I've been picking books to read out of the Parenting magazines recommended reading section lately. Most of them I have thoroughly enjoyed. This one (Home Safe) I had a hard time getting into but by the end I was loving it.
Home Safe is about author and recent widow, Helen, who is struggling to come to terms with her writer's block as well as the sudden loss of her husband. She also comes to find out that a significant portion of their nest egg has been used to build a custom, dream retirement home meant for the two of them.
I think, at first, I had a hard time relating to Helen because of the age gap between myself and her character. It's hard to sympathize with someone who is not also caught up in diapers, working full time, and trying to figure out how date night is going to happen in the near future.
Then, I had an epiphany. Sort of. This is the non-Pixar, girl version of UP. It's the coming to terms with what to do with all the dreams you were saving up to do someday with your spouse when that's not an option anymore. And then I liked it!
This weekend we went scouting for the perfect place to camp. A place that our little family of four will be able to swim, fish (Bobby for the first time ever), roast marshmallows, go on day hikes, get good and dirty, and take a break from life.
Look at all the trees!
We checked out Echo Lake....
Grandpa Bob stood right here...once upon a time
AND Mitch fell off that telephone pole right into the water. These are things we all remember...hilarious.
We checked out Silver Lake.....
Sandwiches on the shore of Silver Lake
The water was pretty cold in the shade but the kids did swim for a little bit.
We checked out Caribou Lake.....
The perfect jumping off rock
This spot I distinctly remember from the last time we camped here. Way back before marriages and babies and camp trailers. We fished a lot. Jacko, Daniel, and Cletus came to visit us. We slept in tents. We cooked all our meals on the campfire in dutch ovens.
Alice I Have Been was this month's book club pick. It also is my month to host....so I was hoping that it would be good and everyone would like it. Book Club isn't until the end of the month, so I'll have to wait a bit to find out what the girls thought of it.
I LOVED it!
A lot. lot. lot.
That's saying something because I'm not really a die hard Jane Austen fan. This book reminded me of her novels a little. Something about never being able to love the one you want to, strikes a NOT FAIR chord with me.
Alice I have been is a historical fiction account of the life of Alice Liddell, Charles Dodgson's (Lewis Carroll) muse for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It presents the friendship and falling out of the Liddell family with Dodgson, as well as how being publicly associated with Alice in Wonderland affected Alice's personal life all the way through her lifetime.
Admittedly, I don't believe I have ever read Alice in Wonderland. It's on the list for sure now. I've seen all the movies though. Before reading this book, I wasn't aware that Alice had been a real, live person. My interest is seriously piqued now.
Historically, there isn't a lot of information about Alice and her break with Mr Dodgson. Which I think makes for a good basis of a fictional account. It's also got me thinking. Isn't it interesting that the best way to start the rumor mill turning is for the tiniest bit of silence. No comments and few missing pages from a journal can lead to quite the scandalous speculations......
Curiouser and curiouser.
When You Reach Me is this year's Newbery Medal winner.
The description (taken from the Author's website):
Four mysterious letters
change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that haven’t even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.
The book is a kinda, sorta retelling of a Wrinkle in Time (A book which I love by the way). It answers the question about whether time travel is actually possible.
**teeny, tiny plot spoiler (highlight the blank space between ** to read)** I guessed that the laughing man on the corner was an important character but I was a little bit surprised at who his real identity was.The Husband would have totally nailed it, I'm pretty sure. He's good like that.
I wasn't going to read this book.
I really wasn't.
I heard it got great reviews.
But I still wasn't going to read it.
A book about a fourteen year old girl who gets raped and murdered by a neighbor and no one figures out that he did it.
I don't even let my children sleep with their window cracked at night.
And then they made a movie out of it.
I admit I was curious.
Did I mention, I am the biggest scaredy cat in the world when it comes to spooky movies. Disney scares me sometimes. Seriously. Have you seen Watcher in the Woods? Just sayin'.
So, I added it to the netflix queue and thought Someday.
That someday came. And I watched it. Truth be told it freaked me out a bit. And then the movie ended. And I thought What-the-French-Toast???!! It's called The Lovely Bones people. I assumed it meant at some point somebody would actually find some bones. And I went from being spooked to baffled. Did I miss something? Was I not paying attention enough in the movie? I wikipedia'd it but I was still left puzzled. If it's called the lovely bones, but they never find the bones, what does that mean?
So I hiked my brave up around my belly button, trotted down to the library and checked the audio book out.
Then, I got scared....again.
You can call me a wimp. It's fine.
I let the book sit on the desk untouched for weeks.
But, books and I, we have this unspoken agreement. Even if its terrible and I hate it, I am committed. I will read it. Not matter what.
Do you know when I listen to audio books? When I'm out running. It gives me something to focus on besides my breathing. I was worried about not being able to listen to this one while I was running. I already make up crazy stories in my head about some of the over grown, abandoned houses I run past in the early morning hours. I thought it would freak me out.
But it didn't and I found myself very much liking the story. Actually the movie was way more creepy-suspenseful than the book.
So....my interpretation of The Lovely Bones:
Bad things happen.
But what happens next? What happens to a soul that has been released from its earthly body before it's ready to say its good-byes? What happens to the people that person left behind. The ones with a gaping hole where someone they loved used to be?
This story is a falling apart and a rebuilding of a family and the bones (think - bonds) that tie us all together in the end.
p.s. For the record....they did find an elbow of Susie Salmon. That's it. An elbow. And a charm off her charm bracelet.
1. At 1:28 AM I turned 29
2. To celebrate I took the day off without pay (aka a furlough day)
3. I love all things black licorice
4. Except tea, I do not love anise anywhere near my tea.
5. My toes are 'I'm not a waitress red' today with cute little dragonflies painted on them.
6. When I am not showing off my new pedicure, my toes are crammed into some size 10 shoes, because...yes...my feet are that big. Thank you very much.
7. Current body check: 5 piercings (ears) and no tattoos.
8. current animal status: 13 chickens, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 1 goldfish
9. The book on my bedside table: Sisterhood of the traveling pants
10. I talked to my mother at least 5 times today about what's gonna be for birthday dinner.
11. It was decided that it'd be lasagna. And not vegetable lasagna because Jacko's afraid of that.
12. The amazing, delicious orange cake from here will be consumed on Wednesday because I forgot to order it on time.
13. When I am not eating tasty, delicious orange cake, I can usually talk my mother into making strawberry angel food cake
14/15. If I were going to the movies today I'd ask for extra butter on my popcorn and smuggle in a ginormous box of sugar babies.
16. I like my coffee sweet and creamy
17-21. for my birthday I got: A new jewelry box, a pedicure, a power balance band, a new camelbak, and a LUSH bath bomb.
22. my sister and I are trading mix CDs before she leaves today, because I can ride my bike with no handlebars and Jacko's gotta learn the words to all the Miley Cyrus songs for when Emma comes to visit her.
23. Today's ice cream of choice: Butter pecan
24. Time I took a shower today and brushed my teeth for the first time: 2:35pm
25. Number of PB blossom cookies I've eaten so far today: six. And most of those were for breakfast.
26. And since I'm technically not celebrating any birthdays past 25
27. And because this list was harder than I thought it'd be
28. And because it's my birthday and I do what I want
29. That's it.