Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 30 - A Dream for the Future

I feel like I covered this one pretty well in the last post so I'll keep it simple.

My dream for me and all others in my life is to find inner peace.  So many of my loved ones are also struggling with things in their lives, so I feel that I must extend my dreams to include them.  Each person is going through a unique journey, so it will take something different for us each to find this inner peace I speak of, but I hope that in the future, we can all come together from that place and reflect on the challenges life has thrown us in a positive and contemplative way.

Blogging every day has been an interesting challenge, and I find it suits me.  Perhaps I will devise my own version of the 30 day challenge only with a Taoist twist, stay tuned...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 29 - Hopes, Dreams, and Plans for the Next 365 Days

Finally, something I like talking about.  One thing I absolutely love is the future, what could be more full of possibilities?

For the next year these are my hopes, dreams, and plans.

-It should come as no surprise to anyone that at the top of my list would be to become pregnant.  After 3.5 years of dreaming of it, nothing could fulfill me more than achieving this dream.

-I hope to improve my self-confidence.  This is something that affects me in every aspect of my life and I am currently using some books and CDs to try and help adjust my thinking patterns and learning to love myself.

-I really dream of finding that perfect job, or maybe for the next year I'll settle for any job, lol.  My search has been less than stellar and I'm pretty unsure what my next step will or should be.

-I plan to continue to focus on my writing.  It's a hobby that was in the closet before a few years ago and now I really love it and even have a self-published work out there.

-I also plan to continue my quest for inner peace.  This, above all, is the one thing that I always strive for in my relationship with the Tao. 

The next year has so much potential, but sometimes it overwhelms me as well.  Wonderful things could happen, but I need to work on being okay if they don't as well.  That's where the inner peace comes in.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 28 - What's in Your Handbag

This seems a little random, but perhaps a better question is what is NOT in my handbag, lol.  I frequently get comments about how surprisingly heavy my purse is, as I manage to cram a lot of things in there without resorting to carrying a tote bag (or beach bag in some cases :D ).  I'll go list form.

A package of freeze dried apples x2
Wallet (containing typical wallet type fare, ID, cards, etc.)
LifeAct Guardian Angel Pepperspray
Multi-tool that can be pliers and such
package of pretzel M&Ms
purple pen
120" tape measure
House keys
couple tubes of lipstick
spare vehicle keys
Central Iowa Authors 50k button
hair barret
dozens of random receipts shoved into every nook and cranny
cherry tic tacs
matching purple pouch filled with emergency feminine supplies
2 Fiber plus bars that have been smashed completely flat
small tin of papaya x2
chunky bracelet
pill holder with various contents
Various business cards and punch cards
change floating throughout
On the outside of the purse is clipped a reusable shopping bag.

So, it seems pretty random what I have in there, but at some point or another I've felt the need to place it all in there.  I almost hate to mention that I have attempted to clean out my purse rather recently, so this list is much shorter than it would have been.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 27 - Your Worst Habit

This one is pretty easy for me.  The bad habit that I've been struggling with for years is boredom eating.  Simply put, if I don't have something to do with my hands, I put food in them.  My waistline certainly shows the results of it, as any eating when your not even hungry likely will, especially when the choices aren't the healthiest.

I come by the act naturally, as my mother has the exact same problem which is amplified at night.  I'm not making excuses here, just stating the truth.  I realize that I am entirely responsible for what goes into my mouth. 

I would like to add that this April, my mom and I are celebrating 5 years without the worst habit I've ever had - smoking. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 26 - Your Week, in Great Detail

I don't know about great detail, so I'm gonna give an overview instead.

Friday: My oldest and youngest nephews came to visit on Friday.  The oldest just got into Magic (a card game) so I helped him build a deck to try and beat his dad.  I fed them Yonanas (frozen and made of only bananas and strawberries) which the youngest (3) claimed to be to hot and taste like jalapenos.  

Saturday: This was the day of my brother & nephew's birthday party.  We went to the bowling alley and watched them open presents and bowl, while marveling at parenting of league bowlers and overall operation of the place.

Sunday: Mom came over to watch Survivor which we missed on Thursday because of our crazy schedule.  We chose our contestants, a tradition we've been doing for several years now.  Played some WoW with the hubby until it was time for Walking Dead which is our favorite couple show.

Monday: Busied myself with research and job hunting until time to go to a cooking class with my mom and some friends.  That class was proof that the people make the experience, because I had a really good time despite not learning a thing (other than curry is used in Mediterranean) and having several complaints about the overall structure.  We decided to pool our fees and do our own version of watching youtube videos and cooking next time.

Tuesday: Really enjoyed the reheated chicken I had made at the cooking class the night before.  More research and job hunting happened in here and then I started preparing for writing group.  We are doing a really fun choose your own romantic adventure project that I really look forward to seeing where it's going to go each week. 

Wednesday: see blog below.

Thursday: At my house, Thursday is girls night meaning that mom and I get together and watch Survivor.  We allow Capt to watch Big Bang Theory with us first these days, because no one should ever be denied BBT.  This time we ventured to one of my favorite spots to eat in Ottumwa, HyVee.  Sounds a little crazy, but their salad bar is fantastic.  For only 5.99 all you can eat soup and salad includes so much food you could never walk away hungry.  We picked up a few ingredients while we were there and made the pumpkin bread recipe I posted a few days ago.
Only 45 calories a slice and VERY delicious.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 25 - Your Day, in Great Detail

Now, this is a completely boring idea, I don't think anyone would be interested in this, but here goes. 
I'm going to do a 24hour recap, as it's currently the middle of the day.

Yesterday about noon I ate lunch which consisted of leftovers from the turkey meatball and ziti concoction we had for dinner on Sunday.  During lunch I watched Daily Show and Colbert Report that I taped the night before.  After lunch I spent some time looking for books about career coaching and business models.  Once my food settled, I made my way to the basement for some Zumba.  I do Zumba on the Xbox.  My 20 minute workout ended up taking over an hour because of an Xbox update that had to be performed (and our super slow internet).

The hubs showed up while I was walking around and monitoring my heart rate after the workout.  I took a quick shower and talked to him about the events of the day.  One of his co-workers asked if I would come in and talk about I-O psychology to her intro to psychology students, should be fun.  He also brought me a book about social engineering, in hopes to help me learn to better deal with people.

He then threw together a nice veggie and pasta dish in a white wine for supper and we watched Top Shot, a favorite program of ours.  The rest of the night was spent playing World of Warcraft, a recent obsession of ours.  Took an OPK and had much discussion about the implications of my current fertility status.  After hubs went to bed, I watched American Idol, Face Off, and Hot in Cleveland (which turned out to not be on) while doing some work on an application for Indian Hills and a little more research about career coaching. 

Night time ritual (I'll spare the details here) and off to bed listening to Rob has a Podcast.

The first thing I do every morning is take my temperature.  Frustrated at the result, I do my morning ritual in a bit of a grumpy fog.  I knock out a few things from the cleaning list and curse the rain outside.   Hubs starts texting me during his lunch break, and I do a few things for him before asking myself if I've had lunch or not.  Realizing I haven't, I go ahead and reheat some leftovers and watch Daily Show again.  I remember that I haven't done my daily blog, and here I am.

Wow, what a boring person I am!  The interesting thing is that I prefer it that way.  I'm glad everything I had to report was mundane, I prefer my daily business as low drama as possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 24 - Where You Live

Finally, someone grants me the opportunity to talk about my illustrious town of Fremont.  I have lived here for about a year, and I have to say, it's pretty nice.  Let's get some facts about my little town.

Coordinates: 41°12′44″ N   92°26′6″ W
County: Mahaska
Elevation: 837 ft.
Population: 704
Area: 1 sq. mile
Ethnicity: 0.51% non-white
Median Age: 36 years old
Businesses include:
1 restaurant (opened a few months after we moved here)
1 gas station
1 hardware store
1 bank
1 community center

With these outstanding features, you may assume that Fremont attracts the creme de la creme of the nation. While that may not be true, we do have a few notables:

~Steve Bales from Fremont was a flight control engineer on the Apollo 11 mission for NASA.
~Ivan Combe is another stand out Fremontian as the founder of Combe, Inc. a company known for creating products like Clearasil and Odor Eaters.

There are many benefits to living in a small town, and even though we just got here, we felt reasonably welcomed and are fitting in rather well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 23 - A Youtube Video

I don't generally frequent youtube, but sometimes end up there from links and such, so this one was a tough one for me.

Sometimes, when I'm having trouble staying focused while meditating, I seek help from videos like this.  The profound quotes help my mind stay on a track of meaningfulness.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 22 - A Website

This is kind of a wide open category, so I'll just share a website I use more than I ever would have thought:  Thesaurus.com.

While I've always enjoyed writing, I've generally depended on my own vocabulary to convey my points.  One November, however, that all changed.  Writing a novel in 30 days is no small feat, so I leaned on this site a lot to help me vary the verbage I used.  The interesting part is that since then, I use this site for EVERYTHING.  I mean emails, blogs, and even simple facebook statuses.  I often find myself searching for a more accurate way to explain my situation or reveal my emotions in less general terms.  Our language has an amazing ability to be very exact or generic, and the more words in your vocabulary, the better you can communicate your true thoughts and feelings, and the less chance your words will be misunderstood.   Ironically, I never used an actual thesaurus much, but this online tool (sometimes the one provided with word will do, although it's a tad limited comparably) has become an integral part of my online presence.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 21 - A Recipe

I'm hoping to try this recipe from Sunday Baker sometime soon.  I'm a fan of pumpkin bread (and all bread for that matter) so I am obsessed with the idea of such a low calorie version that even has a cream cheese ribbon.

Pumpkin and Cream Bread
Yield: 2 loaves (14 slices each)
  • 1-1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. Stevia Cup For Cup sweetener
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Cream filling
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

1. For the Batter: With an electric mixer, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, and egg whites on medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, Stevia, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

2. For the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, egg whites and flour until creamy and smooth.

3. Grease 2 8x4x2" loaf pans. Divide half of the batter between the two pans. Pour half of the filling in one pan and the other half in the second pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't overbake or your bread will be dry on the edges. Cool and remove from pans. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

One serving (2 slices) = about 100 calories

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 20 - A Hobby of Yours

I think the hobby that I am the most proud of is my knitting and crocheting.  This is because I pretty much taught myself how to do it.  My mom helped me with the crocheting, but even she can't knit (although my grandmother tried to teach her).  I am not going to claim that I'm an expert by any means, but I hold my own.  With knitting, I bought a book and some needles and plugged away at it until I had something.  It's a complicated technique, but I'm pretty comfortable with it now.  I'm working my way up to making a sweater.

Here's a hat (slouchy beret style) I made recently.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 19 - A Talent of Yours

This one is a tough one.  In general I don't feel particularly talented at anything.  A friend of mine often calls herself a "jack of all trades, master of none."  I kind of feel the same.  I have many hobbies, and many things I enjoy doing, but don't really feel I've mastered any of them.  I'm decent at most things I try, but lack the discipline it takes to really cultivate a talent.

One place I have always excelled was school, I'm not sure if that's a talent but it'll work for this blog anyway.  The format of school has always been pretty easy for me, people tell me very clearly what they expect of me and I am willing and able to deliver.  I graduated high school early, got a Bachelor's degree in three years and just finished my Master's degree with a 4.0 GPA.  I like the cut and dry of school.  An assignment frames the task at hand, giving me clear goals to work toward.  Once submitted, feedback is almost always given, allowing me to continually improve.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 18 - My Wedding

April 20, 2002

I can't believe it was almost ten years ago that I married my best friend and the love of my life, known as Captain in this blog.  I am one of the few people I know that truly enjoyed my wedding day, I'm sure that's thanks to my wedding planner extraordinaire, otherwise known as my mother.  Between her and my Aunt B, they have put on dozens of recitals and performances, so my wedding was a piece of cake.  They have since done lovely jobs for 3 of my cousins and my brother's is under way, they really ought to start a business.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 17 - An Art Piece

This is a tough one.  I have many favorite artists, friends and family with amazing work, and some pieces of my own to choose from.  I'm going to settle on the one that has hung in every place I've lived since college.  It was given to me by my then roommate and best friend Kimba.  So it is a print I own, given to me by a friend and originally made by one of my favorite artists.  A good compromise, yes?

Miranda - The Tempest by John William Waterhouse

For any who don't know, this is depicting the opening scene of Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.  The character Miranda sees a shipwreck in the distance, launching the play's plot of love and revenge.  I was in this show in high school, and though I didn't play Miranda, I loved her opening monologue and have since used it several times as an audition piece. 

Common quotes from this show:
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep."
"Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows."
"The fringed curtains of thine eye advance."
"Hell is empty and all the devils are here."
"O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here!  How beauteous mankind is!  O brave new world that has such people in't!" ~my fav

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 16 - A Song that Makes You Cry

This is somewhat of a tough one.  Unfortunately I cry at the drop of a hat these days, and could report numerous songs that have resulted in tears being shed.  I thought I'd chose one to represent all these moments, any song that talks about living without a loved one.

The song is "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down
(Sorry about the still picture, I can't change it.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 15 - Your Dream House

I've never really had a dream house.  We were going to build one (we may still someday) that would have been ours from dirt to completion.  But in the meantime, the house we live in now is my dream house, I love living here and really can't wait to raise a family here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentines Day 2012

So it's time for a little break from the 30 day challenge to reveal our Valentines Day destination.

For anyone new:  My husband and I have a tradition for Valentine's Day.  Instead of getting gifts or cards for each other, every February 14th we find a new restaurant to dine in.  Sometimes we travel, other times we stay closer to home.  The only rule is that neither of us has eaten there before.  In leaner times we modified this rule to include staying at home and trying a new recipe.  We generally go the weekend before or after actual V-day because we don't like crowds and waiting.

Our 2012 destination: Appanoose Rapids Brewery Company in Ottumwa, IA.

I have had my eye on this place for awhile.  I noticed it one time when traveling downtown and looked up on the internet for more information.  The menu had many French and pricey selections, so I decided it would be best to save it for V-day.  Captain called and was told no reservations were possible, so we dolled up and ventured out last night for this years new experience.

My review of this place is mixed.  We unwittingly stepped into the back door (the one facing main street) and found ourselves in the bar area.  Captain was immediately drawn to the long list of brew varieties on the wall.  It took some time for anyone to notice us and give us a table.  When we finally sat down, we immediately saw that the table was wobbly, and I don't mean there was a little give, I mean I would worry setting drinks on it because they would spill all over when someone leaned forward.

After a short deliberation, we flagged down someone who moved us two tables over.  We saw them immediately grab that table and cart it away.  Kudos to them for dealing with the problem rather than repeatedly sitting people there hoping they'll live with it. 

The next thing we noticed was how very overdressed we were.  I had judged from the prices on the menu that this was a "fancy" place.  I had obviously been wrong.  Most patrons donned sweatshirts and jeans.  Next, the hassled waitress came to take our drink orders.  Captain was told that they didn't actually have the brews on the list he had poured over earlier, so he had to settle for a brown ale which was decent, but a little cloudy. 

We started with an appetizer of wild mushroom struedel in a marsala sauce.  The sauce was scant, but it was good.  For main dishes, I chose Boursin Stuffed Chicken (chicken breast stuffed with herbed cheese and spinach) and Captain chose Steak DeBurgo (filet mignon with a garlic, basil, and white wine sauce).  Again, the review of the food is mixed.  My chicken was decent, but not amazing, not worth the $17 price tag in my opinion.  The potatoes dauphinoise was a lovely side, however, and I enjoyed the non-iceburg salad very much.  Captain was thrilled with his selection, which turns out to be an Iowa creation, not a French one.  He could literally cut his thick steak with his fork, I sampled a piece of the dish he called, "two beef medallions of heaven" and had to agree.  The $23 price tag still seems a bit steep, but he was much more satisfied than I with the overall experience.

I keep mentioning the prices because around here, these are steep to say the least.  Even after having an appetizer, the portions were not big enough to provide leftovers, something I'm used to when paying higher prices.  The bread "basket" included two pieces of bread and two pads of butter, no more, no less.  Everything felt stingy, and the atmosphere was crowded and loud.  Conversation with my near deaf hubby was basically impossible.  So while this restaurant lacks in atmosphere and price, it definitely has some tasty options if you're willing to pay for it.

Day 14 - A Non-Fictional Book

When pressed to talk about a non-fiction book, only one book really comes to mind.  The Tao Te Ching is a book that has changed my life in ways I couldn't even imagine.  I don't really care about what translation you are talking about, because each interpretation brings new life and meaning to this profound wisdom.  Unlike many, I don't judge any one translation as better or worse than others, I view them as merely serving a different purpose.

I never had a Taoist teacher, hence why I don't understand the many nuances of the tradition steeped practices of many who consider themselves true Daoists.  I'm not familiar with all of the many sects that have formed, and all of the rituals associated with it.  But that's okay with me.  The book is what called me, not the religion.  The book that lays out a blueprint of becoming a sage.

For me, this blueprint leads to happiness and inner peace, and that is what does matter to me.  I've been called "new age" or "fringe" by many of these other Daoists.  That's okay with me.  Those are merely labels and do not define me in any way.  I must follow my path, and they theirs.  I will learn what I can from them, and hope that they may learn a little from me as well, even if that is just tolerance.

The Tao Te Ching speaks to me, no matter which translation I am reading. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 13 - A Fictional Book

So, this isn't as descriptive as most of the daily titles, so I am going to take this to mean a fiction book I enjoy.  I've already listed them in an earlier post, so I'll share a story about one instead.

I would have to say that the Harry Potter series is what got me back into reading.  I was an avid reader in junior high, frequenting the popular authors of the time such as RL Stine and Christopher Pike.  My dad introduced me to more adult authors shortly after, my favorite being Robin Cook.  My mom shared her love of Mary Higgins Clark as well (I was not as keen on her collection of VC Andrews, lol).  But as I entered late high school and college, my reading fell off.  Some of this may be due to studying, but reality is, other pursuits may have dominated my life at those times.

The summer I met my husband (year 2000) we had what some may call a whirlwind romance.  Very into each other and concerned with little else.  I was unfamiliar with Harry Potter at the time even though he had already taken most of the country by storm.  Captain's mom had been trying to get him to read it for some time, and finally succeeded.  Imagine my surprise when I call up my new boyfriend about the movie we were supposed to see and he cancels on me.  Why would he do such a thing?  Because he was in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 

For this reason alone, it was some time before he convinced me to read the series myself.  After all, he had chosen this boy wizard over yours truly, scandalous!  Of course, once he finally got me to relent, I was as hooked as he was, and it's something we share to this day.  We even hosted parties for the midnight releases of Books 6 and 7 which included Potter themes games and sweets from Honeydukes.

One book I failed to mention in my previous post was my own work: 
Shades of Magic

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 12 - Something You are OCD About

I try to not be to obsessive about anything, as it is not conducive to the mellow lifestyle I constantly covet.  There is one thing, though, that I am completely OCD about: Food.

I'm not saying that I am obsessed with food itself, but with the availability of it.  I HAVE to know where my next meal is coming from or I go crazy.  Living in the country like we do has increased the amount of anxiety produced by these feelings, and now my vehicle is not working so it's a thousand times worse, I can't even go get something if there's nothing in the house.

My husband has to deal with this on those occasions where he forgets to tell me that he won't be around for an evening meal.  Generally, he tells me far enough in advance that I can plan and make sure I know what I'll make myself that night. (I should clarify that Capt. does almost all the cooking in our house.  If you tasted both of our cooking you'd make the same choice, lol.)  But on occasion, he forgets, or estimates his time wrong and I end up suddenly with no plan.  I become completely irrational at this point, I admit it.  Sitting here now, I know I am capable of finding something in my cupboards to eat.  But when I am reacting to the news, my thoughts are filled with panic and anxiety and I flip out.

I'm not sure where this comes from.  My best guess involves many nights as a teenager that were deemed, "fend for yourself" nights.  This in and of itself is not a big deal, a teenager can make things for themselves.  The problem was that as a juvenile, I had zero control of what was in those cupboards (which were generally rather bare) and often found nothing I could cook, leaving me with meals of toast or pizza rolls.  I felt very neglected on those nights, swearing that when I was an adult I wouldn't let that happen.  I wonder if that feeling carries over to these circumstances today.

So there you go, I am OCD about knowing where my next meal will come from.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 11 - A Photo of You Recently

Ick, I don't like posting photos of myself, so once again I will bring others with me.  This time it will be my friends from college.  This is recent as in last fall, we went to the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 10 - A Photo Taken Over 10 Years Ago of You

Okay, these are always fun.  If I'm going to subject myself to this kind of scrutiny, then I'm sure going to have company.  Here's a picture of most of the grandkids at Christmas one year.

Notice that both me and my brother are sporting the hip flannel look that was in at the time.  LOL.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 9 - A Photo You Took

Here's a little photo I took from my yard, it was so beautiful this fall.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 8 - A Photo that Makes You Angry/Sad

The photo ones have been more difficult for me for some reason.  If I was honest, a picture that makes me both angry and sad would be of a pregnant drug attic.  I chose to keep it a little lighter and share this little guy that just pulls on my heart strings, cat lover that I am.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 7 - A Photo that Makes You Happy

If you notice the top item on my list of 20 things, you'll understand why a picture like this makes me happy.

I love water, always have since I was a kid.  People always joked that it was funny for a fire sign (Aries) to be so at home in the water.  My take on this is that the water neutralizes me.  I feel at peace, calm and tranquil when I'm surrounded by water.  An act as simple as taking a shower can completely change my outlook, and help me feel more centered.

As far as waterfalls go, I love the tall ones the best, but really I love them all.  Mostly I feel the power.  The power of the water that is gentle enough to wash a baby, but powerful enough to move mountains.  That is awe-inspiring in my book!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 6 - 20 of Your Favorite Things

Finally, one I will just answer the way intended.  A non-inclusive list of random things that bring me joy.

01. Waterfalls
02. Peanut Butter
03. Wizards (especially female) & magic
04. Purple
05. Cats (lolcats too)
06. The Big Bang Theory
07. Chocolate
08. Reading about spirituality
09. Leaning about myself and growing
10. Shimmering nail polish or makeup
11. Helping others without them asking
12. Time Travel
13. Candles & incense
14. Philosophical talks with loved ones (over dinner or tea)
15. Old Hollywood
16. Inspiring quotes
17. Travel (want to see Italy, Scotland, New Zealand)
18. Exploring Inner Peace
19. Huge snow flakes (when I can stay inside)
20. Fireplaces

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 5 - Your Favorite Quote

Okay, I'm am a quote fanatic, so this list could be very intensive, I'll try to narrow it down though.

"Be still as the mountain, and flow like the great river." ~ Lao Tzu (Laozi)

"The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts and mulitply the grief he proposes to remove." ~ Samuel Johnson

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." ~ Mark Twain

"Take no offense. That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place - so transcend your ego and stay in peace." ~ Wayne Dyer

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." ~ James Miles

"Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that, It lights the whole sky." ~ Hafiz

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." ~ Mother Teresa

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 4 - Your Favorite Book

By now you are probably used to the idea that I don't answer any of these questions simply, and favorite book will be no exception.  There are a few that mean a lot to me.

Tao Te Ching (daodejing)
No book has ever changed my life more than the ancient work of Lao Tzu (Laozi).  A guide to life that is focused not on the reward of heaven or punishment of hell but on achieving balance and wisdom in my life right now.  Far less heavy handed than most guides to life, the Tao Te Ching teaches moderation, effective leadership, and appreciation of what you have, lessons that speak to my every day life.  It teaches me to be who I am, regardless of who's watching or how I am treated because kindness is from within, not dependent on interactions.  Perhaps the most famous quote from Lao Tzu is: a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban
I love the Harry Potter series, and book three has always been my favorite.  The twist at the ending of the book truly surprised me the first time I read it, mainly Scabbers being an animagus, and that's pretty rare for me.  I really care about the characters in these books when I read them, another thing becoming more and more rare. 

Good Omens
If you haven't read Good Omens, you should.  It is an amazingly imaginative story with so many levels of cleverness I can't even begin to describe them.  This book introduced me to two authors I now easily include on my list of favorites: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  Very biblically prophetic in nature, this book is thought provoking and timeless to me.

Honorable Mentions:
Excuses Be Gone
Garden Spells
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 3 - Your Favorite Television Program

Of all the items in the 30 day list, I think this one will likely be the one anyone who knows me can predict.  When judging my favorite television show, there is a clear winner for me right now.

The Big Bang Theory
I fell in love with this show in its second season and have been a very devoted fan ever since.  The smart humor makes me laugh out loud like no show ever has.  I love Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard, and have ever since Roseanne.  Same with Kaley Cuoco and 8 Simple Rules.  (Also Mayim who joined the cast later).  What a find in the actor Jim Parsons as Sheldon.  He obviously makes this show what it is and has the emmys to prove it.  There's more to my love of BBT though.  As hard as some would find it to believe, I actually identify more with these nerdy characters than I have with any other sitcom stars I've watched.  From simple things like the fact that they play video games, repeat clothing choices, feel socially awkward, and order out all the time for convenience sake.  It all endears these nerds to me in a real way.  I also have to mention that my best friend from high school happens to be a physicist, meaning I recognize many of those traits as well.  It's just an awesome show and everyone should watch it!

So after the clear winner, there are a few other shows I feel the need to mention.

My husband and I watch this show on Syfy channel every week with my dad.  It's a British show, but has all the things the three of us love: mideval times, magic, dragons, arthurian legends and more.

Dharma & Greg
This show didn't make my list until after I married my husband.  He and I are very similar to them in almost eerie ways.  It's wonderful to watch the yin and yang of opposites and how they can fit together just right.

Saved By The Bell
I would be remiss not to mention my obsession as a teenager of the exploits of one Zach Morris and star of my wall posters, Mr. AC Slater.  I was very obsessed with this show, even had the trivia game (though no one to play it with :( sadly)

Other honorable mentions:
How I Met Your Mother
Battlestar Galactica
Top Shot (Cause I watch it with hubby)
Daily Show
Doctor Who
Star Trek: TNG
Survivor (Cause I watch it with my mom)
Walking Dead