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July 2010

Strawberries, shrimp, movies and Colorado

It's Thursday night and I'm at the dinner table, sitting here while the kids slurp all the whipped cream off their strawberries and whipped cream dessert. And now Jack is telling me he's going to throw up ("in the sink, Mommy") and I'm feeling less than sympathetic since he's been telling me that all day and 1) it has yet to happen and 2) it usually occurs when he doesn't want to eat something I want him to eat. Like the strawberries from his strawberries and cream. THESE KIDS. 

Anyway, I just wrote a big long post about Online Identity, Crisis Of and DEAR GOD, Internet. I can't believe you let me near this laptop. I saved it to draft. You are welcome. Well, if you're REALLY interested it came down to really hoping I'm as close to the Real Me online as I can be and also, thanks for the page views, sucka. 

(That last part came from my editor at Parenting, who I think I want to marry.)

It's been kind of a long icky day, due mainly in part to waking at three thirty in the morning. I don't know. She was up, she wouldn't go back to sleep, we couldn't sleep WITH her and that was that. She did take a long nap, but Jack didn't, which means I didn't, and yes, my eyeballs feel like they might fall out of my skull at any moment. Phillip is out with school friends tonight and normally I encourage him to go out and have his fun (because honestly? I go out and have my fun ALL THE TIME) but dude, if a Capitol Hill pub and a giant stein of beer doesn't sound positively perfect at this moment. The jealousy is brewing. 

Seriously, both kids ate ALL the whipped cream and NONE of the strawberries. SO ANNOYING. 

Phillip is also going golfing this weekend which is only exciting for me in that the golfers and their wives are coming over for dinner afterwards and I get to have a dinner party! Outside (thank goodness it will be warm) since there's absolutely nowhere to have a dinner party INSIDE. I think a trip to World Market might be in order tomorrow. I hear they have outdoor furniture on sale for 75% off. Not that I can cart home outdoor furniture on a morning outing with the kids, not that I have ROOM for more outdoor furniture, BUT I CAN LOOK. 

Of course, I don't know what to make. Ideas? The other night Phillip's parents grilled veggies and scallops and shrimp on skewers and it was delicious. Maybe I should do that. Except shrimp kind of freak me out. I mean, not cooked shrimp, especially when found in dim sum treats, but RAW shrimp and their little TAILS and what am I supposed to do with THOSE. (Yes, I am totally the person who shudders when cutting up raw chicken. SORRY.) 

We're going on an actual DATE tomorrow (Friday) night and I hath decreed there will be a movie. Should we go see Inception or Toy Story? Or something else? VOTE! 

And what is up with this house across from me, Internet? I swear, ninety-seven different people live there. We've been here several months now and I still can't figure out which adults go with which kids and which of those even LIVE in the house. Today I decided that two or three of the women I see over there must be nannies or babysitters or something. It's a big house, but not THAT big. Also, they are loud and never say hello. Harrumph.

Oh Internet, it's been a long day and I'm just going to say it: EMOTIONALLY TAXING. I think it's time for me to clean up the kitchen, turn on some Ni Hao Kai Lan and eat the strawberries. I hope you have a lovely weekend. In addition to watching movies in movie theaters and shuddering over raw shrimp, I will be sending a package to my newest little nephew, born tonight. And perhaps planning a visit to Colorado because MAN is it lame to have the most adorable nephews on earth, only to have their part of the earth exist super far away from yours. 


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I'm back to the regularly scheduled churchy meetings, which means it is late and I'm starving and I haven't said five words to Phillip yet, so no post for you tonight. Sorry! Go check out my newest Playground Rant at Parenting.com (and I know it's there because I posted it myself. YAY DRUPAL!)

So there I was, hanging out at the Popular Neighborhood Play Area, minding my own business, by which I mean: MY OWN KIDS. I don't know about you, but I don't want to parent anybody else's children when hanging out at the Popular Neighborhood Play Area. It's been known to happen, of course, and when it does I blog about it. YOU ARE WELCOME. 

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Dinner guilt

A while back I was privy to a conversation in which two of my shall-remain-nameless friends were discussing how disappointing and, well, they were just going to say it: ANNOYING! it is when they get home from work and their spouses do not have dinner ready. PERHAPS this conversation made me feel slightly guilty. PERHAPS I am thinking about this because 1) I did not have dinner ready when Phillip came home tonight and 2) I kind of stopped making dinner because I, uh, didn't feel like eating it. Oh and 3) PHILLIP took over dinner prep (although we still didn't make dinner. I think he just snacked on the roast chicken and then put it away.)

Full Disclosure! These aforementioned friends were one guy and one girl, their respective spouses do not work and neither couple has children. Make of that what you will.

EITHER WAY. I consider it part of my job to get dinner ready, though not the MOST important part of my job. Well, if I'm being totally honest, if I get Actual Dinner, like with hot food and vegetables and plates and napkins and everything, ready by the time Phillip walks in the door? That is a WIN, folks. That is an ACCOMPLISHMENT. Because really, Family Dinner is not much of a reality in our house. I mean, half the time the kids ate at five and are just eating all over again with us. Or they don't want to eat what we're eating. Or it's just too much hassle for whatever reason and you know what? I have stopped berating myself for Failed Family Dinners every time I read a blog post about how important it is to have Family Dinner. I have! Honest! I have given myself a big fat break. 

But sometimes I can pull it off! And it's awesome! And no matter what, Phillip and I still have to eat, right? So I write up menus and then I actually cook what's scheduled for that night (I DO!) and eventually it gets eaten. 

Just not tonight. I couldn't deal. Know why? It's hot. I know. Lamest excuse EVER. It's not even THAT HOT. But our kitchen just bakes and we're all sweaty and gross and food just doesn't sound good tonight. Well, certain kinds of food sound good. Like ice cream. Mmmm. 

Anyway. Do you feel like Dinner is part of your job? Like, enough so you feel slightly guilty when it doesn't happen? Maybe this is more of a question for the SAHMs in the crowd. I can't IMAGINE how you do dinner when both of you are working. Chicken nuggets for everyone!

Oh gosh, I just reread that paragraph and realized I make it sound like us SAHMs are sitting around reading People while the kids watch Elmo all day long. Like we aren't working too. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, RIGHT? Oh gosh, I should just shut up while I'm ahead. 

In other news! Today I bought some construction paper and three kinds of sticker sheets. I drew extremely anal-retentive one-inch squares all over this piece of paper and labeled it JACK'S POTTY CHART. Then I taped it right next to the toilet in his bathroom. I informed him that we would no longer be gorging ourselves on marshmallows every five minutes - STICKERS are now the potty treat. 

And wouldn't you know, this actually WORKED! I mean, there was still a bit of whining for a potty treat and he still wants a PAAAHHHHTTY treat and he still gets to have a PAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWTTTTTTYYYY TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. But I was Firm and Unmoving and he really likes those stickers. There are 56 squares on that chart and I am not entirely clear on what we'll do when they're all filled up. However! I am not worried about it! We'll figure something out. And for now, the sticker is the treat. The end. 

(Also, he wakes up dry more often than not. And wears underpants during quiet time, which this week has meant honest to God napping. I KNOOOOOOOOW!)

And now is where I tell you that I have a thousand things to do tonight and none of them involve Writing Ridiculous Blog Posts. LATER.


On writing, which I know bores you, I'm sorry

All I've been doing lately is reading. Well, that and feeding people, doing their laundry, wiping their bottoms, and picking up after them. My job. But when I'm not doing that I am reading. I've burned through a handful of murder mysteries, The Book Thief which I'm just going to come out and say was the most moving thing I've read in a long long time, and last night I fell asleep with Sense and Sensibility. (Because it was free! YAY FREE!) 

But I also went for my measly half-hour neighborhood run last night and came home with MORE thoughts on my OWN writing project. Which I promptly wrote down on a piece of Hello Kitty notepaper, and then went downstairs to watch Sunday night's Mad Men (and eat ice cream. What Anniversary of Hot By Thirty post?!) 

So today I've decided: more writing, less reading. I mean, the two things are obviously not mutually exclusive. In fact, to do the first you're required to do quite a bit of the second. And yesterday, when the kids (both of them!) slept from one to four-thirty (!) and I spent almost the entire time on the couch with my Kindle sobbing my way to the end of The Book Thief, that felt like recovery. We've had a couple of long weeks and it was nice to sort of escape and sit life out for a few hours. But there are only so many hours in the day where no one is pestering me for anything, and I want to get back on track. I don't want to be the girl who writes annoying blog post after annoying blog post about her WRITING and never actual WRITES anything. 

(Which is what I am right now.) 

Yesterday I got an email from my friend Emily (Hi Emily!) about local writing classes and crit groups and people she knows who are Living The Dream and it was invigorating, inspiring and totally terrifying all at once. Part of me knows that I can't do this all by myself. Part of me very much understands that I need input and advice and questions and outside perspectives. And then the other, much bigger, part of me thinks that I need a lot more time before I start asking anyone to read what I've written, because it's not in any sort of readable condition yet. 

Of course, knowing me, it will NEVER be in readable condition. MOAN. 

And, okay, maybe I will just PUT THIS OUT THERE and SEE WHAT HAPPENS... but here's a thought I've had for a good long while... are any of YOU open to a crit group? Maybe? Perhaps? I know some of you are writer types. I have even brought this up with some of you in emails. I wonder if there's a way to pull it off online. I don't know. Quite honestly, I am just as afraid of you as I am of random real life crit grouppers.

(Picture me fleeing the room and hiding behind a large potted plant.)

How about we talk other stuff instead. Like how hot it is, and how yesterday afternoon felt like my melting point, even though it was hardly the hottest day of the year so far. And how I think I might take my kids to the free children's movie tomorrow, because it's going to be hot then too, even though they've never been to a movie and it might be a flat out disaster. Or, um, how I'm going to have to throw out the blueberries because everyone is tired of Blueberry Baked Goods and the kids won't eat them anyway. And oh right, something about an Anniversary of a Weight Loss Deadline, Thoughts On, but I have two other contractually required posts to write so we'll see if I get any other writing done today. Can't go around ruining my rep as the girl who whines about Her Novel rather than writing it, right?!


The last day of the busyness

Hello Internet Friends! I am home from my very last birthday extravaganza, which involved drinks on a deck overlooking Puget Sound, and possibly a sunset (I'm not sure, I was doing all the drinking) and WOW has this month been killer. Like I was telling my friends tonight: TOO MUCH FUN!

So much fun that when I come home I hold my face in my hands and wail over the filthy bathrooms and crumby carpets and toys - OH THE TOYS! You guys, the other day I spent the entire afternoon putting all the tiny toy parts back with the corresponding bigger toy parts and reorganizing bins and boxes and stacking the play dishes and getting the baby dolls all cozy in their baskets and then I was all, "Now. NOW I can be happy." I sat on my couch and surveyed my kingdom and all was well in the world. 

Then the kids came downstairs and started playing with their toys and my life is ruined. Again. 

There's also the laundry, which never ends, even though I am doing it every single day. The kitchen, which I spick and spanned before SIL came over, that went back to looking Disastrous the minute I started making lunch. My bedroom, which has never looked nice. Jack's room, which he insists on using. Molly's room, where the furniture still doesn't look right. And the living room, which will never please me since it is half living room and half office. And I have boxes of my grandmother's things stacked up on the washer and dryer, since they are the only available surfaces left. Which means every time I do the laundry (which is seventeen times a day) I have to move boxes of crystal (!) and cookie sheets and a big box of papers, including my parents' wedding invitation with a handwritten note inside: a list of things like flowers and food and dress materials and how much everything cost. I can't throw THAT away! (Mom, do you even know I have this? Do you want it?!) But I have no idea what to DO with it either. So there it sits, on my washer and dryer. 

OH THE INSANITY. 

I don't think Phillip sees these things. If he does, he certainly doesn't seem bothered by them. I was telling a friend about this tonight and she said, "ME TOO! And here I was, thinking I had OCD or something." And I wanted to say, "Oh GOD no, Friend Of Mine, let me introduce you to the internet!"

So anyway. We are very busy. Very very very. And I hardly have time to keep my house half decent when we AREN'T busy. 

I haven't had time to write. I haven't had time to garden (which appears to be a lost cause anyway, if the number and scope of the weeds means anything. I'm pretty sure this place hasn't been weeded in fifty years.) I haven't had time to box up the too-small clothes, or take anything to Goodwill, or figure out what to do with all my scarves and extra bags that are piled up in a corner of my bedroom. I haven't even had time to watch television, so you KNOW things are bad.

This reminds me that the last minute of Mad Men is showing as I type. I would despair over this except for the lemon drop and gin and tonic in my system. That and the fact that I know my husband will hunt it down for me tomorrow. SHHH!

What I have had time to do is read my beloved Kindle. Did I say beloved? OH YES. I was one of those people who didn't believe the hype, who got all snotty nosed about HOLDING books and TURNING PAGES and PAPER and HEFT and looking at them on SHELVES, but, um, WHATEVER, OLD ME! The new me is in love with her Kindle, AKA The Money Pit. I've only bought cheaper books so far (The Book Thief: $5.99! And is TERRIFIC thus far!) but I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out. I already put about ten books on my wish list. And you can read it in direct sunlight! Which means I can read it while lounging in my MIL's beach chair in her ginormous sunny backyard! 

Phillip understands that if Amazon.com causes us to go broke it will be all his fault. 

I'm tired. Did I tell you how busy we are? But I think things calm down starting tomorrow. The summer is not yet over. There is still time for sitting around in my backyard. 


He is STILL picking up crayons

I left drop in volleyball about an hour early last night because I was slammed in the face by an errant ball, not even the GAME ball, and it made me queasy. Well, first it shocked me and as I stumbled off the court I told myself, "Do NOT start crying, you big wuss, do NOT start crying at freaking VOLLEYBALL." And then I stood against the wall for a while, just blinking and breathing, and THEN I got nauseous. 

I feel okay this morning, except I'm of the opinion the kids should have let me sleep about an hour longer. 

We're going to my parents' house today. We're going to swim in their park wading pool and get lunch in their downtown and eat birthday cake (I haven't had ANY birthday cake yet!) after dinner. Tomorrow we're going to Phillip's parents' house. And Sunday, because that's the last day we have family in town. And then I think I will sleep all day on Monday. Who wants to watch the kids? 

I hate how when I tell Jack to do something or clean something up, he moves at the speed of You Will Die Of Old Age Before I Pick Up All Of These Crayons. 

I feel like all I've (we've) been doing is having gobs and gobs of fun, but I'm so tired and keep wondering when I'm going to have time to write again or clean a bathroom. All right, truthfully, I could have all the time in the world and I still would save cleaning the bathroom for last. So that's not a great example. But I've figured out two large-ish things about my main character (yes, I am still working on "the novel", I know, sigh) but I haven't had a quiet moment to sit down and write those things and figure out if they really work. Maybe they don't! On the other hand, I figured those things out because I've gone back to running a couple times a week and people, running = writing. When my brain is stuck I wish I didn't try everything else first to unstick it. 

And does anyone even care about an Anniversary of Hot By Thirty post? I do, I think. I just haven't written it yet. 

In other news I've made blueberry scones (from allrecipes.com) and a blueberry crumble cake (from Everyday Food) in pathetic attempts to use up the two pounds of blueberries I bought because I assumed that the kids loving blueberries last summer meant they would love them this summer. Fool! Although my sister informs me they are sour-ish, so maybe that's it. In which case I have two pounds of sour-ish blueberries to deal with. Liz sent me a recipe for a blueberry peach cobbler, but it requires five pounds of peaches and I hate peeling and slicing stone fruit and have I mentioned I am lazy as all get out? AND I don't like blueberries? 

I made smoothies one morning. People keep saying, "Give Jack smoothies! That's a great way to give him vegetables and fruit!" Except that Jack wants nothing to do with smoothies. (And these same People don't believe me. What kid doesn't like a smoothie?! MINE.) I made them with every kind of fruit in the house, plus the vanilla yogurt that no one will eat, plus sugar to make up for the sour-ish vanilla yogurt. They ended up purple and Molly would have kept drinking "purple milk" until the blender was empty. But I don't like blueberries and Jack doesn't like smoothies. 

MAN this blog post is One Hot Mess. We'll try again next week, yes?


Not that I'm DECLARING anything...

but Jack has had exactly one accident since we came home from LA. And that accident happened yesterday, in the yard, and I'm pretty sure it WAS an accident, not a Oh, Who Cares If I Use My Underpants As A Potty moment, as he is STILL talking about his "accident". He goes over the whole story with me ("I went pee in my underpants, Mommy, I sorry") and then reminds me that he still gets to go to preschool. 

And then this morning, July 21, 2010, Jackson Cheung woke up with a dry pull up. He also sat up in bed and whined for ten minutes straight (until I figured out what he was saying over the baby monitor) to be allowed to get out of bed and go pee. 

(Why he thinks he is allowed to get out of bed and go in the bathroom and stand on the stool and reach for my makeup brushes and take them back to bed to play with two hours after we've put him to bed and that he is NOT allowed to get up and go pee is a mystery for us all.)

So, I feel that I should remind all of you people that we've been doing this since CHRISTMAS. And we've had the potty seat for A YEAR AND A HALF. Which means this is the slowest potty training session on record. I don't think I really started to hard core talk up the potty until around Christmastime. And for a while there he was doing really well. He was never afraid and started using the big potty almost right away. It was always a matter of, shall we say, Taking Initiative, and I think both Jack and I failed on that one. A lot of stuff went on during the last six months, not least of all our Big Move, and we basically had to start all over in the new house. TORTURED SIGHS.

But after the last time I wrote about potty training, there were a lot of comments about how pull ups are from the devil and you know what? I think that's what has made the difference this time. It didn't seem to be about feel or getting wet or anything like that, it was more of an ORDERLY kind of thing. As in: pull ups are just like diapers, so they are diapers. Underpants are another thing entirely. You pee in a diaper, you don't pee in underpants. The end. 

I also pulled my Mean Mommy card and every time there was an Oh Who Cares moment, I informed him that if he kept it up he would not be going to preschool. Ever. And this is truly the only motivating factor I have. Jack isn't IN to any kind of toy, the way some kids are into Legos or Thomas or playing cars or whatever. He likes all those things, but he's never gravitated towards one kind of toy or play, not for very long. So we've never had a good idea to fill in the, "If you have dry pants for one week you get a ____!" But preschool... oh, he is GOING to preschool. Nearly every day he puts on his little backpack and informs me of the fact. 

We HAVE used "potty treats" which are usually M&Ms or marshmallows or whatever, and this has worked great. UNTIL NOW. See, once he started going regularly, I was handing out potty treats all day long. I could never renege on the potty treat. It's part of the DEAL. Right? But like I keep telling him: does MOMMY get a potty treat every time SHE goes potty?!

My big idea for this is a sticker chart. The boy loves stickers. And I think he can understand the Chart Concept. I just have to think of a big enough prize at the end. Ideas? Again, we REALLY don't know what The Best Toy or Best Fun Experience would be. Phillip even took him to Chuck E. Cheese with his cousins this weekend (I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW.) and he didn't particularly enjoy it. So. I have to think about this. 

Again, I am compelled to say, I haven't DECLARED anything. I am still IFFY. It's been over a week, but I'm not sure that qualifies. Even though he's taken naps and woken up with dry underpants. And told his cousin that he couldn't go dig in the rocks right then, he had to go inside and use the potty. And interrupted my picture choosing process yesterday morning (best department store photography was finally a winning experience!) to say he had to go potty. I AM NOT YET THE VICTOR. 

But probably soon enough, I think.  

P.S. I wrote about how free time makes me nervous at Parenting today. It's just one of the many things my husband and I failed to discuss before entering this whole legally binding have-to-live-with-you-until-I-die thing.


Guess how much I care about the Mariners!

Phillip is at a baseball game tonight with his brother. This brother, who only visits Seattle once every seven hundred years or so, will be dropping Phillip off at the house tonight, and quite probably coming inside to have a look around. I know this, yet I have no overwhelming urge to spruce up the kitchen or straighten up the living room. 

And next to where I'm sitting, at the kitchen table, is an empty bottle of Corona and half a cake and not just any cake, but one of those cakes you bake in a bowl and flip over and stick a cheap plastic doll in the top, and then decorate with ten pounds of brightly colored frosting so it looks like a dress. It appears that 1) the beer is mine (it's not) and 2) I've been sitting here eating cake (I haven't). I'm not real motivated to fix that either. 

I took the kids grocery shopping today and they were actually half decent. I suspect this has something to do with the free doughnut hole sample they get upon entering, and the threat of taking away the free doughnut hole sample they MIGHT get upon leaving. Did I tell you I tried to do the playroom thing? Because how can I pass that up, right? But it turns out you have to be at least two, so Molly can't go. Yet. The playroom ladies were SUPER nice and convinced Jack he wouldn't be eaten by bears if he stuck around, so Molly and I crept away while they showered him with Legos or something. 

But I listened for my name on the intercom and there it was, not ten minutes later. When I went back, Jack was just standing there, not crying or anything. The ladies informed me that after a few minutes Jack looked up and realized I wasn't there. He went to the door and looked around. He didn't fuss, just stood very quietly, but the ladies decided to call me anyway, it being his first time and all. 

And now he doesn't want to go back. He likes the idea of the playroom, but he tells me there are "too many kids". If I try talking it up a little more he'll say, "I want Mollymoo to go too." So... yeah. I think we'll just have to wait until Molly turns two (September 1! Gah!) and try again. I try not to let myself envision blissfully shopping alone on the offchance it doesn't work out. 

But what does Jack think he's getting into with this preschool deal? LOTS OF KIDS. 

This is why we don't go to story time. Or any other Large Kiddie Gathering. I re-learned this again, just a few weeks ago when a friend wanted to go this kid-friendly lunchtime concert at a beach park. We went early and spent a good half hour throwing rocks into the water. When it was time for the concert (which ended up being just The Reptile Man and his Team Of Icky Friends), the place looked packed. I just flat out told my friend we were going to stay and throw rocks. That's what my kid was happiest doing.

Jack just... I don't know. It's not like he doesn't dance and sing and get crazy at home. But don't try to make him do the hand motions at story time, or dance at the zoo play area when they hand out the maracas. Are you kidding? No thank you. Too many kids. Too loud. That's enough. 

And not like I'm bummed out or anything. Story time gives me the shakes. I suppose I'd be worried if he wasn't such a crazy wild little dude at home. He just takes a while (months?) to warm up. 

I guess I should start lighting the candles for preschool. 

As for Molly, I'm not sure yet. If Jack is doing it, she will too, but her favorite hangout is my lap. Seriously, we can be doing all sorts of fun awesome stuff at home - sprinklers! baby pool! catch! - but if my lap is available and there's something for her to hold or look at while she's sitting there, that's the fave activity. Apparently I am THAT COMFORTABLE. 

But at story time, she'll stand up and wiggle a bit. She'll dance in public. She'll try the new food or the big slide while her brother stands uncertainly next to me. He's never been as clingy as Molly, though, so I don't know. Darn confusing kids. 

Oh, it occurs to me that I should explain the cake: my nieces made them (TWO dress cakes), in honor of my birthday. And did I notice the frosting crown? And the earrings? And my NAME printed ALL AROUND THE DRESS? Plenty of details, these cakes.

Okay, off to hide in the bedroom before I'm subjected to longwinded, sappy soliloquies on the Mariners. 


They are taking away the English degree as I type

If I had a Full Length Snapshot to post, I would post it. But our camera wouldn't work that night because (HAR HAR!) we left the battery charging in the car. So we used BIL's camera and BIL does not appear to understand things like, "You do know I'll have to post that when I get home, right?"

I just spent the entire day (THE ENTIRE DAY) at the outlet mall with SIL. Dudes, no one can shop like SIL. She has a nose for the $5.97 Gap jeans, is what I'm saying. And at one point I had to leave the store, find a bench and haul out my book just like all the MEN. Interestingly enough I had about twice as many bags as she did, but 99% of my loot was preschool clothes for Jack. And by "preschool clothes" I mean "elastic waist pants so he can pull them up and down by his own self." I am not the daughter and sister of kindergarten teachers for nothing, folks. 

And you might have noted I pulled out a BOOK and not a KINDLE. This is because I was gifted a Kindle the day after I launched into my fourth Inspector Montalbano mystery and I do not cheat on my books. There are rules. But I did spend a lot of time punching buttons on my Kindle (I did not know there were so many BUTTONS!) and after a while I realized I look just like Phillip when he gets a new gadget. I can finally relate! And I did buy a book, but only after hours of hunting around for a cheap one. I bought one of the few Commissario Brunetti mysteries I haven't read and that's on tap for when I'm done with Inspector Montalbano. It occurs to me that probably none of you know who Commissario Brunetti and Inspector Montalbano are, as probably none of you have delved into the genre of fiction that is Italian Murder Mysteries, but I recommend them both. Brunetti for the Deep Thinking, Montalbano for the Laugh Out Loud Humor, both for the writing. 

AND I finally updated my Goodreads account the other day, which is sort of embarrassing since the last time I updated it was LAST SUMMER. And I realized that some of you had friended me, or whatever it's called on Goodreads, and the friend requests dated from LAST YEAR. For shame. My bad, people who attempted to friend me. But I'm back! I think I might actually use that account now, if only as a place to store the titles I want to read in the future. 

Which makes me think - another reason I was sort of loathe to use Goodreads is because then people would know what I was reading! And you guys, I read a lot of... well, let's say I can't remember the last time I read something Popular and/or Recommended by Oprah. I tend to read mostly kid books, YA to middle grades, and murder mysteries. SORRY GOODREADS FRIENDS! You'll show up at my account looking for something Literary and Important and I'll give you, um, Inspector Montalbano. 

Not that Inspector Montalbano ISN'T fabulous. HE IS. It's just, well, no one's making a movie about HIM, right? (Although I do hear the Italians made a miniseries. Must investigate.) Like this dragon tattoo book. I keep talking to people who think it is All That, but then I also understand that there are many, ah, Graphic and Violent Descriptions and, well, I will not be joining this particular bandwagon. (That goes for my murder mysteries too. Too much about the murder? That book goes in the freezer.) 

Perhaps that makes me sound a bit snobbish, but you guys, I LOVE BANDWAGONS. I read ALL FOUR Twilight books. I'm going to see the next movie! The fact that I cannot discuss whether Veronica Mars would make a good Lisbeth Whatshername is really sort of disappointing. 

So yes, everything I've read lately is an Italian murder mystery, except for this book I read on the airplane coming back from Hawaii. I can't remember the name of it, but it was so bad (SO BAD) that it's for the best. I have spent Actual Time trying to figure out why it was popular enough to have a reading discussion guide in the back. 

Then again, those are the books that give me hope that one day I might be a published author too. So that some snotty girl looking for a quick airplane read can burn through my novel on her flight home and trash it on her blog the next day. 

Books on my to-read list include: 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson because Elizabeth told me she loved it and that's good enough for me. Also I like John Green. I follow him on Twitter. Although I secretly suspect his ego is the size of my house. 

The next Mysterious Benedict Society, whatever it's called. I could look it up, but one of the bylaws of this blog is that I'm allowed to be incredibly lazy. 

The Lonely Polygamist. I've heard this is excellent. And there's polygamy! That's always a fascinating topic, right? 

What else can I hunt for on my brand new toy? P.S. I do not like anything Gory or Violent or containing a Strong Ick Factor. GO.

(I have a feeling Phillip is seriously going to regret this. You see, he bought it on Woot. The man cannot resist the call of Woot! It whispers in his ear! "Buy me, Phillip Cheung! You must have me! I am wireless and shiny and full of buttons AND I AM ON WOOT FOR ONLY TWO MORE HOURS!")