Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Reading Recap (AKA A Really Boring Post)

Remember that time I asked the library for a record of the books I've read? And they wouldn't do it? And so I had to do something else?


I started tracking my books as of January 1, 2010 and much to my surprise, I read a total of 25 books this year. How I find time to do this is what boggles the mind... but the numbers don't lie. In fact, they'll even tell you that I quit reading 2 other books due to massive suckage on their part. And, I read a parenting book but am not including that here.

(Imagine if I tracked every single thing I read. Crikees.)

How do I pick the books I read? Suggestions or pretty covers or, since going digital, cheap and/or free. I by no means am trying to replace Oprah's book picks, but I entertain the idea that I'm a pretty decent book picker.

Without further ado, I present my 2010 reads:

Couldn’t Put Down
A Million Little Pieces – James Frey
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire – Steig Larsson
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Loving Frank – Nancy Horan
Push – Sapphire
Saturday – Ian McEwan (currently reading)

Humor / Easy Reading
The Apothecary’s Daughter – Julie Klassen
Ask Again Later – Jill A. Davis
Bright Lights, Big Ass – Jen Lancaster
Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins
Half Broke Horses – Jeannette Walls
Hick – Andrea Portes
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Life and Times of a Boomer Baby – LK Campbell
Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) – Suzanne Collins
My Fair Lazy – Jen Lancaster
Pretty in Plaid – Jen Lancaster
The Sculptor – Gregory Funaro

Meh, Bleck or Kind-of-a Waste of Time
Bound – Antonya Nelson
Life’s a Beach – Claire Cook
Love is a Mix Tape – Rob Sheffield
The Writing Circle – Corinne Demas

ACK This is Awful and I Quit
Composed – Rosanne Cash
Sourland – Joyce Carol Oates

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Are you on If so - click over there on the widget and we can become goodreads friends. If not - how do you track what books you've read? Or do you? Or why not?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The One That Isn't Titled Because I'm Not Sure What I'm Even Trying To Say

The economy is in the toilet.
Paychecks - assuming they exist - are tight with no raise in sight.

The recession is supposedly turning back around, but much like our taste in music and clothing, the Midwest is always a season or 7 behind and we’re still feeling the pinch. People are looking to stash a few pennies here and there and every news source (credible and otherwise) is whipping up a shiny new list of ways to save in 2011.

But. Well. These lists are common sense.

Considering he’s a banker and I’m a full-fledged Type A, you can bet our credit is clean enough to eat off of. Hell, it’s cleaner than the bathtub. And yet, I click on these articles and read through to see if there’s anything above the average “DUH” idea to cut out the extraneous expenses.

Stop eating out. Only order water if you do go out. Check out books, magazines and cds from the library. Avoid late payment fees. Pay more than just interest on a credit card. (How about – try not to carry a balance at all?) Don’t pay for gym memberships you don’t use. Limit gift-giving. Take your lunch to work. Don’t buy a $5 coffee every morning. Buy generic.

I read one of these articles this morning and their fresh, new suggestion? Drink water in place of pop (or soda for my outside-the-Midwest readers) to save $1,100 over the course of a year.

And while these suggestions are fine and dandy – and even good to those that don’t add up the shocking amount spent at Starbucks each month – I’m waiting for new ideas. We’re, luckily, not in the position of desperately needing to go quarter-diving through couch cushions but most everyone could (and perhaps should) stand to save a little more and spend a little less.

But what if you’ve already trimmed the fat from your budget?

You can only stop drinking pop once.

Surely there are additional ways to save some scratch... so why doesn’t anyone write about those and call it something honest like “What to do when you legitimately can’t save any more money and still don’t have enough for food, clothes and/or heat.”

What creative ideas do you know of?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seckmans Say Ho Ho Ho

By now, most of you should have your very own copy of Seckmans Say Ho Ho Ho in your hands. If not, go here to check it out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together. Thank you to Katy for the idea and to Brenda for all of the design work. And, of course, to Fred for putting up with me, supporting this idea and for labeling and stamping each one.

Merry Christmas, friends.

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The blog has been a little quiet lately and I've been a lot busy lately with work and sewing and quilting and laundry and an almost four year old and eating out and shopping and wrapping and mailing and the husband and birthdays and cleaning and more sewing and stuff and stuff and things. I think there's a correlation there.

I hope we can get back to 'normal' in 2011, wherein 'normal' involves me clacking out hilarity a few times a week right here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where to Draw the Line

At what point does blogging about something cross the line?

We don't talk politics, religion or too much pro-crazy-mommy stuff here and that's because I don't like to hurt people whether on purpose or not. But, if I post a funny (now) story that will embarrass Elliot (15 years from now), is that crossing the line?

I'm honestly not sure what to do on this one and I know I can tell the story from a perspective that is less embarrassing but the bottom line ends the same way no matter how I tell it. It was 98% my fault but that doesn't help either.

And, will he even know what a "blog" is in 15 years? Or care?

I like to tell stories. It's what I do. I'd like to believe Elliot will have the same sense of humor that Fred and I do someday but there's no real way to know if he'll find it amusing or horrifying.

What would you think if you found your mom's PUBLIC JOURNAL from 15 years ago when you were 18 years old and she just told the world you peed all over the bathroom floor like a horse that hadn't peed in a week because your mom put you in a one-piece zip up for the first time ever? And that you stood there, cute and naked with your clothes at your ankles jamming your fists down saying "I'm so upset!" How your mom had to actually turn away and grin because the situation was so cute? And how your mom couldn't even get you and comfort you because there was SO MUCH PEE between you and her and she didn't want either of you stepping through it? So much that it took 2 towels and the bathroom rug just to mop it up?

I mean, really, how would you feel?

I'm just not sure if I should post about it or not.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trashy Hopes and Dreams

E: Mom.
A: Yeah?
E: Where's college?
A: Well, it depends. There are a lot of colleges.
E: Where's college?
A: There's a college here. It's called the University of Nebraska.
E: Okay. Is college a far time away?
A: Yes - you'll be all grown up.
E: (Thinking)
E: Okay. I got to college for to be a doctor, then I be a trash truck guy.
A: What? Well, I think you should skip college then.
F: Not if he wants to run his own business.
F: Elliot, do you want to own your own trash truck?
E: Nope, just be the squisher guy on the back.

Side note, I spent a combined 5 hours this morning trying to find the Tri-County Landfill and Sanitation Garbage Truck from Toy Story 3. I know someone who will be very happy on Christmas morning.

And - the traffic, bitchy, pushy shoppers and crabby store clerks reminded me why the majority of our gifts this year are handmade. So I get away with being bitchy, pushy and crabby, duh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Find What You Were Looking For?

I was going through the stats of this blog the other day (mostly I just like to look at the pretty map showing where every visitor ever has visited here from) and found the Search Keywords part. It's in lovely shades of green. Oooo. Ahhh.

This list is what someone typed in and got me from. Some are boring but some are somewhat amusing and I wonder how many of them were actually looking for me.

matthew p. damon (duh!)
"cavities filled"
seckmans in tecumseh, ne (hmm, looking for Fred's family?)
seckmans radio repair (Fred wishes)
matthew p. damon death (WHAT?! I WOULD NEVER!)
"mommy haircut"
mitsubishi lancer (not sure I've ever typed those words?)
pickleman's lincoln ne (know how that ended!)
peanut butter and jelly pj pants (my stupidity is a legend...)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When Mistakes End Well

I have a lot to do. Like, A LOT.

I decided this year Christmas would be a handmade holiday and while I am happy I chose that (and Fred agreed) I think my crucial misstep was the part where I decided to make everything myself instead of purchasing a few handmade items here and there.

Is that the downside to being a decent sewer and quilter?

Anyway. I was looking forward to this weekend to get a good jump on the list of things to make: nook cover and 4 mug rugs, 2 sets of pj pants and a robe, 1 pajama set for a dude, two quilts with the possibility of a third, Super Secret Seckman Gift, blocks, another pj set, handprints, another pair of pj pants and something yet tbd. Gah.

Working strategically, I worked on special orders first - ones that have to be shipped out before Christmas and were/are paying customers. Before I knew it, it was 1am and I only had one full order done (but, it was 5 items) and I went to bed. This morning I got up and started working on the pj pants - a matching set for the dad of the little girl that will be getting a set already in the shop. Cut them out, pinned evenly, sewed straight.

Flipped them right side out and... Shit.
The fabric is upside down.

I stared at the pants (maybe the fabric would magically turn around?) for a solid 5 minutes before throwing them to the floor, packing up and making a trip to the fabric store. And as I paid I did the math - I'm officially not making 1 penny on this set of pajamas due to my mishap.

And thus the cloud of doom and gloom.

I grumped and frumped and listed some extra mug rugs I made in the wee hours of the night on Etsy until I reminded myself its not the end of the world. A huge, frustrating loss of time (and money) but not the end of the world.

Sewing through my finger would've been worse.
Sewing my finger TO the pants would've been worse.
Tearing a hole in the finished pants would've been worse.

At least this way I get a new pair of pajama pants with my favorite things on them: peanut butter and jelly. And that makes me smile.

Know what else would make me smile?
Ha, kidding. Well, sort of.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The One That Will Likely Piss You Off

I’m not sure why I still facebook.

I originally joined and enjoyed finding people, updating and collecting flair. Most times lately, I delete and hide and log out not having learned anything of interest.

I’m happy that your farm is prospering. If you haven’t noticed me accepting your gifts of hay or returning with a barn nail by now, I don’t play games on facebook. Horoscopes are cool – I just don’t need to see YOUR daily one pop up in MY feed. I don’t care what your best number of the day is or who your soul mate is. Congrats on your high score on [insert name of game].

There are ways to keep this to yourself. Try it.

Also, I’m the jerk that doesn’t wish everyone a fb Happy Birthday. I won’t lie in that it’s nice to be recognized but when people come out of the woodwork to wish you the best day ever it stops me in my tracks. Do you even know what would make it the best day ever for me? I doubt it. If I know you, I’ll attempt to tell you Happy Birthday in person or some other way. But if you actually do know me, you know I’m horrible with dates and don’t remember your birthday. And you’ll like me anyway! You don't need to blast out a ridiculous “Thanks to everyone that didn’t say Happy Birthday, I had a good one” on your status.

Cause that? Makes me angry. ANNA SMASH.
And? I don't really care.

We all have a family member we’d like to see, someone in the service and on and on and on and I’m really tired of reading that as your status. I abhor that as much as I do junk mail and forwards. And the latest one – put up a picture of a childhood cartoon for violence against children. I’m sorry, but me putting up a picture of Jem and the Holograms is not going to stop some asshole from abusing his child.

We should go back to the roots of social networking and when facebook asks “What’s on your mind?” you tell it. I want to know what you’re thinking about or doing or something cool you saw or found.

Maybe it's my old age and I'm exhausted from yelling at kids to stay off my lawn, haven't taken my meds or are dealing with a flareup - who knows.

What I do know is that this is why, dear readers, I have started tweeting. It’s no nonsense. Easy. Simplified. And? Chock full of status updates ONLY. I get what I want and nothing more*.

I won't be quitting fb because it is the only way I keep in touch with certain people. I just might frequent it a little less often.

But that doesn't mean I don't love you, you or you.
Except you - I can't stand you.

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*Believe it or not, this post was not sponsored by Twitter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mr. Pickleman, Can I Have a Pickle?

Dear Pickleman's,

I'll start by telling you how happy I am to have you in my life, so close to where I work and so SO full of delicious food. (Seriously, the Tomato Basil Bisque is to. die. for.) Welcome to downtown and good luck.

That said, I do have one tiny complaint.

For a place named Pickleman's, and using a pickle as a major part of the logo, why do I have to purchase the pickle? Most toss one on the side but you... well, you charge me an extra buck and that kind of sucks.

If I ate at a place called Tomato Joe's, I'd assume there would be a tomato somewhere on my plate. If I were dining at Breadsticks and Sauce, I'd imagine I'd be getting a breadstick. You can imagine my surprise when I didn't have a pickle with my sandwich from Pickleman's, right?

Now, let me say that this will not get in the way of our friendship and I will continue to eat at your fine, and close, establishment. And, while I'm not threatening you, I do want to inform you that downtown Lincoln is absolutely full of (too many?) sandwich shops - most of which give a girl her pickle - and that could be a deal breaker for some.

My solution is the same that I give to airlines: just raise my initial charge. Just as I wish they'd up my flight cost to INCLUDE MY BAGS (only reason I heart Southwest Airlines), I wish you'd simply up your sandwich cost and throw in the pickle for "free." It is a smashingly awesome kosher dill ... but it just seems wrong to pay Pickleman's an extra buck for a pickle. Doesn't it?

No need to respond. Just give it some thought, Mr. Pickleman.

Anna Seckman

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saying Hello

Did you miss me? I missed myself. (Good one, me!)

Instead of doing an actual post on how ridiculous it looks when you have handcuffs hanging from your car's rearview mirror (hint: VERY ridiculous), I'm just going to say hello.

Hello, pants that are shrinking. WHAT?! THEY ARE I SWEAR. Hello, drunk guy that came close to hugging me this morning. Hello, cold Nebraska winds. Hello, person that had information due to me last week for a deadline I needed to meet today. Hello, overdue library books. Hello, lunch date that bailed on me.* Hello, people that crochet tampons and sew fleece pads - you provided a lot of hearty laughs over lunch with coworkers. Hello, list of things to make before the holidays. Hello, new custom order that I just added to my growing list. Hello, sister via email.

Later tonight: Hello, Sommer the haircutter.

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*In all fairness, she rescheduled at the same time.