Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NYE

It's that time again. The eve of the New Year...which means I will be reviewing my 2008 goals and putting together the official outline for my 2009 goals. I've been thinking quite a bit about my 2009 goals over the past few months, so I definitely have a solid foundation going into the whole process. Some of my goals in 2008 were achieved, some were not. I had some pretty challenging curveballs thrown in my direction this year, and I feel I definitely dealt with them successfully without detriment to my self, my relationships, my recovery, and my work.

Being able to successfully deal is an overall improvement from my past actions and behaviors. I would not have been able to deal had I not learned how to ask for help when I needed it through therapy and the amazing support system I have in place with family, friends, and doctors. I've always had some support beams in place, but I never really took advantage of them before, and through the completely life-changing experiences I went through and survived in 2007, I have learned I cannot do everything alone.

It took time for me to come to terms with opening myself up to others and actually being proactive in my recovery versus my typical modus of paying lip service and acting as though everything was a-okay. Life has been pretty darn amazing since I have opened myself up to really living, and I'm so happy I am still around. I want everyone who has been there for me to know how much they mean to me. I wouldn't be where I am at emotionally, spriritually, mentally, professionally, and even physically without you.

On to 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Book of Face

I almost signed up for Facebook today. I have been resistant to do so for the past year or two, but now with various friends repeatedly asking me to succumb to the trend, I am/was tempted. I just don't know if I can do it, though. After opening an account on myspace four years ago, proceeding to get somewhat addicted to it, gaining a few stalkers (no thanks to my derby days), then deleting that account only to open a new one later and having to rebuild only makes me that much more hesitant.

Now with my new(er) myspace, I have a more manageable grouping of friends and contacts, and I am hesitant to open a facebook account because of the time I know I will end up spending and wanting to spend on it reconnecting with people, nosing around, building up my network, and possibly feeding my dormant addiction to time sucking vortices. But since a few of my best people have completely abandoned myspace, and even though there is email and this here blog, I feel a little sad not having them there on my friendlies and also not having the ability to hop onto their pages and see what's the haps in their worlds somewhat instantaneously.

So I almost signed up today. But I didn't. Still.

To facebook or not to facebook? Should I do it? Should I not do it?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Judd Apatow - You Are On Notice

While J was on vacation last week, we kind of went on a movie-watching bender. Gosh, I love netflix...but to my point. One of the movies we watched was Stepbrothers. I do not recommend this film to anyone. Not ever. Judd Apatow - you are officially on notice. Stepbrothers was not funny. It was farFARfar from funny. In fact, the only recent movie of Apatow's I've seen and after it ended, thought to myself, "Hmm...that was pretty good," was Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and even FSM wasn't as great as anticipated.

Judd Apatow, I am so OVER you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

32 Weeks

Seven months down, two to go. I officially made it to the eight month mark yesterday! So what's been going on with me and the babe?

Since my last post regarding the progress of the pregnancy, I have grown to gargantuan proportions. I kid you not. I've started referring to myself as the "weeble with the backside lopped off." I'm relatively flat in the back and all sorts of three-dimensional curves up front. I guess you could say I also look kind of like a well-decorated gingerbread man. Weeble or gingerbread man, either way, I'm large and in charge. As I have been growing rapidly, driving the car has slowly started becoming more and more uncomfoftable, and I am beginning to fear that I only have a couple more weeks where I will actually be able to drive somewhat comfortably. That could be bad news for my other half. Bad, bad news.

I've been going to the doctor every two weeks for the past month and will continue on that schedule for the duration of my pregnancy, unless it gets upped to once a week as the big day looms ever closer. The past few appointments have remained on the up and up, which has been good for my peace of mind. The baby is growing normally, her heart rate is strong, she's still moving around like the athlete I know she will probably end up being (Do I see us running races together in the future??? Perhaps, perhaps.), she is still facing in the downward position so I'm still hopeful I won't have to have a c-section, my weight gain is on par, and my blood pressure still remains very low.

Around week 30, I started getting the NOTSO comfortable Braxton Hocks contractions. Practice for the future, I know, I know. And while they are manageable, I have to say they are undesirable. Dizzy spells, which my OB said was likely due to low-blood sugar and is now being combatted with more proteins in my diet, and a re-emergence of some morning sickness has also been prevalent in my life since my last preggers post.

I crave pancakes, eggs benedict, and apples non-stop. At least with those cravings, I'm covering almost all the major food groups. I haven't had really intense cravings like the aforementioned ones throughout my pregnancy. Sure, I had my days where all I wanted was Mexican food, or maybe a bag of Lay's original potato chips, but nothing like my intense desire for the pancakes, eggs. and apples. To start with, I've probably eaten somewhere between 20-30 pounds of apples in the past month. and then there's my whole thing with the breakfast food. I'm insatiable. Poor John. We've gone out to eat more than usual the past two weeks largely due to my lack of energy to do the grocery shopping (which is usually my favorite household duty), and I've dragged him to the IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Eat 'n' Park, and Yours Truly - all in the name of pancakes and eggs benedict. And then yesterday, J was off work (vacation for the next week!!!) so we were finally going to the grocery store together and of course I requested we go have lunch at the Waffle House for their delicious awfulwaffles. I kind of feel bad for the guy. Too many pancakes!!!

I'm still doing the supernesting routine, although my speed and vigor which I had previously has decreased since I tire much more easily now. The baby's furniture is all put together and situated in her room, and I finally found the perfect curtains for the baby's room - white shabby chic ones that complement the room's color and style quite nicely. There are still a bunch of things we need to purchase, prepare for, and get done, but I'm going to hold off until after the mysterious, surprising baby shower my little sister is throwing me in January. I wasn't planning on having a shower nor did I expect any of my sisters to throw me one, but she's insisting - and I have to say, it makes me feel loved and less like the family's misfit toy. And that, my friends, is a whole different story for another day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Almost Thirty-One Years Old

My birthday is on Sunday. I will be the big 3-1. Blame it on the joys of Pregnant Brain, holiday shopping that still needs to get finished, or just plain baby excitement coupled with anxiety, but I keep forgetting that the old birthday is coming up...now in just 3 days...or 4 depending on how you look at it. I've been reminded by several people over the past few days, so I guess it's on my brain.

I don't think John and I are doing anything special to celebrate because he is going to West Virginia to help his mom with a sale we had committed to helping her with a couple months back. I initially planned to go on this trip, but with how wacky my hormones have been and my propensity to be overly sensitive over the past few (several?) weeks, we think it's probably not in my (and our) best interest for me to go. So I'm thinking I'll take the weekend to finish my holiday shopping, maybe pick up some more things for the baby and her room, finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and sleep late since my body has been requiring more and more of the Zzzs.

As for a little celebration, I'll probably get myself a piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, too. I've had an insane craving/obsession for Key Lime Pie lately, and since it is very difficult to find up here in these parts, the Key Lime cheesecake will probably have to suffice unless I bone up and decide to make myself a pie. Which isn't totally out of the question.

And while I am on the subject of food, I found these sweet little Jessie Steele aprons this week. I think I might have to splurge and get myself the Blue Polka Floral and/or the Brown with Pink Polka Dots apron - seeing as how I manage to get my clothes dirty almost every time I cook or bake something. I've never had an apron before, but since I've been in nesting overdrive, I am starting to see the importance of having a good apron in order to cover up and protect my clothes. I swear I've cooked and baked more over the past month and half than I have over the past year. Now THAT'S insane.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Books Read - November 2008

Holly Chamberlin, Babyland
Alicia Erian, Towelhead
Katie Estill, Dahlia's Gone
Thomas Harris, Hannibal Rising
Chuck Klosterman, Downtown Owl
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Joe McGinniss, Jr., The Delivery Man
Jennifer McMahon, Island of Lost Girls
Stephenie Meyer, Twilight
Francine Prose, Goldengrove
Scott Smith, The Ruins
Stephen J. Spignesi, The Lost Work of Stephen King: A Guide to Unpublished Manuscripts, Story Fragments, Alternative Versions and Oddities

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Family Wagon

Say hello to our new car. The official first family car. John purchased the 2009 Jetta TDI Sport Wagon last week. Let me be the first to say, it is about time. His raise, which was technically effective as of this past July, was for a new, fully functional car; and since J had been driving my old college Crapalier after selling his Jeep, a second new car has been a long-time coming. After much research, J opted for the VW, and I am happy he finally made a decision and purchase. I haven't driven it yet, but I'm hoping to do so while he's away in Argentina in a couple weeks. I have much to say about this unexpected trip and some obstacles we've had to face over the past couple weeks, but with my anxiety in overdrive, it's too upsetting and fresh for me to blog about at this time. Sooo, best to keep my mouth clamped shut on the topic for now. And now I'm trying to focus on something positive, like the new car. I think it's a good car for a couple with a new babe on the way.

*Edit***721PM* I just found out that J does not have to go to Argentina now, so that alleviates much of the anxiety overdrive. Hooray for prayer and the power of positive thinking!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dummies

Two nights ago I dreamed I fell from the sky. Crashing down, knocking the breathwindlife out of me.

Last night I dreamed there were shooting stars falling from my bedroom ceiling.

And over the past week during my waking life, a Charlie McCarthy doll keeps popping up in my peripheral vision. A mocking smile plastered to his face. A few times a day. He's not really there. I haven't seen this doll since I was a child.

I don't know what, if anything, this all means.

But I do know these dummy visions need to go.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twilight

I picked up the first Twilight book last weekend. J had to work at the colo down in Pittsburgh, so I knew I was going to be sitting on my butt during those hours, and since I have come to realize that when J says something will take a couple hours it really means several hours, I desperately needed something to occupy my time other than my favorite crosswords and anagrams game on my trusty DS. Hence the purchase. I've been wanting to know what all the hype's about, so why not buy the book on the cheap at the Bal-Mart while we were picking up routers and other mysterious computer hardware?

So I started reading Twilight at the colo, couldn't get into it, quit trying to force it and let the book sit until this week. I'm about 200 pages into it, and to be honest, I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It's not root canal horrible and it's not ohmygoodness I need to read this in one sitting wonderful either. As a fan of YA fiction, I'm just not sure where I stand with Twilight.

I'll finish it whether or not it is as nearly kickarse as everyone seems to think, and I'll probably read at least one more book in the series to see if there is an ongoing theme of "take it or leave it," but as of right now the book hasn't sucked me in in much the same way as say the His Dark Materials Trilogy, Harry Potter, or even, oh yes, I'm going there - the horribly awful, can't help yourself from finishing once you started reading Gossip Girl books.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

26.5 Weeks

Ohhh baby. You tire me out.

Who knew that I would be so exhausted at this point in my pregnancy? My nutritional intake during the pregnancy has been above average simply because it has to be, but growing Little Miss Flash is possibly one of the most tiring things I've ever done in my life. Even more tiring than running a marathon or playing in a bout where I was skating 75% of the time. I've heard that many women get oodles of energy during their second and third trimesters. Apparently the energy surge is not for me. And I know I am in for even more tiring days and nights once the babe gets here...why couldn't I luck out with the mystery energy surge?

I had another doctor's appointment and the dreaded glucola diabetes testing last Wednesday. During the doctor's appointment, all signs pointed to the positive, as seems to be the ongoing case. The Flash's heart rate is smack dab in the middle of the healthy range, my blood pressure is low, and my weight gain is normal. Once again the baby just had to prove her movement faculties to her eager audience, and it took a little bit of time to get the heart rate, but as I said before, it was good. The Flash is positioned normally, and from what my doctor told me, I should be able to deliver through my hooha versus c-section. (Yes, I know you all wanted to know that. ;)) And it turns out I don't have the beetis, so I don't need to worry about any complications that could have arisen from that, which is a relief.

Over the past month or so, the baby's movements have increased. My stomach visibly moves now and it's as though I have a vibrating belly for several hours a day. Interestingly, the Flash can sense when you are touching her through my abdomen and once she does, she ceases movement in an area and will either move on to somewhere else or stay put until you remove your hand. She also seems to increase her movements when I am listening to Debussy and Mozart, so I've added those artists to my baby music loop. We still don't have a name solidified yet, so the baby is still referred to as The Flash or The baby. I do have a full name I am quite fond of, but J isn't its number one fan. I might have him convinced soon enough, I don't know though. What I do know is that no one in my family ever told me it would be this difficult to make a joint decision on baby names. Or maybe none of my sisters ever tried to make it a joint decision...harumph.

J and I made it to Morgantown and Pittsburgh last weekend. We had a good visit with his mom, then turned northward and ended up purchasing a good amount of the baby and office furniture, as well as some kitchen and living essentials. And this past weekend, J finished the finished area in the basement and the final coat of paint in the baby's room, so I'm finally starting to feel more like we are actually moving forward with the house changes versus the stagnation I was sensing before. We still have a ton of things to do, but getting the initial legwork out of the way makes everything else seem just a little bit more manageable.

But then on the flipside of the manageability, I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed with everything I still need to do. And with the holidays coming, my anxiety is increasing tenfold. I went and started registering for baby stuff on Sunday, and I literally wanted to run out of the store screaming after about an hour and a half. Prior to registering I thought J and I had a good leg up on our purchases of the things we will need, but while going through the store with my scanner gun, I had a rude awakening - we are so not as prepared as I thought we were. I have three months to get it together, and since Sunday, I've been trying to use my wisemind and breathe and take things one step at a time, but it is certainly a challenge. I know we will manage and get through this last trimester successfully, it just seems I haven't been able to get a handle on my anxiety the past few days. Hopefully the anxiety will dissipate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sensitivo

I think my emotional hormones have finally kicked in to some serious wackedness. I've been overly sensitive the past couple weeks...and that's putting it lightly. And the real kicker of it all is that I recognize when I'm being completely wacked, but just can't seem to help myself from proceeding down that trail.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Books Read - October 2008

Guess what? I read ZERO books during the month of September. ZERO. I read bits and pieces of What to Expect When You're Expecting and the Mayo Clinic's Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby's First Year, but that's to be expected. For some reason, I did not do any reading for pleasure. Hmm.

I did pick up my snail pace a bit in October, even if most of it could be construed as "mindless but enjoyable" reading. Whatever gets you through, right?

Andre Dubus III, The Cage Keeper
Terri Gerritson, The Keepsake
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics
Lowis Lowry, The Giver
James Patterson, 3rd Degree
James Patterson, 4th of July
James Patterson, The 5th Horseman

The winner of the month was Freakonomics. It took me about 75 pages to really get into it, but once I did get into it, I plowed through it. The book's pace was quick, the writing was smart, and the insights were ones I never really considered/correlated before, so it kept my interest. Freakonomics is definitely worth a read.

Runner-up of the month was The Keepsake. My awesome mom got me this book for some reason and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would - especially because I think it's a book that is/was part of an ongoing series I of which I am not familiar. It was the first book I read this month and it got me motivated to start reading for pleasure again. Thanks mom!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Fluness

I have just survived a three day, knock down, drag out boxing match with the Fluness. I haven't had the flu in years and had forgotten how horribly awful it is. Of course I got the flu over the weekend J and I had planned to do much of the baby furniture shopping, so it's postponed to this weekend. Hopefully I'll be up to it. I'm still feeling like a pile of blurgh and the weekend is only a few days away.

Blurgh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Names, Names, Names

If y'all have any ideas for baby girl names, I'm open to suggestions. J and I agree on two names as of right now, but I'm not sure if either of them are THE name. You know?

I'm still getting used to the fact that I am having a girl. Even with my old home office no longer my beloved granny smith apple shade of green, repainted to a brilliant color called "cheery" (read a bright reddishorangepink), and slowly morphing into nursery status, I still have a bit of a hard time registering it.

A girl. There is a little girl growing inside of me. Soooo amazingly strange. J has taken to calling me out every time I refer to the baby as "it," and/or The Flash. But The Flash is sooo catchy. I've threated to use that moniker as the middle name, but I don't think J sees the humor in it. At least not like I do.

I wish we could agree on a name. Maybe if we had one, I could stop thinking of this little girl as The Flash, and by her name instead. So help a sister out if you can.

Suggestions?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Phew!

I finally got my updated voter registration information a few days ago. Phew! At the end of August I realized I needed to update my current address in order to vote in the election this year. With the state of chaos my life was in last year, the address change wasn't a major priority to me, but with an election coming up, I realized I needed to get my change in stat. In Ohio (I'm not sure about other states) you can't change this information online - you have to physically go to the board, send your form to the board via USPS, or physically go to a deputy registrar to take care of the change(s).

Since I didn't want the form to get lost in the mail, I opted to drop off the form at one of the deputy registrar's offices a few miles away from my house. When I got there, the lady working behind the counter seemed a bit surprised that I was dropping my form off at the office and proceeded to inform me that she wasn't quite sure what to do with my address change form. Really?! I would think that if you are employed at the deputy registrar's office you would be aware of what your job entails, and be even more aware of the voter changes that would be coming in with an election only two and a half months away. But then again, knowing how BMVs can sometimes be mysterious mazes of contradicting information, maybe not. I then asked her to get someone who knew what to do with the form, so I knew it would be appropriately taken care of before the election. The lady behind the counter was quite apologetic and congenial, got the other person working there (thankfully who knew what to do, unless I was being paid lip service), and as far as I knew, the situation was taken care of - I should be getting my updated registration in the mail within 2 weeks.

Two weeks pass and no registration. Three weeks. Four. Five. Six...I finally got confirmation that the changes were updated and approved on Monday of this week. I'm thankful I received my updated card from the county board of elections, but I can't help but wonder if it takes this long for everyone to receive their updated information. And if it does this long, how do the people who get their changes in by the 30 day before the deadline know where to go to vote besides downtown to the board of elections? Is their information updated in time to reflect the necessary changes to allow them to vote, or does it literally take several weeks for changes to be reflected?

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but having to wait so long to find out my voter status was causing me a fair amount of anxiety and I wonder if anyone else in this city has felt that way, too. I know you can call the county board to inquire about your status, but it's not always easy to retrieve that information once you start having to go through a tray of automated options and being put on hold for long lengths of time, getting mysteriously cut off, etc. I guess maybe I would just like information to be more readily available to people who need it. I don't remember it taking this long or being this difficult in any other state I've lived in since I was 18, so it just makes me wonder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crunching The Credit

Ever since we found out I was expecting Little Miss Flash, J and I have started working aggressively towards getting ourselves out of debt. For me, this has meant paying off the 3 credit cards in my possession as well as getting my student loan debt in order. As of the end of September, I officially paid off 2 cards in full and am working to get that 3rd paid off before the baby gets here. As far as the student loans go, J has been awesome and is helping me with finding out if I can refinance or get a better payment plan going. So all that has been going on with the aforementioned is a definite positive for us. Less debt = more money saved. Pretty simple when you think about it, but I guess neither of us ever really considered being as aggressive about paying off our revolving balances until we found out about the Flash.

Major life changes, I'm telling you.

When there is a positive, there is often a negative...so to the negative. On Sunday night, J and I were were working and I decided I needed a break. While taking my 15 minute breather, I decided to check on the last credit card I need to pay off. I've been autopaying about 2.5x the minimum balance for the past 4 months, so I hadn't been really monitoring the card seeing as how I haven't used this particular one for several months. If I'm not using the card, there shouldn't be a potential for any transactions, so while I was paying off the other 2 cards, I left the monitoring of this one alone. I shouldn't have.

Apparently someone stole my card or my card number and has been charging pornography to my card since July. When I first pulled up my account summary, I was dumbfounded. My progress was going NOWHERE. Why wasn't my balance going down more than it was - seeing as how I have been paying a good amount over the minimum?

I started examining my statements and discovered mysterious transactions. Not the disgustingly high finance charge. But actual transactions. Transactions with receipt numbers. Transactions that listed the website(s) where said transactions were made. All of these were for pornography. Porn. I don't do porn. And if I were to be all about the porn, I certainly wouldn't purchase it online. Have I mentioned that haven't used this card since last fall? I haven't swiped it since I decided to stop using it until I got my balance down to a more manageable status? And no, J didn't use the card for the porn either.

Whatever happened to the fraud department calling me and asking me about these charges? Mysterious porn charges. The card has been inactive for several months, and then suddenly decent sums of money are being spent on porn. You would think the fraud department would call and inquire. Nope. No dice. Apparently they don't have the time to call people who have more than a 50% balance on their cards, stop making purchases on their card for several months in order to try to pay it down, and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum. I've always been a more than minimum payment maker, just not as high as the past few months.

Long story short. I spent almost 3 hours on the phone with the fraud department on Sunday night. Got my account credited to where it should be. Cancelled the card and am being issued a new one.

I figure there are some scenarios of how this may have happened: someone surreptitiously took the card out of my bag, wrote the numbers down and then started using it; someone went through my garbage and pieced together an old statement I accidentally threw away without shredding; someone somehow got the number by hacking into my secure account and the firewall I have set up on my computer is junk...but then this couldn't really be the case since my other two cards are fine; this credit card company was the victim of some sort of hacker themselves; or something may have happened when i was out of the country in april/may.

What do I think happened? I simply do not know. Which makes me feel completely gross.

What I do know is that I will definitely be checking EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT I RECEIVE MOVING FORWARD. I can't believe something like this happened to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Miscellany

-- I had another appointment with my doctor last week, and again, everything was normal. My next appointment is during the first week of November. I'll be getting the dreaded diabetes test then. MMMmmm...glucola. I only dread the test because I can't stand supersugary things that leave a nasty residue in my mouth, but mostly because of the fact that I will have more blood drawn then. Mere thoughts of veins, needles, and blood makes me lightheaded, so just imagine how it is when blood is actually taken. I'm just hoping to not pass out from the combination of my low blood pressure and anxiety about bloodwork...it's been known to happen. You would think I would be okay with bloodwork and all that comes with it by this point in my life, considering how many stays I've had in hospitals, but I'm not. Well, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

-- The horrorfest was a pretty good time, although I was displeased with the fact that you weren't allowed to have food or drinks in the theatre. The horrorfest changed venues to the restored Warner Theatre this year, and apparently you aren't allowed to have any noshies in there. Zero. Zilch. Nothing. No popcorn. No licorice. No soda pop. Not even water. Being a pregnant waterfiend, I was displeased. On the positive tip, I did get to see some interesting long and short films, spend time with a couple of my sisters and a nephew, and I got to meet some new people.

-- While I was away in Erie, J altered the cleaning and painting plans a bit. He ended up priming and painting the baby room, and priming about half of the basement room. While it wasn't everything he intended to get done, it was a good chunk. This weekend we ideally be finishing the cleanout of the basement room, moving the office furniture from the baby room to the basement, and possibly getting 2/3 of the painting done down there. It seems like somewhat of a lofty goal considering we both have work to do this weekend, but I am hopeful we can get a chunk of the HI stuff done.

-- Next weekend we are taking a trip south to West Virginia to visit J's mom. On the way back we are stopping off at the IKEA in Pittsburgh to purchase essentials for the baby room and other items for the changes we are making. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't overwhelmed with all of this. I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't excited though, too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eerie Horror Film Festival

I'm being kicked out of the house over the weekend so that, in theory, J can prime and maybe paint the basement bonus room, move the heavy office furniture downstairs, and more or less make that space functional.

What am I going to do? Leave ClevelandOH on Thursday, head to EriePA, and watch scary movies with sisters Kat and Becky, and my nephew, Jacob.

How thrilled am I?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Should Set Up Camp At The Home Depot

This weekend marked the beginning of major interior house changes J and I will be making over the next year plus. Since it has been decided we will be staying in Cleveland for at least the next 4-5 years (unless a South America move for all of us becomes a reality), we are finally going to invest the buckage into the house to modernize, increase longer-term value, and generally make it more of our own vs. investing minimal money to make minor changes in order to sell the house. I will be taking pictures along the way.

The master list of home improvement projects includes five relatively large undertakings:

1. (Re)finish the half-finished basement bonus room. Make functional for home office and family/play room
2. Baby Room. Painting, furniture, organization.
3. Living room. Reposition room for traffic flow, install new lighting, paint, move and reinstall home theatre system. We need a new couch since our current one is way too large for the space, but I know the new couch dream won't likely happen for at least a year.
4. Demo and gutting of the upstairs. Build a master suite and one additional upstairs bedroom vs. the two strangely small walk-in closet sized "bedrooms" and master.
5. Demo of the kitchen. Install a modern, functional kitchen space.

This weekend we purchased a new flat screen television and started cleaning out the bonus room in the basement. J and our friend Chris moved the old 60 inch projection tv that was in the living room down to the basement since I'm unable to do heavy lifting, then unloaded the new tv, and put it together in a temporary, makeshift set-up since J and I will be getting the living room completed within the next month.

We have a pretty hefty undertaking ahead of us, but I'm thrilled to be doing it. I suppose since finding out I was pregnant, I've become more mindful of the home I want for my family instead of my typical modus operandi: the highly nomadic, bachelor(ette)-pad-minded Karoline. Does that make sense? And while Cleveland, OH isn't my ideal location to live, I do want a livable, comforting, secure, warm environment for the baby.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's A Girl


i am spawning a girl
Originally uploaded by thesynesthetic

That's right, people! On Friday, September 26, I found out I am having a girl who will be joining the world in February 2009. According to the doctor everything looked good, and we received a dvd of the ultrasound as well as these loverly 3D pictures you see here on the side of this post. The baby was again veeery active and moving around during the majority of the appointment and is still moving around like an Olympic gymnast on a daily basis.

I have been slowly gaining girth and a more rotund stomach with no extra thanks to the baby's latest obsession with Amy Joy Doughnuts and ongoing penchant for Mexican food, but as long as I am remaining active and positive, I'm really not obsessing about my size too much. I posted a couple 20 week Karoline Is Spawning Baby pictures on my flickr account, so you can see what I'm talking about.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slacker Uprising

As I think it is important to be aware of what is said, written, filmed, drawn, and any other form of artistic rendering from left- and right-wing political commentarists out there, I'm excited about this: Slacker Uprising. Tomorrow, or tonight at midnight depending on how you look at it, Michael Moore will be releasing his film on his 62 city tour leading up to the 2004 election for free to the masses.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'll Miss You, DFW

I don't know what rock I've been living under for the past week, but today I found out that one of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, committed suicide on September 12.

Introduced to his work during my first year of undergrad in Arizona through a conversation I had with one of my TAs, I didn't give much thought to Wallace's writing until a year after this conversation even though I did read one of DFWs books before then. It all started one day while my TA and I were going through one of my essays which was going to be entered into the freshman composition publication contest for the following year's textbooks, and my teacher made mention of how he had noticed my writing style more or less rejected typical norms (whatever that meant...I think he was just trying impress me) and my thought process adhered to a more post-modernistic perspective - much like David Foster Wallace. Who was Wallace? Why had I not heard of this author before? Post-modernistic? Really?

I come to find out that David Foster Wallace was a UA alum. Small world, eh? And while I kind of disagreed with my TA about my personal style of writing, I thought I should read some of DFWs work, so I picked up The Broom of the System and read it over the course of a couple days. I thought it was good, but I had no deep thoughts regarding the essays. At the time I was a nineteen year old who, in her free time, was more concerned with caloric intake and how to burn off mysterious fat that wasn't really there, so my deeper thoughts were mostly limited to the several credit hours I was taking combined with my psychotic exercise regimen.

Fast forward to late fall 1997, sophomore year. I was unwillingly pushed into recovery for the first time during my adult life. And with this particular stint at recovery came less exercise, and less exercise meant more free time to do things I wouldn't normally do in years previous, so I bought DFWs book, Infinite Jest. I read it over the course of two weeks, and then had to read it a second time. I'm not going to go into the story line(s), but this one thousand plus page book changed my life. Literally. It changed my perspective on the writing craft - the many different possibilities on how to tackle subject matter, creating characters while injecting my spin and narrative, ensuring inclusion of theoretical concepts, how attempting to write philosophically did not have to equate to pretension, and among other things, introducing me to my love of metaphysics.

Many people claim that DFW wrote an esoteric, elitist tract in Infinite Jest, but I would have to disagree. Yes, the book is lengthy and filled with parody and theory, but that doesn't necessarily make it esoteric. You should give it a read and see what you think. In fact I still have my battered copy of Infinite Jest. Complete with highlighted passages, notes in the margins, and its dog-eared, yellowed pages. I've had the book for over ten years and I've probably read it about ten times. Every time I read it, I get some new insight out of it.

DFW was one of the most talented contempory writers of the twentieth century. And while it saddens me to think he committed suicide, I cannot say it surprised me based upon what I know of his life and his works. He showed glimmers of his depression in some of his writings and he certainly analyzed everything. I mean, he could turn something seemingly fun and possibly trivial into a complete existential crisis - as an example, read his article on the Maine Lobster Festival, "Consider the Lobster." I guess I just think that someone who thinks that much, is bound to do something drastic. And while I am no great theorist or writer, I understand how thinking too much takes its toll on one, thus leading to drastic measures taken. News of his death also forces me reflect on my own writing and life.

Will I ever be able to get back to my own constantly morphing style of pomo writing? Will I ever get be able to get around the roadblocks in my brain? Will I ever write again as writer versus mere thought thrower outer? I feel I have become "dumbed down" over the past several years working the grind in the business world as HR champion and writer of the technical. Is it true? Am I dumber? Or is it just self-sabotage? This is all a mystery to me, but something for me to ponder.

Thank you David Foster Wallace for the gifts you bestowed upon the world. Your presence will be missed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

18 Weeks

I never thought I would be one of those gals whose blog would start to revolve around her pregnancy babies galore once she made the offish announcement. But I am. I feel kind of embarassed and my face flushes when I think about this, but it has happened, so why not revel in it? I spare my readers the details they probably don't want to hear about such as my bowel movements and vomitaciousness, yet I am also sure I overshare to an extent as well. I cannot make everyone happy, but I try to respect the fact that not everyone is interested in hearing about such things as my body functions.

Today marks the beginning of week 18. I had my second doctor's appointment on Wednesday, and everything looked and sounded normal. My vitals were still a-okay with my blood pressure remaining quite low (looow = normal to me), which was both a relief and a surprise since I wasn't the most active person the first four months of the baby incubating. I still need to improve on my eating habits, which is an ongoing process and I'm trying to make it work. I want to do everything I can to make the last 4.5 months as smooth and comfortable as possible for both me and the Flash.

Speaking of the Flash, I started to feel it moving around a couple weeks ago - the Saturday of Labor Day weekend to be exact. You know, after the mysterious virus I had that kept me laid up for a week. J and I decided to go out to eat that Saturday night, and let me tell you the Flash was thoroughly excited I was up and moving and out of the house. I just had to have Italian food that night, and since Mama Santa's was still closed due to the Feast, J and I decided to chain it and go to Olive Garden. On the drive to the OG (the first time I had been to one in Cleveland), J and I were talking and then suddenly I felt as though butterflies were trying to release themselves from my belly push themselves up through my throat. It was the strangest, most surreal, yet most natural sensation I have ever had. It continued throughout the evening and I had to box up my meal after a few bites.

Since then the Flash has been quite active. In fact, at my appointment this week the Flash was moving around so much while my doctor was checking the heart rate, it took several minutes to get the reading. She finally got the heart rate - which was 145-155 (normal), but it was rather funny. I'm going to have a very busy baby methinks. Now I just have to wait two more weeks for the ultrasound that will tell me what the Flash's sex is. I have a feeling this is going to be a veeery long two weeks. September 26 can't get here fast enough!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Zoo Day

Instead of going to the Falls or Canadialand over Labor Day weekend, we decided to stay in Cleveland. We headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Monday and had a really good time looking at the animals. I didn't get around to the camel ride, but J did agree to ride the train with me since I was unable to go to Cedar Point this summer due to impending baby. It was supercheesy, but a good time was had. Check out the pictures: Cleveland Zoo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Have A Confession To Make...

I totally watched the series premiere of the revamped 90210 last night. And I enjoyed it.

Back In The Saddle

I'm beginning to feel less like a barf machine and more like a human again. I'm going to knock on some wood now. I didn't know morning sickness would be so volatile and last for such a long time, but I guess the reality is I really didn't know a whole lot about the potential pregnancy woes coming into this. You would think with six sisters and thirteen nieces and nephews I might have some idea. I did not. Regardless, I found out firsthand, am reading enough books, and talk(ed) with some of my sisters about all this pregnancy stuff.

Now that I am beginng to feel human again, I'm trying to ramp up to more billable work hours and I decided to take up my regular or a slightly modified exercise regimen. For the past four months I haven't really been able to exercise regularly and now I feel like I can without retching every 20 minutes. My goal is to workout 4-5 times a week by walking and jogging 3-5 miles a day inside or outside when weather permits, biking 20-30 miles on a stationary, doing light weights, or dancercising to my trusty Core Rhythms dvds. Oh yes, I got those dvds when I was feeling like death warmed over and thinking I would probably not be able to leave my house for months because of The Flash. And the dvds are surprisingly not bad. Now it's just a bonus that I can leave the house ;) So I've exercised the past three days and my body hurts. I can't believe how much it does hurt. The pain is similar to what I've experienced a day or two after running a marathon. Can a sister ever win?

J has encouraged me to get into a pregnancy yoga class, too, which I'm becoming more receptive to doing; Although, I still have my reservations since I have two things going against me when it comes to yoga: 1. I am one of the least flexible people I know, and, 2. It is almost impossible for me to relax. It's been challenging enough to get my body to move correctly to aerobic dance moves since I am also lacking in the graceful coordination department (which I still find humorous because I was great at derby which requires a good amount of coordination and grace), and my balance has been completely off for the past couple months, so yoga could be funny...or frustrating. I guess I'll just wait to make the yoga decision after I find out more details from J after he gets information from his boss' wife who is a yoga instructor here.

That's the long and short of it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Books Read - August 2008

Caroline Cooney, The Face on the Milk Carton
Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts
E.L. Konigsburg, The View from Saturday
Dean Koontz, Brother Odd
Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge
Joyce Carol Oates, Expensive People
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wanderlust

I've been laid up with some sort of virus the past few days and haven't been able to leave the house. And while I typically don't mind being a shut-in to an extent, absolutely not being able to leave my house for fear of the sudden tossing of cookies, has made me a bit cagey and lusting for some wandering. I started feeling better last night and feel about the same today, so I'm hoping tomorrow I'll be up and ready to face the outside world.

After being shut inside all week, I decided that I really want to go on a short trip this weekend. It is a three-day weekend after all. But I wonder if I can persuade J into this...probably not, since he'll be leaving the country in about ten days. Blargh. I feel like this is the best time to do something fun and just for us since everything is going to drastically change in five short months. And my morning sickness (read: I've had the worst possible type of it you can imagine - twenty-four/seven, all day and night sickness) has abated to no more than a few times a week, so I feel now is the time for something fun. Nothing major like a flight west or anything, but maybe a roadtrip to Niagara Falls or somewhere in Canada.

We had talked about taking a trip about a month and a half ago, but ultimately decided against it because of home improvement projects and landscaping we could better spend the money on, but I've got some seriously itchy feet and I don't think my plans to visit Erie next weekend are going to quell the travelchitch. But who knows? If the weather here actually cooperates for once, maybe it will be a good productive landscaping weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Call Me Karoline Fat Pants

May I speak openly?

One thing no one ever tells you when you are becoming full of baby is that you will wake up one day and your pants simply don't fit you anymore. This happened to me this past week. I popped. In a weird, I look like I've been eating too many Twinkies and Ho-hos kind of way. I have an interesting little, hard babybump belt below my bellybutton. I knew I was likely going to start showing in the fourth month, but I didn't know how suddenly my pants wouldn't fit right anymore. I've had a hard enough time adjusting to the new size of my chest - hello, two cup size increase already and they're supposedly going to get bigger! - and now, suddenly, I have to get used to being a completely new size by buying bigger pants for my new spare tire, wear yoga pants all the time, or take a deep breath and pony up and wear the very strange stretchtop pants.

This is new territory. I can't control my expanding belly and chest and not having control over it is kind of a frightening concept to me. And while I've been in recovery for well over a year and a half, I've been obsessing a bit about my size and other stuff that goes with the ever-familiar unhealthy territory that consumed over half my life. This is the territory I am proactively trying to steer relatively clear of presently and futurewise, and it is proving to be quite a challenge to steer clear of it while coping with the rapid body changes I am experiencing - some of which seem to happen overnight.

Sooo I thought I'd air my insanity out here, just to at least try to get my thoughts out in the open (a forum where my partner in crime doesn't look at me as though I am utterly ridiculous...and even if said partner is raising eyebrows at me right now, I, at least, can't see him); Because yes, I've been thinking about trying to control my size, weight, space, but then my wisemind kicks in and tells me that I know that I need to nourish myself not just for me anymore. It's a two party nutritionfest. And thus far I think I've been pretty great about everything considering this huge life-changing factor - and I hate to say it but I'm going to anyways - it probably helped that I lost weight the first two months and then balanced/plateaued for almost the past two months. How sick does that last statement sound? My doctor would probably have a heyday with that one.

Sometimes it's just hard to breathe when I start to think about the massive body changes I am going through and will be going through. I know as long as I keep myself in check, everything will work out okay. Keep my eyes on the prize - a happy, healthy baby. Some days are just better than others.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Soup's Up

Today I was searching the webernets for a good soup recipe. And what did I come across? A recipe for Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup. I'm a little surprised at how excited I am about this. Especially considering what a food queer I am. Just a few months ago, this find would probably be considered small potatoes. But today it's not. The Flash is definitely telling me it wants soup NOW. Even though it is almost ninety degrees outside. I'll let you know how it tastes after I test-drive the recipe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Official News

Remember that life-altering thing I wrote about awhile back?

Here goes:

I am pregnant. So guess what? I'm having a baby.

I've named it The Flash for now since we don't know what sex it is, and because of another reason which I am not going to delve into right now. But if you think reeeeeally hard about it, you might figure it out. J reeeally wanted to name it The Brain after we saw the ultrasound on Monday, but I had to put the kibosh on that one.

Where am I at right now? Well, I successfully made it through my first trimester, and am 13 weeks and a few days along. My due date is on Valentine's Day. The baby is normal and healthy, and the heart rate is good. I think that's about all I have for right now.

I will be finding out what the sex of the baby is on September 26. (Hopefully!)

While this was unexpected, I am terribly excited and hopeful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Books Read - July 2008

Brock Cole, The Goats
Caroline Cooney, The Terrorist
Lois Duncan, Killing Mr. Griffin
Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity
Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
E.L. Konigsburg, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas
Dean Koontz, Forever Odd


I highly recommend Geek Love to anyone who loves a challenging read. I'm not going to write about how it might challenge you, as I think you need to discover that for yourself. I will tell you this book is possibly the Karoline favorite of the year. At least thus far. But it will be hard to top.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Give Me a K-N-O-X

The seven hour trip turned into an eleven hour trip, but I finally made it to Knoxville around 1230AM last night. I have a special word of advice to ColumbusOH commuters or people roadtripping through Columbus - if you would stop driving like total a*holes (read: cutting people off, not using your turn signals, neglecting to use your rear and sideview mirrors, talking on your phone instead of paying attention to the road, ETC.) in the midst of construction and with it being late afternoon on a Friday, maybe, just maybe, there wouldn't be several accidents within the span of a few miles.

Now that I am done with my rant, let me just say I am thankful to have not happened to be on the receiving end of one of the accidents and I am happy I made it to my destination safely. I want to also say there is absolutely no fun to be had when you are stuck in a car for 2.5 hours and only move forward approximately five miles during that timeframe. And it is not safe for one's kidneys either. I almost peed my pants. Thend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homeslices II

I watch as you carelessly slosh the spiced rum with lime around in your glass. Your body moves with such familiarity and ease, I feel like crying. If you only knew how the smell of patchouli had always sickened me until you. Now I can't seem to get enough. Of you. Entwined on your beat-down brown and orange plaid couch, we breathe each other in and speak of climbing mountains - taking on the world! Relentless rpms, spinning circles around us and between us. We listen to the sounds of the earth - life pounding in our ears, pressing us to move. Writhing, panting, sweating. We are tired of this dance, yet we cannot seem to stop.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, to my United States readers.

I thought I'd post some of the more colorful k-klassic youtube and atom faves for your viewing pleasure. You know, in case you aren't watching fireworks this evening. And even if you are going to watch skyfires, you should watch these vids anyways; Because they are AWESOME.

"Look At Me" Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players (performed live on Conan)


"Jan Pehechaan Ho" from the Bollywood film, Gumnaam


"Gem Sweater" Leslie and the Lys


"Konichiwa Bitches" Robyn


"Security Anthem" Kent Lambert


There is one more veeery colorful video I wanted to post, but didn't. You may remember I made a pair of spankies in homage to the song, but thought I should refrain in posting this particular video. Maybe another time.

I'm Going To Blame It On The Boogie

I've been in a Michael Jackson maniacal music phase for a little over two months. Most of the music of his I can't seem to stop listening to ranges from MJs time with the Jackson 5 to his album, Bad. And while I listened to Michael Jackson a bit while growing up...hello, THRILLER!!!...I can't say I ever displayed an OCD tendency to listen to his music in much the way I have over the past two months. It's really beginning to annoy me, but I know I won't stop 'til I get enough.

Just a random thought on my mind right now.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

iTuneage A Go-Go

I snaked this meme from my friend, Shannon, whose bloglink is conveniently located to the right on your screen. I've seen this particular meme a few times here and there, but after reading Shannon's, I was compelled to do one as well. And since I do always say that getting to know another's musical tastes/interests/etc. is one of the top five ways to really get to know someone, I thought I'd give y'all a glimpse of what's on my iPod/iTunes. So. Enjoy.

Total Length:
5078 songs, 19.28gb

First & Last Songs (sorted by title):
- A-Team Theme (John Swihart)
- 90% of My Mind Is With You (Prefuse 73)

Shortest & Longest Songs:
- For the shortest, it's a tie with a bunch of Napoleon Dynamite intros, but the first one is: Pull In Town (Dialog)
- Decline (NOFX)

First & Last Albums (by title):
- Abbey Road (The Beatles)
- '80s Gold (Compilation)

First & Last Artist:
- a-ha
- 50 Cent

Top 5 Most Played Songs:
1. Fake Palindromes (Andrew Bird)
2. Very Loud (Shout Out Louds)
3. Discotraxx (Ladytron)
4. Little Lover's So Polite (Silversun Pickups)
5. Coma Girl (Joe Strummer)

Search for the following words. How many songs show up?
~Sex: 15
~Death: 21
~Love: 340
~You: 631
~Home: 18
~Boy: 93
~Girl: 124

First 5 songs that come up on Party Shuffle:
1. Supernova (Liz Phair)
2. And I'm Gone (Prefuse 73)
3. Danger! High Voltage (Electric Six)
4. Meat and Potatoes [bonus track] (Belle & Sebastian)
5. One Of Us (Leonard Cohen)

Now for the questions. The Rules:
1. Put your music player on shuffle
2. Press forward for each question
3. Use the song title as the answer to your question
4. NO CHEATING

Q: What does the next year have in store for you?
A: Commissioning a Symphony in C (Cake)

Q: What does your love life look like next year?
A: Pump It Up (Elvis Costello)
Aaaahahahahahahaha!

Q: What do you say when life gets hard?
A: Cloud On My Tongue (Tori Amos)

Q: Song that reminds you of the good times?
A: Bukowski (Modest Mouse)
I'm not sure if cross-references and religion and debating and life meaning and death would necessarily remind me of "good times," but it does appeal to my cerebral side.

Q: What do you think of when you get up in the morning?
A: Little Red Light (Fountains of Wayne)
Whatta randomata choice by the computer.

Q: What song will you dance to at your wedding?
A: After Hours (Velvet Underground)
Interesting.

Q: Song that reminds you of your first kiss?
A: Sound (James)

Q: Your favorite saying?
A: Anorexic Beauty (Pulp)
Not so much anymore. Although it is quite catchy.

Q: Favorite place?
A: Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)

Q: Most missed memory?
A: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham!)
Say whaaat?

Q: What song describes your best friend?
A: The Ballad of Jimmy & Johnny (Rancid)

Q: What song describes your ex?
A: Dilate (Ani Difranco)
Wow Bob Wow. Not just one ex. And perhaps something to do with me.

Q: Where would you go on your first date?
A: Tony the Beat (The Sounds)
Oh man, according to this, I'm a total slut! Yeah, well, I suppose we all have our days.

Q: Drug of choice?
A: Baby, I Need Your Lovin' (Four Tops)
Hey, lovin isn't such a bad drug of choice. :) But is this a trend being set by my music player?

Q: What song best describes you?
A: Everest (Ani Difranco)

Q: What is the thing you like doing most?
A: Cream Soda (Supercar)

Q: What song best describes the president?
A: Measuring Cups (Andrew Bird)

Q: Where will you be in ten years?
A: The Color Of Tempo (Prefuse 73)

How interpretive.

Q: Your love life right now?
A: All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem)

Q: What is your state of mind at the moment?
A: My Generation (The Who)

Q: How will you die?
A: Walking On Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)

That's what I'm talkin' about.

***Several Hours Later***

So after going back and reading this, I am surprised I had no special appearances from Pink Floyd, Belle & Sebastian, Stevie Wonder, Liz Phair, Beatles, Harry Chapin, Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Ben Folds, Springsteen (who is in my opinion one of the best poets from Jersey), Ladytron...I could go on and on. I guess I'm just a bit shocked there weren't more cameos from artists I have multiple upon multiple tracks and albums from over the years. And after doing this, it kind of makes me want to actually follow through with putting my tuneage onto another hard drive and then finally finish importing the approximately 1200 cds I have hidden from public view in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet in the home office as well as the boxes under my bed.

What is that saying where a man is worth his weight in...? I'm so bad with euphemisms. Anyways, I suppose you could say Karoline is worth her weight in music and books. I'm not even sure if I am using that correctly or not, but when I think about the material items of which I probably have more than a ton, the items are likely music and books. Clothes might come in third, but I did recently clean out my closets and give away all the clothes I wore during my suprema-extrema eating disordered days. I have no need to be that tiny anymore. I still, to this day, really can't believe I was actually that small. Kind of gross. But that's a whole different post for another time and date. Word.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Homeslices I

You whispered the meaning of clouds to me. I murmured the meaning of stars. We played endless games of tag that summer. Our silly childgames often resulting in the rolling down of hills. My uncontrollable laughter bubbling between mouthfuls of grass you implored me to chew and spit. Then describe to you. Just so you knew how it would taste. Exhausted. We lay on the grass splaying our bodies "just so" there would be imprinted lawnangels. In our stillness the grass pricked our bodies in that insatiably delicious way you just know you are alive and onto something. Something.

Books Read - May/June 2008

Kate Atkinson, Case Histories: A Novel
Candace Bushnell, 4 Blondes
Candace Bushnell, Trading Up
Jacques Derrida, Dissemination
Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy
Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box
John Irving, A Widow for One Year
Karen Kingsbury, Missy's Murder
Dennis Lehane, Gone, Baby, Gone
Marti Leimbach, Daniel Isn't Talking
Pam Lewis, Speak Softly, She Can Hear
Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper
Jennifer Weiner, Goodnight Nobody

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Chocolate War

I was talking with my friend Adam over gtalk earlier today, and the conversation turned to books - which isn't altogether unusual considering. He had emailed me over the weekend regarding A Confederacy of Dunces, which I have not yet read, so of course I added it to my book bucket; Then over our IMs he mentioned The Chocolate War - which I have not yet read either. Also added to bucket.

So while we were IMing, I was being my supernerdy self and wikiing the authors, and then somehow I came across the American Library Association's (ALA) web page on banned books...Probably because The Chocolate War is a frequently challenged book. This year banned book week is September 27 - October 4, 2008.

I think I am going to challenge myself to read 25 of the ALAs 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990-2000 as well as the the books on the 2007 list which I haven't yet read. I've only read 39 out of the 100 challenged books from the former list, and I have not read 3 or 4 out of the 10 on the latter list, so I have a decent pool working in my favor. Goodness knows I don't read enough already. Ha ha ha ha.

I'm going to further my challenge by restricting myself to buying only half of the books, and the other half needs to be checked out of the Greater Cleveland Area Library System. Yes, I usually purchase used books at Half-Price or Amazon Used or McKay's if I'm in Knoxville, but today Adam pointed out that I should use my library more often. And I agree.

I used to spend hours upon hours in the library - whether it was in Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, or Tennessee. Why, just 7-8 months ago, the Maryville library in Knoxville was my regular after work haunt for a few hours a day. There is always something to learn and discover at the library.

And just in case you missed it, I am a supernerd.

Game on.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Okay, Okay

Dear Blog,

I have not forgotten about you. And no, I do not want to write you a Dear John letter either. Just things have been kind of OOC since coming back from Argentina. Yes, I realize I have not even updated my book list for May yet, but please rest assured because I will be posting my book list from May AND June together in a couple weeks. So shake out those ants in your pants. Please and thank you.

So much has been going on with work and my personal life, but I am still here, trucking through each day, refining the art of deep breathing and trying to take life one day at a time. There have been some recent ups and downs, and I may have some pretty big news to post here soon, so hold still and get prepared. I have a feeling I am going to be in for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime.

Sincerely,
Karoline

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back In The U.S.A.

I've been back since May 19.

In a funk. More or less the funk has to do with work. I'm trying to work it out and get myself back up and running soon...hopefully.

More posts will be forthcoming, but I just wanted to post something for some of my people who read this here blog.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Books Read - April 2008

Candace Bushnell, Lipstick Jungle
Caprice Cane, Forget About It
John Irving, The 158-Pound Marriage
Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men
Emma McLaughlin, The Nanny Diaries
James Patterson, Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever
Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls
Joyce Carol Oates, The Falls
Lauren Weisberger, Everyone Worth Knowing

I'm Alive

I'm still in Buenos Aires. Alive and doing pretty well.

Worked for a few weeks. Vacation was approximately one point five weeks. And now I am back at work down here for the next few weeks.

I'll be posting some pics and a travel redux after I get back to the U.S., since the only time I am on the computer is at work...and my time in the office doesn't really allow me to do adequate posting unless I stay here very late, and while I love being in the office for 12-14 hours, I really don't love it THAT much.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Books Read - March 2008

Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Freeman, Head First Design Patterns (ongoing; reference)
Stephen King, Duma Key
Stephen King, On Writing
Erika Krouse, Come Up And See Me Sometime
David Sawyer Mcfarland, CSS - The Missing Manual (ongoing, reference)
David Mitchell, Number9Dream
Joyce Carol Oates, Foxfire

Friday, March 28, 2008

Can I get a side of Billy Ray Cyrus with that?

J: Wow. Your hair is at the bottom of your neck.
Me: Way to rub in the fact that I'm slowly sprouting the sweetest mullet this side of the Mississipp.
J: I didn't mean it that way, but now that you mention it...
Me: Shaddup. I've heard enough out of you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Under my umbrella..."

Damn you Rihanna. Damn you and that damned Umbrella song of yours. Damn this earworm in my head. Damn it if I not-so-secretly secretly like it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Anti

I am anti-Facebook. Don't ask me why. I certainly couldn't give you a concrete answer. I've been contemplating my aversion to this particular social networking site to no avail. Is it because I am too lazy to set up an account? No. Is it because I don't want people to find me? No. If that were the case, I wouldn't blog under my real name. Is it because of the very few horror stories I've heard and read about regarding the site? Possibly. I'm thinking it is more along the lines of me fearing that if I do sign up, I will succumb to yet another time sucking vortex. These time sucking vortices are what I am trying to minimize in my life. So maybe I am subconsciously telling myself that I cannot sign up because the addictive aspect of Facebook would be far too great for me to "just say no" to in the reality of my life. And that would be bad.

I am sure there are more thoughts to come regarding this avoidant behavior I have regarding this site. You know, after I mull it over all ciderlike in my head. Thend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Miscellany

For those people who want to know what has and hasn't actually been going on in my life recently, here's an update on life buildup:

-- Last Monday (Happy Friggin' St. Patrick's Day!) I had my second oral surgery and root canal of the year. Completed after yet another jaw infection and abscessed tooth. Bone loss included. We are hopeful this one will take and a new porcelain crown will join the dregs of my slowly recovering eating disordered mouth in the next couple weeks. My mouth is a moneypit.

-- Travel to Argentina is scheduled for April 14. This is a 4-5 week trip. I'm hoping for five.

-- Since the travel to Argentina is occurring much later than anticipated, the Cleveland Half-Marathon is going to be a no-go this year. I will achieve my goal of running a half this year, just not in Cleveland. Right now we are looking to travel somewhere to run in July or August. My vote is for the Rock and Roll Marathon and Half in Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend, but we shall see. But there is also the Roadrunner and USAF right here in Ohio, so who knows?

-- Also along the lines of switching up my 2008 goals, I think I am going to join CrossFit instead of starting a beginner Pilates class...at least for now. Since moving back up here, I've been itching to get myself into a hardcore fitness program to burnBURNburn as well as to meet likeminded people, but have been lacking in the "go get'em" attitude to do so. I'm tired of not getting the desired results from the solo workouts I do and after much research, I've officially decided CrossFit is the type of thing I'm looking for in regards to exercise regimens and muscle building. Check it: Cleveland CrossFit Now the question is, "Do I start ASAP or after I get back from Argentina?" Not sure yet.

-- I'm still seriously contemplating hair extensions.

-- I am scheduled to get more work done on my left forearm next Wednesday, April 2. I will be driving down to Pittsburgh to have Joe Bruce ink me up at Stay Gold Tattoo. He's awesome. A fantastic artist. I will post pictures after the session.

-- I've recently been in contact with one of my really great friends from my undergrad days at the U of A. He found me on LinkedIn and is actually featured in my x365 posts which have stalled yet again; But will have back up and running as soon as things settle down in my life. I should call it my x365 in x730 days. I think it is going to take that long for me to get it done. But you know what? Slow and steady wins the mystery race, right? Ha! Anyways, my buddy is a fellow writer and the correspondence has been nothing short of great. I'm stoked that he found me and that I can once again call him my friend.

-- I've been diligent in my learning the ins and outs of CSS for my personal website which will be: The Stubborn Swede, but I'm almost tempted to just plug my blogger into the site versus actuallly building. Temptation is hard to resist. For now, I am resisting. Largely because me having knowledge equals power over what I am doing in regards to current career change. But that's the future domain. FYIJSYK.

-- Speaking of tecchie things, I need to relearn PhotoShop. Last time I used it was like seven years ago maybe? Six? A long time ago. I also need to find the Sony DSC-H2 as it is boxed up from my last move. I would also like to learn the Nikon D80 that has been gathering dust in the hall closet...maybe I'll get a chance down in Bargentina. And spring is coming which means I can use the awesome list of places in ClevelandOH to go shoot photos Kill Basa sent me a few months ago. I'm looking forward to that.

-- Going on a ghosthunt to the West Virginia State Penitentiary with a paranormal group during July. Confirmation came via email yesterday, so it's a go. Supercool, eh? Moundsville is spoooooky.

Overall, life for me has been a series of far ups and far downs since coming back north. What I can say is that I am sticking to my plans and am asking for help when I need it. I have a wonderful support system and I am truly blessed to be able to lean on those people in my life.

Recovery is difficult. But worth it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zapped

I am not sure what's worse: Having things to actually write about but no inspiration to compose, or, Having nothing to write about with oodles of inspiration. After writing it out, I think the worse of the two would be the former. Yes. The former. Yes. I am still going through my malaise. I blame it on the weather.

And while I hate placing blame on something as banal as the weather, I have to say that Mother Nature has certainly played a fair role in my mindset. I mean, it obviously hasn't been enough for her to dump multiple feet of snow, ice, sleet, and the goshdarned wintry mix down for months now, then decide to warm-up to say FIFTY degrees where all the snow is melting quite nicely, turning into slushy piles of Maybe Spring Really Is On Its Way. No, all this hasn't been enough because last night, you took it upon yourself to dump another four or five inches of snow on us?!?!

Talk about a kick in the nads. Mother Nature, you are STILL on notice.

-- Oh and don't let me forget to write about the Great Wal-Mart Spill of 2008 over the next few days. --

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Funktronic

I am so over the weather up here. I am melting down to a funktronic state unlike any other funk-state I've experienced in the past. This is not good. This would account for my recent silence. I'll be back soon. But for now silence is okay, and I've put the weather gods on notice. ;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Oh The Dramz

Did you hear? I'm sure you have seeing as how it's been all-over the entertainment news since this morning, but being that I haven't posted about my ultimate favorite reality show recently, I thought I would post this little tidbit.

David Hernandez, a current contestant on American Idol, was a stripper in Phoenix, AZ. He danced for three years in an all-male revue at a club with a largely gay male clientele. An all-naked, all-male revue at that. Suh-weet.

What good is another season of American Idol without a scandal?