All I Want For Christmas Is…

My favorite catalogue that we receive in the mail is from Williams~Sonoma.  Hubby and I pour over it, oohing and ah-hing over the products and drooling over the recipes.  This year I have asked Santa/Hubby for the Filled-Pancake Pan and the Cuisinart 9-Speed Hand Mixer in Brushed Chrome from W~S.  Now I have been interested in getting this pancake pan ever since I first saw it in a catalogue earlier this year.  You can fill those little pancakes with just about anything and I hope to be able to make something delicious with the pan for breakfast on Christmas morning.  The hand mixer will be a nice addition to our lovely kitchen of gadgets.  I love my Kitchen-Aid Artisan stand mixer dearly and it really has become a staple in our kitchen, especially around the holidays.  There are just some recipes that I don’t need to use the stand mixer for and have wished I had a hand mixer in the moment. 

When I was home last month, I found myself in many a mall.  Be it Tyson’s Corner Mall or White Flint Mall, I made my way into the Williams~Sonoma store to look at all the items I wish for in the catalogue but can actually touch in the store.  If you were ever feeling generous and were looking for a Christmas present or birthday present (January 1st!) for me, I would gladly accept a gift card from W~S.  😉

What catalogue or store do you find yourself excited by, besides bookstores?  Are you a quilt store/fabric store junkie, a kitchen supply store junky (W~S or Sur La Table), or what? 

“The Capitol Steps,” a raw egg, pancakes, and a garage door. Happy Halloween!

Back on October 28th I flew the dreaded sixteen plus hours from Okinawa, Japan to Washington, D.C. to attend one of my best friend’s wedding, catch up with family and friends in person, start house hunting for our move back to our home town area next year, and shop.  I shared my story of the flight over to the states HERE, and then I landed and the time started to fly. 

I arrived in D.C. one week before election day and the buzz in the city was growing at a deafening rate.  Of course with the election just around the corner and being in D.C., one must go see “The Capitol Steps perform on their home stage at the Reagan Building, downtown.  My mom and I went on Halloween night and had a great time. 

Getting there was challenging due to Friday rush hour traffic and it being Halloween to boot.  During my visit I stayed at my in-law’s house in Northern Virginia and put about fifteen hundred miles on my father-in-law’s 2008 Lexus in two weeks.  On Halloween I had to drive over to Maryland to pick up my mom at my folks house and then drive into D.C. from there.  Well, I didn’t leave NOVA till 4pm but I should have left at least an hour earlier.  I sat on 495N for an hour and a half in creeping traffic for fifteen miles.  Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and called my Mom to ask her to meet me in downtown Silver Spring, instead of out in the suburbs where my folks live, in order for us to make the 7pm curtain downtown.  She met me at a parking garage where I left my in-laws minivan (I had the van for that one weekend so I could chauffeur my friend’s family to and from their hotel for her wedding) and drove Mom’s car from there. 

Well “The Capitol Steps” didn’t disappoint and was absolutely hilarious.  There was a journalist celebrity in the audience with us which was cool.  George Will was there with one of his sons and they seemed to be enjoying themselves too.  After the show we left the Reagan Building only to find that the neighboring restaurant had already closed for the evening.  So, being hungry and having skipped dinner prior to the show due to traffic jams, we went back to Silver Spring to get the van and then head up towards my folks house to IHOP for a late meal of pancakes and bacon.  While pulling out of the parking garage where I had stowed the van, I heard a loud crack and thought maybe I had caught on something while driving through the low ceiling building.  The crack turned out to be the sound that a raw egg makes when hitting the back window of a minivan.  Someone thought it would be hilarious to throw raw eggs at passing cars in the garage.  Whoopee!!  Yeah, so after dinner I went over to the gas station to run the van through the car wash so the egg wouldn’t freeze on the glass and paint while I drove back to Virginia on the beltway.  It was FREEZING that night. 

So, now it’s 12:30am and I finally get back to the in-laws house in Virginia.  Both of Hubby’s parents are in Texas to spend Halloween with their eldest grandchildren so I had the garage to myself for the weekend.  Now, I did not grow up with a garage and I haven’t had a lot of experience with them in my adult years so I thought that since the van was so big, it would be easier to back it in and park in the center of the garage.  Good idea, right?  Well, I got the darn thing in there and was absolutely exhausted.  At this point I had only been in the states for four nights and hadn’t really slept well yet so I was pooped.  I got my stuff out of the van and shut the door, then went over to the door to the house and hit the garage door button.  All of a sudden there was a terrible catching and tugging sound and I realized that the garage motor’s emergency rope had caught on the rack on the top of the van and was pulling with a terrible force.  Well of course I panicked and was afraid that the rack and van would get damaged so I tugged the handle till it was free of the rack.  Unfortunately, the clasp on the track came undone and the garage door became stuck.  I couldn’t get the door to stay up or down so it was stuck about three quarters of the way up. 

I called Hubby in Okinawa where he could magically fix my problems.  Right.  I was a hysterical, blubbering mess on the phone and finally let him go, only to call the in-laws in Texas, where they were asleep, and let them know that I had broken their garage door.  I will never forget that awful feeling that I had caused such damage after only being alone with their house for twelve hours at that point. 

Well, to make things worse, as I mentioned earlier, it was freezing that night, and my in-law’s guest room is right over the garage.  Well without that door down, it was absolutely frigid in my room.  Though I had a space heater pumping all night and lay under an electric blanket, I still froze and managed to get a terrible cold because of it. 

The following morning, my mother-in-law called and suggested that I call the garage repair guy and then to go over to the neighbor’s and ask them for help with getting the van out and the garage door to stay down.  Realize that since the the door was stuck a quarter of the way down, I couldn’t get the van back out by myself without assistance and someone holding the door up.  After we got the van out and the neighbor got the door to stay down, I breathed a little easier.  The next day my in-laws came back from Texas and when I got back from my friend’s wedding, the Lexus was in the garage and the door was down.  I walked in the house and my father-in-law told me that the garage door had never been broken after all.  It was a safety feature where the motor comes off the track when something causes it from working properly so you can open and close the door manually.  He then proceeded in repeating what I had done two nights before and then showed me how to fix the track, just in case I happened to “break” it again. 

Then, the jet lag set in.

Playing Ketchup

Sorry!  For some reason the comments setting was off.  Now you may comment away!

There have been a few things I’ve been meaning to post about here at Planet Books but I hesitate because I don’t want to deter from the latest guest post.  I like to give that author a few days at the top!  So before my next guest post from author Jessica Blau this weekend I’m going to get some things taken care of here.

First:  Lisa at Books on the Brain tagged me on a Teaser Tuesday meme the other day and I promised to respond with my answer this weekend.  Well, I’m getting it done now. 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme that is just too much fun to pass up.  Here’s how it works:

● Grab your current read. 
● Let the book fall open to a random page. 
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. 
● You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! 
● Please avoid spoilers!
I am currently reading Stephanie Kuehnert’s debut novel, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.  It is about a girl named Emily Black who is a teen during the decline of Punk and the rise of Grunge in small town Wisconsin.  She has been raised by her music loving, guitar playing father and they both suffer from the fact that Emily’s mother left them when Emily was just a baby.  Emily forms a punk band that seems to be gaining a little attention but I’m only half way through so we’ll have to wait and see.
The book opened to page 84 but I’m going to do two short paragraphs instead of sentences.  I just can’t break up the paragraphs!    
    “Oh my god,” Jackie cackled.  “You are a joke.  A band?  A show?  Where, in your basement with your two loser friends?  Oh wait, they’re probably in the band, right?” 
     The rest of the class chortled along wtih her.  I’d never hated Carlisle more.  “Shut up, bitch!  Ten years from now -”  
Second: btt button

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:


  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
  • Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
  • (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
I have never read any books on the Olympics or any sports in general that I can think of.  The hubby has read numerous books on football though.  What I can see on the book shelves right now are Wins, Losses, and Lessons by Lou Holtz, Johnny U ~ The Life & Times of John Unitas by Tom Callahan and Next Man Up by John Feinstein. 
I do LOVE NFL football though and am a born and bred Washington Redskins fan.  Living over here in Okinawa has made being a football fan a bit tricky.  AFN (Armed Forces Network) airs NFL games live and then plays Sunday and Monday night games again that evening for those poor fans who actually had to work in the morning when the live feed was airing.  My husband, bless his heart, is one of the many die-hard fans who gets up at 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 am throughout the season to watch his beloved Skins play.  The better the team plays during the season means the more of their games are aired on AFN because of the likeliness that they will be playoff contenders.  We have one more year of this exhausting schedule and then it’s back to the States and watching football when you are supposed to watch football. 
My favorite sports movie over the last few years is INVINCIBLE starring the yummy Mark (Marky Mark) Wahlberg.  Beginning to end this movie is amazing, backed by an equally amazing and moving soundtrack.  It’s the story of Vince Papale, a bartender in Philly who is the superstar player in his weekly football league of friends.  When new coach Dick Vermeil decides to shake things up in the Philadelphia Eagles (BOO, oh sorry, that’s the Redskins fan in me BOOING MY ASS OFF AT PHILLY) franchise by having open tryouts, Papale decides to try out at the insistence of his friends.  Well, he makes the team and what follows makes a great story for a movie. 

Mark Wahlberg in Invincible, opening Friday. 


Third:  I would like to bring your attention to a new feature on this blog.  To your right you will see an added links box with a list of Guest Post Authors.  Each name is a link to their website.  This list will continue to grow as authors continue to graciously accept my invitations to write guest posts for us to read here on Planet Books.  I have really enjoyed the correspondence I have shared with these authors and look forward to new relationships with future guest posters. 


Fourth:  Author of the upcoming novel Time of My Life, Allison Winn Scotch is asking book clubs to consider reading her book (release date October 7th, 2008) and she wants to call in and chat with your book club.  You can check out the details HERE


Well that about covers everything I’ve had on my plate.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying whatever you may be reading today.  See you soon & Happy Reading!!


So Sorry

I know that I had said that I would post the vote for our January book today, but unfortunately I do not have a list of titles ready.  This trip has dominated my time and I don’t have a clue of what titles I would choose for our vote.  I would like some suggestions and though I have asked for this before, I do hope you will share your thoughts again within this post.  If there is a book you received for Christmas or that has been on your TBR shelf and you feel that it would find shared interest here at Planet Books, please recommend them.  I will check back here at the end of the weekend (hopefully after the Redskins win on Sunday… we are going to the game) and see what you have to say.  Again, I am so sorry that I don’t have a voting poll up today.  Have a great weekend!!!

Shopping In A Small World

So far our trip is going very well.  The air is crisp, the borrowed in-law’s Lexus is driving very smoothly and the money is being spent.  Visiting with family is lovely and meeting our nephew for the first time (when we moved to Okinawa the brother-in-law was neither married nor a parent) has been very cool.  But you know what, we are in the Washington Metro area and if you are familiar with it you know that there are millions of people here and even more traveling to it for the holidays.  So how is it that I can be at the fourth largest mall in the country, Tyson’s Corner Center, in the L.L. Bean store and run into to girlfriends from Okinawa!!!!!  “It’s a small world after all!”  Yeah!  I ran into a girlfriend I’m on the MOSC board with and a Generals wife who is living in the Northern VA area now with her high ranking officer.  They had just had lunch together and the hubby and I were on our last stop in the mall when I saw them.  CRAZY! 

The excitement is never ending here after living on an island of 69 km in length and 17 km wide at the widest point.  (I’m ready to get back to this area to live any time.)  Unfortunately excitement and a busy schedule have left little room for reading, other than the slew of magazines that the mother-in-law have on the coffee table.  Gourmet, Real Simple, Southern Living, & Cooking Light.  I will say that I love Gourmet Magazine and Ruth Reichl’s Letter From The Editor is a great read. 

Tonight it’s happy hour in D.C. at Morton’s Steakhouse with my former bosses who I have kept up with over the last six years.  They are wonderful and I miss them dearly so it will be a treat to see them.  The jet lag was kicking my ass this week so we actually postponed the meeting from Wed. to Thurs. and I’m glad we did.  I would have been sleeping in my apple martini if it hadn’t been changed and that would have been plain embarrassing. 

So, my update is magazines are easy to pick up, The Pillars of the Earth is up in our room growing lonely, shopping in malls is awesome but traffic isn’t, and I miss the dog terribly.  Hope your week is going well and will be back here on the weekend with another update.