Friday, November 30, 2012

November 2012 Books

Only 5 books this month which is a PITIFUL total for me. I tried starting 3 or 4 others but I didn't make it past the first few pages. Plus I had a backlog of magazines to read through so that took away from book time. I hope December will be better but since it's definitely a busier social month it usually doesn't work out that way.

Here's the paltry (but full of quality!) list for November:

  • Elizabeth Taylor: Her Place in the Sun: A Shining Legacy on Film by Cindy De La Hoz
    • The Lindsey (Egad, is her name spelled with an "e" or an "a" at the end? I don't care enough to check.) Lohan biopic was much in the TV news this week. I caught about a minute of it because, well, I just had to see for myself.
      • One of the many criticisms was that LL used her regular, raspy voice when we all know ET had a very different way of speaking. And this was true.
    • This is a coffee table-sized book and it was great to peruse while I cooked dinner. Set the timer, read about a film or two, perform the next dinner task, read about the next movie and so on.
    • I have seen a LOT of her movies! National Velvet, Lassie Come Home, The White Cliffs of Dover (her character is played as an adult by June Lockhart!), Little Women, Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, Ivanhoe, The Last Time I Saw Paris, Giant, Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Taming of the Shrew, Anne of the Thousand Days (bit part but you can't miss her).
    • Although I have seen a couple of her films with Richard Burton I would definitely like to see more of them.
    • The book offers many pictures and behind-the-scenes stories of each film. Much of her private life is included as it always impacted her acting choices.
    • A
  • New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families by Colm Toibin
    • The first chapter was fascinating, about how mothers are often dispensed with and replaced by aunts instead, focusing on books by Jane Austen and Henry James in particular.
    • Then the next chapters covered writers I had never read (or heard of in the case of J. M. Synge) and that made for harder going. If you haven't read at least one of the works of the authors covered the chapter was not as interesting so I skimmed a lot until I got to the parts about Tennessee Williams and John Cheever.
    • What I read was excellent but so much was lost on me.
    • B
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde
    • The seventh book in the Thursday Next series. I really love these books. They include literary illusions and wordplay in an alternate universe. 
    • I enjoyed the first few books better because they feature characters from various books (Thursday can go in and out of "Book World") and that made it more fun, especially when you'd read the books the characters came from.
    • The more recent books tend to focus on Thursday and her husband and children and while still entertaining are less FUN somehow.
    • This book had a subplot about Thursday's daughter Jenny who is actually a "mindworm" (thanks to an arch villain). She does not exist but the characters think she does and the conclusion of this plot is sweet and sad.
    • A
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    • The first volume in a new Young Adult series. (WHY do I keep doing this to myself?!) The next books are set to come out in Summer 2013 and Summer 2014. Guh.
    • This book features a woman named Alina and her discovery of the power to summon sunlight. The world is a mythical but its based on Russia, here called Ravka.
    • I will wait patiently for the next two books as I enjoyed this one very much.
    • B+
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    • A teen with incurable cancer named Hazel meets Augustus, another teen who's now cancer-free, at a support group.
    • Just reading that sentence doesn't exactly make you want to jump for joy because you JUST KNOW going in that there probably won't be sunshine and lollipops at the end. But John Green co-wrote one of the best books I've read this year (Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and it's gotten some great reviews.
    • And it is wonderful. I figured out where the plot was going with the help of a couple of foreshadowing moments so that kind of helped me brace for the end. Mr. Green really knows how to write the world of young adults.
    • A

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crazy Time

I got back from Bodega Bay two weeks ago and haven't had a minute to blog since! Until now. Obviously.

By the way, Bodega Bay was amazing! The weather was absolutely perfect: clear skies, no fog, temperature about 70 degrees and NO WIND. For the Northern California coast this was almost unprecedented! The only exception I know where the weather is consistently good is Santa Cruz but the rest of the coast is mostly cool, foggy and windy.

Pops and I went down to my aunt's house to help start the work of getting it ready to sell or rent. She lives in a residential care facility and her memories have been going bit by bit over the last few years. The bottom line is, she will never get "well" to go home. My aunt is the sweetest person I've ever known. It's never easy watching someone "disappear" right in front of you.

She had many things that my Greek grandmother, who died in 1984, had made so I have been sorting and cataloging it. Here are a few examples (along with the one up top):

And these are just the tip of the iceberg!

Then, all of a sudden it seemed, Thanksgiving was upon us. We had dinner at my in-laws home on Thursday (and it's always nice to hang out with the family) and then on Friday I cooked a turkey and fixings. It's one of the flaws with eating elsewhere on the holiday: no leftovers for the weekend! Tonight is turkey sandwich dinner night and tomorrow is turkey pot pie night. What's left over by then will be frozen for later use (turkey a la king!).

I am still leery of cooking Thanksgiving for the whole family yet. That would mean feeding about 15 people. Not a horrifying number and I can actually cook a pretty good Thanksgiving dinner. (This year only the gravy was less than successful being on the thin side but it tasted just fine!).

Tomorrow I will put up our little tree and get the decorating done. I still have several gifts to buy so that means some computer time in my future. Most of my TV shows are winding down for the season in the next week or two so I have several movies on the DVR to watch. And I also look forward to my annual viewing of the Lord of the Rings films. (Somewhere, CPA Boy is groaning.)

And I've read practically nothing this month! This month's book entry will be short. (Somewhere, CPA Boy is breathing a sigh of relief.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Atlas, iPod and the Birds

CPA Boy was sick so I got to go to the movies!

Generally on Saturdays we go out for lunch and sometimes go shopping for stuff but he came home from work on Friday with a slight fever and a headache. He went straight to bed and slept for about 16 hours. (He's fine now.) But obviously it put the kibosh on our usual weekend lunch plans.

This opened up a convenient four-hour block of time so to the movies I went. I saw "Cloud Atlas" and I really liked it. It's visually gorgeous and it was fun to try to identify the different actors in multiple roles. If not for an article in Entertainment Weekly I wouldn't have recognized all of Halle Berry's roles but Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving (who easily had the best characters), and Jim Broadbent were all pretty easy to spot.

And I didn't even need to cook dinner because I bought CPA Boy a bag of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches yesterday so he is happy.

A good day all around: Kelly to the movies which makes her oh-so-happy and CPA Boy gets the house to himself (once The Boy left for work) which is a rare treat for him. And Chick-Fil-A for meals! Win-win!

Last week when I went on my walk I decided to take my iPod so i could listen to my "Exercise Playlist" which is full of fun, bouncy tunes to keep me moving quickly (I listen with only one headphone in my ear so I can hear traffic.) My iPod, which I've had for years, is one of the big ones and it has a clear plastic cover to protect it if dropped. I wasn't quite sure how to carry it so I just tucked it into my bra strap and walked my way to health.

But when I got home I saw that iPod covers are not impervious to sweat. Gross. So I decided to get myself a tiny, tiny iPod (it was $49!). I was leaning towards the pink one but when I got to the Apple store I saw they had a red one so that's what I got. It's really tiny, only one inch square and 1/4 inch wide. It will just clip to my shirt.

I'm not a fan of the Apple earbuds because they don't fit well in my itty-bitty ears but I have a different set to use.

Tomorrow I'm off to Bodega Bay for a few days. Thirty miles to oceanfront, seafood, a massage and bliss! (And more alone time for CPA Boy who gets our bed all to himself!) And going on walks with my new iPod!

Bodega Bay always makes me think of "The Birds", the Alfred Hitchcock film that was partly filmed there. I watched an HBO movie last week called "The Girl" which covered the filming of "The Birds" and "Marnie" along with Hitchcock's obsession with Tippi Hedren. Apparently there is another Hitchcock movie coming out soon, this time in theaters and starring Anthony Hopkins but that film covers the making of "Psycho".

And I have several books to delve into, including one called Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey (about Highclere Castle where much of "Downton Abbey" is filmed). Fun!

See ya next week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I know how to use "literally"!

I notice people have been using "literally" incorrectly for years but its use literally seems to be on the rise. I am hearing it ALL THE TIME especially on TV.

Maybe it's on its way to becoming a word that changes meaning over time like "gay" or "decimate". Since "literally" is used so much in place of "figuratively" (or "figuratively speaking") I think that's what many people really think it means. But:

"Literally" means ACTUALLY or without exaggeration!

My head literally explodes every time I hear it used incorrectly! Heh.

It sure saves on hair color and makeup expenses....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Days and Other Stuff

I like voting. I turned 18 in 1980 so I got to vote in a presidential election the first year I was eligible. Years later, in 1992, I found out I was pregnant on Election Day.

Plus I had dressed up for a Halloween party that year so I have a photograph of me dressed as a pregnant nun:

Knocked-up nun and the man responsible, Halloween 1992
We had to dress up in costume for work in those days. I am pretty sure I used that same costume, with minor changes of course, to be a witch the year before or after.

So tomorrow, when Pops and I are out and about doing errands, I will need to go to my new polling location at the high school. I used to vote at the golf course club house but it closed during the sale of the golf course and hasn't opened up again.

Meanwhile I am keeping busy with various things. Like Christmas gift shopping, scheduling the guy to give an estimate on replacing the rain gutters, reading, sewing, photograph organizing, seeing movies and several other things, some fun and some not-so-fun.

CPA Boy and I saw "Argo" last weekend and we both liked it. I really want to see "Cloud Atlas" but it's an almost 3-hour film so I will need to find an empty 4-hour block of time! In other movie-related news, we watched "Clueless" the other night. Neither CPA Boy nor I had seen it before. It's a cute movie but now I really want to read Emma, the book the story was based on, but I have too many library books in the queue first. Maybe I'll squeeze it in next anyway. I still need to read Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Emma of Jane Austen's six novels.

I had not been exercising much in the last month or two and I was really going to town on the M&M dispenser in our house (yes, we have an M&M dispenser. Doesn't everyone?!) so I was petrified to weigh myself. But it needed to be done and it wasn't bad at all! Only one pound up! And I have been back to regular exercise and better eating (read: no M&Ms) the last few days so maybe the scale will move downward the next time I weigh myself.

It is so much easier to say no to things diet-wise when you have exercised that day. I just don't want the hard work to go to waste (waist?)!