- Fizzy Thoughts: 2006

What I did during Christmas vacation

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

1. I ate...a lot. Two Christmas dinners and a lunch. Ham, prime rib and corn chowder, and leftovers from all of them.

2. I read...also a lot. I read On Mexican Time, It's Not About the Tapas, and A Thousand Days in Venice. On Mexican Time is about a couple who moves to Mexico, and eventually they buy a fixer-upper. It's Not About the Tapas is about a Brit who bicycles through parts of Spain. And A Thousand Days in Venice is about an American who marries an Italian and moves to Venice. There's a definate travel theme going on there. It's Not About the Tapas was the funniest of the three, but none of them really knocked my socks off.

3. I put together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that my brother gave me for Christmas. It was a very mean gift, because it was really difficult. But since I get so obsessed with finishing puzzles, it was done in three days (there was a late night involved).

4. I saw The Good Shepherd, with my mom and her friend. Good, but long and depressing. I don't know that I'd actually recommend it.

5. I went shopping, of course! I got gift cards from Gottschalks and Borders and Barnes and Noble (online for that one). So I had to go spend them.

5 glorious days off...**sigh**. Now it's back to work. :-(

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Elmo loooooooves Santa!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays everyone!

Once again, kudos to ernie kwiat at www.erniekwiat.com.

Kate, you'll notice that Elmo's got his pjs on this time...he's much warmer now!

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Happy happy joy joy

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I think the neighbors have moved back in. Woo-hoo!! Never thought I'd be excited to see them, but at least when they're home their dogs don't bark. So I slept in my own bed last night instead of hiding in the office. Life is good again.

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Baby it's cold outside

Monday, December 18, 2006

Elmo's freezing...

Shhh, don't tell ernie. Image yanked from erniekwiat.com.

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What I've been reading

Tis the season. So I read The Autobiography of Santa Claus, as told to Jeff Guinn. This is a cute story about how the legend of Santa evolved. It tosses in lots of history and gets a little preachy at times (for instance, he likes to comment on how we don't do that anymore because we know better...which from the point of a historian is quite tiresome. Dude, don't judge the past by your own morals...it doesn't work). Other than that, it was interesting to learn how Saint Nicholas has morphed into the Santa we know today. I sent this book to Mackenzie and Matt...I hope they find it entertaining!

After I got into the Christmas spirit, I went back to the travel stories. I finally finished An Italian Education, by Tim Parks.
This is his follow up to Italian Neighbors. It tells of his experiences as an Englishman raising two Italian children, and the differences between English culture and Italian culture...which can be pretty significant. I'm passing these on to my mom, with the hope she'll at least try Italian Neighbors before we go to Italy next year.

Next up, France, A Love Story, a book of essays by women who have lived or spent time in France.Some of the essays were quite good. Others were not. I had forgotten how stilted and boring Alice B. Toklas is as a writer and the essay about the woman having an affair left me baffled. But for the most part I enjoyed the essays and of course, now I want to go back to Paris.

And to finish off, Gullible's Travels, by Cash Peters...

Incredibly sarcastic and funny! Peters is an Englishman who works for NPR doing travel stories. Only he travels to the most bizarre locations...the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, the Museum of Dirt, Graceland, the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) and the Precious Moments amusement park, to name a few. The places are all real, although some of his stories may be a little, um, embellished. And rude. But he's got a great sense of humor, and he's not afraid to poke fun at himself.

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Meet Chris

Monday, December 04, 2006

Our tree...

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Back to the Books

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Recently read...


The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters
This is by the same author as Fingersmith, only this time she's moved to modern times. Set after and then during WWII, The Night Watch focuses on four Londoners (two lesbians, a woman having an affair with a married man (who incidentally, is a total jerk) and her brother, trying to adapt to life out of prison). The book actually goes backwards...it starts in 1947, moves to 1944, then ends at the beginning, in 1941. By the end of the book you understand how they all got to where they're at, but you're still left with questions about where they're going. How's that for convoluted? Although beautifully written and interconnected, I still didn't like the unfinished questions.

Ten Little Indians, by Sherman Alexie
A book of short stories, mostly about Spokane Indians in the modern world. A quick read, an even quicker synopsis.

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Reason #57 why being a landlord sucks

Monday, November 13, 2006

So this is what our rental looked like after the tenant moved out...

Living room/dining room:
Laundry room:
More living room:Back porch:

Garage (ugh):

Mitch filled up his gigantic dump trailer with all of the crap and trash she left behind. Elmo found about 30 cents in pennies on the floor. We spent all of last weekend cleaning up the front yard and planting sod. Our wonderful moms spent 3 days during the week cleaning and painting the interior, and as of this last Friday it's for sale. Suprisingly, it even looks kind of cute at the moment. Any takers???


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Just because

Elmo wanted to see how HB's new motorcylce helmet fit...


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Well, I won't be doing that again

Monday, October 30, 2006

Saturday I went wine tasting. 29 years on the Central Coast, and this is the first time I've ever been. And also probably the last.

Let me start by saying I had a good time. Really, I did. I went with a group of my mom's friends...this is the third year they've done this. They rent a limo and have the driver take them to 5 or 6 wineries. So I also got to ride in a limo for the first time. And also probably the last.

We met at Nancy's house around 10:00 and had yummy little quiches and fruit. The limo picked us up around 11 and we headed up to North County. First stop was Tobin James. Mmmmmm. They've got some great wines. Then we went to Bianchi, which is a beautiful little winery with a little pond. About this time my mom and I noticed we have expensive taste in wine. The spendy stuff definately tastes better! We ate lunch by the pond, then loaded back up and headed to Midnight (I think that's the name) Cellars and Dark Star. This is where I stopped tasting, since I'm such a light weight. At this point I had probably had two glasses of wine...at the most. Our last stop was Peachy Canyon, where I hung out with the resident kitten. After that, we headed back to Los Osos. We were probably 5 miles from being dropped off when I got sick. Me, who never gets carsick, who didn't even drink enough to be tipsy, got sick in the limo. Lovely, huh? I'll spare you the details, but at least I didn't get sick on anyone or anything.

Which is why I don't think I'll being doing that again.

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Tickle Me Elmo

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The newest Elmo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFCcN146WBw&NR

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This and that

Mackenzie's travelling art exhibit is now official! I just hung the two photos that Mack so generously lent me...one at the top of the stairs, the other at the bottom. The Celtic cross is at the top of the stairs and the hanging laundry is at the bottom. Both HB and my mom love the pictures Mack!

I saw another English movie at the Palm today..."Keeping Mum." It was hysterical. Almost as good as "Little Miss Sunshine." Actually, it was just as good, but in a totally different way. It's about a vicar and his family (the vicar is boring, his wife is bored, his daughter is a nymphomaniac and his son is picked on by the school bullies) who live in a small (population 57) village and how their life changes when the new housekeeper arrives. There's much more to it than that, but I'd ruin the movie if I said more. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the wife and Patrick Swayze is quite entertaining as the golf pro.

I never commented on my San Diego trip. I had so much fun hanging out with Mack and Matt and staying in their new condo! My inaugural trip to IKEA was a blast and I loved the walk along the coast at La Jolla. Matt took a funny picture of the back of our (Mack and me) heads as we sat on a bench and enjoyed the view. I have a few pictures, but they're still on my camera.

Last week's finished book was The Icarus Girl. There was lots of Nigerian folklore involved, so I'm afraid I missed most of the book's meaning. I won't even begin to explain what it was about. I enjoyed the writing, but I would have enjoyed the book a whole lot more if I had a better understanding of Nigerian culture.

I'm currently reading a book of short stories that Mack gave me. :-) And today I bought four more books at B&N...like I need more books! I got a book of stories about France (Kate, if you're reading this, you might be interested in it), a book about a novelist's life in Verona, The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and a novel about Brooklyn that looked funny. Holler if you'd like any of them when I'm done.

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Need a laugh?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today I received an email from my friend Heather with loads of puns. Enjoy!

"TO MAKE AND UNDERSTAND PUNS IS THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT..."

Here are the 10 first place winners in the International Pun Contest:

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said," I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her hu sband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

More...from CarTalk's web site:

A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows readers digest and writers cramp.
* * *
An Indian chief had three wives, each of whom was pregnant. The first gave birth to a boy. The chief was so elated he built her a teepee made of deer hide. A few days later, the second gave birth, also to a boy. The chief was very happy. He built her a teepee made of antelope hide. The third wife gave birth a few days later, but the chief kept the details a secret. He built this one a two-story teepee, made out of a hippopotamus hide. He challenged the tribe to guess what had occurred. Many tried, unsuccessfully. Finally, one young brave declared that the third wife had given birth to twin boys. "Correct," said the chief. "How did you figure it out?" The warrior answered, "It's elementary. The value of the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides."
* * *
There was a Scottish tradesman, a painter called Jock, who was very interested in making a pound where he could, so he often would thin down paint to make it go a wee bit further. As it happened, he got away with this for some time, but eventually the Presbyterian Church decided to do a big restoration job on the roof of one their biggest churches. Jock put in a bid, and because his price was so competitive, he got the job. And so he set to, with a right good will, erecting the trestles and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with the turpentine. Well, Jock was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly done, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened, and the rain poured down, washing the thin paint from all over the church and knocking Jock fair off the scaffold to land on the lawn, among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint. Jock was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty, so he got on his knees and cried: "Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?" And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke: "Repaint! Repaint and thin no more!"
* * *
After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he had decided to call it a day. Just then, an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer's job. The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!" "No matter," said the man. "Observe!" And he began strikng the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carrilon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced he had finally found a replacement for Quasimodo. But suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?" "I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "but his face rings a bell."
* * *
WAIT! WAIT! There's more . . . .The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Nortre Dame. The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the brother of the poor armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty." The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched his chest, twirled around, and died on the spot. Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. 'What has happened? Who is this man?" the first monk asked breathlessly. "I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, " but . . ."he's a dead ringer for his brother!"
* * *
A Russian scientist and a Czechoslovakian scientist had spent their lives studying the grizzly bear. Each year they petitioned their respective governments to allow them to go to Yellowstone National Park to study the bears. Finally, their requests were granted, and they immediately flew to Yellowstone. They reported to the ranger station and were told that it was the grizzly mating season and it was too dangerous to go out and study the animals. They pleaded that this was their only chance, and finally the ranger relented. The Russian and the Czech were given portable phones and told to report in every day. For several days they called in, and then nothing was heard from the two scientists. The rangers mounted a search party and found the camp completely ravaged, with no sign of the missing men. Following the trails of a male and a female bear, they finally caught up with the female. Fearing an international incident, they decided they must kill the animal to find out if she had eaten the scientist. They killed the female bear and opened its stomach to find the remains of the Russian scientist. One ranger turned to the other and said, "You know what this means, don't you?" The other ranger nodded and responded, "I guess it means the Czech is in the male."
* * *
A spokesperson for the U. S. Mint announced that a new fifty-cent piece was being issued to honor two great American patriots. On one side of the coin would be Theodore Roosevelt and on the other side, Nathan Hale. Asked why two people were going to be on the same coin, the official replied, "Now, when you toss a coin you can simply call, Ted's or Hale's."
* * *
Two robins sat in a tree. "I'm really hungry," said the first one. "Me, too," said the second. "Let's fly down and find some lunch." They flew down to the ground and found a nice plot of newly plowed ground that was just full of worms. They ate and ate and ate until they could eat no more. "I'm so full I don't think I can fly back up into the tree," said the first one. "Me either. Let's just lay back here and bask in the warm sun," said the second. "OK," said the first. So they plopped down, basking in the sun. No sooner than they had fallen asleep, a big fat tomcat snuck up and gobbled them up. As the cat sat washing his face after his meal, he thought..."I just love baskin' robins."
* * *
A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls. One day his supply of the birds ran out, so he had to go out and trap some more. On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them. Immediately, he was arrested and charged with transporting gulls across sedated lions for immortal porpoises.
* * *
An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk hide and gave it to the chief, instructing him to bite, chew, and swallow one inch of the leather every day. After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. The chief shrugged and said, "The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on."
* * *
A skeptical anthropologist was cataloging South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal brujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the brujo looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, who needs enemas?"

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Last week's books

Monday, October 02, 2006

To follow up on Banned Books Week, Mackenzie asked me what my favorite banned books are. Going off of this list, I would say the Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle in Time and To Kill a Mockingbird.

I didn't read any banned books last week, but I did read these books...

Alligator, by Lisa Moore. I could've skipped this book and been a perfectly happy person. The book hops between some loosely intertwined characters. There's Colleen, a budding eco-terroist, who put sugar in the gas tanks of tractors. Colleen's mom, Beverly, is still lost in grief after the death of her husband 6 years earlier. Madeleine, Colleen's aunt, is consumed by her career as a filmmaker. Valentin, the sociopathic Russian sailor...well, Valentin has issues. And then there's poor Frank and his hot dog stand. Frank is the only reason I stuck with the book. Just my luck, Frank gets hosed. Anyway, Lisa Moore is a Canadian author and this book was a Canadian best seller. I usually love Canadian authors, but this was a dud.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards. Better than Alligator, but still a bit of a disappointment. The book begins in 1964, when Dr. David Henry's wife gives birth to twins at his clinic during a snowstorm. The daughter has Down's Syndrome, and thinking he's doing everyone a favor, he gives the baby to his nurse to take to an institution and tells his wife the baby died. And then he never tells her the truth. Ever. Meanwhile, the nurse disappears with the baby and raises her as her own daughter. Dr. Henry has issues from his childhood that led him to make certain decisions, but good grief, get over yourself! Anyway, the book follows the two families for the next thirty years and then has a tidy little ending. However, I still can't get past Dr. Henry and his mammoth self-centeredness, not to mention the fact that most of the main characters couldn't quite seem to be truthful about their lives.

The Problem With Murmur Lee, by Connie May Fowler. Finally, a book I liked. Hard to explain, though. Murmur Lee drowns, and different narrators (including the drowned Murmur) explore her life in an effort to discover how she managed to drown. Lots of quirky characters, which explains why I liked this one.

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Banned Books Week

Saturday, September 23, 2006



Celebrate your freedom to read...Banned Books Week September 23 -30, 2006


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Darn, I forgot to wear my black stocking cap

I just broke into a house.

Okay, okay...it was our rental. And the house was open. But the renter had locked herself out of the bedroom. (I guess she forgot to unlock the door the next morning and then later closed the door while on the wrong side.) Luckily, the window was open, so I pried off the screen and crawled through the window.

Evidently she's a little paranoid. She closes the bedroom door and locks it at night, because she's scared someone will break in. Since she lives in one of the cheapest looking houses on the block (call me slumlord) I doubt she has much to worry about.

So I broke into a house and did a good dead all at the same time. No one told me breaking and entering was part of a landlord's duties, though.

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Antiquities, a book and a movie

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm finally getting around to last weekend's events. I did all sorts of stuff (for me). In order, here's the rundown...


1. Getty Villa
Friday, my mom and I took a bus tour down to Malibu to see the Getty Villa. The villa is a museum full of Greek and Roman antiquities, and the building itself is modeled after an ancient villa that was buried when Vesuvius erupted. When Getty proposed the idea of a villa/museum, it was considered pretty radical (read loony) at the time. Today, it makes perfect sense. The villa was cooler than the art, especially the peristyles (aka the garden areas). Here are a few pictures:


I could live there.



3. The Thirteenth Tale
The weekend wouldn't be complete without a book! On Saturday I finished what might possibly be my favorite-ist book of the year. This is a book for those who love books! It's also got a really good mystery and some good twists to it.


4. Black Dahlia
On Sunday, my mom and I went to see this movie. Good, but a little (okay, a lot) gory in parts. It was very film noir.

So there you have it...my eventful weekend!

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Public Service Announcement

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I moved over to the new beta version of Blogger...obviously, you can still find me and everything looks pretty much the same. However...

Evidently, I can't post comments as "softdrink" for the time being. They're still working on that little feature (actually, it's a big feature which one would think would have been worked out prior to going beta, but I digress). So I may be popping up as "anonymous" for awhile. Maybe I'll start a second blog using the old format and be "anonymous softdrink."

Why move to beta? Because I couldn't get half my pictures to post, which was frustrating as all get out. They've fixed that little quirk in the new version, so I've (partially) forgiven them for not letting me post comments as myself.

Other than that, the beta version is pretty darn similar. You can play with the look of your blog a little easier, too.

That's all...HB is off being a Moloch, so I'm going to crank up the heater (yes, it's freakin' freezing here in MB!!) and go back to my piles of books.

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Move along...nothing but another short book review

No, I don't always read at this pace. I also go through periods where I slack off on journaling the books I've read. So it's probably a relief to know you won't be seeing this every day:


The End of Vandalism, by Tom Drury.

This book is a collection of stories, more than it is a novel. Although the stories do flow together and the characters appear throughout the book. There's really not much in the way of plot, though. It's more about life in a small Midwestern county, where not a whole lot happens other than daily living and strange characters abound. In a way, the book style reminds me of Kent Haruf (Plainsong). The setting and the dialogue are familiar...small town life and stilted conversations. But the occasionally hilarious observations and true to life characters made it worth reading. I'm going to pass this one on to my mom and uncle... my mom will probably see similarities to Dufur (aka BFE Oregon, where I spent 5 years of my young life) and Uncle Bill will, I think, appreciate the writing.

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Blind as a bat

Monday, September 11, 2006

I just got back from the eye doctor. My eyes are so dilated it's a good thing I didn't get pulled over by the cops! In fact, they're so dilated I can't see very well. Hopefully, it'll wear off soon so I can go read a book...and also so I don't look like I'm strung out on some drug.
My eye is still not a happy camper. We think I've become intolerant to contacts, which is a major bummer. We're going to try one last thing before giving up. I have another week of antibiotics and flooding my eye with eye drops, then I'm going to try daily disposable contacts for a few days and then go back to see how my eye looks. If it's still irritated, then bye-bye contacts. :-(
On a positive note, I was eligible for frames, so I get a new pair of glasses. I love the ones I got last year, but they are a little too narrow and interfere with my field of vision at times. So if I'm going to be wearing more of my glasses, at least I'll have a pair I can see out of.
However, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the daily disposable contacts will work because I so do not want to wear glasses all the time.

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Another day, another book

Last night I stayed up too late (11:30) finishing this book:



The Book of Bright Ideas, by Sandra Kring

I'm such a sucker for book covers. Sometimes that leads to crushing disappointment. This time it worked. That picture is Winnalee in a nutshell, although the book doesn't focus so much on Winnalee, but rather her best friend Button and Button's family.


Winnalee and her big sister Freeda roll into the small town of Dauber. It's 1961, and Freeda's wild ways are shocking to some, and a catalyst for change for others. For Button, life will never be the same after the sisters.
This was a good read...another book with great characters. I started it a few weeks ago, and then forgot about it. I read most of the book last night. And I smiled when I picked the book back up, because it had my Naploleon Dynamite bookmark in it!

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What I've been reading

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's 5am on a Saturday morning. I'd rather be sleeping, but since that wasn't happening, I guess I'll do some book reports.
Last week I finished three books, two of which were so good I didn't want them to end. In order of finish, here they are:

Revenge of the Paste Eaters, by Cheryl Peck. This book was passed on to me by someone at work, who raved about it. It was entertaining, but not quite as funny as I was expecting. The book is a collection of poems and essays, based on the author's life, but admittedly exaggerated in places. The funniest stories for me were the ones she wrote about her work, since she works for social services in some far away state (Michigan? Wisconsin? someplace along those lines...I can't remember). For some reason, this book was impacted by my mood. If I was in a good mood, the stories were funnier. If I was feeling ho-hum, the book became ho-hum.

Next up was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie, a Chinese author who has emigrated to France. He was "reeducated" during the Cultural Revolution, and "reeducation" is what this book is about. Two young men are sent to live in the mountains with a group of farmers. They happen upon a suitcase full of contraband (Balzac and other western literature) and a beautiful young woman (the little Chinese seamstress). How they all affect each other becomes the point of the story. I zipped through this book in about three hours, and I loved it. Much better than sitting through some boring professor lecture on the Cultural Revolution.

Finally, there's my favorite of the bunch, A Girl Could Stand Up, by Leslie Marshall. Elray Mayhew is suddenly orphaned at age six, and placed in the care of her Uncle Harwood, a macho photographer, and her Aunt Ajax, who is really Uncle Ajax and prefers to cross-dress and be an auntie. This is the story of their next ten years together, and the people who join their lives. The characters definitely make this book, as each one of them is quirky and full of issues. And the ending was totally bizarre, so it's right up my alley. I found this book in the bargain bins at the UW Bookstore in Seattle. I had never heard of it, and doubt I would have ever run across it otherwise.

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For Kate

Monday, September 04, 2006

the surfboard picture:

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softdrink plays Susie Homemaker

I spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday redecorating (and cleaning) the upstairs. My mom met me at World Market on Saturday to get the shelves. Then we came back here and put them together and lugged the couch up from downstairs. Of course, after she left I decided I didn't like the location of one of the shelves and I moved it across the room. Which meant moving other stuff. Anyway, here's the end result...

dining room (I have since moved the tall plant in the corner. It now lives in front of the short wall on the left that you can't see in the picture and a shorter plant took its place):


living room (I skipped one wall, but the window and chair haven't changed):


and the dining room and the space formerly known as the great empty wasteland:

HB and I are both very happy with how it turned out. HB said he liked the feel of it, that it felt homey. Of course, he'd just gotten home from camping, so anything with four walls and a bed would probably qualify as homey. ;-)

Here are the pics from last weekend's efforts...

the bedroom:

Our house is now a mixture of travel pictures (France, Italy) and ocean pictures (lighthouses, the sea and surfboards). HB complimented them all, though. It definately represents the two of us!

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Home sweet home

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm starting to think we may stay in this house awhile longer. We passed the two year mark in April and didn't sell, and now the market in softening a bit. Although none of our moves were really planned... so I guess I can't say with absolute certainty that we're not going anywhere.

Anyhoo... that leads me up to my point. (Really, I have a point.) One of the things I dislike about this house is that it's so freakin' big. Yes, a house can be too big. Especially for two people. I am now on a quest to make the house a little more appealing, to me at least. So yesterday I went to World Market and bought a whole bunch of prints and frames. Today's project...put them together and hang 'em up. Maybe having more stuff on the walls will create the illusion of a cozier house.

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Little Miss Sunshine

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This movie is hilarious! You absolutely have to see it. Yes, it's up there with Napolean Dynamite. Picture this:


filled with:

a foul mouthed, heroin snorting Grandpa, a dad who is a motivational speaker, a stressed out mom, a gay and suicidal uncle, the son who has taken a vow of silence and the daughter, who is a very unlikely beauty pageant contestant. They are driving from Arizona to California so Olive (the daughter) can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. The characters definately make the movie, and I'm still laughing when I think about them. So two thumbs up.

This is where the movie is playing...

When we were standing in line for tickets, some guy walked by and said (loudly), "Is this where the new strip club is opening?" And he had no shirt on. Not really sure what was up with that, but it struck me as weird.

Did you know the Palm used to be the Rainbow Theatre? It was on the side street by the library, across from the courthouse. It was even smaller than it is now. We would go there in high school to watch the arty, foreign films (extra credit for French class).

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2 Projects

Monday, May 08, 2006

I just requested my cards from cARTalog...not really sure what I'll do with them, but it's a cool site. Hmmm, maybe bookmarks?

And, I also ordered my kit for the genographic project, a very cool thing that National Geo is doing.

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Photographic memories

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Okay, it's time to get this show blog on the road, so to speak. I think I spend more time on making my blogs look appealing (to me, at least), than I do writing anything of substance.

With that said...I'm re-writing the original post, which was nothing more than a placeholder. In honor of the new scanner, here's a few childhood photos:


This first pic is me circa 1972 or 1973. The family had just moved to Oregon. I must be surveying the family holdings. Ha ha. Not looking like the happiest of campers, but when you've just moved to BFE, who would? The parents were remodelling the barn and Keith and I had most likely set up his Matchbox cars in the outhouse. This picture is Hamburger's favorite. He says the backpack cracks him up. Glad he likes it, because I don't seem too enamored of it.



This pic, on the otherhand, is my favorite. Maywood, CA. Most likely, right before the big move. Do I look cool, or what? Dig the glasses.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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