As Her Bad Mother knows, sometimes the blog subjects get backed up. I keep thinking, “oh I can write about that” but then I don’t get here.

I could write about clipping off the tip of Bun’s finger when I was clipping her nails. That was fun. Any idea how many blood vessels are in the tip of a finger? LOTS. And they don’t make little wee bandaids for infants. And if you do manage to get one on your infant, your older daughter will need one, too, stat. Especially if Dora is on it.

I could write about hosting Easter Bunch, but it went so well, I guess it wouldn’t be worth it. Then the next weekend I could write about the baptism (of my nephew) and the (semi) interesting conversation with the priest, who is a childhood friend of my brother. Maybe I’ll get back to that one.

Or, how my sister and her Boston Terrier stayed here for a four-day visit, and just about every word out of Monkey was about the dog. “Where’s Buddy?” “What’s Buddy doing?” “Get out of there Buddy.” “Down Buddy.” And back to “Where’s Buddy?” “There’s Buddy!” And how when I put (poor, exhausted) Buddy to “bed” one night in the guest room, how my daughter lay down weeping in the hallway outside the door with a blanket. “I’m very, very sad,” she informed me. “I want to go to bed.” Uh, okay!

How about I finally thought about three more reasons I can’t stand Dora!

8. Is it necessary that sometimes Dora shows little midriff? I mean, she’s supposed to be five years old or something, isn’t she? Is she going to grow up to be the Hispanic Britney Spears?
9. A tie between the giggling stars (or estrellas) and Backpack: things and knick-knacks, too. Both make me cranky.
10. See, I should have written them down, because now I forget. It’ll come back to me.

Lastly, and I will probably write more about this (on a night that Lost isn’t on): I am contemplating going back to work full-time. Actually, doing a little more than contemplating. Planning for it. Reluctantly. But I have to be realistic about our life and our finances. And I have to do something since DearDR can’t until he gets his license. Which is still about two months away.

And oh, boy, could I write about that.

Reading is Fundamental

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I’ve just joined Mary P and several other bloggers in a Book Binge. I am quite excited. I plow through a number of books each week, and here is a chance to see how many I plow through in a month! I’m excited.

To begin, I wanted to paste this Literary Meme, also from Mary P (she has a much nicer layout than I can muster at this point):

Mark next to the books:
READ for those you’ve read;
WANT TO next to those you are interested in;
AGAIN & AGAIN next to those you’ve read and loved, over and over;
REPEAT for those you’ve read more than once, without necessarily loving them;
MEH for stuff you read and weren’t impressed by;
STARTED for those that just never got finished;
and leave blank those you don’t care to read.

I took the liberty of adding a category: Never Heard Of. I may look into these, and try to read them this month if they sound interesting!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) Read
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) Read
3. To Kill a Mocking Bird (Harper Lee) Repeat
4. Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) Read
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkein) Repeat
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings (Tolkein) Repeat
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkein) Repeat
8. Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabldon) Again & Again
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) Never Heard Of
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fine (J. K. Rowling) Again & Again
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) Read
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) Again & Again
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) Repeat
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golding) Read
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Again & Again
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie McDonald) Never Heard Of
18. The Stand (Stephen King) Again & Again
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Again & Again
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) Repeat
21. The Hobbit (Tolkein) Repeat
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger) Repeat
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) Read
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) Want to (waiting at the library for me as we speak!)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) Read
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) Again & Again
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) Repeat
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) Again & Again
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) Meh
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) Read
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) Repeat
34. 1984 (George Orwell) Read
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) Again & Again
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) Never Heard Of
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay) Never Heard Of
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb) Repeat
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) Repeat
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) Meh
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) Repeat
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) Want to
44. The Five People you Meet in Heaven (Albom)
45. The Bible Need to Read Again & Again!
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) Read
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas) Want to
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) Read
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) Meh
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) Repeat
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) Read
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) Read
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) Never Heard of
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) Repeat
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) Never Heard Of
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) Again & Again
58. The Thorn Birds (Collen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) Again & Again
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) Never Heard Of
61. Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky) Want to
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) Repeat
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview with a Vampire (Anne Rice) Repeat
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis) Never Heard Of
66. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) Meh
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares) Read
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) Repeat
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) Started
70. The Little Prince (Antione de Saint-Exupery) Again & Again
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Helen Fielding) Repeat
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) Started
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Repeat
76. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay) Again & Again
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) Read
78. The World According to Garp (Irving) Repeat
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) Never Heard Of
80. Charlotte’s Web (E. B. White) Read — and want to again
81. Not Wanted on the Voyage (Timothy Findley) Never Heard Of
82. Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck) Read
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) Repeat
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) Read
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams) Again & Again
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) Repeat
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) Read
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago) Never Heard Of
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffery Archer) Never Heard Of
91. In the Skin of a Lion (Ondaatje) Never Heard Of
92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding) Repeat
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) Read
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) Meh
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) Read
96. The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton) Read
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) Meh
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) Never Heard Of
99.The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) Started

This list seems a little arbitrary to me, a mix of classics and modern “classics”. I wonder how the books got on it. And let’s be honest, a number of these I read in high school, and will probably never read again. My loss. Maybe this list will have me revisiting some.

All Time Favorite on the List: The Little Prince
Close Second: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Close Third: The Stand

Total Read: 67

War — What Is It Good For?

Literature, it seems.

I just finished Jane Smiley’s latest novel Ten Days in the Hills. I didn’t think I would like it for two reasons: I thought it was an excuse for her to write about sex (which she does well, but I didn’t think I would be interested), and the novel is based on Boccaccio’s Decameron, about which (until a moment ago) I knew zilch. But I’ve always liked Smiley as an author, so I thought I would give it a shot.

I ended up, though, really enjoying it. If you don’t know anything about The Decameron, it’s okay; you don’t need to in order to appreciate the novel and the way it is constructed. But if you want to know the basics, check here for some information about it.

The basic premise is: it’s the day after the Academy Awards in 2003, the war in Iraq has just begun, and ten people hole up in the Hollywood hills. Mothers, daughters, sons, lovers and friends. While the book is not about the war, per se, it obliquely addresses it through the characters and their thoughts, conversations, interactions. There is a lot of erotica/sex, but it is not at all gratuitous.

Anyway, I’m not writing a book review here. I liked the book, and I highly recommend it.

No, my point is more self-reflective. It’s my weblog, after all. So, yeah, it is all about me.

We’ve been in Iraq more than four years now, as of a little over a week ago. Four years, with no sign of an end.

I don’t support the war, and I didn’t vote for the guy who got us there. And while I’ve verbally aligned myself as against the war and have since before it started, I haven’t actually done anything about it.

No marches, no protests. Just conversations, some contentious, sometimes with like-minded people, sometimes not (hi, Dad-In-Law!).

I actually did do some volunteer work to try to get Kerry elected. Maybe that counts as something.

When this war started, I was pregnant with Gabriel. I remember seeing Baghdad in flames, and feeling a keen sadness. One of the oldest cities in the world, in ruins. I also remember laying in bed with DearDR, our tiny unborn child between us. I’m not sure I can put into words the protectiveness, the fear, the… wonder of it.

In some part of the world, people were (are) dying, and here we were, my husband and I, attempting to bring forth new life. Was it naivety? Love? Hope? Ignorance? I still wonder. Is bringing children into this world responsible? I mean, we’re at war; global warming is a reality; who the hell knows what is going to happen in 50 years?

But while one part of my brain examines this idea, most of me just wants to go on with my life. My small life, with DearDR, with Monkey and Bun, with love and hope, and yeah, maybe some ignorance. I know I attempted to write a poem about this a couple of years ago. I was standing at my kitchen sink listening to NPR, looking at the bunnies out in our yard, and hanging out with a 9-month-old baby girl who was going to be walking in another month. I like my small world.

Is that selfish? I don’t know. I pray for the safety of the troops; I pray for the end of the war. I even pray for forgiveness for those responsible for the killing and dying — on both sides. But I’m not out there in the street. I guess my passion is for my small world.

As an aside, when the first Gulf War started, that very night was the first time I smoked pot. I was nineteen years old, in college. My thought process upon being asked if I wanted to get high, if I recall correctly, was, “Why the heck not? We’re at war.”

I don’t feel that way, that “what the heck” way. I mean I often think, “What the hell??” about the war, about our leaders, about politics and the wider world in general.

But I know that I didn’t think that about getting married or having kids. Especially about having kids. And I certainly don’t throw my hands up now and think, “Well what the heck? We’re at war.” That’s not part of my decision process at this point.

It can’t be. I know it’s part of the world, my world even. But it’s not necessarily part of my small world. And I would like to keep it that way.