Monday, May 31, 2010

a long weekend--in photos

Friday evening:

*tennis lessons
(The last for a while. Now that it's done snowing ;) they can just play outside. If they're still interested, we'll probably start them up again in the fall. Pictures are lousy because the court they play on is so far from the bleachers. Okay, my lack of photography skills probably has something to do with it too. Side note: Annie cracks me up--no shedding her style even for a tennis lesson.)

*our little local ice cream joint--first trip of the season

*a trip to B&N
(For the "grown-ups" anyway. Wanted one particular book, but still couldn't find it. So instead I came home with three others. Foiled by Jane Yolen, a graphic novel with fairies and girl who fences--well, I think so anyway. The Stuff of Legend Book 1: The Dark by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, another graphic novel. [Already read and loved this one, and want the next one to come out *right now*.] Push by Sapphire, and this one comes with a POINT FOR CHRIS.)


*finishing Annie's garden took much of the day (Rich and I fenced it, with a little help from Max. Annie did the bulk of the planting and watering, though she did allow Max to help a bit. She put in three cherry tomato plants and eight strawberry plants.)

*Rich, with a bit of help from Maxidoodle, began digging out a spot for the new family garden

*dinner out at Bill Grays was our reward for a hard day of yard work (The boys refused to have their pictures taken.)

*the first game in the Stanley Cup Finals (We won't talk about who won. But I did finish up a hot pad during the game.)


*Rich made us taco salad for supper...mmmmmm... (Forgot to take many pics for the day, but it was pretty much a work day with Rich working on digging up the new garden while I worked a little on the library and a lot on school stuff.)

*a trip to Borders (Again, just for the "grown-ups." But this time I found the book I've been dying to get my hands on--thanks to Chris. And yes, that would be Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. POINT TO CHRIS. But I also picked up a couple other books that look really good. This Borrowed Earth: Lessons from the 15 Worst Environmental Disasters Around the World by Robert Emmet Hernan. Trickster: Native American Tales A Graphic Collection edited by Matt Dembicki--This looks soooo good--It's a collection of over 20 Native American trickster tales, told by storytellers from various tribes, and each storyteller picked an artist whose style they thought would best match up with their story.)


*getting the new garden blocked in and adding lots of lovely composted dirt (Well, that's what Rich did. The boys were in total lounge lizard mode. I spent the day with school stuff. And Annie did homework.)

Overall, while I didn't get everything done that I'd planned, I'm pretty happy with our productivity. And we managed to have a lot of fun, too. :D

Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend, too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

hodge podge

*Our yard bloomed to life this week:

*Lots to do this holiday weekend:
--buy and plant strawberries and cherry tomatoes for Annie's garden
--finish getting Gray moved to his new "room"
--lesson plans, etc. for next week
--dig up area for our new family garden and get it framed
--catch up on emails
--do some baking for the week ahead
--weed and reshelve one wall of library
--finish The Tempest, Enchanted Night, and Water: The Drop of Life

*Gray has found his newest reading obsession: Percy Jackson. Annie and I have been telling him for ages that he'd love these books, but he didn't seem to believe us. But then his teacher started reading The Lightening Thief to the class. Well, he couldn't wait for her to finish it--he came home and finished the first book in one night. Started the second one before school the next day (first time ever that he's spent his free time in the morning reading!) and continued reading it at Annie's soccer game last night (another first--he usually spends this time running around the park with his cohort in crime). I have a feeling that before this coming weekend is out we'll have to go to the bookstore to get him the fifth one since we don't already own it. And we might as well just pick up The Red Pyramid for him while we're at it. :)

*The list of possibles for our dear friend Chris's visit continues to grow:
--Niagara Falls
--Chimney Bluffs
--bookstores and coffee
--homebrewed beer
--bookstores and coffee
--Birdsong Trail
--Mendon Ponds
--bookstores and coffee
--Bill Grays
--bookstores and coffee
--and lots and lots of hanging out...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Not serious whining, mind you. But whining nonetheless. :P

*I always forget how tiring this time of year is. Busy busy busy. We've got soccer games four nights a week, tennis lessons one night, testing, field days, field trips, etc., etc., etc. Today was pretty much non-stop and I'm exhausted.


*I don't like the heat. I know, I doesn't even get that hot here!!! But I'm wimpy, and the temp in our house has been in the mid-80s for the past few days, and I just haven't adjusted yet. I'm almost tempted to go to the grocery store just to be in the air conditioning. Almost.

*Poor Max is absolutely miserable. He suffers from chronic constipation (yeah, TMI...sorry). It's way better than it used to be, but he's been feeling lousy the past couple days. There were a couple times during his soccer game tonight when he doubled over for a moment or two. But the little trooper wouldn't give up. Broke my heart for sure though. And dingbat me forgot the camera yet again. Bad bad mom.

*I made Annie this cute little dress that I thought she'd love, and she says she does. But she hasn't worn it yet so I'm guessing she's just saying she likes it so she won't hurt my feelings. ;) Wish she'd wear it once so I could at least get a picture.

*Rich is out doing a bird and frog call count tonight (some project he's been taking part in for years). Now, I honestly do miss him any time he's gone, but I'm wishing he was here even more than usual because I'd really love a frozen margarita...and no way can I make them anywhere near as good as he can. (Even though he just uses the frozen concentrate. Which tells you how bad I am if I can't even handle that, huh?)

*I really, really want to homeschool the boys. But I'm too afraid to take the plunge. *sigh* It's all just eating away at me these days.

Yeah, yeah...enough complaining for one night...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Not feeling so hot this morning. Nothing major, honest. Just a bit under the weather. I figure a "happy list" might be just be in order.

*The Flyers are playing for the Stanley Cup!!! Un-freakin-believable!!! They only even made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth during the last game of the season...and now they've made it all the way to Stanley Cup finals!!!

*We're set to have another gorgeous day.

*I'm reading Enchanted Night. And I am positively enchanted.

*I've started exercising. Nothing fancy. Just 30 minutes on the Gazelle each morning before everyone gets up. But the really cool thing is that it's become something I look forward to! I pop in a Criminal Minds DVD, and sometimes I find it hard to make myself stop when that half hour is up.

*This is finals week for Rich. He gives a test this morning. And he has a meeting this afternoon. But in between he's coming home and taking Annie and I to lunch!

*And speaking of finals, Annie had her Arabic final last night. She thinks she did well. (And truthfully, with the grades she's gotten so far in the class, she'd really have had to bombed the final to get anything but an "A" for her final grade.)

*I got two more books in the mail (ordered used). From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. POINT FOR ANA. The Waiting Place by Sean Kelley McKeever. Want to read them both. Right. This. Minute.

*On Sunday, Annie, Rich, and I got Annie's garden cleared of weeds and added heaps of lovely compost to it. So yes, now it looks like a box of fresh, pretty dirt. But we hope to get plants in it sometime this week. Annie's decided on mostly strawberries, a few cherry tomato plants, and an eggplant. We've decided where we want to put our new family garden, and can hopefully get started on it next weekend. (And thank you again, Chris! I haven't been this excited about gardening in a long time.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

didn't i just do this

*hangs head in shame*

More books. Whatever am I going to do with myself?!!

Bought for others:

*Little Face by Sophie Hannah. Bought for my mom. POINT FOR MELODY.

*Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor. When I saw Becky's review of this graphic novel, I knew I had to get it for Gray. Sure enough, he read it the very night it came. And then he read it again. And then Max read it, too. :D POINT FOR BECKY.

From the library:

*Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field by Anne Whiston Spirn. I ran across this book when looking for reads for Ana's 1930s Mini-Challenge, and was happy to find that our library system actually had it. I wish I could I could place the blame on Ana for hosting her challenge, but I guess that wouldn't be fair, would it?

*Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry by Elizabeth Grossman. Just an impulse grab from the new non-fiction shelf.

From the store (with my Mother's Day gift card):

*Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Sounds like a mystery thriller type book. Total impulse buy.

*Nonsense on Stilts by Massimo Pigliucci. Just couldn't resist. From the back cover:
Creationists who dismiss Darwin's theory of evolution. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Climate change deniers who dismiss the warming of the planet as a hoax. These are just some of the groups that, despite robust scientific evidence, embrace pseudoscientific beliefs and practices. Why do they believe the bunk? And how does their ignorance threaten us all?

*Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben. Another just could not resist.

*The Locavore's Handbook by Leda Meredith. Okay, it's probably not exactly fair to Chris, but he's going to have take the blame for this one even though it's possible he's never even heard of this book. See, I'd longed planned on reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral...but wasn't in that huge a hurry, as we already know quite a bit about the benefits of eating locally. But then he started talking to me about this book and how wonderful it was, and what can I say--I decided I now needed it immediately! But wouldn't you know, despite the store computer saying it was in stock, it was nowhere to be found! I was quite disappointed, and still sort of am, but I picked up this book just to tide me over. So you see why Chris is just going to have suck it up and accept the blame for this one--totally his fault! POINT FOR CHRIS.

In the mail:

*The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Rich, Annie, and I are currently reading this aloud together. And Chris, you get the blame again. It is totally your fault that this is the Shakespeare we chose for this year. POINT FOR CHRIS.

*William Shakespeare's The Tempest retold by Franzeska G. Ewart. Bought this one hoping it would be an interesting retelling, and make for a good essay assignment. Sadly, it's not what I'd hoped, but seems to be pretty much a simple retelling from Ariel's perspective with nothing new to add. Oh well, can't win them all, huh?

Monday, May 17, 2010

bits to smile over this weekend...

*Annie attended the Rochester Teen Book Festival on Saturday. Eight hours of books and authors and friends and fun left her with a smile plastered on her face! It was positively delightful to listen to her chatter away about it all when she got home. She's been a bit down lately, and it was just such a wonderful thing to see her so excited about something, so chatty and bubbly.

*Gray has a new money-making scheme. He has created a chart to tally every time Rich swears. He's decided that at the end of each week, Rich has to pay him a dime for every cuss word he uttered that week. I said to him, "But Gray, Daddy will end up broke." And he replied with this smug grin, "Yep, I'll never have to work a day in my life."

*I got to hear Chris's voice on the phone! I admit it--I am totally phone phobic, but talking to Chris was a pure delight! He swears to me that I wasn't a bumbling, babbling idiot (but I suspect he's just being kind :P).

*I finished Tender Morsels. Oh my. Seriously, this is just a book that will always reside in my heart. I'm still sort of at a loss as to how to even talk about's beautiful, it's honest, it's heart-pulverizing, it's healing. It's perfection.

*We got the test results from Annie's end of year testing (a homeschooling requirement in NY). I've no idea why I worry about it. I never did before she skipped a grade. And obviously if she wasn't ready for work at a level above where her chronological age would place her in a public school, we never would have skipped her to start with, so why do I worry that she won't test well at that level?!! Add to that the fact, the test results don't really mean squat...unless she scores under the 33rd percentile, and then our homeschooling program would be placed on probation. I guess because I am simply accomplished in the art of needless worry. Anyway, the results arrived...and she had a composite score in the 99th percentile. So, big smiles that another year's testing is over. And the results being well more than we need to continue homeschooling. Now if the school year would just end...

*I had the weirdest dream. Now I assure you that at the time it jarred me into awakedness, I was not finding it at all smile-worthy, but now I can't help but laugh when I think about it. In this dream I'd gone to the library and told them that I wanted to volunteer there. They told me I needed to do two things: get CPR training and let them whack off the fingers of my right hand at the first knuckles. I agreed, and they had me put my hand up on the circulation counter and took a big old cleaver...and whack! This is when I woke up. Guess they wanted to make sure their volunteers were serious, huh? :P

Friday, May 14, 2010

this is a tad embarrassing...

So...I really, really, really think I need to get back on that book buying ban. I tell you, the amount of books that I've acquired during the last couple weeks...yeah, so not pretty. I'm tempted to play the old "but they were mostly gifts" card, which while true, doesn't excuse the fact that they came from my wish list. Ahh, but this is where shirking responsibility comes in...and I get to pass off some of this blame to those who made these books sound too good to resist. Yep, I've decided to keep up with the "blame game"...after all I'm still reading your blogs, and you're still *making* me buy books. ;)

(Btw, I'm sure it comes as no big surprise that Ana won the round which just ended in April. :D)

And thus we are off to a fresh start:

*Transformations by Anne Sexton. Ana earned a point for this one a while back, because her review inspired me to check this out from the library. Unfortunately, as so often happens with me and library books, we had to part ways before I actually got to read it. But then Chris went and reviewed it, and dammit, but there was no stopping me...I *had* to just go buy it! POINT FOR CHRIS.

*Empress of the World by Sara Ryan. Well, I first heard of this book from a guest post by Lauren Bjorkman on the GLBT Reading Challenge blog. So, I give her a point? Seems only fair, huh? POINT FOR LAUREN BJORKMAN.

*Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters. Okay, I sort of feel like I should blame Amanda for this one. Not because of her review, as it was already on my wish list at the time she read it, but because she started the GLBT Reading Challenge to start with. It was back when she started the first year of the challenge. I was searching around for books to put on my list and stumbled upon Julie Anne Peters. Every single one of her books sounded so fabulous that they all ended up on my wish list. Of course, par for the course for me, I'm only now reading my first book by her (Keeping You a Secret)...and it is so good! Anyway, I guess that would sort of be stretching it with the blame, wouldn't it?

*The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint. Another one of those books that I really want to blame someone, but guess I shouldn't. See, in a very real sense, Carl is to blame for this book. Simply because of the Once Upon a Time Challenge. A few short years ago, before stumbling on his challenge (a stumble which literally changed my life!), I'd never even heard of Charles de Lint. But again, I guess assigning him blame for this book would be pushing the limits a bit, huh?

*One Foot Wrong by Sofie Laguna. Totally have to suck up the blame for this one myself. One of those pure impulse buys. It just sounds so good, so creepy, so different. I read the first few pages in the store and was totally sucked in by the uniqueness of the voice.

*Piggy Monk Square by Grace Jolliffe. Now this one is easy...the blame goes straight to Valentina. I likely never would have heard of this book if not for her. The title of this book is intriguing enough, if you ask me. But Valentina's review sent me straight off to PaperbackSwap to request it. POINT FOR VALENTINA.

*DMZ: On the Ground, DMZ: Body of a Journalist, and DMZ: Public Works by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. I think I actually mentioned receiving these before, and they don't really come with any blame attached...unless I can blame Brian Wood for making me fall in love with Local and thus want to read everything else he's ever written. :)  Besides, it's I could resist.

And now, look at this pile of lovely (mostly used :D) loot Rich gave me for Mother's Day:

*The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones. This one's been on my wish list for a while...but I still remember just how wonderful it sounded in Ana's review. So, should this be my first Diana Wynne Jones read? Or should I borrow Howl's Moving Castle from Annie first? POINT TO ANA.

*The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. I remember the very first time I ever saw this book. Rich and I were on a getaway weekend, and were wandering around a bookstore (surprise, surprise). I saw this book and was immediately intrigued. I carried it around with me for a long time before deciding I should put it back. Well, wouldn't you know, just days later Carl reviewed it! Talk about kicking oneself! Directly to the wish list it went after that. Of course, I've heard of Angela Carter plenty since then (Annie even had to do an essay about one of the stories from this collection for her children's lit class last fall), but that was my first meeting with her. POINT TO CARL.

*The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life: How to Sew a Sampler Quilt & 49 Other Pioneer Projects for the Modern Girl by Jennifer Worick. Actually saw this one in a book sale catalog (I think, Edward R. Hamilton Booksellers). And well, face it, doesn't everyone want to know how to cook dandelion greens and make rock candy and spin yarn and whittle and pan for gold and...

*From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe. This is the 2002 winner of the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize...a prize I never heard of until I read the cover of this book. I am so not hip when it comes to literature. Or anything else for that matter. :P  Anyway, I've wanted this book ever since reading Eva's review. So, of course, POINT FOR EVA.

*From the Borderlands edited by Elisabeth E. and Thomas F. Monteleone. Short stories. Which I love! (And never make time to read.) And horror. Which I love! (And never make time to read.) So this book, I will hopefully love. (If I ever make time to read it.)

*Sounds like Crazy by Shana Mahaffey. This is one of those odd books that I am both leery of and yet very intrigued by. Usually I end up avoiding books that I feel that way about, but I'd really like to give this one a try. POINT FOR STACI.

*The Lost Executioner: A Journey to the Heart of the Killing Fields by Nic Dunlop. This is another book that I've previously checked out of the library but never got around to reading. :(  You know, as much as I adore the library, and though I will likely never get over my addiction to checking out books, there is something so nice about having a book here in my home knowing there's no deadline.

*The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth by Sun Shuyun. Ditto the book immediately above. :)

*Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles and Momentous Discoveries by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne. Do I really need to explain? ;)

*The History of Death: Burial Customs and Funeral Rites, From the Ancient World to Modern Times by Michael Kerrigan. Just sounded interesting.

*When I Knew edited by Robert Trachtenberg. This is a collection of short little essays, written by gays and lesbians, some famous, some not. As the title suggests, the essays are mostly about the moments when the authors knew or accepted that they were gay. (Yes,  I realize this is a tremendously simplified way of explaining this book.)

*Pixerina Witcherina (curated by Bill Conger). I'm not sure quite how to describe this I'm just going to cheat and use this description from Oh okay, I'm also using this description to show you how utterly irresistible this book sounds, and thus you will understand why it *had* to go on my wish list to start with. ;)

In the typology of fairy tales, women are routinely reduced to caricatures of innocence or evil, either impossibly saintly and self-sacrificing or malevolent in ways that only the male sex would project. That said, fairy tales also provide a wealth of inspiration for art, and the work in Pixerina Witcherina transforms these polarities into whimsically abstracted visual yarns (the title is taken from the invented language used by Virginia Woolf to share secrets with her niece, and refers to this polarization of women's roles as either pixies or witches). These women embrace the power of myth while deconstructing it, re-imagining its pungency for our times. Pixerina Witcherina features work by Meghan Boody, Amy Culter, Margi Geerlinks, Claudia Hart, Julie Hefferman, Julia Latane, Tracey Moffatt, Maria Porges, Amy Sillman, Elena Sisto, Karen Arm and Katharina Fritsch.

Now, it may seem unfair to the lovely Ana, as she didn't actually talk about this book (as far as I know anyway)...but I'm still blaming it on her. See, it was reading a review she'd written about a book by Maria Tatar (The Hard Facts of the Grimm's Fairy Tales, I think) that made me run off to look up everything by Maria Tatar. And yes, most of it went to my wish list. So how does this book figure into that? Well, this lovely art book also features three essays on the subject, one of which is by Maria Tatar. See, it all makes sense now...POINT FOR ANA.

*Amphigorey by Edward Gorey. Again, no need for explanations.

*Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Now here's the epitome of "no need for explanations". :D  (And of course, this one wasn't used...but if ever paying "full price" was warranted...) is soooooo beautiful!!!

 *The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin. So this one wasn't a present. But, of course, I had to get it after finishing A Wizard of Earthsea, didn't I? Luckily PaperbackSwap had it available with no wait. (You know, like that matters 'cause I don't have anything else to read. :P)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

random thoughts on a wizard of earthsea

*I feel so very sorry for this book. Or rather, I suppose I feel sorry for myself. For as much as I enjoyed this book, I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read it at a different time (i.e., not overlapping and following Monsters of Men). Monsters of Men, or the whole Chaos Walking trilogy really, just so took my breath away, so consumed me, that I think nearly anything in comparison would fall short. I think maybe the biggest part of this had to do with the pacing. Monsters of Men is nearly frenetic, and I think being so keyed-up from that experience, I found myself becoming impatient with the pace of A Wizard of Earthsea. So, yes, sad...because I *know* I wouldn't have felt this impatience at a different time.

*Other than my silly impatience though...I really did enjoy this book. And it surprised me immensely when Ana mentioned to me that many people despise this series. I'm with you, Ana, on that one...I can't for the life of me fathom what would stir up such strong negative feelings towards these books. (Of course, I've only read the first...but if it's any indication of what the series is like as whole...) 

*Okay, shall I flaunt my profound ignornance when it comes to fantasy literature? A Wizard of Earthsea is the sort of fantasy that I grew up thinking stereotypical of fantasy. Wizards, dragons, quests. I find it so sad that for so many years I had no idea how enormously broad the fantasy genre is. *sigh* Can we just do away with "genre" altogether? *more sighs* I mean, I understand that categorizing books can have some usefulness in very limited ways. But for me, it does little more than confuse me. I also find it extremely sad that in my day, fantasy literature never made my assigned reading lists for school. Nor did science fiction. Nor did horror. In seventh grade, we did read an Agatha Christie book, but that would pretty much cover it for mysteries. I'm not saying the literature I was assigned was "bad" or "unworthy"...but book blogging has opened my eyes to how very limited it was. Shouldn't the goal of education be to broaden minds, not limit them?

*This was my very encounter with Ursula Le Guin. I know some people have very mixed feelings about her. All I can say is that my first venture into her worlds was a success. And she absolutely earned my respect, not as a writer (though she very much earned my respect in that regard as well), but as a person. With this one simple passage:
Later, when Ged thought back upon that night, he knew that had none touched him when he lay thus spirit-lost, had none called him back in some way, he might have been lost for good. It was only the dumb instinctive wisdom of the beast who licks his hurt companion to comfort him, and yet in that wisdom Ged saw something akin to his own power, something that went as deep as wizardry. From that time forth he believed that the wise man is one who never set himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.
 Oh yes, I love her.

*The next book in the series is on its way from PaperbackSwap. :D

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

today I smile because...

*It is the birthday of one of the sweetest, most wonderful friends I've ever had. #luvchris

*I have several crafty-type projects going that I'm excited about.

*I finally finished making this damn geometry test last night.

*While my aching back tries to remind me of my age, in so many ways, I feel younger than I have in a long time.

*I am reading so many wonderful books right now.

*Rich never leaves for work without hugging me and kissing me and telling me he loves me. 

*The munchkins woke up happy, and the morning routine went uncharacteristically smoothly.

*Only 96 days! 

*Max started his soccer season last night (his first time playing on a team), and while he was nervous at first because he didn't know any of the kids on his team, he ended up really enjoying himself.

*I am listening to Annie hum away to herself as she sits taking that damn geometry test.

*It's nearly 9:30, I haven't made the bed...and yet the sky hasn't fallen. :P

Monday, May 10, 2010

pretending i'm twittering

On Saturday:

*So loving how much Gray is into mythology right now. :D

*Goshdarn weather! Couple days ago--nearly 80 degrees. Tonight and tomorrow--freakin' snow showers! #mothernaturehasasadisticstreak

*Oh lord...sometimes the Maxidoodle does things that are too gross to even talk about. :/ Yes, it's a "He's lucky he's cute" moment.

*Boys requesting pumpkin waffles for supper. #icanlivewiththat

*Title: Zeus's Minion/Artist: Gray Stevens/Medium: Perler Beads

*Me: You sure have a mess there, Gray. Gray: It's part of the creative process, Mom. #whoamitoargue

And Sunday:

*An essay from Gray about why I'm a special mom. #bestmothersdaygiftever

*Funniest line from essay: Whenever I lend her money for lunches or something else she always pays me back.

*I am never going to be ready for school this week if I don't stop goofing off!

And Monday:

*Obviously, I didn't stop goofing off...I'm so not ready for this week.

*Darn near every bk from my Amazon wish list that had a cheap used copy available ended up wrapped in a lovely pile of MD presents. #iamspoiled

*Also got gift card. If B&N doesn't have From Hell, I will sob right there in the store. @Nymeth

*And Ghosts of the Great Highway. I love his voice so much it hurts. In that good way. Obsessing over Lily and Parrots...

*...but Carry Me Ohio is still my favorite. @Nymeth

*Dishes need washed, laundry needs hung, discussion questions need typed, test needs made...yet Tender Morsels keeps calling my name...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

totally random and scattered thoughts this mother's day

*Mother's Day is sort of a weird holiday. Not necessarily "bad" or anything. But like Chris said in his post, wouldn't it be nice if we just celebrated the people who add so much to our lives on a spontaneous basis? You know, my heart and mind do this...I come up with all these wonderful ideas I want to surprise a friend with, or Gray's teacher with, or my mom with...but life gets away from me and so often these wonderful gestures of love and appreciation live only within me. My Mother's Day Resolution: Bring more of these ideas to life, because really, what could be a more important use of my time than letting the people in my life know I love them.

*Chris!!! I love that picture of you and your mom so much!!! (It wasn't there on your post when I read it last night, or I would have mentioned in my email.) Your mom is so beautiful, and you two look so sweet and happy! Oh, I just adore that picture so much that it has been tucked safely away in my "favorite photos I steal from friends" folder on my computer. :P

*It should *not* be snowing on Mother's Day. That's just wrong.

*When people call me a "good mom" I sort of feel like a fraud. I feel like I should tell them, "Well, you didn't see the way I totally broke down in tears of frustration because Annie's been lazy about finishing her school assignments on time lately" or "Well, you didn't see the way I totally lost my cool and yelled at Max the other day" or "If I'm such a good mom, why do so many people seem to blame me for Gray's 'problems'?" I don't know if I'm a "good mom" or not. I'm a mom who loves her kiddos so much it's painful at times; I'm a mom who wants each of her kiddos to grow up to be whoever it is he or she wants to be; I'm a mom who at times probably sacrifices more than I should--and that isn't a good thing; I'm a mom who makes mistakes on a daily basis; I'm a mom who knows how to say "I'm sorry" to her kids when those mistakes involve them; I'm a mom who hugs and cries and listens and laughs and talks and yells and cheers; I'm a mom who says "I love you" all the time--not out of habit but out of overwhelming emotion. Am I good mom? I don't know. It seems like such a big label to live up to, you know. But whether I ever live up to it or not, I know I'll keep striving.

*I get a bit uncomfortable judging other people's parenting. And yet even so, there are times when it just seems undeniable that someone is a bad parent--be it out of pathological selfishness or apathy or mental illness or physical illness or any number of other reasons, some totally out of that person's control and some very much within their control. Anyway, I can't help but wonder how sad Mother's Day must be for some people...those people who didn't get to grow up in a home with a mom who loved and cherished and respected them for who they were.

--Okay, and now I'm going to abruptly run off here. A couple of little boys have awoken, and are giggling away in the next room. And this mom totally wants to go join them.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

a few of the things I miss when Rich is away

*His coffee...I swear I can't brew a pot of coffee that is anywhere near as delicious as he does...I don't know if it's the mix of beans, the fineness to which he grinds them, or just some bit of magic, but whatever it is I miss it.

*His help...around the house, with the munchkins' needs, with the myriad of other critters' needs...

*His listening ear...and I don't mean just to my stresses and problems, though there is that...but even more to listen to all those "OMG, did you hear...OMG, did you see...OMG, did you know..."" moments, those things that are just so awesome, or so upsetting, or so plain old interesting that I just have to share them with him immediately.

*His hugs...nothing in the entire world melts me into such a feeling of contentment...there are times I swear *nothing* can help the total fraying of my nerves, but being in his arms always proves me wrong...being there somehow always infuses me with the calm and the strength to move on.

Friday, May 7, 2010


*It's just the boys and I for the weekend. (Rich and Annie left for Philly this morning. As I type this, they are enjoying [at least I assume they're enjoying] the Mark Knopfler show at the Tower Theater. Happy surprise--Rich's brother is out of town for the weekend, so they can stay at his mom's house instead of paying for a hotel.) Anyway, it's fun hanging out, just me and the little rascals. We went out for pizza, played way too many rounds of 20 questions, ate homemade chocolate chunk cookies, worked a little bit on tidying up the disaster area we call Gray's bedroom (we've got a loooooong way to go on that project), and we're about to curl up and watch a movie (okay, I'll probably read while they watch the movie, but it will still be nice to be hanging out).

*When Rich bought the tickets for this concert several months ago, he didn't realize it was Mother's Day weekend. And well, he's been feeling guilty about it ever since he did realize a couple weeks ago. And of course, I've taken every opportunity possible to tease him about it. ;) I'm guessing that's why he gave me a present last night just totally out of the blue. Or maybe it's just because he's a total sweetheart. Anyway, he gave me the first three volumes of DMZ by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. After I read Local, I just had to look and see what else Wood had written...and when I saw these, I immediately added them to my wish list. I cannot freakin' wait to start reading them!!! (But I am trying to show some restraint and finish some of the many books I have started first.)

*And speaking of books I have started...Margo Lanagan, you are a treasure. You have written a book of such healing and beauty...but it's been no magic pill--the healing and beauty come with a heavy price tag of tears. And I love you for every single tear.

*I hate SpongeBob. I'm sorry, but I just absolutely hate it. There, I said it...and I feel better for having got that off my chest.

*A nice huge frozen margarita sounds absolutely heavenly right now. But I guess I'll settle for a glass of ice water.

*I have the ugliest thumbs on the planet. I swear this is true. They're just so short and stubby. The rest of my fingers are fine, it's just my darn thumbs. Why I felt the need to confess this, I've no idea. (You're now probably thinking that I went for the margaritas after all, huh?)

Okay, the boys are ready to watch their movie...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

my new secret weapon in stress-relief

*Yesterday was a draining one. Though, thanks in large part to Chris and Ana for their support, I feel those particular troubles fading behind me. (I hope.)

*Gray had one of his many insomniatic nights. I ended up sleeping on the living room floor with him.

*After we'd managed to finally fall asleep, Miss Annie comes and wakes me up in the wee hours because there's a spider in her room. Oh my poor little arachnophobic daughter. And my poor little brain which really wishes it hadn't gotten some sleep.

*If anything rivals Annie's arachnophobia, it is surely my odontophobia. And I must have a filling replaced this morning. This always leaves me in a somewhat goofy-ish, giddy-ish state (my way of fighting terror, I suppose). And here is my latest tool in combating my fears and stresses and petty annoyances:

Okay, so others may be shaking their heads, thinking, "Huh?!!" But I can't help it, there is something about this picture of Lucky that I took a couple days ago that absolutely cracks me up *every time* I look at it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

pretending i'm twittering

On Sunday:

*@Nymeth @chrisa511 Page totally didn't see that coming... #MofM

*I so adore listening to Maxidoodle chatter away to himself while in the shower. :D

*Coffee. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

*Will someone please tell me where the hell the weekend went?!!

*So much for determination...only made it to page 380. #MofM

And Monday:

*Mornings didn't used to be so painful.

*It should not take one 5 min. to realize one is trying to put a twin sheet on a queen mattress. #proofineedmorecoffee

*Mmmm...the smell of lilics wafting through the windows.

*Lucky batting toothpaste cap around the room. Max apparently forget to put it back on tube. Mess. #adventureswithcatsandlittleboys

*Gray: Why do they call them piggy-back rides? Who rides pigs? #goodquestions

*@chrisa511 @DesLily I am in looooove with your gardens! One of these days, we need to get ours in the ground, too.

*I have the best friends in the world.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

books finished in april 2010

*After the First Death by Robert Cormier

*Smoke and Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust by Barbara Rogasky

*Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

*Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes by Gerald N. Callahan, Ph.D.

*The Stand: Captain Trips (graphic adaptation) by Stephen King and Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa, art by Mike Perkins and Laura Martin

*The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

*Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

--I know numbers don't matter...nonetheless, I am hoping to double that amount in May. There's just soooooooo many good books awaiting reading! And I've already started many of them. :P