In stark contrast was the "Best Books Ever" list where you can see the well-deserved placement of BOOK NUMBER TWO that I am hoping will soon be promoted to Number One position... click here. (DO NOT repeat, DO NOT scroll down to see who occupies 6th place!)
Bring some goodies over to my house (no meat or bread, and don't forget the straw) and tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999!!
You can't see right now but I am dancing a little jig and singing praises for December! Blessed, wonderful December. Not November.
So, this is my final November post! Now I only need to write about my life's disasters every other day! My faithful readers (all two of you) will have to wait two or THREE (maybe four!) days for a posting! What will you do with your time? You may have to take up a hobby.
Knitting is good.
I KNOW!! Don't you just wish you were me sometimes?!
It was my brother's last day in the USA, so we took him to see some famous sights on the way to the airport. Driving up the street to the "Hollywood" sign we passed a dozen or so people holding expensive looking "super-duper zoom lens" cameras. They were standing at the end of a driveway with their cameras at the ready.
Curious to know what was happening, we slowed to let W roll down the window and ask them what they were doing.
Guess what?! They wouldn't tell us! They said something about a wedding but clammed up when asked who was getting married.
I understand their reticence. I really do. It's all about being the first to publish the latest gossip with the latest pictures and I'm sure we looked like a serious threat with our three megapixel "point and shoot" cameras clutched eagerly in our hands.
If W didn't have to catch a flight I would've suggested we park and wait to see who comes down the driveway of that million dollar mansion. But, alas, we had no time, so all I could do was fling them an imaginary parting shot: "Yeah, you guys got a lucky break! You could have been out of a JOB because I would have snapped the MILLION DOLLAR PICTURE with my VIVITAR and then BLOGGED ABOUT IT and EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD KNOW before you even got out of the cul de sac! So THERE!"
So, if you ever read about the possible wedding taking place today, possibly somewhere in California between one or two possible celebrities, be smug in the knowledge that you READ about it HERE FIRST!
Bringing you the inside scoop... twenty four, SEVEN.
So everyone came over and dinner was late because the roast took three hours longer than the recipe said it should. But the meatloaf was already cold because it only took one hour to cook. And one of my guests is a chef so yep, more pressure. She stood next to me and watched me stir my lumpy gravy then reached over to turn the gas down (or up?), thought better of it and pretended she was just scratching her wrist, then hovered nervously watching me continue to stir the gravy! After five more minutes of her scrutiny I ran out to find reinforcements... "S! I need you to come and get rid of the gravy police PLEASE!"
S took her aside and asked her all sorts of inane questions desperately trying to keep her out of the kitchen but after a few minutes, she was back on duty at my side. Finally I handed her a spoon and said, "You're the expert. What else does this gravy need?" She took a sip and then said, "Salt and pepper is all", then walked out. No citation. I was sure I was going to get a fine but didn't even get a warning. ("If I see you do this again I WILL give you a ticket!")
Oh no! I'm turning into one of those boring people who blog about gravy! Forget I mentioned it... just scroll down...
So we had a lovely time with the family and when everyone had left, I went to get a second helping of the sad little meatloaf and spied a huge pile of roast beef sitting forlorn on the counter, and NO meatloaf! They ate my "dentist approved" food!
What is the world coming to?
We went to Sequoia National Park to see some giant redwoods. I was seriously nauseated on the twisty-turny road and narrowly avoided an incident involving peanut M&Ms and fanta. This is when Los Banos would have once again, come in handy.
Every one kept their eyes peeled for black bears (known to roam the region) while I was just trying not to vomit. We stopped at the first HUMUNGOUS tree and I staggered over to take some pictures. ‘Twas quite amazing to see trees so huge. We hugged a tree to see how many people we could get around the base of it. There were seven of us and we got about three quarters of the way around. After that bit of fun I spent the next half hour picking bits of red bark out of my top.
Can you see the ant-sized S and MM between two of the Four Guardsmen?
We stopped directly under a tree that had fallen across the road and had been hollowed out to accommodate the traffic. P whined at her mother for something and S said, “We can't, we’re in the middle of a tree at the moment.”
An hour later we were well on our way home and W and S were privileged to experience the sights (police brought all traffic to a standstill on the freeway - no idea why), tastes (A&W rootbeer floats), and odours of California driving. (No less than three skunk sprays wafting in, "Arrghhh... what is that STINK?").
For every morning that has no earthquake the night before.
For a great husband who puts up with me and pays for my dental work.
For kids who will feed me when I'm old and pay for my dental work.
For kids who still give their mother kisses before leaving for school.
For kids who do stupid funny things that I can blog about.
For kids who cook dinner occasionally.
For kids who give back rubs.
For jello and ice cream and other soft foods.
For hot water and soap.
For pot plants.
For health and optimism.
For toilets that flush themselves.
For paper bags.
For garlic and salt.
For people who consider me their friend.
For knitting needles.
For visiting teachers who bring dinner.
For a GPS named Rachel.
For a worldwide family.
For organic shampoo.
For grass and lawn mowers.
For emergency rooms and patience.
For access to information.
For faith and gratitude.
For Hallmark e-cards.
For bridges and roads.
For pink pyjamas.
For treadmills that you can hang stuff on.
For sales at Kohls.
For fossil fuels.
For matching socks.
For red nail polish and swivel chairs.
For self-deprecating humour.
For mothers who blog.
For park swings and waterfalls.
For Lady Godiva chocolate.
For the colour blue.
For cold weather and rain.
For kitty litter.
For digital cameras.
For when the trial is over and I can breathe.
For repentance and mercy.
For 80s music.
For wet wipes.
For supermarkets and shopping carts.
For good literature.
For pain relief.
For lessons learned.
For paying the electricity bill before disconnection. Just.
For Temple work.
For blue jeans.
For CAPITAL letters.
For garage door openers.
For green cards to get out of Tijuana with.
For a full moon.
For BYU tv.
For people who look after my children while I'm away having fun.
For table tennis.
For scrambled eggs.
For uninterrupted afternoon naps.
For people who teach me something without knowing it.
It is supposed to be a favourite with locals and tourists alike but I was not sure we had come to the right place when I looked through the front door. "Is this the back door? Kitchen entrance? Stables? Pig trough?"
You are supposed to go in here. You walk through the kitchen and up the narrow stairs. All the utensils and plates are on a filthy cupboard thingie against the wall. The tables and chairs are old and nasty. The walls and floors are stained and icky. (Keep your hands to yourself if you know what's good for you.)
There is a dumb waiter that the grumpy waitress pokes her head into and yells some scary-sounding Chinese down. The service is indifferent at times, surly at others. Apparently, "grumpy" has been working there for twenty years and told one friend's date, "You no like blocolli? Look! Is good!" and proceeded to eat it.
For all it's faults (and there are many), this place is legendary. It has been in business more than 100 years and it looks like it. Apparently, the previous owner used to make the customers get their own drinks and serve themselves whilst he was insulting them. "You retarded? We no serve coke in here! Look on menu! No fork... chopstick only!"
The food was good... and cheap. I recommend it if you want to have an unusual experience to reminisce about. ("Remember the time we all got e.coli? Oh, the memories!")
My dentist likes to make little jokes. He thinks it puts people at their ease. He leaned me back in the chair so far my feet were higher than my head. He said, "Don't worry, you won't slide off. I've only lost two patients that way."
Har, har. My sense of humour is excellent when I'm in intense pain.
So the dentist told me I can't eat certain meats or chewy foods "like bread". What?? Meat and bread?! That's only everything I eat! And there goes Thanksgiving dinner!
I had to ring my cousin and tell him, "So this is the menu for Thanksgiving. Ground beef, mashed potato, creamed spinach, puréed carrots, gravy, cranberry sauce and hot chocolate."
"Mmm, you make it sound so good." he said.
OK, no, I am not that mean. I will cook REAL food for EVERYONE ELSE while I SUCK my Thanksgiving meal THROUGH A STRAW.
Don't worry about me... I will be fine with my turkey shake.
The Bad News:
Currently doing the internet rounds is the "Blacklist" of LDS contributors to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. These people are being targeted with vicious, highly personalized attacks. People are losing their livelihoods, LDS owned stores are being boycotted and defaced and even small-time donators are being confronted. White powder has been mailed to LDS Temples. Disappointing to say the least is the lack of forceful denouncement of this abhorrent behaviour from anybody in a position of influence.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear three petitions challenging the legality of Prop 8. The gays say that instead of an "amendment" to the State Constitution, Prop 8 is a "change" to the Constitution which they argue is not legal. What happened to the separation of Church and State?
The Good News:
Prop 8 passed. No gay marriages can currently be performed. We are right and they are wrong. Maintaining the status quo will be a blessing to the ungrateful gays as well as the rest of us. "Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do."
Or maybe they do.
There are 770,000 people within the Bay area and only one Stake. It's a beautiful, thriving city overlooking a breathtaking bay but you can barely walk one block without tripping over toothless beggars who are harmless but in desperate need.
One wonders if/when the situation will be similar to that of Lot not being able to find ONE honest person within the city before he is commanded to leave and everything goes to heck from there.
You can't visit San Francisco and not go on a cable car. $35 for the seven of us to ride for ten minutes? Yup... highway robbery. San Francisco is one big money vacuum. Expect to pay vast amounts for parking and food. We ate at Fisherman’s Wharf. (What’s with the 3.5% health tax tagged onto the food bill? “Here’s your food and thanks for paying for my flu shot.” ?? )
We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not so much golden as… red. M had a little tantrum about not wanting to carry his jacket and was sent into time out. He slumped onto the deck right under the "Don't-Commit-Suicide-Please Emergency Phone". He was not amused when I yelled, "DON’T JUMP!"
Actually, that could be quite fun to do. (Note to self: Go back to SF and jump off Golden Gate Bridge ...wheeeeee!)
I have lots to share and I am so, so pleased to share my life with you, my lovely audience. All two of you. Every day. Every, every day. And today. Tomorrow. And the next day.
Running out of things to say? Moi?
Such was the beginning of our evening tour of Alcatraz. It was the last stop for the most criminal of criminals. I read on the wall, "You break the rules, you get sent to prison. You break the rules in prison, you get sent to Alcatraz."
While we were touring the prison, we are treated like we were convicts. We were ordered to 'walk on the left side', 'stop at the end of the hall,' and 'enter your cell'.
We learned that the prison guards and their families lived on the island! They had a recreation centre for the children and all sorts of modern conveniences. The children would sail to San Francisco for school and come home at the end of the day. They felt so safe that they didn't even lock their doors. Most of the guards also worked at Ghirardelli's chocolate factory across the Bay. They brought home free chocolate for the children. The convicts were tortured by the smell of chocolate wafting past their deprived nostrils!
I don't know how the inmates survived this lifestyle. The intent was to keep the criminals locked up until they were no longer considered "disruptive" or "incorrigible". Al Capone was kept there but spent most of his time in the prison hospital. Some couldn't wait to get out. Five of them committed suicide and fourteen attempted escape.
I was ready to escape after about two hours. The place gave me the willies.
But, despite my discomfort, I took the time to choose an appropriate gift for the children I had to leave at home. They will be so excited to receive the genuine imitation gold Alcatraz fridge magnet.
When the quake hit MM and I were jerked awake. I leaned over and whispered into his ear, "Did the earth move for you too?"
He said, "Yes", and went back to sleep.
These feelings did not last long. My sister-in-law and I walked down Avenida Revolucion looking for a dress for P. One man stood out in front of us, (as they do) opened his arms wide and boomed, "My turn! You come to my shop! Everything only $2! Come in!"
So, we obediently followed him in and found a pretty little dress that P tried on. "Is it really only $2?" we asked.
"Of course! Everything is $2! Look around! I have lots of lovely things!"
Then we go to pay for the dress. "That will be $24."
WOT? "You just said everything was $2!"
"I did not. I said that everything was $2 OFF! You did not hear me."
To her credit, S didn't call him a very bad name, but instead walked toward the door telling him she didn't want the dress anymore.
I, on the other hand, was incensed! "You (sir) are a LIAR (and a cad)." Then we left pretty quickly with him still trailing us with offers of reduced prices. "My brother next door will sell you the same thing for $4 more... where are you from? ahh, you are my neighbour... I remember you! Come on... come back!"
I know that times are tough but resorting to such tactics creates bad feelings between vendor and customer and taints all the honest vendors (if there are any?). However, it is true that Tijuana is a unique place where locals bend the rules and think of interesting ways to part you from your money. According to some people, this adds to it's appeal.
In the end, we bought a lovely dress for $7 in the marketplace. We felt good about the price and the girl who sold it to us was happy enough. A bargain.
What I learned from this: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (obviously I need to learn this more than once!) and "No. Gracias." is the best response even if you have to say it more than twenty times to the sad faced man who has followed you, pleading, for the last three blocks.
C was confused, "For your what?"
"My booms. This. Is for my booms."
C and I looked at each other and laughed out loud.
Booms! The child is only three years old!
Her mother swears that there is no "boom talk" happening around her house and P doesn't watch anything but Barbie movies so let's think... When was the last time Barbie talked about her booms? Or was it a movie when Barbie made reference to someone else's booms?
Maybe she watched "The Pacifier". I think there was some talk about Vin Diesel's booms... as I remember, he had rather an impressive set.
Is this just a phase? Do you think we should be worried?
K: I noticed that you said "rubbish" earlier. What does that mean?
Moi: It means "rubbish".
K: Yes, but does it mean something else?
MM: She says "rubbish" like we say, "trash".
K: Yes, I know that but what else does it mean?
Moi: It means "rubbish".
K: But, what is the actual word that you use for trash? Like, do you ever say "garbage"?
Moi: We say "rubbish".
K: But what is the word in the dictionary for trash? Do you call it "GARBAGE?"
Moi: Nope. "Rubbish".
By this time everyone is repeating to K what I am saying "...rubbish, it's rubbish...instead of trash, they SAY RUBBISH!"
K: Well, do you EVER say "garbage"?
Moi: No, We... Say... "Rubbish". (I know, patience of a saint.)
K: So, is "garbage" even IN your dictionary?
Moi: NO! WE DON'T HAVE THE WORD "GARBAGE" IN DICTIONARIES IN NEW ZEALAND BECAUSE WE VOTED IT OUT AND REPLACED IT WITH... "SMELLY STUFF THAT YOU THROW IN THE RUBBISH."
So, in the past, I've had to fork out the $$, take it home, read the first ten pages then throw it down in disgust, having encountered the first obscene word that I unfortunately did not uncover during my initial flick through at 'Barned and Nobbled'.
So, what now? Take it back to the shop and rant? "I cannot BELIEVE you sold me this... this... piece of RUBBISH! Have you LOOKED IN THERE? HAVE YOU? It's got RUDE WORDS in it! Didn't you CHECK IT before you put it on the shelf?"
I want to bypass all that aggro and just buy a good clean book. And don't tell me to get it from the library because I still have to go through the same process minus the throwing it on the floor, shouting at the staff part. And besides, if I like the book, I want to keep it.
If you come across a good book review blog that meets my criteria, let me know. If I get more than 1000 books in my Literature Collection, (currently at 350) MM may be frustrated enough with the swaying towers of books in our bedroom; to build me an extra room that I shall name "MY NON LIBRARY".
Gasp! Be still my heart!...
A New Zealand city dubbed the "suicide capital" by John Cleese has responded by naming a rubbish heap at the local dump after the British comedian.
The sign for Mt Cleese has been erected by an anonymous donor more than a year after Cleese revealed he had a "thoroughly bloody miserable time" in Palmerston North, about 150km north of the capital, Wellington.
The star of television comedies Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and films including The Life of Brian and A Fish called Wanda brought his theatre show to Palmerston North in late 2005.
Later on his website, the lanky performer referred to the city as the "suicide capital of New Zealand." If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick," he wrote.
What a load of rubbish!
"Mumble, mumble, shooshly wug!"
"No, sorry, I'm not getting it."
"Humph..." the girl waves at something.
What? I give up.
"Oh, ok, if you think so." I say, hoping this appeases her. It seems to work. She nods and resumes working then immediately starts chatting in Malay to the girl next to her. They talk and laugh and occasionally glance at me while they work and as they do this a suspicion forms in my mind.
I bet they're talking about ME!
I am convinced that I know exactly what they are saying. Here is how it went...
"Can you believe this white lady came in with hooves like this?! When do you think the last time she had a pedicure was? 1900?" (Laugh, cackle.)
"Have you ever seen such a bad case of hammer toe in your life? It's a wonder she can walk! And those callouses! It's gonna take me years to shave those off!" (Guffaw, guffaw.)
I am NOT WHITE! I AM A MAORI!
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Now, each time you click on 'new post' you will see your signature is already in place!
Now, hurry up and GO DO IT! Then send me a comment with a link to your post so I can see your pretty signature...
The slapstick is awful, the dialogue contrived and patronizing and there are more than a few tasteless references to the derrière. Not to mention that this is the ONLY theatre movie I have ever fallen asleep watching. Not worth it. Save your money. Although the children are still chanting the one song that appealed to them, ("I like 'em BIG, I like 'em CHUNKY!"), I suggest you see Kung Fu Panda instead.
I took my daughter to the hairdresser after the movie. She wanted to get a cut while I was getting a colour. She asked for her hair to be layered. Fifteen minutes later I looked over and saw carnage all over the floor! The stylist (aka Mrs Scissorhands) had given her a bowl head!
My own stylist was so horrified that she complained to the Manager on our behalf, gave C some highlights to 'feminize' the cut and sent us a free haircut voucher which is no compensation to an eleven year old who has to attend school all day looking like she is still wearing her bicycle helmet.
This is C before:
This is C after:
Thank goodness for the highlights!
The moral of the story is...
Never go to a movie sequel and get your hair cut on the same day! It messes with the cosmos and no amount of feng shui is gonna help you then.
Update: C went to school feeling very apprehensive, then FIVE people told her she looks like Rihanna! (you know... that R&B, pop-star girl from Barbados.) So here is what Rihanna looks like...
Here it is...
So, I watched him zoom around the cul-de-sac for an hour or so, then assigned him the Family Home Evening lesson - "Road Rules You Should Never Break Especially When Your Mother Is Watching".
I know the postman wasn't amused when M went full speed right at him. Waving my arms and screeching, "BRAKE, YOU IDIOT, BRAKE!" surely didn't help community relations. But I was actually talking to the small idiot boy, not the big one.
The best thing about church last Sunday was when my friend Erika Lundquist and her family sang the interlude hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" in Italian. It was so touching although I didn't understand the words. It reminded me that the spirit can speak to you no matter what language you are hearing. But, what really got me teary was Aurora, smiling ear-to-ear and singing her little heart out with her brothers! She is so sweet!
Then it all went to heck when the congregation joined in on the 4th verse. I don't think the people behind me got the memo because they were singing the 2nd verse and the Lundquists were still singing in Italian so who knows what verse they were singing...then the rest of the congregation gave up trying to get it right and different pews were singing different verses and it dissolved into a big fat hilarious MESS. Later, MM asked me if his organ playing was out of sync with the piano because he couldn't hear it... and I said, "Well it was such a disaster, I don't think anyone noticed." "Oh GOOD!" says MM.
You have reached the END OF THE MUSHINESS. Please make your way to the nearest exit and be sure to visit again soon.
You will LOVE this if you like Star Wars or John Williams!
It's never too early to start shopping for the perfect present for that person who has everything. These selections are sure to please! Just helping you out. You know me.
How about a Stylish Red High-Heel Doorstop?
The perfect book for the egomaniac in your life!
How about a Darth Tater to add to your child's (or your) collection?
Irritating. Annoying. Infuriating. "Sat Nag" - the in-car nagging system. Push the button to hear highly irritating comments. For example:
'In 100 metres, I'm going to ask you to move into the slow lane so I can fix my make up.'
'You have reached your destination. You may now throttle your passenger.'
'I know you're a man, but it's been 45 minutes now. Can you please admit we're lost and ask someone the way?'