Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!!!




Well, I'm off to spend the holidays with my family. The ONLY thing I want for Christmas this year is a nice, happy week with my loved ones.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years. Thank you for sharing your lives and creativity with me through your blogs. I can't wait to see what the new year brings to all of us!!!


Peace be with you----Amy

Fall into Reading Wrap-up

Well, another Callapidder Days reading challenge is wrapping up. Hard to believe! I did pretty well. I got all but two of my books read. Since I rely on the library for my books, I am sometimes at their mercy when it comes to getting books on my list. I still plan to read the last two as soon as they come in.

Here is my reading list along with review links.

My favorite book that I read this time was probably THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy. It was a quick read yet very disturbing and thought-provoking. It really stayed with me. I also really loved BRIDGE OF SIGHS. The story is so simple yet really effective. Russo is a terrific writer.

My least favorite was probably ALMOST MOON. I still liked it but I was a little disappointed. I expected a bit more from Sebold.

I'm really looking forward to the next Callapidder Days challenge!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample kit of South Beach Living including the Tide Me Over Drink Mix, Granola clusters and $2 in coupons.

LINK

An Early Present

I don't know why this delights me so much but that poo head xenophobe Tom Tancredo dropped out of the Presidential race. Not that he had a chance. And when I call him a xenophobe, I'm being nice. It would probably be more accurate to call him a racist fear-monger. I hope he crawls back into the hole he came out of.

Too harsh?

This Makes Me Giggle

I went to Trinity University in San Antonio for my undergraduate degree. And I love my alma mater. Truly. One thing they are especially good at is Development. Especially for such a small school.

Anyway, a winning play by Trinity has been named as the TIME magazine sports moment of the year. The development department created this little inspirational clip to show you how really great we Trinity people are.

LINK

The moment itself is pretty cool but the words flashing on the screen make me giggle. It's kind of silly. If you watch it, make sure to do it with sound. The music is especially cheesy.

ABSTINENCE TEACHER by Tom Perrotta

I thought Perrotta's previous book, LITTLE CHILDREN, was absolutely wonderful. The movie adaptation was quite good as well. I was interested to see what he would do with his new book, ABSTINENCE TEACHER. The premise was intriguing.

A divorcee single mom discovers that her high school sex education is being taken over by Christian fundamentalists. She is forced to go from teaching "sex ed" to strictly teaching abstinence. This sets the stage for a quiet battle between non-Christians and Christians in this little suburban town.

I was a little wary at first because I get tired of the way Christians can be caricatured in fiction and film lately. We are not all fundamentalist crazies. I think Perrotta did an excellent job of creating complex and multi-layered characters. No one is perfect. No one is clear-cut in their beliefs and ideals. Each character struggles with his/her problems and identity.

The "powers-that-be" work really hard at pitting us all against one another. Especially in the arena of religion. I think this book really captures the idea that, ultimately, we are all individuals just trying to make our way in the world. While I didn't like this book as much as LITTLE CHILDREN, it was an interesting read. The ending was a little abrupt. I would have liked more. But I will definitely be reading Perrotta's next book.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Boogie Woogie Christmas


Gary and I went to the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas show last night. It was so great! This is the second time I have seen it and I highly recommend it. I have decided that I really like Rockabilly. It's the perfect blend of rock and country. And just so much fun!!! A really terrific band called the Detonators opened the show. Gary tried to go buy one of their CDs but there was a mob of people. We'll have to order it online. Brian Setzer played lots of holiday favorites and a bunch of great Stray Cats stuff. It was a rockin' good time!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy




I am not a fan of Corman McCarthy. I think he's a good writer but I found ALL THE PRETTY HORSES really tedious. So, I wasn't sure I wanted to attempt THE ROAD. However, I am always intrigued by apocalyptic literature. I really like this book. It is a really fast read but so affecting.

McCarthy story follows the travels of a father and son in an apocalyptic future. McCarthy does not specify when this happens. It could be 100 years in the future. It could be ten years. He doesn't even explain how this dreary future came to be. And that is part of what makes it so chilling.

As the father and son journey south and struggle for their existence, they encounter all kinds of obstacles and horrors. Although the descriptions are not explicit, they are very arresting and disturbing. The story really shook me and made me think about what I would do in the same circumstances. Would I have the will to carry on? Would I make the near impossible choice to kill myself and my child in order to free us from the nightmare? Would I be able to ignore the plight of others in order to save myself and my child? So many questions ran through my head. I think that is what good books do. They challenge you and make you think. I may have changed my mind about McCarthy.

THE CLEFT by Doris Lessing



When I first heard about the premise of this book, I was intrigued. Lessing speculates about the true origins of humankind. In the CLEFT, women are the first human beings and men come later. Lessing recounts this tale through a Roman historian in the time of Nero. The historian is piecing together the story of humankind through a variety of records that have been passed down. He tells the story of the Clefts (early women) and what happened when they started giving birth to "monsters."

I thought the idea was quite clever and I couldn't wait to see what Lessing made of it. However, I didn't like the book. Even though it was short, it was boring and difficult to get through. I did not understand the construct of the Roman historian. It didn't seem to fit and it was distracting. Instead of offering compelling ideas about early men and women, Lessing's portrayals become caricatures where men just want to be free to do what they want and women are cast as nagging irritants. The stereotypical nature of these characters was very off-putting. The idea of the book was good but the execution was really lacking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Loss

I'm sure many of you have heard about the recent shootings in Colorado. An angry young man shot people at a church and a Christian ministry. Of course, we will never understand why he did such a thing. It is just so horrible. But today I discovered an added dimension to the tragedy. My friend and former co-worker e-mailed me and told me that two of the girls who were murdered are former library patrons of ours. I remember the family well. They were regulars at our little branch library. We would see them often and all four girls were always so sweet and polite. They were very enthusiastic about reading and had big plans for the future. Now, two of them are dead at ages 18 and 17. I looked at their pictures this morning and thought of all the interactions I had with them at the circulation desk over my years at the public library. I thought of how they would take home large stacks of books and how they were always pursuing new interests. I think when you work in a public service capacity, you watch people come in and out of your life and you take for granted that you will continue to see them. That life will go on as usual. It's hard to grasp that the promise of these two girls has been snuffed out so early. Their family is in my thoughts and prayers today.

Read about the tragedy here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Carols

*warning: Christian propaganda ahead*

In church last Sunday, we had a "Lessons and Carols" service. The service consisted of scripture readings surrounding the Christmas story each followed by a Christmas carol. Some I knew and some I didn't. It struck me, though, how many Christmas songs involved talking about preparing your heart for Christ's arrival.

For example, in "Joy to the World" (one of my personal favorites):

LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM!

Not too long ago, I talked with my friend Gary about the nature of sin. I know some people who were raised Christian and are now atheist who have a very different experience with the Christian concept of sin than I do. One of them said to me that all he ever hears in Christian "mythology" is talk about fear and sin. He believes theology to be a long list of "DON'Ts." That has not been my experience. None of us is perfect. No matter what we believe or don't believe. We will always make mistakes. But Christians believe in the concept of grace. And I personally believe that true sin is whatever keeps us from God. It isn't a laundry list of rules such as "don't have sex" and "don't have doubts."

In the Christmas season, we are compelled to prepare our hearts to receive the greatest gift. It is the perfect time for a little pre-Spring cleaning. Because when Lent rolls around, we'll have lots of spiritual work to do. In the meantime, we can put aside all the stress of gifts and parties and hustle and bustle and make some time to prepare Him room. And to spread a little of that cheer and love to our neighbors.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. What are your favorite Christmas carols and why? Drop me a comment.
My favorites are JOY TO THE WORLD, THE CHRISTMAS SONG and HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS. But really, I love them all!

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Sun Crystals natural sweetener.

LINK

Monday, December 10, 2007

ALMOST MOON by Alice Sebold


I was really interested to read Sebold's follow up to her monster bestseller LOVELY BONES. Sebold is clearly not afraid of exploring controversial topics.

This is the first sentence of ALMOST MOON:

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”

Sebold doesn't waste any time getting to the heart of her subject matter. The main character, Helen, kills her elderly mother and spends the rest of the novel contemplating why she did it and what she should do about it. The book offers glimpses into Helen's troubled childhood with two mentally-ill parents and how that childhood shaped her. Sebold seems to attempt to garner sympathy for her main character but it doesn't quite work. The book is interesting and a very quick read but the subject matter is sure to put off a number of readers. I think Sebold could have done so much more. In some ways, it feels as if she didn't go far ENOUGH. It isn't a particularly great sophomore effort but it is certainly an interesting one.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Worst Job

When I was in college, I spent the Christmas holiday working at FAO Schwarz toystore in Dallas. It was the worst job I have ever had. My training consisted of telling me I had to purchase FAO Schwarz brand t-shirts and sweatshirts to wear to work. Then, they sent me out on the floor. That's it. Each day, I would arrive and would be placed in a certain area of the store. I dreaded being put in the Barbie store. That was truly horrible. This was the year they came out with "Happy to Be Me" Barbie and people would come in asking to see "Fat Barbie." One day, they put me in the collectible doll section. People came in with perfectly reasonable questions about Madame Alexander dolls and other collectible toys that I couldn't answer because I had no training and no one to ask. In a mall where people are used to superior customer service, this type of store was destined to fail. And it did.

The worst part was that management insinuated that holiday staff would be needed after Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, they called people in individually and let them go. For some reason, they kept me on until I went back to school. But I remember how crushed people were to be fired on Christmas Eve.

The reason I'm thinking about all of this is because of the horrible Omaha mall tragedy. Evidently, the shooter was fired and lost his girlfriend in rapid succession. And, of course, the holidays can be hard enough on people. I don't think we'll ever be able to really understand what goes through the mind of someone like that. And I can't imagine what the families of the shooter and victims must be going through. It is so tragic and they will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo



Richard Russo is a fantastic writer. He can make stories that seem quiet and insignificant both profound and moving. In this new book, Russo returns to the small-town life themes of his earlier work, EMPIRE FALLS. However, I think I enjoyed BRIDGE OF SIGHS even more than EMPIRE FALLS.

BRIDGE OF SIGHS focuses on two families in a small town up east. It is told from the perspective of two men who grew up as friends and took two very divergent paths in later life. The story moves backwards and forwards in time, revealing little bits of plot that leave you longing for more. Lou Lynch is a shy quiet boy who believe the best in everyone. He idolizes his friend Bobby Marconi who is popular and fearless. The two boys have very different home lives which lead them in different directions.

Each character in the book is well-developed and you have a good sense of who each person is. The book demonstrates that even in a small town, people can live quiet yet profound stories where even the most seemingly insignficant acts can have unexpected consequences.

This is not a quick book to read through. You will want to take your time with Russo's prose. But it is well worth your time.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Side Sleeper

It's funny. For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to going to the doctor. I hold my breath until I hear the baby's heartbeat and then I just feel elated!

The doctor told me yesterday that it's time for me to start sleeping on my side. No one filled me in on the fact that you have to sleep on your side for much of your pregnancy. Now, this is a problem for me. I'm a back sleeper. I lay there like a corpse with the covers up to my nose and snooze away peacefully. Well, not anymore! I tossed and turned all night last night. I cannot get comfortable on my side. I tried stuffing pillows around me but I wasn't too successful. I guess I will just have to get used to it over time. But it sucks!

By the way, I got a little blurb in the current issue of ALL YOU magazine. See it here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

HURRY!!!!

Get a free Angelina Ballerina plush doll as part of a celebration of Angelina Ballerina and National Dance Week. (while supplies last)

LINK

Thursday, November 29, 2007

*DEAD* LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free Command Green Wreath Hook for your holiday decorating. (while supplies last)

LINK

Loss

I'm feeling sad today. I just heard that a friend of mine in the Junior League is having to end her five-month pregnancy next week. The baby has rare chromosomal abnormalities that mean it probably won't survive the pregnancy. I am absolutely heartbroken for her. She has been so supportive of me and helpful with lots of advice.

I have been criticized for not acting more "excited" about my own pregnancy. I am excited! But I guess part of me is scared too. I just know that there are so many things that can go wrong. I think I'm just trying to protect myself. Every week is a new milestone and I feel a little more confident that things are going to be okay. But then I hear about my friend...

I wish I knew what to say or do to help my friend. I will send flowers today and hope that it will mean something to know that I am thinking about her and her family.

*UPDATE* I just heard that my dear friend Amy's father died. Don't these things come in threes?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Elf Yourself and Scrooge Yourself

I have to admit I almost peed my pants when I saw the finished products!

Here is my husband as Scrooge:

LINK

And here are the two of us as elves:

LINK

You must go try it! It's just too fun!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thankful for Movies

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! We had a good one. My husband cooked the turkey and stuffing and Mom and I did the rest of the side dishes. I think it turned out quite well.

On Thanksgiving evening, we left my husband and brother-in-law to watch football and went to see BEOWULF in 3D. I enjoyed it although seeing blood splatters in 3D doesn't really say "Thanksgiving" does it? My mom got the giggles over all the nudity. I guess it is pretty silly to see Beowulf fighting Grendel in the nude. But hey, maybe that's how heroes used to do it!

Gary took me to see "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" yesterday and it was utterly charming. I was surprised he wanted to see it but he really enjoyed it. In fact, in his true "grumpy man" fashion, he said, "That film is too good for kids!" It is, in fact, very sweet and doesn't talk down to its audience. And I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't some unnecessary villain thrown in for no reason. Very cute.

I started knitting a Christmas present and I am reminded about what a slow knitter I am. Maybe I shouldn't have taken on such an ambitious project. I may have to find something smaller. But at least I'm knitting again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

LBC Holiday Giving Challenge

Hello Friends.

I have decided to do something different this year for the holidays. There is an organization that I really believe in called Heifer Project International. Heifer Project provides animals and the skills to care for them to people all over the world. These individuals then go on to share the first babies from their Heifer animals with community members. The program has been proven successful and really embodies the old saying "If you teach a [person] to fish, he/she will fish for a lifetime." I am trying to raise money for Heifer Project through my two blogs this year. I would like to raise enough money to buy a llama and some chicks. If you would like to help, follow the HEIFER PROJECT link in my sidebar or follow this link.

I feel so blessed this holiday season with my home, my family, my friends and my pregnancy that I have to share the wealth.

If you donate and leave me a comment that you did, I will enter your name in a drawing for a custom prize that I will send out in January. Any amount is welcome.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving with Hoops and Yoyo

It is becoming a tradition in my family to watch this little Hoops and Yoyo sketch. I post it here in the hope that it will make you laugh.

Don't forget to wiggle your can (of craberry sauce) this Thanksgiving!

LINK

Hope your Thanksgiving is full of family, friends and many blessings!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Little Piece of Colorado

My friend Gary visited from Colorado this weekend. It was so great to see him and to have the chance to show him around. He is just the sweetest guy and one of the few creative/crafty men I know. We took him to wine country for a little wine tasting and headed to the coast yesterday for his VERY FIRST view of the ocean! It was really foggy but he still got to stand on a sandy beach and watch the waves crash. I hope he and his wife Erin will come back soon for a longer visit.

My mom arrives tomorrow for Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law will follow soon after. Since I am still feeling really sick and rundown (which could be related to my anemia), I will have to let my mom do the table-decorating this year. But she's better than I am at that anyway.

I'd love to hear about your Thanksgiving plans so drop me a comment if you get a chance. There are so many blessings in my life and I love Thanksgiving because it gets me focused on those blessings.

Thank for you for reading my little blog and sharing in my life. And thanks for letting me share in your blogs as well. Blessings to you all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Arm and Hammer toothpaste.

LINK

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Degree Deodorant for Men. These are especially great for airline carry-on bags!

LINK

Mixed Feelings

Hi Everyone! I made it back safely from my conference. It was a very productive weekend but the travelling was hard on me. I was really sick on Friday. But Saturday I felt good and went to the conference all day and dropped by Disneyland in the evening to see the holiday decorations. I adored the Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion. Just wonderful!

I wanted to take a moment and respond to Daisy's comment on my "announcement" post. We tried for five months before getting pregnant. I honestly thought it would take longer. I have watched so many of my friends struggle with infertility and miscarriages. I entered into trying for a baby from a very pragmatic place. I didn't believe it would happen right away and I even convinced myself that I would probably have problems conceiving. For no particular reason. Gary and I took a very laid-back approach. When I realized that I was pregnant, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Since then, I have been worrying about miscarriage. Now that I am at twelve weeks and have heard the heartbeat, the chances of miscarriage are low but I still worry.

I also feel a sense of guilt that the process has been relatively easy for me while so many of my friends have struggled. I think to myself, "Why did I get so lucky? What right do I have to be so blessed?" But then, I just remind myself to be thankful. There will be other issues down the line for me. For example, I will not be able to be a stay-at-home mom. I probably won't even be able to work part-time. It is expensive to live here and our excellent insurance comes through my job so I have to keep working. That is going to be a real challenge for me. But I guess I just have to have faith that things will work out.

I'll keep you posted as things progress. In the meantime, I'm counting my blessings.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free Hallmark Connections Holiday Card. Choose one of seven styles.

LINK

Off to Anaheim

I have been a member of the Junior League since 2002. Which is kind of hard for me to believe. Has it really been that long? Anyway, I have been a member of three different Leagues during this time period. The first two were very large. I worked really hard to be an active presence and to meet people but it is easy to get lost in the crowd. The League I belong to now is much smaller and I just love it. It is easy to get to know people and to be an active and visible participant. I was chosen as a delegate to go to the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Organizational Development Institute this weekend. It is a chance to get some hard-core training in lots of League areas and I can't wait. I would never have had this opportunity in a larger League. One of the things I most value about the Junior League are the training opportunities. I have learned so much as a volunteer.

The conference is going to be in Anaheim. I am going with three other women. I don't know them at all and I'm a little worried that they might not be very fun to go with. Plus, we are living at 3:45am tonight!!! That is going to be really tough for a nauseous pregnant woman like me. I can't wait to get to the conference, though. It ends fairly early each day so I am scheming about how I can go to Disneyland Saturday evening. Even if it is just to walk around and go in the Haunted Mansion I would be happy. (although I have been dying to try the new FINDING NEMO ride) I'll be gone until Sunday evening so I probably won't get to post for a few days. Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Veterans' Day. And send me good wished for a safe journey. I'll need them!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

LBC Special Announcement

Guess what I did this morning?


I heard my baby's heartbeat! Yes it's true! I'm pregnant.


It has been a tough couple of months as I have fought fatigue and morning sickness. But it's all worth it.

This is my first baby and I couldn't be more excited. My current due date is May 29 which is right around my birthday. I can hardly wait.

Monday, November 05, 2007

California Fire Relief

If you know of anyone who lost their home in the California fires, please pass on this information:

Living Spaces furnitures stores are offering a free mattress set to people who lost their homes in the recent fires.

Find the info here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Giving Christians a Bad Name

I'm hopping mad this morning. On my way to work I heard about this and nearly lost it. I have talked before about how frustrating it is to be a liberal Christian. How infuriating it is to have your religion appropriated by people who corrupt it for their own political means. How heartbreaking it is to have such a wonderful message distorted into something that is a source of hate and divisiveness. The very idea that "Christians" are tormenting the families of our fallen military dead in order to promote an anti-gay message is incomprehensible to me. How can anyone honestly think that is acceptable behavior? I wonder what would happen if people started protesting at all funerals of people connected to Westboro Baptist Church. To the members of that church, I have one thing to say: "SHAME ON YOU!" Even if you are not one of the graveside protestors, by allowing your fellow church members to engage in such un-Christian and shameful behavior makes you complicit. The families of these fallen military servicepeople have suffered enough. Take your hate agenda somewhere else! It has no place in Christianity.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thrill the World

*UPDATE* I took down the video because I was worried it was making my blog load slowly. You can still see it here.

This is too great not to share. A bunch of people in San Francisco attempted to break a world record with the most people dancing to "Thriller" at the same time. This is a clip of one group in Dolores Park in SF. I wish I had known about it. I would love to learn this choreography!

Earthquake!

Well, I got to experience my second earthquake last night. I was watching television and the house started shaking as if a giant truck had just driven by. It wasn't enough to knock anything down. Toulouse didn't care for it. He jumped up on the couch with me. It is a very strange feeling indeed. I hope that is the only Halloween trick that I get this year.

I have a feeling that it will be a pretty low-key Halloween for me today. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with lots of candy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

*UPDATED* Adam Update (last one?)


It looks like Adam, the little burned kitten, will be adopted as early as next week. He is doing great and has grown a lot of new fur. And he has the sweetest face!

See current photos here.

One of the greatest things about Adam's story is that he has brought attention to the evils of animal cruelty and also to the plight of homeless cats in our area. He is our own spokeskitty!

More good news: the two girls who burned Adam have plead guilty and are awaiting sentencing. I hope we send a swift and strong message about how we don't tolerate animal cruelty by people like these girls or by people like Michael Vick!

*UPDATE* Adam is officially being adopted by his caretaker Tina! I am so thrilled. Tina has been with Adam constantly since he was brought in and they have a very special bond. The above photograph of Adam and Tina is borrowed from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. What a wonderful happy ending!

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free coupon for any one size or flavor of Nestle Juicy Juice up to $3.50.

LINK

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reunion (with food)

I went to my 10-year college reunion last weekend in San Antonio. I actually didn't spend much time at the reunion. I decided I would rather bum around San Antonio and see what has changed. And eat lots of good Tex-Mex food. Gosh, I miss Texas food. I stuffed myself silly. I found this article today over at Homesick Texan and it made me evern hungrier for Tex-Mex! I am constantly searching for a good cheese enchilada with rice and beans here in California. So far, I haven't found it.

Besides eating, I got to visit lots of museums in San Antonio including the new Museo Alameda which is just wonderful. We also attended a Branford Marsalis concert which was great. Since we went to the concert, I had to cut my attendance at the reunion reception short. It felt like I didn't recognize anyone! But I did see a lot of great people and did a little catching up. And I had brunch with my buddies Sonya, Melanie and Suni on Sunday morning at our old favorite haunt, Madhatter's.

I miss Texas a lot. I'd love to live there again. But my husband refuses to leave California. Oh, well. Guess I'll have to plug along in wine country. (without decent Mexican food!!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free bag of Halloween candy at KMART!

Go to this link.

Enter the code: Terry Ravas

They will e-mail you a printable coupon for one free bag of Halloween candy. It lists the participating brands but there are good ones like Hershey's, Reese's and Kit Kat!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wake Up!





Clearly, someone has been videotaping my cat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

THE REINCARNATIONIST by M. J. Rose



There was a movie that came out many years ago starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson called "Dead Again." I could not get that movie out of my head while reading THE REINCARNATIONIST. For those of you that really enjoy fast-paced novels of intrigue and suspense, you will probably like this book.

Archaeologists uncover the tomb of one of the last Vestal Virgins in Rome and an artifact in the tomb may hold the key to reincarnation. Many individuals are desperate to get their hands on the artifact and the race to possess it is the focus of the plot. Several of the characters in the novel experience spontaneous past-life regressions, so the story encompasses not only the present but also ancient Rome and the mid-1800s.

I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. However, if you are a reader who enjoys tidy endings, you may be a bit frustrated. I felt as irritated as I did with the final episode of the SOPRANOS. I needed more! I couldn't believe the story ended where it did. Still, it was a fairly satisfying book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

WITCH'S TRINITY by Erika Mailman



I found WITCH'S TRINITY to be quite chilling. And not because it is particularly gruesome. I think it bothered me because deep down I feel that we are still capable of reaching such depths of mob mentality.

The book focuses on the Inquisition and witch trials in Germany in the 1500s. A small German town has been suffering from famine and a priest arrives in town to help them find a "solution." The story is narrated by an old woman named Gude who fears the consequences of the priest's actions. I found it hard to put the book down. The idea of burning women as witches seems ludicrous in this day and age. And yet it wasn't so long ago when mobs would lynch black men in the South. Or how about the McCarthy hearings where friends denounced each other? It is easy to get along with everyone when things go right. True character comes out when things go wrong. This historical novel is a cautionary tale for all of us.

Singer-Songwriters I Know

We went to see two of my musician friends play last night. They are so freakin' talented! It is a joy to hear them play. One of them is Ms. Heather Combs. Heather's band has been voted "Best Band in the Bay Area." Gary and Heather have been friends for years and she even played our first dance song at our wedding last year. The other musician is Mr. Rob Giles. I actually grew up with Rob back in Texas. We went to elementary school together all the way through high school graduation. Coincidentally, he and Heather are buddies from college. Small world! They are both wonderfully talented musicians and I can't wait to hear them both play again at the Live.Music.Now event at the end of the November. It's sure to be wonderful concert event. If you are in the Bay Area, don't miss it!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a free sample of Carmex. I love this stuff and my husband is a total addict!!!

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Bain de Terre's hair strengthening mud masque.

LINK

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm Only Happy When it Rains (at night)

I had a rough night on Monday night and I was also sick all day yesterday. Yuck. Stomach ailments are the worst! But I was thrilled when it started raining yesterday evening. It rained through most of the night. I always do my best sleeping when it rains. I still miss a good Texas thunderstorm but I will settle for a nice heavy rain. At night, that is. It was perfect weather to read my current book, WITCH'S TRINITY. I hope to finish it soon and I will post a review.

Monday, October 08, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of BASIS sensitive skin bar soap.

LINK

SCANDAL OF THE SEASON by Sophie Gee


If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will probably enjoy SCANDAL OF THE SEASON. This book explores the story behind Alexander Pope's famous poem, "The Rape of the Lock." The story centers around a group of young people in the fashionable London social scene. There is Jacobite intrigue and a lot of husband-hunting! And right in the center of everything is young Alexander Pope.

The book is a very quick read with a simple premise. It would be a good vacation read.

Friday, October 05, 2007

This and That

My hubby took me to see Nellie McKay last night. I just love her! She's so cute and talented and very very funny. Her style is indescribable. If you haven't heard her music, she's kind of like Billie Holiday meet Liz Phair with a little comedy thrown in. I really enjoyed the show and Gary did too.

On a shopping note, I am a big fan of SPANX bodyshapers. They are so great. But I can never afford them. Well, my League is doing a fundraiser and you can get 25% off through October. I'm going to stock up!!!

Just go to the SPANX website and enter the promotion code: NAPA.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Drowning in Books!

I just picked up a bunch of books from the library and now I am overwhelmed. Help!!!

Here is my current "to be read" pile from the library:

AWAY by Amy Bloom

GHOST WRITER by John Harwood

ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

SCANDAL OF THE SEASON by Sophie Gee

SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl

STILL SUMMER by Jacquelyn Mitchard

STRAWBERRY FIELDS by Marina Lewycka

WITCH'S TRINITY by Erica Mailman

I am currently reading:

ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE by Barbara Kingsolver

AGAINST THE DAY by Thomas Pynchon (still!!!)

I better get busy. I wish work didn't get in the way of my reading time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

This one may take a little work but it's a good one. Be sure you are hooked up to a printer before you start.

Get a FREE package of Kraft LiveActive Cheese snacks from the Prevention website.

LINK

Keep refresing the page until the green LIVEACTIVE banner shows up on the top of the page. Click on the banner and then you can print the coupon. Can't wait to try it!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know it's a little early but I was wondering if you could add a little something to your list. I've been a very good girl this year. I think it might be hard to get this down my chimney but I have faith that you can do it.

Your biggest fan,
Malady

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a free sample of new Dunkin Donuts coffee.

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Sorry that I haven't been finding a lot of these lately...

Get a free sample of Jergens moisturizer.

LINK

Monday, October 01, 2007

ART THIEF by Noah Charney



I have been looking forward to reading this book since I have a background in art history. My overall rating: not bad.

The story centers around a number of paintings that are disappearing around Europe. Several investigators try to solve the mystery and figure out if there is a connection between the thefts.

The book had a "Thomas Crown Affair" feel to it. Some of the discussions within the story about the nature of art and its value are really great. I felt the main flaw of the book was that there are just too many characters. It gets confusing to jump from one character to another and from one storyline to another. It makes it a little difficult to follow the story. And although I liked the ending, I still found it a little confusing. Still, it makes for a good quick vacation read.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ellen's Calendar!!!



My friend Ellen (I call her Frank) has published her own calendar! Isn't that great? It is available from DaySpring and ChristianBook.com as well as most Christian bookstores. I'm so proud of her! I ordered one right away.

Find more information on her blog.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Angie on Global Education



I have always been a big fan of Angelina Jolie. We are the same age (a month apart) and I really appreciate her passion about adoption and refugee work. I think that for a long time she was a lost soul. Maybe she still is in some ways. And I think that, like the rest of us, she's made some mistakes. She tends to be a little reckless with her heart. But I think she is a very driven person who is totally committed to her family and her humanitarian work. And in a very believable way. I got this video from Just Jared and it shows her speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday. I dare you not to get teary-eyed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby!

It is my hubby's birthday today. He turns 46! He told me he's not very excited about his birthday this year. I guess 46 feels old to him. But he doesn't look 46!!!
Hopefully, we'll get to go check out the new Mexican place downtown. It opens today. And tomorrow, we are going to the town's favorite Italian restaurant. We've never been there and we're looking forward to it. I know he would prefer to actually BE in Italy today, but hopefully Italian food will provide a nice distant 2nd place.

Hope he likes his presents!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For Gary L.



This is for my friend Gary because he is the only male blogger I know. Plus, he's pretty darn cool.

Post it on your blog with pride, my friend!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

For those of you who have little ones that are bedwetters...
Get a free pair of GOODNITES sleep boxers or sleep shorts.

LINK

Thursday, September 20, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Science Diet Nature's Best dog food.


LINK

Hmmmm....

I am Emma Woodhouse!


Take the Quiz here!






I always thought of myself as more like Anne in PERSUASION. But I guess I have Emma-like qualities as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pay It Forward Strikes Again!

My good buddy Amy shared a story with me yesterday.

Amy is pregnant and on a pretty strict budget. She had a little extra money jangling in her pocket and was really craving a burger so she decided to treat herself at a nice restaurant. Since the place was busy, they seated her at the bar.

When the time came to pay, Amy asked for the check and was told that the other gentleman who had been sitting down the bar from her earlier had paid her bill completely including the tip! The man was already gone so Amy couldn't thank him. He told the waiter he just wanted to "make her day." And he sure did! Now, Amy has that money to use on something else. Maybe her next burger craving!!! What a nice thing for someone to do.

In other news, I have a new video of that sweet kitten Adam to share!

See it here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Proof is in the Bag

Remember when I said that Neiman Marcus has always played a role in my life? Well, I found proof today.


EXHIBIT ONE:
Here I am playing with a large Neiman Marcus bag in 1975.


EXHIBIT TWO:
Here I am on another occasion playing with a small Neiman Marcus bag in 1975.


See? I wasn't kidding!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a sample pouch of FiberOne Cereal.

LINK

Friday, September 14, 2007

You Belong in 1951

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Tyra Schools Britney

I told myself I wasn't going to blog about Britney's lousy VMA performance but then I found this today. I'm a TOP MODEL fan (I admit it!) and I remember this particular tirade of Tyra's. Part of me wishes that Tyra would take Britney in hand and help that mess of a girl! Anyway, enjoy!

LINK

Thursday, September 13, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Choose from four samples of SUNSWEET fruit products. (you can order all four!!!)

LINK

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Folgers Gourmet Selections. *new link* Choose one of four flavors.

LINK

Falling into Reading



Callapidder Days is hosting another reading challenge for Fall and I'm looking forward to it! I already have a bunch of books on my list that I can't wait to read:

THE REINCARNATIONIST by M.J. Rose

SCANDAL OF THE SEASON by Sophie Gee

STRAWBERRY FIELDS by Marina Lewycka

ART THIEF by Noah Charney

RUN by Ann Patchett

WITCH'S TRINITY by Erika Mailman

ABSTINENCE TEACHER by Tom Perrotta

BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo

ALMOST MOON by Alice Sebold

As I read each of these books, I will link the title to my review.

I can't wait for the colder weather. I'm going to hibernate in my big comfy chair in the library with my reading and my knitting!!! If anyone would like to do a readalong with me on one or more of these titles, let me know! As Pooh always said, "It's so much friendlier with two!"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Neiman Marcus!

I know that to a lot of people Neiman Marcus represents a lot of negative things about our society---conspicuous consumption, snobbishness, elitism, etc. But to me, Neiman Marcus is much much more than all of that. You don't get to be a 100-year-old store without something a little special.

I grew up in Dallas where Neiman Marcus began. My parents would take me to the downtown store to look at the magical window displays. Especially at Christmas. On a few special occasions, I even got to dress up and go to the Zodiac tea room where all the glamorous "ladies who lunch" went. When the holidays drew near, I would haunt the mailbox waiting for the Neiman Marcus Wish Book. Nowhere else could I find such fanciful holiday offerings. As soon as the Wish Book hit my mailbox, I would grab it and flip to the His/Her gift for that year. When I got older, my father started working in the Neiman Marcus Christmas store over the holiday season. We would always pick out a special ornament or other treat to buy using his discount. My father really loved working there. Another special thing about Neiman Marcus is the emphasis on customer service. My mom once gave me Stanley Marcus' book called MINDING THE STORE that outlined his philosopy about retail customer service.

But Neiman Marcus was also much more than shopping. They used to have this wonderful multimedia experience called the Neiman Marcus Showcase at the downtown Dallas store where you could see the history of Neiman Marcus. It felt like Disneyland to me. And then there was Fortnight. Each Fortnight would focus on a different country. We would mark our calendars with the special events that would be taking place highlighting the country of focus that particular year. There were food events, entertainment and special gift items. I remember for the China Fortnight, you could buy a Sharpei dog. I wish they still had Fortnight. It was always so wonderful.

When I walk into a Neiman Marcus store, I feel like a princess. Especially going up the escalator surrounded by cascading butterflies. You don't have to buy anything. Looking is half the fun. As Tiffany's was Holly Golightly's pick-me-up, Neiman Marcus is mine.

So, Happy Birthday Old Friend! I'll be seeing you soon!

Review of the SIMPLY VERA Collection

I was so excited to go to Kohl's this weekend and see the new Vera Wang collection. Talk about underwhelming! The clothes were cute enough but the price points were ridiculous! Kohl's is clearly not thinking about its customers. What Kohl's customer is going to spend $79 on a pair of cheap leather Vera Wang gloves and $100 on a Simply Vera cheap-looking leather purse?! I tried on a few things but I just couldn't justify $89 for a dress and $58 for a chiffon tank. Plus, most of the clothes have these cheap-looking satin ribbon belts that really look awful. I wouldn't mind the quality so much if the price points weren't so high. I think Target is really good about stuff like that. The Simply Vera designs were fine but the fabrics and other materials were pretty cheap. I didn't buy one thing. Guess I'll just have to wait for the new Temperley collection this hits target on the 16th.

In other news, I finished GHOSTWALK which is about Isaac Newton and started DOUBLE BIND. I'll post reviews later!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Outlandish Daydreaming

If you are not familiar with Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series, this post will have no interest for you. Even if you are familiar with it, it might not have interest for you. Anyway...

When I first saw the OUTLANDER books, I thought "definitely not for me!" I'm not a fan of romance or fantasy. I finally gave in when Vieve recommended them. And they are ripping good yarns. (and yes, the "ripping" includes the ripping of clothes) They are simply very entertaining books. I have read the first two and I'm waiting for the third to arrive.

I think these books would make a great movie or two or three. And I have been casting the film in my head. I think in her younger days, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio would have made a wonderful Claire. But now, I can think of no one better than Kate Winslet. (with brown hair, of course) Maybe Kate Beckinsale in a stretch.

Now, Jamie is a tough one. Visually, I think of Matthew McConaughey. But I know Matthew would never be able to do the accent. So, I'm casting my vote for Christian Bale. I know this seems an unlikely choice but he is a great actor and has proven he can get "hunky" in BATMAN.

As for Jonathan Randall, I can't get the image of Jason Isaacs out of my head. He would be so perfect! He has already proven he can be a baddie as Malfoy's father in HARRY POTTER. My second choice would be James Purefoy. I just loved him in HBO's ROME. Well, what do you think? Who would your choices be?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Play the HANES Backstage instant win game to win possible prizes. I won a ComfortSoft t-shirt! You can only play/enter once! Find nine Hanes products and qualify for an instant win!

LINK

P.S. Let me know if you need help finding the stuff!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adam Update

You may remember the little black kitten named Adam that I have been blogging about. He was seriously burned by two teenaged girls who are currently being held in juvenile hall.

The good news is that Adam is doing really well. He had his final skin graft surgery and his new fur is coming in gray and white! Some of his musculature is deformed from burns so his back will be a little deformed and he will have a limp in one of his hind legs but he will be fine. He has an amazing little spirit!

A petition is currently going around to create "Adam's Amendment" which would call for harsher punishment for people convicted of harming an animal. (Michael Vick, anyone?!) If you are interested in signing it or reading more about it, go here.

To see the latest photos of Adam, go here. People are sending him lots of little shirts to wear to protect his back and they are so cute. He has also befriended a chihuahua and another kitten!

I Rock?


Hey lookee what I got!
Thanks Vieve! I know it's silly but I always get excited when I get these awards. I think of all my blogging buddies have already gotten this but I would nominate:

Ellen
Purl
Bookfool
Literary Feline
Hippie Dog

Award buttons are cool!

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of new AQUAFRESH Advanced toothpaste.
(these are great travel sizes to take on vacation or donate to a local shelter!)

LINK

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cool Quote

"I really didn't realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. They are subversive. You think they are just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn't mess with them."--- Michael Moore

Playing Tourist

My mom is in town while D.H. is away camping so we have been doing some touristy stuff. It is Fashion Week in San Francisco so I took my mom to one of the shows. It was really fun. My mom said it was like being on PROJECT RUNWAY. I wouldn't be able to fit my big toe in any of the fashions but it is fun to see them.

On Friday, we took a double-decker tour bus around San Francisco and saw some of the sights. The cemetary at Mission Dolores was beautiful. I love old cemetaries. There was one near my house in Denver and I used to love to explore it. We also stopped at the Japanese Tea Garden which was wonderful. I can't wait to go back and have tea there sometime. On Saturday, we boarded the ferry to Alcatraz. I didn't know what to expect and I was surprised at the history there. Much of the island is in sad shape and is in desperate need of repair. There are lots of Civil War-era buildings that need attention. I was shocked at how tiny the cells were. They were almost the shape the twin bed. One tiny sink and toilet with a small square table and seat. We had the opportunity to be closed inside of an isolation cell but we opted out. I have some issues with claustrophobia. We then headed over to Angel Island which was amazing. So beautiful! You can camp and hike there. Angel Island has an old Civil War-era base as well as the infamous Angel Island Immigration station. Some people have compared Angel Island to Ellis Island. They had very different purposes, however. In a shameful episode from our past, American resented the influx of Chinese immigrants who were "taking all the jobs" and causing a "burden" on society. So, many of the young immigrants were rounded up and held at Angel Island in deplorable conditions until they could be deported. The most upsetting thing is that when you hear and read about this place, it echoes many of the sentiments that we are hearing today about Mexican immigrants. It is really chilling to think about.

After we got back to land, I drove my mom down the infamous crooked Lombard street. It was fun!

Even though I live within easy driving distance of San Francisco, it is really fun to go exploring.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm Back!

Well, I got back from my Texas sojourn and I was not carried off by Hurricane Dean!

It was nice to be back home. I got to spend time with my mom and eat lots of yummy Texas food. My friend B's wedding was wonderful. I guess that technically it was a commitment ceremony. B. exchanged vows with his partner O. and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It was a beautiful ceremony and such a fun reception! The judge began the ceremony by saying that the ceremony was not a legal ceremony because the law did not recognize their love. However, it is significant that they would choose to make this kind of public statement and commitment in spite of that fact. I guess I will never understand why so many people are so passionately opposed to gay marriage. Shouldn't we support love and commitment wherever we find it? As a Christian, I am well aware of the argument that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible. You know what? So is eating bacon and shellfish. And what about people who choose not to circumcise their boys? That was a rule in the Bible too. I'm not saying that I don't believe the Bible is incorrect. But I believe those laws were in place for very specific temporal and cultural reasons. I believe that God is love. I will always support loving committed relationships. Especially when it involves someone I care about as much as B.

I would love to share photos of the beautiful ceremony and the handsome grooms with you but I feel I need to protect the privacy of my friends. Because so many people don't understand this type of ceremony. Maybe one day, we will celebrate and respect such diversity in committed relationships. I hope so. I really believe that things do get better. Change just seems a little slow sometimes.

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get one of three free samples of KASHI snack foods!


LINK

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of PUREX Ultra Concentrate detergent.

LINK

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You May All Go to Hell and I Will Go to Texas!

I'm not really cursing you. The title of this post is a famous saying by Mr. Davy Crockett!

Well, my friends, I am going home to Texas for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. There may even been a thunderstorm or two in my future. I really miss good Texas thunderstorms. I'm hoping I will also find some inspiration for my next post on the power of NICE. You may not know this but Texas is not only known as the Lone Star State but also as the Friendship State. I think people down there are mostly pretty friendly.

Anyway, I will post again when I return next week. Until then, I hope you all have a Texas-Sized Weeekend full of fun!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of PLEDGE wipes.


LINK

Monday, August 13, 2007

Does Nice Matter?

I was given the Nice Matters award over on my crafting blog today. It really made my day. It also got me thinking about the concept of "nice." I make a real effort to try and be nice to everyone. I don't always succeed. But I'm a firm believer that you get what you send out. Sometimes, I get a little frustrated, though.

Here are some of my top NOT NICE things that people do:

1) I always try to let other drivers in when they are trying to change lanes or make a difficult turn. It bugs me when people don't wave thanks. I know this seems silly but back in Texas, people always wave thanks. I think it's a nice way to acknowledge your fellow human beings. I have never seen someone wave thanks in California. Not once.

2) It really upsets me when I am walking out a door right behind someone and they drop it in my face. I always hold doors for people----men and women. I just think it's a respectful thing to do.

3) I really hate it when customers jabber on their cell phones when checking out in a store. I think it is really rude to the salesperson.

4) Maybe I'm just getting old but I don't like it when people are cursing loudly or sharing off-color jokes and stories in mixed company. Now, I have been known to cuss. And I have been known to tell a bawdy tale. But I try not to do those things around people I don't know. Because you never know when it might make someone uncomfortable.

5) When people are consistently late for things. I think it's important to try and be on time because it is a sign that you respect and value other people's time.

6) When people reveal the plot of stories and movies very early on. It just ruins it for everyone else.

Can you think of some things that are just NOT NICE? If so, leave a comment. I'd like to hear about them. I'll explore this issue more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

The first 2000 people to sign up on Wednesday, August 15 will receive a free FULL-SIZE tube of Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse lotion. Sponsored by SHAPE magazine.

These contests usually start at midnight EST. The site does not specify what time the promotion starts. Good luck!!!

LINK

Thursday, August 09, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a free NIVEA Goodbye Cellulite Patch!!! (wonder if it's big enough to cover my whole bum!!!)

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of chocolate CHEX. If you get a log-in screen, don't fill anything out. Simple click the "Log On" button and it will take you to the sample form.


LINK

High-End Designers Go "Slumming"

Isaac Mizrahi was the first. Now, everyone wants to get in on the act.

I have to admit I'm a bit of a fashion junkie. And ever since Target started showcasing high-end designers at bargain prices, I have been hooked! Currently, they have a line by Libertine. I happened to be in a Target the day they put out the new merchandise and I snapped up a few key pieces. The next designer to hit Target stores will be Temperley whose line debuts in stores in September. After that, be on the lookout for Alice Fetherston's design in December/January.

Not to be outdone, Payless Shoe Source is partnering with Abaete and Lela Rose for two fall lines. I can't wait to see the Lela Rose designs. I think they all run in the $25 range. Whoopee!!!

And, believe it or not, Vera Wang is coming out with a "Simply Vera" line for Kohl's in September. It will be interesting to see how her design vision translates to "bargain."

Finally, in naughtier news, the glamorous Dita Von Teese is lending her image and influence to a pinup-inspired line for Frederick's of Hollywood. This I can't wait to see!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free travel candle when you sign up for Oxygen's newsletter.

LINK

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This Day in (My) History

On August 7, 1975, my parents arrived at Dallas/Love Field airport to meet a social worker from El Paso. She had a special delivery.

Some people can say that the stork brought them. The plane brought me.

Every year on this date my mother calls me and relates the story of the day my parents got me. Until August 7, I had been living with a foster family. The social worker was afraid I would get cold on the plane so she put me in an undershirt AND a winter sleeper. (this is August in Texas, people) My mom says I was screaming bloody murder, the milk in my bottle had soured and I had really bad diaper rash. (see...even then I didn't like being hot!) The social worker asked for my clothing back since it belonged to the agency. So, my parents stripped me down in the airport and put on my new clothes.

I guess I screamed so loud that a woman in the airport asked my mother, "What's wrong with your baby?!" My mother replied, "I don't know. I just got her!"

It is hard to believe that my mother was 30 when she got me and my dad was my age. Amazing!

My parents made no special requests on the application form. They said they would take the first baby available. The funny thing is, people often tell me I look just like my parents. (except several inches taller) Guess God picked the right baby, huh?
Funny how life works sometimes.

Even the cat...

Now, after reading this post you will probably say to yourself, "Malady has finally lost her mind." And you'd probably be right.

I love blogging. I love to blog and I love to read other people's blogs. And now....




...if you can believe it...


My cat has his own web page. It's like a MySpace page for cats.

LINK

Once he heard that his buddy Adam (the sweet little burned kitty) had HIS own web page, Toulouse would not be denied. Now, they are cyber-buddies. Toulouse has more online "friends" than I do!!!

And now, you must excuse me while I go find my marbles.

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Dry Cleaner's Secret!!!

LINK

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'll Take a Potholder!

So, last month was the much-ballyhooed BLOGHER conference. For those of you who aren't familiar with BlogHer, it is a community for women who blog. The conference sounded like a lot of fun but the cost of the conference plus airfare plus hotel stay was out of my league. I thought I would enjoy reading about it on other blogs. Instead, I'm just mad.

Evidently, a great deal of swag was given away at the conference. I'm always up for a good freebie! But a lot of these women are complaining because they were given such free things as POTHOLDERS! (shocking) and APRONS! (how dare they!) The common consensus is that it is offensive to give things like that to technologically-minded women because it makes it seem as if they are encouraged to get back in the kitchen. I wonder if they would complain about free high-end cosmetics. Would that say something about the world's emphasis on appearance? What about free stuff for your baby (since many of these are mommy bloggers)? Does that say something negative about women being baby machines? I think these people are way too focused on stereotypes. Maybe the issue is less that the items say something offensive about women and more that the items weren't considered good swag. I have even heard that many conference attendees were throwing the potholders in the garbage! How wasteful! If I ever get a freebie I cannot use, I always give it away or donate it. And who honestly doesn't use a potholder? Do people take food out of the oven with their bare hands? It's all much ado about nothing if you ask me. And it makes me think that people were much more focused on getting free stuff than on anything there was to be learned at the conference.

There...that's my two cents. (actually, I probably gave a nickel's worth)

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a free sample of Alagio haircare products. This is a one-time use freebie and you must use this code:
CURLCBE

LINK

You can pick which sample that you would like!!!

DNA Destiny?

I was just walking across campus and it's 59 and cloudy outside. It felt absolutely delightful. Makes me want to hibernate. Even though I grew up in Texas, I have always been very intolerant of heat. VERY intolerant. I have to have it very cold in my house in order to sleep. When I lived in Denver, I would often walk around in the snow without a coat on. That isn't to say that I don't get cold. I do. But I really like cooler weather.

As I was reveling in the cool air, I wondered whether my partiality to this weather might not have something to do with genetics. Maybe my ancestors came from cooler climes and I am genetically predisposed to those temperatures. Eh....probably not. But it's fun to think about.

My birth father was 6'2" tall, Mexican, dark-skinned with dark hair. My birth mother was 5'4" tall, Irish, blonde and fair-skinned. I ended up 5'7" tall, dark brown hair, fair skinned and freckled with blue-grey eyes. Funny, huh? Did my physical ancestors labor in the heat of Tenochtitlan? Or were they crossing the cool green fields of Ireland? Or both? Do we carry physical memories or environmental predispositions in our DNA? I don't believe in reincarnation but when I was in Mexico a long time ago visiting some of the Aztec ruins, I had a strong sense of homesickness. It was so strange. The place felt familiar to me and yet I had never seen it before. I wonder if I would feel the same thing in Ireland.

I think this weather is making me wishy-washy. Pardon my eccentricity...

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Garden Harvest Chips!

LINK

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Toulouse in the Window



He may be a naughty kitty but I think he's pretty.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Fill out DOVE survey for personalized free samples and a chance to win a sweepstakes.

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of the new LOREAL Skin Genesis.

LINK

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get your free 3-pack sample of Sunsilk shampoo, conditioner and creme. Choose one of five types.

LINK

Grumpy Kitty

Well, Toulouse has managed to sprain his elbow. Gary just took him to the doctor which Toulouse loathes. He never really minded the vet until he had to go and get several teeth pulled. Ever since then, he throws a hissy fit when he has to go there. The vet said he has lost almost a pound which is good. (he was a little plump) Gary said there were two cages of kittens in the office and Toulouse hissed at the kittens. And then, for good measure, he hissed at a PHOTO of a cat on the wall of the examination room.

Poor grumpy kitty!

Fun with Image Chef




What happens at Life by Candlelight STAYS at Life by Candlelight!

Check out Image Chef for your own fun with images!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Listerine Whitening Strips.

LINK

Monday, July 30, 2007

Green Cleaning Products?

Gary has really bad asthma as does my mother. They are very sensitive to odors in candles, perfumes and cleaning products. This can make it difficult when cleaning the house. Also, Gary and I try to buy environmentally-friendly cleaning products as often as we can. I have read a few recommendations lately of Shaklee's line of green cleaning products. I've never been a big fan of Shaklee but I though I'd look into it since we saw a booth about it at our local county fair.

The company states that their products do not contain hazardous ingredients including:
No naphthalene
No kerosene
No formaldehyde
No phenol
No cresol
No lye
No hydrochloric acid
No sulfuric acid
No petroleum distillates
No benzene
No ammonia
No paradichlorobenzene
No sodium hydroxide
No butyl cellosolve
No phosphoric acid
No chlorine
No ingredients that are hazardous to humans.
No chemicals like phosphates, chlorine, and nitrates that are harmful to the
planet.
No volatile organic compounds, chemicals that produce noxious toxins and air
pollution.

So, I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe I'll change my opinion of Shaklee.

Weekend in Review

Even though I have three-day weekends all summer, they still seem to go by as quickly as two-day weekends.

Gary took me to see "Ratatouille" which was really cute. We both enjoyed it. We also got to have cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with our friends Laura and Yohannes. They are always delightful. I finished up items for two swaps and finished knitting another bunny. I need to knit at least two more to give as Christmas/baby shower gifts. I also started a new book called DEDICATION by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. So far it is fairly entertaining.

Yesterday, Gary and I stopped by an open house on a whim. But here's the thing...we loved the house. It has so much potential. It needs a lot of cosmetic work, though. It's hard to afford a house in California much less have money for improvements. But it would be so great! I would love to stay in the house we are renting forever. I love it so much. But it's just not feasible. Someday, we may not be able to stay there anymore. So, I'd like to buy something eventually. This house we saw is SO tempting! But it is scary to think about making that leap.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of John Freida Thermal Protection OR Flawless Finishing Creme.

LINK

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

????????


My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?




Ellen's is worth $54,000. Vieve's is worth $9600. Wonder how they figure that?

Grim Reaper's Cat

Hey, animal lovers! Have you seen this? Amazing!!!

LINK

And while you are at it, check out this hilarious post over at Ellen's blog!

*DEAD* LBC Freebie of the Day

Fill out a survey and get a free 3-pack of No Nonsense socks!

This one is a little tricky. I recommend you go to the site and register FIRST before doing the survey. The site is a little slow with all the freebie addicts running over there!

LINK

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Wow, they let ANYONE have a blog these days!

My good friend Gary L. finally has a blog!

Drum roll please...

RABBIT FENCE!

Gary is a the head of a mountaineering library and he also happens to be a sometime crafter specializing in handmade cards. His lovely wife Erin makes everything from beaded jewelry to decoupaged boxes. They are the craftiest couple I know. Hopefully, Gary will post some of their creations on the new blog. Recently, I made Gary a crown since he didn't get to be a part of the recent Crown/Tiara Swap. I think a photo of him in the crown would make a nice post. Don't you?

Anyway, welcome to blogging, Gary!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Goodbye Old Friend!

The lastest Harry Potter book was delivered to my home by owl on Saturday morning. It was there when I woke up! How lovely!

I read it every chance I got. I even lugged it with me to Starbucks for my weekend coffee breaks with my hubby. I finished it late Sunday.

I'm satisfied with how the series ended. It is really hard to believe that the first one was published in 1997. I had just graduated from college and had moved to Denver to go to graduate school. It was my first time living outside of Texas and far away from my parents.

In the time that Harry Potter has been around (and in my life):

1. I moved to Colorado.
2. My father was killed.
3. I graduated with a Master's degree in anthropology.
4. I bought my first house.
5. I got a cat.
6. I went through several boyfriends and several dating situations.
7. I gained some friends and lost others.
8. I bought a new car.
9. I went through several jobs.
10. I met Gary.
11.I quit my job, sold my house and moved to California.
11.I started a new job.
13.I got married.
14.I watched the Twin Towers fall and another Bush get us into another war.
15.I started blogging.

Amazing. That's a lot of life changes. I think the SOPRANOS may have been with me through most of that as well. And now I have to say goodbye to both.

I hope that another children's book author (maybe even Rowling) will create another series that will spark people's imagination like this one has. It has been so wonderful to see kids get so excited about books!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Farewell, Harry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Possible free Nestle Crunch bar. 2000 given away daily.

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Ziploc's new Zip 'n' Steam bags. These are really cool. I got to product test them through BzzAgent.

LINK

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Do Not Disturb

HARRY POTTER READING IN PROGRESS....

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Book Quiz




You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

by Douglas Adams

Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are
quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible,
often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble,
but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to
lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Updates

Sorry I haven't written a proper post in awhile. I think I may have Blogger's Block.

I went to Denver this past weekend to visit my friends. It has been a year since I have seen most of them. It was so good to see everyone and spend time with them. In many ways, it was as if I had never left. I went to several of my favorite restaurants and did some shopping. My friends Amy and Sara held a little get-together for me as well. It was really nice. But it also made me sad. Life goes on. New groups form, new inside jokes and stories develop, babies grow up. It's just different. And, of course, that is the nature of life. But I realized how I am not really a part of that group anymore. They will always be my friends but friendships are just different when you live next to each other as opposed to when you lives states apart. I'm hoping that maybe next year I can have a girls' weekend with some of them. That would be nice.

My next trip will be going home to Texas next month. I will be there for my friend Brandon's wedding which should be a lot of fun! He is just one of the sweetest guys I have ever known. We met while working at a bookstore together in college. I'm looking forward to the trip. And I always love going home.

Here is the latest Adam update for those who are interested. The little guy is still fighting for his life. The DA has been responsive to the letter-writing campaign and the two girls are being charged with felonies. In light of the recent dog-fighting charges against Vick, I think it is more important than ever that we as a country send swift, decisive messages about animal cruelty. For a full article on Adam and new photos, go here.

There has been a wonderful outpouring of support for Adam nationwide. If you would like to add your two cents to the letter-writing campaign to the Sonoma County DA, please let me know and I will give you the e-mail address.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

I'm trying to make up for my lack of freebies lately....

Get a free sample of Tide Pure Essentials.

LINK

*NEW LINK* LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a coupon for a free 3 lb. bag of the new PURINA ONE for either cats or dogs.

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of the new ALWAYS pads with better adhesive.

LINK

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

This is a POSSIBLE freebie. Familiar with the uber-comfy SOFFE shorts? Well, you can join their fan club. (mostly geared towards teenagers or those who wear smaller sizes) I have heard from A LOT of people who joined the fan club and received a box full of shorts, t-shirts and other goodies. Fingers crossed!!!



LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Olay's Total Effects Foundation and lipcolor.

LINK

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness/Pay It Forward Contest


You all know that I am big believer in the Random Act of Kindness/Pay it Forward concept. I regularly surprise people in the drive-thru at Starbucks by buying their coffee for them.

Well, Jennifer over at Wilson Six is having a contest to promote this kind of behavior. So, post about the contest at your blog and link it back to Jennifer and you could win a great prize! But, more importantly, go out and do something randomly kind and wonderful for somebody. Here are some suggestions:


*leave something for a neighbor

*Pay for the coffee of the car behind you at your local coffee shop

*Send a note to someone that you have not talked to in ages

*Buy the sweet Wal-mart greeter a soda as you leave the store

*Have your children get involved

*writing a thank you note to someone who would never expect it and maybe one you have been thinking in your head but have not taken the time to do it

*track down an former school teacher and let them know the great affect they had on you

*the next time you leave the store tell the manager something you enjoyed

*pick a family member and write tell them why you love being in their family

*send your spouse or friend a note at work

*buy lemonade from any kid selling it on the street


GET CREATIVE!!!

Here is the link to Jennifer's site:

LINK

Now, go forth and be NICE!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Latest on Adam the Kitten

yes, I'm still obsessed with this...

So, Adam is doing really well. The DA was deliquent in charging the two 15-year-old girls responsible for burning Adam but after a focused letter-writing campaign, the girls have been arrested. I'm really thankful for this. I hope that if nothing else, these girls will be forced to go into some pretty serious court-mandated counseling.

A video has been posted of Adam playing. If you are worried about his appearance, I can tell you that he looks pretty good. See Adam here.

There are also some really sweet photos of the little guy here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free trial-sized sample of Aquafresh Advanced!

LINK

Monday, July 09, 2007

SICKO

*WARNING* RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA AHEAD!

So, I went to see "Sicko" on Friday. I try to never miss a Michael Moore film. This one was particuarly good and particularly eye-opening. I don't want to give too much away. I want you to go out and see it. Right away.

The film focused mostly on the those of us who have insurance and are still getting stung by the health system. I am a healthy white collar worker on an HMO and this film really got me worried. And I happen to think that it is really embarrassing that not only England, Canada and France take better care of their people than we do but also CUBA!!! (not that I really have anything against Cuba) When did we stop valuing our citizens? Did we ever?

I guess what bothered me the most about this film is that we are supposed to be a largely Christian nation but we don't invest in our people. Moore made a good point. We have free primary and secondary education, free libraries, free police and fire safety services...why not healthcare? Well, obviously we all know the answer to that. There is big money to be made in healthcare and insurance. I would be willing to bet that virtually every representative and senator on Capitol Hill has money in their pockets from some health interest.

I have always felt that it is not enough to be a Christian in name only. I think God wants us to go out and take care of one another. We cannot focus solely on the afterlife. We need to look around us and care for our fellow human beings. So, why aren't Christians up in arms demanding free healthcare for all? Wouldn't that be a real family value? Shouldn't Christians focus on investing in people rather than pharmaceutical companies? What the heck is wrong with us?

Maybe Moore just got me riled up. He has a habit of doing that. But I am honestly sick of all of this. I want to know that if I get cancer or some other major disease or health complication that I won't be dropped from my insurance or that I will have to go into debt just to pay for basic healthcare. Don't you?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dewey Diaries

If you haven't seen this blog, I recommend it. Especially for people who work in libraries or other customer-service related industries. It is written by a circulation clerk in a public library and proves that the truth is often much much stranger than fiction. Since this individual is not a blogger, I help maintain the blog. Plus, it helps for security reasons.

Dewey Diaries

One Down, ? to Go

...and a good time was had by all. Well, my first anniversary was really nice. We escaped to Sonoma for two nights and stayed at a beautiful hotel, had dinner at a lovely restaurant and had a delightful massage. All provided by my mom through an auction item that she won at an event. We braved 100 degree weather and watched the parade in the Square and then headed over to a big field last night to watch the wonderful fireworks.

I gave Gary the PLANET EARTH dvds and two small parchment pamphlets tied with ribbon that I found at Dave Eggers' Valencia writing workshop in San Francisco. I am still working on that "creative" gift idea. Gary is going to give me opera tickets and he made me the cutest framed document. It lists all of the years of our marriage and each year that goes by, I get to open up the frame and check off another year! It's really cute.

I can't believe it has been a year since all of our fun wedding festivities in Sonoma. It really seems like only yesterday. And I wish all of our family and friends could have been with us again this year.

My friend Gary (who will be debuting his blog ANY DAY NOW) sent us a lovely handmade card and we got calls and e-mails from several friends. It is really nice to have your special day remembered.

Now, on to year two!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day Part 2

Get a free sample of Aquafresh White and Shine Berry Fresh Toothpaste.

LINK

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of SoyJoy Nutrition Bars!

Link

Friday, June 29, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

This is a really good one so HURRY!!!

Get a free pair of Hanes ComfortSoft Panties!

LINK

Another Adam Update

The most recent news:

"Just saw him this afternoon and he is up and walking around. Is grooming himself and actually washing his little ears (which were burned). He responds to his name and his caretakers. Last night at 10:00pm he was walking around on Tina (his caretaker's) bed, sniffing and exploring. His little tail was amputated yesterday which was a source of pain and infection. He seems glad to be rid of it. The most important thing I'd like to convey to you is that he does NOT appear to be in pain. Many folks have that picture of him in the PD emblazoned in their minds and I want to assure you that now when you see him crying, he is expressing his desire for attention, not crying out in pain."

That is the good news. The bad news is that is appears that two 15-year-old girls were responsible for this horrible crime. I feel really angry right now. When Gary told me that the perpetrators had been identified, I got so mad and told him, "I better never find out their names." And boy, I meant it. It seems like the world would be a better place without people who have no empathy like that. To take pleasure in the suffering of another one of God's creatures!!!! I'm a little calmer now but still so angry. What would be justice in this case? I don't know. I guess I just hope that these girls feel some sort of regret.

God Trying to Get Your Attention

I have a lot to say today but first of all, I'd like to give an Adam update.
I know many people are reading these posts thinking, "There is so much pain and suffering in the world. Why is she getting all worked up about a kitten?" And they would be right. Each day, I get on the computer and read about the people affected by the Iraq war, people suffering from AIDS in Africa, genocide in Sudan, bloggers losing their precious children, fires, floods and famine. My heart breaks a little each time. I do care. A great deal. And I store all of it up inside of me. But for some reason, this little kitten was the tipping point for me. He pushed me over the edge. Maybe it's because I'm really sensitive about animals. Maybe it's because he looks like the cat I lost last year. Maybe it's because the depths of human cruelty astound me. But Adam's story has really really affected me.

This little kitten has such a tremendous will to live. Although he had his little tail amputated yesterday, he is purring and kneading and bathing his paws. He is fighting really hard. (pardon me, while I blow my nose) This little creature has no understanding of why someone would set him on fire or even why others would take care of him. In his short life, he has seen both sides of the human psyche. And yet he still has the ability to trust and to fight. And that says something to me.

Today, I sat in Starbucks reading the book QUAKER SUMMER by Lisa Samson. It was recommended by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. Normally, when I hear about Christian fiction, my eyes roll back in my head. I'm just not a fan. But I love this book. It is exactly what I needed right now. When I got back in the car, Keb' Mo's song "God Trying to Get Your Attention" came on. (have I mentioned that I adore Keb' Mo'?) I'm wondering if this book and Adam the kitten are conspiring to get my attention in some way. I think God is trying to knock me in the head and say something. Today, I'm going to try and listen.