What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Sunday, December 25, 2011


On this Christmas day, I'm pondering on the miracles that have happened in my life:

The neighbor who saw my dead car on the side of the road and me walking and instinctively knew that the kids I carpool home would need a ride home -- even though her kids don't even go to the same school. Thank you.

I couldn't find my cell phone charger. Then my cats knocked down a huge painting in my bedroom and as I went to pick it up, there in a Darth Vader helmet under the fallen painting was my charger. Thank you.

My other neighbor who saw my dead car at the mechanic's and called to see if the other carpool kids would need a ride home. Thank you.

The car that decided to die a few hours AFTER I drove my nephew to the airport so that he wouldn't miss his flight. Thank you.

My work's janitorial crew who forgot to clean out the fridge so I could reclaim my cartons of milk and orange juice that I had left behind the day before. Thank you.

And these are just the ones that happened this week. I think my new year's goal for 2012 is to pay more attention to the many miracles in my life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Closed Captioning Follies

As one who enjoys closed captioning mistakes, here's one of my favorites:

Instead of,

"Will my kids live better than I do?"

It read,

"Will my kids lisp better than I do?"

In my case, I would say yes, yes they will.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TV Follies

I don't know if the TV producers are getting dumber or if they assume that the TV watchers are getting dumber. Two recent examples:

I was watching "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" (yes, I'm admitting it -- I watch it) and they were describing their trip from Los Angeles to some exotic island local. Anyway, here's the map they showed of their starting point:

Wow, I had no idea that Los Angeles is in the middle of MEXICO! I can see putting it a little bit too high or too low or too far east on a map, but didn't that huge peninsula called Baja California give you a clue that you were a little too far south?

The other day, I was watching an infomercial for Victoria Principal's skincare line and they were advertising it for $89.99 for a 90-day supply. But if you called right now, you could get their special offer of a 30-day supply for only $29.99!

Now I'm no math genius, but even I could see right through that one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stupid Car!

The good news -- my right blinker miraculously healed itself and is working again.

The bad news -- now my driver side window is stuck permanently down (just in time for winter!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm not friendly, I'm just lazy

The right turn signal on my car isn't working.

(If my father is reading this, I mean my "right turning indicator." As he likes to say, "ANYTHING can be a signal, so be more specific!")

I know that on this model of car this happens a lot, so I'm too lazy to get it fixed. Instead, I'm going "old school" and using hand signals. Luckily, Nigel had a driver's handbook in the house because I couldn't remember which way to hold my arm (obviously, I don't ride bikes much).

So now I'm driving down the street sticking my arm out the window (luckily it's summer) before I make a turn and everyone thinks I'm waving at them. They either wave back or give me a weird look like, "I don't know you, how dare you wave at me!"

It's gotten so bad that the other day the man in the car ahead of me was signalling for me to go around him. I just sat there. Nigel finally had to poke me and tell me to go around. I thought he was signalling for a right turn, too!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jeffrey's Version of Events

So, so I think that the lady was probably -- wait, driving to the hospital and she was drinking out of like a soda--drinking a soda or something and I'm guessing that just maybe she dropped it and was reaching down to get it and then while she was reaching down, she probably accidentally turned the wheel and then she probably saw herself going to the side, so she like put on the gas and went--oh wait, sorry, I missed a part. Wait.

Lois interjects -- why don't you just tell it from your point of view, what you experienced. So where we you?

I was just napping, then I--wait, then my hermit crabs woke me up. And then I heard a bang and then I went into my parents' room and I thought my dad's breathing machine thing blew up. Then I saw a hole in the wall. I told my sister and we went outside.

And we saw a car. Just then the wall.

Then our upstairs neighbors took us into the house for safety. And I don't know what happened after that.

Lois -- didn't the neighbor have you go in the house with him?

Yes. I didn't quite get to see what--see the room.

The end.

Lois -- what about the missing cat?

So we thought that Roger ran away because she was scared, but at the end of the day we--my mom found her in her closet. Wait, wait, wait. And yes, I said Roger is a her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nigel's Version of Events

So I work for the condo association, so I was across the street. I had just checked the pool for chemicals and pH and I was in the office doing stuff when the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and didn't recognize the number, but figured maybe I should answer it anyway, even though I wasn't "on duty" at the moment. It was Frances on the phone. She was hysterical and crying. I knew it was a big deal because the last time I heard her cry like this was when our pet rabbit died. All I could understand her say was there was a car accident and something got hit, but I really had no idea what was going on. I thought I heard her say the word London, and she has a good friend named London, so I thought maybe she was calling me to tell me that London was in an accident.

So I ran across the street and that's when I saw there was firetrucks, so I knew it happened right here and it was bigger than I thought. Then I saw the fence had been destroyed in the area and as I got closer, I saw the car that had hit our building. One of the neighbors, George, ran up to me and said "I was inside your house looking for you. The kids thought you were still in there."

Um, I'm trying to think what happened next.

And I said, "My kids, where are my kids? Are they OK?" And someone said they're upstairs. So I went to the upstairs condo--oh, wait, I really can't remember who told me, it's kind of a blur, but yeah, someone said they were in the upstairs condo. They girls were sitting on the couch of our neighbors and Frances and Alice-Grace were crying hysterically and Jeffrey was just kind of staring, he looked kind of shell-shocked.

I found out later, that because he was the only one that wasn't crying hysterically, he had gone inside with George to look for my body.

So we spent a lot of time hugging and talking to each other and the girls told me they were in the living room when it happened.

(Interjection by Frances -- "I wasn't in the living room. I was in my bed.")

Oh, you weren't?

Jeffrey told me he was in his room when it happened, which freaked me out because I still hadn't looked closely at the accident and I thought the car had actually crashed through Jeffrey's wall. By this time, someone told me the police wanted to talk to me. I didn't want to leave the kids, but I had to. So I went downstairs and this was the first time I got a really good look at the accident.

The car had crashed through our bedroom wall. The damage actually didn't look that bad. Some of the bricks were missing and the hole seemed fairly small. Let's see. Um.

(Interjection by Frances -- "I'm not the only one who gets lost")

The police officers kept asking "Now who's the owner and who's the property manager?" I said, "I'm both." They looked at me kind of puzzled and said, "Now who are you?" I said, "I own the condo." And they said, "Who's the property manager?" I said, "I'm the night and weekend manager." So in all the excitement, it was kind of a blur, but between various police officers and various EMTs, I got asked this same question about a half dozen times.

Once they figured out who I was, they asked what the damage was like inside and I said, "Actually, I don't know. I haven't been inside yet. Is it safe?" And they said it should be.

I forgot to mention, this whole time our Neighborhood Watch chair had been on the scene.

Anyway, we were inside and the wall inside looked a lot worse than the wall outside. The hole was probably about--the damage is at least six foot square. You could see the drywall was broken and you could see the studs were poking through. The car really wasn't protruding into the room, but you could see outside through the insulation.

There was a pile of bricks on Lois' side of the bed and there was lots of rubble in the room, lots of dust. They told me the building inspector was on his way to look at the room. I asked if I could get back to the kids, told them I'd be upstairs. While I was upstairs, I called the general property manager. I can't remember if I called Lois now or earlier. The general property manager told me to call me and Lois' homeowner policy insurance agent. And told me to call the insurer that the HOA uses for the exterior of the building.

When I talked to Lois, she was at work and I said that a car had hit the building, everyone was fine. There was a big hole in the wall and that she should probably come home. And at the time I thought it was strange that she had a tone in her voice like "Why is this important enough for me to come home?" I found out later, based on my description, she thought the building has been crashed into on the other end, which would be someone else's condo.

I also called our Bishop (ecclesiastical leader) to let him know what happened.

Lois interjects -- "This is going on forever. I don't know if my blog has this much memory."

And then in general, our Neighborhood Watch chair called a guy from the neighborhood who is a contractor and also owns a unit in the building to come out and patch the hole, especially since they were expecting rain the next day.

There was a tense few minutes where they suspected the support joists for the building had been damaged and they might have to--the building inspector might have to declare the building uninhabitable, especially on that end. Luckily, the contractor from the neighborhood pointed out to the inspector that the support joists ran in the opposite direction than he thought they did, and were therefore unaffected by the collision.

I guess that's it for what happened right then.

Frances' Version of Events

OK. So I was sleeping and I hear this loud crash and I assume that the girl upstairs had knocked over her toy bin. And then a little while later, Alice-Grace comes running in my room and yells that Daddy's wall had fallen down and that we need to get out. So we ran outside to the circle thinking it was an earthquake. And then I saw the car and I freaked out. And this guy came running over and he was like "Are you all OK?" And I said my dad was in there. And so he ran off with Jeffrey to look and my dad wasn't there. So I was like he's probably at work then. And then I saw our upstairs neighbor and he was on the phone with 911, I guess. And he had us come inside where we called my dad. And halfway through the phone call, I started crying, so he couldn't understand me. And then he came over--my dad came over--and he was all worried about Jeffrey because Daddy thought it had hit Jeffrey's room.

Give me a minute. Sorry, I got lost. Give me a minute.

OK. And so our neighbor upstairs was giving us breakfast and whatever and Daddy called Mom. And we just kind of hung out at the neighbor's house and then after a while, I went outside and went inside to get my camera. Everyone was--all these people were outside talking and taking pictures. And I took a lot of pictures.

And then this like construction dude came and he was like pulling the bricks out of the wall. And they like cleaned up inside and they vacuumed my mom's box of tissues, which I thought was funny.

We couldn't find Roger. And we like looked around inside and outside. And so we asked Aunty Rena what to do and she said to just leave Roger alone and leave tuna out for Roger. And then later on we found her in the closet.

And they had temporarily fixed the wall with a piece of wood and some plastic because it was going to rain. And we were on the news for like one minute.

And then on the night it happened, me and Jeffrey slept over at our friends' house and my parents and Alice-Grace slept somewhere else. And since then, we've been sleeping at our other friend's house, since they have an empty apartment.

Hole in the Wall Update

Guess who doesn't have insurance?

Yes, the lady who hit our home.

Her policy lapsed June 9th. She hit us June 18th.

Now instead of getting my wall fixed right away, I have to wait for the various insurance agencies to fight it out.

Oh, joy.

Alice Grace's Version of Events

So we were all--all the kids were asleep and we heard a big crash and all of us thought that it was something else but it really wasn't. I thought it was mom dumping the ice cooler, Frances thought that the girl upstairs like dumped her toy box, I'm not sure what Jeffrey thought. So I woke up and I--me and Roger both went into the bedroom and I saw what happened. So I yelled at Frances, wake up, wake up, get out of the house, Dad's wall fell. So we all got out and we went to our meeting place and we saw that there was a car that had hit it.

It thought my dad was still in there. So our neighbor helped us and she brought us in and we had orange slices and toast and yogurt.

And then we called Dad and told him everything, so he came over to our neighbor's house and he saw the car and then we called Mom and she thought that it was--the car only hit the bricks. And then she went inside and saw that it was lots worse.

For a lot of the time, we were looking for Roger like outside, under the beds, in bags, but she was really in my Mom's closet the whole time.

And then the people that were fixing it, they put wood in the hole and what the nice thing is if the lady would hit a wall, that would be the perfect one because she went right in between two support beams and there was no plumbing in that spot.

And then we vacuumed.

Lois' Version of Events

I was at work and at about 10:30 AM I get a call from Nigel. He starts off with...

"First of all, everyone is OK."

This does not bode well. He then tells me that a car has hit our condo and that the kids are VERY upset.

I leave work and head home. That's when I see the car in the wall. I went upstairs to get my insurance agent (very convenient to have her so close by) and to see how my kids were doing. My other upstairs neighbors had taken my kids in and fed them breakfast. They were still very upset.

I never did see the lady who was driving the car, but the ambulance was still there, so I figured she couldn't have been too hurt. The police and fire departments were traipsing though my house all morning (which was a complete mess -- especially since the night before Alice-Grace had gotten a phone book out of the recycling bin and ripped out every page and tossed it all over the living room).

My insurance agent and neighborhood watch chair was busy making lots of phone calls. Within minutes, they had the building inspector out there and two men started clearing the loose brick and building a new wall.

Then we realized that we didn't know where the cat was. We spent the rest of the day trying to find her (my kids were very upset about the missing cat). We didn't find her until about 9:00 PM -- turns out she was hiding in our bedroom closet the whole time.

In the meantime, my bedroom is all torn apart to make room for the workers and insulation is everywhere (not good for Nigel's scarred lungs).

It's been amazing all the small miracles that have taken place. The woman was not hurt (as far as we know), none of us were hurt, nothing in the bedroom was damaged (except for the wall), the car managed to hit in between two support beams, there was no plumbing in that wall, no window there to shatter glass everywhere, etc.

Most of all, we're so thankful for everyone who came to our aid. Our neighbor who was first on the scene and called 911, our other neighbors who took care of and fed our kids (and are letting us borrow their air mattress), our insurance agent, our neighborhood watch chair, the men who patched our hole because they knew it was going to rain that night, a dear friend who brought us homemade donuts to show that not all "holes" are bad, our friends who are letting us stay in their apartment while we wait for the wall to be fixed, etc.

Thank you, everyone!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And the highway patrol said MY car was unsafe...

This is what happens when you drive yourself to the hospital when you're not feeling well. No, I wasn't the driver. That's my bedroom wall that car crashed into. Here are the views of the car, the inside of my bedroom, and some fabulous neighbors (who happen to be general contractors) trying to clear the debris so they can fix the wall.

Someone said to me, "Lois, can you believe that of all the houses, they hit yours?" I replied, "Have you met me? OF COURSE they hit mine!!!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Favorite Sports

I'm not much of a sports fan.

When I go to professional sporting events, I spend all my time looking for the food vendors. "Oh, they just made a touch down? That's nice. Now where did that cotton candy guy go?"

I like to exercise, but I don't play any sports (except for the occasional indoor game of "find the smell"), but there are a few that I follow.

Baseball? Football? Basketball?

Oh, please. No way.

I used to be a big fan of boxing. Yes, pugilism, the sweet science. That was back in the day before Mike Tyson got all bitey and crazy.

I love horse racing. I must admit that I only watch The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Yes, I'm an eternal optimist -- every year I hope for a Triple Crown winner. Every year I'm disappointed. Of course, I think the main reason why I love horse racing is because the event only lasts for two minutes. Just perfect for my attention span.

But my ultimate favorite sport? The Scripps National Spelling Bee. What do you mean spelling is not a sport? They show it on ESPN! I try to spell along with the contestants (I'm always wrong) and make wagers on who's going to win (I always go for the home school kids). I love the kids who whisper to themselves, spell on their hands, or scream out the answers. They're rock stars!

You can keep your posters of Jimmer, I prefer Sukanya Roy.

Here Mom, these posts are for you!

My mother called me last night wondering if I was still alive since I haven't posted anything to the blog in such a long time.

Here Mom, I've added three more entries.


P.S. I love my mom!!!

Maybe the Highway Patrol was right about my car

As I was pulling into a shopping center parking lot, I heard what sounded like a guy dropping a box of marbles. I looked around, but didn't see anything. Then I noticed that everyone was staring at me. Then I noticed that my back side window was missing!

It had just fallen off of my car and crashed into a million pieces in the parking lot. I quickly parked the car and went into the store to borrow a broom and dustpan. I cleaned up as much glass as I could and texted my sister about how I was going to have to drive around looking all white trash with a sheet of plastic duct-taped to my car where my window should've been.

I then went home and had Nigel play "Find what's missing on the car." He was just glad it wasn't a wheel or the transmission. He then stated, "Maybe that's what the Highway Patrol letter was about."

We were just going to go with the white trash look, but then my super kind neighbor went to the wrecking yard and picked me up a replacement window. Then he and another awesome neighbor installed it on my car.

Thank you!!!

Uh-oh, the Highway Patrol is after me!

I got a letter in the mail from the Highway Patrol saying that it was reported to them that my car is "unsafe for use on the highway."

What? It just passed safety & emissions the previous month. Are there flames shooting out the back of my car? What's going on?

The letter was especially puzzling because it had my name (the car is registered under Nigel's name) and my sister's license plate number. I tried calling the Highway Patrol at the number they gave me, but I just got an answering machine (that didn't even identify themselves as the Highway Patrol). I then started thinking this was some elaborate phishing scheme.

Then a Highway Patrol officer came out to my house to inspect the car. It turns out that the mechanic who inspected my car is who turned me in. He said that the auto shop was cutting corners to get cars to pass and he was fed up with it and quit. The officer needed to verify if his claims were true, or if he was just a disgruntled employee.

Sure enough, the mechanic had fixed my loose headlight by stuffing a bunch of oily rags behind it. The officer took photos of it and said that he would get back to me to let me know if I needed to get it fixed and go through the safety & emissions process all over again.

So far, he hasn't contacted me. I hope the rags don't burst into flames, because then I'd really be unsafe!

Not So Healthy

One thing that I've learned from all of these diet books is that they're geared towards men who are six feet tall, weigh over 300 pounds and spend all day sitting on the couch drinking gallons of soda pop and eating 16 large sausage pizzas a day.

I follow their meal and exercise plans perfectly and I GAIN weight!

Now I'm back to the "Lois Diet."

That's right. Eat three healthy meals a day, no snacks, and walk around the neighborhood. The only new thing is that now I'm trying to incorporate some weight lifting into my routine. Though my BMI scores are in the normal range, my fat percentage is way too high (I am composed of fat and bones, no muscle).

My ultimate goal is to be a very fit and vibrant 100-year-old (that way I can make my children's lives miserable for as long as possible).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tra la, It's May, the "Healthy" Month of May!

I'm continuing my constant quest to be more healthy. About 20 years ago I lost 45 pounds and for the last 19 years (even through three pregnancies) I've been able to keep it off. But then in the last year, my weight has been creeping up again.

I'm a big believer in baby steps, so I don't like to do anything too drastic. We were doing that vegetarian diet, but it was just too much work. I mean, four hours to make dinner was just too much for me (three hours preparing and cooking the meal, 30 minutes begging my kids to eat it, and then 30 minutes running to McDonald's to buy Happy Meals).

A Web site I really like is Word of Wisdom Living. Each week the author gives you a tip to be more healthy. It's simple things like buying bread that has more grams of fiber than grams of sugar, getting 30 minutes of sunlight a day, not drinking more than 12 ounces of sugary drinks a week, etc.

I've also just read this book:

I'm starting the recipes and exercise plan this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mystery Solved?

We think we know what's up with Roger.

We were watching "Cats 101" on Animal Planet (yes, I have no life) and they were talking about a rare breed of cat called a Turkish Van. It caught our attention because Roger has unusual markings that kind of match to these cats. Plus, her personality fits (that of a "dog dressed in a cat's body" -- that explains her propensity towards playing fetch).

At the end of the segment, they mentioned that these cats are not good around little kids because they're hunters and they will "stalk" small children. Sorry, Alice-Grace, welcome to the bottom of the food chain.

The good news is that she can't be a purebred Turkish Van. The bad news is that we think she's also part Satan.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Those Aren't Bath Beads!

Saturday night, Alice-Grace was taking a bath. Our cat, Roger, walked into the bathroom, saw that she was in the tub, and THREW UP IN THE WATER! Poor Alice-Grace was scrambling up the walls like a crazed spider monkey. It was so gross.

The other day, Roger was sitting calmly and we one at a time held our hand out to her. She nuzzled up to Frances, ignored Nigel, and tried to shred all the skin off of Alice-Grace's limb.

Once Roger was hiding in a bag and whenever Alice-Grace walked by, she would jump out and attack her legs. If anyone else walked by, the cat would just ignore them.

What is with my cat's obsession with trying to kill my youngest child?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Didn't Realize Reading was a Full-Contact Sport

I remember a lovely childhood filled with my mother reading to us. We would laugh and cry through "The Birds' Christmas Carol" every December and attempt to understand the beautiful poetry of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." It was great.

Now whenever I try to read to my children, it always breaks into a huge melee with much yelling, screaming, and eventually bleeding as they all fight over who gets to sit where and who's touching whom and who's taking too long to look at the pictures.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

While spring cleaning, Nigel found an old paycheck from 1995 that he never cashed from when he used to teach school.

Not to be outdone, I found an old birthday check from my grandma and grandpa dated 1980.

Ha, take that!

Reading Update

So I finished "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

Loved it. It was a fun and easy read. You just need to remember that this is a memoir, NOT a how-to book. What would be even more interesting is a book written by her husband that shows his side of the story. I don't think that the kids could write an honest one until many years go by.

I also finished "Mockingbird."

I had a hard time getting into it, but then I really liked it. It was fascinating to see how the girl's mind worked. The Asperger story went well with the school shooting story, but did the mother have to be dead from cancer, too? I thought that was a little much.

I finished reading "Eat More, Weigh Less," too.

An interesting health and diet book, especially since it was written during the whole "no-fat" 1990s and there's chapters on how olive oil, avocados, nuts and salmon are all bad for you. We mostly got it for the vegetarian recipes in the back. So far I've made a sweet potato and tofu stew (delicious -- and I even got to use parsnips and turnips!) and mung bean dumplings (a lot of work for something that is not very yummy -- but I got to use lemongrass and Nigel rigged up a steamer for me). Tonight I'm making roasted eggplant sandwiches.

I'm now reading "The Book Thief."

After much support from people who have loved this book, I've decided to give it another go. I'm starting to get into the story and I'm anxious to use my new vocabulary of German swear words.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Trilogy is Not For Me

Twenty years ago, I loved book series. I read every "Fletch" book, everything written by Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Patricia Cornwell, all five books in the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy, etc. I would find an author I liked and read everything by them, and then go on to the next set.

I still love reading, but I just can't get into series anymore. I have the attention span of a gnat. I get bored reading about the same characters. To be completely honest, I find myself forgetting who the characters are and it's frustrating that I have to keep re-reading the books to remember who everyone is.

I can't even tell you which "Harry Potter" books I've read. They all blend together and as soon as I've finished one, I don't even know what the plot was (then again, I also fall asleep during the movies).

I read "Twilight," but had no interest in reading the other novels. I read "The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire," but couldn't get past chapter two of "Mockingjay." I read "Uglies" and "Pretties," but couldn't make it through "Specials" (or is it "Extras"?).

I'm noticing a trend. Maybe it's not that I can't stand to read series, but it's that I can't bear to read YOUNG ADULT novel series.

So what am I reading now? Right now on my nightstand are:

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. It seems that everyone is reading this book. I'm only on chapter two, but I have no idea what's going on (this does not bode well for me). I think I may have a hard time getting into this one.

"Mockingbird" by Kathryn Erskine. I'm kind of liking it so far. The main character is a girl with Asperger's, but it seems to be muddled with taking on a school shooting, too. Maybe the author bit off more than she could chew in one small book.

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua. So far I am loving this book. I can't put it down. It's about an American woman raising her children in the traditional Chinese way. My only question is, how does this work in China? How can EVERY kid be first in their class? How can EVERY kid be two years ahead of their peers in math? Since they can only play the piano or the violin, are Chinese orchestras seriously lacking? Is Yo-Yo Ma a huge failure because he plays the cello?

This is the book I SHOULD be reading, but of course it's the one at the bottom of my pile. March was going to be my "get healthy" month, but so far I'm failing miserably.

What are you reading?

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Cat is Litter-Box Challenged

We have a new word in my family's vocabulary: Poo-Paw.

As in, "the cat is locked in the bathroom again because it has Poo-Paw."

I don't know what to do about our new cat, Roger. She can't figure out the litter box to save her life. This is her usual routine:

1. Go in litter box
2. Dig hole
3. Stand in hole she just dug and then poop somewhere else (NOT in the hole)
4. Stand on poo she just squeezed out while looking confused
5. Get poo stuck to her paw
6. Cover a completely non-poo area with litter
7. Dunk her "poo-paw" in your bowl of cereal while you're eating it

If we're really lucky, she gets diarrhea (from drinking all the milk she contaminated with her poo-paw) and then flings that all over our bathroom wall. After all, why should she bury her poo with litter when she can bury the litter with her poo? Seriously, we had cat poo a good three feet up our wall.

The other day, she kicked a lot of litter OUT of her litter box and onto the bathroom floor. Then she preceded to pee in the pile of litter on the floor (to be completely honest, she missed most of the litter and peed on the bath mat).

Anybody want a cat?

Universe Update

My eagle-eye daughter, Alice-Grace, found my scriptures thrown in a bush. Obviously, some thieves thought my leather Bible bag was a really ugly purse or an extremely squatty laptop that I had left in my car.

So sorry to disappoint them.

Now I have to dry them out as they've been sitting in a snowbank for a few weeks. Nigel says that with their water-logged puffiness, I'll look like a total scriptorian (they look VERY well read).

Really, it would've been just as easy to throw them back in my car as to throw them in a bush. Are there no considerate thieves left in the world?

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is the Universe Trying to Tell Me?

My new year's resolution for 2011 is to be more mindful and contemplative. I have used this to my advantage when things go wrong and it's interesting what the universe has to say to you when you actually stop to listen.

The other day after work I went out to my car and my tire was completely flat! What? As I was checking the tire for damage, that's when I noticed how bald it was. I had recently replaced the other three tires, but obviously not this one. I limped it home (I know, that's bad for the wheel but you can do a lot when you're in denial) and Nigel pumped it full of air so I could take it to the tire place. That's when I realized it was a holiday weekend and no one would be open for three days! Miraculously, the tire stayed full of air the entire weekend until I could get it replaced on Monday. If it hadn't have gotten flat, I wouldn't have noticed how bald it was and with the wild winter weather this year, that could've been very dangerous.

Another example:

I always keep a set of scriptures in my car so I can read them while I'm waiting to pick up my kids from school. I went to grab them for church and they weren't there. I searched all over the car and my home, no scriptures. I'm pretty sure that someone stole them out of my car. Why? Why would you steal someone's scriptures? Is there a market for hot Bibles? The only thing I can figure is that they were in a nice leather carrying case, so maybe some demented robber thought they were a really fat Kindle or something. The worst part is that I've had these scriptures since I was 14 years old. All my favorite verses were marked and I had notes written all over them. Then it dawned on me that maybe after nearly 30 years, I needed to mark some new verses and come to some other insights as I read my scriptures. Better yet, maybe I need to read them with fresh, new eyes.

It's amazing what the universe will tell you once you take a moment to stop and listen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank you for being a friend...

So recently I unfriended a bunch of people on Facebook.

Bad form?

First of all, I'll admit that I'm not that crazy about "social networking" in the first place. I never did MySpace. I don't do Twitter. I joined Facebook late in the game only because I wanted to keep in touch with some far away relatives that use that as their main form of communication.

At first, I was accepting everyone who asked as a "friend." Then I decided to limit it to people who are truly my friends (in my opinion, if I've been to your home or you've been to mine, you're my friend. If I haven't, then you're an acquaintance).

But then I was being overwhelmed with all these status updates and weeding through all this junk in order to find the few posts from the people I really wanted to hear from. I don't care how you're doing in "Mafia Wars" or if you need to feed your pigs in "Farmville" or that you can't decide between sitting next to Timmy or Bobby in 3rd Period French.

I even had my niece give me a tutorial on Facebook, but I still was overwhelmed.

Then it dawned on me, Facebook is kind of icky. Here I was "friends" with all these teenagers and men (married and single) and that's just wrong. Would I actually call this 13-year-old and tell her about my day? Would I honestly invite this man over to chat about what I saw on TV last night? No. That's creepy.

So I sent out a warning message and then unfriended everyone who wasn't a female friend of my age or a family member. Accuse me of bad Facebook etiquette, but I certainly wouldn't do these things in real life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Better Well Read than Dead

From a friend's Facebook page:

"The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here."

Personally, I don't believe that they really think that we've only read six of the 100 books listed, and why are there so many American titles if it's from the BBC? But it's still a fun list. So here goes:

• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'll admit it. I love New Year's. It's my favorite holiday. I don't even do anything for the holiday, I just love having that clean slate (As Anne Shirley would say, "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it").

So my resolution for 2011 is to be more "in the moment."

I'm trying to avoid multitasking (I deplore multitasking) and to really think about what I'm doing, be more cognizant of my actions, ask myself what are my motivations for doing something before I do it.

This is actually something that I started about six months ago, but I'm still a work in progress.

It started with going to Frances' play. I just decided that I didn't want to worry about taking pictures or filming it. I'm so distracted by the tools in my hands that I end up not even enjoying the play. And let's be honest, it's not like I'm going to watch the video of it later -- but just in case I did want to, I made Nigel film it (and no, I haven't watched the video).

Then when my kids were taking various classes (Alice Grace in gymnastics and Jeffrey in parkour), I decided to purposely not take anything with me. Instead of reading or knitting, I watched them participate. They loved that I was there cheering them on and seeing every move they made.

Now before I buy something or eat something, I ask myself, "Do I really need this? Am I just bored? Is it worth it?"

So if you see me doing something and I don't stop right away to say hi, I'm not being rude, I'm just waiting until I finish so I can give you my full, undivided attention. So that's my goal for 2011.