I was already in bed when I realized I’d missed posting yesterday, and I couldn’t muster up enough energy to go out to my computer and do it. AND I’m taking a week off to spend time with family again, so really, have a great few days and I’ll be back sometime next week!
Here’s the thing–Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting has some hilarious moments, not to mention a plethora of amusing to pretty funny ones. Brian Gordon is a parent who knows. Unfortunately for me, however, he’s also a parent who’s more comfortable with casual profanity than I am. Not f-words, necessarily, but oh, the s-words! I got a kick out of quite a few of his cartoons–comics?–but it’s not one I can bring myself to keep. If you have kids, however, and that sort of language isn’t a big deal for you, then rock on. (If you don’t have kids, I wouldn’t bother. You are not the target audience.)
I checked The Cake Therapist out from the library because I love food, whether it’s eating it or reading about it; I was expecting a cake version of Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells.
Yeah…not so much.
To be honest with you, it’s hard to pinpoint some of the differences, in part because they’re subtle and in part because I finished this before I left for RI (it was near the bottom of the ‘to review’ stack). What I can say is that while the past in Garden Spells tended towards flashes of memory or history that aided in characterization, the past in The Cake Therapist was the starting point for the story. I didn’t immediately see how the story bits were going to fit together, but fit together they did–and I enjoyed the fitting. It’s possibly a type of women’s fiction that is slightly less my thing, but it was worth the read. Neely’s transitions–both emotional and physical–are a wonderful thing to see, and the scenes from various points in the past were compelling. Since trying to give a more detailed synopsis without drowning in either details or spoilers is proving impossible for me tonight, however, I will simply say this: the story has more appeal than what meets the eye, so if you’re waffling about this one, take the plunge.
Although it may make you hungry for cake.
Novels by Patricia Reilly Giff range from enjoyable to incredible, which is why I was elated to note the release of Jubilee. I started it right before I left for RI last week, kept reading in the airport until it was time to board–and then conked.
Did I mention that my flight left at 12:15 AM?
I slept–restlessly–for most of both flights, and when I arrived in Warwick (the actual site of the Providence airport, if you’re interested) I wanted nothing so much as to be HORIZONTAL. (It’s been a decade or so since I last took a redeye, and my neck and shoulders were supremely unimpressed with my two middle seats.) My hosts/friends/surrogate grandparents brought me back to Scituate, tucked me in (so to speak) with a glass of water at my side, and let me rest as long as I could; when I got up, the woman who changed my diaper, taught my fifth grade class, and spent $17 to park at the airport and pick me up made me a veggie and Provolone omelette to die for. Talk about heaven! I spent the afternoon wandering roads I’d walked and biked on as a child, and then settled in to finish my book and go to bed, my hosts having a long evening commitment. And therein lies my ignominious failure.
I couldn’t do it.
I had fifteen pages left of a 149 page book, and I couldn’t do it.
This is what happens when you’re a 37-year-old mother of four and a redeye flight makes your 20th high school reunion affordable. You start to read the same sentences two and three and four times, and your eyes keep closing of their own accord, and you finally admit defeat and throw in the towel–er, bookmark.
The good news, of course, is that I finished it in the morning, and while I didn’t love it with the fierceness that I did Nory Ryan’s Song, Pictures of Hollis Woods, or All the Way Home, it was still excellent. Watching Judith on her island–off the coast of Maine, no less! Bliss!–was a beautiful thing, and seeing her blossom as new people and understandings enter her life was heartwarming. I did wonder about her mutism–I’ve read a few books by a teacher who worked with children with that struggle, but Judith’s had a different feel–but the plot was still lovely. And the range of subject matter gives Jubilee broad appeal, so, bottom line? Make sure you don’t miss this one!
Seriously. To be fair, though, I was in RI for 3 1/2 beautiful days; I walked, we drove around Newport, I ate, I read, I shopped, I visited, and I slept (some). It was a pleasure to be there AND a pleasure to be footloose and fancy-free. I love my children dearly–I wouldn’t trade them or my life for the world–but a few days of being responsible for no one but myself was incredibly relaxing.
I actually managed to finish a few books while I was there, partly because I purposely picked shorter books to bring with me; I’m reviewing The ACB with Honora Lee first because it’s checked out on my second daughter’s library card, and I really need the space on hers.
Yes, I know I have a problem.
The ACB is a bit of an odd little book, to be honest with you. The story itself is rather sweet, but the tone and the details render it more detached than the subject matter might suggest. Perry is an only child whose parents believe in keeping her schedule full; when one of her after-school activities is abruptly cancelled, however, she convinces her parents to allow her to visit her grandmother on Thursday afternoons instead. Gran is a resident of some variety of care center and her memory is decidedly fading, to the point that her conception of Perry’s identity is decidedly sketchy. She seems to have a fondness for the alphabet, however, and so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with her and the rest of the Santa Lucia community. Gran’s not big into alphabetical order–hence the ACB–but she does collaborate.
I will say that the detached tone may be a cultural thing; Kate De Goldi is from New Zealand, and I’m not terribly familiar with literature from that area. I did, however, find the illustrations odd as well. They’re a level of abstract that compelled me to study them, searching for hidden meaning in each one, and that distracted me from the flow of the story–maybe. (Reading it on the plane may have been the real culprit.)
Ultimately, I enjoyed this one enough to recommend it; it’s absolutely worth your time. Just let me know what you think of it!
I picked up The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems because it looked like a good length and topic for my 7-year-old; I finished it last night, and I have to say, I’m conflicted. On the one hand, it was well-written–Ty’s voice worked completely for me–and emotionally complex, which is usually a winning combination for my second girlie. Ty is struggling to deal with the changes that come with a new baby in the family, especially with the comparative lack of attention from his mother. (Parenthood gave me an interesting perspective on this one, because I hurt for Ty exactly how Lauren Myracle intended me to, but I also empathized with his mother.) That coupled with some normal elementary school friend problems leads him to make some choices with unforeseen consequences; luckily for Ty, his family helps him straighten things out.
On the other hand, I didn’t completely enjoy the several scenes unavoidably featuring the word “poop,” often multiple times, and I was truly bothered by Ty’s oldest sister saying, at one point, “G–, Ty, what is wrong with you?” Yes, I’m FULLY aware that teenage girls talk like that all the time; I’m also fully aware that such an expression bothers relatively few people in this day and age. Since I happen to be one of them, however, its presence makes me hesitant to hand this one over to my 7-year-old. (If she chose it, mind you, I wouldn’t have an issue, although I’d probably note to her that different people have different rules, and sometimes characters in books talk in ways that I don’t prefer.)
You see? Conflicted. It’s not that I don’t have a 4-year-old boy who quite enjoys trying to work “poop” into conversations, but I’m not really interested in adding any fuel to THAT fire. What to do? There is a great deal of good here–indeed, it’s a great book–but I’m not sure how I feel about being the one that suggests it to my kiddos.
P. S. I’m heading to RI tomorrow night around midnight, so I’m taking a week off. My fabulous mother-in-law is coming to stay at my house so that I can go to my 20th high school reunion. Wahoo!
- I love General Conference weekend, when we get to listen to our church leaders speak–they are inspiring.
- I really wish I’d been less sleepy during those talks, but CHILDREN.
- We celebrated some September and all October birthdays in my husband’s family today, and there were WAY too many fabulous desserts. You wouldn’t believe how much I ate.
- Then again, if you know me well, you probably would.
- My hubby was still getting over the virus that was in our house this week, so I took the kids to my in-laws’ house myself. I am blessed beyond measure to have a second family that I love enough to enjoy doing this kind of thing, with or without him.
- Tomorrow’s projected high is 20 degrees lower than today’s high was. Cue children who are FREEZING!
- My mouth still wants to eat. My stomach is yelling up at it, “Are you KIDDING me?”
- It’s not, sadly.
- My hubby took care of all the kids’ fundraiser stuff that’s due tomorrow, bless him. He also gets to work with my oldest on her science fair project. Double bless him.
- I’m going to RI this week, and while I’m over the moon, it still seems unreal.
I finally made it to Costco yesterday, after three days of vomit, diarrhea, and SO MUCH LAUNDRY with my littles. My toddler was more or less recovered, my 4-year-old had bouts of energy interspersed with exhaustion (at least he was keeping things down!), and I was SO GRATEFUL TO BE OUT OF MY HOUSE. I was walking by the bread aisle, the one with the endcap of evil things like lemon bars and brownie bites, when I spotted the Maple French Toast bagels.
Yes. Maple French Toast bagels. They smell even better than they sound.
Anyway, I couldn’t resist, because hey, they can be breakfast, right? And then–a few hours later–it hit me.
I can made a homemade version of the Bacon, Egg, & Cheese McGriddle with these (I’m not all that into fast food, but oh my GOSH that thing is amazing)! And it ought to be mild enough on recovering stomachs that I can do it for dinner tonight! That was a good moment, let me tell you–and it worked out more or less like I’d planned. Here’s what I did:
–Fried up some bacon
–Lightly buttered my egg pan, cracked three eggs into it, and swirled around a spatula to break the yolks; I sprinkled with salt and pepper and put the pan on low heat, flipped my egg-disc when it started to gel on top, and cut the resulting circle into bagel sized quarters.
–Sliced some cheddar. American slices would work here–that’s what’s on the original–but I never have any. You want to slice thinly.
–Toasted the bagel halves and buttered them.
–Layered the cheese, egg, and bacon onto the toasted, buttered bagel half.
–Cut up some fruit to complete the meal.
–SAVORED THE GOODNESS.
Try it, people. If you live for buttery maple goodness–with bacon!–try it today.
It’s not that I don’t get the sentiment behind the “treasure this time, they grow up so fast” mantra, but realistically, there’s a lot about this week I’d rather forget than treasure. The night before last was all about vomit, vomit, and more vomit from my littles; last night was peaceful, but tonight my very-well-potty-trained 4-year-old son is on his second DIAPER. (He hasn’t slept in diapers for a year.) First it was diarrhea; then it was diarrhea AND vomit. Which means that all of the food I was grateful he’d kept down today didn’t actually stay down (or in). Which means I’m feeling a little freaked out at the moment.
There have, however, been a few moments worth treasuring. Snuggling with your littles when they’re sick is a different kind of sweet, and watching my 1-year-old lay her head on her brother’s shoulder as they watched “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” at 1 in the morning was adorable. (So was listening to her attempt at “Oh, Toodles!) And while my current book of choice is turning out to be a bit more emotionally draining than I was expecting, I did finish Daniel Pinkwater’s The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, and it was hysterical.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for you–it’s just a bit of a book, anyway–but what’s not to love about a 266 lb chicken named Henrietta? Pinkwater’s zany humor is in full force here, and yet there are also sly bits of social commentary. This is entertainment on more than one level, and while I’m looking forward to giving this one to my oldest to read, I’m also going to recommend it to my sister–who has lived in New Jersey. (Not in Hoboken, true, but still.)
Bottom line? Let this one be a bright spot in your week as well–and may that week be vomit-free!
Here’s the thing. I avoid politics like the plague on FB, I don’t read books on politics, and I generally don’t discuss politics with people, because I don’t want to go there. It’s a scary place, and it fills me with impotent fury, because why can’t people admit that there is often good on both sides, not to mention good reasons that people might disagree? And why can’t people see the scariness? (I especially can’t handle watching presidential debates for long, because I just want to scream ANSWER THE ACTUAL QUESTION, PEOPLE! over and over and over.) Tonight, however, I managed to watch more of the debate than I did four years ago (I think it lessens the fury when you’re not exactly rooting for either candidate), and it only reaffirmed my current political goal. I’ve been planning on voting third party for some time, because I can’t in good conscience vote for either major party’s candidate, but more than that, I desperately want Trump to lose Utah. I’ve never lived in a swing state–RI was about as Democratic as Utah is Republican–but this year, in this election, we have a chance to make a statement in the Beehive state. We have a chance to stand up and say that principles are more important than parties. I’d rather Hilary than Trump, but just imagine if a third party took Utah. How could that NOT be good for politics in this country?
Let’s make that statement, Utahns. Let’s stir things up.
Let’s make history.