Monday, March 31, 2008

March's Book List

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Atwood, Margaret. The Robber Bride. New York: Doubleday, 1993. 466 pages. I like Atwood, but her books are too long. I'm just saying. We have 3 protagonists and 1 villain and because the book is about the 3 women and their relation to this horrible woman, we have to get the life stories of the 3 women. No really. Their entire lives in the context of this other woman. Oh man. I'm glad I stuck with it, though. It was worth it. But really. Wrap it up.

Byatt, A.S. The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye: Five Fairy Stories. New York: Random House, 1997. 274 pages. God bless A.S. Byatt. She's awesome. This book had 4 really short fairy tales (one I recognized from a couple of her other books) and then one longer one, which was about a narratologist who specializes in fairy tales who happens to buy a bottle with a genie in it. Of course she gets 3 wishes!

Summers, Montague. The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. 1928. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1991. 356 pages. Well, thank goodness. That only took a year to read. Really. You know when Barnes & Noble will republish old books that you never heard of in the first place and then no one buys them and then you get them for cheap? Well, I picked this book up a while back and would read a few pages of this old British priest's writing style and frequent quoting in foreign languages and unreadable font and then I'd fall asleep. Actually, all of the books beside my bed are by British authors. They're the best for helping you fall asleep. Anyway, it seemed like something that would give me a nice background in vampire lore, because who doesn't need that? The folklore aspects were good, the defining characteristics of the vampire were good, and the way it could knock me right out in ways that not even Barchester Towers could were good. But it was still boring. And the dust jacket told me that his concluding chapter on the vampire in literature was good. It lied. It was bad. Basically, he disapproves of 'inaccuracies' in Stoker's Dracula (did I mention he seriously believes in vampires? He does. I would not want him to lead my parish.), despite the part where, um, it's, like, a work of fiction or something; and then talks about plays in France. Plays! I hate plays! Especially in French, or any other language I don't understand (anything not English--American English, if we want to be specific and pathetic about it)! Ridiculous. But it's done. And the folklore parts were handy to know (why? I don't know), especially the ones I hadn't already read about in The Historian.

In other book news, the new Kevin Brockmeier book is out. The View From the Seventh Layer is a collection of short stories. Read Kevin Brockmeier's work. He is amazing. AMAZING!!!! He'll be at the literary festival. He's the coolest. He writes great stories. Why does he not read stuff on tape? I have his other books for adults (he's also written 2 or 3 books of juvenile fiction) and you can borrow them sometime--but only if I get to keep something valuable of yours for collateral. Some of them are autographed.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yesterday Was Cody's Birthday

He said he had a lovely time. He and his brother called each other to tell each other "Happy birthday" (freaks), his co-workers didn't make him a cake (he hates fusses), and he finished a project that would let him have more space for files at work. He had a good day.

Then, we had a good evening. For one thing, I made him a cake. Okay, he picked out the cake mix and the icing and the rainbow sprinkles that went on top of it, but I made it. We ate at Kabab and Curry. Friends in attendance were:
Jeff
Brooke
Brad
Jason
Jessi
Sarah
Robert
Alana
Jarrett
Kayla

It was a lovely gathering. I'd already given him his card and present (some bound volume of comics that he picked out while we were in Houston) before we ate. But he opened the rest of his presents there. Among the presents (meaning: I don't quite remember everything) were:
Hannah Montana trading cards
The Princess Bride: Special Edition (I have been informed we're watching that tonight)
A Batman magnet
2 comics
2 Barnes and Noble gift cards
A cookbook with 365 recipes, each assigned to a day (we all had a nice time finding out our birthday meals)
This knife:
(It's sharp)

(It's very sharp)
And a lot of amazing hero-themed cards. Yes, he turned 24 yesterday.

Anyway, a lot of us went back to our apartment for cake and coffee, although most people drank milk. You would have thought we had Coke in retro bottles the way people got excited over the whole milk (yes, I went back to whole milk after 10 years of 2% and that terrible, dark period of skim milk that we don't need to talk about. I blame the fat man. Actually, I thank him. It was his idea.) It was a great time and we got everyone kicked out by 10:30 because it was a weekday. We are big kids now and had to go to work in the morning, you know.

Also, we had his family birthday on Wednesday. He asked for beans and cornbread and got them. He also got potatoes and fried okra. Fried okra!!!! Glorious. His mom got him a gift certificate to The Comic Store and some money, and one of his grandmother got him some money. (Supposedly his other grandmother sent him a card, but he hasn't gotten it because he doesn't check the mail and the box key is on his keyring. This is why everyone was all excited about Travis and Alana's wedding invitations and I could only stand there, not knowing what they looked like at all! Dang you, Cody. Ahem, anyway...) Spencer is waiting until Casey visits and then he'll give them both presents ...... or something like that. I don't know. It was a great dinner and we ate a lot, and then ate some brownies and ice cream, and talked and gossiped and watched reruns of Reba and Home Improvement. Lovely, lovely times.

Tomorrow morning we're going to a bluegrass festival in Fort Smith with Kayla. I'll look for you there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today is Cody's Birthday

He is 24. Yes, another year has come and gone and he keeps aging, but he's younger than I am every single time! I remember when I found out exactly how old he wasn't. We'd been dating for a few weeks and I decided we were close enough for me to go through his wallet (I asked permission first. See how much I respect him? Most of the time, I just take your wallet or purse and go to town!), I pulled out his driver's license and realized his birthday was much closer to my younger sister's than mine. I mean, I knew he was 19 (Cody used to be 19! I dated him while he was 19. My brother is 19 now. 19 is so young! Wow.) and kind of mature for his age while I....wasn't, but wow. 19. It was a little unsettling for a minute. While Cody was 19, I was old enough for him and Jeff to try to get me to buy tickets for a Bill Mallonee show in a bar that they couldn't get into. On account of being 19 and all. Oh, so young.

But now, Cody is a great big legal adult (he's always been great big, but he's actually lost weight since we dated) with a job and a beard and a spouse (me!). Here are some other fun facts about Cody on his birthday:

  1. He's one of my favorite people
  2. He's an excellent and creative cook
  3. He's well-read
  4. He's one of the nicest people I know
  5. He is extremely handsome
  6. Sometimes he whispers for no apparent reason. You know how hard it is to hear him sometimes? There are times when he just starts whispering a story to me--no secrets, no one nearby we might disturb, no nothing. He's just pretty quiet and unobtrusive
  7. He's good with animals...and maybe with small children. Some like him; some don't
  8. Old people like him
  9. He's a good friend
  10. He tolerates my arts and crafts projects....and musical preferences....and book lists....and reorganization missions....and 'picky' eating habits....and my constant teasing. We are talking about constant teasing about everything. His religious background. His gray hair. His music. His car. His hand gestures. His stock phrases (he could be telling you about our marriage ceremony and it would start out with, "So, I'm just sitting there..."). His legs. His eyesight. His fatness. His heart defect. His favorite TV shows. His comics. His finger that he broke and then it healed funny and now it looks kind of deformed. His friends. Oh, wait....
  11. He eats lots of fruits and vegetables
  12. He is obviously a good sport and a very patient man. I can only hope that on that day when I push him too far, and he snaps and kills me, that it will be quick.
And now, for pictures!

He plays a mean game of Pin the Horn on the Unicorn

Um, animals love him?

Even though he lost (twice), he really gave Robert a challenge there for a minute

He could be a model

He has brothers. And I uploaded the wrong picture. Oh well, here you can see his brothers, and how they kind of match him. Actually, the one on the far right is his twin, Casey. Which means today is also his birthday. Oh, dang it...




Here, he's keeping up with current events

He also tolerates other people's arts and crafts projects

The greatest day of his life

Look, my family likes him!

My new favorite picture

Not the best example of his excited face, but he requested that I retire the picture of him from Christmas 2006

Here, he's being a good in-law and shows up for the Short Family Christmas

He takes me places

He cooks with fire

He supports the Catholic High Band and gives one of his better excited faces

He is very funny. He may have actually made Laine choke on her food in this picture

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter pictures!

Well, we celebrated Easter on Saturday. That's just when we do it. As always, we drove into the Delta to enjoy undercooked grease, flat flatness out the car window, scary gas station bathrooms, and various relatives. We didn't mean for the trip to turn into a caravan, but it did. We unexpectedly met up with Mom, Dad, Laine, Sara, Chad, and Mozart at the same gas station we always stop at. Only real family members would need to potty and stretch their legs at the same time. So. Laine wanted to drive our car, so I let her.

I think she's talking about bodily functions or music. There's really no telling.

Cody is sitting in the back. I rode in the back on the way home.


Maybe he's still pouting? I don't know what's going on here. But I like this picture.

I like this one, too. My sisters are obviously awesome.

Poor, poor Chad. He's from Iowa. This was his first trip to the Delta. He remarked to my mom, "There seems to be a lot of poverty here." He also refused to eat crawdads.

I like this picture of Mom. She looks rueful (one of us had just said something dumb or offensive or inappropriate--take your pick) but happy.

That little pink creature is Lindy. She doesn't like dogs, or strangers, or the sun. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of her brother, Tully. He just moved too fast.

Mason was not a fan of the dog. His grandma is holding him. She's Betty Fae (Fay?), my mom's aunt, and Grandmother's sister-in-law.

No clue. Cody's mom saw this picture and thought maybe he was praying. That wouldn't explain why Dad looks like he doesn't like him.

Laine is a bad influence on animals. Here, she teaches Mozart to slouch.

This one's a little better, at least for Mozart. He's exactly 5 months old in this picture. He weighs about 100 pounds. He will outweigh me by this time next month.

Laine and Cody clearly love Easter and each other. Just look at how happy they are to be hanging out!

This is Cane (yes, I do realize my relatives have some odd name choices for their offspring but I really can't say much about it in light of my parents' preferences. Laine? Levi Alton?). Cane is putting his mouth on Mozart's chew toy. Good thing they both like to share.

He doesn't mind.

Is there anything cuter than pictures of babies and "puppies"?

No, of course not! Did you even stop and think about it? Are you American? Look at his face (he really liked my camera). This picture is exploding with precious adorableness. Cane kept taking the leash right out of Cody's hands. He really wanted to hang out with the dog. And feed him twigs.

A picture of Cody and me.

The Easter egg hunt! They only put it on for the very littlest kids this year. Mooney got to sit outside and watch her great-grandchildren stare at the plastic eggs with mute incomprehension. It was so cute.

How to Make a ReubenPizza

Jeff found a recipe for a Reuben Pizza in a Rachel Ray article. So he decided to try it out. And have some friends over to test the result. So.

Step One: react violently when Jen says she wants to clean your kitchen.
Step Two: give in after 15 seconds of arguing. Nothing can stop Jen from cleaning your kitchen.

Step Three: unroll dough in a can (biscuits? crescent rolls? I don't know.).
Step Four: put mozzarella cheese, corned beef (Jeff used something else), and sauerkraut on top of the dough.

Step Five: open another can of dough. Place it on top of the creation.
Step Six: drizzle a little olive oil along the seams and edges.
Step Seven: crimp the edges with a fork.
Step Eight: say a quick but fervent prayer that this will work.

Step Nine: Bake (I don't know at what temperature or for how long).

Step Ten: eat. Serve with Mountain Dew and television.
Step Eleven (for Alana): swing by Little Caesar's.

Ta-da! Now you know.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday indeed


I haven't posted anything since Monday, and figured that I should before I go home for the weekend. So here's a quick review:

Monday, after that post:
They caught the bat.
Cody made broccoli and cheese soup. It contained no Velveeta, but I still enjoyed it.

Tuesday:
I was able to work! What?! It was insane.
Cody had to take my car to class because his windshield wipers got tangled together somehow and it was raining.
I sat at home, occasionally checking the puddle levels just outside the window.
I wanted to go to sleep on the couch while watching storm reports but Cody said it was silly. Then we had an argument over whether we should hide from tornadoes in our closet or our bathtub. I declared myself the winner when Cody confessed that he'd never been in a tornado. (Never mind that I usually sleep through them.)

Wednesday:
I had a brisk dentist's appointment and learned that I need a small filling. I'll get around to it eventually. And that my tooth sensitivity is not the result of any specific cavity, but rather is the inevitable consequence of my receding gums. Yes, my gums are receding. So much so that in one area that I have an exposed root. Gross!
I decided I am not aging well, despite the fact that 3 different people had told me I looked like a twelve-year-old (and that I would be grateful for that when I got older) in a 24 hour period. Maybe that counts as not aging well. I guess I need to go back to wearing eyeliner, which usually bumps me up to the 15 or 16 year old range. Too bad I dropped it a few days ago and it rolled behind the toilet. I will not be using that again.
We went to the White-Courington house for ruebenpizza. It's a real thing: Jeff found a recipe from a Rachel Ray article. Good times were enjoyed by all. The pizza was enjoyed by most.
We went to the Bennett house to pick up My Bridesmaid Dress for Alana's Wedding!!! because I have things shipped to the restaurant. More visiting, more good times. We stayed too late.

Thursday:
We woke up tired.
More work.
Cody's boss finally pushed him too far, and when he was picking on him on his lunch break and implied that he (Cody) maybe wanted to be a pedophile (it actually had nothing to do with being married to someone who supposedly looks like a 12 year old) and Cody lost it and started yelling at his boss. I doubt he actually raised his voice, but he said everybody in the office looked at him funny. Um, at least now they know how much they can pick at him before he loses patience. It's a pretty difficult thing to do, but if you act like he would do something that would ever harm anyone in any way, he's probably going to ask you to stop. Or dislike you forever. Really.
We ate Chinese food and I took a shower and watched TV in the floor and we went to bed early.
Despite telling Jessi that I wouldn't be falling asleep until after 10:30 or so and that she could call me, I passed out right at 10.

Friday:
I checked my phone and realized that I had not dreamed that event when I thought the phone had rang and I thought that it had displayed my name. Jessi called at 10:33. I have no idea if I rejected her or (infinitely worse) if I answered it and had an entire conversation with her in my sleep. (I've only done this one other time, when I woke up in the middle of a conversation with Kayla. We'd made plans to meet up at a laundromat. Once I was awake, I pretty much started the whole thing over again, much to her confusion. We decided she should drive.) Oh dear...

And here is a summary of my immediately upcoming plans:

Talk to Jessi at some point. Apologize, if necessary for anything rude, stupid, or nonsensical things I may or may not have said last night.

Drive to the Delta on Saturday for my family's Easter. Yes, we know Easter is supposedly on Sunday. Cody's hoping to hold a baby. There's usually one or two at these events, just laying around somewhere. They tend to be pretty fun. We'll spend time with various family people. It should be fun.

We'll try to find a church that's not stacked to the rafters and attend an Easter service. Then we'll have lunch with Cody's family.

And here is a summary of my farther away upcoming plans:

Cody's birthday is March 27. I will be making him a cake.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is April 4-6. I will be in giddy attendance. I know what you're thinking: Will Kevin Brockmeier be there? Answer: It's the ALR, of course he'll be there! Check the list of speakers! Woohoo!

Catholic High's Battle of the Bands is next weekend. I forgot which day. But you should find out and then go. And maybe let me know when it's happening, because I said I'd be there. Admission is $5. The Science of Sleep (Spencer's band--they changed the name) is supposed to be playing. That would be cool, right? Right! Go. Listen to music. Be happy you're out of high school.

Um, I can't think of anything else. There are some farther away events (birthdays, weddings, concerts, and the joyful like), too. We'll get to them eventually. I hope you have a happy Easter. I hope no one gives you any baby animals to commemorate the event. I hope that you can snag a good seat at church and that you are too smart to even think about trying to eat in a restaurant on Easter Sunday afternoon. I hope that if you do though, you can beat the Baptists. Enjoy the day, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy your candy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Bat. A Shower. Shoe Shopping. Church. Same Bat.

I should be reheating my lunch right now. However, there is a bat loose somewhere in the office and it was last seen in the break room. We spotted it behind the water cooler bottles around 10 and some 'brave' soul put a box over it without realizing there were some holes along the edges. Why someone thought you could solve the problem by putting a box over it and walking away is beyond me. Please save your government jokes for a better time. Like when I'm not under attack from a loose (and possibly sick) bat. Bleh.

So I'm going to tell you about my weekend while I wait until the bat germcooties have faded from the breakroom or I get to do some work, whichever is coming first.

Friday: I got an email from Laine telling me she was leaving work early because Robert's grandmother had died. (She had a brain tumor, and they'd known it was coming, but they didn't think it would happen quite this soon. Please keep Laine's inlaws in your prayers. They've been having a rough time for about a year now.) I went home. Cody got some comics from the library (thank God they have comic books at the library. We're not out any money and then they go away!) while I walked to Target because the weather was nice. I called Levi because I missed him and so we just gossiped about stuff while I bought things and tried on some tops. Eventually, I got ready to go to Alana's 'girl' shower at Cajun's. Cody gave me bad directions. The attendees managed to have a good time without me while I got myself there without help (even though I called him 4 times, Cody swears he didn't hear anything). Ugh. Anyway, we had a lovely time and ate 'real food' and cake. Because this was supposed to be a 'pampering' shower (I never quite know how I'm supposed to go about pampering someone. I always think I should be giving a back rub or something. I love Alana, but I think that's Travis's job.) I got Alana some comfy pajamas. They completely reflected her love of Jesus. (Meaning: I don't know how to buy cute/seductive pajamas for myself, let alone other people. Sometimes I check out burqas online, just to see what one would cost. I like the idea of being really, really covered up.) I probably should have thrown in some microwave popcorn and a DVD from Wal-Mart's $5 bin now that I think about it. That would have been a very thoughtful gesture. But I didn't. I had the least 'pampering' gift there. But anyway, it was a lovely time and there was talk of weddings and 'how we met' stories and imaginary boyfriend stories and career plan stories stories of how fun it can be to feel like a good and caring wife (I sat in awkward silence during that portion of the evening) and cake stories. My, how this group loves cake. And Play-de-dohs.

I returned (after getting slightly lost again) to Cody, who was effectively drunk on the nachos he'd made for himself. We just hung out and talked and realized that we were not entirely sprung forward when we realized what time it was. We slept till nearly 11 in the morning.

Saturday: we ate at the restaurant and caught up on some family news. We checked out a couple of stores because Cody needed shoes. The stores did not have what we were looking for. Then we bit the bullet and went to the mall. We hate the mall. We should not have gone to the mall. Cody should not have passed several good parking spots because he wanted to be on a specific level of the parking deck that wound up having no empty spots. We should not have listened to "This American Life" on NPR as we were trapped in the parking garage. I should not have been so angry when I explained to Cody that the mall was so crowded because
  1. It was a Saturday.
  2. A lot of people were probably on spring break.
  3. Prom is coming up pretty soon.
  4. Easter is coming up a lot sooner.
  5. It was a Saturday.
At least, I shouldn't have been so ugly the first time I explained it. By the third time, I think my frustrations were warranted. He does not listen. Anyway, we wound up parking across the street. We went to the mall. We looked at shoes. He found some shoes. We bought them. We looked at the Fiestaware at Dillard's just for fun because it's so pretty and happy. Really, who doesn't love that? We went home. I think I may have fallen asleep in the floor. We eventually made a Wal-Mart run (which is when I had the microwave popcorn and DVD idea) and rented some movies and ate quesadillas and stayed up late once again.

Sunday: we did wake up in time to go to the late mass at Christ the King. I wanted to know what was up with Palm Sunday services (did you know yesterday was Palm Sunday? It was.), so we went. It was a nice (and crowded) service. We saw lots of chubby babies--one of my favorite parts of church. We got blessed. That was odd, but whatever. We got palm leaves. Apparently, you're supposed to display them prominently in your home, so Cody put ours above the front doorway. I caught myself thinking that a horseshoe would have made me feel just as safe, but since we're both firstborns, we should probably have something over the doorways just for good measure. Yes, I know the palms aren't supposed to be for protection, but stuff over your doorway is. I walked to Target again to buy a frozen pizza and a paper. I wound up paying $1.25 for Saturday's paper out of a vending machine. Ugh. I'm going to take a break from the newspaper. I don't like what it has to say, assuming I ever get around to reading it.

We took huge naps. I watched parts of the race. We went to the grocery store. Cody made some food and it was....okay. I now get to have it as a leftover for lunch. We watched a movie....or something. I've been having trouble with my memory lately. I think it's because I'm tired. Or uninterested in much of my own life. Do you really care to know if we napped and went to the grocery store, or if it happened the other way around? Me neither. I just remembered what movie we watched: Stardust. Cody picked it out. Cody loved it. I cleaned the kitchen, ironed the clothes, got a backrub, put Easter stuff up in the apartment, tried to make my iron self-clean, and did a whole lot of other stuff that kept me from looking directly at the mess playing out on the TV screen. I still wound up watching more of it than I wanted to. My husband is a 15 year-old girl. Unfortunate. We stayed up late again laughing at the doubly bad dialog that ensues when you combine CSI: New York with CSI: Miami. But eventually I petered out and went to bed. And woke up this morning twenty minutes before it was time to leave. Oddly enough, I left the house about 5 minutes late and got here pretty much on time.

And now we have a bat somewhere in the office. And I hope I get to work on the scanned acts eventually. And I'm supposed to be doing a bit of proofreading on something for Dad but it's so horrific I haven't felt like doing much to it other than highlight words I don't like/words that are misspelled and cross through whole phrases and sentences (Dad didn't write this, in case you think I'm that mean). I'm going to break down and reheat my lunch now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Houston Pictures

Okay, I don't know how well you can see it. But this is a picture of my beautiful, fabulous, gas mileage. We went 446 miles without needing to refuel. I love my car!

We went to the most well-stocked comic store Cody had ever seen: The Third Planet. He's holding his birthday present. I posed him next to the X-Men junk....memorabilia, I mean. (That's not what I mean.)

I'm not sure. I think he's concerned because I'm starting to say hateful things (we'd been in the store for about an hour) and getting hysterically worn out. Good thing he's handsome. I wouldn't have spent as much time as I did in that nerd kingdom for anyone else.

Everyone loves the Budweiser Clydesdales. I saw just about everything in Houston from the car. Man, we were lost a lot. The rain didn't help. I petered out around 3 and told Cody I wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap before the concert.

We got stuck in traffic instead.

I mean, really stuck. Cody put the car in park and read the comic that came 'free' with our purchase. I dealt with the stress as I had done most of that day: by taking pictures of my unhappy self with a disposable camera. There's a reason Cody has a look of murderous rage on his face. We were not enjoying each other at this point. (At least, I'm pretty sure that's his look of murderous rage. There's some kind of emotion taking place here. It's hard to tell. You don't see Cody make a lot of expressions that often.) It's okay, though. We eventually made it back to the hotel, I wiped everything down with Clorox wipes and slept the sleep of the totally exhausted and well-sanitized.

This was our hotel.

This was me using up the last picture on the roll of film. It's from the parking lot. I kind of like it. There were a lot of palm trees everywhere. I was surprised by that for some reason.


I'm not going to write an actual blog about Houston. I'm bored with it. Most of the trip was not fun and very boring, and I've already told you about the most important part, which made everything well worth it.

Pictures With Captions

I thought some of these might require captions. Plus, I just love talking about my pictures and there are only 4 here.

My sweet haul from the 2008 Flower and Garden Show. The theme this year was "Gardening is Healthy." A more proper wording would have been, "Gardening is Healthful." Anyway, the seeds are going in mine and Jeff's flowerbed, and the shirt goes on me. I look cute in it....in a dorky, gardening grandmother kind of way.

This is the yarn I bought at Yarniverse when I had my adventure in Memphis. Therefor, this is adventure yarn! Is that not so exciting?! I really like this color and texture. I'm looking forward to playing with it.

Cody's first attempt at bread baking. He failed. The dough just wouldn't rise for whatever reason. He's trying a different recipe next time because he's trying to do more baking. I'm looking forward to that, too.

Really spicy meatballs. The white things are pine nuts. They were good, but incredibly hot. When we got back from Houston, Cody mixed what was left over of these and mixed them with leftover spaghetti and said it was good. I was jealous, because I had thought about doing that, but he beat me do it and ate it all. Oh well. We know next time to mix these with something else.