December Dailies 8-9-10

I should have just named this month “December Wrestling Blog” because that is what it is turning out to be. Yesterday was high-school wrestling, today is a high-school wrestling tournament, and tomorrow is youth wrestling.

Tonight, though, is also Bookclub Dinner Out night, which I am very much looking forward to. Every time we meet, we put dues of $2.32 in our “can” and we are finally breaking into that puppy and putting it to good use. Though I will be at the tournament all day, I will meet up with the ladies for drinks and dinner and hopefully some karaoke after. Hooray.

I’ll just have to keep it on my mind that I need to get up early the next morning and drive 45 minutes to a tournament.

This morning I woke up at 6am and took Bowzer for a walk, anticipating a long day and the need to immediately perk up my brain. It was cold, but once I trudged up the hill I warmed up immensely. My thighs, though, were feeling the numb/fire of the wind whipping against them in my pajama bottoms (yes, I went there with myself). In fact, an hour later and they are still thawing out.

Book Review – A Reliable Wife

The joy of picking out a new book never escapes me. Unless I have a book club read lined up. But, if I haven’t read it I’m usually excited for the change of scenery in book choice (like this time).

Just finished:

A Reliable Wife

There is a reason why I had to have a glass of wine in my hand every time I picked up this book. Or at least an oppressive cloud of boredom hanging over my head. This read like a Harlequin novel “dressed up” as historical fiction. Violent, sexually-repressed man places order for a “reliable wife” – shady lady with a plan answers ad. The plot thickens (or gets incredibly soap opera-ish from there). If it weren’t for my obsessive-compulsive need to finish books when I start them, (and the ability to trade paperbacks online) I would have used it for kindling in the firepit. It seemed to have decent reviews, so maybe it’s just me. I really don’t know. Don’t care.  Done. Next!

Now starting:

The Lords of Discipline

This is a book club pick.

You can see all of the books I’ve read so far this year on my 2011 Books I’ve Read list.

Book List 2011

I haven’t been very good about keeping track of the books I’ve read so far this year. As much as I’d like to make a separate entry for one and do a little write-up, a little late night sit-down with a glass of wine will have to do.

I’m doing these based on the 3-star scale (see sidebar).

The Art of Racing in the Rain
I liked this. I know nothing about racing or race cars, I enjoy dogs, but am not obsessed with them. I liked this book. Still think about Enzo sometimes, especially when I look at my little doggie, sucking in air through his nose, taking in the world.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Held my interest, but didn’t grab me. Seemed like there were peices of the puzzle that were left hanging. With so much detail in the book, it was frustrating that some parts were so vague (like the uncle/brother development).

Prayers for Sale
Cute, likeable enough, looked forward to reading it. Enjoyed a “happy ending” for once (sorry if that gives anything away —  I didn’t say why it’s “happy”). But… it wasn’t a book that floored me. This is terrible, but (confession) sometimes I got sick of storytime. I realize that it is probably intended to excite the reader as it did Nit, but I had to keep my eyes from rolling.

The Catcher in the Rye
Gosh, I don’t just want to give a 3-star rating away, but this was pretty darn close. It has what makes a classic. Wasn’t my favorite story, the ending wasn’t perfect, but the writing was fantastic.

The Help
Liked it. Fun enough book to read. It was one of my bookclub books (just like the ‘Prayers one), and I was thrilled because there a story behind it. (If you’re Nit from Prayers for Sale, get excited.) This is a popular book. Library was out of it. Paperbackswap has a long wait list. On a whim I tried Half-price Books, they had one copy. I didn’t really want to spend the money on it, but my searching at St. Vinnie’s and Goodwill hadn’t panned out. As I flipped through the book, I noticed water damage. The clerk said I could have some money off. I continued to contemplate, and then noticed what looked like mustard stains. “Hotdog while reading?” The clerk lowered the price even more, though she said it was such a popular book they could probably still get twice to three times the price she was offering me – maybe more. I hemmed, I yawned, I got the book for 3 bucks. Works.

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

This was a good read. At times I had to kind of “choke” it down (very explicit), but I found it much like The Catcher in the Rye with the first-person narrative that sucks you in to the point of feeling like you’re walking alongside the character. I still have not seen the movie, Push, based on the book. I don’t know if I want to, honestly.

A Reliable Wife

There is a reason why I had to have a glass of wine in my hand every time I picked up this book. Or at least an oppressive cloud of boredom hanging over my head. This read like a Harlequin novel “dressed up” as historical fiction. Violent, sexually-repressed man places order for a “reliable wife” – shady lady with a plan answers ad. The plot thickens (or gets incredibly soap opera-ish from there). If it weren’t for my obsessive-compulsive need to finish books when I start them, (and the ability to trade paperbacks online) I would have used it for kindling in the firepit. It seemed to have decent reviews, so maybe it’s just me. I really don’t know. Don’t care.  Done. Next!

The Lords of Discipline

This was a book club pick. It was decent.

Jane Eyre

I liked this book. I hung around with me for quite some time after reading it.


Grasping Euchre

Despite my not feeling well, I made it to a neighbor’s house for a couple hours for a little post-Thanksgiving cheer. I had been hoping to be feeling better, but this cold is kicking my booty. I brought along a batch of the Girlfriend’s Graham Cookies with me, fresh from the oven. Two days prior I had mistakenly made the batter, thinking I was making Magic Bars (same ingredients, different method). No way was I going to chuck the batter! I just covered it and stuck it in the fridge. Glad I did, because it came in handy.

Frank and I, and the twins, went over. We had a jolly nice time. The hostess is one of the ladies from bookclub. There was one other bookclub person there (a few more were invited, but hadn’t come). I sipped water, and had a wine-7up, and a small glass of bubbly for a birthday toast. We had finger foods, and I met some people I did not know, caught up with one I hadn’t seen in years.

And I played a bit of Euchre.

The weekend of our bookclub retreat I played Euchre. I’ve been trying to learn for years (unfortunately it is rare, and strangely happens only when I’ve had a couple drinks and there’s not much learning in me). I’ve learned Spades and Poker, but can’t seem to grasp Euchre. This time, I played with a “helper” who didn’t know much, but knew more than I did.

The majority of my hands were horrid, I didn’t feel well, and we ended up losing. But, I’m watching and learning.

I went home a bit early, Frank stayed a little later.


Well, I did end up going along on the trip, making it through OK. Feeling a little bit better, but still tired. I had a really nice time. We didn’t have the entire bookclub group with us, which was unfortunate, but it actually worked out alright that way. There were six of us. We fit around the table, we fit in one vehicle, and the cross-talk at the table was pretty minimal. Mostly what we did was talk, too. We sang some karaoke, played a little cards. But talking was the main attraction.

It didn’t cost too much, either. One lunch out, gas money to both the drivers, pitched in on dinner and breakfast (pizzas and appetizers for dinner, eggs for breakfast). It was all perfect. Well. I shouldn’t say that. It wasn’t entirely perfect. But we’ve agreed that what happened at the overnight stays there.

Oh, and they liked the Pumpkin Dump Cake.

Problem Solved

I’m going. I’m going to do it. I don’t feel 100% better, though, so I hope it isn’t a huge mistake. But I figure if I feel icky here I’m going to feel icky there. Right? Sort of. Something like that. I don’t know. I’m packed and ready. I want to go. I’d rather not sit home and feel sick. I think. Gah.

Yesterday I decided to whip up a Pumpkin Dump Cake to take along. I don’t really like going to someones house like that empty-handed. As much as I enjoyed that cake, I figured the girls (there I go again) would, too. I also figured it would be budget-friendly since I had the ingredients on hand. Or so I thought.

I brought out my bowl and mixed up my pumpkin and spices. Oh, golly, gee. There’s that call for condensed milk again. The first time I made it I ran down to the pantry (I say “pantry” but really it’s just some steel shelving in our garage that we load up canned goods on) to grab a can of the milk. I knew I had one, if not two. I sure did. And they both expired back in 1845. Goodness. Trash those. I had just been to the store, and really didn’t feel like going again. I searched the ‘net for viable alternatives, but none of them pleased me. So I made my own. I used regular milk. There ya go. I had contemplated coconut milk, but decided that was straying too far from the path.

Well yesterday I couldn’t remember what I used in place of the condensed milk. Sour cream? What? What did I use? I didn’t want to mess it up, and, since Frank was on a run to pick up a pizza (Groupon deal, large for $6), I called my mommy to see if she had a spare can. She sure did. Mommy to the rescue. Called Frank, who had to circle back, to pick up the can.

Problem solved.

I melted my butter in the microwave, and went to grab my yellow cake mix. Hmm. I did have one, didn’t I? Not in the cupboard. Not below… so.. yeah. No. I didn’t have one. So much of making a recipe with stuff I already had.

Called mommy. Again. She didn’t even try not to laugh at me, and because she’s the queen of having extra baking supplies on hand, she sent my husband home with that, too.

Problem solved. Or so I thought.

Frank gets home, I finish off my mix, add the wet stuff to the pan, add the cake mix, pat-pat-pat it down, and put it in the oven; set the timer for 45min.

Half an hour later, Carlito goes to warm his spaghetti in the microwave and says, “What is this?”

“What’s what?” I called from my perch on the couch.

“This yellow stuff, grouse, in the microwave. I can throw it out”

Yellow stuff? MY BUTTER!!! “Nooooooooooooooooo!!”

I forgot my butter, dagnabbit. You can’t complete a recipe without butter. I contemplated throwing myself down the stairs, or hightailing it in to the kitchen to view the disaster that was awaiting me. Begrudgingly I took the butter from my son’s hands, and opened the oven. It looked OK. It smelled fantastic. Here goes nothing.

Butter poured, back in the oven for 10 more minutes. The end verdict is that it looks fine. I’m apprehensive because I made it in a throw-away pan, which I haven’t done before, and I let it sit in the oven longer than it should have. We shall see. It’s still coming with me on the trip.

Verbose Derailment

This weekend I’m supposed to be going on a little “getaway” with some girls from my bookclub. Oh goodness. I called them girls. We are definitely not girls, so I suppose my age is showing. When I start calling them gals (like my mom) we’ll all know that I’ve passed the summit and rounding down the other side of the hill. At any rate, me and the ladies from book club, about half of the club, are traveling off a couple hours away to stay over a night. We’re all pretty cheap, so we’re staying at a father’s house of one of the members. He’s gone, so it’s not creepy or anything. It’s a small town, and there’s really no reason we’d be traveling there besides simply wanting to GET AWAY and have some girl time.

I don’t even know what it will all entail, to be honest. I know there will be wine, and I know a karaoke machine is coming along. I know I will be sleeping on my air-mattress (which I love).

I also know that, as Murphy’s Law would have it, yesterday I started to feel like crap.

It came on at work, really, and thank goodness my boss is out of town for a couple of days or she would have drug-tested me for sure. But I was sitting at my desk, head on my hand and my eyes started rolling back in my head. At least I felt like they were. And then I my nose kind of made that scuffy, lazy snort sound that it makes when you’re just about to fall asleep, your breath is getting deep and you’re, like, mentally tucking yourself into bed.

I swear I hibernated for ten seconds without knowing it.

My lids closed, and I’m thinking, If I let myself go, I could SO totally fall asleep right now, right here, baby. It was a battle of the wills to decide which was worse, staying awake and feeling like I was nodding off, or giving in to the sick curiosity. Because I was curious. Could I really, seriously fall asleep? Right there on my hand? At my desk? At work? My head faced away from the door, so maybe nobody would notice. But then, what if I really went hard and started snoring, drooling, and grinding my teeth like I do at home? And what if someone came to the door and I didn’t realize it? Worse yet, what if I realized it and thought I was acting all normal, but my eyes were red, my face blotchy where my hand had been, and they secretly held in their heart witness that I snore so loudly you can hear it down the hall with the door closed?

So, no. I shook my head and said “no” out loud to make sure I knew that I was going to tough it out. Popped a few candies from my jar, got up and walked around a little. And felt some gurgling in my tummy.


Last night wasn’t much better. I made dinner, and ate with the family (I find it best to act normal when sick), but then I made the couch my own and didn’t move from it. Our friends stopped by and asked if we wanted to walk down to the bowling alley for some munchies and beer– something I’d normally all over like monkeys picking back-bugs, but I surrendered to my physical suffering. Frank went on ahead with the twins and Lootie, and I brushed my teeth, put in my mouth guard (I wasn’t kidding about the teeth grinding thing), grabbed my latest Netflix and headed off to my bed with the dog.

I’ma tell you right now, if you are already suffering a physical ailment, the movie Cop Out will not make it any better. Although it works almost as good as Nyquil in putting you to sleep, if you can get over the anger in realizing that you actually paid to rent the DVD (and to think, I wanted to see it in the theatre!). I had high hopes, but it was all formula. Bruce Willis doesn’t even try to act, since he’s done just about every scene already once if not thrice in other cop movies. Cop argues with goofy sidekick partner. Cop botches bust. Cops have to give up badge. Cop has bad home life situation. Cop is a victim of wrong-doing. Cop takes vengeance into his own hands. Bla-bla-bla.

Verbose derailment. Story of my life!

My point is, I felt icky. I awoke feeling icky, and late for work. Showering didn’t help, save for the steamy seclusion notifying me to the condition my sinuses (full) and they were going to erupt. I had all but surrendered to the fact that I probably wasn’t going on the girls getaway. I emailed the hostess to give her a heads up. I whined to my husband. I began to hand out invitations to my pity party. I went to work, stopping to get a FREE FRIDAY COFFEE from Burger King (free small coffee, no purchase required, through the month of November). I threw in a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit since I had forgotten to eat breakfast.

I went to work. I slowly started to feel a bit better. No runs to the ladies room, no curling under my desk to catnap. A little spacey, a little dizzy, but nothing a couple glasses of wine and some mean karaoke can’t cure I hope! We’ll see. Pictures forthcoming. Maybe.