Saturday, April 29, 2006

A mommy blog referral

"I’m not a Mother. Mothers are elemental, all-seeing, fierce when necessary. I’m too tired to be fierce." Asha, Noms de Mom, April 19

"I kinda feel bad saying that time without my kids is my favorite. Until I realized that my second-favorite time is the time I looked forward to when I missed it every day because I was working full time. The time when I see their sweaty hair sticking to their face and their rosey cheeks: The time when they wake up." Jojomah, untitled post, April 25

I came across a great post, Noms de Mom, by Asha, a guest writer at Mommybloggers. She reflects on different expectations of the words mom, mama, mother, etc. In doing so, she examines motherhood and her need to maintain her identity as "Asha."

It also reminded me of some reading I have been doing over at jojo-mama, a new blog by Jojomah. Having been a full-time working mom, Jojomah writes succinctly but clearly illuminates her new life as a stay-at-home-mom. Like Asha, you can read in Jojomah's posts her examination of her life as a mom, wife, and former career woman.

I think you might enjoy what they have to say.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Six Degrees of Booking, Round Robin Style

Booking Through Thursday

Here's the scoop from Laura for today's exercise:

"Jeanne suggested that we do this again, round robin style. I think it sounds like fun. It'll be interesting to see the book selections. I won't be here next week (see my blog for details, if you're so inclined), so see if you can keep this going for a couple of weeks. Here's what to do:

I'll start with a book, then the first person who comments uses my book as inspiration. Each person after that uses the book of the person above as their inspiration. There will be times when there's an overlap, with two or more people using the same book as their inspiration. When that happens, the next person will have their choice."

Laura chose the first book:
I don't read classics as often as I should, but when I do I usually love them. One of my favorites is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. My husband has a nice collection of leather-bound books, and it's his special edition of this book that I first read. It made the experience just that much more enjoyable for me. The smell of the leather, the fine gilt-edged pages, the beauty of the prose, the eerie feeling of the tale, all made my first sojourn into this wonderful story that much more special.
Bill chose:
I propose Jamaica Inn' by Daphne du Maurier. I read this book in the 1970's when on holiday's at my grand parents. That summer was awfully hot and i spent the afternoons readins in the coolest room of the house. My grand mother owned a lot of what was then called 'Women books' (that meant written by women). Among them were all du ùaurier's books and I read them all and loved them.
In 1996, I holidayed in the southern Coast of England with my husband and daughter. I bought the book when I got back home, read it again and loved it! Here it is :

Jeanne said...
"Jamaica Inn" makes me think of adventure stories -- specifically Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". Even though this was (and still is, I suppose) seen as a "boy's book," I enjoyed it tremendously, with its tales of the sea and derring-do, and its wonderfully vivid characters. "Pieces of eight, pieces of eight!"
My choice:

Okay, I had to think about this but Jeanne's comment about Treasure Island being a "boy book" leads me to a very recent read of mine, Guys Write for Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka. Guys Read ( is an organization designed to increase the literacy of boys. The book is essays and drawings by male authors and illustrators. Like Jeanne and Treasure Island, this book is for boys but I absolutely loved it. So many wonderful tales of childhood from dozens of "guys." A must read.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"When you can't run anymore, you crawl... and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you."

The quote above is from a television series called Firefly. It is spoken by a young man who has made some terrible choices and ends up paying with his life. He used his war buddies to try to get him out of the trouble he brought upon himself because he knew they would do anything to help him. By trying to take advantage of them, he made things worse for himself, but in the end, they did just what the quote says. When he could no longer run and no longer crawl, they carried him--home to his family to be buried.

My friend's brother died this week. As I think about what she and her family are experiencing, this quote came to mind. This may seem like a jump. Let me explain. I love this quote because it represents so much of what I value in life. I have people in my life who will carry me. God has placed them there and I treasure each and every one of them. There have been so many times when I felt like I couldn't even crawl. When it seems like not even my friends can carry me, I know that God is.

As I think about my friend--I'll call her Susan--my heart breaks. Killed tragically in a fire, her young brother, only 27 years old, leaves behind a family who must feel right now as if they can't even crawl. Horrifying yet unreal, his death will be with them for the rest of their lives. I know. I've experienced death on numerous occasions: my grandparents, my brother, an aunt, an uncle. I know.

Susan called and left a message for me Saturday night. Crying, she apologized for leaving such a message and barely got out the words, "My brother Jim passed away. He was badly burned in a fire and his body just couldn't take it." She made arrangements and flew from half-way round the world to come home to bury her brother. I cry for her and her family today--cry for the pain they will continue to experience. I pray for them today--pray they will make friends with their grief. I pray they will be able to be there for each other when it feels like they cannot run or crawl. I pray they will allow themselves to be carried by each other and by God.

I pray.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Six More Degrees of Booking

Laura, over at Booking Through Thursday picked up my suggestion to do Six Degrees of Booking, so she recommended I play again this week along with everyone else. So, here goes:

1. Billiards at Half-Past Nine by Heinrich Boll about an architect dealing with the consequences of his actions in WWII. Billiards are a game which leads to. . .

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. On Ender’s game-playing capability rests the salvation of Earth. Another game player is Gurgeh in. . .

3. The Player of Games by Iain M Banks whose title character must play the ultimate high stakes game to save his life. Gurgeh wins his game unlike Dr. Moreau whose game of playing with creation goes awry on. . .

4. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells which, as we studied in Reading andWriting Texts at UT Dallas, is really just a retelling of. . .

5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley which is classified in the horror genre at like. . .

6. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski which is considered a post-post-modern horror novel.

Now, I need to confess three things:

1. I'm functioning on very broken up sleep. So, I think these make sense, but who knows, maybe not.

2. The Player of Games is not my book. It belongs to Glyn at thoughtsbyglyn. It is only a long-term visitor to my library who should have gone home ages ago.

3. I have not read House of Leaves. It was recommended by my brilliant friend Ed. When I say brilliant, I don't mean shiny. He is one of the smartest people I've ever met. So, I bought it and it has completely intimidated me. It stared and I blinked. That doesn't mean I won't ever read it but I thought you should have full disclosure.

Until next time. . .

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Six Degrees of Booking

For some reason, the Booking Through Thursday site didn't put up new questions today. I'm kinda bummed so I decided to work on something myself. I think I will call this Six Degrees of Booking. Connect any six books in your library to each other (no series!)

Here I go:

  1. Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I think of HWOSG as a non-fiction version of a Douglas Coupland novel such as. . .
  2. All Families are Psychotic which is about a dysfunctional family that is funny whereas
  3. Blood Ties by Jennifer Lash is about a dysfunctional family which is not funny. Jennifer Lash is Joseph Fiennes' mom who played William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love. William Shakespeare is an important part of the Thursday Next novels such as. . .
  4. The Eyre Affair. Important to the plot of The Eyre Affair is the title character Jane Eyre from. . .
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte whose sister Emily wrote. . .
  6. Wuthering Heights.
Ta Da! These are all books from my library and I've actually read each one.

WARNING: Social Justice Post Follows

Update: The link to the news story is no longer valid. However, if you do a search for Uganda or the LRA, you will find plenty to read about this crisis. The Invisible Children link below and in my sidebar will also give you the story.

In honor of my friend Glyn at thoughtsbyglyn (you'll notice a tendency towards social justice on his blog,) I'm posting a link to a news story from AP today on the humanitarian crisis in Uganda. I became familiar with this issue last year when I watched a documentary called Invisible Children. Here is a quote from an Invisible Children Inc press release:

The start of Invisible Children came in 2003 when three naive filmmakers, from Southern California, flew to Africa in search of a story that would change the world. What they found was a situation in Northern Uganda that disgusted and inspired them. They documented their findings of a 20-year-long war where children are the weapons, and the victims. The result was a film called, Invisible Children: Rough Cut. After seeing the impact of their film worldwide, they formed the non-profit Invisible Children Inc.

The organization is dedicated to ending the war in Northern Uganda where children are abducted and forced to fight with the rebel army as child soldiers. For fear of being hunted by the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), these children commute on foot every night to find safe places to sleep in their town centers. To date, more than 30,000 children have been abducted and forced into war. That's why Invisible Children is calling on the world to take a stand.

After reading the news story today, I went back to the Invisible Children website. Since I was last there, they have added quite a bit. One new thing is a bracelet you can buy which represents a specific Ugandan child. As soon as I finish this post, I'm surfing back over to buy one.

Each and every one of us has a decision to make whenever we come across information like this. I know that I feel connected with the Invisible Children movement and plan on doing something through them. Maybe you are contributing in some other way to any of a number of worthy causes. The purpose of today's post isn't to convince you to do something for the children in Uganda. No, the purpose of today's post is to share a story that might break your heart a little. It should. If your heart is broken a little over the life these children are leading, you will look at the world a little differently today.

Monday, April 10, 2006

POTUS I'll never be...

I like to think of myself as a somewhat competent person. I like to pretend that under the right circumstances, I wouldn't be sitting on a Literary Studies degree I've never utilized. I imagine myself as a book editor at a decent size publisher or the three-time repeating high school teacher of the year. I've got a quite decent IQ. A couple of nights ago, I had a startling epiphany. I could never be the president. Seriously. That was the thought that popped into my mind sometime around midnight Saturday. I've spent some time considering this idea and here's why I could never be the President of the United States (POTUS):

1. I hate to say it, but I just might push the button at the wrong time of the month. It could happen. I know it isn't the politically correct thing to think but it would be like that Easy Button commercial on television. One day, it just might seem like the easy thing to do. (PLEASE NOTE: I only speak for myself and not for any other 40ish woman on the planet.)
2. A 24-hour kitchen. I am a complete loss at controlling my diet consistently. I have good days followed by a string of bad days. If I had a chef and kitchen staff at my disposal, the Haagen-Daaz implications alone are mind-boggling.
3. Low tolerance for anyone who contradicts me. I doubt it would be good for international relations if I got fed up with the prime minister of Anywhere-but-here-istan and just shot a "What!" "You've got to be kidding me!" "Fine!" before I got up and stormed out.
4. I'm too unstructured. I watch The West Wing. I know the President has a to-the-minute schedule that runs from the early hours until late in the night. If I have more than five things to do an any given day, I just want to cry. Isn't that sad? I'll keep going, but I'm very pathetic. Imagine how would it look if I started getting choked up in the situation room as the world faces a potential apocalyptic disaster and I had to explain, "I'm sorry. Sniff, sniff. It's just been a really long day. Just give me a minute."

Now, I'll avoid pesky little reasons like I'm not affiliated with any political party, I have no understanding of economics and my foreign policy experience is limited to the two trips I've taken to Mexico over the last 25 years. That's not why I can't be president. No. Not at all. Unh-unh. (Please allow me my delusions, er, I mean illusions.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My First Meme

Well, apparently it is all the rage to do a meme on a blog. That sounds like a foreign language, doesn't it? What is a meme, you ask? Let me share this definition with you:

meme n (mëm): A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek mimëma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate.

In the blogosphere, that translates to theme posts, such as Favorite Foto Friday or Three Things Thursdays (nod to Sheila of Musings of a Mommy.) I haven't really adopted any meme for my own, but now, I have found (trumpets sound) Booking Through Thursday. Now, that's a meme for me! Yahoo! So, I'll post my answers to today's questions and see if anyone else wants to join me.

This week's questions were suggested by Kim.

An Interesting Character

Do you have a favorite character(s)? Thomas Covenant (Let me say that I have so many favorite characters from Atticus Finch to Thursday Next. I've been thinking about the Thomas Covenant books lately, hence my choice.)

What book/author is he/she/it from? From The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson.

Why do you like this person--what is it about the way he/she was written that drew you to them? When the reader first meets Thomas Covenant, he is exists in a living hell. He is a leper, an outcast from his town. His wife left him and took their son. He is miserable and bound to live through the rituals which keep his leprosy from spreading. He is thrust into another world, called the Land, which completely confounds him where he faces terrible situations. But, unlike what you might expect, he doesn't rise to those situations. He fights them with devastating consequences. Somehow, you feel for him at the same time you are completely frustrated by him. I think it is the sign of good writing when you want to argue with a fictional character!

Is there something more you would like the author to tell you about them? Because the series is so long(two series, three books each) it is very comprehensive. I think Donaldson pretty much tells you everything you could possibly want/need to know.

Well, that's it. My first meme. I know there are plenty of other book lovers out there who'd enjoy this one. Let me know if you decide to join me!

For more memes, check out The Daily Meme. Of particular interest, the writing section has lots of links to story starters and other writing exercises that are fun and challenging.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Yes. The answer to the great question. 42. What?

Well, basically, this is just the latest in my recent rash of blogging. Honestly, I think I need a blog patch. For years I have ridiculed my husband because of my belief that there will never, ever, ever be enough guitars. This theory was substantiated a few years ago when Eric Clapton auctioned off, what, 150 guitars to raise money for his rehab facility in Aruba. I heard him on the telly saying that this was a major sacrifice. These weren't museum pieces, you know. These were good, working guitars. Hah! I knew it all along. Over 150 guitars and he played them all.

Now however, I find myself working on this, my third blog. I'm actually embarassed by it. Not so embarrassed though that I'm not gonna do it. The first blog was a family update blog. Then, I felt the need to explore loss in my life. Blog #2. I quit blog number one and made a new one on Blogger. Now, after a few months, I find I want to talk about more than my family and my exploration of grief. So, here we go. . . With a nod to my beloved Douglas Adams. I intend to talk about whatever strikes my fancy here regarding Life, the Universe and Everything.

Until later, My name is Mary and I'm a blogaholic.