Friday, August 29, 2008
I am finding that I am not a Hemingway fan. I am one for three. I read "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and did not enjoy it at all. I then read " The Old Man and The Sea", and liked it.
Now I come upon Mr. Hemingway again on my Classics List. "A Farewell to Arms" is the story of an American who enlists in the Italian Army as an ambulance driver in World War I.
It's told from the main character's perspective and deals with his meeting and falling in love with a British nurse, his dealings with the Italian doctors, drivers and military personnel and eventually his leaving the army by way of Switzerland with the nurse.
And it was boring to me. The writing style reminded me of "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Choppy. Random thoughts that go all over the place. I find myself not caring what the character is talking about.
I don't get Hemingway. I don't get why he's got three books so far on this list of Classics I am working thorough. Is it just people think everyone else thinks he's popular and therefore they must follow the in-crowd? I don't know. I'm just not jazzed by his writing style. He is not my cup of tea.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here's Super Model Isabel, modeing the latest Mickey Mouse gear. Isn't she cute?
Ignore the boogies. She's sick and her nose is running.
This one's her favorite. Again, ignore the boogies.
I was looking in a bag of hand-me-down shoes that my sister gave me that were her daughter's, because I remembered seeing polka dot shoes and there they were! PERFECT...except they are 2 sizes too big. She still wanted to wear them around the house.
I don't understand the Jazz hand here, but she was feeling it, so we went with the pose.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I really enjoyed "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory, so I went over and signed up for another one of her books on Paperback Swap.
"The Virgin's Lover" is the tale of when Queen Elizabeth I first takes the throne, and deals with her relationship with Robert Dudley, a childhood friend, who although married, begins a relationship with the queen.
I enjoy that Ms. Gregory uses fact to mix into her fiction. It's fun to read up on the facts after reading her books. I just had a qualms with the two main characters. Mainly that I really did not like them! Elizabeth is portrayed as a fickle girl who lets her libido and lust dominate her decisions. Robert Dudley is this scheming conniving jerk of a man who abandons his wife, even though back then, divorces were rarely if ever granted. I wonder how true to their real character these characters were, because I have to tell you, not my favorite people.
The book was fun though because Ms. Gregory weaves these great webs of fact throughout her fiction.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today was the kids second week of school but only their second day as they were off all week for TS Fay. I received an automated call from the county to let me know that there will be makeup days for these four days, they're just not sure when. *sigh* All those teacher work days I saw on the 2008-2009 schedule are no more I suppose. What a crazy, crazy way to start the school year. And I think Isabel's getting David's flu!
Friday night I jumped on Atlas Quest and saw that a local letterboxer (local in that she lives 7 or so miles from me) had posted that an out-of-state letterboxer was with her and did anyone want to meet for dinner? Me not wanting to cook? Is Buffy the Slayer? YES. An added bonus was that this out-of-state letterboxer was someone I had dealt with on a couple of postal rings, so bonus! The kids and I (Jake in his Jayne hat) headed out in the STORM THAT WOULD NOT LEAVE, and headed over to TGI Friday's for dinner with Scarab (nice to meet you. Jake enjoyed the conversations very much.), 3Hearts (Kim) and her daughters, The Gamecock (Moooooooe! not Mooo, Moe.), and a new friend, Retrogeekgirl. (nice to meet you too).
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Marisol was 44. She was ill and the doctors here in Florida could not figure out what was wrong. She flew to Puerto Rico to be with her family. If I have the story right, her dad went to take a shower and when he came out, he found her on the floor.
I didn't know her well. I just know that when Grandma was ill, she was here and was so sweet. She had just come back from a trip to Europe and was showing me all the great places she went. She fixed my grandparents lunch and was just pleasant. My generation/sisters don't know my dad's family as well as we should. Especially 2 of my sisters and I. Once our parents divorced, we hardly ever saw any of my dad's family. And that's sad as hell. They don't seek us out, we don't seek them out.
I have tons of relatives in Central Florida. Tons. Second cousins, third cousins. I don't see any of them. At all. People who invite my dad and step-mom to gatherings and forget we're here; that we live closer to them than my dad. I have female cousins my age living in Central Florida. With kids my kids' ages. And we are all so involved in our own little microcosms that we never see each other, except birthday parties, and even then, it's hit or miss. Some have never been to my kids' parties. I call to say hi and leave a message on the machine - never get a call back.
I remember being young and always having family around. I just have Swiss-cheese brain and can't remember them. I try to make close bonds now, and it just doesn't work.
Family is the best thing to have. Close family is even better. Even if you have a crazy, dysfunctional, no-one-says-anything-cause-they're-too-polite family, or people-say-too-much-cause-they're-slightly-insane family, at least you have one.
Tell them. Tell them they matter. Call them. E-mail them. Return calls. Let them know they matter.
Forty four is too damned young.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I was thinking about Halloween Costumes. I LOVE Halloween costumes. On my old blog HERE you can see some of the costumes I have made. I've not done any for myself in a while, but I've been thinking...
Hmmmm, WHAT could I do for Halloween this year?
Notice buttons on the side shoulder. I moved them from the front of the lab coat and sewed velcro on the front instead.
I painted the goggles after I took the above pictures.
All I need is the logo on the lab coat pocket [not sure how I am going to do that. Free-hand ON the jacket? Get it drawn on white cloth and then sew it on. Brenda, help! :)] and the white shoes, which are basically white rain boots. I'll order those next.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
We've now discovered wet carpet by the two corners near the front door! TEEE-RIFFIC!! Just what we need, leaks under the house!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Jacob had a good day. He likes Drama and Piano Keyboarding. And he left his school supply lists in his locker. It starts.
Then, a storm. Faye. Blah. The kids are off today and tomorrow! They won't go back until Thursday.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I can't even begin to tell you how fantastic this book was. On my Classics-To-Read list, I read it now because I had to buy it for Jake. He had to read "Of Mice and Men" and this one. He came to work with me one day and we went to the library in the county that I work on my lunch break. He stayed at the library and read "Of Mice and Men" in less than 3 hours, but the library was out of all three copies of "Fahrenheit 451" and had a waiting list. David brought Iz to my office that afternoon, we picked up Jake at the library and headed over to Books-A-Million, where I bought him this paperback.
It's a quick read; 165 pages. Again, I say 'Fantastic. ' Mr. Bradbury wrote this in 1950 and it even more relevant now than back then.
Here's a future Utopia that's really a festering "Dystopia" underneath its shiny layers. (edit later: Wow, I had NO idea Wikipedia called 'Fahrenheit 451' a dystopia! Jake and I were discussing the book this afternoon and he said how un-utopian the world of this book was; a dystopia. Then I Wiki 'Farenheit 451' tonight and there it is: "Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian, soft science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury." Great minds think alike). It's a world where firemen set fires...to books and the houses of those harboring said books. A future world where reading books is illegal. Where knowledge by anything other than interactive tvs and wall-sized screens is punishable by imprisonment, sometimes death.
The shocking part...it's not the government that started it. It was people. En masse. They stopped reading, they stopped wanting to learn. Universities fired professors for lack of enrollment in English, History, Literature courses. Everything anyone needed to know could be spoon-fed to them in two minutes or less (sound familiar?)
How it went from that to burning books, I don't know. But it did. People forget that firemen used to put out fires. They're there to burn. Thinkers are outcasts. They're hobos in railroad camps, or they're incognito, hiding books in their homes, praying they never get caught and their homes get burned to the ground. The world is 100 mph, even driving in your own neighborhood. Everything is now, now, now.
Enter Guy Montag, a fireman from firehouse 451. He loves setting fires. It feels good to watch these stupid books burn. He has a wife totally "plugged in" that they barely speak; no one talks. There's hardly any conversations about anything real anymore. It's all about tv shows, and who's the best looking presidential candidate. There's going to be a war, but it's going on "over there" so it won't bother us. Seriously Topical! Love it.
Guy meets a rather eccentric teen girl in his neighborhood whose questionings, actions, thoughts and words make Guy stop. Cold. And then Hot. There's a fire inside him now. A fire to know why things are the way they are. There has to be more than this. Is it just that books are missing? Why are people the way they are? Guy ends up fighting for his life, fighting for the Book of Ecclesiastics in his head, fighting to get away from a city that disappears in the blink of the speed of light that the jets flying overhead travel in.
A society where no one reads. Where no one discusses anything of value. Neighbors don't talk to each other, families don't talk to each other, they interact with computer-generated people rather than each other. That can't happen, right?
God help us.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tough. I'm posting them anyway! The first two were in Spaceship Earth. Otherwise known as the "big golf ball" at Epcot. The first one below, is a number 3 on a mural at the entrance, shaped like Mikey ears.
This next one as inside the ride. A man picking paint samples at a desk.
Outside, at the information board, the "O" in Epcot is the Earth, and Australia is shaped like Mickey. Kind-of hard to see in this picture, and also in person as it goes by really fast.
Next up we went into "The Land." This one, upside down on a globe seems like a stretch on guide's part.
In The Land building, there's a boat ride called "Living with the Land." There's a mural of a farmer and farmland. I went by too fast to get it, but you can see where I've outlined Mickey below.
Same ride. Some Mickeys are very obvious, like these two.
Hmmm, where is this one?
In Morocco, we found some more. Some obvious,
some waaaay up on building awnings,
and some hidden in murals for beautiful princesses to pose in front of.
In Japan, some Koi swim near Mickey,
while near a miniature village in Germany, some windows show off Mickey's ears.
Sunday we were sitting in the family room watching the Olympics. Men's basketball. Isabel decides she's going to make free throws...with a blanket she's balled up. She takes turns throwing it at my and Jacob's faces. At one point, Jake short-throws it back to her and it lands on the floor by her feet. She leans over and as she picks it up she says "Oh, crap!"
How can I, as a parent, actually keep a straight face? I was howling. Then I try to be all stern and say "No Isabel, you can't say that!" She totally got that from Jake. When I told him he had to stop saying it, he whined "Awee, it's the only curse word you'll let me say!"
Sunday, August 10, 2008
She always yells after she throws the ball. She'll start with "I......" and she waits to see what happens. If she gets a strike, she yells "Iiiii wiiiiiiiiiin!!!" But if she misses, she completes the "I" with "Missed!!"
In this first video, she picks up the spare.
I love that she runs FULL TILT towards the tv and screeches to a halt to avoid crashing into the PS3 that's on the floor next to the Wii. (Ignore the mess. We'd had company that week staying with us and every single video game and system we own were brought out for them to play with).
In the second video, she thinks she "missed," but watch what happens.
It's funny that she can totally beat me at this game 50% of the time.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
'The Good Earth," by Pearl S. Buck, Nobel-Prize winning author, is a terrific literary read. A gift from David's aunt when she sent me 10 of her favorite books. What a fantastic piece. Her writing is lyrical; I've only read this one book of hers but she deserved that Nobel just for this book. Published in 1931, "The Good Earth" was critically acclaimed and also caused its author a lot of criticism from China, a country that was more home to her an anyplace else, having grown up there with missionary parents.
But enough about Ms. Buck, although her story in itself is fascinating.
The book deals with a young farmer, Wang Lung (Dear Ms. Buck, forgive me for calling him 'Wang Chung' in my mind as I read), as he is about to be married to a local slave of a rich home. Wang's father insisted he not find his son a "pretty" maid who will not want to work, but will want fine things and to be pampered. Wang's father arranges he be wed to O-lan, a big, slow moving, 'dim-witted' girl who is a hard worker.
The arrangement was a wise choice, for while other men's wives just wanted, wanted, wanted, O-lan took great care to take care of their home, clean, cook and mend things, help with Wang's old father, work the fields they owned. Although he never once spoke of it to anyone including her, Wang Lung was proud to have a hard-working wife. This is a woman who bore his children on her own, and then went back on the fields to continue harvesting so they would not lose their crops.
I thought he was wonderful for thinking these things. He was an honest farmer and all he wanted was his land. He knew that though famine and bandits may come, no one can take away your land. He and O-lan even bought a parcel from the old Mansion she used to be a slave for. She was so proud to be a "success;" a married woman with land, crops and some silver.
Then camed the drought. People starved, people left, people hinted at others eating their own "slaves" as they called their daughters, as food. (Daughters were considered nothing but "future slaves" to some rich family by these farmers). The drought sent Wang Lung, his father, his pregnant wife and three kids to a city far away to try and survive. It is hinted that O-lan has killed the newborn child because it is a girl and girls are just another mouth to feed. In the city, they go to beg in the streets while Wang hires a richsha (her spelling) and makes enough money in an 18 hour day to just buy food for one day. Their youngest, a girl, is malnourished to the point of becoming mentally handicapped. They have hardships but always, Wang Lung remembers his land.
This section of the book very much reminded me of "The Grapes of Wrath." Wang Lung is trying so hard to care for his family and stay honest and true, just like the Joad family tried.
After over a year, and after going with a mob and ransacking a rich person's home and stealing money and jewels, they are able to afford the trip back home to their land. They rebuild and with the jewels by more of the rich people's land in town.
Then things change and you see Wang Lung getting full of hubris. He gains more land, more riches and begins to look down on people in his own town, in his own home. He looks with disgust at O-lan because she is big, her feet are not bound, she is not beautiful, and he treats her with contempt.
It reminded me of people you hear who say "If I come into money, it won't change me." Right. You change, slowly, imperceptibly at first, but you change. You get accustomed to finer things and suddenly think your "$&@* don't stink."
O-lan is wise. She may be quiet, but she is thoughtful. She knows how the world turns and oftentimes helps country bumpkin Wang out whe he least expects it. She stops him from selling his land when there was a drought. She knows how to beg to support her family, she knows where to look for the rich's hidden treasure, having lived in a mansion as a slave. She's patient, sturdy, strong. And Wang doesn't care because he does not desire her to be the "face" of this family. She's not beautiful enough for a successful man.
Wang takes in a concubine (read "tea-house tramp") as his second wife. A dainty, pretty thing for whom he builds a new addition to their already larger home. This trollop lounges all day and toys with Wang's lust for her body to do as she wishes. Poor O-lan. She bore his children and she loses her husband and his respect for her. Pearls he gaved to O-lan get stripped from her so he can give them as a gift to this new wife.
The story continues with his sons growing up to be "rich kids" who take all the hard work that Wang Lung and O-lan put in with his back and sweat for granted. They, Wang included, spend money like crazy, act like they are a rich regal family and totally forget their past.
The ending is a slow sad one. It's a greatly written story about this poor farmer who used to be happy with a faithful strong wife, a bowl of tea and rice for breakfast and enought harvest to be able to feed his family and have a little silver left over for emergencies, and how money changes everything.
Friday, August 8, 2008
David's family members from South Dakota here from Wed. - Saturday. (daughter has a gymnastics thing).
Jake & I went to his freshman orientation. More grey hairs made it on my head.
I came home one day this week, EXHAUSTED, and since Squeaklefritz was napping, I decided to grab a few minutes of Zzzz-time. I dove under the covers......and then I saw this.....
I think Squeak's trying to make me an offer I can't refuse. Just haven't figured out what that is yet.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In the before pictures, I had already lost 5 pounds. (Also, I look like my mother. Dear God in heaven.) I did not think to take a picture right at the beginning. Derrr. In the after pictures, ignore the fact that I am wearing glasses, have no makeup and basically look like a dork. My butt...looks the same to me.
Monday, August 4, 2008
This week and zero weight loss! Dagnabit. I went to my sister's over in Land O' Lakes, ate carbs like it was going out of style for ONE day.
See? Remember I said in order to lose weight I have to BOTH exercise and diet? I wasn't kidding. I did my weekly workouts but that one day killed it. GRRRRRR.
I'm also in a bit of a clothes-quandary. When I got pregnant with Isabel, I was an 8. Then, I jumped to larger sizes after. The smallest of the larger sizes is a 12. I have no size 10 clothes. At all. I have 8's out the wazoo. So, do I buy some size 10's or just keep belting and cinching the heck out of these 12's until I eventually get into an 8?
Grrrrrr, what a poopoo week.