Another update, this one non-TMI

First up – a book update.  It took me approximately 1 zillion years to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  For some reason, I just wasn’t into it for most of the book.  There were about 150 pages I flew through because I got really interested, then it lost momentum for me again.  I’ll probably pick up the second book, but I’m in no particular hurry.

In contrast, my next book was The Pillars of the Earth.  Amazing.  It’s about 1000 pages, but I pounded through it quickly since it held my interest the entire time.  I recommend investing your time in this novel.  Historical fiction really isn’t my cup of tea (minus Outlander…Jamie Fraser…swooon) but this one was incredibly well-written.

My plan was to start The Count of Monte Cristo next (can you believe I’ve never read this?  Even in school?), but my co-worker read a book she wanted me to read next, so I’m going to oblige.  It’s called A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White.  I’ve never heard of it, but I’m willing to give anything a try.  I’ll let you know what I think.

In other news, my baby brother graduated from high school last weekend (with honors, no less)!  Here are a few pictures:

Me with the graduate 🙂

The family.

The three sisters

My favorite pic of the day.

Also, June 13 was my mommy’s birthday!!  I’m so glad we were in town that weekend, because I rarely see my mom on her birthday and my older sister (who lives with her husband in Orlando) haven’t been able to spend my mom’s birthday with her in many years.  Here is a picture of my mom and me:

#Project365: Yes, it’s true. The plant is still alive. (156/365)

On January 5, I drove from my parents’ house back to my own home with my late grandmother’s plant in tow.  In spite of Mawmaw’s magical green thumb, I thought the prognosis would not be good.  I am a murderer of all things green (ironic, since that’s my favorite color), and I have only had one plant survive more than a few months under my care. As you can see from my January 22 Project365, I was surprised it even survived THAT long.

It’s June 5.  I present to you, THE PLANT, six months after I took it over:

Not only has it survived, the crazy little guy has actually GROWN!  I can only believe that Mawmaw’s magical thumbprint has managed to stay on it and protect it from my murdering skills.

By contrast, here are a couple of herb plants given to me 3 weeks ago by a co-worker:

Yes, I watered them!  I told you, plants hate me.

#Project365: Confession: I’m a Burt’s Bees lover. (155/365)

Nothing exciting to see here, but I want to give a shout-out to my favorite brand of…everything.  I use their shampoo/conditioner, body wash, face wash, body lotion, moisturizer/sunscreen and chapstick.  Everything is so delicious-smelling and close to 100% natural.

I just replenished my stock.

And yes, I know the company is owned by Clorox and I shouldn’t support it an all that crap, but in my opinion the more consumers buy the green line  or natural line of a company, the more likely they are to keep producing these products.  If Burt’s Bees products didn’t sell, they would stop being manufactured.  At least an effort is being made.

#Project365: Still sugar-free… (154/365)

Even after doing the sugar detox and physically weaning myself from sweets, my psychological addiction remains.  I’ve always been an emotional eater, and sweets were always the most wonderful comfort food.  I miss them.

I substituted sugar-free jello for a while, then sugar-free pudding with cool whip lite (both allowed on South Beach).  I found myself obsessed with the pudding, however, and realized I was just substituting one addiction for another.  Besides, eating too much artificial sweetener is just not good for me.

So, here is my new substitute:  sugar-free fudgesicles.

Still artificial sweetener, but not as much, plus I don’t have nearly as many cool-whip fantasizes as before.   And guess what?  I decided not to have “cheatmeal” this weekend.  Next weekend I’ll be at my parents’ house, and I fully expect to eat whatever I want.

#Project365: A House Guest (153/365)

Meet Abby.

Abby is my SIL’s dog.   We usually don’t take on a lot of overnight doggie guests because Bobo is old, grumpy and easily annoyed and Cocoa Bean is – there’s no nice way of saying it – chickenshit.  If she had been born into dog fighting, she would be the bait.  However, since my SIL was kind enough to watch our mutts when we were on vacation, we figured a little house guest won’t hurt.

Abby likes the outdoors, but unfortunately it’s been pouring rain.  She discovered and mastered the doggie door quickly, which has resulted in her going in and out and in and out of the rain and tracking water and mud all over the kitchen and living room.  She even hopped up on the couch with muddy feet.  Bobo has already snapped at her twice for annoying him out of his slumber, and Cocoa has become a pathetic little wimp with her tail between her legs, clinging to us like a baby.

Still, Abby is a sweetheart.  She wants to play and lick and cuddle.  Too bad she’s staying in a houseful of grumps…

#Project365: 2 days behind… (151/365)

Here is a picture I took on Monday:

“His absence had made little different to the business…”   Say what?

Sunday, I found an error in my mass-market paperback of Pillars of the Earth (they had typed I’11 instead of I’ll…interesting) but Monday I found a flat-out grammar mistake missed in editing.  I’m not an editor and I have trouble even editing my own work, but it’s still so strange to me when I notice an error in a book because so many people have their hands on it before it goes to press.  If I notice it, surely everyone should notice it.

By the way, if you have never read this novel you MUST put it on your to-read list.  It’s amazing so far.

#Project365: The Tale of the Big Ugly (150/365)

Yesterday I watched Say Yes to the Dress, read, and played with the dogs in order to avoid cleaning.   Today, I’ve been watching Four Weddings (can you tell I’ve been in wedding mode since BFF got engaged?), but it wasn’t enough to distract me from the pile of dishes in the sink and the dog hair on the floor.  So, I decided to try on the dresses in my closet to see which ones fit.

While pulling out my dresses (don’t get excited, I probably only have about 10 total) I rediscovered a dress I had forgotten about – The Big Ugly.  The Big Ugly was bought on a whim in 2006 during a random shopping trip to Banana Republic.  When I saw the dress my first thought was, “Who the hell would spend that kind of money on this hideous dress?”   So, for fun I tried it on.  It was equally hideous on the body, made of silk and flowy but with an unflattering neckline, slouchy silhouette and awkward scarf-thing.  I just had to have it.

Just to clarify – I’m not some fashionista who can pull off a weird look and seem fashion-forward.  I had been shopping for hours (which I absolutely despise) and if I couldn’t find a dress at this store I was going to go to my friend’s Indianapolis wedding naked.   So, The Big Ugly it was.  No one said anything at the wedding, but I can’t help but wonder if a few people thought I was insane.

Glad I’m not a celebrity.  I’d be on Go Fug Yourself.

That was 2006.  Here I am, in 2010, trying on The Big Ugly Ugly once again.  I’m still so fond of this monstrosity.  I wonder if I can find somewhere else to wear it.  I don’t have to worry about it being out of fashion; this beast was never in fashion to begin with.

Am I the only one with a fondness for a truly hideous item of clothing?

#Project365: So lazy, I just took a picture of a picture (149/365).

This is my favorite picture frame in the house, just because it contains some of my favorite pictures taken in the last 2 or 3 years:

1)  Tim peeking over my shoulder at a Christmas party 2) My parents at my sister’s wedding 3) Tim at Jockey’s Ridge in the OBX 4) My older sister, younger sister and I before my bachelorette party 5) Tim’s brother and nieces 6) My college BFF’s and I at a friend’s wedding in NJ

Since I did absolutely nothing today (except have a delicious cheat meal of salmon, mashed potatoes, crab dip and cheesecake), this is the best Project365 I could muster up.  Sorry.

#Project365: Blast from an art past (148/365)

I used to love to draw.   I was never OMGGOOD at it, but it was enjoyable for me and I sometimes ended with something I thought was decent enough to save from the garbage.  Knowing this, I took a studio art class in college under an absolutely amazing professor.  For one of our projects, we had to start a ribbon of shading and end with a page full of shades of gray in different sizes and depths.  The professor liked my results so much it was one of the few projects displayed that semester in the hallway – our makeshift art gallery.

I framed it after it came down at the end of the semester and have displayed it in my home ever since.  It was never titled.  Someone once said it looked like a bunch of chewing gum stuck under a desk.   Tim thinks it looks like a wadded up piece of paper.  I don’t know myself what it is, but it comforts me even though it’s not a masterpiece.  It reminds me that even though I may not know where things will end up, all I have to do is start somewhere and keep going.  I’ll know the end when I get there.