Saturday, April 30, 2011

Collection of Confessions

  • Some days, I get upset because we're not rolling in the dough or buying houses like every other couple I know. Then I realize something: we have food on the table, I have two wonderful kitties, we both have jobs we love, our families are awesome, and the hubs pretty much rocks my world. A life without bling isn't bad at all. Nope, in fact, I think I have it pretty darn good.
  • There are good movies I just can't get into because as much as the movie rocks, the book just rocks harder. Like Harry Potter. I make a point to watch the movies and get excited about them, but when I see them, I feel just a little let down, because, let's be honest, there's nothing that can outdo those books.
    But this music video makes my heart happy :]
  • I have been reading so many DIY blogs/articles on home decorating. Yes, it's official, we'll be moving into a small rental home in August or September. It's a cute little house, but I'm determined to take it from "cute" to "FABULOUS," even if it's only in the interior (that's the part that really matters, right?).The excitement is overwhelming.
  • I had a nightmare that there were cockroaches the size of my forearm invading my bedroom. I think my subconscious was feeling sadistic last night.
  • With this decorating thing, this possible dog thing, my poor little brain is on planning overdrive. I realize I become obsessive . . . because, if I'm not on a mad planning project, my brain gets bored and lazy. 
  • Purple flowers are one of my weaknesses. I've always loved them.

One Joy

friday favorite things | finding joy
A beautiful and wonderful idea. Thank you Rachel @ Finding Joy
Today, I had the privilege of observing the class I'll be teaching next year.
This means I was able to skip one hour of the first grade extracurricular classes, sit in a corner, and take notes on the procedures used in the middle school English class. My class. Next year.
I cannot contain my excitement.

The people around me can't see to understand why I smile when I think about being trapped all day with 7th and 8th graders, trying to implant the beauty of words and garden understanding.  They see  talkative, hormone-enriched kids with more energy than they should possess. They see all of those research papers piled up over the weekend. I see young minds, young hearts yearning and searching as everything inside and outside is changing. I look at all of that, and my heart just sings.
This morning, I sat in that corner, scribbling doodles and notes, smiling at the curious "sneaky" glances, and just felt something in me light up. Oh, I haven't felt that light in years. That mind-pulsing, heart racing, uncontrollable grin as words are poured out, sifted, and the river stones shed gold. My British literature classes in college did this to me, lit me with the joy of discovery.  I would leave those rooms, my notebook filled with scribbles, my books dogeared, highlighted with messages in the corners, and, good golly, I could change the world. Bloody, that's what I was going to do: change it, change everything with words. Beautiful words. And I'd do it with pizzazz, darn it all.

They were reading e.e. cummings. If a good morning could get better, mr. cummings would do it. 
This is it. This is my place. It's not a big place. It's somewhere celebrities flock or newscasters feature. It will never be in a movie or a book. In fact, it's a place that will probably slip through entirely unnoticed. But it's my place. He's given me my place.
And I am so, so excited.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I just finished reading Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.
The part I loved the most? The author's bio, listing every one of his bizarre odd jobs and the fact that he lived in a desert in Chile where he learned to speak Spanish and juggle. His life sounds so intriguing and adventurous.

Sarah Pete lives with her husband and two ninja cats in Florida.

Such a quiet little line.
I mean there are options for spicing my bio up, I suppose.
  • Sarah Pete has worked as a hostess, a telemarketer, a church secretary, a store clerk at a theme park, a librarian, a first grade teacher, and will soon be a middle school English teacher and one of those faces in the H.R. department of a major agriculture company. 
  • She aided in the construction of a new church building in Nicaragua, has traveled to China from which she brought home new siblings, was a conversation partner for English classes in Tokyo, Japan, and lived three months in London where she reveled in the halls of greats and explored the isle of Great Britain to be lost numerous times, take fabulous pictures, be attacked by all manner of waterfowl, and then trapped and hounded in a night club among far more interesting adventures. 
  • She despises pickles and mustard and is in cahoots with peanut butter. (Sh! Don't tell!)
  • She believes zombies stalk her in the shower and cockroaches are demons from the cracks of hell who are solidly bent on her demise. It's the antennas. They're wicked. 
  • She is of the rare female persuasion who finds no woo-ful glamor in Jane Austen.
  • No matter how hard she tries, she cannot outwit the hubs nor one-up his comebacks. Fail. 
  • Reading Tolkien and Lewis changed her life. 
  • She aspires to be a famous author and herd sheep in New Zealand, possibly near Hobbiton, seeking out fabulous adventures and a peaceful life with a great deal of tea.
  • And peanut butter.

What would your bio say?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Project 31 Day 23: Strong and Weak

Day 23.  What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?

Oh golly . . . these are the questions I dread on those annual self-reviews. If I talk about my strengths, do I look like an arrogant jerk? What if I have them wrong? if I talk about my flaws, is that all people will see? It's quite the conundrum (fyi, that's our favorite word in first grade along with "renegade," "murmur," and "cacophony"--I believe in a diverse vocabulary . . . is that a strength? ;] )

  • I'm devoted--once you really have my friendship/commitment whatever, you're not getting rid of me easily. It can be hard to get in. I may waver on small decisions, but I stick to my guns when it comes to big time commitments and people. You just can't get rid of me.
  • I'm constantly learning.--I want to know everything. I know I can't, but golly, it's nice to try. :] Plus, I like sharing these weird tidbits.  Chris likes to tease that he didn't realize he was marrying an encyclopedia.  Most of it is useless info, but I still love it. It also ties into taking care of my animals, decorating/caring for my home, health, and my cooking--I'm always on the hunt for new tidbits to make things better and a new recipe.
  • My imagination is insane. -- This can be a good and bad thing. It's great if I'm trying to be creative or resourceful. I wrote a 300 book when I was sixteen, and am still working on it. Imagination helps lots there. It's pretty awesome when you're trying to fix something or solve riddles and you come up with wacky solutions. It's dreadful when I start worrying.  Or when I'm unconscious and my dreams rival those of an LSD overdose. And sometimes, when I'm in the shower and the curtain starts to move and suddenly I'm convinced it's a flesh-eating zombie and AH! Oh wait, it's just the cats.  
  • I can communicate -- This goes beside the learning thing.  I love words. I love learning how people tick. I like putting all these things together to communicate well. I tell great stories. Sometimes, I talk waaaaaay too much or get so caught up in the story, I lose the point, but, in the end, I can get my point across via mouth or paper . . . and, dang it, sometimes I might even turn out funny. 
  • I care -- sometimes too much, but I'm empathetic. I'll listen if you just need to unload.  I want to make people happy. I want to serve to make someone feel loved and valued.  Stories of suffering and abused children make me cry, ache, and do whatever I can to try to help. I want to take care of animals, yes even the creepy crawlers . . . minus the demon cockroach. Heck, I even get onto Chris if he says something unkind about an electronic. I just care. 
  • When I commit myself, I work hard and I do well -- I do . . . and, in the past, I succeed at almost everything I put my mind to. It just turns out well. The problem is getting me to start . . . see below . . . 
  • I'm lazy -- there, I admitted it. I have days of uber activity and I can be such a hard, hard worker, but there are things I just can't stand and put off and put off and put off. The hardest part is actually getting started because once I start, I work hard and I enjoy it. This is something we're working hard on. I've started exercising and cooking healthier, even though it's not easy.  
  • I'm insecure  --  I replay conversations over and over again until I blush because I'm so humiliated about what I said or did, even if no one else would have noticed. I feel unfashionable, uninteresting, and awkward, so I'm always shocked when people like me and terrified that they won't. For extended-in-law events, I always try to make something fabulous to get over my own insecurities about being a good cook. I used to cry all the time at the beginning of the school year because I was terrified that my students' parents didn't like me.  I almost didn't join a small group at church because I was afraid I wouldn't fit in. All of these things are ridiculous, but it's been a struggle of mine my entire life. No excuse, it's just an on-going process.
  • I like other people to make decisions for me -- Why? Because I don't want to choose something that would make someone else unhappy. It doesn't matter what I want--it should--because I'm more worried about what they want. It drives the hubs batty. 
  • I hate spending money and fear that there's never enough. 
  • I'm impatient -- I read spoilers. I beg for answers. Doggone it, I need to know noooooooooooooow. I love planning things, and in order to properly plan, I need all the info, pronto. I need to know the names of our future children, the place we'll live, the color of the walls, the whole shebang. Years down the road? Yes, but I need a plan NOW.
 And yup, that's me in a nutshell. Hm. I can't decide if bearing my soul--the good, the bad, and the ugly--was fun or not ;]

Ta-ta, lovies!

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Ok, he got me. The hubs really got me. He has convinced me that the family is just not complete without a puppy. How did he did do it? He's magic. No, really. I was not at all into this dog idea but he has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt. Now, I can't wait to have a new furball (Lord willing the finances are solid). Chris already has a dog in mind. He wants one of these:
These are  American Dingos aka Carolina Dogs.  We had begun researching different breeds, and, when we landed on this one, Chris was hooked. I started looking up breeders, I saw the puppies, and I was hooked.
I mean, seriously, could they be any cuter???
So . . . yes . . . . dog thoughts in the works . . . We won't have space for one until about August or later, and a great deal can happen in that amount of time, so we'll see. :]
If you have any doggy advice, please send it my way! I've grown up with canines, but we haven't had our own as old married folk, so new ideas would be lovely.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho
It's off to work I go! Less than a month until the school year ends! Whoo-hoo!!! I'm super duper excited. And I have lots of grading  to catch up on. Still, the end is in sight! May 24, here I come! Summer job, here I come! Yay for summer moneys!
And then I start prepping for next year in the middle school! People keep trying to tell me how horrid middle schoolers are, but, doggone it, I remember being 12, I remember my brother and sister being 12, and it's not the hell people make it out to be. You were a preteen with raging hormones, weird growth spurts, and all that awkwardness once, too. It will be great.

My Non-Conformist
The day before Easter, I texted Chris from a dressing room as I neared my breaking point (shopping for new clothes does that to me).
Me: UGH! I can't find anything that fits or that isn't black!
Chris: I'm sorry. What's wrong with black? You love black.
Me: It's for Easter Sunday. It's practically sacreligious to wear black on Easter.
Chris: I'm wearing black.
Such a rebel.
Oh, and P.S. I found a tunic/dress in lavender. Because I knew you were going to ask ;] The best part? It was about 1/2 inch-1inch lower than my theme-park-sunburn tanline. Did I see this before running out the door to church? No. Fan. Tas. Tic. Oh the memories!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I discovered this via Food Gawker. It was love at first sight.
I'm pretty sure I started salivating at the picture. I had to have it. Immediately.
Made it for dinner tonight, and, for something so fancy-pants, it is shockingly easy. Mix your stuffing, salt and pepper chicken, stuff chicken, cook chicken, the end. Thirty minutes tops.

This comes with a warning, however: avoid if you do not like goat cheese. Cause this is cheesy--as in goat-cheese-y. My favorite. The hubs's fav? mmm not so much, but he liked it, would eat it again. I, however, would DEVOUR it again. And again. And maybe one more time for good measure. Tender chicken, and a rich, creamy, flavor-filled stuffing? Oh, come to mama. Oh, and a plus? One serving is just over 200 calories. I reiterate: come to mama!

You can find the original recipe here. Definitely check it out! So much yumminess.

  • 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
  • 3-5 ounces goat cheese (the only container I found at my local grocery store was 5 oz, and it worked well)
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked & crumbled (I used the precooked, precrumbled bacon for recipes or salads)
  • 4 (6-oz) skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix your goat cheese, bacon, and onion together in a bowl
  3. Salt and pepper chicken. 
  4. Cut a one-inch slit (roughly) in the thick end of each chicken half. Stuff each chicken half equally with the cheese mixture. Secure with toothpicks (or toothpick halves--I cut them in half after inserting them)
  5. Heat a large oven-proof skillet (if it's iron and/or has metal handles, it's oven-proof; if it's a Teflon skillet, check the bottom or manual) then add canola oil and chicken. 
  6. Saute chicken for about 4 minutes (or, if you're not sure how to saute--like me until I found the video in the link--let your chicken sit, no flipping, until it looks about halfway cooked from the bottom up; trust me, it still turns out wonderfully). 
  7. After sauteing, flip chicken and place the skillet inside the oven. Cook for about 12 minutes. 
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. 
 Enjoy, lovelies!

Miscellany Monday

Ah, Monday, Monday, Monday . . . you're a bittersweet day of the week, and yet I still love you. Love's a funny thing.

And now, on with the show!

I blame the fact that today was the first restful day I've had all week . . . that and I work in an old building with who-knows-what growing inside, thriving in this damp, humid place. I'm back and forward between coherency, mental fog, exhaustion, and insane sinus pressure. It's a fun ride. Kind of. The good news is it will be gone in about two days, as it appears and disappears in about 2-4 days after plaguing me once a month every month since my job began in August.

New Places, New Faces
The events of these past couple of months lend themselves to heavily suggest that I will be teaching Middle School English. Which would be beyond awesome. Friday, the current wonderful teacher announced her moving up in the world into the high school, then announced that I would be her predecessor (doesn't that sound so much better than "replacement"? I feel regal, now). The problem is, I haven't signed the contract, yet, because I haven't been approached by the principal for the official transfer. Here's hoping. I have loved first grade but my heart is really with the older kids going through that wonderfully awkward teenage transition. Here's to an adventure!

Love Rewards
I recently discovered the hubs's new favorite candy: Coconut Flavored M&Ms. The man loves anything coconut. So, now, whenever I find them at checkout, I pick him up a bag or two. Why? Because he's awesome (i.e. this Wednesday, he totally cleaned the apartment nearly spotless for me, and today he took me out to lunch just because he can).

This week, I discovered I am so tired of the recipes I have. So, I searched and, ladies and gents, it's a whole new world. Seriously. We're trying this delectable dish tonight and this one later this week. I'm also trying my hand at Matzo Ball Soup for our small group Passover Meal. My mom also has me hooked on this book series
Fabulous. I am drooling over some of these pictures. And healthy? Yes! Could this be any more fabulous? Probably not. 

Going Green
I've fallen in love with this color scheme for a home exterior. We pass a house that's green, black, and white on our way to church, and, golly, it's stolen my little heart. Will we be able to paint the rental these colors? I don't know. Will I ever get a house this color? No way to tell. But it's nice to dream. And, hey, a house is a house, I won't be complaining about the color . . . too much ;]


Hello Blog World!

If you notice that my page under the previous URL has disappeared, it's because I changed the URL to Never really liked the original URL and I wasn't crazy about having my last name out there, so here we are.

You know, I'll spend hours trying to revamp the blog, give it  a little touch up and make over, and, ya know, I just keep coming back to the same layout, though I'm pretty happy with the new header. I guess we shouldn't try to change good things, right? If it's not broken, don't fix it. Ta da!

I would blog more, but my head is killing me. It's the monthly allergy reaction to the building where I work. The bloody sinus pressure is making my head feel like it's going to implode and explode simultaneously. Not sure what that would look like or how that would work, but that's the sensation pounding through my skull and has been for about seven hours. Dandy.

So now I sit and stunt my intellectual growth by watching online episodes of Vampire Diaries. You caught me. Not an addict, no really, I promise. I could stop right now, but I'm bored. That and I needed a break from my old favs--too much of a good thing? Meh. I mean, come on, Dr. House can only discover so many bizarre tumors and the Other Side can only cause so many more problems in Fringe that we've all seen before. At least this is one vamp show that has the mythology right (which, for me, is the most important thing), and, I'm sorry, but Ian Somerhalder is oh so charming. What can I say? I root for the underdog . . . the really cute, bad-guy-with-a-soft-spot underdog. Yeah, I've totally de-evolved to a teenager.  Because a jerk is a jerk is a jerk, and there's no way you should root for him, and yet, ya do. Boo.

I could blame the cold medicine, but I don't think that would convince you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teacup Conversations: Episode V

The hubs and I have had an ongoing "discussion" about weight loss. I've decided that, even though I have no interest in being skinny, my current weight is not going to be a help to my health in the long run, especially when we decide it's time to start a family and suddenly an extra forty pounds is thrown on. Chris, ever sweet and ever adamant, declares there is absolutely nothing even in the slightest bit wrong with me. I believe him, but the fact that I shopped for three hours Tuesday and was unable to find a pair of shorts or skirt that fit tell me that it's time to make an adjustment. Plus, I feel fabulous when I'm eating right, eating less, and working out.

Today, the hubs decided on a different approach. He presents me with a tiny serving of my homemade blueberry cobbler, frozen yogurt, and a glass of milk (in a Star Wars cup to add to the seduction ;]).
"Sarah, what if, instead of the words 'weight' or 'fat,' people called it 'lusciousness.' Do you really want to lose lusciousness?"
 "Seriously? Luscious? How long did you take you to come up with that?"
"Just right now.  . . . But I think it's been with me all my life."
"Oh you are so so smooth."
"You're going to eat the cobbler, right?"
Ah yes, that ooey, gooey, sweet cobbler.  "But . . . it will put me over my calorie li--" and there's a spoon suddenly in my mouth.
"There," Chris says, "better. We won't talk of calories. Lusciousness, remember?"

I think the man has a point.
"That dress makes you look luscious" has a great ring to it, don't you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Unibrow

Ladies and Gents, if you have a physical feature that you're worried might be questionable, never ever EVER point it out to your significant other and ask, "Is this ok? I mean, you're all right with it, right?"
Your S.O. will smile and say, "No, babe it's totally ok."
But it's not. It's so not.

You see, Chris made this mistake when we were dating. He has a few hairs that like to sprout right above the bridge of his nose. I never noticed until one day he took off his glasses and asked, "You're ok with this?"
It was like glass shattered. All I could see was that bloody unibrow.
And then, suddenly, all I saw anywhere were unibrows.  They were EVERYWHERE.  Like when you buy a car and then suddenly you notice everyone on the bloody highway drives one just like yours? Unibrows were sprouting up everywhere like matching car models and dandelions. It was horrifying. I just . . . I couldn't focus. I had to get rid of it before my life was smothered by brow fur.

Chris has been reluctantly compliant and keeps the space between his eyes bald. Because, otherwise, it drives me batty. It's like a bloody twitch. He tries talking to me, and all I can see are those five little hairs, glaring back at me and laughing. It's insulting to be mocked by eyebrow hair.

Recently, Chris put his foot down. Tweezers were vetoed, and the Unibrow flourished. My ninja skills were thwarted time and time again. My puppy dog eyes failed .  . . not that they ever worked well anyways, but it as a harsh blow. My attempt at bossing was an inept failure. Scaring him didn't work either because, apparently, I'm not scary. At all. Bullocks.

Finally, I did the only thing I could. I went on a Feminine Strike. All those chores and duties assigned to the woman (c'est moi) would remain unfinished until Chris had killed the Unibrow.  A little extreme? Yeah, maybe. But it only lasted about two hours, if even that. Chris didn't even know it was going on. I thought I had told the cats while he was in earshot, but apparently destroying Grand Boss Elemental Oogly Boogly on World of Warcraft renders one deaf to the real world . . . and your wife saying she's not doing any more chores.

Do you know what finally broke the man? Sleepy rambling.

The sheets were in the dryer, but I wasn't going to tell Chris that because, you see, I was on strike after all. So I took my pillow and snuggled onto the couch. Some time later, I felt someone nudging me and kissing my cheek. "Babe, I put the sheets on the bed," Chris said. "Come on, let's get you to bed." (ok, yes, it's mean to veto anyone that sweet  but I was desperate . . . you HAVE to understand the severe desperation).
Slugglishly, I squinted up at him, pointed and muttered, "Uni . . . broooooow." Before snuggling back under the blanket.

Chris laughed and ushered me to bed, where I was promptly again unconscious.  In the morning, the Unibrow was dead.
I win.

Oh sweet, sweet simple, sleepy victory.

Miscellany Monday

Ok, so linking up to Miscellany Monday. You should, too, loves. It'll be smashing :]

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
And here we go . . . 
1. Dear I-4: You are VILE. I understand that you are necessary for transportation in the Orlando area, but you are just pure dreadfulness. Something about you turns every driver into an immature, impatient jerk, while I sit there, terrified and gripping my wheel chanting, "I am just fine. I am ok. I am in my lane and I am happy." So vile, dear interstate, so vile.
2. I am currently addicted to this Youtube Video.

Ok, seriously, how can you NOT love this?? It makes me want to break out all of my old Disney movies and sing along. Too bad we don't own any of those movies . . . *sigh*

3. My orange tabby, Pipkin, has figured out  how to open up the kitchen cabinets. This may not sound like a big deal, but we keep her food under the sink . . . and I keep having to rescue it after she's made Swiss cheese out of the bag and begun a mini feline feast. Fab. U. Lous.

4. I have fallen in love with this dog.

This is the South African BoerBoel. It's massive (up to 200 lbs!), calm, loyal, and cost about a sixth of my annual income. Yeah, it's never gonna happen.

5. I can't wait to move so I can start decorating new spaces. I have been googling decorating and yard care tips like a mad woman. We might be moving this summer. MIGHT. I am so ridiculously excited and have gone planning-crazy. You see, when I was planning my wedding, I wanted to be a wedding planner. Now, I might have a new place, I'm grabbing color schemes and knick-knacks, and I'm thinking interior design may have been my true calling. Maybe. Probably not.

Project 31 Day 22: See a Need, Meet a Need

Day 22.  What are some needs that need to be met in your community?  Blog about how to extend your hand to those who need you.

Wow, I'm out of the loop here. Need to get back in it. Only nine more posts, can you believe it? Wow. 

 Needs in my Community . . . there are so many. 
You find them in every city, really. The same ones over and over: homeless, troubled teens, troubled adults, low-income areas, kids without parents or present adults, the list goes on. We were told we would always have the poor, that no matter how hard we try, we can't demolish global poverty. 

But that doesn't mean we don't try.  
The hubs and I donate money monthly to sponsor a little girl in India--with this money she is able to go to school, provided with school books and uniform, and a meal at the school (very likely the only meal she receives that day).  We love having this opportunity to reach beyond our immediate community and help a precious little girl who might otherwise never have the privilege of learning and escaping the slums of New Delhi.

In our community there are several homeless shelters, donation organizations, and youth programs to help those in need.  Growing up, I did quite a bit helping with VBS programs at YMCAs and serving at Second Harvest Food Bank. Now, with the school I work for, I've taken my class to help sort various donated goods at Harvest Time International. Our church is involved in helping at the Edgewood Children's Ranch (a home program for troubled kids and teens) and PACE Center for Girls (a service for girls in need). I would especially love to become involved with PACE and get to know some of the students there, because you see, it's not really just about what I can do for them but what they can teach me because, honestly, I have a whole lot to learn.

Another need that the hubs and I both feel passionate about  is the underground sex trade. You don't really think about it happening in your own neighborhood, but, recently, the Feds found a Russian sex trade ring in my home town. WOW. Chris and I are actively searching for ways to get involved to help break this vile cycle that is not only overseas but right here. 

And above all else, there's the power of prayer. I can always do a little of that, can't I? :]

How about you? What ways can you meet the needs in your community? 

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck and other riddles

So, the hubs is emptying the trash, and turns to me with great severity. "Sarah, Pipkin has just committed an atrocity."

I look up from my perch in the gaming chair curiously. Pipkin is the newest edition to our little family: an orange and white tabby we brought home last Fourth of July who enjoys chasing, cuddling, and making the most insistent cat noises--no it's not meowing, I don't know what it is. The best way to describe it, really, is Pipkinese

"She has pooped more than any Pipkin should ever poop."

I'm trying not to laugh.

"Then," Chris continues, desperately, "she doesn't cover it! No, she just starts scratching on the plastic wall of the litter box, over and over again, like that's going to do anything! GAH!"

"Pooped more than any Pipkin should poop, huh?"
"How much, is that exactly?"
"Too much. WAY too much. More than any cat should ever have been able to poop."

At that moment, the guilty party pranced into the room, paused, glanced from me, to Chris, and back at me, then meowed with the confusion of the clueless innocent. 

It's the little things in laugh that make me laugh.
That, and the fact that it's passed my bedtime.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teacup Conversations: Episode IV

So, Chris and I were totally going to be diligent citizens and file our taxes tonight before this big shutdown going on (I totally don't understand the point of that but whatever--this is the reason I'm not the president), when we discover that I never received my W2 from my old library job . . . that one I quit in July 2010 to pursue teaching.
So . . . I'm one job short for tax filing. Dandy. Just plumb fine and dandy.

Sarcasm? A bit.

So, I go out to browse the internet, trying to find the answers, when Chris comes out to join me with an encouraging peck on the cheek. Cute, right?

"One of my kids told me today I smell like lemons. That I always smell like lemons . . . where the crap does she get lemons? I mean, I wear orange or coconut lotion sometimes, but lemon??"
"Heehee, I married a lemon."
"Oh gee, thanks."
"No, it's a good thing. Lemons are bright and happy."
"Yes, and a lemon is also what you call a really crappy car someone tricked you into buying."
I don't think that Chris had any reason to laugh as hard as he did. No, it wasn't a justified guffaw in the least bit.

Somehow the conversation turned into a discussion on my hatred of not bugs, mind you, but cockroaches. Demons with six legs and vile antenna of utmost wicked nature. I had one fly at my head once, chased me through the house. They're evil incarnate. Gah. So, Chris decides to soothe me by making his fingertips scuttle across my arm then painting mentally crippling images of giant finger-thick antenna attached to man-eating roaches. I think I'm over my shower-stalking zombie fear, now. No, now I'll just be imagining the cockroach from Men in Black hiding outside my shower waiting for me to step out so it can devour me. It will all start with a toe nibbling . . .

Thank you, Chris.
Thank you SO much.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One more reason shopping is deadly . . .

So, this morning . . . normal Sunday morning.
My alarm goes off. I hit snooze three times as is my liking.  I poke Chris in the back to try to wake him up. No such luck. I poke again. Tap. Meh, he'll wake up eventually.
I sit up, and a shock of pain shoots up my left side. Maybe standing up will stretch it out? Yeah, no. I take three steps--maybe four--each time stooping a little bit more, gasping, which only made it hurt worse, and finally, I crumble. I am gasping, moaning, and crawling on m hands and knees before I finally give up in the fetal position. Shockingly, Chris is suddenly wide awake and trying to help me stand up. Um, yeah, not doing that again. He manages to get me in bed, which, a few minutes later, he convinces me to get out of bed to brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. I can walk this time, but my side begins to whimper when I start brushing my teeth.

Yeah, it's that Wii Fit pulled muscle. I'm of the strong opinion that shopping for the sis-in-law's bday made it worse; Chris thinks it's my Wii Fit step aerobics, but I will defend my little machine to the bitter end.

After lots of rest today, I can walk again, easily. Here's hoping I can make it to work and back on Tuesday (pacing around all those little first graders, bending over to help with math problems, pacing some more . . . )

The moral of this story is that shopping is deadly.

Ok, not so much.

But, seriously, if you pull a muscle, drink lots of water, don't push yourself, and make us of heating pads and ice packs (20 minutes hot, 20 minutes cold).

Because being driven to your knees before the day even starts . . . meh, it's just not cool.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


You know, I never thought a video game could injure you . . . but it did. Thank you, Wii Fit, I now officially have a pulled muscle . . . in my side . . . breathing is killer. It's been three days and we show no signs of improvement. Oh well. Pride must suffer pain, right?

Oh, and P.S. to the Dude in front of me in the grocery store checkout: Seriously? Playing your Nintendo DS the entire time you're in line? We can pause Mortal Combat 500 for just a few minutes to acknowledge the existence of other human beings, right? or, as a society, are we that desperate to be constantly entertained? Just a thought.

Anywho . . . On with the reviews of recent reads!

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

Hadassah, a Jewish Christian, is captured then sold as a slave after the Roman victory over Jerusalem. She is bought by the Valerians, a wealthy Roman family with two grown children: the handsome, pleasure-seeking Marcus and the spoiled but stunning Julia. And from this point I have to divide the book into pros and cons because I'm not sure how else to describe the plot.
  • The character development is excellent. Wonderful relationship dynamics--you get the good, the bad, the ugly, growth--whether good or bad there is growth--and they all seemed realistic. 
  • Julia's development and downward spiral is very well done. Both the character and her circumstances struck me as pretty realistic. Is she annoying as all get-out? YES. But she's the one character that really drew me in because she is so desperate. 
  • Ms. Rivers also did a great job at bringing first century Rome to life. The research is fabulous and the integration of Roman and Jewish culture is very well done. You can't help but notice similarities between Ancient Rome and the modern world. Similarities to teach a lesson or are our worlds really that much alike? Hmmm . . . 
  • I love the story of Atretes--a German Barbarian turned Roman-loathing gladiator. He was just a really fascinating character. 
  • You do end up loving Hadassah, but sometimes she seemed just a little too perfect.
  • Dear Ms. Rivers: I know that fainting, heat waves, tremors of desire, trembling, fluttering lashes, and all this glorious melodrama is completely necessary to romance . . . which is why I personally have never experienced any of it. And P.S. when Marcus grabs her wrist and "felt her pounding pulse beneath his thumb" . . . you can't feel a pulse with your thumb--it's scientifically impossible because, you see, your thumb has it's own pulse. So, really, Marcus was feeling his own inner romantic swarthy turmoil. Yeah . . .
  • Ok, this whole Marcus/Haddassah thing (should we call them Mardassah?) . . . where the crap did that come from???? I get that it's supposed to create tension in the plot . . . but I did NOT understand when and why she fell for him, and how could he be drawn to a person whose lifestyle he openly detests? I almost understood his attraction--she's innocent and kind--but what on God's green earth attracted her to him? Please, Hadassah, tell me you have more depth than to fall for his good looks and charm. I absolutely couldn't get into the romance because I didn't see it. Seriously. I totally understood and could envision Julia and all of her screwed up relationships, but I just could not get my mind wrapped around the one couple I was supposed to be cheering for. 
  • P.P.S Ms Rivers, the young man who ran off naked on the Mount of Olives was John MARK not John of the Gospel John. Golly, all that Scripture quotage in the book and you get this one thing wrong. Really bugged me.
Now, will I be reading the two sequels? I think so. Just to see if it all pulls together well. I've heard wonderful things from friends, so I'm more open to this series than I usually am when it comes to Christian fiction. Though, I must be honest, if the romance gets any more romantic . . . hmmm . . .

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

I was shocked at how much I just loved this book. I usually avoid Big Names like Koontz when it comes to modern fiction because I feel like it's all rehashed plots and predictability. Not this one.

Odd--yes, that's his name--is your average twenty-year-old fry-cook who can see dead people--not communicate with them because, you see, according to Odd, the dead are mute. Content with his life and destined to marry his longtime girlfriend, Stormy, Odd pretends he doesn't have the ghost of Elvis following him around. When he begins seeing shadow creatures--a sign of tragedy--roaming his small, California town by the thousands, Odd sets out to prevent a disaster without any idea where it will strike or who/what is the cause. Hysterical, creative, filled with fantastic characters, suspenseful (the first book in a long, long time to make me jump in my seat and gasp out loud), and surprisingly touching,  Odd Thomas is a winner. I read this book in five hours, and wished there had been more.

A random thing that made me smile was that Odd is the fictional incarnation of the hubs. Not even kidding. The dry, witty humor could have come out of Chris's mouth and not from Koontz pen . . .er. . . keyboard? It was also nice to see a believable, touching romance between two likable characters with chemistry and compatibility but without the pages and pages of explicit sex.(in fact there's not a single sex scene) . . as opposed to most modern fiction where it's ALL about sex and not about two people understanding and caring for each other.

The only thing that bugged me? The Black Room. Awesome, awesome concept and introduction. But the explanation later on was almost as if Koontz had forgotten about it then remembered he still had some loose ends to tie up. Oh yeah it was this and this and this . . . huh? Still, it didn't ruin the story
Still five stars. Not even kidding. Bravo, Mr. Koontz. Bravo.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I have read this book three times within the past year and would read it again tomorrow if I weren't reading something else. Mr. Gaiman, you sir, are a master of the written word. I am not worthy to clip your baby toenail. Clear, concise (no word is frivolous), stunning narration, wonderful fleshed-out characters, and a delightful, creative story. Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it!

One night, a baby wanders into a graveyard inhabited by well-mannered, well-meaning ghosts who never before bothered with the world of the living outside their gates. Adopted by the Owens ghosts, the infant grows into the intelligent and "grave" Nobody Owens who has a series of suspenseful adventures both within and outside of the graveyard including--but not exclusively--a ghoulish kidnapping, a pre-Celtic creature, schoolyard bullies, and the reason he came to the graveyard in the first place. Surprisingly, one little person can change the world and, truly, life is wasted on the living.

Gaiman originally created this tale to be his own version of Kipling's The Jungle Book (and if you've read The Jungle Book, you'll love spotting the similarities) but Graveyard Book quickly became it's own supernatural creature. Gaiman's dark sense of humor peppers the pages with wit, new worlds and creatures, and suspense. It's marketed as a children's book (and won a Newberry Honor Award FYI) and is an easy read but can be enjoyed by any age group. I've made it my mission to pass this book out to anyone with a love for the written word and leans towards fantasy and the supernatural. If you don't finish this and feel warmth in your heart and a tear in your eye, then you are completely soulless . . . and that's coming from a Grinch like me.
 Six out of Five Stars. No joke. Read it.