July 31, 2008

Remembering the Knoxville Tragedy

kangarunitarian wrote a lovely and thoughtful post on a UU's reaction to the shooting at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.

"I am a Unitarian Universalist.

We believe in freedom. We believe in personal, spiritual, and intellectual freedom. We believe that each person must be free to choose what is true and right in life. We believe in freedom for everyone, not just for people who think and act like us.

We believe that everyone is important and valuable. Old, young, male, female, transgendered, gay, straight, strong, weak, poor, rich, black, white, and purple; liberal, moderate, and conservative. Everyone. Even unemployed truck drivers with shotguns. Everyone."
I wholeheartedly agree.

Does 'Twilight' Suck the Brains Out of Teens?

Martha Brockenbrough of MSN Parent's Movie Guide and Lorie Ann Grover of readergirlz debate: Is the Twilight series a worthy obsession for our teen girls?

They both have excellent points, but I think they both underestimate the importance of - in this day and age - simply getting teenagers to read is a monumental accomplishment. Who cares what they're reading? At least it's not MySpace, PlayStation or iPhone texting related.

July 30, 2008

2 days until Breaking Dawn

"How are you going to do this right?"

I took a deep breath. "Responsibly. Everything in the right order. I will not leave Charlie and Renee without the best resolution I can give them. I won't deny Alice her fun, if I'm having a wedding anyway. And I will tie myself to you in every human way, before I ask you to make me immortal. I'm following all the rules, Edward. Your soul is far, far too important to me to take chances with. You're not going to budge me on this."

"I'll bet I could," he murmured, his eyes burning again.

"But you wouldn't," I said, trying to keep my voice level. "Not knowing that this is what I really need."

"You don't fight fair," he accused.

I grinned at him. "Never said I did."


July 29, 2008

With my freeze ray, I will stop the world.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog appears to be back for free streaming on Hulu. Watch while you can!

You're welcome.

3 days until Breaking Dawn

He pulled back a few inches to look at me, and his eyes did nothing to help my resolve. They were black fire. They smoldered.

"Why?" he asked again, his voice low and rough. "I love you. I want you. Right now."

The butterflies in my stomach flooded my throat. He took advantage of my speechlessness.

"Wait, wait," I tried to say around his lips.

"Not for me," he murmured in disagreement.

"Please?" I gasped.

He groaned, and pushed himself away from me, rolling onto his back again.

We both lay there for a minute, trying to slow our breathing.

"Tell me why not, Bella," he demanded. "This had better not be about me."

Everything in my world was about him. What a silly thing to expect.


July 28, 2008

4 days until Breaking Dawn

"It's beautiful. It's just right for him."

"But is it just right for you?" she insisted.

"Yes, I think is is, Alice. I think it's just what I need. I know you'll do a great job with this... if you can keep yourself in check."

She beamed.

"Can I see your dress?" I asked.

She blinked, her face blank.

"Didn't you order your bridesmaid dress at the same time? I wouldn't want my maid of honor to wear something off the rack." I pretended to wince in horror.

She threw her arms around my waist. "Thank you, Bella!"

"How could you not see that one coming?" I teased, kissing her spiky hair. "Some psychic you are!"


July 27, 2008

5 days until Breaking Dawn

"I'm sorry you had to see that," I said. "That wasn't fair to you."

He put his hands on either side of my face.

"Bella... are you sure?" Did you make the right choice? I've never seen you in so much pain-" His voice broke on the last word.

But I had known worse pain.

I touched his lips. "Yes."

"I don't know..." His brow creased. "If it hurts you so much, how can it possibly be the right thing for you?"

"Edward, I know who I can't live without."


July 26, 2008

6 days until Breaking Dawn

I turned to look at him without speaking. His eyes bugged wide, and he lurched to his feet.

"What happened? Is Jacob...?" he demanded.

I shook my head furiously, trying to find my voice. "He's fine, he's fine," I promised, my voice low and husky. And Jacob was fine, physically, which is all Charlie was worried about at the moment.

"But what happened?" He grabbed my shoulders, his eyes still anxious and wide. "What happened to you?"

I must look worse than I'd imagined.

"Nothing, Dad. I... just had to talk to Jacob about... some things that were hard. I'm fine."

The anxiety calmed, and was replaced by disapproval.

"Was this really the best time?" he asked.

"Probably not, Dad, but I didn't have any alternatives- it just got to the point where I had to choose... Sometimes, there isn't any way to compromise."


July 25, 2008

7 days until Breaking Dawn

Two futures, two soul mates... too much for any one person. And so unfair that I wouldn't be the only one to pay for it. Jacob's pain seemed too high a price. Cringing at the thought of that price, I wondered if I would have wavered, if I hadn't lost Edward once. If I didn't know what it was like to live without him. I wasn't sure. That knowledge was so deep a part of me, I couldn't imagine how I would feel without it.

"He's like a drug for you, Bella." His voice was still gentle, not at all critical. "I see that you can't live without him now. It's too late. But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun."


July 24, 2008

8 days until Breaking Dawn

"You know that sotry in the Bible?" Jacob asked suddenly, still reading the blank ceiling. "The one with the king and the two women fighting over the baby?"

"Sure, King Solomon."

"That's right. King Solomon," he repeated. "And he said, cut the kid in half... but it was only a test. Just to see who would give up their share to protect it."

"Yeah, I remember."

He looked back at my face. "I'm not going to cut you in half anymore, Bella."


July 23, 2008

9 days until breaking Dawn

"Is it really better than if I was still in the dark?"

"Don't you think you ought to know how you feel- just so that it doesn't take you by surprise someday when it's too late and you're a married vampire?"

I shook my head. "No- I didn't mean better for me. I meant better for you. Does it make things better or worse for you, having me know that I'm in love with you? When it doesn't make a difference either way. Would it have been better, easier for you, if I never clued in?"

He took my question as seriously as I'd meant it, thinking carefully before he answered. "Yes, it's better to have you know," he finally decided. "If you hadn't figured it out... I'd have always wondered if your decision would have been different if you had. Now I know. I did everything I could." He dragged in an unsteady breath, and closed his eyes.


July 22, 2008

Dr. Horrible

I was seriously lax in my duties last week in raving about the incomparable Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog from Buffy/Angel/Firefly God, Joss Whedon.

A musical in three acts, starring Neil Patrick Harris, (Doogie can sing!) Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day, Dr. Horrible was made during the writer's strike and posted for free online viewing last week.

However, with the me being lax and all, it's actually too late to view it for free and it's currently only available for download on iTunes. But seriously? It's totally worth the $4 - $6 download fee.

I have already located Dr. Horrible goggles, but I will need assistance locating a dental tunic/lab coat, and knee high white boots. Halloween is only three months away you know.

10 days until Breaking Dawn

"Perhaps this isn't the best moment for that," he suggested, too calm for my liking.

"Why not?" I grumbled. There was no point in fighting if he was going to be rational; I dropped my arms.

"Firstly, because it is cold." He reached out to pull the sleeping bag off the floor; he wrapped it around me like a blanket.

"Wrong," I said. "First, because you are bizarrely moral for a vampire."

He chuckled. "All right, I'll give you that. The cold is second. And thirdly... well, you do actually stink, love."

He wrinkled his nose.

I sighed.

"Fourthly," he murmured, dropping his face so that he was whispering in my ear. "We will try, Bella. I'll make good on my promise. But I'd much rather it wasn't in reaction to Jacob Black."

I cringed, and buried my face against his shoulder.

"And fifthly..."

"This is a very long list," I muttered.


July 21, 2008

11 days until Breaking Dawn

Jacob was right. He'd been right all along. He was more than just my friend. That's why it was so impossible to tell him goodbye- because I was in love with him. Too. I loved him, much more than I should, and yet, still nowhere near enough. I was in love with him, but it was not enough to change anything; it was only enough to hurt us both more. To hurt him worse than I ever had.


July 20, 2008

12 days until Breaking Dawn

"Do you want me to distract you?" He breathed, running his cold fingers along my cheekbone.

I shivered involuntarily; the morning was still frosty.

"Maybe not right now," he answered himself, pulling his hand away.

"There are other ways to distract me."

"What would you like?"

"You could tell me about your ten best nights," I suggested. "I'm curious."

He laughed. "Try to guess."

I shook my head. "There's too many nights I don't know about. A century of them."

"I'll narrow it down for you. All of my best nights have happened since I met you."


July 19, 2008

13 days until Breaking Dawn

"As I said, I'm feeling oddly grateful for your presence in her life tonight. It was the least I could do... You know, Jacob, if it weren't for the fact that we're natural enemies and that you're also trying to steal away the reason for my existence, I might actually like you."

"Maybe... if you weren't a disgusting vampire who was planning to suck out the life of the girl I love... well, no, not even then."


July 18, 2008

14 days until Breaking Dawn

"Do you ever get tired of lying to yourself? You have to know how aware you are of me. Physically, I mean."

"How could anyone not be aware of you physically, Jacob?" I demanded. "You're an enormous monster who refuses to respect anyone else's personal space."


July 17, 2008

Emmy Nominations

It's official. Holly Hunter has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for "Saving Grace". Everyone else? Might as well stay home.

15 days until Breaking Dawn

"Now let me treat your hand- you've gotten the cut dirty."

"Let me do it, please."

He took my hand and smiled as he examined it. "This doesn't bother me anymore."

I watched him carefully as he cleaned the gash, looking for some sign of distress. He continued to breathe evenly in and out, the same small smile on his lips.

"Why not?" I finally asked as he smoothed a bandage across my palm.

He shrugged. "I got over it."

"You... got over it? When? How?" I tried to remember the last time he'd held his breath around me. All I could think of was my wretched birthday party last September.

Edward pursed his lips, seeming to search for the words. "I lived through an entire twenty-four hours thinking that you were dead, Bella. That changed the way I look at a lot of things."


July 16, 2008

16 days until Breaking Dawn

"Bella?" Alice asked in a sad voice, shifting over and curling against my side. Her voice sounded so miserable that I wrapped my arms around her shoulders in comfort.

"What's wrong Alice?"

"Don't you love me?" she asked in that same sad tone.

"Of course I do. You know that."

"Then why do I see you sneaking off to Vegas to get married without inviting me?"


July 15, 2008

17 days until Breaking Dawn

"Now, I want to do this right. Please, please, keep in mind that you've already agreed to this, and don't ruin it for me."

"Oh, no," I gasped as he slid down onto one knee.

"Be nice," he muttered.

I took a deep breath.

"Isabella Swan?" He looked up at me through his impossibly long lashes, his golden eyes soft but, somehow, still scorching. "I promise to love you forever- every single day of forever. Will you marry me?"

There were many things I wanted to say, some of them not nice at all, and others more digustingly gooey and romantic than he probably dreamed I was capable of. Rather than embarass myself with either, I whispered, "Yes."

"Thank you," he said simply. He took my left hand and kissed each of my fingertips before he kissed the ring that was now mine.


July 14, 2008

Have I mentioned lately...

that I have the cutest kid ever? For real.

Only if you hate the summer camp counselors of America...

Should Parents Take ADHD Kids Off Meds in Summer?

Although their intention may be to avoid sticking their child with a "problem" label at camp, the effect is often just the opposite; counselors and camp directors, who review all campers' health forms before a session begins, are more likely to misread a camper's disobedience as insubordination or a discipline issue if they don't understand the disorder behind it. Jeff Freedman, the director of Camp Winaukee, an all-boys' sports camp in New Hampshire, says that's the case for a handful of his campers each summer: a boy is having a hard time following directions, Freedman calls the parents, and the parents say they forgot to mention that the child is typically medicated for ADHD.

I've got news for you sneaky parents. We always knew exactly what you had done.

Many camp activities, such as water sports or archery, can be dangerous if kids aren't paying enough attention, says Walton. And a child with ADHD may have a harder time dealing with camp's intense social environment if he is taking a hiatus from his regular treatment. Beyond the effect on campers, Walton says drug holidays can also put an "unfair burden" on the counselors. "It's difficult to ask someone who's just meeting your child, just forming a relationship and trying to keep them safe and happy, to do that if the kid is not at his best."

For some ADHD kids, medications help with social interaction, allowing them to better read social cues and exercise self-control. Carrie Wilkerson says—with maternal adoration, of course—that when her son Mark is off his meds, "it makes him very, very annoying." He chatters uncontrollably and laughs nervously at inappropriate times, she says. And that kind of behavior probably wouldn't go over all that well at a campfire sing-a-longs.

so many things going on here

I still can't decide which I find most objectionable; the wig or the make-up. I really hope that the film's make-up person knows a little bit more about subtlety.

Okay, so I still squealed like a little fan-girl when I saw it. But December 12th?? That's like 151 days away! That's a whole nother countdown.

Edited to add: When did anyone stand around in the water? But I like this photo far better.

18 days until Breaking Dawn

I reached for the ring, but his long fingers beat me there. He took my left hand in his, and slid the ring into place on my third finger. He held my hand out, and we both examined the oval sparkling against my skin. It wasn't quite as awful as I'd feared, having it there.

"A perfect fit," he said indifferently. "That's nice- saves me a trip the jeweler's."

I could hear some strong emotion burning under his casual tone of voice, and I stared up at his face. It was there in his eyes, too, visible despite the careful nonchalance of his expression.

"You like that, don't you?" I asked suspiciously, fluttering my fingers and thinking that it was really too bad that I had not broken my left hand.

He shrugged his shoulders. "Sure," he said, still casual. "It looks very nice on you."

I stared into his eyes, trying to decipher the emotion that smoldered just under the surface. He gazed back, and the casual pretense suddenly slipped away. He was glowing- his angel's face brilliant with joy and victory. He was so glorious that it knocked me breathless.

Before I could catch that breath, he was kissing me, his lips exultant. I was lightheaded when he moved his mouth to whisper in my ear- but his breathing was just as ragged as mine.

"Yes, I like it. You have no idea."


July 13, 2008

19 days until Breaking Dawn

I shook my head, and laughed glumly. "You make me feel like a villain in a melodrama- twirling my moustache while I try to steal some poor girl's virtue."

His eyes were wary as they flashed across my face, then he quickly ducked down to press his lips against my collarbone.

"That's it, isn't it?" The short laugh that escaped me was more shocked than amused. "You're trying to protect your virtue!" I covered my mouth with my hand to muffle the giggle that followed. The words were so... old-fashioned.

"No, silly girl," he muttered against my shoulder. "I'm trying to protect yours. And you're making it shockingly difficult."


July 12, 2008

20 days until Breaking Dawn

"Lets, clarify your prerequisites first."

"You know what I want."

"Matrimony." I made it sound like a dirty word.

"Yes." He smiled a wide smile. "To start with."

The shock spoiled my carefully composed expression. "There's more?"

"Well," he said, and his face was calculating. "If you're my wife, then what's mine is yours... like tuition money. So there would be no problem with Dartmouth."

"Anything else? While you're already being absurd?"

"I wouldn't mind some time."

"No. No time. That's a deal breaker right there."

He sighed longingly. "Just a year or two?"

I shook my head, my lips set in a stubborn frown. "Move along to the next one."

"That's it. Unless you'd like to talk cars..."


July 11, 2008

21 days until Breaking Dawn

"A hand-me-down," he reminded me sternly. He pulled my left wrist away from my leg, and touched the silver bracelet for just a moment. Then he gave me my arm back.

I examined it cautiously. On the opposite side of the chain from the wolf, there now hung a brilliant heart-shaped crystal. It was cut in a million facets, so that even in the subdued light shining from the lamp, it sparkled. I inhaled in a low gasp.

"It was my mother's." He shrugged deprecatingly. "I inherited quite a few baubles like this. I've given some to Esme and Alice both. So, clearly, this is not a big deal in any way."

I smiled ruefully at his assurance.

"But I thought it was a good representation," he continued. "It's hard and cold." He laughed. "And it throws rainbows in the sunlight."

"You forgot the most important similarity," I murmured. "It's beautiful."

"My heart is just as silent," he mused. "And it, too, is yours."


Avoid scurvy, drink a Slurpee!

It's that very special day that only comes once a year. July 11 = Free Slurpee Day!

July 10, 2008

22 days until Breaking Dawn

"Don't apologize," he said, smiling just a little. "Never be afraid to tell me how you feel, Bella. If this is what you need..." He shrugged. "You are my first priority."

"I didn't mean it that way- like you have too choose me over your family."

"I know that. Besides, that's not what you asked. You gave me two alternatives you could live with, and I chose the one that I could live with. That's how compromise is supposed to work."

I leaned forward and rested my forehead against his chest. "Thank you," I whispered.

"Anytime," he answered, kissing my hair. "Anything."


July 09, 2008

23 days until Breaking Dawn

His eyes narrowed. "Everyone else is able to get away with giving you things. Everyone but me. I would have loved to get you a graduation present, but I didn't. I knew it would upset you more than if anyone else did. That's utterly unfair. How do you explain yourself?"

"Easy." I shrugged. "You're more important than everyone else. And you've given me you. That's already more than I deserve, and anything else you give me just throws us more out of balance."

He processed that for a moment, and then rolled his eyes. "The way you regard me is ludicrous."


July 08, 2008

Emergency Zombie Outbreak Kit

What Twitter would look like if we were under attack by Zombies.

24 days until Breaking Dawn

"One more thing," Edward said slowly. "I'll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'll be fighting twice as hard as you will."

"Good," Jacob growled. "It's no fun beating someone who forfeits."

"She is mine." Edward's low voice was suddenly dark, not as composed as before. "I didn't say I would fight fair."


July 07, 2008

25 days until Breaking Dawn

"I'm in love with you, Bella." Jacob said in a strong, sure voice. "Bella, I love you. And I want you to pick me instead of him. I know you don't feel that way, but I need the truth out there so that you know your options. I wouldn't want a miscommunication to stand in our way."


July 06, 2008

26 days until Breaking Dawn

"You could do so much better, Bella. I know that you believe I have a soul, but I'm not entirely convinced on that point, and to risk yours..." He shook his head slowly. "For me to allow this- to let you become what I am just so that I'll never have to lose you- is the most selfish act I can imagine. I want it more than anything, for myself. But for you, I want so much more. Giving in- it feels criminal. It's the most selfish thing I'll ever do, even if I live forever."


July 05, 2008

27 days until Breaking Dawn

"It's late," he said again, murmuring, almost crooning now, his voice smoother than silk. "Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love."


July 04, 2008

28 days until Breaking Dawn

"But I want you to know something- when it comes to all this enemies nonsense, I'm out. I am a neutral country. I am Switzerland. I refuse to be affected by territorial disputes between mythical creatures. Jacob is family. You are... well, not exactly the love of my life, because I expect to love you for much longer than that. The love of my existance. I don't care who's a werewolf and who's a vampire. If Angela turns out to be a witch, she can join the party too."


July 03, 2008

a confession

I'm known as a pretty organized person. Maybe even obsessively so. But this is the one area of my life that is never organized.

I'm somewhat of a compulsive shopper, and I have trouble getting rid of clothes. And shoes. And purses. I go through my closet several times a year, and every time we move, and I get rid of numerous bags of clothes. But my closet is still a floor to ceiling disaster area.

Whenever I "clean out" my closet, I try on everything, and if it fits and is in good condition, I keep it, and get rid of the rest. That sounds like a good plan, right? But the problem is, just because it fits, doesn't mean I've worn it in the last year. Or ever. The same goes for shoes and purses. Because really, you never know when you might need that reversible Esprit purse (purchased when I was in college) and those Steve Madden platform suede sandals (worn to my bachelorette party- eight years ago).

So this week I decided to tackle the task ruthlessly. I took the afternoon off from work, so there would be no toddler underfoot, and no husband pretending to watch said toddler while also playing the banjo.

I took EVERYTHING out of the closet, and tried to be brutally honest about what needed to be kept. There were far too many clothes that I'd been holding on to for years "just in case" I needed something to wear to a wedding, or a job interview, or a funeral. Or wherever it is vinyl pants get worn. Did you know I owned vinyl pants? I'm somebody's mother for God's sake. And I had far too many shoes that hardly ever get worn because, although they're super cute, they're viciously uncomfortable.

I also had numerous belts. Why? I don't think I've worn a belt since 1988 (and it would have been worn low on top of my over-sized shirt, not through my belt loops).

It was extremely painful getting rid of so many things that I hadn't worn much, or even at all. I do a lot of online shopping, and tend to keep things for the wrong reasons. Because it's such a pain to return items, I convince myself that I'll find a use for them at some point. So now I have to comfort myself with the thought that some lucky plus size girl shopping at Goodwill is going make out like a bandit.

After filling seven Hefty bags, I somehow still seem to have a lot of clothes, shoes and purses. But it's a much more organized selection (now with extra hangers). And now I have room for new stuff!

29 days until Breaking Dawn

"See," I explained. "I don't care who's a vampire and who's a werewolf. That's irrelevent. You are Jacob, and he is Edward, and I am Bella. And nothing else matters."

His eyes narrowed slightly. "But I am a werewolf," he said unwillingly. "And he is a vampire," he added with obvious revulsion.

"And I'm a Virgo!" I shouted exasperated.


July 02, 2008

30 days until Breaking Dawn

I looked up, intending to make a sarcastic remark, but his face was closer than I expected. His golden eyes were smoldering, just inches away, and his breath was cool against my open lips. I could taste his scent on my tongue.

I couldn't remember the witty response I'd been about to make. I couldn't remember my name.


July 01, 2008

31 days until Breaking Dawn

It was a face any male model in the world would trade his soul for. Of course, that might be exactly the asking price: one soul.

No. I didn't believe that. I felt guilty for even thinking it, and was glad- as I was often glad- that I was the one person whose thoughts were a mystery to Edward.

I reached for his hand, and sighed when his cold fingers found mine. His touch brought with it the strangest sense of relief- as if I'd been in pain and that pain had suddenly ceased.