Thursday, April 13, 2006

My March in Books

I haven’t done my March Book Review yet, mostly because I’ve been busy, but also because I didn’t read that much in March. Well, I did, but it doesn’t appear like I did.

Here’s why:

I read the ENTIRE Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, but they were all collected in ONE book, so I felt like I took forever reading just one book. In truth, I read the following:

1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
7. The Last Battle

About 900 or so pages later, I had managed to read the complete series. I won’t review each book individually, simply because they really are a series and should be read as such. If you have not done so yet, now is the perfect time to do so, because they’re selling these Volumes with all seven books in one all over the place. Mine was a Christmas gift.

My review: I absolutely loved these stories. In a time of Harry Potter and other sophisticated “children’s” books that adults can’t get enough of, the Chronicles could have been too “simple” for readers of the present. At first, while reading the Magician’s Nephew, I sort of had that reaction. The reaction of “This is a kid’s book, and written in a very childlike and fairy tale voice”. But as I got more into the books, and forgot about more grown-up style we’re used to, I began to lose myself in the stories. In a way, they are fairy tales, but they are wonderful. The stories of human children wandering through and adventuring in this wonderful world of Narnia are fantastic, they are fun, they are creative, and extremely entertaining. There is also no doubt of the Christian undertones. I have read about the “debates” about whether or not these tales were in fact meant to be religious-like, and I don’t understand the debates, because there’s no question about it. All seven stories center around some moral lesson, and The Last Battle hides nothing in its relation to a higher being, and an afterlife. For those who are religious, this is a pleasant turn, and a wonderful way to introduce children into the “good versus evil” moral debate. For those who are not, the stories stand on their own as just wonderful tales of a wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) world.


The above took up most of my month, but I did also read:

See How they Run, by Bethany Campbell (in paperback)
This is the story of Laura Stoner, who works at a school for children with special needs. When Trace and Ricky, autistic twins, witness a murder, all three of them wind up in protective custody, under the watchful eyes of Montana. This being a romance novel, sparks fly, but so does the gunfire, the violence, the fear and the twisted world of the mafia, government corruption, and a run for their lives.

I picked this book up for 25 cents at a Salvation Army store. I really enjoyed it. It had just the right amount of mystery, romance, drama and intrigue.


In Audio, I “read” Book IV of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King: The Wizard and The Glass. This audio book is 27 hours long, so it pretty much took me the entire month, and into the first week of April to finish it.

In The Wizard and The Glass, the adventures of Roland, Susanah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy, the billy bumbler continue. Only here they must stop for a while, because it is time for Roland to tell them his story. Most of the book takes place then, during Roland’s time as a teenager, dealing with his entry into his role as a gunslinger, and his first love. King does a wonderful job drawing the reader in to this world of young love and corruption, and the end of a time, the beginning of the “world moving on”.

Again, I am really glad I’m “reading” these books. Never having been a Stephen King fan (I don’t like horror books), this series is surprising me in delightful ways.

A note about the narrator, Frank Muller: In Audio books, a lot of time, for me at least, a narrator can really make or break a book. If the story is compelling enough, I can get over the narrator if I don’t exactly like them, but in a story that is not as strong, narrator’s have made me HATE a book. However, if a narrator is good, he or she can turn a mediocre story into a work of art. (Audio book “creators” should take that to heart). That said, Frank Muller is without a doubt the BEST narrator out of all the audio books I’ve “read” to date. The Wizard and The Glass has a large cast of characters, and not once did I have to wonder who was “speaking” at any one time. Mr. Muller had a different voice for each character and was not just reading their parts he was living them. This novel therefore was a play, a story, a film.


Prom Dressing - 2006

So, I don't have a picture of me in my prom dress to show you. And, even if I did, I still wouldn't show you, was the early 90's. Need I say more?
Anyway, you can imagine pretty much what it looked like if you attended any prom in that time period. All dresses were poofy, ruffly, scrunchy, sleevy (as in poofy sleeves), and sparkly or a combination of two or more. They were also...well...DRESSES. One did not wear a bikini, or some variation of the theme to their prom. I thought I was being riske because I wore a short dress (knee length) with off the shoulder sleeves.
Nowadays however, I would have been looked at as matronly or something. After all, the picture above depitcs just SOME of the prom dresses I came across when reading this article:
THESE, my friends are the promdresses of 2006.
Let's not forget that the girls wearing these dresses are all between the ages of 16 and 19 at the MOST.
Wow...times have changed, haven't they?

Silly Poem

(Originally written on April 11)

So, I went away this weekend. Actually, I went away on Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon. Just a mini-getaway, had a lovely time. But while I was gone, my friend Chan stayed at my place. Her place was being renovated and she needed somewhere to crash, and shower. So I put her in charge of feeding Calla Lily, and playing with her. Calla is a very temperamental cat, and she doesn't exactly love every one of my friends, but Chan she adores. It could be because she was actually the one to pick her up from her litter, and keep her for that first weekend, when I was actually away, before I finally brought her home. She knows her. When Chan was over Friday night, Calla was all over her, purring and cuddling and loving the attention. I knew she was in good hands.
Well, it turns out that Calla proceeded to hide all day Saturday, into Sunday morning. Chan barely saw her the whole time, and when I came home, she hadn't even eaten her dinner from the night before. I told you she was temperamental. Anyway, I'm not much for inspiration these days, and yet I found myself penning a very silly, and not really all that great poem about this phenomenon that is my cat. Could be because I've hit "the wall" at work for today and needed something mindless to do. Either way, here it is:
Calla Missed Me

She pokes her head around the corner
And slowly, carefully walks in the room
She sniffs, she taps quickly with a long outstretched paw
And then she purrs and entwines herself between my feet.

I’m home again.

As if she sensed my absence, she didn’t eat
Didn’t come out to play, I’m told
She hid all weekend, they don’t know where
But now I’m here, so she can be bold

She bounces in, and out of the room
Follows every step I take
Jumps on the couch, cuddles on my lap
Jumps down again, wild at play

She leaves me be, off to her hiding spaces
But now and again, pokes her head around
Jumps in the room, grabs at my arm
Then leaves again, cause it’s okay

I’m home again.

Still Feverish

I've been insanely busy and not able to post my blog entries, which I have drafted, but just not here's some old ones just now making it on-line.

This one was written on THURSDAY, March 30th:

Spring Feverish that is.
I’m in a great mood today. It’s all the sunshine. We’ve had a gorgeous week in the 60’s with sunshine and springyness in the air. I’ve realized that I definitely suffer from Winter Blues, and when the weather turns, like it has, I become a completely different person! Seeing as it is unseasonably warm, and we did NOT get our usual March Blizzard, I’m still a bit suspicious that Spring is really here…I have a feeling we’ll get a nice fat snowstorm in about a week or so…but, I’m enjoying it while I can.
I haven’t written in here for a while now, but that’s mostly because I don’t really have much to write about lately. Life is crazy busy, but nothing overly exciting is going on. Good or bad, which I guess is good overall. I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day about how “boring” our lives are, and yet, how much we enjoy them anyway. I mean, on paper, (or on a computer screen), when I try to think of something different or unique to write about, and come up empty, because there just isn’t anything of note going on, it could seem depressing, or even slightly pathetic. But, the thing is, I’m really enjoying my life right now. I live a very peaceful day to day. I get up in the morning and still have this sense of pride that my messy house is MY HOUSE, it’s strange, you’d think after 3 years of being a solo homeowner it would wear off, but it hasn’t. I love my place, and am so proud not only that I own it, but that it’s decorated just so, just the way I like it, just ME. I feed my crazy cat, who I adore, and who gives me great pleasure when she jumps up on the bathroom sink to rub up against my face as I’m trying to brush my teeth, because she makes me feel so loved, purring like a maniac. Then I head off to work, and even my drive in I look forward to, due to the magic of audio books, and my addiction to them. And now that the weather is nice, I love driving in with the windows slightly down, and the fresh air hitting me first thing in the morning. And even work, although stressful and insanely busy, is giving me a certain sense of something I can’t quite explain, but that I like. I feel useful, and appreciated, and I don’t know, even good at what I do. I love that the clients all know me by name, and trust me to do right by them. It’s different from any other job I’ve had, I’m not just “staff” member, I’m part of this really small (and getting smaller by the minute) team, and I think that if I take the right attitude and approach, I can be even more included and have more of a say in the future. My loyalty here is not going unnoticed, FINALLY.
Then, after work, I head to the gym almost daily now, and that too, for some strange reason, is giving me a great sense of pleasure. I’m damn proud that I’m working out so hard, and I feel great. I don’t think I’m actually losing any weight yet, but I’m not so worried about it now…because I feel great, I can see my stamina and my strength is increasing. Just last night I was able to do the elliptical machine for 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes, when just 2 months ago, I couldn’t stay on the damn thing for 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. That’s got to mean something, right?
And then I head home, and whip myself up something healthy to eat, and that too makes me happy. Just the other night I made myself an extremely healthy and completely satisfying meal, in less than 20 minutes. I felt so great when that was done.
Some nights, I have dinner out with friends, and I love those nights. I love my friends, and I really enjoy my time with them. I love just sitting around chatting about everything and nothing in general. My friends are extended family to me, and I always look forward to seeing them. Other nights, I have dinner with my family, and I also love those nights. I love that we all get together to enjoy each other’s company.
After dinner, whether in or out, I plop myself on my lovely newish couch and I watch my T.V. shows. And yes, I watch way too much television, but I enjoy it, and see nothing wrong with it. And then I go to bed, and every night, as I get in that bed I still love how comfortable it is, and if you know me, you know I love my sleep, and just the feeling of laying down for a good night’s sleep is wonderful.
On Saturdays I try to hit the gym in the morning, then I get to see Kayla when I take her and her sister to gymnastics, and then I usually spend the afternoon with a friend, shopping, going to eat, hanging out. Sundays I’m lazy, and usually lounge around in my pj’s, vacillating between watching movies, cleaning the house, reading e-mail, doing laundry, until late morning, early afternoon. Then I run chores, sometimes I hang with Lil' K, other days I just relax on my own, enjoy my own company.
Like I said, it’s not much for excitement, but it’s the small things. It’s all in the details, you know? And I love the details of my life. My life is simple mostly, but it’s filled with love, and with a sense of peace and serenity, amidst all the crazy day to day. I can live with that, in fact, I do, and I can’t complain.
And every once in a while, I have something like a trip to Mexico, to stir things up and excite me.
Yep, Spring Fever definitely has me in a giddy, reflective and kind of mushy mood doesn’t it?
I LIKE IT! ;-)