Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movies Watched in January 2010

Here is a new feature on my blog. I will list the movies I've seen monthly - even if they're embarrassing. I like bad movies. I'll admit it. I will not count watching TV on DVD or TV movies. This will count movies I've seen in the theater and movies I've rented. This was a big month for our Netflix account.

  1. Confessions of a Shopaholic
  2. Up
  3. Duplicity
  4. Sherlock Holmes
  5. The Hurt Locker
  6. Iron Man
  7. Post Grad

Sherlock Holmes was the one movie I saw in the theater. I enjoyed it a lot. I found it amusing and would go see the sequel. The Hurt Locker was my attempt to see some of the movies nominated during Awards Season. I liked it, but I actually liked it more the next day after I had time to digest and think about it.

Books Read in January 2010

  1. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (NOTE: The author website is in French. Google offered to translate for me though.)
  2. Lake Magic by Kimberly Fisk
  3. Simon Says Mommy by Kay Stockham (NOTE: This book is part of the Tulanes of Tennessee series. You can find the order here. I will admit that you won't be lost if you just pick up a book as this is the only book I read in the series.)
  4. Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (NOTE: This is book 3 of Victoria Dahl's contemporary series. You can find the order here.. You don't need to read the books in order, but I think it helps.)
  5. Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood (NOTE: This is part of the Bard Academy series. The order can be found here.)

I finished a successful mainstream fiction run this month and went back to romance. Kimberly Fisk's novel was a perfect return to the genre for me. It's been a long time since I've read a book that was just straight-up romance. It was perfectly sweet but full of unique characters that you understood and liked throughout the book even if you may not have liked them in the beginning. It's her debut novel, and I can't wait for the next book. Simon Says Mommy was really cute and a little heavier than I anticipated when I started. My only complaint is the title. Simon bonds perfectly well with the heroine. It was more of a milestone when he said "Daddy". Lead Me On was perfect for a weekend read. I really like Victoria Dahl's style of writing. It's an easy style, but she still manages to tackle serious subjects without bringing the reader down. Last, but not least, I read Wuthering High which is a Young Adult novel. It's a boarding school that is run by dead authors and has fictional characters roaming around. I definitely think I would have liked it if I was a huge Wuthering Heights fan. As it is, I had to do a little cheating and look up the novel online to truly get a lot of the references. I'm looking forward to the follow-up books. I don't foresee February being a big reading month, but we'll see. I also should get my new eReader so I'll review that next month, too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

To Whom it May Concern

Years ago, if you had a question or complaint for a company, you'd write a letter. My sister was famous for her great letter-writing campaigns (and darned if she didn't get free stuff galore). However, nowadays, there are many venues that allow you to vent, company websites, etc. I read an article this morning that had the results of letter-writing and phone calls and listed products that were brought back to the market after the consumers complained. One such example was New Coke which is infamous. However, on a much more minor scale, Tropicana recently encountered the wrath of the consumer. You can read more here. Basically, they changed the design of the package. That's it. The orange juice was the same. People went crazy! Now, I wasn't pleased because it made it very difficult to find the kind of juice I prefer. All the containers looked the same versus before and now where I can buy the blue-top orange juice. In short, Tropicana changed its containers back so as not to make loyal customers angry. My question is: have you ever called a company to complain, wrote a letter or an email? If so, what was the result?

I previously mentioned the last time I contacted a manufacturer about some bugs in my food. It was very prompt in its response and sent cash (whereas I expected just a coupon to replace the product I purchased). In addition, the grocery store in which I purchased the item also replaced the food as well. (On a sidenote, I've always received excellent customer service at our grocery store -
Harris Teeter). However, I generally won't complain too much and, the times I did, received no response. Customer service, I feel is the most important yet most overlooked aspect of an organization.

Smarterest Kid ... er, in the House!

Little Miss has an alphabet puzzle (which is currently missing an "O" and "R" so if you see them, please return them). She's pretty good at completing certain letters of the puzzle. Under each wooden letter, there's a photo and word beginning with the letter. "U" is for "Uncle". Because this is a word she knows, I made a big deal of this so now she picks up the letter and says "unca" or "uncle". She's getting to the age where she says words closer to the correct pronunciation which is a nice step but sad to see her quirks disappear. Last week, she dumped the puzzle sending letters flying. She picked up the "U" and kept saying "unca unca unca" over and over again. I was telling her how smart she was, the smartest kid ever. Then, she goes to put the letter in place and puts in upside down. So, maybe not smartest ever but totally smart, smarter than I most days at least.

Similarly, we were at the mall awhile ago and a woman was asking her what color things were. She had a blue cat. Little Miss pointed and went "blue". The woman was very impressed. She pointed to a purple goat and Little Miss pointed and went "blue". Should have stopped while she was ahead.

Sexy Friday

This is the last of the WB/CW stars for Sexy Friday. For a short time, the network had a show called Related which was about the lives of three sisters. It was the dad from My So-Called Life so I was totally in. It was a really cute show, but it was one of those shows that didn't really fit in with the network (or any network really). It was sweet and quirky. Another reason I watched the show was for Callum Blue who I have followed to many shows - Dead Like Me, The Tudors, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The movies never seem to resonate with me as much as his television characters, but I did enjoy him in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and what's not to like? It was Callum Blue and Chris Pine along with Anne Hathaway, pictured below. I can't say I've seen Anne Hathaway in everything she's done, but I think she's a great actress and transitioned well from teen to adult which is sometimes difficult. Plus, I loved her on The Simpsons. I don't watch the show often, but I checked out the 20th anniversary episode, and she was fabulous. Also of note was her episode of Saturday Night Live. In a dismal year, hers was one of the top 5 episodes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Girls vs. Boys.

I was, and still am, of the mindset that both boys and girls are difficult to raise. They each have their own challenges. Add in personality and each individual child is full of surprises. I, as you know, only have a girl, but ever since we knew the gender, people would be like "oooh, a girl, you'll have your hands full" and this was usually from parents of boys. I'll admit it. It kind of offended me because I don't think girls are much more difficult. Maybe it's because I was a girl so I feel that should give me some kind of advantage.

This article is pretty interesting, and I've read similar articles every so often. I think, in part, boys and girls are wired differently, but I do agree and never really thought about that the fact that we, as a culture and as parents, treat them differently whether we mean to or not. I was about to say earlier that boys are more rough and tumble which may be true in general, but Little Miss runs, throws, kicks and falls just as much as the next kid which goes to prove that we go into gender with a mindset. I will say that I feel like girls are slightly easier in terms of opportunity. You can give a girl a doll, a tool set or a ball. She can dance, play soccer, or draw. However, if you have a boy that dances and carries his doll around, people look at him a little sideways when it could just be a phase.

I actually think personality has to do with more than gender. Little Miss is totally stubborn and, being an only child, is used to having the world revolve around her and getting her way. So, when she hears no or we remind her that the world does not revolve around her, anything can happen. That's normal though. On the other hand, she can be a people pleaser, too. She loves positive feedback. She gets such a smile when she hears she's a good girl.

So, parents of both genders, what do you find easier or do you think it just comes down to your child's personalities?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend Update - The End of the Road

Last weekend flew by. Friday was a quiet night - leftovers for dinner, tv and bed. On Saturday, I had plans to go to the zoo, but Husband said he'd go with us for the official Farewel to Tai Shan so we're going next weekend. So, Husband had a work function on Saturday while Little Miss and I played and then she took a nice, long nap while I read. I also dressed Little Miss in an old outfit that used to be mine. My dad bought it so I quickly texted him a photo. This one is a little better than the one I texted him.

On Sunday, I got to sleep late which was fantastic. Later, Husband went to a bar to watch the Jets game while Little Miss and I walked to the mall and went grcoery shopping. Our Jets clothes evidently didn't give them any luck as it was the end of the road for them. You can see our Jets clothes below. I should have closed the shower curtain before timing the photo. The bathroom has the best light in our apartment so lots of photos are taken in there, but I usually take photos in the opposite part of the room. Here's for a relaxing week because next weekend is busy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Do you like the pie plate?

Isn't it pretty?

Don't you want it?

If you do, visit Joyously Living Life. The blog is having a contest and giving a fabulous pink pie plate away. If I win, I want to make a strawberry pie when strawberries are in season. I can't bake, but I try. I'd love to at least be able to bake one thing well. Whether I win or not, I'll keep trying.

Sexy Friday

To continue with this month's theme, I started with one of my favorite WB actors, Scott Foley from Felicity. I know he's done other things, but I can't say I followed them until I saw him on Scrubs. I was also pleased to see him make an appearance on Cougar Town. I'm only sad that his run looks like it's over. So, as one who has almost been on Sexy Friday in the past many times, I also chose Sarah Chalke, also from Scrubs. I do love a good theme and should do them more often. I could have sworn she's been on Sexy Friday before, but I've checked the list and the blog and can't find her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Did Someone Ask for an Exorcism?

Last night, Little Miss came home and fell asleep almost immediately which was odd, but if she's tired, she's tired. Around the time Husband started to make dinner (around 8:00), he heard something and yelled to me. I ran into Little Miss's room and it was a disaster. She threw up all over the bed, her stuffed animals, herself, the crib, the floor. It was unnatural. I have to imagine her head spun around in order for her to get the mess in as many places as she did. It was the foulest thing I've ever seen or smelled. I swear I still have that smell in my nose this morning. She had it coming out of her nose and was just sobbing. I picked her up and exited the room as soon as possible. I cleaned up Little Miss and just let her hang out in her diaper. Within 5 minutes, she was playing. She ran around the room and sat down with her tools. Above is an edited photo of her and her tools - her new favorite toy. Meanwhile, here is a shot of Husband taking apart the entire nursery before doing the laundry. If you ask me, I had the better end of the deal. I'm glad Little Miss waited until Husband was back in town to be sick.

I should mention that Little Miss fell asleep with us on the couch quite awhile after (she couldn't stop playing and we made her eat a little and drink a little to see if the stomach pyrotechnics were over for the night). This morning, she seemed back to normal.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Update - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Husband left town on Friday morning to return this evening so it was just Little Miss and me. On Friday night, we played and then I had every intention of cleaning. Instead, we played and then I watched a movie.

On Saturday, Little Miss slept in a bit which was very nice of her. Then, she woke up, we watched a little television, had breakfast and then she took a very short nap. I actually did clean this time. In the afternoon, she had lunch and then played while I finished cleaning. In the evening, my friends came over and had dinner with Little Miss and me. Then, we popped popcorn, chatted and watched
Glee on DVD. After they left, I cleaned up again and went to bed.

On Sunday, Little Miss slept very late which was extremely nice of her. We had a light breakfast and then went to the mall to met up with Sister and Nephew for lunch. The kids played and each received a treat. Little Miss received her first tool set, and she loves it. On the way home, Little Miss fell asleep and stayed asleep for a little over 2 hours. My friends came back over. We had dinner, popped more popcorn, and watched the Golden Globes. I had just enough to drink to wish I had a little less the next morning, but it was fun. Last night, I went to bed instead of cleaning up so there is an extremely messy apartment waiting for me at home. I'll be a little whirlwind tonight and clean before Husband comes home.

The weekend was fun, but it went by quickly! Only tentative plans for next weekend so we'll see what it will bring.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sexy Friday

Today's Sexy Friday has strange origins. I've been obsessive over Phineas and Ferb lately. At first, I found the show kind of loud and annoying, but it's quite clever. Anyway, Kelly Hu is one of the voices. I could have sworn she was already Sexy on a Friday, but I couldn't find her so maybe she was in the running and never made the final cut. So, once I had her, I looked up her Internet resume and, assuming it is correct, see that she is going to be on an episode of The Vampire Diaries which also stars Ian Somerhalder. So, he and his gorgeous eyes are also part of Sexy Friday. I've only really seen him in The Rules of Attraction, but it looks like he's been in and out of shows I've seen before. I will also admit that, up until 5 minutes ago, I totally thought he was someone else (or someone else was him). Either way, sexy is sexy.

I should also take this opportunity to say that this month has a theme. It was quite accidental, but it's a theme nonetheless. Last week featured someone from
Supernatural, this week is The Vampire Diaries. I won't spoil the next couple of weeks, but at least one of the actors featured is from a show from either the WB or CW network.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scream!

We watch a lot of television. We do. Separately, together, television shows, movies, sports, news, awards shows - you name it, we've probably seen it once (with the exception of almost all reality shows). The entire television industry is almost a hobby for us. However, real life does occasionally get in the way of our television. As with most of the universe, we rarely watch television live. We record everything and then watch whenever we want and fast forward through all commercials (or, in my case, boring parts of shows). Lately, the DVR is getting increasingly full. It's quite overwhelming. It's actually stressful to see the shows pile up. It's usually easy for us to keep up, but in the last few years, less and less of our shows have been cancelled. This is unusual for us. Our shows should thin out between the next two years and we're not adding many new ones, but in the meantime, it's killer. I understand the world has bigger problems than ours, but it totally stresses me out to see that my available space to record programming gets smaller and smaller everyday. Conversely, it totally excites me to see the percentage of space increase when I delete something. Deleting something is equal to crossing something off my To Do List.

Does this happen to anybody else or do you have something mundane over which you obsess?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Update - Where Did It Go?

First, the photo is from last Thursday which is technically not the weekend, but I didn't take any pictures last weekend. She always looks so pained, but she's really screaming "CHEESE!" at the top of her lungs.

On Friday, Little Miss went to bed early. I popped in a movie and settled down to enjoy my night home with complete control over the television while Husband was out of town. I ended up going to bed fairly early. Little Miss woke up on time the next morning. We had a good morning. She ate breakfast, took a nap, ate lunch. She colored. Husband came home, and she was very glad to see him. She took another nap while Husband went to watch football at a local bar. Then, Little Miss woke up, we had dinner, and then she took a bath and asked to go to bed. I finished my book club book for the month (3 weeks early!) and went to bed very early.

On Sunday, I was allowed to sleep late, but I couldn't. I woke up early anyway. I didn't do anything, but I woke up. When Little Miss went for her nap, I showered and got ready to leave. Husband watched Little Miss while I met a friend for lunch at
Panera and a movie (Sherlock Holmes. Then, I came home, ate dinner, and watched tv with the boy. Very low key.

The weekend went obscenely quick, and most of the next two months is planned out already so it seems like 2010 will fly by just as quickly as 2009. Oh, well, all good, I hope.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

Since Thursday, it's just been Little Miss and me. Well, that said, Thursday and Friday, I did go to work so it hasn't been non-stop. She's been excellent, very lovey, well-behaved and even going to bed early. Today, we did some arts and crafts. She colored more of herself than she did of the paper (though she's pretty good at keeping the coloring to paper). Her hands were all green. They are washable markers so the green bled onto everything. She ate lunch with her fingers and turned her chicken green. She took a nap with her hands by her mouth and, after drooling, woke up with a green mouth and green teeth. I know that, at any point, I could have taken a washcloth to her, but I figured she'd be coloring more later and I'd have to repeat the process many times. I'll just give her a bath tonight and clean once. It is kind of amusing to see her green. I keep calling her my little Hulk. It's been fun spending time with her even if I'm the mother of the Dirty Kid.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Giving In To the Chaos

Most of the time, I wait until Little Miss is asleep to do household chores, or I wait until Husband can keep an eye on her. However, Husband is out of town for a couple of days. I wanted to surprise him with a clean house so I was going to start by folding the linens and then work on deconstructing Christmas. Last night, I decided to fold a pile of linens - tablecloths, napkins, a few sets of sheets. I quickly found out that there was a reason I waited until after bedtime to do my chores. Little Miss decided folding sheets was so much more fun than any of her toys or television. I know there is only one Little Miss, but either way, I did not get the result below.Once I gave into the fact that her idea of "helping" was hiding under the sheets while I folded them or jumping on top of them while I laid them out to fold, I just gave up. We just played. I did a one-person parachute and we'd huddle underneath and giggle while the sheet floated down on top of us. It gave us a lot of laughs and let me let go of the stress of finishing a chore. The fun was worth it. Plus, boy, did it tire her out. At one point, the sheet floated to the ground and Little Miss took off her pants and just curled up on the sheet as if going to bed. (Lately, Little Miss takes off her clothes at any given moment. This only concerns us because it's cold! The other night, she was in fuzzy pjs and, when we went in to check on her before we went to bed, she was only in her diaper.) So, I left the last few sheets on the floor and took the cue and put her in bed. However, before bed, I managed to take a couple of photos from under the sheets - one is the photo of the day and another is below:

Sexy Friday

Thanks for bearing with me while I took the holidays off. If you know me at all, this Sexy Friday can't be a surprise. About a year ago, Jensen Ackles was chosen for Sexy Friday so it's only fair that Jared Padalecki be granted the same honor. It was announced this week that Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese are engaged. So, what better engagement present than to be named on Sexy Friday and kick off 2010? I was totally a fan of Jared Padalecki on Gilmore Girls until his character cheated on his wife and then I thought he was kind of icky after that. That said, I did watch him in a few movies and followed him to Supernatural which one of the few shows I own on DVD and one of the few shows that just gets better and better. Genevieve Cortese was also on Supernatural. Technically, I do watch her on FlashForward, too, but her role is so small, I always forget it's her. So, congratulations to the couple! Marriage is fantastic, but Sexy Friday - now, that's an honor.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Perfect Gift for Little Miss!

We're in the process of figuring out how to pay for preschool and this isn't really a necessity item (especially considering I already bought her birthday shirt for next October on clearance), but it's so perfect. That said, for $12.95 + S&H, I could totally buy big so she can wear it in a few years. If you'd like to contribute to the Little Miss wardrobe, you can find the shirt here. My only issue is that it's one word away from being Miss October which sounds dirty to me. She already likes to take her clothes off constantly. It's a slippery slope.