So Much To Do

I have sewing projects for my sister’s birthday to finish, seeds to plant in the garden, plants to mulch, trees to water… but I also have all these new books to read, and a sunny spot on the deck to sit and relax.

What to do, what to do?



My attention span has been severely shortened by the combination of my constant desire to go outside and soak in the sunshine, and my recent massive doses of allergy medication. On that note… wait, what was I saying? Oh right, so here are just a few short ADD thoughts for today.

I stayed late at a work event last night, and when I got home around 9:30, I sat out on the deck and watched the heat lightning. OK, #1, I SAT OUT ON THE DECK (yay) and, #2, heat lightning? That happens in July, not April. What’s going on? Whatever it was, it really was beautiful.

My beloved Treo started to act up yesterday. It was locking up and switching tasks slowly, then the battery went dead for no reason. I charged it the night before, what the heck? I tossed the dead brick in my bag and went to listen to a lecture on sustainability in which the subject of planned obsolescence was discussed, including the example of cell phone companies designing their phones to die in 1.5-2 years so we will always have the need to buy new phones. Coincidence? Well, um Palm people poking at the voodoo doll of my Treo – it hasn’t even been a YEAR! Luckily it seems to be behaving today, which is good because I have to keep the Treo until Sprint becomes an iPhone carrier, darnit!

I watched La Dolce Vita this week, and by “this week” I mean it. It took me four days to watch the whole movie. I did enjoy it, but it’s LONG and in Italian with subtitles and I’m not used to sitting and watching (or reading) a movie. I’d rather wander around the house sewing or cooking while watching a movie. I wanted to watch it because after seeing Under the Tuscan Sun so many times, I was curious to know what the whole lady-in-the-fountain scene had to do with La Dolce Vita, as Francis mentions in the movie. I still love the Under the Tuscan Sun movie, but after reading the book and watching La Dolce Vita, I don’t understand how they could call the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I think it was more La Dolce Vita than Under the Tuscan Sun. I wonder if Francis Mayes is mad about that.

Hey look, it’s sunny out! I think I’ll go for a walk. More brilliant thoughts from my pollen-filled brain tomorrow.

Books and Movies

I love movies, I love books, and I love the word “love” apparently, because I’ve used it about a hundred times throughout this post. Sorry about that.

Even though I usually don’t like to, I recently read two books after seeing and loving the movies they were based on. As everyone knows, movies based on books are never as good as the books and always leave out someone’s favorite part, or character, or something, making the movie disappointing and bad. Despite knowing this, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go.

Most recently I read P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern, which I mentioned before that I saw last December, and which struck me so hard, I really have no idea why this movie resonated with me the way it did. Maybe it was the heart wrenching love story, maybe it was the handsome men with Irish brogues who played guitars. Either way I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie and when I came across the book at the store, I bought it right away.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes was a similar story. I saw the movie and loved it. I borrowed it from Netflix and watched it four times before I returned it. I just loved the story so much. I loved the scenery and the characters, the food, the house. I loved it all. I saw that my sister had the book on her shelf and I decided that if I love the movie that much, I ought to love the book just as much.

Both book-movie comparisons are similar for me. They were great movies, they were great books, but the movies were so peripherally based on the books, they were almost completely different stories.

In Under the Tuscan Sun, the basic premise of the movie, Frances’ painful divorce and trip to Italy to take her mind off things, is completely made up by the screenwriters. But still, the major parts of the story make up the structure of the movie and so I can love them each individually and not even bother trying to compare them.

In P.S. I Love You, the movie seems to have taken the main points as well, the love story, the friends, the Daniel character, the letters from Gerry, but everything else was changed. The setting of the movie is in the US, not Ireland. Holly was sort of whiny and unlikable at first in the movie, but not in the book. Her relationship with her family, which weighed heavily in the book, was discarded for more focus on her friendship with Daniel in the movie. I loved both the book and the movie, as different as they were, but it made me wonder if I hadn’t seen the movie first, would I have love the book as much?

And then, in a completely different category of book-movie comparisons is Suburban Girl and its evil, soulless theft of material from one of my favorite stories, A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks. I always like to say that A Girl’s Guide is my favorite book I never read. I really haven’t ever “read” it in the literal sense, but I have the audio book and I have listened to is so many times that I had to buy another copy because I wore the first one out. I love Jane and her stories of growing up and finding her way through the minefields of love. Her dry sense of humor and smart storytelling make it a favorite story to listen to anytime I’m in the car. When I saw a commercial for the DVD Suburban Girl, based on A Girl’s Guide, I was so hopeful. Despite the fact that Sarah Michelle Geller plays Jane and Alec Baldwin plays Archie, I gave it a chance and borrowed it from Netflix. Oh, what a bad idea. Maybe it’s just me, I know the story so well because I’ve listened to it so many times, I could probably quote from it, but still, what a bad, bad movie. And what a mess they made of the story. One of the things that annoyed me the most was the random changes of unnecessary things. What did they have to change Jane’s last name? And why is her boyfriend named “Jed” instead of “Jamie”? There’s one scene where Jane is complaining to Archie about a book she has to edit, and in the book she says “he’s trying to be the next Faulkner”. In the movie he’s “trying to be the next Joyce”. WHY?? Why the changes? It’s bad enough they chopped up the story, gave Jane a Blackberry, and cast Alec Baldwin as Archie. Did they really have to make all those random changes, too? It was awful. I have to confess I actually didn’t finish watching it, that’s how bad it was. It was tarnishing my memory of the book. What a shame.

To wash the residue of that horrible movie from my brain, last night I watched Hot Fuzz. I don’t care if they ever publish a book on that movie, I won’t read it. The movie was awesome on its own. The perfect counter to the evil waste of DVD shelf space, Suburban Girl. I highly recommend it.

Excuses, Excuses

I didn’t get home until 10:30 last night.  After yoga, Andrea dragged me to the mall and forced me to use her coupon and buy a cute new jacket at NY&Co. for only $10.  She’s mean, isn’t she?  Then we went to Barnes & Noble to try to find some books that aren’t preachy and religious that would give some answers about heaven to my very analytical and curious 5 year-old nephew who has lately been obsessed with the topic.  Something like 101 Facts About Heaven.  Andrea and family don’t go to church or talk about religion, and other than mentioning that Grandpapa and Sydney have gone to heaven, no one talks about god or heaven but lately it’s been on his mind and he won’t drop it.   It makes me smile because he thinks just like me and I find it funny, but I can’t imagine being Andrea and having to answer impossible questions like “does it snow in heaven?”  or “when God dies, who will be in charge of heaven?”

Really I’m just trying to come up with an excuse why I haven’t scanned my drawings yet.  I think it’s Andrea’s fault.  Tonight, I promise I’ll have them scanned and up on Flickr.  In the meantime, check out the cute mug-to-be that I’m crocheting.  I saw the idea on someone’s blog last week and now I can’t remember who it was.  Oh well, thank you brilliant blogger lady whoever you are.  It’s cute, isn’t it?  If I don’t get dragged out and forced to shop again tonight I should be able to put the handle on and finish it (after I scan my drawings, of course) and maybe even have a picture of it for you tomorrow.  Oh the excitement.

Run-On Reading

After reading such a wonderful, delight of a book as Eat Pray Love was, it’s hard to read anything else. Should I read something funny? trashy? intellectual? British? I can’t decide. I received a copy of Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics for Christmas so I thought I’d give that a go.


About a year ago I heard Kurt Andersen of Studio 360 review Special Topics and interview Ms. Pessl. I remember at the time thinking that this book sounded great and I wanted it, so I added it to my Amazon wish list. All these months later, and after attempting to read it for the last week or so, I can’t think of why in the world I thought that.

First off, and a bit unfairly, the copy I got is hardcover. Now unless it’s Harry Potter, I never buy hardcovers. They’re too big and too expensive, and too darn heavy to read in bed. After that, my biggest problem with the book is the run-on sentences. I can’t believe how many paragraphs in one book can be constructed with one sentence. One page of this book had three sentences on it. I think the first chapter probably had less than two dozen. It drives me crazy. At this point I don’t care a bit for the quirky father and daughter main characters in the book because I’m playing the let’s-find’a’paragraph-made-of-more-than-two-sentences game just to stay awake. And then there’s The Capitalization. Everything has A Name and therefore A Capitalization. It’s giving me A Headache.

I wanted to copy one paragraph sentence sentagraph (can I make up my own words?) to give an example of the run-on in all its glory, but I left the book at home. Let me try to give my own example based on what I’ve read. I’ll do it by telling you about the book’s website:

Although I have, so far, found this book to be dreadfully boring – though a good sleep-inducer – I am enjoying the books website for it’s fun, quirky, link-filled construction, making the site feel not unlike a video game; and though the pages do contain a bit of text, there are no hyphens, colons, (or parenthetical statements), rendering the delightful site a thousand times more interesting and less visually, mentally, and verbally exhausting as The Book upon which it is based.

Yes, I am not exaggerating. And yes, the website is fun. And yes, I put it back on the bookshelf. I’m now reading About A Boy (both funny AND British).

Maybe Now I’ll Sleep More

Sigh… I finished Eat Pray Love yesterday during the power outage. It was bittersweet. It’s always bittersweet when you finish a good book. I desperately wanted to finish it while I was reading so I could see what happened, but now that it’s over I’m so sad and I miss it. I miss Liz and Fleipe, Richard from Texas and Luca Spaghetti. I loved them all and miss them terribly. I actually started to read it all over again, but then the power came back on and in my excitement to turn on all the lights and the TV and make coffee, I put it down and haven’t picked it up again.

So what is Eat Pray Love, you ask? It’s a fantastic book by Elizabeth Gilbert and if you weren’t one of my friends who got it for Christmas from me, you should do yourself a favor and go buy it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Eat Pray Love follows writer Gilbert through Italy, India, and Indonesia on her search for happiness and fulfillment. After a terrible divorce and breakup, she sets off for the three countries to attempt to mend her heart, reclaim her spirituality and find joy. You are probably rolling your eyes right now, aren’t you? Well don’t. I thought the same thing “this sounds like an Oprah book”. It may well have been an Oprah book, but ignore that fact, it’s just an excellent book to read. It will make you laugh out loud, it might make you cry, and I guarantee it will make you want to visit Bali.

There’s a neat explanation in the beginning of the book about how it’s structured. The story is broken into 108 sections, one for each bead on a set of prayer beads. There are three section (Italy, India, and Indonesia) so each section has 36 stories, like short chapters. It’s great if you don’t have a lot of time to read, or a short attention span. Or if you’re like me and you read at night and usually only after midnight, and sometimes for only one page before falling asleep with a book on your head.

I haven’t been this smitten with a book in a long time. Probably since I read Goodnight Nobody and couldn’t wait to see who the murderer was. I couldn’t stop reading it. I read until 2am a few nights because I just didn’t want to put it down. The way Gilbert writes is so casual and conversational. It’s honest and painful and so incredibly private. You go inside her head to places of deep sadness and transcendent meditation. And then you laugh out loud because she it truly hysterical.

I tried to start a new book last night but my mind was still wrapped up in Bali and it didn’t want to leave. According to Gilbert’s website, she has three other books that I was not aware of . I might have to make my way through those, too. Now go! Buy! Enjoy!

Oh Harry…

<sigh> I’m gonna miss you.

I just finished the final Harry Potter book and now I’m sad and want to start all over with book one so I won’t miss everyone. I know that almost anyone who wanted to read the book finished it a week ago, but still I don’t want to give away any spoilers to anyone who might still want to read it. I will say this, though, about book seven:

1. I knew it!
2. I wasn’t expecting that. Or THAT.
3. Regarding the second to last chapter: huh? I get the gist but I think I have to
reread it to make sense of it. I may have been scanning instead of reading because I was too excited to see what was going to happen.
4. How did Neville get the sword? Did I miss something?
5. The very last chapter, or epilogue, I loved it. A perfect little bow to tie everything up.
6. Thank you J.K. Rowling. You’re awesome.