Monday, 23 January 2012

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Man On Wire

Like the book rut, I've been in a film rut. It's hard for me to watch anything new. I used to try and watch something new every week, and now, lately, I just don't have the energy or motivation. It's sad because I love film. I've DVR'd several movies I've been dying to see (or haven't seen in years) and just haven't watched them.

Last night, I picked Man On Wire to watch. I've been wanting to watch a good documentary, and I had been told years ago (in school) to watch this one. I believe Griff bought it for my birthday 2 years ago. (Honestly, you wouldn't believe the list of films I have that I haven't even watched yet. Bad, Film Student, very Bad!).

It's about a frenchman who is a wire/tight rope walker. Much like you have flash mobs now, he would walk on very large, famous public structures. The World Trade Center was his ultimate goal, that which he wanted to walk more than anything and the film is about how he and his accomplices went about making it happen. Because they couldn't do it legally.

It was breath taking and inspiring.

...It also had a phenomenal soundtrack. Predominately, it used a specific track by Michael Nyman which I recognized immediately because it is used throughout The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover, which is one of my favorite movies EVER. I can not express enough how a good soundtrack enhances a good film watching experience. "Memorial", in particular, is a composition that brings a lump to my throat. It's one of those "heart exploding in your chest" pieces for me. So I will leave that here as well. But please, if you want to watch something that is simply amazing, watch Man On Wire.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Something I'm not going to do anymore...

Try to read books I'm not enjoying. I just can not do it anymore. I used to try and plow through things in the hopes that it would get better, but from here on, I REFUSE.

What brings this is on is that I *finally* got a hold of the latest Charlaine Harris "Dead Reckoning" at the library. The last few Sookie Stackhouse books have been pretty tedious to get through, but I've stuck with it. But now, I no longer can. This "Reckoning" was just so badly written and I found myself no longer caring what was going on. 2 chapters in and I was done. Back to the library!

I also had taken out a several books about Waldorf schools. The first one was, I think, a bit too...I don't know. If I were an educator wanting to read about schooling, maybe I would have found it interesting. But for myself, I am wanting something that can convey to me the principles of how to integrate ideas from the school into the home (because let's be honest here, I will never be able to afford to send my kids to a Waldorf school). But I'm not looking for an academic book, per se. So that went back too. I have 3 more to get through.

So there. Books that suck, or do not entice me, you have been warned. I will re-shelve your ass.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Well, yesterday was sort of a (small) big deal to test my resolutions. Yesterday we went to Henry's Smokehouse for lunch. They have the *BEST* pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. I was really wanting their sweet potato casserole which is why I suggested it for lunch.

It was hard. It smelled (smelt?) so good. I ordered the BBQ chicken and it was gross. Actually, it may have been okay, but I wanted the pork. But I did it. No red meat.

When we got home my mom tried to convince me that pork isn't red meat. *sighs* I wish...I can rationalize that pork is filthy and really, you shouldn't eat it. It's not that good for you. But it's so good in your mouth! O well...
Final Score:
Me- 1 Red Meat- 0

Saturday, 7 January 2012

2012 Here We, Are?

It's taken me a few days to write out my "Resolutions" List. I decided that I had to have 12 things. (Weirdo). So here it goes:

1. Learn to sew. For real this time. - Mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and I was so shocked. I really didn't think I would be getting one. I have no excuse this year. I'm doing it.

2. Knit for me. - I have a huge list of things that need to be knit for other people. I love knitting and I love that people love what I make. But it's getting sad to have to let go of all these things. I want to knit things that I can enjoy. So I have a small list of things I would like for me.

3. Scrapbook the Road Trip. -O boy, this is a big one. I have a lot of ideas as to use the things we collected. I collected a lot of paper, which would make an epic scrap book, or a great collage. I am still undecided. I am more comfortable with collage, but scrap book would be a great way to reminisce. Whatever I decide, I have a lot of photos to print, and paper to organize. I also need to finish uploading all the blogs from the trip. I still can't believe it's over. It was such an awesome journey.

4. Be Healthy- A lot of habits I started when pregnant. I've picked up a lot more since Oz has started eating. Being healthy isn't just about getting the number down on the scale (well, it is that some). But I want to be healthy so that as Oz (and whenever baby 2 wants to show up) grows up, healthy eating choices are habit. Something he won't have to think about or struggle with. It will be his norm. I like that idea. So while it is a struggle for me to give up bad habits, I know it will be worth it in the end.

5. Get Outside More- I'm definitely an indoor girl, but we need to be out more. Especially on sunny days.

6. CAMP- We discovered that we really enjoy camping and I want it to be something we do as a family. So when the weather warms up, I want us to go several times. Plus, it's pretty affordable as a weekend getaway!

7. Do Some Out of My Comfort Zone - This has yet to be decided, but I'm brainstorming. I have a year and I want to do it for a few months. Not a one-off. So when I know, you'll know.

8. Listen to More Music- This may seem so obvious and easy, but it's not. I miss listening to music. I miss the way it used to excite me. I don't think music is ever as exciting and new as it is when you are a teenager. I know I can't recapture that, but I do want to HEAR MORE THINGS. Not background noise.

9. Slambook the Magazines- I watched a video on youtube for Slambooks. I don't need to buy a "Slambook", just an empty notebook/journal (which I have plenty of) and I have glue sticks. But I do have a fuck-ton of magazines. I save them because I love paper, photos, articles... Just cut out what I like and put it in the damn book! You can do this Ashley! I love cutting up paper and I love gluing things. And who doesn't love a full notebook? It's a very satisfying moment to fill an entire notebook. Plus it will free up space. Seriously, I packed at least 3 boxes of magazines from England. That seems a little hoarder-ish to me. Which leads me to....

10. DE-CLUTTER. - Yeah we don't have a home yet, but when we do, it will be a fresh start. A perfect time to unpack, organize and DE-CLUTTER. I'm a collector. A nester. I like to be surrounded by things. But some things just need to be let go of.

11. Give up Red Meat- In some ways I think this will be the most difficult. I mean, beef is pretty easy. I don't eat roast beef, my own cooking if a recipe calls for beef mince, i'll substitute it with turkey mince. No biggie. And we only eat lamb once or twice a year. I don't eat pork that often either, but the idea of giving up sausage and sausage gravy are hard ones. And then I think about summer bbq's and yeah, that's a toughie. I don't like that. But after we ate cheeseburgers last night, I just felt gross. My head hurt and I had the worst indigestion. So I don't really think I need to be eating something that makes me feel that way.

12. Thoughtful Buying.- This one probably comes from my pinning on Pinterest. I am excited about setting up a home and starting from scratch. I'm excited about losing weight and buying some new clothes. But I want to be thoughtful in my purchases. Instead of just filling; buy things that I will like and that will LAST. It's not about brand, it's not about price. I'm talking about QUALITY, and I think this can spread to all aspects of our shopping and spending.

So there you go. 12 expectations for myself in 2012. What is it about the New Year that is so damn exciting?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 Book List

I look forward to this post all year. Last year, with the help of Goodreads, I challenged myself to read 50 books/graphic novels. I also set myself "The Rule" that everything read this year had to be new. Well, new to me. I couldn't re-read anything (with the exception of Salem's Lot. I read that every year and I don't see that changing anytime soon). I'll be honest, there were moments where I did not think I would make it. My spare time on the Road was spent knitting rather than reading. But I did it! So here it is; The 2011 Book List:

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
3. The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula by Eric Nazum
4. How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel: and other misadventures traveling with kids by Sarah Franklin (While this wasn't a phenomenal book, it gave a lot of confidence that our Road Trip would be possible with Oz being so young).
5. Room by Emma Donoghue
6. James and the Giant Peach by Ronal Dahl
7. America Unchained by Dave Gorman
8. Batman: Terror by Doug Moench
9. The Walking Dead: Days Gone By by Robert Kirkman - This series is absolutely incredible. It never ceases to shock. Absolutely fantastic.
10. The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us
11. The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry
12. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
14. It's Only a Movie by Mark Kermode
15. The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars
16. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - It was the book that every mother loved to hate this year. Despite many bloggers claims, this is far from a how-to manual of Chinese Mothering. Instead I found Chua to be painfully honest about her short comings as a mother and how every child can not be parented the same.
17. The Walking Dead: The Heart's Desire
18. The Walking Dead: The Best Defense
19. Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future by Sunita Mehta
20. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
21. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
22. Th Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
23. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Year Later... by Francine Pascal
24. Hippo Eats Dwarf by Alex Boese
25. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
26. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
27. A Tale of the Batman: Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn
28. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Absolutely phenomenal. Without a doubt, the book/series of the year for me.
29. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich- I think this should be required reading.
30. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
31. Bossypants by Tina Fey
32. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
33. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands by Chelsea Handler- Yeah, I didn't think this was very funny considering all the hype about how hilarious Handler is.
34. The Walking Dead: This Sorrowful Life
35. House Rules by Jodi Picoult- I thought the ending to this was such a cop out. I don't know if I will be picking up any more Picoult for awhile.
36. Batman: Gotham After Midnight by Steve Niles
37. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti
38. Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman
39. Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
40. Batman: Joker's Asylum Vol 2 by Landry Q. Walker
41. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
42. The Walking Dead: The Calm Before
43. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
44. Salem's Lot by Stephen King
45. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
46. Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman- RAGE
47. Tinsel: A search for America's Christmas Present by Hank Stuever
48. Midwives by Christ Bohjalian
49. The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told by Mike Gold
50. Walking Dead: Made to Suffer

Looking back, I am also really impressed with how much I used the Library this year.

SO now we plan for 2012. This year the goal is 55 books and I am committing myself to series and non-fiction. What what all did you read? Discover any new favorites?

Quick Revisit

So how did my year shape up according to last year's resolution list? Well....

1. I did, in fact, find the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and it was also the one recommended by Tracy. I found this on Christmas Eve for Santa's cookies and they were amazing. I also made enough to give out to my parent's neighbors. They were soft, chewie, and kept for DAYS. Seriously. The best.

2. O I went WAY over my 12 knitted projects. Unfortunately, I was very lazy about posting them HERE, but posted them on my facebook. I went well over 12, and I really tried to push myself beyond simple projects that I'm comfortable with. At the moment, I'm trying to use DPNs and Circular needs a lot to try and become more comfortable with them. I don't want to shy away from patterns I love because I'm scared of technique. There will definitely be more of this to come in 2012.

3. I don't know if I necessarily baked more, but I found time to do the projects I wanted. I was really proud of how the Rainbow Cake at Oz's birthday came out. It looked good and was delicious.

4. Dude. We're not going there.

5. I did not learn to sew :( BUT I did get a sewing machine for Christmas from my mom and today was spent hanging out at my sister's house playing around with her sewing machine. I've been looking for some starter classes. So *fingers crossed* this will be the year!

6. I do read to Oz, but it's difficult. He doesn't have the patience really to sit through a whole book and he wants to turn all the pages. But he plays with books all the time, and I think that's positive play time. So even though this one didn't turn out how *I* wanted it to, I'm still very happy about the direction we are going in.

7. Slacktivism. This was a hard one and it did fall through the cracks, if I'm totally honest. We moved country this year and then traveled across America. Yeah, it was about *me*. It was about US. This is something that will be making a move onto the list for next year.

8. No, I was still on the internet a lot. :/ Well, not for those months on the road actually. My internet was pretty much cut short and it was hard and painful and I wasn't crazy about it. But since I am being honest, I think it was good for me. Here's hoping we find ways to cut more internet and tv time out of our lives for 2012.

9. I think I definitely blogged more. I am still so behind on our Road Trip blogs tho, it's sad. I will carry on tho!

10. Sherlock Holmes did not get finished! WHAT THE HELL!?!?!? Why is it so hard to finish!?!?! UG.

So there you go. It's not really an "end cap" to the year by any means. That is it's own blog. And I will hopefully post my Goals of 2012 tomorrow. I'm still working them out....