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Is Ali engaged?

That's what Us Weekly is reporting this week, and Reality Steve is saying it's between two, which he has narrowed down to one now.  I'm not going to report who it supposedly is, in case you're into the questioning.  I have to say I don't know the characters well enough to even know who is left.  But if you're interested, you can find it here:  realitysteve.com

I'm pretty shocked if this is true.  They're saying she'll get engaged after the final rose and that she's already planning her wedding.  Honestly, I couldn't care less.  I'm sorry, Ali.  Just couldn't get into it this year.  


Ali's Claws Come out...

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I have to admit, I only saw the beginning of the show with Justin. Brazil vs. Chile was on and that took precedence at our house. But I have to admit, I loved watching the Justin drama.  I loved his little scared face at being caught in a lie.  The guy totally thought he was a player, but he turned into a little baby rat when cornered.  I really did feel sorry for his girlfriend, but thankful she was young and learned that lesson early. 

I think growing up with women, Justin just showed his dimples and all was forgiven.  Not so with the reality TV audience.  He was SUCH a bad liar and I'll bet he really did love that girl and now she's gone.  But honestly, I didn't see how Ali was fooled by him.  He was a dog on that helicopter trip.  

My favorite part of Ali last night was watching her chase Justin's sorry bum out of the room and the look of horror on the rest of the guys' faces -- like oh, you do not want to make that woman mad.  Point taken.


BBC Books Read of Top 100?

The BBC believes we've only read six of the top 100 books.  Oh my, get out there people.  Get out there!!!  Here's my list -- I am not a Shakepeare girl -- that's my weakness, I do not get the play format.  It bugs me for some reason.  It's not the language that turns me off, it's the format.  It asks you to put an x by the ones you've read. I put more than one X if I read them more than once. When I like something, I have to read it again every so often.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Uh, too many times to count here!) XX
2 The Lord of the Rings X (But didn't like it.)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte  X
4 Harry Potter series X (just the first one.)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – X
6 The Bible - X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X (hate it!)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (never heard of it)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X (not a fan)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy XXX (many, many times!)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X (had to for school - Hated it!)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - hahahaha! (only what they made me.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier XXX (own an original copy!)
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X (to my kids)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (never heard of it)
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X (liked her second one better.)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot X
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X (like the movie better)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens X (depressing)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy X 
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh X
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky XX (one of my faves!)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X (hate it!)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll – (not interested)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -XX One of my favorites!! 
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens XX
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma - Jane Austen XX
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen XX
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis – XX
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini – (Read his second one - Fabulous!)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne – X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving XX
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins X
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy XXX (my very favorite book!)
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (my bff's fave, but no, still don't care)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen XX
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley XX
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (have Aspy kid, no)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (cholera is not romantic)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - X (HATE IT!!)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov XXX (many times, a favorite believe it or not.)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas XXX LOVE THiS BOOK!
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy XXX (depressing, but Hardy, my fave)
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - XXX 
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie 
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - X (hated it, too wordy)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson 
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - (I tried, I really did! Son loves it????)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath X (wanted to stick MY head in an oven.)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - 
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray XX (love Becky Sharp!)
80 Possession - AS Byatt X
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens XX
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro X
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert XX
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry 
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - XX
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad 
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (don't think I finished it.)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - X (had to for school)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - XX
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo XX

So I think I'm at 71, but my math is bad, so I could be wrong.  And I'm not going to read the ones I haven't read, they don't interest me.  Though I will be picking up my favorites again and again.  I would add The Thorn Birds to that list.  Everyone should read that book.  This is a good list -- I may not have read the complete works of Shakespeare in high school, but I had read the complete works of Jane Austen by then -- I had more romantic things to do.  


Jake Pavelka Breaks my Blog Fast!

Yes, I'm supposed to be working, but I cannot stand to be quiet about Mr. Nice Guy Jake Pavelka and this report that he makes a fist in anger on the reunion show. Emotional Reunion Show

Contrary to what you might all think, I am not a Vienna fan, but I just see some really disturbing things in Farquad that I cannot ignore.  First off, I think this guy has some deep underlying rage issues.  And they come out when he doesn't get his way.  This guy truly does scare me.  

Did Vienna know how to push everyone of his buttons?  Absolutely.  But if you think he can be with a nice girl and that part of him will go away?  You are totally in for an abusive relationship.  This guy is a controller.  When you say something against him, he cannot stand to hear it and shuts it down.  You can choose to see him as a victim, but I see him as an adult toddler who will not hear "no".  

He makes an excuse that there were "trust" issues and he couldn't be intimate with Vienna after that.  Any men out there?  IS this possible?  I mean you pick the sleazy girl on the show, right?  If you were looking for that deep, pure bond, there was Tenley.  So I'm peeved that he's trying to blame Vienna for not sleeping with her.  What did you pick her for then?  

Here's my theory and you can attack it all you want, but I think Jake is gay, or at least extremely emotionally immature, and doesn't want to admit it, or can't admit it because that's not how he sees himself -- as the hero on a white horse.   I didn't even watch "Dancing with the Stars" and I saw him treat that dance partner with the same disrespect he is now treating Vienna with -- it's there, his underlying rage.  Think Mel Gibson without the talent or money. (I do not think Mel is gay though.) 

I think Jake has the emotional maturity of a four year old, and here's the biggest sign:  there is NO protection of Vienna, only of himself and his own image.  Being a Christian can be a convenient excuse for a man with intimacy issues and seriously, where was that Christianity when he was in the overnight suite? 

For all Vienna's flaws, you can't blame her for NOT expecting a chaste relationship.   It's hardly purity that relationship was built upon.  Let's think back to Jake's fake protecting Jillian from Wes -- remember it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.  Do you think if Wes raised a hand to Jake, he wouldn't have run screaming from the room?  There is something I do not like about Jake, and it's always been there, and I say it her aloud -- you can all beat me up for it, but I know one day, we will be hearing from other women about their cold treatment at the hands of Jake.  And the real reason, I'm angry?  

They're putting this idiot on "The Bachelor Pad" as a judge, and I was really looking forward to that train wreck of a show, and now I have to be inundated with more Farquad?  Enough ABC!  Make this dirtball go away.  And America, if you are still fooled by this "innocence" of nice guy Jake, give it your best shot and tell me why you think he's Mr. Innocent?  

I think, like Vienna, I could get this guy enraged pretty quickly because his buttons are when a woman challenges his authority -- go ahead and tell me I have issues, but one day -- just like the day I told you he would be the most boring bachelor ever -- the truth will come out.




Retreating for a While

I'm going underground for at least a few days.  Lots of projects in the works, no actual time to work and feeding myself a steady diet of old movies (Cleopatra, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Romancing the Stone) is not helping my work get done.  So I'm climbing into my own world for a couple of days and hoping to come out with something to show for it (besides old movie knowledge!)

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Favorite Summer Activities & Perfectly Dateless Winners

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 You all had some great summer activities.  I pass them on so you all have no excuses not to live it up this beautiful season.  Most of them were repetitive.  We all love the beach, our feet in the sand, the wind in our face and the waves licking our toes.  So I'm putting some of the different ones here. Even you in Australia, you can save it for the right time.  My personal favorite comes from Robyn and made me laugh out loud:  

1. Chasing fireflies in upstate New York.  If you smashed them and rubbed them on your pants, your pants would glow.

2.  Walking on the beach & collecting sea glass

From Australia, I have to question this one:

3. Working in ministry at a Michigan summer camp.  Really?  The mosquitos?  The heat?  There must have been a really cute boy there, right?

4. Major League Baseball Games! (Make this a soccer game, and I'm there!)

5.  Sitting in the house reading, while the kids are outside playing. (I second this!  I send my mom a mother's day card that had a mom with her feet in the blow-up kiddie pool and said, "Motherhood.  Living the dream.")  

6.  Sleeping in and people watching while drinking coffee. (This one is good whether you're traveling or at the corner shop.)

7. Sitting by the pool, drinking an iced coffee and reading something you've read before, so you know it's good.  A LOT of relaxing by the pool with a book comments. 

8. Riding a bike with a Burley and kids trailing behind.

9. Traveling anywhere and everywhere.

10. Relaxing by a lake, fishing if I feel like it.

11.  Walking the beach, hand-in-hand with my husband at Sunset. (Oooh, can we get a collective, AWW!)

12.  Hitting the water park with my son.

13. Nature Walks

14. Sitting on the beach at dusk. (My favorite time of day, love this one!)

15.  Eating cotton candy at the Boardwalk (I vote for a Caramel Apple!) Having a picnic at the park. (Make that park, Disneyland and the picnic at the Blue Bayou in Pirates of the Caribbean and I'm there!)

16. Leading youth groups in ministry trips. 

17. Resting in a hammock and reading.

18. Hiking & Gardening.

19.  Reading at the beach and getting a tan (wear sunscreen!!)

20. Church camp.

21. Cook outs with family & friends.  (Here, here!  Having one this weekend for my baby cousin Levi's first birthday!)

22.  Taste of Champlaign even in Champlaign, IL. (I cannot take any kind of craft fair because I used to have to schedule them in the mall, and people annoyed me. Just sayin' -- it was like an indoor garage sale -- and I'm sure Taste of Champlaign is not like this!)  I do love a fine art fair though.

23. Kayaking (this is a favorite of mine too!)

24.  Water activities with the kids.  (Is there a simpler pleasure than kids with a hose?  I think not.)

25. Reading INSIDE!

26. Water wars.

27. Making homemade ice cream with Grandma.

28. Swimming

29.  BBQ's and cute summer clothes and shoes (my kind of girl!)

30.  Pizza Parties! (I don't eat pizza and I'm Italian. Little factoid for ya.)

31. Family reunions at the cabin on the lake.

32. Visiting local farmers' markets and cooking with the ingredients.  (Another factoid, when I had the Farmers' Market at my mall parking lot, I had the hugest crush on the cute farmer boy in charge.  Not enough of a crush to get dirt under my fingernails, but you get the gist.)

33. Roasting marshmallows around a campfire. (The one camping event I can get into.  I will even stick a nasty, dirty old wire hanger in my mouth for the pleasure of that soft, roasted sweetness.)

34.  Biking to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.  (My kind of exercise!)

35. Reading in the hammock with a Sweet Tea at my side.  (Oooh that sounds heavenly!)

36. Talking with friends, and just not rushing. (What's that like?)

37. Ultimate Frisbee in the summer rain and slushies afterwards.

38. Frequenting Dairy Queen and visiting hometown days.

39. Visiting an orphanage in Mexico to teach English.

40. Soaking up the A/C in my house.

41. Drying off in the sun after a swim.

42. Sitting by the pool with my iPod and a book.

43. Sitting around the firepit and listening to the frogs.

44. Photographing and Scrapbooking summer memories.

45. Dancing outside on the deck.

46. Waterskiing.

47. Mountain Biking in the hills.

48. Painting in the outdoors.

49. Horseback riding.

50.  Labeling and organizing my house to get ready for the school year.  (You are invited here!)

My favorite summer activities included watching the fireworks on the Fourth from my once-glorious front porch (seen in the picture.)

I love to drive with really loud music in a convertible or now with my sun roof open. (No kids messing with my radio please.)

I love to swim, then bake on the hot cement, then swim again. 

I love boating, kayaking and sailing.

Love to be in San Francisco on a perfect summer day.

Love to eat in a restaurant with an ocean view.

Love creating an outdoor room and listening to the trickle of a fountain, birds chirping and frogs singing at night.  Ahh...

Winners of the "Perfectly Dateless" books:

Teri Davies

April Wheatly

Krista Barrows

Rebeca Moir

Summer

Amy Martin



Jake doesn't regret his brief engagement to Vienna...

And do you know why?  It made his fifteen minutes stretch into sixteen.  He is on the cover of both "Us" and "People" this week -- and I totally resent that. So while they use their space to let wormy Jake whine, I'll use mine to say, "Jake, man up! Go fly a plane.  You are not interesting enough to keep this going.  You are no Kardashian, okay?" 

So in the "Us" article, they say, "Girardi (Vienna), a former Hooters waitress, wasn't supportive of his attempts to break into the business." Um, maybe because you were supposed to be a pilot!  You gave us all the impression you were happy piddling about in your Texas back yard.  YOU are the one who gave us bait and switch.  Not Vienna.  Vienna acted like a Hooters waitress the entire time.  If you were dumb enough to fall for it, that's not Vienna's fault.  But you, on the other hand, you Jake presented this image of the good Christian boy, the hero that went to rescue Jillian from the evil Wes.  Who's the fraud?

The fluffy news is so disturbing this week.  First you have Al Gore in the news, with a story that makes us all feel violated.  Ali tries to make us believe she's really been fooled by a wrestler named "Rated R" -- are you kidding me? In the meantime, poor Kasey gets a tattoo and ends up stranded on a glacier.  Definitely, the "coldest" Bachelorette dumping. 

  Jake-vienna1
 

And Mel Gibson has been accused of hitting his baby mama, which he says is "distorted" -- look dude, either you hit her or you didn't.  Distorted?  Only my fluffy news is distorted.  Thank goodness for the World Cup or I might have to take to reading the real news!



Summerside Press, I love you!!!

I just had a giant box delivered to my doorstep.  In it?  A box of Godiva Chocolates on ice from Summerside Press.  Thank goodness I'm almost done with dinner and it's time for dessert!

I guess I have to go back to Yoga now.  It's okay, to quote Bridget Jones, I will not let a bad man and an American stick insect (or many of them) defeat me.


Mommy's Vacation

So this week is ICRS, which is a tradeshow of sorts for all of us in Christian publishing.  Generally, I'm gone to this, and I'm hobnobbing with all my friends and business associates.  But not this year.  This year, I'm editing two books and carting children around.  Not in that order. Yesterday I left the house at 7:30.  I returned at 8:30 after driving four kids everywhere they needed to be.

My family is going on a RV trip for vacation this year.  Love my family and all, but being holed up in a car for a week with four kids and a dog?  Isn't that my daily life?  How is that a vacation?  And if you all remember, I did throw a tantrum of sorts at Mt. Lassen when we pulled into the this ridiculous dust bin with a picnic table they called a campsite.  Isn't the purpose of having a RV to have SOME of the benefits of home?  Camping in volcanic ash with no electricity for my laptop and out of reach of the BlackBerry network is NOT a vacation.  Oh wait, throw in nasty public toilets, cooking over a filthy community grill and you got yourself some luxury!

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Not this year, baby.  This year my BFF and I are going to CABO!!!  We will be spending four luxury-filled days and nights in a Mexican villa, feasting on good food, lounging by the pool and maybe, just maybe, splurging on a massage or two.

So my kids say to me in the midst of my driving around today, don't you feel guilty going on that vacation without us?  And the answer to that is no.  No, I don't.   And I grew up Catholic too.


Why I do not like Jake Pavelka...

I finally figured it out.  Couldn't put my finger on it until now, I just knew he bugged me. Well, I GET it now.  One word:  VICTIM!!!

I read once that if a man won't "man-up" women will do battle with him, trying to get him to do so.  Not sure if that's true, but this morning's Us Magazine cover says it all.  Jake is a victim.  He says, "Vienna cheating was the final straw!"  And inside he says he has a zero tolerance policy for infidelity.  But if YOU READ the article.  Vienna was cheating and DUMPED him via phone.  So his zero tolerance policy?  Sort of means nothing.  And the fact that he has to come out in a national publication and look like the victim?  Shows me why he's not worthy of a woman.  Men protect, they don't throw their women under the bus.  If he wasn't off on a taping of "Drop Dead Diva" and put any attention into his relationship rather than his wanting to be a pseudo star, maybe he wouldn't be a victim.

And what about his ego?  Who wants to go blasting on a national magazine they've been cheated upon?  Okay, and he says, "She showed her true colors."  Dude, she showed her true colors a long time before that -- she was a Hooters' girl and cheesy bikini model.  What part of that did you not understand?  Did you think she was hiding a brain surgeon under that "false image?"  I mean it's not like she faked who she was, right? Not feeling sorry for you, dude. Tenley seems to get the last laugh. 

As Maya Angelou says, "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." Jake dumped