Monday, January 28, 2008

Jenna vs. Garage Door, Part II

Remember Jenna's first run-in with our garage door? Well, they met up for a rematch yesterday. Julia, Jenna and I walked into the garage, I hit the button to raise the door, and Jenna took off running towards the driveway. Unfortunately, she didn't wait for the door to get high enough before attempting to run underneath it. I heard a "WHAM!" and then the thunder-like rattle of the garage door, and then saw Jenna sprawled in the driveway. I ran to her, certain there would be blood and possibly insides of her skull exposed, but no. After a moment of crying, she was fine and up running around again.

This is our first house with a garage (yep, we were married 13.5 years before moving into a house with a garage) and the remote-controlled door was a novelty at first. I'm not so impressed anymore.

And now for the book I devoured last week. Imagine learning, at the age of 35, that you have an identical twin. Sounds like a Lifetime movie, but this really happened to Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein. In their book, "Identical Strangers," they take turns telling the story of how they came to find out about each other, and describing the wide range of emotions that comes along with such a discovery. The sisters are very honest about the joy, grief, anger and resentment that entered their lives upon learning of each others' existence. The twins' story is intriguing as they take the reader on their journey of uncovering the mystery of the circumstances of their birth and the search for their birth mother. I got this book from the library Thursday evening and finished it the next night. I didn't skim, either -- the twins' story is pretty complex, so you'll find yourself reading every word trying process it all. The story of Elyse and Paula is amazing and one that could make you grateful for your family members in a new way.

We are recovering from Julia's birthday (a pop star party for a bunch of hyper third-grade girls). She got a Target gift card from Lois, my best Baytown girlfriend and Julia's adopted grandma, and Julia bought the new Nancy Drew PC game, "Legend of the Crystal Skull," with it. We're both working on solving the mystery now. Julia and I started playing these games when she was in first grade, and we're still hooked.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dear Mr. President

The other day, Julia and I were talking about some of the challenges her grandmother faces as an American with a mental illness. Julia was outraged to learn that her Meemaw can't get insurance because of her condition and said, "We need to write the President about that." She came home yesterday with this letter, which we are mailing today:

Dear Mr. President,

My grandma has a mental illness and no insurance company will cover her. I think it is unfair that people won't help her because they don't want to lose money. To me, it sounds like when black people were not given the same rights as white people all over again. Before your term is over in the White House, maybe you could make a law declaring that people with disabilities like my grandma can have insurance.


Julia Nall
age 9

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another reason to get out of bed in the morning...

Who wouldn't want to pour some White Chocolate Mudslide into their coffee? Chad brought home a bottle yesterday, and Marshmallow Mocha is on my list to try next.

And now for a book review. Over the holidays, I read Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up." It's an autobiography of his career as a stand-up comic. I've become a fan of his writing over the last couple of years. The book everyone knows about is "Shopgirl" (because of the movie), but it pales in comparison to the brilliant "The Pleasure of My Company." Of course Steve Martin is funny, but his writing can also be deeply moving.

Because I'm such a young'un, I don't remember Martin as a stand-up comic. I was first aware of him when "The Jerk" came out, and then I remember his guest appearance as the rude waiter in "The Muppet Movie." ("Miss Piggy!! Hey, are you Miss Piggy???") So it was interesting to read about that time in his life: the years of barely getting by and then his rise to fame. Like all truly good comedians, Martin takes comedy very seriously. He writes about the different theories and definitions of comedy he had learned from others and formulated himself. I'm still kicking "comedy is simply a distortion of reality" around in my head because I find it intriguing.

Before I read this book, I never really understood what a pioneer Martin was in the comedy realm. He was instrumental in evolving comedy past the old "joke-and-a-rimshot" to the cutting-edge, "humor-without-punchlines" material he ushered in during the 1970s.

This book shows Martin as more than a funny guy. We also see the downside of fame, and his struggles with anxiety, depression and the strained relationship with his father.

Biggest shocker: Years before becoming a Christian author, Stormie O'Martian was starting out in show business the same time Martin was. Their paths crossed, and the two had a passionate love affair. Martin calls Stormie his first real love. Who knew?

There's also a pretty weird observation about American composer Aaron Copland, but I'll let you read that for yourself. :)

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Potty talk

Jenna just came out of the bathroom and yelled, "WHEW! THAT WAS CLOSE!" I'm not sure what she meant. I'm a little concerned.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Black Oliver

My three-year-old got "Black Oliver" for Christmas.

What is Black Oliver, you may ask? Is it the very un-PC star of a new series on Nick Jr.? No. Black Oliver is what happens when a Chinese-speaking person is given the job of making toys for American children. It's true that "R" and "S" are right next to each other in the English alphabet, so Mr. Chinese Factory Worker almost got it right. But not quite. So my daughter has a can of "Whole Black Oliver" in with her play food.

Hey, it's better than lead poisoning.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy Day!

Late-breaking Target news: Global Bazaar is here!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

They're here!

We've been having insane amounts of fun with Meagan, Julia's best Baytown friend, and Meagan's mom, Toni. Here are Meagan and Julia at the airport with the sign Julia made. We spent yesterday shopping and today we're doing the Clinton Library/downtown Little Rock/State Capitol thing before they fly back tomorrow. We've also been staying up past midnight playing Apples to Apples and Dance Dance Revolution. Both girls start school on Monday so this is a fun way for them to wrap up the holidays.

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