Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Books I Read and Movies I Watched in July

Let's just say this was an embarrassing month. I read a whopping 2 books and watched and re-watched a TON of Hallmark.

Books
So I read two books . . . but only one new one. I did read on plenty of other books that I will be finishing up in August (but that I easily could have finished in July, ahem).

Reread
A Tangled Web
Since I was not super motivated with my main stack of books, I decided to read something I wanted to read. I've since increased my lighter and fun reading pile. I usually have plenty of fun novels, but they are usually shorter, and I read them first, plus this time I didn't finish at least two.

Anyway, I had forgotten some of this, and I love all the details. I laughed out loud at parts. I went back and re-read parts again after I had finished re-reading.

New Read
Cheaper by the Dozen
Dad started reading this to us when we were small; he may have finished it, but what I found most memorable were the times he stopped because of not age appropriate issues. Definitely adult areas, but written in a way a child wouldn't understand, I think. I was surprised at this for the time period though.

Movies
At some point, I might start writing down all my re-watches because I need to limit my movie viewing. I don't want to watch movies at the same pace or higher than I read whether they be new or not. I'm not sure if I've listed everything, but this is bad good enough. I don't have much to say. We, of course, enjoyed the Thin Man mystery, and some of the Hallmarks (the last two listed) were dumb/boring, some were cute and funny (the first two listed) and one had a really funny guy but the rest was blah.

Classics
Shadow of the Thin Man

Rewatches
Hallmarks
How to Steal a Million
Roman Holiday

Hallmark
Surprised by Love
Appetite For Love
Moonlight in Vermont
Autumn in the Vineyard
Chance At Romance



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fairy Stories

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie (here is the list on The Broke and the Bookish). 

Mine is fairy stories, not really fairy-tales, but rather stories that feature the fairy realm. And this is eleven and all that I've read in this category.

~Fairies of the Celtic Lands by Nigel Suckling. This is a book about what is essentially Celtic mythology which is what fairies are. And this is the original dark stuff, not the cute, fun pixies and sparkles and Disney. You can see how Tolkien formed his fictional universe. This is essential to understand better the British based novels below (only Wildwood Dancing is not British)

~Faery Rebels (Knife/Spell-Hunter, Rebel/Wayfarer, and Arrow). Set in Britain and based on Celtic/British mythology. Absolutely riveting.

~Swift and Nomad. These follow the above three chronologically in the same fictional universe (and with some of the same characters) but are part of their own series. The author planned a third but to our sorrow, that hasn't worked out yet. These are my favorite.

~Wildwood Dancing. I love this. Set in Transylvania with a hint of the twelve dancing princesses fairy tale (my favorite) and touches of vampire legends, just enough to spook but not enough to terrify. I didn't enjoy Cybele's Secret as well.

~13 Treasures, 13 Curses, and 13 Secrets. These are technically middle grade, but be warned, they are dark (more like the actual tales), and the last is far too gruesome for that age (and for me in parts)




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Art Fair Haul

My grandparents and I made our fourth annual trip to a local art fair again. I went once before without them and then after I invited them once we've made it a tradition. I love it. My attention span matches with their strength and the area is a nice, small size.


This lovely tray is made out of recycled aluminum; its as elegant looking as pewter but lighter and less expensive. The lady said is was safer for food use too, but I know other people disagree with use of aluminum with food. 


I love these little houses. I bought different sizes and colors for my sister, and I'd love to have a more full collection. They are adorable alone but can also be used for vases and planters.

I also bought natural bug spray and poison ivy treatment spray. The latter contains jewelweed. I'd read about that before when searching for poison ivy helps (I seem to get it every year, probably from the animals although I haven't got it yet). The lady who made these sprays says jewelweed grows by poison ivy which I thought was fascinating.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Books as Cake Tag

I'm still trying to tie up things for my new blog, and because I'm still learning how to prepare and not wing everything, this is taking much longer than I expected because I'm constantly finding out new things. So, here is another tag.

I've seen a few versions of this tag, but I don't like some of the cakes/haven't had some and didn't think all the choices fit, so I scrambled them up from the sources and then scrambled the tag up and also added my own cakes and categories.

Dark Chocolate Cake: a Dark Book You Enjoyed
All the Light You Cannot See. This is possibly the darkest book that I've read and enjoyed, but I'm not sure I'd read it again. I know too much about WWII (and yet hardly a drop), and I kept adding to what the writer said in my head.

Chocolate Cake: a Book You'd Recommend to Everyone
That would have to be non-fiction, sorry, I don't think people have the same fiction tastes. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer. An amazing history of the colonization of the United States that explains SO much of our history and culture. Oh, I'm sorry is does that sound like a vegetable book to you? Well, it shouldn't. I found it quite readable for a scholarly work and absolutely fascinating in content and organization.

Angel Food Cake: a Light Read (because vanilla cake ISN'T light people)
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye. Princess and fairytale stories are my go-to light reading category.

Vanilla Cake: a Romance
I'm going to put something different from Blue Castle although that is good, everyone seems to be talking about it so instead I will choose The Harvester by Gene Stratton-Porter.

Red Velvet Cake: a Favorite Mystery
Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers. What caught me and held me to the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. There are few boring ones, but the ones with him and Harriet Vane!

Cheesecake (cause I'm not a cheesecake fan): a Book You Didn't Finish
So many, I don't remember them all. I didn't think them worth finishing after all. The most recent unfinished book was the first of Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather saga. I did appreciate his humorous references to popular fantasy novels and the ridiculous amount he sculled from them. However, that is not enough for a story. His characters were awful and the story slow. And the scatological humor and other gross 6-year old boy descriptions made me want to gag regularly; this was SO unnecessary and beyond distracting. I ended up skimming and sending back to the library.

I don't feel compelled to finish books. I dislike the check box mentality. To-dos are for accomplishing worthy activities, not simply to complete something. Don't waste your time merely to complete something. and there are too many good books in the world and too many good things in the world to waste time on bad and mediocre books.

Carrot Cake: a Book You Had Mixed Feelings About (I'm not sure I really HAVE mixed feelings about books, I'm a bit take it or leave it)
I'm going to go with Jacob Have I Loved. I loved the writing, but the story has some content issues, and I didn't find the ending (and the ending writing quality) satisfying.

Pound Cake: a Book with Great Writing (because the best poundcake has perfect texture)
So many books have great writing. That is a HUGE reason why I like them. And I like reading whole spades of books from authors whose writing I liked. No, wait. I've found one. The Book Thief. I loved the writing for that, but when I tried another of his books, his writing style didn't translate well for that story, it felt overwrought, absurd, and out of place.

Ice Cream Cake: a Book with All the Layers and Details
I'm going to go with a recent re-read, A Tangled Web. So much going on here. So many lovely details that you forget and love to find again when re-reading.

A Teeny Tiny Petit Four (since every other cake fills you quite up): A Book that Left You Wanting More
Okay, I'm going to be lazy and pick an unfinished work: Sandition. Oh, it looks to be one of her best novels and best heroes! There are so many books that leave me wanting more to various degrees. More about continued generations, more about the characters' lives later, more details.

Cupcakes: a Favorite  4+ Book Series
I'm cheating, sort of. My sisters and I consider R. J. Anderson's Faery Rebel trilogy Knife (Spell-hunter in U.S.), Rebel (Wayfarer in U.S.), and Arrow the beginning part of a series with the duology (Swift and Nomad) following because of the same universe and characters and the chronology. I think only the first two are available in U.S., but I ordered them all from Amazon U.K. so all the covers would match together.

Fruitcake: a Book that Was Not What You Expected
Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrell. I expected more of a usual style of fantasy, but this was almost like Dickens plus magicians. Odd too in other ways.

Strawberry Cake: Your Favorite American Novel
I haven't read many U.S. classics and don't like what I've read. I prefer children's classics, and I will go with A Bridge to Terebithia. I love Katherine Patterson's writing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "100 Books the BBC Think Most People Haven't Read More than 6 of" Tag

I found this post via Olivia's blog here, but MovieCritic made it here.

Also, I'm not sure there is any evidence that the BBC ever made such a list or made such a claim. Nevertheless, this tag is fun.

The ones I've read (17), I've highlighted. I plan to read some of more of these titles. I'm not absolutely certain about all the ones I've skimmed or started (or which is which), so I didn't mark those. Many of the others I've never heard of. I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to tag yourself.

1.  Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2.  Gormenghast Trilogy -  Mervyn Peake
3.  Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 
4.  Temple of the Golden Pavilion - Yukio Mishima
5.  To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6.  The Story of the Eye - George Bataille
7.  Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë 
8.  Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell 
9.  Adrift on the Nile - Naguib Mahfouz
10.  Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11.  Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 
12.  Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13.  Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14.  Rhinoceros - Eugene Ionesco
15.  Baron in the Trees - Italo Calvino
16.  The Master of Go - Yasunari Kawabata
17.  Woman in the Dunes - Abe Kobo
18.  Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger 
19.  The Feast of the Goat - Mario Vargas Llosa
20.  Middlemarch - George Eliot
21.  Gogol's Wife - Tomasso Landolfi
22.  The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
23.  Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
24.  War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25.  Ferdydurke - Gombrowicz
26.  Narcissus and Goldmund - Herman Hesse
27.  Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
28.  The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29.  Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
30.  The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31.  Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 
32.  The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
33.  Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn - Mark Twain 
34.  Emma - Jane Austen
35.  Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe 
36.  Delta Wedding - Eudora Welty
37.  The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 
38.  Naomi - Junichiro Tanizaki
39.  Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino
40.  The Joke - Milan Kundera
41.  Animal Farm - George Orwell
42.  Labyrinths - Gorge Luis Borges
43.  One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44.  A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 
45.  Under My Skin - Doris Lessing
46.  Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery 
47.  Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy 
48.  Don Quixote - Miguel Cervantes 
49.  Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50.  Absalom Absalom - William Faulkner
51.  Beloved - Toni Morrison
52.  The Flounder - Gunther Grass
53.  Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
54.  Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55.  My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
56.  A Dolls House - Henrik Ibsen
57.  A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58.  Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59.  The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky
60.  Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61.  Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62.  Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63.  Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman
64.  Death on the Installment Plan - Celine
65.  Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66.  On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67.  Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68.  Pedro Paramo - Juan Rulfo
69.  Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70.  Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71.  Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72.  Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.  The Metamorphosis - Kafka
74.  Epitaph of a Small Winner - Machado De Assis
75.  Ulysses - James Joyce
76.  The Inferno - Dante 
77.  Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78.  Germinal - Emile Zola
79.  To the Light House - Virginia Woolf 
80.  Disgrace - John Maxwell Coetzee
81.  A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82.  Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
83.  The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84.  The Box Man - Abe Kobo
85.  Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86.  A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87.  The Stranger - Camus
88.  Acquainted with the Night - Heinrich Boll
89.  Don't Call It Night - Amos Oz
90.  The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91.  Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92.  The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93.  Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
94.  Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar
95.  A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96.  Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
97.  The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98.  Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
99.  Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
100.  Metamorphosis - Ovid


Monday, July 24, 2017

My Sister's Pixar's Up Travel Themed Wedding: The Reception

Again, iPhone photos I snapped just before the wedding. Since the rain spoiled any chance for more professional before wedding photos (I wasn't crying over that), we waited in a hall for a bit before we went into the reception. People were already eating, and the line wasn't bad, so I didn't have to wait long for food (and I wasn't particularly hungry, and I was rather in an out-of-body state of mind). 


The dance floor is right in from of this. My sister has already hung the map in her living room. She spray-painted the bottles and decoupaged the maps onto the smaller ones. I don't have a photo, but she also decoupaged a grape soda label onto bottle tops which she glued with a pin onto the table numbers (another reference to Up).


These vases are for the wedding party's flowers.



I bounced around for most of the reception. Getting my food, getting candy, talking to people at various tables, begging for cake (the bridal party got the special home-made by a friend of Mom's wedding cake which was amazingly delicious, but hardly anybody ate any, so we shared some and pigged out at home the rest of the week), watching the dancing, wondering if I would dance, sort of trying to dance, getting mad at myself for it, and generally wandering around. 



The reception flew by (and the dancers, meaning mostly our half of the bridal party and friends weren't at all done dancing), and we lined up outside to blow bubbles at the bride and groom, and some children chased them to their car with bubbles.


More Up quotes



And then we cleaned up the place. An idiot (yours truly) caused us to have about 6 whole Costco cakes left. We shared quite a bit of cake, food, and candy. Although I was overwhelmed at the time, I think we easily cleared all the food and decor away since a month later almost everything has a place. My sister took quite a bit for her condo and the little girls took some decorations for their rooms.

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Sister's Pixar's Up Travel Themed Wedding: The Entrance Decor

I cannot share or link any professional photos because of privacy, so I will show you the quick snaps I took on my iPhone before the wedding.


My sister drew this herself. By the end of the wedding, people had filled out the balloons and spread the colors beautifully.  



My sister made this herself, and people filled it up wonderfully. She left places to put in her and her husband's travel photos as well.


My sister painted that painting ages ago (she's always loved Up). And she and her now husband painted their hands on the mailbox.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Wedding

The day before the wedding, in the morning one of Mom’s friends (so many of her friends helped with the wedding) helped me with the all the flowers. Mom ended up having to buy my sister’s flowers from a variety of stores, so I ended up doing the bridal bouquet all myself. I think our bouquets were as pretty, if not prettier than professionally done ones, but the corsages and boutonnieres were droopy by the end of the day.

My sister had her four sisters, her sister-in-law, and three other friends as bridesmaids. We each picked either a grey/silver or blue dress. My sister gave us rose gold earrings to wear (they are so elegant). My sister’s wedding dress was off-white; her rings, shoes, and hairpiece rose gold; and her bouquet peachy coral. The groom and groomsmen were in grey suits with blue ties.


I bought a brand-new J Crew dress on eBay for $35-$40 (including shipping) which I brilliantly waited to alter the day before the wedding. I bought my shoes from 6pm.com, and I got them in wide, and they are comfortable for heels and fit just about perfectly.


 She had planned for an outdoor wedding, and we had had such lovely weather all the month of the wedding, until the end of the wedding week. Mom and the wedding coordinator (also her friend) bought grey and blue umbrellas the day before the wedding. We knew that rain was pretty much guaranteed, and although we practiced for an indoor wedding in the reception area, we ended up having it outdoors. 


We had most of the photos before the wedding, and then waited indoors, taking fun selfies with Up themed props. The rain stopped briefly, long enough for most of the bridal party to walk out (I’m not sure what we walked down to, but the grandparents walked down to a theme from Up), and then we were given the umbrellas (and one blew inside out and the photographer got an epic photo out of that moment). And though weather was cold and rainy, the wedding was memorable and the photos quite fun and pretty (certainly prettier than they would have been indoors). 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

June Movies

I've already written on our Star Wars marathon, so I will just skip that.

We watched the rest of the Thin Man movies our library has (After the Thin ManAnother Thin Man, and The Thin Man Goes Home, so we still need to see Shadow of the Thin Man). I watched the first with sister #3. Then Song of the Thin Man with that sister and sister #4. Sister #2 joined in for the three this month and so all of us at home are now hooked.  We've added this series to our buy list. Now murder mysteries aren't exactly my thing, well the murder part anyway. It is one thing to read them, but I grew up with a phobia of bodies and bones. And the first one freaked me out. But I do love mysteries, and the thing about these movies is Nick and Nora's relationship and shenanigans. Sister #2 said Nick and Nora are relationship goals; yep.

I watched Miss Potter by myself because I never could get anyone interesting. It was sweet and sad, and I wish the film showed her other love story. Not a favorite film.

La La Land. I thought the concept of a modern musical was fun (once my sister told me it was modern; I'd thought by the clothes that it was supposed to be set in old times). Granted I didn't like all the party numbers and the first scene reminded me of a silly Disney musical number, but City of Stars and the couple's dance numbers?! I wasn't wowed, but I liked it . . . wondering what the end was and guessing by what my sister said. I knew it was sad, but she said she know how it was sad. Which made me rather guess the ending. Except I wasn't sad. I was mad. Disgusted might me a better term. Here is what I wrote for my Letterboxd review:

 "Okay, that ending was absurd. Why bother to make a film about a "love" story that doesn't work out?! That's not "realism" that's absolute flakiness. The ending isn't creative or whatever, its feeble and pathetic. "Not working out" means "someone wasn't that interested" which means the whole love story is a lie. And it made her side of the story that much more silly and flaky. Stereotypical acting dream, stereotypical actor's shallowness and fickleness in relationships."

A sister suggested I just watch it and skip the end. I think I will do that because some parts were SO cute.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Would You Rather, Jane Austen 2nd Edition Plus Mr. Darcy's Inner Struggles

I'm borrowing these questions from Cordie. My sister kept mentioning and sending me Mr. Darcy's Inner Struggles on Pinterest, and I only recently realized how many of them exist, so I set about trying to find them all. Here is the original source. The link is to the beginning, scroll down to see the earliest, and then go to the next page and repeat. Enjoy, they are hysterical (note, some language).

1. Would you rather summer at Abbey Mill Farm with the Martins or spend the winter in London with your aunt and uncle?

2. Would you rather be carried away in the moment and insult someone in company or be overcome by horrid imaginings and have to confess your thoughts to someone you admire?
Oh, I'd far likely do the former, and I would probably prefer it too.

3. Would you rather marry Mr. Bingley or Robert Martin?
Mr. Bingley. We can see in the book that he's intelligent, kind, sweet, etc. while I only know that Mr. Knightley thinks Robert Martin could.

4. Would you rather tour the lake country or visit the seaside?
Tour the lake country. I'm rather tired of the Southern default to Florida. Do we have to do the same thing a trillion times? Although, the British beach would be new to me, but I'm trying to translate my experience here. I'd go to Colorado lakes or mountains before another beach trip if I had my choice.

5. Would you rather entertain Miss Bates or Mr. Collins in conversations?
I think Miss Bates would be easier and less embarrassing. I'd rather listen to Mr. Collins safely from afar though for amusement.

6. Would you rather sing a musical piece at a gathering while hiccuping every other line or take a great tumble while dancing?
Fall. Definitely.

7. Would you rather be deceived by Willoughby or Wickham?
I would rather be deceived by someone more clearly wrong and far less interesting, like Wickham, but I'm sure I'd more likely be deceived by Willoughby's good (superficial) qualities.

8. Would you rather fall head over heels in love with a man who turns out to be engaged or fall for a man too busy loving someone else to notice you?
If the engaged man loved me, then the engaged man.

9. Would you rather ride in a carriage or upon a horse to an evening party?
A carriage; I'd want to still look nice when I got to the party.

10. Would you rather accept advice from Mrs. Weston or Elinor Dashwood?
Mrs. Weston? I don't know. I prefer advice from people who have both more of a claim to experience and more mildness and humility of manner. But I wouldn't call Elinor a know-it-all.

11. Would you rather have as a companion Jane Fairfax or Charlotte Lucas?
Probably Charlotte as she talks. I talk a lot, but I don't like talking to silence; I want a response.