Friday, December 30, 2005

I've got the bug

It always gets me this time of year. I have the quilting bug. So, I am attempting to complete the first quilt I ever started. It's a watercolor quilt. Very cool. I got into making a quilt for my sister, then started experimenting with some other patterns, and I never got around to finishing this. I have had the spot over the piano picked out as the place to hang it ever since I started it (about 4 1/2 years ago...) Maybe I can get it hung there before we move out of this house!

I really do have a few more interesting thoughts to share. I will get around to it soon. I promise.

Until then, I thought I might do another unofficial poll. So, here you go:

UNOFFICIAL POLL: Do you have a resolution this year? If so, what is it?

And in case you were wondering, I don't have one!
You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!


Thursday, December 29, 2005

I am willing to admit

Okay, moms. You know that smell that kids get when they are grimey and sorta sweaty and haven't had a bath in two days and they just woke up from a nap and drooled all over the place?

I LOVE that smell.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sit down, everybody.

You sitting?


I am almost finished with another book.

Steady yourselves.

You okay?


Now stay with me, here.

A while back I wrote a long post consisting of reviews for every book I read this year. At the end of it I asked for suggestions for books I might read in 2006. I wasn't surprised that I didn't get many. The post was too long and of little interest to most people, so I think very few actually read far enough to know that I asked for suggestions. But, Leslie suggested I read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. The book is funny and interesting. And I have about 30 pages left. Thank you, Leslie.

Now, I would like to ask you all, again, for suggestions for nonfiction works that I might read in the coming year. I have two or three that I am already eyeing. I am hoping to get a list of 10 that sound interesting so that I will actually have something specific to look for at the library instead of wandering around aimlessly through the nonfiction section - and finding nothing that seems worth the effort.

Joe, who also left a book recommendation, said "don't you like how you get pushed to keep reading or read more... is this positive reinforcement or are we getting on your back?"

This, my friend, is an interesting question. To answer succinctly, no. I asked for suggestions, so I don't feel like anyone is getting on my back. But the question makes me wonder anew about this whole phenomenon of reading. Please, fair reader, allow me to hash this out.

I don't like reading. I don't like sitting in one place and doing nothing with my hands save holding a book. I don't like the process of moving my eyes across a page and waiting for the words to make a coherent thought inside my brain. Many times when I am reading, I am aware that I am reading: not lost in the story, just keenly aware of the fact that I am sitting still, holding a book, and scanning words on a page. Just thinking about it makes me shudder a little.

I realize that I wouldn't be so aware of the process of reading if I practiced it a little more. But that's how it is.

Several times in my life I'd get this idea in my head that to engage in the good and wholesome act of reading would somehow make me a better person. So, I would pick up some book and I would force myself to read the first three or four chapters. And, somewhere around that point in the book, I would realize that I didn't really care what happened next - that I would rather knit something. So, I would go knit, and never open the book again.

Despite what you might think, these experiences have not left me with any major emotional, mental, or academic deficiencies. (Well, nothing permanent, anyway.) As far as I can tell, the only drawback to my disinterest in reading is that I don't have the greatest vocabulary. I suppose I could compensate for this by picking a few new words out of the dictionary each day... if I wanted to. And, to be perfectly frank, I can spell better and have better grammar than a lot of folks I know who LOVE to read. (Neither of these, it should be noted, are of particular concern to me on this blog.)

So, I am not so sure why everyone thinks that a love for reading is such a desirable quality. To me, reading is just that painful, boring process that I described earlier. Why should anyone love reading more than, say, playing the violin? Or refurbishing a '67 Mustang convertible?

I will submit to you that everyone should know how to read and how to glean important information from text-based media. But, why do we want everyone to LOVE it? If that's the case, then why don't we just decide that everyone should love playing the French horn as well?

So, you may be thinking: Okay, obnoxious, book-hater-girl, if you hate reading so much, why are you asking for book recommendations?

That is a fine, fine question, dear reader (but for pete's sake, is name-calling really necessary?)

Here is my thoughful answer:

Because I like learning. Hence nonfiction. I like learning stuff that is "doable" (like knitting and quilting,) but I also really like considering the kind of stuff that challenges me, or learning things that are just plain cool to know. This non-doable kind of knowledge is, unfortunately for me, gained most often by reading. So, read I will. Or, maybe it would be best to say: read I MIGHT. Because it remains to be seen if my desire to learn something new is strong enough to overcome my lack of desire to read.

Does that make sense?


Now, help me out with my list. Cuz, you know, I can't wait to get reading.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

I don't mean to presume

I just finished icing Jesus' birthday cake. Normally, one would make a cake of the person's favorite flavor for their birthday - but I don't presume to know what Jesus' favorite flavor is. So, I deferred to mine and made chocolate.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. I am so glad you were born.

And I hope you like chocolate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I don't get it

Could someone please, please, please tell me why so many blogs I read are written by people who shop at stores like M@cy's and get their coffee from places like $tarbucks?

I don't understand that.

Edit 12/22: I don't know why I thought people would understand what I wrote. But what I was really wanting to know, is why people use the @ instead of "a" and the $ instead of "s" when they write the names of companies. I can't figure it out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Snuggle time

I was snuggling with Mr. Bug this evening at bed time. He used to love to get very close and lay very still. He would usually throw his arm around me and position his head so close to mine that he could feel me breathing on him.

He hasn't done that in a long time, so tonight was unusual - he was very still and we were very close. So, I positioned myself like we used to, figuring that's what he'd want.

Then, this conversation:
Bug: Mom, I don't want you to copy me.
Me: Okay, bud.
Bug: But you're doing it right now!
Me: What?
Bug: You're copying me.
Me: You mean BREATHING?
Bug: Yeah.

Did you get that everyone? My son wants me to stop breathing!



To My Baby Girl

Dear Ms. Bao,

Hello, precious one. This is your mom. Whenever my heart wells up, I have to get it out by writing. So I thought I'd write you this little note.

I'm not sure I could express in words how precious you are, but I know I can tell you how I feel. Thankful. Proud. Happy. In love. You are so sweet. The way you smiled at me last night - crinkling up your eyes and flashing your only top tooth at me; when you play peek-a-boo with me without being prompted; hearing your voice when you say "da da;" the way you "dance" when you hear music; how you kick your feet when you are excited; these are the kind of things that make a mom want to smother her baby with kisses until there's nothing left of either one of us... just two people morphed into one.

I can't believe how far you've come. You always liked watching people, that was very clear. But now you interact with them instead of turning away from their advances. It makes me so happy to see you enjoying other people - and to see them enjoying you. I can't believe you already understand me when I tell you not to put something in your mouth, or throw your food on the floor, or grab my glasses. Shaking your head "no" to signal your disapproval. You are learning so much. And growing so fast.

I think about that building sometimes, where they found you. I wonder if you were cold or if you were scared. I cry when I think about that, and it makes me want to hug you a little tighter. But, I know you don't like smothering, so I'll back off.

I'm so glad you are here. I am so glad you are a part of our family. I am so glad that you are feeling comfortable here. I can hardly remember what it was like without you here. And I wouldn't want to.

I love you, little one.



Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wooo Hooo!

Apparently there was some confusion, but what my parents bought me for Christmas was not just a new keyboard. It is a complete computer. That's what was inside those two large boxes that the UPS guys delivered.

And I am typing on it right now. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Watch this...

Here is a link to the post about my old, slow computer that is now sitting idle on my coffee table.

And it only took me a minute to put that link on there.... Unreal.

Word is we're also getting a digital camera from Paul's parents for Christmas.

Watch out folks. This here blogging could get out of control.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Shelby's Legacy to my Children

The kids have been watching our wedding video. I can't stand it. I feel so silly watching it. I felt bad that I thought this. Then Paul came home while the kids were watching it, and he said the same thing. Now I don't feel so bad.

All throughout the video are recorded messages from different guests and members of the party. I had no idea the videographer was going to do this. And that is a big part of why I don't like watching the video. You see, the videographer even asked ME to record a message to Paul. He was in the "little room" with me and my bridesmaids, and he puts the camera on me and he's like "what would you like to say to Paul?"

Uh, how about "what in the name of all things sacred are we doing?"

I was scared out of my pants, I mean, dress. So I make up something stupid to say because there is no way I am going to say what I am really thinking, and I then I smile this really stupid smile.

Now just for sake of clarity, I do not regret marrying my husband. And I had a wonderful day... after getting myself down the aisle without puking out a lung. After the wedding, I remember my face hurting from smiling so much. It's just that at that moment I wasn't exactly feeling giddy with excitement. And watching it now is almost painful. Yuck.

But one humorous result of the kids watching the video sixteen (and counting) times, is hearing what they have picked up. In her recorded message to us, Shelby, one of my bridesmaids, somehow managed to incorporate the phrases "rock on" and "peace out." This is something that Shelby can pull off with relative flair, and no one who knows her would think it particularly strange. But I just want you to imagine a 2 year old and a 4 year old going about their day, and then hearing one of them, for no apparent reason, addressing the other with "peace out." Very strange, indeed.

So, thank you, Shelby. The legacy you have left us pretty much guarantees that you will always "rock on" at our house.

And to those of you who are married, I am wondering what kind of emotions you experienced in the hour or so just before your wedding. Do tell... and, uh...

Peace out?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A List of Seven "Sorta" Sevens

Kim over at Boy Makes Three tagged me to complete this little list. Here it is...

7 Things to do before I die:
1. Learn to play the piano.
2. Finish that watercolor quilt I started 4 years ago.
3. Learn another language... Mandarin or Spanish.
4. Write something meaningful.
5. Take another vacation with Helen. Just us girls.
6. Pursue a different career.
7. Take some seminary Bible classes.

7 Things I cannot do:
1. Cook real rice on the stove.
2. Burp.
3. Do math quick in my head.
4. Ice skate.
5. Sit ups... it's so sad.
6. Sit in one position for more than 5 minutes.
7. Sew set-in seams on a quilt.

7 Things that attract me to my husband:
1. He prays a lot, and he prays especially for me.
2. He is calm, and generally this is good because I am not.
3. His bald head. Yup. Love it.
4. The way he puts his arm around me when we are singing at church, even if I don't do it back.
5. I can tell him how I really feel and he still likes me afterward.
6. Have you seen him in a suit? NICE!
7. He likes to help people without calling a lot of attention to himself.

7 Things I say most often:
1. What kind of snack do you want, Boo?
2. SON!
3. Dooney, dooney, doon. (I speak complete nonsense to my kids, especially when they are babies. I get on a kick where one particular "phrase" will stick with me for a few weeks. This is the one I've been chanting to Bethany lately. It's kinda like saying "you are too cute (or precious, or whatever) for words." I just bypass that statement altogether and skip right to making up new words.)
4. Do you understand?
5. I use the word "just" all the time.
6. Hey.
7. Please close the refrigerator!

7 Books I love:
1. The Bible
2. Celebration of Discipline
3. China Wakes
4. Surely, You're Joking Mr. Feynman
5. Lost Daughters of China
6. A Separate Peace
7. Night

7 Movies I [could] watch over and over:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Footloose
3. The Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea Series
4. Emma
5. While You Were Sleeping
6. Sense and Sensibility
7. Sliding Doors
(I don't really watch movies much.)

7 People I would like to answer these questions:
1. Addie
2. Robin
3. Maureen
4. Heather
5. Kiki

And that's all. I don't reciprocally read blogs with enough people to have 7 that haven't already been tagged.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Santa came early

Yes. Santa has already been to our house. I suppose with all he has to do this time of year, you can't blame him for getting started a little early. He was very slick about it though. He planned the whole thing quite well - kept his identity a secret. Nothing about the event fits his MO.

No elves or reindeer. No chimney in the middle of the night. He went to great lengths not to give himself away... Arriving in the middle of the day, driving the brown truck, dressed just like his human assistant - in a UPS uniform.

There were two large boxes. Immediately, I knew my it was my Christmas gift. And I knew it was from Santa. How, you ask? Well, who else would have known about the pile of clothes the kids have outgrown that I have been stuffing under Bethany's crib? Who else would have known that I keep thinking I've got to get those clothes boxed up? Only Santa could have known! And boy did he ever deliver. These boxes are really big. They're perfect, really.

But, even the boxes were part of his very elaborate plan to keep his cover. They were made to look like they'd been sent via a third party. They say "Dell" all over them. I opened one and found some sort of component with a lot of buttons on it, a large metal box, and a bunch of wires. There was even a packing list filled out as if my parents had ordered this stuff for us. He is so clever!

Santa, if you are reading: I figured you out! I love the gift, and I can't wait to empty out those boxes so I can put it to good use. Thank you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

American Idolitis

You all know I am not a big TV watcher, but I have caught 2 or 3 episodes of American Idol. The ones I have seen were always from the very beginning of a new Idol search. Paula, Simon, and that other guy go to different cities where hundreds of wannabe singers try out for their chance at becoming the next Idol.

These Idol shows proved to be some of the funniest shows I have seen in recent times. Without a doubt I heard great singers, but some of the bad ones can really be quite funny.

Now, there are two types of bad Idol Wannabes (IWs.) The first type is the person who is bad beyond any shadow of a doubt. Often these people know they are bad, and they are just there to get their fifteen minutes of fame on national television. They go to work the next day and tell everyone how they tried out for Idol and how much fun they had. These aren't the ones I find particularly funny.

The funny ones are those that THINK they are Idol material, but even I know they aren't. They can (mostly) carry a tune, but they'll strain to hit notes, or sing through their nose or whatever. They probably sound great in the shower. And no one has likely ever told them they stink when they sing along to the radio. Ssome of them probably even had solos in the school choir concert or some community theater performance. But they just aren't worthy of a record contract... only they don't know it. And the FUNNY part is how SHOCKED they are when they find out.

The fact that these people are shocked to hear from the judges something that even *I* could have told them (if only they had asked...) makes me wonder how these particular IWs got there in the first place. In my mind, I am thinking that no one would ever go on one of those shows without some sort of assurance, from someone other than themselves, that they have an exceptional singing voice.

So, who, I am wondering, is deluded? The IW or his friends?

Could it be that IW's friends have said, "you sing really well" so many times that, somewhere in the IWs mind, it turned into "you sing better than most of the people in this country and should get paid to do it"?

Or could it be that the IW's friends just don't know what to listen for, and are gushing over someone who really is just an okay singer?

Either way, I'm thinking that these IWs had to have been told by enough people that they were good, without anyone ever telling them "your not THAT good."

Having said this, I must admit that I am not easily impressed. I am quite critical, if you haven't noticed. It doesn't have to be singing. I am critical of writing, speaking, dance, humor. You name it. I am critical. Whenever I take a survey where I have to rate things, I always end up rating things lower than everyone else. It isn't uncommon to find myself among a group of people who are raving about something - and I am wondering what in the world they are talking about.

These experiences, coupled with the IW phenomenon, have led me to the conclusion that people overdo compliments. Either they say things they don't mean (in an attempt to be kind?) or they just don't really know enough to be a good judge of the skill they are complimenting. I realize that I could be completely wrong about this. Perhaps I am just rationalizing my skepticism.

But all of this leads me to what I am currently contemplating:

There is something that I like to do that people have repeatedly told me I am good at. Mostly I have dismissed it. Dismissed it because it's something that a LOT of people think they are good at, when, in my opinion, they really aren't. Dismissed it because I figure my complimentors (with maybe only one exception) don't really know enough about what is required to be good at it. To be fair, I don't necessarily think anyone was saying that I was so good at this thing that it would make me famous. It's just that I keep thinking back to all of those poor IWs who are deluded by similar compliments. And if I let myself believe what I have heard, I am afraid I will end up making a fool of myself in front of people who WOULD know better, and would tell me to go home.

But I am going to pursue it anyway.

Just don't expect to see me on "Idol" any time soon!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Just the Good ol' Tunes

Recently I was at someone's house where The Dukes of Hazard was on TV. I love that theme song! It got me thinking about other TV theme songs that I have loved. Here are my favorites, in order.

Lyric Songs
1. Cheers
2. The Dukes of Hazard
3. The Jeffersons

1. Hill Street Blues
2. Dallas
3. Newhart

I have this vague recollection that I really liked the theme to Twin Peaks, and I know I liked LA Law, but I can't remember how either one of them goes. I tried to link to some lyrics or something you could listen to, but I don't have the patience to wait for my computer.

So, what are your favorites?


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


In the last week I have:

- been reminded how much I like to make things... I'm crocheting and quilting again.

- learned that caterpillar ends with "ar" and not "er."

- been reminded how much I like Cyndi Lauper.

- learned that new keyboards only cost ten bucks.

- been reminded how much I dislike Billy Ocean.

- learned that I look good in pink. (more on this later.)

- been reminded that children are a blessing.

- learned that my husband gets two weeks off for Christmas break. WOO HOO!

- been reminded how busy the holiday season is.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Out of Commission

Well, Ms. Boo spilled tea on the keyboard today and the entire home row is no longer working. Hopefully all we need to do is let it dry. But, until it starts working or we get it fixed, I may not be blogging for a while.

If we have to get a new keyboard, it may be a long while... I haven't checked with Paul, but we are probably going to give priority to the washing machine which left a big puddle of water on the floor today.

Don't even ask about the furnace - which makes a loud banging sound once each night.

Hee Hee!

(I am at the library now, if you were wondering!)