Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Many Days 'Til Christmas?

Funny Christmas Party Invitations | Retro Woman
I saw the image above on Pinterest just now and was inspired to write a blog post.  So, I Googled "days until Christmas" and got this: http://www.xmasclock.com/.  There are thirty-seven.  

(I also found this, which seems way more exciting to me:  http://www.howmanydaysuntilstarwars.com/.)  

But back to the topic at hand.  

I am kinda sorta getting in the mood this year.  Fall hit about two weeks ago and it has been COLD (which, where I live, means days in the mid-50s to 60s and nights near freezing).  I actually walked into REI and bought myself a down parka right off the rack (I got the Urban Navy Blue and I like it just fine--four stars!).  I still feel guilty that it wasn't on sale.  And I told Hubby he doesn't have to get me a Christmas present because of it (he still will).  But now I am warm at Valerie's swim practice.  From 6-7pm.  In the dark.  Four nights a week.

Yeah, so it's been cold.  And we've had rain, which seems like a good thing, but:  http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/11/16/1450700/-El-Ni-o-Does-Something-It-s-Never-Done-Before-Watch-Out-California?

I'm kinda sorta getting scared and am always checking how many gallon bottles of water we have on hand, and thinking about flashlights and batteries and non-perishable food.  And wishing that we could use the fireplace without it just filling the house with smoke. 

So, I like that Target didn't put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween this year.  I have heard that Nordstrom is doing the same thing.  Also, REI is closing on Black Friday.  I like this let's not diss Turkey Day attitude.

Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday before my grandfather became ill with colon cancer and we stopped having it at his house.  I was twenty when he died, and the holiday has never been the same since.  It became a foster holiday shuttled around to various locations.  Poor Thanksgiving. 

But, Christmas.  What I have liked most about it in the past is giving handmade gifts.  But, I just don't have the time like I used to.  I also like the table linens.  And after, I like finding decorations on sale.  But Christmas morning present opening and disappointment and complaints and ungratefulness?  That just makes me want to stick my head in the oven with the prime rib.  

Except, I'd rather not go into the kitchen at all.  I'm all for going out to eat.  Or...a friend of mine said Whole Foods does a good meal:  https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/MRY/2721.  Looks good to me!!  Maybe Hubby will go for it this year.  I can hope.  

Whatever happens, I will likely have my first glass of wine at about 12:30p.m.  Thus, the image above.  And, if I can find it, I will totally rock that wig/hairdo.

My Christmas, this year, will come on the day Hubby, the kids, and I go to see...http://www.starwars.com/the-force-awakens/.

(Disclaimer:  I am in kind of a mood today.  Yesterday I spent seven hours waiting around for Jury Duty.  Luckily, when I finally got called, the judge kept our group for a total of ten minutes before excusing all of us.  And today...I had to skip my run because Andrew is home sick.  But, we are learning all about the solar system, so that is a pretty awesome way to spend the day.  So, closing on a happy note, here!)

(Above image is at http://www.retrochristmascardcompany.com/funny-christmas-party-invitations/)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Books o' the Month: So Wide the Sky, The Stranger in Big Sur, Big Sur Women

How did I manage to read three books in one month?  Not sure, but I did.  All three are pioneer-type stories.  So Wide The Sky by Elizabeth Grayson was inspired by the true story of Olive Oatman.

The Stranger in Big Sur, published in 1942 by Lilian Bos Ross, is the fictional tail of a mail order bride who comes to live on a ranch in 19th century Big Sur.  There is a film based on the book called Zandy's Bride, which I am waiting on from the library, so details to come.  

Big Sur Women includes more information about Lilian Ross, who lived there, along with vignettes about other women who made/make that beautiful, rugged place their home.

Now, I'm heading over to Some of a Kind to see what Adrienne's been reading.  Come along!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Books o' the Month: When Mystical Creatures Attack! and Big Little Lies

I read two books in one month!  Probably because both of them were so good, they were hard to put down.  First, When Mystical Creatures Attack! by Kathleen Founds.  Don't let the cover (art created by Ms. Founds) fool you.  This is not a light-hearted story.  What it is...is hard to describe.  Quirky?  Dark?  Different?  Yes, yes, and yes.  I can't wait to see what she writes next.

I think I am late to the party with this author.  Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies was so good--I knew when Adrienne told me to basically drop everything and read it, it had to be! I'm so glad I listened to her.  You should, too!  Head over to Some of a Kind for Turn the Page ... Tuesday right away!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Watch This! : Tess x3

After reading the Thomas Hardy classic, I watched three film versions.  It is always so interesting to see what writers and directors pick and choose when adapting a novel--especially a classic.

First was Tess of the d'Urbervilles from 1998, which had the most handsome Angel Clare played by Oliver Milburn.
(above image from barnesandnoble.com)

Second, I watched Tess from 1979, which despite it's age, did not look dated to me at all.  This version had the slickest Alec d'Urberville played by Leigh Lawson.

Third came Tess of the d'Urbervilles from 2008 with the best portrayal of Tess played by Gemma Arterton.

So, that's what I've been up to, besides taxi-ing my kids around, training for a 10K, running endless errands, and WORKING.  I'm now officially a substitute teacher and have one day under my belt.

Which classic should I read/watch next?  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book o' the Month: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

When my friend Kim said I should read this book, I did not hesitate.  After all, she is the one who recommended Outlander to me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel told in letters and telegrams back and forth between characters (it took me back to my high school reading of The Spoon River Anthology).  This is a delightful read, though it does contain some intense WWII details.  It is a perfect book for back-to-school busyness when you are lucky to find a few minutes to read here and there.

I'd highly recommend it.  In fact, I think Adrienne would really like this book.  Stop by her page next, to get more great recommendations!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book o' the Month: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Oh, poor Tess!

I knew beforehand that this classic novel was a tragedy, and reading it was akin to watching a train wreck, but...I still held out hope until the second to last page!

Thomas Hardy wrote this novel in 1892 but, unfortunately, the themes are easily contemporary--particularly, the shame of the violated woman.  Just see this article from Scary Mommy/Club Mid, which I just read this morning.

There is a ton of literary criticism out there about this book.  Whatever Hardy's true feelings and intentions in and apart from the time in which he wrote, I came away from this piece of fiction with a hollow in the pit of my stomach.  I felt the loss of Tess, on many levels.  

The writing is wonderful, the story is intriguing and heart-wrenching.  No wonder it's a classic.

Now I've got two film versions of the book on DVD from the library...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book o' the Month: The Sea

The Sea, the sea.

For the past few summers, I have read a book with the word "sea" in the title while vacationing by the sea.  Seemed like a fun idea.  But...it has turned out that the three books I have read, have basically been the same story:  middle aged man returns to a place by the sea and contemplates his past.  Two of the books were written by prominent women writers and two won the Booker Prize.  Each has it's merits, wonderful writing, themes and allusions worthy of academic literary review (IMHO).  See my previous posts here and here.

I enjoyed the narrative style of John Banville's novel, my most recent read.  He is a brilliant writer.  And it was a good book to read with the sound of gently crashing waves in the background.

So, nothing personal, Mr. Banville.  But, next summer, I want a change of subject matter!

Dear readers, any suggestions??

Now...take a gander at what Adrienne has to suggest this month on Turn the Page ... Tuesday over at Some of a Kind!