BBC 100 Best Book List

I really enjoyed playing this game the other day with the strange foods and thought this was a very interesting list! Apparently the BBC says that the average Brit has only read 6 of these books, so SM at 32 and me at 30 are doing really well for only being 22! I would love to see everyone else’s lists if you want to post them in the comments, the real directions call for you to bold the ones you read, underline the ones you loved, and strike through the ones you will never ever read. Sweet Man and I wanted to do it together, and just wrote our initials next to the ones we’ve read.

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

I have the worst luck

It really is amazing to me how bad my luck is, if something bad can go wrong for me, it usually does. I had clinical yesterday at one of the New Haven hospitals, and it went wonderfully. I had an interesting patient, I got to sit through a few groups and I got a lot of homework done. We got out half an hour early, and the van out to the parking lot was right at the door. I got in my car, turned on the ipod, and went to pull out. While I was backing out of the parking spot I thought to myself “wow, it’s really hard to turn the wheel, how strange.” I drove out to the exit, turned onto the road only to have someone honk at me. All I thought was “how rude, I didn’t cut anyone off!” Then, someone finally pulls up next to me, rolls down her window and points at the front of my car. Oh Shit runs through my mind, and I turned off the ipod and roll down my window only to realize that my tire is flat. The front passenger side wheel was completely and utterly dead, which is so my life. My car is only six months old with 6,000 miles on it, but I own it so I have been waiting for something to happen.
I pull into Pfizer’s parking lot one block down and luckily my two friends were driving right behind me, saw me pull in and followed me. We had just been talking about how I don’t know how to change a tire that very morning, and I was all ready to call AAA when my confident, gorgeous, lives in the center of Hartford friend Kehtana says that the three of us females could handle it all on our own. My other friend Rebecca just had her tire die in her driveway the other morning had some expression, but we definitely stood back. We got five of the bolts off and set up the jack but couldn’t get the “special” bolt off and were looking through the flat tire kit for the stupid lock. I had no idea where this thing was, but was willing to sit there for an hour looking for it. Kehtana however has no fear and yells to this truck with an open window stuck in traffic right in front of us “where do we find the lock thing for the wheel in the car?” And he laughed at us and yelled right back “check the glove compartment!” and sure enough it was taped onto the drop down piece of my glove box. In the end a few workmen came out of Pfizer and did the heaving, dirty lifting for us which was nice because we were in our nice clinical clothes. The donut was put on and I drove to the dealership because stupid me though that there would be a warranty on my 6 month old tires.
NOT. Because it had a HUGE nail in it courtesy of the construction site next door to the parking lot, it was my fault that it died and try as they might they couldn’t plug the hole. The nail went in head first and every time they thought they had plugged it, it didn’t hold. Seriously, this shit only happens to me. I had to buy a new tire, and thankfully my tires weren’t worn enough that I had to replace the other front wheel too. An excellent $162 whoops that I now have four babysitting jobs this week to pay for. Hopefully, this is my only problem this week and Sweet Man will make it home safe and sound tonight. Also, congrats to my two friends and Cool Mom who all had sweet baby boy’s Sunday!

Yes, I did cry

It might be because Sweet Man is away, or just because life sucks sometimes, but I cried my eyes out over this. I hate the fact that I can plan my wedding while other peoeple who are supposed to have the same rights as me can’t. I am excited for the day that our generation takes power and homophobia is seen to be as dirty as racism.

“Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce… from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Still Waiting for Life to Get Easy

It is four weeks into the semester, and  I am still not finding my life any easier. Normally, it takes a few weeks to get the routine down, figure out when you are going to get work done every week and get used to get up at ungodly hours. I have yet to hit this point, and I’m still over tired, finding it harm to get all my work done and any life extras have been ignored. The house is cluttered, I haven’t returned emails I received weeks ago, and I’m sorry to say that my blog has been the hardest hit. I ended up with a good response to my last posting about birth tips, so I at least feel like some people enjoyed my filler content, but I do want to get back into the swing of things. I just started back up with my clinicals, and I think that will fuel the fires here. In the mean time, I made a startling discovery the other day which has created some major changes in Casa de Hummus. Did you know that you need to book your wedding venue two years before your date! I started playing around online, and found the place that I want to get married in. It is historical, absolutely gorgeous, we could hold the ceremony and reception in the same site and the place means a lot to both Sweet Man and I. So, I emailed asking about dates, only to find that they have like 4 Saturdays available in the whole year of 2010! What to people do who have 6 month engagements, book before the proposal? I feel like that would be bad luck, just asking for either the woman to say no, or your man not to propose. My brother booked their church before he proposed because he knew my sister-in-law wanted to get married in the same church as her sister, but wouldn’t you feel like you missed out if you, the bride, did not get to pick your wedding date? I think that we are definitely going to have to pick a site and date before our engagement because we did want a shorter engagement, but it feels like buying a house before the wedding: way too damn scary for my liking.

In other news, Sweet Man and I are looking into buying bedroom furniture, which we desperately need, and are having a really hard time of it. We currently sleep on a a free mattress and box spring on metal frame with wheels, which has been working out okay for us. We have a mismatch of furniture for dressers, end tables and TV stand which doesn’t look pretty but serve their purpose. While re-arraigning the furniture in our room the other day so that I too could have an outlet by my side, one of the legs fell off our frame, and we pro ceded to hold it up with my Pediatric, Maternity and Physical Assessment books, I know: classy. I’ve been dying for a headboard for a long time (our wall had been colored blue by the dye in our pillows), and so the active search has begun. We went to Ethan Allen because I have really expensive taste, and found out that all of the furniture we need and like would cost around $7,000, which is way to much even for me. My mother came over for dinner the other night, and she suggested we look at Bassett furniture, and even pulled up the website and picked out a collection that she thought was similar to the Ethan Allen set we liked. There was one near our grocery store, so we checked it out this weekend and discovered that it was all on sale for 30% off, which adds up in furniture! I loved it, and called her to let her know we were picking up a bed and two end tables for $2,000 including taxes and delivery and how excited we were. She, in her usually form, was not happy but instead immediately became negative about the experience. She wanted to see it, and then she wanted us to go look at this cheap store, then she said we should buy one on Craigslist until we move, then it was too high quality and then it was too low quality. My brother is very supportive of this, saying if you are going to buy your first furniture and good bedroom set is worth its weight in gold, the big family bed that you will move from house to house and sets a wonderful tone for the rest of your life. The sale ended the next day,and I was brought to tears by her cruelty in the car afterwards but it really made me realize that my brother was not so wrong to ignore her for all these years. I always thought he was cruel as a child, not coming to visit us and not calling her on a regular basis, but I now realize that it is all or nothing with her: either she calls five times a day or not at all. She doesn’t do the once a week talk or the Sunday night dinner, she either must own your ass or you have to cut her off. After this experience I think we are definitely going to cut remove her from lives even though I love her and she is my mother. I have been so turned off to the bedroom discussion that even though we really need it, we are going to wait until we move in May to buy anything. C’est la vie!

Whitney’s Hot Birth Tips

I know, I know, but I started school and can’t be on top of everything in life. Trying to get back into the swing of things after break has been really hard, and my body has decided at this great moment to refuse to sleep. I’ve never had a problem sleeping whenever I want, and in fact we usually call it my super power and so the lack of good sleep is something I don’t know how to deal with. So, I’m taking the easy way out with a post and I’m just going to add a list of behind the scenes birth tips I’ve recently created. I have several friends who have just given birth or are about to, and I’ve come up with a list of things that most people don’t think about or know about the process. I know that this doesn’t quite jive with the theme of my blog, but I think it could be informative for someone without a nursing friend!

1. Steal the schwag: The nurse will restock your room after you leave and if it is open she will throw it out, so you might as well take it.  Baby wipes, clothing, hats, diapers, and blankets, bring a bag and take it with you.

2. Pack a bunch of clothes options because most people want to ditch the hospital gown the minute they deliver, its not like you’re sick.  I’ve seem some very classy outfits made by folding over the gown and using it as a skirt, paired with a nice t-shirt or tank top for pictures. If you have seen any of those post birth photos, those gowns do nothing for you so I suggest bringing a few shirt styles and you can decide what will be the most comfortable after the fact.

3. Bring your own shampoo, lotion, soap etc in travel size containers, and don’t forget a brush.  They have all these products but their really really bad.

4.  If you are going to breast feed, you need to decide what you want to do about your baby in the nursery.  If you are sleeping or the baby is hungry in the nursery, they will feed your baby a bottle. This can make breast feeding later harder, because he’s figured out there is an easier way to get food and he is not going to latch as well.  You can either always keep him in the room, instruct no bottles under penalty of death or you can just understand its going to be a little harder and don’t freak out about it… its your choice!

5. It may feel weird sharing this moment with another person, but having a student nurse is always good if you have the option. It means that you have two nurses instead of one, and everyone always appreciates the extra attention.

6.  It’s a weird one, but ask to check out the placenta, its really cool and its nice to see what kept your baby alive for 9 months.

7. Just something to keep in mind, some hospitals do not have a NICU, so if something happens during delivery and your baby needs some extra help with life they will transport him to another hospital. You will need to stay at the hospital for a minimum of 12 hours, so make sure that your husband’s clothes and things are packed in a different bag so he can go with the baby and make any medical decisions. I also suggest calling a friend or family member with a cool head if this happens to come stay with you. It’s hard to be alone and you should have an advocate with you at all times who can go into the hall and find you help if you need it.

8. The C-section rate is on the rise, so it is always something you need to be prepared for. Don’t freak out if it does happen, but know the after care is different. You want whatever anti-nausea meds they offer.  There is nothing worst than dry heaving once the pain meds start to wear off, so while it will make you a little sleepy, that can be a blessing. Also, ask to wait for the catheter until after the epidural. It is a necessary part of the procedure but not much fun and it is better if you don’t feel it.

9. Your baby’s first bath is a great moment. You get to really see what color hair your baby has, and unwrapping all the little parts is magic. Ask to see it, or if they are going to do it in the nursery send your husband with the camera.

10. Oh, and about the pain meds after delivery, always take them even if you don’t hurt at the moment.  Many people wait until they feel pain to ask for more medication, and being in pain slows down your ability to heal. They can offer them before the previous meds have worn off and this keeps you from feel it, which I am a big fan of! (Also, ice packs in the shapes of pads are supposedly amazing!)

11. Even if you don’t have any special dietary considerations (vegetarian, allergies) but especially if you do,  I always suggest packing menus of favorite restaurants that deliver. Pizza, Chinese, or wings, a lot of moms want a specific food right after delivery and hospital food isn’t going to cut it. It is also a good idea if you are going to have a lot of family visit and you want to have a little party! Side note: I had a mom ordering pizza from her cell while still in the stirrups while she was being stitched up. It is perfectly acceptable.

I’ll be back to actually write and tell about all the upcoming fun once I get my life back on track!

Healthy Delicious Peanut Butter Granola bars

Peanut butter barI have recently been looking through healthy food blogs to come up with snacks for Sweet Man, who isn’t really fond of our health food kick.  While we feel much better and are enjoying the new recipes, our grocery bill is suffering, becuase believe it our not it is cheaper to eat copious amounts of junk than 1500 calories in health food a day; go America. He enjoys granola bars but they cost a lot and usually have many ingredients I cannot pronounce, along with the much dreaded high fructose corn syrup. So, I browsed through many online recipes to come up with a formula that I think we can use for many different variations on a basic theme.  Most of the “healthy” recipes that I found added brown sugar or a cup of honey, but I find that you don’t need that much if you like chewy bars like we do. For different flavor omit the peanut butter and add your favorite dried fruit and nuts with a teaspoon of vanilla and cinnamon. We have tried dried cranberry and  cashew using 1/2 cup of the cranberries and Sweet Man could have eaten them all in a day if I had allowed it!

Peanut butter bar

Healthy Delicious Peanut Butter Granola bars

1/4 cup flax seed
2 cups oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1 cup peanuts
1 cup peanut butter

Mix all ingredients pour into parchment paper lined 8×8 inch pan. Bake in 335 oven for 20 minutes and let cool before cutting. Cut into 6 squares.

Sam the Man

Sam The Man

I mentioned her in a post a while back, but never really explained the joy in my life named Sam the Man. No, it is not a mistype and I have not just fucked up Doctor Seuss, she does not like green eggs and ham but does really enjoy Italian food. She is the one who introduced Alex pasta into our life, along with osso bucco and her dad makes amazing chili. She was also a history major, and at Skidmore, Sam lived up the hill from us with two female house mates who are both as girly as they come. I mean, shriek when you see a spider, tons of man problem kind of ladies. But, in every house you need someone who is going to be designated spider-picker-upper, and that fell to my friend Sam. In my apartment, it was three girls and Sweet Man, the poor guy, and so deal with the overpowering femininity,  he would invite his friend Steve Jobs (I know I know, but this whole coming up with pseudonyms is really really hard and it’s 10am) over to barbecue. Sweet Man received a charcoal Weber for Christmas a few years ago, and the two of them would stand in the back yard with fire having a manly time of it. (And as a side note, don’t you love how women buy the meat, marinate it, make all the sides, set the table and lay out all the serving dishes, but the man cooked becuase he threw the meat on the grill and poked it a few times?) So, Sam the Man was invited to these events, and they all swore up and down that the grunts of acknowledgment over each others grilling prowess was really a language so superior that women couldn’t understand it. The title of Man of the House allowed Sam to escape her estrogen palace and enjoy racks of lamb so she never complained. She really is one of the best people we know, and she just called me yesterday to tell me that her dog was put to sleep and she needed some cheering up. So, all my love Sam, and I hope this day is better than the one before it.