Archive for the ‘books’ Category

I can finally say we’ll be in Maine “next week”. We’re close enough now that I can start seeing the extended forecast for the days we’ll be there – as of right this second, the day of our arrival should be sunny and 80 degrees. Of course, that also means I’m a bit over halfway through my Sabbatical, but that’s okay. I have a good feeling about life. We’re going to experience a positive change in the near future, one that will make us very happy about the direction our life is going in. I know this to be true.

You’ve gotta be upbeat about these things, you know? I’ve suspended my goal-tending for the duration of this vacation, but I’m a goal-oriented girl at heart, and I enjoy forward progress. So it will actually be good, in a way, to get back to the grind. Buckle down on the debt. Figure out how I’m going to finish my degree. Manage my fitness goals. Take the next step in my career. I have thoughts and vague notions about the achievement all of these subjects, but I have told myself not to worry about any of them until August. So that’s what I’m going to do.

My goal for the next month is not to make goals.

I applied for a new writing gig, and was accepted. It’s for the folks that manage the articles for such sites as eHow and AnswerBag (and thanks very much to Sherry for pointing me in their direction!). It’s a much more structured format than I’m used to, and much more heavily managed by editors. It’s good experience for me. Our articles are even graded, after a fashion, with a rating system. I’m delighted to be able to continue to pad my writing resume – eventually, some day, I hope to become a full-time writer, and these types of writing gigs that I’ve collected can follow me wherever I happen to live. Which jives quite nicely with our wish to move back to Maine.

Oops, there I go, goal-tending again. See? I can barely help myself.

I have my follow-up appointment with the OB-GYN this morning, to make sure everything is kosher after the Essure procedure. I feel mostly back to normal, perhaps less energy than usual but I can just as easily chalk that up to Aunt Flo, who stopped by a few days ago for her usual visit. I can also chalk it up to my deplorable eating over the past several days – I keep saying I’m going to give up bread, then keep eating sandwiches and hot dogs and hamburgers. Oh, it is to laugh. I’ve been gently getting myself back into the exercise routine – I hope by the end of this week to be back up to the pre-procedure levels of cardio and weight training.

I have a little over a week to finish and pre-schedule all of my writing obligations to take me through to the other side of our Maine vacation – nine more total as of this morning, which would have been less had I not slacked off completely yesterday. And this it the part where I shamefully confess something to you all.

See, up until this point I have snobbishly refused to read Nora Roberts, because she’s so prolific and supermarket check-out-ish that I figured she would hardly meet my (vague) standards for authorship. Laws, how I was wrong. I loved her Irish Trilogy so much that I personally rated the first two a coveted score of 10/10, and the last one a 9/10 (just because it didn’t hold my attention to quite the same degree). I loved ’em. So that’s what I was doing instead of writing. Fortunately I got a bunch done on Saturday and Sunday, otherwise that nine article obligation would have been closer to fifteen.

I think I mentioned on Twitter or something that following our anniversary dinner at The Keg last week, Bill ordered a glass of port to enjoy in lieu of dessert. It was absolutely fantastically delicious, and after we got home we got to thinking that we needed to buy us a bottle of our own. So I called the restaurant to find out the name – Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port. I got my butt down to BevMo and secured a bottle. We have been enjoying a wee dram every now and then with a bit of raspberry-infused dark chocolate, or these frozen chocolate lava cakes that I discovered at the grocery store, microwaved per instructions, sampled, and deemed OH MY FREAKING GOD GOOD.

And, of course, as you saw a few days ago, I had to take pictures of the bottle. Because it’s cool.

It’s a measure of how well Bill accepts the inevitable that he didn’t even blink when I started hauling out my little mini photo studio getup. It’s what I do, people, and he knows better than anyone else that I take pictures of, and write about, just about everything. Case in point (the bastid).

So! Yeah. I’m kicking off the start of one busy-ass week by procrastinating. You expect nothing less and nothing more of me, my beloved readers. And that’s why I love you.



Posted: June 10, 2010 in books, TV, vacation

I am avoiding life right now. Like, on purpose. I shall look back upon this first week of my sabbatical as one in which I did very little in the way of useful things, and a whole lotta reading. A WHOLE lotta reading. I read this (hey Jen, it was the most decent one in a long time!), and I read this and this and this (and I am SO SAD that the author can’t get a contract from her publisher for the next one in the series), and I read this, and I read this and this and this.

At the moment I’m all read out. But oh, what mind-numbing bliss it has been for the past handful of days. There was absolutely nothing improving about my choice of literature AT ALL – I probably killed more brain cells than if I’d smoked a bale of pot – and I’m just plain FINE with that. Bill is concerned that I’m going to be this slothful for my entire sabbatical, then look back upon it at the end and feel that I’ve wasted all of my time off. To be sure, if I did spend the entire eight weeks reading my eyeballs out, I would feel that way. But I’ve reached the natural stopping point in my desire to read, so tomorrow I’ll be motivated to get some shit done.

Tonight, I’ve got some DVR’ed episodes of non-Bill-friendly television to watch (Medium, Stargate Universe, and the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy in which I already know what happens because I’m a spoiler whore). He’s up north for an overnighter in Tuba City. I had the option to go, but… um, yeah. No. I mean, it’s Tuba City. Ain’t NUTHIN’ going on up there. So, he’ll be back tomorrow and by the time he rolls in I hope to have the house cleaned and the oil changed in the truck, at the very least.

I skipped my workout today, but I’ll just work out on my “scheduled” day off, which is Sunday, to make up for it. Since April 4th, I’ve only missed five scheduled workouts in my six-day-a-week routine. I’d probably be doing better if I’d pay more attention to what I stuff in my pie-hole (shut up, Bill), but I consider it a success that I have FINALLY, somehow, managed to prioritize exercise in my life. There are muscles coming in, by gawd! I might actually WIN a future roughhousing wrestling match with my husband, one of these days.

Heh. It’s not like I don’t come out on top as things stand today. He is SO the Kelso to my Hyde.

Title brought to you by this song, that I currently have stuck in my head.

I got up early to be prepared for the exterminator, whom I thought was scheduled to arrive between eight and twelve today. Then I glanced at the piece of paper where I wrote down the information yesterday, and saw that the date was 4/29, not 4/28. Tomorrow, not today. I have vacation brain, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not too upset about that.

Oh, and if you’re interested, the toilet needs to be replaced. The siphon jet is irreparably clogged from hard water deposits. That will be $95 dollars, thank you very much, and get ye to Home Depot. Weirdly, the plumber was handing out free cookbooks with every home visit. Because everyone needs a good recipe for rack of lamb after messing with their clogged drains and backed up toilets?

Joy (Robert’s girlfriend) and I are tentatively scheduled to go clothes and shoe shopping today. I find her company to be quite delightful, so I’m looking forward to our “girl day”. I’m just waiting for a decent hour to call her – she works nights so I don’t want to wake her up too early on her day off.

I spent nearly four hours cleaning the bedroom yesterday, and I’m shocked that I didn’t succumb to a fatal asthma attack during the process. I off-loaded our entire bedroom closet, bagged up the cold weather clothing and stuff we just don’t wear anymore, and bagged up stuff that didn’t need to reside in our bedroom closet (hello? snorkels? from our trip to Hawaii? back in 2003???). I sorted through all of the shoes. Picked up at least two dozen loose bullets that had fallen out of the bag. Threw out eighteen bazillion manuals and binders and whatnot from Bill’s previous training classes. I piled up twenty bazillion cords and routers and mysterious computer-type gadgets and widgets for sorting through later. I vacuumed the entire closet (DUST BUNNIES OF DOOM) then re-loaded everything, plus a bunch of other stuff that had been hanging out in various corners of the bedroom because there was no room to put them anywhere. Thus I was able to reclaim the computer desk, from which I am writing at this moment. I made about fourteen trips up and down the stairs to put all of the stuff we’re keeping in the spare bedroom. Out of sight, out of mind. Until we go to look for something and have to tear that room apart to find it.

I pulled up the blinds and vacuumed off the window sills, then vacuumed the blinds themselves. Ran the hose attachment up every corner and along where the wall meets the ceiling to remove webs and dust. Crawled on my belly under the bed and dragged out books and papers and shoes that had gotten kicked under there. Dusted the dresser, the bedside table, the desk, the TV, the fridge and components. Made the bed, vacuumed the floor, sprayed Febreeze everywhere, then collapsed in a wheezing heap.

The rest of the day was spent catching up on a little bit of DVR’d TV, reading (I’ve finished three books this week), and working out. Glee made me cry, I talked to Bill a few times on the phone, and I went to bed at 9:30.

Speaking of reading, I am currently indulging in the fluffiest bit of fluff right now. How a series of books can come off so idyllic and naive and innocent and saccharine, yet manage to have the characters indulging in fifteen sexual encounters in EACH CHAPTER, is beyond me. They’re Sharon Lathan’s imagining of the Darcy’s life beyond where it left off in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, if you’re interested. I’ve read Two Shall Become One and Loving Mr. Darcy so far. I’m enjoying them, though I do occasionally roll my eyes at all of the worshipfulness and heartrending sighs and meaningful glances and rhapsodies and declarations of love everlasting and whatnot.

Poor Gypsy. She’s getting so deaf and blind. Porsche managed to get within a foot of her the other night, while Gypsy was lying in the grass in the back yard. I mean, Gypsy was looking in her direction and I thought she saw her approaching. But just as Porsche bent down to sniff her ear, all of a sudden Gypsy leaps up and utters a hysterical “BERF!” (Gadget then ran off at right angles, barking up at the sky. Idiot.) Gypsy jumped back like, two feet, with a ridge of fur all along her backbone and her tail all pipe-cleanered, and GLARED at Porsche. Poor dog had the poop scared right out of her. I’ve caught her a few times not noticing me when I go out into the back yard, until I call loudly and get right up to her. Her eyes are getting cloudy and her muzzle is almost completely gray now. Pup still knows exactly where her dinner bowl is, though. Silly ol’ girl.

Okay, I’m going to go hunt up some breakfast, then work out and shower before heading out shopping. You guys behave until I get back!

princessI’ve listened to this song four times in the last two days. A rediscovered love (and here’s another one for your mix CD, Kim!).

I laughed at myself as I wrote this entry for UpTake. AS IF I could follow my own advice on that particular subject. Ha. Ha hah. Ha. On a related note, the lenses that I ordered from Pro Photo Rental for our vacation will be here tomorrow, even though I scheduled them for arrival next Tuesday. Four free days of fiddling around with optics makes Laura a happy photo geek!

We leave on vacation one week from today. It can’t come soon enough. You guys, I am SO BORED at work right now. There’s stuff to do, sure, but none of it is particularly challenging – you know, those “maintenance of business” tasks that you always put off until there is ABSOLUTELY nothing else to do. Got a bunch of those.

I’m reading Red Mars right now. I’m kind of treating it academically, like required reading for my English class. Getting through it because it’s one of those books that everyone should read at least once. And I AM enjoying it, though it’s a little tedious with all the millions of different descriptions for red sand dunes. I’m thinking I probably won’t read the sequels, though, Nebula and Hugo awards be darned.

We have mutant crickets in our house. Somehow they’re hooked up to eeny tiny amplifiers. Just TWO crickets – one hiding behind the TV in the living room, and one hiding in the pocket door in the bathroom – are sufficient to keep me up all night with their deafening roar. The damned cats aren’t doing their jobs. Weirdly, if I put my pillow over my head, I can’t hear the crickets anymore. I can still hear the fan, any noise the cats make, Calvin’s snoring… but I can’t hear the crickets. They must operate on some frequency that the pillow dampens.

Oh, speaking of hearing things at night, I think our house is haunted. I hear voices, like conversation between a man and a woman in another room, or a radio or TV left on, when I lay in bed at night. I feel like if I listen hard enough I can hear what’s being said. It’s probably a trick of the air passing between the A/C and the fan in our room, but you guys, I SWEAR, sometimes the voices are so clear. Calvin never hears them. And the cats do this thing where they’re both sitting near each other, minding their own business, and then suddenly and simultaneously look out into the dark, in the same direction. They see things we can’t see. But apparently I can hear them. It kind of weirds Calvin out, but it doesn’t bother me. Obviously if there IS a presence hanging around in our house (and I can’t imagine WHY they’d stay), it has never done anything mean to us.

Aaaaaand, that’s about as random an entry as any reader should be expected to suffer through!

1iconkittenheadphones1. Taoist Biker is hosting his radio show at 10:00 pm EST tonight. Call in, participate, enjoy, become one of the cool kids!

2. I have decided to give Stephen King another try, since the last time I tried to read one of his books I was a teenager, and I just couldn’t get through it. Couldn’t tell you which one it was, now. Anyway, it’s time to try again; plus, the concept of him tying all of his books into the Dark Tower series appeals to me. Jen thinks I should start with The Stand. SK fans out there (Heather and Kim, I’m looking at you), is there a particular order I should go in? Anything I should just skip altogether?

3. Hey, know what? My husband and I are going on a really long road trip, and soon. As such, we need a lot of music to listen to, so I’m going to make a Road Trip 2009 Mix CD. I need your recommendations, please! Kindly leave comments. Many many comments.

1icongirlreadingbookMy ass is totally asleep right now. Both cheeks.

I worked like a fiend all day and managed to winnow my in-box down from 208 items to a respectable 37.

Marie has taken to e-mailing me throughout the day, from the collections agency where she works with her mother. She “sounds” just like me – in written and spoken form – which just prompted the evil thought; “That must tick her mom off.”

Calvin’s stuck up in Tuba City tonight – but it should be the last night away for a while. Frankly it boggles my mind that the place even has their own Wikipedia page.

I SHOULD do the following after work: pick up a salad from somewhere, clean the kitchen, fold laundry, feed the cats/dogs/lizards, soak the snake, work out.

I AM doing the following after work: pick up a salad from somewhere, feed the cats/dogs/lizards, soak the snake (she needs it, she’s getting ready to shed), watch seventeen episodes of Supernatural.

The grass in our back yard is thick, green, lush, and currently up to my knees. Neither Calvin or I have had the gumption to get out there and mow it. It amuses me to see Gadget prancing through it, making little deer-like hops to see where he’s going. He hasn’t slowed down, not one little bit, even though he’s still gimpy and still has the occasional seizure.

Gypsy-girl has slowed way, way down over the past month or so – hot weather doesn’t agree with her. She’s was born Christmas of ’97, so she’s pushing twelve, the dear. That’s old for a Beagle. I need to remember to pick up some more supplements for her and Gadget – I don’t know how much they help, but they make me feel like I’m taking care of them.

Calvin and I spent a pleasant hour on the couch last light with the road atlas, still trying to figure out what we’re doing after Cody, WY. Do we do a clockwise loop and hit Arizona/Utah/Wyoming/Colorado/New Mexico/Arizona? Or do we do a counter-clockwise loop and hit Arizona/Utah/Wyoming/Idaho/Nevada/Arizona? Do we go further north from Wyoming, into Montana? We’ve got a whole frickin’ country spread before us, people, and we’re fraught with the anxiety that we MIGHT MISS SOMETHING GOOD.

Calvin and I got glasses. I use mine for computer work; he finds his useful for TV and movie viewing. I may be convinced to take a portrait of us to show you the Dead Sexiness. Perhaps this weekend.

I adore the writing of Mary Stewart. I indulged in two comfort reads (“Thornyhold” and “The Ivy Tree”) over the past week. I own every single one of her books. She paints pictures with her words. Read, if you will, this excerpt from The Gabriel Hounds:

I met him in the sunset called straight.

I had come out of the dark shop doorway into the dazzle of the Damascus sun, my arms full of silks. I didn’t see anything at first, because the sun was right in my eyes and he was in shadow, just where the Straight Street becomes a dim tunnel under its high corrugated iron roof.

The souk was crowded. Someone stopped in front of me to take a photograph. A crowd of youths went by, eyeing me and calling comments in Arabic, punctuated by “Miss” and ” ‘Allo” and “Good-bye.” A small grey donkey pattered past under a load of vegetables three times its own width. A taxi shaved me so near that I took a half step back into the shop doorway and the shopkeeper, at my elbow, put out a protective hand for his rolls of silk. The taxi swerved, horn blaring, past the donkey, parted a tight group of ragged children the way a ship parts water, and aimed without any slackening of speed at the bottleneck where the street narrowed sharply between jutting rows of stalls.

It was then that I saw him. He had been standing, head bent, in front of a jeweler’s stall, turning over some small gilt trinket in his hand. At the blast of the taxi’s horn he glanced up and stepped quickly out of the way. The step took him from black shadow full into the sun’s glare, and, with a queer jerk of the heart, I saw who it was. I had known he was in this part of the world, and I suppose it was no odder to meet him in the middle of Damascus than anywhere else, but I stood there in the sunlight, gazing, I suppose rather blankly, at the averted profile, four years strange to me, yet so immediately familiar, and somehow so inevitably here.

The taxi vanished into the black tunnel of the main souk with a jarring of gears and another yell of its horn. Between us the dirty hot street was empty. One of the rolls of silk slipped from my hands, and I grabbed for it, to catch it in a cascade of crimson just before it reached the filthy ground. The movement and the blinding colour must have caught his attention, for he turned, and our eyes met. I saw them widen, then he dropped the gilt object back on the jeweler’s stall and, ignoring the stream of bad American which the man was shouting after him, crossed the street towards me. The years rolled back more swiftly even than the crimson silk as he said, with exactly the same intonation with which a small boy had daily greeted his even smaller worshipper:

“Oh, hullo! It’s you!”

I don’t know, there’s just something that strikes me as just about perfect, the way she uses language. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of her books – any one at all. They’re all equally excellent.

Okay, so! Long weekend ahead of us with nothing in particular planned. What are you guys doing to occupy the time?

1icongirlreadingbookStolen from the Coolest Joe Around:

1) What author do you own the most books by?
It’s kind of a three-way tie between Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, and Laurell K. Hamilton. I say “kind of” because I’m not going to actually GO to my book closet and COUNT.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I have two copies each of every book in the “Hitchhiker’s Gude to the Galaxy” series. Chalk that up to “Stuff Laura Kept in the Divorce”.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Why, are prepositions something I should be afraid of?

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Jason. Still. DESPITE LKH’s last book, which sucked donkey kong.

Also, if anybody steals this meme and answers this question with either “Edward” or “Jacob”, I shall shun them. COMPLETELY AND FOREVER. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, JEN.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
A bunch, but The Lady by Anne McCaffrey stands out in particular.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Dark is Rising series.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Well, according to my list, looks like it was something called “Jane’s Warlord” by Angela Knight. I remember NOTHING about it, so it must’ve been pretty bad. If it rates lower than a “5” on my scale, I don’t finish it, anyway. I mean, what would be the point of finishing a TRULY bad book?

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Well, I’ve been digging Charlaine Harris’ Sookie books, lately.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Seriously.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
NOBODY on Oprah’s book list.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Actually, I remember actually thinking, after finishing Flirting with Danger and the subsequent books, that it would make for a great movie. IF adapted right. Which, as everyone knows, is key.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Well, the one I was least happy about was The Seeker – The Dark is Rising, which was adapted from the book I mentioned in question #6. EPIC FAIL and totally disrespectful of the book, the series, and the author.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Heh. I always have HAWT dreams after reading an Anita Blake novel.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Uh, yeah. I have a prolific romance novel collection.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Difficult to get through, or difficult from an emotional level? To get through, I’d say ol’ Billy Boy’s memoir. On an emotional level, I’d say The Lovely Bones.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
Nothing obscure, really. “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Hamlet” and “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet”.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
As a people, or as a dressing?

18) Roth or Updike?
I don’t care, but this guy does.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Sedaris comes across as pompous, to me. Just based on his Wikipedia page, I suspect I’d like Eggers better.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
“Three dead poets walk into a bar…”

21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen. I mean, I’m a girl, aren’t I?

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Yeah. I don’t hang in circles where the gaps in my reading would be an issue.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Isn’t this the same, in principle, as number five?

24) Play?
It’s a tie between The Clouds and Lysistrata. I like Aristophanes.

25) Poem?
Psalms is nice. I also like Blake’s Auguries of Innocence.

26) Essay?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Hey, I used to own the Great Books of the Western World. Chalk that one up to “Stuff Laura Lost in the Divorce”.

27) Short story?
You know? None come to mind. I’m much more of an Epic Novel Length kind of reader.

28) Work of nonfiction?
I’m not typically a nonfiction kind of girl, but I did enjoy A Walk in the Woods.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Probably tied to number one.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

31) What is your desert island book?
“How to Survive on a Desert Island”

32) And… what are you reading right now?
“His Majesty’s Dragon” by Naomi Novik, and “Black Sun Rising” by CS Friedman. Shockingly, I’m still in the middle of these and have been for a couple of months. Those who know me realize that it’s a VERY unusual thing, to have only read EIGHT books thus far this year. There must be something wrong.

Well, that was a heck of a lot of fun! I really enjoyed letting other writers take the reigns for a week. It’s always so interesting to read from another’s point of view. I’d like to thank each of the five writers who so generously shared their time and energy and talents with us.

I had so much fun with that, I might make it an annual thing!

Anyhoo. Now for what’s been going on around here:

Monday and Tuesday I kicked my own ass (I was going to on Wednesday and Thursday, too, but I got sidelined by a massive headache on Wednesday and on Thursday I decided that I’d like to be able to walk again some day). I’ve never watched The Biggest Loser but at this very moment in time I HATE JILLIAN MICHAELS. But in a good way. Mostly. Okay, maybe not. I just hope I don’t have to run for my life in the next couple of days, because if so, I’m doomed. I can’t even move fast enough to get out of my own damned way. I’m staggering around the house like my legs have extra, wobbly, joints.

Calvin even decided to join me during one of the sessions (you’d think twenty minutes would go by fast, but you’d be wrong). He kicked my ass ALL up and down the living room. He’s in damn good shape. He’s not even sore and I’m not sure I can forgive him for that. I kind of dared him to work out with me, and now that he’s done so I have to pony up on the bet.

I’m SO not sharing what the bet was. Nope. Sorry. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Must See TV Month is progressing quite nicely. The Big Bang Theory continues to delight (“I’ve got more nervous ticks than a lyme disease research facility”). Fringe is better than I expected it to be. Bones is still one of my favorites (HAH! I KNEW Zack wasn’t a killer!). I still adore Grey’s Anatomy with all my little heart. I’m on the fence about The Mentalist. How I Met Your Mother is starting to get rather boring. The Sara Connor Chronicles is somewhat predictable. Worst Week is NOT going to make it. There’s a bunch of others I’m opinionated about but I can’t think of them right now.

Along similar lines, our area FINALLY got On Demand, so I’m catching up on Season Two of The Tudors. Anne Bolyn is an example of how a pretty, pretty girl can be fantastically ugly. Although I’m sure the actress herself is a nice lady, in real life. (And wouldn’t Calvin LOVE to find THAT out. Actually, she’s pretty enough to cause me to have a bi moment or two, myself.)

I got Calvin Rock Band 2 for an early birthday present, and thus far we have formed a band, toured Montreal, Boston, and New York City, got a tour bus, and rocked the party that rocked the party. However, as this week’s tagline has demonstrated, I have been completely unable to get “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America out of my head since LAST Saturday night. What an earworm that song is, I tell ya.

Here. I shouldn’t suffer alone:

Yes, I know. The song makes no sense whatsoever. You’re welcome. (Also, this is our new favorite Rock Band song.)

I also purchased our SECOND copy of Phil Collins’ Finally – The First Farewell Tour on DVD, having watched the first copy so damn much that we wore the fucker out. Every time we watch it we’re absolutely thrilled. From the drum dual in the beginning to the chilling and thrilling rendition of “In the Air Tonight” at the start of the second disc to the happiness of “Take Me Home” for the finale, this two disc DVD set is the BEST concert we’ve ever seen. We were blessed enough to see it live and it stands as the absolute BEST concert we’ve ever seen. EVER. BUY THIS DVD. You won’t be sorry.

Here. Maybe this will convince you:

Or maybe this:

As you read this (I’m writing this entry mid-week but due to my Most Awesome Super Powers and a handy WordPress feature, I am able to Post Into The Future (insert dramatic echo here)), Calvin and I are right this very second driving up to Flagstaff, by way of Sedona, to check out some jazz and art and also the farmer’s market. We were going to go down to Tucson for the annual Reptile Show to spend the night, drink probably more beer than what is healthy for us, and return on Sunday WITHOUT another critter to add to our collection. But then we decided that we are altogether TOO TIRED of the heat, which Tucson would do little to alleviate, so up NORTH it is! Where we will spend the night, probably drink more beer than what is healthy for us, and return on Sunday with goodies from the farmer’s market.

Also, whenever I have to spell Tucson I always start out with the “s” before the “c” and have to edit myself. It’s like “Favre” – pronounced with the “r” before the “v”, and what the hell kind of a last name is that anyway? It’s always confused me.

Speaking of critters, Kali (the snake) hasn’t been wanting to eat lately. Calvin has had to dispatch two rats that we bought for her, that she subsequently ignored. They can’t hang out in the vivarium with her until she’s interested in eating – they’d nibble on her tail and tear up the substrate (bedding). We think the rats we’ve been getting are too large for her – she looks at them like she’s interested, and tracks them as they wander all over her cage, but she never strikes. So we’re going to get her a smaller rat next week. If she ignores that one, it’s off to the vet she goes.

Aaaand speaking of football (sorta), I find myself kind of disenfranchised this season. The Pats pissed me off at the end of last season (though with Brady out for the season I’m interested to see how Cassel does, but it doesn’t look too good so far), and the Cards have never really been worth rooting for (though they haven’t done TOO bad so far this season). It’s kind of refreshing, though, to be able to watch a football team and NOT be emotionally invested in who wins. I like the Manning boys and make a point to tune into their games, I kind of hope in an evil way that Favre has a hard time of it with his new team, but other than that I’m not following anyone specific this year.

I’ve kind of been in fall nesting mode. Marie’s departure has prompted in Calvin and me the desire to reorganize and thoroughly clean the house. We FINALLY cleaned out and organized the garage so that we can park the truck in it – which was a geeky proud grown-up moment for me, being able to pull into the garage at the end of the day. Then I spent a whole day cleaning out our bedroom closet, and moving the seldom-worn clothes and shoes upstairs into the walk-in closet in Marie’s former bedroom. Then I emptied the dresser and boxed the seldom-worn clothes and moved those upstairs as well. The clothes that remained in the dresser and closet make me wonder what kind of physics experiment I was running in the bedroom – the closet and dresser are still full, the upstairs closet is almost full, and how the HELL did I fit all that stuff into the dresser and closet in our bedroom before all the offloading? It boggles the mind.

Next projects include cleaning out under the bed (the cats wrestle under there on a daily basis, and the support blocks came loose so there’s nails sticking down and I have frequent anxiety that they’re going to poke their eyes out), going through my book collection and weeding out the no-keepers (which shall go to Jen for first choice, then to Bookmans for store credit so maybe I can get the rest of the Sookie series without spending money like the good girl I said I was going to be), cleaning out the freezer (there’s things in there I can’t recognize), and wrestling the vines in the back yard into some semblance of order.

After a summer of not using the hot tub at all, we finally got a new pump to replace the one that shit the bed. I sure could use the hot tub right now, what with the SCREAMING muscles in my body. Seriously, I’m staggering around like an arthritic grandmother. Anyway. The pump probably won’t be replaced until next weekend, seeing as we’re in Tucson this weekend. I’m scared to lift up the cover and peek in to look at the condition of the water in the hot tub – probably pond scum city. Gah. Ah, well, it’ll need a thorough cleaning and chlorinating before we can use it, anyway.

The weather is still in the low 100’s around here, and I would like to know when, exactly, Stew Weather will be here. And Chili Weather. And Baked Potato Soup Weather. Enough with the triple-digits, already. Also, I’m gearing up to do a LOT of baking this winter. This recipe will be first (have you been over to Smitten Kitchen yet? If not, what the heck are you doing HERE?!?).

Finally, I’m kind of vexed, and kind of sad. Lilly (Michael’s ex wife, mother of our three grandsons) decided to un-“friend” me on MySpace. Her MySpace page was how I kept up on their lives, saw pictures of the boys, and generally stayed in touch. I discovered at the beginning of September that I wasn’t allowed to view her page anymore. I don’t have her e-mail address, I don’t have her phone number, and I don’t have their new address. I can’t get in touch with them, and I can’t send the boys birthday and Christmas gifts. Robert (the oldest) just turned five this month. I miss them all. I sent a new “friend request” to Lilly via MySpace as soon as I realized I’d been un-friended, but she never answered or approved it. So now I’m wondering what I did to make her disconnect me like this. I’m hoping she reads this and tells me it was all a mistake and re-friends me.

Okay! I feel like I’m all caught up, and now so are you. I’ll be back on Monday with pictures from Sedona and Flagstaff. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Guest Entry – Kim

Posted: September 24, 2008 in blogs, books, Friends, Journal, Pimp, Readers Choice

Today’s guest entry is written by frequent commenter, Kim. Heck, after reading this I think we should all encourage her to start her own blog!


It’s strange to tell you that even though I’ve been married to my husband for nine years, I’d only met his older brother three years ago. It was the first time Brian had actually met him too, and there’s a very long, Jerry Springer-esq story behind it we won’t get into here. Suffice it to say this past Labor Day we had a family reunion and it was the first time all of us had been around each other for any length of time. We stayed at a great beach house in Beaufort, South Carolina and along with the excitement of getting away for the first time all Summer, I was also fairly nervous. I remembered the brother’s wife, (my sister-in-law) as being tall and blond – in other words, me-opposite but also fairly quiet and nice. I anticipated the weekend with optimism, which for me requires effort. And sometimes medication.

After we got home, I started uploading the vacation pictures to share with the family. I was reliving the weekend, thinking I really liked my sister-in-law. Let’s call her Toni, because that’s her name. I thought, “Yes! Even though she’s 5’10”, evenly tanned, the proud owner of a brand new set of boobs and has naturally waist-length, pin-straight blond hair, I still like her! Go Kim, you have come a long way overcoming your insecurities, you mature woman, you!” I was so damn proud of myself, I may have even given myself a cookie.

Once I had a day or so to think about it, however, I started thinking I may have jumped the gun on the whole positive attitude thing. I realized the only things we have in common is the fact our husbands share the same father and the brand of cigarettes we smoke. (Pretend like you didn’t read that last line – smoking is BAD, bad I say!) But okay, fine. I know it’s possible to get along with someone you don’t have much in common with. But then little things started trickling back into my mind, little unsettling things. Not-so-rosy memories that make me think maybe I wanted to like her so much, I looked over some things at the time.

Such as.

They have two kids, we have no kids. That’s cool. I’m friends with many parents and their kids, so this isn’t an issue for me. We were all sitting around talking and the subject of reading came up. Well, alrighty! Here’s something I can discuss with great enthusiasm and knowledge! I brought up the fact that after all these years, I’ve finally started keeping a list of books I’m reading in 2008. I said I figured I’d end up with fifty or so by the end of the year, making it a book a week. But, and I wasn’t saying this in a bragging manner in any way, I said here we are at the end of August and I’ve just started on book number 53! Shit, I’m as shocked as anyone (except my husband, who’s also read that many, if not more). My step-mother-in-law (his family is really effing confusing if you’re not paying attention) said, “Wow, Kim – I knew you read a lot, but that’s awesome!” Toni, on the other hand, kind of looked at me with a puzzled head tilt like she couldn’t comprehend what I was saying. She didn’t say anything for a minute ( VERY uncomfortable), then finally said with a slightly condescending little giggle, “Wow, you sure must have a lot of free time! I wouldn’t even have time to read, with how crazy work is and lookin’ after these wild children and everything.” (Say it to yourself with a southern accent to get the full effect.)

Okay. First of all, I HATE when people say they don’t have time to read. Do you have a lunch hour? Do you ever go to the doctor and wait in the waiting room? Ever get stuck in traffic on the interstate? Do you crap? You have time to read, bitch. You choose not to. Which is FINE. I understand not everyone shares my unnatural love of books. But don’t act like your Big Important Job (of which she talked about A LOT) and two little kids keep you from reading. I know plenty of people who manage all of the above. In fact, one of my favorite bloggers has FIVE young kids and she reads enough so that I’ve taken two of her author recommendations recently and discovered two new favorites. So DO NOT tell me you don’t have time to read and make me feel like an asshole for being a book nerd!

Just little moments like that throughout the weekend are making me think, no. Maybe I was right in hating all female creatures tall, tan and blond. (And fake perfect boobs – don’t freaking forget those!) My asshole detector is usually pretty right on, but for the sake of keeping things pleasant in the family, I’ve decided to put my big girl panties on and decide to still like her.

For now. Let’s see how Thanksgiving goes before I make my final decision.

My boobs may be boringly real, I am very, very far from tan, and I’m not getting any taller than 5’4”. I guess I could choose to be tan too, but…I don’t have TIME to tan because I’m too busy READING.

Still alive.

Posted: June 25, 2008 in books, Headspace, Journal, misc, Music, Readers Choice

Gee! I haven’t written since Saturday! That’s not normal, for me. I’ve been working on the Peace Pipe and Crack Pipe track lists (don’t forget to e-mail me with your mailing address by Friday evening and let me know if you’d like one or both!) and have listened to Peace Pipe once through; I think that one’s done, though I might play with the song order a bit. At the rate my day is going, Crack Pipe will probably be done by this afternoon – listening to rage-full music will probably help my attitude TREMENDOUSLY.

I’ve also been fully consumed by Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series. If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend them. They’re the only books other than Old Man’s War that I’ve ever given a perfect 10/10. I’ve read the first two books and am halfway through the third, with the fourth and final book of the series coming out in August, and a movie based on the first book coming out in December.

Jen (from whom I’ve been borrowing the books) is just about as geeked as I’ve ever seen her, and that’s saying a lot. A. LOT.

I’ve been tinkering with an entry about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression, but I’ve only been writing on it when I’m in the mood. I’ve also been tagged by Taoist Biker for a mini-meme. AND it suddenly strikes me that I never did write about the Reader’s Choice day in Old Town Scottsdale, though I did upload all of the pictures. I have work to do, and a serious lack of gumption!

It’s just a case of the lazies. I’ll turn myself around in short order.