Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Scribblings--Winter

I don't have much to say about winter, except that I don't like it. I enjoy watching It's a Wonderful Life, eating popcorn, and drinking hot cocoa on Christmas Eve, and I enjoy getting together for the famous garage party to open gifts on Christmas Day. That is about the extent of my enjoyment of winter. And unfortunately, there are still just under three months of winter to still look forward to after my two days of enjoyment! I generally spend these months inside as much as possible, baking cookies and crocheting warm things. I prefer the outdoors, but in the wintertime it is just too cold to go outside. Oh yeah, and I hate sledding. So, there you have it--Scrooge's take on wintertime.

For more Wintertime scribbling, go to Sunday Scribblings.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh the Joys...

Yesterday was not good.

I was tired most of the morning and all of the afternoon. I dropped a notebook, a pen, a cross-stitch kit, and two forks. This is why I decided not to hold the baby.

After spending two hours at my grandma's doing the backbreaking task of Round One Photo Organizing, I came home to find a rejection letter from a job I applied to earlier this year.

At 6:25, I left home for a coffee house to meet some of my GA buddies that I used to work with during my MA. One of the girls is from Colombia, but she's working on a Ph.D in the States. I hadn't seen her in several months, so it was good to have the chance to get together.

I was actually on time, for once in my life. Maybe I got too smug, I don't know, but just as I was turning onto the road where the coffee shop is located, I saw red and blue lights and knew I was getting pulled over.

Mental check: I'd driven under the speed limit, I stopped at the stop sign, and I signaled. So what's up, Officer?

I pulled into a parallel parking spot and rolled down my window.

"Good evening, my name is Officer, so and so. The reason I'm pulling you over is that your license plate bulb is burned out."

"Oh, I'm sorry about that Officer, but thanks for telling me. I didn't realize."

"May I see your license and proof of insurance?"

I promptly handed him my school ID card. Stupid, stupid me.

"Sorry, that's my ID card--wrong one. Just a moment." I handed him my license and with slightly nervous hands (I was wondering how much this little infraction was going to cost me), and began remembering the rejection letter, the many dropped items, and my general sense of a bad mood. Then I remembered setting off the metal detector at airport security with my pocket full of change. It was actually quite amusing. Of course, traffic was heavy with rubbernecks gawking at me, the poor sucker, pulled over. I could hear them now, "I wonder what she did?" and "I'm so glad I didn't get pulled over." Finally, the cop came back and issued me a written warning. I was very grateful (but it's a little late to post another to prompt #138).

Anyway, I reparked my car (though I could have left it in the parallel spot) and walked back to the coffeehouse, only to see that it was closed. I sat on a park bench and called my friend AG to see if she had anybody's number. She didn't either.

Fortunately, KR showed up and told me that the little party was being moved to her house, so I followed her there, and in 45 minutes, was completely parked in.

The day got better at that point. I was able to catch up with four of the girls I had worked with and taken classes with. I got home a little after midnight and was pooped. I'm glad I didn't hit the truck parked at KR's neighbor's house. I'm also fortunate I didn't hit KR's front porch. Oh yeah, and the way my day was going, I'm sure KR is glad that I didn't ask to hold her baby, IR.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

True Colours Thursday--Blue!

This is a tealight candle holder that one of my friends bought for my birthday a few years ago.

This is a pillow my grandma crocheted for me.

My grandma also crocheted this doily. However, the crochet hooks are mine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pudding, Cappuccino, and the IBBC (Not Necessarily in that Order)

Two days ago, my friend RC asked me for my vanilla pudding recipe. Of course, I forgot to email it to her until yesterday. It then occurred to me that pudding sounded good, so I made a batch of chocolate. I would have eaten the whole thing, except that her sister, SC, jokingly asked if I'd bring some with me later that evening when I was to go to the IBBC and watch both girls play their instruments for a praise service. I put down my spoon and acquiesced.

Fast forward to about 6:00 PM. I was ecstatic that I had just received my three blog awards from BJ, and was anxious to pass the awards on to Robin and Ray. Then it occurred to me that I needed to also add the awards to my own blog's sidebar. This all takes a ridiculous amount of time on dial-up Internet.


"Come on! Hurry up, Blogger! I've gotta go!"

I really thought I was going to have time to post a little something before 6:45, as I was intending to stop by the gas station at that time for a quick cup of cappuccino to keep me awake. Alas, 6:45 came and went, and the next time I saw the clock, it read 6:54. The IBBC's Praise Night started at 7:00.

I passed on the cappuccino.

Though I only live a few minutes from the IBBC, I really only had a few minutes to get to the IBBC. I felt a rebellious rush of adrenaline as I sped through the residential part of town at a whopping 25 MPH! I was certain I would be late.

Side note: I don't generally go to things like this, but I'd never heard RC play her flute or SC play her fiddle (she corrected me, saying it was a violin--I corrected her, saying what's the difference), and anyway, it was the most exciting nightlife within a 20 mile radius. Well, and plus I kinda wanted to see RC and SC.

At the four-way stop where the IBBC is located, I was horrified to see that the parking lot appeared full. I made a go of it anyway, and parked in an area that I hope was a parking spot and not someone's yard. Running down the sidewalk, I'm surprised I didn't fall and break my neck or something. I threw open the door to the IBBC, and out of breath and slightly disoriented, I tried to take an inconspicuous seat at the back of the church.

Just like on the rare occasions when I go clothes shopping, my presence was not unnoticed.

Several men started coming for me, and, fearing that they perceived me as a heretic, I prepared for the worst. Instead, they each jutted their hands out at me, welcoming me to the IBBC, asking how I was, and a plethora of other questions that swarmed around my head in a frenzy. Still in a stupor, I started to sit down. At just that moment, another man came toward me. I thought I had taken his seat, apologized, and walked into the aisle.

"No, you're okay," he reassured me. Oh, another greeter. I glanced across the aisle to see SC and her violin. I felt safe then. I rushed over to her, hoping to avoid any more well-wishers. I'm terrible with people skills. Eye contact is something I have yet to master. Eventually, RC waddled over from somewhere. I really don't know where she came from.

The service was nice, but completely different from what I'm used to. I'm used to churches where dancing is not only appropriate, but encouraged. I caught myself dancing to even the slowest and somberest of songs, bumping into RC a few times by accident.

I was impressed by both RC's flute playing and SC's fiddling. I was a little alarmed at the number of criers at the church though. As I later told R & SC, I don't react well to crying: I generally either become severely depressed, or start laughing uncontrollably.

'Nuff said on that one.

Afterwards we went to the gas station I had previously skipped that evening and ordered the cappuccino that I was jonesing for all night. The caffeine high fueled a ridiculous evening of foolery and laughter, intensified by the fear we all held of being kicked out of the gas station, and perhaps even permanently banned (and they have the best tasting and least expensive cappuccino around). Fortunately, I used to work with the cashier who was on duty last night, and she knows how silly I can be (the two of us used to do Napolean Dynamite impressions even after they had gone out of style).

The alarming crescendo to the evening was when SC would not get out of RC's car to eat her pudding. Somehow this talk of pudding eating puts the song, "Another Brick in the Wall" into my head. Anyway, I had my car turned on and was twanging like a drunken fool to "Luckenbach, Texas," which I really don't even like, but it's a heck of a song to butcher, and there is SC, sitting is RC's car, refusing to budge. Finally, I was able to get her into my car so she could eat her pudding (that I so graciously saved for her) and then I could get home. Once inside my car, SC gobbled her pudding right down, but RC took her precious time. My dad thinks that perhaps RC didn't like my pudding and was trying to save my feelings. Finally, I told RC to just take the dern stuff home with her because I figured I'd have to go to work today and I was kind of wanting to get to bed.

For once in my life, I slept like a baby when I got home. That RC can really wear a person out!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Awards!

I am so honored! BJ has given me these, not one, not two, but THREE awards today!

This just rocks because, with the cold weather we've been having, I have been finding reasons to drink more coffee! Hot tea is soon to follow.

I love butterflies, what can I say?

This award is very special, though.

Crystal of Memoirs of a Mommy designed this third award to honor the heart transplant donor that saved the life of her adorable son Noah. The rules of this award are very specific.
Link back to Memoirs of a Mommy to learn to learn more of this touching story & ask your recipients to do likewise. The photo of this little boy will melt your heart. After you read about Noah, remember to share this award with all those blogs out there that you love.
All the people who make you smile.
All those that make you laugh.
All those that make your day.
All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog.

I wish to pass this award along to Ray and Robin.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Seasonal Meme

I've just been tagged by BJ to complete the following little meme about Christmas. I'm just going to copy and paste the directions I got from BJ, who in turn got them from Blue... etc., etc.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends! Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, & try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy and paste into a new form. Change all the answers so that they apply only to you. Then post it!
And, do remember to tell, all you tag, that they are playing too!
Here goes...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I'm a lazy and terrible wrapper. Definitely gift bags. As far as opening, I'm OCD about not tearing paper, so bags generally work better for me to open, though I really have no preference.

2. Real or artificial tree?
Artificial. I think a real one would be nice, but we haven't the space. Plus, our cats want to eat the plastic one, so a real one would be disastrous...

3. When do you put up the tree?
Mom starts fussing the day after Thanksgiving. Generally the tree goes up sometime between the day after Thanksgiving and the first whole week of December.

4. Wreath on your door?
Can't say we've ever done that.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Nope--I'm more of a cider person.

6. Favourite Xmas gift received as a child?
Cold hard cash. I always liked to pool my money and buy something "big" with it. Of course, something "big" usually cost 10, maybe 20 dollars...

7. Easiest person to buy for?
Definitely Mom. She always has a wish list that could reach to Timbuktu!

8. Least easiest?
My grandma. She already has everything.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
I think we have a small one. I don't remember putting it up for a long time though. This probably involves our cats who like to rearrange decorations...

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Oh definitely snail-mail. I'm not an "instant gratification" type of person. Waiting is the best part!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Probably something that was a "recycled" gift. I don't really remember details...

12. Favourite Christmas Movie?
Definitely It's a Wonderful Life. Okay, I don't care what you say. I know Frank Capra was a propaganda-monger. I know it's a cheesy movie. I know it's not my type. I just like it, okay! ;)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Oh dang. Christmas IS coming up, isn't it...

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think I've ever done this. Mainly because I have always feared I'd send the gift back to the person I received it from. I remember the gifts, I get confused as to who sent them.

15. Open presents on Christmas eve or morning?
Actually, we generally have a garage party gift-opening fest at my granny's Christmas night! We really do have to wait for it.

16. Lights on the tree?
I guess... I tend to prefer white or some other single-colored light.

17. Favourite Christmas song?
Silver Bells

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I stay home, though I'd travel if I could and if I had need to. But wait, I don't like being out in snowy/icy weather.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Oh yeah, baby! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph (I had to have help from Mom on Dasher and Vixen though)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Good question. I think it's an angel, but I'm not positive...

21. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?
Homemade cookies/candy

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

23. Favourite Tree ornament, theme or colour?
Blue and silver antique ornaments. Love 'em!

24. Favourite for Christmas dinner?
For the past several years I've been bringing my cheesy potato soup to the garage party. We do soup and a cheeseball. It works well. My soup and bread are my favs (that's why I bring 'em!)

25. Brussel Sprouts - love or hate them?

26. Favourite accompaniment to the Christmas Pud?
Something tells me this is probably not something a vegetarian would eat, so I'm going with: n/a

27. Favourite Christmas Carol?
I suppose "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear." I like several though.

28. Your very Favourite Christmas Thing?
Taking turns opening the gifts at the garage party. We get to see what everyone received, taking turns makes the event last, and we sometimes have wrapping paper fights afterwards.

29. A Christmas wish!

30. Tag a Seasonal Six!

I'll tag Ray, Pansy, and Rachel. Anybody else who wants to play along is certainly welcome!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday Scribblings--Grateful

Okay, let me preface this post with the following disclaimer: I am grateful for more things than I can put in a post of readable length. I can't really choose just a few things to write about, so, being the rogue scribbler than I am, I'm going to take a different approach, yet again.

Grateful Ramblings from a Junior "Dead-Head"

One of my favorite bands is the Grateful Dead. I'm sure Robin will agree with me on this one. I waited about a year (until I could get my hands on a blacklight) so I could buy a blacklight poster of the Grateful Dead dancing bears. It was wicked cool.

I was also quite Grateful when I saw the The Very Best of Grateful Dead album on discount at a local junk store around the same time.

Even before I started listening to their music, I wanted to meet Jerry Garcia. Who knows why. Who knows how I'd even heard of Jerry Garcia. Unfortunately, I never got to meet him, as he passed away when I was still in grade school.

I remember how excited I was the day I finally memorized all the lyrics to "Truckin'." Unfortunately, I forgot them shortly after. Oh, I can remember bits and pieces, but all in a jumbled mess, not in the actual order of the song.

When I was singing karaoke a year or so ago, I got a lot of applause for my rendition of "Casey Jones," which has long been a favorite of mine.

The first time I heard "Sugar Magnolia," I didn't know who sang it, but I was so excited that I had to literally stop my car in a parking spot (I was just pulling into a shopping mall) with good reception for that particular radio station.

Hooked? Oh yeah.

"U.S. Blues" and "One More Saturday Night" gave me the energy to clean my room one summer, and "Franklin's Tower" rocked me to sleep every night for about six months.

Yeah, not your typical post I realize, but you know, I am Grateful for the Grateful Dead.

I give Stan Ski props for inadvertently inspiring me to include song titles in this post.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

True Colours Thursday--Red!

I'm so glad to see that my photos finally loaded! I initially had four photos, but after spending the better part of a day trying unsuccessfully to load them all, then after failing to load three of them, I tried loading only two. Apparently that's all I'm going to get this time. Maybe when red rolls around the next time I can use the other two.

These are nesting dolls from Russia. My dad spent a good part of the morning performing a low-budget Caesarian on the 2nd doll. Apparently the paint glaze dried in the joint, thus gluing doll #2 together and imprisoning the four other nesting dolls inside. But persistence paid off, and I was able to get this shot. It's not perfect, but it's here.

This is Mom's mug that she bought from Michael's craft store. She thought the mugs were "too cute," and dropped the hat (lid) off one of them. I was terrified that she had broken it, but fortunately it was tough and didn't break. Soon after that incident (which involved a total silencing of all patrons and the subsequent open-mouthed staring), I strongly encouraged her to just pick one so we could get out of there as soon as possible. This was the one she went with!

Blue, I realize that it is now actually Friday for you. I sincerely apologize for my inability to post when I wanted to (which was around 11:00 or noon today). Anyway, I may get an early start on next week by saving a draft early, and maybe even posting on Wednesday night!

True Colours Thursday--Still Not Working

I have been trying all day to post my photos for Blue's True Colours Thursday. Somehow errors keep popping up, and I haven't been able to get them posted. I have four pictures, three of which have a bit of a Christmas/winter theme. I may try again tonight, or I might try again tomorrow. Anyway, I am determined to keep trying. Sorry I can't get the photos to upload yet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Portrait of Words, Perhaps Next Time

I had a submission for this month's Portrait of Words, but I really didn't like it all that much. It was absurd and over the top, and I just think I could probably do better, so I guess I'll have to wait until next month to post. Hopefully I can come up with something blogworthy by then.

But I can at least talk a little about what I've been doing since my last post.

Today I finished crocheting a laprobe for a girl at my church who had to have both her legs amputated. Not knowing how to approach gift-giving to someone in such a sensitive situation, I thought I'd leave the gift at the church anonymously and put her name on the bag.

I've also been reading BJ's book The Apple Tree and I'm enjoying it very much.

Yesterday, I bought a bottle of sparkling cider and was shocked that I didn't get carded for it. The last time I tried to buy some sort of nonalcoholic sparkling juice, I was asked to show my driver's license. I said, "Well, I can show you my license if you'd like, but that's just juice." To make matters even worse, as soon as I set the bottle on the counter, the kid behind the register ran off to get someone who was old enough to ring up alcohol purchases. So there I was, waiting, holding up the line so that someone of age could ring up my sparkling juice. It was embarrassing for all parties involved. However, I'm glad to say I didn't have to deal with any of that foolery yesterday.

Anyway, that's what's been going on in my neck of the woods. And that's the post that is playing placeholder for the absent Portrait of Words this month.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meme & Award!

My friend, BJ has brought this meme to my attention, and has graciously given me the following award. Though she did not specifically tag anyone to do this, I thought it looked fun and decided to join in.

I will tag a handful of people to play along (bonus: players get to display the accompanying award on their blog). As always, these are just for fun and completely voluntary. Also, anyone that I have not tagged who would like to participate--feel free!

The meme requests one-word responses, but I won't take off points for multiple-word answers (Good luck though; I had a terrible time not doing essay, or at least short answer...)

Tagging: Ray, Aurora, and Robin

1. Where is your cell phone? pocket
2. Where is your significant other? n/a
3. Your hair colour? brownish
4. Your mother? reading
5. Your father? talking
6. Your favourite thing? camera
7. Your dream last night? bizarre
8. Your dream/goal? publishing
9. The room you're in? living
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? heights
12. Where do you want to be in six years? traveling
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? hungry
15. One of your wish list items? books
16. Where you grew up? Illinois
17. The last thing you did? IM
18. What are you wearing? casuals
19. Your TV? big
20. Your pet? cat
21. Your computer? Dell
22. Your mood? mellow
23. Missing someone? sorta...
24. Your car? Mercury
25. Something you're not wearing? hat
26. Favourite store? Michaels
27. Your summer? nice
28. Love someone? yeah
29. Your favourite colour? green
30. Last time you cried? Friday
31. When is the last time you laughed? today

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday Scribblings--Stranger

I honestly do think that truth is stranger than fiction, cliche as the saying may be. This is why I typically write creative nonfiction. For example, just now, I completely forgot that I was making soup in the kitchen. BJ informed me that I am not to boil cream soups (thank you, BJ!), so this time, I think I burned the cheese. Drat! The bottom of my soup pan is suspiciously bumpy now.

Anyway, back to "stranger." When I was writing my thesis, I remember saying to my committee, numerous times, "I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to." This was true, as I often find it hard to believe that many of the scrapes I've gotten into were actual events.

Furthermore, I had a gig writing opinions columns for the school's newspaper for a while. I focused many of my columns on the outrageous news stories I'd read during the week. One of them involved experimenting with Mentos and Diet Coke (I tried this at home--it produces a volcano-like carbonation effect). Another was a response to a guy who got pulled over for "drugs," only to find out he had bags of cheese in his car. Really bizarre stuff.

That's about all I've got for tonight. Amazing that I'm out of things to say. What could be stranger?

For more Sunday Scribblings, click here

True Colours Thursday

I love green. It's my favorite color, and even a nickname of mine. I am a bit of an environmentalist, as I love nature and outdoors, and participate in recycling and using environmentally-friendly products.

But that's not what this post is about.

My friend, Blue, has come up with a very cool new meme called, "True Colours Thursday," and I am happy to be able to participate in it. This week's Colour is green, and I am going to post a few pictures of green souvenirs I picked up from my trip to Arizona last month.

This is the back logo of the t-shirt I bought at the Verde Canyon railroad. I considered buying an orange shirt to diversify my predominantly green and brown wardrobe, but I ultimately chose green because, after all, verde is the Spanish word for "green." I bought this cap at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park near Camp Verde, Arizona. There's a bit of a theme going on here. And lastly, this is a Saguaro cactus plush toy that I got from our hotel in Williams, Arizona (near the Grand Canyon). I love the saguaro cactus. I would have posted some pictures of saguaro that I took on the Beeline Highway northeast of Phoenix, but I took them as a passenger in a moving vehicle, so the quality isn't the greatest. That's why this little guy will have to be my saguaro representative.

Readers, if you have any green pictures, post them! This was fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tagged by Blue...

Okay, so I have officially been tagged by Blue to do this survey thing. Looks like this will be fun. Thanks, Blue!

Outside my window... Are cardinals and blue jays.
I am thinking... "It's too cold!"
I am thankful for... My friends and family.
From the kitchen... I will be baking some chocolate chip and toffee cookies soon!
I am creating... A mess of my room!
I am going to... Work on crocheting an afghan.
I am wearing... A red hoodie and new blue jeans--all Arizona brand! (my favorite)
I am reading... Sanctuary by William Faulkner.
I am hoping... That my cousin gets over her tummy ache.
I am hearing... My cat snoring.
Around the house... Clutter, but there are new birthday gifts amongst it!
One of my favorite things... Is traveling--need to plan my next trip soon.
A few plans for the weekend... Tentatively, having pizza with my friends (weather and schedules permitting).
Remember... Life is what you make it, so be happy.

I'm going to tag a few of my buddies to play along (if they so desire)

BJ, Ray, Lilly, Alisa, Robin, "Alf Rocks", Roadchick

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photo Safari, Part II

This is actually the picture I wanted to post for Monochrome Monday, but I foolishly didn't label any of the pictures, so I ended up with a different one from the same area. I have another that I rather like, but I might save that for another day.


Well, today was my birthday. I went out to eat with my parents, went to the mall, and then came home and opened gifts. We ran into a local newscaster at the mall. My dad said, "Well, there's a familiar face," and the newscaster got a strange expression on his face as if he were thinking, Should I know this guy? I guess I need to say something, and then he said, "Hey, how's it going?" and playfully patted Dad on the back. It's fun to freak out even local celebrities.

BJ, I apologize for having not yet finished Se7en to write a movie review on it. Lately, I've been so sleepy that I haven't been able to watch movies at night like I generally do before writing reviews. However, that being said, I do intend to finish it (and hopefully soon). I also bought The Good Shepherd today. I don't usually buy movies unless I know for sure that I like them. But I took a chance on this one. Hopefully I will produce a review of it soon, as well. Oh yes, and if I can get Blogger to cooperate, I also plan to post more pictures soon.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Photo Safari/Monochrome Monday

My mom and I went on a little photo safari yesterday in the country. This is one of my pictures. I plan to post more at a later date.

I wanted to go way out in the "boonies" for the photos, but Mom wasn't feeling so adventurous. And, considering we were both freezing our tails off, perhaps staying moderately near civilization was a good thing! This particular picture was taken across the road from a house. We pulled off at a little turnaround area to avoid trespassing.

Check out more Monochrome Monday posts!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sunday Scribblings--Change

Friday, November 07, 2008
#136 - Change
Apologies for the delay everyone! It was an easy prompt this week - you can either go your own way, or take the obvious route - it's "change."

Adding Up

I pick up pennies on the street. I'll admit it. I just can't help myself. If I see small change on the ground, I consider it fair game. The most I've ever made in a day is two dollars, but that doesn't really count, since I just happened upon two $1 bills one day in the English building when I was in college.


I have made as much as 22 cents in change in a day. During a rough patch in my life, I found at least one penny every day for a streak so long that I stopped counting the days. I called them "Pennies from Heaven" and believe that if they were put there for a reason, it was to teach me to be thankful for even the smallest blessings in life.

I kept the pennies in a small plastic container. Eventually, I saved enough pennies that I had received in change and that I found on floors and on the ground that I was able to cash them in at the bank. It came to less than $10. I was still thankful for the pennies, wondering how much of that money I made from change that other people discarded.

Months later, I walked into the laundromat to wash a load of clothes, and I saw a tempting sight: pennies, nickels and dimes all over the floor in front of a washing machine. A young man was loading clothes into a washer near the change. He left while his clothes were washing, and I resisted the temptation to pocket all of the change. I figured that somebody who needed it more than I would see it and pick it up. Or maybe somebody who didn't need it at all would snatch it. Either way, I had learned my lesson and no longer needed to rely on the "Pennies from Heaven" to appreciate what I had.

I don't find pennies very much anymore. Maybe it's because of the economy, or maybe other people got the same idea I did. But I don't think so. I think it's because I don't need my object lesson anymore.

Check out other Sunday Scribblings here

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Little Jaunt to Barnes and Noble

I went shopping with my mom, aunt, and grandma today. This is pretty incredible, considering I generally don't care for shopping. However, today I was in the mood, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hadn't noticed until today how long it's been since I've stepped foot into a Barnes and Noble, though. When I walked through the doors and smelled the coffee (wow, I missed a great use of the word "olfactory" here), and saw all the books on shelves and on display tables, memories came rushing back. Hours and dollars spent having a great time in the bookstore. I think I have a different interest every time I visit a bookstore, though. Sometimes I wind up in the cookbooks (vegetarian and desserts), some days it's classic novels (a.k.a. "literature"), on adventurous days, it's the travel section, when I feel like cleaning out old "junk" I check out the books on collectables, and the list goes on forever. Today, I visited literature and bought The Unvanquished by, of course, William Faulkner (definitely my favorite author at the moment). I also bought The Maltese Falcon. I've always heard of it, and it sounded interesting, and since I had a Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to go for it. After literature, my next stop was books on writing. Along the way, my mom spotted David Morrell's new book, The Spy Who Came For Christmas in the Christmas display table. Whoa, awesome! I could have had an autographed copy of this book *slaps self in forehead*. Yes, I met the guy who created Rambo at a writer's conference in Scottsdale, Arizona last month. Yes, he was signing books. No, I didn't get one. I mean, I can't say that I'm a Rambo fan (I can't say I'm not either, because I've never seen the movie or read First Blood), but still, I could have gotten an autographed copy of something by the guy who created Rambo. Oh well. But when I got to the writing section, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a book on writing, written by none other than David Morrell himself. This one is going on my Christmas list. On the way out, I thought of the coffee again. If I hadn't been saving my money, I would have bought one for old times' sake. Coffee or no, this day will still make a nice memory for the next time I take a trip to Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sleepy Thursday

It's been kind of rainy today, so I wasn't able to sit outside and read Faulkner. However, I was able to work on a crocheted afghan (YES!). Perhaps I'll get it done in time for winter.

In other news, though I did not make soup today, I did make soup yesterday. This time I made cheesy potato soup (very yummy, I may add). I don't measure very many ingredients when making soup, but I can say that this time I boiled three good-sized Yukon Gold potatoes (cubed) with one vegetable bouillon cube until the potatoes were tender, but not mushy. Then, I added a can of condensed cream of celery soup and a pound of Velveeta. I accidentally boiled the cream soup and Velveeta, which separated the soup a little. For best results, just melt the cream soup and Velveeta. Also, next time I plan to use more potatoes. The broth is good, but I like some substance to my soup!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Movie Review--Changeling

This is one of those movies I foolishly jumped into--I decided I wanted to see it after simply catching the tail-end of a muted trailer for the movie. However, let me say, up front, that unlike Scarface, this movie did not let me down.

Quite the contrary.

Changeling is based on a true story of L.A. crime in 1928. The story sort of ends in 1935, but you'd have to watch the movie to understand why. I'll agree with IMDb that the movie starts out a bit slow, but for a movie like this, it kind of has to. Angelina Jolie does a brilliant job of portraying Christine Collins, a single mom whose son disappears one Saturday while she is at work. Her acting, in my opinion, appeared neither contrived nor reserved. She seemed quite natural in her role. All of the child actors in this film were very believable in their balance between childlike actions and grown-up responsibilities (many of them were forced to react to situations totally inappropriate for anyone, especially young children). Jason Butler Harner (an actor I've never heard of) was freakishly talented at playing a delusional psychopath, and John Malkovich was stunning as Rev. Gustav Briegleb, a minister seeking to bring the truth of the LAPD's corruption to the public.

I highly recommend this movie; however, if you are the type of person who allows films to make you emotional, then come prepared with a box of Kleenex or two. I didn't cry during the movie, but there were a couple of times I came close (interesting side-note: I've only cried at one movie, and yes, John Malkovich was in it... Of Mice and Men). There were also moments in Changeling when I desperately wanted to give certain characters a standing ovation. Yes, the movie will pull at your heartstrings and manipulate you to a certain extent, but remember, this was based on a true story. Had it been a fictional movie, I would have said that never in a million years would this plot be possible. I was shocked and appalled that such crime actually took place in human history. There are some sickening scenes near the end of the movie, so make sure you've finished your popcorn early. You might also find yourself losing faith in humanity after watching Changeling, but trust me, the movie is well worth it.

One other note: I am by no means a historian, but with what little I do know of the late 1920s and early to mid-1930s, I found the costumes and dialogue to be very realistic. If you go see this movie, I think you'll agree with me that, though we don't have much background on most of the characters, you'll become attached to them anyway and feel like you know them by the end of the movie.

No, Changeling is not exactly a feel-good movie, but it's not a total downer either. It's a great mix of genres: drama, mystery/crime, political, horror (arguably), and even a little romance at the end. I absolutely abhor sentimental movies, but this one was excellent. Clint Eastwood directed Changeling, and I was impressed that it was neither overly bloody and violent, nor overly dramatic and sappy. I think the cast and crew did Mrs. Collins' story justice with this one. Go out and see it for yourself--let me know what you think.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I am still digging this awesome November weather. This morning, I sat outside and read some William Faulkner. I finished Light in August, and now I'm on Sanctuary. I also played around with taking some pictures (I'm considering photo memeing) in sepia tones and black and white.

This afternoon, around 3:00, my boss called with a little bit of work for me to do. So from 3:30-4:15 I was editing! As soon as I got home, my cat Peyser jumped up in the chair with me and proceeded to climb up my back! This made for difficult blogging (but he's gotten down, now).

Not much else going on at the present, but I just wanted to note that I had a pleasant day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Movie Review--Scarface

Okay, I suppose I set myself up for a letdown when I waited literally years to see a movie. I built it up in my mind, expecting it to be something it wasn't. Another serious error I made was renting an older movie. However, I didn't want to own it.

After quite a bit of searching, I finally found Scarface for rent at Family Video for $1 for five nights. The price was definitely right. Somehow, I expected the movie to be about Al Capone in Prohibition-era Chicago, but instead, it was about some Tony Montana in 1980s-era Miami. Not exactly what I was expecting.

The disc I'd rented was pretty badly scratched, so there were places where the movie would kind of "hiccup," and others where it would stop altogether. It was horrible. I wasted most of the extra hour we got from converting back to standard time just trying to find what point I was at in the movie when the disc got stuck. Finally it occurred to me: I don't even like this movie, so why am I worrying so much about it?

In all fairness, I don't have the authority to review this one, since I didn't see all of it. There were simply scenes that would not play. This meant that I often had to skip scenes, meaning I missed pieces of the plot. However, I wasn't impressed with the parts I did see.

The only characters I'll even mention:
Al Pacino: Tony Montana
Michelle Pfeiffer: Elvira Hancock

I hate to say this, but I was bored by the movie. It moved slower than I expected, and it was fairly predictable. I know it is supposed to be a classic, but I can't figure out why. The dialogue didn't seem all that great to me. I can handle profanity in dialogue that is realistic, but littering a script with "The F-word" is a sign of bad writing. I understand that these characters would use a lot of foul language, but it was completely overdone in Scarface, to the point that it lost its effect. It wasn't shocking, it didn't seem realistic, and it just sounded like a group of teenage boys trying to sound tough to impress one another.

Al Pacino's strangely charming demeanor at the beginning of the movie is all that really saved him (in my estimation) in Scarface. I can't figure out what he did to make his character so charming, though. Maybe it was the Cuban accent. I don't know. Maybe it was because his character hadn't gotten so deeply involved in drugs yet. Either way, I got annoyed with Tony Montana about halfway through the movie. He was getting too cocky for me. I wanted Elvira to slap him. All I ever saw her do was anger him by badmouthing him to his face. But then, I hated her character too. It was one of those movies where you just kind of want the main characters to jump out of a window while they're hopped up on cocaine. This scenario would have shortened the movie significantly, saving me a bunch of time. Anyway, Tony's character had far more flaws than good qualities, and by the end of the movie, I felt he got what was coming to him.

Moral of the story? Read a brief IMDb summary before renting a movie, Sunshine. Readers, if you go in knowing kind of what the movie is, perhaps you will like it better than I did. However, I'll just be honest and say I think it is overrated.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Welcome to November!

I'm excited that this is the first day of November. It has been unseasonably warm today. I sat outside earlier, just baking in the sun. It was great. Mom and I went to Wal-Mart this morning. I'm not fond of Wal-Mart, but eh, it was nice to do something with her. While we were there, we picked up some Ben and Jerry's pumpkin ice cream. I can't remember the name of the flavor, but it was pretty good.

I am about three pages from the end of Light in August. Why I haven't yet finished it, I do not know.

Oh oh oh! (Pardon the Dick, Jane, and Sally-type repetition). I finally got my grubby little hands on Scarface today! I'm so excited! I plan to watch it tonight. Hopefully it's not a letdown.

In other news, I tried to watchSe7en last night. It looked fairly interesting (though I abhor Brad Pitt's character in the movie), but I fell asleep. Have to try it again soon. Movie reviews of both are sure to follow.

And, of course, my birthday is coming up. YAY! All great reasons to love this first day of November :)