Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why I Can't Write YA Books

With all the reading I have been doing, I’ve been thinking more and more about the kind of books I want to write. One genre that I could eliminate quickly was Young Adult. With every YA book and YA TV show that I watch, I’m amazed at situations that are being written for these young people. The sex scenes alone are more sensational than what most adults twice their age would experience.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Below are my top 3 reasons for not writing YA books.

  1. I don’t want to think about kids having sex. I know it happens. It happened to me during that time but its a little creepy to be an adult imagining how a 16 year old (or younger) would deal with sex. I’ve often heard people say they wish the Twilight series had more sex. Many thought it strange that Edward was so sold fashioned and wanted to wait. I think that absence opened the door for the Grey’s storyline-like going from one extreme to another. Why don’t we think it’s strange for a middle aged man or woman to describe in detail the boy of a child performing sexual acts?
  2. I don’t want to think about the horrors that can happen to a child. Again, I know it happens but I don’t want to be the one to describe it in detail. I recently read a book that described the rape of one teenager by another. I’m grateful the author spared us too many details but the visual of a 17 year old in a bathroom washing the blood from her body after her attack is still in my head.
  3. I can’t relate to what kids today want to read. When I was a child, I was a child. Now that I am an adult, I am an adult and I think adult things. I enjoyed my childhood and I have no desire to relive it. I don’t regret any of it. I don’t want to want to go back and be more popular. I don’t want to go back and date better jocks. I don’t want to go back and be rich even though the money would have been nice. My brand of YA would probably be very boring.
When I finally do get my writing mojo together, you can be assured my main characters will be 30+. Even writing a 21 year old seems beyond me. But we’ll see.

What do you think? Could you write a sex scene for a teenager? I do admire those of you than can step outside of yourselves and weave a good YA tale.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Books-The Beginning

My reading really kicked up in May. So much so that I’ve had to split this post into two.

I really wanted to catch up lost ground because once I get back to work I won’t be able to read so much. But also because everyone wants to discourage me from reading. Why is that? You tell people you have a goal to read a certain number of books and their first inclination is to tell you that you won’t make it. That infuriates me to no end. There is a lot in life we can achieve when we stop spending so much time in front of the television. I doubt I would have read so many books thus far if I had not given up cable for Lent. I will keep reading and I will make my goal for the year. I would appreciate more support and less negative nonsense.

I’m now up to 34 books read for the year. This total includes some titles that will get their own posts.

All books links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice.


This is my last food related book I’m going to read for quite some time, if not ever. I’ve watched too many documentaries lately on top of the books I’ve read and all it has done is result in me not wanting to eat properly. And Jonathan spends a little too much talking about “shit”. I think he loves the word and just wants to say it as many times as possible. Our chickens live in shit, our pigs are covered in shit, the shit that gets in our food makes us sick…on and on and on. It’s all true but he could have been a little more eloquent. I am in the process of changing how I eat. I will not go completely meat free but I do think we should eat less meat overall. My personal changes will continue to evolve as I continue to learn and grow. I do recommend this book but just be ready for the language. I listened to this in audio.


This short book of poetry is all about a man’s love for his wife. It’s lovely and heart warming to read a man’s thoughts when he is truly, truly in love. I highly recommend when you need a little bit of love inspiration.


I’m always interested in books about working women and how they have found success. This was of particular interest to me because the author is British and the women she interviewed are of a more diverse background than you would typically get in a similar book written by an American author. I have this as an audio book and it was a quick listen, but I now know more about the recent history of what everyone else knows as football than I really wanted to know. I did get extremely bored hearing the football talk but I appreciate hearing the story of women in any field, but the book improved greatly with hearing the stories of the other women.

This is a very good book. I listened to the unabridged audio. This was my first Sue Grafton title. Now I feel like I need to start at the beginning, all the way to A. Do I dare?


This is a good book, but it has no clear point of view. The author speaks in 1st person plural but never 1st person singular. Everything is US and WE but never I, so it’s as if she’s trying to speak for all 3 sisters at the same time. This gets a little confusing when she’s speaking about one sisters secret in words that makes it seem that WE all know the secret but then she’ll remind the reader that the sister has yet to tell US.

I don’t know if this stands out when reading the book in print but it sticks out a lot when listening to it as I did. (love my Audible membership)

This family intrigues me and drives me crazy. They live in books and speak in Shakespeare quotes. Their actions in life always relate to something they rad and they are desperate to separate from their literary namesakes. This is just as exhausting to me as the people that relate everything in life to a movie. Every example they want to give comes from an exciting, memorable scene. 90% of the time I miss the point.

BUT, these people intrigue me and so I enjoy hearing their stories. This book is a good summer read.


I love, love, love this book. It’s not exactly a novel, but there is a lot to learn from this book. So much so that you will see (if not already) a separate post outlining all the goodness this book has brought into my life.


I was more interested in this title before I actually started listening to it. While it present some interesting information, I really don’t see a point in it and I can honestly say I learned nothing. I don’t see anything in this as new at all as the cover claims. Interesting, but not new.


I think it quite interesting and entirely creepy to hear how our lives and behaviors and purchases have become bits of data for the analyzers that sit around all day generalizing us into little buckets. While this can lead to great developments and increased safety, it is very clear that our lives are nowhere close to private. He even has a section discussing how the data analyzers are trolling our blogs to get information about us that we are choosing to give away so freely. Who knows what they think they are learning from me using my monthly book readings. The only thing that irks me about this book is the branding of data miners as “numerati”. This is nothing more than a way of putting a hollywood spin on something that has been around for a long time. In general, I can’t stand that. Sensational naming turns a group into a social club. But that is neither here nor there. I do recommend this book. Just be prepared to come out on the other end a little paranoid. I skipped the section discussing the fistulas in the sides of cattle. As I said before, I can’t hear anything else about our food supply right now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Remaking of the T-Shirt

After cutting into some t-shirts to make my version of the barn throw from Maya’s Reinvention book, I was left with quite a few left overs and no idea of what to do with them. I decided to try my hand at making a scarf. You could consider this a variation on Maya’s story scarf. I used an acrylic cutting template to cut out the squares, ensuring I had roughly the same size throughout and went about piecing them together.

This was by no means quick as each scarf is about 7 feet long, but the end product made the labor worth it. I use snippets of pictures from the t-shirts as accents which adds a nice amount of wimpy to the scarves. I had enough pieces to make two scarves.

I was worried about how to finish the scarf, but after finding long strips of muslin in my stash that were the perfect size, I decided to use that as the backing. I treated it like a pillow case and top stitched the edges for a nice and neat finish.



They are heavy enough to be perfect early fall/spring scarves and the color combination will blend them with a number of outfits but I think they will stand out best with jeans and a nice crisp white shirt.


I haven’t decided what to do with these yet. I have more scarves in my collection than I need at the moment so these may become starter pieces in re-opening my long forgotten Etsy shop. I’ll have to think about it some more. Needless to say, future t-shirts to my closet will meet the same fate.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yelm and the Mountain

There is a very good chance that at the end of this job search, I will be packing up and moving. I’m not sure where but I’m almost definite it won’t be where I am now. Whenever I talk to a new company about a new city, I immediately turn to Google Earth. I am having so much fun thinking about the possibilities. There are so many beautiful places in this country and I’m ready to see another one.

I was on the phone with my brother last week and unknowingly, he fed right into my latest obsession. He said, “Man, every day I get up, I swear that dog-gone mountain is getting closer!”

Mountain, what mountain? I had no clue. He has just relocated to Yelm, Washington which I didn’t know existed until he was heading to an army base there. I consulted Google Earth and there it is, about an hour away. Mount Rainier in all its snow capped glory.


What a beautiful sight. I was excited to plan to visit him because of his proximity to Seattle and Portland, but now I have a new target when I go. I’m going to that mountain. Actually, I’m just going to the state park to get closer to the mountain. I’ll leave the mountain itself to the more adventurous people out there.

Oh the places we can go!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Frog or Finish Friday-Blue Waves Socks


These socks were cast on in August of 2008. Looking at them now, I have to say that I am not happy with them.


I do like the lacy wave pattern of the cuff but I am not a fan of the top of the sock. I wish I had done a regular ribbed start. Also, the cuff is too short in general. I have learned over through the years that if my cuff is not long enough, my socks will end up in my shoes about 10 minutes after I start walking. DRIVES ME CRAZY!


And I’m not a fan of the heel that I chose for this sock. My recent darning practice tells me it won’t be long before a hole sprouts at the back of my foot. A reinforced heel is a must.

All this to say, this sock has been frogged and its yarn is in wait to become something new. I think I will definitely make them into socks. I just need to choose an appropriate pattern and construction.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Maya Inspired Reinventions

My love with Maya’s book continues. I was very happy that the author made visit to the blog and linked back to me from this post. She also set up a flickr group to showcase the projects that everyone is creating. The beauty of a book like this is that everyone is using different materials and really thinking differently about buying fabric when there are so many fabrics out there that could be reused.

For me, it is important that my current projects use fabric that is already in my stash. For a span of time, I really enjoyed visiting fabric shops for different materials or remnants that I could use. So many of these are still laying around in my stash and I am ready to get them in use.

First up, I pulled three cotton tea towels out of my stash and whipped up three of the Fold and Tie Cases. There are so many uses for these. Her book showcases the case as a packing aid. Since I am endlessly addicted to office supplies, that is the use I went for. Since I made three, I may rotate them around to see how handy they are. More than anything, I love that they are completely machine washable.



Last up is another summer bolster. This time I made it out of remnant decorator fabric. For the amount of fabric that I had, this was the perfect use for it. I took a photo of it in front of the first bolster that was made to show the size difference that comes from using different materials. Neither are made using the dimensions Maya calls for in the book. I adjusted the size based on how much fabric I had on hand and wanting to minimize unusable scraps. The first bolster snugly fits one comforter. I have two quilts rolled into the second bolster and there is still plenty of room to add another, if not two. I love having these for extra linen storage but also extra pillows. Again, fully washable so I have no qualms about throwing them around and lounging all over them.


More pictures of all of my reinvention projects are available in my Flickr account. So, what do you think? Any reinventions happening in your home?

Quick and Easy Mini Albums


I think this is the most fun little project I’ve done in a while. These are the mini toilet paper roll albums that I spoke of here. Each little album is made of 4 recycled toilet paper rolls with a cover made from the backing from a couple of note pads I had laying around the house. Rather than paint the rolls, I covered everything in paper. With all the crafting I have done lately, I have been trying to use materials that were already in my house. Into the album went assorted purple scrapbooking paper, scraps of card stock, eyelets (normal and decorative plate), twine and stickers.


Each album page has two journal/picture cards that pull from the end and two smaller cards that sit in the pocket that was created when the paper used to cover the roll was overlapped. Rather than add pulls on the end of the pocket inserts, I reinforced the ends with random stickers from my stash. The cover of each album is embellished simply with a metal plate eyelet that has a friendship related quote on them.

These little albums are perfect little gifts for graduations, Mother’s/Father’s Day, birthdays, etc. Fill them with love notes, money, pictures and anything else that inspires you. These three will be gifted to friends this summer. Two are brides and one is a birthday girl. I will leave the brides books blank so they can use them as wedding thank you’s for a friend or for another occasion. The one for the birthday girl will get filled with notes and other things by me and maybe a couple of gift cards.

I love these albums so much that I’m sorry to say you may see many, many more of these in the future. I still have lots of paper and embellishments in my stash that need to be used. For now, more photos can be seen in my Flickr account.

In terms of tools I used a paper cutter, corner rounder and crop-a-dile to punch holes and set eyelets. And in case you are inspired to do it yourself, this is the YouTube video that sparked it all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Field Notes


Last week, Field Notes sent an email offering a free 3-pack of the Red Blooded Memo Book free with any purchase. There was no minimum purchase so I went on over an placed an order for a pack of pencils for three dollars and some change. The free pack of memo books is $10 value so this was a very good offer from the Field Notes company.

I have been following Field Notes for about a year now but I have never used any of their products, mainly because I was worried about the size. I had never actually seen the notebooks in a store. And I was right. The photo below is to compare the size of the Field Notes Memo book with the Moleskine planner that I currently use.


On the positive side, the Field Notes could fit into the back pocket of the Moleskine or held in place under a band. However I use it, I do want it to work with or within my planner system so these two will be getting familiar with each other.

You’ll see another post soon about my current planner (18 month Moleskine weekly) and how I will alter for the next year since new 2013 planners are hitting the market and I Moleskine doesn’t offer an 18 month planner option that could easily transition from the existing 18 month planner. More on that later.

For now, I would love to know if any of you are Field Notes users and how you use them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Crafting and Recap

I keep finding new things that I want to try. I’m loving the crafting I am able to get done. Today I’m trying my hand at the toilet paper roll mini album. I’m slowly working down my paper stash. Very slowly as I have plenty of it.


While I am crafting along, take a little time to see what else I was up to this past week (links below). Happy Sunday.

Reinvention by Maya Made

Paper Crafting Summer

My Summer Hair

Frog or Finish Friday-Cotton Bag

Choosing The Wedding Party-The Brides Perspective

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Choosing The Wedding Party-The Brides Perspective

My fiancé came into my life at a time when I was not ready. You can counter this and say that we are never really ready for the little surprises that life will bring our way, but I was really not ready. He and I often talk back on the first few weeks of our lives together. We laugh about it now, but he was angry with me then.

He came at me too fast and I had a wall around me that I was not ready to let anyone get beyond. I went out with him and then I avoided him. I lost my cell phone during a road trip and took that as an out because I didn’t have his number anywhere else other than that phone. But then I saw him and I was drawn to him. I had to beg the boy to give me his number again. He assumed I thought I was better than him and tossed his number aside as I had tossed him. He was hurt and he was angry. I was scared and I wasn’t ready to be in another relationship.

Even when I started to give in and decided to give us a chance, I waffled. We went on a few more dates and then we moved in together. I still waffled. He proposed. I still waffled after asking for time. A month later, I said yes and I still waffled. I went back and forth, back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to be in such a committed relationship and if I wanted to be married. I doubted. I doubted my ability to be a good wife. I doubted his ability to be a good husband. I doubted our ability to communicate with each other. I doubted everything.

Getting married is a beautiful and lovely thing, but I couldn’t dive into the wedding until I was sure the marriage was going to start on a healthy foundation. We started marriage counseling with our pastor and I started having serious conversations with friends that were married, friends that wanted to get married and a few people that I knew had gone through a divorce. I questioned everything and I listened and I still continue to do so.

When I finally broke free of enough doubt and was content and happy with becoming this man’s wife, I could finally start to think about the wedding that would start our married life. My wedding day is not a production or a party. It’s an induction. And in order to be properly inducted into this life, I needed people with me that knew what I was getting into. For that reason, I chose a Matron of Honor and Bridesmaids that were married. These are women that have marriages that I look to for inspiration and guidance. They have had successes. They have had failures. They have had issues that threatened to tear them apart, but they are still standing. They are happy and they have no regrets about walking down the aisle. Will they always feel that way? Who knows. But today, they are my support system and they are who I need.

None of them are family and none of them have known me longer than 12 years and I have no regrets about that. Everyone likes to fantasize that their wedding party will be made up of their sisters and childhood friends. Often that is the case. But if you really want to see this as the start of a marriage and not just a wedding, you have to ask if sisters and childhood friends are really what you need. In my case, it is not.

I get questioned about this choice a lot. So many want to know if my sisters are upset with me. My answer is always and will always be the same. I am doing what I need to do to give my marriage the best start it can have. There are no doubts about that.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Frog or Finish Friday-Cotton Bag


I started knitting this cotton shopping bag back in March of 2008. I love this yarn but it’s thick/thin nature and the fact that it is cotton made it difficult to maneuver on the needles. The start of a round moves on this pattern and at some point I made a mistake and couldn’t figure out exactly where or how to recover the travel on the pattern. So, it sat unfinished for 4 years! I’m so terrible.


Fast forward to now and I don’t need another shopping bag. So I frogged it and started over.


What I do need is another cotton mat to lie under my dish rack. If you are still using those plastic mats that come with the dish racks, I urge you to get rid of it. Those things do nothing but hold on to water attracting bugs, mold and smells. Not to mention the feet of the dish rack start to rust. I threw mine out last year after crocheting a mat to go under it and I have not looked back.


This is very simple. It’s wide enough to cover a good amount of the counter front to back and I’ll go until I run out of yarn. I’m not using particular pattern but I do find it better to alternate between single and double crochet rows. Having the single crochet gives much needed structure and the double crochet allows the piece to grow in size without being too bulky. Because of the thick/thin nature of the yarn, the piece still looks thick and substantial which is needed to soak up the water from dripping dishes. Every home should have 2 to 3 of these at all times.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Summer Hair


I’ve been experimenting with my hair a bit and I am completely thrilled with the results. The pictures below are from my latest flat twist-out. I conditioner washed my hair with some V05 Clarifying conditioner. I let me hair dry a bit before adding the Pantene Pro-V Classic conditioner as a leave it. My hair was instantly soft. I added a little of the Fructis Style Gel for a little hold. The gel is marked Extra Strong, but it has never done much for my hair. I was only using it to get it out of my hair supplies. I was really surprised at the results.

My hair has fantastic definition and just enough hold that I can get two days without restyling. This is perfect for me. I typically don’t go longer than that and I want products that have little buildup so I can re-apply with setting. I did get some flaking with the combination of these two but I know from past experience that this comes from the gel. A quick fluff and shake took care of the flaking but reapplication during the week did add more flaking till eventually it just stuck to my hair. I will no be purchasing this gel again, but the conditioner is my hair’s new best friend.


As a style option, you just can’t beat the flat twist-out on my hair. They are quick to set, quick to take down and keep definition really well though fluffing and picking. I am anticipating a busy summer but I’m confident my hair will not cause me any problems. I just need to find a gel that doesn’t flake on me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paper Crafting Summer

This summer has started off to be the one that will be all about the paper crafts. In particular, card making.


The best thing about unemployment has been having the time and luxury to get back to some of things I love best. My time off has lined up perfectly with a friends desire to start card making. My friend DF has decided that she wants to make custom cards to give as Christmas gifts this year and she is being proactive and starting now. I’ve spent several days with her (and the occasional guest) in getting started on her goal.

This also made me want to do a little card making of my own. Recently, I attended the wedding of a family friend and since I am on a tight budget, I made her a set of handmade thank you cards.


The base of the card is handmade paper that I have had in my stash for years not knowing exactly how to use. I stamped a silver background with a bronze thank you and accented with coordinating paper and brad. These are simple and elegant and a really nice option for sending a quick thank you. I had enough handmade paper to do a set of 20 cards. I bought coordinating sliver envelopes from the craft store. What bride won’t need extra thank you cards?


And with that in mind, I continued on and made a set of 25 cards for my sister who is getting married in June. These were made by layering a piece of vellum over white card stock using eyelets and adhering to a card stock card of varying colors. There are five of each color for a set of 25. I know she will need more as she is still far enough out not to have purchased her thank you cards yet, but I want to send them to her to make sure she likes them before I send more.

And I still have more paper crafts up my sleeve before I pack the card stock and stamps away.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reinvention by Maya Made


I preordered this book months ago. I have been following the Maya Made blog for quite some time and when she announced the publishing of her book, I ordered it immediately. When it landed on my doorstep and I was able to flip through it, I fell in love. There are several projects in it that I knew I wanted to make. Not just that, but projects that I needed in my home.

A few years ago, I bought this remnant decorator fabric with the purpose of making floor cushions. I didn’t know what pattern to use but in my head I wanted some of the square cushions with piping. The problem was the stuffing. Foam is expensive and clearly not in the budget right now. But Maya’s book gave an alternative I didn’t think of. *Silly Me!*

Why not make the cushion and use it as storage for blankets, quilts and other unused linens. And that is exactly what I did. I made two of the large Poufs out of the remnant fabric. One is stuffed with quilts. One is stuffed with extra curtains, pillowcases, etc. And now I have perfect little poufs that can be used for seating or casual foot props. Since making them, the coffee table in the den has become a nice little workspace for me.


Next up was the Summer Bolster. I made this out of two pillowcases that I had bought years ago to use in a sewing project that never came to be. Once I opened the pillow cases and sewed them together, I ended up with fabric longer than required, but I decided not to cut all of it off. A longer bolster is that much better in my opinion. I was glad I kept it. I rolled up the guest bed comforter and stuffed it inside. I used ribbon from my stash to tie up the two ends.
I’ll be making another one soon for the master bedroom.


Since I was on a roll, I decided to pull out a few t-shirts that have been sitting in the corner waiting for a new life. I got most of these at Blissdom 2012 and added in a few more that have been in my bottom drawer unworn for years. I cut them apart and pieced them together using another remnant piece from my fabric stash as the backing. I did not add any batting as I wanted this to be a light summer lap throw, just a little something to drape when sitting in the air conditioning. I did not quilt it but I’m thinking about adding that latter when I am brave enough. I have more t-shirt pieces that will become another project soon. I’m just waiting for them to tell me what they want to be. :)


If you are a sewer or ever so crafty inclined, you really should get this book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blogging Tip From My Little Corner

I was spending a little time going through my RSS reader today and I ran across the message below on whoissugar, the blog. Sugar is also a YouTuber that I follow so I really felt bad when I saw this post. Unfortunately, it is not the first time that I have seen this cry and it won’t be the last. So, for those of you bloggers that do visit me on occasion, I wanted to give a little tip for avoiding this issue.



Basically, you need to use a desktop option for blogging that can also download from your blog when you do choose to use the web client or mobile device for posting.

For Mac users, the program that I use and recommend is MacJournal by Mariner. I have all 249 posts from this blog as well as several posts that I have in progress or ready to go. The program has all the needed credentials for my blogged stored away so as soon as I am ready to go on a post, I tell it to send it off and that little man appears next to the post letting me know it has been uploaded. I purchased MacJournal after I had started blogging so I was happy to see they have a download from blog feature that will download from 1 to all of the posts you have already published. I can edit and reposts any of these at any time so I never have to worry about blogger loosing my posts. For extra security, my data is backed up using Carbonite.


If you are a windows user, Mariner also a version of this software for you, WinJournal. I am pretty confident it works just like the Mac version with whatever tweaks needed for the Windows platform. I would also suggest using Microsoft’s Live Writer. I’ve never used it but I saw a demonstration of it at Blissdom 2012 and it would be my go-to solution if I were still a Windows user.

Backing up your work is important for any of us that use computers. For other writing projects or documents that you need to retain, I recommend Google Docs/Google Drive (Google is in the process of rebranding this service), Evernote, and Carbonite. Don’t become a victim of lost intellectual property. Some of the options I have given are free, some are not. Being able to retrieve lost data is well worth the cost.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just How BIG is My Problem?

Many of you already know that I have put myself on a book diet for the 2012 calendar year and I’ve committed to reading 100 books this year. Each time I tell someone new of this goal, they look at me in amazement. But what I try to get them to understand is that I’m trying to catch up with my book buying habits. I have way to many books in my possession that I have not gotten around to reading and it is entirely too irresponsible to continue buying when I’m not keeping up with the consumption of what I have bought.

So, how bad is it?


Sometime last year, Amazon granted us the ability to organize our Kindle books/documents into folders. I figured now was the perfect time to really sit down and figure out how many books I have unread while I organized. I really needed to do this as I also have the habit of downloading the first chapter samples so I can decide later if I want to buy the book. I needed to get all of those samples out of the way. Next year when I lift my self imposed book diet, I will start going through the growing list of samples to determine what will be bought and definitely read in the future.

For now, I have 32 unread Kindle books, 39 un-listened to audio books in my iTunes account (most bought from Audible), and 128 unread or partially read physical books in my home (as catalogued in my Delicious Library program). I also have a read again list going but I won’t even think about those books for now. For those of you quick on your feet, you’ve already added up my damage.

Yep, I have 199 books to read. Books that have already been bought or gifted or obtained for free. Most have been bought. I don’t even want to think how much money that means I have spent with no return. BUT, that return is to come soon. Unfortunately, my book diet may need to last longer than a year, but we’ll see how things look as the holiday book sales approach. And just as a comparison and to prove that I actually do read some of what I buy, my total book collection sits at 493. This does not include technical books that I’ve been holding on to. So there! I know I still have a problem.

Please tell me that some of you are just as bad.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Weekend Projects


I’m determined to get something done this weekend. Since there is no way I will finish the cardigan, I decided to cast on a hat. Using my laptop to surf the internet a little bit while listening to an audiobook. Trying to get my May reading off to a good start.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tips for Restrictive Eating While Traveling

I’m slowly tackling the changes that have been needed in my diet. Until it became necessary for me to give up all things dairy that I really became aware of how many foods contain cheese and yogurt and sour cream and cream cheese. These ingredients make so many of the foods we easy so yummy! I’m a little lucky in that I don’t have to give up cakes, cookies and baked goods that contain milk, but sauces and icings are still a struggle.

In addition to eliminating the dairy, I have decided to significantly cut the amount of bread and fried foods that I eat. Yesterday, I had lunch at Cracker Barrel and everything tasted terrible and smelled just as bad. There was nothing wrong with the food so please don’t take this as anything against the CB. The problem is me. I have noticed that as I change how I eat, my appetite and food tolerance are changing as well. And No, I am not pregnant. That was the first thing my mother asked when I said everything tasted and smelled bad. ☺ My problem, and really it is not a problem but a revelation, is that I’ve been hanging around and eating dinner with my vegan friends and my body is craving more of a natural, if not completely vegan, diet.

I think if we are really going to tackle the weight and health issues, we have to look beyond the what the dairy, farming and weight loss industries are telling us. We have to stop listening to them and start listening to our own bodies.

These are the things that I know about me.

  • When I drink more water, I want less sugar.
  • I enjoy the thick, creamy sauces that are made with cashews rather than milk or heavy cream.
  • I still enjoy and crave the yogurty goodness of a nice Indian curry sauce. I will just eat a few times of year and suffer through the headaches that comes.
  • Cake is still a craving but I crave it less.
  • The more vegetables I eat, the less meat I desire.
  • I am loving the homemade version of some of my once favorite take-out items…like pizza.
  • My midsection as decreased as I have decreased my intake of bread.
  • My plantar fasciitis hasn’t bothered me in at least 2 months. I think this is a result of the increased water intake.
  • My body loves eggs.
I’m sure there are many other things I will learn as I continue to modify how I eat, but since I have been prone to travel in the past for work, I wanted to make sure I concentrated on how to continue eating more healthy fare while on the road. I am currently on the road for a job interview. For 3 days, I have been trying to make the best decisions possible so as not to feel terrible while driving or while doing the interview. My solution was to rely on the grocery store. There is a Publix supermarket just a few blocks from my hotel and since I have a refrigerator in the room, I decided to go over and buy boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast and edamame salad to snack on. I thought I would eat out after my interview but I ended up going back to the grocery store for more fruit and a nice spinach, mushroom and carrot salad. I still found myself at Zaxby’s a little later, but considering how much fruit and veg I had consumed, I have no hard feelings about the chicken tenders and extra Zax’s sauce. This trip only took me 5 hours away from home, so I will need to do more planning for longer trips. In the past, I would try to drive straight through as much as possible only picking up things that I could eat while driving. I will have to change that habit if I am going to keep my travel time as healthy as possible.

This is a work in progress but as I make more changes, my momentum is growing and more changes are being prompted. I encourage you all to make a couple of small changes and see how your body reacts. There are many reasons to change how we eat, but if you are resistant to listen to anyone, open up to listening to your body.

Frog or Finish Friday-Socks

When cleaning out my stash, I came face to face with my pile of unfinished knitting projects. Some of these have been on the needles for years. As part of my journey towards a simple life, I’m going to tackle each of them and determine once and for all if I will frog the current project or finish it. My goal is to tackle them a couple of weeks at a time so I can figure out what their next life will be (if they are frogged).

So, first up is a toe up sock that I started in February of 2008. I bought the yarn from a local dyer and I’m happy to say she no longer sells this. She changed her yarn base shortly after I bought this.


This is a very pretty yarn when skeined and it feels good to the touch, but I was not happy about the look of the yarn when knitting the sock. That was one of the reasons I never finished this sock. I think this yarn would be happier as a piece that can show off the striping nature of the yarn better. Also, I have no idea what pattern I was using to knit these.


So, I decided to frog it. I also decided to go ahead and wind this into a new ball as well as wind the remaining skein into a ball. During the process of ripping out the sock, the toe broke off. I took this is a one-off and decided to keep going. When re-balling the yarn, it broke yet again. I decided to stop for fear that I would end up with a ton of yarn pieces floating around. The yarn was not this fragile when originally knit and it has been protected from bugs so I’m not sure why it has become so fragile. This completely alters any plans I had for the yarn. If I’m going to have to spice constantly while trying to knit this up, I won’t get a good striping effect as desired.


So, I’m open to suggestions. I’m tempted to trash the ball that is falling apart, but I don’t want to be unnecessarily wasteful. What does this yarn want to be?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Books for April

My book journey continues on. I’ve knocked out 5 more books in my journey to read 100 books this year. I’m still terribly behind but I’ve finished 18 so far and I feel quite accomplished. You can follow my progress through Goodreads. There is also a status meter in the sidebar. I would love to connect with you all and see what reading goals you are setting for yourself. Below are the titles that I have tackled during the month of April.

All book links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice.


I listened to the Audible version of this book and I cannot speak highly enough of it. Joshilyn really knows how to tell a story and I appreciate that her "southerness" comes across as genuine and not manufactured. This was also read by the author and that in itself was delightful. I will be reading/listening to other titles by Ms. Jackson and can not wait to see what else she has put into the world. I already have two in my Audible library ready to be heard. I highly recommend this title in print and/or audio.


I had the pleasure of meeting this author/blogger at Blissdom 2012. Since deciding to combine my life with that of another, I have been on a journey of pairing down and simplifying. I refuse to believe that he and I can’t comfortably share the two bedroom home I have cultivated as a single girl. I want a good life that is lived within limits that are comfortable but not wasteful. This book has been helpful in helping me make some decisions about how we as a family will use our space. I have yet to do the 10 day clear out/cleaning process that she suggests but it is definitely in my future. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to live better without living bigger.
This was quite an interesting little book. It was written back in 1968. Some of the information is now outdated, particularly in terms of laws and public perception but it still is a good read. The author wrote this so boys and parents could more easily approach the subject of sex, but I would not want to read this as a parent and I wouldn’t want my child to read it. Well, I would think twice about both. But there are things here that all parents should know so I will be passing this on to friends with a son. We’ll see what they think of it. I almost hate to part with it. The copy I have is a very early edition and the only book I own that I can say was actually printed on a press and not using more modern printing processes. It’s quite lovely being able to feel the print on the page. I think I’m more of a physical book lover than I knew.


Thank God this book is a quick read. It was interesting and completely boring at the same time. The author brings up some interesting points about fidelity, infidelity an relationships, but he never expounds on anything. This book is nothing more than a collection of single thoughts that may hit you in passing, but there are no full discussions. Because of this, I think the book falls short of being anything more than a book of quotations on monogamy. Unless you need a good quote, skip this book.


I listened to this book as an audio selection. That is such a mistake. I like Dave Ramsey but I’m convinced he has no inside voice. His intensity is high octane all the time and that can get exhausting when listening to someone for three hours. But, he believes in what he speaks and I believe it as well. So many people have become debt free following his message which is based on biblical principles and one day I hope the future hubby and I can say the same. I highly recommend you read this book, but please buy a paper copy and skip the audio…unless you like being yelled at for hours at a time.