Jenster's Musings

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ernesto, the Stinkin' Pesto and Books

We were supposed to go camping in the Poconos this long, holiday weekend. It was amazing I was even able to get reservations at such a late date. But Ernesto has other plans for us. He's going to dump large amounts of H2O on the eastern part of Pennsylvania over the weekend. A 30 foot trailer with a slide out may sound spacious, but it gets small when there are four people with no place to go real quick.

I finished Whence Came a Prince and am happy to report I did so with a minimum of fuss. Liz Curtis Higgs promised me the trilogy would end well and it did. I truly didn't know if it was possible, but I was very happy with the conclusion. The problem I had with the story was that it has a very strong Christian theme, yet it makes me think very uncharitable, unchristian thoughts. Not the fault of poor writing, mind you. Just a dark part of my own heart -- the same part my thoughts of Ernesto originate.

My reading genre is about to take a 180. I'm going to start the second book of the Harry Dresden Files - Fool Moon, written by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden is a Chicago PI. But he's also a wizard and gets the "unusual" cases. These cases involve things like vampires, warewolves, ghosties, etc. I like the way Jim Butcher writes. I know this will surprise you, but I enjoy a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and Harry Dresden fits that bill. These books are supposedly in the process of being made into a television show for the SciFi channel. And just so my previous posts don't steer you the wrong way, this is NOT an inspirational!

All this talk of reading brings me back to Ernesto. I suppose having torrential downpours over the weekend and being stuck in the house won't be so terrible. I do have a bookcase full of reading to keep me occupied. Todd's in the middle of a huge tome (A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon) so he'll be okay with a readingfest. I can come out of my hole every now and again to say something nice to my children in an effort to appear nurturing. So maybe all isn't lost.

Mused by Jenster :: 10:19 AM :: 4 People musing:

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What a Monday!!

I have a grocery list to make out - which means I have grocery shopping to do - a kitchen to clean and clothes to be ironed. So I'm blogging instead.

School started yesterday. (Can you hear the angels singing the Hallalulia chorus as I do?)

It was a pretty rough morning for Katie - and I can't say that I blame her. Starting a brand new school in a new state has got to be a little daunting. I walked down to the bus stop with her and she was being very brave, trying to keep her composure. Then the kids she's met over the summer showed up and it was like I wasn't even there. The bus showed up, she climbed aboard with a friend, laughing. WHEW!!!

Taylor's start was a little better. Two of his friends stopped to get him on the way to the bus stop. That was nice. And as you can imagine, he didn't want Mom or Dad walking down the street with him. I was really good with that as it was before 7:00 and I was still in my jammies. Not the best way to meet the neighbors.

Now we get to my glorious day. I had hoped to start my reading as soon as I got back from the bus stop, but it was nearly 10:00 before I got to it. Here's a picture of my spot. Doesn't it just cry "Sit! Read! Drink coffee!!"? I had planned to take a before and after picture of the Kleenex box so you could judge how many I went through. I thought that would be a better shot than a photo of all the used tissues lying all around. But I only used two tissues so it wasn't worth posting.

The book is a long one - close to 600 pages. I managed to read a little over half yesterday. And I only emailed Ms. Higgs a few times. Get this. She's leaving for Scotland today and she STILL managed to reply to my emails! You just gotta love her. And the book is fabulous. I still can't imagine how she's going to wrap it up, but I have faith!

Finally Taylor got home. Do you remember the hassels we had getting him registered and scheduled? Apparently we relaxed too soon. They had his schedule all wrong. He went to his guidance counselor who redid the schedule, taking him out of the elective he wanted and into photography. He was okay with that because he likes photography and a neighborhood friend is in that class. Things were going great until the last class of the day. Gym. Turns out it was girls' gym. He thought of it as a gift from God.

As I was laughing I told him, "I know this is all frustrating for you, but it's great blogging material!" So I'm going to tell you what he told me to write:

My son came home from school and he was crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said they put him in girls' gym. I told him I would call the counselor and have it fixed. And he said, "It's too late. I'm crying because they already took me out."

Katie's bus was 30 minutes late getting home. That apparently was the worst part of the day. She likes her teachers. She likes her cafeteria. She made new friends.

If Taylor can ever get his schedule worked out, I think both kids are going to be okay. And if I could get somebody to come in to clean, iron and do my grocery shopping for free while I read I would be okay. Ooo. Since I'm dreaming I'll add cooking meals to the list.

Mused by Jenster :: 8:56 AM :: 12 People musing:

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Liz Curtis Higgs

Tomorrow is a special day for me. The kids will start school and I'm going to treat myself to doing nothing but read for the entire day. I'm caught up on laundry, I've got simple meals planned for a couple of days, the house is manageable. I'm good.

A few years ago I kept seeing promotional posters and displays of Thorn in My Heart. Even before I knew what it was about I wanted it. I mean, look at the cover. It's beautiful. But once I read the back blurb I was intrigued. I had to have it.

Reading the book was an experience. It took me on quite the emotional rollercoaster. So much so that I'd have to put the book aside just to collect myself. I started emailing Liz Curtis Higgs, lamenting my stuffy nose and swollen eyes. And the gracious lady returned each and every one of my emails. She basically held my hand while I read this book.

When the second book, Fair is the Rose, came out I snatched it up immediately. Another beautiful cover, I might add. This one treated me the same way as the first. I sobbed, I bawled, I even prayed God would give me what I needed to make it through. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous to become that emotionally involved in a book, but that's just how good her writing is.

Once again I relied on Ms. Higgs to get me through. And she was so accomodating. She also promised me all would end well.

Whence Came a Prince was released in March of 2005.
I bought it the day it came out with plans to read it right away. Circumstances being what they were last year, I wasn't able to start it. I was blessed enough to meet Liz at a speaking engagement in Little Rock on April 30th, and she signed my book for me.

All this brings me back to tomorrow. I've been waiting over a year for the right time to read the conclusion of this trilogy. I know I'm going to cry, sometimes for sadness and sometimes for joy, but that's okay. I'm ready.

I don't want to scare you away from this series, either. It is among the best inspirational fiction I have read. While parts of it will hurt you to your soul, other parts will fill you with such peace and hope. I'm very anxious to see how she wraps this all up. And I'll be sure to let you know how I managed.

Mused by Jenster :: 2:37 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Saturday, August 26, 2006


The family and I were going to go bike riding today, but it's very overcast. The weatherman said we wouldn't be getting any more rain today, however, the last time we listened to him we had to ride several miles in a veritable deluge. So we opted to go swimming at the YMCA instead.

After lunch we all rushed around to get our suits on so we could get to the Y before the lap lanes got crowded. As we were pulling in to the parking lot I realized I had put my slippers on instead of my pool shoes. And they're not just any slippers. I think they're actually men's slippers - so right there you know they're ugly. They're also getting worn out and my left pinky toe hangs out through a hole when I walk.

I don't think anyone noticed, though I don't know how the tell tale slipper slapping on the tile floor could be ignored. Thankfully there were very few people there today.

Mused by Jenster :: 3:11 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Inspirational Fiction

For my reading friends, here's a little bit about some inspirational fiction I've recently read.

There's a fairly new author on the market - Deeanne Gist. She has written two books so far. A Bride Most Begrudging was published last year. This is what Deeanne's website says about the book:

Do You Believe in Love at First Fight?

Any ship arriving from England means good news for Virginia colony farmers. The "tobacco brides" will be on board—eligible women seeking a better life in America, bartered for with barrels of tobacco from the fields.

Drew O’Connor isn’t stirred by news of a ship full of brides. Still broken-hearted from the loss of his beloved, he only wants a maid to tend his house and care for his young sister.

What he ends up with is a wife--a feisty red head who claims she is of noble birth, brought to America against her will. She constantly demands to be treated like an equal. She fails at even the simplest housekeeping.

Headstrong and intelligent, tempestuous but captivating, deeply moral but incredibly enticing, Constance turns what was supposed to be a marriage of convenience into something most inconvenient, indeed.

This book was a great first novel. It had a strong Christian theme, but it wasn't overpowering or preachy. The characters had real faults and struggles, with their lives, with each other and even with their faith.

Her more recent release is The Measure of a Lady. Here's the book blurb:

Rachel Van Buren arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with two wishes: to protect her younger siblings and to return east as soon as possible.
Both goals prove more difficult than she could imagine as her brother and sister are lured by the city's dangerous freedom and a missionary-turned-gambler stakes a claim on her heart. Rachel won't give up without a fight though, and soon all will learn an eloquent but humorous lesson about what truly makes a lady.

Speak Politely. Even when you’re the only respectable woman around, protesting the decadence of a city lost to gold fever.

Dress Modestly. Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody sees your work boots muddied by the San Francisco streets.

Remain Devoted to Family. Protect your siblings from the lures of the city, even against their wishes.

Stand Above Reproach. Most difficult when a wonderful man turns out to be a saloon owner.

Rise Above Temptation. No, not even just a little kiss….

When these rules become increasingly difficult to uphold,
can Rachel Van Buren remain a beacon of virtue in a city of vice?

Again, Ms. Gist writes wonderful characters. Her stories are inspirational, yet they're gritty and realistic. Her sophmore project was ever bit as good as her first one. And one of the things I loved about this book was that sometimes the heroine was not the good one. She had as much to learn about God's grace as everybody else had to learn about God's love.

Not only that, but I LOVE her book covers and I can't wait to see what next year's release will look like.

She has a blog as well. Her link is on my sidebar, if you're interested.

Mused by Jenster :: 12:24 PM :: 3 People musing:

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Schedules, Injections and Cookies

We met with the guidance counselor at the 9th grade center this morning and Taylor is now officially registered. He is required to take a foreign language and they offer Spanish, French and German. The counselor told him Spanish would be the easiest and German the hardest. So Taylor chose German. I used the one German phrase I know on him. "Sie sind verrückt, mein Kind" Or "You are crazy, my child."

After school business I had an appointment with my oncologist for an injection. But first we went to Trader Joe's and got some lunch. I really like Trader Joe's. We had it on the West Coast, but not in the South.
So I've posted a picture of Trader Joe's for those of you who have never seen one.

It's just a grocery store - a health store really. The clerks wear Aloha shirts and the men's and women's restrooms are designated by either a blue or pink life saver (the floatation device, not the candy).

Then it was off to the doctor's. Unfortunately for the kids, they had to sit in the very small waiting room while I was being weighed, poked, prodded and then poked again. The walls are fairly thin and I think I heard giggling at one point, but nobody screamed and things looked exactly the same when I came back out.

I received the last of six injections - actually implantations of a pill under the skin on my belly. It's not a pleasant thing, but the worst part about it is that the medicine makes me retain water and gives me the munchies. Sadly, I had gained four pounds since the last time I was in there.

So we left the office and drove straight to Hope's Cookies. They're not just any cookies. They are divine. I personally enjoy the White Russian cookie, which is rather ironic when you consider my oncologist is also a White Russian.

I felt compelled to post a photo of the new cows they have. It used to be one dingy cow. Now it's a bright, shiny mother cow and her bright, shiny calf.

They also have ice cream and Katie and I actually had ice cream sandwiches - you choose the cookies and the ice cream. YUM!

On the way home we stopped off at the King of Prussia mall. Supposedly it's the second largest mall in the states, bested only by the Mall of America. All I know is that it's like going to Disneyland. You need good walking shoes, a lot of time and a whole lot of cash - none of which I possessed today.

Now I'm tired and I have a slight headache, most likely because I forgot to consume any caffeine today. With such a busy day, what was I thinking??

Mused by Jenster :: 7:06 PM :: 5 People musing:

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Preparing for a new school

I have been trying to get the kids registered for their new schools for what seems like an eternity. I don't know if it's the district or the state, but they required physical exams before we could start with the paperwork.

They finally both had their physicals, I got all the paperwork together and we went to the district office to register them both. If it weren't for the fact that I didn't have to take out a loan for this, it would have been as painful as closing on a new house.

I was told the schools would have the paperwork the following week. They didn't. School starts next Monday, the 28th, and it was only yesterday that my daughter's school got her in the system. My son, however, will be going into the 9th grade - highschool. He has yet to meet with the guidance counselor to chose his classes. This is Wednesday. Supposedly he'll meet with the counselor tomorrow morning, but I'll believe it when I see it.

He, of course, keeps trying to make me feel better by saying he doesn't really have to go to school. But I keep telling him, yes, he does. Not only is it a law, but it's crucial to my sanity - precarious as that quality is.

Today we're going shopping for that prized first day of school outfit and backpacks. Hopefully the boy will have a place to wear stated new outfit on Monday.

UPDATE We officially have an appointment tomorrow morning with the guidance counselor at the highschool. Looks like DS will be going to school after all. WOO HOO!!!!!

If I don't post on Monday don't assume something is wrong. I will be celebrating my solitude. :o)

Mused by Jenster :: 10:32 AM :: 2 People musing:

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon

After a couple years of frequenting other blogs, I've finally decided to write my own. I was always hesitant to do this for two simple reasons:

1. I have a strong enough addiction to surfing the net, mostly blogs and message boards. As much as I hate to admit it, I am of a weak constitution. At least where self-control is concerned.

2. I am but a humble home-maker, wife, mom, friend, sister, etc. All well enough, but not necessarily a life conducive to exciting or riviting posts.

But I decided to give it a whirl anyway. I enjoy writing silly, mundane, useless things and if nobody else reads my blog, that's okay. I'm sure I'll have a good time regardless. And really, isn't it about my enjoyment? I mean, it's not like I'm trying to enrich anybody's life or anything.

If you happen to be reading this and wish to respond, that would be great. But I have one request. Keep it PG. I'm pretty picky about what I let my kids read and I've no doubt they'll be reading mom's blog as soon as they find out I have one. Which, quite frankly, will be to their detriment as I'm certain much of my posting will be concerning them.

Mused by Jenster :: 6:23 PM :: 13 People musing:

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