Friday, December 26, 2008

A Question

Are other people's children acting crazy today?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cliff Diving and Sopaipillas

Anybody ever been to Casa Bonita in Denver? Waterfalls, cliff diving, caves, gunfights--which all make for a very memorable Christmas Eve.

P.S. Okay, so I'm here. I blogged. But it was short . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Have been disconnected, at a little cabin in the snow in Colorado. No TV. No Internet. Lots of snow.

It was awesome.

Now we're with GRANDMA! GRANDMA! in Denver for the next few days and a Happy Christmas, and I plan to relax and read instead of blogging. No offense.

P.S. Regarding The Shadow of the Wind. I'm not sure it should really be on the top ten list. But the problem may be that I had to read it in lots of small bits. It would really work better to read it in big chunks so that the various threads form a nice tapestry.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


No, my daughter was not the Sugar Plum Fairy with the New York City ballet. But she was a toy soldier in the local performance of the Nutcracker, and she was adorable and amazing and, of course, the best toy soldier on the stage (no offense to other toy soldiers or family members of said toy soldiers).

One would have thought, however, that it was the NYC ballet based on the camera jockeying going on up front by the stage.

Nevertheless, she was awesome and she was so excited and she was so proud. A star is born.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Ten Books

As the New York Times book review people prepare to post their top ten books in next week's Book Review (at least, I'm assuming that the list will be out next Sunday), I've been thinking of my top ten. Actually, I haven't read that many non-academic books--who has the time?--but I have a few more this year than in years past. So, here's my list. I'm probably forgetting something, and I reserve the right to revise. Also, keep in mind, unlike in the NYT* list, some of my books were published before 2008:


All the Way Home, David Giffels (2008)
The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History, Linda Colley (2007)
Little Heathens, Mildred Armstrong Kalish (2007)
The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (2007)
A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Isabella Bird (1873)


The City of Thieves, David Benioff (2008)
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2005)
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates (1961)--did I read this in 2007 or 2008?

Okay, so that's only eight. I'm leaving the fiction slots open for another week or two since I've got a couple of books on deck that might be worthy of the slots, and I can't think of another I've read that is slot worthy (and I did read Edgar Sawtelle, but, for me, it's just not top tier). Then again, Robert Bolano's Night in Chile is certainly high quality and definitely worthy of my humble little list. But did I love it? Not sure. Perhaps I'll add it to the list. As you can see, I am a fence-sitter by nature.

And I have to say, I'm a bit more fond of my non-fiction list--as a whole--than my fiction list, but I really liked the Benioff, and I'm reading the Zafon right now and loving it. Revolutionary Road is wonderfully written, but I'm finding I like books that have good writing, drama, suspense, and wit--all of which can be found in the Benioff and in the Zafon. I guess I haven't read that much fiction this year . . .

I'm interested in your favorites, too. What are your ten favorite reads this year? And for those of you who also loved Benioff and Zafon, do you have any recommendations for me? Maybe I can get some reading done before the end of the year and complete my list.

*Are there others besides me who, when they type NYT, suddenly start singing Michael Jackson's PYT in their heads?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

National GeoGRAPHIC

So, the boy checked out a National Geographic video (and I do mean video a la VHS) about wolves from the library. It seems that the GRAPHIC part of the title should be in large font with bold and italics. Ever since first watching the video, all of his drawings show bloody-faced wolves standing over elk or coyote carcasses. I had to alert his kindergarten teacher to the origin of such artwork so that she wouldn't think he was turning into psycho boy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why My Day Sucked, And How I Gained Perspective on that Suckage

Like a good girl, I went to get my teeth cleaned today. Not long after I sat in THE CHAIR, the technician said to me, "We took an x-ray last time that shows decay under a crown, so we'll need to take another x-ray to check that."

I said, "Okay."

Then, I found out that I need two crowns. But my insurance only covers the equivalence of one crown per year. So. I must get one of them done before year's end.

Problem. We're supposed to leave town two weeks from yesterday, but it takes two weeks for the crown process.

Two things upset me about this. I have had PLENTY O' TIME in the past six months to get a crown done. Why did they not tell me about this six months ago? So now, I must interrupt my Christmas spirit with dental torture (they said that if I come in tomorrow for the prep and the temporary crown, they could rush the order on the permanent one. I'll get the permanent one seated the very morning we plan to leave on our trip).

Second, had I gotten the work done after the last visit, I doubt I would have had to pay for the second set of x-rays I had done today. Granted, the insurance paid for them, but, because of that charge, I won't have enough insurance money to cover the full crown expense, for which I will owe about $280 out of pocket.

Okay, that's the dental suckage. Then, when I picked my son up from school, he was non-compliant, and his non-compliance involved another kid that likes to get my kid in trouble. I was annoyed.

Then, when I was gathering my three-year-old from pre-school, another three-year-old came up to me, pointed at my stomach and said, "What's in there?" I said, "What?" And to clarify, she said, "Why are you fat?"

Now for the Perspective.

Later, when we were at the park, I saw someone pushing a severely disabled teenager in a wheelchair. Then, at the libary, I saw a kid with dwarfism.

Now, I don't want to assume that their lives are consumed with sadness, but I would guess that their problems are more complex and chronic than my dental woes, my slightly non-compliant son, my flabby belly, or even my static debt from expenses like dentists and veterinarians.

So, with that gift of perspective and a glass of wine with dinner, I'm trying to take it in stride. Wonder how I'll feel tomorrow at 8:45am with a drill in my mouth.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Post T-Day

Only a quick post because I MUST get to work.

Last week was full of fun craziness as my husband's sister and her family (two kids, 8 and 6) visited and stayed at our not-so-big-house for three days. The kids had a wonderful time and turned the house inside out (which included taking all items out of one of the closets to turn it into a "house" in which they could SURVIVE ON THEIR OWN).

We had a fabulous turkey dinner, and I've been eating leftover pie for days (pumpkin and strawberry-rhubarb). I LOVE PIE. Sidenote: My weight has not gone done during my sabbatical as I thought it would.

We attended a lovely wedding the day after T-Day. Charming. More good food.

This weekend we put up lights and a small fake tree. No big real tree this year since we'll be leaving home to head for snowy mountains in two weeks.

The other highlight: During a trip to the pet store, we got to see a ball python having it's bi-weekly meal of two white mice. The kids were transfixed. So far, no nightmares have resulted from the show.

Okay! Work time. I must write a lot for my supervisor before mid-January. Not so easy to to during the fun holiday season when I just want to stare at the tree, hang out with the family, watch old Christmas movies, read good novels, and drink egg nog.