This was actually nominated by our Patron Saint, Stephenie Meyer. Yes, she cares what book we choose. She doesn't want us to pick anymore of her books. It was seconded by Miss Landeelu Landerson. See pasted email below:
Dear Leader & Founder of Smart Remarks,
I'd like to submit a formal request to, at some point, have The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins reviewed by the fine members of your book club. Markie will love it (tons of action) and the girls will love it (a weird love story). I couldn't put it down (just finished it two days ago).
The only problem is, I'm not sure what we will be able to mock because it's just that good.
Thanks for listening,
Landeelu Landerson Member, Smart Remarks Book Club
Shut up Landeelu, you had me at "weird love story."
This 'un was also nomed by Memzy. Quite worthy, but should we make her read a book she hasn't read you gize?
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer: This was nom.ed by Markie, poor guy. Honestly, it sounds like a good 'un, but that pee-stained cover is not going to inspire many votes. And the whole "Large-Type" thing screams "nursing home library." Landeelu Landerson? Could you make a new cover for us please? You do have a dalmatian muffler or whatever it's called, right? And a horse?
There. Four books to choose from. Now exercize your right to vote.
Wait. One more thing. I had a discussion with Amy today about the state of the Smart Remarks book club. She's concerned that it's, well, not as fun as it was that one time. We didn't really get a good back-and-forth discussion going with The Host. So, she suggested we schedule a specific time to get online and discuss, and keep the discussion in one blogger's comments. Everyone would still do their own review, we would just "flank" at a certain time and place. Make sense? Agree? Is this too much to ask? What if I mail you refreshments? Cinnaburn Rolls?
I'm writing this all stressed out because I'd look pretty stupid if I didn't finish reading the stupid book in time to play along, after nagging everyone else to participate.
But I finally finished it. Phew. Humans have some sick ways of torture, and arguably one of the cruelest forms is being made to read The Host.
Naw, it wasn't that bad. But it was one seriously long book, and I can't figure out why. Not much conflict in those 619 pages. Lots of day to day cave dwelling stuff in there.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First of all, Edward is not in this book. That was probably my #1 complaint. Any other complaint pales in comparison, but here we go...
I've decided that nothing is more irritating than a self righteous alien. Wanda's disgust with human violence grated on my nerves, and her little knee-knocking "Scooby-Do" hide in a hole and "keen" act, really fueled my irritation. Look lady, you came to Earth and committed mass-murder on an unprecedented scale, yet your peaceful sensiblities make you swoon at the sight of a gun?
Pg212, Wanda wrinkles her nose and thinks, "Torture. No, that was the humans' specialty."
Left unsaid, looking down her nose at the violent humans, "We merely specialize in mass-murder of entire species."
Wanda was constantly noting all the horrible human flaws, like jealousy, anger, rage, sarcasm (huh?), lying, etc, all while reveling in how peaceful and loving her species is, but I have to say, mass-murder of entire populations pretty much trumps any human sin.(<--see you in outer darkness) And what was her speicies' nobel cause? Well, when asked why they take over planets, Wanda replied, "For the experience." Wow. Really, Wanda? You gize ARE peaceful. She kept justifying the mass-murder (I'm calling it what it is, here) by claiming that humans are a horrible and violent species. But surely once their souls started entering human hosts, they would find out that most humans are good, loving people, with family and friends, and they would conclude that what they are doing is wrong. I feel bad writing this because if Wanda reads it, she'll start wailing, keening, gnashing her teeth, murmuring, hissing, grinding out words, crying, bawling, rocking back and forth, and fitting her body into uncomfortable sleeping positions.
OK, on to the names.
Wanderer. A wanderer is someone who moves about aimlessly, without a purpose or a goal. The name fit her perfectly.
The Seeker. That's the person who goes after the quaffle. Or is it the golden snitch?
Calling. We must always accept the Calling we are given, even if it's nursery leader.
There were a lot of things that made me go, "huh?" Here's a few.
Wanda was so against violence she refused to even defend herself, yet out of the blue, she tells this story about violently attacking a Claw Beast in Bearland with her bear hands.
She didn't know how to heal people (which involved the complicated process of spraying the infected area with aerosol spray and Listerine Cool Mint Pocket Strips) but she could extract an alien.
When she was extracting the Seeker soul, someone asked how the cryotank worked, and she answered with a sigh, "I knew the answer when I was a spider. I don't understand it now." Mmm. Yeah. Good cover S. Meyer. I'm actually relieved she didn't try to explain it to us.
OK, now the good stuff.
There were some good characters in the book. It's a shame the main character wasn't one of them, but still, there were some good ones. S. Meyer is brilliant at developing relationships between her characters, and also freaky love tirangles/rectangles. She really knows how to make the reader blush. (even though nothing will ever compare to he-who-shall-not-be-named)
I loved how she manged to create a situation where it was necessary to parade different men in the room for Wanda to pasionately kiss.
This is where I made my first "margine prediction."
It was after Wanda stopped hearing Mel, and Ian tried to kiss Wanda to bring back Mel, and when that didn't work, he brough Jared in to kiss Wanda, and here's what I thought would happen if that didn't work:
If you can't read it, it says: "Send in Uncle Jeb. A kiss from him will snap her out of it."
OK, I have to go to a scout meeting. I might add more later. Be back in an hour...
The next book club meeting is on September 28th. (that's tomorrow)
We are discussing The Host by Stephenie Meyer:
Anybody can play along, it's SO nonexclusive. The more the merrier.
So if you've read the book, post a review on your blog tomorrow. The clever discussion happens in the comments, so read what others had to say, and leave your response in their comments. It's basically a system of flanking each other. Don't feel shy about commenting on someone's blog you don't know, if they wrote a review, they want to hear what you have to say.
These are actually pictures of very expensive pictures.
Quick Tip for saving money at theme parks: If you want the ride picture, either quickly take a picture of the picture they show on the preview screen with your cell phone, or have your sister buy the picture and then take a picture of her picture.
In this first one, I'm that ghostly white figure on the right. I'm doing one of my usual roller coaster ride picture poses called "petting the invisible cat." I bugged my niece Emma (sitting beside me) to do it with me, and if you look closely, she is petting something invisible, but definitly not a cat. Maybe a hamster or a dove.
Another one of my favorite poses is called "living dolls." I think Sara really captured the essence of "living dolls" best in this picture. Look at that porcelain face.
...I think I'll laugh about my whole iPod obsession. Then I'll blink twice, which will activate the iChip embedded behind my ear and my playlist will start.
For those of you who don't know, in high school, my senior quote was, "In a public place, always flush the toilet with your foot." This will follow me for the rest of my life, forever dating me to the year 1995. Because, back then, I could predict the invention of hovercrafts, robot maids, and teleportation, but never in my wildest imagination could I have predicted that public toilets would flush automatically.
Dream big you gize.
In other news, I seriously had hundreds of hits on my blog today (Thursday). I was like, "WhatthewhoawhaI'mpopularwait..." this might have something to do with that horrible little downer post I made below. Thank you for joining my pity party, and checking back to see what horrible thing I would post next. I should probably tell any of those non-family members who read my blog, that I have an exceptional family and extended family. I was just having a moment. Now you know the truth about me: I'm pretty, but I'm not perfect.
...but tonight, I was disappointed to learn that this is not the case.
If we were all on the same team, you would be rooting for me, not competing against me. My success would be your success. You would be proud to call me part of your family, not try to knock me down in order to lift yourself up.
I recognize the individual strengths of everyone in my family, and I am proud of them. In most areas, I don't even come close to measuring up to them, but I do have a few precious areas in which I might outshine you. Please don't try to take that away from me. I'm not as self-assured as you seem to think.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, be glad. It wasn't nice.
Did you think blogs are all fun and games all the time? Wrong. Sometimes the blogging world is a dark, depressing place. Yes, I am disappointed as well. Bummer.
I went to an advice expert (Ask Memzy) to ask what I should blog about today, and as per her advice, I will blog about my grocery list.
Grocery shopping is on my top ten list of things I abhor to do. I rarely do it. I rely heavily on Schwans, Anthony's willingness to grab things from CVS, and stocking up on nonparishables like Cup O Noodles and Top Roman (are those the same thing?). I don't want to think about grocery shopping, let alone blog about it.
Ugh, I'm depressed. Why, Mem? Why did you give me this topic? I guess I'll recommend a few of my favorite things:
I'm a pencil lover. I make a lot of mistakes when I write and I need to be able to erase them. I rarely write in pen. Anyway, Ticonderoga's will set you back a little more, but once you go Ticonderoga, you never go back.
I LOVE this toothbrush. Anthony and I have been using the Pulsar for over four years (not the same one, of course). It will set you back a little more than a regular brush, but once you go Pulsar, you never go back.
Lean Cuisine BBQ pizza: I remove all the chicken and add a half-pound of Swiss cheese, but if you like chicken, you wouldn't have to bother. My freezer is stocked with this.
IPod Touch: I don't have one of these, and still, it's my favorite. That says something.
Literally. I don't have much to say. You're probably glad. My posts have been wordy, picture-less, and weak in content lately.
For those of you who don't know, I am a shockingly bad speller. I'd look like the idiot I am if it weren't for the magic of "spell check." But sometimes even spell check can't make sense of the word I'm trying to spell and I have to google it. If that doesn't work, I usually pick a different word or call Anthony for help.
Yesterday, I got really frustrated, trying to figure out how to spell "bachelor's" (as in bachelor's degree). Yes, I realize it's an easy word to spell. Anyway, spell check couldn't figure out what in the world I was trying to say, and Anthony was sitting right behind me so I asked him how to spell it. He kept rattling off the answer too fast for me to catch, and I got frustrated with him. I was like, "never mind! never mind!" thinking I'd google it, but then I realized Anthony's diploma is hanging on the wall right in from of me, so I squinted up at it, looking for the word bachelor's, and Anthony sighs and says, "Jenny, that's a doctorate."
I received my diploma a few days ago for my associates degree. It says "High Honors" on it because I graduated with a 4.0 (yes, you don't need to know how to spell to get a 4.0) so I was thinking of highlighting that part with a hot pink highlighter, and then matting it in a huge frame to compensate for the fact that it will be hanging next to Anthony's diploma. I told Anthony my plan, and he was like, "Hmm. Maybe I'll pull out my other diploma and have it framed too."
Flank you, Anthony. Flank you.
Side note: I'm making progress with The Host. Have you ever been in the middle of a kiss and had a strange desire to curl your hand into a fist, pull back, and sock the guy in the temple? Yeah, me neither. That's SO Melanie.
Edit: After Landee's comments, I thought I should show you that I too understand the significance of informal education ...
Have you ever had a panic attack? I used to think only hypochondriacs had panic attacks, or people who visit chiropractors, but then it happened to me. So I'm either a hypochondriac, have back problems, or panic attacks are real.
Anyway, the first time it happened, I thought I was having an asthma attack. I happened to be driving at the time, so I pulled over and called my brother Tom. I couldn't calm down enough to tell him that I couldn't breath, so I had to pass the phone back to Cord. Next thing I knew, my SIL Katie was there, loading me into her van and driving me to a doc-in-the-box.
A panic attack is brought on by high anxiety--it's psychological but produces physical sensations like heart palpitations, shaking, and the struggle to breathe. You know that part on the movie Airplane, when the lady starts to panic and a long line of people forms down the isle, waiting for their turn to slap her and tell her to "get a hold of" herself, and there's one guy in line with a baseball bat? Well, that's what happened to me at the doc-in-the-box. Except for the baseball bat.
But nurses lining up to shout at me to get a hold of myself didn't work, and it was soon apparent that I would not be able to calm down without the aid of a "magic pill," so Katie dropped me off at her house while she ran to pick up my "magic pill" prescription. What followed was a crazy out-of-body experience. Word had quickly spread that Jenny was dying, and boy did my family unite! I sat on Katie's couch, trying not to think about anything--mind over matter--while a procession of family members gathered at Tom & Katie's house to see me, or called to see how I was doing. As each new person showed up, they would first ask me how I was doing, and that would take me out of my "Zen" and I'd start gasping for air. Even if I heard them discussing what was wrong with me amongst themselves, or talking about me on the phone, I'd panic and start gasping.
I think this is the biggest drama I have ever caused, and it was actually a blast!
But after I took one "magic pill," I was suddenly back to normal and everyone lost interest in me. I had a giant bottle of pills and I never even had to take a second one.
I didn't realize what caused the first panic attack until the second one happened. Both occurred just days before Anthony and I were leaving the kids to go out of town by ourselves. We've only done it twice. The first time we went out of the country, so maybe that's why I was way out-of-control, because the second time I could get a grip without any "magic pill." I've left the kids home with Anthony to go on "girls trips" before, and that never makes me panic, only if we both go without the kids.
So I finally figured out what was causing them. But then, a few days ago, it happened again.
We don't have any trips planned.
I have a sneaking suspicion of what might have caused it this time. Not positive, still trying to figure it out. Anyway, I thought it would be fun if everyone gathered at my blog and asked if I was OK, or discussed what is wrong with me in my comments.
Proof, that the most fascinating things in my life are menial.
"...a stranger flanked him a few feet back, their mouths open with shock."
As I was running with Anthony last night, I had a feeling that something, or someone, was flanking me. I glanced over my shoulder and no one was there. But then, as we approached a street light, out of the corner of my eye, I could see a dark shadow quickly approaching my left flank. I panicked, screamed, and practically jumped on Anthony. I totally freaked him out and he was like, "What, what?!?!" And by that time, I realized that the dark shadow flanking me was in fact my own dark shadow. I didn't what to tell him I was scared of my own shadow, so I said I thought a cat was coming after me. He rolled his eyes anyway.
I finally broke my one mile barrier. I thought something was wrong with me because I could not "run" for more than a mile before I had to Wal*mart walk. I was beginning to think I was out of shape. But I think I found a good breathing technique and that's the difference. Anthony nudged me to get my attention--because my iPod was blaring--so he could make sure I knew he was laughing at me for the way I was breathing. So I took out my ear phone for a while to listen to my breathing, and it was hilarious, but then I heard something even more hilarious: Anthony singing random phrases from the song playing on his iPod without even realizing that he was. "Beautiful day... touch me!... take me... higher place... I know... loveless case."
Anthony is very uncomfortable with attention. He'll downplay every accomplishment he's ever accomplished just to avoid getting any attention. It can be annoying because if I brag about something he did, and he'll come along behind me and convince everyone that it was no big deal and list all the reasons why they should not be impressed, and then I look like an idiot. But overall, I'm glad he's humble rather than full of himself (right here, Anthony would deny that he's humble). It's funny watching him do something in front of an audience of friends and family, like if he's opening a gift or something like that. Everyone's attention is on him, and every time, without fail, he'll start humming to relieve the tension. It's always the same ditty. It sounds like this: "Hm hmhm hmhm hmhm," like he's going down a hill to fetch a pale of water.
Proof that the most menial things in my life are fascinating.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a very deep sleeper. It's caused a few problems in my life, mainly that I'm late for things that I can't be late for because I slept through my alarm. But also, at family events, I'm always the last one up, the last one in the shower, there's no hot water left, and everyone's ready to go. A few times, they had to go on without me. Rude. It's the worst feeling when you wake up and realize everyone is ready to go and you have five minutes to get you AND all your kids ready or you're gonna miss out on whatever is going on. I always wonder why someone doesn't simply wake me up? Especially since they always assure me they will for sure wake me up bright and early.
Hmm. Sabotage, maybe?
Anyway, in my freshman Psych class a few years ago, I learned a few tricks for giving myself the best odds of hearing my alarm clock and waking up in the morning.
Here are the rules I must follow:
First, if I must wake up before getting at least 7 hours of sleep, do not set my alarm for a half hour mark. (meaning, it's better if I try to wake up after 5 hours of sleep rather than 5.5). The half hour mark is when I begin my new sleep cycle. Waking up after 5 hours is easy for me because I'm just coming out of my long REM (rapid eye movement) stage, so I often plan on 5 hours of sleep if I'm concerned about sleeping through my alarm, and it always works--but obviously it's not ideal.
Second, do not sleep longer than 7-8 hours. If my alarm goes off after I've been asleep for say 9.5 hours, I will sleep through it. I'm close to death at that point. Plus, I start having crazy lucid dreams.
Oh, Quick Tangent: I hate it when people insist on telling me about some dream they had (except for S. Meyer), so please forgive me. But once, I had this dream that I got in a car accident with this guy, and our cars were all tangled up and a cop was trying to help us untangle the cars, and we were all arguing about whose fault it was, and that's when we suddenly become all tangled up in each other's clothes, and when we get untangled, the guy was wearing my under garments on the outside of his clothes and I'm sweating bullets, hoping he doesn't notice...
OK, back to point. Those two rules for myself aren't universal, they just work for my sleep patterns. You might be different.
So, what was my point? That tangent threw me. Oh yeah. The night before last, I didn't sleep at all. Yes, not at all. That's my other sleep problem. I had one really bad year in which *I solemnly swear* I hardly slept at all, and never went to sleep easy. I've never taken anything to help me sleep because I'm pretty sure I would never wake up, and besides it's purely psychological. Mind over matter. I seem to function all right after a sleepless night anyway, not that I enjoy it or anything. I even blogged yesterday. And showered.
So, what was my point? Oh yeah. So after having that sleepless night, I went to bed unusually early last night, and had a LONG night's sleep. So, in accordance with my rules, it was no surprise that I slept through my 7:30am alarm this morning.
At exactly 8:30am (the time I normally shove the boys out the door to walk to school), Cord shakes me awake. I'm like, "whoa wha where am I? unicorns? candy mountain?" and Cord goes, "We're leaving mom." I see the time and jump out of bed, and I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, we're SO late." But then I put on my spectacles and see that both Cord and Gus are standing by my bed, showered and dressed, their hair parted on the right sides, their giant backpacks on, ready to go.
"You got up and ready on your own?"
"Did you have breakfast?"
"Brush your teeth? Deodorant?"
"Ah, I'll go make your lunches."
"We already did. Bye mom."
So now I'm wondering if I even need to worry about all this waking up business?
You know. The person you can call about ten times a day, and talk with for anywhere between 5 and 90 minutes, about nothing in particular, but somehow it's hysterical, all without feeling like a stalker? If you don't have an emergency contact, you need to get one ASAP.
Here's me with mine. I picked this picture based on how adorable and thin I look. Ignore Sara (my gorgeous sister on my right). She's not a frequent caller-type, but when she does answer, our conversation is high-quality, and lasts between 5 and 10 hours, until my ear is sweaty and sore. Anyway, it's my sister Amy who's been my emergency contact. Thanks Amy!
I'm just curious, how many of you have the same emergency contact as me? I wouldn't be surprised if all of you did. She's popular.
Anthony took the boys to a swap meet today to spend Cord's babysitting money, and Homer came in my office before they left and said very sweetly, "Mom, I want a monkey."
I was like, "Aw, you want a monkey?"
Me: "Like a toy monkey or a real monkey?"
Homer: "A real monkey."
Me: "Aw, you want a real monkey?"
Homer: "Yeah. With sharp teeth."
Homer: "A monkey with sharp teeth that will kill Cord and Gus."
The boys had been playing Donkey Kong on the old school Nintendo that morning, so I think that's how the thought occurred to him. I hope. Anyway, he came home with a pair of plastic handcuffs instead. Phew.
He finally confessed that he was jealous of my iPod. I laughed, and then rolled my eyes when I realized he was dead serious. I turned the tables on him, and acted like a bear on the rag. (Are you as horrified by the phrase, "on the rag" as I am?) Anthony ran errands and came home with a peace offering.
Gus came home with a case of middle child syndrome. Anthony and I had plans to go out. I felt like we should invite Gus to come along. Anthony easily agreed. I'm glad he's only threatened by inanimate objects. And not kids. And not fictional characters. Gus was super excited about going with us. He spent most of the time talking about Cord. And wondering how long we've been gone. Cord earned $7.50 for babysitting. He's gonna share it with Gus. Boys are easy. I didn't mean it like that. Perv. Is this a Haiku?
Anyway, me and my iPod are a package deal. I can't live without it, and Anthony finally accepted that, and bought me this "IV drip" iPod holder.
Plus, I started ticking off all the junk he's obsessed with (he writes these little lists and leaves them all over the house) and threatened to suddenly develop a jealousy for them.
For some reason, I always remember that today is your birthday, but only recently, like in the last 7 years.
I was trying to decide if I should write a downer post today, like "Where were you when the planes crashed into the buildings?" I'm sure you remember because for a few days you really thought the world was coming to an end. You ran out and bought a crazy amount of duct tape, trash bags, and Crest White Strips, and then filled a duffel bag for each member of your family (ahem. Becky) with escape-type clothes, like travel capes and things similar to what the Von Trapps would pack. Then you filled your car with gas and calculated how far you would be able to get, and realized you couldn't quite make it all the way to Canada, so you would have to stop in Idaho and go to Gus and Mary Morgan's house. They would feed you old expired food-storage food, and then you'd put on your travel capes and climb every mountain until you reached Canada.
(911, US refugees arriving in Canada in their capes)
Anyway. Not even gonna bring up that depressing stuff.
We had a long day yesterday. It was open house at the kid's school last night--we missed the one before school started because we were out of town, so we hadn't even met the boy's teachers yet. We also had to squeeze in time to get the boy's pinewood derby cars to the "weigh-in" last night, so we needed to hurry through the whole open house. Didn't happen.
We went to Gus's class first, met his teacher, and got through his "checklist" of things to see in the classroom in pretty good time.
Then we went to Cord's.
He has four teachers (Math, Science, Language, & Gate) plus the "specials" teachers (PE, music, art, library, & drama), and it took us an HOUR to get through his "checklist" and we totally skipped the "specials" teachers.
The reason why it took so long? One of Cord's classmate's parents created a bottleneck.
For some reason, this same couple and their son would get to the next classroom just before us, and they would completely monopolize the teacher so none of the other parents could even step in and introduce themselves. They seriously had no qualms against making a long line of parents wait while they talked to each teacher for about 15 minutes about their Very Special All-Important son.
Oh, the glares that poor kid was getting from me.
But his parents? How can people be so unaware of everyone else around them? And all the murmuring and gnashing of teeth? I think they actually believed it was just lil' Mason's open house. Did they learn nothing from the events of 911?
Tonight is the Pinewood Derby. I hate the Pinewood Derby.
Well, what do you know, this post turned out to be quite depressing. Don't read it.
It smelled really good outside during my nightly "run." Like the inside of a pirate ship.
But there was this one house we kept passing that was drying a load of laundry. The smell was distinct--they use the same cheap laundry detergent as my SIL, Katie Morgan. Every time we passed it, a clear picture would pop into my head of Katie doing that groovy little shoulder-thrust dance she does. She moved away to Idaho last Friday. Do you think she knows what's going on in my life, that I think of her, and that I still have such a clear, almost perfect memory of her after all this time?
...on my playlist, because One Day Like This by Elbow is the perfect song for this post. (Amy confessed that's the first thing she does when she gets to my blog). Plus it uses the phrase "Holy Cow" in the most perfect way. You'll appreciate it.
A freaky storm just tumbled into town. It was perfectly sunny, and within an hour, it looked like this:
So far, it hasn't started raining on my side of town, but Anthony called from work to tell me it's pouring where he is. If it rains, I'll get a picture.
Spoke too soon! It just started pouring! Look:
Trust me, this is blog-worthy stuff. I wasn't the only one out taking pictures.
I bought Cord a new shirt (he's just starting to outgrow his shirts from two years ago) and laid it out for him to wear to school today. I was tired this morning, so I laid back down after I got the boys up and going. I woke up to this conversation beside my bed:
Cord: "I got a new shirt. Sweet tiger!" Gus: "Yeah." Cord: "This is awesome!" Gus: "It's gonna be mine soon." (<--meaning he'll get the hand-me-down)
I don't why that struck me as hilarious, but I woke up laughing.
**First, quick update on my nightly run: I could only "Wal*mart walk"--no running at all--for the last two nights. I didn't know I had leg muscles, but apparently I do because they hurt like a mother. Me suspect someone will have seriously toned legs soon. Anthony wondered aloud if my arse hurt as well--sounding a little too hopeful. I don't know what he's getting at.**
So, on Saturday, my kids begged me to take them to Panda Express for lunch. I was feeling lazy--it was already noon, and we still had to shower and get ready--but I went ahead and gave in. The kids were showered and ready in 15 minutes. I was still feeling lazy and moving very slow. Finally, at around 2PM, the boys dragged their weak bodies into my bathroom--where I was lazily blow-drying my hair--and begged me to feed them, cuz they were STARVING.
I looked at the clock and *guiltily* realized how much time had passed, and I was like, "OK, OK, lets go, geez," shooing them out the door.
Gus spun around and said, "No, YOU geez. It took you 2 hours to get ready and now we're starving!" I was still feeling guilty, but I just said, "Look, do you want to eat at home? I can make you a sandwich REALLY quick." And that shut them up.
We drove in silence to Panda Express--they were seriously annoyed with me, and they did look quite hungry. When we got there, they went straight to a table, sat down, and rested their heads on the table, too weak to stand in line with me. Once I brought them their food, they started to quietly come out of their weakened stupor. Every bite they took sounded like this:
"Mmm." "Mmmm." "Mmm." "This is SO good." "Mmmm." "This is the best thing I've ever tasted." "Mmm." "Mmmm." "Mmm. This is good." "They have the best food here." "Mmm." "Mmmm." "You have to try this Gus. It's probably the best thing I've ever tasted." "MMMMM. That was good Cord. Try mine." "Wow. I can't decide which one I like better." "We can share." "Thanks. Mmm, that's good." "Mmmm." "I love this place." "They have the best food ever." "Mmm." "Mmm." "Mmmm."
Now, to me, the food tasted kind of greasy--all I got was a big plate of chow mein--but I guess they were so hungry that it was the tastiest meal they had ever had.
The restaurant was very noisy--there were kids running around, out of control, screaming, throwing fits, but my three boys stayed calmly in their seats, quietly expressing their gratitude for the meal in between every bite.
Of course, I knew why.
And that's when this husband and wife approach me. The husband hands me a twenty dollar bill, and I stupidly take it without even thinking, my mouth full of greasy chow mein, and he goes, "I just wanted to thank your boys for being so good and treat them to some ice cream for desert. I have never seen such well-behaved children. Good job mom! The world needs more mothers like you."
I choke down my wad of chow mein, and manage to say, "Wow. Thanks. It's not really necessary..."
"Oh, we insist. Your boys are so polite and appreciative, and they deserve a reward. Kids take going out to eat for granted nowadays, but we can tell your boys are genuinely grateful. We overheard them..."
At that point, I exchange a knowing glance with Cord (meaning, we both know that he and his brothers had been starving to death). But Cord totally stepped up and played the part. "Gee, thanks sir. Gus, are you finished eating? May I take your plate?"
So the couple stuck around and talked to the boys for a few minutes, and I could barely recognize them, they were so proper and polite--even Homer. Then the couple waved goodbye and I walked the boys to the Cold Stone a few doors down.
Man, I'm glad the couple didn't follow us. They might have demanded their money back. The boys were super hyped about getting 20 bucks, and there was a HUGE line at Cold Stone--total chaos.
But here are my perfect little angels, quietly enjoying the fruits of their starvation:
My brother Tom and SIL Katie packed up and moved to Idaho yesterday.
The day before yesterday, I insisted on Anthony and I going over there and helping them move, but then I completely forgot and we showed up 1.5 hours late. By that time, they had finished packing up most the moving van by themselves.
Oh yeah, and Tom also did this:
He was trying to move the washer down the stairs by himself (so impatient), and it went tumbling down the staircase, damaging the walls and giving him a nasty cut on his hand. (He'll need one stitch.)
Their washer was busted up to pieces and they had to trash it. As you can tell, Katie was furious. I felt pretty guilty for not getting there in time. Katie was P-Oed at me too, as you can tell.
This is their dog, Whitey. Every time I see him, he looks smaller and more emaciated. Katie said he's dehydrated. I noticed him in the backyard snacking on a few long blades of grass, and his eyes were all shifty and paranoid, like he was worried about someone taking away his lunch, so I suspect he's hungry as well.
This is their adorable baby, Atticus. They feed and water him.
This is the whole sweaty group of them. Minus Hazel, who was still at school. (Pst. Look at Whitey. See what I mean?) Oh I forgot to mention. They also have an entire herd of creepy cats. They have decided to leave them with the house. I didn't realized that was an option, but apparently it is.
There goes the only cousin Homer had in town that was his age. They're all in Idaho now, forming a click.
Now the Morgans are gone. I have very mixed feelings about them moving.
They HATED it here--that made Tom grumpy. It didn't help that they lived in a semi-ghetto area, with bad schools and nightly gun fire. I think it's safe to tell their dirty little secret now that they've moved, but they didn't actually live within the city of Las Vegas, but North Las Vegas... AKA ghetto town.
You know that scene from the movie Shrek when he rescues Fiona from the castle, and he looks across the fiery moat and says, "Sure it's big enough, but look at the location."
Well, they had bought a big, lovely home... in North Las Vegas.
Still, I don't think they really felt the pressure to move out of the area until their kids started school. That's when you really get an honest sampling of the kind of community you live in.
So, for these reasons, I'm happy and excited for them that they moved. I'm glad they chose Idaho because Katie has been wanting to move closer to her sisters for a VERY long time. I think they made an excellent decision to leave, and I hope everything works out for them in Idaho.
I'm going to miss them.
I didn't really feel it until we were driving away from their house. I was suddenly all deep and nostalgic. We both moved to Las Vegas at the same time, in 2000, and I have had some of the best times in my life hanging out with Tom and Katie. In the more recent years, we did all the family stuff together, even took family vacations together. They've become the people we rely on if we're ever in a jam. Tom's the person I call when I come home to an empty house and I'm totally freaked out that there's a killer hiding inside. He's more paranoid than I am, so he'll stay on the phone with me while I check behind all the shower curtains, and always offers to drive out to my house with his guns and check for me.
Once, I was home alone with Homer when he was really little, and I passed by the front door and noticed it was ajar. I freaked out, grabbed Homer and my phone, and ran out of the house, sure that a killer had broken in. I called Tom, and Katie insisted on driving over (they live about 25-30 minutes away, depending on traffic) to make sure my house was safe. I was waiting outside barefoot, too scared to go back inside, when Katie arrived and got out of her van with a crowbar in hand. With Katie's crowbar, we searched every inch of my house and found it free and clear of killers. So, we're standing in my entryway, trying to figure out how the door could have possibly gotten opened, when Homer toddled over to the front door, unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door. Mystery solved.
I really got to know Katie better in the last three years. I think she is absolutely hilarious. I have so much fun with her. She actually got me started bloging (a very slow start). I'm so grateful for the kind of person she is. She's very supportive of my crazy aspirations, SO accepting of all my flaws, not easily offended, quick to forgive... everyone needs someone like that in their life. She's easy, if you know what I mean (and no, I don't mean it like that you pervs).
But I have to warn the Idaho relatives, Katie'll try to give you crap. Don't take any of her crap! (I mean that literary).
Here's a typical phone conversation with Katie:
Me: Well, I better go. I'm all out of toilet paper. I need to run to the store...
Her: I have toilet paper. Tons of it. You can have some of it.
Me: Er, well, I'm not going to take your toilet paper. Plus, I'm also out of paper towels...
Her: I just bought a HUGE thing of paper towels at Costco. You can have some of my rolls.
Me: Well, I also need mil...
Her: Milk? Were you gonna say milk? Because I have tons of milk. It's gonna go bad. You can have some of it.
Me: Katie, you're like thirty minutes away, and the store's right down the street...
Her: Well, I'm going to the bank by Wal*mart, and we can meet in the parking lot, or I could just bring it by your house. I have four extra rolls of toilet paper, two rolls of paper towels, and one and a half gallons of milk...
Me: (still trying to find some reason why this won't work) I need salt.
Her: What a coincidence! I had a coupon for a ten pound bag of salt, there's no way I need all that salt, I'll pour half of it in a Ziplock...
Me: Katie! I'm not going to take your half-used, no-name brand crap. I'm going to the store...
Me: End of discussion!
If she tries to give you crap, that's how you handle it.
Anyway, if you're reading this Tom and Katie, I'm gonna miss you gize and your kids. Don't let them forget about their favorite aunt, pound it into their head everyday, OK?
Oh, I forgot one thing. When we were driving home from their house, Anthony and I (and even Homer) were very quiet and thoughtful. We stopped behind this middle-school school bus that was unloading kids, and a girl waddles off that had to be at least 8 months pregnant. It was a sign. Anthony just looked at me and said, "I think it's time to move."
Sara is so much fun to hang out with. She'll do pretty much anything (<--got no shame). I love this FHVD post of her. It's my all time favorite video, and even though I've seen it a thousand times, it still brings tears of hysterical laughter to my eyes. She's just a dancer at heart. She's gotta dance.
Here's a video I made of pictures of her through the years. It's so groovy, it makes me cringe. I'm pretty sure it's the song, because she was really cute.
I took Homer and my iPod to the park yesterday. I was pushing Homer on the swing--really high just how he likes it--and listening to my iPod--really loud just how I like it. I started spacing off, not paying any attention to how much time was passing, when someone taps me on the shoulder. Startled, I sort-of jump back and there's this lady giving me a very stern look. I pull out my earphones so I can hear her, and that's when I realize that Homer is bawling. The lady says to me, "He's been asking to get off that swing for quite a while."
So, I think I broke Homer of his whole "swing obsession." It's like when you catch your teenager smoking, and you force them to smoke like ten packs of cigarettes to teach them a lesson. "Oh, you like the swing, eh? I'll teach you to like the swing."
Speaking of cigarettes, I "ran" with Anthony again last night. I followed the same "running" pattern as the night before, but I forgot about the whole knee brace thing, and when Anthony noticed, he insisted on stopping by our house and grabbing it for me. Last time I ever fake a knee injury.
Anyway, speaking of cigarettes, there's this house we run past that reeks of cigarettes--the people who live there go outside to smoke around the same time we run. Anthony says it always smells that way. The smell is distinct to me--they smoke the same brand of cigarettes that my Grandma Cordil smoked. Every time we pass that house, my Grandma's face, her voice, and all her little mannerisms pop into my head. She died in March of 01. Do you think she knows what's going on in my life, that I think of her, and that I still have such a clear, almost perfect memory of her after all this time? That's the real power of second-hand smoke.
--Deep, Thoughtful, and Obsessed with my iPod Jenny
Aw, he really does want me to run with him (see post below). So we went "running" last night, and I even wore the knee brace. (What was I supposed to do?) We went 3.5 miles--I did my bouncy, slow-motion, cartoon run for 1 mile and my Wal*mart walk for 2.5. I had the best playlist on my iPod, the weather was gorgeous... I'm really loving this. I'm already excited to go again tonight.
I think part of it is just the freedom of being able to take off and leave our kids at home. We've only left them once before this. We let Cord babysit during the day for the first time a few Saturdays ago while Anthony and I went out to lunch. Cord was all excited because he was getting paid, but I was all guilt-ridden and kept calling home to check on them. He's very responisble and we trust him, but when you leave them the first time... oh, the guilt!
But I felt very comfortable leaving them the last two nights to "run" around the neighborhood. It was liberating.
See, guilt is like a triangle in your stomach. When you commit a guilty act, the triangle turns, and the sharp pointy corners dig painfully into your stomach lining. But each time that triangle turns, the corners wear down a little bit. The turning gets progressively less-painful, until the triangle eventually whittles down into a smooth circle that you can't feel turning in your stomach at all. No more guilt. This is how people windup in prison.
Is it still summer? My perception is a little skewed.
Anyway, Anthony runs 5 miles every night. In the fall, as the LV marathon approaches, he ups it to 10-12 miles a night. This distance doesn't seem to phase him, cuz he "lettered" in track. But he says he's so used to it, that he doesn't start to feel any pain until the 13th mile. Pain? Who DOESN'T like a little pain every now and again?
So these are my new running shoes...
My motivation for joining him has nothing to do with actually wanting to run or get in shape, I just want to go outside and enjoy the nice night with my iPod and without kids. I'm so a night person. Lately, it's been about 80 degrees at night, with a really nice breeze. My FAVORITE thing about LV *hands-down* are the warm nights.
I'm very weak, like Mr. Burns, so Anthony let me set the pace. He was very patient--I was pretty slow. Sometimes I thought we weren't even moving forward, just kind of bouncing in place. But I "ran" for a mile, and then walked a mile and a half--Anthony commented that I walked faster than I ran, and I told him it's from all those trips to Wal*Mart.
But he walked along beside me without a word of complaint, though I knew he was antsy to really take-off running. I enjoyed it so much (not the running part, just the being outside at night listening to my iPod without any kids part) that I could have walked around our neighborhood all night, but I started to feel guilty for holding Anthony back, so I faked a knee injury. I saw a flash of relief in his eyes, so I knew I had done the right thing. He dropped me off at home, and then sprinted off down the street. Show off.
Anyway, I can't wait for him to get home tonight so we can go "running" again. When I told him, he was like, "That's cool," but there was no emotion in his voice, like he was numb inside or something. He's nice to me.
Here's my iPod.
I'm obsessed with it, and have regular nightmares that I lose it or it gets stolen. Then I wake up in a cold sweat, frantically feeling around on the nightstand to make sure it's still there.
Oh, forgot to mention, looks like the Smart Remarks book for this month is The Host. I think it'll be a fun one to review--hopefully everyone will read it and play along, even those who didn't vote for it hint hint Mark. Should I be concerned that most people voted for it because they "already read it?" Ah well.
And it always comes after you've accomplished something that was extremely time consuming, diminishing all your hard work, as if you didn't have to make any sacrifices to get it done.
I hear that all the time--mainly from the same people--and I try to tell them, "Look, I did all the same crap you did today, plus all my additional crap, so don't kid yourself."
But that goes in one ear and out the other, because it's the last thing they want to believe. "No, no, no," they insist, "the reason you were able to [accomplish something time consuming] is because you have so much extra time on your [very unimportant] hands."
And, if I have an endless supply of time, whilst they have absolutely no time at all, their time suddenly becomes some sort of precious resource, like petroleum or magnesium, and my time becomes an infinite resource that they can suck dry, like air or cardboard.
Listen, I don't have any more time than you do. That's just a lie you tell yourself so you don't feel bad at the end of the day. We all start with the same 24hours, and if you choose to spend your time gluing pennies to your dashboard, I won't judge you, just don't assume that gives you the right to steal a few hours of my "infinite" time.
If you can't tell, I've had some time to think about this.
On another note, I somehow started this rumor that I'm pregnant, wrote a novel, and have an agent. Sorry about all that, but it was only about me so no harm done. I forgive myself.