Saturday, December 29, 2007

Long Time, No Chat

OK, another chance for New Year's resolutions. I have made a few (5), and one of them is to blog every week. Another is to write more, and so this allows me to accomplish two at one time.

I was just visiting the website. It is a cool site, with many, many different things going on. For example, I just found a place where people just talk to each other, about many different things. One conversation yesterday was about Jewishness vs. Christianity (not versus, as in a war, but more vis-a-vis). The comment that interested me was where the author stated that a Jew could not be a Christian. What she meant was that a person could not practice both faiths. I understand, but I always considered Jews to be both a tribe, or race, as well as a faith. I believe that a Jew can absolutely become Christian, and not lose his or her "Jewishness." Her position was that it is absolutely impossible to retain the tradition through the generations if you are not practicing, as far as I understood her comments.

This was an informed, adult, informative chat, and I enjoyed it immensely. I went on today, and a woman was asking a question about a touchy situation. I could not believe how some women piled on her, saying awful things about her finances, her decision-making, her judgment--it was really amazing. When other posters began standing up for question-asker, the pilers began making excuses, saying that this woman has a history of causing trouble, etc.

Why do people find the need to be ugly? It takes so much less energy to be nice.

I subscribe to, and one of her agendas (and I mean that in absolutely the best way--this woman is a saint and should be given a medal) is to Pay It Forward. There is one drive-up restaurant here in town that I go to only sometimes, but I have made it a point to pay for the car behind me every time I go there. It makes me feel good. I love the fact that the person behind me isn't expecting a thing, and something really great happens for them, and they don't even have to thank anyone. Every time I do it, I pray that the person behind me does something nice for someone. That is all I want to happen, is for people to be nicer to each other.

Maybe if we all did this, there would be no Columbine shooter, or Virginia Tech shooter, or Von Maur shooter. Just because we did something nice instead of being ugly. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Are People Thinking?

Yesterday, I can't remember where (probably online), I read an article about new parents paying consultants to help name their children! And we wonder why the government isn't working? Have we collectively lost our minds?!!

First off, what idiotic parents that they can't trust their own instincts or heritage and choose a name that fits their kid! The article cited instances of books on naming children, "Nameologists", and the like because parents don't (1) want their child with the same name as someone else; (2) want their child with a too-trendy name; (3) want their child with a name that seems too weak. So don't name them "Buffy" or "Chip"! One woman paid a consultant to help her name her daughter, and then is paying for a legal name change because she didn't like the name after it was done. If parents can't trust their instincts when naming the kid, how are they going to handle the difficult parts, like discipline? Chances are, they won't. They will bully teachers, control lives, and not allow their offspring to fail, guaranteeing a life filled with disappointment and grief.

The deeper part of this is that, in my opinion, parents see their children as accessories to themselves, mini-me people, only without the mistakes that their parents made. Listen, my kids, for all that I love them, and they are great kids--my kids make bad mistakes. I teach them right from wrong, and how not to hurt people, but really, they are not a mini-me. I am not self-centered enough, nor is my husband, that we cannot recognize that our children are parts of us, but mainly, they are themselves! If they were recreations of my husband and me, we would not have kids making bad grades (and yes, our KIDS make the grades). I don't understand parents who don't allow their kids to fail at things. How is the kid going to learn that it isn't the end of the world if he/she fails? Life will go on, and they might even learn something about next time. I don't know if parents cannot abide to see their kids fail because they see it as poor parenting, or because they don't want to help clean up the mess, or because they don't want to see their kids uncomfortable.

I know I am cut of a different cloth when it comes to parenting. If my home is too comfortable for my kids, they will not want to leave. It is my job, as a parent, to push them from the nest. But pushing a baby out of the nest is a bad thing. They have to be able to fend, fight, and make do. The need to know how to fail, and how to start again. They need to know that they are not going to like everybody, nor is everybody going to like them. They may still have to work with these people, and they might as well learn to do that now as later. They need to know that love hurts, friends stand by you, and Mom and Dad are a phone call away, but only to tell them how we survived these trials. The trials will happen. I pray that I have prepared my children to be adults when they do.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What Do Stay-at-Home Moms Do All Day?

I read a letter to an advice columnist today about a kidless woman who was griping about her childed friend who never had time for anything--she was always tired, or busy, or whatever. The writer's question was "What do stay-at-home moms do all day?" Even my husband thinks he wants my job. I tell him, "Honey, y0u couldn't do my job!" And I am only half kidding about that. My husband could, but certainly wouldn't, do my job.

So what do we do? When my kids were little, before school, my days went like this: sleep until about 7:30-8:00; kiss my husband good-bye; get up and have a cup of coffee; run downstairs to do a load of laundry; Kate's up now, run back upstairs and get her out of bed; change the diaper and clothe her (wait, it was yukky gross, so drop it in the toilet and clean it after her breakfast, because she is really hungry); get her breakfast and spoon-feed her; put her in the playpen and run downstairs to change laundry; put Kate's toys back in playpen; get meat out of freezer for dinner; put Kate's toys back in playpen; unload last night's dishes from the dishwasher and clean up kitchen from breakfast dishes and make sure I have everything needed for dinner tonight (like an idea on what to fix); fold a load of laundry; put Kate's toys back in the playpen; take Kate out of the playpen and play with her for a few minutes; get her water in a sippy cup; take her upstairs so I can clean the yukky diaper still in the toilet; clean the toilet now; get my bed made; clean up the mess that Kate pulled out in her room; go downstairs and make her lunch; put her in her crib for a nap; get my shower and (finally) get dressed for the day; call my mother or my sister in the 15 minutes I have before Kate wakes up; wonder how I am going to pay for that long-distance call; get Kate out of her crib; change her diaper and her sheets, because cloth diapers really aren't that absorbent, and the plastic pants covering them don't really keep the urine inside; put her in the high chair while I put her sheets and blankets and furries in the wash; give her a snack; clean up under the high chair; switch out the laundry; get the dog and the stroller so we can go for a walk; get home and put sheets on the crib; put Kate down for nap; iron shirts that I can no longer afford to send out to the laundry; get Kate up from nap so that she will sleep tonight; change diaper; put Kate in playpen to start dinner; feed the dog; pick up the living room/den so that the house will look nice for my husband; check on dinner; put Kate's toys back in the playpen; set the table; hold dinner; feed the child; finally, my husband is home, and I have an adult to talk to. Only he is tired and had a bad day and doesn't really want to talk, just wants to veg out, so I do some more laundry and clean up the dishes, and start the dishwasher, and the last thing I want to do is hear about my friend's day at work with pretty clothes and adults, and jobs that she can hand off to someone else, and lunch breaks, and all that goes along with what I quit doing so I could stay home and raise my child.

That was when staying home was easy. Not easy, exactly, but certainly less carefree. Then I was simply teaching her how to behave to make my life easier. Now the things I teach them are to make others' lives easier, people I have (presumably) never met--their spouses, children, and in-laws, employers, dates, and college professors, roommates. Now I have 3 children (Kate, the baby above, is now 16!), who need to be driven somewhere, who need to be reminded to do their homework, who need to be reminded that they cannot make out in public with their girlfriends (my 14-year-old raging-hormone-filled son), who need to be taken to Grandma's house to mow her lawn because she shouldn't have to do that, who need to be taken to their teacher's home to help her move (simply because he likes this teacher who understood him), who need to be reminded that they should be nice to all their classmates, who need to be reminded that even the teachers who are wrong are right because they are the ones who give grades, who, in short, need to be taught to be responsible, caring adults.

I agree with what the columnist said to the writer of the letter: she told the letter-writer that she should be more supportive of her friend. I wish that she had told her that until you are a mom, especially a stay-at-home mom, you cannot know how tiring the sheer responsibility of caring for a person can be. And I know people who care for not only their children but their elderly parents, as well! When I stayed home early on, I just wanted a day free of responsibility, with an adult to talk to. More and more, I am getting that. My children are turning into responsible adults with whom I love to chat.

I love my life.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Tonight, my beloved TarHeels are playing dook at Cameron Indoor. This game takes place during ESPN's Rivalry Week, with this game being touted (by those who would know!) as the greatest rivalry in all of college basketball. Maybe it is to those who are new to basketball (new, being defined as "not having watched a college game before the advent of ESPN"). To those of us who grew up in the cradle of Tobacco Road, the rivalry between dook and the Heels is relatively new. I grew up in Raleigh. My family members were staunch Pack Backers. My mother helped design the bumper sticker "Right On, Red" when the law changed to allow right turns on red lights. I was the lone rebel. I pulled for my Heels every game. I was ridiculed. Dean Smith was a liberal (worse than being a TarHeel!), and people at Carolina had no values. My mother cried when I was accepted to school there. Only one person congratulated me, my uncle. Growing up, dook was the Yankee School. We didn't know anybody who went there, except for the people from up north who never paid me for babysitting their five kids for a weekend (yes, I still think I am owed the $75.00, Jack--in today's rates, that would be about $200.00). But your friends and acquaintances chose Carolina or State. Even David Sedaris will tell you (in his brilliant essay) that the basic question upon meeting someone was "So are you a State or Carolina fan?"

However, now, all of that energy directed at a rival is directed at the dookies. I can't stand Mike k....; I am tempted every time I look at him to change my political party, since he is also a Republican. (However, I just cannot change to the party that embraces Ted Kennedy as it's grand poobah.) I can't stand to hear Dickie V. go off about the dookies every single game he calls. He is a treasure trove of basketball information, but please, every single game?! Why do I despise them? I tolerated Kenny Dennard breaking into Carmichael and posing nude at center court. I put up with the switched campus papers on game days. I forgave them for stealing Ramses. I felt like it was all in fun, and in the spirit of the game. I think my feelings transferred from State to dook when the cameron crazies chanted "orphan" at Scott Williams. That goes way past spirited, collegiate fun. They set out to be cruel, and they accomplished it. They flung condoms at a player (not from Carolina) who was accused of sexual assault. They had pizza delivered to the bench whose player accosted a delivery man (again, not a Carolina player). This isn't funny. This isn't clever. And yet, K.... named the sewer from which these ideas sprang as his town.

And they revel in this. Let them have it. I will continue to cheer our players and coaches, and smile smugly, even celebrate a little, when dook loses. Does this make me a petty Carolina fan? At least I am not cruel.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Wal-mart, Go Home

Let me start by saying that I truly despise Wal-Mart. People turn ugly when they get into the parking lot. I don't like the way Wal-Mart does business. I don't think that the homogenization of America is worth saving 4 cents on a bar of soap. I miss Mom-and-Pop stores. I think Wal-Mart is bad.

I live in a neighborhood that is not in downtown, but is not the suburbs. It is an old, classic, beautiful neighborhood, nearly a square mile in area. We have shops, a couple restaurants, a few duplex homes, and a couple small apartments, as well as one high-rise apartment (that dates from the 1920s and still has a doorman to operate the elevator). Wal-Mart wants to build a store about 1 mile from my home. I cannot begin to tell you how against this I am.

I believe that anybody in marketing can make anything sound good. I think that a good lobbyist can make you want to buy cancer. Consequently, I don't believe any of them. Wal-Mart has sent lobbyists (they call them "developers") to our fair city to convince our city council members that building this store 3 miles from our city center is not only good for the city, but it will not be a problem for the neighborhoods involved. If the traffic is not going to affect the neighborhoods, why do they wish to build at this site? Isn't the point to get cars into the parking lot and people into the store? Do they think that the cars will teleport themselves into the parking lot? We have 4 schools in the area--do we believe the lobbyists when they say that traffic is not going to be a problem?

Three blocks from my home, we have a Dillons supermarket, affectionately referred to as "Dinky Dillons." It isn't large, but I have been able to get my weekly shopping done there more than once. There is an adorable woman who works there named Terry. Ever time I go in to do my shopping, she welcomes me like I am her long-lost child. And not just me--she knows her customers, as do most of the clerks and stockmen in the store. It is small, but a delightful place to run in and pick things up. I can send my kids there to get potatoes should I run out while cooking dinner. Wal-Mart will close that store. It simply will not be able to compete. Given the new scheduling system that Wal-Mart is implementing, I doubt that the workers at Wal-Mart, should the City Council approve it today, will ever see customers enough to know them.

Years ago, I was in a Wal-Mart here in Wichita. At the time, it was a fairly new store. It was sleeting outside, and I had 2 children in my cart, an infant and a 2-year-old. I had some other things, and a 40-pound bag of dog food. There was no help in getting my things onto the conveyor belt for checkout, and the cashier told me to leave the dog food there, and she would find the bar code and scan it. She ripped the bag, and dog food poured onto the floor. It took almost 10 minutes for someone to come with a broom and dustpan, and this person was unable to sweep the food up. I took the broom and swept the floor so that no one would slip and fall on the dog food. It took another 15 minutes for the guy who brought the broom to get a replacement bag of dog food. After all this, no one helped me get the dog food to my car. You know, even though I was angry at my treatment, I understood that the cashier didn't mean to rip the bag, the guy with the broom just simply didn't know how to sweep, and they were crowded and busy with people trying to get stocked with a winter storm coming in, and taking things to the car is your own problem, regardless of the circumstances. This realization didn't excuse anything that happened in the store, but I got it. I wrote a complaint letter to the management of the store, and forwarded a copy to Bentonville, Arkansas, anyway. I thought that they might want their store to be a more pleasant place for people to visit. I received no response from either the store nor the corporate headquarters. It struck me then that Wal-Mart doesn't care about its customers--it only cares about the bottom line. Like any corporation that knows how to get what it wants, I believe it will sell any bill of goods necessary to the City Council to get what it wants, as long as it can improve its bottom line.

I know that Sam Walton was a patriotic American who loved this country. I wonder if he would love the homogeneous, materialistic country we are allowing Wal-Mart to make us into. I hope our City Council is intelligent enough to see through the sales pitch.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Resolutions

So it is now 2007. My New Year's Resolutions are:

Once again, I will keep a list of everything I read on my Palm. That was fun, fairly easy, and neat to look back. My nonfiction total was (I think) 14 books. I will try to increase that, as well as some more spiritual reading.

I will try (again) to be nicer, especially to my children. Maybe if I keep a log of bad behavior, like my book list, it will be easier to keep on top of it. Nah...

I will try to do something physical every day. Yesterday, I logged time on the treadmill. I will do at least 15 minutes of some exercise every day.

I think that is work enough. Now it is in print, and maybe, that will keep me honest.

Monday, January 1, 2007


One of my resolutions last New Year's Day was to keep a list of all the books I read that year. This was one of the resolutions I kept. To that end, here is the list, and a brief comment about each book:

1. Some chicklit book i can't remember--and it is still January! (June --I remember now! I saw it in the library, and knew that this was it--What do you Do All Day? by the same author as The Nanny Diaries. I liked it, but, obviously, it wasn't as memorable as I had hoped it would be.)

2. Predator (Patricia Cornwell) This was another disappointment. I used to love her books, and now she seems pretentious. Is it me or her?

3. Daalder's Chocolates (Philibert Schogt) Dutch boy marries and opens an artisan chocolate shop in Canada only to see it be closed by a Wal-Mart type supertore. Liked this book a lot, but it made me sad at the end.

4. Last Dance (John Feinstein) A poorly edited examination of 2005 Final Four, won by my Heels with me watching in St. Louis. Bought the book and added it to my shelf of Carolina basketball books, but this was not satisfying. Does it make me pretentious that I am put off when a book or article about Carolina anything isn't done well?

5. Better Than Chocolate (Susan Waggoner) Fun book about the wife of a man who discovers a synthetic chocolate and how quickly they go into debt. Guilt-free chocolate won't make you happy! Who knew? I probably wouldn't recommend this book, although it wasn't bad. Just kind of scattered.

6. To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever (Will Blythe) The best book so far. Loved this book for several reasons: (A) It explains some of my behavior so well; (B) It is very well-written; and (C) it is about so much more than basketball.

7. Everywhere That Mary Went (Lisa Scottoline) So-so legal/crime drama, my favorite genre. The first of the author's books to feature Mary D'Nunzio, and an OK story. I sent this one to Jaymi as a pool book.

8. Driven From Within (Michael Jordan) I checked this out of the library for Sam, and ended up reading it myself. It is a marketing campaign for Jordan's clothing and his shoes, but is actually a good motivational book. I still wish Sam would read it; I really enjoyed it, although it was difficult to read because of the printing and the colors.

9. An Ex to Grind (Jane Heller) Chick Lit--a fun book about a divorcee who seeks revenge on her ex who is getting alimony by fixing him up with someone with whom he falls head-over-heels in love. Guess we don't always want what we wish for.

10. Julie and Julia (Julie Powell) A memoir about a woman who turns 30, moves, and nearly gets divorced while trying to make every recipe in Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Hilarious, touching, and engaging--I read it in just over a day (I could've finished in one day if Joe had left the lights on a little longer!) The thought of this prompted me to start my own blog.

11. Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy O'Toole) I don't see why everyone loved this, or why it won the Pulitzer. Funny enough, but really too unbelievable to be taken seriously. I thought the mom should have been treated better.

12. Misquoting Jesus (Bart Erdmann) Interesting discussion of how the New Testament we know today was not/is not the original of the authors, and how it came to be changed. His discussions make loads of sense, but how are we to accept all of it when we can't accept parts of it? Is the Bible we read today what was divinely inspired, or are our interpretations of such the divinations? This book raises lots of interesting questions for examining faith. Erdmann has said (and I can't remember where I read/heard this) that he no longer believes in God after his studies about the ancient scriptures, which makes me sad. I believe that we are led to believe from the scriptures what we need to believe at the time we read such scripture. Eerdmann's discussions, for me, make the Bible more relevant, not less so.

13. Michaelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling (Ross King) The politics and creation of the Sistine Chapel comes to life. This was a really very interesting account of the political and artistic world during the Renaissance and the painting of the Sistine Chapel Great read, and makes me want to read his other books.

14. The Camel Club (David Baldacci) A thriller about the kidnapping of the President and the plan to get him back. Former spooks and secret service agents are in on the job of saving the world.

15. Dark Tort (Diana Mott Davidson) Another Goldy Schulz book about my favorite caterer who solves another mystery after finding another body on another catering job. Who knew catering was so dangerous? Anyway, can't wait to try one of the recipes. Yum! This is one of my favorites, and I always buy her books when the come out in hardback. I just can't decide whether to keep them in the kitchen with my cookbooks, or in the living room with my novels!

16. The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue (Barbara Samuel) I bought this as a cheap pool book, but really, really loved it. It is about losing, finding, and rediscovering love, and the differences between love and lust, and between reality and dreams. I won't give it to Jaymi like I planned, but it will go in my "To Keep" book pile.

17. Back to the Bedroom (Janet Evanovich) This is the pool book that I thought I had before. Fun, light, breeezy, just the thing for summer.

18. Love Overboard (Janet Evanovich) Last review, different setting. Still fun.

19. S is for Silence (Sue Grafton) Kinsey Milhone does it again with a 35-year-old murder. I didn't like the flashback method of writing--kind of takes away from Kinsey's smart-aleck ways, and she only got together with her boyfriend once--then just for dinner. Neither Henry, nor any of his brothers, were present, and I missed them. Kinsey is not the only character in this series.

20. Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) Emma made me read this alternate retelling of her favorite story, Cinderella. It was a really good kids' book, very imaginative, and (Emma is right) the movie didn't do the book justice.

21. Almost French (Sarah Turnbull) An Australian woman meets a Frenchman while backpacking through Europe; they fall in love and move in together, ultimately marrying him. I felt a kinship to her, moving and settling in Kansas, but at least they speak my language.

22. BTK; Unholy Messenger (Stephen Singular) Interesting book of the last public years of BTK. Heavy emphasis on his church and their reactions to finding out BTK is one of their own. More of a pyschological account of BTK rather than a legal history.

23. The Food of Love (Anthony Ccapella) A silly, inane book about Italian food and sex-definitely a pool book, except that Italians eat some weird foods.

24. False Impression (Jeffrey Archer) Thriller set in the 9/11 era. He framed part of the story around the Trade Center atack, but no central character died, and they were still able to fly about the world. A decent story, though.

25. 5th Horseman (James Patterson) Legal/Crime thriller about a murderer on a hospital staff, and girls solve it, while keeping their romances going.

26. Directed Verdict (Randy Singer) Crime drama about a missionary killed in Saudi Arabia, and the international trial that brought democracy (?) to Saudi Arabia. Written from a Christian point of view.

27. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) This book hasn't lost a bit of its spirit; loved it 30 years ago, and loved it just as much today.

28. The Year of Secret Assignments (Jaclyn Moriarity) Horribly written teenage book with a fairly interesting plot. Way too adult for Emma to read, even though Kate encouraged her to do so. Frank, off-the-cuff talk of blow jobs, sex, drinking, etc.

29. Skinny Dip (Carl Hiaasen) Hysterical crime thriller about an ex-agent, who is being hunted and shot at over a 4-year old murder investigation. Very readable and funny. I will read more of his books.

30. Anne of Avonlea (L.M. Mongomery) More tales of Anne as she teaches school in Avonlea.

31. Twelve Sharp (Janet Evanovich) Stephanie Plum gets into more adventures with Ranger and Morelli--actually, Ranger is the one with the problem in this book.

32. Anne of the Island (L.M. Montgomery) Anne at college, and finally realizing she loves Gilbert. What a guy.

33. Saints-A Visual Guide (Edward and Lorna Mornin) Art and descriptions of various saints, not always the most popular ones. Interesting--I would want to check this out before travelling to Bavaria.

34. The Black Dahlia (James Ellray) True crime fiction about the notorious Hollywood murder. Good read--not fun, though. I really liked this, and want to see the movie.

35. Sea Change (Robert Parker) His books are so readable, and his characters, while flawed, are what we all strive to be. Gross sex tape leads Jesse Stone to find a killer in a place he never expected--the victim's home.

36. Anne of Windy Poplars (L.M. Montgomery) Anne's letters to Gilbert while he is at medical school, and she is teaching in Windy Poplars. Reading this book again made me realize how much influence Anne had on me growing up. I try to see the good in each day, and in each person, but I will not back down. I think in this book, I was able to see how to stand up for myself while still being likeable.

37. Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris) Absolutely one of the funniest things ever put on paper. Can't wait to read NAKED.

39. The Lincoln Lawyer (Michael Connelly) Legal thriller about an ex-cop turned lawyer. Made me want to read more of him.

40. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris) Not as funny overall as Me Talk..., but had one of the funniest essays about St. Nicholas--absolutely hysterical.

41. Running with Scissors (Augusten Burroughs) This book was alternately funny and absolutely disgusting. I cannot see how they are going to make a movie that is watchable, when one of the central issues of the book involves a 13-year-old boy having a 35-year-old lover, male or female. Disgusting. Whoever compared Burroughs favorably with Sedaris should lose their job.

42. City of Bones (Michael Connelly) Cop gets a cold case and solves it before quitting the force.

43. Trunk Music (Michael Connelly) Another legal thriller--not as good as the first one I read by him. I wish that I had started reading these in order.

44. A Darkness More Than Night (Michael Connelly) Another thriller wherein the main character of other books is implicated in a crime that a fellow cop has to solve. The recurring character is Harry Bosch, whose real name is Hieronymous, named after the 15th century painter. Some of his artwork figures into the story, and so I checked out a book about the artist and looked at/skimmed it, too. Since I didn't sit and read it, it doesn't count in this list, but I did check it out as a companion to this novel.

45. The Cold Moon (Jeffrey Deaver) Way too convoluted story, but a fun read about Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs.

46. Chill Factor (Sandra Brown) Thriller concerning who's who in a small NC mountain town. One of her better reads.

47. Sullivan's Evidence (Nancy Taylor Rosenberg) Legal thriller about a probation officer who is really good at her job, meets a man who may be evil, but, no, it is his twin brother. Oh, Brother!!!

48. Fury (Robert Tannenbaum) Butch and Marlene save members of their family again, while saving NYC at the same time. This guy is really a good writer, and I feel like I know, but probably wouldn't like, the characters. But why does everything have to fit together? Families work on their own, and everything that one does isn't necessarily tied to what another family member does.

49. At Risk (Patricia Cornwell) I liked this book better than the last 3 of hers that I have read, although I think she would call this one a lightweight.

50. The Closers (Michael Connelly) Another pretty good one about Harry Bosch, who is now back to being a cop in the open/unsolved case unit. Solves an old case with political implications.

51. The Gospel of Judas (Albert Krosney) Interesting but poorly written story of the Gospel of Judas, which was deemed not worthy of inclusion in the Bible by the early church. Made me wonder if Andrew Lloyd Webber knew something about this when he wrote Jesus Christ, Superstar. I guess it wasn't as poorly written, and much as I really dislike books that go back and forth, and don't follow hitorically or logically. I felt like this man deserved a better editor than he got, because he was fascinating.

52. Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) My initial reaction to someone who says "You have to read this book" is an immediate "No, I don't." I wish that I hadn't had that reaction to this book. It was an amazing book about a woman's sojourns in Italy (to eat), in India (to pray) and in Bali (to love). My new favorite book of the year--so good I bought one as a gift for Jaymi.

53. The Innocent Man (John Grisham) Really good nonfiction book about a man wrongly sent to death row in Oklahoma. Love Grisham -- he does nonfiction well, too.

54. Blue Screen (Robert Parker) Sunny Randall meets Jesse Stone. I love Parker's style of writing, and his characters never get old to me, because they are so flawed.

So there is my year in books. I will do a scrapbook page on all these books, highlighting my favorites: To Hate Like This... , Julie and Julia, and Eat, Pray, Love. Can't decide which of these I liked the best. This was fun, and I think I will do it again next year (this year!).