Monday, February 18, 2008
Valentine's Day can have a pretty bad rap. Forced romance can really go horribly wrong. But I do like the idea behind it, and done with the right attitude, it can be a lot of fun. We don't put pressure on each other to spend a lot of money and have a picture perfect evening. We do what we can, and mostly just enjoy putting aside a day to just focus on the two of us. The past few years Anthony and I have had a pretty low key Valentine's Day. We were either busy, or didn't have a lot of extra money to spend. Last year we had just moved into the house so we didn't exchange gifts, just had sushi for dinner and relaxed. It was wonderful.
This year I had time to put up a few Valentine's Day decorations around the house. My cousin and my mom found some old pink and red ornaments while they were cleaning out grandma's house, so I found some branches and hung the ornaments up, and kept out my red glassware. I got a few red candle holders and put the rest of the ornaments into a vase. Very simple, but it turned out well I think.
I got Anthony a really nice button down shirt, some white tulips, his favorite cologne, and I made homemade chocolate covered cherries. I found an amazing little copper colored embossed "leather" box to put the candy in at Target. And a monkey. A little tiny stuffed monkey. Because every year for every birthday/holiday/gift giving occasion, he asked what I got him. And every year, I tell him "a monkey". So this year, it was true.
And he seriously went all out for me this year, which I wasn't expecting at all. He got up at his normal time and pretended to go into work. But he actually spent the whole day getting things ready. I came home to curtains in the living room (something we've been looking for forever), 200 tealight candles lit, a fireplace screen saver on the tv, three dozen sweetheart roses, a sushi dinner arranged on the coffee table, and an mp3 player.
I try to keep the smushy romantic stuff to a dull roar on here, but I have to gush about it this year. The flowers and mp3 were amazing, but the amount of time he put into planning and setting it up was what blew me away. Especially because he gets so much enjoyment out of the surprise. I have to say, I seriously love that guy.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
There are never enough books available. I am always running out. And there are only so many times I can re-read them. If I were ever forced to pick my two favorites, I would probably have to choose Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I've probably read each of them a dozen times. I have stacks and stacks of books, and most I’ve read at least twice. By the time I hit middle school, I’d read almost every book in the children and young adult sections of the library. And it was an amazing library. Not a two-bit, half-staffed library with three quarters of the shelves empty. There were fantastic librarians who kept the shelves full of books. I still managed to wipe it out. I moved on to the adult section and had worked my way through a decent portion of it by the time I graduated from high school. I will admit there is a library that defeated me. The one on MSU’s campus was too big for me to really make a dent in. Then again, there were an awful lot of books that I had no interest in reading. I’ll skip the "The History of Microeconomics" thankyouverymuch. (snore) And no, I have no idea if a book by that name even exists. Although I do know that anything by that title would NOT be my first choice for an enjoyable read. I did some serious work on their Fiction section though.
I didn’t feel like I’d actually settled into living in Lansing until I had my library card. But the problem is, half of the time when I go to the library, I forget what books I’d planned to borrow. I finally have a system. When I hear someone talk about a book, read a review online, or see one that looks particularly interesting somewhere, I write it down. I know, novel concept. Pardon the pun. It shouldn’t have taken me 25 years to come up with it. It is working really well though. Of course, it didn’t take long for that list to grow to immense proportions, but I’m pretty confident that I can handle it. Library here I come. I don’t buy books very often. I don’t really have the budget to keep up with my list. Plus, I’d rather not have every single square inch of the house piled with books. We still have to come up with a system to organize the ones I do have. My dad is making us an incredible bookcase, but we’ve been slow about picking out the stain for it, and he can’t finish it until we do. Oops. Note to self: Go to Menards to pick one out. SOON.
Digging through a box of books in the office the other day I found two books that I’d never read before. They were obviously used, although not in bad shape. I have no idea where they came from. I didn’t buy them and Anthony didn’t either. Very odd. It’s possible they came from my grandma’s house, although I don’t remember picking them up. I do remember getting a hardcover three volume set of The Count of Monte Cristo, a Nancy Drew book, and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency from her house. I’m not one to turn down free books, but it’s very confusing. If we have a ghost, I’m glad it brings books instead of chasing us out of the house…but seriously. Weird. The books were E for Evidence by Sue Grafton, and The Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman. Both good books, although not great.
Thanks to a very generous gift card I got for birthday/Christmas, I did order a couple of books from Borders. They were two I knew I was going to enjoy. One was The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood. Since Margaret Atwood is one of my absolute favorite writers, I knew I’d love her most recent book. It’s the story of the Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective. What she did with her life while he was gone for ten years and how she fended off the hoards of suitors after her.
The other was The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. When a 120-year-old New York mental hospital was closed, they found hundreds of suitcases that belonged to the patients at the hospital. They did research to find out more about the people that the suitcases had belonged to. The book tells the stories of 25 of those patients who lived there. I read a review of the book online which lead to a website with more information about the book, the people’s stories were fascinating, and I am really excited to read it.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Also, Anthony is coming back tonight. He's been gone for 8 days, and there was a possibility he'd be gone for another week. But he called to say he'd be home tonight around 11:30. Today is a seriously good day.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I used to be a Brussels Sprouts hater, but after dinner tonight I have totally changed my mind. I've been determined to get over hating them. It always seemed like they had potential, but every time I had them I was disappointed. A lot of the time they were bitter. And even dripping with butter or cheese sauce, they just didn't impress me. Broccoli is a much better vehicle for cheese and butter.
I'd heard good things about roasting them, so I tried them roasted with balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. (drools) They were amazing.