Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Art Made With Love

I had to post this picture. It is at my parent’s house the day after the wedding. We’re with our parents, some of our wedding party (the least hungover ones) and a few close relatives. We decided it would be nice to open our presents with some of the people closest to us. (There wasn’t anyone there that we had to fake liking a present to.) It was actually a nice morning/early afternoon. My parents served brunch. We thought it would be a nice way to wind the weekend down and get to talk about everything that happened from the rehearsal to the after party our wedding party apparently had!

I digress. I wanted to talk about this photo. In it, I am holding up a wonderful, handmade card. Created by my talented cousin, Suzanne. It is clear that she took a lot of time in making the card. She drew and coloured all the flowers. (There are some more lovely flowers on the front of the card, but you can’t see them in this photo.) She cut out each of the letters. It’s definitely a mixed media kind of piece. So much care went into the making of the card, you can easily tell. I thought it was so sweet and simply fabulous.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reading The Distinguished Guest

On the last day of the Mexican Portion of the honeymoon, while waiting at Los Cabos International Airport, I dove back into fiction for grown-ups. I started reading The Distinguished Guest by Sue Miller. Honestly, I’d never heard of Sue Miller before. The reason this book is in my possession is because I received it as a birthday gift years ago. It sat on my shelf because I didn’t know who the author was and I wasn’t particularly interested by the description of the story. For some reason, perhaps just the length of time it sat untouched, I chose to bring it with us to Los Cabos.

Slowly, I’ve been inching through it. I forced myself through the first chapter and found myself needing to take a break. I seem to only be able to read a chapter (or less) at a time. It is actually a little irritating. I can usually power through a book. I have to tell myself to put it down. I need sleep, I have things I need to do. Only as I’ve passed page 65, is the story getting somewhat interesting. Perhaps it is just the new character that has been introduced.

The characters are bland so far. Miller tries to make them three dimensional by having them go back to memories of their past. These ‘memories’ are just as flat as the characters are in the present. The physical appearance of the characters are described in detail, but they don’t have that feeling of being real. Maybe there are too many? Maybe it’s that most of the characters are much older than myself (though I’ve never had that be a problem before)? I just haven’t connected with anything or anyone yet. Hopefully the new character helps improve the story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The ABC Murders

To break up the youthful fiction I seemed to have immersed myself in recently, I decided to read an Agatha Christie mystery. I wanted something a little more adult on the honeymoon… not that we did a whole lot of reading…

Last fall, I read my first Agatha Christie book, Murder On The Orient Express, which I just loved. I thought Hercule Poirot was simply fabulous. He seemed to be such an unassuming man that saw so much. It was true of his investigative role in The ABC Murders as well. His technique was unlike that of the other investigators.

I think The ABC Murders tricks you. It leads the reader to believe one thing, but something completely different is true. Of course, each character plays an important role in the mystery. Otherwise, I doubt Christie would include them. But there is a definite deception being played upon the reader. By the end of the novel, when the answers come to light, it caused me to yell out loud!

If you haven’t read something by Agatha Christie, you should. She was one of the most famed writers of her time. Everyone knows (or should know) who she is, especially if you’re an avid reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the novels I’ve read so far. The problem is, you can’t talk about a particular novel too much with someone who hasn’t read it. Otherwise you end up giving something away. Just remember, watch out for the twist at the end.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Way Forward Is With A Broken Heart (2)

I finished reading Alice Walker’s short story collection waiting in Pearson Airport for our plane to Mexico. I have to say, each story I read in the second half of the book involved one or both of the main characters having an affair. Walker admits that parts of these stories are true. They pertain to the life she had with ‘the husband of her youth.’ Apparently, there was quite a bit of extramarital sex while she was with her husband, on both their parts.

Having just been married myself, I’m not sure how I feel about these stories. They were well written. They were easy to read. Besides the story I mentioned in a previous post, Olive Oil, I don’t know if I really enjoyed any of these stories. I was constantly thinking, how could s/he do that? The repeated affairs just seemed crazy. It was, perhaps, a symptom of a failing marriage. Yet they stayed together for a long time.

It was a good collection. If you like Alice Walker, definitely read it. Just don’t expect the stories to end with the heroine and her hero walking off into the sunset.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Books 8-12

The Hostile Hospital
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Slippery Slope
The Grim Grotto
The Penultimate Peril

As I said, the honeymoon is over… While on this ultimate vacation, I read the final five books by Lemony Snicket. They were just as fun as the previous seven. They were the perfect poolside read. Unfortunate Events just kept happening to the Baudelaires. Mystery after mystery pilled upon themselves.

The Hostile Hospital certainly showed the resilience of the Baudelaire children. By the time they reach Heimlich Hospital, the three children are all alone. They are cold and starving. You feel sad for Violet, Klaus and Sunny. They’ve come so far and still have so far to go.

Sitting cold and alone, you see how resilient these children are. They discover what they need and begin their search for it. It is the first time you really see these children, who clearly age and mature, endure a moral dilemma. By the end of the book, the Baudelaires doubt their actions. Again, the story is full of adults who are just unable to help them.

The downward spiral continues with The Carnivorous Carnival. The Baudelaire children have their first experience with disguises. Throughout the stories, the children can’t believe that the adults were fooled by Count Olaf’s disguises. They don’t believe their own disguises will work, even with what happened at the hospital. They try anyway and discover that no one recognizes them. Somehow it speaks about how unobservant adults can be and how children notice everything.

The Carnivorous Carnival ends sadly. Near the end of the story, the children make a discovery. They feel so close to getting the answers that they’ve desperately been seeking. They find an adult, who appears villainous, but they believe that she can be noble again. They are so close to the truth. Again, the adult in their lives fail them. For this betrayal, they meet a wicked end. But the children do something wicked too. Something they thought they would never do. Did they have to? Violet and Klaus believe so, but doubt lingers.

In The Slippery Slope the children find themselves separated. They have never been apart before. It is very disconcerting for them. Since that first frightful day on Briny Beach, the children have not been apart for more than a few hours (while in some horrid school or performing some ghastly job). There is only one thing they can do. The children work to bring themselves together again.

The implausibility of the stories continues. The tasks Sunny performs defy reason. There is no way a baby or even a toddler could do the things she does… Well, maybe… But an adult would never ask for these things, even villainous adults. The situations are so incredible, it’s silly.

Watch out for a little warming of the heart from the eldest Baudelaire on this icy mountaintop…

In book the 11th, The Grim Grotto, the children mature even more. It is Klaus’s turn to meet someone who touches his heart. The children end up drifting away from what they thought would be the source of their answers. Now, they don’t know where they are going. Where they end up lands them with more questions.

Again, we find another adult who refuses to tell the children what they need to know. If only someone would stop all this madness and tell the children the truth about their parents, the past, present and future, then they might actually be all right. Instead, these things are pushed aside because they are too young to hear such things.

Violet, Klaus and Sunny find themselves betrayed yet again. Someone they trusted turns out villainous. This heinous act of betrayal nearly kills one of the children. Even when redemption presents itself, the children are again failed by the people they look too. By the end of the story, the children make a decision and no one is sure if it was the right one.

The Penultimate Peril leaves you wanting to continue on with the Baudelaires. No matter how angry you might be with them. Once more, you not only question the actions of the adults, but also of the children. The Baudelaires are told by yet another mysterious figure (clearly tied to Lemony Snicket) to trust their own judgment. Can they really? They stare repeatedly into the faces of Frank and Earnest and can’t figure out who is the villain or volunteer.

Adults try. Yet we see that trying is not enough. The adults fail them. Mr. Poe fails them. J. S. fails them. They have no one to turn to. No one to trust. Villains are everywhere. They do the only thing they think they can do. They try to save themselves. We may not agree with their actions, but it is clear what led them to the end of The Penultimate Peril

I really can’t wait for Book The 13th. The Baudelaires may or may not have a happy ending. We have to wait until October the 13th to find out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Honeymoon Is Over

Tomorrow I return to work. I don’t want to, but I have to. I have really enjoyed this time off. I loved spending these two weeks with my Hubby. It could be just us for months and I would be happy. Our time together was so relaxing. I’m just so happy.

All good things come to an end, as they say… But who says that really? I’m going to remember this feeling forever. All I have to do is think back to the day we were married. The sun shone down on us. We were surrounded by our family and friends. Our reception was one wicked party, if I do say so myself. In those memories my feelings will continue. With the future, a new home down the road, children, my feelings will grow. My life with my Hubby has only just begun and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Mandi's Photos

This is my friend Mandi's Windows Live Space. She has a ton of photos up, including a few from my wedding.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Dress Situation

It’s all under control. Dawn has her dress, though it took an entire day of harassing the bridal store to get it. I have my dress!!! Yay!!! The girls are slowly, but surely picking their dresses up from getting the alterations. Everything is going to be just fine… Well, no one will be naked, at least.