Monday, March 31, 2008

Fun Austen Heroines Quiz

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

No surprise here. I figured it would be Elinor or Anne Eliot. But I always enjoy these types of quizzes. I suppose I'm easily diverted...

Masterpiece's Sense and Sensibility

Last night was the first installment of Andrew Davies' new Jane Austen Adaptation, Sense and Sensibility. I rather pity the task because it would be hard to improve on the excellent Emma Thompson treatment. Still, they gave it a shot. Bearing in mind that I haven't seen the end yet, here are my impressions:

- What in the world was that opening scene?! My own dear husband had to leave the room until the the real movie started. Sure, I get that it was Willoughby and Eliza but goodness sakes, we don't need to see that!

- Mrs. Dashwood and Margaret are excellent, excellent, excellent. Maybe even better than in the '95 version. Margaret is lively but not ridiculous (no treehouses, no pirates).

- Edward is charming and likable, although a bit too "Hugh Grant wannabe" for my taste.

- Fanny Dashwood is beautiful, cold, and spiteful. Perfect!

- Hattie Morahan is good but she hasn't quite convinced me yet that she is Elinor. I haven't connected to her on an emotional level as I did with Emma Thompson. I know Emma Thompson was too old for the role of Elinor but she made me believe she was Austen's heroine. Ms. Morahan hasn't quite done that for me yet. But, as I say, I haven't seen the entire thing. I think this actress would have been a good choice for Anne Eliot. That was not to be, I guess.

- Charity Wakefield (Marianne) is the weak point in this adaptation. She isn't pretty or talented enough. She doesn't seem passionate and good natured, only willful and stupid. She may improve in the next half, and I sincerely hope she does.

- Colonel Brandon is good. The actor is like a Liam Neeson knock-off but there are worse things to be!

- There are several annoying little mistakes such as Marianne referring to Fanny as "Aunt Fanny" though she is actually their sister-in-law.

- The sound on our PBS station must have been off. At times the "wind" was so loud that Prince Charming asked if they had a waterfall in their bedroom. But everything looked gorgeous, even if there were problems with the sound. And the music is pretty too.

All in all I'm looking forward to next week's conclusion to the Austen season. And that won't be the end of Masterpiece Theatre for me either. I'm anxiously awaiting both A Room With a View and Cranford, although I intend to skip My Boy Jack. Too depressing and I won't be able to stop thinking "Why is Harry Potter pretending to be Kipling's son?"

If you'd like to see it:

But please don't miss Emma Thompson's adaptation:

Picture credit: PBS

Friday, March 28, 2008

Frugal Friday - Save Those Giftcards

Remember when I was complaining concerned about Easter dresses for my girls? Well as you can see, we did find some that we liked. These were the only ones that Prince Charming and I could find that we
1. both liked
2. felt were a good quality dress that could be worn all summer

These were not bargain dresses. And we bought each child new white dress shoes as well. (You can see in the above picture that Polly is more fond of walking in her stockinged feet - please pay no attention to how dirty they are! - but we still had to buy the shoes...) We managed to do this and only spend around $10 out of pocket. And if you're wondering why we didn't just hit the local thrift store...well, we didn't want to. We often do but for this occasion we wanted the girls to be matching and have something new. Don't take away my Frugal-ite certificate.
Our secret weapon this year? Gift cards!

We are surrounded by so many loving family members and friends. They are all very generous, especially around Christmas & Birthdays. This Christmas, because of a variety of circumstances, we ended up with several different gift cards which we have been
hoardingsaving for just such an occasion. The moral of this story is that even if you have gift cards in your pocket you don't have to use them immediately (although some do have time limits - be forewarned!). Hang onto them for a time when you'll need them.

Oh, and just for all you fashion police out there, the white sweaters with the tres chic leopard print collars did not come with the dresses. Those were another Christmas gift. Which saved me from having to buy brand new sweaters to match the dresses for the older girls. They didn't keep their sweaters on long, anyway.

Sweet Pea actually had an Easter sweater that had been handed down from her older sisters. So that's a bonus tip for you: save, in labeled boxes, the best clothes, especially if you have several children (or may have several children!) of the same gender. You'll still need to fill in the blanks in their wardrobe, but at least you won't be starting from scratch.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Would Everyone Please

Try to look at Granddad and smile? Stop making silly faces, wiggling, and tickling? No?
Well, that's just the way it is, I guess.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - An Uncle is...

For a good snuggle and giggle. Sweet Pea and the Bear

A Brush With The Law

I'm writing this from behind bars...

Okay, I'm just kidding about that part. But here at Chez Charming the other day we did have an episode involving the local authorities. Oh, and the FBI.

Yes, that would be the Federal Bureau of Investigations. With badges and such.

What did we do to call such authority down on our heads, you ask? Nothing. Nothing other than buy our house seven years ago, that is.

We live in a tiny white house (you can see a picture here, scroll down), less than 1,000 square feet. Two bedrooms. One closet size (not exaggerating here, I've seen some of your closets) bathroom. A basement one degree removed from a cellar. (Less than affectionately known as "The Dungeon" around these parts).

It isn't much but it is home. But before it was our home it apparently was home to a criminal. Sometimes this man's mail is still delivered here. (Reminder: We've lived here nearly SEVEN years) I always mark it "unknown" and send it back and it is really annoying that someone's mail is delivered here when we have lived here for SEVEN years.

Well, this week we found out why. This
scumbagmisguided citizen (wanted by both the Narcotics and Vice Squads and now, the FBI - he's versatile!) is still, when the occasion calls for it, using our address. Hence the FBI and sheriff's deputy on our doorstep early one morning. They, once they were made to understand that NO, Prince Charming is NOT "Tony" and YES, we do own this house, thankyouverymuch, were polite, if confused. The situation was not helped by the fact that Prince Charming initially did not believe they were really from the FBI / Sheriff's Department and suspected a prank of monumental proportions.

But eventually they were made to understand that "Tony" is not being sheltered here and that it is not our fault if a criminal is (gasp!) lying about where he lives. I feel the tiniest bit sorry for these public servants. But seriously, how hard is it to look up a title to see who owns a house? And it isn't easy forgive one of them for scaring the living daylights out of me when I looked out my kitchen window to find a strange man poking around on my back porch.

To quote Mrs. Bennet, "Oh, my poor nerves." Or my initial reaction, "Are we to be murdered in our beds?!"

So there you have it, our brush with The Law. May they find "Tony" and lock him up. I'd much prefer he have their address instead of ours.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Masterpiece's Emma

Janeite though I may be, I had never seen this version of Emma before. And I must confess to a strong inclination towards the feature film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam, which may show me to be a shallow Jane Austen film fan, but that's as it may be.Things I liked about this version:

- Kate Beckinsale's Emma was very good. I know this actress has been in some other sci-fi things but I've never seen them. She was quite convincing as the matchmaking, misguided but good intentioned heroine.

- This Frank Churchill was much better than poor Ewan MacGregor's attempt. The only other thing I've seen this actor in was Muppet's Christmas Carol and he was quite good in that too. I'm kidding. Maybe.

- Harriet Smith was better than the other version. She seemed very young, vulnerable and impressionable in this version instead of just silly and stupid as she seems in the other.

Things I did not like:
- Mr. Knightley. Ugh. Ugh. And Ugh again. There is absolutely no "chemistry" or whatever you want to call it between Ms. Beckinsale and Mr. Strong. I was left with an "ick" feeling as the two of them promised to marry each other. Prince Charming (who was watching with me, dear man!) said that this Mr. Knightley is like Mr. Darcy without his attitude change, always shouting, always scowling. Jeremy Northam is much more to my taste for Mr. Knightley.

- The emphasis on servants, serving, and squalor. Maybe it is realistic but it seemed heavy handed and politically pointed to me.

- The Eltons were not nearly annoying enough. Other than Mrs. Elton's appalling accent (where was she supposed to be from?) they didn't make much of an impression one way or the other on me.

So, there you have it: for me it was a mixed bag. If we could combine this Frank Churchill / Jane Fairfax and their story line with the other movie it would be just about right to me. I'd take either Emma, though I know Gwyneth Paltrow is not to everyone's taste. And we must have Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates. "Pork, mother!"

If you'd like to see it:

Or compare Gwyneth Paltrow's version:

Picture from PBS

Friday, March 21, 2008

5 Things I Wish I Had Known

Over at The Heart of the Matter the discussion topic for this week is "What I Wish I Had Known in My First Year of Homeschooling". This sparked some thoughts for me and those thoughts began running off in way too many different directions.

I'm a homeschooling Graduate (K-12, even some college!) so even though my oldest is only 6, this isn't my first rodeo, so to speak. I haven't had a lot of surprises or shocking revelations. This is just what we do. But that said, here is what I wish I would have known:

1. I don't have to justify our decision to homeschool. To anyone. This is our decision, not theirs. End of story. I can smile and be polite but I don't have to explain why we choose to do this, and I don't have to listen to them explain why we shouldn't.

2. I don't have to avail myself of every support system or opportunity. The local homeschool group meets at an inconvenient time for us. So we don't go. It's no big deal but it seemed like it was last September.

3. We don't have to cover every subject every day. Short lessons, less pressure, fewer melt downs = Happy Mom, Happy Daughters.

4. I don't have to reinvent the wheel. This was a reaction from some of the methods or curriculum my parents used with me. I do not like them and I won't be using them but even so, they used them with me and look - I turned out great, wouldn't you say? I'm not sure your curriculum can mess you up too badly as long as the parents are involved and there are lots of teachable moments and good reading going on.

5. Start with God, rely on God, glorify God in every day and in every aspect of "school". You will never regret it. More on this topic here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

After all the deluge of previous days, today is a gorgeous gift of sunshine. How fitting for the first day of Spring!

Now it feels like time for Easter, which you may have heard, is the earliest it will ever be in our lifetimes. I know I don't usually feel "Easter-y" right after St. Patrick's Day, but this year we don't have much of a choice.

Thankfully, now that the sun is shining I feel a little more enthusiastic about getting the girls some frippery and finery for Sunday. So tomorrow we'll go dress shopping.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Little girls' clothes are almost non-existent these days. Unless you want your little princesses dressed like the street walkers of old. Which we don't, in case you were wondering.

Seriously, whose ideas was it to put heels on shoes for three year olds? And while I think my girls tummies are as cute as they come (they are!) we will not be sharing that view with the general population. If we can get Sweet Pea to stop pulling up her dresses and shirts, that is. She's quite taken with her new skill. But we're working on that.

I know some of you better-homemakers-than-I would just whip up three darling matching dresses on your state of the art sewing machines. Well, my skills don't extend that far yet, and alas, they probably never will. Hence the dress and shoes shopping.

Spring is really here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Rain, Rain, Rain, Came Down, Down, Down

Well the river has crept out of its bed and, while it isn't exactly in our beds yet, it was over our roads in places this evening. The kids thought it was great. "Tell Grandad to Splash More, Mom!" As if he were doing it on purpose for their enjoyment.

I don't know exactly how much rain we've had or how much more we're going to have but I can tell you that soon our little family can save on gas in a big way.

By using a canoe. Or an ark, maybe.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why and How We Educate

For those of you not interested in homeschooling or education philosophy, feel free to move along. I'm sure I'll be posting soon about a toddler screaming fit, or a new shopping experience, or a fun new quiz. For the rest of you, read on. One of my father's friends and mentors had a saying:

An education without God is no education at all.
Pretty bold, wouldn't you say? This man had more degrees than I could accumulate in my lifetime. He taught science at the high school and college level. As a creationist he had several spectacular debates with local eggheads professors.

Sadly, for those of us who knew and admired this man, he died several years ago. But what he taught lives on.

There is no education without God.

Say it again. Louder.

If you (and here I speak to Christian homeschoolers) are attempting to educate your children without God, you will fail. Utterly.

I can understand secularists homeschooling without God. But there is no Christian home education without God and His Word. You cannot do it. Why? Because the Bible tells us so. Check out Deuteronomy 6:1-9:

1: Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3: Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8: And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9: And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Deuteronomy doesn't float your boat? Try Psalms 119 9-16, 92-105:

9: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10: With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12: Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
13: With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14: I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15: I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16: I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

92: Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
93: I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
94: I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
95: The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
96: I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
97: O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98: Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99: I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100: I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101: I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102: I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103: How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104: Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
105: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

You might be starting to catch a glimpse of why I was startled to find a Christian homeschool mom (whose blog I read and enjoy) proclaim that she will not have her children memorize scripture. She equates this with "brainwashing". To which I answer: well, not exactly, but yes.

How are we to raise our children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" if we do not impress the importance of His word in their hearts? How are we to discipline them if they do not know the one true foundation and standard of behavior?

From a practical standpoint I can tell you that Scripture is invaluable. My oldest daughters (6 & 3) memorized 1 Corinthians 13 in the month of February. That isn't just so they can show off their memorization skills. That's so I can say, "How are we supposed to act with each other?"

Correct Answer: With patience. (Or kindness, or any of the other things that Paul says love is.)

Another example: In November they memorized Psalm 100. So in their grouchy moments (oh come on, admit it, we all have them!) I can say, "Why are we supposed to give thanks to God?" And they reply, "For He is good and His mercy is everlasting!" And amazingly, wonderfully, we aren't grouchy any more.

I'm going to lay all my cards on the table here. I'm Baptist. We don't have liturgy. We don't have ceremonies. We don't have creeds, novenas, rituals or sacraments.

We do have God's Word. And it is far more valuable than any poetry that this mother is going to have her children memorize.

Don't get me wrong, my girls are memorizing poetry, too. But it is secondary to the Word they're hiding in their hearts. (Incidentally, this mom explains that her children will someday choose to memorize Bible verses on their own. To which I respond: If so, why not leave poetry to that same chance?)

My parents didn't leave my Scripture memorization to chance and I'm grateful they didn't. Today the verses that come most quickly to mind are the ones I memorized 10-20 years ago, before I started losing brain cells became an adult. In the spirit of openness I will tell you that one of the best side benefits to helping my daughters memorize large segments of the Bible is that I am learning them as well.

So, for me and my house (my homeschool): There is NO education without God. If I didn't believe that I would send my kiddos to the best public school I could find.

A Wild and Crazy...Weekend

Okay, not really all that wild and crazy compared to some, I suppose. But it was hectic and fun, which should count for something.

Item 1: LuLu, my sister who lives waaay too far away from us, flew in for a quick visit (Friday morning to Monday morning). LuLu is one of our most favoritist people and we all had fun eating Mexican food, watching movies, talking, eating ice cream, going to church together, eating again, talking, eating more ice cream... Come back soon, LuLu!

Item 2: Prince Charming went on a week-end retreat with a lot of other men from local churches. I understand that they had a great time as well, although I'm purposely staying sketchy on the details. They did some spiritual things, from what I've heard, although they were squeezing them in between basketball, board games, volleyball, corn hole, and goodness knows what else.

Item 3: Prince Charming and I (when he returned from his retreat) went on an actual date. Together. Without daughters. I know, I couldn't believe it either. We have some great friends, that's all I can say. Willing to watch, feed, and entertain my three girls so Prince Charming and I can eat a ridiculously large steak and order dessert and NOT have to cut up anyone's food, warn anyone to sit down, or anything else that happens when we eat out en famile; like I said, they're good friends.

Item 4: Everything else that has to happen Friday-Sunday in our family, which, considering that Prince Charming works for our church, is not an inconsiderable list. You can guess what my house looks like today. But that's a small price to pay for such a great week-end, at least that's what I'll tell myself as I'm sorting laundry, picking up toys, hanging up clothes, you get the idea.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Frugal Fridays - Think it Through

I know I was rhapsodizing yesterday about a new retail store in my area and that hardly seems frugal. (Although we only spent $20). But one of the best parts is it just gave us some fresh perspective. We may not end up making any major purchase from that store but it did give us some ideas we can use with things we already have.

For some of the things we do want to consider purchasing we are doing just that: considering. We wrote down dimensions, prices, options, etc. and then we...came home. If we (by "we" I mean Prince Charming and myself not the girls!) decide that a certain thing will serve our needs / wants then we can go back and get it.

So many times the shopping experience is pressure, pressure, pressure, to buy now, now, NOW. Ever try to buy any new appliance without a pesky salesman at your elbow? Me either.

I'm just going to go out on a limb here and suggest that most things, for those of us blessed to live here in the USA, we do not "need" NOW. I'm not against buying stuff (although I feel like we personally always have too much no matter how much I declutter!) but I am against giving in to that feeling. You know the one: "If I don't buy this now I might not ever have the chance again."

Right. Stores are having sales all. the. time. There will always be more things dropped off at our favorite thrift stores. Some brave souls are going to have yard sales this summer. So don't panic. Consider carefully and then make your purchase and it doesn't matter whether it's for a small purchase ($5) or a large purchase ($50+), considering before you buy and fighting the urge to succumb to advertising - that's frugal!

Check out Biblical Womanhood for lots of great frugal inspiration.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Wish We Could Live Here

Yesterday was a momentous day for our area. Not thirty minutes from my house there is now a large new shopping experience. Here's a hint: It's huge, bright blue, and the name starts with an "I" and ends with "KEA".

So, because we are the oh so patient people you know and love, we managed to wait until it had been open 24 hours before getting ourselves to the doors. Okay, we mostly made the decision to wait because - no joke - yesterday there were so many people that they had to park in nearby fields. And their vehicles were getting stuck in the mud. Seriously.

I don't know about you but my ideal shopping experience does not include having schlep through an acre of muddy field or having my precious mini-van towed from a muddy grave. Could be just me.

But today, oh today! The sun was shining, it was 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and we were directed to a parking space just a few feet from the door. I could tell that it was going to be a wonderful afternoon.

Just in case you don't know, these stores are set up so that you pretty much have to walk through the entire thing. You are allowed, nay encouraged, to sit on the sofas, bounce on the beds, pick up anything, and just generally make yourself at home.

I know the question you are just dying to ask at this point, if you weren't so polite: How much did you spend?

We only spent $20. Honestly. But we have dreams folks, big dreams that involve many more happy hours at the Big Blue Box.

As we walked out of the store with our Big Blue Bag and smiles on our faces Tigger summed it up.

"I wish we could live here," she opined. Don't we all, sweetie, don't we all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - The Poochie Lip

What's wrong with Tigger in these pictures? Well, suffice it to say that she is not happy that her daddy was taking her picture, she didn't like her dress, Polly had a "prettier" barrette, and she didn't want spaghetti for supper.
You can really see the resemblance to her Aunt Lulu!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Conversation on Polly's Return

Mom (aka "me"): Hi sweetie, how was Taekwondo?

Polly: Pretty good.

Mom: What did you do?

Polly: Well, I found out that my *insert personal attire euphemism here* was on backwards.

Mom: ?!

Polly: Yeah, on my break when I went to the restroom. I didn't have time to fix it. Oh, well.

Mom: ?!

How could she go through the entire day and not notice that she had one of the leg openings around her waist?!

Concerning a Game

If your husband, or anyone in your family for that matter, ever wants to download a free game called Peggle, you know, for the kids, don't play it - don't even look at it. Definitely don't get caught up in who can knock Daddy off the high scores list. Don't do it!

If you do you may never do anything constructive with your time again. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It Doesn't Show Signs of Stoppin'

What do you do when your mom bundles you like this: or this:
and your street looks like this:
and your yard looks like this:
Well? You make snow cream, of course. Because there's nothing like coming back inside, freezing, dripping, and shivering, and eating a nice big bowl of snow, cream and sugar. And yes, we really did have that special treat today.

Polly and Tigger (along with Prince Charming) have enjoyed a nice snow holiday. Sweet Pea and I enjoyed the sight from safely inside. (To be accurate you may want to imagine a tiny nose pressed against a window. That would be Sweet Pea, not her mother.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Frugal Friday - Soup's On!

Yesterday, in the rush that is Thursday for our family, we had many things to do in the afternoon and early evening and we did not want to eat out. Don't get me wrong, we love eating out but we only budget a bit of money every month for that activity and yesterday was only the 6th.

So what can we cook while we're not there? You frugal black belts are jumping up and down and screaming "Crock pot, crock pot, USE the crock pot!"

Yes, frugal people tend to be passionate about their crockpots. And you will be pleased to hear that I did just that. I made a chicken enchilada soup in my crockpot that was part of one recipe, part of another, with a dash of another recipe thrown in.

My family (especially my culinary genius husband) was impressed. And, as I am what can best be called a reluctant cook, this worked well for all of us.

Soup has to be one of the most frugal foods out there. Think about it: little bits and pieces of ingredients, mostly liquid, warm, filling...I could go on.

Most soups are started with one of three bases:
- broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- cream (this base tends to be more expensive)
- tomato

The soup I made yesterday actually built off chicken broth and tomato sauce. Once you have your base then you can add whatever you wish: left over vegetables, leftover meat, pasta, etc. Use your favorite spices that you have on hand or you can always add cheese, hot sauce, crackers or your own favorite soup topping to make your own version of a delicious frugal supper.

For lots of great ideas don't miss Frugal Fridays!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maybe later?

Okay, so I was going to apologize for my unintended blog vacation and post some cute (what other kind is there?) pictures of my two oldest girls but apparently the Blogger picture posting thing-a-majig has gone on strike. Not that it annoys me that my plans were messed up, oh no, not I.

Anyhow, back to my apology. I usually post on Wednesday's on Rocks in My Dryer for Works for Me Wednesday. Except this week I didn't want to because it was "backwards edition" and I've got everything figured out. As if. Actually I rarely read that blog any more so I forgot and then I couldn't get a post asking a sufficiently interesting question that isn't too embarrassing together.

I've been around reading blogs but I'm finding it hard to comment on some because I come late to the party and I don't enjoy leaving a "me, too!" comment. And I can't comment on some of your blogs right now, so soon after the final nail in Huckabee's coffin election because my first inclination (to crow) isn't gentle, kind or long suffering and I'm trying to cut down on sarcasm and snark. (That'll be the day...)

In summary: pictures will be posted later, I’m sorry for disappearing, and what, in the name of all that is good, is wrong with Blogger right now?!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Did you vote?

If you live in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island or Vermont: get out and vote!

I did. I won't discuss it much more than to say that I gleefully certainly did NOT vote for Huckabee, Obama, or Clinton. Sorry, Hucksters.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Books of 2008 - February

I didn't read as much as I wanted to this month although I'm not sure why. Seems like I kept picking up books but not finishing them. Anyhow, I managed a dozen:

1. The Mission of Motherhoodby Sally Clarkson. Non-fiction. Really well written and very helpful.

2. Pamela by Samuel Richardson. Fiction. This book was written in 1740. It is as ridiculous now as it must have been then. Tedious but worth reading for the (unintentional) humor.

3. To-Do List by Sasha Cagen. Non-fiction. I love making lists and I enjoyed this book for the most part. I can't recommend it because of bad language and what I will euphemistically call "intimacy".

4. This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosely. Non-fiction. Mr. Mosely's advice? Write every day. That's it. Sounds easy enough, right? Write every day.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fiction. This is one of those "classics" that I somehow managed to miss in school. It was better than I thought it would be. Although I sure do wish I could strangle Tom and Daisy Buchanan (and their ilk)!

6. Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific 90 Days by Judith Viorst. Non-fiction. Memoir about three generations living under one roof for one summer. Very funny. Some unnecessary bad language.

7. Teaching Children by Diane Lopez. Non-fiction. Curriculum recommendations and ideas. Would be really good except for it is quite dated now. Lots of helpful lists. (Told you I like lists!)

8. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Fiction. This is only the second time I've read this all the way through. It's better than the recent movie, although that is faint praise. Actually I really liked this one on this read through. Fanny has grown on me as a heroine (once I could evict Billie Piper from my image of her!) but I'm afraid Edmund has not grown in my esteem at all. And how bad is it that I really like Henry Crawford? I must not be properly constructed.

9. A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. Fiction. This is another "classic" that I hadn't read before. This story engrossed me for about a day and a half. Now I'd really like to see the movie but it seems to be constantly checked out from our library. Who would think that such an old movie would be so popular?! A new version of this is going to be on PBS in a few months.

10. A Year With the Queen by Robert Hardman. Non-fiction. This is a companion book to a documentary. Excellent pictures and "behind the scenes" information on day to day life for the Royals. Have I mentioned I'm a major Anglophile / Royal Watcher?

11. House Hunting is Murder by Dorothy Taillon. Fiction. This is a book written by a lady that my in-laws used to live near. There's a decent premise here, but it could have used a good editor.

12. Simply Green Giving by Danny Seo. Non-fiction. Despite the fact that I am SO NOT a tree-hugger and I don't buy that whole "man made global warming" crock that Al Gore is dishing out, this book had several cute ideas and whether it saves the planet or not, I always enjoy a new way of looking at things or saving a few dollars.

So there you have it, twelve books in February!