Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have a new favorite store: Build-a-Bear Workshop. We took Mia there for her birthday, and she picked up a poodle she named Georgette (we also got a mini-version she named Gigi). After helping Mia pick out the clothing and watching the process of making it, I was hooked. I came home and started looking online at the exclusive animals there. Molly got a bear from her then boyfriend, Sergey, and she was thrilled. I didn't even know that she liked them, but apparently she'd wanted one for years. When Mia hit the 10 night mark of staying in her own bed, I let her pick out any toy she wanted. Her selection: a cheetah from the online store. When it arrived in the mail, it immediately became her best friend. Princess Cheetah sleeps with her every night, sits with her all day long, she's even taken it to school. Jesse and I talked about rewarding Molly for her good behavior lately and for the firsts at Solo Ensemble, so last night I took the girls to Build a Bear at the mall and let Molly pick out whatever she wanted. We came home with a punked out monkey named Billy, and Mia got a Green Bay Packers cheerleading outfit for Princess Cheetah. I LOVE this store; I have the member card, and I think I've already earned enough points for my first gift certificate. Another nifty thing about the store: they've gone into the online play trend that Webkins and ePets kickstarted. Mia spent an hour this afternoon on Build a Bearville. She got to create her own persona, and she was thrilled to find that Princess Cheetah walks around with her in the game. Every dollar I spend in the store translates into 100 dollars online for her to buy clothing and furniture for her pet. No, I don't want a bear for myself, but I bet you can guess what gifts my nieces and nephew can expect for their birthdays!

Obedience by Will Lavender is another suspense book that fails to live up to its hype. Winchester University's class Logic and Reasoning 204 has an enigmatic teacher, Professor Williams, who on the first day of class announces that a girl named Polly will die in six weeks if the students fail to solve the mystery of her disappearance. Most of the students treat it as a joke, but for three students: Mary, Dennis, and Brian, it quickly becomes an obsession. Individually, at first, they start investigating the professor and the hypothetical case. Events throw them together when the professor himself disappears. The story is an interesting exercise in how people react to a perceived threat to another human being, but it quickly dissolves into impossible coincidences, and then the author blatantly lies to the reader. There has been a recent spate of books (Little Face and The Art Thief) that get a great deal of good press and reviews for debut authors. But each of these books has a twist at the end that betrays the reader. Some authors can pull off that kind of writing with a flair that leaves the reader breathless and full of admiration. These books instead make me want to pull out my hair and take out an ad in the newspaper announcing what a waste of time it was. Reading a book is a give and take between author and reader. Good authors understand that and respect it. This author instead betrays that trust with a implausible ending that satisfies no one.

I have to share this small episode of my daily life. Yesterday afternoon, I called the doctor to let him know how I'm doing on my medication and ask for a refill. The receptionist said that the nurse would call me back. A few minutes later, I had to go to the bathroom. Seconds later I hear: Mommy's in the bathroom right now and the door is closed. Mia has answered the phone! I told her to ask them to wait a moment, and I went out to answer the phone. The nurse, Diane, giggled and gushed over how cute Mia was, meanwhile I'm bright red with embarrassment and terrified of what else she might have said that I didn't hear. Diane told me that I needed to schedule a follow up appointment, and I said I'd call back to do that. An hour or so later, I told Mia I was going to take a shower. I brought the cellphone in with me this time and hopped in. Seconds later I hear: Mommy's taking a shower right now; she's in the bathroom again. I told Mia to find out who it was (the doctor's office, of course) and tell them I'd call back. When I'm dried off, I grab the home phone and call back to schedule an appointment. A few minutes later, Diane calls back, giggling as she says I keep catching you at some rather delicate moments. And lets me know that my prescription has been called in to the pharmacy. Mia and I had a practice session about how to answer the phone when Mommy can't (Mommy can't come to the phone, could you please tell me who this is so I can give her a message?), and I now go nowhere in the house without both phones!