Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Between the Storms and Reading Aussie Books on a Mississippi Sofa

I'm sure y'all have just been aching to see this entry. And, you'll think me doubly crazy when you finish, but . . . what the heck.

So, Bookfool (uh-oh, she's talking in third person; that can't be good) was cleaning the bathroom while the husband was (once again) out of town. While packing for Australia, the poor fellow was a little frantic, having never traveled quite as far as the other hemisphere. He had three or four different bags full of toiletries (he gets stranded quite a bit, and occasionally an airline will give him a small bag of amenities), all of which he tossed this way and that while filling up the usual toiletry kit. He asked me to dig up various items, sent his secretary on a lark or two to fetch sunscreen and snake-bite kits, etc., and basically buried the bathroom counter in such a frightening mess that it took a couple weeks for me to just get up the courage to attack it all.

And, what did I find? Bottles and bottles and bottles of hotel shampoo, mouthwash, conditioner, lotion, body gel . . . shoot, even a few tiny sewing kits and some miniature emery boards. I set some aside to take to the rescue mission and then lined up the rest and thought . . . huh. You could put these things in a triangle in the hallway and roll something down the hall . . . voila! Cheap bowling! Instead, the sun came out between storms. Ha! Outdoor time! I hauled them outside to the driveway.

I didn't think it would be very interesting to use a boring old round ball, although I've got a nice bag of tennis balls in the trunk of my car. And, it occurred to me that - since the pears taste horrendous - there had to be some use for that revolting, flavor-free fruit that's about to litter our driveway (besides feeding the local insect life). So, I plucked a pear off the tree and started bowling with my left hand while snapping photos with my right - not an easy task. Pears are interesting, of course, because they're not round and wobble all over the place. So most of the time . . . .

nowhere near. That pear was all over the place. Meanwhile, you can imagine I was keeping a sharp eye out and an ear tuned for traffic because I'm pretty sure the deputies would be really concerned if they saw such a sight. Not to mention the neighbors. Just before the postman drove down the hill (very quietly, I might add), I managed this shot:

Wheee! The postman did catch me playing; he thought it was awfully funny. And, then the clouds started to look ominous and the rumbling grew, so I gathered my little bottles and went back inside to unplug the electronics.

I whipped up a cup of coffee (microwaved Viennese Chocolate Cafe - admittedly, I'm not a serious coffee drinker) before unplugging the microwave, pulled out While I Live - the first of The Ellie Chronicles by Australian young-adult author John Marsden - and set it on the couch. While I Live is one of the books the spouse kindly dragged back from Down Under.

Having read Marsden's fabulous Tomorrow When the War Began series, I've long since purchased an Australian English dictionary. I know better than to try to tackle this stuff on my own. So, I had my Dinkum Dictionary, my perfectly color-coordinated bookmark and a great Australian book to dig into:

Almost ready. All that remained was to break into the Aussie junk food to complete the mood. Poppet helped.

Thank goodness the husband didn't bring back Weetabix or Vegemite. I'm terrified of Vegemite; chocolate, I can handle. Thanks to the humidity, the air conditioner was cranking away like crazy and the chocolate melted in my mouth, not on my hands - because it certainly wouldn't do to have chocolate tracks marching through a perfectly lovely Australian book that safely traveled around the globe, now, would it?

So, now you know how to entertain yourself between storms if you have a traveling husband and some wobbly bad fruit, plus how best to read an Australian book while sitting on a couch in Mississippi. I live to keep you informed.

Incidentally, I did finish the book and will review it as soon as possible, probably between storms, tomorrow or Thursday. We've had thunderstorms almost daily for three weeks, now. It's very humid out there.

Today . . . youngster and I zipped over to Clinton to see Live Free or Die (thumbs up - huge body count, as usual, but I thought Justin Long was particularly fabulous as the nerdy sidekick). As we waited at a stoplight, a young gal turned left, arcing in front of us. Her left hand was dangling out the window, flicking cigarette ashes onto the pavement. With her right hand, she had a cell phone pressed to her ear. What I want to know is, how the heck did she manage to turn a steering wheel with both hands occupied? She wasn't leaning forward, so it wasn't an elbow thing. Could this, at last, be the alien invasion we've been waiting for since the 1950s? Because, frankly, I just can't figure out how anyone could turn left without sprouting an extra set of arms.

Yes, I really do think that way. I'd better go read while the power isn't flickering. Hope everyone is having a peachy week!


  1. My favorite LOL lines:

    "So, I had my Dinkum Dictionary, my perfectly color-coordinated bookmark and a great Australian book to dig into."

    "So, now you know how to entertain yourself between storms if you have a traveling husband and some wobbly bad fruit, plus how best to read an Australian book while sitting on a couch in Mississippi. I live to keep you informed."

  2. Oh, thanks Bonnie. I love knowing I made someone smile. Think I overuse the word "so"?

  3. "love knowing I made someone smile" is an understatement! You nearly made me blow my coffee out my nose! Ha! I haven't laughed that hard in ages. You crack me up. And to think you bruised all those pears...it's one of my favorite fruits! lol...

    Those look like some pretty nice toiletries! We don't get anything like that on this side of the globe.

    I've managed to make many left turns with a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other, but come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure how I've done it...I'll have to pay attention next time and let you know :p

  4. Omigosh...are those really TimTams??? ACK! Ever broke open The Thorn Birds - another Aussie book.

  5. No overused words to the point that you notice and I agree, it was pretty funny.

    I think you've invented the next Olympic sport - pear bowling!

    It sounds like you had a pretty good afternoon. In some ways I envy you. I haven't had a day like that in too long.

    Oh, and the girl was driving with her knee, of course.


  6. Too funny! And I quite like the label you've given it! :P

  7. Loved your bowling! Dom collects the little travel bottles from every place we've ever stayed. I use them, year after year, as stocking stuffers for him at Christmas. He has gotten the exact same bottle of shampoo for at least the last 10 years!

  8. Mmmm.....Tim Tams! Food of the gods!

    I wouldnt be worried about not getting Vegemite either! It's horrible, horrible stuff!

  9. Once again - tea was spit out in laughter. Those pictures of your 'bowling' adventure are priceless!!

  10. You made me more than smile. You made me laugh out loud! And at 6 o'clock in the morning too! That is no easy feat.

    I wish I could have seen you out there with your bottles and your pear.

    There's never a dull moment around you, is there?

  11. Whahahahaha! I love fruit bowling! Great idea.


  12. How funny! I'll have to remember that activity when kids are around!!

    I have to say, my mouth is watering at the Tim Tam picture. People still ask if we miss Australia (1 1/2 years after moving back). And we do miss our friends, but I really miss the chocolatey goodness of a Tim Tam. Did your hubby tell you how they are often eaten, dipped in coffee and then popped into the mouth before they explode into disintegration? You should try it. :)

    One of our Aussie friends sent over a box when she found out I was pregnant. I think I ate them all in 2 days.

  13. I'm interested in that dictionary! And looking forward to your review of this book. What an eerie green.

  14. That is so funny. The image of you shampoo bowling (with a wobbly pear, no less) is just the limit. Your mind works in mysterious ways, and I like it.

  15. What a cute post!!

    Last night, we went to my daughter's softball game last night. As we were sitting down watch the little girlie's warm up, the storm started rolling in. I wish I had my camera! It was so cool to watch. Of course, we ended up getting soaked and the game was cancelled. But it was neat all the same!

  16. And yes....Live Free of Die Hard was FANTASTIC! I'm hoping to see Harry Potter today!

  17. Chris,

    Oops, spewing coffee, again? You've gotta quit that. The pears are no loss, I promise. We're obviously not successful fruit-growing people; they are appallingly tasteless.

    Hubby stays in pretty nice hotels, these days, so even the American toiletries are quite nice (usually). The aromatherapy shampoo he brought back from Down Under is heaven, though.

    Oh, no! Put out that cigarette and tell them you'll call back later!! I don't need to know. Okay, yeah, I'm curious how you do it. I confess. Yeeks.


    Yep, Tim Tams. Definitely yummo. No, I haven't read The Thorn Birds, but I'm pretty sure my mother has a copy; I'll ask next time I talk to her, thanks. :)


    Thanks. Yep, pear bowling should definitely be an Olympic sport; it's quite challenging. Can you tell all the storms have been driving me a little stir crazy? Oh, of course, knees. I'll tell you one thing - she doesn't have a stick shift. Corners are one of the reasons I never talk on the phone while driving. We have a lot of them; always turning, turning in little towns.


    Thanks. I was just sitting here thinking, "You should try it," and had this mental image of your two kitties chasing a rolling pear and decided that would probably be plenty of laughs. Do pears grow in Japan?

  18. TimTams! Yum!!!

    Pear bowling! A new outdoor sport.

  19. "Tomorrow when the War Began" was one of the books I wanted to read when I dedicated 2007 to reading at least one Australian book a month, and now I am running out of time (it feels like it, at least)! It is sitting on my bookshelf on the other side of the country, and now that I hear you speak so highly of it, I am filled with irritation that I am not going to be able to get my hands on it until September. Sigh...

  20. Lynne,

    That's hilarious!! Hubby and I were both snickering. He's buzzing around, packing for the next trip. I could have filled a dozen stockings with all the little bottles he's brought home in the last few years.


    "Food of the gods" is right. :)

    I've only read about Vegemite and it sounds like something one would use to frighten away the enemy. I'll give it a wide berth!

    Orange Blossom Heather,

    Uh-oh. You've gotta stop sipping tea while you read blogs or get a splash guard and a bib. ;) I'm happy to know I made you laugh - or spit - or whatever.


    Just thinking about 6:00 am makes my head hurt, so I'll take that as a huge accomplishment.

    I'm sure I looked ridiculous; the postman was definitely entertained. He's such a sweetie.

    You know, my husband said exactly that same thing about three or four weeks ago - something about there never being a dull moment around me because even after all these years he never, ever knows what I'm going to say next. How cool is that?!

  21. Andi,

    You should definitely try it. I'm sure there are plenty of wobbly fruits in North Carolina.


    My kiddo was asleep while I was bowling, but he's old enough to roll his eyes at whatever goofy thing Mom is up to, so I'm pretty sure he wouldn't join me. Enjoy it while they're young.

    Ooooh, dunking!! I've gotta try that. Assuming the teenager hasn't already eaten them all. I should go check the fridge. How sweet of your friend! So, which is your real "home" - the U.S. or Australia?


    The dictionary is really helpful, although I still didn't manage to translate everything. Marsden uses a lot of pop cultural references, since the books are aimed at a teen audience. It does look like the aliens are about to land, with that green glowy color, doesn't it?


    I was just thinking about how I set up the bottles with the intent of hiding from my neighbor's view because he'd just checked his mailbox and it occurred to me . . . satellite images. Hope Big Brother wasn't watching. Heh. My mind works like the rolling of a pear, I'm afraid.

  22. Stephanie,

    I've always loved watching storms roll in, but you don't really see them so easily in our area - too many trees block the view and they form or move in from all different directions - back home, storms always came from the west, period. It was so cool watching them swoop in off the prairie. Okay, now you've made me homesick. LOL Sounds wonderful. :)

    I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed Live Free or Die. I'll have to watch to see what you think about Harry Potter. We may go to another movie, in a couple of days, but it's now a 30-mile drive to the theater so we'll wait a couple of days. I'll bet half of Vicksburg goes bopping over to see Harry Potter.

  23. Carrie,

    Most definitely yummy. It's a great sport. You should try it. Need any tasteless fruit?

    Pour of tor,

    I think you'll find that Tomorrow, When the War Began is a very fast read that you'll gobble up in no time. Have you just got the first book on that shelf? Because, I'll warn you, they're addictive. It was miserable trying to get my hands on all those books. It took me over a year to get the second and third books and then several more years to get the remaining four. I've been thinking I need to do a reread of the entire series, some time, just to enjoy reading them in close succession.

  24. I have trouble turning without the use of both my arms/hands, I admit. I've never mastered driving with my knees the way my husband has--but then, I'm a lot shorter than he is.

    I love your bowling expedition! What a great use for those little bottles! My aunt was slightly more practical about it and one year everyone in the family received a giant evelope full of little bottles from hotels she had visited over the years. She said they were survival kits. I guess that's one way to recycle stuff like that. I like your idea much better. It sounds more fun. :-)

  25. Lit Kitty,

    If my husband drove with his knees, he'd have to turn his keys over. I'm a bear about driving with two hands.

    It's pretty funny what people end up doing with all those little hotel toiletries when they get too many, isn't it? Bowling is definitely an excellent use. I also advise the use of wonky rolling objects because there's not much challenge to knocking over little bottles with a round ball. Pears are definitely challenging. :)

  26. Hee hee hee, you make me laugh! And Tim Tams are pretty great, aren't they? Let me know if you come across some Aussie fiction that I mustn't miss! My kids enjoyed the bowling pictures, too, but it gave them ideas and now they're searching the house for things they can knock over with fruit! Thanks!

  27. Tim Tams are terrific. I discovered the teenager hasn't eaten them all and had one for dessert, tonight. Mmm.

    Uh-oh. Is my new name about to be "Troublemaker"?

  28. I wanna come over and play at your house!! You have FUN!!

  29. LOL! I have to work at finding fun, Suzi, but come on over. :)

  30. That is the most creative use of hotel freebies I've ever seen. There has to be a contest for that somewhere -- you'd win.

  31. Tristi,

    A contest for most creative use of hotel toiletries? What a concept! You let me know if you come across that kind of a contest, okay? ;)

  32. You are too funny! I hope you have a good weekend.

  33. Myutopia,

    Thanks. It looks like we have a whopper of a storm moving in. Could be a wet, humid weekend. Hope you have a good one, too!!!

  34. I have several Aussie books to read. Hope they are as funny as this post. I think pear bowling is a great idea.

  35. Framed,

    I'll have to watch for your reviews of Aussie books. I'm rarely disappointed by them - probably because I just love the setting.

    Pear bowling is excellent. You should try it. :)

  36. We tend to call our home wherever we happen to be at the moment, since we move so much! But I was born and raised in America. I do still miss Australia, though.

  37. Nyssaneala,

    You're lucky. I like moving but we've been in the same place for 21 years. Yuck.

  38. Every one I know goes crazy for Tim Tams but I have never tried any, are they really special?

  39. They're really good, especially dipped in coffee. Mmm. You have to time it just right or they'll melt away.

    I'm pretty sure Nabisco has something similar, though. They're essentially graham crackers with a chocolate cream center and chocolate coating.

  40. Reading this again, because you linked to it from your Armchair BEA introduction, I once again landed on the same quote: "...my perfectly color-coordinated bookmark..." We must be twins or something, since I also choose bookmarks that are color appropriate for the book I'm reading.

    You know I love your poppets. I miss reading about them.

    1. Yep, I have to color-coordinate my bookmarks to the books. Might as well. I have quite a collection of homemade bookmarks in just about every color imaginable! LOL

      Aw, sorry. The poppets have been awfully quiet for the last few years, haven't they? They seem to just come out when it snows. Two of them dance on the microwave regularly, though. :)


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