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I thought all the scenes in the meadow were creepy.  I understood why Claire was in love with Henry but I just didn't like his character.  Maybe it was because of the Ingrid storyline.  Maybe it was after that scene where he beat the crap out of that kid in the alley.  I can't put my finger on it, but I was not engaged from the get-go.

They, around their wedding, something in this book clicked for me. Maybe it was just how Niffenegger wrote about their relationship or maybe it just took me time (a long time) to get used to the dynamic of their relationship.  Regardless, the last 250+ pages of the book flew by and at the end I was a sobby mess.  While the conclusion admittedly left me slightly traumatized, I feel like the book came full circle for me.  Suddenly the scenes in the meadow didn't seem so creepy from Henry's perspective in the future.  My heart broke for Claire and I finally understood how epic their love story truly was. 

I have wanted to watch the movie forever, but vowed to myself that I would read the book first.  For those of you have seen the movie, what did you think?

Next up The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain which I am reading in conjunction with a great new blogger book club that you could be a part of too! To check it out go to Book Beginnings and Book Ends. (Secret Confession, I have almost finished the book - its really that good! Don't worry! I wont give anything away!)

Make sure to friend me on Goodreads! My user name is DuolyNoted

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August 8, 2010

Sunday Post

Head on over to Seven Dames a Week to read my Sunday Post "Working Woman!"

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August 6, 2010

Dog Model Fail


As a matter of tradition, I have to post before and after photos of Toby's hot new makeover haircut.  He is very happy to be sporting a much shorter style since the weather here has been around 105 degrees. Kill. Me. Now. Although for the love of God why do all breeders insist on giving my little man a beard even though I am always like "short around the muzzle!"


As a general rule, the dogs think I am boring when I try to take pictures of them as exhibited here when I was telling them to "smile with their eyes" and instead they yawned.

(On a side note, please ignore Kadira's ribs.  I swear we feed her.  A lot.  In fact, so much she doesn't always eat it all.  Its the product of her lean genes and inability to sit still for more then three seconds.)


As far as models go, these two are the worst.  They completely ignore me and even have the audacity to fall asleep on the job.  Dog model fail.

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August 3, 2010

How To Be Alone

I have watched this video, no joke, like 100 times today. It is so beautiful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks Tinkler.



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No Judging Allowed


Last night we all were (read: pretty much just me) overjoyed when Bachlorette Ali picked super dreamboat (and I don't use that grandma term lightly!) Robertttttooooo (pronounced with a flutter of the tongue) as her "husband" (and I do use that term lightly).  I was very excited about this as I had invested a large amount of my life to this show and placed way too much of my future happiness (for at least the next day) on her picking Roberto. Not that Cape Cod Chris didn't seem like a great choice too, BUT ROBERTO HAS HIS OWN BASEBALL CARD. Need I say more? I didn't think so.

My friend and I got together in shame to watch the last few episodes.*  Since the show is so epically deep we obviously had very heartfelt conversations about love and what love means being on The Bachlorette.  We also agreed that Ali and Roberttttoooo were cute as hell, and we (read: I again) would be so devastated if they broke up.  As such we decided that there were two tweaks the show must make to ensure that their couples actually stay together.

(1.) SCREW FALLING IN LOVE IN PARADISE, LETS SEE IF YOU CAN FALL IN LOVE IN DETROIT. 

No but seriously, anybody can fall in love in Tahiti after downing your fifth margarita.  Instead, lets send the couples into the real world and see how much they love each other there. Put them in a one bedroom in Detroit with a fixed income and see how quickly they fall in love.  Better yet, make it only one bathroom and the hot water breaks and you have to decide who is waiting for the plumber.  Oh yea, and rent's coming HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR IT???  If you can fall in love during that then you know its the real deal.

(2.) MAKE THE GUYS ACTUALLY PURCHASE THE RING 

Nothing says "I will love you forever" then a ring the guy didn't have to purchase and that ABC repossess upon your break-up. Wrong.  Fail.  I know it is not in ABC's best interest to force the guy to purchase the ring, but then we will know if he is really seriously, right?  Nobody drops 3 months salary on a girl they are just iffy about.

Were you for Robertttooo or Cape Cod Chris?

*Names will not be disclosed to protect the embarrassed.  


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