Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not a Book Review: Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

I heard about this book from my BFF and the title won me over. I had to read this and understand what these twenty things are. I didn't know what to expect. Maybe #12 was 'find out about my biological parents" and #4 was "Know I love you (my adoptive parents) no matter what". I don't know yet if that's what the book says because I cannot read further than chapter two.

Before I continue this post, I have to say that I am not an adoptee nor am I currently an adoptive parent. I also know very few adopted children, as well as few adoptive parents. This means I have no earthly idea of what it is like to be adopted, to try to adopt, nor the process regarding adoption.

As a layman, I believe adoption is a powerfully emotional event that lives with everyone involved for the rest of their lives. I have great admiration for people who adopt. I believe that people who choose to adopt are making a bolder, more life-impacting decision in their life than having a baby biologically. I think about how easy it is to HAVE a baby, whether one wants a baby or not, but to choose to have a baby by adoption is, I believe, a much more mature-thinking decision. It may be naive and ignorant of me, but that's what goes through my mind.

I would like to think that one day my family and I will pursue adoption. I was an only child and I had always wanted a baby brother. Adoption, unfortunately, was out of the question in my home.

I have two beautiful children of my own. When I had the first, I was okay with doting my love on just her. About two plus years passed and then I wanted to give HER a sibling. My gift to my precious child. Then my second child was born and voila! I found that this gift was for all of us and even better than I ever thought it would be.

Seeing how much I loved both of them, equally powerful emotions -- and seeing how much they loved one another -- I knew it would be wonderful to expand our family and share the wealth.

I have yet to pursue this beyond research only. We are just not ready. But, I try to keep the education going so that I have some tools and information behind me in case there is a day that comes where we are ready to pursue this.

This book will not sway thoughts. This book, up to just chapter two, made me feel so ill and depressed. I can only wonder if potential scared or nervous adopters would read this book and think, I don't think I can get into this kind of situation.

I have to say again: I HAVE NOT READ THE ENTIRE BOOK. I cannot bring myself to read it -- it has turned me off. It has a four star rating on Amazon with 158 reviews, so this is definitely a book for many people out there.

I did read similar reviews that shared my feelings. I also read a few angry reviews against the people who did not like this book.

Essentially, the book describes an undeniable loss an adoptee will have as soon as they are adopted, whether they are six years old or six days old. This loss will haunt them for the rest of their lives and it is a loss that no adoptive parent can ever understand. But read this book and I guess you can figure out how the adoptive parents can deal with their child's grief.

From the get-go, the writing seems to be from a very angry, depressed adoptee who had a terrible upbringing. I have no earthly idea of that's true, but the emotion that resonates off the tone of the writing is of bitterness.

I don't know if I can continue reading this book. I want to give it a chance and hope to learn something. But re-reading the table of contents turns me off.

I don't know who out there reads this blog, but I would be curious to know what things you would want your adoptive parents to know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Book Review: Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline

I am beginning to wonder what is wrong with my tastes in books.

I had hope for this one. I read the summary and it really got me excited about this book. A heroine who is also a teacher. Another thriller-type book. I am finding that I have drawn myself to this genre.

The book started out decent enough. Most do. But with further reading, it started to become okay. Not great, not exciting, but enough stuff to keep me reading.

It's a big book. Well over 300 pages - actually, 352 pages to be exact (I looked on Amazon).

But once I got towards the end of the book, man, it took a turn for the cheesy. I was just so disappointed with the writing. There would be a moment when the heroine would blow something up and the author would make it a point to mention that no one would be near the blast so no one else would get hurt. This was a theme throughout the end of the book.

Then suddenly, another twist - which I had 'seen' earlier in the story, but no other clues were dropped so I disregarded it. And then at the end, everything comes out - the clues to the twist that were never hinted in the story. It's as if the author decided to throw a bunch of stuff at the very end -- to try to end it with a bang of fireworks.

It just didn't do it for me and I'm bummed at yet another book that disappoints me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boo!!!

That would be to these 'folks':

Brier Creek Commons
Towne North
Brennan Station
Bent Tree

These would be shopping centers in North Raleigh. They have banned the city bus from entering their property. The claim, along with another BOO!, would be Craig Davis Properties, who manage these shopping centers, is that the city buses have caused a 'safety concern'.

This 'safety concern' causes people to have to walk to their place of employment, or heaven forbids, the place they would want to shop. Most of the people who take the city bus are, how do I put this, um, CAR-LESS. Which could imply that they can't afford a car, or share a car, so they have to take the bus.

So is it the safety of the SUV and minivan owners at stake? So much so that you have the minimum wage employee walk/wait in the summer heat and humidity or the rain to get to/from the bus stop. Gee, that's so nice. Let's take care of the people we want to be, or we want to impress vs. the folks who are trying to make ends meet.

Thankfully, it appears that Charles Meeker, our city mayor and Russell Allen, our city manager, are looking into this matter. Both have expressed disappointment in this decision. But Meeker is looking into changing any ordinances if the centers will not change their mind.

I hate the elitist notion this decision implies. Whether I'm right or wrong in thinking that they are acting snotty and leaving the riffraff out, they didn't think about the consequences of their decision. If they did, they refused to figure out an alternative and left their own employees hanging. Shameful, to say the least.

The other Boo goes to the N&O columnist, Rick Mortinez. Yeah, I misspelled his name on purpose because I am so annoyed with the last column I read. Here is a direct quote:

"I don't instinctively feel sorry for every poor person I meet, most of whom are impoverished as a result of shortsighted personal choices. This lack of empathy is often interpreted as my being uncompassionate. Not so. I just don't see what's so noble about choosing poverty as a way of life. As Tevye said in "Fiddler on the Roof," there's no shame in being poor, but it's no great honor, either."

OMG. Just reading this - again - makes my blood boil. Who the F'K chooses to be poor? I tell you who does. The f'ing elitists, George Bush, his idiot son dubya, Cheney, Mortinez and all the other f'kers who think people have a choice in this matter.

F'king ridiculous and f'king ignorant. He should be ASHAMED for even writing that shit down. KARMA!! WHERE ARE YOU??? Here's another pisser that needs to taste their own freakin' medicine.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Duke Lacrosse

I intended to post something about this when this case was hot a few months ago. It's hot again, with Mike Nifong's mess.

I *still* wasn't going to post anything until one lone man spoke what I was thinking all along, and then some. That man would be Barry Saunders, an N&O columnist.

Of course, I am a Barry Saunders fan. I can't wait to read his column. I don't always agree with him but he has earned enough favoritism from me that I allow him free passes when we disagree.

But when I read his column in this past Friday's paper (I am a weekend-only subscriber) acknowledging the ton of hate mail, e-mails and phone messages he received for 'defending' Mike Nifong, I knew I had an ally.

Let me first say that I do believe Mike Nifong deserves to be assessed for whether he was unethical. This did take place and it has been determined that he was. He has been disbarred and yet, it's still not over for him. His reputation is ruined, at best. His life, I hope, will be better after all this becomes tiresome for the news.

BUT, he said from the beginning he felt something happened in that bathroom. A nurse who examined the victim also felt something had happened. As reported by WRAL in January "... a nurse trained to treat rape victims and a physician who treated the woman said they witnessed symptoms consistent with sexual assault."

Also, "Officers who searched the house also recovered the woman's makeup bag, cell phone and a stack of $20 bills consistent with the woman's statement that $400 in cash was taken from her purse after the attack, the police statement said."

And " Legal professionals not associated with the investigation told WRAL that evidence could be damaging to a suspect because women typically won't leave behind items, such as a purse."

AND "Those are all pretty strong indications there was a violent struggle and someone left in a hurry," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Wednesday. "That would tend to collaborate that something was done without consent or with force."

So, Nifong was NOT the only person that felt something has happened. Other folks did too but suddenly, these people are nowhere to be found. Another case of people not sticking up for their beliefs and letting someone else hang...all alone.

He made mistakes but did he make them for the RIGHT reason? I'm sorry - I am one who thinks people are better than the media makes them out to be, so I feel he thought he was doing what he felt was right -- morally, not politically.

I recall how everyone attacked the lacrosse players as soon as this was reported. Why? Because the media steered the story in that direction. They did it. Those upper crust goodie boys did it.

Now, we are supposed to crucify Nifong -- and only Nifong -- for trying the wrong people.

I agree with Nifong - and I agree with Saunders. Something happened in that house. Maybe not a rape, but my view is that something happened. My fear is that that something will never be known publicly and Nifong will go down in flames. The folks who believe the same thing are now hunkering in the corner with their spineless backs turned on him, and subsequently the accuser, now that he is on the bad side of the media.

Saunders adds that none of this media attention to a prosecutor (or any lawyer) who makes a mistake happens to anyone who is not of wealth. I paraphrase him, so don't hold my word on his words -- read his columns. In essence, from his words is what formed a new frustration in me. No one will give a shit about a bad lawyer making a myriad of mistakes on a case if you're black, hispanic, poor, uneducated, or anything other than a Duke lacrosse player.

Five Star Songs

These are my five star ratings on my iPod. Some of these haven't changed from my last posting of five star songs. But there are some new ones and dropped ones.

Animal I Have Become - Three Days Grace
Pieces - Sum 41
Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
The Scientist - Johnette Napolitano
Gravity - John Mayer
Acoustic No. 3 - Goo Goo Dolls
The Guide - Borne

Hey There Delilah may not last long. It's a commercial hit, which means the radio will play it on the hour every hour.

My Favorite Album: Nevermind by Nirvana

I have a lot of favorite albums that aren't necessarily by my favorite band. I often thought about doing a top ten favorite but I can't rank these albums. They are all favorites in a unique way, so how can I make one a "1" and another a "10"? So I thought I'd just write about albums that I love and why.

One of my favorite albums is no different than many, many other folks: Nirvana's Nervermind album.

I was introduced to Nirvana watching one of my favorite shows, Headbanger's Ball on MTV. It was "Smells Like Teen Spirit" playing and I just thought it was an amazing song. I especially loved the video with the cheerleaders and their tattoos.

Which brings me to a relevant tangent: I was, in fact, a cheerleader in high school. Once as a freshman and the other as a junior. I quit both times. The first time because my best friend abandoned me for cooler friends, so I abandoned this cheesy cheerleader character and found some riffraff to hang with -- much better crowd, I must say.

The second time I was "busted" for smoking a cigarette in uniform. This is a big NO-NO for the cheerleading squad because, you know, they have a reputation to protect. Being a slut is okay, but fogging up your lungs is not. Hey, you have to draw the line! So I was put on suspension. I think two weeks but instead, the rebel in me said I QUIT. And as life in the corporate world is, the squad moved on without me. I was dispensable. BTW, I attended "practice" for months afterwards, so I could hang out with my friends and especially, my boyfriend, who was the QB.

Anyway, seeing rebel cheerleaders in the Nirvana video made me happy. They were just too cool. If only I could have been _that_ kind of cheerleader.

Soon after their debut on Riki Rachtman's show, Nirvana became the talk of the town. They were THE SHIT. I don't like to follow sheep, so I ignored them. Instead, I turned to Soundgarden, which really, ain't in the same class as Nirvana despite being from Seattle. But I digress...

Nirvana stayed in the limelight for years to come... But I did cave in and invest in this CD -- the songs I had heard were just too good. So I popped the CD into our little Ford Explorer Sport as we drove to Charlotte for a concert held by my all-time favorite band, Metallica.

ehhh...the album was okay. Okay, it was less than okay. I didn't like anything else on the album except Teen Spirit and a little of Come As You Are.

But over the years, something happened and I changed my tune. I would hear some songs from this album sporadically: in bars, radio, MTV, whereever. And I liked them. I pulled the CD back out from its dusty grave and started listening to it. Then I couldn't stop. Every freaking song on that album sent me chills -- the lyrics, the riffs, Kurt's raspy voice and by god, the amazing Dave Grohl on drums.

The lyrics are genius. I love, love, love this album.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Book Review: Naked by David Sedaris

I am a fan of David Sedaris. He was introduced to me by my BFF several years ago. I started with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim then followed up with Me Talk Pretty One Day, so I guess I am going in a reverse order, which is not so uncommon for me.

So in my recent reading frenzy, I picked up one of his earlier works, Naked. It had some of the rants from the previous novels I read but it's probably my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, it is still very good and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt the stories were more long-winded than the other two I've read.

I did enjoy reading about his earlier moments in his life with his family. But what is truly a gem is all the references to Raleigh. If there's anything I am, it is a RALEIGH fan. I love this city and I am tickled-pink to have that as my mailing address.

David Sedaris grew up in North Hills and he still has family in the area. I believe his younger brother operates a hardwood floor company in Raleigh. Anyway, North Hills feels like my "hood" since we actively looked for a home in that area and we venture there often, as well as now being part of the Northbrook Pool Club community.

By the way, Amy Sedaris is his sister, who also writes and is an actress. I didn't know this until later -- 'later' meaning after I fell in love with David Sedaris' work. I found out that she was my favorite character in "Elf" - the secretary for Walter (the James Caan character). She's the one who repeats everything Will Ferrell says, like (and I'm making this up from memory, since I can't find direct quotes):
Elf: I'm from the North Pole.
Amy: The North Pole?!?
Elf: I'm an elf.
Amy: You're an elf?!?

It's HILARIOUS. Okay, so maybe you need to see the movie to get it, especially since my quotes are pretty thin...

Sidenote: I moved to Goldsboro, NC in 1989 with my Air Force husband. We often drove up highway 70 to Raleigh, visiting Capital Ford off Capital Blvd. when there was nothing out there but Capital Ford. We always stopped at Crabtree, of course. If we stayed the night, we often stayed at the now very defunct Holiday Inn on Capital Blvd. Later, we moved to Greenville, NC (my second favorite city in NC) and visited Raleigh often - venturing to the same places previously mentioned. When we had the opportunity to move here, we jumped at the chance. So I feel cozy when I think about those days and now, I live right by that very mall I would visit. I feel like a true Raleighite.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Keep Austin Weird

I doubt that Austin will have any problems keeping itself weird. I was in the Texas state capital for the past week. A pretty clean city, despite the "street people" that were prevalent in the city.

I was solo on this trip and not particularly nervous about it. I say "nervous" because as those who know me KNOW that I am partial to being a paranoid freak.

I arrive Monday afternoon and get in a taxi. The taxi steers me through the slummiest part of the city. I now think that the taxi driver is taking me to who-knows-where and no one will ever find me. I will be the missing tourist in Austin, one of the safest cities in the nation. Great, just my luck. *I* would be the outlier - the 'lucky' one who becomes the first victim for the news to hone in on at how the safest city is becoming dangerous. This innocent tourist is missing and presumed dead. No one will ever know it was the taxi driver who did it.

Then we pull up to the hotel and low and behold, my fears are gone as the taxi man was actually nice and not the maniac I had anticipated.

I settle into my room, which has an amazing view of the downtown area -- I see the University of Texas just a ways a way and 6th street, which is one of the main party drags of the city, is right outside my window.

I check with the concierge on where's a good place to eat and go shopping. He points me to 6th street and a couple of places to look for to eat. I ask "It's safe, right?" and he replies with an overexaggerated "Yes, of course!" and he quickly adds "Just stay on this side." Whaaaa? I wasn't paying attention! Where is "this side"? I risk it and go out the door to 6th street, trusting that the concierge wouldn't let a woman go out on the town all by herself.

As soon as I walk out the door and cross the first street, a 'homeless' person limps towards me and asks me if I know where's a good place to eat. My bewilderment helps me with my mean, snotty face and I ignore him and keep walking. All the time waiting for him to grab me, beat me, or something sinister. But alas, I make it to 6th street in one piece.

I survived 6th street and even ventured out the next evening on Congress Avenue, yet another main drag in Austin. I walked up and down this street in search of a tattoo parlor. I had decided I would get a 'souvenir' from Austin in the form of some permanent ink. I've been jonesin for a new tattoo and I thought how great it would be to get one here.

Well, it must've been a sign not to do that because I couldn't find it. I walked to the outskirts of the University of Texas and back down to the Bat Bridge (forgot its official name, but its where bats hunker and breed and come out around 9:30 at night for tourists to see). Never found the parlor I was looking for, nor the other one that a waitress told me about when I stopped for a bite to eat.

I even helped a man find the bat bridge -- "Do you know where the bat bridge is" a commoner asks me on the bat bridge. I'm like "you're here!" "Do you know where a tattoo parlor is?" He laughs and repeats my question. Obviously that's a no. Great, I help you but you don't help me? I walk back to the hotel, disappointed that I have no souvenir...

The next night I had a friend join me and we ended up in SoCo, which is South Congress. We found the tattoo parlor but again, it wasn't meant to be as their arrogance pulled me away from their shop. By god, I can get arrogant tattoo artists in Raleigh!!!

We had a great time shopping SoCo and having a great meal at Guero's Taco Bar. By the way, if anyone read my write-up of Dos Taquitos, my fave Mexican joint in Raleigh, I can say that this place (Dos Taquitos) is in the same line as the many Tex-Mex, Mexican places I dined and saw throughout my week in Austin. In fact, I went there when I got back from Austin and it was right on target with the theme of my stay in Austin.

So I had fun while I was there, but it sure is good to be back home, among my own street people.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Book Review: Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

So this was the book that I could not wait to finish. Well, I made it and it was worth the time and effort it took to finish it. Effort being the case of having to actually put it DOWN because I had to sleep, cook, work, you know, take care of the family. I could not, nor did I want to, put this book down.

This is a very character-driven novel. I had to review pages to figure out if I rememberd who was who, but it never took away from the story. The basic premise is a series of events that hit at different times, to different people. The writing is sophisticated and just plain entertaining.

I can't give too much away. I don't know how to write a review because I just don't want to give any of the plot away! For me, the last few books I have read have been through a very basic understanding of the story. These are not novels on the best sellers list. Well, not that I know of, so I know very little about it and only find out by reading through the pages. This makes it more exciting to read -- the intrigue of what the story is actually about.

But what I can say is that I am a newfound fan of Kate Atkinson and her novels are now on my 'must-read' list.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Night Out on the Town

Date Night

Babysitter Arrives.

Taxi Arrives.

Drop-off near Enoteca Vin.

Enoteca Vin: two glasses of wine for me; three for Tim. Only red, thankyouverymuch. Cheese plate with olives. Wonderful, wonderful service and again, the wine is outstanding with the cheese plate. The cheese plate is made up of five different cheeses, which include a goat and sheep-based cheese, plus a divine blue. The cheeses are weighed to precision. Be warned if one decides to venture here for the cheese plate. The cheese wedges are teeny-tiny compared to a 'cheese' plate you get from Sam's club. No cubes here. Just very fine, lean slices of cheese that do not appear to be worth the $15 it costs, but believe-you-me, it is. This is probably the closest thing we get to being hoity-toity.

Next spot, Bogart's. Corona for me; some-lady-named Martini for Tim. Great place to people watch, since the bar can't be cool enough to show me the French Open on their TVs. Notice two guys across from me. One has a blue tooth ear piece on as he hangs out with his buddy. He forever (that evening) is now known as 'bluetooth guy'...well, I thik Tim liked bluetooth idiot, but I went for the softer side.

Anyway, later in the evening, I notice bluetooth guy coming up on 'apparenlty-single-woman' who sat two stools down from Tim. A pretty, 30-something, WOMAN. In other words, not the slimmer-types so often seen. I noticed bluetooth guy because his buddy was slowly preying on the apparently-single-woman. It was too damn obvious.

So bluetooth guy went in for the left side and his buddy hit her on the right. I couldn't hear their conversations, but I was down with the apparently-single-woman because she handled these meatheads well. Very nice, very confident, and didn't act like they were the dips they were.

But then...apparently-single-woman's very nice looking date showed up - pulled her away from the two drips. I could see a glint in his eye (the date)...he seemed a bit happy to see men hitting on his date. The apparently-single-woman graciously said her goodbyes and the two doofus' were left alone and, humbled? Naw. They are probably hitting on some other woman thinking they have it all.

Next stop, walk to one of our favorites, 42nd Street Oyster Bar. It's late, but a big crowd is there. Short wait for the bar, so I had my Corona while Tim moves on to harder liquour, bourbon and coke. Band is playing. I think I catch the eye of the lead singer, but I don't know because I look at the rest of the band and I think "damn, these guys are OLD". They're like, my age, and are jammin' as though they were in high school. Music is the old rock that I don't particularly care for either, so I find them just as cheesy as Nickleback.

I notice that the waiter that gave me shitty, asinine service back in 1997 STILL WORKS HERE. He is always here when I come here and I cross my toes that we don't get him again. Fortunately, we don't and end up at the other end of the bar where we enjoy our WONDERFUL, JUICY oysters, steamed medium well with LOTS OF TEXAS PETE for me.

Taxi takes us back home.

Babysitter has made a chocolate panda cake and we get to keep it.

Kids are still up and give us lots of love.

Couldn't ask for a better date night (and this happens LOTS).

Book Review: Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom by Celia Rivenbark

No, I didn't pick this book up because it 'spoke' to me. My daughters aren't six anyway! Ha!

For me, going to the library is like a kid in the candy store. I browse and nearly every book I see, I want. I could see 'how to knit toaster covers' and I'll think, hmmm...I bet I could do that. Or '45 days touring a desert by camel - from the eyes of momad the nomad' and I would think, hmmm...I bet he has a lot to tell and it will enlighten me. My point is, this book would be one of those books: chosen merely out of randomness with curiosity.

I read this book fairly quickly - started Saturday around 12 AM (yes, the opposite of noon) and finished by Wednesday. Nothing great, although there were moments of genuine laughter.

The author apparently is a columnist for several papers, at least one in this state. There were references to places in and around the area, so she may even live somewhere in Raleigh. This is what kept me reading. I LOVE LOVE LOVE supporting the locals and to have a book in hand by someone that knows the same places I do is just 'tres cool' to me. David Sedaris is one of my favorites - introduced to me by my BFF a few moons ago. In fact, I have one of his in hand ready to read.

Well, Celia is no David. Which of course, no one can be. BUT, I felt her writing resembled mine, or someone else ordinary like me. It was writing that one would do on a personal blog, or to friends via e-mail. The writing is so sarcastic that it sounds bitter, which made me think 'do i sound that bitter too?' But then again, I don't get paid for a book deal so I don't really care if I DO sound bitter. ;-)

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend it other than if your curious to read sardonic musings, that sound like they are coming from a bitter-but-funny, southern gal.


As a sidenote, the book I am reading NOW is TOO FREAKING GOOD. I am GLUED and I can't wait until I finish it -- not because I want to hurry up and get rid of it, but because I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN. Last night, I read ~four pages and had to re-read them today, not remembering any of the four pages because I fought back sleep to just keep reading...