31 January 2008

get thee to a bookstore

Well, it started off well.

For the first two weeks of January, I religiously transcribed the novels I actually liked enough to read the whole way through, so as to share them here with you all. But then I misplaced the list and/or got lazy (most likely both), and my noble intentions disintegrated.

Today I spent (let's see--three episodes of twenty minute searches) about an hour looking for the list, and lo and behold, it appeared. Then I spent another twenty minutes or so trying to remember the titles I missed. So I may have left out a few, but if I did I can't remember them so it really doesn't bother me. Kinda like how I don't care if the back of my hair is messy because I can't see it.


Most of these monthly lists will be strictly limited to fiction (read: I will not plague you with the self-help/how-to/nonfiction/etc stuff), but this time around I included two narrative nonfiction titles that were especially nifty.

And that was quite possibly the longest introduction to a very short list ever. Here we go.

SURRENDER by Sonya Hartnett
SOLD by Patricia Mccormick
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott
TWILIGHT (um, again) by Stephenie Meyer
ECLIPSE (yep, again) by Stephenie Meyer
KIT'S WILDERNESS by David Almond

January's favorite is LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Be warned: it's an honest portrayal of teen life, so if you're easily shocked you may want to choose a milder read. Caveats aside, it's exceptional.

Get thee to a bookstore, and pronto.

29 January 2008

self-portrait challenge: celebration 1.4

a celebration of warmth.

after last week's sub-zero temps, it is currently 44 degrees here.

the blasted weather map shows a cold front sweeping across the midwest, soon to plague us with snow and wind and general hypothermia.

but for today i shall revel in this pocket of warmth, however transient it may be.

click here for more self portrait tuesdays.

28 January 2008


Em made me this series of little square faces.

Nothing quite like the generosity of a five year old to brighten your day.

27 January 2008

sunday musings

Do you ever wish you were a different version of yourself? Someone who chooses wisely the first time, who doesn't have tendencies toward depression and futility and character assassination?

Do you sometimes have to really squint to find the grace that wends its way through your messy humanity?

Because I suspect, on occasion, that everyone else is at a party for people who've got it together, and I'm the lone soul stuck at home, uninvited, rearranging my faults.

25 January 2008

weekly announcements

1. I have had a headache for the past thirty-six hours, give or take twenty minutes. Before you feel too sympathetic, it is not the debilitating sort; I am able to function above the pain, but still. I would like it to vamoose.

2. Number one reminds me that I am allergic to aspirin, with a cross-reaction to ibuprofen. Thus, my bodily aches are consigned to the remaining painkiller: acetaminophen. For those of you who like to tell me "Yeah, but Tylenol does nothing for me": Yes. Exactly.

3. This is my kid.

I have been told that he has 'Bama Bangs, but nonetheless. He is cute.

4. I have the oddest dreams. I think I have just the right amount of daily ennui mixed into the truly bizarre that the overall result is somehow credible.

For instance: I dream that I am sorting laundry, then dumping a capful of Tide and a load of brights into the machine. While I wait for the load to clean itself, I notice that Kristin (hub's sister) has left the lamps on, the door open, and rock songs blaring in her apartment while she is off cavorting on a weekend cruise. This way people will think she is actually home and no one will steal her furniture or window treatments. It is Reverse Psychology.

When I step out of her apartment, I have to jump because, what do you know, the stairs have decided to relocate themselves halfway beneath her front door. Which is an unfortunate decision because when I land with a less-than-graceful thud/combination-somersault, Ryan Seacrest, who is my dream's building security guard (but dressed in janitor's garb), mistakes me for a loiterer/thief and escorts me to a criminal hearing.

The CIA line the cement-block walls in this hearing, brandishing machetes, and sporting the kind of mustaches that curl up at the ends. But instead of thinking to myself, What the world? And how did I get stuck with the Columbian CIA? I am thinking it makes perfect sense and the whole thing must be real because after all, my laundry is still thumping along through the rinse cycle in the background.

5. Elle is in a "What time is it?" phase. About three dozen times a day, she wants to know what the clock says, and she's very pleased to repeat the number I announce as the current time. "Fee-fifty-two" or whatever. The thing is, she's caught on to the concept that time is constantly changing, so she feels compelled to continue asking the time so as to always have the accurate number in her head. I now understand the motivation behind rigging up a talking watch.

The other thing is, I'm not even sure what knowing the current time does for her. It's not like she knows that she gets snack at 9:00, or that her oldest brothers will slam through the door after school at 2:35. They are just random numbers to her, but still, she cannot function without knowing.

If she starts asking the temperature, I'm going to resign.

6. I have recently discovered that I am all about Thai food. This is because I love noodles and rice and veggies and sweet and spicy, which pretty much sums up all Thai food that I know of. Plus, I'd bet it is not zero degrees there right now. Thailand is pretty high up on my Places to Live Besides Here list today.

7. This concludes our announcements. Please carry on with your regularly scheduled weekend.

22 January 2008

self-portrait challenge: celebration.3

At our place, January is a month-long celebration of sweatshirts.

Stay warm, dear friends.

Click here for more self-portrait Tuesdays.

21 January 2008


To the man who

taught me to love soccer :: built us a porch swing :: wasn't afraid to talk to me about God or sex or boys :: still loves to laugh :: was a favorite among my friends :: called me sweetheart :: forgave my failures and inconsistencies :: walked me down the aisle, tears streaming down his cheeks

I love you.

Happy birthday, Dad.

20 January 2008

can i just say

It is negative one degree here today, to say nothing of the wind chill factor.

I think a move is in order.

18 January 2008

currently singing in my shower (also known as parenthetical overkill)

The Ununcle (with his impeccable taste in everything remotely relevant to life) recommended this song to me a while back. Any day now, Project Playlist will make me insanely happy by adding a link to it so I can stick this song in my playlist over yonder. It's going to happen. I can feel it.

In the meantime, I am capital-I Impatient, so we have resorted to youTube. (Notice how I included you in my dodgy resorting. It was the sort of thing I couldn't do alone.)

(The visual quality of this vid is poor, but the sound is decent. Hope you enjoy it.)

Indiana (Jon McLaughlin)

I’m glad I never lived next to the water
so I could never get used to the beach
and I’m glad I never grew up on a mountain
to figure out how high the world could reach

I love the miles between me and the city
where I quietly imagine every street
and I’m glad I’m only picturing the moment
I’m glad she never fell in love with me

For some the world’s a treasure to discover
and your scenery should never stay the same
and they’re trading in their dreams for explanations
all in an attempt to entertain

But I love the miles between me and the city
where I quietly imagine every street
and I’m glad I’m only picturing the moment
I’m glad she never fell in love with me

Well, the trick of love is to never let it find you
it’s easy to get over missing out
I know the hows and whens
but now and then she’s all I think about

I wonder how it feels to be famous
but wonder is as far as I will go
because I’d probably lose myself in all the pictures
and end up being someone I don’t know

So it’s probably best I stay in Indiana
just dreaming of the world as it should be
where every day is a battle to convince myself
I’m glad she never fell in love with me

17 January 2008


As this is primarily a personal blog, I realize that a good portion of my readership is not well-acquainted with the jolly goodness that is eBay's custom boutique community. You have no idea what you're missing out on.

Run while you can.

Seriously, though, the short version is that we sew high-end children's clothing. The long version is that we design, sew, advertise, photograph, edit graphics, code html, package&ship, support our customers, plus, you know, all that fun with financial records and taxes and whatnot.

In our spare time, we raise kids. Well, that and form design groups to talk shop and life, to expand our businesses and our friendships.

I'm lucky to have recently joined the rockin' designers at LimeVine. We're celebrating our first anniversary, so hey! Pop on over and check us out.

Here's a sampling of our current listings (click on the image to visit that auction):




Or to view the whole bunch, click here. Grazie!

15 January 2008

self-portrait challenge: celebration.2

My jeans fit. Hallelujah.

Click here for more from Self Portrait Tuesday.

14 January 2008


Elle is very good at eskimo kisses.

Tonight she said, "Mommy, my nose is loving your nose."

I'm going to try to talk her into staying three forever. I'll let you know how it goes.

13 January 2008

Dear me

As much as I moan and whinge about meme tags, y'all know I'm just being difficult, right? And contrary and melodramatic. (Okay, plus some memes are just really stupid. You have to admit.)

But today I happened across a meme I l-u-r-v-e, and so I'm totally going to do it in spite of the fact that no one's even tagged me yet. Sadly, this is not the first time I've resorted to such measures.


This meme takes the form of a letter written to one's thirteen year old self. (I know, yay! I was all sorts of odd at thirteen.) Here goes:

Dear thirteen year old me:

Put down the hairspray and step away from the mirror. Teasing your hair like that does not actually make you taller, just so we're clear.

Also, these friends of yours? Are brilliant. Forget the annoying but intriguing male half of the species and just hang out with your girls for a bit. They'll be the ones you'll still miss when you're thirty, and you'll find yourself hoping your kids will be this fortunate. (Keep your eyes peeled for that teensy girl in your graphic arts class. You aren't all that crazy about each other right now, but she'll change your life. And your definition of friendship. You lucky, lucky girl.)

You are right about your family: they are a zany bunch. But you also need to give them a break purely on the grounds of this--they love you. You sense it now, that you have a good family; flawed, sure, but also intact and functioning to its own happy beat. Don't be so moody. Hug your brothers. Try not to break your parents' hearts on such a regular basis.

They are all more fragile than you currently suspect.

I'd have some very specific advice for you, right here, but the truth is that you're just as obstinate as I am, so you'll ignore me (just as you ignore anyone who knows what they're talking about) in that blithe, exasperating fashion you're so proud of. You'll go ahead and choose what you will.

So know this: you'll survive. And you'll come to find there's a certain kind of beauty and strength in survival.

And once again, step away from the mirror. There are all sorts of people around you who would bloom under a little attention, a fragment of concern. Don't miss out on the preciousness of others because you're so consumed with yourself. I know narcissism is like breathing for a thirteen year old, but still. Try.

And nope, sorry, you're done growing. Five two is as good as it gets for you, kiddo.

Be good.

Okay now, I am an equal-opportunity tagger, so if you feel like doing this one, consider yourself tagged. And if you do not have a blog, carpe diem.

And drop me a note if you do this one, kay? I'm curious to see how others approach this meme. Happy Sunday, one and all.

12 January 2008

Back in the day, part III

Final stop: high school (1990-94).

These years held baby doll dresses, back pack purses, flannel shirts over tank tops, and overalls (with one side unbuttoned 'cause we were cool like that). We'd be best friends with everyone just so we could share those split heart necklace charms (where you either ended up with "Be Frie" or "st nds").

Conversations were spiked with syke, booya, not, as if, shyaw (or sometimes the extended version: shyaw...and monkeys might fly out of my butt). (Sorry, Mom.) Also see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

We went to football games, a billion movies, Zippy's, McDonald's, the beach, soccer practice, and the occasional concert at the Waikiki Shell.

Paulie Shore was everyone's hero and primary role model.

We joined everything: Key Club, Environmental Club, the mediation team, Sigma Kappa Iota, Future somethings or other of America, and a bunch of other well-intentioned organizations that I really can't recall.

Lunch was still heavily subsidized by the state and only cost 50 cents. Karen ate a lot of my oranges.

In high school, one was identified largely on the basis of location--front lawn: drama/goths, shop: sweaty shop guys, band room: band geeks, under the bridge: Samoans, lanai: cool people & their followers, AP chems room: overachievers.

Let us not forget the beauty that was Wayne's World.

Gina and I played Power Rangers in Safeway, talked to our seat belts, blew bubbles, and generally embarrassed everyone else within a ten foot radius on a regular basis. Emi and I had matching straw hats, ate Little Caesar's Crazy Bread and analyzed our love lives in the parking lot of 16 acres, plus took a few unauthorized trips to a certain little town on the North Shore (again, sorry Mom). Karen and I listened to Hawaiian songs in her car (mostly she listened and I endured), went dress shopping, and refined and mutually admired each other's spectacular sense of sarcasm.

In our spare time, we went to proms.

Do you sense that I could ramble on for a while? I could ramble on for a while. But since I'm certain you have other things to do today besides die of boredom, here's the part of the show where I point out the playlist to your right and leave you to reminisce in peace.

10 January 2008

celebratory measures

In honor of a certain little brother's twenty-seventh birthday, I spent half the morning looking for normal pictures of us together, where one or the other of us (okay, generally both) is not doing something truly weird.

There weren't very many.

Still, I found a few (please forgive the quality of the images; they are pictures of pictures, some of which weren't very clear to begin with).

{1984? 85? Either way, I've got some nice bedhead going on there.}


{1990, Noel's 9th birthday. Notice the bunny ears on the piece of pie.}
{Also, very fond memories of those goose glasses and the matching goose kitchen, Mom.}

{1996, guest appearance by Gina (oh, and Piglet)}

{flamingos: always good for a party}

This reminded me, once again, of how Noel has long been the best looking person in our family. But I shall not give up hope. I could be really hot in my seventies; one never knows.

Happy birthday, Poley. I love you.

09 January 2008

Back in the day (deux)

Second stop: Junior high (1988-90).

Junior high was sky-high bulletproof bangs (thank you, Aqua Net), long HIC/T&C surf tees over stretch pants, and black Flojos. Oh, and let's not forget Hammer Pants...although on second thought, maybe we would be better off blocking that one from memory. The male half of the population reeked of Drakkar, while the females split between Poison and Eternity (or, in the case of the financially-challenged, ie me, cheaper off-the-shelf versions like Exclamation!).

School dances were the backbone of social life, everyone went to summer school, our parents endured the episodic torture called junior high band concerts, and I sang in a talent show with Curt Fajardo (song: Always, Curt: sings like a rock star, I: sounded like a chipmunk on helium). You knew your social status by how far back in the bus you sat (back seat: epitome of cool, front seat: dweebdom).

Also: Boy bands.

Soccer was pretty much year-round (our Shmio team lost in the state championships--moment of silence, please), we still hung out on Emi's back wall, and our favorite hobby was boys. Relationships lasted anywhere from two minutes to two weeks. There was lots of imagined angst.

We wrote notes like crazy, gossipped/plotted/backstabbed with the best of 'em, and at several points my phone had to be surgically removed from my left ear.

Oh yes, and everyone and their brother was in love with Jayme Whitmore. Or maybe that was just my brother. Either way.

Playlist to your right. Some of the tunes are truly hideous (ie anything by Bette Midler), but I just couldn't leave them out. Enjoy.

**Addendum: so I almost forgot the best Christmas gift ever. Seventh grade, Nina and I whipped up a batch of mint chocolate candies for our oh-so-lucky girlfriends, which were delicious except for that we might have gotten carried away with the peppermint extract, so the candies might have tasted like a jar of Vicks VapoRub. Yeah, sorry girls. On the bright side, you all had really great breath.

08 January 2008

self-portrait challenge :: celebrations.1

stripey plum tights=instant celebration

for more self-portrait tuesdays, check out http://www.selfportraitchallenge.net/

07 January 2008

Back in the day (part one)

Cheesy reminiscing is, in my opinion, regrettably underrated. So here's the first of that old school series you were warned about.

First stop, upper elementary school (5th-6th grade), which for me was 1986-88. These years meant soccer and sleepovers and student council, sitting on Emi's back wall dissecting horoscopes/fashion articles from seventeen and YM, swooning over Can't Buy Me Love and Dirty Dancing. (Quote with me now: "He went from totally geek to totally chic." And: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner.")

It meant migraine-inducing videos such as this on VH-1, which, for the record, I was not allowed to watch.

It meant penning inane letters (to girlfriends and boys and anyone who might possibly write back) on lined paper and folding them up like so. It marked the proud owning of my first cassette tape, the self-titled Tiffany (sixth grade, an illegal copy made by my pal Alex Hall).

It meant feathered bangs, acid washed denim, white Keds (sans socks--ew), and pegged jeans. It also meant my first dance and my first-ever boyfriend (Steven Nichols), both near the end of sixth grade. (I wonder if he ever googles his name. Hi Steve!)

And now on to the tunes (check out the playlist in the column to your right). For those of you interested in crashing my flashback party, please come clad in your best sparkle jellies.

(PS Does anyone else find it mildly depressing that these songs have since been anesthetized into elevator music? Oy vey.)

06 January 2008


On the off chance that you were wondering who currently owned the largest chocolate bar this side of Mexico:

That'd be me.

04 January 2008

sibling adulation

Nothing like an older brother to emulate. Really helps with the refining of super-hero poses, too.

03 January 2008

I am so not Switzerland

Just read ECLIPSE (Stephenie Meyer) this past weekend. Right, I know, the rest of humankind read it forever ago (and if you didn't read the TWILIGHT series, yes, they are vampire books, but the main vampires are very likeable--minus Rosalie, whom I'd like to firmly squish), but I'm asking for belated insight. A few people whose opinions I trust are at least somewhat in the Jacob camp, and I just have to know: why? What am I missing?

Because seriously, Bella, just four words for you: Edward Anthony Masen Cullen.

That is all.

Team Jacob, you may leave your hate messages after the beep. (Or, you know, in the comments section. Please do not really wait for a beep, we are not that high-tech round these here parts.)

02 January 2008

a few more shots for the grandparents

...and aunts and uncles and cousins and anyone who wishes he/she were related to us.

I like to tell myself I used to be this cute, but yeah, probably not.

01 January 2008


While I'm fairly certain resoluting doesn't count as a real word, it's so much more fun to say than resolving. And besides, if enough of us say it, they'll put it in the dictionary. Resoluting it is.

I have quite a few resolutions this year, but as I'm sure neither you nor blogger wishes to see all 314 of them, I'll stick to a screened few.

uno: Live healthfully.

This is broad, I know, but I've broken it down into specifics that would bore the eyeballs out of you. One aspect is the basic Eat Healthfully, because while I might eat better than most Americans, this is something akin to saying I swim better than most parked cars, and only marginally as of late.

dos: Relax about hurried judgments.

You know how it goes: we unwittingly do or say something that pricks someone's ire, so they take the precious little they know of us and sketch in the remaining 99.8% and pronounce us guilty.

I'm weary of taking this so personally. To whatever extent that person's correct, and I need to change, I'm all for it (though no guarantees I'll be cheerful about it). But where they've got me all wrong, I'd like to learn to not let their opinion wring the joy from my day.

tres: Live like it's not about me.

Because it isn't.

um...four: Learn to count above three in Spanish. Heheh, just kidding.

quatro: Approach life with grace.

I'm not sure what this year will bring, at all. I just want to accept what God gives or allows--the joys, the losses, the refining-by-fire--with grace. So let it be.

scratch that

So it turns out I will not be facing near-death (at least, not by ski slopes + hypothermia) this week. Our child care arrangements fell through at about 2 am this morning, so I am home with the little people.

Now that I'm off the hook, I'm quite certain I would have been a dang good skier. But the few days to hang out with my children (the older two are still on holiday this week) will be quite nice, actually. They haven't gotten much of just me lately.

Plus I woke up this morning with the beginnings of a sore throat/chest cold, which we all know would have blossomed into pneumonia in all my near-death scenarios.

That was a close one.