Monday, October 27, 2008

life and death.

i was catching up on myspace a bit today, reading bulletins and blogs. i was way behind. i pretty much never go on myspace anymore. i go on facebook a little more frequently, but not much.

in reading blogs, i read an old blog from my godbrother, chris, recommending this blog called days with my father. it's about a man, who is a photographer, spending time with his very elderly father. some beautiful pictures and really simple, eloquent captions to go along with some of them.

it made me think a lot about my mom and time and how hard the passage of time can be to accept when we resist it and how hard it can be to not resist it. life and death.

it's a lovely site, and also pretty sad, with the whole 'old people are even closer to dying that most of us' angle.

sure miss my mom.
sure wish she hadn't died.


this is via ithyle.

This is a list of the top 100 books ever published. Supposedly, the average person has only read 6 of these books.
This is what you have to do:
1. Copy the list on your blog.
2. Read through the list and mark the books you've read in bold.
3. Italicize any you started, but didn't finish.
4. Color the ones you loved in green. (Or whatever color, really.)

1. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of PI - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker (i've seen the movie about 100 times. does that count?)
8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis <---oh, i smell a rat. this isn't a book, it's a series and how can they have one book from the series alone beneath the whole series, as a separate entry? especially since they kept 'his dark materials' together? hmm...
22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma - Jane Austen
61. Persuasion - Jane Austen
62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
65. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell <---i can't overstate how much i loved this book and the author.
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas <---remember in 'the shawshank redemption' where the dumb inmate looks at this book in the library and says, snorting, "alexander dumbass?"

i've never even heard of some of these books. faraway tree collection?
oh well. i'm certainly more well-read than most people, according to this highly scientific list.

also, some things i did not do today:
-go to the gym
-eat well
-leave the house
-do anything productive at all

oh, the onion.

Cindy McCain Claims She�s �Just Like Any Other Female Human�

i'm not saying john mccain shouldn't win, i'm just saying that it's true that cindy mccain seems scary and maybe like an alien.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

grab bag.

* feeling sad for jennifer hudson

* feeling impressed with myself because my internet crush said my comment was the best one of the week. also deeply embarrassed to be so pleased with myself.

* found a hecka cute diaper bag. seems premature to buy it since we are not actively trying to make babies, but it was tempting. too early to buy it for zoe? diaper bags are too personal to buy for someone else. i have already begun imagining my possibly endless search for the Perfect Diaper Bag. i'm probably going to show up at my kid's wedding with it, having just finally found it.

* i would for reals like to live here. the website is full of information and links and stuff. i love it.

* i've been searching the internet for chord tableture for mom's autoharp. so far i haven't had much luck, though. since the autoharp has set chords, you can't use any chords other than what they offer you, so if the song you want to play has lots of minor chords in it you're pretty much screwed. so, no depeche mode. i've had the best luck with cat power songs. also some james brown and a saves the day song. should be an interesting repertoire.

* tried some new foods when i grocery shopped yesterday. here are my reviews:
- rice yogurt: completely disgusting. too sweet. too watery. really, really icky.
- cassava chips: super tasty. i got the bbq flavor but i'd like to try the sea salt ones.

* i've been fretting a little bit about the election and my concerns about how jacked up this election could get because of how big the turn out will be. i worked the primary and it was a nightmare, and that wasn't nearly as big a deal as this election is going to be. but mostly my fretting was idle, because working the last election sucked so bad, i didn't want to do it again. except a lady called me the other day to ask me to work a polling place that was down one person, so i said yes. again, the precinct captain has never been the captain before and isn't going to know what to do, which is exhausting. there is one other person who has worked the polls before, probably the guy named harvey, because it's mostly senior citizens who do it. it's nice to have some good old people ju-ju, but it was hard explaining the newer stuff to them last electricity. (i kid.) they give each polling place a palm pilot that we can use to find voter info, if we need to. the very cranky old lady i worked with last time was deeply suspicious of the palm pilot, resentful that they changed the system that she felt worked fine, and also dead set on us showing her how to use it, even though she wasn't ever going to get it and she totally didn't need to know because other people could have done that. is it patronizing to feel like it's not work her effort to master technology she will probably never use? possibly. so, i'm working the polls. at least i know now what i need to brush up on because the accounting at the end of the day is fucking HARD and our group messed it up a bunch because we didn't know what we were supposed to be doing. i'll go to the info session again this time to brush up and i'll stay the WHOLE time and then basically have to run the precinct, but that's fine. it'll be like a group project in college, where you just assume everyone else is lazy and stupid so you do it all yourself.

* a couple of weeks ago shannon vivisected my laptop. my optical drive was all messed up, so my man took lappy to work and removed the old one and put in a new one. he also stoked me with more storage (like, 10X more) and more RAM (like, so much more) AND gave me leopard! basically, my good old lappy came back a brand new computer! i have pretty much every application open that i can think of right now and you'd never know it because it's working FINE. awesome.

* bought some new lip gloss. the color combo i go was daredevil and sandpiper. the picture on the website really doesn't do it justice, though. the daredevil color is really a red-pink. very berry colored. and the gloss is a nice shiny nude, which takes the intensity of the red-pink down a bit. i'm lovin' it. also was given a free DELUXE sample of some other lip gloss that i am loving. i got a sample of this stuff a while ago and i liked the smell and taste and consistency, but it was clear with silver sparkles which isn't super useful. this new one is 'dolly' which is pretty much my lip color, but a smidgen more oomphy. i highly recommend this brand.

* been hitting the gym again. stoked on it. not gonna talk it up too much, just saying: i'm back, i'm happy, i'm sore from training.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

i'd vote for a president with moves like those.

something non-partisan, for the kids.

i feel like sarah palin is only so-so and john mccain barely dances at all, though that shoulder scooting thing he does was cool. also, he seemed to be really enjoying himself.

this dance off does not change my vote.

(this was via my boyfriend,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

more funny.

so, i have a little bit of an internet crush on this guy whose blog i used to read. his name is gabe delahaye and i feel like i'm gonna die of embarrassment even writing this because it's so dorky, but still, he's awesome and funny and i wish we were friends, even though he'd probably be mean to me. (he was on 'this american life' one week, with a story about finding out that all his friends think he's an asshole. so, you know. he's probably not that nice.) his personal blog is called and i already have the link to it here, to the right, but he's not writing much there right now because he writes for another blog ( as his job now, which must tap out his funny juices or something.

anyway, long story long, him and this other really funny guy, max silvestri, who also has a funny blog, do these movies together on youtube and such and i wanted to post them.

this was the first one.

the second one.

the third one.

here's the new one, in partnership with details magazine.

the production value is a little high for me, but whatever.

i just want some people who i know to see these, so i can reference them and have people know what i'm talking about.

wocka, wocka.

so i went to the gym again today, and it was the best again. yay, gymin'!
there was a video crew there, filming the step/dance class i was taking, for some 24 hr fitness commercials, and i wanted to share the footage with you.

just kidding.

Monday, October 20, 2008

retail lust.

sigerson morrison for target launched today.
i've been reading about this in the magazines for a while, and checking the website to see if it had dropped, and today was the day.
i'm a little embarrassed about how stoked i am about this news. i sent out an email to my fashiony ladies, telling them. like, i'm not sending out anything about the elections because 'nyeh' but i HAVE to email people about some shoes at target. i might be part of the problem.
that being said, i am a big fan of sigerson morrison, while also being filled with resentment over their absurdly high prices. seriously, $400 for a pair of little suede heels?
well, maybe the prices aren't absurd.
maybe the shoes are stuck together with unicorn hair and archangel spit.
but for reals, they're very, very spendy.
so this is my chance.
ugh, the economy, you guys.
someone should really buy my mom's house.
that would be nice.
in other news, i went to the gym today for the first time since august and it felt fantastic. i made a training session for tomorrow, too. time to start getting my read literally and figuratively in gear again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

election '08.

hi, guys!

i'm not really getting very emotionally invested in the election this year because the guy who i'd like to have as president will never win (NADER/GONZALEZ '08!!!!), but i agree that obama is young and dashing, and he's less of a butthead than mccain, probably.

also, guys, sarah palin.
whoops, mccain! you chose her as your running mate! hope that minute bump in your numbers and campain dollars was worth the election, 'cuz she's a total wooden nickel.
npr was hypothesizing that mccain must be kinda bummed he chose her over mitt romney now, given romney's strong financial background, and since this campaign is going to be won or lost on the basis of the economy. and, since sarah palin doesn't appear to have any really solid experience at anything other than being sassy, she's not really that reassuring to a panicked electorate.

you know who should be the president?
my uncle, keith.
he's funny, he's a straight shooter (literally, i assume, and figuratively.) he's got a solid military background, which means a lot to many voters. he's a good guy. he's old enough to make us feel safe in his care, but not so old that we're worried about him falling and breaking a hip all the time. (did you see mccain wandering around like a confused old man during the debates? yikes.)
my uncle keith and i don't agree on every issue, probably, but i don't really need to agree with the president on everything. it's unrealistic to expect to agree with the opinions/views of anyone but yourself, basically. i just want to have faith that my president is a good person, who is thinking things through carefully, is consulting experts when necessary...that's probably my uncle, guys.
so, next time around, we'll try to get him nominated.
UNCLE KEITH IN 2012!! maybe i could be his running mate! i'll bring my own heaping serving of sass to the ticket!

the internets have been humming over mccain referring to obama as 'that one' the other evening and how disrespectful it was, but i don't really see what the hub-bub is about. it's not as respectful as it could be, but it certainly isn't the worst thing he could have said. so, i say it's no big deal and the internet is just trying to stir things up, like they love to do. oh, internet. all the pundits were surprised that mccain wasn't more aggressive in the debates, after hinting that he was going to take the proverbial gloves off. i wonder why he didn't.
i wish they'd quit it with the finger pointing. what if our elections were two people explaining their policies and what they feel makes them a good candidate, and no one ever did any attacking or negative ads? would that even work?

so, in honor of the election excitement, here are some videos for you.

this one is an amazingly prompt viral video about the 'that one' thing.

this one is by a friend of friends, in his role as mc jelly d. it also features the lovely and talented shaye troha and another gentleman who i'm not familiar with.

i was going to post some really unfortunate youtube stuff with mccain supporters rambling like total wingnuts, but i don't want people to feel like this is a totally probama blog, so i'll see if i can find something that makes obama's supporters look stupid, so i can feel like i'm being fair.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

this is our life.

only our cats are not so fat and there are two of them.

Monday, October 6, 2008

also, this is funny.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

mr. and mrs. halpin.

you guys, the wedding was so fucking magical.
just....gorgeous and perfect in every way.
i laughed, i cried, i danced.
i had one of those night where i felt like i was a cup full of emotions, and only the surface tension was keeping it all from just splooshing all over the place. oh, except i sometimes splooshed all over anyway.
so in love with my life and so grateful for all the love in it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

this just in...

oh, hi!
haven't been here in a while!
i mean, i posted that 'west wing' thing, because duh, but i haven't really been keeping this thingie up-to-date. here's a grab bag of things going on...

1) lucy is in town right now, visiting from NYC. her fam is having some health stuff going on, so she came home to see them. lucky jerk gets to go to hawaii to visit her sister and the kids in a week. yo soy hellsa jealous. it's VERY nice having her here. it's like visiting home when you move away, where it's so good it kills you a little and you almost wish you hadn't gone home because it just makes it harder to be away. we went to get our hairs did all fancy today, washed and styled and stuff on account of...

2) brian and libby's wedding is tomorrow. i am feeling for them because it's supposed to rain and they had NOT planned on rain. i'm really excited and nervous for them. i know how much stress they've gone through to get everything ready and how fucking relieved they'll be to have it done with. also, afterwards, they'll be mr. and mrs. halpin, which is pretty exciting. it's made me think a lot about how sure me and brian were that WE would get married and how not correct we were. it's also made me even more and more grateful for how beautifully everything has evolved with our friendship. i consider my ex-boyfriend and his soon-to-be wife some of my closest, most important friends, and i am very, very lucky to still have all the benefits of our relationship, as well as a fantastic partner of my own.

3) so, in preparation for the wedding, which feels pretty high stakes, as far as social events go, with all the long-time friends attending, i have purchased my first pair of spanx. my dress isn't super va-va-voom, but it's made of a clingy jersey material that will do a person no favors, so i bought some crazy girdle bike shorts to smooth stuff out. totally embarrassing and old-lady feeling, but if they let me relax in my dress and know everything is where it should be, then it'll be worth swallowing my pride.

4) mom's house (a.k.a. money pit #1) is officially On The Market. anyone want to buy a lovely house in redwood valley, ca for a good price and save me and my husband from impending destitution in the process? anyone? anyone? it has taken a lot of stress and annoyance but it's up and running. please aid us in thinking desirable thoughts about the property. please envision the PERFECT buyers being drawn to it like magnets. allen tried his hardest to alienate all the real estate agents by totally losing his shit today, as only allen can, but i think it's going to be fine. oh, allen.

5) 2 or 3 months ago i started meditating regularly. me and LW took a seriously life changing class together in berkeley, led my a freaking amazing teacher named james baraz. on the first day of the class he made the statement that meditation has made the difference in his life. liesl and i came away wondering what he meant by that, and feeling admittedly skeptical, but i can honestly say i get it now. the change for LW has been the most dramatic, just the level of peace it has brought her, but i have experienced a profound transformation, too. (ugh, with the healie-feelie talk, i know. but really, homeys. it's unlike anything i have ever experienced.) you might recall that i read a lot of pema chodron while i was coming to terms with mom's illness initially, especially 'when things fall apart.' i found that book to be so comforting and calming, in a way that nothing else was. believing in a god whose plan is for my mom to die slowly of brain cancer is totally unacceptable, but the idea that there is only this moment and how i live it and the courage and wonder with which i greet it feels true to me. so, taking it a step further and meditating felt really natural. i have slacked a bit on it, not doing it everyday like i was, but i am in it to win it. more on that forever, probably.

4) lots of mykhail time. we watch him two days and two nights a week now. he is funny and HARD and growing so fast. (such a cliche, but still true.) seeing his verbal skills develop is just mind blowing. from "dat?" (what is that?) to "cow!" to "see cow!" to now "auntie, see cow eating!" dude, that is language, RIGHT THERE. no wonder linguistic anthropologists love to study speech and language development in kids - it's so easy to see the changes! and so satisfying! my last blog was me being scared and feeling like i might suck as a parent and not be able to take it, but things are fine now. it's still overwhelming sometimes, but also really gratifying to know i am good at this. dudes, seriously, i am GOOD at this. i'm like the dog whisperer - totally the pack leader. i have healthy boundaries, i am good at being fun. i am getting a lot better at working myself out of snits when he's being crabby. having kids is going to be fine. not a piece of cake because duh but totally fine. shannon is so cute with kel that it makes me spontaneously ovulate just listening to them.

5) we have two cats now. they were my mom's cats and, rather than give them away to strangers or something, we took them. we love/hate them. one might call us 'frenemies' with them. love the funny animalness they bring to the house. hate the fur, the smell of cats, the catbox, the sometimes scratching. oh well. we sometimes joke that i am a part-time crap handler now, since i spent so much time taking bags of crap out to the garbage can, between the cats and kel. i'm mostly used to it. i think i might be allergic to one or both of the cats because of the re-occurrence of an uncomfortable, unsightly rash, whose presence i have been free of for years, but i am not yet ready to jettison the cats to save myself. getting there, but not quite.

that's enough for now.
i'm going to try not to be such a stranger, though.