If you feed them, they will grow..

Apparently my daughter’s feet grew.  Overnight.  While she slept.

This morning she announced, “Mom, I can’t go to school.  My shoes don’t  fit.”

Me:  “You have lots of shoes.  TRY A DIFFERENT PAIR!”

Her:  “I did.  None of them fit.”

Hmmm.  They must have fit yesterday, because she went to school.  She wore shoes.  Why didn’t she tell me when they were just starting to feel snug?  I don’t know.  I guess she thought I would let her stay home, or perhaps go to school in flip flops, but no.  Not happening.

A couple pairs of shoes were just purchased in December, 5 or 6 weeks ago, and she had wiggle room.  They’ve barely been worn.

“Mom, when we get shoes, we need to get pants too.  Everything is short.”

Couldn’t this growth spurt have taken place before Christmas?  She could have gotten lots of clothes under the tree!

Oh well, we’ll be shopping this weekend, searching for bargains, because I have the ‘no money after the holidays’ blues.

But this is what we’ll do with our old shoes..

Sports Chalet is asking for people to donate your old shoes, (gently worn shoes), to those in need in Haiti. It’s so simple, just drop off your old shoes at the nearest Sport Chalet Store, which collects to the end of the month.

Tell your friends and the people in your neighborhood – help spread the word.

SOLES 4 SOULS program

For store locations nearest you call 1.888.9CHALET or go to www.sportchalet.com.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Have your kids outgrown their shoes?  Donating your gently worn shoes is a good way to help that doesn’t cost a lot, and a nice way for your kids to do something for the kids who’ve lost everything in the Haiti earthquake.

Off to scour the ads for sales…

Sunday Salon

images-1Happy Sunday!  We are having a lovely fall weekend in Southern California that actually feels like fall- cool and crisp with a light wind.  The weather put me in such a fall mood that I made a big batch of pumpkin bread yesterday and curled up with my book all afternoon.  The kids were busy with homework and friends and the hub had little projects all day, so I was able to take a break from being the Family Boss and do whatever I wanted.  It was nice!

In-a-Perfect-World.JPGThis morning they are giving out free flu shots at our church (not H1N1, just the regular flu) and I’m forcing my family to get them.  The kids are not happy and I’m gearing up for a scene with them later, but I will stand firm and insist on the shots.  I mean, you can’t beat ‘free’, and I want us all to have them.  Especially after the book I finished yesterday, In a Perfect World, about a flu pandemic that spreads across the country and then the world, killing thousands and causing all kinds of panic and hysteria.   Good book, by the way, and very timely, what with the Swine Flu always in the media.  We’ll be getting Swine Flu shots as soon as they make those available.  Are you getting flu shots this year?

My book club meets this afternoon to discuss Olive Kitteridge.  New England clam chowder and donuts are on the menu!  Olive is an odd bird, but I really liked her, and by the end of the book I felt I knew her better than probably any other character I’ve ever read about.  And I missed her when the book was over!  I loved the way the book was set up with different stories, some about Olive and some not, although she makes at least a brief appearance in each one.  I’m looking forward to this discussion.

43594542.JPGSo I’m currently in-between books!  I’ve got a ton to choose from but nothing that’s screaming my name and no pressing obligations.  I think I’ll go through my TBR pile and read the first couple of pages of each one until something grabs me.  The first few on the stack are:  Who by Fire, Julie and Julia, Homer and Langley, The Middle Place, Precious, and The Elegance of the Hedgehog.  I want to read at least 2 of them before I sit down with my November book club pick, The Wednesday Sisters.  Any suggestions?

Hope you’re all have a relaxing weekend! Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by Books on the Brain!

RIP Michael Jackson

People Michael JacksonThe King of Pop 1958-2009

Susan Boyle’s Dream

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For those of you who have ever judged a book by it’s cover.. for those who’ve ever been surprised by a person who far exceeded your expectations based on nothing but what you saw on the outside.. I invite you to spend a couple of minutes watching this.  I wish I could embed it here, but embedding has been disabled.  Please go watch it.  It brought tears to my eyes and made me vow to be far less judgmental in the future.

Bravo, Susan.  

Now tell the truth.. were you expecting THAT?

Teaser Tuesdays – 4/7/09

tuesday-tMiz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

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music-teacherMy teaser this week comes from page 66 of The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall, which I just received yesterday from Algonquin Books (haven’t started it yet).

“For me, it all started in the second grade, when the class was auditioned for the school band.  That was back in the day when there was such a thing as a music program in public schools.”

Oh, how well I can relate to this teaser!  In California, budget cuts have decimated the schools’ music and art programs.  Our school sent home a notice this week that the limited music program we had this year is now officially terminated for next year.  No music.  No art.  Lots of state testing, though!

National Salute to a Hospitalized Veteran Week

soldier2bc4Did you know that Feb 14th thru the 21 is National Salute to a Hospitalized Veteran Week?

The week of February 14 is devoted to remembering Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.  Across the nation, nearly 100,000 veterans are cared for each day in medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes.  Some are blessed with family who visit regularly, but others are not as fortunate.  It is up to us as a society to remember their sacrifices.

I read about this national salute over at Patti’s blog, Displaced Beach Bums.  I don’t personally know any hospitalized veterans, but she does.  A soldier who was attached to her husband’s unit sustained serious injuries while on deployment in Iraq in early 2007, injuries which required the amputation of his leg.  He is still recovering nearly 2 years later.  What’s more- his wife left him and he lost contact with  many friends due to his extended stay in the hospital.   Sounds like he could use a little moral support.

Click over to Patti’s blog and leave a comment and she will let you know how to send a card or care package to this brave young man.  If you’re sending out valentines anyway this February 14th, maybe you could send an extra one to him as a reminder that American’s are grateful for his service and sacrifice and that we care about our soldiers.  I would love to flood his mailbox with cards and notes to let him know he is appreciated!

The Best and the Rest of 2008

What do an Afghani woman in a bhurka, the manager of a Red Lobster restaurant in Connecticut, Queen Juana la Loca of Spain, a stroke victim in Paris who can only communicate by blinking one eye, and a family with a magical apple tree have in common? They’ve all ended up on my “Best Of 2008” list!

I’m about 2 weeks late with this wrap up post, but it was surprisingly difficult to pick favorites! I changed my mind several times. Since I don’t do any sort of rating system, no stars or caterpillars, I couldn’t just list the books that got my highest ratings. Hmm.. maybe I should do that this year to make the 2009 wrap up post easier.

I wrote 44 reviews in 2008-quite a slouch compared to some other book bloggers but not half bad for ME! That number doesn’t include the books that I never finished, or books that I was ambivalent about, or books that for whatever reason I didn’t like as much as I’d hoped and was worried about offending the author. I didn’t keep stats on these but I know there were at least 10 books that I never got around to writing reviews for, and nearly that many that I started but didn’t finish.

So without further ado, here are the books I reviewed in 2008, alphabetically within their categories:

The Best:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
The Last Queen by CW Gortner
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Rest:

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
And Sometimes Why by Rebecca Johnson
Capote in Kansas by Kim Powers
Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Fires by Alan Cheuse
The Girls by Lori Lansens
The Heartbreak Diet by Thorina Rose
House and Home by Kathleen McCleary
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Keeper and Kid by Edward Hardy
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
The Leper Compound by Paula Nangle
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – Book Club Wrap-Up
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin
Netochka Nezvanova by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski
One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Shrink Rap by Robin Altman

The Sister by Poppy Adams
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan

Springtime on Mars by Susan Woodring

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Summer People by Brian Groh
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Wishing Year by Noelle Oxenhandler

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

In a category all by itself:

Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon

(I’m driving myself crazy trying to fix the spacing on this post- I’ve finally decided that it’s just going to have to remain wonky. Sorry.)

So here’s to a wonderful new year of reading! I haven’t set any reading goals for 2009 other than to review every book I read. I’ve only joined one reading challenge, and it’s a short one. What are your goals for 2009?

The Removal of Christmas

Would someone out there like to come over and get rid of Christmas for me?  The tree and all the decorations need to be taken down and put away, and the cookies need to be tossed.  It seems my husband and I have grown increasingly lazy over the last two weeks and lack all motivation (the cookies may have something to do with that).

And while you’re at it, could I get you to take the lights off the house too?  I warned my husband that “what goes up, must come down” (and be stored somewhere) but he didn’t heed the warning.  He put SOOOOO many lights and inflatables in the yard and on the house.  Our street looked like the Vegas strip, as there was an unspoken competition between my husband and two of the other ‘manly men’ on the street over which house had the biggest and best decorations.  Men.

 The neighbors took down their decorations yesterday but our house is still quite festive looking-even though we are painfully aware that IT’S OVER.  

When do you get rid of Christmas and all the trimmings?

Happy Festivus, one and all!

My bud Trish posted about Festivus, which is kicked off with the Airing of Grievances.  She states that blog traffic is down, presumably due to the holidays, so she encourages anyone reading to freely say whatever you want- air those holiday grievances, because no one is reading anyway!

So in the spirit of Festivus, an alternative holiday in response to the commercialization of Christmas, I am sharing mine.  

 1. My stupid husband threw out his stupid back. It’s not like he was a big help with Christmas or the house to begin with, but NOW he needs to be waited on and rubbed. Like I don’t have enough to do.

2. Ungrateful children. I busted my ASS giving my kid a super duper special birthday weekend, and do you know what she said to me today when I asked her to make her bed?? She said, “WHY?” I said, because it’s your room and your bed. And she said, “But it’s YOUR job!” Nice, huh? Spoiled brat!

3. Costco shoppers who leave their 3 foot wide shopping carts in the parking space of a lot that is COMPLETELY FULL, 3 days before Christmas. I know THEY are in much too big a hurry and can’t be bothered to move the cart, but now if I want to park my car I have to get out, move the cart, and then get back in before I can pull into the space. And I might be in a hurry too, you moron!!!

4. Friends who continue giving every member of your family a Christmas gift long after the friendship has fizzled out. I haven’t even seen this friend in person since she moved away 6 years ago- we don’t call each other and rarely even email- and yet the annual package arrived on my doorstep today. Now I need to scramble to overnight something to her tomorrow. We should really be Christmas card exchanging friends, not gift exchanging friends.

5. Insurance companies who take a week to approve a medical procedure for a kid whose doctor has labeled the request Urgent. Approve the damn thing so I can enjoy the holidays, and sleep at night!!

6. My successful globe trotting brother, who would rather spend Christmas taking his girlfriend to a tropical island than spend the holiday with the family. Maybe I’m just jealous.

7. People who use the speaker feature on their cell phones in public places. Or in my house. Or in my car. (My husband does this all the time and I hate it).

8. Children who play musical instruments and insist on practicing in the kitchen or living room- wherever I happen to be. (Of course you sound great, honey, but Go to your own room! And close the door!)

9. A man who’s only holiday responsibility is to buy his own mother and his wife a gift. And he can’t figure out how to do it. And he won’t even go look until Christmas Eve.

10. The 5 pounds I’m sure I’ve gained in the last 2 weeks.  And the 5 more I’ll pick up in the next week or so.

What’s bugging you this holiday season?  Don’t tell me how wonderful everything is, how joyous and blessed you are.  Give me the dirt.  Don’t forget- no one is reading.

Ho Ho HO

I swore I’d never be one of those bloggers who apologizes for their laziness and lack of blog posts- I’m not delusional enough (yet) to believe anybody truly cares that a week has gone by since my last post- but rather than apologize I’ll attempt to explain.  

Coupled with the usual holiday crazies and being a HO I’ve felt much more foggy than bloggy lately.  The time I normally spend reading or blogging (late night and early morning) I’ve spent sleeping, planning, worrying, or eating (oink).  We’re dealing with some big issues at my house and I’ve been turning to food as a crutch and a comfort from the stress, which doesn’t really matter if I stay in my bathrobe for the rest of my life but is a bit of a problem if I want to fit into my actual clothes.  I was talking to a friend about this last night at a neighborhood party- maybe friend is too strong a word- anyway, as she nibbled on a baby carrot she said, “When life gets difficult, I turn to exercise.  I always feel better after a run.”  I wanted to slap her, but instead I smiled, nodded, and excused myself to make a second trip to the chocolate fountain. 

Opening gifts OMG!  THAT"S SO CUTE!

Opening gifts OMG! THAT"S SO CUTE!

The last week has been a whirlwind of doctor appointments (4) and party preparations.  My youngest turned 10 Saturday and we had a slumber party with 7 giggly wiggly girls.  They screamed, played games, laughed, screamed, sang karaoke, went on a scavenger hunt, screamed, and ate tons of junk food.  Why do 10 year olds respond to everything with a scream?  It started the minute the girls began to arrive.  “I GOT A GUINEA PIG FOR MY BIRTHDAY.”  “NO WAY!!!”  “OMG THAT IS SUCH A CUTE SKIRT!”  “I LOVE YOUR MONKEY SLIPPERS!!!!”  “WHO WANTS TO PLAY A GAME?”  ME ME ME!!  SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM  The one thing I forgot to buy for the party was a set of earplugs for my husband and me! 

img_1626The picture is from a game my daughter invented-Pin the Lips on the Jonas Bros.  This game elicited more screams and peals of laughter than anything else they did all night.  I have to agree that the Joe Bros are pretty cute, even if Joe’s eyebrows look like they were drawn on with a black Sharpie.  The gaggle of girlies finally collapsed into sleep around 2 am.  

The next morning we took my daughter and two friends out for a round of golf.  It was a Southern California postcard kind of day- imagine palm trees against a brilliant sun, blue skies, puffy white clouds- we were very lucky as it was the only sunny day in an otherwise cold and rainy week. 

As for this week’s reading- I finished Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe (review tomorrow) and was able to read about half of Swim to Me by Betsy Carter.  Next up- The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg.  It just seems appropriate. 

What are you reading this week?