Thursday, November 30, 2006

Woo Hoo!

Well, we made it ~ November ends today, as does NaBloPoMo. And I posted every single day: I am surprisingly pleased with myself. I thought it would be too much pressure, particularly if I wasn't feeling well. But having meme's bookmarked for such occasions was a big help. I don't know that I wrote anything spectacular during the month, but I did write. So, Yippee!

It's also Poetry Thursday, and today's treat is


by Mary Oliver

Now there's William. He comes pecking,
like a bird at my heart. His eyebrows
are like feathers of a wren. His
ears are little seashells.

I would keep him always in my mind's eye.

Soon enough he'll be tall, walking and
conversing; he'll have ideas and a
capricious will; the passions will
unfold in him, like greased wheels. And
he will leap forward upon them.

Who knows, maybe he'll be an athlete,
quick and luminous; or a musician, bent
like a long-legged pin over the piano's
open wing; or maybe he will stand day
after day over a draftsman's desk,
making something exquisite and useful -
a tower or a bridge.

Whatever he does, he'll want the world
to do it in. Maybe, who knows, he'll want
this very room which, only for convenience,
I realize, I've been calling mine.
I feel myself begin to wilt, like an old
flower, weak in the stem.

But he is irresistible! Whatever he wants of
mine - my room, my ideas, my glass of milk,
my socks and shirts, my place in line, my
portion, my world - he may have it.

Hmm... Isn't it lovely?

I first came across this poem when Youngest Nephew was very small - maybe 2 years old - and it felt so right to me. It expressed so much of what I feel for him, so perfectly.

He is irresistible: no matter how badly I am feeling - even in those years where I could do little more than roll over to one side on my bed, having him near me gave me comfort. Gave my joy and peace and a sense of belonging to this world. No matter how I "wilt" (and I am a CHAMPION wilter, as we all know), being with him, watching him grow and learn, and knowing I have a part in that has been a salvation to me.

And now there's little girl, Only Niece, da peanut. And, like the Grinch, I find that my heart wasn't really as big as it could have been, because, surely, it has grown tenfold to accommodate my love for her.

If either of them ever needed something from me, as the poem suggests, it wouldn't matter what it is: I would give it freely. My heart, my "place in line:" anything.

And Oldest Nephew is not exempt from this overwhelming love, either. Though he is further away, and I have not had such a hand in his day-to-day care, I still love him; there is still a place in my heart for him.

Oh, and do I wonder what will become of them: strong, shy, stubborn, sweet; loving, listening, loud, little people that they are. What will their passions be? What cause will they rally behind, what will own their hearts? There's so much they could choose for themselves, and I want them to have it all.

I often feel badly that I have not accomplished as much in my life as I would like: not having a family of my own, children of my own, is a spot so tender it aches. And yet, my love for these kids, my brother's children, my sister's son: I can't imagine loving someone more than I love them. These are my "little birds," just as much as any others: they peck away more and more each day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I swear to god, I blogged today

and it shows up here as posted, but not when I try to load my page. So, lemme try again (Bad Blogger! BAD! NTE cannot screw this up now!)

Oh no you didn't!

Almost forget to post... on the next to last day of the whole thing! Dope.

I'm watching The Daily Show and drooling over George Clooney and Jon Stewart.


My DSL is not cooperating at all today, and I am so oooo not pushing my luck.

A quick hello, and an even quicker goodbye, I'm afraid.

See you in the morning! Try to have drool-worthy dreams!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A bit of random-osity

Something awesome - Youngest Sister scored an 800 (A perfect score!!) on her SAT II, English Literature test! I happy danced, vicariously, of course, along with her. It's awesome for her, as her current top choices for schools are mainly Ivy League. More adventures in applying for college will no doubt follow. (Remember how much fun it was? Ick.)


Something I probably should've noticed before now - is that the captions for the local news CAPITALIZES certain words. Not only that, but I've figured out why, too: they're the teleprompter words, and the CAPITALS are telling the anchors which words to punch. I figured it out last night, following this: "A mother of ELEVEN is killed in a hit and run accident." Now, I have a problem with the news in general: I don't watch it because I seem to lack that filter that other people have, where they can see something horrific and not feel it, strongly and deep in their soul. I know this about myself: watching the news is too upsetting, so I watch The Daily Show and pretend it counts. But, even knowing that I am overly sensitive, this little teaser seemed vulgar, somehow... and just... WRONG.

Something that is totally unnecessary:
A doggie diaper?


Something I should probably just get over, already - So, remember the eye doctor?

Well, my glasses came in, & guess what?

They were a bit too small.

But, since I.Am.Not.Going.Back.There.Ever.Again.Period., I kind of just got used to them.

But I've been wearing them for about three weeks now, and not a single person has noticed. I mean, it's not like I've got a new pair of shoelaces or something - they're on my face! And the shape/color is radically different!

But nobody's noticed at all, and I'm a little stung ~ it makes me feel even more invisible, I guess.


Something positive to end this on - If you're looking for some quirky holiday presents, may I suggest The Spoon Sisters? I found it today, and spent a little bit too much time (and $) there. But it was soo much fun to do it. :)

What things are on your minds, people?

Monday, November 27, 2006


I'm a bit - off, today. I should be happy because

- I got some things accomplished today (Two more Christmas presents, done! 6 scrapbook pages finished yesterday/6 to go! Yay, yay, yay!)

- It was a quiet house day, and I know they're going to be more scarce, now that the holidays are starting to amp up.

- There's good TV shows on tonight ( Studio 60! Heroes!), and they're new episodes.

But I'm not happy. I'm moody, almost pissy. I hate this mood, because there's no real reason for it, and yet, here it is.

The minor things I'm upset about include

- doing favors for people who don't appreciate it
- spelling something wrong and wasting a bunch of time & effort

- But really, those are just excuses. My mood is all about sick family members; These are minor illnesses, colds, coughs, stomach problems, & that's part of the problem: why can't you just GO to the doctor already? When there is something relatively minor wrong with the people I love, things that I know they can do something about, it really pisses me off. It's like they're not taking advantage of their good health (and extreme good fortune in having that good health), and .... I find myself lacking any sort of patience for or kindness towards them.

So UGH. If the doctor recommends you see an ENT b/c you keep having sinus infections (which run in our family, btw), then DO IT! If you're still coughing after a month of being sick, call the doctor back, doofus!

So, here I am: patience limited and nervy. And I hate feeling like this. I'd like to yell at them. I'd like to just shout at them, but it would not be well received, I assure you.

And this itchy, 'leave-me-alone-because-you-are-too-lazy-to-help-yourself-" attitude is in danger of boiling over into things that I should be more sympathetic of:

Sister J is suffering from depression - not a minor illness by any means. She's been doing a bit better lately, but her meds aren't exactly helping as much as they should be. And she hasn't gone to the therapist like her doctor wants her to. Because ... she doesn't have the time to find one that she would like. Um... yes you do. Get the meds changed, get a good doctor, and you'll see just how much more time you have.

See? I just have reached a limit, I guess. I'm full to the brim of people who CAN help themselves, but don't. And their complaining & whining. (Which is exactly what I am doing here, but let's pretend it isn't.)

And all that - even just thinking all of that, makes me a royal bitch, I suppose.

So, I'll say it all here, in the hopes that getting it out of my head will help it get better. Cause I don't especially like being a bitch.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hello, again.

Oh, look: It's tomorrow already! Yippee for CFIDS insomnia; helping NTE stick to her NaBloMo goals for 25 days running!


I was wandering around other sites today, and it occurred to me that I like it when there is an easy way to identify who the heck the blogger is talking about. I get the DHs or things like that, but the cutesy nicknames sometimes throw me for a loop. Unless there's a little notation, say, in the sidebar, explaining things for me.

Which made me think: "Why don't you have one of those, NTE?"

Because... I haven't gotten around to it yet.

But, lookie here: I've got a little time on my hands right now. Perhaps I will give you the basics.

Before I start, let me just say this: all my life, other people have had a hard time understanding my peculiarly twisting branch of the family tree. And I'm talking people who've known me for years, and who have actually met my family. "Which one is that again?" is not an uncommon question. However, I don't think it's confusing at all. There's some steps- and halfs-, a couple of divorces and second marriages (and second divorces). It sounds pretty normal, if you ask me. This is all leading up to this ---> I don't find it confusing, and therefore, might not explain it as well as you need it to be explained. If you've got a question, just holler, mmkay?

So. We start with my parents, who got married very young.

And, by very young, I mean 15. Seriously. My mother was pregnant with Oldest/Only Brother at the time, just in case you were wondering.

1976 - Parents marry, O/O Brother is born.

I come along next, halfway thru 1979, shortly after my mother's 18th birthday. My father and Mum decide they can no longer be married (which, all agree, is probably the very best decision ever), and divorce before my first birthday.

Somewhere in the 80-81 period, Mum meets Dad, who is divorced himself. He also has one daughter, Oldest Sister, who was also born in 1976. Oldest Sister, for the most part, lives with her mother (who really has no role in this whole thing, besides providing lodgings, as far as we are concerned), but that's right down the street, so we're together a lot.

Quick recap: Mum, Dad, O/O Brother, Oldest Sister/SisterS (both 3 years older than me), & Me

Moving along, we get to 83, when SisterJ makes her first appearance, Mum & Dad's first biological kid together, and (technically), my half-sister. But I don't like those halfs and steps; they're all my sisters. I'm just putting it here so you can see how it's working.

3 years later, SisterM comes along, also Mum & Dad's kid.

And two years after that, in 1988, from out of nowhere, my father has a little girl with his 2nd wife, and now there's Youngest Sister/SisterK.

Youngest Sister's parents split up almost immediately, and she & our father move back in with his parents, right down the road.

So, now we're all in one city: SisterS and her mom up one street, Youngest Sister and our father down another. And in our house, O/O brother, Me, SisterJ, SisterM, (all three of us in one room while O/O brother had his own... which I really should get over already, but that's a bit OT), Mum & Dad. One Grandmother (Mum's Mum, Nana), upstairs; the other, my father's mother, Grandmother, with Youngest Sister and our father.

This is just my immediate family, people. My Mum was one of 4; my father one of 9. You better believe there's a bevy of uncles and aunts and cousins unaccounted for here.

Besides, then it gets better: Fast forward a bit, and we're in 1996.

Oldest Sister/SisterS gets pregnant at 20, decides to move in with us. Now there's Oldest Nephew and SisterS in our house too. They don't stay here too long, eventually, they go back up with her mother.

Then in 2000, Youngest Nephew makes his debut: my O/O Brother & Soon-To-Be-Sister-In-Law have their little boy. A couple of years pass, and instead of planning O/OB & STBSIL's wedding, we're suddenly planning for our latest addition, Youngest/Only Niece. She is born in May of 2006, to much joy and celebration.

And that's us. It seems clear enough to me, but you don't have to worry about it: there won't be a pop quiz or anything.

Although I'd love to know how I'm going to squish this into a sidebar...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Photo Hunt


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

It's that time again. And today's theme happens to be "time;"

Here's some pictures from Youngest Sister's visit to Yale. Not only does Yale have those timeless sort of buildings, but the idea that my Youngest Sister is getting ready to apply to colleges is a sure sign of time passing.

Friday, November 24, 2006


and welcome to, Which is misbehaving more, Blogger or my Computer?

Otherwise known as, another lame post.

I did a little online shopping today, but I wouldn't have gone near a mall for just about any amount of savings. I don't shop well in crowds: it's kind of hard to get people to notice you when the store is quiet, but in a crowd? When your head is waist (or ass) level with everyone else? No, thank you.

During the course of my online shopping, my AOL would just randomly shut down. "Your service has been interrupted," the little pop-up window informed me. Yes, I am aware, since I had a shopping cart full of things and was just about to enter my credit card information, I am VERY aware that my service has been interrupted. And there's no reason that I can see for the interruptions in service: my network hasn't been down at all, I ran a computer check up and spyware program, & I restarted the computer, just in case; who knows why.

It has been a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong and exhausting week for me. Also, challenging. But, I've been noticing that I complain a lot, in these posts, & I'm trying hard to change that around. So, a list of some of the highlights (real highlights, not the sarcastic ones I first put here and then erased) from this week are:

  • Gravy. GRAVY is not even a food, really. But I think I might actually drink it, if it wouldn't gross other people out.

  • Because of the evacuation, I got to spend some serious one-on-one time with my grandmother, which I love. Her life has been rich and full, and everytime I think I've heard all of the stories & won't ever be surprised again, she pulls something else out of her treasure chest and shares it with me. I feel so special, when I have my grandmother's ear all to myself.

  • Finishing some things. I finished two projects this week, and just have to mail them off to the people they are for. That there are other, unfinished things that still need to get done is not today's worry.

  • Speaking of worry - that this year's Thanksgiving passed without any trips to the ER; for anybody. Last year, my grandmother keeled over as we were cleaning off the table, and we had to call an ambulance. As she was leaving, my brother turned to me and said: "I think that's the last time we'll ever see her." I don't have words for how grateful I am that that prediction was unfufilled.

  • Baby Girl is babbling. Youngest Nephew was his old self for the majority of the day today. "My" kids are all that is shining & golden, today.

  • Tomorrow I will get a long overdue scalding shower, and then ... nothing. I am giving myself the day off. Other people get vacations, and while I know I just don't, I'm giving myself tomorrow as a present. To just be. Or read, or listen to the radio. Or to do nothing at all. No pressure.

  • I can now listen to Christmas music without feeling like it is 'too soon.' It isn't, and I love Christmas music, so, I'm ready.

There we have it ~ maybe my week wasn't too horrible after all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gratitude Attitude

Happy Turkey Day, everybody!

I'm back home again, jiggity jog: the smell of turkey and baking and veggies has overwhelmed the leftover tar smell (at least inside the house).

So here I am: happy and home.

I hope you are all in a similar state, this Thanksgiving.

(I'm going to try to post Poetry Thursday a little bit later, but I'm also not going to worry about it. I'm taking three percocets and trying to enjoy my day.)

I'm thankful for you, readers, who are so kind and caring. I really, truly appreciate it.

Gobble gobble! (I hate it when ppl do that, don't you?)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Due to emergency evacuation...

this post comes to you directly from my Grandmother's house, courtesy of Youngest Sister's laptop. (And since my family does not know about my blog, I am finding it difficult to get three minutes of typing in before someone comes to look over my shoulder (again).)

But --- I'm here! I haven't missed it after all (thanks, Scrooge; I'm almost in a Christmasy mood.. Just give me another day or so.) ~ there's still time.

Today's planned post was going to be about changing times, and changing family dynamics.

But I've only got a few minutes until someone comes to claim her computer back, and also my brain & body are not really dealing with the changes in scenery as well as one might wish.

So, no on the big long post, and yes to the rant about city workers who don't keep their promises.

Remember how I told you that they were unpaving and then repaving my street? And, how, the smell was so bad that I had to hide in one corner of the house with the windows clossed for three days? And how they said that the repaving was postponed until the spring, b/c of city screw-ups? And also how they promised to call us when they decided to start the repaving, because we called to complain about the smell?

Yeah, well, guess what?

They repaved today. The day before Thanksgiving. Hence the evacuation.

Hence the making worse of a flare from daring to get out of the house at all this weekend.

Hence the RANTing attitude, when I told myself I would not rant.

Hence me feeling bad for readers, who don't really want me to keep talking about my flares and evacuations.

Trust me, I'd love not to have them to write about.


The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be on the tv in less than 12 hours, and then I will be psyched. So, I'll see you all then.

Happy Turkey day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Way to forget...

almost! It's still today. It's just later than I normally post, but I'm still good.

Sinus pressure, my pretties. Sinus pressure headache + flare + family holiday craziness = NTE icky.

BUT, I am kind of happy I have set myself up for this, the responsibility of posting every day. It makes me think I'm accomplishing something, even on the very bad days.

And today what I am accomplishing is a meme (cuz we can't have everything, now can we?)

Seven Secrets
I have no idea where I clipped this from; it was in my 'tickler/to blog' folder. So if it was from you, sorry not to link. If it wasn't, feel free to play.

1. your deadliest sin (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed or sloth)? I think... it's probably pride, which keeps me from asking for things I need.

2. tell us a secret. Does it have to be one of mine? Cuz I am boring. So, I'll tell you someone else's secret, which is that they're late because they just don't care enough about you to be on time (seriously, I know this person, and I didn't mean you).

3. why are you ashamed? Because I can never do enough

4. what is your secret fantasy (keep it g-rated, ok?)? Chubby baby faces, and knowing they're mine.

5. greatest guilty pleasure. White chocolate (which, is apparently, not chocolate & therefore has no nutritionally redemptive value, but I LOVE IT!)

6. secret behavior. Eating cold food from the fridge (secret only b/c nobody in my house likes that & I'd rather not hear about how cross it is)

7. to where would you escape? Some place with a jacuzzi.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The movie was a hit... and I feel like I got hit by a bus.

So, while I'm layinig waaaaaaaay flat for a while today, I'm going to give you a little game to play (and if you want to share, please feel free to leave your link in the comments).

*Note: I hope that this is the home page, rather than my game, I can't tell b/c it shows up as my game on this computer. But I think it'll be right on yours*

Funny Farm

Sunday, November 19, 2006


despite some small glitches. The lot of us (15 plus baby girl), are heading out in about an hour, to make our seperate ways to the theater. A few things have come up:

The theater, which, as I said, has a full restaurant, does not, contrary to what their website says, take reservations. So, it's first come, first serve. And they suggest you show up 1-1.5 hours ahead of time, particularly on weekends. And it's at least a half an hour drive, so that's 2 extra hours of time that I'm going to be up and about. And then 2 hours for the movie. My usual 'good' time limit is about an hour and a half anyways, so I'm reaaaaally pushing it.

But, I don't care.

And do you know why? Because everybody (who lives close enough to go) is going.

Do you know how hard it is to get the members of my family together? Very hard: this one's working 8-2; the others are working 2-8. This one's got previous plans; that one wants to do the laundry. That one wants to go, but only if we can take seperate cars; this one doesn't want to drive on her own. And on and on and on. Not to mention the whole "NTE has to break the plans (yet again) because of another infection/she fell down/ ER visit/ flare" debacles, or the plans they all make that I know I just can't go to.

So, we're going. And if we don't get in, or I have to pay for pushing my limits a bit, c'est la vie, right? (At least, C'est la CFID- vie.)

I've got my proactive patches, pills and ear plugs. I'm bringing a pillow for my knees (so what if ppl look at me like I'm crazy?), and wearing layers so that as the patches heat up, I can strip without scandalizing anybody (It's a family movie, after all).

And I'm posting now, so that it's not hanging over my head for when I get back, just in cases.

Cross your fingers people!

Saturday, November 18, 2006



Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

Today's Theme is Plush.

Here's what I've got for you:

Mother and Son: Oldest Sister (in 1978) and Oldest Nephew (in 2000), surrounded by some of their friends.

I'll be stopping by my PH friends later on today; Happy Saturday, All!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Guess What?

I'm going to the movies on Sunday!

This might seem unremarkable to you, but I haven't been to the movies in 5 years! I swear. The last movie I saw in the theater was the first Harry Potter movie, for Youngest Sister's 13th birthday.

The movies aren't usually on my list of priorities at all, to be honest. Very rarely do I mind waiting till something comes out on video (The LOTR trilogy was a big one!), or even on cable. In the pro/con tally, movies are heavily con.

There's the seating: the fact that I can't sit up long enough for a movie to begin with, added to uncomfortable & unforgiving chairs that invite flares. The chairs usually manage to hit every.single.tenderpoint in my body.

There's the noise level; my hearing, like my sight and smell is highly sensitive, and I don't understand why the movie has to be that loud in the first place. Then there's all the normal things I have to worry about when I go anywhere: smells, energy level, etc.

So, usually, not going to the movies is no big deal. But the beginning of this year I was looking at movie trailers (I don't know why I torture myself that way, but I do), and saw the a little penguin tap dancing. His little feet, the Stevie Wonder soundtrack? It was irresistible. And I was kind of pissed, b/c I knew my family would go and see it, and then they'd all have seen it before me. As usual.

And there isn't a one of 'em who can keep their mouth shut.

So, I was kind of sad that I wouldn't get to see it, and then I was watching a local show last night, The Phantom Gourmet, (which I love b/c they talk about food that people really eat, like Dunkin Donuts and Lays Potato chips), and they started talking about a place not too far away called Chunkies. I wasn't really paying attention, but when I looked up at the screen, I saw that they were sitting in big comfy chairs.

So I found their website online, and apparently, the chairs are chairs from limos. They recline, roll and have an armrest. Not too mention that they are grouped around tables!

This might work for me! I have sat in the car for longer than 2 hours, without too much of a flare afterwards. And, if I use my wheelchair as a foot rest, that should help with the hip, knee, leg pain. I've got the trusty IcyHot patches, as well as the ThermaCare for my neck. And the lidocaine patches for my back's worst points.

So I told my sister that I wanted to go, and coralled my brother and his family, my parents, and two other sisters into going too. It's a big HOOPLA! And this time, I get to play too.

(I refuse to worry about the following facts:
- Noise, smells, energy levels
- Thanksgiving is next Thursday and I will need to rest before/recuperate from that
- I have yet to finish Oldest Sister's scrapbook for her birthday on the 30th
- or a few other projects that have to be done by Christmas
- not to mention christmas shooping, cards, wrapping, etc.
- that this is probably the worst time for a hoopla! for me

Because... I am going! So there!)

Besides, I need to get out of the house, do something fun, or I might shoot someone.
(Did I mention my dad's on vacation? Or that my brother is not communicating well? Or that some other siblings are squabbling?)

So, I'm going to the movies!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poetry Thursday

And I cannot thing of a better poem than this one. Check out


by Emily Bronte:

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighted with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

We've got no snow here yet, and it is, in fact in the high 50's (unheard of for a week before Thanksgiving). To me, this poem is not really about the weather. This poem is about me. (But then again, isn't everything?)

It's about me & this stupid sickness that I have to battle all the time:Could there be any better word than "tyrant" for this thing that keeps stealing & controlling my life?

My whole self is "weighted" down with something, and it doesn't really matter how bad things get, I'm stuck, spellbound. A "storm is fast descending," in the form of yet another family fight or, alternatively, a 6-year-old's birthday party? Don't think that changes things. Clouds are piling up; clouds of anger or fear or defeat? The spell doesn't care. Winds are whipping around me - people's voices filled with doubt, my own voice just still not understanding WHY - it doesn't matter.

I will not, cannot go.

It isn't a choice. There's nothing I can say to reverse the spell, nothing I have done that's been able to break it; and, perhaps most importantly right now, nothing I could have done to prevent it.

Will not, cannot: It's just that simple and just that complicated.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My best suggestions for online shopping

A few of my family members, who've never shopped online before, were looking for some pointers about how to get the most out of their Christmas shopping. I came up with a few tips, and figured I'd share them here too:

1) Never JUST shop. This means, don't just go to the store and buy something through them. Use a referral program. There are 2 types of referral programs: charity (yay!) and selfish (also, yay, but it's the season of GIVING, people!). I use two main referral programs, and have just signed up for a third. All three are easy to use, and have great benefits.

For charities, I use IGIVE:
Change Online Shopping for Good -
You sign up with your e-mail addy, and then pick a cause (I shop for the CFIDS association of America). And a percentage of your purchase - depending on the merchant - goes to the charity.

For Myself, I've always used MyPoints:
My Points
With MyPoints, they send you e-mails to earn points, and you earn a specific # of points per dollar at each store. And then your points add up and you can trade them in for gift certificates to retailers. And the vicious cycle continues.

And I just lately have heard about Jellyfish
I've only just signed on, but Jellyfish says they give you a percentage of your buy (looks to be about average 3 or so %) right back to you. In $$, not points. I haven't used it yet, like I said, but I do have Xmas shopping to do, and will let you know how it goes.

So, we've got that, right? Don't just shop: make your shopping work for you! (This can sometimes be difficult if you're clicking through other sites ... listed in #2 or #3, but try to remember that you want to go through these sites.)

2) Always look for coupon codes. Seriously, if you are shopping online and don't look for coupon codes, then you shouldn't be shopping online. WantNot is a great site, Mir will post any deals she knows about, and then you know about them and ... UGh... then you want to buy something through that deal, even if you don't need it. The sites I regularly check for a specific retailer's deal (Say, my Old Navy bag is filled up to $200 and I think "Maybe I should see if there's any deals to be had here?") are Slickdeals, and - in the interest of earning stuff - I do searches through Blingo. You can win prizes & stuff. I have not won anything yet. But if you sign up, make sure you say my e-mail referred you; so that if you win, I win too, and then we'll have DOUBLE PRIZES!!!

3) Comparison shop. If there's a specific item you're looking for, type it into
Cnet, Froogle,Nexttag, Shopping or Shopzilla and you'll get all the competitors prices for that one item. If you need a specific price range, you can usually narrow that down too.

4) E-bay is not the only way. Ebay is great, but it can get expensive pretty fast (see: stupid vintage playpen that goes for $200;) You probably already know about Craigslist, but there's also Freecycle,(which isn't exactly barter, but close enough) & Freesharing. These are probably not your best bet this close to the holidays, but might be useful at other times of the year, when you're not in such a rush.

5) Don't forget Shipping & Handling: sometimes it's cheaper to browse online, and then get it at a store. Or use the website's (like CircuitCity's site) to reserve one at your local store before you go.

5b) Don't forget that Shipping takes time. If you want these things at your house by a certain date, you may have to pay more, and you still risk not having it in time if you don't order it soon enough. So get started, already.

How bout you guys... any tips to share?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Did you think I forgot you?

No such thing. I was waiting for Jeopardy, since I knew that was what I wanted to post about today. Specifically, the ridiculousness that is Celebrity Jeopardy.

I have a total love-hate relationship with Celebrity Jeopardy; LOVE that celebrities come on and play for charities; HATE that you can play the entire game with a 6th grader and both of you will get more answers correct than the celebrities.

Ok, I know we all know just how bad Celebrity Jeopardy is; SNL's take on it was amazingly funny, and sadly, not too far from the mark.

Sean Connery wasn't on the roster tonight, the contestants were Harry Shirer; Isaac Mizrahi, & Soledad Obrien (who happens to be the subject of a hilarious post by Dooce today, btw). I'm going to start off by saying that tonight's players screwed with my post. Because they mostly knew what they were doing, managed to get through a large portion of the board, and actually had a semi-difficult Final Jeopardy question (which caught two of them).

However, they are not the norm. And even in tonight's good showing, there were more than a few softball questions.

In the category new - someone recently married (newlywed)

Under 11 - in blackjack this card can be either 1 or 11 (Aces)

For Fly Overs: Heading North from South Dakota, you fly over this state before hitting Canada (how about North Dakota?)

And in Double Jeopardy, the supposedly more difficult round,
Under C - "nn" : A cozy little hotel, maybe for a honeymoon

But maybe they need the help: most often, the celebrities forget that if they get it right they get to choose the next question, waiting for Alex's prompting or who knows what. They also usually don't get very far in the boards, since we have to waste time with musical guests (who I happen to like in other circumstances, but in Jeopardy? When there's about 34 seconds for the question? No thanks.)

I get that it's for charity, and that you don't want to make the celebrities look stupid, but isn't asking them questions that are ridiculously easy really just saying: "We all know that you're too dumb to actually play this game with the real questions, so we'll give you the easy ones."

Again, tonight's questions were a bit harder than last week's: not entirely insulting their intelligence. Instead dumbing it down just enough for them to make it through the DJ round and rack up some good scores.

But then they went and ruined it by having a "stupid answers" category. As if they all weren't stupid answers.

Case in point:

Last week the question was something like this:

Celebrity relatives

Her grandmother, Louisa Drew starred in a play with John Wilkes Booth. (they said the name of the play, but I don't remember it)

Two of the celebrities wrote down NANCY DREW, for god's sake. Nancy Drew is A) not a real person; B) not a celebrity & again, a FICTIONAL CHARACTER!!; C) not likely to be related to a real live person, since she exists only in books.

The actual answer was Drew Barrymore.

It's nice of the celebrities to do things for charity, and it's nice that the show will pay the charities as much as they do (certainly larger payoffs than any of the contestants manage to get.)
But wouldn't it be better if you could show that the celebrities have brains?

I mean some of them must ~ right???

Alternatively, they should just let Will Ferrel host.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm reading Life: Our Century in Photographs and it gives me chills.

Some of the pictures are amazing, or graphic, or insane, but what bothers me is some of the things that are being said:

Regarding WWI: "Now that the United States was at war, Wilson deployed all of his formidable oratorical gifts to nurturing that 'single way of thinking.' He turned to the great task of persuading the American people of the worar's justice and necessity. HOolding aloft the torch of his idealism, he preached about the high purpose of the war to end all wars and the crusade "to make the world safe for democracy."


"The war, they decided, was a long shriek of collective insanity. Why, they asked,, had they ever sent The Boys to Over There? ... The Americans turned away from Europe, and from Wilson and his League. ... What they desired and what we needed... was return to normalcy. The real America. No urban mess. No radicalism. No foreigners of alien cosmopolitanism." p80

From the Vietnam Era:

"Over time each We (talking about the Women's Rights, Civil Rights, etc. movements) tended to harden, to accentuate the differences between one camp and the other. Radicals despised liberals, who they blamed for the Vietnam War, for insufficient commitment to equality and for affluence-soaked complacency overall. Each we tended over time to repel, or neglect, all those who stood outside its circle." p292

"In all these moral skirmishes, America represented just one theater in a worldwide war of fundamentalism with modernity - a war marked by religious terrorism, jihad or holy crusade, and fatwa.... This was a deadly but doomed effort. The writhings of orthodoxy, like the thrashings of a tree tortured by a storm, bore witness to the power at owork on it, not to the order it hoped to impose." p341

History repeating itself, and nobody noticing.


There are other disturbing things: Pictures of children, stacked by twos, in Iron Lungs in the 30's; the 1951 defense-duck & cover drills in a NY school; Anne Frank, age 5, playing in the sandbox with some friends; a Buddhist monk on fire; Kennedy caskets.

And plenty of beautiful things : a young Queen Elizabeth giving her famous wave; Gene Kelly in My Pal Joey; Dick Clark in a room made of album covers; ticker tape parades (Why don't we do that anymore: I think there should be more ticker tape parades!); Nadia upsidedown at th 76 Olympics; a bride in Beirut; Fred Astaire with his tapping shoes.

But while the 20th Century may have had many wonderful things in it, I can only hope we won't continue to repeat the horrors.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

(not) Tagged, but still It

Maya's Granny didn't tag me for this meme, but A) it looked like fun & B) I am very sore today, so I'm doing it anyways!

It's about movies, and I haven't been to the movies (in an actual theatre) in about 5 years. But I think I've got the answers covered anyways. Here goes:

1. Popcorn or candy?
Movie theater popcorn, snuck in candy. (What? Who does that? Not me!)

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever
Citizen Kane. Seriously. Because everybody says it's the best & blah blah blah. But I already know what Rosebud is, so I kind of figure, what's the point?

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom?
It's sad; I had to go and look at a list. So I'm going way back to 1959, taking away Charlton Heston's Best Actor statue (for Ben-Hur)& giving it to Cary Grant (who was in North by Northwest that year). I hate Ben-Hur. Ugh.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be?
Gotta be Audrey Hepburn: My Fair Lady. The Dresses; the
Hats; the Shiny Accessories.

5. Your favorite film franchise is...
The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them?
Cary Grant. Because he could sit there in his suit and make me drool. Julia Roberts because she seems like she could be a normal person, if given the chance. William Powell & Myrna Loy, because they're elegant & classic, without even trying & because interesting things always seemed to happen wherever they went. And the girl who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, Emma Watson, because I heard she's thinking about not doing the next one, and that is UNacceptable. They would have deserts: I'm a better baker than cook. And I wouldn't eat because I'd be too busy drooling, discussing, or otherwise entertaining.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater?
I think that we should be allowed to throw things at them. The chairs should have little ping pong balls or something and everyone else could keep throwing them until the loser got the hint. Also, the movie would pause, and then rewind to the point right before the phone started ringing.

8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days.
Well, Ripley's the best, all-around. But as the thing I usually need protecting from is the sun, I'd say Mystiques a better bet for me personally. "Hey, I need some shade here!"

9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie?
Poltergeist, from beginning to end. It's cheezy now, but to a 6 year-old, watching it in the dark on a tiny little black and white TV, the thunderstorm scene, the raw meat scene, the bodies in the mud pool scene: All very very scary.

10. Your favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is?
I guess I love holiday movies next best: Elf, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Home for the Holidays, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th St, etc...

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power?
Maya's Granny had a great answer: I choose some of my favorite books and, where they are still alive, have the authors do the screenplays. I'm not sure who would do the screenplays for Twain. Cast actors rather than stars.

To which I add: Stop pretending that stupid is funny. It's not. Stop writing/producing movies for teenagers: there are a lot of other people out here. Stop pretending that a 60 year old man is a suitable partner for a 22 year old girl: he's not.

12. Bonnie or Clyde?
Ick to both. But I like Jack Nicholson as an actor, so he wins.

13: Who are you tagging to answer this survey:
Anybody who wants to play...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday's already mostly over

& I never did get around to the Hunt. That's ok... I'll just go check out what all you've had to say today.

I was trying to make some progress on Oldest Sister's scrapbook, as her birthday is, oh, three weeks away. I'm getting there, but I'm not near done yet. I did get 9 pages done today though. Part of my problem is organization: I know I have quotes about reading, so then I have to dig out the quotation folders (yes, folders: 6 as of right now), and wouldn't you know it, reading is one of the subjects I haven't gotten around to putting in order yet. So then I have to comb through them all, looking for the little yellow dot that means it's about books (yes, I have both folders and a color coding system. Shut up.) & try to find one that fits the pictures. And of course, I get distracted. "Oh, yeah... I remember that book. That was a good book: Why don't I have a copy of that book? I should put it on my PBS list..." and on and on.

So, for today's post, how bout some really good quotes about books &/or reading?

Yeah, that's what I thought:

“A good book is like an unreachable itch. You just can’t leave it alone.” Laura Bush

“When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.” John Berger

“Mother & I talked about books. It was our way of loving each other, and the reading of the same book was our principal shared experience. The worlds we inhabited were very different; here we had a common text. Even after I grew up & became aware that Mother did not discriminate between art and trash, and that I needed to, I remained, forever, willing to read any piece of garbage she wanted me to, just for the pleasure, the cocoa-in-bed, Christmas-Eve pleasure, of sharing it with her.” Jincy Willett

"One sure window into a person’s soul is his reading list.” Mary B.W. Tabor

“Well, books get to me personally. They remind me of the person I was and the people I knew at the time I read them, the places I visited, the dreams I had as I lay on the couch or in bed or on the beach & read them.” Sara Nelson

“When I was reading a book as a child I never saw or heard or smelled anything around me, not friends coming down the street in a cloud of summer dust, not the yells of my brothers from the backyard, not the aroma of my mother’s cooking from the kitchen down the hall. Reading was an ocean, a pond, a warm bath, and I slipped underwater. I had gills; I could breathe there, was a live in a book more than anyplace else I ever went.” Anna Quindlen

When I tell you that this is less than a third of the quotes I have, you'll see just how I managed to get distracted.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Random much?

First off, let me just say this: I am totally not above using my blog for personal gain. So lemme ask you guys:

1) How's Blogger Beta? Everytime I publish a post, Blogger tells my how much better my blog could be on Beta. Anybody done the switch, have any opinions on how it's going? I'd love to hear it.

2) Now that a few people are actually reading my blog (I see you, lurkers. Welcome!), I'm wondering about commenting etiquette. I know Autumn talked about it a while back, but I'm still wondering. I try to reply both here and in e-mail back to the person. Because I know I don't always go back to the place where I've commented. So I'm hoping to get around to tracking everybody down.

3) Is your family crazy too? Because the Christmas craziness has already started here (Some people want to do gifts, others don't; Some want to pick names, others say they're buying for everybody), and I'm trying to NOT PLAY. You will not draw me in: I'm going to enjoy the entire Christmas season this year. So there.

4)Is there any world in which

this is not the cutest baby ever?

5) Why are side effects from drugs so annoying? Anybody got a rememdy for Dry Mouth? Because it seriously sucks. Also? Weight gain is r--i-diculous. Since starting the Lyrica ( & upping my steroids) I've gained 12 pounds. 12 pounds in a little over a month. This can not be allowed to continue.

6) How's your Friday going? It's getting dark so early here, it's screwing with my body clock. The non-sleeping body clock that just wonders why there is such a thing as day and night anyways: Night is just darker & with worse T.V.

7) Whatcha' readin lately? I've LOVED la Nora's Circle Trilogy, and her new In Death ( Mavis' Baby!!). I'm thinking of posting what I've been reading, what's in my TBR pile. I might get around to it this weekend. I might not.

I'm ready for a nap now people. How bout you?

Let's get this weekend started!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another Poetry Thursday

So far, I'm feeling pretty good about posting everyday: I don't feel like I have to dig too hard to have something to say, or that I'm too boring, or that it gets in the way of anything else I have to do. I'm planning accordingly, & spend a lot of thinking "oh, that'd be a good post." So, about 1/3 of the way through, I'm still feeling pretty confident. We shall see what we shall see.


Thanks to everybody who got in touch with me yesterday: the Dr. appointment was indeed a Hope-Raiser. I spent a lot of the appointment trying not to burst into tears, because my doctor just tries SO. HARD. I came away with a couple of negatives (my muscle tone is decreasing again; flu shot is hit or mix for me; my tender points are getting worse),a few next steps (increasing the Lyrica dosage; adding flax seed to my cereal in the mornings for its anti-inflammatory properties; continuing to wait and wait for those electro-microscopic biopsy results), and no frickin idea of what the hell most of it means. He's just the nicest guy, though, and I hate leaving his office feeling like we are failing each other, especially when I know that we are both doing our best.


On to... Poetry Thursday!

Ordinary Life
Barbara Crooker

This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch's little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa's ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
order themselves
into the winter night.


This poem speaks to the wanting, the longing in me. These are the kind of ordinary days I'd like to have, some day. My ordinary is extraordinary just by it's very nature: having to survive each moment, each day is difficult in ways you don't think to express. And one of those ways is the absence of ordinary.

But, even though I don't have the family I might wish for, I do have the family I've got. And my nephew and I spent many of our days building block towers, racing his cars back and forth across the kitchen floor. I know all about the "drift into homework," and "peel(ing) the potatoes and carrots without paring my thumb." We might not have pheasants in the yard, but there is a lot here that is recognizable.
And that closing, the lyrical language in this sentence:
The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton/the moon to a comma/ a sliver of white/ but this has been a day of grace/ in the dead of winter/ the hard cold knuckle of the year/ a day that unwrapped itself/ like an unexpected gift"
That there is an intense beauty in even these smallest moments is one of this poem's most powerful meanings.

And I can only hope that our winter ~ yours and mine ~ will be full of these days of grace.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I will not gloat...

but I will do a little happy dance in my head. And if you think it's because the Democrats are finally getting the chance to step up to the plate, you're wrong. It's not just that: It's the fact that there will now be No.More.Political.Commercials!!!!! Yay!

Also, as a little side-note here, it's a week past Halloween, Thanksgiving is still two weeks out, and I think that's a little frickin early for Christmas commercials. Seriously.

In other news, I've got a doctor's appointment this afternoon, and I don't feel like going. But I will. I just wanted in on the record: don't feel like it, doing it anyways. Actually, it's that kind of a day for me, all over. Got the Media player of shuffle, but I keep hitting next. Too impatient or itchy or something to make it through a whole song. And I keep thinking "Why is this song on here?" Since this is my computer, I know I'm the one who put it there.

It's just my mood, I guess.

Also? I don't like it when doctor's appointments are late in the day... I feel like I'm wasting the whole day waiting for it to be time to go. (And then, because I know my doctor, I'll be wasting my time sitting in the waiting room.) 45 minutes, then we can go. I'm just all moody b/c ... because these appointments so often fall into one of two categories: The Time-Waster or The Hope-Raiser. And I can't decide, just now, which is worse.

The Time-Waster is kind of the placeholder appointment: I go in and say how things haven't changed, and how I need to try something different, b/c these meds are definitely not the magic bullet they had been suggested to be. And they take blood and the doc talks about all we've tried, all the tests we've run, all the stuff we're still waiting to get back. And the whole purpose of this appointment is to wait some more. To have him say he's sorry, but they still don't know what the f@(* they are doing. And I feel badly for him & the nurse, who are trying so hard. And I feel badly for me, who is also trying very hard, & for my family who have to deal with this shit.

The Hope-Raiser is an all together differnt type of appointment, yet with shockingly similar results. I go in and say all I have to say and the doc says "Wow, look at these results: They show a definite XY deficiency! If we fix that, you'll definitely see marked improvement!" And I get all excited, but try not to get too excited. And I leave with the new treatment (whatever it may be: weekly shots? Fine! Drink this disgusting stuff 3 times a day? Fine! Come in for weekly infusions? Fine! Add yet another pill to your repertoire? Fine!) & the hope that this is the thing that does it for me. And when it doesn't, I am sad for him, I am sad for my family, I am sad for me. And everytime a new hope doesn't work out, I find that I am less able to hope the next time.

Which is really all my mood is about today: it's a gray & rainy day, and my mind's in a gray & rainy place: after the Lyrica not working the way it should, after the biopsy being just one more question mark instead of the period it was supposed to be. So, don't wanna go, but I will. Because one of these times, they're going to turn out to be right.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Post

In honor of election day (Have you voted yet, internet peoples? If not, go do so immediately. I'll wait.), I'm sending you to a recent post by the Smart Bitches. It's a discussion of the perfect political canidate, and what qualities would be required of him/her.

The fact that the list wound up creating a need for "virginal vampier politicians" is not just laugh out loud funny, but somehow sadly true.

Now, how does one go about becoming a member of the undead community?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ah, the joys of digital cameras...

I've downloaded a ton of pictures today. You think I'm kidding, but in the past week alone, I've added over 300, from various people's digital cameras. I'm stuck in bed recooperating from yesterday's outing: Youngest Sister turns 18 on Thursday, I'm sure she and her friends will go crazy then (she's talking tatoo...), but the party yesterday was pretty low key - immediate family (& the people they are with) only.

It was loud only because there was a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old around. Ok... also the grown-ups were pretty loud; playing with the baby, trying to talk over each other, you know, all the usual stuff. (Although we never got around to a game: I only lasted a few hours & had to pack up & come home.) The scrapbook was a HUGE hit (yay!), and we all had a reasonably good time (Except for Youngest Nephew's new attitude, but I am absolutely not talking about that today, as I will get upset again).

Anyways, back to the pictures.

Don't you want to see Little Girl & Youngest Nephew in their Halloween costumes?

I thought so.

Here's Youngest Nephew arresting his great-grandmother. Her crimes are multiple, I'm sure.

And Little Girl's punkin costume spent almost the entire night covered up by a bib. She's very drooly. (That's my Mum behind her.)

And here's the both of them, during one of those rare moments that you could actually see the costume.

And, lastly, Youngest Sister, counting her candles, making sure they're all there.

I still don't believe it either: how is it possible for my youngest sister to be turning 18? Who sped up time? Was it you???

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Well, that didn't take long...

Days I have been NaBloPoMo- ing: 5

# of times I had to say to myself "Post something already!!!" today: a lot more than five

However, that's directly related to the number of MINUTES I slept last night: a lot less than five.
(Ahh, the irony of CFIDS-insomnia. Except irony is a stupid, stupid concept, people. S-T-U-P-I-D. Also, the wit of CFIDS-insomnia: Y'all are soo lucky to hear from me today, what with these high-quality witty remarks.)

Lucky you, I've prepared for just such an occasion --- I'm not new to this: the number of times I had to write (& then rewrite) a term paper at the beginning, (middle and end) of the semester, just in case of brain fog/hospitalization/any damn thing are too numerous to count --- So, I saved up some meme's to fill in.

Today's meme is short & sweet and I got it from Sadico Junction. I'm doing the answering today, though, even if I've been saving up the questions. So, I am, technically writing it today. I just figure there's less of a chance of me making no sense if I stick to specific things.

Here we go:

What is your favorite romantic movie?

This is hard: picking just one. I am not good at that. (Why did I think this would be easier, again?) Here's what I'll do for you, I'll keep it to two. My favorite oldie: An Affair to Remember and my favorite modern one: Love Actually. Love Actually was not a huge hit here, as it should have been, but it seems to be coming into it's own now: I often see it on people's favorite lists. As well it should be. It's a weird mishmash of stories, but they're all good. It's frickin funny, very sweet, and so different from most other movies. The other, An Affair to Remember gets all the credit it deserves (remember those scenes from Sleepless in Seattle?), but for me, it's all about Cary Grant. As the saying goes, I would listen to him read from the phonebook.

What are you currently looking forward to?
Wow, it's kind of sad that I couldn't readily think of anything. But I'm pretending that's the Fog. Today starts the crazy months for my family: Everybody but me, my niece and my nephews was born in the period from the first week of November to the first week of February. It goes like this Youngest Sister (18);Oldest Sister (30); Soon-to-be Sister-in-law (37); Only Brother (30); Mum (46); SisterM (21); Dad (58); SisterJ (24). Not to mention Thanksgiving & Christmas & all that hullabaloo. So, there's a lot to look forward too, a lot to budget time and energy for. Today, I'm most looking forward to seeing Youngest Sister open her birthday present: A scrapbook that I've been doing for months.

What are you scared of?
We've talked about this a bit before, but I'm scared of losing the people I love. I've lost some already, and the blows were hard to prevail against.

I'm also scared of not getting better, of being like this (or worse, dear God, the worse) forever.

What brings you joy?

My babies - Niece & Nephews. My crazy family. Books, books and more books. Wrapping presents. (Finishing presents!) Melted cheese & white chocolate (separately, my friends, separately).

And not breaking my 5-in-a-row-so-far streak! Especaillly since I'd rather have taken a nap. Oh... a nap. There's some joy right there!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

SPH: Windows


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

This week's Saturday Photo Hunt Theme is Windows. I could have done any number of things, considering my sister's room alone has 8 windows (it was converted from a porch, back before we were born). But I've always loved this picture, the silhoutte it makes. The picture's 6 years old now, as the baby in Youngest Sister's arms is none other than the now BigBrother, Youngest Nephew. Considering Youngest Sister turns 18 this week, and Youngest Nephew has lost the look of all but his last vestiges of little boy-ness, the sihoutte they'd make now would be dramatically different. But it's a picture that touches my heart just the same, because I can remember the gawky teenager that is now a beautiful young woman & her face when she held the round baby that has turned into a powerful young boy.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I don't know if you've heard, but there's an award for amateur bloggers that's up and running over at Heather Anne's. (Are you reading Heather Anne's? Because I wasn't. And now I have to spend entire day's reading her archives.)

Anyways, Heather Anne has decided to host the Hoagie Awards. With trophies and everything!

So, I sent a couple of Nominees in (most of which are no surprise if you hang out here enough) ~

Hilarious-est Blog: The blog on my bloglines account that makes me laugh most consistently has got to be: Suburban Bliss Poor Pickle Boy!

Blogger who Should be President: For this, I go to my friendly "tribal elder," Maya's Granny over at
Maya's Granny.

Best Blog Written By a Heather (Sadly, I don't really know any) - edited to add: Now I do, but Heather Anne says you can't vote for her.

Cleverest Commenter: Chaos Theory, to be found at the entire blog is clever commenting! If only I had thought of that.

Friendliest Blog : I'm gonna go with Miss Zoot: and not just because she has free blogger templates, but because when I visit there, she makes me feel welcome.

So, on Tuesday, go on over and vote for your favorites. I have an idea that it's really just going to add new must-reads to my bloglines, but sacrifices must be made.

(I also must see if there isn't a smilie around in the "poor-me-southern-belle-faint" pose. That's probably asking too much, right?)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Our First November Poetry Thursday (& NaBloPoMo Post #2)

and I've got a doozy for you today:

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you ,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son


This is one of my absolute favorite poems. If is idealism to the extreme: it's like an idealist's checklist. "Follow these instructions," it says, "and your life will be right. Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it!" Doesn't that sound great? Everything is yours, if you can just do these things.

But here's the catch: all of these things are Very.Hard.To.Do.

There ain't an easy thing on this list. Which is why it's all just one big If.

When my high school English teacher first introduced my class to this poem, I wasn't really sure that I had 'gotten' it: it seemed to me that every single poem we'd learned in that class had a hidden meaning, and that my initial interpretation was entirely wrong (See: The road not taken). So I waited for the analysis of the poem that would tear apart my naive & illusioned response. But none came. It seeemd this poem was a poem that was exactly what it first seemed: a guide to living a grown-up & thoroughly good life.

10 years later, I'm still waiting for the chance to say that a lot of those lines apply to me. I can see all my worst weaknesses laid out there in that poem (If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken/Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you ), and wish that Kipling had given us more of a "how-to" & less of a just a list of requirements. But, there are some lines that I can claim, lines that I feel are my own, deep down, particularly this one: And so hold on when there is nothing in you/Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" Because, sometimes, that's really all there is.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October was a busy month for the blogosphere (as if there's a time when it isn't), so I had plenty of posts to choose from for this month's The Original Perfect Post Awards.

Here's a little roundup of what kept me busy, thinking, &/or laughing hysterically this past month:

Harley was being stalked by the movie Troy. For me, it's The Pelican Brief .

An intensely personal and moving call to action from Dirty Birdie, over at Dirty Laundry. And her colors are so pretty, too.

The Happiness Project, a recent addition to my addiction, had a terrific post about diffusing tantrums in kids; While Bonanza Jellybean posted about bad behaviors in adults.

Hidden Words and I both "celebrated" our Sickaversaries this month.

Molly Saves the Day had an unique perspective on the re-release of Disney's The Little Mermaid. And the Smart Bitches & their commenters gave their perspectives on reading romance novels at a young age. (Yeah, I started reading them early too: I was about 10. I wasn't exactly supposed to be reading them, but I read anything. During those first couple of years, I read one of my Top Ten favorite books, It (along with anything else by Stephen King). I also I also read parts of the encyclopedia, every book of the bible, and any other reading material in my house (Trust me, Cosmo makes no sense at all to an 11-yr-old.)

I couldn't stop laughing at Slate's assessment of that big faker, Harry Potter.
And Mama Pop quickly became a snarky must read after their post on the Gilmore Girls (even if they're a bit harsh on Aaron Sorkin.)

But my Perfect Post award goes to Balls & Walnuts, because I heartily second the notion that Boys Need Romance! Here's part of what he had to say:

"The best romances I have read answer questions which would bewilder the typical boy. Or man, for that matter. Foremost among these questions: What do women want? What do they need? What do they love about us? What do we do that drives them nuts?

Yes, IÂ’m making sweeping generalizations, but you know itÂ’s true. Guys, be they 13 or 33, donÂ’t know the answers to these questions. ThatÂ’s not the bad part, though. The bad part is, they donÂ’t even know they should be asking these questions."

The Original Perfect Post Awards

Congrats to Balls & Walnuts!