Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Basics

Okay, enough serious topics, let's go back to books. This post will be a three 'fer - the two you guys picked and a bonus.

Loving Frank - Nancy Horan - the winner of the book poll. My biggest question about this book was, "Is it true?" And the answer to that is yes, mostly. Obviously, Frank Lloyd Wright really existed. So did Mamah (pronounced "Maymah") Borthwick Cheney. They really did have an affair. They really did leave their spouses and children and live together in Wisconsin. (Romantic, right?! Just kidding, Wisconsin friends!) Mamah really did divorce her husband. Frank really did not divorce his wife. The why's and thoughts and feelings are conjecture, though based on personal letters. The book is well-written and at first, fairly suspenseful and engaging. It lags in the middle as the main conflict is the newspaper smear campaign that Frank and Mamah face. In fact, I got really bored and almost quit reading it. It picks up again with conflict between Mamah and Frank over finances and then springs a truly shocking ending out of nowhere. Overall - engaging and a piece of history that you would probably never hear about unless you lived in Oak Park, Illinois.

Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner - So many things in just one book. Such a great story of a friendship, gone wrong, and coming back together. I would like to send a copy to my ex-bff with a note telling her how much I still think about her. It makes so many of the same points I've made on here, how the two girls grew up across the street from each other, in each other's lives and house all day, all the time, yet how much they didn't know, didn't see, didn't realize about the other one. There were so many quotes I would like to highlight and send along to Heather. This is what I wish would happen in my situation. Also a story of personal growth, of a woman growing, changing, realizing that she isn't waiting on her life to improve, on a man to rescue her, that she can do it herself. As I'm sure you can tell, I liked it. A lot.

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris - The first in the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series. Call me prejudiced, but I will probably never call a vampire series high literature. The True Blood series, however, is good fun. And I already like them approximately 750, 000 times better than the Twilight series (sorry to my Twilight-loving friends!) Reasons why:
  • The 100 year old vampire isn't a virgin who insists on being married before losing his virginity. Really, a 100-yr-old vampire placing any stock in any human institution is just stupid. I have no problem with religious values, but the last place they belong is in a vampire novel. I would have been less offended if Bella had been the one insisting on being married, but Edward? Please.
  • Sookie. Dumb name aside, she's a great character. She's independent and can take care of herself, even in a fight. One of the first scenes is her saving Bill from some vampire drainers! But she's not an indestructible kickass and she has no problem calling in Bill when she needs him. *coughunlikeBellacough* She feels no need to go out and make herself roadkill to avoid inconveniencing her precious vampires. (I swear, I was neither Team Edward nor Team Jacob, I was Team Victoria!) Sookie's a virgin, but not for religious reasons. She can read minds and every time she's gotten close to sleeping with a guy, she's heard what he thought about her. Or her body. After hearing what one of my high school boyfriends said about me after we broke up, I was plenty glad I didn't sleep with him. So I can totally see how that would get in the way of gettin it on. (Speaking of gettin it on, Sookie can't read Bill's mind, so they get it on. And on. And on. It's practically a romance novel.)

Anyway, it's a quick read with a good mystery at the heart and fun, quirky characters. Will definitely be reading more of this series.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things I Would Say On Twitter, If I Had It

Subtitled: Reasons My Friday Morning Has Sucked.

Things you should not say to a co-worker:

"Oh, I'm sorry. Perhaps you misunderstood. I meant RIGHT MOTHERFUCKING NOW."

Things you should not say to a customer:

"Why yes, I am here to take your abuse. Please continue to be rude and abrasive."
"Actually, I DON'T give much of a shit about your problem. It sucks that you have a problem, but your attitude and rude behavior precludes me from really caring."

Thank God it's lunchtime!

Edited to Add: These are things I thought but did not say. These are not things that were said to me. God, that would have been awful. Sorry for any confusion.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So, wow, that was kind of a tailspin at the end of last week, wasn't it? Still pretty screwed up about my mom and my ex-BFF, huh?

BIG thank you to Hyphen Mama, who hit it right on the head with her comment. Here's her comment:
Oh! I just finished reading a book about setting Personal Boundaries (Anne Katherine)... and it talks so much about these kinds of relationships. They totally violated YOUR boundaries, and would you expect that if a new relationship formed that you'd be able to set very specific boundaries with them? If you don't think you can do that (I am SO NOT ABLE TO SET BOUNDARIES!!), then it probably wouldn't work out the way you want. I, too, have several friends who've had to be broken up with over the years.
Trolling FB has made me all kinds of nostalgic to reconnect with them (I even drove past one of their houses a few weeks ago, wondering if I should just stop and say "hi".) It's hard, because we have expectations going into it... and what if it doesn't turn out the way you need it to? It's like breaking up all over again.
I swear I gasped when I read that comment because it was SPOT ON. SPOT ON, people. Boundaries. THAT is what I've been trying to say for so long. THAT is the point I've been trying to get across to those two for 20*mumblemumble*years. Oh my God, that is IT. Boundaries. Wait, let me read that sentence again, "They totally violated YOUR boundaries". Basking in the truth of that. Basking. Basking. Okay, I'm better now. On to part two of that sentence, "and would you expect that if a new relationship formed that you'd be able to set very specific boundaries with them?" No, I do not. And here's why. I tried for years, YEARS, to set boundaries. And they walked right the hello over me. So to answer that question and the question at the end of the last post, no. No, I don't believe I can create a relationship in which personal boundaries are respected.

And then the next paragraph!! Yes, the Facebook nostalgia! It has made me reconnect with several old friends! In most cases, it has worked out really well. But yes, FB makes me want to be! friends! with! everyone!

This is why I put my thoughts out on the Internet. Because when I feel thoroughly confused and conflicted, someone makes a comment like that and I feel like the sun has shone through a stand of trees. Like there's light at the end of my tunnel. Thank you to all of you, my Internet friends. Your support and encouragement has gotten me through my miscarriage and helped me work through some of the tough issues in my past. I really can't say how much I appreciate it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rainy Day Women

I've written here before about my former best friend, Heather. We grew up together. She was the closest I ever had to a sister. But she and my mother always acted like they had to tell me what to do and keep me in line and eventually, I stopped talking to them. Breaking away from Heather was really the test run for breaking away from my mother. I felt, for a very long time, that I would eventually break contact with my mother. Our relationship was never good and as I got older it got worse and worse. Heather would often "report" back to my mother on different things about me. For example, she met Rock a few weeks before my mother did and called my mom on her way home to tell her all about him. I realized that if I ever did break contact with Mom, I couldn't stay friends with Heather. She was my mom's friend, not mine. I tried, in each instance, to let the other person keep the mutual friends. The main reason is that I felt bad about breaking contact and didn't want to inflict more harm by trying to take more friends away. I also didn't want to put any of my friends in the uncomfortable position of choosing between me and Heather or me and my mother, so I tried to just bow out gracefully. I also didn't want to talk about why I was breaking contact, because at that point, I really couldn't put it into words and felt like if I was questioned too closely, I would cave in. So in addition to breaking contact with my mother and Heather, I broke contact with several other friends. Well, yesterday, one of those mutual friends contacted me on Facebook. She and I wrote back and forth a few times, catching up on life. This morning, I saw that Heather had written on her blog last night, "Found a very, very giant trigger of my very own just a short time ago. Former best friend on Facebook. Seeing her face and her words on a mutual friend's wall just triggered a lot. It's a lot more complex than just "seeing her name was triggery", and yet not more complex than that. I'll just leave it at that for now, because I need to not think about the triggery before bed." Very cryptic. And it makes me.....sad. and confused. I wonder what she feels about it. When she says "trigger" I wonder what she means. I wonder what she thinks about when she thinks about me. I know that a lot of her opinion of me is bad. But we had a lot of good times, too. I miss her, a lot. There are so many childhood things that we shared that I don't share with anyone else. I watched Steel Magnolias again recently and I swear, I missed her so bad it hurt. We were Clairee and Weezer. (She was Weezer.) We were going to be friends for life and then be old, bickering, best friends just like those two characters. I want to reach out to her, but I don't want the old friendship that we used to have. We made the mistake that a lot of people who know each other for a very long time make - we thought that we knew everything there was to know about each other. She thought she knew everything about my childhood and my parents' marriage. I thought I knew everything about her family. She told me once that she thought she had been depressed her whole childhood. And I'm sure I smiled and nodded while she talked, but I didn't believe her for a second. Because I had BEEN THERE. I knew her as a child and she wasn't a bit depressed. But maybe she was. Because as close as we were, I didn't know everything about her. If she says she was depressed, then she probably was. But I didn't even stop to give her the benefit of the doubt. I just didn't believe her. And she did the same to me. Is there a way to form a new friendship with someone with whom I have this much history? A different friendship, in which we don't try to fit each other into the roles we played as children? I find myself equal parts hopeful, wanting to try and convinced that it's impossible. Should I reach out to her, try to make peace with my past, try to find a new way forward. Is it possible to create a relationship with her and then with my mother, in which they respect me? Or should I just leave it all alone and try to find a way to co-exist?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Facebook Funnies

Yesterday, one of my friends posted "RIP Patrick Swayze...I hate you lung cancer."
One of her friends corrected her, "I hate lung cancer too, but he had pancreatic cancer."

Another of my friends posted, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

ETA: One of her friends replied, "Amen and again I say Amen." Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

No, really, please come find me in hell. I'll be the one in the back corner, with the booze.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Books by Quarter

So, I just realized that I never posted the books I read in the second quarter. I'll be remedying that right now.

1. What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George - SO SO GOOD. This falls into a subset of books that I love. The ones that warn you, from the title or the basic setup or whatever, that they WILL NOT have a happy ending, but are so beautifully written and make you care so deeply for the characters that you hope and pray for a happy ending anyway. I mean, the title of this book is What Came Before He Shot Her, so you know there's going to be a murder. But the book details a year in the life of a young boy before he commits a very serious crime. The murder in the title doesn't take place until page six hundred and something, so there is a LOT of "What Came Before". (Other great books in this subset - Bel Canto and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

2. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - Dark, gritty and not very good.

3. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman - Do you read Laura Lippman? Because you totally should. Her books are fantastic. Life Sentences is about a writer, mining her past for a story to tell. She remembers that a girl she was friends with in middle school went to prison for killing her baby, so she decides to investigate that.

4. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - Recommended by Janssen. Completely chilling story of two girls with eating disorders. One is bulimic, one is anorexic. One lives, one dies. The book is excellent.

5. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman - This is the first in her series about detective Tess Monaghan and it's great. I plan to pick up the rest of the series and read them as soon as I can.

6. City of Thieves by David Benioff - I saw the movie of 25th Hour, based on his novel, and was very impressed. City of Thieves is good, but has a disappointing ending.

7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski - I think the simplest thing to say here is that on Goodreads, there are 142 posts about this book in the Books You Loathed thread. It's not that the novel is bad, because it's not. It's very well written. It's that the author makes some major choices that really anger readers. Including me.

8. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud - YAWN. Bor-ing.

9. The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner - Nowhere near as interesting as it could have been. Good premise, bad delivery.

10. The Ex-Debutante by Linda Francis Lee - Fluffy, fun chick lit. Entertaining.

11. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - OMG, SO GOOD. I loved it. Loved, loved, loved it. Claire and Henry are one of my all-time favorite couples.

12. The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee - Again, fluffy fun chick lit. Very cute, good characters.

13. The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag (audio) - This was the first audio book I listened to. It was a good mystery, although the conclusion is really far-fetched and unbelievable.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hair Update With Pictures!

So, Shelly Overlook and Alice both requested hair pictures. I took some in the office bathroom with my new camera phone, which I am still learning how to use. So, please excuse the poor lighting and poor quality of the pictures. And the fact that you really can't tell much about my hair in these pictures. BUT, these are pictures I took just an hour or so ago, and now they are here! Behold, the speed of the Internet.

Hair in front of shoulders, which is usually the best way to show the waves:

View from the back:

What most people see most of the time, hair behind shoulders:

So! There you go - this is my new hairstyle.

Friday, September 4, 2009

State of My World

You all are awesome! Thanks so much for voting in my book poll. The winner was Loving Frank, so I'll be starting that this weekend. Second place was a tie between Best Friends Forever and Julie and Julia, so I'll start one of them after I finish Loving Frank. (Wait, that sounded dirty.) And I think some of you voted in the comments and not in the actual poll, because several people mentioned Odd Thomas, but it only had one vote in the poll, so I'll put it in the "to read soon" pile.

Random updates on frivolous things I have talked about before:
The too-small purse: Still too small, but I'm kind of making it work. I'm nothing if not stubborn. (And lazy - I really don't want to move all my stuff over to another purse.) It's still a challenge if I want to, y'know, get anything out of my purse, but it looks good and that's all that matters, right?

My hair: I recently made a change I never would have thought I'd be bold enough to try - I'm letting most of my hair air-dry. And going to work. To me, this is scandalous. (Yes, I should get out more.) One of my co-workers did it the other day and her hair is very similar to mine. Long, very wavy, with bangs. She had styled her bangs and let the rest air-dry. It was still wet when she got to work. So I thought, "Hell, if she can do it, why can't I?" So the next morning, I dried my bangs, styled them, sprayed leave-in conditioner on the rest and went to work. No one pointed and laughed, or said, "Really? You couldn't even brush your hair this morning?", so I've worn it that way the last 3 days. I asked a couple of my friends and they've all said it looks good, so I think I've pulled off a major coup here. I don't have to spend 20 minutes straightening and styling my hair every morning. Shhh...don't tell. I do need a good product to make it not be fuzzy, though. That's the only thing that needs improvement on this look. So if you have suggestions, please let me know.

I'm totally in a care package mood right now and I want to buy copies of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and send them to everyone I know, so if you want a copy of the book and a small care package, email me your name and address and I'll put one together for you.

I'm going to a baby shower this weekend for the friend who told me she was pregnant 6 days after my miscarriage. I think it's going to be okay, because I really am to the point where I can be happy, even for her, even though every time I think about her pregnancy in specific it brings back thoughts of my miscarriage. I think since my miscarriage, I've been in a slight depression. Not bad, I really didn't even notice until it lifted last week. I just felt kind of blah, kind of boring and not interested in anything, really. I didn't have anything to say, on here or in person and when I did talk, I felt like all I did was bitch. Last week, I suddenly realized that I felt more awake, more alive and wanted to reach out more. I started posting more here, which I'm really enjoying and randomly decided to send a care package to Shelly Overlook, just because she's always so nice. And I don't say that to brag on myself or anything, just to show how different I feel. I feel lighter and like a fog has lifted. I appreciate my friends and the people around me. So that's another reason why I'm not worried about going to my friend's shower. I think I'm ready.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Okay, I'm floundering around about what to read next, which is rare for me. I think it's because The Girl Who Played With Fire was so good that I can't move on. I want to still be reading IT, so nothing else sounds appealing. I've read one book since I finished it, Who By Fire, which was fine, but I don't think I would have been impressed by it even if it hadn't followed Girl, though that certainly didn't help matters. I have recently been to Barnes and Noble (um, and a local used book store) (um, and the library) (um, and Target) (WHAT? It's not an addiction. I can quit anytime I want.), so I have LOTS of choices. In fact, that's kind of the problem. I have too many books that sound so good that I can't choose which one to read next. Fiona used to have polls asking everyone to pick what she read next and since I always thought that was a good idea (and because I'm a big ole copycat), I'm going to do the same. I've added a poll on the right, under my personal info, of books to choose from. Please vote and please choose two. I would promise that they would be the next two books I read, but some of these are series books and if I love them, I might read the whole series, so the second book might get pushed back....oh, screw it. You know what I mean.

Here are your choices:
  • Best Friends Forever - the new Jennifer Weiner book. Weiner usually writes whip-smart chick lit and I love her books. This one sounds really interesting.
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - this one won the Pultizer last year and sounds really great. It's a book of short stories, all featuring the title character, a retired librarian (I think).
  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - this is the first in the Odd Thomas series. I picked up the fourth one in the grocery store one day, not realizing that it was the fourth one. I recently bought the first three at a used book store, so I now have the whole series. This series has gotten good reviews from Fiona and Tess, so I am excited to read them.
  • Julie and Julia by Julie Powell - both book and movie have gotten rave reviews. I also picked up My Time in France by Julia Child, so if it gets picked, I might read it right after Julie and Julia.
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan - is the true story of a woman who had an affair with Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk - I just love Chuck Palahniuk. He's so weird. If you've never heard of him, he wrote Fight Club.
  • The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
  • Q&A by Vikas Swarup - perhaps you've heard of the movie made from this book, Slumdog Millionaire?