Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Thoughts and Reading Weekend!

I woke up very early this morning, I'm not sure why. I think it may have been because Betsy was chasing Magoo all over the room and I was jumped on and run over 3 or 4 times! I have a hazy recollection of a cat landing on my chest and one running down my leg and then stepping on my head. Oh well! So I decided to read. And several hours went by. It was great! I thought about getting on the computer to check my mail and blog about reading for Thankfully Reading Weekend but I knew I would get sucked in to the blogosphere and be on-line for a while!

Sam and I and the kitties had a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. We watched a little bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. There were some wonderful floats and performances...and a few weird ones like the large group that jumped rope. But they were good. We watched a short movie my husband wanted to see because the singer and song-writer, Maynard James Keenan, from one of his favorite bands, Tool, is in the movie. I also like Tool and Maynard is an interesting and very talented guy. The movie, Sleeping Dogs Lie, is a mystery story and it's good but could be better. It should be longer. The cool part was that I didn't recognize Maynard at all, even after Sam told me which character he was! I've seen him in a couple of other movies and he just disappears into the character he's playing, completely. It's pretty amazing. We also watched some of the Godfather I and II and played with the kitties. I read while Sam did a NY Times crossword. And we cooked, of course! Dinner was great and so filling. But when we were cleaning up we realized that we completely forgot about the stuffing, it was still in the Turkey! LOL Nice moronic move, uh?! lol We had a good laugh over that! Good thing we have lots of leftovers. Bob, Betsy, Magoo, Huxley and Dopey really liked the turkey. Jazzy, Hennessey, Sadie and some of the other visiting kitties didn't seem to care much for it.

As far as reading goes, this morning I read more of Double Take: A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly. I am almost finished this book. I also started Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck can't decide if I like this book. I want to like it, but I'm not sure. There are 4 or 5 major characters and I think I might dislike 3 of them. Not good odds. But I want to see where the story goes so I'll keep reading.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 11.25.09

Betsy and Huxley on the Art of Sleeping!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Help Feed Animals! Please!

I found this information on Esme's blog, Chocolate & Croissants. It's about helping to feed neglected and abused animals through The Animal Rescue Site. And It's FREE for you. I have seen posts about this on other blogs too. The Animal Rescue Site makes it extremely easy to help out animals not living in loving, caring homes like yours and mine. Simply click the link below, it takes you to The Animal Rescue Site and there you click on the large purple box. That's it! It's so easy, you can't miss it! By clicking this box, you will enable sponsors to provide money for the care and feeding of animals in need. It takes maybe 15 seconds. Please try to go to The Animal Rescue Site everyday and click the purple box or, if not everyday, as often as you can! Here's the web site! Please pass it along to people you know!:

The Animal Rescue Site

This is so important because The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to go to their site and click on the purple box daily so they can meet their quota of getting FREE FOOD donated every day to abused and neglected animals. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.
Thanks for your help! Thank you Esme for reminding me to post about this!

Teaser Tuesdays 11.24.09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:

"Aside from my head injury (and the half dozen I would incur in the years to come), he was right. It was good to have someone who was unperturbed by the fact you were a legless guy and only interested in getting you on the hill to ski. Buck asked the same of me that he asked of everyone else; as long as I didn't whine or complain, we'd keep skiing."

Double Take: A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly (p. 56)

If you'd like to join in (please do!)don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, share your "teasers" in a comment.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Salon 11.22.09

I was going to wait until later, after the game to write this but I needed to keep myself preoccupied before all the nervous energy coursing through my body drives me nuts! lol My mother would think I was nuts if I told her I was feeling so nervous because of a football game! Yep, the JETS are making me feel like a jittery bowl of jello. In approximately 45 minutes they play the New England Patriots. It probably won't be a pretty game. But, as with all Jets games, I'm hoping that, like earlier in the season, we pull out a win. Oh boy! would that be great!

I haven't been a very good blogger this week and I want to apologize to all my friends and visitors out there! It was another week when I didn't feel very well and I didn't feel much like myself. The good thing is that yesterday I felt much better, more like the old me! Hopefully whatever was making me feel blah is completely gone. I am planning to spend the week visiting all of the blogs I haven't visited regularly in the last couple of weeks as well as reading and responding to your posts. I also want to post some long overdue reviews, and get my Goodreads and my new Library Thing accounts updated. I need a central list of all the books on my TBR list, the books I want to read but don't have in my possession yet. That's a very long list! and it's on a piece paper here, over there and some are even listed on-line. It's chaos! I even found a partial list in an old book that fell off the shelf the other day! lol I used to be so organized and neat at work, my desk was beautiful. But at home I just had a big pile of stuff in a couple of different places. And I seem to have kept that up. But I am determined to get organized starting this week!

As many of you know, Bob went to the vet this week. Bob can breathe easily now, he's sleeping less and has more energy so he's really enjoying life now! He no longer makes any grunting or sniffling sounds which is great news. In all honesty though, some of his sounds were funny and charming - I miss them! Not to mention, I no longer hear Bob when he's approaching the house or coming into the room. But it's a small price to pay and I am happy he's feeling much better. Betsy the kitten is growing fast and furiously. She's become a big mush and loves to climb on Sam or me when we're in bed and be scratched around her ears! Betsy likes to sleep during the day and play at night. She likes to have a playmate rather than play alone. So she's taken to making Magoo play with her by jumping on him when he is sitting on the bed and pushing at him with her paw! It's very funny to watch. Eventually Magoo tires of this and gets up to run away which is exactly what Betsy wants. She runs after him and eventually jumps him. They wrestle on the ground until Magoo gets free of Betsy and runs away. Of course, Betsy chases after him and it begins again! LOL
All of the cats are doing very well!

I stopped in Barnes & Noble after we dropped Bob off at the vet. There are so many books I would love to buy but I also couldn't decide which ones to buy! lol I hate being in a mood like that when I'm in a store ready and willing to shop. I came across "The Gathering" by Anne Enright which I want to read so I picked that up and then read some Christmas magazines. I love Christmas and Holiday magazines!

I am still reading Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke. It's a really wonderful book. But, I confess that I didn't read it much this week because I was lazy and gravitated more towards lighter books such as Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez and The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond which I finished this morning. I have several reviews that I hope to post this week. The reviews are for Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon, The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne and The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. Along with Stand the Storm, I'm also reading Double Take by Kevin Michael Connolly this week.

Almost time for the game. Dare I say it? Go J - E - T - S!! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book Review: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Title: This is Where I Leave You
Author: Jonathan Tropper
ISBN: 978-0-525-95127-8
Pages: 352
Release Date: August 6, 2009
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher: The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family-including Judd's mother, brothers, and sister-have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd's wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd's radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch's dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it's a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd's father died: She's pregnant.

My Thoughts: The narrator and main character of This is Where I Leave You, Judd Foxman, is a man in his mid-30s whose life is falling apart. I thought it was refreshing and very interesting to have a male narrator when so many books have female leads and narrators. We are privy to his thoughts, ideas, feelings and dreams, many of which include the female anatomy and sex but not in a graphic or distasteful way. Foxman is a very likable and sympathetic character, most of the time, and easily relatable. He has been hurt badly by his wife (they are separated) as well as his former boss and is very angry at them with good reason: they are now in a relationship. As for their former couple friends, they chose his wife and her new boyfriend over him, mostly due to the fact that it's easier for couples to hang out with couples, while Judd is all alone. He's also humiliated, sad, very lonely, and despairing. It's quite realistic and understandable that he'd be feeling sorry for himself and spending his days wallowing in his misery trying to figure out where he went wrong. To make matters worse, his father dies and this just exacerbates his sadness and pain.

Judd isn't up to sitting shiva with his family (a seven day ordeal) which makes sense based on what's going on in his life right now. He isn't particularly close to his family and doesn't feel that they really know him. But, it turns out, he doesn't know them very well either and much of this, he learns, is his fault. He hasn't bothered to spend much time with his parents or his siblings since he left home for college all those years ago. After a short time with his family, a different Judd starts to emerge. He isn't just a nice guy getting dumped on by life. It appears that he's also somewhat self-centered and selfish. Judd's not the only one in his family having a difficult time. He has a lot of guilt in relation to his family, much of it brought on by his own actions and choices. And even though time with them may result in his having to face some unpleasant truths about himself, these seven days with his family may be just the antidote he needs to feeling sorry for himself.

It turns out the whole Foxman family isn't particularly close. The siblings competed with each other for their parents' love and attention and there's been misunderstandings and resentments and little to no communication. The youngest, Phillip, born nine years after Judd, is the baby of the family and was doted on by everyone. He's always been the irresponsible trouble-maker who needed to be bailed out of one predicament or another every few years. His parents always took care of him. After college everyone went their own ways, as is so often the case, getting jobs, boyfriends, girlfriends, and eventually husbands and wives. Paul, the eldest, joined dad in the family business, giving him a feeling of superiority.

The animosity between the siblings festered providing the impetus for them to keep their distance. The siblings rarely saw each other for long periods of time, mostly keeping tabs through phone calls with mom. Spending seven days together under one roof, much of the time in the same room together, forces many of the misapprehensions and animus to the surface. Pain, anger, sadness, indignation, despair, even joy all mix together in an ever-expanding balloon ready to explode at any moment.

Jonathan Tropper 's story is filled with realistic characters readers will recognize from their own lives. The feelings, thoughts, annoyances and memories are easy to relate to and understand. If the Foxman family doesn't resemble our own family, we see them in others we have known over the years. The issues of estrangement, avoidance, favoritism, and competition between siblings aren't unique to the Foxman Family but are found to some degree in many families. Tropper 's realistic vehicle of using the father's death to bring everyone together makes interaction unavoidable and, therefore, confrontation inevitable. But that same confrontation may be the best way to clear the air in this dysfunctional family for whom emotions run high. Resolutions don't necessarily mean the Foxman siblings end on good terms but Jonathan Tropper hasn't written a fairy tale. He has written a complex and authentic story about a family that reluctantly comes together during a crisis.

Tropper has an amazing talent for writing riveting dialogue that is, at times brutally honest and at other times, caustically funny. In fact, there are many humorous anecdotes and passages in this novel that caused me to frequently laugh out loud. The humor is a refreshing reprieve from the sadness and tension that occurs throughout the story. But in a novel about a man struggling to assess why his life is falling apart and face some realizations about himself, as well as cope with his family's sudden acrimonious unity, uncomfortable, awkward and intense situations are unavoidable.

I really enjoyed This is Where I Leave You and found I didn't want to put it down once I started reading it. Tropper's writing is so engaging and personal that I felt like I was meeting and getting to know Judd and the Foxman Family personally. The characters come alive through Judd's memories and in his interactions with them. Some of them seemed familiar to me and those that didn't I wished did, such as Judd's outspoken, quirky and loving psychologist mother. During the story, I found myself rooting for different characters at different times, one minutes loving Judd, for example, and 5 chapters later wishing I could shake him while giving his wife Jen a hug. I experienced the gamut of emotion from joy to sadness and everything in between while reading Jonathan Tropper's latest novel. If you enjoy an engrossing story with genuine characters and a roller-coaster of emotions, This is Where I Leave You is a book for you.

I won this book, a signed hardcover copy, from Sheri on her wonderful blog,
A Novel Menagerie. Thank you so much, Sheri!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fill-ins! 11.20.09

1. We need a batch of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies!

2. Sadie slept on my lap in bed early this morning and it made me smile.

3. If you want I'll send some cookies to you!

4. I am happy because the mail brought me 4 books today!

5. Massachusetts has a proposed 5% sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery; I think I'll keep all my parts as they are!

6. Good family and friends makes for a happy holiday.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie with my husband, maybe Coraline, tomorrow my plans include reading, errands, baking and playing with the kitties and Sunday, I want to read the NYTimes and do the crossword, watch Football and read!

Big List O'Giveaways!


There are many, Many, MANY Giveaways going on around the book blogging community. I have tried to compile a list here for you ! So, Enter some contests, have some Fun and Good Luck!

The Big Piece of Cake
Huge Holiday Giveaway, a different item everyday until December 10th!

All About {n}
HoHoHo Giveaway 11/28

The Great Kindle Giveaway 12/18

Passages to the Past
Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor Julianne Lee 11/30

Reading Extravaganza
First Anniversary 3 Giveaways! 11/30

A Booklover's Diary
1st Giveaway - Books & Amazon GC 11/30

A Bookshelf Monstrosity
Huge Honkin' Giveaway 11/29

Devourer of Books
Reading Comfort Bookmark 11/30

Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Julie & Julia 11/22

Bermudaonion Weblog
The Paper Bag Christmas Kevin Alan Milne 11/27
Angels: a Pop-Up Book Chuck Fischer 11/27

Jo-Jo Loves to Read
Kissing Games of the World Sandi Kahn Shelton 12/1

Chocolate & Croissants
White Picket Fences Susan Meissner 11/30

Steph & Tony Investigate
1st Blogoversary Giveaway - Week 3 11/22

A Sea of Books
A Separate Country Robert Hicks(Audio) 12/4
Angels: a Pop-Up Book Chuck Fischer 12/5
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men David Foster Wallace(Audio) 12/6
Exit Music Ian Rankin 12/15

At Home with Books
In the First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn 11/23
Art and Upheaval William Cleveland 11/23
Kissing Games of the World Sandi Kahn Shelton 11/23
November Bookshelf Cleaning - Choose from 4 Books 11/30

A Book Blogger's Diary
The Last Will of Moira Leahy Theresa Walsh11/22
The School of Essential Ingredients Erica Bauermeister 11/30

Starting Fresh
Animals and Their World Dr. Jane Goodall 11/27
True Blue David Baldacci (Audio) 11/27
The Liar in Your Life Robert Feldman (Audio) 11/27
The Gate House Nelson DeMille 11/30

Book-lover Carol
Rooftops of Tehran Mahbod Seraji 11/27

Booking Mama
The Paper Bag Christmas Kevin Alan Milne 11/27
Wishin' and Hopin' Wally Lamb 11/27

Reading with Tequila
The Secret of Joy Melissa Senate 12/1

The Tome Traveller's Weblog
Pirate Latitudes Michael Crichton 11/20
Wishin' and Hopin' Wally Lamb 11/20
Crossed Wires Rosy Thorton 11/30

Peeking Between the Pages
When You Went Away Michael Baron 11/21
The Gate House Nelson DeMille 11/22
After You Julie Buxbaum 11/29
Now & Then Jacqueline Sheehan 12/5
Reading Comfort Goodies 12/12

Bookin' with Bingo
A Friend of the Family Lauren Grodstein 11/24
Wishin' and Hopin' Wally Lamb 11/28
Fierce Style Christian Siriano 11/29
The Paper Bag Christmas Kevin Alan Milne 11/30
The Gift Cecelia Ahern 12/2
Cleaving Julie Powell 12/4
It Happened One Night Lisa Dale 12/6

A Bookworm's World
Intent to Kill James Grippando 11/29
The Gate House Nelson DeMille 11/30
Waiting for Columbus Thomas Trofimuk 12/12

Drey's Library
The Gate House Nelson DeMille 12/1
It Happened One Night Lisa Dale 12/3

Park-Avenue Princess
Viola in Reel Life Adriana Trigiani 12/1
Tangled Carolyn Mackler 12/6
And Many More Contests!

Mindful Musings
CSN 4-Shelf Black Bookcase 12/5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bob Goes to the Vet!

Bob went to the Vet today, finally! He was here when we woke up this morning so we knew today was the day. Bob didn't protest or put up a fight when Sam picked him up and put him in the cat carrier. I felt so badly for Bob because he looked scared! His beautiful eyes were as big as saucers as he sat inside the carrier looking around, seeming lost. Bob meowed a few times on the way to the Vet ,which took a little longer than usual because of construction traffic.

When we arrived at the Vet, we had to wait a few minutes. Two adorable black Pug puppies, brother and sister, were scampering around the waiting room while their owner made an appointment for them. The puppies kept running up to the cat carrier and trying to stick their little noses through the holes. They were very interested in Bob. Bob didn't get upset. He just watched them quietly. The puppies had leashes on and one of them kept picking his up in his mouth and running to the other end of the room as if he was taking himself for a walk!

In the exam room, Bob was scared. He kept trying to jump off the exam table and, when he was finally allowed to get on the floor, he went right to the door and stood there just waiting for someone to open it. (That's what he does here when he wants to leave...we usually open the door for him!) Bob weighs 11.9 lbs ( he looks bigger!). Bobs breathing issues, hiccups snoring and stuffed nose are all being caused by a polyp in his throat area. The Vet said that Bob isn't in pain but it's causing him some discomfort. So we left Bob at the Vet today. She did an in-office procedure today and removed the polyp from Bob's throat. It may grow back but hopefully it won't. Bob also got neutered today, (our neighbors told us he was neutered but, apparently this wasn't the case!) had his ears cleaned and was de-fleaed! No wonder cats don't like going to the Vet! lol

The Vet called a little while ago to tell us that Bob's procedures went well and he was resting comfortably. Sam is picking Bob up this evening and bringing him back here. We'll see if he still like's us and trusts us! LOL

In the first picture below, you can see that Bob has his head in a large catnip container. The second picture is the aftermath of ingesting a lot of catnip!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Teasers 11.17.09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:

" At the very least I could become a food critic to make a living. "Okay, I have a plan!" I celebrated. Though I still couldn't call my mother and share my plan because her laughter would crush me."

Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez (p. 48)

If you'd like to join in (please do!)don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, share your "teasers" in a comment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movie Monday 11.16.09

Today topic at The Bumbles Blog is movies with great and memorable death scenes. I read several terrific posts, including Molly and Andy's at their blog and Sandy's at You've GOTTA Read This! that listed movies with humorous, horrifying, tear jearking, realistic or ridiculous death scenes. I wasn't coming up with any really good ones myself but if you have any good examples be sure to post about them and then link your post to The Bumbles Blog where all the fun is happening today!

I think part of my problem with thinking about movies with memorable death scenes is that I have a different movie on my mind. I saw The Way We Were. I've never seen it before and can't believe it took me this long. It's a wonderful, beautiful, poignant and sad movie. So I decided to post about it today to let you all know that it's a movie I think you would enjoy!

The Way We Were (1973) stars Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand and is directed by Sydney Pollack.
Katie Morosky and Hubbell Gardiner first meet in college in the 1930's. She is an outspoken, opinionated Marxist Jew who is very against war. He is a carefree WASP with few opinions and a laid-back attitude. She is serious, strident and very focused. He is charming, easy-going, quick to laugh and seems worried about little in life. Hubbell is a good writer and good looking, two things that attract her to him. He is intrigued by Katie's strong values and her convictions as well as her attempts to persuade others to her way of thinking.
They meet again after WWII when she is working at a radio station and he is attempting to return to civilian life after serving in the navy. They marry despite their differences. Over time the very things that attracted them about one another become the cause of friction between Katie and Hubbell. Is their love enough to withstand their differences?

If you haven't seen this movie, it's so worthwhile and I highly recommend it. This coming from someone who isn't a fan of Barbara Streisand at all (sorry! it's just one of those things!)
This movie was nominated for several awards and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Song.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Salon 11.15.09

I'm trying to forget the very disappointing JETS game I just watched. It started out badly and, although it looked like it might end well, it didn't. The final score was 24 - 22 Jaguars win. Ugh! Another bummer of a JETS game and this one cannot be blamed on bad weather! Tonight the New England Patriots play the Indianapolis Colts. This has the potential to be a very exciting game!

I haven't been a very good blogger this week. I am sorry to all you great bloggers who have stopped by my blog to visit. I'm glad that I, at least, left some very adorable kitten pictures to view if you did come by! We got the tail end of some tropical storm or something halfway through the week which resulted in damp, cold, humid, muggy awful weather, either raining or threatening to rain. Those of you who have arthritis know what a killer this kind of weather is for the joints. Between my arthritis pain and my general bone pain I wasn't feeling great. On Wednesday I went into the city for a couple of doctor appointments that weren't quite what I expected them to be. I left a little bewildered and surprised, with a lot to think about and figure out. But I also have the possibility for some physical therapy and, even better, water therapy. Since I love to swim, the latter is very intriguing! The rest of the week I was in a sort of funk, just kind of blah. I was hoping to work it out with a good book but I had a lot of difficulty finding something that I liked and really wanted to read. I couldn't seem to connect with anything. And let me tell you, I tried a lot of different books! I have a stack next to my bed of about 15 books of which I read the first 50 pages or so trying to find one that would grab my attention and drag me out of my funk. Nothing really worked. Then I discovered I had a cold so I've been sleeping quite a bit. But at least my funk seems to have lifted!

A couple of days ago I started reading a book I in the mail last week,
Double Take by Kevin Michael Connolly. Kevin is a young man who was born in Montana in 1985 without legs. As a young man, he traveled around the world taking pictures of people staring at him. The pictures are part of the "Rolling Exhibition" . Kevin talks about his experiences growing up without legs and the adaptability issues he encountered, as well as traveling the world taking pictures of people staring in his book. I was intrigued particularly because I completely understand being stared at, or more like gawked at, by people. I have had numerous surgeries on my legs and they are covered with scars. Additionally, because my bones are very weak they have a tendency to bow. Always have. When I go out I often get stared at, especially in warm weather when my legs aren't always covered up. It doesn't bother me anymore but as a child it bothered me a lot. I used to make faces at people who stared at me and stuck my tongue out at many of them to my poor mother's embarrassment! My uncle taught me to walk up to the really obvious gawkers and say things like "Shark Bite" or "Knife Fight". When my mother heard me doing that she was really not happy! LOL I'm enjoying this book, it's well-written, interesting and funny. Kevin Connolly has a website as well at Kevin Michael Connolly.

The Kitty Cats are doing well. Poor Bob has a bad cold so he's definitely going to the vet this week so long as we can get him there! (This will be quite the adventure I'm sure!) Betsy has decided that Magoo is her playmate despite Magoo not being completely on board with this plan. And Hennessey, who found a cat colony to hang out with behind some houses, has been spending more time with us again. She's sort of the prodigal cat come home and it's nice to have her back! I have some great new photos to share with you and will do so soon! You might even get to see me! LOL

I hope you are all enjoying weekend! Can you believe it's almost time for Thanksgiving?!
Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book Review: The Last Lecture

Title: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2325-7
Pages: 210
Release Date: April 8, 2008
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Summary: A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”—wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

My thoughts: I was fortunate to win a wonderful box of "goodies" from RIF: Reading is Fundamental, Inc. which I discovered through Carol at her blog,
Rasco from RIF. The box contained beautiful books for children, bookmarks, bookplates, a Snuggi (which the cats quickly took over! lol) and a pretty, little book, "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. I read about this book when it was published and I knew the story behind it. I'd always wanted to read it so I was thrilled that this was part of my gift package from RIF.

"The Last Lecture" is a well-known series of talks given by professors on many campuses. Professors reflect on their career and what they want or hope their legacy will be when they are no longer with us. The idea is that the audience will ponder what matters most to them and what they hope to leave behind when their time comes. Carnegie Mellon calls the last lectures "Journeys' now but for Randy Pausch purposes it really was to be his "Last Lecture". Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year before the lecture, and a week prior to giving it, he was told by his doctors that the cancer was terminal. He had 3-6 months to live. Although he looked like a healthy man the day he stood on the stage and delivered his lecture, he was anything but.

Randy considered not giving it as his priority was spending the time he had left with his wife and three children. He decided, though, that this lecture was the best way to tell his children everything he would if he was around while they were growing up. Randy gave his last lecture to tell his children who their dad was and what he was like.

Randy Pausch was honest and forthright with a great sense of humor. In this book, He shared the lessons he's learned in life from others and in his teaching career that helped him become the man he was. Pausch believed in dreams and working hard to make your dreams happen. He also believed strongly in the notion of passing on what you've learned to those around you, helping them to achieve their dreams. Pausch had several big dreams as a child including "being in zero gravity" and "being a Disney Imagineer". He recounts how he attempted to make all of his childhood dreams come true and the terrific times he had even when things didn't quite work out. Pausch was very grateful for his parents and eagerly credited those who helped him grow into the man he became.

Pausch admited to being arrogant and obnoxious as a young man and honored a few people for teaching him to be more humble and less boastful about what he knew. Many of the lessons he learned when he was younger he incorporated into his teaching career at Carnegie Mellon where he excelled as a professor of computer studies and human behavior. He recounted many stories from his life, each ending with a lesson about overcoming obstacles or helping others accomplish their dreams.

Pausch mentioned his wife and children frequently, reminding us of the real purpose behind this lecture. In this light, sections of the book such as "Tell the Truth", "A Bad Apology is Worse Then No Apology" and "Don't Obsess Over What People Think" don't have an arrogant, self-righteous tone. Rather, they are the words of a concerned and caring father to his children. Still, Pausch's relentlessly positive attitude and approach to everything as a life-lesson might seem excessive to some readers. Aside from the diagnosis of terminal cancer, which is terrible, Pausch implies that nothing else in his life has ever really upset him for long. When his wife, the woman of his dreams, broke up with him just before they were to move in together, for example, he calls his wife a "brick wall". As such, "brick walls are there to make us show we want something badly enough". Taking the ubiquitous optimism in stride, this is a beautiful story about a father's legacy to his children but it can also serve as a self-help model to those who choose to take Randy Pausch's hard learned lessons to heart.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 11.11.09

"Mama" Huxley with Gidget and Lola on moving day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: After by Amy Efaw

Title: After
Author: Amy Efaw
ISBN: 978-0-670-01183-4
Pages: 368
Release Date: August 20, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile Publishing
Genre: YA
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made—Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After that Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible— she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.

My Thoughts: I read After almost straight through without stopping. Amy Efaw grabbed my attention from page one and never lost it. I was, at various times, repulsed, disgusted, saddened, amazed, rapt and filled with admiration for the girl at the center of this story. Amy Efaw has written a riveting book that sheds light on a horrendous situation happening almost daily in our country. She also offers one explanation as to why and, in doing so, reminds us that rarely is something as simple as it appears.

After is written from the point of view of a sixteen-year old girl named Devon. Efaw does a remarkable job of drawing her readers into Devon's world by providing a front-row seat to her thoughts and feelings over an eight day period in her life as she copes with the fall out from the terrible thing she's done. As Devon re-counts her life from her earliest memory to her first relationship with a boy, we are privy to her hopes and dreams as well as her confusion, fears and insecurities. The person Devon presents to society is a very different girl from the private person no one else knows but her. By writing from Devon's point of view, Efaw reveals the very private Devon and, in doing so, garners sympathy for her. Devon's horrendous behavior becomes more understandable the more we learn about her and how she has had to live her life, though it doesn't lessen the severity of her actions.

Devon is an intelligent, over-achieving, amazing soccer player who baby-sits for money whenever she can find the time. She is also a lonely, sad, scared child who takes care of her mother more than her mother cares for her. Devon has essentially raised herself and Ms. Efaw knows how to use this to soften up her readers, though it is by no means some hackneyed ploy. I would imagine there are many girls who see themselves in Devon and, if they are honest with themselves, parents who see themselves in this story as well as some of their own child in Devon. By the time I read that Devon was only five the first time her mother left her alone for an entire weekend, I wanted to scoop the little girl up in a huge hug and never let go.

Life has taught Devon that she can trust no one but herself and the rules she has fashioned for herself don't permit her to let anyone in. Her life has been about pleasing her mother because if she makes her mother happy and proud enough, maybe she'll become the mother Devon so desperately wants. But when Devon discovers she might be pregnant, not only has she disappointed and failed herself, she's ruined everything. The thought is too much for her to handle so she stuffs her fear, rage, disappointment and sadness, at the situation she's gotten herself into, deep down inside and true to soccer form, kicks it away.

I thought the way Amy Efaw handles Devon's denial of her pregnancy was terrific. I have seen, heard and experienced a lot of women in denial over something big when I was a prosecutor working with victims of domestic violence. The ability to deny is strong and can completely obliterate something from your life if you want it to disappear badly enough. This is Efaw's strength - taking a specific situation that may be foreign to many of us and making it not just identifiable, but inviting us to become emotionally invested.

There's very little to criticize about After. The only "issue" I have is that there is just a hint as to where the mother-daughter dynamic may end up. I would have preferred that this be explored deeper and resolved more fully. If, in fact, Devon does not want to do more in terms of thinking about or interacting with her mother, Efaw should take the time to explain Devon's reasons. It's hard to imagine that Devon's anger towards her mother would dissipate easily or quickly . Then, again, Devon is a remarkable girl.

I won this book from Amy at
Addicted to Books, a beautiful blog filled with wonderful reviews of YA books. Thank you Amy!

Teaser Tuesdays 11.10.09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

" "Would you have stayed with him if Diana hadn't been there?"
The real answer was, "No, I wasn't going to raise that freak of nature," but I couldn't say that, especially now, when it was clear this boy was no freak. Even if he was, did that make him less deserving of love?"

p. 180 The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne

If you'd like to join in (please do!)don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, share your "teasers" in a comment.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Movie Monday 11.09.09

Feature Presentation...

Today's topic at The Bumbles Blog is movies that have had a profound impact on your life, so much so that they caused a change in your behavior, beliefs, or exposed you to a new passion? Share on your blog the movies that caused a major impact in your life. Then link your post to The Bumbles Blog where all the fun is happening today!

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, based on the novel by Truman Capote and Sabrina (1954) starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden are very important movies for me and close to my heart. Both movies are about young women trying to find their place in the world. Holly Golightly is running from love and a life she doesn't want while Sabrina is looking for love and a life she has dreamed about for too long.
They are my mother's two favorite movies. My mom had a massive stroke in 1989 which profoundly damaged her memory and parts of her brain. One of the things she really enjoys is watching these movies. My mom loves Tiffany's in NYC and gets a real kick out of the character, Holly Golightly and her wackiness. She laughs all through Breakfast at Tiffany's. My mom loves Sabrina because parts of the movie were filmed down the road from the house I grew up in, and where my mom still lives, and in the surrounding neighborhood. She loves seeing the neighborhoods as they used to be years ago in the black & white original Sabrina. Audrey Hepburn is also one of my mom's favorite actresses and Humphrey Bogart is pretty popular with her too!

A Man for All Seasons (1966) Is a movie about Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England and a man of conscience and unwavering principles. King Henry VIII wants the Pope to grant him a divorce so he can marry Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas More, a member of the Privy Council, is the only one to argue against the divorce. Sir Thomas More is then appointed Lord Chancellor of England by King Henry. Tired of waiting to be granted a divorce, King Henry appoints himself "Supreme Head of the Church in England" and orders the bishops and Parliament to renounce their allegiance to the Holy See. Sir Thomas More refuses to take the Oath of Supremacy and resigns his office.
The movie is more complex than my summary but I don't want to give it all away and I don't want to tell the rest of it. The movie is very well written. It's poignant, funny and very sad and the acting is first-rate. This movie really made me think about how far I would go to uphold what I believe in and to consider if I believe in anything as strongly as Sir Thomas More. It also made me thing about my relationships with friends and family. Finally, this movie made me question allegiance to a religion. I was raised in a strict Catholic household, mass every Sunday and on holy days. My mother even went to church every day for the 40 days of Lent. She and, especially my grandmother have a strong faith and belief in Catholicism yet there is a lot about their religion that I find troubling. This movie definitely had a profound impact on me.

A Man for All Seasons is one of my husband's favorite movies. I am happy he shared it with me and so glad I have watched it several times. My husband is very intelligent and really witty. He's a happy, positive person. And he has a weird streak, which I love! I was discussing this topic with him and he told me that the movie Wild at Heart had a huge impact on him. It made him grateful for his life, appreciative of his youth as well as every single day he lives and it made him understand and appreciate true love. Whatever works for you...but have you seen ? It's a seriously bizarre film, great but bizarre. It is David Lynch, need I say more?!

Wild at Heart (1990) starring Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern is about a young couple from Cape Fear, NC who run away from her domineering mother played by Diane Ladd. She pursues involving the mob and a few other choice characters. It's a jarring, wacky, disturbing movie in many ways, it's also funny and poignant.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Introducing Bob the "Gentle Giant"

Bob, the neighborhood cat and gentle giant I have posted about a few times, has almost completely moved in to our home! Occasionally he stops by our neighbor's for afternoon tea around 4 o'clock. He ambles over here most days anytime after 6 p.m. It's not unusual for his large head to peek in the window just as we are sitting down to dinner, of course! He has a huge appetite but he only likes to eat after he has been sufficiently petted and loved up! After he eats he likes to clean himself. That is not a pretty site. It looks like he's attacking his body and he makes many unattractive slurping and grunting sounds while he cleans. I have tried, but been unsuccessful, at improving his manners and etiquette!

Bob likes to sleep after he eats. Sometimes it's just a nap. Sometimes it's a very long sleep complete with snoring and dreams during which his paws move and his face twitches! He likes to be comfortable and have plenty of room. We discovered that he likes large plastic shopping bags. There was one on the floor, as there often is because several of our cats enjoy sitting in them, and Bob suddenly ran to it and hopped inside! Bob will sleep in it for a quick nap or all night apparently! It's an interesting sight, seeing his big head peaking out, either spying on whatever activity is going on, or emitting near ear-splitting snores!

But, most of the time he opts to sleep on our bed, either at the foot or, recently he's taken a liking to my husband's side of the bed, right by his pillows. If Bob falls asleep here in the evening, by the time my husband wants to go to bed, Bob has usually moved to the bottom of the bed or he's gone out for the night, gallivanting and looking for some female felines...maybe!?! If it's later at night when Bob gets in our bed to sleep and he chooses to sleep on my husbands side it makes things pretty interesting. lol Being such a big boy, it's not easy to move Bob once he goes to sleep, not to mention, he doesn't much like being fussed with after laying down. I discovered that I can make him move a little bit by pushing on his lower back area when he is stretched out on his side, thereby moving him into a more up and down position along the bed rather than side to side, which makes it possible for my husband or me to sleep in the middle while the other one stretches out where I normally sleep! Yes, I know we are nuts and spoil all our cats, those who live with us as well as those who visit!

Our other cats are slower to accepting Bob than my husband and I! Bob doesn't seem to even notice their presence (he's much bigger than most of them!) unless, like Dopey, they get in Bob's face and make strange sounds. Dopey does this once in a while, I guess in some weird effort to show he's the man er, cat, of the house. Bob just sits and looks at Dopey like he's an idiot, which is...well...kind of appropriate!
Sadie dislikes Bob completely. But, let me be sure to point out here that Sadie dislikes almost all cats! Anytime Bob gets close to her - and for Sadie, that point varies from Bob standing right next to her to Bob being half the length of the room away from her - Sadie starts hissing at him and meows like I've never heard her meow before: loud, high-pitched and whiny! There's no mistaking what she's saying, "Go Away Now!" Sadie acts completely unaware of and unconcerned by the fact that Bob is a good 3x larger than her and could probably fling her across the room with one paw!

Magoo and Betsy, the cats who always sleep on our bed, only seem to mind Bob when he first gets on the bed and is settling down. Bob doesn't seem to know his own size and, like many cats, he goes where he wants to go with no concern for who or what might be in his way. Poor Betsy has almost been stepped on several times as she sits curled up cozily in the middle of out bed. Fortunately, she's small and fast and can slink away quickly. But, as a result of these close calls, she runs from the bed when Bob makes an appearance and only returns when he's settled down and laying still! Magoo is high-strung and nervous around Big Bob. Magoo's favorite spot at night is on Sam's back while he sleeps. If Sam isn't in bed yet, Magoo keeps an eye on Bob when he gets on the bed and moves strategically around, keeping out of Bob's way until he's settled down. If Sam is already in bed, Magoo will be perched on him, as far from Bob as possible! Huxley, Dopey and the other cats just stay out of Bob's way even though Bob shows no inclination to cause them any harm or unhappiness. Imagine Godzilla with no other desire than to eat, have the top of his head scritched, and then a warm place to sleep. He wouldn't even notice the little cars and residents of Tokyo hissing at him, wishing for him to leave. It's much the same with Bob and our other cats!

Bob comes and goes throughout the night. At any given time, Sam or I may wake up and he'll be snoring away at the bottom of the bed or he'll be gone. But two hours later he'll be back or he'll be gone. This past week, he started coming earlier in the day and stay until late morning. This made us very happy because, as I mentioned in another post, Bob always sounds like he has a cold. He has breathing troubles, almost like asthma or bronchitis and he periodically coughs, gags and sneezes. Bob needs to go to the vet and Sam and I are going to make sure he sees one. I'm not looking forward to trying to get him into a carrier and to our vet, but we'll make it happen. Sorry Bob, but it's for your own good!

Finally, we've come to start singing Bob's praises, literally. Sam will announce Bob's arrival by singing "Big Bad John" (substituting Bob's name for John) in a bass, or together we'll sing "Barbara Ann" but with the words "Bob Bob Bob, Bob Bob the Cat". A feline this big deserves it. And we deserve help in trying to feed him. As I mentioned, he eats A LOT! So, please send your donation to C-Town, and just put "to feed Bob the Cat" in the memo. They'll know what to do.

Sunday Salon 11.08.09

It's been a strange week here. We're still coping with the loss of Daisy. It's more difficult, more painful without her because it's become more obvious she's gone. Yet, it also feels like we should be finished grieving because life has continued and everyone has moved on with their lives. But that's what grieving is, I suppose, moving on without your beloved family member, learning to live without them. What really surprised me, too, is how the other loved one's I've lost all came back to grandfather, my dad, several cats and dogs and others I've loved and still do. It saddens me but, even more so, I realize how fortunate I've been and am.

Our neighbor from the other house full of cats, stopped by to see how we're doing without Daisy. He's such a kind man. I call him the "cat whisperer" because he is very calm, quiet and soft-spoken and wherever he goes, 3 or 4 cats are always following behind him! When he stopped by, the cats following him that day, waited on our front stoop for him to come out and then they followed him home! He has a special relationship with many of his cats it seems and reminds me of my husband and his way with our cats.

Dopey, one of our black cats, seems depressed. It sounds weird but cats get depressed. We're wondering if he misses Daisy. He has been sleeping on our bathroom rug which is where Daisy last slept. Dopey has never slept there before. He is usually ravenous but this week he isn't eating much at all and has become picky. And he mopes about instead of chasing his feline siblings. Dopey tends to be rather unkind to most of the other cats and grouchy. I don't like that behavior and Sam tries to stop Dopey from behaving that way. But now that he's moping and barely noticing the other cats, we almost want him to chase them again. Be careful what you wish for, right? A few more days of this and it's off to the vet for Dopey!

I spent a few days in doctor's waiting rooms this week too. Such a drag! I always think I'll got a lot of reading done while I wait but there are so many distractions and interruptions that I find I read the same sentence three or four times until I finally give up and move on to a magazine with short, inconsequential articles that I don't care whether I remember them or not. I don't care for these weeks filled with doctor appointments but I love it when they're all over and my time is my own once again!

I haven't read as much this week as I hoped to. I couldn't decide what I wanted to read so I started several different books but nothing really took. I finished
The Last Lecture. This is a small book but I read it slowly because each chapter or few chapters stand on their own. It's a series of life lessons so I liked thinking about them for a little while after reading them. I am also in the midst of Cherries in Winter which is quite good and another book filled with recipes but instead of baked goods they are dinner entrees. I also wrote several reviews this week which I will be posting.

I tried to visit and comment on blogs that I enjoy this week. It really takes up a lot of time! But so many bloggers have wonderful blogs that I really enjoy. Once I start visiting it's hard to stop. I tend to write too much in comments, too. I have to learn the art of brevity, something i have never been good at as Sam often reminds me!

I hope you are all having an enjoyable weekend! The Jets have the weekend off so I can pay more attention to other teams such as the Green Bay Packers without the emotional roller coaster the Jets put me on! lol

Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: Still Life

Title: Still Life
Author: Louise Penny
ISBN: 978-0-312-54153-8
Pages: 312
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté due Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bow hunter.

My thoughts: Still Life is the first of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. The murder of 76-year old Jane Neal shocks the residents of the picturesque, quaint village of Three Pines, where everybody knows each other and many of the residents have lived for years. But as the investigation begins and residents are questioned, animosities come to light and trust between them begins to pale. They start to wonder: how well do they really know each other? Do you ever really know someone completely? Chief Inspector Gamache and his team attempt to discover the answer to these questions about trust and identity, as well as why people keep secrets, even from the ones they love most in this world. They ask what these secrets mean as they work to unravel the puzzle of Jane Neal’s death.

Louise Penny has a wonderful talent for creating fascinating, unique characters who bring the story to life. I love the setting, ie; the village of Three Pines, but it was the characters in Still Life that were my favorite part of the book, even the few I found aggravating.

The main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is unlike most detectives one finds in crime novels. He is gentle, thoughtful, observant and kind. Even after years of investigations, he is still surprised every time someone is killed. He is respectful of others and patient with people but will not tolerate rude behavior and ineptitude. Inspector Gamache leaves no stone unturned. He is a gentleman of strong principles and unwavering values. He demands the best from the agents who work under him but is willing to teach those who want to learn the finer points of investigating crime. It is a shame that the young agent, Yvette Nichol, doesn’t understand how much she can learn from him and fails to understand the wisdom Chief Inspector Gamache imparts. Although this is her first murder investigation, she is arrogant and impatient with neighbors of the victim and the people who knew her. She shows no respect for Inspector Gamache and her other colleagues. These are just two of the many intriguing and enjoyable characters found in Still Life.

I read and reviewed The Brutal Telling, Louise Penny’s fifth novel in her Chief Inspector Gamache series after I received it from the publisher. I enjoyed it so much that I bought Still Life, which I liked even better. The books stand on their own and don't need to be read in order. But most of the characters are in both books and it was a little disconcerting to know the future of some of them. On the other hand, it was interesting to read the beginning of the character's story already knowing what happens later on. Both books are very good and their stories unique.
Louise Penny has written a unique and ingenious murder mystery that questions who we can trust and how well we know other people. Still Life is filled with deceit, greed, anger and a myriad of secrets that must be unraveled to find out who killed an elderly woman in the charming village of Three Pines. If you enjoy mysteries that are as much psychological thriller as crime novel, then Still Life is a must read.

Holiday Gift Exchange!

A book is a gift you can open again and again ~ Garrison Keillor

It's that time of year again. The time for laughter, merriment, over-the-top, beautifully tacky decorations, celebrating with family and friends, eating rich and yummy treats, imbibing of spirits and being of good cheer!!

It's also time for the annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange between book bloggers. I just happened to stumble across this page last week and I was thrilled when I read about the gift swap. Since then, I have seen the Holiday Swap button in several blogs. To read what it's all about and sign-up, go to the Holiday Swap page, but hurry, you only have until November 12th to sign-up!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday 11.04.09

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion Weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun (please do!) Be sure to leave a link to your post over at Bermudaonion Weblog.

I have a habit of figuring out what a word I come across when I'm reading, means from the surrounding text and then forgetting to look it up to get its formal definition(s), even if I've written the word down on a list. Wondrous Words Wednesday makes me do that!

These words are from This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

"We were that couple for a while, nauseatingly impervious assholes, busy staring into each other's eyes while everyone else was trying to have a good time."

1.Impervious [im-pur-vee-uhs] -adj.
1. not permitting penetration or passage; impenetrable
2. incapable of being injured or impaired
3. incapable of being influenced, persuaded or affected

"I composed long, humiliating emails to Jen, rage-filled diatribes and pathetic entreaties, tapping away furiously on my Blackberry until my thumbs burned, cursing, excoriating, imploring, begging, and, ultimately, deleting."

2. Excoriate {ik-skawr-ee-eyt} -verb.
1.To denounce or berate severely; flay verbally.
2.To strip off or remove the skin from

"As far as rapprochements, it's awkward and vague, but the advantage to being as emotionally inarticulate as we are is that it will do the trick."

3. Rapprochement {rap-rohsh-mahN} -noun (French)
An establishment or reestablishment of harmonious relations.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays 11.03.09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Jen studies her drink for a long time, and when she looks back up at me, her eyes are filled with tears. For an instant I flash to Alice's tears, dripping down her face and onto my belly, but I banish the memory before it can mke me too queasy. One train wreck at a time, I always say.
"I think that may be the ugliest thing you've ever said to me."
"You wanted me to talk about it. I'm talking." "

from This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (p. 207)

If you'd like to join in (please do!)don't forget to link your post to MizB's at
Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, share your "teasers" in a comment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Movies 11.2.09

Feature Presentation...

Today topic at The Bumbles Blog is Mobster Movies!
If you want to play along, come up with a list of your own, write a post about your surprise ending movies and then link it to Molly & Andy's blog!

Reservoir Dogs (1992) Quentin Tarantino's debut as a writer and director and what a debut! This is a movie about the time before and after of a failed jewel heist. The actual heist is never seen. The men who were supposed to pull off the robbery were given aliases by the boss. They are called Mr. Pink, Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. White, Mr. Orange and Mr. Blonde. Mr. Blonde turns out to be quite an interesting character. With a fantastic cast including Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney & Quentin Tarantino (of course!) this is a great movie. It also has a fantastic soundtrack but let me warn you, the song "Stuck in the Middle" by Stealers Wheel will take on a whole new meaning!
Miller's Crossing (1990) This is a movie by the fantastic brothers Joel and Ethan Coen starring Albert Finney, Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro. The Irish and the Italian mob are struggling for control and Byrne's character gets in the middle, playing one side against the other. Time Magazine, in 2005, listed Miller's Crossing as one of the top 100 greatest movies ever made.

On the Waterfront (1954) Marlon Brando stars as a longshoreman in this movie about corruption and mob violence among longshoremen on the waterfront docks. Lee J. Cobb plays a mob-connected union boss and Brando's brother in the film, played by Rod Steiger, is Cobb's attorney. The movie is based on a number of true stories written about in articles printed in the New York Sun. On the Waterfront was filmed in Hoboken, NJ. The movie soundtrack was composed by Leonard Bernstein. On the Waterfront won 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor and Best Director.
Scarface (1983) Al Pacino plays Tony Montana a cuban refugee who comes to Florida in 1980. He quickly makes his mark as a criminal and rises to power in the height of the cocaine boom as a top gangster in Miami's criminal underworld. This movie opened to mixed reviews and was criticized for it's violence and graphic language. But it did well and has a remarkable cult following. The black & white poster advertising the movie is recognized world-wide. Scarface also stars Robert Loggia and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Carlito's Way (1993) This movie was also directed by Brian DePalma and also stars Al Pacino! Additionally Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo and Viggo Mortensen are among the other stars of this film. The movie is about a convicted Puerto Rican gangster who, upon his release from jail, vows to live the life of a law-abiding citizen. The question is, will his past allow him to live a life free from crime? This movie received lukewarm reviews but it's actually a good movie and it also developed a significant cult following. Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller received Golden Globe nominations. The movie is based on a book, After Hours by Judge Edwin Torres, a New York State Supreme Court judge who I had the honor of meeting when I interned in the criminal court system in the early '90s while in law school. Judge Torres was a very nice man, if a little taken with his celebrity at the time!