Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Salon: Check

 Good morning!  I feel like I'm dragging my sluggish body to the table this morning, having had what feels like a busier week than average.  I know, they are all busy, but it's just something I have to say.

The kids had Monday off from school.  Normally, we would all be traipsing off to Andre's in the morning followed by a movie, but my son had weird things going on with his stomach all week, so that didn't happen.  After I got back from Andre's myself, my mom was coming down our lane (they are our neighbors in the winter), she fell, bloodied her head and broke her arm.  OMG!  You know head wounds.  They are shocking, but it is the arm that ultimately laid her up and caused her to be leveled for the week.  I feel terrible.

Stomach issues persisted with the boy, so we had some shortened days, but he did a pretty good job of getting to all the classes that mattered.  I've been going at it pretty hard with working out, walking and running, so I found myself falling in a heap every night.

This week was the (almost) final round of Confirmation classes for the boy.  This has been going on since late November on a weekly basis.  I know this is supposed to be a spiritual journey and all, but what 14 year old really sees it that way?  I know mine did not, but he stoically endured the church ladies and their lessons on purity and chastity and such.  It all culminated with the actual Confirmation yesterday morning.  I was proud.  He cleaned up nice.  (Yes, in the picture we appear to be the same height, but I have four inch heels on.  When did this happen?)  He does have a follow up class next week, which we may or may not make because of a conflicting schedule.  We celebrated with a nice Saturday night dinner, where ALL OF US attended, even my persnickety daughter and injured mother.  So there is another box that I have checked off for his 8th grade year.

Tonight, we will be celebrating my husband's birthday (which was a couple weeks ago) at a Disney restaurant...for the record, California Grill.  Good thing I got all that walking in earlier in the week!

On a literary note, my daughter came to me early in the week and said she had to analyze eight chapters of "Great Expectations", including the identification of literary devices, plot, character vices and virtues, conflicts, and historical references.  I've never read this book, but like a good mom I did read these chapters, and spent about six hours yesterday helping her.  LIKE A ROOT CANAL.  I would have never been a good English major.

On the reading front, I spent most of my time finishing up Joe Hill's "Nos4a2".  It was a loooong audio (over 19 hours) but worth the journey, and ended up truly loving it, especially the narrator.  She was freaking amazing!  Now I'm several hours into the incredible Joshilyn Jackson's newest book "Someone Else's Love Story".  Her audios are like slipping into a favorite pair of sweats...warm, comfortable, loved and familiar.

In print I'm still slowly plugging through "Winter's Tale".  I was waylaid by the Dickens project though, so maybe next week I'll gather some momentum.  I DO really like it though, even though this is not my genre.  Something about it called to me.

Today my primary goal is to walk a lot.  To make up for last night's dinner and tonight's dinner.  This might mean a round of golf, or a walk about the neighborhood, I'm not sure.  But I'm going for it.

What is everyone up to today?  Reading?  Staying warm? Digging out of the snow?  Working on their Super Bowl menu?   

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Salon: Week at the movies

A good, chilly morning to you all.  So the 10 day forecast doesn't show one day of 80 degrees, and the evenings are all below 60 degrees, so I guess maybe winter has come to Florida? It's a miracle.  Jeans and jackets for everyone!

In our house, we get pretty excited when the Oscar nominations are announced.  The big question is always how many of the important movies have we seen, and how many do we need to cram in?  This year we did a pretty good job.  I doubt we will even attempt to see "The Wolf of Wall Street" (not sure I can sit through 3 hours of that), but if we hit "Nebraska" and "Dallas Buyers Club", I think we can feel good about our track record.  We've got a three day weekend, so we should hit one of those today or tomorrow.
I've also strangely been on a Netflix bender during the day, while I'm eating lunch or whatever.  And as a result of good recommendations, all but one have been excellent (wasn't in love with the cheap Charles Manson documentary).  So you may see my Letterboxd stuff coming through Facebook.  It does appear I have no discrimination, but trust me, I've had a good week.

I've been doing a lot of walking to get my Fitbit steps in.  No matter what I do (there are days when I NEVER SIT DOWN), I can't get close to Kathy (Bermudaonion) and Julie (Booking Mama).  I swear they must run 24/7 and not sleep.  I had to get as many steps in yesterday in order to offset the live Maine lobsters that my dad bought for us to eat last night.  Oh boy, were they good!  I had to put down garbage bags on my kitchen table to protect it from all the butter and lobster juice flying everywhere.

On the other hand, my reading isn't all that swift.  My audio time has been better than print.  I finished "Songs of Willow Frost" by Jamie Ford on audio.  It was OK, but nothing about it blew my mind.  Sweet, predictable, but not exactly what I was hoping for.  I'm now about halfway through "Nos4a2" by Joe Hill and it is creepy and a little ridiculous, in the best possible way.  And the narration!  It is SO GOOD.  This woman, Kate Mulgrew, was made to narrate his books.

In print I finished "Palestine", which was incredible and intense.  If you like historical graphic novels, and you ever wanted to get a street level view of what is really going on over there, you shouldn't miss this one.  Now I have just started Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale", because I wanted to read it before it comes out at the theater.  I haven't made much progress, because I've distracted myself.  Has anyone read this?  It seemed worthy of reading based on the movie trailer.  I need to focus a little more on sitting still.

Wishing you all a great Sunday and three day weekend, if you get Monday off from work.  Does anyone have fun plans?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Salon: Back to the crazy

Good morning everyone!  Hopefully you are starting to melt and dig out of your ice and drifts of snow.  We had frigid temps for about...two days.  Yesterday it was close to 80 with stifling humidity.  Obnoxious.  I've given up on wearing a jacket.

This was a crazy week, getting back to our normal schedule.  I feel like I didn't sit down at all, ever.  My son had mid-terms all week, plus we served the homeless at a shelter one night, I had book club, there were a couple of doctor appointments, and of course the never-ending confirmation classes.  And today is my husband's birthday!!  We had a particularly yummy dinner last night but we will celebrate at one of the nicer Disney restaurants in a couple of weeks (it is close to impossible to get into these places when you want).

My parents, my son and I went yesterday to see "Her" directed by Spike Jonze.  I was pretty excited about this one, having loved "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation".  It is possible this one will get some recognition at the Oscars, but it isn't for everyone (some people walked out of our theater - ha!).  We enjoyed it was pretty clever.

I wanted to share this picture with you because I think it is cool.  (I shared it on Facebook yesterday.)  My trainer Andre loved the idea of "One Little Word" that I talked about last Sunday.  So he encouraged all of his ladies in his morning class to find their own word and write it on his wall in hand chalk.  Here are a few: 

I sort of got back in saddle this week with reading, now that the kids are back in school.  On audio, I finished "Native Son" by Richard Wright.  So powerful!  There were some courtroom scenes that would rival anything you've ever read.  I also listened to "Schroder" by Amity Gaige, an interesting and wandering adventure that was excellently narrated by Will Collyer (thanks for the recommendation Jennifer at Literate Housewife!).  I'm now several discs into "Songs of Willow Frost" by Jamie Ford.  I'm not blown away at this point, but he tends to be slow-building.

In print I finished "Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery" by Robert Kolker.  This is exactly why I love a true crime novel.  I love to be able to Google the characters, and I love the dynamics and the drama of a real case.  This one was terrifying and complicated, and has yet to be solved.  I'm now reading a graphic novel by Joe Sacco called "Palestine" which is fascinating.  I'd seen this GN mentioned as being one of the best ones out there, and so far it is living up to that reputation.

I'm not sure what is up for today yet.  I'm definitely going to hit the shower for early Mass here in a second.  We will see if my daughter wants to work the shelter today.  I think my husband is itching to play golf...we will see if we can squeeze it in.  Or maybe another movie.  So many good ones.  Hope everyone has a great Sunday and great week!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Salon: One Little Word

Hello out there!  Can anybody see me beyond their snow banks???  It seems the entire US is covered in snow and suffering frigid temps, and I know you are probably sick to death of it already.  Down here, we are having weather in the near 80's, and we are a bit sick of that too.  If I put on my jeans BECAUSE IT IS WINTER DAMMIT, then I pay the price by sweating.  I hear we may get a little cold snap in a day or two, for a little bit anyway.  I might get to wear a jacket.  I know it might anger you all, but I'd pay money to be snowed in for just a day or two.

So I hope we all made it through New Year's Eve safe and sound and full of energy and hope for 2014.  We spent it with friends, gorging on clam chowda and lobsters (our friends are from Boston), and wine and champagne and very interesting Puerto Rican egg nog (!).  I was going for broke, because on the 1st, I snapped that Fitbit on and began tracking my calories.  Again.  It feels good to be back in the saddle.  (Silly I the only nut that runs up and down the stairs and in circles around my house at 9pm trying to hit my goals????)

Several people had mentioned this inspirational idea, born from Ali Edwards, about adopting "one little word"...a word carefully chosen by each of us to welcome into our lives for the year.  A word to focus on, to meditate on, to guide us day-to-day.  I think this is simple yet powerful.  You can choose to join Ali's year-long workshop, or you can embrace it privately.  My word this year is going to be STRENGTH.  I'll be working with my trainer to up my weightlifting (I love lifting weights), but I'm also talking about strength of will (against food, sitting on my rear end, and too much wine), and strength to guide and nurture my kids without losing my mind.  Check out the website.  It is a very good thing.

With the new year, I also decided I wanted a way to track the movies I watch.  Please know that I am SO not a movie reviewer, but we watch a lot of them, and at the end of 2014 I'd love to say that I watched this many movies and these were my favorites.  So look for my Facebook posts from Letterboxd.  It's free and easy to use, and if you join or are already on there, friend me (youvegottaread).

Damn I'm long-winded today.

I also wanted to promote my sister's new website she is running with two other cinephiles.  It will be supporting the film scene in the Twin Cities where she lives, but has movie reviews and discussions for people who not only love the blockbusters but also indie films off the beaten path.  These three know their stuff.  The site is called Joyless Creatures (a term director Werner Herzog used for critics...I think this is hilarious!!!).  Check it out.

Have I been reading?  Well, I'm trying without huge success.  I am about halfway through reading "Lost Girls:  An Unsolved American Mystery" by Robert Kolker.  This was a Christmas gift from my son, and it is really good.  True crime is so much my brain candy.  I'm also still listening to "Native Son", with maybe 3 discs (out of 15) left.  I have no earthly clue what I'm going to say about this when I'm finished.  I'm sure to not do it justice.  It would be an excellent book club pick.  Every time I put on my headphones I think my brain is going to explode.

OK I'm going to shut up now.  Wishing you all a really great Sunday, and for many of us this will be the last day of vacation. This is a sad and happy thing all rolled into one!