Monday, January 31, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book - Book Review of Hungry by Crystal Renn

Here's my first book review of 2011! I'm actually reviewing a book I read in 2010. But there are no rules right?

I don't know if ya'll remember (my best little Southern accent there) but back in October of last year I was visiting the blog of one of my favorite bloggers, Anny of and she was doing a book review of the book by model Crystal Renn entitled, Hungry, A Young Models Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.

Anny had decided to do a giveaway and give the book to one of the readers who commented on the post. Hey, I love a giveaway and I love books so it's a no-brainer...I commented.

What I said was, "Count me in. I love to read and if I get it then I can mail it to Della when I'm done as I just won a giveaway she hosted and I have her address :-)" (Della was the person who had commented right before me.)

Anny in her infinite wisdom came up with the brilliant idea of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book. She mailed it to me to read and now I'm going to send it to Della, then Della will send it to the person who commented before her which was Mandi. From there...who knows where it will end up.

I did a post on the whole idea that you can read about HERE. JarieLyn from Write Place! Write Chick! left a really wonderful comment on that post and I want to share it with everyone, she said, "Wow, this is a fantastic idea. I especially like that everyone will sign it too. It's kind of like leaving your imprint in this world, a history in the making." Thanks JarieLyn!

So now that you know the history and how this book came to be in my greedy, little, book-loving hands, let me tell you what I thought of the book.

I enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't exactly one of those books that you pick up and you can't do anything else or think of anything else until you finish reading it, but it was enjoyable and I loved the pictures in the center of the book. I think those were my favorite part!

Crystal was just your average teenage girl, going to high school, cheer leading, playing in sports. One day while at charm school she was introduced to a fashion industry scout and the first words out of his mouth were, Oh my God, you're gonna be a supermodel!" Then he said, "There's just one thing, you'd have to lose a bit of weight." And like most young girls she joined the obsession with weight and body image. Especially as portrayed by the fashion industry in the bazillion photos of super models, uber-thin super models!

From that moment on her weight became an obsession. It was all she thought about, all she lived for. She went from being a normal 14 year old girl to becoming a 5 foot 9 inch, 98 pounds by the age of 16! She developed anorexia and exercise bulimia and even began to lose her hair. She lost all joy in everything she was doing. She was traveling the world as a model and not even enjoying where she was.

The book is the story of Crystal finally coming to grips with her body and listening to it, feeding it and enjoying it! In the picture above you can see Crystal on the right at her thinnest and on the left as she is now...a plus size model.

My whole life I've struggled with my weight. Going up and down; trying every diet known to man or woman.
In high school I even convinced my mom by constantly begging and whining to take me to a doctor to get diet pills. I don't know how we did it but we convinced him to give me diet pills at age 15! I did lose weight but it was never enough. I still felt like I was huge in high school and couldn't wear the same clothes the other girls did. I learned later in life that it wasn't that I was heavy...I'm short-waisted so I just had to learn how to clothe my body type.

Crystal eventually learned to allow herself to eat. She moved to another modeling agency and became a plus-size model. She starts her book by discussing this photo.

She says, "It shows the naked back of a curvy woman, her dark hair curling into tendrils at the nape of her neck. Her body is half draped in rich red fabric. She's gazing off in the distance, lit from the side in a soft northern light. She looks like a Greek goddess or an Old Master painting - a Vermeer, a Titan. There's an eye-catching weightiness to her. As she leans slightly to her right, two modest folds of flesh collect at her waist. (If you were a snarky sort, you might call this lush abundance, "back fat".) The picture was taken by photographer Ruven Afanador for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It was a public service ad, designed to look timeless but also of the moment. The objective was to show beauty and strength, to offer hope of a healthy future for all women. It ran in every major women's magazine, from Vogue to O to Bond Appetit to Prevention. The woman in the photograph is me."

I would recommend reading this book if you get the chance and if you can get it for free like I did, otherwise I would not pay $25.00 for it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Caldo on a Rainy Day

Today turned out to be my favorite kind of day for staying at home. It's been raining steadily throughtout the day. Perfect day for staying home and keeping warm, blogging, reading, watching tv and eating something warm and delicious.

My mom had promised my daughter April that she would make her Caldo today...and she didn't even know it was going to be a rainy day.

Caldo de Res is Mexican Beef Soup. My mom hasn't made this in a long time because she said you can't just make a little bit of makes a whole big pot. And she's not lying, just look at this big pot full of Caldo!

There's at least 4 gallons of Caldo here. What's in Caldo? Well my mom uses stew beef (this time she bought it already cut in cubes), Cabbage, Zucchini Squash, Carrots, Onion, Potatoes and Tomato Sauce. Lots of people also add corn on the cob cut into small pieces. We asked for Corn on the Cob...we didn't get it, cause that's not how mom makes it! But we did get the love...that's my moms favorite ingredient...the love.

We like to prepare our Caldo by squeezing in some lemon juice and Tabasco...Yum! It gives it that little kick! I love this picture above because the sun came out just long enough for me to take the picture!

Here's a closeup of all the goodness. . .

And poor little Chorizo was so sad because she didn't get her own big bowl of Caldo :-(
Don't tell April but while April was eating her Caldo in the living room watching TV...Chorizo and I snuck into the kitchen and I fixed her a little plate of beef and squash. That's healthy for a puppy right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iron Chef and Avocado Pie

A few years back I belonged to what you might call a Supper Club...kinda. A true supper club is usually in a restaurant and a special clientele go there on a certain night and dine together.

What we did was more awesome than that. My friends, Stacie, Donna, Brian and I were sitting around one evening and as always the conversation rolled around to food. We came up with an idea of choosing one ingredient and everyone making some type of dish using that ingredient and then we would choose a winner and the winner would have to host the same type of party the following week.

The first ingredient we did was Wine. You had to make any kind of dish but it had to have wine as the main ingredient.

So for the rest of the week we each invited more friends and told them what the premise of our little competition was and what the ingredient was and asked them to join in. When the weekend rolled around we had a really great little group of around 15 or so people and each brought a different dish.

Some of the dishes were main courses, some were desserts and so on. The best thing is that since the theme was Wine everyone brought a bottle of wine and we all shared. The food was all great! Stacie had set up a nice little buffet table with plates and everything we would need. She had marked each dish with a number so we didn't know who had brought what. She had also provided little pieces of paper that we could all write a new favorite ingredient on and it was tossed in a hat.

We all served ourselves and enjoyed the great food and voted on which dish we liked the best. Then the votes were tallied and a winner was chosen. (It wasn't me...I'll tell you right now...I never won *sigh*). The winner then chose one of the ingredients out of the hat and that was to be the ingredient for the next month! The winner also had to host the Iron Chef Party the following month at their house.

This thing snowballed! By the time the next Iron Chef Party rolled around more people had heard about it and they showed up with their dishes. Again more great food, wine, beer, mixed drinks and lots of fun, laughter and making of new friends. And again a new winner was crowned, and by now someone had introduced a big plastic crown that looked like the Burger King Crown only of course plastic with big plastic gems in it. It was awesome and we all envied the winner!

We did this for about 6 to 8 months and it just kept getting bigger. The last one I remember going to had as it's ingredient avocado. Now...lemme tell ya; I make the best guacamole in the world. Not being braggadocio here, just telling it like it is. But did I make Guacamole? No. Did I win? No. Would I have won with my world famous amazing Guacamole? Hmmm, maybe, but I got greedy ya see...I wanted to make something BIG something no one else would bring.

So I thought...what would be the oddest thing to find avocado in? Anyone? That's right...pie. Ok, so it would be odd in cookies too, but let's go with the pie cause that's what I did. I baked an Avocado Pie!

And trust didn't look one iota as good as the one in this picture. Mine was like a greyish, greenish, brownish slimy color. Like the slime in ghostbusters... but dirty. It wasn't pretty people! I didn't even want to claim it when people were making faces and asking "Who made this!"

The dish that I remember the last winner making was a ceviche with avocado and she made small toasted tortilla shells to scoop the ceviche on top of. It was the best thing I have ever tasted...well with fish and avocado and tortilla shells anyway! Ceviche is a dish made with ingredients like fish or shrimp or crab mixed with tomatoes, jalapenos, lemon juice, cilantro, onions and sometimes avocado...of course.

You can eat it as shown or served over lettuce or in a corn tortilla but usually it's served with tortilla chips and you scoop it on top and munch down. I haven't had it in a long time, but I'm kinda thinking it might be time to try it...I found a recipe for making it with Tuna and I do love Tuna.

But never again with the Avocado Pie!

Did Iron Chef continue on? I don't know. Stacie moved away and I never went to another one again. But it was great while it lasted and if I could find another group of adventurous people like that I would be all for doing it again. It was so much fun!

Have any of you ever done something like this? Or maybe a Progressive dinner? Food, Friends and Family...they just go together don't they?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Solitaire, Spider Solitaire and Free Cell - A Day Without Internet

Today was officially the longest day of my life. Really! The longest day!

Today when I got to work we had no internet connection, our servers were down, the phone lines weren't working, the interoffice phone lines weren't working and so that meant I wasn't working! And I love working! Well I guess I don't love it, but if I have to be there 8 hours a day, I want to work, not just sit there.

But sit there I did. 8 hours. I started out with checking my email via yahoo on my cell, then I facebook'd it up a bit, again on my phone. Then I started playing the only games available. Solitaire, Spider Solitaire and Free Cell *sigh*. I even attempted to play Minesweeper *gasp* I know, I know. Who in their right mind plays Minesweeper? Who in their right mind would even invent a game like Minesweeper! I might as well play Sudoko!

I chit chatted with co-workers. I shuffled paper on my desk. I complained and whined and went to the bathroom way  more than was necessary just to get away from my desk. Then I again checked facebook & yahoo on my cell phone, talked to my sister and read more of my online book.

And as if things couldn't get worse....I used up the battery in my phone! Now all I had available was Solitaire, Spider Solitaire and Free Cell. was the longest day of my life. When I left at 5 our system wasn't working yet and may not be tomorrow. I'm taking a book, my phone charger and snacks!

It is Friday yet? How was your day?

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Life is a Blur!

So I've been having a tough time blogging!

Not because I don't have anything to say...pshaw! That's never a problem for me.

No the problem is my vision. Back in November I went in for an eye exam because I noticed blurred vision with my current glasses. They were about 4 years old, so I knew I probably needed new ones. I went in first to my medical doctor to have them check me out and make sure that it wasn't related to Diabetes, which runs in my family. It wasn't. (Whewwwwwww!) I'm not diabetic!

So I went in, got an exam and they confirmed my suspicions that my vision has degraded, but they said it was just a little bit, which I thought was good.

They had me choose a new pair of glasses, (even though my old ones were still great, they convinced me it was time for an upgrade to more expensive stylish ones.) I chose these:

Pretty snazzy huh? I love the "bling" on the side. Not really my cup of tea, but I've gotten so many compliments on them that they're starting to grow on me. They look really great with my complexion, so they're keepers.

The problem is the lenses. They've replaced them now 4 times and I still can't see through them! This is what my vision is like with these glasses.

Now...if I tilt my head as far back as I can and look through the bottom 1/8th of the glasses my visions clears up a bit and I can see well enough to keep typing or reading. But do you know how frustrating it is to work like this all day? And to blog like this? And to check your email, socialize on Facebook or play online games?

And I noticed last night while laying in bed watching TV that I have to keep re-adjusting my head and I still didn't see clearly! I'm at my wits end and ready to cry! I also don't have a clear far vision. I gotta tell you, this is really, really scary!

I have another appointment tomorrow and I'm hoping we can resolve this. I guess I could get glasses for just computer work and change them out to normal ones when I have to go outside the office or drive. I don't know. Has anyone else ever encountered this kind of problem? What did you do? How was it fixed?

I can't think of anything worse than losing my vision. I love reading and blogging and reading blogs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

American Idol less than 30 minutes it's the premiere of American Idol!

I know American Idol has become somewhat of a joke and no one who is cool still watches it...but hey, call me uncool then cause I love it!

I know there are a lot of people who try out just to get their 15 minutes of fame. I know there are a lot of people who just want to throw a tantrum and curse and make obscene gestures and I don't like watching them.

But I do love watching those that sincerely have a God given talent and just need a chance, an opportunity,  a break!

I love seeing all the hope and talent.I love seeing all the support given to these individuals by their families and loved ones. It gives me hope and it lightens my heart. It makes me smile and gives me the opportunity to sing along.

So tonight, even though Simon Cowell won't be there...I will. Will you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's up with Chorizo?

Just what is up with Chorizo? It's been a while since I posted any stories or pictures of Chorizo right?

In case you don't know what Chorizo's a spicy Mexican Sausage. Well at least the Mexican version that I'm used to is. I buy it in the store in the deli aisle and it looks something like this. . .

You can buy either the pork of the beef version. Both equally delicious if you ask me! You take this out of it's protective plastic packaging, throw it into a frying pan and treat it like it's ground beef, you just keep breaking it up and stirring it for a few minutes. Then you can use this crumbly, spicy meat to make wonderful dishes like. . .

Huevos Con Chorizo ......... Eggs and Chorizo. You just whip up some eggs with a fork in a bowl and then add them to the cooked chorizo in the frying pan and cook until the eggs are as set as you like them. You can then eat them with a spoon or even better, heat up a flour tortilla and wrap this spicy mixture up into a burrito. Yum! Nothing better for breakfast!

Another thing you can do with the crumbled up, fried up Chorizo is Papa's Con Chorizo, or Chorizo with Potatoes! To tell the truth, I love this little concoction better even than Huevos con Chorizo. With this dish you fry up the potatoes in strips or cubes, just like you're going to make country potatoes. Then in a seperate pan you fry the chorizo. When the potatoes are cooked to the consistency you like (I like mine slightly crunchy still) you mix the chorizo in. Serve this alongside eggs or french toast or anything else. It goes with anything! Oh...and again just wrap this stuff inside a flour makes an excellent burrito!

Another wonderful dish you can make with Chorizo is Nachos. Ohhhhhh I so love Nachos. My sister and I love to go to this wonderful Mexican restaurant in Bakersfield known as Mexicali. They serve the best Chorizo Nachos in the world! I know several people will say, "Oh no! The best nachos are Chile Verde Nacho's" But to them I say "Pshaw! You don't know Nacho's my friend."

You layer torillas chips, the cooked Chorizo, cheese, green onions, black olives, tomatoes and Jalapenos, then place them in the oven until the cheese is melted and gooey; then in the broiler for just a second to brown the top. Oh my Gosh...there is nothing better with a cold beer or an icy, lemony-limey margarita!!!

Great! Now I've made myself hungry! And probably you too right? But the Chorizo I'm talking about when I say what's up with Chorizo is my daughters little Shih-Poo puppy...Chorizo. Here's Chorizo now saying "Huh? What? You're talking about me and not the spicy sausage that smells soooooooo darn good when you cook it?"

Chorizo believe it or not is a girl puppy. I know, I know. With a name like Chorizo you would expect her to be a boy puppy. My daughter April just loved the name Chorizo and probably because she loves the spicy Mexican sausage Chorizo!

Chorizo is her own spicy Mexican Sausage...well maybe a spicy Shih-Poo Sausage. Oh now she's baring her teeth at me. I love when she does that!

Awwww! Isn't she precious. She honestly thinks my coffee table belongs to her. I think she likes it because when she's on the coffee table it's cool and she's in the center of everything that is going on and she loves being the center of attention!

And when it's been a long day, and a puppy just wants a warm soft place to go to there's nothing like a great-grandmamma's lap for a little snooze.

G'Nite little Chorizo. We promise not to cover you with cheese and jalapenos and eat you all up and wash you down with an icy margarita...even if you are cute enough to eat!

Designs by Gollum - Foodie Friday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Sanitized Heart or my Insanity Heart? You decide!

I've mentioned more than once in previous posts that I am an individual that becomes easily attached to inantimate objects. I've also mentioned I'm a tiny bit OCD (obesessive-compulsive disorder). I now have proof.

I was reading a super funny post from a super funny lady, Kathryn over at From the Inside...Out. You guys have to go read her, follow her, stalk her! She's simply the funniest lady in Kathrynville! I also believe she's the Mayor, Chief of Police, Coroner and Mascot of the fair little blog city.

But anyway, her post was about a sweet little lady that had requested to befriend Kathryn on Facebook. Kathryn didn't recognize the person and was worried that it might be someone posing as a sweet little lady but in reality was some pervert that wanted to show her pornography (at least that's how I read into the story). Kathryn then says about situations like these, (I usually hit delete and then pour hand sanitizer on my keyboard.)

I finished reading the post, commented and went on about my merry way when I remembered my office hand sanitizer.

I am unable to use my hand sanitizer...let me show you why.

First...I want to apologize for the size of this picture. If you click on it to enlarge it you will see that it's roughly the size of a small car. I don't have a photo resizer at work, sorry.

Do you notice anything odd and strangely intriguing about this photo? C'mon, click on it to embiggen it and look at it closely. Anything? you see it too? There's a heart in there floating around in the top of the up-side down bottle. And if you turn the bottle over it flip-flops and floats the the top again.

I can't bring myself to use any of my sanitizer because maybe if just one drop is lost then the heart will be lost as well. So I've peeled all the paper off (as you can see by the glue that is still in place) and it just sits there...the heart beckoning me. A very sanitized heart. Can you understand my insanity?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Books Read in 2010

2010 was another great year for reading.

I won a an autographed copy of Lucille O'Neal's (Shaquille O'Neal's mother) book in a giveaway hosted by Kathryn from the fabulous blog, From the Inside...Out.

I also went to a book signing in 2010 and met Apolo Ohno, the Gold Medal Olympic Speed Skater and got an autographed copy of his book.

I became a member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book when Anny from sent me a copy of the book by Crystal Renn entitled Hungry, A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves. Now that I'm done with the book I will be mailing it on to the next person on the list, Della of Della Grace's Life and then Della will send it to the next person and Voila...a traveling book!

Also in 2010 I discovered and spent time reading the Anne of Green Gables book series using my cell phone.

I also paid many visits to my favorite bookstore, the Goodwill Bookstore we have locally. Believe it or not we have a Goodwill store that has nothing in it but books, all organized by author and under 80cents each! They have a couple of tables and some comfortable chairs so that you can sit and browse...if they just had a coffee shop in there it would be perfect!

So needless to say I read quite a few books in 2010. I tried to list them on my sidebar but unfortunately there were quite a few that didn't get listed. I'm going to try to do a better job of it this year.

A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.  ~Author Unknown

1. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
2. Legacy of Silence by Belva Plain

Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book!  A message to us from the dead, - from human souls whom we never saw, who lived perhaps thousands of miles away; and yet these, on those little sheets of paper, speak to us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers.  ~Charles Kingsley

3. Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark
4. Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Let your bookcases and your shelves be your gardens and your pleasure-grounds.  Pluck the fruit that grows therein, gather the roses, the spices, and the myrrh.  ~Judah Ibn Tibbon

5. Married in Black by Christina Cordaire
6. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  ~Francis Bacon

7. In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
8. My Heart May Be Broken, But My Hair Still Looks Great by Dixie Cash

To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.  ~Chinese Saying

9. Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup
10. The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.  ~Anatole France

11. The Deep End by Joy Fielding
12. The Last Juror by John Grisham

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.  ~Mary Wortley Montagu

13. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
14. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

A good book is always on tap; it may be decanted and drunk a hundred times, and it is still there for further imbibement.  ~Holbrook Jackson

15. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Satterfield
16. The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

A blessed companion is a book, - a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,... a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.  ~Douglas Jerrold

17. Hungry by Crystal Renn
18. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.  ~Henry Miller

19. Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go by Lucille O'Neal
20. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
21. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary.  It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness.  ~Holbrook Jackson

21. Zero Regrets by Apolo Ohno
22. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
23. Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
24. Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books - even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.  ~William Ewart Gladstone

Funny thing is I read 24 books in 2009 and ended 2010 with 24 also. So I guess I'm reading about 2 books per month. Can I beat my own record in 2011? Anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Only God can make a Tree

We wait a long, long time for the changing of the leaves on our trees here in Kern County. But it's well worth the wait. Here's a mosaic of the tree in my backyard. I took these photos just a couple of weeks ago. Click on the photo to enlarge.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer, "Trees", 1914

Linking up to Mosaic Monday hosted by Mary at Little Red House.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sunday Favorites - Books Read in 2009

I've really been trying to get my act together in 2011, but I've had a lot of distractions, mainly the cold and television :0(

I want to try to put together my list of books that I have read in 2010 so I thought it might motivate me to publish for my Sunday Favorites post an old post from January 4, 2010 in which I listed all the books I had read in 2009.

So here's my list and I hope to get my 2010 list done sometime this week. Please visit the lovely Chari of Happy to Design and see what other great "blasts from the past" others are sharing this Sunday!

A favorite post
originally posted on 
January 4, 2010

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown

1. Faith of My Fathers ~ John McCain
2. Bitter Grounds ~ Sandra Benitez

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx

3. Twilight ~ Stephanie Meyer
4. New Moon ~ Stephanie Meyer
5. Eclipse ~ Stepanie Meyer
6. Breaking Dawn ~ Stephanie Meyer

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

7. Odd Thomas ~ Dean Koontz
8. The Disappearance of Lyndsey Barratt ~ John Wilson
9. The Wedding ~ Nicholas Sparks

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~P.J. O'Rourke

10. A Day To Pick Your Own Cotton ~ Michael Phillips
11. The Color of Your Skin Ain't the Color of Your Heart ~ Michael Phillips

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

12. Mrs. Kimble ~ Jennifer Haigh
13. A Million Little Pieces ~ James Frey

My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

14. Good in Bed ~ Jennifer Weiner
15. At First Sight ~ Nicholas Sparks
16. rising ~ Darnella Ford

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney

17. Duplicate Keys ~ Jane Smiley
18. Icy Sparks ~ Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book. ~Christopher Morley

19. The Nanny Diaries ~ Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
20. Promise Not To Tell ~ Jennifer McMahon
21. Lovely Bones ~ Alice Sebold

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television. ~Andrew Ross

22. Lost and Found ~ Carolyn Parkhurst
23. Losing It ~ Valerie Bertinelli
24. I know this much is true ~ Wally Lamb

A house without books is like a room without windows. ~Heinrich Mann

I'm starting 2010 by reading a book my sweet daughter April gave me for Christmas.
It's Julie & Julia by Julie Powell.

What are you reading in the New Year?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Angelica's Carrot Cake

Is there anything as good as carrot cake? I mean think about it...carrots are good for you and you love cake right? With carrot cake you get cake that's good for you. Enuf said right?

I made this as one of the desserts for our Christmas Eve and it was so moist and delicious that I had to share it! The recipe was given to me by my friend and co-worker, Angelica. This is a great New Years Resolution Cake for those that want to eat healthier and watch your weight because your eating your veggies in cake form!

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup Sugar
2 T. Baking Soda
1 T. Baking Powder
2 cups Flour
2 T. Ground Cinnamon
1 T. Salt

Mix all dry ingredients.

Then add to the dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs beaten
3 cups Shredded Carrots
1 cup Nuts, I used walnuts
1 14 oz. can crushed pineapple

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum! Lots of great recipes and pictures, go check it out!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Iwanna Wednesday - A New Year

Well the holiday are over and I for one am so glad! Not that I didn't enjoy them, cause I did...but because now things can get back to normal!

It seems to me that every weekend we had something planned, Thanksgiving Weekend, then Tamale Making Weekend, then Christmas Shopping Weekend, followed by Biscocho Making Weekend, then Christmas Eve and Christmas Weekend and finally New Years Eve and New Years Weekend. I'm exhausted and just a tad heavier than I was just a short month and a half ago!

I gave myself a little break from blogging because frankly it was just too hectic with the busy weekends and year end stuff at work and then it was too cold and I just wanted to cuddle up on the couch or in bed with my electric blanket, hence the tad more heaviness!

But's 2011! Happy New Year everyone. The end of the old year and the beginning of a new year is a good time to contemplate your life and dreams and future and that's what I've been doing of late. I realize that before I got sick with Thyroid Cancer (August 2008) I was doing lots of fun things and keeping active. I was playing tennis and was a member of a tennis club, I was going to Curves Fitness Center 4 times per week and I was going dancing with friends most Friday and Saturday nights.

Having thyroid cancer really drained my energy. At the time I didn't know that I had this disease...I just thought I was old, I had just turned 50 and blamed my lack of energy and various aches and pains on my age.

 I also think that after my surgery I went through a period of feeling sorry for myself and fear of whether or not I was really I just kinda skimmed through life for a while; not really getting back into the swing of things.

Then in 2010 I got hit with Sciatica and what energy I was starting to get back was just devastated by this new disease. Quite frankly if I had to have Thyroid Cancer or Sciatica I would choose the cancer. Sciatica was just the most painful thing I have ever had to endure and I'm still not 100%!!

But it's a new year and it's time to get my life back and do the things Iwanna do! That's what this Iwanna Wednesday is about; setting goals for myself by telling the world what Iwanna accomplish this year.

WORLD...are you listening? Cause here goes!

First...Iwanna be active again and do fun things and make new friends. So I've been thinking about taking a dance class. I would love to take ballroom dancing, but even a Zumba class would be ok.

I used to love to go dancing on Friday's after work. It was a great way to end the week and start the weekend. Most of the dancing we did was Latin dancing, cha-cha's, ranchera's, cumbia's; but we also loved to line dance.

It's great exercise and a great way to meet people and make friends but in the shape I'm in right now heading to the clubs to dance with strangers and make new friends is just not something I feel ready for ... Yet!

Second... Iwanna take either a cooking class, baking class or cake decorating class.

I've always wanted to learn to professionally decorate cakes. Just for fun...I don't want to become a baker or anything, I just want to accomplish this.

Who knows...I could be the next Cake Boss. Maybe the Cake Boss of Bakersfield? Hmmm, that's a great title for a new TV show, don't you think?

Third...Iwanna try to take a Wine Tasting Class.

I'm not a big wine drinker but I think that's because I don't know a lot about wines and what wines go with what foods.

We are so close to so many wineries here in Kern County. I know that there are classes offered where as a final exam you get to ride in a limo to different wineries and samples wines!

Doesn't that sound like a great final exam and one that I should be able to ace with no problem?

But mostly what Iwanna is to put aches, pains and illness behind me in 2011 and just find health and happiness again. It's what Iwanna for YOU and what Iwanna for ME as well. We deserve it!

Happy 2011 and may all your Iwanna Wishes come true!