Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Too sick to read

Well, my new weight loss plan is one I have to say I don't recommend at all. A nasty case of the stomach flu might help drop pounds but it is a miserable way to go about it. Luckily the kids were pretty good as I alternated between sleeping and living in the bathroom. I'm on the mend now but my tum is still pretty fragile and even the hint of gas still has me running to the bathroom. On the plus side, at least I'm no longer dizzy every time I stand up.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Random musings

In my quest to buy and sample anything I want from the produce department (if it's in there it must be healthy, no?), I have discovered something really tasty: coquito nuts. They are essentially little coconuts from Chile. You just pop the whole thing in your mouth and crunch down. The bag suggests dipping them in chocolate, which I'm sure is out of this world, but I am trying to lose weight you know. And as for all the "eat locally" people, honk off. Finding appealing produce is hard enough without being limited to icky, heavy, winter produce from Michigan.

My husband will be home this weekend and to surprise me, he sent me roses yesterday thanking me for all I do for him and the kids. This officially makes me a colossal b*tch. You see, I might have mentioned, when thanking him for the lovely flowers, that while I appreciate roses, I far prefer tulips. Good thing he loves me or he might have taken offense! Oh, and I thought I showed great restraint in not mentioning that the accompanying note was grammatically incorrect as well. On second thought, maybe I should have mentioned that instead of dissing the flower choice because grammar police is and has always been part of my genetic make-up.

I have been stuck at home with sick kids (two out of three) for three days now. I am ready for the men in nice white suits and carrying a rubber coat with extra long sleeves to come and collect me. I am completely trapped and if they can't go back to school today, I can't be responsible for my actions.

Because of sick kids, I haven't bought a single present for the child whose birthday is tomorrow. This alone will convince him to return to school so I can go shopping. Don't know about the other one though. And have no idea how to accomplish all the birthday shopping I need to do (including cake although I am leaving school treats until Monday at this point). Will a 6 year old appreciate a whole pack of gift cards?!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My week

Want to know how my week has been so far? The trash folks picked up all the trash on my street except mine. That pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Review: Dale Loves Sophie to Death by Robb Foreman Dew

I read this for last year's Decades Challenge (yes, that tells you how behind I am but at least this was a December book so I'm getting closer to 2008) and had probably had it in my tbr piles for decades as well since it was published in the 80's. I am glad I finally read it because it means I can stop moving it with me each time we move (on average every 2-3 years). Yes, those of you who know me know that I don't easily let go of books so you also know this means I did not like the book at all. Maybe it didn't age well (maybe I didn't age well) but I found not one thing in it that appealed to me. The characters were boring and I just didn't care about their small and unpleasant lives. Every summer Dinah takes her children from her East Coast home to the small Ohio town she grew up in while her husband stays behind and works. I truly didn't understand the reason Dinah was drawn back to her roots, especially given her lack of a relationship with her father nor did I think the town was particularly well drawn. Both Dinah and her husband interact with friends (or more than friends) but they don't seem very likeable people even to those with whom they are closest. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block for me was the constant internal narration, not quite stream of consciousness (which I loathe) but close enough to make this entire book a dreary slog of a read for me.

How do they know?

We got dumped on by a mini snow storm last night and as a result the kids have a snow day today. Since this all happened while they were sleeping, how on earth do they know before they even wake up? On usual school days I can barely shoehorn them out of bed in time to get to school. But today, like a weekend, they've popped out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and a full hour before they would had they had to go to school. Is it some trace mineral or element in their system that leaches out before adulthood that lets them be so attuned to this school-free day? I mean seriously! We could have slept in, caught up on all our lost sleep, but no we're up to greet the sun and raring to go with nothing to do. Maybe I can convince them to make a sleeping snowman while I supervise through my eyelids from the horizontal position. ::yawn::

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Willpower, Girl Scout Cookies and Exercise

Willpower? What willpower? So I'm the cookie mom for our Girl Scout troop and to make life easier on myself, and because I am truly mathematically challenged, I went ahead and ordered cookies for our family based on how many boxes the troop needed to make up a complete case. (I hate extras and since my husband is working several states away, I can't make him take extra boxes into the office to sell so the troop doesn't get stuck with them like I did last year.) But do you think that I even once considered the fact that I would end up with a stinkin' boatload of cookies I can't keep my lips off of? Oh no. That never crossed my mind. Nevermind that I've been working really hard on my weight for over a year now and have been at the same (too high) plateau for 6 months now. No, making the cases complete is far more important than my lack of willpower or my waistline or even my sense of satisfaction with myself (plowing through a box at a time does not help me feel good--full, yes; good, no).

My garage is back to normal since I finally got everyone to pick up their cookies and I'm only left with the towering stack that belongs to my family. Funny how many cookies are left. It's been this way for a few days now and I was being pretty good about the temptation. I don't even think about the cookies before everyone has picked them up because I'm too afraid to take a box and mess up my count (one family thinks my count was off this year but that's another story--funny how everyone else got exactly the correct number of cookies). But now that it's just our cookies, well it's gotten harder. And two nights ago I gave in. I absolutely inhaled an entire box of Peanut Butter Patties (Tag-Alongs to those of you using the other GS bakery). I ate those suckers so fast I think the square footage of the house decreased from the suction. I ate like I thought someone was likely to come along and take them away from me. I ate them at 10 o'clock at night so my kids wouldn't see me being a complete glutton. Ask me how proud of myself I am.

Now ask me how guilty I felt. (Can Catholic guilt rub off? I think I've gained a good measure of it just by sending the kids to Catholic school.) I actually hauled my sorry butt out into practically knee deep slush and freezing water to run 6 miles in an effort to reverse the GS dimples already forming on my butt and thighs. Somehow I don't think it worked, which means I got soaked and nasty for nothing. Was that box of cookies worth an hour's unpleasant run? Well, they were pretty tasty but I'm not sure anything is worth the dead white, shriveled, wet feet I sported after finishing. And until my shoes dry out (they are seriously still wet more than 24 hours later), I guess I'd better stay away from the Thin Mints!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Review: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

For a book centered blog, I do seem to write astonishingly few book related posts here, don't I? Looking at the stack of books I still need to review here, it is seemingly insurmountable (or at least not do-able in a reasonable amount of time). Being backed up by 26 books is attributable to many things, not the least of which is that Carson McCullers' book The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is at the top of the wobbling unreviewed mountain. Looking at it and knowing that I have a write coherent review of it has had me stumped so I've decided just to write whatever comes to mind and get over the mental block this book is causing. So here goes:

I know this book is considered a modern classic. Even Oprah has endorsed it. I completely and totally loathed it. It was beyond bleak and depressing. It was stultifying. The characters were completely uninteresting and bland. The setting was gray and unsatisfyingly drawn. There was no plot. There was no spark in this book at all. Even Mick Kelly, who is supposedly loosely based on McCullers herself, only has all too brief moments of being interesting. I never warmed to John Singer nor did I believe that any of these other desperate and simple people would be so fascinated by this deaf-mute man, who had walked among them for years without any such recognition. Nothing about this story made for appealing reading and while it was technically proficient, that doesn't absolve it of the responsibility of drawing the reader in and making the read a worthwhile experience. Personally, this reader was bored out of her gourd, put it down repeatedly and walked away from it, and ultimately finished it with a relieved sigh knowing I could go onto better things, things I cared to read.

And now, maybe having written this review, the log-jam will be broken and the rest of the reviews will come pouring out, making this an actual book related blog!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Good lookin'

It's never a good idea to try and fish for compliments from a child because they tend to be brutally honest. In our family, couple this with an innate tendency for backhanded compliments and you have a recipe for disaster. Slow learner that I am though, I continue to ask for abuse. Yesterday the kindergartner was talking about a story where the child thought his mother was the most beautiful mother in the world so I stupidly asked who he thought was the most beautiful. He told me I was (I do make him meals, afterall) without any hesitation but then gravely followed this with "Even though you're the prettiest, you do have an awful lot of freckles." Even without giving any credence to his change from "beautiful" to the slightly less intense "pretty" (which, incidentally, was probably intentional as he has an amazing vocabulary and the skill to use it to boot), it is clear to me that freckles don't make the beauty cut, despite said child having his own scattering of "brown spots" across that sweet face.

I did better on the compliment front a few weekends ago when I took the kids and headed up north to freeze our rears off at the annual Snows Fest by our cottage. I went out to a bar with my friend J. despite my not being a bar kind of person. For the record, I'm also not a stay up late kind of person nor an enjoys herself in large groups of strangers kind of person so this whole adventure was out of character. But I was along for the ride (and to drive all the more entertaining people home safely) and I decided to enjoy it. As I drank my water (my Lenten resolve against soda is still holding on but was sorely tested by the fishy tasting water at the bar), my friend abandonned me to go out to a fish shanty. You know: those things they drag out onto frozen lakes to ice fish in as if that could possibly be fun? Yes, apparently an old friend of hers and his buddies were fishing and wanted to head to the bar so they hooked up the shanty to the single snowmobile and dragged it full of people, propane heater still cookin' along, off the lake, up to the bar, and parked it on the road. Even better, the shanty was decorated with grass skirts all around it since the theme of the festival this year was Caribbean. Where but Michigan's UP would you see such a sight? So I'm sitting uncomfortably with people I don't know when I am summoned to the shanty. Apparently J. and C. have cooked up a plan to take the shanty another 4 or so miles to a farmhouse to party and they need me to come too. I poke my head into the shanty and C., whom I've never met before, takes one look at me and says, "You're f***ing adorable. I don't know you." Nevermind that he was blind drunk. Nevermind that he was younger than I am. It was the best part of the evening (I was also deemed "neat" later in the night). I guess freckles are just fine in his world. Perhaps I should let my kindergartner learn compliments from C.? Nah. Oh, and as for my husband's response? He was a little miffed that his compliments don't make me grin stupidly for days the way this one did. But like me fishing for the compliment from the kindergartner, he *has* to tell me I'm beautiful because he's stuck with me. ;-) Unsolicited compliments always trump the obligatory ones.

Oh, and we did take the fish shanty for a ride. It was terrifying and hysterical and fun all at the same time. But I don't think I want to do it again (unless I get a crazy compliment first!).

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