Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Found Money

Last week the 2009 Unclaimed Property List for the state of RI was included as a insert in our state paper, The Providence Journal. This multi page newspaper insert is published each year and lists everyone in the state who has unclaimed property. This year there are over 14,000 people listed for a total of over $200 million in unclaimed assets. Every year, I diligently check this list, ever hopeful that I will find my name. Who am I kidding? Did I really think I had forgotten about some investment account or that I am the beneficiary of a trust fund from a long lost rich relative. Yeah, right! Keep dreaming. Yet, every year I check and every year I'm disappointed. Who knows maybe next year....

Image from Google images

Monday, March 30, 2009

Book Review: The Secret Currency of Love edited by Hilary Black

Some of you may have noticed that the Currently Reading list on my sidebar usually has two books listed. Those of you who know me well may be wondering what's up with that, since I've always claimed to be able to read only one book at a time. Well, I recently discovered a solution to a problem that has been vexing me for quite a while now. You see, it seems that I am unable to recall anything that I read right before I go to sleep. The next day, when I pick up my book, I have no idea what the heck is happening in the story. I usually have to go back at least 5 pages or so and reread what I had already read the night before. This is extremely frustrating for me. What I discovered is that if I read a book of essays or some other non-fiction that is merely interesting and not something I have to remember every detail of to follow the story, it just doesn't really matter if I can't remember what I read the night before. I thoroughly enjoy what I'm reading at that (sleepy) moment and the next night I just move on. It works like a charm! Of course, it does take forever to finish one of these "sleepytime tales", but again it just doesn't matter all that much.

The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth about Women, Money, and Relationships edited by Hilary Black is just such a book. It is a book of essays written by 28 female authors who share their deepest feelings about money and how it effects their relationships - with others and even with themselves. The essays are written from many different perspectives and all of the authors are surprisingly candid and open in revealing their often conflicted relationship with money. I found myself identifying with each of the authors as they described how money has influenced, hindered, freed and seduced them. This was a thought-provoking and insightful book. One I would recommend...and not just for bedtime reading.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I've Seen the Future and It Looks Bright!

Here in Rhode Island, in order to graduate from HS, every student must complete a senior project. A senior project is a yearlong research project on a topic of the student's choice, in which the student finds a mentor, performs 15+ hours of fieldwork, writes a research paper and presents all this in an oral presentation in front of a panel of judges! I am so glad I'm not a high school student these days. I get a sick stomach just thinking about it.

So far this year I have attended the culmination of two senior projects. The first was a one man show presented by my neighbor, Seth. Not only did he sing 12 Broadway Show tunes (quite well I might add), but he did this as a fund raiser for Save the Bay and The United Way's Fund to Prevent Homelessness in Rhode Island. But, that's not all. He performed this show in a recital room at the Philharmonic Music School, to the accompaniment of 5 live musicians (one adult and 4 exceptionally talented students). But wait... there's more! He also collected donated items from local businesses for a silent auction. And he served refreshments. Oh and one more thing, he did this all as a 501(c)3 corporation (One Bay, One Voice), which he formed for this purpose. Color me impressed.

Then last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a Fashion Show sponsored by the Barrington High School chapter of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). The Fashion Show was organized and run by two HS students, Grace and Hannah. Hannah is also a graduating senior who worked on the Fashion Show as her senior project. This wasn't a simple show held in the HS cafeteria with kids wearing their own jeans and Ugg boots. Oh, no! This was held at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Providence and included a three course meal. The models (HS students and teachers) all wore designer clothes provided by local boutiques. They all strutted their stuff to the sounds of a professional DJ and the event was emceed! This event was also a fundraiser for The American Cancer Society and FBLA Scholarships. At $35 a plate and with an attendance of approximately 200 people, I'd say they were quite successful.

And then on Friday night I had yet another opportunity to be blown away by a group of talented teens at the East Greenwich HS talent show. Our family is good friends with two families who live all the way on the other side of the state - 35 minutes away! - in East Greenwich. Brian, Scott and Alex were all performing in the talent show and we decided to go to support these young men that we have know since kindergarten. Where did the time go? Anyway, yet again we left the auditorium with jaws hanging open and looks of disbelief on our faces. The level of talent displayed in these young people was incredible. I was blown away. So, better get yourselves a good pair of sunglasses, because the future it almost here and it is bright indeed!
Images from Google images

Saturday, March 28, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Here's my take on this week's episodes of my favorite shows. As always, TV Quick Quips contain spoilers.

Big Love (Season Finale) - Anyone else confused and frustrated by all the compound "intrigue"? It all seems far too over done. I hope next season tones it down a bit.

Flight of the Conchords (Season Finale)- Mel's weird obsession with Jermaine and Brett is starting to creep me out. Does she want to mother them or sleep with them? The fact that I even have to ask this question gives me the willies.

American Idol - Idol was extremely anticlimactic for me this week. Here's what happened. Since I wasn't able to watch the shows when they aired, I set the DVR to record them. On Friday, I sat down with my "clicker" and zipped along through all the commercials and bios and silly cast songs. After I finished watching the first show, I zipped along through the results show. Isn't DVR great! If you follow the show, you know that at the end the judges were having trouble deciding whether to use their one and only "save" to save Michael. Time was running out. Ryan even made a comment about the next show getting ready to start. Then Simon takes control (surprise, surprise) and says something along the lines of he's going to make a decision. Paula makes a unhappy sigh and then Simon says "Michael..." AND THEN MY DVR STOPPED RECORDING! Arghhh! Apparently the show ran over by a some infinitesimal amount of time and I didn't get to see the most important part of the show. I had to find out what happened by looking it up online!. For Pete's sake, I could have done that right from the get go! Well, I learned my lesson and I set my DVR to record 2 minutes beyond the end of the show from now on. Geesh!

LOST - Whoa! As conniving as Ben (even young Ben) is, I'm not sure I can digest the fact that Sayid shot a child! I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around that. Not something you see everyday on TV (or the movies for that matter). Now here's a question. If Sayid killed young Ben, how does grown up Ben manage to be around in the future? Hmmm...

The Office - Show of hands... How many people tried Scotch and Splenda after that episode aired? "Tastes like Splenda, gets you drunk like Scotch". Hysterical!

Friday Night Lights - Never seen so many sensitive teenage boys in one place at one time. Go Panthers!
Image from Google images

Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

For those of you who don't know, I work at the George Hail Library, a small public library in Warren, RI. One of the things I do there is I run the adult book club, Books on Main (the library is on Main Street). On Wednesday night, Donna Russo Morin, a brand new Rhode Island author visited George Hail/Books on Main for a book discussion and Q&A session about her new book, The Courtier's Secret.

It was an absolutely fabulous event. Donna (she said I could call her Donna!) is an engaging, interesting and charismatic woman. In addition to reading an important scene from the book, Donna described for us the process of becoming a published author - from the actual writing of the book, to finding an agent, getting a publisher, having to change the ending (what?!) and "choosing" the cover art (more on that in a minute). Donna also graciously answered all our questions about the book, the writing process, the publishing world and even where she bought her fabulous black and white hounds tooth print bag! She couldn't have been more wonderful.

As a confirmed bookworm, I have attended several author signings, book talks and events. Never before have I enjoyed such an intimate and personal discussion with any author. It was so enlightening and exciting.

Now, about the cover of the book. We have all heard the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover". But, we all do. It's only natural. Well, I must urge you not to judge The Courtier's Secret by its cover. Donna herself will tell you that she is not happy with the image chosen for the book's cover. The busty and lusty cover definitely gives the mistaken impression that this book is a bodice ripping romance novel. Not true! The Courtier's Secret is historical fiction set in France during the reign of Louis XIV. It tells the story of 17 year old Jeanne, who lives at court and rebels against the constraints of court life and the subservient role of women living in this time period. Under the secret tutelage of her uncle, Jeanne learns the art of sword fighting. It is this skill which leads her to disguise herself as a man and join the Musketeers to stop an assassination attempt on their queen. Of course, no historical fiction would be complete without a little romance and The Courtier's Secret provides that as well when Jeanne finds herself falling in love with her fellow Musketeer, Henri.

If you live in Rhode Island and would like an opportunity to hear Donna talk about her book and her experiences, visit her website for a list of upcoming appearances. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's that time of the week. Time to take a (much needed) break from complaining and focus on the positive. Here's a list of things I'm grateful for this week:

1. I'm thankful that I spotted a Girl Scout selling cookies on the street corner last weekend. Every year I order a huge supply of Girl Scout cookies from my nieces. This year when they came by to sell the cookies, I wasn't home. For some completely incomprehensible reason, my hubby only ordered 3 boxes. 3 boxes! What was he thinking? There are four of us in the house. We all LOVE girl scout cookies. They are only available once a year. Three boxes! Really? So needless to say I swooped down on the poor unsuspecting Girl Scout and cleaned her out!

2. I'm thankful that I have finally found a good meeting place for my book club, Chapter Chat. We have been struggling with this for almost a year. Every place we tried was either too noisy, went out of business or the service was too s-l-o-w. Now we meet in a restaurant with a private room where we can control the lighting, and the music, it's quiet and the food is good. What more can ask for?

3. Contrary to the impression left by my last post, I am thankful for my wonderful husband (even if he didn't buy enough cookies). Geoff is a really great guy. He is kind, gentle, hardworking and dedicated to me and our daughters. No one could ask for a better husband. So, now the question is, why does he put up with me? I'm not really sure, but I'm eternally grateful!

It really does feel great to take even a couple of minutes once a week to think about all that has gone right in the last week. It' so refreshing to stop thinking about all the blunders and aggravations and focus on the positive. I wonder why it's more automatic to focus on the negative? Is it just me? Hmmm.... Something to think about.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Here's a question for you. Is a woman who is basically a stay-at-home Mom (OK, technically I work part-time) allowed to complain talk about being busy and expect to be taken seriously by her breadwinner husband who has a full-time, stressful job?

When my kids were toddlers I was frazzled and hassled nearly all the time. When my darling hubby would ask me why I had such a difficult day, he would just roll his eyes when I listed all the things I had done that day. Like feeding the dog, taking a shower and making dinner. All in the same day! Come on. That was a super productive day back then. All you SAHMs out there can relate, right?

Then the kids got a little older and were in elementary school during the day and still I felt harried and hurried. Again, dear hubby would ask "Why so frantic"? I would explain my busy day. Working out, volunteering at school, running a quick errand and picking up the girls from school. Or, if it was a work day - drop kids off at school, quick shower, wolf down breakfast, work (from 10 - 2) and then afternoon pickup and drop off at lessons, practices, games, etc. Again, the eye rolling.

Time passes. The girls are now in Middle School and High School. I'm still working some days, but other days are busy with working out, running household errands, paying bills. You know, running a house. Of course some days include lunches with friends, nail appointments or the occasional shopping trip (only as an extra stop while running household errands, I swear). And still hubby rolls his eyes and chuckles when I say I've had a busy day.

OK, I admit it's a nice life. I'm lucky. I know that! And I'm beyond thankful for it. But, am I not allowed to say that I'm busy?

Apparently, my darling husband is not the only one who feels this way. It must be a common experience because last night on the TV show Family Guy (which I dislike and hubby enjoys immensely) Brian, the dog (don't ask), dressed up as Lois (the mother) and was pacing around the room muttering something along the lines of "Busy, busy, busy. I've got piano lessons, grocery shopping, laundry..." My husband was on the floor laughing. Needless to say, I did not see the humor in it. At all. I will say this, though. It did make me realize that my husband is not the only one to feel this way. I guess that does make me feel better. At least I know I'm not alone in having to deal with this.

I wonder if the eye-rolling would stop if I said I spent the day lounging around on the sofa watching soaps and eating bonbons!
Image from Google images

Monday, March 23, 2009

All the News That's Fit to...Print?

Did you all hear that last week The Seattle Post-Intelligencer produced it's last printed edition and is now an Internet-only news source? Was anyone else saddened or dismayed by this? What is this world coming to? Call me a traditionalist, but I really don't like this newest trend of the future. As someone who hates change and is a confirmed technophobe (heck, I just barely know how to use my cell phone and email), I really don't want to see the newspaper go the way of the dinosaur. Besides, a newspaper is something that is meant to be held, folded and have it's pages snapped. Every weekday morning, after the chaos of getting my kids out the door, I look forward to sitting down at the kitchen table with my cup of tea, my breakfast and the newspaper. Somehow, I just can't imagine getting the same cozy, peaceful feeling from my laptop! Not to mention that a newspaper is much more forgiving of syrupy, buttery, milky splatters than my laptop would be. Just like the cellphone and surfing the net, I know I'll probably be the last holdout on this one. I fully expect to have to be led kicking and screaming to my laptop for my daily dose of Ask Amy. I'll do it I have to, but I won't be a happy about it. And don't even get me started on the Kindle!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Sorry these are a day late. Good thing I have DVR, because I just couldn't seem to find time to watch much TV this week. Luckily, Madeleine and I were on our own last night and she and I were able to catch up on the shows I hadn't seen yet. Good thing I had already watched Big Love, that one is definitely not suitable for teenagers.

Big Love - Maybe I'm wrong about Nicki having Multiple Personality Disorder. Maybe Barb is right and she's a sociopath. Or, maybe she's both.

Flight of the Conchords - I hope that if I am ever mugged it is by a "pro-bono" mugger!

American Idol - Does Adam remind anyone else of a punk rock, emo, Elvis Presley? Oh, and I have a new favorite - Danny Gokey! Loved him this week.

The Office - I'm sorry, but a fumbling, foolish Jim is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Don't do it again. I mean it.

LOST - Whoa! Sun smashed Ben with an oar! I was NOT expecting that. You go girl!

Friday Night Lights - Any other moms of teens out there memorize Tammy's "conversation" with Julie? I wish I could channel my inner Tammy when I'm dealing with my teenage daughters. She is such a great mom. I wish I was more like her (and not just because her husband is adorable)!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Psst! Do You Want to Know a Secret?

For all you Rhode Islander's out there, I'm going to let you in on a the best kept secret in RI's theater scene. The Community Players. This year I bought a season's ticket on the recommendation of my friend, Colleen. Colleen had gone to see their production of Chicago because a friend of hers was performing in it. She was so impressed with the production that she decided to buy a season's subscription and I (quite tactfully) invited myself to join her! Well, I have not been disappointed, to say the least. The subscription rate is a mere $45 for 4 shows. So far this year we've seen Gypsy, Mousetrap and last night we saw A Grand Night for Singing. The final show for this season is the comedy Moonlight and Magnolias, which will be running June 12-21 (weekends only). I love the variety of shows that they produce. Musicals, mysteries, comedies, musical revues...they do it all. I have already pre-paid for the 2009-2010 season. It looks to be a great line up - A Chorus Line, Postmortem, Thoroughly Modern Millie and one other show which has yet to be announced. Oh goody, I love surprises! Don't you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Book Review: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

My book club, Chapter Chat, got together last night to discuss Alan Brennert's book Moloka'i. It was unanimous that we all really liked this book - a lot! That doesn't happen often. Most of the time, the books we read get mixed reviews. But, not Moloka'i. The thing that surprises me most about this book is that none of us had even heard of it before we chose it for book club. And, being that I work in a library, it's not as though I don't have my finger on the pulse of the book world. But, this book... nothing. Not a single review, no patrons asking for it, heck it hadn't even crossed my desk or shown up on a book cart. What the heck! I have a feeling the popularity of this book may grow in time. I think maybe we were just ahead of the pack. Oh yeah, that's me...living on the cutting edge.

Moloka'i tells the story of Rachel Kalama, a seven year old girl living in Honolulu in the early 1890's who is diagnosed with leprosy. She is taken away from her family and sent to live, in isolation, with other lepers on the island of Moloka'i. Once there, Rachel and the other residents are well treated and well-cared for. They are able to create full and happy lives for themselves, complete with excursions to the beach, dances, movie nights and a deep sense of family and home. Rachel even finds love and marries. Eventually, a cure for leprosy is found and the residents are given the option to leave Moloka'i and return to their former homes. For many this is a difficult decision to make, but Rachel decides to return to Honolulu to find the family that was stolen from her so long ago.

In spite of the depressing topic and the heartbreaking nature of Rachel's story, Moloka'i is filled with joy, love and courage. And the strength of the human spirit. Moloka'i is well worth reading.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Wow, Thursday already!? YIKES! I'm having trouble immediately thinking of even three things I'm thankful for. Complaints? No problem. I've got a laundry list. Just ask my workout buddy, Amy, she's heard a litany this week. But, I'm not giving up. The whole point of Thankful Thursday is to accentuate the positive, since that is obviously not my natural inclination. So here goes...

1. I'm thankful that I have Book Club tonight for a variety of reasons. First, I like Book Club. Second, I don't have to make dinner! And third, it's a great opportunity to see some friends I wouldn't otherwise see very often. So, in the words of Michael Scott, it's a win-win-win. (If you don't get this reference, you are not watching enough of The Office. Shame on you!)

2. I'm thankful that I'm getting an allergy shot this afternoon. I know this may seem like a weird thing to be happy about, but not suffering from allergy symptoms is definitely something to be thankful for. I will gladly get my shots every other week (for the rest of my life, if necessary) if it means I won't want to scratch my eyes out from March to June.

3. I'm thankful for the crazy busy but oh-so-fun day I spent with my friends on Tuesday. First it was a shopping extravaganza with Margaret. Very successful, I might add. Then an all-too quick cup of tea and great conversation with Diane and then a rousing game of Mah Jong with Amy, Jaime and Sabina. Phew! Did I say crazy and busy. Yeah, it was that. But what a joy! Girlfriends are definitely something to be thankful for.

4. And last but certainly not least. I am thankful for the the fabulous pair of red patent leather, peep toe pumps I bought while shopping with Margaret. I really have no place to wear them, but they were affordable and adorable and every girl simply must have a pair of red shoes. So, I think I'll just wear them to work. It's not everyday you see a Assistant Librarian in red peep toe pumps ;)

Once again, if I just sit down and think about it, I can always find lots of things to be thankful for. Now if only I could learn to focus on those things rather than the complaints. How about you? What good things happened to you this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And the Awards go to....

That's right. Awards, plural. And the winner? Katie!! Last night she won 4 awards and a $1,000 scholarship to Johnson and Wales University at the FBLA State Leadership Conference Awards Banquet. Wow! How exciting is that?! We are all so proud of her.

For those of you who don't know, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) is a national business organization with chapters in high schools around the country. Each year there is a State Leadership Conference in which the students compete by taking tests in different areas. Katie tested in Economics and Business Communications. She placed first in the state on both tests! I know RI is a small state, but it's still impressive! And as the first place winner of the Business Communications competition, Katie was also awarded a $1,000 Scholarship to Johnson and Wales University. Of course, she would have to decided to attend JWU, which I don't think she is considering, but still... how exciting!

But that's not all. Katie also serves as her chapter's Co-Historian and the scrapbook that she and her partner, Diana, created placed 3rd in the state. In addition to being her chapter's Co-Historian, Katie also served as the RI state Historian. And for that role she was awarded an Outstanding Member Award. Phew!

And as if all that wasn't thrilling enough, last night she also learned that she has been elected FBLA State Vice-President! Next stop, the National competitions in CA this summer. Go Katie!! You rock!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TV Quick Quips

It's that time of the week again. Here's the 411 on my favorite shows:

Big Love: There can now be no doubt. Nicki definitely has multiple personality disorder.

Flight of the Conchords: Who knew hair gel was the secret to being cool. Dippity Doo, anyone?

American Idol: I'm thinking the judges' "save" is going to be pretty anticlimactic for the first few weeks.

LOST: Oh no! A repeat! I hate when that happens!

The Office: Anyone else rooting for Kevin with his potential new girlfriend?

Friday Night Lights: I'm having a hard time deciding who's the bigger fool - Tyra, Mindy or Leila. Anyone else screaming at the TV while these three continue to mess up their lives?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's that time of the week again. Time to sit back and reflect on three things I'm thankful for. But first, I must do something really important. I must give credit where credit is due. Last week on my very first Thankful Thursday, I mentioned that I saw the idea on another blog. But I couldn't remember where. Well, today I found that blog again! So, here's a shout out and a big thank you to The Polka Dot Daisy for posting her own Thankful Thursday and causing me to reflect on all that is right in my life. Hey, why not stop by and check out her blog. It's very creative!

OK, my Thankful Thursday list for this week:

1. I'm thankful I (re)found The Polka Dot Daisy.

2. I'm oh-so-thankful for the warmer weather and sunshine.

3. I'm thankful for the adorable Coach flower key chain that my mother-in-law sent me for my birthday. I simply LOVE it!

4. I'm thankful that my trip to the DMV on Tuesday took under 2 hours (including the time I had to take to leave and come back with the "appropriate" paperwork.) Does that sound like a complaint wrapped up in gratitude? Oops! There I go again.

5. I'm beyond grateful that I learned to do three (!) new things on the computer this week! I can now change a word document from Office 2007 to Office 1997-2003, safely remove my flash drive from the computer so I won't "corrupt" my files (yikes, who knew) and I can now add a link to another website by attaching it to a line of text (The Polka Dot Daisy). How about that!

OK, so that was 5 things I'm grateful for, not 3. Isn't it amazing how once you start to think about what you are thankful for, you just can't stop?

How about you? What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Has this ever happened to you? You hear about a new book. Everyone is talking about it. There is a lot of buzz and hype. You get all excited thinking you're on to a good one. You put your name on the hold list for the book at the library. Then you wait. And wait. And wait some more. All along the buzz about the book continues. Your excitement grows and finally you get the book. Yay! You dive right in and .... what the heck. What was all the fuss about? The book is OK, but that's it. Just OK. You keep reading and then right at the end...BANG! The book has a really good ending which in some way manages to redeem the whole book. Sort of like childbirth. The end result is so good that that is all you focus on. You conveniently forget about the process of getting to the "good" ending. Well, that's exactly what happened to me with The Art of Racing in the Rain. But unlike childbirth, I'm not able to forget the process of getting to the great ending. So, I don't want to add the the hype and buzz.

That being said... The Art of Racing in the Rain tells the story of Denny Swift, an amateur race car driver and his struggle to retain custody of his 5 year old daughter after the death of his wife. The cleverest part of the novel is that the story is told from the perspective of Denny's dog, Enzo. Stein, the author, does manage to handle that part of the book quite well. But again, like the ending, it's not enough to override the very ordinariness of the story itself. But, that's just my opinion. Apparently, I'm in the minority on this one.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Book Review: Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Nico is a thirteen year old girl whose older sister, Margaret, has recently drowned in the lake that borders their home. Nico's parents are too consumed with their own grief to help her navigate through her own feelings of loss. In the aftermath of this tragedy, Nico finds a special kinship with Aaron, Margaret's boyfriend. Nico and Aaron find solace in sharing their memories of Margaret with each other. A solace that neither can find anywhere else.

I thought that Goldengrove was beautifully written and that Francine Prose captured the lost and confused feelings of grief quite accurately. Nico seemed a bit too sophisticated for 13 years old, but she is definitely a likable character who is easy to identify with and relate to. Overall, I thought Goldengrove was a good book. Not great, but good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Please note TV Quick Quips may contain spoilers!

Week of February 28-March 7

Flight of the Conchords: "Garfunkeling" - best laugh out loud moment of the week!

Big Love: Nicki. Flirting?! She must have a multiple personality disorder.

LOST: Richard Alpert - Maybe he's born with it.... Maybe it's Maybelline.

American Idol: I really like her, but what kind of a name is "Lil Rounds"?

The Office: Anyone else wondering why they waited until March 5th to air the Valentine's Day episode?

Friday Night Lights: Tim Riggins, drunken Texan HS football player, wants to go to a Broadway show while in NYC. OK, now I'll jump on the "Tim Riggins Lovers" bandwagon. Up until now I just didn't get it.

Thankful Thursday

Have you ever noticed when you are reading a blog that there is thin blue bar at the top of the page? On the left hand side of this bar it says "Next Blog". If you click on it, it takes you to another, random blog. Sometimes in a foreign language. It is very random and very cool. Every now and then I look at a few blogs to get ideas for mine. Well last week I saw that one blogger had a post titled "Thankful Thursday" where she listed 5 things she was grateful for. Since I have recently been accused of complaining a lot (and upon reflection realized that it's true :0), I've decided to be more cognizant of that and try to complain less. And one way to do that is to focus on the positive. In light of that, I have decided to steal this unknown blogger's idea and celebrate Thankful Thursdays on my blog as well. Being that I am still struggling with this whole complaining thing, I'm going to start slowly and commit to posting only 3 things I am thankful for. Maybe in time I will be able to work my way up to 5. Hope springs eternal!

This week I am thankful for/that:

1. Reconnecting with Molly from Phoenix on Facebook
2. Katie passed her driving test and my duties as a taxi driver have lessened significantly
3. There is a new episode of The Office on TV tonight!

Wow, that felt great! Nothing like accentuating the positive to make you realize that you don't really have all that much to complain about. Feel free to leave a comment listing what you are thankful for. I promise it will make you smile!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just a Little Unwell

The other day I discovered the most amazing website - goodreads. On this site you can create a list of the books you are reading, have read or want to read. At first I wasn't really sure if a site like this would be useful to me. As many of you know, I already have a multiple page list of all the books I've read since 1997 and another list of all the books I want to read. I know, I know, I'm completely crazy and probably certifiable, but I promise when I started keeping the list it really did make perfect sense. It all started in 1997 when I joined my first book club and began discussing books with my friends. We would all share book recommendations and then when I finally made it to the library to get a book, I couldn't recall a single title. So, I decided to write down the titles of the books that my friends suggested. (Of course, the list was organized by the author's last name, so maybe it was slightly crazy right from the start.) Anyway, eventually this list morphed into Pam's Book List, a 21 page document of all the books I've read since 1997. Which I know seems a bit more than just slightly crazy.

Now you're probably wondering what this has to do with the goodreads website. Well, as I was perusing the site I learned that I could add a goodreads widget to my blog, which would show pictures of the books. You can click on these pictures and be taken to the Amazon.com editorial and customer reviews for that book! How cool is that?! And this is when I realized that goodreads could actually be useful to me. And you. So now you can not only see what I'm reading and what I've read so far in 2009, you can actually click on a book that looks interesting and see if it's actually something you'd like to read. Not so crazy after all, right? Well, not so fast. I've also added a small widget that says "my 'read' shelf/good reads" (a small rectangle just above my list of Favorite TV Shows) . If you click on that it will take you to the goodreads site and a list of all the books I've read. You can also see my rating of some of the books on a scale of 1-5 and the date that I read the book (for the ones that I had that information). As you will see, there are currently 692 titles in my list! Which I entered one at a time. It took me the better part of 3 days to do this. Now that is crazy!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pam loves Billy Elliot

No, I don't have a boyfriend. No need to freak out. Billy Elliot is a musical now playing on Broadway and yesterday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to NYC to see it at the Imperial Theater. I went on a bus trip with Sandy (hi, Sandy) through the Barrington Community School (BCS). BCS offers classes and trips on all topics, and their trips to NYC are fabulous. If your not familiar with BCS you should take a look at one of their brochures and see if there is anything that interests you. (OK, full disclosure. I'm on the board of BCS, but that's not why I'm plugging for them. I was a big fan long before I became a board member). Anyway, I digress.

I absolutely LOVED Billy Elliot!!! It was a terrific show. I am so glad I made the effort to go. The show is a musical based on the movie by the same name. The score is by Elton John - whom I absolutely adore - and was very good. The story takes place in Northern England in the mid-1980's during the coal mine strike. Billy's Dad wants him to take boxing lessons like all the other boys, but Billy discovers that what he really likes is ballet. You can imagine what his blue-collar, coal-mining Dad thinks about that!
The show itself is magical. It touches on every emotion. I laughed, I cheered, I cried (OK, I sobbed. Out loud. How embarrassing!) The cast is full of extremely talented kids who can sing, dance and act! The dancing is beyond fantastic. Kiril Kulish, the young boy who played Billy in the show we saw, was amazing. The sets are very clever and the use of shadows was ingenious. If you get the opportunity to see Billy Elliot, don't pass it up. You won't be disappointed. If and when the show comes to PPAC in Providence, I will definitely see it again. It's that good!

If you'd like to get a feel for the caliber of the dancers in the show, take a look at this video http://tinyurl.com/djpjqs which showcases some moments from the auditions. After seeing it I'm feeling tempted to dust off my tap shoes and take lessons again. Maybe I will. The Barrington Community School just happens to offer classes....
Image from Google images

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