LMNT's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown Ups: Volume #1

It's on, Internets! Little Ms. Notetaker's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown-Ups (which kind of reminds me of "The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too" but not), is on.

Joining me in this challenge are dedicated readers (ooh, double entendre): FCA and Reagan. I wasn't sure if others were joining, because this is your chance, you may want to do it. There are fabulous prizes for those that complete the challenge.

So here are the rules, okay, the rule: Ten books of your choosing, completed by 11:59 PM on September 21, 2009. Hey, that's the day before my birthday, so we can all rejoice in the fact that we'll be celebrating with the gift of literacy.

I'm going to add my list of books to the site, to keep me accountable. Additionally, I'll provide a post on each book as I finish it (think fifth grade book report). For those of you participating in the challenge, let us know what your reading and how the challenge is coming along.

Here's where my reading list stands (subject to change based upon the fact that some of these may be really long and if I procrastinate like I typically do, I may not be able to finish nine books in one week):
  1. Water, Stone, Heart--Will North
  2. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven--Fannie Flagg
  3. The Secret Life of Bees--Sue Monk Kidd
  4. The Color of Water--James McBride
  5. Daughter of Fortune--Isabel Allende
  6. The Other Boleyn Girl--Philippa Gregory
  7. The Glass Castle--Jeannette Walls
  8. Water for Elephants--Sara Gruen
  9. American Wife--Curtis Sittenfeld
  10. A Fine Balance--Rohinton Mistry

On your mark. Get set. Read!


Just a small town girl

Remember how I am the Wedding Dancer? Well, last weekend, at a friend's wedding, I entered into new territory; not only was I the wedding dancer, but, Internets, I became the wedding singer. That friend didn't even know what a bargain she was getting with me (well, she did know about the dancing part, but the singing? Well, that was even a surprise to me), two parties for the price of one buffet dinner and a champagne toast.

The wedding was an adorable affair, so simple, fun, and refreshing--just like the bride herself. Then we got to the dancing. She hired a band, and even consulted me on them before signing the contract (she had heard my rant about wedding band must haves). I gave her my approval after she forwarded me their multi-paged document of all the songs they could cover--on paper it exceeded my highest standards for wedding dance party protocol.

As the band took the stage it became quite apparent they were skilled musicians, however they had some limitations in what the lead singer could do, and he readily admitted that. Good for him for not trying to sing outside of his range, but bad for the wedding dancer who really wanted to hear the songs outside of his range. What's a wedding dancer to do?

Join the band and sing the songs you want to hear.

Oh no, I didn't?Oh yes, I did. As Mr. McMichael as my witness (and co-conspirator) I hijacked that wedding party and brought the funk--not once, but three times.

After the first time, I went directly up to the bride and apologized for what I had started. I told her I had absolutely no intention of singing at her reception, it just all happened so fast, and the next thing I knew I was up on stage, and just when it hit me, somebody turned around and shouted, "Play that funky music, white girl." Thank god she is so good-natured and too laid back to have been upset. She just laughed it off.

And when I jumped up on stage to sing a little Gloria Gaynor, she came running up to the stage wagging her finger at me calling me out, "What are you doing? You had every intent of signing at my wedding!" I'm not sure how, but I survived.

Note to self: When life cracks the door for you, push that puppy open and jump in!

And as the night was winding down, Mr. McMichael requested some Journey (definitely my guiltiest musical pleasure), and when the lead singer said it was out of his range, that's when we began plotting. Our read on the band left us with the hunch that if we could get to the keyboardist, Journey would be played. We were right. With time left for only a few more songs, the leader put his hand to his brow and peered out into the crowd. Jokingly he asked, "are there any other budding musicians out there that want to come up and join us." Our cue! Mr. McMichael yelled directly at the keyboardist, "Play some Journey!" The band all chuckled, because seriously, 80s cheese? But the keyboardist played the first chord, and reflexively I set a land-speed record as I bolted to the stage. Bounding up the stairs I think the entire band was surprised that this wasn't a joke. What started out as a couple of bars played to appease a rowdy crowd (think of that guy at every concert you've ever been to who yells, "FREEBIRD!"), had turned into a melee of band members scrambling to keep up--and even learn the accompaniment as they went along.

In no time flat, the bride was up there with me, and we were bringing the Steve Perry like nobody's business. Mr. McMichael grabbed the candle centerpiece off of one of the tables and slowly swayed with it over his head, a few others followed his lead, and before we knew it, we had a legitimate rock anthem in the making.

I'm now strongly considering turning my wedding talents into a profit-making venture. And you'll notice below that I have moved to amend my initial wedding dancer stance on music providers with the bolded text:
"if you have a band, make sure that you love that band and—depending upon the type of dance party you want—that the band understands the importance of wedding reception mainstay (i.e., this band should be so fantastic that they can cover many types of music and songs from all eras… if it’s a wedding that I’m going to be at, make sure they are prepped to play plenty of 70s and 80s, or surrender the microphone and play back-up as I belt out the hits).



Note to self: While 3M offers genius solutions to a great many things, it is not always, as previously believed, a fail safe.

Before I start this post, Internets, I have a confession I have to get off of my chest. And when I say Internets, I really mean mom, I don't always sleep at my house.

Wow. Where do we go from here. Would you believe that I, an almost 32-year-old adult, actually worried about making that admission. Well, I did. Years of Catholic guilt and rhetoric to blame.

I'm a worrier. That's what I do. It's what I've always done. Last night as I was going to bed (at not my house), I was worrying about several inconsequential things, but worrying nonetheless. Mr. McMichael, a very even-keeled non-worrier type tried to talk me out of my ridiculous worries (and deep down that made me worry that all of my worrying would be a deal breaker in his mind. Oh, what's a worrisome girl to do?!).

My mind finally subsided, and I was getting good sleep, until my phone rang. A call in the middle of the night? That's definitely a worrier's lament. Discombobulated, I tried my hardest to gather my wits, pick it up, and answer it, but that was apparently beyond my 2:00 AM abilities. When I finally sorted myself out, I realized it was a call from the Marinara Jar. Worry set in. Why would he be calling me at 2:00 in the morning? Should I call him back? Was it just an accidental pocket dialing? I laid back down, and the phone rang again.


This time I answered it. Apparently, I had not removed him from my security system's emergency contact list, like I had previously intended to do. He received a call from the security company (why I didn't register the call they gave me, I have no idea). There was an alarm incident in my house, the "glass break" sensor was activated in the back of the house near the kitchen. He authorized the cops to go check it out, as it likely meant someone broke a window trying to get into my house.

At this point a giant pit grew in my stomach and a string of words worthy of a mouth washing spewed out of my mouth. It looked like it was time to drive back home. Accompanied by Mr. McMichael. I worried my little self all along the way. As we drove, the early morning freeways were relatively empty, except for a handful of cops and the late night prey they had managed to pull over. As I was exiting one freeway to get onto another, a car came right up behind me, turned it's headlights off and then on again. Worry. What was this car trying to tell me? I wasn't speeding, in fact I wasn't doing anything illegal. In spite of my desire to get home as fast as I could, I was driving quite practically and defensively. But as I pulled onto the on-ramp, the tell tale red and blue lights began to flash. A second string of words worthy of a mouth washing rolled right off the tongue and I pulled over.

Are you serious?

I was incredulous, but worried. What did I do to warrant a pull over at 2:30 in the morning. The cop approached my window and asked for my license and insurance. A little flustered, because, "Hello, some stranger may be in my house right now!" I told the cop that I was on my way home because apparently someone was trying to break into it, oh, and by the way, why are you pulling me over?

I think he was a little shocked by that--and also to find that I wasn't a drunk driver crawling home from a bar--he told me that I had some taillights out. Which then made me worry about that. How could that be, I replaced them all just under a year ago (for the first time in the 8 years I've had the car). He took my license walked back to his car, walked right back to my car and wished me luck at my house.

Mr. McMichael and I pulled up to my house and all seemed fine. There were no cops there, so he headed to the back of the house to see if he could see any broken windows. They all appeared to be in tact. Worry. Where were the cops? What really happened here to set off the alarm.

We went back to the front, got in the house, and found it just as I had left it (admittedly quite messy). The good thing about this was that the worry I had about the cops being in my house with it in the shape I left it was immediately put to rest. As we made our way to the back room, we found the purp--a 3m picture hook that had lost its adhesiveness. And the victim, the glass frame of a family portrait.

Additional worries I lost at this point: the worry that I would need to sell my house and move to a safer neighborhood, the worry that I wouldn't be able to sleep alone in my house, the worry that nobody would buy my house after they read the police blotter that it had been broken into, the worry that I'd have to patch up a window at 2:30 in the morning when I was really really tired, the worry that all of these worries crowding everything out of my brain and might make me completely lose my cool, the worry that maybe I worry too much.

Although, that last one may still be haunting me.

Oh, and one more worry quelled, none of my tail lights are out. Grumble. Thank you, ociffer.