Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Recent Reads

I'm a bibliophile, so much so that I can't even keep track of what I've read and what I haven't. Just to help my memory a bit, I've started keeping a loose log of the books I've read. In no particular order, here's the short list of what I've read in the last six months or so:

Daughter of the Loom by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. A historical fiction about the Massachusetts textile mills in the 19th century. I love historical fiction, and this one was pretty good.

So Far From Home: The Story of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl by Barry Denenberg. Another historical fiction book about the Lowell, Mass., textile industry.

Cape Refuge, Southern Storm, River's Edge, and Breaker's Reef all by Terri Blackstock
These were four novels in a series about an East Coast island town. Christian suspense, I guess you'd call it. Decent fiction, although a character's name is changed from book one to book two. I emailed the author and she said it was a huge mistake on the editorial side.

Redemption, Remember, Return, Rejoice, and Reunion, all by Karen Kingsbury. The whole Baxter family series. Slightly predictable, but I really liked this series. Always a sucker for happy endings.

Fame and Forgiven, both by Karen Kingsbury. A second series about the Baxters, but this time focusing on their long-lost son turned Hollywood actor. The series is getting pretty cheesy, but I'm still going to finish it when the next few come out.

Dying Declaration, Irreparable Harm, and Directed Verdict, all by Randy Singer. Singer is kind of a Christian John Grisham. These are fun courtroom novels. One of them has a ridiculous character who is a Cambodian refugee who speaks flawless English and uses phrases like "Technicolor." What ESOL Cambodian refugee would know that word? The courtroom scenes are mighty fun, though.

Blink by Ted Dekker. An outlandish plot about a Berkeley genius who can see multiple futures, each one slightly different based on certain actions or inactions. His mission is to save a Saudi Arabian princess who's run away to the States to avoid an arranged marriage to a tyrant. Within a week, both she and the agnostic protagonist find each other and Christ. What lifetime Muslim would so quickly dump her heritage and jump to Christianity? Implausible, for sure.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. OK, this is in the juvenile fiction section of the library. Disney just came out with the film version, which I haven't seen. The novel was quirky and fun and definitely has Disneyesque scenes.

I know I've read more, but I'm blanking right now. I'll add more when I can remember what the books were.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lessons I've Learned This Week

This has been a very frustrating couple of weeks, and now that I'm past it I need to reflect.

A quick summary: Sweet Caelyn's birthday was on May 15. She was turning 5 and really wanted a party. I planned on May 13, but her friend Casey had already planned her party for the same day. So we switched to May 20, but her friend Olivia had already planned her's for that morning. So, we settled on the afternoon of May 20. Not the best timing, since this was going to be an outdoor party and it would likely be 90+ degrees, but Caelyn's other friends had trumped our plans.

I handed out the invitations, and didn't hear from most people. Two people called to say they were coming (thanks, Mrs. James and Mrs. Mayo). Some gave me a verbal thumbs-up. Most just didn't respond. It's very difficult to plan party activities and favors if you don't know who's coming.

The day before the party, we heard from two people who now couldn't come even though they previously said they could. We heard from one person who said they'd be arriving late. On the day of the party, one person called to back out.

I tried not to be upset, but I was really frustrated with the whole situation. Individually, most of these people had valid excuses for not being able to come after all. Cumulatively, though, it felt like Caelyn was getting shafted. Only 5 of her friends came, four of which she'll never see again because they were pre-school friends and they'll all be at different schools next year. Only one of her church friends came.

So, here's what I've learned.

1. Always call to RSVP to a party. If you can make it, say so. If you can't, call early enough so the hostess can actually make plans.
2. If you say you're going to be there, don't back out at the last minute unless it's a true emergency. (I'm not speaking to you, Amy. And I appreciate your phone call.)
3. Caelyn has the ability to have a great time no matter what the circumstances. She missed her friends who couldn't come, but she was a great little hostess to her friends who did.

Maybe this was payback for me being a poor RSVPer in the past. In college I was invited to leadership dinner at the Vice President for Student Affair's house. I never got around to RSVPing, and at the last minute my friends convinced me that I should go and it would be OK for me just to show up. I did, and Dr. Grissom made a public joke about me being a party crasher since I hadn't RSVPed. I was wholly embarrassed, but I learned my lesson.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

These Are A Few of My Least Favorite Things

In an homage to The Sound of Music...

Waiting in long lines at Target or Walmart
Squeaky loose wheels on my HEB cart
Discovering my car door is covered in dings
These are a few of my least favorite things

Wasting two hours in the doctor's office
Only to find out that it's just a virus
Searching through trash cans to find my lost ring
These are a few of my least favorite things

E-mail spam and annoying chain letters
Getting a snag on my brand new silk sweater
Roasting in carpool when it's ninety degrees
Things are a few of my least favorite things

Toenail fungus, toddler tantrums,
TV shows that are crass and impure
When I'm depressed by my least favorite things,
I ask God to bring the rapture.