Friday, June 29, 2007

Kids Say The Darndest Things...


JACK (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister. After awhile he asked: "Mom, Is one for hot and one for cold milk?"

MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, "If you don't remember you look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six."

STEVEN (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom good night. "I love you so much, that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window."

BRITTANY (age 4) had an earache and wanted a painkiller. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her mom explained it was a childproof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: "How does it know it's me?"

MARC age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: "Why is he whispering in her mouth?"

D.I. (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: "How much do I cost?"

JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." Concerned, little James asked: "What happened to the flea?"

The sermon this Mom will never forget.... "Dear Lord," the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. Without you, we are but dust." He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter (who was listening!) leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mom, what is butt dust?"

Oh, I can't wait to see what my kids will say this weekend. I have a feeling that it will be lots and lots of good stuff that I won't be able to recall on Monday.

But I do remember something that my daughter said today. She called me from Grandma's to tell me that the tooth fairy had made a visit and she left a whole $10! I choked on my coffee and then I said that the tooth fairy was pretty generous, but she's not always so willing to pay top dollar for teeth. She said she knew that, but she figured out why she received so much for it. It's because she was in a much smaller town and the tooth fairy didn't have to spread it out so much among the kids.

I suggested that she pull some of her other teeth while she was there at Grandma's house... We could do some great school shopping come fall.

She was not amused.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Food For Thought

Well it's summer and the eating is good! A little too good I think because both Chili and My Best Investments can see that my eating skills are being put to good use since they both tagged me with the Dining Out Meme. And unfortunately, I have the tummy to prove it...

Rules schmules:

Link to name of person(s) who tagged you.
Include state and country you live in.
List top 5 favorite local restaurants.
Tag 5 other people and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Where I live: State of Confusion, USA or Kansas, if you want to get picky.

Top Five Local Restaurants that I enjoy:
  1. Fortune Wok - This is probably one of the best Chinese restaurants I've ever tried. They make killer Hot and Sour Soup, their crab rangoons are creamy and crispy and they have several familiar and signature dishes that are making my mouth water when I think about them. One of our favorites is the Wok Roasted Chicken - a unique dish composed of lightly rice-flour breaded pieces of chicken in a spicy dark sauce along with dried red chilies and peanuts. It comes with barely steamed broccoli which helps to offset the tingle of heat in the dish. Yummy!
  2. BD Mongolian Grill - I love this place because you run through a huge bar full of all sorts of ingredients - about 8 meats such as steak, chicken, scallops, lamb, shrimp, pork, tofu and around 20 different vegetables of your choice. You pile whatever you want into a bowl, add your spices and oils and then take them over to a humongous skillet where 5 people rotate around it to cook, turn, break apart and finish your masterpiece. They scoop it off onto a plate when it's done and hand it back to you. By the time you've made it back to your table, you have tortilla and rice waiting for you - whichever compliments your meal. It's fun and entertaining to watch them make your meal, and you can go through again if you're still hungry. Me? I've only ever been able to make it through once, but the way I'm going...
  3. Fiorelli's Jack Stack BBQ - honestly, this place is on there only because they make the best baked beans known to man. And I'm from Memphis, you know that has to be a compliment and a half. I've been known to go by and order the beans just for lunch. Yep. They're that good. (Oh, and their baby back ribs aren't half bad either.
  4. O'Neill's Irish Bar and Pub - This place is a nod back to the old days. The place itself has a pleasant charm. Old men sit at the bar, enjoying retirement, yet talking business from yesteryear. The dark walls and raised booths lend a hand to privacy, but you aren't ignored when there. And Oh. My. Lands. This restaurant makes the best salad this side of heaven. Lettuce, red peppers, avocados, pecans, red onions, tomatoes, tortilla strips, grilled chicken - all served with a tangy honey citrus vinaigrette. It's sooo good that when I get it for the Executives who come through the office, they admit that they had to keep themselves from licking the plate clean. It's that good. And it's just a stinkin' salad! Imagine what they can do with real food...
  5. J. Alexander's - They make the most delicious steak that is topped with a scoop of slighly breaded and fried blue cheese. The meat melts in your mouth and the bits of cheese that you add gives it that little something-something that makes you want to go back to try it again and again. And their baked potatoes are as big as your head! (I just went there Monday on a Business dinner. Oh divine, Divine, DEVINE! And the wine was really good too. It helps that I was there with a couple of fantastic people who made the entire night enjoyable too.
  6. What? Did you really think I would stop at 5? Foolish you... Cold Stone Creamery - Sweet cream ice cream with strawberries smushed into it, all in a waffle cone. Nough said.
Okay, I tag Joyful Days, Bren J, Daring Young Mom, Stacey and Willson (because he's a chef and he knows food!)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WFMW - Dinosaur Eyeballs

Long ago, when I wasn't so terribly busy with work, I promised Gayle from Grace For Gayle that I would post this wonderfully delicious, yet healthy (oh, please don't let that stop you from trying it) recipe. Well it's only been two months since she asked for it, so I think I'm in the right timeline for things... Ahem. (No, not THAT ahem!) Well, let's just continue, shall we?

This recipe gets its name from my son. He took one look at them and then said, "We're going to eat dinosaur eyeballs? Cool!"

And the name has stuck ever since.

    4 large eggs
    4 large slices or 8 small slices Canadian bacon
    1/3 green bell pepper, diced
    1/3 red bell pepper, diced
    1/3 onion, minced
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat, and saute onions to soften before adding in peppers. Cook, stirring often, until slightly softened but colors are still bright. Remove from heat.

  3. Lightly grease/spray 4 cups of a muffin tin and insert one large slice or two small slices of Canadian bacon into each cup.

  4. Divide bell pepper mixture among the 4 cups and carefully crack one egg into each bacon cup on top of the peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  5. Bake in center rack of oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until whites are set but yolks are still slightly runny (We actually bake longer until the yolks are hard too.)

  6. Broil for a few minutes, just enough to brown the tops a smidgen and creating a bit of crispiness to the egg cups.

  7. Carefully remove by gently scooping out bacon cups. Serve hot.

This recipe will serve two adults so you can adjust it as needed to fit your needs. And although it sounds a bit odd, trust me that it's good. And I've got the kids' smiles and full tummies to prove it...

Head on over to Shannon's for some additional ideas to make your life a bit easier.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

I saw my kids for about an hour yesterday. When I went into work, I told my boss that there was a distinct possibility that Mr. Right and the kids would be by on their way to the other grandparents, and if they did come by, please don't ask me to do a thing for him because I didn't want to be distracted. He stared at me a moment and then said okay. (He had to leave for the rest of the day after lunch, so it all worked out for the best!)

The kids, still in pjs and having major bedhead, showed up to my office and they never looked better. They both are as tall as the jolly green giant (What were you serving them, Gina and Grandma? Growth hormones?) and just as animated as can be. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk! From all sides, including mine.

The Bad

The kids are now at Mr. Right's parents' house for the rest of the summer. I know the kids will have a blast and cherish all the memories that will be made, but I still have a huge part of my heart that wants to be completely selfish with keeping them near me, even though I have to work most of the day. But to make it less bad that they are away, Mr. Right and I have planned to see them often, especially since these grandparents are only about 4 hours away. It will be so worth the gas to be with them.

The Ugly

I knew it would happen sooner or later. I just really hoped it would be later... a lot later. My work installed some sort of filter that keeps me from accessing my blogger account. And if that weren't bad enough, I can read Blogger posts, but I can't comment on them. I can, however, comment on Haloscan. I'm still discovering whose blogs I can access and whose I am barred. I just want to say that it reeks! So if you could pray that I could find a way to post and comment without eating into my family time (because that is one of my rules for me: I don't blog from home so that my time can actually be spent with them), then I would greatly appreciate it. I'm going to just let God handle the details on this one...

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Sunday Post

I don't know if you keep track, but I rarely post on the weekend. I figure that I'll use that time with my family, especially since I work full-time on weekdays. It's just one of my gestures of love towards my family, which in reality they probably don't notice at all, but I do it none the less.

That remindes me of a plaque that my mom had hanging up in our house when I was growing up.

Housework is something you do that nobody notices unless you don't do

I need one of those signs now...

Anyway, I'm posting today because two things happened: Mr. Right just left to get the kids so that we can send them to the other grandparents house and I hurt my back on Friday, so I'm taking it slow and easy under doctor's orders. I've got time to do some things I want to do, like posting and catching up on bloglines. Woo hoo! (I'm not bed-ridden, but I was told to do nothing so as to let the muscle heal. I was also ordered by Mr. Right to not do anything that could make it worse, so being the obedient wife that I am, I'm faithfully following those instructions. I'll explain why I'm so adamant at obeying in a later post.)

I told Mr. Right as he was leavingthis morning that I hate being the one to stay home when one of us has to go away. It doesn't seem so lonely when you're the one doing the going away. I don't like being the one left in the empty house full of reminders of who I love. Plus he's going to have the joy of seeing the kids in front of him and I have the "comfort" of sleeping alone and waking to an empty house tomorrow morning. Yeah, fun. But that's just me.

Enough moping...

Last night, Mr. Right went to my mother's day gift, the Jim Brickman concert. It was a gorgeous night at the open-air Starlight Theatre. A pleasantly warm night, with nary a weather complication. Jim Brickman's piano music was exquisite and enchanting and the concert was aptly named An Evening For Romance. Brickman was appealing and amiable and is a kind of Victor Borge of new-age pop. He was funny as he poked fun at himself while recalling the title "America's new romantic piano sensation" and recalling little antidotes about himself as a child/teenager. He had a great sense of timing with the stories and the music.

It was also interesting as Brickman had a talented musician named Tracy Silverman touring with him. The interesting part was that Silverman played the six-stringed electric violin, or guit-fiddle as he named it. It was the most unique and fascinating instrument, and yet, it fit so well with Brickman's talented piano playing and it was enticing as a solo performance as well.

The down-sides to the night were two-fold. First, Brickman didn't stick to his piano-only music. If you don't know a lot about Brickman, he's a wonderful pianist, but he's also a collaborator with singers, producing such wonders as "Valentine" (with Martina McBride), "The Gift" (with Susan Ashton and Collin Raye ) and "The Simple Things" (with Rebecca Lynn Howard). However Brickman was touring with Anne Cochran, a performer who went to high school with Brickman. The first song she sang had me looking at Mr. Right and signing, "I don't like her voice and she's flat." He agreed. I thought that if I had to listen to her all night, I would really regret the concert. She sang better the second song, as it was more in her range, but really, she did nothing to enhance the night, and it would have been better for the audience if Brickman had stuck to instrumental only.

In addition to being disappointed with the singer, there was also the fact that Brickman himself sang. He had a pleasant enough voice, but it was not stage worthy, by any means. He had the kind of voice that worked for explaining the jingles he used to write or for giving a collaborating singer a feel for what he wants in a song, but it was not good enough to be featured in anything, especially his concert tour. So, Brickman, if you're reading this post, please stick to your piano playing only, leave Anne at home and let the audience come and enjoy what they came to enjoy - your piano music. Because had we known you would have brought a singer, we would have not chosen your concert.

The other down side to the night was that the concert didn't last nearly long enough. For as much as the tickets cost, we had expected a lot more music for the money. As we don't go out on dates like this often, there's something disappointing in knowing that a lot of cash was doled out for a less-than-desired performance. I don't mean to sound as if we didn't have a great time or that it was a complete bust because it wasn't. We thoroughly enjoyed the piano music and the night was full of romantic sounds. We just wanted to feel as if we received our money's worth for the entertainment and this performance didn't fit that bill, especially when you throw in an average singer and not enough piano-only music.

Something funny did happen in the concert though. Around early twilight I noticed something flying from the theatre wall. As I looked up, I could have swarn it was a bat. I told Mr. Right what I saw, and later he remarked that there were indeed bats coming from the building. They were swooping here and there, which probably explains why we didn't have a huge mosquito problem that evening. And it was truly funny to see the bats flying around the covered stage. You could see the performers eyes venturing upward at the movements in the air. I kept picturing one landing in Ms. Cochran's hair and her getting so freaked out that she couldn't sing anymore. But that wasn't really nice, so I knocked it off. (But it would have been funny!)

So that's my Saturday. Do me a favor and talk back would you? Tell me something that made you smile yesterday to distract me from missing everyone today.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An Open and Shut Book Challenge

Once again, I'm really thankful to Katrina at Callapidder Days who finds ways for us to better ourselves. This reading challenge was a lot of fun, and I added some non-fiction (typically a yuck from me) and some authors I had never given a try. That's what I love about reading - you never know what great find you may discover!

Now, let me review my last few books:

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle: I didn't know what to expect at all when I picked this book for a read. It's sort of a theological, self-discerning autobiography by a modern day children's writer. She's frank and open and inviting, yet she doesn't present herself in a "I know everything" sort of way. She just invites you to see what she has discovered about life, writing and God. I thoroughtly enjoyed her unfinished journey.

Dune by Frank Herbert: Okay, I have to admit... I started this book at the beginning of the challenge and it took me forever to get through it, mainly because at about page 100 I put it down and thought, "Later." However, had I known that at about page 104 it would pick up and take me on a great ride, I would have kept going! I wasn't sure what to expect from it, as I'm generally not a sci-fi reader, but this story was pulling me in further and further, making me want to know more about Paul, his mother, his wife... At one point I was just wanting to finish the book; now I'm actually considering reading the next in the series. So I say give it a try - but just know that the first 100 pages will be a little arid... much like the planet on which they are living. But after that, it's like a water ride - so hang tight.

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: Now this book I loved from the beginning to the end. What a way with words and emotions Esquivel has! She makes you feel for Tita, makes you want to slap some sense in to her mother, makes you want to sigh in frustration at Pedro and makes you hope beyond hope that love can conquer all. Warning label - if you're looking for a good Christian book, look elsewhere. This book deals with a forbidden relationship that had me shaking my head at the poor choices at time. That being said, I found myself smiling at the descriptions and the characterization of many of the characters. So take it as you will; I still highly recommend this artful, wonderful piece of literature.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: This book was my first introduction to Bryson, who I found to be witty, comical and highly entertaining, if you completely skip his drivel on evolution and global warming, that is. The book details his traversing the Appalation Trails - or at least trying to hike all 2,100 miles of it. Yeah, 2,100-ish MILES - with no camping experience and with no experienced guide. And lots and lots of noodles. And a great fear of bears. Yes, the man is insane. Yet after his time spent on the trail, his thoughts turned deeper, for reflective of self, more aware of the world that God made. The subtitle "Rediscovering America" is accurate and persuasive; it reminds that there is so much more to life than cell phones, tv shows and concerts. But you can't find it unless you remove yourself from it and surround yourself with the nature that knows nothing about technology or entertainment. He also regales his reconnection with people on the trail and how goodness still exists in this present age. And it made me start thinking about doing bits of the trail myself... (Not all 2,100 miles, mind you... but enough to make me turn my head back to God's untouched glorious world.) I highly recommend this entertaining read, and I thank Pezmama for suggesting it long ago.

Now if you've kept track, you'll notice that I didn't read two of my selections: The Alchemist and The Book Thief. In my defense, the stupid library didn't get them to me in time. I only just received The Alchemist two days ago, and I've been too busy with work to run through it. And honestly, I'd rather catch up on all my bloglines at this point, but even THAT will probably wait until next week with the way work is going.

BUT, since I couldn't get to those books, I read quite a few in their places, one of which was Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence. What a great find! Shannon recommend her to me and I was excited to read her. The book is a mystery that is set in the economy-challenged, emotionally suffering post Civil War state of Maine. Following the life of the mid-wife Hannah Trevor -an independent, society-bucking woman who gladly shed the shackles of a ugly marriage (by that I mean she showed no remorse when her hateful, cowardly husband left her and ultimately died abroad) who is ostracized for being so and for having a suspect daughter, the dark tale surrounds the murder of a quiet woman. This book is not for the squeamish. It is a bleak, realistic look at a woman's life in the late 1800's, surrounded by gossip, anger and despair. For all that, I must say that the book left me feeling enlightened and refreshed. I not only suggest the book to you, I've also got the next book on order from the library, too.

My favorite: Still the Bible. I learn more and more about God, myself and humanity when I'm in his word.

Worst: The Boleyn Inheritance - Stick a needle in your eye before you read it. You'll want to know something "fun" before your through...

New author: I tried lots of new authors, and I will go back to read more of their work.

Books not finished: See above.

New book from others' lists: Too many to put here. (But if you read one that you think I need to try, please leave it in the comments!)

I'm going to go through the other's list thoroughly so that I can get some new books to read because you all know that I'm just not addicted enough to reading!

I learned that there are still a lot of good books to be read! And I have to do a better job of posting my reviews.

The best part: Going through the others' lists and finding new books to devour.

And Katrina, count me in for the fall's reading challenge. I just hope she has as catchy as a title as she did this time... :)

If your interested, you can check out my other reviews:

The Spring Reading Thing 2007

Spring Reading Challenge Reviews

(And after finding those posts again, all I can say is this: Those are some mighty boring titles for posts. I'll get on top of that soon enough...)


WFMW - Rekindling Love

If you want to find more and more reasons as to why you love your kids, send them away for awhile - like for the whole summer. You will start to remember their cute antics, the way their eyes crinkle when they smile, the cadence of their giggles when they're being tickled. You will also find yourself counting down the days until you get to snuggle with them again. (In my case - 10 days!)

And you will find that thinking of them is a pleasure and that your will often feel as if it is full of unabounding love when you do.

For some other great tips, go visit Shannon's place. I'm sure their suggestions are a lot less sappy...


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All About Me (As Life Should Be)

First of all, thanks for the song recommendations, especially to Kelli, who basically sent me her entire iPod list. It will take me a while to go through yours, Kelli, but I'm taking notes!

Now since I'm still being a totally selfish dweeb and expecting you all to come here while I'm not able to venture out much, I've decided to do a meme in your honor. I think I owe memes to about 7 people now... that's how behind I am! So I'll go back and do Chili's meme tag since she's the one that I've needed to do the longest. And yes, I know I'm a bad friend. Sorry Chili!

Chili tagged me for the "Things About Me" meme. This time, though, we're doin' the teenage years! I have to admit, I LOVED my teen years. I loved HS, I was active in most everything, and I would have gone back and have done them again if I were allowed to do so. People say I look really young... I wonder if I could pull off going back as a student... Nah, my daughter would have a resounding no if she were to see me frequent any of her halls or potential halls of school.

Here are seven things that happened to me as a teenager.
  1. I didn't have one group of friends. I was one of those kids who could befriend anyone and have acquaintances from every walk: sports people, cheerleaders, newspaper, honors students, skaters, dramatics, artists, etc. This characteristic was a huge blessing for me. I had friends from all walks of life, in every shade of color, from all economic backgrounds. As far as I know, I was never labeled a snob or unapproachable. (And if you do know that I was labeled that way, keep your trap shut. I love this delusion.)
  2. I was in every choir possible. Just ask my mom. She can verify that if there was a group, I was in it. I loved the singing, my director - Ms. Thomas, and the social aspect of it. And I can imagine that my white face stuck out well in the Gospel choir. (I was one of three white singers in the gospel choir. I grew up in the south and let me tell you, those people can SING! I was just glad to be among them.) And believe it or not, I was in the swing choir, despite my only being able to do the white girl's dance. I spent a lot more time practicing my steps than the rest of the group had to spend on them, but I got them... eventually, usually right before our first performance.
  3. My very, very, very best friend was a boy. Ken really understood me and I got him, so it worked out for the both of us. We only ever went on one date, decided that wouldn't work and then became the best of friends. I was guaranteed to have a "friend date" for any weekend night and we totally helped each other in the dating department. Well, I helped him because we all know that I knew what I was doing. Ummm, yeah. And I've still never forgiven him for making me watch Pumpkinhead when it was his turn to pick the movie. It serves him right that I nearly tore his thumb off during that stupid movie. Hmph.
  4. I dated one guy from my sophomore year through my first year of college. I met him when I went to visit my very best girl friend Mandy who moved my freshman year of HS. While in Murfreesboro, she set it up for him to take me to church with him since we both attended the Church of Christ. (I don't know why she didn't just invite me to her church...) I went to church with him that Sunday and the rest just happened. It was a long distance relationship, which strangely enough, worked really well. We wrote each other all the time, talked on the phone and saw each other as often as possible. I only broke up with him because I thought we were getting married. Yeah, go figure that one... I thought it would have been wrong to marry him without really dating anyone else. And I'm really glad I followed my heart because God had Mr. Right waiting in the wings for me, just a little bit later. Yay God!
  5. I have very detailed and fond memories of church camp that our youth group went to every summer. It was full of life and lessons and fun events. We had a talent night where I did my "shortest woman in the world" skit with Ms. Markart, we ate fabulous foods that were all handmade by our moms and we played lots and lots of games like volleyball, softball and crazyball. I hope that my children have just as much fun at their future youth group camps!
  6. I've always been fairly confident in myself. I would do/try out for whatever floated my boat - flag squad (didn't make it), choirs (made those), honors classes (successful at all except AP History - gah! If they would have told me it in story form, I'd have remembered, I'm sure!), building sets and being in plays. If there was a task to be done, I showed up to help. That's one of the ways I made so many friends with the other kids and the adults.
  7. I had the BEST prom night. My then long distance boyfriend showed up and we went to decorate for the dance. We headed back home and did the dress and tux thing, had pictures and then went to pick up a fellow couple. A huge group of us went to dinner, then to prom and then afterwards, about 20 of us went to my house where we made homemade pizzas and stayed up all night watching movies and playing games. We went out for breakfast the next morning as an end of prom celebration. It might seem boring to you guys, but to me, it was a perfect night with many of my friends and the safety of being me.
  8. You know I can't count! Last one I promise! My senior year, I won the Best Supporting Actress for the role of Evilene in "The Wiz" and Fine Arts Guilds "GAF" award which was presented to the individual who embodied the life and energy of fine arts - art, vocal, performance and drama. Only the adults were allowed to vote on it, and I found out later that it was a unanimous vote. THAT, my friends, made me feel really great about me being me. I know that it sounds as if I'm bragging, but really, when I think of HS, that memory always comes into play.

Okay, I'm only going to name 3 others to do it since I have so many memes to do soon. I'll probably tag you all sooner or later! I tag My Best Investments, GiBee and Antique Mommy (because you know that girl has some good stories to tell!)


Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm Baaack!... Sort of...

Well, believe it or not, I actually survived my trip to Wichita and back. The horrors of it all! I know you heard about the slop I had to eat and the way I was forced to spend my time (read another great book, Hearts and Bones, which I'll review later too), but I don't think I told you about the rigorous exercise regime that was on my itinerary as well.

On Wednesday night, I went to the workout room (which was pretty nice) and I ran my 20 minutes. It was wonderful to have the place to myself and to use my new birthday iPod from Mr. Right. The time seemed to fly by and I didn't really feel as if I were suffering too much. (I wasn't so lucky the next morning when my boss was using the workout room when I went to run. I don't know about you, but I hate working out next to someone who does it all the time and who normally only sees me dressed nicely... I ran anyway and did my sit ups, but I booked out of there soon afterwards.)

My evening after that consisted of showering (thank goodness!) and reading (see above). I actually slept better than I thought I would, so that was a nice surprise.

Thursday was chucked full of activities. Another run in the morning, a great breakfast and then I was off and running. I had two sessions to set and complete, a yummy lunch to scarf down and then in the evening, there was an area picnic for the local offices and their business contacts. That was a lot of fun! Good BBQ, excellent company and a live band that was phenomenal. I did dance the white girl's dance, which we all know by now was named after me. But it was fun and really great exercise! I left around 9:30 and was tucked in bed by 10, reading again (because you know there was nothing on tv despite the 30 something channels that were available to me...)

Oh, and I found out the next morning that there was actually a "bar fight" over a woman after I left. Now I told both those guys that I wasn't interested, but would they listen? Noooo. (And in case you don't know this yet, that was tongue in cheek. They weren't fighting over me, but rather over some other woman. And yes, they were both drunk and stupid and one of them was arrested for their moment of stupidity.)

Friday saw the last session in Wichita, and then I was on my way back home. Mr. Right brought me roses and gave me great kisses the moment he walked in the door. There's something about going away that makes me really look forward to coming home!

His work gave everyone a gift certificate to Dave and Busters, so we went out to eat and played games just like little kids. We didn't stay too late because, seriously, I was pooped out. How do I know this? Well, when we got home at 9 PM, I crawled into bed to wait for Mr. Right and the next thing I knew, it was 8:30 in the morning! Oh Glorious Sleep! How I love thee!

We bummed the entire weekend. Saturday - we watched 2 - TWO - movies and just spent good time together. On Sunday, I took Mr. Right out for breakfast at Panera's, we went to church, ate with our friends and talked with the kids. And Mr. Right was allowed his uninterrupted marathon nap! (I read - no surprise there, huh?) We went over to some friends house in the evening and did some great catching up with them and then we headed home. I finally downloaded from iTunes with the gift certificates that my boss gave me for my birthday. (It's amazing... I still have $50 left!)

And now, I'm back at work, gearing up for the next meetings at the end of this week. And I'm really looking forward to it.

But my real questions are these: Did you miss me when I was gone and what song would you suggest that I get for my iPod?

(And just so you know, I'll attempt to get caught up with everyone soon!)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oh yeah... They're SO Missing Us.

Just look at these bums!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And that's just the first two days... Sigh. I really, really wish I was my kid.
However, I am on a business trip in Wichita for three days and so far, I've been forced to eat pacific salmon, hummus, filet mignon and I had an entire morning to read. (I read Like Water For Chocolate. I'll do a review soon - along with a few others I've read since the last time.) And tonight, I must go sit in a hot tub. It's a hard job, but somebody's gotta do it. Pray that I can endure all the stress...

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Got Checked For Ticks

I know y'all are all dying to hear what I did on my night/day alone, aren't ya? Well, keep breathing because I'll tell you. You may want to take your bathroom break and get your coffee first. It's not short... Don't worry; I won't start without you. Ready now? Here I go.

On Friday around 3ish, I realized I hadn't eaten lunch, and since I was out and about for the office anyway, I thought I'd get a Chik-fil-A sandwich. I love Chik-fil-A. If I didn't already have a job I really love, I would apply there solely to get a daily sandwich fix. Later, I ran by the library and picked up a few movies that I'd been wanting to see lately: Wings of a Dove and Elizabeth. Then I ran to the store to pick up meat that was on sale, which was really necessary because our freezer was almost bare! Now we have all sorts of goodies just waiting to be eaten this summer. I also picked up an avocado; I figured if I'm by myself, I might as well eat what sounded good to me, and I knew that a single serving of guacamole would be calling my name later in the evening.

Isn't this just all SO EXCITING so far? Ummm, yeah.

When I made it home, I sat in the setting sun and read the rest of A Walk in the Woods. (I'll do a review of it later.) It was about 8 PM by the time I made my guac and was able to sit down to watch Wings of a Dove. (By the way, I was totally wrong about the movie Wings of a Dove following the book. It kept the same plot line, but it varied greatly in details. And if the truth be told, I thought the movie came out on the winning side. But that's just me.) I tried to watch Elizabeth, but the tape was busted. A no-go on that one...

Surprisingly, I slept well... well, I would have slept really well if my stupid cat would have left me alone. She kept walking all over me, sticking her whiskers in my face and being an utter pain. I just kept throwing her off the bed. When I awoke in the morning around 7 AM, which, mind you, is sleeping in for me, I discovered the reason for her all night visits: she was out of food. Stupid cat. I fed her and she left me alone after that.

I ate half a cantaloupe for breakfast and then I ran to Starbucks, courtesy of Antique Mommy, the now really famous and published authoress in a magazine! And no it's not the centerfold, although she could surely pull that one off... You go, AM! (Can you believe that I STILL have money on that card? It won't be for long, let me assure you. But thanks again for the thoughtful gift.) I sat in the sun, sipping my wonderful coffee when the kids called. They were having so much fun in the RV with the grandparents. You're all correct when you say that they're making memories that will last them a lifetime. I'm really glad that they get to have something that I didn't.

One of the things I've been wanting to do lately is to walk the arboretum near our house. It has miles and miles of trails, so I can hike in a safe area and not get lost. Two pluses in my book... So I packed a backpack with water, Melba toast and cream cheese garlic dip (Hey, I said I was BY MYSELF... I wasn't intending on breathing on anybody...) and a book. I hiked for two hours at a great pace, stopping for my light lunch when I was ready and I felt fabulous. I marveled at God's nature, listened to the birds and did some good talking with God. A perfect morning...

Just as I was finishing, Mr. Right called and said he would be back in town in 30 minutes. What?! I didn't expect him until 4 PM, so this was a great surprise. He said he awoke very early and took off for home because he couldn't wait to see me again. (Isn't that man sweet!) Even though I was all sweaty glistening from the walk, I asked him to meet me in town to go to the library sale. He said he wasn't smelling his best from the long drive, but he would love to go to the sale with me. We met up, had some good kissing and then we bought books for 50 cents a pop. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Mr. Right had already said he was tired and that he needed a nap, so when we returned home, I was totally prepared to not bother him for requests for *ahem*. (In case you're new here, that means sex. But really, but telling you that, I should have just said sex, shouldn't have I? Well, now you know...) I even felt that I could join him in his napping, a rarity with me. He jumped in the shower and I jumped in the bed: earplugs - check, pillow over head - check, clothed for sleeping - check. I was in the sleeping zone.

As I'm resting, Mr. Right comes out of the shower, lifts my pillow and said, "Shalee, you're sending mixed signals here!" Now, I don't know about you, but I thought my signals were all but screaming "NAP!!!" Sheeze Louise... Men! And they say we're not clear in communication... I totally read his signals though, and yep, I gladly watched the vapors of sleep vanish. It was really nice to have him back home.

Sunday was church, lunch, nap (for real, this time!) and then another walk at the arboretum with Mr. Right. We had such a great time. Sometime during the walk, I started singing Brad Paisley's Ticks, as it was fitting to the theme. Mr. Right said, "I sure like to check you for ticks when we get home, Baby." And I said, "Only if we walk through a field of wild flowers!" We laughed about how silly of a song that was as we climbed rocks, made new paths and were all and all having fun.

I took him through a mile loop that I thought was gorgeous as our last part of the walk. It came out at a weird place, but I knew the park well enough to know how to get back to the entrance. We just needed to make our own path to known section of paths. As we're making our shortcut, all of the sudden Mr. Right said, "Hey Sha! We're walking through a field of wild flowers." And he flashed me his knowing smile.

So I let him check me for ticks when we got home. All I can say is that it's been fantastic to be kidless and free these past couple of days. We're honeymooning again, and I've a permanent smile plastered on my face. This is going to be one fabulous summer...

Labels: ,

The Story Behind the Diner

I'm joining in with Chili for her Tell Your Blogging Story link-a-thon, which we all know is really a ploy to up her traffic, but hey, it works for me. Plus, I'd like to find out more about we all came into existence, other than from God, that is...

  • How did you start blogging?

My blogging started like this: A friend at church sent me a link to Antique Mommy. This said person happened to be related to my friend in some distant sort of way: she was her fourteenth cousin on her mother's side, twice removed... or something like that. Anyway, I read one of her posts that made me laugh out loud and I felt compelled to get up the nerve to say something to her, but being the blog idiot I was, I had fill out all sorts of stuff to say anything to her and I thought, "If it's this much work to comment everytime, then I don't think I have the time for it!" As it turned out, I was, unbeknowst to me, creating a blog the entire time. And the reason I had to create a blog? Well because AM had clicked "No Anonymous Comments" which lead me through the ordeal of creating a blog just so I could say, "You're hilarious." Yeah. Two months later, I got up the gumption to post this. Who's sorry now, huh? Huh?

  • Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

Following? A following? That's like saying I intended for someone besides my family to actually read my drivel! Ummm, so the answer is no. I'm not sure I even have a following now, with my crappy posting and such. I'd love to be another Antique Mommy, Shannon, Boomama, Daring Young Mom (a real, live TV star!) or Big Mama, but really, I'm no where near as gifted as those ladies, and I just couldn't stand under the pressure to be a perfect writer and look so darn beautiful all the time. I'm just a diner owner in a ponytail, with a new tagline: Serving the same slop everyday. (Did that one make you smile Jeana?)

  • What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

You mean this blog is supposed to have a purpose?! I totally missed the memo on that one... I guess if I had any kind of purpose, it would be to show the family members what's going on with us and to make friends. But since I don't think anyone in the family except Mr. Right, who of course is living the blog and knows that I'll ask him what he thought about it anyway, and occassionally my sis-in-awe or my parents might read - but I wouldn't know really, would I, because they rarely comment, not that I think that commenting is the ultimate end goal for them to read this post or is important to me in any way, shape or form or even to leave the occassional "hey, you suck but your kids are cute" comments... Ummm, where was I? I do, however, feel that I've definitely succeeded on the friends portion of my purpose. I look forward to talking with you and knowing what strikes you as funny and why makes you cry and how bad your days get and what made you smile. I love the comraderie that we all have and the fun that occurs in the comment sections and later maybe even on the phone.

  • Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

I'm more of the "out of focus" type blogger. I'm usually have no set themes, unless of course you include the "WFMW" stuff - which is really all Shannon, the recipes - which is really kudoing to Barb, the Memes - which are from everybody (Oiy! I just remembered that I still owe memes to Chili and Susanne!) and the emails that I send to my IT department. Okay, those IT posts are all mine. But I can't run a blog on IT requests alone, so I try to throw in fun things like family times, birthday and random pictures of my cute kids. Yes, I do succumb to the "Awww" factor once in a while. You never know what you're going to get when you come my way.

  • What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

That Mr. Right would loose his job a month after buying our house, that I would become so much more faithful through trials, that I would enjoy the reading my Bible as much as I do, that I would love my kids so much that I could send them away for months at a time so that they can enjoy other family members, that I could have made a killing in the stockmarket if I had purchased... Oh, you mean about blogging! Oh, I wish I had known how time consuming it can be/addictive, and I really wish I had thought up the WFMW idea. I could have been Shannon - the most well-loved, stinking smart blogger I know. I also wish I could figure out how to be a reviewer so that I could get really cool things like a Nano, books, or neat gadgets to use around the house. Yeah, that would have been cool to have known before hand... And how much I look forward to the comments. Comments sometimes just totally make my day. So talk to me peeps! I won't bite, I promise... well, not hard anyway, not enough to leave a mark... maybe just a playful nip here or there...

  • Do you make money with your blog?

Yes, but just a little bit. I do have the BizRate add off to the right. It's not going to bring me anything I can live on, but it definitely has supported my book habit! I would consider doing other advertisements, but I would be very selective in which I might choose. And as Chili said, "I will gladly thank and link to anyone who would like to extend an invite to me to do BlogAds. Everyone I know who does it doesn't have any invites. I would love to try BlogAds. Besides, don't you get a cut of my profits? Win-Win!" Yeah, what she said.

  • Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

See above. They all know about it, but I don't think they all read it. They may read occasionally just to see that we're alive. My dad just told me yesterday that he's way behind (due to travel and work, but he's trying to get caught up. And honestly, I'm not going to beg them to read it. I want it to be something they choose to do rather than something that they feel obligated to do. It kind of takes the fun out of it when I know I'm guilting someone into reading the blog.

  • What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

  1. Don't measure yourself up to anyone else. You're you, with your own style and presence and that shows in your posts. Enjoy your blog, make it your own and have fun.
  2. Pace yourself. Blog regularly. And lastly, set a time limit to blogging and stick to it or else you may find yourself looking at a clock saying, where have the last 8 hours gone!
  3. Read me. (Hey you knew I was going to say that... I am entirely self-centered in case you haven't figured that one out yet.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 08, 2007

Joy, Laced With Sadness

Joy: My kids will be gone all summer again.

Mr. Right and I have been utterly blessed with family members who want to see our kids during the summer. We all live so far apart that the best time to do all the visiting is during the summer. My parents and my brother's family who are all living in Florida are taking the kids for two weeks; then Mr. Right's parents want the kids for the remainder of the summer.

What I wouldn't give to be MY kid right now... Think of all the spoiling, fun and utter delight they're going to have with everyone. Sometimes it reeks to be the grownup.

So this morning, Mr. Right and the kids took off to go to Paragould, Arkansas for the old "kid swap" with my parents. They happen to be sojourneying there and the kids are SO EXCITED TO RIDE IN THE RV!!!!!! Did you know that you can walk in it WHILE IT'S MOVING? And there's a TV IN THE RV and A BED!

Is it wrong to not feel sorry for my folks at this moment? They may totally rue the day they thought of this plan...

Sadness: My kids will be gone all summer again.

I'm going to miss the snuggles, giggles, hugs, and yes, even the squabbles between those two. Part of my heart already feels empty just knowing that when I wake up in the morning, I won't hear voices begging for chocolate chip pancakes and bacon. The house felt as if it were lacking its usual signs of life, even moments after they pulled out of the driveway, throwing kisses at me.

It's going to be a long summer full of ups and downs on the emotional roller coaster, I can tell.

And to top it off, I only just figured out that I have a night and a day completely and utterly to myself now... So what do you think I should do tonight? What movie should I rent/see? Or what book should I go find at the Half Price Bookstore tomorrow?

Because, really that's the important issue in the whole thing.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Customer Service

I know I've been very absent from the blogging world, but believe me, it's not by my choice. It's an absolute crunch time for me in the office. I'm scheduling multiple events for a presentation that every employee in our region must attend. If you've never tried to convince every employee that they need to attend an mandatory event without calling it mandatory, then you haven't been through business hell.

So I'm saying that it's "requisite" instead. So much more tantalizing, don't you think?

I attended the first session yesterday and wowie! Actually it was quite a brilliant presentation that I think anyone is breathing should take. It's so good it should be taught in school! It's about taking our customer service to an entirely different arena and making it a culture instead of a program. And who is the client? Everyone! From the CEO to the janitor, everyone deserves to be treated fairly, well and with a good amount of decency. I'm all on board, so I know all the hassle on my part will be well worth it once everyone understands the new direction of the company.

Anyway, since I'm the meeting coordinator I was out the door running from zero dark thirty to the end of a very long day. (Of course, I may have been a bit tired from the gathering for dinner and the dancing that occured afterwards. Good night that was fun. I may become a manager just to be able to eat so well and then to work it off afterwards! And since I paid the bill, all I can say is that I could have paid one of my mortgage bills with the amount that was spent! Good grief!)

Anyway, I talked to Mr. Right on the way home and admitted that it was his turn to cook because I was spent. So being the good man that he is, he ordered up a mean pizza and we watched The Incredibles while we chowed. Perfect.

At the end of the night, Mr. Right suggested a walk and although I was tired, I accepted. On our way through the neighborhood, our neighbors beckoned us over to talk. They told us about going out of town to their first bar mitzvah, how reading of the Torah was amazing, how the way they touched their prayer book to the Torah and then kissing it was bringing tears to everyone's eyes, about how the entire event was memorable and reverent. Then the husband started talking about how they're introducing their kids to many religions, how he only goes to two religious services a year: one to take his mother to Yom Kappur and the other to celbrate Easter, then he goes on to say that he doesn't believe in worshipping any man because he knows God would frown upon it, but that he does believe that there is a God.

Can I just fully admit to you that at that moment I just nodded my head and looked for the first moment to leave? I just wanted to take my walk and then relax. Was that too much to ask for?

As I was walking down the sidewalk, I said to Mr. Right, "I have a feeling that I was supposed to do something for God back there, but for the life of me, I didn't know what to say. I just wanted to get away fast. I think I should be saying a big sorry for failing God on that one."

He told me that he was thinking the same thing the entire time... and the next time I'm trying to make an escape, I don't have to keep poking him over and over again in the side because he totally got it the first time.

It looks like I've got a bit more to learn about customer service than I thought because if I were God, I'd totally fire me for not knowing my product, ignoring the client and not giving my best when called to do so. At least I don't have to push 93 buttons and wind up talking to an incoherent phone attendant in India to submit my apology to God. God will never outsource...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Shalee's Word Affair With IT

Ahhh, yes. We come to the next chapter of "Shalee's Word Affair With IT."

When last we saw, Shalee was battling against the evil installs which wouldn't accept some of her applications. She held her ground and sang out to the IT wizards for help. They came to her call quickly and painlessly.

Now it's been a while since our heroine has been perplexed with her computer... However, the computer has been devious in its workings. It's found a new way to mount obstacles before Shalee as she is stretched to her limits at work. Never fear, Shalee, although running around like a chicken with her head cut off, faces the challenges head on, vowing to never submit to the will of her evil nemesis. Let's look at her problem solving techniques.

Problem: It's like molasses in December...

Problem Description: Our Outlook is running so slowly. Opening an email, switching from mail to calendar or trying to switch from one email to another is extremely time consuming, not to mention unhealthy. In the time it takes me to attach files to an outgoing email, I can eat through a bag of Oreos or Cheezits. I've timed it using these highly scientific methods. And of course, they say to test hypotheses at least three times, so I'm going to run another test using my box of Wheat Thins; it's not as big of a box as my Cheezits, but they're a lot grainier, so I think that will make up for the difference in ounces.
In order to save me from ballooning to the size of a baby walrus, would you please run diagnostics on your end to see to what we can account the slowness and thereby repair the sluggishness of the system? Because I'm down to only a package of Archway Molasses cookies after the Wheat Thins, and they're really soft so I think I could eat them in 2 minutes flat - not really a fair time tester in my opinion. And I don't have time to go to the store, unless of course, I'm trying to work in Outlook. Then I've got all the time in the world.

Will she succeed in her task? How soon will the IT department come to her call? Will she finally shown her ultimate authority at the end of this irksome battle? Tune in later to see if Shalee has foiled the intentions of her computer... and if she she'll be able to fit into her pants by the end of it all.

(Seriously, if you could say a prayer for me and my dealing with work, I'd be very grateful for your interceeding. I am swamped and I haven't looked at my Bloglines in quite a few days. Please don't think that I'm not ponderings the ins and outs of your lives. I'm just completely over my head at the moment. That being said, I really miss talking with you all. Give me a shoutout so that I know that y'all are doing well. And hopefully, I'll be back in the swing of things soon.)

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 04, 2007

Wizards, Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Oh My!

What a fantastic, highly entertaining weekend we've had. It was more fun than a couple should be allowed, but we're thanking God for the entire time.

One thing I didn't tell you because I was afraid it might look like bragging was Mr. Right also won tickets through his work to the KC Wizards game this weekend. It seems that the winning streak was quite a family affair. We knew we were blessed before then, but we couldn't help but praise God for his favor in this abundance.

So on Friday, since we knew we were pawning our kids off on a wonderful family, we had a family night, filled with all sorts of things our kids love. We made some of their favorite foods for dinner, and then we all piled into our bed to snuggle together to watch Monsters, Inc. It's been so long since we've seen that one. We all just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Saturday morning found me making chocolate chip pancakes... yes, nothing but the healthiest of breakfast fares around here. We all just took it really easy as Mr. Right was still recovering from bronchitis. He slept most of the day to aid in his recovery. (I guess I can't blame her for his sudden illness after all. And yes, he's still not over her because despite his taking a sick day Friday, he still pulled her out to spend time with her. I'd consider adding some knew gadgets to myself if it meant he would handle me as much, but I'm thinking that it wouldn't be worth the effort... Besides, the way I'm getting, the pieces would fall off or I couldn't remember where I placed them.)

By late afternoon, we had the kids in the care of our dear friends. They graciously offered to keep our kids both nights as we would be late in returning for each of the events. What a great blessing! We were able to relax and to enjoy ourselves without worrying about picking up the kids. We attended the pre-game corporate party, and then we went in to watch an awesome soccer game - KC Wizards vs. the NY Red Bulls. It was high scoring (3-2) and very exciting. The Wizards won, making them the #1 MLS team for now. It was exciting enough to go to the game, but to have them win and place first just made it seem so much sweeter. Great weather, no bugs and great seat neighbors really made the entire evening memorable.

Sunday night found us sitting at the outdoor amphitheater for an exhilarating, sold-out concert for Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson. And although Mamarose offered me her boots (wasn't she sweet!) to round out my country look, I decided to go with sandals anyway. We were sitting in the lawn section, and I had "Gone Country" in my cut-offs and bare feet during the concert. I was going for the true country spirit. It was another perfect night for a concert under the stars.

It was such a thrilling time! Brooks & Dunn were high energy performers, and I was surprised at how many songs of theirs I knew. (I like country music, but I'm not a fanatic to know who sings what.) Mr. Right and I clapped and danced (the white people's dance) and sang so much, we were growing tired and hoarse by the end of their performance. AND we still had Alan Jackson to go! In "Only In America," they included a military presence from the local Fort Leavenworth Army base where four members of our service marched on stage carrying items that a soldier in the war would be wearing - helmet, gun, boots, and something else that I can't recall - and placed them on the stage in for all of us see. It was as it they were honoring the fallen and those who are still fighting for our freedom. You should have seen how the crowd went WILD! They received deafening roar from the audience during all of it. It was inspiring to see how they chose to offer honor to those serving us.

Alan Jackson was such an amazing singer. He's not a performer, per se, because he didn't run around the stage and portray high energy like Brooks & Dunn, but his vocals were true and real and his presence was strong. I was most amazed at his incorporating his family into his show by use of family pictures and videos that showed his wife and family as a focal part of his life. It was also like a reminder that he knew his priorities, and though he couldn't be near them on tour, he wanted to show everyone how much they were with him then. It really seemed that he loved his family, and he was telling all the groupies out there to not even bother trying to come onto him. To me, he said, "I'm a taken man," and he wanted everyone to know it by showing clips of his dancing with his wife and looking at her with love in his eyes. Just gorgeous, I tell you. It made me hold on a little tighter to Mr. Right and to thank God for his goodness to me forletting a man like Mr. Right love me.

Mr. Right and I agreed that our favorite moments in the entire night were the fact that both artists showed great character and advocacy on their dependence on God through many of their songs. We were all praising God and singing words to his glory and strength while enjoying a secular performance. And if that doesn't show a great way to minister to others, I don't know what else will. I'm sure not everyone there was a believer, but they were singing words like:

I raise my hands, bow my head
I'm finding more and more truth
in the words written in red.
They tell me that there's more to life
than just what I can see.


But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, Hope and Love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is Love.

You never know what will encourage someone to seek out God. I love that they aren't afraid to share their faith in their music. It just may be the outlet that leads them to find God in their search of the meaning of life.

So Mr. Right and I had a blast being together this weekend. We're very thankful to God for blessing us the way he has recently, and we're even more thankful that we had each other as great dates.

So what are you thankful about today? I'd love to hear about some of your blessings too!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Spring Reading Challenge Book Reviews

Okay, I just realized that I've been incredibly remissed about posting any book reviews for my Spring Reading Thing Challenge 2007. I did review my first three books - The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, The Thirteenth Tale and Outlander (steamy!), but I just never got around to doing any others. So lucky you, you get to have several at one shot.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George - Yes, I read through this mammoth, 939 page, itty-bitty print literature. Since reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I've been fascinated with the life of England's most famous king who was renowned for his destruction of the country's religious belief for the sole purpose of his pursuing another marriage, his many tumultuous marriages, his insatiable lust for money and life and his terror-filled reign due to multiple politically-inspired executions. All I can say is WOW! It was a fantastic work of historical fiction that was readable and entertaining with all its drama and atmosphere. It humanized Henry in a way that I hadn't allowed myself to do before, yet it still made me feel that my convictions about his personality can still hold true. If you're looking for a long, sensational read, I heartily recommend this book.

The Bible by God (Joshua – II Kings) - Actually I'm in I Chronicles now... I am enjoying reading the Bible over and over again, as God is giving me new insights and verses that tug at my heart or quicken my breath. As I want a closer, more personal relationship with God, I know that one of the best ways to cultivate it is to spend more time in his word. If I don't give God my time, I'll never have a great relationship with him. As someone said to me recently, "If you don't spend time with your mate, your relationship will fall apart and die. You've got to give your mate your time and yourself to have a worthwhile, deeply committed relationship. It's the same way with God. If you don't spend time getting to know him and opening yourself to him, you'll never have a great relationship with him." God is definitely blessing me with a better understanding of him and a stronger bond as I find him in his book.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory - I wanted to read this one because I've enjoyed so many other books that she's written, especially the aforementioned The Other Boleyn Girl and the Constant Princess. But all I can say is skip this piece-of-crud-sorry-excuse-of literature. It was awful, repetitive and boring. I felt that this book was written for one of two reasons: to continue her successful run on the women surrounding Henry VIII or to fulfill a contract. It could be both, but I was so disgusted with the outcome, I forced myself to read it. Don't do the same to yourself. I suggest your spending your time in a more worthwhile way, like poking your eyes out with a sharp stick or listening to someone run their nails down a blackboard. Those two activities would be much more satisfying than reading the book.

The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver - I've not read a book by Deaver before this one. Well, technically I still haven't since I listened to this book on CD over my weekend getaway. I really liked it. Deaver has a gift with being able to create a mystery which is full of red herrings, twists and turns and a satisfying ending that leaves the reader wanting to read the next book in the series. The characters were unique, the storyline was suspenseful and the mood was eerie, yet inviting. I like that when I was finished, I couldn't help but review the story clicks in my mind. I had all the clues, but I didn't add them up. I was able to figure some things out before hand, but not all of them. That helps to make it a good book to me. I think I'll be pursuing some of Deaver's other books in the future...

Eldest by Christopher Palolini - This book is the second in a trilogy. I really liked Eragon, so I was looking forward to Eldest. I started reading them because my girl was interested and I wanted to be able to have a book discussion with her. Eldest was a really good read, even if I did figure several things out by the end of the first book. The second one just verified what I had thought would happen. That being said, I am looking forward to the last of the trilogy too. It's magical, descriptive, funny and a battle of good vs. evil - the making of a fine series in my opinion, especially if good prevails. I'll have to wait to see what Palolini does with the storyline...

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo - Actually I did review this one, but I'll say a little more. What can I say about DiCamillo? I've enjoyed every book of hers that I've read. She is a wonderful children's author, full of inspiration that encourages her readers to be better, hope more and to love more. I strongly recommend this book as a gift to school age children 3rd to 6th grade.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - Oh what a great story! I can't believe I hadn't read it before as a kid. I loved the movie when I was a youth, and I was pleased to find that the movie followed the plot of the book. The characters were vivid, truthful and likable, the storyline was believable and heartbreaking and the inner emotions of Ponyboy registered as real and honest, especially for a boy who wanted to be loved. This book isn't for young children; but it's perfect for the tweener crowd. It's a harsh look at prejudices, filled with the ugly side of humanity. And yet, it is also sprinkled with moments of hope and goodness and it leaves the reader thinking that good can come out of misery, that everything is not always as it seems.

Now for a couple not on the list:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - What a great classic. I think it quite romantic, with gruff characters, great conversations and a leading character with to-be-admired convictions. Read this one if you haven't already, and if you have, it might be worth your while to read it again. It's that good. (And I appreciated it so much more as an adult than I ever did in my youth.)

Wings of the Dove by Henry James - I thought this piece of literature was a difficult novel, written in a rather pretentious, literary, contrived, and highly wordy style, not particularly enjoyable as a read, but the plot was intriguing. I do admit that I trudged through it (for a book club), trying to get to the end. Having read Portrait of a Lady a few years ago, I forgot how wordy, descriptive and boring James was as a writer, but I still find myself thinking about that novel which tells me that it was a worthwhile read. However, this read was a great reminder that James was an excellent story creator, but not a great story writer. If you're into long winded, never-ending paragraphs that go on for two pages, then this book is for you. Otherwise, I would leave this book for the English majors...

In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George - This is my third George book and I'm looking forward to my fourth... Great mystery, but if you're going to start on her books, I recommend finding the first one and carrying on from there. Me? I'm all over the place since I didn't start at the beginning. Since it does follow the lives of several character, I'd find the first one and have it.

Okay this is bugging me... I've read a couple of other ones, but I can't think of them. Grrr. Oh well, it will give me something else to blog about when they come to mind.

Have a great weekend!