Perfect Love

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to the most boring day of my life dear readers. I spent the day puppy sitting my parents' dog Oliver, watching cartoons, and reading today's book. Try to hold the jealousy in dear readers, I know you wish that you were leading as exciting of a life as I'm leading right now.

Today's book, "In the uneasy role of a young bride encountering a new stepdaughter, Prue, now married 20 years, has never gotten along with Violet - still insolent at 27. The awkward blend of Violet's new husband and son and Prue's family has explosive results. Prior to meeting Violet's husband, Jamie, meek and obedient Prue's only passion had been Joan of Arc. She is researching and writing Joan's biography. In her relationship with Jamie, she is torn between meaningful love and family loyalty. The novel alternates between Prue's narrative and her research of Joan's life. Prue takes strength from Joan and sees similarities in both of their lives."

It's been a while since I've read a fluffy sort of book (or as I like to call them, airport books, because they are precisely the kind of book you would find sandwiched between People magazine and the candy bar rack in an airport gift shop) - so I decided today would be the perfect day for it since I'm not feeling great today and I don't enjoy having to think when I feel bad. I just want to shut off my brain, crawl under the covers, and watch Brady Bunch . . . oh, I mean read a nice fluffy book. But, unfortunately today's book was not a very interesting one. I had a hard time connecting to, liking, or caring about what happened to, any of the characters. Plus, the book felt like it was weighed down with too many different story lines going on at once.

Since the book was rather dull, I've decided to save you the trouble of having to read it, and share with you the notable sentences of the book, of which there were only a few.

Notable sentences:

  • "Let me tell you a story about an adultery, a heroine, a child's anger, voices, Joan of Arc, and since it was 1992, recession." - This was the first sentence of the book, which should have been a strong indication to me that the plot of today's book was going to be overwhelming and dare I say, overloaded. But, since I'm a literary optimist, I ignore the warning sign and instead thought, Wow, Ms. Author is really laying it all out on the table there. Live and learn. Or in my case, live and don't learn.

  • "But, then, it is almost impossible for the lives of people who are bound together by deep feeling and habit, not to seep into each other." - Do you think that's the reason why some mothers go around saying things like, "We're feeling cranky today. But we're about to drink a bottle and then we'll feel better." I really want to know - because I need to understand what force it is that makes people unable to realized that we are not drinking a bottle, the baby is drinking a bottle - so that I can avoid a similar fate in the future.

  • "Whatever else she had expected, she had learned quickly that bookshops are not peaceful places." - Not peaceful places? Every feeling revolts. Even now, hours later, I'm reeling from having read that sentence. As far as I'm concerned, there is no place on earth more peaceful than a bookstore. I would rather go to a bookstore than a spa (of course I hate spas, but you get my point dear readers.) I walk into a bookstore and my immediate reaction is Ahhhhhhh. All is right with the world once again.

Love Story

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today is the Anniversary of the day when my parents met (which they celebrate every year.) As of today, they have known one another for 39 years, a fact I am having trouble wrapping my mind around. So to commemorate that I decided to share a 70s picture, and read a book that ties in with their early dating years.

I have been told by various relatives that my Mother had a teenage crush on Bobby Sherman, and that she also thought my Dad looked a little bit like him. Coincidence? I think not.

My Father has shared that his first impression of my Mother was that he thought she was out of his league. My Mother's first impression of my Dad, she thought he was looking up her skirt. They met, at the age of 15, when they were working at the same restaurant. My Mom was sent to refill salt shakers, and unbeknownst to her my Dad had been told to tape the tablecloths to the bottom of the tables (so clearly it was a classy joint) and so he was on the floor, under the table, when they first met. My Mother began yelling at him, accusing him of being under the table with the intention of looking up her dress, and when I imagine this scenario I somehow always see her hitting him with a menu. My Mom doesn't like this story because it's not exactly a fairytale beginning - but I like to remind her that almost every romantic comedy begins with the couple disliking each other and arguing over something trivial before they eventually realize they love each other.

Today's book, "Oliver Barett IV went to Harvard, and Jenny Cavilleri to Radcliffe. He was rich, and she was poor. He was a jock; she was a serious music type. Nonetheless, they feel in love and got married. Their story is funny, touching, and infused with wonder, as all love stories should be. Unlike most contemporary fiction dealing with young people, Love Story makes no claim to showing where it's at. Rather, it simply shows how it feels."

Love thoughts:

  • I went back and forth for a few days on what book to read today, and I eventually settled on Love Story because the movie that the book inspired was what my parents watched on their very first date. Earlier today my Dad shared with me how nervous he was on that date because he was convinced he had been stood up. My Mother was late because she was too young to drive and therefore had to wait around for an adult to drive her to the movie theater, and the adults in question, her Mother and sister, were busy having a fight about whether my cousin should be wearing disposable diapers (My Grandmother being against them and my Aunt presenting the case in favor of them.) Lucky for everyone involved - and for those of us who are the result of the relationship in question - the argument was resolved in time for my Mom to get to the theater before my Dad left.

  • I am perhaps the last person left on earth who didn't know the way Love Story ends before reading it, and so when my Mother warned me that it was a downer I thought, How sad could it really be? And then I opened the book to begin reading, and this was the very first sentence, "What can you say about a twenty-five-year old girl who died?" So clearly I was laboring under some false impressions about what the book was actually going to be about. All I knew going in was that quote about how love means never having to say you're sorry.

  • Despite the sadness of the book, I really enjoyed reading it. Which is odd for me because I am generally the kind of reader who likes to be molly-coddled with pleasant diversions and a happy ending. I think what helped is that the book was unexpectedly amusing in places - and there's something about a book that makes me laugh and cry that is hard to resist (despite how emotionally dead I normally am.) So I would definitely recommend today's book - which earns the distinction of being the shortest book I have read this year at only 133 pages. Normally I like to read books that are no shorter than about 200 pages, but I just couldn't pass up the chance to read a book that was so perfect for this day. Besides, I think I've earned an easier reading day after reading a book that was over 500 pages earlier in the week.

And now dear readers, I would like to hear your How-We-Met or your How-My-Parents-Met stories.


After several hours of computer problems that involved my computer freezing up for long periods of time, I am finally now able to get today's blog entry up. Sorry for the delay dear readers.

Before I get to today's blog entry, it's page count time. Actually, it's supposed to be chapter and page count time, but I made the mistake this week of returning a few books to the library before checking to see how many chapters were in them, so I'm going to have to fill the chapter part in later.

For the week:

PAGES - 2,450

For the year:

PAGES - 91,384

Today's book, "During a summer at the Darlington Peach Orchard in Georgia, Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie discover the true meaning of friendship despite their differences. Murphy, a bright, sarcastic 16-year-old from the wrong side of town, is completing community service at the orchard. Wealthy Leeda lives in her perfect older sister's shadow. She decides to work at her uncle's orchard on a whim and then is too proud to change her mind. Birdie Darlington is trying to keep the farm running despite the fact that her mother has left and her father refuses to face the desperate straits that the business is in. As the summer progresses, the girls bond and realize that you cannot judge someone by her financial or family situation."

Shallow thoughts:

  • Last week, when I read Whislin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, my sister pointed out that it was the second week in a row when I had read a book with a peach on the cover, which was something that was not only unintentional but I hadn't even realized it until it was pointed out to me. It was at that point that Alissa and C. challenged me to come up with a third book with a peach on the cover. Naturally I had to do it (although I am firmly drawing the line here - there will NOT be a fourth book with a peach on the cover no matter who double dares me.)

  • Since I have now read three peach-related books in a row I feel it's only right to tell you which one was my favorite. The winner of the "Best Peach Themed Book" award goes to (drum roll please): Whislin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter. Today's book was my least favorite of the three. I struggled all day to connect to the characters and get into the book - but it never happened. I was on page 178 and I was still thinking, I don't even care how this book ends.

  • The book also mentions one of my biggest pet peeves, church signs that have stupid quotes on them - annoying things like, "Everyone has patience, successful people know how to use it." I truly want to know, is there anyone in the world who has ever seen one of those signs and thought, "Yes, I have found the source of wisdom. I must go inside." Whenever I see one of those signs I am often tempted to go inside, but for a vastly different reason. I want to go inside so I can plead with whoever put that sign up, and tell them, "Don't lower yourself to this. Don't toss your dignity away on the front lawn. You're better than this." But since what I have to say does not contain a catchy slogan, I'm guessing my words would fall on deaf ears.

  • Most horrifying passage of the book, "Birdie had been to Disney World, but she'd never liked it. It didn't feel like real life." - She didn't like Disney World? My brain can't even process that sentence. I have heard of these strange people who don't like Disney World, but I still find it hard to believe that they actually exist. How is it possible to not like Disney World? And how could a person not understand that Disney World isn't meant to be exactly like real life - it's supposed to be about fantasy - that's the whole point. Some people have no sense of childlike wonder.

True Compass

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today's book, "The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. In this historic memoir, Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him."

Today was a challenging reading day, with boring work stuff to get done, Christmas preparations to be made, and a 507 page book to read. So I'm feeling a little frazzled right now (so warning, this will be a short entry), and looking forward to tomorrow when I will be reading a book that's only about 300 pages. But, I am happy that I read today's book because it was fascinating.

Fun facts:

  • Teddy Kennedy was born on February 22nd, George Washington's birthday, which prompted his older brother Jack waging a campaign for him to be named George Washington Kennedy - obviously an unsuccessful campaign, but I do admire young Jack's attempt. I mean what's the point of having younger siblings if you can't treat them like pets and come up with crazy names for them.

  • Joseph McCarthy - before he began destroying people's lives - once dated Eunice Kennedy. - I think that brings a whole new meaning to the expression "dodged a bullet." I'm guessing Eunice was the grand winner of the "Who Dated the Biggest Loser" contest amongst her siblings.

  • The Kennedy's used their cloth napkins for a week before washing them. - Perhaps I should have filed that under "Pointless Facts" but I just thought that was too gross not to share. A week? YUCK.

Favorite passage, "To say that I love the Senate does not begin to convey what that institution means to me. Let me put it this way: after nearly half a century, I still cannot be in a car, headed for the Capitol, especially in the evening, and glimpse it in the distance without the hair standing up on my arms. I've told Vicki: if ever that sight does not move me, I will know it is time to step aside."

Wishin' and Hopin'

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today's book, "LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on every one's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade - easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy. Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysisus Gonzaga Parochial School. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of susbstitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from Quebec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova."

Shallow Christmasy thoughts:

  • I spent the day Christmas shopping with my Mother - in between reading today's book, of course - and so naturally I had to read a Christmas themed book. Although I want to warn you dear readers, that when I say "Christmas themed" I am using those words extremely loosely. I made it to page 131 before Christmas was even mentioned. And even then, I didn't have that swept-up-in-the-Christmas-spirit kind of feeling that I like to have when reading a book about Christmas. I'm having a run of bad luck with Christmas books lately - but I am convinced my luck is about to turn.

  • The part of the book that actually took place during the Christmas season revolved around getting reading for a school Christmas production - which naturally made me want to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas (which takes a much more interesting look at this subject - so if I hadn't been working on the blog I would have skipped reading the end of today's book and just watched that.) Since I had no choice but to finish, I decided instead to do both. So, in between reading today's book and while waiting for my Mother to come out of a store, I watched the Charlie Brown special on the DVD player in the car. What can I say dear readers, I'm a multi-tasker. It's very difficult to balance simultaneous addictions to TV and books, but I'm giving it my best shot.

  • And now, a shout out to my Dad and his weird habits. At one point during the book, during one of the many Annette Funicello references, a picture of Annette standing in front of Cinderella's castle with the inscription, "To America's Sweetheart and her Wonderful Family! With my fondest wishes, "Uncle" Walt. My Dad - who is mildly obsessed (okay, incredibly obsessed) with all things related to Disney World, comes home from work every single day and says, "Anything from Uncle Walt," and then he expresses sincere disappointment to discover that once again he has not received any mail from Disney World. And whoever is standing there smiles and rolls their eyes, because it's just part of the Dad-ness that is Dad.

And don't worry, I have not forgotten about the childhood Christmas picture (aren't you glad that you won't have to go to bed tonight wondering "But what did Angie look like during Christmas of 1983?")

This is one of my favorite sister pictures. This picture was taken the year that we both got dolls with hair that matched our hair. But, we decided that it would be so obvious to everyone that we were meant to have the dolls with matching hair that if we switched dolls for the picture everyone would instantly see how hilarious our little joke was. As you can see from the picture, we were endlessly amused by the switch. And so began our years of being in a room full of people and being the only two who get why the joke we just made was so funny.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today's book was suggested by Sharon - so thanks for the suggestion Sharon.

Today's book, " A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith's deft touch."

Mysterious thoughts:

  • Today's book was a good one to read in the middle of the Christmas season. I am one of those people who embraces the Christmas season - listening to Christmas music in the car as early as November, reading by the Christmas tree on a daily basis, recording every Christmas program ever made on the DVR and watching them repeatedly. But then there comes a point, every couple of days, when I start to feel all Christmased out and I need to experience something that has nothing to do with the Christmas season. Today's book did a great job of transporting me to a place far away from my present life. So, if you're feeling like you've had too strong of a dose of Christmas lately dear readers, you might want to check out today's book and take a little break for awhile.

  • Favorite passage, "She loved magazines. She loved their smell and their bright pictures. She loved interior design magazines which showed how people lived in faraway countries." - I have a bit of a magazine obsession myself - which results in an annual magazine spree, in which I buy every decorating, cooking, and health related magazine I find. It's fun while I'm buying the magazines - and then I come home and add reading the magazines to my to-do list (cause I'm the kind of person who adds stuff like "Read Magazines" and "Watch every episode of Roseanne ever made except for the last season when the show was totally ruined" onto my to-do list so that I can spent at least 20% of the day, okay 50%, goofing off and still feel a delightful sense of accomplishment.)

  • Passage I disagreed with the most, "The eyes allowed you to see right into a person, to penetrate their very essence, and that was why people with something to hide wore sunglasses indoors. They were the ones you had to watch very carefully." - Clearly the author of today's book has never discovered the joy of wearing sunglasses indoors in order to better pretend to be a movie star from the 40s. I understand, it's not his fault, some people just have no sense of drama. It's just sad is what it is. He's also never met anyone disorganized enough to misplace their glasses/contacts, while simultaneously being too lazy to go look for them, thereby leaving them no choice but to wear sunglasses indoors in order to better see what's happening on that days episode of Days of Our Lives. Not that anything like that has ever happened to me or anyone I know. Why I'm far too mature for that sort of nonsense.

  • And here's your fun fact for the day: Citizens of Botswana, when spoken of in the singular, are known as Motswana. And if you're sitting there wondering, When is information like that ever going to come in handy? - I'll tell you dear readers, it's not. Did I ever claim my blog was going to give you useful information or change your life? No I did not. I promised you a shallow, meaningless, pointless blog and that's exactly what you're going to get.

You Were Always Mom's Favorite

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Today's book was suggested by C. so thanks for the suggestion C.

Since today's book is about sisters, I feel like it's only right to write a little bit about my own sister - "it's only right" of course roughly translating to "my sister will be very, very upset if I let this opportunity to talk about her pass me by without taking full advantage of it."

Ahh, what can I say about having a sister. When trying to describe it to those who don't have sisters, I say that my childhood was like one long slumber party but without ever having to worry about my friend having to go home.

And now for my all-time favorite Alissa picture:

As anyone who lived through the 80s knows, Superman was big then. But Alissa preferred her own version, Supergirl. She would climb up on the rocking chair, stretch out and yell, "SUPERGIRL" at the top of her lungs.

As I'm sure you can imagine from looking at this picture, my childhood was never boring with her around. And so I can't help but feel a little bit sorry for girls who don't have sisters. In fact, I think of it as a disability. I call it "the sisterly impaired."

Today's book, "Conversations between sisters reveal a deep and constant tug between two dynamics–an impulse towards closeness and an impulse towards competition, as sisters are continually compared to each other. When you're with her, you laugh your head off, and can giggle and be silly like when you were kids. But she also might be the one person who can send you into a tailspin with just one wrong word. For many women, a sister is both. With a witty and wise voice, Tannen shares insights and anecdotes from well over a hundred women she interviewed, along with moving and funny recollections of her own two sisters."

Sisterly thoughts:

  • For most of the day I have had the song about sister from White Christmas stuck in my head. For those of you who don't have a sister who loves musicals and forces you to watch along, I will share this link with you (and by the way, one of my New Year's resolutions is to learn to embed videos so I can stop with this linking-to-youtube nonsense, but for now I'm too lazy to look it up.) I've had the song stuck in my head for roughly 5 hours now. A few more hours is all it's going to take to push me right over the edge into total insanity.

  • Today's book was good, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as another book on the subject of sisters, About My Sisters by Debra Ginsberg. And because I have no idea what else to put in this paragraph, I'm forced to fill in the blanks with things I like about Alissa (and also because I don't want to have a repeat of the "Why didn't you list things you like about me?" conversation that happened the last time I wrote a blog entry about my sister.) Here goes: 1. She has a way of coercing people into bringing her things on trays and making it seem like bringing her something on a tray is a privilege one must earn, instead of what it really is which is her treating people like servants. Some people might consider that a bad quality, but I don't (except when she tries to turn me into her personal Hazel.) 2. She has a great memory when it comes to reciting facts she learned from the books she reads. After a year long journey on the I-Can't-Remember-What-I-Read-Yesterday Train, I'm sure you can already figure out why I admire that quality dear readers. 3. She has great hair. (I believe I said that the last time I made a list of "Things I Like About Alissa" but it bear repeating.)

  • Favorite quote, "A word from a sister can send you into a tailspin because, as one woman put it, "She's part of my being, she's part of the fabric of who I am. So when there's disapproval, you feel it in a place that you don't feel it with other people." - My sister and I don't fight a lot, because neither one of us has the ability to stay mad at people when we're looking directly at them, which leads to the most ridiculous fights in which we end up having to stare at walls and walk out of room sideways in order to avoid looking at one another because there's just no other way to stay mad. And when we do stay mad, the entire world feels like it's coming to an end. Phrases like, "My life is over and nothing is ever going to be okay again," have been known to be used. Now it's true dear readers, I am a bit on the dramatic side, and yet even I don't bring that level of drama to fights with anyone but her. So I would definitely have to agree with the above quote.

There, I think I have sufficiently infused this blog entry with this Alissa-ness that is Alissa. But I suspect I will be getting a phone call sometime tomorrow to let me know for sure. Fingers crossed!