Wednesday, January 27, 2010

love, affairs & roads less traveled

These past two weeks, I have been reading.  Winter is a great time to read.  When it is cold and windy outside, it is so nice to curl up in a chair with a book.  Of course, I could say that summer is a great time to read as well.  Laying by the pool with a book--nothing better.  Anyway, I have read all my library books, which is a shame because it is about to be really cold and snowy and now I have nothing to read.  (Krista, I guess I have stupid problems too. :) )

The first book I read was Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers.  I loved reading this.  Some memoirs were quite sad: Time heals all wounds? Not quite. and some were so funny: Should have learned to count.   And here is one of my favorites: We were each other's favorite person.  Aww.   This book inspired me to challenge myself and so I am going to try to do all my post titles in six words. 

Then I read Lucy by Ellen Feldman.  This was the book club selection.  I really liked this book.  I went into it without knowing that Franklin Roosevelt had affairs or that his affairs helped shape who Eleanor Roosevelt would become.  As the author writes in her note at the end of the book: 
If Eleanor Roosevelt had not known betrayal, she might have lived out her life as dutiful wife and mother rather than as a force for peace and social justice throughout the world.
She wrote this as a fictional story with historical facts and real people, which is facinating to me.  I go to my first book club meeting tonight and I am excited. 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is described as "the searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Comrac McCarthy's masterpiece" in the front flap of the book.  And it was emotional.  So much so that I had to skip the middle of the book and just read the last quarter of the book.  Because it was almost too much to bear.  This book about a father and son's journey through a burned, empty America to the coast is terribly heart-wrenching, all throughout the book.  (I think, like I said, I couldn't read all of it. Well, I could have.  I just chose not too.)  His writing is beautiful though.  I loved how he describes the father and son's relationship: 
each the other's world entire.
Isn't that tender and beautiful? 

Last night, I finished Bel-Ami by Guy De Maupassant.  The sentence from the book that describes it perfectly is "
My dear woman, love doesn't last for ever.  Easy come, easy go.
Maupassant himself was one for easy come, easy go love affairs it seems and he sure knew how to write about a man that is moves ahead in life by seducing women who have money.  This book was written in 1885 and set in Paris. I enjoyed it because the main character was very likable.  Even though he was a master manipulator and seducer.  I even fell for his lies.  Only toward the end, did I think, "You know, I don't really think he loves any of these women!" 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

can you whittle away your dreams?

Tuesday is Cub Scout night.  We went to Rhett's den meeting where he was supposed to work on his whittling badge. 

{Did you know that Whittling has its own webpage?  It says:  Welcome to the World of Whittling.  A hobby for some, an obsession for others, a joy for all.  This is important for later.}

Before we leave the house, I turn to Noah and tell him to bring something to do because he is not to be working with knives. 

Crying and why not?s ensue.

Five minutes later, we are in the car headed toward our first stop for the night.  (I really thought I would be making a stop at the ER tonight too because visions of sliced fingers danced in my head.  Seriously, all I could picture was my brother's hand bleeding when he sliced his hand open with a knife one Christmas morning when we were younger.)  Just so you know,  we did not go to the ER.  Whew.

The poor Den Leader spends 40 minutes talking about knife safety before handing each boy a bar of Ivory soap.  My heart beat fast as I watched Rhett carve a shape out of soap.  I relaxed when I saw that he was being careful.  Then a boy across from him sliced his finger.


Just a slight cut.  Nothing a band-aid couldn't fix.

By then I was done.  I was done listening to my youngest son's sighs beside me.  I never did let him near those things.  I was done holding my breath, waiting for an accident that never really happened, thank God.  I was just done.

Noah then gets a bright idea:  Mom, I know!  I can get a bar of soap and carve something out with a butter knife!  See that isn't sharp, right?

In the car, Rhett tells me his bright idea.  Remember when I told you to remember the little blurb about whittling?  This is why:

Rhett:  Mom, I am really good at carving with a knife.  I think after I finish playing pro football, my job will be to carve things with my knife!

me: Uh, no it won't.

(Usually, I let my kids dream.  I let them think they can do whatever with their lives.  But not this.  Oh no.)

Rhett:  Why not?  I am good at it!

me:  Rhett, you can do that as a hobby.  Or when you retire when you are an old man.  This can't be your career.  (Remember, it says hobby.  Even obsession.  But not career!)

Rhett:  Well, I think I can do whatever I want.

Noah:  I want to be an artist.  But I am afraid that after my football career, I'll be too buff.  I don't see many buff artists.

They said more but after that comment, I was laughing too hard.  To myself.  I can't crush all their dreams in one night after all.

PS-I hope I didn't offend anyone saying whittling is not a career.  I am sure people do this as their careers and they are quite good at it.  :)

krista's birthday

Happy Birthday sis!  I hope today you have whatever you want for lunch or dinner (or both), have a piece of yummy cake, and get a surprise or two. 

More importantly, I hope you have a wonderful year.  Full of happiness.

We all love you!

Friday, January 15, 2010

thanks to all for playing along

I loved all the discussion on the six-word memoirs.  It is funny, Michelle mentioned she couldn't stop thinking about it (in six words mind you!) and I have to say I agree.  All throughout the day, I would try to think of six words for my life:

I'll even iron for my husband.

Chocolate is good for the soul.

Mom-at-home; best job ever.

Laundry is the bane of life.

Thanks for sharing all of yours.  I loved them all-especially Mom is the destroyer of fun.  That makes me laugh everytime I think of it.  If you think of more, feel free to share them.  I enjoy reading them!

Here is something along those same lines:  New Year's Resolutions.  Not mine and I am not asking you to share yours.  Actually, I am sharing one of Rhett's.  He had to write some at school and he was asked, "If you could make one New Year's resolution for our country or the world, what would it be?"

His answer:

To end Gossip and make peace to the world.

Edited to six words, his would be:

Ending gossip would bring world peace.

"Wow" is all I can say.

I can't leave Noah out.  He had to write sentences the other day and my favorite was one that had six words:

Some girls think I am cute.


Laughter really is the best medicine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

simply put

I am sure my literary friends and family have heard of the bet between Ernest Heminway and his friend. The author claimed he could write a short story in six words and he did: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Well, did you know that Smith Magazine has six-word memoirs? There are books that have been published with celebrities and unknowns' six-word memoirs. I actually have never heard of this until yesterday but do remember the poignant short story of Heminway's.

Isn't it a great concept? Your life in six words. Here is a video with some catchy music, telling you more about it. The newest book is It All Changed in an Instant and after watching this, I immediately reserved a copy at the library.

So, could you do it? Tell your life story in six words? It is harder than it seems.  !  Hey, that is a good one:  It is harder than it seems.  I like that.  Or maybe:  Find the beauty in all things.

Those are pretty generic though.  Almost like a fortune cookie.  Back to the blank page for me...

Can you come up with your own six-word memoir?  If so, please share!  I would love to read it.  If I can come up with mine, I'll share it too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010-year of the movies

that I want to see anyway.  There are so many movies coming out this year that I am excited about watching. 

The Percy Jackson movie is coming in February and Rhett can hardly wait.  I, too, read the books and have to say that I am way excited for this one too.  This book series was so good that Rhett had trouble finding a book afterward to read that he liked.  (I know exactly how he feels.  Percy is to Rhett as Harry is to me).

If you don't know the story, Percy Jackson is the son of god, Poseidon and has to fight mythical creatures and gods of all kinds in all sorts of adventures. 

Alice in Wonderland, coming March 5, I admit, looks a little creepy (and obviously because it is from Tim Burton) but I think that is part of the charm.  Isn't the story supposed to be a little creepy?  Isn't it supposed to be ... mad? 

Johnny Depp is always at his best when he plays strange characters.

 The third movie in the Twilight Saga is Eclipse and since this is my favorite book of the series, I am most looking forward to the movie version. 

Most of you know already my love for these books, so I won't go on and on.  But I will say that I may wait a week or two after it comes out so maybe the teenage fans will thin out.  Being in the theater with a bunch of hormonal teenage girls, squealing with delight everytime Jacob was on screen without a shirt was almost too much for me.  :)

So the new Harry Potter movie, Part 1 of the final book, doesn't come to theaters until November so there isn't even a movie poster for it yet. I am sure these two films will be the best yet.  I have to hope that it is better than the last one.

There are other movies too:
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (a favorite book series of my kids, this film will sure be the on our list to see in April)
  • Valentine's Day (I may have to go see this with girlfriends, but I hoping this movie will be a lot like Love Actually, one of my favorite romance films of all time)
  • Date Night  (I actually know nothing about this movie except that it has Steve Carell and Tina Fey but enough said, right?)
  • Avatar (I keep changing my mind, but this movie is still going strong.  Are all those people wrong?)
  • The Road (I don't know if I really want to see this because I like the lighter fare, but I figure that I need to write in at least one film that Seth might see with me.  And I think he would like this apocalyptic film with Viggo Mortenson.  Ahh, Viggo, I loved you in Lord of the Rings.  For that, I would give any movie with you a chance.)
And one movie I did see over the weekend:

What an amazing movie.  Sandra Bullock should win an oscar for this one.  The story was beautiful.  I took Rhett with me to watch this one and you should have seen him.  He absolutely loved it.  He said it was the best movie he has ever seen.  He sat at the edge of his seat for most of the movie. 

I think I have found my movie soul-mate.

Any movies that you want to see this year that are not on my list?

Friday, January 08, 2010

just finished reading

Pride and Prejudice
Ok, no.  I started that.  And then I skipped to the end.  I don't know.  Classics are hard to read.  Especially when you have been reading "young adult" novels, like:

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

which is what I really just finished reading.

I wanted to read this because it was inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair."  Simon & Garfunkel sang this song but it is an old ballad with much history apparently. I like the tune of the song and any book that is inspired by a song sounds interesting to me, so there you go.

It was a fast read, much faster than Pride & Prejudice will ever be.  I liked the idea of the story so much.  Some elements of the story were too rushed but I guess that isn't fair for me to say since I like fast reads and then say it was too rushed.  But all in all, a good story.

It has won many awards like "Best for Teens" and my favorite: "Best Novel for Young Adults That Adults Would Love If They Knew About It."  (from Publishers Weekly "Cuffie" awards).  That made me feel better that I was reading a teen novel.

Will I finish P&P?  I'll try but now I know why they make people read books like that in high school and college.  Because I don't have to write a paper about a certain theme or take a test about it later, I feel like I don't have to finish the book at all.  I don't have the will.

The next book will be Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  This one will be interesting because I actually did read it in high school and wrote a paper about it.  And I really did like it.  Plus, I am so loving the fantasy themes and monster themes right now.  I hope that I will like it as much and not be annoyed by all of the footnotes at the bottom of the pages, explaining what the author meant.  That is what happened with P&P.  Did you know that book is almost 200 years old?  Wow.  Sadly, that fact still doesn't make me want to finish it.

Oh and I also joined a bookclub that my neighborhood started.  I had to order that book so I am waiting for it to come in the mail.  It is called Lucy by Ellen Feldman.  I think it is about FDR and his mistress, Lucy.  I did not know he had a mistress so I have already learned something.  I'll let you know how that book goes.

And I know that I am no book reviewer. But I just wrote a post for each day this week and that hasn't happened in a long time.  I thought I needed to write one for today and so I wrote about the books I am reading, not reading and yet to read. 

I also know that I sound, oh what is the word?... well, like I am not trying very hard to read what could be a wonderful book.  I have had this problem before.  I tried reading another Jane Austen book and just couldn't get past the words to see the story, do you know what I mean? Anyway...

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, January 07, 2010


I am about to tell you something that hardly anyone knows about me. I may embarrass myself completely, but here it goes:

If I had to do college over again, I think I would want to major in meteorology or something that has to do with weather.  I took a class my freshman year in Atmospheric Science and loved it so much.  But because I really didn't know how to follow that path (and let's face it-I really didn't make much of an effort to find that path to follow), I didn't go any further. 

But ever since then, I love the subject of weather.  When there is a big storm coming and all the local stations talk about the approaching storm instead of regular programming, I usually don't even mind. 

So this winter, that has been breaking all sorts of records, is really interesting to me.  I mean, look at this map (courtesy of

Everything in our continental United States (save the south tip of Texas) is in a freeze!  And the records this cold winter is breaking!

  • International Falls, Minnesota: Saturday and Sunday temps were 37 degrees below zero, breaking records from 1979.
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota:  Breaking a record set in 1974, it was 30 degrees below zero Saturday.
  • Burlington, Vermont: A record-breaking snowfall blanketed this town with nearly 32 inches of snow.  They haven't seen that much snow in 120 years.
  • Oklahoma City, OK:  Our White Christmas broke a record set in 1924, with over 13 inches of snow falling in a 24 hour period.
And I am sure there are many, many more.

So now you know, if I ask you about the weather, you know I am genuinely interested in the weather, not just making small talk.  :)

Stay warm today.  Our schools were cancelled.  How about yours?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

what to do with kids' art

Christy asked a good question yesterday in my comments.  What do we do with all the precious artwork our children make?  Do we secretly throw it away a few days later when they have forgotten about it? (Guilty).  Do we put it into an ever-growing pile of precious artwork we can't bear to throw out? (Been there).  Do we make the kids pick their favorites to save and the rest we throw away? (Done that-although I have to say that wasn't the best idea.  Rhett and Noah thought everything was their favorite).

Truth is, you have to throw it away somehow and sometime or you will be overrun with turkey craft projects and coloring pages.  But I finally have come up with something that the boys and I can live with. 

First, the artwork is displayed throughout the house.

I made a clothesline in their hallway that holds their newest art and wonderful stories:

This makes it easy to change it out and adds color to an otherwise boring hallway.

Then, a few of their favorites are displayed in frames throughout the house.  This one is in their bathroom on the counter.  One of Rhett's hangs on the wall.  These frames are cheap and easy to change once they tire of their picture.

The ones I like the best are placed on black foam board and displayed in the nook above the tv cabinet. I found the foamboard at Hobby Lobby and there is always a chance it will be on sale because it is Hobby Lobby.  I just gluesticked the picture onto the board and it makes it stand out more.

These are the pictures I can't imagine ever throwing away.  They are too beautiful.

Second, I take pictures of the rest.

I know that sounds silly, but actually it works for me.  After I change out the clothesline, I take pictures of the ones I just took down.  Then I throw (or recycle) the old art away because I still have a picture of it.  Someday, I imagine I'll want to do somesort of "coffee table" book or album or their art.  I may have to do several but I doubt they will always bring this many pictures home.  But right now, the pictures sit on my computer.  Yes, I need to save them on a cd.  As I do all my pictures. 

Anyway, that option erases all the guilt I have for throwing away anything of theirs.  If they complain, I say, "I've got a picture of it!"  And my house is less cluttered. 

I apologize if I went on and on.  But I am glad you asked, Christy.  And I hope I gave you some ideas. 

By the way, thanks for your comments about my art project.  I am glad everyone liked it!  I think I want to do that for all my mementos for New York.  That may take awhile to think up though. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

memories made into art

Yesterday, while the boys went back to school...
I was wondering what to do with all of our ticket stubs and memorabilia from Washington D.C., so I was playing around and came up with this:

I made a picture of the Washington Monument out of an area map (Rhett:  Is the Washington Monument really crooked?) and then made the clouds out of the ticket stubs.  I also added the business card of Noah's dentist that we had to find on the spur of the moment. :)  Good times, now on our wall for all to see.

Monday, January 04, 2010

new year, new things

It is cold this morning.  It will be cold all week.  This is going to be a long winter, I can tell. 

That is okay, I have many things I want to do inside.  Many projects, many want-to-dos.

I have started reading Pride and Prejudice.  It is going to be slow going.  But I am determined.

I have started a new journal.  Lots of empty pages to be filled.  Hoping it will be filled by year's end.

I have a lot of work-out dvds to choose from.  I hope to start playing those and actually doing what they are instructing me to do.  Ha. ha.

I have pillows that need to be recovered and walls that need repainted.  Chairs that need to be a different color and papers that need to be organized.

It seems like I have lots to do.  Better get started...