Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review :: Flanimals

I don't often review kids books. For one, I don't think most of you would be into that sort of thing. Secondly, the standards my kids have for judging books are much lower than mine. If I left it up to my kids, they would only read books about poop and boogers. If a book actually has pictures of poop in it, well then clearly we have an award winner on our hands. Needless to say, our opinions don't often converge to the point of me wanting to write about anything they are reading.

I decided to bend the rules a bit for Flanimals. It was written by Ricky Gervais, who as you know I have a fascination with lately, and it's basically a humorous encyclopedia of fictitious creatures. I really wanted to pick only one Flanimal to share with you but it's hard since so many of them are cute and clever. My personal favorite is probably the Underblenge, who has a really great way of capturing prey but "Unfortunately, it can't catch anything as it can't move from the rock it was born on."
Then there is the Munty Flumple, who instantly falls in love with everything it stares at:The baby Munty Flumple:Another favorite is the Clunge Ambler:He shuffles around trying to cuddle things but because he's "weird and smells" he doesn't get a lot of action. (As a side note: I think my chihuahua might be part Clunge Ambler.)

After you're introduced to the various Flanimals, there's a chapter about Flanimal Behavior and then Flanimal Testing, which is a test about all the creatures in the book. (My son passed the test; I failed miserably.)

I love this book and think it's super cute, but probably more for older children. My son thinks it's "awesome" but the girl didn't quite get the nonsensical nature of some of the terms. She kept wanting me to explain things that are without explanation. So although she liked looking at the pictures, the joy that was to be had from the sheer silliness of it all was sort of lost on her.

There is a whole series of Flanimals books out right now and a pop-up book coming out in March that I have to admit I'm more than a little bit excited about.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Good Friend.....

Is someone who, despite the risk of certain embarrassment, will rip a page from a magazine in the waiting room of a doctors office and then mail it to you.

Any guesses as to what my family will be eating soon?

Thank you Dawn! (Try not to bend it so much next time though. Maybe try a flat envelope, some bubble wrap. Just a suggestion.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Few After Thanksgiving Thoughts

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I woke up to a note left by my mom informing us that they had gone to Miami to spend Thanksgiving with the boyfriends family. This was a last minute shocker, but I've come to expect this kind of stuff so I really wasn't as disappointed as I could have been. It just means we have a ton of leftovers, since Jay and I had bought and prepared enough food for seven people to eat until stuffed.

On the bright side, I really did have a nice day with just Jay and the kids. The house was quiet, we played games, watched the parade, and did art projects. After eating an early dinner, I took a nap. Here's the thing: Unless I'm sick, I never nap. It was wonderful. I may have to do it more often.

We started a new tradition of opening one holiday gift (preferably a smallish one) early, on Thanksgiving. We decided to do this mainly as a little pleasant surprise for the kids but in case you're wondering, I opened the package from my header and it's the latest Sookie book. (I was genuinely surprised by this because for some reason I thought it would be the most recent Barbara Kingsolver. I think Jay may have purposely led me astray with a Kingsolver conversation we had last week. Sneaky.) So, even though the day didn't go as planned, we made the most of it by just hanging out and enjoying each others company.

Today I hope to get some baking done. I really, really want to make the Pumpkin Bread over on Mommy Coddle. I've been dreaming about it. But to do so would involve a trip to the store for flour and I just don't know if I'm ready to leave the coziness of my house yet. Maybe after another pot of coffee.

Before I go, I wanted to share a bit of news. My best friend Dawn, who I mention here fairly regularly, has started a blog and I wanted to send you over in her direction. I was going to wait a while until she got her sea legs (that's an expression, right?) and had a few posts up. But I'm too excited. So please take a moment to pop over to the blog with, in my opinion, the best name ever, The Crack of Dawn.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

Check it out---another Things I'm Into Post, even though I just did one last week. I've sort of been inspired by Daphne and Betts. They've both been doing these really great series of posts about things they are thankful for. I've toyed with the idea of joining them but I think I'm far too sour to commit to that much positive cheer. I worry that by the third or fourth day I'd be all out of things to be thankful for. So I'll just settle on doing another post about things that are making me smile right now.

*These oven mitts over at green clogs. I saw them and actually gasped a little. Gorgeous. Now I must add oven mitts to the list of things I need to learn to make.

*Crock pot granola. I made it last week and although it wasn't as clumpy as I would have liked, it was still tasty and even Jay liked it. I may have to play around with the recipe a bit more.

*Do you want a good laugh? Check out LovelyListing.com--Odd Finds in Real Estate.

*This blog. Short and sweet, updated regularly, and ended with a song. What more could you ask for? (I think I may be slightly obsessed with this man.)

*Pandora radio. Another obsession of the last few weeks. Makes my boring, housewifey chores a bit more bearable.

*Pumpkin. Now is the time of year when I begin tossing it into everything. The most recent fix came courtesy of pumpkin pancakes. Tomorrow I'm making pumpkin pies, one regular and one black bottom pumpkin pie.

I may be in this spot tomorrow, but if not, have a lovely holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The New Header

Is a book. I know it's a book. I just don't know which one, and I have to wait a month to find out. It's a holiday gift-for me, from Jay-that I found in the closet. (We are partial to plain brown wrapping around here.)

The quote below it comes from my first truly negative, directed at me, comment. For whatever reason, I don't get many negative comments around here. Maybe it's because I shy away from talking about anything too controversial, but I would like to think it's because the blog circles I travel in are filled with well mannered folk. If I say something that someone disagrees with, they'll either politely state their disagreement, or just move on.

I learned something this weekend: I don't mind the occasional negative comment. It livens things up a bit.

If you want to read the comment I'm referencing, it's at the end of this post, as is my response. I don't think I'll be making it a point to respond to nasty comments (who has that kind of time?) but I felt the need to do so with this particular one because I take my honesty very seriously. I think anyone who has read this blog for more than five minutes is aware that I will tell the truth to the point of embarrassing myself. Now bitter? Yes, I'm bitter. But the reasons for that are innumerable.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vampire Crazies

I want to see New Moon. I do. But I'm going to have to wait a few weeks until the crazies all crawl back into their holes.

The other day I sat down at the computer all set to look at the most recent batch of entertainment photos on the Yahoo! page. I'm not a huge celeb junkie but occasionally I want to see what atrocity Brooke Hogan is wearing. I mean, don't we all?

Right now New Moon is dominating all of the entertainment news. Which is fine. I get it, it's a big deal. But the crazies are just everywhere and being so visible about it. Take a look at this picture of Kristin Stewart. Now look closely at the girl behind her:First off, she seems to be crying. Not how I would have handled the situation but whatever. What I find so disturbing is that she appears to be holding up a sketch she drew of Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart. What's more, it looks as if she has already stalked Robert Pattinson enough to get him to autograph the sketch.

The sad thing is, the above photo was on the cover of the Yahoo! entertainment section for a whole day. That girl, in all her crazy glory was, in a small way, momentarily infamous. Why didn't someone stop her? Why didn't someone tell her that the whole thing was a very bad idea? Why didn't someone tell her that the stars of her favorite movies probably aren't going to be flattered by her juvenile drawing? They'll probably just be creeped out.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely have some crazy in me. But I try to keep it hidden somewhat. For instance if (and I'm aware this is a BIG if) I ever meet Alec Baldwin, I hope I'm not wearing my Baldwin "straighten your ass out" shirt. I am aware of the slight creepiness of it. (However, I do have to admit that I want this Baldwin for President shirt.)

If I could give any advice to the younger generation of gals out there (and frankly, New Moon fans of all ages) it would be this: Please. Please. Hide your crazy a little better. Later on you'll be thankful you did.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Really Grinds My Gears :: Part Six

I'd like to take a moment to share with you the one thing that is Grinding My Gears today.

I've mentioned here before that I have seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies that last most of the year. Most days I try to ignore the symptoms and take nothing. Some days I take Quercetin because it's a bit more natural and when I take it I feel less like a drug addict. But on bad days, I have to bring out the big guns, the Zyrtec. When I take a Zyrtec I get relief almost instantly. Then why am I complaining?

Take a look at the Zyrtec packaging:
Now take a look at it after ten minutes of me fumbling with the packaging:
I know the picture is a little fuzzy, but notice that I'm no where near experiencing the instant relief offerred by the tiny pill.

Keep in mind that my allergies are worse in the morning which, even when I'm at my best, is not a good time for me. But when I'm suffering from my allergies, I wake up with my eyes pasted shut with goo, my ears, nose, and throat itch, and I'm likely to sneeze a dozen times in a row, at least. I'm literally blinded by my symptoms.

Why? Why people of Zyrtec? Why can't you just put your pills in a bottle like a normal pill company? And why on the outside packaging is this weird little pill contraption referred to as "easy to open"? Is this some kind of fucking joke? I can't figure it out. My husband can't figure it out. My kids surely can't open it. For whom, exactly, is this easy to open?

Strangely, I feel better now after venting about this. I'm thinking I'll just pre-open all my pills and put them in one of those old lady pill containers. Would that be weird? Does this mean I'm old?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Had It All Planned Out

There is a tree at the entrance of my neighborhood that knows how to do autumn right. Up until a few days ago it still had all its leaves but they had turned a gorgeous, rich brick red. It was lovely. I had commented to my daughter that I needed to come back with my camera and snap a photo of the tree and somehow turn it into a blog post.

The girl, being the slightly obsessive kind, reminded me numerous times in the past three days to "take a picture of the red tree." Well, I waited too long. Today my beautiful tree was naked, beneath it a massive pile of red leaves. Oh well. It did serve as a reminder of the fleeting nature of the season though, especially here in Florida. Summer seems to last forever and then when fall does finally come the leaves are green and on the tree one day and then brown and on the ground the next. Next year, if I'm still here, I'll have to remember to take a picture of that tree as soon as I see it's red.

Anyway, instead of a brightly colored tree, I'd like to show you a few photos of items that are seriously coming in the way of me and weight loss:

Mushy Peas, HP Sauce, and imported candies! (In the top picture you'll notice that some of those are only candy wrappers....)

A long time ago Jay and I used to buy a lot of this stuff through the BBC America shop, but it would get expensive and sometimes the chocolate wouldn't hold up well in the Florida heat, so I'm always on the lookout for a place locally that sells these goodies. Imagine my delight when I saw all of this at a grocery store not too far from my house! I quickly loaded up my basket before common sense kicked in to ruin my fun and tell me I don't need all this garbage. They had other things I wanted too, like Hob Nobs, which are these delicious oat-y cookies with a thin layer of chocolate on top. Sigh. I may have to go back.

One of my favorites is the Penguin bar. Each one has a silly little joke on the wrapper. Such as:

Q: What do you call a Penguin in the desert?

A: Lost.

Ha. I love you Brits and your dry humor. And your chocolates. I really love your chocolates.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

When life gets stinky I really have to remind myself to stop and take notice of the little everyday joys, the things that make me smile even if just for a few seconds. Time for me to set aside a few minutes to focus on the positive:

*Last Saturday I checked the email account associated with this blog. I only do this about once a day because frankly, it doesn't get a lot of action. I'm glad I checked it though because there was a note from Mag giving me a heads up to the fact that Alec was going to be on the cover of Parade magazine. Yay!Without Mag's note, I probably wouldn't have found this since I tend to avoid my town's newspaper. (Sadly, in these parts, it seems that if it isn't about college football or rednecks having ATV accidents, then it isn't news.) The magazine, combined with Starbucks courtesy of Jay and the fact that the children slept in past 7, made for a really nice Sunday morning. Thanks again Mag! (Oh, and you should all pop over to Mag's because she's giving away two copies of a cookie cook book.)

*I told you we are on a Ricky Gervais kick around here, right? Jay and I have been watching Extras lately and it's given me the belly hugging laughs I have so been craving. (Also: This video clip of Gervais chatting with Elmo has made my whole family chuckle. Thanks Peggy!)

*My son is a bit of a nerd. He's given us his holiday wish list and most of the items can be bought at the office supply store. The other day Jay and I were there comparing label makers and I saw the Sharpie section. I couldn't resist testing out all the colors and I left the store with my new favorite pen. It's the Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker in the limited edition color of pomegranate and I love it. Here's a shot of it with today's to-do list:(Notice how nothing is yet crossed off the to do list? Yeah.....it's hard to get motivated to do anything when you wake up, realize you have the whole house to yourself, and then decide to take a hot bath. It felt good, but it definitely wasn't the most invigorating way to start the morning.)

*Saturday I got a care package from Kashoan. I nearly flipped when I opened it and saw that she had knitted me a scarf.I've mentioned before about my failed attempts at knitting, but this scarf has me wanting to try again. It's quite possibly the softest thing in my wardrobe. She also sent some kick ass Skittles flavored lip gloss that smells so tasty I have to stop myself from just sucking it out of the tube.

Before I go I wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of you. For an introverted oddball such as myself, making friends has never come easily. Which is why the ease in which I've made friends through this blog continues to be such a surprise to me. Maybe it's because blogging holds an appeal to folks who are slightly off kilter? I don't know. I do know that not a day goes by when I don't think about you people. And when I'm aware that you are thinking of me-through a phone call, an email, a card, or a package-well, it just makes my day. I truly can't thank you all enough. I don't know what I'd do without my little internet community.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Thoughts

In case you hadn't noticed, it's been a little quiet around here lately. I've been taking it easy this month, not only with blogging but with the computer in general. Last month's daily blogging wore me out and by the 31st I had very little desire to even turn the computer on. I never set out to take an actual blogging vacation, but unless something really exciting happens, posting may be sparse for a few weeks while I even myself out. But for now, here's a list of the randomness that's been on my mind:

*The other morning I was carrying my camera through the house trying to find the best place to photograph some worms (more on that in a minute) when the phone rang. I had a momentary mental shut down and instead of picking up the phone, I put the camera to my ear and said, "Hello." I may be losing it.

*Worms. As I mentioned before, our pet turtle has special food but he really loves worms. This is no big deal, it just means that everyday one of us has to go out to the yard near the compost bin and dig up a worm. Only now it seems as if the the worms have disappeared. I imagine this mass exodus came after all the worms had a little underground meeting where they discussed the giant monster that came out everyday with a shovel which resulted in the disappearance of one of their brethren. Whatever the reason, the worms are gone. Fortunately, Jay knows of a scary little local convenient store that also sells bait. Score. So yesterday he came home with this:That doesn't look too bad does it? Oh, but wait. Let me take them out of the bowl for you.I know, right!? Ugh. Keep in mind they are all alive and very squirmy. And long:I'm not normally squeamish, but these things totally give me the willies. When I need to get one, I have to reach into the wormy coil and pull on one until it's dislodged from the group. They have to be kept refrigerated, which I imagine is why they are all wrapped around one another--to keep warm. I'm guessing. Don't worry though, I labeled the container:
*I keep getting emails from a place called Body Candy Body Jewelry. Here is an excerpt from the latest message: Just in, Ultra Glitter Barbells and Labrets for only $1.99 you can't beat that price for this seasons hottest new looks! Going Clubbing? Ultra Glitter products are a must have! Hot, sexy colors with a sleek shaft, you can not go wrong! Hurry, these are going to fly off the shelves! Um yeah, that sounds totally like me. I don't know why I'm getting these emails. The only conclusion I can come to is that I originally went to the website thinking it was about actual candy.

*I'm very excited about the new Anna Maria Horner Little Folks fabric. It's beautiful. I want it all.

*Yesterday I was talking on the phone with Kashoan and she was telling me about the book Wicked. I always knew she loved this book and I remember when she went to the show, but she was talking about the book with such excitement that now I must read it. Her excitement was contagious. I love it when that happens.

*We are on a Ricky Gervais kick around these parts lately. Jay found this short essay about his thoughts on god. Even if you don't pop over and read the article, I found these statistics interesting: 75% of Americans are god fearing Christians; 75% of prisoners are god fearing Christians; 10% of Americans are atheists; 0.2% of prisoners are atheists. For some reason I found that fascinating.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awards

Mag recently bestowed upon me some awards:The rules of the Honest Scrap award state that I have to share ten honest things about myself. I'll try to make this as interesting as possible.

1. When I was 15 years old I bought a vintage wedding dress at a thrift store. It fit me perfectly and I just knew I was destined to wear it on my wedding day. Well, fast forward to five years later and I was getting married in the courthouse in jeans and a tee shirt. A few months later I gave the dress to a coworker for her Halloween costume. I'm kinda wishing I had kept it.

2. The co-worker I gave it to was very annoying and had horrifically stained teeth. Behind her back the other employees and I referred to her as "Poop Tooth." (I know, real mature. I am so going to hell.)

3. One day, another co-worker at that same job decided to tell me all about the anal sex escapades she had with her boyfriend. That night I went home and told Jay what I had to put up with at work and he started referring to her (behind her back of course) as "Poop Shoot." So for a brief time I worked with a Poop Tooth and a Poop Shoot.

4. I haven't been on an air plane in over a decade. I'm deathly afraid of flying. When the time comes for me to have to get back on an airplane, I'm certain I'll need sedatives.

5. I've never smoked or done any type of illegal drug. I have though, been drinking coffee since I was 12.

6. I love the taste of dry, ramen noodles. I'll open up a package and just start snacking on the uncooked brick of noodles. This grosses out the family.

7. When I was a senior in high school I was on the work release program. I had a job at a bank and everyday I was to leave school early to go to work. I quit my job after one day thus earning a failing grade for the class periods I would have been at my job. The school didn't really know what to do with me so they put me in the library and I aided the librarian for two hours everyday for the rest of the school year. I loved working in the library. To this day it was the most rewarding work I've ever done.

8. When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend named Fugsy Megaton. I don't know if I invented him, or if he was a little known tv character, possibly from an episode of The Flintstones. Other than in my head, I've never been able to find proof of his existence anywhere. (I've actually blogged about him before, but I like to bring him up from time to time to see if anyone else knows what I'm talking about. As of yet, no one has come forward.)

9. I can't read a map at all and it takes me an eternity to find other countries on a map. I'm a dumb American.

10. For the last five days I have been searching for this magazine:Any guesses as to why? (ha) Last Thursday I was informed by the Entertainment Weekly Website that I could, "Look for it on newsstands on November 6." Silly me, I mistook that to mean newsstands everywhere. Since last Friday morning Jay and I have been to at least ten different grocery stores (some more than once), one gas station, K Mart, Borders Books (more than once), Books A Million, Walgreens, and Target. I finally found it today at Barnes and Noble. ( I just want to give a little shout out to my awesome husband for going on this search mission with me. As we were leaving Barnes and Noble he looked at me and asked, "Well now what are we going to do with our time?")

Now, I'm supposed to give these awards to other bloggers. The winners are:

Penny

Ducky

Hotch Potchery

Dani

Cerebral Misfortune

If interested, please play along. I'd love to know more about you.

Edited to add:: Jay just read this and informed me that in regards to #3, the nickname he created wasn't "Poop Shoot" but "Butt Plug." At first I wasn't sure about this, I was almost certain it was Poop Shoot, but after some thought, I realized he's right, it was indeed Butt Plug. Now I'm just left wondering which is more disgusting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Weighty Issue

This morning I stepped on my scale, which happens to be my Wii Fit board. Now I don't want this post to be about how much I hate the electronics in my house, but not only did the board groan when I stepped on it, but then it made jokes at my expense. It informed me that it had been 71 days(!!!) since I last worked out with it and then it pretended not to know who I was and proceeded to make some snide remarks about how it could barely recognise me anymore. (Screw you Wii Fit.)

Then it told me my weight. Which is scary. But as scary as it is, it really isn't a surprise. I mean, there's a reason I had avoided the Wii for 71 days. I can feel it in my clothes. I'm not to the point where in order to zip my jeans I have to lay on my back and pull the zipper up with a coat hanger -Don't ask me how I know that-but I feel gross all the same.

So, after today's Wii induced degradation, I set some diet and exercise goals and by the end of the year I hope to be back at a weight at which I'm comfortable. I know it's probably hopelessly stupid to embark on a diet and fitness plan at the beginning of the peak eating season, but if I don't do it now, the problem is going to get worse. I can't just sit back and think, Oh it's just a few pounds. Because then those few pounds will think it's completely acceptable to invite some of their friends to the party that is my giant fat ass. And that's not acceptable.

I know I don't normally write about this sort of thing, but in all honesty I've been fooling around with these 5-7 pounds for a few months now and I hope that by putting it out there I'll be a bit more motivated to do something. Wish me luck, and cross your fingers that I don't run into any festivals selling deep fried Twinkies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

March 7, 2010

I'm sure by now you've all heard the news: Alec Baldwin is hosting next years Academy Awards (with Steve Martin).

I really, really, really want to have an Oscars party, but Jay doesn't think we know the right kinds of people. People who a.) want to get dressed up in their Oscars best to come to a party at my pet hair filled house and b.) wouldn't be offended when I shout things such as "Shut the fuck up. Alec is speaking!"

So yeah, save the date and RSVP by February 1.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Micanopy Fall Festival 2009

We didn't stay at the Fall Festival very long this year. We arrived around 10:00 AM and left shortly after 1 PM with no arguments from the children, in fact they were both ready to go. I take this as one more glaring signal that Florida just doesn't have much to offer my family anymore. But we did cram a lot of fun into the short time we were there. (The girl exited this slide covered in black gunk, which Jay thinks was the grease and dirt of past children.)
We also crammed a lot of greasy, fatty festival foods into our faces.
(Fried Twinkie. Deliciously evil.)
My favorite part of the festival is going into the used book stores that line Cholokka Boulevard, the street where the festival takes place.I could easily spend a full day in the book shops alone. But that's hard to do with an antsy four year old on a sugar high. (I did manage to score a 50 cent copy of Summer Sisters though, which I'm anxious to begin. I've been wanting to read some of Judy Blume's more *adult* work. Have any of you read this one?)

So to sum it up, we all had fun but not as much fun as years past. I wonder if next year I'll be going to the Micanopy Fall Festival at all. Or maybe I'll be going to a festival in another part of the country. It's too soon to say.

As for right now, I need to go make a giant salad for dinner tonight. I hope to reverse some of the damage done by yesterday's dietary debacle.