Wednesday, December 30, 2009

27 to go

Reading total: 3 books
Books to go: 27
Months before 30: 16.5
Library Fines: undetermined but somewhere over $10 (I was a month and a half late on returning the last book...oops!)

So I stuck with it and finished Wuthering Heights. I ended up really enjoying the story and the characters and have this desire to move out into the country. I love how books can transport you to a different time and place. Reading is truly magical.

So, what book is next to read? Here are the ones I have left:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
2. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas
3. 1984 – George Orwell
4. Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
5. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
7. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky
8. Gone With The Wind – Mitchell
9. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
10. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
11. The Giver – Lois Lowry
12. Perks of Being a Wall Flower – Stephen Chbosky
13. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
14. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
15. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
16. Watership Down – Richard Adams
17. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
18. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
19. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
20. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
22. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
23. Catch-22 – Heller
24. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathon Swift
25. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
26. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
27. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
28. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
29. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
30. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Seeing as how I'm apparently reading every other book, I guess I'll pick Crime and Punishment. Anyone out there own it? I'm thinking I might need to go the borrow route rather than the library route as I have this horrible tendency to keep books LONG after their due date.  I'm thinking one of my New Years Resolutions should be "Return library books BEFORE their due date."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Leg 1 of the journey begins

Marta ride to the airport. My biggest pet peeve about Atlanta and the
one reason I have a hard time qualifying it as a "big" city is because
of the transit system. There are two lines that intersect downtown to
form a big t. If you need to get to a point not on one of these
lines, good luck! I've heard rumors that there are buses that take
you to these other places, but haven't ever taken one. So for most
Atlantas, using public transit as your main mode of transportation
isn't as easy as in say NYC, Chicago or Boston. But I can't complain
too much because my office building is at one of the train stops and I
can easily ride the train to the airport...which is what I'm doing as
we speak. So is Mr. Cob...but he's a few cars back.

Sent from my mobile device

Can I send Pictures from my phone to the Swans too?

Uh oh world - pictures direct from my phone to you!

What do you think about my new glasses??? Mr. Cob is not a big fan. But I love them. Did I mention they're purple??!!

Third post about Technology Rocking...

So I can now update y'all via text message AND from my email. Lucky
for you I have a blackberry so I'm always email-ready/capable!
Someone is very bright to have figured out all this technology. 15
years ago the internet wasn't big. 10 years ago cell phones were
massive and very expensive (mine was of the "emergencies-only"
type...but I did have a very cool neon aqua-marine pager! 1-4-3 ...).
And today we have small phones that let us bring the internet with us
wherever we go. Even on airplanes miles above the Earth! (Side note:
I am against this new technology. I like being "unplugged" on a plane
- its a great excuse to ignore emails and everything associated

Speaking of planes, I'm supposed to get on one in 2.5 hours. I say
"supposed" to be because we are currently 1 hour and 35 minutes
delayed. Stay tuned for more updates as the day (and inevitable night
at the airport) unfolds!

Sent from my mobile device

I can now update the blog from my phone via text message! This is test text 1...are you there? Hello? Fellow Swans?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Technology Rocks!

I recently downloaded a new "app" for my blackberry (and yes, for those of you wondering, i-phone isn't the only one with apps!). The app is called Bodies in Motion or BIMActive. It is a GPS for your phone that tracks your progress as you are running, walking or cycling. You can set the intervals so your phone beeps when you've gone 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile or mile. And then it links to the BIMactive internet site and you can chart your progress.

I've used it once on a run - which was amazing and helped me go a mile further than my usual 3 mile loop. And then this morning the puppy and I went for a walk and I tracked our walk. It's a really cool device and I thought I'd share it with y'all.

And the other two great things is that (1) it can link externally to my blogger (as per the current post) and (2) someone at home can "live track" your route if you give them access. So, lets say I want to go for a run but it looks like it might rain. If it starts pouring on my run, Mr. Cob can go online and find out where exactly I am in my run and come rescue me! (That's assuming Mr. Cob would be my knight in shining armor in said situation.)

Route:--Elev. Avg:1027 ft
Location:Decatur, GA, Elev. Gain:-4 ft
Date:12/16/09Up/Downhill: [+127/-131]
Time:07:55 AMDifficulty:1.5 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy
 37 F temp; 78% humidity
 37 F heat index; winds NW 9 mph

Distance: 1.46 miles
Speed:3.2 mph
Pace:18' 45 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Speed (mph)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
118' 24-0' 213.3+0.1+23 ft
end18' 14-0' 313.3+0.1-26 ft
Versus average of 3.2 mph

Posted from

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I have AMAZING girlfriends

Every couple of months I get forwarded the email about a young woman who just got married and is talking to her mother. Her mother advises her to "Always keep your girlfriends." To which the girl kind of laughs and thinks is strange advice since she just got M-A-R-R-I-E-D. Now that she's betrothed, why on earth would her mother be advising her to stay close to her friends. Didn't she now have a companion in life who she could tell everything to? He's her husband, so he'll take the place of all her friends, right? Luckily the girl listens to her mother and keeps her girlfriends, and the email goes on to tell us all why it was good thing, etc. etc.

If I didn't do a massive email dump every couple of months, I could've inserted said email [HERE]...but alas, I don't have it so you're stuck with my horrible summary. But, my point is this: I thought about that email last week and think all ladies should really heed Mamma's advice on this one. And it suprised me and caught me off guard, because this thought (and email) struck me during a happy time, not in a sad time when you need to lean on other people.

Last year a few of my girlfriends started a monthly supper club where we get together at a new restaurant and eat, drink and goissip. It's grown to include a few more girls over the year and I would anticipate it'll grow and retract in the years to come as people move away, or new friends move to town. It's one of my favorite days each month because I know I'm going to laugh, sometimes cry and always come away feeling love and happiness. Well, last Thursday we had our First Annual Supper Club Holiday Party and it was on my way home from the party that I thought of the email. One of our girls recently got engaged - so we chatted about her upcoming nuptials. And another recently found out she's having a baby, so we gushed over her wonderful news. It was just such a happy night.

I feel very lucky to be married to a wonderful man who adores me and who would go to Hell and back any number of times for me. He laughs at my not funny jokes, puts up with my every changing moods and borderline craziness, and he even listens to me gossip about work and life and things he couldn't care less about. That's just the kind of man he is. And that's the kind of love we share.

But, I'm glad I have kept my girlfriends. Some I've known for many years, while others I'm just now getting to know. Others live far too far away, while others live in walking distance. Some I talk to every day and others only every now and again. But one thing is always constant, I love them dearly and feel so blessed to have them all in my life.

So if any you ever are asked to give an engaged woman or newly married lady some marriage advice, I'd repeat the advice of the wise woman: Always keep your girlfriends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Who Me????

According to my husband, I can't be trusted. Well, it's not that he doesn't trust me in the overall sense of trust (at least I think). You see, we have a solid open forum for respect for one another. Love, lots of love. And until this morning, I thought we had mutual trust in one another.

But apparently it is only one-sided. He even admits that he thinks I can't be trusted. And you know what? He's right. It's true. At least not at this time of year. Not with the holidays and gift buying in the works.

But let me back up, its his fault, really. When we got married I took a stand for having separate checking accounts. But as he can't trust me (or my love for buying shoes and purses), he convinced me that we just needed one joint checking account. (It would be easier to pay the would we determine whose money to spend on what? Etc. etc. etc.) So I gave in and we have one joint checking account. But I maintained my independence by keeping my very own credit card, which he doesn't have access to. (Ok, he really does have access to it, but he doesn't care to look. I think...) And he has his very own credit card. Only his is linked to our checking account. So I can see when the balance creeps up, cent by cent. And I'll admit, I often peruse the credit card statement - but just to make sure everything is correct. I'm not looking to see what he buys. Honestly, I'm not. It's just that I'm in charge of our bills and finances, so I need to look at these things.

Well being the diligent bill-payer that I am, I went to go check out our banking situation this morning. I pulled up the Bank of America site. Entered our user name. Hit enter. Everything was normal. I was next prompted to enter our password. First try: FAIL. Ok, I must have entered it incorrectly. Second try: Access denied. Ok, I must have had cap lock on. Third try: INCORRECT PASSWORD. It was at this point I knew something was up. So I called Mr. Cob.

Me: Did you change our bank account password.
Mr. Cob: [Chuckling] Yes.
Me: Why on earth would you do that?
Mr. Cob: So you can't snoop around and see what I've bought you for Christmas.
Me: Who Me? NEVER!

You see. My own husband. He doesn't trust me. Sigh.

Then again, he probably has a point - I did call him the other day asking why he spent $40 at Jimmy Johns. I thought perhaps someone had stolen his card and gone on a sandwich buying spree. I was concerned, that's all. I'm not a snooper. I swear.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sweet Pup

Wrigley is settling in to her new home rather nicely. She is espeically loving and cuddly with her mamma and papa. She's trying to befriend Bailey Ann, but it's not going so well... Bailey drives a tough sell.

Just thought I'd share another pictuer of our pup!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

WARNING: Totally Vain Post to Follow

Does anyone else out there obsess about their hair? I feel like I'm on a constant hair roller coaster ride. When it is short I want it long. When it's long I can't wait to chop it off. When I have bangs I think I'd look better without them. When the bangs grow out I feel like cutting them. Is it just a girl thing? Do other people have these thoughts?

If you can't tell, I'm considering chopping my bangs again. And maybe my hair. And its not even long right now - it's "mid-length". Thoughts? Here's some pics to help you decide:

Current hair:

Other options:
Longer hair, short choppy bangs -

Short hair, medium length bangs -

Long hair, medium length bangs -

I realize this is silly, but thought I would share my silliness with the world.

And don't say I didn't warn you that this post would be all about me. In my defense, I'm trying to deflect my feelings and fears about the fact that roofers are ripping off our current shingles and potentially finding rotted wood. Which leads to more $$$$$. Yup, that's my story. I'm not really this vain. Really. I'm not.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is it cheating to change my List?

So I may need to tweak THE LIST. I have 28 books left to read and 17-18 months to read them, but I'm starting to run into a road block - I don't like one of the books and cannot get into it. What book is giving me such trouble, you ask? Wuthering Heights. I still can't get past chapter 3. I'm just not into it. I'm resolved to finish it because so many people say its a great book, but I'm just not feeling it. Which makes me think about people's preferences and opinions and how different we all are. I knew going into the challenge that I wouldn't love all 30 books, but I'm surprised that I don't like Wuthering Heights. I'm hoping it takes a turn for the better...SOON!

I have finished To Kill a Mockingbird and 1984. Both of which I enjoyed and read quickly. I would recommend both books to anyone looking for a "good read".

I am trying to decide whether my list should be a firm list that cannot be altered even if I get started on a book and hate it. Or can I swap out one book that I can't get into for another book that's not currently on my list?

I'm thinking I should stick with all the books on my list. If I don't, it makes the list somewhat irrelevant. Ok, that's it. I'm going to read all 30 of the books. So back to Wuthering Heights I go.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my friend Katie over at La Vida Leipprandt has joined the challenge! She's doing her own version, and as she's a young chicken, she has a few more years until she gets to thirty :) Anyone else reading with us?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Zoom-Zoom, Ruff-Ruff and Roof-Roof

The Swans have been quite busy lately, hence the lack of blog posts. In one week we have acquired a new car, a new dog and will soon have a new roof!

The beamer served me well for nine & a half years, but it was time to part ways. She is now in a better place, and I'm in a safer car! In her place I got a candy apple red Mazda 3 5-Door! And she's a beauty! Mr. Cob has named her "Ruby Vroom". Aside from safely being able to get from point A to point B, I love that the car smiles at you and says ZOOM-ZOOM when you turn her on.

We also expanded our family this month! We added a four-legged furry friend: WRIGLEY! She's a year old Australian-Shepherd mix and is the sweetest pup you'll ever meet. She and Bailey Ann are learning to get along, but are not exactly "friends" yet. We're very excited about our new family member...if only we can get her to stop pooping in the office :) I think obedience school is in our future! I have much better pics on my camera, but for now, here's a preview from my phone - isn't she a doll!

I'm sure Wrigley will be a recurring blog subject!

And while we're adding new things, we decided to (well, decided isn't exactly the word...I should say we "must") replace our roof. As you may remember, the recent influx of rain in the Atlanta area has not treated our house well...we've been dealing with a flooded basement and a leak in the dining room. After getting quotes on replacing versus repairing our roof, we learned that in the end it would be cheaper and better to just replace the entire roof. Our two year old roof. Sigh. Deep breathe. Lots of money down the drain. Sigh.

Moral of our story: if you buy a "flipped" house, make sure you get a roof inspection and have a second inspection after the buyer claims they fixed the problems the first inspector found (don't rely on the receipts they provide for you).

The husband of a woman I work with is a general contractor and doing the roof for us, so we feel good that we're in good hands. And we're just crossing our fingers that there aren't many/any rotten boards that need to be replaced once they pull up the shingles. And once the roof is replaced, we'll then have to fix the problems in the inside of the house - the cosmetic repairs.

The silver lining is that we're getting architectural shingles and a decorative chimney cap, which will give the house a facelift. A nice early-Christmas present...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

127,000 Miles Might be All She Can Take

Well after nine and a half years with my little car, she is finally dying. I've tried to save her. New spark plugs, new tubes, new tires and lots of love. But sometimes, love and new parts just aren't enough. And my old girl needs to be laid to rest - or at least traded in to a dealership who can give her a major facelift and perhaps a boob job and some lypo.

So Mr. Cob and I are car-shopping. And we have no idea what to do. The budget/economical side of me says to just buy a cheap, reliable car. But my luxurious side is telling me that I work hard and desrve a nice car. I'm thinking/hoping the smart side wins over the expensive taste side.

But car shopping is very overwhelming. Where do we start? The one thing we know is we need something bigger than a 2 door. So first criteria: 4 doors. But then do we get a sedan or an SUV? Sedans are better on gas mileage, but SUV's would be good for our one-day-growing family (no, our family is not growing yet, but you have to think about these things). And then there's the domestic vs. foreign? I'm really just lost.

We're thinking we're going to lease a car because we're not ready to commit to something for more than a few years and leasing will most likely result in a lower monthly payment.

So I made a spreadsheet of lease costs for various cars. Economically I should get a Civic. But I really want the Volvo's just not budget friendly.

What's a driver to do? Maybe I should start biking and riding MARTA. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home Decor for Less

For months I've been wanting a rug for our living room. I've looked online, in catalogs and in various stores only to come up empty handed. Everything either didn't match my decorating taste or was far too pricey. But this weekend, I found a rug with the perfect combination of style, quality and lack of an exorbitant price tag.

Where did we strike gold you ask? Homegoods/TJMaxx - its the best store around - you really can't beat some of their prices!

Now we are just trying to keep the cat from using the new rug as her own personal nail sharpener.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Take A look in my Crystal Ball

And here is what I may look like in 30 years...if I were to lead a hard life of alcohol and cigarettes...Hopefully, I'll age much more gracefully!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Update on the Big Read

So I plan on getting into detail at another time, but thought I'd let you all know how the 30 Books challenge is coming along. Or should I say the "29 Books Challenge"...

That's right - I've already read one book on the list. Book # 1 - To Kill a Mockingbird. I LOVED IT! I'm not exactly sure how it is that I'm a lawyer and never had read the book. It was amazing. Very thought provoking and (while my husband doesn't recall this and thought I was odd for laughing out loud on occasion) comical at times. Everyone should read this book. Do it. Now.

I'm currently about 50 pages in to 1984. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but am continuing on. Mr. Cob says I can't quit on it, because apparently it's great. At least now I understand where whole "Big Brother" thing comes from.

I'm enjoying my return in bookland. (Clarification for those not married to Mr. Cob: bookland is where Mr. Cob goes when he is reading a book. He is impervious to my questions and comments and stares and need for attention. If he's in bookland, forget it, he's a goner. I'm now getting him back by entering my own bookland. Actually, it's backfiring, because I'm realizing how annoying it is when someone interrupts you when you're reading a good book. Wait, no, it's just him. Surely I'm not annoying. That's impossible). Law school had really turned me off from reading for pleasure - after reading page upon page of legal cases, the last thing I wanted to do was open another book. Good to know that it only takes two and a half years post-law school to get over the fear of books.

How's everyone else doing on the 30 books?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


After great insight from many friends, I have put together "MY 30 Books before 30 Years List". Most of the books were recommended by more than one person, so I have high hopes for them. I really didn't do much research on any of the books, just took your recommendations. My one rule was to only list one book per author. I went to the library today and picked up six books to start my journey and jumped in this afternoon with book #1. Now, in no particular order, here is THE list:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
2. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas
3. 1984 – George Orwell
4. Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
5. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
7. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky
8. Gone With The Wind – Mitchell
9. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
10. The Maltese Faclon – Dashiell Hammett
11. The Giver – Lois Lowry
12. Perks of Being a Wall Flower – Stephen Chbosky
13. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
14. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
15. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
16. Watership Down – Richard Adams
17. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
18. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
19. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
20. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
22. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
23. Catch-22 – Heller
24. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathon Swift
25. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
26. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
27. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
28. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
29. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
30. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

So here's the question - who wants to join me on the book reading journey?

I've started To Kill a Mockingbird, but don't plan on reading the books in the order listed. I'll let you know which book I'm reading as I start it and give my thoughts on each book after I've finished the particular book. And I'm excited to see if I still love the few books I have read that I've included on the List.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 12, 2009

30 before 30 - YOU decide

So it has been brought to my attention that the List of 30 books to read before I turn 30 may not be the "best list". While most lists are subjective, I've come to the realization that I was about to undertake a journey without knowing anything about my guides. A quick google search later, revealed that they may not be the best people to take me on my trip.

So I am asking for your help. I'm going to put together my own list of "Books You Should Read Before Turning 30" ... but since I may not have read them yet, I'd like your input. What books do you think should be on my list? And if you really feel strongly about a book, give me a little background - a WHY the particular book or books should be read. What aspect of my life will it touch? Or better yet, what aspect of your life was affected by the book - or is it merely a book that is a classic and should be read?

Once I compile my list, the journey will begin. Anyone want to join me?

Dear Rain,

Please go away. Thank you. xoxo, the Swans

This morning was the 4th or so morning in a month that I've woken up to the sound of rain and then promptly jumped out of bed only to remember that I'd moved all the towels and buckets away from the leaky ceiling in the dining room. Sigh. I think the bucket will remain a permanent fixture until we can get someone out to fix the roof - I fear we'll have to replace the whole thing. Apparently the sellers failed to include the 4 after the 1 on the disclosure statement question of: how many years old is your roof. Surely they wouldn't have intentionally lied and said 1 when they meant 14.

And my car is on its last leg. The check engine light illuminated itself on my drive to work this morning - combine that with the uneasy idling when the car is at a stop sign or red light and the fact that you can't unlock the trunk anymore, is all leading to the sad conclusion that she's dying.

I'm going to look in my backyard for a money tree this afternoon, because I could sure use one right about now!

On a positive note, I visited my grandparents again this weekend and had a nice visit. We'll get the real diagnosis on my grandma's illness this Friday - so I'm keeping the prayers and good thoughts going.

OH, and Mr. Cob won his first case last week! Although he says it was bad, good and bad - I'm still not sure how that works, but a W is a W in my book :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Watch Less, Read More

I've realized lately that the majority of my day is spent staring at a screen. I'm either staring at the computer doing work, watching TV, checking my email on my blackberry, or updating this lovely blog. I even watch TV when I'm working out at the gym. I can't really cut down on my screen time at work, as it's kind of imperative to my job. But I can make more of an effort to reduce my TV watching time. So I'm going to start reading actual books in my spare time.

And for the record, I'm split on my thoughts about the Kindle/digital books. One the one hand they save on paper - i.e. are Green. I love trying to be more green. (You should see my overflowing recycling container each week.) But on the other hand, I feel like screens are starting to invade life (see previous paragraph) and I like actual books. I think I'll stick with the paper versions. I'll do my part by going to the library. That counts as recycling right? Or maybe it fits more in the "reuse" part of reduce-reuse-recyle. It fits in the trifecta somehow.

So, I'm embarking on a journey. I found a list of books that "everyone should read before they turn 30" on the internet (you really can find anything online these days). I have 17 months before I turn 30, and am going to read all these books before then. I've marked the books I've already read - my grand total: 3. So I'm going to have to average almost two books per month. I think I can do it. I'll give you all a book report as I read them....Anyone want to join my journey?

The List (courtesy of the Mark and Angel Hack Life Blog...I have no clue what this is, or who Mark and Angel are. Perhaps I should've done some more reserach into the makers of the list before letting them blindly lead me on a book reading extraveganza, but I like to live on the wild side):

1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (x)
2. 1984 by George Orwell
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
7. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine
8. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
10. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
11. The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton.
12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
13. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
14. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
15. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
17. Four Quartets by T.S. Elliot
18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (x)
20. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (x)
21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
22. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
23. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
24. The Republic by Plato
25. Lolita.
26. Getting Things Done by David Allen .
27. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
30. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
31. BONUS: How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
32. BONUS: Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner

**For the record, Mr. Cob has read 15 of these books. As you can see I have read 3. Sigh. I hope our kids get his brain and memory. But hopefully they'll get my style. Did I mention he used to have less than stellar style until I showed him the way? I'm just sayin.

An Instant Wardrobe Update

I did a little Fall shopping this weekend. It started out innocently enough. I agreed to go yard sale-ing with the girls. I spent a mere fifty cents on a super cute picture frame. I was doing a great job minding my wallet and sticking to my self-imposed "no frivolous shopping" month of October.

But then I was blinded by love. All sense and reason left me. I blame my friends for dragging me to the mall and forcing me to look at shoes. It's their fault, really.

In my defense, I have been looking for new work shoes for a few months now. But nothing has been "just right". Everything I tried on was either too matronly, too tall, too uncomfortable or just plain wrong.

But that all changed on Saturday. I spotted the most beautiful red heels. And it was love at first sight. I had to have them. My feet are now happy. How couldn't they be in these lovely things?????

I have to wear shoes to work, so one could argue that shoes aren't frivolous. So "technically" I didn't break my own rule. Yea, I like that rationale.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Cob!

Today is Mr. Cob's 28th Birthday! YAY! He's not much for bithdays, but I love them and think they're a time for celebrating. He's officially in his late twenties, but he'll always be younger than his bride - yes, that's right, I'm a cougar...

Happy Birthday honey! I love you. And now, a photo montage in your honor!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

We just found water dripping down from our dining room ceiling. This is bad and I see lots of money needing to be spent to fix the problem. My question though, how do you have a leaking in the middle floor of your house? This does not make sense to me.

On another note, I think the drought is officially over. This does not make up for the leak.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Comment about Comments

This is a post to all you readers out there. It came to my attention not too long ago, that I had some strange safety feature installed whereby it made it difficult for people to leave comments. I have now removed said feature. I'm not sure how it got turned on in the first place. Probably has something to do with my questionable knowledge about computers.

Anyway, my point is - the problem has been removed. So please, leave me some comments people! I love comments. I live for comments. Good, bad, ugly comments - I don't really care. Just let me know what you're thinking about what I'm thinking!

So to sum up, I'd love to hear what you think about the Nesting Swans!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lunch with the Grandparents

This past weekend Mr. Cob and I drove down to have lunch with my grandparents. My grandma's health is starting to wane and we hadn't seen them in a few months, so I decided it was time for a visit.

We got a two-for-one deal since my mom and great-aunt were down visiting as well. My great-aunt wears a necklace with a clock around her neck and my brother has taken to calling her Flava-Flav...she has no clue who this is, but it always makes me smile to see her clock necklace!

It was wonderful to see everyone and catch up - I feel guilty that we don't make the effort to visit more often, but that's going to change. We've decided to take a trip down every other weekend or so for lunch or dinner, or maybe even church. It helps break up their routine and will hopefully give my sweet mama a rest (she is on the road visiting/checking up on them more than you can imagine), as well as give us some precious time together, which is especially important when time may not be on your side. Please say a prayer for my grandma as we await some test results - she's a fighter, this I'm sure. She had one ovary removed when she was younger and told it was unlikely that she'd ever be able to have children. Well she showed them that not only could she have one, she had SEVEN healthy babies! Some might say she was a fertile myrtle!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cooking without rules

As it turns out, my sausage, cheesy mayo-less breakfast casserole was a success! And easy to make.

1. Brown sausage in a pan with onion. I used 4 Hot Italian sausage links out of the casing and a 1/4 of an onion because that's all the onion I had. These are not exact measurements, so get crazy, use as much or as little as you want! I even threw in some garlic and parsley and Italian seasoning for good measure.

2. Remove from heat and drain excess fat (if you want, if not, don't).

3. Add 1 egg beaten and some cheese to your sausage mixture. I used a handful of Montery Jack, a handful of Cheddar and a bit of Parmesan. (Again, not exact measurements here).

4. In a separate bowl mix 2 cups of Bisquick - (I also added some flour, because I was feeling wild) - with some sour cream (like 1/4 to 1/2 cup) or you could use mayo like the recipe actually called for. And 1 cup of water (or milk, like the recipe called for...) Really, use whatever you have in your kitchen. This will create a dough of sorts.

5. Spray a square casserole dish. Add half of the dough mixture. Then add the sausage/onion/cheese mixture. Then spread the rest of the dough on top (hint: use a spatula that you've run under hot water - this makes it easier).

6. Bake on 375 or 400 (I can't remember) for 30 minutes. And VOILA, you're very own breakfast casserole.

ENJOY! Mr. Cob suggests adding maple syrup to the top. I disagree and thought it was delicious on your own. I also contemplated adding tomatoes, so you could try that too.

On another note, a pot roast is in my crockpot cooking as we speak. And I did 4 loads of laundry yesterday. So maybe I have some superwoman in me yet!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Magic Genie, For my three wishes I'll have [-----], please!

As a wife, I've found there are many expectations I put on myself. I've finally realized that it is ME that is causing much of the stress in my life - well me, and society. As I write this I even feel bad because I'm only a wife...I have yet to add "mother" to my list so should I really be complaining.

But, I am a wife who works full time - some days more than full time. This past week my typical day was: wake at 7, work from 7:30 - 6:00 in the office; come home and eat dinner; work from 8-9:30 or 10 from home. Bed, Repeat. With a day (or many) like that, it leaves little time for laundry, cooking exciting meals, keeping up the house, paying the bills, exercising, relaxing, quality time with the husband and all the other things I enjoy doing. And I feel bad that I can't be a superwoman and get everything done. I should be able to wake up at 5am, exercise for 45 minutes while a load of laundry is washing and a casserole is in the oven. Pay the bills and clean the bathroom all before showering and going to work for the day. But I'm just not a superwoman. And I need to be OK with that.

But, I got to thinking - what would I pawn off (or even pay) someone else to do so that my "list" gets a little shorter? Here's what I've come up with:

1. Cleaning lady - self explanatory (Ask my mom, I've never been an inherently clean person...I've always been content with a little disorganization)

2. Full time chef or food delivery service - take away the guess work, and time necessary to prepare meals. Actually, I'd settle for someone planning out my meals and doing my grocery shopping so that I had everything ready to cook. See, I often lack key ingredients for recipes - example: last night I ran out of sugar while making chocolate chip cookies - I improvised and just used more brown sugar. (Outcome you ask....cakey cookies. But still edible - Mr. Cob loves them). And this morning I've run out of milk, mayo and sugar - so I used water instead of milk in my breakfast casserole and sour cream instead of mayo....we'll see how this turns out. And my coffee is more black than usual - and the brown sugar has made a repeat appearance! At least I'm good at improvising, right...

3. Personal trainer - now this would remove my issue of never knowing what to do when it comes to weight training, but I'd still have to find the time to meet said personal trainer. So I think I'd settle for a treadmill in the house. This way I could run first thing in the morning or while watching TV at night (I don't like running outside in the dark so the treadmill would fix this problem).

4. Laundry service - do you think a cleaning lady would take care of this?? Hum, two for one deal!

5. Lawn service - I spent about 2 hours last weekend weeding and mowing the front lawn but you can barely tell. I thought I would enjoy doing yard work, but I've come to realize that I just don't. I do like being outside, but that's about it.

So pretty much, I'd like to pawn off all my adult responsibilities onto someone else - sigh. This wife thing is a learning process - my juggling skills are improving every day and I just need to be ok with less than perfection.

So here's to hoping I clean the house and go grocery shopping before Mr. Cob's parents get here this weekend - it's the right thing to do.

I'm off to try my breakfast casserole sans milk and mayo - perhaps it'll be amazing and I'll have my next blog post.

Friday, September 4, 2009

List this

It has been yet another BUSY week for the Swans. I have pictures to upload and full stories to share, but for now, here's the SWAN'S LIST OF TEN "BIG" EVENTS FROM THE PAST WEEK:

10. Mr. Cob had his 4 week post-op appointment this Wednesday. The plan was to remove the hard cast and replace it with a removable boot. No such luck - Mr. Cob's bones aren't quite ready. My thoughts - better to be safe than sorry!

9. I avoided a round of layoffs at my job - [insert huge sigh of relief]. I'm very thankful to be employed.

8. I had my last piano lesson for a while - I just didn't make the time to practice lately and it felt like a waste of money. I had a good 4 month run and really learned a lot - i.e. how to read music and play a few handfuls of songs. Next time you are at my house, ask me to play something! I plan on resuming lessons at some point in the future.

7. I had a wardrobe/closet intervention - Katie and Lauren helped me get rid of things that no longer served my higher fashion self. They got a good laugh as I tried on clothes that I've had for over 10 years....and took photos - it's humorous.

6. I promptly went to the gym after said clothes-trying-on extravaganza.

5. I've decided the Swans need a dog. This long weekend we're dog sitting Lydia, our friends' dog and I've fallen in love. Last night after work we went on a long walk and this morning we went on another short walk before work. She's just so loving and I feel safer with a dog around. However, our kitten is not so sure a dog in the house is a good idea....I'm hoping she comes around.

4. I learned that you should always have an extra propane tank for the grill - yes, I ran out of propane while cooking turkey burgers for a group of friends. Luckily my trusty grill pans saved me!

3. I wore these on Saturday night:

And ate dinner here:

And stayed the night here:

2. On Monday night, Mr. Cob and I ate this:

(and it was delicious! We also drank champagne and watched our wedding video...)

Which leads to the NUMBER ONE event of the past week:

1. Mr. Cob and I celebrated our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! It has been a fantastic year - my most memorable yet. I can't wait for many many more anniversaries to come.

Happy Anniversary honey, I love you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


...that he's doing OK. See, we even get out of the house on occasion - we took a trip to Wal-mart this weekend.

And don't judge the contents of the cart. I already admitted we could be eating healthier. What do you want from me?

Care, Love and Patience

I have to apologize for my neglect to the blog the past few weeks - I've been a bit preoccupied. Tomorrow is the 3 week mark of Mr. Cob's ankle incident and we're both still speaking, haven't killed each other yet, and actually are doing quite well ("well" being a relative term...)

Since Mamma Kae flew back home to the Midwest I've been Mr. Cob's sole caregiver. Well that's not exactly true - friends and family are still coming over with dinner or coming to just hang out - and Mr. Cob's work family is helping him be as comfortable as possible at the office. But aside from that (which is huge - please keep coming by!!!), it's all me. And this world of care giving is new to me.

My prior care giving experience can be summed up quite briefly:

1. My first (and last) job as a babysitter was for 3 little boys who I just couldn't handle. I had a legal sized notepad full of "things" they had done "bad" in the 5 hours their parents were gone. I was trying to use it as a way to get them to cooperate and never meant for the parents to see the "bad" list, but alas, I forgot and the parents were pretty sure I was the unfit one of the bunch.

2. I've cared for many a plants. But, they've all died aside from the 2 currently in our sun room.

3. Bailey Ann is 4 years old and she's still alive - however, she doesn't require much maintenance. Food + water + clean litter box = healthy cat.

4. When I was 22 years old I flew out to California and "kidsat" my two cousins for a week while my aunt and uncle rode their motorcycles to North Dakota for the Sturgis Bike Week. My male cousin was 7 or 8 years old and very "energetic". I called my mom and promptly apologized for every bad thing I'd ever done to make her life difficult/miserable. I then called my aunt and said thank you for the heavy dose of birth control! However, we all made it out alive and happy - I just knew I wasn't ready to be a mom at that point (6 years later, I'm still not ready, but that's another story for another blog post).

5. I've taken care of myself for the past 10 years, with some help along the way, and I think I'm doing OK.

But aside from those 5 experiences, I've never been much of a caretaker. And I'm learning I have a lot of learning and growing to go.

But I'm making sure Mr. Cob is fed, clothed (I even altered some pants to accommodate the cast! this is way out of my comfort zone...), bathed and as happy as can be. We're doing OK. Sure the house could be a little cleaner, the meals a little healthier and the smiles a little bigger, but all in all, we're doing the best we can. And my parents have always said, "Do your best, and that's all anyone can ever ask of you."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who doesn't love a Makeover?

A little "before" and "after" picture always makes me smile. I love all things makeover. I can spend an hour looking through the Oprah show's before/after makeover pictures online. How Do I Look? and What Not to Wear are two of my favorite shows. And the makeover episode of America's Next Top Model is always my favorite of the season. (Disregard what all this TV watching says about me...)

So it should come as no surprise that I'm intrigued by Mr. Cob's "before" and "after" pictures. Only, his before "picture" (aka "x-ray") is before the ankle was put back in the right position (i.e. the dislocation picture) and the after picture is (duh) after the docs numbed him up and popped the ankle bone back in its socket (sounds painless, yes? Morphine, please). I have hopes to get my hands on his "after" surgery pics - you know you'd love to see the steel plate, pins and screws.



Not all news is BAD news

Mr. Cob had his 1 week post-op appointment with the surgeon this afternoon and was given some great news!

In 1 week (i.e. 2 weeks after incident ("WAI")), he'll go back to the doctor and get a new cast.

2 weeks after that (i.e. 4WAI/1 month after incident ("MAI")), they'll do new x-rays and Mr. Cobb will probably get a removable boot that can be taken on and off so the foot can be stretched (a bit).

2 weeks after that (i.e. 6 week mark), the doc MAY let him walk with tennis shoes - if not then definitely at 7 weeks. (Sidenote, anyone have any recommendations for tennis shoes that "go" with a business suit??? Hum, we're going to have to get creative!)

And best of all, he said Mr. Cob's soccer days don't necessarily have to be over...he just has to be careful and perhaps not play in such a violent league. The doc also said that he has football players who come in with broken ankles after being tackled that are not as bad as Mr. Cob's break. Point being, Mr. Cob is very lucky as this was a really bad break and could've left him with a bum ankle.

So our spirits are rising and the pot of gold is starting to appear at the end of the rainbow. Just one thing, how do you get suit pants over a cast????

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

It's hard to believe, but tomorrow will be one week since Mr. Cob's unfortunate soccer injury. It's been a long, emotional week, but it has also been an eye-opening week. I've truly seen the generosity and love of our friends and family. So I'd like to take this time to give a shout out to you all!

First I have to thank my dear mother-in-law. I called her and asked for her help, and she got on a plane and flew down here the very next day. I'm not sure we'd have gotten along as well as we have had she not come down. I definitely wouldn't have felt comfortable going back to work and leaving Mr. Cob at home if she weren't here. So thank you - I feel blessed to have you in my life! (And I know Mr. Cob wanted you here, even if he didn't ask. I know from experience that sometimes you just need and want your mama! A wife DOES NOT replace a mother - he now just needs us both!)

And thank you to my own mama. She sat with me at the hospital for 2 days and did her best to keep my mind off the surgery as it was going on. She helped me clean the house from top to bottom and just held my hand when I needed her. If you ever need someone to wait with you at the hospital, Sip is the first person you should call - she has much experience and is an amazing caretaker. I've learned from the best and only hope to be as caring and loving as she is.

Bret & Tedra - thank you for the flowers at the hospital...they certainly helped brighten up a dim room! And Bailey would like to thank you for her new litter box - she loves it! And our bellies thank you for the BBQ - we managed to get at least 3 or 4 meals out of it! Oh, and the squirrel thanks you too :)

Gene and Lauren - thanks for cooking us dinner and spending time with us. And especially thanks to Gene for "babysitting" Mr. Cob and Lauren for being my date to the wedding - it was so kind of you to relieve me for a few hours! And Mr. Cob needed someone else's company by Saturday night!

Kristin and Scott - thanks for the soup - SO DELICIOUS! (I'm going to need that recipe soon). Also the Arrested Development DVDs have kept us laughing, and as they say, laughter is the best medicine! I'm just sorry I wasn't here to thank y'all in person!

Mr. Cob's work family - when we returned from the hospital a bag full of gourmet food was waiting at our doorstep...what a wonderful gift. I highly recommend checking out: - delicious, and so nice not to have to think about what to eat after a long couple of days.

And all the friends who have called and emailed. Your support, prayers and love has definitely shown through and helped us this past week. We love you all! We're truly blessed with the most incredible friends and family!

Meow Dad, Meow

Our little girl has been very concerned and very confused about her papa. She doesn't understand why he's home all day long - usually she only has us home all day on the weekends. She asks, "Why is he hobbling around and only moving from the couch to the bed?" And she's not quite sure who this extra lady is staying in her house. We've explained to her that its her grandmama Kae, but I'm not sure she "gets" it (I think she's hard of hearing....with all that hair in her ears, can you blame her?). And she really doesn't understand why her own mama is sleeping in the guest bedroom on the futon.

But she does know one thing - there's more room in the bed/futon for her! For some reason, our sweet kitten doesn't like to sleep on the bed when there's more than one person in it...I guess she feels as though she's intruding. But I've woken up the past couple of nights, and there she is, curled up right next to me. If I can't have Mr. Cob next to me, at least I have my sweet kitten!

Update: more evidence of the kitten's concern...

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Broken Swan

It has been a long week from the Swans. Mr. Cob was injured playing soccer last Wednesday night - his ankle was broken and dislocated. We spent about 48 hours at the hospital and Mr. Cob has a new steel plate and steel screws holding his ankle bones together. He has been a trooper and we're managing the pain as best we can. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers!

And now a warning - pictures aren't gruesome, but they're not exactly pretty....