Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Reads

I kept good track of my reading this year! (I didn't do so well last year!) In 2008, I read 65 books, and I'm guessing I was close to that in 2009 as well. 2010 my list is at 76 books - 2 of which are in progress, but which I anticipate finishing this week! (** is a re-read. I do re-read books a lot - my comfort books! And yes, I do re-read Nora Roberts a lot... they are like old friends. :)) The count is 50 new titles, and 26 re-reads. I've read a number of really great books this year. I bolded the ones that are my favorite reads of the year! I spent a lot of time in airports this year. You can tell that from the quantity read in June, August/September, December.

The Last Van Gogh by Alyson Richman

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
Love and Meatballs by Susan Volland **
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts **
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts **


Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuk
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling **
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah|
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Born in Fire by Nora Roberts **
On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Born in Ice by Nora Roberts **
A Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Born in Shame by Nora Roberts **

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
True Colors by Kristin Hannah
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling **
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Leguin

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Amy's Eyes by Richard Kennedy **
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer **

Twilight Children by Torey Hayden
The Family by Jeff Sharlet
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer **
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts **
Black Rose by Nora Roberts **
Red Lily By Nora Roberts **
Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts **

Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb
Holding the Dream by Nora Roberts **
Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes by Teresa Tapp
Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts **
Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Azkaban by JK Rowling **
Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling **
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling **
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling **
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling **
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Leguin

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jones

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
Key of Light by Nora Roberts **
Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts **
Key of Valor by Nora Roberts **

Knit Two by Kate Jones
How to Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward
The Beach House by Jane Green
The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
Zooborns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland
Lean Forward Into Your Life by Maryann Radmacher
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

What did you read this year?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday

So, again it's been a long time since I posted. But I keep thinking about blogging, so I figure I probably should blog now and then.
Jamie's prompt today for Wishcasting Wednesday is, "What do you wish to invite in?"

As always - my response to a question like this one is creativity. I often forget that I NEED to let my creativity in so that I can let it out. (Does that make sense?) I so often don't let my creativity shine. And I want to. It's easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency and not do the things that make you feel good, make you feel alive and happy.

Now, don't get me wrong. Overall, I'm very happy. I love living on the Oregon coast, and life with my husband is good. But it could be better! So, I am wishing to let the creativity in... and then to let it all out and express myself!

What are you wishing to invite in? And to all of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday fun

My birthday was this last Saturday. Mike and I celebrated by driving south down the coast to see places we haven't visited since moving to Oregon.

Our first stop was Shore Acres. It's an amazing coastline, but also has a botanic garden there! It was wonderful! As we wandered through the flowers, we could hear sea lions barking and waves crashing! Amazing! You can see all of my photos at my Flickr. We intended to have lunch at a Mediterranean cafe we knew, but they were closed, so we wound up at a local Mexican place. The food was actually quite good (we don't find decent Mexican food around here much!)

The pond in the garden

Shore Acres

We drove back up to our favorite spot, of course, the 804 Trail and walked a ways. There was one spot where there were rose petals strewn on the path.... Maybe someone got married there! :)

Petals on the trail.

Then we headed toward home and had dinner at our favorite steak spot. It was a great, low-key birthday, which I enjoyed very much... and needed! :)

Mike spoiled me with a bunch of movies. I owned them on video tape, but wanted to replace these with DVD or blu-ray. Yay! :)


It was a good way to celebrate turning 36!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good-bye, Vicki

It has been a tough couple of months for me. In July, I flew to Arkansas on last minute notice because my sister Vicki was ill and in the ICU. I didn't know if I would make it to see her. I did, and she pulled through several surgeries. She knew we were there, but was just barely awake/lucid at all. I stayed for a bit more than a week and then had to come back home.

Then on August 17, my sister died. She had gone into a rehab hospital to recover and have physical therapy and was doing well. She caught pneumonia and a systemic staph infection. Her poor body just couldn't fight these infections and she passed away that evening.

I made another trip, this time to Colorado for her memorial service and a family gathering (party, according to Vicki's daughter, Sheri - that's what Vicki wanted.)

This experience has been one of the most difficult I've been through, but also good in many ways. I spent a lot of time with my sisters Connie and Rhonda, as well as my nieces Amanda and Sheri. I got to know Amanda's kids - Kenadie and Cooper (5 and 3 mos.) while in Arkansas.

I spent a lot more time with my sisters in Colorado and we started building good relationships - something we've never had. The time in CO was extremely stressful, emotional, and exhausting, but I am trying to hold on to the good things that happened. We said good-bye to Vicki. In that process, my entire family came together - for the first time in many years. All of the rest of my siblings and my parents were there.

At the memorial service for Vicki. (L to R: Rhonda, Connie, Tom, Me,
Sheri [holding Vicki's urn], Joe, John, Mom, Daddy)

At the family gathering - all siblings together with Mom and Daddy. (Back l to r, Yancy [Rhonda's fiance], Rhonda, Me, Connie, Ed [Connie's husband], Ramona [John's wife]. Seated l to r, Jacqueline [Tom's wife], Tom, Mom, John [behind mom], Mary, Daddy)

I'm doing better now that the time in Colorado has passed. It was a tough time with a lot of tears. I will always miss my sister, Vicki. She was a big presence in my life. She helped me find a lot of the creativity that I have.

Love you, Vicki!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Friday!

I don't know how months can go by without posting anything, but that's what has happened!

Lots has happened, but suffice it to say, things are good here in Oregon! We are LOVING summer here - the temperatures remain quite cool (only gotten above 70 a few times!) The farmer's markets are just now finally starting to get yummy veggies in since it has been so cool. But, oh the berries!! We are loving the fresh berries. We've moved from strawberries (my last post) to fresh blueberries now. I'm turning into quite the baker with this fresh fruit around! (A blueberry galette below)

We've had a few visitors and enjoyed the time with them. We have another friend arriving this coming Monday! We love being able to show off our new area. In just one week, we will have been here one full year! Amazing!

I also wanted to share with you a friend's success and new venture! My blogging friend Tanaya has opened a new etsy store! You can go take a look here, and also see her blogging or on Facebook! It's amazingly creative, and I love seeing a friend take off on a creative venture! Good luck!

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying life!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Strawberry shortcake

No, not the cartoon. The real deal!

Oregon strawberries are in season, and we are enjoying them immensely! They are super sweet and tasty! I made homemade strawberry shortcake the other night. YUMMY! Best dessert I've personally ever made I think.

I used a recipe that I found online at Patent and the Pantry (via Tastespotting). The recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a domestic goddess". I really love the biscuits. They are super creamy tasting and just a hint sweet. I also LOVED the trick in the recipe of grating the butter. I've never been successful at cutting butter into bits, and this was a great (pun intended) way to do it!

Strawberry Shortcakes

Adapted slightly from chef Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

For the shortcakes:

  • 1½ cups (325 ml) flour
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (125 ml) half-and-half cream
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp (15 ml) sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

for the filling:

  • 1 pound (500 g) strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • mix the sliced strawberries with 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar and set aside in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 425°f (220°c).

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tbsp (50 ml) of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to lightly toss all together. Whisk the egg into the half-and-half cream and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then roll gently to about ¾-inch (2 centimetres) thick. Dip a cutter in flour and cut out as many shortcakes as possible. Work the scraps back together, re-roll and cut more. Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the 2 tbsp (25 ml)whipping cream and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. (I forgot to do this last step! Will try it next time, for sure!)

Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove to wire rack to cool.

The recipe also included whipping cream, but we opted for a small scoop of vanilla ice cream! What a treat this was! I bought more berries and put them in the freezer. I thought about making some jam, but that's a process I've never taken on by myself. (I always assisted my friend Nancy in jelly-making!) I may still decide to give it a try - we'll see. These berries are very tempting!

The local Farmer's Market opens tomorrow. I am way more excited about fresh veggies than I probably should be! I have no idea what the growing season is like here in Oregon, so I don't even know what to expect veggie-wise. Should be fun though!!

Happy long weekend! :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Circe's Circle

It's been a while since I posted! I forgot. That's all.

This week - making me happy is Jamie's Circe's Circle being opened up for new participants. I took part in last years circle, and it was a truly amazing experience. I learned a ton about myself, got some ideas lined out for my own business, and made amazing friends.

My project for Circe's Circle was thinking about my own business doing web design. During the class, I had a lot of stress and personal things going on (You'll remember - Mike's stressful job, my health, our decision to move to Oregon... all during Circe's Circle!) I put my business ideas on the back burner during the circle, and focused on myself. But those ideas were there, and now they have actually started happening! Amazing!

I am an independent web designer now. I have a business called Off-Center Studio (taken directly from the circle and ideas we floated then!) I am in process of designing my own business website. And hoping to take on new design clients soon!

That is a lot of success in one year's time. And I can really attribute much of it to the time I spent on the calls and "homework" in Circe's Circle. Thanks Jamie!!! You rock.

If you're interested, take a look at Jamie's website. She is offering a preview call and I will be part of that. yay! It is a life changing experience.