Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Long Winter's Nap - I Wish!

I should be in bed. I shouldn't be blogging and watching Food Network (Throwdown with Bobby Flay). I should be tucked into bed, starting to dream - not basking in the glow of my glorious Christmas tree. Really, sleeping right now would be a good thing, better than snacking on the ham in my fridge and my roommates homemade candy (with her permission, of course).

I don't want to go to bed. I want to stay up. I don't want this weekend to end. I don't want tomorrow to be here. I'm not ready to go to work. Tomorrow I have too many things to do - I need to get ready for my upcoming work trip to Denver. I've enjoyed today's laziness - seriously putting up and decorating my tree is one of the only productive things I did today - I want another such day.

There's another reason I'm not in bed right now. For the past few weeks, I've suffered from a mild case of insomnia. Either I go to bed and can't fall asleep for a wicked long time or I go to bed, easily fall asleep, then wake up numerous times throughout the night. Either way, I wake up totally unrested and needing more sleep.

Insomnia makes me dread going to bed. I stay up as long as I can, only going to bed when I feel like I can't keep my eyes open any more. I need to start up a night hobby. Hmmm. I think there's a puzzle in my spare room that needs to be put together.

I'm going to go check.

I hope you're getting a good night's rest - sleep a few winks for me!

I'll be putting together a puzzle.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cuz I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

Not really.

I am leaving, just not on a jet plane. My car, actually.

Today, I'm headed to my grandma's house in Vernal for the holiday weekend. My mom is driving up with me and I'm sure we'll have a nice chat, I'll nap (she'll drive), and we'll listen to a book tape or 2. If I were going alone, I'd stop once on the way for dinner; however, my mom is going with me, we'll probably stop 10 times. If I remember, I'll let you know what the actual number is. My bet is 3.

I'm excited for Thanksgiving. It's been a long time since I've had Thanksgiving with extended family, so it'll be nice to see everyone and sample different dishes. Usually I celebrate the day with my mom, older brother and his family, and sometimes one or both of my younger brothers. We tend to have the same dishes every year because we all love them so much. So, it'll be interesting to try new things and different takes on classic dishes.

In the spirit of the holiday, here's a short list of some things for which I'm thankful:

1. My family. We're crazy and imperfect, but we love each other and enjoy hanging out with each other. My relationship with my dad is better than it has been since I was in high school. I have a new nephew - Robbie. My other 2 nephews and 1 niece still think I'm the best aunt. We're all healthy and pretty happy. Thank heavens.

2. My job. Things got kind of rough this year, but they've improved and now things are pretty much on-track again. My coworker and I are like sisters, I'm more patient with my boss, and I'm getting paid enough to be able to afford...

3. My home. I love it. I love it more and more each day. Not a day goes by that I don't love looking out my bedroom windows. I love the porch. I love my kitchen. I love my new couches. I love that all of it is mine. If I end up staying here the rest of my life, it'll be because I love my home so much.

4. Roommate(s). Liz and Jeff are pretty perfect as far as roommates go. Yes, they sometimes do things that irritate me (like not cleaning their bathroom so the tub and toilet get stained and I end up scrubbing them forever), but overall, I feel like I've lucked out. They are gone every weekend, so I get plenty of time to myself. I enjoy hanging out with them and it's good to be with people instead of becoming a hermit. And, for the most part, they respect my home and my stuff. I really appreciate that.

5. My friends. I never see them, but I know they're around and that they care for me as much as I care for them.

6. My health. Mental and physical. I recently was diagnosed as being in good mental health by a licensed professional. I wear it like a badge of honor because I know it's not self-evident to those around me. As I've prepared for my upcoming surgery, I also have been told how physically healthy I am - remarkably since I'm so overweight. I'm fortunate. I'm also really glad to be having this surgery to try to keep that good health going as long as possible.

7. Blogging. It's such a great release - to be able to jot down my current thoughts, feelings, and goings-on. I love how it helps me stay close to family and friends that I don't see often - a window into their lives. It's a creative outlet and helps me express myself in a different way.

Well, that's all I have time for, I must be heading - I still need to gas up before picking up Mom.

I hope you all have a safe, filling, happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Utah: 48, BYU: 24

Congratulations Utes!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My First Award!

Booklogged has awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award. It's my first blogging award and I'm speechless. (Yeah, right! When has that ever happened?) I'm honored that she thinks my blog is creative, even if she may be a little biased.

Booklogged lives in Utah where she is wife to Candleman, mother to 4 daughters, and grandma to two adorable kids. She's also aunt to some wonderful nieces and nephews! Booklogged reads more books in one month than most people read in their lifetime. She also makes and sells wonderful hats and scarves here. Take a look and if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas - I like the Marionberry scarf. :)

Now along with the award, there's a meme. I have to complete this and forward the award to others. Here goes:

7 things I've done before
1. Gone skinny dipping. Alone - does it still count?
2. Walked down a busy street with my skirt tucked into my unmentionables.
3. Kissed a man on New Year's Eve. Actually, he kissed me, but so what.
4. Graduated from college with a degree in Economics.
5. Got a tattoo.
6. Lived in a foreign country. Canada. Quebec and Ontario to be exact.
7. Gone on a blind date. Just one.

7 things I do now
1. Read
2. Watch ANTM - the finale is tonight!
3. Travel
4. Ride a stationary bike most mornings
5. Cook
6. Go to a movie approx. once a week
7. Blog

7 things I want to do
1. Visit France, Denmark, Spain (and more!)
2. Lose weight
3. Pay off all debt besides my house
4. Learn another foreign language - I haven't picked which
5. Get married
6. Perm my hair - not now, it's too short
7. Get post-graduate degrees in Economics

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
1. Good kissing, hugging, cuddling
2. Laughs a lot and makes me laugh a lot
3. Strength - moral, physical, emotional
4. Intelligence
5. Curiosity
6. A good conversationalist
7. Eyes, hands, smile

7 Favorite Foods
1. Chocolate
2. Chocolate
3. Pasta Carbonara
4. Chicken - lots of preparations
5. Potstickers
6. Steak from Outback Steakhouse
7. Soup from The Garden House

7 things I Say Most Often:
1. Thank you for calling _________, this is Julie.
2. Push this button when you hear the beep.
3. I need to pay for diesel on pump ___.
4. Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight...
5. Heavenly Father...
6. Please put the milk in a bag, I have to carry it up to the 3rd floor.
7. Thank you.

And now the seven people I would like to tag for this award and meme*:
1. Melissa because she has such creative backgrounds and makes such cute crafts.
2. Missy because she is such a great story teller.
3. Cardine because I think her themed Novembers are creative. It's bacon month over there!
4. Cassie because you've gotta see her cakes!
5. Cjane because she inspire me to be more creative.
6. Warnser because I love the Uncharacteristically Nice Word of the Day.
7. Tearese because her drawings and photographs are amazing.

*I really could have picked more, I know a lot of creative people, but I decided to keep with the 7 theme.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reading Railroad

I love reading. I love opening a book and escaping into a different world. I love the smell of books, especially old books. In Fahrenheit 451, one of my favorite books, the old English professor talks about that wonderful book smell, saying they smell like some exotic spice from the Orient. I agree!

Here are some books I've enjoyed recently:

1. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne. Yes, the guy who wrote the Winnie the Pooh books. Did you know he wrote a mystery? Just one. According to the Introduction, he was quite a mystery fan, but he had some pretty strong feelings about what should and should not be included. So, he wrote one to meet those sentiments. It was so popular that his publishers begged for another one but he refused - there was nothing left to say. Then he created the Winnie the Pooh characters and became known as a children's writer. Anyway, it was a delightful book. Booklogged, I especially thought of you when I read this since I know you love Winnie the Pooh and a good mystery. It's witty and the characters are engaging. I'm sure I'll reread it many many times in my life.

2. Emily Post:Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge. I love biographies! History is chock full of interesting stories and this promises to be one of them. I haven't actually finished it, but what I've read so far has been fascinating. I had no idea that she had lived through such a scandal - one that ended her marriage. I hate putting this book down at night to go to bed!

3. Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. They are a fantasy series and I wouldn't recommend them to just anyone. Unlike David Eddings books, this series contains some pretty heavy material. There are 11 books, each over 700 pages, but that's not what I mean by heavy. The subject matter is sometimes dark and overwhelming. At some point in each book, I have to shut the book and breath. Then I have to talk myself into continuing to read because I've become too emotional and stressed out. The characters are amazingly drawn and the hero, Richard, is just about the best hero in any book I've ever read. He's flawed enough to be human but perfect enough to help me trust him when things are looking grim and hopeless. Really, one of my favorite series, just be forewarned that you may experience difficulties. My older brother couldn't finish the first book! I just finished the final book a couple days ago and feel like I really accomplished something. Most importantly, I like how it ended. Whew!

4. Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie. She is definitely the best-represented author on my bookshelves. One of my goals in life is to own all her novels and short story collections. This book contains Hercule Poirot who I adore, though not as much as Miss Marple. For Miss Marple's best work, I'd recommend The Thirteen Problems, a collection of short stories. I don't have a favorite Poirot story. My all-time favorite Christie novel, though, is And Then There Were None. It's creepy, but in a good way. Kind of. I have a recurring nightmare about this book, but I still love it. I couldn't guess who the murderer was! However, if you read this book and love it as much as I do, don't ever see the play. It was horrible. Sarah can attest to the horror I felt when we watched it a few years ago. *shudder*

5. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. Who knew that Oscar Wilde was such an interesting guy? Before I read this book, I looked him up on Wikipedia and discovered that he was quite the colorful, flamboyant guy! Anyway, I love this story. What witty dialogue and fascinating subplots! A quick, fun read.

6. Conagher by Louis L'Amour. I own four of his books, and have read a few others. I've enjoyed every single one. The four I own have been read countless times. This one is probably my favorite because of the title character. He's a real man. The kind of real man that I would like in my life - a hard worker, honest, stubborn, caring, strong, unafraid to get dirty if needed. Like all the books of his I own, this one has a hint of romance. I like it like that, just a hint. Don't want to muddy the story with too much. And, this is a pretty good story.

There have been others, but I think these are fairly representative of the books I like to read. Once I finish the Emily Post bio, I'm going to start another series of 11, though I imagine this series is going to be a lot easier to read - the first book is called The Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery. Someone mentioned on their blog that they read The Key Lime Pie Murder and I was intrigued - a combination of my two loves; food and books! So, I bought the first three in the series and if I like them, which I bet I do, I'll buy all the others. My original plan was to read them while recovering from my surgery, but is it a good idea to read mysteries with such yummy titles after weight loss surgery???

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Must Be Crazy...

...I've created a second blog.

For years I have thought all of you with multiple blogs were nut-o. Now I'm one of you!

It's nothing spectacular, just to warn you. In fact, it has the potential to bore the socks off of you.

Mostly, I'm writing it for me. It's going to be a journal of my life as I prepare for Lap Band surgery and what happens after it. Thrilling stuff, eh?

Anyhoo, if you're interested, feel free to visit here. I've also included the link on my sidebar link list under "Me".

Now, to give credit where credit is due: thanks, Missy. Not only did you inspire me when you created a blog about your weight loss journey, I also borrowed your witty title (not completely, just the idea). Thank you!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Halloween 2008

I definitely enjoy Halloween more as an adult than I did as a kid. Make no mistake, I loved having a lot of candy to eat at will, but I didn't always enjoy the process of getting it. Anyway, Halloween is slowly climbing the ranks of favorite holidays. This year was no exception - I had a really good time.

The holiday started a little early this year. The second weekend of the month, I invited my nephew and niece over to my house for carving pumpkins and a sleepover. This was the first time that they were able to actually carve the pumpkins themselves - I just drew on a design according to their directions. Well...I tried to give them what they wanted, but when my nephew asked me to draw Anakin Skywalker's spaceship, I had to admit to them that I'm not an artist and could only draw basic shapes on their pumpkins. I'm sure I saw a tiny spark of respect for me sputter and die in his eyes. I'm no longer super aunt. Sigh.

B and P carving their pumpkins.
Mine is the one with the cool handle on the far right.

Pumpkin guts. Mmmm. What a great smell!

Mmmm. More pumpkin guts!
P took this picture and was quite proud of it.

The kids after a night of fun with their favorite aunt.
Me, of course!

It was a fun night. We started it out with dinner at McDonald's, by their request. Afterward we picked out pumpkins at the store. When P chose a really large pumpkin I warned him that he'd have to carry it up to my 3rd floor condo. He chose it anyway and carried it up like a trooper. With our jack-o-lanterns created and lighting up my balcony (I forgot to get a picture of the finished products), the kids snuggled up in their sleeping bags for the movie. I gave them popcorn, candy corn, and hot chocolate to snack on during the show (Return of the Jedi). Both of them had barely touched their treats before they were out like a light (asleep). I turned off the movie and read for a few hours (while munching on popcorn and candy corn). It was a good night.

As for Halloween, I dressed up like a witch, very original, eh? What can I say, it's easy, I have all the essential parts for the costume I created, and I feel comfortable wearing it to the office. My hair always drives me crazy because it never looks the part. This year, I chopped it off and braided it the night before so it would be crimped. Add mousse and hairspray and it looked decent.

Yes, it's out of focus - I'm no pro!

After work, I headed to my mom's house and hung out with my family all evening. My sister-in-law and I took P and B around Mom's neighborhood to trick-or-treat. Since she and I were also dressed up, people gave us candy, too! We had nowhere else to put it, so I took off my hat and stored our candy in it. My favorite candy: KitKats. Mmmm.

P and B dressed up as Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka, respectively.

My sis-in-law, Audree, dressed as one of Dracula's
three brides (from Van Helsing).

My new nephew came to town with his mom and dad for the weekend. He was too small to go trick-or-treating, so his mom decided not to dress him up (I agree). However, he still dressed festively.

Little Robbie with Grandma.

I'm pretty good friends with Anakin Skywalker; I've been dating his friend and mentor, Obi-Wan off and on for several years. He couldn't come to the party (he was out fighting bad guys), so Anakin and I took a picture together for Obi-Wan to put in his ship.

Anakin and me

All the people who dressed up:
l to r: Rachel, her mom Rhonda, Audree,
P, me, and B.

Please know that I'm not smiling in this picture - I don't smile like that. It's too small to see that I've got my "witch face" going on.

Now, because I have it and because he's so dang cute - here's another picture of Robbie for you to enjoy. Doesn't he remind you of a little potato bug?

Robbie sleeping. Aaaahhhh.

And, now, the winner of this year's Scariest Mask Award:

My brother, Jason.

It's a good thing my brothers marry such good-looking women so their kids turn out so cute! :)

Monday, November 03, 2008


I enjoy politics as much as the next person, but I'm relieved that tomorrow is Election Day and this whole thing will be over for awhile.

Today, I caught up on reading some back issues of Fortune Small Business (my boss likes me to read it because it gives me good ideas on how to improve our business) and was amazed by the number of references to the presidential election and the sense of urgency about the race that I found in the October 2007 issue! We've been talking about these people for over a year! Good grief.

I'm certain that part of my frustration with this year's presidential race stems from my indecision. Up until today, I had absolutely no clue as to which candidate I would choose. I finally made up my mind, but it's not wholeheartedly done. My vote hangs on the thread of just a couple key issues.

No, I'm not going to tell you for whom I'm going to vote. I cherish my right to anonymous voting.

It'll be interesting to see if "my" candidate actually wins. I've never voted for the winner of a presidential election, and I've voted in all of the past four races (since turning 18). I wonder what that says about me. And about the people for whom I cast a ballot.

I believe in voting. Even if my vote for president has meant little or nothing in the past few years (I'm in a staunch red state and I don't always vote accordingly), there are other races, local races, that are just as important and in which my vote has a better chance of making a difference.

Also, I feel voting gives me the right (if only granted by myself) to complain when I don't like what's going on. That's also one of the benefits of voting for the eventual loser - I can say I'm not responsible for what the guy in office is doing! :)