30 December 2009

2009 Resolution Round-up

Here are my resolutions from last year and a report on how they worked out:

1. Read another 50 books.

Check. And that will be an ongoing goal.

2. Stay on top of my inbox.

I was doing really well with this until November and then things just fell apart. I hope to get back on track and it is more of a habit now so that is a good thing.

3. Cook.

Believe it or not, I did it. I think I am most proud of this. I have been cooking a lot and looking up recipes and all kinds of things I never thought I'd do. And while I can't say I really love cooking, it is good to be able to make what I want to eat and to know what I am eating.

4. Try doing more sports and outdoor activities.

Never made it skiing this year, but we did go ice skating. Also we got Chief who has brought a lot more walks and trips to the beach and park into my life. I did OK on this, but I'm just never going to be a kayak-er or anything like that.

5. Get rid of the clutter.

I'm getting there, but it could be better.

Overall I think I did pretty well this year. In addition to these goals, I lost 20lbs and am finally, FINALLY at my pre-pregnancy weight. And I have managed to keep it off and it feels like a real permanent change. It is a very good feeling.

OK now I have to get to work on my 2010 resolutions...

27 December 2009

TBR Challenge

Somehow in a weak moment I agreed to this challenge from Emily. Here's how she presented it:

So, here is how this challenge works. It begins December 1, 2009 (because I always believe in challenges that give you more than one year to complete) and ends no later than December 31, 2010, but it really ends whenever you manage to complete it. Here are the rules:

1. Choose 20 books from your TBR list (or tome, if you are like me), and post them on December 1, 2009. If you'd like, you can tell us why you chose each book (I'm sure you can guess what I'd "like").

2. Read those 20 books.

3. Oh, did I mention? You are not allowed to buy any of them. If you don't already own them, you must beg, borrow, or steal them in order to read them.

4. Oh, I guess I forgot the other difficult part: you are not allowed to buy any new (or used. No, you can't get around it that way) books until you have read (or attempted to read at least 30+ pages) of all the books on your list.

5. There is one exception to the rules (because I am a fair kinda gal and belong to 2 book discussion groups): you may buy books you have to read for book discussion groups before you have read all 20 on your list, if you can't get them any other way (i.e. your library system doesn't have them and employs the Sloth Express to deliver all interlibrary loans). However, I highly recommend that you encourage your book discussion groups to read books from your list of 20.

6. And then that final thing: write a blog post about each book as you finish (or decide you can't finish) it.

As you can see I have already broken the first rule because I did not get my list up by December 1. Since one rule is broken, I think I'll break a few more, like rule number 3. If I have to have that kind of impediment, there's no way I'll get through this list. So, I've decided that I can buy books from this list, but no other books (besides books for bookclub). And the last rule broken is number 6. I am not a great book reviewer so I can't promise more than stating I read the book. I will keep a special list on the column of my blog to track my progress instead. If I feel I have anything worth saying about the book, I will post. I have I made this half-assed, or what? Hopefully, Emily won't be too disappointed in my version.

OK, here's my list:

  1. Then We Came to the End -- Joshua Ferris
    This has been sitting on my shelf and I have wanted to read it, but I just never pick it up.
  2. Independence Day -- Richard Ford
    I read the Sportswriter over a year ago for book club and I have been wanting to read the second book ever since.
  3. Lay of the Land -- Richard Ford
    If I am going to read the second book, I might as well read the third.
  4. Breakfast at Tiffany's -- Truman Capote
    I can't believe I haven't read this.
  5. Sense and Sensibility -- Jane Austen
    This is a re-read, but one that I have been meaning to do for a few years.
  6. Lady Susan -- Jane Austen
    Speaking of Jane Austen, I've never read this one.
  7. Ten Days in the Hills -- Jane Smiley
    Another one that has been sitting on my shelf that I have been wanting to read and just never pick up.
  8. The Player -- Michael Tolkin
    I loved this movie and I'm not sure I knew it was a book until I heard about the second book. I figured I couldn't read the second book until I read the first...
  9. Return of the Player -- Michael Tolkin
    See above.
  10. Brideshead Revisited -- Evelyn Waugh
    Another book I can't believe I haven't read yet.
  11. The Glass Castle -- Jeannette Walls
  12. Miss Match -- Erynn Mangum
    Both #11 and #12 were gifts from my LibraryThing Santa 2 years ago and I still haven't read them. I feel like I should read these books someone took the time to pick out for me.
  13. The Believers -- Zoe Heller
    I bought the hardcover and still haven't read it. I want to get it read before the paperback comes out.
  14. The Best American Short Stories 2009
    I get this book as a gift from my Mom every Christmas and I don't usually finish it so this year that is my goal.
  15. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life -- Carol Sklenicka
    I love Raymond Carver. I know this book just came out, but it immediately landed at the top of my TBR list.
  16. Never Let Me Go -- Kazou Ishiguro
    Another one that's been sitting on my shelf.
  17. The Poisonwood Bible -- Barbara Kingsolver
    So many people I know loved this book. I own it, but for some reason I've never read it. I am kind of afraid I won't like it, I think. We shall see...
  18. Casino Royale -- Ian Fleming
    I feel like I should read this.
  19. Mrs. Dalloway -- Virginia Woolf
    Just in case I'm feeling too happy.

24 December 2009

Happy Holidays!

All the best in 2010

20 December 2009

What is it about the holidays?

The holidays combined with the end of the year are just kicking my butt this year. Everything feels extra-intense -- the highs and the lows. Makes me kind of want to dive under the duvet until January 4th or so. Am I the only one feeling like this?

Zoe has certainly built up Christmas this year. She was very upset when we were decorating the tree because we didn't hang every ornament we own. She was afraid Santa would be disappointed. She is pushing on the Santa thing extra hard this year because I am afraid she is starting to question the whole thing. It breaks my heart a little. I want it to be extra special magic for her just a little longer.

The family stuff can be rough too. Its not too bad this year, but every little bump in the road gets magnified when Christmas or Hanukkah or New Year's is attached to it. I decided a few years ago that I wanted the holidays (including Thanksgiving) to be fun for me too and not just about familial obligation. Ultimately that has been good, but it does cause some tension. How can it not?

Work is insanity and I don't even want to talk about that. I just want a few days off to forget it. Hopefully I'll be able to put it mostly out of my mind. I will say that as rough a road as work has been this entire last year or more, I am ever more grateful for the wonderful people I work closely with. I have made a few very close friends that certainly make every day better. Some of them are far and farther flung, but it is no matter.

I hope for everyone that they can find something fun or special or just relaxing about this holiday season. I wish everyone all the best in 2010.

Coming soon...new year's resolutions...

14 December 2009

The Cosmetics Counter: 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

This is about as close as you can come to the perfect eyeliner.

The 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil by Urban Decay is my favorite cosmetics discovery of 2009. Sometime over the summer I read an article about waterproof eyeliners which I thought would be fun to try for swimming days. I tried a couple of other brands with mixed results, but I wasn't thrilled until I stumbled upon this eyeliner at one of my favorite stores, Sephora. My color of choice is Rockstar which is a dark purple, but any of the colors that don't include glitter or glimmer are excellent choices.

What makes it so great, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

  1. It is easy to apply -- unbelievably easy, really. You have to try it to see what I mean.
  2. It goes on super-smooth and even.
  3. It lasts a long, long time without running or smudging.
  4. Even though $17 may seem like a lot for an eyeliner, the pencil lasts a long time.
The only downside is that you should use eye make-up remover to take it off at the end of the day otherwise it can be a little bit too lasting.

So if you're looking for a new eyeliner, I suggest you give this one a try.

10 December 2009

SXSW Tour 09: Photos

I can't believe I never published this post. This is my collection of photos from my SXSW trip. Hope they are still somewhat interesting...

My favorite gas station quick mart (Somewhere in Louisiana):

Manicures and Pedicures for everyone! (Best manicure and pedicure ever, I should mention.)

Zoe and Samantha wrapped up with the presents.

Zoe and Samantha help with the Thanksgiving cooking.

Table is set and the first Thanksgiving meal I ever helped prepare is ready to be eaten! This was the first year I didn't just bring the wine.

The chefs!

The cool parking meters in Memphis just off Beale St.

Somewhere in Tennessee I spotted this helpful sign. Now what is a buiscuit and are they appropriate for the office??

Vacation is good.

The Gateway Arch. Missed it last year and thrilled I got to see it this year. It is pretty cool and something I've wanted to see since I was about 5.

Note to self: Remember to blog

How on Earth did it get to be December 10th already? I swear I just got back from vacation so that would make it around November 30. I want my 10 days back!

I've been swamped with work and holiday preparations and as a result, I have been neglecting my blog. The saddest part is that I didn't even realize how much time had gone by since I'd posted because I keep thinking about writing posts. Which just goes to prove that thinking it and doing it are two completely different things. Luckily my good friend Heather emailed me to find out if I was OK since I hadn't posted in so long. That has helped to kick my butt into gear.

And even sadder than the saddest part is that I discovered that I never even finished or published the last post I wrote, but I thought I had. Sad, lonely, unfinished post -- I will take care of you now.

Sad, lonely, blog -- I will do my best to neglect you no more. Holidays or not, crazy job or not, there should always be time for ZoesMom!