Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big News

So, finally, for the first time yesterday, Hank told us that he had to go poo on the potty, and then went and did it. Words cannot express how thrilled we are :) It's been a long haul, but *knocks on wood* I think we're over the worst of the potty training hurdle. I'm certain we're not totally in the clear; I've been a parent for long enough now that I'm not that naive :) But we've made significant progress, and we couldn't be happier. Now, the big question is: do we want to do this all over again? Jury is still out on that one :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

A sickly household...

Once again, we have illnesses making their way through the CatholicLibrarian household. I have a miserable cold, and Hank is pathetically telling me of new pains that he has daily from the same bug. Poor little thing. We've both been coughing, and sleeping pretty lightly as a result. He was so emotional and overtired this morning, he was bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, and melting down in 10 minute increments. It was a pretty painful morning for all 3 of us, as you can well imagine. I miss my dumpling, though. I wish I were home with him today :(

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Milestone in Hank's young life...

When I got home from work yesterday evening, Hank greeted me with big news: he's finally overcome his boycott of the daycare's potty, and has been officially invited by his teacher to forego Pull-Ups and wear real underwear to school. He was clutching a pair of Spider Man briefs in excitement and anticipation. Big stuff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Rosary...

This Lent, one of my goals that I've been good about is saying a daily Rosary in the car on the way to work in the mornings, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit. I frequent the Catholic Answers message boards, and there was a thread on whether or not it was appropriate to hang rosary beads from the rear-view mirror in one's car (there lots of worriers on that site, just like me :) The consensus logically was that it's completely fine, and someone posted a picture that never fails to make me laugh, with the caption "How you Know When a Catholic is Speeding":

I hope it's not irreverent, because I just love this :)

My own little super hero

Yesterday, I borrowed Scooby Doo Meets Batman from the public library to watch with Hank while Mike was teaching in the evening. He's really into super heroes lately. And this installmant was 2 old Scooby Doo episodes, the classics. It brought back happy memories just listening to the opening music :) I loved Scooby when I was little. Anyway, Hank was enthralled. When we finished, he stood funny for a minute, and asked if he could be Batman for Halloween. As we went upstairs, he declared:

"Mommy, I Batman! You, Robin." He then proceeded to skulk about in the hallway and leap into doorways shouting "Yikes! A ghost! Let's get him!!"

This is a hugely adorable improvement over other things he's been shouting about at home lately. One that brings back not-so-happy memories is:

Mike: "Hank, come on, push. You can do it, *push*!"
Hank: "NO NO NO NO NO!!! I *no want* to push!! I *all done*!"

That's one memory that I'm repressing as best I can.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hank's Prayer

As one would expect from a Type A Catholic girl, I'm diligent in my efforts to raise Hank up as a devout Catholic boy :) He's really starting to memorize longer things now, like parts of his favorite books, and songs. So, I figured the time was right to start running through the traditional prayers with him. Mike had a Calculus exam at 8 this morning that he was anxious about, and just before Hank and I headed out this morning at about that same time, I asked if he wanted to say a prayer for daddy. He did.

CL: Ok honey, we'll say the Hail Mary. Hail Mary...
Hank: Hail Mawy!
CL: Full of Grace.
Hank: Fuwl ofd Gwace.
CL: The Lord is with thee.
Hank: The Word is with me.
CL: Blessed art thou...
Hank: Bwessed art vow
CL: among women
Hank: among women
CL: and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
Hank: and bwessed is the fruit in my room, Jesus
CL: Holy Mary, Mother of God
Hank: Hody Mawy, Moder of God
CL: Pray for us sinners
Hank: Pway for us sinnos
CL: Now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
Hank: Now and at the hour of death in the haunted castle! Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

One of these days...

I'll be able to relay my daily goings-on without having them dominated by the bathroom habits of my 3 year old. *sighs* Overall, I had a very nice long weekend with Hank. I don't often take time off from work, and I'm realizing that this needs to change. I need to recharge sometimes too, and I should take advantage of my paid vacation time. I'm having a bit of "spring fever" going on, and I've had a strong desire to be home more cleaning and clearing - thus time off right now is refreshing and productive. I was a little tornado of energy Saturday morning, dragging Hank upstairs with me to assist in cleaning out our storage room. I hauled out a truckload of crap and created a pile to be donated to St. Vincent DePaul that is currently dominating our basement. I was so feverishly obsessed with my task that it caused Mike to nervously ask if a baby CatholicLibrarian could be on the way...I'm a neurotic nester. But no, I do not think baby CatholicLibrarian #2 is imminent :) I just have lots of house task energy to burn right now.

In other developments, Hank continues to vex us with toilet training. We're going to go broke buying fresh fruit to "help things along" at this rate. In a few of his more amusing moments related to this topic:

- Upon wake up one morning, and vehement denial that he has to use the potty, a soaked Pull-Up results within minutes.

CL: Hank honey, why didn't you tell me that you had to go potty?
Hank: I didn't have to go potty.
CL: Well, your Pull Up is soaked, honey.
Hank: A *MONSTO* did that.
CL: A monster peed in your Pull Up?
Hank: *complete poker face* YES.

- Repeated, 8 hour denial that he has to go poo. Many frustrating trips to the bathroom ensue. Hank strolls into the living room, very, *very* casually.

Hank: Hi Mommy. I not pooing.
CL: *groans* Great, so you're pooing.
Hank: No I not. *strikes odd pose*

A rush into the bathroom (inevitably, right in the middle of dinner) results in aforementioned jaws of life being implemented to prevent any actual production. By this point, I'm considering breaking into the liquor cabinet early.

Hank: Mommy, could you hold me?
CL: Hank, do you have to go poo?
Hank: NO.

30 seconds elapse.

CL: Hank, do you have to go poo?
Hank: *pitifully* yes.

So, in the end we had a success, but I tell you, I've never spent so much time in the rest room, not even when I was pregnant with the little frustrater.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Long weekend ahead...

I'm taking tomorrow off, since my mom is out of town and she is our usual Friday Henry-sitter. I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy my job, but lately I've been feeling some small signs of burn out. Routine tasks are taking on an aura of annoyingness, and I'm very ready to head home in the evenings. It just gets to you after a while when it appears that students *never* read directions, and *never* can be bothered to show up on time for appointments, if at all, and, well, you get the idea :) I need some time off, and vacation time is accruin'.

Tonight, Mike has class from 5-8, so Hank and I have a date to make eggs (cheese omlette with veggies for me, scrambled for him) and watch Max and Ruby's Easter together. I checked out a copy of the DVD from the public library, and I can tell that I've found my new way of saving money. Gosh I love the public library. Why didn't I think of looking for DVD's there before?! They have everything from films, kids movies and tv episodes on DVD. Loving it. Hank is currently also loving his big truck/train/emergency vehicle board book he checked out :)

Anyway, tomorrow we have a play date with some friends, and we'll be following lots of exciting college basketball. I'm looking forward to it. As long as he poos, *dramatic sigh*. Last time I asked him if he had to poo, Hank informed me "I can't do that, mommy. That's veeerrryy *dangerous*!" Apparently the poo police are going to come get him should he make a deposit. What am I going to do with this child?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feeling a little uninspired...

I've been tired since 10 o'clock this morning. I had a class to teach at 9, and while I'm glad to have gotten it out of the way early, teaching is such a stretch to my introvert personality that I always feel drained after. So, I'm tired. I've also noticed that I'm not as excited to creatively plan my lessons the way I once was. I've unfortunately become a bit jaded about instruction given the sheer volume of student apathy that I see. I'm hoping that with some recharging over the summer, I'll be more inspired about it in the fall.

Luckily, I'm having drinks with my girlfriends from college later, and that will perk me right up :) Gossip always does that for me. I just scarfed down at least a half dozen Tootsie Rolls (who left the candy in the reference office?!) in an effort to bring me out of my stupor, as I have another English Comp. class to plan for tomorrow... No dice. I still feel like someone needs to scrape me off of the floor.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Adventures in Potty Land, Season 2

Following the potty-related debacle at daycare last Thursday ("The Great Poo-Splosion of 2009"), Mike and I have been monitoring Hank's bathroom habits (poor child) like hawks. Pear juice and fresh pineapple at the ready, we've been scooping him up and marching him to the bathroom at regular intervals daily. We've become quite adept at reading his body language as indicators of when the time is right. This is much more complicated than getting a child to go pee-pee on the toilet, I assure you. In that case, load 'em up with salty foods and consequent beverages, pop them on the potty 30-60 minutes later, and voila! Instant teaching opportunity. The poo is a much more elusive entity.

Thus, we've uncovered the following as indicators that we need to rush Hank to the bathroom immediately:

(1) discreet squatting
(2) hiding under tables
(3) being quiet in another room for longer than 2 minutes
(3) a clear "funny walk"
(4) obvious noxious odors

For the first time, we had some success with vigilantly watching for these behaviors and getting him into the bathroom on time. Granted, this was all accompanied by (a) whining, (b) complaining, (c) protestations, (d) denials, and (e) crying, but we persevered. I think we're making progress :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Mommy, Iron Man Got Poo on Him!"

This is what Hank announced to me as I came in the door from work yesterday. Given that the only Iron Man Hank owns is on his sneakers, I immediately feel some apprehension. Other clues include the fact that Hank appears freshly bathed, and has on different clothes than he did in the morning. Mike appears at the door, and the plot thickens:

"Honey, there's been an incident."

The lead-up to all of this is that in our efforts to potty train Hank, he has developed holding mechanisms that bear strength reminiscent of the jaws of life. He can hold pee-pee all day at daycare, insisting that he doesn't have to go until he gets home. The kid is developing a complex, which I don't like. And the poo...sigh.

"Hank, do you have to go poo?"
"Honey, I know you do, look at how you're standing. Let's go sit on the potty."
"NO!! I *NO HAVE* to go!! I go, at...at CHRISTMASTIME!"
"Hank, we're not waiting 9 months for you to go poo. It's good to poo. Everybody poos. Let's go."

This is how it happens *every time*. You'd think we were forcing the child down onto a live grenade the way his butt avoids the potty when he has to go. He holds it until he makes himself sick. The other day he went 3 times, 2 of which made it into the potty. The other waited until I was distracted long enough to not realize anything was amiss until the house stunk. And then came yesterday...

Apparently, he told his daycare teacher that his tummy hurt, and he resembled a small Buddha. Knowing his phobia, she told him that it was ok to just poo in his Pull-Up, so that his tummy could feel better. He did, and the situation quickly turned dire. Poo went everywhere. Mike arrives as the cleanup process was well underway. Hank's pants had to be *thrown into the garbage*. Poo went into his socks and *into his shoes*. It was quite traumatic for all involved, except Hank, who exclaimed "I sure feel better!" and found the whole cleanup process endlessly interesting. Feeling upset that my baby was in need and I wasn't there, I exacted a promise from him that he would never hold it like that again.

This morning, as I rushed about the house trying to get us on our way to daycare early since I had a doctor's appointment at 8:15, I approach Hank for a potty run. He's standing funny.

"Mommy, could you change me?"

Oh LORD. Yes, another cleanup project. It's going to be one of those days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Mike and I pawned Hank off (our little anchor with a Pull-Up attached) on my dad Sunday afternoon, and got out to a movie. I tell you, it's so rare to actually get out to a movie *theatre* when you have small kids, it's not even funny. We are also cheapskates that loathe paying nearly $10 per ticket to go to a fancy schmancy theatre like Regal, so we wait for things to come to the second run. As you can tell, we don't get out a lot.

Anyway, we saw Revolutionary Road, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Not exactly an uplifter, but a good dramatic film. It takes place during the 50's, and is a saga of suburban married life during that time. Kate is an idealistic budding actress when she meets future husband Leo, a more practical longshoreman, at a party. Soon, we flash to their future: Leo in the audience, applauding gamely at Kate's performance in a small town play while the couple behind him gossips about how poor the actors were. Turns out, Kate's dreams were cut short by an unplanned pregnancy early in their marriage, and they moved to suburbia where Leo could secure a job as a worker bee in the large firm his own father had worked at for twenty years. Another child later, Kate is home looking perfectly miserable in their beautiful house while Leo toils away good-naturedly in a job he despises to support his family. They grow distant, with Leo spending nights on the couch and eyeing cute secretaries. When they decide to throw caution to the wind, sell their house, and pack up their young children to move to Paris and start a new life, you feel the hope come back into their reverie. Things don't go as planned, and their marriage, and Kate's mental health, deteriorate quickly...

It's a downer. Don't go looking for a feel-good movie or a cheerful discourse on marriage. However, it's a solid, thought-provoking film, and we both enjoyed it. Has anyone else seen it?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pride & Prejudice

Recently, I exacted from my husband a trade: I would watch a movie of his choice with him (I believe he has chosen Pulp Fiction, sigh) if he would watch the magnificent A&E/BBC version of Pride & Prejudice. It is one of my all time favorites, and I haven't watched in several years. Well, this past weekend, we embarked.

From the outset, I could see that Mike was drawn in quickly. The period costumes, the beautiful English countryside scenery, the charming accents...and of course, the drama of the fate of the five Bennett girls and their mother's desperate desire to see them marry well, sparing them all from becoming penniless should their father pass away and the estate entail to their smarmy vicar cousin, Mr. Collins. What I love about this movie is how the audience, along with Elizabeth Bennett, *very gradually* warms up to the dark and dashing Mr. Darcy. At first, we dislike him. He snubs our heroine, the spunky and intelligent Lizzie, and looks down upon the Bennetts for their lack of prestigious name and estate. The addition of the squealing, perpetually-needing-smelling-salts Mrs. Bennett, as well as the loud and silly younger Bennett girls, Kitty and Lydia, certainly don't help. By time he proposes to Lizzie, we find him attractive and just a bit exciting, though we can't completely overcome our reservations, nor can Lizzie. Although he was unsuccessful and manages to insult the woman he is proclaiming to love, I still absolutely *love* his proposal of marriage. It's one of my favorite scenes in the film:

"My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus I'm aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgement. The relative situation of our families makes any alliance between us a reprehensible connection. As a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments, I have come to feel for you...a passionate admiration and regard, which despite my struggles, has overcome every rational objection. I beg you, most fervently, to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife."

*Blissful sigh* Now this, Stephanie Meyer, is a true declaration of love. He may be proud (and a bit rude) but he's honest and genuine.

Given that it is 5 hours long, this was a 4 evening undertaking. Each night, Mike admitted that he was really looking forward to seeing what would happen next. We were both enraptured as Lizzie slowly begins to see Darcy in a new light through the eyes of his family and associates. And oh!! When Lizzie bumps into him as he emerges from a dip in the pond at Pemberly, and he's all flustered, PRECIOUS!! And then how he rushes back out, still wet but stuffed into formal attire so that he can see Lizzie before she departs with her aunt and uncle. This is true romance. And then, when Lydia disgraces the family by running off with the shady Mr. Wickham, neither of us was paying any attention to our wine. We rejoiced when Darcy paid off Wickham's debts and forced him (snorts!) to marry Lydia and save the Bennetts' reputation from total ruin.

Last night, we watched the final installment. Darcy abruptly stops his stroll with Lizzie and, completely disregarding the wishes of his proper and prickly old relative- Lady Catherine de Berg- that he marry her anemic and porky-looking daughter, he asks:

"You're too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are what they were last April, tell me so. My affections and wishes are unchanged. But one word from you will silence me on this subject forever."

Lizzie declares that her feelings are "quite the opposite" as when she turned him down months ago. I glanced over at Mike, who was beaming. He's been bitten by the Pride & Prejudice bug, and he would die if he knew I was blogging about it. Oh! It's just so good. The double wedding at the end, with sweet Jane marrying Mr. Bingley alongside Lizzie and Darcy. *squeals* I love it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Twilight Addendum...

Just real quick. I was reading Amazon reviews of Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series. One reviewer was discussing a plot point that I was also pretty ticked about. Again, I'll refrain from spoiling what it is, but let's just say that in a vampire romance, it's a pretty big plot point. And I *loathed* what the author did with it. I mean, *loathed.* I actually gasped aloud in bed, and forced Mike to listen to a 5 minute rant about what I found wrong with the author. Our reviewer comments about this point as follows:

TOTAL Slap. In. The. Face. I was ready to drive to Arizona, find Stephenie Meyer's house, and burn it down.

I loved this. Thought I should share.

The Twilight series...

I'll start off on a non-Twilight note about my Lenten journey :) So far, I've done pretty well avoiding meat and diet soda. My mom was pushing meatballs on me yesterday, and I managed to resist. *proud of self* On the prayer front, I've maintained praying a morning offering, reading my Lenten devotional each day, reading a chapter of scripture from my new Bible each night, and I've done very well adding in a daily rosary. Even though I endeavored to do more, I think this is pretty decent considering my schedule.

So. Onto my recent reading habits. My mother-in-law passed on the Twilight series to me, and given that they've caused quite a stir, I thought they were worth writing about. This is a 4 book series, aimed at the young adult market. Despite the fact that the author is a brand new writer, the books gained an enormous fan base, and people of all ages began raving about them. Before I picked up the first book, my husband (who would die if he knew I was advertising this) was looking for something to read, and picked up Twilight. He too raved about how interesting the story was, so by this point, my curiosity was seriously piqued.

I'll start with a short summary of the plot, but I'll try my hardest not to give away huge spoilers, since some of you may be planning to read the books. In a nut shell, these stories are about a 17 year old girl named Bella who moves from Phoenix to Forks, Washington to live with her father, the police chief of the town. Bella is pretty unhappy about her relocation, and is worried about fitting in at school. Quickly, other students take a liking to their exotic new addition, and Bella finds a few friends as well as some over-eager male companions. Not so over-eager is Edward, a member of the mysterious Cullen family that no one seems to know much about. Edward appears determined to avoid Bella, and is deliberately rude to her. When Bella presses her new friends for the scoop, she finds out that the Cullen patriarch is a doctor in town, and that he and his wife Esme adopted a slew of in-need teenagers, one of whom is Edward. But something seems off about the lot of them - they don't eat at lunch time, keep very much to themselves, and are all overwhelmingly, almost unnaturally, attractive. They also all disappear from school on sunny days...

When Edward suddenly turns on the charm, Bella surprises herself by taking a liking to him. After Edward saves her life by exerting superhuman strength against a moving vehicle, Bella knows that Edward isn't like the rest of us. Gee, you think? Yes, Edward is a vampire. And he and Bella are in love with each other. Problem is, Edward desperately wants to kill Bella and drink her blood. Give the guy a break, he *is* a vampire. He and his family, however, are "good vampires" that value human life and subsist on animal blood; but apparently the allure of the real thing doesn't go away so easily. Sort of like the Boca Burger I'm slated to consume tonight.

Anyway, there is much more I could say on plot points, but I'll leave it at that. If you're curious for more, read the books :) You're about to read my (strong) thoughts on them, but regardless, they're a fun good time, and I encourage you to sip wine and read the series in your leisure time. It really is worth it, even simply for the conversation value.

I genuinely liked the first book. The author is no Pulitzer in the making, but the story is quite charming. You really feel the nervousness of the new girl on the block, and her desperate desire to be liked. The author does a good job of crafting the distinctiveness of the Cullens, although the length of time it took Bella to figure out the "mystery" is a bit beyond me. But I liked the overall 'human girl meets vampire and falls in love' story; simple, but well done. It's no Buffy and Angel, let me assure you. Nothing can compare to how well that was done. But this is a cute book.

Then I read the rest of the books. Sigh. And now the bitching will commence. My gripes with the series are as follows:

We're supposed to like the main characters. That generally should happen in books, particularly love stories, no? And in Twilight, I liked them. Edward was dark and broody, and Bella was quirky and charming. Mike and I even went to see Twilight in movie form and liked it. But then...things changed. I won't get into the plots of the later books, that would be too time consuming and give too much away. But after the first book, Bella starts to grate on my nerves like a brick of sharp cheddar. I know she loves the vampire; he's a delicious bad boy to be sure. But reading again and again and again and a-freaking-gain about how beautiful and perfect and wonderful, and did I mention perfect? Edward is, I just want to vomit. Enough. We know he's sensitive and attractive. Let's move on.

But she doesn't move on. Pretty soon, the girl loses all of her friends, and hangs out only with Edward and the other Cullens. I hated girls like this in high school :) Life is not only about you and your boyfriend. Let others into your private universe, ok? Otherwise, you're just obnoxious. Pretty soon, our heroine is declaring that she simply can't live, *can't breathe* without her Edward in her life. I could let it go if you believed the character were actually speaking in affectionate hyperbole. But she's not, trust me. For a time, Edward is out of her life. Bella becomes, I kid you not, *catatonic* without him. Ok, reality check. These are high school kids (although Edward is actually nearly 100 years old; why he's interested in a 17 year old is beyond me, and part of my suspended disbelief for the sake of the book) and we're supposed to believe that their love affair is just so much more special and poignant than any other that they literally cannot function without the other. This is called unhealthy co-dependence, sister. You need help.

Bella has no interests outside of Edward. None. Her friends all give up on her. She doesn't take yoga, or do anything else that doesn't involve Edward. You may think I'm being too picky; but these are long bloody books. In 800 pages (this is merely 1 book I'm talking about here), with minute details of Edward's passionate expressions and perfected emotional condition coming at us left and right, there could be some fodder in here about what Bella does in her free time to break things up a bit. Nope. She has no free time outside of her boyfriend. Thinking ahead to college, she sees it only as an excuse to move out of her father's house and out of the area so that she can be turned into a vampire in peace and be with Edward forever. There is no consideration of, oh I don't know, actually attending college. Nor is there much consideration of the consequences of being killed to transform into a vampire. The mother in me was constantly screaming "but your *parents*!! You have no idea, do you, you little twit?!" I could go on and on about this point, but I'll spare you.

Instead, I'll move on to Edward. At this point, nearly done with the 4th book, I hate him too. I know that vampires possess supernatural powers, are physically stronger than humans, and can pose threats to them (particularly those of the non-animal subsisting variety). However, in his efforts to "protect" Bella, from himself as well as human blood-drinking enemies, Edward annoys the everliving snot right out of me. Here are just a few of the things that Edward does, in the name of loving Bella:

(1) Watch her sleep without her knowledge or permission. I don't care how dark and broody he is, this is creepy.

(2) When he leaves her (temporarily) he takes all of her pictures of him and other possessions that she has relating to him, in the name of "helping her heal faster."

(3) When Bella intends to see a friend that Edward believes is dangerous to her, he disables her car.

(4) When Bella returns from a trip to a place that Edward deemed dangerous, he follows her and tailgates her all the way to her next destination, to let her know how unhappy he is.

(5) When Bella's beloved old truck finally bites the dust, Edward replaces it with a flashy European sports car, very much like the type of car that *he* favors, because it is "missle proof," despite the fact that Bella positively despises having attention drawn to herself.

(6) Speaking with another character in the books, Edward refers to Bella as "needing a lot of looking after."

Ok, these are just a few points of many that I could raise. Maybe I'm taking a fictional book much too seriously, but it got to the point where the relationship between the main characters actually disturbed me. This is NOT normal nor healthy. In fact, some of it is emotionally abusive. And I get the impression that the author really is trying to convince us that this is all very romantic, and thus it's ok. Look how much he loves her, isn't it romantic and special?

The breaking point for me came in the 4th book. I won't say exactly what it is referring to, because it would be a huge spoiler, but Edward and another male character converse about something that they want Bella to do that she is refusing to do (and in this particular case, I actually agree with Bella's opinion). One of the male characters says "what do you mean, she won't let you? She weighs all of 110 pounds; hold her down and sedate her!" Edward says that he wanted to, but that his vampire sister agreed with Bella and was thwarting his efforts. At this point, I nearly stopped reading the book to write a nasty letter to the author. If you knew what I was referring to above, you would be as disturbed as I was. At this juncture of the story, Bella is 18 years old and a full adult. She is a person, and can, gasp! make decisions. Yet Edward acts as though she needs to be saved from herself, and that her very free will should be taken from her physically to make her comply with his "protective" measures. This is where I draw the line.

I was so disgusted, it has just about ruined the whole series for me. Don't let this stop you from reading the books - I want to talk about them with you :) There's still interesting fodder in there. But given that this is a young adult series, I think the author is sending a horrible message to young women that this is a strong female character, and that her "love" relationship is something to be emulated. In point of fact, I believe that this series chronicles an unhealthy obsessive relationship.

I'm probably taking this all too seriously, I know. Sort of like that conversation I had with Mike about what we would do if one of us was a vampire, and the other wasn't. Mike's casual "oh, I'd turn you into a vampire too!" spurred a lengthy (and humorous) conversation thereof :) I know that this is all make believe. But I do think that the love story should be presented in a way that is actually admirable and enviable. At this point, I just want it to be over. I'll take my non-perfect life and love story any day.