Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Oscar Smackdown 2005!

You have to say that title in your head like you're a wrestling announcer or like you do those monster truck rally commercials. It sounds really cool like that. So, we're Oscar geeks in this house. We have an ongoing competition with my parents, sister, best friend and her husband. Nobody wins anything except bragging rights to "Biggest Movie Geek," but we love playing anyway. We've even developed our own scoring system and Excel spreadsheet to quickly and easily track points during the show. Some people have the Superbowl, we have the Oscars. Every year when Academy Award nominations come out, the trash talking starts and the crazy competitiveness begins. Andre likes to put out a couple of lists of "wrong" picks in order to throw people off the scent of his real choices. Nobody is fooled of course since he does this every year. Many e-mails fly back and forth bragging about past victories and claiming future ass-whuppings. Must go prepare now and get to as many handicapping websites and Oscar prediction pages as I can before February 27th. Especially since I haven't seen any of the movies.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hurray for inaugaration day!

You totally thought I'd converted there for a second didn't you! No way Bushies, he's a long way from praise-worthy in my book. No, hurray for inaugaration day because it's my little sister's birthday!

I can't believe you're 29. The big two-nine. Twwweeeennnnty-Niiiiiiine. I couldn't possibly be a day over 25, so I'm not sure how you could be 29.

Thank you for being such a good sister all these 29 long years. Let's review:
1) You forgave me for telling people that I really wanted a brother when you first came home from the hospital.
2) You drew attention away from my knocked out front tooth by getting maimed on the swing, requiring stitches and sporting a black eye for weeks.
3) You were the brave one after watching Watcher in the Woods and let me sleep in your bed with you and hold your hand when I was too scared to sleep by myself.
4) You rode those crazy bikes that Grandpa made with me all over Bismarck even when I was mean and horrible and picked fights for no reason.
5) You only read my diary a couple of times. (That I know of.)
6) You were my one and only constant friend those long summers out in the boonies when all we had to do was watch I Love Lucy reruns and make up lies about how long we had practiced the piano.
7) You always let me know exactly what I was going to get for my birthday.
8) You never laughed at me when I borrowed all your Babysitter Club books and read them when I was in high school.
9) You looked up to me in high school even though I was a great big enormous dork.
10) You can occasionally read my mind. Remember that time with the babysitting thing?
11) You never told mom and dad about that one time with the thing when I did the stupid thing that no one else knows about. Hopefully you can read my mind now because I still don't want to tell mom and dad.
12) You were the most amazing traveling companion ever. And you totally looked out for me when that Turkish guy licked me on the neck.
13) You let me sleep on your floor when I didn't have a place to stay in Minneapolis. And you always tried really cool restaurants with me and went to freaky plays. Remember that one with the yellow shoes? I still think about that play.
14) You tolerated me when I moved back to Arizona and didn't have anything to do on the weekends except come to Phoenix and bother you.
15) Even though you spent the entire previous day puking, you still managed to be my maid of honor and put up with my crazy bride-ishness. And you weren't even the one that fainted in the ceremony!
16) You drove across the country to help me after Fiona was born.
17) You started eating meat again and you're so much easier to cook for now!
18) You totally let me copy your birthday wish idea. :)

I love you. Have a wonderful birthday!

Monday, January 17, 2005

A good indicator your three year old watches too much TV

She gets in your face in a tickle fight and says, "Huh? Huh? You wanna piece of me?"

Actually I think she said, " You wanna piece of meat?"

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The boat show, the boat show...

The big Seattle boat show. If you've ever heard the commercial, you're singing along with me right now. It keeps going through my head.

Anyhow, we went to the boat show this weekend so we could look inside all those huge yachts we'll never be able to afford. I love seeing things in miniature - tiny little cabins, fridges, sinks that turn into countertops, little bathrooms where you can sit on the toilet and take a shower at the same time. It's the same reason I like to go to the RV show. Andre goes so he can figure out what we're going to do with all of our riches when we when the lottery. Fiona thought it would be fun to go because she got it confused with Disneyland and thought there would be a pirate ride.

We didn't see any pirates, but there were some amazing boats there. Now we're seething with boat envy. The bad thing about it was that we saw all the million dollar boats at the end which made the $40,000 boats we saw at the beginning look affordable. Fiona doesn't really need to go to college right? After all, which is more important, an education or a swank yacht with 3 cabins and 2 full heads (that means cute miniature bathroom for you non-boat people)? I vote boat.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Probably not a right brainer...

Fiona's class is getting a couple of new pets. Millipedes. I shudder to even think about it, but the kids seem pretty excited. I asked Fiona where they were going to sleep and she said, "They have a cage mommy, but they don't need a top. They can come out if they want to. We can touch them." I said, "Oh, you must be so happy," shuddering the entire time.

Anyhow, the kids apparently were brainstorming names for the millipedes at school and the teacher had written a list of everyone's suggestions, marked with their names by their suggestions. I happened to notice the list when I was grabbing Fiona's coat today and while the other kids were suggesting names like Charley or Spike, Fiona's suggestions went like this: "Light. Rug. House. Pencil. Bug. Toy. Coat. Clance." At least she had Clance in there.

Speaking of names, Fiona really wants to name the baby either Sally or Lewen. Sally? Lewen? Where in the world did Lewen come from? She's going to have to learn to live with disappointment on this one.

She's also decided that she doesn't want to meet my sister's boyfriend when we go out to visit Tamara and Disneyland in February. "I don't like Louie. I don't like his hair." Hah! She's never even seen a picture of the guy! "I don't want to ride on the rides with him, I only want to ride with Auntie." Poor Louie, I'm sure she'll like you in person.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Fiona's story

Fiona told us this story at the dinner table tonight.

Fiona: "OK, I'm the mommy. Mommy you're Fiona, OK sweetheart? So honey [to Andre], I had a hard day at work today. First I was driving to work and I had a little car accident. The car was broken. It was out of gas. "

Andre: "Oh no, that sounds bad. Did the tow truck come?"

F: "Yes, it came and the man took me to the gas station."

A: "Did you get the car fixed?"

F: "No, I bought a new car. It's red. I bought you one too, honey."

Me: "Well that was very generous of you."

F: "Now sweetheart stop talking, you're annoying me. I'm talking to daddy right now."

Me: "Hmph."

F: "So then I drove home and I laid down and I took a little nap for two hours and I had a dream that two people came to the house and they wanted to pet our cats and I said OK so they came inside and they were petting our cats and then I invited them to dinner. [She then detailed several other dreams she had in the course of her nap which I can't remember.] Then I went to work and I had a bad customer. He didn't do anything, he just left."

I don't know where she gets some of this stuff. I promise I never tell her she's annoying me when she's interrupting.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Reading List 2005

Books I demand you read if you haven't already:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
by Michael Chabon. Mom just brought this one back after an extended absence so I had to revisit it. Still love it. I'd like to try one of his other books soon, probably Wonder Boys.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It struck me much more this time how much our society has begun to resemble Bradbury's world of the future. Scary. Read this book again if you haven't read it lately.

Good Earth by Pearl Buck. Loved it. Pulitzer Prize winner in 1932. Thanks Oprah for bringing it to my attention even though it really annoys me that there's a huge "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on the front. I didn't realize that it was the first in a series of three books, so now I need to find the other two.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I reread this in preparation for the movie. I was skeptical of the movie, but just saw a trailer and it looks pretty cool, even with Mos Def as Ford Prefect.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. LOVED this book. It didn't win the Pulitzer for nothing. If you haven't read it, you really should. Go buy it. Right now!

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. Fascinating reading. Unless you're a polygamist. Then you might not like it so much.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester. Fascinating. I had no idea the OED was created that way and the story of one of its schizophrenic contributors is amazing.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
by JK Rowling. Come on it's Harry Potter, I don't really need to say more do I?

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Story of a girl growing up with an abusive father in the rural South during the civil rights movement who leaves in search of information about her dead mother. I loved it.

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. This isn't really a book, but I'm calling it one because they bound a special edition of the short story into book form. I loved this story. I hope they do it justice in the movie because if it's done right it could definitely be Best Picture material. Read it, it's beautiful and heartbreaking.

Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card. Another take on the Biblical story of Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah. I thought the Red Tent was better written, but this focuses more on the four of them before their marriage to Jacob. I'll definitely read the second half of the story when The Wives of Israel is published. I'll also look for his other Women of Genesis books.

Books I enjoyed, but who knows if you'll like them because you're not me:

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. Knight - Reread. Christmas present from Tamara. I had it on my wish list because it's one of those books I keep lending out and not getting back. I love the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. If you're a mystery lover, I highly recommend it. First book is The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I'd loan it to you, but again it's been loaned out and never returned. Stupid friends.

A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George. I love Elizabeth George, love the Lynley/Havers series. Like mysteries? Try her. This was a particularly good one, I really enjoyed it.

Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig. Tamara loaned this one to me and I really enjoyed it. I feel TOTALLY sane after reading it.

Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson. I love my geek books.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester. Finally made it through this. The beginning was quite slow for me with all the history of early European contact with the area and then the Dutch colonization of Indonesia. I kept putting it down and forgetting about it. I finally got hooked when the volcano started rumbling. That part? Fascinating. Especially when I heard a news story recently that said the Pacific Northwest's geology is extremely similar. I wonder when Mt. Rainier will blow?

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. I really liked this as I read it, but now that I reflect on it, I'm not sure it was about all that much. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it or not.

We Thought You Would be Prettier by Laurie Notaro. I used to read her columns when she wrote for the Arizona Republic and laughed and laughed. This is some very light, but enjoyable, reading.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I can't wrap my brain around anythng much heavier than this right now, since I fall asleep after only a page or two every night. Some fun YA fiction about an evil mastermind 12 year old capturing fairies for the pot of gold ransom sounded just right.

The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl Book 2) by Eoin Colfer. Cute. The first one was better, but this one is worth a read too if you like that sort of thing.

The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl Book 3)
by Eoin Colfer. Same as above.

All He Ever Wanted
by Anita Shreve. Kind of a creepy story when you think about it. I don't know if you'd like it. I gave it away on Paperback Book Swap, so that should tell you something. I don't often give books away.

Trashy mysteries that I don't like to admit to reading so they now have a category all to themselves. I have an addiction, OK?

Cat and Mouse by James Patterson.

Over the Edge
by Jonathon Kellerman.

Deception Point by Dan Brown. Dude, come on. I figure out who the villain is way too early in all your books. Please try a little harder. Make me think about it at least. (Uh, I actually read this twice this year. Please don't mock me.)

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. Again with the figuring out the villain too early. Why do I bother? And anti-matter? You lost me at the anti-matter.

Joining the suburban legion of soccer moms

Well, not a soccer mom, an ice skating mom. In an effort to provide Fiona with a better example than the sloth-filled weekends of TV watching and nap taking we've been enjoying lately, I enrolled her in skating lessons with every other 3 to 5 year old in a 20 mile radius. I was surprised to find it wasn't just a huge, beautifully-coiffed Stepford mom convention with all of their well-scheduled perfect offspring. Of course, there was the one family who enrolled a kid quite obviously younger than 3. Trying to get a leg up on the Olympics I guess, we have to start 'em young if they have any hope of a gold medal. There was also a hockey dad who had already outfitted his 3 year old kid in hockey skates and full-on goalie's helmet with face mask. Everyone else seemed pretty normal and not too high-strung or obviously "suburban."

Of course I woke up late this morning and forgot every single thing I had intended to bring to the first class today. Unfortunately, it was kind of important stuff like gloves, a helmet, and a camera. Oops, I was the suck mom today!

The class was incredibly cute. Imagine 15 little kids who can't always walk across the room without falling over suddenly strapped into ice skates and tossed out on the ice. They all just kind of stood there, trying as hard as possible not to move, but still having their feet slide out from underneath them randomly. It was like reverse popcorn, preschoolers plopping down all over. Fiona was pretty tentative about it at first, but she's excited about going back again next week to give it another shot. Maybe I'll actually remember her mittens.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Back to work...

I've been living a life of leisure for the past 11 days on vacation from work. Thank you long weekends for making that possible with my limited vacation time. We've totally adapted to sleeping in until 9:30 and wandering around in our pajamas most of the day. The house is a mess because we've been here so much (and we're lazy). Normally after a break like this, cooped up with the fam for so long, I'm more than ready to go back to work. Not this time. I'd love to just stay here, cocooned away from the world. I'm dreading the whole long workweek coming up. Ugh. I just keep telling myself, "5 more months, 5 more months, I can survive 5 more months."

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Things to work on in 2005

Not resolutions really, just reminders to myself.

- Don't drink so damn much soda or you'll gain 60 pounds and be an enormous whale for your 10th college reunion.
- If you cleaned a little every day instead of waiting until the house was a sty and trying to do it all on the weekends, you might actually enjoy your weekends.
- One game of Candyland or Hi Ho Cherry-oh might be painful, but won't actually kill you.
- Hiring a babysitter could be a very good thing.
- Bringing lunch to work once in a while might actually save you a load of cash. And if you quit buying mochas too you could save $50 a week. Enough for a babysitter and a movie!
- Putting the laundry away after you fold it might be painful, but won't actually kill you. Plus, you won't have to walk around naked in the cold house in the morning wondering which basket might have clean underpants.
- A budget and Quicken - messy bills and accounts make you crazy and you know it.
- Try to decide on a name before the kid is born.
- Clean out the garage. Please. I'm begging you.