Saturday, January 30, 2010

TV Quick Quips

This was a lame week for my favorite shows. What a disappointment.

1. The Biggest Loser - OK, I've finally found a team I don't like. The green team. Those two women are the most sour, grumpy and angry women I have ever seen. They have chips on their shoulders the size of boulders. Their true colors really came out this week and they are truly unlikable. I was not sorry to see Migdalia go and now I'm looking forward to the day her mother follows her. And I've finally made a decision about Melissa on the red team. I don't like her. I think I've figured her out and she is arrogant and she thinks she's smarter than everyone else. Not so fast there, Melissa. I've also picked my favorite contestant after this week's episode. Stephanie from the purple team. I love her can do spirit and the fact that she never gives up and she doesn't complain or whine. Did you notice how hard she worked in both of the challenges? That girl has determination. And I'm all about persistence and determination. Go Stephanie!

2. Modern Family - Pre-empted by the State of the Union Address. No way! That just stinks. I need that show like I need oxygen.

3. The Office - A REPEAT!!! You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me. There hasn't been a (truly) new episode since early December. I give up. I just can't care about this show anymore. I'll still watch it, but my rabid fandom is officially over. Are you listening, NBC? You just officially lost your number one fan of The Office.

Friday, January 29, 2010

17 years, 5 months and 15 days...

17 years, 5 months and 15 days. That's how long I've been a stay home mom. Even though I've worked part-time since 2002, I still consider myself to be a SAHM because my work hours have always accommodated my kids' schedules very well. Very rarely have I not been available for my kids due to work. Well that is all about to change. Today is my very last day as a SAHM. That's right. Next week I will be starting a new job.

I won't be leaving my current job at the library. But I will be adding another part time job at another nearby library. I really enjoy my current job and the fact that I get to wear a lot of hats and do a lot of fun things. Even though I don't have a Library Science degree, because our library is small and understaffed, I get to run a book club, write book reviews and a book blog, I get to choose and order all the DVDs for the library, in addition to keeping up with all the regular Circulation duties. My new job duties won't be as varied and I won't be working with the public, but I will be handling all the inter-library loans for the library and that is something I enjoy and don't get to do too much of in my current job.

I must admit when I was first offered the job, I was very excited. And I felt very lucky to have found a job in this economy. And both of my employers were more than willing to be flexible with my hours so that I could accommodate both jobs. But after a few days, the reality of the situation really began to hit me. Gone will be lunches and field trips with friends and days when I can just relax if life has gotten hectic. No longer will I have plenty of free time in which to run errands, make appointments, or just relax in the morning with the newspaper and a bowl of cereal. I will no longer be available immediately after school, if my girls need to stay after and miss the bus. All of this did give me pause. But the thing that really brought me up short was when I realized that I can no longer think of myself as SAHM.

I hadn't thought about that when I applied, interviewed and accepted this job. I didn't realize that my "title", my very identity, would be changed by a simple part-time job. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm really OK with no longer being a SAHM. After all, my girls are 17 and 15. Let's face it, my kids really aren't "home" all that much. They don't really need an at home mom. And I don't mind working more hours, though it is going to take a little getting used to. I think the thing that bothers me most is that I'm giving up my "identity" and all my free time for two low level, low paying jobs. If I'm going to work almost full time, I think I would feel better about it if I was being well compensated for that time. Of course, this is no different than when I had one part time, low paying job. But since it was only part time, I could easily justify it by saying it was about the joy and not about the money. And that is still true. But one part time job is a hobby, two is a career. I'm not sure if it's still going to feel joyful. Of course, I didn't think about any of this when I applied for the job. I know it sounds like I'm complaining, and I promise you, I'm not. I've just come to a realization and I'm contemplating how I feel about it.

In any case, 17 years, 5 months and 15 days is an amazing run. I'm lucky that I was able to do that for as long as I did. And it was never something I took for granted. I was grateful for it every single day. I think what's bothering me is that it's over and I didn't think about that when I decided to apply for and accept this new job (truthfully it all happened very fast and almost by accident. But that's another post).

Well, next week begins a brand new chapter in my life. I'm anxious to see how it will unfold....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Madeleine!

Today is my younger daughter, Madeleine's, 15th birthday. What I didn't realize 2 1/2 years ago when Katie turned 15, is that this is really the last year of childhood. What I learned once Katie turned 16 is that 16 is a real turning point in a child's life. The ability to drive (and access to a car) really does propel a person into a much more independent life. Now that I know this, I plan on really enjoying this last year of Madeleine's "childhood".

I haven't had many opportunities to brag about Madeleine here on Pam's Perspective. What better day than her birthday to do just that. Madeleine has always been a very independent, spit-fire of a girl. When she was little we called her Terry Pterodactyl for her high pitched screams and El Destructo for her whirlwind ways. She was the kid you couldn't take your eyes off for one. single. second. But she was (and still is) a happy, sunny, charming and funny girl. She never fails to bring a smile to my face and cheerfulness into a room.

As she's grown, we've learned that within this high energy, happy exterior resides a keen intelligence. Madeleine is smart as a whip and her capacity to understand the world and apply her knowledge to new situations never ceases to amazes Geoff and me. She works very hard at her studies, but somehow manages to make it look easy. And her intelligence goes far beyond book smarts. Madeleine is one of the most insightful and perceptive people I have ever met. And I don't just mean for a 15 year old. I mean for anyone of any age. Her observations about people and situations are beyond wise. She is truly an old soul.

Now I don't want you to think that she's all Einstein and Freud. Not at all. Madeleine has a wide and varied circle of friends (all of whom are wonderful). She has been able to avoid the whole High School friendship drama scene and is able to be friends with many different kids from many different groups. When she's with her friends she is funny and silly and giddy and happy. She's got the whole package: beauty (did I mention she's lovely), brains, charm and she's fun. And I plan on enjoying every moment of the next year. Because I know that when she turns 16, her life will become much more focused outside the home. And I, for one, am going to miss her.

Happy Birthday, Madeleine! You bring light and joy to my life every single day and I love you more than you will ever know.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Love Letter to Rhode Island

Today is the one year anniversary of New England Bloggers, a blog group I belong to. In honor of this special day Elizabeth, at Thoughts of an Evil Overlord, is hosting a New England Bloggers Carnival. The idea is to write a post about some aspect of living in New England. You can click her link to read what other New England bloggers have to say.

When I heard about this I just knew I had to write a love letter to Rhode Island. You see, I'm a native Rhode Islander who spent 14 years (from age 23 to 37) living in a place as different from RI as you can possibly get... Arizona. Now don't get me wrong, I had a great life in AZ. I had a ton of friends and a wonderful and full social life. But I always felt like a fish out of water. I never got used to the weather, landscape, architecture or the lack of seasons. And I especially never got used to the lack of water and how brown everything is there. Every summer when we would fly back to RI for a visit, I would be shocked at how green Rhode Island summers are. It would take me days to get used to it. And I swear I could smell the sea air as soon as the plane was flying over Connecticut. Yes. Through the sides of the plane. I really could. So, Rhode Island, here's to you.

Dearest Little Rhody,

There are so many things to love about living here in the Ocean State. I love that we are surrounded by water. I didn't realize how I rely on all that water to orient myself, until I moved to the desert. How I missed you. I love all the amazing history here in the 13th colony. You are full of historic buildings, landmarks, cemeteries, and sites of historical significance. I never gave that much thought until 1987, when I moved to the 48th state, which was celebrating its 75th birthday. I had to laugh. 75! Heck, my husband's grandmother was older than that at the time. I love the statue of the Independent Man atop your gorgeous State House. I love what he stands for - freedom and independence. I consider myself to be an independent thinker and I'm proud to come from the first colony to declare independence from the British. Not to mention that you were founded by Roger Williams on the principle of religious freedom. That's right. Williams was kicked out of the Massachusetts Bay colony because he had the gall to support religious tolerance. So he packed his bags, moved south and started a new colony, Providence Plantations. Which later merged with another colony, Rhode Island, becoming Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. And that's still our name today (even though some people are trying to change that). I think it has a nice ring to it: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Very dignified. There are so many more things that I love about you, RI. Your gorgeous beaches, your wonderful theater, all that the capital city, Providence, has to offer in the way of restaurants, museums, ethnic diversity and a cool college vibe, your many locally owned businesses, Del's lemonade, coffee milk, fluffernutter sandwiches and your quirky accent. Rhode Island, I love you like no other place on earth. You are my home, sweet, home and I hope that I will never have to leave you again. But if I do, you will always have a special place in my heart.


A Rhode Island Girl

The Independent Man

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm thinking about changing my name to Chicken Little. Yesterday was very windy here in Rhode Island. During my morning walk with my friend, Amy, we were nearly hit by a rather large pine branch. When I say nearly, I mean really close. The branch hit no more than five feet behind us. It fell from a very tall tree and if it had hit us we would both be having pine needles removed from our gray matter. Needless to say, we walked the rest of the way home down the middle of the street. I didn't give the incident any more thought until later that afternoon. I was returning home from running some errands and I noticed that my daughter's car was parked in the street and not in our driveway as usual. As I got closer to our house I saw why. A 40 foot tall pine tree that had been in our side yard had been uprooted and was now lying across the yard and into the driveway. Fortunately, it missed hitting the garage.

I think the Universe is trying to send me a message. My optimistic side thinks it's trying to tell me I'm lucky. But my pessimistic side is telling me to buy a hard hat!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sliding Out at Home Plate

A couple of weeks ago I went to Curves for the first time in a really long time. I was shocked to see the obituary of one of the Curves members posted. And while I didn't know Deb well, she and I did work out at the same time of day and I did know who she was. I couldn't believe that she had died! Deb was a tall, thin, active woman who appeared to be in her early sixties. She was also an artist who displayed her work on the wall of the Curves Center. It was obvious she had an active and full life. She was mentally and physically strong. That was why her death seemed so sudden and shocking. That and the fact that she was 76 years old! 76! I remember feeling upset by the fact that someone so healthy and strong had died so suddenly. She was still really living her life and it seemed she had many more healthy years ahead of her. And Deb is not the only person I've known who died while still full of life. And it never fails to shock and dismay me. Of course I realize that this is preferable to dying a slow and debilitating death from illness or disease. But who doesn't hope for a long life and a quiet, peaceful death in extreme old age?

A few days after learning of Deb's untimely death, I happened to see the authors of a new book on the Today Show. Susan Love and Alice Domar were being interviewed about their book Live a Little! The premise of the book is that it's time for women to relax about the rigid health rules we've all learned. That it's OK to skip an occasional workout, to eat a piece of cake and that losing some sleep occasionally will not kill you. It's all about balance. I suppose there's some wisdom in that, but what struck me about the interview was something Dr. Nancy Snyderman (the Today Show correspondent) said. She said that the goal is to live a big life and then to slide out at home plate. She went on to say that we should all be striving to lead a full life that is vibrant and exciting and then to drop dead. Her blunt words shocked me at first, but then as I thought about them, I realized that she is right. And while it might be nice to live to extreme old age and still retain all my marbles and then die quietly in my sleep, the reality is that that doesn't happen too often. Better to live my life fully and die while still engaging in that very fullness. The hard part is for those who are left behind to not feel as though that person has been robbed of many more years of a vibrant life. Or that we have been deprived of their presence in our lives. That part is much harder to overcome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

TV Quick Quips

I'm embarrassed to be posting two TV Quick Quips back to back, but aside from the fact that I've had a very busy week, I also haven't had much to say. So it's two Quips it is...

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

The Golden Globes - I don't usually watch award shows, but I was really excited to see Ricky Gervais host. I was disappointed that the host plays such a small part in these shows. I was expecting him to be "on" more. I also didn't think he was all that funny. I had higher expectations based on other things I have seen him do. I still watched the whole show and I enjoyed seeing all the celebs in an a relaxed party-like atmosphere. And it was fun to see all the lovely gowns. My favorite of the night was Toni Collette's beaded gown. I thought she looked very glamorous. My least favorite was Cher dressed up as Elvira. Horrible. Is it possible to look more plastic and freaky? (Maybe if you're Joan Rivers dressed as a vampiress for Halloween).

The Biggest Loser - First I'm going to quip about last week's episode since I didn't get a chance to see it until this week. One thing I've noticed about this season's contestants is that they are all likable. So eliminations are very difficult. I don't want anyone to go. I was not surprised that Patti sacrificed herself in the elimination so that her daughter could stay. What mother wouldn't do that? I was glad that everyone respected her wishes and voted for her. After listening to the kind words everyone spoke about Patti, I really wished I had more chance to see her on the show. It seems as though she is a genuinely kind and caring person. And who doesn't love someone like that? As for this week's episode, again I wasn't surprised that Maria sacrificed herself for her son. And I still think everyone is pretty likable. Though Melissa (red team) has me very confused. Sometimes I really love her, but sometimes I'm just not quite sure. Is she a master manipulator or not? What do you think?

Modern Family - This week hit very close to home for me and my family. When it comes to technology I am just like Claire. We got HD TV, DVR and a new DVD player for Christmas 2008. I had to relearn how to use the remote (actually there are two of them) in order to switch from TV to DVD. And if that wasn't hard enough, I had to figure out how to use the DVR. I actually had to create a cheat sheet. And it never fails that I screw something up when I'm home alone. And just like Claire, I've called Geoff at work and asked him to walk me through using the remote. So, yeah, I loved this episode.

The Office - Finally a new episode! Or was it?! I'm torn between feeling completely ripped off and nostalgic by the "recap" type episode of The Office. It was a nice journey back to the beginning and a reminder of what made the show so great to begin with. But considering the show has been on a month long hiatus, a montage of old scenes with very little new content was more than a little lame. Couldn't they have saved that for later on in the season? NBC better throw the fans of The Office a bone soon. I know I'm definitely losing patience and I can only assume that other fans are as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

TV Quick Quips

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

American Idol: I love American Idol, but I usually don't watch the audition shows. I find them annoying and silly. Especially the goofy contestants who are just trying to have a few minutes on TV. But my younger daughter was watching on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I saw a few minutes of both episodes. I loved Katie, the teen from CT with the grandmother with Alzheimer's. She is my favorite - so far. Also, it was reported in our local paper that a 16 year old girl (Ellery Bonham) from a neighboring town also auditioned and was given a golden ticket. She didn't get any air time, but this is very exciting. Especially since she is a classmate of my friend Margaret's sons. I actually had a chance to hear Ellery sing last spring at her HS talent show. She is amazing. I hope she makes it. But the thing that really struck me about this show is how likable Victoria Beckham is and how horrible Mary J. Blige is. Based on the little bit I've seen of both of these ladies on TV and in interviews, I would have thought the exact opposite. Victoria Beckham is poised, kind and ladylike. Mary J. Blige, on the other hand, was little more than a catty HS girl. Just goes to show - first impressions can be misleading. Did anyone else notice this or feel the same? Or disagree?

The Biggest Loser: I haven't had a chance to watch this week's episode of The Biggest Loser. I will quip about this episode and the next one next week.

Modern Family: The final "Was it hot"? scene was fantastic! Way to end on a high note. I will admit that this was the first time that I thought one of the story lines wasn't all that funny. The whole Mitch/Cam gardener wedding scene was just not all that funny and neither was the Phil/Gloria dog butler story. There were still hysterical lines and it's still my new favorite show, but this was the weakest episode, in my opinion.

The Office: WTF?! No new episode -AGAIN!! This week I took upon myself to check and see what the heck is going on. Apparently the next new episode will be next week on January 21st. It makes me very suspicious that NBC felt it was OK not to air a new episode for something like 4 or 5 weeks. Anyone else think this does not bode well for The Office? Oh well. I hate to say it, but I think maybe The Office is on its way out...

Here are a few upcoming TV "events" I'm looking forward to:

The Golden Globes - I don't usually watch award shows, but this one will be hosted by Ricky Gervais (creator and actor on the original The Office on BBC). Have you seen the commercials? He is hysterical. One of my favorite actor/comedians. Can't wait to see him as host. It's sure to be hilarious. Airing Sunday, January 17.

Lost - The sixth and final season of Lost premieres on Tuesday, February 2. As you may remember, I've been watching this since the beginning and I'm so confused and frustrated by this show. Many times I've thought about abandoning it, but I'm determined to hang in there until the end and find out what the heck is going on. Well, I may be disappointed. According to an article I just read in the paper the creators of this show have said that Lost will end without answering all the viewer's questions. What?! You've got to be kidding me. I've been confused and frustrated for all this time thinking it would all come together at the end and NOW they're telling us that won't be the case. Ugh! Well, I've hung in there this long. I'm going to hang on until the bitter end. And I do mean bitter.

Parenthood - A week or so ago I saw an ad for a new show debuting mid-season called Parenthood. Its based on a movie of the same name and is being directed by Ron Howard. Peter Krause (of Six Feet Under and Dirty Sexy Money) is one of the stars and it looks promising. I'm looking forward to checking it out. Premieres Monday, March 1.

Glee - The second half of Glee's first season is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 13. I had given up on this show, but the last episode before the hiatus seemed to have redeemed the show for me. We'll see.

Friday Night Lights - And in breaking news (announced on Thursday), Friday Night Lights will be back for a fourth season on Friday, April 30!!! Yay!! I really loved this show, especially the first two seasons. The third season seemed to get away from the story lines that made the show great to begin with, but maybe the fourth season will get back to basics. Here's hoping.

How about you? Any shows you're looking forward to?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (or Friday) - Flapper? Or Not?

Suggested by Prairie Progressive:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

I absolutely read the inside flap of any and all books that I read. That is how I know that I want to read them. If the summary on the flap does not grab my attention, I will not read the book - no matter how many great reviews I've read or how much buzz the book is getting. I will only change my mind if someone whose opinion I value has read the book and tells me I will love it. That happened with Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I had picked that book up three or four times and every time I put it back because the inside flap didn't interest me. Then my friend Peggy read it and told me I would love it. And she was right. I am so glad I didn't miss out on reading that book.

Also, I will often refer to the inside flap while reading a book to see how some plot point compares to the information provided on the flap. I remember one time reading a book and finding that I was surprised by the plot because the inside flap seemed to describe the book quite differently. I can't for the life of me remember what the book was or even the details of how the flap and the story differed, but I do remember how shocking and disconcerting that was for me.

How about you? Are you a Flapper?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Defense of Praise

In my last post I wrote about the assignment that Madeleine and I did for her English class on the book Lord of the Flies. Well today she came home and told me we got an A+!!! I am embarrassed to admit how excited I was to hear that. It's kind of sad really. I couldn't wait to look at the assignment and read the teacher's comments. It's amazing to me, that at 45 years old and many, many years since I was student, how important those comments were to me. I was not expecting to have that reaction. And it got me thinking...

No matter how old you are, it's nice to receive some validation, encouragement and appreciation for a job well done. I hadn't really thought about that with regards to myself. Of course, as a (mostly) stay at home mom, I don't have many opportunities to hear from a "supervisor" that I've done a good job. I don't mean to imply that my family is not thankful or appreciative of the work I do for them. Because they are and they express it frequently. There just aren't many performance reviews for stay home moms. (Thankfully!) And even in my part time job at the library I don't get that kind of feedback from my boss. It's not often that I hear my initiative was noticed or appreciated. Or that my ideas are valued. Or that my efforts didn't go unnoticed. Or that the extra projects I take on make the library a better place. Until today I didn't think that that kind of praise was a big deal. But you know what? It is. It feels really good when someone comments on something you've done well. It's nice to have feedback on your efforts. It's even nicer to know that someone notices and appreciates when you go above and beyond in your duties. So what do I do with this new found knowledge? Good question. Not sure what I will do about it with respect to my job. But I do know that I will be telling the people around me (and not just my kids) when they've done a good job. I will be sure to mention that I appreciated their extra efforts or that I noticed that they went over and above what was expected. Because you know what? We all deserve to receive recognition for a job well done. If for no other reason than that it feels good.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A week or so before Winter Break my younger daughter, Madeleine, asked me if I would be willing to be her partner in an assignment for her English class. Basically, she needed to find an adult who would agree to read a book with her and journal their reactions to the book. I was more than simply willing... I was quivering with excitement! The book she chose was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I was happy about this choice as I had read it in High School and didn't remember much about it and I'm always saying I want to read more classics and never do it. So it was a great choice. It turned out to be a great choice in more ways than one. It is an absolutely fascinating book and one that lends itself quite well to analysis.

On the surface Lord of the Flies is the story of a group of boys, ages 5-13, who are stranded on a deserted island during WWII. The novel tells the story of how the boys navigate the island, find food, shelter and try to keep a fire going in order to be rescued all while negotiating their relationships with each other. But it is so much more than that. It is essentially a psychological and sociological study of human behavior. It explores the human psyche and what happens to human behavior when societal conventions and authority figures are absent. Lord of the Flies exposes the most basic elements of human psychology from survival to power struggles to the man's ultimate primitive nature. Golding is a master writer and his insights into civilization and humanity are fascinating and thought-provoking.

I am so glad that I had an opportunity to reread Lord of the Flies. This is exactly the kind of classic novel I want to read. One thing that keeps me from reading more classics is that I don't know which ones will be enjoyable to a modern day reader and which ones will not. Some books that are considered to be "classics" are extremely dry, difficult to read and full of inaccessible language. But there are accessible classics out there. And Lord of the Flies is one of them. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read the classics and especially to anyone in a book club. This book is just screaming to be analyzed and discussed.

I would give Lord of the Flies 5 stars - I loved it!

How about you? Have you read any classics that you would recommend?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

TV Quick Quips

It was nice to have (most of) my favorite shows back after the holiday hiatus. Here's my take on this week's episodes:

1. The Biggest Loser - Last season was the first time I'd watched The Biggest Loser and I was happily surprised that Season 9 started so soon after the Season 8 finale. I must admit I felt like a big loser sitting on the sofa, eating popcorn and watching other people workout so close to the start of the New Year (which is when I supposed to start exercising again). But that's a whole other post.... So here's what I thought after the first episode. So far everyone seems very likable. There doesn't seem to be a crazy Tracey this season - though I'm sure that's because the season is still young. I don't have any favorites yet, but I liked the wife on the red team and the mom on the orange team. I was angry about what I'm calling the "ratings stunt" of eliminating two teams (yellow and blue) basically before the show even started. Of course, then they got a reprieve of sorts (30 days at home, supposedly with help with Bob and Jillian). Why? Why make them think they were leaving before they even started and then say - "just kidding". That's cruel and unnecessary. Meanies!

2. Modern Family - Goodness, I missed this show! Another hysterically funny episode. Favorite line - "You're quite the bullfight artist yourself"! ROFLMAO! (Is there a teen here who can verify that I got that right? Anyone? Bueller?) Loved Phil's kidney stone scenes -so funny. Loved Lily's Ferberization (how true were those scenes?). The best though was how everyone knew that the all the firemen were hot (even Alex and Haley). First Claire gets dressed up and then Cam and Mitchell get all excited when they realize they can call them for Mitchell's foot. Did you notice Cam videotaping the fireman carrying Mitchell out of the house. Love it!

3. The Office - I couldn't wait to watch The Office week. I was so excited to finally be able to see new episodes of my favorite shows after the holiday hiatus. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that The Office did not air a new episode this week! Why not? What's up? I'm already disillusioned with my previously favorite show and this is not helping me get my Office mojo back. Next week's episode better be new and it better rock! I'm just saying...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Oh, Happy Day!

After a fall that was fraught with anxiety and stress, my daughter Katie heard yesterday that she has been accepted to her first choice college! She is still waiting to hear from two other colleges and she is still struggling with uncertainty and anxiety about her plans for next year, but having that acceptance letter does relieve at least some of the stress. I don't think the college crazies are over for us yet, but there is a palpable sense of relief in our household. And for that I am grateful.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Complete Booker 2010 Challenge

I wasn't going to participate in a reading challenge this year. I did two last year - Support Your Local Library and New Authors. Neither one was much of a challenge (and that was by design), so the whole thing was kind of pointless, really. All I really accomplished was one more thing to keep track of and organize. I'm really good at adding things to organize to my life. Not sure there's a lot of value in that. As 2009 came to a close, I did a little looking around other book blogs to see if there was a challenge that was interesting and actually challenging in some (small) way. Until yesterday, I didn't find anything that interested me. Then I visited The Boston Bibliophile and she posted about The Complete Booker 2010 Challenge. I'm embarrassed to admit that I am not very well versed in book awards (gasp!). I've read some Pulitzer Prize winners and usually I don't like them. This award caught my attention however because I just read a book, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, that I loved and the cover said that Toibin was a past Booker Prize winner. So when I saw The Complete Booker Challenge it piqued my curiosity. I checked out the website and the list of books and it looks like a good challenge for me. I have read some of those books and some I loved and some I hated. I think these books are a "stretch" for me. And I'm ready to be "stretched" in my reading. My TBR list is woefully short right now and I'm finding that I'm at a crossroads in my reading. The type of books that I've been drawn to for the past 8 years or so are starting to be less appealing. I feel as though they are all starting to be the same. Does this make sense? This has happened to me in the past and it's always been a good thing. It's led me to broaden and deepen my reading horizons. So what better way to expand my reading than to read award winning books. If you are interested in joining you can find all the information at The Complete Booker 2010 Challenge. I am going to participate at the Winner's Circle level (I will read at least 6 winners). I haven't chosen which books I will read, but I will keep you all updated on my progress through book reviews. Hopefully, I will like the books I choose. Keep your fingers crossed.

2010 Complete Booker Challenge

1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
2. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Friday, January 1, 2010

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?
The first day of the New Year seems like an especially appropriate time to reflect on those things for which we are grateful. So even though it's Friday, here is this week's Thankful Thursday post.

1. I'm thankful that the holidays were actually a lot more relaxing and much less stressful than I thought they would be. Come to think of it, the last few years the holidays have actually been very nice. I think I forget that every year because the holidays were hectic and stressful for so many years. The many, many stressful years seem to block out the fewer nicer years. I think I'm going to write a note in my new calendar on November 1st, reminding myself that the holidays have been delightful the last few years. Then I won't be such a Bah Humbug as the holidays approach.

2. I'm thankful that both of my girls were extremely helpful this year getting ready for the holiday and then again cleaning up the house after Christmas Day. (Think this might have something to do with the nicer holiday?). Madeleine spent hours on Christmas Eve helping me prepare the house for our annual Christmas day get together and dinner. Then both girls helped me clean up after everyone left on Christmas night. It was so nice to wake up on December 26 and have the whole house back in order. Ahhh!

3. I'm thankful that in spite of all the holiday hecticness our family made time to watch A Christmas Story, our favorite Christmas movie. Geoff and I also managed to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the cartoon version) and Love Actually - the two other Christmas movies I like.
4. I'm thankful for the start of a New Year. The beginning of each year always feels like a fresh start. Something about putting away all the holiday decorations and gifts, getting ready for the regular routine to begin again and opening up a brand spanking new calendar, gives me a sense of renewal and new beginnings. I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I am looking forward to dusting out the proverbial cobwebs and starting the New Year with a sense of hope and anticipation. I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for all of you.
Happy New Year!

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

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