Friday, August 29, 2008

Traumatic experience......

I had a traumatic experience this morning.

3 hours later, and it still has me shaken to the core.

I was working away at my desk this morning, when my keyboard came unplugged. So I crawled under my cube to plug it back in, and came face to face with a... (wait for it) ... COCKROACH.

What? Do I live in the dirty south? Or NYC? Or Arizona? No, I live in the gall darn Midwest, thank you very much. So rodents like that should NOT be lurking in my cube.

It was around 7, so I was the only person here... which is good and bad. Good because no one was around to witness me shrieking and running out of my cube. Bad because there was no one to help me kill it... So I ran over to the sales area where I knew people would be around. One of the sales assistant (apparently the resident cockroach killer) came over to my cube to take care of the problem... but of course by this point in time, it was GONE.

So now we have a ginormous cockroach roaming the floor... probably lurking in my cube, waiting for me to leave so he can continue nesting by my CPU. GROSS. I guess we have had other cockroaches around, so a bug guy is coming in & will be inspecting my cube for 'rodent feces'. Um, yes. So glad I am wearing tennis shoes and not flip flops or open toed sandals today.

I am considering calling HR & asking if Workers Comp covers mental health problems?? Because I am still really squeamish & am struggling to concentrate. All I can think of is that huge bug.

My co-worker Pat said - how can you be brave enough to go all the way to Europe, alone, for 3 weeks, but are deathly afraid of a cockroach?

It's irrational, I know. I consider myself very independent... except when it comes to things like mice, bugs, snakes, etc. I am probably the most squeamish out of all the kids in my family. It's probably even worse when it comes to mice. We had a little mouse problem at our cabin around Christmas. Have you seen 'Ratatouille'? Barb, I know you have - picture the part where the chandolier falls & the colony of mice falls along with it. That is what I was picturing this winter at the cabin.

I might need to take a mental health day. We'll see if my state of mind improves.

PS - I thought about googling a picture of a cockroach for this post, but I can't even bring myself to look at a picture of one...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Choice

I just finished reading "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks. It was a quick read, as are all of his books! I was in need of a mindless read that was easy to get into, and this book definitely delivered! Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite writers - he's written some great books such as "Message in a Bottle," "A Walk To Remember," and "Three Weeks with my Brother." This book, while entertaining, wasn't as good as his other books. This sort of seems to be the trend w/ his most recent books. Maybe he is churning them out just a little too fast or something?

In case anyone out there plans on reading this, I don't want to ruin the book, so can't get into too much detail. The book is split into 2 parts which are set 10 years apart. The main character is faced with a gut-wrenching decision. For anyone who reads this - would you have made the same decision? Again, can't really say what the decision deals with without ruining the book for any potential readers out there.

I thought the first part of the book was very captivating, but the second part was a bit disappointing. Sparks could have done much more with the second part, especially since the decision the lead character has to make is such a complex one.

This is a great beach read and would probably lead to an interesting discussion. So let me know if you read it so we can chat about it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Me Talk Pretty One Day

I read David Sedaris's book of short stories, "Me Talk Pretty One Day," over the weekend. It was definitely a light-hearted, easy read. I preferred the 2nd 1/2 of the book since it was set in Paris!

One of my favorite stories was the first story in the book where David has to start going to Speech Therapy. It brought back memories of a similar experience during my childhood. I had to see a Speech Therapist when I was in 4th grade. I vividly remember the day that I got the letter in class - it was addressed to my parents, but being the curious child I was, I over course opened it... I remember crying in class about the fact that I was being referred to speech therapist. I thought there was something 'wrong' with me. My mom & dad assured me that it would be a painless experience and could only help me. Well, my speech therapist was nicer than the one in David's story, but still made those days that I had to go to speech pretty painful. Since I had lost my 2 front teeth at the same time, I had troubles w/ words like "whistle". So I'd go and work w/ this speech therapist on these words for a 1/2 hour. And as if being pulled out of class for 30 minutes each week wasn't enough embarassment (everyone knew where you were going), at the end of the lesson, the speech therapist would put a sticker on your shirt that said, 'ask me to say ____' with the blank filled in with whatever word you had mastered that day. Which I immediately took off as soon as I left the therapist's room. I love stickers as much as the next kid, but there was no way I was going to advertise my 'disability' to any of my classmates. That was the only year I had to go to the speech therapist, though. Definitely one of my LEAST favorite memories from my childhood...

Anyways, back to the book. There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding this book when I worked at B&N back in 2004, but I never got around to reading it until now. In my opinion, it was little over-hyped. There were definitely some funny stories that made me smile, but overall, I'd give it an average rating of a 3 out of 5. Entertaining & a fast/easy read, but nothing remarkable.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

3 Cups of Tea - One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time

I just finished a 2nd read of "3 cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin. I had read it this past spring after my friend Brooke recommended it to me, and really loved it. Then our Diversity Committee selected this book for our quarterly book review and I got talked into leading the discussion so I figured I better re-read it so I would be on top of my game when the book discussion rolls around in September. It is simply a fantastic book! There is a ton of buzz around this book - it's on bestseller lists, and I have had lots of different people suggest this to me. So it's definitely worth reading!!

The book is about Greg Mortenson's efforts to promote peace in Central Asia, specifically in Pakistan & Afghanistan. Greg discovers the needs of this area of the world after a failed attempt to climb K2. He gets lost on his way back down the mountain and finds himself in a village called Korphe where he is amazed by the hospitality and kindness of the villagers. The village chief shows Greg their 'school' and Greg is amazed to find out that the village doesn't actually have a school - the children gather each day in an open area. Greg makes a promise to return to the village and help them build a school. (Greg is pictured below with the students of one of the schools he help build)

I won't give away too much more about the book so as not to spoil it for any potential readers. I think it's worth reading as it shows an alternative solution for our problems in that part of the country. If you have preconcieved notions about this part of the globe, it might change your opinions. If you read it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tri-State Tour

My good friend, Nicole Gilbert, got married this weekend in Aberdeen, SD - aka 'the hub city'. The wedding was on Friday and since I was reading in the wedding, I headed West on Thursday so I could make it to the rehearsal/grooms dinner.

I have been to Aberdeen a few times, but have never driven from Minneapolis to Aberdeen. Wow, what a drive. There is really no good way to get to Aberdeen. I'm pretty sure I didn't take the most efficient route, either. I took Highway 12 the entire way. I wish I would have counted the number of one-horse towns I saw. Most of them were pretty dull, but some offered some excitement...

Unfortunately since I was doing this drive solo, I was not able to stop & take a photo (I found this picture on '' - it's popular enough to warrant a story).

The rehearsal on Thursday night was great - the Groom's parents hosted us at their house for a low key evening. I think that Abby's Groom's dinner next August will have a similar vibe. Nicole & Steve even had a signature drink for the evening which was kind of a mudslide-flavored blended icecream drink, which was crafted by the best man, Joey (pictured below with Nicole).

The wedding started at 6 pm on Friday - it was a wonderful ceremony. Nicole looked absolutely gorgeous.

We then headed to the Ramada for the reception. The reception was beautiful! Her colors were a sort of spice orange which looked almost peachish - gorgeous color for an August wedding. The men wore chocolate brown tuxes, so these 2 colors were the focus of the reception. Check out the decor of the head table -- It was in the center of the room, which I really like. Not a huge fan of the long, head table in the front of the reception room. I think it's a bit awkward to be sort of 'on display' while you are eating, so would prefer a set up like this where you are in the center of the reception.

Many of my close college friends were at the wedding so it was a nice little Delta Gamma reunion for us! We even sang a little Delta Gamma song for Nicole while the band was dealing with technical issues!

The nice thing about a Friday wedding is that you still have the rest of the weekend to enjoy. I headed north out of Aberdeen to a town I spent a LOT of time in when I was in High School - Oakes, ND. I stopped by the parents of my HS boyfriend, Brian Wolff, and had lunch with them. Probably sounds odd, but they were like a 2nd set of parents when Brian & I dated, and I have kept in touch with Brian & his family.

Then I headed West to Wyndmere to spend the night with my parents. I stopped by my grandparents house - my grandma is such an awesome host. She had a plate of different cookies & lemonade for us. Was great to have a chance to visit with grandma & grandpa!

In total, I put about 650 miles on my car this weekend... so really did get quite the tour of Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota... All I can say is Thank God for my iPod, Pete. Without him, all that driving would have been much, much less enjoyable!

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Mathematics of Love

I just finished reading "The Mathematics of Love" by Emma Darwin (great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin) last night. This book sort of grabbed me due to the title, can't imagine why! ;) The inspiration for the title comes from the fact that, as the author states in the novel, 'the mathematics of love defies arithmetic,' which I find to be quite true...

The book basically follows 2 different story lines in 2 separate time periods - one is set around 1819, the other is set around 1976. I was pretty impressed with the author's ability to switch back & forth between the language styles of the 2 time periods. The 2 stories were very different, but the characters were linked by the fact that they both lived in the same house outside of London, England.

It was relatively easy to get into this book, and I did stay up later than my usual weeknight bedtime to finish the book last night. It's worth noting that the book is a bit 'smutty' in places... which isn't too surprising considering the cover art. However, my copy of the book had completely different cover art, so I wasn't expecting it to be so "Lifetime Movie"-esq at various points in the story... so considered yourself forewarned if you decide to read this.

I'd give this book 3 stars - worth checking out if your curiosity if piqued, but not exactly 'earth-shattering'.

On a side note, I am always nervous about recommending books to people - I don't want to set too high of expectations & would hate for someone to read something I recommend & think they wasted their time! So I am pretty conservative on my rating system. Recommending a book is so different from recommending a restaurant - if you recommend a restaurant & the person doesn't like it, you can say, 'They must have been having an off night.' But what do you say when a person doesn't like a book you recommended? Thus, it's pretty rare for me to say something is a must read...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Babysitting for the Boys

Last night I babysat for Andrew & Matthew so that Kevin and Julie could attend a friend's birthday party. It was their first night out, sans children, since Matthew was born so I was more than happy to provide my babysitting services! They were both extremely well-behaved!

The night was alot of fun. Once the boys woke up from their naps, Andrew popped in a new DVD (Digitally remastered Peter Pan). Matthew hung out on my lap, entertaining me with all his cooing and smiles...

while Andrew tried to hide from his camera-crazy aunt!

After Andrew got tired of the movie, I strapped Matthew into the Baby Bjorn (best invention ever & now topping the list for best expectant mother gift) and we headed outside.

Matthew and I hung out in the shade while Andrew played with every kid's favorite toy - a box. Kids toys have become increasingly high-tech, so it's comforting/funny to see that your basic, empty box is still a favorite toy for kids!!

Then Andrew showed off his pedaling skills on his new bike,

taking frequent water breaks to re-fuel after all that hard work!

Then we went back inside so Matthew could play with one of his favorite toys - the 'exer-saucer'.

The pizza then arrived, so I put Matthew in this little seat that mom gave Kevin & Julie. Can't remember what it's called, but it's up there w/ the Baby Bjorn in my list of gifts to give future parents! Matthew watched,

while Andrew ate. After I took this pic of Andrew he said - 'no more pictures, Lisa.' I respected his wishes and put the camera away so he could eat in peace, with no flashing cameras.

It was Matthew's turn to eat, so Andrew went back to watching Peter Pan while I gave Matthew his bottle. He looked pretty sleepy, so I started singing a few of my favorite songs off the new Jason Mraz CD (which I highly recommend if you are into that kind of music). Matthew seemed to enjoy them.

So much so that he fell peacefully asleep.

Both boys were in bed & sleeping by 8:30 so I was able to watch Michael Phelps achieve his first Gold Medal in the 400m Medley (I'm an Olympics freak, FYI).

All in all, a wonderful night. I am so lucky to live close enough to be able to babysit for these 2. Matthew really got the bulk of my attention, so I am hoping to do another 'Lisa and Andrew' day sometime this fall! Will probably take him to that new bookstore I discovered (Wild Rumpus) and out for some ice cream at Sebastian Joe's.

Hope every enjoyed this beautiful weekend!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

First project is complete!

I finished my first project this week! The scarf took a little longer than I thought it would... partly because of the size of the needles/yarn, and partly because of the technique I was using (knit 1, purl 1). I am happy w/ the finished product, though, and think I am going to become pretty addicted to this new habit.
I have started to work on Kolin's scarf. It's a thicker, red yarn that I am knitting on a larger needle. I quickly noticed the difference between the blue yarn I used and the red yarn I am using for Kolin's scarf. The red yarn is a lot thicker, so it made of more strands... thus, it's easier to accidentally split the yarn. It's also less stretchy so it's a little tougher to work with. However, it will knit up faster & probably be a little more 'plush'... I think/hope! We'll see!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Earth is Enough

I just finished reading "The Earth is Enough" by Harry Middleton. This non-fiction story is basically about a military kid that gets sent to live with his aging grandfather and uncle in Alabama. The subtitle of this book (Growing up in a World of Flyfishing, Trout and Old Men) really caught my eye; however, I didn't think the book lived up to it's title... Yes, time passed, so the author did 'grow up' and he did experience death and the aging process while living with his grandfather, but in general, the book kind of left me wanting to know more about what he learned from his grandfather & uncle.

I did like the last couple of chapters of the book, but the majority of the book sort of read like a really details diary. I think if I had more of an interest in the sport of Flyfishing, I would have enjoyed it more.

On a positive note, it was interesting to read about the uncle & grandfather; they lived a very simple life - no tv, no telephone - and truly respected earth and nature.

There were alot of typos in the book, though, so the editing must not have been as rigorous of a process as I imagine it is at other publishing houses. Do editing errors bother anyone else? Part of me enjoys finding them; I kind of do an internal 'a ha! Gotcha!' But then it also slightly annoys me that the errors weren't caught in the editing process. According to my friend Brooke, if you find an editing error, you can write the publishing house (maybe that's why they include the address?), point out the errors, and they will refund you. I didn't actually buy this book (was lent to me by my brother Kevin) but might see if this process actually works! I'll let you know!

Also, it's worth mentioning that I seem to be in the minority with not liking this book, judging from the reviews I've read.... so maybe I was just having an off week? Or maybe I'm not 'outdoorsy' enough to enjoy it... who knows....

Nezt up I am reading a book that I randomly stubbled across while looking for a different book at B&N. It's called, "The Mathetmatics of Love". I figured, as a math major & lover of all things mathematical, I HAD to get this. My last 2 books have been sort of 'plot-less' so I am hoping this one has a decent plot!