Friday, August 28, 2009

A few funnies from my day...

1. Bob asked me a question today. I don't even remember what the question was, just that I didn't know the answer. So, I told him I didn't know. His reply, "But you're a mommy. Mommies know everything!"

2. We were in the car running an errand. Bob pipes up from the back of the van that he needs to go to the bathroom. Of course we're on the freeway and there is not a bathroom anywhere to be had. I told him just to do his very best to hold it and I would find a bathroom as quickly as I could. Princess Bug and Sunshine Boy were eager to help. They encouraged Bob to think about deserts. A few minutes later I hear Bob say, "My deserts are all fading away."

3. Coming home from Grandma's house we passed a house with a sign out front. We pass this sign fairly often.
Princess Bug: "I saw a sign that says 'Suing Alligators'".
Me: "You mean Sewing Alterations?"

4. Bob is helping Grandpa pick tomatoes in the garden. They picked on with an unusual shape. Bob says, "Grandpa, this one looks like a bum."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Link

I can't believe I neglected to add this link to my list of lovelies until now!!

Twisted Chicken Balloons is a personal favorite. The owner, nicknamed Chicken, is a friend of mine whom I love dearly. She came to our house to twist for Princess Bug's birthday last year and everyone had a fantastic time. She's very talented and totally worth booking for your event!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Am Arbitrary

There. I admit it.

Let me explain...

I was reading Shannon Hale's blog the other day. (Have I said this before? I think I've said this before.) She posted a very thought provoking entry entitled How to be a reader: book evaluation vs. self-evaluation. I'd like to invite my bookwormy friends to pop on over there and give it and the comments that follow a read. (Some of the comments I make here might not make sense without reading the article first.) I found the entry really interesting. It gave me a lot to think about. I still don't know all of what I think. But, I'd love to discuss it with you all.

Here's what I've come up with so far...

1) I like Goodreads because it gives me a chance to get book recomendations from my friends. I like to know what they are reading more than I like to know how they rated something. I love the "To-read" feature so I don't forget the titles of things I want to read but may be too busy for at a given time.

2) I'm always surprised when a friend rates a book radically different than from how I rated it. I have a couple of friends who surprise me regularly. They often seem "difficult to please". I think they demand more from the books they read than I do, though this may not have always been the case. I was a pretty critical reader in college and I suspect I need to become a more critical reader as a writer.

3) How I hand out stars is rather arbitrary. I have given some childrens' picture books and some classics the same number of stars. Do they have equal literary merit, certainly not. It doesn't mean that each isn't great in its own way, ie. "Five stars because it's great fun for my 10 year old" or "Five stars because it was so beautifully written it is haunting my waking thoughts and some of my dreams." A few times I have caught myself rating a book by comparing it to other books in the same series, ie. "I liked this one more than the first one, but not as much as the third one." Occasionally, I'll compare one series to another and realize that although I've given individual books the same number of stars, I much prefer one series to the other. I think I'm okay with being irratic in my rating system.

4) If I have recently read or listened to the book I am much more likely to leave a review as well as a rating. If I remember that I've read a book and add it to my "Read" list in passing, it's not likely to get a review to go with it because the details have become fuzzy. Perhaps I should cease this practice? Someone commented on the article referencing this quote by Bertrand Russel, "There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it." Maybe when I rate without reviewing I am merely bragging that I have read it?

5) Self-evaluation...I have to agree that what we bring to a book as a reader radically affects how we respond that book. For instance, a few years ago I read Memoirs of a Geisha. Chalk it up to naivete, but I didn't know what I was getting into when I picked it up. I remember thinking at the time that it was incredibly well written. However, because of personal issues, I found it a very difficult, often extremely uncomfortable read. I think I'd probably rate it 4 or 5 stars. Would I recommend it to my friends or let my teenaged daughter read it? Hmm...

I fear I'm becoming long winded. If I have anymore deep thoughts, I'll share. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts. :D

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Have I Done?

About a week ago I was reading Shannon Hale's blog. On her blog she mentioned that she was going to be involved with the 2nd Annual Writing for Charity Event to benefit Treehouse Museum in Ogden. I followed the link and read the details. I though it sounded really cool. I told RM about it. He asked me if I wanted to go...I decided to think about it.

Flash forward to last night. I was at the bridal shower of one of my BFFs. One of my good friends from high school, Candy, was also in attendance. Candy is an author about to publish her first book. (Everyone who has previewed it is RAVING about how good it is.) I asked how things were going with her book and chatted with her about writing in general. I mentioned Writing for Charity to her and told her I was thinking about going. She got excited. She looked at me with a gleam in her eye and said, "Let's go together!"

So, late last night Candy registered. Sometime mid-morning, I registered. Not only did I register, but I signed up to have my "work evaluated by one of the event’s participating authors." Here's the real kicker...I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ANYTHING NEW IN YEARS AND I HAVE NO MATERIAL PREPARED!!

What was I thinking??

So, um, I guess I'd better get going and write a first page of a manuscript, huh?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Super Pill

This amused me, so I just thought I'd share. This is a picture of the antibiotics I was prescribed last week:

Effective against streptococcus bacteria and those pesky symptoms associated with the phases of the moon. :P

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Expanded Eights Natalie asked if she's the Natalie I meant when I tagged a Natalie. The answer is YES. She was also kind enough to post a link to the version of 8s she did before I started blogging/reading blogs. Looking at her list made me realize that I had accidentally omitted one of the sections of 8 as it came to me. Also, Natalie's 8's had a fun section that the one that came to me didn't have. So, I've added both of those sections to my original Crazy 8's blog post. So, if you read that one once, you may want to read it again. :D

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Bob: I wish lightning was blue.

Me: Why do you wish lightning was blue?

Bob: Because I like blue and I wish I saw blue forever when there was lightning.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crazy 8's

Well, this is a new one for me. I've been blog tagged! (I've had this happen on Facebook, but not here. I'm just too new to it all.) I guess Mignonne noticed that I've been hanging out at her blog and decided to initiate me. :D

Here's my lists of 8:

Eight things I did yesterday:

1. Went to the doctor for a strep test. Joy.
2. Lots and lots of laundry.
3. Loaded the dishwasher.
4. Rescheduled a date/playdate because of the aforementioned strep. Boo!
5. Added a bunch of blogs to my following list. It's fun to find friends' blogs.
6. Began reading Shannon Hale's River Secrets.
7. Made homemade pizza for dinner.
8. Stayed up WAY too late surfing the net and watching TV streaming from Hulu.

Eight Favorite Shows this is going to be tricky. Confession time. I own a 13" color TV and don't have cable. That HDTV converter box has more than doubled my available stations. On the other hand, I own a 22" flat screen computer monitor. Can you see my priorities here? :P So, the first three are the only shows I watch consistently. The others I watch now and again when I happen to catch them, or are favorites from my childhood, or I've watched on DVD or streaming online.

1. Bones
2. House, M.D.
3. American Idol
4. Dharma & Greg
5. Stargate SG-1
6. Enterprise
7. Star Trek: The Next Generation
8. Um...LDS General Conference? Nova? OH! I really liked ER for awhile...Or New Amsterdam, but they canceled that after the first season...

Eight Favorite Restaurants
Like I actually get to go to these places, right?

1. Bennihana - I think I can count the times I've been there one hand. Definitely special occasion stuff. Great food & fun.
2. Pizza Perfect - A great little restaurant in Centerville, UT. Yummy food and a memory place for RM and me.
3. Magic Wok - A local Chinese restaurant that I have affectionately nicknamed "The Jaundiced Lion" because of the unfortunate way they have painted the stone lion statues out front. Great food though. :D
4. Dee's Family Restaurant -- Wisconsin Cheese Soup & Cobb Salad
5. Leatherby's Family Creamery -- Everything there is great, especially on girls' night out.
6. The Spaghetti Factory -- Mizithra Cheese ala Homer or Lasagna and lots & lots of bread.
7. Sconecutter - Probably my favorite fast food type. My favorite menu item is actually a pita sandwich, not a scone. :)
8. The Roof -- I've only been once and I'm dying to go again.

Eight Things I Look Forward To:

1. RM's graduation.
2. Fall
3. Singing Christmas Hymns in church
4. Being out of debt
5. School starting
6. Hiring a housekeeper
7. Taking an art history tour of the world
8. Becoming a published author

Eight things on my wish list:

1. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
2. A second bathroom in my house.
3. New carpet in the bedrooms.
4. A working TV tuner card in my computer.
5. Guilt free scrapbooking/writing time.
6. Scrap Simple and/or Page Maps
7. A doTerra essential oils diffuser
8. A getaway with RM

Eight People I Tag
Here's the real question...Do 8 people even read my blog? Play along if you feel like it. :D

1. The Mamma Bear
2. Kate
3. Christine W.
4. Trashy
5. Helena
6. Sarah
7. Natalie
8. April

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Treading Water

I've looked at my blog for days now thinking that I really need to make a new post. I really want to make a new post. I keep wondering what I have to say and thinking that I really don't have time to sit around making a new blog post. :P

I guess I'm feeling like I'm just managing to tread water at the moment. I have several big projects on plate that I'm feeling a bit unfocused and overwhelmed about. My house is messy. School's about to start and I haven't heard boo from the PTA about the office I got roped into holding and I haven't done anything about the Box Tops job that I did volunteer for freely. And, I have several things going on with my calling at church.

These are all, or nearly all, my own doing. I got myself into this and I either need to organize myself so that I can make some headway on these projects or give up trying to do it all and delegate somethings or abandon them outright. The trick for me is knowing what needs to be done, what really needs to be done, and not just what I want to do. Ah ha! Maybe that's one of those things I'm supposed to be learning right now. :P

Friday, August 7, 2009

Can you see it?

The angle of the light outside is changing. It's especially noticeable in the mornings. It's getting me excited. It means fall is coming!

Fall is my favorite season of all for a bunch of different reasons. It's not too hot or too cold; it's sweater weather. The days aren't too short. I love the fall leaves in all their colors and shapes and the shadows cast by the sun. For me it's a time of family and fun and promises of holidays to come.

As much as I am looking forward to fall, I'm a bit ambivalent about the end of summer.

This year I was chaffing for summer to begin for my kids. (I was SO done with carpooling and schedules and looking forward to our vacation.) Now I am antsy for the kids to go back. They are getting restless, bored, lazy, and contentious. They need a little time away from each other and I'm longing to go grocery shopping by myself.

But, the kids' return to school also marks RM's return to classes as well. And, this year I'm just not ready. We've had a lot of fun going places and doing things as a family this summer, but we've also spent a lot of time sick. There have been lots of projects big and small that just haven't happened. There are also loose ends to tie up and not a lot of time to do it in. Work has projects that need completing, in addition to messes to be fixed after having had a fire. Classes have not yet begun, but RM already has TA responsibilities at school. Everyone wants his time.

The bright side is that this will be our last year. Come May we will be finished with the Masters degree. Then we'll take a bit of a break before going back for the PhD. I was thinking that this year might not be quite as hectic as others, because he had a year to finish a (busy) semester's worth of work. But, it's starting to look like I was mistaken. (RM has been appointed head TA this year. Apparently everyone else is up to their eyeballs in PhD prep and is unavailable. *Sigh*) One more year. We can see the end from here. We can do this.

In the meantime I'll keep watching the angle of the light chance, feeling the temperature drop, and listening for the sound of leaves crunching under foot...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Prejudiced about Pride

I first read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in my AP English class my senior year of high school. I remember liking the book. But, I don't think it affected my life in the way it seems to have affected the lives of some I know. I can't honestly tell you if I've read the book more than once. It is currently somewhere on the bottom half of my "To-Read" list.

Recently, I attended a book signing for Shannon Hale's The Actor and the Housewife (which I thought a great book, by the way). As background to how A&H came about, Shannon shared with the assembled fans the story behind her first novel geared toward adult readers, Austenland. Austenland is about a young woman so obsessed with Austen novels and the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth, that it has seriously begun to affect her love life. Personally, I loved the book, which I found really funny with the right amount of hopeless romantic. I have friends (at least one of whom is a fan of Mr. Darcy)*, however, who had a lukewarm response to Austenland. I think, perhaps, they identified a little too strongly with the heroine and felt they were being made fun of. I'm certain this was not Shannon's intention, as she shared with us her own tendency to re-read Pride and Prejudice and her reaction to watching Colin as Darcy. "That's it," I thought, "I definitely need to see this show."

I had seen the Keira Knightly P&P before. As I recall, it left me with a nice chick-flick buzz. Resolving to repent of the grievous error of having never seen the Colin Firth BBC adaptation that so many rave about, I checked it out from the library. Two DVDs, each two and a half hours (give or take a bit) long. I had to keep renewing it, trying to squeeze it in around our camping trip. Finally realizing that if I didn't start it I wouldn't get to see it, I popped in the computer (on Friday?) and watched while I sorted laundry, etc. It took most of the first day to get through the first disk. It took most of Sunday after church to get through the second disk.

Maybe watching during daylight hours, when I had to repeatedly press "Pause" to tend to various domestic responsibilities, was not a good idea. Maybe watching it independently of RM, who kept wandering in an out addressing me as "Ms. Austen" or "Dear Jane", was a bad idea. Maybe expecting it to take its rightful place as a chick-flick favorite was a asking too much. Whatever the reason, I found myself a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong. It was very well done. Colin is indeed handsome, but I found myself jealously noting how stunningly beautiful Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet is more often than I noted Darcy's simmering stare. But, while I wasn't swept off my feet, I do think I'd like to see it again some mythical day when I can do so without interruption. Then maybe I'll finally, fully "get it." But, then again, maybe I won't...I still can't bring myself to crush on either Edward or Jacob. :)

* In the spirit of full disclosure, so am I. :)


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