Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Tennis and Fire

I'm loving my French Open coverage...each year, TV tennis coverage gets better and better. And the Tennis HD channel? So good! Anyone that knows me knows how crazy I am about tennis. Poor Justin doesn't get get any TV time when tennis is on. Last year, Lila already knew what the red French clay is called (terre battue). I watch it obsessively, I tells ya! Right now the Roddick/Jouan match is on. I really like Andy Roddick; some people think he's kind of a dick, but I like that about him. I think he's funny. He got a new coach recently and went hardcore crazy about his fitness, and he's looking and playing better than ever. (As an aside: Justin Gimelstob is a total total douche and he sucks. He's a washed up player who never did that well in his pro career, and now he's a commentator for the Tennis Channel. He's a well documented sexist jerk. Anyway, the commentators were talking about how Andy just got married, like seriously newlywed status, and Gimelstob was all "79% of pro player marriages end in divorce!" Nice one, douche. Why does he have that little factoid stored in his brain, anyway?) Where was I going with all of this? Who knows! Um, yay tennis! Can't wait for Wimbledon!

Second random thing: Fire! Specifically, A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. This is, like, the best fantasy fiction series ever. It's so so so good. And HBO is making a series out of it! I cannot convey how excited and happy this makes's going to be EPIC. Peter Dinklage has already been cast as Tyrion, which is such superb casting. If you are at all a fan of fantasy, do youself a favor and read this series before the HBO show comes out--you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Giveaway!

****Contest is closed, winner announced below****

My poor impulse control is resulting in a giveaway! We went to a used bookstore today, which is one of my all time greatest pleasures. I looooove bookstores in general; the smell, the look of all those beautiful books lined up together, the sound of rustled pages turning.....and used bookstores have the added bonus of a sense of discovery and never know what you'll turn up in a used bookstore. Oh, on a side note, if you are ever in Denver, do yourself a favor and visit the Tattered Cover bookstore. There are several locations but I like the one downtown, across from the train station, the best. It's truly a reader's delight.

I find it hard to not buy books, especially when they're such a bargain (used book store!!!), but Justin is becoming a little frantic about our book situation. We desperately need more bookshelves, as the ones we have are stuffed full and overflowing. It's driving him nuts. I knew if I came home with an armload of new (used) books he'd wince. So I kept myself to one cookbook and one Colorado "off the beaten path" guidebook, and the others I bought with the purpose of giving them away to one of you! I win, because I got to buy books and feed my addiction, and you win, because someone is gonna get three new (used) books!

Here's what you win:

One person will win used (but in very good condition), hardcover copies of

Jacques Pepin's Table
"Low on drudgery, high on joie de vivre, Jacques Pepin's Table showcases Pepin's inimitable cooking and teaching style, presenting more than three hundred recipes from all three seasons of the popular Today's Gourmet series, along with complete menu and wine suggestions, and more than a hundred instructional tips and techniques on everything from butterflying chicken breasts or peeling asparagus to freezing and then baking a souffle. A nutritional analysis is provided for each dish, as are comments on the nutritional value of various ingredients. Gorgeous food photography and hundreds of Pepin's own delightful drawings are interspersed."

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
"Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of — a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known — and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad The Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself — to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive.


The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker

"A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon

The year is 1735. A decade-long expedition to South America is launched by a team of French scientists racing to measure the circumference of the earth and to reveal the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery and knowledge. From this extraordinary journey arose an unlikely love between one scientist and a beautiful Peruvian noblewoman. Victims of a tangled web of international politics, Jean Godin and Isabel Gramesón’s destiny would ultimately unfold in the Amazon’s unforgiving jungles, and it would be Isabel’s quest to reunite with Jean after a calamitous twenty-year separation that would capture the imagination of all of eighteenth-century Europe. A remarkable testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and enduring love, Isabel Gramesón’s survival remains unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration."

How can you get your mitts on these books? Easy peasy! Just leave a comment on this post telling me what you are currently reading, or the book you last read. I'll close comments at noon mountain time on May 26th and I'll have pick a winner. I'll email the winner (so leave your email in your comment!!) and they will have 48 hours to get back to me, if they don't, will draw a new winner. One comment per person, and entry is limited to those with US shipping addresses. Good luck and happy reading!

******Thank you so much to everyone who participate! I had a blast, and loved finding out about what you all are reading. And now, the winner is........entry #59, Angela!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer TV, eee!

Remember when summer TV used to be all reruns? I love that the television model is evolving and changing...among other things, it means I get quality programming all year round. For a TV addict like me, that's good stuff. *grin* This summer, I am most excited for two shows: True Blood (HBO) and So You Think You Can Dance (Fox).

True Blood is a vampire drama on HBO, and Justin and I are hooked. It's set in bayou land Louisiana in the present day, and it's gothic and intense and funny....there are so many great and memorable characters, the acting is terrific, the storylines are interesting. Plus, if you ever watched Deadwood, then you know how that show made shots of whiskey look so delicious (or did it just do that for me??); well, True Blood does that with ice cold bottles of beer. The characters are always hot and sweaty, and they crack open longnecks several times an episode...I swear it will make you crave a beer. Season starts June 12!

SYTYCD (for short) is such a joy to watch, and if you are a fan of dance or of American Idol, you MUST watch. It's a dance competition in the American Idol model, but so much better. I've been so moved by the choreography and performances, sometimes to shivers and tears--it can be that good. Of course, in the beginning, you have to get through the audition episodes, but the later part of the season is good good good. One of last year's top 10 finalists, Kherington Payne, is starring in the remake of Fame (coming to theaters I don't know when and am too lazy to look up). The winner of last season, Josh Allen, had no formal training! The judges were consistently amazed with his beauty, grace, and ability to pick up seemingly any dance style that was thrown at him. Seriously, he was incredible. I am so looking forward to the new crop! This season starts May 21 (Thursday!!) so set your DVRs.

What about you? What TV shows are you looking forward to this summer?

Monday, May 18, 2009

And so it begins.

We had a great picnic this weekend out on a ranch out in Larkspur. One of Lila's preschool classmates lives with his mom and his grandparents on a beautiful horse ranch, and they were so kind and invited all the preschool kids out for a picnic lunch and horseback riding.

Lila had been looking forward to it all last week, talking about it practically nonstop, and we woke up on Saturday morning excited and ready to get 'er done! Unfortunately, the weather was nasty; cloudy and cold and very windy. We phoned the hosts to see if the picnic was still on, and they said they had decided to cancel because of the weather--it was quite chilly and horses get nervous in very high winds. Lila was SO disappointed---she actually started crying. It was heartbreaking, because she's never cried over something like that before....she's gotten pissy and grumpy when disappointed, but never shed tears. Justin and I felt awful. :( Luckily, we live in Colorado; if you've lived in Colorado for any amount of time, you've heard (and mostly likely said yourself) the adage "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes". Very true for Saturday, thank goodness, as the clouds broke and the sun came out, and we got the call that the picnic was back on! We were just about out the door when the phone rang (to get Lila a new movie as a balm) and thankfully didn't miss it.

Their ranch is just beautiful, and Lila adored riding Sugar, the 19 year old sweetheart Arabian mare. Many of the kids only wanted one or two turns around the ring, but Lila was going to stay on as long as they'd let her, and upon dismounting, immediately asked me when it was her turn again. A horse lover is born! I used to ride when I was younger, so I completely get it. The love affair begins. :)

After riding, we had a picnic of hot dogs, chips, juice, etc. It was a lovely, lovely day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thanks, NASA!

I have a neat, picture-heavy post coming up at some point later today. Getting the pictures off of my camera feels like a big task this morning, so I'll get around to that later on. Lots of pictures of Lila riding her first horse!

Anywho. This morning Lila and I are watching astronauts take a space walk to repair some fancy-pants telescope thingie (okay apparently it's called the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph but I like my terminology better), on Direct TV channel 283. It's seriously cool. I mean, these 2 guys are in space, and we're watching live video of it on our home television. Crazy. Ain't technology grand??

Friday, May 15, 2009

We have butterflies!

Well, almost. We have chrysalises!

Lila got this super cool butterfly house as a Christmas present, and has been patiently (ahem) waiting to use it. My mom sent off for the caterpillars, and we received the package of live lil' cutesy caterpillars about a week and a half ago! They came in a clear plastic container, complete with air holes and all the food they would need until it was time for them to make their change.

We started with 4 caterpillars, but are down to 3 because SOMEONE (beagle *cough cough* beagle) got the container down from the table and tried to bite through the plastic. Lila and I returned home and found it on the floor---the caterpillars all seemed okay, but there was a teensy hole in plastic near the lid. I thought it was too small for anything to escape from, but a few days later, Lila noticed a creepy crawly on our window--it was an escaped caterpillar trying to find its way outside, the little stinker! We relocated him back to his little plastic home, but there was another caterpillar missing, and we still don't know what became of him. I hope he made it outside somehow.

This morning, Lila and I moved the 3 chrysalises to the butterfly house. Now we wait! In a few days we should have painted lady butterflys emerging. I'll take pictures when it happens.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New books for L

Yay! I just found out that I was the winner of 2 new, signed books by Karma Wilson. Thanks so much to Vassily for the giveaway. :)

I'm going to keep the zoo one for L, and I'm thinking that Mama Always Comes Home would be a perfect gift for a certain charming 2 year old who has a birthday coming up in July.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The birds are singing, the sun is shining....

and I get to pull dandelions today! Yep, we're "those" neighbors on your block. The ones with all the dandelions in the yard. Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd love a yard full of dandelions--they're pretty and you can eat the leaves, and they take zero effort to maintain. Alas, our homeowner's association would not be pleased. :( I put down a bunch of corn gluten a few weeks ago, so that should take care of any new guys sprouting up, but the established ones are plentiful and huge.

Which means today I get to pull a metric ton of dandelions. (Yes, I'm sure about the weight on that.) Wish me luck!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pretty Much Perfect Friday

It's been a lovely, happy Friday for us. And I *knew* it was going to be a good day from the moment I woke up (well, from the moment I had coffee, actually, but close enough). Lila was in a sunny mood all day, the weather was beautiful, we did fun things.....really, just the perfect way to spend the day.

We decided to drive up to Bailey, CO for no particular reason. We wanted to toodle around, Bailey is a nice drive, so why not, right? We stopped in for lunch at this fantastically kitschy roadside hot dog stand, Coney Island. You know it's good when there's a line out the door, and Coney Island didn't disappoint. Lila had fries and a marshmallow milkshake, and I had fries and a dog. There were 5 or 6 hummingbirds flitting around, dipping in and out at the feeder. And Lila found a little bug that wanted to eat lunch with us, so between the milkshake, the hummingbirds, and the buggy, she was in heaven. :)

After that we drove up the road a ways and stopped to dip our feet in the cold mountain river water. Lila splashed and waded around and threw rocks. I put my feet in the water and looked at river rocks. Oh and this huge trout totally came to visit us! It was amazing, I've never seen anything like it. Lila was wading around, when all of the sudden we both saw this big trout swimming upstream, right next to her.....and then it flopped on the river bank, directly next to us! It was there for probably 5 seconds, barely long enough for me to snap a picture and hope it came out (it did, which I owe to the "good day" energy, I think...seriously I just pointed the camera and pushed the button, sure that I wouldn't get the pic). Then the trout flopped back into the water and continued on upstream. So cool!

On the drive home we had fun conversations in between singing along to music. It was the best way to end this day. You know, I was worried that I was going to jinx the day by feeling and acknowledging that it had an "awesome day" vibe, but that totally didn't happen. No tantrums, no whining, no grumpiness....just super good times. And now I am off to have a glass of wine, put my kiddo to bed, and enjoy my evening. Yay!
**Oh, and once again, the bandaid is just for show. She has about 7 bandaids adorning her body right now, and not one cut or scrape. **