Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You do the math, Halloween edition

Giant box of chocolate bars
fifteen trick or treaters
many, many Peanutbutter Cups inside Irma.

I feel sick.

In other news, this morning on the radio I heard about an initiative a local church launched this year for their youth group (read: tweens who KNOW they're too old for trick or treating, but still want to go out.) This year, the youth group is going out "Trick or Eating", they get to dress up and go door to door, but instead of candy, they are collecting cans of food for a local soup kitchen.

Oh yes PLEASE.

I was frankly a little disappointed that no "Trick or Eaters" made it to our street tonight, I had an entire grocery bag of stuff to share. I applaud these young people, and hope they were very successful. Tomorrow I'll take that bag of good food to the food bank myself, promise.

I may even throw in some Peanut Butter Cups.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Further to yesterday's rant, I just want to say, PS, I am aware that leaves blow all over neighbourhoods, I don't think my neighbours are plotting against me because "their" leaves end up in "my" yard. But they could rake occasionally is all I'm saying. Bitches.

And wow, big hint thatI should get off the couch more often, because today I am so sore. My back hurts, my arms hurt, my butt hurts. I'm using that as my excuse not to go rake up all the leaves that migrated to my house today...

Monday, October 29, 2007


Dear Neighbours,

I so enjoy living here amongst you, that I just wanted to give you your due in public. Thank you for never letting me forget that you drive this year's hottest car, while I drive a sensible second hand vehicle. Thank you for raising your eyebrows at the little garden I tend so carefully, while your yard is kept green and lush by a service.

Thank you for complaining about my barking dog, while your teenage children tear up and down the street in the cars you bought them, stereos blaring. Thank you for your kind suggestions that I prune my lilac tree, which was EXACTLY how I wanted it, in order to provide more sunlight for the shrub you just planted. Thank you for once again giving me all the details of the neighbourhood cocktail party to which we were not invited. Thank you for never letting me forget that I run a middle class household on an upper class street.

And most importantly? Thank you soooooooo much for not raking your leaves. I spent four hours outside today, picking up thirteen bags of leaves, even though MY tree has yet to release a single one. You see, I now know what you know: due to the wind currents -- and shape of my front yard -- all of YOUR leaves will eventually end up in MY yard. No no, there's no need for any of you to clean up your own mess. Just leave it there, would you? As the photo of our street shows, clearly you have taken my wise counsel: not ONE person on our street has done anything about their leaves, smug in the knowledge they will all end up in the Floresta's yard.

I have lived here four years, and up until today I have taken all of your shit with a smile and a grain of salt. But this afternoon, as I tied up yet another bag of leaves, and felt my lower back trembling from my prolonged hunched position, and watched you pull in to your driveways, literally taking the time to turn and look at me distastefully as if I was hired help instead of your neighbour, something in me snapped.
Actually, I take that back, that comment about hired help. I have HAD hired help in my home, and I never looked at those ladies the way you look at me. When I have outsiders in to help me with my housework, I look at them with thankfulness and appreciation. Maybe I'm just weird.
The kicker is I know that, if I don't rake YOUR leaves off my of lawn next week, you will all talk about us, discuss how unsuitable my family is for this street.

And you know what, dearest neighbours? I am OVER you. I don't want to fit in anymore, I have a wonderful family, a wonderful life, I don't need you. Maybe my family didn't pull in $350,000 last year, but you know what? We DID make enough to stay here, buwah ha ha, so you're stuck with us.

Bring it, bitches.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Random thoughts on Shaving

(Wow....I'm deep)

I am the first to admit I don't shave as often as I "should". I enjoy the feel and look of my freshly shaved legs and pits as much as the next girl, but even as I revel in their silkiness, I know my laziness and apathy are only a step behind, and it'll be a week (at least) before I revel in their loveliness again. I mean, ugh, who has TIME? (And don't even TRY to tell me I'm The Only One who feels like this!)

Is it funny that I don't include scraping a razor blade over 25% of my body among my "can't skip" daily grooming habits? I mean, shaving isn't exactly a fun activity you look forward to, but neither is brushing your teeth, and I've never gone more than ten hours in my life without doing that.

I find it interesting that, historically, the concept of a woman shaving originated in Europe several hundred years ago. Yet today, if you go to a beach in California, you will see women whose bodies are (ahem) completely devoid of hair. Go to Europe?'ll see both extremes.

I recall about a year ago, Husbandly One and I watched a Biography on Sophia Loren, and he admitted she was his boyhood crush. (He's older than me, get over it). I remember the documentary included a pin-up shot of Sophia, not the one above, but a flat out arm behind-her- head shot. At first I was struck by her loveliness. Then I saw the bloody NEST under her arm, and my first thought was, "Ewwwww!!" But then I realized that here was the Most Beautiful Woman In The World, showing off her pit hair for all to see, and she didn't CARE. Her beauty, sexuality, and general desirability weren't tied to her Bic razor.

Yeah... I am following in Sophia Loren's sexy example. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Many years ago, there was a time when I wouldn't leave the house unless my legs were totally smooth. After all, you never knew if a man would put his hand on your leg, right?? Well, let me telling you something from my lofty position as a woman five years into a relationship: A man puts his hand on my leg at least once every day of my life. And usually it's all stubbly, and he doesn't care. He'd rather have ME, all sandpapery, than anyone else who was glassy smooth.
That's not to say that he might not prefer if I were glassy smooth, I suppose.
I guess the point I was trying to make (but, having just re-read this post so far, I see I have not even hinted at) is that I am always fascinated by the expectations of beauty and perfection women put on themselves. You heard me, I said "women put on themselves". Husbandly One could give a crap about my shins. All HE cares about is that I come home to him every night, and that I look forward to coming home to him. Sure, he loves it when I look sexy, dressed to the nines, sleek eyeliner, red lipstick, glossy skin. But, in the overall scheme of life, does he CARE?
No, my friends, he does NOT. I have several hundred days of sweat pants and no makeup to back me up on this, believe me. He loves ME, not my kneecaps.
SO why do women continue to feel bad about themselves, over tiny issues like gray hair, crow's feet, moving in to a larger dress size, or stubbly legs? REAL MEN DON'T CARE. And the sooner we all realize that, the better off we will be.
Stepping off my soapbox now. Gotta go shave, after all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm eight years old

I have been planning our Christmas trip to Florida since early May. Books have been purchased and consulted, websites have been read and discussed. Anyone who knows me in the every-day-world knows that all of my vacations are carefully planned, scheduled, and investigated.

All of my many tickets and necessary reservations have been taken care of over these last few months, with the notable excception of one thing. So, on Saturday, Son and I took a trip to the Disney Store to purchase our 5-day tickets to Disney World. I told the nice lady what I wanted, she told me the total, I died, they managed to bring me back to life long enough for me to hand her my credit card, and we left.

And when we got to the car, I calmly turned to Son, and then freaked out completely. All of a sudden, this trip was real. "OMIGOD, WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY! WE'VE NEVER BEEN THERE, IT'S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO FIRST????"

And Son was all, "Mum, bring it down a few notches, okay?"

I may be a giant geek, but I am still grateful that the eight year old inside me is alive and well.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Wow, did not see that coming. JK Rowling has revealed that the much-loved Headmaster Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame is gay.

Keep your Headmaster jokes to yourself, please.

On one hand, I am thrilled that she has told the world that he is gay. Dumbledore is a hero, he is brave, he is wise, he is all-that-is-good-and-noble. Oh, and he's gay. That is so cool.

On the OTHER hand, I wonder what kind of negative impact this may have in certain quarters. For example, Ex-Husband loves HP, but hates gay people. When we were married, I managed to get him to curb his comments in front of Son, but now... well.

So this morning, Son and I are talking about the whole thing, and he says to me, "I used to think Dumbledore was te best, but now....I guess I respect him less."

Ever the cool headed mother, I said, "Then, Son, that makes you an ASSHOLE."

Yes, I called my precious baby, my greatest love, an asshole to his face.

Ugh. We ended up having a good talk about it, and I guess I AM thankful that he told me he thinks (ahem, is being TAUGHT to think) that way so that I can try to counter-balance it. It's just that I never thought Harry Potter would be the vehicle to bring this topic to the surface.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I knew Husbandly One for quite a while before I considered him to be Husbandly One Material. I really liked him, but that was pretty much where it ended.

If you have read my previous blog, you know what happened next. If you haven't, here's the short version: eventually a day came when he kissed me, and my world changed forever.

And I remember that two weeks later, he sent me a quick email and ended with two simple words. "Love you."

I reacted to those shocking words IMMEDIATELY. "Please don't use Those Words cheaply. I know you were just being cute, but Someday, you might Really Mean Them....wouldn't you rather that those words actually mean something?"

He just looked at me, patiently.

Not so very many weeks later, on a blustery winter night, he drove me the 500 feet from my office to where my car was parked, so that I wouldn't have to walk it. It was out of his way, but he couldn't bear the idea of me walking along the sidewalk, huddled in my coat, to my cold car. In his car, we had a meaningless discussion about (who cares) and I turned to him, out of the blue, and said, "Say it again."

"Say what again?"

"Say IT again."

He hesitated, I had humiliated him before. "What do you want me to tell you, that I love you?" Defensive, sarcastic.

I took a deep breath and whispered my heart to him.

I can still hear his sigh to this day, still see the stress I never knew existed leave him in one exhale. He closed his eyes for a few seconds before he was able to look at me again.

And that's how I knew.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Out of nowhere

Man, grief is an evil, evil bitch.

My father died 18 months ago. But tonight it feels like it was yesterday. For reasons unknown, it hit me again tonight like a ton of bricks, like it happened yesterday.

Husbandly One is at work.

I called my brother, but no one's home.

I called my mum, but she was on the phone to my sister. "Oh, ok, no big deal, call me later." (No, I didn't tell her why I was calling.)

Guess I can scratch my sister off the list of people to call too, ha ha.

God, when will this shit EVER END?

Best salmon. Ever.

Husbandly One doesn't care for salmon (heathen!) so this recipe doesn't get play in our house. In fact, I had forgotten about it until Ex-Husband called me for the recipe the other day.

I did not create this, it comes directly from the original Canadian Living cookbook. From 1987. Yikes I'm old.

1/2 cup sour cream (I use low fat, never tried the no-fat stuff in this recipe)
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp minced onion
1.5 tsp dried dill, or 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper (if you're anal about cooking, that's about 1/8 of a tsp)

1.5 lb (or about 750 grams) salmon fillets, skin on

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients and mix well. I always tend to use more dill than it calls for, but that's just me. Taste sauce and adjust as necessary, but think long and hard before you add more salt. There is so much flavour to this sauce, don't kill it with saltiness!

Place fillets skin side down, in a single layer in lightly buttered baking dish (Instead, I line a baking sheet with foil, turn up the edges to keep sauce from getting everywhere, and then give it a shot of Pam instead of the butter.)

Now -- omigod, spread the sauce all over the salmon in a thick layer. It's like putting down spackle. In the good way. Cover that baby good.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for.... a while.

See, here's how you cook fish. Get out a ruler. I am so not kidding. Measure it at the widest (and by that, I mean tallest) point. Cook for ten minutes per inch. Seriously, it's that easy. EXCEPT for the fact that you just put a heavy sauce on this fish. So, use the inch rule, and whatever you come up with, add five minutes for the sauce.

Let me know if you try this.
You're welcome.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This just in...

BIG shout-out to my friend Annette for telling me to buy my nylons at the Dollar Store. Yes, I went out and bought nylons for $1 a pair and they are fabulous. I was afraid they'd be all thick and nubby and gross, but quite frankly I don't see much of a difference between them and the nylons I've been buying recently for $7. And I notice that the $7 ones don't last any longer than the $1 ones.....Omigod, the money I'm going to save just boggles the mind.

My two cents on CK

Disclaimer: If you are not a scrapbooker, this post may not seem like a big deal to you. That's okay, I'll see you tomorrow.

Well well well, so Creating Keepsakes magazine has been caught with their pants down over the Hall of Fame scandal, or, as some are calling it, Scrapgate. Quick synopsis: they run this prestigious competition every year, and it is a VERY big deal to be named to the HOF. Entire careers have been launched based on this one moment in the spotlight. There are many rules you must follow in your submission, including the fact that all photos in your layout must have been taken by you personally.

Blah blah blah, cut to the chase, one of the HOF winners used photos which she clearly did not take. And the magazine knew this because, in their published book of the winning layouts, they gave a photography credit to the lady who did take it. The kicker is that the HOF winner herself was the one who told the magazine who took the picture: she wasn't trying to hide anything or be deceptive; my understanding is she didn't see/read/remember that part of the rules. I can understand that, but the fact remains she didn't follow the published rules, and she won anyway.

The magazine's public statement over all this is weak to say the least, with a smattering of "truthiness" and a big ole bowl of "avoiding-the-issue" thrown in for good measure. And scrapbookers all over the place are going wild, cancelling suscriptions (or at least threatening to), calling for legal action, calling for this particular HOF winner to have her title stripped, etc.

Others are saying, "Look, no distrespect, but keep it in perspective: it's just a scrapbooking contest, nobody is dying because of this, just let it go."

And you know what? It is just a contest. A contest my BFF entered.

She worked so very, very hard on her entry. She emailed me all her layouts before submitting them, for my opinion, comments and encouragement. She worried about her chances. She put her heart and soul and non-existent spare time in to it. She sat by her phone, on the day she knew the winners were being contacted, and her emails to me throughout the day became more and more despondant. She tried to cheer herself up with the consolation that the runners-up would be contacted by email the following day, but no email ever came. She was devastated.

Her work is among the finest I have ever seen. I don't say that simply because she's my's actually the opposite. Her work is so good that, if I didn't already love her, I'd hate her for being so mind-blowingly talented. There are lots of talented women out there, though, I'm not saying that BFF should have won necessarily.

But I guarantee you she followed the rules. All of them.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I truly enjoy a well crafted commercial, one that makes me laugh, cry, or think. Do not underestimate the power of advertising, my friends: it is a modern day artform, and should be appreciated at that level. Conversely, a BAD commerical grates on my nerves and makes me want to scream, it certainly does not make me want to purchase the offered product.

This may be a regional commercial, but have you seen the Rogers Communications commercial where they're trying to sell their bundle package? It shows a happy family, relaxing in their family room, all telling the camera what they want.

Son: I want movies, when I want them
Mom: I want to talk to my sister long distance, whenever I feel like it.

And then there's the vacant-eyed teenage daughter (who clearly thinks she's The Shit) harping in the background, "Talk more, talk waaaaaaaaaaaaay more. Faster internet connection...Faster, waaaaaaay faster."

I hate that little bitch.

And I just want Rogers to know that I would rather eat my own pancreas than look at her simpering little face one more time. And she most certainly does not inspire me to purchase your product. I now hate you, because of her.

That is all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


English is Husbandly One's fourth language, not his first, but he speaks it phenomenally well. No, I don't mean he speaks well "for an immigrant", I tell you honestly that he has an extraordinary vocabulary. Other than the accent, you'd swear he had been born here... except when it comes to idiom.

God love him, after more than 25 years in this country, he still can't the slang right. Today he informed me it was "going to rain dogs and pigs", and I chuckled heartily. But for years, my favourite expression of his comes from a day he described lazy employees...."I caught them screwing the cow."

After I could breathe again, I explained that, when you are neglecting your duties, you are screwing the dog, not the cow.

He looked at me without blinking. "Maybe in Canada. But in my country, we're Real Men."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It is very rare that Husbandly One and I entertain. In the last four years, we have thrown one wedding shower, three parties, probably six family get-togethers, and an equal number of impromptu fondues when my friend Watermelon has come over to devour kilograms of melted cheese.

Husbandly One and I had two other people over for Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, and despite the tiny number of guests, I was excited to welcome them to my home. I don't cook much, but I do make a mean turkey. I knew it would be a lovely time with a delicious meal.

The turkey was expected to be done at 3:30. At 2:00, I wanted to check on my masterpiece (plus allow more of that yummy turkey smell in to the kitchen.). I opened the oven door, only to get a face full of flames.

Okay, it wasn't flames. But it was a blinding spray of electrical sparks. My element had somehow broken, and the "flame" was slowing travelling along the entire length of the element, reminding me of those Wile E Coyote cartoons when he would light the long fuse and you would watch it slowly hiss along the ground, until finally, Kaboom!

Wait. Kaboom??

Always the cool-headed person in our home, I freaked and screamed, "Holy F***, Husbandly One!! Turn off the power!! NOW!!"

He, running to the basement, "I don't remember which fuse it is!"

"Then turn them ALL off!"

Five minutes later, when my heart rate returned to normal, I called my mum, and, sigh, told her to turn her oven on because Husbandly One was on his way over with a half raw dead bird.

Of course, my oven simply couldn't blow up on a day we were just having dinner by ourselves. No no, this could only happen in the ten minutes before my company arrived.

Maybe that's why we don't entertain, we know what our luck is like and would prefer to keep our house standing.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Emotionally, I dig the timing of Canadian Thanksgiving (October) much more than American Thanksgiving (November). This preference is certainly based on the fact that, umm, I am Canadian, but look at it this way. Traditional story of American Thanksgiving is that a bunch of immigrants to the New World were pretty much hooped until some Native Americans bailed them out. Traditional story of Canadian Thanksgiving is finalizing the bountiful harvest the earth has given us, and celebrating that fact. "My" story just seems more self affirming, with all due respect to the poor settlers in America who at least had the presence of mind to accept help and advice from the Native Americans. Both are good, positive stories. I just like mine better.

Turkey Day in our house has been postponed to tomorrow, due to Husbandly One's work schedule. Turkey is defrosting, just called my Mum for her stuffing receipe (something I do EVERY turkey-related'd think I would write it down some place safe and keep it forever, but, oh no, I call her every time I need to shove my arm inside a dead bird. It's one of my most sacred traditions.)

Have spent a great amount of time researching and planning our trip to Disney / Universal / Seaworld / Nasa during the Christmas break. I think I have a pretty good handle on it, but let me throw this out to Blagger Land: I have never been there before, so any advice or secret information you may have is much appreciated. We have 5 day flex tickets to the Disney stuff, two day tickets to the Universal stuff, and one day at Seaworld. Help me.

Oh, and like I said in the title, happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Melissa Etheridge, Goddess

My admiration for this woman knows no bounds. I remember her from the early Nineties. Pretty girl, long hair, good music.

New century.
Love and children.
New love.
More children.
More music.

In my whole life, I have never seen anything as sexy as she was in her "Wake Up" video ( a song which garnered her an Academy Award, thank you very much.) I look at her short hair, growing back after chemo, I think about her passionate wife who stood beside her and brought two more children in to their family. Especially, I imagine Melissa being told she has cancer. I imagine her looking at her two children, I imagine her looking at her pregnant wife. I imagine her shearing off those long dusty locks herself, not waiting for the hair to fall out, but taking the power of that "decision" for herself.

The power she gave herself during that time is the sexiest thing I can imagine. She was a mother, just like the rest of us. And in love, just like the rest of us. But when the Big C-Word came knocking on her door, she said, "HELL NO. I have my babies, I have my wife, and I have other babies yet to be. GO AWAY." How sexy is that????

And, oh my God, I hear her voice. Her wife Tammy calls it a "sandpaper waterfall", and I really think that, in all the books I have ever read, I have never heard such a gorgeous, fitting analogy.

I am as straight as they come, but if I was gay? I hope I would meet Melissa Etheridge, and she would love me, and I would have her sing quietly at night, just to me. No offense, Tammy. And no offense, Husbandly One. But seriously, come ON, I'm talking about Melissa Etheridge.

The struggle between French and English

Not only do I live in a bilingual part of Canada, I am completely bilingual myself. My French is almost as good as my English, and I move easily between the two languages without giving it a second thought.

My parents hailed from Ontario, a VERY English part of Canada, so although they could not speak French themselves, they insisted that my brother and I enter the bilingual education system at the tender age of five, and for that I will always be grateful.

Because I have always been bilingual, I never really thought about what it was like for a uniligual anglophone in this area, until I moved back here in 2001. My Ex-husband's (he was my husband at the time, mind you) career as fire chief of our old town, and security manager to a major corporation, had been very successful, so neither of us anticipated the closed doors we would find here. Yes, his resume and credentials were flawless, but, umm, do you speak French? No? Well, nice to meet you, good luck.

It took my very talented (ex)husband a YEAR to find a job, simply because he couldn't speak French. Never MIND that he is razor sharp, has been trained within an inch of his life to help others, and is, quite frankly, brilliant. No French? No job.

I remember what a slap that was to us, but in particular to ME. I had dragged my family here in order to move on with my career, and my own ignorance to what faces "English people" almost destroyed us. I tell you truthfully that he is bitter about the bilingual movement to this day.

I further remember that, thirteen years ago, he and I drove from one side of Canada to the other. It was an amazing trip, a chance to see our glorious nation. And then we hit Quebec, that bastion of French pride and "distinct society".We needed gas, and pulled in to a service station. Ex-husband was driving, so he had to deal with the attendant. Ex-husband had asked me along the way to give him useful French phrases, and so he tried, my God he TRIED to be respectful of where we were and to use the prevailing language. I will never, as long as I live, forget him saying, "S'il vous plait remplir??" The syntax was wrong, the accent was horrible, but he TRIED.

And the seventeen year old FUCK, who thought we were just ignorant English, turned away, making fun of us under his breath, never dreaming that I understood every word. I was so ashamed by this person, showing such comtempt for an English person who was TRYING to converse in the local language. Tell you what, Jean-Marc, how 'bout you fuck off and speak English to ME? Who's the person struggling NOW, you dick???

That was the very first time I ever felt that underlying tension between French and English, and I did NOT like it.

All of this is simply a preamble to what happened to me in the grocery store today. Yes, I live in a bilingual area, but within that area, some cities are definitely more French, and some are more English. I happen to live in a predominately English area.

So I'm in line at the grocery store, and Matthew, the 17 year old clerk, is going thru his drill with the lady in front of me, "How are you? Did you find everything you were looking for? Do you have an Airmiles card?"And the lady in front of me keeps answering him in French. She clearly understands English, because she answered every question he asked appropriately, just in French. And everytime she spoke, she raised her voice juuuuussst a little bit more, as if to point out to him that She Was French, By God.

And here's this poor highschool acne victim, just trying to earn his $8 an hour while Whore Face keeps screaming her right to the language of her choice, and clearly aware that this poor teenage boy CAN'T speak French. She tortured this child to make her point.

I'm sorry, sweetheart. If you want the government to serve you in the language of your choice, fine. If you want ME to serve you in the language of your choice, fine. But how 'bout you lay off the CHILD and take your ridiculous posturing in to the parking lot with me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Apparently they all hate us

I just went outside to drag the barking dog inside. To say this dog wasn't socialized as a puppy is putting it mildly, she barks at anything that moves.

Anyway, I go out to drag her inside, and there is a neighbour standing in the street. A neighbour who has come out of his house to give me a piece of his mind about how no one in our neighbourhood can ever have a peaceful, enjoyable evening in their homes because of Dog.


Up until a minute ago I knew that the dog bugged the shit out of ME, but I had no idea the dog was making people hate us.

I am humiliated and exceptionally embarassed. The dog is seven years old, what can I do???

Seriously, you guys, I'm looking for advice. What can I do?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


One book that changed my life This may seem like a cop-out, but I read voraciously, so I can't pick one. They have all changed my life, even the ones I didn't like, even if all they did was make me realize, "My name is Irma Floresta, and I do NOT like this book." They all teach me something.

One book I have read more than once Tough one. If a book is worth keeping in my library, I have read it at least twice. Many of the books I own have been read ten times or more, and I am not ashamed of this. I will give a sample of (some) of these books at the end of this post.

One book I would want on a deserted island The Grapes of Wrath, which I have read at least twenty times. It never gets old to me, and I find something new everytime

One book that made me laugh The Shopaholic series. I can not relate to that way of life, because I hate shopping, but she still cracks me up.

One book that made me cry Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. My God, that scene where Vivi gives her daughter the vial for her tears...stop it, you're killing me. And furthermore, I lose it everytime I reread it.

One book I wish I had written Anything. I wish I had followed my dream and written anything. God bless those who have the courage.

One book I wish I had never been written Bridges of Madison County. Don't misunderstand me, the movie directed by Clint Eastwood was flawless and among my top ten movies of all time, but the book? Spare me, and bitch-slap buddy who wrote it while you're at it. I have a pretty healthy talent for "suspension of disbelief", but don't expect me to believe that ANYONE in the history of Language, turned to their beloved and said (more or less), "Robert, I am almost afraid of your physical presence, it overwhelms the senses so. Molecules seem to fall out of their preordained place when you enter a room." Ummm....yeah....I said that to Husbandly One just the other day.

One book I'm reading now The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker, a slightly fictionalized account of Isabel Grameson (real person), who, in 1769, crossed the Andes and travelled the Amazon River on a 3,000 mile journey to join her husband in French Guinea. I am still in the formative chapters, which explain how cartography was the hottest (and most elusive) science of the day. So no real character development yet, and I have no idea what happends to Isabel, but it's fascinating to think about a society where kingdoms were racing to figure out how to calculate longitude.

One book I have been meaning to read Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

One book I recommend to others Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Her books in this series are looooooong, and they don't fit in to a nice, neat category (well, at least not until they create a category called "Really long - historical - fantasy - romance - thriller - contemporary - mystery - social commentary - did I mention REALLY long??") But omigod, the books in the series are worth it.

Books I love (in no particular order, and not an all-inclusive list) Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. Madame Bovary by Flaubert. Most D.H. Lawrence. Gerald's Game by Stephen King. The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fall on your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. The Stand by Stephen King. I am ashamed to say it, but the Clan of the Cavebear series by Jean M. Auel. Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. To be a Jew by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin. The Griffin & Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock. Every "Dummies" book I have ever bought-- computers, gardening, wine, Disney, whatever. And, of course,last but assuredly not least, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.