Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summertime





I've had a nagging feeling these last couple of weeks that I just haven't been able to quantify until today. You see, I have been looking at pictures of people enjoying their summers with their swimming pools and barbecue's and large lawns with kids rolling on the grass and playing lawn games for the last month or so from just about every magazine that comes our way and from every store that we shop in. All of these images have been bothering me greatly, and I just realized why.

Summertime--in Arizona.

Arizona summers don't bother me for the obvious reason, the heat, because I really actually don't mind the heat. I have grown accustomed to it, and now I have no problem with it in short stints, it's what the heat does to our social lives that I hate.

So, you see all of those pictures of people enjoying the heck out of their summers? We did that months ago, and now we are in hibernation. The best way I have found to describe this to outsiders is to compare it to winter. Extreme temperatures that prohibit you from being outside for long periods of time. And you know about wind chill factor, where it feels about 15-20 degrees colder because the wind is blowing? We have what I like to call Blow dryer effect, where it feels like you are standing in 115 degree weather with someone holding a hot air blow drier right in your face really making it feel like 130 degrees. Yep--hot wind. It's times like these that I feel like we are living on some experimental housing development on a surface of the sun. And quite frankly, who wants to stand over a hot barbecue grilling food on the surface of the sun? Not to mention the fact that all of my son's neighborhood friends have vacated the state for the summer leaving one majorly bored six year old boy behind.

And then there is the issue of sunscreen. I hate it. Ok, it protects us from dying from skin cancer, and that is noble enough, but other than that I hate it. I hate the sticky slimy gooey greasy stuff that sticks on our skin so well that I have to use a power sander to get the stuff off. I hate the fifteen minutes it takes to rub it in on myself and the additional fifteen minutes per little body. I have found sunscreens that I tolerate better than others, but there isn't an existing sunscreen that I know of that doesn't have to be sprayed squirted or rubbed on or that isn't sticky gooey or greasy. Because of my hatred, I have a hard time sending my kids out to play. I never worried this much about my kids playing outside without sunscreen before I lived in Arizona, but there's something about living on the surface of the sun that makes you feel like you are going to get burned more easily and with greater force.

Oh yeah, and the grass. We barely have any. Certainly not enough to play any sort of lawn game on even if we were interested in slathering greasy sunscreen on and braving the hot air being blown in our faces.

So you see, it's just like winter, occasionally you decide to put on a snowsuit to roll around in the snow, but for the most part you hang out inside waiting for the temperatures to rise.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Good, the Very Very Very Bad, and the Uglies


Uglies--give it a try, there's little to no "teen whiny" in it


There is a very interesting debate going on in the literary world as of late, and it centers on the subject of Adults reading Young Adult or Teen Fiction. Though it is probably obvious to all of you, the main point is whether or not Adults should be embarrassed for reading books written for teens, and my answer is, Yes... ...and No...

I've been a bit back and forth on this subject as you might have guessed. I think it all started with Harry Potter because before then nothing written for kids and teens had been remotely interesting for adults too--at least not that I can think of or remember. But at any case, Harry Potter ushered in the era of Adults sneaking with dark sunglasses in the bookstore to the teen section and shamefully buying the latest edition of whatever Harry Potter book they were on and then rushing home to enjoy it without embarrassment in the privacy of their own homes and then secretly admitting to close friends that they were enjoying it. I myself didn't join the throngs of Harry Potter fans until the fourth book came out, and it is a good thing because the first two bored the tears out of me. Actually, it was really only the second, the first was mildly entertaining because it was new.

As Harry Potter came to it's end, I began another series called twilight. I was also embarrassed to have to go to the YA section of my bookstore to fish these out. While I was there, I began to notice another series called Uglies. For a long time I looked at them unconvinced that I should read, but eventually I gave in and found that I really enjoyed them, just like I had enjoyed twilight and Harry Potter. It was then that I began to wonder a few things:

1--have I regressed educationally?
2--was it really that big of a deal to read YA books?

After I read the Uglies series, I decided to visit the author's blog and came across an entry where he attacks adults that are ashamed to read from the YA section. Check it out. If you don't have the time or patience, basically it says that he thinks Adults that are wary of this section are lame-o. The problem with this theory is that we aren't lame-o, we are older and more mature. While I fully admit that I have found plenty of books in this section that I love, I have also found that I get impatient with the teen angst, and the whiny teen behavior, and the sophomoric plot lines. Not that this has been enough to keep me away from a well written book, but I have to admit that there are places in Harry Potter and twilight and the Uglies that I had to put the book down to roll my eyes. What Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies) and other authors that share his opinion fail to remember is that what makes a good book is an interesting plot and characters that can be identified with, and quite frankly it is difficult sometimes to identify with ten year olds. I find myself constantly thinking "grow up!" when the characters are faced with "difficult decisions," and generally I am two to three steps ahead of them waiting for them to figure out what I figured out three chapters ago.

So you can see why many adults would shy away from the YA section and find something about people their own age. Unfortunately this is also not always fool proof. Apparently there is an equal amount of crappy writing in all genres, and I've noticed that in the Adult section, authors tend to overdo the sex in a cheap attempt to reel readers in without actually having to have good writing involved. This is where I lean toward YA, because they tend to leave the sex out because it is more controversial for that age group. What's a reader to do? Wait until everyone you know has read a particular book before you give it a go--that's what I do--because there is nothing worse than reading a bad book. And Lisa, don't let this deter you from reading twilight. Just be patient with the teens, it's a good ride.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Have you seen this?

In a moment of boredom last night (you all need to update your blogs more often, I'm running out of things to comment on, and I just can't keep commenting on top of comments!! ok, I have no life...) I decided to visit another of my favorite websites to see if there was any new news: Stephenie Meyer's official website. (She's the author of the twilight series). And as I was perusing her website reading everything I have already read before, I decided to read about this which lead me to reread this because I loved it so much the first time, and if you have read twilight but haven't read the first chapter of Midnight Sun, I command that you stop whatever you are doing and read it. NOW. It is so great, that because I reread it I've decided to reread this for fun:

*sigh* I love this book. I love losing myself in the misty green mossy world of Forks, Washington. I love star-crossed lovers and danger, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE vampires (don't judge, it's fun to get lost in the make believe once in a while. Not everything has to be truth). Perhaps I love it too much. What, exactly constitutes an obsession?

But I digress. My main point is to direct you all to Midnight Sun because it tells Edward's side of the story, and Stephenie's writing is very well done. Edward is older and more mature, and also given that he is a vampire, his thoughts are decidedly more dark and interesting. Read it and tell me what you think, or if you have already read it, tell me what you thought.

*** Look forward to a post in the making about more books and the debate about the worth of books in the Young Adult or Teen Fiction section.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The People Have Spoken!

...unfortunately, I'll only be listening to one of you.

I have decided to create a separate  private blog for pictures and keep this blog public.  Many of you have already recieved an invitation (check your emails), and anyone else that would like an invitation, please leave me your email in the comments section and as long as I know you and know you not to be a serial killer or creepy stalker, I will gladly oblige.

I know what you are all thinking: "oh man, not another blog that I have to keep track of!!" But I think you'll find that this will work smoothly--in fact, think of it as an extension of my blog, not as a separate blog that you have to bookmark and keep track of (unless of course you want to...).

Here's how it works:
on the right side of my blog under "links" is the phrase "picture pages" click on that and you can go straight there as though it were part of my blog, and when you are there you can click back.  See?  Wasn't that easy?

Also, once you are there, feel free to look at all of the posts, the first one is really cute.

Have fun!

**caveat: separate blog is subject to change and perhaps one day I will combine them into one super blog, but for now this is looking like it will work fine.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Storm Chasing




I can see now with perfect hindsight where I have gone wrong with this baby of mine (yes, I have already gone wrong with him after only 12 days): I was too confident in my abilities as a mother.

"I love newborns," I said to myself, "This is after all my third one--I've done all of this before!"

"I feel great, I am recovering nicely, I really don't mind nursing him even when he wants to eat all the time," I said knowingly, "and quite frankly he is a good sleeper and I don't mind waking up a couple of times a night to feed him."

These are all red flags that should have tipped me off to the fact that there was a storm brewing...


What used to be a quiet sleeper has now turned into a very NOISY GRUNTY sleeper (The baby, not Jon). So technically he is sleeping, but for all the sleep we are not getting he might as well be crying. He did this all last night and finally fell into a quiet and peaceful sleep just as my other two woke up. Storm.

Then, I decided to change his diaper. I think it must have been filled to past capacity because it fell apart and all the absorbent crystals flew everywhere (and there are millions when a diaper comes apart). And if anyone has ever had this happen they know that they are impossible to clean up with a wipe, you must pick each one up by hand and organize them into some sort of trash situation. So there I am trying to clean up this mess with a squirmy screaming newborn with absorbent crystals all over him. For every one I picked up, he kicked out about a million more and they started to stick to every surface... Storm.

And what is it about babies wanting to eat right when your food is ready for you to eat? Can I get a "holla" from everyone who's ever had to feed a baby?!?!

And I would be extremely remiss if I neglected to mention the fact that I have been abandoned by all of my care givers yesterday making this the first day I have had to care for my three kids all alone without my parents (who have earned their place in the highest glories of heaven for all of the service they have rendered to me this last week), and without my husband (Who has also earned his place along with my parents for putting up with me and for caring for me at the same time).

I even got a phone call from a friend who could tell from only my voice that I was stressed (really? I thought I was hiding it better...).

I should have known that I wouldn't pass through newbornhood without a few thorny bushes and potholes. I can be so naive.