Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Parent Trap

Tonight Ryan isn't feeling well - it is the sinus infection that has attacked each of us - so he's laying low, Tessa and I are having Chinese (chicken and broccoli for me - low points and boring if I may say so myself) and we're watching The Parent Trap.

Remember it? Hayley Mills - times two - at camp. Lots of shenanigans. Lots of laughter - and Tessa is enjoying it just as much as I did when I was young.

I love having a daughter.


I think it's a bit of an addiction.

This afternoon we spent a few hours tidying up the back yard. Planted three raspberries (bringing us to five total; the other two are out front), a lovely lupine (one of my all time favorite flowers) and a red columbine. I set up the beginnings of a potting bench and stocked it with old pots, cleaned up leaves, pulled weeds out of the grass, filled in a hole Shep and friend had dug and reseeded the grass...

A whole bunch of nothin' important, in other words. But it feels SO good to be outside, to get my hands in the dirt, to add to the compost, to grow things....

Friday, April 03, 2009

Home from the cabin

A lovely time with Katie, Jessie and Emma.

I counted WW points the whole time, managed some treats (Katie's home made scones and a glass of wine) and didn't go over. Very nice.

My pants still don't fit and I still feel fat - different than looking fat, but I *feel* fat in the way my body wears my clothes and feels lethargic - but I am on plan. Change will happen!

Now we're waiting for Ryan to arrive, hopefully in the next hour. We've missed him this week, and it will be great to have our little family back at home together.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Only a little bit evil

Sometimes, I get very invasive questions about why I only have one child and aren't I going to give her a brother or sister etc.

I always start with the polite answer, "We're very happy with the size of our family, and couldn't ask for more. We're content."

But if people keep asking, I can't resist adding "Well, I had to have my ovaries and uterus removed because of my cancer treatment so I can't have more children."

That usually ends the conversation.

It's a little bit evil but I can't stop myself. We only wanted one to begin with, but if someone is going to go on and on and on, well, this does tend to end the conversation.

A new day

I emailed my boss to postpone our next meeting about the book. I'm annoyed that I had to do so, but I just haven't been able to accomplish as much as I had hoped.


Tessa and I will be heading up to Crystal Mountain with friends tomorrow morning for a quick trip, and I can't wait. We won't ski, but we'll play in the snow, sled, and have a great time. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

And planning meals. Yes, this is a part of WW that I must adjust to. I need to plan for success, and if I'm not careful then I'll play in the snow for a few hours, work up a huge appetite, and then go inside and consume mammoth quantities of chips, salsa, and sour cream. Ack! But no, I won't do it. Instead, I'll go to the store today, and I'll pick up some more fruit, and I'll make some little snack containers. Today I think I'll make hummus - with carrots, I find it a near perfect snack. I also volunteered to make dinner, and received a request for tacos. No problem - I can do that! I will use whole grain tortillas (though I'll bring the "regular" kind too), I'll skip the cheese, and I'll go heavy on the veggies. I'll bring fresh lime juice to garnish mine, even as others pile on the cheese and sour cream.

I can do this. (And really, I'm telling myself that, not you, gentle reader.)

Today I woke up to weather that was nearly snowing; cold sleet was falling. Brrr. However, it seems to have stopped now, so I think it's time to get Shep some exercise. I will bundle up!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Had to look it up, and do the same game but just for Shakespeare:

Main article: Shakespearean comedy
All's Well That Ends Well‡ X
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Love's Labour's Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice X
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night's Dream X
Much Ado About Nothing X
Pericles, Prince of Tyre*†[d]
The Taming of the Shrew X
The Tempest* X
Twelfth Night, or What You Will X
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Two Noble Kinsmen*†[e]
The Winter's Tale*
Main article: Shakespearean history
King John
Richard II X
Henry IV, part 1 X
Henry IV, part 2 X
Henry V X
Henry VI, part 1[f]
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Richard III
Henry VIII[g]
Main article: Shakespearean tragedy
Romeo and Juliet X
Titus Andronicus[h]
Timon of Athens[i]
Julius Caesar X
Macbeth[j] X
Hamlet X
Troilus and Cressida‡ X
King Lear
Othello X
Antony and Cleopatra
Shakespeare's Sonnets X
Venus and Adonis
The Rape of Lucrece
The Passionate Pilgrim[k]
The Phoenix and the Turtle
A Lover's Complaint
Lost plays
Love's Labour's Won

Only 18 or so. So I lied, unintentionally. Not even half! Well, that's something to look forward to. I hope to read them all....with the notable exception of the histories. Don't enjoy them in the slightest. The only reason I read what I have of the histories is brilliant college professors forced me. (Thank you, Prof. Webster.)

The definition of procrastination

According to the BBC, most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you love.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
5) Put in a note with your total in the subject

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X +
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X +
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X (okay I didn't finish the series)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X+
6 The Bible - X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X +
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X (NOT the role model for Tessa!)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X + (but admittedly read MOST not ALL) *
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot X
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell *
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams *
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky X
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X+
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma - Jane Austen X +
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X +
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X +
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving *
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X +
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy X
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X +
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert *
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons *
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X +
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon X
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon X +
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy X
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding (saw the movie, don't htink that counts)
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie *
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X (I'm counting it even though I didn't finish it!!!)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X +
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson *
75 Ulysses - James Joyce X
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt X
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro *
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X +
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad *
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint Exupery *
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (saw the musical...!)
If I can count Xs, I've read 59 of the above. What about you?

Writer's Block


Butt glue. Must find butt glue.

Monkey mind

I've got major monkey mind. (A Buddhist expression, if I recall correctly. When meditating, it refers to the inability to be still and think on a single subject or mantra, and to have one's mind scattered and picking up on every little idea that pops in.) When I read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, I laughed out loud for a few minutes, giggling, as I read her own descriptor of monkey mind, and thought "That's it! That's me!" (She tries to imagine a placid lake, but ends up being annoyed by the jetskis on her imaginary lake.....but read the book, because it's so much more than that.)

Anyway, today I have several objectives:

1) Write book. Research, write, organize.

2) Stay on track for WW.

3) Enjoy the solitude of my house.

Nowhere on that list does it say "do laundry" (one load is in the wash, another in the dryer), or "write blog post" or "surf web" but that is what I've been doing. Oh dear.

Time to get this monkey mind on track. C'mere, little monkey. I won't hurt you. Come here.....let me pet you go. I'll take care of you. You can do this....

PS I am actually excited about WW. Excited! Susan and Carolyn and I are having a mutual 40th birthday celebration at the end of May and I'm imagining how I will look then, two months from now. And I'm going to look good. And this summer? I will be the girl in shorts and a bikini top, building sand castles with Tessa. But most of all? I will be the girl who fits her own clothes!!!! I am so tired of the one pair of "fat jeans" that I'm wearing every day, or of the major muffin top created by my too-small-clothes. Today, I'm on track and lovin' it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weight Watchers, Day I

I haven't signed up for meetings yet (still researching that pesky money issue), but I've started back on Weight Watchers.

I learned that my most favorite breakfast is 5 points. (2 points worth of oatmeal, one of plain nonfat yogurt, 1 of berries, and 1 of maple syrup, which isn't so healthy but makes the rest taste so good, and 0 for coffee in quantity.) I learned that the fish tacos that I enjoy are 7 points. I learned that in mid-afternoon everything is a danger zone because I wanted pastries and more. (I got a banana instead, 2 points.)

And I had to laugh at the food messages surrounding me. Right before I ate the banana, as I left PCC, the car was facing the McDonald's across the street. I don't like McDonalds - it doesn't speak to my values - but suddenly I thought "mmmm cheeseburger." No no no! The banana came straight out of the bag of groceries at that point....phew, saved.

And I was listening to short stories on the iPod (PRI "Selected Shorts" - check it out) and one talked about glazed donuts and the other talked about coconut macaroons that were small and golden and had toasted almonds on the top.....

Thank goodness I gave away all of the tea party leftovers (except the chicken sandwich filling, which despite a small amount of mayonnaise is really yummy and healthy) or I would have come home and devoured them.

Victory, one (not eaten) baked good at a time.

And on another note....
Tessa is at Grammy & Grandpa's so that I can work on the book. Today (I just got home, so it's really this evening) I will whip the house into shape so that I can concentrate on my writing; I just don't do a good job working when things are cluttered.

And Tessa was so excited to see Grammy and Grandpa, and to go swimming, and to eat Grandpa's whipped cream (he sprays it on her finger and lets her lick it off - yuck! and she loves it), and to have Grammy take her to riding lessons, and to perhaps see her cousins. I am grateful for this extended family of mine.

And the entire house to myself, with just Shep and Mo for company. Wow that's a trip!

Now, off to get busy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Time to make a commitment

My pants don't fit.

My lovely 6, 6, 1, 1 plan isn't working.

I think it's time to go back to Weight Watchers. It works for a reason.

Now, I just need to cough up some cash. Cough, cough - hmmm, nothing. I'll look elsewhere.

But seriously, I really need to do something about this, and NOW.

I think I'm ready to recommit.


I spent the evening with Family Promise. The recipients of Family Promise's help are some lovely, lovely families, and they are deserving of our thoughts, prayers, assistance, and care. Deeply deserving, actually.

I came home filled with gratitude for my life. I am grateful, in no particular order, for the following:

1) My home. It is my haven, my refuge, my sanctuary, my shelter.

2) My extended family. With their combined resources, I think I will never be homeless.

3) My education. Should I become homeless, I have many avenues to work.

4) My healthcare and health insurance. These families have experienced suffering that makes me ache and makes some of my problems look so small.

5) The peacefulness of American soil. I know, it's so far from perfect, and there is so much pain. But I do not know what a bomb sounds like except from TV. I have never held a gun. I have never experienced war. And for these things, I'm extraordinarily grateful.

There are so many more things, big and small, on my gratitude list, but these are the top. And tonight I go to bed more grateful than when I started this day, that is for certain.

Favorite Bible Verse

Today at church I got a favorite Bible verse.

Luke 6:36 (spoken by Jesus): Be compassionate as God is compassionate.

I looked it up in Ryan's "Revised standard version" and it uses the word "merciful" in place of "compassionate;" and I looked it up in Ryan's"The New English Bible" and it said "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate;" and I looked it up in my old "Good News for Modern Man" Bible and it said, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." "The Way" says, "Try to show as much compassion as your Father does." The NIV version says "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" with a footnote that says "God's perfection should be our example and goal."

(Yes, we identify as UUs. But UUs have many sources of wisdom, including "Jewish and Christian teachings." Ryan and I each have the Bibles of our a few more. They sit on a shelf in "Grandpa's bookcase" in the middle of our home, next to writings by the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Thoreau, Emerson, and a handful of poets including Mary Oliver, Blake, Wordsworth, and Kahlil Gibran, as well as other spiritual writings. )

For a woman who loves language, the differences in the different Bibles are fascinating, for mercy and compassion mean slightly different things with important distinctions.

Still, the version that strikes me is the simple, "Be compassionate as God is compassionate." To me, it's an excellent summary of all that is best about Christianity, and it resonated deeply with me.

I attended the Dalai Lama Seeds of Compassion event about a year ago, and I am truly trying to bring compassion into my life. I'm grateful to have another verse to meditate with.