Friday, December 21, 2007
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Read about the tragedy here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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.
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!
Monday, December 10, 2007
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
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
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
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
Thursday, November 29, 2007
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
Monday, November 26, 2007
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
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
Don't forget to wiggle your can (of craberry sauce) this Thanksgiving!
Hope your Thanksgiving is full of family, friends and many blessings!
Monday, November 19, 2007
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
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
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
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
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
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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!
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
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!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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
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
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
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
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.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
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
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
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
Get a FREE package of Kraft LiveActive Cheese snacks from the Prevention website.
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
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,
Monday, October 01, 2007
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
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
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
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
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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
Here I am playing with a large Neiman Marcus bag in 1975.
Here I am on another occasion playing with a small Neiman Marcus bag in 1975.
See? I wasn't kidding!!!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
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
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!
In other news, I finished GHOSTWALK which is about Isaac Newton and started DOUBLE BIND. I'll post reviews later!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
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
P.S. Let me know if you need help finding the stuff!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
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!
Monday, August 27, 2007
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
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.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
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
Monday, August 13, 2007
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
These contests usually start at midnight EST. The site does not specify what time the promotion starts. Good luck!!!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
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
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
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.
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.
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.
Monday, August 06, 2007
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)
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...
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Poor grumpy kitty!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
The company states that their products do not contain hazardous ingredients including:
No hydrochloric acid
No sulfuric acid
No petroleum distillates
No sodium hydroxide
No butyl cellosolve
No phosphoric acid
No ingredients that are hazardous to humans.
No chemicals like phosphates, chlorine, and nitrates that are harmful to the
No volatile organic compounds, chemicals that produce noxious toxins and air
So, I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe I'll change my opinion of Shaklee.
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
Thursday, July 26, 2007
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!
My good friend Gary L. finally has a blog!
Drum roll please...
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
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.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
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.
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
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
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
Here is the link to Jennifer's site:
Now, go forth and be NICE!!!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
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
Monday, July 09, 2007
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
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!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
"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.
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.