Monday, October 27, 2008

Here, Just Not Blogging

So yes, I'm back from Vegas. And I can't get the energy up to write a post about it, or really anything else. I'm so so tired, from travel and jet lag and all the rest.

I managed to get my suitcase unpacked and restored in the closet. I even did a few loads of laundry, which are now sitting in the baskets waiting to be folded and stored. Yeah, that'll happen someday.

Last night I didn't fall asleep until close to 2, and I should get up for work at 5:30. Not surprisingly, that did not happen. I got up at 7:15 and was hating life until close to 10 when I finally started feeling halfway human.

Tonight, there is football and baseball to watch, but I think even more than I want to see either of those events, I want to go take a shower and put on my pjs and crawl into bed.

And maybe tomorrow I'll feel more like writing a real post.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekly Menu Plan

Back into the swing of planning and cooking after a weeks break.

Saturday - Ribeye steaks, scalloped potatoes, and broccoli. The steaks were on sale at the store and I couldn't resist. And I've got some milk that's about to go bad so the potatoes will make use of that.

Sunday - Chili and cornbread. The weather is quite cool so it's perfect chili weather. I may try a new recipe, or I may pull out an old favorite from last season.

Monday - Pizza if I get home from work in time to get the dough made, and I usually do on Mondays.

Tuesday - Baked potatoes and leftover chili.

Wednesday - Spaghetti! It's been ages since we had it and it's one of my favorite meals.

Thursday - Vegetable soup and rolls.

Friday - L will probably not be home, so I'll eat leftovers or a pb&j or whatever else I can scrounge up from the fridge.

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Do versus Done

Things I Needed To Do Today:

  1. Make a menu plan for the week.

  2. Make a grocery list based on the menu plan.

  3. Go to the grocery store.

  4. Do some healthier eating to make up for the last couple of dreadful days.

  5. Unpack suitcases.

  6. Put away items from emptied suitcases.

  7. Put away now empty suitcases.

  8. Do several loads of laundry.

  9. Enter receipts from trip into Quicken.

  10. Enter books finished on the trip into my "Books Read" list and blog widget.

Things I Actually Did Today:

  1. Grocery run, where I more-or-less randomly flung stuff into the cart (L wanted to go and go RIGHT NOW).

  2. Entered books finished on the trip into my "Books Read" list and blog widget.

  3. Finished the book I'd started on the plane as we landed and taxied to the gate.

  4. Started another book and finished it as well.

  5. Sorted the laundry that desperately needs to be washed.

  6. Walked past the sorted laundry at least a dozen times, but did not wash any of it.

  7. Emptied my suitcase and spread the items over the floor in my bedroom.

  8. Walked past the spread-out items and empty suitcase at least a dozen times, but did not put any of the items away.

  9. Ate McDonalds for a late lunch and microwave popcorn and hot chocolate for dinner. Did not eat breakfast as I'm still on Vegas time and am completely confused.

  10. Enjoyed my day immensely, thankyouverymuch.

Friday's Fave Five

I had fun participating last week, want to participate again as I get back into the swing of things here. So this is the just-returned-home edition:
  1. I'm back home from my trip. It ended up being a really really boring conference and I was very happy to come home.

  2. I am so so happy that I have today off from work as well, because I would have been exhausted if I'd had to go into work this morning. As it was, I didn't get up until 9:30. I think I was still on Vegas time so based on that, 6:30 isn't so bad.

  3. The weather is cool and rainy and very fall-like. I love it!

  4. I had one meal in Vegas that I'm still dreaming about - steak frites with bernaise sauce. It was fantastic! The frites were just ok, but the steak made up for it.

  5. It was nice seeing family over the weekend; I had a nice talk with my sister-in-law on Saturday and got to see all the brothers-in-law.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Fave Five

I'm new to this, but it sounds like fun on a Friday. My favorites from the week:
  1. Not having to go to work today. I'm heading out of town early Saturday morning and it has made it so much easier to get ready for my trip by having the day off.

    I had time to read the Bible more than usual on a weekday, I did some laundry for the trip, paid bills, and have begun to gather my things for the trip (using my packing list, of course). I even baked a loaf of banana bread since our flights out have no food service and little time to get anything at the airport. I'll slice the bread tonight and package it so that we can take some of it with us and the rest will go in the freezer.

  2. Did I mention I'm going out of town? Because I am, and I'm excited. It'll be a short trip and most of it is work-related but still. It should be fun.

    My husband is going with me, in part. The weekend is the not work-related part; we'll be visiting his family. Then Monday we'll drive to the conference city, where I'll attend the conference, and he'll visit additional family. We'll fly back separately since he returns a day before me.

  3. The weather has turned cool again. We had a few days of fall-like weather at the beginning of the month, but then it turned back into more summer-like temps. I'm glad that it looks like fall is here to stay. Of course this happens just as we're getting ready to leave town, heading towards a city that is forecast to be in the mid 80s.

  4. I made some banana-pineapple bread for my husband and he raved about it all week which made me very happy.

  5. I received a new book in the mail today, in time for me to take it on my trip. I can't wait to read it! I'm kind of nervous about reviewing it; I don't know that I'm very good at writing reviews but I'll do my best.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Packing Lists

I'm heading out of town this weekend for almost a week. I don't travel often, but I still like to make it as easy as possible on myself when getting ready for my trips.

Several years ago I developed a packing list after a few trips where I'd forgotten an item or two. Since creating it, I've tweaked it now and then, especially as I've added things to my life (such as an iPod with it's charger, contacts and their needed solution and case, and a husband with all the stuff he ends up wishing he'd brought).

The list is divided into sections, such as clothing, personal care, technology, and fun. L and I each have our own lists too. I've tried to be comprehensive on the lists, so there has never yet been a trip where we've needed EVERYTHING on the list; some seasons just don't need the specific clothing other seasons do, you know? But it's nice to have it all listed, so I can just work my way down the list.

Items on my list include:

Sleep shirts or nightgowns

Personal Care
Daily pills & medicine (allergy, vitamins, nasal spray)
Medicine (Tylenol & PM, Sudafed, antacid)
Pads, tampons and/or pantyliners
Bath stuff (bomb, salts, etc.)
Shampoo & conditioner
Body wash
Face lotion
Face wash
Eye cream
Makeup (concealer, foundation, powder, eye shadow, mascara)
Nail clippers
Contact lens solution
Contact lens case
Shower cap
Hair scrunchie

Digital camera(s)
Camera cord
Batteries & charger
Phone & charger
iPod & charger & cord

Tour books
National Parks Passport
Neck pillow

Please remember, I really don't bring ALL of these things on every trip; I just want them listed so I can think about whether or not I'll need/want them with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • That I'm maybe managing to make sense of PHP.

  • That I'm getting ready to leave town for almost a week and it should be a good trip.

  • That my drum-playing neighbor seems to have stopped playing them so late in the evening.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making My Home a Haven

I'm starting my countdown until leave town. All that means is that I'm basically making a list of what I want to accomplish before leaving and when I think I'll be able to get that done.

Today I'll be trying to get as much knocked off the list as possible, if only to make the rest of my week easier. If I can avoid my usual day-before-departure scramble, that would be fantastic.

First up, I want to concentrate on the upstairs, and my office especially. I need to pay some bills and deal with other paperwork which includes cleaning off my desk. I also want to take care of canceling the mail; I love how the post office lets me do that in advance online. Then I need to straighten my bookcase which has exploded (in part because I was digging through it as I started making a stack of books I want to take with me).

I'd also like to get the guest room and bath ready for guests who arrive Friday evening. They're basically using our guest room as a hotel before they head out early Saturday to catch a flight home, but whether it's one night or a week, I still need to make the bed and all that other stuff. That shouldn't take long however; I washed the sheets over the weekend, just need to make the bed and give the bathroom a quick clean (it's still pretty clean from the last good cleaning I gave it; an advantage of it being used so infrequently).

Only if I get my office looking respectable and the guest room ready will I then let myself finalize the books I'm taking on the trip. I know, this is (mostly) a work trip, but I still have plan rides and car travel time and possibly some evening time I'll be able to read. And I'd hate to run out of reading material before my flight home! I usually have trouble keeping myself to a somewhat-reasonable amount of books considering the number of days I'll be gone, but one trip where my flight was delayed and delayed and delayed and delayed I was SO happy I had brought too many books; I got through them all! I almost had to go buy something additional in the airport which would have annoyed me, both because of the the expense and limited selection, and because I always have so many more books to get through at home.

Now I can't wait to get home from work and get started on this!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Memory Verse

Romans 4:5, English Standard Version

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekly Menu Plan

Last week's menu was slightly more successful than the week before that, but not but much.

Saturday - I'll finally make the tortilla soup I planned to make last week.

Sunday - Mock beef burgundy in the crock pot. It uses cranberry juice in place of the wine, and it's really tasty. I'm not sure yet if I'll serve it with egg noodles or mashed potatoes. I'll ask L which he prefers.

Monday - Salsa chicken. Take chicken breasts, cover them with salsa, and bake. Yummm! I like it with baked potatoes or rice.

Tuesday - I'm thinking now that spaghetti and meatballs sounds fantastic.

Wednesday - Homemade pizza. I am loving the homemade pizza, it's super easy as long as I plan ahead since the crust takes a little time to rise..

Thursday - Clean out the fridge because we're heading out of town, so, leftovers or sandwiches or cereal ...

Friday - Repeat Thursday to leave the fridge as empty as can be before our departure in the morning.

Update - The tortilla soup was good, but not the end-all its-so-good-I-can-stop-looking fantastic soup I was hoping for.

The beef "burgundy" was delicious as always (though L asked if we'd had it before; it's my mom's recipe so I've had it since before I knew him and have made it a LOT of times, but I guess it'd been awhile). And I served it with homemade rice-a-roni. Delicious!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More to Ponder

Why is it that no matter how many times I read a post, as soon as I publish it I'll notice a typo? Why could I not spot it before hitting that "publish post" button??

Why is it that during work days, it seems to take forever until it's 4:00 and I'm home (or close to it), while days I'm at home I blink and it's after 4 already??

Why is it that I always, *always* manage to forget at least one thing I need from the grocery store? I use a shopping list, but there's always something that didn't make it onto the list or that my eyes skipped over on the list itself.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Infertility Part IV: Thankful...

I've covered what I've found to be the more blessings of infertility, as well as the hardest aspects of it, and what NOT to say. Now I'll conclude with a list of things for which I'm thankful in the midst of this.

  • That there have been so many blessings I've discovered along this journey.

  • That my husband is so great about it. He's never blamed me in any way, and, since most treatments are much more involved for me, he's letting me decide how far we'll go with testing and treatment.

  • My inlaws do not nag. I know they'd love for us to have a baby, but my mother-in-law has never said anything to me, and she got on my grandmother-in-law after grandma harassed us one Easter. Grandma hasn't said anything since. I'm not sure what my mother-in-law said to her precisely, but I'm amazed (and very thankful) that it worked. I wouldn't have thought anything would work for her.

  • That I have some great friends who let me talk to them about this frequently.

  • That I think I really have come to terms with the fact that I may never have a biological child.

  • That adoption may be possible.

  • That I don't live in a time or society where my only worth is determined by my fertility.

  • That we have friends and family who are praying for us through this.
This may seem short, but the first post did cover a lot of closely related items. I just wanted to make sure I closed my series on a positive note!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Menu Planning

I've already written about my personal cookbook (or, more accurately, both of them), and the portable file folders I use to store recipes I want to try.

What I didn't mention was the rest of my menu planning method.

Our weekly menu follows a rough plan - Sundays I generally cook something that provides leftovers. Often it's in the crockpot. Now that the weather is cooler, we'll have soup once a week, often on Wednesday. Friday is always an easy easy meal (or it's leftovers) because by the end of the work week I'm TIRED. I try to only have one meal a week that's beef-heavy, and aim for one if not two vegetarian nights. I usually only plan 5 nights worth of meals because we'll have sandwiches or go out or scrounge something other nights.

Oh, and I try to always check the weather forecast; if it's going to be really cold and drizzly one day, that day becomes a prime candidate for soup, etc. I also scan my calendar at the same time to make sure I remember if we've got anything coming up that will have an impact on our dinner plans. Last week, for instance, L had a work event Thursday night so wasn't home for dinner. I certainly don't want to plan a favorite of his if he won't even be around to enjoy it!

So, with all that in mind, when I start figuring out our menu for the week, I first look in the file folders to see what sounds good. I'll usually pick 3 new recipes a week, then go to my personal cookbook and fill in the other two from tried-and-true favorites.

This all sounds much more complicated than it really ends up being; I can usually plan a week's menu in 15 minutes, and create a shopping list from it in only 5 minutes or so after that.

A recent addition to my planning is adding the menu plan to my Google calendar; this way I can be at work and easily remind myself of what's on the agenda for that night or later in the week. I used to hand-write it on a calendar in my planner, but I find I prefer the Google calendar because I can easily move things around when we change the plan. And since there hasn't been a single week that we've followed the plan exactly, this is a huge plus. The electronic calendar has also let me find recipes on websites or blogs and just link to the page - I've got some ideas planned ahead that I found during blog reading and internet surfing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • The last of this summer's peaches.

  • Dark chocolate.

  • Blueberry jam on toast.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hoping 21 Days = A Habit

I've blogged before about my dismal efforts at fitness, and over the last couple of weeks it's been hitting me that I really REALLY need to start doing something. I'm not taking care of the body God gave me, and my lack of self-discipline in that area is carrying over into other areas.

That said, I was happy to see Mrs. H is trying to walk for 21 days to get in that habit. Best of all, she's inviting others to join her! I'm going to give it my best shot, and am announcing it here hoping that the risk of possible shame will keep me going even if my natural inclination towards laziness would otherwise get me to quit.

So, a new widget on the side tracking my fitness time. I'm not promising to actually walk every day because the weather might prohibit it. But if I can't walk, I'll do something else instead and list it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 10:13, New International Version

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekly Menu Plan

Last week's menu was kind of a bust - for various reasons we didn't really follow it much at all and ended up scrambling to find something for dinner most nights. Hopefully this week will be better!

Saturday - We'll be going out mid-afternoon for a relative's wedding reception (I'm not sure what it's called exactly; they got married out of the country and are having a party here for everyone who couldn't make the trip).

Sunday - I'm planning on a big cooking day that'll give lots of yummy leftovers. I've never made a recipe by Guy Fieri before, but I'm going to try two of his - Braised Pork Ribs and Italian Sausage over pasta, and a great looking Italian Deli Salad.

Monday - Durkee's chicken, because it sounds really easy.

Tuesday - Tortilla soup. I'm hoping to use some of the chicken leftover from Monday, assuming the flavors work (I've never had Durkee's sauce before so I'm not 100% sure it'll work).

Wednesday - Out to dinner with some in-laws who will be in town. No idea where we're going.

Thursday - Homemade pizza.

Friday - L won't be home for dinner, so I'll just eat whatever leftovers I can find.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Infertility Part III: What Not to Say

I've covered what I've found to be the more blessings of infertility, as well as the hardest aspects of it.

This week, the list of what NOT to say. I always assumed that people knew better than to say things like this, but sadly that is not the case. I've been shocked at how often these things have actually been said to me.
  • So, when are you guys going to start a family?

  • Don't you want to get started soon? 

  • What are you waiting for?

  • You're not getting any younger you know. Don't you want to have kids before you get too old to enjoy them?

    and, in contrast,
  • You're still young. What's the rush?

  • It'll happen. I'm sure of it.

  • I understand completely - it took us 3 months to conceive! I thought we'd never get pregnant!

  • For my second, it really took a long time to get pregnant. Six months!

  • Want mine?

  • You're so lucky you don't have kids. You get to sleep in and have so much free time and disposable income

  • Bet you're having fun trying!

  • I can't believe we're pregnant again already! We weren't even trying!

  • Ugh. I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over. I'm so miserable. I hate being pregnant. Nine months is endless!

  • You don't have kids? Why not??

  • People without kids are so selfish.

  • Haven't you started a family yet? Don't you want your parents to have grandkids?
Really, I don't think I'm that cranky about it, and I don't mind hearing about other people's pregnancies or kids. I'm happy for them. I don't expect people to tiptoe around me and never mention anything about it. Just a little awareness and sensitivity would be appreciated!

Part four next week: Things for which I'm Thankful.

Update: Because after a comment made me realize I wasn't explaining myself well (and I tried so hard, but do realize how I could be misunderstood).

Some of the comments above, yes, should NEVER be said. And some of the comments may seem harmless, but after they were said to me by people who knew we were having trouble, well, that stung. (specifically, the ones about getting started soon, giving our parents grandchildren, how easily they got pregnant, how they understood since they'd had "trouble" conceiving).

Some annoy me more than anything - I don't mind people asking if I/we have kids; we're of an age & marriage length where it's kind of expected. But if I say no and change the subject, it does bother me if people keep coming back to it. And that's when the "you don't have kids" and "why not" have happened; after they'd asked the general question nicely, I'd answered it in the negative and tried to change the subject, and they came back to it as if they hadn't quite heard me. Please, no, don't do that. If I say no and change the subject, please let me.

So, I should have clarified that many of the statements bug me most of all when they're repeatedly said during a conversation that I keep trying to avoid. Or when, you know, they get hammered at us over Thanksgiving or Easter. Please don't put us into a situation where we end up telling you about our fertility issues; it just ends up making you feel awkward (it's happened) but when you keep repeating "why no kids?" "haven't you been married awhile" "don't you want a family" "kids are the best things ever - why wouldn't you want some of your own" it's likely that you'll end up having me tell you something you probably didn't want to know.

Maybe that's clearer?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Things That Make Me Happy

BooMama started it, and here's mine:
  1. FALL. I am so with her on this one. I love it and have been waiting anxiously for it to arrive. As far as I'm concerned, we could skip right over July & August.
  2. Playoff baseball. (Go Rays!)
  3. College football. (Go USF!*)
  4. Pro football. (Go Bucs! And Colts!) (NFC/AFC makes it so easy)
  5. The NHL is almost here. (Go Lightning!)
  6. Going to conferences for work that end up being more like a vacation than real work.
  7. Going out to eat while traveling for work and having it be covered by my per diem. Why yes, I would like a cocktail before dinner.
  8. Music.
  9. My iPod.
  10. Podcasts.
  11. Facebook. Yes, I've discovered it and it's been fun finding some old friends.
  12. Baking season. (See #1 above)
  13. Christmas is coming!
  14. My sweetie won his fantasy football league and wants to buy me gifts with his winnings. Score!
  15. My new trash basket in my office.
  16. Being told one day that my hair looked really good. (Is there anyone that doesn't make happy?)
  17. Reading great books.
  18. Reading fun books.
  19. Learning new things.
  20. Being able to use all the parenthesis I want and not getting comments from my teacher about the excessive amount in my writing.
  21. Kind comments after writing the hardest posts I've ever written (one and two).
*My college football allegiances are complicated and go by a hierarchy; after USF the SEC almost always rules (except Alabama and Arkansas), but I do have favorites amid the SEC (Florida). The Pac 10 is always at the bottom, except for Oregon State. The Big Ten varies. Ohio State & Michigan are both loathed (Ohio State more, just because of their player's obnoxiousness over "THE Ohio State University" during NFL introductions) but I'll root for the Hoosiers & Purdue if they're not playing another team I like more. The Big 12 is kind of ignored. The Big East is all despised except for USF.   And Miami is always hated.  Please.  The "U".  Gahhh.)  Yes, I realize I am somewhat obsessed and possibly need help.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September Books

Barbara Cleverly - The Palace Tiger

Elizabeth Berg - Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True

The Apologetics Study Bible - Mark

Laura Stack - The Exhaustion Cure: Up Your Energy from Low to Go in 21 Days

The Apologetics Study Bible - Numbers

Grudem & Ryken ... - Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation

Kate Ross - A Broken Vessel

Deanna Raybourn - Silent in the Sanctuary

Nancy Twigg - From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out

Bert Ghezzi - The Heart of a Saint: Ten Ways to Grow Closer to God

Tasha Alexander - And Only to Deceive

Margaret Kim Peterson - Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

Psalms (HCSB)

Jenifer LeClair - Rigged for Murder

James M. McPherson - Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg

Jill Price with Bart Davis - The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science

J. A. Jance - Birds of Prey

John Dickinson - The Cup of the World

Jan Burke - Goodnight Irene

Jay Rayner - The Man Who Ate The World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner

Josefa Crowe - Growing Up Under the Swastika: Why Hitler Wanted This Girl

Justin Kaplan - When the Astors Owned New York: Blue Bloods and Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age

John and Jean Silverwood - Black Wave: A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster that Saved Them

Jamie James - The Snake Charmer: A Life and Death in Pursuit of Knowledge

J. A. Jance - Breach of Duty

Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan - Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad

Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs