• 101 List

    <1. create a list of 101 things to complete in 1001 days[comp. 11.03.07
    2. Make Abby’s thank you cards, by Nov 7th [comp. 11.08.07]
    3. Send Abby’s b-day thank you cards, by Nov 10th
    4. Make x-mas cards by Dec. 7th[finished 12.11]
    5. Send x-mas cards by Dec. 12th [sent 12.14]
    6. Start a “the best thing today” journal[started 11.5.07]
    7. Meditate every day for one month
    8. Find a job I LOVE and that uses my skills and education to its fullest (hopefully teaching, but I will not discount something else that would be in education and made me happy)
    9. Keep up with list on blog
    10. Send out a b-day card to friends and family every year
    [1/?] 11. Complete Abby’s 1st year scrapbook[in progress]
    12. Make a wedding scrapbook
    13. Join teacher organization
    14. Participate in a teacher’s continuing education workshop spring/summer ‘08
    15. Have diploma framed and hang it
    16. Go to a play, musical or symphony at least once a year starting in 2008
    17. Get at least 3 pedicure a year(starting in 2008)[1/9]
    18. Make a list of 20 books to read (ones that I might not typically read), at least 5 being “classics” and at least 5 non-fiction [comp 11.5.07]
    19. Read 35 books (20 being from my must read list, others being book club books and whatever else)[12/35]
    20. Find a good dentist and go regularly
    21. Take up yoga
    22. Replace all bras and panties
    23. Replace all of my makeup and find a great line that works best for me
    24. Learn to use SLR digital camera better[in progress]
    25. Vote in 2008 election
    26. Make a list of 101 things that make me happy
    27. Start meal planning again[started 11.15.07]
    28. Start an ongoing grocery list on fridge [comp 11.5.2007]
    29. Start back up on Abby’s blog and post to it at least once a month[started 11.11.07] [17/32]
    30. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day for one month(try really hard to keep it up)[started 6/27]
    31. Eat at least one piece of fresh fruit a day for 3 weeks[11/30] [started 11.12.07]
    32. Take at least one cooking class a year (starting in 2008)
    33. Donate blood
    34. Make a list of 20 “must see” classic movie that I have not seen
    35. Watch the 20 movies
    36. Buy a bike and start going on bike rides with Abby
    37. Take a child CPR class
    38. Make a budget for Christmas presents and stick to it
    39. Make a quilt of Abby’s clothes (with mom’s help)
    40. Get lasik
    41. Print and hang more photos of Abby
    42. Take multi vitamins every day for one month, and hopefully keep it up[14/30]
    43. No eating out, deliver, or bringing home food for 3 weeks
    44. Plan something awesome for Mom & Dad’s 40th anniversary next year
    45. Organize recipes
    46. Try one 3 new recipe every month
    [17/96]
    47. Do something with wedding dress
    48. Go out with Tara once every few months
    49. Call Tara once every 2 weeks
    50. Call or email Michelle once a month
    51. Give up caffine by January,
    52. Make an Indian meal complete with naan[comp. 11.03.07]
    53. Personal #2
    54. Call Mom & Dad once a week
    55. Clean out/organize mine and DH’s closet
    56. Clean out/organize Abby’s closet
    57. Donate all the things from closets
    58. Paint/decorate master bathroom
    59. Buy new range
    60. Completely redo front yard landscape
    61. Tile kitchen
    62. Clean out/organize laundry room
    63. Clean out/organize kitchen pantry
    64. Put handles/knobs on kitchen cabinets
    65. Buy new entertainment tower for electronics in family room
    66. Finish or redo master bedroom decor
    67. Buy at least 2 new nice sets of sheets for all beds in the house
    68. Care for and get grass to grow in backyard
    69. Make a work/cleaning schedule a stick with it for one month
    70. Figure out what to do with the fireplace
    71. Do whatever it is to the fireplace
    72. Paint or replace front door
    73. Enroll Abby in swimming lessons
    74. Potty train Abby
    75. Move Abby to big girl bed
    76. Buy big girl bed for Abby
    77. Redecorate Abby’s room
    78. Teach Abby how to read, or at least start
    79. Buy a playscape for backyard
    80. Take Abby to Sea World once a year
    81. Take Abby to the Ft Worth Zoo
    82. Go to the pool at least 3 times a week during the summer
    83. Find a great preschool
    84. Start family game night once a week with NO TV once Abby is old enough, (next year?)
    85. Enroll Abby in karate (next year)
    86. Enroll Abby in sport of her choice (at 3 or 4 years old)
    87. Take Abby horseback riding
    88. Introduce Abby to one new experience at least once a month[9/32](I have not blogged baout all of these though :(
    89. Take Abby camping
    90. Take Abby to the trail of lights
    91. Go on at least one vacation just the 2 of us
    92. Have a monthly date night[9/32] (I have not blogged about these though)
    93. [personal #1]
    94. Make a significant dent(reduce it by at least half) in debt
    95. Write a will
    96. Spend one night playing DH’s computer games with him
    97. Watch an anime movie with DH
    98. Pay off DH’s car
    99. Have family and friends over for Christmas dinner
    100. Have friends over for dinner at least once a month(8/32)
    101. Do something really cool and that we have never done before for 5 year anniversary in ‘09
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#94 in progress & 98 done

WOOHOO! We paid off DH’s car yesterday. It was actually a personal loan we took out a few years ago to pay off DH’s car loan (his interest was crazy high) and some additional money for things around the house.

IT IS GONE! It feels so good!

Overall it was only about 10% of our total debt (not including house and my car, I figure I will always have a car loan 🙂 ), but still something. We also have a plan now that the money for the monthly payments is freed up to have one of our credit cards paid off in about 2 months. YAY!

I have more to update but I am too tired now. Off to watch Top Chef.

3 more books down! #19

No, I did not read all three since I posted my last book. Two of these books I read before<em> Love in the Time of Cholera, </em>but never blogged about them. The third I finished last night. I have realized I need to post baout the books as soon as I finish them or I loose track.

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

After Love in the Time of Cholera I needed something light and funny. So if you know the premise of this book you might be thinking a murder mystery is not light and funny reading. Given the subject matter, murder, rape, dysfunctional family, it does not seem like it would be a funny and light read, but it was at least for me. I did really enjoy this book. It will not rank up with one of my all time favorites, but it was definitely entertaining. I was taken in by the story from the first line and did not want to put it down.

<strong>From Publishers Weekly
</strong>Arlene Fleet, the refreshingly imperfect heroine of Jackson’s frank, appealing debut, launches her story with a list of the title’s deities: “high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.” The first god, also a date rapist by the name of Jim Beverly, she left dead in her hometown of Possett, Ala., but the last she embraces wholeheartedly when high school graduation allows her to flee the South, the murder and her slutty reputation for a new life in Chicago. Upon leaving home, Arlene makes a bargain with God, promising to forgo sex, lies and a return home if he keeps Jim’s body hidden. After nine years in Chicago as a truth-telling celibate, an unexpected visitor from home (in search of Jim Beverly) leads her to believe that God is slipping on his end of the deal. As Arlene heads for the Deep South with her African-American boyfriend, Burr, in tow, her secrets unfold in unsurprising but satisfying flashbacks. Jackson brings levity to familiar themes with a spirited take on the clichés of redneck Southern living: the Wal-Mart culture, the subtle and overt racism and the indignant religion. The novel concludes with a final, dramatic disclosure, though the payoff isn’t the plot twist but rather Jackson’s genuine affection for the people and places of Dixie.

I really enjoyed this book. It is about a now sucessful woman, despite her upbringing, that grew up in a very dysfunctional family. It starts off with a story of her being badly burned while she was cooking herself lunch, (because her mom thought kids should be independent) and spending weeks in ICU when she was only 4. It tells of her, what most would call neglectful, parents exploits while dragging their 4 kids along with them all over the country. The author easily could have told a poor me sob story, and deservingly so, but does not. Her stories of growing up, as crazy and shocking as they are, are told in a very matter of fact way. I found myself often yelling at the parents in this book. You would think it would be depressing and hard to take but the story of the kids, especially Jeanette is actually inspiring. It is amazing what people are able to overcome, maybe those kind of hardships make us stronger. What does kill you makes you stronger, right?

<strong>Amazon.com
</strong>Jeannette Walls’s father always called her “Mountain Goat” and there’s perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In <i>The Glass Castle</i>, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents–Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls’s childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets. Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls’ removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents’ knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them–despite their overwhelming self-absorption–resonates from cover to cover.

I did not care for this book. I read this one right after <em>I Know this Much is True. </em>I felt I need to read something light, funny and to be honest after the 900+ pages SHORT! I thought this would be a funny short book about how you do not have to be super mom in order to be a good mom. It was short, thank goodness or I never would have finished it. I did not find it funny at all though. It did speak to the point of not having to be super mom and have all the latest toys etc to be a great mom, but I felt in a very judgmental way. I felt like the author was saying you are a bad mom if your kid does have a lot of toys or if you do baby proof your house, or god forbid you are a stay at home mom. I thought the author had some really good points but did not like the judgmental tone I felt while reading this book.

<strong>From Publishers Weekly
</strong>A welcome relief from the flood of how-to-mother-perfectly tomes, Mead-Ferro’s short and sweet book is a reminder not to take parenthood so seriously. The author, who in addition to being the mother of two young children also has a demanding career as an advertising copywriter, has drawn valuable lessons in “making do” from her grandmother, who “had none of the proper equipment by today’s standards” yet “never described motherhood as a hardship.” Mead-Ferro doesn’t care for creating clever scrapbooks, accessorizing the nursery or trying to impart baby genius status to her three-year-old. Rather, she teaches her children that “making do” with their imagination is as good a route to inspiring creativity as any educational toy. She believes in letting her kids learn that the physical world is a complicated place; it’s better than smothering, isolating and “child-proofing” the world for them, she says. Rejecting the mentality that results in pre-school admission anxiety attacks and overly competitive soccer leagues for six-year-olds, Mead-Ferro both soothes and inspires as she prompts parents, and mothers in particular, to trust their own instincts rather than that of the “experts.” Let the kids get messy, she says, and let them figure some things out for themselves. While Mead-Ferro’s not at all sheepish about labeling this approach similar to that of a “slacker,” readers will come away with the feeling that the author is in fact a wise veteran who has experienced many of the conflicting messages women face today, and who nevertheless comes up smiling.

Books #19

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

While I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, I also wouldn’t say I liked it nor would I recommend it to anyone. I appreciated Marquez’s writing, but did not care for the story itself. I was interested in the story and characters from the beginning of the book, it was not one of those books that takes forever to get into. My problem was I was no longer interested in the story or the characters after I was about half way into the book. I was actually often quite annoyed by Florentino’s character and only mildly interested in Fermina. This book just did not keep my attention. I found myself struggling to finish the last 100 pages because I no longer cared about the story. 

 From Library Journal
While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino’s death. In substance and style not as fantastical, as mythologizing, as the previous works, this is a compelling exploration of the myths we make of love.