Thursday, December 10, 2009

a final post

Taking deep breath. Okay.

It's sort of with mixed feelings that I say good-bye to this blog after almost four years. When I started this blog, I didn't actually even intend on blogging. I just set it up so I could comment on other blogs (yes, I really thought then that you had to do that). And then, once I did start blogging, I never really intended to be a book blogger.

Okay, truth be told, I've never considered myself a book blogger anyway. But...I met so many incredible people in the book blogging world. And some of the most enormous blessings of my life are the close, loving friendships I've made in this community. And I am most certainly not saying goodbye to those friendships!!!! But I am saying goodbye to the book blogging world. At least in a sense.

I could list the 154 reasons that have precipitated this decision, but honestly it doesn't matter. Bottom line, I just have never felt quite like I belonged, and even more importantly, I just want a fresh start. So, I'm going to be blogging at a new blog...not a book blog. Really, it's a good thing for me.

This doesn't mean I won't be reading any of your blogs though. Come on, I'm not into masochism...I love reading book blogs...and I'm not going to go cold turkey here. But I do need to shrink the number of blogs in my reader, for sanity's sake. Just know that if I'm still reading your blog, I DO NOT expect you to read mine. I've never quite bought into that idea that someone should be reading my blog just because I'm reading theirs. Seriously, if I'm reading your blog, it's because I enjoy reading it...I'm already getting my reward.

This is the hard a way, I feel like I should leave a link to my new blog. But see, the last thing I want is for people to follow me over there because they feel like they "should." So, I think I'll just make this goodbye.

Thanks for the awesomely fun ride everyone! I'll miss you!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Santa was here!

 When I awoke this morning, all was looking and feeling Christmas-y. We had a beautiful new coating of the white stuff on the ground and the tree was lit and looking festive in its multi-colored glow. Unfortunately, as the sun began to come up, we saw that someone had not been in the holiday spirit last night...that fresh new coating of snow had obviously caused them to slide off the road and drive through the edge of our front yard taking out our mailbox in the process. Jerk! And I don't say that because they slid off the road...anyone can have a mishap driving on slippery roads. No, I say that because they didn't bother to stop. *sigh*

But, hey, that was not going to ruin my day. Annie volunteers at the library on Wednesday mornings, and I love just hanging out there working on school stuff (and browsing :D) until she's done. So, after a few snowballs thrown with the boys at the bus stop, Annie and I got ourselves ready to go. And when we left the library to come back home, I was a happy my browsing led to quite a wonderful haul of library loot!

And did the smile end there? No way! Because upon our arrival home, I found, in the mailbox that Rich had managed to precariously balance, at quite an awkward angle, in its hole, my Holiday Swap package!!!

Oh my about major spoilage here! I probably should have admitted when I signed up for the swap that I really hadn't been that good a girl this year. ;)  I've never heard of the book, A World I Never Made, but I am ridiculously excited to read definitely sounds like one I will enjoy. And of my, I wish you could see the little Jane Austen journals better...they are so adorable and I am utterly addicted to little journals. And dark promises that it lasts until Christmas though. And the clever is that?!! And the too, too cute post-its and clip-tabs. This was just tooooooo fun for words, I tell you!!!

Honestly, I feel so utterly spoiled here. Many, many, many thanks to the most awesome Secret Santa ever: Beth Fish!!!! May every day of the holiday season bring you smiles as big as those you brought me today!

Many thanks, also, to Nymeth! I've had a glimpse at how much work she puts into the Holiday Swap, and frankly, I'm in awe. Thanks, too, to all her wonderful little elves!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, November 30, 2009

our holiday weekend--a visual

I'd planned to try to jump back into the blogging world today with some mini book babble and whatnot, but life (or at least this damn virus, which technically isn't living) had other plans. I seem to have gotten the flu. :(  I honestly can't remember the last time I actually had the flu...but I'm pretty sure that's what this is...fever of over 102, alternating between uncontrollable shivering and being thoroughly drenched in sweat, feeling as if my body was hit by an eighteen-wheeler and one of those wheels is still resting squarely atop my head, wheezing that reminds me of Annie in the midst of an asthma attack. Put simply, I feel like crap. But as mothers everywhere know, there's no such thing as a "sick day." Just figures that the boys don't have school today and tomorrow, huh?

Okay, okay...enough bitching and whining. Brain is not up to thinking. But hopefully I can handle uploading a few pictures from our long holiday weekend. It was a bit subdued this year...missing a dear friend and worrying about another...but we still managed to have a lot of family fun.

Cooking, and crafting, and wrapping. Oh my. (Started making Christmas cards, but yikes, I've got a long way to go. And I got my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gifts wrapped and ready to mail, but I'm thinking a trip to the post office is not going to happen for me today.)

The trees, big and small, went up. (The kids each have their own small tree in their bedrooms.)

Oh, how I love that sweet, angelic face to the right...despite the fact that "angelic" is quite misleading. ;)

And to this mom's eyes, this girl's beauty far outshines the tree itself. 

Our "big" tree is decorated solely in ornaments made by family and friends. :D It's such fun chatting every year about who made each one. Even the pipe cleaner garland was created by Gray a few years back. And which I have to admit I thoroughly love...and not just because I adore its creator.

And tree decorating wouldn't be tree decorating without eggnog and Christmas music.

Baker singing along. This dog freakin' loves Christmas! (Especially opening presents.)

But he's not the only one who has been caught under the tree.

The cats, thus far, have stayed out of the tree. However, thanks to Lucky, we have had our first holiday mishap of the year, as evidenced in the before and after shots above.

And I managed to get a lot of other decorating done, too. Though I'm far from finished.

 Here's to a happy holiday season for all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a year without you

I just don't have it in me today to write the words that deserve to be written about you, Dewey. I guess I'll never have the words. And that's not simply because my talents don't fall under the heading of eloquence. It's because you were both larger than life, and so very down-to-earth and human all at the same time. You were a sort of glue that held this community together. But not just any old, it was like the magical fairy dust version or something. :) Because you were such an incredible classy person. Nothing about the love of books was ever a competition for you. Nothing about blogging was ever about popularity for you. Things have changed since you died. And of course, change is the stuff of life. But I don't like so many of these changes, Dewey. And fair or not, I can't help but think how things might be different today in the blogging world if you were still here.

And honestly, as much as all that crap eats at me, it doesn't compare to the incredible void that stills haunts me because my friend Dewey is gone. I miss you so fucking much that sometimes I just can't stand it. I miss our e-mail chats. I miss your advice. I miss every damn thing about you. I'm so grateful to have Ana and Eva and Chris in my life. People who love you and miss you as much as I do. Friends that don't tire of sharing "Dewey stories." You're still such a part of our daily lives. I couldn't begin to count the amount of times we've said, "Oooh, I'd love to hear Dewey respond to that" (because we could always count on you for your incredibly intelligent and sarcastic insights) or how many times we've said, "I remember what Dewey said about that book" or how many times we've said, "Oh, how I wish Dewey had had the chance to read this book."

You know, I don't believe that you can actually hear me. And I know that you didn't believe it either. And yet somehow, I can't stop talking to you. And you know, I know you wouldn't even make fun of me for it. Well, if you did, it would only be with kindness and friendship behind it. ;)

Dewey, I love you so very much.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name (GLBT 2010)

Amanda, one of my very favorite people, is again hosting The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name. And this year, it's bigger and better than ever.

From the official blog:

The basic idea of this challenge is to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.

The challenge runs year-round, and there will be three levels of participation:
  • Lambda Level: Read 4 books.
  • Pink Triangle Level: Read 8 books.
  • Rainbow Level: Read 12 or more books.
You don't need to choose your books right away, and they can change at any time. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.
 I'm going to shoot for the Rainbow Level. Since I am trying to cut down on the number of challenges I'm joining for next year, it leaves me room to go hog-wild with the challenges I really love, right? Yeah, in theory anyway.

Okay, since I cannot stand being beholden to a specific list of books to read, I'm just going to make a large, lovely pile of choices to choose from.

Ones I already own:

*Define "Normal" by Julie Anne Peters
*Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block
*The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
*Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
*Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
*Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
*Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
*Freak Show by James St. James
*Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney
*Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger
*Orlando by Virginia Woolf
*Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
*The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Ones I'm hoping the library has, or I may break down and buy:

*Wide Awake by David Levithan
*Hero by Perry Moore (thanks to Ana)
*The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson
*grl2grl by Julie Anne Peters
*Luna by Julie Anne Peters
*Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters (thanks to Amanda)
*The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
*any Mary Oliver I haven't read (or even books I have read :D
*The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed by Judy Shepard
*Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith (thanks to Ana)
*Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman (thanks to Eva)
*My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr (thanks to Amanda)

Ones I can't resist from other people's lists (to be added to liberally, I'm sure):

*Seeking Sara Summers by Susan Gabriel (from Amanda)
*Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne (from Amanda)

Yes, I know, I'm supposed to be selective here when it comes to these reading challenges, but I swear, I am...this is just one I really want to do. Along with Women Unbound. And probably the Science Challenge if it's around again next year. And the World Citizen Challenge, if Eva hosts it again. And the Non-Fiction Five. And Becky's End of the World Challenge. And of course, Carl's Sci-Fi Experience, Once Upon a Time, and RIP. And some of the perpetual ones I've signed up for, like the Printz Project. I know, I know...that still sounds like a lot, but compared to the past couple years, it's not so bad at all. ;)

*sigh* I'm still fighting with Google Reader. Nothing I've tried seems to work. After fighting with it yet again this morning, I finally got it to let me "mark all as read"...I'm hoping clearing it out will somehow do something. Yeah, I know, that seems mighty unlikely, but I'm desperate here. :( 

Anyway, I figured it was a good time for a "marked as read" click anyway. I'm going to take a few weeks off from blogging here. I'm just so swamped right now. Hoping in a couple weeks, I'll have my act a bit more together and can come back full of vim and vigor and ready to celebrate the holidays with all of you!!!! :D

Hope you all have wonderful November! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who will be celebrating! As for what I'm thankful for...all my incredibly wonderful blogging friends!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas dreams...

Max just came and asked me, "Mom, what's it called when you can see through things?"

I answered, "I'm not sure--do you mean x-ray vision?"

Excitedly, he answered, "Yeah, that's it. Thanks Mom!" And ran right out of the room.

My curiousity peaked, I followed, and found he was working on his Christmas wish list.

Santa didn't come through last year when Max asked for lasers that shoot out of one's eyes. But that doesn't seem to have dashed his hopes for a superpower Christmas this year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

a bit of blame...

Before I hand out the first points of this latest round, I've got a quick question--has anyone else been having trouble with their Google Reader lately??? It's been driving me crazy! It will show me that there are updates, but won't actually let me see them or let me click over to the blog. If I shut down Firefox and restart it will let me read one, maybe two, blogs before it starts acting up again. Sorry to bug you all with my computer-ignorance, but the whole process of constantly having to restart my browser is taking up way too much of my severely limited blog reading time...and that is making me very sad, as I haven't had time to catch up with most people for such a long time as it is.

I'd actually like to spend these few minutes blog reading instead of posting, but as it is my goal to get our bedroom, the boys' bedroom, and Annie's bedroom super-cleaned this week so I can start Christmas decorating, I need to pass out the blame for these books so I can put them away and not have them sitting here on the desk.

Okay, here's the books that have entered my home during the last few weeks:

*The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. No blame here. I got it from PaperbackSwap because Annie and I are going to be reading as part of our history through literature unit.

*The Wild Things by Dave Eggers. Now despite the fact that this was a special, out-of-blue gift from my dear, wonderful friend Chris, I'm still going to saddle him with a point. Sorry, Chris! :) But it immediately went to the top tier wish list when you started telling me about how special this book was. So, had he not so very sweetly bought it for me, I would have bought it myself.

*The Cactus Eaters by Dan White. Another point I feel sort of bad shouldering a friend with, as I won it from her. Heehee--Megan, I'm sorry, but really I don't feel all that bad. ;) This is because I've had this book on my wish list ever since I read her review months and months ago.

*The Professor's Daughter by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert. Point for Amanda. I immediately went to our library's website and requested it, because Amanda's review left me so intrigued.

*Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Luckily, I have a husband who likes to spoil me. He ordered this for me, after I heard an interview with Foer on NPR. I obviously wasn't very good (not that I tried to be ;) ) at hiding the fact that I desperately wanted this book. Guess a book buying ban isn't such a hard thing to handle when you've got a husband who breaks it for you. Anyway, point for NPR. 

OMG. Can you believe it?!! No points for Nymeth!!! Or Eva!!! Something is obviously afoul in the universe...

Oh, and one more thing I wanted to mention. I've given up on this year's reading challenges. I just couldn't even keep up with keeping track of what I'd read for what. Yeah, I'd joined far too many challenges, huh? 
I am going to start over again next year. And be far more selective in what I that I hopefully have a better chance of completing them. And that I definitely have a better chance of keeping track of them. ;)