Sunday, March 29, 2015

Life: It Goes On - March 29

Seriously? March is almost over? How did that happen?

It's been a busy parenting month around here, something I didn't necessarily think I'd be saying when all of my kids were grown adults. Miss H has had one malady after another these past few months and has needed more mothering than she did before she moved out including spending three nights with us this past week.

This week has been all about getting ready for Mini-him's ready to move today. We went through everything we've been storing the past couple of years and found some surprises, many of which found their way to the Goodwill or the garbage. Helped me reach my 40 Bags in 40 Days goal! Tonight we will officially, for the first time, be empty nesters. For now.

This Week I'm:
Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse
in Silk Stockings

Listening To: I finished Jane Eyre on audio Friday so will start a new audiobook tomorrow but I'll decide which one when I get in my car. I'm thinking Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but I might want to wait for that one until I have time to do a read/listen combination.

Watching: The Big Guy was out of town most of the work so I got control of the t.v. and, for once, there were actually things on that I wanted to watch when that happened. On my half day, TCM showed movie musicals (Silk Stockings, Kiss Me Kate, High Society) - perfect backdrop for my projects.

Reading: I'm just about finished with Light In August. It's been slow going, especially when I didn't have a lot of time to devote to it this week. When I'm finished, I feel I'll need something light, perhaps Let's Pretend This Never Happened.

Making: Orange chicken stir-fry, chicken stroganoff (why doesn't spell check know this word??)...not much else. Two dinners at my parents' this weekend, one dinner out, and one night of leftovers made for an easy week in the kitchen.

Planning: Now that my basement's significantly emptier, I'm looking forward working down there for the next couple of weeks, rearranging, cleaning, and, as always, organizing.

Grateful for: Super Glue - I broke a piece of a family heirloom set yesterday.  Luckily it's something that is strictly decorative at this point and was reparable.  Still, much sadness.    
My dining room as of Friday
Enjoying: Spending time with my parents and my brother and his wife, enjoying her new cocktail which we dubbed "Columbia Curdled Cocktail." It really was quite tasty if you could get it just right! The guys enjoyed sunshine and baseball while we ladies hit up a couple of our favorite stores. Looking forward to finding homes of my new purchases.

Feeling: Eager to have today over with. I don't understand moving without knowing for sure if you and your roommate will need a sofa or not. I do not do moves without total planning well at all!

Looking forward to: Putting my house back in order. The other thing I don't do well at all? Having much of my house full of piles of boxes and half-packed bins.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Day In The Life

A few weeks ago, Trish (Love, Laughter, and A Touch of Insanity) shared with her readers what both work days and days at home were like for her and now she's asking for fellow bloggers to share as well. You know, maybe all share that our lives can maybe be just a little bit crazy, a little bit less than perfect. I'll admit that I kind of forgot about doing it and probably should have done it last week which would have been a more "usual" day. Instead you get yesterday. Which had some less than normal things going on.

6:05 My alarm goes off for the first time
6:15 My alarm goes off for the second time
6:20 My alarm goes off for the third time. The emergency "just in case I shut off the first two times without getting up" alarm. I finally, literally, roll out of bed.

6:22 I hit the kitchen: start the coffee, feed the cats their wet food, then sit down for a bowl of cereal and a little reading of Light In August while out of the corner of my eye I watch the local news
6:30 I have to take a break and feed the cats their dry food...because they're high maintenance that way
6:45 Time to get in the shower, dressed and the basic makeup on

7:10 Grab my coffee, lunch, book and I'm out the door. Why yes, my hair is still wet. The car heater and a hair brush will have to do today (surprisingly, it ends up looking quite good). The rest of my makeup gets put on at red lights. Yep, I'm that woman.

7:45 Start my work day
9:00 Team meeting - what happened to snacks at these meetings anyway?
2:00 Lunch time - I've already eaten my lunch at my desk but this is my chance to break away for a bit and do some more reading
2:45 Back to work
5:15 My desk is all tidy and I'm ready to leave for the day. I'm the only person on the team whose desk looks this neat at day's end. They are all convinced this is the way I live my life. Little do they know!

5:50 Snow flakes start appearing in the rain drops. Cursing is heard in my vehicle.

6:00 Because The Big Guy is out of town this week, I stop for dinner at Applebee's, where Miss H is bartending and we can chat while she works and I eat. I did not eat all of that food but I did drink that wine in the background.

7:15 Stop by the house to give Mini-him the food I picked up for him then we load a Goodwill delivery in my Pilot. How can we have this much stuff to get rid of every few months?
7:45 Dropped off 8 bags and then we head to Lowe's looking for a rug Mini-him's bedroom in the house he's moving into this weekend. Ten minutes later, we leave empty handed.
8:10 We're going to take a twenty minute break and watch some Sweet Sixteen basketball.

9:00 Game over, we finally get to work. He works on computer stuff; I start packing his room, do three loads of laundry, move boxes into our dining room staging area and put together a plan for today.
12:20 Remember that I still have to type up this post. And that I never got the vacuuming done. I am essentially wearing cat hair slippers by the time I head up the stairs for bed. At 1 a.m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Published 1930
Source: I bought my "copy" for my Nook

As I Lay Dying is Faulkner's harrowing account of the Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Told in turns by each of the family members—including Addie herself—the novel ranges in mood from dark comedy to the deepest pathos.

My Thoughts:
Admission - I read this book by mistake. A couple of months ago, a fellow blogger and I agreed that we would, once again, attempt a readalong, this time of Faulkner. As the first of March rolled around, I found myself busy with books I "had" to read and didn't get started right away. Then, somewhere along the way, I switched the book we'd agreed to read in my brain. By the time I realized my mistake, I was almost a third of the way done with this one and decided to finish it (it was only about 190 pages so I wasn't making a huge commitment).

Faulkner has a reputation for being tough to read. As I Lay Dying is told from the perspective of 15 different narrators. 15. One of them dead. One of them not even present for the parts he is narrating. Several by neighbors who only play a small part in the story but who offer a glimpse into the family. Almost all of them unreliable. So,  yeah. A bit tough to read. Particularly since some if really isn't even meant to make sense; it's simply what is going on in a given character's mind. But it doesn't require a college English professor to explain it to you. Although there is this:
"In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were. I dont* know what I am, I dont know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not."
Despite death, arson, a hazardous river crossing, and an arrest, the focus of As I Lay Dying is squarely on Faulkner's characters. In death, Addie Bundren finally wields the power she never had over her family while living, taking her revenge on a family which failed, in her lifetime, to help her overcome her loneliness.
"She lived, a lonely woman, lonely with her pride, trying to make folks believe different, hiding the fact that they just suffered her, because she was not cold in the coffin before they were carting her forty miles away to bury her, flouting the will of God to do it. Refusing to let her lie in the same earth with those Burdens."
The Bundrens do dysfunctional families one better - there is almost no feel of them being a family, more a group of people who were thrown together and by necessity live on together.

According to Faulkner, he wrote the book between midnight and 4 a.m. while working at a power plant and said that he never changed a word of it. Which may explain while sometimes it felt a bit rambly but would also explain while the stream of consciousness style feels so organic. You've got to hand it to Faulkner, given that this book is consistently rated as one of the great books of the twentieth century, when he called this work a "tour de force" it wasn't just vanity. Because there is also this:
"Before us the thick dark current runs. It talks up to us in a murmur become ceaseless and myriad, the yellow surface dimpled monstrously into fading swirls traveling along the surface for an instant, silent, impermanent and profoundly significant, as though just beneath the surface something huge and alive waked for a moment of lazy alertness out of and into light slumber again."
And that is why I so enjoyed this book - Faulkner made me see every thing along the journey, feel his character's pain, understand their motives. Even while I was trying to understand what the heck he was talking about.

*as Faulkner wrote it

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life: It Goes On - March 22

Happy Sunday! It's been a gorgeous weekend here and I hope that those of you who ushered in spring with a snowfall will soon be the recipients of some of this warmth. What a treat to have an early spring! We've eaten quite a lot of meals on the patio in the past week and will again today, with the daylilies and iris coming up around us.

This Week I'm:

Listening To: So, after I watched Les Miserable on tv last week, I listened to the music the next day and I cannot get it out of my head. Seriously. It's been the soundtrack of my week. Finally had to crank up some Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Violent Femmes on my way home from work on Friday to drive something new into my brain. Have you ever had an earworm like that?

Watching: March Madness, baby! We don't have a horse in the race but it's still great fun to watch.

Reading: So my friend, Lori, and I agreed to read some Faulkner starting March 1. Some how, I got into my head that we were reading As I Lay Dying and I was well into it before we were talking and she said "Aren't we reading Light In August?" Why, yes, we are. But I was far enough into As I Lay Dying by then that I went ahead and finished it and, finally, this week started Light In August. Which is reminding me why I loved Faulkner so much when I was younger. And making me wonder why in the world it took me so long to pick him up again.

I swear the corned beef was not that pink!
 Making: Reuben sandwiches, twice, as our version of corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. The Big Guy isn't a big fan of sauerkraut so he made them one night with slaw instead. Which was fine. But it wasn't a real reuben so I had to make them again with sauerkraut before Mini-him and I were sated.

Planning: On doing taxes this week. And packing Mini-him, who will be moving out next weekend. Again.

Grateful for: Lots of time with my kiddos this week. Miss H has been around much of the weekend and, even as I type, Mini-me has arrived for the afternoon and my boys are chatting behind me.

Two of my brother's
photographs that I just
ordered and can't
wait to hang!
Enjoying: Making plans for some major rearranging and painting. How much will depend on how far on board I can get The Big Guy and how much furniture Mini-him takes with him.

Also, BG got a new toy that will transfer our old VHS tapes onto our computer and it has been so much fun to watch them again. We're getting to see footage of those we've loved and lost and watch the kids when they were little. I can't tell you how often I've been heard to say "Ohhhhhhh" in the past few days!

Feeling: Remarkably at peace.

Looking forward to: More of the same this week. Time to read, time to play with the house, time with family. My brother and sister-in-law will be in town next weekend and I can't wait to spend time with them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The List - Books and Movies

Books or movies? Movies or books? Sometimes I'm not sure which I love more. Books, yes, it's books. But movies are a close second. I'd far rather sit down and watch a movie than television (if I had my druthers and that's an argument I've long ago given up on!).

Here are some lists that combine the two:

My favorite movies adapted from books I've read:
1. "My Fair Lady" adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Hands down my favorite. Okay, granted, it's a play and not a novel. Still. Audrey Hepburn and all of those great costumes!

2. Franco Zefferelli's 1968 adaptation of William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet." Actual young people playing the leads. Beautiful young people, great costumes, tragic love story. Are you getting tired of me talking about this movie yet?

3. "Little Women" adapted from Louisa May Alcott's book of the same name, the 1984 version starring Winona Ryder. I want to love the 1949 version starring Elizabeth Taylor and the 1933 version starring Katherine Hepburn but the actors just look too old. These are supposed to be very young girls, after all.

4.  "The Age of Innocence" adapted from the Edith Wharton book of the same name. It's very much a toss up which I like better, the book or the movie. The movie brings the book to life with the best background narration I've ever heard in a movie.

Whoopi Goldberg as Celie in
The Color Purple
5. "The Color Purple" adapted from Alice Hoffman's book by the same name. Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were surprisingly good and the movie did a wonderful job of staying true to the book.

6. "To Kill A Mockingbird" adapted from Harper Lee's iconic novel. Because Gregory Peck. And a really wonderful job of bringing the book to life.

7. "Fried Green Tomatoes" adapted from Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe. I can never decide which is my favorite character. All I know is that some days, you just need to yell "Tawanda!"

My favorite movies adapted from books I want to read:
1. "The Princess Bride", book by William Goldman. Oh god, how I love this movie! I now have the book in print and on my Nook and, by golly, I'm going to read it soon. And then I'm going to pick up Cary Elwes' book about the making of the movie, As You Wish".

2. "Silver Linings Playbook" book by Matthew Quick. I wonder if the book really could be as good as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Goodwin were in the movie adaptation?

3. "Breakfast At Tiffany's" book by Truman Capote although I'm aware that this collection of stories is quite different from the movie. And, of course, no Audrey Hepburn in the book.

4. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" book by Jonathan Safran Froer. This has been on my nightstand but I know it's going to make me cry so I just haven't been able to make myself pick it up. I just bought the audiobook. Picture me sobbing throughout my daily commute.

5. "The Descendents" book by Kaui Hart Hemmings. If the book is half as good as the movie at blending humor, sadness, and anger, I'll be a very happy girl.

6. "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. A happily-ever-after movie about a family who saves a young man who grows up to play football. You all know how much I love family and football!

My favorite books that have been adapted into movies I still need to see:
1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I'm told the movie isn't as good as the book and I did wonder about some of the casting but this book has stuck with me and I really want to see what they made of it.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I had every intention of seeing this as soon as it came out. It doesn't seem to have done well in the theaters but I'm still anxious to see it.

3. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Oh, this book. I'm literally frightened to see this movie.

4. Serena by Ron Rash. The movie re-pairs Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Goodwin; not necessarily who I would have chosen but I think they are both very capable of handling the leads. Can. Not. Wait!

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Have any of you seen this yet? I'm not sure it could quite capture the gut checks that  I had while reading the book but Julianna Moore won the Oscar for it so there's that.

Books that are better than the movie:

Most readers will agree that the book is almost always better than the movie but these particularly stand out for me. I've included only one Stephen King book adaptation but almost any of the movie adaptations of his work could be included.

1. The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket. The movie makers were stupid. It's a series of books that could easily have been made into a series of movies. But they lumped several into one movie and then put Jim Carrey in the lead role, effectively killing a potential movie franchise.

2. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt. The movie was okay but the characters (and they were characters in every sense of the word) were mostly flat. These are real people that Berendt made jump off the page.

3. Cujo by Stephen King. You'd think seeing a giant rabid dog terrifying a woman and her child would be scarier than reading about it. You'd be very wrong. This book had me so on edge that my neighbors' dogs barking made me so jittery I had to stop reading. Of course, most of King's books are better read than watched.

4. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Morrison's writing is just so incredible that there's almost no way to adapt any of her books into movies and do it well. Even Oprah Winfrey couldn't make this movie work.

Now my question for you is this: which books that you've loved do you think might make great movies?