Thursday, December 31, 2009

If I was still a kid—or even a college student—the past week would have looked a lot different.

Being sick generally makes a helpless baby out of me. The minute my face first got that dry feeling on Saturday (for me, always the first sign of an impending sinus problem or nasty cold), I would have retreated to the family room. I would have spent all day curled up in my corner of the couch, swathed in my blue fleece blanket, drinking tea and watching movies. I would probably have my laptop within reach, along with whatever books I was feeling too stupid to read. I probably would have slept 10-11 hours every night.

Instead, since I'm no longer a little kid or a college student, I’ve been leaving the house in the bitter cold every morning at 7:45 and spending my days at a desk, staring at a computer screen (which drives my already watery eyes completely bonkers). I’ve accomplished very little, apart from filling my wastebasket with tissues and emptying the water cooler. But since I'm not really all that sick I have no good excuse to stay home, and I’m too miserly with my personal days to give them up for anything so trifling as a cold.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday menu planning?

While doing some research today, I happened across WebMD's "Naughty List of Holiday Foods." I had to investigate further, because, for one, the name annoyed me: it was either going to be about stigmatizing fat or...uh...nevermind.

They provided a list of 15 or so fat and sodium laden delicacies with ideas about how to make them healthy. One or two of the ideas sounded edible. For instance, it probably wouldn't kill me to eat white meat turkey and not pick the skin off the bird while my grandpa isn't looking. The vast majority of their suggestions, however, were either just plain silly or just plain revolting.

Can't stop yourself from eating piles and piles of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes? Leave out the dairy and mash the potatoes with low-sodium fat-free (taste free) chicken broth. Not only will there be fewer calories in the potatoes, you'll suddenly lose the desire to die eating them.

Love pecan pie but hate yourself for eating so much sugar for dessert? Eat a handful of mixed nuts. You won't notice the difference. Honest. Equally interchangeable: caramel corn and popcorn (doubtless, butter and salt-free), Christmas cookies and whole-wheat crackers.

And drinks don't escape the purge. White wine and cranberry juice spritzers stand in for festive cocktails. Nevermind the fact that if you liked white wine spritzers you'd be drinking them anyway. Or--my personal favorite--serve their super secret recipe low-fat egg nog: skim milk, artificial sweetener, and egg substitutes. Mmmmm.

Please, just let good food be good food. If you're on a diet, eat REAL healthy food. If you feel the need to indulge in Christmas treats, it is possible to do so with moderation. Is there any point in eating traditionally rich foods with the good stuff --fat, salt, and sugar--removed? Foods that are genuinely healthy are delicious. Splenda and egg substitutes? Not so much.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Avoidance? Nah.

Bethany hates making phone calls.

Bethany hates singing in front of people.

Is it any wonder that it took nearly two weeks for me to get around to calling the Civic Theater to set up a time to audition for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?

But I did it. It's DONE.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vanity post:

As my mother--and nearly every other girl born with straight hair--could tell you, I wish desperately that I had been born with curly hair. Or wavy hair. Or hair that does something besides hang in lank strands around my face. I've long held a grudge against Patrick and Andrew for having naturally thick, wavy hair that actually forms ringlets when it gets too long. Those two have the amazing hair, Jonathan has the absurdly long and thick eyelashes, and I have a chip on my shoulder.

In the last few weeks I've taken to sleeping with my hair in curlers a few times a week. When the rollers come out and the resulting curls are forced into order I have something resembling the hair I've always wanted.

No more. It would appear that my hair can't withstand the weekly onslaught of curlers and has decided that it would rather break and fall out that be forced into ringlets.

See that poor girl? I'm calling her the anthropomorphic representation of my hair. Except that she has improbably nice locks and a well-dressed gentleman to rush to her aid.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My feet hurt.

As much as I enjoy shopping, I find malls singularly unpleasant: the noise of too many different stores playing too many different kinds of music too loudly; the smell of Abercrombie cologne mixing with whatever bizarre fruit-and-floral concoction is being hawked by The Body Shop; the sight of tragic fashion victims and girls with those silly pompadour-poof things over their foreheads. It's a multi-sensory torture process.

Having said that, I had a great time doing some Christmas shopping today with my mother and Jacqui. We went to Keystone (or, to give the full and pretentious name, "The Fashion Mall at Keystone"), which boasts such startlingly expensive novelties as Burberry and MaxAzria, as well as the places real people shop. We spent the most time at Anthropologie, my new favorite place to indulge my whimsical-yet-domestic side. I managed to NOT buy anything for myself--just presents for a few lucky people. Another favorite stop, visited annually, is the Game Preserve. I'm a sucker for games and, consequently, spent way more there than any place else. But I won't say what I bought or for whom I bought it. Somehow we didn't make it to a bookstore. Had we done so, I am certain that my resolve to not buy anything for myself would have broken down; I may be able to resist flower-shaped measuring cups but there is no way to say no to 25,000 square feet of books.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday School Snippets

Bethany: So, what sort of gifts does God give us?
Girl 1: Shoes!...and forgiveness!
Girl 2: Fishnets.

Bethany: ...because Elizabeth was barren.
Girl 3: What's "barren" mean?
Girl 1: It means she can't have any kids. Her womb was closed. [Note: Has someone been paying attention, or what???]
Girl 4: (pause, frowns) I think I'm barren 'cause I've never had any kids.
Girl 1: Girl, that's 'cause you're only ten years old.

Girl 2: So, does God still send Gabriel to people? Like, can I see him sometime?
Girl 1: I think if you don't stop interrupting Bethany when she's reading the lesson, you'll be seeing Gabriel and all the other angels real soon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oooh, pretty.

My mother and I had a wonderful morning, starting with divine service at Redeemer. Our next stop was at the Calhoun Street Emporium, an antique mall close to downtown. Besides the fact that they have a fantastic selection of vintage hats, it's an Emporium, and with that title it has to be more interesting than a plain ol' store. The recessed front door squeals and creaks as you open it, and a sign warns customers not to let the cats out. Oh, yes. There are cats. Affectionate, soft and sleek, mouse-fed cats. When we got there a pair of them were fighting over a box of Christmas garland. They stopped as soon as they realized someone was paying attention, and the little calico spent the next 15 minutes trying to curl up on top of my feet. While I was walking.

I won't even talk about the hats I bought (except to say that they are fabulous). Or the 1940s wool cape I scored for $15 (to be accessorized with riding boots, a walking stick, and a pack of hounds). My surprise find today was a cheaply framed fashion plate from Peterson's Magazine. I hadn't ever heard of that magazine, but I guessed from the styles depicted that it was from the mid-late 1860s. With some quick research at home, I found that Peterson's Magazine was one of the top women's magazines of the 19th century, right up with Godey's Ladies Book. It had a readership of over 200,000 American women, which it not too shabby.

When I removed my plate from its frame, I discovered, first, that the matting had hidden the date (January, 1867) and, second, that it was an original and not a reprint. It isn't worth all that much as a collector's item--I won't be turning around and selling for a profit or anything-- but I am really excited by the fact that I had a 143 year old print hanging in my bedroom.

I guess this is the way I reconcile my fashion-conscious side with my nerdy historian side.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Earplugs out, everyone!

This Sunday the Collegium is hosting a sing-along of Handel's Messiah. People are invited to bring their own Messiah scores--or use one of the extras provided--and sing along on the choruses. (Y'all come!) Choir members were invited to sign up for the solos and, when volunteers were not forthcoming, an email was sent out BEGGING them to sign up.

Guess who is a sucker. Guess who inherited the "can't say no" gene from her mother.

I don't do solos. The last time I sang on my own in front of people (deliberately) was when I was 12 and I sang Twyla Paris's "How Beautiful" at my aunt's wedding. Before that, it was my 3rd grade operetta, in which I starred as The Professor in "The Color Factory." (I had the distinction of portraying the only human in the play--everyone else was playing colored crayons.) I sincerely wanted to avoid this solo also, but there was no way I was going to wimp out and change my mind. So I did the only sensible thing and asked my friend Katie to sing with me. By the time we got our act straightened out, only tenor and bass pieces remained.

We've taken a tenor aria and turned it into a soprano duet. So far, our practice sessions have been continuously disrupted by fits of laughter and forays into other pieces of music. (Who wants to sing the assigned piece of music when you could be singing random folk songs and hymns?) Last night we became distracted and began singing "Every Valley" in the style of various Muppets. Good times.

The sing-along is just days away and our duet needs some work, but it will come together...

...I hope.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

See that door? You know what to do.

(The story you are about to read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the

I had a rough afternoon at work. Two hours yesterday and three hours today were eaten up in preparing a whole heckuva lot of subpoenas for a pain-in-the-neck case. (I was only able to bill for about 1 1/2 hours of that time, but that's beside the point.) My boss had a deposition that lasted a good part of the morning and early afternoon, and she signed my pile of subpoenas just before she left the office for the day at 3:00. At that point, she turned the subpoenas over to one of the other gals--we'll call her Ellen-- to finish up copying and assembling a set for each of the 900 other attorneys involved in the case while I got started on a much more "pressing and time-sensitive" project.

Apparently, someone didn't understand "pressing and time-sensitive." Within minutes of my boss leaving Ellen was back in my office berating me for using Word 2007 to create documents instead of Word Perfect, despite the fact that she is the only person in the office who uses it. And then for not noticing that the lines in the caption were a 1/2 inch too long (WHAT?). And for saving the files in a folder--incidently, the folder they belonged in--that she hadn't thought to check. And for choosing a size 2 envelope for our 80 page packet of papers instead of the too-small size 1 envelope. These subpoenas, already OKed and signed by the boss, were just not good enough for her, but that was not something she was prepared to deal with. No. I had to put aside my "pressing and time-sensitive" project and reformat every stinkin' subpoena or risk her eternal disapproval.

Generally, we get along very well. I'm just glad that no one in the office knows what I look like angry. When I my voice got sort of low and quiet and even and I moved very slowly... they didn't know it was because I wanted to tell sweet little Ellen to back off and stop bothering me with her control issues.

I didn't. I didn't glare, didn't get testy, and didn't let her know just how annoyed I was. I attempted to smile sweetly and explain why there wasn't anything wrong with the way I was doing things. (And then I instant-messaged my mother to whine at her about the situation.) All I know is that Ellen was much happier after she scolded me, and she quickly went back to being her usual cheery self. Crisis averted.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life flies when you're having fun.

I have a confession to make.

Deep breath.

Better just come out and say it.

I... am a magnetic poetry addict.

There, it's out. I have almost every set of Magnetic Poetry available. Rock'n'Roll Magnetic Poetry, Shakespearean Magnetic Poetry, Romantic Magnetic Poetry. I could go on and on, and you would understand why our fridge eventually ran out of space and I just took it all down. Before that melancholy day, I could spend hours sitting on the floor of the kitchen (blocking access to the fridge), physically playing with words. The magnets were organized by part of speech and alphabetized several times. That's how we homeschoolers roll.

I found these two refrigerator compositions on a piece of paper being used as a bookmark (original lack of punctuation preserved):

vouchsafe melancholy friend
the question is naught


haste you who would
wish every drunkard
a steed
bestow nothing o fool
lest of thy mercy they only jest

We also had a set of "Fractured Proverb" magnetic poetry, which allowed us to rearrange common cliches and figures of speech. These were captured for posterity when the magnets were taken down:

The best things in life have big ears.
Virtue is only skin deep.
Ennui is its own reward.
Behind every good man is a bowl of cherries.
A fool and his money shall inherit the earth.
Children find work for idle hands to do.
Beauty makes the heart grow fonder.
Life is a man's best friend.
Every good boy makes waste.
All work and no play doesn't pay.
Crime helps those who help themselves.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Call me a curmudgeon, but I do not appreciate that every single stinkin' pop station in Fort Wayne has changed over to an all-Christmas, all-the-time format. It's not even December yet and I am already more than tired of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Silver Bells". At work today I had to make several long phone calls (trying to track down a felonious doctor... but that's another story), which necessarily included being left on hold to enjoy a fine selection of Christmas muzak. "Silver Bells" as rendered by synth and sax.

On the positive side, hearing "Silver Bells" made me think of my brother, who does a hilarious sloshed Dean Martin impression (or is that redundant?) And that made me laugh out loud.

Having complained, I must admit that I will be enjoying some laid back Christmas shopping on Friday, soaking up the festive atmosphere and possibly, maybe singing along with some carols.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I've been suffering from a serious case of writer's block lately. Every time I consider blogging, my mind is quickly swept clean of all creative thought and all I am left with is an inner monologue that looks something like this: "What did I think I was going to write about? Did I really think at all? I wonder what's for dinner...."

In lieu of actually writing something, I thought I'd share some of the amusing things I found in an old notebook last time I cleaned out my closet.

Written pieces of scratch-paper:
"You're one of those disasters that only cockroaches survive. Love, Patrick."

"Marie Antoinette was married to Henry VIII, wasn't she?" (not going to attribute this one, because the culprit KNOWS BETTER NOW)

Girl One: It's that thing... You know, the yoga of cleaning.
Girl Two: Huh?
Girl One: Where you arrange furniture.
Girl Two: Feng shui?
Girl One: Yeah, that.
Girl Two: You make me nervous.

"It's all about cookies. Baptism has nothing to do with it." (Wouldn't some context be useful here? Too bad I can't remember.)

And my personal favorite, from a note passed to Rachael during sociology class:
"Career advice? Yeah. He told me to marry a Lutheran."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lunch Break

On a slightly more uplifting note, Target is carrying Tim-Tams again! Oh frabjous day! I can once more indulge my slightly pretentious and well-traveled sweet-tooth without the trouble of international shipping costs. (Or the plane ticket necessary if I wanted to go biscuit-shopping in Sydney.)

Now I just need to find a bakery that sells Lamingtons and my joy will be complete.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What? No really. WHAT?

The guy espouses extremist views. He tries to convert his patients. His coworkers are concerned that, if sent overseas, he'll leak information to the enemy or commit fratricide.

And the first conclusion his coworkers and superiors reach is that he might possibly be mentally unstable and unfit to serve. Unfit to serve? To borrow a phrase from my uncle, no ****, Sherlock.

What really frightens me about this article is the underlying supposition that Islamic extremism is a mental disorder that needs to be treated gently. That argument could have disturbing implications. If it is mental illness that causes individuals to blow up buses on crowded streets or shoot their way through a room full of people, it could be argued that terrorists need to be treated instead of punished.

On second thought, I agree. There is an illness in play here and, although I'm not a doctor, I think I can diagnose it. It's called EVIL.

My mother met me outside the building after work this evening. We skittered on over to J.K. O'Donnell's --skittered because my mother did not think to wear her coat and the air was getting nippy as the sun set. Our plan was to do dinner before a 6:30 presentation and book-signing at the library. OF COURSE, beer was expected to be part of dinner. It's a pub (albeit a really nice one). Pub = beer.

Our waiter was so obliging as to choose our drinks for us from their vast menu of fancy-pants imported beers. It's a good thing he did, because I could have spent the entire evening trying to figure out what I wanted. For my mother, he picked Dragon's Milk, to go with her fish'n'chips. When told that I don't care for overly hoppy beers, he chose Belhaven Wee Heavy. It was seriously delicious. And strong. And it went really well with shepherd's pie.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lunch break

It had been a while since I wore my long suede skirt, and I wasn't sure why. It's fabulous, yet it was at the back of the office closet with my prom dress and salwar kameez.

I took it out and wore it today, and now I remember why it was put away.

This skirt is the loudest piece of clothing I have ever worn. Not loud as in used-car lot salesman's plaid jacket, but loud like a jet engine. Loud like a stadium full of soccer hooligans. The lining of the skirt is the sort of super-slick polyester that makes swishing and screaming noises when it rubs against itself... which means, every time I move. I've been walking around our very quiet office all day sounding like I'm wearing a cheap track suit. Swish-swish swish-swish.

The rustle of silk is nice. So is the soft, crisp swish of a cotton skirt. Polyester just sounds embarrassing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's Wednesday, and I have this theory

I think that just as the length of the day, as measured by light, changes over the course of the year, the length of the day, as measured in hours, changes over the course of the week. Just as there is the most daylight at midsummer, Wednesday is definitely the longest day of the week. The hours seem to slow down and stretch out interminably. And, just as the midwinter days are the shortest, the 24 hours from noon Saturday to noon Sunday go SO much more quickly than any other time of the week. These were the thoughts going through my head this Wednesday morning, as I faced the length of the day.

I had one of those mornings.

Nothing looked good enough to eat for breakfast. My white blouse, which I had ironed the night before, was wrinkly again. When I put my shirt on, I found that it had been shrunk in its last trip through the laundry. My hair would not cooperate. I packed a healthy and tasty lunch, which was left on the kitchen counter when I ran out the door. Clearly EVERYTHING was out of whack and the day would be better spent in bed or curled up under a blanket reading something witty.

Things improved a little as I drove to work (except for the fact that I was driving to work and not sleeping or reading my Jeeves biography). It was a beautiful morning and traffic cooperated fairly well. I stopped at the downtown Starbucks for some fake (read: decaf) espresso and a cheese danish. The coffee was hot and the warm cup was exactly what my very cold fingers needed. The danish was--well--a danish, and therefore delicious.

Forgetting my lunch turned out to not be such a disaster. It meant that I had to leave the office and get some sunshine and fresh air in the middle of the day. That little bit of outdoor time woke my brain up and enabled me to face 4 1/2 more hours of work more cheerfully. My lunch from Loaf'n'Ladle came with a gigantic chocolate chip-pecan cookie, which also made everything a little brighter. I only ate a few bites of it (the gooey-oozy-melty chocolate chips represented a clear and present danger to my blouse) and stuck the rest of it back in my purse. . . . Come to think of it, that cookie is waiting for me as I type this.

Mmmm. Chocolate. Maybe Wednesdays aren't so bad after all.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A new career?

Last night, I dreamed I was filming a martial arts movie with Jackie Chan. The main action sequence involved throwing rolls of paper towels across the room--don't ask me why. I remember the director telling me that it didn't matter what moves I made as long as they 1) were unusual, 2) were funny, 3) allowed Mr. Chan to win the fight, and 4) showed off my muscles.

It was at that point that I realized I was dreaming. I don't really have discernible muscles.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shoulda Known Better

The week before last I surrendered to boredom and ordered The Sims 3 from It took about 9 days to get here from Lexington, KY, which would be impressive if the Post Office was still using horse-drawn wagons to transport the mail. I got around to installing it on Thursday evening after church.

Oh boy.

I'm doomed. I'll never accomplish anything ever again. Sims 2 was bad enough for wasting time, with entire weekends being eaten up by marathon Sims-sessions. I'm not bragging about this, mind you, but admitting that I have a problem.

So, Thursday evening I stayed up until 11:00 getting acquainted with the game. At first glance that doesn't seem so very late, but when you consider that I needed to get up at 7:00 the next morning, and I have a difficult time functioning on less than 8 hours of sleep. . . . Last night, I was awake until midnight playing with my Sim. I could have kept on going, but my (limited and computer addled) sense finally kicked in and I went to bed.

But please don't judge me for my geeky gamer tendencies. I spend all day being put-together and professional and it feels good to let my brain check-out for the evening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I took my brothers, my father, and Emma to the Daughtry/Theory of a Deadman/Cavo concert last night. I had intended to post something about that, but my brother beat me to the punch. There doesn't seem to be any sense in repeating what he already said. If you want to know how it was, read what he wrote. I'll just say be succinct and say that the concert was AWESOME.

Ok, so the concert was awesome. Waking up the next morning after a scant 6 hours of sleep? Not so much. The good news is that I was probably not in the same sort of fix as the trampy chicks who sat in front of me.... Well, sat when they weren't running out to buy more beer. I'm sure they had a lovely day today. No hangover here, just one zombified girl who did not get quite enough sleep. "Quite enough" meaning 10 hours.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Enjoying it while it lasts

My twenty-minutes in the car on the way home was the best part of the day. The sun was shining and I had my windows down, enjoying the nearly 70 degree air. Traffic was relatively sane (although there was that one idiot that seemed oblivious to all other drivers) and I was able to take it easy. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Nearer to home, someone (across the street, and therefore in unincorporated territory where stupid city laws don't apply) was doing a controlled burn of their vegetable garden and the air was full of thick, woody, leafy, autumn-y smoke. At home, Andrew had just finished mowing the lawn and the collision of the two smells--smoke and grass clippings--seemed to fit the weather perfectly.

So, could the weather just stay like this for a while? Please? That whole ice-and-snow thing is pointless.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is Winter over yet? Wait.... It hasn't even started?

As I sit here, wrapped in a blanket and shivering, I really miss my beach. The warm sun. The warm breeze. The warmest softest sand you've ever felt.

The food isn't too bad either.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Casual Day?

This afternoon, the announcement went out that tomorrow is Jeans Day at SUM-Law. Both partners will be out and there are no meetings scheduled, thus giving the paralegals and secretaries a certain feeling of freedom and relaxation. This idea was first run past the associate attorneys (both 20-something males, inclined to put their feet on their desks and wear IU sweatshirts at work when they think no one is looking), who thought it was a brilliant idea.

I suppose I'll be going along with it, although I dislike the idea of casual days at work as a general rule. The more professionally I'm dressed, the more I get done. Tomorrow, it will just take more effort, I suppose.

And this reminds me of one of my pet peeves, encountered this evening at the grocery store: why oh why oh why do medical "professionals" wear scrubs out of work? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Aren't scrubs supposed to hygienic and aid in controlling germs and all those gross things that can potentially fasten themselves to street wear?

Besides that, they just look slovenly. I know they're supposed to be so comfortable, but so are pajamas and you don't see people. . . . Nevermind.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Exercising my selective memory

I've said before that I'm glad I don't live in the Chicago area, but I'm glad I did live there once. There were any number of reasons that we were all glad to get out of Chicagoland: probably too many to count, any one of which would be enough for it's own post. But I like to remember the fun parts too.

As a kid, I was there for five of the Bulls' six championships, moments of which I remember vividly.... standing in the middle of our great room, watching MJ on our little TV, jumping up and down and screaming. My favorite bedtime story was the Three Little Bulls--Michael, Scottie, and Dennis-- who always managed to conquer their nemesis, be it the Big Bad Barkley or the Big Bad Ewing.

Most of my favorite restaurants are still up in the northwest suburbs. (Drat, now I'm really hungry for a Hackneyburger.)

I still listen to The Roe Conn Show regularly and laugh at Chicago-related jokes.

I still feel a pleasant sensation of nostalgia when I get off work and listen to WLS for the twenty minutes it takes me to get home, especially when Jim Johnson delivers the rush-hour traffic reports. Oh wait. That's not nostalgia. That's schadenfreude.

The very thought of living within Cook, Lake, or McHenry County EVER again fills me with something between annoyance and dread. But it's fun to reminisce.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eleven, please.

One of the things I've had to get used to over the last few months is the daily ride in the elevator. I've never been a big elevator fan. When staying in hotels, I've been known to drag my suitcase up four floors (and not just at the hotel in Italy where that was the only option) to avoid being enclosed in a metal box and suspended within a shaft of unknown depth. I suspect that this senseless aversion has its origins in memories of my five-year-old self sneaking out of bed to watch TV and seeing one of the chicks on L.A. Law fall down an elevator shaft. That really freaked me out.
Now, I need the elevator to get to my office, to get to the building break room, to get to the rest rooms, and to come back down to earth in the evening. Thank goodness, I've gotten used to it and no longer experience any sort of apprehension.

I have noticed, however, that people act differently in elevators. There are the people who engage total strangers in conversation. There are people who look everywhere but at the other person in the elevator (kinda hard since the walls are mirrors.... ). There are the people who smile tentatively at their fellow passengers and then act really interested in their purse or cuffs. Then, there's the blonde from the 7th floor who acts like Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, minus the hoodie. She steps on with quick, mechanical steps, keeps her head down, and heads directly for the corner. She stands there, impervious to the conversation around her until the doors open again and she can make her escape. Despite getting to work at approximately the same time and riding seven floors together almost every morning, I've never seen her face. Just her hair. Lots of permed, bleached, crunchy-sprayed hair.

When things feel particularly awkward in the elevator (and whenever Miss 7th Floor steps on), I just think of this and everything seems a little cozier.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Unlike most of my friends, I never thought I wanted to be a teacher. My pals growing up all wanted to be teachers. Or marine biologists. Or pediatricians. Or stunningly beautiful princess-ballerina dancers. I went along with those fads, but I never EVER thought that I should be a teacher. It wasn't because the teachers I knew were so horrible, although they did have a tendency to "seatbelt" children into their chairs and take recess away from the entire class because that one obnoxious eight year old boy in the back wouldn't shut up. (Huh. Turns out I'm still mad about that 14 years later.) Even knowing that my wonderful grandma was a teacher didn't help. I just knew that I did NOT want to be one of them.

It turns out I was wise beyond my years.
Hauptbeispiel: My Sunday School class. I am teaching the 3rd through 5th grade class, comprised of 5-9 girls (only girls, for some reason). They are all very sweet and smart and, since they've all been through confirmation classes already, they know their stuff about as well as I do. The problem is that they are all FUNNY and I cannot concentrate on the lesson for laughing.

I ask a question and they respond by pointing out the window and cooing about the cute birdies on the roof: I laugh.
I ask a question and they give an answer that strikes me as funny ("Well, I bet the rich man didn't trust God to take care of him because he had servants to do that stuff"): I laugh.
I ask a question and the only answer I can get is how this reminded so-and-so of a movie she just saw..... : I laugh.

THEY ask questions. Why do you sit on the desk instead of the chair like a normal person? Did you know that Andrew likes Gracie? Why don't you write on the chalkboard? Can I borrow your shoes when I'm older? Why don't you have a boyfriend? Why is it so cold in our Sunday School room? Can I read next? What does [list 10-15 long, foreign, and/or archaic words from the reading] mean? Why are you teaching us instead of, like, an old grown up? (HA! Loved that one.)

I just laugh. Victoria, my assistant who loves seeing me lose my composure, laughs. The girls look at me like I'm crazy, because these are obviously very serious matters. And then I try calm down and explain things without using any words with more than three syllables, which turns out to be harder than one would expect.

The good news is that they all come and we do get at least a little work done. We read the day's lesson from the Bible and (attempt to) talk about it. At least one of them will have done their memory work from the previous week. And if nothing else, they're getting a vocabulary lesson.

Monday, September 14, 2009


From my second favorite Project Runway alumnus:

Christian Siriano, Spring 2010.

There are several dresses in there that I would be more than happy to wear.
This post is for my dear friend DoRena, who is so very tired of seeing the same post every time she checks my blog.

I actually had a pretty good post, talking about the fun of working downtown in a building with shiny brass elevators, how freezing-cold my office is (because I can't complain enough about that), and how good Fort Wayne can smell in the evening (baking bread and gyros, anyone?)

Obviously, that was a "things are good" sort of post. Well, I'm too ticked off at the moment to write one of those. Right now I'm stuck on the topic of how undependable some people can be and bemoaning the manners of the world in general.

The week before last I assumed my position as numero uno paralegal in our office; my predecessor left to join her husband in Chicago, and we hired a new paralegal to take my place in the cubicle while I settled into an office with a door. The new girl turned out to be very friendly and outgoing, good at the job, and easy to work with. She asked plenty of good questions and not many stupid ones (that's still my job). We went out to lunch last Wednesday and swapped IPFW stories over pub chips at JK O'Donnell's. On Thursday, we chatted about some photos she brought in to decorate her cubicle.

Then, Friday morning, I came in to find out that she had called in (before the office was even open) to say that she wasn't ever coming back. No notice, no apology for leaving us shorthanded at a very busy time. She left her pictures (including family photos) in her cubicle, along with a personal coffee mug and portfolio of school documents. On Saturday, I received a text from her saying that she had a new job, wouldn't be coming back , that she had left the office keys were in the drawer, and wanted me to keep her photos (just what I always wanted.... pictures of someone else's husband and daughter).

We have another candidate coming in next week for an interview, and until that time Heather, the other former paralegal--who is still stuck in Fort Wayne-- is filling in a few days a week and helping me keep up with the increased work load. I am SO thankful that she is around to help because, as much as I'd like to be able to handle a double work load and even though I was considering working extra hours as long as necessary, I definitely needed help today. If not for Heather, I'd be a quivering mass of nerves and my boss would be majorly inconvenienced by my inability to work 24 hour days (my 9 hours, the other nine hours, and an extra 6 for diminishing returns).

So, there are dependable people out there and my head doesn't need to explode from stress...this week. But PLEASE, people. Two weeks notice is encouraged for a reason.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ben and Jerry's renames ice cream Hubby Hubby in celebration of gay marriage.

Ewwwwww. My craving for ice-cream has suddenly evaporated.

At least they chose one of their more revolting flavors for this dubious honor. I can't imagine what take off on "Cherry Garcia" they could have come up with, but I'm glad their thoughts were not bent in that direction.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loratadine. NOW.

Forget images of a scaly-looking red guy wielding a pitchfork. I'm pretty certain this is what the devil looks like:

Thanks to my allergies--which have never hit me quite this hard-- I felt subhuman enough that I stayed home from church this morning. My brain was so foggy I couldn't read, so I ended up turning on TCM and staring at the TV, not comprehending anything except that Jean Arthur was throwing herself at Cary Grant. After taking a very (very, very) long shower, inhaling absurd amounts of melaleuca oil-laced steam, and drinking about a gallon of tea with honey, I finally feel alive enough to contemplate going to my god-brother's birthday party with the rest of the family....
...out in the country.... door to a ragweed farm.

Ok, I made that last part up. I hope.

And yes, respiratory ailments make me cranky.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I think I'm hungry.

Is there anything that doesn't go with bacon? Really?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yes, I was a nerd. Probably still am.

Last month I posted a story Rachael and I wrote way back in 2004. Today, I found more of our disastrous creativity on a piece of paper shoved inside a book that hadn't been read in a while. (I love it when that happens. I think that, from now on, I'm going to leave notes and newspaper clippings inside every book I return to the library just in case someone else loves silly things like that.)

For your amusement:

May 17, 2004: Obituaries.

Boromir, Son of Denethor, aged 41, died February 26, 3019, of wounds sustained in battle at the Fields of Rauros. The oldest son of Denethor II, he achieved fame through his military prowess. Preceding him in death are his mother Finduilas and his grandparents. Surviving are his father and younger, cooler, cuter, nicer brother Faramir. Services will be held Sunday at the White Tower. Memorials may be made to the Gondorian Restoration Fund or Poppies for Pelennor.

Smeagol/Gollum, age unknown, died March 25, 3019, of severe burns sustained at the Cracks of Doom. A long time resident of The Misty Mountains, his previous residences are unknown. Preceding him in death is his friend Deagol. There will be no services. Memorials may be made to the Ring Addiction Awareness Foundation.

The Ring of Power, born cir. 1600, the Second Age, at Orodruin, died March 25, 3019. It spent many years with Smeagol/Gollum, after being found by Deagol in the Gladden Fields in 2463, the Third Age. The Ring abandoned Gollum in 2941 to live with Mr. Bilbo Baggins, now of Rivendell. It was given to Frodo Baggins, a relative of Bilbo, in 3001, and it continued in his company to the end, at which point both the Ring and Gollum suffered severe burns and perished. No services will be held. Memorials may be made to the Barad-dur Reclamation Fund.

Arwen Undomiel, age 1300, died of unknown causes. Born in year 241 of the Third Age in Rivendell, to Elrond Half-Elven and the daughter of Celeborn, she lived in Lothlorien for many years before returning home. She married King Elessar in 3019 on Mid Year's Day. Surviving are her brothers, grandfather, a son, and several daughters. Preceding her in death is her husband. Gone to the Grey Havens without here are her father, grandmother, and mother. Services and burial will be held in Lothlorien on Sunday afternoon. Memorials may be made to the Hope Foundation for Underprivileged Hobbits.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I am not sure I've ever seen a stranger juxtaposition than that which I saw at a gas station in Columbia City this evening. Pulled up outside was a truck from "Suzy Q's Escort Service," occupied by two incredibly vapid-looking, overly made-up, silicone-adjusted "ladies." Standing a few feet away, waiting for their driver, were two Old Order Amish women and their children.

I just wish my camera had been along.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

While I was sitting at work today, trying desperately to forget how tired I was, I thought up the best idea for a blog post. It was funny, it was thoughtful, and it was way better than anything I've posted in a long time. I had it all planned out and was geared up to write it all out as soon as I got home.

Yeah. Whatever my brilliant idea was at 12:00, I don't remember it now. It's gone.

So, in place of the brilliant and striking piece of prose that is now forever lost in the ether, I'm going to say just how thrilled I was when I opened my September issue of InStyle this evening. "Thrilled?" you wonder. "What could Bethany possibly have found so exciting?" I'll tell you.

I am officially avant garde without making any effort. In fact, a positive lack of effort has led to me being at the forefront of fashion. According to that fount of knowledge, InStyle Magazine, paleness is officially attractive and smooth ponytails are the last word in hairdos.

This is fantastic news. Now, when I wake up in the morning, pasty white after yet another sunless week spent locked in an office like a vampire in a coffin, and too tired to do anything but throw my wet hair up into a severe pony tail, I can be confident that I do not look lazy or harried but chic and up-to-date.

I think I'll re-enable the snooze function on my alarm. This discovery merits an extra 15 minutes of sleep, at least.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I should do this more often!

My room wasn't really all the messy today, if you don't count the pile of clothing that had accumulated on my bench or the pile of pillows in the middle of the floor.  Even worse than just messy, it had gotten disorganized.  The books were on the bookshelves, just not in their proper places.  All of my purses and tote bags were put away, but with things in them.  Things I've been looking for.  Cleaning those bags out felt like Christmas .  My closet yielded up a missing hairbrush, Mambo Surf tote, a missing (and much needed) lint roller, my missing iPod, an unopened box of Rock'n'Roll magnetic poetry, and a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms.

None of these things had been missing very long, but I was still  very glad to see them.  Especially the chocolate.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Learning to. . . wait.

I decided a few days ago that I wanted to try sewing again. My last attempt was somewhat less than successful.  The apron I made as a Christmas present for my grandmother ended up being so large that it would have fit three of her.  (What's that phrase going around right now? Oh yeah. "Epic Fail.")  

Yesterday evening, I thought it would be fun to work on another apron while watching movies with my mother and brother.  We had picked out an old-fashioned half-apron pattern a while back and I had some sweet, equally old-fashioned fabric just waiting for me to get up the courage to make a second (or third, or fourth... I've lost count) attempt.  The pattern-pinning and fabric-cutting part went very well and I now have a nice, orderly little pile of apron parts waiting to be assembled.  That's splendid.  Now I just have to figure out what the heck the pattern is trying to tell me to do with them.  The packaging says "easy," but in this case, I believe they mean "easy if you have someone to translate seamstress-speak." (Jenny? Anna? Someone?) 

Even if I could read the instructions I would need to wait to put everything together.  Somehow, when we got the fabric, we failed to get the necessary finishing touches: bias tape and some sort of ruffly trim stuff.  For now, I just have another unfinished project (like my  paintings and my quilt and my scrapbooks, and my and my embroidery. . . .)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Photo taken today, just down the road from our house:

Isn't that special?

For some reason, this reminds me of the time my (Lutheran) kindergarten class baptized a clutch of newly hatched chicks.   

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wooohooo! Project Runway returns in one week! The new season (on Lifetime) starts on August 20.
Advertisement over.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

There are things one knows better than to leave in the car on a hot day.

Expensive electronics.
Car keys.
Somehow, leaving a book sitting on the dashboard did not strike me as risky or unusual when I went in to church this morning.  I take my books with me everywhere, in case of emergency.   One never knows when one may be stuck someplace and need entertainment or stimulation. In this case, I had brought along a fairly new library paperback that my mother had checked out last week. (We share our books... by which I mean my mother and I check out our own piles of books and I end up reading both piles.)

You may imagine my surprise when, upon getting back in the car and picking up my book, all the pages fell out, trailing wisps of melted glue across the dashboard, my hands, and my purse.

Wait....Books can MELT?!?!?!?

I attempted to replace the pages, squeezing the still-gluey inside edges against the still-gluey spine, but to no avail.  The pages stuck to each other (and me and my clothing and the car) but not to the spine.

Next up: the part where I throw myself on the mercy--and sense of humor--of whatever friendly-looking person is working at the library circulation desk.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My father and brothers are leaving early tomorrow morning for over a week at the fishing cabin in Canada.  I can understand the appeal, I suppose: peace and quiet, water, fresh air, trees, outdoorsy activities, time to read.... And they do have plumbing now.  Fishing might even be fun for an hour or so.  But a whole week dedicated to sitting in a smelly boat with five even smellier men? No thanks.

My mother and I make good use of our week.  This year, it will include an outing to see "The Producers" at the Civic Theater with our good friend Nancy, some really good food, at least one viewing of "Pride and Prejudice",  some more really good food, general goofy girlyness, and, oh yeah, some really good food.  

This year will be a little different because --shock-- Patrick will be staying at home.  He is hoping to find a job and thought that it would be a good idea to stay in the country in case someone decides they want him.  He'll get to share in the good, clean, non-smelly fun with us and I know he'll even a good enough sport to take part in some of it (especially the really good food).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I don't watch American Idol anymore, so the make-up of the judging panel really could not matter less to me.  But Posh replacing Paula? That's just funny.

Monday, August 03, 2009

On a Lunch Break

Is it very strange that, as I review employment records, when I come across the word "receptionist" my first thought has nothing to do with the person who answers phones?

This is something like what happens in my mind:

Indianapolis bank....
$14/hour? Not bad....
Hey, that's a funny name....
Aw man, only 1:30? 4, no, 3 1/2 hours to go....
Works at a law firm....
Receptionist??? What does that have to do with anything? Why does her employer need to know her views on the Mass? Besides, isn't she, like, Baptist?
Oh. Yeah. That."

Saturday, August 01, 2009


As we drove through the grocery store parking lot this afternoon, my mother and grandmother and I saw the most peculiar sight.  Peculiar and disturbing.

As we drove past the entrance, a woman walked out.  The first thing I noticed was that she was wearing a black motorcycle helmet with the visor down.  She didn't walk out of the grocery and put the helmet on; she was wearing it inside the store.  And it wasn't a little helmet, either.  This woman was not very tall and she had a thin neck, so the helmet gave her roughly the proportions of a bobble-head.

The next thing I noticed was the roll of fat hanging out over the top of her shorts.  She wasn't that large, and had her stomach been covered, there wouldn't have been anything to notice (well, except for the helmet).  But no.  Her stomach was left free and open to the eyes of the world by her polo shirt which had been most inexpertly cropped away just above her navel.  

Then, I tried not to watch as she tried to figure out how to secure four plastic sacks of groceries on her motor scooter.

Friday, July 31, 2009

On the Town

We went to Buskerfest in downtown Fort Wayne this evening. It was sort of my suggestion, so I felt responsible for us having a good time. There wasn't a whole lot to do, exactly, but there were some interesting things to see

--The Fort Wayne Hip Hop Crew: Yes, Fort Wayne has a hip-hop dance collective. (No info online yet, but one wicked awesome "website under construction" page.)  They drew the largest crowd, so I wasn't really able to see the dancers until near the end.  It was then that my father pointed out that they were reflected in a few angled windows of the nearest high rise.  

--Juggling giraffes: Yeah. Involving stilts. 

--Foo Fighter Wanna-be live music: He really wasn't bad, but he was trying so very hard to sound like every other growly derivative indie/alternative rocker.  But then, it was hard to hear him over the music blasting over the local pop station's speakers. Pink, All American Rejects, The Fray. Totally not busker worthy.

--Flute girl: She seemed a little out of place, playing her Mozart sonatas (trying to drown out both the live singer AND  Pink on her own) and her flute was a little shrill, but she had some serious skills.  Give that girl an alto flute and a concert hall.

--THE MIME: . . . .

--Rhythmic Dancer-Lady:  First, I almost ran into her.  That could have been 1) embarrassing and 2) dangerous.  She looked ferocious.  I was going to say that she looked like a failed ballerina, but then I shouldn't make fun of failed ballerinas.  I would give a heck of a lot to be any sort of ballerina, failed or otherwise.  

--Gardener Statue:  This guy was what I think of when I think of buskers (and you know I think of them all the time).  He was doing the human statue routine and really confusing the poor little kids who gathered around him.  The funny thing is that he looked a lot like my Uncle Sean.... I actually have a picture of him posing as a statue. 

The best part of it all was just seeing all the people downtown.  It was a gorgeous evening and, besides Buskerfest, there was a TinCaps game going.  The restaurants were packed and the sidewalks were full of people out enjoying the evening.

I just can't believe I didn't have my camera along.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

For your reading pleasure....

I had an urge this evening to go through one of the boxes under my bed.  I tend to be a bit of a nostalgic pack rat-- I hate getting rid of things that could potentially possibly at some point in the future remind me of that time I did that thing with that person.  I have managed to pare my hoard down to two medium-size rubbermaid boxes that fit under my bed.  I pulled one of those out just to remind myself of what was in it and see if there was anything I could finally let go of.

I have to say, I refound some pretty special stuff. 

Like this gem (oh Rachael, I hope you read this), vintage 2004.  Double points if anyone can tell what on earth we were thinking.

PEYES Case File One (or, "Watch Out for that Iceberg")
By Agatha Holmes [aka the brilliant and beautiful Bethany Casey and Rachael Soyk]
A Good Old-Fashioned Serial

First Installment--

It was a normal day in the office.  Not that any day is normal, mind you... not for the PEYES.  (That's Police Investigators, for the uninformed.  We decided against going into the private sector, seeing as how this way we have the FBI, CIA, and those dudes in the black suits and dark shades at our beck and call. Someday we'll figure out who they are and when we do, we'll take a nice long vacation in the Caribbean, where we'll drink all the rum.  And the rum will be gone.)  But we digress... something we plan to do quite frequently.

It was a normal day in the office.  Then it happened!  One of those dudes in the black suits and dark shades walked in, slamming the door behind him.  He didn't take off his glasses, regardless of the fact that the office was ridiculously dim, being lit only by a single candle.  (We forgot to pay the electric bill, having been in attendance at the King of Denmark's wedding.  Charming affair, that.)  But we digress.... again.

He pulled a plain manilla envelope out of his jacket and tossed it onto the desk in front of us.  We opened it.  Inside were some black and white photos.  The first was of an unremarkable looking older man with close set eyes.  He looked oddly familiar, but we couldn't think why.  The second was of a large ocean liner with the word, "Titanic" written across the side.  The third was of a friendly looking sea-captain.  The fourth was of a strange figure, cloaked and riding some sort of disturbing creature.  It reminded us of a certain pink dragon thing that befriended a little boy. (Very cuddly looking, unlike the disturbing creature.)  But we digress yet again.

The fifth photo was of the captain again, this time dressed in kingly robes and not looking quite so friendly.  The sixth (and thankfully, the final) photo was the strangest by far.  Six hundred sixty-six wooly mammoths were shoving huge chunks of ice into a frigid looking ocean.  (We also noted a little squirrel carrying an armload of nuts, not realizing he was about to step into the ocean.  Maybe he hadn't seen the light.  Can I hear an hallelujah?)  Again we digress.

We looked at the man in the black suit and ridiculous dark shades for an explanation.  He began, "The King has just been slain by the Fell Beast.  The King is also this captain, in a parallel universe.  We have reason to believe that something dreadful may happen to this ocean liner.  The captain must die within twenty-four hours or time and space will be torn apart and everything we know will cease to exist."  He pointed to the first picture.  "A rogue agent of the CIA, Jack Bristow, has taken it upon himself to ensure the captain's demise.  He, with the help of these 666 wooly mammoths, is setting a trap for the ocean liner, The Titanic.  Using technology acquired from the Russian Mafia he will guide at least one of these icebergs into the path of the Titanic.  Unfortunately, we disagree with his methods.  It is your job to find the captain and warn him so that he can avoid the icebergs.  Get going.  You have a lot of work to do.

To be continued. . . . 

Of course, the story never resolved. Really, though, we set our main characters up for failure (yes, I'll give it away--the Titanic did sink), so it couldn't have had a very satisfying ending.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunshine! Warmth! Fresh Air!

I was grumbling to myself today at work about so many different things.  My two greatest complaints, however, were 1) that I didn't have enough to do and was soooo bored and 2) that it was freaking cold in that office.  Seriously... I spent the day taking breaks from typing to chafe my hands. My coworkers should be thankful that I am constitutionally disinclined to go out of my way to talk to people, because I was having a cranky day today.

So, 3:30 rolled around and I could feel the end of the day coming.... And my boss called me in for a conference in her office about one of our cases. I came out 45 minutes later (with 45 minutes left to go before the end of the day) with piles and piles of very urgent, very important things to do. Problem #1 solved--boredom banished. I ended up staying an hour late to get a head start on the most time sensitive projects. (Staying behind after everyone else has left is quite an eerie experience. I swear the chairs in the other--empty--offices were rolling around. And I thought I heard someone cough.)  

Now I'm going to go on a long walk, which should solve problem #2 and banish my snarkyness. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

The danger of word games.

Note to anyone who doesn't know any better: That's The Onion.  It's not serious and it isn't real news.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mmmmm....Summer Food.

My mother and I spent quite a bit of time playing in the kitchen this afternoon and evening.  Of course, we had to play with our blueberries.  Yesterday, they turned into boy bait.  Today, we teamed up to make a really nice blueberry cobbler and my mother froze several quarts of berries. 

We also made up a recipe for potato salad. Actually, my mother did most of the creative recipe creation; I just chopped and stirred. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I already posted this on facebook, but it was just too good not to share again.

I more than doubled the blueberries and cinnamon ('cause you just can't have too much of either).  The end result is moist and oh so buttery. Mmmmm.

I think I'll go hide the leftovers.

NOTE: If anyone wants to know, NO, I did not catch a boy with my boy bait cake. Not a bad idea, though.

Saturdays really ARE different!

It feels like such a waste to leave this perfectly good blog sitting here, lonely and ignored.  

I'm discovering why people like to make such a big deal out of "The Weekend." As a kid, I never really noticed the weekends.  It went along with being homeschooled, I suppose. Our routine on Saturday was pretty much the same as it was during the rest of the week, but we'd see that Dad guy a little more and my brothers and I might be roped into some crazy scheme that involved weeding the garden or looking for Daddy's missing toolbox.  And, of course there was church on Sunday. Otherwise, the weekend wasn't much different from the weekdays that followed and preceded it. 

When I started at IPFW and got my job at the library, the weekend became 1) time to write as many papers as possible or 2) time to fit in my 10 hours of tax-payer funded drudgery.  I could never consider relaxing on the weekends if there was any school assignment due in the next two weeks; I needed to get that school work done before I could even think about fun or rest. And work was just boring. 

Now, I finally get it. Having a full-time 9:00 to 5:00 type job, I start looking forward to the weekend starting Sunday night. It isn't like my job is tortuous, and in fact I enjoy it most of the time. BUT, on the weekends I don't have to be asleep before 10:00, which means I have time to watch movies and eat ice-cream with my family after dinner. I also don't have to wake up to a squawking alarm at 6:20am. I have plenty of time to read AND dig around in the garden with my mother (or go blueberry picking, as we did today).

Incidentally, I've found that writing really truly boring things at work makes me want to write fun things when I'm at home.  I know I've said it before, but I really do plan on making more use of this blog. It's either this, or I talk my mother's ears off every evening.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009


If it were not for the fact that I already spend way too much money buying clothes from J. Peterman (on sale, mind you) these pantaloons would be way tempting. I have no clue what I'd do with them, but I'm sure I could figure something out. Of course, once I got started with the cheesy old-fashioned under-pinnings, I would probably feel compelled to find a corset, bustle, and petticoat set to match.... It's like the "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" of Bethany World.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Tag

Taken from my mother's blog:

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
--and, because I'm a negative sort of person, I'm adding another marking
5) Place a '--' next to those you didn't like

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X +
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X +
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X +
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X --
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens *
Running total: 8

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X +
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy*
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier X
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot *
Running total: 12

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell *
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald *
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens *
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy X
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh *
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky X +
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Running total:16

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens *
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma - Jane Austen X +
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X +
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
Running total: 23

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X --
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 X
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X+
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X --
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
Running total: 27

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons *
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X +
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X +
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X --
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Running total: 30

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 X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy *
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Running total: 32

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X --
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X +
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson X
75 Ulysses - James Joyce *
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome X
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray X+
80 Possession - AS Byatt
Running total: 38

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Running total: 42

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams X
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X --
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X +

How many have you read? 48. Less than half? Granted, some of them are on my "to read" list, and several are on my "never ever ever read" list, so those really shouldn't count.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pondering the mysteries of life

As I sat downstairs tonight, watching Funny Face and trying to do homework, one thought kept invading my mind, driving out all considerations of Gilded Age politics and John Calvin's influence on the American mind:

"Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?"

This question has plagued me for years. I can't decide which one I prefer.

That should explain why this piece from Ziegfield Follies delighted me so much.

Actually, I was just bored and looking for something else to do.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

But what else happened?

I can tell that I have been watching a leeeeettle too much TV of a certain sort.
When I'm studying, it helps to have some sort of background noise going. Most often, I take over the family room and put on whatever old movie TCM is showing at the moment. My brothers make fun of me for this, and any time they see a black & white scene on the TV they will start groaning (even though they like old movies) and talking about their crazy sister.

Well, I just finished watching a DVD of one of my favorite old movies, It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. When the film ended, something just didn't feel right. It was incomplete. Something was missing. Then I realized that I was waiting for Robert Osborne to pop up and start spouting trivia about the movie.
I'm not sure I can live without hearing what sort of tantrums Claudette Colbert threw on set, why it was considered punishment to work with Frank Capra, and why Myrna Loy turned the script down....

Monday, February 09, 2009

I'll be sure to include this in my next interview....

Here's a tip for anyone who doesn't like being misquoted in the newspaper:

When you're running late, stopping by school to drop off a paper before heading to work, do NOT smile at the friendly looking lady in the trenchcoat as you pass by at full speed.

If you disregard the first tip and commit the enormous faux pas of making friendly eye contact with said trench-coated female, do not reply when she says good morning. In short, disregard all usual rules of politeness and decorum. Brush her off. Give her the cold shoulder. (Insert brusque cliche of your choice.)

IF you make another mistake and allow the woman to engage you in conversation, and she asks if you would mind answering a few questions, don't stop to think, equivocate, or explain that you are freezing and running late. Just walk away as fast as your awesome little high-heeled lace-up boots can carry you.

IF (perish the thought) you are fool enough to answer the journalist's questions, well, I suppose you deserve what's coming. Whatever you do, though, do not answer her questions about Spring Break plans by saying that you will be working rather than traveling. She will twist your statement in a way that makes you sound like an unreasonable, greedy, money-grubbing Silas Marner-type... AND go on to mention your place of employment.

Case in point.

Ok, so I like to blow things out of proportion. The two sentences dedicated to me are not all that horrible or embarassing. I just really, really, really don't like being misquoted. And I don't remember saying anything like what the article suggests. This isn't the first time I've been misquoted in the paper. (Yes, I have been in the paper before. I'm, like, a celebrity or something.) Back in 2003 one of the FW papers did a story on homeschooling and my family was part of it. I don't remember much of the detail, but the journalist who spent a few days with us took almost everything I said to her completely out of context, and was even worse with my mother.

What can I say? Fame sucks.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Best Bunko Story Ever

Our church ladies gathered for our monthly bunko party this evening. Admittedly, these evenings always lead to some goofiness but THIS was special.

First, for anyone who has no clue what bunko is, here are the rules. I was at a table with our friends Gail and Tori, a mother and daughter who were teamed up for this particular round. My partner was DoRena. We were on the sixes round (the idea being to roll as many sixes as possible OR 3 sixes at a time for a bunko) and were fooling around testing out "magic" words to yell at the dice to make them behave. The round went something like this:

Tori: Cheese! [rolls dice, gets one six]
DoRena: Ovaltine!! [rolls, doesn't get any sixes]
Me: [laughing] Ovaltine? Sorry, but I don't think brand names count.
Gail: [rolls, gets nothing]
Me: Pizza! [rolls, gets nothing] Ok, so that didn't work.
Tori: South Side! [rolls, nothing]
DoRena: [rolls, nothing]
Tori: Try yelling "Concordia", Mom. Maybe that'll work....
Me: Concordia to get sixes?
Gail: Ok, Concordia! [rolls, gets 1 six] Hey! Concordia [rolls, gets 1 six] Concordia! [rolls, gets another six] 666, with Concordia... very interesting.
Me: Bean! Give me a name, someone we don't like.... [holds dice, waiting suspensefully]
DoRena:Oh oh oh, that guy... in Texas... with the megachurch....
Me: Joel Osteen!!! [rolls dice.....]

3 sixes, at once. 666. Not only is that the sign of the Beast, it's a bunko, worth 21 points and a win! DoRena and I erupted in shrieks and laughter. The rest of the room was completely mystified, not understanding why any bunko would be SO amusing. When we told them, they understood.