Saturday, April 26, 2008

Books, Books and more Books!

What’s Your Favorite Book?

My friend Roe was blogging about this not to long ago. She posted this very interesting poll which was conducted to discover what the favorite book of most Americans is. Here were the results:

Harris Interactive surveyed American adults to find out "What is your favorite book of all time?" The answers:

1. The Bible
2. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
3. Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5. The Stand, by Stephen King
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
8. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
10. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

It’s an interesting list, isn’t it? I mean what a combination of topics and titles. I was surprised to see Angels and Demons by Dan Brown on the list, I certainly didn’t think it was nearly as good as The Da Vinci Code, but to each their own. I think that it is also interesting to note that according to Zogby, the average American reads four books in a year. Can you imagine that? I could read four books in a week! I think that is such a sad commentary on our society… I

So I sat and thought about my favorite books. Where to start?? There are SO many! I don’t think that I could possibly limit it to 10. Anyway, here goes, in no particular order except for the first:
1. Lord of the Rings – the only book that was so real to me that I actually had dreams about it. I will forever be thankful to JRR Tolkien for opening my heart to the wonder of magic and fantasy.
2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It is a long book and detailed, but so worth the effort that it takes to read. It is particularly interesting to read Rand’s commentary on capitalism considering her own personal experiences and background.
3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Smith’s lyric style and colorful story telling speak for themselves in this largely autobiographical work.
4. Anything by Charles Dickens, especially A Tale of Two Cities – what greater love can there be than the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the happiness of the one you love?
5. The Three Musketeers – because I love a great action/ adventure story and this one does it all. Who doesn’t love the visual of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and Dartagnan as they cross their swords saying “ All for one and one for All!”?
6. Brave New World – I love Huxley’s story about finding humanity in the most surprising of places…
7. Harry Potter – because from start to finish the story of the “Boy Who Lived” captured me. Rowling’s story brought me into Harry’s world and I was so sorry to see it end, no matter how satisfyingly the story came to a close.
8. Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 – both offer a frightening glimpse of what the future could be if we for one instant lose sight of our precious freedom.
9. A Thousand Splendid Suns – I don’t typically like contemporary authors, but Khalid Hosseini had me at hello. Seriously, this book grips you from the first sentence and the story never stops.
10. Night by Elie Weisel – nothing can be said about this book except that every single person should read it so that we never forget.
11. Wuthering Heights – possibly the greatest love story ever told. I didn’t understand it the first time I read it. I didn’t understand why Heathcliff and Cathy couldn’t just figure it out – but sometimes, that’s the point isn’t it?

It was hard to compile this list and I’d be willing to bet that tomorrow, my choices may look very different. Again, aside from number one, these books really aren’t in any particular order, I love them all. I’d love for you to share your top 10 list, since I’m always look for the next great book to read.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Interesting Study... When We Say NO, They Hear Yes

So a communications professor just did some interesting ( and very unscientific) research at UC Davis. He canvased the campus asking over 1000 men and women what different phrases in their relationship meant to each of them. He spent a lot of time talking about what a man hears when a woman says no. Interestingly enough - the majority of those interviewed seemed to think that no meant - "get busy because I'm tired" or that no means " maybe, I just need a little convincing."

Some other interesting miscommunications between men and women?
She says, " I'm invovled with someone else." He hears, " I still want to hook up with you, just discreetly".
She says, " I just want to be friends". He hears, " I still want to have sex with you, just no committment."

Communication between the sexes is a minefield. I'd be the first one to admit that there is a lot going on between what a woman says and what she is also communicating on a unspoken level. That said though, my husband knows when I say, "I tired" it doesn't mean "Try harder" or "convince me" it means - "That isn't happening tonight. Period."

Why do we - women and men - read so much into what one another is saying that may or may not be there? Guys, for your own protection, if you are with a woman and she says no, assume she means NO. Any other thought on your part can lead to some very serious repurcussions. These types of studies just reflect how rare candor is in our society, especially in the dating pool.

For all you men out there, here's a translation of what a woman really means. Ladies, I think you will enjoy this too:
Nine Dangerous Words Women Use

1.) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with Nothing usually end in Fine.

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about Nothing. (Refer back to 3 for the meaning of Nothing.)

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's Okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying SCREW YOU!

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to 3.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"I'm so Tired..."

I'm so tired of hearing "I'm so tired." My husband works his ass off for his family. I know it, I understand it, and I certainly appreciate it. He works long hours and his job is very stressful sometimes. (Most of the time) I can look at his face when he comes home from work and I know that he's bushed. He doesn't need to tell me. I hate it when he tells me.

Every day I think to myself, tonight we'll do something fun together. We'll have some deep conversation. We'll have a political debate. Maybe we'll even make love.... I think of all these things that we are going to do and then.... he comes home and says, "I'm so tired." None of these things are going to happen. Why try? Especially in the love department, when my man is tired, he just needs his sleep. Anything else is going to end badly, usually with me frustrated and him hurt and upset. It just isn't worth it.

I know I shouldn't complain, but the fact is that if I'm not venting him, I'm bitching to him. I feel bad bitching to him so I just need to get it out. I'm tired of feeling deprived. I'm tired of my husband being gone for MONTHS at a time. I'm just so tired.....

Honestly, my life is wonderful in most aspects. I know my husband loves me. I have two beautiful little girls, and I feel so priviledged to be their mother. I live in a beautiful house, with a beautiful garden. My husband is even thinking about putting in a pool. Sometimes though, I just miss my partner who seems to be gone more and more of the time, even when he should be here with me, and that makes me feel really sad.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hhmmm... Now That's Interesting. A New Meme

No, I wasn't tagged for this one, but I was looking for inspiration this morning and I definitely found it, as always in the most unlikely of places. I was perusing the blog list on The Mom Blogs and came across this meme. Here's how you play:


- Pick your birth month.
- Bold the 5-10 that best apply to you.
- Copy to your own journal, with all twelve months.
- Tag 12 people from your friends list.

Click here to get the list of all twelve months.

At any rate, I was reading through September, looking for those things which describe me. In all honesty, I'd love to choose only those things which are flattering but that wouldn't be truthful. Sometimes it's painful to see ourselves in a less than always favorable light, but that is the way it is. Not one of us is goodness and light 100% of the time, no matter how we strive for that.As I was reading through the list, I definitely saw myself but even stranger, I also saw my husband who is also born in September. So a twist on the meme for those of you who choose to do it, also look at your mates month and see if you recognize him or her. I am bolding those things that are like me and italicizing those things that are like him.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

It's strange really to see ourselves in this manner. It begs the question of exactly how our star sun and our sun sign influences our nature. For those that may not know, your star sign is your astrological sign, in my case, Libra. Your sun sign is the position of the sun at the time of your birth, in my case Aries. No, I don't think that our lives are totally predetermined, but I do think that this things can and do influence who we are. Just like I believe that dates and names - especially our chosen name - can influence who we ultimately become.

So give it and try and see if you can see yourself. Everyone reading this - consider yourself tagged. Please leave me a comment to let me know that you have written about this, so I can visit your blog and see what truths may have been revealed to you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whose Time Table Am I On Anyway?

Do you ever get the feeling that you do everything in someone else's time? Never when it may please you to do something, but always instead when it can be done or when it must be done. Lately this seems to be the story of my life and I hate it. I hate feeling like anything and EVERYTHING in my life is at someone else's convenience.

My friend says that this is the way with everyone. We shop when the stores are open, we go to work when we are told. Yes, I do shop when the stores are open - but within my own time constraints. With my husband and his job, I feel like everything we do is on someone else's terms.

We celebrate holidays and birthdays - not necessarily when we should as other people do - but when we can. Christmas isn't always on December 25th for us. Last year it was, but the year prior it was actually December 17th. Close enough for government work, I guess.

My whole life revolves around the convenience and happiness of others. It's frustrating to say the least. Even my sex life goes according to my husband's work schedule. Saturday night for instance is usually a very good night. The thing is, what happens when Saturday night rolls around and I am not so inclined? Well, in all honesty, I usually acquiesce... who knows when the opportunity will present itself again?

I am just angry and frustrated. I would have thought that after all these years together, this predeployment build up wouldn't apply to us. We wouldn't go through the fear of seperation, the anxiety about the loss, the anger/fear/ resentment. Haven't we been through this enough times now? Suprisingly, it is as if we are going through it all for the first time. Here I am, just like a new Navy wife, going through all the same fears and uncertainties that I have faced and conquered so many times in the past.

I want to get through this - hold my family together. Still, just once in a while, I would like to do things in my own sweet time, not at the convenience of others. It doesn't seem like a lot to ask, does it? I am looking forward to moving thought this stage of predeployment and working my way to where I can be stable and ok again. I hate the anger and resentment I sometimes feel, especially when, rationally, I know it isn't my husbands fault. Anyone else out there ever feel like everything they do is on someone else's timetable?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm Not That Girl

She twirls in the mirror
for all to see,
waiting, hoping, breathlessly.
Tonight's my chance,
Tonight's my dance.
Cinderella at last.

She steps into the ball
hope in her heart,
loving, longing, yearning.
He's handsome and tall,
her prince of the ball..
Cinderella at last.

She has hopes and dreams
for this night it seems
lonely, longing, outcast.
No one sees her
She's just a blur
Cinderella at last.

The dress falls to the floor,
the truth sinks in.
sad, downhearted, confused.
I look and I see
I'm....Not.... That..... Girl

Friday, April 11, 2008

Never Again!

We all have those things in our lives - those things that if we never had to do them again - it just wouldn't phase us one bit. In fact, the lack of having these things in our lives could improve our quality of life significantly!

Here are some things that I would be quite happy to never do again, in no particular order:
1. I would be totally ok if I never had another period. I am almost 38 years old and I have had "IT" since I was 10. I have 2 beautiful little girls and my tubes are tied, so there is no expectation of having any more children. The way I see it, my uterus has served it's purpose and if it were ripped out tomorrow and I never had another period - I wouldn't miss it in the least bit!

2. I have a HATE - HATE relationship with our ride on lawnmower and would be quite happy to never see the seat of the red monstrosity ever again. I have no intention whatsoever of mowing my lawn this summer while my husband is deployed. I have hired lawn men to do that! I have enough with the house, the garden and my children thank you very much!

3. Cleaning the microwave or the toilet. Yes, I know these things have to get done, and trust me, I do them regularly, but if I could wave a magic wand or have a house elf do it for me, believe me, I WOULD!

4.Mulching. I love to garden and I love my flower beds, but the mulching seems like this never ending process. I wish you could just mulch once and it would last for five years or so... but sadly, that isn't the case. I mulched twice last year and already my beds need new mulch. At least I'll get a tan...

5.Ok, this one really is a big pet peeve of mine - listening to civilian women whine about how they "never get to see their husbands". He's home every night by 6 and when he goes on a business trip - he can call you every night. Please don't expect any sympathy from this submariner's wife who goes six months or more at a time without seeing her husband's face and phone calls? Yeah, they are almost as rare, and when I do get them, it's in the middle of the night because he's on the other side of the world.

6. Coupled with number 5, listening to my SIL and MIL whine about the impact of a SINGLE move on my nephew. He's just so stressed because he had to move - poor thing. First off - my SIL and BIL made the CHOICE to move. Secondly, my nephew is 10 - stop treating him like he's 3. Thirdly, again, my children move every 2 to 21/2 years. We leave friends all the time, constantly face the insecurities of a new place, a new school... so please don't expect me to sympathize because you made a choice and you haven't given your child the coping mechanisms to deal with it.

7. MOVING! I hate moving. Well, that isn't really true. The adventure of a new place is exciting, but the packing and unpacking of stuff certainly isn't! To some degree, I long for the time in my life when I will be able to call ONE PLACE home for more than 2 years.

8. Watching my friends cry. I hate to see other people hurting, especially when I feel helpless to do something to "fix it".

9. Saying goodbye to the people I love. I hate it. I hate doing it, and while I know that goodbyes are as much a part of life as hellos are, that doesn't make doing it any easier.

10. I hate it when people see me cry, especially my husband. I hate it when he's leaving and I have so many things to tell him, but my tongue gets thick and the words won't come. For a person who loves to write and who lives to communicate their thoughts and feelings, this is pure, unadulterated HELL!

What are some things that you would gladly give up ever having to do again?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

There Are So Very Few....

I love to read - always have, but for some strange reason, I am just not a fan of most contemporary authors. Most seem to escalate the minutiae in our lives, and maybe that is what life is really all about and I'm just missing it. Somehow though,contemporary authors are seem so trivial in what they choose to write. I like a book that makes me think, and maybe, just maybe, elevates me to some greater truth. Is that expecting too much?

I loved the Kite Runner by Khaled Hoiseini, and last night, very late... I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns. I didn't think that it was possible to outdo his original work, but for me, A Thousand Splendid Suns surely outshines it's predecessor. Like Kite Runner, it examines life in Afghanistan, but this time from a female perspective.

I learned so much about the culture of Afghanistan through this works, but I also feel like I learned some greater truths - the greatest triumph any literary work can aspire to, in my opinion. Even though both works have their share of tragedy, in the end the main characters find redemption and meaning. From the very first page of A Thousand Splendid Suns to the word, I was fascinated and engrossed in the stories of the women, Miriam and Laila. If you have not read either of these works, I can not recommend them highly enough.

What writers do you enjoy reading and why? Do you think that their works reveal some greater truth about humanity? Does their work elevate you in some way? Or is that not what you look for in a book?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Startling Revelation: Married Men Make Extra Housework for Their Wives!

This is research just conducted by the University of Michigans' Institute for Social Research. Surprisingly enough, the head researcher is a man. What is most startling to me is that the University of Michigan feels that this is truly in ANY way a revelation. ANY married woman could have told them this well established fact!

In fact, the sutdy suggests that a man ONLY adds 7 hours a week to the housework for his wife. I would say that this is WAY off. I know for a fact that it has to be more than seven hours. Just picking up my husbands various cups and icecream bowls and washing them takes at least 3o minutes a week and let's not even talk about his laundry! The man only wears an article of clothing once a week and then, on the floor it goes. Apparently the whole concept of a laundry hamper is completely alien. In fact, I find so many clothes on the floor, that I often become disheartened myself and leave mine there too.

The garbage - oh the garbage! We recycle, well, let me correct that - I do. That means that i have to sort through my garbage to see what recyclables my husband has thrown out. This often takes quite a bit of time every week. Not to mention that I am the only one in my house who takes OUT the trash. If I were to go on strike, we would be living on a mountain of crap in about 2 weeks. Seriously.

So everyone dish - how does your spouse add to your housework and do you think that 7 hours a week on average is about right? OR like me, do you think that it's actually more?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I Am Woman - Hear Me ROAR!

I was telling you guys the other day that some of the siding came off of the front of my gabled roof. Not a good thing! As usual, my husband could not be reached, so instead of waiting to hear from him, I pick up the phone and start calling handymen. You see, our house is two stories and the ladder just to fix it would cost over $200 - I checked it out at

Contractors are a real pain in the ass to deal with! Mostly I heard, "OH, I can't get over there in the next two weeks." Listen, if you don't want to do the job because it's a little job, that's fine, but don't blow smoke up my skirt about it. So finally, I reached Tony, and he tells me that he will come by around 6 pm to check it out.

I finally get a hold of my husband who tells me that I should not have called a handyman. Some thanks I get for trying to take care of it so he doesn't have to do it during an already busy weekend.Anyhow, I tell DH, "Look, the guys coming out at 6, it can't hurt to let him look at it." To which he responds "OK, but I'm not paying more than $50 bucks for it."

Now, dh hasn't even seen the house yet. He doesn't realize that more siding is flapping around up there, probably ALSO getting ready to fly off my house into the land of Oz. Husband arrives home at 5 pm. Tony arrives 5 minutes later. Husband asks me what they are going to charge to do the job. I say, " I don't know, you've been outside with them, why don't you ask?" I go out there and there's DH watching the contractors putting up the ladder to fix the siding. I said, " What's it going to cost?" and DH says, " I dunno." GRRRR.... So I have to ask the contractors.

Tony fixed it for $40 bucks and DH didn't have to take up any time from his weekend. When he comes back inside, DH tells me, "Honey, when something like that happens, it doesn't need to get fixed right away and you can't panic." HELLO!!! I didn't panic - I took care of it!!! If I was waiting for DH to get it done, my house would still be half naked with her wood hanging out.... MEN!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What Color Are You Today?

Seriously, every mood has a color, what's yours? Today, I'd have to say that I am storm cloud grey. Nice huh? I woke up this morning, thought I was late, so I rushed to get the kids up so that my daughter wouldn't miss the bus. Turns out that I was actually an hour early and I missed my first cup of coffee - ALONE - as a result of having woken the children up. It was not an auspicious beginning to the day.

It's trash day here, so as I was walking my daughter out to the bus, I grabbed the trash cans. (Of course, no one else here does this but me.) As I am walking out, I see this huge and I mean HUGE, strips of white lying in the grass. WTH? I look up, and guess what?? The gale force winds here had taken off some of the siding from my gabled roof. It isn't bad, but it is something that I want to get fixed right away. I think that my husband could probably do it, but as he has neither the proper equipmment ( a really tall ladder, some assistance and who knows what else may be entailed) nor the time, I called various contractors.

Hopefully one is coming tonight at 6 to look at it. I say hopefully because one never really knows when dealing with a contractor. In the mean time the front of my house looks like shit ( to me anyway) and I am praying as the gale force winds continue on through the day, that things will not get worse.

That's my day in a nutshell. Tomorrow I am hoping to be cerlean blue, but today, I'm storm cloud grey. What color are you and why?