Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Book Quiz

Lifted from Yoga-grrl who borrowed it from Brewsandbooks. Because I love a list, a quiz, a meme.

1. Favorite childhood book? Little Women, The Little Princess, Baby Island, the Little House series.

2. What are you reading right now? The Good Omen by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett and Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (on audiobook)

3. What books do you have on request at the library? The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the latest Frankenstein book by Dean Koontz

4. Bad book habit? Occasionally spending too much money on a book and then not reading it. Sooner or later I will.

5. What do you currently have checked out from the library? Read question #2, plus the newest Jane Green and the newest James Patterson

6. Do you have an e-reader? no

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? generally I read one, and listen to one in the car.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? They really haven't, other than I occasionally write about what I read now.
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?) The most recent Scarpetta books - they just aren't very exciting anymore.
10. Favorite book you've read this year? I really loved Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Blackbird House. The Gates by John Connolly was great.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? If someone I trust recommends it, or it's a book club book, so maybe a few times a year.
12. What is your reading comfort zone? Definitely fiction - preferably good female characters and fun plot, but I'm not terribly picky.
13. Can you read on the bus? Not that I take the bus often, but I have terrible motion sickness, so I doubt I'd do well.
14. Favorite place to read? My chaise lounge on the back porch.
15. What is your policy on book-lending? Sure.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books? Yes, but never someone else's book
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Only if I am really inspired to do so - I wrote in the margins of Eat, Pray, Love.
18. Not even with text books? I did, yes.
19. What is your favorite language to read in? English - I'm not fluent enough in anything else. I have, however, read Cat in the Hat to the Girl in Spanish.
20. What makes you love a book? Characters I love, thoughtful plot, beautiful language.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? See above. Or, if a book really makes me think.
22. Favorite genre? Fiction. Most kinds of fiction.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) biographies or other non-fiction
24. Favorite biography? heehee. Probably The Glass Castle
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? I've read some spiritual self-help and some parenting books.
26. Favorite cookbook? Any of Molly Katzen's. I love to read her recipes like stories.
27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or nonfiction?) Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
28. Favorite reading snack? popcorn or raisinettes. Movie snacks.
29. Name an instance in which hype ruined your reading experience? Twilight. I did not like the books nearly as much as I thought I would
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? I rarely read the critiques.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I doubt the authors are reading my reviews, so I don't worry much. If I knew the author, maybe.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, what language would you choose? Italian.
33. Most intimidating book you've ever read? Anna Karenina
34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin? Foucault's Pendulum
35. Favorite poet? Mary Oliver
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? 5 or 6, maybe?
37. How often have you returned a book to the library unread? On occasion, if I haven't had time, of just didn't feel inspired.
38. Favorite fictional character? Jo March, from Little Women. She was wild and strong.
39. Favorite fictional villain? Probably Voldemort from Harry Potter. He was one nasty SOB.
40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation? light, girly fiction.
41. The longest I've gone without reading? Um, how long have you gone without breathing?
42. Name a book you could/would not finish. As I Lay Dying, by Faulkner. Ugh.
43. What distracts you easily when you're reading? My children.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel. This one's easy. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Honestly (and I hate to admit it), the movie was better than the book - almost identical, but more aesthetically pleasing.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation. Most of Stephen King's. Except The Green Mile, which wasn't too bad.
46. The most money you've ever spent in a bookstore at any one time. A lot.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Most of the time I just read the synopses on the back.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Really poor grammar, or characters I really hate.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized? In so much as I need to find them, I suppose.
50. Do you prefer to keep books, or give them away once you've finished? Depends on the book. I keep the ones I love.
51. Are there any books you've been avoiding? I've been wanting to read the Brothers Karamazov for years, and I have only read the first few chapters.
52. Name a book that made you angry. Catcher in the Rye. I know people loved that book, but I thought Holden Caulfield was a spoiled brat.
53. A book you didn't expect to like, but did? The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. That was a lovely book!
54. A book you expected to like but didn't? Twilight. I did, however, like the rest of the books in the series. I also didn't much care for Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I really thought I would.
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading. Jennifer Crusie, Jane Green, other chicklit or romance.

Ooh, what fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

thank*full Thursdays

It's time to re-establish this particular habit of mine. You can never focus too much on gratitude.

Today I am thankful for:

1. It may be rather boring but, gorgeous weather. It has been unbelievably lovely outside. Temps in the 70's and low 80's, low humidity, blue skies, ahhhhhh.
2. A job I love, for an organization I respect, with people I genuinely like. I am very lucky to be able to do this.
3. That said, I am thankful for having tomorrow off, and all to myself.
4. Because, my kids started school last week! I love school! Not just having the kids busy somewhere, but the routine, the learning, the happy productivity of school.
5. Reading the ChitChat and Advice sections of the small-town newspapers I read for work. I love all the bits of "news" (i.e. "John Doe and his family will be seeing Taylor Swift in concert this weekend. Have fun, Does.") and the weird problems people feel obligated to share with some woman they've never met. Reading these is my little afternoon treat.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School!

I have posted so many times about my love for the first day of school. It is so much more "New Years" than January 1st to me. The Monkeybutt on his first day of 8th grade. He is holding his summer book project visual aide - a picture of the robots trying to unlock the planet Krikkit from the book, "Life, the Universe, and Everything" by Douglas Adams. I loved that series. He is also playing for the high school's JV golf team, hence the ugly orange shirt. But he looked nice.

Here's the Girl on her first day of 2nd grade. Isn't this the cutest picture? The outfit was adorable, but this was the best picture, so this is the one I'm posting. So far, she is loving school, but that is no surprise.

I took off the last week so I could spend some time with the kids before school started, and then some time without them. Unfortunately, I booked myself solid for the entire week. My mom and I drove up to Rabbit Hash, KY on Thursday, just to check it out. We both love history, and the idea of going into a General Store that had been there since the 1800's was very cool. Of course the place was really more a cross between a junk shop and a head shop than a General Store. But we did get to play fetch with the mayor:

This is Lucy Lou, the mayor of Rabbit Hash. She greeted us with a wag of the tail and a stick. She whined if I did not play with the stick. She was adorable. I would definitely vote for her. There was another dog who kept interfering with the stick fetching, and he was extremely friendly; coming up to lick my leg and bring me more sticks. I am pretty sure he was campaigning.

These sweet motorcycle-riding gentlemen were kind enough to let me take their picture. I loved the shot enough to want to share it. Aren't they handsome?
Anywho, Friday I had a yard sale which earned enough to pay for my dinner Friday night at Brio's with some friends. Yesterday was the first soccer game for the Girl and the first fall baseball game for the Boy. Busy busy busy, and tomorrow it's back to work for me!
It is, of course, time for my biannual list of resolutions, but I'll work on that later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, Mitch Albom, really?

I've mentioned before my inexplicable enjoyment of the Sunday morning program, "The Sports Reporters" on ESPN. Mitch Albom is one of the contributers on the program, and I enjoy his writing quite a bit, especially "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," which was a book club selection last year. This past week he referred to a young athlete as having "bounce backedness." Seriously, Mitch, I get you were talking off the cuff here, but really? You couldn't come up with something as simple as "resilience?" I mean, you've made your living with words for years.
It hurts. Right here (pounding on the chest.)

By the way, have you ever sat and listened to "Zero 7" in the dark? Very mellow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"I'm goin' up. I ayam."

Wednesday night was one of the nights the Perseids was supposed to be visible, so I moved my chaise lounge out into the back yard and laid back to watch the sky for an hour around midnight. I didn't see any meteors for awhile, and my mind started to drift to my very favorite movie from my childhood, "Spacecamp." You know, starring Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, the chick that married John Travolta, Leaf (Joaquin) Phoenix. All actors who have done plenty since, but rarely starred in anything, with the noticeable difference of Joaquin, for whom I will always harbor a deep and abiding love, even if he is a terrible rapper. And he was a rather irritating little kid (Max) in SpaceCamp. Anyway, I adored that movie. The premise, assuming you've (tragically) never seen it, is a group of kids at SpaceCamp get the unprecedented chance to sit in the shuttle while they test the engines. Max says he wishes he could go to space, so his little robot friend initiates a "thermal curtain failure" (which apparently does not actually happen) so the shuttle has to launch. So you have five kids and one adult in space, in a shuttle that was not actually ready to launch, so they don't have radios, enough oxygen, etc., and they have to figure out how to get back. It was a true opportunity for growth, obviously.
So, I spent the next several years desperate to become an astronaut. Way past the time it is still acceptable to want to be an astronaut. I never got to go to SpaceCamp, either, and I had a friend who did get to go, and she wasn't nearly as obsessed as I was. I didn't get over the whole astronaut thing until I was a junior in high school, and I discovered my allergy and bronchitis problems and my less than stellar math grades would likely prevent me from ever going into space. It was a rather sad realization. The death of a dream, if you will.
Two years ago, I decided to screen one of my favorite movies of all time for my children. Wow, the dialogue in that movie really was awful. I always found Tate and Lea's characters to be rather irritating, but I loved Tish - she was all cool and smart and stuff. But even her dialogue sucked. And I kind of wanted to drop the robot in a bathtub. Goonies was much better. But that's a whole other post.
Anyway, I must have dozed off while I was out there watching the skies, because when I got up to go inside, it was almost 2AM. I stood up and watched for a few more minutes and finally saw one meteor - then I could go to bed.
Last night (or this morning) was supposed to be the best time for viewing - 2-4AM. I went out before bed and didn't see anything, and then I woke up around 4:30AM and went out - but I must have missed it, because I stood out there for awhile, and never saw anything. I was thoroughly bummed. Next year I will definitely have to make plans and set an alarm or something. I may have given up my astronaut dreams, but I still love to watch the skies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Motivation comes in all forms and fashions.

I've been a member of Weight Watchers for 2 months now, and I've gained weight. The fault is entirely my own, of course - I haven't been tracking or attending meetings every week - but I do believe today may have changed things.

I go on my lunch break, which I kind of hate, as I am a big proponent of the lunch break. I love to chill with my book (and lunch, which I love.) But the WW place is close to my office and the timing fits. I keep skipping meetings since so many of the members would just sit there, sometimes nod - there was very little interaction, and I felt so little motivation. Of course, I just sat there, too. Well, today the leader asks us what sorts of goals we have that are not scale-related. One or two people mumbled answers, and finally I sucked it up and my goal for this week is to track everyday. No matter what. Write down everything I eat. You know, what you are supposed to do, and what I have not been doing the entire time I've been doing this. Which I also said. And everyone just opens up. Several different women mentioned their own problems with tracking, how they have overcome not wanting to do it - the ideas are flowing, there was interaction. And then the leader asks about what we are gaining from our progress (those who have experienced it), and then tells about a woman who said she had learned she was an emotional eater, and that her daughter was also an emotional eater, and she was learning to help both of them. Which inspires me even more. Because I eat from sheer boredom or exhaustion, and so does my daughter. If I can start to fix myself, maybe I can help the Girl so she never has to deal with these issues. At the end of the meeting everyone is chatting, wishing each other good luck, and actually looking forward to next week. How cool is that?

On another note, I am listening to a very cool album right now (as I write) called Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear. Sort of funky, psychedelic, hypnotic stuff. Worth a listen. One of their songs was used on some commercial, I think.

I really need to get the camera out and start documenting life a little better. But that will have to start tomorrow. Now I need to do a little cleaning and a lot of reading. I'm reading "A Dirty Job" by Chris Moore, about a man who wakes up one day to discover he has the job of Death. Have I ever waxed euphoric over the wonderfully hilarious Mr. Moore? So irreverent, so self-effacing, so tears running down my face, falling off my house, snortingly funny. My favorite so far has actually been "Fool", with "Lamb" coming in with a close second. If you don't take yourself too seriously, and enjoy unfailingly fun fiction, definitely give him a read.

I wanted to give you an image of Death to close with, so I typed "death" into Google images, and this is one of the first pictures that came up. It made me grin, so I decided to close with the Death Star, instead.

Have a fabulous, intergalactic evening.