Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snowed In Christmas

It's 12:19 on Saturday afternoon, December 26. I should be at my Grandad's house for our day after Christmas giftgiving this year, but I'm not. Instead I am relaxing happily in a reclining chair at my in-laws country house. Remanents from yesterday's gift opening/giving are scattered around me. Bits of wrapping paper, a spare bow or two and the tree lights are twinkling. I can look out the window and see snow falling lightly on fields of pure white. Beautiful isolation surrounds us. I'm even typing this blog on notepad because there is no internet and I'm keeping my cellphone turned off because we barely have service. We are officially snowed in, and I couldn't be more pleased!

I got word from my mom last night that we were cancelling Grandad's Christmas, so we wouldn't be needing to dig out and unfreeze my completely unsnow-worthy Mecury Mistake (as Daniel calls it) to be at Grandad's by 11:00 a.m. Instead, I slept in till 9, ate a leisurly breakfast and just got done playing in the snow with Emily. I've had my first four-wheeler ride, my first car-hood sled ride pulled by four-wheeler, and we dug lots of tunnels underneath giant snow drifts.

I have nowhere I need to be, no projects I need to work on. No baking that needs to be done in time for this party or that. All I have to do is relax. I have a stack of books to go through, we have plenty of board games to play, and comfy recliners to take lazy naps on. I feel a little sad about not being able to see my family, but right now I know that this day is a gift. So thanks Mother Nature, for forcing me to relax. I'm not the sort of person to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I won't be wasting this present. In fact, I feel a nap coming on right about now.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Party 2009



(And that doesn't mean that we've had 2009 of them)

So the first weekend of December, me and my ladies got together to make some cookie heaven. What we ended up with was just short of a miracle. Even after most everyone had taken their spoils home for the day, I woke up to 16 bags of cookies in my house. Thank the Gods I know a lot of Cookie Monsters! :-)

So here are some pictures of the day. Enjoy!!

We started off the day with some hard work and no-nonsense looks from Belinda. Of course that was just an act, since she brought the alcohol. ;-) Cookie shot, anyone??

Carolyn brought some cookie dough and some beer! The perfect combination!

Brenda just brought her thumbs...but that was enough. ;-)

Here are a sampling of some of the cookies we made:
Sugar & Gingerbread

Dipped Pretzels, Oreos and Peanut Butter Crackers. Mmmm.

Brenda's Snickerdoodles.

Lime Meltaways that I had some trouble with the night before, but Brenda helped save them.

Thanks to Belinda we had a ton of Frosting. And if you look carefully you'll spot the beer too. Frosting or Beer? Which is better?

We had some not so normal cookies too:

Christmas Coffin

(and the tail of Christmas Shark at the top)

Christmas Zombie and Victim (he was my creation!)

We made Daniel eat the Christmas Poop.

Nikki even made a Christmas Trash Can.

We also had some "un-rated" cookies. Hide Your Eyes, Kids!!!

Ashley's White Trash Dude with a Wife Beater and a Can of PBR. He also has HUGE balls!

My Christmas Flasher!

And Carolyn made a special cookie with all our names (abbreviated) on it!

The Whole Gang!

At the end of the night, we ordered pizza and watched/played Drunken Commando, which is pretty much just take a drink when Arnold does something humanly impossible, kills someone, or just does/says something awesome. I'm pretty sure that means you drink the whole movie.
I'm also pretty sure that Carolyn, Nikki & I ate an entire bag of Pretzel Rods.
Anyway, I'm so glad to have friends to do things like this with!
Thanks for giving me fun for Christmas this year, cause that's what I always have when I'm with you! :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Bend In the Road - Critical Monkey Contest Entry #2

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks

So I was torn by what to read next for my Critical Monkey Challenge, because I am sadly, quite far behind. Is it my fault that I've been assaulted by books that I actually wanted to read!?! Well, I went so far as to purchase a Danielle Steele novel (which will probably be my next entry), but because of time, I chickened out at the last minute and grabbed the much shorter "A Bend in the Road" by Nicholas Sparks.

Nicholas Sparks is not someone whose books ever appealed to me. His particular style of writing always sounded like the books I would never read as a kid. The ones about real people dealing with hard issues. Books about cancer or death, divorce, or eating disorders never appealed to me. Books were a way to escape into different worlds or times, and the idea of reading a book about the girl who loves her boyfriend but he gets killed and she is left alone, never sounded worth reading, unless that boyfriend was killed by a vampire. Seeing other girls at school carrying those books around made me clutch my copy of "Dealing with Dragons" close to my heart. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good romance. I even smuggled in Harlequin romance novels to read at night (away from the prying eyes of parents), but they were always "Historical Romances" and were set in far away places that took me as far away from "real life" as possible. And mainly, lets be honest here, I read them for the sex scenes (I was 15, after all). And though I have ventured out into more "issue conscious" fiction since High School, "A Bend in the Road" still seemed like a story NOT right up my alley.

The plot is relatively simple: Centering around a man, Miles, whose wife, Missy, died in a hit and run car accident 2 years before, Miles works as a sheriff in this small town (of course), but was never able to find the driver of the car. He has been struggling to keep going and raise his son, Jonah, until he meets, Sarah Andrews who brings new life and love to he and Jonah. But (SPOILER ALERT) when Sarah's brother comes forward with new information regarding Missy's death, Sarah and Mile's love and relationship are threatened.

My Thoughts: Okay, judging by my description, you can tell I wasn't all that thrilled with the book, and I think the reason I keep going back to the books I read in high school is because I feel like this is exactly the book that the other girls used to read. The wording, sentence structures, and frequent cliches, make it seem like it was a book written for teenagers or tweens. Maybe that's just the mass market appeal structure I'm seeing, but I felt like I was reading a "dumbed down" style of writing. Damn, now I feel all pretentious, but I guess that's what comes from reading this book. Sigh.

Part of what really bugged me, aside from the writing, was the immense amount of characters "doing the right thing." When Sarah was hiding something about her past from Miles, she hesitated, looked distraught, then "told him the whole story." When Miles isn't sure he should open up about his feelings for Missy and what her death meant to him, he stops then tells Sarah "the whole story." On and on in this book, people are telling each other "everything."

Is this a cheap cop-out Mr. Sparks? Did you just get tired of writing and decide to use this phrase every time!!?!?

Okay, sorry about that, back to the review.

But aside from the massive amount of "I Statements" and "doing the right thing," all of the sudden, Miles, when he finds out who the "mystery driver, really is, turns into a Crazed Widower Bent on Revenge! Nothing can stop his rage and fury. I half expected him to rip off his shirt, turn green and shout "Hulk Angry!"

Unfortunately for the reader, he doesn't, so it just feels totally weird, and frankly some of the things he did really cheesed me off, including the part when he yelled at Sarah and roughed up some people that didn't need to be roughed up. When he finally does calm down enough to return to Human form though, everyone seems to automatically forgive him, and through some long talks and "sharing of feelings" it all works out in the end.

And one more thing, did you know that Nicholas Spark's sex scenes pretty much sound like this:

"Then they made love the whole night."

That's it. More of that descriptive language at work, eh Nick? At one point I completely missed the fact that the characters had even had sex. It went from, "he placed a kiss on her lips," to, "they woke up next to each other." What the Hey!? I had to go back, and find the tiny sentence of "and then they made love all night,” wedged in there.


My overall opinion of the book isn't too high, if you could tell. I feel like I should make a t-shirt that says "I read a Nicholas Sparks book and all I got was this crappy t-shirt, which I had to make myself." Oh well, at least I get to cross another entry off my Critical Monkey contest now. :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I am so thankful for my life! I can't imagine one without my family, friends, and all the fun I have everyday. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Beth :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Gone Away World - Update

Thanks to Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays, I've been reading The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway. I'm only about a third of the way through at the moment, but the prose is so unique, and the ideas so exciting, that I really wanted to share two of my favorite quotations so far.

I made a failed attempt to twitter these earlier tonight, but when I realized that just one of my favorite sections would take up about 5-6 tweets, I gave up and thought I'd update on the blog! So enjoy, and I'll definitely be posting a review of the novel when I finish.


"What I am about to tell you...may make me sound like a crazy person. So I need you to remember, to bear in mind very carefully, that I have an IQ of such monstrous proportions that if, for the sake of argument, I were totally insane--if the palace of my intellect were a scary ivy-covered mansion in Louisiana with peeling paint and dead flowers and a garden full of murdered corpses planted by a man named Jerry-Lee Boudain--I am so much more intelligent than anybody else you will ever meet that there would be no way for anyone to tell."

"Modern war is distinguished by the fact that all the participants are ostensibly unwilling. We are swept towards one another like colonies of heavily armed penguins on an ice floor. Every speech on the subject given by any involved party begins by deploring even the idea of war. A war here would not be legal or useful. It is not necessary or appropriate. It must be avoided. Immediately following this proud declamation comes a series of circumlocutions, circumventions and rhetorico-circumambulations which make it clear that we will go to war, but not really, because we don't want to and aren't allowed to, so what we're doing is in fact some kind of hyper-violent peace in which people will die. We are going to un-war."

So far I am highly enjoying this book, although it did take me awhile to fall into the authors rhythm. Now....back to reading!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two Stories

Two very interesting things happened to me this weekend..

A Rescue Mission
Saturday was Claytons, my brother-in-law, wedding day, so I dropped Daniel off at the church for some picture taking, and I tried to decide where to go to spend the next hour. I started to dial his moms number when all of the sudden, I noticed that my car seemed to be acting odd. It also appeared that I wasnt moving. I looked around and hit the gas, but the car didnt budge, then I tried reverse and it stayed stuck. So I jumped out only to realize that my car was stuck in a ditch, and the back drivers side wheel was sticking straight up in the air.

I looked around to see if anyone had seen my predicament, and I immediately saw Daniel, Clayton and the rest of the Wedding Party Groomsmen running towards my car. Together they heroically pushed me out of the ditch and I went on my merry (and embarrassed) way. Needless to say, I was the butt of a few jokes for the rest of the day, but I'd like to call it a wedding day miracle. Also, the moral of the story is: Do not try to dial a cell phone while driving.

The Monster in the Bushes
Every fall I buy Mums to decorate my porch, then I promptly proceed to forget to water them and they die. Well Friday, determined to be a goodmum to my mums, I grabbed a big pitcher of water only to discover that it had rained the day before, so they were already a bit waterlogged. Unsure of what to do with the unneeded water, I just threw it in a couple of my bushes, and that is when I heard the sound.

Mew. Mew. Such a soft noise, but it was very distinct. My mind started racing. Maybe there was a cute cuddly kitten living in one of my bushes. I listened for the sound again, but after a few minutes things were still silent. I looked around the front of the bush to see if I could get a glimpse of the mysterious kitten. By this time, I was getting a little bit wary, but I decided to get on my front porch and see if I could find anything from behind the bush. Here kitty kitty kitty kitty, I cooed a few times, each time moving my head closer to the bushes in question. Here kitty kitty kitty…”

Suddenly the bush started moving and rustling and I dropped my water pitcher, screamed like I was being attacked by zombies, ran in my house and locked the door. After about 10 minutes of heavy breathing and peering through my front window at the bush, I called Daniel who refused to believe me when I told him that there was something living in our bushes, and even had the nerve to tell me that it was ”just the wind and I needed to stop imagining things. Well I have news for him,Mr. Its Just the Wind, there IS something living in the bushes and its probably some sort of zombie mutant cat that will eventually try to eat our brains. And when that happens, hell be sorry, and Ill want to tell himI told you so," but I wont because Ill be far away in my zombie protection shelter. So take that Daniel!

Ummm, but the moral of the story is: Do not water your plants.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Coming!!

So October is my favorite month. First of all, there is great weather, (present circumstances aside), beautiful scenery, great food (I loves me some chili), and of course, there is HALLOWEEN!

My all time favorite holiday, I love Halloween more than a pig loves shit. And even though I stole that quote from Julie Powell, it's still true. Although she was talking about her husband, and not Halloween....but this is serious business here.

Top 5 Things I Love About Halloween:

5. Making Spooky Food: I am always so happy when I get to plan out party food, and no party food makes me happier than "spooky" food. Why does taco dip taste better if it looks like a spiderweb? Why do cookies seem a little crunchier when they look like fingers? One of life's great mysteries I guess.

4. Trick or Treaters: So because Daniel and I haven't squeezed out any little ones yet, that means I don't really get a chance to meet the neighborhood kids, or the adult ones either, for that matter. But on Halloween, my haunted graveyard, multiple jack-o-lanterns, and giant pot of candy draw the kids to my house like zombies to a shopping mall. So I get my kid fix in for the year, plus my neighbors are reassured that we aren't some crazy childless weirdos. (Except...we sort of are)

3. Scary Movies: I absolutely adore scary movies, and I'm not talking about some crappy Torture Porn movie like Saw or Hostel. I mean, some really well-made tense/frightening/scary films. Poltergeist is my all time favorite Halloween movie, and we've watched it on Halloween for the past 4 years. For more on this, see my post from last year. Movie Time

2. Costumes! Ever since I dressed up as Igor in the 3rd Grade, I realized that dressing up was awesome. And no crappy box costumes for this lady. The only good costumes are the ones you make by hand. It doesn't have to be perfect, and it could be made of your old clothes, but as long as you "made" it, it will feel so much more special. I was a zombie named Betty last year and it was amazing! She had an entire history, and a very nice (tasting) boyfriend named Steve.

1. My annual Halloween Party! The best part about my Halloween party, other than partying it up with all my friends, is that it encompasses all of the above! Not much in the world better than, being dressed up with my friends, eating spooky food, catching Poltergeist and scaring the trick-or-treaters. Last year's bash was amazing. Check out this post from my friend Nikki's blog. I was too lazy to update last year, but she did a great job!

Anyway, just wanted to display this new banner to remind me and everyone else of what's to come!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The price.

I finished a really good novel last night.

Tana French's "The Likeness" is the sequel to her earlier novel "In the Woods." "The Likeness," deals with a murder and an undercover detective. I won't go too much into the plot so as not to spoil anything, but the general gist of the story involves Cassie, the main character, going undercover into a group of very close friends. These five friends found a very intimate connection, and have moved into together to form a sort of mismatched family. As Cassie learns to integrate herself into this "family," there way of life begin to seem more and more appealing.

The novel really brought some big ideas to my attention. At the end of August, I took a trip to Kirksville and Truman State University to do a 5-year college reunion with my close friends. It was indescribably wonderful. Buildings had changed, businesses had closed and opened, but the overall atmosphere of the city and school were the same. We wandered aimlessly around the campus and the square. We haunted our old haunts, and discovered new ones equally enchanting. Every Kirksville food I touched tasted better than I had remembered, the town seemed more lovely and the campus more beautiful.

Planning the trip, I had completely expected to feel out of place, to enjoy myself and relive some old times, but that was it. I had not imagined I would feel so totally at home. As I looked around, I felt like I had never truly appreciated what had been around me for the four years I lived here. I could hear the excuses in the back of my head. There hadn't been enough time in the day, enough money in the bank, enough good weather. How could I have wasted my time here because of these small inconveniences?

In the novel, the leader of the group of friends, Daniel, talks about this sense of the "real world" encroaching on his lifestyle:

"I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a hero," he said, "and I don't consider myself to be insane. I don't think any of the others are either of those things. And yet I wanted us all to have that chance at freedom..."
"You asked me what I wanted. I spent a lot of time asking myself the same thing. By a year or two ago, I had come to the conclusion that I truly wanted only two things in this world: the company of my friends, and the opportunity for unfettered thought."

After my time at Truman, my mind was equally filled with dreams of what could have been, and returning to the "real world" was a challenge. The normal and sometimes not so happy details of my life seemed trivial in comparison to the dream life in my head. I know that those dreams are not made to last, as much as I may want them to, and Daniel realizes it too:

"It seemed like such a beautiful idea," he said..."The idea was flawed, of course," he said irritably. "Innately and fatally flawed. It depended on two of the human race's greatest myths: the possibility of permanence, and the simplicity of human nature...Our story should have stopped that night with the cold cocoa, the night we moved in: and they all lived happily ever after, the end. Inconveniently, however, real life demanded that we keep on living."

Maybe that's why the world in "The Likeness" seems so inviting, but yet so fragile. Throughout the story, the friends grasp each other tighter to keep their world afloat, but water always seeps in through the cracks. Life cannot remain stagnate, no matter how happy the time may be. "I have always accepted...that there is a price to pay," Daniel says.

The price of a life that stands still, however, is a bit too steep for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


These aren’t really part of the “Back to School Theme” I have going on this month, but I am bored. Haiku’s are such a delight to write, and Brenda requested one the other day, so I thought I’d post some of the others I’ve been working on. Enjoy!

Red Paperclip Haiku
O red paperclip
Hidden in my fav'rite stall
I know your secret

For Brenda
Happy memories
Bounce them around in your mind
You, Pie & Grandma.

My, what a downpour
A blanketing of freshness
Wisping through the night

Beware the Leechmen!
Flashing eyes & rock hard skin
Lead to Sparkling Death

Ode to Worst Fanfic Ever
One Hundred Horse Hooves
Wandering out in the snow
Lie about Feelings

Monday, August 24, 2009

She's All Growed Up

So as I was goofing off at work and messing around on the internet (whoops), I happened to notice my sister-in-law's facebook status. "Senior shirts are in!!"
My mouth dropped open and I stared at the screen. SENIOR shirts!?!?? How did my Emmo get to be a Senior in High School??

I knew she had been growing up. I mean, I've known her since she was four years old, and obviously I've noticed. She drives to school, works as a lifeguard, and I've noticed that lately she looks a lot more like Keira Knightly than Dakota Fanning. I know I have very distinctive memories of her being a freshman, sophomore, and junior. For some reason though, that's where it ends in my mind.

This has happened before. After high school, I called my sister a freshmen, as well as her classmates, about until the day she graduated. I remember staring in shock as all those "freshmen" walked across the stage, grabbing diplomas with glee.

I guess, in a way, keeping time stagnate is a defense mechanism. Emily staying a Junior is comforting for me and for her. Juniors have all the fun of the upperclassmen, but none of the stress of applying for colleges and preparing for graduation. Plus, I am safe in the knowledge that I still have a while before she leaves and grows up for real. However, time doesn't work that way, and Emmo is already loving being a senior, and I know she's going to experience all the crazy/awesome times that will come with it.

And because my whiney old lady butt can't stop you from growing up, I wish you good luck and many fun times, Emmo.

I love you. :-)

I searched for a good poem to describe time and growing up and stuff, but I couldn't find anything that really fit other than this. And although I'm not a father (obviously), I identify with that role here. It's a lovely poem, so enjoy! :-)


Neil Gaiman

We owe it to each other to tell stories,

as people simply, not as father and daughter.

I tell it to you for the hundredth time:

"There was a little girl, called Goldilocks,

for her hair was long and golden,

and she was walking in the Wood and she saw — "

"— cows." You say it with certainty,

remembering the strayed heifers we saw in the woods

behind the house, last month.

"Well, yes, perhaps she saw cows,

but also she saw a house."

"— a great big house," you tell me.

"No, a little house, all painted, neat and tidy."

"A great big house."

You have the conviction of all two-year-olds.

I wish I had such certitude.

"Ah. Yes. A great big house.

And she went in . . ."

I remember, as I tell it, that the locks

Of Southey's heroine had silvered with age.

The Old Woman and the Three Bears . . .

Perhaps they had been golden once, when she was a child.

And now, we are already up to the porridge,

"And it was too— "

"— hot!"

"And it was too— "

— cold!"

And then it was, we chorus, "just right."

The porridge is eaten, the baby's chair is shattered,

Goldilocks goes upstairs, examines beds, and sleeps,


But then the bears return.

Remembering Southey still, I do the voices:

Father Bear's gruff boom scares you, and you delight in it.

When I was a small child and heard the tale,

if I was anyone I was Baby Bear,

my porridge eaten, and my chair destroyed,

my bed inhabited by some strange girl.

You giggle when I do the baby's wail,

"Someone's been eating my prridge, and they've eaten it —"

"All up," you say. A response it is,

Or an amen.

The bears go upstairs hesitantly,

their house now feels desecrated. They realize

what locks are for. They reach the bedroom.

"Someone's been sleeping in my bed."

And here I hesitate, echoes of old jokes,

soft-core cartoons, crude headlines, in my head.

One day your mouth will curl at that line.

A loss of interest, later, innocence.

Innocence; as if it were a commodity.

"And if I could," my father wrote to me,

huge as a bear himself, when I was younger,

"I would dower you with experience, without experience."

and I, in my turn, would pass that on to you.

But we make our own mistakes. We sleep


It is our right. It is our madness and our glory.

The repetition echoes down the years.

When your children grow; when your dark locks begin to silver,

when you are an old woman, alone with your three bears,

what will you see? What stories will you tell?

"And then Goldilicks jumped out of the window and she ran —

Together, now: "All the way home."

And then you say, "Again. Again. Again."

We owe it to each other to tell stories.

These days my sympathy's with Father Bear.

Before I leave my house I lock the door,

and check each bed and chair on my return.