Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm not at the gym right now.

I'm at work, and it is past 9pm. I have been working/trying to work all day. I slept badly, i've been fighting back irrational stress and hormone induced anxiety all day, and I'm faced with a busy weekend. My husband is busy and stressed too. And I skipped the gym. I was going to go tonight, but there is still too much to do. I will go tomorrow and Saturday but it will only be 4 times this week. Which is good but it is under the 5 a week I am aiming for. Which means I'll have done that only once since starting this journey.

When I look at the path that I must take to lose weight and get healthy it can seem so overwhelming. I don't know how long it goes, it travels way beyond my sight and into the horizon. And I feel like a toddler taking baby steps and falling down a lot. I hope to get my feet under me soon but we'll see.

I met with a trainer on Tuesday. Despite trying to sell me things it went ok. Apparently my lean muscle mass is 180 lbs, which means I'm never going to be a small person. And really I knew that already. I've always been large, but there is a huge amount of fat to get rid of despite all the muscle (and organs and stuff...can I claim a 40lb brain? probably not).

The trainer encouraged me to work on the food piece of all this too, which I am trying to add gradually. My tendency is to pile on every change I want to make all at once and then when one thing fails to give up on it all. I'm trying to avoid that, but I know that without the diet the exercise will only do so much.

And thinking about it...well, it just seems to give me cravings for cheese or cake or cheesecake. Tomorrow is a bust, but I'll try again tomorrow. And Saturday too. And I'll do my best to toddle my way down that never-ending path. But today...today....Fall down, go boom.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away.

In an effort to document the triumphs in this exercise journey I am on I thought I would post some of the positives that I've seen this week. The exercise has been rough this week but it is moving forward. I have exercised 5....that's right, count em' 5, times this week. (Sun, Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri). And that in and of itself is impressive.

The weight that I seemed to be gaining at the beginning of the week seems to have gone away, so I don't know if it was a bloating day or if my metabolism is getting stronger, maybe a bit of both. In fact, I'm down maybe 5 pounds now in about 2 weeks. I'm pleased with that but I take it with a grain of salt because I think I can fluctuate 5 lbs in a day sometimes. Still lower numbers are good!

I'm still having some issues with being sore and keeping my heartrate up. I think my heart/lungs can handle it better right now than my muscles who have to work to keep this big body walking, but I'm finding was to balance it and keep going. Tuesday I have a free consultation with a trainer. I don't think I can afford to use a trainer but maybe she can give me a game plan to follow.

After the gym this morning (small victory - I got up to go the gym this morning!) I went on a "playdate" with my friend Emilie and her son Daniel. We went to the Children's Museum to play at the Sesame Street exibit, which was lots of nostalgic fun. Daniel is at a great age starting to talk more and more and so fascinated with stuff so it was lots of fun.




Here's a picture of Daniel in front of the iconic green door. The red eyes aren't that great but I've been playing with my new camera and haven't mastered it well yet. Still, isn't he a cutie?


And finally, here is another classic Sesame Street clip for you all. This is a great one, staring that fabulous band - The Beetles!




Thursday, January 24, 2008

Perhaps I've said too much?

After I posted my last post, there was a part of me that immediately wanted to go back and delete it. It is embarrassing to be so negative and whiny and fed up. It is one of those sides of my I'm never quite comfortable sharing with others. I don't know if it is an introverted side or just a desire to seem capable, intelligent and on top of things. But the reality of it is that there are so many times when I am not those things.

And it got me thinking about the purpose of this blog. It is not really a journal, though it serves that purpose too. It is not really just a "hey, look what's going on in my life" account for my friends. Neither is it a witty conversation of clever thoughts and observations about the life we lead. It is something in the middle of all those things.

In many ways, it is just what it says it is...Random Thoughts.

And I don't know if my thoughts are interesting or maddening. I don't know if my friends roll their eyes at the posts like my last one and think to themselves "There she goes again." But I do know that many wonderful people still pat me on the proverbial back and assure me that it will be better. And I appreciate that.

I think there is a difference between how we'd like to seem to the world and how we really are in our personal lives. I know there is for me. Sometimes I feel like I put too much out there in the world, and can only hope that people catch it with kindess. But, amazingly enough they do. And it makes it worthwhile to have shared in the first place.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Exercise and Depression.

Ok, so if you look up the two words above you find many many articles about how exercise is a wonderful addition to combating depression. It raises endorphins and yada, yada, yada...get off your butt and exercise.

While I'm sure this may be true, lately I've been wondering if I'm not backwards. In my case exercise seems to be causing some depression. I have been making a huge effort to get to the gym, going 3 times a week for the past two, and already having 2 workouts under my belt for this week. But...I don't feel better, i feel worse.

I'm sore. I'm GAINING weight despite an effort to be eating better (ok, that's just cruel, can muscles really weight that much more than the fat I've already got). And I really really REALLY am starting to hate that damn treadmill. Whenever I'm on it my thoughts go back and forth between feeling completely inadequate in my time/distance/abilty in exercising and watching the clock with an almost manic desire for it to be over already.

I had a terrible workout last night. All of the things that I had been doing well (speed on the treadmill, time, distance, energy level) dropped to almost nothing. My 40 minutes were hellish and I could hardly get my heartrate up to the zone I should be in. My legs were cramping (including the arch of my foot, owie), and I got a blister on my heel. I had hated exercise long before last night but last night was just....awful.

I know that I need an attitude adjustment to move forward with the exercise thing, and I really HAVE to move forward with it. It is important for my health, for some weight loss and for so many things. I know that I probably have terrible expectations for this and that there will be bad days where you can't get your body to work with you but I just feel so lousy about the whole damn thing. I do know that I have to move forward with it and try again, but right now it is just very demoralizing.

Tonight I plan to go to a water areobics class to try to mix it up a bit and try to get back on track. Hopefully that will help my blisters and things have a chance to heal before going back to the treadmill.

I really WANT to learn to like to exercise. I WANT to feel the benefits mentally and physically. I WANT to put the effort in to lose weight and feel better. But right now it is kicking my ass. Blech.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The most depressing day of the year?

According to Dr. Cliff Arnall, today is the most depressing day of the year. Apparently based on the failing economy, broken resolutions, the weather and all of it, makes today the most depressing of all the other days.

While I'm not sure I buy that today is depressing of its own right, I have had a weekend that makes me lean towards depressed. And no, it isn't even primarily because the Packers gave away the championship last night. (Damn NY Giants...oops, I'm sorry, it just slips out).

I certainly have been feeling overwhelmed lately and have been doing a lot of internal debating to figure out 1. Why? and 2. How to get over it? Then answers, well, they are a work in progress but I'm at least working on it.

Basically, as I think about all the things that are going on lately, most of my angst comes from issues of control. Which when I think of it causes a lot of depression and anxiety in the world. In my particular case it is that many upcoming changes are completely out of my control, combined with a general sense of not being able to control the things that I *ought* to be able to control.

One of my bigger anxieties at the moment comes from the upcoming year. This year is going to be big on the change meter. My hubby graduates from law school, takes the bar and hopefully finds a job. As a result of said changes, any of the following things could open up or change for me...money (will we have enough? What about loans? What if Chris is without a job for a while?) ...my own job (would I keep it? Will we have to move too far away? Do I look for another job? In the same field?) ...our home (could we, maybe, afford a house?) ...a baby? (who knows but it is a time to start thinking about it). We are at the cusp of some changes that really could change the way we are living and it could go many different ways. I want to enter these with hope and confidence and able to support my husband, as he is the really catalyst for these changes, but I honestly spend WAY too much time on the what ifs of the next year.

And too that I add a real purposeful attempt to fix the main things in my life that I've been notoriously poor at controlling - my exercise and eating, my ability to stay organized, keeping the house clean, my procrastination. Many of these things I don't control very well, though they all should (in theory) controllable.

The combination of the questions and the resolutions - a whole mess of anxiety, guilt, and worry. Which is one thing i am truly talented at.

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is an incredibly lovely account of her year in Italy, India and Indonesia seeking to heal herself, love herself and find God. I must admit it is tempting to be able to take a year off to deal with all your "issues." To give up those things that make you less than you could be and to find time to truly recognize the gifts you can bring to the world.

But the reality of it, is that too often we are faced with trying to improve and grow in the midst of real life which distracts, moves fast and occasionally taunts you with your own flaws. How do you seek balance, growth and improvement when there are times when you are just trying to get by?

And perhaps that makes today the most depressing day of the year.

But...

Well, after today, there is tomorrow. Which by definition will NOT be the most depressing day of the year. And maybe tomorrow will bring a little more ease and a little more growth and a little more peace and a little more forgiveness. And maybe I'll still make the same mistakes I make, and maybe I'll learn to recognize them a bit more and learn to change them at the same time learning to let them go sometimes too.

And maybe tomorrow the gym won't be quite such a chore or the chocolate cake won't talk to me quite as loudly. And maybe I'll take the time to do the dishes right away. Or find time to do some laundry. Or find time to snuggle with my husband. And maybe that will be enough to try again with purpose the day after that and the day after that.

One of the nice things about living with worry, as I do, is the sometimes ignored, but very real knowledge that many, if not most of my worries never come to fruition. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to remember that a bit earlier.

So if today is the most depressing day of the year, I can't wait for the rest, because if this is as bad as it gets I can handle tomorrow and the day after that. And slowly (and sometimes VERY slowly) I will grow into the me that I am and that I am called to be.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Random Tuesday Thoughts

* It is very very cold. Outside. In my office. So, so, SO cold. I can only hope that it dramatically helps the Packer's chances against the Giants this weekend. Can we make it to the Super Bowl? I sure hope so.

* Thanks to some generous family members and fundraising I am very close to having my Mission Trip to Argentina paid for. It is one of those things I've been stressing about, as it is a significant cost that we really don't have much money for, but it goes to show that God does provide. I am not quite there but at least feel like I could pay for the rest if we had to.

* I went to the gym last night and last Friday and am going again tonight. It is a start and my motivation is back. I'm going to keep it up as long as I can. Amazingly enough, it is even *sort of* fun.

* It is wonderful to know that I have very kind and wonderful friends. The kind who do things for others, not just tiny things, but BIG ones. It makes me happy to know them all and when I add to it the generousity of my family it just makes me generally happy with the world.

* Apparently Ferret facts make for a very hot and steamy romance. Read about it here.

* Here at church, in the new budget, Children's Ministry accounts for less that 5% of the total budget (this includes figuring in my salary mind you). That seems wrong somehow. It also amazes me how much we can do with so little.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I think I got that one wrong.

I was driving down the street this afternoon, heading to pick up some lunch and running to the library to pick up some new books and I saw someone standing on the sidewalk. This person was dressed like the statue of liberty and holding a sign that said "Honk if you love liberty."

Not thinking too clearly I honked. Afterall, I'm against the Patriot Act. I think the government is stripping us of our liberties and freedoms for power and control. I think that the foundations that our country are built on are worthwhile and that it is our ability to be diverse and free that makes our nation a great one.

But...

Thinking about it more. I may have honked prematurely. The sign was vague enough. What if it was asking for honks in support of a war waged in the name of "liberty." Did they want a honk justifying labelling all Muslims as terrorists? Or a honk affirming the global supremecy of the US and our right to invade whomever the hell we please? I feel a bit dirty knowing that I may have honked in support of the powers that are stripping our liberties away.

And it got me thinking about the catch phrases used in the political races today. Liberty. Change. Freedom. etc. These are all dangerous words for us to fall into. All the candidates can use them with some honesty, but they can mean radically different things by these words.

A few weeks ago, prior to the Iowa Caucus, a supporter of Obama called me up and asked me a few questions. I answered them honestly but I left him confused. He asked if I supported Obama, and I said he was one of my top candidates so far but I was still undecided. He asked who my other favorites were (Richardson and Edwards). And finally asked what about Obama might swing my vote to his team. I answered that he wasn't Hillary Clinton and I didn't want her to get the nomination.

Apparently this man hadn't heard this logic before and he said as much. Clearly I perplexed him. But really my reasoning is not so out there I don't think. I would pick any democratic candidate over the republican options right now, but I think that Hillary has the biggest chance of losing to the republicans nationwide. Parts of my like Obama, parts Richardson and Edwards, and even one slim feminist side of me thinks it would be cool to have a women in the White House (although I'm not sure Clinton should be the one to do it).

But all of these candidates are working hard to sound like the frontrunners. They are clued into the key words to draw people. Change. Healthcare. Bringing troops home. But are we being asked to honk for words we don't fully understand? How do we sludge through the rhetoric to determine exactly how our candidates define those words? I feel that the US is on the cusp of something this year. In our election we'll be able to make a statement about our support of our current direction or our condemnation of it. But who is going to be the best person to bring us out of our current trend. Who can balance a failing economy, rising costs and a shrinking dollar? Who can deliver healthcare and education and still repair our global relationships. I don't know. Do I vote for the odds? Picking a favored front-runner over another in hopes of making the most difference? Do I vote trying to help a less-likely candidate whose message I find compelling?

I haven't decided these things yet, though I feel I'm getting close to figuring out my caucus support. But I am sure that I'm going be very sure I know what the words mean before I find myself caught up in the emotion of the dialogue. I don't want to have to move to Canada after all!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well defined Lutheran guilt.

Why do I do it to myself? I am the master of guilt. If I don't go to the gym, I feel guilty. If I do go I feel guilty for not doing more. I feel guilty for oversleeping despite not having any major deadlines or meetings and still having more than enough time for an 8 hour day. I feel guilty for a messy house that only my husband and I have to see. I am the guilt master.

And I don't like it.

I want to be freed from the guilt. To acknowledge that it is ok and I'll do better next time. How much of guilt drives my day and my moods? And how much time do I spend on my guilt that leads to more guilt and the cycle endures forever.

So no more. I am guilt-free. I am me and I hope that you like me but if you don't, that's ok. I'm not a mean person, or a irresponsible one. I love my friends and family. I'm a good listener and a hard worker (sometimes!). I care about the earth and about peace. And all that is good. It's ok to be me.

So I got sick and didn't go the gym. I can't go today either. But I can go tomorrow. And that's ok. It is a start.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

50 Book Challenge 2008

Well, I've finished my first couple books so I'm starting the post of the year. I'll keep this on the sidebar and update as I go along. I have a list a mile long (or so it seems) of books that I want to read this year and it is a good mix of fiction, nonfiction and other misc types of things. I'm still open to suggestions and thanks to all who suggested in my previous post.

The 50 Book Challenge 2008

1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
3. Resort to Murder: Thirteen More Tales of Mystery by Minnesota's Premier Writers by Minnesota Crime Wave
4. Evenings at Five by Gail Godwin
5. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
6. The Pillers of the Earth by Ken Follett
7. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
8. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
9. The View from Mount Joy: A Novel by Lorna Landvik
10. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel by Lisa See
11. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
12. Beware of Cat: And Other Encounters of a Letter Carrier by Vincent Wyckoff
13. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
14. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
15. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
16. Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani
17. People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
18. Milk Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani
19. Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
20. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
21. Songs without Words by Ann Packer
22. Those who Save Us by Jenna Blum
23. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
24. I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
25. A Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs
26. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
27. Peony in Love: A Novel by Lisa See
28. Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father's Counterfeit Life by Jennifer Vogel
29. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
30. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
31. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
32. Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer
33. The Silent Gondoliers by William Goldman as told by S. Morgenstern
34. Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson
35. Confessions of a Pagan Nun: A Novel by Kate Horsley
36. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
37. Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
38. Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
39. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
40. The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
41. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
42. The Wise Woman: A Novel by Philippa Gregory
43. The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson
44. Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson
45. The Main Corpse by Diane Mott Davidson
46. The Grilling Season by Diane Mott Davidson
47. Bridge of Sighs: A Novel by Richard Russo
48. New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer
49. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book 1) by Philip Pullman
50. Certain Girls: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
51. Prime Cut by Diane Mott Davidson
52. Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3) by Stephenie Meyer
53. Confession of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
54. Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4) by Stephenie Meyer
55. World without End by Ken Follett
56. Tough Cookie by Diane Mott Davidson
57. The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine
58. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
59. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book 2) by Philip Pullman

Monday, January 07, 2008

Welcome to the Pity Party. Attendence 1.

I have been meaning to update my blog for some time. Give you all a poignant yet witty recap of the holidays and some smaltz-y yet sincere holiday cheer and even a little good intentioned resolution making, but you know what...I don't feel like it.

I've been sick since almost since New Year's. The kind of icky digestive don't-stray-to-far-from-the-bathroom sick and it has been annoying to say the least. (And no, I'm NOT pregnant. Not a possiblity in any way, sorry try again). Overall, this illness hasn't been terrible in the way I feel but it has kept me from work and important stuff. Ironically it is one of those illnesses where you don't feel bad enough to be able to completely forget the to-do lists or the messes in the house.

I'm back at work today feeling a bit icky but mostly fine but the illness and the inability to get stuff done has left me in a funk. Right before I fell ill, I had managed to get to the gym and had a great work out. I mean, it kicked my ass, but if felt like a good ass kicking, you know? I was well intentioned and had grand plans for this being the year of change. And those plans aren't off the shelf but they were definately sidelined for the last week. And on the other side, my momentum has waned. And I don't want it to.

I was watching the newest incarnation of the American Gladiators last night. It was a childhood favorite. Cheesy competition and spandex at its best. As I listened to the challengers talk about how they were going to destroy the Gladiators I had to both smile and cringe, particularly because of the women. They were so...perky. upbeat. do-or-die. Particularly one woman who was a life coach by trade...she was all sunshine and rainbows as she described how she was going to beat the Gladiators to the ground and crush them.

Now, I know that I'm not exactly a sunshine and rainbow type of person. I try to remain positive but I rarely get to the level of perky. Now I wonder if that isn't exactly what I need. Instead of sitting at work, still feeling a bit icky, wondering when I am going to re jump start my year (already and its only the 7th), do I need to be bouncing and thrilled over my new chance to crush my resolutions and excel?

Maybe it is just the month. The holidays are done and things are quiet. The work has piled up. The weather is blah and the sun isn't out enough. Are these excuses for feeling down? Causes? Do I just need to sing a little song as a Disney princess would tell me to?

So what to you do when your goals does not match your mood or motivation? My mood is chocolate, ice cream and tear-jerkers...but I need it to be carrot sticks and treadmills.

I don't want to lose the vision on January 7th. I want to get there. This year feels like it is the cusp of some wonderful things. I just help myself get there.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The books of '07

Well, I'm putting 2007 to bed and I thought I should post the final total of my 50 book challenge for '07. I do intend to post a Christmas update soon but I'm knee deep in work stuff at the moment, but I'm taking a second to do this.

The 50 Book Challenge 2007

1. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling*
4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett*
5. Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
6. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
7. The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
8. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
9. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
10. The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
11. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
12. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
13. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
14. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
15. Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
16. Digging to America by Anne Tyler
17. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
18. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
19. The Guy Not Taken: Stories by Jennifer Weiner
20. The Children of Men by PD James
21. The Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
22. These Happy Golden Days by Laura Ingalls Wilder
23. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
24. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
25. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
26. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
27. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
28. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
29. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
30. Gentlemen and Players: A Novel by Joanne Harris
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
31. The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs
32. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
33. High Five by Janet Evanovich
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
34. Hot Six by Janet Evanovich
35. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
36. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling!!!!!
38. Vision of Light: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel by Judith Merkle Riley
39. Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
40. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
41. In Pursuit of the Green Lion: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel by Judith Merkle Riley
42. The Water Devil: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel by Judith Merkle Riley
43. Dune by Frank Herbert
44. Amsterdam: A Novel by Ian McEwan
45. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
46. Stardust by Neil Gaimen
47. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell
48. The World According to Garp by John Irving
49. Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett
50. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis
51. Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
52. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
53. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
54. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
55. That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
56. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
57. Thin Places: Where Faith Is Affirmed And Hope Dwells by Mary Treacy O'keefe
58. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
59. Welcome to the Great Mysterious by Lorna Landvik
60. Antigone by Sophocles
61. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
62. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
63. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
64. In her Shoes: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
65. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Grand total (counting the Harry Potter repeats) ~ 71 books. I really quite pleased with this. With a few exceptions these are all books I read for the first time, and I really finished far more than I expected. I rediscovered the library and really didn't spend much money on books this year. There were a few exceptions (Harry Potter book 7 and a few others) but I really read on the cheap. I also branched out to some authors that I had not discovered before.

I plan on doing the 50 book challenge again for 2008 and will begin a post once I've finished my first book for '08 (The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold). I'm not sure I'll be able to meet the 2007 total but I'm going to aim for at least 50 again, since that seems pretty doable. I'm excited for some of my '08 books already. As always I'm open to suggestions and am happy to review any of the books above for you. Happy reading.