Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Hayley!

Today is officially Hayley's 7th birthday!

We celebrated yesterday at one of the local bowling alleys--the only one that still allows smoking inside. (Gag! CoUgH! GAsPing for AIR!) Despite the toxic air, however, Hayley had a wonderful time with her new best friend Claudia and her cousin Sierra. They bowled (Which was hilarious to watch because none of them have ever bowled before.), danced around, played arcade games, ate cake, opened presents, and did it all over again. I know she had a lot of fun.

While the kiddos were playing their games, I found my favorite--Ms. Pac-Man--and decided to play. My dad decided that he wanted to play too, not knowing that I am the champ of Ms. Pac-Man, so I skunked him. My score really wasn't that great, but I am a bit rusty and the knob on the machine was VERY loose and hard to maneuver. Overall, we had fun. My dad wants a re-match. I told him he needed to practice some more before we played again.

(This is reminiscent of our Pin-Ball matches on the computer when I still lived at home. We would play until we cleared each others' scores off the screen. He would be at work all day, and i would spend the day racking up the high-score. Then, on a day he would have off, he'd beat my high score. It was pretty funny because we never knew when the other one was playing, so you'd never know whose score was the highest until you started to play.)

After we left the bowling alley, we headed back to my parents' house and vegged in front of the TV for a couple of hours. It was about 8:30 pm before I left and drove home--thankfully the rain stopped while I was driving and started as I rounded the bend into my apartment complex. (Gotta love tropical storms stalled in the ocean.)

Meanwhile, Madison decided to take a nap on the couch while I was out.

She's been pretty clingy lately, but you can still see her annoyance at the camera. Or, maybe it's at the camera holder? Hmmmm.....

Fall Into Reading 2007

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to participate in another Reading Challenge, but I have a HUGE pile of books that I need to read, so I figured, why not? Besides, it'll be fun! I promise! Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting it again, and each Thursday, you can enter to win a new book. See, I told you it would be fun!

Here's my proposed list to read between now (September 23, 2007 and December 21, 2007) and the end of the challenge:

Florida Teens Read List:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (DONE!)
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor (DONE!)
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (DONE!)
Black and White by Frank Volponi (DONE!)
Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs (DONE!)
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (DONE!)
Hit the Road by Caroline B. Cooney (DONE!)
Sleeping freshmen never lie by David Lubar (DONE!)
Sold by Patricia McCormick (DONE!)
Rash by Pete Hautman (DONE!)
Runner by Carl Deuker (DONE!)
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney (DONE!)
Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde (DONE!)
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (DONE!)
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper (DONE!)

I'll probably add more to this list, but these are the books that I HAVE to read between now and then for my job. (After all, how can I ask my students to read them if I haven't read them myself?)

Come on--sign up--it'll be fun. Maybe we could even read a couple of books together. Let me know if you decide to participate. Then I can add more books to my wish list for Christmas! :)
Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Garage Sale and Other Updates

Whew! Yesterday was the date of the infamous garage sale at my parent's house. I must admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect--with the advertising side not being as prominent as I would have liked, and the "help" that was volunteered withdrawn--however, things did work out for the best and I'm REALLY glad that it's finally over.

The last of my stuff was transferred from my third story shoebox to my parent's house on Thursday, before the sale. A couple of my neighbors actually asked if I was moving because there were so many boxes of stuff and furniture being moved down the stairs. (Hey! I've been accumulating for three decades! I finally decided it was time for it all to go!)

Friday night, I made posters to hang up in the neighborhood so that people could find their house--especially since it's at the end of a road along the side of an access road for the Interstate. Their cat, Tabitha "Mooch" aka Tabby, really LOVED the posters. Or, maybe it was the fumes from the posters. She rolled around on them for most of the evening. Then, as my Mom was blowing up balloons the next morning to hang with the signs, she did it again...

The next morning, I finally crawled out of bed, after a less than restful night, around 5 am. You see, for some crazy reason, my dad said that we should hold the sale from 7 am-1 pm. That way we wouldn't be out in the heat of the day. Unfortunately, the first person showed up at 6:15 am--(what part of 7am did she NOT understand?) and was upset because we weren't set up yet. However, some of the things she was searching for we did not have, so she left without buying anything. Oh well, now we know.

My mom of course, was in a tizzy and kept flinging things about just to try to get it set up. (She's pretty methodical and wanted to clean surfaces before setting out my dusty items. Obviously she hadn't had any caffeine yet.) Her craziness didn't help much when my aunt arrived a few minutes later and started unloading my grandmother's things on the table I had just set up for my breakables. (Yep, this is how the whole morning went...) In any case, I kept my tongue under wraps (go me!) and tried to consider their points of view. After all, none of us have really had a garage sale here in Florida. The last garage sale I had was in Texas, right before I moved back here to Florida. So, none of us really knew the rules of garage sales--like people showing up WAY early and so forth.

Once things were pretty much set up, I grabbed my niece (who was supposed to sell cookies and lemonade during the sale, but opted to watch cartoons inside the air-conditioned house instead) and my dad's friend Dean (the guy who helped transport stuff from my shoebox) to go hang signs for the sale. My niece was in charge of pictures...

Obviously her priorities are not exactly mine, but her perspective is interesting for an almost seven-year old. :) Once we hung the signs, we arrived back at the house to find an SUV leaving. My first thought was that they bought everything and we could close up shop and go into the air-conditioning, but rounding the driveway showed me that I was completely wrong on that hope. (My dad was WAY wrong--it was 91 degrees in the shade and since it decided to rain later in the day, it was extremely muggy and humid.)

I met a lot of interesting people yesterday. Some of which showed up by just following the signs. The most memorable of which was a Hispanic gentleman who came on his bicycle. (Thank goodness I took some Spanish in high school, because most of our customers spoke only Spanish or a mixture I call Spanglish.) He explained that he was riding home from work and saw the signs and followed them. He ended up buying a box full of things, including straps for a sleeping bag, which he used to tie the box to his bike. He also mentioned that he was going to ride up to the next major street and then take the bus home. He was pretty ingenious and was extremely polite--even if we didn't understand each other very well.

I met another woman-Lenora-who attends a church downtown. As I was carrying an item to her car, she invited me to her church. (Why didn't I think of that?) It just shows--you never know who's watching and the opportunities that may arise.

Overall, it was not a very profitable day (I made enough to order pizza for us), but I did get to meet some very nice people. Remember the SUV that drove away as I was coming back from the signs--they actually came back! It was towards the end of the sale and the rain was headed in our direction, so we were starting to pack things up to go to the local Thrift Store. As it turns out, the girl and her husband are building a new house and she wants to do her kitchen in Winnie the Pooh. (I used to collect Pooh stuff and had my entire kitchen done in Pooh as well.) So, I gave her a box and told her to fill it up. She said that she only had $18 dollars, so I gave her a bigger box and told her to fill it up. She didn't believe me at first until I started loading all of my Pooh stuff in her box. Her niece was ecstatic when she saw that I had a lot of journals for sale. She writes country music and needed a place to write her songs. I gave her the lot of them for 50 cents.

My mom and aunt told me later that I shouldn't have "given" things away. However, most of the items that were left went to the thrift store anyways, so I figure at least this way, they would get some use out of them. Yes, I could have sold all of the collectible things--Winnie the Pooh cookie jars and tons of PartyLite candle holders--on eBay, but I don't really care about the money factor. To me, giving the items to the Catholic Thrift Store guarantees that the money will be used for good causes. It was just stuff that was bogging me down. I feel much lighter after getting rid of all of those things, and I'm sure the movers will appreciate it the next time I decide to move--although I do have a ton of books they'll have to carry down the stairs. :)

What's even better, is that today's sermon was about how we can't take all of our "stuff" with us when we die. That it's not about how much we have, but it's what we do with what we do have. :) God is pretty funny--and his timing is impeccable. (Even if it's not the same as mine.)


In even more exciting news--I won a copy of Kristin Billerbeck's NEW novel The Trophy Wives Club! I received an email from Marilynn Griffith (can you believe it?) telling me that I won the book! I'm really excited because I've read almost all of Kristin's other work and I can completely identify with her characters. You should really check out her other books--they're hilarious! I promise!


I'm going to Texas for Thanksgiving to see my real dad and his wife. He offered to buy the ticket, so I'm hopping on a plane and getting there the day before turkey day. I'll be flying back EARLY Saturday (who decided that I was a morning person--boy are they WRONG!) morning--like 6:30 AM EARLY! YUCK! However, Madison is going to be alone for four days. Please pray for her because she was literally sick by my being gone for just one day--the Lord only knows what will be waiting when I return after being gone for four days! (Don't fear--I've already done a trial run on food and water, so she'll have plenty of food and water while I'm gone. Now the litter box--that's another story!)

I'm excited about going out there for a visit. I haven't seen them since I moved back here over a year ago, and I hope to see some of my friends. I just hope that it's not too cold over there because I have no idea how to drive on ice, and I'd really rather not have that experience while I'm there. (It was incredibly warm while I lived there--it didn't even snow! Thank goodness!) I'll keep you posted.

Well, I have to go back to that place they call work, tomorrow. Thursday is conference night, which I have to miss, so I have to make up the hours during some other time. I'm planning on doing a little bit each day, so I'd better get everything ready for tomorrow. Yippee.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Grandparent's Day!

I actually woke up early this morning to drive the 45 miles to my grandparents' church to surprise them for Grandparent's Day! They were pretty surprised--especially since I hadn't been to their church since March. We ended up going out to Macaroni Grill to celebrate the occasion, but I forgot to take pictures. (I know, I MUST be sick...)

What a crazy couple of weeks! Usually the first week is school is crazy and I'm zonked at the end of the week because I've had to re-adjust to getting up at the insane hour of 4 am. However, with the new schedules being imposed on the high school teachers this year, stress form not being able to give my job the attention it deserves, due to administration's priorities, and an overall attitude that I really don't want to be there....I've been wiped out--mentally and physically for the past three weeks!

(I read on someone's post recently that people who do not go out on Friday evenings do rather mundane or "lame" things--I've been sleeping. Forget the food; forget relaxing; after a quick shower, I change into my jammies and I'm out until Madison feels I should be up to serve her breakfast.)

I feel terrible because I told some of my students that I would go to their football games (JV and Varsity), but I just haven't had the energy to go and cheer them on. This past Friday, I think I caught whatever nasty bug is going around because I...well, you don't really need those details. Just suffice to say, I wasn't feeling very well and was afraid to do anything but go straight home to...bed. Saturday, I felt a little better and should have been finishing cleaning out my storage unit for our garage sale this coming Saturday (yes, the date was changed), but I pretty much slept most of the day and finished reading Allison Bottke's debut book, A Stitch in Time. This is the book that I won from Camy Tang's site.

It is a WONDERFUL book! Dee,the main character, is going through a rocky time-period in her life and is struggling with issues most women face as they get older. As a baby Christian, Dee is trying to set a good example of Christ-like behavior for her friends and family, but is having a rough time of it--especially when her crazy family and friends find out that she's had WLS and is sneaking back to the doctor for a tummy tuck. Aside from family and friend issues, Dee's work is sliding--or so her best friend and boss thinks. Will Dee be able to find the balance in her life? Will she be able to find God's comfort and love as she's wading through these troubled times?

I enjoyed this book because it kept me laughing throughout. Having been through a divorce caused by the same mishap in Dee's marriage, I can relate to her crushed spirit and unwillingness to forgive or forget. While I cannot afford the clothing or shoes that Dee manages to find at sample sales and consignment shops, I can still relate to wanting to look my best and give my best to my "clients." I hope within my life that I run into a wise Christian counsel like Dee found in Lily. Despite the obstacles that Dee must overcome, the main theme throughout the book is that God, does indeed, allow us to make U-Turns.

I've reflected on this book a lot over the past day or so because I feel like I've had to make a few U-turns in my own life, and may have to make a few more before it's all over.

You see, I've always felt like I'm a change-agent. I LIKE change! I know it's uncomfortable at first, but the things I learn about myself and others around me when changes happen, are simply astounding. What's even more remarkable is that change happens usually when I'm up past my eyeballs in stuff. You see, when I'm feeling overwhelmed and out of control, that's when God does his most amazing work in my life. Yes, sometimes it's something as simple as me changing the words I say, or the place I've decided to shop for groceries that day. Other times He calls me to make a move--whether it's physically to another location, or mentally in my thought processes. Either way, I've learned something that I needed to learn, and probably would not have been exposed to if I had not made a change.

Why all of this talk of change? Mainly because I can feel God moving in my life. I know something BIG is coming down the pipes and it's going to require CHANGE. How do I know this? Because I feel it in my spirit. I'm feeling antsy and anxious for no reason at all. I want to wring my hands or bite my fingernails because I KNOW it's coming, I just don't know what IT is. All I know is that it will require me to "go a little farther" than I'm comfortable with; i.e., change.

What's even better is God is giving me little sign-posts along the way. Today's sermon at my grandparent's church was discussing Matthew 26:36-39. (This is my NIV translation)

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to
them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
(These disciples did not go as far as the others.)

He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he
began to be sorrowful and troubled.

Then he said to them,
" My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." (These disciples went a little farther than the others, but still did not go as far as Jesus.)

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is
possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
(Jesus went father than all the rest. We have been empowered as Christians to go "full throttle"-as the sermon was titled--father than the rest. Rather than be complacent in our attitudes for Christ, we have been called to go a little father.)

You see, had I not decided to go to a different church, I would have missed that little sign post that God put out for me. He is calling me to "go a little farther"-- to be an agent of change.

Now, I just have to figure out where it is I'm supposed to be going. :)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Happy September 1st!

It is September 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Sushi for One?

(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)


Camy Tang is a member of FIRST and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

Visit her at her website.


Chapter 1

Eat and leave. That’s all she had to do.

If Grandma didn’t kill her first for being late.

Lex Sakai raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. She tripped over the threshold and almost turned her ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, she hated wearing heels.

Her cousin Chester sat behind a small table next to the open doorway.

“Hey Chester.”

“Oooh, you’re late. Grandma isn’t going to be happy. Sign over here.” He gestured to the guestbook that was almost drowned in the pink lace glued to the edges.

“What do I do with this?” Lex dropped the Babies R Us box on the table.

Chester grabbed the box and flipped it behind him with the air of a man who’d been doing this for too long and wanted out from behind the frilly welcome table.

Lex understood how he felt. So many of their cousins were having babies, and there were several mixed Chinese-Japanese marriages in the family. Therefore, most cousins opted for these huge—not to mention tiring—traditional Chinese Red Egg and Ginger parties to “present” their newborns, even though the majority of the family was Japanese American.

Lex bent to scrawl her name in the guestbook. Her new sheath dress sliced into her abs, while the fabric strained across her back muscles. Trish had convinced her to buy the dress, and it actually gave her sporty silhouette some curves, but its fitted design prevented movement. She should’ve worn her old loosefitting dress instead. She finished signing the book and looked back to Chester. “How’s the food?” The only thing worthwhile about these noisy events. Lex would rather be at the beach.

“They haven’t even started serving.”

“Great. That’ll put Grandma in a good mood.”

Chester grimaced, then gestured toward the far corner where there was a scarlet-draped wall and a huge gold dragon wall-hanging. “Grandma’s over there.”

“Thanks.” Yeah, Chester knew the drill, same as Lex. She had to go over to say hello as soon as she got to the party— before Grandma saw her, anyway—or Grandma would be peeved and stick Lex on her “Ignore List” until after Christmas.

Lex turned, then stopped. Poor Chester. He looked completely forlorn—not to mention too bulky—behind that silly table. Of all her cousins, he always had a smile and a joke for her. “Do you want to go sit down? I can man the table for you for a while. As long as you don’t forget to bring me some food.” She winked at him.

Chester flashed his toothy grin, and the weary lines around his face expanded into his normal laugh lines. “I appreciate that, but don’t worry about me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. My sister’s going to bring me something—she’s got all the kids at her table, so she’ll have plenty for me. But thanks, Lex.”

“You’d do the same for me.”

Lex wiggled in between the round tables and inadvertently jammed her toe into the protruding metal leg of a chair. To accommodate the hefty size of Lex’s extended family, the restaurant had loaded the room with tables and chairs so it resembled a game of Tetris. Once bodies sat in the chairs, a chopstick could barely squeeze through. And while Lex prided herself on her athletic 18-percent body fat, she wasn’t a chopstick.

The Chinese waiters picked that exact moment to start serving the food.

Clad in black pants and white button-down shirts, they filed from behind the ornate screen covering the doorway to the kitchen, huge round platters held high above their heads. They slid through the crowded room like salmon—how the heck did they do that?—while it took all the effort Lex had to push her way through the five inches between an aunty and uncle’s
chairs. Like birds of prey, the waiters descended on her as if they knew she couldn’t escape.

Lex dodged one skinny waiter with plates of fatty pork and thumb-sized braised octopus. Another waiter almost gouged her eye out with his platter. She ducked and shoved at chairs, earning scathing glances from various uncles and aunties.

Finally, Lex exploded from the sea of tables into the open area by the dragon wall-hanging. She felt like she’d escaped from quicksand. Grandma stood and swayed in front of the horrifying golden dragon, holding her newest great-granddaughter, the star of the party. The baby’s face glowed as red as the fabric covering the wall. Probably scared of the dragon’s green buggy eyes only twelve inches away. Strange, Grandma seemed to be favoring her right hip.

“Hi, Grandma.”

“Lex! Hi sweetie. You’re a little late.”

Translation: You’d better have a good excuse.

Lex thought about lying, but aside from the fact that she couldn’t lie to save her life, Grandma’s eyes were keener than a sniper’s. “I’m sorry. I was playing grass volleyball and lost track of time.”

The carefully lined red lips curved down. “You play sports too much. How are you going to attract a man when you’re always sweating?”

Like she was now? Thank goodness for the fruity body spritz she had marinated herself in before she got out of her car.

“That’s a pretty dress, Lex. New, isn’t it?”

How did she do that? With as many grandchildren as she had, Grandma never failed to notice clothes, whereas Lex barely registered that she wasn’t naked. “Thanks. Trish picked it out.”

“It’s so much nicer than that ugly floppy thing you wore to your cousin’s wedding.”

Lex gritted her teeth. Respect your grandmother. Do not open your mouth about something like showing up in a polkadotted bikini.

“Actually, Lex, I’m glad you look so ladylike this time. I have a friend’s son I want you to meet—”

Oh, no. Not again. “Does he speak English?”

Grandma drew herself to her full height, which looked a little silly because Lex still towered over her. “Of course he does.”


“Yes. Lex, your attitude—”


“Now why should that make a difference?”

Lex widened innocent eyes. “Religious differences account for a lot of divorces.”

“I’m not asking you to marry him, just to meet him.”

Liar. “I appreciate how much you care about me, but I’ll find my own dates, thanks.” Lex smiled like she held a knife blade in her teeth. When Grandma got pushy like this, Lex had more backbone than the other cousins.

“I wouldn’t be so concerned, but you don’t date at all—”

Not going there. “Is this Chester’s niece?” Lex’s voice rose an octave as she tickled the baby’s Pillsbury-Doughboy stomach. The baby screamed on. “Hey there, cutie, you’re so big, betcha having fun, is Grandma showing you off, well, you just look pretty as a picture, are you enjoying your Red Egg and Ginger party? Okay, Grandma, I have to sit down. Bye.”

Before Grandma could say another word, Lex whisked away into the throng of milling relatives. Phase one, accomplished. Grandmother engaged. Retreat commencing before more nagging words like “dating” and “marriage” sullied the air.

Next to find her cousins—and best friends—Trish, Venus, and Jenn, who were saving a seat for her. She headed toward the back where all the other unmarried cousins sat as far away from Grandma as physically possible.

Their table was scrunched into the corner against towering stacks of unused chairs—like the restaurant could even hold more chairs. “Lex!” Trish flapped her raised hand so hard, Lex expected it to fly off at any moment. Next to her, Venus lounged, as gorgeous as always and looking bored, while Jennifer sat quietly on her other side, twirling a lock of her long straight hair. On either side of them …

“Hey, where’s my seat?”

Venus’s wide almond eyes sent a sincere apology. “We failed you, babe. We had a seat saved next to Jenn, but then . . .” She pointed to where the back of a portly aunty’s chair had rammed up against their table. “We had to remove the chair, and by then, the rest were filled.”

“Traitors. You should have shoved somebody under the table.”

Venus grinned evilly. “You’d fit under there, Lex.”

Trish whapped Venus in the arm. “Be nice.”

A few of the other cousins looked at them strangely, but they got that a lot. The four of them became close when they shared an apartment during college, but even more so when they all became Christian. No one else understood their flaws, foibles, and faith.

Lex had to find someplace to sit. At the very least, she wanted to snarf some overpriced, high calorie, high cholesterol food at this torturous party.

She scanned the sea of black heads, gray heads, dyed heads, small children’s heads with upside-down ricebowl haircuts, and teenager heads with highlighting and funky colors.

There. A table with an empty chair. Her cousin Bobby, his wife, his mother-in-law, and his brood. Six—count ’em, six— little people under the age of five.

Lex didn’t object to kids. She liked them. She enjoyed coaching her girls’ volleyball club team. But these were Bobby’s kids. The 911 operators knew them by name. The local cops drew straws on who would have to go to their house when they got a call.

However, it might not be so bad to sit with Bobby and family. Kids ate less than adults, meaning more food for Lex.

“Hi, Bobby. This seat taken?”

“No, go ahead and sit.” Bobby’s moon-face nodded toward the empty chair.

Lex smiled at his nervous wife, who wrestled with an infant making intermittent screeching noises. “Is that …” Oh great. Boxed yourself in now. Name a name, any name. “Uh … Kyle?”

The beleaguered mom’s smile darted in and out of her grimace as she tried to keep the flailing baby from squirming into a face-plant on the floor. “Yes, this is Kylie. Can you believe she’s so big?” One of her sons lifted a fork. “No, sweetheart, put the food down—!”

The deep-fried missile sailed across the table, trailing a tail of vegetables and sticky sauce. Lex had protected her face from volleyballs slammed at eighty miles an hour, but she’d never dodged multi-shots of food. She swatted away a flying net of lemony shredded lettuce, but a bullet of sauce-soaked fried chicken nailed her right in the chest.

Yuck. Well, good thing she could wash—oops, no, she hadn’t worn her normal cotton dress. This was the new silk one. The one with the price tag that made her gasp, but also made her look like she actually had a waist instead of a plank for a torso. The dress with the “dry-clean only” tag.

“Oh! I’m sorry, Lex. Bad boy. Look what you did.” Bobby’s wife leaned across the table with a napkin held out, still clutching her baby whose foot was dragging through the chow mein platter.

The little boy sitting next to Lex shouted in laughter. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t had a mouth full of chewed bok choy in garlic sauce.

Regurgitated cabbage rained on Lex’s chest, dampening the sunny lemon chicken. The child pointed at the pattern on her dress and squealed as if he had created a Vermeer. The other children laughed with him.

“Hey boys! That’s not nice.” Bobby glared at his sons, but otherwise didn’t stop shoveling salt-and-pepper shrimp into his mouth.

Lex scrubbed at the mess, but the slimy sauces refused to transfer from her dress onto the polyester napkin, instead clinging to the blue silk like mucus. Oh man, disgustamundo. Lex’s stomach gurgled. Why was every other part of her athlete’s body strong except for her stomach?

She needed to clean herself up. Lex wrestled herself out of the chair and bumped an older man sitting behind her. “Sorry.” The violent motion made the nausea swell, then recede. Don’t be silly. Stop being a wimp. But her already sensitive stomach had dropped the call with her head.

Breathe. In. Out. No, not through your nose. Don’t look at that boy’s drippy nose. Turn away from the drooling baby.

She needed fresh air in her face. She didn’t care how rude it was, she was leaving now.

“There you are, Lex.”

What in the world was Grandma doing at the far end of the restaurant? This was supposed to be a safe haven. Why would Grandma take a rare venture from the other side where the “more important” family members sat?

“My goodness, Lex! What happened to you?”

“I sat next to Bobby’s kids.”

Grandma’s powdered face scrunched into a grimace. “Here, let me go to the restroom with you.” The bright eyes strayed again to the mess on the front of her dress. She gasped.

Oh, no, what else? “What is it?” Lex asked.

“You never wear nice clothes. You always wear that hideous black thing.”

“We’ve already been over this—”

“I never noticed that you have no bosom. No wonder you can’t get a guy.”

Lex’s jaw felt like a loose hinge. The breath stuck in her chest until she forced a painful cough. “Grandma!

Out of the corner of her eye, Lex could see heads swivel. Grandma’s voice carried better than a soccer commentator at the World Cup.

Grandma bent closer to peer at Lex’s chest. Lex jumped backward, but the chair behind her wouldn’t let her move very far.

Grandma straightened with a frighteningly excited look on her face. “I know what I’ll do.”

God, now would be a good time for a waiter to brain her with a serving platter.

Grandmother gave a gleeful smile and clapped her hands. “Yes, it’s perfect. I’ll pay for breast implants for you!”

© Camy Tang
Used by permission of Zondervan

I absolutely LOVED this book! Lex is a strong, fiesty female that hates to be pressured by her grumbly grandmother into finding a boyfriend in time for her cousin's wedding, or lose funding for her girl's volleyball team. In addition, Lex has to find a new job, find a new place to live, possibly find a new car, as well as train hard for a possible place on an elite volleyball team, all while trying to appease her grandmother by finding a "boyfriend" in time for the wedding.

Being the OSF myself, I understand the pressure from friends and family for a relationship that eventually leads to marriage. If I were to have been put in Lex's position, I don't know that I would have been able to handle her predicaments with the same grace, and humor as Lex--especially given her past experience with guys. If you're looking for a great book that will have you laughing out loud--then Sushi for One? by Camy Tang is the book for you! Give it a try and let me know what you think! Happy Reading!

BTW--sign up for Camy's newsletter and you can enter her huge website contest! List my email address (poobear752 AT aol DOT com) when you enter and I get three more chances to win! Come on--you know you want to!