30 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: Bookworm

Yes, yes, it's a meme running around on Facebook, but I was curious.....

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: 
Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Bible
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller  
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams  
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll  
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne 
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding  
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons 
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen  
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens  
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville   
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens 
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath  
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker 
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks 
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

In summary?  I am a definitive bookworm.  I've read 45 of the books and started at one time or another, 6 more.  

29 November 2010

Did You Know?

That wine can freeze?

Joe and I stuck a bottle of wine it in the freezer last Tuesday, trying to chill it quickly because we forgot about buying wine until right before dinner.  We drank some of the wine warm, and then meant to finish the rest later. 

Instead, I discovered the bottle this morning when I was scavenging for breakfast options.  

Oops.

27 November 2010

So Very True...

26 November 2010

KtMac and Joe in the Kitchen

We have been experimenting in the kitchen. 

Since we moved in together, it was agreed that we were grown up enough to move beyond blue box Mac and Cheese and frozen pizzas.  

And we're living on a grad student budget.  So we're poor.  

So we get creative and cook, a lot. 

Some successes include:  Cinnamon walnut chocolate mud cake, homemade crab mac and cheese, perfectly seasoned steaks, pancakes, lasagna

Some failures include: Black bean enchiladas, anytime KtMac gets near rice.

On tap: Crock pot meatballs, Christmas cookies, and more!

25 November 2010

Truly Thankful

2010 has been a tremendous year for me.  I have been so lucky and loved.  And as I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with my loved ones, there's quite a bit I have to be thankful for.

*  I am loved, by so many.
*  I am healthy, happy, and home. 
*  Joe is home, safe and sound.
*  We have a snug and cozy love nest in an amazing city.
*  I have so many wonderful friends, old and new.
*  Every time I call my Grandma and she still remembers my name.
*  My brothers are growing up and becoming my friends.
*  I have a great job, filled with challenges and changes in the past year.
*  I have an incredibly promising future.


Wish you all a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving with lots of food, laughter, and love!

24 November 2010

1/7 Done!

Joe has finished his first quarter of his MBA program!

I'm so proud of this handsome, smart, silly guy.

23 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: Om No

Remember the big game I talked about trying Bikram yoga?

Yeah. 

Om, no.

Om, hell no.

I tried for three weeks, but truth be told, yoga in a sauna really screwed up my balance.  

So badly I would often be dizzy for days after a class.  

The cons outweighed the benefits this time around. 

Next fitness challenge?  Joining the local Bally's after Thanksgiving.

22 November 2010

Festival of Lights

Saturday night, Joe and I headed downtown to meet his folks and celebrate the start of Christmas season at the Festival of Lights

It is a parade and fireworks show that helps officially light up the Magnificent Mile for the start of the holiday season.  After years of D.C.'s very sedate, very politically correct lack of holiday decorations, I have been in seventh heaven watching all the lights and decorations go up in Chicago.  

I may also be singing (very off-key and randomly) the lyrics to my favorite Christmas song.  Joe is already sick of hearing that song and I haven't even played it once yet.  


And after Mickey and Minnie and the South Shore Drill Team helped light up the Magnificent Mile, the four of us ducked the crazy crowds and had a delicious Italian dinner and a leisurely drive up Lake Shore Drive to see all the city lights.  

I love this town.  

20 November 2010

Just a Few...

...Saturday morning randoms. 

*  I've got a busy, but fun!, day ahead of me.  More on all the fun tomorrow. 

*  Sometimes, the best things are the little things.  Like a Starbuck's date with Joe followed by a lazy but great evening at home. 

*  I never really realized the full extent to which DC permeated my wardrobe.  I knew my business attire was mostly blacks and greys with a few browns thrown in.  After all, that's to be expected after three years of working in an office where dark purple high heels are scandalous.  But all my play clothes were black and grey with some browns thrown in too.

*  I also never really realized how depressed this wardrobe was making me.  But I went shopping the other night and came home with two colorful shirts.  And they made me SO VERY HAPPY.  Moral of the story?  Every girl needs some sassy color in her wardrobe. 

*  Joe is good at surprising me with little things.  Like cinnamon rolls from the store late at night when the bakery didn't have any that morning. 

18 November 2010

KtMac Reviews: The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago


Author: Douglas Perry 

The good: I picked this up because I felt that as a new citizen of Chicago, I should learn a little more about my new adopted city.  I also didn't realize that the musical Chicago was based on a true story.  It's a pretty interesting snippet of history and the ladies that inspired the musical.  

The bad: It felt like the author ran out of steam at the end of the book, like he was just trying to wrap it up rather than finish it well.  As with any non-fiction, it was a little dry at times too, but not as often as most non-fiction books.  

The verdict: If you're interested in history, Chicago history, or the history behind the musical, read it.  Otherwise, it probably won't appeal.  

17 November 2010

Finally

One thing was consistent in the years I lived in D.C. 

Every single fall, without fail, I'd complain about missing the beauty of Midwestern Autumns

But not this year.


It's November 17th and our street still shows everything beautiful that I love about a good Midwestern fall.  So very, very glad I moved back home to the Midwest.  

Wednesday Wisdom: Fleece, Fleece Baby!

Today's wisdom comes direct from personal knowledge, all because of a simple little mistake. 

Are you ready for a little secret? 

It's all about the fleece sheets, baby! 

Dreading the chilly winter ahead?  Especially those of you in the Chicago area?  The answer is fleece, not flannel, sheets. 

How do I know?

Last year, on my Christmas wish list, put haphazardly together while I was in Albania, I asked for a set of snowflake patterned sheets that I thought were flannel.  But when I opened them on Christmas day, I discovered they were actually fleece sheets. 

I tell you, it's like sleeping on a warm, fluffy cloud.  It makes sleepytime in winter so warm and pleasant.  

I just put them on our bed last night.  It was so nice not having to warm up the bed for twenty minutes after climbing in. 

But I'll also admit to the downside of the fleece sheets. 

It's damn near impossible to get out of bed in the mornings.  

Which, in winter, is a very good thing, no?

16 November 2010

KtMac Reviews: I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced



The good: A heart-breaking behind-the-scenes look at the story of the Yemeni girl who demanded and won a divorce at the age of ten a few years ago.  The story is told by Nujood, in her voice and her understanding of the events.  

The bad: I felt, especially as a wizened adult, so strongly all the the pain and suffering poor Nujood went through.  You will need a kleenex or two.  This book reaffirms my strong beliefs that it is our responsibility as adults to ensure every child has a happy childhood for as long as possible.  I also suspect that the book was written for a young adult audience even though it was shelved on the adult new non-fiction shelves. 

The verdict: Read it.  It's a quick read.  It will break your heart.  It will reaffirm the fact that life in Yemen is like life everywhere else.  There are good people and there are bad people and there are good people in bad circumstances and it is up to you to make your life. 

15 November 2010

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Last week, I stepped out of my comfort zone.  I'm proud of myself for doing so. 

At a delicious little Algerian creperie, I met three other lovely ladies for the beginnings of a book club.  Somehow, after hours flew by, in between the laughter and stories and pictures of adorable puppies, I realized this is the beginning of a great book club.  Even if books are barely mentioned.  

We'll be meeting a couple of times a month in different locations around the city.  All three girls have lived in Chicago much, much longer than me.  So their knowledge of fairs and festivals and cozy cafes and delicious drinks will expand my Chicago knowledge beyond my lovely little neighborhood.  

I'm so excited!  And already looking forward to meeting up with these girls again. 

Watch Out For...

In an attempt to actually write some of the posts rolling around in my head, I'm counting on y'all to keep me accountable. 

Posts to watch out for:

- KtMac and Joe's kitchen adventures
- KtMac's "book club" and its inaugural meeting
- More book reviews
- Bikram yoga status update
- Things I'm thankful for in 2010
- Ways I'm bringing in the holiday cheer this year
- What I look like when dressed up for a Mad Men theme party
- KtMac's thoughts on the wind turbines dotting the Midwestern prairies

And more!

14 November 2010

Alone Again.

Naturally.

Well, not really.  I'm watching Love Actually right now and the author just said that as I was thinking of a title. 

My bros are gone again.  I miss them already.  Even if I'll be seeing them again in two weeks at Thanksgiving. 

It was a short, but great weekend.  

Joe and I took them out for deep dish pizza on Friday and then we spent time playing Just Dance 2.  

Saturday, we got up and headed down to the Magnificent Mile for some shopping.  We planned on seeing the Willis Tower (side note: every time I hear "Willis Tower," I automatically think of Bruce Willis), but it was rainy and overcast and not great viewing weather. 

So we went to see Due Date instead.  Then had late night burgers and played a generous game of Trival Pursuit. 

Today, however, we succeeded in seeing the Willis Tower!  


And now, I miss them already.  


12 November 2010

Facebook is Funny

I just went on Facebook to see if I could find a decent picture of myself, DMac, and PMac to put in a post I wanted to write about the fact that my brothers are coming to visit this weekend!! Along with DMac's lovely girlfriend!  I am SO VERY, VERY EXCITED.  There are not enough ways to describe how excited the four of us are.  (Joe is excited too...just in his own Joe-I'm-stressing-about-upcoming-finals-next-week kind of way.)

Anyway, back to Facebook.  

I was lazy and clicked on the "see friendship" link between my bros. 

The primary picture that sums up their friendship?


A picture I tagged them on my trip to Tokyo.  I thought they'd get a kick out of the crazy flavors I didn't bring home (ran out of room after all the food things I did bring home).  

Oh, Facebook. 

Guess I'm going to assume a papparazzo role this weekend.

11 November 2010

Just Dance 2

Joe and I have a new addiction.



We were at a Halloween party and watched costume-clad party goers play this game for hours.  We decided we had to have it. 

It is AMAZING. 

It is kicking our asses.  We are so out of shape. 

But we are having a blast. 

Joe will do better on one song and I'll do better on the next.  No real rhyme or reason as to who does better on which song. 

We have a LOT of room for improvement. 

We crash into each other too often in our little living room. 

We crash on the couch after a handful of songs. 

But we can't wait to play again.  

If you have a Wii, I definitely recommend this one. 

10 November 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: All Along

Willis Tower.

09 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: Words Fail

I keep trying to write up a summary of all the things Tiff and I did on her visit.  Lunch in the Loop.  Lincoln Park Zoo.  The Lincoln Park Conservatory.  Caldwell Lily Pond.  Fullerton Beach.  Deep Dish Pizza.  Movies and wine.  The Golden Nugget.  The movie Red.  Loyola Park Beach.  Millennium Park.  Buckingham Fountain.  Shopping at the Art Institute.  Book store shopping.  Thai food.  B.L.U.E.S. brilliance and insanity.  The Austrian Bakery.  Oz Park.  Wandering the Loop.

But the truth is, all I can say is, it was awesome.








Tiff....come back soon!  The door is always open.

08 November 2010

This is Why I Love the Cochlear Implant



07 November 2010

Sunday Thoughts

I came across this recently, and I'm still thinking about it.

Once, all village people decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all people gathered and only one boy came with an Umbrella;
that’s Confidence
***
Trust should be like the feeling of a one year old baby when you throw him in the air, he laughs……because he knows you will catch him;
that’s Trust
***
Every night we go to bed, we have no assurance to get up alive in the next morning but still you have plans for the coming day;
that’s Hope

06 November 2010

Important Question of the Day: Cool or Creepy?

In our neighborhood, there's all these random faces sticking out of the walls.  Joe and I disagree about them.  Joe thinks they're cool and a great way to immortalize someone.  I just think they're damn creepy. 



So, who's right?  Cool or creepy?

05 November 2010

TGIF, Finally!

Ahhhh!  It's Friday afternoon, finally.

I'm so happy.

And so desperately in need of a glass of wine. 

Have a great weekend loves!

04 November 2010

I Believe...

* in the power of smiles.

* that stolen moments together are the best kind.



* in the power of dancing in the rain.


* in extra morning snuggles.


* in the seductive power of the open road. 
* that everyone should have at least one stamp in their passport.


* that everyone needs a long walk through the snow from time to time.


* in kisses as a cure-all.


* in staying young forever.

Unknown.

03 November 2010

Halloweekend 2010

We did Halloween right this year.  We went out Friday night, Saturday night, and watched a Halloween parade Sunday night.

Our costumes?  Homemade and fabulous, naturally....

I was a Blue Angel!

I designed my costume around the fact that I really, really wanted to wear a blue wig.

I was really excited to fly.

I also may or may not have spent all weekend making "zoom!" and "whoosh!" noises as I flew.


Joe waited until Friday afternoon to make his costume.  Even for last minute, his was a hit.

The pun was intended.  He was a popular piƱata.

Thanks love, for making Halloweekend 2010 so much fun! (And for tolerating all the "zoom!"s)

02 November 2010

KtMac Confessions: A Halloween Rant

Can we talk about kids' Halloween costumes these days?

I grew up with homemade Halloween costumes.  They weren't fancy or expensive, and they may have been repeated more than once on occasion,  but they were cute and comfy and could be worn over long underwear and puffy snowsuits.  And most importantly, they were age-appropriate.  


When Joe and I wandered into Halloween stores in search of good ideas and pieces for our costumes, I saw a lot of kids costumes.  And what made me even sadder than all the kids who will never know the fun in coming up with and creating their own costumes, is just how many of the kids costumes were definitely not age appropriate.  The packaged costumes were "sexy" and slutty and too tight and short and all-in-all just wrong for a child of 7 or 8 to be wearing.  It breaks my heart.  

What happened to letting kids' imaginations run wild with possibilities when they dressed up for Halloween?  What happened to being a cute clown or Harry Potter or Minnie Mouse or a green Army man or a scarecrow or a pretty princess or a cute dog?

Why are kids being encouraged to dress up in clothes and costumes that won't be appropriate until they're 15 or 20 years older?  (And even then....)

01 November 2010

November Randoms


*  Oh, October.  It's only been a day, but I miss you already.  You are almost tied with June for my very favorite month of the year.  June wins out because it is warmer and sunnier and my birthday month and any month in which you were born is the most magical month.  

*  I've been a bit quiet around here lately.  No real good excuse.  Living life, overwhelmed by all the words floating around in my head, busy making memories and sorting snapshots.  And I owe a lot of thoughts....such  as my Halloweekend wrap-up and a long overdue KtMac summary of the weekend Tuff Tiff came to the Windy City.  And trust me, those posts are coming.  Because this month, I've challenged myself to post something every single day.  

*  Why challenge myself to blog everyday?  Mostly because I have so many thoughts in my head that I get overwhelmed by all the things I want to write and then choose not to write at all instead.  That's just silly...time to get over my stage fright as it were. 

*  I'm excited, and a little nervous, because earlier tonight I cut out all the pieces for my first pattern-led sewing project.  Fingers crossed it goes fairly smoothly.  

*  I've got a couple more books to review coming up.  And perhaps a line in on starting a Chicago book club?  I sure hope so!

*  Also, Joe and I are about to get addicted to a new Wii game.  The only reason we're not absolutely addicted to it just yet is because we haven't bought it yet.  Tomorrow night is another bet altogether.  

*  I heard rumors of snow in the forecast by the end of the week.  I'm not excited about that thought, but I am grateful for the fact that the weathermen decided to at least wait until November before talking about snow.  I have too many childhood memories of trick or treating in the snow to be complain about a November snowstorm.  

*  Honestly, I'm a bit jealous of my friend, Tiger, who is about to jet off with her boyfriend on a romantic holiday tomorrow to London and Paris.  But truthfully, I'm also super excited for her -- the girl has earned herself a much needed vacation!  Safe travels and lots of adventures missy!

*  November?  Already?  It's been a busy year.  But November is already shaping up to be a great month!