Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Program

It's no surprise to anyone that I haven't been much in a blogging mood. There are complicated reasons for that. Some relating to the nature of the Internet and online communities which I feel have the potential to negatively impacting our local, "real life" communities, some related to simple stress and activity, and some related to the idea that if I don't have something profound to impart, I shouldn't post. I've decided if I'm going to continue with this blog though, I'll just post whatever content I choose, controversial or not, informative or not, funny or not, relevant or - oh, you get the idea. So, with that in mind - I will now reenter the world of blogging . . .

. . .

Okay, so that's not as easy as I thought it would be. There's just no help for it. I'll have to rely on a meme.

This is a meme (sort -of) that I found once upon a time, copied and pasted, but completely forgot to bookmark the site so it could be referenced. So, sadly, I have no idea where this movie meme came from but here are the rules:

Pick out ten favorite movies, then look them up at IMDb. In the overview at the top of each movie's page, there are "Plot Keywords," usually five of them. (Plus more, if you click the link.) Take the first five, and post them. Then the rest of us get to play movie buff and see if we can guess them.

Here are my 10 picks. It was hard to narrow down which ones to pick and frankly, I'm a bit taken aback at the plot keywords for some of them. Trust me, they're all real movies - ones that, despite the key words, you probably could watch in respectable company . . . well, mostly.

1. 19th Century / Sense / Intimacy / Lyrical / Colonel
2. Extramarital Affair / Transformation / Rough Sex / Battle Of The Sexes / Fiancee
3. Stabbed In The Leg / Attack / Stabbed In The Chest / Fantasy World / Fantasy Life
4. Public Domain / Death Of Daughter / Baby / Christmas / Adoption
5. Card Game / Male Female Relationship / Heart Condition / Love / Shoes
6. Class Differences / Fall From Height / Dog / Voyeur / Beautiful Woman
7. Exploding Body / Spoon / Altered Version Of Studio Logo / Mentor / Blown To Pieces
8. England / Sister / Britain / Male Female Relationship / Sister Sister Relationship
9. Shot In The Shoulder / Narration / Black Comedy / Corpse / Breasts
10. Critically Acclaimed / Disturbing / Blood On Shirt / Racism / Brawl

So, there we have it. Not only a new post, but a quiz! What luck for the three of you reading.


Answers to follow soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Great New Blog!

Go take a look at Island Hearth and Handicrafts. It's my friend Angie's new blog and I know you'll find it as terrific as I do.

Angie is a wonderfully talented woman, creating absolutely phenomenal works of art out of many different mediums. Several needle felted creations are pictured now. I can't tell you how detailed and amazing these pieces are. I've watched her create several of these pieces and it never fails to astonish me how a simple piece of wool roving and a barbed needle can become such beautifully realized pieces of art.

In addition to being so talented with a needle, Angie also creates the kind of home that many of us wish we'd created. Weekly visits to her home (along with a couple of other friends and their children) are a staple in my life. One that I wouldn't give up for anything. It almost feels like we've slipped back in time there - all sitting around with handwork, not only recreating the kind of supportive network for ourselves that has existed in decades past for women and children, but finding simple joy and beauty in what our hands create.

Angie's definitely been an inspiration to me and I know she'll be one to you too.

As I said in a comment on your blog, Angie: Welcome to the world of blogging. The Blogsphere is a better place with you in it!

Back Among the Semi-Coherent and Almost Relaxed

Sorry for the prolonged absence. To say that things have been "busy", "chaotic" or "stressful" really doesn't even begin to explain how life's been around our neck of the woods lately. My mother recently underwent heart valve replacement surgery and the build up to the surgery, as well as the very long two weeks after surgery, were stressful and occasionally frightening. I'm very pleased to say though that things seem to be looking up. I think we'd all agree that it's about time. We're all looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the remainder of our summer.

Many, many thanks to those of you who have been such good friends to me, both online and in real life. Your support has meant the absolute world to me and my family.

Oh, and Mom? I can't tell you how grateful I am to have my best friend back home and ready for a chick flick marathon. Love you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Heartfelt Thanks . . .

to the emergency room workers across the country, but most especially here in my little corner of the world. In nearly 23 years of parenting my husband and I have never had to utilize the services of any hospital emergency room for any of our children.

That changed last night.

Thanks to quick treatment leavened with humor and kindness, my nearly 18 year old daughter, who has suffered with asthma for the first time in her life this spring, was treated and sent home in far better shape than when she arrived.

Thank you from the depths of this mother's heart.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Full Disclosure

Well, it's killing me, but I'm going to have to come clean. In my previous post I noted that I was pleased that Lost had finished up its season before I became one of those sad, waif-like creatures desperately searching the web for some guidance, nay some inspired assistance, in navigating the strange and fearsomely fascinating layers of the Lost universe.

I lied. I apparently am neither glad that Lost has ended its season nor am I as free from obsession as I'd like to pretend.

I have just spent the last hour or so on the web reading blogs and following link after link in a futile effort to come to some understanding of Lost and where its headed. Surfing Lost sites when I should have been reading. When I should have been working on handwork. When I should have been doing the dishes. Heck, when I should have been sleeping.

But, there it is. I am a Lostaholic.

Truth can be ugly sometimes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thinking Happy Thoughts

Things have been pretty hectic around here and it's challenging to find a moment when I'm not obsessing, fretting or otherwise behaving like a MOC - that's "Mom Outta Control" for the uninitiated. You know, it was pretty much okay to want to dress my daughters and fix their hair when they were toddlers. In their late teens and early 20s? . . . Eh, not so much.

In a desperate act of attempting to distract myself from the encroaching and insidious effects of MOC syndrome, I've decided to share with you all a few things that are making me happy and keeping me from thinking about whether my daughters are dating axe murderers, wearing the right shade of eyeliner, reacting badly to the amount of pollen or pollutants in the air, or styling their hair in the nice way I showed them.

Without further ado:

1. My new toothbrush. It's pink and green. When you've gone to school in New England during the early eighties and utilized The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach as a guideline for all that is good and beautiful, the toothbrush matters. Seriously.

2. Watching favorite old movies and musicals like The Band Wagon, Meet Me in St. Louis and Friendly Persuasion with my youngest daughter.

Okay, who am I kidding? Yes, the films are fun, but it's the fact that the youngest is still only ten and I don't have to fret over who she's dating that's the true appeal. It's also true that she still lets me comb her hair and even occasionally style it as long as it's an appropriate style for any combat that might come the way of an elven warrior.

3. The Gilmore Girls seasons on DVD were inexpensive at Target recently.

4. I still remember how to crochet a granny square.

5. The laundry is all folded.

6. Lost is over for the season. Finally. It was shocking how much mental energy I have spent lately on this show. Now I can finally rest easy in the knowledge that I will not become one of those people who spend hours with Google trying to determine if an obscure reference on 'Lost" means something profound or is just a throw-away line by the writers. Just in time . . .

7. I have a stack of my favorite magazines waiting to be read. We will not dwell on the fact that so many remained unread because I was too busy obsessing about a. the daughters, b. Lost, or c. who will win on Dancing With the Stars and just revel in the glory that they exist to be read.

8. How lovely the backyard and garden are thanks to the hard work my husband has put in this spring. The roses on climbing over the little arch are particularly gorgeous. It's soothing just to look out there.

Off to enjoy the day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day

You know, I was all set to do somewhat of an anti-Mother's Day post. I'm not a big fan of Mother's Day and I felt it was my obligation to share with you all my indignation of the "Get Out of Jail Free" card that many families use Mother's (and Father's ) Day as. Then something changed. Kristin sent an email to several of us which included a link to say la vee's post of a piece by Anna Quindlen, a writer I've always enjoyed. Reading through this entry, I had tears in my eyes - something not often found on my face whenever and wherever Mother's Day is discussed. Then I popped over to The Sheila Variations and read her entry on Penny Serenade, one of my all time favorite films and I lost, for just a second anyway, all of my cynicism about Mother's Day and parenting in general.

I'm waiting now for my own mother and father to come for dinner, joining my three daughters and husband. Surrounded by so much evidence of how I'm loved and cherished, and how much I love and cherish my own mother, who can remain cynical?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Updates, Information and Other Fascinating Tidbits

*S is still wearing the sleeveless shirt to our weekly get-together with friends. Still starting buttoned. Still ending up unbuttoned over a, sadly now stained, white sleeveless t-shirt. We're thinking that a CB radio should be her next gift to help prepare her for her future career.

*The desktop computer continues to give us fits. Serious ones. Friends and neighbors will most likely not be surprised to find the computer trying out its new occupation as a lawn ornament. The Company Which Shall Not Be Named that made the computer is not a favorite of mine right now either. We've given said company *hours* of our time. Hours, I tell you. Next time Blue Screen comes to call, they're going to have to pick up this thing and work out their differences with Computer themselves. Blue Screen may be having the time of its life, but we certainly aren't.

*Disappointing movie news:
I watched The Curse of the Golden Flower the other night. If you're looking for something to provide an opportunity for existential musing, this is your ticket. Gorgeous, utterly over-the-top set design and completely ridiculous story line. Stunning actors mouthing silly dialogue. Responsible adults acting on reasonable assertions? People simply drawn up in the web of fate and unable to change their lives? Like it? Hate it? Love it? Who knows?

The Last King of Scotland was an unbelievable disappointment. Lurid storytelling with very little attention paid to character development. We never fully understood any of the characters and what drove them. I adore Forest Whittaker, but I'm sad to say, I just don't quite see this as an extraordinary performance. I'm looking for something other than mimicry when I see a biographical portrayal of someone on the stage or screen. Two dimensional caricature I can find easily. Fully realized portraits of a real human being are a bit tougher to locate. I couldn't help but compare this to The Queen, a far superior film that doesn't stoop to simple imitation but appears to strive for something deeper.

*East Wind Melts the Ice by Liza Dalby is phenomenal. While primarily a naturalist's journal, it's also a personal memoir as well as an introduction to ancient Chinese and Japanese culture. Absolutely lovely. I'm enjoying every page.

I'm still reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It's surprising that I haven't finished it since I am enjoying it, but it's one of those books that languishes on the night stand while others get picked up. It's a bit dense, a little too wordy and somewhat self-consciously "educational". That said however, it's intensely atmospheric and there's a palpable sense of dread to the pages. I will definitely finish it.

I've picked up Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach again. I'm finding it great fun but a bit thin so far. We'll see how I feel once I've finished it.

*I've discovered that handwork actually takes work. Grueling labor. Intensive stitching and equally vigorous ripping out of stitches. This is work I'm not terribly sure I'm cut out for. There's a reason that children started working on embroidery when they were preschool aged once upon a time. This stuff is hard. I'm definitely feeling nostalgic for the amiability of Knitted Dishcloth.

*I've also discovered a perplexing reaction that I have when someone is booted off of Dancing With the Stars. I always think I'll be pleased to have someone off the show that I've found irritating, but instead I always feel desperately sorry for them. This is my first experience watching a show that 'eliminates' contestants. It's pretty darn brutal. Who knew I'd have such a soft spot for those the other viewers have forsaken? You learn something new about yourself every day, I guess.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Needing to be Inspired

I just finished watching Bobby, an ensemble film revolving around the Ambassador Hotel and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. It's not the greatest film ever, probably not even all that wonderful, but there was certainly something that kept me riveted. Not so much the whole Camelot nostalgia; I was far too young to even have a clue about the Kennedys when Robert F. Kennedy was shot. What the film did instead was force me to acknowledge that behind my cynical take on politics there still beats the heart of a idealistic person who desperately yearns to find a political or social leader to truly believe in.

Someone who truly believes in social justice. Someone who will speak for those who have been disenfranchised in our society. Who stands up for the common man instead of corporate heads. Someone who speaks the truth. Someone who stands up for peace. Someone who makes us really look at ourselves and resolve to be better. Someone to make us feel proud to be Americans.

I guess what I saw that film capture on the faces of RFK's supporters in archival footage was the certainty that this man, Robert F. Kennedy, embodied all of those characteristics that I want to see now. The certainty that this man could make things better for all Americans. A certainty that I want desperately to feel.

Take a moment to read this speech given by RFK on April 5, 1968, used to great effect by the filmmaker in Bobby. A speech that is perhaps even more pertinent today then when he first gave it. I've pulled a few excerpts from this speech and posted them below.

What an amazing man.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence
City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

. . . Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

. . . For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

. . . I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

. . . Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

That "6 Weird Things About Me" Meme

Yep, it's still around. Kristin wrote up a list of the oddities that make Kristin, Kristin and Rebecca followed suit. Reading their posts was supremely enlightening. Who knew for instance that light bulbs could cause such angst? Or that mouths and teeth, or mouths full of teeth, could inspire such revulsion? Or even that people trying to helpful by unloading a dishwasher may be consigning themselves to a week's worth of enmity if they put the silverware in the drawer incorrectly?

Thankfully, I share none of the weirdness that Rebecca and Kristin have related. I am completely, utterly and, without a doubt, normal as can be.

For instance, I know that everyone eats a Three Musketeers candy bar slowly, inching off the chocolate layer bit by bit until there's nothing left but the soft nougat center, which you take tiny nibbles of until you can't stand your sticky fingers any longer and shove the remainder into your mouth in one spongy mess.

And surely everyone else purchases items like brown rice syrup, gallon jugs of honey and other useful foodstuffs in massive quantities because your friend is ordering from the co-op and you're most definitely sure you're about to become a healthy-treat-baking-fiend any day now. If one jar of brown rice syrup is a good thing, then a whole case must be better, right? One must have one's pantry ready for anything, including a post-apocalyptic world without sweeteners.

It's also quite well known that all people sing songs about whatever game is being played during game play. From 'Bye Bye UNO' (sung when someone says "UNO" but then has to draw on their next turn) to "Ha, Ha, Ha! You're Going Down" (sung when someone bids zero and takes a trick during a game of Oh Hell), all folks know these songs and sing them frequently.

All across America and beyond, people are savoring that sublime moment that occurs after you've squirted dish liquid into the water for dishes. You know that moment? The one that makes you silly and happy? After the bottle is upright, you do a quick squeeze and little, tiny adorable bubbles pop out and float around your head. They're just so cute and cheerful and . . . umm, honestly I just do it to make my middle daughter happy.

Sociological studies across the country have concluded that the proliferation of "talk" radio is simply for folks, who are in the midst of driving to complete whatever errands the day has presented, to turn on and get consequently furious at the idiocy presented therein. It's documented. Really. It's not just me.

And finally , in an unfortunate turn of events for the baking industry, people are turning away from cake in droves. Cake batter seems to be greatly enjoyed, but the actual cake leaves many cold. Sad but true.

See? I'm normal as can be. Just another member of the herd.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Motherhood Low Point

You know it's not going to be a good day when you resort to making threats against your 10 yr. old daughter's new shirt.

That's right.

I said "her new shirt".

Here's how it all played out:

Me - Are you going to wear that shirt? It's supposed to be, I don't know, something like 65 degrees out there today and that thing's sleeveless.
S- Yes. I'll be fine. I wore it yesterday and it was even colder than today. I'll wear a jacket outside.
Me- Wait. That's right! You did wear that yesterday. Is that even clean???
S- Yes. Daddy put it in the wash for me when you asked that he throw a load of laundry in while he was feeding the cat.
Me- Oh yeah. That's right, I remember. Wait. Weren't you supposed to be feeding the cat?
S- Umm . . .well . . . uhh . . . anyway. Look. The shirt's fine. Clean and everything.
Me- Wait. It's unbuttoned.
S - Yeah? I like it that way. It's okay. See? I have that white, sleeveless undershirt thing on too.
Me - *groan*. A sleeveless button down shirt over a white undershirt?! You look like a truck driver.
S-I like the way it looks. Besides, what's wrong with truck drivers?
Me - (rushing to instill respect for all professions) Nothing at all. Driving a truck is a fine and noble thing to do. *sigh* Just button it up.
S- I LIKE it this way. It's comfortable and it looks like a vest.
Me - Yeah, in some alternate universe maybe.
Me - Look. We're going out today. Just button the thing up while we're out.
S - I LIKE it this way.
Me - Okay, fine. Like it that way. You're entitled to like all sorts of things. However, you're just also expected to BUTTON THAT SHIRT when we're headed out for the day!
S - *stubborn silence*
Me - S?
S - *stubborn silence coupled with arms crossed over chest*
Me - S!?
S - *stubborn silence, arms crossed over chest and eyes raised to the ceiling*
*Tick Tock goes the clock*
Me - Look, (and here's where I hit my low point. Yeah, I know. I hit it way back, but it was here that it was finally clear to me) IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR SHIRT AGAIN, YOU'D BETTER BUTTON IT UP.

"If you ever want to see your shirt again, you'd better button it up"?

To make this threat more credible, I suppose I should have snipped various sized letters from the newspaper and assembled them to form the threat on another piece of paper. I could have even added a snip of fabric as added incentive.

Next time I'll be a bit more prepared.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Community Service Bulletin

Heed my warning.

If you have elementary aged children, flee while you can.

No one is safe.

Still around? More the fool you.

Now the terror will most certainly spread.

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge our part in spreading this epidemic, for Webkinz has invaded our home.

No, I must be completely honest with you all. We were not "invaded". In a moment of weakness, swayed by the beseeching eyes of a 10 year old, I actually invited Webkinz in.

Looks innocent enough, doesn't it? Just another insipid stuffed animal? That's what I thought. A harmless diversion.

Well, looks are undeniably deceiving in this instance.

Trust me.

Please. Do your utmost to avoid the glassy eyed stare of these instruments of chaos posing as harmless, if odd looking, stuffed animals.

Just in case it's too late or in the interest of assisting those around you, here are some signs of infection:

  • Increasingly impassioned and desperate cries from the elementary set for access to the computer to care for their "pet".
  • Increased tension in the house from battles over whether or not "I need to finish this game before I feed our real dog/cat/fish to earn money in order to feed/house/clothe my virtual pet" is a valid reason for not doing said chore.
  • Increased tension in the house due to computer withdrawal. This affects all ages in the house.
  • Increased guest traffic in the house as every child in the neighborhood needs to view the virtual pet and offer suggestions for its keeping.
  • Headaches caused by all those damn children in the house.
  • Tears. Again, this symptom has no respect for age. Everyone is susceptible.
Heaven help us all.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rushing Summer

I defy anyone to remain out of sorts, ill-tempered or cantankerous while listening to the Beach Boys.

I appreciate that there's definitely some nostalgia inherent in my affection for the boys since the Beach Boys were the first band I ever saw in concert. While my husband spent time in Detroit concert venues listening to everyone worth listening to in the early to mid 70s, I was in Maine in 1980 rockin' out to. . . the Beach Boys.

Yeah, I know. I was totally a rebel, just skirting the edge of rabble-rouser.

Really though, it's more than simple nostalgia. Much of the music is just happy. Cheerful. Upbeat. With a nod to Tom Hanks in That Thing You Do, it's "snappy".

Regardless of the reason, you simply have to love them, even with Kokomo being part of their discography.

Honestly? After crying two nights in a row thanks to films (Children of Men night before last and Mrs. Miniver last night), I'll take feeling happy however I can get it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Things Which Have Made Me Ponder, Think and Otherwise Mull Over

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
Winnie the Pooh
The House at Pooh Corner

With that in mind, here are a few things that have made me think over the past month or so:

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris.
I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this book. Initially I found the author to be abrasive and significantly off putting. After really considering it though, I'm wondering if it's less an issue of personality than an issue of the author stating very bluntly opposing viewpoints on several issues (religious tolerance, pacifism, and Israel to name a few) that I've felt strongly about for years. Even though I am distinctly non-religious, this book challenged me on several levels.

Trident Cool Colada Chewing Gum: Why, when I was so horrified by my experience of chewing said gum that I felt compelled to offer a public service announcement, did I find myself chewing the gum all week?

NPR (National Public Radio): Yes, I realize this is a bit cliche, but I really appreciate the depth with which topics are covered. Far, far different from the 30 second sound bites I've seen on network television. We gave up 'regular' television over 15 years ago and it absolutely amazes me what passes for "news" on the network channels. Not to mention the scare tactic methods used to "cover" stories that are designed simply to boost ratings. If I've had one call from my mother warning me about killer meningitis, flesh eating bacteria, or dastardly terrorist plots, I've had a million. For this reason alone I give thanks to NPR.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Showtime's The Tudors: How is it possible that short, dark, Irish JRM gets picked to play the very tall, ruddy and red-gold haired Henry VIII? I watched the first two episodes (offered as streaming video on Netflix as a special promo) and he was completely distracting. Then again, it's not like anyone is watching this hoping for an hour of unparalleled historical accuracy. Still . . . couldn't they have at least found a Sean Bean type?

And finally . . . will Billy Ray Cyrus make it through another round of Dancing With the Stars?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Question of the Day

Is it possible to have any pretensions to intelligence when you've watched Dancing With the Stars twice now?


I thought you'd say that.

In my defense, I watch it after it's aired on the computer (we don't do regular television, just rent a few shows via Netflix or watch via the 'net) and I can't vote. Even for Billy Ray Cyrus who is trying so hard.

Not that I would vote, of course.

Absolutely not.

Oh, just be quiet.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Desert Island Books

I've been meaning to write about this ever since I saw Under a Blue Moon tackle this question a while ago.

The question is: "What three books would you choose to take on a desert island?"

This is difficult. What exactly would one take if one could only have three books ever? Aside from the fact that it's difficult to imagine being limited to three books for the rest of my life, there is the worrisome fact that I will actually be on a desert island. Forever. I've seen Castaway. I know how ugly things can get. Then again, if Tom Hanks' character had the foresight to bring along his three favorite books maybe he wouldn't have gotten so attached to Wilson. Of course, if he knew enough to remember to pack his three favorite books, that simply begs the question of why on earth he stepped on that plane in the first place?

We'll just accept that by some miraculous circumstance I managed to have the foresight to bring my three favorite books on what was supposed to be a three hour tour. (Hmm, maybe I should check out the other passengers? It's possible that they knew about this whole desert island/favorite book thing and they brought along their own favorites. It could totally happen.)

Without further ado, here are my three choices:
*My Jane Austen Anthology. I realize this is cheating, but officially this is a single bound volume containing all of Ms. Austen's novels and correspondence.
*My Complete Works of Shakespeare. I know, I know. More cheating, but really it is, again, a single bound volume. Of course after living on a desert island and eating only roots and berries, I won't be able to lift either volume, but at least at first I'll be able to.
*You know, I think I'm going to have to go for the Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a huge treasury that came out last year. It'll be perfect for those days when I can't face another tortured prince, mischievous sprite, star-crossed lover, murdering king, or Marriage Minded Miss.

Well, that's my list. Not terribly intellectual, but I think it will suffice, especially if the skipper from the tour boat survives as well and wants a mutual read aloud or Wilson washes up on my beach.

Things Not to do When the Computer Crashes

1. Stare uncomprehendingly at the "Blue Screen of Death".
2. Decide that the BSoD the computer sent to you is obviously just its way of kidding around.
3. Since the computer has developed a sense of humor, pretend that nothing has happened. Keep restarting and Scarlett O'Hara the instructions on the page, as in: "if this is the first time this screen has appeared, restart. If it isn't, you're screwed" (or some such techno speak to that effect). Simply restart the computer over and over.
4. Presume that since the computer is just fine, you've got plenty of time to back up all the stuff that needs to be backed up.
5. Swear colorfully and with deep conviction when it becomes obvious that the computer isn't kidding. Wait, that's fine. Just make sure that the 10 year old isn't around to tell you that the language you're using "doesn't sound like words a mother would use."
6. Assume that your stay with the friendly folks at tech support will be relaxing and rejuvenating.
7. Assume that the friendly folks at tech support have a clue about what they are doing.
8. Stand corrected in your assumption that the friendly folks at tech support (who you now loathe on a deep, visceral level) know nothing since they appear to have just fixed your computer.
9. Cry when it becomes obvious that they didn't. Wait, that's okay. Just don't cry in front of the 17 yr. old, who rolls her eyes and wonders aloud why we all call her the drama queen.

A few things to do when the computer crashes:
1. Eventually get wise and hand the phone over to your husband so he can talk about the BSoD to tech support.
2. Laugh when he starts looking like he's fraying at the edges. Sweet, sweet vindication for all the times he's said words of wisdom like: "It's just a computer, honey; an inanimate object. It's not out to get you. Really. Just relax. It'll be fixed soon."
3. Finally get a technician to come out and replace hard drive and system memory, both of which checked out fine in diagnostics.
4. Be completely assured that will most definitely not address the problem.
5. Decide the hell with it and buy a new laptop while the other waits for repairs.

I will leave you with this public service announcement:

If, while standing in line at Target to purchase the *second* copy of Norton Internet Security in a month, you think the Trident "Cool Colada" gum looks tasty, don't buy it. It isn't.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More Movie Talk

I really love movies, so when I saw this movie meme at The Sheila Variations I couldn't resist.

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
Impossible to name just one. Here's a short list (I've restrained myself):
Sense and Sensibility
The Matrix
A&E's Pride and Prejudice
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
While You Were Sleeping (what can I say? Chick flicks are completely underrated)

2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
Star Wars
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Matrix
Looking over this list of films I see that it was completely unnecessary to tell you that I was an RPG geek in my "about me" section.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Clive Owen
Meryl Streep
Helen Mirren
Leonardo DiCaprio

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Russell Crowe
Angelina Jolie

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Oh, the list is extensive.
The Matrix -
~"No" (make sure you use the appropriate physical gesture of hand held out in front of you)
~"Mr. Anderson" drawled in a seriously bad approximation of Hugo Weaving's voice. Poor guy. Elrond doesn't stand a chance with us in the room. Typecast forever.
~"I know what you're thinking . . . why oh why didn't I take the *blue* pill?" -used whenever a choice has been made that perhaps didn't have quite the outcome hoped for - like having children.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me:
~"How 'bout no, Scott?" - a seriously handy phrase for mothers
~"We don't gnaw on our kitties" - Don't worry, kitties are in no danger in my house. Well, not too much anyway.
Dirty Dancing:
~"No one puts Baby in the corner." - used extensively when moving furniture.
The Exorcist:
~"The power of Christ compels you!" - used whenever and wherever obstinate, stubborn children reside.
Okay, now I'm bored so I'll stop even though there are numerous films we quote from on a daily basis. I'm sure you're bored too. Looking back over this list, one thing I notice is that the films I list are awfully lowbrow. Not a Shakespeare or even an Orson Wells in the bunch. Sad commentary on all of us, but apparently true.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs
This is truly pathetic, but the only musical that I know all the lyrics to is Grease.
Does the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer count?

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with
Anything with a song that I know a handful of words to. From State Fair to Chicago.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
My Father's Glory
and its sequel,
My Mother's Castle
Absolutely sublime films. Beautifully filmed and acted.

9. Name a movie that you own.
Only one? Okay. Signs

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
I think Denis Leary would probably be high on my list. I was never a big fan of his when he was a stand up comic, but I think he's amazing before the camera. His work on Rescue Me is terrific. And, please. Someone do M. Night Shyamalan a favor and sign him up for an acting class or two. Cameos are good, but big roles? Um . . . how 'bout no, Scott?

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Sadly, I think answering this question in the affirmative dates me significantly. Truth however, must win out. So, yes, I've seen numerous films at the drive-in.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
Well, yeah. That was the whole point of going to the drive-in.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.
Any Ingmar Bergman film, especially The Seventh Seal.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
Only one. The Entity with Barbara Hershey. Dear God, what an appalling film.
I just checked Netflix to see if it's out on DVD and it is. What's more shocking is that it gets nearly unanimous good reviews from everyone. Huh. The mind boggles.
I came close to walking out on Pulp Fiction. The S&M scene was just too intense for me. I was terrified for everyone. If I hadn't felt the need to fake blase' sophistication with the friend I viewed it with, I probably would have walked. Interestingly, this scene felt like it lasted *forever* when I saw the film in the theater. When my husband watched it after it came out on video, I was shocked to see how short the scene really was.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
I get teary often, but since I hate to really cry, especially in public, I generally keep things pretty contained. There are a few flicks though that just slayed me.
Little Women (the new one) - that scatter of rose petals over Beth's dolls does it every time.
Sophie's Choice - Bad enough before you have children. After? No way.
The Green Mile - I can't even describe for you the sobbing the ensued at the end of this film
Whale Rider - This was interesting. I'm not sure why I cried, but I could barely breathe through the deep, gulping sobs at the end. I wasn't sad, just emotional. Seeing it the second time though barely raised a ripple of emotion from me.

16. Popcorn?
Almost never. I hate to eat during films.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
As often as I can. Scheduling issues are a challenge.

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
The Queen. Phenomenal. I'm seriously in love with Helen Mirren.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Like the books I read, I'm very eclectic in my taste. I'll generally watch nearly anything. I love documentaries, dramas, romances, historical epics, and witty romantic comedies. I'm also pretty fond of sci-fi and have a terminal weakness for nearly any disaster flick. I can't wait for Cillian Murphy's Sunshine. I'm thinkin' that this one will rival The Core in its plausibility and complexity. We're talking some serious excitement here. Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Any zombie flick that comes out must be viewed as well. We can thank my oldest for that obsession.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
I remember Mary Poppins at the drive-in. I must have been preschool aged.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
There have been films I really dislike, Babel was the latest, but I can't think of one that I wish I'd never seen. For a while I guess I was sorry that I'd seen a snippet of Nightmare on Elm Street. The imagery of Freddy stayed with me for a while. Ridiculous now, but at the time it really stuck with me. Once I had children, as I said before, Sophie's Choice haunted me.

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Not exactly a film, but The Kingdom, originally made for Danish television, struck me as bizarre when I first saw it.

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
Totally The Birds. I still view robins with deep suspicion. And sparrows? Starlings? Forget it. I still won't watch that film as an adult. Give me Scream, The Others, or any other slasher flick/villain and I'm okay. But don't give me those damn birds!

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
I have no idea. I must just not watch many films that are classified as "comedies". I can think of several films that make me laugh out loud (Kevin Smith films, Christopher Guest films and Much Ado About Nothing for instance), but nothing that I'd characterize as "the funniest movie I've ever seen".
Just Watched . . .

Shut up and Sing.

Whether or not you agree with the group, the film or what the group members have to say, the fact that they can say it means something to me. The fact that we can discuss it means something to me. The fervent wish that we can discuss even inflammatory topics without issuing death threats to one another and attempt to come to some respectful knowledge and understanding of each other is something that I have to believe we can still do.

This Most-Definitely-Not-A-Country-Fan is off to buy the Dixie Chicks latest album . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Crafting? Well, Maybe . . .

I've written here in the past about my lack of creative drive. I become interested in a project, but lose steam before really starting it. I'm surrounded by crafty women who constantly create (try saying that three times fast) but have remained uninspired. Part of my problem is the absolute chaos that reigns downstairs, where all of my crafting materials abide. One is never quite sure what one will find when exploring a drawer or a cupboard. Occasionally it's a lovely surprise. More often than not it's an environment that the CDC would insist on hazardous material garb being donned before entry.

That was last week. This is the dawning of a new age. The dawning of the Age of Organization, which will of course give way soon to the Age of Creativity. I spent hours last weekend going through all of my craft supplies. Now I already did this once this year, or so I said to my husband. Obviously I was mistaken. I must have dreamed my craft supply purge since the disorder that met my attempts at organization was significant. No matter. I rose to the challenge and actually organized my supplies.

I bought this large '30s/'40s era kitchen cupboard a while ago. For some time it resided in my kitchen. My children were distinctly less than thrilled that it had taken up residence there. They quickly christened it "The Ugliness", which I found startlingly unfair and inapt. No amount of attempting to awaken a spirit of appreciation for retro-chic worked. They remained appalling prejudiced against it. The final nail in the coffin of the attempt to engender goodwill was when it "attacked" my youngest daughter, apparently seeking revenge for past slights. It, according to her, jumped right on her. Whether it jumped or not, it's true that it ended up right on top of her - along with all the china and glassware that it housed. Fortunately, other than a couple of bruises and scratches from the frosted glass doors that shattered on impact, my daughter was fine. Shaken, although not as much as her mother, but fine.

After that, it was relegated to the downstairs, firmly anchored to the wall. Now, it houses some of my craft supplies. Even though it has a bit of a checkered past and could use a measure of cosmetic attention, I still love it. I love it's yellow and aqua paint, it's little red capped spice jars and it's drop down "table". I have to admit as well that It still gives me a thrill that the mother in A Christmas Story has one that is very like it in her kitchen. Regardless of it's appearance, I'd love it for the space alone it provides to me for my supplies. Along with several other cupboards, sets of roll away drawers and bins, I've finally gotten everything in one place.

Let the creative process begin!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Like I imagine most of us do, I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. While I admit to some level of fondness on occasion for it, last week I could cheerfully have pitched the idiotic, not-even-one-year-old machine right straight out the window.

In the interest of total disclosure and fairness toward the electronic monster sharing my family room with me, the problem that crashed my computer wasn't of its making. This basic fact wasn't readily apparent to me, or to Carmen, my helpful tech support person until we'd spent serious quality time together doing various exciting and thrilling diagnostics. What this basic fact was irrefutable proof of though was that my software was irredeemably corrupted. Totally unusable. Carmen told me in an appropriately somber tone that the computer had apparently given me the blue screen of death in order to protect itself. She then went on to suggest in an encouraging tone that we would now try and start the computer in "Safe" mode, thereby attempting to preserve all of my data. I'm sure you can guess how that went. If I had any question about the diagnosis, Carmen's sorrowful tone as she gave me the bad "we've done everything we can, but it's simply not enough" spiel was enough. I had to do a factory restore. Wipe everything. Start clean. Yippee.

So, here I am with most of my important stuff gone. Address book? Nope. Links? Nada. Vast amounts of clip art culled for all over the 'net? Yeah, right. I will now repeat 50 times to myself "Back-up tools are my friends".

After having to pull apart my entire desk in order to access the computer's innards, I actually decided to clean the space up as well. Not generally my reaction, but hey, I was on with tech support for hours. What else was I going to do? Mari-Nanci over at SMILNSIGH posted ages ago a fun entry showing where she blogs. I told her when I was brave enough I'd post the pic from the dungeon that I spend my time blogging from. Unfortunately, you'll never get the full effect of the pit that I work from simply because that space and its documentation is gone forever. So, while looking at these pictures, remember - it was way worse before the computer crash.
I've included helpful numbers drawn in with paint to facilitate easier navigation and understanding of the space.
  • 1. Firefighters calendar given to me by my middle daughter. Hey, it's for a good cause
  • 2.Numerous RPG games that I waste time with instead of writing scintillating, erudite and fascinating prose.
  • 3. Dear God. Filthy monitor. What can I say? This is probably the last item in my house that I would clean. Look though, Kristin! I think that's the view from our tropical island. We'll find a firefighter or two from my calendar and head off any day now.
  • 4. Sustenance. In the form of chocolate. There is nothing else that need be said about that.
  • 5. Yet more games. Did you think I was kidding about my RPG gaming addiction? Thank goodness Bob has forgotten that he lent us those Diablo discs 2 years ago!

Just in case you needed one more shot of the space. There's more to the left, but I'll spare you.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

  • Oscar Re-Cap

    Well, when I saw Rebecca's post reviewing the Oscars I saw no point at all in posting another one. Hers is spot on (for the most part anyway) and hilariously funny. I disagree on several incredibly important counts though. Issues that I feel compelled to bring to light given the seriousness of the occasion.

    Jessica Biel's dress: No, Bec, this is not a good look. I know you feel kindly toward Ms. Biel on account of her example of How to Get Ready For Your Own Action Flick, but really? This dress? This color? No.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow's Acting Ability: Shame on you. I know you dismiss the likes of Shakespeare in Love and Emma as "chick flicks" and therefore only suitable for occasional viewing with your mother when she's mad at you and you want to extend the olive branch , but I feel you are far too dismissive of Ms. Paltrow's acting ability. AND while you may not appreciate her acting ability, it's beyond the pale to assert that she is an alien out to wreak havoc on humanity. I have it on good authority that she is not one of the Pod People. She just had the misfortune to employ one of the Pod People's hairdressers for the occasion. How silly of you to have fallen for their ploy.
  • Penelope Cruz's dress: I know I'm in a minority among the family Oscar viewers (and probably among many fashion critics) but I liked Penelope's dress. I loved the color and while I agree that the train on the dress was a bit much, I thought she looked lovely. So there.

Since Rebecca did such a nice job with the Oscar review/recap, there's little more I can say other than to fill you all in on what she left about about the evening.

  • She showed up late. Shameful.
  • Because she and Bob showed up just as the show was starting they opted to share one ballot for their selections instead of taking the extra 3 minutes to make a copy. Apparently a mistake given the remainder of the evening.
  • Because they shared a ballot, there were appalling altercations between the two of them throughout the night. Moral of the story? Don't attempt to fill out a ballot with another person, especially when a Barnes and Noble gift card for the person who correctly predicts the most winners is on the line.
  • She found it necessary to ruffle her sister's hair numerous times throughout the night. This is definitely not a recommended practice. It annoys the heck out of Caroline, which means that the rest of us get annoyed at her annoyance, her sister's glee and Bob's egging on. Rebecca ended up getting kicked in the head though, so I guess they're even. (Caroline insists that the kick was an "accident". None of us are fooled. She's little, and looks lovely and sweet, but we all know better.)
  • She and Bob drove well out of their way to bring me my glasses that I left at my parents' house.
  • Bob purchased a darling little primrose for me to make up for his part in the Caroline Incident
  • Spending time with my mother and daughters (and Bob too), even with the altercations and mussed hair, is absolutely one of my favorite things in the world to do.

Already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Anticipation

Ooh . . . tonight's Oscar night! I know, I know. Hollywood's superficial, artificial and Botoxed to the hilt, but I love it anyway. Well, except for the Botox. Lately every time I see actual laugh lines, crow's feet, or forehead wrinkles on an actor, male or female, I practically stand up and cheer. It's not just because I'm in my 40s now either, although that probably has something to do with it. I just appreciate seeing people who don't look like they've been abducted by Plastic-faced Pod People aliens in the middle of the night and set back down to star in the latest motion picture for a $20 million price tag.

While I love the Oscars, it isn't often that I get to see all of the nominated performances. This year was a particularly bad year for me. I only saw 4 of the 5 films nominated for Best Picture and few others. Regardless of my dismal movie-going habits this year, I will make my predictions for tonight's winners. With a bow of gratitude to Entertainment Weekly (my weekly Hollywood fix), here are my predictions for the "big" ones:

Actor - Leading:
Forest Whitaker
Actor Supporting:
Eddie Murphy
Actress- Leading:
Helen Mirren
Actress- Supporting:
Jennifer Hudson
Martin Scorsese
Documentary Feature:
An Inconvenient Truth
Best Picture:
The Departed (please, please not Babel - what has to be the most dreadful film of the year)
Screenplay - Adapted:
Children of Men
Screenplay Original:
Little Miss Sunshine

Well, I'm off to get ready for a chocolate-laden Oscarfest with my mother and my girls. I'll check back in and give you my terribly biased and opinionated take on the evening's winners.

Have fun at your own Oscar party!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Old Friends and New Blogs

I wanted to take a moment and let you all know about my friend Kristin's new blog. Not only is she a lovely friend, quick with a warm smile and a ready ear to listen, she's an absolutely terrific writer. Kristin's equally at home writing insightful commentaries and laugh-out-loud anecdotes. Many's the time I've sat at my computer desk completely helpless with belly laughs.

Wondering why I used a vintage chocolate ad to showcase Kristin's new blog? Take a look at her blog and wonder no more. Country Mouse Comes Unhinged

A few other blogs that I've been really enjoying lately are:

A Happy Miscellany
Under a Blue Moon

Sooo many blogs out there to read! What a pleasure! I just wish I had the whole comment etiquette down. It still puzzles me. It's that New England Yankee reserve I think. I love getting comments so why I hesitate to comment on other's blogs never ceases to amaze me.

Off to read some more blogs . . .

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


What on earth is up with Blogger not letting me have paragraph breaks? This is unacceptable.
First it takes me forever to find time to post. Time where I'm not being badgered incessantly for something or another by someone or another. Then I have to find artwork. Why is it that I seem to have masses of clip art/image books and can never find what I'm looking for? I won't even tell you about my forays into Googleland for images. Those tales would raise the hair on your neck. Just a note. Don't attempt to look for "1940-50s Housewife images". Trust me.
Then, once that's done, I actually have to write the post. All very time consuming and labor intensive. Well, whether it is or not is beside the point. Blogger should make sure that the actual "new" Blogger actually works.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's been a quiet day. One that has, for once, afforded me completely uninterrupted time. All of my children were busy and away from home. A rarity for this stay-at-home, homeschooling mother. My middle daughter worked today. My youngest daughter enjoyed the rare treat of time alone with my oldest daughter, watching a film at her apartment and playing with her kitten. Bliss for a 10 year old. Which allows bliss for the 40 something - time alone in a completely silent house.
Well, not completely since the dog WOULD. NOT. STOP. BARKING. TODAY. Of course, she might defend herself by saying that she was alerting me to (and of course, defending me from) terrifying and alarming things. Like the cat from two houses over. Or the car that had the audacity to pull into its driveway. Or, most infuriating of all, the beagle from next door. So, it was kind of, sort of blissfully quiet for me . . . Kind of . . . Oh well, I'll take what I can get.
Most of my friends would spend that time productively. Baking something luscious or crafting something amazing. I've told you all before how much I love those homey, crafty blogs out there. Those blogs filled with writings from those women filled with creative energy. I imagine myself in their homes. Seeing the moment that they arise to the lilt of songbirds. Watching them craft with the assistance of charming children and assorted animated animals who rush in with needle, thread or the perfect button. That is not me, I'm afraid. I might have the idea that I'd like to craft something, but the will to do so is often sadly lacking these days. Then again, if I had the assistance of charming children and darling animated creatures to do my bidding, I might feel a bit more inclined. No such luck, I'm afraid. The crafty, homey, cozy blogwomen, who look so nice, but obviously have nefarious intent, have absconded with all of the cheerful chipmunks, busy beavers, persevering porcupines (who also double as pincushions), and diligent doggies and have locked them away in their cottages. Probably keeping them from forming unions to protect their rights too. Ha! No wonder they craft so beautifully and prolifically!
Okay, so I'm reaching a bit for a reason that explains why they are crafting and I'm not. Time to put resentful Walt Disney images of little cottages scattered throughout the country with hard working animals and humans out of my head and concentrate on motivating myself.
It would still be easier though with a handy animal or two around to help though, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reading Challenges

Well, as difficult as this is, I have a confession to make to you all. I feel I need to come clean to you. For I have failed. Failed in a humiliating and deeply distressing way. A way that sincerely calls into question my intellect, level of conviction, and even my character.

It is with deep, abiding shame that I inform you of my neglect in completing my Autumn Reading Challenge. There I have said it. Failed. Such an ugly word.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why I decided it was a good idea to share with my readers that I was going to read books that, while edifying in the extreme, apparently held little interest for me in the first place. I could have just been reasonable and whispered the challenge to myself and been spared this public humiliation. As I did not do this eminently wise thing, I now am forced to announce my shame. If I am to be completely honest with you, not only did I not "complete" the challenge, I didn't read most of the books on that list. I did read several and I think I plan to read several more, but the full truth is that I am guilty of neglecting my brain.

I do read a lot. All the time. Voraciously. I'm an equal opportunity reader as well and read just about anything. Well, okay. That's a bit of an overstatement. I'm not terribly keen on comic books, westerns, bodice rippers, quantum physics manuals, or 20th century war chronicles. Other than that, I'm fairly open minded about what I'll read. I generally read a bit more nonfiction than fiction, but really enjoy a wide variety of fiction as well. So, while this whole paragraph sounds like a desperate attempt to redeem anyone's perception of my intelligence in the face of my obvious recent intellectual shortcomings, it is true. Really. Romances? Vampire novels? Some light travelogues? Well, sure. Yeah, I've spent a bit of time with those genres lately, but still. There are other things I've read to. Like that book on string theory. Of course, the author lost me on that one in the first chapter, but I did read it. Kind of. Well, I told you I didn't like quantum physics manuals. String theory's sort of connected with quantum physics, right?

Oh my. This is sounding just pathetic . . .

Here's hoping that the winter will hold many intellectual challenges for me in the guise of fabulous books. Here's hoping that I figure out what the definition of "quantum physics" entails. Here's also hoping that, at the very least, I'm wise enough not to issue challenges to myself publicly that myself likely won't complete.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Perfidy of Weather Forecasters

Things are not at their best in my household lately. I'm at turns snappish and anguished. I'm frustrated and angry. In short, I feel betrayed. I've tried to ignore this desperate feeling, but it simply won't go away. I've tried to be reasonable and understanding, but it's no use. It's not a man that inspires such feelings in me, it's those damn weather forecasters. Oh, I know. It's a difficult profession. They can't be perfect. I get that. Intellectually I appreciate that the weather is a challenge to predict, especially here. Emotionally though, it's another story.

Last week was the absolute straw that broke the camel's back. The forecasters were sure that we'd have snow. Nice amounts of snow for this area. It wasn't a question of "if", it was a question of "how much". Bet you can guess how much we got. Nothing. Not a thing. Zip. The forecasters scurried about and published elaborate explanations as to why the "can't miss" snow missed, but their real reason for such hurried explanations was clear. They were concerned that the numerous disappointed residents of the state would revolt and storm the television and radio studios, demanding that someone, somewhere attain god status and accurately predict the weather.

I thought I was over my disappointment. I thought I was finally able to accept the bald truth. I live in an area that just doesn't get much snow. There. I've said it. The days of my youth spent in ice skates and on sleds are not going to be duplicated by my own children. Hot chocolate with marshmallows drank while your nose is red and your fingers begin to tingle as they warm up is just a nice story for my children. I've bravely opted to pretend that I like seeing all this green in January. Just as I felt secure in my acceptance, they did it again. They're calling for snow again on Tuesday. Ha. Yeah right. Sure. It'll happen. They won't get me to hope again. I'm rock solid.

Maybe though, just in case, I ought to make sure we have enough hot chocolate in the house . . .

Monday, January 01, 2007

Remembrances of Times Past
What I Learned Over Christmas Vacation

1. Waiting until Christmas week to make Christmas treats (so they are nice and fresh naturally) is a recipe for a nervous breakdown. A breakdown with lots of tasty, fresh nibbles, but a breakdown nonetheless.

2. Nearly 10 yr. old child + American Girl requests = serious expenses.

3. Golden Retrievers never mature - no matter what the breeder tells you.

4. Blown glass ornaments are no match for a 4 yr. old "mature" Golden Retriever.

5. Elderly, portly cats often are displeased when baby cats come to visit and endeavor to show their displeasure in unpleasant ways.

6. Smoking chimneys need firefighters' attention.

7. Children, adult or not, who live in houses with smoking chimneys scare mothers.

8. Origami ornament kits meant to be made with nearly 10 yr. old child as gifts for the family that say "8 and up with supervision - 10 and up alone" lie.

9. Viewing A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time still makes me happy. Watching it with the nearly 10 year old baby of the family (who you know is taking notes on how to be precocious) for the first time is more than a bit terrifying. I'm expecting to be "triple dog dared" any day now on some consequence I've given.

10. East, West, Home is Best - especially one de-Christmased and clean!