The Sunday Salon: Weekends Are Made of This

Sunday Salon

Reading, relaxing, cooking, lots and lots of TV and movie watching and yes…some creeping crud that seems to have found me. It doesn’t seem fair to finally have a long weekend and half of it is spent battling some weird virus but I’d rather be home fighting it than at work. So, there’s that.

Despite the crud, the weekend has been nice. We barbecued and relaxed and between The Walking Dead marathon and the Twilight Zone marathon, there has been plenty of TV watching.

What am I reading?

I had visions of spending the entire weekend reading but of course that didn’t happen. However, I am home now and done with everything I need to do so I am hoping to hang out on the couch with The Regulators or The Goldfinch. I just cannot get through The Goldfinch. It is just so darn slow. I have been singing the same song on that one for two weeks now. I need to just suck it up and get it read.

What am I cooking?

Nothing. After grilling burgers and dogs on the fourth, we’ve been eating leftovers and snacks. That is probably what we’ll do tonight too. Sometimes, all you need is cold, crisp watermelon. Especially in this heat!

What am I watching?

At the moment, nothing. The Girl wants to continue with Lost but really, I just want to lie down. My throat is all swollen and although I don’t feel all that bad, the size of my lymph nodes is a little annoying.

The Way, Way Back

I did manage to watch The Way, Way Back. I really liked it. Quirky, good performances and a summertime setting.

Well, I am off to take a nap or something. Have a good one!

Long Weekends, Mint Infused Limeade and a Birthday!

Grab Your Book

Guess what, guys? Today is my Friday! I know some people have to work over the holiday but I think many of you are off. What do you have planned for the long weekend? BBQs? Picnics? Trips to the beach? Initially I thought we might have some people over. At least, that is what The Girl thought. She dreams up these gatherings on her own. Unfortunately, after working all week the last thing I want to do is throw a party of any kind. Call me anti-social. I’ll forgive you.

Right now, the plan is to make a big pot of chili, grill some burgers and hot dogs and watch a bunch of movies. The movies? Haven’t picked them out yet but it doesn’t even matter. Me, in front of the TV with my feet up is all that matters and if that happens, all will be right in the world. I also plan to mix-up some Mint Infused Limeade. We sampled this drink a few weeks ago and it was very refreshing! This drink is non-alcoholic but you could add a little vodka if you wanted to add a little something to it.

 

Mint infused limeade

Photo & Recipe from Food & Style

Somewhere in all of this we will watch the Nathan’s hot dog Eating contest! It’s a tradition to watch but depending on who is in it, I sometimes have a mini-gag fest with myself. It’s just not attractive to watch a bunch of guys scarf food down in that manner. And yeah, it somehow does not affect our own hot dog eating, which is a little weird if you ask me.

Fireworks? We might all pile into the car last-minute to see the fireworks in progress,  but I doubt we will want to after the sloth of the day. None of us like crowds and we have the Otter Pup to consider and she’ll be 4 years-old tomorrow! We knew she was about 5-6 months old when we rescued her so we picked July 4th for her birthday. She has been a joy. I think she likes us too. Can you tell?

The Otter Pup and The Hub

The Otter Pup is 4 years old!

Oh, and I can’t forget the reading can I? That is a huge part of my weekend. Especially since I am still limping along with The Goldfinch. Much more fun to discuss is The Summer of King. I started The Regulators and it’s reminding me a bit of Mr. Mercedes, at least in its opening. It takes place in the summer so it’s the perfect read for me right now. I just want to drop everything to read it. I am not that far in, only about 15% but I can already tell that I am going to like it.

That said, grab your book, pour a refreshing drink and enjoy your weekend!

You know how I said I was going to read a chunkster over the summer?

The Summer of King

It turned into what you see above—a chunkster and a half.

The other day, I shared this article on Facebook about all of the TV/Movie projects that Stephen King has in the works and then a group of us started talking about how there are so many books that we haven’t read, or have read and forgotten, that we almost need to read them again before all this stuff hits the big screen.

I cannot think of a better way to spend the summer. I wanted to read something deep and meaningful but I took a look in the mirror and I look and feel like hell. Chalk it up to a very stressful year but I am going to cut myself some slack and just read for fun. I recently finished Mr. Mercedes so why not just keep going?

Funny, because the two I chose to read are not any of the movie/TV projects he is working on! Oh well. Desperation weighs in at over 700 pages and I’ve read it before, but can’t remember a thing about it. Now I am wondering if I read it at all. The Regulators was written under Richard Bachman (his pen name) but I had not heard of it before. It’s about a suburban neighborhood in the summer that goes completely crazy in a classic King way. Doesn’t it sound good?

I downloaded both from the library and plan to dive into one of them tomorrow. I know I am supposed to be reading my book club book (The Goldfinch) and I will at some point, but for now, I need a break.

If anyone wants to read with me just let me know.

The Sunday Salon: Refocus

Sunday Salon

For whatever reason, I started going through old profile pictures of myself from last year and it surprised me how much I’ve changed and not in a good way. I could be the poster child of “letting yourself go” which of course gave me pause and made me rather sad. Both physically and mentally, I am spent. After twenty minutes of wallowing, I perked up and decided that all is not lost. I can refocus if I choose too and so that is what I shall do.

I probably won’t make sweeping changes but I will focus on small ones for now. I purchased some new kicks so that I can start walking again. My legs have sufficiently recovered from the fall in May. I still have numbness in one leg but it’s a lot better than it was.

I have to be more careful with what I eat. I have been had a couple of gluten cross-contamination issues which causes me all sorts of problems so I need to be much more careful in the area of preparation. Once you feel “blah” it’s too easy to keep feeling that way.

Finally, I need to find joy every day. Whether it be ten minutes of listening to Yo-Yo Ma or taking a nap. Whatever it may be, I need it and I am not going to skip it because something else has to be done. So there.

As for today, I don’t feel all that great. I know! I am laughing because my first week to refocus and I wake up feeling lousy. I can’t tell if I am coming down with something or not but I poured myself a much-needed cup of coffee and now I am debating whether or not to go to church. No one wants to go with me. I may just go by myself.

This week will be a little crazy as the other two summer school classes The Teen is taking start this week. Now he is in a total of three classes and it all involves some planning in getting him to and  from class, etc. Hope it all goes smoothly.

The Girl’s summer camp goes to Knott’s Berry Farm this week. Just two weeks of camp and she is already tan and happy. That’s how I like her.

What am I reading?

What I am reading

I am still reading The Three and The Goldfinch and I added We Were Liars since everyone was talking about it. Tomorrow I am going to talk about my reading plans for the summer. I’ve changed my plans a little bit and I am looking forward to the change.

What am I cooking?

Garlic Shrimp

Last night I made garlic shrimp over gluten-free pasta which was totally thrown together last-minute and turned out great. Today? I have no appetite. No cravings. Nothing. I have no idea what to eat and the cupboards are bare. I have NO desire to go to the market either so not sure how we’ll fare for the day.

What am I watching?

Lost

The Girl and I started up with Lost again. We are on episode 22 of season one. How many episodes are there? Lordy! Claire just had her baby. I hope to finish out the season today.

I am also catching-up on my old movie DVR stash that I have going. Yesterday I watched Come September with Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin and surprisingly, both The Girl and Teen plopped down to watch it with me. Today, I hope to see April in Paris with my favorite, Doris Day.

What are you doing today? Going anywhere fun? Reading anything really good that I need to know about?

Review: Mr. Mercedes


Mr. Mercedes
Mr. Mercedes (book #1 of 3)
By Stephen King
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476754451, 437pp.)

The Short of It:

The Girl (my daughter) asked, “Why is there a bloody umbrella and a tiny happy face on this cover?”

“Because it’s Stephen King,” I said.

But of course.

The Rest of It:

Mr. Mercedes is a departure from what we’ve come to expect from King. Kind of. Sort of. Okay, maybe not. Stephen King himself is calling it his first hard-boiled detective story. It is that, but it’s got his signature KING stamp all over it and if you handed it to me without a name attached to it, I’d still be able to tell it’s King’s writing. For this, I am glad because I’ve really come to love King’s writing and his deft handling of the characters he develops.

The book opens with a Mercedes plowing into a crowd of people at a job fair. Eight people are killed and fifteen injured. The killer is never caught. Bill Hodges, the cop who tried to solve the case has since retired. He spends his days sacked out in his recliner, watching Jerry Springer. When he gets a letter from Mr. Mercedes himself, his first reaction is doubt but as the communication continues, he realizes that this is his chance to catch the one that got away. But he’s not in shape and he’s technically not a cop anymore which makes him the underdog. An adorable, lovable underdog who you can’t help cheering for.

King tells us who the killer is very early on. This is no secret and is shared in every blurb you’ll read, but what I love about giving us this info so early is that we get to spend time with  a true, twisted individual. Brady Hartsfield wears many hats. He’s a computer geek by day, going out on service calls to “fix” the computers that others have f’d up in some way but he’s also the Mr. Tastey ice cream guy, driving around the neighborhood handing you a cold one while thinking terrible thoughts about you. He has a super-special relationship with his mother which is classic King in my opinion. I’ll let you ponder that one.

As with most King books, included are a host of characters that you end up loving in some way. There’s plenty of action, especially towards the end and now that I know this is book one of a trilogy, the ending makes a little more sense. Overall, I really loved it but while talking to others, we all agreed that the ending was a little too easy and for that, I might shy away from giving it a perfect five stars but as a King fan, I felt like it had all of the required elements to satisfy me and it was fun to read. Especially fun to read with others.

This would be a good book for someone brand new to King. There’s no “woo woo” supernatural stuff going on. No clowns in sewers. Just good storytelling. I encourage you to pick up a copy and I cannot wait for book two, Finders Keepers to hit shelves early next year.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: Theater, Religion & Sickness

Sunday Salon

I really do love my weekends.

Friday night, since my kids are not in the The Wizard of Oz this time, we actually got to sit down like real theater patrons and enjoy the show. I always enjoy the show but there is a certain level of panicky “something” going on when your kids are IN the show. Plus, all those hours of working backstage means that you can tell right off the bat if something is amiss. This time, I went into it totally clueless and it was nice.

That said, Grease is just around the corner. We had to find a 50′s prom dress for The Girl and after hitting THREE second-hand shops, I think we found something but she doesn’t like it. Says it’s too babyish but hey…the 50s dresses that I have seen are on the modest side. Plus, she is only ten but playing a teen. What kind of dresses does she think will fit her anyway?

Oh, and then right after seeing Wizard she asked to do Annie. Sigh. Registration is this week and auditions take place Theaterin September. It’s hard for me to think that far ahead but I know it will be here before I know it.

In other news, The Teen was baptized. Nothing can be easy in our family so he is now a member of one church and we are members of another. It was actually a very nice experience. He has some very good people watching over him in the church so I trust that he will be okay. That’s really all I can do at this point.

This morning we went to our church and he went to his, we ran errands and now we are cleaning. Fun!

What am I reading?

The Goldfinch

Yep. The Goldfinch. Just one of three books I am reading but because it’s a book club book, I am giving it priority right now. Although the story is interesting, I am wondering why it takes so many pages to tell it. I am reading it on my Kindle and I swear, it is stuck at the 7% mark.

What am I cooking?

I am not cooking anything. The Teen is going to see The Wizard of Oz again. This time, to see the opposite cast.  The Girl is not feeling well and doesn’t seem to have an appetite for anything and although I tried to tempt her with tea and  my special cinnamon toast, she turned it down. That is not a good sign. She started summer day camp last week. I am sure she is adjusting to all of the new kid germs she’s been introduced to. How wonderful!

What am I watching?

Not a thing. I am having one of those days where silence is preferred over noise of any kind. In fact, I may take a nap, although it’s getting a little late in the day for it.

What are you doing? Are you reading anything really, really good that I need to know about? I feel like starting The Three but I am no sure I can keep my eyes open. Yes, maybe I will take that nap after all.

Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
By Anne Bronte
(Oxford University Press, USA, Paperback, 9780199207558, May 2008, 441pp.)

The Short of It:

A scandalous novel for its time.

The Rest of It:

Published in 1848, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall tells the story of Helen Graham, a woman whose unfortunate marriage forces her to make some difficult decisions for herself and her son.

This book has a little bit of everything to make a reader happy. There’s the scandalous story of Helen and her husband Author Huntingdon. Probably one of the most self-indulgent men you could ever meet. His love of drink and fine things leads them to financial ruin and Helen has no choice but to  leave him, which of course is frowned upon greatly by society at large. She ends up at Wildfell Hall and introduces herself as a widow.  She quickly becomes the infatuation of Gilbert, who lives across the way. A new, interesting woman that he can talk to. So unlike the frivolous girls he comes across daily. But when another man enters the picture, Gilbert questions her and in return, is handed her diary which tells her sordid tale.

Most of the story is told through diary entries. At first, I didn’t mind this but it went on for quite a long time and I began to lose interest in the story itself, but the real discussion is the history of the book itself. My book club picked this book for June and there was plenty to say about it. For one, Anne Bronte based many of the characters on people she knew, she wrote it under a pen name and it was originally published in three volumes, and when she passed away, her sister Charlotte refused its republication.  It wasn’t until Charlotte’s death that it was published in one volume. Charlotte felt the book was “course” and not fit for publication.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is an important book for many reasons. It deals with some very heavy themes for the time, gender relations, motherhood, alcoholism and  abuse in marriage. Even though it was written in 1848, it has a very contemporary feel to it, probably because many of the issues Bronte includes are issues that we still deal with today.

The one criticism we all shared, was that the ending seemed rushed. Perhaps Bronte’s illness forced her to finish the book quickly or perhaps the book in its republication was cut down when made into one volume? What fascinated me the most was the Bronte family. Such talent and yet, so much tragedy. The three sisters all died from consumption and the brother became an alcoholic.

Overall, I am beginning to believe that I am more of a Bronte gal, than an Austen gal. Last year, I began Jane Eyre and have been reading it slowly (and loving it) and I must say The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was a refreshing surprise.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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