Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Halloween 2008 is over. But around here in a strange way it feels more over than ever before. The kids are just growing up. We don't carve a pumpkin, we didn't get out the skeleton to hang on the door - not a single decoration was put out to show our "Halloween Spirit". Youngest is 9 and in the third grade so I have the slimmest slice of Halloween still left. But those other two...they're just OLD! Bookworm stayed home and just hung out and went to bed early. She had the SAT this morning so she wasn't interested in Halloween. She was laying on my big bed going through the SAT prep book trying to learn that one last thing to increase her score. Tween is in middle school and last year declared that his days of trick or treating were over. I MADE him go last year. I told him he couldn't decide to suspend a family ritual without giving me a year's notice. So he went last year, but this year, no way; he went over to a sleepover. They passed out candy and I suspect they ran around the neighborhood a little bit enjoying the unsupervised, after dark freedom that kids have on Halloween. So I walked Youngest and a friend around with a few of my friends and felt nostalgic. The nights of going out as "a gang" are over - it's just me and my baby - and he won't be a baby much longer.

And the worst part of only having one trick or treater... there's only one bag of candy to steal from and four people trying to steal it. So it's a little more obvious and Youngest is feeling a little wary of all of us. I think he'll be sleeping with that bag tonight since the time that he goes bed until the time that the last one of us goes to bed seems to be particularly vulnerable!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sometimes the laundry makes me laugh.

I am standing at midnight doing laundry, again, now it takes even longer because there is one more step added to my routine. As I remove the underwear from the dryer, I have to inspect it for wearabilty the ol' "If you were in an accident and the paramedics had to strip you down to your underwear, would you be embarassed?" test. More and more often the answer is "Yes, I'd be embarassed, humiliated, absolutely mortified!" And the reason is the puppy. She has a thing for underwear. She loves nothing more than to get a pair of underwear from someone's dirty clothes basket and gnaw and gnaw until she is discovered and the fantastic treat is ripped from her clenched jaw. Abby especially likes underwear that has been worn. The smellier the better. About now, everyone who doesn't own a puppy like this is wrinkling their nose and saying "ewwww". But it's kind of like baby diapers - remember how you could change your baby's diaper all day and night long and it really didn't seem to smell that bad? But then when you babysat the neighbor kid and had to change his diaper, you were choking back the vomit so as not to puke all over the front of his onesie? It's like that. Gross, nasty, disgusting habit if it's NYD (not your dog) but just another funky, sweet, little quirk that makes up your little punkin's personality if it's your baby dog.

Youngest is going through one of those bath resistant stages that little boys go through. The "I don't want to take a bath" whine-fest followed by playing and splashing until the water is ice cold and then whining about having to get out of the bath - it's not a bad stage - I'm fairly immune to whining. So Ex-Marine and I were sending Youngest to the tub the other night and he started the whining routine. Ex-Marine always has the fun filled solution to every problem so in a very serious tone, he suggests, "Youngest, you don't have to take a bath if you can pass the dog sniff test. If the dog can sniff your underwear without going crazy, you must still be clean." So Youngest is tickled silly thinking about this and immediately drops his uniform pants to the floor. Well forget the underwear, the dog went crazy just with the pants. She dove for his ankles, rolled herself into a ball with the pants taking Youngest to the ground in the process. She was nipping and sniffing and licking like a crazed cat with catnip until Youngest finally untangled himself from the pants and ran to the tub and Ex-Marine took the pants away from Abby.

But that story isn't the only one I am remembering as I fold the clothes. My other underwear story makes me chuckle out loud. I was visiting my SIL out of state (Ex-Marine's sister). We, the SIL and I, get along very well. She's a busy mom and a government slave - just like me. We were talking about some family photos we had done. She complimented me on my outfit and I had to tell her that yes, I was pleased with how it turned out becasue that was actually my second choice outfit. I coudn't wear the first blouse I had chosen becasue it is somewhat clingy and requires a proper foundation garment (aka as a Spanx). I didn't find out until the day of the photo session that my Spanx was not wearable because the crotch had been chewed clean through. And then there was silence and she kind of gave me a look. And I gave her a look right back because WTH, sure I'm talking about underwear but it's Spanx, everyone talks about Spanx, they're part of pop culture. Then SIL gets a real prim and proper tone with me and says, "That's really more than I needed to know." And I am totally befuddled until it hits me...I'm telling her a story about Spanx and my puppy. But she's hearing a story about Spanx and. her. BROTHER! And at that point I laughed so hard I peed! Boy, puppy's going to love that pair of underwear when she finds them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Knitting Song

I don't knit and I'm not a country music fan but this just amuses me, you should watch it with me!

FeeCell Status report

I'm down to 999, eyes hurt! And maybe I have a little carpal tunnel thing going on.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

He was channeling Carson from Queer Eye.

I went on a Cub Scout camping trip with Youngest this weekend. The weather was brisk. Youngest and I shared a tent and started out in separate sleeping bags - his a little bit thinner than mine. Around 6AM, he woke up having to go to the bathroom. This was the absolute coldest hour of the trip. I know this because I looked at the hour-by-hour report at and noted that 6AM was the low temperature. So he zips out, very under dressed for the weather, and takes care of business. When he came back in, I felt a little bit guilty about my thicker, warmer sleeping bag, so I said, "Do you want to crawl in here and share with me?" He said, "Oh yeah." (He was FREEZING!) So Youngest slides in and we get all cuddly comfortable and then as he is starting to drift off, he says, "You really should think about using that PedEgg again." and then with a sigh, he's off to sleep......huh?! that would have to be someone other than my maybe this guy..........

Friday, October 24, 2008

Free Cell, 7 down, 999,993 to go

I go through online gaming jags. It's a way to avoid laundry and work and all the rest of my responsibilities! I've gone through Spider Solitaire, Zuma, and the Bubbles game. Now, I'm playing Free Cell. There are 1,000,000 different hands of cards that can be dealt. I started at 1,000,00 and so far, I've played and won 7 games. So..7 down, 999,993 to go. I'll keep you posted!

The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard

From the back cover: Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living – every Sunday in an advice column in her local paper. But in her own life, Julieanne missed some clues. She is completely caught off guard when her husband, Leo, tells her he needs to go on a “sabbatical” from their life together, leaving Julie with three children. Things worsen when Julie is diagnosed with a serious illness and the children undertake a dangerous journey to find Leo – before it’s too late. As the known world sinks from view, the clan must work their way back to solid ground and to a new definition of family.

The characters in this book are at first difficult to like. Julieanne with her WASP’y upbringing and ballet dancing isn’t very sympathetic. The teen daughter Caroline is such a caricature of a selfish teenager that she is simply Sharpay on the page rather than the screen. There’s nothing to like about Leo – bastard – he never redeems himself in my eyes. And then there’s the son. I liked the teen boy character but I wasn’t sure that I liked his alternating narrating the story with his mother Julieanne. His voice was just enough “off” that it felt contrived. But then I just kind of let the story wash over me, suspended reality, and enjoyed it. I really wanted to know what happens to this family. I wanted to know so badly that I stayed up half the night to finish it and was a zombie at work today!

Jacquelyn Mitchard has a good batting average with me. This one didn’t “hit it out of the park” but it was solidly entertaining – and that’s why I read! Compared to the others that I have read, this ranks third. It’s behind number one – Deep End of the Ocean, and number two – Cage of Stars. But it is way in front of The Most Wanted (blech). The thing I hated about Most Wanted was the lead young male character and the poetry. Those two yucks are both in this one too but as I said the boy character is not that hard to endure and the poetry is much sparser than in Wanted and, thus, easier to ignore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

From the back cover: "I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?" The question is posed by Jean, a photographer, who in 1995 arrives on Smuttynose Island, off the coast of Maine, to research a century-old crime. As she immerses herself in the details of the case - an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women - Jean herself enters precarious emotional testimony. The suspicion that her husband is having an affair burgeons into jealousy and distrust, and ultimately propels Jean to the verge of actions she had not known herself capable of - actions with horrific consequences.

Oops I did it again..cue Brittney Spears. I can't believe that another book that I read and didn't particularly like accidentally cycled back into my TBR (to be read) pile and, even worse, then onto my Fall Into Reading Challenge List - and made the top 10! This would give you an impression that my house is in such a state of disorganization that I should immediately get off the Internet and go clean. That may be partly true. But also, how do you account for my flipping through some pages and reading the back cover to check it out and assessing it as a "Top 10" on my list of TBR books after I have already read it?! No retention whatsoever of what I have read? Apparently. So the short version is...didn't like it very much then, don't like it very much now. For the long version, keep reading.

Anita Shreve writes some great stuff...Sea Glass and The Pilot's Wife were favorites of mine. With this book, Weight of Water, Anita did double duty because she really wrote two stories at once. First was the story set in present day of the photographer going off on her adventure and the relationships with the people along the way. (BTW - LOVE that story!). But then she includes the sub-story of the history of the island and a murder that happened there among Norwegian immigrants. This story would seem to have to the makings of something that would really interest me. It's set in Maine - I've lived there! It's about Norwegian immigrants - my family tree is solidly rooted in Norwegian immigrants. The Norwegian aspect would usually be enough to capture me right there. I am always trying to form a more detailed mental picture of Norwegians. You know other ethnic groups have such a defined image - say Irish immigrant - the red hair, the brogue, the melancholy funeral songs all leap to mind, say Italian immigrant - big bosomed women, pasta, randy, handsome men - but say Norwegian immigrants and ...blank - not much there to establish your cultural identity. But even that wasn't enough to intrigue me. I just didn't like the sub-story. So as a result, I just didn't like - half the book!

The half I did like - the modern story - was right up my alley. I would like to read more about these people. When it ended I sighed, wishing the story would go on. That may be how this book ended up back in my TBR pile. Maybe there was a part of me that said, "Anita Shreve is such a good story teller, you need to try that again, Round File, and see if you can't get more interested in those Norwegians." Well I tried, and I couldn't. But if you don't feel you need to get your money's worth by reading a whole book - half of this one is excellent - thumb up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Go Ahead - Bang Your Head on the Pew, They'll Just Think You're Really Moved by the Holy Spirit

Our little Catholic school has a wonderful tradition. Every Thursday the priest says a special Mass for all the school children (public invited, of course!). During this "school Mass", the priest uses the readings and Gospel that will be used on the upcoming Sunday. The children get to hear it in a small setting and then he gives an age appropriate homily so they really understand the message. The theory is that when they go to Mass on Sunday with their family, they will have a good background and be more open to hearing and understanding God's word. Beautiful!

As our family sat in Mass Sunday night listening to the Gospel, Tween turned and whispered to me, "This is the same Gospel they read to us on Thursday." Aloud, I said, "Yeah, you're right, sweetie. It always is - they do it that way on purpose." In my head, I was thinking, "SIX years of going to both Masses EVERY week and this is the first time you have noticed this!?!" And then Tween looked at me and said, "Oh, I guess this is the first time I actually listened to both of them." Humbling.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard

From the dust jacket: Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan’s idyllic life in a close-knit Mormon community is shattered when her two younger sisters are brutally murdered. Although her parents find the strength to forgive the deranged killer, Scott Early, Veronica cannot do the same.
Years later she sets out alone to avenge here sisters’ deaths, dropping her identity and severing ties in the process. But as she closes in on Early, Veronica will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion…before she makes a decision that will change her and her family forever.

Finally the book I’ve been waiting for. This one GOT me. I started crying with the first chapter – it was such an emotional journey with this family - and I pretty much kept it up until the epilogue was complete. It was across the range crying - sad, happy, and everything in between. I have loved Jacquelyn Mitchard (like when I read The Deep End of the ocean) but I have also disliked Jacquelyn Mitchard (like when I read The Most Wanted). This sounds like I am talking about her as a person - which, of course, I am not. I don't know her as a person - I do now she has a cool website so with that as my only reference - as a person, I like her! I just don't always like what she writes. But when she is she is this time...she is SO GOOD it makes you respond with a physical reaction - crying, clutching, ignoring your children, shooing away your husband - those kind of physical responses!. The story is one of those ones that will stay with you forever. I remember reading The KiteRunner and the scene with the drops of blood in the snow...if you've read it, you're conjuring up that scene now. It's not a gory image but it stays with you - that little piece of the story wraps itself around you and holds on. Well the death scene of the girls is just like that. It's not a spoiler to say the girls are murdered -that's on the dust jacket. And,the killing is not a gory macabre scene - it's just written so that it feels like you are there in the middle of it. "And I saw my sisters, lying there like little white dolls in great dark pools of paint." So my review is: Wonderful book - first book on my Fall Into Reading challenge list that I have REALLY enjoyed. I have two others by her on the list - may have to move them up a notch or would that be pressing my luck?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ghost of Depression Past

I am still afraid of ghosts. The ethereal presence that haunts me is the possibility of falling back into the abyss. I am surrounded by signs of strength - family, faith, friends, career - but I wonder if inside I am fragile. Is my seemingly solid mental state actually more tenuous than I imagine? This ghost is real; I have experienced depression more than once. Both of my documented episodes of depression seem linked to an obvious reason. The first was postpartum - birth of a beautiful, healthy, happy baby followed by bouts of uncontrollable bawling. The friends who called to congratulate me were terrified that something horrible had happened when their cheery "hello" was returned with heaving sobs. My dear mother flew across country and stayed with me for almost a month. When she finally had to return to my father before he wasted away from lack of properly cooked home meals, I was still a mess and looking back on it I'm sure walking away from me at the airport as I cried was probably one of the hardest "mom moments" my own mom ever experienced. I didn't think I could survive that ...but I did.

I regained my footing, put it behind me as an isolated episode. But the ghost remained. When I became pregnant with our second child, the thought of the ghost so terrified me that I ended up in therapy during the pregnancy. The pre-post-partum variety of depression - perhaps a new entry in the DSM-IV! I just knew the inevitable post-partum depression would be the end of me. There were other factors involved this time as well. Hubby, Ex-Marine, was a current Marine at that time and his job was keeping him away from us at a time when we needed him. That same job had taken us to a foreign, not Japan or the Philippines or Guam.....Maine! To a "Girl Raised In The South" being dumped in Maine and finding myself pregnant with an absentee husband was scarier than the special effects ghosts in any horror movie. This ghost was real. But the second child came and the post-partum depression didn't. So I survived that too.

But now I wait. Waiting with this ghost is waiting for the other shoe to drop. That sense that it's going to happen. It's just a matter of time. The ghost scares me. I evaluate events in my life and wonder, "Is this bad enough? Is this the thing that will send me tumulting into depression?" A child struggling in school - is that bad enough? Financial hardships - will this do the trick? Unrelenting stress from responsibilities both loved and hated ...will one of those things be the straw that breaks me? I also avoid considering how some episodes of insanity in my earlier life may have not really been just the typical antics of a walk on the wild side teen/young adult but may have been the first signs, the foreshadowing of coming madness. So I tread lightly through my current life and I wade infrequently and with great trepidation through the pool of memories of my old life so as not to awake the ghost. The ghost has me scared and hesitant - afraid of the battle. But the ghost has not yet won. I have survived all of far.

This post has been submitted to the Write Away contest for October hosted at Scribbit - this month's theme is guessed it - ghosts!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

180 Minutes of Solitude

I. am. home. ALONE! Except for the puppy, of course, but.. NO OTHER PEOPLE! I have three hours of silence - except for the TV in the background and some random barking. What to do, what to do? Oh, I know exactly what to, blog, blog! I have been busy with my Fall Into Reading post updating the reviews completed by adding excerpts from the dust jackets and photos of the authors and links to related pages - wow! And, of course, every time I click on "view blog" and read what I have written I find a typo - ugh - I use spell check, how does this happen? Oh, who cares, I can sit here amd fix it all at my leisure! My blog is still a secret in this house so being home alone means I can blog openly - not keeping a game of Solitaire tabbed to quickly click over to if someone looks over my shoulder! I think I have a sense of how a closet cross dresser must feel with a few hours alone in the house - freedom to be who I want to be! The keyboard is my high heels, the mouse my silky if I could just think of something to write about!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Day I Forgot My Puppy

It was a busy day and I had it planned right down to the minute.
3:00 Pick up Tween and Youngest from school. Drop them at home.
3:30 Take Bookworm shopping for a dress for her friend's sweet sixteen party this weekend.
5:00 Pick up puppy at doggie day care.
5:30 Drop puppy and Boookworm at home. Pick up Tween and Youngest.
6:00 Drop Tween at soccer game - Ex-Marine will pick up after work.
6:30 Drop Youngest at soccer practice - Asst. Coach will take home.
7:00 Attend my Cub Scout Leader meeting. Go home to find Ex-Marine, Bookworm, Tween, Youngest, and Puppy all happily settled in for the night.
That was the plan.
Anyone familiar with teenage girls immediately saw the flaw in this plan and stopped reading right there at 3:30. Only 90 minutes to shop for a party dress? What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking that this is small town America. There are few choices here. There is one upscale consignment store "downtown" and three chain stores on "the other side of town". So I really wasn't too far off but when your plan is down to the minute and you are just a few minutes behind....that's enough to make it all go wrong. So Bookworm and I went to the upscale consignment store first - lots of cute dresses but no LITTLE cute dresses. Being a size zero is such a burden - I wouldn't know never having been a size zero in my life...straight from 6X to 9/10 - but Bookworm is petite. Then we went to "the other side of town" and hit TJMaxx and Belk - strike two and strike three. We were ready to throw in the towel but there was still JCPenney. And she said, "I don't think I'll find a dress in JCPenney." and I mentally agreed but said, "We're here, let's go in and just look. That way when we go across the state line this weekend to go shop at the mall, we can go guilt free knowing that we tried to spend our local dollars in our local stores supporting our small town businesses." And in my head, I said a prayer. I ask a lot of God and most of the time the answer is - no answer - the prayers float off into space to be considered but never seemingly acted upon. But this time, He answered and there was the perfect dress. Right there in JCPenney - who'd have thought?! So we paid for our purchases and off we went. But we were running late and I was thinking and thinking about getting the boys where they needed to be. So I drove from "the other side of town" right through "downtown" and over the bridge onto the island where we live. And as I flew down the island's main road I realized....I FORGOT THE PUPPY. My darling baby was waiting for me downtown at doggie day care - which would close in twenty minutes and I was across the bridge on the island. What a terrible feeling. And then I immediately had to prioritize my family members. Would the real children be late for all their human endeavors so I could pick up the new (but not human) baby? Oooh - bad mother however you look at that. So I continued home, dropped off Bookworm and took the boys with me to doggie day care. The Puppy was delighted to see us and to get to continue on to the soccer fields. Tween missed pregame practice/warm-up but was on time for kick off. Youngest got to practice just a tad late - late enough to miss running laps so he was not at all unhappy! And puppy was content to sit with me in the car and watch the boys play. Asst. Coach didn't have to give a ride home. All was well... until I find out I missed something important at the leader meeting. Or, even more likely, in my absence they appointed me to head some major project!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

From the dust jacket: In a small Greek island village, a group of travelers from around the world and the local residents they encounter are brought together in unexpected ways when sudden tragedy strikes.

Finally a fluffy “read it in an afternoon” comfortable book! I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I think I have read all of Maeve Binchy’s books. She has several that follow this same kind of format – disparate strangers thrown together forge bonds, lives interweave, what starts out seeming inconsequential becomes more important as the characters are fully revealed. But the tales are interesting and even if it all ties up a little too neatly at the end – it's a gentle pleasure. This is a “curl up on the couch and don’t move except for food and drink” kind of book – closer to my favorite kind than the first two books that I have read for this challenge have been but still not quite there yet!

Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen

From the dust jacket: Young Maggie Scanlon begins to sense that, beneath the calm, everyday surface of her peaceful suburban life, everything is going mysteriously wrong. Her all-powerful grandfather is reduced to a shadow by a stroke, and to Maggie's astonishment this causes her usually unemotional father to burst into tears. And Connie, her lushly beautiful mother, who Maggie could always be sure of finding at home, is now rarely there. Her street smart cousin Monica and her best friend, Debbie, start doing things that leave her frightened about sex and sin. All theses shifts become so linked in Maggie's mind to the building of a housing development behind her home that, years later, whenever she smells "the peculiar odor of new construction, of pine planking and plastic plumbing pipes," Maggie will think back to this summer.
Anna Quindlen is a favorite but this book isn’t my favorite Anna Quindlen. In fact, this is a book that I have read before and it was so NOT memorable that I had forgotten I had read it. I started it right after Gravedigger’s Daughter and thought, “Wow, another book about the daughter of a grave digger, what a coincidence.” Then, more and more of it started to feel familiar and before you know it, I was in that “Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah” state - where you remember each scene as soon as you start reading it but you don’t remember it well enough to remember how things turn out or what happens next. It’s an annoying state to be in! (Just think, with aging, at some point that will be my whole life – vaguely familiar but sketchy on the details.) But it certainly made for a quick read – I just kind of skimmed right through and that was that. It’s done – again! I better ship it off to Goodwill before it goes back on another list by mistake!

As I came back to add the dust jacket notes to this post, I thought that I have many interesting parallels in my own life now. We have a housing development going up in our backyard - rather than being worried about it we are pretty excited - new houses mean possible playmates - the boys would like kids to move in! Bookworm is learning how to drive - but we're going the route of paying a stranger to teach her not seeking out an old flame! And, sadly, my father-in-law's failing health has reduced him in many ways. Well..interesting to me in a "hmm...imagine that" kind of way - probably not at all interesting to you! But maybe these parallels were another reason I had that - been here, read this feeling - you know other than the reason that I actually HAD read the book before!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

From the back cover: Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father - a former high school teacher - is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetary caretaker. When local prejudice and the family's own emotional fraility give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordinary odyssey of erotic risk and ingenius self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace - on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly "American" triumph.

Joyce Carol Oates certainly looks prim and proper in the photograph on the back of the book. So how the heck does she manage to write using all those expletives! It must be art. I’m guessing she is so acclaimed as an author because she is good at her craft. If her hope at the start of the book was to get into the head of the main character, Rebecca, and show us all how distressed and almost mad she is, then she does a too good job at this! Because trying to read it and decipher what was actually happening and what was just happening in the characters head nearly drove me mad. So this is a “plowed through just to find out what happens” book. Parts were enjoyable but it never grabbed me and made me wish the story would go on and on. I was ready for it to end not long after it started. My not being able to stop and let it go is a flaw – life is too short to waste on a book that isn’t great but I can’t stand starting and then not knowing how it ends. Do you think they make Sparks notes for popular fiction?

On a side note, I acquired this book from my brother when we all spent the week at the beach. He read it while we were there and then I took it home. My brother reads constantly but it is ALL professional reading for his job as a university professor. He makes quick work of book after book when we visit together at our parents house – all dry, studious works - no popular fiction. So I am just amazed that when he would decide to take the time to read a fiction book – it would be that one wasn’t really very good. What a waste!

Why has it taken me so long to report on my reading?

This title could also be something along the lines of - The Virus That Brought My Blog to a Screeching Halt! I've had plenty of time to read these days because my computer just spent more than a week at the local computer repair shop getting debugged. I dropped it off with the assurance that it usually takes two, maybe three days. Then the wait began. Finally on day four I called. Tech guy: "This is tricky. I'm throwing everything I've got at it and it still isn't clean." (Add a few ma'am's in there because this is the South you know.) So I waited some more. Day 6 or 7 - Tech Guy: "I've gone out and bought new stuff to try to clean it up and I still can't get it done." Me, going through desperate withdrawal, pleads: "Maybe I should just bring it home and live with the one last virus." Tech Guy: "Oh no, ma'am, this virus is so bad, it will just bring all the other viruses right back if we can't get it off." Finally, approximately day 9 or 10 - time loses all meaning when you are jonesing, Tech Guy calls and says it's ready and I leave my place of employment immediately and go throw my arms around my computer and kiss it long and loud. Then I say, "How did this happen?" and I hold my breath waiting for him to tell me that one of the four people who share this computer has been surfing porn. But he doesn't say that at all, "Whew!" Instead, he says that someone has been clicking on ads. Ads? Who would be stupid enough to click on ads? Not me - I'm blogging and e-mailing and Facebooking - but no ads. I don't suspect Bookworm. She's all Library Thing, Facebook, and FanFiction - probably no ads. But then there's Tween and Youngest.....very suspect. So I ask Youngest. And he immeidately denies it. That's his first response whenever he is confronted about possibly wrongdoing, "No way, I didn't click on any ads." But luckily for me, his second response is always to confess, "Well, except the ones where you can win something free." And third response...."Tween and I sometimes click on those." Share the wealth - spread the blame around, whatever Youngest has done, he always makes sure I know that Tween was in on it too. Gotta love that kid!

So it's good to be back in cyberspace. I have three book reviews ready to post for Fall Into Reading. And I have all sorts of other random thoughts flying around in my head ready to get out! Time for some serious make-up blogging!

The Tent by Gary Paulsen

I am a fan of Gary Paulsen. Tween’s fantastic fifth grade teacher introduced us to Paulsen as an author by assigning Hatchet – the story of a boy who survives a plane crash all alone in the wilderness. We then went on to read another about a boy surviving getting lost in the woods hunting a deer – again – boy alone versus nature – much excitement – great tales. The Tent was a little unexpected. It was the tale of a father and son traveling together as fraudulent preachers. Since I was reading this one with my third grader, I had to do some editing of the parts where preacher dad starts sleeping with the town tramp at each stop leaving preacher son alone in the hotel. Geez – I really should have previewed before we started! But the story is good, the characters are interesting and it enthralled youngest. So in the end – thumbs up.