Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Sundays with Gage- 6th month edition

Gage and I at Panera last night (please forgive the hair) with Daddy behind the camera.  This week Gage will mark 6 months in this world and I thought I’d pass along a few things I’ve learned in my half year of motherhood.

When they (and by they, I mean everyone) tells you ‘colic’ will go away at 3 months, don’t get your hopes up.  We’re at 6 months and counting.

A born worrier can be a bit of a frantic mother.

When the pediatrician says “rice cereal” she does not mean Rice Krispies.

A naked, wet baby is pretty darn slippery.

It is possible to live on sugar and caffeine.

Labor is every bit as horrible as you feared it might be.

You can survive a week at the hospital with your baby being poked, tested, discussed, but not without scars.

People say the husband/father isn’t first anymore, boohoo.  While this is true, the mom is not  1st, 2nd or even sometimes 3rd, so accept it.

Giving away baby clothes is like saying, “We’re done.”  Without having to say it.

Books or websites that tell you at what age your baby should be doing something can be detrimental to your health and should looked at for amusement, not fact.

The closer you live to your family when you have a baby, the luckier you are.

Do not be afraid to swaddle your baby til he looks like a burrito.  It will save your sanity.

Naps are not only for the young.

Singing or music usually saves the day (or a good mood).

We need a mirror in every room.  Our guy cracks himself up.

There’s poop on my hand/shirt/hair?  And?

Infants are as scary as you think they are.

Motherhood is indeed as awesome, wonderful and fulfilling, as everyone says it is, but it also sometimes sucks.

I could watch my sleeping baby for hours and under no circumstances do I want you waking him up.

Having a loving, hands-on dad has made this mom a happy one.

I may not be the best mother yet (I’m a work-in-progress) but I do have the best son and I’m thankful for him every day.

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Gage | 39 Comments

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett

Cover ImageFinished 4-14-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 318 pages, pub. 2001

There were worse reasons to keep a person hostage.  You keep someone always for what he or she is worth to you, for what you can trade her for, money or freedom or somebody else you want more.  Any person can be a kind of trading chip when you find a way to hold her.  So to hold someone for song, because the thing longed for was the sound of her voice, wasn’t it all the same?  The terrorists, having no chance to get what they came for, decided to take something else instead, something that they never in their lives knew they wanted until they crouched in the low, dark shaft of the air-conditioning vents: opera.  They decided to take that very thing for which Mr. Hosokawa lived.

Chapter 3

Terrorists of an unnamed South American country invade a party held at the home of the vice-president so they can kidnap the president.  Only the president did not attend and the terrorists are left with a house full of hostages and no way out.  There were too many hostages so they let all of the women go, save one, the world renown soprano Roxane Coss.  Now they are left with 59 men and one women and little chance of success.  When the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months, the line between hostage and terrorist is blurred.

All of the men, terrorists included, fall in love with Roxane and her golden voice.  She sings every day for the house.  Mr. Hosokawa feels responsible since the party was held in his honor and he requested Roxane even though they had never met.  Since this house is full of important men, from all over the world, it is Mr. Hosokawa’s translator, Gen, who becomes the most important person in the house.  He spends his days having conversations for people and becomes indispensable to the terrorists as they negotiate with the Red Cross.

There are lots of characters in the house and it was confusing at first.  Actually I tried to listen to the audio, but then switched to paper and had better luck keeping everyone straight.  Each character had an important role in the house, but that didn’t mean I really cared about the characters, at least at first.  It is a slow read until the last third.  They were held hostage for so long with nothing happening except the forming of relationships that it took me a while to really get engaged in the story.  I was actually ready for it to be over and them, wham, the end comes and it was poignant, shocking in its speed and left me considering, even the day after.  I loved it.  For me, the ending saved the book from an average rating. 

I don’t want to give the impression that the first two-third of the book was completely boring, it wasn’t, bit it made me take my time and sometimes I got impatient.  The opera played a  huge part in the story.  It was used to inspire, to heal, and to comfort and I think music lovers will appreciate the story.

This is from my personal library chosen by Golda and Heather.  Here’s what Heather had to say…”I’m reading this right now, and it ’s great so far.”

April 15, 2011 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 30 Comments

Echo Burning, by Lee Child

Echo Burning (Jack Reacher Series #5)Finished audio 4-11-11, 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2001

Unabridged audion read by Dick Hill, 13 Hours

Jack Reacher series book #5 (Book 1) (Book 2) (Book 3) (Book 4)

Jack Reacher, loner extraordinaire, has hitched his way to Texas and run into Carmen, damsel in distress.  Carmen has a request for Reacher.  She needs him to kill her husband.  Reacher is unsure if he believes her story of abuse but once he meets her young daughter he decides to work at her ranch to see for himself.  There he finds a domineering family and his presence alone brings out their worst behavior.  So, what happens when fists and bullets start flying?

Jack Reacher is a hard man, a drifter, and a man you’d want on your side in any kind of fight.  He’s man who has no problem killing, if rightly deserved and tries to help those weaker than him who are being picked on or bullied.  I wasn’t sure about him in the first book but then fell for him in the next few.  The problem with this book, for me is that I never really felt any emotional attachment to Reacher, which is odd since I love the character.  So, for me, this one fell flat.  The story was boring and even Reacher made my mind drift as I was listening to this one.

The reader, Dick Hill, did a fine job, but I wonder if the voices that he used for the two women in the book, Carmen and Alice, made me dislike them both, at least a little.

If you haven’t read a Jack Reacher book you should, but don’t start with this one.

I checked this audio out of the library.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 23 Comments

Authors Portrayed Quiz – guessing closed

Authors aren’t always overlooked on the big screen.  I’ve pictured 10 actors who have portrayed famous writers on the big screen and I’ve also give the year the movies came out so you have some frame of reference (but not to help you cheat :))  Tell me the author being portrayed for 5 points and/or the name of the movie for another 5.  You have until noon Friday to submit your answers.  Same prize as last time

No cheating.  No Googling, researching, or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system    Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome   It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

Current Leaderboard here.  Last week’s poet quiz here.

1. Joseph Fiennes 1998  William Shakepeare-Shakespeare in Love

2. Nicole Kidman 2002  Virginia Woolf-The Hours

3.Phillip Seymour Hoffman 2005 Truman Capote-Capote

4. Gwyneth Paltrow 2003  Sylvia Plath-Sylvia

5. Bill Murray 1980  Hunter S. Thompson-Where the Buffalo Roam

6. Meryl Streep 1985  Isak Dinesen-Out of Africa

7. Anthony Hopkins 1994  C.S. Lewis-Shadowlands

8.  Kate Winslet 2000  Iris Murdoch-Iris

9. Stephen Fry 1997  Oscar Wilde-Wilde

10. Natasha Richardson 1986  Mary Shelley-Gothic

April 12, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | | 33 Comments

Sundays with Gage – So this is what the sun looks like

When you are born in the fall and live in Cleveland your opportunities for spending time outside are few.  This weekend we went to my parents home in central Ohio and Gage finally got to see what all the sunny fuss is about.  He got to sit on the front porch railing with Grandma and watch cars drive by in his shorts and bare feet.  My parents live on a busy road so he was very entertained (and very cute).  So, let’s bring on the great weather so Gage and I can finally take some walks and shed this cabin fever we’ve had for a few months.

I’m including this second pic with his aunt Amy just cause it is too cute not to 🙂 

April 10, 2011 Posted by | Gage | 26 Comments

Fave Film #26 – Dirty Dancing


Cast- Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach

Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is visiting Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills with her family before she heads off to college in the fall.  Always the good girl who wants to make the world a better place she is struck by the lust bug when she sees sexy Johnny Castle doing the dirty dance.  She helps his childhood friend and by doing that is able to be close to Johnny.  As a dance instructor at the resort the older Johnny knows he shouldn’t get involved with Baby, but some things are just meant to be.

Why I love it- Where to start?  Thanks to Netflix streaming I was able to watch this for free this week and was amazed that I could have forgotten how good it was.  I always think of it as one of the core 1980’s movies of my teen years, but watching it again after so many years made me fall in love with this romance all over again. 

Let’s start with Baby.  I think any teenage girl will see at least some part of themself in Baby.  She is awkward, insecure, and at 17 wants to grown up already.  She also exudes this idealism and goodness that appeals to me.  She made Johnny want to be a better person and isn’t that what we all want our significant others to think?  Jennifer Grey somehow pulls off a 17 year old to perfection, although she was 27 at the time.

Next is Johnny, who, let’s face it, is the romantic bad boy that we all secretly hoped we could snag and keep when we were teens.  We would be the only one who saw the real man inside, the good person he was (okay, maybe I’m projecting here).  Somehow this older guy who had ‘had many women’ fell under Baby’s spell and still managed to maintain his rough edges. I mean, c’mon, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” made every girl fall in love.  I loved Patrick Swayze in this role.

So, it was a love story, but it was also about being your best self and not judging other people.  And the soundtrack is one that takes me back every time.  I always gets a little teary at the last song ‘Time of Your Life’ and this week was no different.  Don’t ask me why.  As for the dancing, it was like watching Dancing with the Stars, only less sparkly and with more heat. 

The story, the acting, the music, the dancing all make this a great movie and one that I should watch more that every ten years or so.  There were so many clips to choose from, but I went with Patrick Swayze singing She’s Like the Wind with clips from the movie.  He was so talented.


April 8, 2011 Posted by | movies | | 21 Comments

Wanna Play?

Every person who participates in a quiz each round adds a $1 to the gift card for the winner, so far it’s worth $18.  Last round Nise won a $30 B&N gift card!  Play once or every week, but please join in the fun 🙂

Ode to a Quiz, Authors Portrayed Quiz,  Common Denominator Quiz

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | | 2 Comments

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough, by Ruth Pennebaker

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker: Book CoverFinished 4-6-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 304 pages, pub. 2011

Three generations of women living together could be a reason to celebrate and appreciate, but not in Joanie’s house.  She’s recently divorced with a teenage daughter and a judgemental mother forced to live with her because of the recession.  Joanie is  the glue and that’s not saying much since she and her mother spend ample time not speaking to each other.  She is struggling with a new job and a daughter with pink hair.  Oh yeah, and her ex-husband is expecting a baby with his much younger girlfriend. 

Mary Margaret was the kind of friend she laughed and gossiped and drank with, though.  She wouldn’t be interested in Joanie’s doubts about herself.  You had different friends for different facets of your life, Joanie supposed.  There were friends you talked to and friends you listened to.  It was a rare friendship that combined both.

page 13

Caroline is your typical teen, struggling with popularity, unrequited love, trying drugs and, yes, serving said drugs to her grandmother.  She was my favorite character.

There was something sobering about being listened to and treated with respect by an adult.  But it reminded Caroline of something she didn’t really want to know: She was a small actor in a big world of many people.  Her own worldview-dominated by herself and her misery and her inadequacies and her crazy family-wasn’t the way other people viewed life.  She might be smaller and less significant than she ever wanted to know.

page 215

Ivy is easy to dislike.  She is prejudiced, judgemental, and a cold fish.  She doesn’t even bother calling her granddaughter by her name, preferring to refer to her as the girl.  I spent most of the time really disliking her, but I won’t tell you if she redeems herself, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Suddenly, Ivy missed the company of someone who had known her for years.  Who had seen her hair grow gray, then white.  Who had watched her middle thicken, and her shoes turn lower and stockier.  Someone who knew who she used to be and how she’d come to be what she was.  Someone who knew she  hadn’t started out like this; she had once been someone else, someone vibrant and energetic.

page 106

This is an easy to read book about people who you’ll recognize.  Although it dealt with weighty issues, it never became a heavy book.  It managed to maintain its light feel while still touching you.  My only disappointment was that the end seemed to just peter out.  It really needed more of a conclusion, or if you are going by the title, a breakthrough.  It was still a very enjoyable book.

This was graciously sent to be by PR by the Book

April 6, 2011 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 23 Comments

Ode to a Quiz – Voting Closed

Welcome to Round 2 of this year’s Tuesday Quizzes!  April is National Poetry month so this week’s quiz is about matching these famous poets to their most famous work.  Each one is worth 6.5 points.  You have until noon Friday to submit your answers.  Same prize as last time.

No cheating.  No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system 🙂   Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome   It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

 In case you missed the post about last quarter’s winner click here.

1.Elizabeth Barrett Browning     E. How Do I Love Thee?

2. Lord Byron    C. Don Juan 

3. Geoffrey Chaucer   L. The Canterbury Tales

4. Dante Alighieri      F. The Divine Comedy

5. Emily Dickinson       J. Because I Could Not Stop For Death

6. TS Eliot    I. The Waste Land

7. Robert Frost     A. The Road Not Taken 

8. Homer    B. The Iliad, The Odyssey

9. John Keats     M. Ode to a Nightingale

10. John Milton    H. Paradise Lost 

11. Sylvia Plath    N. Ariel 

12. Edgar Allan Poe     G. The Raven 

13. Alfred Tennyson   P. In Memoriam 

14. Virgil   O. The Aeneid 

15. Walt Whitman    D. Song of Myself   

16. William Butler Yeats    K. Sailing to Byzantium

April 5, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 32 Comments

Monday Movie Meme – Women & Prison

Feature Presentation…MONDAY MOVIE MEME
found at The Bumbles Blog

This week’s movie topic is all about Women & Prison…We’ve covered prison movies, heists and jail breaks before, but we’ve never focused on the fairer sex and their portrayal in the prison system. Nicole wants to focus on women who are held captive or imprisoned during a film. I would broaden that scope to include women who hold roles as guards and captors.  Share on your blog movies that feature female prisoners, guards, or those who are accused and on their way to the Big House.

The first movie that came to mind wasn’t one with a woman in prison, but she was in chains.  In Black Snake Moan (2006) Christina Ricci spends most of the movie bound in chains dressed in not much more than her undies.  Samuel L Jackson is the well intended captor. 

Silence of the Lambs (1991) provides another visual of a captive woman, this one in a pit kept there by a crazy man (otherwise known as Detective Stottelemeyer).

Chicago (2002) is a movie with women in real prison.  What drove them all to lives of crime?  See for yourself.

And somehow Renee Zellweger ends up in prison again in Bridget Jones:The Edge of Reason (2004).   Only this time she’s in Thailand.

That’s all I’ve got.  What about you?

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 14 Comments