Snowmaggedon at the RPM Compound

A story in pictures:

We will not be using our front door until springtime. I had had it all dug out, but when the driveway finally got plowed on Monday, they buried it again.

This is the parking pad beside my house — the third time I shoveled it.

Standing in the middle of the shared driveway, looking toward my ILs’ house. This was after the first plow (Monday) and before the second plow (today).

The view the other way.

This is my car, conveniently plowed into my driveway. Thanks, Township. Thanks a lot.

For more, you can go to my Picasa album.

Lost: What Kate Does

(Aside from get on a lot of nerves…)

Runs. This we know. In this episode, she runs away from the Temple (arguably toward Sawyer). I think her sobbing on the pier is because she knows she’s lost him. I don’t particularly care for the heartbroken Sawyer; I like the swaggering con man (I still have such a weakness for bad boys!). But Kate witnessed the end of the triangle right as Sawyer threw that ring into the ocean. She can either go back to Jack, or be alone.

In the sideways story, she helps Claire. She actually doesn’t run, staying by this stranger’s side. For all the bitching I do about Kate, I will say this: she has a weakness for a person in need. Claire’s plight moved her on the Island, and it clearly moves her again in this sideways story.

The suspension of disbelief was difficult for me. Okay, yes, young pregnant girl far from home needing some support, turning to the only other person she has actually encountered — even though she’s a gun-toting outlaw. But here’s my theory about that: Somehow these characters as they meet and interact in the Sideways Story (as I’m going to call it) are recognizing each other. Some instinct is pulling on them to help each other, trust each other. We saw it last week, when Locke and Jack actually reached out to each other instead of fighting as they did on-Island. We see it again when Kate finds Claire, stays by her side; we see it when Claire gets back in the taxi. That flash in her eyes that said, “This is crazy but it doesn’t feel crazy.”

We’re seeing the LA version of “stand together or die alone.”

In the original timeline, Kate makes no bones about the fact that she killed her (step)father. In the Sideways Story she tells Claire she didn’t do it. Does the Sideways Story have her falsely accused of something else? Or is Sideways Kate just trying to justify Claire’s trust of her?

Speaking of Claire: I’m sure I am not alone in saying this: Crazy Claire, as she appeared at the very end of the episode, certainly reminded me of Rousseau — another woman who had given birth on the Island, and lost her baby. Honestly, I don’t think “the dark thing” claiming people is more than madness, although it may have an organic origin on the Island.

Speaking of bad boys: Sayid is alive; gets a taste of his old medicine; is infected with… that darkness thingy. (Favorite line of the night: Sawyer: “He’s an Iranian torturer and murderer. He definitely deserves another go-around.” Bitter much? I also really enjoyed Miles rejoinder when Jack asks to speak with Sayid alone: “We’ll be in the food court.” Season 6, now with more sarcasm!)

I knew Jack was going to try to take that pill. Jack is savvy this season, figuring out how to be the puppeteer and not just get jerked around by his strings. I’m kind of liking it. He knows he’s penetrated into something, the inner sanctum of the Island, and damnit, he’s going to get some answers.

The question is, though, if the Others went to all that trouble to heal Sayid in the Temple of the Funky Water (trademark to Dan, my husband), what would that pill have done. Were the Others surprised Sayid is alive again? I don’t think so, but I do think they know such a thing is bad, bad news. Hence the poison. Would it have killed Sayid (again)? Or just killed the infection?

We didn’t get much in the way of answers this episode — or if we did, we’re not seeing them. I’ll be re-watching “What Kate Does” this weekend because Dan missed about 10 minutes dealing with my car and a tow truck (another story for another day). Thank goodness for FiOS on demand.

I’m off to do my rounds of “what the pros think of LOST”. Feel free to tell me what you think!

These are a Few of My Favorite Books

A few weeks back, ChickLitLisa (as befits her handle on Twitter) asked me questions about books: what are my favorites, my least favorites? And why?

In general, I like escapist fiction, and have since I was young. From Narnia to Madeline L’Engels’ Wrinkle in Time series, that is what I have devoured. Now-a-days my taste runs more toward Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Charlene Harris, and J. K. Rowling. Just to name a few.

A few Lents ago, I gave up reading novels. It was good for me, as I discovered that I liked non-fiction. I just need it to be well-written, entertaining non-fiction. Bill Bryson is excellent for that. I’ve also developed a taste for Michael Pollan, Rachel Simmons, and Jon Krakauer. (I am always looking for suggestions, especially in non-fiction.)

I was surprised to learn that there are books I absolutely cannot read. Most of these have unlikable (to me) protagonists/lead characters. For example, Blue Angel by Francine Prose. The nominal protagonist is a whiny, married professor who starts an affair with one of his students. I remember that during their first tryst, he breaks a tooth. I don’t remember anything redeeming about him. I stopped reading it. With Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. He describes his characters in such negative terms, I found myself thinking, “Why the hell should I care about these people?”

Now, unlikable and flawed, in my opinion, are two different things, the latter being more sympathetic. And mileage may vary. Wally Lamb’s characters are rife with faults, but I find his novels beautiful.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Favorite Non-Fiction
The Chicago Manual of Style — I’m sorry, I am a total grammar geek.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss — This book is an hysterical look at how to do punctuation correctly and why. I recommend it to fellow writers, editors, and/or language + grammar geeks everywhere.

Favorite series:
The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis
I cannot count how many times I have read these seven books. From the time I was in grade school, right through reading all of them, aloud to my belly, when I was pregnant (and on modified bedrest) with Flora. When my children are old enough for chapter books, we are starting with these. I also want to add: until I was an adult (and newly returned to the Catholic Church) I did not get the parallels between Aslan and Jesus. They were just breathtakingly magical books to me. And that’s all I want them to be to my children until they, too, are old enough to see the parallels for themselves.

The Harry Potter novels, J. K. Rowling
What’s not to love? An orphaned boy discovers his past, his powers, and fights for his world’s future. The redemptive power of love, loyalty, friendship. Plus, they are a lot of fun! Quidditch!

The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper
In the days before Rowling, Susan Cooper set out to write a series of novels, set in the United Kingdom, about a magical world within our own world: light against dark, the legacy of the legendary King Arthur. My Aunt Joanne and Uncle Frank bought each one for me as it was published in paperback. I tore through them, and eagerly awaited the next installment. My current set of paperbacks are tattered, and the last book has literally fallen apart. Time for a new set to pass on.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
If you’ve read these — and loved these — you understand why I love them, too. If you like wry (dry, British) humor and word play, you will love these too.

Favorite Book by Favorite Author: The Stand, by Stephen King
I don’t know what to say about this book. It’s amazing. The scope, the narrative, the characters and their development. King is phenomenal.

My Favorite Book (if I have to pick just one): The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Atwood has been hit or miss for me. I hated Oryx and Crake; The Blind Assassin was only okay; Alias Grace was very well done; Bodily Harm, The Robber Bride, and Cat’s Eye are all amazing. But The Handmaid’s Tale is Atwood at the very, very top of her game, combining a feminine view of sexuality, a cynic’s view of religious politics, and a dystopian world view that narrates a clash between the two. I have lost track of how many times I have read it, and I could pick it up and read it again tomorrow. The first-person narration is so true and affecting. Atwood gives voice to the real and complicated nature of sex, sexuality, desire and love, from a woman’s point of view. I always find it moving.

How about you? What do you love or hate in books? What on my list do you disagree with? We’re all snow-bound right? All we have to do is sit around and read! (Ha.)

Ear, Ear

After 10 months with tubes, Kate has an ear infection.

And her behavior tonight, after the diagnosis of said infection, makes me wonder how long she has been in pain.

It would explain so much: the poor sleep, the poor eating, the temper tantrums. I mean, not that last one 100% — she is 3, after all — but you would be cranky too if, after 10 months, that special hellish pain — pain that you had lived with for approximately 16 months of your 27-months-long life — pain that had wholly disappeared, was suddenly back. And with a vengeance if that goop draining out of her ear is any indication.

Dan and I have been taking turns talking her down from another epic tantrum. I would just put her to bed, but we have to get some medicine in her. Oral antibiotics AND drops. But we’re not doing anything until she chills the heck out.


I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Pittsburgh area’s going to get a little bit of snow tonight and into tomorrow.

Reports vary between 3 to 7 inches all the way up to a foot.

I don’t care. (Well, I am going to stop and pick up orange juice. At a gas station on my way home. Then I won’t care.) I don’t plan in driving in it, though I could if I wanted to. (I’m an Erie girl with new tires on my car.)

I’ve renewed the library DVDs that were due tomorrow, and now the girls and I have no reason to leave the house. And I like it that way.

We are going to do arts and crafts, drink hot chocolate, watch TV. I will probably attempt to get some of the paper in my house under control (primarily by shredding old bills). I may get caught up on laundry.

I’m sure we will traipse out into the snow at some point. I’ll shovel, the girls will attempt to make snowballs and build a snowman.

Going outside in snow is actually an exercise in underpreparedness (if that’s a word) for us. The girls have snow pants and snow jackets and snow boots, but not snow gloves; their hands get very wet and cold. Their hats and scarves are fine. I don’t have any snow gear appropriate for sledding or snowman building. It’s kind of pathetic.

And while Flora delights in playing in snow, Kate finds it very hard to move when she’s all bundled up. It makes me giggle to see her. I feel a little bad about it. But as I’m attempting to build a snowman in one of Dan’s winter coats (WAY too big for me) and not get snow in my shoes, it’s impressive that I can laugh about something.

Random Thoughts: The Scary Show

1. To be perfectly honest, all I want to do is go watch the season premiere of Lost again.

2. Something I forgot to mention about Tuesday night: Flora watched the season premiere of Lost with us. At least the last hour and 15 minutes of it. If I hadn’t been so aggravated it would have been amusing. I had to cover her eyes during the Smokey scene, The Wolfman commerical with Benicio Del Toro, and another commerical for a video game rated ‘M’. Awesome.

3. Quotes from the night from Flora. “Why do you stay up late at night?” “What is this scary show?” “Why do you want to learn about scary things??” (Please note: At least she thinks TV is educational.) “When is the scary show going to be over?”

4. I really struggled with today’s post because, once again, I am tired. Once again, I received a 5 a.m. wake up call from Kate, and then ended up with both of them in bed with Dan & me. And I don’t mean to complain about not sleeping, primarily because it gets old (for you and me), but because generally my girls are GREAT sleepers.

5. Which is part of the problem, because Dan and I have been spoiled by babies and toddlers who slept 12 hours or so a night (starting around six months or so), and lately it’s all been disrupted, and neither Dan nor I are dealing with it very well.

6. Why did Flora watch Lost with us? Because she wasn’t tired. And she wasn’t tired because Tuesday morning she woke up (and woke me up) at 4 a.m., but she took a nap at daycare (one of the DCL’s that day: “Is Flora okay? Because she actually took a nap today.” Grrrr.), so wasn’t tired at bed time. And she knew her father was home, and she knows her father is a pushover, so after I had been upstairs twice (during commercial breaks) she came downstairs and appealed to him. And he did try to talk her into going back upstairs to bed, but he didn’t actually take her upstairs to bed, because Flora would have wanted him to stay with her and sleep in her room, and Dan is a pushover, so instead of saying ‘no’ and hearing her cry, he didn’t really say anything, and we listened to her whinge about how scary our TV show was.

7. Holy run-on sentences, Batman.

8. Is it next Tuesday yet?

Lost: LA X


Totally worth the wait.

I was very surprised to see Juliet last night. And what a tease it was, further destroying Sawyer (and my husband, a little bit).

She said (via Miles), “It worked.” And, if the 2004 timeline with Oceanic Flight 815 landing in Los Angeles is the ‘real’ timeline (I have my doubts about that), then it did. So what are the Ajira Flight 316 survivors doing running around on the Island, still, in 2007?

At first I thought that somehow, even though they get to land in LA in 2004, they end up on the Island anyway in 2007. But as their memories don’t seem to have skipped, I don’t think this theory works. The 2007 timeline proceeds directly from 1977 and the destruction of the Swan site.

In the 2004 timeline, Jack is clearly feeling wonky. The disappearance of his father’s body is upsetting, but I also think it’s foreboding: I think it’s a sign that this 2004 timeline isn’t true. Yes, it is actually happening. Somehow the bomb — the reset — has split the survivors’ reality (shades of quantum physics).

And somehow, this 2004 reality is going to fall apart bit by bit until only the 2007 reality stands. Although, maybe I have that wrong, and the 2004 timeline will solidify. The timelines are interacting somehow (the bullet graze on Jack’s neck in the airplane bathroom; Charlie declaring, “I was supposed to die.”).

Interesting that Kate hijacks the taxi with Claire in it (Hi, Claire!). I wonder if she (Claire) is pregnant, and if Kate is going to help deliver the baby again.

Do you think Kate will ever give up running? Jeez Louise woman, you killed a man in cold blood. Justified or no, you gotta face up to that and take your punishment. Put enough straight men on that jury, and make yourself into a sympathetic witness. Put on some lip gloss and cross your legs. You won’t be in jail long.

Sorry, my way of saying, again: sick of the running woman bit. I’m actually liking Kate on the Island more so far.

Although in contrast, I enjoyed seeing Sawyer act the part of cock of the walk in LA. I’ve never been hot for Josh Holloway, but that dimple and the deviltry in his eyes were killing me last night.

And where did Desmond go? Back to his seat? I’m thinking no. (Dan said, “Desmond wasn’t on the plane!” meaning Flight 815. But I pointed out that theoretically the Swan hadn’t been built because Juliet blew it up, so he could have been. This was quickly disproved the next time we returned to the Island to see the destroyed Hatch.)

I knew Not-Locke was the Smoke Monster. “I’m sorry you had to see me like that.” Uh, yeah.

Co-worker Lost theory: Richard was a slave on the Black Rock, hence the line about seeing him out of chains. Could Richard have been any more shocked to see Not-Locke? He clearly has an inkling of what is going on (“Don’t shoot him!”), but was still caught utterly flat-footed. And got his clocked cleaned, too.

So, the war is coming: Not-Locke heading to the Temple, the Temple people preparing. The ash clearly points to the fact that it was never Jacob in that cabin; it was what/who is walking around as Not-Locke now. The original crash of Flight 815 must have disturbed the ash (which is why Not-Christian was wandering around, although a co-worker points out that they never found Christian’s body. Christian is a possible wild-card.)

I want to cast Not-Locke as a dark angel, a fallen deity, one trying, as he said ominously last night, to “go home”. Which would make Jacob the good angel/shepard. Was Jacob somehow set over Not-Locke (is the Man in Black ever going to reveal his identity? Lucifer? Esau? Come on!)? Or are our assumptions (good guys wear white, for instance) being challenged? Was Jacob the bad guy in the scenario? It would be hard to believe. Jacob sets about, even after he’s dead, to heal Sayid (although, notably, not Juliet); Not-Locke turns into the Smoke Monster and slaughters a bunch of the “good guys”.

Yeah, I’m going with Not-Locke being bad. Prove me wrong.

Finally: I gasped — literally gasped, with my hands up over my mouth — when Sayid sat up at the end of the episode. (And not just a “holy cats Naveen Andrews in a black tank top” gasp.) I didn’t see that coming. Haven’t we been told: Dead is dead. We also know that Sayid will not be the same. I wonder if his innocence has been restored? I tend to think the Island is a place of rebirth and redemption. I guess I fall on the Locke side of the man of faith/man of science dichotomy. Which maybe means that Sayid’s past as a torturer and murderer has been erased, and he has been reborn.

Or, conversely, he’s going to be utterly devoid of remorse on this go-round.


Flora came into our room at 4 a.m.

I let her climb into bed with us, because I was too tired to do anything else.

This was a mistake.

Because now, as I mentioned on Twitter, I am running on five hours of sleep and two hours of angry. That child poked me, sighed at me, stole my blankets. What she did not do: GO BACK TO SLEEP.

When I asked her to go back to her own bed, she cried. When I angrily got up at 5:30 a.m. to shower and go to work, she cried.

“No one goes to work at night, Mommy,” she told me.

No, dearest older daughter of mine, people sleep at night.

I wouldn’t care all that much, except I have two hours of BRAND NEW LOST to get through tonight. If I could throw in the towel at 8:30 or 9 p.m., wouldn’t matter. But I gotta make it, awake and alert, to 11 p.m.

It’s the only show I watch. I’ve been waiting nine months for this.

Let’s hear it for a cat nap after dinner. I’ll even let them watch Max & Ruby if they want.