Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Review

You should read this book:

No, really, I loved it. After reading so many books lately that have the same general feel, this book was refreshingly different. The main character was probably one of the most unique characters I've ever read. She made me laugh and did so many things that were so true to her character even if I wanted to shake my head in disbelief. This girl could've walked right off the page and I wouldn't have been surprised (well, maybe I would've been a little startled, but then I would've thought, 'that's so her to walk off the page like that.') It's very clean for those of you worried about your daughter's sensitive little eyes and minds. And it's rich with relationships, emotion, and intrigue. LOVED it.

"When KJ Carson is assigned to write a column for her school newspaper about the wolves in nearby Yellowstone National Park, she’s more interested in impressing Virgil Whitman, the new kid in school and the photographer assigned as her partner, than in investigative journalism. But before long, KJ has a face-to-face encounter with a wolf that changes her and the way she thinks about wolves. With her new found passion for protecting these controversial animals, KJ inadvertently ignites the fuse of the anti-wolf sentiment in the community. First Virgil is injured during a town parade, and then her father’s store is set on fire in retribution. To stop the escalating violence, KJ follows Virgil to the cattle ranch of the most outspoken anti-wolf activists in town, against her father’s will. What she discovers there threatens everything and everyone she cares about.

In KJ’s fierce and funny attempt to make peace between the wolves and the people that despise them, she must first face her own long-held fears. It’s terrifying, but then, finding yourself always is." (from Kristen Chandler's website)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you enjoy the holiday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Mind Power

So as you can see, I'm not doing so well on NaHoCleMo. But I am doing very well on what I like to call NaLoWhiMo. Yes, that's right, national loud whining month. It goes something like this, "Woe is me. Cleaning makes me whine. Why does everybody leave all their stuff everywhere for me to clean?" I am definitely wracking up the minutes on that goal.

But all this whining has reminded me of why I simplified after the third child (and even more after the fourth). Why I decided that if dishes and laundry were done then I was happy. And that is, because cleaning up after people makes me grumpy. It makes me think bad thoughts about my lovely children, like, 'Do they really have to leave the milk out every single morning? Why can't they remember this simple task?' Or, 'Seriously, they have to leave candy wrappers on the counter right above the trash?? How lazy does one have to be to not open the door and put the trash inside?' And I don't like thinking these thoughts about my children.

So I decided something last week. Instead of getting frustrated when I had to pick up a wet towel off the ground for the fiftieth time that week, I started saying, out loud: "That's so cute." As in, 'Oh, it's so cute when my kids can't remember to put the milk away. There's nothing like warm milk.' Or, 'Oh, isn't it adorable that their trail of open drawers and cupboards lets me know exactly what they did in the kitchen.' It seemed ridiculous at first, but it really works. Every time I said it, I really did think about how dang cute my kids are. All four of those adorable (somewhat lazy) little buggers. So my advice to you is, apply the phrase "that's so cute" more in your life. Try it when your significant other is making you angry, the lady checking out in front of you at the grocery store is irritating you, just whenever you're feeling some loud whining coming on. If nothing else, at least it stops the whining for a little while.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Reviews

Have I mentioned before that I have a huge crush on Sarah Dessen?? Yes? Okay, I won't talk about it again or you might think I'm obsessed. I mean, sure, I've read every book she's ever written, but that's not obsessive, is it? And she didn't disappoint in her latest book:


"Riding a bike is only one of the many things Auden's missed out on. Even before her parents' divorce, she was cast in the role of little adult, never making waves, focusing on academics to please her demanding mother.

Now she's spending the summer before college in the tiny beach town of Colby with her father and his new wife and baby. A job in a trendy boutique introduces her to the world of girls, their friendships, conversations, romances. And then there's Eli, an intriguing loner. A fellow insomniac, Eli introduces Auden to the nocturnal world of Colby. Together they embark on a quest: for Auden to experience the carefree teenage life she's been denied; for Eli, to put a tragic episode behind him. Combine two lonely people with a charming beach town and an endless supply of long summer nights, and just about anything can happen."

Sarah Dessen, curse you for being able to take a normal, everyday scenario and turn it into a compelling emotion-filled book. I mean, praise you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Excuses

From the girl who brought you top 10 reasons to avoid the gym and how to become the laziest person on earth in seven days (or less), I bring you: Top ten excuses to clean less. These excuses are specifically designed to help those participating in NaNo (national novel writing month) and the messy house that will follow. You may use these excuses on those around you who might be appalled or disgusted by extra dishes in the sink, or for yourself, to make sure that you don't touch those dishes in the sink until you get in your 2K words for the day.

So here they are, your excuses.

10. I hope to be a future hand model and can't risk callouses by doing house work. (Perhaps you've never considered this before, but take a good hard look at your hands. Are they hand model material? Yes, yes they are. Now preserve them, protect them.)

9. Why would I clean the house when by the end of the day it looks like I didn't touch it? (Also good, why would I make my bed when I'm just going to sleep in it again?)

8. It may look dirty, but I know where everything is. If I clean it, I wouldn't be able to find anything. There is a method to my madness. (Make sure to only use this excuse when someone isn't looking for something or you might immediately disprove this.)

7. I feel a cold coming on, I must rest. If I get sick then nothing will get done at all.

6. And while you're on the "guilt" excuses, how about: Since I'm the only one that cleans around here, I was waiting to see how long it would take before someone else would lift a finger to help.

5. That's why I had children, to help around the house. (My daughter swears the only reason I had kids is so I wouldn't have to clean, so I might as well just go with that excuse and validate her theory.)

4. Speaking of kids, how about: I can't do everything for my children or they will never learn responsibility. Teaching kids to work is the best gift I can give them. (That's a good one because then you sound loving and responsible.)

3. A layer of dust (or toys) protects the wood (or carpet).

2. For those of you who stress out about a messy house and find yourself tempted to clean (I do not fall in to this category), you should definitely have one room that must remain clean at all times. The kids (and spouse) should know they can not touch this room or some very serious, vague threat (that you must administer with a grave expression) will occur. If you don't have a whole room, just a cupboard or a shelf will do. Then when you feel the stress coming on, you stand in the room (or stare lovingly at the shelf) and know that at least you have managed to keep this one piece of the universe clean.

1. And the number one excuse that all those around you should not argue with is: I can't be bothered with housework, I'm writing.

Good luck to all those participating in NaNo. I can't wait to follow your progress. I will not be using any of the above excuses this month because I'm cleaning instead of obsessively writing. I need a set of excuses not to write. Please provide them for me.