Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reading Challange Update

Last spring I gave myself a challenge. I will not buy any new books until I have read all the books in our house. I went through and catalogued all of our books and made a master list of those I haven't read. I excluded poetry books and my husbands philosophy/theology books that I didn't want to read, such as Wittgenstein and Kant.* Out of 600* some books in our house there are 204 I haven't read. I organized my master list into categories*, classic novels, modern novels, contemporary novels, beach novels, non-fiction and philosophy. When I finish a book on my list I cross it out and add the date I finished it. I like to see how I'm doing each category so I can make a point to read books from different genres.

So in 8 months I have read 12 of those 204 books. In short I need to step it up a notch. Part of the problem is I decide to go to the library and get Jen Lancaster or Emily Griffin instead of reading from my list. But a lot of my problem is since I started my new job I have been so tired in the evenings I've been watching more TV and reading less. Now that I'm more settled into my job I hope I can reverse that trend.

To better challenge/inspire myself i made a reading list for the year ahead. It's an ambitious list that I may or may not get through in one year but I might as well try. Here are the books I look forward to reading this year:

*As a philosophy major I read enough Kant to last me a lifetime during undergrad and Wittgenstein is just too hard.
*Yes we have 600 books not including poetry. yes we are dorks.
*can you say type A anyone...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

One of the things I really look forward to at Christmas, now that I am an adult, is helping to plan and cook Christmas eve dinner. Generally we spend Christmas eve with my mom and step father and the evening festivities center around an elaborate and over the top menu. My mom, sister and I research, plan and discuss to our hearts content. Then we cook, cook and cook, which is of course followed by much eating. Two years ago we did a pasta course, last year we made a prime rib, which was amazing, and this year...this year we are doing a southern dinner. On the menu:

Country Ham
Mashed Yams
Field peas and rice
corn pudding
green beans with bacon
homemade fudge bars
After eating we will open up presents and probably watch a Christmas movie. Mr. P and I will go to our 11pm candlelight service at Church. then at midnight we will drive an hour up river to my father and step mother's cabin to spend Christmas Day!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Have you all heard of Probably, since I tent to be behind the times. This site is a great find. It is a catalog of all TV shows/movies floating around on the inter webs for free. Want to watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls*? Feeling the need to relive the Buffy glory days? Need a Joey and Dawson fix? Looking for an obscure Disney Channel Original Movie or a Hallmark special from yesteryear's? Never fear all can be found on Granted the quality is sometimes bad, and on occasion it requires watching in Chinese with English subtitles, but its free, legal and only a click away.

* we all remember Tristan
*you know you are missing the classics, like Johny Tsunami, Picture Perfect and Smart House

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's that time of year...

for organizing. I know I know you are still thinking about gingerbread cookies, last minute Christmas gifts and what to wear on Christmas eve. And to some extent I am too. But I'm also thinking about post Christmas organizing. I'm sure you've already started receiving those January magazines in the mail with their picture perfect offices and linen closets that manage to both inspire and infuriate* you at the same time. I both love and hate this time of year. On the one hand I love the idea of organization. I love the idea of everything in it's place, of colorful file folders with whimsical labels and coordinating office supplies. But in reality my life is organized chaos at best. This year, however, is different. We, Chris and I, are determined to organize our lives. Which as of late have been less than organized. And this past month the lack of organization has lead to multiple fights. As Chris starts up a law practice, we are suddenly dealing with many complicated student loans, he's dealing with VA paperwork, I'm trying to deal with household paperwork and I'm working many more hours the old system (fragile at best) has collapsed. Last weekend when I was looking for articles on organizing household paper work I found this blog post. It has already helped me. It's simple, clear and effective.

I also found this, which overall sounds a little much but has, I think, a really brilliant component, a book for lists, ideas, and whatever. As I was reading this and thinking about it I remembered that in college I had a similar book it was for all of my philosophy notes and ideas. All class notes, reading notes, ideas for papers, outlines, questions, books to read, thinkers to look up, and other random notes lived in one black book that went everywhere with me. I think I need to re-introduce my this into my system. Right now what I have is a very fragmented system for keeping track of things, a lot is on my computer, a lot is in loose leaf papers floating around my desk and purse, and a lot is just living in my brain waiting to be forgoten. But how great is one book, half can be work related and half can be personal. There will be a section for to do lists, goals, notes, lists of books to read, things to look up, presents I want*, even my budget and financial planning could be pasted it. While these two ideas won't fix the chaos that is my life by themselves they are big steps in the right direction. What about you? What are your "organizing your life" tips?

*I mean really! no body's linen closet is that perfect and it is just plain rude to suggest to an overburdened overworked stressed out woman that hers should be
*I don't know about you but everyday of the year until the month of my birthday/Christmas I can think of 30 things i want, but the day a parent/sibling/husband asks what i want i become clueless. so I've started keeping a list.
*image found here

Monday, December 20, 2010


Lately, I have been watching a lot of TV. We don't have cable so we check out TV shows from the library. Usually we have a few shows lying around that we both like, things like Frasier, Cheers, Myth busters, and the Office, and some things I like that Mr. P won't watch. Mr. P works a lot of evenings and when he's working in the evening I usually curl up in bed (the only warm place in our house) and watch some TV. I mostly attribute this to how tired I am from work. My job is extremely stressful and it's both mentally and emotionally draining. By the time I finish working, get home, deal with home stuff (cooking, cleaning, laundry) I just don't have a lot of energy for much else and all I want to do is watch TV. I had been working my way through Gilmore Girls. Last night I watched the series finally and I mentioned I needed to select another show to watch when Mr. P said, "or maybe you could read a book, like you used to do." I have to say this comment really gave me pause. It wasn't mean or hurtful, in fact he was mostly joking, but it really made me think. Growing up we really didn't watch TV. I remember Full House and the Cosby show and TGIF and strategically going to friends houses on Tuesday/Wednesday nights to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's creek. In college I didn't have a TV at all. I went through 4 years of college with zero television. Then after college when Mr. P and I were engaged I had no TV.

In recent years though my TV habits have been growing. But my reading has continued, in 2009 despite having cable for most of the year I still read 25 books. So what happened now? I have finished a sum total of 3 book since I started my new job 10 weeks ago and all three have been chick lit. How do I find the right balance where I can still put so much energy into work but not turn into mush at home? I have to say that the more I think about this trend the more concerned I am. What happens when we want to have children? when we buy our own house and have to take care of it? I guess in the short term I need to make more of an effort to sit down and read a book.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

what's on my mind

Lately, I have neglected my blog. I have all of these aspirations of what I want my blog to be and needless to say my follow through is lacking. I want my blog to be a daily refection of my thoughts. What is going on in my mind and how it is responding to my life.

So here are some Thursday thoughts:

I love Chinese food. As much as I love all food I'm pretty sure I could live on Chinese food and tacos and be a happy camper.

I am looking forward to going to my Mom's house tonight to eat tacos and watch Love Actually.

I used to hate The Office, I didn't think it was funny and Michael just stressed me out, but it has wormed it's way into my heart and now I love it.

We once again have no Internet or cable. We temporarily had Internet but once again decided against it. There is something really refreshing about coming home to no Internet or TV. It forces you to interact, read, walk, clean house, visit with friends and so on.

Don't get me wrong we still watch TV. We check out TV shows from the library. Right now we are watching Myth Busters, The Office, Cheers, and Gilmore Girls (I am, Mr. P refuses).

I am adjusting to my job. I still love it and find it stressful, but I feel like I am returning bit by bit to my normal home life. I'm reading more, picking up more, walking. This is good. For the first couple of months it was just work work work collapse.

I found my dream couch at crate and barrel this weekend then almost started crying when the sales girl told me it was being discontinued. So sad.

I am having a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I honestly feel like it is just one more thing I have to do. And I am having a hard time focusing on the true holiday. This is really sad, I know. I'm not even sending out Christmas cards this year. I am however looking forward Christmas Eve service and getting out of town for a few days.

Tomorrow is the third day in a row I have to be at work by 7am. Needless to say, I am super excited for Saturday and some extra sleep!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white...Thanksgiving?

As a native Oregonian here in the Willamette Valley I grew up dreaming, in vain, of a White Christmas. In reality I never experienced this phenomena until I was 22, engaged to Mr. P, and spending Christmas in his home town in Eastern Oregon where the snow is abundant. Those of you familiar with the valley know that Christmas is rainy rather than white.

Therefore it was to my awe and surprise last week as we drove east on I-84 into a white winter wonderland. I wish I could have taken pictures from the car. We were driving from Portland, Oregon where we had met up with Mr. P's parents and their snow tires, to Walla Walla, WA. What should have been a 4 hour drive turned into a 6 hour drive over solid ice. However, it was perhaps the most beautiful drive I have every been on. While we've driven east many times in the winter usually the snow doesn't start until you hit the Blue Mountains or maybe Pendelton. Due last weeks storm across the Pacific Northwest the entire Colombia Gorge was blanked in snow and delicate ice cycles had formed along the various rock formations. It was simply breathtaking.
We arrived in Walla Walla to a frigid 0 degrees and 6 inches of snow and woke up to this:
Our Thanksgiving started with a snow walk. Then we watched the parade, cooked, ate, watched football. We ended the day with a classic, The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Friday we watched our #1 Oregon Ducks beat Arizona. Assuming a win against our instate rival, the Beavers, Saturday we are headed to the National Championship for the first time!!!! I have to say that while I remember a lot of exciting football seasons here in Eugene, with two Rose Bowl trips and the Joey Harrington years, there has never been a better year to be a Duck!