Monday, January 23, 2006

An interesting perspective

So the other night, I read The Lovely Bones cover to cover. I didn't want to read the book at all, actually. I had picked it up and put it down about a dozen times at various bookstores and at the library. Something about the idea of a child being raped and murdered at the beginning of the novel didn't exactly reach out to me and say "read me!"

But at the end of my writing class last semester, we had a book exchange, and I received Alice Sebold's book. It had been on my shelf since then--for over a month--staring at me everytime I sat down at my computer. I was bored for five minutes on Saturday and was looking for something to read. So I gave Sebold a try.

I still can't say I'm in love with the book. The content gave me lots and lots of problems on a personal level. I shed several tears. But the one thing I will say is that Sebold does a really good job of telling a story from a unique perspective--that of her protagonist who is in "her" heaven, looking down on earth and her family and friends, and trying to make sense of what she sees. Since she was young when she died (I'm thinking 14 but it might have been 11--there were several young female victims profiled in the story), she never "grows up," so to speak, but she does mature in a weird, distant way.

Sebold's writing of Susie (the protagonist)'s view of heaven is fascinating--basically, if you want something enough in heaven, you will get it. But everyone's heaven is different, as a result. Some intersect and others do not. It was a comforting notion--especially having lost someone so significant so early in my own life. It would be nice to believe.

It was interesting to see the way that Susie's parents and siblings handled their grief, and how some of Susie's acquaintances' lives were shaped by the incidents surrounding her murder. Plotwise, the story moved. Writing-wise, it was worth savoring. Sebold writes as a poet in novel form, but not in a way that makes you want to smack her and yell, "get real." She knows how to craft a phrase. And Susie's perspective reminds me of an innocent Huck Finn at times (without the local color, of course)--reporting on what she sees without necessarily understanding it all.

You feel for Sebold's characters. You care about what happens to them. You get angry. At least I did. When the murderer is finally brought to justice, for me, it wasn't enough.

I read until 1:30 am which was stupid, since I had to get up the next morning. But I was so disturbed by the story, I had trouble sleeping. I know I have an overactive imagination, but....

Anyway, it was a good read.

Other updates--Sam's pants are almost finished (knitting project), which is good because if I don't finish soon he will be too big for them.

Sam is rolling now, although not consistently. He gets halfway over and gets frustrated and cries. Just like his mommy!

Syd agreed to wear "big girl underwears" today. I was ecstatic. But then of course, when it came time for her nap, she refused to take them off and put a pullup on. So I know when she wakes up, I will be changing sheets. She wants to wear them, but doesn't want to sit on the toilet. What's a girl to do?

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Fours

If you haven't played before, this is like one of those emails so popular with teenage girls where you "learn all about your friends" by answering some inane questions. Except that these questions aren't as inane as the ones in the email--they might actually make you stop and think.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life: High School English teacher and French teacher, Barnes and Noble bookseller, Discovery Zone referee, camp counselor.
Four movies you could watch over and over: When Harry Met Sally.... (collectively now: AWWWW!), Men in Black, Bridget Jones's Diary, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Four places you’ve lived: Cincinnati, OH; Lyon, France; Columbia, MO; my parents' house, which is its own country with its own rules and regulations.
Four TV shows you love to watch: Friends, Queer as Folk, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives.
Four places you’ve been on vacation: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; Bonita Springs, FL.
Four websites you visit daily: The Cincinnati Enquirer, WebSudoku, AroundCinci, Bloglines.
Four of your favorite foods: Fettucine Alfredo, Chicken, Cactus Pear's Nacho Salad, Pizza.
Four places you’d rather be: Asleep in my bed, on the beach, in a quiet and padded room, singing.
Four albums you can’t live without: Rites of Passage (Indigo Girls), anything by Diana Krall, Achtung Baby (U2), Songs for a New World (Jason Robert Brown)--those are the four that come to me immediately. There are probably others.
Four to pass this meme along to: Lucy and Tracy (my only other blogging friends besides Legion)

Legion, what is "Scart?"

Which Housewife are you?

So the stupid thing says I'm Bree, which, to anyone who knows a whit about me, knows is COMPLETELY FALSE. But then again, I'm not as oversexed as Gabrielle, as ditzy as Susan, as psycho as Edie or as overworked as Lynette. But still, Bree?

Who are you?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Day in the Life

Or, why two children are better than one

1. You get to use all of the stuff you absolutely HAD to have for your first child all over again--the swing, the pack n play, the bouncy seat, the boppy, the exersaucer, the high chair, the booster seat, the diaper pail, the crib, the bassinet, etc.

2. You will understand what your parents went through and have a new appreciation for them. The phrase "man, mom and dad didn't have a clue" suddenly vanishes from your vocabulary.

3. You find yourself turning into your mother and uttering such things as "because I said so," "because I'm the parent and you're the child" and "you don't have a choice about this," which you SWORE you would NEVER EVER say when you became an adult.

4. You will eventually have someone else to pawn off lawn mowing, snow shoveling and leaf raking ceremonies onto.

5. You have a real reason to watch kiddy movies again.

6. You will be shocked by the content of said kiddy movies and wonder aloud how your parents could have let you watch them as a kid.

7. Kid-friendly (read: non-nutritious) food suddenly makes its way into your once additive-free kitchen.

8. You haven't really lived until you've been peed on, spat up on, and/or thrown up on. You can earn bonus points if the last is of the projectile nature.

9. Middle age starts looking really good, especially when you think about being able to sleep in past 6:30 a.m. on a regular basis.

10. Every time you tell your two-year-old "I love you," you hear "I love you too, Mommy." Don't expect this to last beyond preschool.

11. You can justify wearing sweats, leggings, yoga pants and workout clothes out of the house (see #8).

12. You get to memorize the timetable of Noggin, and discuss the demise of your child's favorite show that was pulled without warning with other parents. They actually understand how this is huge in your child's life, and they don't look at you as though you are speaking Greek.

13. All knowledge and ability to speak Greek leaves your head the moment the TV timetable enters it. Don't mourn--you'll have the opportunity to relearn everything you forgot as your children go through school.

14. You are verbally reminded every day that you shop too much. Evidence: your child knows how to read "Kroger," "Meijer," and "Kohl's" on the side of the building.

15. Your dry cleaning bill goes down drastically (see #11).

16. You have a brand-new appreciation for "date night" with your spouse. After years of complaining (pre-children) that "there's nothing to do tonight--except dinner and a movie--yawn, yawn," you are eager to see just about anything that comes out at the multiplex as long as it doesn't have a cute character or a catchy, repetitive theme song that your child memorizes within five minutes of exposure.

17. Forget critiquing literature. Your critical thinking skills are put to much better use by debating the educational value of the myriad of kids' shows on t.v. Every playgroup or play date affords you the opportunity to debate these values with other moms. Lucky you! And you said you never got to use your brain.

18. Fortunately, with two children, the older one always has someone to play with. Unfortunately, with two children, the older one is usually playing with the younger one.

19. All the toys you loved as a kid have suddenly come back into vogue for the new generation. Unfortunately, they aren't nearly as fun to play as an adult.

20.You will never, ever, ever in a million years be bored.