Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Wow, I really hate that we missed this.

Have I mentioned lately how creepy I think twins are?

I think twins are creepy.

Cody mom says she thinks they're neat.

She's a nice person, but there are some times when she is not to be trusted. And any time twins are involved is one of those times. Her maternal instinct and happy memories of equally adorable little boys in matching outfits cloud her judgment.

Bless her heart.

Cody says that twins aren't creepy--they're "just little buddies."

Statements like that remind me that Cody's creepy.

Bless his heart, I like him and everything and I've enjoyed those precious baby pictures of identically cute little guys as much as the next person, but wow. The man went through life with a little buddy, and now they're great big hulking men with degrees and jobs and the same quiet voice and identical gestures and this past Easter Cody was sitting next to me and got up and apparently Casey sat down in his place and I only saw a little bit of him out of the corner of my eye and I was totally going to pat him on the arm because I thought he was Cody but obviously he was not!

That's right. They're so alike in so many ways that not even the incredibly obvious differences--weight, facial hair, and, oh, faces--are enough to save me from the occasional near-embarrassment of delivering a little married gesture to the wrong person.

I'm sure you're thinking, "Oh, Jen. It wouldn't have been that weird."

Yes, it would have. I don't touch Casey! I'll maybe pat Spencer on the head every now and then, but I think the last time Casey and I shared something resembling physical contact was at my wedding reception when we side-hugged and he said, "Congratulations" and I mechanically replied, "Thanks, we're really glad you could make it down for this." The mere thought that I would follow-up this incident 2.5 years later with skin-to-skin contact intended for my husband gives me full-body shudders.

Ugh [and there's a shudder now].

The sad part is, they don't even look very much alike any more. They're distinctly different men with different outlooks and opinions and musical preferences. They never went to twin conventions. They never tried to date or marry identical twin sisters (lucky for me). They never had a secret twin language (twins in fiction always seem to have some secret twin language in childhood that one will remember for clues after the other one is murdered). They just seem to communicate through barely perceptible facial expressions.

Like it or not, they're very twin-like even though Cody says that now I'm his little know, since we're married and live in the same house and everything. Neat. And I understand that siblings raised very close together will typically be a lot alike and that's not necessarily creepy. But it does remind me of one more creepy thing I'd like to mention before I stop and save the rest of my anti-twin propoganda for another day:

When Cody's grandmother died, we drove down to southwest Arkansas for the funeral. Some of her friends also came. And some of these very nice people were incredibly elderly. So elderly that I was a little terrified that they'd driven themselves into town. So when you take into account these people's age, their grief, and their eyesight and combine that with the fact that some of these people hadn't seen Cody and his brothers in a while, what happened next isn't all that surprising.

Old friend walks in: Which one are you?
Casey: I'm Casey.
They shake hands.
Old friend [sees Spencer]: So this one must be Cody, eh?

They're clones. All of them.

Including pictures of the three of them would just be redundant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It might be a little bit funny

I'm so cranky.

I have no real reason to be cranky, but I am.

I'm at work, which gives me money and keeps me from sitting around the apartment all day. I'm eating lunch, which is spaghetti with cinnamon tomato sauce because my attractive and very talented husband is a creative and exciting cook. And I'm going to pay student loans, because I went to college.

Here are my two main problems (allergies don't even factor in any more. We're coated in pollen, I have a low-grade headache all the time and haven't breathed in several months, blahblahblah. It's fairly routine by this point.):

1. I am having some arts and crafts issues. I have a project. I found a problem with the project last night and spent the rest of the evening on the couch in utter despair. I know of a way to fix it, but it will involve me re-doing quite a bit of work and re-sorting through some piles that I had neatly assembled and labeled. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. Also, I'm bored with the current tasks we're performing at work and I'd really rather just knit some scarves. Yes, making scarves for my winter gift-giving stash is more fulfilling and entertaining than work. I'd almost settle for another one of those stinking baby hats.

2. I am not amused! This stinks, because I love being amused. I like when things are funny or ridiculous or pleasantly distracting. People at work are telling jokes and then laughing their heads off and I just don't care. They're just not funny. It's like people whose conversations on Facebook seem to be entirely composed of exclamation points--even if they're just going to have some lunch. What is wrong with you?

But to cheer myself up, I've been thinking about these two jokes a lot.

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: That's not funny.

Something about stern-ness and put-downs cracks me up every time. Even when I see a movie or hear a joke that's degrading or hateful and catch myself protesting, "That's not funny!", I still like this joke. Because sometimes it is funny. And jokes on stereotypically humorless groups are funny. That's why I like the ones about religious denominations.

And the second one:

Q: What do you call a bunch of John Deere tractors circling a McDonald's?
A: Prom night in Iowa.

My sister, Sara, told me that one this weekend. A co-worker found it in Reader's Digest and showed it to her. We thought her Iowan fiance would be offended. Instead, he started talking about Tractor Day at his high school. I don't remember if this event was for seniors only, or if everyone got excited about participating. Either way, we laughed a lot at this one.

You know, I think I found that feminism joke in Reader's Digest, too.

Good things.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bare minimum

Oh, weekend, I miss you already.

I cleaned my house. I did laundry, I vacuumed, I dusted, and I organized. Then I loaded the dishwasher and didn't run it because we were out of detergent. Cody made spaghetti.

I walked with my friend, Erin, her husband, Klay, and their baby, Isaac, in the March of Dimes' Walk for Babies. Isaac used to hang out in a NICU in Little Rock all the time, but we never got to meet because he was busy being premature. Now, however, he's 8 months and chubby and happy and I'm pretty sure we're friends. I got to hold him a few times. I touched his baby hair and squeezed his baby arms and legs and laughed at his chubby baby tummy. I also got some exercise and had a nice time visiting. It was a lovely morning. Cody, on the other hand, ran all my errands for me in addition to some of his own.

That evening we went to Dallas's first communion (First Communion?), which was scary and traumatizing for all the people who don't regularly attend that church. Cody said he'd never seen anything like it--not even when he went to a youth retreat in Louisiana and saw people falling down and speaking in tongues during mass. Apparently we discovered a rogue group of charismatic Baptist-Catholic hybrids who clap and sing and really enjoy never-ending, folksy, praise and worship sessions. Nonetheless, Dallas looked very handsome in his shirt and tie and did whatever he was supposed to do very well, along with 40 or so other Communicants (great word). We, on the other hand, have never talked so much during a church service. Lots of inter-family whacking and pointing and whispering went on. Sigh. Oh well. We later went back to Dallas's house for a reception with family and friends. Cody and I gave him a prayer book. Cody picked it out (obviously). We got home around midnight.

We slept in. Then we went to the grocery store and Cody made an apple pie for his mom's belated birthday dinner. We went to her house and experienced the joys of wild turkey, which turns out to taste a lot like regular turkey. Lots of visiting and discussion commenced, and at one point Lainey and Julie were there to re-enact their afternoon's ordeal in which Lainey scared a baby bird out of its nest and they were subsequently attacked by robins. Also, ...... I kind of lose focus after the bird attack re-enactment.

So now it's Monday and I'm at work.

The End.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday already?

Yesterday was Earth Day.

I celebrated by going home early and feeling sick, and then later planting some tomatoes.

What do those activities have to do with the earth?

Other than the fact that they both took place on it, nothing. I just wanted to tell you that Cody and I are officially container gardeners now.

We have 4 Roma tomato plants, and then I placed some marigold seeds in a couple of containers in the hopes that they'll grow okay and keep away certain insects. I forget which insects. Mostly I just love marigolds and wanted to plant some. So I did.

I'd also like to tell you that today is Cody's mom's birthday!

I'm not going to do a whole birthday post because all three of my brothers-in-law have had their birthdays without so much as a mention from me and I like to pretend that I play fair. But:

Today is Mrs. Dicy's birthday and I hope she has a happy one. I really like having her as a mother-in-law, and not just when I hear other people's in-law horror stories. She's a nice lady.

Also, she's Cody's mother. How cool is that?! I probably owe her a lot for raising Cody the way she did.

This is the closest thing I have to a normal family picture (i.e., no one's wearing graduation robes or wedding clothes or....yeah). So here she is with her boys at the battle of the bands in Vino's last summer. She classed up the joint by wearing pink. I thought that was pretty cool. She also held my purse so I could take pictures. And she tries to keep that shirt Spencer's wearing clean all the time so that he can wear it every single day in the summer. It doesn't seem like it would be an easy job to be Mrs. Dicy, but she does it well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 Arkansas Literary Festival

Okay, let me tell you about the 2009 Arkansas Literary Festival.

My alarm went off at 6:30, just like on a work day.

I did not immediately get out of bed, just like on a work day.

Cody and I got up and showered and drank coffee and went to the farmer's market in down town North Little Rock. I have missed farmer's markets so much this winter! I love spring. And farmers. We bought some strawberries for ourselves, and four tomato plants (romas!), and then I bought some radishes for Chad. Then we went to the restaurant, which is where I was meeting Monica so that we could to the literary festival.

Cody and I sat at the table and talked with each other and discussed things and then my phone rang. Monica called to tell me she was running late. This would not have concerned me too very much had she not told me that she woke up not feeling well and had decided to search the Internet for her symptoms* and that she'd diagnosed herself with tonsillitis and then she had to do some Internet research to discover treatment. I told her to go to a doctor. She told me the research revealed she should either try antibiotics or a tonsillectomy.

I walked back to the table in despair. The mounting sense of panic I'd reserved for the weekend's stormy forecast was now being used to contemplate the fact that I could be charged with wrangling Monica if this Internet researching mood lasted all day. Cody looked up from his menu.

"She's going to be late" I proclaimed.
"Oh, weather?" said Cody.

I fixed him with a panicked, meaningful look.

"She's been doing Internet research!" I declared.

I sighed darkly.

I waited for his reaction.

He stared at my face a little longer.


"I think I'm going to order an omelet."

I think I ate about half of his omelet. It was pretty good. I always forget how much I love ham.

Cody really does not like it when the English majors come to town.

Anyway, Monica came to town. She met my mother-in-law. We waved goodbye to her, and to Cody, and headed downtown. We meandered the River Market. She had a falafel. We decided which session we would attend.

We picked the session on what we thought was about the death of conservatism. Because we'd been living in Arkansas, we hadn't noticed its demise and were pretty surprised to hear about it. So off we went.

We were met with disappointment.

It went like this:

Apparently, The Death of Conservatism was not a book. I thought it was because it was italicized in the schedule. It was actually an article entitled "The Death of Conservatism" (you see the difference there?) written by the New York Times Book Review editor. And what do you know, the New York Times Book Review editor was the speaker and even though he was writing a book that will be entitled The Death of Conservatism, due out around October or so, and was scheduled to talk about the death of conservatism, he instead talked about....

....reviewing books.

I should not have been disappointed. But I was. For the most part, everything he said was a hashing over the same "the economy is troubled/newspapers aren't doing so well/some papers are eliminating their book review sections/I think I'm a big deal even though I'm in the newspaper business, for crying out loud" tripe that a half-hearted perusal of any article on the subject would have yielded.

And it would have taken less time.

So we sat there for a solid hour and eighteen minutes while the editor, who would have been a little more interesting if he'd been a little less self-important, talked about book reviews and how they select books for review and how they select reviewers for book reviews and how they're the New York Times Book Review and they're a really big deal as Monica filled out her evaluation form for the session, complete with frowny faces.

Had this mostrous waste of time been billed as "Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, will be talking about book reviews" I would have still attended.

And I also still would have gotten busy on filling out my own feedback form after he gave his opinion that the ordinary reader of book reviews does not have the "sophistication" or trained eye that a writer does to spot the nuances and tone that a reviewer uses in reviewing a book.

He really said that.

Monica and I slowly turned to each other. "Can we leave now?" she whispered. I told we couldn't because I had to fill out my form. Also, I wanted to see how long he would continue on with this pompous drivel that most of the people in the room (who looked smarter than the average reviewer, I must say) had heard or read already before actually getting to the discussion on the death of conservatism (remember? I don't, either.).

One hour, eighteen minutes.

I will never get that time back!

So one hour and eighteen minutes into the discussion on the death of conservatism, Mr. I Think I Am So Cool But I'm Really Not Tanenhaus began talking about his article, "The Death of Conservatism."

For ten minutes.

I think the book could be interesting. I'm sure the article had some good points. It sounded interesting, although his review of what he said required far too much backstory and explanation. It was pretty weak. I may check out the book from the library if I'm not still mad.

I very well could be, though, because after ten minutes of discussion, he moved to Q & A time.

Second question: You mentioned self-published books a while ago and said you were going to talk more about that later.
Answer: Oh yes, thanks for the reminder. What I.....

Had Monica and I been in a cartoon, we would have left some dust clouds and random notebooks and pencils and scraps of paper floating in the air as we made our hasty exit.


Then I ate a gyro and we gossiped about people for so long I nearly forgot the next session. But then I remembered and off we ran! We were 5 minutes late! I stumbled a little as we entered the room! But the moderator was still doing introductions so it was okay!

It was Kevin Brockmeier time!

Kevin Brockmeier is one of my absolute favorite authors because he writes the best stories. I love good stories. I love it when something is well-written (I don't get to see a lot of that on a regular basis). And he remembers me. So that's cool.

Anyway, he read from his collection of short stories, The View From the Seventh Layer, (now out in paperback!!!). First he read the story "A Fable with a Photograph of a Glass Mobile on the Wall," which is really sweet and sad and I'm pretty sure I smiled through the whole thing.

Then: he read the story "The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The audience got to choose! It was fun. I loved it!

The Q & A was fun, too. He seemed happy to be back in Little Rock, and seemed especially animated because he was excited about his mom being in the crowd that day. Isn't that nice?! Supernice.

And then:
Book signing time.

I held our place in line while Monica bought 3 of his books (I highly recommended her choices) and we were pretty close to the front of the line. I got to watch him talk very respectfully to a mom and her little girl about reading and writing, which was nice. I keep using the word "nice," I know. But this afternoon was a such a great change of pace from the morning. I was incredibly happy and figured that this event could pretty much save my weekend, regardless of whatever else had happened or would happened.

Did I mention he's updated his list of his top 50 very favorite books listed alphabetically by author with the top 10 marked by asterisks? Did I mention that I have a list from 2006?! Did I mention he likes lists?!

Since I have most of his books (and all of the ones available for sale at the literary festival), I just asked him to sign a list for me. This year's inscription? "To Jen, with pleasure. Kevin Brockmeier"


Even more awesome:
This picture makes me laugh from sheer happiness. He doesn't even look that scared of me! Awesome.

I feel like such a creep. Not like enough of a creep to maybe sit out next year, but you know.....

After this, it rained. And we decided we'd had enough of the literary festival. So we--and our umbrellas--marched away and I took Monica back to her car, and off she went. I went home, waved the revised top 50 list at Cody and giddily shouted about nothing, and then we went to a birthday party.

I went back on Sunday afternoon by myself. I bought a book that my mother-in-law had wanted. I got it on sale, for some kind of literary festival discount or something, which is always nice. I ambled around. I checked the schedule again, just in case there was something I might like that I'd missed. There wasn't, so I went home and did laundry.

So, the literary festival was about as bad as I'd feared even though the volunteers seemed much more helpful and knowledgeable and friendly and, alert this year. But the quality not so much. I still had a great weekend, though.**

*This sort of thing happened all the time in college. Google was barely heard of when we first came to college and all of the information that had been free-floating in hard-to-reach places was suddenly organized and accessible to us. Being broke college students, some people felt a little more pro-active about knowing what was wrong with them even if they couldn't afford or make time for a doctor's visit.
** It's just so great!

Friday, April 17, 2009

At least I included a picture

I know I haven't said much this past week.

I'm sorry about that. I've missed blogging, getting new pictures, being crafty, or crossing off items on an impressive to-do list. It's just been that kind of week.

I've only been through the literary festival's schedule of events with a highlighter once!

It's all pretty shameful.

But, like I said, it's been a big week.

I have:
  • dealt with a leak in the ceiling
  • attempted to pull apart some stuck-together tickets*
  • worked with incredibly frustrating people on incredibly frustrating things
  • decided and I were going to take a break for a while
  • had a family dinner in Pizza Hut for my dad's birthday
  • had the most understated epiphany that I didn't want to go to the Nickelback concert on Sunday because I may not even like them, so I won't**
  • watched a great deal of Arrested Development on DVD
  • woken up on time most of this week
  • seen my sister and her fiance's engagements pictures and loved them
  • had a really unattractive week at the very same time Cody was looking really cute
  • remained oblivious to interoffice upheavals
  • had a fairly in-depth email discussion with a friend about buying a goat (he would buy the goat, not me. I was going to be enlisted to deliver the wormer boluses, though)
  • watched Cody make a dish of his own creation (extensive tweaking to follow)
  • eaten chicken quesadillas
  • taken the lazy way out and cleaned my toilet with bleach in addition to using the plastic bags at Kroger--true story: the world didn't end
  • briefly considered wandering around the tea party at the Capitol before deciding political protests shouldn't be treated like street carnivals, especially since some of the crowd seemed upset for some reason....It was still really exciting-looking
  • snagged some free travel mugs
  • made and mailed a late birthday card
  • had sweets for breakfast nearly every morning this week....except for when I skipped breakfast entirely.
I really do love chicken quesadillas. Ahem.

Next week will be better.

I hope.

I'm going to try. I can tell you that. If I can catch some free time this weekend (doubtful), I'll type up some things that I can copy and paste next week for you.

It's not that we're urgently busy at work right now, but there's always something to do.

Something tedious, time-consuming, and immune to my corrections. At least I can watch the seasons change through my window, and that's always a nice reminder that life is completely passing me by.

Wait, that's the wrong attitude.


This weekend, I will be wearing a cute outfit or two, attending the literary festival, probably buying some books, attending a birthday party, attending a non-Lent church service (woo! Those were depressing. I know that's the point, but wow.), having cute hair, not being around Nickelback/Seether/Saving Abel fans, feeling safe, taking pictures, checking out the farmer's market on the North Little Rock side of the river, and generally being awesome and having adventures and--I hope--seeing you at some point in time.

Sound good? Excited?

That's what I thought. Me too.

*I'll tell you all about it some time. Probably next week. It's a long and stupid and apparently amusing story that makes me look a little ridiculous.
**The two astericked statements will result in the same post. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy birthday, Dad!

Today is Dad's fifty-third birthday!

He's still very handsome.

And alert.

Other than that, I really don't know what to say. Last year, I wrote a pretty nice birthday post about Dad and how he was great, but this year I feel like I'm coming up short. The second birthday post is way harder to write, which is probably why I just posted lots of pictures of things Mom and Sara like for their second birthday blogs.

Rest assured, however, Dad is still great. And we still love him.

The picture up there is one I took a few weekends ago at the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. I was going to buy his ticket as a birthday present, but he refused (even after he paid for the hotel room). He was going to pay for our dinner that night, but Cody beat him in a game of rock, paper, scissors and 'won' the right to pay for our meals and his.* Our friends Travis and Alana were there as well, and they superloved him.

Texas Motor Speedway is a little past Dallas, Texas. That's a long drive.

I think Dad drove the entire way down. I got to sit up front. We shouted our way through some nice conversations (my car's pretty bad about road noise).

We talked about religion, church (the two are very different), politics, family, our fear of salsa dancing, travel, work, my dislike of men in general, missionaries, cars, friends, genetics, animals. All kinds of things.

It was a good drive, and I had a great time.

I have an intense dislike of eye contact, and car rides are a great way to have nice, long discussions about anything without getting too self-conscious. My parents know this.

So I will say this about our dad: he makes it very easy to have relaxed discussions on intense topics. And I know very few people like that. I also know very few other people with whom I'd like to discuss these things.

And this: he, too, believes that a candy bar counts as a meal.

Happy birthday to you, sir!

*The only gift he ever really asks for is a homemade card. These get less endearing with every year, as I get older and older and my artistic skills (ha!) stay exactly the same. Nevertheless, he opened his card this weekend with great enthusiasm.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter weekend

It was a very, very full weekend. It was Easter, so I'm sure you understand.

So please keep understanding while I just give you the highlights.

  • Clean laundry
  • New Easter dress
  • Tasks accomplished
  • Frozen pizza
  • Baking
  • Asthma
  • Cold weather
  • Weird smells
  • Not falling asleep
  • Family
  • Pictures
  • Dad liked my birthday present
  • Bunny cake
  • Fried food
  • Mexican food
  • Science of Sleep show
  • Glowsticks
  • 7 hours in the car
  • The Delta
  • Listening to bands other than The Science of Sleep
  • Nearly dehydrating because I refuse to drink the water in the Delta
  • Jesus!
  • Church
  • Easter outfits
  • Spencer's birthday
  • More family
  • Baby Egan
  • Burgers for lunch
  • Nachos for dinner
  • A lazy evening and an early bedtime
  • Not giving a birthday card (it bothers me!)
  • Rain
  • Cold
  • More rain

Thursday, April 9, 2009

There you go

Two things before I go:

1. I have a three-day weekend ahead of me.

2. The schedule for the literary festival is on the website.

Have a happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NASCAR weekend pictures holy smokes and excitement

I saw the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway this past Saturday and it was amazing!

It was also a little bittersweet. I have never missed Levi more. I talked to him as we were driving to the track and I wrote down the numbers of cars he'd wrapped. We walked through the vendors' row and Dad pointed out the huge semi-trailers selling merchandise he'd done and I almost got teary from pride. And from just plain missing him. Levi, Christmas was too long ago!

Ahem. Anyway, I had a blast and getting windburned, sunburned, mildly dehydrated, and absolutely filthy from sweat, sunscreen, and flying track debris was just a bonus.

I've finally been to my first NASCAR race, and I'm definitely going again some time.

And now: the pictures.
In the beginning, I took pictures of people.
Here's Cody, wearing his enormous new t-shirt I gave him for his birthday.
I assure you, it's just the t-shirt making him look that blobby.
We'll shrink it after a few more washings.

Here's Dad, putting in his ear plugs (essential).

Here are Travis and Alana,
the geniuses who thought a quick weekend trip to watch a race might be fun.
Here's the view of Turn 4 from our seats.
Fourth row, baby.

We had an excellent view of pit row.
I love pit row.
I can't parallel park, so a whole lot of this seems like magic to me.
You can also see the pole, which is pretty cool.
If you look closely, you'll see that this was when Joey Logano (#20) was in eighth.
He's Sara and Levi's new favorite driver.

The crowd!
After I pulled out my big lens.
Look at all these cars getting ready to go!

Look at these cars!!!!!
We could feel them going by.

It's a pit stop!
I love pit stops!
We were close enough to hear the air drills.

Here's one that was even closer to us!
New tires and fuel!
I'm serious, I really love pit stops.

See the Dollar General car?
Levi may have something to do with that.

Peeling out of pit row.
I really love pit stops. And Texas. And my zoom lens. And weekends. And loud noises. And fast cars. Long walks back to the car. Drunken stereotypes. Little pieces of tire rubber getting in my eyes and smearing on my face when I tried to wipe it away. Long lines. Uncomfortable seats. Pit stops. The national anthem. Taking pictures. Smoke. Cautions. Programs. Commemorative t-shirts.

All of it.

I need to do this again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pictures from other weekends

Sorry, no pictures from this weekend. Yet.

But here are some pictures I developed at Target on Friday. And I had no problems, aside from one picture that mysteriously came out panoramic and cost a little more than the others (like, a whole 8¢ more). No big deal. I chopped it up and put it in my photo album.

Sara and Chad are registered at Hallmark.
I was really excited when I saw their table.

Speaking of me being excited, here's Dallas.
He was in the chorus of the local homeschool production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
He's pretty great.
He is the ear of corn in the center.
And he's the superior star from Jospeh's dream.

And here's proud Mom, being a proud Gil.
Dallas calls her "Gil."
She took him to nearly every rehearsal.
Have I mentioned how much we love Dallas?
He's the blue shirt in front, wearing a belt buckle.
Hands away from mouth!
We see you when you do this.
And he sees me.
His mom, his grandmas, and my sister also have pictures like this.
I went on a garden tour.

That was a lovely evening.

I love spring.

I love spring a lot.

This is by my work.

These are my mom's flowers and my husband's cake.
And his brother's.

Their mom really loves them.
She, too, loves spring.

I didn't realize how complicated it would be to sing the happy birthday song to them.
Whose name goes first?

Travis and Alana love to watch Jeff play.

And here is Jeff playing.

I decorated for spring.

There are 11 cute things in this picture.
Can you spot them all?

Friday, April 3, 2009

March's book list

I can't believe I didn't write my book list! Things have been a little busy lately. But rest assured, I read books during the month of March and even finished a few of them. Not a lot of them, but I at least did finish these. And since there are so few of them, and I went so long without telling you about them, I've written extra long unhelpful reviews.

Buckley, Christopher. Boomsday. New York: Twelve, 2007.

Reading this was like dealing with an attractive guy who knows he's really attractive. You know what I mean? You can't logically dislike him for being attractive, but you do because he thinks being attractive means something. Yes, Mr. Buckley, we know you wrote Thank You for Smoking and it was all very clever. Likewise, Boomsday was very clever. At least as a premise. I think I read no fewer than 6 reviews talking about how clever the concept was so I finally checked it out of the library and plowed through it in under 4 days. It was clever, but not particularly substantial. (That's my new standard these days. Every thing and person is being examined and adjudged either substantial or insubstantial, and therefore, inconsequential. It works for meals, why not everything else?) The protagonist was very obviously a Woman Written By A Man. You know the ones. They're always reporters or detectives or involved in some profession that women supposedly don't go for. They also go for older, more powerful men and never get bent out of shape about anything. I got bored just thinking about the book. I guess it's a fun romp. But not substantial. I will not be troubled with Buckley's characters (oh look! A Charming Liar. My favorite.) again.

I just realized I haven't told you what the book's about. Go look up a review. You'll find out when reading about how clever this is.

Crawford, Christine. Mommie Dearest. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1978.

Oh dear. Oh my. I can't say bad words because I write this stuff at work and then my parents read it. But dear goodness. The first couple of readings took place before bedtime. Then I stopped doing that. Ahem. On the other hand, the daughter dearest writing this was cut out of her mother's will, an actress, and a victim of abuse. All three of those things are guaranteed to make you a liar. Really. Yes, I just said that. Also, I'm not entirely sure what the big deal with the night raids was. Sometimes you just want your house to be nice. Children are notoriously messy.

Don't worry, I'm not breeding.

Lessing, Doris. Briefing For a Descent Into Hell. New York: Bantam, 1973.

Oh man! Oh boy! Oh holy smokes! I had no idea what was going on for the longest time, which I was fine with, but THEN around two-thirds of the way in, a god/archangel/thingy starts making a speech (the literal briefing for a descent into Hell) and you get it and then you just sit on the couch and don't load the dishwasher or wipe down the countertops or do the laundry or floss or go to bed on time because once you figure out what's going on, you can't just stop finding out what's happening! And then you find out the ending and it's pretty much what you think it's going to be (or what I was afraid it would be) and you're horrified even though you knew this was a possibility and it's pretty heartbreaking. But not surprising. Seriously, nothing tops the Two-Thirds Realization. I've read The Golden Notebook before this and thought it was amazing and brilliant and loved it, but I'm afraid all of Lessing's books after this are going to be a disappointment. I seriously loved this and don't know how any of her books (or anyone else's really) will blow my mind to the same extent as this did. Also: when I got to the parts of the recollections of being adrift on a raft, I was also reading The Tale of the Black Freighter substory in Watchmen. Crazy parallel, right?

It's okay, I know you don't know what I'm talking about. Sigh. It was really cool. Just trust me.

Rice, Anne. The Queen of the Damned. New York: Ballentine Books, 1988.

The secret behind the birth of vampirism turns out to not be that big of a deal. I should have known. It was still a fun read. I do love those vampire books. Except for Lestat. He annoys me. Stupid, tedious character. This is a big problem when it comes to reading Anne Rice. This was the first book I finished from the Great Anne Rice Purchasing Frenzy a couple of weeks ago. I'll probably read the others. If I don't, I'm out $2. I love the library basement sales.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mom, circa 1985 = Jen, present day

Good morning! I'm sick.

It was a total surprise. I thought I was still working my way up to this. You know, a little stuffiness, a slight headache or something here and there.

No. I woke up sick. I even have chest congestion!

Good thing I finally remembered to bring some more tea to work. I'm drinking it right now.

But that's not what this post is about. Nope, this post has pictures!

No, I still haven't developed that roll of film I finished up on Sunday.

That roll has pictures of Dallas and Cody and springtime flowers and birthday cakes.

These are pictures of me. I'm sure you're very excited.

I stole them from our family friend, Terri, who joined facebook last year and brought a wealth of old photos with her.

I was Jennifer in those days.
I love my hair.
I think Mamaw is feeding me the watermelon.
I don't think I have teeth in this picture.

My first birthday!
Dad's holding me.
I can't get over my chubbiness and huge eyes.

This picture makes me cry a little!
It was on Mamaw's corkboard in the kitchen for years and years.
It's E.A. and me.
I really love visiting my grandparents.
I'll be honest, this picture scares me a little.
But I like it because if you look closely,
you can see my broken front teeth.
So cute!

I thought this was Sara's dress.
I guess I had it first.
My nose is so small, I don't know how I ever breathed through it.

In Mamaw's front yard.
I. Am. Adorable.
And very blond.
And very happy.

This one floors me.
That's Mom, about the age I am now, fixing my hair.
I tend to still picture myself as much younger and smaller than I really am. Small enough to fit in your lap, still sporting some baby fat (those big cheeks didn't go away until some time in college), and...yeah, mostly just still small enough to curl up in your lap. I'll fit. We both know I will. But I apparently look like Mom!

I know people say we look alike, and I'm not surprised since I'm her daughter and we have matching ears and feet and lots of other similar features.

Yup, here we are last spring.
Round cheeks, similarly shaped eyes, same wavy hair.

But this face... a lot like this one.

(This is me last summer, playing with my own hair [my very favorite thing to do].)

Or maybe it's the other way around. Still, though. Pretty amazing.

Maybe it's because of our different personalities, or that I didn't have pictures of us from the same angles, or because we have different smiles, or maybe I'm just oblivious but I didn't realize the resemblance was so strong until this week.
Pretty cool.