Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right? Naw.

It has been a long time since my last post! So this is going to be a "free write". No telling what is going to come off the fingers, here. Exciting, isn't it? Maybe I'll start with recent news and work my way backward?
Today was music/library day. Ellie enjoyed her guitar lesson with Master Guitarist Kevin Lewis. I believe, in addition to playing guitar, they also solve 90% of the world's problems in under 30 minutes. Ellie enjoys this time so much (and I think Kevin does, too).

While that is going on, Camille is in the parlor learning piano from Kevin's wife, Dana. Dana should be called Saint Dana. Seriously. Never so much as a slight wince ever crosses her face, even though the cats in the room have their hair standing on end. Dana and Kevin are professional musicians with no "day jobs" other than music students. You can hear them perform with their band, Light Travellers, or as a duet act, Lewis and Clark (their last names - no kidding).

Let's see, after that we stopped at the library where we meant to return books and the dreaded DVD's that cost $1 per day past due date, but realized we had left the book bag at home. I was so disappointed! So now I have unresolved issues at the library, again. While there, Ellie and I chose books from the banned book shelf. At my recommendation, Ellie picked The Handmaid's Tale, and I chose All is Quiet on the Western Front. I also picked up my second Anita Blake novel by Laurel Hamilton. This series was recommended to me by a friend who shall remain nameless since she enthusiastically described the books as "vampire porn".

When I requested the first novel, Guilty Pleasures, Ellie was like, "You are not going to go up to that sweet librarian lady with glasses and no make-up and shock her with this request." Well, how else was I going to get the book? I handed her the slip of paper and to Ellie's disgust she said, "Oh my gosh! I love these books! I just finished reading one. It even gave me dreams last night..." Luckily, we were spared the details of the librarian's possibly erotic dreams. Thus far, I have found the books to be slightly disappointing. Not only do they not qualify as even soft porn (although my nameless friend breathlessly tells me they get better) - I am finding myself annoyed by the author's ending what seems like every other sentence with "right" and "naw". Who says naw? Nah, maybe. Right? Naw.

Then, (are you still with me? we're still just on today) we went to Taco Cabana for lunch. I won't bore you with what we ate. Afterwards we stopped at the grocery store to get turkey meat for tonight's tacos. Camille and Jasper were given helium balloons by the greeter. I love having helium balloons riding in the car with me. The experience conjures up the same level of anxiety and nervousness as does walking in front of the grocery cart while Jules pushes it. You know, the sphincter tightening anticipation of jammed and bloodied heels.... Anyway, yesterday our helium balloons from the birthday party we attended on Monday popped. So thanks greeter-lady. Like I should get a break from balloons. Right.

Just as we arrived home Ellie says, "Oh my God!" I, who had been sitting on pins and needles waiting for the helium balloons to pop screamed, "Oh my God! What?!" Dun, dun, dun. She had forgotten her purse at Taco Cabana. Inside it was $20, 1 red cell phone, and 1 brand spanking new iPod. "Oh my God!" I threw my phone at her while turning the car around. "Call them," I said. She did. They claimed there was no purse left at any of the tables on the patio. I decided we'd go back anyway. If one of the employees had it behind the counter my plan was to walk in and dial Ellie's cell which would screech out a Tegan and Sara song that arouses almost, but not exactly, the same reaction in me as a popped helium balloon. Then I was going to scream, "Aha! No purse you say? Right."

The purse sat, hanging on the back of the chair, just where she had left. Treasures still inside. Do you think the person she talked to on the phone even checked around? Naw. She probably just counted to 10. Oh well. Hooray! We were happy campers on the way back home.
Speaking of books...were we speaking of books? Is it time for a what-are-you-reading post? I believe it is. I just finished reading a great non-fiction book called Captured. Disappointingly enough, this book also contains no vampire porn. But it is a simply spellbinding account of Indian abductions in the late 1800's right in the area close to where we live. The author is Texan, Scott Zesch. What a fabulous writer! I often have a hard time with non-fiction books. What I mean is, I love to start them. I rarely finish them. Having them on my book shelf makes me look smart, though. Right. Naw.

Anyway, Zesch's book is filled with well-researched facts and philosophical theories that do not detract at all from the actual events. He wrote the book because he has a great-great-uncle who was abducted by Comanches. He never knew his story and set out to research it. He ended up researching quite a few stories, since his own family's abduction drama was not well documented. What emerged is a fascinating phenomenon of "Indianization". Amazingly, no matter how old the children were when they were abducted, how violent their abductions were, or how long they remained in captivity, a vast majority (almost all) of the abductees never adjusted to re-entry into their respective cultures. Why? It has never really been studied. Zesch offered up some possible theories. Of course, the Stockholm Syndrome must have played a part. But it didn't account for the lifelong loyalty for and identification with the captors held by the abductees. They truly always thought of themselves as Indians. (I use the term Indian, rather than Native American, because at the time of the abductions that is what the Native Americans were called and what the abductees called themselves.) Another possibility is that the Indian culture was simply more kind (even though the abductions themselves were horrifically violent events) to children, and treated them with more respect than the children were used to. Most of the abductees were German immigrants settling in the Texas Hill Country. Life for these settlers didn't even slightly resemble the stories of Laura Ingalls. These were tough people living in near impossible conditions who were very literally trying not to starve to death, for the most part. The lives of the children were hard. Very hard. The lives of the parents were very hard. On top of that, the culture was one where children were to be seen and not heard. By contrast, the Indians' lives were much easier. They were not trying to tame the land, but instead lived as a part of it. They had been there for generations and knew how to do it. Children were allowed, for the most part, to play and be children. The boys, in particular, were coddled and spoiled. When they were not playing, they were being taught and treated like men. They were treated as equals according to their skills. Having the respect, praise, and sincere attention of the grown Indian men was intoxicating for young boys who were only used to being treated as hired hands. They described their days as being full of riding, hunting, raiding, and being free. They were like unschooled, attachment parented kids :).
Oops. I just heard a balloon pop. One more to go and then I can relax my sphincter.

Anyway, back to the book. I also think that freedom was a huge issue. They had never before experienced the land as "Mother" and "Nurturer" rather than something hard, hostile, and unruly. They no longer felt they were at the indiscriminate mercy of a harsh environment that needed to be tamed and mastered. They rode the plains of Texas and New Mexico like the whales swim the oceans. Their eyes had been opened to their true human natures. The civilized condition appeared less and less real, and more like an illusion. How hard it must have been to go back to living against the Earth; out of alignment with the natural seasons and cycles of the planet. They were some of the last souls on our continent to live in such harmony and experience nature in such a way.
I am romanticizing a bit here, but the book does no such thing. Neither the German immigrants nor the Native Americans are demonized or sainted. In the book, they simply are what they are. The neat thing is, you don't feel like any judgement is required on your part, as the reader. You identify with both groups. You feel a part of both groups. I can't explain it very well. A shift takes place when you read it.
In addition, because I am somewhat of a glutton for punishment, I am reading another Haruki Murakami book and loving every page. It is one of his earlier works, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I am going to understand this one. I swear. Right.

Well, I thought I was going to recap my week. But you only got one day out of me and then a corner of my brain where I am currently storing and pondering literary information. Let me hear what you've been reading! I ended up buying several books suggested by commenters the last time. I'm waiting! Don't disappoint me. I get sad when I see "0 comments". I cannot wait to see how many people end up on this blog after googling "vampire porn".
How about a recipe to close? This dish is called Camille's Faux Yams. Camille is violently allergic to sweet potatoes, which is weird but true. We are talking projectile vomiting. Sweet potatoes happened to be the very first solid food she ate. There is a connection I'm sure, which is why we usually don't give our kids solids until they are at least 10-months-old. Notice I said "usually". This dish is meant to replace sweet potatoes (like at Thanksgiving, for instance) for Camille. The funny part about this tasty dish is that Camille hates it and the rest of us love it. But it is called what it is called....

Camille's Faux Yams

1 butternut squash

1/3 stick of butter

1/4 cup of brown sugar

sprinkle of cinnamon

Remove seeds and pulp from squash and cut up into chunks and boil until the flesh is soft. Drain well. Scrape the flesh off the skin (this is easier and quicker than it sounds). Mash with a potato masher and stir in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Delicious! And it is a lovely color, too.

Sardine Mama (who is voting for Tina Fey)


  1. oh my god! that was so funny! i can't say that i'm surprised with the purse event, it's happened before right? haha that was great.

    i am currently reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (duh), still struggling through Don Quixote, and reading this book on writing structure for my English Comp class called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. if you want to get technical, i'm also reading The Essentials of Psychology by someone Bernstein. fascinating right? this past week i finished reading several books. The Long Night of Leo and Bree by Ellen Wittlinger, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (i really found this bok interesting, mostly because it was a real journal of a drug addict), Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle, and finally Love and Lies: Marisol's Story by Ellen Wittlinger.

    wow. so that's about it.

  2. the 2 books i'm reading are of the christian genre - on for sunday school since i'm leading it & the other to critique. SS- the upside down kingdom - talking about how Jesus' plan was to turn the world upside down & the other is one that most in my church would hate, but i liked the series in college - it's called capitivating - a women's journey to find her full self in God, is how i would describe it. this past weekend those of my church accused the book of being narrow & for rich, white ladies. i'm gonna see.

    oh & i just got today in the mail, dr mercola's total health plan or something, book. he talks about how to improve health. should be great.

  3. Juliana and I have made the goal to read through all of the Jane Austen books, so I just finished Northanger Abbey. It took me a while to get into it, but it was an enjoyable read. I think I prefer Charlotte Bronte so far. I just got done reading Totally Normal Chaos with Keziah by Sharon Creech, Newberry author of Walk Two Moons. This is just a FUN book to read together. The book we read before that was The Horse and His Boy, quite possibly my favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I am going to revisit The Secret Life of Bees as well as read Where The Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.

  4. One more thing - yes, Dana is a saint. I feel so privileged to have found her as a piano teacher for my youngest.

  5. uh Mommy? it ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS!!!! not Totally. gosh, and you said that you read it. :)

    sorry, just had to comment about that.

  6. yay you're reading Jane Austen!^^ Northanger Abbey is one of my favorites! Eventually I'll have a nice long post about her (or two) and then I want comments from you and Ellie. No exceptions.
    I'm not reading anything exceedingly fantastic right now.... I'm kind of stop-starting my way through My Antonia by Willa Cather. For school I'm reading King Solomon's Ring by Konrad Lorenz which is a book about animal behavior in their own habitats. It's supposed to be very interesting... I'm on page... 2? 3?
    Probably the coolest thing I've read recently was The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare is awesome... as long you understand what they're saying.

  7. I am reading "Paying for College Without Going Broke", although it is a pretty depressing story, so I am not sure I am going to finish it. I am also reading "HTML and XHTML". very compelling reading, I can tell you. I am still working my way through all the Laura Lippman books the San Antonio library has--she is a mystery writer who I really like. Finally, I am reading "Three Cups of Tea". Have not gotten very far in it yet.

  8. the mennonite ladies are getting together to read the secret life of bees starting this sunday, michelle, in case you'd like to read it w/ others. ;)

  9. I've read your blog off & on. Found it through a link on another friend's blog, I really enjoy your stories & can totally relate to many of them :-)

    Anyways, here are my fave authors/series.
    The Anita Blake series is great! Waiting for the next release.
    Christina Feehan (reading her current release Dark Curse)
    J R Ward-read all that is published
    J D Robb-mid way through her series
    Jayne Ann Krentz-just started reading her books over the last 6mos
    Catherine Coulter-waiting for next release
    Kay Hooper-psychological thrillers/suspense
    I hope you enjoy some of my favorite authors, I have more but these will get you started :-)