Monday, December 29, 2008

dewey and marble

I just finished a book which had been on my Christmas list -- Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

Dewey had a rough start in life. He was abandoned on a bitter cold January night in 1988 in the book return box of the public library in Spencer, Iowa. The kitten was quite frail with little frost-bitten paws when he was found, but he was cared for (and then adopted by) the librarians. Dewey Readmore Books (so named in a write-in contest in town) lived at the library for 19 years, where he was basically a goodwill ambassador and impacted the lives of many people.

The book is very engaging. However, about 2/3 of the way through I started to worry that the author (librarian Vicki Myron) had run out of material because she began describing the cat's constipation in much greater detail than I needed. However, she got her literary second wind and the book finished strongly.

I was happy to learn that the book will be made into a movie, and Vicki Myron will be played by (drum roll please.......) Meryl Streep. Should be good!

In any event, this book inspired me, and I am now thinking of writing a book about Marble. (I may lengthen his name to Marble Spraysmore Chairs.) And I can picture the cover now...

(Marble knows I'm only jokin'.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Hubby, Offsprings #1&2 and I drove to Portland yesterday. The only challenge was getting out of our neighborhood because the streets were thick with slush. Once we hit the more heavily traveled roads we were fine.

In the evening we saw Doubt, a movie about a nun who confronts a priest suspected of an improper relationship with a young boy in their parish and school. You've probably all seen the trailers. Meryl Streep plays the accuser, Sister Aloysius, a strict disciplinarian (yet definitely not a one-dimensional character). Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the accused Father Flynn, a friendly priest who is trying to help modernize the church. Amy Adams is Sister James, an optimistic and impressionable young teacher who is caught in the middle. Her flip-flopping of opinion on the priest's innocence vs. guilt is representative of the audience's uncertainty.

Of course this doubt is the whole point of the movie, and the best advice I can give you on seeing the film (not that you need my advice) is to avoid getting caught up in the "did he or didn't he" question. Instead consider the bigger themes. There is obviously the tension between doubt and certainty (and Fr. Flynn's sermon on doubt at the film's beginning contrasts to some degree with the type of doubt with which Sr. Aloysius is wrestling at the end of the film). There is also the whole appearance vs. reality question (not only with Hoffman's character but more subtly with Streep's character.)

And there is the theme of the ambigious nature of morality. I won't do a plot spoiler, but this is highlighted in how the boy's mother handles the accusation. (And here I'll mention that Viola Davis does a wonderful job playing the role of Mrs. Miller. Her anguish as a mother with limited options for her son is gut-wrenching.)

Of particular interest to me was the handling of the topic of 1960's sexism -- part of the priest's anger at the nun's accusation is that she had the audacity to step out of her 'place' and make the charge at all.

Then there's the whole tradition vs. modernization of the church angle.

Anywhoo, there is a LOT to ponder in the movie and a LOT to like about it. In short, go see it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

white christmas

This is our first white Christmas here in the PacNW in a l-o-n-g time! There is a lot of snow on the ground, and it is currently snowing!

On Christmas Eve, even our icicle lights had icicles...

(top photo near our backyard by Offspring #1; bottom photo out our front door by me)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

but on the up side...

After we ordered that new roof, we went sledding at twilight (not the vampire movie; the time of day).

The main trick was stopping BEFORE one went into the lake...

And the Christmas lights were real purty:

Now it's off to the clinic for half a day of work. It's snowing again, so not sure how many patients will brave the weather to come in.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

on the down side...

The down side of having all that pretty snow on our roof is that (as it is slowly melting) we have developed a roof leak. And, as it turns out... we need a whole new roof. So the new (and might I add spendy) roof will be done next week. In the meantime, here's Offspring #1 and me INSIDE the house.

Monday, December 22, 2008

'tis the season...

...for loud holiday clothing.

Every year (for a lot of years now) my family gets together with the Dust Bunny family for a gift exchange. This year we decided to notch up the silly level by all dressing in either tacky Christmas clothes or ugly holiday sweaters. Here we are (actually on Dec 18th):

Unfortunately my arm was covering the obnoxious Santa face on my sweater. You can get an ever-so-slightly better look at it below. This is where we are playing holiday charades (using teams of two). Here's Dust Bunny and me, obviously quite amused with ourselves.

'Tis also turning into the season for snow here! Looks like we are going to have a white Christmas, which is quite rare for us. Today Hubby, Offsprings #1&2, and I took a walk on the snowy dike road. Here I am (and Mr. Ed is in the background.)

I started off using the snowshoes, but ended up carrying them (because I could go a little faster without them!)

all photos by Offspring #1

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Card for YOU!

It's Day 2 of being semi-snowed in. (We can get out, but we're just not getting too frisky on the roads...) So, I had time to create a video Christmas card for my blog readers, with a special tip of the holiday hat to my 'regular' readers. Check it out!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

the persistent mr. tumnus

Marble is less than pleased with the presence of Mr. Tumnus in our home. But Mr. Tumnus is trying his hardest to win over Marble.

It is snowing and icy out today, and we're sort of stuck at home -- so what else am I going to do but make a grainy home video with footage of the cats?! (Video was shot with my little Olympus camera.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five: Countdown to Christmas Edition

Songbird writes: It's true. There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve.

Alrighty then. I present my five!

1. Buy some stocking stuffers.
2. Send out a few oops-they-weren't-on-our-list-but-we-got-a-card-from-them Christmas cards.
3. Finish wrapping presents.
4. Watch The Snowman. Mandatory Christmas viewing. In a good way.
5. Repair the snowman that tragically took a carrot-nose dive in our backyard.

To be more accurate... supervise the repair of the snowman.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Yep, we got snow today! I get a little excited because we don't get a good snowfall too often here. I managed to get off work a little early, but while I was at the clinic...

Mr. Tumnus donned his holiday cape and went out to play in the snow.

And Offsprings #1&2 built a darn fine snowman.

While Tumnus loves the real snow...

Marble prefers the phony kind.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

weekend checklist

* Offsprings #1&2 and the incomparable Mr. Tumnus home for Christmas break: check
* Hubby home from California: check
* House decorated inside and out: check
* Tree up and decorated and cat-proofed: check
* Presents bought: check
* Presents wrapped: partial check

And now it's off to bed (Offspring #1 & Mr. Tumnus are sleepy too...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday Five: Windows of the Soul

This Friday Five on eyes and vision was inspired by Sophia's husband's Lasik surgery yesterday...

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them or pass them on to anyone in your family?
My eyes are brown, a color both inherited and passed on. (It's a dominant gene, what can I say?!)

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
Hmm... I kinda like my brown ones (see bonus question below).

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
I usually wear glasses, but have disposable soft lenses for sports. I like 'em -- especially the glasses since they have transition lenses which change tint depending on lighting levels.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results?
My vision correction is pretty mild, so I'm not motivated for laser refractive surgery.

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy?
As an optometrist, I look people directly in the eye alllllllll day long!

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.

I present Van Morrison's classic Brown Eyed Girl!

sketch of eye up above from here

Monday, December 8, 2008

pic o' the day

My current feelings regarding the holiday season:

yep, googled it

Sunday, December 7, 2008

short short, big big

Today was the second meeting of the Short Short Book Club, where we have a short discussion of a couple of short stories. My contribution is to write the discussion questions, and I usually throw in related pictures to spice things up a bit.

One of today's stories (A Change in Fashion by Steven Millhauser) dealt with the excesses of the whole fashion scene, and at one point in the story there was a dress as big as a house. Yep, that big! In looking for a picture to go with my questions, I googled "big dress" and here's what came up:

Bride's big day

A bride's dress was so big it got stuck in the church door.

Carly O'Brien's 25 stone dress was 8ft wide and cost £25,000. It took twenty people an hour and a half to push 16-year-old Carly through the church door and up the aisle followed by her 60ft long train.

The 30-layer dress, covered with 3,000 Swarovski crystals, diamond head-dress and train meant dad Frank, 40, had to walk in front as there was no room alongside.

Carly, who spent nine and a half hours getting into the dress, was so exhausted when she got to the altar in Gloucester that the groom, Michael Coffey, 17, and 14 relatives carried her out.

Sister Crystal, 20, said: "Carly wanted her day bigger than Jordan's. She got it."

After seeing this monstrosity, I guess the dress-as-big-as-a-house indeed appears to be the next logical (or illogical) step...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's that time of year again...

...when Presbyterian Gal and I get on our elf costumes and dance! This time Robert Redford asked if he could join us, and of course we said yes...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards