11 May 2010

Feeling all domestic, I guess

Trying to get a handle on a minor down-in-the-dumps moment...

Bryon is working a temp job (it's even in his field) for the next 3-4 weeks, so I am spending a lot of time hanging out with just me and the cats. I have gotten a bit of housework done, but I have more to do, plus at least one errand I need to run today, and I'm having trouble getting up the motivation to go do it.

Motivational powers, ON! ...nope, not cutting it, so far.

I have read three books in the last three days:

North and South Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers, Book 4) Elsewhere

I've done some laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and picked up some of the clutter.

I tried a new recipe last night:

Baked Eggs and Tortillas in Creamy Tomato Sauce, from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. Delicious and easy. There are EIGHT eggs in this thing, but the idea is, it's a meal with lots of protein but no meat. Good for breakfast too.

Oh, and here's a picture of a blueberry cobbler I made a while back:

It was good, but actually needed LESS blueberries. Wouldn't have thought that was possible, but apparently I was wrong. Recipe here.

Maybe it was the motivation of talking about food, but I'm all hopped up to get going on lunch and my errand now! Whee!!

30 April 2010

Drive-by

Quick rundown of what I'm up to lately:

- Got FLOOR TICKETS for the Muse concert in Newark in October! I am sooooooo excited... they added something like 10 shows to their US tour for the fall, so I guess it must be going well!

- Had a nephew in the hospital all last week. He's fine now, after fighting off pneumonia and a really bad bacterial infection in his lungs. Poor kid.

- Still hunting on the job front. Bryon has had a couple of big interviews and we're still waiting to hear on one of them, plus he's got a temp job with the other company so at least that will be a paycheck for a solid month.

- Still finishing up FFXIII. We only have two trophies left to get (and one of those is for getting all the other trophies) so now it's just gil-farming (which is done completely through item drops in this game since you don't get any gil for the battles - kind of ridiculous). Wheeeeee.

- We're watching fun stuff on Netflix...
The X-Files - The Complete Third Season (Slim Set) The IT Crowd: The Complete Series (Seasons 1, 2 & 3) Silver Hawk

- I've been cooking up a storm. I've successfully planned menus and done my grocery shopping according to the plan for two weeks (uh, not two successive weeks as last week went to crap with big job interview stuff and hospital visits) and I'm quite enjoying it. I'm trying new recipes, practicing old ones, and trying to get us to eat healthier meals.

- I also went running yesterday! Well, running/walking. I have no stamina at this point so I run when I can and walk the rest of it. I am sore today and I'm taking that as a good sign. Might go for a short run again today to try and keep the muscles limbered up. Finding that the Genius playlist on my iPod is perfect for this—started it off with Fallout Boy and it kept me in perky, fun music for the duration!

- Finished some interesting books recently, my two favorites being:
Savvy (Hardcover) and The Wordy Shipmates (Hardcover)
(You can read my reviews on GoodReads if you click on the covers in the GoodReads widget in the sidebar.)

Anyway, drive-by over—off to do something productive.

Current Music: cats meowing

06 April 2010

Paying bills and other non-exciting stuff

Blahhhhh. Had a conversation with my mother today that reminds me just how many major life things I have to sort out at the moment. Where to live, where to work, what to do there... it's getting a little overwhelming. Thank goodness I have Bryon here with me or I think I'd really lose it and just curl up in a ball in my bed and read all day, every day. Maybe knit a little.

Anyway, Mom and I had our last Girls Read (afterschool program) today, so that's done. The girls seemed to enjoy the books and I know I had fun helping out.

Bryon and I are probably 4/5 of the way through Final Fantasy XIII. We beat the story part ages ago, but this game is structured so that lots of things don't even open up until after you beat the final boss (which is rather silly, if you ask me). I'll probably post a far-too-wordy review once I'm done, if I feel like it.

I was super-excited to pick up these two books:
Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate) Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
even though I had to wait five days after their release date to find them at the bookstore (booo!). I'm halfway through Changeless already and it's marvelous.

I've been cooking here and there. I made a pretty decent blueberry cobbler (although honestly, it had too many blueberries—I didn't think that was possible), a carrot cake from scratch for Easter, as well as some successful dinners. One I particularly liked was au gratin potatoes with sausage medallions. I think tonight will probably end in pancakes... not a bad way for it to go.

We've been watching a lot of stuff on Netflix's Instant Viewing. We finally got rid of our digital cable about a month ago, and signed up for Netflix again. We haven't really missed cable AT ALL (minus knowing that Craig Ferguson's Robot Skeleton Sidekick debuted last night, but I'm sure I can find that on YouTube) and we're watching lots of interesting and fun things, such as:
The X-Files - The Complete First Season (Slim Set) Red Dwarf: Series I Doctor Who - The Beginning Collection The Tudors - The Complete Second Season
...and also some fabulously bad sci-fi movies, such as:
Runaway
Gene Simmons is also in this movie. It just wouldn't be the same without him.

(The best part is the last 10 seconds of the video. We laughed and laughed.)

Soooo... all that said, it's been a bill-paying kind of day, and it's about to be a dinner-making kind of day... off I go!

Current Music: - Bryon watching Spartacus (the TV show)

15 March 2010

The husband's doing a fantastic job

Final Fantasy XIIIThe husband has returned, and he has racked up major brownie points! Upon finishing his class, he returned home and changed out of his uniform. He asked me to check the pockets before he threw it in the laundry—and what did I find but FINAL FANTASY XIII! I've been wanting sooooo badly to play it! Then he told me to go see if the new pillow he bought while he was up there smelled funny.... and the FFXIII strategy guide was sitting underneath it!

What a guy!! The most impressive part of this feat is that he managed to pull it off without me spoiling the surprise somehow, like... buying it myself by the time he got home, or meeting him out by the car before he got a chance to tuck everything away. I am extraordinarily skilled at unintentionally ruining surprises.

The game is completely awesome so far. The thing I'd heard about it the most is that the story wasn't very good in comparison to previous games, but I'm actually really intrigued and this is the only Final Fantasy that has ever made me cry! Twice already! The graphics are amazing (of course)... to be expected since this is the first FF made for Blu-Ray. They have actually reached the point where the people in the actual gameplay segments and in the cut-scenes are almost indistinguishable. I LIKE the characters, and in particular the clothes and hair are just so cool! There are a bunch of knit items as well, and I'm just waiting for patterns for those to turn up online somewhere...

Anyway, it's been sort of busy this past weekend with a nephew birthday party, hanging out with friends, and doing a little website updating for my former employer. I've still got a lot to do on the webcomic template for Danielle, too. Dusting off these rusty HTML skills has been a rough experience. Perhaps the generous application of MORE COFFEE would help?

Right now it's time to catch up on all of our anime and then play some more FFXIII.

Current Music: The sound of Bryon watching a silent movie version of Last of the Mohicans in the background. I bet it sticks closer to the story than the Daniel Day Lewis version did (not that that would be difficult).

12 March 2010

Brass Needles podcast

I'm just getting into this whole podcast thing, but I've already found a second podcast to love!

It would be difficult to find something more "my cup of tea" than a podcast about knitting, cosplay and sci-fi—and Brass Needles, by "Miss Kalendar," fits all of these requirements quite nicely.

Each episode features a brief discussion of these topics, focusing perhaps on a particular knitting trend, a sci-fi show, or convention cosplay. Miss Kalendar is clearly passionate about all these subjects and I enjoyed her insights and opinions. I also found the snippets of fashion analysis (so far provided by Gail Carriger, author of Soulless) very interesting—they even made me go look up the companies that were mentioned.

I will continue to listen to the Brass Needles podcast and I encourage anyone with an interest in these subjects to do the same. The episodes are brief (around 10-12 minutes) and you can easily get your daily dose while checking your e-mail or updating your Ravelry notebook!

11 March 2010

With a little help from my friends

Oh, the good stuff that happened today. I feel like I got a lot accomplished.

I...
  • got up earlier than I have in a while
  • put the Netflix DVD in the mail already (the one that I watched last night)
  • mailed out the agreement for my severance pay
  • activated the debit card that my unemployment goes on
  • finished reading The Pilot's Wife, which I can now ditch
  • called the unemployment office
  • turned in a bunch of video games at Gamestop to take advantage of their EXTRA 50% trade-in credit promotion (which ends Sunday, by the way!)
The best part, though, is that I finally listed a whole bunch of stuff on eBay, including some games that I thought I could make more money on than I would have at Gamestop. Well, the biggest batch of games (.hack parts 1-4) were listed at 8:19 and sold at 8:40 for their Buy It Now price of $64.99!! That's $15 more than Gamestop would have given me for turning in ALL the games I had brought in. Now we'll just see if any of the others sell—but even if they don't, that first sale has covered all the listing fees and everything else is just gravy.




(That would be Bishop helping me with the eBay listings—by flopping on the computer desk between me and the keyboard.)

Now I'm off to knit and watch more of the the BBC Robin Hood with its absolutely ridiculous action scenes. Ahh, Netflix, how I've missed you and your instant viewing.

10 March 2010

"Mailbox Zero" and randomness

In the spirit of actually contributing to the "green living" aspect of this blog, a link: How to Achieve Mailbox Zero. It's suggestions on how to get less junk mail (or other mail, since it also advocates switching your bank statement to online billing, etc. etc.). I would like to point out the first comment, though, that suggests that sending your junk mail back to the post office isn't going to help anyone.

***

Tonight, I sit here consuming a decadent triple-chocolate-chip muffin from Dunkin Donuts... thinking about a job possibility that scares the stuffing out of me (more on this later), and reading bits of a couple of books here and there.

The Pilot's Wife (Oprah's Book Club) North and South (Penguin Classics)

ALLLLLLMOST convinced myself to just get rid of the two Anita Shreve books I've had for years without reading them, then got sucked into the first chapter of The Pilot's Wife and now I'm a third of the way through it. Le sigh. I think I'll survive the depressing storyline since I already know the gist of what happens, although I can see that if I let myself think about it too much it could be devastatingly sad.

North and South is our book group's read for the month, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Anyway, I did accomplish some tasks today. The reading program was fun (we're reading Betsy-Tacy and Tib, which I adore), I have officially turned in my cable box, and I have resigned myself to probably getting a car stereo at Best Buy since their prices and selection beat out the local shops by a lot.

It is so time for me to be in bed. Bishop (the cat) is giving me with the "why are there still lights on" face from his perch on the cat tree, so I guess I will force myself to go.

Current music: Metric - Sick Muse

08 March 2010

Battery recharge, YA lit, and stuff to do

Ahhhhh. I made a trip to see Bryon and I feel like the visit recharged my emotional batteries. Lame as it may be, I really hate it when he's not here. I spend way too much time on the computer, frequently forget to eat, and just get kinda down. Being that he was getting out fairly early on Sunday, he asked if I wanted to come up, so I got to hang out with him and also had lunch with him today. I feel soooo much better, and also better prepared to get through week 2.

On the way back here, I made a couple of stops, which involved picking up the following:

Magic Study Once Upon a Marigold Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Penguin Classics) Life As We Knew It

Love Com, Vol. 16 (Love*Com) Love Com, Vol. 17 (Love*Com) Vampire Knight, Vol. 9

(Final volume of Love*Com! Woohoo!!! I hope they also translate the follow-up series, Love*Com D... also, Once Upon a Marigold is GREAT so far!)

In the same bookish vein, today I read this fantastic article on Young Adult literature. My mother is definitely a frequent candidate for the "mother test"—I just hope she's enjoyed most of what I've gotten her to read! I also loved this:
YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They're able to have a little more fun, and they're less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards.
So, so true.

Aaaaaand, what else? Oh yes, the stuff I want to accomplish tomorrow:
  • Take cable box to cable provider (we're getting rid of our cable)
  • Take recyclables back
  • Help Mom with after-school program
  • More job hunting
  • Cook a decent meal for myself
  • Visit the car audio place to look into getting a car stereo that has an input for my iPod. Lack of this feature is driving me bonkers, especially because I have so many CDs that are only in MP3 format (i.e. I can't take the CD in the car unless I burn a copy).
We'll see how all that goes.