Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Report: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Authour: Sherman Alexie
Length: 230 pages
How long it took me to read: 4 days

What it's about: In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

The ending is the most important part: The ending was sweet and wonderful. I loved it.

Last word: This book was funny and sweet and cute and I really enjoyed it. It also made me want to save all the aboriginal people everywhere. I am also cursing my whiteness.

Spoilers after the jump

Thursday, November 28, 2013

That Time That Toby Totally Told on Me.

I one hundred percent was not going for alliteration up there, but what can you do?

So I used to do this thing where I would sneak out in the middle of the night and go off on little adventures. I would go for drives with my friends, go to Mac's, hang out, walk around, go to the beach. Fairly harmless stuff, but it was awesome because it was the middle of the night. I did it a lot.

My bedroom was in the basement and there was a door down there that lead to the backyard, so I didn't have to worry about going upstairs and risk waking up my parents. I would just go out the back door, through the gate, through the carport, down the driveway, and then either to the top or bottom of the street to meet whomever I was meeting to go off on my adventure. It was a great setup.

My stepfather was a Teamster and left for work really early in the morning - 4:30 am. My goal was to be home before Stepfather left for work. Many times, I was tip-toeing through the carport and I would hear the shower running.

This one time when I came home, THE BASEMENT DOOR WAS LOCKED.

I could hear Stepfather in the shower, so it was guaranteed that my mum was up making his lunch, so there was no way I was going to be able to come in the kitchen door. I had no choice but to come in one of the basement windows.

We lived in this older house and the windows in the basement were wood and didn't open very freely. The one in the family room was the easiest to open and didn't have a screen on it, so I used that one. As I was attempting to open the window, it was sticking and scraping and making much more noise than I wanted it to. As this was happening, our Sheltie/Poodle mix, Toby, discovered me and started barking at me. I whispered, "Toby, it's ME!" to try to quiet him down, but he would not lay off. It wasn't until I was in the house and he could smell me that he calmed down. I managed to close the window silently and make it to my room. By this time, my mother heard me and called to me asking what the dog was barking at. I told her it was me, that I had gotten up to go to the bathroom and he freaked out. She gave me this weird look from the top of the stairs like she didn't believe me. It had been very lightly drizzling outside. She said, "Let me feel your hair." Of course I knew I was busted, so I explained myself and earned a week's worth of grounding.

Thanks a lot dog.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is it Me or Did Christmas Come Early This Year?

I've whined before about the fact that I'm a Humbug, but this year seems particularly bad.

Half our neighborhood is already lit up. I'm okay with putting your lights up while the weather's not freezing, but do you have to turn them on already? No. The answer is no. No you don't.

Last weekend, Huey was watching a Christmas movie, and DH was listening to Christmas music. I had to leave the room.

Dewey came home from school today and was singing Christmas song.


Why are we rushing things so much this year?

Before I grew up, I used to impose this rule on my family that we would not decorate until after my birthday, which is December 8. (cards and love welcome, of course.) I didn't think I was being unreasonable as no one else had to compete with a holiday for their birthday, and I had to wait all year for my birthday. I felt it was just a matter of respect for me that we waited to celebrate Christmas until after my birthday.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm fine with decorating at Thanksgiving since I have the four days off and if I wait until after my birthday things are just too crazy and I end up putting the tree up on Christmas Eve.

I'm still a Scrooge about celebrating too early though. Let's just take the holidays one at a time, shall we?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Song of the Day - Sloan Underwhelmed

This is one of those Canadian bands that you should know about. You just need to.

This song is one of the most excellently written songs I have ever heard. The lines about the story about her life totally inspire me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Desperately seeking NSLP

The definition of NSLP has been explained wonderfully over at hellogiggles.

For those of you not interested in links, NSLP stands for Non-Sexual Life Partner.

I have wonderful friends whom I love dearly, but they all live far, far away. Berit lives in New Mexico, Jenn in Las Vegas, Stef and Tara in Canada (along with my mum and sisters and many others), and Kate in New Zealand. I would walk five thousand miles or take a bullet or donate a gallon of blood for any of those girls, but the problem is, those girls are not here. I can't call them and be with them in an instant.

So far I've been okay with not having a local bestie. I have DH, and I rarely have free time, so I don't have a lot of time to be lonely, and I really don't mind going places alone and doing things by myself. I'm not one of these girls that can't go to the bathroom by themselves.

It's just that sometimes I need someone to do the things that I love that DH has no desire in doing with me. Like geeking out over certain books or movies. Or nail polish; or Barbies, or shoes, or Superman. I know that the internet is great for connecting with people who have like interests, but sometimes you want to go to a book signing, or comic-con and it's more fun to do that in person, and with someone else. I got together with some girls in my neighbourhood to see a screening of Austenland where there was a question and answer with Shannon Hale. We all went to dinner beforehand and had a BLAST. The movie was HILARIOUS, we ate cookies from the Blue Lemon, and we enjoyed blasting all the critics that said the movie was junk afterwards. I need more of that.

Sometimes it's good for me to get out of my cave and interact with other female humans, so this is what I need:

Applicants need not be married, or have children, but it's nice to have that in common.
Must be available when I'm available.
Must tolerate sarcasm and biting wit.
Must be able to endure the things that come out of my mouth that will totally be embarrassing to us both.
Must realize that while I am an active and participating member of the LDS Church, I occasionally swear, tell naughty jokes, yell at my kids, and drink Dr. Pepper, and needs to be okay with this and not judge me nor tell me that I won't get into the celestial kingdom for acting like I do, and then not be shocked when I'm reverent and respectful and bear my testimony.
Must either a) understand that I speak in a language of cultural references, or b) get all the cultural references. I tend to quote the following on a regular basis: Monty Python, Gilmore Girls, Absolutely Fabulous, and Twilight. (sorry, I'm not sorry) I also quote lines from songs from both popular and alternative music.
I will assign you a song; that song will make me think of you every time I hear it, and I may sing that song every time you see me. In turn, you can sing the Kelly, Kelly, Kelly song from Cheers to me. If I don't know a song, I will make one up. It may or may not be stupid, but you still have to put up with it.
Know that I get crushes on other people and things, but they will never, ever take the place of my Darling Husband. He's stuck with me for eternity. You don't need to worry about this, even if it looks like you do.
Things come in threes for me. I have issue with things that do not come in threes.
I appear fearless, but I am a big, fat, yellow chicken. I need someone who will see past the bravado and understand that there are times when I will thank you for taking me by the hand and dragging me to do certain things, like shop at M.A.C. or help me to find the perfect black trousers. On the other hand, I need you to respect that I'm a chicken, and not ready for many experiences, but I'm also open minded, so I'll eventually come around, but if it's something YOU are afraid to do and need a friend, then I am SO there for you, sister!
We don't need to be the same age, but it will help if you get all the things that I'm talking about that are from the seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond. Sometimes I'm nostalgic for the forties, fifties, and sixties too, even though I wasn't born yet. I'm a weirdo.
I contradict myself all the time. Get used to it, and don't call me a hypocrite.
I say what I mean and I mean what I say, but I reserve the right to go back on my word when it comes to my opinion. If I tell you I will do something for you though, I will do it. Just maybe not according to your time table.
I am a Class A flake. I hate this about myself, but I'm not sure I can fix it. I will try my hardest for you though, because you will put up with my crap and you understand me.
I love all dogs; you cannot be a cat person/dog hater.

I am superficial, shallow and really hard to get to know. I appear open but am in fact super closed. If you can see past this and be patient, you will have a loyal friend for LIFE.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SUP-er Rantgirl!

I've ranted and whined about my desire to be supernatural once or twice. Well since all things come in threes (especially when you're dealing with me), I'm going to whine about my need for superpowers.

If Rantgirl were a super hero, what would her powers be? I'm so glad you asked!

1) Invisibility. This is my number one wish. If I could have only one power, it would be this. I need this for the bad hair days, and for the times that I can't function in public, but I have to go out in public because I have other people that I'm responsible for. I also need this so that I can know what people are saying when I'm not in the room.

2) Jeanie-blink. (or for those born after the seventies, this could be also known as Disapparating) I would love to be able to just fold my arms, blink my eyes, and , boink, be somewhere else. It's not that I mind travelling, sometimes I just don't have the time to fly to Paris, and I would love to see the Eiffel Tower and put my lock on that fence.
This would be especially helpful for those moments when I say something terrible that I wish wouldn't have flown out of my mouth. I could just Jeanie-blink out of there and maybe everyone would just forget that I was even standing there.

I would also like to be able to open doors with my mind so that I can make a grand entrance. I would like to be able to speak any language. You know, like C-3PO. Then I would like to have the power to download my brain. I wish I could just take a USB cord and pop it into someone else's head because my powers of communication aren't the best.

Oh, and time travel. That would be cool too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Performance Anxiety

I have really dense, naturally wavy hair. It is not so curly that I can't have a straight 'do without difficulty, and it's wavy enough to hold a curl for days. It's a massive forest of hair; when it's long, you can brush it for hours, run your fingers through it, and it's really soft, pretty and beautiful. I'm sorry that I'm being such a braggart, but my hair is one of my defining features. I really, really, love my hair.

When I was little, I had blonde hair, similar to the colour it is now. I have a big, huge cowlick in the front which prevents me from ever having normal looking bangs, but that is the only flaw. It was a pretty, flowing, golden blonde mane that was so thick and pretty. One day my Grama told my Mum that she needed to cut my hair because I was too lethargic and "it was sapping my energy". My mother didn't believe her, but because it was heavy, hard to take care of, and she had two other children to take care of, she cut it off. Apparently afterwards I seemed lighter and so much cheerier that she ended up believing that it really was all that hair.

I have had long hair only a couple of times in my life, and I can add my testimony to that of my mother's that my hair does sap my energy. It's long, heavy, and gives me a headache. It doesn't hang straight, so it covers me like a cape (or Cousin It), and is very, very hot. I hate having long hair because of what a hassle it is, but it's so pretty, it seems like such a waste to not have long hair and show it off.

I am a really good public speaker. I've won speech contests, debates, and student council elections based on my ability to speak in public. I'm also entertaining, funny, and quick on my feet. In a nutshell, I'm good in front of an audience. Really good.

I really hate being in public.

I get all kinds of anxiety leading up to the "performance", I'm not nice to be around, and I find it hard to function in regular life. Afterwards I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained and usually have to spent time alone in a quiet, dark room in order to recover. Why is this? This really bugs me. Why am I good at something, like, really good, that is so taxing on me? Once I'm "on the podium" so to speak, I'm safe, the podium protects me - it gives me my power, but the times before and after are terrible. This is really hard for me to wrap my head around. A friend of mine posted on Facebook an article about creative people and one of the points was that creative people are both introverted and extroverted. I find this to be so totally true, and explains a lot. Many creative people are also crazy, which explains a lot too, but I'm not talking about that right now.

I identify as an introvert, and for the most part, I am, but every person I tell this to calls me a liar because they see me in public when I'm "performing". I still hate this about myself. I'm still trying to figure this out, but the point I'm trying to make with this rant is, WHY? I just don't get how, like my hair, something so wonderful and beautiful like a talent, can be so hard on a person. If it's a talent, shouldn't it come naturally? Shouldn't it be easy? (it is easy, like I said once I get up there, but the preparation and let down SUCKS) If I went the mentally healthy direction, I would never ever go out in public, but isn't that putting one's talent under a bushel? I have short hair for my health, and when people see pictures of my long hair, jealousy is usually expressed and the question asked why I don't have long hair. The answer, always, is me tilting my head backwards as if I'm being weighed down by my pony tail which is literally how I feel when I have long hair.

It just seems like such a waste of talent, but is the expense of mental and physical energy worth it? I'm most definitely not an extrovert, so should I leave the extrovertedness to the extroverts? This is so frustrating to me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Report: Zen and the Art of Faking it

Title: Zen and the Art of Faking It
Authour: Jordan Sonneblick
Length: 264 pages
How long it took me to read: A week.

What it's about: When eighth-grader San Lee moves to a new town and a new school for the umpteenth time, he doesn't try to make new friends or be a loner or play cool. Instead he sits back and devises a plan to be totally different. When he accidentally answers too many questions in World History on Zen (only because he just had Ancient Religions two schools ago) all heads turn and San has his answer: he's a Zen Master. And just when he thinks everyone (including the cute girl he can't stop thinking about) is on to him, everyone believes him . . . in a major Zen way

The ending is the most important part: The ending was nice and neat and fine.

Last word: I wanted to like this book, it was fine, but not terrific. I wanted to give Jordan Sonneblick a second chance since Drums was his first book, but I guess I'm just not a fan.

Spoilers after the jump

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not good at talking unless I'm talking about myself and then I can't shut up

The other day I went visiting teaching. My companion was running late, so I had to go in by myself. We've only visited this girl one other time, so I don't know her very well. Ironically, she's the one that thought she knew me from somewhere else and I reacted so badly.

So we got over the how are you, how's work stuff really quickly, and she sat there, looking at me expectantly. I drew a blank completely and had nothing to say either. I started fumbling for things to say and feeling really awkward. I apologized for being so weird, explaining that I'm not the most socially talented person. I just felt weird because I didn't know when my companion was coming, so I wasn't sure if I should just share the message and take off, or wait, or what and I couldn't remember a lot of what we had talked about the visit prior, so I couldn't follow up on that.

I ended up bringing up how we should figure out how we really know each other. She laughed and explained that she realized that I remind her of a friend of hers and that we don't really know each other. I explained to her how I have not been blonde for a long time which was one of the things that tripped me up on our first meeting which led into a fifteen minute monologue on the history of my hair, which included two side tangent stories, also related to my hair.

By this time my companion had showed up and we talked some more. I was warmed up to the point that I couldn't stop talking. This must have looked so weird, because I went from not being able to talk at all, to not being able to shut up.

When I was on my mission, I had this companion who was really good at the asking the get to know you questions and getting people to open up, but I found her style to be so invasive. She wouldn't let up and asked really personal questions, but the weird thing is, people answered her, and they seemed to not mind.

I'm such a respecter of people's privacy, I figure if someone wanted me to know something, they would tell me. I don't like to pry. I feel more comfortable talking about myself, because 1) I can control what I share, 2) I can avoid probing questions, and 3) I know I'm not getting too personal with a person by asking them questions that they are uncomfortable answering. The last thing I want to do is make a person feel uncomfortable (unless I don't like them, then I don't care), so I just feel more comfortable talking about myself.

This is why I'm a terrible listener.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Group Costume

I know that it's three weeks past Halloween, but I've been busy, Okay? I just want to tell you this most awesome thing that happened.

Halloween is my other favourite holiday. I love dressing up. When I was a kid, I would have my next year's Halloween costume planned before this Halloween. O who am I kidding? I'm still like that. I think I have three or four years planned.

You know what I love even more than Halloween costumes? GROUP Halloween costumes. As if you have to ask, the explanation is that with group costumes, you have even more costumes! And they coordinate! Yay!

One year my friend Bill leaned over to me in sacrament meeting in our single's ward and said, "You should be Wilma Flintstone for Halloween." He was so right! I loved the idea. He told me that Berit should be Betty and BAM! Group costume was born.
Berit and Me 1992

I used to coordinate my Mum and Step-father's costume for the Halloween party that his soccer club would have every year. One year they were a shower and a bar of soap. My mother replicated the Ivory logo on a cardboard box exactly. I thought she was a genius.

Another thing about growing up was that we always made our costumes. My mother is very talented in the sewing/being creative/make it work categories. Also, we were poor, so we couldn't afford cheap store-bought plasic costumes. We also has this trunk, called the costume box, where we would chuck any of our old, weird stuff; stuff from plays, Baby Sister's skating costumes, Step-father's old hippy clothes, old Halloween costumes. Every year we would dig through the costume box and figure out what we could add to whatever we found in the box in order to make an awesome Halloween costume.

DH's mom is a brilliant seamstress also, so he always had home-made costumes.

When I got engaged to DH, I was so excited to finally have someone to dress up with!! One year I tried to be Mulder and Scully with him, I even dyed my hair copper-penny red, and made FBI badges, but at the last minute he pulled out claiming that a) Mulder doesn't wear glasses, and b) the kids at the school we were volunteering at wouldn't 'get' our costumes. Bummer pout.

Finally, Huey came along, and he was a baby and therefore unable to speak up for himself. When he was three months old I was a vampire and he was the world's chubbiest bat. The next year he was a wolf and I was Little Red Riding-hood. That year I convinced DH to wear a plaid flannel shirt as "The huntsman" and I was in heaven!! Yay for family costumes! The year after that Huey was a lion, I was Dorothy, and because I ran out of time, DH was not the tin man (much to his relief). The next year we had gone to see Toy Story on Ice and he got a perfect Woody hat, so he was Woody, and I was too tired to make a Buzz and Jessie costume. The year after that Huey discovered Star Wars, so he was Anakin Skywaker, and Dewey was a newborn, so his costume was bought by DH at a store.

Since then, life became what it is and costumes were purchased. Huey is very similar to DH in the no desire to dress up department, and a both are Halloween Humbugs. I try to get the boys to commit to costumes by Sept 1 so that I can make them, and let my creative juices flow, but they just wanted to be Power Rangers, or Clones, or Bumblebee, and I don't have a ton of time to put into Halloween costumes, so there you go.

A couple years ago DH whined about how his mom always made his costumes, so we came to the agreement that I would start making the costumes again and the Sept 1 rule was put in place, to be pushed back to Oct 1 because no one could decide on a costume. That year I made an AMAZING Steam Boat Willie costume for Huey that he didn't wear because no one could figure out what he was, so he just took off all the costume bits and went as 'the colour black'. I wish I was kidding, because I spent hours on that costume.

Dewey loves Halloween like I do, so he's been all on board with costume planning. This year we read Harry Potter together, so he decided to be Harry Potter and I was going to be Luna Lovegood and it was so fun to plan. We had our costumes all coordinated and bought the minute the Halloween stores opened up.

At three forty-five on the night of the ward Halloween party which started at six thirty and Huey had to help set up, Huey called me and said, "Mom, what can I dress up for the ward party?" I wanted to kill him. I have been asking him what he wants to dress up as and trying to talk him out of trick-or-treating because he's too old simultaneously since the middle of September!! He had a few ideas, but when I asked him if he wanted to join in on the Harry Potter theme with Dewey and I, he didn't even let me finish my sentence and interrupted by asking me if I would buy some red hairspray so he could be Ron.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I could not have been happier. Huey already had a Gryffindor tie from the time he was Harry Potter for Halloween in grade five, he has a grey sweater, white dress shirt and Converse. I ran by the grocery store on the way home for the red spray and voila - five minute costume. I was elated as the stress of a last minute costume was allieviated in five minutes, and, you guys, GROUP COSTUME!!
Best. Family. Photo. Ever.
Where was DH in all of this you ask? He wasn't there, he was working, but with his glasses, dark hair, and cowlick, he could have easily been James Potter. I wouldn't even have had to tell him he was dressed up, I would have just told other people.

Unfortunately, Huey could not be talked out of not going trick-or-treating as he had plans to go with his buddies. Also unfortunate, dressing as Ron Weasley was too 2007 for Huey, so he still needed another costume. I had done some research as I know my son and I knew I had to have a contingency plan, so I ended up on Halloween night putting the finishing touches on a Rubik's cube costume.

Fortunately, Huey has already planned with his pals to be a greaser next year, so I have visions of a Cherry Valance costume for myself, and Dewey and DH can be Johnny and Sodapop...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Now both my boys hate me

Dewey just had his birthday, now he's nine years old, and the following has happened:

We were at the grocery store, and I said, "This way, Booboo." He stage-whispered with clenched teeth and in the keep-it-on-the-down-low position, "Mo-om, don't call me that in public!"

We were at church and he had a mosquito bite on the webbing between his pinky and his ring finger that was super itchy, painful, and swelling like crazy. It was starting to hurt, and I'm allergic to them too, so I know how it is, so I took him out of sacrament meeting to go into the kitchen to put some ice on it to alleviate some of the pain. I was holding his hand in the hallway because I was being a Mommy and taking care of the boo-boo (not to be confused with the aforementioned Booboo). He saw one of his buddies in the hallway and immediately dropped my hand - like it was on fire or something.

Sad face.

Huey was much more independent than Dewey. He had me rejected in Grade two (age seven). I was hosting his class' Halloween party that year and he told me to not let any of his classmates know that I was his mom for fear I might embarrass him. Dewey has always been more tolerant of my antics and had more self confidence to know that having a weird mom was no reflection on him as a person. I knew this time was coming, the time where he cuts the apron strings and becomes a man, but, ouch! I miss my sugar bear.
Dewey refusing to take a photo with me on his birthday while at the Pizza Pie Cafe