Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: A Gentle Rain

A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith

Kara is an affluent woman who, after a great loss, learns something rather shocking about her past. She sets out to explore her past and discovers an interesting cast of characters including ranch owner, Ben, who has a colorful past of his own. His brother and ranch hands are of various special needs and it turns out that a couple of the ranch hands play a special role in her life.

At times the book is predictable, and a little outrageous, but entertaining, non the less. I imagine this book being a really goof Lifetime movie... although, who am I to speak, I haven't watched the Lifetime channel in years. And when I say Lifetime movie I mean I can't see it on the big screen. But even so I couldn't put this book down. And in the end it left me with warm fuzzies... and who cares if I knew how it would end. Sometimes you just need to have a book like this.

Grade: B +

Books read since the beginning of 2012: 23

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day in the Life - Fall 2012

Time for another edition of 'Day in the Life' as hosted by Navigating the Mothership.

Saturday, 10/20/12
Riley is 2 years, 8+ months

3:32 - I wake up, go to the bathroom and hope I fall right back to sleep. I've been having sleep issues a lot lately and have gotten to the point of 'so tired I can't sleep'. It may be time to see a doctor or at least try some over the counter medication. Although lately, part of the bad sleep has to do with Riley getting up and me getting to bed too late.

Luckily I fall back asleep pretty fast. I have a dream about a whale that I think becomes friends with my kid. The whale swims around after my kid and everyone thinks it is so cute. We all sit down to eat at a restaurant and I see that my options are mashed potatoes and pork chops or tater tots and whale. I wonder if this is the same whale that is friends with my daughter. I'm not all that hungry, but I feel like everyone expects me to make a decision.

5:34 - I wake again. I think it's because I have to go to the bathroom again, but that's not it. I am really hot so that might be it, but perhaps my mind didn't want to make a decision in my dream about what to eat so I woke up. Who knows? Typically when I wake up at this time I almost never fall back to sleep no matter how tired I am. I want sleep so bad and know that I don't have to get up at 6 am for work. Please let me fall back to sleep.

I do! I do fall back to sleep! And I have more dreams which is pretty common for me to dream in these early hours and remember them. It tells me that I am sleeping, but probably not very hard. In my dream I was at some event with work folks or bloggers. I'm not sure, but I know Erin from It's All Happening was there (we work together and she's a blogger). After the event we go back to work and find our computers right next to each other where we have to stand at our desks. She turns to me and gives me a hug. (This is even weird to me since this is the second dream she's been in of mine where a hug is involved). At any rate, she's drunk and keeps talking about I don't know what. She walks off to the bathroom and I don't see her for the remainder of the dream. I turn towards her desk and find 6 full shot glasses of booze next to her computer. I then realize I am at a restaurant. (Ugh, I hate restaurant dreams - they are always so stressful.) This one turns out to be less stressful, but I am trying to clean all the dirty tables off really fast. There are a lot of crayons on each table and on one table in particular. I find a large Ziploc bag that already has crayons and markers in it and start stuffing if full with the crayons from the table. The bag has a name written on the front in black permanent marker. I can't recall what it is now, but I know it meant something to me in the dream. I see that Jesse and Riley are waiting for me outside so I try to wrap up my cleaning. Riley is playing in a structure that looks just like our new playhouse.

Then I have another dream or perhaps it's part of the same dream and I am missing transition details. In this dream I wake up and realize my friend Angela has stayed overnight and is in bed with me. It's the 'Day in the Life' day so I take a picture of her. I look up and there are a bunch of other women getting ready for the day next to the bed. I think we must have gone out the night before. I go downstairs in my pajamas and find my friends, Dan, Joanna, and Pete - all of whom I went to high school with. There is another guy there ready to take our picture. Pete has the good sense to turn us so that the TV isn't on behind us in the picture. I am glad someone is paying attention to these details. Oh, and somewhere in one of these dreams I discover that my DSLR camera won't work. At all. So sad (I hope it's not an omen of things to come).

Phew! All this and I am not even officially awake for the day yet.

6:30ish - I hear things, but I'm not quite with it. I wonder if I forgot to turn of my alarm or if Riley is awake across the hall. Jesse has been sleeping downstairs all week because he has a nasty cough he doesn't want to wake us with. I hear a couple thunks, but somehow go back to sleep.

6:57 - Riley cries out and Jesse comes upstairs to get her. After he changes her diaper she runs across the hall yelling "mommy, mommy". I pick her up and hug her. As I let her down she yells to her dad "Daddy, I found mommy! I found mommy!". Too cute.

Jesse takes Riley downstairs and I think about whether I am going to try and get more sleep. I lay there for awhile, but decide that I don't want to be frustrated by not sleeping.

7:25 - I get out of bed and make the bed. Now that we have a new duvet cover I actually want to make the bed every day. We just need a new throw and a couple blue pillows and it will be perfect.

I head to the basement where Jesse took Riley in the hopes that I would be able to go back to sleep. They are watching the Backyardigans on Netflix. It's fun listening to her try and say "backyardigans".

We go upstairs to the main floor to eat breakfast. Riley eats french toast and I eat scrambled eggs and toast.

I notice it's quite foggy out, but know that later in the day it is suppose to be quite nice. I kinda of hope it stays foggy for awhile because it looks kind of cool.

After breakfast I let Riley watch Toy Story 3 which Jesse just got for her. I jump in the shower while she watches Woody and Buzz and when I come out she's attacking Jesse.

9:07 - Riley attempts to get in a puzzle game, but we need to head upstairs and get dressed as we are meeting a friend at 10:30. Jesse, Riley and I were going to meet our friends, Adriana and Dan, over at Minnehaha Falls and then get lunch together afterward. Unfortunately, Dan had to go into work and the main road to the Falls was closed so we came up with a new plan to hang out with Adriana in a different area.

10:08 - We leave the house and meet Adriana over at the Stone Arch Bridge at about 10:20. She shows up moments after we park.

We put Riley in the stroller and she is ready to go. She demonstrates this by repeatedly saying "let's go!" while we are trying to pay for our parking. No pressure, kid.

As we walk by the old Pillsbury A Building, Riley points out the A on the side of the building and then says "where's B?" Luckily, a building a couple down has a 'B' on it so she is satisfied.

We have a nice walk and, as expected, Riley loves looking at the river and the falls. The water was quite low so I would love to bring her back when the falls have more oomph to them.

View towards the 35W bridge

View towards the falls and the 3rd Avenue bridge

The Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie had these cool, spooky images on the outside. If you are ever in Minneapolis I'd recommend checking out this building and the surrounding area. There was a farmer's market going on next to it and the Mill City Museum is right down the road. We were going to go in, but decided to skip it this time. Those kids in the window got a kick when Jesse waved at them. 

Oddly, Riley stayed in the stroller much of the time. Usually, she is begging to get out and run around. Above, Jesse and Riley are headed back over the Stone Arch Bridge - the best picture I got of it sadly. The Stone Arch Bridge was once a railroad bridge that was converted into a walking/biking bridge. It's a hot spot for wedding, family, and high school pictures. In fact, the bridge and surrounding area was peppered with photographers. I've never seen so many around there before.

After our walk we stopped at the Aster Cafe for lunch. Turns out our waitress was an old friend of a friend that I haven't seen in years.

Adriana and myself

12:37 - We head home, Riley eats lunch (because she won't eat any food at the restaurant besides the banana we brought with), we read some books and she is down for a nap around 1:30.

Scrambled eggs and orange slices

1:40 - I write some of this post, surf the web, and sort of have plans to tackle other things, but get distracted by some online things. I make a picture for fun and then make a new header for the blog. While I'm at it I post a new profile and header picture on FaceBook. I'm tired and think of napping, but am still frustrated by the other day when I left work early to nap and ended up just lying in bed for two hours. Instead, I print out a couple more refinance papers I need to sign, and do a little cleaning up around the house.

3:35. I hear Riley awake upstairs and I hear voices outside. I look out the window and see my dad and his buddy, Denny, in my backyard. I run upstairs and grab Riley. We come back downstairs and are about to get our shoes on to go outside when my dad brings Denny inside to see our kitchen. Denny lives one block over in a similar styled house and he's impressed with how we've really opened up our house. Eventually we head back outside.

My dad and Denny went to my dad's farm and hauled back a bunch of scrap metal that my dad plans to take to the junkyard. My dad is retired, but has become a little bit of a scrapper. All his neighbors drop off their empty cans, and my dad has been known to strip down old cords to get to the copper. It keeps him busy and even though he probably doesn't need the money he loves that he can make cash out of stuff that many people throw away.

Mattress and recliner guts

Riley makes sure to give papa a hug before he and Denny take off. Before my dad leaves he asks Riley if he can take her playhouse home with him. She does not like this idea at all and tells him "my playhouse stays here!"

Playhouse all painted. Can't wait to plant flowers in the window box in the spring.

As they are leaving Denny gives Riley a dried corn on the cob and she repeatedly asks to go cook the 'pop corn' in the house. She doesn't understand that this isn't the type of corn you can eat. I try to get her to cook it in her play kitchen in the playhouse, but she seems offended by this suggestion.

After Denny and my dad leave, Riley and I help Jesse pick up leaves in the yard. Usually Riley loves helping with this task, but she doesn't last long because she's still thinking about that corn cob. She has just enough fun throwing leaves around for me to capture it on camera.

She's soon talking about going inside again. What the heck? This kid loves the outdoors, but can't get her mind off cooking that corn up inside. We distract her with sidewalk chalk and she seems to forget about the corn for the moment.

Later she finds the corn and throws it in her playhouse. A number of the kernels come out and she becomes determined to get them back on the cob. I sense an impending freak out because I know that without glue or magic the kernels will not stay. Thankfully, I am able to distract her enough to go inside to get a snack.

4:30 - We head inside and grab a quick snack and head out to Target. We need a few food items, but both Riley and I need socks. Mine are just worn, but her need is because her feet have grown 3 sizes over the summer. While at Target Jesse goes to tackle the food list while Riley and I get distracted in other areas after getting socks. She helps me carry a sports bra I find on clearance.

I have no idea what happened to the hanger it was on, but when I turned around I found she had attempted to put it on. So yeah, we walked around Target like this.

5:30 - We're home and making dinner. Riley recently discovered pop corn so we picked some up for her since she was so obsessed with the corn cob earlier (which she often calls popcorn). She has to eat her dinner first and does a pretty good job of eating her brown rice, green beans, and blueberries and then eating some of my lettuce from my chicken lettuce wraps.

As you can see I also picked up a sleep aid at Target. Hopefully, it works. 

6:10 - Riley sits down to watch some more Toy Story 3. She's watched quite a bit of it today, but we let her because it's new for her. Plus, Jesse is still battling a cold and I'm sleep deprived so our parenting skills are likely lacking today.

I have a lot of digestive issues so I can't eat popcorn. I haven't touched the stuff in years, but I grew up with either having popcorn or a bowl of vanilla ice cream before bed every night. I decide to have a couple pieces of popcorn which turns into a couple handfuls. So good! Oh popcorn, I miss you so, but I know I need to watch myself (and have no issues with it this night which leads me to eat a little more the next night - this could be a slippery slope).

6:40 - I start Riley's bath, and start to put away the new items bought at Target. I bring clothes down to laundry room and sort. I usually start laundry on Saturday, but just never got to it. Oh well, there's always Sunday. I clean the cat litter and start the dishwasher.

7:05 - I realize what time it is. We are usually up in Riley's room by now reading books. I give her a quick bath and as usual procedure Jesse carries Riley upstairs while I hide around corners.

We read two books and she's in bed by 7:40, just slightly past her bedtime.

One of our favorite books to read: There's No Place Like Space.

7:41 - I head downstairs and write down a few things for this post, lest I forget. I decide that I really want wine tonight as Jesse and I are going to chill and watch a movie. We haven't been finding as much time to do this so I am really looking forward to it. I debate about the wine momentarily as I won't be able to take the sleep aid if I drink it and alcohol can go either way with me in the sleep department. I decide to take the risk. Recently, I asked Jesse to pick up a couple bottles of wine for me to have on hand. I'm not a huge drinker, but he informed me that I've been going through my wine faster lately so he just bought me a box. So thoughtful. At least it wasn't a jug.

8:10 - Jesse and I settle in to watch Safe with Jason Statham. Gee, that guy isn't typecast or anything. As expected it was a high action movie with a scene or two with him driving fast behind the wheel of a car. I rather liked it, but it's probably because I am a sucker for Statham. My husband sort of acts like he gets these movies for me, but I think he might be a sucker for Statham too.

9:37 - Movie is over. Wow, that was kind of a short one. Why can't more movies be this length. I usually don't watch them because I think they'll keep me up past my bedtime. Jesse and I watch a little bit of network TV, but the wine has done me good and I am tired. I shuffle upstairs and crash in bed by 10:08 (and sleep fairly well!).