First off, where has the time gone!!!! Oh my, I must have had an amazing summer and early fall because I let pretty much everything else go! Well, now the kids are back in school, routines are in place and I can once again commit!
Now, on to my nine lives story! Several weeks ago, I was driving across the gully near my home when I noticed a dead animal in the road. As I got closer I realized that this poor animal appeared to be my neighbors cat named Squeaker. Before I go any further I need to explain a few things about Squeaker.
First, I am a dog person myself, but this cat is invaluable as a mouser and window well cleaner. Since his arrival at my neighbors a few years ago we have had nary a mouse in the house. We regularly have dead birds in our window wells from birds hitting our big picture window and this crazy cat gets them out and takes care of them every time. (So much nicer than doing it myself, and we really have been trying to find a solution to the bird problem, I promise!) Anyway... Second, Squeaker is strictly an outdoor cat. It was one of the stipulations by the dad of the neighbor kids. He has the worst allergies of anyone I have ever met. They have tried all kinds of animals and it always causes a problem. When the kids brought Squeaker home they hid him from their dad for a long time. He finally noticed that he was having trouble with allergies in the garage and the kids fessed up about the cat. Their kind dad agreed to a compromise, as long as the cat never came in the house, he would tolerate the garage being a den of runny noses and swollen eyes. His wife is the one who does the yard work anyway because he works crazy hours, so it was a win win for everyone! But, he did tell the kids that once Squeaker died, there would be no more pets of any kind! A man's willingness to be uncomfortable can only go so far!
Third, the neighbor kids love and adore that crazy cat. My kids do too for that matter. He has a funny personality and he loves to tease any dog that walks near his hiding place. It is a funny thing to watch. That is, it's funny until the cat messes with the wrong dog, which he did one day when a stray happened into our neck of the woods. That is a story for another day, but let's just say the cat ended up with stitches and a drain and we didn't know if he would make it through the night. He did. Everyone rejoiced!
With all of that you can understand my sadness as I saw Squeaker lying in the street lifeless. I didn't want to leave Squeaker in the road because the kids would be coming home from school soon and it wouldn't be a nice thing for them to see, but, I had my 5 year old with me and didn't want her to see what had happened either, so I called my neighbor and told her where she would be able to find their cat.
Later that day the funeral was in the neighbors backyard by their big pine tree. They dug a hole, laid the cat to rest and buried him. Then the older brother gave the eulogy. The neighbor kids and mom were in tears, rightfully so, but the youngest in the family was beside herself. They all talked about what a great cat Squeaker had been and that Heaven was a better place because he was in it. No cat could ever have a nicer funeral.
Hand in hand, they walked solemnly together back towards the house and climbed the stairs of their deck. When they reached the door the youngest felt something touch her leg and looked down.
She screamed in shock!
Standing right next to her was Squeaker!
They could not believe their eyes. The youngest asked if Squeaker had come back to life and the mom wondered for a horrified minute if they had just buried him alive! The older brother ran to the pine tree to check, and to their relief the cat was still there. It wasn't Squeaker they had buried after all.
Tears and laughter and a hefty dose of shock filled the air. One of the girls asked if they should try to find the owner of the dead cat. Their mom told them that no, they should leave him in peace and that hopefully the owner would know that the cat had been well cared for in his death.
When the neighbors called to tell me that Squeaker was still alive I could not believe it. That crazy cat has gotten himself in more scrapes and situations than he should and this time he really dodged the bullet.
I won't jinx things by telling you how many lives he has left of the nine, but rather, I'll just say that I hope to be seeing him for a long time coming!
There are times I love to be all by myself, but that rarely happens in my house. Kids run in and out all day long. Last night my husband and I counted 34 kids (ages 4 to 18) running around our yard playing night games. I set out water pitchers, cups, licorice and bags of chips and was immediately swarmed.
I'm not compaining.
Not one bit.
I love it, I really do. There is an infectious energy that hums in the air when I watch memories being made before my eyes.
I'm just glad that I was able to recharge my soul somewhere this last week.
The mountains were calm and refreshing, the stars, brilliant and bright.
I lounged at night in my reclining camp chair, the last one awake. I watched the embers of the fire slowly burn out, enjoying the warmth near my feet and the chill from the cool night air on my head.
The everyday world around me was silenced.
No hum of things plugged in.
There was only the symphony of the wind rustling the leaves overhead.
Birds chirped, frogs croaked and crickets played their song of love. The lake rippled and the deer wandered close. My lungs took in the clean, crisp air. I gazed at the Big Dipper with all of her friends and my eyes wondered at the beauty around me.
This novel is the sequel to The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, the debut novel by the same author. The first novel was very interesting and very depressing, but I really liked it because it was so different from other books that I've read. I read it so long ago, that I never reviewed it on here. Maybe I will later, but for now, know that I would recommend it.
Back to the review!
The Dead Tossed Waves takes places years after the ending of the first novel. The world has been overrun by Zombies whose only purpose is to infect the living. Gabry is the daughter of the main character from the first book and is someone who likes to play it safe. Taking risks is not part of her character, but one fateful night she is convinced to do something against her better judgment as she follows her friends into an area that is off limits. This decision sparks a series of events that seem like a whirlwind of chaos in Gabry's life. She is pushed beyond her limit where personal safety is concerned, as she tries to make right the wrongs that were done.
For me, I liked this story better than the first. I felt more invested in the characters. Even though Ms. Ryan's stories seem to follow what is the most popular formula for current YA novels (girl with two boys to chose from), this felt a little more fresh to me. Things aren't necessarily sugar coated with happy endings for the characters. In both of the stories, the characters experience real loss and regret.
My neighbor told me the best story about my 5 year old daughter the other day.
My daughter and her best friend spied the neighbor's teenage daughter eating some oh so yummy starburst candies in her backyard. The two little girls put their heads together and came up with a brilliant plan to share in the chewy, tangy bliss. They knocked on the front door.
Neighbor: Hello girls! How are you today? Daughter: Our moms are making pie today.
Neighbor: That is great! You are very lucky. Daughter: Well, since my mom is making pie, she wonders if you have any starbursts that she could use. (blinking eyes and feigning pure innocence)
Neighbor: She needs starbursts for her pie?
Daughter: Yes, it's a starburst pie. Neighbor:(laughing at this point) I don't think I have any starbursts, I'm sorry.
Daughter: Yes you do. I saw your girl eating some in the backyard.
Neighbor: Oh! (laughing even more) Well come in. Let's go see.
They went to the backyard where the teenager was bathing in the sun only to find wrappers of starbursts that had been all eaten.
Neighbor: Well, it looks like we did have starbursts but they are all gone now. Do you think your mom could use chocolate chip cookies for her pie instead?
Daughter: (grinning ear to ear) Yes! That would work!
My neighbor gives the two little girls each a cookie and as the girls were walking away she overheard my daughter whisper to her friend "We are so sneaky!"
First off I must say that I love the author's name. It sounds so literary. Not only that, I love the name she chose for her main character, Sydelle Mirabil. Very cool. Now on to the review.
Sydelle lives in a far away corner of the Kingdom, where her village has suffered from a drought for as long as she can remember. Not a single drop of rain has fallen on the dusty earth until the day the wizard, Wayland North, arrives. He is offered anything he could want and he chooses Sydelle. She is angry and obstinate as she follows him far away from her village and can only think of returning home.
Sydelle possesses a talent unmatched of weaving cloth, and through her skilled hands she repairs the cloaks of Wayland along their journey. As Sydelle begins to discover bit by bit why she was chosen by the smelly, drunken wizard to join his quest, she discovers more about herself and what her talent truly is. Together they face danger as they race to stop an unnecessary war between two kingdoms.
This is a Young Adult novel and I would recommend it to someone as young as 10 or 11. Perfect for an afternoon at the beach or in your hammock.
The title of my blog should give away the fact that I love to read. I love it so much that sometimes I feel like I am cheating on my family. They understand that books are as much a part of me as breathing is for life, (at least I hope so) and some of them have become infected with the need for words and language as well. My son keeps up with me at a pretty fierce pace and is always asking me for the next suggestion.
Sometimes I read books that would be considered silly. Other times I read books that require more thought and time. No matter the type of book, for me the enjoyment is usually equal. I love thinking about the writing style and the content. There are times when I am impressed and times when I laugh and wonder how the book ever got published.
Recently, I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.
After finishing it, I had to sit and really think about it for a long time. The story is set during WWII in Nazi Germany and is about a young girl who is sent to live with foster parents. This girl, Liesel, finds her way among heartache, hunger, hatred, loss, but most importantly, love. Sometimes this love is disguised and unrecognizable, but when she reflects back on her experience, she can see it for what it is. The whole story is narrated by a very unlikely character, Death. We are brought along with Death as he experiences, second hand, human emotions. To me, he became a dear friend.
I have read many comments of others who have read this book. Some good, some not so good. For me, the most fascinating thing about the book was also what was the most frustrating thing to those who did not like it. It was the writing style Mark Zusak used. It was so new and refreshing that I followed my husband around the house reading bits and pieces hoping that he would hear the magic that was in the words.
Here are a few examples:
Steam was rising weirdly from his clothes. His hangover was visible. It heaved itself to his shoulders and sat there like a bag of wet cement.....
Had he not lost his cigarettes to Hans Hubermann, he wouldn't have despised him. If he hadn't despised him, he might not have taken his place a few weeks later on a fairly innocuous road. One seat, two men, a short argument and me. It kills me sometimes, how people die......
"'My heart is so tired,'" the girl had said. She was sitting in a chapel writing in her diary.
No, thought Liesel as she walked. It's my heart that is tired. A thirteen-year-old heart shouldn't feel like this......
The book thief did not retreat. She took a few extra steps and sat down. Her cold hands felt for her sleeves and a sentence slipped from her mouth. "He's not dead yet." The words landed on the table and positioned themselves in the middle. All three people looked at them. Half hopes didn't dare rise any higher. He isn't dead yet. He isn't dead yet.....
Liesel calculated that there were four more reading sessions like that with Frau Holtzapfel before the Jews were marched through Molching. They were going to Dachau, to concentrate.....
Yes, I would recommend this book. Maybe you will be as touched as I was. Maybe you will have a crush on a narrator named Death like I did. I know. I am weird.
I don't normally pick that many up at a time, but they all showed up at about the same time through various circumstances. 2 of them are sequels to other books I have read, and I will write about those when I am finished. One of the books however, has made such an impression on me that I wanted to get the word out before I finish it!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is fantastic, incredible, heartbreaking, thought provoking and wonderful. I'm about half way through and I'll let you know if I still feel the same way when I finish it. I'd heard about this book for quite a while, but my pile of "to reads" was so big I put it off and put it off. I have fallen in love with the characters and yes, even the narrator. (If you know who the narrator is you will think I am very odd.)
This weekend will be a challenge to get anything done!
My favorite radio station went off the air. Sort of. It's still there, it just no longer has a dj, or the news, traffic or weather. It has become a prerecorded steady stream of a variety (not always the variety that I like) of music playlists.
I can't stand to listen to it now. Gone is the personality. Gone is the ability to call in and make a request or share an idea (not that I ever did, but I liked to hear it).
I was really sad and shocked when it happened a few weeks ago. There was no warning. One day they were there and the next they weren't. I doubt that the radio personalities even saw it coming.
My reason for sharing this is because I have been thinking about the blessing and the curse of technology. I remember as a kid thinking how cool it would be to have a tv like the Jetsons where I could see the person I was talking to. Guess what! Now I have a computer that does just that. It is incredible really, when I think about how much technology is a part of my life. But for the last while or so, I've been thinking with a bit of nostalgia about what it is replacing and wondering if it really is always for the best. The fate of the radio hosts from my once favorite station is probably where the trend is heading. With so many ipods out there and the ability to play them in your car, or from a docking station, there really isn't any reason for people to be a part of broadcasting music anymore. We can simply make our own playlists, so who needs anything else.
Do people sit down anymore and take pen to paper to write a letter? Why bother with it, when email and texting is faster, more convenient and you don't have to pay for a stamp. Newspapers have been struggling in many places and will probably be replaced one day with the internet or whatever is next out there. Yesterday, I had a friend visiting from out of town and she noticed all of the books I have piled up. She laughed and told me I should get a Kindle to cut down on the clutter. To me though, there is something about the smell of a real book and turning the pages myself that I don't think I will ever be able to let go of. I then proceeded to tell her that if I were to go back to college I would want to get my degree in library science. She laughed again and told me about all of the libraries that are closing down.
Change is inevitable. As long as people are set on discovery and exploration, change will follow. I appreciate all of the luxuries that change has afforded me and I would be hard pressed to live without them.
I just wonder, are we pushing away the human connection?
Yesterday I had the unfortunate opportunity to be on the receiving end of a mother's anger. It took me by surprise and I remained very calm but I definitely learned a few things from it.
In the past I've blogged about being very careful about passing judgment of any kind, whether it is assuming that someone has their life all perfectly put together, or assuming that someone has done something to be hurtful. It's hard sometimes, at least for me, not to pass an immediate judgment on a situation, but I have been trying to stop and listen before I react. It really isn't fun to be the object of a misunderstanding, but, (and this is a big but!) I learned that I also have an opportunity to influence the outcome of these situations simply by my reactions. I've had times in the past where my knee jerk reaction would have been to lash out if I was being accused by someone who didn't have all of the facts. For whatever reason though, yesterday I didn't feel that fight or flight reaction. I felt calm. I gave the other person about an hour to calm down and then I called them back to explain my side of the situation. Once all of the facts were on the table there was a change of heart by this mother. She knew that there was a miscommunication and that no harm was meant and in the end everything was worked out, apologies were made and a friendship was restored.
I am not saying that if I reacted positively and calmly every time to one of these situations that it would always end well, because the other person is in control of his or her own reaction to it all. What I am saying is that I would always feel like I had my character intact and would feel at peace with my part of the scenerio.
Maybe yoga has done more good for me than I thought!!!
Summary from Goodreads: A young man with a mysterious past and a penchant for inventing things leaves the troll who raised him, meets an unhappy princess he has loved from afar, and discovers a plot against her and her father.
This is a darling, I just need something to match my carefree mood kind of a book. The cover says "part comedy, part love story, part everything but the kitchen sink" and it is all true! It's geared toward the middle grade reader and I would say ages 9 and up would find something to love about it. Jean Ferris keeps her humor light hearted and fun and the love story innocent and fresh. She creates situations that feel uncomfortable and funny at the same time, all the while giving us a glimpse into the mind of a boy who falls in love for the first time.If you are young at heart you will love this!
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Summary from Goodreads: In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.
Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive. The premise of this book is very disturbing, but brilliant. This story of three kids who are trying to keep things together, literally, will give you much to think about. I felt horrified at times and had to walk away from the book here and there, just to wrap my brain around what the world had come to in this story. I felt disgusted by the parents who would dispose of their children in such a horrible way, but then I realized that we hear about this in the news all of the time. The people we hear about may not be getting rid of their children for "parts", but they ignore, abuse, mistreat and take for granted the possibility of what their children can be. Just this week we had a 4 year old boy who was tortured and murdered by his mom and step father. While watching the news story all I could think was "Why?". Why did that sweet boy have to be a child of monsters. The thing about this novel by Mr. Shusterman is that it made me ask these same questions. The only difference is that the "parents" weren't viewed as monsters. It was just the way things were done. Life is not something to be taken for granted and this book serves as a reminder of that.
I hadn't realized how many unblogging days I have had until I looked at the date of my last post. Just know that they were well spent while I was curled up on the couch with my 4 year old daughter reading books while it rained and rained and rained! We also got some awesome play-dough and barbie/pretend sessions in as well. I am not sure why, but for the last 2 weeks she has decided that I am her very best friend and wants to play with me instead of her friends. How could anyone ever turn down an opportunity like that! The time will come soon enough when she wants nothing to do with me, but for now I will be 4 almost 5 again and think only of butterflies and cotton candy clouds!
p.s. I have 2 books that I have been dying to review for you on here. Check back tomorrow. I pinky promise that I'll put the reviews up. Until then, I, Sarah Sparkle Star (my new name given to me by my daughter) am off to a magical world where we eat licorice for breakfast and sometimes we can fly without an airplane! (This is what I found on my pillow this morning)
Because of my yoga class that I've been going to, I can now do a full back bend!
The first time I tried it (about 6 weeks ago) I could only get my hips off the ground. My shoulder and head were another story all together. They seemed glued to the floor. My arms just didn't have the strength to push up and I was sure that my back would never be able to arch in such an unnatural position. Miracles do happen my friend! In my last class I was on the floor in the bridge position ready to push up into nothing because it has never happened, when low and behold I raised my body, arched my back and realized that I was in a full back bend! Outbursts of joy are generally not done in a dimly lit yoga class, but believe me, every one knew what I had accomplished in that exact moment. My puny appendages are getting some muscle and the rest of me is getting bendy!
One of my weird quirks is that I prefer to have my toilet lids completely lowered when not in use. Something about walking into a bathroom and seeing right into the toilet seems so wrong to me. My kids close the lids out of habit just because I've always had them do it since they first learned to use the toilet. Sometimes when the kids have friends over, the friend will use the toilet and leave the lid or lids (depending on boy or girl) up.
It drives me crazy!
I'd never dream of turning into the toilet police, standing outside the door and asking them if they remembered to close the lids, but as soon as I notice the offense, I remedy the situation.
My other quirk is that I prefer the toilet paper to roll over the top, not underneath.
What about you? Is there anything strange that you do?
I went back because my husband and kids were there, but why didn't I take them with me in the first place? I don't really have an answer for that other than, you just had to be there.
When I got back my husband was sitting on the couch with a look on his face I will never forget. "What the HELL?" pretty much sums it up. At this point, Annabelle grabbed me by the hand and declared that it was time to do something about my ankle. She led me upstairs and into her bathroom. Pointing to the soaking tub she said "Get in and I will fix your ankle for you."
"In there?" I asked, pointing to the tub. "Yes, I'll hold the baby while you get undressed. She can get in too if you'd like. Then I'll massage your ankle and get the swelling down. You'll feel much better."
"Actually, I'd feel much better going back to my house, putting my kids in their beds and unpacking." "No. It is too late. I've already had your husband put your kids to bed here. Get in."
"Even though a bath sounds wonderful and all, I'm not getting in. I don't know you and I don't have clothes to change into or even underwear for that matter. I'm going home now." "You can wear my clothes and my underwear." She really said that. No lie.
At this point it was probably 11 at night. I was exhausted, my baby was exhausted and my thinking was getting worse by the minute. I don't remember how, but I made my way back downstairs to my husband and whispered that we should get the kids and go. As we were talking about what to do, she comes in and says "I'll show you to your room. If you hear crying in the night please ignore it. I sleep on a mattress in my sons room." I didn't even know she had a son until that very moment. Once again I don't know what came over me. I followed her upstairs to the room we would sleep in. I still hadn't really had a chance to talk to my husband about everything that was going on because whenever I tried she managed to stop it. The bed in our room looked like it had come right out of the princess and the pea fairy tale. It was so tall, even the step stool wasn't enough to get in. My husband gave me a shove, and climbed up next to me. The mattress, if that's what it really was, was so soft and fluffy it was like laying on top of all of the filling from all of the pillows in a pillow factory at one time. We sunk right in.
We both lay there silent for a long time. Then I started laughing.
"What is so funny."
"This! This is crazy!"
"That's what I was thinking, but I've been trying to figure out what's been going on. Care to fill me in?"
"She kidnapped me. That's all I know."
"Why didn't you go home?"
That's when I told him about her bursting in our home and taking me and our baby on the longest car ride to her house. I told him about the spots, the tub and the underwear. He started laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"I thought you knew her. Like she was some kind of long lost friend or something. I couldn't figure out what you were doing, but I wasn't going to say anything. You seemed so determined to do whatever she said."
"What! Oh well, I guess you're right. It's like she has mind control or something. I didn't know what to do, you were gone when she came and I thought that the Relief Society had sent her. I thought it was a strange welcome, but that's why I went with her in the first place. I kinda don't think they had anything to do with this do you?"
He was laughing again, "No, I don't. Have you seen whats in the bathroom we are supposed to use?"
"No, is something else wrong?"
"Cat litter. Every where. I don't think the litter box has ever been changed and the litter is all over the floor."
"I won't be going in there that's for sure. What did she say about it when she showed you where the bathroom was?"
"Nothing. She didn't even seem to notice that there was something wrong."
We lay silent again for a while when my husband started to really laugh.
"What is so funny? I don't think this is very funny."
"I just thought that we are here in this wackos house, that you by the way got us into, and I'm just picturing her coming in here when we are asleep with a pick axe. All I can think of is Jason from that movie. Stab, Stab, Stab!"
"You are sick and wrong."
"Me? Oh no, it isn't me, I assure you. And what's the deal with her husband? He doesn't talk. He's probably scared of her too."
I started laughing so hard. He was right! We were in the home of someone who was really messed up.
In the morning I got our things together as quickly as I could. I grabbed my sleepy kids and we headed down the stairs for our escape. Only thing is, she was waiting for us!
The table was set again in her fanciest finery. She had made waffles, pancakes, muffins, french toast and juice. My kids were starving and made a beeline for the table. She started dishing up before we could say a word. Once again, I sat down defeated. She began to tell my son all about her plans for us. She told him about the play, the dance recital and all of the goodies that would be there. She pulled out a calendar and began going day by day, week by week all of the things we would do. My sons eyes grew bigger and bigger. The last thing she told him was, "The Saturday after Thanksgiving I am taking you to the mountains. I have purchased our tags for our Christmas trees. We will chop down our trees and bring them back here. We will have hot chocolate with marshmallows. Then we will string popcorn and cranberries." While saying all of this to my son not only had she gotten his breakfast for him, she had pulled out all of her candy jars for him to choose a treat from. It was like watching the old woman who lived in gingerbread house in the woods.
I had had enough. I stood up and told my kids to go out and get in the car. "But I haven't eaten my pancakes mom" my son said innocently.
"I don't care. Grab your sisters hand and go now."
My husband jumped to attention, shewing the kids to the front door.
I turned to Annabelle and said "Thank you for your hospitality. We are leaving now." "No, it isn't possible. I haven't unpacked your house yet, and I haven't finished going through your calendar, you aren't leaving." she said in her still very robotic voice.
"We are going home now. We are unpacking OUR house by ourselves. We are not coming to a play or a dance recital. We are not having Halloween and Thanksgiving here. And I am most certainly not taking my new baby into the mountains, traipsing through the snow to chop down a tree."
All of my frustration had boiled to the surface. Her husband was staring at us, but still had not uttered a word. I grabbed the diaper bag and followed my family to the front door.
My son looks at me and says "Mom, she is real nice."
"No!" I whispered, "She is CRAZY!"
My son looked at me with disbelief and said very loudly "She's not crazy mom!"
Annabelle looked right at me. I looked at her and turned to go out the door. While walking to our car I remembered our pizza that her husband had picked up at our house the night before. Turning to my husband I asked him to go get our pizza so we could have it for lunch. He said to forget it. I told him to go back and tell her husband to get our pizza and not to come to the car without it. He knew I was losing it so he ran and got it for me. Getting in the car he asked, "Why did you want the pizza so bad? We could order another one?"
"Because, I don't know, maybe it's just that I wanted to show her that she does not have total control. Sorry, that was weird of me, but thanks for getting it."
He laughed and said "The whole thing was weird."
We got home and not too long after there was a knock on the door. I thought for sure it was Annabelle. Instead, a nice looking woman introduced herself and asked if she could speak to me. It turns out that she was the Relief Society President from our church. My sisters friend that I had left a message for the night before contacted her and told her that Annabelle had taken us. She sat down and told us that she owed us an apology and explained that Annabelle had recently gotten out of a mental hospital, but was still heavily medicated and one of her issues was fixating on something. She had overheard some people at church mention that a family was moving into the house down the street from her and right then and there we became her fixation. The people from our church figured this out, so they told her that we were coming a month later than we really were thinking this would prevent her from barging in on us during our move. Annabelle is smart though and watched for the moving trucks. The Relief Society President told me not to open the door when Annabelle came over and to not give her our phone number. She said she knew it sounded mean, but it was the only way to get Annabelle to forget about us. I told her the whole story and she felt really bad. She said to not be surprised if Annabelle would peek in our windows when we didn't answer the door. She told us that we had to be firm and hold our ground. As far as knowing our house "intimately" it was true. She had been in the house when the previous owners rented it out and had barged in a few times on them.
We had a few more run ins with Annabelle, but eventually she left us alone. About 2 years after moving in I had another very funny incident with her that I will share another time. But there it is, with a few things left out here and there, the time I was kidnapped. I laugh at myself when I think about it now. It was a crazy time for sure. I do feel bad for Annabelle and her family and I learned to have a lot of respect for her husband. He was staying with her, hoping that she would break free from the mental illness that took hold of her not too long after they were married. What a patient man.
Once I was in the car, I was very confused. You see, in my church there is an organization called the Relief Society. It consists of the adult women in our church. The purpose of the Relief Society is to aid, support and care for anyone in need. Sometimes when people move, the Relief Society will organize dinners for those leaving and for those coming. I thought in my head at this time that perhaps the Relief Society had arranged for this woman to come and help me. Her kind of help was very bizarre to say the least, but I went with her.
As we started to drive away I said "Wait! My husband won't know where I am! I have no way of getting a hold of him and he will be very worried when he gets back. I also ordered a pizza! I can't just leave and not pay for it!"
"My husband will come back with a note for your husband with instructions. You will write a check and we will leave it on the door for the pizza boy." "But, I don't want to leave the pizza on the doorstep! That will be lunch for tomorrow if nothing else. It would be ruined, dogs would get into it. Please, take me back. This is getting a little too weird for me." "Nonsense. I will be feeding you. You just had a baby. You are in no condition to put a house together. You are staying with me for at least a month. I will go down each day to your home and unpack one box for you. It will be perfect. You will then move into a perfectly organized home." She said with a robotic like voice.
"No, that's not going to fly with me. We really just need to get our kids settled. They have been in limbo long enough. Please take me home." I should have screamed this at her, but no, I said it in the wimpiest voice I could muster.
The way this woman spoke, it was hard to describe, but I knew that she was not going to bend or deviate from her agenda. I wasn't quite sure what to do now. Especially since I was in her car. Her husband still had not said a word at this point.
After driving for a while Annabelle (again, not her real name) spoke again. "Thursday I will be putting on a puppet/magic show. Admittance is free, but licorice whips are 10 cents a piece. Lateness will not be tolerated and I will have to turn those who are not on time away. You will be there at 10 am sharp. That shouldn't be a problem since you will be staying in my home."
I looked at her, waiting for her to bust up laughing. Who talks like that?
"Friday I will be putting on a dance performance. Again, admittance will be free, but popcorn will be 25 cents. I have made enough flyers for the whole neighborhood announcing my performances. You will help me deliver them in the morning."
She handed me a flyer. She was serious.
"I really don't think I'll be able to help you tomorrow. I have a really bad sprained ankle." I pointed to my ankle. She looked and her eyes narrowed.
After driving around for what seemed like an eternity we got to their house. When we walked into the front I could see what would be the living and formal dining rooms. They were void of furniture, but all over the carpet where these strange looking spots. Tons of them! Every few inches was a spot and I had to maneuver carefully to avoid them. When we walked into the kitchen, her dining table was set for a Thanksgiving feast; tablecloth, goblets, linen napkins, a centerpiece and enough food to feed an army. "Wow, you have really been working today!" She pushed me into my chair, dished up my plate and sat across the table. Her husband was nowhere to be seen. I noticed she wasn't dishing up for herself. "Um, are you not going to eat?"
"No! This is for you and your family." She looked at me like I should have already known. "I really hate for this to go to waste. I'm not sure when my family will get back."
"They will be here soon enough. I left my instructions for your husband." I ate while she stared at me. It was uncomfortable to say the least. I decided to ask her about the spots on the carpet. It was totally rude, but if you saw them you would have asked as well.
"My cat. My cat has been sick and I clean up her mess with a paper towel. It leaves these spots and I don't know what to do." She said in her calm robotic voice. I started to dry heave. I casually slid my plate away and told her that I was full and that I really wanted to go home.
"How could you possibly get home? You don't have a car with you." "Could your husband take me back?"
"He couldn't. You will wait here until your husband arrives with your children." I waited for what seemed like hours when the doorbell rang. I heard my husband at the door and I was so relieved! "How did you find me?" I whispered to him.
"It's just down the street. Why are we whispering?" "What! Down the street? She drove me around for at least 20 minutes!"
My husband and kids were escorted to the table where Annabelle dished up heaping plates of food. "Don't eat it!" I mouthed to my husband. He looked at me very confused, but followed my urging and said "Oh, we just ate at the house we came from, thank you though." At this point, without thinking, I asked my husband for the car keys, ran out of the house and drove down the street to my house. I was so mad! We were a short walk away! I ran into the home to call the one person from our church that I had talked to a few times. My sister had known her in Texas and asked her to look for me when I moved to Oregon. She wasn't home, a babysitter answered. I told her to please tell Kymberlee where I was and that I was in some sort of trouble.
Still not thinking clearly, I grabbed some more diapers and went back! When I think about this story I can't for the life of me figure out why I didn't grab my husband and kids and run out the door as soon as he got there. No, I went back.
Before you get too excited about the title I need to clarify one thing. Yes it is true, I found myself kidnapped at one point in my life, but I was not a kid and it was not by a gross man wanting to do gross things! This is more of a "I can't believe that really happened to you! Even more, I can't believe you let that happen to you!" kind of a story.
Because it is such a long story, I am going to break it down over a few posts. We'll see how many it takes.
The time I got kidnapped: Part I 3 weeks after having my third child, my husband and I took our family on one of my favorite adventures. We moved to Oregon. We didn't know a soul, but we were excited. We stayed in a rented condo for a month while we looked for and purchased our home. I had found a home that would be perfect for us. The neighborhood was clean and nice. There were kids everywhere for my kids to play with. But best of all, I could finally feel the end of a whirlwind in sight. Keep in mind I had just sold and packed up a house while pregnant and moved with a newborn. I was ready for some stability.
We hadn't been sure exactly how long we would be in the condo looking for our new home, but I had only unpacked the bare minimum and had the moving company deliver a futon, our mattresses, some kitchen items and a box of toys, keeping the rest in storage. We told our kids that it was going to be like camping, and believe me it was.
When the weekend of our final move into our home arrived I was filled with excitement. Packing everything up as quickly as I could, I started running boxes down 3 flights of stairs to the U-haul we had rented. On one of my last trips down the stairs I missed a step and royally twisted my ankle. It swelled immediately and was so painful to step on that I had to hop along to get anywhere. The thought of taking time to go to the doctor to have it looked at sounded more painful to me. All I wanted was to be in our home, get us unpacked and sit down for once. I decided it could wait.
Before our move, we had phoned some people from our church to let them know that we would be moving into the area. A few of the men offered to help us move our few things that the moving company hadn't kept, from the condo into our home. We were so relieved. Especially since I had rendered myself useless. But we eventually got there and I was just in time for the moving company to arrive with the rest of our things. One of the men who helped us move from the condo invited my husband and kids over to his house for pizza and to watch a football game. Even though I was exhausted, I was thrilled with this idea. It left me and my new baby alone to unpack the kitchen without any interruptions. My husband worried about leaving me behind, but I assured him that I was perfectly fine and I would be very careful of my ankle. He left with my two oldest, I put my baby in the swing, and began to dig us out when the weirdest thing happened....
A woman came barging in our front door shaking her hands and screaming "It's OK! It's OK! I belong to your church!"
I looked at her with some confusion. She was breathless at this point from her obviously over excited state.
"I am here to get you. You have to come with me right now!" she continued yelling at me.
"Who are you?" I asked, not quite sure how to process what was happening.
"My name is Annabelle! (changed for privacy of course) You have to come with me now! I have been waiting all day!" She still yelled excitedly at me.
"I need to unpack my house. We just got here, it is getting late and I would really like to get my kitchen unpacked before my kids get back."
She looked at me like I was off my rocker. "I have been waiting! And now my chicken is burning! You must come with me now!"
"But, I don't know who you are. I really need to just get my kitchen unpacked." I replied with even more confusion. "You don't need to worry. I know your house INTIMATELY! I have been through it many times." She grabs my hand, drags me towards the door and says "We really need to go now or your dinner will be ruined!"
"But my baby!" I pointed to the swing. I watched in a dazed horror as she grabbed my diaper bag, and put the baby in the car seat. Before I could think through all that was happening she was pushing me into her car. Her husband was in the drivers seat and didn't say anything. He wouldn't even look at me.
(At this point in the story I need to remind you that I had just had a baby! I was getting no sleep, I had hormones a raging, and I was so exhausted from everything that I probably couldn't have told you my full name!) Part II tomorrow!
In the post just before this one I told you that I didn't complete my goal of finishing my book by April 15th. After thinking about it for a while I decided to toot my own horn and tell you that I have kept up with my other goals.
Back in February I wrote about eating better, exercising and not giving up if I have a day where I fall of the wagon. I decided that my new daily mantra would be: "Today I will.... (insert goal)."
Guess what! I have lost 11 pounds and I have been exercising consistently. This morning I ran 5 miles and shaved 6 minutes off of my running time.
Could I have done better with my weight loss? Yes, but I am making progress so I am very pleased with the results so far.
How about you? Have you kept up with some of your goals?
If you have read this post, you will know that I love lemons. The taste, the smell, the color, it all has a positive affect on me.
Today I discovered the power of lemons!
My son, that I adore in every way, is almost always very helpful. However, there is one request of mine that he just can't seem to follow through on. It is using the squeegee in the shower. Because of this, the glass doors on his shower have been coated with hard water spots that have been a thorn in my side. I kept telling myself that I shouldn't make a big deal about it, he won't live with me forever, but today I just couldn't stand it anymore. I have tried things in the past to get the nasty spots off, but until now and short of using the sort of chemicals that would require a hazmat suit, nothing has really done the trick. I googled about my dilemma and found a suggestion to scrub the glass with a lemon that has been cut in half. To make it extra powerful, sprinkle some salt on the cut surface of lemon.
I decided to give it a try.
I went strait for the good stuff and used the salt combo from the get go. After I finished scrubbing, I let it sit for a few minutes, gave it a once over again and then rinsed. "Out damn'd spot!Out I say!"
Today in the Associated Press there is an article that you can read here.
The article is about the books that are the most complained about by parents. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is number 5 on the list. The other books on the list were Catcher In The Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, IM (I have not read), etc. (See article for complete list)
Here is how I feel about it: First, make sure that whatever book your child/teen is reading is age appropriate. Some books simply have too mature a theme for the advanced younger readers. There are books out there that will challenge them, but are still appropriate. Seek them out and be a big part of talking to them about the content.
Second, I say kudos to Stephenie Meyer. Though her books are not literary masterpieces, she sparked a whole new love of reading in people who otherwise would not have picked up a book for pure enjoyment purposes. I have 2 friends who had not read a book on purpose since high school, but after being convinced to read Twilight they are now book nerds, constantly reading anything they can get their hands on. Would I let my 8 and 12 year old daughters read this book? Not yet, but when they are older, absolutely. (I tend to try for innocence as long as possible)
Third, see my first point! Educate yourself about the content of books. Read with your kids. My daughter and I are constantly reading the same books. Usually I read the book first and then make my decision. My son who is older comes to me about every other week looking for something that I would suggest. He has read Tom Sawyer, The Count Of Monte Cristo, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Golden Compass series, Les Miserable and so on, all on my recommendation. Help your child find something you think is appropriate. But remember that what you think is appropriate may or may not coincide with another parents view on the same book. There is nothing wrong with that!
For me it is one of the most anticipated days of the year. I am serious! It comes not too far behind Christmas, Halloween and April Fools day.
I get my husband back every year on April 15th! He is a tax accountant and come January of every year we see less and less of him. He is gone from 6 in the morning until 11 or 12 at night and often until the wee hours of the morning. He even spends the night on occasion. This happens Monday through Saturday and sometimes Sunday. My kids don't see him unless they happen to wake up in the middle of the night. The older kids know that he comes home at night but my younger two have asked where he flew to.