Friday, January 30, 2009

Book Club: The Shack

After a couple months of hiatus, our book club met today at lunch to discuss The Shack by William P. Young. This book is a national bestseller, being plucked from bookstore shelves all over the country. I can see how people would find this book inspirational--people who aren't avid readers, people who do not attend church often (or at all), and people who want to believe that there is something magical out there that a lay man can experience at any given moment. Although I did not hate this book, it was not one of my favorites. There were a few bits of the book that I did like, such as the fact that it emphasizes one's individual relationship with God and wrapping your mind around the relationship God has with Himself (a point that I did not see until our discussion today). There was much more about the book that I didn't like such as the fact that God was represented as an African American woman, surrounded by a magical fairy land who answered to the name of 'Papa'. I did not like how God insisted the main character forgive his daughter's killer so that God would be able to redeem this man or how there was not a reason as to WHY God could not stop this man from murdering the young girl, although he watched the entire situation play out. That is the human in me, though--the part of me that has flaws and errors--the part that could not forgive as God does every day, every minute...every second. So, there were good qualities and bad qualities of this book. Another point brought out in book club was that there are times/situations in a person's life where certain books are best read. I suggest reading this book when you are losing faith or just need a quick 'upper'. It isn't a long book and can be read in the span of a weekend.

Below is a picture of the *delicious* dessert that Jennifer made for the group. They are brownies made out of Samoas (aka the bestEST Girl Scout Cookies Ever!!!)

Hmmm...the dessert picture is bigger than the book picture. That makes sense--I liked it WAY more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Review: The Glass Castle

During my two 'snow days' off of work, I was able to fit in quite a bit of reading and I finished a fantastic book, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This is a memoir about a family of six that live on the brink of homelessness while the children are growing up. The main character, Jeannette, describes the conditions in which they lived, how they managed to feed themselves, the relationships within their family and the constant teasing that went on during school hours. In the end, Jeannette grows up, moves to New York City, graduates from an Ivy League university and writes magazines, books and is a correspondent for Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was an artist; however, both were extremely intelligent people. There really was no excuse for Jeannette and her siblings to grow up the way that they did...the father did battle alcoholism and never made a true effort to overcome his disease, but the mother was an able bodied person, capable of helping out. Jeannette paints her mother as lazy and selfish in the book--the final kick being in the end when she finds out how much the land her mother had been holding onto throughout most of their childhood is worth. I got really emotionally involved with this book and I truly enjoyed it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weigh In: Week Dos

So, this week I've lost exactly one pound (to the decimal point again). Although this is not the result I wanted, I am glad to see I've lost and not gained...I was VERY bad this weekend!!! So, I've lost a total of 5 pounds thus far...and will need to step up my game a bit if I'm going to win this thing!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book Review: Nineteen Minutes

April 20, 2009 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Columbine Massacre, a tragedy that I can recall vividly although I was only eighteen years old when it occured. Jodi Picoult's book, Nineteen Minutes, brought images to my mind of that day. This book - phenomenally written - is about a massacre at a highschool and instead of the 17 year old murderer committing suicide, as the Columbine assailants did, he survives and goes to trial. The book skips back and forth from the incident to the 17 years prior to show the reader what actions and events led up to that point--what caused the killer to lose it and murder ten of his classmates. It shows you points of view from the murderer, his parents, a 'popular' student and even the life of the attorney defending him. This book also makes the reader sympathetic to the defendant--it shows that he, too, was a victim but that in NO WAY excuses his ultimate actions. Nineteen Minutes, which is so titled because that is how long the massacre lasted from start to finish, is certain to touch the heart of any parent.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goodbye Dear Friend...*tear*

Due to the overwhelming responses I've gotten via email and a few comments, I am going to divulge my 4LB/1week weight loss secrets. First, I must give credit where credit is due: Kaitlyn. She is majoring in a field that is health related and the first day of my new diet, she sent me loads of helpful tips, which I am trying to abide by, so THANK YOU, KATE!!
Next, I must say good bye to my dear friend, Coca-Cola:

Dear Coca-Cola,
Love of my life, I miss you so much. It's been a week and three days and I live and breathe through your carbonated fumes, but alas, not a drop has touched my tongue. You will always have a place in my heart, but I can no longer allow you to reside on my hips. It was a great ride, and I may allow you to visit from time to time, but in the distant future.
Love Always,
Your Number One Fan

Now that I got the bad stuff out of the way...

  • The major thing that I have taken from Kaitlyn's advice is the water. I have been drinking a gallon of water a day. I started off with a few bottles, but I have finally reached that point of a gallon...and since I have given up ALL soda-even diet!-, water is the only thing that I am drinking.
  • I am also using half of my lunch period to walk and I take the stairs anywhere I go. Since I work on the 14th floor of our building, I will get off at 11 (another floor that our firm is on) and I walk the rest of the way up--in the morning, after lunch...whenever.
  • Kaitlyn also suggested that I cut my calories in half, so I went ahead and started Weight Watchers (sans the meetings). Everything I learned from weight wathers has been from my sister and my mom. I am keeping within my point range every day and I have been very lucky that Andy is so supportive and isn't tempting me with his food. He will even eat it in the car before he gets home so I don't have to smell it or take 'just one fry'. Also, I am allowing myself one 'out-to-eat' meal per week.
  • Finally, we can't have the diet without the exercise (yuck!). In addition to the walking and the stairs, I have been doing the Wii fit for 30 minutes to an hour every day. This may seem lame to some of you, but a few of the games on there really get my heart pumping like that damn hula hoop, rhythm boxing and Advanced Step. I have also been on the Elliptical for 30 minutes, 5 days a week and the treadmill is my cool down of 5 - 10 minutes. [I cannot get into running again until the weather gets a bit warmer! It totally dried my skin out in November!!]

So, those are my little weight loss secrets for now. I can hardly wait to see what weigh-in is on Monday! Hopefully I am not disappointed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weigh-In: Week Uno

Monday is our weekly weigh in day for the P|M Challenge. I weighed in exactly four pounds lighter (to the decimal) than a week ago! I am well on my way--not only to my goal, but to winning the challenge!

Yay me!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Review: Wilt in Nowhere

In my most recent literary endeavor, I have encountered one of the most eccentric, quirky and witty characters yet: Henry Wilt (aka "Wilt"). I met him in Wilt in Nowhere, a British comedy by Tom Sharpe. I got halfway through the book before I realized this book had at least one book before it, as it referenced something that Wilt had done that I had not read. After a bit of research, I found that there are, indeed, three books that were published before this one, the first being written four years before I was born! So, I went about trying to order the books--and they are out of print--so it was hard for me to find a website that I could purchase them, but I found one and they are expected to arrive at my door no later than January 28th! So. Excited.
Anyway…this book didn't have one particular plot--but rather a couple that merged together towards the end. The book had me in stitches and the terms these Brits use are hilarious. I learned a term that I cannot WAIT to use…just biding my time for the right moment!! Reading this book can be compared to watching a British sitcom….and I hear that this is the least funny of ALL of the Wilt series--so I will be back with an update in the near future. Count on it!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

P|M Challenge - 2009

I have initiated a weight loss challenge with the staff at my work in honor of the new year (and my public New Year's Resolution!). It is $5/week for five weeks and ten ladies have signed up for a grand total of $250 for the winner, who will be based on the most % of body weight lost! We start today and end on February 13th, just in time for Valentines Day!!! I am so excited about this--it will motivate me to eat better and to get my bum off the couch every once and awhile. Plus, I am so competitive that I am totally going to win this thing and...well, bet it on Black! ;o)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book Review: The Known World

I recently finished a heart wrenching book about slavery called The Known World by Edward P. Jones. This book is unique in the fact that much of it deals with African Americans owning slaves, or 'property'--a concept that I found sick and twisted. It was quite uncommon for African Americans to own 'property' way back then, so we don't read much about it in history books--but it did happen. This book was intriguing to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I was reading it, there were facts disbursed throughout the pages and it made me wonder if the author had done research, found certain names and properties, and developed a story around it; however, in the Q/A section at the back of the book, Jones answered all of my questions. All of the facts - even the county of Manchester, Virginia - was fictional and he threw them in there so that the story would be more real to the reader--so the reader would think the characters once lived and breathed because there were so many people out there who lived parallel lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone and it is no wonder that this book is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Here is the cover so you can identify it on the shelves at the book store!

Student of the Month!!

Jadyn received the Student of the Month award for the month of December!!! Andy and I were not able to attend the ceremony due to her very apathetic 2nd grade teacher and we were a little sad about that. We attended both her Kindergarten and First Grade ceremonies and were sad that we didn't get a picture of this this picture comes to you straight from the Lopez Kitchen (dirty dishes in the background and all!) We are so proud of our daughter!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bet it all on BLACK!!!

While everyone and their dog was watching the Oklahoma/Florida game, Stephanie and I took a trip to Firelake Grand Casino (yes, again). I brought $60 with me because I usually bring $40 and have to withdraw more, so I decided to avoid the $4 finance charge. Didn't work, I lost that $60 almost immediately, so I made a withdrawl, lost that and made another. I got down to about $2.32 and I was so pissed off and about swore off the casino for good…and then the slot machine turned and it got to about $50. So I told my sister (who had lost all of the $20 SHE brought) that when it gets down to $40, I would cash out and we would bet it all on black. Five minutes later, I was cashing out…

...and then we headed over to the Roulette table. There were these intoxicated northerners (drunk Canadians) at the table, throwing $100 chips all around the table faster than Stephanie and I would place our $1 chips down. So, one of the guys pulls out $500 and says 'I'm going to put this all on red - for boomer sooner - and if I win, I will give these two girls $50/each!"…and guess what! He won! and he gave us $50 each! They didn't leave right away, so we felt obligated to play some of our $1 chips…and we started losing…and then they walked away, but I was down to about $65 dollars…and so I said "F-it…I was down ten minutes ago, I will leave with nothing"…and I put it all on black!! And I won!!!! So...needless to love for casinos has not yet subsided...

P.S. for those of you who may think that going to the casinos 3 times in 9 days might be a problem...I have to tell you that the only problem I am having is finding someone to go WITH me!!! I hear the casino in Tulsa has an ice bar...ooooh...!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I have to admit, 2008 was one of the best years that Andy and I have had in a long, long time. I was actually a little sad to see it go--but I know that 2009 is going to be SO much better! We are hoping for the best year yet!!!
We brought in the new year at Firelake Grand Casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma with Andrea and Kevin! It was a lot of fun. It started out at the buffet with so many choices and ended with hours upon hours of gaming time. I am 100% addicted to slot machines. No Joke. I also had my fair share of Vegas Bombs--and ended up staying up until at least 6:19 a.m. (which was the last time that I looked at the clock!) The rest of the gang was out by 3:45 a.m. Andy and I stayed over at Andrea and Kevin's house and Jadyn was there, too, having spent the new year with her favorite cousin, Riley and her Grandma Anna. Poor Jadyn was so sick, when we got home she had a 104.8 temperature in one ear and a 102.9 temperature in the other...what a way to start the new year for an eight year old!!!
As for new year resolutions, I usually don't make any--but this year I have made the oh-so-original resolution of weight's getting a little out of hand. Okay, a LOT out of hand. My other resolutions are top secret--but they do exist and maybe one or two will be accomplished!
So...much love and a Happy 2009 from The Lopez Family!! xoxo

Here is a picture of one of my MANY slot machine wins...this was a $30.00 win on a penny machine! Yes, that's over 3,000 pennies up there! heh heh

Lights Out!!!

When Andy decides to take an active role in this whole blogging thing, I am ALL about when he lined up all of the lights that were all over our house, took pictures and announced "for the blog" was only a matter of time before they showed up here. In this case, less than 24 hours later!!! Andy invested close to 3 hours of time yesterday taking the lights off the house and organizing them for easy access next year. Over 4,000 lights used and it still didn't place in our neighborhood's 'Best Lights' contest (BOO!). Our house was really festive, though, and the kids loved it--especially when the neighborhood sleigh ride came by and Jadyn's friends told her how awesome our house was!!!
Here is the picture that Andy took--our lights, lined up as if going to battle!!