Thursday, May 31, 2007

Book Review Extravaganza

I'm a little behind in my book reviews so I'm going to do some quicky and dirty "Spring Reading Thing" recaps right here. (like my reviews aren't ALWAYS quick and dirty, right?)

1. Grotesque by Natuso Kirino
I think I may have mentioned this in another post but here is the official review. This book reminded me a lot of WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? (the book that "Notes on a Scandal" was based on) The book revolves around two sisters and their classmates at an elite Japanese school. It begins with the murders of two of the girls as adults and the story is told from multiple perspectives. I thought it was going to be a mystery but really it is much more about envy and elitism and the pressures of Japanese society. Although it wasn't what I expected, I did find it really interesting, if a bit long at times. The ending left me hanging which I don't tend to enjoy but the characters were well-drawn and the story was compelling.

2. Lover of Unreason by Yehuda Koren

I read about this book in the NYT Book Review and had to read it. It is a biography of sorts about Assia Wevill, the woman who broke up Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I had never even heard of Assia before. Evidently, Ted Hughes did his best to simply cover her up. The book brings Assia's story out into the light without excusing her behavior or making her a martyr. She was a fascinating woman who was truly a creation of her surroundings. It seems that I have always heard about Sylvia Plath's tragic story but I have never known about Assia and her own suicide. I got completely caught up in the book. Very interesting.

3. Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

Hamilton's latest novel takes us into Kenya where an American librarian goes to help start a camel bookmobile to small local villages in a literacy effort. The book appealed to me because of its emphasis on the power of reading. But it isn't really about books. It is about the people whose lives are affected by those books. And not always in positive ways. The story is wonderful and I was disappointed when many of the plot lines where left hanging. It felt as if the book ended too abruptly. But maybe I just wanted it to keep going! Very well done!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Free JOCKEY Ulimates Panty at Macy's. Print the coupon and bring it to Macy's from May 31-June 6.



The first runner up (and winner of the Nexxus gift pack) is....


And the grand prize winner of the highly coveted OPRAH tote goes to...


For the other entrants....I'm going to send you a small token. I am asking all contestants to e-mail me your mailing information ASAP and I'll send out your prizes. Thanks for playing!

Disneyland/Birthday Recap

I'm back! And what a week it has been!

Disneyland was wonderful. The weather was perfect and it wasn't crowded at all. Most of the rides we just walked right onto. I got to ride Haunted Mansion three times which made me happy. I have to say I was a little disappointed with the changes they made to Pirates of the Caribbean. It's all about Jack Sparrow now. Sacrilege!!! We were also two weeks early for the opening of the Finding Nemo ride. Guess I'll have to do that next time.

I'm really glad my husband likes Disneyland. I think that might have been a dealbreaker. (that and I could never be with someone who doesn't love animals!) It will probably be awhile before I get back back to Disneyland so I made sure that we did it up right!

My mom threw a lovely backyard party for me on Sunday. We had thirty people come!!! I don't think I even KNEW thirty people in Denver. My life has really changed. Mom made all of my Tex-mex favorites and Gary grilled artichokes and chicken and vegetables. It was a lot of fun. I really wasn't expecting people to bring gifts and I got so many wonderful things. Even from my faraway friends like Vieve and Gary and Purl!!! And I received some really unexpected gems as well. One couple gave me a book from their family library that was published in 1878! And a family friend gave me a set of Depression glass that belonged to his grandmother. Wow! I can't believe how spoiled I am. My cup runneth over!

I will do the birthday giveaway drawing tonight. I'd say your odds are pretty good. Maybe I'll try to find a small prize for everyone who entered. Entries are now closed.

Now, you'll have to excuse me so I can catch up on my blog reading!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

LBC Birthday Giveaway *sticky post*

"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48

This is one of my favorite bible verses and I try really really hard to live by it because I often feel like the luckiest girl in the world. So, in recognition of 32 blessed years on this earth as of May 25, I am hosting a little giveaway.

The Grand Prize winner will receive one of the coveted Oprah totes given away this year full of goodies and samples. (includes everything in photo above except Nexxus prize on the left)

The 2nd Prize winner will receive a Nexxus haircare gift set.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post AND TELL ME HOW YOU FOUND MY BLOG. Include your contact info. I will accept entries until I do the drawing on Tuesday night, May 29.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm Going to Disneyland!

My husband is taking me to Disneyland tomorrow for my birthday. I am so excited! I have to say I really love it there. I was hoping we would be there in time to try out the new Finding Nemo ride but it opens a week AFTER we will be there. I'll still get to go on my favorite ride---the Haunted Mansion.

Two years ago, I got engaged on May 23 and then went to Disneyland on my birthday two days later. Now, we get to re-enact that happy time.

So, I will be signing off for the week. We will go back to our regularly scheduled blog programming on Wednesday, May 30. I hope you all have a lovely week and that you will excuse me while I go wish upon a star!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Eight Things About Me meme

So, Bookfool tagged me for this meme.

Here are the rules:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged: write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged and remind them to read your blog.

It's going to be hard to find eight weird things about me since I have already posted the 100 THINGS ABOUT ME. (see sidebar) I'll give it a shot.

1. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child....(just kidding)
I actually grew up on the poor side of an affluent neighborhood in Dallas. It was 99.99% white. My best friend was Jewish and got harassed in high school. I got in several fights about this. A football player threatened to hit me one time.

2. Besides the unexceptional fear of being alone, I have some odd fears as well. Mariachis make me uncomfortable and I am scared of cyborgs. I think the Borg on Star Trek are really scary. I went through a haunted house with my friend Dave one time and they had a Borg room. I actually trampled my friend Dave to get out of the room. Not my proudest moment.

3. I grew up in a big church that would put on lavish musicals. As a child, I was the star in many of them. This probably fueled my secret desire to go into musical theater. Too bad I didn't have the talent. (I still love singing showtunes today)

4. I have never owned a video game console but I used to love going to Dave and Buster's to blow off steam playing games. I actually had a GOLD PowerCard.

5. Sometimes, I wish I was Lara Croft.

6. I have bizarre and irrational pet peeves. For example, it enrages me when people back into parking spaces instead of entering them the "correct" way. I call those people "rear-enders."

7. One time, a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman conned and intimidated me into buying an $1800 vacuum cleaner. I consider myself a pretty strong woman so this really threw me for a loop. I eventually came to my senses and demanded that the contract be cancelled. I left the vacuum cleaner on the front porch until he came and got it.

8. Even though most people would say differently, I am an extremely shy person. Every time I go into a situation with new people, I have to draw on my old acting ability to get through it. I PRETEND to be an outgoing person. Kind of a "fake it til you make it" strategy. But it is very wearing on me and it takes a lot of effort for me to be social sometimes.

Thought of a few more...

9. I took clowning lessons for awhile and developed my own makeup and persona. It was really fun.

10. I never took ballet and was never involved in any team sports. Instead, as a child I took tap lessons and acting lessons and went on cultural excursions and attended science camp. Now you know why I am the way I am.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm gonna tag Vieve.

LBC Freebie of the Day

Try new Cheer Free and Gentle detergent.

Cheer sample

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I have been thinking about this since it happened but just couldn't bring myself to post about it.

There was a horrible accident on May 4 in Southern California. A tractor-trailer hit a minivan and killed all three children inside. They were carefully strapped into car- and booster-seats. The children were ages 5, 4 and 2. They were laid to rest last weekend.


How does one make any sense out of that? For those of us who are Christians, we are taught that death is not the end. But it doesn't make it any easier to lose someone. Much less three darling children. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for their family right now. But they are in my thoughts and they are in my prayers. And I am reminded once again at how blessed I am to have my loved ones around me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Creative Outlets

Although I don't consider myself a particularly creative person, I feel that I really need creative outlets in my life. Knitting has been really good for me. My next knitting project is a pair of baby booties and a rabbit for my friend who is due in August. (think that will be enough time?!) I was also happy to discover that the Yarn Harlot will be visiting my town soon for a booksigning so I am looking forward to that.

In other projects, I am trying to make a few things for my friend Laura. She is adopting a 9-yr-old girl from Ethiopia and is frantically trying to get her room set up. I painted a wooden initial and did a floral collage on it to hang in the girl's room. I am also working on a ribbon topiary for her bathroom. (and one for my birthday party on Memorial Day weekend) I'll try to take photos of those when they are finished.

I have come across so many crafty blogs lately that have really inspired me. I find myself haunting Michael's. I am in the process of setting up a crafting space in the garage where I can really spread out. There are so many things I want to do! Collages and scrapbooking are at the top of the list but I have also figured out what I will be making everyone for Christmas. Can't reveal that yet but I'm excited about it.

I'm thinking I may need to start a new blog for my craft projects so I won't bore everyone with them here. We'll see.

*UPDATE* Okay, I went ahead and created that extra blog. See "Crafting by Candlelight" in the sidebar. Another work in progress!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Goodbye Party

My friend Donna is having her farewell party at work today. Her last day is Thursday. I can't believe it. She has become a good friend and now she is moving away. Boo hoo.

When I left my job of five years in January of 2006, I didn't even get a card much less a party. I was so hurt. I had spent years planning parties and birthdays for other people and no one recognized my last day at all. And I was even moving away to a different state! It was really terrible. I actually cried at work about it. So, I was determined that Donna would get a good send-off.

I gathered the troops to help me put together a scrapbook for Donna. I gave each person a page to decorate and we'll put it all together at the party. I love homemade gifts so I hope this one will be meaningful for Donna. I'm gonna miss her!!!

(by the way, only a few more days to sign up for the ParTea swap. See the link at right_

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of new Colgate Total Advanced Clean!


Monday, May 14, 2007

The Landlord

If you haven't seen this yet, you must go watch it right now! (but you must also have the sort of warped sense of humor that finds shows like "The Office" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" funny)

Maybe I think this is funny because my husband is a property manager. And I thought HE was tough...


Adopting Sentimentality

Okay, I'm a fairly emotional and sentimental person. Some might call me "high strung." When I recently watched the episode of WORKOUT where they hold a memorial for trainer Doug, I cried. When I read about a family losing all three children recently in a tragic car accident in Southern California recently, I cried. When I hear about the loss of more and more American servicepeople in Iraq each day, I cry. Now, my reaction to those things may or may not be reasonable. But that is just who I am.

They have been playing Rob Thomas' song "Little Wonders" a lot on the radio lately. This song makes me cry too and I don't know why. It is from the soundtrack of "Meet the Robinsons." My mom and I went to see the movie in 3D and although it isn't one of my favorite Disney movies, it was very sweet. And I'm glad I saw it with my mom because it is about adoption and finding your place in the world.

Way back in May 1975, a 24-year-old single Irish girl in El Paso, Texas gave birth to a little girl. Evidently, the 40-year-old Mexican birth father wasn't in the picture. The young woman decided to give up her baby for adoption through Lutheran Family Social Services.

Enter a young couple in Dallas, Texas. They had applied for adoption along with their friends and were told there was a LONG waiting list. So, they decided to head to Hawaii for a nice vacation. Guess what they heard when they got to Hawaii? (this is why a lot of my nursery was furnished in a Hawaiian theme)

After being in foster care for a brief period of time, I was adopted in August of 1975. Instead of a stork, the plane brought me. My parents met me at the airport when a social worker brought me from El Paso. And the funny thing is, I look just like my parents. Except a lot taller. My whole life people have told me I look like them. My birth mother was 5'4" and blonde. My birth father was dark and around 6' tall. I ended up fair-skinned and freckled with dark brown hair and 5'7". A taller version of my (adoptive) parents. Funny how God works, huh?

I have parents so I never really wondered about my birth parents that much. I guess I'm more curious about what they look like and their medical history than anything else. My parents' friends ending up adopting two children about my age and they have been like cousins to me. Around their 18th birthdays, both of them made contact with their birth parents and it wasn't a good experience in either case.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to tell my mom yet again that I love her and Happy Mother's Day. She always says to me, "Well, I wouldn't be a mother without you."

My birthday is rolling around again very soon and it sometimes makes me think of what it must have been like for my birth mother to give me up. But she did the right thing. She enabled me to go to the family where I was meant to be. And I guess that "Little Wonders" song makes me think of that. And I get a little weepy. But that's okay. That's just me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

This Date in History

I've been blogging for almost four years now. Hard to believe.

Anyway, I went back to some earlier posts and found this one from May of 2004.


I can only marvel at how much my life has changed. My ex-boyfriend was the one who said that awful thing to me. I don't know why I was bothering to protect him in the post. The good thing about it was that it made me realize that I needed to dump him. And I did. And one month later I met my husband. Amazing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bumper Sticker Math

I love looking at the stickers people put on the back of their cars and trying to figure out what kind of person they are. I sat behind a pickup truck this morning with the following items. What kind of person does it add up to? Leave a comment with your ideas.

"I'm in the NRA and I Vote" + "America: Armed and Free" + "United We Stand" + bullet hole stickers + license plate frame that says "Driver Has No Money...He's Married" =


(of course, this is a very superficial exercise, but a fun one, I think)

Voltaire Inspiration

Warning: This post contains Christian propaganda! (wink)

There is a quote that is commonly attributed to Voltaire that I have always found meaningful:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I like this. A lot. But it is pretty difficult for me to practice that when faced with certain conservatives or other people that I REALLY disagree with. But if I want to be able to practice free speech, I have to encourage and allow others to do so as well.

I went home last night and thought more about Margalit's post. As Ricky Ricardo might put it, I feel that Christians may have a "lot of splaining to do." In the Lutheran Confession, we pray: "We have sinned against You in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves." This may be a good starting point when talking to people of other beliefs. Note that this confession does not say "Christian neighbors."

Margalit is right. Christians are charged with going out and spreading the Good News. I thought about that last night and I would like to take you on an imaginary journey with me to the time right after the death of Christ. Let's imagine for a moment that we are travelling with Thomas. (of "doubting" fame) Thomas is travelling around telling people about Jesus. Let's say he stops at a local well for some water. He introduces himself to the other travelers at the well and reveals that he is a disciple of Jesus. The other travelers haven't heard about Jesus and they listen politely. Then, one of the travelers says, "It's been nice chatting with you, Thomas, but I'm just not buying what you are selling."

Now, Thomas could have responded, "Well, that's fine but I want you to know that you are going to hell. You will be thrown into the fiery pit where you will suffer for all time and get poked by devils with pitchforks. If you aren't with me, then you are against me!" That's the way a lot of Christians respond to non-believers. Right?

But, somehow, I think Thomas would have said something like, "Okay. But I really believe this and I'm going to keep talking about it. If you want to learn more, you know where to find me."

The thing about faith is that you can't FORCE someone to believe. And I don't think you should want someone to embrace a belief out of fear. If we as Christians truly believe that God is love and we want to spread a message of inclusiveness, I think we can share our faith without judgment or anger or any of the other negative things that Christians sometimes do. Some people in this life may be receptive to what we have to say. They may ask questions and try to learn more. And others may not be interested. And that's okay. We are charged with loving our neighbors as ourselves. No matter what.

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Just My Size panties (sizes 9-14)
For the ladies like me who have ample booties!


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogging for the People

So Margalit got me thinking...(dangerous, I know)

I started reading her blog after seeing her insightful comments on "Lost" on Ellen's blog. I may not always agree with Margalit but I like it that she offers intelligent and thoughtful views on a variety of subjects. When she sees something that bothers her, she expresses herself about it. And I both appreciate and respect that. Plus, her posts often get me thinking about things.

Her recent post about Christian bloggers (see link above) was one of those posts. Christians really piss people off. And I get it. Because a lot of Christians have pissed me off with their "holier-than-thou" exclusionary attitudes. And regular readers of my blog already know that I have recently started "coming out" about my own faith. I don't want to feel as if I have to hide the fact that I am Christian anymore for fear of offending someone or being subjected to ridicule. I have to be who I am. And I started this blog in order to share my life with people. Because you never know when something you have to say might mean something to someone else. At the same time, I don't want to offend or exclude anyone. Part of me is a cultural relativist. I think that goes hand in hand with being an anthropologist. I don't expect everyone to think the same way I do. And I don't criticize them for not agreeing with me. But I don't want to be censored. Or made to feel as if I have to censor myself.

I know that not everyone wants to read posts about my Christian journey all the time so I created a separate blog for that with my pal Gary. I'm not here to proselytize. Just to share. And I hope that people understand that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mini Me and Paw Paw

This is a picture of me at about age 2 "helping" my grandfather (PawPaw) who I adored beyond all reason. It is one of my favorites.

PawPaw would let me do things like stand in the back of his pickup truck as a baby and pull out Kleenex from the box one by one. Just because it was cute. He and I also shared a sweet tooth and would have treats together. I always knew I could find candy in his bedroom. He also made sure that I had any collectible coins that came along. And sometimes, I got to sit outside with him while he smoked his pipe. I guess my version of an ideal man was based on my grandfather. And now that my ideal man has finally come along, I really regret that he will never get to meet PawPaw.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Knitting Distractions

Hello Knitting Friends!

I have to admit that I have many projects laying around the house right now waiting to be finished. I got the bright idea that I would make a lacy-edged washcloth for all of my friends with April and May birthdays. And there are a lot! The washcloth is easy but it still takes me some time to finish them since I'm a slow knitter.

Current Unfinished Projects:

Falling Leaf Patterned Shrug
My second stupid sock
Small afghan for mom
Cabled scarf

Upcoming projects:
several Wendy Bernard sweaters
knitted baby toys
baby booties
a new pair of socks

Luckily, nothing really tempted me in the new issue of Interweave KNITS.

I better get busy!!!

TeaTime Swap

One of my new favorite blogs, The ParTea Planner, is hosting a TeaTime swap!! It should be fun and I'm excited to be a part of it. If you want to join in, you must sign up by May 19th!!!

Sign up here!

LBC Freebie of the Day

Possible free Barilla product for taking long survey.

This is working for some people but not others. If it says "Quota full," simply try again later. It worked for me! I love Barilla's black and green olive pasta sauce. Yum!!

Go to this link and look for the survey link in the lower right-hand corner.

Barilla Survey

the Cat Food Revolution

Okay, this is a really random post but...

My cat is very finicky about wet cat food. He only gets Science Diet food in dry form and then, as a treat, he gets a small can of Science Diet Savory Cuts on Sunday morning. Basically, he just licks the sauce off and leaves the rest. He will not eat wet food that plops out in the shape of the can. It has to have sauce.

Well, Toulouse's regular treat food has been recalled. No more Savory Cuts. We were wondering what to do. Last week, we tried a can of Fancy Feast. Toulouse couldn't get away from it fast enough. So, we headed to our local non-chain pet food store for advice.

There is a new brand that we found that I was instantly attracted to because of the packaging. TIKI CAT!!! It is full of fresh seafood which is even dolphin-safe! There were flavors like "Ahi Tuna" and "Sardine Cutlets in Lobster Consomme." We're sushi lovers so it actually sounded a little mouth-watering even to us. We stood there in the aisle shaking the cans to see which ones were the sloshiest. (because he won't eat it if it is too tightly packed) I'm sure we looked insane.

The verdict:
He chomped it right down. Victory! I guess my cat is a Tiki cat!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Try the new Cascade 2 in 1 Actionpac.

Cascade sample

Missing You

My new internet buddy Jasclo just experienced a loss this week. She left a beautiful post about her grandmother who just passed away. And it got me thinking about the losses I have experienced.

I lost all of my grandparents between 1992 and 1997. In 1999, my father was hit by a car while walking across the street and was killed. I have no siblings and I am the only child of an only child, so it is just me and my Mom now. Everyone experiences loss. That's nothing new. Just one of those facts of life that we can't avoid. But it never gets any easier.

I was very very close to my maternal grandparents. I called them "MawMaw" and "PawPaw." They have been on my mind a great deal lately because the place I live now is very similar to the place my grandparents lived. Waco, Texas. When my mom was young, my grandparents had a farm with chickens, a great big bull named Jason, a few collie dogs and a car named "Rattle Ella." When I was little, they lived in Waco proper on an acre of land. They still had chickens and a garden. There are photos of me with a bonnet on my head helping PawPaw with the corn and the tomatoes. MawMaw was a wonderful cook and she sewed and tatted lace. They were both very active in church and community. PawPaw served in the state legislature. They were amazing people.

As I drive around my new home, I think of how much my grandparents would have enjoyed visiting me here. And I feel robbed of their presence. I deserved more time with them. Losing MawMaw at 17 and PawPaw at 21 was just too early. Losing my other grandparents and my father by 24 was almost too much. But even in that short time, they all had a profound impact on me. And I think of them all often. And I keep their memories alive.

Jasclo reminded me today how important to is to talk about the people we have loved and to remember them. So, I'm going to do that. And maybe I'll post a photo or two as well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free sample of Clorox wipes.

Clorox sample

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I have one word to describe my experience with HEART-SHAPED BOX: disappointment.

I was really looking forward to reading this book because there has been so much buzz about it. Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King and his book was picked up before word got out about his parentage. I'm not big fan of horror but I was in the mood for a good suspense/ghost story.

HEART-SHAPED BOX is about a rock star named Judas Coyne who seems to be modeled after Ozzy Osbourne. Judas has a large goth following and collects items with dark associations. His assistant sees a haunted suit for sale on an auction site. If you buy the suit, you buy the ghost. Judas can't resist. And that is how his problems begin.

Joe Hill is a good storyteller but he is not a good writer. The book feels more like a screenplay. (This is exactly how I felt about the DA VINCI CODE) Because the writing is so simplistic, the book goes very quickly. There are very few surprises. The foreshadowing is so heavy-handed that it is easy to figure out what is going to happen. It didn't feel especially suspenseful or scary. The violence towards animals really bothered me, so if you are an animal warned.

Overall, I felt as if this book was a waste of my time. I didn't really enjoy it and I didn't find it suspenseful at all. I have heard good things about Hill's previous collection of short stories so I may try that. Perhaps it will be better.