Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, trying to look at the full half of the glass. Here's my list of things to be thankful for this week:

1. I'm am so grateful that Katie had a fun time at her prom last Friday night. I was a little worried about it because she didn't have a date and was going with a group of people - 5 couples and 2 other "single" girls. Turns out she had way more fun than most girls who were coupled up. Apparently, most of the girls who were there with simple dates (as opposed to actual boyfriends) spent most of the evening trying their best to avoid these poor young men. How sad is that? Why, I ask, did they say yes to these boys, if they didn't want to spend time with them? I think the answer is that they REALLY wanted to go to the prom. I'm so proud of Katie that she didn't let a little thing like the lack of a date stop her from going. And apparently, a date was the last thing she needed in order to have a good time. You go girl! Gotta love her spunk and courageous spirit!

2. Trying really hard to find the silver lining on this one. I'm thankful that I had to go to the dentist last week to repair three teeth that I have apparently chipped or worn away from incessant grinding. What? I don't grind my teeth! Well, upon carefully paying attention to myself and my habits (for the entire month that transpired between dental checkup and tooth repair) it came to my attention that I DO in fact grind my teeth. All the time. As in continuously. Like a nervous tic or hair twirling. YIKES! So, what am I grateful for, exactly. Well, the bonding material that is now covering said destroyed teeth feels like nails on a chalkboard (inside my head!) every time I try to grind them. No more grinding! Imagine that!

3. I am so thankful, surprised and humbled by the people who have decided to follow me here on Pam's Perspective. I really am. And even more exciting to me is the little community we seem to have built up here and on a few other blogs. Some of us are even now Facebook friends and Twitterati (is that a word? If not it should be!). A year of so ago, I joined a message board for the TV show The Office and I really loved the community of people there. Unfortunately, things got a little dramatic and after a year I decided to walk away. I was very sad about it and for a while it was really hard not to check in. I really missed some of the people in that community - and I still do . When I started my blog, I had no idea that a community could be built up around it as well. And it makes me so happy. So, thank you for that! Anyone else want to join my group of Facebook friends or Twitterati? Just send me an email and I'll tell you how to find me. (You can find my email address by clicking the Contact tab at the top of my blog).

4. I have Anita from A Wife, a Woman, a Mom to thank for this entry. She pointed out to me that I am lucky to be close enough to a city to see some decent theater. I hadn't even given that a moments thought before she mentioned it. I am lucky! I love going to musicals and plays and I am lucky to have several very good local theaters right in my backyard. Not to mention the fact that I'm lucky to be able to purchase tickets and attend these productions. So, thank YOU Anita for helping me to see my good fortune. It really is awfully easy to take things for grated.

5. Last but not least, I'm thankful for the three blog awards I was given this week. Wow! What a week.

So, how about you? What's in the full half of your glass this week?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reading Across Rhode Island

Those of you who read my book reviews may have noticed that I have mentioned Reading Across Rhode Island (RARI) a couple of times. (The quickly becoming famous) Anita asked me in a comment a couple of days ago if I would explain what RARI is. I realized after reading her comment that those of you who don't live in RI (and possibly some of you who do) may not know what the heck I'm talking about. Reading Across Rhode Island is a project of Rhode Island Center for the Book (at the Providence Public Library), whose goal is to promote literacy for all Rhode Islanders. The idea of the RARI organization is to choose one book a year, promote it through all the state public and school libraries and encourage everyone in RI to read that book. Hence the slogan - one book, one state, literally. Each year the book is announced to the public in January. In addition, an official launch conference is held in which the author comes and gives a talk and participants can participate in workshops relating to promoting the book, book clubs, topics covered in the book, etc. The launch conference is open to the public, but typically it is attended mainly by librarians and teachers. As a matter of fact, you have this year's conference to blame for this very blog. One of the workshops I attended was titled - Blogging: what it is and should I do it? I attended that particular workshop because my boss had asked me to write a book review blog for the library. Pam's Perspective was my "training blog" so that I could get my feet wet before publishing a "professional" blog. Ha! Anyway, I'm rambling again.

Back to RARI...

This year marks the 7th year for RARI and the book chosen was Five Skies by Ron Carlson. You can read my review of Five Skies here. And it's the first year that my teeny, tiny library has presented any programs promoting this event. That would be the book club discussion that I ran last week. And next weekend, I will be attending the culminating event for this year's book - the May breakfast held at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, a large banquet facility in Cranston, RI. This event drew 800 (I think) people last year and it was the first year I attended. At the May breakfast, the author again comes to RI and does a reading, gives a talk and takes questions. Last year I attended this event with Sandy and Colleen (two women from my personal book club, Chapter Chat. Hi ladies!). This year I will be attending with 7 other women - 3 from Chapter Chat (including Sandy and Colleen) and 4 from my library book club - Books on Main. It's sure to be a great event! From the launch conference I already know that Ron Carlson is an engaging speaker. Plus he's very easy on the eyes. Oops, I'm digressing again.

For all you bookworms out there, here is a list of the 6 other RARI books:

2003 – Wish You Well, by David Baldacci

2004 – Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

2005 – Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

2006 – Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson

2007 - The Memory of Running, by East Providence native, Ron McLarty

2008 - Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

In case you are wondering, I have read all of these books with the exception of Shadow Divers. If you haven't read Kite Runner or Water for Elephants, I highly recommend them! I'll be sure to let you all know how the May breakfast goes next Saturday. I'm sure you will be hearing more about RARI in the coming months as I am actually serving on the nominating committee for the 2010 book selection! So, many of the books that I will reviewing between now and August will be RARI 2010 nominees. This is my first year to serve on this committee and I'm not sure yet if these nominees are top secret, but if I get the OK, I will be sure to let you know which books are up for consideration. And, if you know of a great book, you can nominate it on the RARI website linked above. How cool would that be - to know that YOU are the one who recommended the book that the whole (itty bitty) state of RI was going to read? Awesome, right? So go ahead, nominate a book or two or three. I know you want to....

It Must Be Award Season

Wow! To quote the fabulous Tammy, "It must be Award Season", here in bloggy land. The Grover-loving, English transplant Clare at This and That nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award today! I'm so honored. Thank you Clare. She also nominated me for another Kreativ Blogger Award, as well. Wow! I think I might go buy a lottery ticket today - it's my lucky day!

The rules for this award are very simple. You need to post the award on your blog, link back to the person who nominated you and pass the love to up to 15 new blogs that you have discovered. Let those you gave an award to know through a comment on their blog. OK, no way I can come up with 15 blogs since I just gave awards to 10 people yesterday and I'd like to honor different people this time. So, I'm going to do my best. I have a feeling that a couple of the following bloggers may not be into this kind of thing and if that's the case, no problem. Just ignore all this frivolity! I hereby give the One Lovely Blog Award to:

Sandy at It's a Jungle Out There

Esther at Gratuitous Violins

Terra at The Emerson Family

Alex at Please Try Again

Anita at A Wife, A Woman, A Mom

Tammy at Keep in Touch With Mommakin

Congratulations ladies!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gratitude and Kreativity

Wow! I'm really flattered to have received not one, but two awards from the terrific Anita at A Wife, a Woman, a Mom! How cool is that. Here's the first award. The Lemonade Award:

The lemonade award is for showing great attitude and/or gratitude. Each award has a pay it forward concept...

The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog, nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great attitude and/or gratitude.
2. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
3. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to this post, and/or to the person from whom you received your award.

And as if that awesome award wasn't enough, Anita also gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award:

The Rules:

1. List 7 things that you love.
2. Link to the person who has tagged you
3. Choose 7 more bloggers to give the Kreativ Award to.

OK, here goes. 7 things I love:

1. Dark Chocolate
2. Sleeping in
3. The Office
4. Visiting libraries when I travel
5. Mah Jong
6. Traveling
7. Art Museums

OK, now the best part. I get to pay it forward. I'm passing these amazing awards along to the following awesome bloggers:

Crystal at Traveling at the Speed of Life
Sharon at Gramma Sharon's Life
Clare at thisandthat
Becky at FranticMommy
Kel at Girl in the Glasses
Bethany at Striving to be Bold
Lucky Wife/Bookaholic at Everyday Hills and Valleys
C at CW5h20
Stereos and Souffles
Celine at Chez Celine


Theater Review: The Importance of Being Earnest

On Saturday night, Geoff (my hubby) and I had an opportunity to go to Trinity Repertory Company's production of The Importance of Being Earnest with our neighbors. We don't often see plays at Trinity because theater is really my thing and since I like musicals, we tend to go to Providence Performing Arts Center to see touring Broadway shows. Trinity is really more about drama. But since we and our neighbors were each able to get one free ticket, we decided we would each buy an additional ticket and have a grown up couples night out.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a play written by Oscar Wilde in 1895. It opened in London to critical acclaim due to it's sharp humor and social commentary. The story is essentially one of mistaken identity between two courting couples. Both of the young women are led to believe that they are engaged to the same man - Earnest Worthing. While in fact, Earnest is the fictional brother of one of the male suitors, John Worthing.

While I did enjoy the night out and the company of our friends, the show left a lot to be desired. With the exception of Janice Duclos, the actress who played Lady Bracknell, all of the other actors over played their roles to such an extent that they became caricatures. Their facial expressions, physical movements and the delivery of their lines were so exaggerated that they became absurd. In addition, while the play does have many funny and witty lines, not all of them should have been emphasized. It felt as though every line was a joke or a witticism. It really detracted from the story as a whole. I get it already. This is a comedy. Don't hit me over the head with it - again and again and again, ad nauseum. In addition, the play was much too long. It ran 2 1/2 hours and I found my mind drifting off on more than one occasion. That has NEVER happened to me in a show before. Even shows I haven't liked very much. Not a great sign.

Anyway, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I'm still glad I went to see this show. As I already said, it was fun night out with friends. But, it was more than that. I'm really coming to understand, that when it comes to theater, it's a good thing to try new things - even if you don't love them.

As a matter of fact, after seeing Spring Awakening on Tuesday (and being happily surprised), I've decided to try to see even more theater next season. I was further inspired by Esther at Gratuitous Violins, an awesome theater news and reviews blog. Esther does theater the way I do books. And that got me thinking that I want to do more theater as well. This year was the first time I've ever had season tickets to any theater. And, as it so happens, I was lucky enough to see a few other shows as well. So after this weekend, I decided to renew both of my subscriptions and to see one show at Trinity and one ballet next season. I checked Trinity's upcoming season online and it looks fantastic! I'm not sure I can pick just one. Geoff's not in favor of another subscription, but we'll see. And the ballet hasn't even published it's upcoming season yet. What's a girl to do?

Image from Google Images

Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Review: Five Skies by Ron Carlson

Last Wednesday night the George Hail Library book club, Books on Main, met to discuss Five Skies, the 2009 Reading Across Rhode Island (RARI) selection. Five Skies tells the story of three men who are running from their pasts and who find themselves working on a construction project in a remote area of Idaho. As the project progresses, the men begin to reveal themselves to each other and in so doing begin the process of healing from their deep personal wounds.

I must admit that I was not very excited about reading this book. I was disappointed when it was chosen as the RARI book for 2009, because the topic was not in the least interesting to me and I was afraid that all the construction "talk" in the book would bore me. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book much more than I ever thought I would. Ron Carlson is a masterful writer and I found myself enjoying the plain and simple language that somehow managed to be poetic without being flowery. But, the most amazing thing about this book is the brilliant way in which the story of the three men slowly unfolds over the course of the novel. One of the book club members described it as an "evolving" and that is exactly what it was. And this was such a clever writing technique since it mirrored each characters slow journey of healing that took place throughout the novel. Brilliant! I have never read another book in which the story "evolved" in such a skillful manner. And the construction "talk", while at times a little incomprehensible (to me at least), did not detract at all from the story. Those sections of the book were nicely interspersed with the revealing of the characters' stories (and were easily skimmed through without interfering with the understanding of the story as a whole. Shhh! Don't tell anyone I said that).

Five Skies is a wonderful novel filled with richly developed characters that the reader really comes to care about. It is also a wonderful story of male friendship and how the slow unfolding of those friendships can be a source of healing. This is definitely one of those books I never would have picked up on my own. But it just goes to show, that even in our reading, it can be a good idea to step outside our comfort zone and try something new. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised. I certainly was!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sentimental Sunday

Sentimental Sunday is all about sharing my photos as a way for you all to get to know me better and for me to take a walk down memory lane. I've really been enjoying looking through my photos and remembering all the places and people who are important to me. Enjoy!

This picture was taken in October 2007 at my alma mater, Muhlenberg College, during a road trip with my college friend, Kristen. This is the front of the Ettinger Building. All the doors at M'berg at red. I absolutely love red doors (my front door is the same shade of red) and I own a limited edition print of some of the red doors at M'berg. This picture makes me feel very nostalgic.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

TV Quick Quips

The Tudors -
Can I just say, I am sooo glad I didn't live in England in the mid-1500's. What a brutal time it was. I can still not get the image of the women struggling with the guards as their husbands were being hanged for treason. It's haunting me.

American Idol - Even though I agree it was time for her to go, I was sad about Lil being sent home. She started out as one of my favorites, but she really seemed to go downhill after a great start. And it was definitely time for Anoop to leave. I never really liked him all that much as singer. From now on it's going to be much harder to see the contestants go. Right now I'm betting on Adam, Kris and Danny as the top three. Adam is still my favorite, but Kris is starting to impress me.

LOST - I LOVE these recap shows that LOST airs every now and then. They feel like review sessions for the big final in my most difficult college course. Every time I see one I realize how much I've forgotten over the course of the season. And how much I never really "got" the first time around. Can't think of any other show that I'm actually not disappointed when there isn't a new episode every week. But I do have to wonder about a show that is so confusing that I need a refresher course part way through the season. I'm beginning to think I'm a glutton for punishment.

The Office - Yay! It was so nice to hear Pam talk about planning her wedding to Jim. When is that going to happen anyway? Double Yay, for Jim FINALLY not looking like a bumbling fool in front of Charles. That whole story line was really bumming me out. Loved the scene when the Korean woman got in the van and everyone just stared blankly ahead. Classic The Office!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tag - You're It

Wow! How exciting is this? Alex, the author of Please Try Again, has tagged me. I am supposed to reveal thirteen things about myself and then tag other bloggers to do the same. OK, here goes...

1. As you all probably know by now, I am a serious bookworm. But, I NEVER like the book that wins the Pulitzer Prize, with one notable exception. Weird, right? The one I liked? Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

2. Of all the thousands of books I've read in my life, my two absolute favorites are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. Actually, I only read The Good Earth a couple of years ago and it was very hard for me to decide if I liked it more than A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. So, I decided it was a tie. No other book has ever come close to these two.

3. I am undeniably one of the most unphotogenic people on the planet. No, I mean it. I even had a photographer say it to me - in the nicest possible way, of course. I kid you not!

4. I am extremely patriotic. I get goosebumps and all teary eyed during the star spangled banner.

5. Spangled is my favorite word. And it doesn't have anything to do with being patriotic. I just like the way it sounds and the images it evokes. Something shiny, glittery and star shaped. Love it!

6. I am completely addicted to my calendar. I have one of those large spiral notebook-type calendars with four columns and the day broken up into 15 minute increments. It is my "bible" and I would be lost without it.

7. My maternal grandparents played a huge role in my upbringing and childhood. When they passed away, it was like losing my parents. They were such an important part of my life and I still miss them.

8. I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was 5 years old until sophomore year in college when I realized I wasn't getting good enough grades (in college) to get into med school. It was a catastrophic time for me. I thought about going into nursing, but was talked out of it by a college counselor. Worse advice I ever got. I still regret it.

9. I am the oldest of 2. I have a brother who is 2 years younger than I am. Growing up I was always glad I didn't have any sisters. I had a friend who had 3 sisters who were always taking (and ruining) her clothes, make up, nail polish, etc. Now, I really wish I did have a sister. I see how close my friends are to their sisters and I really feel as though I'm missing out on that. I sure do hope my girls grow up to be best friends (not looking so good right now, however. LOL!)

10. I am a perfectionist. This can be quite a burden at times. At others, it can be a real blessing. But, it's a lot of pressure - all the time.

11. I love winter. I really do. Most people here in RI, moan and complain from December till April. Not me. I enjoy every minute of it! OK, almost every minute of it.

12. I do not like gardening or yard work, AT ALL! This is why Spring is my least favorite season. I dread getting out there and cleaning up the beds. And I'm not one of those people who can't wait to plant something as soon as the weather warms up. I'm lucky if I plant a pot of flowers next to my front door. Some years I do, some I don't. Jury's still out for this year.

13. I love the smell of the sea. Even at low tide. Really! When my kids were little we lived in AZ and would visit RI every summer. I would take them to a little beach that has a "clam-like" smell most of the time. The girls would wrinkle up their cute little noses and complain. And I would take a deep breath and say how much I loved it. They couldn't understand why. I told them that it was because I used to be a mermaid. They totally bought that! And they believed it for a LONG time. To this day, whenever I see any mermaid "stuff" I smile. Who knows, maybe it's true ;)

OK, so now you know a little bit more about me. Fascinating, right? Now I'm supposed to tag three of you. I'm tagging:

Anita at A Wife, A Woman, A Mom
Tammy at Keep in Touch with Mommakin
Becky at FranticMommy

Can't wait to read your answers (if you decide to play. Please don't feel obligated).

Image from Google Images

Recycling and the Litterbug

Earlier this week I needed to go to my town's recycling center to get rid of some computer monitors. I am a religious recycler. We have curbside recycling every other week and I am extremely careful to recycle everything I possibly can. I don't have a need to go to the actual recycling center very often, however. I was very impressed by how neat, organized and clean it was. There was an older gentleman there who was obviously in charge and he was busy sweeping up the stray leaves from the corners of the lot while I was there! Amazing, right? I was so impressed. I left the recycling center feeling so proud of my town and with a real sense of well-being that I had done something good for the environment that day. As I was pulling out of the recycling center parking lot (thinking about writing a letter to the editor of my small town newspaper extoling the virtues of our great recycling center and the gentleman who runs it) what did I see? A punk young man driving past the recycling center tossing two empty packages of cigarettes right out the window of his car!!!! I was livid. There went my feeling of euphoria and well-being. And I said - right out loud in my car - "What a pig!" As I pulled out behind this litterbug I felt my anger rise and my pulse begin to race. And then he threw a cellophane wrapper from a new package of cigarettes out his car window! GRRRRR! As our routes diverged I found myself remembering this iconic image from my childhood:

And I felt like crying in sympathy. How is it that someone can be a litterbug in this day and age? Isn't that one of the first things we teach our children? I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Images from Google images

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Time to count my blessings. I'm having a little trouble thinking of things this week. Hmm... Guess that means I'm not trying hard enough.

1. I am thankful (and amazed) at how easy it was to find a prom dress that Katie loves. The very first dress that caught her eye and that she tried on fit her like a glove and she looks gorgeous in it (pictures - of Katie - to follow after prom). Now... finding shoes, a wrap, jewelry and "foundation garments" - THAT took forever!

2. I am thankful that my husband finally made the plane reservations for our summer vacation. He was really dragging his feet and I was starting to get a little nervous. *big sigh of relief*

3. I am so thankful for all the kind comments I received on my second post on Tuesday (Courage and Convictions). I am very flattered and honored that so many of you enjoy reading my crazy "rambles, rants and reviews". Thank you to all of you!

4. I am thankful that I dragged my feet and never traded in my tickets to Spring Awakening for something else. While it was at times a difficult show to watch, it was most definitely thought-provoking and I'm still thinking about it 24 hours later. That really says something.

Well, that wasn't so hard after all. It's amazing how if I just slow down for a minute and think about it, I can always think of things to be grateful for. How about you? Have you counted your blessings this week?

Image from Google Images

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Awakening

Last night I saw the Tony award-winning musical Spring Awakening at Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). To be honest, I hadn't even heard of this show before it showed up on PPAC's season, but my frined Colleen knew someone who had seen it and didn't like it because of the content (basically it's a play about teen sexual awakening). YIKES! I must admit that at first I wasn't too excited about seeing this show. My first inclination was to trade those tickets for something else, but I never did get around to it. So, last night Sandy (my step-mom and also my friend) and I went to see it. And I'm not disappointed.

Spring Awakening is based on a play written in 1891 by a German playwright named Frank Wedekind. And it touches on absolutely every taboo imaginable: masturbation, incest, suicide, teen pregnancy, abortion. Did I miss anything? Some of these issues are dealt with with humor, some are only presented in song, and some are up front and personal. There is some (minor) nudity and plenty of profanity (including the "f" word). And all of this is why I wasn't sure I wanted to see this play. But, while there were a few moments where I felt uncomfortable, it was a strangely good play.

The music is absolutely wonderful (though I didn't love all the lyrics). The set is very interesting and has a "urban" feel and the use of lights is very clever. The underlying theme - is shame a function of education - is a very interesting premise, especially considering this was written in 1891! Can you imagine how this play was received at the time? The acting was quite good and a couple of the singers really stood out. Kyle Riabko who played the male lead, Melchior, has an amazing voice with an unimaginable range. As a matter of fact, he is a singer/songwriter in addition to being an actor and has toured with the likes of Maroon 5 and John Mayer. If you are interested in learning more about Kyle you can find it here. The other singer who really shined last night was Steffi D who played the relatively small role of Ilse. Steffi has a very rich and powerful voice. According to the playbill she was a Top 5 finalist on "Canadian Idol" in 2006. Not too shabby. (And for all you LOST fans out there, I just have to mention that the actor who played Karl on LOST, Blake Bashoff, has a big role in Spring Awakening and does an excellent job!)

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by Spring Awakening. There were definitely moments when I was thinking, "I'm not sure about this". But, when I left the theater excited about the music and the caliber of the actors and I woke up this morning still contemplating the content of the show, I know it was a good one. Even if it made me feel comfortable at times. I would recommend this show, with the aforementioned warnings.

Book Review: Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman

This book review is written for Anita, one of my followers and the author of A wife, a woman, a mom. If you don't already read Anita's blog, you should definitely check it out. Anita noticed that I had finished reading Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman, but had not written a review of it. She asked me (in a comment on the review of The Commoner) what I had thought of Against Medical Advice since she was waiting to read it. So, I decided to post a review of the book, rather than just answer her (in the off chance that someone else was just dying to hear my opinion of it). Yeah, right!

First I must admit that I am not a James Patterson fan. All you Patterson fans, please don't throw garbage at me. I know he has tons of avid readers and many people absolutely LOVE him. My mom being one of them. She is actually the one who asked me to get this book for her from library where I work. When the book came in, I saw that it was non-fiction and a memoir of sorts about a boy and his family dealing with, as was described on the book jacket, a medical mystery. Well that caught my attention, because I like books that deal with medical mysteries. Against Medical Advice was actually co-authored by the boy's father, Hal Friedman who is a published author himself and apparently has known James Patterson for twenty (or thirty years). Right there that made me suspicious. If Hal Friedman is an author why, exactly, did he need James Patterson to co-author this book? Being the cynic that I am, I assume it was to cash in on Patterson's fame and loyal readership. That kind of bugs me. But no matter, the subject matter was still interesting to me, so I read the book anyway.

The book was told from the perspective of Friedman's son, Cory, at the age of 17 years old. And this was a major drawback for me. It was told in such a simplistic and amateurish style that I just didn't enjoy the writing at all. Why not just let Cory write the book himself? It would have been more authentic that way. And the medical mystery...Tourette's with OCD! THAT'S a mystery? I don't think so. I will agree that Cory suffered from a very severe case of Tourette's which was exacerbated by the OCD. AND it did take a long time for him to get an accurate diagnosis and the right combination of drug therapies. And he certainly suffered during this process. BUT, to use Patterson's name and the guise of a mysterious medical condition to get people to read this book really annoys me. Especially since I was one of the many people to be duped. Did I like this book? No. Was it the story of a medical mystery that really intrigued me and kept me guessing? No. Do I feel sorry for Cory and his family. You bet. Do I feel aggravated that I was duped into reading a mediocre book by the trumped up content. Yes! Does it annoy me further that other readers will be further duped into reading it because Patterson (supposedly) wrote it. Yes, again. I think this would have been a much more honest book if Hal Friedman had just written a simple book about his son and his family's struggles with plain old Tourette's complicated by OCD. Would he have gotten as many readers? Absolutely not. Would I have more respect for him. Mostly certainly, I would.

Anita, I'm sorry I couldn't give you a more positive review of a book you're waiting to read. And I know (from your book list on your blog) that you are a Patterson fan. I hope this doesn't discourage you from reading this book, if you were really looking forward to it. This is just my opinion, afterall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Courage and Convictions

I've thought long and hard about whether or not I should write this post because it breaks 2 "rules" I've made for myself when it comes to blogging. One rule is don't post more than once a day - I'm not so fascinating or important that anyone would want to hear from me THAT much. The second rule is do NOT write about sex, politics or religion. That one seems kind of obvious. I want everyone to feel comfortable here and personally I am not comfortable sharing my views on those topics. My closest friends (and some family members) don't know my thoughts on those topics. I think of those topics as intensely personal. So, this post is going to break all those rules. Not only is it my second post today but it's going to deal (tangentially) with sex, politics AND religion. A triple threat. I'm taking this step because I think it's important enough to break rule number one and because it's not the sex, politics or religion I want to talk about. OK, now that you're all confused and wondering what the heck I'm talking about it - here it is..

I want to talk about the Miss USA brouhaha that hit the morning talk shows this morning (at least it was on The Today Show). The controversy revolves around the question asked of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, during the interview portion of the competition. Perez Hilton asked her the following question: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?” Miss Prejean answered that she believes that marriage is between a man and a woman and she does not wish to see more states legalize same-sex marriage (or something to that effect). OK, now here is where I do NOT want to talk about sex, religion or politics. I am NOT interested in discussing this question or her answer to it.

What I do want to discuss is the fact that Miss USA contestants and people in general should be applauded when they stand up for their convictions - especially when their convictions are unpopular, politically incorrect and/or might cost them something important (the Miss USA crown). Standing up for your convictions (non-violently, of course) is to be encouraged and applauded. Whether or not I agree with her, I admire her courage and strength. And, truthfully, I wonder about whether we want a Miss USA who simply spouts "non-answers" to heated questions or really answers the question "what do you think". If we don't want to know the answer to those types of questions, we shouldn't ask them. We should not be asking someone to hide their beliefs, if those beliefs in fact will be held against them. I really felt that needed to be said. I hope everyone will be able to see the true intent of this post. The courage of standing up for your convictions. Whether we agree or disagree with Miss Prejean - it's her courage I wish to spotlight.

Image from Google Images

Book Review: The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz

I'm not really sure why I read this book. Wait. Let me clarify that. What I mean is that I usually can remember how I heard about a book or how it was recommended to me. But, this book - nada. That in and of itself is weird, but beside the point, I guess. Nevertheless, it bugs me that I can't figure it out.

In any case, The Commoner takes place in 1959 Japan and is the story of how Haruko, a young woman from a good family, comes to marry the Crown Prince. She is the first commoner to ever marry into the mysterious and cloistered world of the monarchy. What makes this union so remarkable, aside from the fact that Haruko is a commoner, is that she and the Prince marry for love. Unfortunately, their love is not enough to overcome the restrictions and hostility of the insular world behind the palace walls. Haruko is never fully accepted by either the Prince's mother or her cronies. After giving birth to a son, which is basically all she is really needed for, Haruko literally loses her voice and descends into a deep depression. Slowly she recovers and when her son becomes a man and marries a commoner, Haruko decides to take the girl under her wing and show her the kindness that was so cruelly withheld from Haruko herself.

Before reading this book, I didn't realize that the premise of this story is based on the lives of the current Empress of Japan, Michiko and her daughter-in-law, Princess Masako. I only learned that later when I was reading other reviews of this book. I must say that I was very disappointed in this book. The characters were very two-dimensional and I was never able to fully engage with any of them or the story as whole. It's really too bad, because I think this could have been a very interesting book. Overall, the plot felt very flat and dull. It's not terrible, just bland. Unfortunately, it's not a book I would recommend. What a shame, it had such great potential.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Underdogs

Unless you've been on vacation in a very remote and exotic location this past week, I'm sure you've heard of the singing sensation Susan Boyle. Susan is the 47 year old woman from Scotland who wowed the world with her rendition of "I Dream a Dream" from Les Miserables on Britain's Got Talent. Like everyone else I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes when I listened to Susan sing. And I was inspired by her and her spunk. But, that's not really what I want to talk about here.

What really struck me about Susan and this whole situation is the very reason behind WHY the whole world was so surprised by Susan's talent. If Susan had been a beautiful, graceful and poised 47 year old woman, no one would have batted an eye when she sang with that lovely voice. So, why was everyone so shocked when it turned out that frumpy, awkward, misfit Susan could sing like an angel? What is it about human nature that we just assume that people who are a little different can't be accomplished or shouldn't be taken seriously. You have to wonder how many Susan Boyle's are out there right now with a gift to share with the world, who haven't been able to do that simply because no one has ever taken them seriously or given them an opportunity. Or, unlike Susan, maybe they haven't had the courage or gumption to endure the taunts and eye-rolling to stand up and actually prove to the doubting Thomas' what they really can do. So, here's to Susan Boyle and all the other underdogs out there. Hold your heads high and share your talents with the world. Don't be afraid. Take heart. Susan has paved the way for you. And as for me, I am going to be sure that I no longer look past or through people who seem "different". I'm going to go out of my way to smile and say hello. You never know. I might just be giving someone the little bit of encouragement they need to make their mark on the world. At the very least, I will brighten their day. And mine.

Image from Google images

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sentimental Sunday

I've noticed lots of blogs out there are showcases for the blogger's photos. Now, I am by no means a photographer, but I do like to take pictures, especially when I travel. So, I thought I would try something new here on Pam's Perspective and share some of my favorite photos and a short caption explaining them. I'm going to call this Sentimental Sunday and post one picture each Sunday. This way I can reminisce about my favorite memories and maybe in the process you all will get to know me a little better.

This is my current favorite picture and my wallpaper. It was taken this past February in NYC and it is looking across 42nd Street into Bryant Park. The tall building on the left is the Empire State Building (which I didn't even notice until after I downloaded the photo). See, I told you I'm no photographer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

Just a quick post to let all you bibliophiles know about Cosmopolitan magazine's list of top reads for the spring. John Searles, Cosmo's book editor, was on the Today Show this morning with a list of ten great reads. One of the books, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, is on my current "to read" list and another, Darling Jim by Christian Moerk, I am familiar with. The others were all new to me. The titles cover a variety of genres from literary and contemporary fiction to thrillers, chick lit, memoirs and nonfiction. How exciting is that? I love it when I learn about a whole bunch of new books I might want to read. I'm not sure all of them are my cup of tea, but at least a couple of them sound intriguing. So if you're wondering what to read next, you might want to check out the list on the Today Show's website. There you will find pictures of all the books, plus a quick synopsis of the plots. Happy reading!

Image from Google images

TV Quick Quips

It's Saturday, so it must be time for TV Quick Quips. I really missed Friday Night Lights this week. And that made me realize that soon all my favorite shows will be on hiatus. Bummer! I'll just have to spend the summer catching up all the movies in my Netflix queue. As always, TV Quick Quips contain spoilers.

The Tudors - The only thing that really jumped out at me in this episode is how handsome the actor is that plays Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Hubba hubba. That's all I've got! If that's shallow and juvenile - oh well. But before you judge me, take a look at that picture and tell me I'm wrong. Go on! Didn't think so. LOL!

American Idol - From the very first episode Alison, Adam and Lil have been my favorites. As the show has progressed, I've really come to love Danny, too. But, I have to say that after the last few weeks, Lil has moved out of my top 3. I feel bad about that, but she's no longer the vibrant, dynamic singer she was in the beginning. That being said, I think the bottom 3 was right on this week. Not sure I would used the save for Matt, though.

LOST - Well the good news this week is that nothing happened that completely confused me. Though I did get the impression that I was supposed to be surprised when Farriday showed up in 1977. I was a little surprised, but only because I realized that before that moment I wasn't questioning why he wasn't there already. Anyone remember why Farriday wasn't with Miles? At this point, I don't worry about all the stuff I don't get and/or remember. I'm just hanging on till the end, when I hope it will all come together. Wishful thinking? Maybe....

The Office - It was so nice to finally see Jim and Pam making plans for their wedding - even if they were just yanking Andy's chain. Makes me hopeful that we will see some real wedding plans before the end of the season. Because as much as I love the humor of The Office, it was the romance between Jim and Pam that first grabbed my attention. And that's what keeps me watching. So, I hope we get to see more of them in the coming weeks.

Image from Google Images

Friday, April 17, 2009

College Road Trip - Take 2

Yesterday I took Katie to look at another college. This time in Connecticut. Again, I was armed with Map Quest directions, a road map and the hateful GPS - fully programmed with the correct address this time (once again there were multiple choices, but this time Katie checked with me as to the correct one. Is she college material or what?)

Off we went. I was feeling confident that I would be able to navigate our way there since we were not venturing into enemy territory Boston. Not too far into our journey the GPS, yet again, wanted to direct me to a route that differed from (trusty) Map Quest. But, this time I would not be fooled. I followed Map Quest and shrilly instructed Katie to turn off the GPS before it could have a chance to tell me I was doing it wrong! Take that! Apparently, I am able to learn from my mistakes, too!

And, miracle of miracles, we made it there unscathed and without the need for loud voices or colorful language. And the best part was that Katie really liked this college! This is the first one that we've looked at that she really liked! Yippee!

Image from Google images

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday. You know what that means. Time to be grateful!

1. I am thankful that every year my brother and his wife host Easter lunch at their house. I enjoy being a guest, since I host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at my house every year. I really appreciate the simplicity and ease of the Easter holiday.

2. I am thankful that Katie decided to visit colleges during Spring Break after all (even it was a little stressful planning it at the last possible moment).

3. I am so thankful for my new blog design. I am really happy with it and it makes blogging even more fun and exciting. Thanks, too, to those of you who have placed my button on your blogs. How cool is that?!

4. I am grateful that I have been able to enjoy more leisurely mornings this week due to Spring Break. I love sleeping in and the quiet peacefulness of my house before my girls get up (at noon).

5. I am so lucky that I had the pleasant surprise of seeing a Great Blue Heron in the small "pond" (more of an extra large puddle, really) at the top of our street on Tuesday morning! It's not too common to see herons around here and to see this majestic bird wading in our little pond was such a gift. I love when I see little surprises from nature.

How about you? Did you have an opportunity to stop and smell the roses (or gaze at the herons) this week? I hope so!

Image from Google images

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Signed, SEALed and Delivered

Did any of you see the news about the Navy SEALS' rescue of the ship captain who was taken hostage by Somali pirates? I can only say that I was awed by the skill of those Navy sharpshooters. The fact that they were able to kill the three pirates, who were holed up in a small, enclosed lifeboat that was bobbing erratically in rough seas is amazing in and of itself. But add to that, the fact that they each took only one shot and they did not harm the hostage they were trying to save, makes this rescue mission even more remarkable. Regardless of any one's thoughts on the government's spending of federal tax dollars on the military, I think we can all agree that the money spent to train those SEALS was money well spent. Makes me proud to be an American.

Image from Google images

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

I know that I'm a technophobe and slow to warm up to new electronic gadgets, but seriously, I do not have the right personality or temperament to use a GPS. Yesterday, in addition to printing out Map Quest directions to the colleges we wanted to visited in Boston, we also took Katie's GPS. I was all for this, because the last time I went to Boston (armed only with Map Quest) I got completely turned around and it's a miracle I'm not still circling around the labyrinthine streets there.

Being technology challenged and not at all familiar with the working of the GPS, I asked Katie to put the address of the first college into the GPS. She had a little trouble at first, but eventually she found it. And off we went. All was fine until we got to the turn off for Rt. 93. I always take Rt. 93 when I go to Boston AND the Map Quest directions (which I was using as a backup) said to take Rt. 93. The GPS did NOT like it when I decided to ignore it's advice and take Rt. 93. It told me it was "recalculating" and sent me back the way it wanted me to go. This was very difficult for me. I am a serious control freak and don't like ceding control to anyone, let alone an inanimate object! But, I ignored my feelings of discomfort and decided to abandon Map Quest in favor of technological advancement. What a mistake. When we finally ended up at our destination, I just knew we were not in the right place. We were in a residential cityish area, NOT downtown Boston. So, I'm starting to get a bit flustered, but I stay calm (sort of) and pull into a YMCA and consult a Boston street map that I also happen to have (backup to the Map Quest backup to the GPS). I can't make heads or tails of it so I go into the Y and ask for directions. Imagine my surprise when the lady behind the desk tells me I am NOT, in fact, even in Boston! I'm in the outskirts of Boston in an area called Brighton! Perfect! That's just great! Now I'm completely ready to abandon the GPS and rely solely on (mostly) trusty Map Quest, but I don't have Map Quest directions from Brighton to Boston. OK, deep breaths. Stay calm. The nice lady gives me directions and off I go. When I get to the car, I ask Katie what address EXACTLY did she put in the GPS. She shows me. WHAT!!! There were three different options for 73 Tremont St. in Boston - all with different zip codes. She just choose the first one! Seriously! She didn't think to ask me which one, or question the fact that there were three choices? It was at this point that I started using lots of colorful language and a loud voice. Not pretty at all. We eventually did make it to our intended destination, but not without a few more "recalculations" from the GPS (and a few more colorful outbursts from me). Never again! I can not blindly follow directions given by an electronic device. Especially one programmed by someone other myself. So from now on, Geoff will be taking Katie to any college visits in Boston. Recalculate that!

Image from Google Images

Monday, April 13, 2009

College Road Trip

Not sure whether to jump for joy or flip out with frustration right now. Here's why:

For literally months Geoff and I have been talking to Katie, a junior in HS, about the need to visit colleges during February and April breaks. And all along she nodded in agreement. Then when February break approached and I asked her if she had put together a list of colleges she'd like to visit, she flipped out and said she didn't want to visit colleges. WHAT?!!! After I took a few deep breaths (with my mouth and nose inside a paper bag), I decided to back off and let her take the lead in this college search stress fest journey. At this point, she said she'd be willing to look during April break, but not February break. OK, I guess all hope is not lost. It then occurred to me that she was probably overwhelmed and maybe I should offer some assistance. I was reluctant to do this for two reasons - one, I really believe that this is her job and I don't want to be one of those parents and two, I was afraid she would rip my head off if I even offered to get involved. Long story a little shorter, I offered and she accepted. Really?! Yay! Of course, I procrastinated my research figuring I had plenty of time. Then a week or so before April break (which is this week), the topic comes up again and yet again she says she doesn't want to visit colleges. This time I'm prepared. I just sigh in resignation, shake my head in defeat and walk away. So I put the Peterson's Guide to Colleges away, grateful that I didn't spend hours and hours trying to find the perfect college for my daughter, who is perfectly capable of doing this for herself anyway.

So yesterday at Easter brunch at my brother's house, one of our relatives asked Katie if she had any plans for April break. And what did she say? Can you guess? You got it. She said she was planning on visiting some colleges in Boston - on MONDAY!!!! That's right - today! You can imagine my surprise. Of course, because we didn't plan this ahead of time, today is the only day that both she and I are free. So, it has to be today. Needless to say, I wanted to rant and rave at her, but I held my tongue. And when I got home from brunch, she and I sat down and looked at the Peterson's Guide and choose two schools to visit. And I still have not said a thing to her about how inconvenient it is to plan something like this at the last minute. I'm just so thankful that she wants to do it at all. So, I guess jump for joy wins out over flip out in frustration after all.

Image from Google images.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

This cartoon always makes me laugh! Hope you all have a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Well, I've finally posted TV Quick Quips for the week. Sorry they are a bit later than usual. I finally decided it was time to stop admiring my new blog and move past my previous post - Fabulous Friday. Of course, if any of you haven't had a chance to gush about it - please feel free. I won't mind! Actually, I'm kidding. I only now just finished watching LOST. I'm having trouble keeping up with all my shows. Thank goodness for DVR! As always, TV Quick Quips contain spoilers.

The Tudors - So excited for the start of the new season! But, did anyone else think that the actress playing Queen Jane is different from the one playing her at the very end of last season?

American Idol - OK, still having DVR issues with this show. Two weeks ago, the show ran over by less than a minute, and I had to find out who was voted out by looking it up online. Very anti-climatic! So, being the smart woman that I am, I adjusted the DVR to run for 2 minutes past the scheduled stop time of the show. Guess what? The show ran over by 4 minutes and I missed my favorite performer - Adam! (I know, I know people either love him or hate him. If you hate him, I apologize, but I love him). Anyway, I then spent the next hour trying to find a video of his performance online. I finally found it and it was AMAZING! If you hate him, I respect that, but you have to admit the guy has talent! As for Scott being voted out... I feel bad about that because he is a likable guy and of course he overcame some huge obstacles to get to American Idol. But, once again, I'm afraid I have to agree with Simon. There are other contestants who are more talented that may need the "save" in future shows. But, I am sorry to see Scott go.

LOST - Oh my goodness, this show has me so confused. I'm not even sure where to start. I'm beginning to question why I'm still watching, but I think it's pure stubbornness. I am determined to figure out what the heck is going on. Anyone else feel the same way? Please assure me I am not a complete lunatic for continuing to watch this beyond-frustrating show.

The Office - I am thankful that there were TWO new episodes of The Office this week! Oh, wait. This is TV Quick Quips not Thankful Thursday. LOL! You all know I love, love, love The Office. I thought the first episode was OK, but the second one was very funny. Still not happy about fumbling, foolish Jim, but he sure did look cute with his shirt untucked during the soccer game.

Friday Night Lights (Season Finale) - WHAT?! I had no idea this was going to be the season finale! It seems early for the season to be over. But, maybe that's not such a bad thing. This was the most sappy episode of FNL ever! What's up with that?! I could hardly stand it. This is not the FNL I know and love. How ridiculous was Tim Riggins complaining that if he goes to college he won't have enough "me time". You have got to be kidding me. Definitely not a great season finale.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fabulous Friday!!!

Welcome to my new digs!! What do you think? Isn't it FABULOUS! I only just had it installed, so it's going to take me a little while to clean up my sidebar, so please be patient with me on that. You all know I'm no technological genius!

Anyway, my new blog design was done by the amazing Lindsey Joy of Lindsey Joy Designs. She does the absolute BEST work. I can not say enough wonderful things about her. She is a joy to do business with. She is easy to work with, incredibly patient and quick as lightning (once you make it to the top of the wait list - which isn't all that long!). So win-win! And somehow she has a knack for creating EXACTLY the look you are envisioning. AND it is very affordable. What more can a girl ask for? So, if you have been thinking about getting a professional blog design I highly recommend her. Go check out her blog. Don't wait. Just do it!

Frustrated Friday

In the words of Charlie Brown...ARGGH!!! Last night I forgot to turn off my automatic alarm clock and the alarm went off at 5:45 and then again at 6:00 (dual alarms, yay!) - even though my kids don't have school today and I didn't have to get up! Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT a morning person? Yeah, I'm not. Oh and this is after a long night of intermittent snoring by my dear, dear hubby (sorry, Geoff). So, Friday morning not off to a good start. In keeping with yesterday's Thankful Thursday perspective I decided to look on the bright side and realized I have some TV shows DVRed that I haven't had a chance to watch. Perfect! All this extra time can be used for that. Yay! NOT! Apparently, when the housekeeper was here yesterday she did something and now all I have is sound and large green and purple snowy stripes on my TV screen. OK, OK, I should be thankful that I have a housekeeper and a DVR. And most of the time I am. But right now neither one is doing me much good! So, Frustrated Friday it is. ARGGH!!

Book Review: Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Last night my book club, Chapter Chat (Hi ladies, I know you're reading!),
met to discuss Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. We were all pretty much in agreement that this was a very well-written, 528 page book about... nothing much. Yet, we discussed the book for a full hour! Go figure!

Bridge of Sighs tells the story of three friends who grew up in a small town in upstate New York. Louis (Lucy) Lynch and his wife Sarah met in high school, married and stayed in Thomaston, NY. Much of the book is told from 60 year old Lucy's point-of-view, as he writes his memoir. Lucy and Sarah's story is juxtaposed against the story of their childhood friend, Noonan, who is a famous painter now living in Italy. The complex friendship between Noonan, Lucy and Sarah is one reason that Lucy has undertaken the writing of his memoir.

This was the most curious book for me. I am still not able to figure out exactly why I felt compelled to finished it. Unless I'm reading a book for book club, I do not finish books that bore me or don't grab me within the first 50-75 pages. And this book did not grab me. Of course it was a book club book, but I would have finished it even if it wasn't. And that is why I'm confused about this book. It definitely was extremely well-written. Richard Russo definitely has a way with language. But, the story itself was very mundane and bland. So, why did I want to finish it? That is the $64,000 question. It could be because there were seeds planted throughout the book that led me to believe something momentous was going to happen. But, nothing ever did. Like I said, I just can't figure it out. Everyone else in the book club felt pretty much the same, but we were still able to have a great discussion about the characters and the story (such as it was). So, I guess you can't ask for more than that from a book club book, right? But, will I read any more of Richard Russo's books? Nope. One was a enough for me.

Have any of you read Bridge of Sighs or Russo's Pulitzer Prize winner, Empire Falls? Or any of this other books, for that matter? What did you think? I'd love to hear your opinions. And if someone can explain why I liked this book, even though I didn't really like it, I would be forever grateful.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursdays are all about taking the time to appreciate all the little things that actually went right during the week. I am someone who can get flustered very easily even when the smallest thing goes wrong. So why not focus on all the little things that went right and be grateful?

1. I am thankful that on Sunday my husband took my car to the car wash and then came home and waxed it. Now, this is something to be thankful for no matter what, but in 21+ years of marriage my husband has NEVER washed and/or waxed my car! Not sure why he did it this week, but I sure do appreciate it. What are the odds I can get him to do again?

2. I am thankful that I was able to make my kids lunches this week. Even if they are old enough to do it themselves. If you wondering why I would be thankful for this, you are obviously not reading my blog often enough (LOL) and can read more about it here.

3. I am so thankful that my 14 year old daughter, Madeleine, was willing to spend 3 hours on Saturday helping me sort donated books for the library's book sale. I do this on a (mostly) volunteer basis and you would be surprised by how many books get donated to the library. They all need to be sorted and shelved and it's a big and dirty job. Madeleine is a wonderful organizer, a hard worker and extremely uncomplaining. And all I promised her in return was two hot wieners and some french fries. Yummy!

4. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Alex for linking to me on her terrific blog, Please Try Again. How cool is that?! I'm pretty new to blogging but I think getting linked on someone's blog is pretty much blog Nirvana (at least that's how I'm choosing to look at it). So come on everyone, go check out Alex's blog. You won't be disappointed.

See that! I am a lucky, lucky woman. So many little things to be grateful for. How about you? What good things happened to you this week?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brown Bag Lunch

In addition to not liking to cook, I also don't like to make school lunches in the morning. I've been doing this for 11 years now and I find it a very tedious chore. Now, I know many of you are probably asking yourselves, "Why in the heck is Pam still making lunches for her daughters who are in High School and Middle School." And THAT, my friends, is an excellent question. And one for another post. One I'll write as soon as I figure out the answer.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing about something so mundane is that I read an article in our local paper about a guy named Bill, who is (like me) in his late 40's. He recently went to the doctor complaining of stomach pains. His doctor thought it was most likely an ulcer. Well, it turns out Bill does not have an ulcer. He has stomach and esophageal cancer. But that's not all, the doctor also found a lesion on his brain. Bill had surgery to deal with that 13 days ago and started chemotherapy for the cancer on Monday. Just days after brain surgery, Bill said that the one thing he couldn't wait to get back to was making school lunches for his three teenage sons. Whoa! That statement really stopped me in my tracks. What a reality check. I will never complain about making lunches again. And tomorrow morning when I pack those brown paper bags, I will send up a silent prayer of well-being for Bill.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Penny Saved is...Money Wasted

Show of hands... how many of you have jars of pennies tucked away in closets and basements? Yeah, me too. Well according to an article published in Parade magazine (the Sunday Paper insert) it costs 1.5 cents to make each and every penny and nearly 9 cents to make a nickel! Does this seem crazy to anyone else? According to the article, the US Mint lost $40 million minting pennies in 2007 alone! $40 million dollars! $40,000,000! That's a lot of zeros! There is a pro-penny group called Americans for Common Cents, backed by the zinc industry (surprise, surprise pennies are 97.5% zinc) that argues against eliminating the penny from US currency or making them from less costly materials (to the tune of $100 million savings per year). Apparently, Congress has the power to regulate currency and efforts to makes these changes haven't gotten very much support. Now, as I've stated before on my blog, I am a traditionalist and I am someone who hates change (no pun intended), but $40 million dollars seems like a huge waste of money to me. I, for one, can easily see myself living without pennies. Just imagine all the extra space I'd have in my closets!

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Lucky Dog!

Has the whole world gone crazy? Yesterday in the Providence Sunday Journal,there was an article highlighting not one, not two, but THREE cookbooks of recipes for dogs. DOGS! Come on. This seems more than a little ridiculous to me. Now before you start wondering if I'm some kind of anti-animal activist, I assure you I am not. I have always had dogs in my life. Right now I have an adorable (mischievous and block-headed) pug, Pearl. And I am careful to take good care of her. I feed her high-quality dog food, she's up to date on all her shots and I give her heart worm medicine religiously. But, I am going to draw the line on making her home-cooked meals. Heck, I hardly make home-cooked meals for the human members of my family! Case in point, last night we had tuna steaks, baked potatoes and salad for dinner. Sounds kind of nice, doesn't it. Well, don't be fooled. I way overcooked the tuna (it was basically inedible), the baked potatoes were left over from Wednesday night and somehow they were undercooked (even though they'd now been cooked twice and the salad (also leftover from some night - not sure which one - this week) was swampy. So, while most of the time I'm a pretty good cook, I don't like to cook. It is incomprehensible to me that there are people out there who like to cook so much that, not only are they willing to cook for their dogs, they are willing to cook recipes developed especially for dogs. But, it does give me an idea. Next time, I'll just give the overcooked tuna, undercooked potatoes and swampy salad to the dog and order a pizza for the rest of my family!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Place for Everything

Once I started to blog, I also started to blog hop (visit other blogs). It is very interesting and can be quite addictive. Anyway, I kept seeing the word "meme" (rhymes with dream), questionnaires and "Mr. Linky" boxes on different blogs. I will admit I had no idea what a meme was so I did what any good librarian would do and I googled it. Here is the definition I found at The Daily Meme. In short, a meme is a list of questions that you find on a weblog, you answer the questions on your blog and presumably someone else will see it and do the same. Mr. Linky comes into play here, too, but I can't really figure that whole thing out. Anyway, I digress. The point is I have seen many of these "memes" and I've thought about doing them, but always decided against it as being somehow blog "filler". BUT, I could just not resist when I saw the following meme about organization (!) on Saturday 9. Those of you who know me well will not be surprised that I decided to "fill" my blog with this meme. After all, my motto is "A place for everything and everything in its place." Who knows, maybe this is just the first of many fascinating memes I will post here. Only time will tell.

1. Are you an organized person?

I am the definition of an organized person.

2. What is one thing about your home that has to be just so or it drives you crazy when it comes to organization?

I can not stand clutter. Everything must be in its place...neatly!

3. Do you have one little nuance about your organization that most people consider to be a little over the top? What is it?

Do I have choose just ONE thing? LOL! I would have to say my 20+ page book list of all the books I've read since 1997, organized by author, with dates. Read more about this list here.

4. What is your favorite organizational tool? (bins, closet organizers, etc.)5. Where is your favorite place to buy organizational needs?

My favorite organizational tool is probably my calendar. I refer to it as my "bible". But, file folders are a close second.
5. Where is your favorite place to buy organizational needs?
I get most my organizational needs at Staples. My system is pretty basic and bare bones.

6. Are you more organized at work or at home?

That's a tough one. Probably at home, since I'm here more. But, over the last 6 years I have made a lot of organizational "tweaks" at the library, too.

7. Are you more or less organized than your significant other?

You're kidding, right? More, much more.

8. Does your significant other help or hurt organization?

Neither. He just gets out of the way!

9. What is the most important recreational items that you organize?

Not sure Christmas ornaments are "recreational items", but I have those down to a science.

OK, so now you know a little bit more about how crazy I am. So, how crazy are you? Answer these questions on your blog and then go to Saturday 9 and link there on the Mister Linky posted there. Heck, I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about.
Image from Google images

Saturday, April 4, 2009

TV Quick Quips

TV Quick Quips are extra quick this week. Big Love and Flight of the Conchords are finished for the season and The Office wasn't even on this week (tragic!). But, don't despair. Season 3 of The Tudors starts on Sunday! Can't wait.

American Idol - Megan does have an interesting voice, but her "quirkiness" was really becoming annoying. I'm not sorry to see her go.

LOST- What? I've never been more confused by this show. I can not figure out this whole time travel thing. It's kind of scaring me that Hurley makes the most sense to me right now. And Jack... Did he forget about the Hippocratic Oath?

The Office - Not on this week? I am having serious withdrawal symptoms!

Friday Night Lights - I was happily surprised that the Panthers didn't win the State Championship. I thought that was much more realistic. That is one of the things I love about this show. It isn't always "happily ever after". And I just have to say "Ewww" to Billy peeing in the sink. Ewww!
Image from Google images

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Story of My Life

A couple of days ago I finished reading a strange little book called Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. Anne Fadiman is a bibliophile extraordinaire. And I thought I was a crazy library lady. Not in comparison with Anne. Anyway, the book is interesting, but far too high brow for my taste. In any case, it's not the book as a whole that I want to talk to about, it's one small thing she said in it that struck me.

She describes a bookseller who visits his former history professor's apartment, after the professor's death, to pack up his library in order to sell the books. The bookseller describes getting a real sense for who his professor was by the books that were on his bookshelves. He goes on to say that when the books were brought back to the bookshop and separated by topic, they no longer represented his history professor. At that point the bookseller "realized that books get their value from the way they coexist with the other books a person owns, and that when they lose their context, they lose their meaning."

The truth of this quote really struck me. I have three large bookcases in my house and every now and then I have to weed (technical library term) through the books to make room for new ones. But every time I try, I can't seem to part with any of the books that define the different phases of my life. And now I understand why. Taken together, my books tell the story of my life. From the crumbling copy of Walt Disney's Treasury inscribed "Pamela Christmas '67" in my Dad's handwriting, to the Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia set my grandfather bought me volume by volume at the supermarket when I was in high school, to copies of the Greek myths from my college days, through books on baby names and parenting tips and the more recent travel guides on England, France and Portugal, my books define who I am. And looking through my bookshelves reminds me of the girl I used to be, the mom and wife I am today and the woman I am still becoming. My books tell a story. My story.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Considering the fact that I have been sick with a cold since last Thursday, I am so surprised that I have so much to be thankful for this week. And some of those things are a direct result of being sick. Go figure. The proverbial silver lining, I guess.

1. I am thankful that when I came home from work on Saturday feeling miserably sick, my Darling Husband had the table set and dinner ready. What a guy!

2. I am thankful that on Sunday, when I felt the absolute worst and didn't even get out of bed, I did feel well enough to watch 2 movies that I'd been wanting to watch. And both movies were fantastic. I watched Billy Elliott, which was incredible. I had seen the Broadway show in NYC in late February and absolutely loved it. And I wasn't disappointed in the movie. I also watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Another fabulous movie - powerful and emotional. I recommend them both.

3. I am thankful that my Darling Husband let me sleep in on Monday and Tuesday (since I was still feeling sick) and he got the kids up and out for school.

4. And I got to sleep in on Wednesday as well, since my kids had no school due to a Teacher Inservice Day.

5. I am thankful that I had not one, but two opportunities to wear my new red patent leather peep toe pumps (my very own ruby slippers). First I wore them to work (yes, at the library!) on the night that we hosted an author book talk/signing. Then I wore them again on Friday night to our friends' talent show. And to think that when I bought them I wasn't sure I would ever have an opportunity to wear them.

6. Lastly, the thing I am most grateful for is that my 16 year old daughter came into my bedroom one night at bedtime and thanked me for all that I do for her on a daily basis! This is the girl that hasn't been able to be in my presence for the last two years without rolling her eyes. And nothing can top that!

Now, how about you? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Best Musical...Ever! NOT!

For those of you who don't know, I love musical theater. And this year for the first time I was able to get season's tickets to our local theater, Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). I have seen several Broadway shows, but there are many that I have not seen. This season's lineup was perfect, because I hadn't seen any of the shows coming and most of them were shows I was excited to see. Well, last night Madeleine (my 14 year old daughter) and I went to see A Chorus Line. We were both excited about this, because the show was basically about dancing and singing (which is what we both love). All the advertisements for the show called it "The Best Musical.... Ever." I was getting goosebumps, I was so excited.

Can I just tell you that it was THE most B-O-R-I-N-G show I have EVER seen! I kid you not. The basic story is that a bunch of dancers are auditioning to be in the chorus of a Broadway show. And that is the whole show. One big audition. sets, no costumes, very few songs and very little dancing. Just lots of whiny dialogue about how each person came to be at this audition. *YAWN* OK, I will admit that the finale was good. The FINALE. Finally the big production number that they had been rehearsing...for the whole show. And they even wore glittery costumes and sang one of the two recognizable songs from the show (which they had been singing parts of during the whole "audition"). It was terrible. Madeleine didn't like it either.

As we were walking to our car, Madeleine and I were talking about this very thing. Now, we weren't being mean or overly critical, we were just saying that we didn't like the show too much. Apparently we offended a man walking ahead of us because he turned around and said, "It is the longest playing show on Broadway, you know." Well, no, I didn't know. And frankly that surprises me, but it doesn't change my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right? Including me. So if you've seen A Chorus Line and loved it, I'm happy for you. Apparently, you are not alone. If you've seen it and didn't like, I'm with you. And if you haven't see it, just keep in mind that this is just my opinion and I seem to be in the minority. After all, this is not the first time I haven't liked a show that everyone else loves. I really didn't like Mama Mia and I think I'm the only person on the planet who didn't like Wicked. Of course, don't just take my word for it. Madeleine didn't like it either.
Image from Google images

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