Saturday, September 30, 2006

Falling Behind

I have fallen behind in just about everything this fall: my abridgings, my own writing, my reading, and I just don't know where the time goes. Except I do, kind of, television, working, doing stuff, trips, anything but sitting on my ass and doing the stuff I'm supposed to be doing. But now that it's getting colder, I'm hoping that things calm down a little.

The other thing I'm missing? My annual sojourn of the band widow. For the first time in about 6 years my RRHB is actually home in the fall. He's never home in the fall. I'm missing the few weeks I have to myself in this season to regroup, figure myself out and get organized for the winter. Hell, I haven't made a meal plan all summer. What's wrong with me? AND, I can't even blame it on my health, because I truly am feeling much better and far, far less diseased.

#57 - Lullabies For Little Criminals

A friend gave me this book while we were in Winnipeg because I left my copy of The Thirteenth Tale on the plane (yet another in a long line of problems plaguing our otherwise totally awesome trip). Now, I never leave home without more than one book, like, never. I hate being stuck reading something that I might not like and not having any options. Generally, this means I have books stashed all over the place: in suitcases, carry-ons, purses, RRHB's backpack, you name it, I'll put a book in there. Of course, this time, the only time I leave the house with one book, is the moment I choose to leave my book on the airplane from hell. Whatever. I was stranded with nothing to read. It's like being left out from your favourite party, not having a book, and I really hate that.

Annnwwaaay. Instead of going to a bookstore, said friend loaned me Heather O'Neill's first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals. Set in Montreal, I'm thinking in either the late 1970s or early 1980s, the novel tells the story of Baby, a girl who turns 13 over the course of the story. But this is no average bildungsroman, as Baby's journey takes her as far away from the normal kid on a bike, Hollywood troubled teen, as you can possibly imagine. Her father, Jules, who was only 15 when she was born, is a heroin addict; totally incapable of parenting, even after he gets out of rehab, Baby is forced to grow up on her own, painfully noting time and time again, about what not having a mother means to a girl that age. Her own mother, who we hear very little about in a concrete way until the end of the book, died when she was a baby.

The novel falls into the cracks and crevices of the seedy Montreal streets as Baby and Jules move from one rundown apartment to the next. Constantly in and out of social service situations (group home, neighbour's house, juvie), Baby has no one to guide her, and making her own way truly isn't making anything better, as she falls into a terribly destructive relationship with a pimp named Alphonse. And every time Baby makes a bad decision, your heart breaks just a little; she's smart, she's beautiful, but she has no chance or opportunity to take a different path.

O'Neill's writing tumbles down into simile upon simile, which sometimes had my head spinning, but it's so lovely and absolutely engaging that it didn't matter to me that it might be a little bit too much. The story rushes along, sometimes breaking back into Baby's memories, and almost crashes into the redemptive ending, like the end to a really good rock song. Of the 50-odd books I've read this year, this one got caught in my throat (all motherless daughter stories do, dammit!) and I related to it on many levels, not because I had anything in common with the protagonist, but because O'Neill does such a good job of creating her world that you immediately empathize with Baby, all you want is for her to succeed. I'm not going to spoil the ending, in fact, I'm not going to say much more at all, except for a first-time novel, it's pretty damn outstanding.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

TRH Movie: An Unfinished Life, Pride & Prejudice Redux

Okay, I'm not feeling too well, as you've probably gathered from the lack of posts and the, ahem, too many trips to the ladies, so last night as my RRHB went out for his usual Wednesday night drinks, I stayed home supposedly to "work." I wrote one sentence, quite a good sentence I thought, a metaphor about how this man (who knows what man or what character) is slow to love like a car that takes time to start (okay it sounds cheesy when I write it here) and then put the pen down, gathered up the cat and watched two girlie movies in a row—on a school night, gasp.

The first An Unfinished Life has been on the Faux-Vo for a while gathering dust (along with Water, Wallace and Gromit and a few others) and after the stern talking to I got from said RRHB about allowing said films to gather said dust, I decided to watch it, J-Lo be damned. And it was meh. But I have to say, I enjoy Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, and I'd watch them in just about anything. You can tell this was adapted from a slow, writerly novel, one that I have not read so I can't comment on the page-to-movie translation, because the film is slow yet precise, just like good literature. It's a bit too over-told, especially the bad boyfriend "girl doesn't deserve better" storyline that J-Lo seems utterly drawn to (how many movies has she been in where her fellow knocks her about, seriously? enough already, we don't believe it, you could kick their asses with your bitchy looks anyway and no one believe your "acting"). Also, the overwhelmingly obvious bear as symbol (yawn, and didn't Brad Pitt kill that thing, like, years ago?) of Robert Redford's past locked up and needing to be set free was tiresome, but I got a bit teary at the end.

Then I became an absolute mess; the weeping and gasping for breath kind of puddle as I watched Pride and Prejudice for the, um, third time. I can't help it—that film is like girlie crack, it's a sugar high when I'm off the sweets, and I bawled like a baby in between pausing for the aforementioned visits to the bathroom (is that TMI?). Annnywaaay. I erased it just so I wouldn't sit down and watch it a half-dozen more times and therefore get absolutely no abridging work done this week, which honestly is so hard-going that I'm getting quite disheartened about the fact that I'll probably miss my deadlines.

I picked hard books this time around. Dummy.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

#56 - The Friends Of Meager Fortune

I am completely fascinated by the subject matter of The Friends of Meager Fortune, David Adams Richards's latest novel. It's about New Brunswick loggers right before their industry evolves from man to machine powered. The story revolves around Jameson family, who own one of the three logging companies in town, the two sons, Will and Owen, are being raised by their widowed mother Mary. Early on in the story, great tragedy that happens is foretold by a prophecy Mary receives that the Jameson dynasty would be destroyed by the rash actions of the second son (Owen) despite the great reputation of the first (Will).

The story of Will's life and subsequent death, along with how his brother Owen, who is ill-fit to run the business but has good intentions, makes up the bulk of the first part of the story. Backdrop to this is the cut itself, the time that teams of honest, hard working spend atop Good Friday Mountain, the most dangerous cut in the in the history of area's logging. Then, there's a love triangle between Reggie, Will's best friend and the company's Push (a sort of camp manager for the loggers), his wife Camellia and Owen that comprises the impetus for a lot of what propels people into action within the story.

There are problems with the novel though. And despite how much I wanted to like it, and how much I did like it, I found it slightly verbose. There's an element of foretelling that starts to get frustrating after a while, when you've heard the same details about the same characters repeated ad nasueum, which serves no purpose to the underlying story. The telling and re-telling has an almost magical element, kind of like how great stories develop in terms of an oral tradition. But it just didn't quite work for me.

The story itself is epic and tragic, the stuff of great literature, and it's a tale that deserves to be told. I'm fascinated by the idea of lumberjacks, especially those on the verge of extinction and what that does, by its nature, to the idea of a story. But on the whole, this novel is too dense for its own good, and could use a bit of lightening up to get it moving faster because it's a great tale.

After I finished reading the book, I spent a night out with my father-in-law, who was a lumberjack in New Brunswick just as industrialization was changing the industry forever. I liked reading it for this personal aspect; it gave me a level of understanding about what his life might have been like. He was just fourteen when he went into the bush and when he came out, just like the characters in the novel, the entire world had changed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Wedding In Winnipeg

Despite the difficulty in getting to Winnipeg, we really did have a grand old time at the wedding on Saturday. And one of the best reasons? My super-fly tragic hip turned two over the weekend—which is a milestone in terms of my health.

Then, it all came crashing down as I caught the mortal illness from my RRHB. Sunday night, as we were watching The Wire at a friend's house, I became very, very ill. And there's nothing worse than having the runs at someone else's house; I'm mortally embarrassed by bowel movements as it is, lord, I can't even bear typing it.

Anyway, the same crap happened on our return flight where, because I didn't pre-buy the seat selection, we were going to get bumped. I started to cry. The gate attendant took pity and bumped us up to Executive Class. I shivered and huddled my way through the flight and crept into bed the minute we got home.

My body still isn't right, which means I'll miss dance class.

Friday, September 22, 2006

#2 Reason I Make A Terrible Housewife

I totally miss the fine print and don't pay the extra $25 for confirmed seats. We get bumped. That in itself isn't so bad, we got a voucher and had to waste 3 hours at the airport, which is annoying but not brutal...except for the fact that my RRHB is deathly ill. He woke up this morning throwing up and feverish so waiting around the airport was not something he wanted to do. He was so ill that he slept on the floor the whole time. He couldn't even sit in the chair.

Now we're cloistered in our hotel room and have just had some room service. I've been making up my bad wife-ed-ness all day. It's hard to watch someone you love suffer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wha?

Can someone explain to me why this Canadian Encyclopedia entry (the only one of its kind I might add) about Calgary doesn't really tell me anything other than the musical history of the city?

Had I wanted to know the history of music in Calgary, I would have searched for said topic. But truly, who cares? Shut up Canadian Encyclopedia. You suck.

TRH TV - Totally Out Of Control

Last night's episode of Rescue Me on Showcase was so overwhelming that I'm not sure I can accurately reflect my thoughts, but I'll try anyway. For months, I'd unwittingly read the spoilers about how Tommy rapes his wife during a particularly heated moment.

But knowing it's coming and seeing it on the television are two totally different things. My RRHB likes Rescue Me a great deal, if only because, as he says, it reminds him of my family (personally, I don't see the resemblance, but whatever); and I like it too. I mean, it's right up there with Brotherhood, another show that hits me in the guts and pulls tight, especially this week's episode, and The Wire as my one of my current favourites, but it's a show that I find deeply conflicted.

Any maybe that's what fuels the fire in terms of keeping the show current and in the public eye, this sense of pushing the boundaries in terms of a true 'bad' boy, one that you love to hate, in the Tommy character, but it always makes me question the idea of representing such violence against women (and he's a violent person, don't get me wrong, so you kind of expect it, but still...) on television.

Mainly, did he have to walk out of the house with a smirk on his face? What did that mean? How am I supposed to interpret that? And Janet sort of brushing the whole thing off as she holds her shirt together after seemingly enjoying it after Tommy got himself going, what does that mean? She actually liked being beaten up and the forced to have sex with her ex-husband? All in all I kind of think it went a bit too far but maybe I'm just being a prude.

But I think if you're going to represent men in that way, in that stereotypical way, where they overpower the women in their lives with violence after they do something you don't agree with, or sleep with someone you don't want them to sleep with, you should at least pull together some sense of understanding on the part of the audience. Then again, maybe we're not supposed to sympathize with Tommy at all, with his "crazy chick" ranting and wife-beating ways. I'll still watch the show and perhaps in the end that's all that matters.

Oh, and I'm loving The Wire. Aren't you?

Right now my Faux-Vo is totally packed to the gills with TV I need to watch: the WB sign off, new Law and Orders, Men in Trees (I know, but it's a girlie show, I kind of like it, even if I know it's totally trite and manipulative), and too much more to mention. AND, a lot of the new shows haven't even started yet.

I did, however, manage to watch Studio 60 and felt kind of meh about it. I adored Matthew Perry though. He rocked the small screen every moment he was there and you can't deny Sorkin writes good, if a bit hefty, dialogue. But I was never a West Wing fan so I'm not sure how long I'll hang on to that one.

So with all the TV, the two abridgings I have due, my page a day challenge that I'm keeping up and all the reading, not to mention dance class, my eyes are blurry and bloodshot on a good day.

Plus, I'm feeling totally discombobulated because usually the RRHB is away this time of year and I settle in for a good dose of band widowdom before the winter sets in. Does someone want to book them some gigs so I can catch up on all the TV I need to watch?

#55 - The Custodian of Paradise

I read The Custodian of Paradise, Wayne Johnston's companion novel to The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, in a flash this weekend for an interview I did at work this week (today, in fact). The novel tells the story of Sheilagh Fielding, the larger than life, both figuratively and literally (as she stands six-foot-three) character from Johnston's Colony, as she tells her side of the story, the side we didn't read in the aforementioned novel.

Wayne Johnston is a favourite of mine. The fall where I read the paperback copy of Colony was the first year that my RRHB and I were living together. It was a tough year, not because of that, but because of all the stuff we waded through, much of our own making, to get into our apartment (feuding friends, feuding ex-partners, crazy fall-out from the last time the disease flared, etc) and the book was a breath of fresh air; Joey Smallwood doing for me at that moment what Owen Meany had done for me in Banff, lifted me up and out of my doldrums and pushed me right back in my imagination.

The Custodian of Paradise, while not a broad, sweeping historical novel, sort of did the same thing. Although I don't recommend reading it like I did, pushing it down in a timeframe because you want to prepare for your interview, but rather savouring it like a good bottle of wine you're drinking as the sun sets at the cottage. It's an interior story, Sheilagh's story, told mainly through her own writing, her newspaper articles, her journals, her letters, which makes it thoroughly intense in terms of emotional investment.

And it's a sad story, but triumphant in that Sheilagh's a survivor: she rides the wave of her mother's abandonment, triumphs against her father's dismissal of her (he refuses to believe that he's hers), suffers a truly heartbreaking heartbreak, and is forced to give up her children. But through it all, you can see Sheilagh's delicate nature balanced with her skillful wit and her sharp tongue. It's this contrast that makes the book so engaging; and it's a rare accomplishment for a man (and I know, I'm sorry for the gender bias) to write a female protagonist where, not once, I questioned her own innate feminity and/or characterization (see Updike for any proof of how to get this wrong, wrong).

All in all, it's my favourite to win the Giller this year, but I'm not taking any bets as to what'll actually happen.

Number One Reason...

Why I would make a terrible housewife:

1. I never check the pockets, of ANYTHING, hence as I just threw my RRHB's work clothes into the washing machine, I also washed his totally expensive phone. Yes, it went in the wash. Do you think it'll survive after it dries? I don't.

Bad, bad wife.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Top 10 Reasons Why I Know I Am Now Old

When I was at the kidney doctor's the other day, when he said, "How do you feel?" I replied that I felt great, except for feeling old. He was very serious for a minute and wanted to know if I felt old because I was unwell or if I was half-joking. Of course, I'm half-joking, but I do honestly feel super old these days. On the streetcar ride home I tried to think of all the reasons why I feel so old, particularly this year:

1. Because I've had the disease for over 15 years. That's almost 20 years of going through medical problems. 20 years is a long, long time.

2. I can no longer listen to pop radio. Now, I listen to the CBC in the car. Oddly, when growing up, as other parents listened to the CBC in their cars, mine always listened to pop radio. I am convinced it's because my parents were still so young when they had me. They didn't have the chance to grow out of it, to some extent.

3. I have no idea who the majority of the people are who won MTV Video Awards. No clue.

4. I bought a dress from Anne Klein to wear to a wedding.

5. I carry a purse. All. The. Time. I don't even own a non-work related knapsack.

6. My hair is grey, very, very grey.

7. I have very little patience for public transit despite being incredibly concerned about climate change.

8. Speaking of which, I found myself having a crush, for a nano-second, on Peter MacKay. And then I saw the pictures of him with Condoleeza Rice and decided that it was very, very wrong to have a crush on Peter MacKay.

9. When I meet new people they are always very shocked when they hear my age and almost always say, "You don't look [insert your age here]." My tried and true response is always, "But I sure feel it."

10. I have almost decided I will no longer wear my rock and roll t-shirts. Almost. But that begs the question, what will I wear instead? I have very few (read: none), non rock and roll t-shirts.

See, OLD.

Good Grief

This frightens me. Who buys a Nickelback album, truly? Who walks in to the store, slams it down on the counter and says to themselves, "I just bought a classic in the making"? It's been on the charts in the top 10 in the States for a year. That's 365 days people. And I can understand the inability to get away from them in Canada because every single bloody radio station other than the CBC plays them at least 4 times an hour, but in the States they have a choice. There's no CanCon. There's nothing forcing anyone to actually listen to Chad Kroger's absolutely banal lyrics. Why? Why? Why?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Audience Participation

So, I've been writing my pages (I'm up to 173) and feeling sorry for myself, which means I listen to sad songs over and over again.

Right now, "Wide Turn" by Greg MacPherson, before, "Hope There's Someone" by Antony and the Johnsons, before that, "Wild and Tangled" by Oh Susanna.

Now you.

The Tragic Left And Right Kidneys

Now that it's almost been two years since I had my right hip replaced, I can't really claim that it's so tragic any longer. It feels good, getting stronger every day, and it's the best decision I ever made (not having pain is such a revelation). So, last night, I took a dance class, and even if I was the elephant in the room, literally, it felt great to race across the room doing that modern jaunt I spent years in high school doing. The body has memory, of this I am convinced. Certain moves, Martha Graham-styles, have stuck with me, even if my mind finds triplets totally and utterly impossible to comprehend.

But what I liked most about the class was the inclusivity. It's a wide open space where you are there moving around as far or as close as you want your body to go. It's a kind of freedom I haven't felt in a long time, an exhilarating kind of joy that's been lost in the pain of my chronic hip failure for far too long, and one that, despite the stiffness in my back today, I'll be happy to continue.

But then my high came crashing down ever-so slightly after my visit with the nephrologist today. The good news? He's convinced that with my creatinine levels coming back down to 80% of normal (115) that the disease is almost in remission. The bad news? The damage the disease caused all those months is causing my kidney filters to leak too much protein through and into my organ. That means I might, depending on the results of yet another 24-hour urine test, have to take medicine for the REST OF MY LIFE.

And I cried. A lot. Because I don't want to take medicine for the rest of my life, not when everything I'm doing is to get better, and no matter what I do, I can't control what the disease has done to my body. And that's the worst thing about life, I think, in general, feeling that no matter what you do, some things will never change. I will always be diseased regardless of how hard I work to feel better.

My body is a bleak house today. Tomorrow, I'm sure, will be a better day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Giller Longlist

They announced the Giller longlist yesterday. I've only read two of the books (Friends of Meager Fortune and Jpod), which leaves me hoping they are at least both on the shortlist so I don't have that much catching up to do this fall.

Monday, September 11, 2006

TRH TV - The Wire

Our Faux-Vo will be working overtime in a couple of weeks, which is why I'm glad my all-time favourite show of all-time started last night on TMI, The Wire. It's such a smart, searing look at life in a major US city, in this case, Baltimore, with each season having a different focus of the wire taps (those of the shows title). This year, their focus is on the kids, the drug runners, the clean-up artists (the chilling opening has a young teenager buying a nail gun, paying for it in cash, and speaking a language I had to rewind three times just to make sure I sort of understood), and the corner rats.

It's up and down of society, from the higher echelons of politics (and not unlike Brotherhood in that respect) to the politics of the modern drug wars, it's shaping up to be quite a season. I've been saying it for a while, but to borrow a phrase from EW, it's the best show you're not watching.

Okay back to abridging. But blogging is just so much more fun.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

RRHB On The Big Screen

If anyone's going to see the Douglas Coupland penned Everything's Gone Green at the Film Fest this weekend, keep an ear peeled for my RRHB's "Small Town Murder Scene," a part of the soundtrack.

Fun, eh?

#54 - A Spot Of Bother

Mark Haddon's latest novel caught me off guard. Of course, the expectation that it would be good was off the charts, especially after the success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but if I was pushed, I might admit that I liked A Spot of Bother even better.

It's a more ambitious novel, as it attempts to tell the story of the Hall family, in the weeks leading up to daughter Katie's wedding. The patriarch of the family, George, is having a hard time coming to terms with life in its latter stages as his obsessive fear of dying moves from a quirky hypochondria to a full-blown manic attack. George's wife, Jean, has some troubles of her own, namely, an ex-coworker of her husband's named David. George and Jean have two kids: Katie, the aforementioned daughter (who has a son of her own), and Jamie, who has been involved for the last while with Tony, a man he somewhat refuses to admit he loves. No one likes Katie's fiance, Ray, well, maybe it's more that no one truly understands why they're getting married. The stories of all of these characters are interwoven as the meat of the plot revolves around the will they or won't they nuptials.

That doesn't mean A Spot of Bother is Katie's story, far from it, in fact. The book finds a delicate balance between each of the characters, allowing their own dramas, and their own daily lives, to find a way into the novel. It's a truthful, honest and biting look at family life, from a truly honest point of view. Not unlike Black Swan Green, Haddon has a way of creating characters, while defined somewhat by the plot of the novel, are also clearly drawn and intriguing. A delicate balance of Haddon's brisk prose and impressive characterizations means that A Spot of Bother is funny, intelligent and moving all at the same time. I'd highly recommend it for a Sunday afternoon read, for those hours when the house is clean, the shopping is done, dinner is planned and you have an entire afternoon to yourself to enjoy the simple bliss of wickedly written words on the page.

The Lululemon Plunge

I swore I would never do it. I would never walk into that pretty pink and blue storefront and buy ridiculously expensive, let's be honest, pajamas disguised as workout gear. And yet, today, I found myself biking down Bloor Street wondering where on Earth I was going to find some dance pants. Yes, you read that correctly. Ragdoll v. 2.0, tragic right hip-styles, is stepping back on to the sprung floor for the first time in well over fifteen years. So I broke down and bought some stuff from the dreaded Lululemon, who kindly gave me 50 cents off for not taking a bag. And I admit it, I was wrong about them. The pants I bought are super comfortable as is the dance top so, bloody hell, I hate it when the hippies are right.

All through high school and up until my second year of university when my hip first started to truly degenerated, I danced. Like so many girls I know, we ate far too little, wore ugly black leotards with pink tights, and plied with our turnouts stretched to the limits. And yet, as much as I enjoyed it, I wasn't meant for it, and my body quit on me quite early. I could blame the disease, which was a big reason why I stopped dancing. When you're taking prednisone, they don't like you do high-impact exercise because the drug is so hard on your bones (hence the tragic hip), but since then, I've never really had any form of what you would call regular exercise.

That's years, people.

Oh sure, I've spent many a summer biking all over the city, and we do walk a fair amount being urban dwellers, but the more my hip melted in my body, the less I could do. And then I got sick. And then sicker. And now almost two years of the magical hip have passed and I still haven't found any sense of regular, healthy exercise. Too afraid, with my "prednisone 25" to put on a bathing suit and jump in a pool, and with the ragdoll aerobics seriously unstructured, I need something that gets me moving, and something that carries on into the winter when it's too cold to ride my bike.

Hence, Technique I at the school at the Toronto Dance Theatre. A girlfriend of mine suggested it and we're going to go together, which makes me happy, considering we danced together all through high school. Anyway, if I'm totally crippled and exhausted on Wednesday morning when I go see the kidney doctor for yet another disease check up, at least it'll be a happy kind of tired, one that might help me finally lose some weight.

Speaking of which, I've started my annual no sugar, no wheat (where I can) and no dairy (except yoghurt) diet. Last year I failed miserably and think I lasted about two weeks. I'm already well into week one (pathetic, I know) but haven't totally cracked. I had some nachos at my first Writer's Group meeting on Wednesday and a burrito last night when I had dinner with my cousins, but have had absolutely no sugar (fruit yes, sugar, no).

If I put it all together, maybe the goal of being truly, truly healthy this year will actually be achieved. And how nice would it be to cross that mother farker off the list.

Friday, September 08, 2006

#53 - The Ruins

Okay, I was so afraid while reading Scott Smith's The Ruins that I went ahead while only halfway through and read the bloody ending. I couldn't take it anymore. I was that scared. While I'm technically not quite finished (I have about 10 pages in between where I am and the ending I already read), I feel quite confident I can blog about it because I'm going to finish it this afternoon while waiting at the hospital for bloodletting.

So, the novel takes place in Mexico and the main characters are all, of course, on a lovely sunny vacation. Four Americans, Jeff and Amy, Eric and Stacy, are on one last hurrah after finishing university (or, I guess, college as they say in the States). When Mathius, a young German man, asks them to accompany him to find his missing brother who disappeared while chasing a girl in the title's ruins, they set off on what they hope will be a day-long adventure.

Armed with no other information except a crudely drawn map, the five of them, along with a Greek friend (who doesn't speak their language) they call Pablo, leave the resort early one morning after a heavy night of drinking. Nothing goes right, of course: they're dropped off in the wrong place; the taxi charges them too much money; they run into a decidedly unfriendly Mayan village, and soon they've moved past what I'd like to call the point of no return.

I don't want to give even a hint of what happens away because it would deter you from actually reading the book and being as bone-chilled scared as I was—I read the majority of the novel up at the cottage last weekend and was literally shaking in bed. Never a fan of horror movies or even scary books (mysteries, yes, but Stephen King-type novels, not so much), The Ruins is so well written and so literary that it's more of a character study in a truly horrific situation than a run of the mill blood, guts and gore book.

Oh, and there are no chapters, so you are sucked right in and carted along without even being able to take a breath. And the sun is hot, very, very, very hot.

Which Greek God Are You Like?

While looking around the internet for litblogs to work with, I stumbled across the Greek Mythology Personality Test (high kicks to Bookworm for the link). So, turns out I'm most like Orpheus. It's good to know that the quiz has picked up on how sissy and sensitive I actually am. Sigh. Oh, and watch out Icarus, you'd better stay out of my way and not the other way around.

Orpheus
0% Extroversion, 80% Intuition, 100% Emotiveness, 57% Perceptiveness
You are an artist, an aesthete, a sensitive, and someone who has never really let go of that childlike innocence. To you, all of life has a sense of wonder in it, and the story of Orpheus was written about someone just like you.

When the Argo passed the island of the Sirens, Orpheus played a song more beautiful than the Sirens to prevent the crew from becoming enticed. When his wife died, he ventured into the underworld to charm Hades but, in his naivete, he looked back becoming trapped there.

You can capture your unique world view and relate it to others with the skill of a master storyteller. Your sensitivity and creativity make you a treasure to the human race, but your thin-skinned nature and innocence can cause you a lot of disenchantment and pain. What's doubly unfortunate is that, if you try to lose those traits, you never will, and everyone will be able to tell that you're putting up an artificial shell to prevent yourself from being hurt.

Famous people like you: Hemingway, Shakespeare, Mr. Rogers, Melville, Nick Tosches
Stay clear of: Icarus, Hermes, Atlas

Monday, September 04, 2006

An Old Fashioned Weekend

With the fact that my RRHB will soon be so self-employed that he'll be working just on our house, we've come to the conclusion that we'll have to make the majority of our Christmas presents this year.

Making Christmas presents has been on the backburner for a while now. For years I've wanted to get out my sewing machine, actually learn how to use it, and make pretty things; I'd love to knit fast enough that I can get presents done quicker, and in some sense just contribute in a very old fashioned way to the gift giving season this winter.

Well, we started up north this weekend. We made grape jelly, spaghetti sauce and home-made ketchup, all of which are actually super-tasty. It's hard work but feels good like I am using the products in my backyard to give life to the people I love. I know it's corny. But I felt kind of proud of ourselves none the less.

So, this year everyone is getting home-made gifts from our Brockton Berries canning company. Heh.