Tuesday, December 27, 2005

He's just this cute all the time!

Yeah, he really is just this cute all the time. Of course, getting him to sit still and pose in the chair was a fun challenge... Posted by Picasa

Geek This!

As usual, Dad sort of annoyed everyone by geeking out over each and every miniscule gift he received prior to moving on to the next one, thus slowing up the whole gift-opening works. Here, he plays with his new brass bosun's call whistle. Just what every man needs in a landlocked state like Colorado! I sort of regret giving it to him now, because it's loud and annoying. Think Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Posted by Picasa

Gorilla Attack!

Uncle Sam puts together Matchbox Cars Gorilla Attack while Daniel looks on. Posted by Picasa


Daniel thinks Nate on the roof is hysterical. Which actually, it kind of is. Now that I think about it. I mean, why else did I take 9 photos of it?? Posted by Picasa

Up On the Roof

Uncle Nate actually spent a good deal of time chasing this styrofoam plane all over the roof on Christmas; he and Stacey got it for Daniel and Nate kept sending it flying onto the roof. I could never get it to launch -- it crashed straight into the lawn every time I tried it. Posted by Picasa


Stacey (youngest), me, and Lianne (oldest), on Christmas Day. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Day

Yes, it's me and the Pooker on Christmas Day, over at my parents' house. This is in front of the living room tree, not to be confused with the family room tree. Actually, the haircut that I've been panicking over for a week now isn't as bad as I thought it was. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Chrismukkah!

Those of you who are privy to my Live Journal have already gotten to read my little holiday rant, and as this is the place where I'm always politer ("What?? This is your idea of politer??" - Misc. Family Members), I just want to wish everyone happy holidays, whatever those holidays may be. Teh Pooker and I do Christmas and Hanukkah since he's my little Jewish boy, so you can keep us in your prayers as I try not to burn any furniture items with the Hanukkah candles. However, that would be a first.

Friday, December 16, 2005

If It Makes Me Happy...

I’ve been accused recently of needing to expand what makes me happy. The accuser in question denies that it was meant in a general way, but rather specifically in reference to a comment I made about the weather. But it did get me to thinking about other times I’ve been called out for what’s perceived as negativity, when really I’m just being sarcastic in the hopes that it will add levity to whatever proceedings I’m part of. I’m not a negative person, I’m really not. And I’m not a cynic either – well, not about most things. In fact, I’m an eternal optimist – optimistic to a fault at times. And so, herewith, a list of 50 things that make me happy, in no particular order except (obviously) the first few:

1). Daniel. My son, my world – really, you can’t know how he’s turned my world around and made me a better person. A work in progress, yes, but still – I don’t take lightly the fact that I’ve been entrusted with the care and feeding of such a remarkable human being.

2). My family. Parents, sisters, brothers in law – all of them geeks, all of them a bit weird in a really good way. What’s amazing is how well the brothers in law fit in with all the McEwen weirdness. I love this time of year in particular because I get to have them all in one room for several hours at least twice. Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder so I could just record the geeky fun. You know that cheesey saying about love feeling like a warm blanket? That’s what it’s like to be part of my family.

3). My friends. Seriously, there are times when I have these really dark moments (fewer and farther between lately, but they still sneak up on me when I least expect them) where I wonder why anyone finds me worthy of their friendship, especially given the lengths to which some of my friends go – childbirth classes, Daniel’s birthday parties, any events that involve spending time in a room with Hal, my birthday parties -- commendable to say the least. Special shout outs to Kresta, Robin, Beth, Sandy, Heather, Julene, Maureen, Missa, both Kates, Abigail, and Suzanne. You all just touch my life with goodness beyond measure.

4). U2. Please – if you know me at all, you knew that was coming in the top 10. See my post from earlier this year about U2 being better than a man. It’s all true.

5). Scrapbooking. How could it not make me happy? It combines photos with decorating, and an element of control over what I’m doing which often seems missing from the larger picture that is my life.

6). Harry Potter. Mainly the books, but also the whole weird geek world that’s sprung up around the books – the web forums, the kick ass people I’ve met just from being an HP fanatic (shout outs must go to Missa, Ashers, Elisha, and the always MacCheesey Dolor and her two fantastic cats), the toys, the Halloween costumes… At the very least, it gives me something to occupy my mind. This is a little (big??) secret I haven’t told very many people but I’m going to share today: After I left Hal, all I did for about 8 months was read the Harry Potter books over and over and over. It kept me sane. I know some might argue that it was actually insane, but it wasn’t – it was the only way I could stay focused when I was alone. Otherwise, I would’ve sat around going to pieces all the time. And I was not about to go to pieces. I finally snapped out of it sort of out of the blue one day, and haven’t gone there since, but I do have to credit JK Rowling with assisting me through a very, very difficult time.

7). Star Wars. I won’t get into too many details; it’s not like this one is a big shocker to anyone.

8). Losing myself in a really amazing book.

9). Ditto a really amazing movie.

10). Sitting in the room with the Christmas tree with nothing but the tree lights on, listening to George Winston’s Winter album.

11). Chicken tikka masala from India Oven. Somedays, I would even claim it’s better than sex. Not every day, but some.

12). Writing my novel. Fuck it, I’m never going to finish it, am I?? But it sure is fun to work on every now and then.

13). A clean house.

14). Eolian pipes. A bit more refined than the bagpipe, but mournfully lovely in the same way.

15). Daniel’s laugh.

16). Diet Pepsi. I used to be a diet Coke woman, for many years, but had to switch owing to a bad experience when I was pregnant. I’m more addicted to diet Pepsi than I ever was to diet Coke. I seriously think they put something in it to addict people.

17). Office supplies. This hearkens back to the days of getting new school supplies, or being taken to my dad’s office to spend the day; it mainly involved drawing paper dolls on spare computer paper and drafting floor plans on spare graph paper. Sometimes he’d find me an old, out of date journal to write in, and it was like heaven, and I thought grown ups were crazy to waste a really good journal like that. Now I waste my own dated journals. It’s crazy.

18). The Academy Awards. I’m in for the entire three and a half hours. No magazine or website can ever rehash the show enough for my taste. Please don’t call me on Oscar night. Ever. Unless someone’s injured or dying.

19). My iPod. I can’t believe this didn’t somehow weasel its way in before my family and friends. I’ve had this thing for just less than a year, and I can’t remember how I ever existed without it. I can carry my ENTIRE cd collection with me everywhere I go! No, no one NEEDS to do that, but it’s not about needing.

20). Rock bands who use pianos like they’re guitars. Coldplay, U2, Keane, etc.

21). Bret Saunders, morning DJ on KBCO in Boulder, CO.

22). Lost (the tv show). I can never figure out how seriously I’m supposed to take it. Now that’s good television.

23). Books. I just like having them around, reading them, looking at them, whatever. I just like books.

24). Venice. The real one.

25). Diamonds. Guess what I’m buying myself for my birthday this year?? It’s high time I had good diamonds.

26). Guilty pleasures on television. Stuff like The OC, Laguna Beach, The Real World – anything on MTV, really – Degrassi. Stuff I know I shouldn’t be watching because it will just kill perfectly good brain cells, but I can’t seem to manage to change the channel or turn it off.

27). Outer Space. Must be all those visits to the planetarium as a child. I’m actually kind of disappointed to know my son doesn’t have an astronaut’s temperament, because I could totally get on board with having an astronaut in the family.

28). Stuffed animals. I know I have way too many; I’ve tried to grow up and get rid of some, but I can never rid myself of my little stuffed friends completely.

29). Lord of the Rings. I would name a kid after a character in Lord of the Rings if I ever had another one. Aragorn for a boy, Eowyn for a girl. And the sad thing is, I’m not HALF as geeky about Lord of the Rings as some people I know. Not by a long shot.

Okay, NO, I wouldn’t really name a son of mine Aragorn.

30). Creepy crime thrillers by Jonathan Kellerman and Faye Kellerman. Except they should stick to their own characters and not ever try to write a book together again. That whole thing sucked.

31). Pirates. At first, I thought it was really my son’s interest in pirates that got me hooked, but then I thought about it and realized that I’ve always been interested in pirates, ever since Pippi Longstocking.

32). Maps. Yeah, that’s right – maps. I can sit for hours looking at maps, atlases, Google Maps, etc. My favorite homework in Jefferson County Public Schools was always the mapmaking assignments – for some reason, there were loads of them, and I can assure you I was very, very good at them.

33). Sarcasm. I love it. A well-time sarcastic comment makes my day. Bring them on. It’s especially good from someone you least expect it from, like this woman Julie in my office – she doesn’t LOOK like a sarcastic person, but she’ll just pop out with something outstanding, and I’ll crack up for hours.

34). Cherry sours. The little round gummy things that you can really only find decent versions of right around Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the Mountain Man people sell them, but not always. I got some really foul ones at a gas station the other day, and it was SUCH a buzzkill.

35). Shoes. I drool over shoes in catalogs and magazines, and have a tendency to buy too many when shopping. There are too many styles these days that I can’t stand up in, but I sure do like to ogle them.

36). Clothes. I’m no fashionista, but I do like to own several good outfits.

37). On the same subject, my leather jacket from Florence, Italy. It has sentimental value in addition to being cool.

38). Road trips. Even a quick, two-hour road trip rocks. It’s enough time to eat some junk food and listen to at least 50 good songs.

39). Organizing stuff. You’d never guess this by my desk at work, though, and that really bothers me.

40). Flirting.

41). I got this weird-looking fairy-monkey hand puppet thing at the Renaissance Festival this summer and it has these amazing blue eyes made out of some sort of stone – I have no idea what. But looking at this creature makes me happy.

42). Presents. I’ll admit it. I don’t trust people who say they aren’t into getting a present every now and then.

43). Spending the day at the zoo with my son.

44). Trips to Canada.

45). Sex. (I thought I would sneak this one in when most readers have long since lost interest in this whole list.)

46). Getting my hair done. Specifically, getting my hair done by Ric, who has been my hair guy since I was in the 9th grade. Ric rocks.

47). Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea.

48). Allegra-D.

49). Green apples.

50). Magazines.

There’s 50. It was really kind of hard to confine it to just 50 things. So there! Plenty of things make me happy! Take that, Mr. You Need to Expand What Makes You Happy!

Monday, November 28, 2005

These Get Me Every Time

In honor of the sublime moment on last week's episode of "Lost" when Wanda from the front end of the plane was reunited with her husband from the tail end of the plane (which made a vast number of us weep for joy as though this was something happening to our own family... but that's just good television, when you're that invested in it), I give you my list of the movie moments that make me weep, usually with joy but there are a couple that are more bittersweet than anything else. Rated on a scale of one to ten tissues.

Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King: Towards the end, when Aragorn is crowned king, and makes his way into the crowd, and first is reunited with Arwen, who has appeared with a number of elves; together they continue through the crowd and come upon the 4 hobbits (Sam, Frodo, Merry and Pip). The hobbits ready themselves to bow before the king, and Aragorn holds up his hand and says "NO. You four... bow to no one." And then the whole crowd bows to the four hobbits. I can run through half a box of tissue on this scene alone, nevermind the rest of the trilogy.

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: At the end of Obi Wan and Anakin's epic lightsaber battle in the lava rivers of Mustafar, after Anakin has become Charbroiled Sith minus a few key limbs. Obi Wan is in tears and wails, "You were my brother!" before he leaves Anakin there to die. It could have been so cheesey, but Ewan McGregor totally delivers. 4 tissues.

Forrest Gump: The scene at the anti-war rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C. when Forrest is asked to stand up and speak about his experience in Viet Nam; he tells his name to the crowd and there is a moment of silence, then you hear a woman shout "Forrrrrest!!" and suddenly there's Jenny, wading into the Reflection Pool. Forrest runs straight throuhg the crowd to join her, and they embrace. 10 tissues!!

Bridget Jones' Diary: At the end, when Bridget and Mark Darcy kiss in the snow to the lovely strains of Van Morrison's "Someone Like You." Oh yeah. Any movie that ends with a girl being snogged by Colin Firth is a movie with a happy ending. 5 tissues.

A Little Princess (Alfonso Cuaron version): The scene near the end when Sara is begging her amnesiac father to recognzie her. It's SO heartbreaking, even though one is a) aware it's only a fucking movie, and b) fully aware that a happy ending is only 30 seconds away!! Again, at least half a box of tissues.

Independence Day: Yes, I am aware that I am the only person on the planet who actually loves this movie. And therefore I am also the only person on the planet moved to tears by Bill Pullman as POTUS' stirring speech to the pilots about to take off to battle the aliens. And then of course, the part where the no-good alcoholic crop duster dad saves the day by scarificing his own life to deliver his bomb straight into the alien ship's center. He's a hero, and I need a box of Puffs, stat! Ten tissues.

Because of Winn Dixie: There's a lot here to make a person weepy, but the climactic scene in which Winn Dixie has bolted and disappeared due to his fright at a thunderstorm. Opal and The Preacher search all over town for him while Opal rattles off a list of "10 Things" about Winn Dixie that will help people to know him when they meet him. 10 tissues!! And yeah, the dog totally comes back. I didn't vote this one of my Best Movies of the Year for nothing.

Billy Elliot: There are a number of tear-jerking moments to be had here as well, but the five-alarm hankie moment comes right at the end, when Billy's grown up and debuting as the Swan King in "Swan Lake" with the Royal Ballet while his father in the audience weeps -- we suspect it's mixed weeping, a little pride and joy, and a little sorrow that Billy's mother wasn't there to see it, and a little sorrow for a life that never even occurred to him was out there. Anyway, the moment is the final frame in which we see Grown-Up Billy leap across the stage in a grande jete Mikhail Baryshnikov would kill to execute (okay, he could probably do it no problem, but you see my point), the epitome of strength and grace, light years away from the Durham coalfields near where he spent his formative years and which would have been his lot in life if not for the Royal Ballet School. This is seriously the best closing moment in a movie ever. 10 tissues! Maybe more!!

Mulan: An underrated Disney classic, the tears come when Mulan's father says, "The greatest gift and honor... is having you for a daughter." Choke. 4 tissues. Maybe 5.

Sliding Doors: When Gwyneth Paltrow Character Version One dies, of course. But also the very last frame, when she says, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" and she and the hot Scottish bloke share that look. 7 tissues.

Apollo 13: When the Jim Lovell character tells Houston, "Houston, we want to come home." Oh, and also the bit where he says, "Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure flying with you." Tom Hanks kicks ass. And bear in mind this is the sort of movie where one is hyperaware that it's a movie, and one already knows the ending since it's based in fact, and yet it still sucks you in emotionally. 6 tissues.

Armageddon: Oh yes -- another man's crap is my good movie. And I'm a sad sucker for the scene in which the Ben Affleck character goes back to the shuttle because Bruce Willis has shoved him back into the elevator, planning to do the suicide job himself. And back on Earth, Live Tyler as Bruce's daughter speaks to him one last time from the ground control center, and then the screen goes black and she reaches out to touch it. It's so bittersweet. And a totally cheap ploy to get women invested in what's happening. But whatever. 3 tissues.

Ever After: The bit where Danielle's stepmother and stepsister are called to Court to answer to the Queen, and everyone bows when Danielle enters the room and they're all bewildered and then it finally dawns on them that she's married the Prince and is now a Princess. And she asks the Queen to "show them the same kindness they have shown me," and they have to go work in this dreadful sweatshop of some sort. Brilliant. Love it. 4 tissues.

The Goonies: The part where Josh Brolin hugs younger brother Sean Astin, to comfort him over the pending loss of their home. It's so tender and unexpected in what is essentially a Raiders of the Lost Ark film for preteens. 4 tissues.

And while we're on Steven Spielberg, let's not forget the moment in E.T. when ET's about to get on his ship and touches Elliot's chest and says, "I'll be right here." Nine tissues.

Love, Actually: There are actually several I'm compelled to mention from this movie; it's a veritable happy-cry weepfest, clearly designed with PMS in mind:

1) Near the end, when the Colin Firth character ("I hate Uncle Jamie!") proposes to Aurelia in the restaurant on Christmas Eve. It's so sweet and so totally unrealistic. 7 tissues.

2) Right at the beginning, with the Hugh Grant voiceover that opens the Heathrow Arrivals Gate footge: "When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the message from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge. They were messages of love... If you look for it, love actually is all around." I love a movie that so unabashedly celebrates love in all its forms. 10 tissues.

3) After Peter and Juliet's wedding when the choir begins to sing "All You Need Is Love." 3 tissues.

4) The bit where Hugh Grant as Prime Minister gives his little speech about what makes Britain a great country. Add scruffy haired guitarists and awesome bands, and he's got it right. 3 tissues.

5) When Sam gets his little peck on the cheek from Joanna at the airport. Awww. 2 tissues.

6) When Daniel plays the Bay City Rollers' "Bye Bye Baby" at his wife's funeral, at her request. 4 tissues.

Perhaps not terribly coincidentally, these are the movies I come back to again and again and again.

Here are the bands you should be listening to this month if you aren't already; it ain't rocket science to hear that they kick ass:

My Morning Jacket
Rilo Kiley
Franz Ferdinand
The Magic Numbers
Arcade Fire

Now go. Watch movies and download some new tunes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Princess Leia and Spiderman, together at last!

Frankly, I think they make a great couple! Posted by Picasa

Daniel's Big Bad Buddy

Now, for all of you who are constantly asking me why Daniel is so into Darth Vader, let me just explain it to you from the perspective of the average 4-year-old: the world is a big, scary place. Darth Vader is a big, scary badass. Who better to have on one's side than a big, scary badass in a big scary world than someone like Darth Vader?? It's got nothing to do with the violence and everything to do with the smart pick for your big cool friend.

Now get off my case. Posted by Picasa

Ghoulies and Superheroes

Halloween!!! Let's see... Baby Cameron, who isn't such a baby anymore, is Bob the Builder. Our Batman is Grant; the ninja is Alex (maybe; it's tough to say!); Spiderman is, of course, Daniel; the rockin' cowgirl in the purple hat is Marlowe; and the creepy vampiras are Julia and Kira. Oddly, Julia and Kira swapped haircolors for the evening -- Julia's red hair was spray painted black, and Kira's dark hair was spraypainted red. Marlowe was so funny all evening -- she kept saying something like "We're totally off the hook, girlfriends!" I wonder what kind of mother teaches their kid to say something like that?? Haha. Daniel, for his part, got bored after about 6 or 7 houses and looks at me and says, "Are we just going to keep doing this???" Posted by Picasa


...thy name is Stacey and Daniel. I can hardly see for the blinding whiteness of their teeth. Posted by Picasa

Random Black Bear Photo

We were at the zoo, and I just thought this bear was so clever to be climbing his tree like this, and took a couple of shots of it. And then I realized later that... bears are supposed to climb trees. So it's really not that clever after all. If you think about it. Posted by Picasa

Daniel in the Lion's Den

Well, okay, it's the lion house at the Denver Zoo. I wonder who he learned that weird smile from??? Posted by Picasa

Daniel with Stacey and Nate

Daniel, Aunt Stacey, and Uncle Nate in September. Posted by Picasa

Child of the Corn

Daniel at the Corn Maze back in September. No, he wasn't having a very good time. It was hot, and we got lost. Oops! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Letter to Daniel

Dear Daniel:

You were laughing earlier, at the antics of that crazy-ass penguin Pingu, who I just don't find all that funny, but I guess the 4-year-old sense of humor is a bit more open than my own. But your laughter was amazing, and it got me laughing too, and after a few minutes I actually started to tear up because I realized that it reminded me of the first time you ever laughed -- a moment that is as vivid in my mind as if it had happened only hours ago.

You were six weeks old. You had been an early smiler -- flashing smiles for all to see from the time you were only three weeks old -- so it wasn't a huge shock to see you laughing. It was the day of Rosh Hashanah and I was getting you dressed for going to temple with me and Daddy and Edyn. I even remember the outfit -- a little blue bodysuit with duckies on it, and matching plaid shorts; there was a little sweater to match -- it was a gift from Jeff and Sue Butwell, and I don't have a single photo of you in it, but who needs a photo, right?? And I had just finished fastening your diaper and I bent to kiss your forehead and tickled your bare tummy, and you smiled and then... The Laugh. It came from deep in your belly and bubbled up and out of you like the most beautiful music I've ever heard. And I sucked in my breath and my eyes teared up, and I realized that this moment, this big laugh out of such a tiny little human, was what I had been waiting for all along -- my entire life, even.

Because captured in that laughter was all the love and beauty and hope and faith in the entire world -- if it could be bottled and sold, we would have world peace. I know it sounds ludicrous. But it's magic, your laugh. And it still is; it hasn't changed. It's gotten a bit fuller, and it last longer now than it did then. It's laughter from your very soul, and you do it with abandon, and I know everyone thinks their kid is the most beautiful one on the planet, but when you're laughing, you truly are the most beautiful kid on the planet. You've touched countless people in your short life with your laugh and your blessed sense of humor; you're never that kid who walks into a room and brings the place down because you're crying and whining and bickering. You're the kid who walks in with a big grin on your face and a pleasant hello for everyone you encounter; you're the kid who even melts the heart of the crabby person at the grocery store who hates kids. And then you say something hilarious and forget it -- you kill every time, to use the comic's phrase. I'm constantly amazed by it, this effect you have on people, and on me in particular. I can be angry with you at times for about five minutes, and then you do or say something goofy and that's it, I'm gone, laughing.

I've often wondered what I did to deserve such a pleasant, fun kid who's been so easy on me since day one. Here's hoping you stay that way, but even if you don't, I hope to God you never forget how to laugh like that. Because it's truly amazing. I don't know how else to put it. It's my miracle drug -- you know, like Mommy's favorite U2 song about what being a parent is all about. You're my miracle drug.

And I love you.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I used to hate the word "dude." I really did. I got all medieval on a friend in high school because she used the word far too much, and I thought she sounded like a halfwit. And don't get me wrong -- we people who use the word still sound like halfwits, or cowpokes at best. But it doesn't drive me as batty as it used to, and now I use it daily, at least 53 times.

1. I call my boss "Dude." As in "Duude, this account's all fucked up. Can you call them and let them know??"

2. I call my son "Dude." As in, "Hey, it's time to get your jammies on, dude!"

3. I call my friends "Dude." Even though the vast majority of my friends are clearly not dudes, I call them "Dude" anyway. As in, "Hey dude! How's it going??"

4. I call my sisters "Dude." As in, "Dude, what the fuck is wrong with mom this week??"

5. I call my mom "Dude." As in, "Dude! Wanna go shopping with me this weekend?"

6. I call my dad "Dude." As in, "Dude! How's your book coming along?" (Um, he's writing a book.)

7. I use "dude" as an expletive of sorts. As in, "Oh, duuude, this totally sucks."

It's such a handy, all-purpose word. It can be angry, sarcastic, perky and cheerful -- and sometimes it can be all these things at the same time. I can't help but love it. I'm really sorry.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Just random stuff...

Stolen from Kerry via Melissa:

10 years ago I was:
- A nanny.
- Living with lame Ken.
- Feeling all dead-end.
- Getting my second degree. Woohoo - Interior Design!
- Wishing there was something better.

5 years ago I was:
- On a sailboat in the Caribbean with Hal, conceiving Daniel. Ooh -- TMI??
- Only two years into my insurance career.
- 30.
- Spending a lot of money on clothes.
- Reading Harry Potter for the first time.

1 year ago I was:
- On the verge of starting a new and better job.
- Hanging out too much on the HP Forums.
- Basically broke and trying to make ends meet as a single mother.
- Stressed out, and headachey every single day.
- Looking forward to a new U2 cd.

Yesterday I:
- Did laundry.
- IMed Liam from Birmingham, UK.
- Watched Batman cartoons with Teh Pooker.
- Went to sister's for mom's bday dinner.
- Stormed out of sister's house after fighting.

5 snacks I enjoy:
- Tia Rosa Megathin Tortilla Chips and some spicy salsa.
- Mountain Man Chili Lime Corn Chips
- Cherry Sours
- apples and bananas
- Ramen

5 songs I know all the words to:
"Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" - U2
"Wake Up" - The Arcade Fire
"Glad to See You Go" - The Ramones
"Let My Love Open the Door" - Pete Townsend
"May It Be" - Enya (from the LOTR soundtrack)

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars
- Buy a house or two.
- Buy some sweet cars.
- Send Daniel to private schools.
- Travel, travel, travel.
- Buy your love!!

5 places I would run away to:
- Venice
- London
- Paris
- Rome
- Erm... Rivendale??

5 things I would never wear:
- A mullet
- A Red Wings jersey
- Any shoe made by Manolo Blahnik.
- Baby Phat
- Cheap stinky Avon perfume.

5 favorite tv shows:
- Lost
- The OC
-Prison Break
- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
- What Not to Wear (American version... Stacey and Clinton rock!)

5 bad habits:
- Snerking
- Snarking
- Fangirling (at least I'm in good company though!)
- Swearing
- Overspending

5 biggest joys:
- Teh Pooker
- Friends
- Family
- An awesomely good read.
- Music.

5 fictional characters I would date:
- The Weasley Twins
- Aragorn
- Mark Darcy (you know... from Bridget Jones' Diary!)
- Obi Wan Kenobi
- Pretty much any man in a Nick Hornby novel.

I won't tag anyone since all the cool people have already done this and no one else would bother. Weak, peeps, very weak.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I can't stand how cute this picture is. If anyone else wants an 8x10 for their mantel, let me know.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What NOT to Read

Why do people persist in insisting that their book recommendations are going to change my life? I hate the smug superiority of the people in my life who relentlessly recommend books to me using words like "amazing" and "profound" and "beautiful prose." Fuck all that. The word "profound" turns me off, just so you know, if you happen to be reading this. And I'm not interested in "beautiful prose." Give me compelling characters any day over "beautiful prose." And I'll fucking decide what's amazing and what's not. And please, never, ever tell me that a book is going to be life-changing. Because frankly, I'm pretty happy with my life the way it is, gas prices notwithstanding. So I'm not going to intentionally do something to change it, like read some boring-ass book that contains nary a single ingredient to hold my interest past page 19.

Books that actually suck but a bunch of people lied and told you they're good:

1). Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier. Well, I think that's his name. Whatever. It's not even readable. Any time I have to re-read a paragraph six times to figure out what it's saying, then the prose is crap, not beautiful. I packed it in after page 22. I have some unfortunate friends who felt like they had to be missing something and struggled through the whole thing. Any time you have to struggle, it means you're not missing anything. Just put it away and move on to the next one.

2). The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen. Another work containing "beautiful prose." This time, I made it through the whole thing, having fallen victim to the "I've got to be missing something" mentality. I'll tell you what I missed: about 18 hours out of my life that could have been spent catching up on the entire season of Will and Grace that I missed two years ago.

3). The Deep End of the Ocean, Jaquelyn Mitchard. What a piece of tripe disguised as a novel. This thing was no better than the average Silhouette Classic. Awful. Just awful. It was garbage like this that made Oprah's Book Club such a joke for a long time. And to make up for it, now she's torturing people with William Faulkner.

4). Anything by Cormac McCarthy. Again, if one must go over and over the same page, it's simply unreadable. It's not uber-creative. Anyone can spew out run on sentences and random bursts of Spanish. All right, perhaps not anyone, but you get my drift.

5). If it's published by Red Dress Ink, it's crap and your 12 dollars would be better spent on any of the following: a Dead 60s cd; a manicure at the local beauty college or nail salon sweatshop; M&M's and some magazines; chicken tikka masala; two matinee tickets to Wedding Crashers; a couple of gallons of gas. Don't ever let your romance-reading friends trick you into thinking romance can be smart, witty, or well-written. Of course it can be... if it's by Jane Austen or one of the Bronte sisters.

6). Memoirs of a Geisha. Sorry, but no, it did not change my life. You must have forgotten who you were talking to when you recommended this one. To refresh, you were talking to me, the person who took a Literature major in college, and was thus compelled to take not one but two semesters of Asian literature. So no, I didn't learn anything new about a particular culture from this one, and no, I didn't gain any particular sensitivity that I didn't already have. Want Japanese culture? Try Banana Yoshimoto.

7). The Nanny Diaries. What in God's name were you thinking?? What have I ever done to you to warrant this?? First off, this book is NOT FUNNY. It is DEPRESSING. If you can't see the difference between funny and depressing, I have a list of people I can refer you to for medical attention. Second, this book is not well-written. Third... I'll get even with you for this one. I really will.

8). Ditto The Devil Wears Prada. Not funny -- depressing. Mainly depressing how bad the writing is.

9). And seriously, once and for all, if the jacket blurb contains the phrase "political intrigue," you really need to refrain from telling me how much I'll love it.

Mad props to my mom, who subtly leaves books she's enjoyed on her kitchen counter with random other stuff she's set aside for me, so when I'm going through the other stuff, I'll pick up the book of my own accord and decide if I'm interested in it or not. Then, when I ask her ever so casually "Is this any good?" she'll respond in kind with "Oh, it's not bad," and tell me about a character or two that she enjoyed. And as sure as I'm standing there, I'll truly enjoy the book. If I decide it's worthy of my time.

What irritates me the most is when someone nags and nags me to read something that doesn't sound very interesting, and I resist solely on principle (and because it doesn't sound very interesting), and then like 6 years later I finally read the tome in question, and it's really amazing and life-changing, and then I'm just kind of mad that I didn't read it sooner. I blame that nagging person, for depriving me of the pleasure.

So, in the spirit of one who just read something fun (but not life-changing), I'm going to gently suggest Eragon and Eldest by Christopher Paolini. These books can be summed up thusly: a boy and his dragon, swords, elves and dwarves, and an evil king. If you're not into any of those things, skip it.

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Wal Mart, Target and Foley's and the Optimal Route

Shopping has really become difficult, has it not? I mean, you want to pick up a number of items, and you'd think with the vast warehouses we call "stores" these days, that you could get it all in one place, but you're sadly mistaken. And then you wind up having a day in which you hit Wal Mart, Target, and Foley's, plus a number of considerably tiny stores in between, all in one day. So I made a shopping list this morning, and as I readied myself to go out (in the rain, no less!), I realized that I had to go to more than one store to obtain the items on my list. Not only that, but I had to go to five separate areas of town to get to all these stores. It came to pass that the list of stores I had to hit was a longer list than what I needed to get at those stores. How could that be, you ask? I don't know -- I suck at math. But what I can tell you is that the math course I earned three college credits for back in 1990, Applied Math for Arts and Humanities Majors, came in handy today as I made my mental diagram of the Optimal Route for my shopping/errand excursion. So for all those of you wondering when you're ever going to use your math skills (unless you're my sister and it's in your job description) in real life, Applied Math is really the way to go.

Herewith, I will share my Optimal Route:

Left neighborhood; traveled west on Yale Ave. to King Soopers center to drop videos at library.

Continued south to Hampden Ave.; travelled west on Hampden Ave. to Englewood City Center to drop books at THAT library (hmm... sticking to one library in the first place MAY have simplified things).

Continued west on Hampden to junction with State Highway 121, also known as Wadsworth Blvd. Exited southbound; arrived at Wal Mart at intersection of Wadsworth and Quincy circa 10:04a.m.

Entered Wal Mart store, took cart proffered by friendly senior citizen inside front doors, and headed for the cosmetics aisle for lotion. Wandered through school supplies looking for new Batman backpack for Daniel. Arrived in Bed and Bath department at rear of store; located comforter for my comforter cover. Found Batman and Star Wars twin sheet sets on clearance. Picked up set of bath towels in lime green. Made my way next to the electronics department to upload photos for 19-cent prints; some dolt was hogging machine, going through his photo card picture by picture (some of us are courteous and do that at home first, making a disc with ONLY the photos we want printed, so as not to hog the frickin' machine once we're at Wal Mart; I mean, it's not like there aren't 20 other people waiting to use it!!!!), so I wandered aimlessly about DVD section for a few minutes till he surely had to be done. He wasn't, so I stood behind him using time-honored trick of tapping my foot and looking all blase. Finally was allowed chance to upload photos. Paid for other stuff; went to car.

Travelled south on Wadsworth to the Toys R Us intersection. Went into store, purchased one Batman backpack and made pitstop in bathroom that was only marginally cleaner than the one at Wal Mart; should have just waited till I got to the mall.

Travelled south on Wadsworth to the mall; parked outside Foley's downstairs entrance. Veered right to Plus Size Women's Department to look at clearance items; made a number of purchases. Took escalator to Bed and Bath Department; purchased one Tommy Hilfiger denim bedspread for Pooker's room, and one fleecey bath rug in lime green.

Travelled west on Bowles then south on Kipling toward parents' area of town but furhter west so as to stop for lunch at Chik Fil A. Did drive thru. Drove to parents' house.

Ate lunch. Matted Daniel's Batman and Star Wars posters on foam core and cut with large Xacto knife on Dad's workbench. Bonded with Dad, who was photographing knots (I'm just going to leave it at that so that everyone thinks my dad is a weird freak who photographs knots for fun, mwuahahahahahahaha). Checked on computer for some stuff I needed, then once again hit the road.

Drove east to Aspen Grove Shopping Center. Visited Eddie Bauer (no purchases), Pottery Barn (coasters), Williams-Sonoma (no purchases), and Aveda (shampoo, conditioner, scalp treatment, skin toner, hair goo). Returned to car.

Headed north then west, back to mall area, but went instead to Target. Wandered aimlessly to back of store and looked at throw pillows and blankies. Purchased: drying rack; plastic storage boxes for Daniel's room; toothbrushes; floss; Warped Tour 2005 cd. Back to car.

North on Wadsworth to Wal Mart once again. Returned towels purchased earlier; they did not match new rug. Picked up photos and a large container of liquid Tide. It weighed a bloody ton. Noticed scent of cheap plastic mixed with fried food (Der Wienerschnitzel) in the air and felt all life slowly draining from my veins as a result of bad lighting and bad smells. Couldn't get back to comfort of my car fast enough.

Drove north on Wadsworth then east on Hampden to home. Listened to my February 2005 mix on iPod on the way.

So as you can see, it's been a really rough day. I mean, I still had to stuff the comforter into the comforter cover after all that was done!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

All partied out!  Posted by Picasa

My little cutie and me. I love him!! Posted by Picasa

Oh-ho!! Fun Aunt Robin's gift was the voice-changing Darth Vader helmet. One of Daniel's favorites. Everyone tried it on, even Nana.  Posted by Picasa

Julia and Marlowe were quite keen on the Vader masks. It seems the girls were more into them than the boys. I'm not sure what to make of that, if anything.  Posted by Picasa

Daniel getting ready to blow out his candles. On his right is his best friend Noah, then Julia, then Marlowe. Sister Edyn supervises, of course.  Posted by Picasa

The Vader cake. Mmm!! Posted by Picasa

Daniel and his sister Edyn on the bouncy castle at his birthday party.  Posted by Picasa

Nancy, me, and Robin. I was going to put some cheesey sorority-related caption but decided that we're cheesey enough without one. For those of you who don't know, Nancy and Robin are two of my very best friends going all the way back to college days, and this is us at Pooker's birthday party. Posted by Picasa