We've had a week of rain, hail and wind and my garden has suffered.
My hanging basket weathered the storm.
My poor irises....there are a lot of blooms though that are still emerging so hopefully I'll get some pretty shots later.
I totally forgot planting these guys, and have no idea what they are (okay, so I'm not a 'real' gardener -- just someone who picks plants because they're pretty and put them in the ground) but they did great in the recent stormy weather.
The Clematis is starting to bloom. I love Spring.
With all this rain our grass is coming back nicely.
A little back ground here -- my mother-in-law, Sher was adopted when she was four years old. She attempted to find her birth family when she was newly married in her twenties. Her birth mother wasn't very receptive (and where as that wouldn't have been my decision, this is a different generation, small east-coast town, Catholic family so I'm empathetic to the mother as well as to Sher). Sher did find out that she had an older sister, who remembered Sher, but the mom told the older sister, that her memories were wrong and Sher had been a relative, not a sister. There were also some younger brothers and another sister. Well it's been a good forty years and Sher is going back east for a reunion and she thought she'd try again with her birth family.
She just wanted to go knock on their door though and say, "Hi, it's me".
I didn't think that was such a good idea. We don't really know what kind of heart conditions these guys might have, or if they own guns.
My sister-in-law made a good point though. Sher's probably afraid of being rejected yet again. And like a tiger with its prey, when you pounce like that, it's not getting away.
Of course, Sher wouldn't admit to being scared, or sad or any type of emotion what-so-ever. Which, I am thinking may be genetic. Although born into a Catholic family, she was raised in a Jewish family. Jason's other Jewish relatives discuss feelings and emotions and are touchy-feely loving people (a lot like the Cuban side of my family). Jason's aunt can ferret out your deepest emotions and get you crying or laughing and make you feel good about sharing. I'm wondering if it's really this ability that anti-semites are most afraid of? Anyhow, even though Sher was raised in this kind of culture, she's pretty repressed -- well emotionally, she has one dirty sense of humor.
Sooooo, I so don't want this family to be cornered, wanted them time to digest and really really want Sher to be able to connect with them.
So I wrote them a letter.
I hope I wrote it to the right people.
I so hope they receive it in the spirit it was written and sent.
I hope Sher gets a chance to meet them.
Mostly, I hope they aren't a family of serial killers with a chain saw collection.
I just read Ganelle's Posting about what she's been reading and realized it's been awhile since I've shared what I've been reading. I've actually been on a reading binge lately -- for two reasons. One, LOVING my Nook and two, I'm going back for my master's in nursing shortly (The 24th....ahhhhhhh) and want to do some reading for pleasure before I'm bogged down with reading about nursing theory and writing papers.
Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir is the last book I finished. It's a book club read, chosen by my friend Jacqui. She was worried she picked a bad one because she seems to have a run of bad luck in picking out book club books. But she did good. I had actually read this book a few years ago and didn't remember much of it except her descriptions of life in the Harem. Pretty lush descriptions about Harem life and what life was like of people of privilege during the 50's and 60's in Morocco. It reminded me of the book Under a Marble Sky by Jonathan Shors -- at least the lavish descriptions of the the life of wives and concubines in a harem of a king. This, for me, was the best part of the book, it had the most vivid descriptions and the most colorful. The story about the time she was imprisoned were slower and sad (which makes sense -- it just wasn't enjoyable). Their escape was courageous and I felt terrified for them while reading that section.
A side note, I actually had this book in my basement and during our continued clean up we donated it before this book got chosen for our book club....arggg, sort of reinforces my hoarding tendencies.
Another side note, this is not available on Nook or Kindle -- neither was Under A Marble Sky.
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin is the book on which the movie with the same name is based. I forced Jason to go went with Jason. Turns out he was not the only man in the theatre. The movie was cute and fluffy, it didn't go into as much depth into the women's relationship or the main character's angst about her decision. The subject matter was actually pretty difficult to read and I do believe the author knew that. Reading the side of the adulterous and actually wanting to root for her made me feel a bit shameful. I really felt that although the other characters in the book were happy for her because the 'friend' seemed more of a frenemy, the main character did have wonderful memories of their friendship and there were glimpses that even though the frenemy was selfish, she was also a good friend at times and the main character recognized this. It was hard for her. It was hard for me. The author did a good job with this struggle, I think that maybe this might have been difficult to write from this perspective and so kudos to the author for not making it easy by making one character perfect and the other evil.
Found this next book (Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkenen) on a review done by Jenn Lancaster (who wrote Bitter is the New Black and other funny stories). This is one of the first times I've actually pre-ordered a book (and have I mentioned how much I love my Nook for the ease it provides in doing this). This is more chic-lit, which, if you haven't noticed, is my favorite genre. This one made me cry (whatever, I can't help myself) and I went as far to cyberstalk the author and not only become a 'fan' on her Facebook page but actually comment on how much I liked the book (she even wrote me back -- feeling a little star-struck). The meat of the novel is about falling back in love again with your spouse. Even though the gulf between them was huge and the impetus to working on their relationship was dramatic, many of us who are happily married have those minutes-days-hours-months where we have, if not a gulf, maybe a gully, or gulch between us. It's not insurmountable but there and aggravating. This book was a reminder to reach across and do what you need to bring your relationships closer (not preachy, that's just what I got from the book). Have some tissues ready.
I would not normally choose a book like Raven Black by Anne Cleeves (seriously, how cool is her name, one of Henry's wives' names...that's awesome) but this was another book-club book, chosen by our resident, Brit, Ann. I loved the description of the Shetland Islands (I confess, I actually had to look up where they were) and the people who lived there. The mystery itself dragged a bit and I wanted more back story on the detective as well as the detectives who came over from the mainland to help with investigation. I figured out early on who did one of the murders, but was surprised by the other and frankly wasn't too happy about it (not that I get happy about murder). It was just a surprise without any clues, it seemed a bit unfair to the reader that there would be no way to guess it was that person. But then again, sometimes rage is like that, it makes people do things they normally wouldn't do so there's no way to anticipate it. Glad I read it, but probably won't go on to read more. Unless Ann picks another one in the series for another book club read.
Another book where you may need some tissues, either that or I cry a lot, Jason would say yes to that -- oh well, it's probably good to have someone in the household who understands emotion and doesn't analyze everything in a sterile Spock like manner -- oh, I digress. Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter will hit a chord with those of us who don't feel like we completely belong and try our best to fit in. This character does it on steroids though. What's great about this story is that although she does fall apart she also finds herself, realizes who her friends really are, finds new friends and comes out strong. I kind of wish the ending wasn't so picture perfect, if these people were real, I'd wonder if the lessons they learned would have been lost with the opportunity given them at the end. Part of me liked (the mean part) that the snarky beyotch didn't benefit long but having known a snarky (and not in the fun way) beyotch I know that this never happens, the beyotches always get to keep their friends and they never get what they deserve. But I do appreciate the author trying to make it 'right', that's the wonderful thing about fiction.
The title, Everyone is Beautiful drew me to this story. It's another chic-lit-find-yourself-through-adversity type of novel by Katherine Center. Of course her adversity is another person's adventure. She has to move to another city and in doing so she finds out who she is. I too have moved away from family and friends, thankfully for only a year. But that was the year I discovered Mosaics and found a new passion (one that I desperately am trying to get back to, which is one of the motivators in getting my basement cleaned). For the character in this book, it's photography. There are some funny mommy-embarrassing moments to which I can completely relate. I like that her kids aren't perfect and she becomes "that mom" at the park. I can't imagine (at least I hope not) that I'm the only one who ever feels the same way she does at those moments.
Yeah, yeah, polygamous lifestyle blah blah...can't help myself (which may be why I dug the Harem scenes in Stolen Lives and Under a Marble Sky) In Escape, though, she does not romanticize this lifestyle at all. It's remarkable how she was able to get out with all of her children given her "husband" was a major player on the compound. It's also good to see that she was able to find love again (why yes I am a romantic) and to make her life and the life of her children whole again, or actually whole for the first time. I found it very interesting how the wives had to vie for attention from such a major Ass and how the dynamics worked with favorite wife status and how the kids benefited or suffered depending on who was in favor. It's such a topsy-turvy life and the author did a great job describing it.
I'm reading Jen Lancaster's new novel right now, Wish You Were Here. It reads just like her non-fiction-bloggy-type-other-books so is quite enjoyable and a nice break after reading the heavy depressing Stolen Lives.
I'm curious to hear what the rest of you have been reading or if you've read one of these, what were your opinions?
Isaac had his first karate tournament this weekend. He did great (I'll tell you how great in a minute). First, I'll tell you a little bit about my observations. We live in a great suburb of Denver. Even so, not everyone (say everyone in your head like an East Coast snob) thinks our area is as great as I think it is. I read on a Facebook page about Centennial that the people in West Centennial don't think we should even be a part of the city and we don't count (although, I do believe our taxes help generate quite a bit of the income the city has...but whatever). There's also Highlands Ranch which is south and west of where we are and it is the most lily-white-republican-need-to-be-perfect-better-then-the-joneses-stepford enclave in the Denver area. I mean this area is the polar-opposite of the People's Republic of Boulder. I am a person of color (when I say that, I mean in personality as well as having an olive complexion) in Highlands Ranch. I seriously wonder if they want me to use another drinking fountain whenever I visit an establishment in the area.
The Karate place where Isaac takes his classes has two dojos in Highlands Ranch, one in Greenwood Village (the people that Highlands Ranch people want to be), one here in the slums (not really), Aurora and Denver and some other suburbs that don't really matter to my conversation (but really do matter in life). What's our area like? Well laid back. Most of the people out here are also conservative, but there is nothing in our neighborhood covenants that preclude our more liberal brethren from living here (thankfully because then I'd have to live in Boulder and the commute would be horrible). Some of us wear make up some do not, we wear a lot of sweats and are not always color coordinated. I feel so at home here. Just real people, raising families, enjoying life -- no pressure to impress.
I forget there are areas that aren't quite like ours. Which brings me back to the tournament. We got there early, got our seats and waited for Isaac to preform his karate moves - called a Kata, but really a choreographed dance number with some yelling of "KEE-EYE". Isaac has informed me that I am not allowed to call it a dance number though. I have my hair up in a couple barrettes, barely combed because we were running late. I have my suburban mom uniform on (beside scrubs there's nothing else in my closet), consisting of a white t-shirt, black velvet hoodie, khaki capris and flip-flops. NO MAKEUP. I still have writing all over my arm because I had a patient crash on me the day before and had no paper to write all my information that I needed to chart. I did have a really cute new coffee travel mug with me though.
And then I saw a family prance in. My first thought is, these guys look just like the girls (and I'm so about to get geeky here) from the Harry Potter movie about the wizard championship. The girls that float into the big Hogwarts hall and sigh every couple of feet. The girls at the karate tournament weren't wearing gray form fitting dresses, they were in their nicely ironed Gis (okay, I do feel bad I didn't get it together to iron Isaac's Gi, it was a bad day the day before, remember I mentioned I had a patient crash on me, had to call the paramedics --who by the way, were kind of hot -- men in uniform, doing what they do best -- oh I digress). These girls had matching pink paisley bags for their sparring stuff and sparkly pink flip flops. Their mom had her hair perfect (even with major loads of expensive product I couldn't get my hair to do that in a million years) with the perfect amount of 'bling'. She was wearing what I'm sure was expensive designer stuff, and if I followed that stuff, I'd probably be impressed.
My first thought, these guys took the nerdiest sport in America and made it all cute and glitzy. They so had to be from Highlands Ranch.
Because from our area, the kids looked more like this:
I asked myself, because I'm wise and self-reflective -- no really.
Am I jealous?
Maybe a little, even if my travel coffee mug was way cuter then hers.
Then I thought about our laid-back albeit hectic life, how great my kids are, how wonderful my husband is and realized, wouldn't trade it for the world...even a smokin' hot body in designer clothes and perfect hair.
And then I sat back, relaxed and watched my kid from the wrong-side-of-Centennial smoke those other kids'...um...behinds.
Isaac bowing to the judges.
First Place Baby!
We did try and get him in the older kid section because we thought it would be more fair, but they were strict about age groups. Here he is with the other 7-8 year olds. He's freakin' HUGE, compared to these guys. We did warn him though not to count on his size...see the littlest guy there, he's the first place winner, Isaac got second (although it was really close).
A while ago I had a yummy rotisserie chicken crepe with a Madeira sauce at the The White Chocolate Grill that was to die for. I'm not a good enough cook to make crepes (well I haven't really tried, they really look like a lot of work). So I decided to make up a recipe that kind of resembled this dish. I have to say, didn't even come close, but did come up with a easy meal that was tasty. I'm just going to have to go back to White Chocolate Grill and order that again.
2 C self rising flour
1 C butter
1 C sour cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, mix ingredients (will be lumpy) place in greased and floured muffin pans, smooth tops and bake for about 17 minutes. Let cool (this recipe is from Simply Homemade Magazine, can't remember which edition).
These rolls are kind of dry, I was not a big fan of these for just rolls, but the flavor is good with the tangy wine sauce and chicken.
1/4 C Marsala wine
1/4 C chicken stock
1 clove mashed garlic
1/4 stick of butter, cut into slices
1/8 c olive oil
1 package of sliced fresh mushrooms
Melt butter and oil in pan over low heat, add stock and wine, heat up and reduce, about 10 or so minutes. Mix the starch in cold water (rather then just adding directly to the wine, this helps avoid lumps) then whisk into wine sauce until sauce thickens. Add mushrooms and cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring the mushrooms.
Take the rolls, split in half, place the chicken from the rotisserie chicken, then pour the Masala-mushroom sauce on top of the chicken, then close the sandwiches.
A couple weeks ago I posted about getting a new sticker family for my car from this place. My friends teased (really I think they were envious, because I am so cool and in no way a geek like my Star Trek loving husband -- but whatever) A couple days ago my so-called-friends and the man who claimed to love me for eternity did THIS to my car:
I totally didn't notice it right away (yeah, I'm THAT observant) and as Dodi pointed out I apparently don't look through my rear view mirror often enough. In my defense, I was only going to the local market, only blocks away. I did my shopping and came back to my car and had a...'what the heck' kind of moment. Yup, Honda. Yup, in the spot or at least close to where I'm pretty sure I parked. Yup the first four guys are the ones I put on there.
My sticker family multiplied! I burst out laughing in the middle of the parking lot, giggled while I put my groceries in the trunk and laughed all the way home.
Yeah, my friends, who thought I was a bit nutso and for going the sticker family route also know about my not so secret fascination with the whole polygamous culture (half way between admiration, loving the free babysitting and best friend gal time, and horror....no way in h.e.double toothpicks am I sharing my husband). I devoured all the Big Love episodes, Sister Wives is on my DVR queue and I've read a book or two about women who've escaped the compounds.
I call my hubby, totally giggling and he alludes to knowing who did it. Before I can even cajole, threaten, bribe it out of him HE.HUNG.UP.ON.ME.
So I called my friend, Colleen who I think might be a part of it along with Dodi (because she was the most vocal about her opinions), Martha (you should have seen the lawn full of pink plastic flamingos in Dodi's yard, this would be so her) and maybe Jacqui (I have yet to have a confirmation as to her culpability) and after I mentioned Jason hung up on me, SHE.HUNG.UP.ON.ME.TOO!
Jason finally outed Dodi (because he doesn't know her as well as the others and therefor less fearful) and then Colleen outed herself and Martha -- according to Colleen, Martha was the master plotter (all those who know her can not be surprised) and Colleen and Dodi, with Jason's blessing -- I wondered why he didn't pull my car into the garage -- did the deed. I'm just glad they didn't go for the TPing that Colleen suggested in her brief time of channeling an adolescent.
I love my friends. I was actually having a bad day (half regretting signing back up for the MSN program and feeling very sorry for myself). So this could not have come at a better time to give me a good laugh. If I were ever in a polygamous relationship, these really are the women I'd want to be my sister wives -- well with out the sharing of my one and only, even if he did hang up on me.
I just have one question....what's with the lobster?
We bought this fixer-upper about 6 years ago and have been remodeling ever since. We've done a lot of the heavy lifting (scraping off cottage cheese ceilings, brand new kitchen, removing sliding glass doors and walling it in and putting a door to the outside elsewhere and a huge list of other stuff) But not one of the rooms do I consider complete. Kitchen still needs curtains, master bedroom needs baseboards...small stuff.
In our quest to clean out the basement we brought up some artsy stuff. I've been looking for a few months for something for the wall in the dining room. What I should have been doing is "shopping" my basement.
I am so married to an engineer. If the pencil marks showed up well on camera I would have taken a picture of what he drew on the wall to ensure proper placement.
Bought these cool old chippy painted porch posts. Jason cut them down to fit in between the living and dining room. and then anchored them in. We're doing our best to step out of the cookie-cutter suburban house floor plan and add some architectural elements. We had these hickory hard wood floors put in in the entire first floor and absolutely love them.
These pictures were wedding gifts from Jason's dad.
It's a bit too small for the space, but so ornate I didn't want to add anything else. I'm not sure this will end up staying (shhh, don't tell Jason). But it's good enough for now.
This is actually my favorite corner of the room. Love this little antique (vintage) hutch. Found it in a boutique in old Littleton that was changing their business and they were getting rid of all their display pieces. I convinced..bullied...begged my friend Colleen to come pick it up with me. What a sight we were trying to shove that thing in the back of her mini-van (you're a trooper Colleen!)
I need to erase and start over on my chalkboard menu -- hate my handwriting. It's not as easy as it looks to write with chalk.
I was actually thinking of going for a black and white toile but then found this material and fell in love. I was so sad that someone else had it on hold.....then it turns out that the hold had expired a couple days before so the sales lady said could have it. Yay...and only a tinge of guilt..well there's more guilt really about the price of the material...but yay.
Pretty much everything but the material for the curtains were on sale, used, discontinued or a gift, so splurging on some material -- I'm okay with. It really wasn't all that expensive a room.