Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Attitude Adjustment

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the holidays. Specifically I've been thinking about my bad attitude toward them. I've stated somewhere on my blog that I'm a bit of a Bah Humbug when it comes to the holidays. That I dislike all the stress, the hustle bustle and the sense of obligation that comes along with this time of year. I found myself grumbling about this a lot in recent weeks and I was actually dreading the holidays. How sad is that?

But then Thanksgiving came and you know what... It was AWESOME! Amazing even. The day went very smoothly. And I didn't feel harried, rushed or stressed at all. I felt happy. And peaceful. And full of joy. And then I remembered that I felt this way last year, too. How come I forgot about that? How come I only remember all the years when I did feel overwhelmed and stressed out? Because really, if I think about it, I seem to remember that the last few Thanksgivings have been really nice. Aha!

So, I spent yesterday thinking about why this is. And I think I figured it out. Sure I've eliminated some of the "extras" and tweaked some of the essentials to make things a bit less stressful. And I think that did help some. But, I've done that in previous years as well. What I think has made all the difference is that this year I have not gotten caught up in what I call The Christmas Crazies. I haven't done any significant Christmas shopping yet. And I'm not getting all stressed when people ask me if I've FINISHED my shopping. In the past I would get caught up in that frenzied state of mind. In a post I wrote last week about being annoyed with nonstop Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I joked about getting through savoring my holidays one at a time. Well, you know what? I think I was on to something. Taking the holidays one at a time and just being present for each one makes me happier. There, I said it. I'm happy. And it's almost Christmas. I don't feel stressed, overwhelmed or resentful at all. This just might be a Christmas miracle.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!

There's no better time for a Thankful Thursday than on Thanksgiving. Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

1. I'm thankful that Katie made dinner twice this week. One of those times she had to make up a food lab from her Foods and Nutrition class, but she enjoyed making dinner for the family so much that she offered to make dinner the next night as well. It was fun to watch her in the kitchen. And it was fun not to have to make dinner. Thanks, Katie.

2. I'm ever so thankful that the final episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 has been shown. Thank Goodness! Madeleine loved that show and I had to listen to that annoying family for weeks. And my annoyance with them only got worse after the separation and Jon's subsequent bad behaviour and Kate's transformation from shrew to saint. Yuck! I've heard that Kate has some show in the works, but I'm hoping Madeleine won't hear about it or won't be interested in it. I don't think I can take one more second of any of the Gosselin's. Good riddance!

3. I'm thankful that Madeleine asked me to participate in her new Language and Literature project. She has asked me to read a novel with her and then journal about it as a way to record our thoughts about the book. How great is that?! It's right up my alley. The book she's chosen is Lord of the Flies, which is so ironic because that title came up in the comments of my Musing Monday post and Sandy from It's a Jungle Out There and I were discussing possibly doing this book in our monthly book club. *cue Twilight Zone music*

4. I'm thankful that Katie has sent in her college application. I know I've already blogged about this, but I'm so grateful for it that I feel it's worth repeating.

I know that the focus of my Thankful Thursday posts is on the small things that go well each week. But, that doesn't mean I'm not aware of the really important things in my life. Since it's Thanksgiving I feel I should acknowledge all those "big" things for which I am grateful. I'm sure you can guess what they are, but I think it's important to acknowledge them today of all days.

1. I'm thankful for my health and well-being. It's very easy to take feeling good (physically and emotionally) for granted. I'm reminded of this every time I get a bad cold or a stomach bug. Fortunately, I have no serious health issues. And for that I am very grateful.

2. I'm thankful that I have a loving and supportive family. I can honestly say that my family is filled with people I can count on and who have supported me my entire life. I grew up surrounded by people we believed in me and made me believe in myself. That is a powerful message to hear and it's never left me. I am a confident and self-assured person who believes I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Maybe that's not always realistic, but it's a great way to go through life.

3. I'm thankful that I have a wonderful husband and two amazing daughters. I've written before about how terrific Geoff is. He is kind, loyal, hardworking and completely devoted to me and our girls. Without him my life would not be what it is today. It is because of his hard work and business sense that we are able to live the life that we do. And he doesn't ask much for himself. He's a terrific guy. And my girls are truly my joy. I know that I complain about how hard it is to be a parent and I sometimes complain about the aggravation of raising kids. But truthfully, I wanted to me a mom as long as I can remember. And there was a long period of time where I didn't think it would happen for me. I went through hell and back to have these two girls and even if it doesn't seem like it, I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be a mom. As much as I moan and complain, deep down I am grateful to be a mom to these two fabulous and fascinating girls. And for having that opportunity, I will be eternally grateful.

I hope that all of you have an opportunity to count your blessings, large and small, today. There's no better day for taking stock of all that you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some (twice)

Once again I'm behind on my theater reviews. As I said in a previous post, I went a little crazy with theater subscriptions and tickets this year and it seems I'm seeing a show every other week. I'm not complaining mind you, I just can't keep up - with blogging or with my schedule. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. Anyway I've seen two shows in the past couple of weeks - A Chorus Line and To Kill a Mockingbird. First, A Chorus Line...

Oops, I did it again! Some of you may remember that I saw A Chorus Line back in March when it played at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). And I didn't like it. At all. Even if it is the Best Musical Ever. Whatever. So when The Community Players announced their 2009-2010 season back in May, I wasn't thrilled to see that A Chorus Line was the first show in their line up. (Even if I had loved this show, it really doesn't make sense to me that a small community theater group would choose to do a show that was just in town as a Broadway tour. Does this make sense to any of you?) But, I digress. I decided to go see the show at The Community Players (TCP) anyway. And I still didn't like it. There were however a few bright spots. Albert Jennings who played Paul (the Puerto Rican who relives his drag act and his coming to terms with his homosexuality) was spectacular. A real triple threat. The boy can act and he can sing, but man can he dance. He was amazing. It was also fun to see Lia Del Sesto in the role of the saucy and streetwise Sheila. It looks like a fun role to play and Lia did a great job! Lia just happens to be a friend of Colleen - who is one of the friends with whom I attend TCP. As a matter of fact, it's because of Colleen's friendship with Lia that a group of us are now season ticket holders to TCP. So any show that has Lia in it, is especially exciting for us. But, exciting or not, I'm done with A Chorus Line. I won't be seeing any more productions of this longest running Broadway show - no matter who is in it or where it is playing.

This past Saturday night was the long awaited production of To Kill a Mockingbird at 2nd Story Theater in Warren. 2nd Story Theater is another local community group that gets rave reviews - and not just locally. Believe it or not, I had never seen a show there. Mostly because I like musicals a lot more than dramas (at least I thought I did) and until last year I wasn't seeing all that many shows. After last season when I had an opportunity to see a few different productions at different venues, I vowed to myself that I would make an effort to see more theater this season and at more venues. Since 2nd Story Theater is practically in my neighborhood, it made sense to see a show there. When I saw that To Kill a Mockingbird was in their lineup - it was a no brainer for me. I vaguely remember reading this book in HS, but I couldn't remember anything about it. Then about a year and a half ago, my book club read TKAM and everyone loved it. The book made such an impact on me I borrowed the movie from the library and watched it. And needless to say, I loved it as well. Four of us from book club attended the production and it was fabulous. The theater is quite small and very intimate. The acting was all very well done. Both Margaret Durning, who played Scout and Vince Petronio, who played Atticus were very good. But two of the actors really impressed me. The first is Evan Kinnane, who played Jem. I wish I knew more about Evan (there was no playbill for this show, just a half sheet of paper with the actor's names - no bios. That's a real shortcoming in my opinion). He looked to be about 11-13 years old and he was a real natural.** But the best characterization by far was F William Oakes portrayal of Bob Ewell. Oakes portrayal of Ewell was so realistic and creepy that I swear I thought they found some dirty scumbag from off the street (or in a prison) to play him. His body language, his appearance, his demeanor - everything - was so authentic. I've never seen F William Oakes in any other plays or in real life, but I'd love to see what he's like. He's either a scary individual or a great actor. My gut tells me he's a great actor. Kudos to Mr. Oakes! I will definitely try to fit more 2nd Story Theater productions into my theater schedule. Wish me luck!

**EDIT: I did a little research on Evan Kinnane and he is 13 years old and has already appeared in over 2 dozen shows. He is one of 9 home-schooled children. A recent article in the Providence Journal highlighted Evan's career. You can also watch video of Evan singing John Lennon's Imagine (which just happens to be my all time favorite song). And as the American Idol judges would say, "Evan, you really made that your own. Good job, Dawg!" Since I have no idea how to post a video here, I'll give you the url:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about your bookshelf…

What books did you read while in school? Were there any that you particular liked, or even hated? Did any become lifelong favourites?

I don't remember a lot of what I read in school and I think I wasn't old enough or mature enough to enjoy most of the reading that was assigned to me. I remember reading Billy Budd, Death of a Salesman and the The Sun Also Rises in 9th grade. The only books I remember from 10th grade are Sherwood, Ohio, A Raisin in the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird. In 11th grade (British Literature), we read Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and lots of Shakespeare. I remember absolutely loving both The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare, even though I didn't understand all of it. I think it was the language and the "history" that I loved most of all. But that was the start of my great love of all things Shakespeare and in college I took two Shakespeare courses. Again, I didn't always understand absolutely everything, but I LOVED it just the same. Oddly enough I can't remember what I read in 12th grade. Not a single thing. Weird. Anyway, the one book I read in school (for an 8th grade book report) that became an absolute life long favorite and one of my "transcendent books" is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This book stayed with me (which is very unusual) and I decided to reread it a few years ago. I was delighted to discover that it was just as good as I remembered. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

How about you? Do you have any favorite books from your school days?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TV Quick Quips

TV Quick Quips are late again this week. Ugh! Here's my thoughts on this week's episodes of my favorite shows. Even though I feel as though I'm starting to repeat myself.

I still cry every episode of The Biggest Loser, but I'm at the point where I like all the remaining people equally. So, I don't really have all that much to say.

Modern Family is still the best new (or old) show on TV, in my opinion.

I've definitely lost my enthusiasm for Glee. What started out as a light-hearted, fun, guilty pleasure show has most definitely lost its charm. The whole Quinn lying to Finn about him being the father of her baby has gone on too long. And her attitude that he needs to "do something" about her financial situation is gag worthy. She needs to take some responsibility as well. Not to mention Finn isn't even the dad. And the fact that these are teenagers (!) just makes it all the more sick. I do enjoy the singing and dancing, but I'm not sure I can stomach any more of the pregnancy storyline(s) - both Finn/Quinn and the Schuster's false pregnancy. Yuck!

The Office was disappointing this week and there wasn't even a good Creed line to redeem the episode. As much as I hate to admit it, I think this show has outlived it's funny. I will probably continue to watch, though, since I was so in love with this show for so long. And every now and then there is a good episode.

But my big TV news for this week comes courtesy of Nan at Jade Page Press. Last week Nan mentioned to me that she was enjoying the first season of a BBC show called Gavin & Stacey that is out on DVD. She thought I might enjoy it. And did I ever! Geoff and I were hooked from the very first episode! The show centers around two young people who meet over the phone (through their jobs) and over the course of a few months decide they like each other and want to meet. The show is about their relationship, their families and their nutty friends. It is adorable, charming, funny and quirky. I (and Nan) highly recommend it.

Sentimental Sunday

It's been a while since I've posted a Sentimental Sunday. After I posted about seeing the gravestones of Revolutionary War veterans, Sharon of Gamma Sharon's Life left a comment mentioning the WWII memorial in Washington DC. That got me thinking about my visit to DC a few years ago when I had an opportunity to see that memorial for the first time. I was really impressed by it and it quickly became my favorite of all the DC memorial/monuments. I love that it is a public space that people can visit and spend time exploring or just sit in quiet reflection. The impact of this memorial was, for me, much more intense than that of other memorials/monuments. So, thanks to Sharon for inspiring me to post these pictures.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Mother of All Late Fees

As an assistant librarian I often have to tell patrons that they have a fine on their library card. Some people get all embarrassed and try to explain why this happened and how this isn't normal for them. Others just ignore me and I know that they have no intention of paying (as long as the fine is below $5.00 they can continue to check out materials). Others get all indignant and want to know EXACTLY why they are being charged .30 in late fines. What, exactly, was overdue. And then they argue that they most certainly did return it on time. We're talking about .30 here. Well, imagine my surprise when I heard the story of a man in Phoenix who returned books to his local library that were 51 years overdue. He had checked them out when he was a high school student! And along with those books, he presented a $1,000 check to the library to cover the late fines! How awesome is that? I love this man's integrity and giving spirit. I'd like to nominate him for library patron of the year. It's people like this who make working in a library a real joy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Application is in the Mail

After 17 months of researching, planning and visiting colleges (and a whole lot of drama) Katie has submitted her application to two schools!!! And I couldn't be more proud of her. While this may seem like a fairly normal event for a HS senior, this topic has been one full of stress and worry for Katie and for us. Without getting into too much detail, the past two months have been very difficult for our family. This process has been fraught with serious anxiety for Katie. But, for the most part, it's over! She finally found one school that she absolutely loves and she has applied Early Action. This means that she should hear something by December. Hallelujah! And she also applied to one other school as a back up and has one more in the works (that one does not accept the Common Application. ARRGH!) She is still considering some other options, but she really has her heart set on this one school and it's a good match for her academically. I would be very surprised if she didn't get in. (Of course, stranger things have happened). So, keep your fingers crossed for her. Life will be so much nicer once this whole decision is made.

OK, that's the "thankful" part. Can I just take a minute to vent? Thanks.
Part of what makes this whole process so stressful is all the extraneous paperwork that has to be done. It's not just an application and an essay. There are forms to fill out for the guidance counselor, transcript request forms, SATs to send and also teacher recommendations to get. Katie's school has a fairly complicated form that needs to be handed into guidance and most teachers accept this form to help them fill out teacher recommendations. One of the teachers that Katie requested a recommendation from does not accept the school form, but has her own form and a whole list of very specific instructions that she requires. Why??? Whatever. Katie jumped through her hoops and filled it all out. This teacher requires 3 weeks notice for submitting her recommendation. (All others require 2 weeks). OK, whatever.... Katie turned in all her paperwork 5 WEEKS ahead of the deadline (November 15). For the schools that use the Common Application, students can "invite" the teachers to send the recommendation online. Katie did that in early October and turned in all her paperwork to the teacher directly. A week or so ago, the teacher still had not submitted the recommendation. So Katie "re-invited" her. This annoyed the teacher. Do you think that this teacher managed to submit the recommendation before the November 15th deadline? Nope! Am I annoyed, angry and frustrated by this? Yes! Have I lost all respect for this teacher? You betcha! The real kicker? There is absolutely nothing Katie or I can do about it. Talk about stressful....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fa la la la la la la la la!

Is it just me or is anyone else annoyed by the fact that some radio stations are already playing Christmas music? Now don't get me wrong. I love Christmas music as much as the next person. As a matter of fact, I still remember the day many years ago when I found a radio station in Phoenix (where I was living at the time), that played Christmas music every day. I loved that! But it didn't start BEFORE Thanksgiving. It started the day after Thanksgiving, which is also a bit much, but I can handle that. Personally, I don't mind an occasional Christmas song starting right after Thanksgiving. But, I don't like to listen to it continuously until the week of Christmas. But that's just me. I don't like to rush my holidays. Life is rushed enough. I want to get through savor each holiday one at a time. It's bad enough that the Christmas decorations are in the stores before Halloween and that they have been piping in holiday muzak for weeks, but continuous Christmas music in early/mid November!? THAT is just too much! Tell I alone in this?

Friday, November 13, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Here's my take on this week's episodes of my favorite shows:

1. The Biggest Loser: I was absolutely shocked by Rudy's behavior this week! When he betrayed Shay during the Circus challenge I was stunned! He did explain himself and technically he did say something to Shay about "if it got down to the two of them", but really I was just as surprised as Shay when he worked against her when it got down to three contestants. That was low. And then he decided to twist that knife in Shay's back by voting against her at the end of the show! I couldn't believe it! Up until this episode, I really thought of Rudy as a guy with a lot of integrity. I was wrong. Shame on Rudy! And I'm so sad that Shay was sent home. Of everyone on the show, she needed to be there. I wish she had been able to stay longer.
2. Modern Family: Pre-empted due to some silly award show! That is just egregious. I'm having some serious Modern Family withdrawal symptoms.

3. Glee: It was great to have Glee back after a two week hiatus. The episode was OK. I'm just not feeling this show anymore. I missed Emma this week. I realized that her storyline is the one I enjoy the most. I was disappointed in this episode.

4. The Office: OK episode. Once again Creed stole the show with his line about needing to get settled and running out of the office when he thought he was a suspect in a real murder and not a just a game. Love Creed. All his crazy behavior and weird comments really make me wonder what his life outside the office is like. Now THAT would be a great episode!

How about you? What's your take on your favorite shows?

Image from Google Images

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Witches or Patriots?

On Tuesday I visited my college friend K in North Andover, MA. K and I see each other a few times a year and our visits are usually some type of field trip. The last time we got together we visited the ICA Museum in Boston to see the Shepard Fairey exhibit.

A few weeks ago I read a book called The Heretic's Daughter which deals with the Salem witch trials. Quite a bit of the book takes place in N. Andover and I recommended the book to K, thinking she might enjoy some of the local references. Not to mention K is a huge history buff. Of course, she had already heard of the book and she informed me that there were more woman from N. Andover accused and convicted of witchcraft than women from Salem. Who knew? She then suggested that our next field trip be a visit to the sites in N. Andover related to this part of our country's history. How could I resist?

So on Tuesday I drove to her house and she proceeded to drive me around N. Andover pointing out sites of historical interest. We stopped at two historic cemeteries with guidebook in hand in hopes of locating the graves of people related to the accused "witches". (None of the accused women are buried in N. Andover apparently). While we saw many interesting gravestones dating back to the mid 1700s, we never did find the relatives of the witches.

But all was not lost. While I may have been searching for evidence of one part of our nation's history, I actually found another. One thing I noticed right away was that many of the graves were marked with fresh American flags decorated with badges that said 1776! The cemeteries we visited were filled with Revolutionary War veterans. Since it was the day before Veterans Day it was clear someone had visited the cemetery very recently and place the flags there to honor these first veterans of our country. I was very moved to see this. It filled me with pride and gratitude to know that no veterans of the US military are ever forgotten. No matter how long ago they served. All of our veterans and patriots deserve our thanks and remembrance. Even the originals.

Image from Google Images (I had my camera in my purse, but I failed to take pictures. *slaps self on forehead*)

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by JM:

“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.
That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading.

Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

Life is DEFINITELY too short to read bad books. I have no problem putting a book down if I'm not enjoying it (with the exception of a book club book. Those I finish, regardless of whether or not I like them). I will usually give a book a chance of at least 50 pages, but I have put a book down in as little at 5 pages. I don't really have a hard and fast rule. And there have been more than a few times where I've given a book so much of a benefit of the doubt that I've actually finished it (against my gut feeling) and regretted it. The last book I read, The Angel's Game, is a prime example of this. Ugh!

How about you? Do you feel obligated to finish a book that you are not enjoying?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Theater Review: Shooting Star

On Friday night Geoff and I attended a production of Shooting Star at Trinity Rep with our friends. This was the second play in Trinity's 2009-2010 season and I was very excited about it. I knew I wanted to see this play as soon as I read its description:

A young man and woman fell in
love, and promised each other
they'd change the world. Twenty
years later, they meet in a a snow-
bound airport and rediscover
each other - and themselves
- in a smart romantic comedy.

I love movies and books (and plays) that deal with this topic. I'm intrigued by stories that deal with people's life journeys and how they end up where they are. And if they are happy with where they end up. And I wonder if they look back and wonder how they got there. Or if they question how their lives veered from their original plan (if it did, in fact, veer). So the topic of this play was fascinating to me. The fact that it's billed as a smart romantic comedy only served to sweeten the pie. As I read more about this play, I also learned that it contains only two characters and the actors who were cast in the roles are actually husband wife. Even more interesting.

I'm happy to report that the play did not disappoint. The set was simple yet wonderful and very effective. The stage looked exactly like the waiting area of an airport with rows of metal chairs, a gray tile looking floor and a wall of windows with snow falling outside! Very cool. The actors, Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads, were absolutely amazing. They are not Trinity Rep regulars though both have acted at Trinity in the past. It was fascinating to watch a one act play with only two characters who were basically on stage the entire time. The dialogue was very funny (especially that of quirky, hippie Elena).

Throughout the course of the play the story of Reed and Elena's relationship is revealed as they reminisce and rehash their past. And each of them reveal more of themselves to each other now than they did in the past. Overall, the play was very good. The storyline and the topics covered where much more serious than I had anticipated. I wasn't expecting the play to be so "heavy". And there was one scene in which Elena has a phone conversation with Reed's daughter that I thought crossed a line, but other than that it was really wonderful. If you have a chance to see Shooting Star at Trinity (or at a theater new you), I highly recommend it.

Image from Trinity Rep's Website

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Title Meme

I saw this book meme on Tutu's Two Cents and couldn't resist. It's a great way to review all the books I've read this year and it's fun to think of the titles in a new way.

What To Do: Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

How do you feel: Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Describe where you currently live: Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? My Life in France by Julia Child

Your favorite form of transportation: Passionate Nomad by Jane Geniesse

Your best friend is: Listening is an Act of Love edited by Dave Isay

You and your friends are: The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

What’s the weather like: The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

You fear: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

What is the best advice you have to give: How Not to Die by Jan Garavaglia

Thought for the day: Gone Tomorrow by P.F. Kluge

How I would like to die: Mistaken Identity by Don van Ryn

My soul’s present condition: Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

A couple of these are a bit of a stretch, but it was fun to do. Feel free to join in and leave a link here if you'd like.

Image from Google images

Sunday, November 8, 2009

TV Quick Quips

Here's my take on this week's episodes of my favorite shows?

1. The Biggest Loser
- Thank goodness Tracey was finally voted off the show. I loved that Jillian admitted to the camera that she doesn't like Tracey! I'm liking Jillian more and more all the time. I must admit, however, that Tracey looks fabulous and she really was able to keep up the weight loss and healthy lifestyle after she went home. So, good for her! I'm going to have to complain about product placement again, though. What the heck's up with suggesting that Extra Gum will be a good snack alternative to ice cream?! Really?! I don't think you can convince people who are thin and not food lovers that gum can be a good substitute for ice cream. Let alone people with food issues. (Or ice cream lovers like me). I'm not buying that. No way. And lastly... What's up with Bob and Amanda? I think it's great that he motivates her and they have a connection. Does anyone else think maybe there's more to it? I don't have a problem with that (unless one of them is married. Are they?). I just noticed it and I was wondering if I'm the only one.

2. Modern Family
- What can I say. This show is just one great laugh after another. Loved the very end when Mitchell and Cam were pretending to figure skate and Cam yells "My turn" as he runs at Mitchell for a lift and the screen goes black. Brilliant! Geoff and I are still making jokes about that scene days later. Loved all the sweet and clever t-shirts Jay had made for his family to celebrate their accomplishments. Awww... But I think my favorite part was that they focused a bit more on the middle daughter, Alex, and her practical jokes on her brother and sister (charging the cell phone and iPod). I thought it was very clever how they took her nerdy, bookish personality and showed how she used that in a comedic way to get back at her snarky sister. Go Alex! I hope to see them develop the other minor characters as well. Another great episode.

4. Glee
- No new episode for the second week in a row! This is so disappointing. Especially since the last episode I saw was one I didn't enjoy. I'm kind of losing interest now. Not good. I hope it's back this week with a really great episode.

3. The Office
- Again Creed comes in with a zinger of a line (that paper wasn't supposed to be delivered). So random, so funny and so Creed. I liked that we got to see some Dwight/Andy one-upmanship and prankiness. That is definitely an area of the show that has the potential to be very funny. And one I think they should pursue. This weeks scenes were a little lacking, but the idea is good. Not sure how I feel about the whole Michael and Pam's mom scenario. I thought his birthday lunch and scrapbook was very cute and I liked that Pam and Jim were charmed by it. But then when the whole thing changed because of her age, I wasn't really sure how to feel. I didn't think it was funny. But it was typical awkward Michael Scott, just much more personal than most of his previous gaffes. What did all you Office fans think?

How about you? What did you all think of these episodes or those of your favorite shows?

Image from Google Images

Friday, November 6, 2009

Going Though "The Change"

No, not menopause. The time change that comes with daylight savings time. I know I'm a little late talking about this, but here it is 5 days after "falling back" and I'm still feeling the effects of it. I've noticed in the past three years or so that this simple one hour change in time has a real effect me. It's not quite so bad in the fall as it is the spring, but it definitely takes a few days to adjust. I don't ever remember this being a problem when I was younger. Of course I lived in AZ from 1987-2001 and didn't have to worry about this for those years. AZ is one of the few states that doesn't participate in daylight savings time. As much as I didn't love living in AZ, that is one thing that I did appreciate about living in the desert. No need to save daylight in a place with daily summer temperatures over 110 degrees.

Earlier this week I read an interesting opinion piece written by William F. Shughart II about daylight savings time that discusses the effect of this time change on the hypothalamus, which regulates our circadian rhythms (our "clock"). According to Shughart, the hypothalamus has to struggle to "adjust the body's internal physical, chemical, electrical, hormonal and immunological environments to the new conditions". Most of us just feel groggy for a few days, but apparently this can actually lead to heart attacks in some people. WHAT?! Up until now, I've just been annoyed by this silly time change. But now knowing that this can actually effect people in real and serious ways, I think maybe it's more than just an annoyance. When I was younger I felt no effects, now I feel groggy. Will I have a heart attack 10 years from now? Who knows? And since it's been proven that there are no energy-conservation advantages to daylight savings time (the reason it was started in the first place), I think it's time to seriously consider eliminating it. What do you all think? Did any of you have trouble adjusting? Do any of you know of a reason why we should keep daylight savings time? I'd love to hear from you.

Image from Google Images

Thursday, November 5, 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'm thankful that the police checked in with Mr. Croft and determined that there is in fact a safety mechanism on his homemade guillotine. Phew! I'm also thankful that this guy has come to the attention of the police. I hope they keep an eye on him.

2. I'm thankful that I realized I have an extra week before my book club meeting. Life has been somewhat hectic around here and I was seriously doubting whether or not I would be able to read a 512 page book by next Thursday. Especially since I'm in the middle of another book right now and I hate to put it aside (I'll never remember what was happening if I were to pick it up later). Anyway, I had my dates wrong and now I have a chance to finish both books. YAY!

3. I'm thankful for my friends who are always willing to lend an ear and some great advice when I need it. And I've really needed it these past few weeks.

4. I'm thankful that my Mah Jong group was able to meet on Tuesday night. We hadn't been able to play for an entire month and I missed it. It was great to catch up with my Mah Jong buddies and play. I'm looking forward to playing again in a couple of weeks.

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?

Image from Google Images

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In the News

Yesterday in my local paper, The Providence Journal, there was an article that really gave me the creeps. Robert Croft,who is 74 years old, has built a working guillotine which now sits in his driveway. That's right. A guillotine that works! Did he build this as a Halloween prop? No! He built it because he is so upset about all the child abductions and murders. He thinks the people who commit these crimes should be publicly beheaded. He feels so strongly about this that he hired a carpenter and spent $900 to build his very own guillotine. This is certainly an extreme reaction, but not necessarily something that would raise too many red flags. Though a working guillotine, in a place where someone could actually access it and use it, is troublesome. Where the heck are the cops?

Anyway, that isn't even the creepiest part. The creepiest part is this guy's obsession with these abduction/murder cases. He knows the names, dates, locations and all the gory details of all these cases. He seems obsessed with thinking about what happened to these innocent little girls. He seems to be overly concerned about his own 6 great granddaughters and protecting them. Now THIS raises all kinds of red flags for me. I think this guy is nuts and possibly dangerous himself. At the very least the authorities should make him put his guillotine in a safe place. Before someone or some animal gets hurt. This is a dangerous piece of equipment with, according to Mr. Croft, a $300 specially made stainless steel blade, cut at angle and sharpened. There is something really wrong about this.

EDIT: Oh and I forgot to mention this. If anyone decides to go along with Mr. Croft's idea of a public beheading, he has gallantly offered to be the executioner. Why not? He already has the equipment. Regulation blade and all.

Photo from Providence Journal/Kathy Borchers

Monday, November 2, 2009

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about social reading…

How much of your reading do you share with others (outside of blogging?) Do you belong to a book or library club? Do you trade books with friends? Do you tell others what you’re reading?

Reading is hugely social for me. Most of my friends are avid readers and we are always sharing our thoughts about what we are reading with each other. Of course, reading is also a big part of my profession (I'm a Library Assistant) so much of my work day revolves around sharing books. I also belong to two book clubs - one social and one that I run at the library. As for sharing books with friends ... I don't share actual, physical books too often because I rarely buy books. I do own some of my all time favorites and I'm always happy to share those with friends, but most of the time the opportunity does not arise. But my friends and I are always sharing books in the sense that we will recommend something that we have read and loved with each other. And I am beyond thrilled to tell others what I am currently reading. Just ask. I love to talk books. Most of the time it's pretty obvious what I'm reading, because I tend to carry my current book with me wherever I go. I'm more attached to my current read than I am to my cell phone. Here on my blog, you can always see what I'm reading in my Good Reads widget on my sidebar. Right now I'm about halfway through The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It's a book about books. Can't beat that!

How about you? Is reading social or solitary? What are you reading now? I'd love to hear all about it. I really, really would!

Image from Google Images

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sentimental Sunday

It's been a while since I've posted a Sentimental Sunday. OK, it's been awhile since I've posted much of anything at all really. Since November is National Blog Posting Month, I decided I really should clean the cobwebs out of my brain and try to get my blogging mojo back. Now I can't promise I will post every day in November, but I can at least do my best to post my regular features. May as well start with a Sentimental Sunday today on November 1st.

Here in RI we have a very cool event called WaterFire. The Providence River flows through the center of the city and throughout the summer and fall the river is lit up with flames contained in braziers that are set in the middle of the river. Boats of volunteers float up and down the river keeping the braziers loaded with wood and music is piped over loud speakers. The music is usually something haunting or melancholy with no lyrics. It's a very cool event and people come out in droves to walk along the riverfront and sample food from local restaurants and vendors. There is even some performance art in the park that runs along a part of the river. My favorite are the gargoyles. The WaterFire website can give you a better look into this unique and one of kind public event.

Geoff and I (and sometimes the girls) attend Waterfire at least once a season. Each event is sponsored by companies in the area and Fidelity Investments always hosts one in August. Geoff's business is a Fidelity customer and every year they invite us the "their" WaterFire. We get to attend a private cocktails and desserts event under a tent. It was at one of these Fidelity events that I was introduced to a chocolate fountain for the first time. I've never missed a Fidelity WaterFire since.

If you look closely you can see the boat of volunteers on the left.


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