Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's All Good

Where do I begin? I spent a week in Arkansas doting on Emily and Reece and drinking coffee with my mom and had a fabulous time! I took lots of pics and have added some to Flickr, so take a look at how adorable my niece and nephew are. They were so much fun. Reece got an electric guitar from Santa and his Uncle Don gave him a couple of lessons. He's discovered Van Halen and thinks they're the best rockers ever. Emily got a digital camera and went around snapping photos of everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing those pics, Emily. She hobbled around on her broken ankle, but was allowed to remove the boot on Christmas day so she could look, like, totally cute, um totally, 'cause she's a teenager and wants to look cute at all time. (And she does, you know.)

Dave was sick through Christmas. He had a Man Cold. Need I say more? (Really, he's better and I love him. He's the best.) My brother, Don, got me this DVD for Christmas. If you haven't seen it, do!

I got lots of nice presents and I think everyone enjoyed all their gifts. We are blessed. Thanks goes to Dawn for stringing my pearls. Now I can look like a true southern lady, even if I'm not one. Southern, yes; lady, not so much.

Auntie Linda and Mom hosted the Nieces' Party and we had a blast. It was great seeing cousins Luann from Austin, and Lisa. They are hilarious and Emily was initiated into the Clan of Loudmouth Goddesses. I don't think I sat down the entire week; constantly on the go, trying to cram in a lot of visiting and shopping and dining. Oh, the food. I ate cheesecake every day and didn't care! That's what I call a holiday!

My only regret is that I didn't spend enough time with Grandmother Bera. She wasn't feeling well and didn't enjoy Christmas very much, bless her heart. We did manage to have lunch one day and a couple of short visits, but she really didn't feel up to much else. She's on the mend, however, and plans to celebrate her 100th birthday in a few years and I have no doubt she'll make it.

Roxy and Auntie Linda are coming up tomorrow to celebrate New Year's Eve with Abby and me. We're leaving the doggies at home while Auntie and I give the casino our money. I'll have a Doggie Surprise Pic for you later! (Hint: matching dresses.)

Now, I need to clean house, put up my new book shelves, and go grocery shopping. Gotta get a bottle of cheap champagne!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Off!


I'm so excited! As soon as I finish this post, drink another cup of coffee, get dressed, load the car, and put Abby in the front seat, I'm off on my 5.5-hr. drive to Arkansas to see my babies! Reece is spending the night with me tonight at Mom's and my brother, Don, is coming over and we're going to have pizza and watch a movie. Tomorrow night, Auntie Linda and my mom are hosting a "Nieces Party" at Auntie L's. My wonderful girl cousins are coming, and I'm bringing Emily because she'll get a kick out of seeing all of us together. My cousins are all smartmouths, and extremely funny and we are going to have fabulous hors d'ouvres and wine and will giggle for hours.

Last night, my brother, Don, called and texted me about twenty times. He was out doing his Christmas shopping and wanted his older sister's advice, which I'm always happy to provide, even when I'm not asked. Don's one of the best gift-givers I've ever known. He just has that knack of knowing what one likes and he always delivers. Last night he was a bit confused on what to buy Emily, and he kept asking me, "What about a ___?" Or, "do you think she'd like it in _____(color)?" etc. Emily, you don't really think I'd post everything he said, do you? hee hee!

I'm also taking Abby to her former groomer while we're away. I haven't found anyone here who does as good a job on her as Debbie in Arkansas. I, too, am going to get groomed next week by my favorite hair stylist, Marka! I can't wait to see her and get a good haircut. My once-short hair is now down to my shoulders and it looks nasty, so I'm hoping Marka can make me look good.

So, Happy Holidays to you all! I'm taking lots of pics over the week and I'll try to post some next week, if I can stop hugging on Emily and Reece long enough to do so.

Love you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just One More Day and I'm On Holiday!

So. I didn't go to Wal-Mart to return my iron last night. I did go to Weight Watchers and I lost another two pounds, which put me at -40lbs. (Yeah, I'd gained one last week, after bragging about the -39lbs. Serves me right for boasting.) I'm tickled to death that I'm not gaining weight during Christmas. Of course, I haven't made it to Arkansas yet, a.k.a. The Place Where They Live to Eat, Y'all. And, I plan to drink lots of wine and eat pizza and cheese dip, but I'm going to enjoy it all in moderation. I recently learned what "moderation" means, and it's not that bad a word or a concept. I just had to change. Which is so difficult, you know?

Where was I? Oh, right, back to Wal-Mart. I psyched myself up to go return that stupid iron tonight and it only took five minutes, and then I bought another one and just as I was walking to the express checkout line, you know, the one with fiftyhundredthousand people waiting in the queue, a new register opened! And I got to check out first. No one even tried to get in front of me. Came home, and I've been burning CDs all night instead of cleaning house, but I don't care. It's Christmas break.

My twin sister (I wish) posted the greatest "Thursday Thirteen" today. Go take a look and you'll probably agree with most, if not all, of her entries.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The One in Which I Get On Your Nerves

I keep hearing people say the holidays are so stressful and they wish they’d just be over so things can get back to normal. What’s so great about normal? I’m getting to take off work for a week and a half, and spend a lot of that time with my family. I’ve already warned Reece that I’m going to kiss his cheeks raw. And poor Emily will be sick of me by the time I leave Arkansas! Mom and I will drink two pots of coffee every morning and Grandmother Bera has promised to tell me more family secrets. I can’t think of a better way to spend the holiday! And then, Auntie Linda’s coming up to spend New Year’s Eve (casino) and New Year’s Day (Cotton Bowl) with me. I love the holidays! One reason people complain about this time of year is because they commit to too much: too many parties, too much baking, too much eating, and TOO MUCH SPENDING. They bring that all on themselves. I started a Cash Christmas Policy for myself several years ago and it works very well. The secret is to start putting away some cash beginning in January. By November I have enough socked away to buy all my Christmas gifts. And, if I don’t have the funds to buy everything I want for Christmas, then I don’t. I think it’s ridiculous to go into debt over gift giving and would feel absolutely terrible if someone did that to buy me a gift. I also don’t let the season’s true meaning escape my mind for too long. Yeah, I’m loud and outspoken and say a curse word now and then (okay, all the time) and rarely go to church, but I’m still a Believer and haven’t forgotten what Christmas is all about. No, it’s not the huge sale at Macy’s on December 26.

I could go on with my piousness, but I'll stop.

I've got to go to Wal-Mart tonight and return an iron I bought over the weekend. A couple of weeks ago, I dropped my old iron and the bottom fell off. I then ordered a new one on target.com and it leaked water all over my clothes. Of course, I'd thrown away the box so I couldn't return it. I bought the next one at Wal-Mart last weekend and it doesn't work. It barely warms up. I plugged it in a couple of different outlets to make sure it wasn't my electrical outlet instead of the iron and it doesn't work. It lights up like it's on, but then doesn't get hot. I hate returning things, but I do have the box and the receipt, unlike the time I had to return three cordless phones before I could get one to actually work. I'd lost the first receipt and by the time I'd returned the third one, they were taking mugshots of me and asking me for my fingerprints. I felt like a criminal and got all bitchy with them and told them that if they'd quit selling inferior products I'd quit returning them. That went over well.

THIS MOVIE is wonderful! Add it to your Must See list if you've not seen it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Good Morning



I got up early to do my laundry this morning and more of this white powdery stuff greeted me on my nose when I walked outside with Abby. I'm starting to like it. I'd planned to meet my friend, Dawn, at our favorite tea house this afternoon, and Sandy invited me over for dinner, but she lives out in the country and I'm not going to try to drive out there today, so I'm snowed in with all my books and movies and Abby. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Thursday

I've gotten a few e-mails and a couple of comments about those kind of people (see previous post) and I thought I'd comment further. I was stupid to even acknowledge the e-mail from my annoying acquaintance. I've tried to ignore people like this before, and usually I can manage to get rid of them, so I don't know why I replied to her e-mail. I guess she caught me in a weak moment. I'll be sure to post some of the letter or card she sends so we can all make fun of her and be bitches together!

Just one week until I get to go to Arkansas and see my precious babies. That's all I can think about right now. That and making an eggnog cheesecake. Our custodian at work told me about it and his wife sent me the recipe today. I'm salivating already.

Speaking of salivating, this is my new screen saver:



You're welcome!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just When You Thought I Couldn't Possibly Post Another Entry So Soon...

Since I have almost six weeks off until the beginning of the spring semester, I set a few goals and I started working on one of them last night. It is my absolute resolution to get all my photos in order and placed in labeled photo boxes. I'd love to get them in scrapbooks, but that's hoping for the impossible. While I was sorting through the mountain of pictures last night, I found a few from my wedding reception, in 1990, and some from a time in the mid-80's when I was a bridesmaid in my college roommate's wedding in New Orleans. Then, I found some darling photos of Emily at age four and Reece at about five months. He was so little he couldn't sit up on his own and he was leaning on Emily. Oh! My heart just melted and I become so overcome with emotion I had to stop the sorting. Maybe tonight I can get back to the project and try to be a little objective about the whole thing. Of course, PMS is raging pretty bloody hard, so I'll probably bawl tonight, too.

I got an e-mail from someone yesterday whom I haven't seen in over three years. She wanted my address to send me another sickening Christmas update on how fabulous her life is and I was stupid enough to give her my address. She's a terribly annoying person and wrote a ten-paragraph e-mail telling me all about her wonderful pregnancy, perfect husband, blah, blah, blah. (And she truly has never cared how many people she's had to plow over to get what she wanted.) And, she never asked me one thing about my life. She didn't even comment on the fact that I was living in another state, or what I was doing or, well, you get the point. She's a tiny bit self-absorbed. I tend to get wrapped up with this type of person quite often, and I always hope that I can get away from them for good, but then they'll pop up out of nowhere and aggravate the piss out of me. So, another project: spam these people whenever they rear their ugly heads.

I need some cheese to go with my whine, now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Update

Well. I slid all over the place this morning before I got on the main highway to go to work. It's treacherous out there and we're expecting more ice tonight. This southerner is now a Yankee, according to my brother, Dave.

Speaking of Dave, I talked with him this afternoon and I asked him how Reece's basketball team has been doing, and he said, "You mean the Lovable Losers? They haven't won a game." He said it was hilarious trying to coach a bunch of ten-year-old boys who have the attention span of a dead gnat. He said they thought they were actually going to win one game, but one of Reece's teammates made a basket, except it was in the opposing team's basket. Then, Reece caught the rebound and promptly gave the other team another basket. Wish I'd been there to see that.

Emily sprained her ankle last week and it's been hurting a lot, so she went to the doctor today and she actually has a broken ankle. Yeah, bless her heart. The doctor didn't put a cast on, however; she's only wearing a boot, but it's one of those huge, plastic things that a 13-year-old diva thinks will interfere with her serious mall shopping. Plus, it's just plain ugly. Again, bless her heart.

If you want to watch a really good movie try THIS ONE. It's a bit slow-going at first, but it is a wonderful story and has a European feel to it.

Time to put a Boca Burger in the microwave. Evenin'!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

ICE


Do you see the ice? We had a couple of inches of snow last week, which is still on the ground, then we had an ice storm yesterday that drizzled on us for about 12 hours, so now everything is frozen solid. So glad I can stay in today.




The walkway is solid ice! But, fortunately, I got a covered parking space last month, so my car is all snug and protected this year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

On a Cold Winter's Day

I finished all my assignments early and now I can relax and enjoy the holidays! It's such a relief. Stopped by the library on the way home last night and got THIS BOOK, and THIS ONE, and also THIS ONE. Don't they look like good, easy, fun reading that have nothing to do with Library Theory? I'm curled up with my favorite blanket and favorite dog, there's two inches of snow on the ground, and I did my grocery shopping last night. That all translates to: I'm staying in all weekend and reading. Also have a few movies to watch, too. And I need to wrap Christmas gifts. I can't think of a better way to spend a cold weekend.

We had our work holiday party yesterday and we ate good food and then played Dirty Santa. I was Santa. I sort of took over as Work Hostess last year for the holiday party and resumed the role this year. It was actually fun and work parties are usually not that fun. We had some good gifts and everyone seemed to have a good time. I have no significant complaints about work. For the first time in my life, I think. If I thought I was stuck doing my job for the rest of my life, I'd be whining, but I know it's temporary, at least until I finish school, so I can deal with anything unpleasant knowing that. And, I like all my coworkers. They're a good bunch of creative, intelligent people.

I think I mentioned, a time or two, that I have been going to Weight Watchers. I joined the week before Labor Day, in September, and have lost 39 lbs. I want to be at sans 40 lbs. by Christmas and I think I'll make it! This is the longest I've stayed with a healthy eating program in forever and I feel great. Still fat, I know, because I'd really let myself go in the last few years, but I think I actually have a handle on it now. Talking about it helps keep me honest, too. I'm not perfect, and I do slip up occasionally, but for some reason I'm able to get back on track whenever I do slip, and in the past I wasn't able to do that. I attribute it ALL to attitude; I'm staying positive and not letting depression or stress get a grip on me. Wow, sounds like I'm somewhat normal. Must be this cold weather.

Enough of the boasting. Didn't really plan to do that, but I am proud of myself for the first time in a long time, and I see nothing wrong with having a little pride in oneself. Now I need to go grease the door frame so that I can get my huge head out the door and take Abby for a walk.

Stay warm!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Very Thankful For This Crazy Bunch


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of food and then dessert, then more dessert, and we did not quit until there was nothing left!

Emily and I got to spend some quality time together lunching and shopping and seeing a movie and taking stupid pictures which I'll never show anyone!

Reece was in rare form Thanksgiving night and let me have lots of hugs and kisses.

Grandmother Bera and I had a good visit, too. She told me lots of stories about her childhood and even told me a couple of secrets that I'll never reveal! It was great spending some time with her over biscuits and coffee.

My mom cooked some really good food and was in good form and enjoyed having all her babies around for the holiday.

Both brothers and sis-in-law enjoyed themselves too and I got lots of pics of them as well. Dawn made her sweet potato dish that we all love. Dave and Don cracked us all up, as usual.

I only saw Auntie Linda Thanksgiving night. I never get to spend any time with her when I'm home. However, that just makes her want to come and see me more where we can bond over popcorn and cigarettes and slot machines. Gosh, I'm getting all teary-eyed now.

Oh! and, I finished my Christmas shopping. All of it. Yeah!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sixty Years


Happy Anniversary
to my
favorite couple.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Camera


One of the advantages to working in my department is access to expert help. Nic, one of our photographers, did a little research for me and came up with the Canon SD750 as the best buy for my dollars. I bought it today and just as the battery was charged, the sun came out and I went outside and took some shots.










Abby wouldn't cooperate, and I still have some practicing to do, but I'm looking forward to taking lots of photos later this week of the Cutest Boy in the World, and Gorgeous Girl.

Hope everyone has a safe holiday and forgets ALL about carbs for one day.

xoxo

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Sunday

Anything. That's what I'll do to keep from working on a paper. It's 4:12 p.m. and I've been piddling around the house, took a long, exfoliating shower, ironed clothes, cleaned the kitchen, reorganized my bedroom closet, even called my grandmother. Now I'm waiting out a bid on eBay for something I don't need. Guess I don't want to work on this paper, right? It's just that it's so boring and I've written a dozen of these papers about what direction, or "vision" you see your imaginary library going in the next five years. Bleh. If it weren't the same professor as my previous classes, I swear I'd copy and paste crap from my other papers. I won't do that, but it was nice thinking about how easy it would be.

Grandmother Bera is 92, you know, and she is so funny. While we were on the phone earlier today, she started telling a story about how she got gum on her pants, and she told me this story already, two weeks ago, but I didn't have the heart to tell her that, so she started telling me again, and then stopped and asked, "Is this call costing you?" Then, like an idiot, I said, "No, Bera, I have free weekends on my plan." So, shit, she told me the entire story again. Then, after a while we got around to talking about dieting, which we ALL are doing all the time in the family, and she said she's gone without her supper every night for the past week. (She's not overweight, either.) I didn't say it to her, but I thought, man, if I make it to 92, I'm going to have a hot fudge sundae every damned night of my life.

We have a Thanksgiving luncheon at work this week and it's a feast to be ashamed of, really. I have an appointment with my advisor a half hour before the luncheon, however, and I might miss it, and atually hope I do. Did I mention I'm on my 12th week on Weight Watchers? I'm down a size in my britches and my boobs are actually not screaming when I put on my bra! My goal is simply to get through Christmas without gaining any weight and then I think I'll have the problem under control. I'll always be a foodaholic, however, so if I slip and eat everything in sight, then I'll have to start over again. That's the best I can do and I've come to terms with it. Finally.

HERE's what I'm reading now and I hope it gets better than I think it is now. I think I'm on page 40, and I'm not in love with it, but I have a 100-page limit rule to which I adhere, so it has 60 more to redeem itself before I chunk it.

Finally watched "Sicko" and I'm seriously thinking about becoming an expatriot when I finish school. I've wanted to go live in Ireland or England for years, but now I'm seriously thinking about it. If you haven't seen the movie, go rent it. Michael Moore's moviemaking gets better with every film he makes and I can't imagine how he and his crew came up with some of the ideas in the film.

Abby and I watched a dog show last night on the Animal Planet network. She sat in my lap and watched it. She's been doing that as long as I can remember. She never watches anything on television, but sometimes her ears will perk up when she hears a dog bark on TV, but when it's a dog show, she actually watches it. When certain really large breeds come on, or when the breeds that look similar to Roxy (Auntie Linda's Maltese) come on the screen, her ears stand up and she gets completely still. It's the funniest thing to watch her do this and I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself.

Dave, stop reading now.

The antibiotics finally kicked in and my throat is better. I was tired of feeling awful and worried that I wouldn't feel well for Thanksgiving, but I'm good now. Just in time to start my period.

You were warned, Dave.

I just won something on eBay, so I need to go pay and then walk Abby and then write a paper. Did I mention that I have a paper due next week?

xoxo

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Since I Have an Extra Hour...

...I have no excuse not to post something. The last couple of weeks I have been very occupied with papers and homework and working and buying a car and making a quick, 24-hour trip to Arkansas, all the while having a congested head and a sore throat that has lasted nine days so far. I'm taking all sorts of medications and throat lozenges and getting enough rest and drinking gallons of tea, so I'm at my wit's end as to what to do next. And it's making me quite cranky.

Today I spent the entire afternoon finishing THIS BOOK. I love reading rock 'n roll biographies, but I'm so glad I never got caught up in that world. When I was a teenager, way, way, WAY back in the Awesome Seventies, my friends and I used to listen to Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Stones, usually under the influence of something or other, and fantasize about being rock stars. Now, I'm searching for the 4th CD in a particular compilation of Grieg and shaking my head when I hear the crap on the radio. I drive around listening to Diana Krall. What has happened? I are not hip no more.

I finally finished the last season of The Sopranos. I got rid of HBO when I moved to Columbia last year and missed the last season and had to wait for the DVDs. I was so sad, because I loved the show and believe there will never be anything to top it.

For the rest of this year, it's my goal to read only classics that I've either never read or haven't read for several years. Although, I opened a box of books that is in the stack of many boxes of books in my spare bedroom, and found THIS collection of short stories, of which I've only read a couple and will have to read them now, too. But, what should I read first? Crime and Punishment? Red Badge of Courage? Something by Hardy? I just can't decide, but will read some Flannery O'Connor until I decide or you influence me with your suggestion.

I am having a pretty easy semester, as far as school goes, and I'm not ready for it to be over. Usually it's, "I can't wait for this semester to be over!" For the first time in my life as a student I am saying the opposite. Next semester I have to start thinking about a practicum and round something up for that and face the fact that I'm going to graduate soon and will have to start looking for a job and moving someplace and GEEZ I need to stop writing now because I'm getting a sick feeling in my gut.

Abby is lying at my side, keeping my right thigh nice and warm and she's snoring up a storm. She's got it made, she does.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Say Hello To My Little Friend

I told Reece I would put Milton's photo on my blog today. I've been wanting a fish since I left Shakespeare with Emily and Reece when I moved last year. My friend, Dawn, and I were at Hobby Lobby last Tuesday night and I told her I wanted to go look at glass containers because I was looking for a fish bowl. She said, "Hey, I've got one in my car!" How lucky was I that she had one in her car and wanted to give it to me? So, I planned to go to the pet store yesterday, Saturday, and buy a new Betta, but I found this lovely fish at Wal-Mart. I didn't even know they sold fish at Wal-Mart, but I shouldn't be surprised; they sell everything else. I brought him home, named him after my favorite 17th-Century writer, and we are very happy together.

When I told Auntie Linda that I bought him at Wal-Mart, she said, "Whatcha got there is a discount fish." Even in a post-surgical drug-induced haze, man, she's funny.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Hamlet, he a chump!"***

This is the first chance I've had to write anything in a week! Except, of course, my midterm exam, which was full of writing. Boring writing, y'all, or you guys as they say up here. I only use the "y'all" when I go to Arkansas.

I just finished a big bowl of Weight Watchers Vegetable Soup and now I'm drinking a steaming mug of Oolong. Have I preached on the benefits of tea? Oolong is good for itchy skin and I've had two cases of hives, but now I drink 2-3 cups of Oolong everyday and no more itchy skin! White tea is known to inhibit tumor growth and I drink at least one cup of that each day, too, and I am tumor free. And a kook.

Got online today and ordered a down-filled coat. I'm as hormonal and premenopausal as the next bitch, and practically always hot, but I still nearly froze last winter, but I won't this season! It's really a pretty coat, dark brown satin, 3/4 length. Also ordered some brown boots! I guess I was always naked before internet shopping came into being.

What have I been reading? Just finished this first novel by Jeffrey Lent. American historical fiction isn't usually my thing, but this is a beautifully-written book. I'm also reading this anthology, which coincides with this movie I watched recently upon a recommendation from a friend. The anthology includes a short story by Larry Brown and an interview of him conducted on his forty-first birthday. I miss him terribly. It's so difficult to accept that he won't be writing any more, but I keep finding his short stories in anthologies and magazines. My mom just finished her first Larry Brown novel and she said she finally realizes what I've been talking about.

I'm starting this book tonight, followed by this one. Okay, that's enough books for now. Linking those are a pain and I'm l-a-z-y.

Thanks to Netflix and a really cool friend, I have a great list of movies to watch. Just finished this gorgeous one today and now I have to rent some more Brazilian movies. Also enjoyed "The Gathering Storm," "Factory Girl," and "Blood Simple." "Breach" was good, too, and Chris Cooper is an MU grad, which is interesting. I really didn't like "Zodiac," or "Children of Men." Don't waste your time on those two.

Maybe next time I'll tell you how cute Reece is and how sweet Emily is and how excited I am for them because their parents just bought them the most beautiful house and they're moving next week!


***A quote from a prison inmate interviewed on NPR this morning. They're putting on Hamlet in a maximum security prison and they interviewed some of the inmates. It just shows that Shakespeare is as relevant today as ever.

Alright, already.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sorta makes me melt


Sorta makes me melt
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
I spoke with Auntie Linda yesterday and she said with all my studying, my blog was suffering. She said, "everytime I go to your blog, I see me!" Well, I don't call that suffering, no. But, here's a photo of Reece from last weekend when I went to Arkansas. There are more over on Flickr of more family sans Emily. Yes, I did see her, I just didn't get any pics of her. She's still beautiful as ever. Be sure and look at Reece's footbal pics. That's why I went home: to watch him play football. He did really well and it was a treat to watch the little darlin'. I promise to write more later this week, after my midterm and other delicious homework. (I have tons of book and movie suggestions, so I'll be back!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Auntie Linda!


I hope you're having a wonderful birthday, my dearest Auntie and BFF! The world is definitely brighter with you in it. Wish I could be there to pump those slot machines with you, but I will see you this weekend and I can't wait!

Love you,
Ness

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Too Much Studying



I've been coming home every night from work and reading and studying, so I haven't had time to blog, but I have provided this witty "Maxine" for your reading pleasure because I love you all so very much. Now, talk amongst yourselves - I'll even give you a topic: What's your favorite oxymoron? Mine's "marital bliss."

XOXO,
Ness

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Time On My Hands

I heard from some family members that Bera's 92nd birthday party was nice. A lot quieter than the bash we threw for her 90th. Wish I could have been there but I'm up in stupid Missouri suffering daily from the very air itself. Yes, back to ME. I'm home today with the worst case of the hives I've ever had. They started Sunday, and were bad yesterday, but this morning when I stepped out of the shower, my skin was inflamed like a sunburn and I'm itching everywhere on my torso and neck and head. Even my eyes are swollen. And the back of my ears! Have you ever heard of anything so awful? I'm going to call the doctor as soon as their office is open and say, "HELP!" I've been taking Benadryl, but it doesn't seem to be helping much.

I stopped by the library yesterday on my way home from work to pick up a book I had on hold and also got this one. It's the writer's first novel and I have recommendations for his latest one, but the library didn't have it yet. I started the former last night and look forward to reading more of it.

Our public library is the best. On a whim, I decided to glance through the CDs yesterday and I found this one that I've always wanted to buy but never have, and this one that I love and I brought them home and put them on my iPod and listened to them while I finished a paper. I can't write without classical music of some sort. It seems to stimulate my brain or something.

I talked to Reece last night. He told me all about the events at his new school and how he takes Spanish now, which I think is wonderful for a fourth-grader to begin. He also told me all about the school kids in Armenia and how rough they have it and how his class is raising funds to send to them so they can have proper school supplies. He seemed to be really bothered by it and I applaud his school for bringing the outside world to the attention of this little guy and his classmates. He also told me about football and I'm going to try to make it home to see one of his football games. I missed all of them last year.

I just put in a call to the doctor's office and the nurse is supposed to call me back this morning. In the meantime, I guess I can do some schoolwork. I might actually get ahead a little if I stay awake today! I had a class last Saturday and will have Saturday classes occasionally throughout the semester. This one was only from 1 to 4 and it flew by. My other class holds two Sat. classes which are from 9 to 4. What a long day those will be. Fortunately, my dear friend Sandy is in both my classes and so I get to catch up with her. She's even busier than I am right now.

Let's see, what else? (I have all day.) I joined a journal discussion group which is going to start meeting on Thursday nights. We're going to talk about articles pertaining to libraries. How about I report on that every week? Kidding.

Don't think I'm going to have time for the creative writing workshop this semester. As much as I want to attend and participate, I'm stretching it thin enough with a full-time job and two grad classes and now the journal discussion group. Hopefully, the organizers will take my suggestion and hold another one next summer. So, it's going to be the same old boring style of writing I exhibit here from now on. Which brings me to my thoughts on blogging. I only read about four blogs with any regularity. I have tired of all the others. I've considered quitting this blog, since I only post once a week if I'm lucky, but I'm still not ready to give it up. So, I'll post when I have time or something to say and the rest of the time I'm not going to worry about it. Of course, I'll always have gorgeous photos of Emily and darling Reece to show!

Oh, and I joined Weight Watchers again three weeks ago. Lost 7lbs in the first two weeks. Same ol' thing. Maybe it'll stick this time. I'm trying to be positive about it and just get through the ten weeks I paid for and then see how I feel about the whole thing.

I need to go get some work done now. And wait for a call from the nurse. Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted on the scratching.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandmother Bera!



Bera celebrated her 92nd birthday yesterday. This is such a good photo of her with my mom.

Here she is with Auntie Linda, her baby:



I spoke with her last night before her party and she sounded wonderful. She'd been to the doctor for a checkup yesterday, and the doctor told her that there was "nothing wrong with her mind!" We all knew that already. She's as sharp as a tack and still cracks me up every time I talk to her.

And how about her Razorback gear? Isn't she cute?

You rock, Granny!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Emily's Visit


Emily & Abby
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
Precious Girl came up to visit for the Labor Day weekend. Dave brought her half the way and I met them Friday afternoon. Monday, Dave, Dawn, and Reece met us halfway again and we had lunch and I got lots of hugs and kisses from Reece. Emily is the coolest kid. Ever. I could never in a million words describe how wonderful she is nor how much I enjoyed getting to spend the long weekend with her. My only complaint is that is went too quickly.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How about a little humpday humor?

HUMOR FOR LEXOPHILES
(LOVERS OF WORDS):


Police were called to a day care, where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder, and got a little behind in his work.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large. (MY FAVORITE!)

A thief who stole a calendar...got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

A calendar's days are numbered.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine'.

And, finally, I dedicate this one to EMILY:

I wondered why the softball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Busy Week Ahead

Thanks for your concern for Abby. She's still not quite up to par, but I'm going to watch her for a few more days before I take action. I think maybe she's just showing some signs of aging. That makes me very, very sad. Irene wrote about this recently and said that it had just occured to her that she was going to outlive her beloved dog, Finn. That post made me think, of course, about Abby and how much she has meant to me these past nine years. I don't know what I would have done without her. She's always here and loves me no matter how bad my breath smells and how hairy my legs are. I can be in a deep depression and she can curl up in my lap and I feel comforted. She's snoring now, right up against my leg. I hope she knows how much I love her.

Speaking of love, guess who is coming to see me on Friday? Just my precious, darling, smart, gorgeous niece, Emily! Dave is driving her and we're meeting somewhere in southern Missouri, between their home and mine, Friday afternoon and she's staying with me until Monday. This will be her first time up here to visit. I am just ever so slightly excited about it.

In addition to my full-time job and two graduate classes, I've accepted an invitiation to join a writing workshop. I was flattered to be asked and really want to make time for it. We're having our first meeting tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to it with much eager anticipation. I definitely need help with my writing, huh? The workshop is going to use Francine Prose's book as a template or study guide. I've only read a few chapters, but it emphasizes close reading and it gives lots of examples of literary passages. I think it would be a useful tool for anyone who wants to get more out of their reading.

As an Anglophile who loves anything pertaining to royalty, I've been in heaven this week in regards to Diana. There have been no less than seventy specials on every news channel over the last few days, and many of them have been quite far from the truth. I don' t have the energy to write about everything I've seen and read lately, but I will state that Fox News did the best job at creating absolute lies about Princess Diana's last days and the circumstances that surrounded or precipitated her death. On a lighter note, I found this and thought it was quite funny:

http://conchapman.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/tv-bio-says-lady-di-loved-dodi-for-harrods-return-policy/


Read it and enjoy! I'll be back later in the week.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm Feeling Much Better


Thank you for your concern this week. I don't know what was up with me, but I certainly wasn't feeling like my sweet, old self. I couldn't eat and the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. I didn't even enjoy playing with Mom. She took me to see a very nice woman who was gentle with me, except for the thermometer incident...ahem!...and she gave Mom some really good food and some pills. Mom tried sneaking them into the food, but I saw what she was doing. I didn't mind, though, and I ate them and please don't tell her I'm on to her. Mom told me she received some e-mails sending us good wishes, and I think that's so sweet of you! I'm going to give the blog back to my mom and she'll post an update sometime this weekend.
Love you all,
Abby

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

First Day of School

That really cute boy, there, is in the fourth grade now. Seems like last week I was feeding him a bottle. And two weeks ago I should have been watching that darling girl play her first T-ball game, not telling everyone that she's now in the eighth grade. I talked to them both briefly last night and Reece says everything went well. He's in the magnet school, International Studies, and has an adjustment to make to a new school this year, but he will be fine. Emily said school was okay, but she couldn't tell me anything else because she had to go to the mall. Typical teenager. I miss them so much!

On a sadder, more worrisome note, I had to take Abby to the vet today. She hasn't been acting like herself for a few days and this morning I noticed she hadn't eaten and hadn't pooped in two days. The doctor thinks she has a little intestinal infection, but no parasites, so she gave me some meds for Abby and some soft food and I fed her a bit of it and she actually ate it, so I think she's going to be fine. Bless her heart, she's never sick and doesn't like that rectal thermometer in the least. Send your good thoughts our way for the next couple of days, please.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Girls' Weekend


This is such a good photo of the girls! Auntie Linda brought her granddaughter, Halen, to visit over the weekend. Halen is eleven years old, and like her cousin, Emily, she loves to shop 'til she makes me drop. We had a great time and did all those fun girlie things such as manicures, pedicures, spending four hours looking for the perfect handbag, going to the movie and eating chocolate. Couldn't have been a more perfect weekend, and I think I even recruited Halen to become a Mizzou Tiger.
Now I have a complaint. I eat lunch at work every day. Usually it's a Lean Cuisine or a Weight Watchers frozen dinner. I have my favorites, but I do like variety, so I try different ones frequently. I was at the grocery store Friday, and it was quite crowded in the frozen section and I couldn't get to the Lean Cuisines or the WWs, so I grabbed a couple Boston Market dinners. I ate one of the lasagna dinners today and thought it was good, but no better than a Lean Cuisine or WW. Then, only after I'd eaten the entire thing, did I check the calories. Five hundred. That's 5-0-0 calories for a lousy frozen lasagna. It sort of made me ill. If I'm going to have a 500-calorie meal, I expect something to be battered and fried!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thirty Years Ago Today

Wow, I remember when it happened. My mom and grandmother Bera and I were planning a trip to Memphis to do some back-to-school shopping and we decided to drive by Graceland. The number of people there was unbelievable. It took thirty minutes to drive past Graceland and there were police directing traffic and people crying all over the place. It was amazing.

Graceland
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Year Older


July 28, 2007
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
I forgot to write about my birthday! I'm so damned old, now, I forget my birthday. Geez. Mom and Auntie Linda came up for the weekend, the b'day was on 7/28. We had a really good time, except for the unsuccessful car hunt. Apparently, a decent car at a reasonable price is about as scarce as a good man. However, we had fun anyway and went to the casino and won tons of money (not really) and simply enjoyed being together. Here's to getting old!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's TOO HOT to Blog

I sweat just thinking about going outside. I was talking to my brother, Dave, a few minutes ago, while I was walking Abby, and he said it was all Al Gore's fault. What started as a pleasant exchange of greetings and adoration quickly developed into me telling him he was wrong and him telling me to get off my liberal highhorse for two seconds. Gosh, I miss him so much! He's got all this crap information he wants me to read that proves the issue of global warning is false, so I made a deal with him: I'd read it if he'd agree to watch An Inconvenient Truth. I'll let you know if he holds up his end of the deal. (I love you, Dave!)

Emily is doing well. She's had a couple of bad headaches, but her brain is still working and she doesn't have any swelling, so I think she's going to be alright. Her softball team placed fifth at the Fastpitch World Series. That means she plays on a team that is 5th in the world, or at least in the U.S. Amazing. Good job, Emily.

That's it for now. My laptop is producing so much heat my legs are sweating and Abby's burning up my right thigh, so I'm going to go have a nice cold beer now. I'll be back this coming weekend. I want to tell you about some good books and movies!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Emily and Chloe


Emily and Chloe
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this, but in the end I decided it was all I could do to show my support. Emily's good friend, Chloe, lost her brother, Chris, to Leukemia today. He was seventeen and had spent the better part of his teenage years in St. Jude's Hospital. Chris and Chloe's uncle and I were friends in high school. If any of the family sees this post, know that my prayers are with you and that I'm deeply sorry for your loss. To my niece, Emily, I want to say I love you and I know you are going to be a huge support to Chloe. You have the gift of a loving, kind soul and I know you will be there for your friend.

Love,
Vanessa

Sunday, July 29, 2007

She's Fine

Emily's first ER trip due to a sports injury was Friday, in Orlando, right before a game in the Fastpitch World Series. Did I mention that Emily's softball team is in the TOP 10 in the nation? Yeah, they didn't need their catcher missing a game during the tournament, but she had to make a detour to the emergency room for a CT scan! It seems that she got hit in the head, right on her pretty forehead, by a not-so-soft softball and it immediately swelled to the size of an orange, so Dawn and Dave rushed her to the ER to have it checked it. She is okay now, just swollen and has a persistent headache, but was able to return and play a game later that day. Right now her team has won all but one game, and we're hoping they get to play in the finals later today. SO GLAD YOU'RE ALRIGHT, EMILY!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Softball and Harry Potter

So, I talked to Emily last night, she's still in Florida, and her softball team has won two games (out of two) and I was able to watch one of the games online. That was really cool - technology at its best. For my family members who are interested, you can find info on this tournament, the Fastpitch World Series, HERE. Click on the softball link and you can see the results. Emily's team is "Mr. Trophy Rage" and their next game is tomorrow.

Mom and Auntie Linda are coming up for the weekend to help me celebrate my birthday. Not sure what we're going to do, but I'm sure cake will be involved. Maybe some gambling. Definitely some shopping. Might even buy a car.

Started reading the final Harry Potter last night and read about 150 pages. The dern thing is over 750 pages, and I'm going to be busy the rest of the week, so I won't finish it until next week sometime. Emily made me promise her I'd call her the minute I have read the last word so that we can talk about it. She finished it already.

That's it for now. Stay in touch and I'll keep you posted on Emily's softball tournament. Might even have a b'day pic or two after the weekend.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What's not to love about these two?


Two gorgeous kids 7-2007
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
In case you've been needing to see an updated photo of two kids who are growing up way, way, WAY to quickly, here it is. The boy is nine and the girl is thirteen. Going on eighteen. More pics to the right in my Flickr>>>>>>>>>

They're flying to Florida today. Emily's softball team is playing in a tournament in Orlando. How fun is that? Reece is looking forward to lots of skateboarding and swimming.

Back to my housecleaning. I'll check in with you in a couple of days.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kicking Back and Enjoying Myself

Ohmigosh, THIS BOOK is wonderful. I just finished it and immediately looked up the writer, so that I could read everything she's ever written. The book is the chosen one for the "One Read" program in Columbia and surrounding central Missouri towns, and I've been seeing it promoted at the library, and my friend, Sandy, said it was a great read, so I finally got it a few days ago and haven't been able to put it down. Add it to your must-read list.

I watched "A Room With a View" last night. I haven't seen it in several years and had forgotten how much I loved Edwardian stifled passion. I also have "Gosford Park" and "Venus" at home now and will try to watch them this week. I watched "Gosford" several years ago and loved it and can't wait to see it again. Not sure how I'll react to the other one, but I've always liked Peter O'Toole.

I'm baking cookies and they are a pain, but they look really good. They're sugar cookies with chocolate sprinkles on top and I hope they taste good, since they're for a party at work tomorrow. Actually "work party" is an oxymoron, I know, but we're having a going-away-dessert-bar-drop-in-function-thing for someone tomorrow and I thought if I wrote party it would be enough but then I felt compelled to explain. Enough about that already.

I really need to do some housework before I begin this book, because I know I'll just ignore the house once I begin the book. All my summer projects have gone ignored because I've been reading up a storm, making up for lost time over the last two semesters when I was agonizing over Library Management and Cataloging. Doubt I'll get to even one of my intended projects now, and you know what? I don't really care.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Tribute

Today is Larry Brown's birthday. Click here for a tribute from Garrison Keillor:

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/

(It's the second piece on the page.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stop! In the Name of Good Writing

Have you ever had a week in which absolutely nothing blog-worthy happened? That's why I haven't posted an entry this week.

Still reading the Al Gore book. I only read a chapter a day and that's slow reading, but this isn't fiction that one can zoom through with entertainment being the only purpose. I can't stress strongly enough how important this book is. Of course, Gore's message right now is crucial to the survival of our planet, I know. Did anyone watch any of the Live Earth concerts yesterday? It was on the Bravo Channel all day and I watched it off and on throughout the day. I question the sincerity of many of the performers and I cannot tolerate Hip Hop, nor Madonna, so much of the time I didn't watch it. The PSAs were informative and very positive, however, so overall I think it was a positive event.

THIS was my latest Netflix choice. It was a cute, happy film that made me laugh and I recommend it. It's not a chick flick in spite of its title.

There is a huge, black cat who has taken part-time residence outside my front door. S/he is twice Abby's size and has a pair of glorious green eyes and Abby can't stand it when we go out and s/he's lounging by my door. Abby barks and the cat hisses and they have this standoff every single time we go for a walk. It really stresses my old dog and I'm going to have to run off the cat somehow.

I owe you guys about a thousand apologies for this boring post. And the cheesy attempt to make it look more appealing by changing fonts. Did I fool anyone with that useless ploy? I think not.




Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Shelby's right, my hair does look like a helmet."

If I can get off the sofa today, I'm going to the gym. It opens at 11:00. I reeeeeeally overdid it yesterday. I had all the time in the world and so I stayed on the treadmill a long time, listening to THIS CD that I downloaded to my iPod. Such good music. Then, I tried all the upper-body weights and machines that exist in the entire world and now I can hardly pick up the spoon with which to stir my coffee. Today, it's lower body and abs I'm targeting and tomorrow I'll be so sore I won't be able to walk and I'm going to get up and go anyway and I swear this is the last time I'm going to mention the gym because it really bores me to read about anyone else's workouts, so I'm sure you're bored by this.

I ordered the upcoming Harry Potter and can't wait to read it. There is a good article about it on msn.com today: here ya go. I started THIS ONE yesterday. (I'll never finish the Faulkner, Mary, even though you say it's one you loved in high school. When I was in high school I loved this one to pieces and still do and actually read it about every year and love it even more each time. I've read plenty of Faulkner and loved many of them, particularly As I Lay Dying, but The Sound and the Fury will have to wait until I have more patience. I'm not a huge fan of Modernism, but more on that another time.) Anyway, back to the Gore book - I've only gotten through about 30 pages and I'm as angry as a hornet already. I'll rant more when I finish the book. Oh, and then I'll go see "SICKO" and get steamed about that issue. Perhaps after all that I'll read some Jane Austin just to take the edge off my rage and fury.

On a lighter note, I'm going to bake some chocolate chip cookies today. I bought a new Pampered Chef baking stone (I lost my stones when I moved) and I can't wait to do some baking. The chocolate is semi-sweet, which brings me to my chocolate survey. I heard from several coworkers who read my blog and they all said they preferred dark chocolate. I think I prefer dark when I'm really craving chocolate, but milk chocolate if it's just sweets in general that I want.

I watched this movie last night. {sigh} I'm surprised I didn't like it. I always like the Coen Brothers' stuff, but not this one. It was supposed to be smart, funny, intriguing. It wasn't. In order to be a good satire, it should be more subtle than this movie was. Not that some of the acting wasn't very good (John Goodman) but some good acting doesn't make it worth one's time. Don't waste your Netflix choice on it.

Independence Day is funky this year, since it's on a Wednesday and I don't have any days off other than that day. I have no plans for that day, other than maybe sleeping in. I've seen fireworks a hundred times and until they come up with something new in the category, I have no desire to sit outside in the heat and watch any more of them. I am truly sounding like an old person.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Honey Nut Cheerios

Not all that much to tell, but hey - I'm making an effort. Most important things first: Emily is away at camp this week. Hope she's having a good time. Reece is enjoying being an only child for a week. I talked to him Sunday night and he said he was eating a bowl of cereal and I asked him if he wanted to call me back when he was finished eating and he said, "No, that's okay, this is my third bowl." He's a growing boy and I am quite happy that I do not have to pay his grocery bill. I remember when my two brothers and I were youngsters. It took at least one herd of cattle to keep us in milk for a week. All my mother ever did was haul groceries in from the store, fill the pantry, start another list and go back to the store. Bless her heart.

I went to the gym last night and rode the bicycle and lifted a couple of weights, but the place was so crowded I didn't get to use some of the machines I wanted. I'm going to a strength training class tomorrow night, then I'm going to start going to work out in the mornings at 5:30. YIKES, did I just write "5:30?" What the hell am I thinking? I'm thinking I will just train myself to get out of bed at 5 instead of 6 and get the workout over. We will see how it goes, but wish me luck, okay?

My Bosnian friend did actually buy my car. It's such a relief t0 have the car sold. Now I have to start seriously car shopping and I'm getting sick just thinking about it. I'm not particularly crazy about cars and don't much give a shit what I drive, but I'm going to buy a new car so I don't have to worry about any maintenance for a while. I'm thinking a Toyota right now. Bleh. It's such an ordeal and I dread having to talk to a car salesman.

warning: cheap ploy to encourage comments is next

Question: do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate? I just cannot decide. Had a piece of dark today and it was delicious. But milk is good too. What's your preference?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm Huge In Bosnia

Okay, so my stint at regular updating didn't last long, but I have a good excuse. I have been reading! I'd decided to give THIS bugger another try and was making some progress, when THIS OTHER ONE I'd ordered arrived and I had to start reading it because it might contain a paragraph I haven't already read a thousand times. I'm not finished with it; I want to savor it because I believe it's the last and most accurate Di Bio there is or will ever be. Steph, you'll want to read it as soon as you finish A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I know you're trying to get around to reading and will be so glad you did when you do. So, Faulkner is going to have to wait until I finish more important literature. I am so glad my former lit. professors do not read my blog.

I joined a gym yesterday. I begin tomorrow getting fit as a fiddle. Actually feel better having taken the first step. I loved the place and it has an impressive state-of-the-art weight room and cardio room and an indoor pool to die for, plus it's five minutes from my apartment. I then rewarded my good deed by purchasing several workout pants and t-shirts and now I'm ready to go. Come back in a few days and read how bloody sore I am.

While I was wandering around Target last night, I got a call and it was a fellow inquiring about my old car that I have for sale. (Remember my car saga back around Thanksgiving last year?) The guy had a really heavy accent of some kind and told me he worked at my apartment complex and wanted to look at my car. I told him I'd meet him in the parking in twenty minutes and rushed home to meet him. When I arrived, he and a friend, their wives, and about four children were milling around and I realized they were Bosnians. We have several Bosnian families in our complex. I introduced myself to my caller, Muhammed, and he said, "Ah, Vanessa is same in my country!" Then he told his wife, "something, something, something...Vanessa," and she smiled and said, "Ah, Vanessa!!" I got a kick out of that. I think I sold my car, but I'm not sure, and I couldn't understand exactly everything that went down in the business transaction, and it's too long to bore you with, but I do hope it works out because he needs a car and I need to get it sold, so keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Colors are Blush and Bashful

I had the best time over the weekend getting to see the family. Except Reece. No, it wasn't that I didn't enjoy him. He wasn't there. That baby went to camp for an entire week. I was worried he was going to get homesick, but I just spoke with him and he said he had an "awesome" time. I was also worried he wouldn't get enough to eat and he did say that they only ate three meals a day, no snacks. My brother says that Reece usually has his third meal of the day by 1:00 in the afternoon. When I spoke with Reece a minute ago he was in the car with his mom, dad, and Emily. Guess where they were going? IHOP. Guess he's got to make up for lost eating.

Emily played in a softball tournament over the weekend and I got to see her play, but mostly I sweated. Even my eyelashes were hot. Arkansas is hot as hell in June. I do not miss it, no I do not. However, it was worth it to see Emily play (her team placed second) and we were able to spend almost all of Friday together and go shopping and eat Mexican food and watch "Steel Magnolias." It was Emily's first time to watch it and my seven-hundredth, at least, and the very second Shelby bounced down those stairs complaining about her nail polish being too pink for her wedding dress, I started bawling and didn't stop until 30 minutes after the movie was over. That's what I call a Superb Chick Flick. Emily loved it too, what she saw between text messages. That teenager. I have a good photo of her I'll post on Flickr tomorrow.

Also got to do some shopping with Mom and we enjoyed having our morning coffee chats. That's my favorite part of seeing my mom - the morning visits. Abby misses her, too. Also got to have breakfast with Grandmother Bera on Sunday. She's 91 and still reads a couple of novels every week and absolutely never ever misses "Wheel of Fortune." (or "Wheel" as she calls it) She was in a good mood and it was a good visit. I rarely get to see Auntie Linda when I'm home, but she was here last weekend so I'm good with her.

I've got to go now and read my book that came in the mail today. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. So, come back then!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sherry, Baby

Have you noticed? I've been updating more frequently! Yes!

Just two more days and I get to see my Emily. When she was a little girl, she referred to me as "My Vanessa." I melted every time she said that. Now look at her:




Auntie Linda came for a visit over the weekend and we had a great time. We toured some wineries, a.k.a. sampled a lot of wine and ate some good food, and went to the casino and did some shopping and talked and talked and talked. I think that was the best part of the visit: the talking. That and how she completely showed her ass in the restaurant at the winery and I got to bring that up all weekend and tease her unceasingly about it.

I bought a bottle of sherry after sampling it. I had no idea how much I liked it. Then I had to go buy some sherry glasses, since I got rid of the ones I had because I never drank sherry.

I took some photos of the weekend and I'd love to post them here, but Blogger won't let me. I'm too lazy to try very hard, though, so come back and look later, maybe I'll have them posted. Must go now. Gotta pour a glass of sherry.

xoxo,

V

Friday, June 08, 2007

Dooley and buddy looking for Aunt Vanessa's car. So sad...

Ah, poor Dooley. The family got together last night to celebrate Dave's birthday and Dooley just knew his favorite aunt would be there, but she wasn't. Bless his sweet little heart. Don't worry, Dools, I'll be home next weekend and I'll make it up to you, darling Dachshund!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

You're As Old As Sergeant Pepper

It was forty years ago today,

I heard my pregnant mama say,

It's time to get this big old baby out,

Even if I have to scream and shout.



Now let me introduce to you

The one who is my mama's fave,

Emily and Reece's daddy, Dave!





Happy Birthday, brother dear.

You are now O-ficially an old fart.



Love you,

Ness

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Metamorphosis


This is the look of an extremely ecstatic teenager who's had her braces off for literally two minutes. The background is definitely the orthodontist's office! I talked to her today and she said she feels so good to finally have them off! She was a good sport about the braces, however; I don't remember her ever complaining about them, but nevertheless, she's happy with her new, beautiful smile. Yes, Dave, lock her in her room and force her to take up quilting already.
Meanwhile, I'm all excited because Auntie Linda's coming up for the weekend. We're planning a day in Hermann, MO visiting wineries. That should be fun. I am loving the weather. It's about ten degrees cooler than it is in Arkansas and that suits me fine. Too bad we had to suffer all the snow in the winter, but I think it's worth it to get this very pleasant late spring weather. Totally different tune than the one I was singing in February, I know. That one always began with, "This damned snow..."
I just finished THIS book. I stupidly started it Sunday night at 9:30 and was up until 12:30 reading, then read on my lunch hour, then read this morning until 1:30 and had an hour to go to get to the end when I got home from work tonight. Now I'm sleepy as hell, but it was worth it. So, by all means, read the book, especially if you liked The Kite Runner. I think this one is even better, at least more interesting and provides a lot of recent Afghan history that I find fascinating. And the characters! Oh, they (the two women at least) were lovely and strong and by no means one-dimensional. I was crying in the breakroom at work today while reading, and I never cry. Just don't take this one to the beach with you; it's not a fun summer read by any definition.
After three postponements, I am finally going to the dentist tomorrow. Wish me luck. I swear I'd rather visit the gynecologist than the dentist.
Check back Thursday for a little birthday poem.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cousin Candee!


Hope you're not having to cook on your birthday! Tell Ryker to stay home with the kids and you go out and have some fun. Tell him I said so.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Okay, NOW I've Heard Everything


Reece 3rd grade awards
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
I spent my Memorial Day weekend entertaining Reece and my mom. It was such fun being with the boy. We saw “Shrek the Third,” drank Yoo Hoos and ate Krispy Kream donuts. How much more fun could you possibly have, I ask you?

We were eating lunch on Saturday, and I began asking Reece about his girlfriend. (Yes, he’s only nine, but he’s had a girlfriend his entire life. He loves the ladies.) He told me that he broke up with his girlfriend because he liked someone else, but then he wouldn’t tell me anything more about it. He said he didn’t want to talk about it. I asked him why, and he said, “Well, I don’t really like to talk about my social life.” When you’re as cute as he is, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll be famous one of these days and you’ll need to be discreet.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Girl Knows How to Swing


Em swinging 5-07
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Don't you love this photo? Dawn sent it to me a few days ago. It was taken by a photographer at one of Emily's softball tournaments this month. She's playing in another tournament next weekend, which is why Reece is coming up for a visit without her. I miss her so much, but get to watch her play ball next month when I go home for one of her tournaments. Good luck next weekend, Emily!

Pyro Nephew


Pyro Nephew
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
The boy claims he loves to go camping. Turns out he just loves to burn stuff and camping gives him ample opportunity to do so. He's coming up with my mom next weekend for a visit. It'll be his first time here and I'm really looking forward to entertaining him. Oh, alright, and I'll have a legitimate reason to go see "Spiderman 3!"

Sunday, May 06, 2007

My Weekend Reviews

I spent most of yesterday completing my final for Cataloging class. It was take-home, so I was able to take my time and look up every answer and submit it when I was sure I had everything correct. Of course, my idea of everything correct and my instructer's always conflict and she wins, so no way will my score be 100%. Now, I have to complete my last paper for that class and turn it in tonight. WHEW. That will be a happy moment. Have I mentioned that I don't like cataloging?

My time has been limited to working full-time and two night classes per week and lots of homework, but I always manage to keep at least one novel going and thanks to Netflix I'm able to watch a movie or two every weekend. So, here's an update on what I've read and viewed lately:

I'm a new fan of David Sedaris. I don't know why I haven't read him before now, but he's a delight. Finished Dress Your Family and Me Talk Pretty, and this short one and will get to the rest of them soon.

Interesting story about the one I'm reading now. The writer is an MU graduate and we got an advanced copy of the book at work since one of our magazine staff writers interviewed her for an article. It's about abusive men and how the writer suffered and her sister was killed by an abusive man. Turns out the writer was scheduled to be on Oprah last week (she'd written for Oprah's self-indulgent rag of a magazine) but Oprah's "people" decided they wouldn't have her on the show because they couldn't verify some of the information in the book. (The writer's ex-husband, who lives here in Columbia, is suing over the book and the writer refuses to reveal his name.) James Frey pretty much killed the chance for nonfiction writers to be endorsed by Oprah. Still, I hope the writer makes a fortune in sales, although I don't think that's why she wrote it. Read it only if you think you can handle the subject.

As for movies, The Good Shepherd was boring and overrated. This very dramatic film, however, was so wonderfully acted I want to watch it again. It took a while, but I managed to watch most of the episodes of The Comeback, and it was quite funny most of the time, but I can see why HBO didn't renew it after the first season. I love Lisa Kudrow; I was a big "Friends" fan when it was running, and she is great in this series, but her character isn't very likeable and I don't know a soul who's ever watched the show.

One more thing. I've only recently discovered the world of literature on discs. I figure I'll never get to read all the books I want to read, so I got a couple of things on CD and started listening to them in my car. I love it. If you're interested, try this one for starters. It's short stories and you can easily finish listening to them in a week or less, depending on how much you drive. If you've already discovered this treasure of listening, recommend some titles to me, please. I am actually looking forward to my next six-hour drive to Arkansas, now.

I've procrastinated long enough. Have to finish my paper on Cataloging. Want me to post it when I'm finished?

Next post: what have Emily and Reece been up to lately?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Don't Mess With Librarians

Gosh, I was sick of looking at that candy. Time for a little simplicity here on "Aunt Vanessa" and better writing! I'll add links and Flickr back to the page later. One more week of school and I'll have the entire summer to write and fill this blog with all sorts of fascinating information. I just finished writing a short paper about the Information Age and that word, information, is really stuck in my head now.

I took the day off from work in order to have a three-day weekend to finish some assignments for school. (I'm taking a short break right now as you know.)

The list of Things To Do This Summer has grown and I only hope to accomplish half of what I've listed, but mainly I intend to get this apartment organized and hang some curtains in my bedroom and find a nice picture for that room and do some writing and submit something for publication and get some exercise. There. Now that it's public information I have to do all of that stuff.

Last night in class, we watched a video from YouTube. Take 4.10 minutes from your day and watch. It's really cute - and it's okay for Emily to watch, too.

Okay, back to work.

XOXO

Friday, April 20, 2007

What A Relief

I just finished an assignment that is due next week, one I've been working on for the past several weeks. It is 75 pages long. Did you get that? I'll repeat: it is 75 pages long. No, I didn't have to write that many pages, it's mostly book reviews, but I had to find the suckers in the first place, then contruct a legible paper, write an introduction, and a spreadsheet, and make sure the fonts were consistent, blah, blah, blah. So now I'm finished and feel like dancing a little jig, but I'm still at work. Maybe when I get home. Oh! and this weekend I get to start on another paper for my other class. (I am taking a break Sat. night and going to see "Die Fledermaus" - a girl's gotta have a little fun. And I think I'll buy myself an ice cream tonight. So much fun I can't stand it.)

I loved the David Sedaris book, Mary! I'm writing this on a MAC and can't figure out how to post links, but the book I'm talking about is "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim." Sedaris is Southern, and knows how to tell stories and he's funny and charming and I love him. I also listened to his "Live at Carnegie Hall" CD and it's a good one, too, if you're interested. I'll write more on this subject when I'm on my laptop. Hate the MAC.

Steph, I hate to admit it, but I laughed out loud during "Borat!" Several times. It's just awful. Disgusting. Completely goes too far. Way beyond anything that resembles any taste whatsoever. GO RENT IT NOW.

There. I posted. Doubtful that I'll be back until sometime next week. I know I'm losing my readers, all three or four of you, but I still don't want to give up the blog! So, please come back and read me sometime next week.

Mwah!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Past, Present, and Future in a Nutshell

Spring Break was the best. I got to spend some good, quality time with Emily. She spent the night with me on Wed. night and we talked a good bit and she brought me up to date on her life. I took her for breakfast the next morning and then to school and as we were approaching her junior high school, she warned me that she wasn't going to kiss me 'bye when we stopped in the parking lot. I already knew that; I was a teenager once and remember how uncool that was. She is the best kid, though.

Thursday afternoon I went to ASU to hear some presentations at the Delta Blues Symposium. I presented there twice while in grad school and it's a good symposium to hear papers on Southern lit, art, and music. My brother, Don, went with me and we were able to talk some. I also got to see my mentor and several of my English profs from undergrad and grad school. I loved it. It was really comforting to be "home" and see a roomful of people I knew. There were lots of hugs and conversations and just a good time.

Later, on Thursday night, we celebrated my mom's birthday with a huge mess of ribs and all the fat fixings that go along with them and then had cake and ice cream and we gave Mom a DVD player and some DVDs and she loved it all.

Friday, Emily and Reece were out of school so I was able to spend most of the day with them. We went to lunch and did a little shopping and then watched the 4th Harry Potter movie, all curled up on the sofa and it was wonderful. Emily and her parents left Saturday morning for a softball tournament (her team won first place!) so I didn't get to see Emily after Friday, but Reece stayed with me at Mom's for the entire weekend and we had such a good time. He cracked me up all weekend talking about cars and skateboards, but mostly cars. The boy is obsessed with them, as I've mentioned previously. He's also good at manipulating me into giving him backrubs.

It was a really nice break from school and work, and I enjoyed my mom, but didn't get to see Auntie Linda for more than an hour. I told her she would have to come up to Missouri if we wanted to get in a good visit. I did see Grandmother Bera a bit, and she's doing well. Hard to believe she's ninety-two. She looks great and is as sharp as a tack. Still reads all the time. I love her.

So. Now I'm back at work and school and have two major papers due at the end of this month, not to mention a ton of homework in my cataloging class. This morning I got up early and did laundry, then went to the library, then bought groceries and now I'm thinking about a little nap before I begin my studies.

Have to mention some reading and films before my snooze. I just finished this book and it was so hilarious I got his first book and plan to begin it tonight. Also on my nightstand is Larry Brown's posthumous book, but I'm only into the fourth chapter, I think, and I keep crying when I read it because I know it's his last work. Stupid, I know, but I am still so sad about his death. Go read about him if you don't know who he is. Then read his stuff. It's the best Southern Lit written in years. What am I saying, it's the best literature of any genre written in years. Finally, this work is in my bookbag and I plan to begin it in the next couple of days. Anyone have an opinion on it? It'll be my first reading of David Sedaris. Wish I had more time to read for fun.

Okay, I'm getting tired of posting links, so I'll stop. The last movie I watched was "Blood Diamond" and, a) I swear I'll never buy another diamond as long as I live, and, b) I love Leonardo. Before that was "Half Nelson" and Ryan Gosling is great in his role. Both movies I highly recommend. I have "Sherry Baby" up next and also the "Borat" movie. I'm not looking for Borat to be as funny as its hype, but I'm too curious not to watch it. Cousin Lisa tells me it's hilarious, and I like her sense of humor, so I'm going for it.

More on the future, much more, at a later time. Have to have some lunch, a little nap, and some studying now.

Take care and I'll be back sometime next week!

Vanessa