29 December 2009

High School Reading

For some reason I've felt like reading.  And since I didn't do much of it in high school (or college, for that matter) I've decided to do it now.  I found this list online.  Feel free to comment or add/subtract from the list.  I'm kinda glad I'm reading these now.  I mean, I like the books I've read so far but I can also imagine being very irritated by them when I was younger.  I've stricken through the ones I've just read.  I haven't decided if I'm gonna re-read anything that I actually read previously (or that we read in class).  Hmm.  It's a pretty long list.  Wonder how long it's gonna take me.  Maybe I should rule some of these out.  Any help out there to narrow it down?

Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart
Agee, James A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert The Stranger
Cather, Willa Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate The Awakening
Christiie, Agatha Murder on the Orient Express
Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage
Dante Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo Selected Essays
Faulkner, William As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox The Good Soldier
Forester, C.S. Horatio Hornblower
Frankle, Viktor Man’s Search for Meaning
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Faust
Golding, William Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest A Farewell to Arms
Homer The Iliad Homer The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik A Doll's House
James, Henry The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz The Metamorphosis
Keller, Helen Story of My Life
Kingston, Maxine Hong The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair Babbitt
London, Jack The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur The Crucible
Miller, Arthur Death of a Salesman
Morrison, Toni Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George Animal Farm
Orwell, George 1984
Pasternak, Boris Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William Hamlet
Shakespeare, William Macbeth
Shakespeare, William A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles Antigone
Sophocles Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John The Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck, John The Pearl
Stevenson, Robert Louis Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David Walden
Tolstoy, Leo War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard Native Son

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21 December 2009

Merry Christmas to All

I like to hand-make my "I love everyone" Christmas treats.  Two years ago it was the box of chocolates, last year it was dipped pretzels (no pictures, boo) and this year it's this...

Oreo Truffles with ideas a la Bakerella.  I also made a gingerbread man with cute little red "buttons" but he was running late for the pictures.
For Diego's work, I made pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting and picks that said "Naughty" "Nice" and "Somewhere In-between."

It's all just my way of saying that I care.  And for all you wonderful people out there that I care about that I cannot give treats to - this is for you.  Merry Christmas!!!

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18 December 2009

Merry Christmas to Us

Our Christmas was a little bigger than normal this year.  In November, we celebrated our official debt-free-ness so we decided we would splurge a little bit and spend what would have gone towards bills in December.  We'll start saving again in January.  That, coupled with our Christmas money from my family we were able to purchase some things on our wish lists.  (Much to my father's dismay, we opened our Christmas presents early.  In our defense, they looked like regular Christmas cards that you are supposed to open.  I guess next year he's gonna have to put a warning label on them.).  Anyway.  Here's our loot!

Blue Man Group Tickets.
This was one of the main reasons we went to Vegas for Thanksgiving.  Actually, that whole trip was part of our Christmas money...  I had seen them before but he had never seen them.  Love their music.  Funny too.  But for me, it was better the first time.

This next item isn't actually at our house just yet but it will be soon.  Diego is from Argentina and having a gas (vs charcoal or wood) grill may seem like he's turning his back on his heritage but it just works for us.  We have a charcoal grill now but it takes so much time.  This will be so convenient, it causes so much smoke (for our neighbors) and it doubles as an emergency preparedness item.  I guess my present to Diego will be putting it together.  He very much dislikes putting things together.

I've been trying to divine a way to organize my food storage and then one blessed day I found this beaut on sale 50% OFF.  So I waited to confer with Diego then I snatched it up.  We don't quite fill it up but we will.  And man, it took FOREVER to put together.
And lastly, this - Nutrimill grain mill.  It's kinda funny how our gifts are so practical these day.  Not sure it that's good or bad.  I could still use a gift certificate for a massage or something but at least I can continue to make fresh bread with fresh ground wheat flour.  Thanks, Aunt Judy, for letting me borrow yours for so long.  You'll remember that I bought myself a Bosch for Christmas last year.  These 2 go perfectly together.
Merry Christmas to us and A Happy Finally Out of Debt New Year!!!

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07 December 2009

Visual Slants Photography is finally up and running!

I am very pleased to announce the official launch of the Visual Slants Photography website/blog!!! Please check it out, subscribe to it, "fan" it on facebook and most importantly TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!!! It's all the portrait photography I've been doing over the years (as opposed to the corporate photography that I also do).


Visual Slants Photography

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30 November 2009

Vegas, baby! My Kinda Thanksgiving

So, in case you were wondering, this is what Vegas looks like at Thanksgiving.  What?  It looks like Vegas always does?  I suppose it does...  We stayed at the Johnson B&B (aka the Johnson's house).  It's sort of tradition to be in Vegas with the Johnson's for Thanksgiving.  I've know them and been coming to their place since their daughter Linn and I were roommates in college and became friends.  They are like my second family now.   I've known them for like 15 years and I've probably been at their house for Thanksgiving for half of those years - even after college.  Anyway.  Here's miniature of my favorite attraction in Vegas:  The fountains at the Bellagio.


Not the greatest picture but we had just pocketed the "little" camera for this excursion to the Strip.  And it's miniature!!!  Therefore it's cute!!!  Anyway. Diego wanted to see some things he hadn't seen before and I was on a hunt for a few stores I'd seen inside casinos on my many work related trips to Vegas during the Atlanta years.  Didn't find any, but we did enjoy some very unique boutique chocolate truffles.  Let's see, can I remember what we had, there was at least a dulce de leche one, a balsamic vinegar one, and some toffee with chili and cinnamon.  That was YUM, but too expensive to buy a box.
On the way home, Diego wanted to stop and get some pictures along the Joshua Tree Scenic Freeway.  He just wanted a picture with a joshua tree, but here's what I got.

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13 November 2009

Diego's Birthday Dinner at Carrabbas

We were missing Candee and Facundo but we'll get them sometime soon (*wink wink* Candee)

Nicolas y Heather

Damien y Launi y Evie-cita.  Hey Launie, the camera's over here.

Dario y Melissa

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09 November 2009

As God as my witness, we are officially...

Well, we don't have a house or any kids yet but what a GREAT way to start off.  Thank you Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps!

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07 November 2009

My Calling in the Nursery

I posted these on my photography blog, which I'm not quite ready to release but I thought you might enjoy them too.  These are come of my kids from nursery.  I just felt like taking pictures one Sunday. The last picture, I just LOVE how you can see the concentration on his face!

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26 October 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

I can read, I swear. I just don't.  But I have been recently.  I got a high school book list off the internet and I think I'm gonna work my way through it.  Heaven know I didn't do it in high school.  The only books I remember reading were Brave New World and Slapstick.  Remember enjoying them both...  Anyway.  So far I've read The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Slaughterhouse Five, The Bell Jar and a couple of Spanish kids books.  This is progress people!
And, because I like fall and I had fun making them, I leave you with some "leaf" chip pictures.  Besides, this post needed some imagery. 


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12 October 2009

U2 Concert

So here's us at the U2 concert.  You'll remember from this post how we were able to afford these tickets. To me, the stage looks like an angry spider.  Maybe it's angry cause it only has 4 legs and those really huge fangs.  I dunno.  It was weird. 

I can't say that I was all that impressed with the show.  I thought the encores could have been way more powerful and that they ended the show kind of floundering.  Here's a picture of the stage, or rather, the screen above the stage.  At least the screen did cool things.

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06 October 2009

Because Fall Is My Favorite

Did I mention that I love fall foods or fall for that matter? Well, I do. Maybe banana bread isn't exactly a fall food but I had like a million bananas in the freezer that I needed to use up. So, I decorated them with fun fall motifs.
And some of you aren't believing me when I say that baking with beans is good so I did a little taste test. I made identical batches of banana bread but one has 1/2 cup of butter and one has 1/2 cup of pinto beans. Visually, there is no difference. (You may say that one has more walnuts but it may just be the slice - technically the are equal.) Texture-wise, the one with beans is a bit denser. But the flavors were the same. Some people even said the one with beans had more banana flavor or more spice. Mind you, those taste testing for me didn't know which was which. Final results. Baking with beans is still good. Seriously people, just try it!
And for more fall fun. Some friends and I got together for some holiday craft fun. I made this festive centerpiece that I can use for Halloween and Thanksgiving. And, it was my first decoupage experience! Fun stuff. You really can't mess it up!
And the reason for all of this fun is...
Seriously. Got any good fall recipes, crafts or traditions?

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26 September 2009

Got alot done today. Too bad it wasn't anything that needed to get done.

Well, that's not entirely true. I helped throw a baby shower for a lady I visit teach this morning. Then I went to Goodwill for their 50% off Saturday Sale. It was my first real junk-treasuring experience and I immediately fell in love with boxes. Well, that's not true either. I've always had a thing for boxes I just never have any thing to put in them. So maybe, sometime in the future, when I'm better at these "rescue missions" I'll attempt to redo those boxes and give them as gifts. For now, I started with a mini-easel, a small basket and a white board. I spray painted them all black. I hung the white board but I need to get a small piece of sheet metal to double as a place to put my magnetic dry erase markers and a place to hide some marks that didn't completely come off. I planted our herb garden too. It's just a window box with rosemary, dill, basil and parsley. I did the dishes too and I'm about to fold some laundry before going off to Women's Conference. I guess that counts as something that needs to get done. Really I should have been cleaning the bathroom or my desk or my dining room table... Necessary projects are being pushed aside for the moment - I've been on a roll lately! Oh, yeah. I made my own Modge Podge decoupage paste. I've never decoupaged before so we shall see. Also, I've been looking over some Photoshop techniques that seem really cool. I'm sure you'll see those here at some point. Okay. Must clean up for conference...

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23 September 2009

3-month Food Storage

Here's what our food storage looked like when I posted about it in May of 2008.
Here's what it looks like now, almost a year and a half later. Never fear. It's not all contained here. We have water under our bed and behind the closet door. We have #10 cans under the bed and along the wall (all in our bedroom). And we still have bags laying around that still have cans in them. Oh, and we have cans under a table in our bedroom too. AND THIS ISN'T EVEN FINISHED. No! Not even with the food part. And then there's still paper products and personal hygiene... Ugh!
Anyway. Here's the curtain I made to hide as much stuff as possible. I don't have a sewing machine so I used that Heat N Bond stuff.
And with the extra fabric and cork circles, I made some coasters. We needed some. Or maybe my dad could make some... (hint, hint) They could even be lined with cork. I got mine at Michaels.

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Thank You Baby Shower Favors

It may be a little early to post this since the shower isn't until Saturday but I don't think any of those people read my blog and I was just so proud of myself. Not so much of the candy pacifiers but more the actual thank you tag. So simple, but I love it with the little swirls and the elegant script...

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Valentina - 1 year collage

Well she's like a year and a half by now but whatever. Here is the collage I did of pictures of Valentina when we went to Argentina (in May) for her 1-year old birthday. She is so stinkin' cute!!!

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22 September 2009

Eating Disorder

Does anyone else suffer from a severe eating disorder commonly know as I've-eaten-too-many-itus? I suffered a severe attack last night and am currently feeling the guilt. It was something I shouldn't have been eating anyway. We don't keep it in the house but I was at the grocery store and I've been getting frustrated lately. So, in my cart it went. As if I were giving up. Is is proven that marriage makes you gain weight? I mean, for the most part I eat healthy and I got to the fitness center 3 times a week. I shouldn't be gaining weight. I was an entire pant size smaller before I got married. What gives?! And now it seems to be distributing itself in ways it never has before and I don't like. If this is another Stout curse then I denounce my heritage and I claim that of say Madonna or Katie Holmes. Is this normal? I'm getting sick of this. Guess I'm starting a food journal again...

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18 September 2009

I've been bitten by a craft bug

I want to paint, design, decoupage, bake, decorate, anything and I have no creative outlet for this (let alone space, time and money). Anyone got some simple suggestions or wanna invite me over to craft with them? I'm an excellent helper. In the meantime, here's a baby shower invite I did for a lady I visit teach.
I'm experimenting with digitizing elements (like the ribbon) since I have no ability to draw. Any suggestions? Some people have some cool embellishments and I have no idea how they got them. Maybe there's some amazing website somewhere I don't know about...

I'll make a really good assistant, I promise.

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17 September 2009

Louisiana: French Quarter

I finally got to take Diego to Louisiana - to where I grew up. We didn't have a ton of time to spend in New Orleans but we tried to do some fun stuff. This is us by the Mississippi River. We went to a historical cemetery, a voodoo museum, the French Market. We ate a muffuletta, pralines and beignets. I miss beignets.
At Café du Monde eating beignets covered with powdered sugar.
Jackson Square.
Andrew Jackson statue inside of Jackson Square.
Posing with one of the entertainers.
More street performers. These guys were actually on So You Think You Can Dance.
Experimenting with motion and shutter drag.
Us on Bourbon St. with our daiquiris (virgin, of course). It's kinda weird - those tiny little balls of ice. How do they do that?
Diego saw this off a side street. Good eye, babe!
The early crowd and lights on Bourbon St. We didn't last too long that night. Turns out that weekend was Southern Decadence - a celebration of all things homosexual...
We ate beignets again even though I had nowhere to put them in my stomach. Mmmm. Beignets!
Oh, and these are the next morning getting snowballs. Some people call them snow cones or shaved ice but really, they're called snowballs. We tried to get a picture together. That didn't work, so you get us both individually. Such yummy good food. I ate too much. Have you guys ever had Zapps potato chips? You just don't know what you are missin'!

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