Monday, January 31, 2011

Do I cook or clean?

One of the *fun* things about having MS is never knowing how much energy you're going to have at the end of the day. Until recently, I've been operating under the assumption that I can still do everything. I push myself. In the past month, though, I've noticed that I can't. I have limits. I don't like this, but I'm learning to accept and adapt.

When I get home from work, it's usually my responsibility to cook dinner. My mother is exhausted at the end of school. My brother can't cook, and the other adult living in my home only cooks dinners that come out of a box. While having heated frozen dinners is a nice reprieve on occasion, I prefer to know all of the ingredients in my meals. I'm funny that way. (sidebar: I think I'm beginning to develop a dislike for fast food -- which is a good thing because I used to eat it WAY too much.)

The meals I cook may be simple or complex or time consuming, but once I'm done cooking, I'm usually done. Period. I have nothing left. I'm drained. The day has done me in. Especially if, before I start cooking, I have to run a load of dishes and pots and cups and silverware that has been kindly placed into the sink throughout the day to the point of overflowing but not  put into the dishwasher. (There are other two adults in my home all day. Surely one of them can take care of this. Admittedly, half of the time is. But it's not fun when I have to come home to a dirty kitchen that has to be cleaned before I can start cooking.)

Once we've eaten, I just want to get on the computer or watch TV or read, anything that doesn't involve a lot of moving or concentration. How do you explain to someone without MS the inability to put dishes in the dishwasher or wipe the stove and table because you just don't have the energy and all you want to do is sit down. And if you try, you just stand there for minutes with a complete lack of focus (what was I supposed to be doing?), willing yourself to move. And then, if you do get it done, it takes 2-3 times longer than it normally should.

Sometimes, I hate to admit, I pile all the dirty dishes into the sink and let them stay there overnight and put them in the dishwasher in the morning. Other times I push through and just get it done. And then there are days like today, where my Mom has lots of energy left, so she's cooking dinner. I still had to put dishes in the dishwasher when I got home, but since I don't have to cook or clean up, I may be able to do something else with my evening. I have a cabinet that needs organizing, so I may just tackle that tonight.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Published in 2009 by Quirk Classics
Format: Softbound
How I got it: Bought it

(My copy of the book, complete with bandaids...Adler asked why the girl was hurt, so we made her better.)

Audience: Adults
Genre: Classics, Mash-Up, Action, Zombies,
Rating: 3 stars

The Bennet sisters, highly trained warriors, must battle the undead while dealing with relationships and their mother trying to marry them off.

First line: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.

Paranormal books aren't typically on my nightstand, but Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books, and this seemed like an interesting concept, so I bought a copy. Although zombie books aren't my normal read, I enjoyed this book, although I felt more could have been done. In the beginning, it seemed as if the author was only inserting bits and pieces of zombie fights and references to the Bennet girls being great warriors into Jane Austen's existing narrative. My complaint is not that her original work should not have been used (I'm glad it was), but that more of the author's writing should have been inserted. That being said, when there was more of Mr. Grahamme-Smith's own words, it sometimes appeared he was trying too hard to match the original language, and other times he didn't even try (i.e. I cannot imagine Jane Austen using the word "piss"). Of course, at other times the writing flowed smoothly between the two authors.

I admit that some changes needed to be made to fit the zombie/warrior theme, but these changes took some characters out of their original patterns of behavior rather than fitting the additional plot of the book to the already established characters. In addition, some changes not related to the zombie theme were made that were just confusing. A couple people were written (briefly) to have "loose morals" that just are not that way, and the whole Wickham/Lydia relationship once they left Brighton just left me confused. While I'm not a zombie person, this book could have used more zombies, more original writing. The one character transformation that took place was very funny.

Despite my complaints above, I enjoyed this book. I'm glad I read it. It made me laugh. Will I read it again? Maybe once more. My feelings after reading it? Honestly, it made me want to reread the original for the twentieth time. Do I recommend this book? Sure, as long as you're not an Austen purist (too many zombies) or a die-hard zombie lover (not enough zombies) -- a small understanding of both would be helpful though.

Do you want another opinion? You can read this review and many others at

A Few Favorite Quotes:
(112) The only harbinger of XX's unhappy fate was her ever-worsening penmanship. (The name of the unlucky person slowly turning into a zombie has been protected to prevent spoilers.)

(124) Elizabeth's courage did not fail her, even though she had been regaled with stories of Lady Catherine's accomplishments from the time she had been old enough to hold her first dagger. The mere stateliness of money or rank she could witness without trepidation, but the presence of a woman who had slain ninety dreadfuls with nothing more than a rain-soaked envelope was an intimidating prospect indeed.

(205) She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. "Your balls, Mr. Darcy?" He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, "They belong to you, Miss Bennet." Upon this, their colour changed, and they were forced to look away, lest they laugh.

A book without pictures! What fun is that?

Sammy: "What are you doing?" 
Me: "Reading a book." 
Sammy: "Without any pictures?" 
Me: "Yep, no pictures." 
Sammy: "The same one?" 
Me: "Yes, the same one as last night."
Sammy: "Why it take you so long to read your book?"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Athena Project

Originally published by Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in November 2010.
Format: hardbound
How I got it: from the library

The Athena Project

Audience: Adults
Genre: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi lite
Rating: 2-1/2 out of 5 stars

An elite military group of four women are assigned on multiple tasks to help find a weapon that could have catastrophic consequences for the rest of the world.

First Line: The sound of suppressed gunfire in the narrow fuselage was drowned out by the roar of the slipstream coupled with the plane's engines.

This is definitely a plot driven book, not a character driven one. Character development was left more to stereotypes. I never really got a feel for who each of the members of the Athena team were. Yes, the author stated their strengths when he introduced them, but each character was almost interchangeable. I just referred to them as the team in my head. I did enjoy their friendly, joking banter with each other, even if the time wasn't always appropriate.

It was easy read. Because you don't have to invest a lot into the characters, you can just go where the story takes you. At the beginning, though, I was confused by all the characters and stories put into play. It took a while to sort them out, and eventually I saw how they all intertwined at the end, but some of them just weren't needed.  I'm still a bit lost about the need for the Denver International Airport in the story line.  There was one twist (pg. 309) I did not see coming. A lot more could have been done with this; it ended too suddenly.

Overall, the book was well paced, although a few more resting spots would have been nice. I know the Athena girls were exhausted after all that non-stop action. The main plot device of the book takes it into a sci-fi lite category, which made it seem out of place with the rest of book.

The writing was good, but it was descriptive in places it didn't need to be. For example, I don't need to know the make/model of the the wire cutters and to know they were up to the task of cutting the fence. On the flip side, my favorite descriptive line in the whole book is on page 305: The women moved like demons in some medieval nightmare scaling down a castle wall -- that provided a very visual image with only a few words.

Overall, the book was just okay. Would I recommend it to others? I'm more apt to say I wouldn't not recommend it...which makes it a 2-1/2 out of 5 star book for me.

Do you want another opinion? You can read this review and many others at

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Randomly Asked Questions 1/27/11

What is the last thing you watched on TV?
The Late Late Show with Craig Fergsuon -- the BEST late night talk show host. I love that his monologues are more conversational rather than going from joke to joke. Plus he TALKS to his guests. He can be a bit baudy, but that's what they have censors for :)

What's your favorite (scripted) TV show?
I don't think I can single it down to just one, but here's a list of my current favorites: NCIS, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Castle, Doctor Who, Psych, Bones...there are more, but these are the ones at the top.

What is the last film you saw?
Goodness, it's been a while. I was planning on seeing Harry Potter, but those plans were lost when Mom had her hip replaced. I hope they release it again in the theaters when part 2 comes out. Back to the questions...the last movie I saw in a movie theater, I think, was How To Train Your Dragon. I'm sure I saw another movie after that, but I just can't remember.

What's your favorite movie?
Again, to many to really narrow it down. I don't think I have one, but I love old Gene Kelly movies. I've had a crush on him since I was a young teenager. Here's a link to my top 10 movies.

What is the last song you listed to?
"Raise Your Glass" by Pink

What type of music do you like most?
I'm all over the map, but if I had to choose one I really like, it would contemporary acoustic guitar. There's a guy named Matt Hutchinson from Manchester, England who plays under the name ortoPilot. He's known for his covers, but he also has original songs too. I found him on YouTube about three years ago. He also sells songs on iTunes.  One of my favorites is his cover of Snow Patrol's "Run". He also does a cover of Jason Mraz's "The Geek in the Pink" with TheBathroomGirl that I love.

What type of music do you dislike?
I'm not really into rap or hip hop (surprise), or songs with a lot bad language. Does that make me a prude?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review: Rebecca

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier
Originally published by Victor Gollancz in 1938
My copy was published by Doubleday & Company in 1961
Format: bound novel & audiobook


Intended Audience: Adult
Genre: Gothic romance with a dash of mystery thrown in
Themes: self-doubt, self-discovery, jealousy, loyalty, love, hate
Rating: 3-1/2 out of 5 stars

Our unnamed narrator marries Maxim de Winter, a widower. Though she loves him, she feels he will never truly love her because she cannot measure up to his former wife and true love, Rebecca. She constantly lives in Rebecca's shadow.

First Line: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

I was a good way into the book before I felt invested in the story and characters. The pacing at the beginning is very slow, although it does use the time well by establishing the setting and our narrator's character. She's full of self-doubt before she marries Maxim, a man many years her senior and in a much higher station in life. Entering his world only magnifies her feelings of inferiority and unworthiness, although to be fair to her, she doesn't have a support system. She is almost entirely alone.

As soon as she moves into Manderley (his estate), she knows she'll never be the real mistress of the house because it is still Rebecca's. The servants loved Rebecca and were devoted to her, especially Mrs. Danvers, who takes it upon herself to feed the new Mrs. de Winter's insecurities.

I felt I really knew who Mrs. de Winter and Mrs. Danvers were. I understood their motivations and thoughts, even if they both got on my nerves in their own ways. I would've liked Maxim's character to have been developed more fully in the beginning since he's rarely seen in the middle section, although I suppose it was necessary in order for the ending to be revealed. But I wanted to experience them fall in love, and I feel robbed that I didn't. I understand why his new bride felt he didn't love her.

Once the plot finally picks up, it takes a hold of you and doesn't let you know until the end. About the ending...WOW. I did not see that coming. This is definitely a different book the second time you read it. Your perspective is completely different. While I understand the end, I would not have made some of the same choices.

Do I recommend this book? Yes. Will I read it again? Yes, maybe once or twice in a few years. Why only 3-1/2 stars? Because the beginning was so slow (an odd complaint from someone whose favorite book is Pride & Prejudice). I kept stopping and starting. I finally switched to an audio version so I couldn't stop reading by putting the book down.

Do you want another opinion? You can read this review and many others at

Book Challenges
The TwentyEleven Challenge from Bart's Bookshelf (Category: Way Back When)

The TwentyEleven Challenge

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon, by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, translated from the Old Norse by Cressida Cowell
#1 in a series
Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hatchett Book Group , in February 2000
Format: audiobook (abridged: 3-1/2 hours)

How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon, #1)

Intended Audience: Middle Grades
Themes: Friendship, Kindness, Courage
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: “A note from the author: there were dragons when I was boy. …You’ll have to take my word for it, for the dragons are disappearing so fast, they may soon become extinct.”

Summary: Toothless, Hiccup's dragon, is whiny and self-centered and refuses to be trained. Hiccup is a failure at everything, but if he doesn't train his dragon in four months, he won't become a Viking and will be kicked out of his tribe.

I originally chose to read this book because I really enjoyed the movie. (Note: This book is nothing like the movie.) While I usually never read an abridged book, I chose to listen to this version because David Tennant is the narrator, and I LOVE David Tennant and his wonderful Scottish accent. He does an absolutely fabulous job. I can imagine him sitting around a camp fire surrounded by a bunch of entranced kids as he tells this story.

I'm not sure how it was shortened, (the unabridged version is an hour longer), but I really liked this book. I was confused at first because it didn't follow the movie's story line, but I quickly let go of my expectations and appreciated it for the adventure it is.

While this is a middle grades read, it isn't a dumbed down story. The characters and setting are well-developed. This is a great read. It's funny and entertaining. You feel sorry for Hiccup because his situation is so hopeless. But it has a fantastic, feel-good ending. This book may be targeted to boys, but I think girls will like it to. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy this book. I have nephews to read to.

Do you want another point of view? Check out reviews of this book at

Book Challenge
2011 Audiobook Challenge by Teresa's Reading Corner

Monday, January 17, 2011

Randomly Asked Questions 1/17/11

I was doing a "Five Random Questions" post, and I discovered I was posting them on dates that had a 7 in them, so I'm changing this up just a little. First, I'm changing the title to "Randomly Asked Questions." Then, three times a month, on the 7th, 17th, and 27th, I'll post answers to 7 questions I find randomly on the internet.  Here's today's edition:

1. How many nicknames do you have?
Just one, Sus. It's what my soon-to-be ex-husband used to call me. It was usually when he needed something, so he'd say, "Hey, Sus, can you..." It always sounded like he we was calling for some Mexican guy (Jesus) instead of me. My brother will call me Sus occasionally, but mostly people just call me Susanne.

2. How many e-mail addresses do you have?
Five, I think. 1) family and friends; 2) social networking; 3) finance/bills; 4) junk; 5)...nope, just four.

3. Are you usually late, early, or right on time?
Late. It's a habit I truly dislike in myself. I'm trying to change it. It's one of my goals for the year.

4. Who do you envy?
There are many people I envy, mostly because they seem to have it together while I feel like I'm floundering. I have many friends who are younger than me (I'm 36), have children (I have none), a husband (I'm getting divorced), and a job (I do have a good job I enjoy, so that's a plus), and they still have an immaculately clean house (I hate cleaning because it never ends) and prepare a home-cooked meal every night (I love cooking, but I have I mentioned I hate cleaning up afterwards).

5. Do you have freckles?
Yes, but surprisingly, the darker ones on my face are lightening up. That's probably because I haven't been to beach in YEARS. I love listening to the ocean waves as they lap up on the shore, but I don't like just sitting on the beach getting hot. I blame this on MS. I also used to love HOT showers, but my MS flares up when I get hot, so now I can't stand them. (Did any else say those last four words like Jean Hagen in "Singing in the Rain"? No? Just me?)

6. Can you do a cartwheel?
No. Never have.

7. How do you like your steak cooked?
Medium rare -- lightly pink in the middle.

Book Review: How I Killed Pluto & Why It Had It Coming

Published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, in Dec. 2010
Formats: traditional (256 pages), audiobook (7hrs 48min)

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

Genre: non-fiction, science
Themes: astronomy, family
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Brief Summary: The story of how Mike Brown's search for "planets" beyond Pluto led to Pluto's demotion from planet to dwarf planet (which isn't really a planet at all).
Language: no curse words

Mike Brown does a fantastic job of interweaving the story of his search for large astronomical bodies beyond Pluto with his family life. There's suspense (bad guys trying to steal planets), humor (Mike graphing his newborn daughter's eating and sleeping habits), science (explained so a person of average intelligence can understand it), and controversy (Pluto was kicked out of the planetary fraternity with more than a little discussion). I found it fascinating to discover that the number of accepted planets has fluctuated many times.

The only complaints I've seen about the book focus on the fact that it's not just about Pluto, Eris' discovery, and science. Go into your reading of this book with your eyes open. It's also about several large planetoids he's found, which, for me, helps put things in perspective. It includes a little bit of his childhood. He talks about his wife and child. This isn't really Pluto's story. It's Mike Brown's story and how his discoveries and the question "what is a planet?" resulted in Pluto's demotion.

This was an incredibly fun & informative read and listen. After I borrowed the book from the library, I not only bought a hardbound copy, I purchased an audiobook version too. The narrator did a great job. I recommend this book to everyone.

Do you want another point of view? Check out reviews of this book on

Book Challenges
2011 Audiobook Challenge by Teresa's Reading Corner
2011 Non-Fiction Challenge by The Broke and The Bookish (Category: Science/Nature)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

An 8th Book Challenge...kind of

((Another challenge? Really Susanne?)) Okay, okay, this is the last one, I promise. I've decided to join The Broke and the Bookish's 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge.  ((Wait, aren't you already participating in a non-fiction challenge?)) Yes, I am, but I'm adding this new one because it has different categories you have to read from, so it will force me out of my comfort zone. I have soooooooooo many non-fiction books on my to-read list right now, it isn't even funny. I need a challenge help push me.

In other book news, (slightly related to the above challenge because it's about a...wait for it...non-fiction book) I slacked off this week in my reading. I've started All the Kings Men and have gotten half-way through. It's very interesting, but it seems to be getting a bit redundant. The information isn't the same, but there's only so many ways you can interview someone and find out another small piece of information that fits into the great big, huge puzzle that is the Watergate scandal. A lot of foundation work is being laid, but I'm ready for it to begin moving forward. I will finish this book this week. I feel it's holding me back on my other reads.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A 7th Book Challenge

I've added a 7th Book Challenge for 2011. I know...I'm asking for it. I have such high expectations for my reading goals this year. I've already read three books in the first week. But I just found this: The TwentyEleven Challenge from Bart's Bookshelf. The goal is to read 20 books in 11 different categories (maximum of two books per challenge). I have ideas for the books I'm going to read, but others will require more thought. Here are the categories:

1. To YA or not YA -- if you read mostly adult books (like me), then you would read a YA novel, and vice versa. This will be easy to accomplish because I've added a lot of YA books to my to-read list this year.
2. ...With A Twist -- choose a sub-genre you don't normally read.  I need to think about this one.
3. Hot Off the Presses -- read a book published in 2011.
4. It Wasn't Me! -- choose a book published based solely on the recommendation of another blogger. Easy peasy. This is how many books have been added to my TBR pile.
5. Show It Who Is Boss! -- choose a book already in your TBR pile. Again, easy. There are a lot. Many of which I've started but got sidetracked by another book.
6. Bablefish -- choose a book translated into your native language. Interesting.
7. Will Power? What Will Power? -- Read a book you BOUGHT NEW in 2011. Library books and used books don't count.
8. Mind the Gap -- Do you need one more book to complete a trilogy/series? Get it and read it.  I had an idea for this book, but it's the newest release in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde and will be released this year. I'm not sure this book counts because it can't be the penultimate (next-to-last) read, but I'm not how many more books are planned. I'll have to think about this.
9. Back in the Day -- Reread a favorite or two
10. Way Back When -- Read a book published before you were born
11. Slim-Pickings -- Choose a book between 90-150 pages long

Friday, January 7, 2011

Five Random Questions 1/7/11

1. When was the last time you went out of town?
In September for my grandfather's (father's father) funeral. He was my last grandparent alive, but I didn't know him very well. He lived in Paducah, Kentucky. It was a sad occasion, but I was able to meet three cousins I had never met before.

2. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Water (w/ dinner) -- I'm trying to drink less soda, and I don't drink alcohol.

3. When is the last time you ran?
hahaha ha ha ha (wiping tears)...that's funny.  run.  I don't run. Although I want to start. It was my goal to try and run a half marathon by my half birthday (13.1 miles--thanks Amanda) but that ISN'T going to happen. That's less than two months away. So I have a new goal that's more realistic. I'm going to run a 5K by my birthday.

4. Were you an honor roll student in school?
Yes. I enjoyed studying (especially math and science. NOT history...I really don't like history). I was also very shy, so I didn't have much of a social life.

5. Are you wearing any perfume?
Yes. Sung (my favorite). My favorite perfume used to be Le Jardin, but it's not sold any more. My grandmother would give me a bottle every year for Christmas. Sung is similar but not quite as light and florally, but I still like it.

What time is it Sammy?

Sammy: "My watch says, 'It's time to get Annie (me)'."
Me: "Not if I get you first!"

 **POW, POW** 
::Sammy falls dramatically to the ground:: 

Sammy: "Help me, Annie Doctor. I've been shot." 
Me: "Oh No! Who did this?"
Sammy: "You did, when you were a bad guy."
Me: "I'm sorry! Let's get you better so you can play and have fun."
Sammy: (weakly) "and catch bad guys"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My 6 Book Challenges

My own personal book challenge is one I tried last year...52 books in a year, one per week...and failed at. This year I'm more determined. To help me meet my goal, I'm joining several challenges hosted by different people. I'm hoping they will compliment the books already in my to-read pile while allowing for opportunities to discover more great books.

The first is the "WHAT'S IN A NAME" challenge by hosted Beth Fish Reads. There are only six books for this challenge, but the title of each book must have _____ in the title. Here are my books:

1. Evil:  Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (non-fiction)
2. Gem: Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby
3. Number: One Day by David Nicholls (or maybe The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall)
4. Size: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. Movement: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
6. Life Stage: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (I hope this one counts. It seems like it should, but it's kind of a stretch.)

The second is an E-BOOK challenge hosted by The Ladybug Reads. I don't have an e-reader (although at some point I feel I may cave and buy a Nook color, but that won't be for some time.) I do however have a smart phone with the kindle app. I also have the kindle software on my laptop. At Amazon, all of the books in the public domain are FREE, so my focus for this challenge will be the classics. I've signed up for the Addicted level (12 books).

Almost all of the books I plan on reading will be first reads, but I've decided to join Daemon's books in rereading the HARRY POTTER series.

This past year, for the first time, I read a lot of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, and I've enjoyed most of them.  So I'm reading more and joining For the Love of YA's 2011 YOUNG ADULT reading challenge. I only signed up for the lowest level, The Mini (12 books).

I enjoy non-fiction books, especially ones about science, but I'm not going to limit myself to just one type of non-fiction. I'm joining Past as Prologue's NON-FICTION challenge. I'm going for Expert (7+ books) because I have 10 on my to-read list for this year.

FINALLY, I'm doing an AUDIOBOOK challenge hosted by Teresa's Reading Corner. I'm hoping to get to the Addicted level (12 audiobooks).

Some of these challenges may overlap, but I think that's okay. And although these seem like a lot of books, I think I can do it. Wish me luck.

What are resolutions?

What's your view on resolutions? My opinion of whether to make them or not and even what they are has changed over the years, and I think I've finally come up with a definition that works for me. Many times in the past, I've failed at keeping my resolutions because it's just so hard to remember to do them. I've tried making short lists with just one or two things, hoping I will do better. But inevitably, they fall by the wayside. I get tired of feeling like a failure.

This year, I'm looking at my resolutions differently. I don't see them as something I need to be perfect at right from the start. I think that's unfair. My resolutions are habits I want to develop, but they aren't currently part of my daily routine. They are goals I want to progress towards. This view allows me to fall but also requires me to get up, dust myself off and try again. It's a process, a journey. Yes, the purpose is to reach your destination, but you've got to do some travelling first.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Resolutions

Adios 2010. We had some fond memories, but don't let the door hit your bum on the way out. I really won't miss you. HELLO 2011! We're going to be best friends, I just know it.

I was originally going to write one post per resolution, but I've changed my mind. I've decided I'm not going to have big, complicated goals this year. I hope my resolutions will have a noticeable impact on me by the end of the year, but they're going to be easy to follow. Some may seem silly, but I'm hoping to turn these little things into habits. I BELIEVE in myself.

1. Put on lipstick and mascara every morning. There's two things my picture-a-day project has taught me. The first is that I look better with my hair down. The second is that I really need to wear at least a little make-up, otherwise I'm completely bland and plain.

For YEARS when I got ready in the morning, I'd put my clothes on, pull my hair back, and head out the door. Rarely would I look in the mirror. I didn't care. But this picture project I started out of the blue and have somehow miraculously stuck with has changed my perception of myself. I have to see myself every day. I don't know why I used to look past my reflection in the mirror. Well, I do. I didn't like what I saw and but I didn't have the desire to change it, so why be disappointed on a daily basis. But times they are a-changing.

2. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Eat less fast food. Drink more water.  Self-explanatory, I think. I eat out for lunch almost every day. This needs to stop for both health and fiscal reasons.

3. Start walking. I'm not really the type to go to the gym, but I think I can handle walking. I'd like to be able to work up to running without getting winded. Ideally, I'd like to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) by my half birthday (March 4th). I'm not sure that'll happen, but I'll try. If nothing else, I vow to walk a half marathon. Of course that will be many, many hours of walking. On second thought, how about I play the half marathon thing by ear.

4. Read one book a week. There are so many books I want to read, but I never get around to them. I figure I can read at least one book per week.

5. Write thank-you notes. I've never been good at this. I need to learn to be more courteous and grateful to others.

6. Take more pictures.

7. Stop procrastinating and be on time. I'm a master at putting things off and waiting until the absolute last minute, which usually means I show up 15 minutes late to just about everything. I really dislike this characteristic about myself. I think it's disrespectful to other people to show up late or to not put everything you can into something you've promised to do.

8. Get organized. I have too much stuff for the size of my home. A lot of things need to find a new place to live, either in the trash, Good Will, or in someone else's house.

9. Serve others more.

10. Pay cash for as many of my purchases as possible.

There's my list. It's long, but I think it's doable, and it represents changes I sincerely want to make in my life. ::raises glass:: Here's to a fabulous New Year!

My New Year's date

Sammy was less than enthused about getting a New Year's kiss and posing for a pic. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.