Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Kindled Love...

I'm sure most of you know I'm a fairly serious reader. I always have been, I just. I love the feel, the smell, turning the pages, leafing through, libraries, new and used book stores... Pretty much EVERYTHING about them really. And a few years back, when ebook readers became the latest greatest thing, I took the plunge and picked up a first generation Nook.

And hated it.

One of these things is DEFINITELY not like the others...

Okay, so hated it is probably too strong a word. I used it regularly during college. It was handy that I could cram it full of more books then I could ever possibly read, and have it weigh less a paperback and add hardly any depth to my bag. 

But there was no backlight to it, and it was hard to read if it was even the slightest bit dim in the room. Reading outside looked shabby too, as most screens on electronic devices do. The small touch screen at the bottom was bizarre and distracting, and the buttons on the sides to turn the pages really took away any shred of 'book feel' the thing had left. It just wasn't a good experience, and once I finished college and had no real need of a 'convenient book', it's sat in the closet, alone and unsused since.

I decided I much, much preferred real books to this digital format. Nothing beats the feels of holding a good, solid book in your hands, I thought. Oh, I still read ebooks. When Matt and I worked at Walmart in Stillwater, we both used to read them on our phones on our super short breaks. 

Our little Evo Shifts were small, and always with us, so we didn't have to waste valuable break time getting into our lockers or whatnot to fetch them. Plus, it was convenient for catching a few free moments in the restroom too! Yes, I admit, I'm a notorious bathroom reader and puzzler. There's always either a book, or a word search in there with me.

I even read half of the Ender's Game series on my phone, some of it during the time that Matt got his new job and went to stay in OKC, and I was left alone in our old apartment to pack things up. I discovered I pretty much can't sleep alone in the dark, so after getting all bundled into the bed, with the bathroom light on around the corner, I'd read well into the night on my phone till I was exhausted enough to sleep. The phone had the benefit of being lit, so I could read in the dark. But as all phone and tablet screens do, it starts to strain the eyes after a while, and it was pretty darn small to be reading novels on!

The last few years, I've not touched an ebook.

But that's when I started seeing the commercials...

Now that we can get broadcast television, I've had the pleasure of commercials again (Hey, it's actually pretty neat to see commercials for things when you've been stuck with mostly Netflix for several years!) and this is the one that kept playing. It peaked my interest, honestly. I've been getting frustrated with books recently. Trying to read on our broken down mattress, unable to find a comfy spot for long periods of time... I'd try to balance a 800 page paperback in one hand, or on a pillow, and end up dropping it and losing my spot! Not to mention figuring out where to put them all when my shelves are completely full! When I happened to see the display of them at Best Buy, I decided to go and have a look- and promptly fell in love!

I thought about it for the span of a day before I went back and got myself one. $120 less in my wallet, but happiness abounds!

I swear, I'm really not reading a cheesy romance novel! 

I LOVE reading on this thing even more then I thought I would. The display is crisp with a light you can adjust from sheer, brilliant white, to a dimmer light more suitable for reading in the dark. Yes, in the dark. Now, when I can't sleep at night, I can just read in bed while Matt snoozes away beside me! It doesn't matter what light level the Paperwhite is on, it's always evenly lit. And the best part is, the screen isn't back lit like a tablet. The light's not flying out and accosting your eyes, leading to strain and headaches.  It's a very, very book-like display, and completely comfortable, even when reading for hours upon hours.

The case I picked up for it on clearance at Target- not designed for it, but it fits perfectly. My mum would love it being purple too, even if it's not my favorite color...

Even better are the sales that Amazon has. The first night I got it, after connecting it to our Amazon account, I started to peruse their Kindle book selection, which has pretty much anything you can imagine. There's daily deals, monthly deals and various other sales, and if you see a book you're interested in, you jsut click the 'send a sample' button, and it pretty much instantly appears on your Kindle! I picked up Die for Me by Amy Plum, The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchet, and Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone that first night, all for $1.99 a piece. These aren't no name authors either- these are main streamer, best sellers! I later went on and got Long Earth's sequel The Long War as well, on sale.

Even when not on sale, Kindle books are usually way, way cheaper then even the paperback versions, especially if they've been out a few months at least. I picked up the second Wheel of Time book "The Great Hunt" by Robert Jordan for five dollars, and Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" for eight dollars, two and some change less then the paperback, and that's not including tax.

It does have ads that display when you sleep it, but they're always book related, and usually books that are on sale! You can pay a little extra to get rid of the ads, but why bother when it might be something you're interested in?

And I've pretty much never been more comfortable while reading. The Paperwhite is so light weight it's super easy to hold in one hand, in pretty much any position imaginable. You can 'turn the pages' by either swiping the screen, or tapping at one edge or the other- I prefer to swipe, more like the real thing! The next page loads super, duper quick and doesn't disturb your reading progress at all. So far I've read all of Die for MeThe Long Earth, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, finished The Great Hunt as I was already partway through it, and read a fair amount into both The Dragon Keeper and Three Parts Dead. I LOVE my Kindle.

It even has all sorts of neat features from being able to change the font and font size, highlighting passages you like, and even a built in dictionary- a feature I never thought I'd actually use. I generally don't have to look up words I come across that I haven't encountered before, as I can infer the meaning from context. Yet, with a dictionary right at my fingertips, all I have to do is tap the word in question and there's the definition! It will even link you to the Wikipedia page! And it's not just unusual words either; I came across two french words in a description of a tray of food. With the tap of a finger, I discovered the items were a plate of various cold cuts for eating with bread, and a type of french sausage. I didn't need to know this to understand the passage, but it painted a far richer picture with the knowing.

I'll still be collecting real, physical books of course. But the Kindle lets me get those that I'm not interested in collecting in a format that won't take up anymore room. Plus, Amazon just released their new MatchBook feature, one of the reasons why I decided to buy a kindle. Most any physical book you buy from Amazon (So long as it's enabled, and it likely is), going back years and years even, will get you the Kindle version of the book for $3.00 or less even going down to being free of charge! A ploy for Amazon to sell even more books and make more money? Of course. Still a fantastic deal for the rest of us, and a great encourager of people try e-readers? Most definitely! I'll be able to get all the books I want to own in hardcover by my most favorite authors, and get the Kindle version to read on the go and always have with me, even if it's in the Cloud Storage.

It's pretty much the greatest thing ever. The perfect ebook storm to sweep me up! It's so book-like that the book nerd in me doesn't completely cut loose screaming "Traiter!!" about my buying and reading non print. It's just so comfortable and convenient (Not to mention great battery life!) that I can't help but be compltely enamored with it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have books to be reading!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Dearest Matt brought a friendly cold home with him a few days ago, and it decided to get buddy buddy with the entire family! Yes, even the cat. Poor Taco's had a serious case of the sneezles along with a runny nose and eyes, which has thankfully mostly cleared up today. Matt's been insisting he is not sick, despite having an endlessly running nose, sore throat, sleeping all the time, and generally looking like he was run over by an ox cart! For my own part at least, so far it's been only some coughing, a stopped up nose, and feeling pretty tuckered all the time. I hope it stays that way!

I got in trouble with my last post- my husband finished reading it, turned to me and said indignantly "You're not going to post about the sauerkraut??" I promised that I was saving that for next time, and here we are! But I'll start at the beginning.

The last few months I've had a rash of requests for Sausage and Sauerkraut for dinner. I definitely didn't mind- usually I get asked for Chicken Rice, Matt's favorite, and compared with cooking that, Sausage and Sauerkraut is a breeze to get ready. Dice up a few peeled potatoes, roast those bad boys up, dump a can of sauerkraut into a pot, cut up some sausage to throw in, heat for a while, and eat. Besides the slicing, dicing, and turning the taters once or twice, it mostly cooks itself, which is always a pleasure! Why yes, I'd love to go sit and read while dinner takes care of itself for a while!

I'd packaged up the leftovers, and was busy cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes, when Matt comes in, looks into the still unwashed dinner pot and exclaims in horror "There's still sauerkraut in here!" When I serve everything up, I always give us fairly even portions of sausage and sauerkraut, so you get a little on each bite. There's usually a bit more sauerkraut left then sausage when I put the leftover up, and  it's a bit of a pain to fish the last bits out of the juice, so I usually end up tossing a few bites. Who wants to eat more sauerkraut then sausage anyway?

Well, apparently my husband- he went and got a fork and started fishing sauerkraut out of the pot while I explained the uneveness of the ratio and I didn't want there to be extra sauerkraut in the container and such. "But... the sauerkraut is my favorite part!" He exclaims. 0.0; I'd always thought he liked the sausage and the sauerkraut was the somewhat icky vegetable he'd gotten used to eating alongside it as I always paired the two together. I mean, the dude doesn't like corn at all, and refuses to eat plain cooked carrots because they're 'too sweet'- he likes fermented cabbage??

It turns out he likes is a LOT, because the next day we went out to buy the things to make our own sauerkraut!

It turns out sauerkraut is surprisingly easy to make actually. It's the recommended startign project for getting into fermentation, although besides beer, I'm not exactly sure what else there is to ferment... You pretty much just take cabbage, shred it up, crush it by hand with a few tablespoons of salt until it starts to get juicy, add whatever seasonings you want, and put it in some sort of semi-covered container and weight it down. The cabbage makes it own brine as the salt draws out the juices and you just sort of... leave it there. Unrefrigerated.

The Sauerkraut after a week- we changed the weight to a bag of water to keep the cabbage down in the brine, and placed the container over the top of a mixing bowl lid as some of the brine escaped...

It's kind of gross actually. I mean, I like sauerkraut, I know that the stuff I've bought at the store is made the exact same way, but leaving things out on the counter just flies against all the kitchen safety procedures I've been taught over the years. Perhaps that's why these traditional kitchen practices are so less common nowadays. Matt tried a bit last Saturday, but I couldn't make myself eat any yet- in any case, it wasn't fermented enough yet and was still rather cabbagey apparently. Maybe when it smells more like sauerkraut and less like wet cabbage I'll be able to try some!

Two more batches- the one with the orangey color has carrot in it as well for sweetness. The other is just cabbage and salt, with no seasonings, more like what you get from a can.

I'm still pretty excited for it though. I think it'll be good, at least eventually! Matt was excited when I pulled out a package of sausage to thaw from the freezer last night. "Oooh! Can we use the new sauerkraut with it?"

Of course, dear. :)


Monday, October 7, 2013

Lousy September, but Other Awesomeness!

Hello all! Update time! 

So this last month has been a bit lousy, to say the least! I spent the entire month sick and on two full rounds of antibiotics! Not fun at all! Being sick for an entire month leaves you feeling quite wiped out, so I've mostly spent the last month laying around with a serious case of the cruds, not getting anything done. 

I also spent nearly two weeks in Stillwater as well, dog sitting little Molly Monster for my parents while they've been away. She's a sweetheart, but a handful to say the least, even on normal days. When you're tired and sick... To illustrate, the first week I came down, this is what my Mum and I walked in too...

Oh, Molly.....

That poor stuffed soccer ball never even stood a chance! She's a sweet dog though, if a bit spastic! She's not even a year old yet, so once she gets a little older I'm sure she'll calm down a bit! Hopefully... If you'd like to see a picture of little Mollywog, you should check out my Mum's blog, It's Daffycat! she's usually got one up and a cute little story to go along with it! 

In the happy news category, Matt and I have upgraded our bedroom quite a bit. Since we've determined we're going to be here for quite some time, we figured it'd be nice to actually feather our nest a tiny bit- it's frustrating to exist in a home that feels a bit dreary all the time, isn't it?

First up is some lovely, and wonderfully inexpensive, new bedding! No more mismatched colors, and mismatched sizes of blankets! We've both got king sized comforters to burrito up in at night, so when I make the bed (Yes, I make the bed now! It's GLORIOUS!) I fold both comforters in half and have them meet in the middle. A little awkward, but it works, and the room looks fantastic with a neatly made bed, complete with arranged pillows and a bed skirt!

I crisply ironed, or as crisply as I could get it with no starch, this piece of fabric I've had sitting around for years and hung it up as well. It's a little catterwonky on the wall, but it adds some nice visual intrigue to break up the solid white wall behind the bed.

We ended up replacing the shower curtain that Lance got us as part of a house warming gift when we first moved in. It's a simple clear plastic liner with a fabric curtain to go in front. The new color really brightens up the room, and compliments our green rugs nicely. Plus, it's part of a set too- there's matching bits that go along with it! We've already gotten the toothbrush holder, I hope to get the trashcan soon and maybe some day replace all of our mismatched towels with six or eight of the ones from this set... Or maybe just some blue, green and white towels, I haven't decided yet!

We picked up this lovely, sturdy dresser from Goodwill as well. Kudos to Matt's brother Nathan for helping us fetch it back and get it moved in! It's just the perfect size for us and gives me lost more storage room for clothes that I'm keeping for when we drop a few pounds.... Of course, we didn't buy this dresser (For $20 too, a fantastic deal!) just for extra storage.

We really bought it for the new 55" HD TV we got for the bedroom. See, we've been carrying the little 24 incher from the computer room in and out of the bedroom when we wanted to watch it, but it was super awkward, and really too small for me to see from across the room with any sort of comfort. They had this bad boy on sale at Best Buy a while back, and it was totally worth the investment!

It's really improved our quality of life. See the little cord coming off the back and meandering up the wall? That leads to an antenna box that lets us pick up the broadcast stations! We've had it a while, but the other rooms we've had TV's in don't get clear enough reception from where it had to be placed. Now I can watch the news in the mornings and evenings, plus all the other broadcast stations like PBS. It's been really nice having access to news channels and being able to keep up with current events a little easier!

Taco's just been chilling out. She's really enjoyed the bedroom being made up almost every day, and she spends a lot of time lying on the various blankets and stuff I put on it for her, and looking out of the bedroom window.

I did have to give her a bear of her own to mash on though... It's the only way she'll leave my Eeyore alone! Well, mostly alone. I still find her mashing on him when she thinks I'm not looking. Darn cat!

Whelp, that's about all there is to say for my own recent happenings! Well, I may have another few little stories to tell and some fancy food updates here in about a week... But we'll just have to see!

Thanks for visiting!