Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Day!

Well! It's been a while, hasn't it? But, today is my birthday and I love my birthday like a little kid, so I thought it would be a good time to say hello and tell you all what I've been up to!

So, let's pick up where we left off, shall we? I chose not to go to the high school reunion. There really weren't many people I would like to see, and I don't feel any need to show them how I'm doing. Plus, I haven't seen, heard from, talked to, heard about, ANYTHING, the Awful Ex, so I decided to leave that situation exactly as it was. I'm a little afraid that he'd "want to be friends" or something ridiculous like that. As Ebeneezer Scrooge so aptly put it, "I wish to be left alone." So I skipped it. (I did look at the pictures on FB though, and there were some people I would not have recognized. And I don't mean that in a good way.)

Did I tell you that my car died? Yes, sadly, my beloved 10 year old Honda Civic passed to that great parking lot in the sky back in July. It quit in about 15 minutes, too, which is kinda scary and kinda good. I told one of my friends that it was the car equivalent of having a massive heart attack and being dead before you hit the floor. It was kind of good, in that we didn't spend tons of money fixing a million little things before the big one hit, and it was also good that I was close to home when the service engine soon light came on, because by the time I got to our driveway, there was steam pouring out from underneath the hood. We changed the oil and hoped it was fixed, so I drove it a little to make sure it was alright before work the next day, and I didn't even make it the three miles out to the highway. The engine temperature pegged out at the hottest point and stayed there, so I turned around and went home. A few days later, we tried to move it from that parking spot and it wouldn't even shift into gear, so the transmission and motor are both shot. We've been taking our time to decide what to buy next (and save up some money, since we were hoping that the Civic would last a couple more years until some other things were paid off), but we've pretty well settled on the Volkswagon diesel Jetta. It's a really cute little car and the gas mileage is unbelievable. Now it's just a matter of time while we get our finances in order to buy one. I can't wait because right now I'm commuting in a Ford Excursion, which is basically the biggest SUV EVAH, and you can imagine how maneuverable that thing is on city streets and parking lots.

One thing delaying the car purchase is the fact that our house is falling apart in large chunks. Remember back in May when the stove caught on fire and the well pump quit ON THE SAME DAY? Would you believe that the well pump died again, this time quickly followed by the hot water heater? And that this time, it rained the entire week after the well pump died so that we couldn't fix it (electric pump + rain = bad idea), so that we spent an ENTIRE WEEK without water in our house? Yep, THAT was a fun week. Fortunately, Rock's mom and stepdad live right in front of us, so I could go to their house to shower in the mornings, so at least I could still go to work. (I refered to my office as The Land of Running Water that week and I wasn't at all unhappy about working some overtime!) This time, we replaced the well pump, the pressure tank and the hot water heater, so hopefully it will be more than 5 months before we have to replace anything again. Aren't you dying to visit my house?

So tell me, what's new with you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh right - that blog thing!

So! Long time no talk, eh? The culprit is my job, of course, but since I want to stay gainfully employed, that's all I'll say about that.

So let's talk about something else, shall we? How about my 15 year high school reunion? Seems it's in a few weeks. (Which - WTF? How has 15 years gone by so fast?) On the one hand, I'm tempted to go. Which is a total change of heart from the 10 year reunion, to which, I believe I said, wild horses couldn't drag me. But somehow, the ensuing 5 years have mellowed me a bit. (Or finding people on Facebook has convinced me that most of the people I went to high school have also put on weight, and have crappier jobs/ lives than I do. Which may not be the purest reason for wanting to go to a high school reunion, but I take what I can get.) There is a small handful of people I'd kinda like to see (and by small handful, I mean less than 5). It's also a family oriented event, at a local park, during daylight hours, so I don't think there's much danger of getting drunk and making a fool of myself. On the other hand, that means there is no alcohol to ease the social tension of seeing a bunch of people I didn't like 15 years ago. And I'm not sure I really want to go. There are lots of people I really don't want to ever see again. Which brings me to the big reason why I don't want to go: my really awful, abusive, high school boyfriend is one of the organizers. He sent out an email about it over the weekend, and just seeing that email made me feel a little sick.

So, tell me your opinions and your high school reunion stories! Should I stay or should I go?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Marshall Karp

Just a quick post to let you guys know that one of my very favorite authors, Marshall Karp, has a new book out! It's called Cut, Paste, Kill and the early reviews sound really good! I plan to pick it up this weekend and can't wait to read it.

If you do pick it up, you might just recognize a character or two. ; ) Blogging about books and emailing an author can have awesome and surprising results!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still Alive

Oh my god, you guys! I have SO MUCH to tell you. First of all, we did get an intern! She's a friend of a friend, and she is SO MUCH HELP. She only works two days a week, but they are my busiest two days and she just makes everything run so much more smoothly. I'm still busy and working late most nights, but at least I have a little help on the most stressful days. AND, I have a half day off tomorrow (if I can get out of here at lunchtime!) and I plan to take Supergirl to the movies. I'm really looking forward to that.

Secondly, I met Richard Russo! He came to North Carolina for a reading and book signing, and he was so incredibly nice. He took lots of audience questions, and was gracious enough to take questions in the book signing line. I asked him a question in the signing line and he laughed and answered my question and told me a little story about his family. He was awesome. Such a genuinely nice man. And look, I met a famous author and managed not to piss him off! Major accomplishment, that. I did miss Jen Lancaster's NC signing due to house issues (as in, the stove caught fire and the well pump broke and my house had no water ON THE SAME DAY), but we won't dwell on that. I don't even want to know what was wrong with that day. Two days later, just after we got the water fixed, lightning struck our house for the third or fourth time. No major damage this time, it just burned out a few light bulbs. So what I'm saying is that you REALLY don't want to come visit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things Making Me Laugh Today

On Facebook:
Friend "is praying for family in transition, friends who continue to grieve, coworkers to know Jesus personally, military members abroad, their families at home, missionaries abroad & those who still wait, students who are graduating & those who still search for answers, those in leadership & those who criticize their leaders. Most of all...peace in the waiting...."
Is it wrong that my first instinct is, "Jeez, give God a break!"

Overheard in my office:
Co-Worker A to Co-Worker B: "You must have a photogenic memory!"
(She realized her mistake and corrected herself, but still.)

From inter-office newsletter:
"Moving to quickly makes my work sloppy, usually contains errors and I tend to feel scattered."
Yay, irony!

So tell me - what's making you laugh today?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

I got up this morning and noticed what book my husband started reading last night - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

That totally made my day.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Right, so that whole "month of April" thing...I've been around, hopefully commenting on most of your blogs. But at work, oh my God, at work, I've descended into the fourth circle of Hell. My closest co-worker gave her notice at the end of March (why yes, right around the time I stopped blogging!) and left our office the second week of April. At first, they were going to replace her as soon as possible, but yet not hire the first person off the street and asked me to take on her responsibilities for a short time. Which, yeah, I wasn't thrilled about, but as long as they were actually working on replacing her, I could probably deal. Then, a few days later, they were going to hire someone part time to replace her. Which, no, was not my first choice of options, but I knew she had a good bit of downtime, so maybe it could be a part time job. My biggest worry was that they would hire someone who wanted part time work, and then, when we get busy enough to need a full-time person, wouldn't want to go full-time. But then - oh dudes, THEN. Boss' Boss came into town on the next to last day my co-worker was working, sat down with Boss and me, and announced that he had no plans to hire anyone to replace co-worker, that I would be taking on both jobs, and that they expected outstanding performance in both roles OR ELSE. The OR ELSE was more subtle, but the message was loud and clear. So I've been working overtime and busting my ass for the last few weeks. It seems to be going pretty well, though, and I don't think the OR ELSE is going to come into play. Now, though, they are talking about hiring an intern to come in a couple of days a week to help me out. So there may be light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

In other news, I saw the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it was seriously wonderful! DO NOT be put off by the whole "it's in Swedish with English subtitles" thing. You can totally follow the plot and dialog. Rock, who has not read the book, went with me and he loved it, too, so you don't even have to have read the book. But really, you should, because as good as the film is, the book is even better. But the film stays true to the book, following the very complex plot very closely. I was really impressed. If it's coming to a theater near you, do go see it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

40 Things

40 Things
Stolen from the Hotfessional, because she's awesome.
1. Do you like bleu cheese?
OMG, no. When we were in Vienna, my friend and I ordered a pizza to share that was listed as a "Four Cheese Pizza". Because we couldn't read German, we didn't know that one of those cheeses was bleu cheese. The pizza was completely inedible, and one of the leaders of the trip swapped food with us because he liked bleu cheese.
2. Have you ever smoked?
No. I dabbled with smoking a bit in college, and I still almost always have a pack of clove cigarettes in my car, but I hardly ever smoke one. I think the pack that's in my car now is more than a year old, and still mostly full.
3. Do you own a gun?
Yes. This is what happens when you marry a military man. I'm also a surprisingly good shot, given that I never practice.
4. Favorite type of food?
Mexican. I could eat Mexican food every day and not get tired of it.
5. Favorite type of music?
Classic rock. Zeppelin, the Stones, the Who.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Love them! I don't even care if they're the brown ones or the red ones. I like them all. With mayo, ketchup and chili. Yummmm.
7. Favorite Christmas movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which I will watch anytime of the year. I do not consider it a Christmas movie. It just happens to be set at Christmas time.
The George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol. (He shared my birthday, a fact I bring up every time George C. Scott is mentioned.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the Grinch's dog Max makes me laugh every time.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Water while I'm getting ready for work, coffee on the way to work.
9. Can you do push ups?
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
My diamond earrings. Present from hubby a few Christmases ago.
11. Favorite hobby?
Like you have to ask? Reading. And photography.
12. Do you have A. D. D.?
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
Contacts during the week, glasses sometimes on the weekend, sunglasses if it's the least bit bright.
14. Middle name?
Alicia. Technically, now it's my maiden name, but I don't want to put that out here.
15. Name three thoughts at this exact moment:
I have so much work to do. Oh. Wait.
Damnit, my nose is running again.
I need to stop at Target on the way home.
16. Name three drinks you regularly drink:
Water, coffee and sweet tea.
17. Current worry?
Wow, I can't really think of anything. I must be far luckier than I realize.
18. Current hate right now?
My cold/ allergies/ what-the-hell-ever is making my nose run and making me feel like crap yesterday and today.
19. Favorite place to be?
At home, with my family
Followed closely by - in bed, asleep
20. How did you bring in the new year?
Rock and the kids and I stayed up talking, wished each other a Happy New Year, then went to bed. Yes, we ARE the most exciting people you know.
21. Someplace you’d like to go?
I want to take my dad to Scotland, which is where our family is from.
22. Name three people who will complete this.
Eh, anyone who wants to. I don't believe in tagging people.
23. Do you own slippers?
Own them, yes
Wear them, no
24. What color shirt are you wearing?
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
No, I prefer high-count cotton
26. Can you whistle?
Not well.
27. Where are you now?
At work.
28. Would you be a pirate?
Hell yes! Arrrh, you're going to have to walk the plank, matey!
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I get up too early to sing in the shower. If I did, though, it would be showtunes.
30. Favorite Girl’s Name?
31. Favorite boy’s name?
Nicholas, which Rock doesn't like and I will never get to use. Sob.
32. What is in your pocket right now?
Nothing, these pants don't have pockets.
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
Lunch with a work friend.
34. What vehicle do you drive?
Ten year old Honda Civic, Represent! 260,000 miles and going strong. I love that car.
35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
That would be my broken ankle.
36. Do you love where you live?
Yes, but I don't love my commute.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
38. How many computers do you have in your house
39. If you changed your job, what would it be?
I really want to look into moving into the publishing industry. Or photography, but that would definitely require going back to school.
40. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be??
New job (or lottery win. Also acceptable.)
Better figure
Husband to not be allergic to cats (yeah, that's pretty random.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heh. Well, I'm still glad that I got that rant out of my system on Thursday. Posting that allowed me to go back and get that project on track. It is now done and waiting on review, which I hope will be positive. For the most part, I really like my job and I do a very good job here. It's just that sometimes I get frustrated and writing about it helps.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great weekend! The weather here was gorgeous! We even managed to get outside and enjoy it both days this weekend. On Saturday, we prepared two flower beds and on Sunday, we planted some flowers in each of the beds. I'm so excited and can't wait to see all the bright, happy flowers in a few months. The kids loved picking out the flowers (things they did not love: helping to prep the flower beds!). I'll try to remember to take pictures to show you guys when the flowers start to bloom!

So tell me: what did you do over the weekend?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small Rant

Oh my fucking God, you guys. How did I wind up in a job that requires this much math? Because math skillz, I does not has them. I don't mean addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc - those I can do. I mean, looking at the situation and going, "Oh, but wait, if there's a fee, you have to take that off the top before you can use this handy dandy formula (that I keep written down and hidden in my bottom desk drawer)." I'm working on a project that I should be rocking, and instead I'm stinking it up. I realized before lunch that "Oops. All those times where I thought the program had the wrong answer and I had the right answer? Yep, the program answer was right and the Shelly answer was wrong." I might as well just start over. Crap.

Seriously, I report to an Accounting department?! What is up with that? How did I get here, yo?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Judging Books...

Open letter to authors, publishers, marketers, etc:
If your book has a major plot twist that should shock or surprise your readers, do not discuss it in the synopsis in such a way that makes it absolutely obvious WHAT the plot twist is. The book jacket for a novel I read recently discussed a plot twist by saying, "Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up. For the reader, it is an electrifying moment, a joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy [the main character], it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed." The way the story is set up, if blame has to be reapportioned, then that "piece of information" can only be one thing. I knew what the twist was before I even started reading the novel. My point is this: if you truly wanted to make it a "fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment", you should have camouflaged it better in the synopsis. Saying, "Decades later, Patsy discovers something shocking about her crime that causes her to reassess her life." is more vague and leaves more possibilities open.

Much love,

I'm currently reading Water for Elephants, which has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years for one simple reason - it had no synopsis at all, so I didn't have any idea what it was about. I only started it now because the book club I just joined is reading it this month. Otherwise, it might have sat on my shelf indefinitely, because I had very little interest in it. I'm not very far into it, but so far it's fantastic. The first chapter grabs you and pulls you in. It's as good as John Irving, back in his Garp days, only maybe a little better.

I'm also listening to the first Harry Potter book on cd. I've just about finished it- in fact, I'll probably finish it on the way home, and I've already got the second one checked out of the library to start as soon as I finish the first. I've been thoroughly enchanted with the first book. I have a major apology to issue to all my friends who told me, over the years, how much I would enjoy the Harry Potter series if I read them. Not that I disrespected my friends, or didn't value their opinions, but I just didn't have any interest in the HP series. And I never really knew why until I started planning this post. I remembered a few years back, when Supergirl first got curious about the books I read, she asked me what one of my books was about. And, because I hadn't yet figured out that the plot lines of almost all the books I read aren't really suitable to explain to a small child, I told her. She immediately started asking a bunch of questions about why the people did what they did, why they weren't good, etc., etc. Rock chimed in and said, "Because Momma doesn't read happy books. Nice, happy things don't happen in her books." He was joking, in part, but I was a little stung, too. And I realized yesterday that I was stung because the criticism is ABSOLUTELY TRUE. I don't really read happy books. And that's exactly why I resisted the Harry Potter series for so long. They sounded really sweet. And wholesome. And I don't really do sweet and wholesome. Give me a good serial killer, or a dysfunctional family and I'm happy. But I've been pleasantly surprised by the HP series. They are sweet, and wholesome, but they are also fun and really, really entertaining. (Oh, and I've also learned to PG my book descriptions for Supergirl. So now, my descriptions are more along the lines of "Oh, it's about a family." "And what do they do?" "Well, they do family stuff, you know." Instead of saying, Well the teenage daughter drops the baby down the stairs giving him permanent brain damage, then has a nervous breakdown, accuses her father of molesting her, and gets packed off to a special school for crazy teens. And the parents split up. Of the True Blood series, my description was, "It's about a girl and her boyfriend." "What do they do?" "Oh, they go out to dinner and talk a lot." Well, see, he's a vampire and she's a mind reader, so they get into lots of trouble, and they also have lots of sex. Much better, all the way around.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Oh my God, you guys. Tuesday night it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing. When I went to bed, we had about 3 inches. Rock woke me up around 3 am, when he was going to bed, and told me we had about 5 inches and I probably wouldn't be going to work. So I reset my alarm for later, so that I could call and find out if the office was closed, or let people know I wasn't coming in, went to the bathroom, and went back to sleep. About an hour later, our power started going off and coming back on. Then, it went off and stayed off. Since my alarm clock has a battery back-up, it still went off at 7. I called one of my co-workers to ask if the office was closed. She was like, "Um, no. Why? We only got a half inch of snow." And I said, "Well, I've got 6 inches of snow and no power. I won't be in." Disadvantage of living far away from the office - your weather can be completely different from theirs. So we played in the snow and then went to town to get some food and then went to my in-laws house because they have a generator (Flushing toilets! Running water! I've never been quite so excited to wash my hands.) and hung out there for the afternoon. We were just starting to make plans about where to spend the night when the power came back on at 5:15pm, more than 12 hours after it went off. We gathered up our stuff and went back to our house, and about an hour after we turned on our furnace, our house was warm again. Gas heat for the win!

Monday, March 1, 2010


So this weekend was much quieter than last weekend, thank God. My kid is fine, totally fine. She's back to fighting with her brother, so she must be fine, AMIRITE?

Has anyone else discovered Dan Chaon's novels? I read You Remind Me of Me last weekend and Await Your Reply this weekend. I checked them out of the library, but then I found a copy of You Remind Me of Me at the used bookstore for $5 on Friday evening! Score! They're both very good, but Await Your Reply is stellar. It's a Chinese box, MC Escher drawing, interlocking puzzle of a novel. It focuses on identity theft, and I swear, it made me want to stop direct deposit on my paycheck, close my bank account, put all my money in a shoebox under my bed and crawl in there after it. And never touch the Internet again. Oh, and burn my credit cards. And I am not the paranoid member of my household. I want Rock to read it, except that I'm afraid that if he does, we'll be living in a hole in the ground, eating food we raise, and I'll never get a computer or Internet access at home. (the amount that I'm kidding in that sentence is lower than you think.) But the characters! Oh my God, you guys, the characters! And the plot twists! And that's about all I can say without giving anything away except OMG, SO GOOD. Chaon has a way of crafting novels around a theme without being obvious and a hand so deft with plot twists that you will be blind-sided. They're both excellent, but Await Your Reply is phenomenal.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Never Say Your Life is Too Boring...

...because you'll wind up with a story like this one.

On Friday, I had the day off work. Supergirl and I were scheduled to get our teeth cleaned at 1:00 at our dentist's office. Since our regular mechanic was on the way, I scheduled an oil change and safety inspection for my car, telling him I would drop the car off on our way to the dentist and pick it up on our way home. Then, my plan was to go do a little shopping, and just relax. I even thought about stopping at the library, to write a little post here, updating you guys on my sunglasses purchases and checking on a few other things I had going on various other places on the Internets. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (That's the Universe, laughing at my nice, simple plan for Friday.) While we were at the dentist's office, they mentioned putting sealants on Supergirl's molars. This was something I had wanted to do, so I was definitely open to the idea. Well, my insurance covers it at 100%, and the hygenist said it would only take 15 minutes and wouldn't hurt her, did we want to do it right then? So, I talked it over with Supergirl for a few minutes, and we agreed to go ahead and do it. I was still having my teeth cleaned in the next room, so I wasn't with her at this point, so I don't know exactly what happened. I could hear her starting to whimper a little, so I checked on her a time or two, but she seemed to be okay. I talked to her and told her what they were doing and she calmed down. So I went back to the room next door and my cleaning. Once my cleaning was finished, I went to Supergirl's room and she had thrown up ALL over the place. I helped get her cleaned up, then took her to the bathroom to finish cleaning her up. Throughout all this, she kept saying that her throat hurt really bad. When we came out of the bathroom, one of the hygenists came and got us and said, "We want to do another x-ray if she'll let us." Which I thought was weird, but whatever, so I helped talk Supergirl into letting them do one more x-ray. Then, we went back to the room where they had cleaned her teeth. Then the hygenist and the dentist told me why they wanted to do that last x-ray. When she threw up, or before she threw up, the dental mirror that they had in her mouth broke and the reflective disc went down her throat. (Naturally, they didn't tell me this that concisely. They told me that they thought she might have swallowed "part of an instrument". They said "part of an instrument" about four times before they actually told me WHICH PART of WHICH INSTRUMENT. I was visualizing the sharp, scrapy tools for a full minute or two before they showed me the round, quarter-sized disc that my daughter actually swallowed. Which, yes, bad. But way better than the sharp, scrapy tools that I was immediately imagining.) (They also told me this IN FRONT OF SUPERGIRL. Who proceeded to freak the fuck out. I was barely holding it together, but she lost it.) So. Once I got Supergirl calmed down some, the dentist and I talked. The disc was plastic, had no sharp edges, and was about the size of a quarter. We thought it would probably travel on through her digestive system and be fine. But, he recommended that we go over to the Urgent Care Center and have a throat and chest x-ray, just to make sure it wasn't stuck somewhere, especially since she was still saying that her throat hurt really badly. He also made it clear that his office would cover all costs. So, then I got to explain to my husband (who was waiting outside) how all this had happened and that we now needed to head over to the Urgent Care for some x-rays. Initally, he was mad at me for going ahead with the sealants without us discussing it as a family (which, valid point), but once he realized that this was a serious situation, he dropped that beef and got supportive. He came in to the Urgent Care just as the x-rays were being developed and discussed. The Urgent Care doctor was a little brusque and I was starting to get mad, so Rock showed up at the perfect time and took over dealing with the doctor. At the Urgent Care, (which was about two blocks away from the dentist's office), they took two x-rays and saw the mirror on the first one. It was stuck in the back of her throat. In the second x-ray, it was blocked by her chin, so it was still that high in her throat. She threw up another time or two, once more in the dentist's office and once in the Urgent Care. The Urgent Care sent us directly to the Emergency Room at the hospital (practically across the street from the Urgent Care), where they would sedate her and intubate her and then reach into her throat with forceps and pull the mirror out. But of course, that took forever. First, they had to insert an IV. Then, they gave her some Benadryl. (I don't really know why, but it made her really drowsy, which made her more comfortable.) During this part, Rock was with her and I was with Wildman out in the waiting room. Because of swine flu and norovirus and all that other stuff, children under 12 can't go back to the emergency room "rooms" (unless they are patients), so he had to stay out in waiting room. So I sat in the waiting room for an hour with a 3 year old, which I do not recommend. Rock had the keys to the car, so I couldn't even take him to the car to get him out of the waiting room. He crawled on the floor, under the "wet floor" sign. He crawled all over this nice lady who had a kidney stone.(Fortunately, she had a small son at home, so she was VERY nice about him. Bless her, I hope she's well today!) He crawled all over a little family with a baby girl until I pulled him off them. Finally, Rock came out and switched places with me. I went back to the room and sat with Supergirl and he took Wilman out to the car. After three hours, they finally took her in for the procedure. Once she was in surgery, we could all wait in that waiting room, so we were all back together. The Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist who did the procedure was terrific. He said the funny thing was that, since it was a mirror, it reflected his lights back at him, so it was hard to see to get hold of it. Once the mirror was out of her throat, and she woke up from the anesthesia, Supergirl was fine. Her throat didn't hurt anymore. They took a chest x-ray to be sure that nothing else was in there, then sent her up to a hospital room. There, they gave her an antibiotic and an anti-nausea medicine in her IV, which took an hour and a half to drip in. She had to be able to walk and to urinate and not throwing up before she could go home, but she was easily doing all of that in the first hour after her surgery. We went home that night, but it was after 10:00 before we left the hospital. She's been fine since then, though. The ENT Specialist and the dentist both called to check on her on Saturday morning, which I though was really nice. Just an insane day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Need help

If I want high-quality, durable polarized sunglasses without paying a really exorbitant price, what brand should I look at? I want something fashionable, but I don't like the bug-eye, huge trend that's popular right now. My last pair (that broke last weekend, RIP beloved sunglasses! was a pair of Fossil's that I bought about 4 years ago, so you can tell that I don't lose them or break them until they wear out from old age. So I don't mind paying more than $10 at Wa!-Mart. I get migraines, so I'm way more concerned with blocking light than I am with saving money or looking good. I'm not prepared to pay a mortgage amount, though, of course. Any brand or store suggestions welcome!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


So I guess since I'm getting those really annoying anonymous comments, I should post something. There hasn't been a reason I haven't been posting, I've just been busy at work. But here are a few updates of things I've thought about telling you, but haven't managed to:

A doctor finally commented on my weight loss! And it was a doctor who had previously advised me to lose some weight, which made me tremendously happy. It had been three months since my last appointment with him, and he commented, "Since your last visit, you've lost, 11 pounds. That's great!" To which I thanked him for saying something and told him that positive reinforcement went a long way.

Facebook tip - If you actively tormented me in middle or high school, DO NOT send me a friend request on FB. I received a friend request last week from "Homecoming Queen". In middle school, this girl made fun of my new haircut. The next week, she came in with the very same haircut. I tell this story not to show my grudge-holding prowess (though it is impressive, no?), but to say, she and I were not friends. So when I got her friend request, I laughed all the way to the "Ignore" button.

Also, if you are on Goodreads, please friend me. I've just started participating in their bookswap and I'd love to swap books with some of you! If you don't know my last name, send me an email and I'll tell you or tell me how to find you on Goodreads and I'll friend you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quarter Four in Books

So! Last week was great. Thank you all for your comments and compliments. Let's talk some more about last year. Here is what I read and listened to in the fourth quarter:

1. State of Fear by Michael Crichton (audio) - This is Crichton's novel about global warming. Published in 2004, it is not at all what you would expect. It is a rocking good novel, with well-drawn characters facing improbable circumstances. But at the end, there is almost a full disk of "author's message". Crichton thought that global warming was exaggerated, at best, and possibly a total hoax. It's a bold stand, and Crichton was certainly no conspiracy monger. It's a fascinating read, and I plan to buy a copy in print to read in addition to the cds.

2. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris - Second book in the True Blood series, it continues the Sookie Stackhouse story. Again, good fun. Light and fluffy, no heavy lifting here.

3. The City and the City by China Mieville - This book has a weird premise: what if Berlin wasn't separated by a wall at all, but instead by an imaginary dividing line, and all the residents of East and West Berlin had to pretend not to see the other city? That's the basic idea, except of course, it isn't Berlin; it's a made up country, Beszel, but the idea is the same. It's two cities, interlocked, but the citizens of each city have to pretend that they don't see the other city or its residents. Then, a murder happens, and a body is discovered. And a policeman starts investigating. But where did the murder happen? And who was the girl who was murdered? And why was she killed? The novel has a lot of promise, but sadly, what do you really do with a story like this? It doesn't deliver on this promise.

4. Evening Class by Maeve Binchy (audio) - Another fine, sprawling novel by Maeve Binchy. She is totally the master of multi-character epics set in Ireland. This one centers around a group of people taking an evening class to learn to speak Italian. It's an improbable mix of people, each taking the class for a different reason.

5. Le Divorce by Diane Johnson (audio) - There's a movie of this novel that's better than the book, which is rare. Just watch that.

6. The Twins of TriBeCa by Rachel Pine (audio) - A fun tell-all about Miramax studios. Again, pretty light and fluffy, but a fun read.

7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - You all already know how much I love this trilogy, but this was such a great ending to the story. I was really worried, because Larsson passed away in the middle of writing the series, and had so much more planned. But this book really wraps things up nicely. The bad guys get theirs and the good guys...well, I can't tell you what happens, now can I? Suffice it to say that although I'm disappointed that there won't be a ten book series as Larsson was planning, the trilogy is satisfyingly complete as it stands now.

8. Barrel Fever by David Sedaris (audio) - I've never been a huge David Sedaris fan, but finding his stuff on audio books has changed that. He does all his own recordings and his essays are so much funnier when he reads them. With that said, though, Barrel Fever was my least favorite of his books on cd. That's because it's half essays and half stories and I just don't find his stories funny at all. They're too weird for me.

9.The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (audio) - OMG, this book was so good. It was so good I went to the used book store and bought the print book before I finished listening to the cd's because I had checked it out from the library and I couldn't stand the thought of returning it. I lucked out and the used book store had a copy for like $4. I wrote about it before, here, and I will be writing more about it, because it has launched me into book detective mode (don't laugh - it's just for my own amusement). The story is about a serial killer who is traveling across Canada stopping in small towns killing terminally ill people who have contacted him and requested his services. A Detective Inspector, who is the acting police chief in one of those small towns, catches on to what he's doing, and starts to track him. Her name is Hazel Micallef, and she's 61, divorced, needs back surgery, and lives with her mother, the former mayor of their small town. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about this book, and the sequel cannot be published in America fast enough to suit me. Patience, I does not has it.

10. The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe - Um yeah, I read the print book immediately after I finished listening to the cds. And was disappointed when I finished it. SO SO GOOD.

11. Just One Look by Harlan Coben (audio) - Another twisty, turny great novel by Harlan Coben. In this one, a woman picks up some pictures from the photo developers, and an old photo is stuck in the middle of her roll. It's a shot of five people in their early twenties, and one of the guys looks a lot like her husband. But when she asks her husband about the picture, he says it isn't him. Then, he gets in their minivan and drives away, despite the fact that it's 11:00 at night. When he doesn't come home for 2 days, she starts to investigate.

12. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (audio) - Much better than Barrel Fever because there are no stories, this is a delight. On each disk of this book, there was at least one essay that had me in tears I was laughing so hard. Absolutely terrific.

13. Graceland by Chris Abani (audio) - I don't even know how to describe this mess of a book. It's set in Nigeria, and contains many horrors that you might expect a book set in Africa to have. Then, there's childhood rape, sodomy, drug running, human smuggling, and just lots more horror. Maybe it was the fact that I listened to it during the holidays, but I just couldn't take it. Add to that the fact that the author kept trying to sing background music and other random bits of song, which was just distracting, and the fact that the book has a complete cop-out ending, which had to have been set up from the beginning, because it's a play on one of the characters' names.

14. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (audio) - Really awesome. Contains the uber-famous Santaland Diaries, which are great. Very short, but very very funny.

15. The Blind Assassin by Maragret Atwood - I have so much to say about this book that I don't even know where to start. The story is great, and the characters are even better. The focus is on Iris and Laura Chase, sisters and the lives and choices they make. The structure of the novel is unusual, beginning with Laura's death, which may or may not have been intentional, then plunging into The Blind Assassin, a novel written by Laura before she died and published by Iris after Laura died. Interspersed with chapters from the novel are newspaper articles about the deaths of Iris' husband Richard and daughter Aimee. Finally, after several more chapters of the novel-within-a-novel, Iris begins narrating. I absolutely loved this novel and I will be writing more about it very soon.

16. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris - A change from the True Blood series, this series seems a little more serious. Harper is a weaker character, more reliant on her brother than Sookie is on anyone. Still, a mostly fluffy read.

17. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - A creepy, semi-apocalyptic tale (paging Shauna!) that still manages to retain its human element. In the future, all second (and up) marriages have been declared illegal, and broken up. The women from those who have had children have been placed in well-to-do homes as handmaids to produce children for the wealthy men and women who can't have children. Which means that they live in these homes and have sex with the husband of the family once a month, hoping to get pregnant. This, of course, makes them tremendously popular with the wife of the family. *snort* And the man. And, basically, everyone. So it's not very cheerful, but it does retain its humanity. And it has a compelling plot, so there's that. I really liked it, and I didn't really expect to. I liked The Blind Assassin better, but a lot of that is character development.

18. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - In structure, this book is unusual because it is 13 stories instead of one big novel. It reminded me of Spoon River Anthology, in the way that each story was about someone different, or a family (the English majors love me now!). Through it all is Olive Kitteridge and her long-suffering husband, Henry. Some stories are directly about them, but most are at least in part about someone else, and only peripherally about Olive and Henry. And I think I've said how much I loved this novel.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Jess' comment on my last post really got me thinking, and I wanted to write a longer response, not just to her, but in general. I found the novel Olive Kitteridge very relatable because it opens when Olive is in her mid-forties, long married to Henry, with a teen aged son, Christopher. This setup is not too far from where I hope to be in about 10 years or so. Olive is more volatile, more demanding, moodier, and more bitchy overall than I am (in fact, in the first few stories, I related more to her husband, Henry, than I did to her). However, one of the lessons that Olive needs to learn is how she takes people for granted, how she demands that people obey her whims, how she bosses people around based on her moods. And one of the lessons that I am struggling with is how I am unintentionally thoughtless. How my poor planning or lack of planning leaves other people without choices. This is not intentional behavior, but the results are the same. And so, seeing how Olive reaches old age with her relationships destroyed because of illness and her own stubbornness, really affected me. I do not want to end up where she ended up. And so change should start now. I realized last year that taking people for granted and assuming that they would always be in my life was a bad habit, and I worked to break it in regard to my friends. I strengthened the friendships I had, and renewed some old friendships. Last year, my resolution was to be a better friend, and I accomplished that. I have several close friends now, whereas last year at this time, I felt like I really didn't have any. I want to continue that, because I know how important that is. But now, it's time to realize that I have to do the same with my family.

And I said this in my comment, but I really think that if I had read this book 8 years ago, when Rock and I had been together for 2 years or so, that I would have just shrugged, thought it was a good book, very well written, but nothing more. Because I wasn't working on personal development, because my husband and I weren't quarrelling over the fact that I'm inconsiderate, because we hadn't been together for ten years and worn the rough edges off our marriage and were down to working on the fine points. (And please don't take that as a dig, anyone who hasn't been married very long. I just remember that in the beginning, there were The Big Issues, which were external to the two of us. And now, there are the Fine Points, which are just as big, but they are internal. But we still work together to solve them.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

Over the holidays, I read the novel Olive Kitteridge, which I think has changed my life. I know it's early days to be saying that, but it really feels that way. I feel like Scrooge after Marley's ghost leaves. I've been visited by the Ghost of Old Lady Regret and it has made me a better wife. That's what the story is about. Olive is a moody, difficult, sometimes bitchy woman. She has a sweet, long suffering husband husband named Henry, and she doesn't appreciate him. And in the end, after all they go through, she regrets the fact that she didn't appreciate him. The last page of the novel left me with tears running down my face. I took it to Rock, intending to read it to him (that's what we do, even though we read wildly different books), explained the basic set up that he needed to know to understand what I was going to read, read the first two sentences and then dissolved into tears so hard that I couldn't continue. I just handed him the book and said, "Here, just read the last page." He read it, then looked at me, and said, "And what does that mean to you?" And I flung myself into his arms, sobbing, and said, "Appreciate my good husband now." And since then, I've turned over a bit of a new leaf. I'm working to be more considerate of Rock and the children. I can be a bit of a spoiled princess. I was an only child. And my parents are completely inconsiderate. My mother because there's something wrong with her. My father because he's allowed to be. First by his parents, then by society. It's time to break the cycle and do something different. In the last few weeks, Rock and I have gotten closer. As I've been nicer and more considerate, so has he. It's true, you reap what you sow. The other day, something was said about bras (I don't really remember how that came up in conversation), and I was lamenting the fact that I only have one really comfortable bra. He told me to go buy another one just like it and I complained that I had been looking for one, but was having trouble finding it because I wanted a particular style and there weren't many available. I didn't really expect him to have much interest, but I told him that I was looking for a racerback style and then pulled up my shirt to show him. "Oh! You want a Y harness instead of an H harness!" he said. And I stopped and laughed, and said, "yeah. I do." See, he was a paratrooper. And parachute rigs come in Y harnesses and H harnesses, so he actually understood exactly what I meant about bra straps. Where bra straps meet parachute rigs, that's where my marriage lives. And where I want it to stay. That's my New Year's resolution.