Monday, April 30, 2007

Praying for Heather

Kelli has a prayer chain set up to cover Heather during the time of her brain surgery and initial recovery. Get on over to Kelli's if you are willing to sign up for a spot.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reading. Actual Books.

I finished Wild Swans earlier this week. It's only the second book I've finished this year. But, before all you 'I-read-two-books-every-three-minutes' types guffaw at me, you need to know a few things:

First. This book was 508 pages long. Five hundred eight. If you combine that with the other book I have read this year, that being the Bible, then I have read over 1500 pages. If you ask me, that actually counts as, like, six books. And it isn't even May yet. However, being the stickler that I am for accuracy, I cannot claim that I am on track to beat last year's record of twelve books (not that this is a goal, but I use it for comparison.) I guess I can say I FEEL like I have read six books. And, had I chosen books of a more average length, perhaps I would have actually read six books by now. I have, however, only read two books this year.

Second. I finished reading this book (which, did I mention, was 508 pages long?) in 18 days.

Some friekish reading demon has possessed my brain.

That being said, I will now tell you that I really enjoyed Wild Swans. It was written by Jung Chang and chronicles the life of her grandmother, her mother, and herself growing up in China. Her grandmother was a concubine. Her mother joined the Communist party just before the retreat of the Kuomingtang, and Mao's deification. Her father would eventually become a high ranking members of the Communist party. After accusing Mao of breaking with Communist doctrine, he was disgraced, persecuted, and sent to detention for several years. Ms. Chang grew up through Mao's indoctrination of China, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution.

I won't get into a ton more detail than that. When it comes to the history of China, I am an ignoramus. But I am learning. And this book taught me a lot.

I think what I took away from this book more than anything was a clearer picture of "how anyone could do that." By this, I mean that question that we ask when we hear of people doing hateful, murderous things to other people. "How could anyone do that?"

It was happening all over China. Torture, murder, theft, beatings. All carried out by anyone who felt the need. All of it sanctioned by Mao Zedong. And, despite the fact that she hated what was happening, the author's feelings toward Mao were ones of admiration, reverence, and even gratefulness.

That's indoctrination folks.

I still don't "understand" indoctrination but, having read this book, and the description of Mao's tactics, I think I can say that I understand how it happens, how it spreads, and how it feeds off of itself until it chokes an entire country.

The book itself was repetitive at times, and sometimes awkwardly worded. It was difficult to keep track of all the people, but an index (and a timeline) are included in the back of the book to help with this. Overall, I enjoyed the book (which goes with out saying right... see points above.) I learned a great deal and it left me wanting to learn more about the history of China.

The other benefit to reading this LONG book was that when I picked up my next book - a mere 241 pages, and smaller ones at that - I gasped and thought, I could have this done in just a few days!



Friday, April 27, 2007

Veeeery Interesting

Just an FYI to all of you who use a "well known stats provider." Some big companies may be watching you right now... and your readers too. Check it out. Then, check with your stats provider to see if they are the guilty party.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Whatcha Gonna do When They Come for You?

Ms. Boo is going through a phase. Every time she sees a policeman, she asks what he is doing. Every time she sees a police cruiser, she asks why it's there. The sight of anything even remotely related to law enforcement (mall security...) often ushers in a slew of questions about going to jail, getting arrested, and what behaviors are "against the law."

She came in the house one day, sobbing, because the neighbor girl had joked that Boo was going to be arrested.

Good gracious. The girl is afraid she's going to do something that lands her in jail.

I wasn't thinking much about this phase when I started making dinner on Tuesday night. Chicken, rice, applesauce. The kids asked what I was making and, when I told them, I immediately heard two responses. Mr. Bug said, "I love rice." Ms. Boo said, "I don't like rice."

To which I thought: I know and I know. Respectively.

So, when dinner time came, I offered to put some of the sauce from the chicken on the rice for Boo, telling her it might taste better that way. Then, I went on with dinner without paying much attention to what she was eating.

Near the end of dinner, I asked her if she tried the rice. Her reply: Yes. Then I asked if she liked it. Her reply: No.

And I was fine with that. She walked over to the trash can to scrape the scraps (and the pile of rice) into the garbage. It was then that the questions began again. I didn't think much of it, as it is really commonplace now.

Boo: Mom, is it against the law to tell a lie?
Me: Well, it's against God's Law to lie. But not all lies are against the government's law.
Boo: What kind of lies are against the law?
Me: Uhh, (thinking....) if you lie about how much money you make so that you don't have to pay taxes, that is against the law.
Boo: What other lies can make you go to jail?
Me: (tired, and still totally clueless) I don't know, Boo. If you are worried that you are going to go to jail, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Boo: Mom, can you go to jail for saying that you ate rice when you really didn't?

I almost bust a gut laughing, but I held it in and calmly asked her, "did you just lie to me about eating that rice?"

She looked at me with this expression that said How on earth did you figure that out?


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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What I did on my Bloggy Vacation

I have a book. It's called Build Your Power Vocabulary. I picked it up because, given the fact that I am preparing to implement my plan for global domination, I figured a little extra power would come in handy. Secondarily, I wanted to improve my vocabulary so that, when writing sentences such as the one you just read, I don't have to sit around staring blankly at a wall, trying to think of the word I want, only to come up with the word "implement," all the while feeling that there is a word which is far more appropriate, yet certain that I don't know it.

And I also need to learn a new word for "certain."

Just imagine how lively things will be around here once I finish this book. Instead of saying "I went to this place where they had a lot of things," I can say "I went to this jejune place where they had a lot of quotidian things."

Doesn't that sound so much better?


Aside from reading my vocabulary book, I have done a ton of fun stuff on my bloggy vacation.

I celebrated the resurrection of my Lord. It was a very special day.

If you look over in my sidebar you will see that I have crossed a book off of my reading list. And not just any book, but THE book. I finished it on Easter. Sweeeeeet.

I was prolonging my vacation so that I could report completing another book, but I have decided to just go ahead and post now. Wild Swans is a great book (more like TWO books, given how long it is... but who's really counting pages? Oh yeah, I AM!) I've learned a ton about Mao and the Cultural Revolution. I might post a review of the book later, but I'll post my review of Mao and the Cultural Revolution right now: INSANITY.

I went with the kids to the children's museum where Mr. Bug declared that what he'd unearthed in the fossil dig area was a "snake bone."

We celebrated Ms. Boo's sixth birthday. I made this butterfly cake:

I got to spend some time nurturing that skill I mentioned in my last post. On one day alone, I was away from the house for six and a half hours working on that (and getting a hair cut.) It was delightful to spend some energy on something that God has already made me good at, as opposed to what I usually do when I have time to myself, which is wander around aimlessly sort of window shopping or buying something the kids need.

I devoted a considerable amount of time to phlegm management.

I watched Man of the Year starring Robin Williams. It was okay.

I attempted to donate blood, but was rejected. For the fourth time. In a row.

I took my Boo out for a girl date. She chose to eat at a Chinese restaurant. How do I love thee, my sweet Boo?

I fielded two DAYS worth of questions from Boo and Bug about Satan. Seriously.

I tended to the ... the... (where's my BOOK?...) little plants that just sprouted and are waiting to be planted in the garden whenever it gets warm outside.

After much staring (blankly) at a wall, I recalled a word that means little plants that just sprouted.

Remember this quilt? The one I "finished"? Yes, well, I found more blocks hidden under a pile of stuff on my desk. Now I need to add two more rows.

I listened as Ms. Bao repeatedly asked to put on her "badey soup" and "go pool." Then I sat with her on a chair as she watched everyone playing in said pool, but refused to go in.

Took the kids searching for salamanders again and actually found some this time.

Heard the song Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago, twice. Wondered afresh about the weird ending that doesn't seem to match the rest of the song. So, I did a little research and found out that it is actually a separate song. I'd feel better knowing that if it wasn't for the fact that the title of this other song has nothing to do with the lyrics...

I tried a vegetarian recipe that called for Swiss chard. When I made the recipe I wasn't certain that what I'd bought was actually Swiss chard. But then, I substituted a different kind of bean in the recipe as well. Perhaps this last variation explains why the final result tasted really bland. (As it turns out, I did use Swiss chard.)

There was a four day stretch in which I ate asparagus every day. I love asparagus.

I spent over twelve hours logged on to my dialup internet connection so that I could send about 40 photos to be processed. This included about six hours for which I decided to sleep while the computer did its thing. When I got up in the morning, I still needed to send out about three more batches of photos. Note to self: if you put all the photos in one folder they'll ALL be done when you wake up in the morning.

Second note to self: uploading 40 pictures on dialup is not helpful if your goal is to spend LESS time on the computer.

Our family started using a new word to mean "pass gas" which we all think is quite funny. (Don't even tell me you don't have special words for that, because I know you do...)

I had an extended conversation with Jeana via e-mail in which I was once again reminded that I can sometimes get carried away with myself. Jeana, as gracious as she is funny, managed to rein me in a bit.

I sat outside on a (FINALLY) warm day on a blanket under a tree in our front yard. I looked up at the tree and the colors really intrigued me. The orangish-brown, bright green, and vibrant blue all together was just lovely. I had to take a picture.
I tried a few new recipes from a whole grain recipe book that I bought in the checkout line at the supermarket. Paul was not too keen on the swiss chard recipe, but he liked the bulgur wheat with broccoli and tomatoes, as well as the quinoa with roasted vegetables. We agreed that the quinoa was bland, but would do well with some additional seasonings. I thought the same of the swiss chard, but really, my husband ate quinoa and broccoli, so I am not complaining.

I retrieved a bar of soap from the toilet.

Made popcorn on the stovetop. Twice.

Took a late night walk in the rain.

I decided it was time to plant the seedlings outside after Ms. Bao snapped the leaves off all but three of my zucchini plants. Not one of those three is faring well: each looks like it is about to die. I made a new bed to plant the cukes in. All but one seems to be doing fine. The tomatoes are still in the little peat pots, looking weaker by the day. (I heard tell of someone feeding the seedlings milk... maybe this has something to do with the tomatoes' poor performance.) I direct-seeded some sugar snap peas. The lettuce, which I direct-seeded a long time ago, seems to be doing fine, even though it sprouted before that freeze a few weeks ago.

And there you have it. What did YOU do on my bloggy vacation?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Momentarily breaking the fast to help get the word out... to the two people who read this blog but don't read Boomama (but probably aren't even reading me right now because they think I'm not posting...)

Anyway, click on the pretty flower to learn about Heather and her current needs and what Boomama has going on to try to get those needs met.

Later, taters.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


It has been a busy week. A busy week.

I have just come up for air, but there is more on its way, so this trip to the surface will only last long enough to suck in as much oxygen as I can before the next wave hits.

I am not complaining. I am not stressed. I am just stating the facts so you will know why I am going to be taking a break from the blog.

I am having a really hard time finding words to adequately convey my thoughts. How 'bout this:

God is working in my life. He is bringing to mind several personal habits that need further development. He has shown me an area where He has gifted me that I need to figure out how to nurture. He has placed in my heart a desire to grow in at least two other very specific areas. I am excited about these and I am looking forward to seeing Him work more of his character into me. However, I am sensing that if these things are going to happen, then I need to quiet down and pay attention to his leading. I also think I need to put aside some activities so that I have "room" in my life to accomodate the new work He is doing.

It pains me to walk away from the blog... not because there is anything special about it, per se, but because I just love sharing thoughts with all of you. I love hearing from you and I love the encouragement you offer me. But God has been putting a phrase in my ear since last October: "Just you and me." So, on top of needing to make room for His changes, I think I also need to guard against the temptation I often feel to get others' approval, and take some time to hear only from him.

Just me and Him.

So, my peeps. I'll see you back here no sooner than April 23.

Peace out.