Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm not sure why Robert and Chad are absent

It's time for out-of-context hilarity, family style.


Laine and Jen clean their room

Jen: I'm getting rid of this. I don't know why I have it.
Laine: Because it's Miss Piggy driving a pink car! It's mine now.

She makes a good point
Anna: I'm just glad he's normal and can see and hear.....you know, we're not raising a little Helen Keller baby.

He's right there if you're seeking
Spencer: Let me show you this picture on my phone.
Jen: It's not someone's messed-up knee, is it?
Spencer: Ha, no. Look, it's Jesus.

Cody and Sara ban each other from birthday parties*
Cody: Yeah, it's too bad you can't come. Maybe you shouldn't have banned me from your birthday next year. Because this started out pretty small, but now it's the talk of North Little Rock.

*The history
Mrs. Dicy: Why are Cody and Sara fighting again?
Mom: Cody didn't come to Sara's birthday party. I forget what he had going on...
Jen: He was helping Casey move.
Mrs. Dicy: I think that's pretty important.
[Sara's relatives laugh at her]

Jen and Laine clean their room, Part II
Laine: I'm sweating. I think I'm going to throw up. Jen, hand me the nozzle on the vacuum cleaner.
Jen: Do you want me to turn it on yet?
Laine: No, just let me get it over here. Ugh, this is the worst day of my life.
Cody: I'm going in the other room.
Jen: You don't think you can take a nap while we vacuum?

Mom acts like a mom, with fantastic results
Girl 1: When I was first learning to drive, I couldn't get my car backed up. So my mom and I switched and she backed it straight into a wall.
Girl 2: I think hurt my car, like, 3 or 4 times the first year I had it. It wasn't my fault, though. The first time definitely wasn't my fault. See, what happened was--
Mom: Sweetheart, were you driving the car when these things happened?

Except identical twins grew up in this house
Jessi: This is like the house I grew up in! Aw, they even have a sunken den!
Jen: Here's the living room.
Jessi: Awww!
Jen: Here's his parents' wedding picture...
Jessi: Awww...
Jen: Here's little Spencer in overalls...
Jessi: Hee hee!
Jen: Let me scoot this wedding picture so you can see Cody and Casey when they were 5.
Jessi: Aw--oh wow! Wow. I cannot get over how identical they were.

It's tough finding the right birthday card
Cody: I don't think Casey enjoyed his birthday card (monkey swinging from a tree) as much as I did. I gave it to him and he was like, "You know I'm not eight, right?" and I said, "No, you're 25! [begins laughing] Just like me!" Ah...that's great. [chuckles some more]

Jen is not the worst-looking person in the scenario, just wait
Spencer: So I missed Teddy's call and I called him back 10 seconds later and he didn't pick up.
Jen: Maybe it died.
Cody: Jen, that's absolutely horrible.
Jen: What?
Cody: That's his friend.
Jen: I said maybe the phone died.
Cody: Oh, I thought you said maybe he died.
Jen: No, I would never do that. That's horrible. You're deaf.
Casey: That's what I thought you said.
[Everyone else agrees and thought I said Teddy died. Poor kid.]
Mrs. Dicy: He better not have died, he's supposed to work tomorrow.

It usually goes like this
Sara: That dress makes you look like an old lady.
Jen: I'm wearing it to your wedding.
Sara: Oh, well, if you like it.....That other one was cuter. But I guess the colors will match well. That's fine, I guess.

Dinner at IHOP
Laine: Do you guys ever wonder if maybe you're autistic?
Jen: All the time.
Sara: I think maybe everyone is, just a little bit.

Who doesn't?
Levi: I do love a good parade.

I know he was making a joke, but I should not have laughed for as long as I did
Casey: I'm not looking forward to getting insurance again.
[Everyone murmurs about how that's going to be bad.]
Casey: Maybe, since I turned 25, I'll get a discount.

Jen and Laine host a wedding shower
Laine: Jen, what if no one comes to our party?
Mom: We'll make Dad and Chad come over and eat the snacks.
Sara: Look who's here?! [4 people]
Laine: Our party is a success!!!

We ready the living room for painting during an NCIS marathon
Dad: Oh, sorry to bother you.
Sara: Dad, I've never seen this episode before!

Laine spent the night
Dad: How was your houseguest?
Jen: I felt trapped in a real-life Duncan and Delores.
Mom: Poor Cody.

It probably does
Joanna: I think Travis has an ingrown toenail.
Mom: Just put some Neosporin on it.
Jen: You say that for everything.
Aunt Vicki: That's because it works on everything.

This is smart
Levi: Well, when I'm home I know Mom wants me to go to Best Buy because she doesn't like the salespeople.

Jen and Casey have yet to get comfortable
[Jen looks at Casey's plate]: Wow, you're barely making a dent in that.
Casey: Jen, I don't need your criticism.
Jen: But I give it.
Casey: Yes, freely. But that's okay. Not that it would stop you if it wasn't.
Jen: No...

Jen and Mom have their dumbest argument ever
Mom: Hey, at least I can hula hoop.
Jen: I can hula hoop!
Mom: Sweetie, keeping it around your waist for 3 seconds is not hula hooping.
Jen: I kept it going long enough for a picture! At least there were pictures of me hula hooping! I bet all those people saw pictures of us on Laine's facebook and I bet they all thought, "Oh, poor Gail. There are no pictures of her. Bless her heart, she must not be able to hula hoop." That's exactly what they were thinking.
Mom: I don't think that's what they were thinking.

Friday, March 27, 2009

25 things about Cody

So. Today is Cody's twenty-fifth birthday. I thought I'd just do one of those 'twenty-five things about me' lists that were sweeping the facebook world a month or so ago, only about Cody. I like to talk about him.

1. His middle name, Lee, is for his grandfather.
2. He's very strong.
3. He does this little dance when he's cooking and he's getting excited about the turn-out. It looks a little like the 'shimmy' you do in the Wal-Mart dance, but more....Cody-like.
4. He is hilarious. I thank God for this nearly every day because if I'm going to hang out with someone for the rest of my life, I would like to be entertained.
5. He tells me every day how pretty I am. It's wonderful.
6. He grew a beard on the advice of his mom, after much thought, and with the 'blessing' of his Memaw Agnes and me.
7. He chooses good advisers.
8. He looks so handsome with a beard.
9. He sings under his breath a lot, and it's usually eighties pop.
10. He is not a stress eater. Rather, he cooks his feelings. He was baking 3-4 loaves of bread every week earlier in the year.
11. He also cooks to make you happy. Once it's all said and done and cooked, everyone feels better.
12. He's donated 2 gallons of blood so far. The pin from the Red Cross came in last week.
13. I gave him Pyrex baking dishes last night as an early present and he loved them.
14. The first time he asked me out to dinner, I declined. He asked again later.
15. He was 19 when we started dating.
16. He did not admit that he thought I was too attractive for him until a couple of months before our wedding. I found the confession oddly touching in light of how confident he usually is about his attractiveness. (Example: Girls always like my belly. Even people I don't know want to touch it all the time.)
17. He really is big-boned.
18. He chuckles. I don't know a lot of people who do that.
19. He usually talks pretty quietly, but sometimes he just starts whispering for no reason whatsoever.
20. He is convinced that moms give him dirty looks whenever we hold hands in the mall because they assume I'm a lot younger than he is. We don't go to the mall very often.
21. I never have to remind him to put the strap around his neck when he uses my camera.
22. He's a giver: he was my date to a Nickelback concert a few years ago, and will be my date again when I see them next month. He really seems to hate them.
23. He's a good brother/friend/family person. I could give some cute examples, but I won't. He's just a nice guy, and I'm sure you can imagine how that plays out with anyone he loves.
24. He says he started finding gray hairs when he was 16.
25. I saw this depressingly old and frumpy couple in a Wendy's once and asked him how he felt about us growing old together. He immediately brightened up and exclaimed, "I can't wait. I'm gonna pay for everything in pennies!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arts and crafts + decluttering

This is probably one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.

On a similar note, I reorganized quite a bit of the closet last night.

The project didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. The two main things making me feel like I was going to be smothered in there were
1. Some things were piled up behind the door so that I couldn't open it all the way.
2. Some bags were precariously sitting on one of the shelves and I was afraid they were going to fall on me every time I tried to hang up Cody's shirts.

So I moved the stuff behind the door.

I put more boxes of the Christmas things on the upper shelves and put the bags on the floor.

I moved the vacuum cleaner.

I filled a shopping bag full of trash.

I took some 200 or so small granny squares out of a box and piled them into a container, dragged the container in the living room, and waited for the project to start.

If we do any container gardening, I'm going to need that container.

So I've decided to start stitching the squares together. I think I'll have strips of 10, maybe 12.

They may be longer than that. I don't know.

No pattern, no intended recipient, no nothing.

I'm just going to sew together a bunch of granny squares and clear up some clutter and have a crazy-looking afghan to show for it.

Also, I talked to Cody about losing weight and being smaller so that I'd have an easier time with the laundry. He wouldn't go for it.

He not only wouldn't go for it, but he also said that if he loses weight, his gravitational pull to the earth would lessen. So if he loses more weight (which he plans to do), he said he could actually grow taller.

I loathed him.

But then he made nachos and everything was okay.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Good afternoon! The sun is shining, my decongestants are working, and I'm enjoying a very late lunch of minestrone lovingly prepared by my spectacular husband. How are you?

My weekend was pretty unproductive. The only halfway noteworthy things I crossed off my list were "take by recycling", "go to church", "fold and put away clothes." Other than that, I took medicine in a desperate attempt to ease my hellish congestion, napped, went to the restaurant, spent a nice Sunday afternoon with my parents, and talked to Levi on the phone. For some reason, Levi and I tend to have a lot of conversations about Ted Nugent and assault weapons.

So it was a good weekend, but not particularly productive. This bothers me, but Cody says it's fine.

I do feel more rested, and ready to accomplish household things once I go home.

For now, I'm just enjoying my late lunch break during a productive work day. We're not busy or hectic, but everything's going at a nice pace.

I've learned that the elevators in our building will be closed in a few weeks, and will remain closed for quite a while.

As a result, I am either going to develop a rock-hard rear or have an asthma attack while climbing the stairs to the office. Very exciting.

Also exciting: Cody is turning 25 this Friday. S

o is Casey. Twins are like that.

It's hard to make a lot of aging jokes since they've been gray since forever (before I met Cody anyway), or even to see how they're aging (since they've had to shave daily since forever....or ninth grade, which was a long time ago), but I've noticed lately that Cody's getting these crinkles around his eyes when he smiles and laughs.

Laugh lines have never looked so gorgeous.

I haven't noticed this on Casey, but I don't usually get up close to his face because that's a little inappropriate.

In other uncomfortable news about upcoming events, my friend Jeff and his band are playing at Lucky's on Saturday. I will ignore my fear and intense dislike of watching people I know sing and attend this show. Yay?

In an attempt to ride out March Madness, Cody and I have rented Season 2 of The O.C. and will be watching old episodes of that until some real TV comes back on. We still have to nod uncomprehendingly whenever people talk about brackets, though.

There is still no schedule for the literary festival.

As bad as my head and face feel, I love spring.

I've been taking pictures of spring things during the week.

And just for fun, here's an altered version of a picture I took a few weekends ago.

Dark blue = already given away as gifts
Aqua = has been set aside to be given away as gifts
Red = Cody is reading it
Purple = I am reading it
Yellow = I have read it

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All kinds of stuff

I'm noticing an unpleasant trend.

Actually, I'm noticing two unpleasant trends.

1. The first little bit of unpleasantness is that Target seems to be trying to drive me away. I've had problems the last three times I've developed film. With this roll, I was unable to upload all of the pictures from the picture CD. I could view them, but I couldn't copy them to my computer. The pictures in question? Joanna's church shower. It's no big deal.

We're only talking about my sister's best friend's firstborn.

I'm going to try to fix the problem tonight. In other news,

2: Every picture I've taken in this roll of film has happened on a weekend. Every. Last. One!

Ridiculous! I know I'm doing photography-worthy things after work! (Absolutely none of it is coming to mind, but whatever.) Why am I not documenting it? Why have I not taken pictures of the newborns I know? Why did I not photograph Chad's parents (other than the reason that I'd just met them and thought it could scare them a little. They'd still grow to love me, I'm sure.)

But anyway, here are my pictures
February, Sunday the 8th:
Dad and Robert before Joanna's baby shower.

Mom and her girls after the shower.
Casey and Cody that night.
I kind of like it when things get blurry.
Now they're just laughing at me.
Every time we go over, they wind up sitting like this.
Sunday the 15th:
Mom got some chickens!
The cow met the chickens.
I took pictures of Sara and Chad.

They're cute.

Sunday the 22nd:
I went to a baby shower for my cousin, Whitney.
This is her sister, Angela.
And Carson. He is adorable and happy.
Laine and I held him a lot.
And here's Whitney!
And Chanley.

Okay, this was taken on a Friday!
But Cody was the one taking it.
Here's the food from February's basket a month.
Look at all that local goodness.

Saturday the 28th:
Mom and I went to the Flower and Garden Show

I love flowers.

March, Sunday the 8th:
We had a Flamingo Fiesta birthday party for Brook!

She's lighting candles on the cake Cody made.
Brad also made her a zombie cake, but that was not for eating.

Saturday the 14th:
I documented our library book sale treasures.
So my weekends have been eventful lately, but my weekdays have been nice too. I'm not sure why I'm not taking more pictures. Tons of important and pretty things have been happening. I need to be better about this.

Last night, I went on a garden tour with the Night Bloomer's garden club. I had put my email address on a list at the flower and garden show, and was contacted about doing some garden club things. I don't really know what garden clubs do, but I do like seeing other people's yards.

So Cody and I went, and we met some people, and we toured the back yard of the people who run Rand's Grand Design. You know the exhibit at the Flower and Garden Show that had the little shed? With a well that was a fountain? And the stone benches?

Yeah, we saw their garden. And greenhouse. And I bought a plant. It's a barrenwort. It kind of looks like a bleeding heart plant. I'm going to pot it tonight and it will live on the back deck because it does well with partial sun. It has pink blossoms in the spring (not right now) and the leaves have a reddish tint in the fall. (I'm just saying what I read on the back of its tag thingy.)

Yes, I do think I'm cool now.

We even ran into a couple from college when we were crossing the street to go back to our cars! They kindly did not run over us. We chatted briefly. It turns out those lucky kids are about 2 blocks away from all kinds of garden goodness.

It was really fun! The weather was beautiful, the temperature was nearly perfect, the people had a dog and we made friends with it, and we saw a lot of amazing things.

And: I took a few pictures.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm very homeschooled

I found this on facebook and stole it.

Full disclosure: I was homeschooled from third grade until twelfth, at which point I participated in the homeschool graduation ceremony that took place during the annual homeschooler convention/book fair. It was so boring that my siblings skipped it when they graduated. I'm glad I was homeschooled, I think it was a pretty good choice for our family, I don't judge people who were or weren't homeschooled, and I'm fully prepared to laugh at myself.

(I also understand that I probably would have been this big of a dork anyway.)

How "homeschooled" am I?

The stereotypical homeschooler. X the boxes that apply to you.

Growing up/now
[x] Own/have owned a denim jumper
[ ] You were at least 13 when you got your first "trendy" haircut. (I'm still waiting for that to happen.)
[x] Everything in your closet at some time was referred to as modest
[x] You do/have tucked things in that shouldn't be tucked in
[x] You have been a member of at least 3 co-ops
[x] You were a true 16 and never been kissed (For my sixteenth birthday, I watched a Star Trek movie. In theaters. With my parents. I think it was Insurrection....)
[x] Your mom drives a van of some sort (Not any more, but whatever)
[x] You have at least one childhood picture where you, your mom, and all your siblings matched
[ ] You are/were/will be a PSEO Student
[x] At some point in your life you were more comfortable with adults than kids your own age.
[x] Have studied ways to defend your beliefs, debate, and/or create laws
[x] Used super conservative Abeka curriculum.

Total: 10

[x] You use big words that most adults could not use in conversation.
[x] You can use the words sublime, epiphany, and cognizant correctly.
[x] You have a favorite word.
[x] You have an understanding some of Latin root words and how to use them (Only since I married a Catholic)
[x] People from the outside world are referred to as "public schoolers''
[x] You or one of your siblings knits.
[] You laugh at the decline in literacy in America. (Because it's not funny)
[x] You score constantly higher than "public schoolers" on standardized tests. (Only in certain categories)
[] You have no concept of cafeteria food (Thanks for rounding me out, college!)
[x] Family vacations are/ can be referred to as "Field Trips"
[x] Traveling on said vacations have included stopping at historical site markers along the way
[] You have never been in a public elementary school, middle school, or high school during regular school hours
[x] You have gone to or been involved in a homeschool convention (Woo book fairs!!!!)

Total so far: 20

[x] You read books on a regular basis
[] You have taken part in a political protest
[x] You were a Pride and Prejudice fan before the movie
[] You were a Lord of the Rings fan prior to the movie
[x] You were a Chronicles of Narnia fan before the movie.
[ ] You speak a language other than English.
[ x] You dream of dating characters from books instead of celebrities. (Gilbert Blythe was probably my first true love.)

Total so far: 24

It has been assumed that you:
[x] Have won many spelling bees (I haven't)
[x] Have no social life
[] Have no friends of the opposite gender
[x] Are outstandingly smart
[x] Are extremely inept
[ ] Only listen to classical music
[] Play piano or the violin
[x] Do not own a pair of trendy jeans. (In all fairness to people who might think this, it's because I don't.)
[x] Have no knowledge of drugs or alcohol
[x] Don't date, only court. (Funny story about high school.....no, let's skip that)
[x] Have never been to a "party" (Not till college, and only then as the designated driver. Whoopee....)
[x] Know no other beliefs other than what your family believes (This could have more to do with my denomination)

Total so far: 33

You have been asked more than 10 times:
[x] If you wear pajamas to school
[x] If you get perfect grades because your mom grades you
[x] If your mom teaches you or if somebody else's mom does
[x] How do you meet people
[x] Why you aren't in school
[x] If you get days off whenever you want
[x] If you're going to be homeschooled through college
[x] If you have a big family
[x] What your parents are protecting you from
[ ] To quote something famous
[x] For the answer, because supposedly homeschoolers always have all the answers (This still happens! And I always let you guys down.)

Total so far: 43

You have rebelled by:
[x] Listening to "worldly music"
[ ] Wearing black fingernail polish.
[ ] Wearing tight clothes
[ ] Watching a *gasp* PG-13 movie
[ ] Breaking dress code
[ ] Listening to music with a beat

total: 44

1-10: You're not really a homeschooler...you just do school at home
11-21: You're a homeschooler, but not what the world expects
22-32: You're a homeschooler
33-?: You probably wouldn't have facebook to begin with...but congrats you're the stereotypical homeschooler

I'd like to protest the scoring system (duh) because I'm not sure how people misconceptions about me, or homeschoolers in general, define me.

I'm also not sure what's up with the knitting one.....seriously, knitting is cool.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Library book sale: results

I think I got a little carried away this time. We spent $22.50. That's not bad, but it's a little higher than last time. I was really excited this time, and I didn't even need a map! The selection, as you will soon see, was great.

How to Love Yankees with a Clear Conscience, Bo Whaley. I already gave this to Sara! She doesn't enjoy the books I give her. She laughed a lot at this one, though, and said she may even read it. Best 50¢ joke ever.
Reader's Digest Great Biographies: 3. Now I have 7 or 8!
After All, Mary Tyler Moore. Someone is getting this gem as a present!
The Greening of America, Charles Reich. I grabbed this one.
The Big Money (of the USA trilogy), John Dos Passos. I am nothing if not ambitious. And I was a little carried away by the time I snatched this up. The USA trilogy!? Seriously?! I could possibly read this...after I finish Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.....which I do own. Ha.
Saudis, Sandra Mackey. This one is Cody's.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber. Surprise! So is this one.
Indian Recipes for a Healthy Heart, Mrs. Lahkani. I bought this, but it's for Cody. And yes, the author's name is seriously listed as Mrs. Lahkini. Don't get too familiar with her.
Readings in Christian Theology, Millard Erickson. Cody's....
Flower Drying with a Microwave, Tilia Joosten. I saw a picture of a zinnia arrangement!!!!!!
The Step by Step Art of Flower Arranging, Jane Newdeck and Neil Sutherland.

The Queen of the Damned, Anne Rice
The Tale of the Body Thief "
Pandora "
Lasher ". So....I got a copy of every Anne Rice paperback I could find. I'm not sure if this was due to the display of vampire fiction I saw right as I walked into the library, or if it had been too long since I read The Historian or what. But I have a bunch of Anne Rice books now. I'm racing right through The Queen of the Damned now. Love. It.
The Love Letters, Madeline L'Engle. Madeline L'Engle wha??? Awesome.
White Oleander, Janet Finch. Monica said this was good.
A Maggot, John Fowles. I liked The French Lieutenant's Woman. So here we are.
The Ebony Tower " See above.
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco. I'm not sure why I didn't already own this.

Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Judith Martin. I'm trying. I really am.
Poems, Friedrich von Schiller. From 1871!!! So far, my favorite thing about this book is the name of (one of) the previous owner(s). Sallie....something. I've already forgotten. But she had beautiful handwriting and the ink is faded to a light purple.
Flower Arranging: a step-by-step guide, Susan Conder, Sue Phillips, Pamela Westlake. I didn't realize I was quite this enthralled with flower arranging.
The Middle Ages, National Geographic Society. It has pictures! And a fold-out timeline! And smells like fake-wood paneling and oldness!
The Vogue Sewing Book, Vogue. Fantastic pictures.
People of the Lakes, Time-Life Books
Cycles of Life "
The First Americans ". I wanted these, didn't get them, and then Cody did! It was a happy surprise at checkout. Excellent pictures.
The Fifth Child, Doris Lessing. Doris Lessing. Is. Amazing.
5th Edition Norton Anthology of English Literature. You know I love my Norton anthologies!

Mickey Mouse Disco
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Fun With Ernie and Bert. I already gave this to Laine.

I'm kicking myself for not buying Grover Sings the Blues.

Other than the record regret, I'm very pleased with the overall results of the trip. You know when you're having a really bad day and then you have ribs? And then you're happy and satisfied and the world is a delightful place? That is exactly how I felt as we left the library. And when I told people about the library sale. And gave Laine and Sara my amazing finds. And when I made a list of the purchases last night.

Most of the books are already on the shelves.

I feel happy inside and out just thinking of it.

People, Places, Things

Friday: We ate dinner.
We watched TV.
I did some more laundry.

Saturday: We woke up, drank coffee, and went to the book sale at the library!
I bought 32 books and 3 records. (Separate post)
We ate at the restaurant.
We went home, showered, and met up with Mom, Laine, and Robert at Hallmark.
We saw Sara and Chad's table at Hallmark. I took a picture.
I gave Laine the most amazing present: a record of Fun With Ernie and Bert. We had a lot of Bert and Ernie things when we were little, and we always thought they were brothers.
We met up with Sara and Chad and Chad's parents! Sweet people.
I gave Sara the other most amazing present: a book entitled How to Love Yankees with a Clear Conscience!
We saw Dallas in the chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and took lots of pictures.
He did a spectacular job, and we had fun visiting with people.
Added bonus: looking over at Mom every now and then and watching her sing every word to every song.
We met up with Dad and had some coffee. We also had a nice visit with Joanna's pregnant belly.

Sunday: We went to church.
We sat near the Lewises!
We went to the house.
We had pizza with Chad and his parents.
Lots of visiting, eating, and cleaning our old room.
We went home in the evening, did a few getting-ready-for-the-week things, like moving around huge piles of books so that we can walk in the living room, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

I know this all looks pretty boring, but it was an incredibly full and exciting weekend so I'm just throwing things out in list format.

Other highlights:
Cody's brothers
Dallas's new retainer
Waking up Robert
Hearing stories about Chad
An argument about whether we'd ever gone to our creek with some friends and left Levi there by himself as a joke. Laine and I swear this never happened, and Mom and Dad don't remember anything about it. But Sara is adamant that it happened, and that Levi was led back to the house by our dog, Red. Levi backed her up via text message. I think they're just trying to get us in trouble a decade or so after the fact
Mom making me sound like a creepy savant toddler
Laine sweating with anxiety over cleaning our old room
Family gossip. For both our families. In a span of mere hours
Trying to figure out who sings 'that song'
Chad's parents' accents
My parents
Cody's mom and about half of his family at one table
Seeing old co-workers and various homeschool moms
Coming home to my apartment
Cody in a dress shirt and tie
Meeting Robert's laptop
Watching Nathan sit patiently through a sermon on Christ, the good shepherd and then taking his grandmother's cane, saying, "I'm a shepherd," and then smiling quietly at his own hilarious joke.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Update on the literary festival

I don't have (as many reasons) to panic about my beloved literary festival, even though the website (www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org) is still, in the words of a web programmer friend, "crappy*".....

Ahem, where was I?

Oh yes, it's Friday and I'm struggling valiantly to have a positive attitude. Right!

Very good, okay... They now have a list of authors.

Donald Harrington is not on the list. I'm sorry, Eden! I went to a couple of sessions where he was a speaker, and I liked him, even though I can't quite learn to like his books. I wish he was going to be there, because he's pretty old. I'm not sure how many literary festivals he's got in him.

Kevin Brockmeier, however, is on the list. [Rays of sunshine burst down from the heavens here.]

However, I did learn from this list that he's been teaching in Iowa lately.

This discovery saddens me for unfathomable reasons. I thought he was still living in Little Rock. I feel almost as if my enjoyment of living here was based on a lie, just a little bit. I keep thinking about the time my parents revealed they'd been switching to decaf for two weeks while I was still living at home. I was livid. I thought I'd been dying/depressed the entire time! I asked them if they were trying to kill me, and Mom just laughed. They never did give me an answer....

Anyway, finding out that Kevin Brockmeier hasn't been in the same state as me was a little like that, except I'm not exasperated or tired. I do feel a little empty inside, though.

Alas, there is still no schedule.

I'll have to check again later.

And believe me, I will be checking...

*I cleaned it up for you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Okay, happier topic.

The library basement sale is this weekend!

Friday and Saturday, 10a-4p
Sunday, 1p-4p

Basement of the Main Library

Hardbacks, $1
Paperbacks, 50¢

You are already so excited about this, you have no idea! But trust me, you are.

A quick word of advice, though. Don't go on Sunday. The Little Rock marathon starting lines are in the River Market on Sunday, around the same time as the book sale.

I'm not saying you'll be trampled by runners, but you will probably have a harder time finding a parking spot. Just something to keep in mind.

I think I take back my previous statement. If Sunday's the only day you can go, you should go. You definitely shouldn't miss this because it's one of my favorite shopping days of the year.

Why is it one of my favorite shopping days of the year? Because the library book sale is one of the best shopping events. Ever. In the world.

You should love it.

After all, a lot of your Christmas presents come from here.

The worse case scenario is here

Good morning. How are you? I'm terrible.

No, really. If I could have just a moment of your time, I'd like to invite you to join me in pausing, taking a deep breath, and then losing absolutely any semblance of your composure and freaking the tomfoolway out.

Here's the problem. I don't think the Arkansas Literary Festival is going to be any good this year.

I know, I know. We're not allowed to talk this way. The literary festival is a bright spot in the year. Proceeds of its revenue go to literacy programs. There are activities for all ages. There are booksellers. There are panel discussions. Authors shill their books. Donald Harrington usually shows up. Kevin Brockmeier (be still my heart!) usually reads a fable with a really long title.

Nearly every year since 2004 (I missed 2005. Shortly after that, my life fell to pieces. I have yet to fully recover), I have attended this blessed carnival of book-related magicalness. I print off a schedule of speakers and strategize and debate and plan my agenda. I go. I get freebies. I get autographs. I get a sunburn. I go home happy, peaceful, and broke, with an armful of signed books.

BUT: I'm sorry, and I'm cringing as I write this, trouble looms on the horizon. Actually the trouble is right in front of your face. Go to www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org. Go on, I'll wait. Just browse around. Look at the schedule of speakers. Check out the websites of sponsors. Find out what vendors will be there. Just check it out.

I'll be here when you get back.

Yeah, didn't happen, did it? Exactly!!!! You click on the link for the schedule. You get a little note saying the the schedule will be posted in March. It's March, cupcake! It's been March for 11.5 days!!!!! The festival is a little over a month away and you need to let me know when I can start making my plans!

Did you see the link at the top that reads "click here to Events & News"? That doesn't even make sense! And the only event or news is an announcement of a David Sedaris speaking engagement from October. At the top!!!! A typo and an out-of-date announcement. I'm almost embarrassed to see it. My mind reels. My lungs heave. My head aches. My mind is filled with hysterical, half-formed sentences.

Wait, there's more!

You click on the map link and your page cannot be found. Yes, you need a map. Always.

And--AND!!!--the font is too small. Seriously, my face is ridiculously too close to the screen to take in all this non-information about one of my favorite weekends of the year.

I understand that leadership changed hands. I understand that the Literacy Council probably had more time and resources to devote to promotion. I understand that the Central Arkansas Library System has a lot of things to do, like organize the book sale this weekend (separate post!), and fill Cody's unending requests for comics. But come on!

When they made this announcement last year, I was surprised. As the speaker extolled all of the benefits for this change, I felt a tightening all over my body. I thought I was stressed for other reasons, the main one being that I wished I had brought a different date (yes, you should bring a date. Why would you not bring someone you care about to this?!).

But no, this was a premonition. This was an indication of suckiness to come. This was what it feels like when the circus doesn't come to town, kids.

I'm trying to remain hopeful. I'm trying to expect that these site updates will be made, and very soon.

But I am filled with nausea, anticipated disappointment, and trepidation.

I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I make things

Hello, it's time for another post about Stuff I Made! Today is cloudy and boring, so I thought I'd talk about better days. Days when I was productive, and then documented the creativity.

Also, pictures are fun.

I made a scarf for my friend Sarah.
Then I used some of the leftover yarn to make a hat for her baby!
Also, I decorated the gift bag.
Stamps are amazing.

I cut up an out-of-date road map,
wrapped it around a clean tomato can,
and put my apology flowers in a sandwich bag filled with water.
And Cody bought fresh beets, and I thought the leaves were pretty.
So they lived on our kitchen counter for a few days.

I make fruit salads for family holidays now.

Ignore my hair.
Please look at the jack-o-lantern I carved instead.
Good job.
Thank you.

Photo by Laine.
I made Mom and Sara's scarves for Christmas!

Photo by Laine (or me).
Cody baked this cake and I decorated it.
Just to be obvious, this is a carrot cake for my mom.

Photo by Alana.
I made a banner for a friend's Flamingo Fiesta birthday party.
Yes, yes those are flamingos in sombreros.

Photo and baby by Erin.
I made this baby hat.
I seriously have no idea whether babies like my presents
(although I'm guessing they don't),
but they go over well with parents at baby showers.

I painted this bookcase.
I was going to put white contact paper in the back of it, but forgot.
By the time I remembered,
we'd already put the shelves in and loaded it with comics and cookbooks.

I wrote this because I hoped it would inspire to actually do something, but I think I'll just reheat my lunch instead. I think I'm still not over the Daylight Saving Time switch. That always takes a while. Hope you're having better luck getting your day started.

Monday, March 9, 2009

3 things about March 9

1. Today is the final deadline to file legislation.
2. It has been exactly one year since I took this picture.

I got 446 miles on one tank of gas on our trip to Houston to see My Morning Jacket for the first time! That averages to over 46 m.p.g.

3. Cody and I have been married for 2.5 years!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I guess it's allergy season now

Spring is here! Or, spring is here for at least for a few days.

The warmer temperatures are here, the sunshine is here, and the air is filled with the sound of birds singing and the scent of flowers blooming.

And pollen.

The air is also horrifically thick with pollen.

I can't breathe, I can't think, I can't function.

I can't even tell you how much of a winner I have not been today.

Caffeine, prayer, and decongestants have yet to produce the desired result, and I have resolved myself to the fact that I'm a little sick. And so, I'm indulging in a little self-pity. Just a little.

I hate allergies. I hate how much allergy shots hurt. I hate how big my arm swelled earlier this week after I got my pollen injection (nothing to panic about, Mom. But it was unsightly and decidedly not cool).

I even broke down and used my inhaler this afternoon.

I hate my inhaler. My hands shake and my mind is even more scattered.

I can't write or draw worth a flip now.

I've never been particularly talented at either, but this side effect was a fate worse than death when I was little. I don't even want to talk about how my coloring skills suffered. It was very traumatic.

Just look at how badly I drew this bmp. drawing!

Like me, this poorly drawn squirrel is an allergy sufferer. You see those trees in the background? That's a forest of oak trees. No wonder he's sad.

Sad Squirrel is deathly allergic to oak pollen. It's terrible stuff.

I want to crawl back home and into bed.

At least I'm more attractive than that poorly drawn, very sad squirrel.

Bless his heart.

Okay, I'm done with my self-pity. I'm still miserable, but I do enjoy warmth and sunshine so I'm going to enjoy the next few days of spring. (Even though I'm astonished at how well I felt yesterday, and how terrible I feel right now!) And I swear to you I'm not high right now. This is simply how my mind works when I'm operating at less-than-competent capacity. I just tried to drink some more Mt. Dew while the lid was still on.

Everything's fine. Really.

Monday, March 2, 2009

February book list

Fitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy. 1969. New York: Dell.
As good as I remember it. Strike that. Better. And now it's comforting as well.

McCullers, Carson. The Member of the Wedding. 1946. Boston: Houghlin Mifflin Company. *
This was so depressing I wanted to die. Even more than I did after reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which was just a flat-out better book. I am so glad I read Harriet the Spy after this.

Moore, Alan. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics. 1987.
Cody said I had to read it before we saw the movie. Actually, Cody has been telling everyone that they have to read this since....forever. I thought the ending was stupid. But I read somewhere that the ludicrous ending has been changed in the film. So now I'm just plain worried that there will be too many changes and the crowd at the theater will be angry and I'll be stuck with Cody for the rest of our lives as he rants about flaws. This is serious business, y'all.

Woolf, Virginia. The Voyage Out. San Diego: HBJ. 1920.
This was her first novel. She. Is. Amazing. It's not as experimental as her others, but that somehow makes it even more incredible. I loved this.

Week 4

And just to let you know: I bought some shampoo yesterday. I even washed my hair twice in the shower last night. It felt glorious.

Sunday: $29.39
Laine spent the night with us and after a morning of lazing around and picking out what to wear, we went to Sonic because she needed a Coke. I offered to buy our food (we also decided we needed food) with my Sonic gift card, but she paid for everything. My meal was around $3. appreciated the generosity. She also took me by the bank (I provided the car, she provided the driving) and withdrew the money for Week 4.

About an hour later, we missed a turn and I had to use the bathroom. We stopped by a gas station, I paid $1.50 a 20 oz Mt. Dew, and got directions.

Totally worth it.

We had a great time at our cousin's shower. We saw our cousins, and some of our second cousins, and held a baby, and did a lot of visiting and punch-drinking. We stayed far too long. Then we went back home, Cody gave Laine a warm loaf of bread, she left for her home, and we went to the grocery store.

We spent $27.89 (I had a coupon for a free pack of gum!), and couldn't find any stew meat. I read 10 pages of a book while in line. However brief the shopping part may have been, it was still a ridiculous trip.

Monday: $207.10
Ha ha! I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Okay, really that's how much money we spent total. Cody had to get a couple of fillings at the dentist office. We knew about this, and I'm glad we were kind of able to save up for this event.

I immediately regretted ever talking to Cody about the need for frugality when he called to tell me how the visit went and how much it cost.

Firstly, he was happy he remembered to bring the checkbook and wanted me to know he remembered (his dentist will take 10% off if you pay with a check. Amazing!). So he'd saved us some money.

Then: he announced that he'd saved us some more money by refusing anything to ease the pain during the fillings.

I nearly cried. What had I done?! I hate fillings, and every time I get them I wind up getting shots and numbing agents and then I go ahead and request the gas because drills in my skull just make me a little crazy and here was my poor, sweet, bread-baking husband getting a filling--no wait, TWO fillings--because I've been really carrying on about our need to cut back. I wanted to die.

But then he cleared it up a little: the fillings were nowhere near his gumline, they were small, the dentist gave him the option (because some people.....like me, want that option), and it didn't hurt and he wasn't sore. After asking, "So you feel fine?" several more times, I finally let him go on about his day, which included another appointment with the eye specialist, who didn't make him pay a co-pay. Um, cool?

Also, Cody found a store with some stew meat and paid $5.10 for it.

He made stew. It was delicious, and provided us with meals at lunch for the next three days.

Tuesday: $0
I worked very late, came home, had a frozen pizza, cleaned the bathroom, and ate some snickerdoodle cookies that Cody made.

Wednesday: $0
I worked. Cody worked. We went to Lenten services, came home, and ate quesadillas.

Thursday: $0
Although I did pay a student loan. I checked to see how much I still owed, felt intimidated and depressed, and then remembered that my interest rate is low and set, and that this is one of the lowest bills I pay. I also worked a little late, but it wasn't too bad.

Friday: $5
It was close to $5 anyway. I lost the receipt. I worked a lot. I went to Starbucks and ordered a grande green tea latte and a bagel. I refused cream cheese for the bagel because 1) somewhere in my crazed mind, I had the lurking suspicion that it would cost me extra and 2) I was hoping they'd just give me the bagel 'raw' and I could swallow it whole just to make my hands stop shaking. Alas, they toasted it. It was a productive day and evening and one of the best green tea lattes I've ever had.

Another beautiful fact about Friday: We got our basket! Arkansas Food has a basket-a-month thing going on where you pay $60 for a huge basket of locally grown or prepared food. Cody paid for a three-month subscription a while back, but they had to cancel January's basket. I was really sad. BUT then we decided to do the No Spend Adventure!, and I knew that a 'free' basket would be coming our way. I'm a little sad that the milk, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, greens, sweet potatoes, onions, beef, and some other things (Cody picked it up and took a picture and put the food away while I sucked down that green tea latte like my soul depended on it for existence) didn't come along a little earlier. But we're pretty set for the next week! We won't be buying beef, our milk will last a little longer, and we're going to try Colby cheese for the first time ever.

Saturday: $28.09
Wow. Uh....there's no way around this. We spent more than we had. Kind of. Cody washed dishes at the restaurant, and made a little extra cash. He spent it like this:
$18 for a haircut (including tip)
$15 for Chinese food, which I just had to have and it was pretty good, and we had wonderful leftovers
$2.89 for root beer, because we haven't bought any kind of soft drink for Cody (except at Sonic) since this whole thing started. It was in glass bottles. It was on sale. He shared with me. It was one of the best dinners I'd had in quite some time.

The rest of our money for Week 4 was spent like this:
20 ¢ at the library in overdue fines. While I was there I checked out two movies I was interested in, but didn't want to pay to rent them.
$2 or $3 tip at the restaurant, where I met my mom. While I waited, I got to hold the famous Baby Egan (he's a really big deal in Cody's family and I think we're going to be friends some day) and ate some biscuits and sausage.

When Mom and I met up, and she'd been introduced to some people, and I ate, we went to the Flower and Garden Show! You know how I didn't spend much money? It's funny, because we weren't spending much money during the week because 1) we had all the food we needed and 2) we didn't have a lot of chances to go out and spending and 3) we were saving up for this glorious event.

BUT THEN: After parking illegally in a private parking lot for free, Mom and I ran into the nearest entrance to beat the wind and rain. It turned out to be the exit. So we approached things a little backwards, which turned out to be AWESOME because we ran into these nice young women who were leaving and they asked if we wanted these 3-day passes that someone had given them.

Are you kidding?!?! Those are worth $10 apiece! We were giddy with savings.*

So, off we went to look at things. Mom was feeling happy and generous, and so she paid for a beeswax candle I was going to buy and for some kind of frozen honey dessert thing. (All in all, I would have spent $12. It would have been $19.50 if I'd had to pay for my ticket. I was incredibly happy that I had enough cash for that, even with the No Spend Adventure!**). Or maybe she was just being sweet. We saw all kinds of exhibits, talked to some vendors, and even took some pictures of stuff for future ideas. I may have signed Cody up for a garden club. He'll be really surprised when I tell him!

All in all, it was a great afternoon. Thanks Mom! And thanks young women with the babies and the passes! You made our day even better!

So now it's Sunday (I've been typing these up at home, and then just pasting them into posts at work), drinking coffee. Cody and I are going to the store, and we'll hit up the Flower and Garden Show because we can.

We're going to withdraw just a little more cash from the bank and that's what we'll use for this week. This adventure has taught us a lot about what we do and don't need, and that we actually don't feel that deprived--actually we feel kind of clever and creative--if we have to go without certain things. This has been fun, and I'm glad that we're continuing it in a somewhat modified fashion. I am really relieved that I don't have to tell you every little thing I spent money on--even though I can really see where the accountability has kept me on track. Thank you for your interest and your encouragement. I loved your comments.

I really have had a great time.

*By the way, did I mention that Mom brought us some eggs? Mom brought us some farm fresh eggs. Woo! But then, since we'd gotten farm fresh eggs in the basket, Cody said his mom could have them. I argued that we might need them for baking projects this week. He offered to go back and take the eggs from his mother, but I told him not to. I can't imagine anything more thoughtless and cruel.
**Although I must say that I probably wouldn't have spent the $2 for the frozen honey dessert thingy, but Mom said I had to try it with her and bought me a cup. It really was delicious.